Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Caleb and Nana's Adventures....National Ice Cream Day At "Fresh Local Ice Cream"

Did you know that July is National Ice Cream Month?  In 1984 President Ronald Reagan decided that July would 
be National Ice Cream Month and the 3rd Sunday in July would be National Ice Cream Day.  As luck would have it 
Caleb and I were both free, as were his Mom and Dad, on the 3rd Sunday in July and so decided to indulge.
Now where should we go to enjoy some ice cream?  I went to my favorite source, Google, and did a bit of research.
 I decided on Fresh Local Ice Cream in Raleigh.
We drove up to a cute little stand alone ice-cream shop.  You order at the window and then take a seat at
 one of their outdoor tables.

So many tempting flavors.  It was hard to choose.  I finally decided on the Coconut Almond Crunch.
It was delicious!!  The girl at the window was friendly and answered all of our questions with a smile.

My Coconut Almond Crunch and Caleb's Chocolate with sprinkles.  Good choice Caleb:-)

A few ice cream facts from the Farmers Almanac..."The History of Ice Cream"
A.D 54–68: For centuries, iced desserts were a luxury.
A.D. 618–907: The origins of ice cream date back to China's T'ang period, probably as a dish for the 
country's rulers.
1744: American colonists brought along recipes from Europe.
1851: Baltimore dairyman Jacob Fussell opened the first commercial ice cream factory. 
1939: Grocery stores didn't start selling ice cream until the 1930's, and by WWII, 
ice cream had become so popular that it turned into somewhat of an American symbol 

If you are in the mood for ice cream and you are in North Raleigh I suggest you try Fresh Local Ice Cream. 
I think you will love it.  I did.
Get out and try a new restaurant or go on an adventure.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Recipe Review "Summer Tomato Pie" All Recipes Magazine 2015

I love tomatoes.  One of the summer highlights for me is a beefy tomato sandwich.  It has to be on white bread with lots of mayo, salt and pepper.  Some would call me crazy but I like this sandwich soggy.  Put it together, leave it out for a few hours and enjoy:-)

As I was thinking about tomatoes I found a recipe in an Allrecipes magazine I decided to try.  It's called Summer Tomato Pie....

I studied the recipe from AllRecipes and gathered my ingredients....
Summer Tomato Pie
Rated: rating
Prep Time: 20 MinutesReady In: 1 Hour 10 Minutes
Submitted By: ElizabethCook Time: 40 MinutesServings: 8
"Tomato slices are layered with Cheddar and mozzarella cheese, basil, and garlic for a savory summer pie. It is a great way to use up all those extra tomatoes from the garden!"
1 recipe pastry for a single 9-inch pie
3 tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1.Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
2.Press pie crust into a 9-inch pie pan; prick bottom and sides with fork.
3.Bake crust in the preheated oven until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool completely.
4.Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
5.Place tomatoes in a single layer of a colander; sprinkle with salt. Let sit for about 10 minutes to release moisture. Blot excess moisture with a paper towel. Arrange 1 layer of tomato slices around the bottom of the cooled pie crust, overlapping the slices. Sprinkle half the garlic and half the basil onto tomato layer. Sprinkle half the Cheddar cheese and half the mozzarella cheese over basil layer. Repeat layering with remaining tomatoes, garlic, basil, Cheddar cheese, and mozzarella cheese. Spread mayonnaise over the top mozzarella cheese layer.
6.Bake in the preheated oven until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2015 Allrecipes.comPrinted from 7/19/2015

Basil from my garden and fresh tomatoes from the local farmers market...They happened to have a tomato tasting that day at the market.  I never knew there were so many kinds.  I just looked it up on line where it said there are over 10,000 varieties of tomatoes....who knew?
I used 3 different types of tomatoes.  Not sure what kind they were but they were lovely.
For this recipe you need to salt the tomatoes and let them sit for a while to reduce a bit of the moisture to avoid a soggy pie curst.
 Fresh out of the oven....and Yummy!
Cheesy and delicious!  I would give this a 9/10 on my cooking scale.  I added a bit more mayo about a half cup total.

A few tomato facts as found on HGTV
*Eating cooked tomatoes may act as a kind of internal sunscreen 
*Botanically speaking, a tomato is a fruit
*China is the number one producer of tomatoes around the world
*The world’s largest tomato tree was grown in the experimental greenhouse at Walt Disney World Resort. It produced over 32,000 tomatoes in the first 16 months after it was planted, and holds the record for the most tomatoes in a single year, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. 

Well it is tomato season folks.
Make yourself a soggy tomato sandwich or try this wonderful tomato pie.
Happy Cooking

Monday, July 13, 2015

Restaurant Review...Six Plates Wine Bar....Durham NC

I love to try new restaurants.  It can get a bit pricy and that is why I am constantly checking Groupon for culinary deals.  I found a Groupon for Six Plates Wine Bar in Durham.  I bought the coupon called Cindy and off we went on a yummy adventure.  And an adventure it was....
Here is what they say on their website...
"We keep our selection of plates and wines by the glass small, so that every plate and every glass of wine we give you is of the highest quality.  Because our menu is small, both the food and the wines are constantly changing in order to offer as much variety as possible."
We decided to sit at the bar. They don't have wait staff and  here is their reason why... "Why no waiters?  Waiters can be a great feature of a fine dining restaurant, but there is no reason you can’t have great wine and great food in a more laid back atmosphere.  This way, rather than waiting on someone to show up and help you, you get everything on your time and not ours. However, if you desire the extra attention and want to talk about wine, sit at the bar and the bartenders will be at your service."
The Appetizers 
Sweet Potato Arancini with Smoked Gouda $6

Olive Plate $4

The Entree
Sliders served with BBQ Chips Beef 
                        cherry black pepper chevre, pickled beets, caramelized onions $9

Flatbread spicy tomato sauceroasted corngrilled zucchiniroma tomatoes, red onion, bacon lardons, feta, parsley shallot vinaigrette $9

Chocolate Truffles
 Hand dipped blackberry lavender, pink peppercorn & sea salt,peanut butter …2 for $3.50
Such a great experience.  The atmosphere was cozy and inviting.  The food amazing.  I think Cindy would agree.  The chocolate was, I guess I would have to say, complex.  You could taste pepper, sweetness, saltiness and a hint of was delicious.  
There were several words on the menu that were foreign to me.  Lets look them up and enhance our vocabulary.
Arancini- are stuffed rice balls that are coated with breadcrumbs, and fried. Arancini are usually filled with rag├╣, tomato sauce, mozzarella, and/or peas. There are a number of local variants that differ in fillings and shape.
Chevre- French for goat cheese.
Lardon- also called lardoon, larding needle or larding, is a small strip or cube of pork fat (usually subcutaneous fat) used in a wide variety of cuisines to flavor savory foods and salads....(These were really tasty on the flatbread:-)
If you want to try a new restaurant I suggest you try Six Plates Wine Bar.  Many varieties of wine, they even let you taste before you buy.  I probably tasted 4 before I made my decision.  We sat at the bar to get a feel for the flow of the restaurant but next time I think we will take a seat in the dining room.  I love their concept of taking your time and just enjoying the wine and food at your own pace.  I can't wait to return....
Get out and try a new restaurant!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Recipe Review, Pork Chops with Fresh Tomato, Onion, Garlic and Feta from Allrecipes Magazine

When I came across this recipe in AllRecipes magazine  I knew I had to try it....I studied the recipe.

Pork Chops with Fresh Tomato, Onion, Garlic, and Feta
Rated: rating
Prep Time: 15 MinutesReady In: 35 Minutes
Submitted By: LovecookingCook Time: 20 MinutesServings: 4
"You will not be disappointed with this wonderful pork chop. It is tender, moist, and full of fresh flavors. I serve with garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus. It's a favorite in our household."
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large onion, halved and thinly
4 pork loin chops, 1 inch thick
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
1/2 pint red grape tomatoes,
1/2 pint yellow grape tomatoes,
3 cloves garlic, diced (I used minced garlic,KV)
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1.Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion and cook until golden brown. Set aside.
2.Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in the skillet. Season pork chops with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and place in the skillet. Cook to desired doneness. Set aside and keep warm.
3.Heat remaining oil in the skillet. Return onions to skillet, and stir in tomatoes, garlic, and basil. Cook and stir about 3 minutes, until tomatoes are tender. Mix in balsamic vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Top chops with the onion and tomato mixture, and sprinkle with feta cheese to serve.

I gathered my ingredients turned on my music and started cooking....

 Fresh basil from my very own garden.  The rest from Harris Teeter:-)
This combo of ingredients is really yummy.
Next time I will double it.

I browned the chops on the stove.  They suggested using an ovenproof skillet but I did not have one.  I just transferred them to a casserole dish and it worked just fine.
Oh no I forgot the Feta.... Thats better!
Pretty good wine too.  Not too sweet.

I would have to give this recipe a 9.5/10.  Really good.  Be sure and get the bone in center cut pork chops. 
Happy Cooking Everyone!