Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Superbowl Sundaes ;)


This has been one of my go-to dishes this fall. Easy, quick cleanup, ready when you get home from work. Its pretty healthy, as far as game day foods go, and if your crowd doesn't finish up the food, it freezes super well.

Barbecue Sundae
from Southern Living comfort food
You can take shortcuts by getting ingredients at a meat-and-three or favorite barbcue, but the pork is so easy in the slow cooker, why would you want to?? :)

2 cups warm baked beans
2 cups coleslaw
1 pound warm shredded barbecued pork
Barbecue sauce*
Dill pickle wedges (optional)

Divide baked beans among 4 small bowls, mugs, or wide-mouth jars; top each portion with 1/2 cup slaw, 1/4 pound shredded barbecue pork, and sauce. Serve with a dill pickle wedge, if desired.

Yields 4 servings, so double and triple away for a game day crowd.

*This family swears by Sweet Baby Rays. WWP+ is about 2pts per serving on that, which is plenty in a sundae.

Slow-Cooker Carnitas (or one rockin' pork starter) (5 WWP+ for 4oz serving)
from thekitchn
1 (6-8 pound) pork butt, also called pork shoulder
2 tablespoons coarse salt
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
8 whole garlic cloves, smashed
4 chipotle peppers (canned or dried)
1 cup tomato juice
1 cup orange juice

Trim excess fat from the meat and discard. Put all of the ingredients in the slow cooker. Set to cook on low for 8 hours. You can tell the meat is done when the house smells so good you can stand it any longer, and the meat falls off the bone. Shred the meat into a serving bowl.

Bonus tip, you can skim the fat off the juice and keep some to reheat the meat in. Great for storing leftovers in the freezer! I've had it keep as long as 3 months so far, but I can't resist it any longer than that, even for testing purposes. ;)
Yields about 26 servings

And my favorite slaw recipe? I'm so glad you asked.

Zesty Slaw (0 WWP+)
from the Food Network
4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp sugar
1 head napa cabbage**, shredded
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
4 tbsp freshly sliced green onions
1 carrot peeled and shredded
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Whisk the rice wine vinegar, lime juice, canola oil, and sugar together in a small bowl.
Add the cabbage, cilantro, green onions, and carrot to a large serving bowl and combine. Drizzle with the dressing and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.

**Use judgement on the cabbage. If it looks like waaaaaaaaaay more than you need, half the recipe and stop chopping! It does keep for a couple of days though. :)

Not a fan of barbecue sauce? (I'm shocked you stayed this long!) Combine the pork and the slaw on a flour tortilla for a kickin' carnita instead!

What's your favorite Game Day recipe? And what's that one splurge item you can never resist?

EDIT: 2/10/13
I'm trying out something new, to give you guys some more options for saving favorite recipes. My go to method is to print full page and add to a binder, but I know a lot of people prefer recipe cards. Let me know if this method of printing works for you at all! :)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Bonefish Grill

I have always loved going out to eat. However, I have always wanted my food my way. My mom was impressed as a child when I once sent a plate of pasta back to the kitchen 4 times. Yes, 4. First, it wasn't specialized at all; normal sauce, and not what I wanted. The next two times it came out looking exactly the same; it had green stuff. (I believe now, looking back, that it was probably just finely chopped parsley.) Finally they got it right. Hey, I didn't say it was always easy eating out with me.

These days, the biggest challenge is finding a budget friendly place with food that still tastes better than I can cook at home. Usually that means we go Asian... I haven't ventured into Thai, Indian, or Sushi much yet. (Though I do have a killer shrimp curry dish that Brian made once to share soon.) When we go to the "big city" we have plenty of options, and many are even ok price wise. Of course places like Second Empire are a totally different story, and different blog post.

Our local options? Not so varied. Hence, the Asian. So when Bonefish Grill showed up recently, I was thrilled. I knew this one from Boston, but had never made it out. Very excited for the second chance!

I've been twice now; first time for drinks and dessert, second time for dinner. Totally different crowds, same great service. Shall we begin?

(All ratings out of 5 stars, slightly emotionally swayed by price point, and definitely based on the category. Wouldn't take bread over appetizer, for example.)

Bread 4 stars
The bread itself has a good texture. Served warm, good crust, soft insides. Sliced most of the way through so you don't mangle it trying to cut a slice. The oil really makes it though; its poured over pesto. YUM. Can totally do this at home, now that you have the idea. ;)

We got the special; Lobster Rangoon. 4 stars
Just enough crunch, rich filling. You get 6 on the plate, so plan on two plates if you've got more than two people. Good solid bits of lobster, you can tell its not a normal rangoon. Sauce is a great balance with it; you can just catch the hint of ginger, which is perfect. Only complaint was that a few over-puffed, leaving a disappointing hole when you bit in.

Salmon with Warm Mango Salsa 3 stars
The salsa really made this fish. It was good fish, and had a nice wood grilled flavor, but it was a tiny bit dry. (I do mean tiny.) Really, quite satisfying. Best part? They have the salsa recipe on their website. Untitled

Pecan Parmesan Crusted Rainbow Trout 3.5 stars
Topped with artichoke hearts; genius. They add the best flavor! This one reheated pretty well as leftovers. My only complaint was that it wasn't as pecan crusted as my expectations. It had a lovely crust, but it was a lot more breadcrumb and parmesan feeling than pecan. I have a walnut rosemary chicken recipe that was guiding my expectations though. I may try this one at home soon. :) Untitled

Herbed Jasmine Rice 1.5 stars
I would have liked a lot more flavor from this side. I will try something different next time.
Potatoes Au Gratin 2.5 stars
It was good. Served in a scoop. Probably not a be all end all potato for me, but good.
Garbanzo beans 2.5 stars
These were the seasonal vegetable. If I'd realized, I'd have gotten a steamed veggie instead of the rice. They well prepared, but very starchy compared to green veggies. They did have spinach sauteed with them, but I'm always thinking there should be more spinach.

Chocolate Creme Brulee. 5 stars
Omg. I have this problem where if creme brulee is on the menu, I have to order it. It holds this sick fascination over me. I love cracking the sugar with a spoon. I love the crunch of it on my teeth. I can't help it. Any flavor, anytime. Boy did we get lucky with the chocolate. Just the right amount of bitter to off set the sweetness from the sugar crust. A hint of Grand Marnier that you almost have to look for. Fresh cream. We got the last one in the house, and I am so glad we did not miss out. YUM. I know, blurry :(

Sparkling White Mango Sangria 4.5 stars
The mango wasn't in your face, and it wasn't sickly sweet or fake. They use fresh mango puree. It was topped with cinnamon which gave it a great smell and a nice zip. It was garnished with a slice each of lime and orange. I think mango would have been nice there, but I know there is a cost issue with that (plus they can keep sliced citrus better).
Fresh Cucumber Collins 4.5 stars
I'm still not a gin drinker (though apparently Hendrick's is more my cuppa than Bombay Sapphire or Tanqueray). But Brian enjoyed this a lot, and the cucumber was nicely balanced and refreshing.

The other visit I had the Pomegranate Martini (YUM) and the classic Creme Brulee (YUM).

Service both times was stellar. When we went for dinner it was packed. There was a 40 minute wait, but they came around with a sample of their chicken marsala and took drink orders. The service was quick and friendly, our waiter attentive without being intrusive. When I went for dessert and drinks, there weren't many people there. They gladly pushed tables together for our large group, and were quiet helpful even though we didn't order entrees or apps. Really pleased with the staff both visits. :)

***Sorry the pictures are not my usual quality. It was dark, my real camera was at a friend's house, and I was really hungry. XD


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