Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Crock pot roasted chicken

I started purchasing all of our meat from Rainbow Meadow Farms as of November 2012. Hunter and I decided there products were excellent. I really believe in supporting our local farmers as much as possible and after trying some of their products, the difference was undeniable! I order a large shipment every 2-3 months.

My freezer is empty and in need of restocking but the last product I had for dinner this week was a whole chicken. It is cheaper to purchase a whole chicken and you are able to make chicken stock with the leftover pieces. I have been putting off cooking this as I was a little intimidated. But this week was the week it was going on the menu!

I decided to cook it in the crockpot since I could leave it on while Elin and I run errands or play outside. I found a recipe from the 100 days of real food website and decided to try it!

I added fresh parsley and lemons to the recipe. I stuffed those inside the cavity and squeezed the lemon juice on top of the bird before rubbing it with spices (paprika,salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme).

Now, about 2 hours later my mouth
Is already watering! The chicken is smelling amazing and I can't wait for dinner!

Here's to cooking my first whole chicken!!

Here are a few pictures:

Happy slow cooking!

The chicken was falling off the bone after 4 hours of cooking it on high! It was delicious! I kept all of the liquid and leftover pieces in the crockpot and filled it with water. I added a pinch of salt and cooked on low for 12 hours. I strained it and have lots of home made stock for future recipes!

The crockpot made this whole process easy! Definitely my go to method for cooking chicken and making stock from now on!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Philly Food Adventure

This post (and many more) are long overdue, but due to its necessity, I am finally writing it.  Can I just say first off that the city of Philadelphia blew me away!!  Seriously, for a girl who used to live a few hours away, my expectations were minimal.  This was going to serve as an extended vacay with the hubby and some fun times visiting my sister and her boyfriend over Thanksgiving break.  This trip was all of those things and so much more!  I fell in love with the heart of the city and it's mission to give the people fun, elaborate, and detail oriented restaurants that offered delicious and inspiring food.  It doesn't hurt that my sister's boyfriend is an awesome chef and my sister and him share my love for great restaurants and great inspiring dishes.

Our Philly adventure began at a great restaurant called The Dandelion.  This is one of Steven Starr's fabulous restaurants.  He is literally taking over the restaurant scene in Philly.  To read more about his restaurants Click Here.

The Dandelion was awesome for lunch.  As soon as we stepped in the doors I felt like I was in a small pub that was quaint, cozy, and artistic.  All the tables were full so I thought it would be a long wait but much to my surprise there wasn't.  The first room is very misleading as this restaurant was huge.  The beauty of this restaurant was the details of the decorations (which Steven Starr is known for).  Everything was thought out down to the eclectic mix of antique style chairs and the various sized tables (some family style some intimate).  The menu included delicious seasonal ingredients and everything we ate was amazing.

This is what I ordered: 

Butter Lettuce Salad
Winter Root Vegetable Soup
Balsamic Glazed Carrots
 Hunter ordered this delicious burger and fries!  The food was awesome!

I loved this bar!  The lights had words on them that said "Man's Best Friend".  

Our next stop was one of the highlights of our food adventures!  My sister recommended stopping at Parc Bistro and Cafe for a cappuccino or coffee.  I loved this restaurant!  This too is one of Steven Starr's restaurants.  It was close to our hotel, so after a long afternoon of shopping and eating we decided to sit outside, under the heaters, and enjoy a coffee while the sun set.  This was our view of Rittenhouse Square Park (The best neighborhood in Philly in my opinion).  

One of the reasons I love my husband is that he always orders what I want to taste but not order.  So here's a perfect example, Parc had an extensive cafe menu and there was a coffee drink called Cafe Vietnamese.  It had a shot of espresso, condensed milk and steamed milk.  Of course, he ordered it because he is awesome, and it was delicious!  I ordered a cafe au lait, it to was excellent!  For the first time in a while, we were able to sip coffee, enjoy an amazing city view, and enjoy each others company.  We love being parents, but our time alone is always needed!

Our coffee's! Do you see the condensed milk on the bottom of the cafe Vietnamese?  It was so rich and creamy. 

One more shot of the fabulous coffee!  And he got a little coffee cookie too!

The next day we visited the Liberty Bell and some other historic sites.  We stopped at a Triumph Brewing Company for some lunch and a hot drink because it was freezing outside!!  I got a fresh cup of apple cider and Hunter enjoyed a in house brew!

That afternoon we explored the Reading Terminal Market.  This was a foodies heaven!  Tons and tons of food vendors.  They had everything from fresh produce, to delicious hot dripping with chocolate cookies, fresh coffee, and various ethnic cuisine.  You could literally do a food tour in the market and spend a whole afternoon there.  

 This cookie was unbelievable delicious!  It was massive and dripping with delectable chocolate!  Hunter and I shared one and devoured every bite!

For dinner we went to Vedge.  This is a vegan only restaurant and it was phenomenal!  It is one of the top vegan restaurants in the country.  I have never eaten at a vegan only restaurant but honestly, Hunter and I never missed the meat or animal products.  Funny story:  I ordered a coffee with our dessert and asked for milk instead of cream and the server kindly replied, "we only serve soy milk."  Of course, as a dietitian I was quite embarrassed.  By the time we had dessert, I had completely forgotten we were eating at a vegan only restaurant. She told me it happened frequently so I didn't feel too bad.  Below are a few pictures (sorry for the quality, it was dark in the restaurant).

 This was a cremini mushroom udon noodle soup (this was featured on their dirt list that day:  a list of fresh veggies for the day). It was fabulous!  The second photo is the most amazing dessert ever!  It is a a bread pudding with homemade pumpkin ice cream. 

Here are some photos from our site seeing adventures!  The Liberty Bell and the Love statue.  

My sister and I at the first bank. 

Our next food stop was at Federal Doughnuts.  Federal Doughnuts was right around the corner from our hotel and it looked super cute!  If you know me, you know that I do not like doughnuts but I thought Hunter would love this.  To my surprise a fresh, gourmet doughnut is amazing.  My mind was changed once I tasted the Strawberry Lavender and Vanilla Spice sugared, hot, fresh pillows of heaven!  Yes, they were literally pillows of heaven in my mouth!

We got 2 of the fresh baked (warm) doughnuts covered in sugar instead of the iced ones.  They were super yummy!!

This is the pillow of heaven I was describing!

One of the famous stops that we had to make on our food tour was Pat's and Geno's.  The famous cheese steak rivalry!  Hunter and I ate these for lunch one day.  I think we spent around $25 dollars tasting both but you have to eat both to decide which is better!!

Hunter standing in front of Pat's.

You must read the rules before you order or they will tell you to go to the back of the line (total embarrassment and sign of a tourist)!  We did witness a guy being told to go to the back of the line.  He wasn't too happy and he had a few choice words.

Hunter eager and hungry!

Here it is!  Pat's famous cheese steak wit wiz!

We gave Pat's 2 thumbs up!!! 

Finger-licking good!!

Next stop….Geno's!!

Round 2 here we go!!!

The conclusion:  Hunter and I both preferred Pat's over Geno's!  

For our last dinner night we had to go all out and make 2 stops!  We started out at Alla Spina and ended at Osteria!  Both of the restaurants are owned by the Vetri family.  We ordered several appetizers at Alla Spina, including oysters on the half shell.  This was my first time eating a raw oyster.  It was quite the experience because I was instructed to not chew and to just swallow.  Well, this was problematic because the oyster was way to big to swallow and I was told not to chew so I held the oyster in my mouth for at least 30 seconds trying to figure out what to do as my family yelled "DO NOT SPIT IT OUT".  I had to spit it out and start over because it was just way to big!  This made for a hilarious moment needless to say.  I decided to cut the oyester in half and consume it that way.  Overall, it was good but I only had one :)

Osteria was a fine dining restaurant and was delicious.  We ordered several dishes and shared.  We ate and ate and ate!  We even got 3 desserts to share.  I remember loving every morsel and specifically the vegetable plate we shared for an appetizer.  There was about 12 different vegetables prepared all different ways. 

Our last stop before we got on the plane was Parc.  We had to go back because we wanted a hearty breakfast and great coffee to end our trip!  It was amazing!

I think it is easy to see why this trip turned into a culinary adventure!  I was inspired to cook and eat fresh ingredients and not to settle for mediocre food.  I love going to big cities to get a taste of other cultures and to be inspired!  Philadelphia is a great city and I would recommend visiting to get a taste of  all this city has to offer!  You will not be disappointed, especially on the food side of things!

Happy Travels!
~Little Chef-titian

Friday, April 22, 2011

Enjoying fresh produce

As promised, here are some photos of the first meal I prepared with the first harvest from my garden. I decided to prepare a classic salad with the red leaf lettuce, fresh mint and dressed it with a lemon vinaigrette. I sauteed fresh bok choy with onions and garlic and paired it with my mini meatloaf's!

I love the joys of gardening and cooking. This has been a great hobby and learning experience!

Happy Cooking!
Little Chef-titian