Sin City Countdown - Kitchen Ramblings and Other Things My Mother Taught Me...With a Twist Blog at - 229175

Kitchen Ramblings and Other Things My Mother Taught Me...With a Twist

Sin City Countdown 
Mar. 26, 2011 9:13 pm 
Updated: Mar. 29, 2011 9:03 am
Packing day, 4/8, moving day, 4/11.  Never thought I'd be moving to the desert but it really is going to happen.

I officially made application to culinary school last week and drum roll please...I was accepted. One more thing off the To Do List and onto the Done List.  As you know from my last post, I am working diligently on cleaning out both the freezer and the pantry in prep for the move.  I had to take a bit of a detour on that for a few days since I had relatives in town for a couple of days and felt that I needed to cook them some fresh food and not pawn my canned and frozen goods off on them.  

A couple of weeks before they arrived, two of the three of them started on low carb diets so I decided to try and accommodate them by serving low carb options while they were here.  I had my Tuna and White Bean Salad already made when they arrived the first night around dinner time.  We topped that off, naturally, with dessert.  Panna Cotta with fresh berries.  I used Splenda in the dessert and it turned out wonderfully.  There are several good Panna Cotta recipes on AR and they are all very simple to prepare - just sub the Splenda one for one for the sugar.  I use a combo of heavy cream and greek yogurt in mine.  I like the creaminess of both and the bit of tartness that the yogurt adds.  There is very little else that can satisfy at the end of a nice meal than a light and creamy dessert.  

Luckily for me, living in Seattle and having visitors means a trip to Pike Place Market.  If you love food and you've never been to the market in Seattle, you must go. Even if you can't cook that much while you're in town, its a great place to people watch, take photos of the fruit and vegetable displays and find a that special something (like homemade soaps) as a gift for your host/hostess. I took advantage of our trip "into the city" and decided on grilling a whole filet of fresh caught wild King Salmon from Pike Place Fish, Grilled Asparagus with Hollandaise and a Grilled Romaine Salad with homemade dressings (both Green Goddess and Chunky Blue Cheese) with a Key Lime Pie for dessert.  What you all need to know about this delicious menu is that in our house,  1) my partner in crime does all the grilling, 2) he happens to be the maker of the Hollandaise and 3) is famous for his Key Lime Pie. may sense a theme with this particular menu, which is...he does a majority of the cooking on this one leaving me extra time to hang out, laugh and catch up with my cousins.  What a great way to entertain!!!  

My guests had never had grilled romaine salads so it was fun to introduce them to something new.  I first had grilled romaine at a place in Orange County, CA called Chat Noir.  Last I knew, they were no longer in business, but their salad (or at least my version of it) lives on at my table fairly often.   

Grilled Romaine Salad:
1/2 heart of romaine (leaves and stem intact) per serving
Olive oil, salt, pepper
Salad dressing of your choice (try my easy Chunky Blue Cheese)
Bacon crumbles, preferably not from a can
Tomato - sliced, diced, quartered, cherry, grape - its up to you

Everything can be made ahead.  The lettuce gets grilled at the very last minute and takes 2-3 minutes max. Cut the washed romaine hearts in half leaving the stem/core intact.  Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Put the lettuce cut/flat side down on the hot grill (or a preheated grill pan).  Check after a minute to make sure you are just getting a little bit of a char on the leaves.  You are not trying to cook the lettuce, just give it a quick char.  If it begins to wilt, take it off the grill and serve immediately.  

Chunky Blue Cheese Dressing:
1 c mayo
1 c sour cream (or greek yogurt)
a couple of dashes of worchestershire
a tsp or two of prepared horseradish
5-8 oz of crumbled blue cheese
a few turns of freshly cracked pepper

As with most everything I make, I provide this as a guideline for you to experiment with and adjust to your taste.  

Mar. 27, 2011 7:21 am
congratulations! have a blast!!
Mar. 28, 2011 6:15 am
sounds yum! congrats on being accepted in culinary school
Mar. 29, 2011 9:01 am
Look me up sometime....I can give you some handy LV BTW I am hosting the AR get together May 14 here in LV. Would love to have you:)
Mar. 29, 2011 9:03 am
Which school.....I live about 3 minutes from Cordon Bleu.
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Cookin Up A Storm

Home Town
Fergus Falls, Minnesota, USA
Living In
Santa Cruz, California, USA

Member Since
Mar. 2010

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Cooking Interests
Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Indian, Italian, Quick & Easy, Gourmet

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About Me
I am a mid-life career changer who has enjoyed cooking (and eating) good food all her life. My Mom went to work when I was in the 5th grade and most days when I got home from school, she'd have left instructions for me to get dinner started. Cooking never felt like a "chore" back then and it certainly rarely feels like one now. During my 20 plus year career in IT, I traveled all over the US for work. And for fun, I traveled internationally. I have a fairly broad knowledge of food, but when cooking, I tend to stick to comfort foods and pretty much anything Italian. I have a big collection of Asian or eastern foods in my arsenal and I absolutely love their flavors. I am a professional chef who runs her own personal chef service.
My favorite things to cook
Comfort foods, soups, chilies, baked goods, candies at christmas, anything Italian, pizzas, homemade dressing for big salads when good veggies are at their peak, potstickers. Anything I can bake that's bad for you like doughnuts, coconut cakes with whipped cream frosting or fresh artisan breads slathered with butter. When I cook for clients, I am forced to move out of my comfort zone and I love trying new things. I especially love coming up with streamlined ways to make seemingly complicated food easy and accessible for everyone.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Mom's Potato Doughnuts - she's frying them as she was going into labor with my younger brother and then wasn't home to monitor how many I was eating over the next several days. I rarely stray from the Thanksgiving basics I grew up with. I do switch up the veggie dishes each year, but the basics remain pretty constant. My own tradition (not one I grew up with) is making Turkey Wild Rice soup from the leftovers. No better way to extend the taste of the holiday for me. Making Chili on a cold winter weekend, in honor of my Dad who made a batch nearly every weekend in winter as I was growing up. I don't use his recipe (too much Chili Powder and Dark Kidney Beans for my taste), but I do think of him when I make it.
My cooking triumphs
Mastering Gnocchi - so light and puffy, they are like clouds. A killer Vodka Sauce - never ever have I tasted one better. It took me a lot of tries to get it right. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes - from the book of the same name. Fresh bread...anytime. I always keep a few batches (Wheat, White, Semolina) in the fridge. Heat up the oven, shape the loaves, bake...yum. Homemade Caramels at Christmas time. I make both Vanilla and Chocolate Caramels and they are to die for. I give the Vanilla ones away as fast as possible, as I cannot stop myself from eating them.
My cooking tragedies
So many to list, such little space to write in.
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