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by Jac Kern 07.10.2009
at 10:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Flip Flop Contessa


•    Salt

•    1 pound farfalle, bow ties

•    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

•    5 slices center cut bacon, chopped

•    1 medium onion, chopped

•    2 to 3 grated garlic cloves

•    1 bay leaf

•    12 white mushrooms, thinly sliced

•    1 can San Marzano tomatoes

•    4 (6 to 8-ounce) tilapia fillets

•    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

•    1/2 cup all-purpose flour

•    1 (10-ounce) box frozen peas

•    1/4 cup mascarpone cheese

•    3 tablespoons butter

•    1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

•    1/2 cup basil leaves, shredded or torn

Heat a pot of water to a boil, salt the water and cook pasta to al dente.

Heat a deep large skillet with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add bacon and crisp 3 to 4 minutes. Add onions, garlic, bay leaf and mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook until tender but not browned, 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, crush them up with a wooden spoon and simmer 15 minutes on low heat.

Season the fish with salt and pepper. Dust fish with flour and shake off excess.

Heat 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook fish 4 minutes on each side.

While fish cooks, stir peas into sauce, return to bubble and stir in mascarpone cheese. Adjust seasoning.

Remove fish from skillet to a platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Reduce heat to medium and add butter to pan. Brown butter, 2 to 3 minutes, stir in balsamic and simmer 1 to 2 minutes to reduce by half. Pour the brown butter and vinegar over fish.

Drain pasta, toss with sauce and wilt basil into pasta.

Serve fish with pasta alongside.

This recipe is featured from Rachel Rays television show, "30 minute meals," in the episode titled “Food for Thought”.

Talk about an amazing dish. I was so satisfied by the end of this meal that I could barely move!

The nice thing about this dish is that you could serve the fish as one dish for a dinner and the pasta the next night, but if you make both then you will have plenty of great looking left over pasta in your fridge. This, by the way, tastes just as great as when it was cooked the night before.

The fish was simple to make and the balsamic vinegar and butter really added some great flavors that I had never tasted before. The sauce evened out the fishy taste, and the butter went well with the balsamic vinegar by helping tone down the bitterness of the vinegar.

The pasta turned out even better than I expected. I was unable to use a bay leaf since I forgot it at the store and then couldn’t find any around my house, but the dish still ended up having an amazing variety of flavors. I enjoy when a dish incorporates a lot of vegetables, so I won’t feel the need to make a small side salad. The mixture of mushrooms, garlic, onions and peas not only gives the dish a magnificent look from all the colors, but adds a lot of heartiness to the dish. Mascarpone cheese turned out to be a great ingredient that I had never thought of using in a sauce before it added a creaminess to the dish which is just what that sauce needed.

Overall I give this dish two thumps up.

by Alice Blaney 07.01.2009
at 11:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Flip-Flop Contessa

Lamb Chops & Warm White Beans

Lamb Chops with Mint and Mustard Dipping Sauce

2 cloves garlic, smashed

2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

12 loin lamb chops, to inch-thick each

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 rounded tablespoos grainy mustard

2 tablespoons white vinegar (2 splashes)

1 tablespoon honey (a good drizzle)

cup mint leaves (a couple handfuls), reserve 4 leaves, for garnish

4 leaves radicchio lettuce

Preheat broiler to high.

Place garlic in a small saucepan, add olive oil to cover and heat over low heat for 5 minutes, then remove. Arrange lamb chops on broiler pan. Drizzle 3 teaspoonfuls of the garlic oil over the lamb, brushing to coat evenly. Season chops with salt and pepper and set aside.

To make dipping sauce, add mustard, vinegar and honey to a food processor or blender and while processing or blending, stream in remaining garlic and oil. Turn the processor or blender off and add mint to the container. Pulse grind to incorporate the mint leaves.

Broil lamb chops, 3 minutes on each side, then let them rest up to 10 minutes, allowing the juices to redistribute. The lamb will be cooked to medium. Serve 3 chops per person with portions of dipping sauce and redicchio leaves set along-side the chops. Garnish with sprigs of mint.

Warm White Beans with Thyme

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 large cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped, plus 4 extra sprigs for garnish

cup chopped radicchio lettuce, half a head, shredded

1 large can (1 pound, 13 ounces) white cannellini beans, drained well

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a medium skillet, heat olive oil and garlic over medium heat, 2 minutes. Add thyme and radicchio and cook 1 minute longer. Add beans, and toss with radicchio and garlic to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Warm beans through, 2 minutes, then serve. Garnish with extra sprigs of fresh thyme.

This meal is great for a small intimate summer dinner party with friends. It’s really easy to put together, and the flavors come out beatifully in both dishes.

The lamb chops with mustard sauce is what I started on when I began preparing the meal. I only changed a few things to the recipe for my tastebuds, but the dish turned out really well in the end. I chose to cook the garlic and olive oil just a bit longer tha 5 minutes, so I could bring out the garlic taste more in the lamb chops. I also opted to grill the lamb chops instead of broiling them. I’ve always been a fan of grilling because of the great flavors it brings out in the meat.

The mustard sauce was actually my favorite part of the whole meal. I have never been a big fan of mint sauce, so I was happy when there was only a slight taste of mint in the sauce. The honey really helped the sauce also, bringing down the strength of taste in the grainy mustard.

I didn’t really change anything about the warm white beans recipe. I would have changed the way I shredded the radicchio, simply because I felt like the leaves came out too big and overpowering in the display of the dish. But overall, the dish turned out wonderfully. The purples and greens were great colors to go along with the lamb chops. Oh, this dish also smells AMAZING in the kitchen when your cooking it, as long as you’re a big fan of the way thyme smells.

I would definately recommend this dish to people everywhere looking for a quick meal to fix.

This recipe is featured from Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals 2.

by Jac Kern 06.22.2009
at 09:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

BYOB: Brew Your Own Booze

Drinking is an all-American pastime, kind of like baseball (for some…), but it can result in a lot of trash or ridiculous bar tabs. Enter Mr. Beer...

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by Alice Blaney 06.19.2009
at 01:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Flip-Flop Contessa

This is a great dish to make for a summertime dinner. It’s easy to make, and the ingredients are really easy to find. I love the way the tomatoes really neutralize the flavor of lemon, also pairing well with the arugula. 

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by Steven Rosen 06.17.2009
at 08:52 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Garrison Keillor Loves Cincinnati

Garrison Keillor loves Cincinnati, especially its beer-brewing and Porkopolis traditions, so much he read a poem to it during his June 13 appearance at Riverbend. It's available on an audiofile at prairiehome.publicradio.org — just click on "Cincinnati Poem."

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by Stephen Carter-Novotni 04.13.2009
at 07:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Dumb Things to Do With Leftover Peeps

The video speaks for itself.

by MSchiaparelli 04.09.2009
at 02:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Local Distillery Gets Int'l Rave Review

Some of you might recall that CityBeat’s 2007 vodka tasting panel named an unlikely local product, Cincinnati’s Woodstone Creek Vodka, our “best of show.”

Well, lest anyone think that master distiller and super-taster Don Outterson is a one-trick pony, world-renowned whisky expert, writer and critic Jim Murray, in his recently released 2009 Whisky Bible, includes the following rave review of Don’s first small-batch, single malt whisky:

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by 03.02.2009
at 11:09 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Maple Madness

Maple syrup doesn't come from a bottle; it comes from trees, sap to be specific. The Cincinnati Nature Center at Rowe Woods is hosting a day-long event to "savor" this "first taste of spring" on March 14.

"The experience of helping to collect sap, visiting the sugar house with the steaming evaporator, then savoring a taste of warm maple syrup borders on magical," says Jason Neumann, experiential education specialist.

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by 02.23.2009
at 09:58 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Free Buttermilk Pancakes

We get a lot of weird press releases at CityBeat. Many are from businesses looking for free publicity when all they have to offer is made-up news. But this one was just too good to ignore, even if it were just for the recognition of National Pancake Day.

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by 1Kathy 01.27.2009
at 12:36 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mail Goggles: Ineffective on Mathematicians

For those of you with Gmail accounts through Google, you'll be glad to know that your future relationships will not end like your last when you decided to crash at your sister's house after a long night of drinking:

Subject: Heyy Sweaty
From: You  To: Girlfriend
What are you doing! Me going to sleep with the sister you know.  Her hair is broken.  She and I hot.  Too many clothes.  Seee you layor.
Lobe You,
Big Daddy

Google has introduced a new feature in their Google Labs, a clearing house for non-standard email features which users can turn on if they wish.

If enabled, Mail Goggles will ask you a series of math problems if you try to send an email between certain times on certain days.  You determine what times you're most likely to ruin your own life, and google will try to help you.  You must answer the problems in under a minute.  Sorry mathematicians, they have released a reading comprehension version...yet.