Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rica Rica

While on the road this week I have been trying to think of food topics I can write about without my kitchen or being able to actually make something. I have come up with several things, the first being my earlier post on dark chocolate pudding (it’s the little things in life), the second is the topic of today’s post. And the third will have to wait for tomorrow (is the suspense killing you????)

I’m sure most people who work in downtown Cleveland have waited in line at least once for lunch at Teahouse Noodles. Trust me when I say this, there are VERY few places/things you need to wait in line for in Cleveland. One of the perks of this great city is that it sometimes seems like it is all here just for you. You don’t have to worry much about reservations at restaurants (unless you are going to the Flying Fig), tickets to sports games are fairly easy to come by, lots of stuff is free. Which leads me to Cleveland Rule #1: if there is a line for something, you can assume it is out of this world awesome. Ok, just as I finished writing that I thought about the line into Bar Flyy on most Saturday nights and realized this rule does not always hold true. Appendix to Rule #1: Except in the case of Bar Flyy.

That was a very long winded way to say that Teahouse Noodles is awesome! And healthy! And they sell jars of their very own sauce – Rica Rica. It is a Balinese style sauce -“sweet and hot peppers with ginger and sesame oil”. I love this stuff and gave it to people for Christmas last year in my “Taste of Cleveland” Christmas baskets. So if you are in the area, be sure to pick up a bottle. Here are some yummy ways to enjoy this fab sauce :

Marinate chicken breast in the Rica Rica sauce, preferably overnight or while you are at work. If you don’t have Rica Rica you can definitely substitute your favorite teriyaki sauce. In the bottom of a casserole dish, layer chopped red onions, peppers, whatever you like. I usually just use red onions. Place the chicken on top and cover with sliced pineapple rings (fresh or canned). Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes (flip chicken halfway through). Serve on brown rice with a little extra sauce. Easy, fast, cheap, healthy and delicious! Makes great leftovers too (for those of us cooking for one).

This is CC’s favorite way to eat Rica Rica. Either marinate a flank steak or brush flank steak with Rica Rica sauce and grill (medium or medium rare). Thin slice and serve on top of iceberg lettuce with chopped onions, peppadew, and your favorite salad ingredients. I prefer to make my own homemade dressing, which really can’t be easier. I use extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar (the one with the skins in it “the Motherload”), ½ lemon juice, and this great seasoning I bought at a Greek restaurant in Findlay, OH. Shake and serve.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Message from Bill Cosby

Although I am not convinced anyone is reading this blog, I have to say that after one week I am Beyonce and Jay-Z crazy in love with writing it! No one else may read it, but I already love to go back and read posts – and it has only been a week!

I inherited a number of traits from my mother, the most prominent being the complete and utter lack of memory. I mean seriously, if you are dying to tell someone a secret, head my way cuz in a few days my brain gets wiped clean and you’re safe. I love hearing stories about high school and college, cuz I never know how they end even if they are about me (there was also a substantial amount of "good times" in college which this may be attributable to, but that is neither here nor there). My point being that while I have never been able to sustain journal writing (minus the four months I was in Europe when I MADE myself write knowing that otherwise I would remember nothing), I love blog writing and will now be able to go back and remind myself with pictures and stories and recipes and jokes, what my life was like right now and hence forward. Technology is awesome! To quote a wiser man:

So, I feel kind of bad about not writing much about food so far, especially because there are few things I like to talk about more. So here is some food I love: Dark Chocolate Jello Pudding. And here is my recipe for dark chocolate pudding: Buy it in snack pack form and place in fridge. When hungry for something sweet (usually while you are watching your tv shows – HIMYM, GG, TO, 30R, ASIP – this is like that acronym game, 1000 points to the first person to figure all those out, oh wait, no one reads this…) remove pud from snack pack and put in a bowl. Microwave for 11-22 sec. (momma taught me that trick, way faster to microwave with double digit secs, you’re welcome!). Top pud with generous portion of Reddi-Whip and a cherry if you got it. MMMMMMM, enjoy! That is 75 calories of awesome right there!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Suri, Biscotti, Lederhosen and Paint

I am on the road for work this week in Atlanta and Florida, so unfortunately this means no cooking or recipe blogging. Which throws the "Food" portion of this blog out the window because I’m sure no one wants to read about lunch at Chipotle or dinner at Maggiano’s - although I could write about my love love love for Sonic and about how if anyone out there has $1 million net worth they would like to let me borrow I can open my own franchise in Cleveland and we can all enjoy the Cherry Limeade and slushes we are teased by on their hilarious commercials… But I digress. Instead the topic of today’s post will be the "‘n’such" portion of my past weekend. And no worries, of course it involves some food.

Friday night I headed down to Akron for H&M’s Hallo-wine soiree (see above). By late Friday afternoon I still hadn’t come up with a costume and I had a pie to bake before leaving which meant I had to scrounge the apartment for something to wear. I decided my wig from last year’s costume (Ugly Betty) was very similar to Suri Cruise’s cute little hair cut and the decision was made. Suri Cruise wig + Jumper, Tights, & Flats + “ABC’s of Scientology” book = a pretty decent costume even if everyone still has to ask exactly what you are. Next time + Baby Bottle and I think the outfit will be perfect. Pic above: Belly Dancer, Harry Potter, Sophisticated Cat, Amish, Suri, P, Ugly Betty and a dinosaur peeking over.

Highlight of the evening was definitely the Sarah Palin costumes at the party. Thanks to Rae Rae (previously referred to as Ray Ray, but has since informed me of the correct spelling – check her out) and someecards (“when you care enough to hit send” – hilarious) for the following:

Saturday I headed to my new blog headquarters – The Phoenix Coffee on W. 9th. If you live in the area and haven’t had their orange walnut biscotti you haven’t lived! CC was particularly bored with me as I spent three hours glued to the computer trying to get hip with the blog scene (thanks TKTC for the super fab tips!). We also put together the evite for the upcoming Harvest Party we are throwing at SPACES Art Gallery. Look for upcoming posts on party planning – love!

For lunch we decided to explore and went to the Tremont Tap House. Little did we know we were stumbling into an Octoberfest celebration complete with 15 piece lederhosen-clad band! Giant pretzel the size of a football? Yes please! Even our new German and Austrian pals said the pretzel and coarse grain mustard were divine! And they would know! We also tried the Short Rib Sliders and Portobello Pizza. Tremont Taphouse we will be back soon (I think this Friday actually)! I will not go into detail about watching the Buckeyes’ game :(, however there was a very nice crowd at Dive Bar and with Sam Adams Cherry Wheat and Magic Hat #9 on tap I’m a happy camper. How Cherry Wheat was discovered by Blaze, Ruby, CC, and I is an entirely different story (stay tuned).

Sunday morning, CC and I played paintball with some work friends. Unfortunately I cannot post a pic of my right butt cheek, but trust me, I have proof that I played paintball thanks to the crazy Micheal Myers looking guy on the other team that snuck up on me (that is Michael Myers as in Halloween, not Austin Powers or Linda “I’ll Give you a topic” Richman from SNL). Luckily the weather held out and it was a great time.

A fabulous weekend was topped off by a Brown’s victory, life is good!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Gossip in the Grain

This past weekend, the boyfriend (CC) and I celebrated our anniversary by taking a trip to Nashville, TN to see our friend Blaze and to see Ray LaMontagne perform at the Ryman Auditorium (amazing, amazing). Ray's new cd just came out last week and he performed mostly songs from that and some older favorites. I cannot describe how good this show was in words. I also can't really describe it with this video because it was taken with my crappy camera and the sound is ehh, but here is a teaser of how amazing this musician is.

His voice... I'm glad you can't hear me singing along. My favorites so far off the album are 'Sarah' and 'I Still Care for You'. Leona Naess opened for him and she is adorable. I would kill to have legs like hers, but she is an amazing singer as well. My favorite song of hers is 'Not the Same Girl'. Well worth 99 cents for an itunes download.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fall Delights

I was inspired recently by a blogger that probably doesn't remember me. She sat behind me in Econ 201 sophomore year with that professor that loved the Marx brothers (or is that all Econ professors?) and I adore her blog. It was her post on apple pie that made me want to give it a try for myself. I was intrigued by vodka in the crust, cuz any way to sneak liquor into food is good in my book, and smitten kitchen's recipe turned a daunting task into an art project. Fate stepped in when I stopped by my grandma's house on the most beautiful autumn day and her trees were bursting with apples that were calling my name. So I picked two large bushels of apples and spent the rest of the day working on my very first apple pie. I used the Joy of Cooking recipe for the apple pie filling, simple and traditional, exactly what an apple pie should be:

5-6 cups apples, pare, core, thinly slice
Sprinkle with 1/2 lemon juice

Combine and sift over the apples:

1/2 to 2/3 cup white or brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Place them in layers in the pie shell. Dot with 1 1/2 tablespoons butter

Bake in a 450° oven 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°. Bake until done, 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. For a delicious touch, sprinkle the top crust lightly with sugar and cinnamon as you put the pie into the oven. Some cooks brush it first with milk.

When my pie was finally out of the oven at 10 o'clock that night my dad gobbled his slice. Who can blame him, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, is there anything better than apple pie straight out of the oven? And Ray Ray said it was the best apple pie she had ever had! Great success!

Ray Ray had a good point, do you know how some store bought pie crusts have that strange dirty taste? What is that? Well this crust is nothing but flaky, buttery goodness.

My fridge is still full of apples, so I am making my second apple pie for H&M's Hallo-wine party this weekend. Now I just need to decide on a costume...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The View from E 9th

Today was just like any other day - until the circus came to downtown!! These lovely elephants marched right down E. 9th, and at a pretty good pace. I had to run to take this picture.

And if living in Cleveland couldn't get any more exciting than mid-afternoon circus elephants... Jordin Sparks is performing a free concert this Saturday for the opening of a bus line! I couldn't make this stuff up.

My Very First Blog

After many months of reading blogs and a little bit of blogger stalking, I have decided to join the ranks of bloggers. I am a little apprehensive, but if nothing else, this blog can serve as my personal archive of favorite recipes, restaurants, and Cleveland "hidden jewels".

A little about me, and perhaps to start a theme, in the form of a recipe:

2 yrs. living in downtown Cleveland
40 dozen dinners cooked for one
A handfull of lb's I'd like to drop
A dash of pizzazz

Alright, that was cornier that I anticipated, but if I have one rule for this blog it is this: I will put myself out there, for better or worse. You may kiss the blog.