Gluten Free Stuffing

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Gluten Free Stuffing

With all of the grain-less bread options out there you have many healthy options these days.

1-20 Ounce Gluten Free Bread (in the frozen section)

1 Cup Golden Raisins

2 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth (1 Cup at a time)

2 Tablespoons D’Avolio Wild Mushroom and Sage EVOO

½ Onion, chopped

1 Medium Blub Fennel, chopped white part only

1 tsp salt

2-3 TBSP Bells Poultry Seasoning

Oil a 3 quart baking pan with a brush.

Preparation

Place break on a cookie sheet in an even layer. Dry in a 250 degree oven for about an hour (flipping about every 15 minutes) or place on sheet a day earlier, defrost and dry on the counter, uncovered. If it is not dry enough, put in oven for about 15 minutes or until it feels like dry toast.

Place 1 cup raisins and 1 cup broth in saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes and remove from heat. You can also microwave for four minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a heavy skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the EVOO. Sauté onion and fennel until soft, about 10 minutes then cool slightly.

Cube the dried bread roughly and place in a very large bowl. Add salt, poultry seasoning, cooled raisins, onion and fennel; whisk eggs and add to the bowl, tossing lightly with your hands.

Place the mixture in the prepared baking pan. Drizzle with a little more EVOO and another cup of broth. Bake, covered for about 35 minutes at 350 degrees (with other things in your oven) and uncover for the last 10 minutes.

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Remington Tavern and Seafood Exchange

I have this theory I call the “Disney World theory.” That’s when your favorite thing is the last thing you did. When you just get off Space Mountain that’s your favorite ride until you get off of the Rock and the Rollercoaster and that becomes your favorite ride.

When I drove my son from Chicago to D.C. to Boston, his favorite school was the one we just visited (with a few exceptions, but that’s not what this post is about).

Remington Tavern and Seafood Exchange at 184 Sweeney St., North Tonawanda, is my new favorite seafood spot. So much so I have been there three times in the past month.

It has a very cool vibe and the tables in front by the canal are fun, too. The building is a late 1800s power house on the Erie Canal built by International Railway. The restoration really began in 2007, and it is the current site of this fine restaurant, and a few other businesses.

The bar is located in the middle of the seating area, so you are never very far from friends and diners. They have a seasonal bar menu (don’t you justlove that?) and I started my evening last week with a “Cucumber Cooler.” It was Hendricks gin, fresh lime juice, fresh cucumber and grapefruit bitters all in a highball glass. I liked it both because it had fresh lime and because it was not too sweet.

Our bartender also gave us a primer on the fresh oyster selection. That day they had several from Prince Edward Island and other northern climates. On our tasting plate were oysters called “Rocky Shore,” “Malpeque,” “Beach Blonds” and “Wallace Bay.” The “Beach Blonds” were the mildest of the bunch. Some were a little briny and others were sweet. They were all better with the two sauces. I loved the cocktail sauce with shaved horseradish on top. It was not as hot as I would have expected.

We ordered an appetizer from the specials menu. The stuffed spicy banana peppers were filled with ricotta cheese, extra virgin olive oil and fresh garlic. The filling was smooth and creamy with just the right amount of seeds remaining for the kick. If we have a criticism, it would be the plate and presentation. The plate was too small, because the peppers slid around, which made them difficult to cut. Maybe that lettuce garnish has a purpose, after all? Also, a piece or two of bread would have been helpful, too, as a way to cut the heat for those who do not prefer it. Overall, though, they were delicious.

I asked about the white wine selection and Melanie suggested a glass of Chateau Fantin Bordeaux Blanc from Bordeaux, France. She had me at France since I will be testing French wine in the French countryside next week. It was a smooth wine and a good value at $25 a bottle. I had never tried a white Bordeaux before and was happy for the experience.

We each tried a different entree. The sirloin steak sandwich ($16) with portobello, grilled onion and mozzarella was, as one companion said, cooked to perfection. The grilled chicken breast sandwich ($11) was served the same as the steak sandwich. She loved the caramelized onions and the fresh roll. They were both served with french fries, which had the right amount of crisp.

The grilled barbecue St. Louis ribs ($16 half/$28 full) were spicy and the sauce was generous. The fries were served with a vinegar aioli, which was one of my favorite bites of the evening. I love french fries with vinegar and this was a cool take on that.

20130629-084218.jpgI had one of the dinner specials: seared diver scallops served with a sun-dried tomato cous cous and arugula salad. The scallops were seared with some spice. They were perfectly cooked. My other favorite bite of the evening was the cous cous salad. It was room temperature, which was surprising. What a great idea on a sunny summer day!

When our server offered dessert, I forced my friends to go to the dark side with me. I think they are glad they did. We had an almond lace cookie cup ($8) with whipped cream and fresh berries and a hot fudge brownie sundae ($8) with peppermint stick ice cream. I burned my mouth on the brownie, but was able to sooth it with the creamy ice cream. The lace cookie cup had a lovely brown sugar flavor and the caramel sauce was a nice balance with the fresh fruit (blueberry, mango and strawberry).

If you go, know they do not accept reservations, so you should be ready to enjoy hanging at the bar. The vibe is very cool and I look forward to my next visit.

Have a yummy day!

It’s Fun to Eat at the Bar!

I travel a lot, often by myself. While I am not averse to eating alone with a book or my iPad, I most often enjoy sitting among my soon to be friends at the bar. You usually get served more quickly and you often have small plate options not available on the full menu.

Twice in New Orleans I ate memorable meals at the bar. The first was at the Acme Oyster House where I watched a highly skilled oyster shucker open hundreds of oysters an hour. I settled in my seat after only a few minutes waiting outside in a line that went around the block. A simple question of availability at the bar afforded me the chance to eat an oyster po boy and it was one of the best sandwich bites of my life. I am not sure what the sauce was but the combination of the fresh bread, perfectly fried oysters and sauce makes my mouth water as I write.

The second time was at K Paul’s on Chartres Street in the French Quarter. Again, there was a large crowd waiting for tables but I spotted a spot at the end of the bar. I asked the bartender his specialty and he boasted he won the award in New Orleans several years in a row for his original twist on the New Orleans Hurricane. I must admit, it was a tasty drink.

When it was time for dinner I asked him my usual question: “If I never return, what is the one dish I must try while visiting your city?”

His answer was the stuffed pork chop. It was a very large pork chop filled with herbs and cheese. It has been a while so I cannot remember the particulars but it was a delicious dish. The meat was very juicy, which is no easy task on a cut so think. When a gentleman sat at the bar a few seats over he asked about the specialty that evening. The bartender asked me to let the man know my thoughts and he ordered the same thing. As we chat with the others at the bar we talked about home. He said he was traveling north to New York to attend his niece’s high school graduation. A few more minutes of conversation determined he grew up in Kenmore, NY and was attending Lewiston Porter’s graduation.

It truly is a small world as Lew-Port is my alma mater, as well. You just never know who you will meet.

I twice dined at the bar this past week. On Saturday we had some wine and watched the Master’s at Hops N Vines in Lewiston. We enjoyed the mussels in white wine sauce and lobster bisque mac and cheese brought down from Casa Antica.

Another wonderful bar dining experience happened last week when I suggested to my friend Amy we grab one drink after work. We settled on Oliver’s where we met at Christmastime and enjoyed a chocolate martini expertly created by bartender Mike. I sincerely love watching a bartender mix a drink and interact with the crowd.

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We enjoyed a French 75. This gin and lemon drink must be making a major comeback because it was new to me just a few weeks ago and I now have several ones to compare. Mike offered it with gin or vodka and since reading about it when I wrote my Town Hall review I wanted to try one with gin. He used fresh lemon juice and simple syrup. He added ice and gin to a shaker and shook to chill the liquid. He poured it into chilled martini glasses and added champagne to the top. I may have a new favorite drink.

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I was hungry and I talked Amy into splitting a a bowl of parsnip soup with crispy pancetta. They were kind enough to actually split the soup into two bowls. If you are watching your waistline and your wallet it is a great idea to share. Some restaurants charge a fee for this but it is still worth it because no one needs the portions served at most restaurants.

We also shared a pizza. It was no ordinary pizza, either. It was called a Cuccidati Pizza, bitter greens, fresh ricotta, walnut & fig pesto. I am a big fan of figs and this was really good.

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Mike barely suggested dessert and I pounced on the idea . Yes, the lady may have appeared too eager but the offerings were so yummy who could resist? This was a chocolate torte with a butter crunch ice cream and a toffee crisp on top. There apparently was caramel on the plate but I talk too much and Amy took complete advantage and ate most of it. I forgive her because I ate most of the toffee. It all evens out.

Next time you find yourself alone at a restaurant, I highly recommend sitting at the bar. You will enjoy the camaraderie, learn about the area and never dine alone.

Have a yummy day!

Easter Cookies…Hop to it!

20130326-131402.jpgEaster Cookies? Why not?

Simply make your favorite drop sugar cookie (I made a ricotta lemon cookie) with yellow food coloring, frost with sugar glaze and sprinkle with pastel sugar.

The secret to any cookie is consistent shape and size. I use my smallest cookie scoop for this task.

The glaze is two cups of confectioners sugar, the zest and the juice of one lemon plus water to get to 4 tablespoons.

To glaze the cookies, line a few cookie sheets with parchment (easy clean-up) and invert the cookie quickly in the glaze and roll around to coat. Set glazed cookies onto the lined sheet. Much of it runs off onto the parchment (you’ll be glad you lined the sheet) so don’t over do it. Only do 5-6 cookies at a time or the glaze will dry and you won’t be able to sprinkle. Sprinkle with colored sugar and let dry. They package easily and you can stack them.

Have a yummy day!

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Viva Saint Guiseppe!

When my grandparents talked about the old country they were talking about Italy. My mother’s family is from Bari and Calabria and my father’s family is from Sicily. So, I describe my Italian heritage as heal, toe and football if you look at the map.

My Sicilian grandmother used to do a St. Joseph’s Table every year and I have many fond memories of not only the food but the stories of holidays past. You can read more about our tradition at here.

The following recipe is actually my favorite, using a dressing of vinegar and sugar for a sweet and savory pea salad. Anyone who knows me knows I rarely use canned anything. In this case, it is the perfect and easy way to make this St. Joseph favorite.

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Great Gramma’s Bitter Sweet Peas

(I cut this in half and it still is hard to fit into my large cast iron skillet)

6 Large Cans Peas (drained)
1 Large Bunch Celery (diced)
1 Pound Italian Green Olives (pitted and chopped)
1 Large Can Artichokes (cut up)
1 Tablespoon Salt

Dice and cook celery until slightly softened. Drain and cool. Saute onions, add celery, and olives. Take off stove (recipe says to take off the fire but I decided to change that) and add peas and artichokes. Mix lightly with fingers.

¾ Cup White Vinegar
½ Cup Sugar
Warm the vinegar gently in a sauce pan to melt sugar. Remove from heat and add to pea mixture. Toss lightly and refrigerate.

I just made half the recipe and it barely fit into my large cast iron skillet.

 

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Another IHF Cooking Class In The Books

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Once again this evening I had the opportunity to spend a few hours with some new friends from Independent Health teaching a Healthy Options Cooking Class at D’Avolio Kitchen in Williamsville. It was great fun and I’m so glad folks laughed along with me as I over toasted the bread.

A special shout out to Dan and Karen from D’Avolio who made sure everything went smoothly and to my sister who unexpectedly popped in from out of town to assist me, photograph the event and made me an original JudeTheFoodie.com apron.

Here are the links to our evenings menu.

Balsamic Fig Bruschetta With Goat Cheese

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Grilled Zucchini Caprese Sandwich

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Sautéed Sea Scallops over Arugula, Baby Spinach and Parsley

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Fusilli With Tuna Tomato Sauce

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Sautéed Bananas With Toasted Pecans and Grilled Angel Food Cake
Camera shy!

Have a yummy day!!

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Countdown to Thanksgiving…

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The sun came up today and revealed a lovely crisp autumn morning. My husband I went to early Mass and we stopped at the Orange Cat afterward, as is our custom. I hung out with Dorothy, Tim and my other buddies for a while then decided to get a head start on my a thanksgiving preparation.

I headed over to Tops to pick up some of the things that will not perish prior to their use Wednesday and Thursday.

Today I’m going to make my cranberry compote. This year I am going to double the recipe and preserve some for myself and friends. The house will soon smell so good. I walked around the produce department twice and could not locate the cranberries. I was slightly panicked so I asked Mike Fland, one of my favorite grocers if there were any. He jokingly told me no as he walked to the display and revealed many bags. Phew. Crisis averted.20121118-114619.jpgOne of the key ingredients in the compote are oranges. The pickin’s were slim and I asked Mike about that. He said they were expecting some this morning but my time restraints prevented me from waiting. As I was chatting with my friend Annie, Mike wheeled a cart toward us filled with oranges. How cool is that? That is great customer service and why you never lose when you shop locally. Mike has been with the store for 22 years, starting in 1990. Thanks again Mike!

Sometimes it can take an hour to pick up one thing…you see all kinds of people and catch up between aisles. I saw my friend Annie and she told me she was thinking of making the stuffing recipe I posted yesterday. She asked me a few questions and I showed her the stuffing I was talking about. It is croutons seasoned (or not) in bags.

20121118-114310.jpgIt makes a completely different consistency dressing than one made with bread. It’s the one I was raised on so it’s what I know.

I am never more flattered than when someone tells me they read my column. What blows me away is when they tell me they use my recipes. Please let me know if you ever have any questions about any of the original (or family) recipes I publish. If you can’t make them then what’s the point, you know what I mean?

Have a yummy day!!

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Quick Bite: Panera Bread

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At 6:15 AM I saw the light on at Panera as I was I driving to work. Yes, I know it’s Saturday…

Much to my delight, Brittany was ready for me.

Simple order:

Dark roast with milk. Check.

20121110-075753.jpgOrange scone. Check.

Thank you Brittany!

Which leads me to one of my favorite TV ads for Labatt Beer:

But it’s Saturday! We were biting this morning…we were biting, this morning!

A Lovely Evening At Water Street Landing

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The weather today was just like our wedding day, 32 years ago…it rained all day long in spite of my mother hanging rosary beads on the bushes outside the house. You cannot stop the rain…my mother still is not over it!

We decided to celebrate close to home at Water Street Landing in Lewiston, NY. I’d say the view was fantastic (if it were daylight or not raining I would be correct) but the lack of daylight and clouds reduced the opportunity.

But, if you are there just for the view then you have not taken the time to look at the menu. There are always specials and I usually like to try those because you are sure to get the freshest catch but I was uncertain about lobster with maple. Maybe it’s just me…

We started with our favorite cocktails served to our satisfaction. Mine was a lemon drop, the perfect combination of sweet and, well, sweet. It was filled so high I had to sip it on the table in the best ladylike sip I could muster.

We ordered calamari with our drinks. They were lightly fried with a Vietnamese chili aioli. I like the aioli but did not find it particularly spicy.

We shared a bowl of lobster bisque, sliding it between us. I really enjoy this soup and try to order it each visit. It did not disappoint.

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My entree was the Lobster Pasta. I loved the bite of sun dried tomatoes. The tomato sherry cream sauce was smooth and mild. The fettuccine was cooked al dente, just the way I like it. There was a perfectly cooked Australian Lobster Tail, split, in the shell on top of the perfect pasta. The Langostinos were chopped and generously mixed through out the dish. I brought home more than I could eat and enjoyed each bite.

We drank a nice Australian Malbec but don’t remember the vintner. I appreciate a restaurant who understands that wine tastes different depending on the glass. Our server also did not over fill the glass, allowing us to enjoy the wine completely.

It was very cute to see the staff decked out in Halloween finery. Our server was a devil but sweet as heck!

She offered dessert and after listening to the offerings decided on a Creamsicle cheesecake. It was served on a large white plate with a fruity sauce scribbled on the plate. The sauce was tart and the cheesecake brought back memories of the ice cream truck and the creamsicles that made me forget the guy didn’t have chocolate!

I think what makes me the happiest is that we have so many wonderful places to eat just a few miles from home. Water Street Landing was the perfect place to celebrate our anniversary.

Have a yummy day!