viathebistro

Archive for March, 2009|Monthly archive page

A lesson in salsa

In food on March 31, 2009 at 10:27 am
Pico de gallo, Mucho de flavor

Pico de gallo, Mucho de flavor

After mixing up this fresh pico de gallo, you’ll think twice before going back to store bought salsas.

Made with tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, limes, and cilantro, this recipe goes straight from the produce stand to your plate.

Dice up the veggies and a handful of cilantro, but use your discretion with the jalapeños–they can give it quite the kick. The seeds in the pepper are what hold the heat, so if you’re “heat-sensitive,” you may want to get rid of them before you dice up your jalapeños.

Add the juice of a lime, a pinch of salt, sugar, and minced garlic to dress. Mix it all together and you’ve got a colorful, fresh salsa that will brighten up the simplest of meals.

We dove into ours with whole-grain tortilla chips, but it goes great on grilled fish or even as a topping for baked potatoes.

With the Final Four coming up this weekend (Go Heels!), we suggest replacing that microwaveable cheese “goo” with this refreshing, natural dip.

Until next time,

xoxo,

VTB

ViaTheBistro@gmail.com

*** Check out VTB’s recipe featured on Food Magazine’s site:

www.thefoodmag.com/recipes/onion_goat_tart_rs.html

Also, click Archives to check out all of our previous posts.

Livin’ la vida mocha

In food on March 30, 2009 at 7:43 am

 

We're "barking" up the right tree.

We're "barking" up the right tree.

This mocha hazelnut chocolate bark is super easy and great for gift-giving—if you can bear to part with it! Just one bite and you’ll be hooked, but the richness of the chocolate (we hope) will keep you from downing it all in one sitting.

To start, melt the chocolate (we used our favorite brand—Scharffen Berger’s 62% Cacao Mocha) until smooth and stir in a handful of chopped hazelnuts. Pour the melted chocolate onto a baking sheet that’s been lined with parchment paper and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle the chocolate with the remaining hazelnuts and put it in the fridge to set for a couple of hours. Once set, break your bark into bite-size pieces and enjoy.

If you’re feeling generous (we weren’t), we suggest putting pieces in clear gift bags and tying with a colorful ribbon.

Don’t let our recipe limit you though–any chocolate, nut, or even dried fruit will work here so choose your favorite combination.

Let us know how your bark turns out–we’re always eager to try new creations!

Until next time,

xoxo,

VTB

ViaTheBistro@gmail.com

Brown butter noodles…with a Greek twist

In food on March 29, 2009 at 11:09 am
Now...or later.

Now...or later.

This delectable noodle dish is great fresh off the stove top and even better as leftovers.

It is a simple meal that you can make for a large crowd just as easily as you could for yourself.

We chose to use egg noodles instead of penne or spaghetti to give it a different texture—and we would urge you to do the same.

As you wait for the noodles to boil until al dente, start browning your butter—melt butter in a small heavy skillet over low heat until it begins to turn golden brown.

When the noodles are done, drain and add sautéed fresh spinach and pour the brown butter over the mixture. Top with fresh feta crumbles and black pepper, toss it all together and you’re done!

Take note: when you sauté spinach, it shrinks down…A LOT! Make sure to throw in several handfuls of the greens so you’ll have the perfect noodle-to-spinach ratio.

We can’t wait to enjoy this again for lunch…

Until next time,

xoxo,

VTB

ViaTheBistro@gmail.com

An apple a day…

In food on March 27, 2009 at 12:08 am
She's blushing!

She's blushing!

Today we bring you the Pink Lady. Often overshadowed by the old standbys Granny Smith and Red Delicious, we thought we’d give this gal her 15 minutes of fame.

In addition to being full of fiber, this delicious fruit also boasts a healthful dose of Vitamin C–and at only 100 calories per medium apple, you can think of this as natural portion control.

Pink Lady apples have the perfect crisp texture (not a mealy bite to be found) and their flavor is just sweet enough, but won’t make you pucker.

So, snack on one of these to keep your body fueled through the afternoon slump and we’re sure it’ll become the apple of your eye.

Until next time,

xoxo,

VTB

ViaTheBistro@gmail.com

A Mediterranean masterpiece

In food on March 24, 2009 at 10:37 pm
Row, row, row your boat...

Row, row, row your boat...

As we looked ahead toward the rest of the week we saw an abundance of rain heading our way. So, to help us survive the approaching deluge we made ourselves some boats…out of zucchini.

Zucchini ripieni, a traditional Italian dish, is a great way to upgrade this everyday vegetable. To begin, we trimmed and cut our zucchini lengthwise, hollowed out the halves into “boats” and set them aside to stuff later. Next, we cooked the ground lamb with garlic, onion, and the previously-peeled zucchini flesh. Add classic tomato sauce and basil and the lamb filling is done. All that’s left to do now is stuff the zucchini boats, sprinkle them with breadcrumbs and pop them in the oven–15 minutes later you will be rewarded with a hearty dinner.

As a complement to your ripieni, we suggest pairing this dish with a medium-bodied Chianti to cut the richness of the lamb, and adding orzo as a side to make this meal complete.

Now, if you aren’t a fan of lamb, don’t fret. You can make this dish with any type of meat you prefer–just remember to adjust the spices accordingly.

Buon Appetito!

Until next time,

xoxo,

VTB

ViaTheBistro@gmail.com

Your tastebuds will set sail...

Your taste buds will set sail...

Mmm mmm good…

In food on March 23, 2009 at 7:36 pm

 

Soup's on!

Soup's on!

Despite all signs pointing toward Spring, we’re still waiting on the warm weather to come. So, as we await its arrival we thought we would cook up some creamy tomato soup.

In our search for the perfect recipe we came across James Beard’s and agreed that there was no way he could lead us astray.

This classic recipe is the BEST soup we’ve ever tasted–we had to restrain ourselves from eating the whole batch at once. And, you’ll be pleased to know that most of these ingredients are already in your pantry.

Canned tomatoes, an onion, spices and heavy cream will do the trick. Simmer the vegetables and spices for half an hour and then puree the mixture in a blender (careful, hot liquids expand). Reheat the tomato mixture on the stove and bring the cream to a medium heat (without letting it boil) in a separate saucepan. Once heated, ladle the cream into the tomato mixture and you’ve got a delightfully creamy soup that goes perfectly with a warm, crusty baguette—or a grilled cheese.

A word to the wise: we know you may be tempted to use milk instead of cream, but we beg you not to. The cream is what gives the soup its delicious texture and rich, slightly sweet flavor. So, stick with the real stuff and you can thank Mr. Beard later.

Moral of the story? You can never go wrong with a classic.

Until next time,

xoxo,

VTB

ViaTheBistro@gmail.com

Go bananas!

In food on March 22, 2009 at 10:09 pm

 

Upgrade your banana split with these.

Upgrade your banana split with these.

This evening we opted for a new take on an old favorite–bananas.

Everyone loves a banana and PB for a snack, but how about sautéed bananas? The process is simple and the result is a delicious dessert.

Just chop your banana in half and slice the halves long-ways. Dredge them in flour and sauté in butter. After a couple of minutes, sprinkle them with sugar and sauté for another minute and you’re ready to plate. Remember, you only need a dash of sugar because the natural fructose in bananas comes out when you cook them, so this sauté makes them extra sweet!

We suggest taking it a step further and adding ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce for an upgrade to your classic banana split.

So, quit monkeying around and start peeling!

Until next time,

xoxo,

VTB

ViaTheBistro@gmail.com

Peppers ‘n onions-a simple sauté

In food on March 20, 2009 at 5:01 pm

Pairs perfectly with our phyllo purses

Pairs perfectly with our phyllo purses

As we cooked up our sausage yesterday we thought to ourselves, now what would go better with this than sautéed peppers and onions? So, we headed to Whole Foods and gathered our ingredients.

We julienned an onion and green and red pepper and cooked until the onions were translucent. At the last minute we added crushed garlic, salt and black pepper to taste.

This is the perfect way to turn those tournament tastes (AKA sausage and phyllo purses) into a meal. Just pile a plate with these sautéed veggies and top with a handful of phyllo purses and you’ve got dinner.

We also suggest these peppers and onions as part of a well-balanced breakfast. Throw them in an egg white omelet with turkey sausage and you’ll feel ready to take on the world…or at least you will after another cup of coffee.

Until next time,

xoxo,

VTB

ViaTheBistro@gmail.com

Tastes of the tournament

In Events, food on March 19, 2009 at 3:56 pm

These bites win our brackets.

These bites win our brackets.

Toss those stale potato chips aside and create a new type of March Madness munch.

These Italian sausage phyllo purses will take you all the way to Detroit (for the championship, that is).

Finger food is the way to go on game day and these are no exception. Just chop and cook your sweet Italian sausage with nutmeg, milk and mustard, wrap it in phyllo, and you’ve got yourself the real tourney winner, regardless of what your bracket is telling you (personally, we’re with the President on this one: http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/29743759/).

Make a large batch of these tonight and refrigerate for easy entertaining throughout the Madness.

Here’s to the big dance!

Until next time,

xoxo,

VTB

ViaTheBistro@gmail.com

Late Night with VTB

In food on March 18, 2009 at 3:10 pm
Enjoyed waking up to this...

Enjoyed waking up to this...

Late last night when sleep wouldn’t come, we decided to make fresh bread for the morning.

Searching desperately through the pantry–flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt were found, but of course, no yeast.

Brainstorming for a solution, our minds went to the lonely leftover libation of St. Patrick’s Day.

By adding one twelve-ounce beer to our pantry finds, the yeast in the beer replaced our missing ingredient.

As the clock struck midnight, we pulled the soft loaf from the oven, jumped in bed and fell fast asleep knowing breakfast was done.

Until next time,

xoxo,

VTB

ViaTheBistro@gmail.com

P.S. As we lathered our bread with butter and jam this morning, we all agreed late-night baking proved to be a success!