Monday, July 28, 2014

White Wine Poached Salmon

This past week, I was on a glorious beach vacation. I try to go to a new place every year and frequently travel with or to visit my college friends around the country. This year we were fortunate enough to reunite at the beach together where we rented a house and I did absolutely 0% of the cooking.

Day 1: excellent

What I lacked in culinary participation, I made up for in dish washing and promises to blog some of our dinners which were quite amazing. Might I also add that I was traveling with all men so no gender stereotypes were upheld in the making of these meals.

Such a gorgeous sunset

One of the first nights we were at the beach, we decided to have salmon, broccoli and rice for a well rounded and seafood meal. The grocery store was a little short on salmon but we made it work. Salmon is my favorite fish to cook due to its simplicity in preparation yet dynamic and not fishy flavor.

Step 1: Take slab of salmon and season with salt, pepper and dill

Let's proceed....

Using a one inch deep pan, the fresh salmon fillets are placed in the pan and seasoned with salt, pepper and dill. Strict instructions: no lemon juice!! Next, the salmon is drowned in a dry white wine. We used a Riesling to completely cover the fillets. Cooked in an oven at 450 for 20-30 minutes and you have perfectly cooked salmon that's still full of moisture and flavor.

In the midst of making this meal, I was hanging out next top the oven (of course I was) when flames erupted from the oven, popping the door ajar before quickly slamming shut again. We're not sure what caused the flames since it was an electric oven but I somehow managed to not get burned. Small miracles! However, this did distract me from taking pictures at the time so I recreated the recipe when I got home, this time pairing the fish with green beans instead.

On a completely unrelated but kind of related note, the master chef looks a bit like Seth Rogan and people have said I look a bit like Katherine Heigl and so we did this, totally normal. Please also find it on Twitter where I hope to attract the attention of the aforementioned actors and become famous...almost...

Friday, July 11, 2014

Boston Local Food Festival- Michele's Gourmet Popcorn

I'm a huge popcorn fan. Movies must be accompanied by both popcorn and a popcorn buddy so I don't eat loads and loads of buttered popcorn. I completely blame my mother for this trait as I've watched her consume large quantities of Smartfood popcorn for years (not a bad thing!). Sometimes we just have to accept these things about ourselves and move forward with buttery fingers.

My attempt at fancy popcorn
As you might recall, I made some coconut caramel popcorn treats as holiday gifts back in December. I thought it was a pretty delicious and adventurous task having never made homemade popcorn outside of a microwave. When I lived in Pittsburgh, I discovered the Pittsburgh Popcorn Company which makes all kinds of flavors and delicious concoctions. This is not your Boy Scout popcorn tin.

I'm happy to say that I have found a popcorn vendor closer to home to fuel my vice. Michele's Gourmet Popcorn is the primary, and popular, product of Michele's Sweet Shoppe in New Hampshire. Through the Boston Local Food Festival, Michele and I were put in touch to chat about sweets and treats. While she originally set out to make whoopie pies, her white chocolate popcorn was such a hit among her friends that they decided to run a popcorn business. Now with 20+ flavors, including Pupcorn for your furry friend, Michele's business is hoppin'--poppin' (I couldn't resist)!

Michele's Gourmet Popcorn

You can read the full review on the BLFF website (unless you already subscribed in which case you already saw it!). It's definitely given me some ideas for this holiday season and those ideas involve candy canes and chocolate (duh). 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Hard Rock Cafe Menu Tasting

You know how there are people who want to visit every Disney park or travel the Oregon Trail? I'm sure there are also people who want to visit every Hard Rock Cafe and I would have to support this endeavor and possibly add this to my bucket list. Normally I search for non-chain restaurants when I visit different cities because how different can they be? But realistically, the Hard Rock Cafe has different tributes to rock 'n roll in every location, not to mention amazing food.

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I honestly don't remember the food I've had at Hard Rock before attending a recent menu tasting in Boston. Thinking back, I've been to the Hard Rock Cafes in Orlando, Munich, and Foxwoods (CT) but this was the most memorable eating experience. As a local blogger, I was invited to sample the revamped menu at the Boston location with several other bloggers.
Just a fraction of the food
Upon arrival, we were immediately treated to sangria and a view at a vast table of food. I'm so glad I skipped breakfast that morning because we sampled a little bit of every course on the menu! Their new menu has a variety of choices for the barbecue lovers (ribs, chicken or brisket sandwich), the burger kings (vegetable, veggie, fiesta or barbecue), the sweets lovers (apple cobbler, brownie sundaes, Oreo cheesecake) and even the health-conscious (walnut salad, veggie sandwich). Not to mention, adult beverages to match them all! Here were some of my favorites:
The blogger gang after we ate all that food!
Grilled Chicken Arugula Salad
Rightfully a small portion of salad
I would eat this salad on the regular, and I just might throughout the summer! In addition to goat cheese and cranberries, there are citrus slices to add a summer touch of flavor. If only I knew the secret to their lemon vinaigrette.

Red Berry Press

Personally I do not understand the whole French press coffee situation but French pressed lemonade, I can wrap my brain around. This just might be enough to add a press to my kitchen. The lemonade is infused with fruit before your very eyes fresh at the table.

A sample of freshness

Bloggers can be models too

Hickory Smoked Ribs
The barbecue platter
The ribs were part of the barbecue sampler which also had barbecue chicken and a brisket sandwich. The chef was kind enough to de-bone these ribs for us to keep our hands photo ready but boy were they good! Extremely tender and well seasoned, I could go for a rack of these.

Fiesta Burger
I claim this burger in the name of rock and roll!
Holy sriracha, this sauce was gooood. Although we got a flight of burger sliders, my favorite was the fiesta burger which included guacamole. The fries came with a spicy sriracha sauce but duh, I dipped my burger right on in that orange goodness.

Grilled Norwegian Salmon & Cowboy Rib Eye
That rib-eye is a huge hunk of meat
At this point in the meal, we all knew the end was in site but that end was delicious dessert so we made the decision to save the rib eye for later. Instead, I munched on the salmon fillet with lemon and garlic potatoes. Words cannot describe how full I was.

Dessert Flight
No idea where to start!
Normal people would order one of the desserts: brownie sundae, apple cobbler or Oreo cheesecake. However, my sweet tooth knows no bounds and with a sample of each, I enjoyed all three! I have to say I loved them all and would totally make my date choose if I return.

This reminds me of that giant sculpture in Minneapolis
Needless to say, I did not go home hungry. Actually, I went home and took a serious nap. I'm happy to add this to my list of restaurants to take Boston visitors, maybe I can even look extra cool and drop some manager names for extra attention....

Kitty was ready for a nap and snuggles too