Upcoming Review…

We have been asked to do a product review for CSN.  This company has over 200 websites so there were plenty of options to choose from.  Our choices ranged from Dutch Ovens to Light Bulbs.  We were really interested in the cookware website.  There were a ton of choices and we had a hard time choosing which product we wanted to review.

After much debate, we settled on a product.  You’ll have to wait a few weeks until it arrives to see what our choice was.  We are both pretty excited as neither of us have owned this product before.  There are a lot of uses for it and we hope to use it on a daily basis!  Stay tuned to find out more about the product!

…new blog!

My sister and I have been working to combine blogs and it has finally happened.  You can now find us at Sister’s Running the Kitchen! Update your Google Readers !  See ya there!

Crab & Avocado.

So, I said I had a recipe with Crab Meat and Avocado…so, here it is!  I found this recipe as I was perusing a Food & Wine Magazine.  So glad that I tried it out!

Chile-Lime Crab Salad with Tomato and Avocado

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used Canola Oil)
  • 1 tablespoon very finely chopped jalapeno
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, plus cilantro leaves for garnish
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound fresh jumbo lump crab meat, picked over
  • 2 Avocados, diced (1/2 inch)
  • 1/3 cup red onion, minced
  • 1 large heirloom tomato, cut into four 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • Tortilla chips, for serving

Directions

  • In a small bowl, combine the lime juice with the olive oil, vegetable oil, jalapeño, chopped cilantro, honey and garlic. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.
  • In a small bowl, toss the crab with 3 tablespoons of the dressing and season with salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, gently toss the avocado with the red onion and 2 tablespoons of the dressing; season with salt and pepper.
  • Place a tomato slice on each plate and season with salt. Top with the avocado and the crab and garnish with the cilantro. Drizzle the remaining dressing on top and serve with tortilla chips.

What is your favorite way to enjoy crab meat?

Daily Dose of Lycopene.

Hey everyone…sorry I haven’t been updating lately. I do have some really great recipes to share. Today i’ll share with you a simple and delicious recipe that you will make over and over again. It is perfect for this time of the year as it features tomatoes! I have to thank Todd’s Dad for sharing this recipe with me. Todd’s Dad calls this a pasta salad…however it is not your typical pasta salad…it is better! You can enjoy this pasta dish at room temperature or warm…I prefer it at room temperature.

Bow-tie Pasta with Tomato-Basil Sauce

Ingredients

  • 4 large vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped, or 4 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (or more)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 6 ounces bow-tie pasta
  • 1 package (4 ounces) goat cheese crumbles
  • Garnish: basil sprigs

Directions

-Combine the first 7 ingredients.  Cover; let stand 1 hour at room temperature.

-Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Serve tomato mixture over pasta; sprinkle with goat cheese. Garnish, if desired.

Click Here to read more about the health benefits of Tomatoes!

Tomatoes are perfect this time of the year.  I used to hate tomatoes when I was younger…thankfully I have grown to love them!

Do you like tomatoes?  What is your favorite tomato recipe?

Stay tuned, later this week I have a recipe to share with you that involves crab meat and avocado…which happens to be a perfect combination.

Osteria.

As I said last week, my family & I celebrated my birthday at Osteria in Philadelphia…one of my favorite restaurants.

The table was set really nice when we first sat down…

Shortly after we sat down, the lemons (which were real by the way) were replaced with delicious bread…

I don’t want to make this a really long post, so I am going to quickly recap most of the food we had that night…or at least try to…

Three awesome pizzas…

Marinara - crushed San Marzano Tomatoes, oregano, & garlic.

Parma - mozzarella, fontina, arugula, and prosciutto di parma.

and my personal favorite…

Polpo - Octopus, tomato, red chili flakes, and smoked mozzarella.

I loved the smoked mozzarella on this pizza.  Next time I make pizza I am definitely making one with smoked mozzarella!

Next up…I ordered this…

Fusili with fava beans, pecorino and mint.

Really good, nice and refreshing taste.  Another pasta I ordered was…

Robiola Francobolli with royal trumpet mushrooms and thyme.

This was awesome.  I ordered this the last time I went to Osteria.  I love their Raviolis…they are tiny and practically melt in your mouth.

Mozzarella in Carrozza with olive oil poached pear tomatoes and capers.

Rabbit "casalinga" with pancetta, sage, brown butter, and soft polenta.

Wild Halibut al cartoccio with olives, potatoes, and oregano.

House aged rib-eye "fiorentina" with grilled spring onions, watercress, and balsamic.

and we all ended the night with all different flavors of gelato/sorbetto…

Thanks Todd!! :)

I ordered Fior Di Latte (sweet milk), yogurt, and blueberry sorbetto.  All were amazing.  I was so stuffed by the end of the night but everything was absolutely delicious.

Todd & I

Hope you are having a good week so far.  Later this week I have an awesome summer recipe to share to help you use up some extra tomatoes you might have in the kitchen.

Another year older.

Today is my 23rd Birthday!  Nothing really special going on today…but tonight I am going out to dinner in Philadelphia with my family & Todd…which I am very excited for.

As I sat down to write this post I checked back on my old blog to see what I was doing this same day last year.  It’s kind of funny because I am doing the same types of things I did last year…such as running, making a green monster, making a type of avocado salad, fruit picking…the only difference is now I am not preparing to go to Europe!  Guess I haven’t really changed much over the year. haha.

Today I went Cherry Picking.  It was really hot and I had to keep moving this 8 foot ladder around to different trees so I could reach the cherries…it was quite tough but I got some cherries…

They’re actually really, really good too…nice and sweet!

I haven’t mentioned it yet, but last weekend I bought something really cool for myself.  I’m not usually one to buy a lot of things for myself, especially something this expensive.  Todd actually helped me out though as part of my birthday present.  I’ll save what I bought for another post!  Now on to some good eats…

Yesterday I made this delicious Avocado Salad…I’ve actually made it a few times this spring but I finally remembered to take a picture so I could share the recipe.  The recipe is actually Ina Garten’s (the Food Network: Barefoot Contessa)…she calls it a Guacamole Salad…but I prefer to call it an Avocado Salad.  Either way it’s really, really delicious, so try it out! I <3 Avocados.

Serves 6 appetizer portions or 3-4 Entree Portions

Avocado Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and 1/2-inch diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup small diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced jalapeno peppers, seeded (2 peppers)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (2 limes)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 ripe Hass avocados, seeded, peeled, and 1/2-inch diced

Directions

Place the tomatoes, yellow pepper, black beans, red onion, jalapeno peppers, and lime zest in a large bowl. Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic, and cayenne pepper and pour over the vegetables. Toss well.

Just before you’re ready to serve the salad, fold the avocados into the salad. Check the seasoning and serve at room temperature.

**Note: I added a handful of chopped cilantro.  I also probably did not use quite as much Olive Oil as she suggests…I did not measure, I just estimated.  I have also made this recipe using grape tomatoes and other times using fresh jersey tomatoes…I think this salad comes out much better using the local tomatoes…so if you have a farmers market with fresh tomatoes…use them!

Vetri Birthday Dinner.

A few weeks ago I went to dinner at Amis in Philadelphia.  As I said before, the Chef/Owner, Marc Vetri, has two other restaurants in Philadelphia, Vetri (his first and most expensive) & Osteria (his second restaurant–still expensive, but not as much as Vetri).  I have been to Osteria quite a few times and it is definitely my favorite restaurant in Philadelphia.  For my birthday, Todd took me out to dinner at Vetri!  This was the first time either of us have ever eaten here and we had nothing but good things to say about it.  In fact, some have claimed Vetri to be the ‘best Italian restaurant in America’.  The only problem is that Vetri is very expensive, so this is not a restaurant to visit on a regular basis…unless, of course, you are loaded.

Vetri is a very small restaurant. It probably only seats about 13 tables.

When we first got there, we were taken to our seats and each offered a glass of  Prosecco (in case you don’t know, Prosecco is a dry sparkling Italian wine made from a variety of white grapes).

Todd checking out the wine list & our glasses of Prosecco.

I thought the menus were pretty cool.

Shortly after, our waitress offered us a choice of bread, Focaccia or Tuscan White.  The first time around I went with the Focaccia and the second time around I chose the Tuscan White.  Both were delicious but I enjoyed the Focaccia more.  The bread was served with olive oil & olives that were soaking in the olive oil.

The Sommelier of Vetri came to our table to see what we wanted to drink with dinner.  Todd went with an Italian beer and I ultimately went with the sommelier’s suggestion based on what wine paired best with the food I ordered–which was a Lambrusco.  I don’t know much about wine, but I would describe it as a slightly bubbly, dry Italian red wine.  This wine had a very light taste to it and I ended up really enjoying it.  I don’t think I would have ever ordered it if it had not been suggested to me.

(I’m apologizing ahead of time–the pictures are not that great because the lighting was pretty bad and I am not a great photographer)

To start, Todd & I ordered two dishes to share…

Vetri's famous Spinach Gnocchi with Shaved Ricotta and Brown Butter.

These were so, so good.  They were so light and very spianchy.  Loved them.  This an item that is always on the menu.

The other starter we ordered was…

Artichoke salad with arugula and parmesan.

This picture is really terrible…you can thank Todd.  Thankfully, it tasted one hundred times better than it looks here.  This item is not always on their menu…it will change seasonally.  This was really, really delicious.  I am a huge fan of artichokes so I loved this.  I would really love to recreate this at home.

For the main part of my meal, I ordered two half plates of pasta.  I couldn’t decide between these two pastas and I thought it was a good idea to order half portions of each so I was able to taste more on the menu!

My two half portions of two different Pasta dishes.

My favorite of the two was the one on the right…Fettuccine with Morels.  This dish was supposed to come with Roasted Sweetbreads (no these are not  a type of bread, these are glands of animals), but I opted to leave them out.

Fettuccine with Morels.

Once again, I am sorry about the TERRIBLE quality of the photo.  Oh well.  In case you didn’t know, Morels are Wild Mushrooms…and according to Todd are only available for a very limited amount of time throughout the year.  I absolutely loved this dish.  There’s just something great about pasta and mushrooms…particularly homemade, fresh pasta.

The other half dish of pasta I ordered was the Spaghetti with dungeness crab and favas.

This dish was more light and refreshing in comparison to the Fettuccine with Morels.  While this dish was still delicious, I did enjoy the other pasta better.

Todd ordered the Guinea Hen Breast stuffed with prosciutto served with Mushrooms

I did not taste this, but Todd looked like he was in heaven eating it.

Another entree that looked really delicious was the Salt Crusted Whole Roasted Branzino with truffle sauce and brussels sprouts.  This dish is created for a minimum of 2 people.  Maybe if I ever go back I will order this!

We ended the night with two delicious desserts.  Todd also ordered Espresso and I ordered Tea.

I ordered the Chocolate Polenta Souffle with Vanilla Gelato.

This was warm with a gooey center.  Very, very delicious.  Enjoyed every bite.

Todd ordered a dessert that I unfortunately can’t remember the name of.  It was called Blueberry….something with an “S”.  I believe it was warm and it was served with a yogurt panna cotta.

Once again, terrible picture.  Todd’s dessert was really, really good.  I loved the yogurt panna cotta.

Well…the food was outstanding.  All of our plates tonight resembled this one…

Yum.  Thanks so much Todd for taking me to Vetri.  I had an amazing time.

Todd looking like he is having a blast.

Can't keep my eyes open.

If you live in the Philadelphia area or are ever in town, I would highly recommend visiting one of Marc Vetri’s three restaurants.

Thursday night I am actually going out with my family to his other restaurant, Osteria.  Both my Mom and Todd made reservations at two of Marc Vetri’s restaurants to celebrate my birthday…how lucky am I?