Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Friday, February 5, 2010

Let it Snow Let it Snow, Let it Snow!





So here in Philly we are about to get a nice little snow storm. Predictions are up to 14 inches. I grew up in Michigan so I am no stranger to snow. As a matter of fact I love snow weekends. What a great excuse to throw some comfy clothes on, dig in and chow down, brilliant!

I already made a run to Whole Food at lunch and am hitting the Farmers Market and State store on my way home. What's on the menu you ask?

Well, tonight's menu will include a lovely cheese and charcuterie plate featuring special guest star, duck liver & cognac pate, hmmm how I love thee. Cheese plate night is a Donnelly tradition. I suggest adopting it.

All you need is some cheese, meats and or pate, fruit and a nice baguette. Add in some good wine and you are in business. Pick any kind of meats, fruits or cheeses you like. For tonights plate I chose an English blue, goat, brie, and a sharp cheddar, pate, spicy sopresetta, pears, apples, black & raspberries and fresh honey & dijon mustard.

Tomorrow I am going to whip up a buffalo mozzarella, tomato and pesto pizza for lunch and Ribeye's with roasted shallots & garlic served with fresh Yukon Gold mashed potatoes with chives for dinner.

For Sunday brunch we will be enjoying potato pancakes topped with smoked salmon & caviar with a mimosa. My pork shoulder will slow cook for about 5 hours so it will be tender and juicy for the pulled pork sandwiches I am supplying for the Super bowl. Yep the plan is all set and fabulous!

All of this talk is making me hungry.

I hope your snowy weekend is as good as mine!

Stay Warm and Happy Eating!
Nik

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hot Crab, Spinach & Artichoke Dip




Warm dips are always a good thing on a cold winter night, and from the sounds of it Super bowl Sunday in Philly is going to be freezing! With that in mind I thought I would share my twist on an old favorite.

This dip which is awesome to begin with is taken to whole new level with the addition of Crabmeat. It adds depth in flavor and is quite luxurious. If crabmeat is not in your budget, omit it. Just remember it's nice to treat yourself sometimes, you deserve it. I like to serve this with bread, pita or tortilla chips. Oh and don't forget to top with the diced tomatoes, so good.

Enjoy,
Nik
Serves 4


Shopping List:


1 tablespoon butter
3 1/2 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
1 cup coarsely chopped artichoke hearts
4 ounces cream cheese, softened and cut into cubes
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
6 ounces fresh Dungeness crab meat, picked over for shells (you can substitute a 6oz can of crab meat)
1 small plum tomato diced

Directions:


-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-In a small skillet melt butter over medium heat. Once butter melts add spinach and cook just until spinach wilts, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
-To the spinach add artichoke hearts, cream cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and crab meat. Stir to combine.
-Butter a small casserole dish, spoon mixture into the dish. Bake for 15 minutes.
-Remove from the oven, stir and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Turn on the broiler and cook for 3-5 minutes or until top is browned and edges are bubbly.
-Top with diced tomatoes
-Allow to cool slightly and serve with tortilla chips.

Cocktail Swedish Meatballs with Sour Cream Sauce




This recipe is great for entertaining, Superbowl Sunday or not. The meatballs can be served cocktail style or over egg noodles Family Style.


You can use any kind of lean meat combo you like. I prefer to use a pork veal mix, but beef tastes just as good. Like I always say, "It's all about preference". The sour cream sauce gives the meatballs a sikly texture

You can make these ahead of time and put in a crock pot or oven and add the sauce at the end. Make sure to topp with freshly chopped parsley it adds some freshness and pop to the meatballs.


Trust me when I say these will not last long.

Happy Eating,
Nik

Shopping List:

Meatballs:

Makes 30-100 meatballs depending on how large they are.

2 pounds ground lean meat: use beef, pork or veal (I like pork veal mix, your choice)

2 eggs1 cup milk, cream, meat broth or water

1/2 cup fine bread crumbs

1 1/2 Salt

1/2 tsp Pepper

1 minced onion


1/4 tsp dry mustard

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Sour Cream Sauce:

2 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. flour

1 c. beef broth

1/2 tsp. salt

Dash cayenne peppe

r1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 c. (1/2 pt.) dairy sour cream, room temperature

Directions:


-By hand thoroughly blend the ground meat, filler, salt and pepper, and other flavorings until very well mixed.
-Form into balls about 3/4"-1 1/2" in diameter: do this by hand, or use a tablespoon-sized cookie scoop, or a melon baller.
-Heat a skillet with 2-3 tablespooons of cooking oil to medium-high heat.
-Fill the skillet about half full with the meatballs, and fry them for about 10 minutes.
-Shake the skillet gently during cooking to keep the meatballs turning and to cook them evenly, about 10-15 minutes depending on size.
-You may need a spatula to encourage some of the more stubborn meatballs to turn over properly.
-As soon as meatballs are browned, take them out of the pan, let them cool and drain a bit.
Add sauce and serve.

Sour Cream Sauce

-Pour all excess-oil from fry pan.
-Add butter to brownings.
-Stir in flour and cook until bubbly.
-Add broth, salt, cayenne pepper and Worcestershire sauce; cook, stirring until thickened and bubbly.
-Empty sour cream into a large bowl.
-Gradually add sauce, stirring constantly.
-Top with Freshly chopped Parsley

Serve and Enjoy!



SuperBowl Snack Figs in a Blanket



Since it's Super bowl week I thought why not supply some recipe ideas. First up, Figs in a Blanket! I make these bad boys all the time and year round, so good.

If you can't find fresh figs use dried which taste just as good. You can choose which ever kind of soft cheese you like.
I prefer using Goat, Blue and Gorgonzola, you could even use Brie. It's all about preference.


The recipe below calls for 3 varieties of cheese. I am also providing you with oven and grill directions. I prefer the grill but it is winter and not all of us have indoor grills.

This recipe is super simple and delicious.

After making these you will look like the MVP!

Happy Cooking and Go Saints!
Nik



Grocery List


Makes 18 figs

18 Fresh or Dried Figs

4oz. Prosciutto- thinly sliced

3oz. Goat Cheese

3oz. Gorgonzola
3oz, Roquefort Cheese


Directions:

Lay the slices of Prosciutto on a cutting board & slice lengthwise into thirds. They should be around 1/2" of so thickOpen up fig and stuff with a healthy piece of your cheese of choice

Take one strip of Prosciutto and wrap it around the middle of the fig, trying to cover as much of the exposed surfaces of the fig as possible.
Oven Option:

Preheat oven to 350: for 15 min.
Place the figs on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, or foil, point side facing up.
Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until the figs are warm and the cheese is soft.
Allow to rest for 2 min. and serve warm.
Grill Option:

Place on Hot grill 3 minutes a side until cheese starts to ooze and prosciutto is brown.

Pour Yourself a glass of wine or cold beer annd enjoy!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Twizzlers Watermelon Mania Pull & Peels, Yummy!


I picked up a bag of these tasty treats this week to keep in my desk for my afternoon 3-4pm sugar fix and was pleasantly surprised.


I will admit I was a bit hesitant to go with Watermelon. But after tasting these I'm actually not sure if I will ever go back to the original flavor.


The 14oz bag has 12 servings at 110 calories a serving. Not to shabby if you are looking for a low cal treat. Calories or not, I just plain like them.

Grab a bag today and enjoy!

Nik

Yogi Ginger Tea


I enjoy all of the Yogi Teas. Most are caffeine free and taste great. They also have many health benefits.


My personal favorite is the Ginger Tea. This tea is supposed to improve digestion and have other healing properties.


While I'm not sure how it affecting my digestion, it makes me feel good and tastes awesome. Add a bit or lemon & honey to it or drink it alone.


You can find this product at Whole Foods and most large supermarkets.


Enjoy,

Nik

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tuesday Plug: Nikki Johnson Incandela Photography




If you need a great photographer for your family or an event, you should call the talented Nikki Johnson Incandela. Besides being immensely talented, she is smart, sweet and funny. Oh and one of my oldest and dearest friends.


Nikki is based out of Southern California but does come to the East Coast often for shoots. Her work is amazing, take a moment to check out her Website and blog. You can view her work and find out how she can help you capture some precious moments. You will not be disappointed.

Nik


www.nikkiincandela.com



http://nikkiincandela.blogspot.com/



Kanella Sheer Brilliance!


I am happy to report that our trip to Kanella was everything we hoped for and more. When you walk in you feel like you are in a restaurant in Greece. White walls, light wood, bright blue accents and copper pots hanging on the walls.

The chef was at the hostess station and welcomed us, good sign. We were promptly seated at a small table by the window, next to a huge family of all ages REALLY enjoying themselves. Our waiter ran to grab us some water & ice bucket for our wine (crisp Italian Pinot, Banfi) and left us with the menus.

Yummmmmm it all looked so good and just when we thought we knew what we wanted to start off with our water returned and made us aware of the specials. Ooh fresh grilled sardines with tomato sauce and a duck combo platter of fried livers and pickled tongue served with a fried quail egg and daikon salad, SOLD & SOLD! We also ordered with grilled calamari, which I heard was excellent.

Now time for the entrees. After much deliberation Matt chose the lamb loin and I opted for the grilled leg of rabbit. Rabbit is not often offered in the States and is so good. I actually cook it a couple times a year at home and was very excited to have a chef of this caliber prepare it for me.

Our waiter brought us some complimentary bread and homemade tahini dip to start off with, very good.

The sardines came first and were crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The flesh fell right off the little Skelton and paired very nicely with the fresh tomatoes & herbs. So simple, yet so tasty.

The duck combo came next and our waiter seemed to be as excited about it as we were. It was so pretty, the presentation was great. we cracked the yolk of the egg and swirled the livers and tongue in it.

The little fried livers were awesome. I could eat a thousand of them, ok a hundred, you get the idea. The tongue was very interesting, a nice pop of acidity and a nice texture. The daikon salad was the perfect palate cleanser. Daikon is part of the radish family and has a mild, clean flavor.

The calamari was grilled perfectly, you could see the char marks and it was tender. It came with the most amazing side, a pickled vegetable salad that was nice and garlicky.

The entrees came and were very generous portions. Matt's lamb loin was a perfect medium rare and has some heat from the rub. It came with side of orzo with braised eggplant that was really good.

My rabbit was tender and juicy. It came atop potatoes artichokes, peas and carrots in a white wine sauce. I also detected some lemon. I was a very happy camper, this was a super meal that just kept getting better and better.

The chef came out to see how our meal was going, we said brilliant. I like the fact that the chef works the room and wants to interact with his customers, it is a nice touch. He is my new rock star chef.

We saved room for dessert, a puff pastry filed with a gooey custard and topped with a orange blossom sauce, wow was it good. It was official, best meal of 2010 and my new favorite restaurant.

Kanella is a great BYOB and should be on your radar. Excellent service, atmosphere and killer food. I think on our next stop we might just order 6 or 7 appetizers so we can try more of these unique dishes. I have not seen a menu that offer this kind of food and I just can't put into words just how good our meal was.

Get yourself to Kanella, pronto I have a feeling getting a reservation at this place is going to get harder and harder.

Happy Eating!
Nik

1001 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 922-1773
www.kanellarestaurant.com

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Kanella Friday, Super Pumped! Meet the Chef Konstantinos Pitsillides




Kanella opened up last year to rave reviews. It is tucked away on the corner of 10th and Spruce in Downtown Philadelphia.


The Chef Konstantinos Pitsillides is know for his traditional food, fearlessness in the kitchen and spicy temperament. Some local foodies have hailed him a genius. He serves classic Greek dishes, highlighting fresh ingredients, sounds good to me.

Local food critic Craig Laban has followed him throughout his career and loves him. Craig's reviews have never steered me wrong, never. In my book if it's good enough for Craig, it's good enough for me.


This Friday Matt and I will make our first stop at Kanella, I am so excited. Hello crispy calamari, Kouneli and Moshari I've been waiting to meet you for quite some time.

I thought I would share Konstantinos Pitsillides bio with you.

Enjoy,
Nik


Konstantinos Pitsillides


Konstantinos Pitsillides was born in Limassol, Cyprus - a coastal city that sits aside the Mediterranean Sea. He grew up in the sea, playing soccer, climbing fruit, olive and nut trees in the land surrounding his grandmother's farm.




Hailing from a family of butchers, farmers and leather makers, it was no surprise when after his obligatory two year army stint he flew to the United Kingdom to start his first degree in Tannery and Chemical Engineering.




It was after completing the course that Pitsillides realized his heart wasn't in the family leather making business, and while taking a course in Hotel Management in London, England he discovered his interest lay in his cooking classes.




He began to intern at the Michelin starred CHEZ NICO under legendary chef/owner Nico Ladenis, who became a mentor to Pitsillides. Ladenis would help lay the foundation of what would becomre Pitsillides whole culinary point of view, teaching him the virtues of passion and smplicity backed by knowledge and skill.


Konstantinos would spend the following years learning and working under many notable London chefs such as Pierre Koffman at the 3 Michelin star rated LA TANTE CLAIR and CONNAUGHT HOTEL then run by Michel Bordan, until he found himself at last ready to take over a park café of his own, and it was here that Konstantinos was able to experiment with what he had learned thus far mastering classic café fare in the day time and in an unusual move for park café, opening in the evening to serve an al a carte menu that changed daily. It was during the café’s very successful five year run that Konstantinos developed a philosophy that good food should not mean high prices and everyone should be able to eat well.

The events leading to bringing Pitsillides to America began with his meeting Philadelphia native Caroline Christian, with whom he would return to Cyprus and marry in the village of his grandmother. Together their paths would lead them to Philadelphia where Konstatinos worked at many notable local restaurants, such as Zesty's, Bistro Saint Tropez, Patou, and most notably MEZE.


Immediately he changed the menu and gaining many local fans, such as Philadelphia Inquirer food critic Craig LaBan who said then, “… Pitsillides is from Cyprus… And cinnamon floats gracefully through his kitchen at Meze in Bella vista like a thread of Byzantine silk, weaving its way through the soulful stews and homemade sausages like a vivid memory that is surprisingly earthy fragrance of home. These sophisticated takes on traditional Greek and Cypriot cuisine represent some of the most exciting new flavors I’ve discovered in South Philadelphia in some time.


The September arrival of Pitsillides not only brought considerably lower prices, it also gave testimony that tradition-bound cooking can be served with contemporary elegance.”These words were reflective of what was to come, Pitsillides would move on and in March of 2008, along with his wife Caroline he would open KANELLA in Philadelphia.


They started with the desire to resurrect and represent the traditional cooking of Konstantinos' home country. Cyprus is a country with a rich complex history and a dynamic location in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea. The island has been invaded many times through out history and each invasion brought another layer to the native cuisine, so at KANELLA you will taste Greek food with a hint of Turkey, France, Italy, England and the Middle East.


On the menu you will find both the earthiness of Konstantions’ childhood and the refinement that comes from classic French training.


At KANELLA everything is homemade from the breads whose flavour change daily (cumin, bay leaf, and toasted caraway are just a few of the spices used) to the ice creams. Intensity of flavour,freshness and consistent quality of service and food are all found at this charming little BYOB on the corner of 10th and Spruce.


1001 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 922-1773

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tony A's Pizza, Best of Philly



For all off my Philly friends if you are looking for the best pizza, tomato pie, Stromboli's, cheese teaks, wraps or hoagies, look no further, Tony A's /Tony Roni's is your spot.

Their addictive garlicky tomato pie was voted the best of Philly in 2008 and with good reason it is AMAZING! Tony A's is a clean, family friendly environment.
The pizza is Neapolitan style and delicious. They also offer catering, try the tortellini with chicken in a blush sauce, so good.

How do I know so much about Tony' A's? Simple, he is my brother in law so I know the hard work and dedication to quality that is being put forward. This guy means business.

So next time you order out, call one of Tony A's five locations in Roxbourogh, Springhouse, Drexel Hill, Bala Cynwyd and Conshohocken.

You won't be sorry.

Happy Eating,
Nik

http://tonyroni.com/

On the Line: Inside the world of Le Bernardin


This is am amazing cookbook and fascinating read. Anyone who has interest working in or operating a restaurant should pick this cookbook up.

Eric Ripert pays attention to details and is an organizational genius. Le Bernardin is one of the best restaurants in the world and this book opens the doors and shows you why. Eric Ripert's emphasis on using fresh, high quality ingredients and classic techniques are inspiring.

If you like seafood this book is packed with great recipes even the home cook can create, trust me. I'm a huge Eric Ripert fan and after reading this book I think you will be too.

Here is an overview of the book.

Happy Reading and Cooking!
Nik

Eric Ripert is the co-author of the recently published On the Line: Inside the world of Le Bernardin, and chef and part-owner of Le Bernardin, awarded four stars by The New York Times, three stars by the Michelin Guide, and rated best restaurant in New York by Zagat. He is a frequent guest on such national shows as Bravo's Top Chef, Today, Charlie Rose, Martha, and Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. He has opened two new restaurants, 10 Arts in the Philadelphia Ritz-Carlton and Westend Bistro in Washington, D.C. You can watch Eric Ripert in action on his forthcoming television show Avec Eric and on his Web site, www.aveceric.com.
Christine Muhlke is an editor at The New York Times. She has written for Vogue, Vanity Fair, Food & Wine, and other publications.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Yo Dogs In Wyndmoor, PA Killer!





If you like homemade hot dogs, hamburgers, french fries or Root beer floats, then Yo Dogs in Wyndmoor is your place.




I stopped in last week for the first time. The menu offers many options and interesting topping combinations. I fianlly made a decison and the friendly owner took my order.


2 Stets, a Ger Dog and Fries. The stets are chili cheese dogs with onions, very tasty . She actually grills the chili to order, that's someone who cares about thier product. The Ger Dog is topped with pancetta, carmelized onions and blue cheese. I know it sounds strange but it works, delish.

The fries are handcut and made to order. They were well done on the outside and soft on the inside. These fries could be dangerous. I did not try the Rootbeer Floats but love the fact she serves them and will when the weather heats up.

Next time you want a good dog or burger give Yo Dogs a try, your tummy will be happy you did.

Happy Eating,


Nik


1014 East Willow Grove Avenue
Glenside, PA 19038-7938
(215) 233-3647

Heading to Whole Food Plymouth Meeting


So two weeks ago, Whole Foods opened up their largest US store here in Plymouth Meeting, PA. Which is 20 minutes outside of Philly.

This is not your ordinary Whole Foods, oh no, it boasts a Brewpub which offers local and select micro brews and wines.

OK now we are talking. Don't get me wrong I love going to Whole Foods just to grocery shop. I honestly could and have spent hours in there. The fact that now I can grab a burger and beer before or after shopping is very appealing, you might call it value added shopping.

Now that I think about it, this is sheer genius. Sometimes a beer after shopping is just what the doctor ordered. Maybe it's just me who has experienced this, but some people forget their manners in Grocery Stores.

Bad manners are a no no with me. It is such a horrible thing to forget common courtesy. You know who you are, Mrs./Mr. I am the busiest, most important person in the world, perhaps a little reflection is in order... hmmm? Ok my rant is over, I feel better... and the my point is beer + grocery shopping = happiness.


Well tonight's the night, I'll let you know if this new spot is as good as the hype. I sure hope it is.


Happy Friday and Happy Eating,

Nik






Monday, January 18, 2010

Rodney Strong 2007 Estate Pinot Noir Russian River Valley




I really enjoy Russian River Valley Pinot and recently had Rodney Strong's RRV Pinot. Good Pinot can come at a price but I think this holds its own against much more expensive wines. It's a great bottle. For just $19 a bottle, enjoy it as often as you can.

This wine is full of fruit. It's a medium bodied red with full berry and soft vanilla essence. Quite supple on the tongue, but with no bitterness. It earned an 87 from The Wine Enthusiast in April 2007. Take it from the experts and yours truly this is GOOD wine.


So next time you are searching for a nice red, grab a bottle of 2007 Estate Pinot Noir Russian River Valley from Rodney Strong. Trust me you won't regret it,

Cheers,
Nik

Matyson a perfect meal.





It was Matt's birthday and we wanted a semi -casual BYOB that offered some interesting options. As you can tell by my blog, The Donnelly's are fearless eaters. We decided to go with Matyson.

I had heard nothing but rave reviews and I looked online and the menu looked good.

Matyson is a BYOB tucked away on 19th street off of Rittenhouse Square. It is a medium size room, tastefully decorated, dimly lit & very welcoming.

We were quickly taken to our table and our waiter came, brought us some Pellegrino and opened our bottle of Rodney Strong Pinot Noir.

We took a good look at the menu and after much deliberation we went with the following:

Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras - Jalapeño corn muffin, persimmon coulis
Crispy Smoked Veal Sweetbreads Fingerling potatoes, frisée, pickled red onion, grain mustard, poached egg
Pan Roasted Filet Mignon 30Root vegetable gratin, crispy truffle-parmesan leeks, Worcestershire
Roasted Tilefish
Sautéed Trumpet mushrooms and Roasted Brussels Sprouts in a trumpet vinaigrette.


The Foie Gras came first and was magical. Nicely seared the coulis added sweetness and the jalapeño from the muffin heat, a good balance. I was starting to feel it, oh yes this was going to be a fine meal. I looked at Matt and knew he was thinking the same thing.

The sweetbreads came next. We cracked open the poached egg and let the yolk ooze all over. I was dizzy after that first bite. The sweetbreads were pan fried and had such texture. The potatoes were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.



The salad which was tossed in some high quality grain mustard paired well and gave it a real pop. These were the best sweetbreads I have ever had, even topping the ones I had in Rome. I could of eaten a whole plate of these tasty nuggets like popcorn shrimp. I'm not kidding here.

Our entrees came Matt ordered the Tilefish and I had the filet. My filet was huge and cooked a perfect Medium Rare. The meat had good flavor and was very tender. What is so funny is that as good as my steak was the two sides that came with it were even better. The Root Vegetable Gratin was heavenly. Super thin and so rich. I know that there had to be mad amounts of cream and butter involved in this dish. The crispy truffle-parmesan leeks looked like little tiny onion rings. The BEST onion rings ever, genius, pure genius.

The tilefish was nice and tender. For those of you who are not familiar it is a nice mild fish with a somewhat silky texture. It game topped with trumpet mushroom and roasted brussell sprouts and was topped with a zesty vinaigrette, yummy!

A good friend of mine told me no matter what, to make sure we saved room for desert. After hearing that I picked up 2 small single serving bottles of Grand Marnier. We decided on the Hazelnut Crepes served with Blood oranges, home made Carmel ice cream & English toffee.

I had mentioned it was Matt's birthday when I made the reservations and wouldn't you know it a candle was in the middle of the crepe when it was served. Now that's service. The crepes were very good, but they could make a mint selling that homemade ice cream, wow.

The food here is great and the service just as good. Our waiter was excellent and knew his food. He shared some great new places for us to try and mentioned that during the week Matyson offers an excellent 4 course dinner. Sounds good.

If you have never been, get there. For those of you have already been, it's time to go back. This was one of the best meals I have had in a long time. Good food and service and great company, I can't wait to go back.


Happy Eating,
Nik

Matyson Restaurant
37 South 19th Street



Philadelphia, PA 19103



Phone: 215-564-2925



http://www.matyson.com/



Monday, January 11, 2010

WillaKenzie Estate 2007 Pinot Gris Willamette Valley




WillaKenzie pinot gris is a lovely wine I tried over the holiday's.


On the nose, you smell pineapple, melon and pear. On the palate, the wine brings bright acidity throughout with tropical fruit notes that finishes quickly with a long finish. It is a beautiful pale green color.

I would serve this with seafood or spicy food. I think it would be killer with salmon or scallops.

A great deal at $15 a bottle, I would definitely buy again and recommend to others.

Cheers,
Nik



King Estate 2007 Signature Pinot Gris



This Oregon pinot gris was given to us as a holiday gift. Great bottle of wine, extremely drinkable, just be careful if it 13% alchohol level, just saying it could be dangerous.

The '07 pinot gris is a light, clear straw color in the glass, with scents of pineapple, cantaloupe, lemon and honeysuckle. The tropical fruit and honey flavors stand out, but are well balanced by the crisp acidity in this wine.

It's a delicious wine that would be a wonderful complement to any meal. I personally suggest pairing this with seafood, pork or veal, it would be excellent with oysters. Hmmm oysters. This very tasty bottle is a steal for $17.

Cheers,
Nik

Sorry for the Delay in Posts, Holy Web Issues!



Sorry for the dealy in posts, for some reason I have had a difficult time accessing this site. I believe I finally have this fixed.



So Fasten your seatbelts because I'm back baby. 2010 will be the best year of eating and drinking yet!

I have some great new recipes, wines, restaurants and books I can't wait to share with you.



Up, Up and Away!

Happy Eating,

Nik

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Potato Gratin


Here is an awesome side dish for any occasion. Everyone I know enjoys cheesy potatoes. Enjoy this gourmet version, it's simple and delicious. I suggest you use a mandoline (be careful!) to make sure your potato are uniform in size. This also aides the cooking process. Things tend to cook better this way. Feel free to experiment with the cheeses and types of potatoes.


Enjoy,

Nik



Shopping List:


3 pounds russet (Idaho) potatoes of uniform size
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 medium garlic clove, crushed through a press
1 1/2 to 2 cups half-and-half or milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste
4 tablespoons crème fraîche (optional)
1/3 to 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese



Directions:


1. Peel and wash the potatoes and slice them into rounds 1/8 inch thick, using a mandoline, the slicing disk of a food processor, or a sharp knife.

2. Generously butter a 9 by 12-inch heavy shallow baking dish, preferably earthenware or cast-enamel, or an oval gratin dish of comparable size. (You can also use a 12-inch cast-iron skillet.) Rub the dish with half of the crushed garlic.

3. In a small saucepan, bring the half-and-half to a simmer with the remaining garlic and season generously with salt and pepper. Set aside.

4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Arrange the potatoes in one overlapping layer on the bottom of the dish. Season the layer generously with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Arrange two more layers on top, seasoning each layer liberally. You might not need all the potatoes. Press the layers down to compact them. Pour in enough half-and-half to come up just a little below the top layer of potatoes. Set the baking dish on a larger baking sheet, cover with foil, and bake until the potatoes feel tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour.

5. Raise the oven temperature to 425°F, remove the foil, and bake until the top begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Pour just enough cream to cover the top, dab it with crème fraîche, if using, and sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan. Bake until the top is brown and bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let the potatoes stand for 10 minutes to absorb the cream. Cut into squares and serve.