Thursday, May 31, 2012

Swedish Meatballs and Garlic Spinach


Ashley's grandmother was very Swedish, and she inherited the stereotypical rosy cheeks, blonde hair, and blue eyes. But she also inherited some Swedish recipes-- ones that we've tweaked and made easy peasy. We love this recipe because we can usually make it from stuff we already have on hand.

What you'll need:
1 pound ground beef
1 egg
1/2 C bread crumbs
2 Tbsp milk
1 medium onion
3 C water
1 box quick rice (or white, if you prefer)
1 envelope Liptons onion soup mix
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 C flour.

For the spinach all you need is
1/2 bundle of fresh spinach
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil

Finely chop the onion. (We think this is a good time to tell you an onion secret. If you put your onion in the freezer 30 minutes before chopping it up, you won't cry like a baby when you cut into it. You're welcome.)

In a large saucepan, bring 3 cups water to a boil and add the onion soup mix. Add half the onion. Let simmer for about 8 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine half the onion, the ground beef, milk, bread crumbs, 1 clove garlic, and egg. Mix together. Roll into dollar-sized balls. Roll the delicious balls of meat in flour until coated on outside. Then drop them into the soup mixture in the saucepan. Turn them after a couple minutes. Slowly add about 1/2 C flour while stirring until smooth. Then cover and let it simmer (about 10-12 minutes, until meat is cooked and sauce thickens).

Prepare rice according to the instructions on the package (we usually use Rice-A-Roni butter and herbs flavor for this dish).

For the garlic spinach, get ready for the easiest side dish of all time. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Finely chop 2 cloves garlic and add to pan. Let the garlic reach a nice golden brown. Then add the spinach, stirring constantly. It only takes about 6 minutes for the spinach to cook and take on a nice garlicky flavor.

Serve meatballs and pan sauce over rice and get your pretty green spinach on that plate, too. Try not to drool.





Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Wild Rose

The Wild Rose is one of the most surprising restaurants we've ever had the pleasure of stumbling upon. It's located in a strip mall in South Jordan of all places (The District, to be exact), not exactly a location that screams class or originality. And the decor is all over the place. It looks like someone took a 12-year old to IKEA and said, "What do you think looks classy?" There's weird twigs, mismatched furniture and artwork, and dark walls. But none of that matters, because this place has perfect food, wonderfully sophisticated and harmonized. We've tried several dishes, and while we've never had anything below par, we definitely have some favorites that we keep coming back to.

We always start with the pork belly, and we get the jalapeno grits on the side. We've eaten a lot of pork belly, all over Utah and on both coasts, and this is the best we've ever had. It's perfectly cut, succulent with a strip of fat, and a light BBQ demi-glace on the side. The sauce doesn't overwhelm the pork, and it's a beautiful dish. We order it every single time.

(kurabuta pork belly)

We don't always order a salad because we get a lot of food, but the house salad is our favorite: fresh greens with apples, candied pecans, and a balsamic/basil emulsion.

(house salad)

All their dishes are well-balanced in a rare way. Most of them highlight reductions or demi-glaces that complement the dishes rather than overwhelm them, enhancing flavors of the meat rather than masking them. Their rack of lamb has a white wine and dijon reduction with blueberry mint chutney and asparagus.

(australian rack of lamb)

Okay, the crown jewel, the best of the best, a shining dish, and one of the best dishes we've ever had ever is the beef tenderloin. It's served with a port-demi glace with a hint of dark chocolate and a pad of a creamy bleu cheese. The pairing of elements is out of this world-- perfectly harmonized and balanced. It sounds like a strange dish, but it's the money-maker. We would cross oceans and deserts for this dish. Superb.

(tenderloin of beef)

The Wild Rose is located at 11516 South District Dr, South Jordan and their website is http://wildrose-district.com/index.html. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Spaghetti with Meatballs


Whenever we make homemade spaghetti, it reminds us of Goodfellas, and we're pretty sure this recipe would make any Italian grandmother proud. It just so happens that this recipe is insanely delicious and pretty healthy: 400 calories per serving (4 servings per recipe).

1 pound lean ground beef
3 portobello mushroom tops, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 C parsley leaves
3 fresh sprigs thyme
1 small bunch fresh basil
1 egg white
1 28-oz can tomatoes
1/2 C low sodium beef broth
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
12 oz whole wheat spaghetti
Parmesan

Take a third of the onion and mushrooms and mix it together with the beef. Add egg white and 1 clove of garlic. Then roll the mixture into dollar-sized meatballs.

As a side note, the best way to deal with garlic is to take an unpeeled clove and hit it with the broad side of a knife. This makes it easy to peel and it brings out some of the oil and flavor before you dice it up.

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add remaining onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Cook until onion and garlic is golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add meatballs and brown the outside. Once meatballs are browned, remove them from pan. Stir in tomatoes, broth, basil, thyme, and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to simmer. Add meatballs and continue to simmer, covered for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the instructions on the box.

Serve sauce and meatballs over pasta. Sprinkle with parmesan. Bask in the glory of your creation.





Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Eggs Benedict


After throwing out the hollandaise sauce and several failed eggs on the first try, we made some pretty awesome eggs benedict. It's funny, because on Archer, he yells at his lovers and butler alike, "Seriously, how hard can it be to poach an egg?" as he throws their clothes over his balcony. Upon viewing this, we laughed. But it turns out poaching an egg is pretty damn hard. You gotta get a system down.

So, here's what you need for a delicious plate of eggs benedict and parmesan-stuffed tomatoes.

For the Benedict:
-English Muffin
-2 eggs
-Round cut Canadian bacon (or breakfast meat of choice)

For the hollandaise:
-2 egg yolks
-1 Tbsp and 1 1/4 Tsp lemon juice
-1/2 pinch fresh ground pepper
-1/8 to 1/4 Tsp Worcestershire sauce (depending on how tangy you want it)
-1 1/2 Tsp water
-1/2 C melted butter
-1/8 Tsp salt

For the parmesan tomatoes:
-Tomato
-Fresh grated parmesan
-Breadcrumbs

Slice a tomato in half and gut a little of the inside. Then fill it with parmesan and breadcrumbs and place on a baking sheet (amount of parmesan and breadcrumbs will depend on the size of your tomatoes and your preference-- we use a lot more parmesan than breadcrumbs, probably a 1:3 ratio). Place on baking sheet and cook at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.

Time to tackle the hollandaise sauce. Stir the egg yolks, lemon juice, Worcestershire, and seasonings in a saucepan over low heat and keep stirring briskly all the time, or you will ruin this sauce. Trust me. Slowly add half the butter while still stirring until it's melted. Then add remaining butter, and the water and keep stirring that sauce until it has thickened.

Cook your meat in a pan. Toast your english muffin. And then poach your eggs. Put about an inch to an inch-and-a-half of water in a saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Add a dash of lemon juice to the water. Carefully crack your egg in the water (if the water's not hot enough it will disintegrate and if it's too hot your egg will get lost in a rolling boil). Watch your egg carefully and take it out of the water when the part around the yolk is cooked to a white color. Lift your egg out of the water with a slotted spatula, allowing the water to drip off.

Then put your meat on your english muffin, top with your egg and hollandaise sauce and get that tomato on your plate. Yum!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Community Food Co-op


We started doing a thing. We're now participants in the Community Food Co-op of Utah. Their website is here. But their website pretty much sucks and doesn't do the thing justice, so allow me to explain it to you. Through the Co-op, every two weeks you can fill out an order form and pick up food at various locations all over Utah. This food is good and this food is cheap. Essentially, you're buying produce, meat, and other foodstuffs straight from the producer, so it's fresher and cheaper than a grocery store. You don't have to order every time, and you don't have to pay a membership fee (though a $10 donation once a year is encouraged-- our total price below includes a $5 donation and we plan to pay another $5 on our next order). You're also encouraged to volunteer your time to the program.

Not convinced of its awesomeness? We got all the stuff you see here: 2 pounds of carrots, 4 apples, 4 mangoes, a small watermelon, 2 bundles of broccoli, a bundle of spinach, a head of red leaf lettuce, 2 pounds of honey, a jar of peanut butter, a package of mushrooms, a package of strawberries, a package of blackberries, 4 pounds of ground beef, 2 pounds chicken breasts, 2 pounds of bacon, and a loaf of honey wheat bread for $52. Yes, it's true. It's all unbelievably delicious and all of it is from local producers.

We're now huge fans of this program, and we're already planning our next order. It entails some grass-fed, all natural steak. Mmmm.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Aristo's


We're huge fans of Greek food, but we've both had dishes at Aristo's that have left us disappointed with humanity. Their pastitisio makes us sad (they go overboard on the nutmeg), and we hate to brag (not really), but we make a better version of the dish at home. However, Aristo's has a couple of really shining dishes. 

Their dolmathes (lamb, beef, and rice wrapped in grape leaves) is excellent and so is the tzatziki (sauce consisting of yogurt, cucumbers, and garlic) that comes with it. Om nom nom.

(dolmathes)

But their crown jewel is the kotopoulo yemisto, which is breaded chicken stuffed with saut√©ed spinach and feta, topped with a creamy mushroom scallion sauce. We usually lunch at Aristo's, and even though this dish isn't on their lunch menu, we always request it, and they happily oblige.

(kotopoulo yemisto)

Visit Aristo's at 244 S 1300 E SLC, and their website at www.aristosrestaurant.com.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Ashley's World-Famous Quiche



Okay, it isn’t so much “world-famous” as much as it is famous amongst our family and friends. But still, that’s quite a feat. We have very discriminating peers. They would tell us if it sucked (probably).

The secret: this is waaaay easy to make. This blog post might as well be an ad for Bisquick, which we use for an awesome crust. Dudes, you may think you’re not a true cook unless you’re making all the things from scratch, but there are some things that usually turn out better from a pre-packaged mix (unless you’re Wolfgang Puck), so let your inner turmoil go and give in. We live in an age of delicious mixes, just begging to be taken advantage of.

What you’ll need:
1 ¼ C Bisquick Mix
¼ C butter at room temperature (don’t ever use margarine for anything, ever)
2 Tbsp boiling water
1 ½ C half-and-half
3 eggs
½ Tsp salt
A round cake pan
2 bowls for mixin’ stuff
A pan for boiling water
Courage

You’ll also need:
Bacon (enough to satisfy you—we usually use a pound)
Cheese (Swiss or cheddar or a mix—we use more than most humans would. Usually about 2-3 cups—as much as we can cram in. We'll die happy.)

If desired:
¼ Tsp cayenne pepper (a little goes a loooong way)
¼ C green or yellow onion
½ C mushrooms

(Beware: the more veggies you add, that’s less room for cheese and bacon!)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Boil a few cups water in a small pot (you only need 2 Tbsp but some of it will evaporate). And cook your bacon (either fry it in a pan or bake at 400 degrees for 15 min).

2. Mix together Bisquick and butter until it forms a crumbly mixture. Then add the hot water while mixing quickly. Keep mixing until dough forms (we usually get our hands in there to make the dough even and pretty). Grease a round cake pan and press the dough into the bottom and completely up the sides. It's okay if the dough looks thin.

3. Then mix eggs, half-and-half, salt, and any other crazy seasoning you wanna add.

4. Drain the grease from the bacon and put it in your round cake pan over the dough. Add a nice layer of cheese and any other veggies. Then pour your egg mixture over the top. Then we add a ton more cheese, for good measure, until there's a nice cheese layer over the top.

5. Bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 min. We usually bake it for 35 min and then broil it for 30 seconds to get a nice golden crust on top.

6. Eat like a barbarian. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Cucina



This is the secret of The Avenues. We went to Cucina on a whim and were blown away. Although, we made the mistake of ordering side dishes with our main course-- the portions are huge and these photos don't really do them justice. Everything was delicious, the service was lightning fast (although we were there for a late lunch, not peak hours), and we have zero complaints.

The winner of the day was a ham, cheese, and squash pie in a flaky, golden crust. This was to die for, though it was a special and not necessarily always on the menu. When you walk in, there's a counter gleaming with all sorts of beautiful dishes made daily, and these rotate.

(ham, cheese, and squash pie, with caprese salad)

We also had coconut salmon with an orange glaze, which was cooked perfectly, and the orange glaze was not overpowering or too orangey. This was a delicious, huge piece of fish. We were very surprised by the portion size for the price. Can't be beat.

(coconut crusted salmon w/orange glaze with chicken pesto pasta)

Check out this place for yourself. Cucina is located at 1026 E 2nd Ave and their website is www.cucinadeli.com.