Another great meal from the Ravenous Rhino food truck

Tonight we stopped at the Ravenous Rhino food truck for dinner.  This is our second visit to this fantastic restaurant on wheels.  Mike had the Hogzilla burger, which is stuffed with bacon and cheese.     He happily ate it before I could get a picture.

I had the pulled pork sandwich (above) with their granny smith apple coleslaw.  It was the perfect meal.  I’m so happy that we stumbled upon this food truck and write about it here.
You really MUST try them.

Trying new things

I love to try new recipes.  Earlier this month, Chef Warren Caterson come to the library where I work and did a cooking demonstration.  I have both of the chef’s cookbooks Table for Two: The Cookbook for Couples and Table for Two: Back for Seconds. Because of Chef Warren’s visit to the library, I became brave enough to cook some tuna steaks.  Pan-seared Tuna Steak with Sesame Oil was the recipe I tried.

Not only was this delicious for me, but my husband who doesn’t eat fish, ate it and said he would like to add this to our dinner rotation.

Thank you Chef Warren Caterson for the inspiration.

What could possibly entice me to post after four and a half months of silence?

A FOOD TRUCK!!!

I recently read an article in the Charlotte Sun newspaper about food trucks.  One food truck, in particular, caught my eye. It is called The Ravenous Rhino.

Today we were out and we spotted the food truck in the parking lot at PetSmart in Port Charlotte. My wonderful husband, Mike, pulled over and let me check it out.  As soon as I looked at the menu, I knew what I wanted.  Sanibel Crab Cake Sandwich – Handmade been of blue and snow crab, fried & served on a toasted bun with lettuce, tomato, and Cajun tartar sauce. I took a picture of the deliciousness before I started to eat.

I can’t express how delicious this sandwich was.  The spices that were mixed with the sweet crab made for a scrumptious crab cake.  The fresh bun was toasted and delicious.  The tomato, onion, and lettuce were fresh and crispy.  The pickles were dilly.  The Cajun tartar sauce, which is made to order, was heavenly!

Here is a peek at today’s menu:

If you are out and about and see the Ravenous Rhino truck, take the time to stop.

Baked hard "boiled" eggs – time saver or mess maker?

Happy New Year to all!

My husband, Michael, and I have decided that we are starting to eat healthy and exercise more.  Since he is working today, I am at home watching the Food Network.  One of the tips I picked up today was  hard cooking eggs by baking them instead of boiling them.  Since I was planning to hard boil some eggs today, I decided to try it.

I preheated the oven to 325 F, put 12 eggs into my muffin tin.  I baked the eggs for 30 minutes and then put them into ice water for 10 minutes.  I had one egg that broke in the oven, but it didn’t make a mess.

Here are my thoughts on this method of hard cooking the eggs:

1.  The eggs get a dark mark on them where they touch the muffin tin. This mark goes through into the egg white.  Not appetizing at all.
2.  The eggs are NOT easy to peel.  I have a bunch of egg that are missing most of their whites because they did not peel nicely.  What a mess!!
3.  It was easy.  I may have to play with this idea a little bit to figure out how to get the dark mark to not happen.

Hope everyone is doing well!

Are macarons are my Waterloo?

A few years ago, while out shopping at an outlet mall with my husband, we discovered a little french bakery that was selling these adorable little sandwich cookies called macarons.  We have since found several other places that sell them. One place is called Le Macaron.  We fell in love with these cookies.  They are a French sweet meringue-based confection made with egg whites, icing sugar, granulated sugar, ground almonds and food coloring. They are filled with either flavored icings or jelly/jam.  When I first saw the name Macaron, I thought I was going to be getting a coconut based cookie – which I don’t like. To my delight, I bit into a crispy, chewy, delicious little cookie.  I was hooked.

Since there are no places nearby that sell macarons, I’ve been toying with making my own for a while.  I bought a macaron kit with a mix and a macaron kit with all the tools needed for success in making them.  Today I decided to try making them.  I love to share both successes and failures in the kitchen.  Macarons turned out to be a FAIL.

Here is a short before baking video:

While they were baking, I could see that the macaron dough had run together.  Here they are after I took them out of the oven:

Due to the running of the dough, I could only get ONE actual macaron.  It was delicious.  Here it is:

So, it is back to the old drawing board.  I will be trying this again.  Stay tuned and see if I have success or more failures with macaron baking.

Food adventures with Mike

Anyone who has met my husband knows that he can be a bit of a picky eater. In Mike’s mind, the only thing better than meat with potatoes is meat with meat.  Slowly over the almost 13 years we’ve been married, I have managed to get him to try some new foods, mostly at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.  This past Sunday, while we were looking for a place to have lunch after visiting Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Mike suggested we try Carmel Kitchen and Wine Bar in Sarasota, FL.  It is near the new Mall at University Town Center.  For an appetizer we shared the small order of chickpea fries.  YES!  I said CHICKPEA FRIES.  They were served with a tomato jam and a saffron aioli.  















They were absolutely delicious.  I wanted to lick the little bowl that the tomato jam was served in.  It was so tasty.  The saffron aioli had a bit of a kick to it and it was Mike’s favorite. We both said we would order them again.  

I don’t have a picture of Mike’s lunch.  He had a pressed angus burger.  It had caramelized onions, manchego cheese, and chili aioli.  The sandwich was so big that he couldn’t finish it all. 




I had the chicken pita with a side of cranberry-pistachio quinoa.  I couldn’t stop eating the quinoa.  It is a food that I really don’t enjoy preparing but love it when someone else makes it for me.


I would have loved to try one of the desserts but I was full.  I asked our waiter for a wine suggestion.  After a few questions, he suggested two wines.  I chose the Washington Hills Late Harvest Riesling.  It was the perfect pairing.  

I wish Carmel Kitchen and Wine Bar was closer to home.  I could spend many happy meals tasting all of their food. If you are ever in the Sarasota area or any of their other 7 locations, I suggest you give them a try.  If you are an adventurous eater, you will be very happy.












My go to recipes.

Everyone has a set of “go to” recipes that they make when time is short. Here are some of my easiest and tastiest go to recipes.

BROWN SUGAR PORK CHOPS

I got this recipe for Brown Sugar Pork Chops from Weight Watchers many years ago.  It is yummy andy you can make it with bone in or boneless chops.

Ingredients
2 pork chops (boneless or bone-in)
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp brown sugar
a sprinkling of low sodium soy sauce
Directions
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray casserole dish with Pam and place chops in dish.
2. Top each chop with 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp brown sugar
3. Sprinkle with low sodium soy sauce.
4. Cover casserole with tin foil. Bake in 350 oven for 45 minutes. 
5. Remove tin foil. Bake an additional 15 minutes.
6. Serve chops with sauce made by butter, brown sugar and soy sauce.

We enjoy this served with a side of rice and some vegetables or a salad.

Orange and Rosemary Chicken

I don’t remember where this recipe came from.  I played around with the original recipe until I got it just right. I hope you enjoy it.

Ingredients:
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3/4 pound small red-skinned potatoes, halved  (or 1 can of white whole potatoes)
1 Tbsp rosemary
1 clove garlic, smashed
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Juice of 2 oranges (squeezed halves reserved)
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 
2 tsp.  salt
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Cover the potatoes with cold water in a saucepan and salt the water.  Bring to a boil over medium-highheat and cook until tender, about 8 minutes.  Drain and set aside. (Skip this step if using the canned potatoes) 
  2.  Crush the garlic, rosemary, and red pepper flakes and put in small bowl. Stir in the juice of 1 orange and the olive oil.  Add the chicken and turn to coat. 
  3.  Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. 
  4.  Add the chicken, cover and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.  Turn the chicken; add potatoes to the skillet and drizzle with the juice of the remaining orange.  Add the squeezed orange halves to the skillet; transfer to the oven and roast, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes.


Pork with mango barbecue sauce

I didn’t have any barbecue sauce in the house, so I came up with this tasty recipe. This recipe is great for those days when you are working late and will not have time to “whip something up”.   It is also great for pot lucks.

Ingredients:
4 pound pork roast
1 cup mango rum
1 pkg frozen mango (or 2 fresh mangoes cut up)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
hot sauce to taste

  1. Place pork roast in crockpot. Season with salt and pepper
  2. Place the rest of the ingredients in crockpot. 
  3. Cook on Low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours 
  4. Take pork out of crockpot. Place on plate and shred with fork (watch out it is hot). Return shredded pork to crockpot. 
  5. You can eat like a stew or place on a tasty roll. 

Kathy’s Awesome Chili

INGREDIENTS:

“Here’s a chili recipe you’ll love using meatloaf mix.. Other ingredients include beer, strong-brewed coffee, unsweetened cocoa powder and ground cumin.”

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground meatloaf mix
1 (14.5 ounce) can peeled and diced tomatoes with juice
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle dark beer
1 cup strong brewed coffee
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
1 (14 ounce) can beef broth
3 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1 (15 ounce) can navy beans

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onions, garlic, and ground meatloaf mix in oil for 10 minutes, or until the meat is well browned and the onions are tender.
2. Mix in the diced tomatoes with juice, dark beer, coffee, tomato paste and beef broth. Season with chili powder, cumin, cocoa powder, oregano, cayenne pepper, coriander and salt. Stir in 1 cans of the beans. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.



Let me know if you try any of these and then share YOUR favorite go to recipes.