Archives for October 2011

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Fall Harvest Week

by TT October 28th, 2011| Restaurant News
Our final Harvest Dinner event is not simply one event but an entire week of dining.  Hosted by the SJ Hot Chefs (AKA South Jersey Independent Restaurant Association), Fall Harvest Week will take place from October 30th through November 4th.  With  more than thirty independently owned restaurants participating, it is sure to be an amazing week of food.

Each restaurant that participates will serve a four-course dinner, which will include a variety of locally sourced ingredients.  Some of the menu items available from these restaurants include:

  • Stuffed Bell Pepper- sweet sausage, fontina cheese, roasted tomato

  • Fall Harvest Vegetable Misto Fritti- mushrooms, eggplant
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Homemade Ricotta

by TT October 27th, 2011| Main Dishes, Recipes
About a decade ago, I remember speaking with a friend about her lasagna recipe.  Raised in an Italian family, her lasagna was the best I had ever had, especially the ricotta.  I asked what brand she used.  Her reply was, "Where do you buy your ricotta?"

At that time, I thought that was an interesting question.  I replied, "The grocery store."

Thus, my education on purchasing better ingredients began.  She explained that she purchased her ricotta at a local Italian specialty food store that had homemade ricotta, lasagna noodles, and more.  While it meant a 30 minute drive to purchase the ricotta,
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XO on Elm

by TT October 25th, 2011| Restaurant Reviews
A little over a month ago, my husband and I attended the annual wine tasting and auction for the Palace Theatre.  It was a fabulous evening of (You guessed it!) wine tasting that ended with an auction.  Of course, there were other pieces to this evening, such as some beautiful art and delicious food samples from local restaurants.  We participated in one of the raffles, which netted us a gift certificate to XO on Elm.  This restaurant has been on our need-to-try list for a while, and the certificate was the nudge we needed to go.

On a recent
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Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

by TT October 21st, 2011| Restaurant News
Through our Harvest Dinner series, we have met many great chefs who are hosting dinners at restaurants and festivals.  This week we are pleased to feature another chef who is serving dinner in a different location.  Elise Johnson will be hosting dinner at her home for eighteen lucky dinner guests as part of the Guess Who's Coming to Dinner fundraiser that benefits the United Arts' Artists in the Schools program.  Elise is one of fifteen hosts to be chosen in Wake County, North Carolina.

Although the location is different, the theme of Locally Sustainable makes this dinner a perfect fit for
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Spinach Sauce

by TT October 19th, 2011| Recipes, Spreads & Sauces
Out of our four children, our oldest is the least picky.  In our house, that is saying a lot, for none of our kids are truly picky.  Having the "no thank you" serving really has helped with that.  However, if I had to choose one that I could offer almost any food and expect that it should be liked, it would have to be our 15 year old.

He always has been a fairly adventurous eater.  As a toddler he requested pasta, like all toddlers, but he liked it best with spinach sauce.  While a little face covered with
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Lunching in Florida

by TT October 18th, 2011| Restaurant Reviews, Uncategorized
A few weeks ago, I had the good fortune of spending a few days with my parents.  While we did spend every evening together, during the day we typically did things in pairs.  Most of those days my mom and I spent time together, touring the area, browsing in shops, and stopping for a bite to eat.  Out of our three different dining locations, two were excellent choices, and one was mediocre, at best.  Of course, the important part of this trip wasn't the food, it was spending time with my parents.  However, as I found a few great
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ZAZU Restaurant, Monday Night Farm Suppers

by TT October 14th, 2011| Restaurant News
In this Harvest Dinner series, we've traveled from Nebraska to Georgia to Florida.  Our next stop is Santa Rosa, California, which is the home to ZAZU Restaurant & Farm.  Co-owners and chefs, Duskie Estes and John Stewart, opened the restaurant in 2001 and have been busy earning accolades ever since.

Like many of the other restaurants in this series, ZAZU provides meals created from locally sourced ingredients.  What makes ZAZU unique is that their harvest dinners happen on a weekly basis.  Every Monday from the end of May until the end of December a 3-course dinner is served to
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Asian Ketchup

by TT October 12th, 2011| Recipes, Simple Solutions, Spreads & Sauces
It's been a month since I shared a Simple Solution.  This recipe fits perfectly within this category.  It requires two ingredients and takes about 5 seconds to make.  However, the flavor that it imparts is so much greater than would seem possible.

So, how did Asian Ketchup come to be?  As I've written, our 13 year old is a vegetarian.  Vegetarianism is something I have dabbled with throughout my life, so quite frequently I opt to eat the same dish as her while other family members have a meat-based dish.  Sometimes we make dishes from scratch, but other times we
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Ithaki, Ipswich, MA

by TT October 10th, 2011| Restaurant Reviews
I was invited to dinner at Ithaki last week.  Bringing my husband for company, we made the hour drive in hopes of finding a tasty meal ahead.  Much to our delight, we enjoyed a delicious three-course meal that was filled with great food, excellent service, and pleasant atmosphere.

Dining at Ithaki on a Thursday night, we were 15 minutes early for our reservations but were able to be seated early.  We were offered seats in the bar area near the evening's musical performer.  Asked if this location would be acceptable, we agreed.  The acoustic guitar made for great background
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The Ritz-Carlton “Meet the Farmers” Dinner

by TT October 7th, 2011| Restaurant News
The third restaurant in our Harvest Dinner series is The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island.  This "Meet the Farmers" Dinner will offer diners the opportunity to sample delicious dishes made from locally sourced foods and to meet the people who produced them, including local farmers, growers, and seafood purveyors.

The dinner will be held this evening, October 7th, at 6:30 p.m.  The evening will begin with a reception with the farmers.  During the reception passed hors d'oeuvres created by Chef de Cuisine of Café 4750, Garrett Gooch, will be served along with craft beer tastings.  The beer tastings are provided by
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Silky Zucchini Soup

by TT October 6th, 2011| Recipes, Soups & Stews
Originally I was going to call this recipe Creamy Zucchini Soup.  However, before I could publish the recipe I read an article in which a chef took another chef to task for calling a soup creamy, when there was no cream in the recipe.  This recipe has no cream; the only "cream-ish" ingredient is Greek yogurt.  For me, the combination of the yogurt and blended ingredients created something creamy, but I believe it also could be described as silky.

This recipe is one that should be made sooner as opposed to later.  For many parts of the country, zucchini season
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Abattoir Fall Harvest Dinner

by TT October 4th, 2011| Restaurant News
The next Harvest Dinner to be highlighted at Think Tasty will feature a chef duo using only ingredients sourced in their respective states.  Chef Josh Hopkins of the host restaurant, Abattoir, in Atlanta, Georgia, and Chef Steven Devereaux Greene of Herons at the Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, North Carolina, will combine their cooking talents to prepare a delicious meal for their guests on Saturday, October 9th.

The meal will begin with a reception at 6:30 pm consisting of passed hors d'oeurves.  The six-course meal will be served at 7:00, and each course will be paired with
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