Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rosy's Corner ..Cranberries

From their farms to your table, cranberries can be used for more than just turkey. Here is one idea from "Rosy's Corner"....

and for more coverage on cranberries...

Cranberry Pastry

Frozen Pastry shells baked according to directions
1 bar of soft cream cheese
1) cup of chopped frozen cranberries
3) tablespoons of sugar (more if sweeter desired)
pinch of orange zest

top with some chopped cranberries

Monday, May 12, 2008

Wine a Question of Price?

Think you have to spend a whole lot of bucks or Euros for a good bottle of wine? Not so mon amis!

The French have been drinking what they call table wine or Vin de Table, I know because I have had my share, and everywhere I have been the Vin de Table they are talking about is made from a collection of the same grapes that grow in the same region you are in. They just aren't one grape or from one vineyard picked at one time in one region and bottled by one chateaus etc etc...

Yes there may be no consistency nor year, although current since they don't age well if at all, but in France they run around $2.00-5.00 and here you can find them for under $8.00 with some shopping. The trick is to chill them first then decant them, let them come up to room temperature unless you are in the tropics of course, and drink! Now I know that the wine aficionados taste buds are curling but table wine is a staple there and for most very good with dinner.

The bottle shown in this image is a perfect example. Under $7.00 at TotalWines
It taste very much like a beaujolais and a lot like the wines I had in various caves in France(except the grand masters of course). Now I am not saying that you will fool someone into thinking this is a Grand Margaux or Chateau Lafite Rothchild, but then again you will have some change left from that ten spot to buy some cheese and you won't have to wait for your tongue to try to distinguish all those fruits they talk about.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Rosy's Corner

Thai Chicken and Jasmine Rice

1 lb of chicken breast cut in to 1 inch pieces (you can also use chicken thighs)
1/2 small package of mushrooms (your choice)
1 small red pepper cut in to 1 inch pieces
1 small can of Geisha bamboo shoots
1 large clove of garlic minced
1 inch slice of onion chopped
1 can of coconut milk (Goya)
1/2 tsp of red curry (McCormick)
1/2 Tumeric (McCormick)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tablespoon of Wesson peanut oil
1 tablespoon of Tyling Naturals sesame oil
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh ginger
1/2 can of Lesueur peas

Saute the onion, garlic, red pepper, ginger, bamboo shoots in the peanut and sesame oil.
Once the onion is clear in color then add the mushrooms, red curry and Tumeric.
Let it boil then bring temperature down to medium until sauce gets thick. Set aside.
In the same pan, add the 1/2 tablespoon of sesame and peanut oil and fry the chicken
until golden brown. Once chicken is golden brown, add the sauce that was set aside.

For Jasmine rice

1 cup of Mahatma Jasmine rice
1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil
salt and pepper to taste

Take 2 cups of water, add a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper and a teaspoon of sesame oil.
Bring water to a boil, add 1 cup of rice and cover. Once the water has evaporated, lower
temperature to low and cook for about five (5 minutes) then turn the rice around and cook
for another five (5) minutes.

This dish feeds about four (4) people as a main course, but (6) people as an appetizer shown here

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Rosy's Corner

Rosy's Mango Colada

.................................................................recommended brands
1 cup mango juice ............................................(Looza)
*the pulp of 2 large mangoes

1/4 cup dark rum
.............................(Barcelo Anejo Dominican Rum)
1 tsp of pure vanilla extract...............................(Nielsen Massey)

1/2 pint of mango ice cream..............................(Hagen Dazs)

3 cups of ice.

In a blender mix all the ingredients except the ice.
* If the mangoes are not very sweet, you can add a little sugar.
Then add the ice little by little and blend until the mixture is frothy.

Pour and enjoy!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Rosy's Corner

Cilantro Shrimp in Plantain Cups

For shrimp

1 Lb shrimp
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 onion
2 small cloves of garlic
1 bay leaf
peanut oil
1/4 cup bitter orange
1 tbsp capers
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 small yellow pepper
1/2 small red pepper

Clean shrimp and set aside. Meanwhile,saute onion, garlic on 12 tbsp of peanut oil. Once onion is pale, add red pepper and yellow pepper. Rinse capers under water for a minute so it is not too salty then add to the pan. Then add the tomato sauce. Once it is simmered, add the chopped cilantro and the shrimp. Cook for about 3 more minutes

For plantain cups

3 green plantains cut in to 1 1/2 inches
peanut oil to cover the plantains

In a large pot or deep fryer, fry plantains until golden yellow. Set aside on paper towel until cooled. Once cooled place one plantain piece in to a small cup or jello mold. Take a pestle and press lightly until the desired cup shape. Take the cups and re-fry until golden brown. Once cups are done, take the desired amount of shrimp and sauce and add to cup

For rice

1 cup of white rice
2 cups water
salt and pepper to taste

Boil 2 cups of water, add salt and pepper and then the rice. Once the water is almost evaporated, cover rice and turn down heat to low. Cook for 7 minutes. Turn rice with spoon and cook for another 7 minutes.

Serve the plantain filled cups and put over a spoon of rice.


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Let's talk service

About a year ago we were visiting Carcassonne, France. A fabulous place in itself almost perfectly preserved medieval walled fortress town; where the Knights Templars were. Cool as it was, the best part was below in the real town where the current folk live and work. 

There in the town square where restaurants share space with their colorful branded tables and matching chairs was "Chez Felix" a family run place as most bars,bistros and restaurants are in France. This is what the American bistro scene is so desperately trying to mimic through the vision of how our corporate homogenizing system is  churning them out in malls across the country.

Where we go wrong and they get right is what this is all about...SERVICE.. intimate, professional, smooth. 

We sat at a table outside and away from the main bar among 20 other tables that were all served by one man, the one in this picture. Inside the bar tended by the owner, the kitchen by his wife and daughter and one more waiter an older man to care for the inside tables. Watching this operation and we did more than one day or night as well, was like watching a well rehearsed dance troupe onstage. They weren't running frantic, forgetting orders or parts of, didn't need a red flag waving to catch their attention. They weren't wearing some silly ass outfit with a colorful hat nor bringing us a balloon with Chez Felix on it. He didn't introduce himself with a big plastered grin , nor did he sit down next to me acting like my old  buddy as he took my order. He didn't engage me in some dopey ass conversation with that marketing approach of  " sell your personality" to make people feel the " XYZ Bistro" experience. He didn't try to entertain us every time he walked by. He wasn't there to make us like him.He was there to make us like the place we came to by offering us the most efficient,best and professional service and not getting in our way of enjoying each other.  

When we got the food, which over a few days we had it all, it was ace one as though my mother cooked it just for me and recently as well, not pre-made by a crew of zombies who on their own can't cut butter and slapped together by recent high school grads who were just trained in the kitchen one month ago and presto you're a chef. And when we finished, we sat there as long as we wished until we wanted something else,while all the time he had his attention on every table he had as he walked by, ready to serve whatever we wanted, a cognac,a coffee...he didn't asked every 2 minutes if we were done...which leads me to the real difference in service.

Good service is not coming over every time I put my hand down to rest and ask " May I take this away?" ...NO!!!  go away and let me swallow... nor is it asking me every two minutes " Can I get you something else?...nor throwing down the bill as I drink my coffee or sip a drink..

NEVER MIND WIPING THE TABLE in between...rare here... 

Price...did someone mention that as a quality comparison?  well the average check there was $20-25 with a glass of local wine and full meal.. 

Next time you are out in one of our bistros..count the their actions..listen to their banter.. and ask yourself, why isn't there a waiter training course, that teaches sensitivity of patrons, not amusement, attention with a relaxed, not hustle mode. Make servers professional ones, invest in them for a better return and not making a better return by saving a few bucks on that end. If you have a young staff, great but be demanding on them and have one pro-server play watchdog.. 

The dance between the front of the house and the back of the house is delicate, and for those of us who sit in the middle, we can pass off " I think I ordered the wrong thing" easier than, " the service sucks." 

A bistro/cafe shouldn't be just a burger joint with the fastest service around.  It should be place to go, when you have nothing in mind, just want to lay back, eat and talk to the ones at your table not the ones around it. 

Food?  well we can get to that another time...