Sunday, November 28, 2010

San Francisco Trip

Every time Devin and I visit my parents in San Francisco, we pretty much eat the whole time.

Wednesday night, we arrived and went straight to Cha Cha Cha. It's a Cuban style tapas place. They have great sangria, and we always order lots of dishes. This time, we got the sauteed mushrooms, the fried new potatoes (that come with the most amazing aioli), the jerk chicken, the paella, and a salad.

For Thanksgiving, we went out to Italian food at Fior d'Italia. We aren't much on Thanksgiving so we ordered from their regular menu instead of the holiday menu with the turkey and all that. I got fetuccini de tutti mare, or something that resembles what I just typed. It was fetuccini and mixed seafood. I've been really liking seafood recently. The meal came with minestrone, and a Caesar salad, which I have been craving, and finished off with their tiramisu. The dessert was really decadent, like eating straight whipped cream.

Friday we went to the sushi boat place that's downtown. I have no idea what it's called. Sushi boat is always a good time. Later that night, my best friend (since 3rd grade!) met up with Devin and me at Murios, and we ordered a potato pizza from Escape from New York. That's one thing I will not miss when I visit my hometown. Potato, whole roasted garlic cloves, cream sauce... oh, yum. It's delicious.

Saturday before we took off we ate at Park Chalet, a brewpub out by the beach. I always get the beer sampler there. They have altered their menu to make it more tapas-style, which is nice. We ordered a three-mushroom pizza with white truffle oil that was just a bit over the top. The mac n cheese also had the oil, but it was used with more restraint in that dish. Devin and I shared a French onion soup, which we enjoyed very much since it's something that neither of us has a chance to have often.

That was my trip. We went to lots of bars as well, but this post is long enough. Tomorrow I start my new job at my restaurant. I guess I'm excited.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Wellington: Delicious to the Max

Today I went to the hiring center for the Cosmopolitan to fill out my final paperwork for my job. I start a week from today.

A couple of days ago, Devin went to The Butcher Block to get some filet mignon. They don't have it at Smith's, and I wanted to make beef wellington. He ended up spending $35 on two 1.5 inch Prime filets, but damn, were they ever worth it. I made one wellington today, with gravy, and green beans with bacon, and I think I'm going to butter poach the other filet.

My wellington turned out perfect! I made a mushroom duxelle, which is just a mixture of mushrooms, onions, garlic, and seasoning, and then cooled it off. Then I took out the puff pastry and rolled it out. I seasoned and seared the steak for two minutes on each side and let it cool for a few minutes. Then I put the gorgeously seared steak on the puff pastry sheet, topped it with the duxelle, and sealed the pastry around it. About 20 minutes in the oven got it to a perfect medium-rare, and in that 20 minutes I made my gravy and sauteed my green beans, which I had previously blanched.

Just thinking about tonight's dinner is making my mouth water all over again. I could have eaten a whole wellington myself, but I'm glad I only made one steak for us to split, since that means I get more Prime steak deliciousness tomorrow. Yum!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Well, Chef Forgione won The Next Iron Chef. I guess we'll see a lot of battles with him now. If I was going on Iron Chef I'd want to battle the newbie too.

Actually, I'd want to battle Bobby Flay, but you know what I mean. Hear that, Bobby? I'm ready for a throwdown. Hummus throwdown! I challenge you NOW.

Friday, November 12, 2010

He Loves my Shredded Chicken Tacos

My boyfriend is adorable. Yesterday I asked him about dinner and he asked me, "Can we have tacos?" How do I say no to that? I told him to pick me up an avocado on his way home from work so I could make guacamole as well.

Tacos are easy, especially now that it finally dawned on me that I could just make one big batch of my taco seasoning and save it, so I only have to taste it once instead of a million times!

This is roughly what's in my seasoning mix:
Cumin- it's at least half cumin, probably more like 75%
Garlic powder
Cayenne- I like a lot
Black pepper
I think that's it. You could add chili powder or onion powder as well. I didn't have them when I made this batch, but I'll pick them up when I make the next batch and try it out.

Tabasco, red and green
Garlic Powder
Optional: Diced tomato
Procedure: Mash with fork.

Here's how it goes down.
I boil the chicken, and while that's happening, I make the guacamole (unless I've made it earlier in the day; earlier is better!), julienne an onion, and mince a clove or two of garlic. Once the chicken is cooked, I take it out of the water and shred it with two forks. Then I get a large pan with oil (I just use vegetable oil) nice and hot, and I add my onions. I cook them until they're soft, add my garlic, and deglaze with either light beer or white wine. Either works fine. Then I throw in my chicken, season liberally with my spice mix, and add a couple tablespoons of tomato paste. Make sure some of the spice mix goes into the oil instead of straight on the chicken in the pan. It brings the flavor out more when you cook the spices a little bit.

Once the chicken is coated in spices and tomato paste, and it's a bit crispy from the oil, you're done! I serve the chicken and guacamole with tortillas (we like flour; one day I'll make my own) and some shredded cheese, usually cheddar/jack mix, but sometimes we buy the "Mexican" cheese, which is basically the same thing. We rarely bother with rice and never bother with beans.

I hardly ever get sour cream because he doesn't like it, but when I have it on hand, I pile that on my tacos as well. So deliciously bad for me. And don't forget the Tapatio! It's our most-used condiment.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Oh, Right, I Got a Job.

I'll be working at RESTAURANT (name removed by request of my work) at the new Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino starting later this month. The owner is Chef Jose Andres, who's really a badass.

This news isn't too late; I only found out on Monday. Now for a busy three weeks of relaxation before I have to start working.

Relaxation, yeah right. Last night I made fresh pasta and a huge double cut pork chop, both of which turned out great. It was only my second attempt at fresh pasta and it worked out so much better than the first time! It was delicious.

I also made homemade pizza tonight. The only thing I didn't make was the cheese and pepperoni, because who has time and resources to make those things? My crust and sauce were great, so I'm proud of that.

My new butcher shop also kicks ass. They make the best jalapeno-chipotle brats. We made them on the grill last week and they were so good that today I went back to buy two of every brat they make. It's like Noah and the ark, except delicious. They are only marginally more expensive than grocery store brats but miles and miles more flavorful. The shop is called The Butcher Block and it's on South Rainbow between the 215 and Robindale.

I really have been relaxing. It's nice being able to do that after a busy year and a half of school. Come the 29th I won't be able to relax much more, and I'll have to rejoin the real world.