Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

As a thank you from Peak of Chic, I received a lovely little parcel from Atlanta. It contained some yummy goodies from Bella Cucina, Artful Food. I am a devout fan of pesto and I now was in posession of jars of artichoke lemon pesto and sun-dried tomato pesto.
The artichoke pesto was bright-tasting with just a hint of the lemon's sharpness. The sun-dried tomato pesto tasted like summer! Clear and clean tomato flavours along with a good olive oil and just a hint of garlic. I served the pestos with "home-made" flour tortilla chips and had some water biscuits so as not to compete with the pestos' stronger taste.

This afternoon, my siblings are meeting up at our mother's house to celebrate Christmas a little late. I've been tasked with bring the starters, so tried my hand at making sun-dried tomato pesto.

It's simple... a jar of sun-dried tomatos, good olive oil, garlic, parmesan cheese and pignoli. Actually, I skipped the nuts since my brother's allergic. Just put everything into the food processor and whiz it until it's a pasty texture. Make sure you add the oil from the tomatos because that will deepen the taste.
As for the chips, just buy either flour or corn tortilla flats from the store - you can get them anywhere these days. I got mine at the local Giant. Cut them into wedges and brush with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 13 minutes at 300 F. The corn chips will be crunchier than the flour ones.

Dip. Eat. Enjoy. Repeat.

Check back soon for our oyster-eating adventures... a 25-year saga, and also Hoppin' John for New Years.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Sweeney Todd

This is kind of food-related... We saw Sweeney Todd at the Charles last night. My advice is eat before you go to see it, because you won't have any appetite at all after it's done.

I can barely watch TV commercials for razorblades because I am sure someone is going to nick themselves and bleed, I am just that squeemish. Why I thought seeing this movie would be a good idea, I don't know. I'd seen the stage production and remembered the great music and some of the funny lines. They removed the signature song from the movie, but the remaining songs were great. Of course, they're Stephen Sondheim, so they would be.

Although the film's ostensibly in colour, it looks black and white. Very dark, very gloomy, very deep. I was interested to see how they portrayed London's Fleet Street area, too. I have a friend who worked for solicitors there and I know the area a bit.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Clayton's Update

I heard last night that Clayton's, which I wrote about in September, has closed. I don't think that they could ever make up their minds what they wanted to be - a regular bar, a wine bar or a club. Our meal there was good, but the service was shockingly slow.

I, and lots of other people, wish they would bring back Sean Bolan's! It was just a great little place in the "Cheers" tradition of everyone knowing your name.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wally World on Wash Blvd.

I hate Wal*Mart, but since it's the closest place to go for stuff like dogfood, printer cartridges, paper towels, and the like, I do go there sometimes. But I realllly hate the one in Port Covington, even though it's rarely crowded. I have behaved more badly there than any place I've ever been because of sheer frustration with the stupidity of the people who work there.

Like the time I put an Rx in and when I went back to get it, the desk wasn't open. So I went back the next day. They made me pay full price, because my insurance had expired the day before. Or the time the two women in front of me in the "12 Items or fewer" lane had more than 40 items between them. When I commented on it to the cashier, she got in my face about being racist.

So when T told me about a new W*M near the Home Depot on Washington Boulevard by I-695, I thought I'd mosey on down there, since I had to go to HD anyway. The new W*M is HUGE - measuring in acres, rather than square feet. It's got a full grocery store there and a Subway in the place. It's got more sections that you can believe.
But this pretty much summed up the experience for me.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Nick's Fish House

Last night was a rare opportunity to have dinner with friends who divide their time between Baltimore and Chicago and we wanted to go somewhere fun. Unfortunately, so did the 70,000 people who'd been to the Army/Navy game earlier in the afternoon. After much calling around Kit managed to find us a table at Nick's Fish House.

I have mixed feelings about Nick's... the owner is an old friend and the location is right on the water of the lovely Middle Branch of the Patapsco River (which sounds nicer than it is...), but in any season but high summer, the inside of the restaurant isn't a warm place in any sense of the word. I've also had some horrible meals there, but some good ones, too.

I was pretty surprised that Nick's wasn't packed after the game, and on a Saturday night, too. But we had a big round table, and a great waiter.
We started with a dozen Chincoteague oysters, some mussels steamed in garlic and a bowl of oyster stew. Now oyster stew only has four ingredients (cream, oysters & juice, salt and butter), but it can be watery and horrible and some people even add celery. This was a nice thick stew with lots of oysters in it, added at the right time, so as to be plump, but not rubbery. I LOVE raw oysters, and take the opportunity to eat them in the "R" months. These were small, but briney and good.
Everyone but me had a fish dish, including salmon, cod, catfish and rock. I had something called a Tiara (which was perfect for moi!) which was grilled veggies on foccacia bread. Everyone ate every bit of their fish and raved about it. We got pies for dessert and the waiter talked Kit into trying an espresso vodka, which she shared with Mr. Chicago... All in all, one of the better meals at Nick's.