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Showing posts from June, 2012

Not Rachel Ray, But Well Worth The Extra Ten Minutes....

This week for Meatless Monday, we decided to see if we could back up Cynthia's words from her recent blog post and make a great meal without a lot of fuss and in a modest amount of time. Working together, without rushing, our plan was to make:

Three Cheese Ravioli with Garlic Scape Pesto and Baby Beets with their Sauteed Greens
Although we didn't quite enter into the Rachel Ray realm of 30 minutes, we did sit down to eat 40 minutes after we started, and it was well worth the extra 10 minutes!
Before you ask, no, we didn't make the ravioli from scratch. There are actually a few brands of packaged frozen ravioli available these days that are quite good. We used Rosetto Cheese Ravioli, available in many supermarkets. We did, however, grow the beets and the garlic scapes used in making the pesto. 
If you're unfamiliar with garlic scapes, they are  the flower stalks of hardneck garlic plants that produce a "bulb" that is both edible and delicious. It has a definite ga…

Herbs and Berries and Veggies, Oh My!

If Spring is kind (and it was this year in Northern Virginia), the first few days of summer are an exciting mix of things ready to eat, others growing rapidly and even more newly planted. We're not complete fresh food fanatics but we do really appreciate the difference between something you pick from from your own garden versus that which you can find at even the best (and priciest) grocery store.

So, rather than bore you with words, I'm going to let the pictures of our garden do the talking in this post. Enjoy!

The Herbs

The Berries

The Veggies

Meatless Monday (and lots more) in Las Vegas

My first trip to Las Vegas was in 1972. Yeah, I'm that old. There are a lot of things to remember about that trip; playing blackjack in Caesar's Palace, even though I was under age, going to Hoover Dam for the first time and even seeing Elvis perform at the Hilton. Yes, THAT Elvis -- he wasn't even fat yet. Looking back, I find it hard to believe I actually saw Elvis perform live. I also remember you could get a full breakfast for 99 cents at any casino in town and most had all-you-can-eat dinner buffets for $3.99. It was all about getting you into their building to gamble. The food was plentiful but unspectacular.

I've been back to Las Vegas more than 20 times over the past 40 years and, needless to say, a lot has changed. Many of the hotels I saw on that first trip are gone, replaced with shiny new ones like the Wynn, the Cosmopolitan and the Palazzo. Over the years, Vegas has reinvented itself several times, including a failed attempt to portray itself as "fam…

Where does she find the time??? Cynthia rants -- in a good way!

A Guest Post from the real talent behind A Reluctant Foodie - my wife
I'm often accosted with the phrase, "Where do you find the time to cook?  I could never do what you do!"

Well, frankly, bullshit.  Pardon my bluntness.  With a little foresight, planning and help from the diners, you too can have an interesting and exciting meal, at least once a week. Here's how my system works: planning for Meatless Monday starts the week before, when we're eating the current MM. We discuss flavors we like, things we haven't had in awhile, new things we'd like to try, and what needs to get used in the pantry. Your food becomes very personal when you have a conversation and consider.

Then the implementation of ideas begins.  Recipes are looked for, remarked upon, perused and discarded. It can be as simple as a 'search' for 'tamarind' on the site or opening one of the cookbooks and looking at the vegetable and/or pasta/side dish offerings. …

Sea Pearl Restaurant - Falls Church, VA

This past Saturday night, we kept up our tradition of going out to dine on the first Saturday of the month at a restaurant we hadn't been to before from the top 50 list published in Northern Virginia Magazine.We've been on kind of a roll -- well, at least for the past two months we have been. In April and May we had two really great meals at The Restaurant at Potawmack Farm and The Market Table Bistro respectively, both in Lovettsville, VA. We had high hopes for continuing this trend when we picked Sea Pearl in Falls Church, VA for our June outing. For the most part, our hopes were fulfilled. We'll explain the qualifier later.

The restaurant is,as the name implies, focused on seafood. What is not as evident from the name, is that the food is all prepared with an Asian flair. This is much easier to understand when you find out that the owner/chef is Sly Liao, born in India to Chinese parents. It should also be noted that his wife is one of the sisters of the Vietnamese rest…

Grilling on Meatless (Monday) Memorial Day

I committed to observing Meatless Mondays back in November, it didn't occur to me that some holidays, like Memorial Day, would be Mondays.  I'm not sure why this simple fact escaped me, since Memorial Day is always a Monday. So, there we were, talking about the high holy day of grilling and needing a menu that was...... meatless. Sure, we've grilled our share of vegetables in the past, but they were side dishes. We needed a main course!

Some number of months ago we made a vegetarian version of stuffed peppers that turned out great. I love stuffed peppers and it occured to us that we had grilled peppers before so off to the Google machine we went. It wasn't long before we found a promising one at the website. In the spirit of full disclosure, they referenced their version as being adapted from one they had seen on As always, we are grateful for the inspiration and wanted to credit both of these sources for inspiring our version.

Stuffed Poblano…