Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!!!

So, yeah, I've been a ghost lately and suddenly I appear on Halloween! Boo! I've been very busy packing for a move which culminates today! Hope you all have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Check out this pumpkin!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Easy & Quick Calzones!

I made these ages ago and totally forgot to blog about them! I got the recipe from one of the many blogs I frequent, Sweet Savory Southern. I was in the mood to make something yummy and different and these calzones hit the spot! The original recipe was from Cooking Light and Sweet Savory Southern adapted it to her liking. Well, my calzones were an adaptation of an adaptation! LOL!

Here's Sweet Savory Southern adaptation of the recipe with my alterations in parenthesis. We loved them, it was so quick and tasty! This would be a "fun" meal to make with kids :) Hope you enjoy!

Ham, Spinach, and Sun-Dried Tomato Calzones

3/4 cup ricotta cheese (I used skim ricotta)
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups baby spinach
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 oz sliced ham (I used fat free ham)
6 sun-dried tomatoes (I used 1/4 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained the oil)
salt and pepper
1 can refrigerated pizza dough
2 Tbsp olive oil
Cooking spray

Preheat oven as directed on pizza dough. Heat olive oil in a skillet and add the garlic. Cook for a minute and then add the spinach. Season with a little salt and pepper. Cook until spinach is wilted down and remove from heat. In a bowl combine ricotta, mozzarella, Italian seasoning, ham, sun-dried tomatoes, and cooked spinach and garlic. Divide the pizza dough in half and stretch each half into a circle. Spoon half of the mixture onto half of each circle and fold the other side over, pinching edges to seal. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and place calzones on the sheet. Brush the top of the dough with olive oil. Bake as directed on the pizza dough. Serve with marinara for dipping.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"M" is for Mango. . . Mango Dos Leches that is!

My buddy Mo reminded me that I must blog about the Mango Dos Leches I made last month and before I forget, here it is :)

Living in Miami, we have an abundance of mango during the summer. My husband's grandparents and parents are always giving us a bag to take home after Sunday dinners. I like mango, but I'm not the type to peel the fruit and eat it while it drips all over the place and gets the kitchen counter messy. I do love mango shakes and mango used in other foods like salsa and relishes. I saw this recipe for the first time while watching the Food Network when I was on the treadmill working out. I know, I'm a masochist that likes looking at fabulous food being prepared while I'm trying to get buns of steel! Nonetheless, I saw Michael Chiarello prepare this Mango Dos Leches and knew I had to make it will all the fruit we had!

I like regular Tres Leches and although this one was good, it was not my favorite. But it was the favorite of everyone else! My husband's family loved it, my Parents loved it, and my friend Mo-the-mango-lover loved it too! We added more condensed milk on top of it when we served it because that's how we roll and we like it nice and sweet! I hope you enjoy!

Mango Dos Leche

Michael Chiarello, Easy Entertaining

* 6 eggs, at room temperature
* 1 cup sugar
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1 can sweetened condensed milk
* 2 cups whole milk, scalded
* 12 ounces mango puree
* 1 teaspoon almond extract
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 mango, diced
* Dark rum
* Brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Whip the eggs, sugar, and salt until tripled in volume. Fold in the flour. Pour the mixture into a parchment lined 9 by 11-inch baking pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Remove the parchment paper and return the cake to the pan. With a fork, poke holes all over the top of the cake. Combine the condensed milk with the scalded milk, mango puree, almond and vanilla extracts, and pour over the cake. Allow the cake to soak in the liquid for 2 hours. Serve with diced mango marinated in dark rum and brown sugar.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Better late than never . . .

Exactly two months ago in my last post (I know, shame on me. . .I've been a busy little bee!), I wrote about Miami Spice. Miami Spice is now over :( Unfortunately, we were not able to hit all the fabulous restaurants that I had initially wanted to go to. I couldn't leave you hanging. . .wondering where we dined at on August 1st . . . cause I know you want to know! Ha-ha!
We ended up picking Joely, located in the Astor Hotel on Washington Avenue in South Beach. The food was absolutely delicious, our only qualm, was that the restaurant was basically empty! We sat at the adjacent bar and had some drinks while we waited for our friends Gina and Ernie to join us. I had the Basil Martini that the bartender recommended. I had never had one, so I thought, "what the heck"! It was "interesting" to say the least, I felt I needed a Caprese Salad to help me swallow it down! Here's a pic of it, the only semi-decent "food" pic of the evening.
Our friends arrived and the restaurant was basically still empty, only two tables were being served. My husband wanted to leave, there's something about an almost empty restaurant that can give you the hibbie-jibbies! Nonsense! It was the first day of Miami Spice and maybe the restaurant would fill up as the night proceeded. . . that didn't happen, but by the time we tasted our appetizer, we didn't care! The food was exquisite! The service was perfect, we felt like we had our own set of waiters just for us. . . well, we kinda did!

My Appetizer : Romain Salad, Salumi, Artisan Formaggi, Aged Balsamic, Olive Oil (the "Artisan Formaggi" was a little stinky! Go figure! Other than the toe-jam smell (lol) this was delicious!

My husband and our friends Gina and Ernie had: Crispy Kataifi Prawn, Chorizo, Sweet Potato, Cilantro

My husband, Ernie, and I enjoyed our entrees: Grilled Flat Iron Steak, Caramelized Pearl Onions, Red Beets, Sauce AuPoive

Gina had: Seared Tuna, Sicilian Peperonata, Tomato Broth

For Dessert I had: Fresh Fig Tart, Charred Goat Cheese, Organic Honey
(I thought it was delish, hubby though didn't care of it)

My Husband and Gina had: Chocolate Sundae, Summer Cherries, Vanilla Ice Cream

Ernie chose the BEST dessert by far: Chilled Lemongrass Soup, Pineapple, Coconut Ice Cream(Holy mother of desserts, this dessert was outrageous, luckily Ernie let us all try a little!)

I would definitely recommend Joley, hopefully it will have more patrons next time we dine there ;)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Miami Spice, Restaurant Month(s) Starts TODAY!

MIAMI SPICE!The foodie highlight of Miami's hottest summer months has arrived! Two months of gourmet cuisine at Miami's best, trendiest, and newest restaurants at VERY affordable prices! The menus are pre-fix, but let me tell you, I droll just reading them! Oh my lord, talk about "Good Eats" as Alton Brown from the Food Network would say! Lunch is a mere $23pp and dinner is only $36pp. It truly cannot get any better than that price wise. It's a culinary steal for your taste buds!

We'll be inaugurating Miami Spice tonight with some friends and our choices are The Forge,Joley,Food Gang. Three very different, yet excellent choices! Look out for a follow up post later this week to see which one we finally went to! If you're new to Miami Spice, just click on the participating restaurant that you would like to go to. A new window will open with that particular restaurant's details, many include the menus which I'm sure you too will drool over like I do! The other thing that they include, which you have to PAY ATTENTION to, are the days of the week, that the restaurant participates in Miami Spice, so MAKE SURE, they offer Miami Spice on the day you want to go.

ALSO, MAKE RESERVATIONS!!!!! MAKE RESERVATIONS! This is a huge promotion all across the city and since these are popular restaurants already, you should secure your seat or you may not get one for a couple of hours!

Get out there and enjoy some of the fabulous cuisine Miami and Miami Spice has to offer!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cheeseburger Soup!

Sounds weird to some, maybe even gross, but this soup is the total opposite, it's delicious! I stumbled onto this recipe back in 2001, the only reason I actually know this is because I still have the same printout from way back when and the date is printed on the bottom! I can't believe I've been making this for 7 years already! It was a hit the first time I made it and it continues to score high points to this day. I recently made this by request, my nieces asked me to make it for them and I obliged with a little help from them! They helped me chop, stir, pour and eat! It kinda reminds me of a bake potato soup, just 10 times better! Give it a try if you're not on a diet . . .it's comfort food at it's best! The only thing missing is the pickle! :)

Cheeseburger Soup I -

* 1/2 pound ground beef
* 3/4 cup chopped onion
* 3/4 cup shredded carrots
* 3/4 cup chopped celery
* 1 teaspoon dried basil
* 1 teaspoon dried parsley
* 4 tablespoons butter
* 3 cups chicken broth
* 4 cups cubed potatoes
* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 2 cups cubed Cheddar cheese
* 1 1/2 cups milk
* 1/4 cup sour cream

1. In a large pot, melt 1 tablespoon butter or margarine over medium heat: cook and stir vegetables and beef , until beef is brown.

2. Stir in basil and parsley. Add broth and potatoes. Bring to a boil, then simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10-12 minutes.
3. Melt the remainder of butter and stir in flour. Add the milk, stirring until smooth.

4. Gradually add milk mixture to the soup, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Stir in cheese. When cheese is melted, add sour cream and heat through. Do not boil.