My friends at BACVA (Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association) reached out to tell me that more than half of Restaurant Week participants are extending through to the 8th. Here is the link to Restaurant Week's site where you can check out all the restaurants: http://www.baltimorerestaurantweek.com/
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
FYI: Today I received notes that Da Mimmo’s and Caesar’s Den are extending their Restaurant Week specials through Sunday, February 8th. Sotto Sopra Restaurant and Pazza Luna initially set up the extension on Restaurant Week to February 8th as well. If you’re in the mood for Italian food next week, you have some nice choices.
Let me know if you know of other restaurants that are extending Winter Restaurant Week.
Share your good experiences from this Winter's Restaurant Week!
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Shrimp with Spicy Creole Sauce
Add shrimp and toss to coat.
FYI: If you are photographing a finished dish do not eat it until you check the photographs for clarity. Hey, the shrimp smelled great and I couldn't resist them for breakfast
4 chicken pieces
2 ounces (½ stick) butter
4 tablespoons clear honey (1/4 cup)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
Sunday, January 25, 2009
There is nothing Barack, Superbowl or Oscars in this story. It is a story of shame, my shame. Read on….
You are wondering why my posts have been light it is because I’m helping a friend out in her kitchen in DC where she makes a lunch for between 25 to 40 Harvard University Center for Hellenic Studies fellows and employees every day. Her part-time staffer is off on paternity leave and you don’t leave a friend hanging.
My day in the kitchen starts at 5 a.m. and if I am lucky I get out at around 3 p.m. I cut and dice, wash and dry, and don’t sit down the entire time. I’m amazed I can keep up with my friend who moves at a mile a minute.
3 days back-to-back
I didn’t say breaking my back though I feel like I am with the strenuous kitchen work. On day one, one of my projects was mise en place the dry ingredients for her snickerdoodle cookies. She is precise on how she wants the dry ingredients measured and I followed her instructions implicitly. She makes up the cookie dough and refrigerates it to be baked on the next day for dessert.
Day 2: My chef friend pops a couple trays of the snickerdoodle cookies in the oven. When Sylvia (nickname Szzyl) goes to rotate the cookie sheets they have all blended together in one big glob. She starts to angst as to what is wrong with the cookies. Was it too little flour, too much sugar, was it because she refrigerated the dough overnight, too much baking soda, not enough backing soda, too little cream of tartar.
Meanwhile, I’m embarrassed that I probably measured something wrong – me the cookbook author and semi-recognized food columnist. Once the globs cooled she tasted them and said the baking soda was correct and in her best estimation it was the measurement of the cream of tartar that threw the dough off. She made a new batch of dough and refrigerated some and baked the rest. They turned out.
Unfortunately the diners got Costco raisin oatmeal cookies for dessert with their lunch today.
Day 3: Well it isn’t here yet but my only redemption for the big screw up is if her refrigerated dough doesn’t turn out and I don’t think that is going to happen. I am just sooo EMBARASSED.
Knowing how a vegetable grows tells you the proper way to boil it. The rule is a simple one. If the vegetable grows underground then you put it in cold water and bring it to a boil ( i.e. potatoes, carrots, parsnips) and if a vegetable grows above ground you add it to boiling water (i. e. string beans, corn).
Added tip: Do not put a lid on a pot that is cooking any green vegetable, it will turn grey.
For more info:
the honorary co-chairs, VIP parking , a “Heavenly Gift Bag” and special recognition.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
A restaurant is where you go to fill your piehole. Is that not a definition of a restaurant? There is so much more we expect from a restaurant; well prepared food, value added pricing, excellent service and a stimulating environment in which to enjoy it all. We all want to be loved and remembered, like the TV series Cheers, where everyone knows your name - we want the “Norm” greeting and to be treated well.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Do you drown your pasta? To truly appreciate pasta it should not be swimming in ragu, the sauce. I want to impart some pasta cooking tips.
1. Always cook your pasta in plenty of well salted boiling water.
2. Cook your pasta for ½ the time written on the box directions.
3. Reserve one cup of the of the pasta boiling water for each pound you make.
4. Use heated plates. If you put hot pasta and sauce on a cold plate the sauce will break, become watery. TIP: Put the colander on top of your dinner plates, and strain the pasta over them.
5. Put the pasta back in the pot with the reserved pasta boiling water and equal amount of pasta sauce. Stir the pasta and reserved water over the heat. Cook for approximately 2-3 minutes so the pasta is al dente (to tooth) and the liquid has been absorbed and coating the pasta..you want it to be chewy not soft or mushy.
6. Take it off the heat and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil and freshly grated parmesan cheese.
7. Plate the pasta and top each portion with about ¼ cup of sauce.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Chef Melissa Harrison, formerly of Baltimore and BICC graduate, has posted three of her favorite restaurants here in Baltimore on the Top Chef website and Sotto Sopra was among the three, others being Charleston and the third, the Italian-American cuisine of Little Italy, Chiapparelli’s.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Since today is the anniversary of Elvis Presley’s birth, I was trying to think of a food tip that would be relevant to his birthday. I was astonished to read that on a daily basis Elvis consumed approximately 94,000 calories more than what an elephant consumes, which was noted at 50,000 calories. I guess we can rank the ‘hunk-a-hunk’ up there with the infamous glutton, Diamond Jim Brady.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Monday, January 05, 2009
Saturday, January 03, 2009
If I were to put a number on the cookbooks I own I would approximate it to be about 200. I am a cookbook addict and need to attend the Betty Ford Clinic. My cookbook compulsion links heavily with my other addiction of purchasing plates, platters and pitchers. (Alliteration intended) Unfortunately there is no support group for cookbook addiction – so I’m reaching out to you to see how many other fellow cookbook junkies are out there.
Friday, January 02, 2009
My tip for the week is how to make a delicious Caesar salad dressing without using any raw or coddle egg yolk. Dijon mustard takes the place of the egg yolk to become the emulsifier. Here is my simple recipe – I don’t normally measure it but here goes.
CAESAR SALAD DRESSING
1 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp of Dijon mustard
A pinch of salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 small clove of garlic minced
3 tablespoons lemon juice or sherry wine vinegar
½ to 3/4 cup of quality extra virgin olive oil
Mix the Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, salt, fresh ground black pepper, minced garlic and the lemon juice or sherry wine vinegar. Slowly wisk in the extra virgin olive oil until the dressing fully emulsifies (gets thick). Taste the finished product and adjust salt, pepper and/or lemon juice or vinegar.
This can be made in advance and refridgerated.
Adjusting your acid in this dressing and herbs creates many different vinaigrettes, i.e. red wine vinegar and oregano for a dressing for a Greek salad, Balsamic vinegar for a Italian Caprese Salad.
The components in a vinaigrette are:
-Acidity (vinegars, lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice etc.)
-Emulsifier (I always use mustard)
-Oil (Extra Virgin, Walnut, Vegetable, Canola, whatever your oil reference might be)
-Seasonings (sea salt, fresh ground pepper, dried herbs, fresh herbs, spices etc)
Oil to Acid ratio 3 to 1 or 4 to 1 (I like my dressing more acidic so I usually use 3 to 1)
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