Sunday, March 20, 2011

Naples, March 19 and 20

We are having a fantastic vacation!!! Yesterday we left Naples and headed to the Key's. We saw that Morada Bay (a restaurant we had been to a couple times that we love in Islamorada, FL) was having a "full moon party". It turns out they have this party every full moon. With fire jugglers, live music, buffet (if you are hungry... we had a regular dinner), drummers and fire works. We got there about 6:30, they don't take reservations so we waited about 45 minutes for a table (which was perfect). She sat us in a prime location, right by the water's edge, people walking by said "wow, you guys got a great table, do you know someone??" We got some great house margaritas while we waited for the table and stuck with that during the meal too.

Tony ordered stone crabs as his appetizer. He said they were very special, he got 4 of them and he enjoyed them obviously. I was a little more boring but I loved it, an arugula salad that I had last time we were there and it was really good. I ordered something I had never had before... The Mahi Mahi dish, so good! It was a nice white mild fish and they pan seared it, maybe with some cornstarch coating and cooked in butter. Nice texture in and out, and it was served with Israelis Cous Cous and some kind of baby green sprouts. Tony ordered a whole yellow snapper (with the head and everything) with coconut rice, braised zucchini and summer squash and a sweet chili sauce. We shared a warm chocolate cake with a chocolate ganache center and two cappuccino's. We didn't get any pictures of those because it wouldn't have come out, just too dark.

This morning we woke up and decided to walk to a local breakfast place that we actually had been to before called "The Midway Cafe". Its just this small tiny place that doesn't look like anything from the outside but really good food and coffee. I got a goat cheese, spinach, tomato and egg pita (really good and fresh pita). Tony got the Swiss scramble, it was scrambled eggs, Swiss cheese, caramelized onion and spinach onto of foccacia (I didn't realize it until now but we had similar dishes). Really good dishes, Tony said his foccacia was really good and fresh too.

We drove back to Naples after breakfast, we got on the road about 11:00, and we thought we might go out to lunch or dinner in Naples but after driving for 3 and a half hours we decided to go to the store again and pick up some ingredients for dinner. I got some pizza dough, a can of diced tomatoes, an onion (that I am caramelizing right now) and zucchini to make a grilled pizza. We already have some goats cheese and Peccorino Romano from other meals. Tony got some sushi for himself too.

We took Rt 41 back from the Key's and I saw a lot of alligators in a stream that basically follows the road the whole way back. We didn't pull over to take any pictures, but there were so many of them.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

NE Foodie heading South!

We're taking a vacation here at NE Foodie!  But we'll still be blogging.  Heading to southern FLA to temper our bones before the hot summer in New England.  We'll be spending significant time in the Naples and Islamorada areas.  Let us know your restaurant recommendations....or at least what you think we should we be cooking/grilling in FLA.....

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Friday Night, March 11 2011, with Lisa and John

This week we invited John and Lisa over. Should I make new recipes or shall I revisit some old ones???? I have been wanting to go back and make some that I have only made one time. I thought I'd do a couple appetizers, a salad, a main pasta dish and dessert.

Fried Sausage-stuffed Green Olives

This was in the Bon Appetit September 2010 (the restaurant issue). These stuffed olives came from a restaurant called Barbacco Eno Trattoria in San Francisco. They are stuffed with sweet sausage, Parmesan cheese, parsley, lemon zest, crushed red pepper and garlic then they are breaded with flour, egg and bread crumbs and fried to crisp the outside and cook the sausage inside, about 7 minutes.

Pot Stickers

I combined ground pork, peanut oil, onion, garlic, cilantro, soy sauce, scallions and sesame oil. Filled some wonton skins with this mixture and fried them in a little oil for a minute then steamed them by splashing them with a bit of water and covering the pan with a lid. After 5 minutes remove the lid and let any remaining water cook off. You get one side that's crispy and the other side is soft. I combined soy sauce, sugar, rice wIine vinegar and sesame oil for a little dipping sauce.

Walnut, Apple and Candied Bacon Salad

Lisa is a big fan of walnuts so I had to make a salad like this. I slow cooked some fat bacon in the oven with brown sugar on each one until perfectly done. It was just some baby arugula, spring mix, cherry tomatoes, thin slice apples, walnuts and the bacon. I made a dressing with white wine vinegar, honey, mustard, shallots, salt, pepper and olive oil.

Penne with Five Cheeses

I have made this many times but not lately, so I forgot this pasta should be penne rigate (with the ridges). I bought the regular penne, it was still good but the ridges makes such a difference because it holds more of the sauce. Its easy to make and it's assembled ahead of time so all you have to do is bake it off just before you are ready to eat. It only takes 8-10 minutes in the oven. You combine heavy cream, tomato puree, pecorino Romano, Italian fontina, Gorgonzola, ricotta, mozzarella and fresh basil in a large bowl. Boil Penne Rigate for 5 minutes (underdone because it will finish cooking in the oven) then add to the bowl of cheeses. Either cook in one big shallow baking dish or individual ones. Dot with butter and refrigerate until you are ready to bake it off in a 500 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.

Ruffled Milk Pie

I made this one other time and I have been wanting to make it again. It's store bought phyllo dough that's defrosted in the refrigerator then you pick one piece up and scrunch it into a long gathered piece and spiral it, and place it in the middle of a cake pan. Continue to scrunch into long pieces and go around and around. This is drizzled with clarified butter and baked for 25 minutes in a 350 oven. While its baking you make a custard with eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon and when it comes out of the oven you pour the custard over the cooked phyllo and return it to bake another 25 minutes. Dust it with confectioners sugar and more cinnamon. It says to serve it right away but I think I like it better the next day right out of the refrigerator. This is a recipe that was featured on the Martha Stewart show, it's originally made by Chef Vefa Alexiadou.

Friday, March 11, 2011

New England Foodie mentioned on!!!

Our little blog has been mentioned on!  Click HERE to see....

Jeanne's description and photos of Rigatoni with Eggplant and Pine Nut Crunch is included in their "What people are cooking" column.  This is an area where they show food blogger feedback on receipes that appeared in Bon Appetit.

You can see Jeanne's original blog post HERE.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Friday Night with Eric Ripert and Anthony Bourdain

Tony heard about Anthony Bourdain going to different cities to give these "talks" on a big stage and was hoping he would come around here sometime. Well shortly after that thought, there was an announcement that he was coming to Boston, but this time with his friend and fellow chef Eric Ripert. Tony bought a set of tickets for the two of us and he splurged for the front section at the Symphony Hall, we were in the 3rd row and back stage access after the show (Tony's 40th birthday is the same weekend, so this was part of his birthday celebration).

Tony made reservations at a restaurant that he's been wanting to try called Eastern Standard, located somewhat near the Symphony Hall, so we could walk everywhere. We had some good food there, definitely have to go back. We shared a Camembert cheese, fresh oregano and roasted tomato Flat bread. We almost didn't get a flat bread dish because we were thinking we should get something different, but I am glad we got it. We loved the fresh oregano on this and the tomatoes; I think they were, slowly roasted and maybe with a little sugar or just a touch of something sweet. The crust was so good, they weren't shy with the use of olive oil, which made the crust crunchy and delicious.

I got the vegetable risotto (we just grilled a big steak the night before, so I was staying away from meat). Wow, this was sooo good! It was a roasted Brussels sprout leaves, parsnips and pine nut risotto with a hollandaise sauce. I have never had risotto with something so creamy as an accompaniment. Hollandaise is that sauce you get on an Egg's Benedict, it's yolky, lemony and silky. I will recreate that for sure!

I was curious about one of the side dishes on the menu which was cauliflower, pine nut and crispy sage leaves. I love my vegetables and had to have it, it was also very delicious!

Tony got the lobster special which was a ricotta gnocchi dish with beautiful lobster meat, brised leeks and lemon brown butter. The gnocchi was so light, I had to have a bite and now I have to recreate that too!

We couldn't decide on dessert. There was a Creme Brulee which is always a good choice and a butterscotch bread pudding with a hazelnut praline crunch and ice we got them both and shared. The creme brulee was delicious but there was nothing different (which is how it should be) and the bread pudding was fantastic! It was very dense, but in a good way and with the butterscotch sauce just perfect, and the crunchy praline "cookie" and a scoop of delicious ice cream, I don't remember what flavor but it tasted like vanilla and maybe with praline too. To keep us awake and to go with dessert we got two cappuccino's.

We finished dinner and still had an hour and a half to kill before the show so we got out of the cold and had a seat at the bar of a place called "Symphony 8", it was a bar that was hoppin' right near symphony hall. I had a glass of Pino Noir and Tony had a Sam Adams Noble Pills. We headed into the hall about 30 mins early and found our seat right in the third row, but on the outer edge, but still good seats.

About 10 past 8 Anthony Bourdain was announced and he walked out. He was happy to see the large crowd that came to see him and he then announced Eric Repert. They are really good friends and they started by interrogating each other, in a funny way. Anthony told Eric to sit in this lonely chair in the front and center of the stage and Anthony asked him questions as if he was a lawyer and Eric was the suspect. Asking him if he's French and about places he's worked to be where he is today. He asked him about Gordon Ramsey, I guess Eric doesn't agree with the way Gordon Ramsey treats people on his shows and so he talked about that. Asking him about sustainable fish; which ones he won't eat because he is worried that there will be no more of certain species if we continue eating them today. Then Anthony was done with him and Eric asked Anthony to sit in the chair. He asked similar questions to Anthony. He asked him..."Is it true your wife can kick your ass?", (Eric introduced Anthony to-who is now-Anthony's wife). So after a few more silly questions, Eric said that he is done with his questions for Anthony.

They then sat together in two chairs that looked much more comfortable then that one lonely interrogation chair and they talked about how Americans eat more about quantity then about quality and in France they may have proteins like meats and chicken only a couple times a week and the rest of the meals are based more around vegetables. They talked about eating at places like McDonald's and how it's not good for you but Anthony can see why people do it, because it's cheap to buy and convenient and 3 year old kids want it so you have to give in sometimes. The kids don't want to hear about Micheal Pollens points to healthy eating. They talked about Eric's Michelin stars for his restaurant in NYC called Le Bernardin. They then took some questions from the audience. Someone asked Anthony about why he doesn't agree with vegetarians and he went off on that. His answer was that he travels all over the world and he is offered these dishes that he is honored to receive from these people that don't have much money or anything and they feed him what they like and what they think is good food (and I assume they aren't vegetarian foods, is what he meant from that). Someone asked "Where are you going to eat in Boston while you are here?" and they said where they wanted to eat (Craigie on Main) but they wouldn't have the time. The next morning Anthony was going to be on a flight to Cuba for an up coming show so he wouldn't be able to check out any places after the show.

The show ended at 10:00 and they said thanks for coming and they left the stage. We made our way along with 198 other people to a room where they served passed hors dovers and there was a bar to get a cocktail, beer or wine. We were too slow and before we knew it the line formed all the way around the room. By the time we got to the signing table to meet the two chef's it was just before midnight. I was so tired after eating and drinking and sitting comfortable in the seats for two hours and then standing in line for another hour and a half, but it was worth it. They sold books to have them sign and I planned on buying a book there instead of carrying around my "Evec Eric" book all night. Tony bought another copy of "Kitchen Confidential" which he has and already read, but wanted another copy to have him sign. I got another book by Eric called "A Return to Cooking", which I hadn't even heard of but it looks like a good one to me...

Here's the Boston Globe article about the show.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

March Foodie Poll is now live!

Be sure to vote in our March Foodie Poll at!  Snack foods is the topic this month.

The monthly poll is still new to us here, so here is how we think this is going to work:
  • We'll do our best to post a new poll on the 1st of each month.
  • Topics will be food related.  Your suggestions are encouraged!
  • We'll keep the prior month's results posted for a week or two after the end of the poll so everyone can see.  From the Feb poll....Gin is the spirit of choice!!