Wine in a Mason Jar.

The past two weeks of my life have been just as ridiculous as drinking wine in a mason jar is. 

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Wrap your arms around yourself!

Does anyone know the secret to being able to live by the phrase, “all things in moderation”?

As I write this post tonight, I do it with that icky feeling in my stomach caused today by a combination of  many things. For one I did not consume any actual meal to speak of. I spent the day in the bakery deal with a mass of issues causing me to run around like the world was ending and any food I saw had to be eaten. And oh, let’s not forget the out of whack hormones, ridiculous lack of sleep, unquenchable food cravings….. all translated into, bad.long.day.

If I hadn’t been so helplessly exhausted I would have cooked a healthy dinner tonight.

Something quick and easy like a lettuce wrap is always an awesome option for anyone that feels my pain after a day like this. You can get protein from your meat/beans/nuts, veggies from the obvious, and a little carbs from rice noodles. Wrap up one, two, or three in a head of iceberg and what you have is a cheap dinner that leaves you full and satiated.

 … You give your veggies a hug in their wrap, and your body gets one too! (I couldn’t resist the imagery… sorry 🙂 )

This week I kept the wraps completely vegetarian. 

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Grilled Stone Fruit Salad.

How is everyone’s day!?

I am sitting on our big cozy couch, with all the windows open and the air conditioning off. I feel like I am down the shore, minus any humidity. Finally, a truly beautiful day. 

On beautiful days like this, beautiful food should be made. 

This Grilled Stone Fruit Salad is gorgeous. 

If anyone remembers my first taste of this dish at the Wall & Water in New York City…. that is where the inspiration came from.

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Easy Slow Oven Tomatoes.

 A quick little mid-day recipe for all my readers. 

Since we are at the peak of tomato season – jersey tomato season for me!! – I wanted to share this not so quick, but oh so easy recipe for slow oven tomatoes.

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

Step 2: Slice your tomatoes horizontally  and place them sliced side up in a baking dish

Step 3: Brush each tomato with olive oil. I used basil oil (Mmmmmmmmm!!mmmmm)

Step 4: Add a sprinkling of sea salt

Step 5: Place into your preheated oven for three hours. Once hour 3 is up, turn off the oven and let them sit in there for another hour.

Out come these beauties:

You can put these slices on anything from a salad to a sandwich. On this week’s dinner menu are chicken sandwiches – how delicious would these be with a bit of pesto dousing the bread?! … They keep for a week for you can enjoy them endlessly!

(Thanks again to Gwyneth Paltrow and her book, my father’s daughter. If you haven’t checked out the cookbook yet, you should. It’s truly wonderful and full of some really healthy options, and some really creative ones as well)

image from shopping.518box.com

A Memorial Day Weekend Must: Grilled Corn.


A Day.. A Whole Weekend… What’s the difference. All I know is that Memorial Day/Weekend means so many of my favorite things, like white skinny jeans, bikinis, lounge chairs, and sunshine.

Memorial Day also means something much more important, summer food. Summer food is the best food. The freshest food. The most memorable food. It brings comfort in a whole different way… because what’s better than a plate of fresh sliced watermelon to help you digest some of the best grilled ____ fill in the blank you’ve ever had. 

This memorial day, whether you’re having a big get together, or a small “thing”, I suggest you fill in the blank with corn. Yes, GRILLED CORN. God’s Food. God’s gift to man. My gift to you. 

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West Chester Dining: The Pale Horse Gastro Pub.

There is something so enticing about the word NEW. New implies a sense of excitement, curiosity, and originality that no other adjective has the power of gifting to what it precedes.

Although new is not the first word I would use to describe The Pale Horse Gastro Pub on Gay Street in West Chester, it deserves all of the well wishes of that word. Open for 6 months, but just recently graced with a beautiful red sign on its historic facade, curiosity and excitement are definitely part of the vibe. But it is the originality that deserves a chance to shine too, if it doesn’t already just from the slightly morbid, but definitely different name. You aren’t going to find The Pale Horse just trotting into West Chester, it is cantoring, bringing the town that is quietly bubbling to a boil with some of the most delicious cuisines the burbs have to offer, a menu of dishes that stand apart from the other eateries in the neighborhood.

Credit to the owners, a young group of guys, all approaching 30, for adding a spin on what it means to be restauranteurs. The Pale Horse isn’t on its way to becoming just a neighborhood spot, it really could become a second dinner table for families, friends, couples, or beer and wine aficionados alike. The atmosphere lends to it, quaint and simple, but so does the menu and quality of the dishes… you feel like they thought them up just for you.

Tomorrow, the Spring Menu debuts for dinner.

If this beautiful season, signifying the epitdome of the word, new, wasn’t your favorite before…. it will be once you have your fork or spoon head on into some of these items. Fresh, colorful, and totally loveable…. from soups to sinful sweets!

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Cook the Cover. Food and Wine Magazine: March 2011.

Photo from happymundane.com

Let me preface this by saying that I totally acknowledge my bias being a photography nerd, but answer me this, what is the determining factor for why you buy a food magazine.. the content teased on the cover, or the photograph of the food?

I truly believe that there is nothing that our eyes  become more infatuated with than gorgeous photographs. In January 2008, I bought this issue of Bon Appetit because of the cover photograph (Okay, maybe “Best of the Year” caught my eye too)….

In January 2008, I bought a magazine that allowed me to dicover a recipe that transformed my understanding of what immense potential pie has, what chocolate has the power to become, and what creme fraiche can do to a simple whipped cream.

Bittersweet Chocolate Pie, Best of 2007, and the Best, period.

Recently, with my whirl wind experience building GtoG into something beautiful, food magazines serve the purpose of lulling me to sleep each night. Purchased and subscribed to for not only photographic inspiration, but also content that I can share with you all, I felt like it would be an awesome idea to cook the dishes featured on one or two covers each month…. If they are featured on the cover they must have potential for greatness, right?

It is for them to know, and for us to find out.

So I give you March 2011’s first Cover to Cook – Food and Wine Magazine.

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Chocolate Chip Cornbread.

I love alliterations, if you haven’t already figured that out.

I am pretty sure one of my many restaurant concepts that evolve every day in my mind involves a restaurant with a menu completely derived from alliterations. Overdone? Maybe, maybe not?

Chocolate Chip Cornbread included in that menu…. I think I could be on to something.

From the simple ingredients it takes to put together this awesome snack/appetizer/side/dessert/breakfast/late night munchie comes a simple spin on a comforting cuisine. I am actually not sure why I hadn’t thought of this idea till now.

What do I associate with cornbread besides love, family, fried chicken, and yes, admittedly a childhood obsession and overfeeding of cuisine from the then named, “Boston Chicken”. Therefore, I am absolutely positive that adding chocolate to the list of cornbread associations is by no means out of place. Doesn’t chocolate represent love and warmth? Yes, Hallmark built a holiday to celebrate love based on cards and chocolates!

 

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Dinner for Daughter.

From snagging gourmet Mexican on a busy NYC block to an adventure into who knows where for Chipotle. From rest stop Starbucks to hipster street corner cappuccino.. I have enjoyed all aspects of the foodie world during my week away. Well, everything but a dinner from Chef Mama. Therefore I left a visit to her house as my last stop on my way back to Philadelphia.

Tonight she treated me to a creative but healthy meal. Ever since I saw a recipe for farro pilaf in Clean Eating Magazine, I have been curious about creating a dish with this newly popular grain. Much to my thorough attempts to find a box of it, Whole Foods always came out to be my only option. Unfortunately in asking me to shell out $11 for a small package of these uncooked little pearls, all I could do was respectfully decline and continue my search. Leave it to my mom to find it in no time at her local grocery store… I was pretty sure I was born with her expert food shopping gene, but lately I have started questioning it!

The farro cooked easily, just as rice does, taking only 20 minutes to absorb the water in the saucepan. It transforms into this crunchy comforting texture, simulating al dente pasta and risotto at the same time.

Mom threw together a quick homemade pesto which she spooned into the farro, allowing for the potent basil, salty cheese and nutty aromas to have their way with the dish. Add to the plate oven baked cornmeal and almond crusted tilapia, and a fresh salad with avocado and pear, and the meal was complete. Each flavor stood alone but shined even brighter as they came together… Making that happen is what Mama does best!

Amazing Arancini

I like my arancini like I like my restaurants.

Simple and nondescript on the outside…

Exciting, delicious, and full of life once you venture inside.

Looking at a plate of arancini, there is no way to prepare yourself for the feeling that ensues once your taste buds get a chance to introduce themselves to the dish. To the untrained eye, each brown crusty creation may look like anything from fried meatballs to just a really giant fried mozzarella ball… but that untrained eye is oh so incorrect. You are actually staring at one of the most spectacular gifts that the Italian nonnas and mamas have ever put on this earth.

In a pictorial recipe I will introduce you to the amazing dish that is …

Arancini.

Arancini can be composed of any combination of delicious meats, vegetables and cheeses: in this case sautéed onions and prosciutto.

chunks of mozzarella and porcini mushrooms ready to bury themselves within.

cook the arborio with chicken stock and white wine.

once rice, prosciutto, and onion are combined, the cooling process begins.

cooked to perfection, and cooling so that it can be rolled easily!

Layer 1 - homemade breadcrumbs. Layer 2 - riso with prosciutto and onion. with a dollop of mozzarella and porcini shoved in the center.

fry them in small batches to guarantee a uniform golden brown.

a perfect side to a simple garden salad!

See what I mean? A masterpiece. The ooey gooey cheesey center, enveloped in the deliciously combined risotto, covered in the crusty crunch of fresh bread crumbs!  Colorful, flavorful, and texture laden!
Simple outside, spectacular inside. Just like I like it.
 
Tonight I will be at my first restaurant to begin my quest through Philadelphia Magazine’s “50 Best Places to Eat.”
In keeping with that theme, I also wanted to call attention to another one of Philadelphia Magazine’s great features, “The Best of Philly” series.
 
With a category titled, “Risotto Revamp”, the magazine brings another restaurant onto my radar:
 

Gemelli Narberth.

What did they do to revamp risotto??  

“Chef Clark Gilbert’s risotto is thick and buttery, layered with a good, stinky gorgonzola, rolled into orbs, fried to a crunch, and served like a trio of golden, crispy Christmas tree ornaments.”

I’m pretty sure that describes the deliciousness of arancini, no?
 
I anticipate a trip to Chef Gilbert’s dining room at Gemelli for a week night dinner one of these upcoming evenings. I can only imagine that with Philadelphia Magazine’s stamp on my favorite golden goodies, they will light up my eyes and find their way into my heart as all others have.
 
 
Stay tuned for my recipe for arancini, being posted on the “recipe” page this weekend.