Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I'm back

A 4 month break....is having a baby a good enough excuse? I'm finally back up and "running" at somewhat of a normal speed. I should say, cooking rather. At any rate, I'm back in the kitchen, and have tried out some new restaurants and recipes so here goes!

Park Burger

It's a great, somewhat new restaurant...I've been there a could of times and have eaten everything on my plate without a picture taken...does that tell you anything? It's a small, and I do mean small place on the corner of South Pearl and E. Jewell Ave. It's casual, great for date night or a small group. The atmosphere is inviting, the burgers are hot, messy and delicious. They have homemade fries, including sweet potato fires...I can't pass that up and TO DIE FOR shakes!!! I recommend the Peanut butter and chocolate...but you should consider only eating half of your burger if you want any room for the shake. It's rich and delicious.

Park Burger recently won a battle of the burger in Denver, a competition of new local burger joins...they are popping up everywhere. It's definitely a place to hit up.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pasta Salad

It’s basic!  Easy to take on a picnic, to a party or eat at home and makes great leftovers!

Campanelle Pasta Salad

1 lb campanelle pasta
¼ c. extra virgin olive oil, plus ¼ c.
1 small red onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pint (2 cups) cherry tomatoes, halved
8 oz. artichoke hearts, quartered
4 Tbsp. capers, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp thyme
¼ c. chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp garlic powder
¼ c. balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste (you can’t over do it)

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Add pasta and cook until tender, but firm to bite.  Reserve 1 cup pasta water.

In skillet, heat ¼ cup oil over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until soft, stirring frequently.  Add the garlic and cook until aromatic.  Add tomatoes, artichoke hearts, capers garlic powder and thyme.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes begin to soften, about 8-10 minutes.  Add remaining oil and parsley and pasta.  Toss until all ingredients are coated, add pasta water to thin out sauce.  Season again with salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer to serving dish.  Can be served warm or at room temperature. 

If making ahead of time, let pasta salad come to room temperature before serving, the flavors will be more vibrant.  8-10 servings


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tomato tortellini soup

Oh it’s been entirely too long since the last post….I’ve been busy moving and getting ready for baby…with not much cooking being done. At any rate, I tried a new recipe out a couple of months ago and with a few adaptations, it’s great, easy and perfect for a spring day but we are expecting snow day!

Tomato Tortellini soup

1 package refrigerated cheese tortellini
2 cans reduced sodium condensed tomato soup, undiluted
2 c. vegetable broth, or chicken
4 c. skim milk (can substitute 2% or half-and-half)
½ c. chopped sun dried tomatoes
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. basil
½ tsp salt
½ c. shredded Parmesan cheese + ¼ c. for garnish

In large pot, combine soup, broth, milk, tomatoes and seasonings on medium heat. Heat through, stirring frequently as to not burn the milk. Add thawed tortellini. Cook for approx 8 minutes, or until tortellini are cooked through. Stir in cheese. Serve hot and sprinkle additional cheese on top of each bowl.

This recipe is super easy, and perfect for a night when you don’t want to be a slave to the kitchen.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

El Taco de Mexico

On a mission for Mexican food on Friday night, we have great plans of going to Benny’s, one of the greatest dive-but-you-can’t-help-but-love Mexican restaurants in Denver.  As we thought…it was an hour wait and at 7:45, that was too long for us. 
The back up plan was El Taco de Mexico, the greatest Mexican restaurant in Denver!  It’s the best and worst at the same time, let me set the scene.  Imagine a gas station, an older 80’s type gas station that was small, maybe three pumps and just a counter inside to pay with a few stand of junk food.  This “80’s gas station” was turned into a Mexican restaurant.  The pumps are gone which made way for a very small parking lot, the junk food area has been taken over by 6 orange vinyl booths and the counter is now an eat-in bar.  It hasn’t been updated since opening, which is part of the “charm” of the place.  So you’re getting the drift on the worst part, the atmosphere.  They do have a small patio with 4 tables, and last summer they converted three of the very valuable parking spots to another outdoor eating area.  If the weather is nice, I’d recommend a table outside.
The women behind the counter are far from friendly and wouldn’t crack a smile if you paid them.  It’s always the same 8 women or so cooking up your order.  They are open nearly 15 hours every day of the week.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner you can indulge in this awesome food.  Back to the ladies…they barely speak English, or maybe they do, we have yet to experience it.  It’s a bit uncomfortable ordering because you have no idea if what you ordered will arrive on your plate.  For example, my brother ordered a pork taco (it’s on the menu) and he got an orchata, which is cinnamon infused rice milk.  So the verdict is up in the air if they really understand what you are ordering.  Word to the wise, don’t order anything that isn’t on the menu!
I always order the same things, the best item on the menu, chili relleno burrito, smothered.  It’s awesome even for breakfast.  We are all used to othe restaurants where the chips and salsa keep coming.  If that is the type of Mexican food you’re looking for you’re in the wrong place.  I’ve never seen anyone order it, although it is on the menu.  You simply place your order and grab a table.  The service: if you’re sitting inside, they’ll hand you your order over the counter, so get up and grab your plate.  If you’re sitting outside, you will be served your food, but don’t expect anything else.  If you want a refill on your drink, get up and go ask for one. 
I realize I’m not making this place sound great, but it is truly some of the best Mexican food I’ve had in my life.  You can’t have it all, food, service and atmosphere.  They win award after award; best green chili, best Mexican food, best this and best that.  They have awards hung all over the walls from the last 12 years, both local and national awards.  If you are a local or in town, it’s a must! 
It's cash only, so hit up the ATM on your way.  If you forget, there is an ATM, thankfully, across the street! I’d love to refer you to a website to check it out, but they aren’t there yet, and probably never will be.  Until then, here’s the location:
El Taco de Mexico 
714 Santa Fe Drive (Santa Fe and 7th Ave)
Denver, CO 80204
(303) 623-3926

Friday, March 26, 2010

Slaw, sans mayo!

I was at the store last week picking up the ingredients for our St. Patty's day dinner and cabbage was on sale, 2 for $1.00. I figured, why not. After using one head in out corned beef and cabbage evening, I need to come up with something to use the other head of cabbage for.

So i started flipping through mound of new recipes and came across slaw. My husband loves slaw, especially slaw with no mayo. The came the idea of homemade fish sticks, baked fries and slaw for dinner. Whaaaaalaaaa!

It's super easy, can be made in advance and outside of the cabbage, you have all the ingredients in your pantry.  It's tangy, not too sweet and will be great for the not-so-far-away BBQ season!


3/4 c. coarsely grated onion (or finely chopped)
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. Ketchup
4 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1 medium head of green cabbage
1/2 head of purple cabbage
2 c. grated peeled carrots

Whisk first 5 ingredients in a large bowl.  Add cabbage and carrots;  toss.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover and chill until serving.  


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Day 33 – Stuffed Strawberries

This has been quite a challenge, to blog once a day for an entire month. Weekends were the hardest as we were out of town for three of five weekends.

To finish off this month of Super Bowl appetizers and dips, just as you would finish a meal….dessert. They are fresh and will add nice color to your display of food.

Day 33 – Stuffed Strawberries

1 package fresh strawberries

1 8 oz. cream cheese, softened

½ c. powdered sugar

½ tsp. vanilla

½ c. pecans, finely chopped

In a mixer, combine cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and pecans. Once combined, place in a piping bag, or storage bag. If using a storage bag, make a small cut in one of the bottom corners of the bag. Set aside.

Cut tops of strawberries off, so they stand up, point facing up. Make a criss-cross cut in the point, not cutting all the way through the strawberry. Take piping bag and pipe cream cheese mixture into cut strawberry.


Day 32 – Baked Coconut Curry Shrimp

It’s a tasty little seafood appetizer, that is really easy. It takes about 15 minutes to pull together and they are much better than their off fried shrimp sibling.

Day 32 – Baked Coconut Curry Shrimp

1 lb. large shrimp, de-veined, tails on
2 egg whites
½ - 1 c. Panko bread crumbs
1 c. sweetened coconut
2 Tbsp. yellow curry
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350°. In a flat dish, mix dry ingredients, thoroughly. In a separate bowl, whip egg whites until slightly frothy. Dip shrimp in egg whites, then into dry mixture and repeat once to completely cover shrimp with mixture.

Place a cooling rack in a cookie sheet. Place breaded shrimp in cooling rack and bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked and golden brown.