By now you think I’m one of those one-and-done bloggers who is very excited about his or her project for about a week, but then it flames out only to be lost in cyber space. Nine times out of 10 you would be right — but, I have a very good reason for my recent kitchen avoidance.
Now, nine weeks pregnant, I don’t want to cook. Some times I don’t even want to eat — imagine that — and when I do eat it has been confined to eggs, spaghetti (with added veggies), cheese and Golden Grahams®. Today I expanded my menu to include microwave popcorn — which, by the way was absolutely delicious.
None of these fine foods, however, lend themselves to the soups section of the JOC. They really don’t lend themselves to any section of the JOC, except maybe the how-to-create-a-cheese-plate chapter. Or the make-your-own-pasta chapter — but I ask you, who has the patience for that?!
And while this might sounds like a convenient excuse, I am assured by every pregnancy book and Web site available that the food aversions are replaced by cravings in the coming weeks. That can only mean one thing … I’ll be back in the kitchen messing things up and not following recipes properly in no time.
After reading sauces and stocks last night (JOC pg. 35-59) I was a little overwhelmed by all the choices of stocks and sauces. I expected a very basic chapter — I was wrong.
Ironically, before I even read the chapter I decided my first sauce would be a simple tomato sauce. I’m having friends over for dinner and the tomato sauce would be the perfect addition to my favorite (and easy) Weight Watchers® lasagna recipe.
6 items dry lasagna noodles
16 oz fat-free ricotta cheese
28 oz bottled spaghetti sauce
4 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 cup zucchini
1 cup mushroom(s)
Spray 11×7 baking dish with cooking spray.
Spread 1/3 of the sauce on bottom of dish. Arrange 3 noodles over the sauce. Top with another 1/3 of sauce,all of the ricotta cheese and the vegetables,and 1/2 the mozzerella cheese. Top with remaining 3 noodles and the remaining sauce.
Cover dish with foil. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour.
Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining cheese,bake for another 5 minutes.
Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.
Typically, 1/6 of the pan for this recipe is 6 points®, but since I’m adding my own sauce to the mix I wouldn’t trust that points analysis.
Ironically, the tomato sauces are not in the sauce recipe section at all — they are in the pasta section! To some this might seem logical. Not to me. I fully expected tomato sauce to be in the sauce section. Really? What were they thinking?
Doesn’t matter. I have my menu planned, it includes Italian Tomato Sauce — basic recipe (pg. 304), and I’m sticking to it.
Tomorrow, the verdict, and maybe some pictures — if I have batteries for my digital camera.
Easter Brunch at Colvin Run Tavern
8045 Leesburg Pike
McLean, Va. 22182
Total experience: 8.5/10
Two weeks since my last note, and not a hint of those sauces I was so eager to try. I have a really good excuse, but I’ll save it for later.
Anyway, my husband and I joined the masses at Masses and Easter Brunches, yesterday. We weren’t sure what we wanted to do for the chocolate-egg-laden holiday, but we knew we wanted it to be low-key with plenty of time in the afternoon for napping and getting caught up on our Tivoed shows from the prior week.
My last-minute brunch searching led us to Colvin Run in Tyson’s Corner. Lucky reservation. We’ve been to Colvin Run before, and we dined for our anniversary at another Bob Kinkead fave, Kinkead’s, for our anniversary last year. We knew what to expect, and we weren’t disappointed.
Chris dined on a tortilla soup to start, and huevos rancheros for his main course. I had an excellent portabello appetizer and a crab omlette. The apple tart for dessert, drizzled in caramel sauce, was out of this world. The crust was perfectly cooked and the dish reminded me of the old McDonald’s apple pies. Remember? The delicious fried ones?
We were, however, pleasantly surprised when we received the bill. Having dined at Colvin Run before, we knew what to expect price-wise, but the brunch, with three courses, came in well-under the cost for a typical meal there. An added bonus? There were no buffet lines (everything was made-to-order off the menu) and no Easter bunnies.
339 North Dearborn at Marina City
Chicago, IL 60610
Our rating: 8/10 atmosphere, 6/10 food
Admittedly, going to Bin 36 from D.C. would be quite the “restaurant road trip,” but if you are in the Windy City for a quick vacation or even a dull business trip grabbing a glass (or a flight) of wine and some cheese at Bin 36 would be a perfect way to end a day.
Don’t be fooled. Bin 36 has a restaurant area, but this “wine bar” is really more about its wine and cheese flights than its main courses. When our party of eight sat down Saturday evening and looked around at the dining room tables filled with wine glasses it became clear that the wine is the way to go at Bin 36.
Everyone seemed pleased with their flights – all of which came with purchase information for the attached wine shop. Specific favorites? I’ll leave that up to anyone who wishes to comment as I chose not to imbibe that evening. The cheese platter received rave reviews, too. Our entrees, however, were less than stellar. Half our party seemed pleased, the other half ordered steak which for four of us was severely undercooked. Even after sending mine back (which, I might add, I do very infrequently) it still wasn’t cooked to my medium-well standards. The sides (a potato cake and sauteed spinach) were uninspired, but edible.
Innovative desserts and champagne flights after the main course hit a nice chord with the ladies, and almost made up for our bleeding steaks.
Verdict? A lovely way to spend an evening, but save the $18-30 for the entrees and splurge on the wine and cheese or head to the bar and order from the different and less pricey bar menu.
Next week I will embark on the next chapter of the JOC: Soups, Sauces and Stocks. This should be an especially interesting outing since as far as I am concerned soups, sauces and stocks all come from cans.
The idea of making my own chicken stock is at the same time fascinating and freaky. But, the idea of making my own tomato sauce — totally cool.
Heading to Chicago this weekend to visit my sister and catch up with the college roomies. Saturday evening we have a reservation at Bin 36. I’ll write up a mini-review on Monday!
Cooler of Guinness
Originally uploaded by bethanyll22.
What’s St. Patrick’s Day without a little Guinness?
Mini corned beef sandwiches
Originally uploaded by bethanyll22.
I really felt that the corned beef was very tough. People assured me that the sandwiches were good, but really what are they going to say, “Gosh, your food is really bad … why didn’t you just get this catered?”
A friend and former chef suggested that I didn’t cook it long enough. In a crock pot, he said, you could cook corned beef for eight hours and it would be fine. Seems five hours didn’t make the cut.
Still, they were all gone by Sunday morning!