Sunday, January 27, 2013

Birthday Week Breakfast Tom's Urban 24 - Denver

Birthday noshing should go on for a week at a minimum.    At the end of the week, I had a chance to catch up with a friend for breakfast.    We went to Tom's Urban 24 since neither of us had been there before.   
Going out for breakfast (and its close cousin, brunch) is a wonderful thing.   However, it involves mornings - most of the time.   Since you have to get up for work anyway, why not get up a little earlier and go out for breakfast?   You can try new places without the waits that hit the good breakfast places on the weekends.
Tom's has home made pop tarts on their menu.   Pop Tarts!!!
(did you hear that?)
These are not the sad, flat , processed tarts that I ate throughout college.  
This is hot breakfast pastry.  Raspberry in my case.  
My corned beef hash was also real tasty.
Another breakfast victory here in Denver!  
Long live coffee, breakfast and friends. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Birthday Dinner at Zengo - Denver

As if I needed another excuse to go out to eat...
I went to Zengo for my birthday earlier this week.    From start to finish, all I can say is amazing.
We tasted our way through the menu sharing everything.    Our journey of delicious included:
$5 Mojito Monday cocktails
Tasting of 2 ceviches (the bay scallop ceviche was killer!)
Tuna wonton tacos
Pork arepas
Caramelized plantains
Tagalog style churrasco steak (melt in your mouth - worthy of saying omg!)
What a way to celebrate!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sweet Potato and Chipotle Soup

It's almost too warm in Denver today for soup. Mid 40s and brightly sunny today. I spent the weekend up in the mountains. No new snow, but beautiful weather for skiing and socializing at Keystone.

The work week will be sneaking up before I know it, and I want an easy go-to for dinner later this week. Hello delicious soup (with only 156 calories per serving!).

What You Need
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoon jarred minced garlic
4 medium sweet potatoes (2lbs), peeled and cut into 1 inch slices
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo, chopped (this gave my soup quite a kick, so if you aren't sure how much chipotle love you want, start with 1/3 to 1/2 of a pepper)
7 cups low sodium chicken broth (I used bouillon powder and 7 cups of water)
reduced fat sour cream or goat cheese crumbles for garnish
tortilla chips for garnish

What You Do
In a large heavy pot/dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high. Add chopped onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook until onions begin to brown around the edges, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Add cumin and garlic and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Stir in sweet potatoes, chipotle chile, and broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a rapid simmer. Cook, partially covered, until sweet potatoes can be mashed easily with a spoon. For me that was about 25 minutes.

Let the soup cool slightly. You can use either a large food processor or your blender for this next step. You'll work in batches, putting soup in your processor or blender (max half full) and processing until smooth. Return the soup to the pot and puree another batch. You'll know you're done when your entire pot of soup is smooth and creamy.

Season with additional salt and/or pepper to taste.

Recipe Source: Everyday Food Light (courtesy of my local library)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Silver Dollar Sammies

(sometimes I'm not paying attention - thinking I posted this here, I posted over on Traveler for Good blog instead.    Travelers love pancakes too!)
The pancake is more versatile than you think. It's good for breakfast. It's good for dinner. You can use sweet ingredients, savory ingredients or both.

If you're ever looking for a vehicle to serve Biscoff spread, peanut butter, Nutella, or jelly (other than a spoon), a pancake is the way to go.

If it's just a snack for you, make a very small serving of pancake mix. For these little sammies, I used a half cup of dry pancake mix (Krusteaz Honey Wheat), and mixed with water until I had a nice, thin, smooth batter. It made 10 silver dollar pancakes - for 5 perfect little pancake sandwiches.

Heat up your griddle. Pour the batter using a 1 tablespoon measuring spoon. Grill until the pancake bubbles then flip it over. Once you take your little pancakes off the griddle, it's time to dress them up. I made mine using Biscoff spread and Lingonberry preserves.

They are delicious hot off the grill or the next morning for breakfast. And next time? I think they'll be delicious with some bacon. A PBB&J, if you will.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wild Eggs - Denver

I wish there was more time for brunching.  
Brunching by (my) definition:  Sleeping in and then meeting friends for breakfast, lunch and/or cocktails.    If only there were more days off in a week.  Sigh.
Our new brunch find this past week was Wild Eggs.     Two of us had the Kalamatie Katie's Benedict, and one had the breakfast nachos.   We also tried a piece of french toast.  
And a pancake.   We really had to.  
The restaurant is also running a contest here in Denver and each of their four restaurants will have a winner who orders the 4 millionth egg.   The person who does wins breakfast for a year.   The host said they think it will happen in the next month.   
How awesome would that be?    
Seriously.  I can't wait to go to brunch again.   Is is the weekend yet?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Lemon Pasta with Goat Cheese and Spinach

My job provides free meals.  
This is a beautiful thing.  Also, a money saver.  
Coffee.  Soda.   Juice.  Bagels.  Muffins.  Salad Bar.  Sandwich Makings.  Panini Grill.  Hot Entrees. 
When my sister moved to Denver and started her job, she needed to bring a lunch.    She looked around my kitchen.   Nothing.    
I didn't have anything suitable for packing a lunch.   I didn't make foods with a lot of leftovers.   For me, dinner only needed to last once.    I have since changed some of my cooking habits...
She took the leftovers of this pasta to work and her co-workers were impressed, "Do you always eat like this?"  The answer is no.   This pasta was colorful, savory and lots of flavor going on...the veritable party in your mouth. 
If you aren't a big cilantro or parsley fan, start small.   You can always add a little more. 
If you love lemon, add some additional zest or juice. 
What You Need
1 box whole grain penne - prepare per box instructions, don't use any oil
4 oz fresh goat cheese
1 10oz bag of frozen spinach, thawed and drained (fresh spinach would probably be amazing)
3 cups fresh parsley, chopped
2 cups fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
pecan halves and shaved Parmesan for garnish
What You Do
Boil your water and cook the penne per package instructions.   Before you drain the water, reserve two cups of the hot pasta water.     Drain your pasta into a strainer.
In the same pot, pour in one cup of the pasta water and add the 4 oz of goat cheese.   Stir over medium.   Add pasta, spinach, parsley, cilantro, lemon zest and juice.   This will create the sauce for your pasta.  Return the pasta to the pot.   If you need/want to, add the second cup of water that you reserved.   Season with salt, pepper and/or lemon pepper to taste.
Garnish with pecan halves and shaved Parmesan.

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