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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Birthday celebration: Dinner and a movie

These little burgers at Hazelwoods First Place are pretty tasty.

At the behest of a friend who just celebrated a birthday, the kitchen wench was whisked off to dinner and a movie. (Another's treat, which the frugal kitchen wench appreciates).

We went to AMC Theatres at Esplanade where The Fighter is Playing. Wow. You must see this movie. Christian Bale nailed the role of the crack addicted brother/boxing trainer. Great dialogue and photography. The actress who played the mother was incredible too. I need to go to and find out what else she's done. It's a very cool website for film buffs.

Anyways, after the movie we went to Hazelwoods, which is right in front of my place (within walking distance, so there Phoenix P.D.!) They have great bar food, I really like their zucchini and mushrooms, wings and sliders. You can see from the picture that the sliders look pretty tasty. And they have lots of beers on tap: kiltlifter, fat tire, etc. so you can't go wrong.

Happy 25th, WVR! (in the spirit of full disclosure that's not his exact age but I was given liberties)

Do you cook rabbit? News update.

A few posts back, I mentioned cooking rabbit, and that I'm on the lookout for one so my aunt can "cacciatore" it for us to eat. Yes, we are selfish that way.

I was driving to my Mom's yesterday and there is a home in the neighborhood with a lot of rabbits in the backyard. With hutches and everything. I had a brief flashback of the movie The Whererabbit (with Wallace and Gromit), which is one of my favorite movies. Anyways, it occurs to me that these folks may very well sell these rabbits that are hopping lively in their backyard. Of course, they would need to do the butchering as well, since I don't think I have the stomach for it.

I will have to ask my aunt if she still does...if it turns out that they do not butcher.

How does one approach this with a loved one? "Hey, do you feel about rabbit fur floating about your kitchen?" (and other things I will not mention here)

Last night I dreamt of "Don Pedro"

2 ingredients for a tasty drink, via S. Africa.

I'm borrowing today's blog post title from the song La Isla Bonita by Madonna. Why, do you ask?

1. It's one of my favorite songs (still) and

2. Don Pedro is the name of a drink made in S. Africa. It contains two key ingredients: vanilla ice cream and...(drum roll) whiskey!

Put 4 scoops of good vanilla ice cream in your blender and a 40% ratio of whiskey. Jameson works well. Blend. Drink.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pasta salad with veggie medley

Pasta salad is easy and economical. And it travels well.

I have a "hot date" today with my family for lunch. It's hot, because we're making steak sandwiches. Yummy! And my Mom has a great sense of spices so she's always making some kind of tasty/salty/savory au jus from scratch. Better than pick a peppa sauce, if you can believe it. Although, that is pretty good stuff.

My contribution is a pasta salad. It has whole wheat pasta shells (courtesy of my brother Mike who prefers the whole wheat version), chick peas, bell pepper, scallions, Italian parsley, pepperoncini, tomato, celery, carrots and a red wine vinaigrette made with olive oil and dijon mustard.

Is it snobby that I say I used Italian parsley? Food City did have the regular version but I spotted this first. And it seems like you have to de-stem it a bit less.

Oh boy! Good eats for us.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What's for dinner - Italian sausage and potato bake

A pie pan works well for this recipe.

This is one of my favorite maindishes. Italian sausage goes so well with potatoes.
For tonight I'm cooking 4 sausages and one huge russet potato, sliced thin. I add a whole brown onion to this, a splash of olive oil and a big handful of lima beans (precook them for 2 minutes in the microwave or you will have little rocks in your casserole).

You bake it at 400 for an hour, uncovered. It comes out all brown and yummy, and your potatoes will be crispy.

Carly's Bistro and taking care of "la cruda"

I had beer (Chimay white) and yummy eats (antipasto) with friends last night at Carly's Bistro. What a neat place. It has a very independent feel. The staff is super nice, there are lots of beers on tap and there is quite an ample menu. We shared antipasto and the bread that came with it was very good quality, ciabatta, I think. There were olives, mozzarella, prosciutto, salami, marinated artichokes and red peppers. Great presentation and very fresh. I'll be back!

I'm paying for it a little this morning with la cruda (one too many Chimays) so I stopped for a big fresh squeezed juice at Pro's Ranch Market on 16th St. and Roosevelt. For $3.27 you get a large juice with three fruits/veggies of your choice. They have beets, carrots and celery, and then your standard fruits. I had apples, oranges and pineapple. Let the hydration begin!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cooking spaghetti with less water

The kitchen wench is a big (BIG) fan of spaghetti.

I read an article recently, I think it was in talked about cooking spaghetti with less water and also putting the pasta in before the water boils.

In my family we have always cooked spaghetti in a 4-6 quart vat of water (as much as the pot can hold) and my aunt has an even bigger pot that you can cook 2 lbs. of pasta in (it is enormous). Anyways, this article said you can cook your pasta in less water and it will cook quicker. I've tried this twice, and the first time my pasta came out great. It was spaghetti. Today I did it with angel hair pasta and there were some strands that stuck together. But really, I don't mind. I like a little "chew" to my pasta.

My aunt had given me some sauce to take home last Saturday as a "thank you" for going with her to Costco for her monthly haul, which includes frozen chicken breasts for her doggies. Yes, her doggies are quite spoiled. Anyhoo, this sauce was amazing and I just finished it with today's lunch. She sometimes does a sauce with Italian sausage and little bits of meat. I don't know how she gets everything so tender. And she uses salt pork in her sauce. You can freeze it and cut it in slices and then put it in the food processor and pulse it until it resembles "peas." Then put it back in the freezer and take it out as you need it, maybe use 2 tbsp. per batch of sauce you make. My aunt also uses bay leaves and I'm not sure what else in her sauce. I guess I need to watch her make it one day from start to finish.

Try cooking your pasta less water and let me know how it goes.

Cioppino with Kohlrabi from Jennifer Woods via Chow Bella (Phoenix New Times Food Blog)

Jennifer Woods
Cioppino with Kohlrabi, say that three times fast

Cioppino with Kohlrabi
adapted from this recipe

1 T butter or olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 kohlrabis,
-bulbs peeled* and diced
-greens with stems removed and leaves chopped (I had spinach that needed to get eaten, so I used that instead of the kohlrabi greens in the picture)

1/3 cup dry sherry

2 teaspoons of italian seasoning

1 bay leaf

28 oz can of diced tomatoes with juice

2 cups of chicken stock, or thereabouts (or water or fish stock, whatever liquid you have - I used water and a few teaspoons of Better than Bouillon)

1 1lb bag of Seafood Blend from Trader Joe's

Salt and Pepper to taste

Crusty sourdough, for serving

Heat a large stock pot over medium heat and cook the onion and kohlrabi until the onions are translucent and the kohlrabi is slightly cooked. Add the garlic and and cook 30 seconds more. Add the sherry to deglaze. Pour in the tomatoes, slip in the stock, sprinkle the italian seasoning, toss in the bay leaf and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the kohlrabi is tender. Just before serving, heat up your bread in a hot oven and add the seafood to the soup. By the time the pot comes back to a boil, the fish should be done. Add salt and pepper to taste and dig in.

*You can peel the kohlrabi using a peeler or just a knife - that's what I do. I found a wacky video on youtube to help (and entertain): Swami Durchananda singing Janis Joplin and peeling kohlrabi.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Fresh Ginger Muffins via

These muffins smell incredible!

When you "melt" your sugar and ginger together, it will look like this.

I made the fresh ginger muffins today (2 posts ago). The smell combination of ginger and lemon zest in my kitchen was so wonderful. I have both lemon and ginger leftover, so I am trying to figure out how I can incorporate them into a bath treatment. A sugar/ginger/lemon scrub?

When you make these muffins, and I urge you to do so, you need to be prepared to have bit of clean up. This is because you need to mince your ginger (food processor), make the batter (beaters/bowl), melt sugar and ginger together (small saucepan) and zest your lemon (microplane). However, in the spirit of "knowing what is in our food" and the yummies factors, I think you will agree once you down a couple, you will agree to put up with the extra cleanup.

I'm a big fan of the concept and website It allows artisan foodmakers to sell their products online. They offer a "tasting box" filled with stuff from different vendors each month for $19.99. That is kind of cool... and if you like adventure in gastronomy, it could be fun.

If you are a person who is trying to buy local (like me) as much as possible, ordering from can be a problem, though. When you do a search by region, there are only 4 vendors in Arizona. 4!

I'm not sure why more artisan food vendors here are not using Foodzie. I don't know what the agreements are between Foodzie and vendors, my guess is that Foodzie gets a % of each sale and maybe for some folks it is too high.

Foodzie can be nice though if you want to ship gifts to your loved ones in California, where there are many vendors such as Knight Salumi (I love salami) and Amella Caramels (mmmm Caramel) or Curry Love (I'd like to start making Indian food this year).

Foodzie is also useful for ideas, if you get inspired by looking at what vendors are making and then searching for recipes online that will keep your wallet in check, and curb your sweet tooth. A struggle, I know...

And if you're not into doing it yourself, we have plenty of local bakers here like: Fairytale Brownies, Urban Cookies, Barb's Bakery, AJ's Fine Foods, La Purísima Bakery, etc. The list is quite long, and growing.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Fresh Ginger Muffins via

Being a big (BIG) fan of ginger and all things sweet/breakfasty, I can't wait to make these. And it is timely since my aunt and I pilfered lemons from her neighbor's tree yesterday.

Found the recipe in a blog I try to read once a week at

Marion Cunningham’s Fresh Ginger Muffins

Adapted from The Breakfast Book

A word of warning: before beginning, take care to wash the ginger root well, checking its crevices and wrinkles for dirt.

One (~3-ounce) piece of unpeeled ginger root
¾ cup plus 3 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. grated lemon zest
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
¾ tsp. baking soda

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a muffin tin.

Cut the unpeeled ginger root into large chunks. If you have a food processor, process the ginger until it is in tiny pieces; alternatively, mince by hand. Measure out ¼ cup – or a little more, if you like. It’s better to have too much than too little. Put the ginger and ¼ cup sugar in a small skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar has melted and the mixture is hot. Don’t walk away from the pan: this takes only a couple of minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Add to the ginger mixture.

Put the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer (or, a mixing bowl, if you plan to use handheld beaters or mix by hand). Beat the butter for a second or two, then add the remaining ½ cup sugar, and beat until smooth. Add the eggs, and beat well. Add the buttermilk, and beat until blended. Add the flour, salt, and baking soda, and beat just until smooth. Add the ginger-lemon mixture, and beat to mix well. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Serve warm.

Yield: 12 muffins

Friday, January 21, 2011

Short Leash - a mobile hotdog eatery

These guys use Schreiner's sausages. Enough said!

Last night with some friends at Shady's bar, we spotted Short Leash. It's like a roach coach, on crack.

Unfortunately they had closed already but the owner gave us a menu (looks pretty good) and my friend Rosa said she had tried the Aiko dog (mango chutney, diced jalapeños, red onions, fresh cilantro and mayo) and gave it snaps.

I can't wait to try their dogs!

Check out their website to find out where they will be:

Also, Shady's is a pretty neat place to have a beer with friends, and they make a mean black & tan.

Shady's (602) 956-8998 · 2701 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Do you cook rabbit?

I was reading an article in or was it I don't remember where I found it, but it was about rabbits. Yes, eating them and how they are a very sustainable protein (since they multiply as they do).

My aunt and I were talking about making/eating rabbit tonight. She used to live on a ranch near Silverton, Colorado with her ex-husband (a golf pro) and she raised rabbits. She said she used to "cacciatore" them in tomato sauce and serve them atop spaghetti.

How good does that sound?

So, now we are planning a rabbit cacciatore night. The date isn't set yet, since we need to find out where to get the rabbit (I know some of the carnicerías have them). We're making a trip to Hobe Meats soon, who may have them, and I heard that another butcher moved across the street from them - I think they are mostly a "game" butcher for elk and the like, and they may have them as well.

Will take a picture once we get this project rolling so you can see what aunt Char's version of rabbit looks like.

Do you cook rabbit? If so please share your recipe with the kitchen wench.

My host mother in Spain (Mailen) used to braise a rabbit with mushrooms. It was very tender and I remember always wanting more. She would serve it with French bread and a simple green salad with oil and vinegar. I sure do miss the food in the north of Spain.

I digress.

Let me know your rabbit recipe(s).

Dinner at The White House

According to The Huffington Post, this is what is being served to the President of China at the White House State Dinner:

D'Anjou Pear with Farmstead Goat Cheese Fennel, Black Walnuts, and White Balsamic

Poached Maine Lobster
Orange Glaze Carrots and Black Trumpet Mushrooms

Wine: DuMol Chardonnay "Russian River" 2008 (California)

Lemon Sorbet

Dry Aged Rib Eye with Buttermilk Crisp Onions
Double Stuffed Potatoes and Creamed Spinach

Wine: Quilceda Creek Cabernet "Columbia Valley" 2005 (Washington State)

Old Fashioned Apple Pie
with Vanilla Ice Cream

Wine: Poet's Leap Riesling "Botrytis" 2008 (Washington State)

My only question is, where's my invite? The kitchen wench sure would like to attend one of these. I want to know what the apple pie tastes like at The White House!

Little Shanghai

The kitchen wench scored lunch at dinner tonight!

My aunt and I both live just blocks away from Little Shanghai on Indian School and 40th Street. Lucky for the kitchen wench, I got an invite tonight from my auntie. I picked her up, and away we went. We had a very ample dinner, with included leftovers for lunch (now that's my kind of dinner).

We enjoyed:
Moo goo gai pan (ask for it with white sauce)
Crispy duck
Spicy cabbage salad with pork

I'm teetering on being in a Chinese food coma right now. We demolished the potstickers, which are delicious. Just the right balance of pork, ginger and garlic. My aunt is a big fan of cabbage so we had the spicy pork salad which I had never tried before. It is very crispy and the pork is lean and succulent. The dressing is sort of a vinaigrette with a kick.

I've always been a fan of the crispy duck at Little Shanghai. It is my favorite dish. Sometimes I will order it just by itself, with white rice on the side. We also had the moo goo gai pan, with white meat chicken, mushrooms, snow peas and carrots. The chicken is very tender and tasty.

We'll be back!

Little Shanghai (602) 957-7666
4017 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Comedy with the kitchen wench - baking cookies

The finished product.
These cookies just slide off the parchment paper.
And they smell amazing!!

Don't try this at home, folks!

Tonight I made the carrot cake cookies...without a grater. I did not realize when I started putting the ingredients all together that I no longer have a grater for carrots. I have no idea where it went, I just know it is no longer with me. I tried using my food processor to grate the carrots, but I do not have the aptitude for it.


So, I used what any industrious kitchen wench would use to grate carrots...the grater attachment to the food processor, of course. This did not work well, which amounted to a bit (haha) of frustration on my part and only some of my carrots were grated. The other 1 1/2 carrots are in a bag in my refrigerator waiting to be placed in a salad, perhaps tomorrow. I do not want to look at them now.

Thankfully, the batter came together just fine without all of those carrots. It has many currants and pecans (I used them instead of walnuts because that's what I had) and the cookies are going to be delicious. I say this because the batter contains ground cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. This spice combination is a winner.

So, for future reference...let's review. Make sure you have something to grate your carrots with before starting the carrot cake cookie recipe. Oh, and also, have a silpat (silicone baking mat). Otherwise you will have to "fight" your parchment paper to get it to the correct size of your baking sheet.

Details, details!

Dinner and a movie - Arcadia Tavern and The Kings Speech

I've discovered a new place for pizza - Arcadia Tavern. I guess since I'm not too much of a "barfly" I wouldn't have gone into this place except I'd seen a movie with my friend last night and needed a feed. He'd been there before, so he suggested it. Arcadia Tavern makes a thin crust pizza that is very tasty with meatballs, sausage and pepperoni. The cheese reminded me of the pizzas we used to get at Lunt Ave. Marble Club. It could be buffalo milk mozzarella but I'm not sure. Regardless, I'd recommend a visit. They also have many beers on tap, which the kitchen wench appreciates. I had 3 (count em) kiltlifters last night so I am hydrating today :)

The Kings Speech is playing at Camelview 5, and if you haven't seen it yet, you should probably go soon. It was nominated for a Golden Globe, and after viewing the film, I understand why. Colin Firth and Jeremy Irons did such an excellent job, as well as did Helena Bonham Carter.

Also, the movie Biutiful is being released at the same theatre towards the end of Jan, so you might want to check it out also. I mean, Javier Bardem is in it, so...enough said.

The Jewish Film Festival starts on Feb 12 at the same location. I went to the one they had last year and saw a couple of amazing Jewish foreign films. It is worth checking out.

The Kings Speech
Jewish Film Festival

Friday, January 14, 2011

Carrot cake cookies


OMG! How good do these carrot cake cookies look?

I have some cream cheese in the refrigerator begging to be used in this recipe.

I'm reposting this from the Huffington Post. Can't wait to make these. Now, right now!

1 1/8 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup grated carrots (from 2-3 carrots-I used my food processor or buy a bag of pre shredded)
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup raisins or currants (I used currants because that's what I had in the house)

Preheat oven to 375. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a medium size bowl whisk flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside.
In bowl of electric mixer beat butter, sugars, egg and vanilla on medium until light and fluffy, @ 2 minutes.
Add carrots, nuts, raisins and mix on slow speed until combined.
Add flour and spice mixture on slow speed until just combined. Do not over mix.
Using 2 teaspoon ice cream scoop (or 2 teaspoons) drop batter on cookies sheets allowing 2 inches between cookies.
Bake 11-12 minutes until cookies spring back when touched lightly.
Cool on pan on rack for one minute then remove from pan and cook completely on rack.
Yield: 46 cookies

1/2 stick butter, softened
6 oz cream cheese, softened (3/4 of 8oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese brick)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar
grated zest of one small orange (optional)

In bowl of electric mixer beat butter, cream cheese and vanilla on high until light and fluffy.
Stop mixer, add powdered sugar and mix on slow until combined. Then on high until light and fluffy again.
Add orange zest and beat until thoroughly combined.

While on wire rack turn half of the cookies over so flat side is up. Place 2 teaspoons of frosting on flat side and sandwich with neighboring cookie. Eat.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Lemon currant scones

Make yourself some lemon currant scones today.

I made the scones from the blog today and they are looking pretty tasty.

I forgot to add the lemon rind so at the last minute (while they were baking) I added a bit to the tops and hopefully that dose of flavor will be enough.

Thirty a Week is a blog done by a couple living in Brooklyn, NY and they attempt to eat on $30/week. They eat vegetarian minus egg and dairy. You should check out their blog, it is really informative and practical, based on today's economy and meat sustainability (or lack thereof).

Here's the recipe:

2 cups flour
3 tbsp coarse sugar (I like Zulka moreno)
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup whole milk or cream
1 egg
5 tbsp butter (cold, cut in pieces)
1 handful currants
zest of 1 lemon

Fry's on Thomas near 32nd St. had currants on sale for .69 cents, which is an amazing deal. I gather it was surplus they had from the, I added a handful of currants after the dough came together in the food processor. Then I rolled it out about 3/4" thick and cut the dough in triangles. Then I brushed a little egg on top and sprinkled with coarse sugar.

These smell great! Can't wait to inhale a few when they cool.

You can also make these with coconut, blueberries or cranberries. Cinnamon sugar would be good too.

Happy baking.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Angel hair pasta with tomatoes and shrimp

Shrimp with tomato "sauce" a la aunt Char.

My aunt called today and asked if I'd be interested in coming over for an early dinner.

Would I!?

It was nice because we were able to shoot the breeze a bit before eating. We were both unrushed, which is not always the case.

She made the "sauce" with 2 cans of diced tomatoes (I think they are 15 or 16 oz), garlic, onion, bay leaves, a bit of basil, a couple tablespoons of salt pork and 2 pounds of shrimp. It is the last of the shrimp that she had, and she is talking about going to Hobe Meats soon to buy more. She read in a local newspaper that it is a good place to buy seafood. She's going to take me when she goes, so we can have lunch at Niccoli's beforehand. Sounds like a plan to me. They have delicious Italian sandwiches like prosciutto and Italian sausage. Mmm.

I digress...the kitchen wench is easily distracted by food, as you know.

The shrimp cooked quickly in the sauce, about 4 minutes, and picked up a nice garlic flavor.

She made a pound of angel hair pasta so there was a lot leftover, even though we both had two healthy servings. Then she sprang a couple of small hershey bars on me afterwards, which I never turn down.

As you can see from the picture, she gave me quite a bit to take home, must be two quarts or so. I'll be eating it for the next few days, very happily. She also let me take home the rest of the shiraz we shared (thank you Phoenix PD for not pulling me over- haha) and some grapefruit from the neighbor's.

Happy cooking.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cookies for breakfast?

Barb's Bakery makes great sugar cookies.
And they are cute, too.

Day 7 into the new year and I'm sinking to a new low. There are these cookies at AJ's Fine Foods (from Barb's Bakery on 24th St.) and they are so delicious. They are sugar cookies with icing and they come in all kinds of cute shapes. I picked one up couple of days ago in the shape of a butterfly and demolished it today for breakfast. But, in my defense, the latte I made this morning has calcium, right? So they cancel each other out?


These are seriously large and tasty cookies. You can get them at AJ's Fine Foods or at Barb's Bakery. They have them seasonally so at Easter there are little chicks and at Valentine's Day there are hearts, and so on. The icing is yummy and the cookie is quite thick and has a hint of what I think may be almond extract. They are soft enough so they do not "break" and make a pretty good breakfast, in the kitchen wench's opinion.

It's only day 7, people. I've still got time to redeem myself, right...?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Vitamin T - it's a good daily vitamin

At Vitamin T you can sit outside or stand inside
(chairs are coming).

I went to Vitamin T for dinner tonight after a Hispanic Chamber meeting and I can say for me, it would be a very good daily vitamin. I had the torta de pollo milanesa, served on a tasty bread with cabbage and a black bean spread (I think). The chicken was very crispy, done just perfectly. Alongside I had a XX Amber. They also have Tequila and fountain drinks to quench your thirst.

I'll be going back! Chef/owner Aaron May has done a great job with this place.

1 East Washington St.
Suite 175
Phoenix, 85004
(SW Corner 1st/Wash)
tel 602.688.8168

Pasta handkerchiefs - from Mark Bittman of ny times

The dough came out very nice in the food processor.

Mark Bittman of the does a cool video every so often and it's posted on the newspaper's food section. I really enjoy watching his videos because they are simple and include recipes most of us can do quickly.

This week, he makes pasta "handkerchiefs" with chunky pesto.

I'm just going to include to pasta part since you probably know how to make pesto already (basil, pine nuts, olive oil, salt, parmesean).

For the pasta, he used:
2 cups flour
pinch salt
3 egg yolks
2 whole eggs

You pulse all of this in your food processor until it becomes a "meal" consistency. Then you add 1 tbsp of water and pulse again a few times until it becomes a ball. (Adding 1 tbsp water thereafter as needed to have it become a ball).

He let the dough rest for 30 minutes on the counter or in the refrig. He floured it a bit before wrapping it in plastic. Then once it's rested, you roll it out with a rolling pin (and a bit more flour) and get it as thin as you can.

Then you boil the "handkerchiefs" for 1-2 minutes and that's all there is to it! You can top it with pesto or a light tomato sauce.

I'm making fresh pasta this year a lot, for sure. Give it a go and let me know how it goes.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Fish & Chips @ George & Dragon

The George & Dragon is a great place to have a tasty meal with a friend. In tonight's case, I was with Jason and we both had the fish & chips at G & D. They have the best fish! I had it with peas and Jason opted for the cole slaw. After a couple of black and tans I was feeling just fine. And I demolished the dish - almost ate the plate. No pictures since I took on the form of a human garbage disposal tonight. Jason would argue that is normal for the kitchen wench.

Afterwards we took a walk around his old campus (Brophy) just a few steps from mine (Central). Jason quips that he received a superior education in high school, and that is probably true. It didn't help that I zoned out in class so much in high school. I was not exactly a social butterfly and wanted to be somewhere else most of the time. Except my senior year when I went to Spain.


I digress...

From this point on we will be watching our respective figures a bit more (new years resolutions) by exercising and eating more healthfully. I suggested as we get to our respective milestones we should celebrate with a cornish pasty at Cornish Pasty Co. in Tempe. Their steak, onion, potato and rutabaga pasty is so delicious, with a black and tan, of course.

It's hard to take the foodie out of the girl.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Vitamin T - Tortas Tacos Tequila

I've been invited to Vitamin T for dinner after an afternoon networking meeting this coming Friday. I'm very excited because the owner/chef is Aaron May of Overeasy near me (great blueberry pancakes) and also chef of Iruña in Scottsdale. I haven't been to Iruña, but it has a good reputation and that doesn't surprise me since May used to chef/own Sol y Sombra in north Scottsdale.

Sol y Sombra was really cool. There was an outside patio with comfy neon green couches. The inside was kind of dark and you would always see "beautiful people" there. Anyways, he closed up this shop and opened Iruña. Word has it that they have a lot of the same menu items like pollo colonial and tortilla española. Sounds good to me. I've got to go there soon.

In the meantime, I'll be trying Vitamin T. I'm looking at the menu tonight (planning my next meal) and I'm pleased that they have tortas de pollo milanesa. This is a breaded chicken sandwich and I've become quite fond of the version made by Tortas Paquime on McDowell and 24th Street. We'll see how Chef May's version measures up. His reputation says that it will be a great torta.

I noticed also on the menu that he has different tequilas and Dos Equis (XX) on tap, which makes me very happy. I'll let you know how dinner goes!

Pretzels from Old Heidelberg Bakery

I got two pretzels and started munching right away.

They are just east of the Jack in the Box.

This place has the yummiest soft pretzels. They also have German apple cake, strudel, chocolates, sausages, breads, preserves, etc. All kinds of imported German yummy things.

I highly recommend a visit!

Old Heidelberg Bakery
2210 East Indian School Road Phoenix, AZ
(602) 224-9877

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Cranberry Orange Cake post from Chow Bella

This post is copied from Chow Bella's blog today ( which I read every single day. I'm looking forward to their Caramel Palooza in March. I hope to be invited to be a guest judge. The folks at Chow Bella were kind enough to give me 5 pie tasting coupons at the Pie Festival recently. I was on a major sugar high that day.

Here's the post. I can't wait to make this cake.

Yesterday we chatted with Carol Konyha, freelance dessert designer. Carol's Hungarian roots and fondness for butter and sour cream drive her approach to baking. Her keen senses and skill with her hands produce desserts as pretty to look at as they are to devour. Best of all, Carol's baked goods are always moist with an airy crumb.Today, Carol shares a recipe for her Cranberry Orange Cake.

follow the jump for recipe

Cranberry Orange Cake.JPG
Carol Blonder
Cranberry Orange Cake

Cranberry Orange Cake

Ingredients: ¼ cup butter

1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 large egg

1/3 cup frozen concentrated orange juice + water to make ¾ cup liquid

2 cups all purpose flour

1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon salt

grated zest from 1 orange

1 and ½ cups cranberries, fresh or frozen

½ cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 F Grease a bundt pan or a 9X5X3 inch loaf pan.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar and egg until smooth.

Stir in ¾ cups orange juice (or 1/3 cup oj concentrate +water to make ¾ cup).

In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Add orange zest, cranberries and walnuts.

Stir to combine.

Add dry ingredients to butter-sugar-egg-juice mixture.

Stir until flour is incorporated and batter forms.

Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for one hour (test doneness with a toothpick or cake tester).

Cool in pan for 10 minutes.

Remove from pan and cool on baking rack.

Optional-glaze with cream cheese glaze or sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Wrap in plastic wrap to store.

Lola Coffee

The inside of Lola Coffee has a very urban/simple feel.

Lola has yummy pastries - I spied a quiche and
some kind of fruit tart.
(not to be confused with the kitchen wench)

I was downtown for a breakfast meeting so I decided to go a little further south since I had a couple of hours to kill before meeting my brother for shopping at Costco. I detoured to Lola Coffee on Roosevelt Street. Lola is the daughter of the former owner of Lola Tapas, which used to be on Camelback and 8th Street. They had some yummy eats there like: tortilla española, serrano ham, montaditos (succulent cooked pork on crusty bread) and olives. They also made a very very potent sangria, which I miss a lot.

I might have to make a trip to Iruña soon, as I have a coupon for a free pitcher of Sangria. If you go to Overeasy for breakfast/lunch (48th St./Indian School), you can ask for the coupon and they will probably give it to you.

I digress. Lola Coffee is very cute and urban with a minimalist feel. I had an oj (fresh squeezed) since I had coffee already at my breakfast meeting. Lola has all kinds of yummy pastries that I need to go back and try. Sooner than later.

Update: Oasis Raspados has re-opened after taking a hiatus for Christmas and New Years. I talked to someone there today and their Glendale location is open but he was not sure when 32nd St. was opening (I didn't ask him about their Central location since 32nd St./McDowell is closest to me). Also they have a new location opening very soon at 32nd St./Greenway if any of you live up that way. Very exciting to have a new Oasis!

Also...Herb Box has opened at Southbridge in downtown area Scottsdale. You must go and try their tzatziki with pita chips. They also have sweet potato chips and sweet potato muffins. Then there is this steak sandwich on ciabatta bread with carmelized onions that I absolutely love. It is worth the trip.

Happy eating.

Nutella sandwich

Nutella on french bread makes for a tasty breakfast.
Or, in my case today, lunch.

I discovered Nutella "when I was seventeen...." and yes, it was a very good year.

I was in Paris with my girlfriend Arantzazu and we were staying with her cousin and his girlfriend from Belgium. A very nice/friendly couple. I remember their bathtub was very tiny! But they put us up (or put up with us) for about ten days so they scored major major points in my book.

We had nutella sandwiches for breakfast in their kitchen. The bread was this amazing crusty baguette one of them had picked up from a local bakery.

Europe spoils you for bread. After a trip to Europe, you only want artisan breads. Very snobby! But oh, so tasty.

Today my brother Mike and I went to Costco to pick up a few things which included Nutella for me. I also got some La Brea french demi baguette rolls and made myself a Nutella sandwich for lunch.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

What's for breakfast: French toast

French toast with microwaved apples is a special breakfast treat.

Jason bought a yummy loaf of French bread last week at Grande Orange for us when we shared a meal of tortilla Española and spicy garlic shrimp. I've been using the remainder of it for French toast over the past couple of days.

Here's how you do it:
3 big slices French bread (cut on bias so there is more surface to brown)
1 egg
1 pinch sugar
1 tbsp butter
jam or granny smith apple

Just dunk your slices of french bread in the egg - I didn't even bother to scramble it - and add a pinch of sugar to your egg so your toast will brown nicely. On medium heat melt your butter and then add your toast. Brown it a couple of minutes on both sides.

I had this yesterday with marionberry jam that my cousin Deenah (thanks cuz!) sent from Washington and then today I had it with a granny smith apple cut in cubes and microwaved for 2 minutes (partially covered) with sprinkle of cinnamon.

This French toast reminds me of the French toast I used to get with my Dad and brothers back in the day at Cafe Casino on 24th St. and Camelback. I just loved loved loved that place. You could get apples or cherries on top of your French toast and I usually opted for the apples. We used to ride our bicycles there on a Sunday once in awhile and I remember my Dad being really patient as we all rode in single file to get there...

Happy times. Yummy breakfasts.

Make this French toast! You will love it. It is not only good for breakfast, but can do in a pinch for lunch or dinner. Fry some ham or bacon on the side. Mmmmm.

New Year's wedding - Felicidades Rosa y Charlie!

Rosa and Charlie on their Big Day!

The Jewish ceremony was in their backyard,
and conducted by a friend.

Delicious cake provided by Rosa's friend, purchased at Fry's.

My girlfriend Rosa got married today, 1-1-11 at 1:00 pm. Talk about symbolism!

Rosa and Charlie are lovely people, I am so happy for their, well, happiness.


There was a big party at their house pre and post ceremony which was conducted in their backyard by their "rabbi" friend - ordained online (don't remember his name). It was so nice to meet their families and friends. Delicious eats from different people (people brought): chips/salsa, mini chimis, beans, rice, veggies and all kinds of yummy things. I appreciate being able to partake of the friendly company and tasty eats!

They also had a great DJ who mixed up an awesome bunch of tunes. Cumbia Kings being one of the artists, which the kitchen wench appreciates.

The cake was delicious too, courtesy of Rosa's friend and purchased at Fry's. Fry's! They have a pretty good bakery, so you might want to check them out if you are planning a fancy affair and need a cake.

Congratulations Rosa and Charlie!