Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches

This was (shocker!) another Pinterest find.
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The recipe I used came from this blog.
French dip has always been one of my favorite sandwiches (Phillipe's anyone??), so I was really excited to make this one.  
It was pretty simple and smelled great when I got home from work! 

What you need....
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3/4 cup beef broth/stock
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp creole mustard (I used dijon, not pictured)
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • ~3lb chuck roast
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 6-8 sandwich rolls, split (not shown)
  • 6-8 slices of provolone or swiss cheese (not shown)

Pour liquids into crock pot. Slice onion into big flat rounds and throw on top. 
Add mustard and chopped garlic.


 Toss the meat on top. (Duh.)  Turn it on (LOW) and go to work!

 Come home to mouthwatering smells eminating from your kitchen... Gently shred the meat with a fork (or two forks) and leave it in the liquid a little longer to let it all soak in.

 Toast your buns!  Pile on  meat and scoop up some of the au jus for dipping.  

 I forgot to get a pic with cheese but we melted it (broiled it) over the top, along with some onions.  That's pretty much it!  Close it up and start dipping your French Dip!   :-)

Considering the amazing success of the Albondigas soup, nothing else from the crock pot has really managed to measure up yet.  Don't get me wrong, we ate these and enjoyed them.  The au jus was a bit salty, but we certainly did not have any leftovers.  :-)  We put provolone cheese on them, which was a nice addition.  I think they could be even better with some sauteed mushrooms.  Anyhow, next time I'll look for the no/low salt broth and maybe skip the soy sauce altogether.

If you make it, ENJOY, and let me know your thoughts or suggestions!  
I definitely want to give this one another shot. 

Linking up with these lovely ladies to share the deliciousness.  :-)
(Including Pinning! @ A Night Owl Blog!  Having trouble with the button. boo)

Keeping It Simple

Friday, June 15, 2012

Firefly Restaurant @ The Dana Resort

Waaaaay back over Memorial Day Weekend my mother in law and I decided to treat ourselves to a dinner out on the town.
I have a bunch of restaurant.com certificates that we haven't used. 
After much debate,  I printed one out for a restaurant called Firefly.  It is located at a hotel/resort down on Mission Bay called The Dana, and had nice views of the bay and the sunset.  (Please excuse the android phone pics, I should have remembered my MIL has an iPhone and taken better pics with hers!) 

Raspberry Mojito

We had to spend $100 (NOT counting alcohol!) to use our $50 certificate.
So, before our entrees, we ordered some fried brussel sprouts.  Confession, this was only my third time ever eating brussel sprouts. And they were AMAZING! I wish I had taken a pic, no matter how poor quality. :-(   They looked to be just cut in half, probably pan fried, with garlic pieces and red onions, and an apple cider vinegar reduction. That reduction...wow.  It really made me love brussel sprouts!  :-)  

The also offered roasted bone marrow as an appetizer.  I have not tried this yet, but my MIL was not into it so... another time, bone marrow!  

To further run up our total, we got a delicious cheese plate.  I.love.cheese.plates!  Actually, this was warm brie, so just one cheese, but it came with honey, nuts, fruit, tomatoes and roasted garlic.  At home we usually do some kind of honey/fruit/nut combo.  I wasn't too sure about the tomato or garlic but everything else was as yummy as I was expecting. 

I debated getting the crispy pork belly sandwich or the pinot noir braised beef short rib.
In the end we both ordered a filet for our main course.  It came with green beans and gorgonzola mashed potatoes.   They were both cooked just as requested and the potatoes were so creamy and delicious with the gorgonzola in them.  

Sorry Firefly, this is not a good representation of your food!

I would say overall the food was very good. 
I would return for the brussel sprouts. (And to take pics of them, better pics than these!)  
The drinks were so-so. 
The location was lovely and the service was good (despite a seeming overabundance of servers, which I think was because we were one of the few parties sitting inside and there were more people sitting outside). 

I would rate Firefly a 7 out of 10 (paying full price).
(OR... an 8 based on the price for the amount of food/drink we had, but that was thanks to the certificate!   
Snag one HERE, if you want to give this place a try! )

The Firefly Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Smashed Potatoes!

Just and FYI up front, I have changed the name of these (in my own head, and therefore on my own blog)...  All over Pinterest and the other links I have been led to, these are called "crash hot potatoes".  I'm not sure why, but I have been calling them smashed potatoes and it's stuck in my head.

My pin (pic below) was sourced from this lovely blog, in turn her post was inspired by this recipe, on Pioneer Woman. (In case you want tons more detail and pics!)

I was tempted by the simplicity of this recipe, and a few of my real life friends commented on my pin about how good and easy they were.  So I gave it a try, and have given it a few more tries since then! 

What you need...

  • Potatoes (I love the "baby reds" but I think any small potato would work.)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt/Pepper 
  • Any herb you might enjoy (Pioneer Woman's suggestion, I haven't done any with herbs yet.)

It's soooo quick and easy....I'm just going to give it to you quick and easy!

Boil water and toss in your potatoes.
Cook them until they are fork-tender.
Prep the cookie sheet.  (I use tin foil sprayed with a little Pam or wipe it with olive oil.) 
Put the cooked potatoes on the cookie sheet, spread out so there is room for the smashing.
With a potato masher (or fork, or bottom of a glass, whatever is handy), gently press down on top of each potato until it gets slightly "flat" and breaks open.
Sprinkle potatoes with (at least) olive oil, salt, pepper ... and maybe some garlic powder, herbs, whatever floats your boat! 
Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until crispy and browned. 

I have made these about 5 times in the past 2 months.  We love them.  
I cook them longer (and hotter) now that I did at first (when I took the pics) so they do come out more like the lovely pic at the top of the post.  Good and crispy. 

You can top them with a bit of sour cream and green onions...
...or bacon and cheese...
 whatever condiments you desire!
Any kind of toppings really, it's like a modified baked potato bar.  :-)
As you can see on the pic to the right above, my boyfriend threw everything in our fridge on top of his. (Chopped onions, sriracha, shredded/melted cheese, horseradish mayo)  
Personally I like them with a bit of ranch or honey mustard for dipping.  
Although I eat about half of them just as they come out of the oven.  
Honestly, you really can't go wrong!!  I hope you agree if you decide to try them.  

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Potato Salad w/Peas

It is feeling more and more like summer summer summer time around these parts!  
So... last weekend, determined to make SOMETHING in my kitchen, 
I flipped through my Food Network magazine.  
(Picked that baby up as an impulse buy while checking out at the grocery store last week. Who am I??) 

The cover advertised "126 Summer Recipes!" so I figured I couldn't strike out.  As the weekend went on I got lazier so I specifically started looking for easy things that I wouldn't have to do a lot of shopping for!  :-) 
"Easy sides" you say?  Yes please!

Since I usually have small red potatoes around (to whip up SMASHED POTATOES! at any time),   
(I can't believe I haven't posted about them yet!? What the what, self!  Hop to that! It's been pinned for months.
(UPDATE: Wrote about them!)
I narrowed it down to 2 different potato "salad" recipes.  

Grilled Potato Salad w/Bacon Vinaigrette    //    Potato Salad with Peas
 I was EXTREMELY tempted by the first one. I LOVE sweet potatoes/yams in any form.  And bacon, really.  But the BF pretty much hates sweet potatoes/yams, in any form.  So I decided to take the other (easier yay!) option.  As luck would have it, the only ingredient I didn't already have was the dill, so it was one quick trip out for that and then I got started. 

 This is probably tied (with the not yet posted about "smashed potatoes") for the easiest recipe I have tried yet.  

What you need...

2lbs red potatoes (I always have the "baby" ones)
1 bag of frozen peas (recipe said 10oz, had 12oz in my freezer. BUT- I think 6-8 oz of peas would be good.
3/4 cup mayo
3/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 CUP chopped chives (i only used about 1/3 cup, it seemed like too many!)
1/2 cup chopped dill (same thing) (also, I got some fresh dill after I took this pic and realized dill weed is not the same thing)

Chop the potatoes (I pretty much quartered my baby reds).  
Boil the potatoes.  
Put potatoes in a bowl and drizzle the vinegar and a few pinches of salt, GENTLY mixing.  (The potatoes are soft so you don't want to mash them!)  

Then you throw the peas in your potato water and cook them, 
not too long!  (6-7 minutes is what I did.)
The pop of the peas is one of the unique things about this recipe.

In the meantime, you want to chop the chives and dill.  
Smells so fresh and yummy!!  

Mix the mayo and sour cream up and then mix in the herbs.  
Again, I tried to mix gently so I didn't destroy the texture of the herbs (chives especially). 

Then (obviously?!?) you toss it all together (GENTLY!  haha) and it turns out fabulously, and is a big hit with the BF and his friend who came over to BBQ with us.  Hooray!!

We also had corn on the cob but forgot to get it on the plate of the pic.  My BF took some of the extra dill and tossed it on top of his sausages.  :-)  

He and his friend both raved about it, and thought the potato to pea ratio was fine, but I think it was a little heavy on the peas.  The flavor was great though, and so simple.  Definitely a success!  If you try it, let me know! 

What is one of your EASIEST favorite recipes?  
(I could always use suggestions, even with Pinterest filling up my recipe "book"!)   

Linking up with these lovely ladies for some weekend blog parties. 

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