Thursday, August 19, 2010

What's Been Cookin

There is something about the summer that makes creative cooking almost come to a halt. I find myself making a lot of stuff I already know how to do that is fast and easy (taco salad) and a lot of things that are practically just assembled instead of cooked....(the other night I had an apple and popcorn for dinner...)

But, here are a few yummy things we've been cooking up lately though...

I decided to make a lower calorie version of a dish I made a while back and swap out the whole wheat pasta for some spaghetti Squash. Add a little homemade pesto made with the basil growing out on our back deck and a little sauteed chicken to the roasted and scraped spaghetti squash and voila...pure deliciousness...

One morning we were feeling fancy and decided on a homemade brunch of eggs benedict and spicy roasted potatoes... I even whipped out some of the old culinary school skills and make a little hollandaise for topping it...delicious!

A lot of vegetarian meals also get consumed around here in the summer. This was a ridiculously simple dish of a can of black beans and a can of rotel sauteed together, added to some millet and topped with a dressing made of lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, chili powder, cumin, allspice, salt, pepper and a pinch of cayenne.. served with a side of fresh corn on the cob. mmmmmm

We've also been eating all over the city...more posts to come soon. Promise!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Restaurant Review- Chinese Imperial Inn

I was driving around with a co-worker for work around lunchtime the other day in Sharonville and we both started getting hungry. She was seriously craving chinese food, especially since her husband doesn't like it so she never gets to eat we pulled over so I could pull out the iPhone and find the closest chinese joint. "Chinese Imperial Inn" it was and we headed there for some traditional american chinese food...

Here is the outside of the restaurant, which made me wonder if it was even still in business....but it was so in we went!

We sat down and were immediately brought a bowl of crispy noodles with two dipping sauces and a pot of hot tea... I like that!

We got a lunch special that came with either soup or an eggroll.. I went with the eggdrop soup and it was good...especially with all those cripsy noodles to use as garnish!

For lunch I ordered the boneless chicken cantonese and it was enough for this meal plus 2 more later... I could have used a little more sauce but all and all, it was pretty good cheap chinese food...

Speaking of cheap...this entire meal cost me $5.....$6 with a 20% tip. Crazy.

If you are in Sharonville and looking for a quick, cheap lunch...this is your spot...

Chinese Imperial Inn on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Grillin' Girls

Sunday morning I was being a bum and watching a little TV in bed when I caught an episode of Grill it with Bobby Flay... He made the most delicious looking meal ever and I haven't been able to get it out of my head since I saw it...So Martin and I decided to put our grillin' hats on and get to work... who says grillin is a man's job??

We knew once the prep work was done, this meal would come together on the grill in a first we got to work prepping all of our ingredients...

Jenn whipped up this delicious honey mustard horseradish....

And I halved chicken breasts and pounded them until they were nice and thin and layed out the paper thin pieces of prosciutto and provolone cheese..

and we skewered tomatoes and seasoned them along with the asparagus..

then everyone was ready for the grill....

As expected, the entire meal cooked up in no time flat. You want to make sure the asparagus holds its crunch and the tomatoes their pop!...and no one likes overcooked chicken!

After the chicken was ready I threw the prosciutto and cheese on each piece and closed the grill so the cheese would melt...
When everything came out the grilled veggies got a generous dousing of this (ridiculously) delicious sauce:

and the chicken was covered with peppery arugula, a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil....

Enjoyed on the back deck with a couple of white wine spritzers.....

Pretty much the most perfect meal ever.... Enjoy!

Asparagus and Tomato Skewers with Honey Mustard-Horseradish Sauce
Recipe courtesy Bobby Flay

1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup clover honey
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish, drained
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves (we left out the mint)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pint cherry tomatoes on the vine
Wooden skewers soaked in water
1 pound asparagus, trimmed
Olive oil

Preheat the grill. Whisk together the mustard, honey, horseradish and mint in a bowl and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Let sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

Thread the tomatoes onto skewers and put them into a large bowl. Add the asparagus and drizzle with a little oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Put the tomatoes on the grill and cook until charred on both sides. Grill the asparagus for about 2 minutes per side. Put the vegetables on a platter and drizzle them with the mustard sauce. Serve hot or at room temperature
Grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu
Recipe courtesy Bobby Flay

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound triple creme cheese (recommended; Red Hawk) or brie, thinly sliced (I used provolone)
2 lemons, halved
8 paper thin slices prosciutto
1/4 pound baby arugula
Heat the grill to high.
Brush the chicken on both sides with oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Grill until slightly charred on both sides and just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Put a few slices of cheese on each breast, close the cover and let it melt slightly, about 40 seconds. Brush the cut side of lemons with oil and grill, cut side down until golden brown and slightly charred, about 45 seconds.
Put the chicken on large serving plates, top each breast with 2 slices of prosciutto and some arugula. Squeeze the grilled lemon on top and drizzle with olive oil.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Restaurant Review- Cabana on the River

Sunday night we headed down to the river for a low-key waterside dinner at "Cabana on the River"... 30 minutes later we were sitting down at a sunny table with these guys!

Check out this view....

So, the atmosphere was good and the beer was good and cold...but how would the food be?
Something we noticed immediately...everything (and I mean everything) is served on paper/plastic plates. Wine is served in plastic glasses, salads are served in plastic to-go containers and you are given a baggie of plastic silverware to eat everything with.... very interesting...

Certain things on the menu were in a yellow box, which apparantly meant "specialty items" so right away that narrowed the menu down for me to specialty items. Jenn and I ordered the beef tenderloin sandwich:

This looks a little like a mess, and it was. I'm not really sure how anyone would eat it as a sandwich....but I will say the meat was cooked nicely and seasoned deliciously. I ate the steak with my (plastic) knife and fork and snacked on a little of this bread, but left most of the bread behind.... all in all it was a great steak and a big portion for a little over $10!

Rob got the mahi mahi sandwich and also ate it with fork and knife. It was also cooked perfectly and seasoned really nicely and the fries were tasty too!

Later that night the bugs started to come out... about a million flies were all over our table and us... Not sure what could prevent this since we were outside, had food and were by the river....but there were MASSIVE amounts of them. Next time I will definitely wear some bug spray...or bring one of those nifty Off things...

Things to note: the entire restaurant is outside, so in the colder months, the whole place shuts down. On weekend nights they have live bands playing! fun! I definitely plan on coming back and trying more things on the menu.... or even just for some riverside drinks with friends.

Cabana on the River on Urbanspoon