Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful for...A New Blog Design!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you and yours a delicious holiday!

We have so much to be thankful for this year. I'm especially thankful for all of you. Thank you so much for taking a moment out of your day to spend some time here at Eat Drink Cleveland!

Today I'm unveiling my new blog design - hope you like it! Some of the links at the top aren't finished yet but they'll be fully functional soon.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Calling All Chocolate Lovers: This Pumpkin Pie is for You

Is anybody else as excited as I am that it's officially Thanksgiving Week?? Knowing that Turkey Day is only 3 days away makes this Monday MUCH easier to deal with.

In addition to getting ready for the big day, I'm hosting a Thanksgiving After-Party for my family on Saturday,  so I've been trying to finalize the menu and get my shopping list ready. This year, I've been thinking more about dessert than normal. Thankfully my Mom is bringing pumpkin pies (so good!) so that necessity is taken care of. Pumpkin pie is my absolute favorite!

While I love the classics, someone's I want something different. There are a lot of variations of pumpkin pie out there. And thanks to Chef Michael Symon, you can make a chocolate version to satisfy all the chocoholics and non-pumpkin lovers out there. He shared this recipe on Thanksgiving at Bobby's this weekend and it really caught my eye. If it tastes half as good as it looks, we may have a new tradition.

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie
Recipe courtesy of Michael Symon

Pie Crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting 
2 teaspoons granulated sugar  
1/2 teaspoon salt  
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into small pieces  
2 to 3 tablespoons ice cold water 

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped 
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, very finely chopped  
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces  
One 14-ounce can pumpkin puree  
One 12-ounce can evaporated milk  
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar  
3 large eggs  
1 tablespoon cornstarch  
1 teaspoon vanilla extract  
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon  
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger  
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg  
Pinch ground cloves  
Pinch salt 
Shaved chocolate, for garnish  

For the pie crust: Combine the flour, sugar, salt and butter in a food processor and pulse until coarse, with small marbles of butter remaining. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the ice water, then pulse until crumbly and the dough holds together when squeezed. (If too dry, add another sprinkle of water, but do not over mix.) Transfer the dough to a plastic bag, press into a disk and refrigerate for one hour.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Roll out the dough on floured surface, then press it into a deep 9-inch pie plate. Trim the edges to leave 1 inch of overhang, fold it under and flute the edges. Cut a piece of parchment or nonstick foil to the size of the pie plate and use it to line the pie crust. Fill with pie weights and bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Remove the pie weights and return the pie dough to the oven to dry out, about 8 minutes.

Lower the oven to 325 degrees F.

For the filling: In a double boiler, melt the semisweet chocolate, bittersweet chocolate and butter, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from the heat.

In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, light brown sugar, eggs, cornstarch, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Fold in the melted chocolate mixture. Set the pie plate on a baking sheet and pour the filling into the crust. Bake until the center of the pie has just about set but still has a slight jiggle, about 1 hour. Let cool completely before serving. Top with chocolate shavings.

Yield: 8 servings
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 3 hours

If you missed the show this weekend, you can still catch it Monday, Nov. 24 and Wednesday, Nov. 26. For all of the featured recipes, click here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cooker Girl's Supper Club

One of the best things about having friends to like to cook is that you know that dinner parties will always be delicious. But when one of your friends graduates from the Western Reserve Cooking School,  things get elevated to a whole other level.
My friend Sarah of Cooker Girl hosts bi-monthly Supper Club and it's always a lot of fun and delicious. She picks a theme (baseball, BBQ, soup, etc.) and everyone brings something to eat and drink. Isn't this beverage dispenser adorable? 
When I first started attending,  the food was delicious, but Sarah's training had caused these events to get better and better. As she learned more, we all have benefited. I think having someone complete this training makes us ALL want to up our game for these parties! You can't really bring store bought chips and salsa when the hostess is whipping up so much YUM. 

This month's theme was Restaurant Inspiration. At first I wondered what people world bring but as it turns out,  there are a whole lot of great restaurant dishes you can make at home.

Here's what we had:

Soft pretzels - Auntie Ann's

Parmesan & Rosemary Fondue with chips -  B-Spot

Hummus and pita chips - Aladdin's 

Mixed greens with roasted beets, walnuts and goat cheese - Mia Bella

Zuppa Toscana - Olive Garden

Fettuccine Alfredo - Macaroni Grill

Pumpkin gnocchi with sage & brown butter -  Deagan's

(This pic is the gnocchi waiting to be sauteed. I was so eager to eat them, I forgot to take a picture of the finished product!)

Blueberry fruit pizza -  Cici's

Orange Julius with rum - try it - it's delicious!

Popcorn pots de creme - The Greenhouse Tavern

Yield: Around 8 pots de crème

2 cups cream
3 oz. milk
2¼ oz. sugar, divided
6 egg yolks
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. vanilla
¼ cup butter
¼ cup popcorn kernels

Begin by small dicing the butter and placing it into a pot along with the popcorn, then place on high heat. Pop the kernels until the pops come about three seconds apart. Immediately remove from the pot and place into a bowl.

Add the cream, milk, half the sugar, salt, and popcorn to a large pot, stir, and place over medium high heat. Once the mixture reaches a simmer, turn heat off and strain it into a pitcher. Add vanilla and stir to combine.

Place egg yolks into a bowl with the remaining sugar and whisk to combine. Using a ladle, temper one third of the cream into the yolks while constantly whisking. Then return the egg and cream mixture back into the remainder of the cream and stir to combine.

At this point the base is ready to bake or can be refrigerated and baked within two days.
If baking immediately, set up a deep baking pan and line with paper towels. Then place ramekins in the baking pan—as many as will fit snugly so that each lies flat on the bottom of the pan. Fill each cup with the base—about one quarter of an inch from the top. Fill the pans with water until the ramekins are halfway submerged. Cover with parchment and foil, set in an oven preheated to 325° and bake for 50 to 55 minutes.

If baking base from a cold state, set the pot de crème as if baking immediately, but allow to bake for at least one hour.

Remove from oven and once the custard has set, place on a sheet tray in the refrigerator to cool. Once cool, cover each pot du crème with plastic wrap and return to cooler until ready to plate.

* When set, the custard will still wiggle in the ramekins slightly, but will not appear watery. If pulled too soon, continue to bake, checking every five  minutes until the custard is set. If pots de crème appear swollen at all they have, unfortunately, been overcooked, have curdled and should be discarded.  

2 cups  sugar
2 oz. water
½ tsp. lemon juice
½ cups cream
2 Tbsp. butter

Combine sugar, water and lemon juice in a pot over high heat. Cook until a light amber color develops. Remove from heat and add cream and butter, stirring until smooth and emulsified. Caution:  During this part of the process caramel will be extremely hot and volatile. Cool and store at room temp. Yields 3⁄4 of a quart.

To serve pots de crème, remove from cooler and top with about 11⁄2 Tbsp. of caramel, or until top is completely coated. Sprinkle a small amount of sea salt on top and serve.

The popcorn pot du creme was every bit as swoon worthy as the Greenhouse Tavern's and was the perfect way to finish off the night. Everyone should have a friend that cooks like Sarah! 

What's your favorite copycat recipe?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Grind Burger

Update: Grind Burger has closed.

There's a new burger in town! 
Grind Burger recently opened in Highland Heights near Richmond Mall. In an area devoid of many dining options, it's a great addition to the neighborhood. It's got funky light fixtures...
these are wine glasses!
 and a cozy lounge and bar area...
  and tasty cocktails. They also have a decent craft beer list and full bar.
Gingerita and Not So Jalepeno
In a sea of burger joints, what makes Grind Burger special? They start with
Certified Angus Beef. Then they double grind it for extra flavor and freshness. They even have a window so you can see the grinding action up close and personal.

So that sounds interesting, but what about taste? With the slogan "Perfection is Messy," they had a lot to live up to. Happily, they didn't disappoint. Big juicy burgers with interesting and fun toppings are sure to please all the burger lovers out there. Combine that with crazy good starters, tasty sides, amazing pickles and a mile long milkshake list and you've got a winning combination.

We started with hot dog sliders ($9 for three) - the deceptively boring sounding Stadium Mustard with Relish was by far the stand out dog. A split buttered Chicago style bun and homemade relish made this a taste sensation.
The Sauerkraut balls ($8) were highly anticipated and exceeded our expectations. These huge homemade balls of sauerkraut, beef and sausage are a Must Do! My only suggestion: serve them with horseradish sauce or a spicy mustard instead of ranch.

Next up were the burgers. We chose the Aria (garlic cheese, fried pickles, smoked bacon and 1000 island dressing) because who can resist a burger with fried pickles on top?? Not this girl! You can even order a side of these tasty bites as a side.
And the Burrata (burrata cheese, raspberry reduction and arugula.) Loved the raspbery reduction so much I would have loved an extra little dish of it on the side. Really good especially with the peppery bite from the arugula. 
We had to remind the kitchen about an order of the hand cut house fries and were glad we remembered to ask - these were hot, crispy and delicious. Next time I'm ordering the truffle fries for sure.

So by now, we were all stuffed but they wanted us to try a milkshake so... we all really suffered and sacrificed and somehow managed to give in and try them. Yeah, it really wasn't that hard! Especially with flavors like Kit Kat, Salted Caramel, Monkey Business, S'more What? and Maple Bacon Happiness on the menu.

I tried the Bananas Foster and loved it. Thankfully they gave us to go cups because I didn't want to waste a single sip or chunk of banana. Pro Tip: Order the Cookies and Cream milkshake because it comes with a deep fried Oreo. Really. This is a genius idea for a menu item! It wasn't available during our visit but it's definitely a Must Do for our next trip.

Grind Burger definitely isn't the cheapest burger around. The burgers range from $8 for the Easy Peazy (lettuce, tomato and mayo) and top out at $15 for the Wagyu (fontal cheese, sauteed mushrooms and mayo.) But the burgers are larger than those found at B Spot, use top quality ingredients and have a lot of interesting flavor combinations to choose from. 

Which burger would you want to try?

Follow Grind Burger on Twitter @GrindBurgerCLE or Facebook.

* Disclosure: I was invited along with a guest (my awesome sister-in-law Jen!) to preview the restaurant. Food was provided and we paid for our own drinks. As always, the opinions and ideas expressed in this blog are my own. *

Grind Burger on Urbanspoon