viathebistro

Archive for May, 2009|Monthly archive page

Not Your Average Salad

In food on May 26, 2009 at 11:55 pm
Corn & Black Bean Salad

Corn & Black Bean Salad

Between jalapeños and Italian dressing this vegetable-packed side brought both color and flavor to our Memorial Day cookout – and we hope it will accompany you to your upcoming summer picnics and potlucks.  

The assembly is simple and well worth the slicing and dicing of these veggies:

-whole-kernel white sweet corn

-black beans (drained and rinsed!)

-red bell pepper, chopped

-cucumber, chopped

-tomato, chopped

-green onion, sliced

-jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped

Just combine the above ingredients in a large bowl and set aside while you create the dressing. In a small bowl pour ¾ cup of your favorite Italian dressing and accent it with lemon juice and freshly chopped cilantro…now you are ready to add it to your salad.

Combine salad and dressing, cover and place in the fridge for several hours before serving.  
And there you have it.  A great salad, minus the lettuce.

Until next time,

xoxo,

VTB

ViaTheBistro@gmail.com

***We are grateful for all of the men and women who died while serving our country.

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A minty-fresh delight

In Events, food on May 23, 2009 at 9:24 pm
Homemade confections

Homemade confections

Sweet and refreshing, peppermint patties are the perfect after dinner bite…small enough to save your waistline but just the right amount of chocolate to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Many people are familiar with those patties that come in a silver wrapper, but this homemade variety knocks those out of the park!

To create this confection, combine 2 teaspoons of peppermint extract with one 8oz block of softened cream cheese and beat together until smooth. Next, slowly beat in 7 cups of confectioners’ sugar.

Roll the peppermint filling into one-inch balls and flatten the balls into patties. Place them on a wax paper covered baking sheet and set them in the refrigerator for an hour or until they are slightly hardened.

Now you’re ready to dip them in chocolate. Just microwave ¾ cup each of semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips with a couple tablespoons of shortening in the microwave, and coat the refrigerated peppermint patties in a layer of chocolate. Place them back on the wax paper and in the refrigerator to let the chocolate set, and in a half hour you will have homemade candy!

These patties are great as gifts, and that is exactly what we used our batch for. Pepper Dowd, a big fan of VTB, turned 78 years old yesterday and to celebrate, we made her favorite after dinner treat!

So here’s to Pepper…mint patties!

Until next time,

xoxo,

VTB

ViaTheBistro@gmail.com

It’s Not Delivery, It’s Via The Bistro

In food on May 21, 2009 at 10:40 am
Delivered...fresh from the oven.

Delivered...fresh from the oven.

Pizza is definitely an American staple, but if you have yours delivered or defrosted we’d like to point you in a different direction – This pie is warm, fresh, and it’s topped exactly the way you like it…and at the end of the day, meals made from scratch always taste better!

Start your homemade pizza by dissolving active dry yeast and sugar in warm water.  Let this mixture rest for about 5 minutes or until foamy.  Next, add flour (we went for an all-purpose and whole wheat combo) and kosher salt, then mix.  Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for ~10 minutes.  Transfer the ball of dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a towel, and set in a warm place for 2 hours.

After 2 hours the dough will have nearly doubled in size.  At this time, you’re ready to make your meal.  Roll out the dough until the outside edges are about ¼ inch thick, and place it in the oven at 475 degrees for about 5 minutes.  Make sure to deflate any giant bubbles with a fork!  When the 5 minutes are up, remove the dough and top your pizza.  The above pictured includes a thin layer of a tomato-based sauce, small pieces of buffalo mozzarella, chunks of fresh pineapple, and slices of prosciutto – but that was just our preference for the night.  When you have personalized your pizza with toppings, place it back in the oven and cook until your added ingredients are cooked to perfection.

This pizza is all about you and your preference.  With a solid base, like this whole wheat pizza dough, the rest is up to you. 

Finally, something to call your own!

Until next time,

xoxo,

VTB

ViaTheBistro@gmail.com

***To request a recipe, just shoot us an email!

Summer Cookout

In food on May 18, 2009 at 2:03 pm
Dressing the turkey in veggies

Dressing the turkey in veggies

Turkey and stuffing are usually reserved for the holidays, but we decided to dress our turkey burgers in summer veggies and enjoy the weather with a cookout.  

We began by grating one medium zucchini and a handful of baby carrots – these grated vegetables are the secret to holding the patties together and helping them remain moist from stovetop to dinner table.  Next, we combined ground turkey, the grated zucchini and carrot, minced garlic, dried thyme, kosher salt, black pepper, and one egg in a large mixing bowl.  After thoroughly mixing the ingredients, we formed 4 patties and placed them in a large skillet over medium heat.  We cooked each burger until no trace of pink remained.  

While waiting on the burgers to cook we washed lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and added our own flavor to regular mayonnaise with a hint of lemon juice, garlic salt, and dried parsley.  When the patties were ready we plated each one on a fresh lettuce leaf, topped with a slice of seasoned tomato, and a tablespoon of our mayonnaise mixture.

So, what are you waiting for?  Get your burgers cooking and go outside to enjoy this beautiful summer weather!  

Until next time,

xoxo,

VTB

ViaTheBistro@gmail.com

Orange sticky buns

In food on May 15, 2009 at 11:27 am

 

Orange you hungry?

Orange you hungry?

Say “Good Morning!” to these zesty orange sticky buns. They are a refreshing, sweet and slightly messy way to start your weekend off right.

The dough is based on that of yeast rolls, so those of you familiar with it know that these take a little longer than, say, making pancakes…but, prepare them the night before and you won’t have to worry about getting up early.

To start your orange-flavored dough, combine 2 tbsp of orange zest with 2 cups of sugar—set aside. Next, dissolve one packet of dry active yeast into a ¼ cup of very warm water. Add the sugar to the yeast and then beat in two eggs, a ½ cup of sour cream and a pinch of salt.

When that mixture is combined, gradually stir in 2 cups of flour to create a doughy texture. When the dough has thickened, pour it out onto a floured surface and kneed in about ½ cup more flour, and set it in a well-greased, covered bowl and let it rise for 2 hours.

When the dough has risen, remove it from the bowl and, again, place it on a floured surface. This is where you start making the buns. Punch the dough down so it is flatter and easier to handle, and split it into equal halves. Roll out each halve into a 12 inch circle and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle the dough circles with sugar, and then slice them (like a pizza) into 8 or 12 triangular pieces, depending on how large you want your buns to be (no pun intended!).

Now all that’s left to do is roll up your dough triangles and let them rise for another hour in covered, greased baking pans. After about an hour of rising, pop them in the oven at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until they begin to brown a bit. The piece de resistance for this recipe is the orange glaze, so while your buns are in the oven, combine sugar, fresh o.j., sour cream and butter in a sauce pan and let it all boil for three minutes—stirring constantly to avoid burning. Spoon this glaze over the warm, freshly baked orange buns and you’ll make everyone’s morning…no matter what side of the bed they woke up on!

Until next time,

xoxo,

VTB

ViaTheBistro@gmail.com

Skip the Steakhouse

In Events, food on May 14, 2009 at 8:38 am
Steak's Sidekick

Steak's Sidekick

Popeye ate spinach straight from the can, but we prefer ours creamed—after all, who doesn’t need the extra calcium?

Rich and smooth with a hint of nutmeg—our steakhouse menu was not complete without this side.

Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees—dice half of a yellow onion and sauté in butter until soft. Add a couple tablespoons of flour and stir to coat the onion.

Next, comes the good stuff—gradually whisk in a cup of milk with one-half cup heavy cream. The secret ingredient to this version is Boursin cheese (a herb-and-garlic cheese spread)—which you’ll stir in a little bit at a time, until completely melted and mixed in. Remove the pot from the heat and add chopped spinach (fresh or frozen), freshly grated Parmesan cheese, a touch of lemon zest and a dash of nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

The mixture goes into a buttered baking dish and is sprinkled with seasoned, buttered bread crumbs. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the topping is golden and the sauce is bubbling.

Save some money and skip a night at the steakhouse—this creamed spinach is a surefire accompaniment to any cut of meat.

Until next time,

xoxo,

VTB

ViaTheBistro@gmail.com

***To request a recipe, just shoot us an email!

Sweet Celebrations

In Events, food on May 11, 2009 at 10:13 pm
Chocolate pecan pie

Chocolate pecan pie

Liz and Sarah are officially graduates of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism & Mass Communication!!!

How do we celebrate? We cater a graduation party for family and friends.

Not wanting them to miss out on the true Carolina experience we went Southern with the menu.  Barbeque from a local joint shared the table with our signature deviled eggs, Southern caviar, pimento cheese spread, and chocolate pecan pies. 

In preparation for this event we worked together in our original Bistro kitchen for the last time. However, we are incredibly excited to fill you in on our summer cooking as we blog from Boston and New York City!

So join us in celebrating graduations and new adventures…they were and will be as sweet as our pecan pie.

Until next time,

xoxo,

VTB

ViaTheBistro@gmail.com

Happy Seis de Mayo!

In Events, food on May 6, 2009 at 11:01 am
Good till the last drop

Good till the last drop

In lieu of your traditional margarita, we thought we would take a different route. Yep, it’s not Mexican, but still has an international flair, and just the kick we were looking for to start out our Cinco de Mayo celebration.

This sangria is a quick and easy way to impress your guests and a very refreshing drink for those sticky summer nights.

To throw this drink together all you need is a pitcher, Rioja (a Spanish red wine), Grand Marnier, simple syrup and fresh fruit.

Gather your ingredients and pour one bottle of your wine into a glass pitcher—the drink is so pretty you’ll want show it off—then, top it with ½ a cup of Grand Marnier. Next, add your simple syrup. To make this, just dissolve ½ cup of sugar in ¼ cup of water on the stove top. For the finishing touch, thinly slice lemons, apples and oranges, and add them to your pitcher. Stir it all up and you’ve got a great start to your night out.

Until next time,

xoxo,

VTB

ViaTheBistro@gmail.com

We Be Jammin’

In food on May 4, 2009 at 9:54 am
Fresh Strawberry Jam

Fresh strawberry jam

As the Farmers’ Market came to a close, we found ourselves more than happy to help out one overstocked vendor. With the arrival of strawberry season, he was practically giving away the vibrant red fruit bursting with vitamin C. Exhilarated by our purchase, we headed home to debate all the recipe possibilities.

After much thought, we opted to give fresh strawberry jam a try. It’s a great morning spread, luscious dessert drizzle, or thoughtful summer gift.  To begin, combine sugar and the zest and juice of a lemon into a small pot over low heat.  Heat and stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves (about 10 minutes).  Next, the strawberries – halved and hulled.  Keep them over lower heat until coming to a boil – keeping a watchful eye as they release their juices (and wonderful aroma!). Now comes the “gel test.”  This test involves spooning a fraction of the mixture onto a cold plate – we put ours in the freezer beforehand.  If the mixture gels quickly, you’re ready to jar.  Pour the warm jam into a container of your choice, cover and place in the fridge to let the jam set.

Now some of you may wonder why we didn’t add any pectin.  The answer to that question lies in the lemon zest.  Pectin is found in the primary cell walls of plant cells (i.e. the lemon zest contains nearly 30% pectin!)  However, if you prefer a thicker jam you can add a little packaged pectin to the heated mixture.

After sampling our sweetened farmers’ market find our only complaint – we should have made more.

Until next time,

xoxo,

VTB

ViaTheBistro@gmail.com

Fudge Frenzy

In food on May 1, 2009 at 6:58 pm
Gooey, chocolatey goodness

Gooey, chocolatey goodness

Fudge is a beloved treat throughout the South, and this rich and creamy version is a snap to make. The hardest part is waiting for it to cool – but as the old adage goes, “patience is a virtue.”

To make this deliciously dense fudge, heat 5 oz. evaporated milk over medium heat until warm, then add 1 ½ cups of sugar and bring to a slight boil while stirring constantly. Add 1 ½ cups of mini marshmallows and boil for another 5 minutes until smooth.

Remove the mixture from the heat, add 4 tablespoons of butter and mix until the butter is melted. Lastly, add a splash of vanilla extract and your chocolate–we used a combination of 60% bittersweet and white. But we say, let your creativity shine! You could add peanut butter, butterscotch, maple, brown sugar…the possibilities are endless!

Once your mixture is smooth, pour into a pan lined with tin foil and set your fudge aside to set. Once cooled, cut into squares and let your sweet tooth be satisfied.

Until next time,

xoxo,

VTB

ViaTheBistro@gmail.com

***To request a recipe, just shoot us an email!