Monthly Archives: August 2010

Eating in Alaska–In Pictures!

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to travel to Alaska to visit my sister who works seasonally in Denali. Between delicious meals in Anchorage, Seward, and Denali–I thought I would just let some of these photos speak for themselves. We all need a little “food porn” now and then, right?

By far, the best meal that I had was at the “best restaurant in Alaska”, 229 Parks. The salads, flat bread, artichoke soup, Thai noodle soup, tamales, etc were all fresh and amazing. This is one of the nicer restaurants I have been to, with great service and amazing menu selections. If you are ever in Denali National Park, please make sure you put this restaurant on your list. 229, because it is at mile post 229 on the highway. Don’t drive past!! Also, don’t miss the Black Bear Coffee House–best Chai Tea I have ever had…especially when there is a bit of fresh nutmeg on top.

Vacation eats are the best–but I am certainly ready for detox. I think I ate more carbs in one week in Alaska than I have in the last three months! But, that is what vacation is for right?

Thanks to my sister and all the great people who cooked for us and shared some glorious meals!

Colorful Harvest–Sweet Corn Like Candy

I was very excited a few weeks back when Steven from Colorful Harvest contacted me about doing a review of some of their products. I was more than happy to do so and only a few days later a cooler of their amazing Ruby Jewel Sweet Red Corn arrived. When I peeled back the husks on the corn, I was so excited. It was some of the prettiest food I had seen.

This came with a few questions for me. How did the corn get to be such an amazing shade of red? Was it some kind of chemical? Was I actually eating corn…or was this the “idea” of corn after it had been tampered with? So, when Steven also sent me a few facts on this beautiful crop, I was even more impressed.

Ruby Jewel Sweet Red Corn gets its amazing color due to good old fashioned seed development for deep red color, sweet taste, tender skin, and high nutrition. There is nothing chemically altered about it. In fact, in the ruby color of this harvest there is a nutritional element that you don’t get with regular sweet corn. The red color comes from an antioxidant called Anthocyonin which 350% higher levels of antioxidants than ordinary white or yellow corn. Getting a cold? Not feeling so hot? Eat up some of this gorgeous corn and get some of those antioxidants!!

Colorful Harvest recommends that you not boil this great product because some of the color will bleed out and with that color goes the awesome nutrients with it. However, I had boiled a few cobs before receiving this information, and I can at least say, that it tasted amazing–even if some of that color bled away in the boiling process. I added just a little bit of organic butter, but didn’t need any salt. The corn was so sweet that it didn’t really need any. I was in a corn cob heaven. So, if you boil it, it isn’t the end of the world. However, try grilling with the husks on–adding a bit of butter–and you will keep that bright red color when you serve.

After tasting the corn and getting some more information on it, I knew that I wanted to come up with a recipe for it in which the corn was used raw. After a quick trip to whole foods for some ingredients, I came up with a pretty tasty recipe: Nosh Maven’s Ruby Jewel Sweet Corn and Bean Succotash. It was a big hit with a lot of people!

For this tangy recipe, you will need the following: (3) Cobs of Ruby Jewel Corn from Sweet Harvest, Great Northern Beans, White Beans, Black Beans, (1) Anaheim Pepper, Tomatoes (Colorful Heirloom Tomatoes look best), Fresh Cilantro, Green Onions, Juice of (1) Lime, Sea Salt, Red Wine Vinegar, Garlic (fresh or dry), Onion Powder, and Fresh Cracked Pepper.

First, you will want to drain all of your beans in a strainer and rinse them off with cold water. Then, shave the kernels off the 3 cobs of the Ruby Jewel Corn into the bowl you will use to mix the succotash. Squeeze the juice of the lime into the corn and mix. Add 3/4 of the stalk of green onions. Mix all of these items together well and add in the beans. After adding the beans, chop 1/4 cup of cilantro and add to the mixture. Then, chop your tomatoes (farily fine) and throw them in! Personally, I don’t love bell peppers. I understand this is a weird concept for some, but really, I think that their flavor overtakes everything they are added to. I wanted some kick of this dish, but I didn’t want bell peppers anywhere near it. Instead, I used 1 large Anaheim pepper, which worked perfectly. Cut the pepper down the center, get rid of the seeds, and finely chop.

To season, I think that everyone can pretty much season to taste, however these are the items I think that you really don’t want to skip on: First and foremost, red wine vinegar. I like the zing of it and it really brings out the flavor in these fresh veggies. I would say about 1/4 – 1/2 cup works well. Salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powerd to taste, and you are ready to roll. Kettle Brand Tortilla Chips with Chili Lime (organic) were a great addition.

I took this succotash on an outing with friends, and they raved. It was the prefect summer snack and I found people putting in on sandwiches, eating it with different items for dipping, and generally enjoying the flavor. The Ruby Jewel corn adds a sweetness (not to mention beautiful color), while the peppers and red wine vinegar add some heat and zest. It is a flavor explosion, to be exact. You could use this while cooking chicken or even for a pasta sauce.

I gave a lot of the Ruby Jewel corn to family and friends for them to try it as well. My mom cooked it a wonderful steak dinner (she even took a picture for me!) while some other friends BBQ’ed or boiled it. Not one person didn’t rave about the great flavor, quality of the product, or the beautiful presentation.

This corn is grown in California, but some local grocers carry the product. See Colorful Harvest’s website for details and also to check out some of their other chromatic produce!

Also, make sure to follow Colorful Harvest on Twitter and find them on Facebook!

Fat’s Grill–It’s Not Just For Pool

If you are a local of Salt Lake City or Sugarhouse, you have probably driven by Fat’s Grill several times and probably noticed that it looked like a pretty cool joint to hang out at(if for some reason you haven’t been there). I hadn’t been to Fat’s Grill in quite a while and I have never actually eaten there. A friend recommended that I check it out for Nosh Maven, and I thought it was a great idea. I am always on the lookout for new places to hang or play some pool…not to mention dine.

We decided to go in for lunch, which was great, because Fat’s has a different feel about it depending on the time of day you go. What is a jumping pool hall/dance club at night is actually a very mellow, laid back, fun place for a business lunch. And what better way to get away from the stringent work day than to knock a few balls around on a pool table? If you have been to Fat’s for a hang out, but haven’t eaten there, I highly recommend you check this place out next time for some serious and reasonably priced fare.

My friend had been raving about the Chicken Quesadilla for a few weeks, so of course, we ordered that. It was different than I expected, but tasty nonetheless. The tomato tortilla was stuffed to capacity with chicken, cheese, and awesome jalapenos. The salsa and pepperoncinis on the side were great–but I think that some sour cream and guacamole would have been nice also. I am one of those people can’t doesn’t do any kind of Mexican food without those two items!

We also ordered the Chicken Basil Tomato Pizza, which was divine. It was the perfect size for a single person and ordering a couple of Fat’s pizzas would be a great way to share. The chicken was fresh and tender and the tomatoes were ripe to perfection. Even the crust was mouth watering. I like dried basil, but I think for this pizza, the only thing that I would have rather preferred would be fresh basil–but hey, it was still a flavorful experience!

Another friend in our group ordered the Spicy Chicken Wrap–which came with chips and salsa. This was also on a tomato tortilla and looked awesome. It was bursting with chicken, lettuce, cheese, tomato, spicy sauce and ranch dressing. If there is one thing I hate, it is a dry sandwich or wrap, and this one looked juicy and delicious.

I asked the server what she recommended as far as my entree went and she quickly suggested the Fat’s Burger. I took her suggestion and I was glad I did. This was a simple, yet flavorful burger and came with some awesome baked fries on the side. Some were a little crispier than others–but Jerry, one of the owners, told me that they bake their french friends, not fry them…so I was happy about the crispy fries! The burger came with every condiment that I could have asked for, which I also appreciated because I hate having to ask for basic items when ordering a burger. Overall, I think that the burger was my favorite item that we ordered–Fat’s certainly has this one right; AND, they have several different burgers to choose from!

To top it all off, Jerry also treated us to some divine cheesecake for dessert! This was a very light, almost whipped tasting cheesecake and perfect for the three of us to each get our sweet tooth taken care of before we left. Thanks, Jerry!

Another thing about this menu that I love is how great the prices are. My burger was around 7 bucks, and I think we didn’t pay more than 8 for any of these items. Everything on the menu seemed to range from 5 – 10 bucks, which is very doable for a quick lunch or an evening out. For the price, you get a lot of grub for your doller.

Fat’s Grill is locally owned and operated, and I always give my support to those in our community who are running awesome businesses like this! Next time you are looking for a great hang out on a Friday night or a lunch in the cool Sugarhouse shopping district, don’t just drive past this great joint–go in and get some real Salt Lake City flavor and atmosphere!

You can find Fat’s Grill at 2182 South Highland Dr in Sugarhouse.

Fats Grill & Pool on Urbanspoon

No Noodle Lasagna

Like many people, I try to cook with as little unhealthy carbs as possible. Sometimes, for months, I won’t eat carbs at all. When you eat like this, you have to come up with really creative ways of eating things you love and eliminating the carbs. I had always been a fan of zucchini noodles for pastas, so when I had an intense craving for lasagna, I had a great idea.

If you think about it for a second, you realize that the flavors that you crave most about food have little to do with the carbs involved (at least for me). For example, when I crave a sandwich, I am not craving the bread, I am craving the meat, cheese, and veggies in the middle. Additionally, when I want pizza, I want cheese and peperoni. The carbs usually just serve as a medium to get all that good stuff into your mouth! It is the same with lasagna. I wanted the Italian sausage, ricotta cheese, and the wonderful tomato sauce. The noodles really had nothing to do with it.

First you want to create your noodles out of vegetables. Zucchini and yellow squash work great, but I think that eggplant would also be really tasty. Slice the veggies into sections that are about 1/4 – 1/2 inches thick that you can use for layering and try to keep the length as long as possible.

After you have sliced your “noodles”, go ahead and put the Italian sausage on heat. If I can make one request here–don’t use ground beef or turkey. Really, the best part about lasagna is the spicy sausage! I mean, you can if you want, but you are really lacking some serious flavor if you use plain ground meat.

While your sausage is cooking, you will want to start preparing your cheese mixture. I am pretty particular about this part because I like a lot of cheeses mixed together. Mozzarella, of course, is the most important part, so make sure that you use as much of that as possible. Usually, a 12 oz package will do. I also combine the mozzarella with half a container of cottage cheese, a half container of ricotta cheese, one egg and some mild seasoning. Dried basil and oregano are important flavors for the cheese mixture, and I also combine some sea salt, garlic cloves, and a bit of pepper. You don’t want to over-season the cheese mixture because (hopefully) your sauce will also have a lot of flavor, and you don’t want to overdue it.

Usually, I make my own red sauce, but this night, I didn’t feel like it–so I used a great alternative; Newman’s Own Natural Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce. It tasted almost as good as my homemade. Really though, you can use any spaghetti sauce you would like.

After all of your ingredients are prepared and your Italian sausage is browned, the fun part starts–the layering! Start with your veggie noodles, then add some sausage, some red sauce, and a good amount of cheese. Don’t worry about things being even or pretty at this point. As the dish cooks, it all comes together. Keep layering until you have filled the pan with deliciousness and then pop it in the oven on 375 for about 20 – 30 minutes or so; or until the cheese on top gets to a golden brown. Usually, you can tell by the amazing smell when the time is about up.

Into the oven!

You will want to let this dish cool for a considerable amount of time before serving; at least 20 minutes or so. When you use veggies for the noodles, you get some excess water that is drawn out of the vegetables during the cooking process. This water tends to make things just a little bit messier–but not any less tasty. The point is that you aren’t going to be serving up a perfect layered serving of lasagna, but more of a beautiful helping of veggies swimming in red sauce, sausage, and cheese.

This is one of my favorite things to eat–and it really does taste like authentic lasagna! You get all of the best flavors of regular lasagna, and none of the fat and sugar from those terrible white noodles! If anyone tries this with eggplant, I would love to hear about it.

This dish does take some time to cook. So, when you have a free evening and want to mellow out with a bottle of wine and some time in the kitchen, try this one out! And don’t forget–try to use all natural and organic products as much as possible!

Thaifoon–Miso Love the Chicken Satay!

Sometimes, all you want is a little peanut sauce, right? Something a little rich and spicy? Thaifoon Restaurant in the Gateway Mall is one of those places that satisies a specific craving. Thaifoon is unique to Utah and is great for a quick lunch or an extended dinner.

Because the Gateway is so close to work, several of us tend to walk to Thaifoon on a pretty regular basis. Thaifoon also participates in Salt Lake City’s Concierge Association, which is great because as a Hotelier, we get a great discount. Thaifoon has a well-rounded lunch menu with $8.99 pricing that can’t be beat for the quality.

My favorite dish that Thaifoon serves is the Chicken Satay (found in the appetizer section of the menu). This is a great starter, but paired with some miso soup or a sushi roll of some kind, the Chicken Satay makes a great light lunch. The chicken is insanely tender and cooked with a lot of flavor. The chicken is presented on skewers and accompanied with one of the most amazing peanut sauces that I have had. In addition, a small amount of spicy sauce is drizzled over the chicken. And, with the little bit of green onion on top, this is pretty much a flavor explosion. It is certainly a crave-able dish!

Taifoon’s miso soup is also pretty great. I have had many miso soups that taste as though they have been made from a powder and aren’t as authentic, nor do they boast as much flavor. I have also had some miso soups where the seaweed takes over and is a little too intense for my liking. I really enjoy Thaifoon’s miso soup because the main component is the tofu. And let’s be honest, the tofu is one of the best parts. Secondly the next flavor is the green onion, and last, the seaweed. These are how I personally prefer the order of the ingredients to fall. The bowl is pretty gigantic, so get ready to be eating quite a bit of delicious miso when you order this as a starter before a meal.

We ordered two entrees off the lunch specials menu; The Pad Thai and The Firecracker Chicken w/ Broccoli.

The Pad Thai was ok. Pad Thai is hard to do and it is rare to find a place whose Pad Thai tastes the same each and every time you order it. The tofu was really great in this dish, but the flavor was a titch on the dry side and the shrimp were just a bit overcooked. A little fresh lime helped, but I think I would have enjoyed a sauce that was a bit thicker that joined to the shrimp and tofu a bit more. Overall though, I didn’t send it back!

The Firecracker Chicken was tasty. The sauce was spicy but not too hot–more hot in flavor and less hot in regards to heat. This is the kind of spice that I enjoy. I do not apprecaite spice that makes me want to douse my throat and tongue in something dairy based like milk or sour cream. I want some kick, but I don’t want it to kick me into an out of order operation mode. The chicken was good, but also just a titch on the dry side. Overall, however, this dish was pretty tasty.

Some other things to try? The Dan Dan Noodles are pretty great and so are the Pot Stickers. My favorite item on the dinner menu, however, is the AMAZING Orange Peel Scallops. Wow. One of the best dishes I have ever had. And I hear (but have not tasted for myself) that the Evil Jungle Princess Chicken is to die for.

Something to stay away from? Well, let’s just say, I wouldn’t go to Thaifoon for a sushi experience. The few rolls that they have are ok–but they aren’t amazing. If you do have a hankering for a sushi roll while you are there, have one as a side dish or an accent to another main course.

Overall, two thumbs up for Thaifoon. If you are out shopping and just get that hankering for some noodles and peanut sauce…you know where to find them!

Check out Thaifoon at 7 North 400 West, Space 2040, in wonderful Salt Lake City Gateway Mall!

Thaifoon on Urbanspoon