Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May 26, 2013 - Asian Lobster

Good Morning, CS followers.  Yes... it's Wednesday and this post is super late.  But it was a holiday weekend and I ended up working almost all weekend at a volunteer event for the bank.  And then in the free time I did have - I spent it outdoors drinking cold beer and soaking in some Vitamin D.  Our apologies.

One of the best things about Memorial Day is that great food is always on sale.  So we skipped the steaks (it was hard) and went to old faithful - the lobster.  And one thing we want to try to do this summer is explore new ways of making lobster besides your typical drawn butter.  Here goes...

Cocktail - Ginger Lemonade Martini

As you have probably realized by now, Jennifer and I have a slight love affair for Polar Seltzer.  They always have such creative flavors that are perfect for martini making.  Guess what, folks - they just realized a whole bunch of new ones.  It's going to be a good summer.  This was Polar Seltzer Ginger Lemonade, Citron Vodka, lemon juice, and grated ginger.  Light, refreshing, delicious!

Appetizer - Crab Cakes over Arugula Salad with Wasabi Vinaigrette

Fantastic!  If you thought you couldn't make homemade crab cakes, you must try this recipe!  It is absolute perfection.  And a light arugula salad is a fantastic backdrop for it!  The wasabi vinaigrette can be a little spicy - so pay attention as you're making it so you can alter to your preferences.

Entree - Grilled Lobster with Garlic, Ginger, and Soy

Hello, my pretty.  This was a lovely way to do lobster!  The meat stayed moist and the ginger-soy sauce gave it a light but fantastic flavor.  What a great way to impress a lobster lover!

Side Dish - Sesame Pasta Salad

If you are looking for something to make in advance for cold or warm lunches and snacks - this is it!  We obviously didn't add any chicken - but everything else we kept the same.  The simple flavors of soy, rice vinegar, and sesame oil are perfect for the fresh cilantro and green onions.  Don't be afraid to be creative, either.  In the past, I've added Ponzu, OJ, fresh ginger, teriyaki, hoisin - this is the most forgiving recipe ever!

Entree Wine - 2011 Reserve Durand Sancerre

This fruity bombshell was perfect for the lobster!  It had aromas and flavors of white peach, grapefruit, and raspberry with a hint of wildflower.  It was softly aromatic but very well balanced.  A fantastic drinking white!

Dessert - Rum-Glazed Pineapple with Coconut Gelato

No was one was lit on fire during this process.  (Which, if you've followed our blog before - you know has sometimes been a problem for me.)  This was simple and easy.  (And let's be honest, we were lazy.)  Throw the pineapple on a non-stick skillet.  The sugar in the pineapple will start to caramelize.  Pour some rum over (we used Coconut Jack) and then lit the bad boy on fire.  The gelato was perfect and this was a fantastic way to end the meal!

So there you go - overall, a delicious way to change up the lobster obsession.  We hope you all had a fantastic holiday weekend, and want to say THANK YOU to all those men and women who serve or have served to protect our nation.  Happy Memorial Day.

Next Week - TBD

Monday, May 20, 2013

May 19, 2013 - Fish and Chips

Good Morning, everyone!  I am back to my normal posting schedule, thank you for your patience.  :-)  Anyways... when cod went on sale this week, we decided to go the Fish and Chips route.  

Cocktail - Muddled Basil and Strawberry Gin Cocktail

Why do we not use gin more often???  This was fantastic!  It's super easy, too.  We muddled some basil and some strawberry, and then added gin, fresh lemon juice, and soda water.  Simple, easy, and extremely refreshing.

Appetizer - Vidalia Onion Tart with Bacon, Honey, and Fresh Thyme

Okay, so there is a running joke with John and Jenn that I never finish my plate.  I licked this plate clean.  Amazing.  Incredible.  The onions were sweet and tender with the great smoky bacon and delicate thyme.  (And let's be honest... who doesn't like pie crust???)  This is a fantastic option if you're making a brunch, too!

Appetizer Wine - 2012 Cottesbrook Sauvignon Blanc

A very well balanced white with full fruity flavors and a crisp, clean finish.  It has intense aromas of gooseberry and citrus with lingering acidic flavors of lemon on the tongue.  Considered a "Best Value" from Wine Spectator.  

Entree - Fish and Chips

The beauty of this recipe is its simplicity.  I'm going to break some of this down for you.  Let's start with french fries.  You partially fry them, take them out, and then fry them again.  Anyone who makes fries will tell you that it must be done that way!  And its perfect.  Ours could have come out a little more crispy, but that's a personal preference and obviously easily fixed by leaving them in a few more minutes.  I'm also wondering if a sprinkle of seasoned salt before frying would have had a nice effect.  The recipe states to put the fish on top of the fries in the second round of frying.  This sounds odd, but it is imperative!  When you put the fish in alone, it sticks to the bottom of the frying basket and then when you remove it, all the breading comes off.  When you put it over the fries, that does not happen.  (Wow!)  Let's talk fish now.  We used cod, which we cut into chunks.  We made the batter as directed but used regular flour since I couldn't find rice flour.  We also had to add more club soda to the batter just to make it the right consistency.  So I suggest you get a bottle of club soda and just add until desired.  The batter came out perfectly!  It almost had a tempura-like consistency and was not overly greasy at all!  If this is what fish and chips is supposed to taste like, then I'm going to have it more often!  Great dish!

Entree Wine - 2011 Chateau De La Chesnaie Muscadet Sevre et Maine

How have we never had a Muscadet before???  This was great!  It's pale straw in color with aromas of mineral and sea breeze.  It had delicate citrus notes and was very smooth on the tongue.  It also had a slight effervescence to it that was distinctive and fantastic.  A great summer drinking wine!

Dessert - White Chocolate Mousse with Macerated Strawberries

Okay, so I kind of got lazy on this one.  I forgot to pick up a tart shell, and I definitely was not going to make one on my own, so I did a quick switch and made this simply as a white chocolate mousse, following the above recipe.  We then sliced up the strawberries and soaked them in a little cassis, and topped before serving.  The mousse recipe is fantastic!  Light, airy, fluffy, and so delicious!  I highly recommend!

So there you have it.  Another fabulous Sunday!  Next week is Memorial Day weekend, so we might end up cooking on Monday night, depending on the weather, but we'll have the time to do something really exotic and fun, so stay tuned!

Next Week - Memorial Day Weekend

Monday, May 13, 2013

May 12, 2013 - Lobster & Lamb

Good Morning, everyone!  Happy Monday!  I hope everyone had a lovely Mother's Day!  We couldn't really decide what to make this week (it's been a rough week for all three of us), so when Stew Leonard's had lobster and lamb chops on sale, we said what the heck - that's what we are making.  Here goes....

Cocktail - Cognac Laced Champagne with Orange Jello Ice Cubes

Okay, it sounds weird, but it's amazing!  Fill glass with an ounce of cognac, then top with champagne.  Jennifer made some ice cubes out of Jello the night before and we then dunked those inside.  It was such a different and exotic thing to try and it worked out great!

Appetizer - Lobster Vol au Vent with Orange Cognac Sauce

OH. MY. GOD.  Hands down the best thing we've ever made.  It's over.  We can't cook on Sundays anymore because nothing will be as good as this dish.  There is no way you can get any better.  Seriously.  Decadent, rich, lobster, cognac, puff pastry - it's like heaven in your mouth.  (We did halve the sugar, and skipped the mushrooms.)  If you ever needed something to make to impress, this is it.  Don't look any further.

Entree - Spiced Lamb Chops with Mint-Mango Sauce

Equally delicious!  Although it was hard to eat anything else after the appetizer.  This meal is cooked in seconds.  You just make a batch of spice rub.  Then you make the sauce.  Then wait until you are ready to cook.  We sprinkled the rub on the lamb, we did not press it into the spices - and I think it was perfect that way.  The spice was tantalizing and the sauce was fresh and cool.  Is there any better combination that mint and mango?  We cooked the baby lamb chops 1 minute on each side on the grill.  And we simply served with a grilled asparagus and couscous.  

Entree Wine - 2011 Vina Rubican Rosado

A surprising rose!  We figured a rose would be nice against the spice of the lamb and the fruit of the sauce.  This is not a sweet rose - it has subtle tannins and a lingering finish.  There are flavors of strawberry and dark fruits with a lush mouthful.  Fantastic rose!

Dessert - Strawberry and Pineapple Parfait

Okay, we got lazy on this one - and it was lovely!  We cut up fresh strawberries and pineapple and then macerated in some creme de cassis.  We then layered with fresh whipped cream and topped with a delightful hazelnut cookie that Jennifer picked up from Whole Foods.  (Those cookies were insane!)  Light, refreshing, and a fabulous way to end dinner.

So there you go.  A meal that was beautiful, simple, and incredible.  Make the lobster dish.  Trust me.

Next Week - TBD

Monday, May 6, 2013

May 5, 2013 - Cinco de Mayo 2.0

Good Afternoon, CS followers!  Welcome to another fabulous Mexican inspired meal - naturally inspired by the fabulous Cinco de Mayo holiday!  Let's get started...

Cocktail - Mango Margarita

Freshly juiced mango, tequila, triple sec.  That's it.  That easy!  (And a fantastic sugar/salt/zest rim!)  If you're curious - 2 parts tequila, 2 parts mango juice, 1 part triple sec was our strategy.

Appetizer - Mexican Ceviche

Super stuff right here.  We followed the recipe, and used calamari and shrimp.  Great flavor, great depth!  A home run appetizer!

Appetizer Wine - 2012 Chateau Belingard Rose

The go-to Rose of the summer!  This was fantastic!  Great lush flavors of raspberry and cherry with a great velvety texture.  Not too sweet like a rose, but almost seems to have a nice oakiness like a chardonnay.  A great rose for everyday drinking!

Entree - Tequila and Lime Baby Back Ribs with Guava-Ginger Glaze

Pick up your pen.  Find your shopping list for this coming weekend.  Write down every ingredient you see on this recipe.  Now make it!  I thought that I had mastered making baby back ribs - I really did.  But this blew our minds!  The rub was insane, and the glaze was out of this world.  Sweet but with some heat from the ginger!  So now the question remains - are baby back ribs really Cinco de Mayo food, though?  Who cares!  There's tequila and lime... group vote - it's worthy!

Side Dish - Skillet Corn Bread with Tequila Crema

It's so easy!  And delicious!  Who doesn't like cornbread?  We unfortunately don't have a cast iron skillet so therefore we used a regular stainless steel one, and it worked beautifully.  (Although, as written, this recipe makes a TON!)  And the crema was great for dipping!  What's crema?  Basically, we took some sour cream, whisked in a little half and half, a few splashes of tequila, and a pinch of cumin.  Make to your own liking - taste as you go!

Side Dish - Roasted Vegetable Stuffed Peppers

Yum, yum, yum.  The crunch panko with the gooey cheese and the crisp vegetables!  Divine!  (And yes, we swapped cheddar for the parm.... it's what was in the fridge.)  Using the Essence is critical... it gives a great flavor!  You will love these peppers!

Entree Wine - Tequila Sangria

Yup.  Tequila in sangria.  Basically, we took a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and added tequila, triple sec, and a ton of fruit.  Let it sit all day and marinate and voila - an awesome sangria that we definitely had a little too much of.  :-)

Final Plate

Dessert - Tres Leches Cake

Okay, so I nothing about tres leches cake.  Never had it before, and definitely have never cooked it.  This thing was awesome!  Moist and light with a great flavor!  And then I brought leftovers to my teller line today and they all exclaimed it was fantastic!  (Yay!)  Anyways... just follow the recipe and you can't go wrong!  Pierce the heck out of the thing with a fork before pouring the milks over.  And yes, the milk is going to overflow at first.... trust me.. it will soak in!  So good!

So there you have it.  A fabulous Cinco de Mayo themed meal that was delicious, easy, and oh-so-satisfying!  See you next week!

Next Week - TBD