Thursday, April 22, 2010

Kabobs and College

 This week's game night, Kabobs and College, was a tribute to plunging into adulthood.  I'm about to run full force into 27 and figured I'd bravely attend with an 813 identifier.  I could tell the swap affected more than me as it was significant (or shocking) enough to be suggested as a dinner dedication.  We ran with it.

Each guest arrived wearing their favorite (or most readily available) college tee, something to grill, and something to ice.  And as I looked around, I witnessed much more than the obvious greatness of our group, I witnessed the grown up-ness of our group.

Although hamburger and natty light college staples were present, the grill was dominated by veggie kabobs, fish fillets, and Boca burgers.  We even passed on the previously proposed card games to gather around the TV, watch the NFL draft, and patiently await Tebow's placement.  Simply put, tonight was a 'bommin' success!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Disaster Turned Delish

Sometimes BIG mistakes turn into something good, or in this case, something tasty.  I fully intended on following a recipe for some sort of Thai-ish dish tonight, but between the lack of fresh herbs available and my recipe carrying phone dying at the store, I was forced to go impromptu.  Eek!!!

My brain is certainly equipped for a great deal of impromptu dishes, but Thai?  It most certainly is not.  And although I'm still not entirely sure how this disaster turned delish came to be, it did.     

Prepare the noodles per the instructions on the package.  Throw the pepper, green onions, stir fry vegetables, shrimp, and peanuts in a non-stick pan over medium heat until everything is warm.  Whisk the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.  Add the noodles to the vegetables and stir until the noodles soften and are able to mix well with the vegetables.  Pour the sauce over the noodles and vegetables and stir over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.

1/2 Pack of Rice or Bean Vermicelli Noodles (3 oz.)
1 Pack of Fresh Stir Fry Vegetables - Steamed (12 oz)
1/2 Lb. Cooked Shrimp - Tails Removed
1 Serrano Pepper - Minced
1 Bunch of Green Onions - Sliced
1/4 Peanuts - Crushed

2 Tbsp Fish Sauce
2 Tbsp Roasted Red Chili Sauce
1 Tbsp Agave Nectar
1 Lime - Juiced

Monday, April 19, 2010

How Refined

Another Seminole Heights hip spot has been added to my list of favorites!  The seasonal menu is creative, the rooftop patio is divine, and the background music is beyond grin worthy.  My ipod, on it's coolest day, wouldn't play The Knife and The Refreshments in the same shuffle session!

My recent craving for adventure was not enough to coax me into sampling the bone marrow or sweet breads, so I played it safe with ceviche.  The portion was plenty and the coconut accent was delightful in every sense of the word.  To top it off, select bottles of wine are a mere fifteen dollars on Friday nights.

I can't wait to experience a Refinery Brunch.  And with dishes titled the Early Girl, Hangover Helper, and Tree Hugger - I'm bound to visit again soon!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Games and Gumbo

The resurgence of elementary school fads is upon us and I like it.  I like it so much, in fact, that I'm going to take any opportunity to rock a romper, tie my hair to the side, and (most importantly) whip out a board game.  Tonight will be the first of many game night blog entries in which a theme and main course recipe will be posted.

The theme for tonight: Games and Gumbo.  The game has yet to be determined as my guest list, rather lack of guest list, is a bit disorganized.  The main course, however, is not disorganized and was prepared last night in total Type A fashion.  

In my search for the perfect game night gumbo, I found the spectrum of recipes to be infinite.  Once again, guidance was provided by one of my go-to websites,, where I found a Shrimp and Crab Gumbo that wouldn't cause an instant coronary clog.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Rando, Rando, Meat Commando?

A serious case of the Mondays is likely to cause a blah food mood.  And with my brain checking out around 10 AM today...  a lack of creativity checked right on in.    

I'm rarely not hungry enough to skip a meal, so when my blue moon lack of appetite decides to make an appearance, you better believe I cram in some earth made goods.  Or at least I'll try.  I stared blankly at my fridge for a while and could only come up with mushrooms? 

I sauteed an 8 ounces pack of baby bellas in 1/2 tablespoon of butter and gasped at green straws by nuking a frozen creamed spinach.  A brand of creamed spinach in which, after further label examination, I will not purchase again.  I'm a much happier gal knowing words like hydrolized and autolyzed are not floating around in my kitchen.

Technique de la Hanz

It's an unusually nice feeling to leave dinner with a theoretical certificate of completion.  Perhaps sharing a kitchen, namely someone else's, isn't the end of the world.  And perhaps some handy habits can be learned when prepping along side a "pro".  

The menu: grilled grouper with a citrus salsa and carrot couscous.  Yu-um!  Other than lacking a green veggie (take note Hanz) everything was A++.  

Added bonus?  I can add cutting a mean citrus supreme to my list of culinary talents!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mussel Mama

I like mussels, and not just because they're awesome, but because they force you to enjoy them.  Imagine the scarf action that would accompany a bowl of mussels sans shells.   You'd probably eat twice as many and enjoy them half as much.  Thankfully, shelled mussels give you the time to chew patiently between each perfectly rationed bite.

The simplicity of staple restaurant apps continues to surprise me.  Less than ten minutes of prep and even less time to cook - really??  The mussels were just about ready to be removed from heat when I realized I hadn't even unpacked the asparagus from my grocery sack.  Luckily asparagus cooks quickly as well. has once again provided the foundation for a simple, rock solid dinner.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Crab Shack Baby

Three days and two restaurant meals is a limited time frame to prove your city's food worth to out of towners.  Two meals is even more of a challenge when you have, on more than one occasion, stated that Tampa kicks Dallas' tail in the food department.  And although this was a challenge incapable of being won, I gave it a darn good try.

Each restaurant was predictably delicious and provided my guests with polar opposite dining experiences.  We went from a coursed meal amongst red velvet at Bern's Steak House to paper napkins just past the redneck riviera at the Crab Shack.

This was my first Crab Shack experience and let me tell you, it is nothing short of treasure.  Raw Oysters are nine bucks a dozen, king crab legs are 12 bucks a half pound, and our waitress was sweet as pie.   

I hope that my full-bellied friends found their trip brag-worthy and will return quickly so I can continue proving that small town dining can, in fact, compete with The Big D.

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