The North Market Apron Gala

Last chance to get your tickets for the 10th Annual North Market Apron Gala this Saturday. There were still tickets left as of noon yesterday (Wednesday). $75 each or $60 each if you are a Friend of the North Market


I plan to be there taking pictures, eating, and talking to the vendors and will have a write up for you sometime next week. If you’re also going, give me a holler! I’d love to meet other foodies in the area.

Food Porn: An Afternoon in the Life of a Foodie

I woke up this morning with a serious craving for a chocolate croissant. Not just any chocolate croissant – I wanted one of those marvelous chocolatines from Omega Artisan Baking. I got there and was disappointed to find out that she only makes them on Saturdays, but didn’t leave without getting a piece of Boca Negra (black mouth) cake. Paul and I shared a piece last weekend, and this is the most evil, dense, overwhelmingly chocolate thing I have ever tasted in my entire life. If food=sex, boca negra cake = foodgasm.

Boca Negra Cake

I didn’t want to let a trip to the North Market go to waste, so I picked up a few other things before I left.
I’ve been making more of a conscious effort to shop at the North Market regularly as part of my desire to eat local, and have been pleased to find that the quality of the food is much better than supermarket fare at reasonable prices. My first stop was North Market Produce, at which I purchased another nice small bunch of early asparagus. I have a newfound love for asparagus, and can’t get enough of it! Not sure what I’m going to do with it yet, maybe put it in a stir-fry, or make some lovely soup with it, or a tart, or maybe just eat it roasted with some hollandaise.

Next, I stopped at North Market Poultry and Game. When hubby found out I was going to the North Market, he had requested that I get him sesame-ginger noodles if they had it. They didn’t, but they had jerk chicken and noodles, which looked just as delicious. I got a small container to take home to Paul.

After that, I went to Bluescreek Farms Meats to get four pounds of lovely shortribs, so I can make Bourbon Short-Rib Stew and White Cheddar Grits tonight for dinner (pictures and recipe of the finished product to come later).

I also stopped at Bubbles to get a bubble smoothie, but didn’t get home quick enough – I drank it on the way. :)

Still craving a chocolate croissant, I decided to hit Panera, where I got a selection of pastries (including chocolate croissant)

along with my lunch, which was Vegetarian Spring Pea and Asparagus Soup with a piece of sourdough bread, which really hit the spot on a rainy afternoon like today.

I had to stop in Giant Eagle to get a few items to make tonight’s dinner, and while I was there, I decided to go across the street to The French Loaf to pick up one of their marvelous apple tarts.

They also had chocolate croissants, so I picked one up to compare with Panera’s, to see which one tastes best.


Now, I’m finally home after a long afternoon out, and am ready to make dinner. Time to go cut my veggies, I’ll be back later with the results of all my hard work. :)

Food Porn: Cap City Fine Diner Meatloaf

I love to eat out, but I don’t like dining out prices. This is especially true when I know that I could probably reproduce the dish myself at a fraction of the cost. So what I’ll do a lot of times is find a dish I love, deconstruct it, and work on the recipe at home until I’ve got a clone of it. Sometimes I’ll even improve on the clone and end up making it mine anyway. And sometimes I’m lucky enough that the actual restaurant recipe is posted somewhere, which saves me a ton of work.

One of my favorite places to eat in town is Cap City Fine Diner. It’s the only one of the Cameron Mitchell restaurants that I go to regularly – I’ll have to do a full review sometime soon, as some of their unique dishes, like Maytag Blue Potato Chips, are to die for. Their signature dish is their meatloaf, which serves as the center of a couple of the dishes they offer.

I was lucky enough to find the recipe published online a couple of years ago, and this is my standby meatloaf recipe. Tonight, I’ve served it with giant radiattore that has been tossed with some shittake and sun-dried tomato cream sauce from Pastaria at the North Market.

I’ve posted the recipe at Recipezaar along with a link to the barbecue sauce that goes with it. Enjoy! :)

Food Porn: Pasta Primavera with Chicken and Asparagus

I got some lovely asparagus this weekend from one of the vendors at the North Market Farmer’s Market on Saturday – I didn’t know if I liked asparagus or not, but it beckoned to me when I saw it, with its pencil-thin beauty. I think there will probably be some in my CSA box this week, and wanted to know if I liked the stuff. So I dug through the Cooking Light site, and came up with this recipe. It came out wonderfully, with the flavors melding together perfectly and highlighting the freshness of the asparagus.

Pasta Primavera with Chicken and Asparagus

2 cups (1-inch) sliced asparagus
3 cups uncooked cavatappi or penne pasta (about 8 oz)
1 tsp. olive oil
12 oz. boneless, skineless chicken breast
1 cup shelled green peas
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c. dry white wine
1/3 c. whipping cream
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. (1 oz.) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. thinly sliced fresh basil
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp. green onion

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a stock pot. Add asparagus; cook 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Add pasta to boiling water; cook according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain.

Cut the chicken crosswise into 1/4 inch wide strips. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; saute 5 minutes. Add asparagus, peas, salt, pepper, and garlic; saute 2 minutes. Stir in wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in cream and juice; cook 1 minute. Add pasta and cheese; stir well to coat. Remove from heat; stir in basil, green onions, and parsley.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size is 2 cups)
463 cal, 12.6 g fat, 33.6 g pro, 81 mg chol, 154 mg calc, 773 mg sod, 5.1 g fiber, 4.4 mg iron, 53.1 g carb, 10 WW points

Food Porn: Arroz Con Pollo

In my recent attempt to overhaul my diet to eat healthier, I’ve had to deep six a lot of the foods I love dearly, or find healthier versions of them. Arroz con Pollo is one such dish – my original favorite recipe had 1/2 cup of oil in it. So I scoured the Cooking Light site until I found a recipe that had a similar vibe. We modified the Cooking Light recipe (shown below in its original form) by adding 2 cups of onions, 3/4 cup of diced green peppers, and 2 tbsp. of Anaheim chiles. Also, instead of using olive oil, we used 2 tsbp. of Enova. We also used arborio rice instead of Valencia because we couldn’t find Valencia locally. It came out tasting great, and had a real risotto vibe to it.

Arroz Con Pollo (Chicken with Rice)

Chicken:
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. Bijol seasoning (we used Goya Sazon instead – since Bijol is annato, and Sazon is primarily annato)
6 chicken drumsticks (about 1 1/2 lbs), skinned
6 chicken thighs (about 2 lbs), skinned
4 garlic cloves, minced

Rice:
2 c. uncooked Valencia rice or other short-grain rice
2 tsp olive oil, divided
2 1/2 c. fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
3 tbsp. commercial Sofrito (such as Goya)
1/2 tsp. Bijol seasoning
1/2 tsp. saffron threads (optional)
1/2 c. frozen petite green peas, thawed
1 (7-ounce) jar sliced pimento, drained (we left this out)

To prepare the chicken, combine first 7 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal and marinate in the refrigerator 1 hour, turning bag occasionally. Remove the chicken from the bag, reserving the marinade.

To prepare the rice, place rice in a colander in a large bowl, and rinse with cold water until the water runs clear. Drain rice well.

Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the drumsticks, and cook 5 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with 1 tsp. oil and thighs. Remove from pan; keep warm.

Add reserved marinade, rice, chicken broth, sofrito, Bijol, and saffron threads (if desired) to pan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes. Stir in peas and pimento; let stand, covered, 10 minutes.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 2 chicken pieces and about 2/3 cup rice mixture)
472 cal, 8.7 g fat, 37.1 g pro, 122 mg chol, 32 mg calc, 773 mg sod, 3.1 mg fiber, 5.2 mg iron, 57.8 g carb, 10 WW points

Food Porn: Blueberry Cobbler

Sometimes the tastiest dishes in the world just aren’t all that photogenic. This dish is one of them.

I like my cobbler more cake-like, rather than shortcake-like. Moist vs. dry. This recipe didn’t bake up pretty, but it came out tastier than many cobblers I’ve had. It’s sweet without being too sweet. The recipe can be found here at Recipezaar. All that’s missing is a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

CSA Part II

Hubby and I have decided to take the CSA (community supported agriculture) plunge, and have signed up with Just This Farm as our CSA for this year. It’s $525 for the year (which starts next week and ends in November), plus an extra $48 for a dozen eggs every two weeks. We opted to pick up our shares at the farm, rather than pay $50 extra to pick them up at the North Market.

I can’t wait to pick up our first share next week. According to his brochure, this is what we have to look forward to this year:

Early
Asparagus, Mesclun, Lettuce, Arugula, Spinach, Radishes, Strawberries, Beets, Green Onions, Snap and Snow Peas, Turnips, Broccoli Raab, and Kale

Summer
Tomatoes, Eggplant, Zucchini, Summer Squash, Carrots, Beans, Garlic, Onions, Sweet Corn, Blackberries, Cucumbers, Swiss Chard, Leeks, Melons, Edible Soybeans, Basil, Parsley, Mint

Late
Arugula, Tarsoi, Pac Choi, Parsnips, Carrots, Turnips, Rutabaga, Spinach, Beets, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Leeks, Radishes, Lettuce, Kale, Collards, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Garlic, Winter Squash, Pumpkins, Apples

My New Toy

I’m so excited! I have a new toy to play with, thanks to Kay at North Market Cook Ware. While browsing around the North Market today, I saw that she had some tagines for sale, so I stopped in to look around. The one tagine was missing its recipe book, and I got a nice 25% discount off of the sale price, which brought the price to $40 less than I’ve seen it anywhere else. :) I’ve bought most of my Le Creuset from there, and have been quite happy with all my purchases.

Tagine

The lighting is a little off, but it gives you an idea of what it is. I’ve been wanting one for a while. Off to find some tagine recipes (the benefit is, the size of it is just right for two people).

Valentine’s Day

I’m reposting this here from my other journal – because if this isn’t food porn, nothing is!

This past Valentine’s Day, my husband surprised me with these:

These divine chocolates are from Pure Imagination in the North Market. I go to the North Market fairly often, about once a week or so – and even though I’m trying to be good and not eat sweets, occasionally I can’t help but give in to the call of the truffles. :) And truffles they are – they definitely taste as good as they look, and the passion that Daniel puts into his work shows in the quality of the chocolate. If you are local, run don’t walk to the North Market and buy yourself some chocolate. If you’re not local, order some online. :)