Friday, February 5, 2010
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.
Stay Warm and Happy Eating!
Thursday, February 4, 2010
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.
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
-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.
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.
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
-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!
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.
This recipe is super simple and delicious.
Happy Cooking and Go Saints!
Makes 18 figs
3oz, Roquefort Cheese
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.
Preheat oven to 350: for 15 min.
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
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
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.
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.
1001 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
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.
Monday, January 25, 2010
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.
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.
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!
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
Monday, January 18, 2010
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,
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
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.
37 South 19th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Monday, January 11, 2010
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.
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.
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!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
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