Saturday, August 28, 2010

Apricot-Swirled Cheesecake Bars

This recipe came from Everyday Food (Martha's magazine, of course), which has a lot of great ideas for...well...everyday food. Not only was the recipe simple, but it was also beautiful and delicious!

I made very few changes to the original recipe — as usual, my version is below. I received pretty high remarks when I brought these into work. Considering how easy the recipe was to make, it's definitely a keeper!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Restaurant Review: Silk City

Silk City Diner on Urbanspoon

This one's for you, Dad! This past Father's Day, my dad drove down to Philly for a little lunch with his favorite (only) daughter and future son-in-law. We went to Silk City at his request, as he'd heard about it on what he calls "Triple D" — Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.

Silk City is an eclectic diner-slash-nightclub (and as of this year, it's also a beer garden!). If you turn left upon entering, you're in a bar. Turn right, and you head up the stairs to a gourmet diner! Keep walking through the diner, and you end up in an outdoor beer garden. Somewhat disjointed? Yes. Does it work? Definitely!

The specials menu changes often, and I recommend ordering from it! On Father's Day, my dad ordered a braised pork belly over lentils (pictured on left below). He concluded that it was the "best Father's Day lunch" he's ever had — whatever that means!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Food of the Gods

The second sidedish that I know you've been waiting in suspense for (relax, the wait is over!) is ambrosia, which literally translates to "food of the gods." If you've ever had it, you know that it's a sweet, light, and fruity side — not to mention a little unusual looking and old school. But delicious nonetheless!

Ambrosia is something I equate with family poolside BBQs at my grandparents' house — a dish that my late Aunt Patti always brought. When I was asked to bring it to our annual August birthdays party this past weekend, I knew I had to do her proud! There are many variations, but I started with a recipe from Alton Brown and made my own adjustments from there.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Asian-Inspired Coleslaw

Sure the main dish is important, but the sides should be just as interesting! Recently I've made a couple side/salad recipes that were colorful and tasty additions to summer meals.

The first side was Asian-inspired coleslaw, a recipe that I got from my good friend Melissa (shout out, yo!). It's very fresh and has a little more flavor than your average coleslaw. The original recipe calls for ground ginger, but using fresh ginger makes it smell and taste amazing! And if your coleslaw (store-bought or self-chopped) has a lot of red cabbage in the mix, it's a pretty attractive dish as well!

Asian Coleslaw (about 6 servings)

1 lb. pre-shredded coleslaw mix (Whole Foods makes a great one!)
1/2 cup reduced fat mayo
2-3 tbsp. lime juice (2 limes for me)
2 tbsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. fresh grated ginger (or 1/4 tsp. ground ginger)
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro (optional)

  • Blend all ingredients except coleslaw mix in a small bowl and thin with a splash of milk. 
  • Pour over coleslaw mix and stir well. Refrigerate coleslaw for at least an hour before serving and garnish with a little chopped cilantro if that's up your alley!

Stay tuned for side #2...

    Tuesday, August 10, 2010

    Restaurant Review: Taco Riendo

    Taco Riendo on Urbanspoon

    Taco Riendo (or "laughing taco") is a small (but mighty) taqueria in the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philly (1301 N. 5th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122). A few years ago, Brad and I were craving authentic Mexican and found a listing for this little place. Now it's one of our favorite places for a quick, cheap bite!

    Now that we've been going for a few years, we each have our "standard" orders. My staples include: elote asado, grilled corn on the cob with Mexican mayo, lime, chile powder, and Oaxaca cheese; a fish taco, which has Mexican rice, grilled fish, and lime wedges; and a choriqueso taco — their homemade, spicy chorizo and Oaxaca cheese grilled in corn tortillas.

    Jello for Adults

    This past Saturday I was a Parrot Head at the Jimmy Buffett concert. If you've ever been to one, you know that the tailgating scene before the concert is actually the event...the concert itself is just icing on the cake!

    For the occasion, I was in charge of making jello shots. So that I didn't feel like I was in college again, I decided to jazz them up a bit — and I must say they tasted pretty awesome! My kitchen was like a jello shot science lab, complete with intoxicating fumes...

    Even though it's not "cooking" by definition, I thought I would include the recipes (if you can call them that) on here. For the most part, I simplified them to 1 box of jello — obviously you can multiply the amounts by the number of boxes you're making. Just keep in mind the basic principle behind making jello shots — for every box of jello, you want 2 cups liquid total. You can use sugar-free jello for a lot of these, but the fancier flavors of jello (e.g., Melon Fusion) don't usually come in sugar-free varieties.

    Sunday, August 1, 2010

    Healthful Zucchini Bread

    Living in Philly, it's easy to find fresh New Jersey (i.e., the Garden State) produce all summer long. This time of year, zucchini is especially plentiful, as it grows like a weed in these parts! Wondering how I'd use the zucchini I bought, I came across a recipe for zucchini bread on Whole Foods' website.

    I was happy to see that the recipe incorporated substitutions to make it lower-fat and higher-fiber. And despite this fact, it is one tasty treat! If you find yourself elbow-deep in zucchini, here's a good way to use up some of it. It's also a great way to sneak some veg into a delicious snack!

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