Friday, November 20, 2009

Live Bait - Cute Joint!

Yesterday I was caught without an umbrella - the weather dude indicated the rain was over, but he was wrong. I was getting pretty drenched, so I decided to stop in at Live Bait for lunch and hope that when I was done, the rain would be too.
I sat at the bar and looked around at the "Southern Hospitality" decor reminiscent of BBQ joints across the city. I ordered a miller lite, and checked out the menu. On the specials (which were laminated like the regular menu) there were fish and chips. Yum! It has been forever
I enjoyed my beer while I read "Greywalker" (nice paranormal novel - I'd recommend it if you like fun reads), and when my lunch came, I was surprised to find fish pieces rather than a filet. I took a bite with the nice roumelade sauce provided, and was pleasantly surprised. The coating was crunchy and spicy, but not overwhelmingly so, and the fish was fresh and tasty! As a lowbrow joint kind of place, I was pretty pleased with lunch and staying dry. Thumbs up for Live Bait!

Cupcake Stop Dot Com - Keep Going.

I was out and about getting last minute goodies for our trip to South Padre (woo! Leaving tomorrow!!!), and I walked by a cupcake truck. Seriously.
They were offering 5 different varieties of cupcakes - double chocolate, red velvet, vanilla, peanut butter and jelly and some kind of hazelnut flavor (I've forgotten the actual name). Regular size cupcakes are $2.50 (not the mongo, cupcakes as big as your head size. regular size like your mom made when you were a kid), and mini cupcakes are 12 for $12. I wanted to try all the flavors (except the peanut butter and jelly), so I got the variety pack of minis. I had dreams of deliciousness like Melissa's Cupcakes. I was so mistaken.
The statement on the side of the truck claims these cupcakes were baked fresh daily. These cupcakes were not from today. The red velvet was nice, but not nearly as nice as others. The vanilla was nice too, if you like vanilla (I wouldn't have chosen this one if I was going to select one). The chocolate was reminiscent of an old hostess cupcake from the 100 calorie pack (minus the cream filling). I was so disappointed.
In a town with so many cupcake outlets, skip this one...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mexican Chicken and Rice Bake

I was going to make a plain chicken and rice bake today for Rick - it's his favorite. And as I was looking through the spices, looking for the Thyme, I came upon the Smoked Chipotle and thought - oh yes, Rick will love that!!

Here is how I made it:

1 Can Campbell's Cream of Chix soup (healthy choice)
1 can water (use the campbell's can)
1 C rice or orzo
1 10 oz can of Rotel
1 small can of chiles
1.5 lbs of chicken breast
1/2 t ground chipotle
1/2 t garlic powder

Pre heat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix the soup, water, rice, rotel and chiles in a 3 qt covered casserole. Lay the chicken breast over the rice mixture, cover and bake for 45 minutes. After the timer buzzes, let it all sit covered for 15 minutes.

Then serve and enjoy!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sicky Sick Weekend

This past weekend was filled with coughing, sneezing, stuffy noses and sore throats. Good I say. Great! Get it all out so when we leave in 5 days for vacation, we will be all better :)

I've been trolling the internet for appetizers to make while we are there. Usually we laze around in the morning, go out for a late lunch, and watch TV or read in the evenings. I figure if we have big lunches, no need for "dinner". Snacks will work just fine :)

I'm not sure if we will have internet access or not, so I'll have to look into that. If we don't, I'll be sure to write my entries as we go along, and then post them all at the end :)

Sunshine is coming my way!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Preparations for Vacation

Soon we'll be on our way to South Padre! I'm starting to pull together stuff to pack, and starting to surf to determine what we'll be doing, and what we should do before we leave.

I made brownies today - oh yum they are so good! I've been perusing recipes to decide what I'll bring to Thanksgiving dinner with the group (we'll be joining my parents for a turkey day feast at Skip and Linda's at Indian Lake). I've enjoyed going through all the recipes :) The good news is that if I feel like being a slacker, I can, since Mom is all set to bring 2 things :)

I ordered a bunch of books for vacation - lots of trashy beach reads I've been saving just for this occasion!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Angelo and Maxie's

When Ann visited, we had a chance to try out Angelo and Maxie's down on Park. We had already strolled through Shoe Mania at Union Square looking for those fabulous fall boots, meandered our way through the flowers, gourds and late tomatoes at the Farmers Market, and shopping our way down Park at the Park Avenue street fair. When we came upon the 3 course lunch special at Angelo and Maxie's, we had to stop!
Appetizer selections for the special included a garden salad, a caesar salad, or soup of the day. That day's soup was chicken and veggie - Ann ordered it, and was pleased with it's salty goodness. I had the garden salad and I was very impressed - nice lettuce and tomatoes, and the usual fresh accoutrements, but then it was topped with fried onion straws! Woo!
The entree selections included filet mignon, grilled chicken or grilled salmon. Hello? Who would order anything other than the filet? It was delish, and cooked to perfection!
Dessert options included NY cheesecake, ice cream or fruit. Ann passed entirely on dessert - she said she was full. I wanted to try the cheesecake - it was amazing - chocolate running through it and the fresh blueberry coulis over the top. The waiter brought 2 forks, and I did notice a big hole on Ann's side :) There was no way to finish it, but it was tangy, creamy heaven!
The entire special was priced at $20.99. That just can't be beat! I highly recommend a visit!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Suzee's Rich Osso Bucco

The other day I posted on facebook about how I was making Osso Bucco. It spurred quite a conversation, as Jim Longa (see left) and his wife Deb, talked about Jim's love for Osso Bucco. It is one of his most favorite dishes.

I'm thinking, YES! An Osso Bucco Throwdown! I'm sure Deb's version is delish, and since we are about 300 miles apart, Jim and Deb won't be tasting this one :(

If you wanted to make my delicious version, here is what I did:

3 - 4 lbs osso bucco

2 or 3 diced carrots

2 or 3 stalks of celery

1 large onion

1T butter

1T olive oil

1 can low sugar tomato sauce

1 cup white wine (yes, white!)

1T crushed dried rosemary

1T dried thyme

1T garlic powder

In a heavy bottomed dutch oven, brown the meat. Remove the meat and move to a plate. Add the butter and oil to the pan, and add the carrots, celery and onions. Saute until the vegetables are soft, and then add the meat back in. Add the tomato sauce, wine and herbs.

Cover the pan, and pop into a 350 degree oven for 2 hours.

Enjoy over mashed cauliflower or potatoes. Serve with a chewy Cabernet - we had a Sterling that was delish :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fudgy Brownies with Chocolate Glaze

8 T butter (1 stick)
4 oz chocolate chopped, or 2/3 C chips
2 lg room temp eggs
2/3 C sugar
2t vanilla
1/2 C Flour
1/2 t espresso powder
1 C chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325

Line 8x8" pan with foil, and butter the foil

In a small pan, melt the butter, and add the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted, then let sit for 5 minutes

In a large bowl beat eggs with mixer until frothy (about 30 seconds). Gradually beat in sugar and continue to beat until light (1 - 2 minutes).

Add vanilla and melted chocolate mixture and beat until smooth.

Stir in flour with a spoon. Add walnuts and stir until just incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for about 30 minutes, until toothpick test only has a couple crumbs on it. Let cool.

Chocolate Glaze

slight 1/4 C half and half cream
1T butter
4 oz semi sweet chocolate chopped
1/4 confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)

Heat cream, butter and chocolate together and stir until smooth. Add sugar and stir.

Assemble brownies

Loosen the edges of the cooked brownies with a knife. Lift the brownies out by the foil. Invert on a large cutting board, and peel off the foil. Put brownies on serving plate, and frost with chocolate glaze. Cool for at least an hour. Cut into 16 pieces.

Sausage in Puff Pastry

One of the last big parties we had in Portsmouth featured these super appetizers. Have plenty of honey mustard on the side for dipping!

1 lb sausage (I used Chicken Maple Apple links, cooked and cooled, but any cooked sausage would work)

1 lb puff pastry (2 sheets, or 1 package, from the freezer section, like pepperage farm)

Honey Mustard

1 egg beaten with water for egg wash

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

Cut pastry to fit sausage rolls

Spread mustard over the puff pastry

Roll sausage in puff pastry, using mustard to seal seams

Place rolled sausages in pan, seam side down, and score for cutting (if needed)

Brush pastry with egg wash

Bake 20 - 25 minutes

Serve immediately

Michele's Christmas Toffee

This recipe is a total coop! My mother in law, Michele, who is a wonderful and sweet person, gave me this recipe a couple years ago. My Aunt Rachael, a fabulous cook in her own right, was anxious to have it. When I did get it, I passed it along. Mostly because it is a delicious candy that everyone enjoys!!

2 sticks butter (1 C)
1 1/2 C brown sugar
12 oz milk chocolate (yes, milk, not semi sweet)
10 oz slivered almonds

Toast the almonds, and allow them to cool

Chop the cooled almonds, and chocolate.

Spread 1/2 the almond/chocolate mixture in a buttered 9 x 13" pan

Cook butter and sugar until mixture reaches 300 degrees (use that candy thermometer again)

Pour the butter/sugar mixture over the chocolate/almonds in the 9 x 13" pan

Cover with the remaining nuts/chocolate

Spread everything so it is smooth

Refrigerate 1.5 hours

Break up and enjoy!

Suzee's Wonderful Caramels

2 C light corn syrup (16 oz bottle)
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 C milk
1 C whipping cream
1 C butter
4 C sugar
2T vanilla
2 C macadamia nuts, salted

Butter a 9 x 13 pan

Add nuts to the bottom, spread them around

In a heavy dutch oven, combine first 5 ingredients. Place over medium heat, stir occasionally with wooden spoon or heat safe silicone spatula until mixture comes to boil.

Clip on candy thermometer (oh, come on, it's not that bad, just do it) and cook, stirring constantly until it reaches 240 degrees.

Remove from heat.

Stir in Vanilla.

Pour without scraping into prepared pan (scrape the rest into a separate dish if you like for a cooks treat! Don't scrape into the regular pan, as these bits will be gloppy in comparison to the rest of the dish and will ruin the smooth sweet texture)

Let stand at room temp overnight. DON"T put it in the fridge!

The next morning, cut into bite sized pieces, and wrap in wax paper. Delish!!

Suzee's Famous Chocolate Fudge Recipe

1 1/2 packages (12 0z) of ghiradelli chocolate chips, semi sweet

1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

1 C chopped walnuts

1 T vanilla

In a heavy saucepan, over low heat, melt the first 2 ingredients. Remove from heat and add the next 2 ingredients. Stir all together. Pour in a lined (parchment or release foil) 8x8 square pan (yes, it makes a difference). Chill 2 hours. Turn fudge on to cutting board, peel off linings, and cut into squares. Store loosely covered at room temperature.

Yum yum! Mom's favorite!

Alpha Xi Delta Heath Bars

1 C butter
1 C brown sugar
1 12 oz bag ghirardelli chocolate chips, semi sweet
1 sleeve package of saltines

Melt butter and sugar and boil hard for 2 1/2 minutes

Line cookie sheet with release foil

Layer saltines on cookie sheet

Pour butter and sugar mix over crackers

Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes

Remove from oven

Pour chips over crackers, let melt, spread

Chill for 2 hours.

Break up and store in a air tight container.

Kathleen's Raspberry Chocolate Truffles

1 (14 oz) can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk (not evaporated milk)
1/4 c Chambord (raspberry liquor)
2T butter
2 12 oz pkgs ghirardelli chocolate chips, semi sweet
1/2 C ground toasted almonds

Microwave first 3 ingredients in a large microwave safe bowl on high (100% power) for 3 minutes

Stir in chips until smooth

Cover and chill for 1 hour

Shape into 1" balls, and roll in powdered sugar

Store at room temperature. Makes 4 dozen.

Kandinsky at the Guggenheim

I was pretty disappointed that both my camera battery and Rick's camera battery were dead yesterday morning. We plugged them both in for a charge, and headed out the door to the Guggenheim for the Kandinsky exhibit.

The Guggenheim restoration was completed last winter, and it's so nice to see Frank Lloyd Wright's composition without scaffolding. It's very unique inside and out - the building itself is a treat.

Our favorite part of the exhibit were Kandinsky's drawings on paper (usually done in watercolor, india ink and pencil). Rick used to have a print in his office at home in Portsmouth that may have been a replicated print, or something inspired by Kandinsky, so when we saw the advertisements for the show, we knew it was a "must see".

It seems obvious that Kandinsky was inspired by geometry, but not so obvious his musical genius. One original I saw I thought should have been named Jazz - just the feeling it evoked and thoughts it inspired. We had a great time talking about what each drawing said to us. I'm glad Rick was able to go - althought I would have gone on my own, it wouldn't have been nearly as much fun :)