Thursday, October 14, 2010

Zakes Cakes and Cafe

I’d been eyeing up Zakes for months, but hadn’t had a chance to go. I finally went last week and it was wonderful. My friend and I went there for our lunch break from work. When we got there we were nervous that it was going to take too long because it was packed but they got us our food quickly without skimping on quality. First they came out with delicious homemade breads, honey wheat (my fav), white, and focaccia. I'd go back to Zakes just for the bread itself. For a drink I had a half and half (half lemonade half iced tea, both of which are homemade) it was delicious. For lunch, I had the onion, spinach, and brie quiche. It was very good and the side salad completed the meal. My friend had the jumbo lump crab meat sandwich, which came on their homemade bread and was real crab meat. She said it was wonderful. If I were still eating fish I’d definitely try this. Their sandwiches come with a side salad and a side of potato salad. I really wish we had room for dessert because they looked amazing. I will definitely be back and I will get dessert next time.

Onion, Spinach, and Brie Quiche
Crab Meat Sandwich

444 Bethlehem Pike
Fort Washington, PA

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tofurky’s Sweet Italian with Tomato Basil “Sausage”

Vegetarian Sausage and Peppers

I used Tofurky’s Sweet Italian with Tomato Basil “Sausage”

I brushed the tofurky sausage with a little evoo and then cooked it on the grill but it didn’t get great grill marks.

For the peppers and onions I just sautéed them with evoo and then seasoned them with S & P.

I used a whole grain bread from whole foods that I cut to size to serve the sausage and peppers.

I have to say I was expecting the flavor of a pork sweet Italian sausage, but I definitely got the flavor of a chicken sundried tomato sausage. I’ve never been a fan of chicken sausages so I will not be buying or eating this again, but for those of you who like sweet chicken sausage this is a perfect product. The next time I’m craving sausage and peppers I’ll probably just eat peppers and onions on a roll and call it a day.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Chocolate Banana Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Icing

I always have bananas in the house, we all love them even Rigley (our dog). Unfortunately, we don’t always eat them fast enough and they go bad. I normally make banana bread, banana pancakes, or my mom’s banana cake but I wanted something different this time. So I looked on the internet on the Joy of Baking website and came across a recipe for Chocolate Banana Cake! The only thing I changed is that instead of making a ganache I made Chocolate Buttercream.
2 cups of sugar
1 ¾ cups of all purpose unbleached flour
1 ½ tsps of baking soda
1 ½ tsps of baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 large eggs
2 medium bananas , mashed
1 cup of warm water
½ cup of milk
½ cup of canola oil
2 tsps of vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or spray a 9 x 13 inch pan. Set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder,
baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, mashed bananas, water, milk,
oil, and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir,
or whisk, until combined.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 30 t0 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. When completely cooled, frost with the chocolate buttercream.
 It was definitely a hit. My parents loved it, my husband loved it, my coworkers loved it and I loved it too. This will be a recipe I use again! Thanks a bunch Joy of Baking!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Spaghetti al Formaggio Parmigiano in Aruba

I’ve been to Aruba several times, but this is the one dish that has stayed in my mind. So I just had to blog about this dish.
The first time I had this was a few years ago when we went to Aruba with my then boyfriend, now husbands, parents. It was the first time they were in Aruba and they have this dish every year when they go back.  Domenick and I loved it so much that we had it twice while we were there this time, but prepared at two different places, Gianni’s and Sole Mare. Personally I preferred Gianni’s but I also was sick at the time we ate at Sole Mare.
The pasta is served for 2 or more people and trust me if one person gets it the other person would have wished they got it anyway! First they bring out parmesan wheel on a cart. Then a server brings a flaming ladle of whiskey and a pan full of pasta in a sauce with fresh tomatoes. The ladle of flaming whiskey is dumped into the parmesan wheel and begins to melt the cheese and turn it into a creamy gooey lovely sauce. Once the server has scraped all of the cheese they add the pasta and toss it with the flamed whiskey cheese sauce and viola you have the most amazing pasta dish ever created! The dish that is most similar that most of you would be familiar with is pasta with vodka sauce, but for me, it’s much better! You cannot taste the whiskey, but the way that flamed whiskey melts the cheese is just amazing. I literally could just eat that with a spoon, yumm!
The thing about this dish is that they claim it is an authentic Italian dish. However, I’ve never seen an Italian cook with whiskey and I researched it a bit but couldn’t find anything. So I guess I’ll just take their word for it. All I know is that it is more of a traditional way of making a “cream sauce” in Italy. Now we add actual cream to our vodka and alfredo sauces but the traditional way was to add a TON of parmesan and toss it with some hot pasta and hot pasta water pasta water or vodka sauce.
If you find yourself in Aruba this is the number one dish I recommend!
I am planning on creating my own version of this dish so stay tuned to see how it turns out.

The Whiskey added to the parm wheel

The waitress scraping the cheese after the whiskey melted it

The spaghetti being mixed with the cheese
We were too hungry to take a picture after it was plated so this is about halfway through