Archive for July, 2010

Petterino’s (American-Italian)

Classic and formal, Petterino’s delivers traditional, tasty dishes. It serves its purpose as a business or theatre meal. The tomato soup had character and was very flavorful. The salad was decent. Their bread variety was impressive.

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FMIOTW: Cherokee Purple Tomatoes (from my garden :) )

Tip: never refrigerate tomatoes! Leave out in room temp, dry place.

A Rebar/Jamie original: Breaded tofu with Thai basil soy dipping sauce

Thai basil soy marinade (Rebar)
-2 blocks firm tofu
-1/4 cup light soy
-2 tbsp dark soy
-2/3 cup vegetable stock or water
-2 tbsp lime juice
-1 tbsp minced ginger
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1 tsp sambal oelek (red chile sauce)
-2 oz palm sugar (i used brown sugar)
-1/4 tsp cracked pepper
-1/4 cup Thai basil, chopped

Slice each tofu block into cubes. Combine the remaining ingredients, except basil, in a pot and heat to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes. Add basil and then pour sauce over tofu. Marinate for up to 8 hours. Pour off the sauce and reserve.

Crispy, breaded tofu cubes (Jamie)
-tofu cubes marinated in sauce above
-panko bread crumbs
-sesame seeds
-dry roasted peanuts
-flour
-egg
-cayenne pepper
-Thai basil

Get out three bowls and fill accordingly:
1. flour, cayenne (to spice preference), salt and pepper
2. eggs beaten
3. minced peanuts, sesame seeds, panko bread crumbs, basil, salt (to taste)

Preheat the oven to 375F. Take each tofu cube, and drop it each bowl down the line 1-2-3. Place it on an oven baking grate above a cookie sheet. Leave space between each cube. Leave them in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool and then dip in the Thai basil sauce!

FMIOTW: Adult Eggplant

Excuse the angelic lighting, but I couldn't pass on that purple vibe

Mast Farm Inn Smashed Eggplant (my favorite!)
-1 eggplant
-1 shallot
-few sprigs of fresh thyme
-red chile flakes

Boil cubes of eggplant for 5-10 minutes until they are just mushable with a fork. Drain.

In another pot, warm up some oil olive and butter with shallots, thyme and red chile flakes. Once shallots are translucent, add eggplant. Smash the eggplant with a fork and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Once plated, top with Parmesan cheese. yummmmmm

Ceres’ Table (‘okay’ American-Italian)

Other reviews boast of Ceres’ Table as a hidden gem, I found it a cubic zirconia rather than a diamond. The dishes included a few fresh ingredients that elevated the flavors, but overall, the taste was lacking.

Here’s the line-up:

goat cheese ravioli – With this dish, I enjoyed the light, tomato water broth and the ripe, cherry tomatoes. The ravioli did not meet my pasta expectations, as spoiled by Terragusto.(not solicited)

beef tartare – As with firsts of many sorts, I cannot judge the experience but can only say, ‘thank you’. With trepidation and tentative bites, I ate past my raw beef and raw egg virginity. I may not return to the dish but I am happy to have tried it.

fettuccine – when a dish is labeled “fettuccine”, the pasta better be delicious, unfortunately, it wasn’t. The mushrooms had a wonderful flavor but the asparagus was overcooked and pale. If the dish was $10, I would expect ‘ok’ pasta, when it’s $17, I expect homemade, perfect pasta.

chocolate souffle – The gooey, chocolatey middle oozed delightfully out of the center, texture was spot on. The cherry sauce was enjoyable but if tart cherries were used, it would have brought it to four-star level.

Garden winner: Velvet “Red” Tomato

First ripe fruit from my garden!

Hai Yen (not so good Vietnamese)

Cheap, yes. Quality, no. Cheap and good quality food rarely go together, unfortunately this is no exception. I took food home and ended up throwing it away.

Crab and glass noodle with oyster sauce – The crab meat tasted like it came from a can and the sauce tasted stale.

Vegetable curry stew – The sauce of the stew was too dry and sad, unseasoned broccoli cornered the plate.

Chilam Balam (modern Mexican)

Creative, organic and flavorful, I thoroughly enjoyed my small bites at Chilam Balam. I believe the chef formerly worked in Rick Bayless kitchens and he/she brings the authentic Mexican cuisine with inventive twists, like beet salad with queso ice cream.

Smoked rabbit stew, chipotles, chorizo, roasted fingerlings and turnips; Crispy kale – the elusive crispy kale, fun!! While the flavors of the stew were earthy and complex, the turnips were very bitter (almost inedible) and it needed more spice for my palate.

Sweet corn tamal filled with housemade ricotta and braised greens; Poblano chile cream and Wisconsin Jack cheese – This recipe reminded me of Frontera’s veggie tamale but with a stronger corn bread taste. Delicious.

Hibiscus flan, vanilla-lime swirl ice cream and candied pepitas – This dessert was intricately designed and so yummy! I am so impressed when both the savory and sweet dishes at a restaurant are equally good.

I’ll be back. 🙂

A kitchen of friends produces the best meals…

Signed by Anjali, Aravinda, and me.

Crunchy crimini mushrooms
Dip fresh, clean crimini mushrooms (whole) in egg, flour, and then seasoned bread crumbs. Then pan fry to crispy perfection and top with caramelized shallots.

Cubed roasted squash
Simple seasoning and roasting is the key to this delightful dish.

Stuffed squash with couscous-apricot filling
The filling consisted of onion, squash, garlic, couscous, dried apricot, jalopeno, thyme, oregano in chicken broth-white wine.
The squash was gutted and then seasoned with salt and olive oil. The filling was packed into each bowl and roasted in the oven at 425deg for approx 20 mins. (next time I’ll add pine nuts for more crunch)

Arugula, beet, carrot salad with orange-cumin dressing
We roasted the beets and carrots in olive, salt and thyme. The arugula was dressed in an orange juice and zest dressing. Yum!

FMIOTW: Purple Cosmo and Sweet White Carrots

Not a glamorous foto, but they are SO flavorful!

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