Tag Archives: food

Table 26 – West Palm Beach, FL: A MUST For Anyone in the Area

Well, here I am back in CT after a fabulously relaxing and enjoyable vacation with my family down in West Palm Beach. While I was down there, in addition to relaxing, I made sure to meet up with a couple of my friends from my MasterChef family. After paying a visit with Penny Suzuki and Drew Rosenthal, it reminded me of what an amazing experience being on the show really was. Alright, I am sure you are wondering what this has to do with Table 26, the answer… Everything. When Drew and I met up he told me of one of his new favorite restaurants in the area, and naturally, 2 nights later, I made my reservation and had to try it. And I am beyond happy I did, not only was it the best meal I had while I was down in Florida, but it was simply an all around great meal. The food, the presentation, the atmosphere, the service, everything was phenomenal. Located at 1700 South Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach, FL, Table 26 is a must visit if you are anywhere near the area. It will be worth the trip. Let’s start with the atmosphere and service:

This intimate restaurant is definitely the kind of place where you NEED to make a reservation. It has about 15 tables and a bar inside (with great specialty drinks and an extensive wine list. I had a wonderful glass of Malbec), as well as a few tables out on a patio. I meant to ask if there were a total of 26 tables, but completely forgot to. Either way, each table is lit with a beautiful sand anchored candle (pictured above) to remind you that you are in Florida and by the beach. Beautifully simple artwork lines the walls. Also, despite the fact that the restaurant is smaller, it is still spacious. Wisely so, Table 26 does not try to pack too many tables into their space, even though I am sure they would be filled if they did. Instead there is plenty of room for your party to enjoy the meal and conversation without being elbow to elbow with your dining neighbor. That being said, as described before, the setting is intimate. So the dining room, while constantly abuzz with talk of the amazing food, also still allows for easy conversation. As for the service, I was beyond impressed. This restaurant is just barely 2 months in. I have worked in restaurants for 12 years, including being a part of the opening staff for a few. Usually, it takes some time for the machine to start running smoothly. This was not the case at Table 26. The service staff was attentive and knowledgeable without being overbearing. My water was never empty, we were checked on with each course to make sure everything was cooked to our liking, and whenever I had a question for my server about the food or the restaurant, she was ready with the answer. The food came out a steady pace, and always fresh. This machine runs smoothly at two months, I can’t wait to see where they will be in a year. I know one of the goals for the near future is opening for lunch, and I have no doubts that they can do that without losing a step. Ok… Now onto the most important part, the food!

We were started off with two different types of freshly baked a bread: A cheddar bread (on the left) and a wheat bread (on the right), both of which were warm, fluffy, and delicious. In addition to butter, you also see above a dish of eggplant “caviar” (basically an herb and seasoned eggplant puree). Most of you who know me, know that eggplant and I usually do not gel because of the texture, but in this puree, that issues was eliminated and it was fabulous. The we moved on to our appetizers, a Maryland Style Lump Crab Cake and Blackened Shrimp over Sweet Corn Grits with a Tomato Confit.

First off, just look at the plating (something we all found out is not my specialty). The dishes look beautiful. And they tasted even better. I make it well known that I very rarely order “Maryland Style Crab Cakes” outside of Maryland because having lived in Baltimore for 4 years, usually it simply does not live up to its name. That was not the case here. Notice the huge chunks of crab held together by basically nothing else. Most crab cakes end up using so much bread and filling that you lose the natural buttery sweetness of the crab… Not at Table 26. This crab cake is just what it is supposed to be, CRAB! With a lemongrass butter sauce and a bit of Cajun seasoning, it is not Baltimore “Style” it is straight up out of Baltimore. Then we get to what was possibly my favorite part of the meal, the blackened shrimp appetizer. Not only were the shrimp flavorful and perfectly cooked, but this is one of those dishes where while each component is delicious on its own, when you get that perfect bite of everything together, it is simply magic. The spice and char of the shrimp, combined with the creamy sweetness of the corn grits, finished with the rich decadence and acidity of the tomato confit… the flavors just play off each other so well. To be fair, I am yet to find anything confit that I do not like, but that is besides the point. The point is, this dish was well thought out, well executed, and enjoyed thoroughly, leading perfectly into out entrees: a Double Cut Pork Chop served with warm applesauce and a chorizo & jicama potato salad, and a Beef Short Rib Stroganoff.

Starting with the pork chop, which was perfectly cooked with a wonderful sear and glaze on the outside. The chop itself was juicy and well seasoned, the applesauce rivaled (but did not top) my mom’s homemade applesauce (There really is nothing better than my mom’s applesauce), the asparagus was crisp, fresh, and flavorful, but the star of this dish in my opinion are the potatoes. The first thing I tasted when the entrees came was the potato, and it was also the last thing I tasted. In my opinion, the potatoes are the pure representation of what the entire menu at Table 26 accomplishes: taking rustic classics and using fresh and different ingredients, herbs, and spices to make it something special. Not only did everything pair well together, but they also transported you back to the rustic family meals of childhood. That is what these potatoes and the applesauce did for me, bring me back to wonderful memories of family dinners growing up while still intriguing and satisfying my much more adult and complicated palate. Onto the Stroganoff. This dish was my wild card pick for the evening, not knowing what to expect, and I would recommend it anyone. The egg noodles were cooked to a perfect al dente, the gravy was thick, rich, and flavorful without being overpowering (something that is often overlooked, but like any pasta dish, the sauce can make or break it, and this one makes it), and most importantly, the short rib, in addition to allowing the flavor of the beef to speak for itself, was so tender it fell apart at the touch of my fork. This was the dish my friend Drew told me I would not be disappointed in, and he was right. I will be back, and I will be ordering this again. Another item I will be ordering again, is dessert! This time around we got the Strawberry Shortcake.

There is a saying when it comes to cooking that we oh so often forget and take for granted… “KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid!” That is because there is something to be said for the simple elegance of letting ingredients speak for themselves. This dessert does just that. It is simple: Nothing more than a wonderfully fresh baked shortbread, glazed strawberries, and vanilla ice cream with a leaf of fresh mint, but it does not need anything more. The salty, sweet buttery shortbread, combined with ripe glazed fresh strawberries, and that smooth vanilla cream creates a refreshing and simple end to a fantastic meal. Instead of feeling weighed down after such a hearty, rustic meal, this dessert is weightless (although I am sure enough of it would still add a few pounds to your waist line). I can not wait to try the other house-made desserts Table 26 has to offer. Speaking of house-made desserts, allow me to introduce you to the wonderful people who prepared this meal.

First up, Executive Chef Steven Polowy (pictured with me above). Steven was nice enough to come out after the meal to talk with me about the restaurant, the food, his background, and the background of how Table 26 came to be. A graduate of the New England Culinary Institute, Steven definitely showed me that he and his wife know how to prepare fantastic, innovative food. That’s right, I said, “and his wife”! Steven’s wife Jo Polowy, also a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute, is the Pastry Chef at Table 26 and the mastermind behind the delicately flavorful shortcake I am now so fond of (Jo, I will be asking for the recipe at some point… Hopefully, after you’ve been open for a bit, you will allow me the secrets of at least that one). Plus, since they both went to school and lived up in New England, we were able to talk about the transition down to Florida (something that I must admit, I would be open to, even though I love the cold and Winter and Autumn) Thank you both once again for sharing the restaurant, your food, and your stories with me. Be sure to check out the entirety of the Table 26 menu for a taste of what they have to offer. Then… CALL TO MAKE A RESERVATION!!! (561)855-2660. In addition to their website you can also find Table 26 and like them on facebook or follow them on twitter @table26palmbch for their latest news.

So if I were to leave you with one thought about Table 26 it would be this: Great food can have a magical quality that transports you to another place, another time, a memory, or a fantasy… If you want to share in that experience, go out and try Table 26… then try it again. Thank you again to Steven, Jo, and the entire team at Table 26 for an evening I will not be forgetting.

Table 26 Palm Beach on Urbanspoon

Until next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” Maur signing off.

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A Philadelphia Feast!… In Norwich, CT?

Philadelphia, PA… The city of brotherly love, a wealth of historic sites and stories, and home to one of the most iconic American foods known to man: The Philly Cheese Steak! One of my all-time favorites. Whenever I go down to Philly I am sure to get a cheese steak. I tend to try a different place every time using a method taught to me by a good friend from Philly: look at the people coming out of the restaurant and if you can see grease through the bag… go inside and order yourself a cheese steak. The only problem with the Philly Cheese Steak, I could only get one in Philly. Much like the famed Baltimore Crab Cake or the New England Clam Chowder or so many other great staples throughout the world, anywhere besides Philadelphia that claimed to have a Philly Cheese Steak, lied. I am not saying I have not had some wonderful Steak and Cheese sandwiches, just that they were not Philly Cheese steaks. That is until I was invited up to Norwich, CT to try Philly’s.

Located at 33 Sherman Street in Norwich (down the street from Backus Hospital), when you drive by Philly’s, it is easy to ignore from the outwardly appearance and simply drive on by without even noticing it. That would be a mistake. This has to be one of the best kept secrets in the State of Connecticut. While not much to look at, Philly’s delivers authentic Philadelphia flavors and quality better than anywhere else outside of Philadelphia itself… in fact, it pretty much transports you down to the City of Brotherly Love. Two warnings: 1) There is not really many places to eat. Outside there is a small counter with a few seats, but there are no tables inside, so come expecting to take out or stand at the counter and eat (like I did) unless you get one of the coveted outside spots.


I was lucky enough to have owner Shem Adams (pictured below) there to walk me through the men and prepare me a feast of a tasting course by course. Shem is originally from Philadelphia, which probably explains why he has been able to create something that gave me an unexpected reaction to eating his Philly Cheese Steak, describe a little later (everything in its time).  He first came up to CT in 1994 and then moved up permanently in 1997. After years of going back and forth to Philly just to get a load of his favorite sandwich, Shem decided enough was enough. In 2010  he decided to start Philly’s and spent the year preparing the restaurant to open. When it did in 2011, it was immediately welcomed by the town residents, quickly becoming the place to go for lunch and to have provide the food for local events and fundraisers. Plus, Philly’s delivers to the Norwich area from 11-2 for lunch. Shem was taught the secrets of the true Philly Cheese Steak by his friends back down in PA, and brought the magic up with him.

Anyways, enough already with me rambling on… Let’s get to the FOOD! He started me off with the Buffalo Chicken Fries.

The fries were well seasoned and perfectly crisp out of the frier, topped with a monstrous portion of chopped Buffalo Chicken prepared with a “Doctored-up” Frank’s Sauce (as Shem put it) and a “drizzle” of Ranch Sauce. I started munching away at the sinfully delicious platter, barely getting my complimentary words out to Shem in between bites when Shem stopped me and asked one simple question… “You like ketchup?”. “Of course!” I replied. Shem responded “Put a little on them.” as he slid me the bottle across the counter. This took a great platter of fries to whole different level. The sweet tartness of the ketchup melded into the smooth ranch sauce and simply made me utter one word… “Duuuude!” That’s all I needed to say as Shem smiled knowing full well that my meal was only beginning.

Next up came “The Broad Street Bully”. An accolade winning sandwich (featured as one of the best sandwiches in THE COUNTRY by The Travel Channel), this goliath of meal is packed with Extra Meat (Twice-Shave Rib-eye), provolone, Fried Onions, Mushrooms (though I got mine without), sweet and hot peppers, pickles, and of course… Cheez Whiz.

This overstuffed behemoth could satisfy the hunger of any body, not to mention the fries I had already eaten, but I dug right in…

And after one bite, I, Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” Maur, the man who has probably never stopped talking a day in his life, was speechless. FINALLY, an authentic Philly Cheese Steak NOT in Philadelphia. Every single ingredient melded into the next; there was no need to chew because the meat was sliced so thin it just melted in your mouth; each flavor played off the other creating a simple feeling… comfortable bliss. This was the moment that teleported me out of Norwich, CT and down to Philadelphia, PA. I do not know if I can type the words to fully do this sandwich, so I will type just one, “GO!”. Experience this or any one of the other many different varieties of Cheese Steaks. Quite possibly the most intriguing to me is the sandwich that is 100% Shem entitled “The Barkley”. Made with both steak and chicken, 3 cheeses, and a host of other toppings, this is my next order when I return. Philly’s also offers chicken instead of steak for any of the sandwiches, a variety of hoagies, and can even do a vegetarian option without the steak. One last look at the Fries and Cheese Steak before I devour them and the meat on the slicer ready to be sliced fresh for the next sandwich.

So I had some delicious food already under my belt (and pushing it out with each bite) but my feast was still not over. Next came something completely foreign to me: The Original Tarantini Panzarotti. Made by Shem’s friend Leo from Camden, NJ (right outside of PA), this was something I had never heard of yet tasted.

What’s inside that crispy, fried homemade crust? Quite simply, mozzarella and home-made sauce. This is your basic childhood pizza bite ON STEROIDS! Freshly fried with a flavorful crispy fried dough on the outside, the inside is filled with oozing, melted goodness.

If you want a trip back to your childhood, this is how you get it. I don’t know if I can go back to pizza bites after having these, but I may start trying to make them myself, though I am sure it will take me some time to get them as perfect as these.

And of course, what meal would be complete without dessert? Certainly not this feast. But for dessert we went off menu! I have been given permission to share with you one of the secrets of Philly’s: Fried Philly Bread!

As I said, this item is not on the menu, and actually not even available every day. When you go, ask for it. If they don’t have it that day or have sold out (which they do fast), GO BACK FOR IT! This is a fried cinnamon spice baked bread that is then fried to the point that there is a crispy, cinnamony outer crust, but the inside is still super moist and fluffy. The cake is then topped with vanilla ice cream and a house-made butterscotch sauce. Far from the healthiest way to finish a calorie packed meal, it was certainly the best way I can think of to end the feast. I devoured the dessert down to each spoonful of that butterscotch sauce. Also, be sure to try one of the many flavors of one of Philly’s favorite drinks, Jarritos. I went with Fruit Punch and am going to get Pineapple next time.

Quite simply put, do not miss out on this hidden treasure of Connecticut. Thank you not only to Shem (pictured below with me), but to the rest of the staff at Philly’s Marlon (pictured below, original customer and new employee), Ed, and Evan, for an amazing meal. You certainly showed me why Philly’s is the true replication of the City of Brotherly Love.

I also talked to Dave, Jess, & young Jamie who were enjoying their Barkleys and Fries. Dave had been many a time and bragged to Jess of the quality of these sandwiches, and Jess was not a believer… Until, like me, she took one bite. They all gave the food two thumbs up as their mouths were too full to comment fully. But did manage to let me know they will back… A lot! I know am looking forward to my return visit. Be sure to check out their website, friend them on facebook, and follow them on twitter. Call for your order (860)912-1057 and be sure to tell them MaurPowerFoodie sent you.

Until next time, this is Jason “Maur Power Foodie” Maur signing out. I am going into a food coma now.

Philly's CT on Urbanspoon


Foodie Pen Pal! First Month – May 2012

Well, it is the last day of the month, and from now on that means one definite… Reveal day for Foodie Pen Pals!

That’s right, I newly joined a program called Foodie Pen Pals in which every month I get/send a basket to another foodie from around the country. Then on the last day of the month, everyone reveals who their pen pal was, what they received, and get to see what everyone else got 🙂

This month I received a lovely package from Brittney aka “Life in a Holding Pattern”. When she looked at my blog, it was shortly after I had posted about my Bacon, Garlic, and Egg Fried Rice recipe and she joked about how she had to include bacon in my package… or so I thought it was a joke. But the first thing I saw upon opening the box was this adorably appropriate card:

I am proud to say, I abide by a large number of the Rules of Bacon and they tend to be true. Thank you so much Brittney!

Then comes the other items of my package, a bunch of local brands of items (a theme that I loved, because there are definitely great items around the country that I would never have the chance to buy for myself). As you can see above, this package included a local mayo, relish, cracker snacks, bone suckin’ sauce, and cheese straws.

I have not made it through all of them yet, but everything looked delicious. I did crack into the cheese straws, as they were extremely intriguing to me. It is hard to even describe this wonderful snack. Think Cheese-its on steroids. There is an immense cheddar flavor, but also a smokiness and spicy finish. I have also finished off the cracker snacks… in fact I did so almost instantaneously. The mayo and relish will be saved for a BBQ over the summer and shared with my guests. Yay!

In addition to all of these wonderful goodies, my pen pal Brittney did something so thoughtful… she baked for me! I got a delectable chocolate chip banana bread, and this coming from a guy that believes bananas are evil (Long story… maybe I will share that at some point) and a HUGE Tupperware full of one of my favorite kinds of cookie, peanut butter chocolate chip (how you knew to send me those Brittney is beyond me, but I am so glad you did… although my scale may not be 😉 They were fantastic).

Thank you so much Brittney for such an amazing first experience with Foodie Pen Pals! I hope you got something as great as you sent me. As for what I sent, my pen pal was Beth Quarles, be sure to check out her blog to see the package that was sent to her (including chili chocolate, local salted caramels, and a delicious jam that is perfect for any BBQ sauce, along with some recipes)

Well, thus ends my first Foodie Pen Pal experience, and it was an extremely positive one. I can not wait till June’s list is revealed and I get to do it all over again, month after month. Be sure to stay tuned for the big reveal on the last day of each month 🙂 Until next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” signing off… Thanks for reading.


A Very MaurPowerFoodie Mother’s Day… Texas De Brazil – Yonkers, NY

One thing I can certainly say is I would never have accomplished any of the things I have (earning the rank of Eagle Scout, graduating from a top university, graduating law school, passing the bar exam, becoming a top 100 contestant on MasterChef, etc.) without my Mother, Bonnie Maur. I owe a lot to her, and can never thank her enough. Included in the things I owe her for are my love of food and ability to cook. In raising me along with my two siblings, my mom taught us all to cook. She thought it was necessary for us to be able to feed ourselves (definitely a lesson I am glad I learned). My love of food and cooking may have taken on a path of its own over the years, but my culinary journey never would have started without my mother. Here we are together with my sister, all swimming with dolphins:

Now that I have gotten all the mushy, yet necessary stuff out of the way, back to the food we go. This year for Mother’s Day, my sister and I took our mom to Texas de Brazil in Yonkers, NY. My mom had been to one in Florida and loved it, so when one opened up relatively close to us, it only seemed like the natural choice for Mother’s Day. Texas De Brazil is a churrascaria (Brazilian Grille), which is one of my favorite types of restaurants as an avid meat eater. For those of you who have never been to one, basically the servers/carvers (Gauchos) walk around to your table with different cuts of meats on a sword and carve each one fresh for you… all you can eat. Plus there is always a loaded appetizer/salad bar.

I am not one to comment much on ambiance, but this time it is definitely noteworthy. The restaurant is beautiful. Warm, welcoming colors, beautiful artwork, and a gorgeous bouquet above the salad bar. Here… take a look:

Then add to this a fully stocked stylish bar out front and a beautiful windowed wine “cellar”, with a wine list that is more like a wine library. The cellar even reminds me of a library with a rolling ladder that allows the servers to search through the massive collection to get just the right bottle for you. In fact, this picture only shows 1 side of the massive windowed “cellar”. The decor and general feel of Texas de Brazil… absolutely stunning.

Alright, onto the food! I promise this time. Let’s start with the start of the meal, the appetizer/salad bar(items are subject to change). THIS IS NOT YOUR EVERY DAY SALAD BAR! Yes there is salad with all the toppings, but there are also four different homemade dressings. Plus, an oh so creamy and rich Lobster Bisque. You know what, I just need to list some of the brightest points, as I could spend forever going through each item.  Ok, here goes: sliced prosciutto and salami, Gorgonzola and grape salad, tabbouleh, crab sushi, ahi tuna, buffalo mozzarella, goat cheese terrine, smoked salmon, potatoes au gratin, multiple freshly baked breads, and much more. Plus, anywhere that has a beautiful Parmesan cheese wheel for me to pick from… love. Here is just a sampling of the salad bar:

While the salad bar was great and delicious, the stars of the show, as it should be at any churrascaria, were the meats, carved table-side.  Not only was there a huge variety in different cuts of meats, but each one had its own unique flavor. First off here is the list of meats: Filet mignon, bacon wrapped filet mignon, braised beef ribs, rack of lamb, garlic-marinated picanha (top sirloin tips, their signature), pork ribs, Brazilian picanha, Brazilian sausage, leg of lamb, bacon wrapped chicken breast, Parmesan crusted chicken, Parmesan crusted pork loin, flank steak, herb-marinated pork loin, and Brazilian alcatra (top sirloin).

Leg of LambFlank Steak

Leg of Lamb                                               Flank Steak

Bacon-wrapped Filet Mignon

Bacon-wrapped Filet Mignon


Yes, I did try everything, and there is not a single cut of meat I would not recommend trying. That being said, not everyone can finish off 15 different cuts of meats in one sitting, so let me highlight a few favorites. The alcatra is a must, great seasoning, juicy, tender, fatty, and delicious. I also am an avid lover of flank steak, and this ranked up near the top of flank steaks I have had at restaurants.  Also, I was surprisingly impressed with one item I tend not to prefer at churrascarias, the bacon-wrapped chicken. I know you would think I would always love this item, but it is usually on the dry side. Not at Texas De Brazil, the chicken breast remained tender and juicy, just the way it should be. And finally, my two favorites of the day: Coming in second place, with a surprise pack of flavor, juicy and tender interior, and the perfect casings… the Brazilian Sausage. And for first place, it was not even a contest. There was one cut of meat that was so fall off the bone, melt in your mouth, fill you with joy in every bite, scrumptious, well prepared, well seasoned morsel, that I had 4 servings of it. The BRAISED BEEF RIBS!!!! **Crowd Cheers**

Brazilian AlcatraBrazilian Sausage

Brazilian Alcatra                                   Brazilian Sausage

Braised Beef Ribs

Braised Beef Ribs

Finally we come to dessert, and I have to be honest, this was the closest thing to a weakness I found at Texas de Brazil. They were good, but did not live up to the rest of the meal, which was actually ok in my book, because let’s be honest, I did not go there for dessert, and if it were not for a Mother’s Day special which included dessert in the cost of the meal, I probably would not have saved room for dessert anyways. We tried three different desserts: Brazilian Cheese Cake, Coconut Chess Pie, and Caramel Flan (A must be good staple at any Brazilian restaurant in my opinion. First up was the cheesecake. This was good with a caramel sauce on top, chopped walnuts, and a layer of chocolate at the bottom. Nothing special, but enjoyable. The one that we really wanted to try, cause we had never had it before was the Coconut Chess Pie, and unfortunately, it was quite simply too sweet. The pie is filled with a layer of warm custard cream, tons of coconut, and then topped with vanilla ice cream. The custard was the downfall of this dessert, as it was so rich, and so sweet, I could only stand a spoonful of this one. If you like extreme sweets, go for it, but if you are looking for a light way to end a heavy meals, this is not the right choice. However, not all was lost. The flan was delicious. Light, flavorful, and just the right way to leave my last bite at Texas De Brazil.

Brazilian Cheese CakeCaramel Flan

While the desserts may not have lived up to the rest of the meal, they also would not in any way deter me from going back. In fact I am sure I will be back many a time and soon.

Overall, I would highly recommend giving Texas de Brazil a try. Located at 1 Ridge Hill Blvd.; Yonkers, NY 10710, there is also some wonderful shopping available right around the restaurant perfect for a leisurely stroll after the large meal. For reservations please call (914) 652-9660 or check out their website at http://www.texasdebrazil.com/yonkers. The restaurant also has a beautiful closed off portion of the dining room perfect for private events pictured below:

I hope you enjoy Texas de Brazil as much as I did. Take a trip and let me know what you think. Special thanks to Colleen for showing me around and to the whole staff at Texas de Brazil for a fabulous Mother’s Day with my family.

Texas de Brazil Churrascaria on Urbanspoon

Till next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” Maur, signing off.


A Simple Italian Dinner

Today I was at work and found out I needed to make dinner, but I did not have anything defrosted and knew I would only have about an hour to prepare something after stopping at the store and heading home. I knew I had some tortellini in the fridge and could easily defrost some homemade sauce (don’t have any homemade sauce, no need to use/buy a jar of it, you can make your own with my 15 Minute Sauce Recipe!). So I stopped at the store and picked up some complimentary ingredients: Hot Italian Sausage, Sweet Italian Sausage, boneless chicken breast tenders, fresh mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese. That’s it!

Here are all the ingredients you need (minus the sauce):

I got home and started on the meal.

Now for the nice and easy steps to follow:

1) Marinade the chicken in Italian dressing, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper.

2) Start water to boil.

3) Grill all the meats (Hot Italian Sausage, Sweet Italian Sausage, and boneless chicken breast tenders).

4) Preheat the oven to 400.

5) Boil the tortellini to a nice al dente… usually about 5-6 minutes. Drain tortellini and set aside.

6) Remove the meats from the grill.

7) Cut meat into bite size or smaller pieces.

8) Warm sauce in pot from pasta.

9) Mix in meats and tortellini.

10) Pour the contents of the pot into a glass baking dish.

11) Top the dish with a layer of mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.

12) Put the dish in the oven on broil for 5 minutes until cheese is the completely melted.

13) Enjoy!

 

There you have it… a delicious, Italian dinner in an hour!  I would normally make my own sausage (more on that in a later post) but when time does not permit, fresh sausage from the butcher at the grocery store certainly does the trick. This really came out great, and I highly suggest it next time you are in a pinch for a quick dinner, or even if you’re not.

 

Till next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” Maur signing out.


Bacon, Garlic, and Egg Fried Rice… A MaurPowerFoodie Specialty!

When I was younger, my first job was working in a Chinese Take-out Restaurant answering the phone, taking orders, and ringing people out. This means I ate a lot of fried rice. So it is no surprise I learned how to make it and decided to put my own spin on it to keep it exciting. Today, I am here to show you how to make my Bacon, Garlic, and Egg Fried Rice. Great as either a main course or side dish, this one is not for the extremely health conscious eater as I actually fry the rice in BACON FAT! Anyways, we are going video style on this post, so enjoy as I teach you how to make MaurPowerFoodie’s Bacon, Garlic and Egg Fried Rice.

There you have it… Nice and easy, not to mention DELICIOUS! For those of you who want to print out the recipe or have it at easy access, I have included it below.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup of long grain white rice

2 cups water

4-5 slices of thick-cut slab bacon or pork belly

2 tbs unsalted butter

5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 bunch of green onions

1 bottle of soy sauce

1-2 eggs

Garlic Powder

Onion Powder

Salt and Pepper (to taste)

1) Combine rice and water into pot with a lid, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and let steam for 15 minutes, until water is absorbed by rice. Uncover and fluff with a fork.

2) In a large pan or wok place bacon onto pan and turn on high, wait till bacon begins to sizzle and reduce heat, allowing bacon fat to render in pan. Flip bacon and repeat process.

3) While bacon is cooking, chop garlic (if not done so already) and cut  green onions into small rings (Chop off white ends, and cut the rest of the onions as a bunch upwards from chopped off end)

4) Increase heat to high again and allow bacon to caramelize on both sides.

5) Remove bacon from pan, add butter to pan and allow it to melt into the bacon, distributing butter evenly.

6) Add garlic and onion to pan and stir, this will cook pretty fast, so remove from heat before moving on to the next step.

7) Chop the bacon into desired chunks. I prefer larger chunks so I cut the bacon in half lengthwise and then chop the slices about pinky finger width ( I also have small hands, so take that into account and use your judgment).

8) Put the pan back on the heat, add the bacon chunks, and stir.

9) Add the rice and stir.

10) Add soy sauce. (as with most cooking, I cook to taste and not in exact amounts. As seen above in the video if you pour in a spiral from the outside in it works pretty well)

11) Season with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper to taste. (be light on the salt as there is already sodium in the soy sauce)

12) Create a well in the middle of the rice exposing the pan, add the egg into the well stirring constantly to prevent it from sticking and then mix into the rice.

13) Serve and Enjoy!

This is one of my absolute favorite recipes. I hope you enjoy it too! Until next time, this is Jason Maur, the MaurPowerFoodie, signing off.


Tres Leches Cake… MaurPowerFoodie Style!

I was never one for the traditional cake. I always wanted an ice cream cake, or a cannoli cake, or a lava cake. Regular cake just always seemed to dry and mundane. That is until I stumbled upon my first Tres Leches Cake. Moist, flavorful, delicious, and simply right up may alley. Well recently I thought, “Why only have this special treat when I go out?” And so I set to work to create my perfect Tres Leches Cake recipe… And I did! I put my own twist on this classic Brazilian dessert, and instead of simply a vanilla cake with whipped frosting, I make a citrusy Orange-Vanilla cake with Cherry Whipped Cream. Don’t worry, even if you are not a baker, just follow these instructions and you will be fine… in fact, you will be the talk of the party! (like I was this past Easter when I made it)

Alright, so here goes…. First the Ingredients:

  • For the cake:
  1. Vegetable oil
  2. 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  5. 4 ounces of room temperature, unsalted butter
  6. 1 cup sugar (fill the measuring cup a little of the brim on this one 😉 If you like it sweet )
  7. 5 whole eggs
  8. 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  9. 1 1/2 teaspoons orange extract
  10. 1 tsp lemon juice
  • For the glaze (aka The Three Milks or Tres Leches):
  1. 1 (12 ounce) can of evaporated milk
  2. 1 (14 ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk
  3. 1 cup half and half
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 1 teaspoon orange extract
  6. 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • For the Whipped Cream
  1. 2 cups heavy cream
  2. 1 cup sugar (again, fill it a little over the brim)
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. 3 tablespoons cherry juices (juice from a jar of maraschino cherries)
  • Top of the cake
  1. 1 lemon (for zesting)
  2. 1 jar maraschino cherries

There you have it. Now that you have all of the ingredients, let’s put this bad boy together. Starting with the cake batter:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lightly oil and flour a 13″x9″ metal pan.
  3. Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed for about a minute until fluffy.
  4. Decrease the speed to medium-low, and gradually add the sugar.
  5. Add one egg at a time, allowing it to mix thoroughly before adding the next egg.
  6. Add the vanilla extract, orange extract, and lemon juice.
  7. In a separate bowl, whisk together your flour, baking soda, and salt.
  8. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the stand mixer at a time, allowing the ingredients to mix before adding the next batch.
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.
  10. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
  11. Remove from oven and set aside and let cool for about 5 minutes.

While the cake is cooling, it is time to make the glaze! Here goes:

  1. Whisk together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, half and half, vanilla extract, orange extract, and lemon juice.
  2. Take the baked and cooled cake and using toothpicks or a fork, perforate (poke) the cake to create tiny little points for the glaze to seep through.
  3. Pour the glaze on top of the cake. (this will look like it might overflow, but it won’t)
  4. Let the cake sit until the glaze has soaked in and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (or for at least 6 hours, overnight is better)

Finally, now that the cake has sat and absorbed all that moist goodness, it is time to make the whipped cream:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, whisk together on medium-low the heavy cream, sugar, vanilla, and cherry juice.
  2. As stiff peaks begin to form, increase the speed and whisk until thick.
  3. Spread the whipped cream over the cake.
  4. Place cherries on top of the whipped cream as desired.
  5. Zest your lemon, and sprinkle the zest over the cake.

That’s it! Now let’s take a gander at how it looks 🙂

Then simply enjoy it with your friends, family, coworkers, or whoever else you want to impress until it looks more like this:

I hope you all enjoy this delectable dessert as much as I do. Until next time, this is MaurPowerFoodie signing off.