A Beautiful Mess

By mess I mean garbage plate. I’ve always wanted to come up with a Rochester hot sauce, or meat sauce, or whatever you’d like to call it. And this was just the excuse I needed. Linh Phillips from Sir Rocha Says is going to be presenting at the RAF 20 Minutes and a Beer on April 19th (see the Facebook event). We needed a photo for the event creative and I thought why not pay tribute to Linh’s (and my) love all all things food and drink….including Sriracha.

The garbage plate was made famous in Rochester. And while mine is not exactly the classic from Nick Tahou’s, it was super good. I started with Wegmans frozen sweet potatoes fries. I pan fried them in a touch of oil then caramelized them with maple syrup. Those are topped with Wegmans deli macaroni salad. Two Zweigles pop-open red hots come next, followed by the hot sauce and Sriracha.

Don’t forget the Sriracha Hot Stout from Rogue Ales & Spirits. It’s an easy drinking stout with hints of chocolate, malt and coffee. The pepper spice is definitely there, but not nearly as strong as you may think given the bright red Sriracha bottle look. A very interesting beer and an excellent pairing for our plate.

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The hot sauce was pretty easy to make and ridiculously good. I mixed a touch of sweet in, to go with the spice….especially since I knew the Sriracha was coming. Given it’s a Rochester recipe, I used the Dundee’s Porter instead of only water….and it’s way better! Here is the recipe.

  • 1 medium or 1/2 large white onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 bottle Dundee’s Porter
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon Hungarian hot paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, diced
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 8-16 oz. water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in large skillet, then fry onion and garlic in oil until lightly browned. Break up meat and add to pan with all spices. Stir continually until browned to keep loose. Once browned, add the porter, tomato paste and brown sugar. Simmer 1 hour, adding water if necessary to keep it moist.

Heather and I shared this and it was splendid! Let us know your “plate” suggestions and favorites and we’ll make another! Cheers.

Thankful for Leftovers

Hope you all had a marvelous Thanksgiving, with lots of friends and family time!  It’s been a busy week, but sharing leftovers with you seemed like the right thing to do. After all, what are friends for!

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Believe it or not, I ate this sandwich. Maybe I have a big mouth…or maybe half of the meal ended up outside the delicious rosemary olive oil roll. You decide. Either way, I was super hungry and it was awesome!

Please stay tuned, I have lots of good things to post coming up soon! In the meantime, have a great start to your holiday season. Cheers!

Blueberries, texture, dessert, and Addys!

Happy Friday to you all! My District 2 regional Addy award just arrived, so it seems like a good time to share the news!

Last year I was asked to be part of an amazing project: Cohber Fuel. 12 local artists were each asked to create an image for a calendar, based only on one word. My word was texture. This is what I came up with!

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This link will take you to my page on the Cohber site for a brief description, but you can also follow the Fuel button in the corner to see a video about the entire project and view the rest of the images. Cohber determined a printing technique to highlight each artist’s creation. My image had dimensional ink to highlight the texture!

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I entered the image in the local American Advertising Awards show and it won silver. It then was forwarded on to the D2 regional show and won gold! (Page 30 in this PDF.)

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This seemed like the perfect excuse to make a blueberry crumble (like I really needed a reason?) It was super good, and I decided to make it gluten free so our son with celiac disease could enjoy it as well. It was fun trying to randomly come up with a recipe for this. I guarantee you’ll enjoy it!

2eat2drink-blueberry crumble-pIngredients for the berry mixture:

  • 2 lbs blueberries, washed
  • finely grated zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pisco or brandy
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate juice
  • 2 tablespoons Wegmans Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Mix

Get out your favorite 8″ square baking pan, throw everything in and mix it up. It should look like this. (I dare you not to eat some.)

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Ingredients for topping:

  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup Wegmans Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Mix
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter, softened

Mix it all up in a bowl with a fork and spread evenly on the top with your fingers (only licking when you are done). Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes. Enjoy!

 

 

An elegant ending to Easter

Happy Easter! I hope the Easter bunny brought you some chocolate almonds (Piedras de Chocolate from Spain). They came all the way from Wegmans in our case. (If not, malted chocolate eggs will probably work okay, too.) Pair them with a Twisted Sidecar by the fire (as it was snowing today!) for a relaxing and elegant ending to your Easter.

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Twisted Sidecar

  • 1 1/2 ounces Pierre Ferrand Ambre cognac
  • 3/4 ounce Cointrau
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 ounce fresh orange juice
  • Demerara sugar for rim

Run a lemon wedge around the top of your glass, then dip it in a small amount of Demerara sugar to coat the rim. In a shaker over ice mix ingredients and shake well. Strain into glass and garnish with twists of lemon and orange (twisted together).

2eat2drink_pierre ferrand ambre

Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac is an awesome value. For $40 you’ll get a blended cognac aged, on average, 10 years. It’s smooth, light, and bright with flavors of vanilla, honey, oak, and a mix of citrus and flowers. It’s very nice on its own, and excellent in cocktails.

Cheers!

A quick version of pho, Thai style

I like pho. Do you like pho? I bet you do. You just don’t know it yet. Pho is Vietnamese noodle soup. I wanted to make the authentic version, but figured it would take too long (who has three hours to make stock?), so enter… Thai culinary stock. Some recipes use a chicken stock, but I figured the Thai stock would have a flavor profile closer to Vietnamese. Or something like that.

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I used this recipe as a rough guideline, but as usual, I changed a few things. I specifically liked the idea of pan searing some of the elements to add more flavor; thus the mini stir fry. Enjoy!

  • 1 medium onion, peeled, halved through root end
  • 2 Thai chili peppers or ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 1” piece ginger, peeled, chopped
  • 8 cups Thai culinary stock
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. of peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 2 cups baby bok choy, chopped
  • 1 cup beech mushrooms
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces Thai Kitchen straight rice noodles
  • Mung bean sprouts, fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems, thinly sliced scallions, chopped unsalted, roasted peanuts, and lime wedges (for serving)
  • Heat a dry large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Cook onion, cut side down, until lightly charred, about 5 minutes; transfer to a plate.
  • Add chiles (if using crushed red pepper flakes, add with fennel seeds), garlic, cinnamon stick, and star anise to skillet and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add fennel seeds and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 20 seconds (do not burn). Quickly transfer to a large saucepan (reserve skillet) and add onion, ginger, and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until broth is flavorful.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in reserved skillet over medium-high heat. Season shrimp with salt and pepper, toss in the skillet with baby bok choy and beech mushrooms. Stir fry for a minute or two until shrimp is cooked through.
  • Cook noodles according to package directions. Divide among bowls and add stir fry. Strain broth and ladle into bowls. Top pho with bean sprouts, cilantro, scallions, and peanuts and serve with lime wedges.

 

I’m thankful for cheese. Good cheese.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all! I’m thankful for love, family, friends, all the wonderful things around me, getting to say y’all every now and then, and life in general. I hope y’all feel the same way, everything is great in your world, and you are spending time with your loved ones. The Thanksgiving turkey post will come (no pictures yet, insert segue), so I’m going to shift gears and say I’m thankful for cheese. Especially when all you have to do is say, “Yes, please. I’d love a sample!”

I was walking through the Wegmans cheese department (this happens frequently, as I photograph cheese often), and the Giorgio Cravero Parmigiano Reggiano was being sampled, paired with pear infused balsamic vinegar. It took me just to the end of the first bite to grab a chunk and a bottle…and go in search of more balsamic flavors.

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As you can see, I decided on fig, along with the fresh fruit to pair with it. Bread and wine (which I’m also thankful for) weren’t far behind on my shopping list.

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The ciabatta baguette was a nice way to soak up a little extra vinegar, and to keep it from dripping as you’re dipping. The pear variety is a little sweeter, blending well with the tart balsamic vinegar base. The fig version is lighter (just like the color), and considerably more tart. Both were excellent (slight edge to the pear), and went well with the cheese. The cheese was a little softer and more moist than most aged parm, with more brilliant flavors of caramel, fruit, and nuts. Giorgio Cravero created an excellent (as the label states) “small batch, Artisinal, Parmigiano Reggiano”.

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Two varieties of Apothic wines seemed appropriate, as we had the 2 varieties of vinegar. They were probably too deep a red for the pairing, but were very good! Both are California blends with dark fruit and layers of flavor. The Red (Heather’s favorite) is definitely lighter and adds a few notes of vanilla and jam. The Dark (my favorite) is true to name, darker, with hints of coffee and dark chocolate.

Enjoy your day! Cheers!

Bánh Mi. The perfect sandwich, part 2.

Our Christmas Eve dinner was slightly out of the ordinary for our family. We decided to mix it up and serve a sandwich. But what kind of sandwich? Let’s take a stab at the perfect sandwich, I thought….the Bánh Mi. It was a hit, even with the little ones (although they may have skipped a few of the ingredients).

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From the bottom running clockwise, our sandwich consisted of: roast pork loin (marinated in white vinegar, Asian BBQ sauce, chopped ginger, soy sauce), Wegmans Asian BBQ  sauce, bacon, sliced jalapeños, cucumbers (marinated in equal parts white vinegar and sugar), Wegmans ciabatta baguette, Sriracha sauce, pork liver pâté, fresh cilantro. Don’t forget a nice spicy Gewürztraminer to go with it. I still think our house white, from Chateau Ste. Michelle, is excellent.

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This is a must try. In fact, it’s time for leftovers. Enjoy!