Thursday, April 30, 2009

Date Night at Rusty's

Tuesday is not a normal date night, but things are different on vacation. The day of the week never matters.

Our last night in Arizona we enjoyed our evening meal at sunset, at Rusty's Chop House at the Boulders Resort golf club. The odd day of the week had some affect on our plans. On the downside, the resort's fine dining establishment is closed on a Tuesday. On the upside, we had a wonderful meal here instead.

We had some free dinner theater courtesy of the golf club event going on right below us on the course. They had a lively cocktail hour with two guitarists and a funny MC.

Per usual, bread and butter to start the table. A pretzel bread made Mr. Suite Apple Pie very happy.

For dinner, I ordered the catch of the day:

~grilled salmon with a hard egg beurre blanc, zucchini and squash cake topped with goat cheese, with fresh asparagus and olives~

The salmon was grilled perfectly, and the vegetables were crisp and fresh. All the flavors on the plate complimented each other; though it was a heavier dish than my usual, it did not seem heavy.

For Mr. Suite Apple Pie:

~filet mignon of course, with a cabernet reduction, sauteed spinach, and a sweet potato gratin~

With dinner we enjoyed two glasses of wine: Argentinian Malbec for me, Napa Valley Zinfandel for him.

While we were eating, we spied some indigenous wild pigs grazing beneath our balcony. Can you see them in the middle of the picture?

~::~

We have not shared dessert in a long time, and when we received the menu we knew immediately what we wanted to share.

When it comes to dessert, we go big or go home. So we went big:

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Ice Cream Pie, studded with peanuts and cookie crumbles

Warm Apple Strudel with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Holy yum! I was very grateful for the 1/3 mile walk back to our casita.

and not long after....

~:::~

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Trip

Prep list for a quick vacation:

Do laundry to make sure needed clothes are clean; check.

Dig bathing suits out of summer storage; check.

Find those plastic bags for airport liquids; check.

Arrange for Padma to be fed while we're gone; check.

Get affairs in order at work for my absence; check.

Leave a note on Suite Apple Pie that I'll be gone..... oops.

~:~

I've been in Arizona since Friday, for a family wedding and a bit of R&R. While I failed to note my scheduled hiatus here, I will have a few posts in the next couple of days with some highlights.

We had a blast with the family: my parents and brothers, grandparents, godparents and cousins, and lots of extended family from Cyprus. The bride and groom were present at our own wedding; they weren't engaged yet but we could see the spark between them and knew this day would come.

They were married at The Wright House in nearby Mesa, Arizona. It's a beautiful venue, perfect for a spring wedding.

Waiting for the ceremony to begin; hello!

The buffet dinner was tasty and eclectic. Cocktail hour showcased the two cultures being combined; the groom is my second cousin, a Greek Cypriot and his bride is from China, making for an awesome culture smorgasbord. Surprisingly, spanakopita and gyoza dumplings are excellent together!

~::~

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Deux


~::~

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Peach Crumble

The king and queen of this castle favor fruity desserts. The Queen adores apple things- this is Suite Apple Pie after all, but give her a crisp, brown betty, or dumpling and she'll be just as happy. The King, on the other hand, prefers items of the peach persuasion.

To please the man of the house, I made a Peach Crumble for our Easter afternoon dessert. We loved it plain, but you could add some whipped cream or ice cream for a little something extra.

~::~

A crisp or crumble with a topping with oats and nuts is more common for us, but this recipe sans oats is quite pleasing due to the method of preparation. It makes a difference to start the two components separately and marry them together for the final bake.


Peach Crumble

3 1/2 lbs peaches (fresh or frozen), peeled and cut into wedges

1/3 cup, plus 1/4 cup, plus 1 Tbs baker's sugar

1 1/4 tsp cornstarch

juice from 1/2 lemon

pinch each of salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/8 tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla extract

6 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened

1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, with the racks in the lower and middle positions.

Toss the peaches with 1/3 cup sugar in a large bowl, and let sit for 30 minutes. Drain the peaches in a colander set over a second bowl. Reserve 1/4 cup of the peach juice and discard the rest. Whisk the reserved juice with the cornstarch, lemon juice, and spices. Toss the mixture with the peaches and transfer to a baking dish.

Combine the flour, sugars (minus 1 Tbs baker's sugar), and salt in a food processor with the vanilla. Pulse to combine. Add the softened butter and half the nuts and process until the mixture clumps, about 1 minute. Add the rest of the nuts and pulse a few times to combine. Transfer the mixture to a parchment lined baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes until brown and firm.

Increase the oven heat to 375 and bake the peaches for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and pour the topping over in a thin layer. Return to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until brown and bubbly. Allow to cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

~:::~

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Food in Pictures

Whole Wheat Rolls

Mimosas and peach bellinis

Mango and Pineapple Sausage on the grill

Hard-boiled Easter eggs

Petit Pois with Lettuce and Shallots

Peach Crumble

(Not pictured: Soft scrambled cheese eggs, fresh pineapple and strawberries, olallieberry jam, Sriracha- for the hard-boiled eggs)



~::~

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pretty

I'm not with my family this Easter; instead, my in-law family will be visiting for brunch. For me, it was essential to keep tradition and make some pretty dyed eggs for the table.


Everyone always gets their own named egg, to use in the egg fight. We bang two eggs together, and whoever remains uncracked by the end wins.


~::~

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ray's Man Pasta

As I have mentioned here before, my husband does not usually cook. But when I have to work late, he is responsible for his evening meal.

This is a huge help to me, but it does mean extra work for him. He usually goes for something simple and ready-made. Recently he made a dish he used to make before our marriage, when he lived on his own.

He browns lean ground beef in a skillet, and boils some pasta. He adds the ground beef to ready-made pasta sauce (he likes Classico Sun-Dried Tomato), with the ratio of meat being higher than sauce. He finishes the dish with parmesan cheese.

~::~

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Out of the Ordinary

A cookie with carrots, oatmeal, and nuts!

In the mood for some 'experimental' baking, I whipped up these cookies that I bookmarked. The recipe is not mine, belonging to Heidi Swanson over at 101 Cookbooks.

I love a cookie recipe with unusual ingredients. I tweaked her recipe for my own purposes, using half the amount of nuts for my less nut-centric crowd. I also used a maple syrup/honey mixture so I wouldn't deplete my maple stores as much.

For the recipe, please visit Heidi's beautiful website here.

While Ray prefers a cookie with chocolate chips, he approves of these and said they are quite tasty. With the carrot and oats, I feel comfortable knowing these will be consumed for breakfast and snacks. :-)

~::~

~:::~