Thursday, February 28, 2013

Brunch at Angelo's

If you've ever been to Ann Arbor, you've probably already been to this place. Or at least heard of it.
But you'll also know how delicious the food is, so you'll still want to scroll down and look at the delicious pictures.
Am I right?

I thought so.
This week, Mallory and I decided to take advantage of a last-minute class cancellation to go to Angelo's for a late brunch. At 11:30, we hiked through the freezing rain (which later turned to hail, which turned into a winter storm, which made Ann Arbor look like get the idea) to get to the holy grail of diner food.
Sitting very close to the north edge of campus, Angelo's is a classic breakfast and lunch spot that specializes in homemade raisin toast and amazing fried potatoes. During freshman year, my dorm didn't have a cafeteria, so I spent most weekends ordering buckets of eggs and potatoes from this place to feed my breakfast food cravings.

Within minutes, we were drowning in warm mugs of coffee, being refreshed at an amazingly fast pace by our excellent waiter, and mulling over the menu.

After 30 seconds, we both admitted that we'd already looked up the menus online and made our decisions ahead of time.
Food is serious business, and preparation is key.
Mallory chose an spinach and egg white omelette with dry whole wheat toast.

I opted for the same thing that I always carried out in my younger days - two eggs, scrambled, with breakfast potatoes and buttered raisin toast.

Look at that forced smile, I can barely stand to pose for a picture long enough for it to be taken because I'm so eager to start eating.
But can you blame me? Look at this glorious plate.

Pure. Bliss.
I absolutely LOVE the breakfast potatoes here. I'm such a breakfast potato snob, and I can honestly say that these are some of the best I've had. 
And don't forget the toast. The toast is important.

Mallory and I munched away for an hour or so, getting spoiled with continuous coffee refills as we chatted about the Oscars and remained safely out of the rain. I wish I could spend every morning enjoying such a feast.
If you like the look of Angelo's, or if you haven't stopped in for awhile, I highly recommend popping in during the late morning on a weekday. Angelo's is usually incredibly busy on weekends and have a wait to sit down, but Mallory and I were one of 4 or 5 tables in the restaurant the entire time we were there. Trust me, it's worth taking a weekday morning off to treat yourself.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Salsa Verde Eggs

My friend Katie and I are two of the biggest foodies you'll ever meet. Our conversations are usually a giant verbal recipe swap. Discussing new ways to use seasonal ingredients and sharing tips and tricks for revamping classic dishes are common themes.
Basically, we like food, and we're not afraid to say it.
Recently, Katie and I were discussing eggs.
Eggs are one of my favorite things to eat. They're incredibly versatile, filling, go great with coffee, and cheap cheap cheap.
And fortunately, Katie was kind enough to share with me one of her favorite ways to revamp plain breakfast eggs.
Introducing, Salsa Verde Eggs:

Simple, spicy, and easy, this dish is my new go-to breakfast.

To make one serving, you will need:

dab butter
2 eggs
a dash of milk
salt & pepper
3-4 tablespoons salsa verde
one handful shredded queso cheese

Start by heating a pan on medium heat. Place a dab of butter on the pan.
Mix your eggs in a bowl with the milk, salt, and pepper.

Pour your eggs into the pan and let them cook, untouched. Just as the bottom of the eggs begin to set, sporadically pour your salsa verde into the egg mixture (if you have any on-hand, this is also a great time to add some broken up tortilla chips to your eggs). Scramble your eggs until cooked. Top with cheese.

Spicy. Cheesy. Delicious.
Thanks Katie!

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Olga's Kitchen Broccoli Soup

When I was younger, I worked as a hostess at Olga's Kitchen.
The job sucked up the majority of my summer. It was one of those jobs where the hours are right in the middle of the day, generally 11 am - 9 pm, which meant that I spent my evenings staying up until 4 am and sleeping in until 10:30 or 11:30. I had more than a few "bad days." And to top it all off, I hated all of the food there.
Well, almost all of it.
Amidst the entire menu, there was one item that I will admit to liking, and, actually craving.
Broccoli soup.
Smooth, creamy, delicious, (and probably full of butter), it was my salvation through long days of work. 
While I refuse to go back to my old working establishment, I've been able to make a fairly easy copycat version with 1/2 the fat and twice the joy.

To make enough of this soup for you and a friend, you will need: 

¼ cup chopped onion
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup finely chopped fresh or frozen broccoli
1 bay leaf (optional)
3/4 cup milk
½ teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Saute onion in butter until tender. Add flour, stirring well. 

Pour in your chicken broth, bay leaf, salt, pepper, and white pepper. Next, add you broccoli. To do this, grab your florets and a very sharp paring knife. Saw across the tops of your broccoli, like you're shaving off the little buds, letting them fall into the pot.

When the tops are all gone, saw some of the stems off too so you have some texture to your soup.

Turn the heat up to high and bring the soup to a boil for 1-2 minutes, or until broccoli is bright green and tender. 

Reduce heat and remove bay leaf. Stir in milk. If the soup isn't to your desired thickness level, stir in 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Enjoy immediately with a thin piece of italian bread drizzled with olive oil.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013


As a food-lover, I'm constantly on Pinterest pinning new recipes, following other food bloggers, browsing epicurious, and checking for tips from the professionals. When online recipes are so easy to attain, it's quite common for those who frequently cook to not own a single cookbook. Online recipes are faster, more abundant, and, most importantly, free.
But there's still something to be said for owning an actual cookbook. Feeling the pages in your hands, and staring at 8x10 images of culinary masterpieces.
Call me old-fashioned, but I like my books.
Which is why, several months ago, I decided to order a book from one of my favorite chefs, Jamie Oliver. Jamie's Italy, his Italian cookbook, is filled with deliciously authentic Italian recipes that take the cook and his/her tastebuds through a culinary journey.
I tried out one of his recipes this weekend, updated to suit my needs/tastes, and since it turned out so delicious, I figured I'd share it. This caponata is an Italian eggplant stew that relies on simple ingredients to pack a lot of flavor.

Delicious veggies that will fill you up and make you feel good. What's not to love?

To make around 2 servings of this dish, grab the following ingredients.

olive oil
1 large eggplant, chopped into thick chunks
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
salt & pepper
one small red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, stems and leaves chopped
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2-3 large ripe tomatoes, chopped into chunks
1 handful slivered almonds
freshly grated parmesan cheese

Start by heating some olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the eggplant, oregano, and some salt. Cook for 4-5 minutes on medium-high until eggplant is browned, tossing the chunks around every now and then to coat evenly with oil. 

Add the onion and garlic to the pan. Grab half of your chopped parsley mixture and toss that in too. Cook 1-2 minutes and add more oil as needed. Add your vinegar, cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Toss in your tomatoes and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes until tomatoes are softened. Finally, toss in some pepper, the rest of your parsley mixture, and the almonds and stir to combine. Pile your veggies onto a plate and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Bravo! You've just created a low-cal authentic Sicilian dish!

If you like this style of cooking, check out Jamie's cookbook here for more recipes. I promise, you won't be disappointed!

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Prickly Pear

Despite my bests efforts to tell myself otherwise, the semester is in full swing, job recruiting is at critical mass, and midterms are just around the corner.
So, what better time than to take a night off with your friends?
Clearly, Matt, Maggie, and Sophie all had the same thought.
Our venue of choice was a small stop on the southmost edge of main street: The Prickly Pear.

Any place that serves free chips and salsa is alright in my book.

My friends thinks so too!

Matt and Sophie modeling the menu.

Social media maven Maggie and me (mid-facestuff).

It didn't take too long for us to barrel through two rounds of chips and salsa before our delicious entrees hit the table.

I went for the evening's special: sweet corn tamales half covered in mole sauce, half covered in pumpkin cheese sauce.

Maggie opted for the crab cake meal:

While Sophie and Matt each got the enchilada platter, with one sweet potato enchilada and one spinach and cheese enchilada.

Sophie being an instagram whiz.

We munched on rice, beans, chips, and tortillas and congratulated each other on our recent employments.
While going out to eat on a weeknight isn't always common procedure, I find restaurants to be less busy, which means you and your table have more time to chat and relax. There's nothing I hate more than feeling rushed to leave a restaurant early.
Moral of the story: if you want a lengthy and delicious Mexican meal, Prickly Pear (particularly on a weeknight) is your one-stop spot.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

White Bean and Kale Soup

I know, I know. Another soup recipe.
But I can't help it.
The weather here is changing faster than the seasons. Literally. And when I walk home in a chilly breeze, there's nothing I'd rather whip up than a steaming  pot of soup.
Besides, this recipe is so simple and delicious, anyone could make it. 

(p.s. it involves bacon)

Are you sold yet?
If so, then grab these ingredients:

6 slices bacon, 3 chopped, 3 whole
1 small onion, diced
3 carrots, cut into medallions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt 
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 cups chicken broth
6 cups water
1 1/2 cups small shell pasta
1 15-oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups kale, torn into 1-inch squares
fresh grated parmesan cheese

Adapted from the Food Network Kitchens.

Start by heating your chopped bacon in the bottom of a large pot over medium heat until crispy.
While you're waiting, cook the other three strips in the microwave. Eat.
When the bacon is crispy and the bottom of your pot is full of grease, add your onion and saute. Add garlic, carrots, tomato paste, thyme, salt, and peppers and saute for several minutes.

Add your chicken broth and water, then turn the heat up to high. Once the liquid starts to boil, add your pasta. Cook for five minutes, then turn heat down to low and add your kale. Let mixture simmer and thicken for 7 minutes. Stir in grated cheese to taste.

Pour into a bowl, and top with - you guessed it - more grated cheese!

Delicious, filling, and oh-so-easy.

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Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Black Pearl

Nope, I'm not talking about the well-loved Johnny Depp movie.
I'm talking about the well-loved restaurant on Main Street.

My parents popped over for a visit, and, always in the mood to try new restaurants (like parents like daughter), they booked a table at The Black Pearl.

I didn't know too much about the place before we went, only that it was known for its seafood and extensive martini list. Boy, are they serious about their drinks here. Just check out the bar.

With a tight and concise dinner menu, The Black Pearl is a small place that specializes in delicious and unique seafood. What they do, they do very well. Like this delicious shrimp guacamole appetizer:

So simple, yet so delicious. And with some seriously kick-ass guacamole.

For our entrees, my dad got the mahi mahi.

(sorry for the blur, but I can't ask my dad to withhold digging into his meal for more than a couple of seconds)

Mom got caramel apple salmon (like I said, unique and delicious)

And my choice of the night was the Pasta Gone Bayou. An enormous bowl of penne pasta, andouille sausage, crawfish, shrimp, and chicken smothered in a garlic cream sauce. Served with grilled bread (side note: grilling bread gives it an AMAZING smokey flavor).

And as much as I loved the dinner, I'm a sucker for dessert. Especially when the dessert is a molten lava cake.
I know nearly every restaurant tries to make a lava cake. Even Olive Garden has one. So I'm going to forego describing this one and just let the picture speak 1000 words.



Brownie batter.

Enough said.

Food coma.


(seriously, this place is worth it just for the cake. I recommend stopping in for drinks and dessert at the bar! Or a full meal if you're feeling particularly in the mood for seafood.)

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Thai Fresh Noodles

I will start off by saying that this recipe is ridiculously easy.
Technically, there's no actual cooking involved, unless you count boiling water as "cooking." And even that step can be avoided depending on the type of noodles you buy.
Basically, if you're the type of person that likes quick and tasty meals, this is the recipe for you.

Inspired by traditional Thai cuisine, this noodle dish is full of fresh flavors and healthy foods. 
A noodle dish you won't feel guilty about?
Yes, it exists.

To make this guilt-free dish, grab these ingredients
(recipe adapted from Food Network Kitchens)

4-5 oz rice noodles
1 medium cucumber, sliced
8 grape tomatoes, sliced
juice of 2 small limes
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon minced ginger
red pepper flakes
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup mint leaves, torn

Cook your noodles as directed on the package. This is where some slight cooking might come in, because most rice noodles require you to boil water and pour it over the noodles to soften them. But you can also buy pre-cooked noodles in water.

Next, whisk together your lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, minced ginger, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (to taste) in a large bowl. Add your noodles. Toss to combine. Add the cucumber slices, tomato slices, almonds, and mint leaves. Toss again.

If necessary, add more red pepper flakes to up the spice content (depending on how much heat you can take).

And that's it!

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