Welcome to my food blog! I am your average home cook and I want to share my love of food with the world. I'll divulge my recipes as often as possible. Feel free to comment or to email me at nodessertpodcast@gmail.com! Don' forget to come by often for new posts... I love having you visit me!

October 19, 2012

Snickerdoodles - We Made Room For Dessert 5

 The last dessert recipe I posted was a cookie recipe as well.  The good thing about cookies is that they are generally fast to mix up, and they get done in 10 minutes or less.  So when I had the desire for a new sweet treat, I looked at what I had on hand and new could make snickerdoodles.  Now snickerdoodles don't actually have Snickers in them (much to my partners dismay), but they are tasty cinnamon sugar cookies.  After looking at a few recipes online, I found one that sounded easy, tweaked a couple of things to suit my tastes, and started baking some cookies.

1 cup of butter (or margarine)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar plus 3 tbs (for rolling dough in)
2 3/4 cups of flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tbs to 1 1/2 tbs of ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.
Cream together butter and sugar.  Add eggs, beat well.
Combine flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar together. 
Slowly add dry ingredients into wet, making sure everything is well incorporated, but not over mixed.
Chill dough for 15 minutes in refrigerator.
Mix together 3 tbs sugar and 1 tbs cinnamon.  Remove dough from refrigerator, form into small balls, and roll in cinnamon mixture.  Place on cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Remove from cookie sheet onto cooling rack.


October 10, 2012

Pioneers Western Kitchen - Restaurant Review 9

Recently I got a promotion in my email for a new restaurant that is part of the Pita Pit family.  The promotion was for $5 any meal, no strings attached, at Pioneers Western Kitchen. Apparently the restaurant had recently opened up and they were trying to attract business.
Now I have to say, I am a big fan of restaurant coupons.  I am in the e-clubs for several places including Sweet Tomatoes (where you don't even have to print the coupon, you can just show them the email on your phone - talk about convenient and being green!), Pita Pit, Tijuana Flats, Popeyes, Long John Silvers, and more.  I figure, why pay full price for a meal, especially if I was going there to eat anyway. I don't consider it being cheap or frugal, I consider it a way to save so I can try the next great restaurant.
From what I gather, there is only 1 location of Pioneers in Orlando at the moment.  In fact from looking at their website, this may be the only location so far.  I love being one of the first people to at a new place, while they generally still have kinks in their systems to work out, the food is usually fresh and the staff generally tries really hard to make a good impression.  Who doesn't love well-made food and good customer service?
But back to the Kitchen.
It was a little hard to find when I arrived (it's in the Publix shopping plaza on the corner of Colonial & Alafaya - it's more on the Alafaya side, if anyone remembers where the old Blockbuster was, it's on that strip), but that's ok.  When I pulled up I saw a very nice outside seating area and beer signs in the window.  Turns out they have craft beers on site, which I know some beer enthusiasts will enjoy.
I walked in and was immediately greeted by someone (who I'm assuming was a manager).  He was very nice and explained their concept, how everything is made from scratch, the hamburger patties are hand done, and they are famous for their Prickly Pear BBQ sauce.  He told me the girl at the register would help me with my order and assist me with any questions I had. 
I perused the menu, which are situated between the door and the register (laminated, one sheet, breakfast on one side, lunch/dinner on the other).
Breakfast is only served on Saturday's and Sunday's from 7:30am to 12pm, but I think it's nice that they serve breakfast.  They have sandwich, omelette, pancake, and french toast options.
As far as lunch/dinner, they serve it Monday-Friday from 11am-12pm, Saturday & Sunday from 12pm-12am.  So they are open pretty late at night, which is also nice, especially since they are in a college area.
The restaurant itself was clean and smelled new. The decor was purple and browns and some metals, with wooden tables that included booths, regular tables, and high tops.
You decided what you want to order and then order at the register.  When I went (on a Wed around 6, 6:30pm) there was only one other table seated there.  After I ordered, the girl told me to have a seat wherever I liked (I chose a booth, I usually do when given the option).  They brought the food out to me, but I noticed that there are numbers on the tables so I'm not sure if when business picks up they'll seat you or if you pick your number and tell them or if they'll give you a number for you to put on your table.
The lunch/dinner menu has soups, sandwiches, salads, burgers, and vegetarian options.  They also have some fun sides.  You can add soup to an entree for only .99, which is something I might do on my next visit.  Sandwiches and burgers are served with what they call "country fries", and those are basically regular french fries. All the options were 8.99 and under, and if you get soup (or chili) those are only 3.49.
I chose to order the Globetrotter Sandwich, a "grilled chipotle marinated skirt steak, sauteed peppers and onions, goat cheese, and topped with Prickly Pear vinaigrette drizzle" for 8.99.  I adore goat cheese, and thought it would be nice to see how their steak is.  Plus the manager had talked about their prickly pear specialty, and although I did not get the actually BBQ sauce, I thought this would give me a taste.
It did not take very long for me to get my order.  The food was served on a metal plate, which the server informed me was hot.  I'm not sure metal plates are the best choice, especially if they're going to be hot, but I guess it's keeping with the western theme.  My silverware was wrapped up in brown, made from recycled paper, napkins, with a piece of yarn tied around it.  I can't decide if this is a cute detail keeping in with the theme, or a bit of a waste of time and money (to tie all those silverware rolls and then dispose of the yarn).
My sandwich was delicious.  The bun was toasted, but still soft (like I like it!).  The steak was flavorful and tender, and had a bit of a kick from the chipotle, but was not overwhelmingly spicy.  The peppers and onions were sauteed nicely.  The goat cheese was fresh, creamy, and tart, and the vinaigrette had good flavor.  All in all it was a good sandwich, one that I would not go out of my way for, but would order again if I was there.  There could have been a tad more meat, especially in ratio to the amount of peppers.
The fries were thin like McDonald's, but had peels on (which I like).  They were crispy and hot, cooked properly.  They were seasoned nicely with salt and pepper, and I enjoyed them quite a bit.
After adding a drink to my meal, and having the the $5 voucher taken off I paid about $6 and some change for dinner.  Not bad, about what you would pay in a normal fast food place.  But if I didn't have that $5 voucher I would have paid over $11, so keep that in mind.
It's a nice alternative to some of the places out there.  The staff was friendly (the server checked on me 3 times, plus the helpful manager).  The restaurant is clean and well-decorated.  The food that I ordered was cooked correctly, and certainly better than what you would get from a drive thru.  I like the concept that they make things from scratch, and that ingredients are locally sourced. 
We'll see in a few months how they're coming along.  It will be interesting to see how service and the food is when (hopefully) they're a little bit busier and not so new.  I say, if you're in the area and want a new kind of sandwich check them out. 

You can find more information about them at Pioneers Western Kitchen.  They have a Facebook and a Twitter as well.  I saw 3 reviews for them on Yelp (all within the last 2 weeks), and 1 review on UrbanSpoon.

October 3, 2012

Goat Cheese & Red Pepper Fettucine - Home Cooked Recipe 34

Often I am inspired by other food bloggers.  I like home cooks such as myself who are as passionate about food as I am.  I love to look at their pictures, see what kind of foods they're making, and read their stories and recipes.
I've followed a handful of food blogs for a couple of years now, and they are listed here on my own food blog.  One of the sites I visit frequently is Closet Cooking.  A man in Canada writes weekly (sometimes more) about his recipes.  His name is Kevin, and he takes great pictures that make me crave some of the delicious food he's making.  Check out the link for Closet Cooking under my heading "Links To Great Food Blogs" on the right side of the page (if you are viewing the mobile version of this site you'll have to click the button that takes you to the full site first).
Anyway, Kevin had a great recipe posted last week that I had to make.  It looked delicious and easy, and spole to my craving for creamy pasta.  The recipe is for Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Alfredo Pasta and you can find the original recipe Here.
As I usually do with new recipes, I tweak them to suit my own tastes.  In this case I left out the basil but added a dash of cayenne (my favorite spice!) and a dash of granulated garlic (in addition to the fresh).  Also, instead of pureeing the sauce like the original recipe calls for I left the sauce as is and mixed it with the pasta (although next time I will puree it, I just made the recipe later at night and didn't want to pull out the food processor and wake anyone up).  The other thing I did differently was reserve about 1/2 an ounce of the goat cheese to sprinkle on top when serving (and I liked this step so I think I'll stick with it).
Here is my version of Kevin's recipe, it's sweet, tangy, creamy, spicy, and just delightful as a pasta dish in general.

Goat Cheese & Red Pepper Fettucine
  • 1/2 pound pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
  • 2 roasted red peppers, small dice
  • sea salt and coarse black pepper (freshly ground) to taste
  • dash of cayenne
  • dash of granulated garlic
Begin by boiling your fettucine according to package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce.  Start by melting the butter.  Then add fresh garlic, and sautee for a few minutes until garlic is fragrant (be careful your pan is not too hot, you don't want the garlic to brown or burn - it will get bitter).  Then add cream, goat cheese, parmesan, and red peppers. Stir well and cook until cheese melts into sauce.
Drain pasta and add to pan with sauce.  Toss well.
To serve, plate pasta and then sprinkle with parmesan and top with a few goat cheese crumbles.