Afternoon Tea Time

For a belated Mother’s Day outing, sis and I took our Momma to tea. We got dressed up and went downtown. Many of the hotels offer tea, but we went to The Langham, Boston because I just had an event there and they are lovely to work with. I was happy to give them our business.

The Three Bite Rule - Afternoon Tea
After cosying around a coffee table in plush sofas and arm chairs, we each ordered the Tiffin selection. For tea, I had a pomegrante green tea. I liked the showiness of getting smell the samples.

We got our tea and the sandwiches. There was a smoked salmon on Boston brown bread, egg & chive salad on brioche, roast beef and farmer’s cheese on sourdough, and English cucumber and dill with cream cheese. My fav was the egg salad.

The Three Bite Rule - Afternoon Tea
Next came the scones. Ohh the scones. This was the best scone I’ve ever had. Ever. There was clotted cream, strawberry jam, and lemon curd for the scones. I loved the mix of clotted cream and sweet jam. I could have just had the scones and tea. They were, hands down, the best part.
The Three Bite Rule - Afternoon Tea
We ended it with dessert. I think some were lacking and not really my thing. The raspberry macaroon and a little chocolate crunch cake were both amazing. I didn’t care about the other two.
The Three Bite Rule - Afternoon Tea
It was fun. I think we would have liked to order a la carte better. The sandwiches were good, but there was probably twice as many as we each needed.

Brown Butter Pasta with Summer Veggies

I figured out how to take the mystery out of brown butter. Making it in white-bottomed pot made it sooo much easier. There wasn’t a risk of the butter going too far.

The Three Bite Rule - Brown Butter Pasta

Ingredients:

1 stick butter (not margarine or a butter substitute)
1/2 pound of pasta (rigatoni or penne or other short pasta)
asparagus spears
1 cup corn
1 1/2 cup tomatoes (cherry or grape)
6-8 basil leaves (optional)
2 tsp grated Parmesan

Directions:

Heat a large flat pan to medium heat.
Cut the butter into chunks and add to the pan.
The Three Bite Rule - Brown Butter Pasta
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Whisk the butter as it melts, watching for it to foam up.
Cut the asparagus into 4ths, and spread out onto a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil. Roast the asparagus for about 7 minutes.
Boil plenty of salted water for the pasta.
When the butter starts to get light tan specks on the bottom, start whisking.
The Three Bite Rule - Brown Butter Pasta
Keep whisking as it gets brown all over the bottom of the pan, and then remove from heat, about 2 minutes. If it stays heating too long it will burn and you’ll have to start over.
Add the tomatoes and the corn onto the pan with the asparagus and return to the oven for about 5-7 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Brown Butter Pasta
Put the pasta into the salted water, cook according to package.
Drain the pasta.
Toss the pasta with the roasted veggies and the brown butter. Sprinkle with basil and a touch of Parmesan.
The Three Bite Rule - Brown Butter Pasta
I loved this. The veggies were a great blend. The asparagus still had some crunch while the tomatoes added some moisture. The corn was pretty much for color and a touch of sweetness. I looove brown butter.

When I’ve made it in my dark-bottomed pots I found it hard to tell when it was done – versus too-done. This time I made it in a flat dutch oven. The glazed pot made it really easy to tell when it was ready. I love the nutty flavor. It is seriously the easiest sauce for pasta. It is good on filled pasta that still need to be the highlight…like lobster ravioli or pumpkin ravioli.

May Recap

May was bussssy. My event was amazing, we broke the 22-year fundraising records. It was awesome. Then there were a few trips to Maine and a few busy weekends. I took a break after not feeling overly proud of my latest meals. I did have a few goodies in May.

I started with a his/hers topped Caesar Salads hers with grilled shrimp, his with grilled steak.
The Three Bite Rule - Caesar Salad with Grilled Shrimp
Baked Gnocchi was a great freezer/pantry meal, especially fitting on a pre-spring cool night. I was thinking baked ravioli but I found some frozen gnocchi and got a quick meat sauce together.
The Three Bite Rule - Baked Gnocchi
I loooved this twist on chicken & waffles, making it into a panini.

One of the best meals of the month was an Asian inspired salad with peanut butter chicken. It has some great flavors with the peanut butter, oranges, and edemame. Yum.
The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken

P.S. Happy Birthday to my Momma!


Let’s check on my goals: 

Buy myself flowers more often - The Year of having-more-flowers is going strong, this month was the iris.
send more mail – I sent some mother’s day cards
make some Pinterest pins a reality 
cook with yeast (yikes!)
try a spin class
make more cocktails – hmmm, no special cocktails to share. June seems right for something lemonade-inspired.

Next week has some legit recipes. Stay tuned!

Who is Making Some Good Stuff

I’m back!  Haha sort of. I’m easing my way back into blogging and seeing what I come up with. Buckle up. It might get crazy. I think that’s the beauty of this. I do what I want. I was feeling in a rut so I might change it up a bit now and then. I know, crazy. It is Tuesday and I’m posting. What will the world come to? Or maybe I’m the only one who knew my own schedule.

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I haven’t really been making anything amazing, but I wanted to share a few folks who are and maybe a few other fun goodies.

First of all, I’m newly obsessed with this:
Raspberry Chocolate Greek Yogurt. It is so good. I had it as dessert the other day, tossing in just a few raspberries I had. It was unbelievable. Raspberries might be my least favorite berry. My nephews would be in shock since they love ‘em, exclusively. I’m noshing some blueberries right now as I write this and wishing I had some strawberries…that’s how low raspberries rank to me.

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I never choose yogurt for dessert, since it normally is my bfast, but I saw some fun flavors that seemed really desserty. Caramel Macchiato, Strawberry Cheesecake, and Toasted Vanilla Coconut I’m coming for ya. I wish I bought more than one of these guys.

Next, these Chicken Parmesan Cupcakes by Plain Chicken are just too cute, and sound delicious. How come mini foods are so much more fun? I’m thinking some apps for dinner are in order.

Onto dessert, again…This sounded too good to be true: Chocolate Oreo Peanut Butter Dream Dessert by Seeded at the Table
Seriously. Unreal. Check out her blog, it is lovely and this sounds amazing. I want to be friends.
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I saw these two ingredient sandwiches and they sounded so fun. Now I want to have a crustini party. Who’s in? These would be fun for a brunchy spread or for when it is too hot to really cook, or to appeal to all palates. I think “less is more” is a great summery food motto. Unless we’re talking that dessert with every good flavor in the world (oreo + pb + whipped cream + butterfingers, see above).

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Hmmm. What else.
This BLT loaded guac dip sounds ahhh-mazing.
This Spinach & Artichoke & Bacon Stuffed Pretzel might be my next “cooking with yeast” adventure
This make-your-own dressing guide is foolproof
This Chocolate Mousse-Covered Strawberry Pie seems like a non-baker like me to could make it

In other news…
Mr. J is a building machine. Since constructing the compost bin, he has reconstructed our saggy wooden window box, and now he’s working on a table for photo mat cutting and a squirrel feeder. Don’t ask about the squirrels, apparently they’re stealing from the birds.

The Bachelorette just started and I love this gal. I hope she doesn’t go as crazy as a few of her suiters went after meeting her for an hour. #drama

The teaching kitchen students at my work made the most unbelievable fried chicken. It was like late afternoon snacking dream.

The pups have their annual exam soon. Dun dun dun! No, it’ll be fine. Bailee will be in panic mode, but she lives in a highly excitable state. Windsor will be well behaved and won’t mind at all…especially since it involves a car ride.

Whereabouts

I’m here, I’m here. I’m giving my noggin’ a break. I have some posts to work on but I wasn’t feelin’ it so I figured I’d take a little hiatus and come back jazzed and ready to go.

Maybe next week.

I just had a big event at work, a few weekends away from home, and an all-weekend volunteer commitment. I’ve been a bit un-enthused about what I’ve cooked and meal planning has gone by the wayside a bit. I was feeling at a level 5 for the posts I haven’t done yet, and figured I can call the shots and come on back when I’m feeling it for 100%.

I didn’t want to just get posts up for the heck of it. I usually am protective of my schedule of 3 per week, even when I’m away traveling or work is nutty. I think I just want to enjoy the spring and get revitalized.

A few topics you can look forward to….

  • I’m fitbit obsessed. I’ll prob share about it
  • a veggie-centric pasta
  • a oldie, but goodie that deserved a re-do
  • some summer bucket list foods
  • Mr. J made an impressive compost bin so I’ll keep you posted how that’s going
  • a fun adventure this weekend!
  • we have tomatoes, cukes, and herbs planted, ohh my!
  • and more ;)

Any requests?

What I Ate: Chicken & Waffle Panini

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.

Chicken and waffles are such a fun dinner and I was thinking it could become a panini using the waffles for the bread. These are easily adaptable. I used white cheddar, tomatoes, onions, and some buffalo aoli.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken and Waffles Panini

Ingredients:

2 frozen waffles, per sandwich
2 slices sharp white cheddar, per sandwich
2 chicken tenders, per sandwich
sliced tomatoes
sliced red onions
2 tbs mayo + 1 tsp hot sauce  + dash of garlic powder

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375-degrees.
Bake the chicken until cooked through.
Toast the waffles until defrosted and lightly toasted.
Slice the onions and add to cold water.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken and Waffles Panini

Whisk together the buffalo aoli, or add your fav spread like honey mustard, ranch, or a drizzle of maple syrup.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken and Waffles Panini
Keep the oven warm after the chicken is cooked.
Assemble the sandwiches with waffles, the spread, chicken, sliced cheddar, sliced tomato, and sliced onion.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken and Waffles Panini
Put them back into the oven, flipping once, until the cheese melts.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken and Waffles Panini
This was so fun. The nutty waffle was perfect with a little spice. Arugula would be good in here too. The onion bath keeps them from overpowering the sandwich, with just a subtle onion flavor.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken and Waffles Panini

Roasted Garlic Chicken

I love roasted garlic but rarely have the patience for it to roast fully. Like so roasted that it is soft and spread-able. Like 40 minutes+ roasted. It was super garlicky, but not in an intense way. When the garlic fully roasts it gets beautifully mellow and sweet.

I sprinkled some fresh thyme over the top and served it on a bed of couscous with some roasted asparagus. It was simple, yet flavorful. I seriously should roast whole garlic gloves more often. I just might buy a bunch and see how the timing is to do it in the crockpot. I’ll be somebody has done that on Pinterest.

The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Garlic Chicken

Ingredients:

1 bulb garlic
2 tbs olive oil
4 chicken thighs (bone in or out)
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce (optional)
salt & pepper

Directions:

Far in advance of wanting dinner, (40 minutes before starting to make dinner), preheat the oven or toaster oven to 375-degrees.
Cut off the skinny pointed top of the garlic bulb, exposing the inner cloves.
Lay it in the center of a piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bring opposite corners of the foil to meet, closing the foil together around the top. (You want to be able to open it without flipping it over).
Bake for 25 minutes.
Peek inside the foil. Some of the outer cloves are getting darker tan/brown versus the center still pretty white).
The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Garlic Chicken
Close it back up, and bake for another 20 minutes.
To see if it is done, poke a fork at the individual cloves. Each should be very soft.
The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Garlic Chicken
Each clove will pop out and totally lose shape when squished. Keep the oven on.
The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Garlic Chicken
Squish the garlic into a paste with the back of a spoon, or a fork.
Prep a large heavy skillet to medium heat with the vegetable oil.
Rinse and pat dry the chicken, then dredge into the flour, salt, and pepper. Shake off any excess.
Add the chicken to the pan, cooking for 4-5 minutes on each side. The chicken should get a little bit of a golden crust.
The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Garlic Chicken
Remove the chicken and put in a baking dish.
In the pan the chicken was cooked in, spoon out excess oil, leaving any brown bits from the bottom. Over medium low heat, add the chicken broth scraping the brown bits off the bottom. Add in the garlic paste.
Add in the worcestershire sauce, salt pepper, and a splash of lemon juice.
Bring to a boil, then turn the heat off. Spoon the sauce over the chicken.
The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Garlic Chicken
Bake 25-30 minutes, or until internal chicken temperature reaches 165-degrees. Some thighs vary in size considerably, and the timing can differ if they are bone in or boneless.

This was so good. I loooved the garlic flavor.I got my garlic going in the toaster oven just to see how the timing went. It was such an energy efficient way to give the garlic a heads up, long before I needed the oven going for anything else!
 The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Garlic Chicken
The thyme added a touch of freshness. I honestly had it around. I wouldn’t have purchased a whole bunch just for this. Yum. I’m ready to have this again. I almost abandoned the chicken once the garlic was roasted….if I’d only had a baguette and all this roasted garlic, I would have been set for life!

The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Garlic Chicken

Crabcakes with Remolade Sauce

I had my Momma over for lunch so I figured we’d have something only the two of us would like. I mixed up a couple of crabcakes and some remolade to be dressing, serving it over salad. It seemed springy and fresh. The remolade would be easy to make in advance. The crabcakes would be pretty fast fried, but baking them is easier, and keeps them from being greasy.

Plus, you’ll want to put the remolade on ev-ry-thing.

The Three Bite Rule - Crab cakes with Remolade

Ingredients for crab cakes:

8 oz crab meat
3 tbs chopped white onion
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
3 tbs mixed breadcrumbs & panko
2 tbs chopped parsley
1-2 tbs mayo
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper

Ingredients for remolade:

1 cup mayo
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1 tbs paprika
1 tsp grill rub
1 1/2 tsp horseradish
1 tsp pickle juice (or relish)
1 tsp hot sauce
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp ground pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375-degrees.
Add crabmeat, onion, mushrooms, breadcrumbs, parsley, mayo, dijon mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
The Three Bite Rule - Crab cakes with Remolade
Gently mix together until combined.
Form into patties and bake 15 minutes, then flip and bake for 10 more minutes.
While the crabcakes are baking, mix together the remolade.
The Three Bite Rule - Crab cakes with Remolade
Blend together. Taste, add more horseradish or hot sauce to taste.
The Three Bite Rule - Crab cakes with Remolade
Toss together mixed greens, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
The Three Bite Rule - Crab cakes with Remolade
Drizzle remolade, or use to dip.
The Three Bite Rule - Crab cakes with Remolade
I loved the kick in the remolade without being spicy. The horseradish was perfect. Real remolade has cajon or creole  seasoning, but I substituted since I hate one-time ingredients.

What I Ate: Cuban Panini

This wasn’t the most authentic cuban sandwich, but it was such a great tweak on the everyday. The pickles and mustard are totally what makes this special.

The Three Bite Rule - Cuban Panini
I also love pickles so this was right up my ally. A real cuban would have roasted pork but this was good for a quick meal.

Ingredients:

sliced bread
ham
swiss cheese
Provolone cheese
sandwich sliced pickles
mustard

Directions:

Heat a grill pan or panini press.
Assemble the sandwiches with mustard on both bread slices, ham, swiss, provolone, and sliced pickles.
The Three Bite Rule - Cuban Panini
Grill on both sides until cheese melts and everything gets heated through.
The Three Bite Rule - Cuban Panini
It was almost a ham & cheese but the mustard and pickles are where the different flavors come from. Mr. J doesn’t like pickles, GASP…I know. His was a bit less of a cuban panini but salty and cheesy nonetheless.

Baked Gnocchi with Meat Sauce

I was scrounging around in the freezer to see what I could come up with and this just all came together. I had a bag of frozen gnocchi and I found some ground sausage. I whipped up some meat sauce and added ricotta, parmesan, and some fresh mozzarella. It was meant to be! This would be great with gnocchi or tortellini, or ravioli. I could have done the same thing with a tubular shaped pasta as baked “ziti”-ish.

I always keep tomato sauce around. My fav is plain crushed tomatoes. It has a fresher flavor than jarred sauce and doesn’t have lots of weird stuff in it. It’s handy and if I can’t use it a few ways than I pop the rest in the freezer.

The Three Bite Rule - Baked Gnocchi

Ingredients:

frozen or refrigerated gnocchi
28 oz Pastene kitchen ready tomatoes
12 oz sweet Italian Sausage
6 oz fresh mozzarella
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup ricotta

Directions:

In a large pan over medium-high heat, brown the sausage until cooked through, about 7 minutes breaking it up into smaller pieces.
Drain and return to the pot. Add in the tomatoes, cover, and reduce heat to low.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
Boil the gnocchi according to the package, they will raise to the top when they’re cooked.
Ladle some sauce onto the bottom of a baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.
The Three Bite Rule - Baked Gnocchi
Gently toss the gnocchi with some sauce, and spoon half into the baking dish. Sprinkle half the Parmesan and dollops of half of the ricotta.
The Three Bite Rule - Baked Gnocchi
Ladle some more sauce in, the rest of the gnocchi, the rest of the ricotta, and the rest of the Parmesan.
The Three Bite Rule - Baked Gnocchi
Sprinkle in some basil/thyme/Parsley and then ladle in a little more sauce.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Add sliced mozzarella and return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes.

The Three Bite Rule - Baked Gnocchi

Ohh wow. I loved this. It had great flavor and texture. The cheesiness was so great, and varied from the ricotta, Parmesan, and mozzarella. I only had a small amount of mozzarella so that went onto the top. I almost always have ricotta kicking around…ricotta is a typical breakfast on toast with sliced avocado.  I love the sweet sausage in the sauce.