Saturday, July 26, 2008

Portland Dining Highlights

I traveled to Portland, Oregon two weeks ago for a work related conference. Although I didn't get to see much of the city or the surrounding area I did get to eat some really good food. (Hey, a girl's got to eat). Here are the highlights: Tony Luke Roast Pork Sandwich at Nostrana
"Playing with Fire Nightly" is the slogan for this rustic, almost cabin like, restaurant where everything is cooked in a wood fire oven. The pork sandwich was served "Italian style" complete with broccoli rabe, roasted peppers and sharp provolone on a grilled ciabatta. The interesting part for me was knowing that the recipe for the meat was from Tony Luke's, a famous sandwich shop in Philadelphia. Almond Brioche and Lemon Blueberry Muffin at Di Prima Dolci

Di Prima Dolci is a neighborhood bakery with a homey feel to it. Customers all seemed to be regulars and knew each other by name. They come for the breads, sandwiches and even the pizza. I, on the other hand, was there for the Italian pastries. The lemon blueberry muffin, made with ricotta cheese, was moist and flavorful. The almond brioche was equally tasty and truly my favorite of the two.
Sausage Pizza at Ken's Artisan's Pizza
Thin crusted and crispy the pizza at Ken's was delicious. Was it really worth the hour or so wait? Probably not. Cheese and Salami Plate at Foster and Dobbs
What's so special about cheese and salami. First, it was salami from Salumi (try saying that a few times) in Seattle. I had been to Salumi a few years back and absolutely loved all of Armando's handmade salami. Secondly, the selection of cheese, especially Italian, was immense. Lastly, you were able to sample all of the cheese, meats and olives before putting together your plate. Thus guaranteeing the perfect combination.
Wild Boar Gnocchi and Tempura Battered Asparagus at Pazzo

Probably my favorite meal of the whole trip was at Pazzo. Located inside the Vintage Plaza Hotel, Pazzo served up some excellent quality food. The tempura battered asparagus was accompanied by a Chianti aioli dipping sauce, an odd but delicious combination. The gnocchi were soft and pillowy, just like you would expect, accented perfectly with wild boar and topped with thinly sliced Pecorino cheese.
Although, I didn't get to see many tourist attractions, I can definitely recommend Portland for it's great food.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Meatballs & Salad

Awhile back I wrote a blog about Cafe Martorano in Vegas and how the food was very, what I've come to call, "South Philly Italian." The dish I enjoyed most at Cafe Martorano was the giant meatball served up on the same plate with a green salad.

What's so special about a meatball and salad? Besides the fact that it tasted delicious it was pure comfort food to me. It brought me back to a time and place that I haven't been to in awhile. (Sunday dinner at my grandma's in South Philly. It's tradition in our family to eat your salad after your pasta; served in the same dish with your meat.)

Since visiting Martorano's back in June I haven't been able to stop thinking about that special blend of tomato sauce (we call it gravy) and red wine vinegar. This weekend I decided to give into my craving. I whipped up some giant meatballs and served them along side a green salad as the main entree at a dinner party I hosted.

Since meatballs were going to be the main course I wanted something a little different then the beef, pork, and veal version I usually make. I borrowed a recipe from Mario Batali for Turkey Meatballs and added a few personal touches. I used pork sausage instead of turkey, extra slices of day old bread, (to make them more dense) and I melted thin slices of provolone cheese on top to enhance the flavors.

On the side I served a mix of iceberg and red leaf lettuce, chunks of cucumber, and heirloom tomatoes with an Italian red wine vinaigrette. To me this was 100% comfort food! I have no idea what my guests thought but judging from the empty plates I'd guess they enjoyed it.

The rest of the dinner consisted of Eggplant Involtini, Spaghetti with Green Olive Sauce and Haley's Infamous Blueberry Pie for dessert.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Frozen Oreo Pie

Temperatures are on the rise here in Phoenix making simple frozen desserts seem extra special. My favorite is one I've been making for years. It's know amongst our friends, as: "Theresa's Frozen Oreo Pie." I don't remember where I first got this recipe, or what if any changes I've made to it. I just know that it's simple to make and the results are delicious.
I'm submitting this recipe to the You Scream for Frozen Dessert Event hosted by Mike at Mike's Table.
Frozen Oreo Pie
1 1/2 cups of milk
1 box of instant vanilla pudding (4 serving size)
8 oz Cool Whip
1 Oreo cookie pie crust (a chocolate or graham cracker crust can be substituted)
25 Oreo cookies crumbled
Mix pudding and milk together until smooth. Fold in Cool Whip and cookies. Pour into pie crust and freeze for at least 2 hours.