Friday, November 29, 2013

Recipe: Red Curry Shrimp and Butternut Squash

Are you still in a turkey coma? Looking for something other than Thanksgiving leftovers today? Here's a quick curry recipe that "R" and I enjoyed recently.

Red Curry Shrimp & Butternut Squash (4 servings, 6-7 cups, Total time = 30 minutes)

Heat:
1 Tbsp. peanut oil
1/2 cup sliced shallots
3-4 Tbsp. red curry paste

Combine:
1 can coconut milk (14 oz.)
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. minced lemon zest
4 cups cubed and peeled butternut squash (many grocery stores will have fresh squash already peeled and cubed, but you can use bagged frozen squash as well)

Add:
1 lb. medium shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
juice of 1/2 a lime
salt to taste
cooked basmati rice
fresh cilantro leaves

Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium.
Add shallots and curry paste; stir-fry 2 minutes.
Combine coconut milk, broth, fish sauce, sugar, and zest; add to wok.
Bring mixture to a boil; add squash.
Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer mixture, covered, 10 minutes.
Uncover wok and simmer until squash is tender, 10 minutes more.
Add shrimp and tomatoes; simmer until shrimp turns pink, 2-3 minutes.
Right before serving, stir in peas and lime juice; season with salt.
Serve curry with rice and garnish with cilantro.

This dish was bright and delicious. We added another squirt of fresh lime juice when plating. The only "thing" was that the sauce was thin and light, and didn't feel like a traditional curry to me. I just needed to get that concept out of my head, because we did enjoy the dish. It came from the December 2013 issue of Cuisine at Home magazine.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my readers. I hope that you are able to enjoy the day, and that it is filled with friends, family, food, and thanks.

This year, I am thankful for:
- My family (blood-related, Rick's family, and those friends that have made their way into my life and become family)
- Rick (my best friend, lover, care giver, and everything that I was ever looking for and so much more)
- My dog, Lizzie (who brings us both so much joy and unconditional love)
- Health? (This one gets a question mark since I am still plagued with issues, but I'll take what I can get. So many others are in worse situations.)
- My job (It's been a year of growth and opportunity, and I feel fortunate to be where I am.)
- Our home (While remodeling the kitchen was a pain, I do enjoy making this house a home and working on it together.)
- My age (So far, I am seriously loving 30. Still young, but confident in who I am and what I want.)
- Cleveland (I found a home in a city that I love. It provides so much opportunity, good people, good food, and amazing adventures.)

Happy Thanksgiving

What are you thankful for this year?


- Katrina

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Jack Frost Donuts

On Saturday, "R" and I went on a little breakfast adventure. Recently, several friends had proclaimed their love for Jack Frost Donuts. A bold statement was even made that their glazed cruller was better than the famous Krispy Kreme glazed donut. I was intrigued.

Located on Pearl Road (near Brookpark Road), it's an easy place to miss. The small building is worn, the signage is beaten down, and we've probably driven past it no less than 100 times.
A couple of cars can pull up in front of the building, and about a half dozen parking spots are located on the right side of the building.

We stepped in and were greeted with warm, sweet smells. Luckily, there was a couple ahead of us and it appeared to be their first time there as well. It bought us some time, and we started to look through the donuts in the case. One note--- signs on the donuts would be helpful. I had no idea what I was looking at, most of the time.
"Anytime is a great time for donuts."

They clearly do a lot of turn over in the mornings, and once it was our turn to choose our donuts, the woman was pretty impatient with us. We were rushed, but ended up with a Glazed Cruller, Glazed Cake Donut, Boston Cream, and Salty Caramel.
Sadly, we must have missed the Maple Bacon that everyone raves about. Next time, I'm on a mission!

Tucked safely away in our donut box, we headed home to enjoy our treats. "R" did not love his two selections. He liked them, but wasn't wowed. I'm not a "cake" donut fan, and I was more than happy with my Boston cream and glazed cruller. I should have warmed the cruller a tad in the microwave, because I could certainly see its potential for being better than a Krispy Kreme. It was darn good, and I've kind of been craving one ever since. I'm not even a sweets fan, particularly in the mornings! So, that says something.

This place has a cult-like following, and my picture of the donut box on Instagram got more likes and comments than any other photograph that I've posted.

Anyone want to invite me over for brunch or a morning meeting? I'll bring Jack Frost Donuts!

Jack Frost Donuts
4960 Pearl Road
Cleveland, OH 44109
216-351-3638

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Recipe: Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

I don't like chicken. I overdid it as a teenager, when I wouldn't eat red meat or pork, and now I can't stand the texture and avoid it at all costs. Hide it cubed in a stir-fry, shred it up, batter it and fry it...and then maybe we can talk. So, "R" and I are always looking for chicken recipes that I'm willing to try. This one fit my criteria of "hiding" the chicken, and we both enjoyed it.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole with creamy mustard sauce (Makes 2 servings- 3 cups, Total time = 40 minutes)

For the Chicken:
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
12 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 cup apple juice or cider (we used honeycrisp apple juice)
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp. stone-ground mustard (we used mustard that we already had, not stone-ground)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 cup broccoli florets, blanched
salt and cayenne pepper to taste

For the Casserole:
2 round sourdough loaves (each 6"- we found them at Giant Eagle in the bakery)
2-4 thin slices smoked ham (2 oz.)
2 slices of Swiss cheese, divided
2 tsp. grated Parmesan, divided

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Coat a small baking sheet with nonstick spray.
Melt butter over medium-high heat in a sauté pan.
Add chicken and sauté until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
Stir in shallots and sauté until softened, 2 minutes.
Sprinkle mixture with flour, cook 1 minute.
Combine apple juice and broth; slowly add, stirring constantly to avoid clumping.
Stir in cream, Parmesan, mustard, and thyme; simmer after each addition until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.
Add broccoli; season with salt and cayenne.
Reduce heat to low.
Hallow out loaves by cutting off tops and tearing out insides (remove as much bread as possible).
Compress any remaining bread inside loaves to make room for filling.
Toast loaves directly on oven rack, about 5 minutes, remove to prepared baking sheet.
Arrange ham slices in bottom of each loaf.
Using a slotted spoon, divide chicken mixture evenly between two loaves, reserving sauce in pan.
Top the chicken with a slice of Swiss cheese and sprinkle with 1 tsp. of Parmesan.
Bake casserole until cheese melts, 7-10 minutes.
Serve each casserole with reserved cream sauce*.
*sauce not pictured

Our only advice is that maybe pre-baking the sourdough loaf should be left out. It became very crusty and was difficult to cut. Once the sauce soaked in, it was fine, but the initial cutting was tough to do. I think that it would crisp up enough with the 7-10 minutes it bakes with the chicken filling and cheese.

This recipe came from the October 2010 issue of Cuisine at Home magazine. It had all of the great flavors of a classic chicken cordon bleu, and who doesn't love a bread bowl?! It also perfectly "hid" the chicken for me. I'm weird, I know.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Willeyville

Have you been down to the east bank of The Flats recently? The revitalization is beginning, and some great new restaurants popped up there. On Friday, we enjoyed another memorable meal at Lago with friends. We also stopped in the WXYZ bar in the Aloft Hotel for an after-dinner drink. I kind of felt like I was in a club with the DJ, lighting, and lounge seating. But, it has amazing views of the river and our city's bridges, and I did enjoy my cocktail.

Another addition to the area is Willeyville. The restaurant is led by Chef/Owner Chris Di Lisi, best known for his time spent at Baricelli Inn and Flour. He brought his talent, and vision of creating "handcrafted consumables" to The Flats.

I've now dined there twice---once for dinner, and a recent lunch outing with a friend. Our dinner left a good impression. I enjoyed the Beet Salad with fennel, apple, and whipped ricotta ($12.50), and the Pork Belly Ramen ($15). Why are udon noodles so hard for me to gracefully eat? Anyone else have this problem? The only dish that didn't stand out was the Calamari. Looking at their current menu online, the preparation has already changed. One of our dining mates ordered the pumpkin soup that was on the menu at the time, and it arrived inside of a small pumpkin. Talk about presentation!

For lunch, I went with a cup of soup (Special of the day? Can't remember, and it appears to not be on the current menu.)...
...and the Willey Wedgie with iceberg lettuce, bacon, hard boiled egg, smoked buttermilk bleu cheese, onion straws, ranch, and herbs ($10).
I do wish that the bacon had arrived crumbled, but overall I really loved this salad. The "ranch" dressing is like nothing that I've ever had. The addition of herbs to the dressing totally changes the flavor of traditional ranch, and I personally wanted a bottle of it.

While we had enjoyed our dinner experience, I think that I left lunch even more pleased.

With a changing and seasonal menu, hand-crafted cocktails, decent beer and wine list, and many house-made items, it's a nice addition to the Downtown Cleveland dining scene. I wish that the patio had a slightly better view, but a visionary can picture what The Flats will hopefully look like in the years to come. Lot or valet parking are available for a fee. They are also offering a "Browns Brunch" that looks appealing from 10AM - 2PM during home games. Happy Hour from 5 - 6:30PM Monday - Friday, and a Bar Menu is available between lunch and dinner service during the week.

The Willeyville
East Bank Flats
1051 West 10th Street
Cleveland, OH 44113
216-862-6422
 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Recipe: Classic Beef Stew

One of my favorite things to do on a Sunday is to do our grocery shopping for the week, and then throw something in the slow cooker. The smells that fill the house the rest of the day are worth the wait. Recently, "R" and I attempted a Classic Beef Stew. I grew up on my dad's beef stew, and it still remains one of my favorite dishes to request when I'm visiting my family. So, this recipe had a lot to live up to.

Luckily, this version was totally different than my dad's, but was also very good and satisfied my craving. This recipe came from the October 2012 issue of Cuisine at Home magazine.

Class Beef Stew with peas and pearl onions (makes 6 servings- 10 cups; Prep Time = 45 minutes; Cook Time = 3-4 hours)

Cook:
6 strips thick-sliced bacon

Combine:
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. Spanish paprika
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 lbs. boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks (yields 2 lb. trimmed)
1 lb. small, red skinned potatoes, quartered
2 cups baby carrots
1 1/2 cups sliced celery
2 dried bay leaves

Stir:
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. beef base (We used Better Than Bouillion.)

Combine:
2 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 1/2 cups vegetable juice cocktail (We used V-8 Original.)
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

Add:
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
Chopped fresh parsley

Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp.
Drain bacon on a paper-towel lined plate, reserve the drippings.
Combine flour, salt, paprika, thyme, black pepper, and cayenne in a bowl; add beef and toss to coat.
Heat 1 Tbsp. drippings in same skillet over medium heat.
Sear half of the beef until brown (3 minutes per side).
Repeat with 1 Tbsp. drippings and remaining beef.
Transfer to a 4-6 quart slow cooker.
Add any remaining flour mixture to the slow cooker, top with potatoes, carrots, celery, and bay leaves.
Stir tomato paste, garlic, and beef base into the skillet and cook over medium heat (1 minute).
Combine broth, vegetable juice, and Worcestershire and stir into skillet, scraping up bits from the bottom. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook until thick (2-3 minutes).
Pour broth mixture over beef in slow cooker.
Cover slow cooker and cook until beef is fork-tender on high setting (3-4 hours) or low setting (6-7 hours).
Discard bay leaves.
Add peas, pearl onions, and vinegar to stew.
Garnish servings with parsley and bacon.
One note--- the recipe doesn't list cutting the baby carrots, but I would suggest it after our experience. The quartered potatoes and whole baby carrots took much longer to cook than stated in the recipe. We had it on high, and it took about 5 hours. We also added mushrooms, because we are always trying to find ways to add more vegetables to any dish.

Enjoy! This is perfect for a fall weather day.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sterle's Country House

It's suddenly November, and it's that time of year when I take a glance at my annual "To Dine" list to see what I have left to accomplish before the start of the new year. For 2013, I was left with four restaurants to tackle by the end of next month. Time to get crackin'.

Luckily, I have a troop of friends who are always up for helping me cross one off of the list. This led us to a last-minute trip to Sterle's Country House on Saturday evening.
Between three days of work travel and five days of early mornings last week, I was exhausted. I just wanted to crawl inside of a cozy sweater, fill my belly with comfort food, and spend quiet relaxing time with friends. That is exactly what we did, and it was perfection.

I immediately fell in love with Sterle's from the moment that we were seated. We had dropped the average age in the room by at least a decade, the smells coming from the kitchen were heavenly, and the live polka band had us clapping our hands and moving in our seats.
The best way to sample their menu is to select the Family Style Meal (for at least two people, and no more than one Family Style is allowed at a table). With this option, you select three of the entrées, one side dish, and it also comes with a house salad, steamed vegetable, coffee or soft drink, and dessert.

"R" and I wanted to try the Wienerschnitzel, Pierogies, and Chicken Paprikash. We selected the dumplings as our side, to be paired with the paprikash.
A half portion is pictured. When sharing the Family Style between two people, they go ahead and spilt the platter for you (which was great!). No fighting over schnitzel.

Sokolowski's will still reign supreme for the pierogies, but the schntizel and paprikash were better at Sterle's (in my opinion). The cafeteria-style of Sokolowski's is fun and an experience, but the fact that the food sits out can hurt the quality at times.

The Family Style is $20 a person, and it includes a ton of food. Bread, individual salads, and dessert were also included. We were still fighting off a food coma hours later. It's hearty, filling, and sticks with you. The individual entrees are in the $15 - $18 range, making this restaurant quite a deal. For example, the individual entrée of Wienerschnitzel includes a house salad, choice of potato as a side, and THREE good-sized pieces of schnitzel for just $18.

Free parking is in the large lot next to the restaurant. It's so big that the Cleveland Flea has been held there. The restaurant also has a private event space, and a large bier garden. I'd love to go back on a (warmer) Sunday for their Bloody Mary bar, and to sit in their outdoor bier garden. This spot just made it on to our list of restaurants that requires a visit at least a couple of times a year.

Frank Sterle's Slovenian Country House
1401 East 55th Street
Cleveland, OH 44103
(216) 881-4181

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Recipe: Drunken Noodles

"R" and I both love Thai food, and this recipe peaked our interest right away.

Drunken Noodles with Pork (4 servings- 8 cups. Total time = 45 minutes)

Prepare:
8 oz. wide rice-stick noodles

Whisk:
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp. chili garlic sauce

Heat:
1 Tablespoon peanut oil
1 Tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 tsp. minced Serrano chile
12 oz. pork tenderloin, trimmed, cubed, and seasoned with salt, black pepper, and sugar
2 cups sliced onions
1 red bell pepper, sliced into 1/4 inch thick strips
8 oz. button mushrooms, quartered
1 carrot, bias sliced (we used baby carrots)
2 cups torn fresh Thai or sweet basil leaves, divided

Prepare rice noodles according to package directions; drain, rinse in cold water, and drain again.
Whisk together fish sauce, vinegar, 1 Tbsp. sugar, soy sauce, and chili garlic sauce; set aside.
Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over high.
Add garlic and Serrano; stir-fry until fragrant (30 seconds).
Add pork and cook until brown, 2 minutes per side.
Add fish sauce mixture and stir-fry until sauce bubbles and thickens (about one minute).
Stir in onions, bell pepper, mushrooms, and carrot; stir-fry to soften slightly (2-3 minutes).
Add the rice noodles and gently stir until they absorb the sauce (1-2 minutes).
Add most of the basil and toss gently to wilt.
Garnish servings with remaining basil.


This recipe came from the December 2013 issue of Cuisine at Home magazine. It was a winner in our household, and the leftovers were just as good! We couldn't find wide rice noodles, but the Pad Thai rice noodles that we found at Giant Eagle worked just fine. We also added some peas for more color and to bulk up on vegetables. We'll be making this one again. Enjoy!

Friday, November 1, 2013

2013 Fabulous Food Show Winner

Thank you to everyone that entered my ticket giveaway for this year's Fabulous Food Show!

Using random.org, the lucky winner is comment #30- Frank Theiss.
Congratulations, Frank. Contact me by Tuesday to claim your two general admission tickets, or another winner will be selected.

Didn't win? Tickets are available here. Also, keep your eyes peeled for ticket giveaways on other local blogs. Jen from Why CLE? just announced her giveaway today.

This annual event is a fun way to spend a weekend, so I really do suggest checking it out. I always find some new-to-me-products, enjoy the cooking demos, and stalk see some celebrity chefs around the IX Center. It's all happening November 8th - 10th.

Disclosure: I was provided with four passes to the 2013 Fabulous Food Show in exchange for the one giveaway post. All opinions states are 100% my own.