Potato Soup with Bacon

Potato Soup with Bacon

Serves: 4-6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

5-6 small russet potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
5 slices bacon
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 (14 oz) can chicken stock
1/4 – 1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Sharp cheddar for topping, shredded

Preparation:

1. Place chopped potatoes in a large pot. Cover with water, salt and boil until potatoes break apart easily when stuck with a fork. Drain and set aside.

2. In the same pan, cook bacon until crisp. Place cooked bacon on a paper towel to drain.

3. Drain bacon fat, leaving about 3 tbs of fat in the pot. Cook onions and garlic in pot until translucent. Add wine, making sure to stir to get the bits off the bottom of the pot. Cook until most of the liquid evaporates.

4. Remove pot from heat. Add potatoes and mash. Add stock and cream and stir. If it’s not soupy enough, add more cream or water. Season with pepper and red pepper flakes (if desired). Return to heat until heated through. Chop/crumble bacon. Serve soup in bowls with cheese and bacon on top.

Recipe is an original.

I ended up with a very large bag of potatoes in my kitchen and my first thought was to make soup! Potato soup was always one of my favorite things my mom would make growing up and I wanted to try to make my own. This was an experiment that turned out well. I just added stuff as I went along and it worked! The soup was nice and rich and still tasted like potatoes. This would also be good with sour cream, scallions and all kinds of things as a topping. My mom also told me her technique for making this, which I will try next time. She boils the onions with the potatoes and makes sure the potatoes are barely covered with water. Then she uses the water instead of stock and doesn’t have to drain the potatoes. She said to keep checking on the water level to make sure the potatoes don’t burn. I will definitely try this the next time I make soup, which may be soon since I have so many potatoes! I am very proud of this recipe and I definitely recommend giving it a try!

Taco!

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Don’t Look Back (Taco Bar): A Review

Bean, Rajas and Chicken Tacos

Where: Don’t Look Back (W. Cary St., Richmond)
What: Tacos
Number of People: 2
Total Cost: $50
Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Adam and I heard of a new place in Cary Town that was the result of Nate’s Taco Truck, which was a big hitter on VCU’s campus for a while. We knew it had a strange name and it turns out we were right. It also turns out that the people who said the tacos were amazing were also right. The tacos were delicious. There are a variety of options on the menu, including vegetarian. They had all the basics, chicken, shredded beef, fish, carnitas and some nice additions such as bean, peppers, soy, and chorizo. They also had burritos, tostadas and the like. We tried a chicken, shredded beef, bean, peppers (Rajas), fish and chorizo with some guacamole on the side. Each taco is $3 and can be served traditionally (onions, cilantro and lime) or gringo (sour cream, cheese, salsa, lettuce) and either with corn or flour tortillas. We had corn on everything except the bean and mixed up the styles depending on the filling.

Tacos!

My favorite was definitely the fish taco. The fish was delicious and the cabbage slaw and sauce were just how I remember fish tacos. All of the others were also delicious. I definitely prefer traditional style because it’s simple and let’s the flavors show. Plus I’m a bit of a snob and want them to be as authentic as possible. The guacamole was also good and I’m picky about my guacamole.

I would definitely recommend this place to any one looking for a good, upscale Mexican restaurant in Richmond. The atmosphere was very modern with loud music in a tight space with TVs playing various shows and sports. They had a good beer selection and we hit at happy hour. The service was pretty good but not perfect, hence a missing star. I will certainly be going back in the future and taking a lot of friends.

Fish Taco

Quinoa Mac and Cheese with Chicken

Quinoa Mac and Cheese with Chicken

Serves: 4-6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups uncooked quinoa
1 chicken breast
garlic powder
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes
2 tbs flour
1 1/2 cups milk, divided
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup mild cheese such as chevre (goat cheese) or Queso Fresco

Preparation:

1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and season with garlic powder, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Cook in oil until cooked through.

2. Heat 1/2 cup milk and flour, whisking until combined. Add the rest of the milk and a dash of red pepper and stir with spatula. Bring to a boil and stir for an additional minute.

3. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted. Add quinoa and chicken and stir.

4. Put in casserole dish and place under broiler for about 2-3 minutes. Allow to set for 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from Iowa Girl Eats.

More quinoa! It was a quinoa kind of day. This was delicious! Definitely make sure you have enough cheese and keep stirring the milk mixture so it doesn’t curdle. I used what I had so I used Queso Fresco left over from Carnitas Night. Seasoning the chicken was also great because it gave it a great flavor. I’m also a lazy bum and I don’t like waiting for chicken to cook so I cut it up and then cook. It was delicious and easy. And apparently relatively good for me. Yay!

Taco!

Avocado and Sun Dried Tomato Chicken Salad

Avocado and Sun Dried Tomato Chicken Salad Sandwich with Avocado and Bacon

Serves 6

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

2 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 cup mayonaise

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

3 tbs Penzy’s Tsardust Memories spice blend

1 tbs pepper

1/2 tbs salt

1 tbs lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)

2 avocados (see How To Treat Your Avocados With Respect)

8-10 sun dried tomatoes, sliced

8 slices bacon, cooked

6 buns (Hawaiian Rolls shown)

Salt and Pepper

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My First Blog Award! 7×7

Yay! I was nominated yesterday for my first blog award! I’ll admit. I cheated a little since the person who nominated me is my boyfriend, but he also legitimately loves my blog as well as me. Probably mostly because he gets to eat all the food I cook. But I digress!

Here are the rules for receiving the award:

1. Thank the person who gave it to you.

2. Share seven random facts about yourself.

3. Share seven of your worthy posts under the following headers: Most Beautiful Piece, Most Helpful, Most Popular, Most Controversial, Most Surprisingly Successful, Most Underrated and Most Pride Worthy.

4. Nominate seven other bloggers and notify them.

So here we go!

1. I was nominated for this award by my amazing, awesome and talented boyfriend Adam over at Eat, Sleep, Television. Adam is a movie and tv fanatic and is also excellent at breaking episodes and movies down and just telling you how he feels. He has done some excellent reviews and even though I don’t always agree with him (Avatar ROCKS!), I love his style and ability to see things others cannot. His dream in life is to become a critic so go help him out. It will be a win-win situation.

2. Seven Random Facts… Alrighty then.

  1. I don’t like crunchy desserts. My cookies will be doughy, Bob Darn It!
  2. I have an obsession with shoes. And purses. And clothes. And shopping in general.
  3. I wear a shower cap. Curly girls represent!
  4. I’m related to Stonewall Jackson by marriage.
  5. My mother is Anne Rice.
  6. I LOVE Hello Kitty. Like seriously. LOVE.
  7. The story behind Basmati Taco, the name. My last name is Rice. Once day my friend and I were signing up for online dating (and it worked out well I must say) and it is ridiculously hard to come up with screen names for these things. My friend suggested something rice related and we came up with Basmati. Well, that was already taken and the site recommended trying Basmati_Taco. And there you have it. I actually have never had a Basmati Taco but it will happen someday. Indian-style tacos here I come!

3. My posts:

4. And the nominees are:

  1. Journey Too
  2. Going Dutch
  3. Cloud of Lace
  4. Danny’s Kitchen
  5. Lauren’s Road Less Traveled
  6. Assia’s Kaleidoscope
  7. A Teaspoon Of Tumeric

And there you have it! Thanks so much to Adam and to all my readers!

Taco!

Williamsburg, Va: A Food Tour

Williamsburg, Va., is one of my favorite places to be. It is beautiful, full of history and has a lot of great food. For our one year anniversary Adam and I decided to take a trip to Williamsburg and enjoy a relaxing non-weekend (it was Tuesday).

Chorizo Pumpkin Pasta (front) and Smoked Chicken Cassoulet

Where: Second St. (400 2nd St.)

What: Appetizer, Dinner and Wine

Number of People: 2

Total Cost: $98

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Our first food stop was dinner at Second St.: An American Bistro. I had asked around on Facebook and received some great recommendations for places to try. Second St. seemed like a good fit and it was only a five minute walk from where we were staying. They don’t take reservations so I just called 30 minutes ahead. We had a great experience there. The atmosphere is charming and romantic, the service was great and the food was delicious. They had a fantastic decorating idea of serving our water in old wine bottles with the labels removed. Definitely a good use of bottles and it looked very chic.

We ordered a bottle of Act 12 of 1619, ’09, ($31). It was a Chardonnay that was nice and smooth and nutty. For an appetizer we ordered the Fried Green Tomatoes ($7.90). They were buttermilk and panko coated with red onion marmalade and dill aioli. The tomatoes were perfectly fried and the marmalade was fascinating. At first I thought they were sweet peppers but in fact were onions. There could have been more aioli, especially since it gave a nice contrast to the sweet of the tomatoes and the marmalade.

For an entrée Adam ordered the Smoked Chicken Cassoulet ($15.90) and I ordered the Chorizo Pumpkin Pasta ($16.90). From what I had of the cassoulet it was delicious and hearty and Adam certainly loved it. The pasta was delightfully different. The chorizo gave it a nice spice. The pumpkin sauce wasn’t sweet which let the pumpkin stand out. It was served over penne and topped with chili-toasted pumpkin seeds that gave a nice crunch. Overall it was a great meal that suited celebrating an anniversary.

Chocolate Pâté

Where: The Trellis (403 W. Duke of Gloucester St.)

What: Coffee and Dessert

Number of People: 2

Total Cost: $36

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Anyone who has been in or around Williamsburg has probably heard of The Trellis and for good reason. The chef who created the Death By Chocolate cake is from The Trellis so how could we go to Williamsburg and not eat some cake? It is a beautiful restaurant that has a great atmosphere. We ordered decaf coffee and it was brought to us in a french press that the waitress pressed for us. We ordered the Death By Chocolate Cake ($10.95) and the Chocolate Pâté ($8.95). The cake was amazing. It is seven layers of different kinds of chocolate from ganache to mousse to cake. My favorite layer was definitely the ganache and my least favorite is the oddly airy/crunchy center. It was served with chocolate ice cream and a delicious white chocolate truffle that had a hint of lemon. The pâté was basically a thicker chocolate mousse and it was served with a pistachio profiterole. It was rich and creamy and pretty much awesome. Needless to say, after this rich meal we were exhausted and ready to relax.

Death By Chocolate Cake

If you are going to Williamsburg there are a few other places I would recommend. Definitely check out The Cheese Shop for lunch. They have great sandwiches. You can also get cheese and wine or beer and sit outside and enjoy a tasting. The selection of cheese is amazing and they have a ridiculous amount of local products such as espresso rub for meat. (Keep an eye out for that this weekend.) We went on Wednesday and split a Prosciutto and Provolone Sandwich with roasted red peppers. We also got a 1/4 lb of Prima Donna Aged Gouda and a Rustic Role. I always like to get some Chownings Tavern Root Beer as well since it’s made in Williamsburg.

Prosciutto and Provolone Sandwich

Another place to check out is Wythe’s Candy Shop, conveniently located next door to the cheese shop (both of which are across the street from The Trellis). They have wonderful handmade candies and caramel apples, as well as local goodies such as peanuts and jams.

Williamsburg is one of my favorite places to visit to relax and enjoy great food. I cannot wait for an opportunity to go back and do it all again!

Rustic Role and Prima Donna Aged Gouda

Handmade Truffles from Wythe's

Crock Pot Orange Chicken

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Crock Pot Orange Chicken

Serves 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2-3 hrs

Ingredients:

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in to small chunks
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbs catsup
6 oz orange juice concentrate, thawed
4 tbs brown sugar
Salt to taste
Olive oil

Preparation:

1. Mix vinegar, catsup, orange juice, salt and brown sugar in a bowl.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet.

3. In a large bowl coat chicken in flour and shake off excess. In batches if necessary, brown chicken on all sides in skillet.

4. Place chicken in crock pot and cover with sauce. Stir gently.

5. Cook chicken on high for 2-3 hrs.

Recipe adapted from The Pursuit of Happiness.

I found this recipe on Pinterest and thought it was a great idea. I do love any thing that can be made in a Crock Pot. This was definitely easy and I found it delicious. I served it with white rice and stir fry vegetables that I cooked in oil and a little butter. The sauce for the orange chicken becomes nice and thick without being sickly sweet like some orange chicken can be. Also keep in mind that browning the chicken well is important so it stays together, but cooking it completely is not necessary. I recommend giving this a try!

Taco!

Steph’s Guacamole (with Chicken and Black Beans)

Steph’s Guacamole

Serves 4

Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

For Guacamole:

4 Hass avocados

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 large tomato (or about 3 smaller tomatoes), diced

1 – 2 limes

1/2 tsp chili powder

Salt to taste

Hand full of cilantro (optional)

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