Monday, December 27, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Lamb Shank Cassoulet
1 lb. Dried Navy Beans (Great Northern)
2 sprigs (6 inch) of Fresh Rosemary
Water to cover (about 6-8 cups)
4 Lamb Shanks
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
4 Clove Garlic, chopped
6 medium Carrots, peeled and large pieces
½ Teaspoon Dried Mustard
½ Teaspoon Dried Tarragon
½ Teaspoon Celery Seed
½ Teaspoon Black Pepper
1-2 Teaspoon Salt to taste
1 Bunch Red Chard, coarsely chopped
1 Clove Garlic chopped
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt to taste
Place the dried Navy Beans and Rosemary in a large Dutch-oven or Cassoulet pot. Cover with water and allow to soak overnight. The next day, bring the pot to boil and cook the beans and rosemary, on low heat, for 30 minutes. Remove the rosemary stem and transfer the beans and cooking liquid to a large bowl. Rinse and dry the Dutch-oven and return it to the stove top. Sprinkle the lamb shanks with salt and pepper and brown on all sides (in the 3 tablespoons of olive oil) in the Dutch-oven, over medium high heat. Add the carrots, parsnips, garlic and onion to the pot along with all of the herbs, black pepper and some salt. Reduce heat to medium and cook an additional 10 minutes, occasionally stirring. Add the beans and cooking liquid to the pot, stir. The liquid should almost cover the lamb shanks, if not add another cup or two of water. Place the Dutch-oven in a 325 degree oven, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Reduce the oven to 275 degrees, cover the Dutch-oven, and cook an additional 3 to 4 hours (add salt if needed). In a separate pan, prepare Red Chard by sautéing in olive oil with garlic and salt for about 6-8 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of water, cover and remove from heat; wait 5 minutes. Serve as you wish, enjoy!
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Sunday, September 5, 2010
- rustico, elegante and delizioso: a great addition to downtown Bellevue
During the past decade there has been amazing growth in Bellevue with newly constructed high-rises, an ever increasing population and a slue of new restaurants. A welcomed trend is privately owned restaurants that offer a level of service, quality and atmosphere that is unmatched by the corporate “big-boys” like Maggiano's, P.F. Chang's and The Cheesecake Factory. The newly opened Bellevue Cantinetta is an off-shoot of the popular, quaint Seattle Cantinetta tucked away in a Wallingford neighborhood.
Located at street level on Old Main Street, Cantinetta is a small restaurant (by Bellevue standards) with a warm atmosphere of a Tuscan Trattoria. The dimly lit, high ceiling room has massive windows, Italian country chandeliers, re-claimed wood floors, warm brown tones and hefty rustic wood furniture. Dining options include small, medium and large rectangular tables, an outdoor sidewalk section and a curved rustic bar to enjoy a glass of wine or a complete meal.
The menu is small and precise showcasing fresh house-made pastas, Tuscan inspired antipasti and entrées created with local organic and seasonal ingredients. The young chef is the talented Tomer Shneor who is originally from Haifa, Israel and has spent time in some of New York’s finest restaurants. We had an opportunity to speak with Tomer as he walked us through the menu and highlighted the details of various preparations and the quality local ingredients. The chef is excited about sourcing fresh, local produce from the Bellevue Farmers Market.
The menu is organized in traditional Tuscan fashion with Antipasti, Contorni, Primi, Secondi and Dolci. Kate and I decided to order something from each section and share our picks. We brought a bottle of Giuseppe Campagnola Le Bine Valpolicella Classico Superiore, 2006 which we new would be a great compliment to our meal. We started with the antipasti of Heirloom Tomato, Burrata, mizuna. The presentation was simple and elegant with chunks of fresh orange and red tomato, a cut ball of creamy white Burrata cheese and a mound of well-dressed delicate greens. Our primo plati was fresh Tagliatelle with summer corn, house made pancetta and fresh Shitake. The perfectly cooked pasta was delicate and delicious and the sweet summer corn was deftly balanced by the smoky/salty pancetta and the earthy shitake mushrooms. Our secondi was fresh Halibut with caramelized Zucchini. The super-fresh Halibut was cooked very well with a crispy pan-seared crust and a moist flaky interior. The fish was plated over a puréed sweet yellow pepper sauce with caramelized yellow and green squash. For the contorni ( side dish) we ordered the Eggplant. The eggplant was fantastic and quite memorable with a preparation that includes marinating for at least 24 hours, then slow cooking with olive oil and tomato creating intensely flavorful morsels…yum. For dessert (dolci) we had the warm Chocolate Budino. This was a perfect dessert to savor as we finished off our lovely Valpolicella. The Budino (Italian for pudding) was rich, voluptuous, creamy chocolate heaven made with olive oil and perked up with a delightful sprinkling of sea salt. Kate told Chef Shneor that she would love to have the recipe!
Overall, Cantinetta is a great addition to the Bellevue dining scene. The restaurant is warm and inviting, the service is attentive and professional and the food is simple, elegant and delicious. We look forward to trying every item on the delightful, inspired menu. We will definitely return in the near future; this could be the start of a long and satisfying relationship. Cantinetta is located at 10038 Main Street in Bellevue, Washington.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Excellent Montepulciano d' Abruzzo Wines: DOC and DOCG
Earlier this month we purchased three different wines from Wines from Italy, a specialty importer of well crafted Italian wines. All of these wines are made by Vini La Quercia in Morro D'Oro, a small town located in the heart of the "Colline Teramane" in the province of Teramo, Abruzzo. "La Quercia"'s vineyards are located on sunny hills between the Adriatic Sea and the Gran Sasso mountain. Their location, land and elevation allows the optimal climate and conditions for ideal grapes cultivation that helps them create excellent wines with unique characteristics. La Quercia is a small estate winery that takes pride in producing great wines that are a good reflection of Abruzzo. Abruzzo is about two-thirds mountains and one-third hills. It is east of Rome from the center of the Italian Peninsula to the Adriatic coast. It has four provinces; Chieti, L'Aquilla, Pescara, and Teramo. The main grape varieties are the white Trebiano and the red Montepulciano. There is a town in Tuscany called Montepulciano that should not be confused with the grape variety. All three wines we tried were made from the Montepulciano grape and each represents a different style or “level” of wine.
The third wine (upper echelon) is the Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Colline Teramane, Primamadre, DOCG, 2005. Though the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo variety of grapes is grown all over Abruzzo, it is in the hilly territory of Colline Teramane, in the province of Teramo, that it bears its best fruit. Thus, when the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo appellation DOCG was created in 2003, the sub-zone of Colline Teramane was designated for special wines that qualify for the DOCG status. This is a special wine that proves that big, bold, quality wines can be made from the Montepulciano grape in the Abruzzo region. This wine is aged for two to three years total in steel vats, oak barrels and the bottle, before release. This wine has a dark purple color with a ruby rim. Full bodied with impressive concentration; there are gobs of spicy black fruit, mineral accented dried strawberry and cherry and long chewy finish. With a nice mixture of quality fruit, smooth tannins, crisp acidity and toasty oak, this wine should cellar well for another 10 years. We enjoyed this wine with some delicious Sicilian-inspired food at La Medusa, in Seattle. This wine is available for about $22.
All three of these wines, from Vini La Quercia, are very enjoyable and great with hearty Italian fare. This winery is proving that like Tuscany and Piedmont, Abruzzo has some great red wines worth seeking out.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
Friday, July 2, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Monday, June 7, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
7133 E. Stetson Drive Scottsdale, Az 85251 (480) 425-9463
FnB… OmG. While down in Scottsdale this past weekend we finally found a good night to go check out this new restaurant near the SouthBridge Waterfront. This is a small restaurant with a warm inviting atmosphere and an open kitchen surrounded by a large wood rimmed counter for spectacular viewing of all the action. With textured white walls, crisp linens, dim lights and a “show-stopper” colorful mosaic floor, the space exudes a casual elegance. FnB (for “Food n Beverage”) is a co-venture between Chef Charleen Badman and Pavle and Emily Milic. Chef Badman has composed a seasonal menu of fresh ingredients, using organic and local, whenever possible. The front of the house is run by husband and wife Milic and they are extremely successful at providing great service and hospitality. With the exception of one sparkling wine from New Mexico, Pavle has crafted a wine menu of 100% Arizona State wines. We have tasted some excellent Arizona wines in the past and enjoy pairing local wines with local cuisine. The menu is small and precise with great choices for any food lover. Here is a listing of the wonderful food we shared:
- Fried Green Tomatoes with Green Goddess Dressing and Feta…. Great!
- Grilled Asparagus, Cauliflower Purée, and Crispy Beet Chips…. Great!
- Pan Roasted Jidori Chicken with Spaetzle and Beets…. Great! (we are still talking about it)
- Grilled Lamb Tenderloin, Snap Peas, Fingerling Potatoes, Olives and Mint…. Great!
- Warm Steamed Chocolate Cake, Rhubarb, Vanilla Ice Cream…. Great!
We ordered two red wines from the small, hand picked wine list:
Arizona Stronghold Nachise Syrah Blend, 2008 This is a Rhone style blend of 52% Syrah, 27% Granache, 15% Petit Verdot and 6 % Mouvedre. This wine is very smooth, medium bodied with aromas of blackberry, earth and baking spice. Rich black fruit, cherry and cranberry flavors are enhanced by silky tannins, fresh herbs and black pepper on the finish. This wine paired well with both the Chicken and Lamb entrees.
Keeling-Schaefer Syrah, 2007 This is a big wine with a nose of blackberry jam and vanilla wafer. In the mouth there is ripe blackberry, blueberry, plum, cinnamon, vanilla and toasty oak. This Syrah is full bodied with gripping tannins, a touch of earth and a long, smooth finish. I did enjoy this wine, however I would love to try it again after a few years in the cellar. This wine will pair well with lamb, beef or a stinky cheese.
Our entire evening at FnB was exceptional. The service and food were flawless and the cozy dining room was both classy and relaxing. We truly enjoyed getting to meet Chef Badman and Host Emily Milic ( Pavle was off with visiting family). Next month we will return to FnB to celebrate some birthdays! (yeah)