Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Veggie Man Cometh

The Veggie Man

A photo on the Kraft Foods newsletter caught my attention --something called the Skeleton Salad and Brain Dip.  I loved the litle man made from of vegetables.. 

Knowing I would be babysitting my grand-daughters the week before Halloween, I kept the picture.  I decided to surprise them and tried to follow the example.   

The above photo was my creation.  I added eyes and mouth to make him more friendly!

The girls were delighted and really got into eating him up!

If you want to encourage your kids or grandchildren to eat their veggies- perhaps the Veggie Man needs to cometh to your house or party. 

Read more food blog stories on Wanderfood Wednesday. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Chocolate Art at Four Seasons Prague

Believe it or not, DNA was the topic of the conversation around the candlelit dining table at the exclusive Allegro Italian restaurant located within the Four Seasons Prague. A decadent orgy of multiple courses, each one a scrumptious blending of the finest, fresh ingredients with a masters touch unfolded. When dessert time arrived, an insatiable desire for chocolate teased our genes. Chef Andrea Accordi, under whose direction the kitchen became the first in the former Eastern Block to be awarded a Michelin star, and his staff arranged a chocolate art presentation at our table. How exotically fabulous.

A white cloth was positioned upon the table amidst an array of nugget-filled containers. An enthusiastic chef drizzled a sweet red liquid in an abstract design which I am told was beetroot sauce, but I would never have guessed. Then, he scattered candied orange and lemon rind around the delicacy, followed by candied kumquats. Rolled pieces of whiskey truffle bonbons were strategically placed as we witnessed awestruck an edible masterpiece sculptured before our eyes.

A small rectangular slice of frozen chocolate mousse was added near the center along with a triangular Earl Gray gelato, further garnished by seductive frozen jasmine foam dollops. Delectable spoonfuls of a chocolate hazelnut blend known as a croccantino adorned the whole along with sprinkled pistachio nuts. Lastly, the lively artistic creation was topped off with warm and heavenly chocolate sauce.

Then, each of us leered at each other, laughed, picked up our spoons and scooped to our hearts desire. A fusion of the finest chocolatier and ice cream shoppe enveloped our palate. An indulgence over the top, but wicked fun and a delightfully interactive way to end an elegant evening.

Read this and other food blog articles posted on Wanderfood Wednesdays.

If you go:
Four Seasons Hotel Prague

Rooms with a View -- The Four Seasons rests on what many call prime real estate- the location with the best views of the city.  (I agree!) Some rooms offer the awe inspiring sight of the Charles Bridge and Prague castle, a scene that's stood the test of time and one that will never lose its magnificence. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Antlers Restaurant: Not for Stuffed Shirts

Restaurant Review
Michigan:  Sault Ste. Marie

Antlers Restaurant attracts a group who like to hang out at the bar. They tend to be outlandish and wild, yet remain in a state of suspended animation. They definitely don't belong in the stuffed shirt preppy crowd. You see, some of Antlers loyal patrons dangle from the rafters and walls-- they are actually taxidermy critters, often sprouting expansive racks. 

The decor of preserved animals far outnumbers the customers who sit among the mounted species: mountain lions, beaver, coyote, a polar bear, mink, squirrels, moose, deer, elk and fish. The menu connects with the theme: venison pie, wild game lasagna and moose tracks sundae. 

The place had a colorful start as the Bucket of Blood Saloon and Ice Cream Parlor, the ice cream part, a cover-up during Prohibition. The place was closed by the internal revenue agents who discovered that it sold only one quart of ice cream a month, and yet took in a profit of $900.

Town legend says many of the Antlers specimens were traded by trappers in exchange for booze. The establishment is so rustic that the old TV show, Gunsmoke, filmed three episodes within its colorful walls.

The saloon's history dates back through four generations and six families of owners, with the Kinney family contributing most of the memorabilia. The current owners, the Szabo and Cunningham families purchased the establishment in 2009.

The restaurant is also loud, known for boat whistles, horns and hair-raising announcements that blare from the PA at regular intervals. St. Patrick's Day is heartily celebrated with green beer and dancing on the tables.

You'll find this fine collection of fur, feathers and fish on Portage Avenue at the south-end of the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. The joint is open from 9am to 9pm Sunday – Thursday, Friday and Saturday open till 10pm. Come in for a Soo Stew Canoe on freshly baked bread filled with Michigan gumbo or the Paul Bunyan burger, but be careful what you say. The walls have ears.

Read this and other food blog articles posted on Wanderfood Wednesdays.

If you go:

Antler's Restaurant
804 E Portage Ave
Sault Ste Marie, MI 49783
(906) 253-1728

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chef Jean-Stephane Poinard cooks for James Beard House

Chef Jean-Stephane Poinard

Should you walk down Cathedral Street in St. Augustine and catch a whiff of sensuous aromas coming from Bistro de Leon, I dare you not to enter. This casual French-style eatery is one of my favorite local restaurants. I enjoy if for the small tables bunched together that create a warm and casual atmosphere. I like buying items from the display case to take home. But, what I truly love is the food prepared by Chef Jean-Stephane Poinard.

Poinard is a 5th generation chef brought up in the gastronomic capital of Lyon, France where his family owned Hotel Restaurant de Paris. He is also  a member of the exclusive Les Toques Blanches Lyonnaises, one of the privileged chefs invited into the rare fraternity of only 100 members.  French home cuisine “la cuisine de meres” is what has propelled Poinard to the top of the elitist gastronomic scene since 1998.

On Friday, November 18, 2011 he will be the honored Chef at New York City’s James Beard House, preparing a 7-course dinner for eighty guests. What an accolade for Chef Jean-Stephane and St. Augustine.

The upcoming event is themed: The FRENCH CONNECTION DINNER ~ Celebrating Beaujolais Noveau. The dinner pairs his dishes with French wines featuring the best of Georges DuBoeuf 2011 Wines.

According to the James Beard Foundation:
“As a member of Les Toques Blanches Lyonnaises, the ultra-exclusive fraternity of chefs led by Paul Bocuse, Jean-Stephane Poinard is an ambassador of modern French cuisine. For this Beard House dinner, Poinard has designed a deliciously diplomatic menu of his rustic French cooking to showcase the 2011 nouveau and cru Beaujolais wines”.

James Beard Menu
Friday November 18, 2011

Mises en Bouche served on trays
(Butler Style)
Tomato « Confite » stuffed with escargots flamed in Pastis, garlic cream
Split peas cream, bacon Veloute and chips
Duet of Salmon «Rillette»
Georges Duboeuf Mâcon-Villages 2010
Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau 2011

Beef tail «confite» ravioles, Fava Beans, Port Jus
Georges Duboeuf Chiroubles 2010
Deboned frog legs served on a tomato garlic French Toast, Watercress Coulis
Georges Duboeuf Chiroubles 2010
Beaujolais Nouveau «Granite», Burgundy blackcurrent cream
Hudson Duck « Pot au Feu », Spicy Jus, Foie Gras in cabagge « Papillotte »
Georges Duboeuf Morgon Domaine Jean Descombes 2010
Cheese board, Datil Pepper Jelly, walnuts bread
Georges Duboeuf Juliénas Château des Capitans 2010
Pear poached in Beaujolais Nouveau and Fall Spices
Georges Duboeuf Juliénas Château des Capitans 2010
Wines Graciously Donated by Les Vins Georges Duboeuf

Friends of Chef Poinard can purchase dinner tickets at the James Beard Foundation MEMBER price of $130, per person (tax & gratuity included). The general public price is $170.

 Call James Beard House reservations department directly at 212-627-2308. Mention the Special Dinner and the unique code word ‘FENNEL’ stating that you are a friend of the Chef for the Member Price as a courtesy. www.jamesbeard.org .

 I wish I could attend the New York event, but at least as a Florida resident I can visit nearby Bistro de Leon.

Here's a brief videoto introduce you to Chef Poinard of St. Augustine:

Bistro de Leon
#12 Cathedral Place
St. Augustine, Florida 32084

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Braised Pork Tenderloin With Eggplant, Olives and Capers

Pork Tenderloin with eggplant, tomatoes, olives and capers

My friend Chris raved about the food and recipes she was preparing while on her new diet, so I had to look it up and try for myself. I searched the new Sonoma diet and indeed, the recipes sounded fantastic.  I chose to try a pork tenderloin that you cube and cook with a variety of chopped vegetables. 

I can honestly report this dish was one of the best things I have ever cooked.  Absolutely tender, juicy pork pieces and the most sensational sauce-- the kind of sauce you twirl around your mouth and indulge in the tangy taste. I actually took a jump for joy! This recipe is totally yummy.

I used the fresh herbs called for in the recipe, which I'm sure added to the rich flavor. The preparation is not difficult but does require a lot of chopping. Be sure to use a very large skillet as I seemed to have plentiful amounts. I froze the leftovers and will report back with how they fared.

Braised Pork Tenderloin With Olives and Capers
From The New Sonoma Diet Cookbook
(Serves 6)

Cooking the recipe- before tomatoes were aded.

2 pounds pork tenderloin
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups 1-inch cubes unpeeled eggplant
2 cups chopped onion
1cup chopped celery
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
6 cloves garlic, minced (1 tablespoon minced)
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1cup chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup green olives, pitted and chopped
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


1. Trim fat from pork. Cut pork into 1-inch cubes. Season pork with kosher salt and pepper; set aside.

2. In a very large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add eggplant; cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove eggplant from skillet; set aside.

3. In the same skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add pork; cook and stir about 3 minutes or until browned. Remove from skillet; cover and keep warm.

4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet. Add onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook and stir for 5 minutes.5. Stir in undrained tomatoes, chicken broth, vinegar, olives, and capers. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is evaporated. Return eggplant and pork to the skillet. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes more or until pork is tender. Stir in mint and basil. Sprinkle with parsley.

If the Sonoma diet sounds intriguing to you head over to their website and check it out: The Sonoma Diet Website.

Read this and other food blog articles posted on Wanderfood Wednesdays.