Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dinner at Posh

Our night at Posh was filled with unique experiences and delicious fare. Posh offers the diner a new way to think about eating. Described as an improvisational restaurant...chef Josh Herbert uses seasonal ingredients to craft individual meals each night.

Menu? There is no menu. Just a small sheet of paper listing that night's main ingredients. Don't like fish you have the option to cross it off. Allergic to nuts or just don't want blue cheese....write it down.  Want your meat cooked well done there's an option for that too.

Most importantly choose your courses. Starting with 4 up to what they call the "full tasting;" you can even elect to pair each course with wine. Dinner begins with either a soup or salad and progresses from there depending on the number of courses you choose. Always ending with a dessert.

Some people think not knowing what your going to eat takes all the fun out of dining...I'd have to disagree. The uniqueness of both the ingredients and preparation makes the experience worth it.

Unfortunately I didn't take detailed notes on the food we ate. Let's face it...I was just so eager to start tasting.  So hopefully my brief descriptions and food photo's are enough to show you what we enjoyed during our Posh experience.

Panko Encrusted Frog Legs with Turnips & Tart Cherry Compote

Wild Boar Bacon, Matchstick Carrots, Spicy Green Peppers & Beans

Duck Breast with Sweet Potato Mash & Asparagus

Mascarpone Creme Nestled Between Puff Pastry with Tart Cherry Compote

7167 E. Rancho Vista Drive #111
Scottsdale, AZ 85251-1496
(480) 663-7674

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pasta with Asparagus, Peas & Goat Cheese in a Spicy Basil Oil

I want to share with you a new blog I recently found called KitchenPlay. Each month they host a “Progressive Party” where they ask 6 people to create recipes based on a different ingredient and then invite other bloggers to recreate one of the recipes for a chance to win. This month’s sponsored ingredient is Dreamfields Pasta. Always up for a challenge and being a huge pasta fan how could I not take part in this month’s Progressive Party.
First let’s talk about Dreamfields Pasta. I’ve seen this pasta in the supermarket; but never really gave it much thought. I’ve had bad experiences with various pasta’s not tasting good or not cooking up right. So I tend to stick with brands I’ve used before. I’ll admit I was pleasantly surprised with Dreamfields; the pasta was delicious. Even my husband, who is pickier than me, commented on how good the pasta was.

As for the recipe I choose to reinvent: Rotini with Broccoli, Peas Basil and Goat Cheese created by Winnie of Healthy Green Kitchen.

Winnie’s recipe sounded fabulous but I really wanted a pasta dish that would utilize ingredients both my husband and I enjoy. So I tweaked it just a little and came up with my own version.

Pasta with Asparagus, Peas & Goat Cheese in a Spicy Basil Oil

Pasta with Asparagus, Peas and Goat Cheese in a Spicy Basil Oil
Serves 2

4 ounces (dry) Dreamfields Rotini
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup frozen peas
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 cup asparagus, sliced (tips reserved)
1/2 cup loosely packed, fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup fresh goat cheese, crumbled
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Cook pasta according to manufacturer's directions.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, basil and crushed red pepper to the cold oil, to avoid having the garlic brown too fast. Cook until fragrant. Add the asparagus and frozen peas to the flavored oil. Cook until veggies are tender about 3 minutes. Add the asparagus tips and season with salt.

Drain pasta reserving about a cup of the liquid. Add pasta and reserved water to the pan, tossing to coat. Add goat cheese; give one last toss and serve. Top each plate with some fresh basil if desired.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Microplane’s New Twist & Grate Dual Sided Grater…Perfect For The Big Jobs

I’ll admit my initial reaction when I received Microplane's Twist & Grate Dual Sided Grater for review was not a good one. I couldn’t help but think to myself; “another grater, what do I need this for?”

If you’re anything like me in the kitchen you probably already have a box grater and a handheld grater/zester. So why add the Twist & Grate to this mix? Well for one thing it’s pretty much both graters in one; making it very versatile. It has two blades; fine and ultra course. Allowing you to do everything from zest fruit to quickly grate hard cheese (something I do a lot of). It also folds; making it easy to store.

Still not seeing the benefits of the Twist & Grate….

How about the ergonomic handle. That’s what really sold me. The Twist & Grate’s sturdy handle made it easy for me to grate large amounts of cheese and vegetables without the awkwardness I got from my other graters. It makes grating cups of Parmesan for recipes like my lasagna or meatballs bearable.

Although I’ll still be taking my handheld grater with me to the table; so I can quickly grate cheese over my pasta; I will be using the new Twist & Grate for all my big jobs.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pasta with Chickpeas & Fresh Rosemary

I don’t know about you but the last thing I want to do when I get home from work is spend hours cooking dinner. That being said I’m not about to sacrifice taste or make something unhealthy just because it’s easy.

When I came across the recipe for Penne with Chickpeas and Rosemary in Scott Conant’s New Italian Cooking cookbook….I knew I had a winner.

Just a few healthy ingredients; cooked up in minutes…this pasta is perfect for a weeknight meal.

Pasta with Chickpeas & Fresh Rosemary
(adapted from Scott Conant)

1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary
1 can chickpeas (15 ounces)
1 can tomatoes, chopped (about 4 tomatoes)
1 cup chicken broth
crushed red pepper
1 lb pasta

Heat olive oil in a saute pan. Add rosemary and heat until fragrant. Add the chickpeas with their liquid, the chopped tomatoes, chicken broth and crushed pepper.  Cook until the chickpeas are heated through.

Puree half of the pan's contents in a food processor and return puree to pan.  Season with salt.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in boiling salted water until about 3/4 of the way cooked.  Reserve approximately 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Toss the drained pasta with the chickpeas.  Turn the heat up to medium-high and cook tossing until the pasta is well coated and cooked to al dente. Add reserved pasta liquid to thin the sauce if necessary.

Serve pasta with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

***I'm submitting this to Presto Pasta Nights hosted this week by Tandy over at Lavendar & Lime...stop by on Friday to check out all the delicious pasta dishes***

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Strawberry Crumb Cake

Last week strawberries were on sale at the market; so I bought a few cartons. I ate some with my oatmeal for breakfast. I dipped some in chocolate.

And I used the rest to make this delicious Strawberry Crumb Cake I found on Gingerbread Bagels.

I was a bit nervous at first to try this cake since my husband is not a huge fan of cooked fruit…but he loved it. The strawberries make the cake extra moist and the crumb topping is just perfect…not too sweet. I know I will be making this cake again. 

Strawberry Crumb Cake
(adapted from Gingerbread Bagels)

1 1/4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sliced strawberries
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup sour cream (full fat)

Crumb Topping
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour

Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, kosher salt and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl with the paddle attachment, (a handheld mixer works too) mix together the unsalted butter and sugar. Add in the eggs, one at a time.

Add in the orange zest along with the vanilla extract and the sour cream. Mix to combine.

Slowly add in the dry ingredients. Mix until almost combined.

Using a spatula, fold the ingredients together. Add the sliced strawberries and fold them in.

Spread the batter into a lightly greased 10 inch round cake pan. Set aside while you make the crumb topping.

Crumb Topping

Combine the packed light brown sugar, sugar, ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg. Mix together.

Pour in the melted butter and combine. Add in the flour and stir. At this point, use yours hands to mix the crumb topping together.

Sprinkle the topping evenly over the cake.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Philadelphia Photo Tour & Giveaway Winner

Sometimes you get a chance to see a place from the outside looking in and you realize how special that place really is.  We often take the things around us for granted.  I spent 32 years of my life living in Philadelphia and have only recently come to appreciate so many things the city has to offer. Family, friends and food aside I want to share with you some photos I took as an outsider looking in.

Philadelphia Roof Top View

 Philadelphia Side Street

9th St. Italian Market

Philadelphia City Hall at Night

Franklin Roosevelt Park (a.k.a. The Lakes)

Looking East on Market St.

***The Winner of the Chop Keeper Is: Jen from NJ Epicurean.  Congratulations to Jen and thanks to everyone that participated.***