Mrs. Carla Monti

Mrs. Carla Monti

Monday, August 14, 2017

Baked Broccoli Tots!

I am really on a "tot" kick lately, huh? I made these broccoli and cheddar "tots" yesterday and a lemon garlic yogurt cream sauce to accompany them. They were nice and crispy, but I learned that I really prefer the taste of cauliflower and other veggies to broccoli. Duly noted for the future!

These were very easy. I bought a large head of broccoli, removed the stems, diced up the florets, and steamed them in boiling water for 10 min or so. I diced them, added them to a bowl with eggs, breadcrumbs, shredded cheddar cheese, minced garlic, and assorted seasonings. I used Greek yogurt, mixed with fresh lemon juice, and garlic salt as the sauce.

Recipe link here!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Capital Grille: Generous Pour Event!

Every summer, the Capital Grille restaurant chain throws a fantastic wine tasting event called "Generous Pour" (details can be found here!) For $28, you get to try 7 different wines that have been ranked highly (90+) points by critics. Three whites and four reds, and the pours are certainly generous! The servers will ask you if you would like more of any of the wines, and you're free to have as much as you'd like. It's a fabulous deal, and a great way to discover some new wines to add to your kitchen! My favorite white was the Cambria Chardonnay and my favorite red was the Siduri Pinot Noir, both available at Total Wines, and newly added to my to do list of errands!

I also enjoyed the stories behind these two wines. The Cambria brand is a all female operation - only women work at the winery and they have an all female management team. The Cambria label also sponsors women by providing an annual grant to a different woman once a year that empowers and motivates them. The bottle even features a self-portrait of the grant winner! The Siduri label gets its name from the Babylonian goddess of wine, which is just awesome!

The restaurant is also running an awesome give away - fill out the form with your contact info and drop it in the fishbowl at the front desk. One lucky winner will win all 7 of the wines featured in the Generous Pour event, plus the funky wooden wine holder shown below! Fingers crossed :)

This appetizer was so delicious - prosciutto wrapped mozzarella with balsamic marinated cherry tomatoes.

Giant shrimp cooked in garlic and lemon over crostini in a small cast iron skillet.

My husband's entree - large seared sea scallops over polenta and corn with torn lemongrass on top.

A small amuse-bouche to serve as a palette cleanser between white and red wines. This was a small piece of fried salmon over a dill cream sauce on top of a slice of fresh cucumber.

My entree - butterflied filet mignon with creamed corn and bacon as the side. Yum! And needless to say, the meat went fantastic with the last two red wines served, both full-bodied Cabernets!

And of course, we had to end the meal with chocolate lava cake to go with the last mouthfuls of Cab!

Yes, I took the wine glass. But to be fair, my rose needed the water! :)

Grilled Cheese Dippers!

It has been rainy and stormy lately here in South Florida (hello hurricane season!) so I was craving some comfort food. I wanted to make a grilled cheese sandwich to accompany some tomato bisque I picked up at a local deli, but wanted to make it more "kid-friendly" for my toddler. I sliced the sandwich up to make little "dippers" for the soup and it was a hit! The key is definitely to use sourdough for the bread, it tastes so much better that way!

Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant!

My parents and I took my toddler to a new baby gym up in Palm Beach Gardens, just a bit north of where we live. We stopped by the mall next door for lunch and discovered an awesome new restaurant - Cooper's Hawk Winery! This chain has locations in various states, and their main bottling location is based out of Illinois. The space itself is conceptually lovely - you walk into a huge Napa-style tasting room and gift shop, with a separate dining area for the restaurant. A tasting is $7 and you try 8 different wines, a mix of reds and whites bottled by the brand. Lunch was fantastic - I had a short rib grilled cheese and it was so tasty!

Veggie Burgers!

As usual, in my perusing of my Facebook newsfeed, interesting recipes and food videos abound due to all the foodie pages I've 'liked' over the years. Last week I came across a recipe for veggie burgers, with a base made from baby portabella mushrooms, black beans, and spinach. I love making interesting kind of meals like this, even though we are not vegetarian or vegan in my household, because it's fun to mix it up!

This recipe was a huge hit and you can find it here. Below are my modifications to it.

  • No onion
  • Used whole eggs instead of just the whites
  • Used store bought chipotle mayo
  • Added more spices (cayenne, smoked paprika, white pepper)
  • Baked the patties for 5 min extra on each side
This recipe made a pretty decent amount of patties. I made 6 patties and baked them, and I put the leftover "mix" in the fridge, I may use it to make a frittata for lunch tomorrow.

In the veggie burgers, I used multigrain sandwich thins and toasted them before assembling with the baked patties, romaine lettuce and chipotle mayo. My husband ate 4! I made sweet potato wedges to serve alongside the burgers, and it was the perfect tasty side dish.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Yardhouse Review!

Yardhouse is a local draft beer / gastropub type chain and there is one close to us. We went for dinner with some friends over the weekend and had a mixed experience. I had been several times previously for happy hour, and found the cocktails and appetizers to be perfectly fine. Entrees for dinner on the other hand, not so much! I would recommend this as a perfect happy hour spot (particularly on the terrace/patio, if not too muggy).

Monday, August 7, 2017

Iced Coffee Guide!

I know what you're thinking - who needs a guide to make iced coffee?! Well trust me, because I have found the very best way to make delicious iced coffee at home. I made a pot of regular black coffee, and once cooled, poured it into an ice cube mold. I then took 2% milk, and poured it into my trusted Yeti cup, along with several coffee ice cubes. A dash of Bailey's for sweetness (this is clearly not a morning drink before work!), and you're good to go! The Yeti tumbler is key here - I still had ice in my cup 5 hours later after a playdate and several errands run last Saturday afternoon.

Lemon Mousse!

I had purchased a jar of lemon curd from Trader Joe's a few months back, and wanted to use it up before the expiration date. I found a simple recipe for light and fluffy lemon mousse which was right up my alley. With some heavy whipping cream and a touch of powdered sugar, the mixer did all of the work and I was left with four perfectly portioned lemon mousse cups. Yum!

Chicken Cashew Lettuce Wraps!

I love ordering chicken lettuce wraps at PF Changs, and when I saw one of my favorite food blogs, Cupcakes and Kale Chips post a video with a similar recipe on their Facebook page, I was instantly intrigued.

I made a few modifications to the recipe (link here). First, I baked organic chicken tenderloins in the oven with sesame oil, salt and pepper, and then shredded them. I prepared the sauce as dictated in the recipe, but I added half a teaspoon of ground ginger spice. I put the cashews in the food processor with a bit of heavy cream, to make a kind of chunky paste. I then simmered the shredded chicken, cashews and sauce together over medium heat for 10-15 minutes. I used romaine lettuce leaves as the cups, and garnished with some sesame seeds. Delicious!

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins!

As you can see from my recent posts, I love "hiding" vegetables in everything from dessert to the main course. I think it's a fun and tasty way to add more servings of vegetables and also have a healthier meal overall. My fellow mamas will understand this as well and I have a very active toddler at home to keep me on my toes!

This recipe is heavenly - there is an entire large zucchini in this batch of muffins, and I got about 14 muffins out of it.

I am not sure why the author does not specify to wring excess water from the grated zucchini, but I did, and I highly recommend that anyone following the recipe does so as well. My muffins came out very moist, with the perfect "melt in your mouth" consistency, so I have no doubt that excess water would have made them a mess.

So after you grate the zucchini on your box grater (using a microplane would be a pain here), use a thin kitchen towel to get out all that extra water (avoid using paper towels, they crumble too easily).

I used chocolate milk for the liquid component, but you could use any kind of milk you'd like to. A smidge of espresso powder (or instant coffee granules) is always a good addition to any chocolate baked good.

Recipe link here!