Monday, August 31, 2009

And it feels like fall...

As of today, it feels like fall has arrived in Kansas City. Even if it doesn't stick around for good, the preview of my favorite season has me excited for the months to come.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Basset Hound approved

As we were watching Flipping Out the other night, a new Bud Light commercial came on:

I'm pretty sure that this football season, we'll only be drinking Bud Light. And now Dave wants to order this. We will have to see if it's Bella approved.

Recipe Favorite: Bruschetta Three Ways

Dave and I really enjoy entertaining. We make it a point to have another couple or group of friends over on a monthly-or-so basis. Most of the time (as our friends would tell you) we may ask them to arrive at 7:00, but dinner may not be served until 8 or later. We really feel cooking is such a social thing and love spending time chatting in the kitchen as the main dish is prepared. Because of this, I have made it my goal to find easy appetizers that can tide our guests over until we actually sit down to dinner. That’s where this bruschetta comes in. All three recipes are quick, easy and have complex flavors that mesh well together. We’ve received nothing but compliments whenever they have been served, so add them to your menu next time you host a dinner party at your place! (And don’t forget to invite us!)

Bruschetta Three Ways...
from left to right: Olive Tapenade, Sweet Peppers and Creamy Gorganzola, Double Tomato

Courtesy of the Food Network

1 cup black nicoise olives, pitted
1 tablespoon capers
3 cloves garlic
2 anchovy fillets
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.
Courtesy of the Food Network

1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon capers, drained
2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces creamy Gorgonzola or other blue cheese, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and cook until soft, about 12 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the sugar and continue cooking for 2 more minutes. Stir in the capers and basil, and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Slice the baguette crosswise into 18 thin round slices. Brush the bread rounds lightly with olive oil on 1 side. Arrange them in rows, oil side up, on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and toast in the oven until lightly browned, about 7 to 10 minutes.
Top each toast round with a teaspoonful of the pepper mixture. Place 2 small pieces of Gorgonzola on top. Return the toast to the oven for 1 to 2 minutes and warm through.

Courtesy of All Recipes

6 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
3 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup fresh basil, stems removed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 French baguette
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat the oven on broiler setting.
2. In a large bowl, combine the roma tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, basil, salt, and pepper. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes.
3. Cut the baguette into 3/4-inch slices. On a baking sheet, arrange the baguette slices in a single layer. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes, until slightly brown.
4. Divide the tomato mixture evenly over the baguette slices. Top the slices with mozzarella cheese.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Target, how I love thee!

Today was a busy day, between deadlines, client meetings and the ever important happy hour after work. One of the best things about my job is that we have a casual dress code, so it's super easy to transition from the work day to a fun night out; that is where my latest shopping find comes in. Last weekend, I was searching through the Target summer clearance racks and stumbled upon this find:

I actually already have this dress in the Emerald color, but from the moment I saw it in plum I knew that it had to be mine. As I approached the rack, a little prayer was said in hopes it would be in my size. As luck would have it the dress was actually a size smaller than my Emerald one, which in the end I liked better. Upon looking at the price tag, I was even more ecstatic because it was only $5.24! And since it was missing the belt, the checkout person was nice enough to give me an extra 10% of the sale price. I actually love the look of it without the belt. With the perfect gold sandals and accessories, you can't go wrong with this look!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Pizza this, pizza that...

A few weeks ago, our good friend Brian challenged Dave to a Bobby Flay style throwdown. The boys had been discussing doing this for a few months, so when the e-mail hit our inboxes with the challenge we weren't surprised. What did astonish me a bit is the dish that Brian chose to throwdown with. Dave worked at the same pizza chain for nearly 10 years and everyone knows his obsession with what he considers a delicacy. If it were up to him we would probably eat pizza on a more frequent basis, but we compromise by having it three or four times a month. More recently, he has been experimenting with unique ways to prepare the dish but I can't give those secrets away until after Saturday.

To further equip our already overflowing kitchen, Dave has been on the hunt for more pizza tools to add to the mix. It's not enough that we have a pizza stone, a pizza peel and a pizza crisper. He had to have this:

Yes, that's a pizza chopper. Because no throwdown win would be complete if your pizza pieces weren't cut perfectly straight.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Restaurant Review: Mama's 39th Street Diner

After waking up early on Saturday morning, Dave decided that he wanted pancakes. Not just any pancakes (including those that I could make in the kitchen). He wanted real, fluffy, big pancakes. Pancakes that can only be found at greasy spoon cafes. And that's how we ended up at Mama's 39th Street Diner.

We had heard about the establishment from friends, acquaintances and even Guy Fieri. Mama's was featured in an episode of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives back in March 2008 and ever since seeing the show late last year, we've been dying to try it out. Well, a year or so later, we finally made it. On the episode, Guy features two things: the Corned Beef Hash and the giant selection of omelets. Since Dave's mind was already set on pancakes, we agreed that it would be best if I tried a combination of both that Guy recommended. I perused the menu of 66 different omelets and finally decided on the Corned Beef, Bacon and Cheddar omelet that came complete with a side of browns and toast.

While waiting for our food, we enjoyed taking in all that is the unique about Mama's. From the brightly colored walls and booths, to the vibrant and hurried staff, and the giant pieces of cake rotating around in the dessert display, there was plenty to observe. Because the menu was so large and a bit overwhelming when we were ordering, I went back up to the hostess stand so that we could further examine what Mama's offers. And let me tell you--they have everything. Dave can't wait to go back so that he can try the 37,000 other things they have on the menu. Specifically, he is interested in the Chicken Fried Steak Omelet and the Italian Beef Sandwich. I'm dying to try the omelet with lox and cream cheese.

Upon the arrival of our food, we were both astonished. Dave was immediately pulled in by the gravitational pull of the pancakes...these things were seriously close to the diameter of a basketball. After pouring a substantial amount of syrup on these two behemoth discs, he dove into the soft, fluffy goodness. Ten minutes later, they were only halfway gone. As far as the omelet goes, it was everything we expected it to be. There was cheese. Bacon. And Corned Beef. What more could you ask for? And the hash browns. Oh, the hash browns. I am a potato fanatic and savored every bit. They were a perfect combination of crispy and soft. You seriously got a bit of each in every bite.

Will we go back to Mama's again? I imagine there is a good chance that Dave will wake me up tomorrow morning, craving the savory goodness that Mama's 39th Street Diner has to offer.

Wine Review: Tin Roof Cabernet Sauvignon (2006)

Living in Missouri, we are lucky enough to be able to purchase our spirits at the grocery store. As Dave and I were perusing the aisles of our local Price Chopper, we happened to stumble upon a bottle of the Tin Roof Cabernet Sauvignon (2006). For nights in with just the two of us, we generally stay in the $8-12 price range. This bottle fit in perfectly, retailing at $10.99 and on sale for a lovely $8.99. That is one thing we love about getting wine at the grocery store, it's not hard to find a good deal on good wine.

Tonight we popped this one open with our Sunday night dinner of bruschetta, an assortment of cheeses and cocktail shrimp. The label quotes, "Delicious, handcrafted wines to enjoy under your roof". While that is a great description and proved to be true, it doesn't necessarily stand out from the usual suspects of a Rex Goliath or Smoking Loon Cab. We would purchase this again for a mellow night in with just the two of us.

Food Network Magazine

Magazines have always been my passion. I focused my journalism degree in magazine studies in college, learning the ins and outs of what it takes to start a career in the field. While becoming editor of Real Simple didn't pan out as I had originally thought, as part of my current 9-5 job I plan and purchase media at a local advertising agency. Last week as I reviewed proposals for a new client, I spoke with the new sales rep for the Food Network Magazine. Yes, I said magazine! She so kindly sent me copies of the first four issues and I have been diving into them ever since.

The first issue hit newsstands in October 2008 and already has a press run of over 1 million copies, which is super impressive in the print media world. To say this magazine will be a success is an understatement in my opinion. Personally, I love everything about it. The pages are thick--the colors and the photography pop right off the page--I just can't get enough! There are a couple of other unique features that I thoroughly enjoy, specifically the recipe index at the front of the book (sorted by dish with pictures!) and the bonus insert that includes 50 recipes that correlate with the theme for that issue.

If you're a foodie like me, rush to the grocery store now and pick up the latest issue. You won't regret it!


Welcome to our blog! For now, Bella says hi...she's anticipating our first cooking-related post, bruschetta three ways! Stay tuned...