If you've never been to Francesca's Wine Bar and Bistro, you're really missing out! Located on Main Street in Collinsville, CT, Francesca's offers a variety of appetizing selections, in a quaint atmosphere. In the warmer weather, there is seating available outside were you can enjoy a glass of wine and take in the sights and sounds of Collinsville. We've eaten there several times and I recently had the pleasure of photographing a few of their dishes. Chef John prepared Seared Sea Scallops and Polenta Cakes for the occasion, and owner Francesca was kind enough to let me set up near one of the large windows overlooking the street. It was a great experience and I look forward to returning in the near future!
These photos were taken as part of an assignment for an upcoming workshop that I'll be attending with the fabulous Penny De Los Santos. Really excited to have the opportunity to meet and learn from her!!
Two of my husband's favorite things - Cherry pie and Bourbon. I thought a nice Valentine's surprise. But really, how can you go wrong with that combo? Came across this in Bon Appetit. Rather than make one big pie (this recipe makes a lot of filling, you could probably get 2 pies out of it), I decided to make individual pies. I added sliced almonds to the recipe and an egg wash to bind the layers of pie crust together. Had to search around a bit for the cherries, but finally found them at Trader Joe's. They were inexpensive, but will try this again when fresh cherries are readily available. Warm with ice cream? Yum!
Who doesn't love a good bowl of chili? Everyone has their "go to" chili recipe, and this has become ours. It's really easy to make. This is a recipe given to us by our friend Brian Clark. It won an ESPN departmental chili cook off a few years back. You can adjust the "heat" by using hot salsa and increasing the jalapeno. The longer it cooks, the more robust the flavor.
Vermont Ice Breaker Chili
2 tbsp veg oil
2 lbs ground beef
2 large onions (or 3 medium)
4 cloves crushed garlic
15oz can pinto beans
15oz can kidney beans
29oz can crushed tomatoes
16oz jar of salsa (if using fresh be sure to drain some of the liquid off)
8-12oz beer (choose your favorite!)
2 tbsp diced jalapeno
4oz can of green chili peppers
1 tbsp VT maple syrup
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp dried oregano
3 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp salt
Optional add ins:
Crusty french bread or corn bread
Heat vegetable oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add beef, onions, garlic. Cook until meat is no longer pink. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce to low, cover, cook, stirring frequently for an hour or more. Add seasonings or extra ingredients to taste. op with sour cream, cheddar and chives.
My first blog post, wow! For the longest time I've wanted to indulge my passion for photography and food, so here it is!
This is a salad that my friend Carrie brought to me when I was sick almost 2 years ago. It has since become one on our favorite summertime salads. Yes, it's the middle of January in the northeast, but what better way to dream of the warm weather than a summer recipe. This is a variation of the original recipe from the Daily Bites Blog, with some cooked quinoa added. Gluten-free, loaded with protein and so yummy!
Roasted Asparagus, Grape, & Chicken Salad
Look for thicker asparagus stalks, which hold up better during roasting. If thin stalks are all that is available, adjust the roasting time accordingly (likely 8-10 minutes total). To enhance the lemony quality of this salad, add 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest to the dressing.
1 pound asparagus
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Sea salt, to taste
2 1/2 cups cooked, chopped or shredded chicken breast meat
1 large stalk celery, peeled and chopped small
2/3 cup red grapes, halved or quartered
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 garlic clove, minced or finely grated
Sea salt, to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Snap off the tough stem ends of the asparagus and discard. Toss the asparagus stalks with the olive oil and sea salt to taste. Arrange in an even layer on the baking sheet and roast for 10-12 minutes until bright green and tender when pierced with a knife.
When asparagus is cool enough to handle, cut the stalks into 1-inch pieces. Place in a large mixing bowl and add the chicken, celery, grapes, peas, and onion. Toss to combine. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour dressing over salad and toss to thoroughly coat.
Serve the salad at room temperature, either on its own or over a bed of tender spinach or baby greens.