Friday, September 17, 2010

Restaurant Review- Chez Nora

This review is a long time coming as it's from Krista's Birthday back on 8/8...but here goes anyway! Chez Nora is a cute little spot located in Mainstrasse in Covington. We had a huge, loud party ready to celebrate and they couldnt be more accomodating! At the end of the night I even made a point to tell the owner what a great job our waitress did with our large group and he was proud to tell me our waitress was his lovely wife :)

Now onto the food...
First off I was lucky enough to be sitting next to Carrie, who ordered this appetizer.... I guess maybe its not on the menu anymore since I can't find on the online menu...but regardless it was enormous perfectly cooked scallops topped with a delicious sauce. The stuff underneath it were nothing to write home about but man those scallops were delicious... almost left me wishing I had those and a side salad for my meal.

For my meal I had a salad...if you can even call it that. Obviously I knew when ordering it I was ordering a salad with a calorie equivalent of a couple of big macs, but MAN was it good!!!

Filet Tips Salad:
A salad of chopped romaine lettuce, red onions, tomatoes, asparagus, bleu cheese and garlic-horseradish redskins, topped with filet beef tips

This was one delicious salad. A Salad with steak and potatoes on it?? yes please! really really good. and hearty... I definitely didnt finish it...

Rob ordered the Vegetarian Pesto Pasta:
A generous variety of sauteed vegetables, tossed in our signature basil pesto, topped with parmesan cheese

He really loved this pasta dish too... I mean what's not to love. Homemade pesto, pasta, sauteed veggies...cheese...pretty much a winner in my book!

Also- here is someone's random dish. I cant remember who's or what it is....but I'm gonna throw it in here anyway :)

Happy (extremely) belated birthday to Krista!

After dinner we headed upstairs to the rooftop deck for another drink before hitting the streets of mainstrasse for some birthday fun. Speaking of the rooftop deck, Tuesday is half price wine night and a great place to hang out and enjoy a bottle of wine with a friend... go here!

Chez Nora on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 16, 2010

First Soup of the Fall! - Bean Soup!

One of my favorite things about fall.....SOUP season! I ADORE soup...but who wants an oven or a burner going for hours when it's 90 degrees out? or a hot liquidy dinner after getting back from a sweaty dogwalk? That's one of my most favorite things about when the weather starts to change and the slow cooking soups and other recipes I love to spend the day making a slow cooked meal..

A co-worker of mine (hi nancy!) was eating some homemade bean soup at lunch the other day that were leftovers from a dinner made by her dad... from that moment on I have been craving the bean-y goodness and scoured the internet for some healthy bean soup recipes.... and in the process, discovered something wonderful...

Bob's Red Mill 13 bean soup mix. This guy has EVERYTHING. Navy, black, red, pinto, baby limas, large limas, garbanzo, red lentils, great northern, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, yellow splits, green splits, and lentils.

The result is a THICK, delicious, filling, warm soup that seriously yum.
If you are looking for a quick weeknight soup recipe, this is NOT it... it takes a little forethought (soaking the beans overnight) a little prep time and about 3.5 hours of simmer time...but I can;t wait to make it on a Sunday afternoon in the winter and have it fill the house with smells and warmth until dinner time..
So let's get cookin!

Rinse the dried beans and put them in a BIG bowl..they will expand up to 3 times their size! After soaking overnight....throw out that water and add the beans, an onion (or two), some ham (we used those tiny little cubed up pieces you can buy so we have a little ham in every bite- but this would certainly be a good use of leftover ham...or no ham at all if you prefer to make it vegetarian!)

Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer for 2 and a half hours until some of the beans start to break up and thicken the soup and you have this going on.... yum.

At this point we're gonna add our tomatoes, garlic, chili powder and the juice of one lemon and let it simmer away for ANOTHER hour....

We put ours in individual containers (1cup is only 1 weight watchers point...and super filling... it gets an A+ for the bridal diet!)


Actual recipe with exact measurements of everything below:
20 ounces assorted beans
1 lb of ham cubes
1 large onion, chopped
15 ounces canned diced tomato
1 teaspoon chili powder
Juice of a lemon
1 - 2 cloves garlic, minced

NIGHT BEFORE: Rinse the beans and pick out any dried beans. Cover with 2 quarts of water and leave to soak overnight.

DAY OF: Put the beans in a very large pot or Dutch oven. Cover with two quarts of new water. Add the ham and onion. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 2 1/2 hours.

Add the tomatoes, garlic, chili powder and lemon juice and let simmer for another 30 - 60 minutes.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Israeli Couscous with Chicken, Mushrooms, Asparagus and Garlic

A couple of weeks ago we had NRN (New Recipe Night) with our friends Suzi and Wall. Trying to stick to my bridal diet, I emailed Wall a quick email asking him what vegetables he considered edible, to which he replied:

"How about potatoes, corn, green beans, asparagus, peas??, mushrooms?"

Regardless of the fact that only 3 of these 6 choices are actually vegetables (love you Wall!)... I got to work making a delicious dish that would be palate pleasing to my guests....

First I got the mis en place ready....Vital for when you have people over for dinner...if everything is chopped up/cleaned up you can cook when your guests arrive without being completely frazzled!
Here we have:

Olive Oil
A container of baby bellas
1 large shallot, peeled and minced
2 large clove of garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
pinch of Kosher salt and some freshly ground black pepper
1.5 pieces of diced/seasoned chicken, browned on the skillet then taken off and covered with foil before fully cooked
1 teaspoon of butter
2/3 cup Israeli couscous
1 1/4 cups hot chicken broth
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for sprinkling
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. When it begins to shimmer, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring as needed, until mushrooms are tender and just beginning to brown. Add the shallots and garlic and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the curry powder and the Herbes de Provence and saute for one minute, then season with a bit of salt and pepper.

Add 1 teaspoon of butter, allow it to melt, then pour in the Israeli couscous. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, allowing the couscous to toast and brown slightly. Add the hot chicken broth and stir well to combine, scraping any browned bits up from the bottom of the pan. Add the asparagus, the garlic scapes and the leaves from 4 sprigs of fresh thyme. Stir well to combine.

Bring the mixture to the boil then immediately reduce heat to low, add the mostly cooked chicken cubes, cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes or until couscous is tender and most of the broth has been absorbed. Before serving, add in 1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and stir to melt and combine.
Serve immediately, garnished with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Enjoy! Yummmmmm!
I just can't say enough how much I LOVE israeli couscous...and this dish had the slight curry flavor, the crunch of the asparagus and the soft deliciousness of the mushrooms. VERy yummy lil weeknight meal!

Recipe adapted from here

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Catch up of my Life in Pictures

Ok OK OK okok. I know I've been gone for a while....but look what happened while I was away!:

yaaaay!! Can't wait to marry my bestest friend and my love! What a lucky girl I am :)

Followed by an immediate suprise engagement party!!

Then 4 days later we were off to a 4 day weekend in NYC for Rob's cousin's wedding:

and while we were there... a lil site seeing

and of course a NY City hot pretzel from a street vendor!

Followed by a Connecticut baptism for Rob's newest Nephew:

Baby Matthew!

and since then between venue hunting, working and bridal magazine reading, I've been one busy lady.....but I promise new updates, food reviews and wedding obsessions very soon....