Macadamia Crusted Tilapia, Risotto and Spinach

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Food Porn

No recipe, just a picture of last night’s dinner. Macadamia crusted tilapia filet from Whole Foods, (suprisingly good) boxed risotto, and sauteed spinach from Combs Herbs at the farmer’s market. Yum.

Local Foodie Discussion Board

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Admin, Columbus

Just wanted to make a quick announcement that I put together a discussion board for Columbus locals to discuss the restaurant and food scene in town. You can access it here. Carry on. :)

Event: 11th Annual North Market Apron Gala

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Columbus, Eating Local, Events, Food Porn, North Market

Paul and I had a wonderful time at the North Market Apron Gala last night. It’s one of the events that we both look forward to every year – not only because of the wonderful food, but also because we are North Market regulars who will always do what we can to support the market.

Welcome to the 11th Annual North Market     Apron Gala

For those of you not familiar with the market, let me take you on a small tour of the market, though our eyes, and let us take you to the event vicariously though us. Click through for the tour (be aware that it’s VERY picture intensive, and the page may take a while to load). If you just want to see the pics, here’s the Flickr set.
Read more…

Farm Fresh and Local Produce – 5/19/07

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Columbus, Eating Local, Events, Farmer's Market, Food Porn, Produce

Another early awakening to go to the markets this morning – weather was nice and cool but a little overcast.

Knowing that the Race for the Cure was today, we went to Worthington first, as to avoid the early morning rush that the North Market would inevitably have because of the event. My first stop was to Wishwell Farms, for some lovely asparagus and grape tomatoes.

They also had some full sized tomatoes as well, but I still had one left from last week’s market.

Don’t these baked goods look lovely? Must resist the call of carbs. ;)

We did get one heck of a deal on about 5 pounds of short ribs for $3/lb. from Up the Lane Cattle. It will make a lovely stew later this week. And I couldn’t leave Worthington without making a requisite stop at Sweet Thing, to pick up some jam to sate the craving for toast with butter and jelly I’ve been having all week.

Off to Clintonville next, where I spoke to the woman at 2Silos to ask about guinea hen eggs – she’s going to bring some for me next week. Also next week, I’m going to sign up for their “Adopt a Hen” program ($139) – where you get 40 dozen eggs, a stewing chicken, a 5 gallon bucket of compost, a certificate of adoption and photo of your hen, including naming and visitation rights. It will make for some great entries in the future, and 2Silos eggs are beyond compare. Clintonville was rather light as far as veggies, but really really crowded.

Last but not least was the requisite North Market stop, which wasn’t as crowded as I thought it would be. Toad Hill was out of lettuce, unfortunately, but there were strawberries to be had at Rhoads!! Yay!

To round out my market stop, I picked up some spinach at Combs….

I’m leaving for the Apron Gala in a couple of minutes – if I run into you there, stop me and say hi – I’m the big girl with red hair in the blue stripey shirt and crocs, and I’ll be with my hubby (also big, and rather geeky) who will be wearing a Hell’s Kitchen apron. We’ll be one of the few people there taking pics. :) Full report of the event to come tomorrow.

Strozzapretti Alfredo with Sausage and Veggies

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Food Blogging Event, Food Porn, Produce, Recipes

Most of the time I make pasta, it’s an attempt to use up various veggies or meat or other things in my fridge or freezer that need to be used. Because of that, although I use the same basic formula, I end up with a different result each time. With that in mind, I’ll give you the basic steps and suggestions of things to add along the way, along with what I did for this particular dish.

fmpasta

I had purchased quite a few items at last week’s farmers market, which I wanted to use quickly to make room for more items this weekend. What better way than pasta? Especially since I wanted to participate in this week’s Presto Pasta Night event, I’d be able to kill two birds with one stone! Check the link for the roundup every Friday.

I cut up some asparagus, ramps, green garlic as my aromatics, and set them sauteeing in a touch of olive oil. Meanwhile, I chopped up some lardons (double smoked bacon) and took out a pound of Italian sausage, and added both to the veggies to brown. Once brown, I drained the fat, and deglazed the pan with about a cup of white wine, and added enough cream to make the dish creamy, but not swimming in sauce. I allowed the wine-cream mixture to heat up to steaming, and then added enough grated Parmesan cheese to make an alfredo sauce (it will thicken as the cheese melts). I had meant to wilt some spinach into the mix, but completely forgot. I tossed the mixture with some already cooked multi-colored strozzapretti pasta. The result? A creamy, cheesy garlicky pasta dish redolent with yummy fresh seasonal veggies and chunks of sausage.

It’s pretty much the same formula for any type of pasta – you can use whatever meats you like, whatever veggies and aromatics, whatever cheese, whatever you want to deglaze (wine, balsamic, cream, broth, you choose), whatever kind of cheese you want. My best advice is to experiment and taste as you go along. The final product might not always be pretty or photogenic, but it will probably taste great!

Crescent Cafe and Bakery

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Columbus, Eating Local, Food Porn

…not new to Columbus, I’m sure – but definitely new to me. While hitting Tensuke Market in Kenny Centre over the weekend, my husband and I stopped into Crescent Cafe & Bakery just to see what they had. I so have a new favorite dessert – this strawberry shortcake (Japanese style) rocks my world, light and refreshing and perfect for the season. And a true bargain at less than $3 a slice.

In addition to the above, they have other confections like flourless chocolate cakes, their “rare” (different, not very sweet, but very fluffy) cheesecake, tiramisu, and other more strange things like red bean paste pastries and the like. It’s definitely worth a stop the next time you go to Tensuke or Penzey’s or Sher E Punjab or any of the other fine stores in the center.

If you’d like to go: Crescent Cafe & Bakery, 1168 Kenny Centre Mall, Columbus, 614.451.2073

Farm Fresh and Local Produce – 5/12/07

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Columbus, Eating Local, Farmer's Market, Food Porn, Produce

Yesterday was the first time this season I’ve been really excited about getting up early on a Saturday morning, since the North Market farmer’s market is up and about in nearly full force, and since yesterday was the first day of the Worthington Farmer’s Market.

Rte 315 was closed between I-70 and 670, so we had to do a lot of meandering on back roads to get there, but finally arrived at the North Market a little after 9am. It was bustling with more activity than usual – it was sort of hard to find parking (we got lucky at the meters), and Omega had gone through a tray of their wonderful cinnamon rolls in minutes flat (we were lucky enough to get the last one).

So much produce – Wishwell Farms had fresh asparagus and tomatoes (grown in a greenhouse, I think), along with their relish and tomato plants.

wishwell051207

Toad Hill Farm had lovely lettuces and salad mix, along with a bunch of other greens.

toadhill051307

Just This Farm had green garlic and asparagus, along with free range chicken.

justthisfarm051307

And Combs Herbs (at least I *think* it was Combs Herbs) had RAMPS!! Yes! I thought I had missed out on them for the year, and I was so excited to try them. Yay for ramps!

combs051307

And new this year is a cheese vendor, Oakvale Farmstead Cheese, with a nice selection of Ohio goudas.

oakvale051207

After doing our weekly market shopping, we headed over to Worthington (no pics at Worthington, unfortunately – I accidentally left my camera in the car), where it was super-crowded (even before 10am), partially due to the plant sale they were having. We picked up quite a few things there as well (which will surely pop up in my entries soon, now that I’m able to source local ingredients for my recipes). I even saw Lisa in passing (hi, Lisa – sorry I didn’t stop to talk, but I didn’t want to interrupt your conversation and was in a hurry to meet back up with my husband over by the plant sale).

It was a lovely day for marketing – hell, it was a lovely day in general. If only these temperatures would hold for the rest of the season. :) I’m already looking forward to what next week brings, especially with next Saturday being the opening day of the Clintonville Farmers Market for the 2007 season. If you’d like a listing of our local farmer’s markets, I’ve assembled one here. See you at the market!

Have Fire, Will Grill

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Columbus, Food Porn, Produce

At the end of another Saturday of errand running (starting with the Farmer’s Markets early in the morning – more on that tomorrow), I was craving grilly goodness again. And since it was another beautiful weekend, I couldn’t resist.

grillyum

We’ve finally got it down to a science. No regular charcoal for us – we use the hardwood stuff, which we start in a charcoal chimney. No icky lighter fluid that sends flames high into the sky and makes all your food taste like fuel – this stuff just glows and leaves a great smoky taste on the meat without all of the chemical byproducts. This breaks it down to the least common denominator – grill, wood, and fire.

We threw on a couple of ribeyes from the House of Meats, and a couple of burgers. We topped said burgers with some Guggisberg Baby Swiss (yay Ohio local cheese), some tomato (that actually tastes like tomato) from one of my market purchases, onion and some wonderful red leaf lettuce from Toad Hill Organics. We grilled our pineapple this time using Kitsune27′s method, and the results were amazing. I swear, I could eat this meal (or variations thereof – meat and fruit, or meat and veggies) every day for the rest of the summer.

I’m already looking forward to next week. I’m hoping the weather cooperates. :)

Mother’s Day Special Menus

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Columbus, Events, Holiday

Many restaurants in the Columbus area are offering special menus for Mother’s Day – here’s a roundup of the ones I could find. This post will be updated thoughout the weekend as I receive word of more events.

Cameron’s American Bistro in Worthington will be offering a special Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet from 10:00am to 2:30pm, which features pastries, antipasto, eggs, caramelized bacon and French toast. Cost is $20.95 for adults and $10.95 for children 12 and under. Call 614.885.3663 for more information.

Columbus Fish Market in Grandview and at the Crosswoods in Worthington are offering a Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet from 10:00am to 3:00pm. It features over 35 items including a carving station with Roast Beef and Smoked Ham, a Belgium Waffle Bar, Made-to-order Omelets, Cedar Planked Salmon, Chesapeake Bay Crab Cakes and more. Special fun for the kids including a Chocolate Fountain and Smoothie Bar. Cost is $24.95 for adults, and $12.95 for kids. Call 614.291.3474 (Grandview) or 614.410.3474 (Worthington) for more information.

China Dynasty in Upper Arlington is having a Mother’s Day Special Chinese Buffet from 11:00am to 8:00pm. The complete menu can be seen here. Cost is $17.95 for adults, $8.95 for children ages 5-12, and $6.25 for children ages 3-4. Call 614.486.7126 for more information and to make reservations.

Bexley’s Monk in Bexley is offering a Mother’s Day Menu on Sunday from 10:30am to 3:00pm. Complete menu can be seen here. Cost is $19.95 for adults, $17.95 for seniors, and $12.95 for children under 12. Call 614.239.6665 for more information and to make reservations.

The Refectory on the Northwest Side is offering a three course prix-fixe Mother’s Day Menu with seatings from 1pm to 6pm. Cost is $39 per person. Call 614.451.9774 for more information and to make reservations.

The Westin Columbus downtown is offering a Mother’s Day Brunch in the Westin Grand Ballroom from 11am to 2pm. The menu can be found here. Cost is $38 for adults, and $18 for children under 12. Call 614.228.3800 for more information.

More to come…

London Broil Two Ways

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Food Porn, Healthy

It’s sort of funny how time has a way of getting away from you when the weather is lovely. I’ve been puttering about, planting tomatoes and herbs outside, sitting on the deck and just enjoying the sun shining on my face as the dogs play outside.

When we’re finally sure that spring/summer is here to stay, with no more snowy surprises, my husband and I celebrate by grilling for the first time of the season. I had got a great deal on London Broil (buy one get one free) at Giant Eagle last week, so in addition to the mundane things we usually grill (burgers, dogs, steaks, etc.) we decided to grill up the London Broil (one marinated in fajita marinade, the other marinated in teriyaki marinade) to a nice medium rare on the grill to use the next night on salads.

I made a Southwest salad with mine, putting thinly sliced beef on top of salad greens, and topping it with pico de gallo, black bean/roasted corn salasa, sliced avocado, sour cream, tortilla strips, and a clianto-lime dressing. It was nice and refreshing, and the dressing gave it a crisp fresh taste, with made it taste much lighter than it actually was.

My husband opted for an Asian salad, in which he stacked the teriyaki beef on salad greens, and topped it with grilled pineapple, red onions, wasabi-ranch wonton strips and a Chinese chicken salad dressing. Both were good, but I obviously prefered mine.

Not a bad first attempt, if I do say so myself. I was really worried about it coming out the right temperature, but by sheer luck it ended up being right where I wanted it. I’m looking forward to many other grilled salads as the summer progresses.