You Gonna Eat All That?

A fork in one hand, a pen in the other.

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Location: Virginia, United States

(Biscuit Girl)

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

4 X 8 Meme

My first meme! Sweetnicks tagged me and three other bloggers for this fun meme.

The 4x8 Meme:

Four Jobs I've Had in My Life:
1. Librarian and Branch Manager (current job)
2. Library Director (in a po-dunk hell hole of a town that I HATED and not mentioned in the four places I'’ve lived)
3. Substitute Teacher
4. Dishwasher

Four Movies I Could (and I do) Watch Over and Over:
1. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
2. National Lampoon'’s Christmas Vacation
3. Fools Rush In
4. My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Four Places I've Lived:
1. Alexandria, VA
2. Nashville, TN
3. Knoxville, TN
4. Levittown, NY

Four TV Shows I Love to Watch:
1. Desperate Housewives
2. Trading Spaces (or as my husband calls it, House Porn)
3. Anything on Food TV
4. Commander in Chief

Four Places I Have Been on Vacation:
1. Ireland
2. Montreal and Quebec City, Canada
3. Florida Keys
4. Pacific Northwest (on a cruise)

Four Websites I Visit Daily:
1. Smithsonian National Zoo'’s Panda Cam (to watch the baby Panda, Tai Shan)
2. The blogs listed on my blog
3. Yahoo Games (I'’m addicted to Mahjongg Solitaire)
4. Mental Floss -– Quiz of the Day

Four of My Favorite Foods:
1. Chocolate
2. Sushi
3. A big thick, juicy steak
4. Creme Brulee

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now:
1. A beach in Florida
2. On a cruise
3. Ireland
4. In front of a nice warm fire with my Biscuit Boy and Biscuit Pup

Four Tags People I'm Tagging to Continue this Meme:
1. Tasty Bytes
2. Soul Fusion Kitchen
3. Farm Girl Fare
4. Belly Timber


Virtual Recipe Club - Soup edition

Alysha at The Savory Notebook has come up with a pretty neat idea, a virtual recipe club. She's still toying with it being a weekly or a monthly. As she puts it, "I'm torn. I think I'll wait until the end of the week to see what the round-up looks like and then decide. A month seems too long, but perhaps a week isn't enough time. I'm not dead-set on either one, so let's just see what works best for everyone else."

I think a monthly event works well for me as long as it's the same time each month, I'll be able to remember it. But I'll be happy to join in even if it's weekly.

Her current theme is soups. And I just happen to have a recipe that I've recently tried and REALLY liked. It's called Ribollita (Tuscan Vegetable and Bread Soup). It was a goup effort soup made at work by all of the library staff. We selected a recipe and posted the ingredients in the staff kitchen. Everyone signs up to bring in at least one of the ingredients. I usually bring in my big soup pot.

Last month the soup selected was the Ribollita and we chose to make it on a Wednesday as most of the staff work on that day. Tuesday afternoon, ingredients began to fill up the fridge and on the big day, we made soup.

The best part is the aroma. It fills up the entire building. Our library is has a homey feel to it as it is, but when you fill it with the aroma of good food, it's like heaven. Library patrons come in sniffing and asking what smells so good. When we tell them it's staff soup day, they want to be made staff just for the day. Hehe. We've even had them ask for the recipe.

I didn't take picures because 1) I didn't know at the time that I'd be blogging about it and, 2) nobody at work knows I have this blog! I've kept it my little secret. It's almost slipped out once or twice and I know that sooner or later someone's gonna find out. Let's hope it's later. I don't mind non-coworker friends or family reading it but felt I needed to keep it out of my work life. Does that sound strange?

Anyway, on to the recipe.
Ribollita (Tuscan Vegetable and Bread Soup)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 fresh or dried bay leaf
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
2 cans (15 oz. each) small white beans (or cannellini beans)
6 cups chicken stock or broth
2 cups tomato sauce
3 cups stale chewy Italian bread, crust removed (tear bread into small chunks)
1 small white onion, finely chopped , for garnish
1 cup grated parmesan cheese, for garnish
Extra virgin olive oil, for garnish

Heat a large sauce pot over medium high heat. Add 2 tbsp. olive oil, garlic, onion, carrots, celery and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper and saute until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5-7 minutes. Add beans, chicken stock, and tomato sauce. Cover and bring to a boil. Remove lid and stir in bread chunks. Continue stirring. When soup becomes thick* and bread is distributed evenly, adjust seasonings. Remove the bay leaf.

Serve soup in shallow bowls and top with raw onion, generous sprinkle of parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.

*Some Ribollitas can be so thick the spoon will stand upright in the pot. Make yours as thick or as thin as you like by adding more bread or chicken stock.


Sunday, January 29, 2006

WDB #19

It's that time again, Weekend Dog Blogging #19. If you're a dog lover, head over to Sweetnicks and check out the parade of hounds from fellow bloggers.

This week I decided to use a picture of Java. He's my in-laws Boston Terrier and is a real sweet heart. Except when he is taking his afternoon nap. His pillow says it all......
But for those of us who know him, it's all a ruse. He'd snort, look at you and go right back to sleep. The only time he gets crazy is in the car. He goes from a Boston Terrier to a Boston Terrorist. He barks at EVERYTHING! If you drive under a bridge, he jumps up and tries to bite it. Passing cars......he lunges at them barking and slobbering. It's insane.

The only time we saw him behave calmly in the car was when he jumped from the passenger seat into Biscuit Boy's lap and stood up with his front paws on the steering wheel. He was serenely quiet for nearly five minutes. The only sound you heard was his panting and our tear-filled laughter. It was a true Kodak moment. I have the picture somewhere and when I find it, I'll post it.


Saturday, January 28, 2006

First Anniversary !

It was a year ago today that I started my blog. Hard to believe that an entire year's gone by already. Last year I first blogged about Pan Fried Dumplings and baking lots of cookies.

I haven't made those dumplings in a while and I don't know why? They're not all that hard to make and taste great!

And the cookies I made were for a co-worker who hosts Murder Mystery Programs in the library. Last January he debuted his newest one at our branch. Since the setting was a casino, I decided to make cookies in the shapes of card suits. They came out pretty good. And fast forward a year later and I find myself going from behind the scenes to being one of the characters in the next Murder Mystery program! How cool! It will be set in New Orleans (pre hurricane) and will be performed at another library in our system. I play the part of a lounge singer (thankfully I won't have to really sing). We'll even have freshly made Beignets, a Cafe Du Monde favorite. It should be a lot of fun.

And who knows what else will happen this year. There are some new restaurants we want to try and there are always new and interesting recipes out there. Two things I do know you will see more of this year are better pictures and more recipes.


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Gift of Giving Gone Too Far

Sometimes the gift of giving goes a bit too far. For example, last week Biscuit Boy brought home a cold from work. He was miserable. I did as any good spouse would do. I banished him to the guest room at night. None of those germs were going to attack me in the middle of the night, no sir.

But alas it was not enough. Last Friday night after I got home from work it started.....the congestion, the coughing the "aw, crap I'm getting this *^#%* cold" feeling coming on. And after seeing what Biscuit Boy went through all that week, I knew I was in deep doo-doo.

By Monday, I was down for the count. I had already plowed through two boxes of tissues and drank enough cranberry juice to float a battle ship. Chicken soup did nothing to help. This cold looked at bowl after bowl of that good ole Jewish penicillin and just laughed. Or was it me wheezing? Crap, now I'm wheezing...... my asthma was rearing it's ugly head. I haven't had any problems with it for so long that I didn't even bother keeping an inhaler around anymore. This was not good.

I finally went to the doctor today and he stocked me up on some of the good stuff, antibiotics, inhaler and codeine based cough medicine. That combined with some Tom Yum soup (or as I call it, Thai penicillin) and what will be five days of sick leave from work, I think I'll pull through.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Weekend Dog Blogging #18

It's that time again, Weekend Dog Blogging. A chance for us to show off our cute canine companions. Check out Sweetnicks tonight for a complete roundup.

Here is Biscuit Pup. We've had her for about 2 1/2 years now. She was a shelter dog. Can you believe someone would abandon such a sweet little dog? But rest assured, she's living the life of luxury now.

Biscuit Pup Bio:
Real name: Sophie
Favorite place to sit: Biscuit Boy's lap.
Second favorite place to sit: my lap.
Favorite thing to chase outside: squirrels
Only person she doesn't like: the mailman
Favorite treat: chewy's, Tiny T-Bones, and anything on our plates
Favorite place to sleep: in our bed, between us, head on a pillow, on her back with her front feet over the covers.


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Joe's Noodle House, Rockville, MD

We met up with two of our friends at Joe's last night. They live in the area and it's always a good excuse to see them. As I got to the table I over heard them talking excitedly about their wedding in May. Ah, young love. But as soon as Biscuit Boy and I were seated, the wedding plans were tossed to the back burner. Something much more important had just come up......dinner.

It's funny how you get known to your friends for certain things. Good personality, funny, smart, etc. For us it seems a lot of our friends see us as the ones to eat out with, the ones who know where the best good (and inexpsive) sushi place is (Kotobuki), where the best margaritas can be found (Andale), the tastiest bar menu deals for happy hour (Corduroy) and so on.

So our friends left the ordering in our hands. Wontons with Red Hot Sauce (W01) , Tender Bamboo Shoot Salad (A19), Pressed Bean Curd w/Hot Sauce (A11) , Fish Fillet over Vegetable-Szechuan Style (H20), String Beans - Szechuan Style without pork (F14) and Bitter Melon with Beef (T05).

First to come out were the Bamboo Shoot Salad and the Pressed Bean Curd.

The Bamboo Shoot Salad is a favorite of ours. Served cold, it's seasoned with sesame oil. A very simple, yet very tasty dish.
Biscuit rating: 4 biscuits

The Pressed Bean Curd is little 1/2 inch square cubes of pressed bean curd tossed with spicy chili sauce and topped with green onions. It's also served cold but there wasn't as much heat from the hot sauce as you'd expect. It was more of a cumulative heat that never got too intense but enough to let you know it was there.
Biscuit rating: 3 biscuits

Next out of the kitchen was the Bitter Melon with Beef and the Szechuan string beans.

We've never had this dish before and felt like trying something new. And after reading Barbara over at Tigers and Strawberries talk about bitter melon, I was curious.

I knew that it was called 'bitter' melon for a reason. But exactly how bitter?

Very. Kinda like biting into a piece of lemon peel with nothing but the pith hitting your taste buds. Call me puckered up. Or pithed off (as Biscuit Boy said).

It's definately an aquired taste. The sauce was good as was the beef. It was just the overwhelming bitterness of the melon that was hard to enjoy. It wasn't awful, just not something any of us cared for. And this is not my last time to try this. I'd be game to try it again somewhere else just to see.
Biscuit rating: unrated. (I need to do some more, uh-hum, scientific research on bitter melon before I can rate this dish)

The beans were good but not as spicy and intensely flavored as the ones we had a couple of weeks ago at Tempt Asian. But they were still good. When you dug down into the bottom of the dish, lurking in the suace were little bits of garlic or possibly shallot. There was a smattering of hot pepper but enough to give you that 'pow' of heat. It just sort of went 'poof' instead.
Biscuit rating: 3 1/2 biscuits (Tempt Asians would be 4 biscuits)

Last up were the Wontons and the Fish dishes.
The Wontons with Red Hot Sauce are anothe fav of ours. Better than the ones from Tempt Asian. Why? the flavors are much more balanced. They have the heat from the hot sauce but it doesn't overwhelm the wontons. You can taste ginger and scallion floating around in the mix too. And Joe's wontons are a little meatier than Tempt Asian's.
Biscuit rating: 4 1/2 biscuits (Tempt Asians: 3 biscuits)

Finally there is this wonderful bowlful of goodness we affectionatly refer to simply as H20. That's the number on the menu for this dish. Fish Fillet over Vegetable - Szechaun Style.
It comes to the table brimming of hot fragrant spciy broth. Nestled inside are chunks of fish and hunks of cabbage. Floating on the top are a sprinkle of green onion and a nice coating of spices that include hot pepper flakes and ground szechuan peppercorns.

The combination is a spicy, tongue numbing and intense. We never took home the left over broth and the waitress would look at us like we were crazy. Then one night we said sure, wrap it up. We added some fish to it the next night and heated it up. Oh, mama. No wonder they thought we were crazy. This stuff heats up so well that it's a sin not to take the left overs home. Biscuit Rating: 5 biscuits

Which is what we did last night. We wrapped up the left over H20 broth, the last few string beans and waddled out the door. Tomorrow night we will add some tofu to the broth, cook up some rice and feast again.

Over all biscuit rating: 4 biscuits.
Our tab for the evening which included the six dishes above (and one beer for Biscuit Boy): $42. Amazing, huh?

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Friday, January 13, 2006

100 King - Tapas in Old Town Alexandria


100 King – a tapas restaurant in Old Town Alexandria
100 King St
Alexandria, VA 22314


For years this building in Old Town Alexandria sat empty. It was a Mexican restaurant when we first moved here in 1998 but it closed abruptly a couple of years later. Now it’s reborn as 100 King, a trendy new tapas bar. It’s owned by the same family that owns the Lebanese Taverna restaurants here in the DC area. So our interest was piqued by this new venture since we both like Lebanese Taverna.
With nothing thawed out for dinner last night, we decided to go out. After trying to find a place we both wanted to go to, Biscuit Boy mentioned 100 King. Ah, that would be fun. So off we went to Old Town. And as my readers in the area know, half your drive time can be spent trying to find a parking space.

After driving around several blocks we just went up to the city’s parking garage located under the Town Square. It’s only $2.00 after 5 p.m. which is way less than any of the privately run garages charge. It was a nice night so the walk would be pleasant.
And before we knew it, we were standing in front of 100 King. That’s when my apprehension set it. After a quick glance at the menu, I thought that the prices were a bit higher than the other tapas restaurants we’ve tired (Jaleo, Zaytinya and Oyamel). But we wanted to give it a try so we walked in.
Atmosphere: Loud. As soon as you walk into the lobby in which you’re bathed in an array of colors from blue to green to red, you hear it, the thump, thump, thump of club music. You ask yourself, “Is this a restaurant or a night club?” And it only gets louder as you walk into the restaurant. Between the thumping club music and everyone talking it was very, very loud. The wood floors, bare walls and partially high ceilings didn’t help.
First impression: First impression upon walking in was that I felt very much out of place. The host looked us up and down as we walked in and asked for our reservation. When we said we didn’t have one, he thrust out his arm and with his hand waved us away from the front door around the corner where people were hanging their coats. How’s that for welcoming. The hostess walked by a couple of times and the look I got from her was weird. I couldn’t tell if she was wondering why we bothered to come in or if she was thinking ‘great the un-hip have arrived.’ In general it was a look that made me feel like I had dog poo on my shoe.

I also felt VERY under dressed. I was wearing what I had worn to work that day, Khaki pants, a white shirt and a nice button up sweater. While all the staff was chicly dressed in all black or white shirts and black pants. Many of the customers in the bar area were dressed in dark suits (men and women) or other very business-like attire. I wondered for a moment if we hadn’t walked in on some private corporate party.

The wait staff was very good. They were friendly and not overbearing. They did mix up our wine order which we didn’t realize until we got check. When the waiter asked Biscuit Boy if he wanted a second glass of wine, he brought out a glass of what I had ordered. The thing was that both our wines tasted very similar and he wondered if it was the right wine but didn’t want to make a fuss over it. His thoughts were confirmed when we got the check.

Which brings me to my next point, ordering wine at 100 King. The new trend seems to be half glasses of wine. This is new to me and for anyone else who is unaware of this trend it can be expensive. Your wine choices at 100 King are a three ounce glass (half glass), or a 6 ounce glass (Full glass) as well as offerings of half bottles and full bottles. When you order a glass of wine, the staff will assume a full glass and in a loud, dimly lit restaurant with a menu written on fairly small print, it’s easy to not realize the price right next to the wine description is for the half glass. You have to look further to the right for the full glass price. One wine I chose had $4.25 right next to it. And if you’re not paying attention you wouldn’t notice the price for a full glass further along to the right is $8.00. That can be add up to an expensive mistake.
Food: We ordered a total of five dishes.

TURKISH GREEN ZUCCHINI CAKE – three little cakes, each about 2” in diameter. Between a crust that tasted almost like potato were julienned green zucchini. The taste was fresh, and simple. A dab of the yogurt sauce served on the side add a little tang which was nice. On a scale of 1-5 biscuits: I give it 3½ biscuits.

GOAT CHEESE PIZZA – thick slabs of goat cheese on top of a pita, a few very thin grape tomato slices, a half dozen slivers of black olive, a shake or two of some spices and a sprig or basil. All you tasted was the thick pasty cheese. The pita was almost soggy except for areas not covered by the cheese. Biscuit rating: ½ biscuit

MOROCCAN MERGUEZ SAUSAGE - Served on a little pillow of mashed potatoes sat two pieces of sausage. Combined they were about the size of a thin hot dog but much tastier. Hints of fennel and caraway could be detected as we nibbled our way through this dish. The potatoes were smooth and creamy and added a nice texture to the sausage. Biscuit rating: 3 biscuits

STEAMED MEDITERRANEAN SAFFRON MUSSELS - Served in a broth of white wine, garlic and onions. A serving of about a dozen mussels in a slightly sweet broth. They were hot, fresh and plump. Very tasty (even if I had one that tasted a bit off).
Biscuit rating: 3 ½ biscuits

POLENTA SOUFFLÉ, mushrooms and blue cheese fondue (or at least that’s what the menu said). What we got was a polenta soufflé about 2 inches in diameter and about 1½ inches high sitting on a scant amount of thin slices of mushrooms with a beef demi glace. Not a bit of blue cheese to be found. It was still very tasty and probably my favorite of all the dishes we ordered. It was light and airy with the slight sweet flavor of the polenta. The mushrooms added some nice flavor but it was the demi glace that wowed me. Rich and bursting with flavor it complimented the polenta without overpowering it. Biscuit rating: 4 biscuits
Bottom line: Would I go there again? No.
The food was very good but it was very pricey for tapas. And when I go to a restaurant, my first impression should be a welcoming host or hostess not the snooty, look down upon the customer one we got here.
Biscuit rating: ½ biscuit

Prices for the small plates menu ranged from $6 to $15, a majority were $9.

Our check before tip: $75 With tip: $90

Monday, January 09, 2006

Thai Mango Salad

While I was at work on Saturday, Biscuit Boy went grocery shopping. We had nothing in the way of veggies and needed to restock. I got an e-mail from him saying he was home and had a surprise for me. Hmmm.....Biscuit Girl is intrigued. Was is something he bought at the store? Was it something I could blog about? I asked him what it was and he said I'd just have to wait until he picked me up at 5.

It's a good thing we were busy at the library because I completely forgot about this mysterious surprise. Biscuit Boy picked me up at 5 and pointed the car in the direction of our favorite sushi bar, Kotobuki. Yes, I know, we had a fridge full of freshly purchased food and what do we do? Go out to eat. But we had already planned on getting sushi the day before. The fresh veggies would be enough to get us through the week.

It was about halfway to Kotobuki that I remembered to ask about the surprise. Biscuit Boy asked me if I really wanted to know now or wait until we got home. Well, duh! Tell me now! He chuckled and said he bought green mango.
*crickets chirping*
I looked as surprised as I could. Green mango, huh? Oh, that's nice dear.

I guess he saw that I wasn't as pleased with this as he was so he said he was going to try to make his version of a salad we get at our favorite Thai place, Rabieng. Only theirs is made with papaya.

Ok, so my interest was piqued. After we got home from dinner (and one of these days I will remember to bring the camera to Kotobuki), Biscuit Boy began researching recipes. I've added his version below this post. And this is what it looked like. Thanks to his new mandolin slicer, the mango was sliced into nice little matchstick strips. It looked as good as what we've gotten in Rabeing. And the taste was great. Slightly tart from the green mango and lime juice; slighty spicy from the red chili. Yum. We each had a bowl with our dinner. None was left over but we will be making this again, soon. The only change would be the addition of some cilantro and shredded carrot and maybe some seafood like shrimp or scallops.

Thai Green Mango Salad*
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 large green mango, sliced into thin matchstick slices
1 Red Finger hot pepper, thinly sliced on an angle

(or other hot red pepper)

3 tbsp. Thai fish sauce

3 tbsp. lime juice

1 tbsp. rice vinegar

1 1/2 tbsp. sugar

1 small clove garlic, minced

6 lettuce leaves

2 tbsp. chopped roasted peanuts

Place the mango and shallot in a large bowl and mix together.

In a small bowl, mix the hot pepper, fish sauce, lime juice, vinegar, sugar and garlic. Mix until the sugar dissolves.

Pour the dressing over the mango mixture and blend, using your hands until well incorporated. Place in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

To serve, place a lettuce leaf on a plate or in a small bowl. Place a mound of salad in the lettuce leaf and sprinkle with peanuts.

*This is the recipe as originally made and seen in the pictures above. You could add the following if you like.

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup shredded carrot

12 small cooked and peeled shrimp

or 12 small cooked sea scallops (or both)

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Friday, January 06, 2006

Friday Night Splurge

I was off from work today so I had time to work on a nice dinner for tonight. On the menu: Mongolian Barbequed Veal Chops, Roasted Brussels Sprouts and freshly baked Tuscan Bread. Earlier this week I tried (unsuccessfully) to make a loaf of bread. I was inspired by Joe over at Culinary in the Desert. Everything was going fine until I had to transfer the risen dough from a towel onto the pizza stone in the oven. I won’t go into details but let’s just say that I was going to modify the recipe the next time I made it. No more raising the dough in a towel. That sucker was going to rise on a cookie sheet which will all get put into the oven.

today, I tried out the recipe with my revision and so far so good. The bread is baking in the oven as I type and the house smells wonderful. And no, it didn’t collapse.

The recipe for the veal chops came from an old Gourmet magazine that we were getting rid of at the library. We only have room to keep so many back issues of magazines so every January we have to clean out the oldest issues in order to make room for the new year. Magazines like Gourmet and Bon Appetit are usually kept for two years. Most of the recipes are usually online these days so keeping eons of issues isn’t needed.

So the kitchen table in the staff break room is now overflowing with 2004 issues of Gourmet, Cooking Light, Bon Appetit, and Southern Living. For a recipe hound like me, it’s like hitting the mother lode. Lunch is now spent with co-workers noses buried in old magazines. An occasional ooh is overheard and everyone pops their head up to see who it came from. Going through everyone’s mind are thoughts like: Have they found a recipe we might want? Have I looked at that issue yet? She is going to tell us what she found….isn’t she?

It on one such a lunch break that I found the recipe that is going to be tonight’s dinner. It jumped out at me with the title alone…..Mongolian Barbequed Veal Chops….. It sounded exotic, it had veal, it made me drool. As I ooh’d, heads popped up to see what I had discovered. I read aloud the name of the recipe. Heads went back into the magazines. Ugh.....I work with a bunch of veal haters. Yes, I know the controversy about veal, but come on guys, the recipe looks great……

The Brussels sprouts recipe came from a coworker who made them for Christmas. She said even her Brussels sprouts hating brother liked them. Good enough for me. So she told me the recipe which a scribbled on the back of the veal recipe.

Ah, time to check the bread……. Wait right here, I’ll be right back….

The bread turned out great! Nice and golden brown and has a good solid hollow thump when you tap on it. Now all I have to do is keep myself from cutting off a slab while it’s still hot and slathering it with butter. I’m gonna be good and wait until dinner. Aw, screw it, I’m weak and I want some bread.

The veal chops turned out nicely as well. The flavors were well balanced but I think that letting them marinate longer wouldn't have done them any harm. That would have let the marinade flavor the meat even deeper. But that's not to say we didn't like them. Biscuit Boy devoured his in no time flat and shared (somewhat reluctantly) a second one with me. You could definately taste sesame oil, garlic and ginger with the underlying flavors of the soy sauce, hoisin and Sriracha. This marinade would certainly go well with chicken, duck or any tender cut of beef.

The Brussels sprouts were slightly disappointing. They were dry and didn't pick up much of the flavors from the marinade. We still ate them (including Biscuit Pup who is quite fond of cabbage) but I'll definately change up the recipe next time.

Lastly the bread was scrumptious. I hate to admit it but we ate almost half the loaf at dinner! A slice here, a slice there and before we knew it, the half we brought to the table was nearly gone. Needless to say, we liked it.

And the best part of it all is that we had enough of everything leftover and Biscuit Boy will eat like a king for lunch tomorrow. Lucky so and so.

Mongolian Barbequed Veal Chops
Serves 4
1/4 cup finely chopped shallot (about 1 large)
1/4 cup salted roasted peanuts, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 rice wine vinegar
2 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 1/2 tbsp. sesame oil
2 1/2 tbsp. plum sauce
2 1/2 tbsp. mild honey
2 1/2 tbsp. hoisin sauce
2 tsp. Sriracha sauce or other hot chili sauce

For the veal chops:
4 (1 inch thick) veal rib chops (about 14 oz each)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Stir together all the marinade ingredients in a bowl until combined well.
Place the veal chops in a large zipper seal bag and pour marinade over them. Seal the bag, getting out as much air as possible and place in the fridge, marinade for at least 8 hours, turning the bag over occasionally.

Bring the chops to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Remove them from the marinade and transfer to a platter. Pour the marinade through a fine mesh sieve into a 1 to 1 1/2 quart saucepan, discarding solids. Bring to a boil and boil 1 minute. (I found that I needed to add a little more of the liquid ingredients)

Heat a ridged iron skillet on medium high. Sprinkle chops with salt and pepper. Sear chops in skillet, turning over once, about 6 minutes total. Turn heat to medium and baste occasionally. Place a probe thermometer into the thickest part of one of the chops and continue cooking until it reaches 140 degrees.

Oven Roasted Brussels sprouts
20 Brussels sprouts, cut in half
1/4 olive oil
2 -3 cloves of garlic, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon

Place everything in a zipper lock bag and marinate for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400. Place the sprouts on a baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes or until tender.

Tuscan Bread
2 packages dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 tsp. sugar
2 1/4 cups white flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour*
1/2 tsp. salt

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water with the sugar. Mix the 2 flours and the salt. Stir them into the yeast mixture to make a soft dough. Knead 10 minutes by hand. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk.

Rub 2 to 3 teaspoons flour on a baking sheet. When the dough has completed its rising, punch it down, turn it out onto a floured work surface, and flatten it into an oblong about 8 inches X 10 inches and 1/4 inch thick. It will still be very soft, but try to use a minimum of additional flour in handling it.

Roll the dough tight, jelly-roll fashion, into a cylindrical shape. Flatten this to about 1-inch thick and roll it again.Tuck both ends of the cylinder under to meet in the center, pinching to seal them. Roll the dough around the work surface under your hands, to shape it into a smooth ball about 5 inches in diameter.

Set the loaf on the floured baking sheet and place a towel loosely over it. Put the covered loaf in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.

Preheat an oven lined with baking tiles or a pizza stone to 400 degrees F. Have a water-filled sprayer handy. Slide the baking sheet onto the stone. Spray water into the oven before closing the door, and spray twice more at 2-minute intervals. Bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 1 Loaf

* I didn’t have any wheat flour on hand so I used rye flour.

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Sunday, January 01, 2006

WDB #15 - Weekend Dog Blogging

Woof! Woof! grrr....... Hello out there...... It's time for weekend dog blogging!

Yes, all you dog lovers, it's Weekend Dog Blogging #15. Check out Sweeknicks tonight for a full wrap up. Each week she rounds up pictures of her fellow bloggers canines. Big dogs, little dogs, mutts and purebreds. They're all there for your viewing pleasure. Below are some of Biscuit Pup's latest photos as well as some of Java, my in-law's Boston Terrier.

Biscuit Pup posing.

I'm ready for my close up.....Is this my best side?

Java testing out my new earmuffs.

This is Java after a full morning of unwrapping Christmas gifts. All that excitement wore him out.