Archive for the ‘Home Cooking’ Category

Southern Cooking in the Windy City

April 4, 2010

Gary and I had scheduled a Monday morning meeting in Chicago that required us to go there Sunday. So we decided to make the most of inconvenience and go out for a very good meal that Sunday night.  And what a meal we had.

We knew about the meeting a month out so we had time to decide and get a reservation. So we created a list of possibilities and narrowed the list down to Table 52.  This is Chef Art Smith’s place in Chicago which features Southern Cooking. I have seen Chef Smith several times on Iron Chef America and Top Chef. He was Oprah’s personal chef,  recently cooked for Lady Gaga and President Obama and Michelle ate at Table 52 for Valentine’s Day so there was a really good chance it was going to be memorable. And it was.

Gary started his meal with the Southern Pickles. The dish came with several house-pickled cauliflower, carrots and okra with micro greens, onions, two kinds of salt, baguette, smoked gouda and jelly on the side. The idea was to make your own pickle sandwich out of the ingredients trying the different ingredients. I like participation dishes like this where you can choose your own combination of food so when Gary offered a taste, I went for it.  The pickled vegetables were tender and sweetly pickled but not to the point where the taste of the vegetable was lost or the crunch was gone. The rest of elements added interesting tastes of sweet jam and salty salts along with different textures of crusty bread, crunchy pickles and gooey jam. Combining the different elements of the dish was fun but we both agreed that although the gouda cheese was fine on it’s own we couldn’t find a combination that matched well with the cheese.

I went for the Beet Salad for my first course.  The salad came with nice portions of  two colourful beets, whipped goat cheese, thyme crumble and Myer lemon puree. For what I thought was going to be a simple salad turned out to be a very complex dish by the various combination of items you could put on your fork. The sweetness of the beets matched well against the tartness of the Myer Lemon Puree and the almost metallic flavour of the Thyme Crumble. The textures of the dish also provided a spectrum of densities, firm beets, semi soft Whipped Goat Cheese and thick puree.  We wanted wine with the meal and had our waiter match a glass of wine with each course. For this course we had Acustic from Montsant (Catalonia, Spain) named ‘unplugged’ in the same way that you find ‘naked’ (oak free) Chardonnay.

For Gary’s second course, he went for the classic southern dish Fried Green Tomatoes. The two large heirloom tomato slices were lightly battered and then pan-fried giving the tomatoes a light crunch with a soft center.  Along with the tomatoes came fresh greens, creme fraise and a light tomato puree.  Like an old married couple, Gary and I ended up sharing tastes from each others dishes so I can report this version of the southern classic was great.  The sweetness of the fried tomatoes contrasting nicely with the spicy tomato puree.  The crisp greens and silky puree matched well also.  For this course, our waiter recommended the Eyrie Chardonnay from Oregon. I found the wine to have a light oakiness and a little bit fruity. A nice match for both the Fried Green tomatoes and my dish.

For my second course, I also went for a southern classic in Low-Country Shrimp and Grits. I lived in Florence, South Carolina back in the 80’s so I tried grits many times but never became a big fan but when you are at Art Smith’s restaurant you give them another try.  It was great!.  These grits were Stone-ground White Corn Grits and so different from my memories of the 80’s.  These grits were more like a risotto than the cream of wheat memories.  These grits were nice and creamy as a whole but the individual grits still had a bite to them as in “el dente” pasta. A very nice consistency.  The Wild-Caught Shrimp were tender, sweet and well-cooked.  The Spicy Tomato Sauce contrasted well with the sweet shrimp and creamy grits. Basically a very simple dish but well executed with excellent ingredients.

For Gary’s main course, he went for the Fish of the Day special, which was Halibut. I forgot to bring my recorder to get all the details of the dish but from my memory, the fish was pain fried and topped with a variety of vegetables and greens.  I got to taste the fish and it was perfectly cooked with flakes falling off with just the touch of your folk.  Halibut is my favourite fish and Table 52 did it right.

For the main course we decided to order the Braised Collard Greens with Smoked Turkey as our side dish.  Collard Greens are about as “southern” as you can get but the smoked turkey was different twist I had not seen before. The more common version I had seen when I lived in the south was with ham hocks.  The turkey version turned out fine with greens taking on a light sweet taste of the turkey but not the saltness of the ham version.  The greens were well-cooked, infusing the turkey into the vegetable but stopping the cooking before turning the veggies into mush.  This was the best dish of collard greens I have ever eaten.

For my main course, I went for the Maple Sugar Short Ribs.  These were the most tender short ribs I ever had in my life. Just using your fork you could twist the meat and it would flake off into single strands of flavourful meat.  The carmelized maple sugar matched well with meaty flavours of the short rib. The dish came with red wine reduction that match well but I was so focused on the tender meat.  A potato puree was the matching starch and a carmelized onion accompanied the dish. Our waiter recommended the 2007 Cristom Pinot Noir to go with the dish.  I thought this was an interesting recommendation given Gary’s fish and my short rib selection but it ended up being perfect for both of us.  Not overcoming the fish and not under powered for the ribs.  Nice wine selecting Justin.

I have had the privilege to eat in several celebrity chef restaurants; Emeril’s, Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill, BLT Prime, Daniel,  over the years but one thing was always missing, the celebrity chef. Until this visit. Making several tours of the dining room during our three courses was owner/celebrity chef Art Smith.  He stopped at every table checking to see how the meal was progressing. I thought the treat of the evening was going to be this photo of the two of us but it got better when Art joined us at our table as the restaurant thinned out at the end of service.  They say that television puts pounds on you but this thinner and fitter version of Chef Smith has been dieting and exercising lately and looked the healthiest I have ever seen him. I wish I could say that about myself but after this great meal, I wouldn’t have much credibility would I. 

It gets worse, Gary and I agreed that we were going to pass on dessert as we were both pretty full from the three courses, wine and cocktails we had already consumed. But as we sat there with Chef Smith he had the staff big over some desserts for us to try.  First came the Smith Family Twelve-Layer Chocolate Cake.  Delicious, light and a great chocolate flavour. The cake came with Vanilla Gelato and Strawberry for contrast.

Next came the Peanut Brittle.  I remember peanut brittle as a Christmas treat during my childhood but this was the best brittle I ever had.  The thick rich harden caramel sauce was chock full of fresh Georgia peanuts.  I was amazed at how thick the brittle was.  It was very good and very sweet.

Finally Executive Chef John, formerly of Charlie Trotter’s restaurant, brought over Art’s Hummingbird Cake.  I had my share of cake when I lived in the south but never had Hummingbird cake.  If I had most likely I would still be in the south cause this is great cake.  Art make his version with Banana and Pineapple flavours three layers high all coated in Cream Cheese Frosting. Served on the side is a wonderful Vanilla Gelato.  It was delicious with all the different flavours going on and amazingly light.

We had a great chat with Chef Smith during our 30 minute sit-down talking about everything from the making of Iron Chef, his diet and exercise plan, to who’s cooking in Chicago he likes (and who’s he doesn’t) and where he likes to go hear the Blues in Chicago.  The evening ending amazingly with Chef taking us to his favourite Blues Club in Chicago and having a couple of cocktails listening happily to the blues.

It was an amazing meal that will, most likely, never happen again.  Thanks Gary and Chef Smith for a great meal and a great story.

Read other reviews about Table 52 here, here and here.

Table 52 52 Elm Street, Chicago, IL  – 312-573-4000

More Mountain Food

August 25, 2009

Bear photoDonna, Ryan and I spent the weekend with Facebook friends and neighbours Toni, Tony, Stephen and Carolyn up in Sullivan County, PA and had a great time.  They were wonderful hosts and guides showing us all kinds of Northern PA attractions.  One of the attractions we saw about 5oo yards from our “campground” was this Black Bear munching on some berries near our “camp ground” neighbour’s house. We watched the bear for 5 minutes before he either got tired of us or had his fill of berries. LOL.

Tombstone Inn signThe bear wasn’t the only one who got their fill. Saturday afternoon we went to the Tombstone Inn for lunch. Tony’s Step-father Ed had told us stories of the Tombstone the night before and it sounded like to a real treat to go. The Inn is an old school house located beside a cemetery and it’s loaded, pardon the pun, with tons of stuffed animals of many species. Toni and Tony’s boys Joey and Nicky enjoyed looked at the Stuffed Bear, Moose and Deer butt-end of a while we waited for the food order.

Joey and Nicky with the Stuffed Bear at the Tombstone Inn


Stuffed Moose Head at the Tombstone InnThe Tombstone’s speciality is pizza but they had a busy Friday night and sold out. Good to see that the woe’s of the economy have not hit the Tombstone as hard as other places. LOL

Seafood Basket at the TombstoneIn lieu of their famous pizza I ordered the Seafood Basket. It was a deep fried cornucopia of Haddock, Shrimp, Clams and Scallops with Frieson the side. Given our location in upstate PA and a significant distance from the sea, ordering seafood could have been a bad decision but it worked out. The haddock was well cook, nice and crispy batter on the outside and moist flavourful fish on the inside. The same went for the sweet bay scallops and shrimp.  The batter-to-clam ratio was a little high on the fried clam functionally eliminating the clam taste. Fortunately the home-made seafood sauce and lime made even the clam pieces somewhat tasty. The fries were decent and there were a generous portion of them making the basket a filling meal for me.

Chicken Strip BLT Sandwich at the Tombstone InnDonna went for the Chicken Strip- BLT Sandwich. The sandwich came on a Hoagie Roll with Deep Fried Chicken Strips load on. Large slices of Tomato and Bacon were added along with some Lettuce leaves coated in Mayo. Donna thought the sandwich was very good with the mixtures of tastes and textures coming thru. Two hardy Dill Pickles garnished the plate and gave some sour flavours to contrast the sweet tomatoes, mayo and chicken and the salty bacon. A very good sandwich.

Sausage and Egg CasseroleI missed taking photos of the Burger and Dog BBQ Buffet back at the “Campground” on Saturday night but they were great. One special treat was a Tomato Blue Cheese Salad that Carolyn created. That was very nice but I forgot to take the photos.  I did better the next day as we brunched on the Overnight Egg and Sausage Casserole. The casserole was a nice mixture of savory sausage and sweet baked eggs. With some chopped Onions added for taste and texture the dish was great.

Eagles Mere Town ClockFor our Sunday Field Trip we went to Eagles Mere, PA a picturesque town a few miles. In addition to some lovely shops and art galleries it had The Sweet Shop. In addition to a huge variety of candy and ice cream treats, they also had very decent luncheon choices.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich - Eagles Mere PADonna went for the Classic Grilled Cheese sandwich on Whole Wheat Bread. The Sandwich came with pickles and potato chips. Thick slices of toasted bread held the warm melted Provolone Cheese. The crunch of the bread contrasted nicely with the smooth creamy cheese. Good basic sandwich well executed.

Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich in Eagles Mere PAToni, Tony and Carolyn ordered the Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich. The sandwich came with French Fries and Coleslaw on the side.  The pulled pork had the traditional vinegar dressing contrasting nicely with the sweet pork meat but what was unique about the sandwich was that the created a patty out of the pulled pork and actually grilled it to give some additional char to meat mixture.  They all liked the sandwich and would recommend it.

Mushroom, Onion and Cheeseburger at Eagles Mere PAI went for one of the special burgers on the lunch menu.  I can’t remember the name they gave it but the taste was very memorable. The Mushroom, Onion Cheeseburger was well executed and very flavourful. The mushroom and onions were sauteed together and then the Swiss Cheese was added to create one unit to go on top of my 3 oz patty. Cooked to my medium rare the burger was very juicy.  The side of fries were well cooked and the pickle nice and sour. A great burger

It was a great weekend and you couldn’t ask for better hosts than Carolyn, Toni and Tony.  We had a great time and hope to get to do it again.

Mountain Fajitas and Tacos

August 22, 2009

Donna, Ryan and I are visiting Facebook friends Carolyn, Stephen, Toni and Tony up in the mountains north and west of Scanton, PA.  They have a great comfortable complex here that to call it camping is to call the Ritz Carlton a motel. Needless to say we are having a great time. So what we eating? Last night over two tiny propane stove tops and a BBQ grill, the Tony’s and Carolyn whipped up a Mountain Fajita Buffet.

Black Bean, Rice and SalsaThe buffet started with some homemade Black Bean, Rice and Salsa. The perfectly cooked rice and beans dish was complemented by the mild salsa.  This dish alone was worthly of a solo performance but it played well with the other dishes to kick off the buffet. The crisp White Onion added some crunch and tang to the fajitas and tacos while the Sour Cream cooled the heat of the hot sauce and peppers.

Fajita Bar ItemsThe heat for the fajitas and tacos came from the Chunky Salsa. It was a mild heat that was in turned cooled by the sour cream and shredded Mexican Cheese blend.

Grilled Chicken and PeppersFor protein, Tony grilled some Chicken Breasts and sliced them into bite size pieces. As he grilled the chicken, he also grilled some Green and Red Peppers to create that authentic fajita experience. The peppers also added some nice crunch to the fajitas.

Carolyn's Perfect Tacos

So we ended up with a choice of Hard or Soft Tacos and Fajitas.  Carolyn joked that every time she makes a taco she wished she had a camera cause her taco was so perfect so I handed her mine. It was perfectly tasty. I ate fajitas cause you can stuff more goodies into them. LOL.

Homemade Mexican CornbreadFor dessert Toni made a delicious Mexican Cornbread. The bread was from the oven and still warm  when we got it. The bread had a nice crust on top that contrasted nicely to the creamy interior.  There were also nice big kernels of sweet corn on the inside making the texture even interesting. It was the perfect ending to the perfect Fajita and Taco bar.  It was the start of a great evening up here in the mountains.

Check out my Facebook page to hear more about the Haunted School Bus that we explored after dinner.

BBQ Meatloaf

August 7, 2009

Homemade BBQ MeatloafDonna and boys bought me a Weber Grill for Father’s Day a few years back and it has been the best grill I ever had. When I got the grill I also signed up for the Weber Grilling Recipe of the Day email. So earlier this week I saw a recipe for BBQ Meatloaf. Now Donna makes a great meatloaf and I have posted on that already and still love it but the whole idea of making meatloaf on the grill was just too good to pass up so we went for it.

In a big bowl we mixed up equal amounts of Ground Beef and Pork, Panko bread crumbs, two Eggs, a medium Onion, Tarragon, Worcestershire sauce, Garlic, Salt and Pepper. Donna formed two loaves and we placed those on the grill with medium to low indirect heat. While the loaves cooked on the grill we cut half a cup of BBQ sauce with half as much Ketchup as a sauce for the loaf.

Homemade BBQ Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes and Green BeansTo go along with the BBQ Meatloaf, Donna made Smashed Potatoes and Green Beans.  I love Donna’s Smashed Potatoes because they have a nice combination of textures, the creamy mashed potatoes with lumpy pieces still in the mixture and the pieces of potato skin. She adds some milk to the mixture which cause the potatoes to be a little bit sweeter.  As for the Meatloaf, it had a nice density to the loaf. The Onions were cooked but sweet and still a little crisp. The tarragone was there but not over powering as it can be in some dishes.  There was some mild charing on the bottom of the loaf despite the indirect heat that added nice texture and flavour. The tang of the BBQ Sauce added another deminsion to the dish.  I usual have some Ketchup with my meatloaf and my only suggestion would be to increase the ketchup in the sauce to capture that classic ketchup flavour.  It was a great dish and keeper of the recipe.  We had fun making it and me posting about it so a success all around.  We hope you try it or come over here and we can make it for you. LOL

Homemade Ribs

July 26, 2009

Got the craving for ribs yesterday, so we went to BJ’s and bought three racks of Baby Back Ribs  in a ryovac pack for $2.99 a pound. I like to slow cook my ribs with a dry rub and then finish with a sweet BBQ sauce, so we started by making our dry rub by combining Paprika, Black Pepper, Sugar, Salt, Dry Mustard, Cayenne pepper, Cumin and Chili, Garlic and Onion powder.

Baby Back Ribs with Homemade Dry RubWe then rubbed the ribs and placed in the frig for 3 hours so the rib and rub flavours could mingle.We have a Weber Grilland no smoker so I pre-heated the grill to the lowest settings and placed the ribs on to slow grill for 3 hours. Cooked Baby Back Ribs

It was hard smelling the ribs slow cooking and not opening the grill and start eating but we waited the full time and were rewarded with three fine racks of ribs.  Each of the ribs had Serious Barkon them from the carmelization of the dry rub.  The aroma was great too, Intense Roasted Pork with slightly smokey chili background notes.

Baby Back Rib portions

I cut the racks into individual ribs and you could see the layer of dry rub, the moist ribs and charred under layer.  The dry rub had actually turned into a very flavourful crispy coating that actually crunched when I cut through it.

Coated Baby Back RibsI coated the individual ribs with warmed KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce. The BBQ sauce was sweet with a mild tang and a nice match to the sweet rib meat.  The crunch of the Dry Rub was a good contrast to the heated BBQ sauce.  The Cayenne pepper brought a nice heat to the ribs but did not overwhelm the rib meat taste. Donna thought the ribs were “nice and spicy” with a good rib taste. Not bad for homemade dry rub and a backyard grill. LOL.  I can’t wait until we do them again.

I used KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce to finish my ribs but what’s your Favourite BBQ Sauce.  Take the survey here.

I am still looking for recommendations for the Best of Bucks Co – Ribs Top 5.  Take a look at the list so far and recommend your favourites.

Diane’s Picnic

July 25, 2009

Julie's Chopped Veggie SaladFor years my co-workers in the Pharma PR group have been holding a Summer Picnic. The PR group dissolved about 3 years ago but the friendships in that group were so strong the picnic continue. This year the picnic returned to Diane’s after being at Laurie and PK’s last year.  The highlight of the picnic is getting together with friends and catching up but I am going to write on the food. LOL, you had to be there to get the gossip. Actually, I am just going to write on the salads, cause after the Memorial Day Burger Search, my physician has threaten a colonoscopy if I didn’t eat my salad. LOL. So let’s just say I didn’t eat any of the wonderful hot dogs and burgers that Diane grilled or any of the other foods (dips, fruit desserts, chips, adult beverages) the rest of the group brought. No photos – no evidence.

Julie, the birthday girl, had to leave early but we sang Happy Birthday to her and she left us her Chopped Veggie Salad. Julie obviously took a great deal of time cutting the Tomatoes and Cucumbers into pieces the same size as the Corn kernels. The colourful salad has fresh chopped Basil mixed in. The dressing is very light making the resulting salad very light and fresh in your mouth. The different textures and matching flavours make this a great summer salad.

006Nona brought a great Veggie Pasta Salad. Large Rigatoni pasta, Olives, Tomatoes, Broccoli and Parmesan Cheese were the main ingredients in the salad.  The large pasta pieces gave significant body to salad. The “el dente” veggie chunks are a nice contrast to the soft pasta. The light oil dressing helped blend the flavours of the salad creating nice contrast between the sweet Tomatoes and cheese to the salty Olives and slightly bitter broccoli. Great salad, very satisfying.

Caesar Salad

I brought Caesar Salad ingredient and put them together just before we ate.  I made the dressing at home and that was a good idea as it gave the Garlic and other items time to blend. I like a stong Lemon taste in my dressing so I added it to the dressing as well as provide lemon slices garnishes for individual additions. I have written about this salad before and this one turn out well.  I hope they liked it.

It was good to get together again to catch up, gossip and eat. The salads were great (and so was the other food wink-wink).  Looking forward to next year’s get together and Diane promises it won’t rain. LOL

Let us know your Favourite Salad type is at the blog’s Salad Survey.

Julie shared her recipe today for her Cherry Tomato Corn Salad. Here it is. Thanks Julie and Diane for sharing.

Cherry Tomato Corn Salad

Mix the following in a jar:

¼ cup fresh basil, 3 T Olive Oil, 2 t lime juice, 1 t sugar, ½ t salt & ¼ t pepper

Pour dressing over 2 Cup frozen corn, 2 Cup cherry tomato halved and 1 Cup seeded pealed chopped cucumber

Simple but fresh and tasty.

Lasagna Dinner

July 23, 2009

002All the rain this summer (?) got Donna and I hungry for some comfort food.  One of our favourite comfort food is Lasagna. We are not Italian but have grown to love Italian food especially the classic casserole, lasagna. 

I have been making this for years and our older kids in Canada, Steve and Wendy,  always make me make it when we visit them during vacation. I think the key to most pastas is in the sauce. I start my sauce by browning some Hamburger and then setting it aside while I saute, in order, Onions, Garlic, Green Peppers and Mushrooms. I seasoned as I went with salt and pepper and once the veggies are done I season that mixture with Thyme, Basil, Oregano and some Hot Pepper Flakes. I then added the hamburger back to the veggies and seasoned again. I used store bought red sauce to complete my sauce.  The rest is pretty straight forward with alternating layers of sauce, noddles and cheese –Mozzarella, Ricotta & Parmesan. Into the oven covered with foil for 35 minutes, uncovered for an additonal 15 minutes and wait time for another 10 minutes then serve.

 Homemade LasagnaThe resulting dish was good, if I do say so myself and I just did. LOL.  I think it was good because of the different flavours and textures in the dish.  Although the dish is fork tender, there are different textures within the different layers, the creamy smooth ricotta versus the denser noodles versus the melted mozza and parm cheeses.  The tastes of the classic savory Italian spices, the sweet & heat of the red sauce, the tang of the ricotta cheese and the oregano flavoured mozza cheese. A great mixture of flavour and texture differences. A great homemade casserole.

Come on over the next time it rains we can do it again. Wait with all the rain this summer, I could be making this every night LOL. Come on over anyway.

BTW if you haven’t participate in the different Food Surveys, you can give us your opinion on a variety of topics.  Check here to see the different surveys.

TGID – Spinach Dip

July 22, 2009

Spinach Artichoke Dip

A couple of Saturdays ago, we went to Poker buddy and Facebook friend Erika and Lind’s apartment for a Poker game and to watch the UFC 100 match.  That was a great night with much fun playing cards and watching, for basically the first time, the UFC.  One of the highlight of the night for me, was Lind’s Spinach Dip.

Linds is a Penn State grad of their culinary program and works at Aramark. So she knows her way around a kitchen although she says she is spending too much time doing admin work.  What a shame for a talented cook.

As for the Spinach Dip, it was inspired by the version, I first tried at TGI Friday’s but Linds’ version has almost everything in the kitchen into the dip making it great. She put in chopped frozen Spinach (drained), Artichoke hearts, diced Red Pepper, Sour Cream, Cream Cheese, Mayo, Alfredo Sauce, Pecorino Romano cheese, Tabasco sauce, Garlic powder, Adobo seasoning, salt and pepper.  I know I like Grace’s Spinach Dip at the Mexican Hold ’em party but this mixture coming out of a hot oven with really fresh Pumpernickel Bread was awesome. Thanks Linds. Creamy, a with strong spinach taste (Popeye would be proud) and a nice cheesy background flavour.  The dip had a great contrast of creamy sauce  and great chucks to give the dip some textures to delight your mouth.  Great job Linds.

BTW Erika had great cupcakes but I ate them so fast no photographic evidence exists to this day. LOL.  Nice cupcakes Erika.

Facebook Breakfast

July 18, 2009

It was Saturday morning and I was up before Donna. I was checking Facebook and I updated my status with “I am going to cook breakfast for Donna, what should I cook?”  Within what seemed seconds, Facebook friend and co-worker Stephanie suggested Baked Eggs and provided the link to the NY Times site. Thanks Stephanie. I clicked on the link and it provided a straight forward recipe on a version of Baked Eggs in a video.  Check it out for yourself.  I also got suggestions and encouragement from Nat (great Canadian Breakfast ideas) and my son Steve in Canada.


Naturally the NY Times recipe called for ingredients that I didn’t have but it was inspiring enough to try with some basic substitutions. To make the Baked Eggs, I buttered the ramekins, placed some Tomato slices on the bottom, some pre-cooked Bacon, dried Basil, cracked Egg, grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.  I placed the ramekins in the pre-heated oven for 12 minutes and started the hash browns.

Donna prefers the grated potato Hash Browns. I used a couple of Yukon Gold potatoes, grated them into a bowl, added some Thyme, salt and pepper and mix them together.  Just like potato pancakes I cooked the potato mixture is some hot oil, browning the outside while allowing the inside to cook and get creamy.

Baked Eggs and Hash BrownsWe turned the ramekins over after running a knife around the inside edge to release the Baked Egg goodness.  The bright red colour of the Tomato slices came to the top make the dish more appetizing.  I thought the dish was a success because of the mix of flavours and textures. The Baked Eggs were still hot from the oven as we bit into them releasing the soft sweet yolk over the tomato and slightly salty bacon. The Basil flakes and parm cheese flavours were there but mild. The addition of Hash Brown pieces into the egg mixture brought interesting textures to the bite.  The hash brown also soaked up the egg mixture changing the taste to include a creamy potato flavour with some crispy bits from the outside of the hash brown.

In her recommendation, Stephanie suggested that these could be a romantic dish as well with some spinach and ham substitutions. Maybe they could but we ate ours so quickly the mood didn’t strike. LOL (My kids read this from time to time LOL). What did strike us is how simple and elegant the dish was so thanks to Stephanie for the recommendation, we will be making this again.

Salad in the Style of Nice

July 13, 2009

Nicoise SaladThe Nicoise Salad is a classic salad from the 1800’s.  I had mine, last night at the Warwick Hotel in NYC as I was in for the MM&M Awards judging.

The Warwick makes their classic Nicoise with Fresh Greens, Hard Boiled Eggs, Jersey Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, Boiled PotatoesGreen Beans and Tuna with a Balsamic vinaigrette.  I think the beauty of this salad is that with that many different ingredients that you get a different taste sensation in every bite by just changing the combination of items. You can also play with different texture and flavours by combining crispy greens with the soft eggs and salty olives with the sweet tuna, crispy green beans with the smooth boiled potatoes.

It was a great salad and just what I needed after all the burgers and steaks I have been eating lately.  Thanks to Joe for taking the photo for me.  BTW If you haven’t the Salad Survey yet, do it now.