Well Dined

21May/150

Vegetable Alfredo Pasta

Well Dined | Vegetable Alfredo Pasta

I was looking for a dish to bring over to my friend, Melissa, who just had a baby.  This recipe immediately popped out at me - one dish, easy to transport, easy to reheat, and lot's of veggies (plus cheese and pasta, of course).  There's a reason people are always bringing casseroles!  I also liked that it uses a lot of frozen veggies, making it budget friendly and easy to make year-round.

I also may have used it as an excuse to buy this thing, which I have been wanting for a long time - so cute!

Well Dined | Vegetable Alfredo Pasta

This is actually enough for 2 casseroles - I made one for me, too!

So, we start out with ALL THE VEGETABLES.  Ever.  Just kidding... kind of.  Saute onion and garlic in olive oil, then add frozen broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach.  When those have thawed, add in shredded carrot and zucchini.

Well Dined | Vegetable Alfredo Pasta

I saw this and thought to myself, "not enough vegetables," so I added some frozen peas to the boiling pasta for the last 30 seconds.  You can use whatever shape of pasta you like, I thought bowties would be fun and cute.  I used Barilla protein plus pasta, because it boasts 17g of protein per 3.5oz serving and veggie dishes can always use some extra protein.  I also rinsed the pasta (and peas) in cold water to stop the cooking and get rid of the extra starch (something I only do for pasta salads, and pasta that is going to be cooked again in the oven).

12May/150

Green Goddess Egg Salad

Well Dined | Green Goddess Egg Salad

Now that I am settling into my new place, and Melissa has welcomed her baby daughter to the world, we are getting back into our lunch schedule.  We started with this gorgeous Spring inspired egg salad.  This is really customizeable, and you can add whatever you find fresh in your area.

Well Dined | Green Goddess Egg Salad

We started by finely dicing some celery, scallions, chives, parsley, and dill while we boiled some eggs.  You can use whatever combination of herbs you prefer.  We also separated the greens from a bunch of radishes.

Well Dined | Green Goddess Egg Salad

To that, we added chopped eggs and avocado, caper, garlic, lemon zest, mayonnaise, and dijon mustard.

6May/151

No Bake Vegan Date and Nut Bars

Well Dined | No Bake Vegan Date and Nut Bars

I recently moved to a new house about 35 minutes from my old one, but I still have a gym membership near my old place because I need to use up some training sessions before I quit.  So I've been driving over there twice a week to train.  I'm used to drinking a protein shake on the way to the gym, working out, then getting lunch.  But now with the extra drive (and waking up earlier), I'm getting hungry by the time I get to the gym - and that is no good for working out!  So here is where these (vegan, paleo, gluten-free) date and nut bars come in handy.  I throw one in my bag straight from the freezer, and by the time I get to the gym they are thawed, so I eat it before heading in.  They fill me up and give me a boost of energy - perfect!

These are also great for healthy homemade snacks or desserts, and especially for people with food allergies (other than nuts, obviously).  I bet kids would love them.

Well Dined | No Bake Vegan Date and Nut Bars

The crust is made from nuts, date, and coconut -  most of which is pressed into the bottom of a pan, and the rest is sprinkled on top later.  The original poster is a big fan of soaking and drying nuts before eating them to remove the phytic acid that can make them difficult to digest.  I tried it for this recipe and it took quite a bit of time (I dried them in the slow cooker overnight), but if that is too much work for you it's okay to just use raw nuts.  The original recipe also calls for brazil and macadamia nuts, but these are a bit hard to find and a little expensive.  I recommend raw cashews as a replacement.

Well Dined | No Bake Vegan Date and Nut Bars

The filling is made from dates, dried figs, and orange zest - yum.

21Apr/154

Lentil Salad with Walnuts and Herbs

Well Dined | Lentil Salad with Walnuts and Herbs

I have made this salad multiple times in the past two years, but never managed to photograph it or blog about it - until now!  Which is a shame, because it is so delicious and satisfying, and you could have been making it, too.  I'm so sorry!  But I'm sharing it with you now, and I hope that you know how serious I am about loving this salad, because I rarely ever make things more than once.  I even bought pomegranate molasses for my parents so that I could make this for them!

Special thanks to Melissa at Smells Like Brownies, for making it with me again two years after our first time making it together so that we could photograph it.

Well Dined | Lentil Salad with Walnuts and Herbs

First thing is first, you must cook some lentils! I use French lentils for pretty much everything because they retain their shape and texture.  Plus, they are a pretty green.

Well Dined | Lentil Salad with Walnuts and Herbs

Meanwhile - prep your other ingredients.  Chop your vegetables: onion, garlic, bell peppers.  I love how colorful the bell peppers are, and how pretty they make the salad.  So buy one of those 3 packs that has red, yellow, and orange.  It will make you so happy.  We also had a little bit of a green pepper left over, so we threw that in.

Also use this time to rehydrate some sun-dried tomatoes in boiling water.  The water will become infused with tomato flavor, and will later become part of the dressing - neat!  Not pictured - toast some walnuts.  It releases the oils and makes them so much more flavorful.

31Mar/150

Inn at Little Washington – Birthday Surprise

You guys - I have a computer again!  Yay!!!  We are still in the process of settling in, but I at least have a place to post from now.  Right before we moved was my 30th birthday, and I was kind of bummed because I had wanted to do a big trip to New York but the timing with the new house meant that we couldn't.  Jasper told me that he was going to plan a smaller trip to a surprise location, so right in the middle of packing we hopped in the car and head to... The Inn at Little Washington!  What a great surprise!

Well Dined | Inn at Little Washington

Welcome cocktails

 

 

It also worked out nicely as a pre-anniversary trip because it was almost to our 5 year wedding anniversary!  I can't even believe it - time flies!

Well Dined | Inn at Little Washington

 

We arrived just in time for afternoon tea, which was lovely.  Both the sweet and savory bites were delicious and I love that they make all of their own accompaniments.  I had a delicious caramel tea that I ended up buying from the store because it was so good.

25Feb/150

Volt – Valentine’s Day Menu

I know I've been really slow in posting, but that's been because of traveling and (drumroll please) buying a house! We are in the process of moving and decorating and all of that, so posting will still be delayed for a bit.  But then I expect to be back in full swing, and with a much better photo set-up.  So until then, here is a review of the Valentine's Day menu at Brian Voltaggio's Volt in Frederick, MD.

We've been wanting to try out Volt for years, in particular their Table 21 chef's table, but just never made it.  But we finally made a commitment and braved the icy conditions and  hour drive to come for Valentine's Day dinner.  We were a little disappointed to see that they did not offer valet, especially because of the weather, but we were able to find street parking 1 block away (free after 5 on Sat).  The decor is sophisticated and clean, and the staff are very professional.

For the holiday, they had a 7-course prix fixe menu with optional wine pairing (7 2oz pours).  The pacing was perfect, as was the amount of food - just enough to allow you to explore the flavors, but not enough to grow tired of the dish. I wasn't struggling to finish at the end like with some tasting menus.  I was driving, so my husband ordered the wine pairing and I had a sip with each course to test the pairing. They were all excellently paired, though my favorites were the whites in the beginning.

Amuse Bouche - oyster with salmon tartare, "tartar sauce", dill. Paired with Sparkling Rose.

Beets, burrata, celery, lemon - very nice, bright, fresh. Paired with Gruner Veltliner (Austria).

Black bass, sunchoke, apple, fennel - very interesting, German flavors I would normally pair with pork or chicken, perfectly cooked. Paired with Sauvignon Blanc (Sancerre).

Lobster, celery root, abalone mushroom - lovely, perfectly cooked. Paired with Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast).

Foie Gras, truffles, arugula, salsify - a decadent mousse, the favorite course. Paired with Pinot Noir (Ladoix) - we were concerned when we saw this on the menu, because we thought the foie would be seared, and we prefer it with Sauternes.  But the light Pinot was actually perfect with the chilled mousse.

Beef short rib, coffee, chocolate, guajillo - described as a take on mole, each of our least favorite course, but still good (just not as good as the other courses). Paired with a Granche blend (Chateaneuf du Pape) - also our least favorite wine (but again, still good).

Dried cherry, elderflower vinegar, buttermilk - pretty cool, a cherry macaron frozen with liquid nitrogen and shattered with a St Germain gelee (yum) and a sweet buttermilk. Loved this. Paired with a Rose (CA).

Almond cake, banana, caramel, yogurt - wasn't impressed by this one. The cake was moist, and sitting on creme anglaise, but there wasn't a ton of flavor and I didn't think the caramelized banana frozen yogurt (good on its own) went with it very well. Paired with a Sauternes.

We were also each given a box of 4 chocolates (2 of which were awesome, 2 of which were okay) and I was given a rose.

I was very impressed by the food, the service, and the price - very reasonable.  I also really liked the atmosphere - old townhouse turned serene and modern inside.  I would love to come back and try Table 21 (but not when the weather is that bad - nightmare).

20Jan/151

San Antonio Country Club Chef’s Table

Well Dined | SACC Chef's Table

While we were in San Antonio for Christmas, my father (from whom I inherited my love of food) set up a special dinner in the kitchen of the San Antonio Country Club with Chef Nelson Millán, a Puerto Rican native who has been working at SACC since 2010.  Chef Millán specializes in Latin flavors, but is versed in a variety of cuisines; so when I told my father that I'm not a huge fan of Latin cuisine in general he was able to put together a menu combining two of my favorite cuisines - Asian and French (or Frasian, they joked).  My parents, my brother and his fiance, my sister, my husband, and I were set up at a big metal table inside the kitchen with a close up view of the action and a very dedicated server who made sure our glasses were never empty.  Let's begin our Frasian adventure!

Well Dined | SACC Chef's Table

First up was a White Bouillabaisse with Clam, Mussel, Lobster, White Fish (I can't recall what kind), Prawn, Potato Puree, and Roasted Fennel with a Togarashi Rouille.  This was accompanied by a 15 yr Oloroso Sherry.  Beautiful.  Each piece of seafood was perfectly cooked and the broth was packed with flavor.  I liked the modern way the chef incorporated the traditional potato and fennel into the dish, and the togarashi (Japanese condiment with chili, citrus, ginger, seaweed, and sesame) in the rouille (sauce of olive oil, breadcrumbs, garlic, saffron, and chili traditionally served with bouillabaisse) was a fun way to bring in Asian flavors.

Well Dined | SACC Chef's Table

Here we see Chef Millán arranging the seafood over the potato puree before pouring in the broth.  I should add that we also had all kinds of bread to munch on, my favorites being the sweet potato biscuits and the cornbread drops that I loved as a kid.

5Jan/151

Apple Galette with Salted Bourbon Caramel

Well Dined | Apple Galette with Salted Bourbon Caramel

So, last month I posted about a Cranberry Custard Pie using my favorite dough recipe.  I typically use a deep dish pie plate, but for that recipe I used a shallower one.  So I had a lot of leftover dough to make something else with.  So I grabbed some apples that were on their way to getting old, and made a galette.

Well Dined | Apple Galette with Salted Bourbon Caramel

An apple galette in and of itself is not that exciting, but this caramel sauce - with bourbon and fleur de sel - so luscious.  It really takes a basic tart over the top.

30Dec/140

Top 10 Most Popular Recipes of 2014

We are reaching the end of 2014, so here is a look back at the recipes that you liked that most!  Fun fact: January was my most popular month.  Happy New Year and may your 2015 be full of blessings!

Well Dined | Spring Vegetable and Tortellini Salad

#10 - Spring Vegetable and Tortellini Salad

Well Dined | Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onion, and Goat Cheese - Three Ways

#9 - Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onion, and Goat Cheese - Three Ways

Well Dined | Chicken Parmesan Meatballs and Spaghetti Squash

#8 - Chicken Parmesan Meatballs and Spaghetti Squash

23Dec/140

Holiday Round-up

If you are starting to panic because Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate) is closing in and you don't have a dinner plan yet, fear not - I have you covered!  I have a round-up of all of my holiday recipes, from protein to sides to dessert, and even breakfast!  So please enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Well Dined | Holiday Meal

Perfect Roasted Turkey, Apple Sausage Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Cider Gravy

Well Dined | Brined and Roasted Pork

Brined and Roasted Pork

Well Dined | Slow Cooked Cider Ham

Slow Cooked Cider Ham

Well Dined | Dr Pepper Glazed Ham with Prunes

Dr Pepper Glazed Ham with Prunes

Well Dined | Garlic and Herb Crusted Rib Roast with Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus

Garlic and Herb Crusted Rib Roast with Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus