Friday, March 27, 2009

Fix-It-Fridays: Spice Up My Burger!

I'm feeling optimistic today so I'm going to say that grilling season is just around the corner. I'm fortunate enough to live in a location where we can use our grill almost year-round, which is awesome. But there's still something about warmer temperatures that makes the season feel new.

Today's "Fix-It" is burgers. What do you add to burgers to make them more exciting? Is it something you add to the meat before you cook it? Is it how you dress the cooked burger before serving it? Maybe it's even the meat itself.

Last night, I tried a recipe for Tex-Mex Burgers with Cajun Mayo with the following variations:

  • We were running low on Cajun seasoning so I added a bit of cayenne pepper to the burger mix and served with plain mayo
  • I used some leftover scallions instead of white onion
  • I used Jarlsburg cheese due to availability
  • No lettuce, tomato, or buns
I assembled the raw burgers and Joe grilled them up. Next time, I'll make sure we have more Cajun seasoning (I used ours up on the sweet potato fries) and the pepperjack cheese would've been awesome.

These were delicious but now I've created a monster. Joe has declared he will never eat "plain" burgers again. Yeah, wishful thinking.

So, fix it! Share your ideas for sprucing up a regular burger in the comments. Burgers are such a summer staple, I bet there are a lot of great ideas out there.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Chicken with Rotel

Last night, we were on a tight schedule. Joe had to catch a flight and I needed to put dinner on the table ASAP. Added challenge? I had planned on eating chicken by myself and Joe's not a big fan of chicken.

Since Joe finds chicken to be bland and dry, I was determined to put together something a) fast b) tasty c) moist.

Here's what I did:

I pounded out two boneless, skinless chicken breasts and breaded them in a mix of flour and garlic powder. In the meantime, I heated a non-stick skillet with about 1 tablespoon of butter in it. Drop in the chicken, cook it up. Maybe seven minutes.

Next, I poured in about one cup of cheap Chardonnay (I believe it was Vendage). Once it had reduced by about half, I added a can of Rotel, complete with the juice.

Oh, Rotel, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways! I am totally going to post a love letter to Rotel in the near future.

Once most of the liquid, but not all, had simmered off (ten minutes?), I dropped the chicken breasts and remaining tomatoes/chilis on a plate.

Served with a side of spinach salad, it met all three of my requirements. We also drank a bit of the cheap Vendage Chardonnay along with the meal. Joe enjoyed it and didn't even complain about eating chicken. My only disappointment was that there were no leftovers to bring for lunch the next day.

Quick, simple, yummy chicken. Score!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Trivento Select Malbec (2007)

Name: Trivento Select Malbec (2007)
Type: Malbec (red)
Price: Approximately $10
Description: Lovely, a bit sweet, very smooth.
Recommend?: Yes!

Lately, we've been on a kick for Malbecs.  According to Epicurious, Malbec is a red-wine grape originating in France and generally blended with other grapes. Malbec grapes are planted extensively in Argentina and Chile.

Most of the Malbecs that Joe and I have consumed have been from Argentina. I can't remember where we had the first but we've had several out that have been really nice. This past Sunday we were on a mission to purchase a bottle of Malbec to accompany our dinner at home.

Only, our local grocery store, which has an extensive wine section, is geographically-challenged. After an extensive search, we finally found what we were looking for in the section marked "South Africa, New Zealand". No, not so much.

Joe selected a bottle of Trivento Select from 2007. According to the bottle, Trivento means "inspired by the winds" and has something to do with the winds rushing over the mouths of three caves. The bottle also says "Trivento Select Malbec is aged in medium toasted French oak, which dds vanilla aroma and supple tannins to the wine's rich berry flavors."

We found it to be very smooth and just a touch sweet. In fact, it was just sweet enough that I'd recommend it to a friend that's trying to break into red wines but not quite ready for something overly dry. We drank our bottle at dinner along with some Irish cheddar, calamari, potato salad and grilled ribeye steaks.

Delicious. I would totally buy it again. Probably on Friday.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Each Friday, I'll post an ingredient, a recipe, a menu, something for you to fix. Maybe it's something that went horribly wrong or maybe it's just totally bland (which is the same as horribly wrong, is it not?). Whatever the case may be, your suggestions for "fixing" it are requested!

Have a topic you'd like to see in this category? Please post it to the comments and I'll schedule it!

My Qualifications as a Sommelier

Here's what I know about wine:
  • It's made from grapes.
  • It contains alcohol.
  • I like it. A lot.
Does this qualify me as a sommelier or expert? Probably not.

I enjoy attending wine tastings and pretend to listen as the sommelier explains what is in my glass. Then I dutifully swirl it around, smell, and down the hatch.

Joe and I began drinking wine approximately seven years ago. We began with Beringer White Zinfandel. Over the years, our tastes have changed and we now tend towards dry red wines. In fact, at this point I'd say a wine cannot be too dry for me but it can definitely be too sweet.

Some of my favorite reds:
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Pinot Noir
  • Côtes du Rhône
  • Malbec
I'm not as big of a fan of whites in general but I've been known to enjoy:
  • Chardonnay
  • Riesling
  • Chenin Blanc
I'm definitely not a pretentious wine snob. I don't pretend to know enough about it to ever call myself that. I like to think wine (and many other things) is similar to music: a wide variety of each exists to serve a wide variety of tastes. We're all free to enjoy what we want to enjoy.

All of which is the long way to say - I like what I like. I'll share that here. You may not agree. Or you may. In which case, feel free to tip your sommelier.

About FeastMyFace

Why another blog?

This may come as a bit of a surprise to you but I like to eat. And drink. I enjoy doing this at restaurants and I also really enjoy doing this at home. Honestly, I think I prefer to eat at home - the ingredients (and drinks) are cheaper and half the fun of dinner is the time I spend in the kitchen with my husband, Joe.

I don't have any qualifications. I just like what I like. Upscale, downscale, complicated, simple, ethnic, American, American versions of ethnic.

Rather than clutter up my primary blog, ShowMyFace, I decided to start a separate blog here. Also, if it's a complete failure, I can delete the whole thing like it never happened!

If nothing else, this might be a good way for me to keep track of recipes and things I want to try. Even if nobody out there is reading.

What will I find here?

A bit of everything related to food and drink. Reviews, products, ingredients, recipes, methods, links, photos, thumbs ups and some thumbs downs. If it's at all related to food or drink, it's fair game.

Why FeastMyFace?

Because FeedMyFace, StuffMyFace and InMyFace were already taken. As was everything else I tried.

Anything else we should know?

I'll go ahead and assume most folks will find this blog through ShowMyFace. If not, allow me to introduce myself. I have one husband (Joe), two cats (Tonya & Rusty) and a lot of free time at my day job, which is in IT and not very creative. I'm not sure that there's much else to know!