Friday, May 29, 2009

Things are a growin'

Things are definitely growing down here in the garden. I went out on Friday morning and spent the day with Mom & Dad weeding- boy, was it rough work. But so worth it!!

We've also got quite a few little sprouts of baby veggies!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Risotto Cakes

Back when I made my Beer Can Chicken, I saved the carcass and boiled it in water all night with an onion and some celery. It made the most flavorful stock. I filled Ziplock bags and froze that flavorful stock and began having dreams of using it to make risotto for the first time.

There were the most beautiful English Peas at the market the other day. I happily shelled my peas and knew I would put them in with the risotto. Another addition was bought at the store, a lovely ear of corn. So with my stock, corn & peas, I was going to have a lovely risotto

It was a great risotto in fact, but too much for just F. & me. So I spoke with my most trusted source, my grandmother on whether you could freeze risotto or not. She told me in fact she freezes individual tablespoons of risotto to make Risotto Cakes.

And that’s what I did. I lined a cookie sheet with some wax paper and scooped heaping tablespoons of my risotto mixture. Then, I stuck them in the freezer overnight.

When my lovely Matron of Honor came over for dinner the other week, I knew just what I’d make as my premier. I took the frozen cakes out and let them thaw about 5 minutes. Then, they took a quick dip in an egg wash, and into a mixture of homemade breadcrumbs & panko breadcrumbs before hitting the hot oil in a sauté pan.

Ten minutes later…

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Oven Ribs

Yes. These were made in an oven.

Take your raw baby back ribs and put them in a high-sided, oven-safe pan. Fill the pan up with about an inch of water. Add 1/4 C apple cider vinegar to the water. Add the plain, raw ribs into the pan. Cover the pan tightly in aluminum foil, crimping the edges so that no steam escapes.

Put them in the oven for an hour at 225 degrees F.

Remove Ribs from pan and onto a jelly roll pan. Coat the ribs in your choice of BBQ sauce. (We used Sweet Baby Ray's Sweet n' Spicy sauce)

Put the pan on the second to top rack in the oven under the broiler. Broil until bubbly. Remove and baste again with sauce. Replace pan under the broiler. After about 5 minutes under the broiler, these babies are ready to be separated and devoured.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Garden

the backyard Garden, age: 3 weeks.
I was so close to joining a CSA this year. In fact, I did enroll, and then I backed out and canceled my order. Instead, I decided I would support a family CSA. My Family's.
Okay, not really a CSA. But we are in it for a fun summer of hobby vegetable gardening this Summer. We have over 30 tomato plants. Over 15 pepper plants. Cucumbers, zucchinis, bush beans, leeks, onions, and countless herbs and even some cutting flowers.
It's progress is magical. After half a week of heavy raining, the bean's (not seen in this photo) went from 2" bean sprout stubs into magical broad multi leafed plants. The onions already can be harvested as "green onions." We have three blooms on the tomato plants, and we also saw three baby red bell pepper buds.
It's all very excited.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Tasca Brava

Tasca Brava
607 Glenwood Ave
Raleigh, NC
(919) 828-0840

I went to Tasca Brava with a friend for a drink and to try some American tapas. The converted restaurant was once just another older house on Glenwood. An old closet has been fitted with wine racks to store the proprietors lovingly selected Spanish wines. The dining areas are decorated with care. The chair seats are upholstered in a blue velvet print; above the doorways are decorated with flower pots arranged on wrought iron holders, reminiscent of Madrid side streets.

Ironic to the picture perfect decor otherwise, the menus were the nice, large, faux-leather covered type frequently used, however, on the front a Tasca Brava logo had been glued to partially cover the original logo of Bistro 607 (the restaurant that existed in the location prior to Tasca Brava).

While my friend and I were there for tapas with the idea of a little something to nibble on while enjoying a drink, the "tapas" at Tasca Brava (including things like pan roasted asparagus with olives, octopus & goat cheese mashed potatoes, wild boar sausage cooked in a wine) seemed more like side dishes that would be featured on the side of a great meal rather than the pinchos that I experienced when I was in Spain.

With my friend being a cheese lover, and myself wanting Serano Ham, we ordered the $16 "Spanish Sampler" plate. It came with some chorizo, a few thin and moist slices of Serrano ham, Marcona almonds, and three different Spanish cheeses: one goat, one cow and one sheeps. The jamon & chorizo were of the highest quality. Sometimes Serrano ham can be sliced thick and the gamey-ness can overwhelm, the paper thin slices at Tasca Brava were succulent and delightful with the slight game after-taste. The chorizo was very tasty, full of smokey paprika and heat from other peppers. The olives were also very well done, with several different varieties, each with a distinctive taste in a little dish. The $2 roll I ate though was a disappointment, being dense and bland, the accompanying garlic butter was a nice touch, but the roll did not improve much with its addition.

I had the house made sangria ($6/glass). The chilled wine drink was luscious and thick and almost creamy from the fruit juice emulsion with the wine. Very Delicious!

All in all, I give Tasca Brava a B+ . While it is not budget friendly, the food is extremely well done with obvious care and pride.