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Thursday, June 30, 2011

RECIPE: NO-BAKE Strawberry Icebox Cake



Any dessert that has strawberries + cream is always going to be a winner in my book (check out my Eton Mess) and so I had no doubts that I would love this dessert.  I was right!  
Not only was it delicious (very important!), but it was fun to make, required NO baking, and it looks really impressive!  If you think the graham crackers are an odd ingredient – stop!  After four hours in the fridge, they soften up to an almost thin cake-like consistency.  
 
I think this could be a great dessert for this July 4th weekend – get creative with blueberries and strawberries and you could have a flag cake!

No-Bake Strawberry Icebox Cake
adapted from here

1.5 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced thin
2 cups whipping cream
4 tbsp confectioners sugar (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
14.5oz box of ORIGINAL graham crackers (there will be leftovers)

Directions:
- With a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, whip cream until it just holds stiff peaks. Add the confectioners sugar and vanilla and whip to combine.
- Spread a small spoonful of whipped cream on the bottom of your serving platter. This will serve as the “glue” for your graham crackers! 
- Lay down your graham crackers in whatever pattern you like.   (I lined 3 full crackers vertically, then one above it horizontally, using an extra piece to fill in the edge).
- Lightly cover the top of the graham crackers with more whipped cream, and then a single layer of strawberries. Repeat three times, until you have four layers of graham crackers.
- Spread the last of the whipped cream over the top and then decorate with a few more strawberries.
- Refrigerate for at least four hours, or until the crackers have softened completely.



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Playing Catch Up, Foodie Style

I recieved a lot of emails about foodie news while I was on vacation.  Here is a compilation for your perusal!  

  • The Maryland Science Center is hosting a series of Summer Demos and Tasting with local chefs.  The first one is TODAY!  Check it out, I think they all sound awesome!!!!
    • Tuesday, June 28, 2pm: Michael Gettier is the executive chef at Antrim 1844 in Taneytown, Maryland. Gettier is an American chef of French decent, who studied cooking in Paris and has cooked his French-inspired cuisine all over Baltimore.
    • Monday, July 18, 2pm: Donna Crivello is the co-owner of Donna’s Café which has locations in Charles Village, Columbia, and Cross Keys. Donna serves as chef for the Columbia restaurant where she showcases her fresh and healthy style and cuisine.
    • Thursday, August 11, 2pm: John Shields is the chef and owner of Gertrude’s restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Shields is a Baltimore native who focuses on coastal cooking and believes in using local, organic ingredients whenever possible.
  • Phillips Foods is having an Ultimate Crab Challenge, a recipe contest that is running from July 6 – Aug 22nd.  Log onto www.ultimatecrabchallenge.com to enter your recipe and you could win $1000 and have your recipe featured on Phillips’ menu in Baltimore!  Recipes must include at least 8oz of crab meat, but other than that – have fun!  
  • On Sundays in July and August, Fleming’s Steakhouse is offering a mega deal.  For $29.95 (not including tax and tip), you can enjoy their Sunday Prime Rib Dinner.  The dinner consists of a 3 course meal featuring a 12oz Prime Rib with a trio of sauces, a salad, a side dish and a dessert!  What a great deal!
  • BiteHunter, a dining deal website, has launched a free mobile app for the IPhone.  This is a nationwide website, but Baltimore deals are on there.  Check out more information on their website www.bitehunter.com
  • McDonald’s in Baltimore has added a new addition to their McCafe line of beverage – their Frozen Strawberry Lemonade, which combines frozen lemonade with strawberry syrup.
  • Ruby Tuesday has added some new cocktails to their Ultimate Cocktail Menu, and they sound perfect for the summer!  Check out the Skinny Pink Lemonade, Superfruit Cooler, Watermelon Martini, Pomegranate Martini and Acai Mojito!!  These are all made with Veev Acai Spirit.  Here are some recipes if you feel like whipping them up yourself:
Superfruit Cooler
.5 oz VeeV Açaí Spirit
.5 oz Absolut Berri Açaí
.75 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1 oz lemon sour
.5 oz agave nectar
3 cucumber wheels
Cucumber wheel, for garnish
*Muddle 3 cucumber wheels in a shaker.  Add ice and remaining ingredients into the shaker, shake well, and pour contents into a rocks glass.  Garnish with cucumber wheel. 

Açaí Mojito
2 oz VeeV Açaí Spirit
.75 oz pomegranate juice
.75 oz agave nectar
8 mint leaves
1 lime wedge
Club Soda
*Squeeze and drop 1 lime wedge, 8 mints leaves and agave nectar in a shaker.  Fill shaker with ice, VeeV Açaí Spirit and pomegranate juice, and shake well.  Pour shaker’s contents into a pilsner glass and top with club soda.
  • I also received this recipe from T.G.I.Friday’s, and I’m not going to lie, it sounds delicious:
T.G.I. Friday’s Chipotle Yucatan Chicken Salad
Ingredients:
¼ fresh cilantro
2 oz. chopped romaine
1 oz. salad mix of your choice
½ shredded red cabbage
2 Tbs. red onions diced
½ cup cheese of your choice
1 ½ oz. of tostada chips
¼ cups diced tomatoes
1 ½ oz. vinaigrette of your choice
3 oz. chicken (grilled)
½ tsp. blackening seasoning spice
¼ cups diced avocado

Chop cilantro leaves to cut down any long stems.
Place both types of lettuce, red cabbage, red onion, cheese, cilantro and tostada chips in mixing bowl. Toss to mix well.
Add diced tomatoes over the salad.
Drizzle dressing.
Add chicken on top of salad and sprinkle with blackening seasoning.
Add avocado.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Z-Burger Eating Contest, June 30th

This Thursday, Z-Burger is hosting a Burger Eating contest at their Nottingham location.  Selected contestants will battle to see who can eat the most burgers in 10 minutes.  Last year, the winner ate 23 BURGERS.  23 BURGERS IN 10 MINUTES.

Unfortunately, the contestants have already been picked, but if you go to cheer them on, all spectators will be treated to a free single burger of your liking!

For more information about the event, check out www.zburger.net and follow Z Burger on Twitter during the event!

Z-Burger
8145 Honeygo Blvd., Nottingham MD
Contest: June 30th, 12:30pm

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Morning Haiku


I love sandwiches
I will eat them this weekend
So many to choose

I don't know why, but I can't stop thinking about eating sandwiches.  I want a tuna fish sandwich.  I want a turkey and cheese sandwich.  I want a caprese sandwich.  I want to get some ruffled potato chips and put those in my sandwiches.  I JUST WANT TO EAT SANDWICHESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. 

I love them so much.  At this moment in time, they are the perfect food.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I am so sneaky!!!!

Surprise!  I was in Europe these past two weeks!  I am super sneaky and wrote a ton of blog posts which posted automatically while I was gone.

Dan and I went to Munich, Prague, Vienna, Salzburg and Zurich and arrived home on Sunday (supposed to arrive back on Saturday but our flight got cancelled......long story). 

I can't stop thinking about how wonderful of a time we had!  I also can't stop thinking about the food! Here are some pictures of me and some of the amazing meals I had!

 Weinerschnitzel from Vienna!

 Goulash and dumplings from Prague!

 Beer the size of my head from Germany!

 This amazing pastry (Trdelnik) covered with sugar and nuts from Prague

ahahaha don't worry, it wasn't all about the food (sorta), here are some gorgeous shots of places we went to and then I am done.  I can talk about this trip forever.

 The beautiful town of Halstatt in Austria

 Schloss Nympenburg in Munich

 Schloss Schonbrunn in Vienna

 Beautiful Prague

 Zurich

 Salzburg

Neuschwanstein castle in Germany

Dan, can we go again!?

Monday, June 20, 2011

RECIPE: Mushroom Toasts

This is a great appetizer recipe!  If you are a mushroom + garlic lover, this is for you!  It's simple, packed with flavor, and a nice change from the usual tomato bruschetta. 


Mushroom Toasts
Adapted from here

2 tbsp butter
10oz mushrooms of your choice, sliced or cut as you please
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp white wine or water
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped plus extra for garnish
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 French bread, cut into rounds - I didn't use the full loaf, you will need more mushrooms if so, or just use less topping to stretch it out
Aioli (see recipe below) - make this first so the flavors have a chance to come together

•    In a large frying pan heat butter until melted.
•    Add the mushrooms and cook until golden, or until wilted and brown - it really depends how you like them!
•    Add the garlic and cook for another minute then add the wine, half the parsley and seasoning.
•    Cook gently for a few more minutes until the mushrooms are tender and the wine has been soaked up (if you need to, cover the pan with a lid for the last few minutes).
•    While the mushrooms are cooking, brush the oil over the baguette slices and lightly toast them until they are golden.
•    Just before serving add the remaining parsley to the mushrooms and check the seasoning.
•    To serve, put a spoonful of the aioli on the toast and then top with the mushroom mixture and a little extra parsley, if you like.

Easy Aioli

¼ cup mayonnaise
1 fat clove of garlic, crushed
Squeeze of lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper

Mix all of the ingredients into a small bowl and use as needed. Keep any leftovers in the fridge.



Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Morning Haiku


Father's Day Weekend
Playing golf?  Grilling?  Fishing?
What are your plans?

Happy Father's Day!!!

What are you doing to celebrate this weekend?  If my dad were here we would have a bad movie marathon and split something decadent between the two of us.  It would be an awesome day :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Book Review: Nick Malgieri's Bake!


I like to think I am a good baker, but really I just stick with the basics like cookies and muffins and try not to enter the realm of anything difficult (namely things, other than my breadmaker, that require yeast).  

So when I was given** a copy of Nick Malgieri's Bake! - aimed at making baking easy, I knew it was for me!  Read on and see if it's for you as well - perhaps you can whip something up for Father's Day!

Here are some thoughts on two recipes I've made so far:

Basic Cream Cheese Scone

Unfortunately these didn't turn out as well as I wanted them to.  Admittedly it was user error because the dough was WAY too much for my food processor, which meant that some sections of the scones didn't cook all the way through: 


Nevertheless, the flavor of the scones were amazing.  I could definitely be happy eating this plain, or perhaps with a couple of add-ins like currants or dried cranberries. 

 

I still ate the cooked parts (of course) and I loaded them up with some jam and had some tea.  Total breakfast heaven!  Despite my errors, I would totally make this again.

Apple Strudel

Next up was the big one - Apple Strudel!  For someone who does not make their own dough (should I admit that?), this was a LOT OF WORK. But man oh man was it worth it.


Baking mats with measurements are KEY!  It seriously made my life so much easier.



There was a LOT of filling, and I was nervous that it would bust out at the seams, but it fit perfectly!


Look at that!  I was seriously so impressed with myself.  I posted pictures of this immediately on Facebook hahaha 


I cut them into pieces and served them this way at a party.  People couldn't believe I made them from scratch, and to be honest, I couldn't believe it either!


Oh yea, they were straight up delicious too.

Thoughts on Bake!
I loved this cookbook.  It definitely got me out of my comfort zone to make something a bit harder than I usually would - but that's what cookbooks are for!  I like that a lot of the recipes have step-by-step pictures and I owe that a lot to my Strudel Success.  I would definitely recommend you to check it out!  



** I was given a free copy of the book to review.  That doesn't influence my review though!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Celebrate National Lobster Day on June 15th in D.C.!

June 15th is National Lobster Day, and Phillips Flagship Restaurant (in DC) is offering a complimentary whole Maine lobster to the first fifty guests who purchase the all-you-can-eat seafood buffet.

Phillips' seafood buffet features fresh seafood items including shrimp, fish, mussels, crab legs, crab cakes and plenty of land lover options.

If you are not one of the first 50 guests, you can still enjoy a whole Maine lobster with the purchase of the buffet for an additional $9.99.

Phillips Flagship Restaurant overlooks the Potomac on the Southwest Waterfront
900 Water Street Southwest, Washington, D.C., 20024
202-488-8566
Opens at 11 a.m.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Taco Tuesday at Clementine


UPDATE: CLEMENTINE'S NO LONGER HOSTS TACO TUESDAYS, IN FACT, IT IS NOW CLOSED ON TUESDAYS

So here's the deal. On Tuesdays, Clementine is open from 5-9pm and ONLY SERVES TACOS.  They have a $10 Taco platter, which amount to about 4 tacos (depending on how generous you are with your fillings).   In addition to that, they also have drink specials.  The first Mexican longneck beer is $1 and after that, all Mexican beers are $2.25. Margarita pints (made with fresh squeezed juices) are $4 and Sangria Carafes are $14.  They don’t take reservations, but when we went, there wasn’t a wait at all.  The taco selection can change every week, so don’t forget to check their website here.

I started off with my good-sized, delicious $4 margarita, and I couldn't have been more pleased!  I've heard Clementine makes really good drinks, and this was just a testament to that. 


As for our Taco platters, Dan ordered the Citrus and Cumin Grilled Chicken platter.  Dan really enjoyed his, but he didn't think it was nearly enough food for him.


I ordered the Chipotle and Cerveza braised shredded beef platter.  I was in beefy, taco-y heaven with my meal.  I thought it was the perfect size, and I loved the guacamole that came with it (I asked for two instead of another salsa).  The beans, rice, cheese, onions - so fresh and excellent.


Because we wanted to eat more delights, we decided to get some dessert as well.  Dan ordered the Double Layer Golden Cake with Chocolate & Peanut Butter Frosting ($5.50) and I ordered the Dark Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting ($5.50).  Surprisingly, they were not the greatest cakes.  Mine was a bit boring and Dan thought the peanut butter icing didn't taste great and that the cake itself was dry.  Bummer.

Overall, I LOVED Taco Tuesday!!!  My Taco Platter was delicious and I loved my margi!  I probably wouldn't order dessert again - to be honest, I wasn't hungry, I just wanted to try more food hahahaha. 

Clementine on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Morning Haiku


My favorite fruit
Is the one I just consumed
I can't pick just one!

Do you remember when you were younger and you had to have a favorite EVERYTHING?  I hated that.  I hated being asked what my favorite dish was, or my favorite color, or my favorite flower.  I don't know!  I don't like to have favorites!  I like to like everything! 

This used to get me into trouble because I used to tell many of my friends they were my best friends.  You don't tell multiple 11 year old girls they are your best friends and think you can get away with it.  They want you to pick ONE and ONLY ONE best friend.  I just couldn't do it, and so I got into a lot of fights and lost a lot of best friends :(

So, now that I am older it feels so refreshing not to worry about that stuff!  I can have multiple best friends!  I can swear peaches are my favorite fruit, but then say the same thing about strawberries the next day!  
I can love everything!!!!!!  

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Falls, Dinner Review

UPDATE: THIS RESTAURANT IS NOW CLOSED

Last year I tried out The Falls for lunch when it just opened, and loved it (see my review here).  Finally, armed with a Groupon, Dan and I decided to check it out for an evening.  The Falls was definitely a hotspot, they've added more tables since last time I went, which has really opened up the space a lot.  The bar seemed packed, and I can imagine that a lot of locals stop by for happy hour in such a cool place. 

But we were here for the food, so let me tell you about it:


Dan ordered The Abe Froman ($14) pizza - a mixture of pork, bison and chicken sausage on it as well as homemade marinara, mozzarella and provolone cheese.  Dan couldn't get enough of this pizza, though for me it had WAY too much cheese.  He loved the amount of sausage given, although it was a shame it was hard to tell which meats were which.  Either way, Dan was absolutely positive he would get it again.

I ordered the Schwarzenburger with Bison ($12) - Fresh mozarella, sprouts, tomato, avocado and basil aioli.  Yes!  I loooooved this burger.  It was perfectly cooked and had the exact type of toppings that I love.  Would definitely order this again.  It comes with fries also, that looked like they were way over-cooked.  Embarrassingly enough, I thought they were, and asked for another plate of them.  When they came out, they looked exactly the same and I felt like such an ass!  To be fair though, my first plate of fries were only warm...so at least my newest batch were hot! 


For dessert I ended up getting a tropical cake (I forget the actual name).  It was a yellow layer cake with coconut cream and pineapple jelly.  I did NOT like this cake unfortunately.  The pineapple jelly had the consistency of something that came out of a can and it really just didn't sit well with me.  What a shame. 

Either way, I loved my burger and Dan loved his pizza, so we left with a positive feeling of the place! 

The Falls on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

New Restaurant Alert - Chazz: A Bronx Original

Chazz: A Bronx Original, a new Italian American restaurant in Harbor East will be opening THIS Friday, June 10th!

The restaurant is a partnership between actor Chazz Palminteri and restaurateurs Sergio and Alessandro Vitale of Aldo’s. 

Chazz takes diners on a trip down Arthur Avenue, the main culinary thoroughfare of the Bronx, and provides one-of-a-kind “Bronx-style” pizza baked in a coal-fired oven, homemade Italian American specialties and a bar program including hand-crafted cocktails (including homemade limoncello!!!!) and an extensive wine list.

Chazz: A Bronx Original
1415 Aliceanna Street
410-522-5511
street and valet parking
open for dinner from 5 p.m. to midnight, seven days a week, with lunch, late-night dining, take-out and curbside service to be offered in the coming months.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Umi Sake, Timonium


Yuzu Seared Tuna Roll

I love Umi Sake.  I have gone so many times, it is outrageous to me that I've never reviewed this place!  I go here when I'm in the mood for some specialty sushi rolls or when I'm in the mood for some Yaki Bop, or when I'm generally just in the mood for some good Asian food.

I've gone a number of times with a big group, and the service is just as flawless as when I go with just another person.

Yaki Bop with Beef ($11.95) - Korean-style rice dish served in a hot bowl with beef, green beans, bean sprouts, other veggies and an egg on top!  If you've never tried this dish, I urge you to give this a go!  First of all, this is a TON of food, so be prepared for leftovers!  The beef is in a slightly sweet brown sauce, the vegetables are crunchy, and the egg is the perfect topping.  Great dish!




Yuzu Seared Tuna Roll ($12.50) - Seared tuna on the inside of the roll, topped with avocado, white tuna, crispy onions and yuzu sauce. This was incredible - and what a beautiful presentation!  Everything tasted fresh and I loved that the crispy onions were a legitimate part of the meal instead of a garnish.  I really really enjoyed this.  To be honest though, I am always impressed, regardless of whether I order a specialty roll like this one or a California Roll!


Crispy Eggplant Stuffed with Shrimp ($11.95) - Served in a honey glaze sauce. This is probably my least favorite dish I've had at Umi Sake, but by no means does that mean bad.  I loved the crispy eggplant/shrimp itself, I just felt that there was WAY too much sauce, so the crispiness turned into sogginess.  This would definitely appeal to people who love to order Crispy Honey Chicken or Crispy Honey Shrimp at Asian restaurants.  I would just ask for them to bring the sauce on the side!

p.s. I've heard their Brunch is fantastic!

Umi Sake on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday Morning Haiku


Splurge on a sweet treat
National Doughnut Day, yay!
Some of them are free!

TODAY IS NATIONAL DOUGHNUT DAY

Here are the deals that I know about:
- Dunkin Donuts is giving away a free donut with a drink purchase
- Krispy Kreme is giving away one free donut, no purchase
- Fractured Prune is taking off $1 with a purchase of a dozen donuts

Any other deals out there that I'm missing?


Do you like doughnuts?  I like to convince myself that I don't so that I don't go crazy every time I go into DD for a cup of coffee.  If there are munchkins around the office though, you can be sure I've had a few, especially chocolate glazed!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

RECIPE: Eton Mess

 Picture from here

As mentioned, this has now become my favorite dessert for the strawberry season.  I think it would be delicious with other berries as well, especially raspberries!!!!!!!!!  YUM! LOVE this. 

Eton Mess
adapted from here

1.5 lbs of strawberries, hulled and sliced into thick chunks
2 tsp of pomegranate juice
A few tablespoons of sugar
1 pint whipping cream
17 (or more – up to you!) Trader Joe's Vanilla Meringues, or any other smallish (2") meringues

Directions:
-    Toss the strawberries in the sugar and pomegranate juice and set them aside to macerate for at least one hour, up to eight hours.
-    Using your Kitchen Aid mixer (if you have one), whip the cream until it starts to thicken. You don't want to whip it until it is stiff (because then it will be butter!)--it should hold soft peaks when the whisk is lifted from the bowl.
-    Crush the meringues into a bowl (I crushed them in a freezer bag with a rolling pin), making sure to have some chunks and some fine powder.
-    Right before serving, fold the berries (with all their delicious juice) and meringue gently into the whipped cream with a few light strokes. You don't want to deflate the cream.
-    If you want to be fancy, you can serve it in bowls or pretty stemmed glasses, garnishing the top with a couple of reserved berries.  I just served it in one big bowl without any garnish – it looks messy and delicious!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Yogoya, Timonium


These frozen yogurt places are popping up all over the place - but I am not complaining!  For 49 cents an ounce, I can treat myself without the guilt!

Yogoya is the new yogurt place on the York Road corridor, close to the York and Timonium Road intersection.  Since I am not really a tart yogurt person, I normally go straight for the vanilla yogurt (yes, I am boring), but they offered such flavors as pomegranate, mango, and green apple, as well as a couple of others.  I topped my creamy vanilla yogurt with heath bar, oreos and strawberries.

It's hard not to compare it to the other new yogurt place, Tutti Frutti, which offers more flavors, labels their toppings and has more seating.  I wish Yogoya offered more sweet flavors, since their only choices were vanilla and coffee, but perhaps they will rotate their flavors soon. All in all, these things did not deter my experience as it was a delicious and refreshing one, and I can't wait to keep coming back during the summer!

Yogoya on Urbanspoon
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