Wednesday, June 30, 2010

First Batch of Pesto

It's been a few weeks since I've done much in the kitchen. A combination of heat, exhaustion and lack of inspiration have left me bored. That said, I did get to make my first batch of pesto for the season. My basil has been loving the heat!

Freshly picked basil, rinsed and patted dry.

For some reason, I haven't done any research, but pine nuts have been stupidly expensively lately. So, I'm using slivered almonds. They work very well. There is a small bit of the 'piney' essence of the pine nut missing, but still very nice.

Basil, nuts and cheese all blended together. Turn on the machine and start drizzling in some olive oil until you have the consistency you want.

I tossed some store bought tortellini with the best, adding in some sauted onions, diced tomato and a few extra toasted almond slivers. Very nice.

please post more often--I love your blog and keep seeing the veggie thing

Sorry! I'm a horrible blogger!!!! I haven't been doing much cooking or eating out lately. And with a vacation coming up, postings will continue to be light. I'll try to get something up to replace the veggie listing ASAP. Thanks for reading.

Ask me anything

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Veggie Friendly

(image from Everyday Food)

Thought our veggie friends might want to see some of these recipes from Everyday Food:


Last night's dinner was a surprise. Not in the "I'm making it for the first time and it's good" surprise-y kind of way. But in the "I forgot how satisfying this is" way. The past few meals I've made, I've always felt a little unsatisfied by it. Not last night. A complete & tasty meal.

Bazaar Couscous! I started making this a few years ago. It's slightly different each time I make it. This was just awesome and to me the best I've had! In a nutshell. You have Israeli Couscous--larger grains than traditional couscous, a variety of nuts, dried fruit, vegetables and spices. All tossed together. I gave it the name because it felt like something I'd come up with if I were exploring a Persian marketplace.

What made last night so good? Usually the couscous is a side to a piece of chicken. Well, why not make it a one pot, one bowl meal? So I cut the chicken up, spiced it up with my own blend of spices--Baharat spice blend. Once nearly cooked through, I added diced red onion and diced carrot. Let that start to soften. Add diced red & green bell peppers. Season with Zatar spice blend and Charnushka seeds. Stir in the cooked couscous with dried cherries and golden raisins. Finish with diced tomatoes and toasted almonds and pistachios. Finish with a light sprinkle of extra Baharat. Serve hot. The only thing missing was some awesome flatbread and a bit of chopped parsley, maybe.

And with only a single tablespoon of oil--avocado oil--it's pretty good for you. A fair amount of starch from the couscous, plenty of veggies and fruit, lean protein from the chicken and nuts. I only had a small bit of seconds!!!! Seriously good! And BTW, if you want to make this vegetarian--just skip the chicken. I'm sure you could add some tofu if you wanted...or add extra veggies...whatever you like!

A final note...if you cook with nuts, know that you can enhance the flavor and 'freshen' them up if they've gone stale by giving them a quick toasting either in a dry pan on the stove top or in the oven. I prefer the stove top, as I feel I have more control. I did this with both the almonds and pistachios. But only one at a time, they may toast at different times and you don't want to burn them. Just keep tossing them and moving them about so they don't scorch and get nasty.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Great Brunch

On Sunday we headed into DC's Logan Circle neighborhood for a lovely visit with The Sommeliatrix and a great brunch. We were greeted with cheers and amazing food.

Awesome Bacon. Seriously Awesome Bacon. Thick cut, rich, chewy, meaty. Awesome Bacon.

We were instructed, no ORDERED not to bring anything. Well, I can't do that. So, I brought a jar of mango-ginger jam, with the intent that it could be used later, for say, grilling chicken. The plan was accepted and then altered to enjoy with some fresh bread and butter as well.

But the main course. An amazing frittata. I wish I could make a frittata as amazing as this. Eggs with tomatoes, corn, basil and leeks. Topped with parmesan cheese, I believe. Oh so good. Great brunch, but would be totally awesome for lunch with a salad and chilled glass of wine. Perfect.

THANKS for an amazing brunch. Awesome food. Awesome conversation. Awesome views of the local soccer field that was getting some World Cup inspired use. And of course, Awesome friends. Plans are coming together for the next adventure...stick around.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Woo Hoo Good Free Stuff

It's not often that Eat With Me Headquarters is the recipient of free goodies. It's been years since the last batch of stuff arrived. Mmm, Nutella!

But recently I was offered some free samples via the mail for a new Gatorade product. Sure, why not. I'll give it a shot, I like Gatorade products.

A few days later a package arrived at our door with two bottles of Gatorade's new product, some information and some coupons!

I've been drinking the traditional Gatorade products for years--not having a history with excercise, I usually turned to it when I'm sick or just feeling tired. After 5 years of inviting you all to "Eat With Me," I've found a need to return to the gym and now find myself looking for a little extra boost these types of drinks can offer.

This new brand from Gatorade is made with natural flavors, colors and ingredients. Sounds good to me. But how do they taste?

The G Natural (Orange Citrus flavor) reminded me of straight up Gatorade. I couldn't notice a difference. Good orangey flavor. The G2 Natural (Berry, low-calorie) reminded me a lot of the Vitamin Waters on the market. Both were sweet, with the G2 being of a lighter sweet flavor. The berry flavor was also a touch 'lighter.' I preferred the G2 Natural over the G Natural.

The G2 has 40 calories per bottle (20 per serving) and 5 grams of carbohydrates. The G has 100 calories (50 per serving) and 14 grams of carbs. Considering the obscene amounts of sugar and additives so called "energy drinks" have, this is pretty good.

These beverages were designed as part of Gatorade's G Series line of products for athletes. There is Gatorade Prime 01 designed as a pre-fuel refreshment to consume BEFORE exercise (it looks like a gel). The G Natural and G2 Natural are part of the Gatorade Perform 02 series for consumption DURING physical activity to replace fluids and replenish electrolytes. Gatorade Recover 03 is a post-activity protein & carb beverage to rehydrate and help muscles recovery. Great idea for those seriously into their workouts.

This new beverage is available in five markets, exclusively at Whole Foods stores. The Mid-Atlantic region (KY, MD, NJ, OH, PA, VA, DC), South (AL, GA, NC, SC, TN), Southwest (AK, LA, TX), Florida (It's own region) and Rocky Mountains, starting this month (CO, KS, MS, NM, UT).

At the end of the day, it tastes good. And if it were on the shelf next to a traditional bottle of Gatorade, being a natural product, I would probably reach for it first. Especially the G2 Natural--I like the lighter taste.

Saturday's Local Dinner

Saturday morning we got up and headed up to the Avenue for a special farmer's market. On normal Saturday's our local community market is head at our community center. But this past Saturday, the community market turns into a street fair on our humble town's main drag. We left with a typical bounty of goods. I was hoping to get enough goods to make a full dinner at home and boy oh boy were we lucky!

We started with some freshly picked beets. Peeled and quartered, I roasted them at 400 with a pinch of salt and a dab of butter for an hour. They were tender and good. But I didn't plan things right, so the rest of dinner wasn't ready. I left the beets in the oven, with the heat turned off, for about another 20 minutes. That was just enough time for the beets to develop a beautiful caramelized crust on the bottom beets. Chewy candy!

We grabbed a nice bag of mixed greens for a salad. I washed them three times and let them sit in a towel lined bowl until dinner time. Then I pulled them out and started to tear the leaves into pieces for serving. Oops, found a big nasty eating one of the leaves. NO PESTICIDES my friends. At least it wasn't half a nasty attached to the leaf. I made a dressing out of fresh herbs from the garden--thyme, basil, oregano and rosemary. Chopped with shallot, a squeeze of lemon, salt & pepper. I finished the dressing off with a splash of chardonnay vinegar and avocado oil. Adjust for taste--little more salt and pepper--good to go. Tart and herby!

This season our market is super duper lucky. We have a local sausage maker now coming and selling their goods--Simply Sausage. We had a sample and bought two packs. A "Christmas Breakfast" sausage with some warm spices added in. And these little heaven snausages! Pork with tarragon, shallot and thyme. So delightful. Especially with the salad dressing I made. Perfect match to the salad. I put the sausages in a pan with about 1/2 cup of water, brought to a heavy simmer and covered for about 5-10 minutes. This cooks the sausages most of the way through. I removed the cover and drizzled a little olive oil on. Now let them sear for a few minutes per side, shaking the pan as you go. Golden brown and awesome all around. Oops, correction...tarragon, shallots and parsley...doesn't good!

The remants of the salad bowl. The greens didn't need anything else to make the salad. Well, that's a lie, we had a French baguette, the beets and the sausages. Perfect dinner. Only thing missing was the forthought to put of bottle of vino blanco into the chill box. Oops.

Monday, June 07, 2010


Grrrr! My camera is dying. Well, as far as I'm concerned it's dead! Out of 90 photos I took on two recipes and one restaurant trip, I could use no more than 4 of them. Good thing the new camera is on its way. I should have it by Wednesday!!!! This new camera will be my 3rd since Eat With Me went into business. Oh the things I do for my art! ;o)

In terms of what went down this weekend. I went to one of my favorite joints for lunch on Saturday--Punk's Grill in Annapolis, MD. I wish it was closer, but I had nothing else going on, on Saturday afternoon, so the drive was nice. If you head to Annapolis, give it a shot. Don't judge it because it's at the mall. It's really good! When I have a working camera and head back there, I'll work on a post with more details about the place. In the meantime, if you go, try the Flat Iron Beef skewer! Mmmmm.

In other fun stuff news. A week or two ago a friend shared with me a recipe for Fluffernutter Cookies. All you need is three ingredients. 1 cup of Peanut butter, 1 cup of Marshmallow Fluff and 1 egg. Beat the PB and egg together, then fold in the fluff. Spoon onto a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes. Enjoy. They are good and stupid simple to make. A lighter textured peanut butter cookie. I can't taste the Fluff, but you can see it in some of the cookies. I got one dozen cookies from the batter, a nice amount for a snack, but not so many you'll feel like you're gaining 10 pounds by having them in the house.

On Sunday, I did chores around the house and read. When it came time for dinner was enjoying a major Buffy marathon, trying to finish season 3! So Good! I had planned to leave the house and go for dinner, but I just couldn't leave Buffy alone with the Mayor and Faith. She needed me! So, I decided to make a pizza. But what to do with it? I barely have anything in the house at this point. So...I made the dough, let it rise and it rose good! Must have been the right temp and the right humidity in the house for a good rise. I decided to try a white pizza--sort of. I mixed some softened butter with grated Parm, dried Italian herbs, garlic and fresh cracked pepper. I spread that on the dough, then sprinkled some shredded cheese on top (Montery Jack is what I had). Baked until golden brown. Slice and serve. It was good, but a wee bit dry and the garlic kept coming back to haunt me throughout the night. Easy to just keep eating though!

Friday, June 04, 2010

Don't Forget

You can ask me questions via Formspring. There is a box on the sidebar where you can enter your questions or you can go directly to my profile page and ask there. Let's hear it!

Delicious and stinky

Oh you beautiful, stinky fish sauce. Everything was coming along wonderfully and the aroma from the onions, garlic, peppers and basil was intoxicating. Then I poured in my sauce...BAM! Stank Face! I curse you, yet you bring something to the party few friends can provide. You devil!

Stir-fried Chicken & Basil

The main ingredients. Onions, peppers, basil, garlic.

Saute until tender. I might have used a touch too much oil. Regardless it was a delicious blend of olive and avocado oils.

At this point, you could bottle the perfume coming out of the pan. In just a moment you're going add a blend of broth, fish sauce, sugar and a splash of soy sauce. The pungency will knock you out when you do. Step away from the steam. Serve hot over a rice of your choice. Enjoy.

Oh, and if you think of it, add a squeeze of fresh lime juice. I didn't, but I'm pretty sure the flavor would have gone through the roof if I had. Also, this was supposed to be "Spicy." Even with a whole jalapeno, it wasn't quite. Next time I'll add a splash or two of hot sauce if the chile doesn't do enough.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Cajun Chicken Pasta

For dinner the other night, I revisited a recipe I tried a few months ago and loved. Rich, decadent, highly seasoned, filling and totally satisfying. Cajun Chicken Pasta. Still meets all of those criteria. But I noticed one thing different this time. My "Cajun" seasoning was different and it gave a completely different taste. Previously, I used Penzey's Cajun Seasoning and this time I used a McCormick's Gourmet Collection Cajun blend. Both were fine, but now that I can compare, I'm certainly going with Penzey's. I'm not really surprised, I've had an ongoing love affair with Penzey's for many years. Afterall, I work not to support myself, but to support my spice habit. But in a pinch, I figured one can't be all that different from another. I felt there was a big different. This is based soley on my impression and not studying or research, etc, but I felt the McCormick's blend was very heavy on black pepper. All good! Love black pepper, but there wasn't a balance of other flavors in the blend. The black pepper stepped into the party and said "Hey, I'm black pepper, I'm dominant and I'm going to force you beneath me." Whereas the Penzey's blend just had the feeling of a bunch of friends hanging at a party, having a good time, everyone's working the room and no one is playing alpha dog. Again, I don't have a thing against black pepper, I love it and use lots of it, but with McCormicks, I think it was a touch heavy handed.

Anyway. Long story short. This is a fun, fast meal that I would recommend to anyone who wants a little zippy dinner. Now, if you're on a diet bandwagon, I wouldn't have any problems removing the butter from the recipe, or the cream. If I took the cream out, I might add in a tablespoon of tomato paste to add a little something more to the brothy sauce.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Blueberry Yogurt Cake

This was a super simple, delicious summery cake. Give it a shot. All you do is dump, mix, bake! This reminded me of a decadent blueberry muffin.

Blueberry Yogurt Cake
From Mom's Best Recipes

1 box Duncan Hines white cake mix (do NOT mix according to box directions)
3 egg whites
1 cup milk
1 - 6oz. container fat free blueberry yogurt
2 cups blueberries; fresh or frozen*
small bowl of flour

1 - 8oz. container fat free Cool Whip (thawed)
1 - 6oz. container fat free blueberry yogurt
1 cup fresh blueberries (optional)
1/4 cup blueberry syrup (optional)

In a small bowl add some flour--place the blueberries in the bowl of flour--toss to coat and set aside.

In a mixer add egg whites, milk and one container of yogurt--beat. Add cake mix--beat until smooth. Remove bowl from mixer--add flour coated blueberries--stir just until mixed using a wooden spoon. Pour batter into a greased 9 x 13 cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes--test with a toothpick for doneness. Cool completely.

Topping: in a bowl add Cool Whip and one container of yogurt--stir. Add 1 cup fresh blueberries--stir OR add the blueberry syrup**. Spread the topping evenly over the cooled cake. Refrigerate until cold.

*I used frozen--which is acceptable when blueberries are not in season. If you use fresh, make sure to rinse and pick thru the berries for stems or other bits and pieces. Funny, I read the recipe a few times, then went to the store without writing anything down, I remembered everything, except fresh blueberries and...
**I didn't get extra blueberries for the topping, but we did have blueberry syrup. It added a little more sweetness, light color and additional blueberry flavor. It was nice.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Summer Dinner

Such a pretty dinner. Chicken Provencale. I've been making this for years and for some reason, Friday night's dinner just hit the spot! Saute the chicken breast until golden brown and delicious. Saute some onions, peppers, garlic, tomatoes. Simmer in some wine. Toss in some basil. Serve with skinny spaghetti.