Thursday, November 17, 2011

Recipe: BKT

The other day I wrote about how great kale chips are.  During a discussion with my future sister-in-law about them, I realized that they would make a great addition to a BLT.  So the other night, I made up some BKTs, and they were awesome.  Here is the recipe:

(Per person)
2 slices of bread- you can use any kind, but I used a dense whole wheat from Whole Foods, toasted
1 tablespoon of mayonaisse
3 slices of bacon, cooked crisp
sliced tomoto
handful of kale chips (I spiced mine up before cooking so they added a little bit of heat)

Just layer all the ingredients in between the bread, and you possibly have one of the best BLTs you have ever had!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Recipe: Crispy Kale Chips

On Sunday night, Scott and I were really craving burgers.  My natural inclination when doing burgers is to do a starchy, crispy side, like french fries.  Of course, if you think about it, do you really need a side of carbs if you eat your burger on a bun?  Probably not.  So in trying to decide on what to serve with the burgers, I came across a recipe for crispy kale chips in my "You Can Trust A Skinny Cook" cookbook by Allison Fishman.  This sounded like the perfect thing to go with burgers- something crispy and salty without the excess carbs.

I'm not usually a huge fan of greens, and these definitely kept some of the bitterness, but it seemed tempered by the crunch.

Crispy Kale Chips adapted from "You Can Trust A Skinny Cook"
1 lb kale, stems removed, torn into 3x3 inch pieces
3 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Put the kale pieces in a bowl, and drizzle with the olive oil.  Use your hands to make sure all the pieces are evenly coated.  Spread the kale out on two baking sheets, and cook for 20 minutes, or until crispy.  Make sure the pieces are in one layer, or the ones underneath will not get as crunchy.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper while still warm.

We served this with buffalo burgers- make patties with 1/4 pound of buffalo meat, season liberally with salt and pepper.  Grill approximately 3 minutes per side. I served them on ciabatta rolls with a little bit of melted blue cheese and a slather of German mustard.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Vacation Eating Extravaganza: Yakima

After three days of eating and drinking in Portland, Scott and I headed off to Yakima.  We took the scenic route and drove along the Columbia River, then went up along the Klickitat River.  It was amazing to watch the terrain transform from forest to high mountain desert.
 Yakima was not a place where we went to great restaurants, but we did have some good food, and even made dinner over a fire one night.  The first night we were there, we went to an old-school burger joint called Miners.  The burgers were pretty good, but nothing to write home about.   However, they had awesome milkshakes.

We were staying at Cherry Wood Bed Breakfast and Barn, where they have teepees and horseback riding wine tours.  Yes, both the teepee and the wine tour were awesome! Pepper, one of the owners of Cherry Wood, made really delicious breakfasts both mornings, even though she doesn’t particularly like cooking.  If I was that good at something I didn’t care about, imagine how good I would be at the things I did care about!  The ride was really fun.  It was great to chat with the other people in our group, and we went to three wineries and had lunch at one of them.  It was “just” and antipasto spread, but everything on the place was good and it was plenty filling.  We went to three wineries, and ordered three bottles of wine from Cultura.  (Side note- Maryland wine laws are terrible so we had to send the wine to my parents in New York.)

That evening, we decided to build a fire outside of our teepee and cook on it.  The grocery store in Zillah, the town where Cherry Wood is actually located, didn’t exactly have much in the way of selection, but we got some sausage and some corn and cooked them over the open flame.  It was really nice and relaxing, overlooking the valley and listening to the coyotes howling. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Vacation Eating Extravaganza: Portland

I’m back!  Okay, I’ve been back for like two weeks, but I’ve been busy with work and life and just getting back into the groove of things.  Scott and I spend 12 days driving around the Pacific northwest, and we had an AMAZING time!  We wish we could move there right now.  We started in Portland, which I loved.  It is a great food town with a laid back vibe, and I could see myself living there.
When we first arrived, we had dinner at a place called the Little Bird Bistro.  It is this adorable French bistro.  Scott and I shared one of the best charcuterie plates I have ever had. Everything was made in-house, and you could tell that even though there were only a few bites of each type, they were each made with love.  The truffle crème brulee was divine, but so rich I was glad I had Scott to share it with!  I then had the confit of Poussin aka baby chicken.  I’m not a huge fan of chicken, but I figured in a place called “Little Bird Bistro” they better make a ROCKING chicken.  And I was right.  It was super tender, and just melted off the bone. 
The next morning, we had to make a pilgrimage to Voodoo donuts.  I figured that it was something you just have to do.  So we went, and it was worth every tooth-rotting sugar filled bite. Scott of course got the infamous maple-bacon bar, and I had a donut covered in fruit loops.  We decided to split the Memphis Mafia, which is fried dough with banana chunks and Cinnamon sugar, covered in a glaze of chocolate frosting, peanut butter, peanuts, and chocolate chips. We ate about half of that before I felt like a diabetic coma was coming on.
Since we had such giant breakfast both days in Portland, we decided to just skip lunch.  For our second dinner, we went to Gruner, a modern German restaurants where I ate carbs covered in cheese, and it was great! Gruner was on GQ’s top ten best new restaurants in 2010, and Christopher Israel, the chef was nominated for a James Beard award in 2011.
Scott and I started by sharing the  crisp polenta croquettes stuffed with raclette cheese, and then I had the  tarte flambée:  alsatian “pizza” with sweet onions, smoky bacon, fromage blanc, chives, which could have been an entrée.  The croquettes were delightfully crispy and the cheese just oozed from the inside.  The “pizza” was on a super-thin crust that was rich enough to stand up to the bacon and cheese.  For my entrée, I had the quark spätzle with chanterelles, edelweiss black forest ham, riesling, crème fraîche, asiago & chives aka more carbs and cheese (and pork!). It was so so rich, but in a great way.
 On our second day, for breakfast we went across the bridge to Pine State Biscuits. Another ridiculous meal that was totally delicious.  I had the Reggie, which is a biscuit with fried chicken, bacon, cheese and gravy. Scott had the Chatfield, which is the same as the Reggie but with apple butter instead of gravy. I’m not sure who won this one, because they were both delicious. For dinner that night we went on a beer crawl and just had appetizers.  We started at Bridgeport Brewing Company, where we each had a beer sampler and pretzels with beer spread.  I really enjoyed the beers at Bridgeport.  They were fresh and all had good clean flavors. 
We then moved onto Rogue, where we had kobe meatballs stuffed with blue cheese, and buffalo chips, which were super thick cup potato chips in buffalo sauce.  We also had beer samplers at Rogue, but you got to pick which beers you wanted.  I chose beers like Morimoto Soba Ale and Yellow Snow IPA.  Finally we ended up at Deschutes, which was my least favorite.  First of all, the service was terrible.  It was impossible to get anyone to help you when standing in the bar area, and there were clearly waiters that were supposed to be working that area.  We only had one beer each there, and it was just okay.  There we had a grilled Washington Pear and goat cheese flatbread, that was made with a spent grain dough.  The dough made of the spent grains was interesting, but overall was not very exciting.
Finally on our last morning in Portland, before we headed out to Yakima, we had breakfast at Kenny and Zukes, which was right next to the Ace Hotel where we stayed.  I had the 222, which was 2 eggs, 2 slices of pastrami and 2 latkes, and a bialy. The bialy was a little softer than the kind I am used to from New York, but it was really good in a different way.  The pastrami was AMAZING.  It was sliced thickly, and almost reminded me of bacon.  Speaking of which, I need to get Scott to smoke me some pastrami! 
That is just the first installment of my vacation eating extravaganza.  More will be coming soon!