Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Poblano Corn Chowder

We're coming into one of my favorite cooking seasons, fall/winter.  Lots of soups and stews, I think I could live a this stuff, except for when I need a really good thick steak, then it's off to Wegmans for some thick juicy tenderloins, but that's for another post.

My poblano corn chowder came up by accident and has seen some modifications along the way but at the heart of this hearty chowder is fire roasted poblano chilies.  If you're running short on time you can pick up frozen fire roasted poblano chilies but that takes some of the fun out of peeling those hot peppers and smelling that just roasted scent throughout the house. 

Poblano Corn Chowder
3 Fire Roasted Poblano Chilies, peeled and deseeded
1 package frozen corn
6 to 8 yukon gold potatoes
1 sweet onion
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 large box Swanson's Chicken Broth *yes you can make your own, but why*
I use kosher salt, and salt as I add each item to the pot, but it's just a pinch so be careful not to oversalt, it's more a feel then a measure.

Bring to a boil and let simmer till potatoes are soft.  Serve with sour cream and hard bread, and a tall glass of something cold to help cool you off as you eat what can be a fire breath of a dish.

Until next time
Forks Up

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Veggie Burrito

I love burritos, the options to what you can put inside are endless but I have a real weakness for veggie burritos.  Last year my obsession was black bean and sweet potato and I'm sure that will make an appearance this winter.  But tonight we had a big ol'fat juicy veggie burrito stuffed to the gills...here's a run down on the fixins'...
Homemade refried beans
Corn, you can use fresh or frozen, but don't add anything to the corn, just heat it up
Fresh Spinach
Caramelized onions
Grated cheese

These were super easy and filling.  Before you go crazy with, I can't make homemade refried beans, yes you can. 
Refried Beans:
1 to 2 tablespoons of Canola Oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 jalapeno pepper or more depending on your want of heat
1 to 2 teaspoons of cumin
5 to 10 dashes of hot pepper sauce, I use Tabasco cause it's a southern thing
1/4 to 1/3 cup chicken broth
Heat the oil, toss in onions and pepper, sprinkle with salt to sweat the onions; add beans, hot sauce, cumin, chicken broth, heat all the way through then use a potato masher to mash the daylights out of the beans...
see...super easy.

Like I said, the possibilities of what you can add are endless, you just want to remember to keep your vegetables chopped to small bite size pieces or you'll end up with super chunky burritos and that will be super messy.

For dessert...Chocolate cake...yummy...
until next time...
Forks Up...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Last Meal in Athens

While normally the last meal would be supper or dinner, depending on where you are from, but I digress, our last meal in Athens was at the Mayflower Restaurant.  Established in 1948 this restaurant was a real throwback to the old fashion diner.  With small swivel stools that lined a food counter which sits right in front of the grill you really felt like you could have been sitting here 60 plus years ago.  Behind the cash register area sat the makings for the perfect soda fountain set up, too bad most of that was no longer in use but it was cool to see the old soda fountain gadgets. 

With a row of booths up against the wall we sat down at the first one in the door, it had a little lean to it but after that many years I guess you would too.  This is a real family restaurant with family photos lining the shelf above the booths and also little do-dads, like this stinkin' cute little chair...
yes, that's a bit of dust on the seat but it just added to the charm.  This little metal chair, if it had been a tad bit smaller might have made it into my purse.

I was having the hardest time deciding on what I wanted for breakfast, not Andrew, nope he went right to the blueberry pancakes.  I decided on the two egg breakfast, I didn't want to pass up an opportunity to have grits, bacon and biscuits, the eggs are an after thought in my book.  
The bacon came right off the grill, and the grits...yes they were pretty darn good grits, please notice that I load down my grits with black pepper cause that's how I roll with my grits.  But the star of this meal was...
the biscuits.  Handmade with little bits of butter inside, I was only able to eat one cause they are that filling but let me tell you these biscuits, while not better then my mothers, come a real close second.

So we said our goodbyes to Athens and it's dining and headed east...to more food adventures...
Until next time...
Forks Up...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dining Out..Athens Style Take 2

Our second night in the city that brought us R.E.M. we dined at Nona New Orleans 'N Athens
I would love to say that I took lots of pictures of our dinner but the ones I did take came out blurry.  But I did take a picture of this...
The menu

and this...
our wine
The wait staff were friendly and knew the menu enough to recommend some interesting dishes, not a big fan of crab or blacked fish I decided to go my own way.  Andrew ordered the Blackened Mahi Mahi, excellent choice, served with red beans and rice and cream spinach, and the fish was topped with Crawfish Etouffée that was to die for, rich but awesome.  I ordered the Creole Pork Jambalaya, the different meats in the dish were very tasty but the rice had a spice that over powered it and the red sauce tasted way too much like plain tomato paste.  There were several other things on the menu that if we were to go back I would try but this would not be one of them.  I will say the collards that were served on the side were delish with a hint of what seemed like sugar but our waiter wasn't sure, so I'm gonna say sugar and stick with that, I just wish the little bowl had a few more collard leaves and less stems. 

The setting was beautiful with lots of wood booths and cabinets, a large staircase that lead upstairs to what appeared to be more dining gave the room a rather old world feel.  Large hanging plants brought the tall ceiling down really making the dining room feel cozy and comfortable.  Over all I would give Nona's a 3 forks for the food, 3 1/2 for the experience.  

Until next time...
Forks Up..

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dining Out..Athen's Style

Our first dining adventure in Athens was located just steps away from the University of Georgia and after a long day on the road I think we both wanted a nice cocktail or beer and a good hot meal.  Let me say we were not disappointed.

Let me introduce you to...DePalma's Italian Cafe

Not sure that I was in the mood for Italian food but I was starving and after reading menu after menu along the street my thoughts were "why not".  A big plus, not having to wait;  not for a table, a server, or a cocktail, service was quick and friendly.  With a great selection of wine, beer and cocktails the martini menu quickly caught my eye.  Starting off with a Blueberry Martini was an excellent choice, if you like blueberries and lemon then you would not be disappointed, my only recommendation would be to have a few frozen blueberries floating on top.
Blueberry Martini & Laqunitas Pilsner

While waiting for our dinners, Nicole our very friendly waitress, brought us some bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, nothing fancy but it was a perfect way to start the meal.

We didn't wait long for our dinners to arrive but I gotta say it would have been worth it if we had to wait.  My dish was Fettuccine di Parma,
grilled chicken (or grilled shrimp, add $1) tossed with alfredo, prosciutto & peas; I choose chicken...the only disappointed with this dish, no prosciutto, the peas were sweet which was nice and it really balanced out the richness of the alfredo sauce.

Next up was Andrews, Pan Fried Mascarpone Ravioli & Grilled Artichoke
with sautéed spinach & tomato, butter & thyme pan sauce  
This dish came with four ravioli but one was snapped up before I could click the picture.  I do think that for the price that five ravioli would have been a better deal but Andrew seemed to enjoy the flavors.

We both decided on having another drink with our dinners, Andrew kept with his Laqunitas Pilsner, which by the way was a really nice pilsner and I'm not really a fan of pilsner beer.  I thought that I would try another martini from their menu, Prairie Organic Limeade, and boy was it limey.  If I had to do it over again I would have the Prairie Organic Limeade first then the Blueberry Martini.  The Prairie Organic Limeade was tasty with a good pucker value, went really to the tart side while the Blueberry martini was not sweet but had a nice blend of sweetness and tart.  
For our listening pleasure...
some great tunes from the '80's were played...no, not the 1880's...the 1980's, with a touch of Blondie and Talking Heads it was a nice way to finish off a long day on the road.

With 3 1/2 Forks I would recommend DePalma's in Athens and I'm thinking that if we lived in the area we would call this place one of our regular go to places for a relaxin' meal.

Until next time...
Forks Up...

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Night Pizza

Pizza comes in all shapes and sizes and there are a gazillion opinions on the perfect crust, the right amount of sauce, when the cheese goes on (before or after toppings) and OMG the toppings are endless.  If I'm doing take-out I like my pizza crust thin but not crisp, red sauce and cheese, no toppings please but if I'm making pizza at home...that's a whole different ballgame.

For homemade pizza I don't go crazy and make my own crust, and after trying all the store bought premade crust, I've settled on using Naan.  It's the perfect size for a personal pizza, has a thin but not crispy type dough and it's not heavy.  I like that you don't have to use sauce and as a matter of fact it's better when you don't.  Tonight was an easy mushroom and cheese...
I brush the Naan with olive oil, add sliced mushrooms (yes you can use the ones from the jar), salt, pepper, red pepper flakes...and the cheese...I prefer Fontina, it has a great melt and the flavor is perfect for pizza.  This is an quick and easy dinner to make, and healthy...here's a list of some of the topping combos I've used in the past..
Sweet Potato & goat cheese
Artichoke hearts, black olives & Fontina cheese
Spinach & goat cheese
bbq chicken and caramelized onions
caramelized red peppers, Italian sausage, Fontina cheese
I do make a fresh basil pesto sauce to drizzle over the top, not all the time but there's a secret ingredient...honey...yep I use several handfuls of fresh basil, olive oil, honey, red pepper flakes and salt...easy peasy, blend all together and drizzle over fresh hot pizza.

So tell me...do you make your own pizza? or do you have a favorite take-out?
Until next time...
Forks Up...

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Are you a leftover fan?  Me...not so much.  I can do some leftovers, soups and salads, stuff like that but after eating something two nights in a row I'm done.  Tonight we needed to finish up the spaghetti but after eating it the previous two nights I just didn't have it in me, now Andrew, he was happy to enjoy the spaghetti & meatballs. 

So what's a girl to do...serve her husband what he wants and dish up a big bowl of salad for herself.  Now this isn't a normal salad with lettuce, tomato, cucumber noooooo...while it did have those three things I also added in some leftover brown rice/black bean/corn salad, a meatball (which I pilfered from Andrew's dish), a piece of cheddar cheese, a few cashews and crushed tortilla chips...all topped with some ranch yogurt dressing.  I love having a big pile of salad with lots of stuff that isn't normally placed in salads...

So tell me...how do you like your salads?  Are you a traditional salad maker or do you pile on loads of goodness? 

until next time....
Forks Up...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wholesome Bread

I love talking about wholesome food so today I had a big treat, I got to spend some time with Pablo at Great Harvest Bread Warrenton.  All I can say is if you've ever wondered about how bread is made let me tell you it is exact science.  So let's start at the beginning...
Yes, bags and bags of whole wheat are delivered to each Great Harvest location...
a whole lot of these little grains of whole goodness are turned into...
 some of this goodness is placed here...

and with loving hands...

Placed here...
pan after pan...rack after rack...of wholesome goodness...

But wait...there's more....

yes...they have these awesome goodies and yes they are also full of wholesome goodness.   Loaded with fresh fruit, sweetened with honey, these sweet treats satisfy that 3:00pm sweet tooth.

But wait...there's more...
Iced Latte'....let me introduce you to the Kelly Ann's Latte'.  This iced latte' has the perfect blend of rich espresso, sweet vanilla, a touch of carmel and skim milk...loaded down with ice, it's refreshing and hits the spot for a mid-afternoon break, mid-morning break, or just any about any break through out the day.

Let me leave you with this sign from Great Harvest...
and this thought...
When I started this food blog I had it in mind that I would share with you food that I create and food that others create that I can enjoy.  I hope you enjoy my little tour through the bakery, and if you're ever in town, stop in say hello to Pablo and the gang and order a Kelly Ann's Latte'...I promise you won't be sorry....
Until Next Time...
Forks Up..

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Spaghetti Sauce

Do you make your own sauce or just pour it out of a jar?  Ragu use to be my friend but once I found out how easy homemade sauce was to make..I'll never go back.  You don't have to make a ton of sauce at one time but I do love to spend a couple of hours stirring a pot of red sauce then freezing and pulling out when ready.  

Yesterday I made a pot of sauce...here's how it goes..
saute one onion in olive oil
add one clove of garlic (some will disagree on the amount of garlic but it's what we like) diced and smashed with salt, need to release those sugars
2 Large cans of diced tomatoes, drained
1 Large can tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste
3 tablespoons dried turkish oregano or more to taste
15 to 20 fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon sugar
salt & pepper (not too much salt but you do need a tad)
I simmer my sauce for an hour then let it cool and place in fridge, it's always best the next day.

I also made meatballs...
easy peasy meatballs..
Wegmans Ground Meat Blend
saute onion and just a touch of garlic
one egg
Panko Bread crumbs
dried oregano
dried basil
Now here is my favorite part, mix with your hands, smush (is smush a word?), and blend well.  I made small meatballs, roll them and bake 350 for 20 minutes.  I added the meatballs to my sauce, served over Dreamfields Pasta and we enjoyed with a nice glass of Kendall Jackson Summation Red

Hope you try your hand at making sauce from scratch...cause once you've had homemade you'll never go back...
Until Next Time
Forks Up...