Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Memorial Day Grilling

Originally uploaded by chalen4.

Memorial Day weekend was hot and lazy, but also full of grilled food and booze. This is the dinner that Kim, Andy and I made for ourselves last night. You're hungry already, aren't you?

potato salad
Originally uploaded by chalen4.

Andy made the potato salad using Alton Brown's recipe for Cold Fashioned Potato Salad. I've never been a big fan of potato salad, it never tasted like much and was too thick and starchy to make much sense in the summer time to me. This potato, however, is different, the potatoes soak in a mixture of vinegar in the fridge, so they're very tangy and flavorful. Try it, you'll love it. Andy also left the skins on the potatoes and it was excellent.

2 1/2 pounds red potatoes, large diced
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3/4 cup mayonnaise (homemade if possible)
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 tablespoon very thinly sliced garlic
3 tablespoons fine chopped cornichons
1/2 cup small dice red onion
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place potatoes into a large heavy-bottomed pot. Cover with cold water and place over medium heat. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat and remove lid. Gently simmer until potatoes are fork tender. Drain and place into an ice bath to cool. Remove skin by rubbing with a tea towel. Slice potatoes into rounds and place into a zip top bag. Add the vinegar and toss to coat all of the potatoes. Place the bag into the refrigerator overnight.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, parsley, tarragon, garlic, cornichons, onions, and celery. Once evenly combined, add the potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Let the salad chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.

corn salad
Originally uploaded by chalen4.

Kim and I whipped up a quick corn salad. Actually, Andy did the hard work, removing the silk from the corn while Kim and I played Scrabble. Then we grilled the corn until it was warmed through, but not charred. I used Michael Chiarello's trick for getting corn off of the cob, you stick the narrow end in the hole of a bundt cake pan, and shave the kernels off in to the pan. Very little mess.

Originally uploaded by chalen4.

4-6 ears of grilled corn
1/2 chopped red onion
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro
1 clove garlic
1 small jalapeno
1/2 cup of pepper jack cheese, small dice
1 lime, zested and juiced
1/2 cup olive oil

In a blender, add the garlic, lime juice and lime zest and pulse until well combined. Add half of the jalapeno, seeded if you want less heat, and blend again. While the blender is running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream. Taste the dressing. Ours was a little too tangy, so we added about a teaspoon of honey and some salt and pepper, and it was perfect.

Meanwhile, add the chopped onions, peppers, tomatoes, and the remaining half of the jalapeno to a large bowl. Add the cilantro and the grilled corn that you've removed from the cob. Stir in the dressing and cheese and chill. Taste before serving to adjust for salt and pepper.

This salad is quick and easy and a really delicious side dish for any meat or fish. It's refreshing, a little spicy and a little sweet.

black moons
Originally uploaded by chalen4.

I also made the infamous black moons for various parties and bbq's that I visited over the weekend. This is a top secret recipe, so I can't share it's mysteries. But, these are great cookies that go by a few different names around the country. I call them Black Moons, Kim said up in Maine they call them Whoppie Pies, Alison calls them Gobs. Whatever you call them, whatever recipe you use, there is nothing wrong with soft chocolate cookies filled with a decadent creamy frosting.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Soft Pretzels and Chocolate are my favorite things to eat while I'm at Reading Terminal Market.

Caramel Square
Originally uploaded by chalen4.

At Mueller Chocolates you can find anything from chocolate covered pretzels to caramel Macadamia nut clusters. My favorite is the caramel Square. Simply really great caramel surrounding by a thick layer of chocolate.

e loves the caramel square
Originally uploaded by chalen4.

It is soooo good! And huge. It took me at least four or five days to finish it. These pictures are from about a month ago, Easter weekend in fact, which is why I didn't get to eat a soft pretzel from Fisher's. The.best.soft.pretzel.in.philly. They'll even brush them with butter...

Monday, May 22, 2006

Martini's in Omaha

e and Chauncey
Originally uploaded by chalen4.

burke and e with martinis
Originally uploaded by chalen4.

burke e chauncey
Originally uploaded by chalen4.

Check out Charlie's on 88th and Maple. Great bartenders, friendly patrons and huge drinks.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Vera Cruzan

On Washington Ave, somewhere between 8th and 9th, tucked between fishmarkets is some of Philly's best Mexican food.

e and kitchen
Originally uploaded by chalen4.

At Vera Cruzan, the kitchen is relatively open so you can enjoy the show. Seating is on two levels, but there are probably only 10 tables in the whole restaurant. Directly behind me is the higher seating level and beyond that is the kitchen.

Special Order Steak Tacos
Originally uploaded by chalen4.

I had the steak tacos, special order, which means is comes with onions, cilantro and lime wedges. I can't tell you how amazing these tacos are. The meat is tender, the cilantro and fresh lime link the fresh tortillas and the meat into one awesome thing to put in your mouth. There is something about the meat, they must marinate it with some brown sugar or something secretive, because it has subtle flavors of maple syrup. Awesome.

Originally uploaded by chalen4.

Vera Cruzan is also BYOB, so Maverick here brought some beers. Beer goes so well with Mexican food. I had an imported Coke, which came in a bottle (I love that). Anyone who has had a Coke in say, Spain or England, has had this kind of coke, it's slightly thicker and also a tad sweeter than the U.S. variety. It's never served on ice.

Uhlie Steak Quesadillas
Originally uploaded by chalen4.

Uhlie had the Special Order Quesadillas. This is not a typical Mexican American Quesadilla. These are more like the tacos I have, only filled with steak and cheese, and then piled with salad and queso fresca. This is definitely what I'm getting next time, which hopefully is tonight since I took these pictures 2 weeks ago, and I'm ready for another go.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

More Full Plates

Posting has been sparse lately. No good excuses, except for the ones that are always there, school and life outside of eating. Andy, Uhlie and I went to "A Full Plate" last Thursday night for dinner, then Uhlie and I went again the next day for lunch. We love this place!

bread salad
Originally uploaded by chalen4.

Andy started with the black bread and spinach salad. It was a generous portion of spinach, roasted root veggies, and a tangy lemon vinaigrette.

eggplant po boy
Originally uploaded by chalen4.

We all had po' boy sandwiches that night, but we each had a different variety. Here is Andy's eggplant po' boy. Instead of marinera sauce, Shannon covers the eggplant with roasted red pepper spread and then lots of cheese. I had the catfish po' boy which was served with pickles and a nice creamy sauce on top. Uhlie had the blackened chicken po'boy, which also came with pickles and the yummy sauce. Everyone enjoyed their po' boys. Next time I'm having the eggplant, it smelled sooooo good.

mac and cheese
Originally uploaded by chalen4.

Uhlie and I went for lunch the next day and each had a side of the homemade mac and cheese. Shannon uses whole wheat pasta, so it makes me feel better about eating all that cheesy goodness. A little hot sauce or ketchup is a nice addition.

pulled pork
Originally uploaded by chalen4.

Uhlie also had the slow roasted pulled pork sandwich. Of course, like the rest of the sandwiches, it is presented on a hallah roll, but this one is also topped with coleslaw in true southern style. I'm not a huge fan of pulled pork, but Uhlie loved it!

canada bar
Originally uploaded by chalen4.

For lunch I had the turkey club, but my picture turned out really dark, so there's no point, but my dessert was delicious. A Canada bar. The first layer is chocolate, nuts and graham cracker pieces, the middle is a smooth vanilla butter cream and it's topped with another layer of chocolate. I could have used a glass of milk, but the mint iced tea washed it down just as well.

Go eat at A Full Plate, your stomach will love you for it!