Eat good food and share!

Looking for a place to take that special person out to eat for Valentine’s Day? Touting these as Des Moines’ most romantic restaurants, the Des Moines Register’s Datebook has provided the following menus that will be served on Valentine’s Day. Catch the story in the Datebook.

Cafe di Scala

644 18th St.; 244-1353

THE DETAILS: A five-course prix fixe
dinner ($60) will be served Tuesday
evening.

MENU: Choose from the following for your
five-course dinner. Antipasto: tomato and
zucchini ragu over baked polenta cakes;
roasted Italian beef-stuffed peppers;
smoked trout mousse crostini with radish
and dill. Zuppa: puree of carrot soup with
tarragon creme fraiche; Italian wedding
soup with romano crostini. Insalata:
spinach, pine nuts, figs and ricotta salata;
roasted beets, garlic-chevre mousse, pine
nuts and orange blossom oil. Secondi:
braised pork shoulder over roasted
cannelinni and tomato ragu; seared
flounder over zucchini risotto; roasted
fennel and chevre ravioli with pinot bianco
cream sauce. Dolce: flourless chocolate
torte over caramel almond brittle; tiramisu
paired with chocolate-covered strawberry
and biscotti; chocolate panna cotta with
cherries.

Centro

1011 Locust St.; 244-7033

THE DETAILS: Centro’s features are
available Saturday through Feb. 18.MENU: Bourbon-maple glazed smoked
salmon with an apple salad and candied
walnuts, $10. Shrimp tortelloni with vodka-
tomato cream sauce and shaved Pecorino
Romano, $12. Spaghetti Rustica, braised
duck ragu with fresh sage, fresh pasta and
Pecorino Romano, $22.

Christopher’s

2816 Beaver Ave.; 274-3694

THE DETAILS: Three-course prix fixe
dinner available.

MENU: Starters include either a Caesar
salad or a roasted pear and walnut salad.
For your entree, choose between the
following: filet Oscar, an 8-ounce filet
topped with lump crab meat; a lobster tail
dinner; or filet mignon and a 6-ounce
lobster tail. Dessert is a chocolate cake
served with raspberry sauce and icecream.

Fire Creek

800 S. 50th St., West Des Moines

THE DETAILS: Specials available Saturday
through Tuesday.

MENU: Two entree specials. One, a 12-
ounce bone-in filet with a trio of sauces,
roasted baby red potatoes and baby top
carrots, $43.95, or red snapper with
lemon oil sauce, topped with crab-meat
stuffing, rice pilaf and baby top carrots,
$33.95. New York-style cheesecake with
strawberries or homemade creme brulee,
$7.50 each.

Fleming’s

150 S. Jordan Creek Parkway, West Des
Moines; 457-2916THE DETAILS: Specials available Sunday
through Tuesday. Each couple dining on
those days will get a $25 gift certificate to
use at Fleming’s at a later date.MENU: Entrees ($69.95 apiece) include
filet mignon served over portobello
mushrooms and bacon, paired with crab-
stuffed prawns; a New York strip steak
topped with butter-poached king crab,
asparagus and a champagne bearnaise
sauce; or a North Atlantic lobster tail with
drawn butter, served with lobster mac and
cheese. The dessert special is a red velvet
cake for two ($9.50), served with espresso
truffles.

Mezzodi’s

4519 Fleur Drive, 287-3333

DETAILS: Special available Sunday through
Tuesday for $59.99 per couple. Served
family style.

MENU: Pink peppercorn dinner for two.
Surf-and-turf platter for two featuring pink
peppercorn mahi mahi topped with tropical
salsa and seared flank steak topped with a
red wine-peppercorn sauce. Served with
garlic mashed potatoes, sauteed
vegetables, a bottle of house wine and
Mezzodi’s signature chocolate falling down
cake.

Mojo’s

6163 N.W. 86th St., No. 103, Johnston;
334-3699DETAILS: The Valentine’s prix fixe menu is
available Tuesday and is $40 per person
MENU: Starter choices include
Mediterranean veggie crostini; tuna tartar
in crispy wonton cups; smoked mushroom
and lentil salad or chicken and leek soup.
Entree choices include a pan-roasted
stuffed quail; lavender and pepper grilled
tuna with jasmine rice; beef bourguignon
with oven-roasted potatoes or potato and
chive pierogies. (Add a butter-poached
lobster tail to your entree for an additional
$15.) Dessert choices include a frozen
Grand Marnier souffle; chocolate hazelnut
torte or beignets with lingonberry sauce.

Sbrocco

208 Court Ave.; 282-3663

DETAILS: Valentine features are available
Friday through Tuesday.

MENU: Social plates specials: white prawn
bisque; bone-in pork belly with smoked
polenta. Entree specials: oven-roasted
Canadian lobster tail with lobster risotto;
roasted Colorado rack of lamb and a
lamb-quince demiglaze. Dessert specials:
artisan chocolates; red velvet cake with
Grand Marnier icing; creme brulee with
fresh berries; chocolate walnut torte;
assorted fresh berries with lemon sabayon
and mint syrup.

Trostel’s Greenbriar

5810 Merle Hay Road, Johnston; 253-
0124DETAILS: Chef-created specials available
Monday and Tuesday.
MENU: Appetizer special: tempura-fried
Alaskan snow crab legs, $8. Entree special:
grilled wagyu strip loin filet with a lobster
wonton, $22. Dessert special: tart cherry
dark chocolate creme caramel with
seasonal berries, $8.

Simple Cupcakes

This is a recipe that my daughter Miya found, and together we modified it a bit. They’re kind of a yellow cake / muffin type cupcake. I dug out one of my frosting recipes, and we topped it all off with some Wilton sparkly sugar! Have a try… they’re simple, they’re good and they sparkle! With Valentine’s Day coming up, these would be a nice quick treat.

Simple Cupcakes

Ingredients
• 1/2 cup shortening • 1 1/3 cups sugar 

• 1 teaspoon vanilla 
• 2 large eggs
 • 1 cup milk

• 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour 

• 3 teaspoons baking powder
 • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream together shortening and sugar. Mix in vanilla, eggs and milk. Add dry ingredients, mix together. It’s best to use a mixer for this step, otherwise your cupcakes will have a coarse texture. Two or 2 1/2 minutes at medium speed should do it.

Spoon batter into cupcake pan lined with cupcake paper liners. Bake for approx. 20 minutes. You can check to see if they’re done by inserting a toothpick into one of the cupcakes. If it comes out clean, they’re done!

Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack. If you don’t have a wire rack, a breadboard or even the counter works fine!  Once they’re completely cool, frost!

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 5 or 6 Tablespoons milk

Mix butter, cream cheese, vanilla, salt and powdered sugar. Add milk, using your best judgement about frosting consistency. If the frosting is too thick after 5 tablespoons, add one more. That will usually be enough!

An AWESOME chart I ran across that tells what to eat when you’re craving less-healthy foods. Several are interesting to me. At various times I crave… and I mean literally crave… things like soda pop, sweets or even have the “no I’m not hungry” problem.  This WILL be printed out and posted on my refrigerator!

I was just visiting over at the Food Network website when I laid eyes on this pizza. My mouth immediately started watering! (Bobby Flay has that effect on me too!) I knew that I had to share this with my readers. Perfect for Super Bowl Sunday!

Pizza with NY Strip, Blue Cheese and Balsamic Glaze

Recipe courtesy Bobby Flay

Prep Time:
55 min
Inactive Prep Time:
2 hr 20 min
Cook Time:
15 min

Level:
Intermediate

Serves:
4 servings

Ingredients
Balsamic Glaze:

2 cups balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Steak:

1 (12-ounce) NY strip steak
Canola oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pizza
1/2 recipe Pizza Dough rolled into 2 (10-inch) rounds, recipe follows or 2 store-bought pizza dough
Canola oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (recommended: Cabrales)
Grilled steak
1 bunch watercress, coarsely chopped
Balsamic Glaze
Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano

Directions

For the glaze:

Bring vinegar to a boil in a small nonreactive saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1/2 cup. Stir in the honey and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

For the steak:

Heat grill to high. Brush steak on both sides with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until golden brown and slightly charred on both sides and cooked to medium-rare doneness, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from the grill to a cutting board, tent lightly with foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice into 1/4-inch thick slices.

For the pizza:

Heat the grill to high.

Brush both sides of the pizzas with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from the grill, divide the Monterey Jack cheese over the top of each one and then sprinkle with the blue cheese. Place back on the grill, close the cover of the grill and grill until the cheese has melted, about 1 minute. Remove to a flat surface, divide the steak between each pizza, then top with the watercress Drizzle with some of the balsamic glaze and sprinkle with some of the shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Pizza Dough:

2/3 cup lukewarm water (105 degrees F to 115 degrees F)
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for oiling bowl
1 3/4 to 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/4 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons coarse salt

In a large bowl stir together 1/3 cup water, yeast, and sugar and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/3 cup water, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 3/4 cups flour, cornmeal, and salt and blend until the mixture forms a dough. Knead dough on a floured surface, incorporating as much of remaining 1/4 cup flour, as necessary, to prevent dough from sticking, until smooth about 5 to 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball.

Lightly oil the sides and bottom of a large bowl with oil, add the dough, turn to coat in the oil, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Gently punch the dough down and divide into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece on a lightly floured surface into a 10-inch circle that is 1/8-inch thick. Brush off excess flour and transfer the dough to a baking sheet, cover each circle of dough with plastic wrap and continue stacking rolled out pieces on top of each other. Wrap well with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to grill.

Stephanie:

PaleoWorks tells us that eating less, exercising more may be a flawed theory.

Originally posted on Paleo Works: How To Diet:

Paleo-calorie-counting

'Healthy Eating' means weight gain.

Eat less and exercise more.  How is this working for you?  The fact is that when you restrict calories (eat less) you get hungry!  Have you tried it?  What happens?  If you’re like most people you can probably manage your hunger for a couple of weeks even months but it then becomes a test of endurance and we can tell you who will win out in the end…..Hunger will make sticking to your new regime almost impossible and not only that, hormonal imbalance will drive “overeating and weight gain” once the restriction has gone. Why?

Our bodies have built in something we call a ‘set point weight’.  This is a survival instinct brought about during periods of limited resource, stress or starvation.  during these times the body does all it can to maintain what it had set as your ‘set weight point’ . If you force the body…

View original 581 more words

cropped portion of portrait of George Washingt...

Image via Wikipedia

To celebrate National Peanut Butter day (January 24), I decided to share some facts about peanuts that I gleaned from the National Peanut Board. I would also like to point out that renowned peanut researcher, George Washington Carver, spent a good amount of time right here in Iowa! Wikipedia tells us, “In 1890, Carver started studying art and piano at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa .His art teacher, Etta Budd, recognized Carver’s talent for painting flowers and plants; she encouraged him to study botany at Iowa State Agricultural College in Ames.When he began in 1891, he was the first black student, and later taught as the first black faculty member.

When he completed his B.S., professors Joseph Budd and Louis Pammel convinced Carver to continue at Iowa State for his master’s degree. Carver did research at the Iowa Experiment Station under Pammel during the next two years. His work at the experiment station in plant pathology and mycology first gained him national recognition and respect as a botanist.”

George Washington Carver Facts

  • Dr. George Washington Carver researched and developed more than 300 uses for peanuts in the early 1900s.
  • In 1916, he published the research bulletin, “How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it For Human Consumption.”
  • Dr. Carver is considered “The Father of the Peanut Industry” because of his extensive research and selfless dedication to promoting peanut production and products.
  • Dr. Carver’s research gained him much worldwide acclaim. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Henry Ford and Thomas Edison were a few of his many fans.
  • For more George Washington Carver facts click here.

Peanut Nutrition Facts

  • The peanut is not a nut, but a legume related to beans and lentils.
  • Peanuts have more protein, niacin, folate and phytosterols than any nut.
  • Peanuts have a higher antioxidant capacity over grapes, Concord grape juice, green tea, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, carrots and many more.
  • Peanuts and peanut butter contain over 30 essential nutrients and phytonutrients.
  • Peanuts are naturally cholesterol-free.

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“Everything in moderation… including moderation.” – Julia Child

Here’s where I weigh in (pun intended) on the firestorm that ensued after Paula Deen‘s confession that she has known she has Type II diabetes for three years. Basically… so?

A good public relations decision for Deen would have been to have come clean three years ago about her diabetes. But is she really required to disclose her medical history? Do we know the health concerns of other celebrity chefs? Because she has diabetes, does that make it forbidden for her to cook anything other than “diabetic” food? I really fail to see the logic in all the “Shame on you, Paula Deen!” mentality.

Julia Child knew what was what. In addition to her rather famous quote above about moderation, she has also said, “The best way to execute French cooking is to get good and loaded and whack the hell out of a chicken. Bon appétit. ” Is Julia vilified because she advocated getting loaded? No. Is Keith Richards a “bad role model” because he plays the guitar with arthritic hands? Is he “promoting” an activity that may or may not bring on a physical affliction? (The answer to that is, or had better be, a resounding, “HELL NO!”)

The thing is… and this is a shocker… Paula Deen is NOT the only celebrity cook who uses ingredients that are less than healthy for you. Hell, I found a fairly decadent fettucine recipe in one of my Cooking Light magazines! Butter, half-and-half, (less fat) cream cheese and TEN strips of bacon! Cooking “light?” Indeed.

The Food Network, publishing companies, celebrity chefs… anybody who promotes cooking and food is usually doing so TO MAKE MONEY. Like it or not, we are a capitalistic society.

I’m not saying that a lot of her food isn’t bad for you. A lot of it is. She does really like butter and mayonnaise. But the bottom line is, Americans are fat because of the choices we make, and changes in our society that make physical exertion less likely than it used to be. Paula Deen cooks on television. She doesn’t come into our homes and shove pie down our… well… pieholes. We do that. WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONSEQUENCES OF WHAT WE EAT.

Deen has expressed dismay that more chefs haven’t come forth in support of her. That too is a public relations decision, on their part. Emeril Lagasse did speak out in support of Deen. He disclosed that although he does not have Type II diabetes, it runs in his family. “We in our household have been dealing with it [diabetes] for many, many years. In the words of Julia Child, ‘it’s about moderation.’” (See? Always listen to Julia!) Take a look at Emeril on Good Morning America:
Emeril Lagasse Talks Paula Deen, Diabetes, Makes Braised Pot Roast With Vegetables.

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