Thursday, May 13, 2010

Vita Denver-Girls Night Out Part One

So, I try very hard to have a girls night out with my Aunts, cousins, and/or sisters in honor of my Grandmother when I visit Denver. This trip one night out just wasn't going to work for everyone, so we are having two. The first night out was at Vita. We arrive at Happy Hour and on a Tuesday where the wine was 1/2 off for bottles. The mark-up on the wine is crazy so 1/2 off makes it almost reasonable. We were starving, so we started with some appetizers and then each had salad. If you go, do not sit upstairs, it was crazy loud and when we left we were very sorry that we didn't insist on sitting downstairs. Here is what we had starting in the upper left:
  • Trio of Sliders, Kobe Beef, Pulled Pork and Spicy Chicken. Each one of these was a delight and had enough zing to hit a different part of your palette.
  • 7 hour pork--they said this was on tortillas, but the bread was more like a flat bread. This was a Carolina pork, slow cooked, tender and the vinegar was just perfect.
  • Bruschetta with roasted garlic puree, balsamic reduction on perfectly grilled bread with some of the best fresh mozzarella (smooth and creamy).
  • I must confess I forgot the name of the next flat bread dish, it has a very spicy sauce with an aged meat like prosciutto and an aged cheese with pea shoot sprouts. This was very tasty, not sure my dinner mates like it but I did.
  • Don't let this last photo fool you, it was as good as the photo is bad. It was the Grilled Hearts of Romaine Salad Caesar dressing, Grana Padano, house made breadstick, avocado, sweet pepper bacon. This was a festival of all the right flavors. They grilled the lettuce, and the dressing was a thing of beauty.
  • All of the breads were fresh and different. One of those extras that makes a good meal great.
But of course the best part is always the company at Girls Night Out. Love to Linda and Stacey two of my favorite ladies.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Snack for Dinner

So my Dad is not quite up to cooking a full meal just yet, nor are we wanting a full meal sometimes. This was his great snack dinner the other night.
Good cheese, great mustard, fresh bread and a little roast beef, so nice and very simple.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Corn Salad

I made this for Mother's Day Brunch, one of my favorites. My Dad was not so sure about this when I describe it, but one taste won him over.

This is the recipe for 6 servings

4 ears fresh corn (cut corn off off the Cobb)
1 tablespoon small dice red onion
2 fresh mangoes small dice (I like to peel the mango then slice, I find I get more mango this way).
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro minced
2 avocados small dice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Salt and Pepper

Optional: Grilled Chicken

Mix all ingredients together and let sit for at least 45 minutes. Do not use a metal bowl.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day......

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Gadgets Galore-Drying Rack

My Dad has more kitchen gadgets than anyone I know (even me). This is one of our favorites. I use mine to dry my cleaned baggies, and he uses his for gloves and baggies. It is called the plastic bag drying rack. When not is use, you can slide up part of the base and it folds up nicely. But wait there is a lot more to come.....

If you want to buy a drying rack, you can here.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup--this is one of my go to dishes (I recently estimated that I've made this at least 100 times.

2 cups lentils (I prefer French Lentils they are smaller and dark rich green, but any will do).
2 carrots small dice
1 small onion small dice
4 cups chicken stock

1/4 lb Pancetta or ham small dice.
2 celery stalks small dice
Parmesan Cheese

Vegetarian Options
Vegetable stock
1/4 lb fake sausage

Soak the lentils in a bowl with enough water to cover 1 inch over the lentils. Soak for at least two hours.

Cook the Pancetta in a large soup pot. It there is a lot of extra fat, drain, if just a little left, use that to brown onion, carrots and celery. Drain lentils, then add lentils and stock to pot. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to simmer for at least one hour. Taste for seasonings and that lentils are cooked enough. Do not add salt and pepper until the end, the lentil just soak it up.

Serve warm with grated parmesan cheese. If you freeze this or make a head, you might need to add more liquid before serving, it keep soaked up by the beans. My Dad likes this with a little balsamic vinegar, add just before serving.


Breakfast Out--Egg and I

While I'm in Colorado, my Dad and I are now able to get out. So, you know that I'm all about the breakfast place. We went to Egg and I. My Dad had this blueberry pancake bigger than his head. I was going to ask for a bite, but when I look over it was gone, so that should be enough of a review. I went with a the Eggs Benedict, but with a twist, chopped ham, roasted peppers, asparagus and bacon. I like the hollandaise sauce on the side, so I can add as much as I like. The food was good, but you gotta love a place that has their own VW Beattle. My Dad, a good sport, let me take his picture with the Egg Bug.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Dinner and A Nap....Orrzo Salad and Spinach Salad

On my last trip to NYC, I was on mission, to feed the family of this little guy. I had exactly one afternoon nap to run out, shop, run back (and up 5 flights of stairs), start prep...on your mark get set go. Since I was in the East Village in NYC, I went to the East Village Cheese Shop.
Here is what I made, orzo salad with grilled chicken.

1 box orzo (cook until a little al dente)
3 fresh tomatoes diced
1 cup kalamata pitted olives
1/4 fresh parsley chopped
1/2 cup goat cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil
1/4 toasted pine nut

2 boneless chicken cutlets.

1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

Wisk olive oil and lemon juice together, toss orzo with dressing. Add tomatoes, olives, parsley, goat cheese and let sit for at least an hour. Add chicken, basil, and pine nuts just before serving.

I made a spinach salad with raspberries, avocados, pink grapefruit, and raspberry dressing.

I didn't finish all the work before the little guy woke up, so he was sous chef in the bouncy seat and I hope that it was the start cooking up great things with my nephew.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cinco De Mayo

I am visiting my Dad in Colorado for a few weeks. One of the things I love about being out here is the wonderful Mexican Food. For Cinco de Mayo, we went to Pueblo Viejo . The meal started with fresh salsa (and this had quite the kick). My Dad had the Chicken Ranchera (this was perfectly grilled Chicken and had a wonderful lime undertone). I had the fish tacos, which were good but not the best I've ever had, the fish was deep fried. The pico de gallo was fresh and wonderful. We both decided that we prefer black beans to the traditional re-fried beans. The service was a little slow, but friendly.