Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cosentino's, Andre's, A Slice of Paradise and the Return of The Cookbook Challenge

I returned to the KC food world with a vengeance this week. First off, the Cookbook Challenge....the fact that I had accepted the challenge of cooking something from all of my cookbooks this year and then left town for a week AND then received several cookbooks for my birthday, well, I needed to get back to the drawing board,..or cutting board, as it were. I had an abundance of broccoli from KC Fresh Connect, so I went with a recipe I found in the Quick and Healthy cookbook written by Brenda J. Ponichtera and morphed it to suit me. It was delicious and made enough for me to take for work lunches the rest of the week. The recipe for Mexican Vegetables is written in it's original form and the parts in parentheses are my changes...

1 cup chopped cucumber with peel (I used chopped broccoli instead)
1 can (8 3/4 oz) corn (I used Mexican corn)
1 can (16 oz) stewed tomatoes (I used diced tomatoes with green chilies)
2 tbl chopped red pepper
2 tbl chopped green pepper (I used yellow pepper instead)
2 tbl red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp dried cilantro
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
1/8 tsp ground pepper
(I also added one can of Southwestern Black Beans)

Combine ingredients and mix well. Serve cold.

Of course, I always suggest honoring the original recipe, but this was basic enough for me to play with and it turned out quite well. Spicy and good. This is Cookbook Challenge recipe #2.

We tried out Italian Gardens to Go on Friday night. Italian Gardens, in it's original incarnation downtown KC, has a rich and storied history. I recently read the new book that recounted that history and it is a fascinating look at the history of Carl DiCapo and his colorful family, their restaurant and Kansas City itself. These folks don't shy away from the good, bad and the ugly in the'a a very juicy tale. I was most fascinated with the Sabenadica table...a table created for lone travelers to dine together that eventually became so popular, it boasted a membership numbering more than 2000 people...many of them celebrities. Buy this's a riveting history of our Cowtown. Oh, yes, the food was delicious...we both had Carl's Combo...homemade lasagna and fettuccine with Italian salad and garlic bread...yum.

We had lunch on Saturday at Cosentino's downtown market. We were shopping for some ingredients and decided to try out the corn chowder and some fresh paninis. K's was a roast beef with cheddar and olive tapenade; mine was the Napoli..Sopressata (an Italian cured dry salami), provolone, fresh basil and white truffle oil....mine was wonderful. I admit to NOT knowing what Sopressata was, but discovering it was a flavorful treat and it was so good with the other ingredients. Cosentino's also has a sushi bar, made-to-order pasta bar, an enormous salad bar and a bakery featuring some stunning desserts.

We went a different route for take-home desserts as we were newbies to Andre's Confiserie Suisse ( wonderful restaurant/bakery that produces fine chocolates in the Swiss tradition. I need to get Kitten to help me with the pronunciation of Andre's full name...although Keith's attempts were a hoot. It's a KC favorite and it took us six years to get here. In fact, between Spin Pizza, Glace Ice Cream and this place, this little corner of the South Plaza is becoming a favorite hangout. Choosing amongst the lovelies was difficult....but we went with a Chocolate Bomb (at right) and the Blackberry Tart. The tart was so fresh and featured a surprise spongy cake in the center. The bomb was chocolate gorgeousness...chocolate mousse and a layer of dark chocolate cookie encased in a milk chocolate shell....sigh. They also have signature food items...salsas, soups and salad dressings. This place is a wow. I want to return to try everything else (like the cake below right)!

Finally, an unexpected trip to Excelsior Springs introduced me to a new pizza joint there called A Slice of Paradise. A small, unassuming former Quizno's ended up yielding some of the best pizza I'd had in awhile. Ours was a Loaded Baked Potato Pizza (pictured at left): homemade savory crust with potatoes, bacon, tomatoes, cheddar and a delectable rosemary sour cream, so good. Again, I want to return to and try everything on the menu. A Slice of Paradise is quite the family operation...the chef's mom was the server and his son was helping out in the kitchen....I heard the adorable and hardworking Mom say, "we don't get paid. There's a lot of love in this restaurant". She is one proud Mama and she should be. Check this place out!!


Anonymous said...

Jeff and I had a full lunch, but when I saw these pics, my stomache growled as I salivated. The chocolate and the pizza... to die for.

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