Welcome to One Little Corner of the World. I share with you new recipes, some family recipes, and the antics of my kids. Enjoy reading!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Lorenzo's Trattoria - A Restaurant Review

Three friends and I went to Lorenzo’s last week for dinner. We have I think, named ourselves the “St. Jacob Ladies Dining Club. Every few months someone chooses a restaurant and off we go. This last time, it was to the Hill in St. Louis. Lorenzo’s Trattoria, the chosen restaurant for the month, is known for its contemporary Italian menu.

Located in a 100-year-old building, the restaurant’s d├ęcor is very mild and restful. While the look and feel of the place is Tuscan, the charm of the Hill is evident throughout the restaurant. We were seated at a table for four to the left of the bar. There was a private party around the bar – I didn’t get a chance to look at that area.

Our waiter was very nice and he seemed knowledgeable enough. He explained the specials and took our drink order. I ordered a margarita – my personal favorite, Heather ordered white wine, and Beth tried to order a pina colada. They couldn’t make frozen drinks and suggested a martini – fruit flavored instead. She was told that if she didn’t like it she wouldn’t have to pay for it. Heather, Patti, and I all thought it tasted very good – strong, but good. Beth, on the other hand, didn't seem to like it very much.

I started with the crab cake, served over a bed of arugula and topped with a basil aioli. Very tasty, not dry at all and quite filling for only one crab cake. For my salad, I chose the tomato and mozzarella with basil and dressing; fresh and perfect for the summer. For my main course I had the seafood pasta – I am a sucker for seafood pasta. Included in the dish were shrimp, mussels, scallops, fish, and tomatoes all dressed up in a white wine sauce. It was good, although I feel that I could have gotten the same dish at any restaurant. Maybe I should have ordered one of their risottos or their osso bucco, which they are known for. I have decided that my next restaurant visit will most definitely include one of the house specialties.

Overall, I think it was a very good dining experience. The price wasn’t exorbitant, the service was very good, and the company was great.

Pictured above: Crab cakes and Tomato Mozzarella Salad.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Cooking Challenge

In the past two weeks, I have made three dishes and created three recipes that I will make again. I am giving myself a challenge to create a new recipe each week for the next four weeks. I am still trying to utilize the indredients I have in my house without always running to the store whenever I see some neat dish on tv or in a cookbook. My friend, Beth, over at Small Town Mom, Wife, Teacher set a goal for herself as well. She has taken a picture and posted it on her blog each day this month along with an explanation of the picture. She is the one who has given me the idea of setting a blog goal for myself. Stay tuned to see the dishes I come up with in the next four weeks.

Orzo Chicken Salad

My friend was coming over for lunch the other day and I had the great idea to make Roasted Shrimp and Orzo. Luckily I asked her if she liked shrimp and of course, she said no. Scrambling, I thought to myself, "What am I going to make?" After looking in the fridge, I saw roasted chicken breasts and thighs, along with a cucumber, and some tomatoes. I decided to make up my own orzo chicken salad.

Roasted Chicken and Orzo Salad

1/2 lb. Orzo - I used lemon, cilantro and parsley orzo
2 chicken breasts
2 chicken thighs
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
2 tbsp olive oil
10 cherry tomatoes
1/2 English cucumber
1 handful chopped fresh parsley
1 small handful chopped fresh dill
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Coat chicken in olive oil and Italian Seasonings. (I mix mine in a bowl) Put chicken on a cookie sheet and cook for 10-15 minutes or until done. Remove from oven and let chicken cool - tear apart with a fork and put in large bowl.

Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and let cool. Combine with chicken Cut tomatoes in half, slice cucumber into small pieces, chop dill, Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, and parsley. Add all to chicken except dill and parsley.

In a separate bowl, make dressing.

1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 scant teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp Italian seasoning
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients except olive oil and salt and pepper. Drizzle in oil while mixing with a whisk to emulsify. Add to chicken and orzo mixture. Stir to combine. Add parsley and dill, combine. Chill for 1 hour to all flavors to combine.

Lunch was very good and the chicken salad luckily turned out very well. I served it with salmon spread I had made the day before, and Italian bread,

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Shrimp and Pasta

Tonight we ate by the pool. After watching Everyday Italian, I had to make Whole Grain Spaghetti with Pecorino, Prosciutto, and Pepper. I have been thinking about trying to cook with the whole grain pastas and since I was going to the grocery store today, I thought I would buy some to try. Another reason I wanted to try this recipe was the prosciutto ham. When I lived in Colorado, I used to work with prociutto all the time, and I loved to snack on it.

To go with the pasta, and have something that the kids will like, I also made shrimp skewers on the grill. I brushed them with olive oil, sprimkled with salt and pepper, and put shrimp seasoning on them. For some reason, shrimp on skewers is the only shrimp my kids will eat.

Everything turned out well. The kids had fun; Steve and I really liked the pasta, and all the shrimp was eaten.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Taste and Create - Linguini with Tomatoes, Basil and Mozzarella

Each month, For the Love of Food hosts the event, Taste and Create. Bloggers are paired with each other and the object is to prepare a dish from your partner's blog. This is my first month participating in Taste and Create. My partner for this month from Eat the Right Stuff hails from England where she studies nutrition. Her blog is full of healthy recipes that look fabulous!

For this month's event, I decided to prepare Tomato and Melting Mozzarella Linguine. I feel like I am repeating a theme. One of my goals like I have said before, is to prepare dishes that I already have food for. Looking through my partner's blog this month, I saw that I had all the ingredients that I needed to make this light, refreshing pasta.
Not only was the dish easy to prepare, it was extremely tasty as well. Since the recipe called for basil, I used chopped tomatoes with basil, that I already had on hand. I bought them shopping onthe hill in St. Louis. I didn't mean to buy them, but boy, are they good. Anyway, I didn't have a pepper, so I substituted chili pepper flakes. The basil, as usual, came from my front porch.

While my family really liked the flavor of the pasta, I think next time I will either add some meat - shrimp or sausage, or serve it as a side dish. My husband feels that dinner isn't dinner if there is no meat on the table.

Again, I really enjoyed Taste and Create - each month it gets better and better. What I especially like is the fact that I get to really get to know someone else's blog and try other recipes. What follows is the recipe I used. The link above is the original recipe Enjoy.

Tomato and Melting Mozzarella Linguine (serves 4) I doubled the original recipe

One pound pasta – I used linguine, spaghetti or boccatini would also be nice
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 chili flake
28 oz can chopped tomatoes with basil - or without
1 teaspoon sugar
salt & pepper
a large handful of chopped basil
2 balls of mozzarella, cut into 1-2cm cubes

Cook pasta until al dente. Heat the olive oil and gently fry the garlic and chili until they begin to soften and you can smell their aroma. add the tomatoes and sugar (this helps bring out the tomato flavour and avoids the need to use tomato puree) and simmer until the sauce thickens. season to taste.

Drain the pasta add the basil and mozzarella to the tomato sauce, don’t stir them. when you have plated up the pasta and are ready to put the sauce on top give it a quick stir - this means the mozzarella doesn’t melt too much before you get to eat it. Serve immediately.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Salad

I hate it that tomatoes are tainted right now; although, I was very happy that my favorite - tomatoes on the vine were safe. Since we had people over Saturday, I decided to make Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad. While it is a simple dish, the taste is wonderful. Mozzarella, fresh, is a wonderfully mild cheese that enhances almost anything that is paired with it. The basil, one of my son's favorite herbs, is from the front porch. I love to grow my own herbs. This dish truly represents summer with its bright colors and fresh flavors. I am on a search for more mozzarella ideas!!!

For my recipe, I used three vine ripened tomatoes, one pound of fresh mozzarella, and about ten fresh basil leaves. After putting everything on the plate, I drizzled olive oil and sprinkled salt and pepper over all of it. Letting the dish sit for a while allows the flavors to blend. Clicking on the above link will show that I very closely followed Ina's recipe. Bobby Flay has an interesting dressing to put on top of the tomatoes and mozzarella that I might try next.
I also liked this recipe from What's Cooking America? - the introduction was very interesting to me.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Lunch by the Pool

I had a friend over for lunch by the pool. Going through the options in my mind, I decided to make chicken salad. I had some fresh dill on the front porch begging to be used. The basis for my salad was the tuna salad recipe my husband told me about, and that I have been making for the past ten years or so. Lunch turned out really well. My friend brought a pasta salad that was very good. She used tri colored pasta, feta cheese, tomato, among other things to make an appealing summer dish.

It was a beautiful day; it started out kind of rainy, but ended up nice and warm. Sitting outside eating in the sunshine was very relaxing, and something I look forward to doing each year.

Dilled Chicken Salad

2 boneless chicken breasts
2 boneless chicken thighs
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp Italian seasoning
kosher salt - to taste
freshly ground pepper - to taste
2 tsp celery seed
mayonaise -enough to coat salad
4 eggs hard boiled
2 tbsp fresh dill chopped
1/2 cup clelery chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp chopped chives - more for garnish
Leaf lettuce - for garnish
Tomatoes - sliced
Fresh bread - I used sliced Italian
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat chicken in olive oil and Italian seasoning. (I mix together in a bowl.) Put chicken on a cookie sheet and cook for 10-15 minutes or until done. Remove from oven and let chicken cool - tear apart with a fork and put in large bowl.

Combine with rest of indredients except chives for garnish and let chill for 1 hour. Check seasonings and add salt and pepper if needed. Serve on bed of lettuce with fresh chives for garnish. Serves four.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Pasta Creation

I really enjoy watching food tv. In fact today, I was watching Tyler's Ultimate and saw him make what looks like a fabulous pasta dish. I thought to myself, "Hey, I can run real fast to the store and make this dish - Hubby would love it. Then I stopped myself.....why do I have to go to the store? Can't I make my own version of this recipe with ingredients that I already have on hand? I can, I can do this. So I set off to search the fridge, freezer, and pantry and guess what I found??

Sausage, shrimp, spinach, garlic, white wine, thyme (from my porch), parsley, and other items. More than enough to make my own fabulous pasta dish. Just to let you know, it was the little sausage meatballs that really got me thinking.
1 lb shimp - peeled and deveined
2 tsp Italilan seasoning
Kosher salt
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
4 tbsp olive oil
2 lbs sausage made into bite size balls
4 cloves garlic - minced
1 cup chicken broth
1 lb pasta - your choice - I like the short pasta athat can hold the sauce and flavor
1 cup white wine - whatever you like to drink
2 ladles pasta water
2 cups spinach
1/2 cup parmesean cheese -split
medium handful parsley chopped

Peel and devein shrimp. Put in bowl, mix with 1 tbsp olive oil and ital seasoning. Add small amount of salt and pepper, combine and let sit.

Heat olive oil in large skillet - add sausage meatballs and brown on all sides. Add garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add chicken stock and thyme, reduce heat and simmer until sausage is done.

While pasta is cooking, add shrimp to sausage and chicken stock. Let cook until almost done. Add wine, reduce by 1/3. When pasta is done, add 2 ladles of pasta water to sauce mixture along with spinach. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low - spinach will wilt.

Combine pasta with sauce, add 1/2 parsley, 1/2 parmesean cheese, and combine. Top with rest of cheese and parsley. Serve immediatly. Serves 4.

There it is, my version of Tyler's pasta. I will be making Tyler's pasta soon, and I can't wait to compare the two.

Eggs on Sunday

Eggs on Sunday is a blog I enjoy reading. Not only does the author make what looks like fabulous dishes, she also takes great pictures.

One particular post stood out for me. Strawberry Lemon Bars for a good cause. In this post, she talks about being diagnosed with cancer two years ago and how it affected her life. The reason for this revelation is the diagnosis (recurrance) of cancer for one of her fellow bloggers. She talks about how the blogging community is rallying around Bri - the cancer patient and holding a food photography event in her honor sponsored by jugalbandi called Click. Please go check it out.

Cancer affects everyone in some way or another and if we can help someone, then that is a very good thing. My heart goes out to Bri in her struggle, and to all those others who are fighting the same fight.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Homey Food at the Cozy Corner

Ok, I admit it, I really like Guy's show, Diners, Drive ins, and Dives. Being the cool guy that he is, Guy did a show featuring BBQ joints in Memphis, the town we were to spend a few days in. With pen in hand, I eagarly watched and jotted down all the places Guy went to during the episode. We chose two of them for this trip. One place we went to was Marlowe's. That restaurant is located near Graceland. Cozy Corner, on the other hand, is on North Parkway.

When I was little, my dad used to make me fried bologna sandwiches. It wasn't until I watched this episode of Diners, Drive ins, and Dives, that I learned someone else actually made them too. Cozy Corner is celbrating 30 years in business. It was started by a couple, Desiree and Raymond. Raymond passed away five years ago and Desiree runs the restaurant today.

It is a simple place - nothing pretentious, just good food and nice people. I of course had the bologna sandwich, while Steve had the sausage sandwich. Each was covered in bbq sauce and served with cole slaw on the sandwich. A very interesting twist on a sandwich. For our side dish, we chose bbq spagetti. While very different from Marlowe's, the spagetti was very good. There wasn't any meat in it, but the sauce was very good. It had a bite to it that Marlowe's didn't have. I really enjoyed it.
The restaurant is very simple. There are no waiters or waitresses; orders are taken at the counter. Customers get a number and get their food when their number is called. It is a very casual atmoshpere, and the food is prepared simply without any pretention.

The sandwich was great! It was almost lilke being a kid again. The bologna was grilled on a flattop with bbq sauce. Many napkins were used by both my husband and me. We both thoroughly enjoyed the meal very much and the staff was very friendly and appreciative of our business. I would go back again.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sun Studio and Rendezvous Restaurant

Our last full day in Memphis was great. We started with a peek at the Duck Palace on the Skyview of the Memphis Peabody. The ducks have a nice place to live and we got a terrific view of the city. An employee told me that in the spring and summer, people get married on the roof and have their receptions in the Skyview Lounge - a beautiful round ballroom on the top floor of the hotel. It was kind of like walking in the past.

After the rooftop, we went to Sun Studios, the birthplace of rock and roll. It was a fabulous tour, filled with interesting facts about the greats - Elvis, Johnny Cash, and the rest of the guys. We not only got to see some of the neat, almost prehistoric equipment that was used in the day, we also got to be in the actual studio where some of the great songs have been recorded. It is actually still a working studio, used at night for recording purposes. The picture of the microphone is the actual mic that was used by Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, and others. We were able to not only photograph it, but we were allowed to touch it. What a sense of history, what a neat historical treasure Memphis has. Being in the same room as some of the greatest singers of our time has to be one of the neatest things.

Later that evening we went to Rendezvous Restaurant, located in an alley across the street from the Peabody. Reccommended to us by a friend, we had been looking forward to this, our last dinner in Memphis. Laid back is what my friend called the place. We walked in, down the stairs and to the hostess desk. She asked us how many were in our party and we told her two. She then proceeded to tell us where we could go find a table. We were amazed that she didn't get up to seat us; that has never happened to us before.

Going to the table, we found our waiter sitting (perching) on one of those wooden high chairs that are really meant for babies, and the laid back scene didn't end there. I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't the paper plates and plastic cutlery. Since the menus double as placemats, there was no need for him to hurry to the table, which gave us plenty of time to look over the menu. There isn't much of a selection - it is a rib place after all. They do have chicken and brisket, ham sandwiches, and some salads, but it is mainly a rib place and that is what they want you to eat. Rendezvous cooks their ribs over charcoal and uses a dry rub, which they put on at the end of the cooking process.

The ribs we ate were the most tender, most flavorful ribs we have ever had. Hubby had the full rack of ribs, while I ate the Lamb Riblits. They were prepared the same way and were also very flavorful, tender and juicy. We started with the bbq chicken nachos, a spicy variation on regular nachos. No bbq sauce was needed, even though there were two varities on the table - hot and mild.

While they don't share the secrets of their dry rub, one can order them from their web site, along with ribs and sauce. It is very expensive, but for those who crave them, it would be worth it to have them shipped out.

They make no bones about it, the main focus of Rendezvous is the food, and what wonderful food it is. One of my friends tells me that he starts smelling the ribs from Rendezvous as soon as he drives into Memphis. For us the restaurant ranks right up there, probably at the top of the charts for us in Memphis restaurants.

The Flying Fish Restaurant

Flying Fish was an interesting restaurant. Located very close to our hotel, it was reccommended highly to us by one of the bellmen at the hotel. Walking into the joint - it looks like a joint. Little tables, screen doors, checkered tablecloths, fish hanging everywhere - we knew this was a place for locals. On the wall to our left as we walked in we noticed tons of fish; it was actually the Billy Bass Adoption Center. You all remember those tacky talking fish. Flying Fish found a great place for them. All one has to do is bring Billy into the restaurant, and Flying Fish will give you some food in payment for Billy.

There are no waiters, we just ordered at the counter. I ordered crab legs and crawfish chowder, and my husband ordered grilled salmon - you can see hubby's dinner on the website. He loved his food - even the zuccini. Neither of us like zuccini, but grilled and lightly seasoned was to us, a wonderful way to cook vegetables. We will certainly try this at home. My crab legs were seasoned almost too well. Not only were they very salty, they were also over cooked. I tried to substitute spinach for the potatoes and corn but I was told that the ear of corn and potatoes were just a garnish and that I couldn't substitute. I was somewhat disappointed. My lesson, I guess, would be to order the specialty of the house or something more closely resembeling that.

On the other hand I ordered the special of the day - Crawfish chowder - and wasn't that impressed. I can't really pinpoint what was wrong with it, there were just other soups that I have liked a lot better. There were lots of veggies and the base was spicy, but I didn't find all that much crawfish in my cup. If I were to go back - and I would, I would just have to try something different.

Overall, it was a nice meal. Most of our meals in Memphis have been great. What I really liked about this place is that it is a local restaurant. We just love seeing the "real" town -not always the places that are geared toward the tourists.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Lunch with Elvis

On Wednesday we went to see Elvis' house and ate at Marlowe's, a bbq place by Graceland. Complete with pink limos, stepping into Marlowe's was like stepping into the past. It is amazing to me how one person, dead at that, can have so much influence in one city. Famous for the bbq, Marlowe's is also a homage to the King. Pictures of Elvis adorn the walls, the tables, and even the airwaves - they pipe in the Elvis channel from Sirius radio. That station, by the way, is housed at Graceland. It is all Elvis all the time.

The food was very good. I am on a fried pickle kick, I guess. I ordered some here as well. I really don't know which pickle was better, Marlowe's or Rum Boogies. I think Marlowe's pickles had a cornmeal crust and the dip was a horseradish base with, I think, Paprika. My husband ate the brisket, while I chose the bbq spagetti. The pork in my dish was so tender and there was so much meat - I have never seen so much meat in a sauce. I really enjoyed this bbq sauce, while my husband still thought it was a bit sweet. All in all, we ate way too much food once again.

Graceland was a different place. Nothing has been done to it since Elvis died. The 1930's exterior doesn't tell the story at all. It is a loud; colorful; glitzy; and to me, not homey place. The grounds, on the other hand, were spectacular. The house sits on 13 peaceful acres and has several out buildings. Glad that I went, I have no real desire to go back. I was somewhat amazed by the commercialism of one person. I t is almost like he is still alive - people are making money because of his fame now just like they did when he was alive.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Memphis Night One

For our first night in Memphis, we went to Rum Boogies on Beale Street. I had their gator gumbo, hubby had the red beans and rice, and we split the app sampler - smoked chicken wings, smoked keilbosa sausage, fried pickles, chicken fingers, and bbq nachos. My favorite part of the sampler were the pickles and the sausage. The sauce on the wings was ketchup based - not my favorite. The chicken fingers were very good but large. My gumbo was terrific. It was a roux based gumbo with sausage, chicken, gator and shrimp. There was quite a bit of spice which made for a great flavor. I just love a good gumbo. The fried pickles were fabulous. I have only had them one other time and I wasn't very impressed. This time, however, they were great.

After dinner we walked around and ended up back at Rum Boogies to listen to the band, Elmo and the Shades. They were great. Playing a mix of blues and rock, they were thoroughly entertaining.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Tacos Carne Asada

I have been out of town for the past few days, but I am back and cooking for my family again. Today, we made tacos carne asada. I used two different recipes to create dinner and used ingredients from the fridge and pantry for toppings. I used Tyler Florence's recipe for the marinade and Michael Chiarello's recipe for the type of steak. What follows is my version.

Tacos Carne Asada
2 pounds boneless beef chuck sliced into 1/4 inch pieces.
10 ten inch flour tortillas, warmed up
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapano, minced
1 large handful fresh cilantro finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 limes juiced
1 orange juiced
2 tablespoons white vinager
1/2 cup olive oil
In a mortar and pestle or bowl, mash together the garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, salt and pepper to make a paste. Put the paste in a glass jar or plastic container. Add the lime jice, orange juice, vinegar, and oil. Shake it up really well to combine. Pour over meat in plastic bag and let marinate for 1-8 hours.

Preheat grill to medium high heat and grill steak pieces until done to your likeness. Warm up tortillas; add taco meat and toppings. Eat and enjoy!

1 tomato - small to medium dice
3/4 cup sliced black olives
1/2 head chopped leaf lettuce
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
jalapenos sliced

Dinner was very good - We ate out by the pool. The night was a little breezy, but it was just so peaceful sitting out there with my family. It makes me realize just how blessed I am.