Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New Orleans Day 2

The day after the St. Patty's day festivities we slept in a bit - then headed out for brunch/lunch at a restaurant on Magazine St. called Ignatius Eatery.  I was excited to try it - mostly because it is named after the main character in the novel "A Confederacy of Dunces".  Most people read this book in High School - I read it last year when I borrowed it from Rafe.

At brunch I almost never order lunch food - I'm a strictly eggs at brunch kind of gal....but it was already past 1p, and the po'boy's on the menu caught my eye.  Mimosa again in hand, I was ready to see what these sandwiches were all about.  I ordered the roast beef po-boy and was not disappointed!

Coming from Boston - where Kelly's Roast Beef is all the rage, I was expecting roast beef cold cuts in my sandwich and was delighted to find POT ROAST in my delicious french bread instead.  The bread had a thin layer of mayonnaise, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and gravy....GRAVY.  The meat was tender and flavorful, and very well seasoned.  I know what I'll be doing next time I have leftover pot roast!

Dave ordered the shrimp po'boy which was deeelicious as well.  The shrimp were dressed with seasoned mayo in the same french bread with lettuce, tomato and pickles.  Dave was again a fabulous share-er of bites.  I think I might get thrown out of Boston for my reference to Kelly's and now to the Boston lobster roll, but I think I would take an authentic shrimp po'boy over a lobster roll any day.

And just when I thought I had tasted the two best things on the menu, Rafe got the red beans and rice with jambalaya and andouille.  Red beans and rice sounds like such a simple dish - but the flavors were so complex!  The beans were creamy and smokey - and oh so comforting with just the right amount of spice.

The food at Ignatius was by no means fancy or upscale in any way....but my goodness, did they exceed expectations.  I couldn't have been happier with my meal if I had eaten at a 5 star restaurant.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

New Orleans Day 1

I've been delaying this post, because I'm totally worried that I won't be able to do New Orleans justice.  My trip  was awesome - I ate my way around the city, and returned completely refreshed.  New Orleans was possibly the friendliest US city I've ever visited - and one of the only places I've ever been that most people are as obsessed with food as I am.  I'm going to break this up into 2 separate posts of 3 different meals - since I don't want the post to go on forever!

Dave, Rafe's longtime friend, was our host. When we arrived in town late on Friday Dave picked us up.  Upon arriving at his apartment we were totally exhausted from our travels (I had left my coat on our connecting flight in Houston and had to race around the Houston Airport to retrieve it) so after a beer and some catching up it was off to bed for us!

Saturday morning we had brunch plans.  We were attending the New Orleans St. Patricks Day parade and wanted a good base for our green beers.  We met up with a bunch of Dave's med school friends and headed to EAT in the french quarter.  We came toting a bottle of champagne since EAT is BYOB and we wanted mimosas with our breakfast....Drinks before noon? Already I was liking this city's style.

Rusty (a friend of Dave's) ordered the fried green tomatoes remoulade - I had never had a fried green tomato, and Rusty seemed nice, so I stole a bite.  They were tasty - that red sauce, the remoulade, was tangy and a little spicy.  The batter on the tomatoes was crispy and well seasoned, and the tomatoes inside were sweet and juicy.  I didn't eat the shrimp or the spinach though - needed to save room for my giant breakfast.

 I ordered the brunch special of the day.  Two pan seared scallops on a bed of cheese grits, with a poached egg and hollandaise.  Cheese grits are the best thing going.  Creamy, cheesy, carby goodness.  It was accompanied by the biggest biscuit I've ever seen.

My breakfast was really rich, so I wasn't able to finish it entirely - but I put a serious dent in it.  I ate the whole egg and both scallops, just left some grits and some biscuit behind.

The biscuit with a little bit of context: it was as big as my face - please ignore the crazy eyes - we ended up with more than one bottle of champagne (seen in background).  I shared the biscuit with another member of the table who did not get one with their breakfast.
EAT was a great intro to the city - and to some classic southern foods! Grits, fried green tomatoes - and I also had a taste of andouille from Dave's friend Alli's plate....Dave's friends were good sharers! And we were fully prepared for fun at the parade:

to be continued....

Monday, March 22, 2010

Roasted Cabbage - who knew!

I've been getting a lot of cabbage lately from Boston Organics.  The first week I made cole slaw with the red onions and carrots that were included in my bi-weekly stash.  The second week I sauteed the cabbage with the yellow onions.  This week, when I received yet ANOTHER cabbage, I was at a loss.  I already ate enough cole slaw to last me until the 4th of July barbecues....and my mom makes sauteed cabbage at Easter....

Lo and behold in my regular blog trolling I found a recipe/suggestion at Find Your Balance that I can't believe I didn't think of first!!  ROASTING IT!!

I love roasted veggies, especially roasted brussels (which are really just itty bitty cabbages) - and these cabbage leaves didn't dissapoint.  Roasty, crispy, and just a little salty. Cabbage is a great nutritional value and its cheap cheap cheap!

Thanks so much Michelle!!!  I'll be roasting my cabbage from now on!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Cooking for Katie

Tuesday I had plans with my friend Katie to make another visit to the Ames hotel for dinner and drinks.  I was looking forward to our friend date when I was plagued by the guilt that comes when your fridge and crisper drawer are full and you're planning on leaving town.  I'm heading tonight to New Orleans, and I felt bad that I would leave food in my fridge - and it would likely go to waste by the time I returned.  Katie was kind enough to entertain a change of venue (my apartment) and gladly provided libations for the occasion - it was a 'jammy' malbec with a blue label.  I'll find out the name for you because it was pretty good.

I had some Swiss chard, onions, and mushrooms from my Boston Organics box.  A few links of leftover turkey Italian sausage, and a plethora of pantry staples.  I am privy to a few of Katie's favorite things, so I decided a base of polenta would make her pretty happy - and made a polenta pie.

The night before I had cooked up the swiss chard with the onions (to have some with my dinner - and save the rest for the polenta) and then I browned the mushrooms.  I put everything in my fridge until the next day, and when we arrived at my place after work, all I had to do was cook up some polenta and brown the sausage.  I made a super-simple polenta with water, salt, pepper, and thyme - the a big handful of parmesan cheese and a pat of butter at the end.  I poured it into a baking dish and baked at 375 for about 20-25 minutes so it would form a crust at the edges.  

While the polenta baked I browned the sausage, chatted with Katie and drank my wine.  Once the polenta based was done, I added the chard, sausage, mushrooms, and a sprinkling of mozzerella and parmesan cheese to the top of the pie.  I grabbed some basil from my aerogarden and did a quick chiffonade, and popped the whole thing in the oven to broil for about 5 minutes.

The pie emerged slightly browned and delicious.  The edges of the polenta were a little browned and crispy, and then inside was creamy and rich.  The texture contrast was amazing.

I am also happy to report that the leftovers were also delicious the next day for lunch!
To accompany dinner we had a simple salad with blue cheese, dried cranberries, toasted pecans, and a honey mustard dressing.

It was so much fun to entertain on a weeknight...and I'm very grateful that my friend Katie trusted my cooking enough to let me improvise with what I had on-hand.

Now I'm off to New Orleans!!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Local In Season

Just completed my first post for Local In Season.  Surf over there and check it out!  There is a recipe to boot!  When you're done reading my post, check out some of their other features...They have a great site with tons of info!