Favorite Recipes of 2011

Bye bye 2011 – the year filled with various fruit-filled desserts, homemade pizzas and plenty of roasted chicken recipes. Throughout this past year, I definitely learned many new tricks including how to make pie pastry dough from scratch (and cut and assemble lattices for pies), how to properly clean and prepare a whole chicken for roasting and how to properly make quinoa, just to name a few!

In order to celebrate 2011, I just wanted to list a few of my favorites:

Strawberry Shortcakes

Cheddar Jalapeno Bread


Homemade Oreos


Roast Chicken With Chickpeas,
Tomatoes, Olives and Thyme


Sour Cherry Pie With Lattice Crust


Spaghetti & Sicilian Meatballs


Lemon Ricotta Pancakes With
Lemon Curd and Raspberries


Chicken Piccata


Blackberry Peach Crumble


Baked Macaroni & Cheese
With Garlic Bread Crumbs

Pumpkin Cake With
Cream Cheese Frosting

I am already excited for 2012: hoping to experiment more with pomegranates, mustard (yes, Epicurious predicted it to be a Top Food Trend for 2012), avocados and I would like to make homemade Pho. Join me in my adventure!

Cheers!

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Baked Macaroni & Cheese With Garlic Bread Crumbs

“It tastes so good, it must be bad.” This thought kept reverberating through my mind while both making this dish (no judgments — I had to sample!) and during consumption. Sometimes, I just get the itch to make comfort food and this past Saturday was no different.

The idea to make macaroni and cheese dawned on me when I happened to peruse down the aisles of the grocery store and spotted one of my childhood favorites in a box: Macaroni & Cheese. Although some of the boxed kinds of Macaroni & Cheese are too die for, I decided to forgo the powdered cheese and unknown-mysterious-overly-processed-can’t pronounce ingredient combination in order to try the “real deal”. However, in making this decision, I knew I would be consuming exorbitant amounts of butter, cream, milk, and cheese in order to delight my taste buds. But, every now and then, I truly believe these types of good (but, oh-so-bad) foods are just absolutely necessary. My final response? Dig in!

Macaroni & Cheese With Garlic Bread Crumbs.

Step 1: Grate Cheeses; Chop Garlic


Step 2: Melt Butter; Whisk Flour &
Mustard; Pour in Cream & Milk




Step 3: Add Sauce to Noodles and Cheese


Step 4: Melt Butter; Add to Olive Oil,
Bread Crumbs and Chopped Garlic


Step 5: Add Bread Crumbs to the Top
of Macaroni; Bake and Enjoy!

“It tastes so good, it must be bad.” Wait, I have a correction: “It tastes so good, it must be bad – but, I’m going to enjoy it anyway!”

The moral of the story: indulge every now and then — it’s a good thing!

Cheers!

December Restaurant Highlights

With December coming to a close, I thought it’d be fun to pay tribute to two new restaurants that I visited this past month in Southeast Portland.

Whiskey Soda Lounge — Owned by the ever famous Pok Pok (winner of Best Restaurant of the Year by The Oregonian, featured in The New York Times, and mentioned many other places as seen here), the Whiskey Soda Lounge takes after its predecessor by serving Thai-inspired “drinking snacks” and cocktails from the current menu of Pok Pok.

After first step into the Whiskey Soda Lounge, I knew I was going to like it. The dim lighting mixed with blue lights outside, neon color interior, and wafting smell of ginger, lime, and peanut marinated chicken caused me to be smitten. Not to mention, after actually TRYING drinks and a few appetizers, I left satisfied and craving to come back!

(taken from The Whiskey Soda Lounge website)

Order: Tamarind Whiskey Sour, Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings, and Coconut Ice Cream Sandwich

Savoy — Originally, a group of friends and I were planning to visit the Whiskey Soda Lounge AGAIN, but the influx of people that particular Monday night prompted us to satisfy our grumbling stomachs elsewhere. Luckily to our delight, Savoy surprised us and was only a few blocks from our previous destination.

Now, their website proclaims they serve “traditional American cooking, with a nod towards the Midwest.” This beckoned my enthusiasm for I’m originally from the Midwest. This also spiked my inner-carnivore sense and I in turn gravitated towards the meatballs on the menu. Thankfully, these were very flavorful and I learned its key ingredients from an article from Willamette Week as seen here (ground pork and beef, thyme, golden raisins, pine nuts, and basil). We further ordered a few side dishes including our favorite comfort food, Macaroni and Cheese. So, Savoy is the place to go for a neighborhood atmosphere and comfort foods!

Savoy -- Inside the Restaurant

Order: Wisconsin Tavern Board,  Delicate Squash with Sage and Brown Butter, Mushrooms of the Moment, and Meatballs

This time, both of these restaurants were in Southeast Portland and only a convenient few blocks separated them from each other. Although distinctly different restaurants, I enjoyed both and will continue to visit them in the future (and I highly encourage you to visit them too!).

Cheers!