Sunday, May 31, 2009

Problem solved

Pretty much since January, we've been running on low reserves at Eat With Me headquarters. One or two bottles at a time is all we've had. If we were able to get more than that, they were for specific purposes. We just couldn't fill the tank. Thanks to a fun trip to a tax-free, discount liquor store in Rehoboth, we were able to load up on some goodies! There's a whole lot of fun stuff going on, including several new Sauvignon Blancs (woo hoo! include two in the fridge, ready at a moments notice), a wide variety of reds (Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec) and even a little pink for giggles. I don't need to be so stressed now. All but one bottle was purchased between $9-$12. The big spender was a $25 bottle of 2005 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon--not sure about the particular wine I bought, but 2005 has been projected to be "one of Napa's best vintages." Hopefully that statement transfers to a moderately priced bottle.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fresh Market Finds

Just home from the Cheverly Community Market. We're still early in the season, but there were some tasty treats to be had!

This weekend's bounty.

Fresh peas. I'm going to toss them with some Irish butter and a little fresh chopped mint. See if its worth all the fuss.

Juice running down your arm! That good.

We visited Elk Run last summer, I don't remember trying the viognier at that time. This is the driest viognier I've had. Barely a hint of sweetness and not overly floral on the nose. Looking forward to enjoying this, especially after the successful bottle of Merlot we had recently.

Martha's Jam. It's like crack. So tasty. The two jars on the bottom are Spiced Blueberry. I can eat it with a spoon. It's basically pie filling. Cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and lots of blueberry. Crazy good. The mango-ginger is a wonderful glaze for grilled chicken. We'll be having that later this week.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Beach Eats

We're back from a lovely few days at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. We've been numerous times before, but this time, I think the restaurants rolled out some of their best. Very pleased this go-round!

One breakfast included a visit to a place we've been before. The Back Porch Cafe. The menu was the same as two years ago, and I ordered the same thing I did two years ago. A lovely omelet filled with potatoes, bacon, leeks and Gruyere cheese. Very light and full of great flavor. The only downside, there was a single piece of bacon in the omelet. Bummer, but it was still tasty.

Our very happy find was Dogfish Head Brewings and Eats. We went twice and I ate the same thing both times. I'll get to that next. Being a brewery, we had to try several beers. The first night I had the Lawnmower and I loved it! The second time I did a tasting flight and tried five beers. Five small glasses for $5! Great deal.

My favorites from the tasting flight were the Chicory Stout and Shelter Pale Ale. Bought a six pack of the Shelter for home!

The meal. Yes, I ordered the same thing was that good! A great char grilled burger topped with an onion ring, bacon and cheese. Ridiculous! I tend to rate a good burger by the fat dripping down my hand when I take a bite...this needed many napkins!


And a very surprising, completely satisfying meal was had at Rigbys Bar & Grill. Rigbys is the former Partners restaurant. It's the same space, lots of the same people, but the chef is new, the space has been cleaned up with new paint, carpeting and some furniture. I had fried chicken thighs with mashed potatoes and braised green beans. I almost ordered a second helping. The chicken was cooked perfectly. And all combined, it was just wonderful.

And that's pretty much what I ate at the beach. We had some easy Mexican one day, pizza another. I tended to skip breakfasts, which I normally don't do, but I was taking advantage of sleeping in. I'd continue to go back to all of these places!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

I'm off for a few days. Enjoy the holiday weekend and I wish you warm weather. Take some time to reflect and give thanks to the great work our armed forces do on a daily basis. If I get a chance I will post something fun from the beach. If not, I'll be back next week.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Quick Dinner

This is a short week for me with our pending vacation. Here is Tuesday night's dinner.

These are the store bought, "fresh" tortellini pasta with a sausage filling. I'm pretty fond of these filled pastas. They are generally pretty tasty, the cook fast, they are reliable and can make a satisfying meal.

While the water boiled and the pasta cooked, I made the sauce. Onions in olive oil (1/2 onion, finely diced), garlic, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. When soft and just starting to brown...

...pour in about 1/2-1 cup dry white wine. Simmer until reduced by half. Add one bell pepper, chopped, and simmer until tender, then add 1/2 a can of diced tomatoes, cook until heated thru. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Toss cooked pasta in the sauce and serve hot. A pretty balanced meal, fairly low fat, home-cooked and satisfying. Good to go!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Los Vascos

Los Vascos
2008 Sauvignon Blanc

From the second the cork was popped, the crisp aroma was surrounding the table with its exciting allusions to cedar boughs, flowers and perfume. Although the bouquet tickled the nose quickly, it didn't last long. And funny, once the refreshing flavors step in, you barely notice the aroma. On the palette, we’re treated to the requisite gooseberry and citrus flavors most common in the Sauvignon Blanc, followed by a drop of sweet berry juice and further down the road we’re licking rocks, eating banana peppers and grass. At the very end, there is even a touch of mango.

This was a very satisfying Sauvignon Blanc for $11.99. I'd buy it again. And with the Rothschild/Lafite lineage listed on the label, I can only hope they will continue to produce beautiful wines in future vintages.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

More Red Truck

Photo Credit: Jon Rochetti, The DC Traveler

I want to thank Jon for sharing his photo of THE Red Truck from Cline Cellars, home of Red Truck wines.

One of these day's I'll make my way to Napa/Sonoma for an abundance of over indulgences, including a trip to the Red Truck!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I received some wine as a gift on Wednesday. I love wine as a is perfect!

We opened the Red Truck Pinot Noir for dinner and out of gate, it paired very lovely with the Steak Diane. We've had a lot of Red Truck in the past. Their red table wine, a blend of grapes, is very easy to drink, for all sorts of occasions. We've had the Red Truck white table wine and pink. I'm not as fond of either of those. At least I wasn't, I'd always be willing to re-try them.

This Pinot Noir is jam-packed with juicy berries, black cherries and overly-ripe strawberries. I also was towed in by some bell pepper, raisin and spices notes. On the nose, I mostly noticed some floral and more of the spices. I felt there were some raisins and cedar planks floating in there as well. The most interesting characteristic I noticed; when paired with dinner, the finish was very mild and velvety. But without the food; it was short, acidic and reminiscent of copper pennies.

I think this is a good value (usually around $10) wine and I look forward to another glass or two with Thursday's dinner.

From the bottle:

Red Truck
Pinot Noir, 2007

Our award winning Pinot Noir is medium bodied with aromas of dark berries blending with spice and Bing cherry for a rich finish.

Red Truck Winery, Sonoma, CA

Vegetarians, Look Away

Sorry vegetarians. This is all about carnage and beef. And it was good!

A chunk of flank steak. Seasoned well with salt & pepper and rubbed with a little olive oil. Cook until medium and well seared.

We need to make a sauce and to do so we start with shallots and butter. Heaven.

Slice the finished beef into thin strips. Mmmmm.

Finish your sauce with brandy, beef broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and cream. Serve with egg noodles and sauteed green beans. Yum. Yum. Totally satisfying.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fast & Low Fat

Super easy, fast, filling, tasty, low fat....why not right?

This recipe came from the blog Simply Recipe. I mentioned ages ago, this was the blog that inspired me to try my hand at food blogging. I'm certainly not as stylish or awesome as Elise, but I really do love what I do.

Give this recipe a shot. In the time it took my rice to cook, the dinner was done.

Ground Turkey with Peppers

I made a few changes to the recipe:

1) I used two types of ground chilies. The recipe calls for Chipotle chile powder. I'm not very fond of Chipotle as the lead flavor, so I substituted ground Ancho chile and ground Chimayo chile. Both were very tasty. I also used 1 tsp of each, doubling the total amount of chile powder. I didn't notice any "heat" from those peppers, so I might even add some Cayenne chile next time as well.

2) Another change was the addition of some chicken broth. The mixture was looking a touch dry as it finished cooking and since I was serving it with rice, I wanted something akin to a sauce, so I added 1 cup of chicken broth and allowed that to simmer until reduced. It added another 2 minutes to cooking. I'm glad I did though. It allowed the mixture to blend in with the rice more.

3) Oil. I only used 1 TB of olive in the very beginning for vegetables. I didn't use any more oil. This wasn't on purpose, I just didn't see the need in adding the additional oil for the turkey. I didn't get the meat very brown, that might be a reason to add it back in. Overall though, I didn't miss it.

4) Onions & Peppers. The recipe called for one bell pepper. That's what you see in the photo above. I think in the future I will use two. I can always use more veg in my diet, so why not. The recipe also called for one cup of chopped onions. I just made that one medium onion, which worked fine.

Mom's Ground Turkey and Peppers
from Simply Recipe

Olive oil
1 large onion chopped
2 bell peppers (red or yellow preferred), chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt
1 lb ground turkey, preferably ground turkey thighs
1 tsp chipotle powder or chili powder (or to taste)
1 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

1. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the chopped onions and bell pepper and cook until onions and peppers are softened, a couple minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds more.

2. Push the vegetables to the edge of one side of the pan and position that side of the pan so that it is off the burner, away from the heat. The empty part of the pan should be right over the burner. Add one or two more tablespoons of oil to coat the empty part of the pan. Put crumpled chunks of ground turkey in the pan, sprinkle with salt and chipotle or chili powder.

3 Cook the turkey without stirring until it is browned on one side, then turn the pieces over to brown the other side. Once the turkey is just cooked through, stir in the onions and peppers, and sprinkle with more salt and chili powder to taste. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a simmer and allow to reduce a little bit. Remove from heat. Stir in fresh chopped parsley or cilantro.

Serve alone, or with steamed rice or noodles.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Getting the most of your restaurant wine experience!

More great tips from Karen MacNeil.
Here are four tips on how to order from a restaurant wine list:

1. Relax. Most people sit down and think they need to know immediately what to do about the wine. Buy yourself some time by first ordering a glass (or bottle!) of Champagne. It’s a classic, elegant way to begin, and it will give you time to mull over the wine list.

2. Ask for help. A wine steward’s job is to know about the restaurant’s wine list. It makes no sense not to take advantage of that expertise.

3. Be specific. Name a wine that you’d like to try and say how much you plan on spending. Example: “I would like to try a zinfandel, and I want to spend around $30. What do you suggest?”

4. Get excited about learning. Every so often, resolve to spend more than you’re used to on a bottle and just randomly choose something you don’t know. Ask your wine steward for information about your random selection. After a year of this, you’ll be over the fear of not knowing—and you’ll have learned a ton!

**MORE "Ask Karen" Tips & Notes here.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Roast Chicken; Perfect

Roast chicken is pretty much perfect. Great flavor. Succulent. Absolutely satisfying.

Get your oven HOT, 475. Rinse the chicken and pat the skin dry. Throw a lemon half in the cavity. Season liberally with salt & pepper. Tie the legs together and tuck the wings underneath. And roast for 50-55 minutes (3-5 lb bird), until the internal temperature is 165 and the juices run clear. Let rest for 10-15 minutes. Carve and serve. I don't carve very well. I usually only carve the breast & legs. The rest we save for picking at later.

Treats for Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day all ya'll.

Let's make some easy, tasty treats.

Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars
with Lemon Cream Cheese Icing

A simple cookie batter, enhanced with some lemon juice and lemon zest.

Instead of rolling out the cookies, they are baked in a pan, making them much easier!

About 15-17 minutes in the oven.

Cut the bars how you like. Squares or triangles, take a biscuit cutter to make some fluted flower shapes? Whatever you like.

The bars are good plain. But they are even better with lemon cream cheese icing!

Here's the pan. I played around with the pastry bag and the icing. Total fun.

And gilding the lily...sprinkles!!!

Sugar Cookie Bars
based on the recipe by Well Fed Network

1 cup butter; room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Zest from a whole lemon
5 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.

Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg. Add vanilla, lemon juice, lemon zest & mix well.

In a separate bowl combine flour, salt & soda & stir with a whisk to combine.

Add to wet mixture and mix just until combined.

Spread on a greased baking sheet (use a 13 x 18 pan).

Bake at 375 degrees for 15-17 min, until light golden brown or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool completely and frost.

I didn't use a recipe, so here goes: 1 block of cream cheese (8oz), 4 TB butter, pinch of salt, 1 tsp vanilla, juice from half a lemon and zest from a whole lemon, 4 tsp heavy cream, powdered sugar, about 1 1/4 pounds. Mix until smooth and creamy. Tasty and delish!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

4th Birthday


My little ol' blog is 4 years old today. Woo hoo!

Thanks for reading and playing along all these years.

Grillin Green

I love when I can make the grill work for our benefit!!! Tonight for dinner I made one of my own creations...Pollo Verde. Green Chicken! Woo's perfect on the grill.

First I make a green marinade for the chicken. Three types of peppers...not bell peppers...and I don't know the name of the others....there is one jalapeno in there. With the exception of the jalapeno, the peppers were very mild and a little sweet. They were not hot. So three peppers, some cilantro, a few cloves of garlic, salt, pepper and the juice of one lime. Whiz it together in the food processor with some olive oil, about 1/2 a cup. Reserve about 1/2 a cup of the sauce for later. Pour the rest over some chicken. In this case, I had boneless, skinless chicken thighs.

  **NOTE** Only use boneless/skinless thighs. They are more forgiving on the grill. Also, they taste better. 
**NOTE** Allow the chicken to chill out in the fridge for a few hours with the marinade. 2-8 hours.
**NOTE** I have made this a ton (this note is from 6/18/12) and I never measure, or stick to set quantities, I just kind of know what I need. The quantities listed above are good for 4-6 pieces of chicken, roughly double or triple as needed.

Get the chicken on a hot grill. Make sure to get some dark, crispy, nearly burnt bits...they are the best. Cook until done and no longer pink; about 10-15 minutes. Take the reserved marinade and spoon on the top of the chicken, after you flip it.

Perfect. The nearly burnt bits are the best.

Serve hot. I had a boxed rice mix. The rice was fine, but the chicken was great. Wonderful flavor. The peppers and cilantro are made mild by the charcoal, but still impart great green, vegetal flavors to the chicken. Mmmmm. I love this.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Rigatoni and Meatballs

We've had rain for about 40 days and 40 nights straight. It's just been dreary and chilly and damp. Comfort food, Stat!

For dinner I made a quick batch of meatballs, red sauce and rigatoni. Vibrant, warm and comforting. Woo hoo.

For the red sauce I got some finely diced onions going in plenty of olive oil.

The meatballs were a quick mix of ground beef, grated onion, salt, pepper, pinch of cayenne and allspice, chopped parsley and a piece of bread soaked in milk. Mixed all together and baked in the oven at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Even though the meatballs are already cooked, I then simmered them in a big pot of sauce for about another 30-45 minutes.

Toss the rigatoni in some sauce, then spoon some of the meatballs over the top. But something is still missing.

There we go. Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

Take that clouds & rain.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Tastes like more

Last night's dinner took it's inspiration from a recipe in the fantastic, behemoth, 1080 Recipes. There were a few extra steps I didn't want to take and some ingredient changes. This was very tasty and I was ready for plenty more when I was done!!!

Pork Chops with Mustard, Wine & Orange Juice

strange I know!

I used very thinly sliced pork chops, no more than a quarter of an inch. Season with a pinch or two of salt and fresh black pepper, then spread a light layer of Dijon mustard over the chops.

Saute the chops in a pan with one tablespoon of olive oil, over high heat. Because the chops are so thin, this takes just a few moments, as long as your pan is hot enough.

Remove the chops to a plate. Toss two finely chopped shallots into the pan and cook for one minute. They will be very aromatic and start to become translucent. Deglaze the pan with a quarter cup of dry white wine. Scrap up any bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan, that will include some tasty pork chop flavor and mustard! Add a quarter cup of orange juice. Drop heat to medium and simmer until the sauce begins to reduce and thicken. About two minutes. Stir in some chopped parsley.

I served the chops with some potatoes. Drizzle with the sauce and enjoy. Dinner took about 10-15 minutes and was very good. I will make this again.