Recipe

Souper Salads

Chop and dump.  Sometimes supper is really just that easy.  Here are a few of my favorite salads:

Bucca Di Beppo Chopped Antipasto Salad

Perfect for Italian dinner.

Bucca Di Beppo Chopped Antipasto Salad
Bucca Di Beppo Chopped Antipasto Salad

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • 1 ounce pepperoni, diced
  • 1 ounce mortadella, diced
  • 1 ounce red onion, diced
  • 2 ounces roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2 ounces cucumbers, diced
  • 1 ounce gorgonzola, crumbled
  • 1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 ounce pepperoncini pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 4 ounces Italian vinaigrette dressing
  • 3 pepperoncini peppers, whole
  • black olives
  • green olives

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl, except 1/2 the tomatoes, the whole pepperoncini, olives and dressing and toss.
  2. Add the dressing and toss until fully incorporated.
  3. Mound the salad mixture on a chilled plate, getting as much height as possible.
  4. Place remaining tomates around the outside of the salad.
  5. Garnish with whole pepperoncini and olives and serve

dividerflowers

“The Wedge” with homemade Ranch Dressing

WedgeSalad_zpsa82a85dc

The Wedge is one of the simplest salads ever, but looks kind of fancy and is really one of my favorites.  I core one head of lettuce (bang core on counter, it comes right out) then cut your head of lettuce into 4 wedges.  Top with your favorite things:  Mine are bacon bits, shredded cheddar and chopped tomatoes.  Drizzle with this amazing dressing:

Ranch Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped herbs (combination of parsley, chives, chervil, savory, dill or celery leaves)
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

directions

Combine ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Abe & Louie’s Salad

INGREDIENTS

    • 1 head bibb lettuce
    • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
    • 1 apple, thinly sliced
    • 4 ounces blue cheese
    • dijon vinaigrette

DIRECTIONS

  1. Wash and chop lettuce. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Top with your favorite dressing.

Printable Recipe: Abe & Louie’s Salad

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Charlotte · Restaurants

Restaurant Review: Rooster’s Southpark

mixing

If you haven’t been to Rooster’s in a while, do yourself a favor and get over there.  We decided to go after a chef friend recommended it so highly.  She told us that the Executive Chef, Zack Renner, was amazing and that they served her farm’s pork.  That’s all she had to say, we were there.

We reserved a table for 8 so they put us in a room that looked like it might once have been the hallway of a small strip mall.  BUT they’d doctored it up with pretty twinkle lights and a nice fountain in the middle.  And then there was this adorable pig door holder we were all entranced with…and we weren’t alone.  A few people stopped to take pictures of Porky.

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Our waitress was so kind and deftly handled our large(ish) group by giving us suggestions, fixing drinks when we weren’t satisfied and delivering the bad news about dessert.  The management also stopped by a time or two to make sure our night was going well..which it very much was.

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Cocktails are the best way to begin Girl Nosh.  Rooster’s has a fine selection of wine, brews and mixed drinks.  This one (I forget the name) was muddled cucumbers, raspberry and gin.  I have to admit it wasn’t for me, but others at the table found it refreshing and light.

cocktails

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To soak up all of this alcohol, they brought us an assortment of delicious baked breads with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The bread was hearty and delicious.  Very nutty.

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Housemade bresaola.  I didn’t try, but doesn’t it look great?

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The French Onion soup was not one of my favorite soups.  It was hearty, but not as flavorful as it should have been for such murky and dark broth.  I didn’t opt for it on my second visit.

roostersfrenchonionsoup

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The salads were all so fresh and dressed perfectly.  This one was on their daily offerings page, meaning it was what was fresh at the farmer’s market:  Whole romaine leaves topped with walnuts, tangerine slices and grated Pecorino Romano cheese.  Perfect.

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The next salad was baby arugula, chopped pears and chevre cheese. Yum!

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My salad was a wedge.  I don’t know why I’m not more adventurous.  I just love a wedge.  And this one was perfect.  The cold, crispy iceberg lettuce topped with creamy, tangy blue cheese dressing is a comfort food.  This one had some pickled red onions on top that were both sweet and tart, and really gave the salad a punch!

wedge

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When you go to Rooster’s, you must have something that was wood-fired or wood-grilled.  Shannon got the salmon, and it was perfectly cooked…charred on the outside and tender on the inside.  She was so happy with her choice!

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Other dishes I didn’t try but were reported to be delicious:  Wood-Fired Joyce Farms Natural Chicken.  Laurie said it was tender, full of flavor and really juicy.  

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Anessa got roasted veal with mushrooms and blue potatoes.  It sat in a deliciously flavored jus and drizzled with aioli.  Perfection.

lamb

One of the best dishes for the night was Jennifer’s braised beef short rib.  Tender as a a slow-roasted pot roast, but packed with flavor.  The meat just melted in your mouth!

beef-short-rib

I have mixed feelings about my entree.  I got the fried oysters, and while they were perfectly delicious: crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside with a nice briny flavor, I’d come to a restaurant that has “wood-fired” in its name and didn’t get something from the grill.  Supremely stupid.  You can get oysters at a fish camp.  Stick with something with the taste of fire.

oysters

Have you ever seen a cheeseburger that looked this yummy?  And shoestring onion rings to accompany.  That’s not even fair.

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Amazingly simple spaghetti.  Perfectly balanced and flavored.

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Buttery seared scallops.  Oh my.

roosterssearedseascallops

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You know, sometimes side dishes are predictable or dialed in.  An afterthought.  At Rooster’s the sides are at center stage alongside the entrees.  All sides here are designed for two people, but are so good you may not want (or be able) to share.

The fried corn should be your first choice.  It’s real corn.  Not from a can.  And it is pan-fried with spices that make is lip-smacking good.

The stone ground grits are another perfect choice.  Little nuggets of corny goodness are buried in them and there is plenty of heavy cream to make them rich and velvety.

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One of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth was the wood-fired sunchoke.  It sure didn’t look like much more than a ginger root when it came to the table, but the taste was amazing.  When I saw the word “sunchoke” I immediately conjured images or the artichoke.  The sunchoke, however, is a tuber, like a potato.  It was creamy and had a little bit of sweetness to it.  The wood firing brought out a nuttiness in it as well.  Very complex for such a simple dish.  One of my favorites for the night!

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Another favorite is this mess 🙂  This is a mix of mushrooms, which is probably one of my favorite foods in the world.  The table agreed that these were a favorite.  They were lightly seasoned and gently cooked, so their true flavors shown through.

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Macaroni and cheese: soupy and creamy…yum!!

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By the time we were done eating, most of the tables around us were empty.  And they’d take our top dessert choice with them: the coconut cake.  We didn’t let that stop us, though.  We all ordered the back up dessert which was an apple tarte.  The waitress called it something else, but for the life of me, I cannot remember what that was.  To describe it I’d say it was dried apples (re-hydrated, of course) placed atop a buttery and light croissant crust.  It was accompanied by a scoop of vanilla bean gelato and a spill of rich caramel sauce.  Even though apples aren’t my favorite dessert fruit, this reminded me of the fried pies my grandmother used to make.  The apples had a tart but sweet taste and were very soft.  The crust wasn’t overly sweet, so it was perfect with the gelato and the caramel.  Decadent and delicious!

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Chocolate Milkshake:  Runny and chocolately, just like I like it.

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We at Girl Nosh all agreed that this was one of our favorite places we’d been to.  That’s saying something, because we’ve been to some fine restaurants.  You will need a reservation, but you can make them on OpenTable.com.  Go on and get that done now.  You are welcome.

Rooster's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Recipe

Anniversary Week Menu

thVALCatHearts

So, most people’s New Year’s Resolutions include losing weight, stopping drinking or smoking, or being nicer. Mine was to cook more. In order to accomplish this, I have *got* to get more organized. No more jotting down a grocery list with recipes I’m tagging on Pinterest. I have to make a weekly menu, and shop for it once a week, to maximize my time. So..menus. Weekly menus. That’s my plan of action.

Tomorrow is my 18th wedding anniversary. It’s a Monday. Blah. Day full of meetings and night full of homework, so no fancy restaurant for us. Instead I’ll fix us something yummy tomorrow, and kind of fancy. The rest of the week we can eat pork and beans, I guess.

So, for our appetizer I’ll make Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms.  It’s been my experience that nothing conveys love more than bacon and cheese.

Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms
Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms

Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 5 -6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Bourbon
  • one 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper
  • 2 1/2 lbs fresh button mushrooms, stems removed
  • grated Parmesan cheese, for topping

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  • In a large skillet, cook the onions and bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove the mixture from the skillet and set aside. In the same skillet, add the bourbon and cream cheese and stir constantly until the cream cheese is melted and mixed with the bourbon. Add the onion and bacon mixture back into the skillet and mix together. Add the breadcrumbs, salt and pepper and mix together.
  • Spoon the mixture into the mushroom caps and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the mushrooms are tender, 25 to 35 minutes. Top with some Parmesan and put back into the oven to allow the cheese to melt. Remove from the oven and serve.

The main event is going to be steak with sauteed mushrooms, Caesar salad, broiled lobster tails and twice-baked potatoes.  Good heavens.  This is way better than I can get at our local steakhouse.

Fancy Anniversary Feast
Fancy Anniversary Feast

For the steak, I marinated it overnight and then grilled it to yummy perfection.

Steak Marinade

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Mix all ingredients together and place steaks into freezer bag with marinade, preferably overnight.
  2. The original recipe used balsamic vinegar.Seems I never had that on hand so I just used white and listed that in the recipe, but balsamic is definitely better.

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Sauteed Mushrooms

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 green onions with tops, chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter or 1/4 cup margarine, melted
  • 1 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

DIRECTIONS

  1. Saute green onion in butter until tender.
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients; cook, uncovered, over low heat 30 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.

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Lemony Caesar Salad Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup olive oil (I always just use regular cooking oil)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled (I use canned, minced garlic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in blender.
  • Cover and process until creamy.
  • Serve over torn lettuce with Parmesan cheese and croutons.

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For the lobster, I just looked a recipe up on the internet and used it.  I don’t have lobster often enough to have a tried and true recipe.  I’ll have to change this.  Here’s one for you:  Broiled Lobster Tail with Brown Butter Sauce.

For the twice baked potatoes, I had no real recipe.  If you need one, here’s a good one:  Best Twice Baked Potatoes.

Lemon raspberry custard cake

Now after all of that wonderful, but quite substantial food, you need a very light dessert.  Nothing too heavy.  I present you with Raspberry-Lemon Custard Cakes.

Raspberry-Lemon Custard Cakes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pint raspberries
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp raspberry extract
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup milk
  • Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Directions

  • Fill a roasting pan with 1/2 inch of hot tap water; place in center of oven. Heat oven to 350 degrees. You’ll need eight 6 oz. custard cups; place 4 or 5 raspberries on bottom of each.
  • Beat egg whites in a medium bowl with mixer on medium speed until foamy. Beat in 2 tbsp of the sugar until stiff, shiny peaks form when beaters are lifted.
  • With same beaters (no need to wash), beat yolks and remaining sugar in a large bowl until mixture is light; beat in flour, extract, lemon zest and juice. Gradually beat in milk. Using a wire whisk, gently fold egg whites in yolk mixture just until combined. Divide batter among prepared cups (cups should be filled to the top). Place cups in hot water in roasting pan.
  • Bake until puddings are puffed and golden brown on top, about 24 mins. Serve puddings warm or at room temperature, with confectioner’s sugar and remaining berries.
Charlotte · Restaurants

Crisp in Charlotte

Everyone talks about how great Crisp is.  I, unfortunately, did not find it so.  Sorry.

First, I’m not a fan of the minimalist furnishings.  I felt like I was in a FroYo shop.  The chairs were tiny and uncomfortable (read cheap) and the interior was so tight that even at the off time we ate (late lunch) we were still in people’s way with my knee walker.

My husband and I both ordered a cup of soup and a sandwich.  The soup of the day on this day was a tomato basil.  That is my favorite soup, so I was excited!  This soup, however, was absolutely flavorless.  How can that be?  I’m telling you, I would have preferred a bowl of Campbell’s.

Tomato Basil Soup
Tomato Basil Soup

I got the Turkey Gobbler which billed itself as a “house roasted” turkey sandwich.  It looked (and tasted) like any sliced turkey you could get in a dairy case.  The bread looks so good with its Panini press marks, but it was all a disappointment.  The sandwich was no better than a turkey sandwich I made at my house.

Turkey Gobbler
Turkey Gobbler

Dustin got the Roma sandwich.  It comes with prosciutto, salami, Mozzarella, tomatoes, roasted red peppers, basil,and a Balsamic Reduction on grilled bread.  Sounds amazing and flavorful, right?  Well, it was better than mine, but just barely.  Everything we tried simply lacked flavor of any kind.  

The Roma
The Roma

We were so disappointed, we did something we haven’t ever done before (to my memory).  We brought the food back up to the counter, asked for a refund and went to another restaurant.  In Crisp’s defense, they didn’t fight us. They offered to make us something else, but after sampling 3 different menu items, we just didn’t feel confident that we would be happy.  

Crisp on Urbanspoon

Recipe

Recipe: Cobb Salad

I love love love a good salad.  “A big salad?  With lots of stuff in it?”  Yeah, I also lovelovelove Seinfeld.  Anywho, I found this recipe online by Kelsey Nixon.  I used the exact recipe, and made the dressing…but I HATED the dressing.  Sorry Kelse!  Anyway, I’m not including it here, so use your favorite dressing.  I prefer homemade Ranch, but I bet Bleu Cheese would be good, as well.

Cobb Salad

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 head romaine lettuce, chopped (about 3 to 4 cups)
  • 1/2 head Boston lettuce, chopped (about 3 to 4 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups watercress, stems removed and chopped
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cooked and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 avocados, halved, pitted, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 3/4 cup Roquefort cheese, crumbled
  • 1 hard-boiled large egg, forced through a sieve (grated)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives

DIRECTIONS

  • Rinse and dry all the salad greens, and toss them together in a large bowl. Arrange the chicken, bacon, avocado, tomato, and Roquefort in uniform rows on top the mixed greens. Garnish with the grated hard-boiled egg, and chives.
  • Just before serving, pour the dressing over the salad and toss.