3 Men and a Baby?? Whatever!! Try 1 Lady,1 Review and 1 Recipe!

This is how my mind works (Stick with me. It does go somewhere!) : I knew I wanted to review a particular restaurant. I checked my email first thing and saw that Adam Ant is coming to San Diego’s Balboa Theatre on July 17th. I started thinking about how I LOVED Adam Ant. I proclaimed to my mother while she was driving way back around 1982 that I will love Adam Ant forever. My sister, Beth, was a high school photographer and was lucky enough to go to his concert in Cleveland, Ohio, and she took photos of him backstage. Beth was already a god to me; this just solidified it. It must have been around 1983 when I had a gym routine requirement with Miss MacDonald. God, I did not like that lady. Sorry, but it is true. Miss McDonald, if you are reading this, you were probably a nice person, I just never got a chance to see that side. Well, I picked the song “Antmusic” by Adam Ant, of course! Like, totally! This was back when there were no Ipods, not even a CD! The horror! I asked my sister to borrow her record, Kings of the Wild Frontier. Beth knew that I, being the little sister, had a horrible track record when I borrowed her stuff. Any articles of clothing were bound to get at least one stain on it, so she was wise to tell me I couldn’t bring the record to school for my gymnastic routine. The problem was that I had choreographed (I use that word loosely) and practiced my routine to that song. I couldn’t change it. What could I do? I had to put a cassette recorder next to the record player and record the song. When I played the cassette tape at the St. Christopher gym, you couldn’t hear it at all. Huge failure. And my routine? Let’s just say I was not Olympic bound.

Check out this classic 1980s video.  Aahhh, good memories! Is he wearing lip gloss?


Thinking about Adam Ant made me think about the 80s and all of the stuff I loved back then. For some reason the movie Three Men and a Baby (1987) came to mind. I started thinking about how if three grown men couldn’t take care of baby, that would be really sad. That led me to think that I shouldn’t just write a review today, I should include a recipe. If it took three men to take care of a baby for a month (or however long they had the kid), I could write a review and a recipe in one post. Yep, all of this from seeing an ad for Adam Ant’s concert.

Project Pie 2
My husband and I checked out Project Pie in Hillcrest this past Sunday. Unfortunately, most of our families are in Cleveland, Ohio, so we were on our own for Mother’s Day. We walked in, and we immediately greeted by the pizza makers. There is a list of pies and a description of each when you enter. It’s kind of cafeteria style. You pick a pie, tell the first person which number you want, move down a bit, tell the next person which additional, and free of charge, toppings you would like. They get your name and the pizza details, and the next person writes it on parchment, and the pie is placed into a big pizza oven. I ordered the #2: Pepperoni, Italian Sausage, Crumbled Meatballs, Mozzarella and their Signature Red Sauce. I added Ricotta and Artichoke Hearts, but I wasn’t paying attention and the guy didn’t hear me, so I didn’t get the artichokes I requested. Next time I will speak up and watch which topping are on it before it goes into the oven! Franz went with another option and got a ton of extra toppings. Both pizzas were great. What I love about this place is that everyone gets their own pie. No arguments because one person in the group always wants pineapple on the pizza. You know who you are! Also, they offer a gluten-free crust, and I heard from a friend that it was super tasty. The red sauce was really fresh, and the toppings were flavorful.  The crust was perfect as well.  Great taste and I loved that it wasn’t too thin but not too thick either.  My only tiny complaint was that the center of the pie could have been hotter. It was fine, but I like it a little on the well done side. Oh, I almost forgot, you can order a Nutella and Banana pie. Don’t think I haven’t stopped thinking about that bad boy since Sunday! Currently there are only 2 locations: San Diego and Las Vegas (at The MGM), but Project Pies will be opening soon in Atlanta, NYC, Boulder, D.C., and the Philippines.

Pizza Pies are Being Made to Order!

Pizza Pies are Being Made to Order!

Franz's Choice: #6 With A Bunch of Tasty and Free Toppings!

Franz’s Choice: #6 With A Bunch of Tasty and Free Toppings!

My Creation - And I Requested Extra Sauce on Top. YUM!

My Creation – And I Requested Extra Sauce on Top. YUM!

I promised a recipe, too! This is the kind of recipe that would work after a pizza dinner because it is sweet and light in texture.

The recipe, Angel’s Kiss Baci Cupcakes, from Baci was created by Lidia Bastianich. Who doesn’t love Baci??  If you never had one, finish reading this post, and immediately get your booty to a grocery store and buy some.  They seem to be carried everywhere nowadays.  Thank god!

With the first batch, the batter never got stiff and glossy.  I baked them anyway, and they turned out perfect.  With the second batch, the batter was as it should have been – stiff and glossy.  However, the cupcakes baked horribly.  The tops were uneven and shrunken.  The next time I make these, I will stop before the batter gets stiff and glossy.

Angel’s Kiss Baci Cupcakes

Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 Baci, finely chopped

Glaze

  • 4 ounces dark chocolate bars, finely chopped (I went with the recipe recommendation and used Perugina Dark Chocolate Classic Bars)
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon hazelnut liqueur (optional)
  • 4 Baci, coarsely chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 375.  Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and salt.
  3. In an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar to form soft peaks.  With the mixer at medium speed, gradually add the sugar.  Beat at high-speed to stiff, glossy peaks. (**As I noted above, when I achieved the stiff, glossy peaks, the cupcakes did not seem to turn out for me.  You can try either way, but I will stick with keeping the batter at the soft peak stage.  Let me know if you make this recipe, or have made this in the past, and tell me what you did and how it turned out.  Thanks!!) Lower the speed and mix in the vanilla.  Fold in the flour mixture in 3 additions, taking care to deflate the batter as little as possible.  Quickly fold in the chopped Baci.  Divide the batter among the cupcake pan and smooth the tops.
  4. Bake until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cupcake comes out clean, about 15 minutes. (**I never wait for the toothpick to come out clean. The cupcake  will continue cooking for a brief period after it is removed from the oven, so I always remove cupcakes when some crumbs are still attached to the toothpick. If you do this, check the cupcakes after 10 to 12 minutes.) Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes from the tin to cool completely
  5. While the cupcakes cool, prepare the glaze.  Put the chopped chocolate in to a small bowl.  Bring the cream to a simmer and pour over chocolate, shaking the bowl to submerge the chocolate.  Let sit 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth.  Stir in hazelnut liqueur, if using.
  6. Spoon the glaze on the cupcakes and smooth to the edges.  Sprinkle with the chopped Baci.  Refrigerate until the glaze is set.  Serves 12

So take that Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg, and Ted Danson! Try doing that!

Take Tubular Care, Totally Happy Eating, and Don’t Gag Me With A Spoon!

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Hot Dogs at Daddy’s and Chili Time at Home!

I’m weird. I have no problem with eating soup in July. I love a bowl of chili for dinner during the summer. Of course I look forward to lighter, cooler entrees, like a salad with grilled chicken, quinoa with peaches, or veggies from my garden to dip in baba ganoush.  I can’t eat that way every day, no matter what the temperature is outside. Granted, I live in San Diego, so how hot does it really get? However, if the temperature is rising, I still crave hot stuff. Even if I have a nice cool grain salad, I’m still covering it with sriracha. I can’t get away from a little heat!
The other week, I realized I had some chorizo in the freezer that needed to be consumed. What else could I do but make a big pot of chorizo chili?? I used my go-to recipe for chili that I found on Cooking Light‘s website (http://www.cookinglight.com/ ) back in 2003. 2003? Yikes! The great thing about chili recipes is that you can substitute anything for what you might have in the cupboard or refrigerator!!

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All-American Chili  (http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/all-american-chili-10000000438689/)

6 ounces hot turkey Italian sausage (I used chorizo with the casings removed.)
2 cups chopped onion (I prefer red onions or Vidalia onions.)
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground sirloin (I used ground turkey breast. It’s summer, so it’s lighter! haha)
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped (I usually use a Serrano pepper.)
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 bay leaves
1 1/4 cups Merlot or other fruity red wine (Honestly, I use whichever red wine I feel like having a glass of later that night.)
2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, undrained and coarsely chopped
2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained (I use whatever beans I have in the cupboard. It’s all good!  Cannellini is always a favorite.  I like to put two different types of beans in this chili.)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese

1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Remove casings from sausage. Add sausage, onion, and the next 4 ingredients (onion through jalapeño) to pan; cook 8 minutes or until sausage and beef are browned, stirring to crumble.
2. Add chili powder and the next 7 ingredients (chili powder through bay leaves), and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine, tomatoes, and kidney beans; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
3. Uncover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard the bay leaves. Sprinkle each serving with cheddar cheese.

And as Cooking Light notes, and as everyone knows, chili always tastes better the next day!

And what goes better with chili than hot dogs?  Now that is a food item I associate with summertime 100%!  My husband and I checked out Daddy’s Hot Dogs (http://www.daddyshotdogs.com/) on University Avenue in Hillcrest over the weekend.  William, the owner and possibly the only person who officially works there, gave us his recommendations and a couple other words of advice (He’s a talker!).

He was in the process of tasting a hotdog when we approached.  He went right into explaining that he was sampling a new idea and was playing around with different possible names for it.  Once we ordered, Franz went with the classic “Manhattan“, a hot dog topped with grilled onions, deli mustard and sauerkraut.  I chose the “Diego Dog“, a dog topped with grilled onions, jalapeno relish, and Russian dressing.  Everything is made to order, so the hot dogs come out super fresh and hot (unlike at Petco Park where Franz once returned a hot dog.  He’s a legend in my eyes.).   The hot dog is split and then grilled, so you get an all over tasty grilled flavor.  It reminded me of when I was a kid and made fried bologna sandwiches.  I would make the small cut in the bologna so it wouldn’t curl, and it seemed like the butter I put in the pan had a better opportunity to cover every inch of the bologna.  I would put a slice of Kraft American cheese on the bologna & put a lid on the pan.  It would only take a minute for the cheese to melt.   And, viola, I had the perfect after school snack on white bread ever made!  Sometimes, if we had them in the house, I’d put tomatoes on it.  Don’t think about the health factor.  Just let it go.

As we were enjoying our hot dogs, William told us about his being an ex-cop with the Feds and having a culinary background, which I thought was an interesting mix.  It’s easy to see he is very passionate about his food and kids – and the two things work together in a way.  He explained that he wouldn’t serve anything to a customer that he wouldn’t feed his children.  He sought out a leaner and healthier quality of hot dog which comes from the L.A. area.  If he can’t get a shipment of his dogs, and his shop runs out, he’ll have to close early that day, he explained.  As I took a picture of his hours, he was quick to point out that the posted hours are flexible and can change at any given moment.

But how did the dogs taste?  I really enjoyed mine!  The bun was soft and cradled the little dog perfectly.  I will say little because it’s small.  For lunch, I would probably have 2 or 3 and feel full.  Franz said he would need about 10, but he eats a lot.  The jalapeno relish had just the right amount of heat.  William told me that his kids have to be able to eat everything, so it can’t be so hot that you need a gallon of milk to cool the taste buds.  The Russian dressing was a nice touch, and it went well with the relish.  When we arrived, William had been sampling the Diego Dog topped with sauerkraut.  I think that’s the way to go next time!  Franz thought his was a good standard hot dog.  He did go with a classic, but he said he might have preferred one of the other ones listed.  I was eyeing the Reuben Dog: corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss Cheese and Russian Dressing.  Yum!

Given the location, I think this is a great place to stop when you are frequenting the bar establishments on University Avenue.  It only has outdoor bar tables, no seats, and it’s cash only (hot dogs are $3-$6 each).  So it’s easy to stop at the window, place your order, have a couple of dogs, and continue on your way.   While we were eating, William  came out and stood at a table and told us about his philosophy on food.  I would highly recommend stopping by and chatting with him.  Check out his website, too.  You really get a sense of his love of food and family.

Check out this video: Daddy’s Hot Dogs

Take Care and Happy Eating!

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