Emily’s Food and Recipe Blog

Recipes, menus, cooking, restaurant reviews – All about food!

Archive for March, 2008

Greek burgers

Posted by moderndaygourmet on March 26, 2008

I found this in Self magazine but changed it around somewhat.

3 whole-wheat pitas
1/4 cup milk
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
4 tsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3/4 lb lean ground lamb
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium tomato, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1/3 cup crumbled feta

Dressing
2/3 cup Greek yogurt
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
1/2 cup peeled, seeded and finely diced cucumber

Chop one pita, transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with milk. Let soak 5 minutes. Drain and squeeze out excess milk. Puree soaked bread, onion, garlic, herbs and lemon juice in a blender or food processor. Transfer puree to a bowl. Add lamb, season with salt and pepper and combine. Form into 4 patties. Microwave patties until warm, about 30 seconds. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Cook burgers to medium, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Whisk yogurt, mint, garlic, mustard and honey in a bowl. Stir in cucumber and season with salt and pepper. Halve the two remaining pitas, open each half, and spread some of the dressing inside. Add burger and tomato to pita and sprinkle with feta.  Serve leftover dressing on the side.

Posted in Entrees - lamb | Leave a Comment »

Wine party

Posted by moderndaygourmet on March 19, 2008

We’re thinking about having a wine tasting party, so I am noting some ideas here for future reference. I found these in various places around the net and from friends’ advice, so I just wanted to compile them.

  • The “big 8” varietals are: cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, merlot, shiraz/syrah, chardonnay, riesling, sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio/pinot gris.
  • Recommended for a tasting with 4-5 wines: riesling or pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc or chardonnay, chianti or valpolicella ripasso, cabernet sauvignon or shiraz or zinfandel, pinot noir.
  • Recommended for a wine/cheese party of 16 people: 6 pounds cheese and 8 bottles wine.
  • If serving cheese, it’s recommended to have some from each of these 4 categories (note I don’t like blue cheeses so I’ll probably omit those)
  1. Aged (Cheddar, Comte, goat gouda
  2. Soft (Camembert, brie)
  3. Firm (Manchego, parmigiano
  4. Blue (gorgonzola, stilton)
  • Nice to have different breads/crackers with cheese such as baguette, breadsticks, and different crackers. Also different condiments go well with cheese, such as fancy mustards, preserves or honey, and chutney.
  • Recommended wine/cheese pairings: Gewurztraminer and Swiss, Riesling and gouda, Chardonnay and brie.

Some thoughts on appetizers: goat cheese tartlets, sausage with hot mustard, sausage potato puffs, roasted red pepper dip, cheese puffs with crab dip, feta-artichoke dip, pan-fried polenta with pesto, stuffed mushrooms.

Posted in Menus - other, Wine | 1 Comment »

Ecofriendly meat

Posted by moderndaygourmet on March 16, 2008

OK, I’m no bleeding heart, but I do try to be somewhat conscious of supporting ethical practices in meat-raising; being an animal lover and parent of three dogs, I feel it’s only right that if I am going to eat meat that I at least be humane about it. Not to mention, this kind of meat is healthier anyway.

We recently ordered some meat from La Cense Beef. This company deals in grass-fed beef that is raised on ranches, not in feedlots. They had a special at the time where they would give you 8 free hamburgers; you just had to pay for shipping. So I ordered some and we really did like them. Some people say that grass-fed beef tastes weird or is really dry, but I didn’t experience that. It’s really intriguing how much lower in fat and calories grass-fed beef is as compared to grain-fed beef. I will probably order some more and some different cuts of meat. It’s kind of expensive, but as with anything else, you get a better price with a larger order.

Something that I want to try, but have not yet, is grass-fed bison. I have a friend who is a vegetarian, but once a year or so, they order some meat from North Star Bison as a special treat. From what I understand, grass-fed buffalo is pretty much the ultimate in ecofriendly and humanely raised meat. This company has other types of meat too, like chicken and turkey and also more exotic things like elk and ostrich. It’s very interesting.

So that’s what I’ve been mulling over lately. I believe that God created these animals for food for us, but I have to think, isn’t His will closer to their being naturally raised and then eaten, rather than crowded into feedlots, eating grain that is not their intended diet? Like I said, I’m no bleeding heart and certainly not a PETA activist, but this just makes sense.

ETA: I found another ranch here that has grass-fed beef and this one is near Dallas.

And a couple more here and here

Posted in Entrees - beef | 1 Comment »

Lemon pound cake

Posted by moderndaygourmet on March 16, 2008

I tried this yesterday and it turned out great. It’s definitely worth using a fresh lemon for the zest and juice instead of the bottled stuff. This came from Cooking Light but I tweaked it somewhat. You can put a glaze on it of lemon juice/powdered sugar but I didn’t bother. The lemon flavor was pretty intense anyway, but the glaze would have been nice too; I was just too lazy.

Cooking spray
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup fat-free buttermilk

Coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray; dust with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Set aside.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, stirring well with a whisk.

Place 2 cups granulated sugar and 3/4 cup butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add rind, 1/4 cup juice, and vanilla; beat until combined. Beating at low speed, add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat just until combined (batter will be thick).

Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350┬░ for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack. Loosen cake from sides of pan using a narrow metal spatula. Place a plate upside down on top of cake; invert onto plate to cool completely.

Posted in Desserts - cake | 1 Comment »

Weekly menu

Posted by moderndaygourmet on March 16, 2008

Spaghetti with meat sauce, garlic bread
Blackened catfish, couscous with peas, sauteed zucchini
Grilled hamburgers
Jerk seasoned shrimp, leftover couscous with peas, rum-glazed plantains
Breakfast for dinner (eggs, bacon, toast)

Posted in Menus - weekly | Leave a Comment »

Seattle restaurants

Posted by moderndaygourmet on March 5, 2008

I was in Seattle for work this week and got to try a couple of good places. Seattle’s downtown is similar to Dallas, which is to say, not much action after business hours, but there are a few good places to eat at least, so I didn’t have to drive anywhere.

The first night, I went to Sazerac. Turned out they were participating in this “30 for $30” local restaurant promotion, so I ended up ordering off that menu. The “30 for $30” is similar to Restaurant Week in many other cities, including Dallas and NYC, where restaurants participate in a promotion in which they offer a special menu at reduced prices, which hopefully inspires more people to try their restaurants. This menu had wine flights to go with the food courses and I ordered that as well. I started with the Caesar salad. I know that’s not too adventurous but I was in the mood for one. It was fine, but I don’t love Caesar salads with the leaves left whole, so I have to cut them. Nevertheless – a regular Caesar, as expected. That was served with an Abbey Paige chardonnay. The main course was the grilled hangar steak with horseradish stone-ground grits. The steak was cooked perfectly and the grits were really tasty with just enough bite from the horseradish. For dessert I ordered the “Small Box of Brownies, Cookies and Sweet Thangs” mostly because I just had to know what exactly constituted such a thing. It turned out to be brownies, gingersnaps, and a sugar/almond brittle type of thing, very similar to what is usually used to make baskets for ice cream, berries and such. All of it was tasty but it was too much for just me; I finished only about half of it. They served that with sherry. I don’t normally drink sherry but this was pretty good; just sweet enough to go with dessert.

The next night I went to Tulio, which was highly recommended on Chowhound. I had eaten a big lunch from my client meeting so I wasn’t really very hungry. So, I decided to have just an appetizer and dessert. That turned out to be just enough food. I had the sweet potato gnocchi – delicious, perfectly crispy on the outside and the butter was a great accompaniment. I told the waiter I wanted a glass of Chardonnay, fruity and not too dry, and I got exactly what I asked for. For dessert I had the crostata (pear tart, with honey gelato) which was delicious. And it was not a huge portion, which is a typical problem with desserts. It was sort of like a mini galette (French free-form tart) with the fruit wrapped up in the pastry. Also, their focaccia bread was terrific. I had a hard time not filling up on it!

Posted in Restaurants | Leave a Comment »