Monthly Archives: August 2010

My love affair…

My love affair with Chipotle began about 6 years ago when J had an internship with a company out in San Diego.  I visited him quite a few times and and was introduced to Chipotle there.  I marveled at the fresh taste of all the food; the light, crisp taco shells.  The flavorful meats.  But I was sad too because I knew that we had nothing even close to Chipotle in the Capital Region.  J and I even wanted to start a franchise out here, we were that into it.  So over the past 6 years, until Chipotle arrived in Wilton, I tried to eat it whenever I was near one, in D.C., NYC, anywhere I could my hands on it. And then Hallelujah! Chipotle finally came to Wilton and I am proud to say as of tonight, that I have eaten at every Chipotle in the Capital Region.

Our friends invited us to the soft opening of the new Chipotle in Stuyvesant Plaza in Albany.  Of course, we headed right down there after work, Future Foodie in tow.

The decor is a bit more funky than other Chipotle I’ve been in and it was really cool.  The restaurant was getting busier and busier and there must have been at least 6 people behind the counter, smiling, and ready to take my order.

I got carnitas tacos (hard shell) for myself, with pinto beans, mild and hot salsa, cheese, and lettuce.  We got Future Foodie, the kid’s small cheese quesadilla with the cilantro rice and pinto beans. J got the biggest burrito I have ever laid eyes on and it was filled with carnitas, pinto beans, rice, mild and hot salsa, sour cream, cheese, and guacamole.

Everything was really good, like really tasty.  The tacos were really crisp and fresh and the meat was perfectly flavored. I always like to squeeze some fresh lime or lemon juice in to give it an extra tang. What I really like about their tacos or burritos is that all of the ingredients really hold their own, it doesn’t just taste like one big mushy mess like a lot of subpar Mexican food does.  The lettuce stays crisp, the tomatoes are firm, and the meat is tender.  Future Foodie gobbled her cheese quesadilla down. As always, by the time I was on to my second taco (you get three), J was already done with his 2,000 calorie burrito.

I just had to take a momentary pause because a freaky looking bug landed right next to me and J valiantly squooshed it after I screamed a few times.

I’ll always, always pick Chipotle over Moe’s (which is a teeny step above Taco Bell in my opinion).  I love Chipotle use of natural, free range meat and locally sourced food.  Okay, I’m done gushing with adoration.

Tagged , , , , ,

Nothing like…

A crisp apple. I recently started eating Ginger Gold Apples.  They are slightly tart, very crispy, and just sweet enough.  Perfection. I buy them at the Honest Weight Co-op.  That place and the Troy Farmers’ Market really opened a whole new world of apples to me. I grew up eating Red Delicious and all of the other standard varieties at the grocery store.  But then at the Troy Farmers’ Market, I had a honey crisp.  Oh my, was that delicious.  And then I recently had a Cameo apple (again at the co-op), which almost tasted like a pear.  I’m open to suggestions on some great apples out there.  A caveat, I’m really not a big fan of Granny Smiths.  Keep them coming please.

Also, I just had to share this picture of the really sweet, couldn’t stop eating them heirloom tomatoes from our garden.  They were a mixture of Green Zebra, Cherokee Purple, and Striped German, all of the starter plants were from the Farm at Miller’s Crossing.   J used this recipe, Heirloom Tomato Salad, at Epicurious.com.  Really freaking good.

Tagged , , ,

Don’t eat this on a date

I tried making my own chimichurri sauce (an Argentinian condiment) years ago and wasn’t very impressed. But then J broke out his own recipe for the sauce, and I remain to this day, very impressed. I request the sauce alot and I love it on grilled pork tenderloin that J also marinates in the chimichurri.  I also made a delicious discovery when dipping a nice, crisp roasted potato in the chimichurri.  Pretty much anything is good with it, just don’t eat it on a date because all of the green parsley and cilantro will get in between your teeth and you’ll also be emanating strong garlic odors.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Ingredients:

2 bunches of parsley

1 bunch of cilantro

10 – 12 garlic cloves, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper

1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 tablespoon oregano

1/3 to 1/2 cup of red wine or sherry vinegar (to taste)

1/3 to 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil (to taste)

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

Salt, black pepper

The juice of 2 limes

Instructions:

You will need a food processor.  First throw in the garlic, jalapeno pepper, and vinegar (start with a 1/3 cup) and pulse until mixed and chopped finely.  Add in everything else, with the olive oil, start with a 1/3 cup and add more if preferred.  Pulse until a nice paste is created.  The chimichurri shouldn’t look dry but shouldn’t be soupy either.  It should have a thick consistency.  Keep tasting, add more olive oil, lime juice, or vinegar if you’d like.

The sauce is good for about a week in the fridge.

Put this sauce on anything and it will taste so good, you’ll want to do shots of it.

Tagged , , ,

Food Flinging

So we’re trying to teach Future Foodie NOT to throw food on the floor and to pick up after herself.  And the other night she was sitting on my lap eating cauliflower.  She decided she didn’t want to eat anymore so she tossed them onto the floor. I picked her up and placed her on the floor and told her that “we don’t throw food in the house and you need to pick up your food.”

Immediately, the tantrum starts. Loud wailing, tears, throwing herself onto my lap, yelling “Mama, Mama”.  I mean, the drama of it all.   I tell her, amidst all the noise, that she wouldn’t be picked up until she picked up the food she threw on the floor.  So she walks over to the cauliflower, crouches down right next to the food, and then, from the sheer horribleness of having to pick up the food, starts sobbing again.  I mean, it was like I was making her pick up poisonous snakes.  FINALLY, she picks up each piece of cauliflower, crying the whole time.

That is my dear little drama queen.  But hey on the bright side, she was eating cauliflower!

Tagged , , ,

My favorite breakfast

I eat oatmeal five days of the week and I’ve been doing so for the past 5 or 6 years.  It’s funny because I usually get tired of foods pretty quickly especially if I’m eating them everyday.  But not with oatmeal.  Mainly I eat it because it’s quick and as filling as I can get without eating a full eggs and toast breakfast.  Plus it’s my way of balancing my intake of french fries.  I figure the oatmeal kind of evens out the badness.

I recently discovered steel-cut oats.  I’ve dabbled in them before but never thought they were quick enough for me during my morning rush of trying to get the heck out of my front door to work.  But I had them at a work conference a couple of months ago and totally craved them, so my dear husband bought me some bulk steel cut from our favorite store, Honest Weight Food Co-op.

The easiest method that I found of cooking them is throwing them in the slow cooker and putting the setting on low.  Which is kind of a safe guard for me because I’m a total space cadet sometimes and forget about the oatmeal until the next morning. Which is actually fine, if on the low setting (I did it once on the high setting and I got some weird tasting oatmeal). I use a 1:3 ratio of oats to water and if I cook it for an hour or so, I get that nice steel-cut texture. If I space out and leave it on all night, it’s nice and mushy and still delicious.  Sometimes I add a little water because I need to heat it up in the microwave but overall I’m really happy with the steel-cut and will never go back to rolled oats.

To add some texture, I throw in a handful of sliced, spiced almonds and then a small teaspoon of local honey. YUM.

Tagged , , , , ,

A scathing review…

Check out this review of Peddlers Bar and Bistro in Clifton Park in the Timesunion.

She is rough on them and I love it! Reviews like that are not the norm.  Cheryl is definitely refreshing.  She is right on as well, since I have only heard negative reviews of the food at Peddlers.  I have not eaten there but if it’s anything like J.J. Maxie’s on Wolf Road, then the food is definitely sub par.

Yay – a real food critic!

Tagged , , , , ,

Friday Addiction: Stovetop Popcorn

I never knew popcorn could be so sinfully delicious until my husband made me some popcorn on the stove.  His popcorn now makes me scoff at microwave popcorn (which by the way, can cause cancer).  This stovetop popcorn has a buttery taste without actually using any butter.  Do I have your attention now? Good, now get moving and make some popcorn!

Ingredients

1/3 cup Canola oil

3/4 – 1 cup popcorn kernels (we use white, organic popcorn because we’re stinkin’ snobs)

Salt

Instructions

Place the canola oil in a big metal bowl or big soup pot.  Heat the oil on medium high heat.


When the oil gets hot, almost smoking, add the kernels in.  Shake the bowl around to coat all the kernels.

Put a cover on the bowl.  Move the pan over the heat source back and forth to distribute the heat. It is essential that you lift the cover a little every now and then to let steam out. But be careful, when popping starts in earnest, make sure that kernels aren’t flying all over your kitchen.

As popping slows down considerably, pull the bowl off the heat.  Put the popcorn into a bowl, toss with salt (to taste).  Toss from bowl to bowl, adding salt until salty enough.

Note: to make it even more delicious, get some Cabot shakable cheddar cheese and shake that shit all over the popcorn.  Get ready to get into a fist fight with your family over that popcorn; it’s that good.

Tagged , , , , ,

Another Giant Vegetable From Our Garden…

The onion on the left is from our garden.  Positively huge isn’t it?

Actually we have been happily munching on the incredibly flavorful heirloom tomatoes and kale this week from our garden.

Tagged , , ,

Recipe: Cold Sesame Noodles (Warning: You will become addicted to these)

Okay think about the sesame noodles you get at Chinese take out places. The noodles I’m going to tell you how to make are about 1000 times better than those.  With these noodles. you might not be wowed at the first bite. But keep eating and you’ll see, they’re kind of ninja like in how they sneak up on you and then all you want to do is keep eating them.  You won’t stop until you’ve stuffed every last bit of noodle into your mouth.  And then you’ll want more.

Cold Sesame Noodles (recipe courtesy of my mother, one of the greatest cooks of all time)

Dried Chinese Noodles

Kikkoman Soy Sauce

White Vinegar

Sesame Oil

Scallions (1 piece or more depending how much you’re making)

Sriracha (only for those who can take it)

Cooking Instructions:

Boil water for noodles.  Just like you’re making pasta, have enough water to cover the top of how ever much noodles you’re making.  Once water boils, take a handful of noodles (again adjust to your preferred amount) and throw them in the water.

Turn heat to medium high.  Stir the noodles around, make sure you’re separating them in the water so they don’t stick together.  Let noodles cook for approximately 8 – 10 minutes.  Check around that time to see if the texture is right.  Should be a little chewy, and not too mushy.

Drain noodles in a colander. Rinse noodles with cold water.  Stash noodles in fridge to cool. Can be made a few days ahead of time.

When noodles are sufficiently cold enough, take them out. You can dress them now.  Start with the sesame oil first.  Drizzle oil onto noodles, making sure you’re not drenching the noodles but just about coating them.  Mix the noodles around (I like to use chopsticks, they seem the easiest tool to use to mix the noodles around) Then drizzle the noodles with the soy sauce.  Again, don’t drench them but use enough soy sauce so that the noodles are a nice brown color.  Pour 1 – 2 capfuls of the white vinegar onto the noodles. Mix.  Taste.  If you like it saltier, add more soy sauce. If you want more tang, add more vinegar.  But ideally you should have a nice balance of salt and a slight tang to the noodles.

Chop up 1/2 – 1 stem of scallions. Mix them into the noodles.

Add the Sriracha. The Sriracha really kicks up the flavor of the noodles so I highly suggest it.

Voila! Dive in!

Just a note. If you put the dressed noodles in the fridge, just make sure to add more of the 3 sauces whenever you’re ready to eat them again because the noodles tend to soak up the sauce.

Tagged , , , , ,