Sunday, September 30, 2012

A not so magical night at Jasmine's Cafe

So before I start my blog about Jasmines,  I must prefacewith an important fact.  I just watched "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" which I previously blogged about.  But the short version, is the film is a documentary about one of the true masters of sushi who has perfected the art Japanese cuisine through perfection and exceptional attention to detail.

Naturally, after watching the pain staking attention placed  each step in making sushi..I may be a little harsher then normal....OR maybe just less sugar coat it???

Either way I was not impressed!  My husband (this will never get old) and I went to Jasmine's and decided to get the Dinner for 2.  This includes two soups, two salads, an app, 10 pieces of nigri and 2 rolls of our choice.

SOUP-The miso soup was a little bland for me.  Maybe not enough miso or soy or something. But by no means was the soup bad....Just not amazing.    The hubby (OMG I am still married) likes tons of seaweed in his miso soup.  Jasmine's miso soup had very little seaweed, so he was a little let down.

SALAD-The salads were the usual iceberg lettuce with shredded carrots   The standout here was the creamy garlic dressing which my loving husband (maybe not so loving) had to be forced to share some of his salad.  Seriously, I am not joking.  I had to stop him from licking the bowl.  I had the salad with the ginger dressing which was more vinegary then gingery.  It tasted like it came out of a bottle not made in house. Yes- I am picky about my ginger dressing...

DUMPLINGS-For, the app we went with the shrimp dumplings. These were ok. Not bad but the filling used little frozen shrimp which were bland and lacked texture and threw the dumplings off.  However, these were steamed perfectly.  The app is served with a brown sauce and spicy brown mustard which paired well together.

SUSHI-For our 10 nigri, the chef gave us 2 tuna, 2 salmon, 2 Krab, 2 squid and 2 escolar.  Please bare in mind my warning. Now the lovely rice bowls the fish sat on were not all the same size or shape.  The rice with my Krab was a good inch shorter than my rice for the salmon.  Additionally, the rice was not seasoned well.  The problem with badly seasoned rice is  the seasoning is to make sure the rice sticks and does not fall apart.  Therefore, this was some messy falling apart sushi.

As for the fish, this was hit or miss....Again, I have a decent palate and have been eating sushi of all qualities for YEARS.  So I am good at deciphering quality of fish( This does not mean the fish is unsafe just some fish is better than others similar to cuts of beef).   The tuna was extremely watery with the color being off which leads me to think it was frozen. YUCK!  The squid was very bland and the texture was off so I think this was either a little old or frozen.  The Krab was Krab....not my favorite kind of sushi...I mostly like Krab in seafood salad but that is a story for another day/blog.  The salmon was wonderfully fresh and melted in my mouth.  But the standout was the escolar.  OMG-this was so fresh and creamy.  We would have been good with 10 of the escolar.  But alas, when you order a meal it is chef's choice.

AL LA CARTE- shitaki nigri which were BAD.  There was no sugar coating this.....BAd BAD BAD BAD BAD...and more i need to type more?

Jasmine Cafe & Lounge on UrbanspoonThe positive- For less then $50 my husband (wtf) and I got FULL on sushi.  Like we left a sushi restaurant full with not room for dessert or the need to pick up fast food.  All avid sushi eaters know this is RARE.  Good price and happy tummy.  Jasmine's has a nice extensive menu for non-sushi eaters..such as Bento Boxes and even sandwiches   The menu does mark raw and not raw options for the pickier eats.  The atmosphere is super casual and fun.  Lots of college students.

The Negative- Was this the best sushi in town? NO  Was this the worst sushi in town? NO

Basically- Spend a little more and go to Sakura! Or spend a bunch more and get the kick-ass dumplings at Kitcho with some Uni

Friday, September 28, 2012

"Jiro Dreams of Sushi" and now I can't stop craving it either

Now reader, friend, internet and/or the vast emptiness, I don't know if you know this about me.  But in a past life (college),  I was the chair of Independent and Foreign films.  So, I love MOVIES.  This is actually how I met my husband (holy smoke I feel old).  Now, this is all a long story for another day/ blog.  However, I wanted to explain how a night in watching art-house films is a total date night for me...not just an excuse to stay in pj's or pure laziness.
Thanks Mike for the Netflix!!!!
So, my husband found the documentary "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" on Netflix and saved it is his memory bank for a nice date night in.  I had heard of this documentary on NPR i think way back but totally forgot about it. Additionally, the film it has a 99% from critics and 93% from viewers on rotton tomatoes.  therfore, you don't have to take my typed words for the critical reviews......

Therefore, we curdle up in bed (get your heads out of the gutter) with "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" for our date night in.

81 minutes later....
I was in love!!!!  I have always wanted to go to Japan.  But now I must go and get $300 per person sushi.  That is about 15 courses in 20 minutes for $300. Yup- I am going to blow that budget. Wow, I am getting a head of myself.
The film follows Jiro the 85 year old owner of  Sukiyabashi Jiro, a 10 sit sushi bar (no appetizers here).  This man makes sushi into an art. He takes as well as teaches his sons and apprentices to take the time and care in every step of making sushi.  From only buying the best and most flavorful fish from a select few high end vendors to massaging the octopus for HOUR..yes hours on end. Hours and hours go into perfecting everything from the fish to the rice.  This attention to detail and time intense preparations are why the restaurant is so expensive and books up months in advice.
The film also spends time to flush out Jiro backstory and his legacy not just his incredible ability to procede some of the world's best sushi.  Jiro's oldest son who will take over Sukiyabashi Jiro works along side his father and faces the press of living up to his father immense talent.  Jiro's younger son after years of training left to start his own sushi restaurant very similiar to his fathers.  This incredible story is  moving about sushi and the time and care that goes into making it as well as the man, Jiro, his life, dedication and family.

The problem with watching a food documentary is then all you want is the sushi or the food in the documentary.  So have sushi on standby....
Sidenote- This film is available on Netflix and Amazon Instant Prime.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Getting my sushi fix at Shinju

Sushi Buffets are not as common outside of  South Florida.  Don't get me wrong, at the Chinese buffets there will normally be a California roll and maybe a sad JB roll on the buffet looking pathetically like they had been sitting there all day.  NOT at Shinju....Here there are 3 sushi chefs working vigorously to keep up with the demanding hungry patrons.  In addition there is a cold bar with fresh shucked oysters, snow crabs and shrimp along with a hot bar featuring awesome dumplings and tempura (My mom loved the shrimp tempora.  crispy not greasey despite being on a buffet)
So how does this MASSIVE sushi buffet measure up?
I loved it! This is better than normal buffet food! Again this place has a wide selection which is perfect for crazy adventurous eaters like my husband (it has been almost 4 months and i still cant believe it!!!)  He tried one of each piece of sushi.  Please see the pics below for
I have never been to a sushi place with this much selection.  They had everything from Salmon roe nigri to Tuna Sashimi to spicy avocado nigri to rainbow rolls. The manager or owner was VERY smart to add cooked on the label above each item.  This way fans of sushi but not raw sushi knew what they were eating.The only downside is the buffet does not list what was in each roll.  So if you don't like spicy or a particular fish (lets be honest all the white fish look the same in a roll), you have to play Russian Sushi Roulette and hope for the best.  PS- keep a camera never know when someone will have a great surprise reaction to the unknown sushi roll.
Shinju Japanese Buffet on Urbanspoon
I highly recommend the little shrimp dumplings which were flavorful and steamed.  I did not try the hibachi but was also available.  Like most buffets a dessert bar was available with ice cream, mini cakes and fruit.  But lets be honest here, you go to Shinju for the sushi....

SIDENOTE- this place is very popular so plan to go on off hours like super early or super late.  If you have to go to Shinju at 6pm on a Saturday night, bring your tablet and be prepared to wait.  Trust me it is worth it!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Kale with Judy Greer and no it tastes NOTHING like beef!!!

 I have blogged once before about Judy Greer's cute internet video series on Yahoo screen "Reluctantly Healthy" I criticized the title of the chickpea episode but enjoyed the ideas.  Recently I saw another video from the series, "Kale the New Beef"  Now before I even watched the video, I was thinking, "Kale does not taste like beef!  This is the worst title EVER!  Yes maybe Kale has the nutrition facts of beef but it tastes more like the leafy green spinach with my crunch"
I watched the video.  Yes- Judy Greer is cute as ever.....seriously...I even loved the recipe. Adina Niemerow gave informative facts about each ingredient and how great they are for you!  I wish there was a little more focus on how this all tasted!
Basically- Judy fire the person writing your titles.  They are misleading or at least they are to me and then I go into your videos with prejudice and no Mr. Darcy(darn you Jane Austin).  However, I loved the recipe!
I wonder if I could get my in-laws to try this......doubtful  but the Hubby would LOVE it!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sage- back like a phoenix

Like many people, I am so excited Sage is BACK!  Of course, I did not that is burnt down and was rebuilt, since I was living in Atlanta at the time until I went there for brunch!  This has always been a favorite of my husband (still weird to being calling him that)  family!                               So how does the NEW and IMPROVED Sage measure up?                                                         
                       Like a phoenix rising from the ashes 
(Yes- I am a Harry Potter and Xmen  fan )

Well, I ordered the Bistro which was a croissant with homemade turkey, brie, spinach, apples, and a mustard sauce with a side salad!  Now, I love my brie on a sandwich and the bistro did not disappoint.  The sandwich offered a great complexity of sweet, tangy and savory.....or put more simply...It was good!!!                                                                          My grandma-in law went with the quiche which to be honest is the whole reason she comes here.  No matter the flavor (they offer different options each day) they are always fabulous.   My mother-in law got one of the specials which featured a beautiful beef dip sandwich which was perfectly in the richness of the meat and saltiness of the ju.....this I got all from one bit.

The hubby got a take on biscuits and gravy.  I am not the biggest gravy fan, but he loved it and left no leftovers.                                              The only downside is this place is small so make reservations or come at little early because this place does get packed!                               BTW- my server Tiffany was amazing!!!!  She laughed at all my Grandfather-in laws jokes while keeping the water and coffee flowing at a table of 8.                                      
OVERALL- The new SAGE is even better then the old!!!!  I highly recommend this place for date not or a great brunch!
Sage, A Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I Pigged Out, I mean ate at Piggy's BBQ

 I love BBQ and living in Atlanta I got a little spoiled with Fat Matt's and  Fox Brothers.  So now in Tallahassee, I am looking for a place to get my fix! Well, as luck would have it last week Groupon had a deal for Piggy's  which I could not pass up.  The deal was 2 two meat combos which includes 2 sides, a bread/biscuit/cornbread and a drink for $14 (Sorry the deal is no longer available).  Therefore, that is exactly what we ordered.

I got 1/4 white chicken and pulled pork with corn nuggets and steamed veggies along with a cheese biscuit.  The chicken was juicy and moist.  The skin was flavorful and yummy.  As I have typed before unless it is bacon, I am not the biggest pig fan! (Yes- I do see the irony of me reviewing a place called Piggy's)  Sadly, the pulled pork did not change my mind.  I found it dry and bland.  On a positive note, if you cover the not so good pork in one of Piggy's many fabulous sauces like "Ooey Spicy" it tastes much better!  There is an option of 4-5 sauces at each table!  So i had fun trying them all which offered a little something different for everyone!

20120911_175046.jpgThe steamed veggies were steamed veggies...not overcooked and seasoned well.  But still nothing out of this world.  However, the corn nuggets were AMAZING and definitely worth raving about.  It was like the best fresh sweet creamy corned fried into a hot non-greasy ball of "OMG this is so good!"
My husband (still weird I have one of these) and I fought over the last go ugly!

The hubby ordered the pork ribs and brisket with fried okra and BBQ beans.  Now, I must type I am a huge fan of braise brisket so I was a little nervous tasting the brisket.  And I was impressed!  The beef retained a nice smoky flavor that enhanced the savoriness of the tenderized cow. I would come back just for this brisket. The ribs (again not a Pig fan)  were just ribs.  Good..but nothing out of the normal.  The fried Okra was crispy and not slimey or greasy.  The BBQ bean were a little too smokey for me, but that may be something lost in translation because I am not a true southern.

Piggy's BBQ on UrbanspoonOverall- Piggy's is an impressive BBQ place.  I would avoid the pigs and go straight for  the chicken and brisket with the corn nugets!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Couscous- The perfect side dish and my In-Laws love it

I love couscous! First, it tastes good!  And second, it always seems to impress people when I make it! For some strange reason, these little balls of pasta are something most people have not tried.  So, when people see it on my dinner table they are curious and excited to try something new (I once got a 8 year old to eat this).  The couscous acts as a great conversation starter and something for people to brag about afterwords. Don't judge that i put this much thought into what I make.

Any who couscous is super easy.  You can find it at most stores Winni Dixie, Publix and Kroger.  I personally prefer the Israeli couscous which is larger.  Most recently I bought a 5lb bag at Costco super cheap!

I like to make a cup for every 2 people eating.  Couscous make great leftovers so if there is too much, you don't have to make yourself lunch the next day!  I used this exact recipe as a side for 6 people to go along with roast.  the perk of this recipe is there is at least 1 serving of veggies in each helping.  So, you are sneaking in a little extra vitamins into the meal for your guests!
Now here is what you will need
3 cups of Couscous
3 1/4 cups of chicken stock/ or vegetable stock
1 large onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic diced
1 zucchini diced into cubes
3 small yellow squash diced into cubes
cooking oil (doesn't matter the type)
3 tbsps of butter
shredded Parmesan cheese to top

First add the onion to a large pan with a little bit of oil. Stir occasionally as needed Cook until the onions are clear, then add the garlic, zucchini and squash along with a little more oil .  Stir the vegetables occasion. When everything is nice and cooked through remove the pan from the heat and set to the side.

Place the 3 tbsp of butter and couscous into a pot on medium.  As the butter melts stir the couscous.  The goal here is to toast the couscous bringing out the nuttiness but not burn it!  Once all the butter is melted and you can smell the couscous, add the chicken stock.  When the liquid comes to a boil place a lid on it and leave it alone for 7-15 minutes depending on the type of couscous (see the couscous container for exact timing!)  Remove the lid from the couscous and stir, if the pasta is ready (taste it like any other pasta) and all the liquid is gone, mix in the onion zucchini and squash mixture.  Pour into a pretty bowl and top with shredded Parmesan cheese.  Serve immediately!  I also like to put some extra Parmesan cheese on the table for people (mainly me) to add more if they like!

My dinner guest LOVED the zucchini couscous including my mother-in-law , the queen of picky eating, who was a little hesitant at first.  She even requested I make it again! Score one for the easy Mediterranean pasta!
Sidenote- I never had Israeli couscous while in Israel, I was only served the small couscous. Weird!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Kitcho actually had Uni...and some not too shabby sushi too!

Now, I love sushi!!!!  My father started me on this stuff super 13. Therefore when I moved back to Tallahassee I was on the prowl for some AMAZING raw fish (I do apologize for those who are not raw fans this post is going to get a little fishy).  Two of my foodie friends recommended Kitcho, so we all got together for a double date to satisfy my sushi craving.

This place is a little hard to find because it is nestled in Market Square where there are quite I few restaurants.  Of course, I have no sense of direction.  But even with the aid of my GPS I still drove around for 10 minutes trying to find the exact location (Yes- my friends were hysterical watching my Hubby and I circle through the massive shopping center!)

Once, inside the place is quite and modern.  Exactly what you would expect the decor of a Japanese restaurant to be. We split/stole from our friends Gyoza/ fried dumplings which were quite delicious with a flavorful filling and crispy shell.  We also ordered the tuna collar (yes- the hubby order this)  which was surprisingly amazing and not at all fish or tough.  The fish was crispy but not greasy and reminded me of the Holy Snapper at Lemongrass where my parents live. The only downside it is a little hard to eat with no knife.

For, our main course, the Hubby and I ordered a ton of nigri a la carte.  And when we ordered uni- they actually had it. I tried to order this at Sakura last month, but they did not have it.  Sea Urchin or Uni is very seasonal.   Although, it is one of my favorite types of seafood.  Yes- this does fall in the out of the box food category, but I love it!  I first tried sea urchin  years ago after hearing about it constantly on food television.  Both Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern raved about this spikey guy.  So, on my first vacation with my husband (WTF)

we tried uni at a Japanese sushi restaurant.  And ever since we have been hooked!
Uni is bright orange which is both festive and slightly off putting.   Don't get scared now! The taste is nutty and salty with a texture unlike fish.  it is much creamier.

 We also had salmon roe,  albacore and  mackerel (the hubby's favorite) nigri.  Additionally we ordered a few rolls but to be honest they were good but forgettable....  Sorry!  The nigri far outshined the rolls!!!  I was super HAPPY with the diversity and freshness of the fish on the sushi menu!

My friend ordered the vegetable tempura which was light, crispy and everything a good tempura should be!  The wine menu was impressive with great options and the service was excellent!  My water glass was filled quite often as was the hubby's diet coke!  Kitcho is not cheap nor over priced!  So expect to pay $75-100 per couple for a good dinner!

Kitcho Japanese Restaurant on UrbanspoonOVERALL- I give the place a 4 out of 5 and recommend it!

FYI- there is a super cute lounge/bar attached to Kitcho.  After a great dinner, we went to next door and had drinks! The place is super cute with a unique and versatile drink menu including beers, liquor, and martinis.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sometimes it is the little things---Salted Pecans

I got super lucky in marrying into a great family ( OMG I am married).  I adore my father-in- law who has helped me move a multiple times, taught me to shoot (insert joke here about a Jewish girl learning to shoot) and never complains about the disaster I create in the kitchen.  Now, it is always hard to show appreciation because thank you seems to be said too often.  I try to do little my husband (weird)  and all my protein powder creations.  Plus, I grew up with something my mom calls, "I love yous" or "just because" presents.

So, I wanted to do a little something for him.  Well, my father-in-law is not materialistic in any way.  Beer and tequila are on his must have wish list and that is about it. Therefore, when I learned that he loved pecans, I got inspired.  I decided to make a little surprise, which I ruined in my excitement by telling him.   

I got a 2 pound (YES that is right) of pecans. Coated the pecans in a little EVOO then sprinkled salt on a baked at 350 for about 45 minutes or until I smelled the yummy pecans.  I then divided the nuts into two bags.  One for the house and one for my father-in-law to munch on at work.  And I must tell you, my father-in-law was very pleased and so was everyone else.  I think his family, including me, has eatten lots of his pecans, thus my making extra for him to take to work.
Sometimes it is the little things. And cooking and baking is a affordable and thoughtful way to do it.  Keep that in mind as the holiday season approaches.   These pecans wrapped up with a bow or in a holiday tin (which you can find at Target or the dollar store) would be a nice and healthy gift option. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Protein Peanut Butter Balls...I am going for wife of the year

What happens when you don't like the taste of your protein shake or you are sick of drinking protein shakes?  Well, my husband (jeez I am married) disliked the taste of his protein powder and OF COURSE he got the 2 lb container.  There is a ton of protein powder to go through and he can only gulp down so many shakes. So, in my attempt to go for wife of the year, I researched what you can incorporate protein powder in.  I already tried adding it to brownies and making a banana protein bar but I wanted something different.
Then I found it
The holy grail of recipes simple, does not even involve baking and I had everything in my pantry.
Awwwwwwwwwwwwww (my attempt at the noise of angels singing in happiness)
This recipe is so simple.  All you need is

    1 cup chocolate protein powder
    1 cup peanut butter
    1/2 cup honey
    1/2 cup oat bran
    Then mix everything together.  This is a little tough because you are working with peanut butter.  Then roll into balls. coat in protein powder which adds extra protein and makes the balls less sticky. 
    And Ta-Da
    Peanut butter yumminess at 4 grams per ball or at least with my protein powder and peanut butter!  The hubby is in love with these and I actually like them too!!  It is the perfect energizing burst in the afternoon or a great way for me to get protein after a workout.  Plus they don't taste good for you!

PS- these babies freeze great!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Vertigo Burger

So for this week's date night, the husband (do I even need to type it? OMG) took me to  Vertigo Burger ! Now from reading the menu and reviews on Yelp, this place reminds my husband of  a less crazy version of Flip Burger.  I love Flip Burger despite it being so pricey....then again I love Richard Blais.  Plus, I LOVE truffles (both kinds)  so I was super excited to check this place out!!!!

 The decor-Modern and simple. I imagine there will be artwork up on the walls soon, but the place falls squarely into trendy with one exception. THE FLOORS!!!! I am confused why the floors are so old and wornout.  I mean if artwork can be add as well as a sign declaring the cashier without closing the restaurant.  Replacing the floors with involve closing for a few days and loosing revenue!  It doesn't make sense to have spent money on decor and painting the ceiling just to have gross floors.

The  flow of the restaurant.  Vertigo suffers from "just opened restaurant" syndrome. YES_ this is a condition.  The place is super busy and is still getting comfortable with itself. However, that does not mean the stuff are untrained or unskilled. The cashier register was not clearly marked so when people including us walked in we did not know where to go or where to get the menu.  The menus are printed and available at the cashier.  So, we were lost!!!  The staff obviously use to this motioned us over!!!!
There is not a clear place for a line, so I imagine at HIGH volume times it gets CRAZY.  However, these are things that can be fixed.  Afterall the restaurant is still a baby at one month old.

Despite being a little confused when entering Vertigo my food took less then 8 minutes to be prepared which I think is a fair amount of time for a gourmet burger.  The staff were super nice.  Someone came around and asked if we needed refills and also took our trays.

 AND MOST importantly the food- I naturally ordered the Tremor burger which is truffle tremor cheese with mushrooms, garlic aioli and applewood bacon.The burger was ok, not great not $9.49 worth of amazingness. Sadly, the Tremor cheese which is goats milk soft cheese overpowered the sandwich.  Now maybe this is because there was not enough aioli or too much cheese.  However, I venture there is a flaw in the combination of a strong cheese with the more subtle flavors of the mushrooms and burger.  And this is coming from someone who LOVES truffles, goat cheese, and truffle cheese.  The best way I can explain it is imagine blue cheese on a chicken with nothing else.  The blue cheese would overpower the chicken hands down.  Although, if you fry the chicken and coat it is hot sauce you have a match made in HEAVEN.  The tremor burger was missing the hot sauce so to speak/type.

But the sweet potatoes fries were PERFECT!  They are made in house and cravable.  The fries came out HOT but not greasy with the right amount of seasoning.  The bacon aoili tastes like creamy bacon which is never bad.

The husband got the Southern Spin which tops the burger with fried green tomatoes, pimento cheese and creole remoulade.  The Southern Spin was fabulous though slightly over cooked. All the burgers are cooked medium but you can ask for longer cooking times. We asked for medium rare and the girl at the counter told us very nicely, she will ask but most likely it will come out medium.  This burger was well.  However this did not ruin the burger!  The fried green tomatoes were sliced super thin and crispy not greasy.  The creole remoulade had a little kick that brightened the tomatoes and cheese.

Overall, Vertigo burger is a good place to get a funky burger.  Maybe in a few month Vertigo will grow up to be great must have place that the Tallahassee Foodies were hoping for, but for now the place remains a twist on a burger place with kick butt fries.
Vertigo Burgers And Fries on Urbanspoon

Having typed all this, I must add the husband LOVED it!!!  He is already excited to go back and order the Tail Curler and Going Green. Me, I will humor him all to get more sweet potato fries (I will dream about those things tonight!!!)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Blue Cheese Balsamic steak- it so fancy for being so easy

Now, I have not been a meat eatter for very long.  And to be honest when given the choice between filet mignon and lobster, I will chose lobster every time. And sushi....shrimp....gosh I love me some seafood. However, I have a meat loving husband (OMG weirdness) loves a good steak. Therefore, me as the good wife (did I just put myself in the same title as Julianna Margulies ), is always looking for new ways to serve steak.  Well, I got inspired one do watching food network with the flavor combination of blue cheese and balsamic vingear.

I ran with this inspiration and created the easiest fanciest recipe ever.  I made this for 6 people the other night and it was a hit.  Everyone keep talking about how good the steaks tasted and commenting on what a treat this was.  Everyone though the sirloins I used were filets (Can you believe the girl who didn't eat meat for years could do that?)  And of course, all i am thinking is this is the easiest dish EVER.  So, if you need something to impress the in-laws (mine were impressed) or to celebrate a special occasion but have limited time this is your dish.
All you need is
steaks-1 per person
balsamic vinegar
blue cheese (I prefer crumbles but a block will work too)
a pan
a baking sheet covered in aluminium foil (I use the foil for easy clean up)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Now the trickiest part is making sure the steaks are cooked enough for each person.  I used sirloins that were about 2 inches thick from Costco.  I cooked 1 medium well, 1 medium and 4 medium rare.  So, I put the medium well in first and seared the steak for 5 minutes and 30 seconds on each side.  Next came the medium steak which was seared 4 minutes on each side.  ALL the medium rare steaks were cooked 3 minutes on each side.  This time will be adjusted based on size and thickness of steak.  After searing place the steaks on the baking sheet.  
Now here is the part where you can leave the steaks to sit for a bit (by a bit I mean 10-15 minutes MAX) if your guests are running late or go immediately moving on. 
Top the steaks with blue cheese.  I like crumbles but you can also simply slice a piece of cheese off a block. Then drizzle balsamic on top. Just a light drizzle NOT a thick coat. Otherwise the steak will get too vinegary (is this even a word?). Then put steaks in the oven for 5-7 minutes.  You will know the steak are ready when the blue cheese is melted and there is a nice light browning on the top.  See pic.                 You can serve the steak family style or because I had different cooking length, I put steak directly on people's plates.
SIDENOTE: The husband (craziness) took my leftover as part of his lunch and it reheated wonderfully!!
However, the leftover would be great on a salad with walnuts.  Now I am kicking myself that I did not have enough leftovers for me to put in a salad.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What to do with ripe bananas and protein powder- oh yeah

I had two ripe bananas sitting on my kitchen counter looking at me pathetically!  And I remembered when researching protein powder recipes earlier in the week, I came across a recipe calling for 2 ripe bananas.  What luck!
 So, in the hope of further encouraging the husband (I know I keep typing it, but I still cant believe I am married) workout kick and since he loved the brownies (link to the brownie blog), I figured why not.  the recipe did not look too all know my fear of baking!

Therefore, I pulled up the recipe and started following the directions(dont faint yet).  I used a blender instead of a food processor since I dont have one.  And things seemed to go well untill I had all the ingredients 200 Grams Rolled Oats,  30 Grams Chocolate Protein Powder, 2 Tbsps Smooth PB, 3 egg whites, 2 medium bananas, 1 Tbsp Honey, 100 ml Skim Milk, and 1 tsp cinnamon mixed together only I noticed the batter was TOOOOO thin.  I mean i am no expert but this batter resembled water so in true Somewhat fashion...I added things.  I added 1 tbsp of protein powder, 1 tbsp of pb and extra oats.
the batter was still thin, but I didn't want to mess with it more (I was scared of having an explosion in my oven).  So I baked the batter as instructed for 20 minutes on 350.  And the thing was still no where near ready.  I ended up letting the batter go for ANOTHER 20 minutes which was un til my toothpick came out clean.  I let the pan cool...still terrified of what my crazy need to improve would create.  Then I cut the pan into 8 rectangles and tasted....
These taste like an unsweetened banana bread with 9 grams of protein. They were super yummy. And my husband who love things not too sweet was in HEAVEN!
The bar were a nice change from store bought protein bars.  Plus less chemicals and preservatives.

So here is exactly what I did or the improved (oh yeah I typed it) version of Homemade Banana protein bars
1 cup Grams Rolled Oats
2 tbsps  Chocolate Whey Protein Powder (mine was a chocolate peanut butter flavor)
3 Tbsps Almond Butter or Smooth PB
3 egg whites
2 medium bananas
1 Tbsp Honey
1/4 cup Milk

                                                                     1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350
Put the Oats in a blender and puree until the oats become a fine powder. 
Mix the oats, whey protein powder and cinnamon.
Add the peanut butter and mix thoroughly.
Add the egg whites, mashed bananas, milk and honey.
(Don't be scared of the thin batter)
Once mixed pour into a greased 9 x 9" pan.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Cut into 8 bars when cooled.
I wrap individual bars in plastick bags  and store in the refridgerator.