Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Tale of Two Blogs

Big news! Burgers and Barolo is up and running!
Check it out for Annette's review of our 5 course meal at Primo!

PS. Happy 100 posts to me! It only took, what, 3 years?

PPS. I made another amazing Soba Tofu Stirfry tonight for dinner. Will get the recipe up asap!

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Conscious Cook

I don't usually go around touting and promoting cookbooks. But Chef Tal Ronnen stopped by the school a few weeks ago for a demo. I was impressed by him on many levels, and even considered going vegan. (For about 10 minutes.)

In all seriousness, when I really stop and to think about it, I estimate that I eat vegetarian at least half of the time. Not on purpose, but because I really enjoy soy and grain products. His book, The Conscious Cook, is full on vegan. I tried the Gardein "Chicken" Scaloppini with Shiitake Sake Sauce, Braised Pea Shoots and Crispy Udon Noodle Cakes. (Gardein is a new fancy meat substitute.) It was quite rich and delicious. And for the record, I could now officially drink Cashew Cream with a straw.

Orlando Foodie Awards

The 12th annual Foodie Awards are out.
We should call this year "The Ode to Darden"!,0,7113252.story

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Kata Thai

Picture this. The Saturday before Valentines Day. I went out with a friend for an impromptu dinner, only to realize that every restaurant in Winter Park was fully booked. Sans reservations, we headed over to one of our favorite stand-bys: Kata Thai.

I've always considered Kata to be one of my favorites in town for outside dining. There's not a fancy view or anything, but rather garden-like surrounding tucked away behind the building. This night, however, we sat inside because it was pretty chilly. Both inside and out. I don't think they actually have heating in the building. But whatever, the ambiance inside is comfortable and hip without being snooty in any way. So we kept our jackets on, ordered some hot Saki and quickly warmed up.

We started with the Gyoza-pan fried pork vegetable dumplings. Sounds fancy, but they are basically just potstickers. Yummy, yummy potstickers. While considered more of a Japanese dish, the Gyoza fit right in at Kata. It was tender, not greasy and very flavorful.

My entree came with both Miso soup (aka gymsocksoup) and a house salad with Peanut dressing. The usual fare for Thai restaurants, but never a disappointment.

I went ahead and ordered the dish that always brings me back to Kata-the Panang Curry. I can fully admit that my interest in curries is really only beginning. I really didn't care for the taste when I was younger, and granted this is a milder and sweeter version, but I honestly could eat of a bowl of this anytime, anywhere.

This dish is a perfect combination between sweet and spicy. The coconut milk gives the Panang a fantastic creaminess while at the same time the Kafir lime brings about a hint of tang. I ordered the Tofu (really because Asian is my favorite cuisine for Tofu) and also enjoyed the green beans and red peppers that were served with the curry.

I know that Thai restaurants in Orlando are about a dime a dozen. But I always keep Kata at the top of my list and recommend that you do too!

Kata Thai Kitchen Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Polenta with Spicy Romesco Sauce

Romesco Sauce is a traditional Spanish sauce. There are many different styles and it is very easy to make!

The Plan
Get the Polenta going.
Make the Romesco.

The Ingredients
For the Polenta
4 cups Chicken Stock
1 cup Cornmeal (coarse)
2 Tbsp Butter*
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper to Taste

For the Romesco
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/4 cup Almonds, roasted or blanched
1 cup Roasted Red Pepper (roast your own peppers or just use jarred!)
1 large Tomato (or 1/2 can!)
2 slices crusty Bread, cubed**
1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 tsp Paprika
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste

The Method
Bring Chicken Stock to a boil in a large pot. When boiling, add Cornmeal, a little at a time, stirring constantly to incorporate it. Reduce to a simmer. Be careful at this point. The mixture tends to spit everywhere and it is quite hot. Keep kids and dogs away from the stove. At this point you want to cook the mixture between 20-30 minutes. Stir often as you want to reduce sticking as much as possible. When the Polenta is thick and creamy, remove from heat and add remaining ingredients! If you are feeling extra ambitious, throw the Polenta into an 8x10 pan (sprayed with Pam or something like it). You can then stick it in the fridge where it will congeal. Then cut the Polenta into fun shapes, dredge it in flour and pan fry it! If you're not feeling ambitious, then sit down and eat.

In the meantime, while the Polenta is cooking, heat a small saute pan on the stove with 1 Tbsp Olive Oil. Add the Garlic and cook until fragrant.

Put the Garlic and the Almonds in a food processor. Pulse until the Almonds are well chopped and uniform. Add the Roasted Red Pepper and Tomatoes. Pulse until combined. Add the Bread. Pulse until combined. Add the remaining ingredients and process until desired consistency. Some will like it a bit chunky, some very smooth. Taste it and see what you think! Heat Romesco on the stove until warm.

The Presentation
Spoon Romesco over Polenta! I served mine with Roasted Veggies (Mushrooms, Broccoli and Asparagus all on sale in the same week!) and Sage Roasted Chicken.

*I'm a geek. I used Smart Balance. (And then melted the lid into my stove. Eek.)

**I used one of the flat bun things from Arnolds. If you haven't tried them....they are fantastic and only 1 WW point!

By the way, I've decided that life is too short. I'm officially using my parent's wedding China as everyday dishes! (Don't worry, I hand wash. Still don't have a dishwasher.) I'm thinking about polishing the Silver soon also!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens

These are a few of my favorite pizza toppings:
Goat Cheese
Red Onion
Black Olives