Tuesday, April 7, 2009

New Hope's Second Saturday

It's that time again... April 11th is approaching - every second Saturday of the month New Hope has it's "Second Saturday" celebration.

From ilovenewhope.com
"New Hope celebrates the arts every Second Saturday of each month. From 5 - 9 pm art galleries, restaurants, and boutiques remain open late during the festive celebration. Musicians playing in the streets will put anyone in the mood to take our gallery walk in good weather conditions. During cooler months art galleries are still celebrating, inside their individual shops, with open receptions featuring some of the most talented artists from Bucks County to Istanbul Turkey. Come join us for this festive event. "

One of my favorite restaurants - Havana - is located in New Hope. There's a large outdoor bar, which has heat lamps turned on when it's cool outside. They usually have live music and some other activities going on. Checking out the art galleries and hitting up one of the restaurants (all of which are great) is worthwhile. It would definitely make for a Saturday night that's more interesting that dinner and a movie.

Here's a link to the Second Saturday map...

To visit the Second Saturday website go HERE.

For a list of restaurants and prices to expect at them go HERE.

Here's to interesting Saturday nights and full bellies.
- Cait

Spotting Dinner - Pasta Like a Rock Star

Spring produce is exciting after the cold winter months in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The freshness is welcome and long awaited and bountiful. A vegetable I most look forward to and reminds me of spring is asparagus. When I was TasteSpotting for dinner ideas I came across a pasta dish posted by thepinkpeppercorn. It utilizes there of my favorite ingredients - pasta, mushrooms, and of course asparagus!

Pasta Like a Rock Star

via thepinkpeppercorn
Adapted from InStyle Magazine, creator unknown
(4-6 servings)

1-450 g package penne
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp dry marsala (or madeira)
1 bunch asparagus, cut to 3/4 inch pieces
1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs - flat-leaf parsley, tarragon, chives
1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano
drizzle of white truffle oil (optional)

1. Bring to a boil a small pot, with 1 inch of boiling water. Add the asparagus for thirty seconds, only to blanch it briefly. Remove into a strainer, and briefly rinse with cold water just until cool. Set aside.
2. Cook the penne according to package directions, but more al dente than suggested (there is ample liquid in the sauce for it to absorb) Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water before draining.
3. Meanwhile, heat the butter and olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Once it is bubbling, add the mushrooms, and cook 5 minutes. Lower the heat, and add the shallots and garlic; cook 4-5 minutes until the shallots soften.
4. Add the wine, and cook until evaporated, 1-2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and cook until the mushrooms are tender and the pan is almost dry. Add the marsala, and salt.
5. Add the cooked penne, asparagus, reserved pasta water, chopped herbs, and parmigiano to the saucepan. Continue to cook until heated through, being careful not to overcook the pasta, but trying to have most of the liquid absorbed by it, 3-4 minutes (depending upon personal taste). Check for seasoning. Drizzle with white truffle oil, but truffle salt is nice too. Serve.

Spotting Lunch - Grilled Lamb Pitas

I love lamb... I don't eat it often at all (maybe once or twice a year) so it's a real treat for me. I enjoy it roasted, braised, grilled, seared... For me, it's best cooked rare - medium rare. When I was checking out TasteSpotting for a lunch inspiration I came across healthydelicious's marinated grilled lamb pita with yogurt sauce. It would make for such a perfect lunch that I actually want to make it this week.

Photo from Healthy. Delicious

Mediterranian Lamb in a Pita
via Healthy. Delicious
  • 1 lb lamb leg slice (can substitute boneless chicken breast)
  • 3 T olive oil
  • juice from 1 lemon, divided
  • oregano, marjoram and thyme
  • 1 small container fat free plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cucumber, shredded
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 tsp dill
  • sea salt (optional) and cracked pepper
  • 2 c romaine hearts, torn
  • 12 kalamata olives, chopped
  • 4 tsp crumbled feta
  • red onion, sliced
  • 4 pita breads

Mix together oil, 1/2 the lemon juice, oregano, marjoram, and thyme. Let lamb marinate in the mixture for a half hour.

Meanwhile, make the sauce: wrap cucumber in a paper towel and squeeze out excess water. Combine cucumber, yogurt, remaining lemon juice, garlic, dill and cracked black pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Grill lamb to your desired level of done-ness (I suggest medium-rare). Let sit for 5 minutes before slicing against the grain into thin strips. Rub each pita with a little sea salt (optional) and throw on the grill for a few seconds to warm. Top each pita with yogurt sauce, romaine, lamb, feta, olives, and onion.

This recipe is simple and looks delicious... It would be perfect on a warm spring or summer day and could be a great substitute for the traditional grilled summer burger. If your lemon is extra firm - roll it on the counter or stick it in the microwave for a few seconds to help release the juices.

Here's to spending warm spring afternoons outdoors and full bellies.

- Cait

Spotting Breakfast - Banana Sour Cream Pancakes

The second edition to my "Spotting Breakfast" posts from TasteSpotting.

I came across foodisluv's banana sour cream pancakes and was "wowed." Whenever I think of banana pancakes I think of Jack Johnson and Curious George. I've only ever had banana pancakes once in my life before... I don't remember those pancakes at all, but I think these would be memorable. The sour cream would be a nice balance to the sweetness of the banana and maple syrup. Check out the foodisluv blog!

Photo from foodisluv

banana sour cream pancakes
via foodisluv
from Barefoot Contessa Family Style by Ina Garten
*her recipe says it makes 12 pancakes but i only got 10
1 1/2 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (i used 1 teaspoon table salt)
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon milk
2 extra large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest (i made w/o since i didn't have any lemons)
unsalted butter
2 ripe bananas, diced, plus extra for serving
maple syrup

in a bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. in another bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest. add the dry ingredients to the wet ones, mixing only until combined.

melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat until it bubbles. use a 1/4 cup measure to drop the pancake batter into the pan. distribute diced bananas on each pancake.

cook for 2-3 minutes, until bubbles appear on the top and the underside is nicely browned. flip the pancake and cook for another minute or two, until browned.

wipe out the pan with a paper towel, add more butter to the pan, and continue cooking pancakes until all the batter is used. pancakes will stay warm in a preheated 200 degree oven for 15 to 20 miutes.

serve with butter, sliced bananas and maple syrup.

If you're planning on making pancakes, do yourself a favor and buy REAL maple syrup. Most commercially packaged maple syrup is actually flavored corn syrup... This recipe would be a great way to use up bananas that are about to go bad - as an alternative to making banana bread!

Here's to warm ovens and full bellies.

- Cait