Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Voting and Sausage & Clam Soup

So life has been a bit crazy recently -- we visited Pennsylvania, we celebrated 2010, we got ENGAGED, Andrei moved back to S-port!  Sadly, our lack of posts reflect this!  We have still been enjoying good food but haven't taken the time to comment.  Now we are back on the blogging trail chronicling our food adventures. 

This weekend we had a fun weekend together living normal life.  Here are the details from the weekend . . .

Andrei:  Rachel and I do super fun things together all the time.  Recently, we registered at Crate and Barrel, (our first time registering! Very fun let me tell you, just give a boy a gun, and he'll have fun for hours (and by gun i mean "price gun".) We also signed up for a wonderful Ultimate Wedding Contest that we'll tell you about (so stay til the end to help us win an Ultimate Wedding!)

The Sausage and Clam soup however, was a very successful and fun time of cooking together. I'm very thankful to Rachel for finding such a fun recipe, knowing that I'd love it, and also endeavoring to spearhead the project even though she wasn't feeling 100% well. The Sausage and Clam Soup was perfect. Its secret ingredient is, wait for it.... ORANGE JUICE. It gave the soup the tangy flair that I love so much, from Asian style soups. Rachel will brief you more on the yummy specifics. However, suffice it to say that it was a delight to cook with my woman, and we hope you all will enjoy cooking this dish with your special someone, or for your family as the case may be.

Now about The Contest: Rachel and I have entered a contest and we need your help to move on to the final round. Anyone, who has a valid email can vote.

Click on the link and vote and if you have another email address logout (the upper left hand corner) and revote again. THANK YOU SO MUCH! We love you all!!!!!!!

Rachel:  Ironically we can't find the pictures we took of the soup so I am uploading a picture of my favorite thing that we registered for . . . our bedding!  It is gorgeous and a big surprise to both of us that we agreed so quickly!  Andrei was really patient throughout the whole registry process and so eager to think through every item from every angle with me.

This weekend we also visited the church where we are planning to be married, Believers' Chapel.  The people were so friendly, warm and welcoming.  If for no other reason, I want to get married there, just because they were so welcoming!  It was definitely a bonus to realize how pretty the church is and perfect for what we are envisioning!   

One thing I love about Andrei is how many new foods I enjoy cooking with him in my life!  I saw this recipe and knew it was great for us . . . especially since it is only 5 points a serving on Weight Watchers which will really help me with my continued quest to eat healthier!  We had lots of fun shopping together and the soup is really easy to make.  Andrei says the broth is the part that really makes it which surprised me since I expected him to love the clams and sausage.  Enjoy!   

Sausage and Clam Soup
From the Food Network Magazine March 2010

2 tbsp EVOO
8 oz hot Italian sausage, thinly sliced
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
6 oz can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/2 bunch kale, trimmed and roughly chopped
28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
14 oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
16 littleneck clams, scrubbed
2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1.  Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat.  Add the sausage and cook, turning, until browned, about 4 minutes.  Add the onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook until the onion is soft, about 3 minutes.

2.  Stir in the orange juice concentrate, kale, and 3 cups water.  Add the tomatoes and break them into chunks with a spoon.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes. 

3.  Add the beans and clams.  Return to a boil over high heat, cover and cook until the clams open, 10 to 12 minutes.  Stir in the vinegar and serve with bread.  Serves 4-6.   

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pulpit Weight Lose

At Church the other day I (Andrei) heard something profound. It was by no means the most profound thing I heard while at church on Sunday, however, it did resonate with me and I'd like to share it with you.

When I've shared this with others, it seems everyone has heard this but me, so clearly it's nothing new, but indulge me if you will.

Eat breakfast like a King
Lunch Like a Prince
and Supper Like a Pauper,

and you'll lose weight!


I have consciously known this, but have never heard it spelled out like that before, and I found it brilliant. My sister and I took it a step farther and she challenged me to work out three days a week, and I added the clause that not only would I do that but also, eat as dictated above. It's hard for me because I don't love breakfast, and I don't often make time for myself to eat it, but I know it speeds up your metabolism and in general is good for you. But anyway, I'm committing to eating 3 meals a day and also riding my stationary bike, and I think that'll be good for me and fun!

We went to Whole Foods yesterday after church and I got this delicious Po-Boy Fried Green Tomato with Goat Cheese and Crawfish Remoulade. (Tell me this po-boy doesn't deserve it's own blog post!) It was yummy. That truly is Lunch like a Prince.

Hot Diggity Dog

Rachel: One of Andrei's favorite foods is hot dogs but my family has its own history of hot dog love.

The Fourth of July is a great opportunity to watch the annual match up between Joey Chestnut and Kobayashi at the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest and each year you can find my family tuned in to ESPN to cheer on Joey! One year my family had a match up of our own -- for the title of "World's Greatest Hot dog." We taste tested many hotdogs and rated each on its color, texture, flavor, etc. and awarded a winner.

A few years ago on my visit to Los Angeles, Ryan and Jess took me to Pink's Hot dogs. Pink's has been a LA fixture for almost 100 years and has many hot dogs named after celebrities including the Martha Stewart Dog and the Rosie O'Donnell Dog. Ryan, Jess, and I each got different hot dogs so we could try as many as possible!

On my most recent visit to New Orleans, Andrei and I ate lunch at a Lucky Hot Dog stand -- a NOLA fixture -- I loved the loaded dog with chili and onions, especially while eating it surrounded by the great music of NOLA!

My favorite hot dog however is found close to home. Each Christmas Eve, our family and a few select friends would head to Coney Island in Scranton for hot dogs. Here a Texas wiener sells for just $2 and is topped with their special chili sauce. My favorite part of the Coney Island experience is the owner, Ted, stands just inside the door at his grill greeting each customer as they walk in the door. His forearm, yes his forearm, is usually full of buns and dogs all lined up in the row while he spoons on the chili sauce and then sends each dog onto a plate and onto the customer.

So here's to all the great hot dogs of the world -- you may not be the healthiest food in the world, but you have created many food memories in my heart!

Andrei: While I love the Luckydog I'll now tell you the bitter sweet tale of my favorite Hot Dog! It was at Disney World my Sophomore year in college, the sight of my absolute favorite family vacation up to that point. We had stopped at some random excellent eatery in Epcot center. (For those that haven't been to Disney it's, dare i say it, A-maze-to-the-zing! Every worker, from the street sweeper, to the tour guides, to the food vendors are there making your experience Magical. (So magical I used a capital letter to show how deeply I feel about it. (Also another side note, that vacation was the sight of one of my favorite memories ever, it includes Andy Garcia. Ask me about it sometime! Disney at Christmas is an experience. And before you ask, NO, I'm not hired by the Disney conglomerate to puff them up, this is just my humble opinion. Of course things are expensive there, but the food is of the highest quality and the service is impeccable too, not Emeril's but still...) So anyway, we go to this little eatery with nice workers literally dancing and singing around you as you eat. I of course order a hot dog, the biggest and most beautiful I've seen, to date. It's a foot long but very thick in circumference as well. So I'm looking at this amazing specimen of hot dog and and confused as to where the condiments are and after an attempt or two of looking for said condiments, I give up the search and eat my hot dog sans any garnishing, it's enjoyable but not infrequently have I thought about how much I would have enjoyed the hot dog WITH condiments. As I walked to the garbage can to throw away my wrapper and little cardboard tray. I spied THE CONDIMENT BAR, with every conceivable condiment on it. How could I have missed it? I'm not exactly sure, but it still haunts me to this day.

Maybe I'll get a Luckydog tomorrow to ease my remorse.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Food on the High Seas

We just spent the past week on a cruise to the Bahamas.  Before we get to the food, let us just say the cruise was . . . a-may-to the ZING!  It was so relaxing and we constantly were cracking up.  We also decided to fight the weight gain from cruise food by only taking the stairs on the cruise ship.  It was quite the task at times since there were 12 decks but it helped us to both fit in our jeans at the end of the cruise.

Now on to the main attraction (or main entree) . . . the food!

Andrei:  Okay. I loved the whole cruise experience. I'm thankful to my parent's and my sister for making it so fun and to Rachel of course for being her cute self during the whole trip. It was truly a magical experience (though it wasn't a Disney cruise to the Magic Kingdom). The food, as Rachel details below, wasn't as great as advertised, especially  (not to brag) when you eat as well as Rachel and I often do. The most fun thing about the eating on a cruise ship is how much food you can get. If you wanted chicken wings at 5AM you can eat them without even PAYING FOR THEM! That's awesome. Never mind the fact that they are frozen and covered with hot sauce at the last second. Don't get me wrong there are AWESOME food adventures to be had on the boat, you can find sublime culinary tastes on the boat you just have to be selective and observant, and it helps to go in a group so you can each try one entree and find the gem among the ordinary. (Do I sound snobby...? I hope not...)

Rachel:  The adage Quality vs. Quantity was definitely true on our cruise.  Food was ALWAYS available and was ALWAYS free -- but wasn't necessarily high quality.  I guess this is to be expected when you are feeding 3,000 people; most of whom are used to eating McDonald's and Luby's but what a disappointment.  There were some buffets and some sit down restaurants which provided great variety but we found that even the specialty restaurants served some mediocre food.  We tried conch while in the Bahamas and also a guava tartlet at the Starbucks in Nassau that was spectacular.  (The tartlet, not the Starbucks!)  I loved the chocolate croissants at breakfast each morning and the presentation of many of the meals at the specialty restaurants.  I'm also a sucker for a good salad bar and the Garden Cafe was always able to provide.  What have been your cruise food experiences?  


Two Forks or Two Napkins

Our dating relationship has been centered around many great eating experiences.  Our first date weekend we ate at three amazing restaurants!  We love seeking out the local favorites and specialities as well as the five star dining of each area we visit . . . now its time to share some of these things with you, our readers,  as we experience food together!  The picture on the left is from one of our favorite pastimes -- writing crazy things on takeaway boxes of leftovers.  The picture on the right is from NOLA -- my first Lucky Dog.  

Rachel:  On our first date, I knew that Andrei was a keeper when he immediately wanted to SHARE FOOD!  Woohoo!!  I love that Andrei is always ready to experience any new food and seeks out great food experiences.

Andrei:  I have been pleasantly since meeting Rachel of our food compatibility. She knows her stuff! And helps me to try new things as well. Our backgrounds are different but coming together we form a more well rounded union for eating experiences. I hope you ENJOY as much as we DO! :)