Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Restaurant-style pizza

Tomorrow, I'm heading out of town with my girlfriends for a long weekend trip (bachelorette party to be exact). So, with all of the packing I need to do, a quick and easy dinner was a must. But, even when I'm super-busy, I try to come up with something interesting and healthy to eat.

So for tonight, I made a pizza that's modeled after one I ate once at Lolita:

Wild mushroom with arugula

Here's what you need:

1 pre-made pizza crust
1 package sliced wild mushrooms
1 cup Italian blend shredded cheese
3 cloves garlic, minced (lucky for me, I had some fresh garlic from my grandpa's garden)
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
A few leaves of arugula chopped (again - I had some fresh from his garden)

Saute the mushrooms, onion and garlic in olive oil until the mushrooms are cooked. Then, spread the mushroom mix on the pizza crust, lightly sprinkle with cheese. Follow the cooking instructions for the crust (for me it was 7-10 minutes), but a good rule is to take it out when the cheese is melted and slightly browning.

Finish it off by sprinkling the chopped arugula on top.

It was a perfect, light dinner that took me 20 minutes to make.

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Deagan's Kitchen and Bar

Tonight was my second trip to Deagan's - first was only drinks, though.

I forgot take pics until it was too late, sorry!

Anyway, this place is really great. Nice casual vibe, a nice mix of metal and rustic decor, with a pretty eclectic menu. The beer list is long, and they have some interesting nightly specials. Tonight, all wine bottles were half off - a great deal for wine drinkers!

After starting with two of our favorite beers, Leinenkugal Summer Shandy and Ommegang Witte, we went with:
Bangers and mash - the sausage was flavorful, the mashed potatoes were like a big of whipped heaven, and the porter gloss was incredible.

Spicy shrimp tacos - perfectly-cooked shrimp, with creamy, smashed avocado and a spicy sauce topped with fresh cilantro. There were so many flavors in these tacos - a delicious mix of hot and cool, all wrapped in the softest tortilla I've ever had. Very good!

Crisp eggplant - Two large slices of eggplant that were breaded, fried and rolled and stuffed with cheese. Served with a chunky tomato sauce and fresh arugula. These were great, but I was so full from the tacos that I could only each half of one piece. No worries, though, now I have lunch for tomorrow!

While the food was great, the one less-than-perfect thing about the experience was the service. Our server just seemed a little too busy and rushed. But, that definitely won't stop us from coming back many more times. If you haven't given this place a try, you absolutely should soon.

Check it out:
Deagan's Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summery Steak

So, tonight I felt like Mexican. But, not just the typical Mexican (taco night), or even something with a little more pizazz (I already have barbacoa burritos planned for another day). Tonight we had something simple, with just a hint of Mexican flavor.

Strip steaks with chimichurri, spicy grilled potatoes and avocado
Here's what you need:
Potatoes (I used one large potato for the two of us)
1 avocado
1 punch of parsley
1 punch of cilantro
1 small red onion
Olive oil

To make the chimichurri, put the parsley, cilantro and red onion in the food processor and let it run until it turns into a choppy pesto consistency, then, while it's running for another 10 seconds or so, drizzle in some olive oil.

To prepare the potatoes, slice then in thick slices and toss the slices with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper.

Grill the potatoes until they're soft, and grill the steak to your liking.

Once everything's ready, slice an avocado and serve it on the side. It tastes really great with the spicy potatoes. Spread the chimichurri on top of your steak or use it as a dip - it's up to you, and either way, it's delicious.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Eating through Spain

My husband and I just got back from a week-long trip through Spain (including a day trip to Tangier, Morocco). While many people spend their time in Europe seeing the sights, standing in line at each of the famous tourist spots, we spent most of our time in search for our next great meal.

I don't have a lot of experience with Spanish food, other than the few dinners I've had at the downtown Cleveland restaurant Mallorca, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Needless to say, I was very pleased with what we found on the menus of the many restaurants and cafes we went to. While I did take notes during every meal, I thought I'd just share the highlights:

Spinach pasta stuffed with fresh cheese, with blue cheese cream sauce

Catalan sausage with shrimp and mushrooms

Beef cannelloni with black truffle cream sauce

Duck confit with pineapple chutney

Potato omelette sandwich with cured ham
King prawns with curry
French-fried cheese with honey and caramelized onions

Sole Andalusian style (white wine cream sauce with prawns)

Fish and seafood paella

Moroccan cous cous with chicken and vegetables

Toast with minced tomato and cured ham, toast with beef and brie
Veal in cider sauce, side of patates (or fries)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Build-your-own Burgers at 56 West

Tonight, I met two girlfriends at 56 West in Lakewood for dinner. It was a bittersweet experience - great food, but we were saying goodbye to a friend who's moving to Pittsburgh this weekend.

She picked the restaurant - she'd been wanting to try 56 West for a while. And, I'm glad she did.

It's a very casual, laid-back atmosphere, and the menu, also casual, had some really great options.

Burgers, sandwiches, salads and a few simple large plates made up the inexpensive menu (all sandwiches and burgers were under $10). It seems that the feature is the burger section, with build your own section that included a lot of unique topping options, as well as a list of suggested burger/topping combinations.

Here's what we chose:

Bacon, egg, arugula, roasted tomato, herbed mayo

Build-your-own Burger with arugula and goat cheese

Build-your-own Burger with chimichurri sauce, chipotle honey glaze, leaf lettuce and Vermont cheddar cheese

The burger itself was average...juicy enough but not the best I've ever had. It was really all about the toppings for me. And, you really can't beat the list of options they offer for such a low price.

I'll definitely be back to this place and hope you check it out, too.

56 West on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Freshening up for summer

I try to use fresh ingredients as often as possible, but now that it's summer, I feel there's no excuse to not use all of the beautiful fresh fruits and vegetables out now. So, for the next several weeks, I'll be including at least one fresh fruit or vegetable in every meal.

So while I'm snacking on peaches, plums, berries, kiwi and anything else that looks delicious at the grocery store, I've been thinking up new ways to include them in our meals, too. Here's what we ate tonight:

Farfalle with lemon, asparagus and Parmesan

While cooking the pasta (1 pound), I blanched a bunch of asparagus spears that I had cut into small pieces. Then, I mixed 3 tablespoons of butter with the zest of one large lemon. Once the pasta cooked and the asparagus had spent some time in an ice bath (to keep it green and crunchy), I mixed it together and stirred in the lemon butter, which melted and coated all of the pasta and asparagus. Then, I mixed in some shredded Parmesan cheese.

The crunch of the asparagus, the sweetness of the lemon zests and the salty taste of Parmesan was a great combination. It was a hearty dish that was still light enough for summer.

Dessert: Warm sugar cookie topped with grilled peaches and plums and vanilla bean ice cream

While my husband grilled the peaches and plums, I quickly baked a batch of sugar cookies (had pre-packaged cookie dough in the fridge). I literally transferred the cookie from the baking sheet to the bowl, and the fruit went straight from the grill to the bowl as well. Once the cold ice cream joined them, it started to melt over the warm ingredients and all mixed together so deliciously. With the exception of the cookie, this is a pretty healthy dessert (we used fat-free, no sugar added ice cream with only 70 calories per serving). I'm sure we'll make it again at least once this summer, with or without the cookies.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Happy Hour at Happy Dog

As a true hot-dog fan, I've been wanting to go to Happy Dog for a while, so when a group of friends planned a happy hour yesterday, I jumped at the chance. I'll definitely be back.

It's a casual bar atmosphere with a great beer list and a simple, yet surprising menu. Your choices: hot dog, veggie dog, tater tots, fries and - honestly - more toppings than you could ever imagine in your life. Because there are so many to choose from, they do offer a menu of "suggestive wieners" to help you decide.

Choose as many toppings as you want for only $5. Here's what we got:

Veggie dog with tomato, caramelized onions, house made ketchup and marinated portobello mushroom

Hot dog with chorizo chili, tillamook cheddar cheese, warm pineapple-ginger-currant chutney and potato chips
Hot dog with teriyaki onions, red pepper relish, warm pineapple-ginger-currant chutney and French brie cheese

Hot dog with hot pepper relish, Brazilian chimichurri, Caribbean coleslaw and chorizo chili

Then, for just $2.50, you can order fries or tater tots and choose 5 dipping sauces. With 3 orders, we had 15 different sauces on the table, including raspberry crunch mustard, black truffle honey mustard, saffron aioli, creole remoulade, brazillian chimichurri, oaxacan red chile & chocolate mole and so many more!

For such a low price, you can't get much more creative than that.

Check it out:

Happy Dog on Urbanspoon