best grouper sandwich in the universe

I hate that I am neglecting my baby blog. Its such a shame! But an even bigger shame is neglecting my appetite… and not getting my share of yummy eats around here!! I need a raise, WHOLE FOODS. I know you’re making millions, but giving it all away to third world countries. Ugh. Just the more reason to branch out…. and work for ME…. NUMBER ONE. That disgruntled employee was onto something…. he may have gone about it pretty ridiculous but he had some points…….just sayin’. 🙂

Hubby and I went back to South Florida to take care of some biz… but while there we went to Clearwater Beach. So nice! Our favorite brother-in-law took us to his number one spot in his old stomping grounds: Frenchy’s Saltwater Cafe. Having his share of libations that afternoon, it must be said he was a tad inebriated… nonetheless I still think he would’ve been just as adamant about us enjoying our meal sober. He was so clearly bothered by the fact that I might NOT enjoy my grouper sandwich… because I am hard to please in the food department. Let’s just get one thing straightened out.. I know what I like HOWEVER, I am always apt to try everything and anything at least once. I think to be a critic is not to judge before experiencing. So after many minutes of building up the most amazing grouper sandwich in the entire universe that we would ever sink our teeth in, we finally ate what I think is one of the yummiest grouper sandwiches I’ve had. So there. Hubby and I shared the SUPER GROUPER sandwich, blackened:

Frenchy's Saltwater Cafe Clearwater Beach FloridaA larger portion of their original grouper sandwich. The only complaint (of course, right?) I do have is that it really wasn’t that much bigger than the originals our table mates had. If I am going to get something super sized….. lay it on me!

I miss Florida for the beach and seafood. I don’t even want to think about eating seafood here in this landlocked arena of barbecue. If anyone out here in middle Tennessee has a recommendation… lay it on me!

Until next time..

enjoy your grouper sandwiches, Floridians! 🙂
C

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persian persuasion

The one interesting thing about moving around so much is the spectrum of people you meet. It’s not like we meet the same lot of people over and over again. For instance, in Nashville folk were uber friendly, Chicago people were a little scruffier but nice once you got to know them – like they were trying to act like New Yorkers but deep down they couldn’t fight the urge to be the sweet people they are – and South Florida? Um?…it is very international… and mostly on the elderly end.

Working retail, especially in a “high-end” grocer (loosely quoted), there’s the weirdos who come in for their hemp bread and patchouli, but aside from that, people from different cultures. I’ve gotten to know a wonderful Persian woman, who happens to be vegetarian and a master cook. Perfect that she works at a grocery store that more or less caters to alternative diets, she shops for her vegetables and vegan cheese, which she says is really good.

She has owned her own Persian restaurant, written a cookbook and now… makes food for me. How did I get so lucky?

I went to her house for lunch and left not only tipsy from her wine, but so tummy happy from her food I could’ve floated home.

Samosas, spinach-stuffed filo, saffron rice, tabouli (or tabbouleh)…. she is brilliant.



And for dessert? Not only fresh fruit but rosewater ice cream with pistachios. Perfection.

…of course, she brings me her nothing less than fabulous hummus and falafel paste and tells me how to make the falafel. “Little bit of oil in the pan, roll it up like a golf ball and poke your finger through the middle.” Done.

The woman is exquisite!

..enjoy your Persian meals!

C

 

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stinky cheese man

One kinda great thing about where I work is I have access to a whole grocery store of amazing eats (duh). And just so happens I am counter neighbors with the stinky cheese mongers. Like I said before, part of the reason I even went into Whole Foods before was to stare at the cheese counter. Not really buy anything… just stare. And eat the samples.

I’ve since wandered to the cheese counter and actually purchased a cheese or two. When I made the bruschetta for the World Cup dinner, I used a parmesan-esque goat cheese. Buttery, salty, melted on the tongue like a good parmesan should.

My man met me at the store so we could do some post-shift shopping. I was having all these insane cravings and wants and needs, we ended up with a cart full of miscellaneous. All natural BBQ chips, potato salad, 2 jugs of organic lemonade, frozen pierogi’s, frozen edamame, guacamole, salsa, a baguette, a fresh cheese pizza, black cherry soda, 2 chocolate mousse desserts, pulled pork and these two goat’s milk cheeses:

Both with distinct stinkyness and tang but all the right creaminess.

I love cheese. I dont care how many pounds or pimples I incur upon consumption… I love it. I do have certain cheeses I prefer not to be friends with.. like swiss… I mean, ok, I’ve only had the processed crap from those packages with 8 slices. I will give swiss the benefit of the doubt and say I just haven’t met Mr. Right.

This frumpy round one that looks like a white hockey puck that’s been rolled around on the concrete is actually peppered goat cheese. Very spicy! I give you, capricho de cabra – peppered!

Lovely.

For this slice of pie: it was a little more stank… chevre de cremiers from France. Oui oui!

Creamy, salty, tangy…. People who choose to live their life sans cheese are mutants.

…enjoy your meals!
C

escargot, lobster and trifles

I decided I’m one of those idea people who have lots of ideas but I need other people to help me move them forward. So a lot of my ideas are stuck in a notebook, or like today as I look at my desktop, on “stickies.” (If you have a mac, you know what’s up). I woke up last night from a dead sleep and had a book idea. I couldnt find a pen, so I scooped my lap top out from under the bed and quickly typed it up. I have a stickie on my desktop with some ideas.. some for the blog.. some for just shiz and giggles and some for a future business… hopefully I’ll get to all of it soon. But, for now.. hello blog.

I last left off with my dad and his wife surprising me in Cocoa Beach. Shayne drove me up the 3 hours, blind folded me for the last 30 minutes and we met up with them for a day full of food, sun and great company. Seeing people from home is so refreshing!
So we ate at this outofthisworldamazing steakhouse called, Gregory’s Steak & Seafood Grille. What a treat. Seriously. It was a white table cloth, cozy, Bavarian-esqe joint tucked inside a hotel but we were in casual attire…….
I swear, Florida its like “anything goes” especially if you’re on the beach.

I’d never had escargot. I am not one to turn down THAT opportunity. So, my dad ordered two appetizers..

Lobsteraki – lobster wrapped in bacon topped with teriyaki sauce:

+

Escargot Maison –  snails nestled in mushroom caps sautéed and slathered in a rich butter garlic sauce:

Earthy, rich, soooooo decadent. This was my favorite.

Beautiful salads followed:

Everyone opted for seafood except me. I passed the camera around so everyone could take a picture of their dish 🙂 My dad ordered the sesame-pepper tuna steak:


Shayne’s mahi mahi:

He’s getting good with this picture taking..
and I ordered a house special but I forgot what it was called! (ahhhh!) It was medallions of steak smothered in a brandy mushroom sauce. Ridiculous…

Oo and last weekend we made a trifle for a friend’s birthday. We made it for her last year and she asked for it again!

Started off with some fresh fruit I bought at Bedner’s… mango, pears, peaches and bananas.

My sous chef worked on slicing up an angel food cake. I didnt realize he was going to cut up the entire thing. We still have cake sitting in the fridge. No one’s going to eat it.. of course. *Confession: I really don’t care for angel food cake.. is that weird?*


Assemble!

Of course, I have the best sous chef in the world… 🙂 …who’s so creative with food. Who knew!?



Tropical Trifle
1 mango, peeled and thinly sliced
1 peach, peeled and thinly sliced
2 pears, peeled and thinly sliced
1-2 bananas, sliced
1 cup vanilla or dulce de leche pudding*
2 cups whipped topping
handful of chocolate mint leaves
1/2 angel food cake, sliced
*I use both.. I buy the small cups of vanilla and dulce de leche and combine 3 of each in a large bowl.

Coarsely chop the mint and add it to the whipped topping, combine and set aside in the fridge. Have all your fruit and cake slices in front of you when you are ready to assemble. In a large trifle bowl start building! Start with cake on the bottom and end with whipped topping on the top (no rhyme or reason). Garnish with fruit slices and a mint leaf.

enjoy your meals!…

C

video killed the blog

I don’t want to scare off the 12 consistent readers I actually have going right now but I made a video..
Well, more like an introduction… I’ll get into the good stuff like prepping and showing off my sad kitchen later. Our kitchen was an absolute disaster when I shot this so I am leaning on my cutting board that is on our kitchen table (ugh, so ashamed to call myself a cook..) however, I wanted to try out this blog’s video potential. 🙂

I saw a recipe for BL(FG)T -Bacon, Lettuce (Fried Green) Tomato sliders on Rachael Ray’s daytime show. ‘Cuz ya know.. I’m all unemployed and stuff and I get to watch her show now………. So she fried up the tomatoes and put them on mini burgers with a sour cream and chive sauce. Looked pretty good and super amateur. Only problem is we’re like trying to be healthy and all… and go to the gym and whatnot but I have this weird feeling that sometimes you just feel like a burger… I dont know. Call me crazy. (and then the get the I-hate-myself feeling after you EAT the burger sets in. So.. there’s the conundrum).

Shayne got the burger fever yesterday and wanted me to fix them. And I confess, I LOVE fried green tomatoes. Even yellowish/lime greenish ones. But on a burger? Eeesh. I don’t know. The final verdict? = way greasy and ridiculously messy but the tang of the sour cream and tomato was refreshing in a salty, deep-fried kinda way. I would just have liked the tomato and sauce. The burger made my tummy hurt… (big surprise…)

..Hmm.. what to do with leftover chives and half used lemon? Ta da!

Without further annoyance… HELLO HANDFUL OF READERS!!!! 🙂

healthy baking

What a week! My mom and aunt have been running us into the ground 😉 Eats to be shared…

My last personal training session was Monday and of course I wanted to dazzle her with a homemade treat for all the wonderful training, ass kicking, motivating and mixer she just showed up with at the gym one day and gave to me. So, I sat down with my old baking and pastry textbook to find something yummy. Remembering her previous comments about vegetables and not eating sweets, I assume she’s a vegan… maybe vegetarian. I dont know. Either way, I couldn’t make her a flourless chocolate cake with ganache. I mean, she probably would have had a seizure smelling it. Its no wonder I never saw the “Healthful and Special Needs Baking” section before! There’s a crap-ton of recipes that are gluten-free, reduced fat..yadda yadda… I found the perfect one for inspiration. I used almonds instead of the walnuts and couldn’t find any dry buttermilk powder so I 86’d that right outta the recipe. Oh well. I still thought it came out beautifully:

Have you seen anything more healthy come from a KitchenAid?! “Reduced Fat, No Sugar Added Apple-Almond Pound Cake”
I made a quick bun glaze since I didn’t have cream and sprinkled the almonds on top.

We drove my mom and aunt up and down South Florida’s coast. We stopped in Miami last weekend and went to Gloria and Emilio’s place, Larios on the Beach, on Ocean Drive for some Cuban food.

Tostones with shredded beef, ham croquettes, Cuban-style stewed pork and pork-filled tamale. Pork, pork, pork! This is my blog so I’m gonna say that this was not a great meal. The tostones were good – the beef was great. But, I don’t really care for bacon flavored tamales……  The pork and onions would have been great if the meat wasn’t giving us all cotton mouth. Oh well. My mom had to get her Cuban sandwich and my aunt opted for the Medianoche – the Cuban on different bread. And you can’t really go wrong with a shrimp appetizer…

But this was by far the highlight:

cravings from the gym

My mom and my aunt are in transit to South Florida! I have been a busy house wife… cleaning… and cleaning… and wreaking of bleach. It’s not clean if it doesn’t smell like bleach.

While they’re here we plan on doing a lot of eating and hopefully beachin’. I’m so happy SOMEONE is coming to visit us! I mean, hello, besides living in the geriatric center of the universe… we do live in South Florida = beautiful beaches. If not for us, come for the beaches!

I was on the treadmill yesterday and I started craving potato salad. I don’t eat before I go work out so in the midst of my intensely-focused-staring-at-a-spot-on-the-far-wall-workout I start thinking about food. No kidding. I get really into a workout… I start thinking about what we’re doing for dinner. And lunch the next day… and maybe breakfast Saturday morning. It’s like when you’re totally starving and you go to the grocery store and you just wanna buy everything and sit down in the middle of aisle 6 and tear open a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos because you couldn’t fathom waiting until you get home to eat. We get those feelings a lot. And fantasize about eating our way through the aisles.

Well we didn’t have potato salad because Shayne was having a craving of his own: fish tacos.
So yummy, so easy… did I mention YUMMY!? Please someone take this recipe and make it, I swear it will not let you down!

Tilapia Tacos with Avocado Slaw
2 tilapia fillets
1 avocado
1 lime, cut in half
1/2 white onion
1 jalapeno, seeds removed if desired
1 tablespoon creme fraiche*
2 garlic cloves
1 cup broccoli slaw (refrigerated produce section)
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
3 drops of hot sauce
cilantro for garnish
4 whole grain crunchy taco shells
optional, 1/4 tomato diced for garnish
2 tablespoons olive oil
s+p, to taste
*you can substitute sour cream

Preheat a grill to medium. Squeeze half of the lime juice on the fillets and season with salt and pepper, let marinate for 5 minutes. Grill for about 4 minutes on both sides.

While the fish is marinating – prepare the avocado slaw by combining the avocado, remaining lime juice, onion, garlic cloves, creme fraiche, jalapeno, olive oil and salt in a food processor. Pulse until smooth.
In a medium bowl, combine slaw, vinegar, hot sauce, salt and pepper and 2 tablespoons of the avocado dressing. (You can use the remaining for dipping chips/tortillas!)
Preheat oven to 175 and place taco shells on rack. Warm for about 3 minutes.
Nestle the grilled fish in the shell then avocado slaw and top with cilantro and/or diced tomato.
Serve with black beans or rice and remaining slaw.

So good. Shayne’s a master on the grill and grilled this little fishy perfectly tender and moist.

May not be potato salad but it sufficed.

enjoy your meals!
C