Thursday, March 31, 2011

Recipe: Red Cherry Crisp (from Klosterman Bakery)

The great folks at Klosterman Bakery have sent me some coupons for free bread on multiple occasions - some of which I've shared with my Food Hussy peeps! Now they're expanding and sending me recipes! It's just a taste of the other things you can do with Klosterman products besides making sandwiches.

This month's recipe is for a Red Cherry Crisp - let's see how I did! (recipe at bottom)

First I mixed up the cherry mixture. Because we're not a big dessert house - I halved the recipe and took it to my study group potluck. This is cherry pie filling, water, sugar, lemon juice, salt & a little butter.

Next I whipped up the "crisp" topping with bread crumbs, brown sugar, white sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter.

You spread the cherry mixture out and then sprinkle the crisp on top of that and then bake. All sounds good in theory so far - right?

Here it is after baking. Do you notice anything missing? Yeah - the crisp!!!!

I don't know what happened - maybe when I halved I didn't use enough bread crumbs - cuz it all melted into the cherry mixture.

But - it was tasty!!!! A can of whipped cream helped make it a big hit at the potluck.

Thanks for the recipe Klosterman - even if I did screw it up somehow!


Red Cherry Crisp


Cherry Mixture: 3 lbs, 10 oz.
  2 lb., 12 oz. Canned Cherry Pie Filling
  1 cup, 2 tbsp Water
  4 oz. Sugar
  1 tbsp., 1 tsp Margarine, melted
1/8 txp. Salt
1 tbsp., 1 tsp. Lemon Juice
¼ tsp. Almond extract (optional)
 
Preparation: Combine cherry pie filling, water, sugar, margarine, salt, lemon juice and extract until well-mixed. Set aside.
 
Crumb Topping: 1 lb., 6 oz.
  3 oz. Granulated Sugar
  10 oz. Brown Sugar
  1 ½ tsp. Cinnamon
  6 oz. Honey Hamburger Bun, day old, ground into crumbs
  3 tbsp. Bread Flour
  3 oz. Margarine, melted
 
Preparation: Combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, bread crumbs and flour; mix thoroughly. Pour melted margarine over mixture and toss lightly but thoroughly with fork. 
 
Spread cherry mixture evenly into margarined, oblong cake pans. Sprinkle crumb topping over each pan. Bake at 350* standard oven for 40-45 minutes or 300* convection oven for 25-30 minutes until topping is crisp, evenly browned and internal temperature reaches 160-170*. Hold in warm place for serving. 
 
Place 2/3 cup of slightly warmed pudding (spooned from pan with some crumbs on top) into a dish. Top with one teaspoon sweetened whipped cream. One pan serves 12.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Giveaway Day! Qdoba Winners!

I drew the Qdoba winners today - and the numbers that came up were 4, 6, 8 - who do we appreciate?! Qdoba obviously!


All three winners are also Twitter peeps! I'll be contacting each on twitter but congratulations go out to:

@2sisters_angie

@Twitricia

@ChaskeH

Each of you will be receiving 2 coupons for Mini Street Tacos from Qdoba.

Stay tuned - winners from the Cirque de Soleil giveaway will be announced Friday or Monday...there's still time to enter! Click the OVO logo on the left!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

An Evening with Friends - Dutch's & Restaurant Week at Hugo's!

Our good friends invited us out to dinner as a thank you for being the best kitty sitters in the world (I'm a little biased). We decided to go out for Restaurant Week! If you're not familiar - it's a week where restaurants offer special deals on a limited menu. This year it was $26.11 per person and you were typically having 3 courses with 1-3 options per course.

But before we headed out for our delicious dinner, we stopped at Dutch's Wine Bar in East Hyde Park.

It's been there for quite a while as a place to purchase beer/wine but recently added on to include a wine bar and patio!

They have quite a selection of beers and wines - they always have new things on tap as well. If you're a fan of either - it's a good stop. Most everybody was heading out to the patio because it was a beautiful 50 degree evening!

Larry went to the bathroom and had to take a picture because it was so unique. I have to say - it was definitely picture worthy! Pretty hip for a urinal! haha

Dutch's Bar & Bottle Shop on Urbanspoon

After Dutch's, we made the short trip over to Hugo in Oakley. I went to Hugo's once for Restaurant Week a few years ago but haven't been back - so I was very excited.

Rob decided he had to get some of their fritters (Sweet Corn, Mascarpone, Thyme, Chili Jam $8). Larry couldn't eat them because they did have eggs - but the rest of us thoroughly enjoyed them. I wasn't a big fan of the jam but they were very tasty with the butter. They had a nice sugar coating on the outside as well. They're definitely not what I was expecting - almost like a donut texture.

We also were brought out fresh bread - delicious. I have to say - this experience was definitely better than the last time. They used to only allow the Restaurant Week diners to eat in the bar area - now - you can sit in with the regular folks. RW has been much more widely adopted so I'm not surprised to see this happen. It's really a great chance to try someplace you might not regularly go at a more affordable price.

We all chose the Fried Green Tomatoes for the First Course (Confit Tomato, Buttermilk, Crab $9 - prices listed are regular menu price - not what we paid or portion size for Restaurant Week). I have often heard about these but never tried them.

We also all got the Hugo salad (New Potato, Local Greens, Goat Cheese, Bacon, Caramelized Onions, Smoked Pommery Vinaigrette $8) - great minds were thinking alike - for the Second Course. This is a very interesting salad - there was hardly any goat cheese (boo!) and the potatoes were an interesting ingredient. But all in all - I did like it.

Larry finally bucked the trend and got something different! For the Third Course he chose the fresh fish ($25) and it was salmon. He definitely enjoyed it - I'm guessing the portion size is a bit smaller than a regular menu portion - but with the bread & 3 courses - he was full enough. 

The rest of us went for the Hugo specialty of Shrimp & Grits (Grits, White Cheddar, Tasso Ham, Herbs, Demi $26). Wow is all I can say. I don't really like grits - of course the only grits I'd had were at Waffle House. These were delicious! I mean - they are gritty - but the cheddar definitely made them delicious. The shrimp was so large and flavorful. It was decadent! I'd be hard-pressed to try anything else when I return!

Now although we were all full and happy - our fantastic waiter came back and asked us about dessert. There were two items that jumped out at us. First Rob & Sarah got the peanut butter pie - we snagged a bite and it was delicious. For Larry - it was egg-free! That's a homemade marshmallow on the side too.

I was stopped instantly on the Double Chocolate Bread Pudding...holy moly I had to get that! It was really great - moist, warm and rich. The ice cream added a great creaminess to the dessert. It was really delicious.

I also want to add - our server was fantastic. We mentioned Larry's egg allergy and he immediately went back and checked with the Chef. He came back and let us know that 99% of the Restaurant Week menu was egg-free! His excellent service was definitely appreciated.

Why Should You Go? Hugo was a really great experience. It's a very cozy and pretty restaurant on the inside. It has a warmth about it in the ambiance and the food. I loved it and would definitely go back for a special occasion.

Hugo on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Taste of Northern Cincinnati!

The folks at the Sharonville Chamber of Commerce offered me free tickets to the Taste of Northern Cincinnati last weekend - so I grabbed a friend and headed to Exit 15 off I-75!

The event was held at Princeton High School and they showed off some of their talents with the Technology Education department. In the middle is a tootsie pop licker - pretty fun stuff.

As opposed to the Taste of Cincinnati, this event has a door price of $20 and is all-you-can-eat and drinks are provided as well (non-alcoholic). It's a much much smaller event but the one price for all is easier from a user perspective.

They had folks face painting and this guy definitely got in the game! 

We were also able to vote for "Best of" and Mitchell's got my vote for Best Soup/Salad. There were no salads but there were quite a few soups. They served up their clam chowder and it was really great.

We skipped the chains - but they were there as well: BWs, Gold Star, LaRosa's, etc... I figure at an event like this - space in my belly is limited - I'm not going to fill it with things I've already had or can get anywhere.

There was a big Red Squirrel there - representing his people. It seemed appropriate since we were so close to Glendale.

Parkers in Blue Ash served up bbq pork sandwiches topped with cole slaw. Kelly gave this her "People's Choice" vote and I have to admit - it was really good. Messy as hell but very tasty! After having a pretty good bite from them at the Art of Food and now this - I might have to actually go there for dinner!

Blue Goose was serving up ribs as well as some type of soup that I don't remember. We decided the ribs were too messy for such a public setting - but they seemed to be very popular. The soup was forgettable obviously. I've been there before - it's a pretty nice sports bar in the heart of Sharonville.

Oh my stars - it's my favorite place in Sharonville! The Root Beer Stand!!!!! (They open at the end of this month - hootie hoo!) They were serving up root beer floats - which I think are gross (no idea why) - but I definitely grabbed a cup of root beer and told them I wanted one of the first Timmy Dogs of the season!

Besides food, they had a variety of local businesses there - mostly for homeowners. Some folks were even getting massages!

There was a duel booth of Riverbank Cafe & Red Squirrel. I'd never heard of the Riverbank Cafe and the food sounded great - so I was pretty excited. (Can you tell where this is going?)

We had BLT Soup and a Chicken Quesadilla Rollup. The soup was a tomato soup with the B + L on top along with mayo maybe? It was cold - which made it suck. Kelly took one bite and if only I'd been able to capture THAT with a camera. I think it would have been much better hot - but IMHO they shouldn't have been serving this as it was. The rollup didn't fare much better - it just had a mushy consistency.

I think they likely made poor choices in what to serve in this atmosphere...but definitely not racing up there to try it.

The Red Squirrel booth next door had soups, sandwiches and cornbread. I just grabbed a bite of cornbread and it was delicious! I really enjoyed the Red Squirrel when I worked downtown. The cornbread was really sweet and moist but grainy like it should be!

You only get one guess as to who's booth this was! 

Pizzeria Uno was also there - I was getting full but Kelly grabbed a slice anyway - it sounds great now! I've been dying for some deep dish pizza...this summer when I head home - I'll have to go to Zoeys! That's my "original" for deep dish.

DessertWorks got my "People's Choice" vote. They had cupcakes and cake samples and mmm mmm good!

This chocolate layer cake was to-die-for! I almost went back at the end of the day for another piece. It was moist and not too sweet but very chocolatey. Delicious!

And how pretty are those cupcakes! 

Soups & Scoops is a new place in the heart of Sharonville as well. They serve soup and ice cream (shocking I know - as if you couldn't figure that out). The soup was pretty good.

Manor House is a restaurant at a retirement village. They had a turkey lasagna that Kelly tried - it was pretty bland - which I guess isn't a surprise. I give them credit for trying to make a go of being standalone from their setting.

I tried their bread pudding - it was okay. It needed to be hotter and have about half as much of the sauce - which also needed to be hotter. It was far too much and far too sweet.

Here's a note for the restaurants - in this type of setting - people are going to eat from nearly every booth. They've paid a flat fee and want to get their moneys worth. I was trying everything for the sake of the blog - but it was easy to see - so was everybody else. That said - give us smaller portions!!!! I don't need a full size sandwich or dessert portion when I'm just here for a taste.

After that giant bread pudding I wasn't exactly ready for more dessert but I did try a little cheesecake from J. Annette and it was pretty good.

The surprise of the day came from Golden Rule Catering! First - the smile on the staff was very welcome. They weren't annoying or cocky and they were so friendly. This girl especially deserves a raise!!!!

But the food was what won me over. They served Beef Burgundy (here's a recipe for an idea) - their version was filled with potatoes and carrots. It was a deep rich flavor - tender, juicy and delicious! I was definitely wishing these folks had a bricks & mortar location.

As we left - the folks at the ticket table were also commenting on how fantastic this was! Definitely my vote for Best Entree!

All in all - it was a fun event - especially with my friend Kelly. It's very different than the downtown Taste event - much more family friendly. I like that they're trying to get something going up on the north side of the city. I hope that they keep expanding and get even more local restaurants involved next year!

I hope all of you see something new from one of the vendors and try it out!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Giveaway Day! Qdoba Mini Street Tacos for 3 of you!

The wonderful folks at Qdoba recently told me about their new Mini Street Tacos! They sent me some coupons so I got to try them for free AND I get to share them with you!

You can choose between shredded beef or pork for the mini tacos. They come with an onion/cilantro salsa and a side of ancho chile bbq beans all for $4.99. These are only available for a limited time.

I also noticed a "you pick 2" type of menu for $5.99 with quite a few options - might try that next time!

Here are my 3 mini tacos - I got shredded beef and I added cheese and sour cream to mine. The whole thing was just okay. I didn't really like the beans - a little under done and I didn't care for the flavor - but that's just a taste bud thing. The tacos are small but 3 really is enough for one person - I didn't even eat all 3. I thought it was a bit odd that they came with specific items and you weren't asked to top them like you normally would - but I'm guessing that's to keep the cost down. All in all - I probably wouldn't get them again - but they weren't  bad - I just have other things I like more.

I did also get some chips & queso - I figured my tacos were free (thanks Qdoba) I might as well buy some queso! It's pretty good queso...and the chips had lots o' salt - which I love! 

So it's Giveaway Time! THREE lucky readers will each get two coupons for free mini street tacos! Simple contest this time - just leave a comment here and tell me what Craft 2 combo you would get - or would you skip all that for the mini tacos! Be sure to leave me a way to contact you as well (twitter, email, etc...). 

I'll draw THREE winners next week! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

F = Fuji's House

I keep moving through the ABC's and the letter F was a tight race between ForkHeartKnife and Fuji's House but the Hibachi grill won the vote!

Fuji's House is in Hyde Park Plaza between Brueggers & Servatii's back where Tuesday Morning used to be (sad face - I loved Tuesday Morning).

Of course there's a koi pond at a Japanese Hibachi Grill. 

I even had a YoDeal for Fuji that got us one hibachi dinner at half price - (paid $12 for $25). We started with the clear soup - it was tasty! A nice broth with mushrooms and crispy fried onions. This always comes with the Hibachi meals...I never eat the whole thing but this was pretty good.

Next the obligatory salad - this at least had cucumbers. I always like the ginger dressing - some places better than others. None have even come close to Osaka in Iowa yet!

Since it's hibachi AND sushi - we had to try that! We got a shrimp tempura roll with eel sauce - Larry's not big on raw fish - so this was our compromise. It was a good roll.

We both got steak & shrimp ($20.95) and they were really cooked nicely. I always think it's awkward because they give you the rice, then the meat, then the veggies. Most people poke away at it while it's coming. I like to wait until it's all on my plate - pour on some yum yum sauce and enjoy!

Why Should You Go? For a Hibachi - it's pretty on-par - nothing extra special but not bad either. The main selling point for me is how close it is to my house! Our chef was really young and wasn't too excited about giving much of a show. But all in all - good eats for sure!

Fuji's House Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon