Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bier Markt and Bar Cento

I realized I never posted about our trip to NE Ohio.  After visiting the West Side Market, we tried to go to the Great Lakes Brewing Company.  I'm sure we would have had a lovely meal there, but the wait was crazy long.  So we went back around the corner to the Bier Markt and Bar Cento.  I'm not really sure why this 2-in-1 restaurants are 2-in-1 and not just two.  Or one.  They have one menu, the same entryway, the same kitchen.  But whatever.

We were seated right away in the outer, foyer-ish area of the restaurant.  I understood why it seemed so entryway when we were told that the building used to be a department store.  It was nicely decorated for Christmas, and the booth was large, comfy and quiet.  The interior room was long and rather narrow.  The bar and kitchen ran along the left side and the tables seemed warm and cozy.  The host tried to seat a few parties near us in the outer area, but most declined and asked for a table inside. I was fine with our quiet spot, but can understand why they preferred otherwise. Here's the view from our booth.

And a blurry shot of the interior area:

The food was delicious. We started with a cheese and salumi plate that included house pickled vegetables, a glass of wine for me, Warsteiners for them.  We devoured it in no time.

LBK and I had the burger, which was very good.  Juicy and well seasoned.

The In-laws had pizzas - the Sunnyside, which was the best thing on the table,

and the pizza bianco, which was also good.

We definitely enjoyed our meal here and would recommend it.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Eat My Shorts


LBK asked me to make a cake for work since they finished their project. It's their project group's logo. I used two 10" squares, trimmed a small triangle off one side and reattached it to the top.
I wish I had piped the name instead of trying to do a transfer. It didn't work so well. It's okay though and I'm sure they will love it.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Satisfying a Craving

re-post from January 2009

Friday night, I wanted to go out for dinner. The day ended crappily and I wanted to be served. To have dinner delivered to my table and the empty plate whisked away when I was done, never to be seen again. To eat pumpkin ravioli at a nearby semi-romantic, slightly nicer than casual place. To sit in the company of adults, to cherish time with Pav. Who was not in the mood to go out. Our going out/staying in preferences just didn't align.

So Saturday, after going to a bridal shower nearby in the afternoon, I made my own damn ravioli. I used the food processor to make the pasta dough and the Kitchenaid attachment to roll it out.

Pumpkin ravioli with butter and sage sauce, pecans and pepperoncini

With some sauted rapini and a bit of white wine, it really hit the spot.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lidia at Home

repost from 8/09

In Kansas City, we ate at Lidia Bastianich's restaurant. I've had Lidia's Italy for awhile, though I haven't cooked too much from it. Mostly because we love the Braised Chard and I almost always make that. Chard, boiled til tender. Garlic, chili flakes, tomato paste, fried in olive oil. Beans, tomatoes, heated quickly. Chard tossed and coated. Grilled sausages on the side. Delicious.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mmmmm, bacon

(repost from 6/09)
Since we first tried this drink we have made them on several other occasions with and without the orange and with orange bitters.  Delicious.  I've done  only enough for two drinks each time.

I was sent a link to this YouTube video from one of the best cocktail lounges in NYC, PDT.

Being a good girl of Southern origins, I have a jar of clean bacon grease in the fridge at all times. I also have a bottle of bourbon. Even though I had to make a cobbler, get cleaned up and dressed up and make it to graduation on time, cobbler in hand, I still took a few minutes to do the conversions and reduce the recipe to infuse just enough bourbon for two drinks. 30 ml of bacon fat to 125 ml of bourbon. I scrawled a note so he would know when to put it in the freezer and whisked away to the graduation ceremony.

Tonight, we made just one drink, to share. Even without the orange peel, it was phenomenal. Super smoky from the bacon, but it didn't scream BACON. The orange would have really added to it, I think, and maybe a bit more bitters. From the video, those dashes are pretty big dashes. I could see infusing at least half a bottle of bourbon.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Breaking in the Griddle


Last weekend, we broke in the griddle on the oven with some bacon followed by blueberry pancakes. I'm loving it. It cooks very evenly and is easy to use.

The following weekend, I made brioche from Dorie's book to make her sticky buns. The brioche makes two loaves and the sticky buns only use half that, so I baked the other loaf. I wanted to compare it to the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes brioche. The more traditional recipe was no more difficult to make given that I used the Kitchenaid to mix it. It had to rise for 2 hours, like the 5 Minute recipe. It required another 2 hours on the counter with attention only every 30 minutes. Then it went into the fridge overnight and was shaped and baked after a second rise the next day. I really didn't feel it took more effort or time at all. The flavor was similar, but the texture, which I liked in the 5 Minute loaf, was even better in the traditional one. If the work load was significantly different, I would use the 5 Minute recipe, but the difference is negligible and I prefer Dorie's recipe overall.

Then we, of course, made French toast on the griddle. It was devoured before we even thought to look for the camera. It was the best damn French toast I have ever had. Ever. EVER, people. I thought I was just giddy at the first bite. The second and third slices elicited the same fluttery eye rolling and gentle groaning. Bacon was practically ignored. I don't think I can ever eat French toast that is not made from this brioche.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Christmas at last

To start St Andre triple cream cheese, crackers, pear, and fig jam.

For dinner, two New York strip steaks and frites.
Potatoes ready for the oil:


Dessert, double chocolate cookies (Martha Stewart) and a pecan cookie from the All American Cookie Book.  The pecan cookies use an interesting method.  You boil the chopped pecans and butter together to brown the butter and the pecans.  Then drain the butter from the nuts, chill it until it resolidifies, then use it in the dough.  The flour, confectioners sugar and baking soda are combined with the butter in the food processor.  Then part of the pecans are blended with egg, vanilla and a bit of water in the food processor.  This liquidly mixture is combined with the flour mixture and the other half of the pecans.  The soft dough is rolled out between parchment and chilled, then cut out, topped with a  pecan half and baked.


And some Canady chocolates that were one of my gifts.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Baking for the Secretaries

One of the first things they tell you is to make friends with the secretaries and the custodians. So every year, during registration, I bake for the secretaries. They devoured every crumb.

French Yogurt Cake with Orange Marmalade Glaze, from Baking: From My Home to Yours

Easy Jam Tart from David Lebovitz

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Saturday is Baking Day

another re-post, slightly edited

LBK takes soup for lunch most days in the winter. When I started baking bread last winter from the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day book, he thought I was going to keep him supplied with yummy bread all winter. Unfortunately, he never really expressed that to me, and in a an effort to keep all those carbs from piling on the pounds, I tried to resist baking bread very often. However, he recently made a comment about wishing for bread to go with his soup, so I'm stocking the freezer with bread for him. He can grab one in the morning for his lunch and just give it a quick refresh in a toaster oven or eat it as is. It will be thawed by lunch for sure. Here are the results of today's baking: 8 mini loaves like these and 2 larger boules.

I have to work on sizing and slashing. I think these are a bit too big, though he may think they are fine. (if you click on the pics to see the larger ones, you can see the blistering on the crust and how delicious the inside is. These pics turned out pretty good.)

I also baked another French Pear Tart since our friend is in town.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Chicken and Kale - again, and again, and again

(Note - This is a re-post from a prior blog.)

We saw these friends again over the holidays and were pleased to find out that they also made this dish a number of times over the past year.  This year we had caesar salad and pizza with leftover Costco birthday cake for dessert.  Below is the original post, slightly edited.

So for dinner, I, we, because LBK helped, made the Chicken and Kale from Food & Wine yet again. We first made it over the holidays when we visited friends we see only once a year or so. While we love them, when you see someone so infrequently, coming together again can be awkward at first. LBK suggested we take some groceries over and cook dinner together as a way to break the ice. They have a great space for it - a just big enough house set back in the woods that's warm and cozy.

The requirements for the meal: not turkey or ham, nothing too heavy, and something that would not add to the holiday leftovers crammed into their fridge. With December Food & Wine magazine's 1 Hour Impromptu Party menu at hand, we offered up Roasted Chicken Legs with Potato and Kale. Since then, we have made for New Year's Eve and for dinner twice.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Little Bird

We visited the One of a Kind Show with the intent of purchasing something for the house.  We wandered and took in the whole show, then circled back and debated the merits of various pieces of photography and art.  We ended up with this little guy, who is now perched on the armoire where we can look at him every day.  He's perched on a croquet ball, if that gives you a sense of scale.  You can see other works by the artists here.