Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sharing in a Blogoversary (While Cooking With Mortal Instruments)

Check out my guest post on my friend Lisa's book-lovin' blog Lisa Loves involves young-adult fiction and this Ukrainian chicken salad! We are co-celebrating our third-year blogoversary....

CHICKEN SALAD (recipe from the Veselka cookbook by way of the Cooking with Veselka blog)

2 small onions
3 celery stalks
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 carrot, peeled & chopped
1 parsnip, peeled & chopped
2 bay leaves
4 allspice berries
1 red bell pepper, seeded & diced
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
salt & fresh ground pepper

Roughly chop 1 of the onions, 2 of the celery stalks, the carrot and the parsnip. We used one whole chicken instead of several chicken parts (as it was cheaper that way) and put it whole in a stock pot with 8 cups of water (or enough to cover the chicken). Add your chopped vegetables plus the bay leaves and allspice berries. We also put in six whole peppercorns. Let it simmer on low for two hours. Meanwhile, dice your remaining celery and onion as well as the red bell pepper and set aside. When the chicken is done simmering, remove it from the pot and pick that bird clean. Mix the shredded chicken with the mayo (we used a low-fat variety to cut those irritating calories) and diced veggies, salt and pepper to taste and you are good to go.

Happy Blogoversary Lisa!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Random Bites: Pickled Lemon Sushi, Pot Lucks and Pizza Bella

A bit of really random yet ridiculously righteous randomness this week...

We rejoined Ronnie and Jeff for a long overdue sushi date and returned to one of our faves: Sakura Japanese Restaurant, home of the famous sushi train. You can check out my original post here to see a video of this unique sushi bar and its way-cool toy train delivery of its mouth-watering goods. The sushi is the thing, though, and this little joint always serves up some of the most eccentric and creative sushi around. This time there were most assuredly highlights; including some marvelously spicy mussels and some lovely tuna sashimi with jalapeno but the star of the show was a wickedly flavorful roll with tuna and avocado that was topped off with a pickled lemon and striped with dynamite sauce. SO unexpectedly good. We do love us some Sakura; although it seems to be rapid-fire sushi.... we are in, out and full up in 30 minutes.

We had our first pot luck at our still-renovating hotel and it was some sweet and savory action. The potluck is a long-held tradition among the hotel staff and this one was a corker of a kickoff. Mine and K's goal was a couple of salads: one was a variation of Willow Spring's watermelon and tomato salad and the other, a black bean, corn and edamame salad, was found on my Pinterest board here. The tomato-watermelon salad didn't survive, sadly. We made the mistake of mixing it up with the goat cheese as opposed to just topping the salad with it and it morphed into a goopy mess. Ah, well, the black bean, corn and edamame salad (recipe here) was mighty tasty and worked just as well as a dip and also paired well with Ethan's killer salsa. The clear winners for me, however were by a couple of chicks that hang in the accounting corner with me named Jenai and Megan. Jenai made decadent caramel cheesecake bars and an addictive and spicy Tailgate Dip and Megan served up double deliciousness with a strawberry spinach salad (that included a bright and awesome lemony dressing) as well as some yummy Cowboy Cookies that incorporated oatmeal, Rice Krispies, chocolate chips and walnuts. Best of all, our cohort Lacee and her hubby Jonathan brought their new baby Charley in for his first visit.

Finally, K and I accompanied Bunchie and Kiko to Kansas City's brilliant new home for the performing arts; the Kauffman Center. We caught a powerful performance of Aida in the lovely theater and enjoyed it immensely. Aida is the one show we have actually seen on Broadway in NYC and while the experience didn't quite hold up to that (how could it?), you can't beat this sparkly new venue. What a coup for the arts in KC! We followed the show with some Boulevard Amber Ale and scrumptious gourmet pizza at nearby Pizza Bella. After a sampler of lovely cheeses, stone ground mustards, and some pickled okra and onions, the much-anticipated main course arrived. Two meatless marvels; one a concoction of potato, radicchio, gorgonzola and balsamic and the other a table fave; the Margherita with tomato, roasted garlic, basil and fresh mozzarella.

Molto delizioso!

The weekend was closed and as we left by the shadow of the old TWA building, we were more than satisfied with the tastiness of the past week.