Monthly Archives: April 2011

Medley Meals

Since Friday, April 15th, we’ve been in Vail, CO enjoying the last hoorah of the skiing and boarding season. The snow began to fall last night and it continued throughout the day today. There were about 9 inches of fresh powder on the mountain when we hit the slopes at about 10:00 a.m., therefore, the last thing I wanted to do today was to drive to the grocery store and restock the fridge when conditions were this spectacular.

After scouring through our pantry closet and fridge, I had some epiphanies for dinner and an early lunch. I decided to tackle our early lunch first, and I settled on a frittata. In the fridge we had approx. 12 oz. remaining in a 16 oz container of egg whites, two large eggs, eight stalks of asparagus, a handful of cherry tomatoes, milk, a chunk of aged parmigiano reggiano, five slices of crisped pancetta, and some fresh basil sitting in water on the counter (to keep it fresh). Here’s how I made the frittata:
~Set the oven at 375
~Whisk the two eggs, egg whites, and 1/4 cup of milk together in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. FYI – The two egg yolks add nice color to the frittata while the egg whites keep the cholesterol low.
~ After removing the woody stems of the asparagus, blanch the asparagus for 2 to 3 minutes in boiling water that’s as salty (I use kosher salt) as the ocean. Be sure to have a large enough bowl of ICE cold water ready for submerging your asparagus as soon as they’re done
~ Chiffonade five basil leaves
~ Chop up the crisp pancetta
~ Grate 1/4 cup of the parmesan
~ Quarter the handful of cherry tomatoes
~ Lightly grease a well seasoned cast iron skillet, or use an oven safe non-stick pan.
~ Place the asparagus on the bottom of the pan.
~ Sprinkle the chopped crisp pancetta on top of the asparagus.
~ Add the quartered tomatoes
~ Add the parmesan
~ Add the basil chiffonade
~ Pour the egg mixture over the ingredients
~ Place it in the oven until the center of the frittata is finished

Before serving your delicious and warm slice of frittata, add some freshly grated parmesan cheese on top with a garnish of fresh basil. Season with a little of fleur de sel, too. This dish goes nicely with a chilled bottle of Prosecco or Pinto Gris (but we were going out on the slopes, so no alcohol for us!).

For dinner I decided to use two 20 oz. cans of Dole pineapple chunks, a 7 oz. can of Ebasa chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce, 7 boneless pork chops, the remains of a red bell pepper, fresh cilantro, fayeh Greek yogurt (a stand in for sour cream), small flour tortillas, and arugula for an unconventional taco dinner. Here’s what I did:
~ Plugged in the crock-pot and placed it on auto-shift
~ Pan seared the pork chops to add some caramelization
~ Poured the pineapple juice in the crock-pot with all of the pineapple chunks (chopped prior to putting in the crock-pot) from one can
~ Chopped up 1/2 the Ebasa chipotle peppers
~ Added the chipotle peppers and and all of the Adobo sauce to the crock-pot
~ Diced the red bell pepper (large dice) and added them to the crock-pot
~ Added the pork chops to the crock pot
~ Left it all to simmer for 7 hours 🙂

Before serving the meat filling, check your seasoning and shred the pork with a knife and fork. Place a platter with arugula, the remaining chopped pineapple chunks, cilantro, and fayeh Greek yogurt in the center of the table. Warm the tortillas and serve this all family style. FYI the chipotle peppers and Adobo sauce make this very spicy. A kabinett riesling would be the perfect complement to this very spicy dish. What we had was a lightly oaked, aciditic French chardonnay (a Meursault), and that worked well too.

Dinner out tomorrow night! We’re eating at our go to place here in Vail: La Bottega. I’ll let you know what we devour.

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.”
Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, Pavarotti, My Own Story

April Steinert

Maro Wood Grill

Today’s blog photo is a snapshot of the “huevos Napoleon” I made for Roger’s breakfast. There were three layers of thinly sliced heirloom tomatoes with an egg white omelet nestled in between the layers. The omelet contained queso fresco, avocado, cilantro, a small brunoise of red pepper, red onion, and tomatoes. It was yummy and healthy!

Before we left for Spring break, Roger and I had a WONDERFUL dinner at the quaint “Maro Wood Grill,” 1915 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA. Maro describes itself as a sustainable, responsible, organic, farm to table creative cuisine, and I would have blogged about the meal sooner, but I just switched blog sites (I was on blogspot) and it’s taken me a few days to find the time to work out the quirks of wordpress.com.

At Maro our charming server’s name was Fiore. Fiore’s mother and brother are the owners of Maro, and Fiore’s an enthusiastic promoter of their new enterprise. Fiore also manages the restaurant’s FB account and when you “friend” Maro on FB, you receive daily updates of their prix fixe menu. The chefs at Maro believe in nourishing their guests with the freshest of ingredients, therefore, their menu items change on a daily basis.

Now, let’s get down to what’s important: The food and wine! The first menu item was an orange tomato gazpacho. The color of the soup was the color of Spring. It was a vibrant green and the flavors were bright and clean. The gazpacho contained on-the-vine tomatoes, sweet red and yellow peppers, Persian cucumbers, and red onions. Each of the components could be tasted with every bite.

The second item was a mushroom and onion empanada served with a Sriracha aioli. These perfect little pockets were earthy and delicious, the aioli was the perfect accompaniment.

Next we were served an apple-raddichio salad with buttermilk dressing. The sweet tart apples, buttermilk dressing, and luscious Burrata cheese nicely complemented the bitter raddichio.

Our favorite menu item was the grilled pork with potato-bacon gratin. Nonetheless, I did take issue with the description of the potato preparation. The potatoes were described as a potato-bacon gratin, however, the potatoes were done in a Lyonnaise style and not au gratin. That being said, the potatoes were accented with well cooked lardons of bacon and they were utterly delicious. The thick and juicy pork chop was prepared perfectly and served on top of an apple slaw that stood in for the traditional side dish of apple sauce.

For dessert there was a chai pound cake with a cinnamon semifreddo. To be honest, I was so full from dinner that my heart just wasn’t into dessert. I did force myself to have a bite or two, and the semifreddo was rich and creamy. The chai cake was a little dry on its own, but the semifreddo corrected for this when tasted in conjunction with the cake.

We enjoyed our delicious meal with a bottle of 2007 Ciclos. Ciclos is a dark ruby malbec-merlot blend (it was the restaurant’s Argentinean blend of the week) with aromas of dark fruits, tobacco, and spice. On the palate there were medium + tannins, a medium body, flavors of black cherry, tobacco, and chocolate, and a nice long finish. On our rating scale of 1 to 20 we gave this wine an 18. With some aging, this wine would be even more spectacular!

So in summary, the food was excellent and the price was right.  Make your reservations today!

“A clever cook, can make….good meat of a whetstone.”

Desiderius Erasmus (1466?-1536)
Dutch priest and scholar

April Steinert