Why we started this idea????

A passion for food, wine, friends and entertaining is a big part of our life. This is a way for us to document our experiences, passion for food & life and also share it with others.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fried Green Tomatoes with a Pesto Vinaigrette

Fall is definitely here. There are many signs; cooler mornings & evenings, days getting shorter everyday and an overall feeling in the air that summer has left us.

Our plants are starting to look

haggard and spent.
Our tomatoes are greener than green with no sign or real hope of even turning red this year.

Accepting this inevitable fate of our tomatoes we decided to put them to use anyway by making some fried green tomatoes.

Neither of us had actually made fried green tomatoes before. Being from the Midwest G has had them but T had not before this.

We found a recipe on Tastespotting from Life's Ambrosia blog that served as our initial starting point from which created our version.

The tomatoes although beautiful and green were hard as rocks. Wasn't fully sure how they'd taste good even fried.

First we sliced them, not to thin, not too thick. Knowing we love our tomatoes well seasoned when they're ripe we figured they needed to be well seasoned "green" as well.

The next step was to coat them for frying. We set up our station with seasoned flour, beaten eggs and panko for coating.
 While G prepared our outdoor frying station on the grill burner..(yes, I still hate frying inside of the house.) I was working with incredible hulk fingers from the coating mixture. Haven't figured out how to do that gracefully yet. If you know a mess free strategy we'd love to hear it.

I went ahead and prepared our vinaigrette sauce for the stacked tomatoes: nothing fancy; prepared pesto sauce
 (gotta love Trader Joe's) extra virgin olive oil, grey salt & at last minute champagne vinegar added too.

Next I sliced the fresh mozzarella.

We were ready to get frying now. We brought out everything we needed to get our outside "fry station" going.

Once the peanut oil was up to 350 degrees we placed the panko coated tomatoes into the oil.

The tomatoes turned golden brown after about 2 minutes and then we flipped them.

Once they were done we drained them on a plate lined with paper towel before stacking them with the fresh cheese

 and then placing them into a 300 degree oven just to keep them warm and encourage the cheese melting process.

The looked scrumptious we were pretty excited to give them a try. After plating them we drizzled them with a bit of the Pesto vinaigrette.

We were pleasantly surprised just how good they were actually. The crispy tomato was slightly tart but the creamy cheese added a great soft component. The vinaigrette helped balance out just how rich the tomatoes & cheese were. Over all a great appetizer or side dish. If you have green tomatoes hanging out on your vines we highly recommend this recipe.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Foodie Couple: All About Wine on Wednesday

The Foodie Couple: All About Wine on Wednesday: Corvidae Mirth Chardonnay Vintage: 2009 Price: $10.00 Sight: Clear, light Smell: Slight hint of fruit Taste: Heavy pear notes, ...

All About Wine on Wednesday

Vintage: 2009
Price: $10.00
Sight: Clear, light
Smell: Slight hint of fruit
Taste: Heavy pear notes, crisp not oaked
Overall Impression: Very good
Occasion for wine: most recently served with Grilled Fish Tacos with Chipotle Slaw & Peach Pineapple Salsa
When & Where wine was first tasted: July 2009 at Niko’s Greek Restaurant in Spokane, Washington with friends Jason & Jody on our way to Glacier National Park in Montana.
Final Comments: Continues to be one of our favorite Washington Chardonnays. Made in stainless steel barrels so very food friendly.

Overall Rating: 3

Monday, September 26, 2011

Short Ribs Kabik another Rick Bayless Recipe

Our 2nd week of Gutsy Cooks Clubs' month of Rick Bayless inspired meals was one we were looking forward to. G looked through the recipe choices and lobbied to make the short ribs recipe. He didn't have to lobby too hard. We both love short ribs. So we made Rick Bayless' Short Ribs Kabik (recipe available on his Frontera website.)

For us short ribs is usually a hearty, cooking all day on Sunday kind of event. And although our weather has definitely taken a turn it's still not worthy of our typical short ribs preparation.

We kicked off our meal enjoying some of Rick's Roasted Habernero Salsa and chips that we picked up at the market. It kept us nourished while cooking.

We decided to get a little gutsy and try flanken style short ribs instead of bone in, you know the type that is more often used for Korean style short ribs.

The first step was to roast our peppers & garlic.
The recipe called for some hot banana peppers. One of T's teachers had given her just such a plant for principal appreciation week last spring which provided us with 2 of our peppers. The others we did have to buy at the store.

Ours were just a bit wimpy compared to the purchased ones indeed.But we were excited to actually use a few of our own.

Since we were not using bone in short ribs that need a lot of time to cook we made a few adjustments to the recipe.

The first adjustment was to do a spice rub on the ribs since they wouldn't be absorbing all of the wonderful chile flavor as they would if they cooked in the sauce for a few hours. G rubbed them with a mixture of ancho chile powder and a mexicali herb mix before searing them in the dutch oven. Just long enough to get brown on each side.

We then set them aside.

Next made our sauce with fire roasted tomatoes, the roasted banana peppers and garlic.

We also added green pepper

( in retrospect we wish we would of either chopped the green pepper a bit smaller or roasted it along with the other peppers.)

The sauce was immediately colorful and sure to be full of flavor.
We were not successful in finding achiote seasoning this time (G's is going to go to the east side this week as he's determined he can find it in one of the Mexican markets.)

We got gutsy and substitued a chipolte pepper with a teaspoon of white vinegar to create another layer of chile flavor to the sauce in place of achiote paste the recipe calls for.

We let the sauce do it's thing while we made our side dish.
Rice with Roasted Poblano, Spinach and Fresh Cheese.

A recipe from

Rick's Mexico One Plate At A Time cookbook.

We chopped the roasted poblano,

some of the roasted garlic and spinach.

The first step was to fry

the rice and onions as Rick calls it.

Then we added the chicken broth and poblano.

Very simple. It cooked about 20 minutes before we added the spinach and fresh Mexican cheese.

We also made the Salpicon topping of fresh green onion, chopped habernero and fresh lime juice. (This was spicy but so good.)

By this time our chile was smelling amazing and we put the short ribs into the dutch oven to absorb some flavor. But only for 5-8 minutes because we didn't want them to overcook and get tough.

This was by far one of our favorite Rick Bayless recipes we've made yet and we've made a few. The sauce was wonderful...layered with flavors. The salpicon was fresh and hot at the same time. And the Rice with Roasted Poblano, Spinach and Fresh Cheese was the perfect compliment to the dish.

I mean we can't wait to make it again. And we rarely make a recipe twice unless it becomes "a fav." And this one is for sure "a fav."

We served our meal with Brian Carter Cellars 2008

ABRACADABRA Columbia Valley Red Wine.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Grilled Salmon Burger with Horseradish Caper Mayo

We found a new favorite way to eat silver or coho salmon. Just simply grilled with a bit of rub will always be our favorite way to eat King.

This summer we had spent a day hiking and ended up stopping in Port Townsend on our way home for dinner. We  found a tavern in town on the water, Sirens, where T had the grilled salmon burger that served as the inspiration for this creation.
The inspiration from Sirens Tavern
T said immediately ..."we'll be making these for sure." Often salmon burgers are made with sub-par salmon bits mixed with fillers and who knows what else. This salmon burger was just a delicious piece of salmon fillet. It was perfectly seasoned and perfectly cooked.

The Met had some excellent looking coho salmon that prompted us to finally attempt to make our own version of this grilled salmon burger.

For the salmon we just gave it a little of

Tom Douglas' Rub with Salmon Rub prior to grilling it.
T also pulled out the pin bones,

this is usually G's job but I'm pretty sure he was watching football at the time.

The mayo was also a simple combination of light mayonnaise,

prepared horseradish and capers.

We cut up some lettuce, tomatoes and red onion
to compliment the burger.

We remembered the bun of the Siren's burger being very soft on the inside but a little chewy on the outside.

So when we found these ciabatta rolls we knew they'd be perfect for the burger.

Instead of fries we decided we'd serve our burger with roasted cauliflower. We had purchased a nice head of cauliflower at the Proctor's farmers market earlier that day.

We love roasted cauliflower as a side dish or even just as a snack. For this dish we decided to do a more Indian inspired spice mix.
After tossing the chopped cauliflower with the spices & a drizzle of olive oil into the oven the cauliflower went.

When it was time we put the salmon on the grill skin side up initially.

T didn't oil the grill grate quite well enough so the salmon started to tear a bit when we flipped it.

But it was perfectly cooked medium rare when we took it off the grill. When salmon is over cooked it's just a shame..it loses all of it's sweetness and fresh flavor.
We assembled our burgers and topped them with some of the horseradish caper mayo.
We opened a bottle of 2008 Three Rivers Sauvignon Blanc to go with our meal.

Which perfectly complimented both the salmon and spicy cauliflower.
The salmon burger was definitely a hit. Pretty much exactly as the original that inspired it.


Grilled Salmon Burger with Horseradish Caper Mayo
1 lb. salmon fillet ( we used coho)
2 Tblspn. Tom Douglas' Salmon Rub
1/4 Cup light mayo
1/4 Cup prepared horseradish
2 Tblspn. drained capers
ciabatta buns
Sliced tomato, red onion & lettuce

Rub salmon with rub spices. Grill salmon until medium rare (time depends on thickness of your salmon..approximately 8-10 minutes.) Smear buns with mayo. Assemble burger on bun with tomato, lettuce & onion.

Roasted Cauliflower
Rinse cauliflower. Remove stem and leaves. Slice Cauliflower into pieces about an inch thick. Combine desired spices. Some of our favorites: cumin, curry, red pepper flake, chipolte powder, etc....Add salt to spice. Toss cauliflower with spice and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in 375 degree over for 25-35 minutes until cooked through.