Monday, January 30, 2012

Hey there, meat lovers!

   I've had many comments about not posting enough meat dishes, and I think it's high time to address this issue. It's not that I'm trying to make it a vegetarian blog, but the truth is, that I do cook a lot with vegetables and if I use meat, it is usually chicken. It's cheap, quick, easy, and healthy, and those are the main reasons why I chose it over and over again. I absolutely agree with my audience (mostly male portion of it), that I should start using more red meat and what can be better for a premiere than pork chops? I found this recipe online and I knew right away that this is something that will be satisfying for all my meat-loving followers. What you need is:

4 boneless pork chops (about 4oz each)
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
cooking spray

   In a flat bowl combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Dip pork chops in milk and then coat generously with the crumb mixture. Place coated chops on a baking sheet covered with cooking spray and bake at 375F for about 15 minutes on each side or until the thermometer reads 160F.

    They are super juicy, tender, and very flavorful (the cheese does magic). Not that they are not good enough on their own, but I thought that they deserve some great company that would make a perfect and sophisticated Sunday dinner. I thought that they would pair beautifully with some rosemary-roasted potatoes and cucumber salad. The potatoes are super easy, all you need is:

3-4 red skin potatoes
olive oil
rosemary (lots of it)
1/2 sliced onion
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper

   Cut potatoes into 1-2 inch cubes, sprinkle with olive oil and spices, add chopped rosemary, and bake at 400F for 1 hour. To make sure that they are evenly browned on each side, toss them with a spatula a couple times while roasting. For the salad I just sliced a cucumber, added salt, pepper, and sour cream and voila!

   Doesn't it look delicious? And it's even better than it looks. A perfect ending to a great weekend! I hope I made all my meat loving friends happy!


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Can't go wrong with soup!

   I know, I know, you probably think I'm getting a little bit boring with all these soups! What can I say, I do have a slight addiction, but you do have to agree with me, there is nothing better in a cold winter evening than a bowl of hot, soulful, and flavorful soup. OK, the last few days weren't that cold, actually they were pretty warm for January, but that still didn't stop me from having soup for dinner (I don't think that 115F weather would be able to stop me!). I went Japanese style and made chicken and Soba noodle soup. It's so good that I had two bowls of it, and I regret it instantly because the noodles may not look like much, but they are really filling. What you need to make it is:

Buckwheat Soba noodles
1 chicken breast
chicken broth
mushroom (thinly sliced)
fresh baby spinach leaves
scallions (chopped)
1 onion (thinly sliced)
pinch of fresh ginger
soy sauce
black pepper

   Cut chicken breast into 1 inch cubes and cook together with chicken broth, ginger, onions, scallions, and mushroom for about 10-15 minutes until the meat is done and tender. Add two handfuls of baby spinach leaves, season with soy sauce and pepper to taste, and cook for about 5 minutes. Serve with cooked Soba noodles (I cook them separately).

    Delicious! Reminds me a little bit about Polish "rosol" even though it has completely different ingredients. You can also add a little bit of miso paste if you have it, but if you don't I wouldn't worry about it because it's going to be awesome even without it.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Plate full of energy.

   I'm no vegetarian, but I do love my veggies. Raw, cooked, baked, or roasted, I love them all, and I have no problem cooking a meatless dinner. If I know my husband it probably wouldn't be his first choice, but he is a good sport and eats his veggies like a pro (well, at least most of them). I have a perfect dish for anybody who wants something healthy but comforting, flavorful but light, rich but low in calories, and full of vitamins. If you like what you hear you should definitely try Chickpea Vegetable Curry, a fast and delicious stew perfect for a health conscious food lovers. All you need is:

2 cans chickpeas
cauliflower (broken into small florets)
2 large carrots (chopped)
1 chopped onion
1 cup of raisins
small bag of baby spinach  
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp of grated ginger
1 cup chopped cilantro
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp corriander powder
1 tsp ground cumin
juice from half a lime
olive oil

   Saute onions, garlic, and ginger with the olive oil for about 2-3 minutes. Add carrots, cauliflower, raisins, spices, cilantro, and cook for 5 minutes. When the vegetables are a little bit softer (but still have bite to them) add chickpeas, spinach, lime juice, a cup of water, and simmer with the lid on for about 10 more minutes. That's all it takes and you end up with an awesome satisfying dish.

   You can serve it with rice or couscous if you want, but it's not really necessary because the dish can stand on its own no problem! A big bowl of it makes the perfect guilt free dinner.

Take care.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Asian influence.

   Who doesn't like Asian food? OK, probably there are a lot of people who might not be fans of it, but somehow I have a feeling that between Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Indian food there is something everybody can find delicious. Me and Justin love all of them! Our "special date" restaurant is a sushi place, our "too-lazy-to-cook" place is a Chinese takeout, and our "I want something exotic, delicious, and comforting" restaurant is Thai or Indian! No matter if you like sweet, sour, salty, or spicy things you will always find something for yourself in each of them. I am a little bit more comfortable cooking with Indian spices (but still far, far away from perfection) and Justin makes awesome sushi (stay tuned for some post in the future). That's why I decided to make something Asian: teriyaki sesame chicken with Soba noodles! Sounds Asian to me, but if anybody feels like I don't know what I'm talking about, I apologize, and I am open for any suggestions and good recipes! The list of ingredients is:

chicken breast (thinly sliced)
onion (chopped)
3-4 scallions
2 tsp fresh ginger (grated)
1 bell pepper
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
sesame seeds
Soba noodles
olive oil
salt and pepper

   Saute onions and ginger with olive oil, add sliced chicken, and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the cut bell pepper, scallions, sesame seeds, Worcestershire sauce, teriyaki sauce, and cook everything for 5-10 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with cooked Soba noodles.

   It's sweet, tangy (ginger), and very flavorful. Soba noodles are delicious on their own but when served in this dish they are just amazing.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

How simple is that?

   This was a busy week. Between work, shopping, volleyball, and parties I did not have too much time to post anything. Even though I was too busy to take pictures or write a blog I was still cooking, but I decided to make quick and easy things, which can be eaten for a couple of days. I am a big soup person, and I mean BIG soup person. I think it must be a "Polish" thing because we usually have soups everyday and we don't really call a meal a dinner unless there is soup involved. Well, maybe I exaggerate a little bit, but I just wanted you to get the point. The most well known and the simplest soup in my opinion is tomato soup. Everybody knows it, mostly everybody likes it, and everybody can make it. I tried changing, modifying, adding and removing ingredients until I achieved the perfect combination. What you need is:

1 can tomato sauce
1 chopped onion
1 large carrot (thinly sliced)
fresh basil
broth (chicken or veggie)
1/2 stick of butter
1 tsp sugar
1-2 tbsp ketchup
salt and pepper

   Boil sliced carrots in a broth until they are soft but still have a tiny crunch to them. Add tomato sauce, sugar, salt and pepper and... ketchup, yes ketchup! I know it's hard to understand, but trust me I was trying to perfect this soup for many years and there is nothing better then a couple of spoons of ketchup. It just gives it an unbelievable sweet but tangy taste. To finish the soup you don't need any cream or milk, all you do is saute onions with butter and lots of basil, blend them with a little bit of water, and add to the soup. The onion/butter combination is just great and makes the soup ten times better. Try it.

   If the soup isn't satisfying enough, you can either have a grilled cheese sandwich with it (it's so american and I never had it before I came to the US) or you can have a healthy, fresh, and delicious salad. Toss together lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, olives, a little bit of shredded cheese, and a dressing of your choice (my favorite is raspberry vinaigrette) and the salad is ready.

   Quick, easy, healthy, and delicious, what can be better for a busy week?


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Streets of Poland!

   Every time we go to Poland Justin discovers something new to eat which becomes his absolute favorite for a while! Last time we went there I introduced him to the most popular Polish street food/fast food called zapiekanka. I think it's the oldest, simplest, cheapest, and most delicious street food in Poland consisting mostly of a bread, mushroom and cheese. You should see Justin's face when he first tried it, it was love from first bite. I was a little bit concerned that we might be broke after all the zapiekankas he was buying (thank God they are cheap), he had at least one or two a day, so after 3 weeks you do the math! We could go to the best and most sophisticated restaurant in Krakow and he would still save some space so he can have zapiekanka afterward. When people ask him how was our trip to Poland, all he could talk about is how awesome zapiekankas are. So I decided to make some for dinner to make my man happy, and I never saw him that excited about dinner before. Nowadays people put all sorts of different things on it, but it's unnecessary because you can't beat the original one, which is absolutely the best. All you need is:

baguette or long buns
1 chopped onion
shredded mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper

   Saute onions and mushrooms together for about 5 minutes, just enough to release the "juices" and season them with salt and pepper. Cut the bread into half horizontally, put mushrooms on the top, and then sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake for about 10 min at 400F until the cheese is melted and bread is crisp. To serve, top it with ketchup and chopped chives and you got yourself a signature dish of Polish streets.

   You should definitely try this version. Don't skip anything, even if you are not crazy about ketchup or chives, you should still try it because that's what makes the dish authentic. People like to also use ham, salami, chicken, or corn, but for me there is nothing better than the original and the simplest version. It just brings back memories, not only for me, but now also for Justin. And who said you can't enjoy some street food with a glass of nice wine?

   Don't they look scrumptious? If you ever go to Poland, don't forget to check them out for yourself, you won't be disappointed!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

I ain't no hunter...

   …but I love a Hunter’s Stew. I am talking about bigos, which is an absolute staple of polish cuisine. It is considered our national dish, and as it's name suggests, it was traditionally served after hunting. I can bet that every single Polish person has had bigos at least few times! Everybody knows it! There are many versions of the recipe, everybody prepares it differently by adding their own secret ingredients, but the general rule is simple, you definitely need sauerkraut, meat, dried mushrooms, and wine (and about 77 other things) and few hours to cook it. I like to think that my preparation is pretty close to the original, but all I know for sure is that it tastes awesome. Justin is not as crazy about cabbage as me so I don’t make it too often, but my friend from work is a big bigos fan (well, he had it only once), and since I owe him a favor I decided to cook it for him. Hopefully I can pay my "debt" this way. It’s pretty easy to make, but I can’t really say it’s quick because the longer you cook it, the better it will taste. What you need is:

2-3 lbs sauerkraut (washed once with water)
½ head of fresh cabbage
1 large chopped onion
1 lb beef (the cheapest cut of meat, cut into 1 inch cubes)
1 lb cubed pork
1 link Polish kielbasa
1 cup dried porcini mushroom (soaked in water for an hour)
2 cup fresh mushroom
½ cup dried prunes (chopped)
red wine
4-5 bay lives
3-4 juniper berries
olive oil
Salt and pepper

   I told you the list of ingredients was long! Heat olive oil in a dutch oven (or a large pot) and brown the meat, kielbasa, and onions. After the meat is brown add the sauerkraut, chopped cabbage, mushrooms (fresh and dried), prunes, and spices. Cook everything together for about 5-10 minutes, add wine (I usually add about half a bottle), and simmer on low heat for about 2-3 hours. What you really should do is cook it for 3 hours one day and then for another 1-2 hours the next day, but that's not really necessary, it’s going to be amazing anyways!

    Man, does that taste like home or what? I don’t know how I did it, but it tastes exactly the same as my mom’s, which is amazing! It’s rustic, rich, and decadent, a little bit sour, a little bit sweet, and a little bit salty with lots of meat and tons of flavor. If you are a vegetarian you can skip the meat, but please do not call it bigos, because it pains my heart! If you remove the meat it’s still delicious, but it’s called a cabbage stew then and it has absolutely nothing to do with bigos. No matter how you prepare it, I’m sure you are going to love it! 


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Martha knows her stuff!

   Who doesn't like chicken salad? It's easy to make, semi-healthy (if made with right ingredients), and very versatile. You can eat it by itself, on a sandwich, in a wrap, or any other way you want. If you think that a regular chicken salad is good, wait until I show you the recipe for an avocado chicken salad with avocado dressing, it's absolutely genius!  Super flavorful, super healthy, super colorful, and super delicious! I found it in my favorite cooking magazine: "Everyday Food" by Martha Stewart. If you don't have a subscription to it yet you should definitely get one asap, it's really good. You start with making your own dressing, which already tells you that it's going to be much better than using "who-knows-what's-inside" store one. What you need to make the dressing is:

1 avocado
1 cup fat free buttermilk
2 chopped scallions
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped mint
lemon juice (from half a lemon)
salt and pepper.

   All you have to do is blend everything together in a food processor until smooth. How easy is that?

   It's so yummy that I think I ate half of it by the time the salad was ready! Speaking about salad. Here is the list of ingredients:
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
2-3 celery stalks, finely chopped
3 chopped shallots
1 avocado, diced
salt and pepper
our delicious avocado dressing

   Combine all the ingredients, season with salt and pepper to taste, and toss everything together (gently). In my opinion it's absolutely the best when served on a slice of a warm bread (I use the Pillsbury French Bread that you bake yourself).

  Do you see the size of that sandwich? It will definitely keep you full and satisfied for a long time. You don't even have to feel guilty about all these carbs in bread because all that veggie action cancels them out! If you are an avocado lover like me, you will definitely love this salad!

Good luck.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Breakfast to go!

   Everybody knows that breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day, and in my case it's one of the favorites as well. It’s one of our “small” traditions with Justin, that every weekend we have a big and delicious breakfast with eggs, pancakes, hot coffee and Good Morning America and ABC News. But who has time to eat breakfast at home during the week when you start work at 7am? Not me! I usually just grab granola bar or yogurt, but let’s be honest, that’s not a “real” breakfast and it definitely doesn’t keep me satisfied for too long (that’s why sometimes you see me eating lunch at 11:30)! I decided to change it and I made a different version of easy, ready-to-go breakfast: cheese and bacon muffins! They are as delicious as they sound. What you need is:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 tsp salt
8-10 slices of turkey bacon (you can use the real stuff too) chopped and crisped
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 stick of butter (melted and cooled)
¼ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup chopped scallions

   In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add cheese, bacon, herbs, and mix everything together. In a separate bowl whisk together milk, eggs and butter, pour itto the flour mixture and mix until combined (do not overmix!). Scoop the batter into a muffin pan (it makes 12 muffins) and bake at 400F for 20 minutes.


   With 12 muffins, between two of us, we have breakfasts for the entire week! Just keep them covered in the refrigerator and microwave them for 10-20 sec before eating! It’s absolutely the best thing for people who love breakfast, but don’t have too much time to prepare it! And for my all vegetarian friends out there, just skip the bacon and they will be excellent too! 

Try it and enjoy it.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Little pigeons!

   "Little pigeons" is the exact translation of one of my favorite Polish dishes called golabki. They have nothing to do with pigeons (don't worry, you don't have to hunt any birds for dinner), they got their name because of their shape, resembling a pigeon's torso. If "golabki" doesn't tell you anything, maybe stuffed cabbage will ring a bell? That's exactly what I am writing about today. I am not going to say that it's quick and easy... I mean it is to me, but if you've never seen it done, it may be a little bit challenging. The list of ingredients is short though:

1 whole cabbage head (as big as you can get)
1.5 lb ground beef (or chicken)
2 cups of rice
1 large chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup of beef broth
1 stick of butter
salt and pepper

   I usually prepare stuffing first and then take care of the cabbage. Melt half of the butter in a skillet and saute onions, garlic, add meat, and cook for about 5 minutes until the meat is no longer pink (it doesn't have to be perfectly cooked because it's going to bake for a while). Mix meat with cooked rice and season with salt and pepper to taste. In a pot large enough to fit the cabbage head, boil some water and cook cabbage for about 5 minutes until it is soft enough to pull off individual leaves. Using a small knife cut away the thick center stem from each leaf without cutting all the way through. It's very easy for me to make the rolls, but somehow I find it super difficult to explain it to you, but let me try. Place a big spoon of meat stuffing on each cabbage leaf, flip the right side of the leaf to the middle, then flip the left side, and roll away from you to create a neat little roll. I think that's the best I can do to explain. Place all the rolls (tightly packed) in a baking dish, slice remaining butter on the top of them, and pour the beef broth. Cover everything with a foil and bake for an hour at 350F.

   Don't worry if the leaves tear a little bit, it all depends on the cabbage you get, so you can't really control it. Look how delicious they look, and trust me they are even better then you think they will be.

   Juicy, soft, smooth, and very, very aromatic. You can use a regular cabbage or mix it up a little bit and use savoy cabbage, which is delicious as well (but has a little bit different texture).

   The "traditional" way of serving golabki is with tomato sauce, but somehow we are not big fans of it. Justin absolutely loves to eat golabki with ketchup (as seen above) and I prefer a mushroom sauce, which I usually buy ready to go (hey, I never said I am a SuperWoman, sometimes I just buy pre-made things).

   So good! I know only one person who says that he doesn't like golabki (you know who you are!) other than that, this dish is an absolute hit among my friends! I usually double the recipe and make a huge batch of them so I can pack lunches for a whole week and share some with friends as well.

Have a great day.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Story of one sloppy man!

   No, I’m not writing a post about my husband! He is actually one of the neatest people I know. Today I decided to be a little bit sloppy in the kitchen, or actually not as much in the kitchen as in the dining room and I made sloppy Joes. I was sure that this sandwich was named by a woman married to some Joe who is not too careful while eating, but I was mistaken. It was created in 1930s in a Sioux City, Iowa by a cook named Joe and anybody who ever had it before knows why it is called sloppy, no explanation needed there! I remember when I had my first sloppy Joe sandwich I didn’t really understand the concept, why would you want to eat a sandwich filled with loose meat which is landing everywhere but your mouth? I changed my mind after I tasted it, who cares that it’s sloppy when it tastes so good, and who said we always have to eat dinners with a fork and knife? Time to get dirty and have some fun! Here is the recipe:
1 lb lean ground beef
1 chopped onion
1 chopped green bell pepper
2 garlic cloves
1-2 tsp yellow mustard
0.5 cup ketchup
3 tsp brown sugar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp olive oil
salt, pepper
hamburger buns (as soft as you can get, otherwise they will just squeeze the meat out and you won’t even taste it)

   Saute onion, garlic and bell peppers with some olive oil, add meat and cook for 5-10 min. Drain the liquid, add all other ingredients, and mix everything together. Then bring it to a boil, reduce heat, and cook for about 10 minutes. Traditionally it’s served on a plain bun, but I couldn’t stop myself and added some greens, it just wasn’t right and needed some vitamins. 

    Yummy. Very, very sloppy, but yummy! I challenge you to eat it wearing white clothes and over a white table cloth! Let’s see how much fun that would be.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Can I call it Indian food?

   No, I don't think I can. I used some Indian spices and it tastes delicious, but I don't think it gives me the right to call it Indian just because of that. It's like somebody would put kielbasa in a dish and call it a Polish dinner. Not cool. So let me just call it a delicious curry chicken with couscous. I found this recipe a long time ago when I still lived in Cleveland and when I was just starting to experiment with different spices. It was probably one of those dishes that made me fall in love with curry powder and we've been together ever since! It's really fast and easy, so it's perfect for a week night when you have to work late. Try it for yourself, I'm sure you won't be disappointed. What you need is:

1 chicken breast
1 chopped onion
2 crushed cloves of garlic
1 small can of tomato sauce
1 cup of fat free sour cream
2-3 tsp of curry powder (to your taste)
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
lots of parsley
olive oil
salt and pepper.

   Heat the olive oil in a pan and add mustard, and cumin seeds cooking them for a couple of minutes until they release some of their delicious aroma, then add onions and garlic. After the onions are translucent, add chicken and cook for about 5 minutes. Then add curry powder, tomato sauce, parsley, salt, and pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes until the chicken is completely cooked and finish everything by adding the sour cream. It's done, I told you it was fast and easy! Serve it with couscous or rice, I prefer couscous because it's a little bit more flavorful and healthier.

   It's a perfect dish... it has a character, it has the looks, and it makes you warm during cold nights, it's almost like a perfect man... almost! Speaking of cold nights, what is going on with this weather... I think I froze my ears today just by walking to my mail box! Brrrr, I need some hot tea, which by the way goes great with a curry chicken!

Stay warm.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

   Wow, I can not believe that it's really 2012 already! Where did 2011 go? Well, it doesn't matter anymore, it's gone for good and now we have a new year :). I hope everybody had a great time last night welcoming the New Year in a great company. No matter where you are and how you celebrate it, if you are surrounded by wonderful people it's the best beginning to a new year. Oh, and lets not forget about good food, that's important too! This is exactly how we step into 2012, with a great friends and lots of food (some tastier then others). I decided to experiment a little bit and made a new salad, which I saw on Barefoot Contessa and guess what, it was "not so much"! I should know better and stick to my own recipe rather than following Ina Garten because it sucked. Well, the other option is that I just screwed up her recipe, but since I decided to be more confident as my New Year's resolution, so I stick to my statement that Ina's salad sucks! But lets forget about the salad and start with an appetizer. I made Justin's favorite thing, something that we had on our first "official" date back in the day, and something we love to order in a restaurants: bruschetta! All you need is:

French baguette
3 big tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic (finely minced)
2 tbsp of finely chopped red onion
0.5 cup of chopped fresh basil
0.5 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp of olive oil
2 tsp of red wine vinegar
salt and pepper

   Parboil tomatoes for one minute to remove the skin, remove the seeds (you don't want it to be too watery), chop into small cubes and mix with all other ingredients. That's it... you are done with the tomato part of a bruschetta.

    All is left to do is to slice the baguette into diagonal 0.5 inch slices, brush with a little bit of olive oil and bake at 375F for 5 min. You don't want the dish to get soggy so don't assemble it, just let your guests create their own. It's absolutely delicious!

   It's the perfect way to begin a meal. Crunchy, refreshing, and a little bit garlicky, so make sure your partner has some too!
   As the star of the meal I decided to make a roasted beef. Mostly because I was eager to try out a Christmas gift from my wonderful Mother-in-law: a brand new and shinny Dutch oven (not that shinny anymore after I was done with it!). I still have some practicing to do, but I think that for my first roast I did pretty well (hopefully my guests will agree). The list of ingredients goes as follow:

Chuck roast beef cut (I used 4 lbs for 6 people and have leftovers)
1 chopped onion
4 stalks of celery
2 chopped carrots 
1 chopped apple
1 cup of dried crunberries
3 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp of tomato paste
red wine
beef broth
salt and pepper
rosemary, juniper berries, bay lives
vegetable oil.

   Heat the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven and sear the meat on all sides until brown. It's very important step, which gives most of the flavor to the roast, so make sure you really brown the meat (about 5 min on each side). Take the meat out of the pan and set aside. Using the remaining oil, saute the vegetables, fruit, and herbs for 5 minutes, add tomato paste and cook some more. Deglaze the pan with some wine and return the meat back where it belongs. Add wine and beef stock to the pot to cover about 2/3 of the meat (don't cover it completely).

   Cook everything on the stove top for about 10 minutes and then cover with a lid and pop it in the oven that has been preheated to 300F for about 3 hours. The trick to making the meat tender is to roast it at a very low temperature for a long time. Don't take this 3 hours very strictly, you have to keep checking the meat yourself because time depends on the size and cut of the beef. Mine was pretty tender after 3 hours but some may require more or less time. You should be able to shred the meat with a fork, then you know it's ready. After the roast is done all the veggies are super soft and the liquid is reduced giving you a great sauce for your meat.

   Don't be afraid of the dark color... it's all the red wine magic! I served it with mixed grains sauteed with onion and ginger, and a "famous" cucumber salad, which Ina Garten screwed up. Yes, I'm still sticking to my statement that it was completely her fault, I had nothing to do with the salad being oversatled!
   But let's forget about salty salad (we had plenty of "liquid" to wash it out) the party was a great success. We welcomed the New Year with amazing and fun company, some old and new friends. That sounds to me like a great start to 2012.

Have an amazing year.