Monday, May 27, 2013

Cook Club: Week 22

Dad didn't go back to Colorado this weekend so we met up for dinner.  Dad happened to choose a place called Brio Tuscan Grill - a place which I have not had the pleasure of eating at yet (although I've wanted to since my mom and I ate at the Blue Baker next door).  I had the Pasta Verona and positively loved it.  My dad had a salad which looked delicious and Shawn had the lasagna, which he said was lacking in tomato sauce, but otherwise was good.  As I was still hungry after my meal, I ordered the desert trio which included bread pudding, creme brulee and cheesecake.  All were delicious.  The only downside of Brio is that it is a bit on the pricey side - about $3 more than what Olive Garden charges, or about the same price as Magiano's, but with a smaller serving size.  Still, the pasta I had was good enough that I will most definitely be eating there again.

Cook Club: Week 21

Matt's El Rancho

Man - I like this place.  Ever since Casa Garcia's was razed to build some condos or something, we've had a lack of Mexican food lunches at work.  Thankfully someone (I think it was Jameson since he was on his "TexMex vision quest" in which he ate TexMex every day for a week in order to figure out his spirit animal a la Homer in the Simpsons.  Long story short, his spirit animal is a lightbulb) recommended Matt's El Rancho.  I don't even remember what I had, but it was good.  And that's good enough for me to actually want to go back, which means it's good enough for me to recommend to others. 

Cook Club: Week 20

New recipes this week:
Buttermilk Bleu Cheese salad dressing
Katniss Approved Buttermilk Biscuits
Woman's Day Oven-fried Chicken

It's a buttermilk based meal! 

First up, the dressing:  As with most homemade bleu cheese dressings, it takes a while for it to taste of bleu cheese.  I actually liked the dressing by the second day - Shawn didn't like it until day 3 or 4 (and even then, he would prefer the storebought variety).

Next, the buttermilk biscuits:  The recipe recommends serving these with chilli, and I agree, they would be great with chilli. They are quick and easy to make, so that's always a plus.  The biggest problem is that the recipe makes a crapload of biscuits - I halved the recipe and still had more than enough for the two of us.

Finally, the chicken:  The chicken recipe is quicker than the one from America's Test Kitchen, but only because this one doesn't require any marinating in the buttermilk (the chicken is just brushed with it).  The only downfall of this recipe is that the cornflaked chicken sits directly on the pan so the bottom of the chicken gets soggy/mushy - something that is easily solved by putting the chicken on a rack on the cookie sheet.  I think I liked the ATK version a little better - if only because I prefer the flavor of the hot sauce over the flavor of cayenne pepper.

Cook Club: Week 19

Shawn went out of town for a few days (for a Linux conference at the NYSE) so I had dinner with my dad.  We ate at Lucy's Fried Chicken.  For being a friend chicken place, you'd expect to have more than "Bucket of Fried Chicken", "4-piece basket served hot" and "4-piece basket served cold."  We both ordered the 4-piece basket served hot.  It was good, but I wouldn't consider it $10 good.  Especially when side dishes aren't included.  As it's not a meal without a side dish (never mind that when I cook, I rarely make side dishes), I ordered the potato salad.  The salad had a very smokey flavor to it - it was one of those weird flavors where you take a bite and say "oh, this is interesting...I think I like it" and then by the fourth bite you're like "nope, I'm pretty sure I don't like this."

Would I eat there again?  Sure.  Will I be racing back there to eat?  Probably not.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Cook Club: Week 18

Sweet Chili Chicken Tacos!

Another pre-marinated product that the HEB carries is a "sweet chili chicken breast." Having never had it before, I assumed it would be spicy.  It is not. It is, however, sweet.  We had the same HEB Flour Tortillas (mentioned in the last post), sour cream, and cheese.  We also made some spanish rice to make ourselves essentially little sweet Freebirds tacos.  These weren't quite as good as the Yucatan Chicken Tacos, but they were pretty decent - especially when a few dabs of hot sauce are added.  While I didn't necessarily love the tacos, I'm not sure that I would have preferred to eat the chicken by itself either since I think I'd get tired of that sweet flavor pretty quick...Maybe a stirfry is a better option...

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Cook Club: Week 17

Yucatan Tacos!

So HEB makes a prepackaged marinated chicken breast called "Yucatan chicken."  It is essentially chicken which has been marinated in El Pato tomato sauce.  We also purchased the HEB brand premade flour tortillas where all you have to do is cook them in a cast iron skillet.  We also had mashed avocado, sour cream, and cilantro.  Yum yum.  They were very good.  It is easier than doing the whole 'marinate in El Pato yourself' thing, but not so much easier that it's worth paying more to get the pre-marinated stuff.  So yes, we may have them again, or I may just marinate the meat myself.