Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Recipe: Chicken Fried Rice

I need a wok! I am especially convinced of this now that I've become obsessed with fried rice. My attempts have some out pretty good and edible at least, but I am convinced I wont obtain perfection until I have a wok in my hot little hands. I put one on my Christmas list, so hopefully someone got me one!

One complaint that I have about fried rice in restaurants, is that they are pretty skimpy on the meat. I wanted to make sure that I had plenty in mine...

I found this recipe, and have made it a few times now and it is really easy and fast! I did change it up a little by adding some mixed vegetables. This recipe makes a huge amount! I cut the recipe in half when I make it now and it is enough for a meal and leftovers, which is awesome. Oh, one other thing to note: Use a LARGE skillet if you don't have a wok. My skillet wasn't large enough and I didn't get the maximum fried goodness that I wanted, and I made a huge mess when I was trying to stir everything.... I hope that you enjoy it! 

3 large eggs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into thin strips (really thin, I cut into chucks the first time, and it was too much)
1 cup of mixed veggies (I used a frozen corn, carrot, green bean mixture)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
4 cups cold, cooked rice
6 green (spring) onions, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish, optional
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Beat eggs with a whisk in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Heat very little oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat and make an omelet using half the beaten eggs. Turn out onto a plate to cool (do not fold omelet). Repeat process with remaining beaten eggs. Place 1 omelet on top of the other, fold and coarsely chop. Set aside. 

In a medium bowl, toss chicken strips with the sesame oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil over high heat in large frying pan or wok and stir-fry the prepared chicken strips until lightly golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes or until onion has softened. 

Add 2 tablespoons more vegetable oil and when hot, stir in the cooked rice, green onions, and mixed vegetables* tossing and mixing thoroughly until very hot. Sprinkle with soy sauce and mix evenly. Remove from heat and stir in chopped cooked egg. If desired, garnish with additional sliced green onions.
Final delicious!
Mistake: Do not add frozen veggies to chicken! Cook them separately and drain water!
*The first time I made this I put the frozen veggies in with the chicken, and found this to be a huge mistake. I would recommend that you cook separately until defrosted, drain water out, and then add to rice.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Review: Slate Street Cafe - Albuquerque, New Mexico

I first discovered Slate Street Cafe when I worked in downtown Albuquerque. I always loved the food, and the atmosphere, and the cupcakes.

M and I had one of our first dates here. It was one of those magical dates where no one in the restaurant existed except for us. I'll always remember that lunch as one of the best dates that we ever had together, and always have a soft spot for Slate Street. Cheese ball city, I know...but it happened!

Another reason I have a soft spot for this place is because, a few years back I made the owners wedding invitations. They were a super hip and contemporary design that remind me a lot of the style of the restaurant.

We hadn't been back in awhile, so when he was here last week we decided to hit it up. It was no surprise that the experience was just as good as the times we had dined here before. We were seated right away, which was nice. We arrived around 12:30, and totally missed the usual lunch crowd and wait. 
I was starving, so I convinced M that we needed the housemade potato chips with sea salt and green onion dip to start. Delicious! They were fried to a golden perfection and crunchy and salty, just like I like 'em. For lunch I had the brown bag fish and chips. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this dish. I have had it the majority of the times I've visited. The fish and chips are actually served in a brown bag and the fish is not your usually cod, it's dark beer battered salmon!!! You get a huge portion, served with housemade chips. I always substitute the chips for fries though and since we pigged out on chips for an appetizer, I thought it was the better choice. A housemade lemon basil tartar sauce accompanies the dish, as well as several slices of lemon. 
M ordered the  mushroom & provolone mac & cheese with a grilled chicken breast. It was all baked together in his own little casserole dish and was a accompanied by a huge Parmesan Brittle. It was delicious too! The has a thick and creamy sauce. There was a ton on mushrooms, and a ton of chicken too.

It was so sad, in the end we decided not to get a cupcake or any dessert for that matter. We were just too full, which is a good thing right? Oh well, it leaves us something to look forward to next time...I know for sure that there will a next time. I love the cool ultra hip atmosphere and the great food. We'll have to check out the dinner and brunch sometime, so that gives us something to look forward to. I heard brunch was amazing. I'm crazy about eating out for breakfast though, I don't like to do it unless I'm traveling. Weird right?

Slate Street Café on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Review: Four Winds Restaurant - Carrizozo, New Mexico

On Thursday night M was on his way up to Albuquerque when some tube exploded in his truck. It left him stranded just outside of Carrizozo, New Mexico. As you can see from the map above Carrizozo is a tiny tiny town about an hour out of Alamogordo, and about 2 hours south of Albuquerque. When M called, I immediately headed out to get him. I left straight from work, and by the time I had gotten to him I was starving and so was he...poor thing. I saw an OPEN sign on a restaurant across from where I picked him up, and said "Look. That place is open. Can we eat there?"

Four Winds Restaurant is  located right on the corner of the towns only street light. It's right across from the 2 gas stations and Elsie's Flame Broiled Burgers (a gem I'm just waiting to try). The restaurant has a typical diner set up, with a counter area and some tables. It's pretty big inside. We sat at the counter and were served by a very sweet and friendly waiter named Cory. He is a local high school student, who moved to Carrizozo from somewhere near Albany, New York.

Always taking the safe bet of a cheeseburger and fries at truck stops or little dive diners, I stuck with the usual only I added green chile. My buddy Cory suggested the Carne Asada, but I thought that may be a little too iffy for the long ride back home.

Anyway...Check out the green chiles on this bad boy. I was happily greeted with thick roasted strips that were very flavorful. They had the right amount of spice, not too hot but spicy enough to taste the heat. the hand made patty was a pretty good size, and cooked just right. Not dry at all, and pretty well done. We got a generous portion of  fresh cut fries to accompany our burgers. they were good; fried to a nice golden brown, and salted just right.

They had a pretty good selection of homemade desserts too...We got M a slice of chocolate cake to go home with us. We ate it the next day and it was moist and delicious. We were however, pretty disappointed when we saw how small the slice was.

All in all, I was pretty impressed with Four Winds. If we are ever stranded in Carrizozo again, we would probably hit it up. I do want to try Elsie's though, and I'm not sure how many more times that I'll be stranded there.

 Four Winds does not have a website, but here is their contact information:

111 Central Avenue
Carrizozo, NM 88301
(575) 648-2964

Four Winds Restaurant & Lounge on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Recipe: Old Fashioned Banana Pudding

I decided to make this recipe for Thanksgiving. Since M is from Georgia, I always like to incorporate some of his favorites from home to our big event meals. He had mentioned banana pudding a few weeks before, so I added it to the menu. I also made an apple pie, which came out a million times better than the first one I made.

M was my little helper putting it all together. Apparently he loves vanilla wafers because he used the whole box in the pudding, which in my opinion added too much crunch. I also had him help me make the meringue,  and he was just fascinated...he had no idea that eggs did that! I used a disposable casserole pan because I just didn't want to wash another dish, but I would recommend using a glass dish.

It was an easy recipe to follow, and it yields enough for about 8 - 10 servings. Try it and tell me what you think!

Recipe courtesy of

  •  1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 dash salt
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups sliced ripe bananas
  • 45 vanilla wafers
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  1. Mix flour and salt in a large sauce pan.
  2. Add milk and egg yolks to pan slowly, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens, about 7-8 minutes, then remove from heat.
  3. Stir in vanilla.
  4. Layer enough banana slices to cover the bottom of a 2 quart casserole dish.
  5. Cover the bananas with 1/3 of the pudding mixture, and layer with 1/3 of the vanilla wafers.
  6. Repeat layering, starting with bananas, then using pudding, then vanilla wafers.
  7.  Do the layering a third time as usual, except do not cover the pudding with wafers; place the wafers around the edges of the casserole, tucked into the pudding.
  8. Beat the egg whites at high speed with a mixer until they foam.
  9.  Add the sugar gradually, and keep beating until stiff peaks form.
  10. Spread this over the top of the pudding, forming a seal to the edges.
  11. Bake pudding at 325F for 25 minutes or until the meringue becomes light golden.
  12.  Allow to cool 30 minutes before serving.
  13. Refrigerate unused portions.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Review: Bricco Trattoria - Glastonbury, Connecticut

My last night in CT...  After a very productive week at work and a great food during my trip so I felt I had to keep the streak going.  I decided to ask one of my coworkers a good restaurant near the hotel...type of food was not an issue.  I said to myself whatever restaurant she suggests...I'm there!  I must admit I was trying to use the Jedi mind trick to persuade her to direct me to an Italian place.  And apparently it works!  Bricco Trattoria was tonight's choice.   Now, if you're ever in the neighborhood and decide to try Bricco Trattoria''s not quick Italian like Olive Garden or Macaroni Grille.  No disrespect to Olive Garden or Macaroni Grille but they can't hold a candle to this place!  See menu...

I was feeling really adventurous tonight so for an appetizer, I decided to try the lamb and goat cheese meatballs with pine nuts and currants.  Excellent choice and they can almost suffice as a meal itself.  After the meatballs and still feeling adventurous I decided on the fettuccine.  I know you're saying what's so adventurous about fettuccine!?!?  Well, forgive my grammar but this wasn't no ordinary fettuccine!  It had shrimp, scallops and calamari.  And instead of the standard Alfredo sauce it had a zesty tomato sauce!  Excellent choice if I must say so myself!  Great meal to end a great trip to Connecticut...the Constitution State!

Bricco Trattoria on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 3, 2010

Review: Angelico's on the Boulevard - Glastonbury, Connecticut

Marcus here...guest blogger extraordinaire! Thanks for the blog invite El!

After a long flight I was looking forward to a good meal...on the company's dime of course! Once I checked into the hotel, I decided to go out and explore Glastonbury CT...a suburb outside of the Hartford CT area. My exploration was short because as soon as I left the hotel parking lot, Angelico's On the Boulevard caught my attention since it was right across the street. It was getting late and I was getting hungrier by the second...Angelico's it is! When I first walked in it was pretty empty....I don't know about you but that's not a very promising. Good restaurants are usually not empty! 

As I said before it was a long trip so I started out with a Jack and Coke to start the night! To start I decided to get a Caesar salad....El can attest but it's my favorite and I usually end of trying one no matter what restaurant we go to. When the salad came, I have to be honest it looked like a plain ole typical Caesar salad. Once I took my first bad, I was surprisingly mistaken. It was probably one of the best Caesar salads I've ever had...I'm talking Top 5!

On to the meal... They have a very diverse menu so it was really hard deciding what to get. I decided on grilled pork chops topped with caramelized apples & onions, finished with a classic charcuterie sauce over julienne vegetables & chive mashed potatoes. To get to the point...the chops were awesome!!! I'm usually not a big fan with dishes that have a gravy/sauce that incorporates fruit but it was done just right….just enough apple to give the chops a slight tart taste along with the onions. Two thumbs up! So, if you're ever in the Glastonbury CT area and looking for a chill place with good food and drinks check out Angelico's On the Boulevard, 40 Glastonbury Blvd!

Angelico's On The Boulevard on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Review: Plan B Burger Bar - Glastonbury, Connecticut

Today was another good day...very productive and informative.  I know you're saying to yourselves, "what was he doing in CT?!?!"  Well, the main purpose of my business trip was to get the opportunity to meet the material management team...folks I deal with on a daily basis to keep the mission going.  It's no secret that it's good business to be able to put a face with a actually meet the people you only knew from phone calls or emails.  As I expected they're great group of professionals...and more importantly a great group of people!

In fact they were so great they arranged a trip to the Plan B Burger Bar.  One of the managers even sent out a meeting notice in my honor to have the whole team attend!  I felt like VIP!  Of course I was game...c'mon burger and drinks!  Click here for the menu and prepare to be impressed!  I started out with the American Nachos; house made potato chips (yeah, house made!) topped with chili, red onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, & American cheese sauce.  Check out the pic...need I say more!?!?  On to the main course...  As you can see they have quite the variety of burgers but you can't go all crazy with a burger!  I decided on the bacon cheeseburger: American cheese, bacon, caramelized onions, garlic mayo.  Burger was awesome!  And as you can see they give you a whole pickle...who does that!?!?  The fries were really good too!  Now I would usually complain about the amount of fries that accompanied a $10 (wait that was $11) burger but in this case there wasn’t enough room for fries!

What an awesome night...and with people I work with even!  We stayed there for hours talking, laughing and having a great time!  Awesome burgers, good drinks and great atmosphere!  Parting words...Always have a Plan B!

Plan B Burger Bar Tavern (Glastonbury) on Urbanspoon

Review: J Gilbert's Wood Fired Steaks and Seafood - Glastonbury, Connecticut

The first day of my business trip was very what better way to end the day other than good food right!?!?  Tonight's choice came as recommendation from a coworker.  So, without further ado...J. Gilbert's Wood Fired Steaks and Seafood!  I started out with...  You guessed it...a Jack and Coke!  As I looked over the menu, I noticed the appealing line of appetizers.  I decided to pass on an appetizer but if I had to try one during a future visit I think I would definitely go with the Beef Carpaccio: parmesan garlic sauce, fried capers, bleu cheese cracker, and baby greens.

In an attempt to experience a little bit of this and a little bit of that I decided to go with the mixed grill which consisted of: 4 oz petite filet, blackened chicken breast, grilled bbq shrimp, white cheddar chipotle mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, and pineapple mango salsa.  As I sat there waiting for my meal, I couldn’t help but notice the meals passing by and how good the steaks looked.  I also had time to check out the wine list...I'm not a wine person but I'm thinking a wine person would be impressed with the line up!

Wait...dinner's here and no one else existed in the restaurant at that point!  The fillet was so knife required!  The chicken breast and grilled shrimp were awesome!  And the white cheddar chipotle mashed potatoes were delicious.  Oh and the vegetables were vegetables...actually, they were very good as well!

J Gilbert's Wood-Fired Steaks on Urbanspoon

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