Friday, May 14, 2010

Bacon Wrapped Cream Cheese Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers

A new friend of mine, Dan, invited Megan and I to join him and some friends at the baseball game today for some grilling, beer, and good company in the outfield. Dan put together the most amazing "Bacon Wrapped Cream Cheese Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers." He made two versions - the two toothpick and three toothpick - to indicate the degree of spicy. The basic premise is to cut the jalapeno in half, clean and seed it (saving the seeds), then stuff them with cream cheese, wrap them with bacon and toothpick 'em. To make the three toothpick version, he soaked the jalapeno seeds in vinegar and cayenne pepper then baked them and finally mix it into the cream cheese. Then of course, you grill them until the bacon starts to crisp. These were a really great gameday snack and a huge hit. Dan does offer the following tip though: be careful about getting jalapeno juices in your eyes... Haha. You'll have to hit him up to get the whole story, but I'm sure he'll be happy to share. Thanks Dan for sharing your methods and finished product with us. It was a great day at the ballpark, and the food definitely helped make it so. :o)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

West End

If you frequent Dickson Street, then you are familiar with the bar formerly known as On the Rocks (OTR). It has a great patio always a good crowd. Unfortunately, OTR went under just before the start of the new year - rumor has it to poor management. Well, on the upside, I was out at 21st Amendment a couple of weeks ago on a very slow Monday night with a fellow law student, and we got to chatting with the bartender and a couple of guys at the end of the bar. As it turns out, she was training to work at the new OTR, called West End, which was set to open on the 8th of May by one of the owners of 21st Amendment. Then, we learned that West End was not only going to be a bar, but also a restaurant that served reasonably priced classics with a twist. So, being the foodies that we are, my best friend Megan and are felt compelled to test it out. Here is our experience on opening weekend.

Megan ordered one of their stuffed burgers - I think it was the Southwest style one on the menu. It was stuffed with cheese and topped with peppers. Megan ordered it with the corn salsa and tortilla chips. She really enjoyed the burger, said it had really good flavor and tasted like a good homemade burger off the grill. However, the corn salsa needed something a little more - it was mostly corn and beans, so it was missing the "salsa," some tomato and pepper base. Overall though, Megan enjoyed her meal. I think she spent about $10 on dinner, so it was a good value.

I ordered the berry salad with strawberries, walnuts, feta, and a house raspberry vinaigrette atop mixed greens. I must admit, there really isn't a whole lot you can say about a salad, but I did thoroughly enjoy it and it was very good. And for just under $10, also a good value.

Overall, we had a good experience. The service was a little slow, but I'll cut them some slack and accredit that to them just having opened and getting into the swing of things. The menu was certainly reasonably priced with a pretty good variety. Paired with the great venue and patio, I definitely recommend you check it out. :o)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Papa Lippert's Birthday Din-din

Anyone who knows me very well knows that I am very close to my dad, Jerry, so it's only appropriate that my sister and I celebrate his birthday with a meal composed of all his favorites. Happy Birthday Daddy, and we hope you enjoyed your special day and your birthday din-din.

One of Daddy's favorite cakes is lemon, so Nikki made him this delicious and decorative vanilla iced lemon cake.

The spread:

The plate:
French Bread - lightly buttered, garlic-ed, and baked in the oven on 350 for 15 minutes.

Baby Spinach Salad - with raspberry vinaigrette, bacon bits, croutons, and cheese.

Mashed 'taters and gravy - Peel one large potato per person and cut into medium sized cubes. Boil the potatoes and then once soft, mash (or use mixer), add in butter and milk to taste. For gravy, use some of the saved grease from the fried porkchops, add some milk, and some flour in a small saucepan on medium heat and stir continuously until gravy reaches the desired consistency.

Breaded Porkchops - Mash up crackers, melt butter, dip the raw porkchop in the butter and then the cracker. Fry in large frying pan.
Green beans - This time, I first blanched the green beans before baking them in the oven. Then lay out on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, bake for 15-20 minutes at 350, and then I sprinkled these with a little parmesan cheese.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese - Nikki actually made this for us, so as soon as she sends me the recipe that she used, I'll post it. It was really good.

Happy Birthday again Daddy! You deserve to have your favorites everyday, so Nikki and I were glad to be able to serve you all of these on your special day. We love you. :o)