Sunday, October 31, 2010

Suzee's Sweet and Salty Broccoli Salad

I went to the store to get some crudite for the game. I was feeling low on veggies, and I thought that would fit the bill. I walked to D'Agastino's and was absolutely disgusted by the offerings. Every colored pepper was shriveled (and $7.99/lb), and the celery was brown with rot (and $3.99/lb). Heavy Sigh... I moved to the bagged salads - the delicate lettuces were also rotting, despite the fact the use by date was 6 days in the future.

Then I saw the last bag of broccoli slaw, and it was in good shape! OK - I can work with this. Here is what I did:

1 12 oz package of broccoli slaw shreds
1 crisp red apple
a big handful of grapes (a heavy cup)

1/2 cup olive oil mayonaise
1/3 cup (or so) apple cider vinegar
2 packets of splenda (or a few spoons of sugar)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 T salty sunflower seeds

In a big bowl, dump the package of broccoli slaw in.
Chop the apple in julienne slices, and add to the bowl.
Cut the grapes in quarters, and add to the bowl.

In a small bowl, add the mayo, vinegar and sweetener. Mix with a fork or whisk. Initially it will look lumpy or perhaps curdled, but keep stirring - it will become smooth. Add this dressing to the broccoli mixture. Season with salt and pepper, and toss the salad well. It will seem  like there is not enough dressing, but keep tossing, and it will be enough to coat everything lightly.

Serve on 4 plates, and sprinkle 1T of sunflower seeds on each serving.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tastemakers for Nature's Pride

The other day Rick and I came home from playing in the city, and a big brown box was sitting at the door. "What did I get you?" he asked. I replied "Hmmm...really not sure. Oh, it's from Foodbuzz. See you didn't have to pay a thing!"

I opened the box and found 2 loaves of Nature's Pride bread - one Honey Wheat and the other was Oatmeal. A carb conscious girl, the first thing I did was to look at the nutritional information. I just won't buy any pre-sliced bread that is more than 70 calories and that doesn't have at least 2 grams of fiber. Unless I am considering it a replacement for chocolate cake. So both loaves have 90 calories per slice. The honey wheat has "added fiber" (so they tossed some extra not naturally occurring stuff in to make it look good), and a total of 2 grams of fiber per slice. The oatmeal was only 1 gram of fiber per slice. So, without this program I would have never, ever purchased this bread.

We've now tried both flavors. They are both nice in texture, and not too heavy. The honey wheat has a light sweet flavor - I'm not sure I've ever purchased a honey sandwich bread before, but it was almost as sweet as a portuguese sweet white bread. The Oatmeal was decidedly sweet, half way between bread and dessert.
I'm sorry that I can't recommend this bread on any level, as Nature's Pride does work closely with Foodbuzz, and I do appreciate that. But I'm sure they can do better.

My favorite bread now is the Vermont Bread Company Soft Whole Wheat Bread. With 70 calories/slice, 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protien, it's a good one to try. I keep buying it because I like the flavor too!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Favorite New Gadget!

In my very small kitchen, I have to find space where ever I can. And that damn salad spinner was taking A LOT of space! I did use it very frequently. Here in the city I can get really good looking herbs, so I use them a lot. After a nice bath, I'd spin them up for use in some experiment.

I think it was Jamie Oliver in his Cooking At Home series where I realized, hey! I can spin them in a clean kitchen towel! And that takes so much less space! That means I can add 2 martini glasses to my cabinet's easy to reach storage! Woo!

Just place the herbs/lettuce/greens in the center, draw up the 4 corners, and hold on to those corners while you whip that towel around like a Solid Gold Dancer! The centrifugal force spreads the clean water all around the kitchen (which surprisingly doesn't bother me as it isn't much), and any remaining dirt stays in the bottom of the towel. The herbs lift out, gorgeous and ready for consumption.

I'm always looking for more space saving ideas - what do you do to limit your kitchen clutter?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Love Loss and What I Wore

You know that amazing outfit you had your senior year in high school? The one that made the guy you liked smile a little wider, and perhaps pause a little longer?

That's what this show is about.

Clothes that we loved, what was happening when we wore them, and how we moved on.

Love, Loss and What I Wore is really hillarious - I got tickets from my favorite purveyer, sat in my seat with a full house, and laughed, and laughted, and cried, and laughed and laughed.

Get some girls together and go see this one - you will have quite a conversation after, and leave with a smile :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Jen and MJ visit NYC!

Jen and MJ planned a whirl wind trip to NYC for their 22nd wedding anniversary, and their 2 youngest luckily got to join as well. The only unfortunate part (well besides MJ being drenched in 3 belini's) was that it was a short visit. I met the clan outside Macy's and well all walked a few blocks to Legend's outside the Empire State Building.

We chatted and ate, and ate and chatted. Noah and MJ enjoyed 3 TVs worth of sports, with the occasional joke to share with the table. Jen, Molly and I talked fashion, college and girl talk, along with possible tentative plans to make another trip for Molly's 16th birthday in a little over a year.

Jen reminded me I hadn't seen her in over 6 years :( I sure hope the next visit doesn't take that long because this was a fun one :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Suzee's Roasted Coleslaw

You all know my desire for quick and painless weeknight meals, and in my opinion, a meal doesn't count unless veggies are included. This is one of our favorite sides. Easy to make, and cabbage has a nice full life in the fridge :) This dish will surprise you with it's fresh sweet taste - be sure to try these ribbons of love!

1/2 head of green cabbage
1 large sweet onion
1.5T olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oven - this dish is so forgiving you can do it on many heats, just change the timing.
If at 450, roast for 15 minutes
If at 400, roast for 25 minutes
If at 350, roast for 45 minutes

Core and slice the cabbage in to strips, separating them in to ribbons
Peel and thinly slice the onion from root to tip so they also resemble ribbons.
Roll the cabbage and onions on a sheet pan in the olive oil. Top with salt and pepper.
You don't have to line with foil, but I do to limit clean up needed.

Once you taste this side dish, you will appreciate the beauty of this photo! Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Suzee's Cheesy Chicken Casserole

I was looking for a chicken casserole to make today. Rick's always up for the chicken and rice, but I wanted something different. I was cruising around the web looking for something, and found nothing, so started cruising around my fridge.

I'd bought some of that Kraft melty cheese shreds, and they have a recipe for macaroni and cheese on the back. Hmmm....I could beef that up. Or chicken it up! (hehehe - couldn't help it!)

Here it is:

3 Boneless, Skinless chicken breasts (about 1.5 lbs)
3 cups melting cheese, 4 cheese blend
1 cup milk
1 sweet onion
1 10oz package frozen spinach
2 cups dried pasta - a small shape which will still catch the sauce like Lumachine or small shells.
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4c white wine
1T butter

Heat water to boiling for the pasta.

Heat the butter in a pan, and chop the onion in a med dice. Add the onion to the pan, and sautee.

Heat the spinach in the microwave until defrosted. Squeeze out the water.

Cut the chicken in to bite sized pieces and brown. Remove the chicken, and deglaze the pan with the wine. Reduce the liquid to half.

Add the onion, spinach, chicken, milk, wine mixture, and spices to a bowl.

Add the pasta to the boiling water, and cook to package instructions. Drain and add to the bowl.

Add the cheese to the bowl, and mix all well until cheese melts.

Serve or move the mixture to a casserole. To reheat cover with foil and pop in the oven at 325 for 20 min or so.

I really liked this casserole (cheese? hello?) Hope you do too!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pepperoni Pizza Soup

Finally - it's getting cooler out!!! I have a thin cotton cardigan on and it makes me very very happy :) I wanted to use some left over roasted chicken (Isn't simple roasted chicken just the best thing ever?), and I was considering a casserole. I'm just in the mood for something warm and comforting you know? Then I was thinking about the poblano peppers I got from Fresh Direct. But as I went through the pantry for something or other, I came across the pizza sauce! Oh yes! We love Rick's Pizza Chicken recipe, and haven't had those flavors in a while! Here they are in a really tasty and hearty soup :)

1 lb mixed dried beans - I used a 16 bean mix prepared in water according to package directions with 3 small bay leaves (remove after cooking)
1 quart of low sodium chicken stock
1 14oz can of pizza sauce
3 T McCormick's Spicy Pizza Spice
1 5 oz pkg hormel pepperoni bites (these little circles are so adorable!!)
2 C cooked chicken, shredded
1 10oz pkg frozen chopped spinach
1 cup shredded cheese blend

After you prepare the beans, drain the old water, add all other ingredients and heat through.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Cumin Scented Carrot Salad

My sweety Rick asked me to make a slaw this week. Then he clarified he wanted a carrot slaw. With raisins (eeuuww!). I looked at about a dozen recipes on line, and considered my girlfriend Ann's Mom's fruit cole slaw (haven't got that recipe yet). I thought about using my regular slaw dressing, but I was kind of in the mood for something else. So I mixed and tasted and added stuff until I had something I liked - raisins and all! Give this one a try - quite tasty and low calorie.

2 lbs carrots, peeled and grated
a few handfuls of raisins - about a cup
a 6 oz can of pineapple tidbits
juice of 2 lemons
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t ground coriander
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
3 T good olive oil

Add the carrot shreds and raisins to the bowl - try to separate the raisins so you don't have big raisin clumps.

Pour the juice from the pineapple in a bowl to make the dressing. Add the spices, lemon juice and olive oil.

Dice the pineapple bits and add to the carrot mixture.

Pour the dressing in to the salad and toss.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Slattery's Mid Town Pub

I love coming to this pub - it is my local, sit down and grab something to eat or to drink kind of place. One of the first times I went there was with Ann - we stopped on a pub crawl - thank goodness we had a burger. One of the best burgers in Mid Town!! No crumbly brioche buns here - wonderful medium rare beef with cheese in a roll that holds together with lettuce tomato and half sour pickles (my fave).

I also frequent the buffalo wings here - the hot are really medium and the deep fried skin is to die for. The home made bleu cheese dressing is amazing and the celery/carrot accountrements are tasty too!

If you get happy hour, you can get 2 for 1 drinks and/or shot of the day comps which could be the orange kamakazis that Ann and I had or perhaps Apple shots like an apple martini. They are very creative!!

If you find yourself between 5th and Madison, or across the street from the Gingerman, this place is a whole lot less snobby, and so much more welcoming. I love stopping here. Hope you decide to try it too!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Blue Water Grill, a dream table

The Blue Water Grill has been on my list of restaurants to try since we moved to the city. It's a seafood focused restaurant, but there are a couple of chicken options. I didn't realize it initially, but Blue Water Grill is a part of the B. R. Guest Restaurant conglomerate. I've had good luck with restaurants associated with BRG in the past, but none were as formal as this.
I was lucky when I arrived that around 1:30 there was plenty of space inside and the patio outside was also available. I got a great table outdoors and enjoyed the view of the Union Square Park. I felt like I was celebrating the good interview I had the other day, so I ordered a Yello Bello. It has Ketel One Vodka, Lillet, Crème de Cacoa, Ginger and Lemon. It tasted a lot like a generic lemon lime soda - kind of syrupy and lacking finesse. I would not suggest it, as there are lots of other options. I enjoyed the sunshine and contemplated the menu as I sipped my cocktail.

I decided to start with the Marinated Yellowtail Sashimi  with Avocado, Ruby Red Grapefruit and Spicy Mango Dressing. I would describe this dish as more of a ceviche, as the tuna was heavily marinated in citrus - lemon, lime and perhaps grapefruit. I ordered it because there are a significant number of sushi and sashimi options on the menu, and I thought it would be especially fresh. But the citrus made me think, as it usually does, that perhaps the fish isn't as fresh as it should be. I did enjoy the caviar sprinkled over the top, and the thinly sliced fennel. The gentle little pops of the caviar were fabulous.

My entree was the seared scallops - they were different than the description on the web site - mine were with brussel sprouts, panchetta and carbonara sauce. As you can see from the photo, the sprouts were separated leaves and there was pasta involved as well - quite a nice entree :) I was glad I'd had an appetizer as 3 scallops do not an entree make, but it was delicious :)

Overall, Blue Water Grill would be a place for a business lunch, but not for a foodie extravaganza. It's a pretty expensive option, and frankly I expect much more for the money. I would put the food here on the same par as other B.R. Guest restaurants I've visited, where the bill was about half compared to the bill here.

As I looked over the menu, I couldn't help but think to myself, this is where Jumpin' Jay's Fish Cafe obtained some of it's ideas. More moderately priced, it is one of my favorite places in Portsmouth :) I love how the foodie world finds inspiration everywhere, and that it is shared all over. Very nice.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Am I Being Punked? Pumpkin Soup

I really liked this soup - I like the sweet/spicy flavor combination, and it's a great multi nighter with easy reheating. Rick on the other hand said to me "Am I being Punked?" :D I don't think he cared for the fruit in it :) Ah well - he ate it 2 nights in a row. I love that about him :)

1 lb roasted pork tenderloin, sliced thinly and cut in bite sized pieces
1 c short grain brown rice
2 c water
1 incredibly large apple or 2 normal sized apples, peeled and chopped (don't leave these too large -  you want them to cook and soften)
1 softball sized onion, chopped
1 T olive oil
1 can pumpkin puree
2 cans low sodium/low fat chicken broth
1/2t garlic powder
1 t cumin
1/2 smoked chipotle

Cook the rice with the water according to the package directions.

Sautee the onion in the oil on low - caramelize the onions low and slow. Stir occasionally, and don't let them burn.

Heat the pumpkin and broth, and whisk them together to make a smooth  soup. Add spices and apple, and simmer 15 minutes or so. When the rice and onions are done, add them to the pot. At the end, add the pork, and heat through.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Suzee's Blonde Whisper Martini

OK boys and girls, seriously, this is my best recipe ever. If you ever partake, this is the one to try. Way better than a cosmo!

1.5 shots Belvedere Pink Grapefruit Vodka (yes it matters)
.5 shot of St Germain liquor
squeeze 1/6th of a lemon into the shaker

Shake it like you mean it, and pour into a martini glass.


Remember what my friend Darryl says - here he is in his natural habitat (blue shirt in the front)
I prefer to think of him like this when I quote him though :)

Just because he looks like this does not mean you should not listen - definitely listen!

Martini's are like boobies - one is not enough, but 3 are too many.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Afternoon Snick Snacks

I've been thinking more and more about that fabulous antipasto we got at Puglia last weekend! I found myself at the Grand Central Market at the Murray's salume counter....I think it took me 30 minutes to select my purchases because there were so many options! I ended up with the Tarufo Creminelli (the browner of the 2 in the photo which includes black truffles - oh yes!) and Columbus Felino (the redder one in the photo, considered the "King of Italian Salame"). I also spread some boursin on crackers to complete my snack!

I have to admit, today I feel like a princess with meat bon bons! Looks I will be working soon, so I'm enjoying my last few days of freedom. I wish the world was such that both Rick and I could have these mini breaks.