1st Blogaversary

Happy Blogaversary to The Three Bite Rule!

Can you believe The Three Bite Rule is a year old today?!?! Wow. I cannot believe it’s been 365 days with 139 posts and 667 photos and lots of techie learning along the way. This year has been full of changes, travel, our wedding, job changing, new kitchen equipment, and so much more.

In celebration I’d love to make some goals for year 2 of the blog and extend some awards.

Goals for year 2:

1 – Some behind the scenes growing up and some website changes: I need a better archive system/recipe index; biz cards; pinterest follow icon; and to finally figure out why my tweets like to repeat. I’m sure there are some other items that need tweaking too.

2 – I would love to improve my photos…I’m sure you’d love that too! I desperately want a kitchen with a window but in the meantime I need a better lighting set up. I got an amazing camera but the lack of natural light and too much yellow light annoys me when photo editing. Stay tuned.

3 – More guest posts: come on down! (email emily@thethreebiterule.com for details)

4 – Get a bit better about prepping posts further in advance. Ever notice they appear at 7:30 or 11:30? Well, I’m spilling the beans that no, I’m not hitting “send” before/during work. I schedule them to appear.

5 – More Giveaways. Scratch that. Some giveaways. Wouldn’t that be fun?

6 – More restaurant recreations, more food round ups, more food/drink related crafts, & more unusual stuff.

7 – Move to a house with real kitchen unlike my current apartment kitchen which drives me nutty. Then all my new kitchen toys can come out to play!

8 – Preview of coming attractions so you can get excited before I even post ‘em!

9 – Host more often so I can share with others and learn more from different tastes.

10 – Be more creative.

Now, for some superlatives:

Party Animal: Mac & Cheese Taste-Off
This was my favorite party of the year. I was blown away that we had 10 entries! Wow! Delicious! I was too busy having a wonderful time to take many photos. You get the idea though, right?
mac&cheese_290_200

Best Dressed: Tangy Asian Wings
I was happy with the photos of these and thought these were the best looking plates.
wings_plate_close_290_200
Most Likely to be Famous: Life Savor Fundraiser Event
This meal was so memorable. I loved all the courses, the wine pairings, how the restaurant really went all out, and all the choices.
lifesavor_ravioli_290_200

Biggest Meal Surprise: Ranch Chicken Burgers and Apple Slaw
I was surprised how amazing this meal was. I mean I knew it would be good but I was bowled over! I hadn’t made a burger inside before and it was a really pleasant surprise.
ranch_burg_plate_290_200

Biggest Flop: Baked Orzo Flop
This dish was just sad and it didn’t even taste better than it looks. Bahh.
orzo_baked_290_200

Most Likely to Succeed: Calzones
Calzones are my signature dish and always seem to be a success!
calzone_cambridge_290_200

Proudest Moment: Meatballs
I hadn’t made them myself before but totally should more often…especially given my beef-less life!
meatballs_baked_290_200

Best Supporting Actor: Butternut Squash Risotto
For Valentines Day at home I made some bbq pork ribs and butternut squash risotto. This side dish was sooo good. As Rachael would say…yum-o!
butternut_risotto_290_200

Thanks to everyone who reads, comments, follows, subscribes, and supports me and The Three Bite Rule!

Spanish Winery Tour & Tasting Fun

One of the most fun cities on our honeymoon cruise was our visit to the city of Palma. Mr. J thought just saying Island of Majorca was pretty fun before we even got there.It was a surprise of sorts because my research suggested this coastal resort city wasn’t going to be as touristy or have as many sites we had to race around to get to.In Florence, Rome, and Naples we did our own thing since the excursions seemed too rigid and slow for us who wanted to see everything (read as: run around every minute we had in each city). In Palma, we opted for a winery tour and tasting the cruise offered and it was awesome. We went to Macia Batle Winery.
honeymoon_winery_view_390_590
The tour was super informative. I’ve been on winery tours before and I love them. It was so impressive that the tour guide was originally from Germany. She moved to Spain a few years ago. She’s fluent in German, Spanish, and English. Makes me feel like our education is lacking.

We saw the bottling machines and all the wine barrels. Some hicks on the tour were surprised that wine is stored for lengths of time. Wine aged? Shocking!
honeymoon_winery_label_590_390
I LOVED that they have local artists or artists with connections to the area design the labels. The art was hung throughout. I wanted to buy prints but they don’t sell them. What a cool souvenir!
honeymoon_winery_art_590_390
Now for the tasting…They had snacks too. I loved this place!

We tried 3 wines and several foods. The wines were so good. This was just the perfect setting to be poured wine, and told about it, and had plenty to drink and ponder. Marcia Batle grows herbs, grapes (obviously), olives, and have honeybees so we had wonderful things to try.
honeymoon_winery_display_390_390
Their olive oil is delicious. I wished it was bread to soak it up more, rather than our crackers. Then they sprayed the crackers with wine infused fleur de sel. Ohh my salty goodness. Amazing. I bought some fleur de sel with rosemary and cannot wait to use it. Sorry for the blurry photo…I was so excited to see the food!
honeymoon_winery_oliveoil_590_390
They also served some tapanades…three of ‘em. I’m not a huge olive fan, but these were very good. I probably liked them more than usual because of what else was in them. The roasted red pepper one was my fav and it was delicious with the wine.

honeymoon_winery_spreads_590_390
The winery served a local pizza too. It had a crisp crust with peppers and artichokes on top.  I wasn’t a big fan. Maybe because we’d just come from Italy or maybe because the spreads and crackers were so good, but this just didn’t do it for me.
honeymoon_winery_pizza_590_390
There was jam made with their grapes. Delicious! This was on a biscuit-like cracker. It tasted more like grapes than any grape jam I’ve ever had. Ever. We had it with a dessert wine which was think and syrupy.

honeymoon_winery_jam_390_590

Marcia Batle had lovely frosted glass wine bottle lights and really creative decor. Now I want to try to make art out of my favorite wines. I was so in love, and so happy to be there. Mr. J and I left with a lovely wine-induced haze and lovely memories.

Chili Cookoff

Way back when, I mentioned a chili cook-off I entered. I didn’t win but it was a great excuse to make some chili. It also got me thinking about my next birthday cook-off/taste-off…especially after last year’s booming success!

Ms. J from Better Than Butter introduced me to the cookoff. Guess what?! She won!! Woohoo!

I made a chili recipe my friend Ms. A graciously gave to me after I complimented her chili profusely about 5 years ago. It is modeled after Wendy’s Chili and it’s realllly good. I told her I’d share my winnings but I didn’t quite win. I came in a pretty respectable 4th (out of 11 or 12?).
chili_bowl_590_390
Here’s the recipe, with a few of my own tweaks, to make a HUGE batch. I recommend cutting in half if you aren’t serving an army or if you don’t want leftovers for weeks. It’s just too easy not to make more often.

Ingredients

3 lbs. ground turkey
1 can tomato sauce (29 oz)
1 can tomatoes with green chilis (10 oz)
1 can kidney beans (29 oz with liquid)
1 can black beans (29 oz with liquid)
1 large onion, diced
1 cup green chili, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 medium tomatoes, diced
1 clove of garlic, diced
3 tbs cumin powder
4 tbs chili powder
2 tbs black pepper
3 tbs salt
3 cups water
1 tsp liquid smoke

Directions

Brown the meat and drain.
Add the tomato sauce, tomatoes and onion.
chili_tomato_590_390
Add the beans, chilies, celery, and garlic.
chili_beans_590_390
Add the spices.
chili_spices_590_390
Finally add water and bring to a simmer over low heat.
Cook, stirring every 15 minutes, for 3 hours

The chili cook-off was a fundraiser for the Arlington Boys & Girls Club. It was $10 to enter a chili and $1 to sample and vote during a fall event they were having. I thought it was fun and it was great to see the community support.

We served non-stop for 90 minutes. I filled a huge crock pot. Most folks ran out even serving small amounts! It was so busy  that we (the chili cookers) didn’t get to sample everyone else’s chili! We were asked to list the ingredients so the tasters could have that info. I would have liked to see what everyone used.

I didn’t serve any toppings but totally should have. People had tortilla chips, cornbread, cheese, onion, etc! I had a bit leftover so Mr. J and I ate that with cornbread muffin tops once I got home.

Pizza Recreation

Back when I went to the pizza class, I felt surprised so many people there don’t make pizza regularly. I’ve never had a pizza catastrophe so I wasn’t sure what the big scare was. Until now. Dun Dun Dunnnn!
neopolitan_pizza_done_590_390Mr. J and I were so excited to recreate the AMAZING Neapolitan pizza we had in Naples. Remember that? I like thick, puffy, and crispy crust (and usually I’m in a hurry) so I don’t stretch the dough out all that much. When dough is cold is does that elasticy bounce-back even when you have stretched it out. It isn’t as sticky when it’s cold. Guess what happened when I tried for thinner than I’ve ever done.
neopolitan_pizza_dough_590_390
Bahhh. I was getting frustrated so Mr. J swooped in and saved the day. That’s how badly he wanted this pizza! Our rolling pin was MIA so he used the next handiest thing. It was cold which probably helped too.
neopolitan_pizza_champ_390_590

Ingredients

pizza dough
tomato sauce (I used Pastene’s Kitchen Ready tomatoes)
fresh mozzarella, sliced
basil leaves

Directions

Preheat oven and pizza stone to 450 degrees (mine takes forever so I whipped up some fried ravioli while I was waiting!)
neopolitan_pizza_rav_590_390
Roll out dough to the thinnest you can get without holes and place onto pizza stone or pan.
Spread tomato sauce onto dough
neopolitan_pizza_sauce_590_390
Layer mozzarella slices on and sprinkle basil on top.
neopolitan_pizza_layered_590_390
Bake 15 minutes or until outer crust is crunchy and cheese melts.

It was really delicious. I think because it was so think I had trouble crisping the edges without destroying the cheese. I thought maybe next time I’d pre-cook the crust for a few minutes. Or maybe I’ll cover the middle with foil and try to crisp the crusts a bit. Maybe I’ll throw the basil on when it’s almost cooked.
neopolitan_pizza_ab_590_390
Ms. C is prob in her glory with all the pizza I’ve had lately and what is still to come! But man, I just can’t compete with a 700-degree brick pizza oven!

This pizza is so simple so the ingredients are super important to shine through. I love this tomato sauce because it doesn’t have any water, just tomatoes and some tomato puree. It’s our new sauce at home now.
neopolitan_pizza_ingred_590_390
Since I haven’t quite mastered the Neopolitan pizza, where do you suggest I get one in Boston/greater Boston? Any tips on making my own? Don’t be bashful now!

Wedding Bliss

I loved our wedding.Is that a weird statement? Who doesn’t love their own wedding?! hahaha. It was just the day of my dreams and I enjoyed every second. I’ll remember how everything felt for the rest of my life. I’m just so happy to be married to Mr. J.I have a few photos to share food related and some details which aren’t make it-or-break it wedding details but things I loved . Here’s the moment I thought of thethreebiterule.com during the wedding and when my amazing friends offered a camera to help me document it. The photo wasn’t quite the best I’ve ever taken, but thankfully Mrs. K captured this happening which I love even more!
wedding_blogger_590_390
Disclaimer: these fantastic photos are not my own. Our extremely talented photographer, Scott Zuehlke, captured every moment perfectly. We let him do his thing and I’m not sure I ever mentioned I had a food blog but I’m psyched he got such great food shots. He’s pretty awesome and you should check him out.
wedding_ap1_590_390
The appetizers were delicious and I wish I got to try them all. We served phyllo & asiago wrapped asparagus tips with red pepper aioli, coconut chicken with raspberry sweet & sour sauce, scallops wrapped bacon in a maple balsamic glaze, mongolian pulled pork on a corn cake with carmelized onion, miniature tomato brushetta with balsamic syrup.
wedding_aps2_590_390
That’s prime group-photo-time and since the ceremony and reception were in the same place, there’s no lag time in-between…which I’m not a fan of when I’m a guest anyway so I just had to deal missing the cocktail hour for photos. To the venue’s defense…they did bring us a few apps.

Though, they also served the bridal party’s champagne to the guests we were trying to get to leave the patio for family & bridal party pictures.
wedding_champ_590_390
I wish I had kept a napkin but I thought they were cute and very thematic with the birds we had on our invitations. Mr. J wasn’t as in love with them since the colors were a bit off. They’re super cheap and can be a fun touch especially since we had birds on our invitations & placecards etc.
wedding_napkin_590_390
The talented Mr. J designed everything so when we talked about menus he was gung-ho. When I attend weddings, I don’t always remember what food I’ve ordered so I thought these would be fun.  We had to get the invitations out before having a tasting at the venue so the choice on the response card was chicken or beef. Boo. I know! I like to know the food details too.
wedding_menu_390_590
The salad had the best crumbled goat cheese I’ve ever had. I’m not always a fan but this was great.  I’d love to get the shallot vinaigrette by the bottle. Candied pecans weren’t tough to take either.
wedding_salad_590_390
Dinner was a choice of chicken francese or filet mignon and some mysterious vegetarian option. I had the chicken and Mr. J had the beef. It was kind of a lot of food. I liked mine, but obviously it was better when served super hot at the tasting.
wedding_chicken_590_390
I get catering though…100 meals at the same moment? Yikes. I have trouble with sides and entree at the same time for 2!
wedding_beef_590_390
The cake was pretty amazing. I never eat the cake at weddings but I had cake we brought home. I never even noticed the cake being sliced. I was probably in a dance-off with Mr. J (while the room of people watched) while cake was being served. Maybe that didn’t happen at the same exact time, but it definitely happened!

The topper was one of my favorite things ever. Loved it! Mr. J hunted for it and it was perfect. It was actually one of the only details I didn’t share with everyone. Surprise! It was heavy so we had the bakery pre-approve it that he wouldn’t sink into the cake. Our black lab Windsor was well represented that day in the ceremony, my vows, and on the cake!

wedding_topper_390_590
Best! Day! Ever!