Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Eating Omaha...Cantina Laredo

Well, it's not really Eating Omaha since this is a chain down in the trendiest part of town that seems to be having issues holding on to good places to eat.

Part 1, the ladies from NOH decided to stop there for drinks and munchies after work last week on Thursday before we were scheduled to have dinner with some dear old friends on Friday.  Thursday is "Ladies Night" and happy hour so all sorts of specials abound.  First the Happy Hour Margarita got a thumbs down. Just watery lime juice and sparing use of Tequila made this a disappointment for those who tried it. The Mango Margarita was much better.  The bartender acknowledged the flaws in the recipe but pretty much stated that's what you get for Happy Hour. He stated he could make them much better but that's what the company serves. They still paid for them though which disappointed me personally. Don't pay for a poor job and stuff you don't like.

Next a queso platter with a sprinkling of burger meat atop served on a cast iron fajita pan that kept cooking the dish all the way to...burnt. Again they complained to which the waitress said "well, that's not our best appetizer" and yet they still paid for it.

So our dinner on Friday I was a bit anxious about the food and the place in general. Nice enough establishment on this warmish night the windows were rolled back and the great outdoors exposed. We sat on the patio until we were politely reseated inside. No signs would have indicated to us not to seat yourself so a small ding in my mood. We got to table that was suitable and asked about the Happy Hour specials of which the waitress seemed clueless.  I finally had a Pacifico Beer and Brenda had a white wine as we waited for our friends to arrive. A bowl of chips and salsa accompanied the table and the salsa was a dark reddish brown affair with lots of flavor. I guess they are know for their Guacamole but we did not sample any that night except for that which came with the dinner as a garnish.

I had a Chicken Mole Enchilada dish, Brenda sampled the Enchiladas Vera Cruz. Our guests had the Ahi Tuna Tacos and Fajitas. The food was pretty good but certainly not the best Mexican in Omaha compared to Rivera's and Nettie's. All in all it was just OK. Not the caliber of food that would tempt me to drive from my West Omaha home to Mid Town. I know that Nicholas (my son) has been there and liked it but he also lives in the neighborhood (trendy kids!)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day

Saturday turned out to be a nice afternoon and a wonderful evening even with an abrupt change in plans. After an afternoon Baptism we had planned a picnic at Stinson Park at Aksarben Village to hear BlueHouse play. Unbeknownst to us, the concert had been canceled due to a soggy lawn and we had a few folks ready to meet us there. A few quick text messgaes and calls redirected everyone back to our yard and a great evening of Mojitos (thanks Cindy) and various treats including 2 La Casa pizzas. We stayed up late and laughed and talked and finished a pitcher of Mojitos and several bottles of wine and beer.

Sunday was a lazy day with church and lunch and nothing much in particular going on. I am making ribs and all the fixin's. The kids are in various stages of work or sleep. Mackenzie and Ben stopped by for dinner. Brenda made Lemon Bars for dessert. I have a new keyboard for my tablet from the boys and a reason to spend money at Sur La Table from Mackenzie. The neighborhood is so quiet and peaceful, one of the reasons we moved here.

For some reason this year, I miss my Dad. He would always come out for a meal and loved my cooking. We would have probably had Feather Bones and such and they would be ready to go home about 6. He got sick pretty much as we moved into this house and had not been able to come out that much. My cousins were posting photos of their Dad who passed a few years back on Facebook and makes me miss them all the more.
Ah well, the sun is setting and Kenzie is headed to work, Ben is sacked out on the sofa and another minor holiday is come and gone. Leftovers are packed for the kids and I am already dreading whatever the day holds tomorrow at work.
Have a great evening all you readers.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Summer Entertaining

This weekend was kind of a bust but we salvaged Friday night with a few friends for an impromptu evening of conversation. We started the night with a bit of Sangria and then mixed appetizers including some Fajita nachos. The evening got a little cooler but the company was warm and interesting. Thank goodness since Saturday it must have rained an inch or two.

The Sangria:

1 bottle of Merlot
2 cans of Ginger Ale
1 can sliced pinapple with juice
1/2 pound of sliced strawberries
1/2 bag frozen berries
2 organges sliced 1/4 inch

We are loving the new patio although not quite finished to our liking but we are working on it!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Creamy White Balsamic Dressing

LAst night was hectic again with Kenzie moving and painting so dinner was a throw together of grilled Large Shrimps and and easy salad. when we were at Coco's last week we had a Creamy Balsamic dressing that was sweet and very nice so I attempted to copy it. I was close but the recipe needs work

2 T White Balsamic Vinegar
1T mayo
1 t Dijon
2 t Preserves. I used Apricot, the recipe called for Orange Marmalade
2 T Oil
1/4 c cream
S & P to taste although I found the dressing salty already

We topped mixed greens and spinach with walnuts and Blue Cheese crumbles. Made a great salad. I may adjust things in the future.

The dressing I use for that raw broccoli salad with bacon, red onion and cashews is just Mayo, balsamic vinegar and sugar. That would be pretty good just as a salad dressing too. Hmmm....

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Chicken Picatta

Easy peasy. I had a few boneless chicken breasts in the freezer that I took out in anticipation of making something for dinner. Brenda had mentioned the other day when I had made Veal Saltimbucca that she hadn't had this in a while. The Veal had a sauce based in white wine but this has a sauce based on lemons and I had a few laying about.

I brined the chicken before I know what I was going to do but it really helps keep it moist even in a dish like this.  I butterflied each breast all the way through and made 4 thin cutlets.  Dredged in flour and sauteed in olive oil and  butter. til;l golden and set aside and kept warm.

To the pan with some browned flour and a bit of drippings left over I added 1/3 c lemon juice and 1/2 c chicken stock and reduced that a bit till it thickened. The leftover browned flour really helps this process. I added 1 small pat of butter then about 1/4 c capers that had been rinsed. i poured the sauce over the warm chicken and served.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Food and odd weather and lazy days

Firstly we went back to J. Coco's on Friday to celebrate our 32nd anniversary. We had a great bottle of wine and did not indulge in all the extras as the last visit served plenty of food.  We ordered a nice Washington State wine that was spicy with clove and cinnamon. A lovely Cabernet called Seven Falls Wahluke Slope.
 I had the Duck while my lovely bride had the 3 fillet medallions. We both had the wedge salad which was great and did not order an extra veggie just stuck with what came with the meal. It was very filling. the duck was sublime and crispy. So delicious!

 The weekend came and went without much fanfare.  We were going out of town then decided against it and shopped ourselves silly but bought hardly anything. Found a few more plants for the backyard, cooked a nice flat iron Saturday night which I sliced and used on this pizza:
It was just so tasty with Heinz 57 sauce and blue cheese to compliment the steak, mushrooms and fresh mozzarella.  On our outing we had run across some sale meats that looked tempting for jerky so I marinaded the meat and forgot about it till late Sunday. That meant drying in the over overnight. The smell of jerky all night kept waking me and making my stomach growl. in the morning before work today this is what I reaped for all my efforts:

It was mighty tasty when I tested several strips for quality assurance!

I have a convection oven that allows me to run the fan at lower temps. I generally marinate the meat in a mixture of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, seasoned salt, pepper and garlic powder with a squirt of Siracha. I spray a few metal racks with cooking spray and lay them on lined baking pans. It takes a good 8 to 12 hours to dry out the meat. This week we found thin cut Milanese and a thicker round steak cut about 3/16 of an inch thick. The thinner meat would have benefited from a shorter session as it turned out crispier than I care for but still tasty.


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