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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thanksgiving time!!!

I love Thanksgiving, probably because I love to cook and eat! I decided to post a couple of recipes that are not only exceptionally good, but very easy to prepare. Green beans are one of my favorite vegetables and are a tradition at thanksgiving, but I always hated the standard green bean casserole. This recipe is easier than a casserole and doesn't take up any oven space when you are preparing the big meal. Another time saver is that you can boil the beans the day before and store them in the refrigerator in a zip lock bag.

Green Beans with Bacon and Shallots:

1 pound green beans, trimmed as desired
5 slices of bacon, thinly sliced crosswise
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 large shallots, chopped

Cook beans in boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain. Rinse under cold water and drain well. Pat dry with paper towels.
Cook bacon until crisp. Drain and discard all but three tablespoons of bacon fat. Add butter and shallots and saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Add beans and saute until heated through, about 5 minutes. Add bacon and toss to blend. Season with salt and pepper.

Want a simple tasty dessert? If you are a banana lover this is the perfect dessert for you and your guests.

Grilled Bananas with Spiced Butter and Rum

4 Tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 ripe bananas

Melt butter in a sauce pan. Add brown sugar, rum and cinnamon and bring to a boil, stirring. Boil until syrupy, 2 or 3 minutes.
Slice each banana lengthwise, leaving the skin on. Brush both sides with the spiced butter.
On a grill, grill pan or frying pan place bananas CUT SIDE DOWN and cook until caramelized, about 4 minutes. Turn the bananas over and grill skin side down for another 3 or 4 minutes. Baste the top with spice butter and serve.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Kaya, in the Strip District

Kaya on Urbanspoon

Wow! What a great find! I've been reading positive reviews of Kaya for some time now but just got to try it this week. Stacy and I were in the Strip on one of our weekly shopping trips and decided to have lunch. I think the reason that I haven't been to Kaya is that I tend to go to the old stand-bys...Rowlands for their lobster roll, Primanti's (a lot of locals don't like it, but I do!) and of course Lucy for her Banh Mi,the BEST SANDWICH IN THE WORLD! Well Lucy wasn't there so on to Kaya we went.

The atmosphere is what I would call festive tropical, but still classy and not overdone. A long bar sits on the right wall as you enter and the left side is lined with tables. Our server was prompt, polite and knowledgeable about the menu. The lunch menu included a nice selection of sandwiches and entree selections and they also had several Todo En Uno or smaller sandwiches that come with two sides. Stacy decided on the Salmon-Crab Cakes with a jalapeƱo remoulade, and I went for the Todo En Uno of a Cuban sandwich with Conch Chowder and spicy slaw. The Cuban is one of my favorite sandwich's and this one did not disappoint. Turkey, pork, ham, Swiss cheese, whole grain mustard, and chipotle aioli on the side. Also on the side were slices of crunchy pickles. These are usually served on the sandwich, but I appreciate them on the side because I prefer a little less pickle that others might. Stacy really liked her Salmon-Crab cakes and the remoulade was very good.

Most of the lunch selections ranged from $8 to $13. This is quite a bargain considering the quality of the food. I'm sure we will be back!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Review: Pepperoncini's in Oakdale

Oakdale is a little town just a couple of minutes from Robinson Town Center. I've been to Pepperoncini's three or four times since they opened about a month ago. I was surprised to find such a nice place in a out of the way small town like this. This was a pizza place that was expanded into a full service restaurant. The bartenders were very friendly (and cute) and service was pretty good, although it was not really crowded when I have been there. The place is new and very clean. I can't really comment on mixed drinks because we were all drinking beer. We have a pizza and an appetizer that were pretty good. They also have some great big screen TV's, all in HD so it's a good place to watch a game.

My only complaint: The bar area is long and narrow...It runs parallel to a glass wall with two entrance doors along it, so that no matter where you are sitting your back is about 10 feet from one of the doors and it is cold every time someone enters. Now I'm the kind of person that's always warm so I can imagine how uncomfortable it is some people. The guy next to me left because of this. I give them an 8 because I think they have done a great job with the existing space. I'll go back, but not on a really cold day! I'd give them an 8.

I wrote the above several months ago and just wanted to update. I stopped in this week with a friend and my sister. I was hungry and ordered a small pizza, which was very good. My friend Tom was slugging down Sam Adams and I was drinking Miller Lite drafts. We had three or four each, and my sister had one glass of red wine. The entire tab was only $18 and change! Now this was happy hour, but what a pleasant surprise! We decided that we will go back more often!