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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!

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.

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?

Feels like Summer.

Since I haven’t updated in forever, I will quickly recap some cool things that have been happening in my life…

  • The Flyers made it to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1997.  For those of you who don’t know, they are playing the Chicago Blackhawks.  After losing 2 games to the Blackhawks on the road, the Flyers won last night in Philadelphia…so now the Flyers trail in the series 2-1.  They play again on Friday in Philadelphia and it will be a HUGE game…wish I was going!

Todd & I

Oh yeah…Todd and his friend actually designed the shirt that Todd is wearing in that picture.  It’s a Phillie Phanatic & Flyers mix.  Pretty cool!

What else have I been up to?

  • My sister and I made some homemade Brownies that turned out amazing.  Usually, I use boxed mix to make brownies, but making them from scratch was almost as easy and they taste so much better.

Click here for the recipe!!  I loved these.  They were rich, gooey, and not cakey…just how I like them.

  • Played on the beach with Andie & Bradley…

  • Ran the Kenny Wayland Memorial 10k Race with my sister.

Tina and I after the race

The race was a lot of fun.  To tell you the truth I was really not up for running that morning.  I did not really feel great the entire race and wanted it to end as quickly as possible…I’m sure you can tell by the expression on my face in the picture above…haha.  Regardless, my sister and I did very well in the race.  I finished in 45:41.  I won first place in my age group 19-29 and 17th out of 163 runners.  My sister finished in 45:56.  She won second in our age group 19-29 and 19th overall out of 163 runners.  Last year I ran this same race in 44:16 which is considerably faster than I ran it this year.

  • Rode my bike.  Here is a picture on top of the Ocean City bridge when I rode from Margate to the end of Ocean City.

Speaking of bikes, I have been looking into buying a road bike.  Although they are expensive, I do have money that I have been saving.  I went to the shop last week and they are ordering a bunch of Fuji’s that I am going to go look at when they come in…hopefully this weekend.  The owner of the store is pretty awesome and my friend Nick is real good friends with him since that is where he got his bike and he does the group rides there.  He is cutting me a pretty awesome deal on the bike so I am looking forward to it!

Hope you are enjoying this hot weather!

One week from today is my birthday!!!

Bobby Flay’s Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken with the best sauce ever.

My sister and I love Bobby Flay.  We saw this recipe for Grilled Chicken Breast Stuffed with Goat Cheese with Smoked Chile Cilantro Sauce on the Food Network so we gave it a shot.

Grilled Chicken Breast Stuffed with Goat Cheese with Smoked Chile Cilantro Sauce

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces soft goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped nicoise olives (I left these out because I do not like olives)
  • 1 red pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh finely chopped thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 large boneless chicken breast, pounded thin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

Preheat grill. Mix together the goat cheese, olives, red pepper and thyme in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Lay each breast out and fill with the cheese mixture. Brush the breasts with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste, secure with toothpicks. Grill for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.

Smoked Chile-Cilantro Sauce

  • 2 poblanos, smoked, peeled and seeded
  • 1/4 cup red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

In a blender, combine the poblanos, onion and lime juice and blend until smooth. While the blender is running, add the oil slowly until emulsified. Add the spinach and cilantro and blend until smooth. Add the honey and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.

This sauce was amazing.  Absolutely delicious.  As I was eating I was trying to think of what I else I can put this sauce on.  You have to try it.

When making the chicken, I would recommend using a grill.  Unfortunately, I did not have a grill….so I used a grill pan.  It made it very difficult to handle the chicken.  I would suggest baking the chicken as well, but I am sure that baking the chicken would slightly change this dish.  I’m sure it would still be delicious though.

I served the chicken with Roasted Asparagus and Israeli couscous.  I cannot recall now but I think we put yellow bell pepper and sundried tomatoes in with the cous cous.

I don’t make cous cous often, but when I do I typically make the smaller cous cous.  This was my first time using Israeli Cous Cous and I absolutely loved it.  It was so simple to make and I loved the chewiness of it.  I’m glad I bought a big container because I will be making more of it!

Amis.

If you are familiar with restaurants in Philadelphia, you may be familiar with Vetri or Osteria.  Marc Vetri is the owner and executive chef of both of these restaurants.  This year, he opened up his newest restaurant in Philadelphia, Amis.

Just a few notes about Marc Vetri:

  • Trained in Bergamo, Italy.
  • Within two years of opening Vetri, he was named one of Food & Wine’s Ten Best New Chefs and received the Philadelphia Inquirer’s highest restaurant rating.
  • In 2005, Vetri won the James Beard Award for “Best Chef Mid-Atlantic.”

[source]

I have never been to his oldest restaurant, Vetri.  I hear amazing things about it… although, I hear it is a bit expensive.  While his other restaurants are still very expensive, I think it is worth it.  I have been to Osteria several times and it is definitely my favorite restaurant.  The other night I finally made it to his newest restaurant, Amis.  I thought that this restaurant was great.  I loved the portion sizes because it allowed us to try several things on the menu without going overboard.  I was expecting this restaurant to be a little less expensive than his other restaurant, Osteria.  However, I found that it was around the same price.  The quality and taste of the food was so good that I did not mind paying a good price for it.

Todd sitting at the table with the kitchen behind him.

Todd and I both started off with a glass of red wine.  I ordered the Poggio alle Sughere, Morellino di Scansano ‘06 (“coastal chianti”/dried cherries/balsamic; Toscana).  I am not a wine connoisseur but I really did enjoy this wine.  Todd ordered the Alpha Box & Dice, “Fog” ‘06 (nebbiolo/cab/tannat/licorice/smoke/leather; Australia).  He enjoyed it but thought mine was tastier so for his second glass, he went with my choice of wine.

To start, we ordered Brushetta.  We went with the imported Bufala ricotta and black pepper drizzled with olive oil.  However, they brought out a complimentary Eggplant Caponata Brushetta as well.

I was so happy that they brought out the Eggplant Caponata.  Both were awesome but I really liked the Eggplant Caponata better.  I wish I took a closer picture of it to show you, but there were pine nuts and golden raisins in the mix with the eggplant…so good!!

Todd is a big fan of Arancinis, so we ordered the Arancini di riso with meat ragu as well.

Arancini

While I probably would have never ordered this, I had a bite and thought it was pretty tasty.  Not my top choice, but Todd really enjoyed it!

I am a huge fan of the Raviolis at Marc Vetri’s other restaurant, Osteria.  Therefore, I knew I had to order them here.  I ordered the bufala ricotta ravioli with spring asparagus.

Yum.  Check out how tiny & delicate these are.  I love them.  They are nothing like those big, stuffed Ravioli’s you typically will see.  So delicious.

Todd ordered the gnocchi alla romana with oxtail ragu.

While I did not taste his, he seemed to really enjoy it.

We also ordered marinated fava beans and peas with ricotta salata.

This was delicious.  I love fresh and simple dishes like this.

After all of this delicious food, we had to finish it off with a delicious dessert.  Todd ordered an espresso, I ordered tea, and we split the Rice Pudding with Balsamic marinated Strawberries.

Delicious.  I love, love, love rice pudding.  Ever since I was little my Mom-Mom has been making our family rice pudding.  She makes the best rice pudding that I have ever tasted.  It was funny because apparently this rice pudding is the Chef’s Mom-Mom’s recipe.  I’d like to do a throwdown though because I think my Mom-mom’s rice pudding beats this.  However, this rice pudding was definitely my second favorite that I ever had.  Very good and the marinated strawberries were a good touch.

So, overall, I loved Amis.  Amis is definitely added to my list of favorite restaurants.  I already can’t wait to go back.  Now, I really have to try out his first and most expensive restaurant…Vetri.