Saturday, January 8, 2011

Recipe Recruits: Ginger Dinner

"Edamame! Come on guys, Edamame!" is what I heard Delaney (3 1/2) yell from the other room after I placed the first dish on the table. My kids don't love "green" foods but they love edamame so we have it quite often. Tonight I topped it with a little gray salt thanks to Costco, whose spice aisle has decided to make it accessible and affordable to the masses.

We ate our edamame with a couple more recipes I tested out from Radically Simple. I made Ginger Bouillon with Enoki Mushrooms. I couldn't find Enoki mushrooms so I substituted Shiitake instead. I wanted more ginger flavor in it but liked the inclusion of crystalized ginger and will work on this one a bit to make it more to my liking. But it was a good excuse to use my pretty spoons that I got at Pearl Market in NYC a few trips ago. And the kids were so excited that I let them use these spoons that they ate the soup too.

The other recipe I made was Spring Mix with Carrot-Ginger Dressing and Proscuitto. First off, I am used to eating my Proscuitto on melon and have actually never cooked it to crispy before. Now I am hooked and will use it on many more dishes instead of bacon. The ginger dressing was great and I am glad I made extra for saving in the fridge for later. I added some mushrooms to the salad since I had some leftover from the soup. I will be making this salad often!

The only thing this dinner left me thinking is that I really should have made my favorite ginger cocktail from Bistro VG in Roswell to go with it, thus completing the Ginger Dinner Trifecta. Next time I will remember. If you want to try it, here is the recipe:

Mix equal parts Domaine De Canton Ginger Liquor with Champagne. Add a squeeze of lemon and serve over ice. I would be remiss if I didn't warn you that it is a bit strong so you do not want to make this on a night when your to do list is really long.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Get Spicy

It's here. I waited and waited for the Spicy Chicken Sandwich to hit Chick-fil-A stores and when it finally did, it did not disappoint. I love the spicy sandwich so I was most excited when I heard there would be a Spicy Chicken biscuit to follow.

So I reserved mine this week, a week before you can buy them, at

The kids and I packed up early for school and went to get our free biscuit before carpool.

The biscuit is very good. It is not nearly as spicy as the sandwich and then the butter of the biscuit cuts the spice as well. I think it is a nice addition to their menu. There are still reservations available if you want to run get yours!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

HAPPY new year

I realize that this post is coming a little late but we had the good fortune of spending our New Year with some wonderful friends on their farmland on the Tennessee/Arkansas line that has been in this family since the 1800's...
There is something so beautiful to me about the winter skyline out in the country..

I consider myself a "city-girl" in every way, but every once in a while it is pretty wonderful to be smack-dab in the middle of nowhere...especially with good friends and good wine!
It also helps when one of your friends is a fantastic cook and whips up dishes like this...which I might add was a GREAT way to enjoy collard greens on New Years Day! (or any day!)

Frank Stitt's Collard Green and White Bean Gratin

1 pound collard greens, stems and tough ribs removed

5 garlic cloves, divided, 1 crushed and 4 chopped

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 medium onion, chopped

1 small red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

3 cups cooked white beans, 1/2 cup cooking liquid reserved

1/2 cup diced or chopped cooked ham-hock meat, sausage, chorizo or bacon

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

1/4 cup medium-coarse fresh bread crumbs

COVER collards with salted water, then heat and boil until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain well and chop into small pieces. Set aside.

PREHEAT oven to 475 degrees. Vigorously rub the inside of a 10- or 12-inch gratin dish with the crushed garlic. Discard the crushed garlic and set the dish aside.

HEAT 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add collard greens, stir to coat, and cook for 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl.

STIR in beans, meat, 2 tablespoons cheese, 1 tablespoon oil and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper. Add enough of the reserved bean cooking liquid to moisten, then spread the mixture in the prepared dish. Top with bread crumbs and remaining cheese. Drizzle with remaining oil.

COVER dish with aluminum foil and bake until the filling is hot and bubbly, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake until the top of the gratin is golden and crusty, about another 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

YUUUUUUUUUUM! Says it serves 8-10 but the 6 of us could have easily polished this one off in one sitting!

Not one for travel by car, the drive was actually interesting..partly because I was playing with my new Christmas present..Nikon D5000..thanks thanks thanks hubs! (now both girls of two cities two girls are shooting with this bad mamma jamma!)

And then there was this bridge...Obsessed. If the hubs would have allowed it, I would have driven through it over and over again. Why? I can't really explain it....

Then it was back to the city..Home Sweet Home!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Recipe Recruits: Brussel Sprouts with Dates

One of my favorite gifts I received this Christmas (thanks Melissa!) was a cookbook: Radically Simple by Rozanne Gold. Every single recipe makes my mouth water. The combinations are unusual and yet very easy. Tonight I made my first of many things from this book. I cooked Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Dates.

I have always made my brussel sprouts a similar way. I think they are the best when roasted like this. But Gold's addition of chopped dates and parmigiano-reggiano was so good. I think this would win over anyone that claims a dislike of brussel sprouts. And if this recipe is any indication of the goodness of things to come, I highly recommend this cookbook!

We enjoyed our sprouts with a pizza inspired by a recipe I saw a while ago that included ham and ricotta and figs. Since I had dates on hand and no figs in sight, I did a little reinventing and ended up with something I loved.

Here is my recipe:

Thin Crust Pillsbury Pizza Dough (baked off for 6 minutes at 400 degrees)
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 large chopped onion
10 pitted dates roughly chopped
1/2 cup chopped ham
1 1/2 cup Ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Saute onions and thyme in the butter over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Set aside and let cool. Top baked crust with Ricotta and spread onion mixture over the top. Scatter with chopped ham and dates and top with Parmigiano and more thyme. Cook for another 8 minutes and serve.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Year In Photos: 2010

My favorite photographs of 2010. Enjoy.


Pork Belly, Pork Belly, Glorious Pork Belly.

Seriously, is there anything better when perfectly cooked than pork belly? And there is no better pork belly than at Tom Colicchio's Craftbar.

Brandon and I ate there a year or so ago and we have talked about the pork belly ever since. I recently read that Craft and Craftbar will be leaving Atlanta. Although I hope this is not true, we thought we better get there fast and have our last taste of heaven before the doors close. We went for New Year's Eve. We were a bit disappointed that the Risotto Fritters weren't on the menu for the night but our server assured us that they usually are.

As if Craftbar's pork belly could be improved from our last visit, this night's selection was served with Ginger and Pears. Oh My. It was as good if not even better than we remembered, melt in your mouth perfection.

We started with cocktails: a ginger beer, vodka, lemon lime mixture for me that was wonderful and a Hitachino Nest beer (a favorite and hard to find) for Brandon.

We enjoyed several other small plates including Scallops with Grits and Pickled Fennel,

Deviled Eggs with Crispy Proscuitto,

and Sweet Potato Soup with Candied Pecans.

We split the Veal Meatballs over Parpadelle.

They were all tasty but highly overshadowed by you know what!

My recommendation: Go to craftbar for cocktails, risotto fritters, and pork belly. Forget about the rest because nothing can compare.