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Archive for October, 2007

Today I added a new feature to the Dinner and Drinks blog… email subscriptions through FeedBurner.com.

If you notice to the right, there is a new little box (a widget in blog terms) that supplies a link you can click on.  If you love to read about our culinary adventures,  but you can’t remember to check the website for new posts, just click the link and follow the directions.  Once you have verified your email address, any time a new post is published, you will hear about it in an email the next morning!

There are other, more high tech ways to do this through feed aggregators and other words I am still getting used to, so bear with me.  Maybe one day in the future I will be able to explain it to any readers who are like me and don’t know right from left on the keyboard!

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Chorizo Appetizers

A few posts back,  I mentioned our favorite way to eat chorizo as taught to us by our friend Alba.  So, I can’t take credit for this recipe, but I wanted to share it with you because it was so easy to throw together for an afternoon snack while watching college football today.  And,  since I wasn’t thrilled with the last chorizo we tried,  I wanted to share this new brand with you.

Citerrio Label   The brand I found was Citterio Rustica Chorizo.  I found it in the deli section of my local Harris Teeter.  It wasn’t very spicy, and the consistancy was similar to pepperoni.  I would try other brands if I saw them, but this was a good one to remember.

So, the recipe is pretty simple:

  • Slice some chorizo sausage (you will probably need to remove the casing) and heat it up in a hot non-stick pan until it starts to smell good and render some of its fat.   Then transfer from the pan directly onto baugette rounds.  Done!

 Thanks for showing us this Alba!

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Well, ten years ago on this very night, a young biology student collided with a strapping physics major during dollar pitcher night in Bloomsburg, PA……   

So, to celebrate our ten years together, the hubby and I went out to dinner at Pancuito in downtown historic Hillsborough.  It is a great little restaurant, only seating 50 people. Tonight must have been a  weird slow night for them because we were one of the few people in the place.  I guess Thursday night isn’t a huge dining out night in our little town of Hillsborough, because Pancuito is certainly not empty because of the food!

When you first sit down, they bring you a tiny glass of prosecco to put you in the right frame of mind.   They make all of their own pasta and bread at Pancuito, and if it isn’t in season locally, it isn’t on the menu. Green Gourmet..  I love it!

To start:

Beef Tenderloin carpaccio with roasted sweet potatoes in truffle cream vinaigrette

Grilled bruschetta with goat cheese spread, proscuitto, fried egg, golden chanterelles and pea shoots.  (YUM!)

Second Course:

Black spaghetti with sauteed shrimp, calamari, sopressata  and arugula in saffron-tomato butter

Grilled trout “alla porchetta” with wilted mizuna greens and gnocchi in lemon-egg cream (Amazing gnocchi!)

Third Course:

Pumpkin ricotta cheesecake with graham cracker cookie, cardamom maple syrup and maple leaf crisp  (This was so good, it was beyond words; autumn on a plate)

Wine:

We had a bottle of really wonderful Niedermayer Pinot Nero from Italy.

My favorites were the bruschetta, the gnocchi, and the cheesecake.  Mmmmmmmm.

If you live within 20 miles of Pancuito, you MUST go there. It is wonderful and the staff is so nice.  Someone came in to sit at the bar and they really wanted ravioli.  No ravioli on the menu, but what came out?  A butternut squash ravioli that was made special in the kitchen . That is service.  Our waiter could have rushed us out so that he could close up and go home, but he let us take our time and enjoy our special night out.

So there is my raving review.  Pancuito has special wine dinners throughout the year, one of these days we are going to get to one before they sell out.  Check it out if  you can, they have a special email list if you are interested!

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I don’t have any pictures for this sandwich, but I am sure that there will be photos for future incarnations of this amazingly simple meal. 

It all started while I was at the grocery store picking up things for tonight’s dinner (more on that later).   I needed something for lunch and Jason wanted to grill since the weather was so nice.  I went in thinking hot dogs, but then a revelation came to me… grilled steak sandwiches!  I like to grill a marinated london broil and then serve the thinly sliced steak on a roll, but there was no time to marinate a whole london broil.  Alas!

A stop at the meat counter showed thinly sliced sirloin tip steaks.  I picked up two packages (pretty cheap), and then a bottle of Stubbs Beef marinade.  When I got home, I dumped the beef and the marinade in a ziplock first off, then unloaded the rest of the groceries.  About 15 minutes later, all of the groceries were put away and the meat was on the grill.  About 5 minutes later, the steaks were layered onto a nice club roll with horseradish, A1 sauce, cheddar or swiss cheese, lettuce and tomato.  Add chips and a pickle and we beat a hot dog by a mile.

I am sure you could do this with skirt steak, but the grocery stores in my area do not always carry that cut of meat.  Both are very thinly cut, and take really well to quick marinades.

What a nice afternoon; we got to eat out on the deck, and discuss all of the possible toppings and combinations we could think of to make this little steak sandwich a regular in the rotation.   I think it would be great for tailgating or having a bunch of friends over.

 As for tonights dinner, we are trying out red oak plank grilled salmon.  If we aren’t in a food coma later on I will post the recipe if it turns out well, so come on back, ya hear!

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Y’all thought that I had totally forsaken the blog, didn’t you?  Well, we have been cooking new things, but to be honest, I just haven’t felt like taking pictures or writing up the recipes.  It makes me feel bad though, because I look at these nice dinners that we have had, and I feel I didn’t give them the 15 minutes of fame that they deserved. 

Well, we have had some yummy things this weekend, and so I have to take the time while I have it to share them with you.

Butternut and Chorizo soup

The first is Butternut Squash and Chorizo soup.

This past summer, our friend Alba introduced us to chorizo sausage. I was skeptical, because I am not normally a sausage fan. But the chorizo that she made us was more like a more spicy version of keilbasa, and it wasn’t too spicy.  She sent us home with our own package and we tried it in different ways and really enjoyed it.  Our favorite way was sliced into coins, then sauteed until brown and served on a nice slice of italian bread for an appetizer (recipe courtesy Alba).

The CSA program that we were a part of over the summer had left us with a nice butternut squash that I had no idea what to do with and felt bad seeing it look back at me from it’s basket, asking when it would reach it’s destiny.

I got this recipe out of a Rachel Ray cookbook, and I decided instead of using the frozen pureed squash that she called for, I would try my hand at roasting and pureeing my own squash.  It wasn’t hard; I roasted the whole squash at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.  Once it had cooled, I cut the squash in half and scooped out the seeds, then peeled off the skin (it was sort of like peeling the skin off of a roasted pepper).  I cubed the flesh of the squash, tossed it in my food processor and chopped the heck out of it with some salt and pepper.  I drizzled some non-fat creamer through the lid to help everything get moving.  Wha-la. 

Okay now the recipe:

  • 1/2 lb of chorizo sausage  (see pictures below)
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic,  minced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder (I think this was too much)
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • puree of butternut squash
  • 1 quart chicken stock

Remove the Sausage from the casing and either chop or crumble into small pieces.  Brown the sausage in a large soup pan, then add onion, garlic, cumin and chili . ***note:  I would taste the chorizo first and see if you think it is spicy enough as it is before you add the chili***

After the onion is softened, add the squash and chicken stock until you reach the desired consistency.  Let simmer for 15 minutes.   Add salt and pepper to taste.   Garnish with a little bit of sour cream if you like.

My notes:

 The chorizo I should not have used

The chorizo sausage that Alba shared with us was not available at my store, so I bought what I could. This brand was more like an italian sausage than kielbasa, to my dismay.  Not to mention it was pretty spicy.

The soup was still good, something different than the norm.  Next time I would try a different brand of sausage, and not add as much chili, maybe none at all.  Oh, and I would use the frozen squash, it would truly make for a 30 minute meal.  We had this with a good grilled cheese sandwhich.

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