Tuesday, March 30, 2010


After enjoying many dinners of breakfast, my friend Billiam and I decided to rename the delightful dish BFD, for "breakfast for dinner." If you think about the title long enough, I'm sure you can figure out what it means, and how many tequila sunrises and mimosas we may have had in order to come up with such a long and foul acronym.

Mr. FvF requested that BFD make it onto our menu this week, and I was happy to oblige. Tonight, we dined on seasoned, fried red potatoes, gravy & biscuits, hickory smoked bacon and scrambled eggs.

In yo' face, mornings!

Chicken, Sausage & Wild Rice Casserole

I can't take credit for this recipe, because it's really my mom's infinite culinary wisdom. A few years back, when I had just graduated from boiling macaroni to cooking meat to the point where it was still recognizable (shamefully, I didn't really start cooking until about 5 years ago), mom made me an apron for Christmas, accompanied by a cookbook with all of our favorite family recipes. Dad's chili, broccoli cornbread, pumpkin roll - you name it, it was in there. Chicken, Sausage & Wild Rice casserole was always one of my favorite incredibly comforting meals that my mom made when she wasn't busy taking me to the ER for eating bees and stuffing pennies into my nose (seriously).

Chicken, Sausage & Wild Rice Casserole
1 whole chicken breast, boiled and shredded
1 lb sage sausage, cooked & crumbled
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 box instant long grain & wild rice
1 small jar of mushrooms, sliced
1 small jar of diced pimentos

Combine all of your ingredients and pour them into a 10x10 glass baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes at 350. It's that easy.
One of the things I've always been meaning to do with this is take the leftovers, reheat it on the stove top with some chicken broth and make soup out of it. We still have a bit leftover, so if I remember to do that, I'll let you know how it turns out.

Table Scraps 3/30/10

  • My friend Perry has recently started a blog for folks that like to enjoy a good red wine, but don't have cowboy astronaut money to spend on it. Check out Reds For the Rest of Us, and add it to your blog roll if you know what's good for you.
  • A new Asian joint is opening at the fancy outdoor mall, The Greene, in August. It's called Choe's Asian Gourmet, and will be operated by the same guy that runs Edamame Sushi & Grill at a similar location on Columbus's Easton Town Center. Alex, I'll take "Places I can't afford to dine" for $500.
  • In much more important news, Dayton's delicious Submarine House is opening a new location in Beavercreek soon, sporting the same bar & grill concept that their Vandalia & Troy locations currently use. Since the owners are out of town, I spoke with Jason (in charge of franchise opportunities) from Sub House today about the new digs. He says they plan to open in late June and the menu will remain the same, but with a full bar and plenty of giant TVs. I have a call in to the owners, and will be posting more scoop on this next week (since DDN doesn't seem interested in the story). In the meantime, call up your local Sub House and get yourself a cheese steak or a Big T!
  • Had another amazing lunch today at Figlio in Town & Country: Chicken Marsala with penne, another great salad, and of course, their amazing wood fired pizza. They had three varieties out for us to sample, and I tried one with chicken and caramelized onions, and another with pesto, tomatoes and artichoke hearts. Figlio's owner, Peter Danis, was kind enough to thank me for the glowing review I'd posted from my first visit to his restaurant and chit-chat with me. He is probably one of the most genuinely kind restauranteurs I've ever met.
  • I've been very busy and have a lot of updating to do, so keep your eyes open for a brief review of Schlotzky's Deli and a recipe for a Chicken, Sage Sausage and wild rice casserole.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Buena Vista Chops w/Citrus Sauce

***A special note from Food vs. Face, just for you. Yeah, you - the one with the "no fat chicks" shirt and sexy mustache. FvF has teamed up with the mysterious, testosterone-laden fellas at Man-B-Que to showcase a meat-centric recipe every week or so. So, when you click that link and leave the magical land of Food vs. Face, I won't take it personally and start demanding that you talk about your feelings. It's okay, kitten. You go - go sew your wild oats. ***

When springtime rolls around, young mens' thoughts turn to those of fancy (read: boners), but mine turn to food. As much as I would love to be grilling, my precious has a defective valve and I have to improvise. A food fare that incorporates much of my favorite animal (the pig), as well as bold (but not spicy) flavors and doesn't necessarily require a grill hails from the home of Castro, cigars as long as your arm, dominoes and the guyabera.

I've been known to keep a brick in the kitchen for making Cuban sandwiches and thumping hobos, so while the press-sandwich is easy and tempting, I wanted to experiment. Or, how do they say in Cuba, "prostituta?" Click here to visit Man-B-Que and see the recipe, photos, and take bets on how many more Cuban jokes I can make.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Dot's Market FTW

I know I keep telling you how amazing my local market/butcher Dot's Market is, but there was no way I could fully express it until I snapped a pic of the sausage case this evening while I put in my order.

As if this weren't enough, I also scored three whole boneless/skinless chicken breasts, a pound of chicken tenders, a pound of sliced sirloin for stir-fry and two giant, gorgeous thick-cut pork loin chops for about $18. If you look closely into the reflection, you'll also notice I'm doing the "new grandpa squat" - the manner in which all old men hunker down to take photographs. Too bad you can't see my bitchin' Maiden shirt, though.

Crunchy Chicken w/Peanut Sauce

I've been trying in vain to make a decent peanut sauce for going on three years now, and this is the closest I've managed to get. It's still not spot on to Thai 9's sauce, but it'll do!

The set-up

For the chicken, you'll need:
1 cup corn flakes, crushed
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt

And for the sauce:
2/3 C creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp cayenne

Combine all of your dry ingredients in a zippy storage bag and toss the chicken chunks around in it, about half a dozen at a time. As you go, place them on a lightly greased backing sheet or glass dish, then spray all of the tops with cooking spray once they're all lined up. Pop them in the oven at 400 for about 25 minutes.

While they cook, assemble your sauce. Combine all of the ingredients in a
saucepan and whisk together until there are no lumps. Cook over medium heat until just before boiling, then reduce to low (the sauce will thicken). I tasted the sauce at this point and there just wasn't enough to it, so I added a little bit of store-bought peanut sauce that I picked up a while back that was WAY too damn hot for my taste, just on it's own. Turns out, it was the perfect compliment of seasonings to make this just right.
Turn off the heat & let is cool for a few before you put it into a serving dish.

Turned out pretty much perfect. The crunch of the cereal was so good that I think I'll try a different version of it with some thick cut pork loin chops I picked up today, which I have another sauce in mind for. The sauce was definitely more sweet than savory, but it complimented the chicken really nicely. It was also just pretty to look at.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mexican Lasagna, v2.0

The first time I made Mexican lasagna, a recipe I loved filled with meat, black beans, tomatoes, corn, peppers and onions, was one of the few times I saw the mister actually turn his nose up at food. A little to heavy on the vegetation, perhaps. I monkeyed around and dumbed-down the recipe a bit, and it now looks far less healthy and appealing, but for his tastes - far more delicious.

Mexican Lasagna (or, Hulked-out Mexican Pizza)

8 6" corn tortillas, cut in half
1 lb ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
1 cup shredded colby-jack cheese
1 10 oz can diced tomatoes w/chiles (drained)
1 10 oz can refried beans
1 small can tomato sauce
1/4 cup water

Brown & drain your beef, then add the taco seasoning, water and 3 tbsp of the tomato sauce.
Lightly douse the bottom of a square baking dish with a few tablespoons of tomato sauce.
Mix the remaining tomato sauce in with your diced tomatoes & chiles.
Smear each tortilla half with the refried beans, and line the bottom of the baking dish with 4 of the halves.
On top of that, add a layer of the beef mixture, then a layer of the tomato mixture, and top of all with cheese. Repeat the last few steps until you run out of ingredients, but make sure you finish with a layer of cheese. Pop it in at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes, then take it out and let it rest 10 minutes before slicing. Garnish with sour cream or guacamole.

And yes, I know it looks like vomit casserole (so do Taco Bell and Arby's, and you probably eat that, too), but Mr. FvF insisted it was SO damn tasty that I had to post it. I have to agree with him, it was pretty fantastic. It was basically a slightly less crunchy, and way less-gross version of the beloved Mexican Pizza.

Cousin Vinny's: Crimson & Cream Pizza

It seems to have become a habit that we pick up a pizza before or after our big grocery shopping night lately. Earlier this week, my buddy Josh (a devout Atheist/humanist) told tales of a magical pizza that he'd "go to church for." He said it was made up of feta, garlic, bacon, paper thin red skin potatoes, and unicorn tears, among other things. So, the debate of where we'd get a pizza from was very quickly settled.

For those of you not familiar with the Dayton landmark of Cousin Vinny's, let me share a little Gem City history with you. Years ago when I rented a house near the UD ghetto dubbed Rowdy Palace, a drunken stumble from the ever-lovin' Tank's Bar & Grill, there was a little joint across the street called Cousin Vinny's. It actually went through a handful of name changes before it became that, but I drank a lot back then and it doesn't matter anyway. What mattered is that you could go get a large, one-topping pie there for $5. My friend Jenkins and I would frequently meet up there and split one. The strange thing is, it was always pretty good pizza. Anymore, when you hear "$5 pizza," you're reminded of Little Caesar's - or even worse, the box of hot diarrhea that Domino's calls food.

Serving late night, up until 4 a.m. (a big deal for people in mid-sized markets where joints just don't stay open that late), being close to a college AND having the smarts to send their guys into bars and clubs at closing time hawking those $5 pies, CV made quite a name for themselves. They've recently opened their fifth store in the unpolished Gem and are making a damn killing all hours of the day and night. I think they should change their motto to: "Cousin Vinny's: It's not just for drunks anymore!"

The really important point I'm trying to make here is that this new pizza, the Crimson & Cream, will melt your face off. Original Vinny's crust, Alfredo sauce, roasted garlic, mozzarella, cheddar & feta cheeses, bacon, and thinly-sliced red potatoes. I'm investing in some noise-cancelling headphones for Mr. FvF, because even a girl with a gluten allergy needs to get down on a pizza like this.

5 out of 5 sporks!

Cousin Vinny's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Cheesy Chicken Cups: The Redux

This evening, I stumbled across a handful of photos in my camera that hadn't yet made it to the website along with their recipes. I hate to feel like I'm depriving you guys, the way a mother neglects her ugliest child, so here's the first one.

I thought I'd fancy up Mr. FvF's favorite, the cheesy chicken cups. I decided to use seamless crescent dough instead of biscuits and add whatever sounded good. Basically, you follow this recipe, sub the biscuits for crescents (and I'm guessing phyllo dough or puff pastry would work equally well) and toss in some chopped ham. Oh, and if you're in the market for deli or lunch meat, do your belly a favor and pick up some of the Private Selection Honey Bourbon ham from Kroger, and prepare to fall in love.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

POMbardment, part II

I decided to use another bottle of my graciously gifted POM juice to try one of the recipes from their website. Since I'm not fancy and don't tend to make pan-seared duck breast at home, I opted to use it in a reduction for steaks instead. For more information about making reductions, check out this instructional video.

Pomegranate and Red-Wine Reduction
  • 2/3 cup POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
  • 3 cloves minced garlic, or 1 1/2 teaspoons pre-minced garlic
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon crushed dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Heat oil over medium in a sauce pan and combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer for 5 minutes and set aside. Cook your steaks on your preferred method, and then pour it on.

Unfortunately, I overcooked the steaks like it was my job. We both like mid-rare meat and the first time I checked them, they were practically blue inside. I let them broil (in a cast iron skillet) for about another 2 minutes, and they ended up well done. Go figure. At least it made for a pretty picture! Plus, it only calls for 1/4 cup of wine, which means you have a hefty size chef's bttle left over for yourself. If your mister/missus doesn't drink red wine, even bigger bonus.

My steaks: not my best work.
The reduction: absolutely aces. We decided to seal up the leftovers and use them on chicken later this week, which we'll probably be enjoying in some of the kick-ass looking low-carb garlic & herb tortillas I picked up at Jungle Jim's last night.

The Green Plantain - Fairfield, Ohio

Last night I attended a business event/cocktail party at the Jungle Jim's Oscar Event Center in Fairfield. The venue was absolutely gorgeous and they had a killer set-up as far as food, considering it was catered by the aforementioned international grocery superstore. Expensive cheeses, persimmons, any hummus you could imagine - an all out spread. So, my co-worker and I weren't as hungry as we thought we'd be by 8pm. However, I'd heard some amazing things about The Green Plantain and wanted to check it out. It was conveniently located right in front of our very fancy, high-roller room bat the holiday Inn Express.

I'd been warned about the slow service, but wasn't terribly concerned. We walked into a bustling atmosphere, but only about 10 people seated, as it was only about an hour and a half before closing time. Our server was pretty fast and super friendly, and wasn't bothered by all of our questions about the menu. I ordered a whiskey and Diet Coke - but they'd apparently been so busy earlier that they actually ran out of both Coke and Diet.

That was made up for when freshly-fried plantain chips were brought to the table with a house-made salsa that I still can't figure out.
My dining buddy isn't very familiar or comfortable with a lot of foreign cuisine, so the server and I helped her pick out something that we both thought she would like. We actually ended up ordering the same thing, which was La Bandeja Paisa. I'll get into that more later.

For now, the appetizer. When I saw they had Mofongo on the menu, I was pretty amped about it. Mashed, fried plantains with garlic and bacon formed into a ball. Yes, please! It came to the table looking and smelling delicious with a bowl of broth, which I assume was for dipping. It turned out to be a little on the bland side, but I wasn't completely disappointed. The broth contributed come of the salt it seemed to be lacking.

The dish we both ordered was pretty phenomenal. Rib-eye steak, chorizo, a slab of crispy-fried pork belly, fried plantains, rice & black beans, avocado and two fried eggs. Big hongry!
The rib-eye was a little fatty, even for that particular cut, but perfectly seasoned. The chorizo was tops, but the fried pork belly (very surprisingly) left me a little disappointed. It was tasty and crispy - but again, lacking some sort of seasoning. The fried plantains were probably the star of the show, and a great note to end on, as they're just sweet enough to feel like dessert.

I had a bit of a beef that the server assumed a nearly 30% tip was all hers. I would have hoped she would have at least offered change, even though I intended for her to keep it. As I said, the service was great. Even though we were the last two diners there, we didn't feel at all like she was rushing us out. The food left a little something to be desired - something that we Americans call "salt." It's no El Meson, but it'll certainly do when your other options are Outback and carb-central.

3.5 our of 5 sporks!

The Green Plantain on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 18, 2010

POMbardment, part I

As I mentioned earlier this week, the folks at POM are as sweet as Georgia peaches, and sent me a case of their 100% pomegranate juice to monkey around with and try some new recipes. Food recipes involving POM juice are a little out of my league, but I can mix a cocktail with the best of them. Ladies and gentleman, I give you the Red-headed Step Child.

1.5 oz tequila
2 oz POM 100% pomegranate juice
1 tbsp freshly muddled lime juice
2 oz sprite (or sprite zero)
Garnish: muddled lime wedges

Holy ass, this was delicious! Tequila usually isn't that weapon of choice, ever since I spit on that cab driver and told him to "enjoy his stupid face," but this beverage is legit.

Banana Bread: The Redux

As usual, I bought bananas at the grocery last week thinking they'd make a delicious snack, but only managed to eat one before they turned black - mostly because of their magical hangover-curing powers.
Mr. FvF loves it when I do this, because it means he gets banana bread. I followed the same recipe as the Monkey Tail Bread that I posted back in January, but omitting the chocolate chips. Aside from the complete failure that I call my oven (which likes to turn off in the middle of a baking cycle, rendering the cooking time double what's called for), it turned out slap-your-mama good.

It was also a belated birthday treat for my friend Billiam, who recommended slathering the leftovers in butter and pan-frying it. That Billiam - always full of stroke-inducing great ideas!

Don't let your meat loaf!

I don't particularly care for meatloaf, but Paula Deen talked me into this, and I've never turned back. Neither have my arteries.

Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf
  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 (8-ounce) package sharp Cheddar, grated
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs, toasted
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 1 (3-ounce) can French fried onions
Combine the first nine ingredients and go to town mixing them all together (again, don't be a sissy - do this by hand). A word of advice - pre-grease your loaf pan before doing this, so you don't have to worry about washing your hands to pick up the cooking spray after you've been elbow deep in meat. Also, if you cook up your bacon the night before, this is ridiculously easy to make.

Form into a standard size loaf pan (if you don't have one, just use any oven-safe pan and shape your meat mixture into a loaf). Take the ketchup & mustard, mix them together, and slather it onto the meatloaf. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes, then remove from the oven and add your French fried onions and bake for another 15 minutes or so, or until the internal temp reaches 160.

Yes, it's a little greasy. But you know what else it is? A whole lot of awesome.
I think Wilco should remix one of their songs just for Paula Deen and call it, "I Am Trying To Stop Your Heart."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Table Scraps 3/16/10

  • For those of you celebrating St. Patrick's Day, here are the local joints that will be serving up some Dirty Mick fare for your enjoyment:
Dublin Pub
Beef O'Brady's
Amber Rose
TJ Chump's
The Caroline
Chappy's Tap Room
  • You can vote for the best in Dayton's fine dining here, but according to the comments, only retards are allowed to vote (for ice cream parlors and $2 tacos).
  • The Dark Horse Tavern in Miamisburg has invested in a wood smoker and will now be serving barbecue. New menu items will range from $6.50 for a pulled pork sandwich to $16.50 for a full slab baby back rib dinner.
  • My friend Tim from YouIndie was recently pulled in by the deceptive siren song of Taco Bell's new shrimp offerings. Alex, I'll take "Things that taste like ass" for $500.
"I stopped at Taco Bell for a late dinner Saturday when I got back to Dayton, and their new Pacific Shrimp Taco is one of the nastiest things I’ve ever tasted in my life. I guess it is my own fault for trusting Taco Bell with seafood. The shrimp looked like the cast of Jersey Shore, orange-tinted and fake-tanned, but tasted like little hams, as the shrimp had been marinated in or injected with some sort of smoke flavor. Avoid it at all costs."

Monday, March 15, 2010


Be sure to check back later in the week where I will be testing the fortitude of all of my organs, thanks to POMwonderful juice. They were nice enough to send me a whole case of that delightful elixir. I've picked out a recipe or two from their community kitchen, and of course have a few cocktail recipes up my sleeve because I'd like to make one my very own. Working with such a vibrant-colored juice should be able to produce cocktails like the Saucy Minx, The Ellie May, and the Red-Headed Step Child. Trust, my wheel are spinning with this. Oh, and P.S. - we already know it mixes quite well with white rum.

If you have recipes that utilize POM juice, please let me know - I'd be glad to try them out and post pics!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Weekend eats - just like your mammy used to make (but better!)

Thursday night I threw together a concoction that I thought sounded delish. Casseroles are so often frowned upon that people have nearly stopped using the word all together. The question is, would the Mister like it? This is a dude who didn't enjoy a chicken pot pie made from scratch because it's all food he likes, but he doesn't like it combined together. I'll be investing into some of those compartmentalized dinner trays with cute animals on them soon.

Chicken Broccoli Cheese Mash-up

1 box stove top stuffing, or your preferred variety, prepared as directed
about 1 heaping cup of fresh, chopped broccoli, slightly blacked in salted water over low heat.
Chicken tenderloins, cut up into 1" cubes, seasoned and seared lightly in a little oil until almost done (they'll cook more later).
1 can condensed broccoli cheese soup
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1/2 cup milk

Combine your soup and milk in the baking pan you plan to use, then add the shredded cheddar. Drain your blanched broccoli and add that and your chicken pieces. Cover the entire pan with the warm stuffing and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Since I serviced it fried okra and a biscuit, plating it desirably was a little tough. Lots of greens and brown. But, when it's super tasty, sometimes I just don't care.

On Fridays, I like to run errands after work and not have to worry about dinner. Since I can't afford hired help, I turn to my loving, and completely selfless Crock Pot. Earlier in the week, I'd picked up a beautiful top round roast from Dot's butcher department, and they cute it down to a manageable size for me (this same roast is on sale there this week for only $2.99/lb!).

There's not much a recipe for this, but here goes.

I Ain't Afraid of No Roast!
Buy a mix of small gold and red potatoes, wash them, and leave them whole. I used about 7. I coined 3 full-size carrots and simply scored a yellow onion and cut off the baddies, knowing it would fall apart on its own. Now, you can put you veggies back in the fridge.

Rub the roast liberally with house seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic powder), then pat the leaner sides down the some dried rosemary. Throw about a cup of water and a few tablespoons of Worcestershire cause, and plop your roast in, fat side up. This lets a lot of the rendering fat baste the meat while it cooks. You don't really need to put your veggies in until the last few hours. I chucked them in at 5 (at which point the roast had been cooking on it's own for 8 hours on low) and we ate at 7:30. Perfection. Fully cooked, but not mushy.

*Editor's note: Don't take an ambien before blogging. It turns a 5 minute post into a journey into over-analyzing photos, plating predicaments, typos and fervently looking up unrelated stuff on amazon.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Burgers a la Man-B-Que

Last September, I was lucky enough to have the Godfather of Man-B-Que, Jesse Valenciana, host a cookout here at Chez Vizz. The grill must have been overwhelmed by his prowess, because it went on the fritz after that. So, I took to cooking burgers and steaks with the next best method - a ridiculously hot cast iron skillet. At that fateful cookout, I presented Bacon Burger Dogs (BBDs), which were at that point a favorite among my male friends until they had the Godfather's burgers. He marinated the ground beef in Negro Modelo overnight and crammed the burgers with fresh garlic, cilantro, chihuahua cheese, and some other stuff I'm probably forgetting. What I'm trying to say here is that these burgers were LEGIT.

So, tonight I made my own version of his burger, switching out the God-forsaken $9 Chihuahua cheese for a more economical White Chiptole cheddar. Here's the scoop, kittens.
(Caveat: I like to make burgers that you require a double-jointed jaw to bite into, so this only serves two people. Multiply as needed.)

1 lb ground beef (I found that chuck is best because of the fat content)
1/2 cup cubed white chipotle cheddar
2 tbsp bread crumbs
2 tbsp melted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1/2 cup finely diced onion
salt & pepper to taste

Mix all of these wonderful things together. If you have a chance, definitely marinate the beef in beer overnight - it makes a noticeable difference. Form into gigantor patties and toss into a lightly oiled cast iron skillet (or preferably, grill) and cook on mid-high heat for about 4-5 minutes per side for medium. Even if you flub up and the burgers end up well done, they will still be ridiculously tender because of all the goodness stowed away inside. Serve on a toasted bun and top with sliced avocado - NOT lots of other bullshit like mayo, mustard, ketchup, etc. Trust me, you don't need it.

Battle of the Sad Dudes Restaurants

Ryan Adams trumped Wilco by getting a pizzeria devoted to his music.
See, some crazy Wilco fans have already taken the band's songs and turned them into both their namesake and menu at Sky Blue Sky Sandwich Company in Toronto.
In the battle of pizza vs. sammiches, Jeff and Ryan will now face off in an all-new arena.
A Greensboro, NC eatery has been discovered called Sticks & Stones Clay Oven with menu items such as the "Bar Lights" tapas plate, "Firecracker" pizza and the "Damn, Sam" salad.

The menu looks limited, but pretty damn good. We might have to make a detour on the way to Charlotte for HeroesCon in June to check it out and give you a full review. And yes, HeroesCon is a nerd convention. And no, I'm not dressing up as any character besides Joan Holloway, which is not exactly a costume. Mr. FvF will be signing his very fancy artwork for all the fanboys, and I will be in the hotel hot tub with my best friend Stoli. He's Russian.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Confetti Meatballs

I was perusing the webbernets trying to find a few new things to bust out of our recent dinner rut, and realized I had plenty of chicken and beef recipes, but *gasp!* no pork! This simply would not do. I decided to take an idea from Jesse from Man-B-Que and adapt it for meatballs. See, he has this killer idea of taking the shit you like ON burgers and putting it IN burgers. So, I took all of the things I like to put in pasta and put it IN the meatball. As per usual, I didn't measure much of anything, but this recipe should yield pretty similar results.

Confetti Meatballs

1 lb bulk (ground) Italian sausage
3 tbsp finely diced green onions
1-2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced (sun-dried tomatoes would work great, too)
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 tsp sage
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Combine all of the ingredients and mix well (with your hands, you big sissy - get acquainted with your meat!). Form into 6-8 balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and lightly oiled. I know what you're thinking - only six meat wads? These meatballs were designed to be enjoyed on their own, not as a condiment to pasta. Anyhow, bake at 375 for about 30-40 minutes or until the internal temp reaches 165 degrees.

And yes, they taste as delicious as they look.

Monday, March 8, 2010

South Park Pizza Tavern, Part Two: Wheat Crust Bugaloo

As I mentioned in the PB cookie post, our fridge and cupboards were barren, since today was the day for Krogering. I remembered that South Park Tavern has half price 14" and 16" pies on Monday nights, so take a wild guess what we had for dinner.

We ordered the Fresh Spinach & Tomato, added chicken, and got it on their new wheat crust w/olive oil instead of marinara.

Mr. FvF isn't a huge veggie fan, but we both thought it was aces. The only thing I would change is adding a bit more salt in the wheat dough, or even dusting the bottom with kosher salt. I think the wheat crust is relatively new, and they may still be monkeying with the recipe - so I'll cut them some slack on that one. Service was friendly, attentive, and quick, even though it was packed. And you sure as hell can't beat that deal - ur bill topped out at just over $11.
4.5 out of 5 sporks!
(Just because I've been throwing around a lot of fives lately doesn't mean 4.5 isn't still very, very good. I'm not easy to please.)

We also ran into the super-friendly Kyle Melton from The Buddha Den, who's been kind enough to feature Food vs. Face on his kick-ass local music blog in the past. Don't forget about the music showcase NTRO/XPO that Buddha Den puts on at South Park Tavern on Tuesdays!

South Park Grill on Urbanspoon

Peanut Butter Cookies for Dummies

Last night while we watched the total fail-fest that was the 82nd Academy Awards, I developed a serious sweet tooth. Tonight is grocery night, so needless to say we had little in the house to work with. Then I looked in the cupboard and remembered that I nearly *always* have the makings of some delicious cookies at my fingertips, and I would be gratified in no more than 15 minutes.

Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup white sugar

Combine all ingredients, form into 1" balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. The dough will be a smidge runny, so if that bothers you - stick it in the freezer for a few minutes to firm up. I'm warning you, though - that's just more time getting between you and warm, kick-ass cookies.
Fancy it up (pinkies out!) by pressing a fork over the dough balls until you have a lattice pattern. Bake for about 13 minutes at 350, let cool for 3-5 minutes, and enjoy the hell out of them. Yields about 16 cookies, which Mr. FvF quickly enjoyed a "gentleman's eight" of.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Years ago when I moved away from south-of-town, I would find myself craving Max & Erma's chicken tortilla soup. Once I started to learn about cooking and the wonder that was copy-cat recipe websites, I found a recipe for it and modified it a bit over the years. This is yet another dish so delicious that even the world's biggest onion hater will eat it, even though it contains a whole vidalia onion.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup
2 cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
2 cans condensed cream of celery soup
2 cans condensed cheddar cheese soup
1 32 oz carton chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes w/chiles
1 cup salsa
4 cloves minced garlic
1 yellow onion, diced
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp cumin
2-4 chicken breast halves (depends on size), cooked and chopped

Combine all of the ingredients except for the chicken in a large stock pot. My advice is to start boiling your chicken while you do this. The soup base needs to simmer for a while, so this will give your chicken time to cook & cool before you chop it up and add it. Bring to a low boil and reduce heat to medium-low for at least one hour (covered).
Add your chopped chicken and cook another hour.
Seriously, that's it.
Garnish with crunchy tortilla strips or Fritos and shredded cheddar-jack cheese.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Williams Eatery & Gathering Place - Yellow Springs, Ohio

Mr. FvF and I traveled up to Yellow Springs today to meet the guys at Super-Fly Comics and poke around the little town. We'd thought about having dinner at about every place in town - Trail Tavern, Ha Ha Pizza, Current Cuisine, etc - basically everything except for Williams. They have their menu posted outside so you can peruse as you're walking, and after popping in and out of every store, we ended up back there for dinner. The place was empty, as we were there well before dinner time, and it was spotless. It looks like they also have a party room in the back that you can rent out for events. They have plenty of American fare, but also specialize in Peruvian cuisine. Hard as it was not to sample some of those goodies, we realized we were there on Barbecue Day! The raging carnivore inside me wonders why everyday isn't Barbecue Day.

They have three BBQ specials on Thursdays:
1/2 slab of ribs, fries & slaw for $9.99
1/2 BBQ chicken + same sides for $9.99
Pulled pork sandwich with fries and a pickle for $5.99

I chose the BBQ chicken special and the mister had the pork sandwich. I was starving, but had forgotten to order an appetizer. Luckily, they brought some fresh bread and herbed oil out for us to munch on. Since we both ordered specials, our food came out quickly.

My half chicken was no joke - the thing was huge and cooked very well. Pretty sure they used a bottled sauce, but it wasn't low-quality like the rancid ketchup that Kraft calls Open Pit. I'm guessing maybe something like Sweet Baby Ray's, which is what I normally use at home. The slaw was house-made an absolutely tops. Not overdressed, and big, crunchy veggies. I think the fries may have been of the frozen variety, but I thought they were delicious. Then again, I don't eat french fries often at all, so I needed another opinion. Mr. FvF gave them a 4 out of 5 on the FryClub scale, saying they would be surpassed only by battered or waffle fries. If they were frozen, I need to find out the brand for bribery purposes (looks like I may also want to invest in a waffler and learn to batter french fries).

His pulled pork sandwich was pretty impressive, too. I bogarted one of the giant morsels of pork and it was juicy, very well (but not overly) seasoned and tender. He claims as far as pulled pork sandwiches go, it was aces - but one superior sandwich exists at Tony Roma's. I have a feeling the trump may lie in the dry-rub TR's uses, which I wasn't picking up in the Williams pork.

Our server, whose name I wish I remembered, earned herself a big-ass tip for being incredibly accommodating and sweet. They also scored a little bonus 1/2 point for having not just Coke products, but Diet Coke *and* Coke Zero on the menu. They're desserts looked delicious (especially the Peruvian ones), but after picking apart that chicken, I was in a full-on food trance and couldn't eat another bite. Plus, we'd stopped at Sugar Cubes and picked up some oddball candies to nom once we got home.

5 out of 5 sporks!

Williams Eatery & Gathering Place on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Wendy's New Bacon & Bleu Burger

I heard tell of this new burger from Wendy's last week, and had been trying to play it cool like I wasn't in a rush to try it. That is, until I saw the commercial last night. The idea of actual bleu cheese crumbles instead of dressing, along with sauteed onions, meant that I had to try this beast. So, I grabbed one at lunch today and fantasized about it all the way back to work. I ate lunch in my office just so I could have some private time with my food - plus, everyone looks at me funny when I take pictures of everything I eat.

Upon unwrapping it, I wasn't floored. They're using a bigger, bistro-style bun that hides some of the goodness. But, the burger itself hung off all sides of the bun, and that certainly wasn't bumming me out. Like grandma always said, size DOES matter.

I was concerned that all of the accouterments they allude to in the ad weren't actually on there. I'm also pretty neurotic that things on my sandwiches are evenly dispersed, so naturally - I took it apart for further inspection.

I didn't see nearly as many sauteed onions and I would have liked, but they were certainly present. There was also some sort of "steakhouse spread," more than enough cheese crumbles, lettuce, tomato, and some pretty decent-looking bacon.

The spread turned out to be a fancied-up mayo, almost like a peppercorn aioli, maybe even the slightest smidge of horseradish in there, too. It definitely did the burger more justice than regular ol' Hellman's would have. The bacon was on point - a good mixture of crunchy and chewy, and definitely not that flaccid bullshit they use for the Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers.

If the burger patty was thicker and slightly higher quality, and it wasn't slapped together haphazardly by a high-school drop-out, this could easily be mistaken for a bistro burger at a sit-down joint. In fact, the ingredients are basically identical for the Pacchia burger from the restaurant of the same name (now closed) that I used to daydream about - just scaled down to a Wendy's budget. The verdict: the Bacon & Bleu beats the pants off of most fast food burgers.

5 out of 5 sporks!

Table Scraps 3/2/10

  • In case you didn't know, Barnsider (one of my favorite older Dayton restaurants) has some killer specials. They just introduced "Couple's Retreat Tuesdays," where you can pick two of their under $15 entrees for only $16.95. The only rub is, they don't have tons of entrees under $15 (no red meat options unless you go with beef tips), but ti's still a steal. Don't forget about VIP Mondays where you can get hooked up with their Prime Rib dinner for only $9.95.
  • Christopher's Restaurant continues their Theme Thursdays this month with this hot action:
March 4th: Mid-Atlantic / Colonial Williamsburg
March 11: The Deep South (South Carolina)
March 18th: Midwestern America
March 25th: New England
  • I'm definitely going to try to make it to the one on the 11th, hoping for some low-country ass-kickery.
  • Two new burger joints opened in Dayton this week: EO Burgers at The Greene (featuring Kobe beef!) and a new location of Smashburger on Brown Street near UD.
  • Fazoli's is launching their "new restaurant concept" in Dayton, which involves the same low-grade food, but now with real glasses, plates and flatware. You'll still place your order at the counter, but now a server will bring your food out to your table. When asked for a comment, fatties everywhere said "What about the free breadsticks? Do we still get those?"
  • Mr. FvF and I are headed to Yellow Springs on Thursday, a town where I've shamefully only been three times in my, uh....twenty-something years as a Daytonian. He's got very important artist things to do at Superfly Comics, but I'm more interested in where we'll be having dinner. Maybe Ha Ha's Pizza? I'd love to check out The Winds Cafe, but I'm not a damn Rockerfeller.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Anthony Bourdain on Yo Gabba Gabba

My boyfriend Anthony Bourdain will appear on the most kick-ass kids' show ever on March 10. I know you're all writhing around in your seats because you can't wait that long, so here's a clip.

Say what you will about Bourdain appearing on a children's show, but you're probably having those bad feelings because most of those shows are terrible. Ponder this, though - remember when Sesame Street ruled kids' television and you weren't cool unless you were on the show?
Considering Johnny Cash and Ice-T appeared on Sesame Street, Bourdain's street cred is safe with Yo Gabba Gabba.

If that's not good enough for you, "Dr. Tony" would like to cordially invite you to fuck off.

"I love YO GABBA GABBA. I don't care what you say, DJ Lance, Muno, Broby, Foofa, Toodie and Plex have taught my daughter many valuable lessons--like the desirability of napping, for one. Not to throw objects at Daddy's skull. Not biting. The value of "trying again" and "not giving up." All set to surprisingly weird, offbeat songs which--in another venue and with other lyrics, one might find oneself enjoying at a club. They get good indie bands as guests, and Mark Mothersbaugh of DEVO is a regular. I know every song and every lyric by heart."