Monday, February 18, 2013

Vera Pizzeria

Vera Pizzeria on a Saturday night is tight and loud and hoppin. A crowd kept flowing up to the bar in waves, calling out orders to Kerry and Jon who shook their steel tins so fast, spitting out drinks with names like Blood and Sand and the Bullet Train and Hanky Panky.

Jessica kept the rest of the house in order, keeping a sharp eye on the flow of tables and the bar and the front door.

I started out the night with the cracked pepper creamy parm pistachio salad and paired it with Jon's recommendation of a Pink Lady. On the overhead, playing in black and white with the sound off was Breakfast at Tiffany's. The salad was a great blend and the dressing was flavorful and thankfully didn't drown the mix of lettuces. I especially liked the crisp red onion.

A handful of other staff moved fast between the kitchen's large service window and the tables, moving plates and clearing empties with lighting speed efficiency.

I then went on to order dinner. I paired the Caprese pizza with a Bare Knuckled Boxer. The drink was outstanding with it's four year whiskey and house made almond syrup and sugared strawberries.

The pizza was simple with roma tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and a Balsamic reduction, but very well made and delicious. The German silent film of 1927, Metropolis started up and the crowd at the bar started to slow down.

Then I wound down the night with a slab of salted caramel cake which came with a shot of Fernet Bianca and I paired it with a glass of Hot Rum and Cider.

Which was the perfect way to end my visit at Vera since it was bitterly cold out. The whole evening was a wonderful escape and I highly recommend stopping by for drinks and more.

Vera Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

SOLE of Buffalo's Urban Agricultural Series - #2 Winter Sowing

On Saturday, February 9th, SOLE of Buffalo held it's second in a series of four urban agricultural events focusing on easy ways to grow in small areas, particularly for city dwellers. This class focused on starting seeds for a healing garden, though students also had the choice to start a vegetable garden too.

Using clean milk jugs, students cut them in half, filled them with soil and selected five types of seeds to plant. They were shown an easy way to label, and were advised when they young plants would be ready to be transplanted.

There were a total of fifteen people who planted seeds such as milk thistle, butternut squash, fennel in an organic blend of compost, soil, and perlite.

The next class will take place Saturday, May 11th. SOLE of Buffalo will be teaching how to make seed bombs and how to handle first harvests and preparing for second plantings.

If you are interested in coming to this class, contact Annie Levay-Krause via email and keep an eye out for more information on SOLE's main website or through their Facebook presence.
Although many of the seeds came from Annie's garden, seeds were also provided by The Sample Seed Shop. This local company provides high quality seeds for reasonable prices. Check out Remy's Facebook presence for seasonal updates.

The classes take place at the Foundry, the epicenter for indie artisans and crafters. Check them out!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Irish Scones with lavender glaze

 Irish scones are very easy to make and quite addictive to eat. This batch ended up being capped with a lavender sugar glaze, giving it a delicate, fresh, spring-like aftertaste.

3 1/2 cups flour
4 tsp baking soda    3/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar    4 tbls butter
2 tbls shortening    3/4 cup cream
1/4 cup applesauce

Heat oven to 375*. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix well. Cut in butter and shortening. In a separate bowl, combine cream with applesauce then add to dry ingredients. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Roll dough out and cut into biscuit size rounds. Bake for 15 minutes or until brown.

Pestle grind 1/4 cup of lavender buds. Using a mixer, blend together 1 cup powdered sugar, lavender, and enough juice of a lemon or orange to create a glaze that is thin enough to dip the scones in to create a sugary cap. Set back out on the wire rack and allow the glaze to set before stacking.

Brown scones are prepared just as above except that to finish you dip the tops in watered down blackstrap molasses and then sugar coat.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Rye Bread

1 cup lukewarm water    1 tbls yeast    1 tbls salt    3 tbls caraway seeds
2 cups white flour    1 cup whole wheat flour    3 cups rye flour

In a large bowl, blend together the yeast, salt, and water. Blend the flour and seeds together in another bowl. Sift in and mix together one cup of dry ingredients into proofed yeast at a time. Cover and let rise in a warm location for two hours. Pre-heat the oven to 425*. Pull out desired amount of dough and form gently on a lightly floured surface. Slice the top and set aside for thirty minutes. Place dough on a well greased pan with a pan with water in it on the bottom shelf of the oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool on a rack.

Slice thin for sandwiches or thick and serve with butter and soup.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Meatloaf with avocado sauce over sake steamed squash and mixed greens

1 pound each of ground bison and beef    1/2 cup bread crumbs    1/4 cup ketchup
1 small onion minced    2 tbls parsley chopped    1 tsp each salt and pepper    squash
1/2 cup sake    2 tbls miso    1 avocado   4 cloves garlic    1 tbls tahini
1/4 cup plain yogurt or sour cream    mixed spring greens

Prep the squash, peeling it completely. Set in a steam basket with the miso and sake below it, steaming until you can pierce it easily with a fork. Leave it covered and remove it from the heat. 

Mix the ground meats, bread crumbs, ketchup, minced onion, parsley, salt, and pepper together forming a tight loaf. Cover with foil and bake at 400* for 35 minutes, uncovering during the last five minutes to brown the top.

In a blender, mix together the avocado, garlic, tahini, cream until smooth.

Layer the greens, then squash, then meatloaf, then drizzle the sauce on top. 

One of my favorite versions of meatloaf!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tilapia with roasted sweet pepper sauce crust


                    4 fillets of tilapia             Panko crumbs  
                    1/2 cup roasted red pepper sauce  
                    1 cup rice                             4 tbls butter

Prepare rice. Preheat oven to 425*. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil shiny side up, folding the edges over to prevent any juice from escaping. Spoon the sauce on each filet. Spoon the panko crumbs over the sauce evenly. Bake for 18 minutes. Fluff butter into the rice. Dish and serve. This went very well with a large Greek salad with olives and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Bhatkali Biryani - Indian rice dish

2 1/2 cups basmati rice                                   salt to taste
1/4 cup cooking oil                                         3 tomatoes, chopped
8 whole cloves                                                 4 green chile peppers, halved lengthwise
4 black cardamom pods                                   7 1/2 cups water
4 cinnamon sticks                                           1 onion, sliced
4 large onions, sliced thin                              2 tbls lemon juice
1 tbls garlic paste                                             2 small carrots, chopped
1 tbls ginger paste                                           1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves         1 sweet red pepper, chopped
3 tbls chopped fresh mint leaves                 2 tbls plain yogurt
1 pound lamb chops                                      1/2 tsp saffron
1 teaspoon salt                                                 2 tbls warm milk
1 tbls oil                                                        

Place the basmati rice in a large container and cover with several inches of cool water. Let stand 30 minutes and then drain.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet over medium hear; fry the cloves, cardamom pods, and cinnamon sticks in the hot oil until fragrant for about 1 minute. Add the onions. Cook and stir until the onions are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir the garlic paste and ginger paste into the onion mixture; cook until the garlic and ginger is fragrant, about 1 minute. Sprinkle the cilantro and mint over the mixture and cook 1 minute.

Add the lamb chops to the skillet; season with salt. Cook and stir the lamb for about 20 minutes until the meat begins to brown.

Stir the tomatoes, green chile peppers, carrots, peas, sweet red pepper into the mixture; continue cooking until the oil begins to separate from the gravy, about 10 minutes. Add the yogurt and lemon juice; cover and cook until the lamb is tender, about 15 minutes. Add water as needed to keep the mixture from getting too dry.

Bring the rice, 7 1/2 cups water, and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil in a saucepan until the rice is nearly done yet a little chewy, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain any excess water.

Heat 1 tbls oil in a small skillet; fry the sliced onion in the hot oil until lightly browned. Layer about half the rice in the bottom of a deep pot with a lid. Spoon the lamb masala over the rice. Spread the fried onion over the lamb masala. Top with the remaining rice. Stir the saffron and warm milk together in a small bowl; pour over the top layer of rice. Cover the pot with the lid and place the pot over low heat; cook until the rice is thoroughly cooked, about 15 minutes.