July 2007 Roundup

A couple of months late and a dollar short, but here’s July’s roundup. I wanted to get this posted before I left for vacation, but you know what they say about good intentions. I’m working on August right now, but it may be a while. My RSS reader piled up with new entries while I was gone, and I have 6,000+ posts to read. I’ll try my best to motor through it in the next few days, though.

Anyone going to Taste the Future on Tuesday? Just curious…

Any Columbus locals interested in getting together for a foodie meet-up at one of the local restaurants? Leave a comment if you’re interested, and then maybe we can all get together on a time/date.

In savory recipes, Spicy Creamed Corn from A Taste of Home, Balsamic Red Pepper Jelly from The Cookbook Junkie, Bucatini with Basil, Courgette and Marinated Feta and Penne with Courgette & Bread Crumbs from 1x umrurhen bitte, Pasta with Grilled Vegetables and Goat Cheese and Garlic, Herb and Feta Pull-Apart from bear necessities, Asparagus Tarts from Cream Puffs in Venice, Great-Grandma Gibson’s Fried Chicken from Homesick Texan, Cornish Pasty Canapes from 101 Things Every Cook Should Cook, Chicken with Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce from Annie’s Eats, Green Chile & Goat Cheese Souffle from Bon Vivant, Quail Scotch Eggs from Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once, Bacon, Cheddar, and Green Onion Scones from Cooking Cutie, Pan Haggerty from Diary of a Feeder, Ricotta Tartlets with Orange-Zested Tomato Salad from Food and Paper, Brioche Nanterre from foodbeam, Panko Crusted Crab Cake Bites with Roasted Pepper-Chive Aioli from Andrea’s Recipes, Grilled Peach and Prosciutto Salad from Cooking With the Single Guy, Squash Blossom Stuffed with Southwestern Grits from Grits and More, Garlic and Olive Oil Bruschetta and Mixed Green and Peach Salad with Creamy Chive Vinaigrette from Janet is Hungry, Fresh Corn Risotto from Culinary in the Desert, Corn, Crab and Coconut Stew from Desert Candy, Prosciutto, Fig, and Mascarpone Bruschetta and Asparagus Goat Cheese Omelet from Kirsten’s Home Cooking, Huevos Rancheros and Lentil Soup from Kitchen Talk to Chew On, Asian Salmon Burgers with Sesame Slaw from Love and Olive Oil, Goat Cheese Tart from Madam Chow’s Kitchen, Crisp-Fried Squash Blossoms from Married…with dinner, Pecan-Crusted Tilapia from Mele Cotte, Ultimate Twice-Baked Potatoes and Rock Cornish Hens with Ginger Peach Glaze from Men in Aprons, BBQ Chicken Quesadilla from Nook and Pantry, Roasted Poblano Soup from Porcini Chronicles, Cheddar Corn Chowder from The Food Mill, Spicy Sauteed Sweet Corn for Summer Supping from Restaurant Widow, Vermicelli Frittata from Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once, Bacon, Egg, and Avocado Sandwich from splatgirl creates, Pan Seared Filet Mignon with Shallot-Wine Sauce from Stephencooks, Potato and Sweetcorn Chowder from Writing at the Kitchen Table, Homemade Butter and Buttermilk from What Geeks Eat, Tomato-Ricotta Tart and Homemade Butter from The Wednesday Chef, Jerk Chicken with Grilled Banana and Red Onion Salsa from Urban Drivel, Braised Lamb Shanks with Champ from tea for one, Sesame Noodles from Avenue Food, Corn and Sausage Tart from The Clumsy Cook, New England Corn Cake from Baking History, and Smashed Summer Potatoes from Vegan Visitor.

In sweet recipes, Chocolate Chewies from Confections of a Foodie Bride, Flaky Apple Turnovers from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, Apple Caramel Ice Cream from Habeas Brulee, Bubble Bread from The Canadian Baker, Muesli Bars from Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once, Toasted Pecan, Caramel, Butterscotch Oat Squares from Cookie Madness, Black Forest Verrines from 64 sq ft kitchen, Strawberry Daiquiri Cupcakes from Couture Cupcakes, Darkest Chocolate Mousse from EAT ME!, White Peach and Raspberry Tart with Pistachio Frangipane from Dessert First, Pecan Pralines from Biscuits & Brioche, Italian Lemon Cookies from Laura Rebecca’s Kitchen, Lemon Poppyseed Muffins from masak-masak, Tiramisu Ice Cream from Desert Candy, Dulce de Leche Duos from Iron Stef, Blueberry Pie with Almond Crumble Topping from Love and Olive Oil, Dark Chocolate and Orange Muffins from Milk and Cookies, Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes from Noshtalgia, Blueberry Crumble Bars from Rosa’s Yummy Yums, Warm Plum Tart with Sweet Corn Ice Cream from Sweet Napa, Plum Cocoa Strudel from Zlamushka’s Spicy Kitchen, Pecan Monkeybread by Deborah’s Culinary Confections, Lemon Delicious Pudding from winosandfoodies, Sweetened Condensed Milk Custard from Technicolor Kitchen, Peach Cupcakes with Martha Stewart’s Mascarpone Frosting from howtoeatacupcake, and Peach Crisp from Karina’s Kitchen.

In informative posts, learn how to roll a rice paper roll from kiki rice, find out how to make your own butter at Slashfood, Amy from Nook and Pantry shows you how to make beef stock, and learn how to make perfect hard boiled eggs at Simply Recipes.

CMH Gourmand’s post on Ohio Amish Country and its cheese has me clamouring at the bit to make another trip up there (along with another overdue outing to Jungle Jim’s). Drool. Ditto with Lorence’s post on good gelato on the West Side of Columbus.

That’s it for now – until next time, folks…

Road Trip Edition: Captiva Island, FL

From a food standpoint, the ride from Ohio to Florida sucked – since we traveled on a Sunday and on Labor Day, virtually every independent restaurant was closed, and chains were the only option. So no slaw dogs in West Virginia, or barbecue or Brunswick stew in North Carolina, or real Southern food in Georgia.

On Tuesday, however, I was ready to eat. The hotel I stayed in was right before the bridge to Sanibel and Captiva Island, so there were a bunch of menus for the restaurants in that area in the lobby. A couple in paticular stood out to me – Keylime Bistro and RC Otters. Both are located across the street from each other on Andy Rosse Lane in Captiva, but I ended up going with RC Otters because they had alligator on the menu, something I’ve been wanting to try for a while.

The decor is typical South Florida – lots of bright colors, a huge patio with misters, and live music that just says “you’re on vacation – time to relax”. This quick snapshot of the interior should give you an idea of what I mean.

RC Otter's Inside

I got an appetizer of Gator Bites ($7.95), which I split with my dining companion. It’s hard to describe the taste of alligator without being cliche – it really does taste “just like chicken”. Well, slightly fishy chicken. I expected it to be dry, but it’s not. It was pretty tasty, better without the tropical mango sauce, though. While I wouldn’t go out of my way to order this dish again, it’s one of those things that you have to try at least once in your lifetime.

RC Otters Gator Bites

RC Otter’s menu primarily consists of sandwiches, so I figured that was the way to go. I chose Uncle Hank’s Famous Grilled Grouper Reuben ($11.95), which was absolutely fabulous. I don’t think I’ve ever had fish quite that fresh. Perfectly fresh fish is an amazing thing. Paired with swiss cheese, cole slaw and thousand island dressing on rye? I could live on these things. The chips that came with this dish were really stale, but they were an afterthought at best.

RC Otters Grouper Reuben

My dining companion got a Cuban sandwich ($8.95) – her first. I had some of her sandwich, and it wasn’t bad at all – but wasn’t quite an authentic Cuban sandwich either. It totally used the wrong kind of bread and had the wrong texture to the bread. However, a lot of sins can be hidden by pressing a sandwich, and it was both filling, and fit the Cuban sandwich bill as long as you didn’t know what you were expecting. She loved it.

RC Otters Cuban Sandwich

Nothing on their dessert menu really appealed to me, so we went down to the beach-side Mucky Duck, where I had some of their Key Lime Pie ($5). It’s not the key lime pie I’m used to, but it was a real light frozen key lime souffle in a graham cracker crust that really hit the spot in the type of heat and humidity that area is well known for in August. I ate it outside, with a beachside view of the Gulf of Mexico. No pic of the pie, however. It was gone before I even thought of photographing it. I did take a pic of the view, though. Isn’t it pretty? I just wish I had been there at sunset, which I hear is absolutely breathtaking.

Gulf of Mexico at Capitva Island, FL

After finishing my pie, I splashed about a bit in the Gulf (I couldn’t get over how unbelievably warm the water was) and collected a few shells. I absolutely fell in love with Captiva Island, and if I could afford to, I’d move there in a heartbeat. The beauty is unparalleled (most of the Captiva/Sanibel area is a nature preserve), the attitude relaxed, and it did more than I can tell you in washing away months of tension. Not to mention that there’s something about the area that made my arthritis feel better, if only for a few days. Who knows?

I’d love to get back to the area for breakfast, that’s for sure. RC Otters has a great breakfast menu, and if it weren’t for the $6 toll to cross into Sanibel from Ft. Myers, I probably would have been there every day.

If you’d like to go: RC Otters, 11506 Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva Island, FL, 239.395.1142, and The Mucky Duck, 11546 Ande Rosse Lane, Captiva Island, FL 239.472.3434

R C Otters-Captiva on Urbanspoon

Back in Ohio

Thankfully, I’m finally back at home. Had some major issues with Internet connectivity on my trip, so I was unable to post about my experiences while I was in Florida. I got in too late last night to want to wake up early to go to the farmer’s markets this weekend, so no farmer’s market post today.

However, keep an eye out later today for a few restaurant reviews – I had some great food on my trip that I can’t wait to share with you all. :)