Wednesday, March 30, 2011

We're going OUT to dinner?!

Let's face it, if we all went out to dinner all the time we'd be broke as a joke (and I wouldn't get to experiment with new recipes) so I was pleasantly surprised when FG said he wanted to go out for dinner last Friday night. After 30 minutes of internet searching, flipping through the Dish, and looking at internet menu's, we decided on Wild Olive on John's Island. We made the 20 minute drive to the farthest of the islands and nestled in at the bar for a pre-dinner drink while our table was prepared. I settled for a strawberry basil mojito--basil because it's an Italian Restaurant--and watched the bartender as he crushed the basil, added the ingredients, and added a small, robust scoop of strawberry sorbet right on top. I knew then that this was going to be a good experience.
We were thrilled to hear that they had switched over to their spring menu and immediately ordered the blue crab crostini and FG ordered something with Pork belly (his new favorite thing) and butter beans. I'm really not at the point where I feel comfortable taking my giant Nikon out to take pictures of our food especially since I had to apologize to FG for whipping out the small, pink Casio to snap pics of our dinner plates before we dig in. "Sorry, it's for my blog." I have a feeling it's going to be like this from now on.

Pork belly and butter beans

Blue Crab Crostini
Anyway, after primi, we had papardelle (obviously one of my new favorites) with Pork Ragu and Spaghetti Carbonara. I have to say, that carbonara was the best I have ever had. It was simple, not chock full of cream sauce, and each bite was satisfying. The pancetta was crunchy and salty and my mouth is watering just thinking about it. I have always wanted to make this dish but never attempted it for whatever reason but will definitely add it onto my list of new recipes to tackle.

Papardelle with Pork Ragu
Spaghetti Carbonara
I was too full for dessert but of course FG said "I'm ordering this chocolate pistachio thing. It's for your blog." Uh huh. 'For the blog'. We'll see about that. At least we are on the same page about the new importance of snapping pics of our food before we dive in. And hey, it gives us a second to examine what the heck we ended up ordering/cooked and that's just fine with me.

Chocolate Pistachio "thing" w/ homemade biscotti

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A week of new dinners

Last Sunday I decided to go through a few cookbooks and cook things I have never cooked for the entire week. It was fun to branch out from the same old dinners we usually have and try something different. I think a good cook is not someone who can make the same few things over and over, but one who can take a risk and try some new recipes and be completely vulnerable. This week's dinners ended up coming from Tyler's Ultimate cookbook. On the menu was chicken paillard with figs and blue cheese which I altered to have apples and goat cheese because I don't think figs are in season and really don't care for blue cheese. We also had shrimp with white beans, bacon, sage, and tomatoes, and the ultimate spinach salad with bacon, black pepper, honey, and 6 minute eggs (which will be accompanying a pork tenderloin tonight) and 2 recipes not in his book: salmon with smashed potatoes and papardelle with sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, and goat cheese in which I substitued fettucine since I couldn't find papardelle. This is a dish I abosultely love an didn't realize until the next day that I was missing truffle oil from the recipe. Hey, I'm on a budget here!

Anyway, I like cooking Tyler's recipes because he very much believes in using a few, simple ingredients in his dishes and I strategically chose recipes whose ingredients somewhat overlapped and looked for things I already had in the pantry. I think this is a technique I learned from my Mom at a young age. I would sit at the kitchen counter and do my homework while she was cooking dinner. She was the queen of making up her own recipes and adding twists on her favorite things based on what she had to work with.

I have probably 25 cookbooks, some only opened a few times, some with food stains and tattered pages that almost automatically open to the recipes in them I cook the most. My goal for the next few months is to try and cook at least one new recipe a week from that collection of cookbooks. It is a little scary to know that something I have put time and effort into might not taste as well as I'd hoped and probably will not look like the staged photo in the cookbookbut oh well. I always liked trying new things (if you haven't gotten the hit yet) so I think it will be fun. Here are some photos from the last week's dinners:

Chicken Paillard with apples and goat cheese
Shrimp with white beans and tomatoes

I will let you know how the next week's new dinner turn out as well as post some old favorites on here soon so stay tuned. Until next time,


Saturday, March 19, 2011

The early bird catches the worm

Okay, so I have finally decided to start a blog. No better time to do it, right? I feel like I have lost a little bit of creativity since college and this is my newest venture to try and grab hold of what creativity is left in me. Every Spring I try and engage in something that will light a fire under me, teach me something new, and inspire me to get out and experience exciting things. First it was banjo lessons which turned out to be much more difficult than I anticipated, then last year it was improv classes at theater 99, and this year it will be this blog (hopefully). I have started to dabble in photography a little bit and even though I am clueless about the science of taking good photographs, I simply enjoy it.

Anyway, today was one of those almost-spring Saturdays that has seemed to never end, which is great. Today there were no mundane chores, no to-do list crossing off, and it felt freeing. The weather was warm and FG and I played putt-putt, ate a delicious lunch at Jack's Cosmic Dogs, registered for some wedding gifts, and even watched a movie. Although I was awake at 8:30 this morning and dragged my feet to get out of bed, I really feel like it was one of those days that felt great to have so much time to enjoy myself. The draft root beer at Jack's was pretty amazing and I am already itching to go back for another. I am not even a big fan of hot dogs but I'm willing to give anything with cheese sauce on it a chance.

I sincerely hope that I can provide some sort of entertainment and recipe ideas with this new blog. If you know me you probably know I have a lot of interesting things to say about pretty much everything so this should be an adventure!

So, my advice to you is to get up early next chance you have, get out there and do some fun things. Save your list for the next day. Until next time,


Apologies in advance for the shoddy pic quality...blame it on my iPhone. Better pics to come soon.

Hot dog with cheese sauce and onions

Jack's fries with sweet potato mustard...the best mustard I have ever had!

Strawberry shake with actual strawberries. Puts Sonic to shame!