Honey Chipotle Baked Beans

Mr. J had BIG grilling plans so I felt like I needed to at least make something. He bought ribs and cooked them very low and slow for a few hours with rub he got from a Kansas City vendor he worked with for a few days. It was a feast, and absolutely unbelievably ahh-mazing. My honey chipotle beans were less than amazing unless you have a serious tolerance for heat.

My instant sangria was a really great addition to go with the best ribs I’ve ever had and the spiciest beans I’ve ever had. Wooo-eee. They were spicy. I alllllmost diluted them by half, but sometimes you just have to call it quits. If I kept adding to the spicy beans it might have made them better, but it also would have doubled the quantity. If it didn’t fix the spice level, then we’d just have tons of mediocre beans. See what I mean? I would have mellowed them out if I had guests, but we just dealt and ended up not finishing them. It was fine.

The Three Bite Rule - Honey Chipotle Baked Beans

Ingredients:

1 shallot
1/2 onion
1 can white navy beans
2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo (maybe just use 1?)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup tomato sauce

Directions:

Dice shallot and onion. Add to a heavy pot over medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Cook a few minutes, until translucent (about 5 minutes).
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Chipotle Baked Beans
In a blender or food processor, mix chipotle peppers, honey, molasses, and vinegar.
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Chipotle Baked Beans
Add in the beans, undrained, and the chipotle sauce mixture with 1/4 cup of water.
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Chipotle Baked Beans
Bring to a low boil for 10-15 minutes, then reduce heat to low for 30 minutes.
Serve & enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Chipotle Baked Beans

Quick White Cranberry Sangria

I saw a video on instagram for white sangria and knew exactly what to do with an opened bottle of white wine hanging out in my fridge. It was a sweet Reisling and it wasn’t my favorite. Perfect for sangria! Most often when I make sangria it has to hang out so long that it isn’t amazing but the day after I serve it, voila! It is amazing and it’s just me with the leftovers. This sangria is quick and really only needed to chill together for 2 hours or so.

My pitcher is dimpled, so it is wicked hard to photograph. Also, there were only 2 of us drinking it so I didn’t make a ton. :-)

The Three Bite Rule - Quick White Sangria
Thanks to Ocean Spray’s instagram video, I sought out the juice, but didn’t buy theirs, oops. I saw White Cranberry Peach and White Cranberry Strawberry. This one was pinkish so that’s what sold me. It is verrrry mild cranberry flavor – I would have liked more cranberry tartness.
The Three Bite Rule - Quick White Sangria

Ingredients:

1/2 – 2/3 bottle of sweet white wine
~4 cups White Cranberry Strawberry Juice
2 tbs fresh mint
splash of lime juice
1/2 peach or nectarine, sliced
splash of limoncello, lemon vodka, or ruby red vodka

Directions:

Add the wine into a pitcher and drop the mint in. Use a wooden spoon to muddle it a bit squishing it against the bottom and stirring the wine.
The Three Bite Rule - Quick White Sangria
Add in the same amount of juice for a 1:1 wine to juice ratio (or less juice than wine if you want it a bit stronger)
Slice a nectarine or peach and add that in as well with a splash of lime juice, or fresh limes.
The Three Bite Rule - Quick White Sangria
Refrigerate for 2+ hours or until serving. Give it a stir, and a splash of lemoncello, then serve over ice and enjoy!

The nectarine slices might not fare too well over night so if making it wayyy in advance, drop them in a little while before serving. It also could be served with a splash of club soda or swapping the wine for a sparkling wine, sparkling rose, or champagne would all be great!

The Three Bite Rule - Quick White Sangria
I loved this. There was some taste of the wine but the fruit and the mint plus the juice made it really easy to sip. I mean, really easy. We had this with dinner of BBQ but it also would a great day-drinking option since it isn’t the strongest drink. 1 glass is like 1/2 a glass of wine! #winning

Mmm. I want to drink this on a beach. I’m heading to the cape in a few weeks. Maybe I will!

Boston Public Market

The Boston Food scene is just so cool. The Boston Public Market just opened and I was psyched to get a tour a bit early. It is the ONLY market of this kind in the country…all local…all indoor…all year round. It is so bright, beautiful, chic, and welcoming inside. Each vendor really has a distinct feeling and I loved that. It is brimming with produce, yet I only brought home some donuts. Next time! The tour had some good info, but was suuuper rushed. Let’s see what I remember.

Boston Public Market Sign

The displays are breathtaking, especially the produce, and the bakeries. Yum!
The Three Bite Rule - Boston Public Market
Wolf Meadow Farm let us sample some ricotta with pepper jelly. Swoon. I know. How’d they know I loooove ricotta!? Their motto is import the cheese maker, not the cheese. They’ll advise you how to serve their cheese especially with other produce from the market!
The Three Bite Rule - Boston Public Market

We saw the programming space called the Kitchen. I feel as though the name is lacking, but it is just amazing! There are cameras in the ceiling for live feeds on tv screens which will be perfect for demos. The programs will be varied which also will help them strive for varied price points. Community Servings is one of the partners leading classes!
The Three Bite Rule - Boston Public Market
How fun is this, you can leave a cookbook and take a cookbook! There are book-plates for the inside to share your favorite item from it. I totally want to do this!
The Three Bite Rule - Boston Public Market

One of the few non-edible items…bowls made from fallen trees! Peterman’s Boards & Bowls
The Three Bite Rule - Boston Public Market
Lastly, one of the coolest things: a bee hive! That black glass paneled box is a beehive!
The Three Bite Rule - Boston Public Market
It is very cool and a great time for the local food scene in Boston. I loved the vibe and think it is just what we needed here. It sort of made me think of Reading Terminal in Philly, the Ferry Building in San Fran, Chelsea Market in NYC. So great!

July 2015 Recap

What a busy one. I can’t believe how crazy Mr. J and I both are at work. Looking back, I don’t know that July has been my best month in the kitchen, but I made some things we liked and more importantly, ate great stuff this month, even if it wasn’t all blog-worthy. We’re all about the grilled chicken thighs and Mr. J made a bourbon BBQ sauce that is fantastic. In July, I went to River Bar (loved the view), SmashBurgers (a new fav for something quick), Frogmore (undecided), Chilacates (ah-mazing tacos), and Lala Rokh (adorable and perfect for summer).

This burger with mushrooms, swiss, and herb aoli was the best thing I made this month. So good. I got a similar kind of thing as a chicken sandwich at SmashBurger and loved the combo of mushrooms and swiss.
The Three Bite Rule - Steakhouse Burger
My chicken salad with radish and dried blueberries was soooo fantastic. Make it immediately. Go on a picnic. Feel fancy.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Salad with Radish & Blueberries
Panzanella salad just says summer and the quickie dressing is useful for anything.
The Three Bite Rule - Panzanella
August has a trip to the Cape and lots more grilling in store. I’m itching to serve a burrata bar since it didn’t make the catering cut for one of my events. I have a few more burger ideas before the summer is over too.


The Little One: 

He is just so funny. I love him to pieces. He’s 6 months old and doing SO much. He was perfecting the art of sitting and then all of a sudden figured out how to go from his belly to a seated position. He’s trying to crawl really hard so it is only a matter of time. He can scootch, so now it is time to baby proof. Wowza.
6month

He loves applesauce and doesn’t like peas. Atta boy Thomas, Momma doesn’t like peas either. We did give it a valiant effort.

Thomas can find the tag on a toy so quickly…even his taggies toy, he finds the 1 real one. We all traveled to Maine and he was very well behaved. I was so proud and glad he got to meet family from all over the country. He was a CHAMP in the car even though coming home took a million hours.


Progress on this year’s goals: 

The Year of the Earring: I think I missed July. I’ll get on it for August. 

make more salad dressings: Sure did! I made a Teriyaki Sesame Dressing for a Baby Bok Choy salad.

factor more time into how long every-day tasks/trips will take: 
still learning, though I was super early to meet Mr. J for the baby’s check up so I got some steps in around the parking lot and circling the building.

recreate restaurant menu items:
ehh. not this month I guess.

be more adventurous with my reading selections: 
I finished Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl and loved it. I’m ready for a new one now.   

use the crockpot more: 
Yes! I made chicken mole for tacos! There was a ton leftover so I have a freezer stock of chicken mole burritos. 

seafood once a month: 
ehh. not this month I guess. I’ll get on it.

Tomato Basil Chicken Cutlets

Let’s talk about when dinner doesn’t go exactly according to plan. This one was one of those instantly needing to change the course of action. I had plans for a different topping, along the same idea of a breaded cutlet with a chopped, fresh topping. I started slicing into an avocado and muuuuush. I attempted to scrape the brownest avocado away but really, it was beyond use. That’s really sad because avocados cost a fortune right now. It was time to regroup, the chicken was cooking and I needed a plan b. pronto.

The chicken is coated in mustard and breaded with panko, thanks to the mustard idea from Ms. L. The cutlets were frying and my strawberry avocado topping wasn’t going to work out. I chopped the few little tomatoes we had in the garden and grabbed as many basil leaves as I could. Basil is not our strong suit over here. It was great, a quick recovery and meant we were eating pretty soon after.

Tomato Basil Chicken Cutlets - The Three Bite Rule

Ingredients:

chicken cutlets, 1-2 per person
3-4 tbs dijon mustard
1-2 cups panko breadcrumbs
~1 cup vegetable oil for frying
~4 cherry tomatoes
1 tbs fresh basil leaves
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
splash of olive oil

Directions:

Mix mustard and a splash of water together in a shallow bowl large enough to dip the chicken in.
Spread the breadcrumbs with some salt & pepper onto a plate.
Bring a frying pan with the vegetable oil to medium heat.
Dip each chicken cutlet into the mustard, then the breadcrumbs.
Pan fry the chicken a few minutes on each side, ensuring the chicken cooks through.  Then remove and keep warm in the oven.
Chop the tomatoes and basil. Add the vinegar and olive oil and stir.
Tomato Basil Chicken Cutlets - The Three Bite Rule
Serve the chicken with a few spoonfuls of the tomato basil mixture. Enjoy!

Once I knew it was heading towards tomato and basil, I decided to serve it with some orzo since it cooks so quickly. It may not have been quite was I was going for but I was really happy with this regroup. Have you seen The Next Food Network Star? I regularly see one guy not being able to regroup, which is sooo important when cooking. I was determined not to be like that.

My breading didn’t stay on perfectly…that could be from the mustard instead of using egg, or my lack of patience frying. The topping hid any bald spots pretty well.

How do you regroup? Do you end up saving the dish in the end, or is it time to order pizza?

Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Food Critic in Disguise

I quickly got into this book and then couldn’t put it down. I LOVED this writer and the life of a food critic is absolutely fascinating. Ruth Reichl became the New York Times food critic and then started with some disguises after learning every restaurant had her photo posted in the back for staff to be on the lookout. She wanted the true experience so her disguises allowed her to visit 3+ times to try everything. I felt like she was looking out for the normal people knowing that she got the best of the best when arriving as herself.

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I don’t dine at the best restaurants ever, but I do work very closely with them for my event so I could truly picture a lot of this. Ruth also reviewed everything out there…tiny Korean restaurants and toured mom & pop shops. You definitely get the sense of how much she just adores food.

She does a fantastic job at showing what it is like, and how reviewing restaurants is actually work. When her little boy was wanting her home for dinner I can see it become tiresome, also when coupled with her thrift-store & wig shopping to create these personas. I think there’s a fine line for everyone to think of her very first-world problem of going out to eat every night. I get it. I found her warm and the struggle real that she didn’t get to be herself to do her job. She loves to cook and includes a recipe to wrap up each chapter. The reader falls in love with her characters, since the get-ups aren’t just costumes. She takes on the persona and uses her doorman as the tester.

I love her experiences when the food blows her away and when she’s so in the moment that she can’t even speak. I love how many details she shares for the restaurant, food, and service at one she doesn’t love…like an over-priced one that isn’t worth it. She has such a realistic life perspective that makes her experiences very genuine and easy to read.

For some reason, it never crossed my mind that a food critic would go to a restaurant 3-5 times before writing the review. The people and relationships Ruth has with her colleagues and friends at The New York Times was really captivating. I have seen what happens to restaurants and chefs when they’re nominated for prestigious awards. Certain ratings can do some of that as well.

I loved this and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the restaurant world with a fun reminder that outward appearances aren’t always what they seem.

Panzanella

This panzanella is the salad that can be dinner on its own, or for me, it was just part of a crazy salad night for dinner. I liked the crouton-ish part of this salad, and sometimes any salad without greens if a more-fun one for me. I don’t know that I’d make it all that often, but on a hot night panzanella hits the spot. Now, I just need the bigger tomatoes in the garden to ripen up. We’ve gotten some cherry tomatoes but the bigger ones are still green so I bought the tomatoes for this salad.

The Three Bite Rule - Panzanella

Ingredients:

2 cups cubed & dried bread
2 large tomatoes
1/2 large cucumber
1 yellow/orange bell pepper
1/4 red onion
1/2 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbs red wine vinegar
splash of lemon juice
salt & pepper

Directions:

Chop up the tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and red onion. Let the onion soak for about 5 minutes in some cold water so they mellow out a bit.
The Three Bite Rule - Panzanella
Heat a large skillet to medium-low heat with about 2 tbs of olive oil.
Drop the bread in and toss it around to coat. Cook for about 5 minutes until it gets just a little golden and a little crusty.
In a glass jar, add in the garlic, mustard, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt & pepper. Shake it up!
The Three Bite Rule - Panzanella
Toss the veggies, bread, and some dressing together.
The Three Bite Rule - Panzanella
Let it sit for at least 15 minutes, then add more dressing if needed. Enjoy!

If the tomatoes or cukes are really juicy you might not need any more dressing. I used just enough to get it all tossed – maybe half? Then another little splash before serving. I liked the bread getting a little crisp first and then soaking a bit of the dressing. I didn’t want it completed soaked and falling apart. The dressing takes 2 seconds and is an easy one to use again on any salad or adding some herbs to make it a marinade.

The Three Bite Rule - Panzanella
I don’t know that I’d make this all the time, but it was a great use for some leftover really good bread. I served it on a night of two unusual salads (the other being watermelon, feta & arugula) with grilled sausage. It probably didn’t really get to shine because I was sooo into the watermelon/feta/arugula salad.

The Three Bite Rule - Watermelon & Feta Salad
Have you ever soaked onions? It is great for a raw use so they don’t overpower everything else. They maintain the crunch and some flavor but they won’t be the only taste in there.

Steakhouse Burger

Does the swiss cheese and arugula make this American burger acceptable for Bastille Day? Ohh well, not quite on-theme but I once went to Bastille Day at the French Library in Boston and the crepe toppings included M&Ms so this is wayyy more appropriate for this French holiday (or my fav Parisian Burger). This burger has the buttery sautéed mushrooms that remind me of a steakhouse side dish. They are little sponges to soak up the butter and give an earthy flavor. Some melted swiss + herb aoli + arugula round this out perfectly. This is soooo good as a burger, but could easily be a piece of chicken or steak on the grill then topped with the mushrooms & swiss.

The Three Bite Rule - Steakhouse Burger

Ingredients:

2 burger patties seasoned with salt & pepper (mine was ground chicken & Mr. J’s was ground beef)
2 buns
1 cup of baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
2 tbs butter
2-3 tbs mayo
fresh herbs of your choosing: I used: oregano; basil; chives; & rosemary
2 slices of swiss
arugula or spinach

Directions:

Heat the grill or a grill pan and begin cooking the burgers to your preferred done-ness.
Warm a skillet to medium-low heat. Add the butter to melt.
Sauté the mushrooms for about 3 minutes, stirring regularly.
The Three Bite Rule - Steakhouse Burger
Mix together the mayo & herbs. I have a bunch of thriving herbs so I grabbed some of a bunch of them. You could easily just use whatever 2 you might have on hand. I had a 1:1 ratio of the mayo so it was suuuuper herby.
The Three Bite Rule - Steakhouse Burger
Lightly grill the buns at the end and top the burgers with the mushrooms then the cheese.
Assemble each burger with bun > arugula > burger > mushrooms > swiss > herb aoli on the top bun.

The Three Bite Rule - Steakhouse Burger
It was Mr. J’s idea, our grillmaster, to hold the mushrooms on with the cheese. They were so good on this burger. I love mushrooms but not everyone is such a fan. I think because these are baby portobellos with a bit more flavor and after they’ve bathed in butter, anyone would like them!

Roasted Chicken Salad with Radish & Blueberries

One of the many perks of work is that we get scratch-made lunch everyday. It is family style and there’s salad. Every day! I know, so lucky! It is always a hot lunch but the other day, before the long weekend, we got some really amazing chicken salad. It was full of apples and dried cranberries. I put mine on top of my salad and was loving it. I was eating thinking,

“this is just so good.”
“I love the add-ins. I could make this.”
“I should make this.”

My sis brought over dinner of a roasted chicken with a Caesar salad kit for the perfect instant dinner. I used some leftovers for this chicken salad and it wasn’t just any chicken salad. You’re bananas if you think I would ever put celery into my chicken salad. Blech. This one gets crunch from radishes and some sweetness from dried blueberries.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Salad with Radish & Blueberries

Ingredients:

(for 1 serving)
1-2 slices of a roasted chicken, chopped
1 radish
2 tbs dried blueberries
1-2 tbs mayo
splash of milk

Directions:

Chop the radish into a fine dice
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Salad with Radish & Blueberries
In a bowl, add the chicken, radish, blueberries (and walnuts would be good!)
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Salad with Radish & Blueberries
Mix in a small amount of mayo and stir to combine. Add the splash of milk to ensure it is wet enough. Then add more mayo, if needed.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Salad with Radish & Blueberries
Sprinkle in some salt and pepper. Enjoy!

I put some on a sandwich loaded with arugula. Use good mayo for his. I like The Ojai Cook’s Lemonaise. The blueberries provide a sweet chewiness. My radish was from the farmers market. Those are zesty! Radishes from the grocery store have nowhere near the same flavor. It added the perfect zip and crunch. I didn’t have any apples and was using what I had on hand. The radish was my stroke of genius for the day.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Salad with Radish & Blueberries

Bok Choy with Sesame Dressing and Teriyaki Chicken

I grabbed some baby bok choy at the farmer’s market without a plan for it. I went to trusty Pinterest and found a fun raw use for it on Culinary Hill. I tweaked the dressing by adding some stronger flavors of sesame oil and rice wine vinegar. We added some grilled teriyaki chicken for a really great speedy dinner.

The Three Bite Rule - Bok Choy with Sesame Dressing and Teriyaki Chicken
Get some chicken on the grill, shake up some dressing in a jar, and then chop up a few veggies. Poof. Instant dinner with some great flavors.

Ingredients:

adapted from Culinary Hill
2-3 chicken thighs, marinated in teriyaki
2 baby bok choy bunches
2 large radishes
2 tbs sesame seeds
3 tbs brown sugar
1-2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tbs rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup almond slivers

Directions:

Grill the marinated chicken until cooked through, brushing with some teriyaki at the end.
Chop the bok choy, discarding the bottom pieces.
The Three Bite Rule - Bok Choy with Sesame Dressing and Teriyaki Chicken
Chop the radishes into a small dice.
Toast some sesame seeds in a dry frying pan over medium heat. Watch carefully to toast them without burning.
In a small jar, add brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar.
The Three Bite Rule - Bok Choy with Sesame Dressing and Teriyaki Chicken
Shake vigorously. Taste and adjust as necessary.
The Three Bite Rule - Bok Choy with Sesame Dressing and Teriyaki Chicken
In a large bowl, add the bok choy, radish, and toasted sesame seeds.
The Three Bite Rule - Bok Choy with Sesame Dressing and Teriyaki Chicken
Add in some dressing and toss. Sprinkle with almonds.
Top with chicken to serve. Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Bok Choy with Sesame Dressing and Teriyaki Chicken
I liked the mild flavor of the bok choy. The almonds were pre-sesaoned with salt and pepper near the croutons. I might have toasted them if they were regular almond slivers. It was such a quick dinner that felt fresh, crunchy with juicy chicken.

The dressing was great. Make it, and then you’ll have sesame oil on hand for these (most Pinterest-pinned) sesame noodles and for Asian Broccoli Slaw with Peanut Butter Chicken and your next pork & veggie spring rolls, etc. You’ll use it, it isn’t such a crazy specialty ingredient.