Burrata Bar & Crostini

My August event is a lovely Garden Party. I wanted the burrata bar but got out voted for a raw bar. Bahh. That isn’t my thing but I couldn’t get the burrata bar out of my head! I was all too happy to bring home a little buratta-ball-baby to become the star of dinner.

The Three Bite Rule - Buratta Bar
I could have gone on and on with toppings but decided it needed to be somewhat reasonable. This would be so fun for easy prep for happy hour party.

Crostini Components:

Buratta
Herbed butter
Prosciutto wrapped melon
sundried tomatoes
balsamic reduction
African blue basil
tomato
Prosciutto

Mr. J lightly grilled the bread and it was go-time.
The Three Bite Rule - Buratta Bar

Besides the buratta being amazing on its own, I absolutely loved buratta with tomato, basil, and balsamic.
The Three Bite Rule - Buratta Bar
The melon with the prosciutto didn’t really need to go on crostini but the salty and sweet and crunch is so lovely with a schmear of herbed butter.
The Three Bite Rule - Buratta Bar
I mixed butter, garlic, fresh oregano, and fresh thyme. This is also perfect for garlic bread or to jazz up the outside of a grilled cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Buratta Bar

Almond Joy Smoothie

I haven’t made a fun smoothie is such a long time. This was so different than my other smoothies purely because I didn’t use fruit in this one! I went light on the coconut and chocolate and moreso focused on the almond/oaty flavors. The mini chocolate chips were the perfect ending fitting nicely with my aluminum straws.

The Three Bite Rule - Almond Joy Smoothie
I put in a bunch of grains and ice…it worked out really well! I used coconut yogurt but it’d be so great with coconut almond milk. I only used chocolate as a tiny touch but it was all the smoothie needed to also function as breakfast.

Ingredients:
5.3 oz coconut Greek yogurt
1 cup ice
3 tbs oatmeal
3 tbs almonds
1 tbs flax seed (optional)
1 cup milk
1 tsp mini chocolate chips

Directions:
In a blender, add in the yogurt, ice, oatmeal, almonds, and flaxseed.
The Three Bite Rule - Almond Joy Smoothie
Add in the milk and blend until smooth.
Top with mini chocolate chips (or a swirl of chocolate sauce).
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Almond Joy Smoothie
I wonder what my 75-year old neighbor things when I’m outside on the deck photographing a smoothie on a random weekday morning. Ohh well, this one was worth it.

What I Ate: Grilled Sausages on Pretzel Rolls

What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with you for the idea or inspiration.

My grocery store started carrying pretzel rolls back in April and I was so excited! I got some when I was making Smokehouse Burgers with caramelized onions, smokey aoli, mustard, and havarti cheese. Yum. That’s a repeater, for sure.
The Three Bite Rule - Smokehouse Burgers
The bakery still had had long shaped ones that I hadn’t gotten yet! I thought were just calling out for hot dogs, then I decided maybe they were too hefty for dogs so I went for grilled sausages. They were perfect!
The Three Bite Rule - Grilled Sausages on Pretzels
Sausage, peppers, and onions with dijon screams summer-baseball park-easy dinner to me. This isn’t rocket science, just a reminder that some things (i.e. rolls) need further thinking for the best fit (i.e. sausages versus hot dogs).

Ham & Havarti Melt

As much as most dinners at the Three Bite Rule are grilled in the summer, I’m still always striving for them to be varied and unique. Paninis are definitely a go-to category for me when I want to be sure I’m planning some quick ones that don’t heat the whole house up. I was proud this was so quick, especially now that the little one is so active and squirming all around during dinner/dinner prep time! I meant to use some raspberry jam but forgot to add it to the grocery list. I substituted Lingonberry jam, courtesy of Ikea, as my fruity spread.

The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Havardi Melt

Ingredients: (per sandwich)

2 slices of sourdough bread
1-2 tbs dijon mustard
2-3 slices of honey ham
2-3 slices of havarti cheese
2 tbs jam: raspberry/strawberry/cranberry/etc

Directions:

Preheat a panini press, grill plan, or flat skillet to medium high heat.
Spread some mustard on the inside of one slice of bread. Then top with ham then cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Havardi Melt
Spread jam onto the inside of the other slice of bread and close up the sandwich.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Havarti Melt
Brush the bread lightly with olive oil, then flip the sandwich cooking that side down. Brush the top slice with olive oil and close the panini press.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Havarti Melt
Grill or fry until crisp and melted. Flip regularly to avoid burning!
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Havardi Melt
I loved this. The Lingonberry jam is my jam. Pardon the pun. It has a tartness that is so perfect with salty ham and gooey cheese. Uhh I could eat this all the time. There’s something about it that says breakfast to me as well. Maybe that’s the not-wanting-morning-sweets in me. Anyway you look at it, this sandwich is good. Reallll good.
The Three Bite Rule - Ham & Havardi Melt
You could make a ton of these and keep them warm in the oven if you have a crowd to feed. Or make just one and you don’t have crazy ingredients hanging around. I think the jam and the sharp mustard are really necessary here…don’t skip ‘em!

I served this melted masterpiece with some Cape Cod Chips and some cherry tomatoes in balsamic dressing. It was my such a great summer dinner. Mr. J tolerated not grilling dinner one night. Maybe the oozing cheese had something to do with it?

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.