Queen Bee Eats for a Day

Lunch at Terroni in L.A. February 26, 2009

Filed under: Restaurants — queenbeeeatsforaday @ 4:23 pm
Tags: , ,

Outside view of Terroni, Los Angeles

Outside view of Terroni, Los Angeles

One of our days of adventure on our Los Angeles honeymoon in November 2008 brought us to Terroni, a southern Italian restaurant on Beverly Boulevard.  We hadn’t planned on eating there, it just sort of happened as we were in the mood to eat something delicious after spending much of the morning at the La Brea Tar Pits.

We drove around the La Brea area, looking for a place that seemed like we’d want to stop in…we had a few ideas, but we were looking for both atmosphere and yummm…Terroni seemed like a good place with its tasteful awning and outside seating.

We went in thinking there might be a wait, but there wasn’t for a table for two…we started things off with a Bellini, made in an unusual way – with pear juice instead of peach puree (they were out and the bartender suggested this alternative…) It was refreshing and the color matched the day.

My sweetie opted for a simple Coke, since he was likely the one to drive us back to Irvine.  The soda came in an old-time Coke bottle, which added to the fun of the day.

Inside Terroni

Inside Terroni

Terroni Menu

Terroni Menu

Knowing that my sweetie doesn’t like to adventure that deeply into food, we opted for something we knew we would both enjoy – pizzas.  The pizzas at Terroni are meant for one person, but two can easily share.  (We had leftovers which HHB and her hubby snacked on later that night.)

We ordered the Margherita Pizza and the Affitisciuta Pizza.  Both were quite nice.

Foreground -Affitisciuta Pizza, Background - Margherita Pizza

Foreground -Affitisciuta Pizza, Background - Margherita Pizza

The Margherita Pizza is pretty basic – tomato, fresh basil, mozzarella, sauce.  It was our safe option but a good option.

The Affitisciuta Pizza came with tomato, mozzarella, smoked scarmoza cheese, and homemade spicy Italian sausage.  It was quite nice.

The overall atmosphere of Terroni was fun, and albeit a little hipster, the food was acceptable.  The sauce on the pizza was a little boring for our taste, but there was nothing wrong with it.  Perhaps with the flavorful sausage, too much flavor in the sauce would overpower it.

We would definitely try it again.  You should stop by if you are ever in the neighborhood and let us know what you think.

Terroni Kitchen and Grocer area

Terroni Kitchen and Grocer area


Some More Info about Terroni, should you wish to visit:

  • Located at 7605 Beverly Boulevard at Curson Avenue
  • Indoor and outdoor seating available
  • Metered parking on the street or valet
  • 11-10 on Sun-Thurs/11-11 on Fri-Sat
  • Restaurant doesn’t take reservations
  • In-house grocer available
 

Mommy, Can We Eat Dolphin? February 25, 2009

Filed under: Food Adventures — queenbeeeatsforaday @ 2:09 am
Tags: ,

We got an email today from Emily and Meya. Meya is a fabulous almost-three-year-old who is quite a character and loves, loves, loves to eat, eat, eat. She was QB’s flower girl. She’s HHB’s little pal. Emily is her mommy and you’ll be seeing a recipe or two from her on this blog sooner or later, too!

Dear QB and HHB,

Okay walking in Publix today and pass the seafood counter. You guys know she loves to eat all seafood – clams, fish, shrimp, oysters…

So she says “Mommy you eat crabs?”
I say, “yes” and then she says, “Mommy we can eat dolphin?” dolphin
I laugh and say, “no.” (She doesn’t mean Mahi Mahi).
Then she laughs and says “Oh it too spicy?”

Such a funny girl. Don’t think she is going to be one of those who can’t eat a burger once they find out it’s made of a cow.

-E

Clearly, little Miss Meya is a girl after our own hearts. In fact, for Christmas she got her very own kitchen play set this year. Very exciting!

 

Get Some Burgers, Fries, and Shakes April 14th February 24, 2009

Filed under: Cookbooks — queenbeeeatsforaday @ 5:44 pm
Tags: , ,
Bobby Flay's Buergers, Fries, and Shakes

Image courtesy of Crown Publishing Group; barnesandnoble.com

I just want to make a quick announcement that Bobby Flay’s newest cookbook, Bobby Flay’s Burgers, Fries, and Shakes, is due for release on 14 April 2009.

In the words of HaleyHoneyBee, I am uber-excited for this cookbook (Even though I love food and cooking, I usually don’t get so excited about such news, but this time I am!!)

My sweetie and I both love a good burger (he could live on them, I promise you!) And who doesn’t love fries and shakes?!

Looks like you can pre-order the book from Barnes and Noble. I think I might do just that.

XOXO
QB

 

Valentine’s Day Sides – Braised Swiss Chard February 23, 2009

swiss-chard

This is one of the side dishes served up with our Valentine’s Day dinner.

It is my own version of a Dave Lieberman (of Good Deal fame on the Food Network) recipe in which he used a couple of different types of greens and ingredients.  Needless to say, this was the least popular part of the fabulous meal, but it definitely has potential and I will be playing around with it quite a bit.

If you’re feeling brave, give it a go and let us know how it turned out.

Braised Swiss Chard – The Recipe

What You’ll Need:

· 1 tbsp olive oil

· ¼ pound bacon slices, roughly chopped

· 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

· ½ cup chicken stock

· Just under 2 ounces cider vinegar

· 1 tsp sugar

· 1 bunch red Swiss chard, ribs removed

· Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

What to Do:

Heat the bacon and oil in a large pot over high heat until the bacon is well browned. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Deglaze the mixture with the chicken stock and vinegar.

Stir in the sugar and add the Swiss chard. Toss to coat the partially cover the pot. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Tips and Tricks

Do not burn the garlic otherwise you will need to start over. The garlic should become tender, not brown. (Singed garlic will ruin the flavor of the oil and bacon.)

When deglazing, be sure to use your wooden spoon to incorporate all the drippings stuck to the bottom of the pot.

Make sure the Swiss chard is dry before adding it to the pot. If it is wet, you may splatter oil and get burned.

You may want to roughly chop the Swiss chard before cooking though this is optional.

The Outcome

The final outcome of this dish was much different than what I had expected. My sweetie didn’t love this dish (though he doesn’t really love Swiss chard but eats it now that I have learned of its really healthful benefits) but I saw the potential in it. I will definitely have to play around with it again, as it was a variation of another recipe I had found (which included collard greens and mustard greens as well).

Also, you may want to use the ingredient measurements as suggestions rather than a strict guide, as the liquid is just to add a touch of flavor and to cook the greens down. You may like the overall dish less sweet (therefore use less cider vinegar and sugar) or just the way it is.

Good luck!

 

Wine and Wind February 22, 2009

My sweetie and I got a joint email from the other bee and hubby today about a day trip they recently took to Temecula wine country, just outside of Orange County, California.  It’s a really wonderful place and I wanted to share the email…it’s funny and made us wish we were there again, too.

rowofglasses

At Callaway Winery

Dear QB and Sweetie,

The subject [title] is meant to say wine and wind (as in a windy road, but I never thought about “wind” – as in “to wind a string” and “wind” – as in “blowing air” being spelled the same). We digress.

We went back to Temecula wine country Saturday to pick up our “wine club” bottles – it was better than having them all shipped.  Also, we are trying to plan little day trips in the convertible.

[When we were there on our honeymoon, we purchased a few bottles from each winery we visited, having the other bee couple join the wine clubs, since they live nearby and can take advantage, so that we all got better rates on the tastings and purchases for the day. – QB]

sammelpat-ponte

At Ponte Winery

We had an early start, getting there by 11 am (we felt this was late enough to begin drinking…)

We began at Wiens, which we think may be our favorite so far.  There was only one other car in the parking lot so we figured the place was deserted, but were shocked to walk in and find 40+ people in the tasting room.   As members they pointed the way to the back room, where we found the other car owners. The crowd was part of a tour around the area, not drunk drivers clearly like the rest of us.

[Disclaimer – they did not drive drunk.  The other bee’s husband was a responsible designated driver. – QB]

At Ponte Winery

At Ponte Winery

Down to business, *tickets, 8 tastes, picked up our club bottles, plus one extra that I just plain liked (actually when putting them away I realized I ALWAYS buy the same bottle – at least I’m consistent – LOL).

Moving on…went to Ponte, this place was obviously crowded outside and in.  Again, we took advantage of our membership going into the private tasting room. There were a good number of people in this smaller room too, but not so so many, so the servers didn’t bother with tickets, just poured around glasses.  And opened bottles, we tasted, showed us what comes in the club package (cab franc and bubbly rose), so we tasted that, they found a reserve of 2005 Zin [Zinfandel] magnums, so we all tasted that, she showed us an aerating pourer, and we tasted wine with that, and since I super liked the bubbly rose I compared it to another bubbly and then tasted the rose again….I think you guys can see where this is going.

Stumbling out of Ponte, we made our way (car top down shades on) over to Callaway. Finally we sat down for a bite to eat at Meritage. We are loving that restaurant, we always want to try another one, but for the 3rd time have had a top notch meal.

[We all ate at this wonderful restaurant together when we were out for the honeymoon.  A post soon to come. – QB]

15477467

Ortega Highway

Realizing that I was beyond tipsy, we decided to drive home.  But we had planned to take a more scenic drive home this trip – the freeway is always congested and puts a damper on the day. The drive was through HWY 74 (a.k.a Ortega Hwy, v. popular with the bikers) which takes us through some National Forests (and apparently past Hells Kitchen Restaurant) – and up and over the Hills instead of around them like we drove with you.  How can I describe – minimal shoulders, sharp turns, Patrick downshifting, even though we are in an automatic just so the Bug could slow down without riding the bakes…think James Dean driving through the Hollywood Hills – only my hubby playing the role of J.D. and the ending wasn’t tragic – but was nearly vomitous. The drive was super beautiful although way windy (again I am referring to winding – not breezy).

Note for next time: take the scenic drive there NOT back.

Missed the experience without you guys.

XOX,
HHB and Hubby

 

Valentine’s Day Sides – Parslied Potatoes February 21, 2009

Filed under: Cooking Adventures,Recipes & How-Tos — queenbeeeatsforaday @ 4:14 pm
Tags: ,
parsley-potatoes

Parslied Potatoes

When I was growing up, my mother would often make this dish.  I never really loved it until recently.  My sweetie really, really, REALLY loves mashed potatoes, but one can make mashed potatoes (any recipe) so many times.

These parslied, or parsley potatoes, are a nice alternative – simple, refreshing, and tasty.

The Recipe

(Courtesy of QB’s mom)

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 pound red potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ½ stick butter
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

What to Do:

Place the potatoes in a large sauce pan with enough cold water to cover them.  Add the salt and bring to a boil.  Boil the potatoes until they are just tender, about 15 minutes.  Drain.

Melt the butter in a separate pot.  Add parsley, salt and pepper (to taste), and bring to a boil.  Add the butter mixture to the potatoes and toss to coat.

Tips and Tricks

  • It’s a good idea to put the drained potatoes back into the hot pot so any extra moisture can be absorbed.
  • You can use a microwave to make the butter and parsley mixture if you are short on time.
  • If you don’t have fresh parsley, dried parsley is OK. Just use a little less. Remember, dried herbs are stronger than fresh.
  • Add garlic for an extra kick.

The Outcome

These potatoes were a great, simple accompaniment to the filet mignon with Roquefort sauce, braised Swiss chard, and sauteed snap peas.  I chose this recipe not only for its simplicity, but because my sweetie had also requested them.

XOXO
QB


 

Valentine’s Day Main Course – Filet Mignon with Roquefort Sauce February 20, 2009

The steaks, ah yes, the steaks; the main course of our Valentine’s Day meal.  The best place to start.

The Back Story

They were directly inspired by “Steak and Sides” a Barefoot Contessa episode that we caught one lazy weekend maybe a month ago.  As a rule, I am not a steak fan (I’ll enjoy one every now and then), but my sweetie really is.  He’s a real beef man – burgers, steaks, whatever.

In the episode Ina made a couple of steaks, sautéed mushrooms, and onion rings.  The episode really made me drool.  My sweetie heard what she was talking about from the other end of the apartment and joined me on the sofa to watch and then turned to me and said, “You have to make that steak someday soon!”

As Valentine’s Day approached we agreed that we would skip the gifts this year since we have been investing in new furniture, apartment redecoration, and paying off some debt, we tried to think of something special to do.  And then it hit me – I’d make a great dinner!  (After all, for the wedding we received kitchen gadgets and prep tools galore – not to mention some really awesome Le Creuset pans!)

The Prep

filet-mignon-prep-cu

Obviously, some preparation had to go into making this dish and you may not have all the ingredients on hand, so read the recipe at the end of this post carefully before you begin.

A few days before Valentine’s I ordered (yes, ordered – we have most of our groceries delivered to us in NYC) some of the staples we had run low on and two beautiful hand-cut filet mignon, about 2.5″ thick and 10 ounces a piece.  A pleasant surprise was that the market had them on special for Valentine’s Day, which was perfect!

On the morning of Valentine’s Day, we headed out to Dean & Deluca to pick up the rest of what we would need – the Roquefort, the fleur de sel, and the chives.  My sweetie was so excited about the upcoming meal that he happily visited the store with me, crowded as it was, and smiled the whole time.  He even carried the basket!  (He normally does…)

It was turning out to be a lovely day.

The Steak Recipe (Courtesy of Barefoot Contessa, “Steak and Sides,” Ina Garten, 2008)

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 (10-ounce) filet mignon
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon fleur de sel
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely cracked black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, optional
  • Roquefort Chive Sauce, recipe follows

What to Do:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat a large, well-seasoned cast iron skillet over high heat until very hot, 5 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, pat the steaks dry with a paper towel and brush them lightly with vegetable oil. Combine the fleur de sel and cracked pepper on a plate and roll the steaks in the mixture, pressing lightly to evenly coat all sides.

When the skillet is ready, add the steaks and sear them evenly on all sides for about 2 minutes per side, for a total of 10 minutes.

Top each steak with a tablespoon of butter, if using, and place the skillet in the oven. Cook the steaks until they reach 120 degrees F for rare or 125 degrees F for medium-rare on an instant-read thermometer. (To test the steaks, insert the thermometer sideways to be sure you’re actually testing the middle of the steak.)

Remove the steaks to a serving platter, cover tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes. Serve hot with Roquefort Chive Sauce on the side.

The Roquefort Chive Sauce Recipe (Courtesy of Barefoot Contessa, “Steak and Sides,” Ina Garten, 2008)

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 ounces French Roquefort cheese, crumbled (4 ounces with rind)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

What to Do:

Bring the heavy cream to a boil in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook at a low boil, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has become thick and creamy, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the cheese, salt, pepper and chives and whisk rapidly until the cheese melts.

The sauce recipe yields 4 servings.

Tips and Tricks

  • It’s a good idea to let the filet mignon reach room temperature, or close to it, before placing in the pan.
  • Use a touch less fleur de sel if you are sensitive to salty foods.
  • Use a coffee grinder to crack the whole pepper corns.
  • If you like your steak more well-done, cook in the skillet for about a minute longer on each side, keep in oven a touch longer.
  • You can use half-and-half in place of heavy cream for a lighter sauce, or a combination of heavy cream and half-and-half.
  • If you don’t know what to do with the Roquefort sauce leftovers, cut the recipe in half – you’ll have plenty.

The Outcome

The steaks came out beautifully.  My sweetie wants them again immediately.  I must say that I had my reservations about making this meal, but it was a delight – the sauce was the perfect compliment to the fleur de sel and cracked pepper crust.  We will definitely be enjoying this again – hopefully with some dinner guests the next time around!

dinner-cu-2

Anyone want to come over?

XOXO
QB

 

Valentine’s Day Dinner February 19, 2009

Filed under: Cooking Adventures,Food Holidays — queenbeeeatsforaday @ 2:30 pm
Tags: , , ,

dinner-cuThis past Valentine’s Day actually marked my sweetie’s and my very first V-Day as a married couple!  We’ve been going through an apartment reorganization, which we started with the kitchen and partly inspired this blog.  This also partly explains why I have not posted so frequently lately.  I digress.  So, getting back to the point…

Our first V-Day married was one of the best yet!  It was a really food-fabulous day.

It started with a light lunch at Lombardi’s (“the best pizza on the planet!”) in Little Italy.  We had our usually, a pepperoni pizza, which is my sweetie’s favorite – we will have a whole post on that later.

Then we headed over to Dean & Deluca’s flagship store on the corner of Prince and Broadway (the other bee’s favorite place in SoHo!) to pick up some last-minute ingredients for the special dinner I was planning to make (our list included Roquefort, Black Forest bacon, a baguette, chives, fleur de sel, and dessert).

The menu would include:

  • 2003 Winemaker’s Reserve Calloway Sangiovese (brought home from our honeymoon in California)
  • A baguette (for snacking with the extra Roquefort cheese and wine as I cooked)
  • Restaurant style filet mignon with Roquefort sauce
  • Braised Swiss chard with bacon
  • Sautéed snap peas
  • Parslied potatoes

The dinner was fabulous!  Valentine’s Day was last weekend and still five days later my sweetie hasn’t stopped talking about it.

I’ll be posting some pictures, preparation, and recipes in the next few days.  I just wanted to whet your appetites.

XOXO
QB

 

Clouds of White and Cranberries February 4, 2009

sunset-cover-dec08-m

Returning home from a trip just in time for the holidays, my honey saw a cake on the cover of a magazine, and left it on the table with a note – “lets make this!”.

I am, admittedly, a bit of a holiday grinch – but not when it comes to what we eat. And the theory that must be followed is this: A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch.  ~James Beard

I begin there, and follow up with the description…cranberry obsession snow cake. Layers of pure white cake brushed with creme de cacao, filled with a cranberry jam, iced with white chocolate buttercream,  and topped with shaved white chocolate. It was a divine as it sounds. And pretty pretty pretty.

I made a bit of a modification, however. I boiled down the cranberry sauce until the cranberries were all popped, instead of adding in the additional whole/raw berries. This left out the uber tartness. But I promise it wasn’t too sweet.

img_6487
img_6479 And the cake was a hit! My mother-in-law ate it for breakfast and snack the following days. Here she is posing with the cake (the grin is pure excitement for the sweet goodness).

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The dogs begged for crumbs to drop (ok the dogs always beg for crumbs to drop, but this pic is really

img_6502

from the night we first cut into it, can’t you just see his effort).

Recipe from Sunset, December 2008

Time: 2 1/4 hours, plus cooling time.

Bakers’ tip: To make a pure white cake, use your fingers to rub off the browned surface of each layer before assembling.

Ingredients
  • Cake
  • 10  ounce  unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 3 1/2  cups  cake flour
  • 4  teaspoons  baking powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 2 1/4  cups  granulated sugar
  • 7  large egg whites, at room temperature
  • Cranberry filling
  • 3 3/4  cups  cranberries, divided
  • 3/4  cup  granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2  cups  cranberry or cherry preserves
  • Buttercream
  • 5  large egg whites, at room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/4  cups  granulated sugar
  • 12  ounces  white chocolate (bars or a block, not chips), divided
  • 1  pound  unsalted butter, cut into pieces and at room temperature
  • Assembly
  • 1/2  cup  colorless liqueur such as crème de cacao or kirsch
  • About 2 tbsp. powdered sugar
Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Butter two 9-in. cake pans; set aside.

2. Make cake: In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together on low speed until light and fluffy. Add egg whites in 3 batches, scraping inside of bowl as needed. Beat in flour mixture in 5 batches, adding 1/4 cup water after each addition (you will begin and end with flour); make sure flour is completely blended each time before adding water. Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly. Smooth tops with a spatula.

3. Bake until center of cake feels firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool cakes completely in pans on a rack.

4. Meanwhile, make cranberry filling: Combine 3 cups cranberries, the sugar, preserves, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until cranberries pop and preserves melt, 5 to 10 minutes. Add remaining 3/4 cup cranberries, stir to combine, and remove from heat. Transfer to a small bowl and chill until ready to assemble cake.

5. Make buttercream: Fill a 2-qt. pan with about 1 in. water and bring to a simmer over low heat. Put egg whites, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk to combine. Place bowl over hot water, making sure bottom of bowl isn’t touching water, and heat whites, whisking constantly, until hot to the touch, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove pan and bowl from heat.

6. Put bowl of warm whites on the mixer and whisk on high speed until tripled in volume and side of bowl is cool to the touch, about 10 minutes.

7. Meanwhile, chop 4 oz. white chocolate, put in a medium metal mixing bowl, and set in same pan of warm water off the heat to melt slowly, stirring occasionally. Remove bowl from pan and let cool to room temperature.

8. Reduce mixer speed to low and whisk butter into whites, about 1/4 cup at a time, until incorporated. Continue to whisk on low speed until smooth and fluffy, about 10 minutes (mixture may look grainy at some point but will come together).

9. With a rubber spatula, gently fold melted chocolate into buttercream until completely combined.

10. Assemble: Rub tops of both cakes gently with your hands to remove browned outer surface, then carefully invert cakes and rub undersides so that cakes are completely white. Place 1 cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate, top side up. Using a pastry brush, brush top with half the liqueur. Spread about 1 1/2 cups cranberry mixture over layer with a metal spatula, leaving a 1/2-in. empty border around edge. Place second cake layer on top, flattest side down, and brush with remaining liqueur. Spread top and sides of cake with a thin layer of buttercream to seal in crumbs and chill 30 minutes. Cover with remaining buttercream, starting with the sides and covering the top last.

11. Use the palm of your hand to warm remaining chocolate. Shave smooth side of chocolate bar with a vegetable peeler to make thin curls; scatter curls over cake’s top. Sift powdered sugar over cake. Serve with remaining cranberry mixture on the side.

Make ahead: Baked cake layers can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature or in the fridge up to 2 days ahead. Cranberry filling can be made up to 2 days ahead and chilled.