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Archives for January 2012

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Lentil Soup

by TT January 30th, 2012| Soups & Stews
Having one person that is vegetarian in our house doesn't make meal planning difficult, usually.  When there are four or more of us for dinner, I simply substitute the meat item with a non-meat protein, and everyone is happy.  In fact, quite often I make two of the non-meat protein, as I enjoy a good number of vegetarian items.

The tricky times are when there are only three of us dining.  It feels more cumbersome to make two different entrées for a party that small.  Our of deference to our vegetarian, I make a meal that is vegetarian and (hopefully)
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36 deLux Restaurant, Manchester, NH

by TT January 26th, 2012| Restaurant Reviews
When a perennial favorite ceases to exist, it is often difficult to fill the void.  For 36 deLux, that has not held true.  Located in the home of the former Richard's Bistro, 36 deLux has done a terrific job of providing the same excellent quality of food, service, and atmosphere that its predecessor did.  Of course, the new owner previously was a chef at Richard's, which may help account for the smooth transition.

Since its opening in November 2011, I have dined there on two different occasions.  The first was a business lunch, which gave me a small glimpse
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Romantic Valentine Desserts- Part 3

by TT January 25th, 2012| Desserts, Recipes
There are still three weeks until Valentine's Day, which still may be a little bit early to begin planning.  However, what says love like a well-prepared menu?  Over the past two weeks we have highlighted delicious chocolate desserts.  Today we are sharing a completely different recipe, Soy Milk Panna Cotta with Crushed Blackberries.

This recipe is sure to appeal to those who prefer vanilla.  The use of soy milk should be helpful to those who avoid dairy products due to allergies.  Plus, as Chef English notes, "Soy milk has never tasted as good as it does in this version of
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Cake Flour

by Elizabeth Skipper January 24th, 2012| Ask the Chef
I've been using cake flour for pasta dough lately, but it always seems to come out too sticky. Is it something to do with the wet weather we've been having, or should I go back to all-purpose flour?

Wet weather will somewhat influence how much moisture flour will absorb, but that's not the problem here. Trying to substitute cake flour for all-purpose flour is the culprit, no question.

The first thing you'll notice when substituting cake flour for all-purpose is how much less liquid it absorbs. If you use the amount your recipe usually calls for, you'll be surprised to find
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Waldorf Salad Revisited

by TT January 23rd, 2012| Recipes, Salads
After spending most of the afternoon at our daughter's gymnastics tournament, we were thinking of a meal that would be quick to prepare and filling.  My  husband suggested homemade steak subs with lots of veggies, and that seemed like a perfect solution.  Knowing that the subs themselves may not be filling enough for my husband and teenage son, I suggested we have a side with it.

Yes, chips would have been the quick answer, but I was hoping for something healthier.  I also knew that our fruit bin was filled with apples.  I haven't consumed many servings of Waldorf Salad;
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China Blossom, North Andover, MA

by TT January 19th, 2012| Restaurant Reviews
This past Sunday I was invited to dine at China Blossom with a guest.  Thus, I asked my husband to join me for an evening of what I hoped would be good dining.

We arrived shortly before our reservation time of 7:00.  The restaurant was busy, with most of the tables full.  We were able to be seated early and were given a booth.  We had the option of ordering off the menu or partaking in the buffet, and we chose the menu.  Within moments, we were greeted by our waiter who provided water and took our drink order.

When
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Romantic Valentine Desserts- Part 2

by TT January 18th, 2012| Desserts, Recipes
If I asked you what food you think of when I say Valentine's Day, I would be willing to guess that most people would respond, "Chocolate."  Although I am not an adoring fan of that addictive treat, I appreciate that most people, such as my children, are.  So, what better way would there be to continue our Valentine's Day series than with a second chocolate treat?

This week's recipe comes to us courtesy of Chef Greg DeMichiel, who has been featured on WE TV's My Fair Wedding and VH1's Famous Food.  With his recipe for Flourless Chocolate Cake you will
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Goat Sausage

by TT January 16th, 2012| Breakfast Dishes, Recipes
My husband and I went to a fabulous winter farmer's market this past Saturday.  Both the quantity and quality of products available were amazing.  In addition to typical items, such as chicken eggs and root vegetables, there were veal, lamb, goat, ducks, pâté, lobsters, mushrooms, and greens.  Being a bigger market, there were more cheeses and baked goods available than usual.

Obviously, visiting this farmer's market was quite a treat for us.  Not only did we get to make some great purchases and sample some yummy tidbits, but we also found sources for illusive items, such as homemade sausage and
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Seafood Soup

by TT January 12th, 2012| Recipes, Soups & Stews
This soup that I made on a cold winter afternoon actually started on a hot August night.  I had bought several lobsters to be made into lobster rolls.  After dinner I saw the piles of lobster shells and thought that rather than just discarding them, they could have a better use.  I did a little searching and found a recipe for lobster stock.  I didn't have a plan for the stock, so I stored it in our freezer for future cooking.

Fast forward four months to a cold winter day.  I had been considering making two different soups, one vegetarian
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Romantic Valentine Desserts- Part 1

by TT January 11th, 2012| Desserts, Recipes
Valentine's Day is a marketing team's dream come true.  What could be a simple day to exchange small tokens of love has evolved into the day in which one needs to purchase flowers, jewelry, and more.  While I don't object to gift giving, my husband and I have created our own tradition for this holiday.   When our day of work and children winds down, we have a late, candlelit dinner for two.

Yes, this does sound amazingly similar to our regular Tapas Mondays, so in order to make this dinner special there are a couple tweaks.  First, we purchase an
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Eliminating Butter?

by Elizabeth Skipper January 10th, 2012| Ask the Chef
With the start of a new year I am trying to eat healthier foods.  I would like to reduce the amount of butter I use in cooking, but I am worried that I will lose lots of flavor.  How can I make food taste great, like a baked sweet potato or creamy polenta, without using butter?

Butter, being 80% fat, is a wonderful carrier for flavor. That's why we love it on foods like baked potatoes, steamed vegetables, and hot toast, biscuits, toast or polenta.

One way to maximize flavor while minimizing fat is to caramelize the food in some way.
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Cranberry-Pear Chutney

by TT January 9th, 2012| Recipes, Spreads & Sauces
Moving backward through our Christmas Eve dinner, we finally have arrived at the first course I made, the appetizer.  With five courses following this, I wanted it to be light.  The appetizer consisted of lavash crackers topped with goat cheese and cranberry-pear chutney.  The chutney has a hint of sweetness, which awakens the palate, and also provides a nice contrast to the tang of the goat cheese.

The chutney is versatile and could be used as an accoutrement to many dishes.  Not only does it pair well with crackers and cheese, it could be used in place of cranberry sauce
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