Tuesday, July 31, 2007

We're Grillin'!

I finally have a gril! Hooray for me! Hooray for Father's day! boogie took me to Target and showed me the grill he wanted me to get, a little Aussie with a side burner ("You know you want one with a side burner, Daddy"). It took us the better part of an evening to get it put together (1/2 hour, my ass...):
Of course, this time included a good 10 minute hunt for a dropped wing nut on the driveway as darkness crept in...

Eventually (2 hours later) we were approaching the finish line...
And finally arrived!

A couple of days later we made it to the store for a Blue Rhino and we were a'grillin'! But, Whoa! not so fast...the valve on the first gas tank we brought home was stuck - I could open it, but nothing came out at all - couldn't get the grill to light. We brought it back, got an exchange from the nice lady there and hooked it up, turned the knobs and pressed the button - FOOM!

Ah, I Man! Make Fire! Fire Good!!!!

I walked around and grunted for a minute or so, letting my inner caveman out. Felt good.

So now I have fire, er, a hot grill. It would have been nice if I had remembered to get something good to toss on the grill, though, once I was ready to start. Yeah, that would've been smart.

all I had was a round steak, so I figured that would have to do. I seasoned it up with some worchestershire, soy, and some garlic powder and tossed it on the grate. Ah, yes, the sound of sizzling beef, music to my ears.
It was far from perfect, but I had to start somewhere, and I'm desperately out of practice (Dave would be so ashamed of me).

I'll do better, I promise!


Monday, July 30, 2007

Dinner from a bag, Part Duex

Back in April, I made a Bertoll frozen dinner, Chicken ala Vodka & Farfallei (see this post for details) and it wasn't bad. It wasn't great, but for a quick meal with minimal effort (a must these days as we try to keep up with an active little boy), not bad at all. So it wasn't a stretch for me to grab another to try when the inevitable time-crunch-to-dinner came around (again).

This time I went for the Orecchiette with Broccoli ina Garlic and Olive Oil sauce. It certainly sounded good and I've really had a hankering for Orecchiette lately. We used to get a very nice dish of Orecchietti with goat cheese at the Cafe Bistro at the Easton Town Center Nordstrom (it doesn't appear to be on the menu anymore), and I haven't had it for a long while. I didn't have to wait much longer for my little ears. About 2 days later, pressed for time, I dove into the frigid "depths "of my little freezer and yanked out the Bertolli...

I tossed it into the pan and sauted some shrimp in garlic to go with it (remembering the portion size from last time). The shrimp turned out great. The rest? It was...barely OK. Lots of little broken pieces of broccoli, not enough flavor, and pretty bland. Garlic? Wasn't there supposed to be garlic in this thing? Yeah, I thought that's what it said....and yet, nothin'.

Sorry, no pics of this one, it just wasn't' worth the effort. I was disappointed to say the least, but perhaps my expectations were just too high.

I will be trying to make a version of this that tastes as I was expecting - I just have to find some decent orecchietti. Dinner in a bag can't be all bad, can it? So far I'm 1 for 2. We'll try something new once I get over myself from this one...


Thursday, July 12, 2007

North Market Food Blogger Meet & Greet

How far behind am I?

(Ok, that's just a rhetorical question. I really do know how far behind I am and it's not measured in numbers any more....)

Last month, at the beginning of last month, I was fortunate enough to be invited to an informal meet & greet with some of the other Columbus food bloggers at the North Market. I was really excited and brought Boogie along for the ride with the promise (read:bribe) of Heil's potato salad which we both agree is the best potato salad In-The-World. We arrived and met up with Rosie from Bitchin' in the Kitchen with Rosie and Lisa from Restaurant Widow. We said our hellos and went off to hunt saladified potatoes... After a successful hunt we returned to chat some more and were joined by Dave from Dave's Beer and his family, too. I hadn't read Dave's blog before, but I'm a regular now. Dave has some wonderful insights into everyday life trying to raise a child and writes about them so very well. He and I have some similar opinions about and experiences in being fathers "later in life"...

We all had a good time talking about food, grocery stores, Thurns, kids, and what-not, and I'm pretty sure a good time was had by all. I hope we can do it again before summer's end, and have some of the other great Columbus food bloggers join us. There are so many!

The North Market seems to me to be the perfect place to meet - It has everything and My wife and I have decided that we need to visit much more often in our quest to eat a more healthful diet.
For thorough run-downs on the latest happenings at the North Market and other local farm markets , check out the afore mentioned Restaurant Widow and also Columbus Foodie - she's always my first stop when perusing the local blogs...

It was a great morning and I wish I could have stayed longer. Maybe next time!


The Ranier Cherries are in!

I know they've been seen around town for a while now ( I saw them at the North Market a month ago for $7/lb)), but they're way cheaper now (only about $3/lb). Not much to say except they're wonderful - big, juicy and almost peach-like.



The West Side has Gelato!

I am so Excited! The West Side of Columbus has Gelato!
"So what", you say...Well let me tell you, we never get anything new or good over here. Anything interesting has to go to the hip areas, like Easton or Polaris or one of the 'burbs. If we're lucky it (whatever "it" might be) will open in Grandview or Arlington, so it's not too far of a drive, but no never the West Side... There's not even a freakin' Starbucks for christ sakes...

So last Friday night, I'm driving back from a journey to one of our favorite (pretty good, but also the closest) Indian restauran, Taj Palace in Mill Run (in the 'burb of Hilliard). I turn south onto Hague Avenue and as I'm passing our favorite nearby pizza shop, Sparano's, I notice that the little shop next to it is no longer a computer shop, but has a sign in front of it that reads "Sparano's Ice Cream and Gelato".
If I wasn't so danged stuffed full of Chicken Makhani, I would have pulled right in. Instead, we waited an entire 24 hours to test out this stranger in a strange land...It was well worth the wait.
We pulled into the small parking lot around back (off the tiny Britton Ave), and walked up to the window on the north side of the little building - it looked pretty empty inside, but there's a couple of freezers in there, a menu in the window, and the very friendly Meilie to take our order:
My wife and I split a dish with two scoops of the white chocolate raspberry. The bowl was very heavy and the taste was delightful - lots and lots of little rectangular bits of smooth white chocolate and flavorful raspberry bits - I would have like more of those, but the flavor was still right on:
Creamy and not too cold, just as it should be. Boogie had a lemon Luigi's Italian Ice pop which he proclaimed as "The Best" & wasn't real interested in sharing, though he did want some of ours;
We left sated and happy - so much so that we only waited an entire 24 hours more to go back, trying the Black Cherry Zinfandel:
Boogie had the Cherry Luigi's this time which he proclaimed as "The Best" & wasn't real interested in sharing, though again, he did want some of ours...

They don't make the gelato on site, but rather use Palazzolo's Gelato. I have to admit that it's not as good as the Shriver's gelato I had in Ocean City, NJ, last summer, but it was still damned good. Of course, being on the boardwalk on a cool summer evening, hearing the Atlantic waves crashing, smelling the sea foam AND eating gelato...I think Shriver's kind of edged out a victory on atmosphere...

We'll be back to Sparano's again soon ( we actaually had their pizza tonight! 2nd place winner, People's Choice award, at the latest Columbus Pizza Challenge or whatever they're calling it now...). Each time I drive by, it looks like there's people there, but I know they'd like to have more customers, so stop by, say hi to Meilie (call her "May") and have some West Side Gelato.

Sparano's Ice Cream and Gelato
1783 N Hague Ave
Columbus, OH 43204-1618.
Phone: (614) 487-0087
Monday-Thursday, 4 pm to 9:30 pm
Friday - Sunday, Noon to 9:30 pm


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

If it's cheap and easy it must be...Slutty Chicken

With a name like that, you know there's a story...

So what do I make for dinner when I haven't been to the grocery store in a while and all I've got is one large boneless chicken breast and some pasta...? Dang, not even a can or jar of tomato sauce. Ah, my wife is headed to Target - "Hey, Honey, pick up a jar of sauce while you're out, ok?" So she returns with a cheap jar of Target brand "Traditional" spaghetti sauce - 99¢; I dump 2/3's of it into a medium sized sauce pan and add the diced up chicken (which I had gotten pretty cheap, too, on sale for $1.29 lb). I dropped in some dried basil, dried oregano and a couple of minced cloves of garlic, then slow simmered it covered for about 40 minutes (stirring occasionally, of course) while Boogie and I played Lego... There was a package of Kroger brand campanelle in the cupboard (another whole 99¢), so I boiled that up.

The chicken had cooked up so tender in the sauce that it was falling apart into shreds -just perfect and exactly what I had in mind... I served the sauce over the campanelle with some grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (the most expensive item in the entire meal!).

Both my wife and Boogie were happily wolfing it down when I realized that I had just made a meal that was cheap and easy and for some reason it reminded me of a girl we all knew about in high school - thus the name, Slutty Chicken.

Sorry, no photos, so just make some and see for yourself.


Been away, but I'm back!

I haven't posted in a while - work keeps getting in the way of fun...

sorry for the absence, but I'll be back with some posts...Stay tuned!