Sunday, January 29, 2012

Make a Wish*

This week began with a race to use up all my leftovers before heading to the magical worlds of Universal and Disney in Orlando!

I began with a smaller version of Pioneer Woman's Prime Rib. The super salty slices of meat pared perfectly with Anthony's brussel sprouts sauteed in honey. Salty and sweet, just can't get away from the obsession. With the leftover prime rib, I created a spicy combo of the meat, cream cheese and jalapenos with a side of broccoli and leftover tomatoes from the best bruschetta recipe ever! Lastly, I used strips of the prime rib in loaded tacos using the leftover tortillas from when I made Rachel Ray's Mediterranean Fish Tacos .

Early Friday morning my friends and I left for Orlando and by 3pm we were drinking butter beer and casting spells at Hogwarts. The next 48 hours to follow were a blur of death dropping rides, childhood Disney memories (seeing as that we did 4 Disney parks in 1 day) and of course super tasty treats! Enjoy...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

New Experiences and Old Favorites

This has been another fabulous food week in Columbia, SC. What with Restaurant Week and the elections, there has been a lot of notable activity in this small town.

To start off with, Gervais and Vine makes a mouth-watering cheese spread and a finger-licking-good bowl of mussels. The wine's not bad either. Pawley's Front Porch still whips out a big, juicy, flavor-filled cheeseburger-- the Sullivan's burger to be exact. Guacomole, pineapple, pepper-jack cheese and jalapeno mayo enhances the already intense burger and compliments the crisp sweet potato fries. And you get all the coke refills that you want!!! Sorry.. still having a little reverse culture-shock.

still makes some of the best sushi that I've ever had... the raw salmon on the Pink Dragon roll is very fresh, the roll is also super spicy and despite the fact that I usually hate cooked sushi, the Firecracker roll is incredible! I mean fried sushi swimming in a shallow pool of fire-red hot sauce... sign me up. Lastly, I tried a new cafe/coffee shop called Immaculate Consumption (right next to the Nickelodeon Theater) and I was not impressed. I ordered a tuna-melt, an albacore tuna-melt. In case you are not a super-tuna-lover like myself you may not know that albacore is the most tasty tuna you can use for tuna salad. Well the tuna was flavorless, the bread was not toasty enough and the cheese was unmemorable. I will still give this place one more chance, since the other 4 girls who I was with loved every bite of their sandwiches.

I don't know if you know, but I am a huge fan of a social networking site called Pinterest. If Facebook represents my favorite meal, then Pinterest represents my favorite drink.. and it is strong, highly addictive and may cause blurred vision. But instead of just admiring all the fancy pics on Pinterest, I decided to actually make some of the recipes that I found. First off I tried a tomato crostini, which is so simple and sickeningly delicious! I already love tomatoes, but who knew they could taste this good! Next I tried coconut-baked chicken with an apricot/mustard sauce and rice pilaf. Now I've done a lot of things to a chicken, fried it, sauted it, boiled it, etc.. but I'm not a big baker. The flavor was great, but the crust was not crunchy at all. This is a recipe to try again. Finally, I found a new way to make breakfast eggs. I will eat eggs pretty much any way except hard-boiled, and this technique satisfies my need for runny eggs. All you do is cut a bell pepper into rings, place them in a skillet and break the egg into them. It is cute and scrumptious! And it went very well with my creamy goat cheese grits.

And now for a bit of culture to compliment a big, full belly. After eating at Tsunami the other night, we went to Jillian's to see Ron Paul speak. Although I am in no way a Ron Paul supporter, it was so cool to go to something so American. He did a pretty good job speaking and he definitely has some crazy fans.

Last night, Jenny, her friend Brianna and I went to a play! Yes- people still go to plays. It was called Spring Awakening and the plot is not usually my cup of tea-- a group of young students explore the many different forms of sexuality in 1890 Germany. It was surprisingly contemporary and the music was very interesting and catchy. Also the Trustus Theater gives you free popcorn and real wine choices.. so that was cool.

We concluded the night of a German "coming of age" story to a fine homemade Indian dinner. Anusha came back to Jenny's house with us where we had potato and peas in curry, basmati rice, Jenny's cheese naan and chicken. It was fabulous, as was the ultimate chick flick that we watched at the same time-- "Definitely, maybe." Until next Sunday... bon appetite!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dinner Parties

My first fire-alarm fiasco... So on Thursday I decided to have a few people over for dinner. Ever since I  started using my grill pan with the Rachel Ray recipe, I feel like a superstar. So naturally I felt that my pork was too good to be simply sauteed in the pan.. as if I'm still using that teeny tiny kitchen in Paris.. I got the gadgets, I'm gonna use them! 

Cut to: 10 pieces of pork on the grill pan and both fire alarms raging against the machine at decible level 1billion! And then there's me.. running around like a headless chicken, opening all the windos and violently waving my roommate's USC blanket at those blasted fire alarms. I mean NOTHING was burning.. it's a grill, smoke is an appropriate side-effect. So after 10-15 min of trying to stop the madness.. I realized.. oh my gosh if I don't stop I really will burn the pork and the cream sauce.. 

Long story short, the alarm eventually stopped, dinner was fabulous and I had a new experience. 

Dates stuffed with Danish blue cheese
Garnished with mint

Grilled Pork 
Marinated in fresh herbs, lemon juice, garlic, mustard and EVOO
Covered in a cream sauce

Couscous, broccoli, roasted sweet potatoes and rolls

Jenny's Funfetti cookies for dessert!

On Saturday, I went to a Thanksgiving dinner party. Anything I may have missed by spending Thanksgiving abroad was made up for last night: great food, crazy friends, American football, pets running around out and inappropriate jokes ;)

Turkey and Gravy
Cranberry Sauce
Cornbread Casserole
Sweet Potato Casserole 
Mashed Potatoes 
Spinach Dip
Brussel Sprouts
Jello Shot Cake
Chocolate Bunt Cake
Pecan Pie
Apple Pie

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mediterranean Multipurpose

Last Sunday morning, while watching the Food Network, I got hypnotized by one of Rachel Ray's 30 min meals: Mediterranean Fish Tacos and Orzo with Chick Peas.  Well, I'm not nieve enough to think that  I can actually cook one of her meals in 30 min.. but geez it took me forever.. then to clean up.. anyway. Here is the payoff..

Original recipe with Mahi Mahi substituting Halibut 

Mediterranean Wrap
hummous, red onion, lettuce, peppers, mahi mahi
and added bbq sauce to the orzo to cut that lemon taste

Same ingredients as wrap
grilled to perfection and cut into quesadilla shape