Saturday, April 30, 2011

Dinner tonight: Quick White Bean, Asparagus, and Mushroom Cassoulet

I LOVE cassoulet. So when CL put out this fast, relatively guilt-free version, I pounced. It was, in fact, quick, even quicker since I used prepared breadcrumbs rather than making some up from French bread. I went with oyster mushrooms over chantarelles, marjoram over oregano (since I had marjoram in the cupboard but honestly have NO idea what one uses it for!).

This recipe was a solid B I would say. Not nearly as good at the thyme-scented white bean cassoulet, but different flavors, and it didn't require nearly as much prep work or patience/planning (the other is a crockpot dish). It could have used a bit more salt, but that's an easy fix. I recommend replacing the asparagus with spinach, which I think would meld flavor-wise much better and be way easier to eat!

But look how pretty: :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Dinner tonight: Hot Nicoise Salad

So you know how I usually start my posts, when I've been a bit delinquent, with an excuse for my absence? This time, I have the BEST excuse ever. P AND I ARE GETTING MARRIED!!! :) So, I've been a bit distracted and neglectful of you, post-readers.

Although things will never be the same, I'll try my best to keep regularly posting under this new normal. The good news is, you all will at least get to vicariously share in our caterer search and tasting!

But, back to my backlog of posts.

A couple weeks ago, I made my first ever GOOP recipe (Gweneth Paltrow, for the uninitiated). We had hot nicoise salad, courtesy of F&W magazine. Changes (which of course you expected): 1. no olives, as they are in my hated-foods trinity; 2. no eggs, since I really didn't think having a random baked egg on the side made much sense; 3. I put the anchovies off to the side and mixed them in to my portion only at the end, since P's not an anchovy fan.

You guys. This was amazing!!! For a dish that had minimal seasoning, it was incredibly flavorful, and for a dish that was so basic, it looked very sophisticated. I think the anchovies really made a difference, but I'm sure someone else would probably say the same thing about the olives and/or egg. We had this just with some crusty wheat baguette. Yumyumyum. Nice job, GOOP.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dinner tonight: Whole Stuffed Trout!

So...I saw the recipe for lump crab-stuffed trout in my magazine, and then I saw whole dressed trout at the HT, and I just couldn't help myself. I took some liberties with the recipe (you know, like taking out one of the two ingredients in the name), but it still turned out delicious! I actually ended up buying the fish on Saturday and freezing it since we weren't having it until Tues, then just defrosted for 20 min in casserole dish filled with cold water. Good as fresh.

No bacon, no crab (I didn't want to have to buy a big thing of crab and have most of it go to waste), but everything else was cooked as specified. It was really incredibly quick and easy to make (aside from all the fine chopping), and SO flavorful and tender. I paired this with steamed asparagus and wheat dinner rolls. Look how purdy!

I almost wish I was attaching a video to this post of Pat and me trying to figure out how, exactly, one eats whole trout...we opted to peel off the skin and slide the meat off the bones, reaching between the bones with the fork tines to grab out some stuffing with each bite. When you finish one side, flip and repeat. The fish heads, however, went to waste. We had had enough adventure for one night.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Okay. Disclaimer: I am white. (I know most of you suspected as much.)

So I may not be the best judge of good Korean. But my little white girl tummy tells me that Mandu is freaking delicious. The beef with rice "cakes," onions and mushrooms is food-dreams worthy (Really. You must get this.), and all of the dipping sauces are just fantastic. My sojutini was a bit weak, but it was only $4, so I can't really complain.

In fact, I'd say this place is a triple threat of cheap, incredibly fast, and yummy food. Great for a casual night out with a group. (x-posted to

Dinner tonight: Spicy Tortilla Soup with Shrimp and Avocado

Okay, sorry, sorry, has been crazy busy recently and I've been too exhausted to blog. But not to eat, though, so we have a lot to catch up on!

Today we'll cover CL's spicy tortilla soup with shrimp and avocado.

YUM. The soup took a bit longer to make than the "20 minutes" CL claimed, but then again, I didn't use pre-chopped veggies like they call for. My only other mods were no crushed tortilla chips (I felt like these calories were better saved for a glass of wine) and no salt, since they didn't have "no-salt-added fire-roasted diced tomatoes" (I mean really, that's a bit niche, don't you think?).

This soup was really great. Very flavorful, and packed a bit of heat, but it didn't linger so it wasn't unpleasant. The avocado added at the end makes it pretty unique, I think. And can I just say, I love hominy. It's like little tiny chewy dumpling bits, but it's actually just corn (see for yourself)! I made a note to myself to find some more recipes that use it, because it's just so delightful.

Anyways, this was a win for the CL. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Dinner tonight: Chicken Baked in White Wine Marinade

This past week, we had chicken baked in white wine marinade. Sadly, I think it was one of the most mediocre recipes I've ever made from CL. I mean, look, it wasn't bad, nothing tasted gross and the chicken was moist, but it was just so bland and blah, which was a bit disappointing after it marinated for nearly 20 hours in pinot grigio, onion, garlic, and thyme. The good thing about it being so not-flavorful, however, is that it was easy to use the leftovers in other dishes--I used Trader Joe's frozen eggplant melange and just mixed in some chopped chicken.

To end this post on a good note, though, let's talk about the veggie we had as a side instead. Roasted string beans. Seriously guys, they're so easy to make and are like crack. I think P and I each ate a pound's worth. Pre-heat the broiler, put the beans on a baking sheet, spray everything with olive oil cooking spray, sprinkle with minced garlic and kosher salt, drizzle with the tiniest bit of honey. Roast under the broiler 7-12 min, stirring occasionally, until they're blistered and brown in places. YUM.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Ray's the Steaks

Ray's made me feel like Goldlilocks. Some was a little too under(insert adjective here), some was a little to over(ditto), and some was just right!

The unders:
-The rosemary foccacia they bring to the table was dry, dry, dry. I respect the fact that it wasn't super-oily, like foccacia can be, but it was, well, under-oily.

The overs:
-Waaaaaay too much spice and sauce on the filet au poivre. Yes, I realize it's supposed to be pepper-crusted, but this one was a bit over the top. And since the entire plate was smothered in sauce, there was no place for me to put a scoop of creamed spinach or possibly have a bite of meat by itself.
- Chewiness of my filet. This made me sad...the rare portion of my filet (order med-rare) was so chewy I didn't eat it. Fortunately, my bf's was more tender.

The just-rights (fortunately, there were the most of these):
-The service! We came in not expecting much, but our service was fantastic. Everyone was incredibly friendly and gracious, and they went out of their was to speed up the service so that we wouldn't miss our show (by the time we were seated, we had less than an hour before we had to catch a cab).
-The wine list. Both of our wines were solid, and incredibly reasonable at $7/8 a glass.
-The crab bisque. I insisted we try this because yelpers had raved. None of them every explained why it was so good, though, so allow me to enlighten you. It is, overall, underseasoned. But in this case, that is a very good thing--even with all that richness, the flavor of the crab really comes through. It's the perfect consistency and the portion of crab is super-generous.
- The peanut butter fudge that came with our check (okay, after I asked for it because everyone seemed to be getting it but us). Then again, I never met a food with pb I didn't like.

I don't think we'll go back, but that's because I'm a snob. And because I hate waiting. :)(x-posted to