Thursday, April 26, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy

                What does one blog about when she hasn’t really done any serious cooking or dining out lately? Well, first things first, she needs to get her booty back in gear and head to the cucina and on the el telephono to make some reservations! But in the meantime, she will keep you up to date on where she’s been and what she’s been noshing on….

                1. Bahama Breeze- a chain seafood/Caribbean restaurant that offers fresh grub in a cool, relaxing and upbeat atmosphere. I had the veggie sandwich on pressed Cuban bread- great and Matt had the cheeseburger-great as well. What I really liked about this place was their side dish offerings; I had a tomato salad but was tempted with other options as well. (Woodbridge)

                2. Wegmans Take-Out: With a homemade cheese platter done by yours truly, lol, their gourmet mini pizzas were a perfect main course on a lazy Friday evening. We went with the white & spinach and sausage pies. I would buy the ladder again, as I felt the sausage tasted a touch too spiced. (Woodbridge)

                3. Klee's Bar & Grill- Oh, what a family favorite. We started with their roasted wings, which were a special of the night, and they were suburb. Sizzling hot on a cast-iron pan is how they showed up and before the pan even had a chance to cool down, we were done with them! I went with my old standby, the chicken BLT wrap while my Dad had the Cajun Grilled Chicken Sandwich. Mine was awesome, especially their battered, ridiculously-crispy fries served with. Dad’s sandwich was tasty too. And man, the heat that sandwich packed could win awards, I’m sure. (Seaside Heights)

                4. Bar Masa: This was a late birthday night dinner for Hubby and I. Located in Columbus Circle, the place sparkles with expertise. We ordered calamari to start and split 2 sushi rolls for dinner. The calamari was decent, nice jalapeno salt to add pizzazz but the price tag wasn’t worthy of the portion. The spicy tuna roll was excellent as was the Alaskan king rab California roll sans Tobiko. (NYC)

                5. Cafe Rustica: Although a Baptism luncheon was why we were there, the food was delicious enough to enter the blog! The fried calamari was better than any I’ve had in awhile, while the eggplant antipasti was char grilled and fresh with flavor. The bread, served atop a cutting board, was itself a meal too. I had a dish of shrimp & scallops in a tomato cream sauce over basil  fettuccine  and Matt had the Penne Vodka. Both were exceptional. My pasta was cooked to a perfect al dente, not to mention the seafood was tender and plentiful. (Basking Ridge)

And if you’re wondering what else this household has been consuming, I can basically break it down to 3 things:

1. Pasta sautéed with whatever remains in refrigerator drawer, if we’re lucky I was able to scrounge up some frozen shrimp or sausage to add in

2. Pizza: always frozen dough in the freezer that I let defrost and rise all day, then again, hit the refrigerator drawer remnants for toppings

 3. Wraps/Sandwiches/Paninis: you name it, we put it between some sort of carb and call it a day!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Walnut-Topped Apple Oatmeal Quick Bread

                Alright, so you might be wondering if I forgot that it is Spring, not Fall, with this post. And I see your point: walnuts, apples, oatmeal, yes, they scream Autumn to me too. But I must explain, sometimes a recipe comes along that for one, it sounds great, two, you have everything to make it and three, your house is begging to smell like a bakery! Okay, well maybe the third reason was a stretch, but anyway you get my point I’m sure.
                And so here it is, a probably-better-in-Fall, recipe. I tweaked it quite a bit so that my pantry/refrigerator could get somewhat cleaned out. It came together pretty quickly, which makes sense with the title and all, haha. I must be honest here though; I thought it was a bit dry so I really think it needs to be warm when served with a pat of butter for full enjoyment. Or even better, I think warmed with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or just some whipped cream would be fab!  Well, like I said, it was tasty, quick, a good user-upper, and great for the aroma of the house! Enjoy.....

Walnut –Topped Apple Oatmeal Quick Bread

Adapted from: Tryityoumightlikeit (Originally from Stonyfield Farm)
Serves: 12
OBJ: TCW be able to make a homemade breakfast bread


1 6 ounce container  Greek Yogurt, Honey flavored
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 egg
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
 1 1/3 C All purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup diced apples (peeled) (1 small apple)
¼ c chopped walnuts
1tsp sugar
½ tsp cinnamon

1. Spray an 8in x 4.5in. x 3in. loaf pan with cooking spray and preheat oven to 350°F
2. In a small bowl, mix together yogurt and oats and set aside
3. In a large bowl, mix together egg, oil and brown sugar well
4. Add in flours, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and yogurt mixture, stir together (batter will be lumpy)
5. Fold in apples
6. Pour into greased pan. Mix together walnuts, cinnamon and sugar, sprinkle and press into top
7. Bake 45 minutes or until golden brown or a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from pan immediately. Serve warm with butterJ

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Chocolate "Nests"

               I’m not sure if dessert gets anymore easy than this! Unless of course, you go to the store and buy something, but that isn’t as fun or good as these little treats. They take all of 2 minutes to shop for , maybe 20 minutes to make and then you just have to let them sit and set!             
              And for someone who enjoys baking and creating sweet masterpieces, this even has me sold. Matt, well he is still undecided, as he goes back and forth between, “MMMmmmm, delish,” and, “HHhmmm, let me take another bite, yeah I think they are good.” I do understand what he is saying, however I think that’s because he is obsessed with chocolate-covered pretzels and these, to me, are somewhat of an imposter! He’s thinking he is going to get that sweet/salty bite from this treat, but in truth they are a touch salty, mostly sweet and tremendously crunchy. I happen to find them great, he is still working on a decision, so I’ll let you decide….. Enjoy….

Chocolate “Nests”
Serves: 6-8
Source: Family friend, Megan

OBJ: TCW be able to make one of the easiest dessert recipes ever!

1(6 ounce) bag of Chinese chow mien noodles, will only need ¾ of bag
1 (12 ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
Parchment paper 

1. Melt chocolate over a double boiler until completely melted and smooth (You can place a large glass bowl on top of boiling water, as this will melt the chocolate just as good as D-Boiler)
2. Remove melted chocolate from heat and stir ¾ of noodles in it, toss/stir until each noodle completely coated
3. Using a tong, remove clusters or “nests” from bowl and place on parchment paper to dry
4. Place on platter and serve!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Roasted Asparagus with Provolone & Prosciutto

               Not much to write about this dish except that it I think it will make your veggie-hater reconsider their stance! Which isn’t too surprising since it involves provolone and prosciutto, two things that I’d say most people enjoy.
                I made this dish as an afterthought after I had just made the previously posted prosciutto-wrapped shrimp recipe. Why waste prosciutto when I had perfectly ready asparagus to serve it with?!?  I say waste not because I was going to throw it away (I really hope you didn’t think that!), but because I tend to toss items in my refrigerator and forget about them almost immediately. Terrible I know, but trust me I’m working on it!
                So that is about it, a great recipe that would go alongside great with almost any main course. Roast chicken, filet mignon, and halibut are just a few that pop into my mind but hey, your dinner is your dinner, I’m just here for ideas and inspiration! Enjoy……

Roasted Asparagus with Provolone & Prosciutto

Serves: 3-4

OBJ: TCW be able to use turn an ordinary vegetable into a satisfying side


1 bunch of asparagus, cleaned and stems removed
1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
3 slices prosciutto, coarsely chopped
¼ C grated provolone (extra sharp preferably)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Place asparagus on baking sheet, toss with oil and S &P (go light on salt though as prosciutto is quite salty)
3. Place on middle shelf oven and roast for 15 minutes
4. Remove from oven, top asparagus with prosciutto, and then sprinkle provolone on top
5. Place back in oven and roast for an additional 5 minutes
6. Broil on high for an additional 1-2 minutes to get prosciutto to really crisp up
7. Serve!