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by MSchiaparelli 05.03.2010
Posted In: News at 02:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Mr. Creosote Judges the Best of Taste

Have you ever felt like Monty Python’s Mr. Creosote, the bloated epicurean who explodes in a gory mess when he surrenders to the inducements of an evil maitre d’ offering him a “wafer-thin mint” after a laughably enormous feast? Well, that’s how I feel right now. Don’t move me; I might burst. Why? Well, let me explain…. 

I was excited last week when Anne Mitchell, CityBeat’s eminent dining editor, asked me if I was available to help judge the Best of Taste food competition this morning at the giant Sysco facility in Glendale. As a judge, you get to sample food items that will be featured at the Taste of Cincinnati, the Queen City’s signature spring food fest (Memorial Day weekend, May 29-31). This year, there were over 100 dishes entered in competition by nearly 40 vendors.

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by MSchiaparelli 04.29.2010
Posted In: News at 03:58 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Morton's Dogfish Head Hoppy Hour

When Sam Calagione opened Dogfish Head in 1995, it was the smallest commercial brewery in America, making just 10 gallons of beer at a time. Today, Dogfish Head is among the fastest growing breweries in the country and known for their strong, exotic beers.

On Friday, May 7, at 6 p.m., Morton’s (441 Vine Street in Carew Tower) will offer Queen City beer lovers a unique tasting experience featuring four different and uniquely crafted Dogfish Head brews, each paired with a selection of cheeses and accompanied by petite filet mignon sandwiches, tuna tartare canapés, smoked salmon wedges and lamb chops with brie.

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by MSchiaparelli 01.25.2010
Posted In: News at 08:58 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Sherry: The Drink of the Moment

Sherry (the topic of this week’s Fermentations column) is probably the most overlooked major wine category in the U.S. today. Part of the reason, I think, is that Americans generally seem to prefer fruit-driven, plush, simple wines that tend toward the sweet end of the spectrum. Lighter-styled, more-complex dry Sherries that pair well with food can therefore be quite a shock to the palate for many consumers.

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by 01.04.2010
Posted In: News at 05:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Suzie Wong's Is Delivering

Chef Alex Chin’s new eatery in Walnut Hills is now offering delivery service to nearby neighborhoods. Suzie Wong’s on Madison will deliver food to Walnut Hills, East Walnut Hills, Eden Park and Hyde Park. Diners should call the restaurant at 513-751-3333 or register for delivery on the restaurant’s Web site to see if they're in the delivery area. There is a minimum $20 food order for delivery.

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by 10.16.2009
Posted In: Openings at 02:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Seny Spot Gets New Eatery

The former space in Walnut Hills that once was home to Simone’s and Seny Tapas Bar now has a new tenant.

Alex Chin, who previously was the owner and chef at Pacific Moon Café in Montgomery and Pacific Moon on the Levee in Newport, will open a restaurant at the site in November. The eatery will be called Suzy Wong and feature Chin’s unique spin on classic Asian dishes.

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by Alice Blaney 07.22.2009
at 11:39 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 

The Flip-Flop Contessa

Presto-Pesto Italian Flag Chicken and Garlic & Cheese Orzo

Presto-Pesto Italian Flag Chicken

INGREDIENTS:

* 5-6 leaves basil

* 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves (about a handful)

* 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

* 1 block soft garlic and herb cheese, such as Boursin brand

* 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (about 2 handfuls), divided

* 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided

* Salt and freshly ground black pepper

* 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

* 2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced

DIRECTIONS:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 450F.

2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the basil, parsley, pine nuts, soft cheese, 1/4 cup of the Parmigiano Reggiano (about a handful) and some salt and pepper. Process into a smooth paste. Reserve.

3. Butterfly each of the chicken breasts and pound them out lightly in a plastic bag with a dash of water using a skillet or meat mallet. Season both sides of the chicken and divide the herb-cheese mixture between the four breasts, placing a scoop on one half of each breast. Fold the flap of chicken over to enclose the cheese mixture.

4. Transfer the chicken pockets to a baking sheet and lay three slices of tomato over each breast, overlapping them like shingles. Season with some salt and pepper, drizzle with about 2 tablespoons EVOO and sprinkle with the remaining Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (about a handful).

5. Bake the chicken pockets until cooked through and light golden brown, 20-25 minutes.

Garlic and Cheese Orzo

INGREDIENTS:

* 1/2 pound orzo, regular or whole wheat

* 2 tablespoons butter

* 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated

* 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

* 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley (about a handful)

* Salt and freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

1. Fill a large pot with water and place over high heat to boil the pasta. When the water reaches a bubble, season it with a pinch of salt and drop in the pasta. Cook to al dente, according to the package directions, then drain and reserve.

2. When the pasta is ready, place a large skillet over medium heat with the butter. Add the garlic to the pan and cook until aromatic and tender, about 1 minute. Add the cooked pasta, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and parsley to the pan, season with pepper and toss to thoroughly combine.

First off, the chicken was much easier to make than I anticipated. I had never butterflied a chicken breast before, but it turned out to be really easy. Pretty much all you do is lay the breast on a cutting board, cutting the breast parallel to the cutting board from one side to the other, leaving a slight hinge on each side. What you end up having is somewhat of a pouch, which is how you are able to stuff in the filling into the chicken.

I think my favorite part of the chicken dish was the great pesto filling. I had never made my own pesto before, but I honestly never want to go back to store bought pesto after having experienced the great flavor of homemade pesto. It’s fresher, and if you don’t like the crunchiness of full pine nuts, like me, then this is a great way to get the pine nut flavor without having to crunch down on one.

The tomatoes were a really great touch. I probably would have added some diced tomatoes into the stuffing of the chicken. It made the dish a little less rich, because of how rich the pesto was, and gave it great flavor. Also, the parmigiano reggiano cheese sprinkled on top of the tomatoes was awesome. I kind of just want to bake the tomatoes and parmigiano reggiano sometime for an appetizer because I think that would be an amazing and very simple dish.

When you make this Presto-Pesto Italian Flag Chicken dish, be sure to make the Garlic and Cheese Orzo too. It is a great partner with this dish and really adds to all of the flavors and colors. I liked that the Garlic and Cheese Orzo wasn’t that creamy, since the stuffing for the chicken was pretty rich.

I liked that the parmigiano reggiano came out in the flavor of the Orzo, but wasn’t too overpowering. I would recommend having a little parmigiano reggiano left over for the table so guests can sprinkle a little of it on top of the Orzo just in case they want a little more of a strong cheese flavor. My favorite part of this dish was definitely all of the parsley that was added. It gave great flavor, and helped bring down what could have been way too much of a cheesiness to the dish.

Overall, this dish gets two thumbs up. It’s great for kids and adults when it comes to flavors, and it’s an extremely easy dish to make.

You can find this dish and other recipes at the Rachael Ray Web site.


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

Flip Flop Contessa

Ingredients

•    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.

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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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