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Preview: Dishing it up!

Dishing it up!

This is a blog from a group of foodies that want to share our love of food. We'll be posting recipes, photos, questions, comments, restaurant reviews, and anything else that pertains to food. Because that's what we love! Food, glorious food!

Updated: 2018-03-06T13:14:37.000-05:00


Sophie's is back in Columbus!


Do you recall my post about Sophie's Pierogi? not, please take a moment to read it. Go ahead. I'll wait.Okay. Now you've refreshed yourself on the magic that happens in Sophie's food truck.  Sophie's is Steve & Angie Redzinak's dream. Their dream had a hiccup. Fortunately for those of us that have pined for Sophie's Pierogi, I am so happy to know that they are on their way back! Woohoo!!! Pierogi lovers rejoice!Steve has an Indiegogo campaign to help them get Sophie's relaunched.'ll let Steve tell you:"It's a whirlwind story, really, that starts a very, very, VERY long time ago at the kitchen counter of my Grandmother, the original Sophie, back in Jersey.    Some of my first and best memories are of her making pierogi dough,  home made soups and desserts to fatten me up.  Made from scratch wasn't a special label for her food, it was simply how things were done.  My time there always stuck with me so as I joined the navy and worked in "the mess" something clicked inside and I knew what I wanted to do with my life.  Everyone that knows me is aware that I'm very proud of my Polish, Italian and Puerto Rican roots and as I set off into my career, I sought to expand on those family traditions by working in the finest and most diverse restaurant kitchens I could find.  This led me on quite a journey through a big chunk of this great country in fine dining and corporate environments, even spending quite some time as a private kosher chef.Sophies originally sprang from a desire to build something great for my family, and nothing spoke to that more than those memories of my grandmother rolling pierogi at the kitchen counter in Jersey.  The love of my life, Angie, and I with some help from our kids,  launched Sophie's Gourmet Pierogi in 2012 to fantastic criticism and huge accolades.  We grabbed the award for National Rookie Food Truck right out of the gate, were featured on the Food Truck Friday feature on Fox 28/ABC 4 and had one of the top 5 dishes to try our freshman run at The Columbus Food Truck Festival.  We had a brisk season, but as we pulled into a very slow, cold and snowy winter we looked at our life and responsibilities and a job in a corporate setting became a temporary necessity.  It was heartbreaking for us and from what we hear, for a lot of you as well.BUT…  we're back on the road having brought Sophie's back as a cart and the demand is pushing us to grow! What We Need & What You GetOur big push here is to help us fully outfit our new production kitchen.  We've found a lovely space that meets our needs and gives us room to grow, but there are some improvements we need to make to get the space up to code and production, storage and refrigeration equipment we need to keep up with our growing demand.  The location we've chosen also gives us much better proximity to RELAUNCH SOPHIE'S AS A FOOD TRUCK!  You heard it right.  A full sized truck will give us a much greater capacity for special events, weddings, festivals and even our every day operations giving us a chance to provide delicious dumplings in any setting.I've spent a lot of time thinking up fun and innovative ways to say thank you to all of you who choose to support us in this growth.  Sure we'll have bottle openers and t-shirts, but how about free pierogi for a year!  Check out our perks cause, yeah, it's in there.So, of course, there's a chance we fall short of our fundraising goals.  The production facility is a go regardless of the outcome of this campaign and the balance of the funds that we do collect will be used to increase our mobile output with a refrigerated cargo van so that we can put up the big numbers at events and festivals around central Ohio. The ImpactCurrently, pierogi production takes place 45 minutes outside of Columbus which drains resources and time [...]

le Gateau - Pizza Class


I was invited to attend a pizza class at le Gateau, located north of New Albany, ( a while back. What a fun and rewarding experience!Le Gateau is the brainchild of Sue Larson, a premier pastry chef and wedding cake creator in the Central Ohio area. Her cakes have been featured in numerous publications and she has received many prestigious awards, including one from "The Knot"."The Gathering Guide" has this to say about Sue: "Sue Larson, owner of le Gateau, has been creating cakes for 26 years in Columbus, Ohio. Everything is made from scratch with the highest degree of craftsmanship. Wedding cakes, birthdays, anniversaries, corporate events, and cake sculptures are all created at le Gateau. A passion for excellence and a love of chocolate, caramel, and raspberries makes a happy baker. le Gateau is now offering hands-on pizza classes. These are great for family, friends, corporate parties."The course is taught by Sue and her good friend Dianne Williams. Dianne brings her own pastry expertise, catering experience and general love of food to the table. Both Sue and Dianne have studied at the French Pastry School in Chicago. Dianne has a strong background in teaching all kinds of culinary classes in and around Columbus.The pizza classes (they also do bread making classes as well) are hands-on and the pizzas are baked in an amazing wood fired oven that Sue's husband, Mark built for her just outside of her studio.Mark and his pizza ovenWe began the evening with an assortment of delicious appetizers and wine. That gave us an opportunity to talk with each other and become acquainted with our classmates.Sue (on the left) and Dianne chat with us before we began.After we mingled, Sue gathered us in her studio to lead us through the process of making pizza dough. We began by adding yeast and water to flour. And thus began our adventure! I'll be honest with you; I'm a pretty good cook, but I'm scared of yeast! There's some ugliness in my past, and it involved yeast. Here's what happened (in class, not my past)...We mixed and kneaded; forming the dough, becoming one with the dough, and this is what happened...Yeah, that's what happens when you go messin' with yeast. I tried to warn you! And then this happened...It was totally awesome! And the aroma! We set our dough aside to rise and moved on to the sauces. Dianne was beginning to make a béchamel sauce and engaged one of the students to assist her while she educated us on the "Mother Sauces". In addition to the white sauce that Dianne was conjuring up, Sue's son had made a red sauce. It just so happens that Sue's son is a chef! Chef Chris Larson from the New Albany Country Club was an unexpected treat!It was such an added pleasure to work with Chef Chris. And about that sauce? Well I'll be brutally honest; I could have grabbed a big spoon and just polished off that pot myself. Chef Chris LarsonChef Chris gave us a lesson in knife skills. We learned about different knives and and what they were used for. Chris showed us how to wield a knife like we knew what we were doing!At that point Chef Chris let us loose with knives and vegetables! We divided into groups and started slicing and dicing as if our lives depended on it!!!(Isn't she a doll???)By then we were having a great time! It was really comfortable and fun. There was a wide range of cooking skill level among us. From the never cooks to a professional chef (who just happened to have previously been Chef Chris' boss!), we were a mixed bag of students. It was perfect.Mother and son explained to us the process the dough goes through, and how we were going to turn it into our pizza. And then it was our turn :-)Chef James Decker and daughter Lilly.No actual students were harmed in the making of this class.So we had our dough, we had our pizza crust. All we needed were toppings!!! Sue and Dianne had thoughtfully prepared a variety of toppings for us, as well as the vegetables we had prepped. Oh my gosh, I don't think I can even remember all of the toppings. I know there [...]

Green BEAN Delivery - Fresh, organic produce delivered to your doorstep


I am pretty sure all of you know about CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture) and how awesome they are! We have tried it and loved it. However (isn't there always a "however"?), we found that with just the two of us it was inevitable that we would have waste. I hate that. Growing up in a family of nine, it was pretty much a cardinal sin to waste food. To this day that sticks with me. So we stopped the CSA.I think I first learned of Green BEAN through a Groupon, maybe? "Networked with the best organic produce growers & local artisans, Green B.E.A.N. Delivery provides home delivery of organic produce & natural groceries to Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, Dayton and Columbus." Once I tried it I was hooked! This is a service that is much like a CSA, except that I get to choose what will be in my box…and they deliver it right to my front porch! How great is that??? Bob and I have been Green BEAN customers for quite a while now and we love it. I signed us up for the small produce bin, which is $35. There are other sizes but this one seems to be a good amount for us to work with. They deliver every two weeks, and I can suspend delivery, if say I'm going on vacation.The week before delivery I get an email with the details of what will be in the produce box. If I want to make any changes I have ample opportunity to customize the box for the two of us. Then on delivery day I put my empty green box on the front porch and magically the Green BEAN fairy puts the full box in place and the empty one is gone! (Okay, so I know that there really is no "Green BEAN fairy".) Just sayin'.So when I was contacted to try Green BEAN and blog about it, well heck yes I wanna tell the world how awesome this is!!!! Yes, they did comp me a produce box in way of thanks. I will tell you though, that the opinions are totally my own and I can say I've been a long time customer so I'll give you the real skinny.Here is the box I received:Isn't it pretty? I just love all of the gorgeous colors of the summer boxes! So as you can see, I got lettuce, corn on the cob, spinach, Brussels sprouts, mint, raspberries, blueberries, Yukon gold potatoes, nectarines, and donut white peaches. Food, glorious food!!! (Who knows that reference?)I set out to show you some of the dishes I might with this produce. First I made Rasa Malaysia's Thai Chili Chicken, using the mint leaves. This dish is super easy and oh-so-good!!! Bob and I gobbled it up and then were bummed there were no leftovers. This was so amazing!Next on my list was the corn.First I cut the corn off the cob. I dare you to not nibble as you do this. Oh my, there is nothing in the world like really fresh corn!I added chopped garlic, salt, & pepper and sautéed this in a couple of teaspoons olive oil. When the corn started to caramelize, I added a tablespoon of butter and scooped up all of the yummy brown bits. I took it off the heat and added chopped fresh marjoram. This is the resulting yumminess! Is that a word? Well it is now!Moving on I roasted the Brussels sprouts.Truly this is the only way to eat Brussels sprouts. I cleaned them, tossed them with olive oil and put them in a single layer and roasted til they were brown. I wanted a nice color but I don't let them get mushy. Mushy is not good!Isn't this a lovely dinner plate? I thought so. I put some of the mint in my ice water for a totally refreshing glass of minted ice water. Bob had grilled chicken and Halloumi cheese (which is to die for) for our protein. I had also roasted a bunch of gorgeous heirloom grape tomatoes. They were an incredible compliment to the Brussels sprouts! Who knew?On to dessert!!! The berries were fantastic!Believe it or not, I had some scrumptious lemon curd in the fridge that I'd made a few days before. I know, who has lemon curd just hanging around? A first for me. Instantly I knew that these berries were screaming for that curd. Really!!! And I was oh so right! And then to put earrings on[...]

Hawaiian Fried Rice


We had a little bit of Honey Baked ham left from a ham we bought through a fundraiser, and we had been hammed out! We've had so many ham sandwiches I think I'm beginning to oink in my sleep! I wanted to find a different way to use up the last bit of ham, because no way was I about to throw it out!  I put the bone in the freezer anticipating some awesome beans in the future.I came across this recipe on one of the blogs that I read, Mel's Kitchen Cafe I had just gotten a fresh pineapple in my Green Bean delivery box this week so I was in business!The fresh pineapple with the salty, smoky baked ham is just delicious. The bits of garlic, green onion and fresh ginger take this to a whole different level. We loved it!I roasted some brussels sprouts and whole garlic cloves to go along with it. And yes, why that is my homemade radish kimchi along side, thank you for asking! And you're absolutely correct that the cucumbers you see there are the cucumbers that you remember from the post on Asian Pork Satay! You are so perceptive!!! They both were perfect foils for the fried rice :-)Hawaiian Fried Rice or decrease the sesame oil and hot sauce to taste based on how you like things. Also, if you don't have leftover cooked ham, you could definitely use deli ham for this recipe. It really does make a difference in fried rice recipes to use rice that is cold from the refrigerator, so make this recipe when you have leftover, chilled rice or plan ahead and make the rice the day before. This recipe is completely outstanding with fresh pineapple and the only way we've eaten it, but canned would make an acceptable substitute if you don't have fresh - just drain well.Ingredients3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil1 teaspoon hot sauce (like Tapatio or Sriracha), more or less to taste1 tablespoon vegetable, canola or peanut oil2 cups cooked, chopped ham1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped6 green onions, chopped, white and green parts separated3 garlic cloves, minced1/2 tablespoon minced fresh ginger5 cups cooked rice, white or brown, cold3 large eggs1-2 cups pineapple piecesDirectionsIn a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil and hot sauce. Set aside. In a large nonstick skillet or electric frying pan (which is what I use), heat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil until rippling and hot. Add the ham, red bell pepper, and the chopped white parts of the green onions. Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned and the red pepper is tender (but not mushy), about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook another minute. Scrape the mixture onto a plate and set aside.Heat another teaspoon of oil in the skillet until hot. Add the cold rice and cook, breaking up large clumps, until the rice is heated through, 5-6 minutes.Push the rice to one side of the skillet and heat the last teaspoon of oil on the empty side of the skillet. Crack the eggs into the hot oil and stir lightly with a spatula or wooden spoon, cooking until the eggs are lightly scrambled and set. Stir the eggs and the ham mixture into the rice. Pour the soy sauce mixture into the rice and cook, stirring, until thoroughly combined and hot.Off the heat, stir in the pineapple and green parts of the onions. Serve immediately.[...]

Cabbage Rolls


I don't know how I could even begin to put into words my love for cabbage rolls. Even as a kid I had a thing for them. Of course back then I discarded the cabbage and ate only the inside and the sauce. Oh how foolish we are in our youth! Now, I devour every single morsel of these tasty concoctions; and sigh with pleasure as I do so.Recently I've tried to tame the craving with occasional trips to Babushka's. Their's are pretty darn good. But I wanted to have some for dinner with leftovers that I could freeze and have them right at my fingertips. I haven't made them for years because they are a bit time consuming. They're definitely an act of love. Ah, the things we do for love.I think I may have mentioned before that Bob and I receive produce from Green Bean Delivery. Every two weeks we get a box delivered with fresh produce, and occasionally other goodies that we've order. It really is fun. And we have begun to eat vegetables that I probably wouldn't have considered before. But I digress.In our last GB box we had a gorgeous head of cabbage. I knew the moment I laid eyes on it that it was destined to be made into cabbage rolls. Call it serendipity, call it fate. Call it a craving if you will. Whatever you want to call it, I'm going with CABBAGE ROLLS!!!I had saved a recipe for them on Now of course I fiddled with the recipe a tad, and the results were crazy good if I say so myself! I served them with mashed potatoes. We feasted on them last night and have plenty packed away in the freezer for future suppers. Oh yum!Cabbage RollsAdapted from Allrecipes.com15-18 cabbage leaves2 cups cooked and slightly cooled rice2 pounds lean ground beef1/2 cup chopped onion4 cloves garlic, minced2 eggs, slightly beaten2 teaspoons salt1/2 teaspoon ground black pepperdrained sauerkraut (optional - we love it!)Sauce:2 -15oz cans tomato sauce4 Tbsp brown sugar4 Tbsp lemon juice1 Tbsp & 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (maybe a little more)2 tsp saltDirections:Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 degrees for glass dish).Bring a large, wide saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add cabbage leaves and cook for 2 to 4 minutes or until softened; drain.In a large bowl mix all of the sauce ingredients.In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ground beef,  cooked rice, onion, garlic, egg, salt and pepper, along with 1/4 cup of sauce. Mix thoroughly.Divide the beef mixture evenly among the cabbage leaves. Roll and fold, placing seam side down in baking dish. If needed, secure them with toothpicks.Top each roll with a spoonful of drained sauerkraut. Pour the remaining sauce mixture over the top. Cover with foil. Bake for 60 minutes.You can thank me when you've recovered from your food coma :-)[...]

ella - eat local. love art.


So here it is, a rainy & chilly Friday night. Who wants to cook, I ask you? I certainly didn't. Bob was game for an impromptu dinner out and we had been wanting to try Ella in New Albany. Off we went!Ella is located on E.Main Street, New Albany (Rt 62) in a business strip. The entrance and parking lot are in the back of the building. There is a great little patio attached, that brought visions of summer drinks and happy hour with friends. *sigh* That ship has certainly sailed for this year. But I will surely keep it in mind when the spring of 2013 rolls around!Walking into Ella, the atmosphere is relaxed yet upscale. On the left as you walk into the restaurant, is a long bench seat with tables and chairs on the other side. There is a large bar in the middle with plenty of seating where we saw couples as well as singles. In addition there are booths and individual tables. We were tucked around the corner with a few other tables. Cozy.We were immediately greeted by our server, Bree. Let me say this about Bree: I wanted to put her in my back pocket and take her home with me! She was absolutely delightful. On a busy Friday night she had a huge smile and was quite knowledgeable about the menu. We took her suggestions and were incredibly glad we did. The menu is quite varied. Ella is all about eating local. I love that philosophy :-) They support so many of our local businesses. And what Chef Travis Hyde and Sous Chef Alexis Randolph have put together is a menu of interesting and inviting combinations. These two obvioulsy like to play with their food! The results blew us away. This is the bread service that is presented to your table, piping hot. Thick slices of cibatta are dressed with butter that has been infused with rosemary, thyme and a tad of lemon. Oh my. We couldn't get enough. Bob and I devoured that bread like it was our job. When I exclaimed to Bree how much we loved it, she insisted on bringing another round that had just come out of the oven...oh like my hips really needed that. But hey, she insisted!Scallops are on the menu, Chef's creation. Tonight the scallops were seared and served with a black pepper cream sauce, garlic mashed potatoes, and roasted broccollini with a goat cheese and honey mousse. My picture really does not do it justice. Simply put, this was heaven on a plate. Oh my goodness. I was seriously wondering if I could just get a bowl of the mousse and be done with it. However, there was no way I wanted to miss the perfectly cooked scallops, the divine cream sauce, and the potatoes and broccollini that were awesome as well. All of the elements on one plate made a dinner worthy of celebration.Bob had narrowed his choice down to two, and with Bree's help he went with the Spiced Pork Loin Chop. The chop is served with buttermilk potato and asiago gratin, zucchini, blue crab bearnaise, and a cherry & peach mostarda. This is one incredible dinner. The chop was thick, yet juicy. The topping of the cherry & peach mostarda was so incredibly flavorful that I swear it was like a carnival in your mouth! The gratin was to die for, and the zucchini (while not my favorite vegetable) was so darn good with the blue crab bearnaise. (I'm talking chunks of blue crap.) Because I am so committed to presenting you information with honesty and integrity, I couldn't take Bob's word that it was delicious. It was my duty to taste each component of his dish and make my own assessment. (Hey, don't feel too sorry for him. He insisted on tasting mine as well, and he had no intention of blogging!) My verdict was extremely positive to say the least. This restaurant is a definite do-over!All in all, Ella (eat local. love art.) is a winner in our book. Leaving the restaurant we were reminded once again of their committment to support local businesses.Thank you, Ella. This goes a long way in our book. We will definitely be back...with friends.Ella266 E. Main[...]

Sophie's Gourmet Pierogi


Pierogi's. Is there any food more perfect than a pocket of pasta filled with mashed potato and sour cream? Then to saute it in butter and add caramelized onions? I will answer that question for you my friends - no, no, no! To this carbohydrate lover, that is the sum of all things good in life. But wait! There's more! This combination of awesomeness is then topped with delights such as local Italian sausage cooked with onions & peppers (oh, just like at the fair!) sprinkled with asiago cheese and a dollop of lemon basil butter. Or better yet, top it with Yuengling braised pork belly (a deconstructed golabki, ie cabbage roll) finished with a grain mustard & tarragon compound butter. I'm pretty sure I swooned. To a pierogi lover, it seemed we might just have reached nirvana!Who creates these gastronomic powerhouses? That would be Steve Redzinak, better known as "Sophie's Gourmet Pierogi". Steve and his wife Angie can be found in their food truck that bears the name of his beloved grandmother, Sophie. And just like his grandmother, Steve makes his pierogi by hand. He begins with mounds of flour, makes a well and pours in the ingredients that make the pasta perfection. He then mixes the dough by pulling in the flour from the sides of the well and mixing it all til he has created pasta dough just like he watched Sophie do. This is the basis for his pierogi. How could these not be incredible?We found Sophie's at The Campus Pitt Stop at Kenny and Lane. This is their most consistent location. However they are also at Columbus Commons on Thursdays, and other locations as arranged. I love the menu board at Sophie's. Steve said he searched for something authentic to post his menu on. When he saw this door, he knew he'd found his vision. The menu presentation is just downright cool. Steve's pretty proud of it, too.So back to the main attraction. The tender pasta dough is filled with fluffy mashed potatoes with just the right amount of sour cream added to give it the rich, silky mouth feel that literally makes you groan as you eat it. You think you like pierogi because you can whip up a batch of Mrs. T's? Well I tell you, I speet on Mrs. T's! (okay, I don't really. I like them. On a good day I could probably polish off half a box myself!) But Sophie's are in Gastrogi. And as Steve will tell you:Gastronomy is the art or science of good eating.Pierogi is Polish for filled dumpling-a small dough envelope filled with "gastronomy".Meet the "Vintage". This is for the pierogi purist. It is "classic, crispy pierogi filled with potatoes and sour cream; caramelized onions, side of sour cream and compound butter". I will comment briefly on this version...OH.MY. This is the beginning of all things wonderful.This is the "Italian". This one happens to be Angie's favorite. With good reason why! Steve starts with his pierogi, then adds local Italian sausage, peppers & onions, confit of tomato, asiago cheese and lemon basil compound butter. Oh yeah. It is every bit as good as it looks. The sausage has the right amount of spice and the onions & peppers are sauteed just the way they should be. The sprinkle of asiago perks it all up and brings it to a whole new level. I thought I had found my favorite.But then the heavens opened and I swear I heard angels singing as the "Soph" was set down before me. Let me first say that cabbage rolls are one of my all time favorite foods. And I love to serve them alongside, what else but pierogi? The "Soph" is a deconstructed golabki, or Polish stuffed cabbage. I lost all power of speech. Steve was talking and I couldn't stop eating! The Yuengling braised pork belly was low on the fat pockets that I usually find unappetizing about pork belly. The meat was flavorful and succulent. The cabbage was sauced and cooked until tender. I tell you, my mouth is salivating[...]

BLT Summer Rolls


Summer is here…with a vengeance!With the temperature into the 90’s, I was looking for a light and cool dinner. I remembered seeing an email from ZipList News that had a recipe that I wanted to try. I said to myself, “Self, this would be just the perfect night to try these!” And so I did.ZipList led me to the "Inspired Taste" blog ( ) where I found the BLT Summer Rolls.  Bob and I absolutely love Vietnamese Summer Rolls. You might remember I have posted about them.  And we love BLT’s! So how could we not love the insane combination of the two?I’m not going to yammer on and on about them. It’s too stinkin’ hot for even me to talk. (If I had a pool to jump into and cool off I could talk on and on…but oh, I digress.) Let me show you how to make these simple and scrumptious babies :-)These are rice paper wrappers. They are generally available in the Asian food section. They are totally different from eggroll wrappers and the two cannot be interchanged. Working with these will be a new experience! They are incredibly delicate and sticky (in that they stick to themselves)! But you easily get the hang of it quickly. This is the cast of characters. We have bacon (totally essential), lettuce (again, essential) and tomatoes, thus giving us the "BLT" part of the summer rolls! In addition there is a mound of vermicelli rice noodles, and a wonderful mayo based sauce that has lime juice and Sriracha sauce. The noodles were not in the original recipe, but Bob and I thought they needed to be included to maintain the integrity of the summer rolls. Actually, we included them because we like them!!! I will also admit to playing around with the lime mayo. I wanted a little more flavor but not more heat. So I added additional lime juice, a tablespoon mayo, lime zest and I grated a garlic clove. Bob proclaimed it "awesome". Being the weenie that I am, I just dabbled a bit on mine. Next time I'll probably go for plain mayo...or maybe pull some of the lime mayo aside before I add the Sriracha. That should do it!Please excuse my messy counters...and my well used & stained cutting board! Okay. So to begin you need to put some warm water into a dish and slide a wrapper into the water. It only takes a quick few seconds and you will feel the texture of the wrapper relax and become pliable. Slide it out of the water and put it on the cutting board. The wrapper is thin and will easily stick to itself! When you have it on the board, pat it dry a bit with a paper towel.Now the fun begins! Start filling it with whatever you want your BLT Summer Roll to be. Of course I like lots of noodles on mine ...... and just a drizzle of the Sriracha lime mayo! I know I'm a sissy. Let's just move on.Once you get everything you want stacked up, you tuck the bottom edge up over the filling and fold in the ends, and then roll it up. The wrapper will adhere as you roll so there is no worry about sealing it. And there you have the perfect BLT Summer Roll! You can serve it with a dipping sauce according to Inspired Taste, but I have to admit that Bob and I were so darn hungry for these that we just dug in and forgot to make the sauce!I really do hope you enjoy these as much as we did. They are just delicious and so simple to make and even simpler to eat. Plan on several per person...and maybe more!BLT Summer Rolls Author: Adam and Joanne Gallagher time: 10 mins  Total time: 10 mins  Serves: 4 You can make these up to 3 hours ahead of time. Cover rolls with a damp paper towel or clean dishcloth.Ingredients4 8-inch rice paper (spring roll) wrappers2 cups packed shredded or baby lettuce leaves1 large tomato, cut into 1/[...]

The Perfect Sunday Afternoon Snack


We had eaten a light breakfast, and dinner was a long way off. So Bob and I decided a snack was in order. When it was all put together, I knew I had to take a picture to share with you! Not to make you jealous...but I totally understand if it does :-)Our friend Dianne, who is my culinary mentor, recently went to a three day bread making class in Chicago. She came back with all kinds of things up her chef jacket sleeves. Yesterday she dropped off a gorgeous loaf of walnut bread. This is not a sweet bread. No, it is made with a mixture of flour that includes rye. It has a country, earthy taste that is complimented by the toasted walnuts. Oh my. She also "happened to have" a wheel of Saga Blue Brie. This is a "soft ripened blue-veined triple creme cheese:". Translated...O.M.G! Spread on the walnut bread, well I don't believe I can even describe it. (And yet, you know I'm gonna try.)  The creamy blue brie cheese meets the rustic warm earthy walnut bread; what results is a flavor event in your mouth of such epic proportions that I am still a tad breathless. Ah, but not so breathless that I can't continue to expound upon the experience ;-)Along with the gastronomical delight of the walnut bread with the Saga blue brie, we had chunks of ripe cantaloupe and thin slices of salami. That was our riff on the prosciutto-wrapped melon. I thought what was needed to complete this assortment was some kind of a pickled dish. Ironically enough, I had just finished preparing Shanghai Cucumbers*.  I planned to have them with dinner later, but they screamed to join the fun. So I put some of those in a small bowl and added it to the array on the board. To bring all of the wonderful tastes together, I suggested to Bob that we have a glass of one of my most favorite wines. If you are lucky enough to have a Trader Joe's near you; not walk!!!  Demand to be shown where the Villa Alena Moscato D'Asti is displayed! As you can see in the picture, it is in an incredibly fun bottle. And if you like a sweet wine as most moscato's are, you need to make sure to purchase multiple bottles of this wine. One sip and you will understand why I am so adamant! It is sweet sunshine that dances over your tongue and tickles your teeth. It leaves you smacking your lips and wanting more. It transports you to a hot summer day, sitting out on an incredible deck that your husband and dear friends built for you in the hottest part of the summer, holding cold honey colored sunshine in a glass. Whoa! Sorry about that. I believe I just had an out of body experience!*Let me tell you about the Shanghai Cucumbers. They are so delicious! If you are watching your carbs and want a yummy snack or if you're just a pickled vegetable fiend, these are the ticket! The cucumbers are cool and fresh and have that Asian flare of both salty and a tad sweet. Even if you're not fortunate enough to have a friend that brings you fresh baked walnut bread with Saga blue brie cheese, you ought to try these. They are insanely simple to make and I'll warn you, they are addicting!!!Shanghai Cucumbers(from Barefoot Foodie)1 large English Cucumber3 tablespoons Soy Sauce1 teaspoon Rice Wine Vinegar (White or Apple Cider will work also)1/2 teaspoon Sesame Oil1/2 teaspoon Toasted Sesame Seeds1.  Mix the soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil together.2.  Slice up the cucumbers and add them to the bowl; toss to mix.3.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds right before serving.4.  Eat them all!I am so happy to have been able to share this snack with you. It feels good to be back to my blog. Thank you to those of you that have stuck with me during my recuperation. Hopefully, I am back!Please note the lovely cala lilies. I am happy to share those with you, as well. :-)[...]

614 Restaurant Week - Cameron's American Bistro


Birthday week continues! For Thursday's birthday dinner I chose Cameron's American Bistro because I have always wanted to go to Mitchell's flagship restaurant. I'm a fairly regular visitor of some of his other places, but for some reason I've never been to this one. I quote the website:" Cameron's American Bistro, the original Cameron Mitchell Restaurant located in Worthington, presents a dining experience that blends genuine hospitality and uniquely innovative food in an upscale-casual, intimate atmosphere. An American road trip for your palate, Cameron's American Bistro brings home to Columbus delicious dishes familiar and unfamiliar, from places coastal and landlocked." This was a place I definitely wanted to visit. The posted menu for Cameron's for Restaurant Week looked wonderful. So Cameron's it was! There were eight of us and we were seated smack dab in the middle of the dining room at a round table that allowed us to easily talk to everyone in our party. Our server was a young man named AJ, and he was beyond wonderful! He totally took care of us all night.Six of the eight of us chose to go with the Restaurant Week menus. Lucky me! In the interest of my blog readers, it really was my civic duty to try everything that I could. Darn Patrick, though. He was clear across the table and I didn’t get to taste his. How did he escape my fork???By far the most popular appetizer was the Goat Cheese Arancini, and with good reason. The balls of risotto were made with goat cheese and then fried to a golden crisp and were served on a tomato coulis with a sprig of arugula. Let me explain it to you like this; a slice of heaven on a plate. *sigh*Another choice was the Chop Chop. This was a lovely salad made up of “Wier’s Farm mixed greens, asparagus, sweet corn, hardboiled egg, smoked bacon, gorgonzola, red onions, grape tomatoes and golden balsamic vinaigrette". It was very good.The third appetizer choice was Shrimp Bisque. As you can see, it was lovely. It was garnished with Lemon cream, chives and crostini. I would like to tell you how incredible it was, however this was one of the dishes that escaped me. Dang-it! Now I’m thinking I need to go back soon and complete my “education”.Moving on to the entrées, these were an absolute delight! I decided upon the Hoisin Glazed Salmon. This was served with “grilled pineapple rice, ginger glazed carrots, sugar snap peas and sriracha butter sauce”. I am telling you, this salmon was absolutely exquisite. I was totally smitten with the pineapple rice. Oh my goodness! The salmon was wonderfully moist and had sweet and savory notes from the hoisin sauce. The carrots and snap peas were crunch and the sauce…oh the sauce. I was a bit concerned that the sriracha sauce might be a tad too much for me. Much to my delight it was spot on. What a winner!This is the shrimp and grits. You’re right. It wasn’t on the Restaurant Week menu, but two of my fellow diners ordered this. What rebels! I tried to slip my fork onto Dianne’s plate when she wasn’t looking but I was busted J  The grits were made with goat cheese. Yum! I didn’t try the shrimp because both she and Donald warned me that they were pretty spicy. And we all know what a wuss I am. I did go back for seconds on the grits, though.Bob and Homer got the Crispy Moscovy Duck Breast with “five vegetable fried rice, baby bok choy, glazed peanuts and orange ginger reduction”. While I not a huge fan of duck, this was very nicely done. Bob was certainly happy with it. And I don’t think we heard a peep out of Homer until his plate was empty! I’m thinkin’ he enjoyed itJIsn’t this a lovely photo? Isn’t that a lovely pork chop? Don’t you wonder if it tasted lovely? Well, can’t help ya there. This is the other dish I was talking about that I couldn’t [...]

614 Magazine Restaurant Week - Moretti's of Arlington


I love Restaurant Week, I love Moretti's and I LOVE birthdays!!! And I adore my godsons :-)  So how could it not be a fun birthday, I ask you? Blake drew this while he was waiting for his dinner. Obviously I am the pink lady. (Yikes! Is that really what my hair looks like to him???) Blake is orange and Bryce is green. (all of our favorite colors!) Unfortunately Bob, Clint & Virna didn't make the grade. But it was my birthday after all.Moretti's is offering a great menu for this week, and it is only $20. Yes, that's right, twenty dollars! For a three course dinner that will leave you moaning because you are so full, yet you have leftovers for lunch the next day! I know! So let me show you a little of what we had last night.This is the bread plate presented after we were seated. The bread was still hot from the oven, with flavored butter and the house marinara sauce. It was deeeeeeeliscious!!!!! I admit I may have hogged the butter...just a little...well, maybe a lot. Okay, I admit it! Let's just please move on.These were the Four Cheese Risotto Balls with lemon aioli. They were not part of the Restaurant Week menu, however I must include them. I totally could make a meal of these! I kid you not. They are delectable deep fried balls of risotto, with cheese in the middle that oozes out when the balls are cut into. These are commonly called arancini. By whatever name, they are to die for. I simply cannot go to Moretti's without indulging in these.This was the Mediterranean Chop Salad. It consisted of organic greens, cucumber, tomato, kalamata olive, red onion, feta, and pepperoncini dressed with a house vinaigrette. Wonderful.The Wedding Soup was my appetizer choice. I do believe that Moretti's has some of the best wedding soup I have ever tasted. The broth is so flavorful and the spinach and carrots are yummy. The meatballs are plentiful and so tasty. Just perfect!The last appetizer choice was the tomato bisque. Rich tomato flavor; deeply satisfying. We probably could have stopped there. But oh no! We soldiered on.Bob, Clint and Virna all got this entee for dinner. Allow me to introduce you to Moretti's Truffle Mac 'N Cheese with Shrimp. Oh Lordy was it ever good! The shrimp were perfectly cooked and had that wonderful flavor that shrimp have when they are "just right". You know what I'm talking about. When you buy shrimp and they are just so succulent that you never want to stop eating them. Huh? You don't know what I'm talking about?  It's just me? Oh dude, if that's true I feel so sorry for you. Put those perfect shrimp on top of homemade mac 'n cheese, add a little truffle (butter or oil, I'm not sure which) and your knees get week and your hands start shaking and your breath is taken away. And no, I do not have a seafood allergy. I just (as my good friend Tom Prosek says) "became one with my food". Or in this case, Bob's food.My dear friends, meet my dinner Scallop Carbanara with Fuscili Pasta. It is so easy to screw up carbanara. And if you do, you end up with a gloppy mess and who wants to eat that? This carbanara was done quite well. It was abundant with scallops, bacon, onion. peas, and a delicately creamy cheese sauce. It was really good.Moving on to dessert, Virna and I chose the Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake. Bingo! I darn near cried, it was so good. Rich, creamy, cheesey, deep flavor; everything a cheesecake should be. And the espresso was there in all its glory. Not overpowering, not artificial. No, just wonderful. Add a cup of coffee and I was in heaven.The guys got the Cannoli. The menu listed this as Chocolate Chip Cannoli. While we didn't see any chocolate chips, the cannoli did not disappoint! What a dinner! What a birthday! All this and B[...]

614 Restaurant Week January 16-21, 2012


Yes, we're well into 614 Magazine's Restaurant Week. I haven't been out to dinner yet, but the games are about to begin!

Today is my birthday! Happy birthday to me!!!  Okay, enough about that.

We are celebrating with our godsons. Oh we let their parents come along, too. And tonight we have a dual celebration! Bryce won his school spelling bee this afternoon! I am soooo proud of him! So we are really going to have a ball.

When asked where I wanted to go for dinner, I chose Moretti's of Arlington. I just love that place.  The pasta is homemade and the sauces are incredible. I figured it was a good choice for the boys, and I'm pretty darn sure that Clint and Virna will like it, too. Check out the menus! It will be mighty difficult to choose.

We also have plans for more of Restaurant Week.

Stay tuned!!!

Baked Ziti


Bob attended Columbia University in 1963-1965. I think it is fair to say that during that time, he was not flush with money. He has often reminisced about a place that he and his buddies used to go to eat the "best" baked ziti for $2.50! It was absolutely delicious and the price was right. The restaurant was V&T Pizzeria Restaurant on Amsterdam Avenue, between 110th and 111th Street in New York City. I looked it up and they are still there! ( The Baked Ziti is still on the menu, however the price has gone up to $8.00 - which isn't too bad for 47 years!So in view of Bob's love memories of V&T's Baked Ziti, I set out to see if I could find something approaching it. This, my friends, was no easy task. Bob's memory is very discerning! The other day I was reading my blog roll and I saw a recipe that Mocha Me had posted. Well I figured I may have hit pay dirt because I quote: "I think this should be renamed "The Best Baked Ziti I Ever Had."  Okay, I'll make it and we'll see how it stacks up to the V&T's memory. The verdict? Pretty darn good. Woohoo! Thank you Debbie! (and for the original recipe)Baked Ziti pound dry ziti pasta1 onion, finely chopped1 pound lean ground beef2 ( 26 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce6 ounces provolone cheese, sliced1 1/2 cups sour cream6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded2 tablespoons grated (I use freshly shredded) Parmesan cheeseBring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta and cook according to package directions; drain.In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat. Drain excess fat. Add spaghetti sauce and simmer about 15 minutes.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter (I used olive oil cooking spray) a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. I also add a little of the sauce mixture to the bottom of the dish to prevent sticking. Layer as follows: 1/2 of the ziti, Provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 of sauce mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture. Top with Parmesan cheese.Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes in preheated oven on top of baking sheet. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.This tastes much better the second day so if you decide to heat this up the next day after it's been in the fridge than bake approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour covered and 10 minutes more uncovered. [...]

Dine Originals Week November 2011 - Chile Verde


Last night was the end of Dine Originals Week. Bob and I poured over the list, reading the menus and trying to decide where we would have dinner.

Eventually we decided on Chile Verde. We really, really like their food (and their margaritas ain't bad either). The menu sounded wonderful. First course was Butternut Squash Soup, second course was a stuffed avocado and the entree was steak fajitas. While I can't remember the descriptions off the top of my head, let me just say I had to wipe my chin after reading them. Bob and I looked at each other and exclaimed, "What's not to like?" And off we went, with tummies growling and hearts full of anticipation.

As we pulled into the parking lot I said, "Uh, Bob. There isn't much of a crowd here." He nodded and commented, "Yeah, I see. Not a single car is here."  We pulled up to the door.

"Closed Sundays"

Guess next time we'll check hours before we drive cross town. *Sigh*

... Hunan Lion was good ...

Dine Originals Week - Surly Girl Saloon


Meet Brooke & Andy. Yesterday was Andy's birthday, so we went out tonight to celebrate. Andy picked Surly Girl Saloon. Good choice, my friend!!! We had a great time with great friends and great food :-)Okay, so maybe a few great drinks were consumed, too. It was all just so ... well, great!Brooke ordered off the menu (she always has to be different, our Brooke) and Andy, Bob and I went for the Dine Originals menu. What a deal! For Andy who was "flying solo" (as the menu put it) his dinner was 3 courses for $20! Even better, For Bob & me it was 3 courses for 2 for $30!!! We were totally psyched. And then we looked at the menu. Oh lordy this was gonna be fun.Andy began his meal with the "Wasabi Cream Cheese Ball". This was served with sesame crackers and slices of fresh cucumber. It was really good! I say this with surprise because we all know I am a total wimp when it comes to hot food. And wasabi is hot, is it not? So you can understand my hesitation. But in the interest of reporting fairly and not trusting someone else's opinion, I dove right in. I took a cracker and slathered a spoonful of the cheeseball on it. Then I topped it with a cucumber slice. Wow! This was good stuff! The cheese ball had just the right amount of wasabi; not too hot but it had a nice horseradishy quality. The cucumber was the perfect foil; cool & crisp. I have to say I wholeheartedly approved!Bob and I chose the "Skillet Nachos". These were reliably delicious. The chips were topped with warm black bean & corn salsa and melted cheese. Okay, so what's not to like? They were just flat out yummy.I chose the "Butternut Squash Ravioli" in a chile-pumpkin cream sauce with house-made focaccia. The picture does not do it justice. This dish was absolutely divine. I kid you not, this is the stuff that food porn is made of. Uh, I mean, dreams are made of. The pasta of the ravioli was perfect. The butternut squash filling was subtle yet substantial enough to stand up to the sauce. And the sauce? Well, excuse me while I swoon. It was one of the most incredible things I have tasted in a very long time. I have to admit that I didn't taste the chile part in it. What I did taste was pumpkin, so creamy and lucious that it should have been served with some kind of fanfare. I simply cannot get it out of my mind! Alongside was the promised focaccia. This was also delicious. And, it was essential to sop up every teensy bit of sauce that might otherwise have been left behind. I will unabashedly tell you that I scraped my plate clean ... something just short of licking it. I didn't want to embarrass my dining companions. Although I'm pretty sure Brooke would have just laughed!Bob had "Cowgirl Carmen's Cherry Cola Ribs". These were served with creamy coleslaw and poblano mashed potatoes. Excellent. Just excellent. The ribs were falling off the bone tender, with a sweet cherry cola bbq sauce that left you wanting to lick your fingers. The slaw was just right and the potatoes .... well, we know how I adore potatoes. And these were no exception. Three words to say about this dish - yum, yum, yum!Now for Andy's dinner. He ordered the "Spicy Thai Pizza". This was a pizza made with peanut sauce, broccoli, carrots, cheddar, peanuts and sweet chili sauce. I just need to say that his choice of this pizza following the "Wasabi Cream Cheese Ball" was dead on. The two made for an awesome combination! This pizza however, is not for the faint of heart. Andy advised me to wait until my drink refill came before I chowed down on it. Andy was oh-so-right. This baby packed some heat! But it was so incredible! The crust was thin and crisp and the toppings all worked in such harmony th[...]

Dine Originals Restaurant Week - November 7-13, 2011


It is that wonderful time of the year when the restaurants in Dine Originals participate in their restaurant week! Oh boy, we sure are the lucky ones on this deal :-)  It is the perfect time to try out a restaurant that has been on your list to visit, or to go back to a favorite one. Check out the info from Dine Originals! You can browse the menus from each restaurant. I am here to tell you that the deals are awesome and you'll find amazing menus. Bob and I already have our plans made!Happy Eating!!!   Dine Originals Week STARTS NOVEMBER 7 twice-annual EVENT OFFERS chance to sample bold flavors of independence47 restaurants, 7 days of original menusMonday, november 7–sunday, november 13, 2011The next Dine Originals Week will be held November 7–13, 2011, featuring creative, three-course fixed-price lunch and/or dinner menus for $10, $20, or $30 (not including tax, gratuity, or alcohol) from all 47 Dine Originals Columbus restaurants. Besides offering diners extraordinary menus at reasonable rates, this popular event, held twice a year, also serves as a celebration of the high-quality local dining scene. Restaurateurs see an uptick in sales at the restaurants, new faces, and visitors coming from out of town to take advantage of the special menus. In keeping with Dine Originals’ mission to give back to the community, a portion of the proceeds from Dine Originals Week will be contributed to Local Matters, a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting access to local food, advocating for fair food policies, and other related causes ( Tim Lessner, president of Dine Originals Columbus and owner of Tip Top Kitchen & Cocktails, “We’re excited for the next installment of this very popular week, which has turned into something of a citywide festival celebrating Dine Originals Columbus restaurants. With some new members added since last March, we encourage people to try a new restaurant—or, as always, to revisit a favorite during this special week.” Menus for Dine Originals Week are at Originals Columbus has 47 member restaurants, all locally owned and operated. The list follows on the next page.·         Alana's Food and Wine ·         Barcelona Restaurant and Bar ·         Barrio Tapas·         Basi Italia ·         Basil Thai Restaurant·         Bel-Lago Waterfront Bistro ·         Black Creek Bistro ·         The Black Olive ·         Bodega Cafe ·         Chile Verde Cafe·         The Clarmont Restaurant·         Columbus Brewing Company ·         DeepWood Restaurant·         Due Amici ·         Elevator Brewery & Draught Haus ·         Figlio Wood-Fired Pizza Grandview·         G. Michael's Bistro ·         The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls ·         Katalina's Cafe Corner ·         [...]



I love Asian food. And I'm talking more than just your run-of-the-mill Chinese fried rice (although I have to say that I still get giddy over a superbly made dish of pork fried rice - like Tony's at Eastern Palace). Having been introduced to some Korean dishes, I must say I am smitten! Bibimbap is one of them. But could I possibly make it at home and do it justice? I decided to find out.Usually bibimbap is served in a screaming hot stone pot. Okay, that was the first concession my homemade version made. I didn't happen to have the stone pots on hand, and knowing me if I had I would probably be sitting in the emergency room waiting to be treated for burns rather than writing this post right now! I had saved a recipe for Bibimbap from and I began with that. For the most part I followed it pretty closely. There were just a few modifications I made. The most significant one was that I used boneless skinless chicken breast as the meat instead of beef. The reason for that was pretty straightforward ... that is what I had thawed. The most important issue with this recipe is to have all of the components prepared so that when it comes to assembly, you are good to go!The result, you ask? Oh, you didn't ask that? Well, I'm gonna tell you anyway. It was totally awesome! I mean, it rocked!!! Bob and I both were "yummying" all through dinner. While I know it was not totally authentic, it sure was close enough for us!Will I make it again? You bet! And I'll try it with beef and pork, too. (No, not at the same time ... now you're just being silly.)  It is rather labor intensive timewise but it is so worth it! In fact, I can't wait to make it again. Oh! Don't skip the seasoned spinach. It is scrumptious!When eating bibimbap there are two schools of thought:While Bob subscribes to the "eat-each-part-at-a-time" theory and likes his spicy ...I am more a "mix-it-all-up" kinda gal. I am not kidding, just looking at these pictures makes me wish I could sit down and start the meal all over again!I only wish Michelle was here so she could tell me if I really did do it justice :-)Bibimbap 4Ingredients2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce 1/2 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger 1 garlic clove, minced 4 ounces eye of round or top round steak, thinly sliced Cooking spray 1 cup (2-inch) julienne-cut carrot 1 cup (2-inch) julienne-cut English cucumber 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt 1/8 teaspoon dark sesame oil 1 garlic clove, minced 4 large eggs, divided 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 3 cups hot cooked short-grain rice 1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps 1 cup Seasoned Spinach* 4 teaspoons sambal oelek or Thai chile paste, to taste PreparationCombine first 4 ingredients in a zip-top plastic bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes. Heat a small nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add beef mixture; stir-fry 3 minutes or until done. Remove from pan. Cover and keep warm.Cook carrot in boiling water 1 minute or until crisp-tender. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain and set aside.Combine cucumber and next 5 ingredients (cucumber through 1 garlic clove); set aside.Heat skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Break 1 egg into hot skillet. Cook egg 1 minute; carefully turn over. Sprinkle with dash of salt. Cook an additional minute or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from pan. Cover and keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining eggs and salt.Spoon 3/4 cup rice i[...]



Trying to get organized at home ... Found a bag of 'paper'. Most could be shredded, but there were some pictures of the kids, some things from my folks ... and this recipe from Ellen's mom! It's a good one ... a great way to start the day.

Fruity Couscous Salad - adapted from a USA Today recipe

1 1/3 cup dry couscous (I prefer the larger size 'Israeli'?)
2/3 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup packed dried apricots, chopped
2/3 cup Craisins microwaved in 1 cup water (I think Harriet used orange juice) for 1 minute
1 tsp cumin
3 scallions, thinly sliced with greens
1 pinch salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Prepare couscous according to package directions. Combine all ingredients; toss. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Yields 8 servings

10 common mistakes and stereotypes !


We put together the 10 most common mistakes and stereotypes about Italian Cooking you can avoid them!  Share this note with your friends  :)1- You shall not sip cappuccino during a meal!Coffee and cappuccino are the pride of Italy in the world; but if the first is usually consumed at the end of the meal, the second, more substantial, is sipped at breakfast, usually accompanied by some pastry. You can ask for a cappuccino at the end of a meal, just know that most Italians don’t.2- Risotto and pasta are NOT a side dishThe organization of courses in the Italian dining is unique and requires pasta and – most of the time –risotto to be served by themselves (apart from specific recipes such as Ossobuco milanese-style). The presentation of pasta as a side dish to others is widespread in several countries, but in Italy is seen almost as a sacrilege.3- You shall not add oil to pasta water!Oil should not be added to pasta cooking water! Pasta dressing (and oil too) must be added only after you have drained it from its cooking water. Find out how to cook pasta like an Italian here.4- Ketchup on pasta: please, don’tThis is one of the combinations that most shocks Italians; although ketchup may have some similarities to tomato sauce, pouring ketchup over pasta in the “Bel Paese” is considered a real gourmet crime. Keep ketchup for your french fries or hot dogs, please!5- Spaghetti Bolognese? No way, it’s Tagliatelle!While probably being the world’s most popular Italian recipe, you will not find any restaurant in Bologna to eat it. That’s because the original Italian recipe is “Tagliatelle Bolognese” (not spaghetti).Although this may seem a minor detail, in real Italian cuisine the pairing of the right kind of pasta with the right sauce is considered almost sacred.6- Chicken Pasta: not in ItalySpeaking with American friends, one of the most frequent requests is the advice for a typical Italian recipe for pasta with chicken. It’s always rather embarrassing to point out that in Italy there are no hot dishes featuring pasta and chicken.7- “Caesar salad”This salad, which bears the name of its supposed creator, Caesar Cardini, is a part of the long list of recipes devised by chefs of Italian origin, but in fact is almost unknown in Italy.8- The red and white checkered tablecloth is only a stereotype !For some strange reason, these tablecloths are universally associated with our food and with the stereotype of the "spaghetti-eater", and abroad almost all the restaurants that want to play typical Italian use them. Probably, tourists who come to visit Italy remain somewhat disappointed when they discover that the checkered tablecloths are almost never used (only restaurants for tourists do!)9- “Fettuccine Alfredo” are popular only overseasThis is perhaps the most curious in this top ten. The fettuccine Alfredo is both the most famous “Italian” food in the United States and the least known dish in Italy.These noodles, seasoned with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano, are in fact actually been invented in the “Bel Paese”, specifically by Alfredo Di Lelio, the owner of a restaurant in Rome, but in Italy have never been imposed as a traditional dish. Overseas, however, have become increasingly popular and in time became a symbol of the good life in Rome.For this reason legions of American tourists coming to Italy hoping to enjoy the fettuccine Alfredo at every restaurant on the peninsula remain very disappointed.10 - You shall respect tradition and what Italian mamma says.She knows from her mamma, who [...]

Sweet and Sour Slaw


Tried this over the weekend. Thinking of Jean, figured she'd say ... 'blog it'! :)
Adapted from Allrecipes. We had it with grilled chicken, and also betting it would be great on top of fish tacos!

1 bag cole slaw mix (cabbage and carrots), finely shredded, not chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, slivered
1 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 cup frozen corn (straight from the bag!)
1/2 cup rice vinegar
3 packets Splenda (i will try without the next time)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
drizzle of sesame oil. (because I had to, recipe does not call for oil)

Mix together. Refrigerate at least two hours. Serve!

Cubano Hot Dogs


When I first saw the post on for the Cubano Hot Dog, it was all over. How could I not love this? How could anyone not love this? The recipe originally came from Rachel Ray. It is so perfect in its simplicity, and makes for a quick weeknight dinner, or would knock the socks of your guests at a cookout! Hmm...maybe when the new deck is unveiled these might be on the menu.  The cast of characters: pork or beef hot dogs, hot dog rolls, yellow mustard (Bob had to have spicy mustard because he is a mustard snob-whatever), diced green chilies (we used yellow banana pepper rings) deli ham, Swiss cheese, and pickle spears. Heads up! Your taste buds are going to thank you for this :-)Preheat your broiler. Heat a griddle pan or skillet. Split your dogs and open them up like a book. You're going to grill them on both sides until they get nice and crispy! Oh...I can barely wait!Load the mustard on the buns! I'm talkin' lots of mustard!!! Top with deli ham,Swiss cheese,peppers (okay, peppers should really go on before the ham and cheese-but when have I ever done things in the right order?). I got a little ahead of myself and had to go back and add the peppers. And even though I rarely eat these hot yellow pepper rings, they are a must on these sandwiches. I am absolutely telling you the truth on me!Put those bad boys on a baking sheet and slide them under the broiler. You want the cheese to get gooey and melty (is that even a word? Apparently not. My spell check just highlighted it bright yellow. Well, I like it and it's staying!)Looks like the dogs are ready! Pull the buns out of the oven and assemble the sanwiches. Put the dogs on the bed of melty cheese and place a pickle spear down the middle.Behold the Cubano Hot Dogs! I sincerely hope you enjoy them as much as Bob and I did - and will again soon! Thanks Deb for posting this great recipe!Cubano Hot Dogs 8  Total Time: 15 minutesIngredients:8 pork or beef hot dogs8 good quality hot dog rolls, splityellow mustard1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies, drained8 slices mild deli ham8 thin slices good quality Swiss cheese8 pickle spearsDirections:Preheat the broiler. Heat a griddle pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Cut the hot dogs open lengthwise and open them up like a book. Grill them until crispy on both sides.Arrange the hot dog buns on a baking sheet. Top the rolls with lots of mustard, the green chilies, ham and cheese. Place under the broiler until the cheese is melted.Put the hot dogs on top of the melted cheese and fill the crevice with a pickle spear.[...]

Hot Stuff!!!!


OK, it's not spicy, but cooking on one of the hottest days of the year probably not all that smart. Went to a delightful graduation party yesterday, and everything was 'ethnic'. Here's my version of something I found to be absolutely delightful. I hope you enjoy. My version of Spanakopita Meatballs.

Spanakopita Meatballs - No measuring - eyeball: 18 oz ground turkey (bet it's wonderful w/ground lamb too), frozen chopped spinach, squeezed dry, 1 chopped smallish onion, chopped garlic (can never have too much), 5 oz pkg feta crumbles, Cavendars Greek seasoning. Add as much spinach as the mixture will hold. Spray a large frying pan with Pam. Squish the meat mixture together and shape into walnut sized meatballs. It's not pretty. Pan fry until golden. Sigh with rapture. I made 36 meatballs.

Piada - Welcome to Gahanna!


Today was a big day for Piada fans. The Gahanna Piada opened at Stoneridge Center at the corner of Morse and Hamilton Roads. Hooray! Many of us have been anticipating this day ever since we had our first taste of Piada's deliciousness at the Lane Avenue location. For those individuals that are not familiar with Piada, you are in for a treat! The ordering setup is quite easy. (And no, I refuse to go the "just like Chipotle" route again.) Let's say it is quick, easy and fun! The staff is happy to help walk you through the process. Choose a piada (wrap), pasta or salad. Add your protein, sauce, and toppings.   Behind the front line - meats, pasta and grilled veggies are constantly being cooked up fresh for a line of hungry customers that moves amazingly fast!   Additional choices include soups, side salads, spinach artichoke dip, a variety of piada sticks, and cannoli chips & cream for dessert.   Add a drink (the Italian peach tea is my personal favorite) ranging from teas and sodas to beer, wine and peach bellinis!All of that makes for happy customers ... like Jane!Welcome Piada! We sure are glad you're here!!![...]

Thai Beef with Chilies and Basil over Coconut Rice


Each afternoon I get a text from Everyday Food with a suggestion for dinner. Yesterday's suggestion grabbed ahold of me and just didn't let go. I checked the pantry & fridge to make sure I had all of the needed ingredients. As always, I was one ingredient short. When I told Bob, he volunteered to run to the store. 'Cause who has red jalepenos just laying around? I sure don't. And I really wanted to make this dish.Bob got home with the needed chilies and we were set to go! First thing we did was to get the rice going. This was the first time I made coconut rice and I was really excited. I did use lite coconut milk to save a few bazillion fat grams. Now that we had the rice going, Bob set to work chopping. Red chilies were seeded and sliced into 2 inch matchsticks (note the gloves). As you can see, we used the red jalepenos. I can pretty much handle their heat. Sometimes. If they are seeded and deveined. And cooked so they lose some of their power. Yeah, I can pretty much handle red jalepenos.Next the garlic was chopped. Please, please do not look at my sorry cutting board. I keep swearing that I'm going to get new ones but I never seem to get around to it. I like to just pretend that there's so much character from all the meals cooked with love and tenderness reflected on that board that ... oh what the hell am I saying??? I just haven't gotten around to buying some new ones. When the rice was almost ready, I mixed the fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar.I got the wok screaming hot, put in the oil and quickly added the garlic and half the chiles. Gave that about 15 seconds and added the beef. While it cooked, I broke up the beef and mixed the garlic and chiles well into it. When the beef was browned, I added the soy sauce mixture. I cooked this for about 30 seconds. Smelling good!Add the rest of the chiles and the torn basil. Isn't it gorgeous?Now, I only used 2 chiles. Next time I will definitely use all three. And we were a bit short on basil, so we added some while cooking the beef and had a bowl of torn fresh basil to add to the dish on the table. I served the Thai Beef over the coconut rice (which by the way is like, totally awesome!) I'm not sure how I'm ever going to make regular rice again! I also served optional toppings: chopped green onion, sliced radishes, the torn basil leaves, and grape tomatoes just because I like them. Oh! And soy sauce and Thai sweet chili sauce.Okay, now here is where I confess to being a tad scatterbrained. I forgot the lime wedges. We kept thinking that this was really good but it was just kind of missing a little something. Yeah Jean ... maybe a little something green? That would have been perfect. (Guess that's why it's in the recipe, huh?)Bob and I agreed this is a definite do-over. Overall, this was absolutely delicious. And it took almost no time to put together. Next time I will use all three chilies and probably more garlic. And I will NOT forget the limes!Thai Beef with Chiles and Basil Over Coconut Rice - Everyday FoodIngredients• 1 1/4 cups jasmine rice• 1 can (13.5 ounces) coconut milk {used light coconut milk}• Coarse salt• 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fish sauce• 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce• 1 teaspoon sugar• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil• 3 garlic cloves, chopped {used 4}• 3 long hot peppers or red jalapeno chiles, seeded and sliced into 2-inch matchsticks {used red jalapeños} • 1 1/4 pounds ground b[...]

Broccolini Pasta with Goat Cheese


Here is a dish that is simple and delicious ... simply delicious! I know. Sometimes I just amaze myself with how cleverly I can turn a phrase! But seriously, this really is darn good.

I had something similar to this at California Pizza Kitchen and I couldn't stop thinking about it. Thus was the inspiration for this one dish dinner.

The first time I made it I used rotini pasta. I didn't have rotini this time so I used orecchiette. Orecchiette means "small ears", just in case you come upon an Italian food trivia game. There was lively discussion about this in our house. I swore it meant "lambs ears". I have no idea whatsoever where I got that idea, but I was so cocksure of myself. Lord, I hate when I'm wrong. I had to man up to it when I looked it up because I knew Bob would google it for himself if I didn't come clean. But I digress.

There really isn't a recipe. I just eyeballed amounts for as big a batch as I wanted. We like it warm the first night and the leftovers we'll eat cold, or with just a few minutes in the microwave to knock the chill off. And you can really use any protein you like, or even none at all. The first time I made it I sauteed shrimp. The next time I added cubed ham. The version I had at the restaurant had grilled chicken. It is so versatile that just about any protein tastes good.

I will say that I think the goat cheese is definitely a must have in this dish. It takes it to a whole new level. Be generous with it! And to add earrings on the elephant (one of Bob's phrases that just cracks me up!), I toasted pine nuts and sprinkled those on top. Oh - YUM!!!

Broccolini Pasta with Goat Cheese
Pasta - such as rotini, shells, orecchiette - cooked according to directions & drained
Broccolini - blanch in pasta water the last 2 minutes of cooking time for pasta, then chop into 1/2 inch pieces
Sundried Tomatoes - chopped (I use copious amounts because as far as I am concerned they are like crack - uh, let me clarify that I have no real knowledge of what crack is like, but if I imagined what it could be compared to, it would probably be chocolate or sundried tomatoes - just not together)
Garlic - chopped and sauteed in olive oil
Olive Oil - enough to cook garlic and enough to moisten ingredients when tossed together
Shrimp, Grilled Chicken, Ham or your choice of protein
Goat Cheese - my favorite is the goat cheese with a touch of honey in it
Toasted Pine Nuts
Salt & Pepper - to taste

Mix all ingredients and toss well. Serve with a green salad and you will just not believe how good this tastes!!!