Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Slow Blog Month

I just wanted to apologize for the slow blog month. As many of you know, I'm in the process of moving to Lubbock, TX. As a result, there have not been a lot of cooking opportunities (too much travel, eating out, and now packing). Hopefully, once I am settled in to my new place, and have unpacked the recipe binder (that Z is currently updating), I can get back to exploring the world of homemade food. In the meantime, expect small posts about eating in Columbus and Lubbock just to keep the blog from being totally empty.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mmmmm... Chocolate

Z and I just got back from a trip to NY to do some wedding-related chores and to see my parents one last time before I head off to Lubbock. During our visit, we spent some time ogling bunnies, checking out the cherry harvest, and eating lots of unhealthy food (Z stole a lot of the good posts since most had nothing to do with food).

One example of the unhealthy food is the chocolate we ate at The Original Candy Kitchen in Williamson, NY. This candy shop has been in business for 118 years. Growing up, we always got our Easter candy from here, but I'd never been any other time of the year. Z and I each got 3 truffles (we both got mint, which was good), and my favorite by FAR was the dark chocolate raspberry truffle. Raspberry just goes so well with chocolate, and the amount of flavor was just right - enough to complement the chocolate without overpowering it (I thought the mint was a little overpowering, which is why it wasn't my favorite).

mint truffle

raspberry and espresso truffles

Actually, speaking of mint and raspberry going well with chocolate, Z and I sometimes make "milkshakes" using a little creme de cacao and either framboise or creme de menthe in place of the milk. In other words, using ice cream and "spirits" instead of ice cream and milk. They make great dessert drinks.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Eating instead of cooking

Since my days in Columbus are limited, Z and I have been hitting up places we're going to miss, have fond memories of, or haven't yet tried. Today was a 2-fer, with one we had not tried and one we have fond memories of.

For the one we had not tried, the German Village Coffee Shop (aka - Der Kaffe Haus). It was a very good find - the food was extremely reasonably, and the portions were more than reasonable. I got a short stack and a side of bacon for around $5, and it was way too much food. The pancakes were large, thick, and fluffy (and loaded with complex grease-bohydrates). Z had a monte cristo sandwhich, and also had more than she could finish.

Then, this evening, Z and I returned to the site of our first official date, Hunan Lion. While I'm sure the food is not "authentic," that sure doesn't mean it isn't delicious. They serve family style, so we split veggie spring rolls and orders of sesame beef and mango chicken. Both were very good, but the sesame beef was absolutely delicious. They must put crack or some other controlled substance in the sauce, because it was hard to stop eating.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Whenever we go to NY, Z, my sister-in-law-to-be, and I go on a wine tour, usually chauffeured by my brother. On this most recent trip, we hit up Keuka Lake (see Z's post as well - Hunt Country was probably our favorite, but Dr Konstantin Frank's was good as well). One of the wineries near the southern end of the lake is Bully Hill. In general, I am not a huge fan of their wines. They quite often taste like their names imply - "Goat love," "Love My Goat," "LeGoat Blush"... Not only that, but the guy who ran the tasting was far from impressive in many dimensions, most notably personal hygiene and personality (note to businesspeople - customers will buy more when they are treated like adults by someone whose hand you're not afraid to shake for fear of getting syphilis). Despite all the signals that told us to run away as fast as we could, we stayed for a tasting, and really liked their American Riesling.

No, that picture isn't grainy. There's just condensation on the bottle.

The wine is straw colored and relatively sweet (although nowhere near as extreme as a late harvest riesling or ice wine). It smelled a lot like pineapple and also had some hints of apple. Needless to say, it went down very smoothly. Interestingly, this wine is often available outside of NY state, which is rare for NY wines (the wineries tend to be very small), and this particular bottle was one we picked up at a little Cafe in Columbus, OH.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

(Dutch) Spanish Rice

Growing up in the country, my culinary breadth was often limited. To give you an idea of what I mean, I never had Chinese food until late in high school (and never liked it until late in college) and I never had Mexican or Indian food until college. As was often the case with the Dutch farm families (at least where I grew up), there were a limited number of seasoning options that were actually used. Now, don't get me wrong, the cupboard had a reasonable amount of flavors to choose from, but almost all of them were ones used in baking. No, when it came to dinner, we had very two real options: salt and pepper. Occasionally, some garlic, onion, or seasoned salt would get thrown in there, but that was about it. I discovered, upon leaving home, that many of the dishes I'd grown up with were not the same as dishes of the same name in other kitchens.

One such recipe is "Spanish Rice," which at home involved 5 ingredients: rice, ground beef, tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Of course, I've never seen another person make a dish called Spanish rice, nor have I seen it on any restaurant menus, but I have seen it in boxed form in the supermarket aisle, and there it certainly contains a different set of ingredients (and lots of preservatives and non-pronounceable chemicals). Now, don't get me wrong, I like my mom's Spanish rice, but there isn't a whole lot to play around with in this recipe. So, since I left home eons ago (ok - perhaps not eons) I've been experimenting with different flavor combinations and ingredients. Below is the basic recipe I'm working from, but this is by no means a recipe that is set in stone (perhaps you've noticed this theme in my cooking).

"Spanish" Rice

1-lb ground beef/turkey, browned
3-cups cooked white rice (AKA - 1 cup before you cook it)
1-quart stewed tomatoes, broken up
Salt and Pepper to taste (I like a lot of pepper)
2-tbsp. chili powder
1-tbsp. oregano
1-tbsp. cilantro (don't tell Z, she's not a fan)
1/2-tsp. cumin
dash cayenne pepper

  • Brown and drain ground beef, cook rice, break up tomatoes
  • Combine all ingredients in a large oven-safe bowl, cover with foil
  • Bake at 350° for 1-hour, removing foil during final 15-minutes.
I like to serve this with peas because that's what my family did, but that probably makes it even less "Spanish" (if that's possible!).

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Citrus Herb Chicken

I haven't updated in a while, but new posts are coming. In the meantime here's a recipe I'm bringing to a BBQ tonight. Chances are I won't have any pictures to post, so I'll just post the recipe. Something resembling this recipe came in our grocery store circular several years ago, and it's become one of our favorite grilling marinades.

Citrus Herb Chicken
Marinade Ingredients:
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. herbs de provence
1 tbsp. orange zest (lemon also works)

  • Combine ingredients in a ziploc bag and marinate chicken for 2-4 hours
  • Grill chicken and enjoy!

Update: These were better than I remembered!