Using Up Overripe Cherries: Toaster Oven Cobbler

7 Jan

Has a cold snap hit your town this weekend? Then it’s a good time to stay in and whip up a sweet, hot dessert (or breakfast)! This is also a great way to use up overripe berries in the summer months. You’ll need 4 ramekins or other small, oven-proof dishes for the cobbler. I used mostly all-purpose flour but replaced a tablespoon’s worth with coconut flour, just for kicks.

Cherry cobbler

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup to 1 cup cherries, pitted
  • 2 ½ Tbsp sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp cornstarch
  • 1 ½ tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract or almond extract
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • dash salt
  • ¼cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat toaster oven (or regular oven) to 350°F
  2. Toss cherries in 1 ½ Tbsp sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and a dash of vanilla or almond extract.
  3. Divide evenly into 4 ramekins.
  4. Place ramekins into oven for 10 minutes, while you prep the batter.
  5. For the batter: combine flour, remainder of sugar, baking powder, salt, milk, and butter.
  6. Spoon into ramekins on top of the cherries.
  7. Bake for about 45 minutes.
  8. Broil for 2-3 minutes, to brown the tops.
  9. Enjoy on its own or with ice cream!

Grand Rapids Brewsader Tour

1 Jan

It took me a while to getting around to writing this post – Hubby and I did our own Beer City Brewsader Tour of Grand Rapids, Michigan, over a weekend in the Fall. We mostly walked between breweries (gotta earn our beers!), with a couple of Uber rides thrown in. Since winter is a great time to hang out indoors while tasting craft beers, hopefully this post is still relevant.

Kick off the morning with brunch at Grand Rapids Brewing (1 Ionia Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503). Have a pint, a beer sampler, or hit the Bloody Mary bar.

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Hubby had the breakfast platter – it’s a good amount of food with eggs, a sausage, potatoes, and toast.
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For smaller appetites (since you’ll have to pace your eating for the day), there are several brunch appetizers. I had a salad and a Scotch egg – I have a weak spot for Scotch eggs…The sausage was good, but the egg was fully cooked, without the soft-centered yolk I had hoped for.

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Don’t forget to ask your server for a Brewsader passport – collect stamps at 8 or more participating Grand Rapids area breweries, then submit your “passport” to receive a free t-shirt (to advertise your love of alcohol, or you can use it as pajamas since it’s very comfy and soft). All of the breweries I mention here are part of the Brewsader program. And if you use the Untapped beer app on your phone, you’ll also get the Brewsader badge (more incentives to drink).

Just a couple doors down you’ll find HopCat ( 25 Ionia Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503). Grab a seat at the bar for a drink or two. The beer list is great, the bartenders are fantastic, and so is the decor. 

If you need a break from beer, head to the Grand Rapids Downtown Market for a bite to eat – you’ll find soups, tacos, Thai food, pizza, and fantastic ice cream at Love’s. From there, it’s a 1 mile (20 minute) walk along Wealthy Street to ELK Brewing (700 Wealthy St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503). Though ELK’s brews weren’t really my style – I found the flavors too obvious and overpowering – there were a lot of local regulars who came in to refill their growlers.

Then it’s another 20 minute walk (or short cab ride) to Brewery Vivant (925 Cherry St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506), a brewery in a former historical funeral home. Once inside, under the vaulted ceiling, you’ll feel as if you might be in a small Belgian town. My photos don’t do it justice.
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I recommend trying the charcuterie plate at Brewery Vivant:

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But save room for dinner, because you’ll want to head to Harmony Brewing Company (1551 Lake Dr SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506) to enjoy some good beer, and some of the best pizza in town (I forgot to take photos because I was too busy devouring that  pizza!)

Finally, finish off the night at Founders Brewing Co. (235 Grandville Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503), with its large beer hall, fantastic patio, and beer shop. 

Founders

Mitten Brewing
If you have room in your belly for one more brewery, kick off Day Two at Mitten Brewing Company (527 Leonard St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504). It’s a bit further afield from the others, but it’s a cool place – in a restored Victorian-era firehouse, decorated with a baseball theme. This place is kid friendly – we saw many families enjoying pizza together. We opted to snack on the trout dip, which is absolutely delicious!!
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Happy new year, and happy brewsading!!

Grand Rapids Brewing Co. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Brewery Vivant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Easy Side Dish: Bombay Rice

6 Nov

Plain rice can get boring, especially if it’s accompanying a protein with basic seasoning. During the week, I often end up eating baked chicken with some vegetables (snore…) and the leftovers make for an unexciting lunch the next day. So I decided to spice things up with a recipe for “Bombay Rice” I clipped from somewhere a while ago. I made a couple of changes based on the ingredients I had available. This rice probably has nothing to do with India but it’s yummy nonetheless and it smells delicious while it’s cooking.

I made this rice in my four-cup rice cooker – this is the maximum amount of ingredients you’ll be able to fit in a four-cup rice cooker – but you could certainly make this on your stovetop instead.

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Ingredients

  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 540 ml rice (2 ¼ cups, or 3 cupfuls in the little cup that comes with your rice cooker)
  • about 5½ cups water (fill rice cooker to the appropriate line)

Directions

  1. Put rice, water, curry powder, and cumin in the rice cooker, and stir. Start the rice cooker.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a pan. Stir fry onion, red pepper, and zucchini until tender. img_20161009_193518770
  3. When the rice is almost done, add the raisins and stir to mix.
  4. When the rice has finished cooking, stir in the vegetables.
  5. Serve! Here, my rice accompanies grilled chicken and zucchini.img_20161009_201356546

Neapolitan Pizza in Chicago: Spacca Napoli

30 Oct

Looking for some solid Neapolitan-style pizza on Chicago’s north side? Spacca Napoli is a good option.

We started off with a grilled vegetable plate – a generous amount of grilled eggplant, red and yellow peppers, and zucchini.

Spacca Napoli

The grilled octopus was alright. It came as a a couple large pieces, so it was bit more challenging to eat than most other presentations I’ve seen.

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The pizzas are where Spacca Napoli shines. The Neapolitan-style pizzas are all sized to suite one person. They are so good you probably won’t want to share anyway. There are many options, including a couple of daily specials.

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The disappointment of the night was the Peaches Vesuvio we ordered for dessert, which was I suppose more of a misunderstanding than anything. I thought that the peaches would be fresh, but they are not. The menu says “Peaches (Parco Nazionale del Vesuvio)”, meaning they are jarred peaches from the national park in Italy. Though they may have originated from Italy, they tasted like run-of-the-mill canned peaches from around here…I expressed my disappointment to our server, and he graciously took the dessert off our bill.

Info: Spacca Napoli Pizzeria, 1769 W. Sunnyside Avenue, Chicago, IL 60640 USA
Spacca Napoli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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