Monday, April 30, 2007

Food Preview

1. Chicken Bake, from Cooking Light

2. Tomato soup, no recipe. Gonna try to just conjure this one up.

3. La is about damn time I go to this place!

4. Columbus Sushi, for real! Not just a safe California Roll!

5. Quinoa with Black Beans from All Recipes.

6. Hopefully Saturday I can find someone to Cinco De Mayo with me, where I will eat Mexican food that I have NEVER ordered before. I usually get Enchiladas. I think I'll try a Mole dish. (not the rodent. the stuff made with chocolate).

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sushi out the Wazoo

As petty and ridiculous the list is going to be, I am definitely making one of things I want to do and try. Things I've wanted to do but hadn't for various reasons.

One thing on that list is to try Oonagi, or Eel in sushi form. I can't type, think, or speak that word without thinking of Ross and his "oonagi" form of kuh-ra-tay. Nevertheless, I got to dine at an amazing sushi restaurant called Beluga, in Hyde Park.

I tried to relax, and happily I was with someone, who shall remain nameless to keep it all mysterious, who knew the restaurant and had no problem with taking control. Now, if you have ever dined with me, you probably know that I order for myself and am generally a bit controlling. I don't really know why, because I really enjoy someone else taking a risk and making all of the decisions. In fact, my favorite dining experiences included NO control over the outcome.

In China Town, San Francisco, I sat at a counter where what seemed to be the owner just kept bringing us plates. We had a soup, tempura vegetables, sesame chicken, a dumpling of some sort, and a shrimp dish. It was outstanding.

In Las Vegas at Emeril's restaurant in the MGM Grand, we had a 7 course tasting dinner. Pics and all that good stuff are HERE.

Now here at Beluga, I almost wanted to title the post Beluga is Belicious. But that is just cheesey. And speaking of cheese, I think this is the first restaurant in quite awhile where I didn't want or have cheese in any form! Oh crap, I think there was cream cheese in one of the rolls...but I didn't enjoy it as much as the others!

We started with a large Japanese beer, a crafe of sake, and two pint glasses. The fact that my dining companion was so precise about this was really impressive. And we also had edamame. Edamame is a soy bean, where you bite down and pull the pea-like beans out of the shell. It is a bit sensual, and also such a simple treat.

We then ordered the following "Creative Rolls".
Shrimp Tempura Roll topped with BBQ eel and avocado
**Here's my oonagi! Texture wise, much nicer than an oyster or calamari. Not chewy at all. No fishy flavor. The bbq, actually is the prominent flavor and I would compare the texture to a raw tuna. Not slimey at all!

Spicy tuna, spicy crab and avocado-tempura deep fried
**THis was my favorite. And I am really happy to say that it was the one I picked out. It was a very large roll, and I sadly could not fit the whole sucker in my mouth at one time. But more on that later. It was spicy, and had two or three layers of flavors. The spicy orange sauce that was drizzled over it just was icing, really.

Shrimp tempura inside, slices of tuna and salmon outside
**This was just pretty. It was impossible to tell the tuna from the salmon, and they overlapped like pretty red shingles. The shrimp tempura that ran down the middle of this was a large piece of shrimp. And getting this whole thing in at once was difficult! I am such a delicate flower!

BBQ eel, cucumber inside, topped with avocado.
**If I thought the presentation of the red shingled tuna was amazing, try "shingling" avocado! The avocado, to slice, usually sticks to the knife. So if these sushi chefs, and slice them paper thin, and then layer them overtop a Dragon Roll, color me F-in Impressed! With capital letters!

5. A white tuna appetizer, with a black sesame topping. It was a special, and not listed on the current menu. Raw white tuna that just melted and combined with a little wasabi, or mopping up the sauces from the other sushi items made this even better.

So it is "later", where I can divulge the fact that I have a small mouth. Ask my Dentist from childhood. He literally said to me one day, "If anyone ever tells you you have a big mouth, have them come to me." I literally have to 'work up' to getting a whole piece of sushi in my mouth. Like take some deep breaths. Be prepared to possible gag myself and then projectile SUSHI all over. I told my dining companion not to look at me at least twice. It was almost like Fear Factor. Having to put a finger to my mouth, as if it will suddenly burst through the lip seams.

What is that? You never want to eat sushi with me? That sounds horrifying and disgusting? Whatever.

Perhaps the idea of a Sake Bomb should be explained now. It is about a 3 count pour of beer. A sake glass full of sake. You, according to my companion, who I think just wanted to put a lot of happy and hopeful thoughts in my head, said we had to "Cheers" the sake glasses, pour them into the beer, and then cheers the "Bomb". So we "Cheers'd" 6 times, I think??
-to friends
-to new beginings
-to doing whatever you want and not caring what people say
-to blue eyes (i think I was tipsy at this point)
-to "Cocktails and Dreams"
-and we may have forgotten to cheers the last one...big surprise. I probably had a whole mouthfull of Ninja Roll and couldn't speak (that sounds a little dirty)

So since a sixth toast was missed, I'll end my post with this:
-To relaxing and just letting things happen.


Friday, April 27, 2007

Adding the Green Ended my Marriage

Wouldn't that be HILARIOUS if it was true? I mean, "Kick you in the crouch, spit on your neck" funny, as Rachel Greene would say.

It ended because it was supposed to end 6 years ago, but it foolishly did not.

So what am I doing with all of my time? Well, I created another blog for that. But there is food involved in how I pass my time! Of course!

I made a roast in the crockpot. What I call: Revenge Roast, as there are carrots and onions, and tender beefy-ness, which HE did not ever want. So I used up a 2lb roast just for me. Extra carrots.

I went to dinner and wine with two girls. Luce, Opera Salad and Tomato Bisque.

Opera Salad is heaven. It has a champagne vin., gorgonzola crumbles, spiced walnuts, and dried cranberries.

Tomato bisque had GOAT CHEESE in it and a basil oil star on top. So artsy! So great. Better than Le Chatelaine's soup, and closer to my house (please buy my house, please please).

Perhaps from here out, we are dedicated to cooking for one, restaurants I visit, and general madness. I say I think my stomach truly is its own entity.

And he is angry today, as I ate THREE salads (cobb for lunch, opera at dinner, leftover Caesar as snack) yesterday. Too. Much. Roughage.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Two Columbus Restaurants of Note:

Click on the names for the websites. Thoms: great webpage. Le Chatelaine: no website, but an entertaining review on CitySearch.
Thoms in Grandview

Excellent Wine Prices makes it ALL worthwhile
Great Tapas Menu
Scallop with peanut noodles perfect! Scallop perfectly cooked
Salmon was wonderful
Soup Special not seasoned enough (Roasted Red Pepper Soup...not a lot of flavor)
Caesar Salad too dijon-y
Apple Tart Tartin not cooked enough and dry
Coffee was yum

A bit of a nonfragmented explanation, although I am really enjoying writing in fragments. I ordered the french white burgundy, Louis Jadot's Pouilly Fuse. It was excellent and would've been about 50 in a normal place with normal mark-ups on wine. Let me just say, if you have a place that charges just a slight corkage fee for the wine, get the wine that would normally be MORE! Take advantage of that great wine menu. Don't order the cheapest thing, because I guarantee you they don't make their menu based off of the 8 dollar bottle of wine.

Le Chatelaine in Worthington

Not a dijon-y Caesar Salad
Great flavor in a tomato basil soup
Great mound of shredded gruyere and croutons for the salad
(I ate the cheese by itself)
I ate dinner here alone, on the patio, grading papers. Love the Olde Worthington atmosphere. I'm not sure how many times I have eaten DINNER alone, but it is something I am going to do more often. Something about it CENTERS you. Well at least it centers me.

Friday, April 20, 2007

To know me, is to know I am a little crazy...

and be okay with it! Find it endearing! Think of it as a little bit of my magnetism. But also know that if you were inside my head, you'd probably get dizzy and fall down from all of the thoughts spinning.

Not that you want one, but here is a peek (I totally just interupted a smart student, working diligently on an assignment to ask her how to spell peek):

A coworker today asked me if I wanted Quiznos. He didn't have lunch and was actually going to go pick something up. In my head:
Well, I like their flatbread salads, but really the last couple times I have eaten one I have felt shafted. Like, burned by the salad. Like, the bacon isn't crispy, not as many greens as I would like, and just left wanting more. Maybe the salad wouldn't be a good choice. I would feel a little empty inside because I fell into the bad salad trap, yet again.

So I talked him into going elsewhere. Where I can get a loaded cobb salad and cup of creamy tomato soup.

Exeunt Flourish

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Finally a colorful dinner!

My creation last night was beautiful. A .88 lb Boneless Lamb Leg, browned, and perched atop a sauteed mixture of carrots, green beans, and onion, surrounded by chopped yellow potatoes, drizzled with olive oil. Poured over the top of it all, a tomato and white wine sauce. It was a lovely stack of food. And here is the picture...


(did I REALLY just type psych?)

Why don't I take pictures of these things? Why do I remember when I am seated on the couch, sated, and watching the Friends episode that TIVO so smartly recorded for us? It isn't that I remember at the dinner table, as just the twine binding the lamb is left in the baking dish. Because I could at least take a picture of that! I remember after the food is placed neatly into a tupperware dish and 'fridgeated'. At that point, the sauce is a little congealed and looking ickerrific.

Sigh. I am just a crappy foodie blogger.

After dinner, we had whole wheat tortillas, buttered and cooked on a griddle, with dark chocolate chips melted inside, and a side of cheesecake flavored pudding (sugar free btw!).

Mediteranean Roasted Lamb
from my KitchenAid Cookbook
3 lb lamb shank or leg, bound with twine
2T olive oil
2 carrots, chopped
1/4 lb. fresh green beans
1 large onion, sliced
1 minced garlic clove
salt and papper
1 can tomato paste
1/2 cup white wine (dry)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup flour

Dredge lamb in flour, seasoned with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in skillet. Brown lamb. Remove from pan. Add carrot, onion, beans, and garlic, and saute for 2 minutes. In buttered casserole dish, place sauteed vegetables, place lamb on top. (optional: surround lamb with chopped potatoes, drizzle with olive oil, and some lemon juice would be GOOD, but I did not have any). Whisk tomato paste, wine and water, season up with parsley and oregano. Pour tomato mixture over lamb. Place casserole dish LID on top. Cook 2 hours at 350.

My recipe note:
My lamb was smaller. I cooked it for 1 hour. I used about the same amount of vegetables, though, because I like me some roasted vegetables (in my best Slingblade voice), mm hmm.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Pork Meatballs II: How these little guys went from Cream Sauce to Soup

So, when cooking for two people, there are often leftovers. And making something like meatballs, you really need to have more than one plan. I mean, who wants to create a meaty mess for half as much outcome? If I make meatballs, I make a normal recipe's worth, and then freeze them. But since there wasn't a sauce with these meatballs, as they weren't "Italian", I had another idea.

Meatball, Tortellini and Spinach Soup
20 meatballs (cooked)
frozen cheese tortellini (half the bag or two handfulls)
frozen chopped spinach (only half the package, as I used the OTHER half in the cream sauce below)
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
sald and pepper
1 T butter

In soup pot, saute the carrot, celery and onion (the trinity) in butter. Salt and pepper. Add spinach to combine. Add chicken broth and 1 cup water. Add meatballs Simmer until carrots are soft. Add tortelli, and simmer until cooked.

This all made about 4 servings. Great for lunch! And add parmesan cheese, if that is your 'thang'.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Pretty Cool Visual Activity

A scene from our dinner table:

The table is dark brown, and it seats four. Once a week, the table has 3 eaters. One plate for TJ, one for me, and one for Zach. You know which plate belongs to TJ, because there is nothing green on it. Zach's plate has green, usually onions, and an overwhelming amount of teriyaki sauce. My plate is perfect, of course. tee hee.

Last week we had barbecued pork loin, baked sweet potato fries, and sauteed onions (for the 'normal' people at the table).

The conversation that took place, wasn't so memorable. But the decision that we came to, at the end of the dinner, would leave a mark on the family for-e-ver.

While trying to decide what type of pudding to have for dessert, coconut cream or banana cream, we reached a problem. Nobody cared. Nobody would make a decision. So I had an idea. I took a piece of uneaten, fatty pork.

"Let's flip the fat, fatty side up is coconut, other side is banana." I said.

"Okay! Let's flip the fat!" Said the two boys in unison. Then they chanted, "Flip the fat, flip the fat!!" (okay not really, but if it a sitcom, they would've)

(added after TJ read the blog and reminded me of a bit of dialog I left out)
"Well why don't we just do what we normally do when we need to make a big family decision....honey flip the meat."

Fat flipped...."Coconut it is!"

And from now on, whenever we can't decide, we will flip the fat.

Man law.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A scene from our couch:

It is a green couch. Husband and I were sitting on the couch sipping some powdered cappuchino stuff I got in 2005 for Christmas from my job. It still tasted fine, by the way. (And for those confused, the powder was DISSOLVED in hot water).

Anywho...we were watching tv and a Fig Newton commercial came on. At some point, a large green THING falls from the sky (in the commercial, not in our living room).

TJ looks at me confused and says, "Is that a fig?"

Me:"Yes, I believe it is a fig."

Him:"I suppose it could be a Newton."

Me:"Considering it fell from the sky, it might be."

Him:"From now on, if we don't know what something is, we'll call it a Newton."

Me:"Okay, 'man law!'"

And we laughed and laughed.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

London Pictures, Take 2

So, whatever. Yeah, this is the Globe Theatre, blah blah blah. Something about Shakespeare, and he's like, a great playwright, or something. I don't know. I think I learned about him in high school. Sadly, this was indeed exactly how I felt. It is in the location of the actual Globe Theatre, which was torn down at some point. The fact that the people of London tore the theatre down, makes me think that we've made a whole lot more out of this guy than truly is deserved. Am I going to English Teacher hell now? Probably. But I was already going, considering I swear "littler" should be a word.

Look kids! Big Ben!


Westminster Abbey is OLD! And they have added a new line of sculptures, all are "modern day martyrs." Each martyr was persecuted for religious beliefs and taken from every continent (well, I think Antartica is left out). The American winner is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Pasty from Cornwall

Not sure where this Cornwall place is...but the Cornwallish, Cornwallians, Cornish, were the creators of the Pasty. It is not a sticker that covers your nipple. It is not pronounced like a sticker that covers your nipple, either. The U-ppers in Michigan pronounce it in a way that it rhymes with "nasty." I heard it pronounced like a "pasta" with an EE at the end too. Who cares. The food is GOOD!

It is basically a shmancy hot pocket :)

Here is my recipe:
Pork, Potato and Apple Pasty

1/3 lb ground pork
1 medium yellow potato
1 large granny smith apple
2T chopped onion
1 sheet of Pepperidge Farm puffed pastry
2T butter, melted

Cut the apple and potato to similar sizes. In a bowl, mix apple, potato, pork, and onion. On thawed pastry, heap a mound of mixture in the middle. Pull up both sides of pastry and meet in the middle, closing the pastry by pressing the dough together. On a cookie sheet with parchment paper, place Pasty with seam on the side. Pour butter over the pasty. Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes.

There is no cheese in this pasty, but you could put some swiss or gruyere inside and it would be awesome!

And looky! A picture!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Monday, April 02, 2007

London in Short, food first

Who can complain about a free London trip? Not I! Nopers!

Here are some little known facts about England, that perhaps could come as a surprise, make complete sense, or prove that I am a bit behind in understanding the people "across the pond", as they say.

1. They do not season their food. They rely on eating foods from other ethnicities to get the flavor that we seem to appreciate daily. For example:

As part of the trip, we received dinner and breakfast at the hotel or a couple pubs around the City (if a town has a cathedral, it is called a city). Breakfasts consisted of cereals, rolls, croisantish things, fruit, yogurt, cheese and meat (salami and ham). I had bran flakes everyday, as an homage to my grandmother, who I often called gramflakes. And coffee. And the difference in Greek coffee, which I experienced on another free trip through school, is HUGE. Greek coffee rocks.

For dinners the hotel had a buffet with three options: vegetarian, fish, and a meat. Each night there was a "thai" something and an "italian" something, and a roast (a la English) with cabbage. I have never had so much cabbage in one week in my life.

The pubs offered pretty bland roast, roasted chicken, and a terribly flavorless version of fish and chips.

The best food items I ate were pasties from the Cornish Pasty chains. Basically it is a puffed pastry filled with goodness. I had a pork and apple, with ground pork, baked apple, roasted potatoes. Then I had a bacon and leek pasty. So good. I will be trying out the pasty business here in the George house.

2. Anglican Church worships royalty and war heroes like the Catholics idolize Patron Saints. And yet Catholics are not allowed in Parliament.

3. Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth were buried together, in the same big adorned box, with only Queen Elizabeth's effigy on the top. The QM got the shaftola. Probably the whole Catholic thing again. Burning Protestants at the stake and all...not a wise choice.

4. Pounds come in 1 and 2 pound coins, and you spend them like quarters. And the American dollar is only about a half a pound. And Starbucks is the same price (number wise) but it certainly doesn't equate. 2.89 for a in 5 dollars American. YIKES!

5. You can buy shrooms on the street, as in from a store, laughing gas too.

6. The whole driving on the left side of the road is scary. You never know which way to look when crossing, and the traffic lights have warning lights before it turns green and before it turns red. Kookily sensical! Yet I would never drive there, and not so sure I will have to ever worry about that.

7. When travelling London, everything is so old, that if it took place in the 1700s you really aren't that impressed. Pre Henry the VIII is pretty sweet, but even that isn't impressive when you think about the pre-AD Stonehenge, ninth century Canterbury Cathedral and just a little younger St. Paul's.

8. The Blitzkrieg thing really sucked! And the Brits seem to talk about it a lot, or at least our tour guide Fred did. And understandably.

9. The London Bridge is now in Arizona...huh?

10. London Underground Rocks.

11. The Parthenon in Athens had a whole slew of sculptures telling stories at the top, around the building, and some Brit took them and now they are in the British Museum. And when I was in Greece, they were pissin' and moanin' about it. They are called "marbles" and truly belong back in Athens. That is what I think about that.

Pictures to come. Gots to take them off my ipod.