April 30, 2012

Gourmet Gourmet - Fernandina Beach, FL

Just stopped in for a quick treat while passing through the area. We found the scones to be overpriced (based on size and taste) and under cooked, though they were not overly sweet like most scones. Unfortunately, at least based on their scones, I can't recommend Gourmet Gourmet.  
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April 28, 2012

The Globe - Athens, GA

Delicious blackened steak sandwich!  I am not sure what combination of spices they used; it did not taste like traditional blackening spices...something Middle Eastern maybe...very yummy;-) They also have a great beer selection and my husband raved about the Tandoori Chicken Salad. It was very busy even on a weeknight so I recommend going before or after the dinner rush. Enjoy!
Globe on Urbanspoon

April 26, 2012

Hello Dolly Bars (aka Seven Layer and Magic Cookie Bars)

These potluck tradition bars are so yummy. The condensed milk makes them sweet and gooey while the chocolate chips, coconut and walnuts add richness and texture. Enjoy!

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 9 cookie sheets)
4 TBS butter, melted
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup flaked sweetened coconut
 ¼ to ½  cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350°.

Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper; cut off excess parchment paper around top edge of pan.

Place crumbs in a medium bowl. Drizzle with butter and toss with a fork until moist. Gently pat mixture into an even layer in the prepared pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the crumb mixture. Top evenly with coconut and walnuts. Drizzle milk evenly over top. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly around edges. Cool completely on wire rack.

Notes: These bars can create a sticky mess in the pan, so it's crucial to line it with parchment paper. Because the milk needs to seep into the graham cracker crumbs, don't pack the crumbs too tightly in the bottom of the pan.

April 24, 2012

Alday's BBQ - Sarasota, FL

The pork had a nice smoky flavor, the coleslaw was fresh and crisp, and the beans were not to sweet. However, the "hot" BBQ sauce tasted overwhelmingly like Tabasco and the regular sauce was sort of sweet yet vinegary. I initially thought the prices a bit high, but upon ordering a Pork Sandwich Basket for $11, I was pleasantly surprised by the generous portions - it fed two of us for lunch. Overall, I would say the food is good and nice for a quick weekend meal.

Alday's BBQ on Urbanspoon

April 22, 2012

Mama's Boy Restaurant- Athens, GA

Enjoyed the biscuit sandwich, but my cold biscuits and gravy, undercooked bacon, and over-sweetened applesauce (need I say more?)  keep me from recommending this place. 
Mama's Boy Restaurant on Urbanspoon

April 20, 2012

Cafe Americano - Sarasota, FL

Food is okay, but fairly uninteresting. For breakfast they offer lots of omelets and frittatas. I had the Spinach and Ricotta Frittata with potatoes (maybe one red potato's worth) and wheat toast (1 1/2 slices of plain wheat bread). The spinach was mixed into the eggs, but the ricotta was served as a big dollop on top of the frittata - a little strange and not what I was expecting. While it was okay, it was unseasoned and relatively boring...something I could easily make at home so its unlikely I will return. There are too many other places in town that serve really good breakfast food.
Café Americano on Urbanspoon

April 18, 2012

Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Pork

I was quite disappointed with this recipe (yes, I did make some modifications from the original recipe as published in Food & Wine). I doubled the spices, yet it still left more to be desired. The curry flavor is very mild and as was the coconut milk. 

1 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons minced fresh 1 tsp ground ginger
1 tablespoon mild curry powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
3 2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
Steamed rice, chopped cilantro and sliced scallions, for serving

In a large skillet, heat the oil. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Add the pork to the skillet and brown it over moderately high heat, about 12 minutes. Transfer the pork to the slow cooker. You can skip this step if you prefer shredded meat rather than chunks. 

Add the onion, garlic, ginger, curry, cumin and turmeric to the hot skillet and cook over low heat, stirring, until fragrant and the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Scrape the mixture into the slow cooker. Add the tomatoes, coconut milk and stock to the slow cooker, cover and cook on high for 4 hours (or low for 6-8 hours). Serve the stew over rice, garnished with cilantro and scallions.

April 16, 2012

Chipotle Chicken Cashew

Soooo delicious! This is one of our favorite dishes (original recipe from Rachel Ray). It is sort of a clash between Asian and southwest flavors. As I always do, I deviated a bit from the recipe as published. Below is our version. I must warn you though - it is not for the faint of heart (or those who don't like spicy food), but for those of you who love spicy southwest flavors this dish is a must-try. Enjoy!

1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 to 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 tablespoons grill seasoning blend (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning blend by McCormick)
cloves garlic, chopped
red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chipotle in adobo (~2 peppers and their sauce) or 1 1/2 TBS chipotle powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 real maple syrup
1 cup cashew nuts (raw or roasted)
hot cooked jasmine rice or brown rice
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil then the chicken. Season the chicken with grill seasoning. Brown the chicken then move it off to one side of the pan. Add the onions, garlic and peppers. Cook 2 to 3 minutes then mix the vegetables and meat together. Add the chipotles and cumin. Toss to coat. Glaze the mixture with honey and maple syrup and turn off the heat. Add in the cashew nuts. Serve over hot rice.

April 14, 2012

Spicy Lentils with Sweet Potatoes and Kale

While I love the concept of this dish (published on I found it to be lacking in heat and flavor. Once we added some cayenne pepper (1/8 tsp), cumin (1 tsp) and celery seed (1/2 tsp) it really brought the dish to life.  A healthy, quick, meatless meal - enjoy!

1/2 cup green french lentils 
1/2 large carrot, peeled and small diced (I omitted this)
1/4 cup small diced onion
1 tsp garlic,
1 stalk celery, small diced (I omitted this)
1 bunch lacinato kale, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh rosemary (I used dried)
1 serrano jalapeno pepper, finely diced
1/4 tsp sea salt (or, to taste)
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped into small 1/4-1/2″ cubes
2 tsp cooking oil
2 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock

Heat the oil in a medium sized pot. Once hot, add the onion, celery, carrot and sweet potato and cook for about six minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and kale and continue cooking until kale wilts.

Add the lentils, bay leaf, rosemary sprigs, serrano jalapeno pepper and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 30 15-20 minutes until lentils are tender and have absorbed most of the liquid.

Season with salt to taste and remove the bay leaf, chile pepper and rosemary sprigs before serving. Serve with crusty bread.

April 12, 2012

Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato

Okay, so we are on a Nutella kick right now, hence all the chocolate hazelnut recipes. I am such a fan of gelato I was so excited to try this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis. While the texture (smooth and creamy) is great, it was way too sweet for me (my husband loves it). I was hoping for a more rich chocolate hazelnut flavor, but this recipe yields a very mild flavor that is almost overpowered by the sweetness. Bummer - I will just have to try another gelato recipe ;-)


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream (I used half-and-half)
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread (recommended: Nutella)
  • 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, crushed, for garnish


In a saucepan combine the milk, cream, and 1/2 cup sugar over medium heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whip the egg yolks with the remaining sugar using an electric mixer until the eggs have become thick and pale yellow, about 4 minutes. Pour 1/2 cup of the warm milk and cream mixture into the egg mixture and stir. Add this mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 7 to 10 minutes (I found this to take a bit longer - closer to 15 minutes).
Place a strainer over a medium bowl and pour the warm custard mixture through the strainer. Stir in the vanilla and hazelnut spread until it dissolves. Chill mixture completely before pouring into an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions to freeze. To serve, scoop gelato into serving bowls and top with hazelnuts.

April 10, 2012

Café Amalfi - Sarasota, FL

Very disappointing. The garlic knots must have been from the previous day as they were chewy and dry, even their attempt to soak them in garlic butter didn't help. The calzone was so loaded with cheese that it was really greasy and unappealing (rubbery). I am sorry to say that I cannot recommend Cafe Amalfi nor will I be returning. 

April 8, 2012

Slow Cooker Pork and Tomatillo Stew

For this stew I adapted a recipe from Food & Wine Magazine by Melissa Rubel Jacobson. I expect that the original recipe would have been quite bland as my version was even a bit boring. I suggest adding a can of diced tomatoes and reducing the chicken broth by 1/2 cup. Adding some additional spices, such as coriander and/or Mexican oregano should help as well. Enjoy!   

1 1/2 pounds pork loin roast, cut into 1-inch pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 pound tomatillos—husked, rinsed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
1 TBS cumin
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
One 15-ounce can hominy, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
Sour cream and crushed tortilla chips (optional)

Put the pork in the slow cooker and season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken broth through the jalapeno to the pork and stir to combine. Cover and cook on high for 3 1/2 hours (or low for 6 hours), until the pork is tender and the tomatillos have broken down and formed a sauce. Add the hominy and cook for 30 minutes longer. Serve sprinkle with fresh cilantro, sour cream and crushed tortilla chips.


When I first read this recipe I just skimmed over it and passed it off as it didn't seem like something that really appealed to me (posted in the Penzey Spices catalog). However, my husband spied it and thought we should give it a try. The flavors were great (I made a few adaptations;-), but there was not enough substance (aka meat) for my preference. It seems like it was mostly sauce, tortillas and cheese. While I don't plan to make this entire dish again, I will definitely make the enchilada sauce for use in other recipes. 

Enchilada Sauce:
1/4 cup canola oil
4 TB flour
2 TBS Chili Powder
1 TBS Ancho Chili Powder
1 TBS Chipotle Chili Powder
2 14.5 cans tomato sauce
1 to 1 1/2 cups water
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp granulated garlic Powder
salt and pepper to taste

2-3 cups cooked meat (I used 2 cups of cooked ground meat, a mix of turkey and beef)
2-3 cups shredded cheese
12 corn tortillas
2 cups Enchilada sauce

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the flour and chili powders and cook until fully incorporated. Slowly stir in the tomato sauce, water, cumin and garlic until smooth and the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour 1/3 cup of enchilada sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish.  Add a layer of 4 corn tortillas. Spread 1 cup of the meat on top of the tortillas. Top with cheese and more enchilada sauce and continue to layer until you have three layers. The final layer should be cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 30 minutes. You can assemble the dish ahead of time and it can be covered and put in the fridge for up to a day. If preparing ahead it will need to cook for 45 min to 1 hour (be sure to let it rest at room temperature while the oven preheats so that you aren't sticking a cold pan into a hot oven). Let the cooked enchilagna sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

April 6, 2012

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

I love the incorporation of Nutella in these cookies. It makes them really rich, though the flavor of the Nutella only comes through minimally. The original recipe by Giada De Laurentiis calls these cookies biscotti, but they are really just cookies to me and, as is typical with my cookies, they came out really flat...thank goodness my husband loves them like that. So if you prefer a puffier cookie I would recommend upping the flour a tad. I adapted the recipe a bit by reducing the nuts by a 1/4 cup and adding 1/4 cup chocolate chips. I actually recommend keeping the original amount of nuts as they seemed a bit sparse, but adding the chocolate chips made them super yummy. Enjoy!

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread (recommended: Nutella)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
1/4-1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (FLavOR Foodie addition)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In another medium bowl combine the butter, chocolate hazelnut spread, sugar, and brown sugar. Using an electric mixer, cream the ingredients together, about 4 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Add the hazelnuts and stir until just combined.

Using a tablespoon measure, spoon out the cookie dough onto a cookie sheet, spacing the mounds about 4 inches apart. Use the tines of a fork to flatten the cookie dough. Bake until lightly golden around the edges, about 10 to 12 minutes. Use a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

April 4, 2012

Rice and Black Bean Pilaf

I really like the combination of rice, veggies and black beans and received compliments on this dish. However, the proportion of beans to rice was a bit low for my preference and the spices really needed to be increased. I would recommend either decreasing the rice by 1/4-1/3 cup or increasing the beans by half a can, doubling the cumin, and adding a bit of salt to taste. 


  • 1 cup brown rice, uncooked
  • 2 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 1 large carrot, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley leaves


Place rice and chicken broth in a saucepot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook rice, covered, until tender and all the liquid is absorbed, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from heat, uncover, and fluff with a fork.
Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, celery, carrot, cumin and chili flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender but not mushy, about 6 minutes. Stir in black beans and cook until just warmed through, about 1-2 minutes.
Combine onion-black bean mixture and hot rice in a serving bowl and toss to combine. Garnish with parsley.
Recipe by Ellie Krieger with Food Network. 

April 2, 2012

Chicken and Noodles in Spicy Peanut Coconut Broth

Excellent!  This is the closest I have come to having a Thai-Style coconut curry dish at home. This recipe provides a perfectly balanced sweet and spicy meal. The only thing I would change would be to use less broth and more coconut milk to make the sauce a bit thicker and richer. Next time I make it I will leave out the noodles and try it over jasmine rice. Enjoy!

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 tbsp cooking oil, divided
1/4 tsp salt
6 oz egg noodles (about half a bag)
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
1.5 cups chicken broth
1 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp fresh minced ginger
1 tbsp red Thai curry paste
1 tbsp peanut butter
2 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup fresh minced cilantro

Heat 2 tsp of oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the chicken, sprinkle with salt, and saute until cooked through---about 6-8 minutes. Transfer cooked chicken to a plate and set aside.

Add remaining oil to the pan along with minced ginger. Saute for about 30 seconds and then add the coconut milk, broth, red pepper flakes, sugar and fish sauce. Whisk in the curry paste and peanut butter and bring to a simmer. 
Add bell peppers and continue simmering for about five minutes.

Cook egg noodles in boiling salted water and drain.  Add noodles and chicken to the broth and heat through. 

Sprinkle cilantro over chicken and noodles and serve.