Friday, September 30, 2011

Ocean City, Maryland Food Adventure

Doug and I decided to meet some friends on the Eastern Shore of Virginia for a quick overnight adventure:
Doug strapped in and ready to go!
We started out in Salisbury, Maryland at a restaurant on the water called Brew River where they had a boat docking competition. We also had lunch there, which included a grilled chicken sandwich smothered in crab dip with bacon strips. I also got the sweet potato fries:

The boat docking competition involved the captains to back their boats into a designated spot and tie their boat down in the fastest time. These are the boats they are maneuvering into the dock:

Once the captain backs the boat in between these posts, he lassos a rope around each of the posts sticking out of the water.
The winner was able to dock his boat in under 30 seconds, and bigger was not better in this competition. Once the boat docking was over, we made our way over to Ocean City. After we got a hotel room, we made our way over to the boardwalk, which has been named one of the top 10 boardwalks in the United States, and it did not disappoint. There were the typical games and rides:

And the best food discovery were the stuffed pretzels:

I got the "Redskin" themed pretzel with potato and cheese. I wanted the eggplant, ricotta, and tomato stuffed pretzel, but they were out of those, and I didn't wan to wait for them to make one:
This pretzel was salty and buttery...I wish they had a stand at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront...
For dinner, we ate at a pizza place:

But I opted for the grilled chicken taco salad:
I was still a little full from the stuffed pretzel, and I thought this would be a little less heavy.

I ended the night with a cherry dipped cone (not photographed), and there was an almost full moon:
We went during the off season, so it wasn't that crowded. I don't want to imagine what it is like in the middle of the summer, but I would definitely go back for a stuffed pretzel :).

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Spanish Rice Fail

It's green chile time in New Mexico! To celebrate, I found a bag of green chiles from New Mexico in my freezer that I decided I needed to use up. I couldn't remember how hot they were, and I kind of assumed that since they had been in my freezer for so long they could be really hot. Well, my assumption was correct. I added the chiles to the Spanish rice recipe I was following, and my mouth was on fire! I drank some milk and ate some cheese, and that helped, but there was no way I was going to be able to eat the rice.
Hello super hot chiles...I can't eat you.
I made the rice to go with chicken chile rellenos from Better Homes and Gardens, so I had to come up with some sort of other side dish. We ended up having orange slices and marinated tomatoes:
Not a total loss, but a strange combination.
I was worried the chicken would be inedible since the same chiles were used in it. Luckily, the only super hot chiles were in the rice.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hashbrown Crust Quiche

I saw a picture of this quiche on someone's website (I can't remember who), and I decided to give it a try. I used Paula Dean's Recipe as a starting point for the crust, but I used my own filling combo to make the quiche:

1 1/2 cups half and half
3 eggs beaten
1 cup cheese (I prefer extra sharp cheddar or Gruyere)
1/2 cup cooked diced ham, pancetta, or bacon
1/2 cup onion
1/2 cup green pepper
salt and pepper

Once the crust has been prepared according to Paula Dean's Recipe linked above, combine the filling ingredients. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
For the crust, you really want to make sure as much water is pressed out of the potatoes as possible, otherwise it may take a long time for it to cook. Quiche is one of my favorite things to eat and share, and this recipe doesn't disappoint!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Food Memory Friday--Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

Growing up in Iowa, I consumed a lot of pork. One pork item I don't think I've seen anywhere else is the pork tenderloin sandwich. Usually how they are made in Iowa is where a pork tenderloin is pounded thinly, deep fried, and served on a bun. The most important aspect of the sandwich is that the pork tenderloin itself is twice if not three times the size of the bun it is served on:

Notice the bun in the top left corner in comparison to the tenderloin itself.
This particular pork tenderloin sandwich came from the Gateway Market in Des Moines. I like eating mine with lots of yellow mustard and pickles. My favorite place to get one is at the Iowa State Fair. This really is one of the best sandwiches ever.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Red Waldorf Cake Fail

I was in the mood for baking a cake, so I decided to make the Red Waldorf cake from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. This is basically a red velvet cake, but I guess the recipe originated from the Waldorf-Astoria hotel (don't quote me on that). I cut the recipe in half, and used the neon food coloring I had on hand instead of just red. Since the recipe called for a 1/4 cup of food coloring mixed with the cocoa powder, I barely had enough of the neon food coloring I had on hand. Since I combined all of the colors together, the cake ended up not being red:
And it turned out quite dry. I made some sort of frosting that had a lot of butter in it. Overall, this cake was not tasty. I think I need to stick with the recipe from now on...but we'll see how long that happens.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fiery Oven-Baked Chicken Wings

After the chicken wings from Jethro's in Des Moines, IA I had over Labor Day weekend, I was still craving BBQ rubbed wings. I decided to try this recipe from Saveur to see if it matched up to Jethro's wings. I liked the looks of the Saveur recipe because of the smoked paprika, but they ended up being a bit too spicy, and a bit too messy:
Rubbed down with spices, and ready to bake!
Cooling on the counter.
Sauced, and not that attractive looking--I blame my point and shoot camera.
I have since purchased some official wing sauce, and I plan on giving that a try. We'll see if its any good. I also don't plan on trying to deep fry wings at home--too much work, and the oven seems to do just fine.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Labor Day Weekend in Iowa

I've been meaning to write this post for awhile, but other writing projects have come up. Doug and I ventured back to Iowa for labor day weekend:

Waiting in Chicago.
And we made it back to Jethro's for barbeque, and we tried their wings for the first time. They were indescribably delicious. My sister and I chose the BBQ rub, which was excellent:

We also tried a new restaurant that had just opened earlier in the week called Zombie Burger + Drink Lab.
Art above our table.
We were excited to try the onion rings and the spiked adult shakes. When we got there, they were packed. Once we got our table, our server was a little disorganized--we eventually learned they were out of onion rings, and they couldn't spike the shakes. Doug ordered the "They're Coming to Get you Barbara":
Two grilled cheese sandwiches as the bun along with cheese, grilled onion, bacon, and zombie sauce.
And I ordered the "Dead Moines:"
Smoked gouda, prosciutto, ham, and garlic mayo.
I had wanted to try the mac and cheese, but I think our server forgot to write that down. Oh well. The burgers were good, but I probably wouldn't go back until they were open longer--they still had a lot of logistical kinks to work out, but it had only been open a week. Overall, an excellent trip.

Hurricane Food

This is old news, but we survived Hurricane Irene. I was paranoid we would lose power, so I took advantage of a working kitchen prior to the hurricane coming through by making eggs and biscuits for breakfast:
I used the biscuit supreme recipe from Better Homes and Gardens, and I added cheese and ham to the eggs.

For dinner, I decided to use the flank steak I had in the freezer just in case we didn't have use of a freezer for a few days. I used it to make a matambre, which is an Argentinian rolled and stuffed flank steak. The recipe I followed came from Gourmet Magazine, but this recipe from the Food Network is similar. Mine was stuffed with spinach, bacon, and carrots:
I forgot to take a picture of what it looked like on the'll have to take my word for it that it was beautiful :)
It may seem like a lot of work to make one of these, but it is so good. We also had a few guests for the hurricane including Rum Tum Tugger:
She made camp in the garage since the varmint below would have harassed her the entire weekend.
And Casey, the pug who can't sit still:
She really just needs obedience training...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fig, Feta, and Carmelized Onion Pizza

My dad got his first job at one of his company's research stations in a small town in Louisiana. We moved from Louisiana before I turned four, but I still remember the figs that grew in the area. When I moved to Virginia, I somehow found the same type of figs growing here that I remembered from Louisiana. When I was out and about recently, I found a roadside produce stand selling figs. The woman running the stand told me about this fig and caramelized onion pizza, and I was drooling before I had finished paying for my figs. I looked around online to see how other people have made this pizza, and I gave it a try.

I was a little nervous about how it would taste, so I made a backup pizza as well. I made my own dough using a recipe similar to this one from Epicurious. I split my dough into fourths, and made two small pizzas. For the fig pizza, I caramelized the onions first, and combined them with feta, dried thyme, and halved fresh figs.
Back-up black olive, sausage, and green pepper pizza.
Gratuitous close-up
The figs softened slightly from baking, and overall, it was pretty good. I think the key to fresh figs is when they are almost over ripe. These were good, but weren't as sweet as I remember.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Williamsburg Winery and Cafe Provencal

Taking a break from the humdrum of writing a dissertation "Doug" and I packed up and decided to check out the Williamsburg Winery and their fine dining restaurant Cafe Provencal.
Doug strapped in and ready to go!
There were lots of grapes on the vines.
The winery's wines have won lots of awards, and they had a Melot I actually liked. I am generally a white wine person.
Once our tour of the winery concluded, headed over to Cafe Provencal for dinner, which began with an amuse bouche crostini of roasted pork and pickled onion.
Smoky meat and crunchy bread. Yum!

After the amuse bouche, I had a baby spinach and arugula salad with wild mushrooms, bacon, goat cheese, and a grainy mustard vinaigrette.
The bacon chunks were big and meaty...
We shared a bottle of Governor's White from the winery. One of my favorites from the tour and tasting.
For the main course, I had the pan seared duck breast with green beans, and a ragout of cannellini beans with house made sausage.
This was really filling, but delicious.
For dessert, I had the panna cotta with pistachio ice cream.
At this point I was in a food coma...but I now have to make panna cotta at home. Disregard the fork marks in the panna cotta :)
At the end as a palate cleanser, we were given a small scoop of chestnut ice cream. This meal was amazing, and I would definitely adventure back.