Monthly Archives: May 2017

Purple Basil doesn’t make Pretty Pesto and Pesto Recipe

 

Pesto make with Purple Basil

Pesto make with Purple Basil

I got a great big bunch of purple basil from the farmer’s market. It was so beautiful and I used some in a delicious salad and I thought with the leftover I’d make a purple pesto. Well I just found out that when you blend purple basil it turns a dark muddy green.

Oh well…

I made a basic pesto with an added roasted red pepper. It taste delicious and you might want to make it with regular green basil instead.

Ingredients for around four servings

2 cups basil leaves – packed

1 roasted red pepper – stem, seeds, skin removed and rough chopped

2 garlic cloves grated

2 oz pine nuts – toasted – I put in a 225 degree F oven till they got some color…10-15 minutes

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup pecorino cheese – shredded

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Optional up to a half cup water – the pesto will come out very thick, It is good that way but I like it thinner. Most people will just add more olive oil but I prefer to use as little oil as possible.

Directions Just Blend!

Pesto make with Purple Basil

Pesto make with Purple Basil

Latter I made a more traditional style pesto with regular basil leaves.

I didn’t measure but what we have here are a lot of basil leaves, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, pine nuts, parmesan, course sea salt and (don’t tell……..) a little sugar to highlight the sweet basil taste.

 The Forking Truth

The Forking Truth

 

NEW WEIRD DifferRent and Special Edition Foods out There May 2017

 

There is ALWAYS something New, Weird, Different or Special Edition in the world of foods out there. I never know what I’ll see when I go to a store. Here are NEW Cinnamon Pebbles Cereal. Sounds good…I’d try it if I ate boxed cereal.

Limited Edition Strawberry Cheerios….?

New Carrot Cake Creation Yogurt……Don’t know????????????

Here are Cauliflower Puffs, Brussels Sprouts Puffs and….

Asparagus Chips….I was going to try one of them but I noticed they have similar nutrition to potato chips so I changed my mind …..but they sound healthy.

Pesto Potato Chips from Italy…Sounds yummy.

 

Real Truffle Potato Chips from Italy…Yes I did!

Gold Fish Crackers have been around forever…..I don’t recall the Saltine version…..or maybe I just forgot it?

WOW! Spaced Out Goldfish Crackers!

Pizza Bagels….these do have an appealing aroma. They made me hungry in the store.

Pop-tarts toaster pastry in Dunkin Donuts Flavors of Chocolate Mocha and Vanilla Latte.

More Pop-tarts in Chocolatey Caramel and Blue Raspberry.

Girl Scouts Cookies made into Cereal in the Caramel Crunch Flavor.

Chocolate Strawberry Oreo’s

Limited Edition Hostess Cup Cakes Ice Cream….

Buddy is famous for his family bakery called Carlo’s Bakery and his TV Show called Cake Boss where the losing contestants are told, “Off to the box truck baby” Now The Cake Boss commercially sells Dog Treats….I actually went to purchase the dog biscotti or the dog cannoli but all they had left were the biscuits.

NEW! Habanero Lime Topper….Sounds delicious but noticed many chemicals and weird things in the ingredients…… ­čÖü

Chick Peas are flavored snacks these days. Here are Bombay flavored and Falafel flavored Chick Peas.

Here’s Korean BBQ Chick Peas. I never imagined coming across Korean BBQ Chick Peas.

I think it’s odd to flavor Walnuts with Honey Mustard but these honey mustard walnuts might be tasty in a salad?

The FORKING Weirdest thing I came across was just Forked up.

That’s FORKED UP!

I came across these bags marked bananas……

Well that was the New, Weird, Different and Special Edition for May 2017. Who knows WTFork I’ll see next month.

The Forking Truth

Match Cuisine at the FOUND:RE Phoenix AZ Not Perfect but a most INTERESTING Experience

 

Match Cuisine & Cocktails is located in the Boutique Hotel called the FOUND:RE in down town Phoenix AZ. This small hotel is really part art museum that displays a mostly changing gallery of unique artwork.

 

This new restaurant Match Cuisine & Cocktails is sort of new again as they have a new chef that is introducing new menu items. I thought this would be an interesting pick for restaurant week and it was…….

We arrived slightly early for our reservation so we were asked to sit in the lounge.

We were hoping to partake in some happy hour food and drink since we rarely ever take advantage of that anywhere.

I didn’t notice any reduced pricing on any of the food but did notice a couple dollars off on a few drinks I wasn’t interested with so we walked around looking at the artworks some more.

Interactive Projection on the floor

We do get seated with menus and both decide to order off the restaurant week menu.

They start us off with wines that pair expertly well with our appetizers.

My Farm House Salad might have been the most detailed salad I ever had anywhere. It must have contained about 50 ingredients. The salad was packed with a whole farm of local shaved baby vegetables, flowers, different sauces, dehydrated items gelled things and even more. It was like a journey around the world with changing seasons. It sure was Forking Interesting. Every bite did taste different. My husband had Fire Roasted Oysters with Chinese Pork Sausage, Takana, Miso Custard and Smoked Soy. It was so different he didn’t know how he felt about it.

Dinner was….Whole Deboned Roasted Sea Bream with Pardon Peppers, Olives, Tomato, Arugula, Fennel and Burnt Lemon Vinaigrette and Wood Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Morels (served after we noticed they were missing), Salted New Potatoes, Ramps and Burnt Carrot Madeira Reduction.

My Fish seemed fresh as could be…..and didn’t taste like most fish you get in Phoenix….more like fresh like fish from California or fresh fish sent to Las Vegas……It was a very large portion that was prepared reasonably well. The only problem was the timing of arrival. My plate arrived well after the fish was prepared and it was near cold…..I figure I took too long eating the salad so the timing was off. My plate also came with a truck full of vegetables. One of the vegetables were the best Heirloom Tomatoes I had in some time. They were so good that if there was such a thing as Jesus these tomatoes I had would make hime weep….Best tomatoes ever! I ate too much and was very full. My husband had the Beef Tenderloin Platter. Even he said the beef was good and he really thought the Ramps were interesting but even more interesting was the Burnt Carrot Madeira Reduction. I think he liked his plate but for him the portion was small. Both dinners also came with generous wine pairings that were amazing with the food.

For dessert we both had the Chocolate Pot de Creme. It was presented in a very non-traditional way.

A sweet ending to an interesting meal.

www.MatchPHX.com

Worth a Fork! Not Perfect but the highest quality fresh ingredients presented in an interesting or non-traditional way…

The Forking Truth is that your experience may or may not differ and everything is subject to change.

The Forking Truth

The Ultimate Cauliflower Dish Recipe

 

The Ultimate Cauliflower Dish

How does slow roasted till sweet cauliflower sound? Topped with dates, creamy mild feta, ┬ápickled jalape├▒os, toasted almonds and fresh herbs sound? …….The salad sits on a tasty bed of whipped seasoned cauliflower and tahini with a little urfa pepper punch?…..All together it is Forking Amazing. It’s a combination of inspirations I experienced at two very good restaurants. Locally famous and James Beard Nominated FnB Restaurant in Scottsdale AZ and the very memorable foods I tried at Multi Awards Wining Zahav Restaurant in Philadelphia PA (that just won ***the James Beard 2017 most outstanding chef award). So memorable I remember much of the food 2 years after I’ve been there. These flavors all together are delicious and amazing. This dish is inspired by my visit(s) to the two restaurants.

Ingredients for about 8 servings

2 large heads of cauliflower

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (1/4 cup in two different spots in the recipe)

fresh ground sea salt – to taste

fresh ground black pepper to taste

1 cup tahini – must be fresh and pourable

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup water (use as needed you might need slightly less)

1/2 teaspoon urfa pepper (or more to taste)

8 Tablespoons toasted almonds (in slices or slices or crushed)

8 dates – chopped

8 Tablespoons crumbled feta – it must be a creamy not tart kind of sheep’s milk feta or substitute goat cheese

8 Tablespoons pickled jalape├▒o with carrots and onions – preferably MY recipe that’s posted on this site or very good pickled jalape├▒o you purchased from a farmer’s market.

1/4 cup fresh parsley – chopped

1/4 cup fresh cilantro – chopped

1/4 cup scallions – chopped

8 pinches of sumac – one pinch a serving for finishing

Directions

Set the oven to 350 degrees F.

Break down the cauliflower into florets and place on baking sheets and drizzle with the olive oil.

Place in oven. At 30 minutes check the cauliflower and rotate pans.

Leave in the oven maybe 15 more minutes or until the cauliflower has a nice color.

Season the hot cauliflower with fresh crushed sea salt and black pepper to taste.

When cool enough to handle remove about one quarter of the cauliflower and chop.

Put the chopped cauliflower in your blending container.

Add lemon juice, tahini, water, 1/4 cup olive oil and urfa pepper and blend.

To serve start with a nice smear of the cauliflower whip.

Top with cauliflower.

To each serving add a Tablespoon each of almonds, dates, feta, pickled jalape├▒os a pinch of each herb and a finishing pinch of sumac.

The Ultimate Cauliflower Dish

This is forking scrumptious! My husband hates dates and tahini but even he said all together it was delicious.

The Forking Truth

Dining with Dogs in Metro Phoenix AZ May 2017

 

“I’m off to Humble Pie Near Glendale AZ

Dining with dogs is just a “Fluff” story about taking my dogs out to eat. We usually go to very casual places that aren’t too far away from home. There are some rules to dine with dogs. Dogs are to be kept near your side. Dogs are not to sit on restaurant furniture and dogs are not to eat off restaurant plates. It’s usually a good idea to dine with dogs on off times to avoid diners that don’t want to eat with dogs. In Metro Phoenix most restaurants do have patios but NOT ALL patios are dog friendly. It’s recommended to call a restaurant first before you dine there with your furry friend because on occasion dog friendly patios sometimes turn non-dog friendly and sometimes the patio might be already booked for a party.

This week we have unseasonably hot temperatures in Phoenix so we needed to dine as early as possible to avoid the screaming high temperatures. We decided to dine at Humble Pie. They have a covered patio with fans and it’s quite comfortable. The pizzas are thin and sort of crisp the cheese is hand pulled. Humble Pie also offers one of the best Lunch Deals in Town. Choice one of several salads and a generous lunch size pizza for just under $10.00. You get BOTH a NICE Salad and a PIZZA for only $10.00!

“Ummmmm what am I getting here”

We both got lunch specials and we started with a chopped salad and a gorgonzola and strawberry salad. The both salads are very good. At many places in Scottsdale these salads alone would cost more than what we are paying for that includes a good pizza.

“The Strawberries taste sweet and fresh farm picked and not like those cardboard strawberries from the supermarket.”

Soon our pizzas arrive.

Crust is thin with a nice crisp. The sauce is concentrated and sweet. The hand pulled cheese is melty and milky and the fresh basil is the perfect accent.

“I did alright at Humble Pie!.”

www.HumblePieUSA.com

“I’m off to Pita Kitchen in Glendale AZ”

“My folks and me like the salads from Pita Kitchen” Pita Kitchen is a small casual Greek Style Restaurant.”

“I got to try Chicken and Gyro.”

“All was tasty to me.” “I did alright and it was great getting away from that Forking little runt that now lives in my house.” “I think I hate him.” I wish my old man was still here…..as he was perfect.” “I loved him.”…..”even if he didn’t show love back to me he still was perfect and a perfect gentleman at all times……I really miss him.”

This is the one that she called a “runt.”……….”Not ready for the Dining with Dogs team yet.”

“I’m off to Oscar’s Pier 83 in Glendale AZ” “Woo hoo without the Forking Runt.”

Oscar’s Pier 83 serves up a variety of fried fish and some other items. Today I went with the Ahi Tuna Salad. They gave me a large tomato, hard boiled eggs, crisp romaine a few other veggies and a generous portion of Ahi Tuna.

My husband had the Battered Cod Platter.

“It’s not fancy food but I enjoyed everything my folks would let me eat.”

www.OP83.com

“I’m on my way to Leo’s Island BBQ in Peoria AZ.” “Again without the Forking runt…WOO…HOO!”

Leo’s Island BBQ specializes in the Hawaiian Plate Lunch. The typical Hawaiian Plate Lunch is lots of meat, a double serving of rice and creamy macaroni salad served in a styrofoam container. They offer around 30 choices and pricing runs on average less than $10.00.

I had a non-typical order today and got the BBQ Chicken Salad.

It isn’t fancy but does contain lots of chicken for sharing. It’s really only fast food priced and far better than what I’d get from a fast food joint.

My husband got the BBQ Pork and Chicken Lunch Plate.

“Whoa, lots of meat here…I’m not leaving hungry.”

www.LeosIslandBBQ.com

Hopefully our newest arrival will be able to join the Dining with Dogs Team Soon.

He’s just now learning how to ride in the car.

“Don’t worry folks I got this down.” ┬á“I’ll be Forking Dining with Dogs in no Time!” “I’ll be Forking dining out next week!” “I had this down a month ago but nobody knew yet!”

That was Dining with Dogs in May 2017. We hope to see you next month!

The Forking Truth

In Memory of Louie 5-5-2001 – 3-3-2017

 

Baked Skinny Bean Nacho Poppers with Millet Crust Recipe Idea

 

Baked Skinny Bean Nacho Poppers with Millet Crust

These poppers are very easy and quick to make. They are mini sweet baby bell peppers that were stuffed with fat free vegetarian refried beans, ┬ásmall pieces of cheese and jalape├▒o and seasoned millet. The millet makes a light healthy, crispy crust. Millet is also easy to prepare as it’s similar to rice. All you do is heat the millet in a sauce pan on medium slightly higher heat for 5 minutes till it has color and has an aroma. Then you add either water or stock just like rice two cups liquid to one cup millet. Bring to boil and then reduce to simmer and cover. 20 minutes latter fluff with a fork. They come out pretty light and tasty!

Ingredients

mini bell peppers – cut in half longways, remove core and seeds

Refried beans – any kind you like

Jalapeno – cut in small long strips – one for each pepper

some cheddar cheese cut in small match strips – one for each pepper

about a cup of cooked millet – I cooked mine in vegetable stock

cayenne pepper – a good shake -add to the small bowl of millet

annatto – a good shake -add to the small bowl of millet

fresh ground sea salt and black pepper to taste

non-stick spray or oil

Directions

Set oven to 425 degree F

Fill the peppers with refried beans with a pastry bag.

Add a jalape├▒o strip to each pepper.

Add a piece of cheese to each pepper.

Dip the top of each pepper in the small bowl of seasoned millet and place peppers on a lightly  oiled baking sheet.

15 minutes latter they should look like this.

Baked Skinny Bean Nacho Poppers with Millet Crust

Tasty and not fried, oily or heavy.

Everyone will like them.

The Forking Truth

My Trip to Virtu Honest Craft Restaurant in Scottsdale AZ

 

 

Virtu Honest Craft is a very small restaurant located in old town Scottsdale AZ. This restaurant has won and also was nominated for many awards. The menu they serve is considered contemporary European with an Italian Slant. You will be seated on the patio unless you have specified otherwise in your reservation.

We were seated on the patio and were slightly uncomfortable in the 93 degree F heat. Our table was very wobbly but our waiter was able to fix it.

We started with cocktails that were very detailed and contained ingredients I never heard of. Very interesting cocktails that also were delicious.

Our appetizers were a Salad of beeted cheve sformato, micro greens, citrus hazelnuts and Sicilian Rope sausage with garlic potatoes, peppers, onions and charred salsa.

My salad was fine and was greens and citrus over a disk of goat cheese whipped with beets…The Salad was great but I thought it needed a crouton or a slice of bread to spread the cheese on to. My husband enjoyed the sausage.

For dinner I tried the Big Eye Tuna with Sun-chokes.

The tuna is prepared reasonably well and rest above fried sun-chokes in a very sweet sauce and it topped with some thinly sliced fried sun-chokes. The sauce was suppose to be an agro dolce sauce….(a sweet and sour sauce) but the sauce lacked sour and mostly lacked the rosemary that was in the description. (I think one stray leaf made it to the plate) To be honest the sauce ┬áwas cloyingly sweet to me ..(and I am a BIG FAN of sweets but this is too sweet)..I started to wonder if it was me……..so I asked my husband to try the sun-chokes. He tried a forkful and said he wouldn’t be able to eat them either. I should have asked the waiter to bring me a lemon to fix the sun-chokes. Oh well now I have more room for dessert!

My husband had the Lamb Shank with Melguez Borlotti Beans, Pine Nuts and Mint.

He said the Lamb was prepared well and he liked the taste of the beans.

For dessert we had the Peaches and Cream Olive Oil Cake.

It came as broken cake in a glass with syrupy peaches and loose cream. It didn’t seem the least bit sweet after the sun-chokes.

www.VirtuScottsdale.com

This dinner didn’t hit it out of the park for me. Shame because the last time was awesome….actually better than awesome…more like life changing….

Had this last time all this dishes were very complex crafted with unique ingredients and artfully composed all genius dishes. Better than awesome….life changing.

That SHOWS you that EVERYTHING is subject to change and YOUR experience may or may not differ.

The Forking Truth

Brunch at Rodeo Grill in Mesa AZ is SMOKING HOT for Restaurant Week

 

Spring Restaurant Week this year (2017) is May 19th-28th. Around 130 restaurants are participating and some are offering some amazing deals to lure you in. One of the most smoking hottest deals is the Brunch Deal offered by the Brazilian Steak House Rodizio Grill in Mesa AZ. For Restaurant Week Brunch they are offing a complimentary cocktail, the full Rodizio experience and an extra complimentary dessert. The restaurant week offer cost $44.00 a couple ($22.00@) and I am guesstimating the value to run around $80.00 so we went for it!

I must say all the help from the gauchos (meat servers) to the hostess, various servers and management were all very friendly, cheerful and helpful.

They started us off with our restaurant week complimentary cocktails of limeade and a passionfruit martini, Brazilian cheese bread and these super yummy cinnamon glazed bananas.

Then we hit the 30 item hot and cold buffet that features some Brazilian side dishes and salads.

SO MUCH STUFF>>>>>It was so hard to decide on what to try.

Not all but some of the stuff I saw was Brazilian Bean Stew, Collards with Bacon, Hot Brazilian Pasta, Whipped Potatoes, Fried Potatoes, Eggs, Chicken Stroganoff, Fruit Salad, Quinoa Salad, Coconut Cole Slaw, Hearts of Palm, Steamed Asparagus, Buffalo Chicken Salad, Some Cheeses, Some sort of Hot Brisket Dish, a condiment station with Chimichurro Sauce, Brazilian tiny tear drop shaped mild peppers and MUCH MORE. I made myself a plate of some salads and vegetables.

Then we have a wooden cubes on the table and we turn it to the green side so the meat gauchos know they can come to the table to serve us.

Top Sirloin….

I think this one was the Hot and Sweet Chicken? Well anyway the hot and Sweet Chicken was my favorite….So Juicy and tasty. All the meats were succulent tasty and juicy. The Hot and Sweet Chicken was just delicious…tang, heat and not too much sweet.

Brazilian Sausage

Other meats that were offered were Tried Tip, Herbed Chicken, Bacon wrapped chicken, Chicken Hearts, Pork Parmesan wrapped in Bacon, Lean Ham and also Glazed Pineapple.

EVERYTHING THEY SERVED US WAS GREAT! All tasty, all juicy and succulent.

We asked for the check and they wouldn’t let us leave without serving us dessert!

This Brunch for Arizona Restaurant Week is Smoking Hot at Rodizio Grill and even at regular price it’s still a great deal that you might not know about.

The Rodizio Grill sure knocked it out of the park and went heads and heels above and beyond  what they had to offer.

www.RodizioGrill.com

Rodizio Grill is CERTAINLY Worth a Fork!

The Forking Truth

If you like to bake make a Scaccia Bread (Lasagna Bread)

 

Spinach and Cheese Scaccia Bread

Around this time last year I saw this interesting recipe in Saveur Magazine for Scaccia Bread that is also known as Lasagna Bread. I just had to make it! I do note that I had to make minor adjustments to the recipe. I don’t know if the adjustments were needed because of the brand of semolina I used (all flours are ground slightly different giving different results) or perhaps due to the hard water of Arizona???? Or maybe due to the extreme dry climate that I think is likely or partially the reason. Well anyway it’s an amazing recipe and you can stuff it however you like. I wrote the ingredients as Saveur posted the recipe but I included my adjustments if you need to use them.

The original Scaccia I made with Saveur’s sauce recipe looked like this. (but I baked it ten minutes longer. (70 minutes instead of 60)

Scaccia also called Lasagna Bread

I made it few times since. Sometimes I use my own spaghetti sauce. Once I tried it with eggplant but the eggplant. The Eggplant filling did taste good but the thin eggplant sort of melted in.

You can fill it with any combination of things. It can be anything you want.

I like to make  double batch and make two different breads. After you make one Scaccia you will want to do the same I bet!

Here is your basic recipe for the dough.

Ingredients for one loaf

Set oven to 450 degrees F.

1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons warm water (this didn’t work out in my home kitchen and I needed to add another 1/4 cup water) you can do recipe as written and add the 1/4 c extra water if needed at the end)

This was my dough after I added an extra Tablespoon of oil and then I drizzled in water and to me it looked right after a 1/4 cup more water. Then the dough was very smooth.

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast

2 cups durum wheat semolina flour

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I added a total of three tablespoons because my dough was too dry before I added the extra water so I always add three tablespoons but you might only need two)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

extra flour for dusting

Saveur also included a sauce recipe for the bread.

1 teaspoon sugar

1 garlic clove – fine chopped

2 cups canned whole tomatoes

salt and pepper to taste

8 oz caciocavallo  cheese (this is the suggested cheese for the filling)

I did a spinach filling to make it-

I used about 3 lbs spinach

1/4 finely shredded sweet onion

a heaping Tablespoon garlic confit

a couple heaping Tablespoons of vegetable  base

1/2 teaspoon Crushed Calabrian Chili and Oil

fresh ground sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. (I just boiled the spinach in water with the onions briefly….jamming the spinach into the pot and drained it really well for an hour and then added the rest) I used pizza blend cheese but didn’t measure it. I only boil a sort time till the last of the spinach wilts.The spinach comes out amazingly delicious and very flavorful. My husband remarked that this spinach taste like spinach. Usually spinach stuffed things taste like nothing…….

 

Directions

In a large bowl add the warm water, sugar and yeast. Wait till if gets foamy and then add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well for about 8 minutes. Cover with wrap and leave it sit out at room temperature for about two hours or until the dough doubles.

Knead the dough and roll it out in about a 26 x 18 inch rectangle. (I’m using some of my photos from original so you can follow along with folding.

Filling in the middle 3rd.

Fold ends in.

Filling on left half.

Fold over right half.

Bring up bottom.

Then you pierce all over.

Wrap in parchment and place on baking sheet or loaf pan depending on shape you like best.

Bake for an hour at 450 degrees F. or until crusty and sort of brown. (60- 70 minutes)

“OMG! That smells FORKING GOOD! I’m so glad you FORKING adopted me!”

Double batch I just did.

Spinach and Cheese Scaccia Bread

“Hey RUNT, it does smell good but we are suppose to FORKING wait for the food!”

“My bad…….I know I am very young and am only a Pip-Squeek and I don’t make the right decisions sometimes.” “I’ll do what ever you say my big beautiful Aussie Amazon Queen.” “Show me the way……..I need to learn.”

If you like to bake make a Scaccia Bread!

Scaccia also called Lasagna Bread

The Forking Truth

My Forking Thoughts on Limited Edition Strawberry Nut M&M’s

 

I came across these Limited Edition Strawberry Nut M&M’s at Walgreens Drug Store so I picked them up. They came in a share size package that weighs 3.27 oz or two (or more) servings.

The first thing I do is open the pack and take a whiff. It smells delicious! Just like chocolate covered strawberries.

Then I take some M&M’s out. They come in colors of Pink Eraser, Blood and VW Green. They are irregular in assorted shapes and some have a a bonus extra nut in them.

I go to taste one. It’s different than the normal candy shell. It taste flavored like a sweet tart. It’s a slightly tart but sweet fake strawberry flavor. After the shell is melted off I think it’s a regular chocolate covered peanut. When you just eat them you get a slightly different experience. The fake slightly tart strawberry flavor is more subtle but you get hit with more fake aftertaste.

I’m not a fan of the sweet tart taste so I’m not a fan of these M&M’s.

Your Opinion May Differ.

The Forking Truth