Tag Archives: sausage

Foodie Pen Pal! Ninth Month – April 2013

That’s right! Foodie Pen Pals is back! And it is reveal day once again

This is part of a program called Foodie Pen Pals in which every month I get/send a basket from/to another foodie from around the country. Then, every month, everyone reveals who their pen pal was, what they received, and get to see what everyone else got on the same day :-)

This month I received a fantastic package from Erica Richardson of The Land of Salt.

Erica seems to have pretty varied tastes from her blog so I was so excited to see what she would send me.

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First off she sent me a combination of what you have heard time and time again are some of my favorite two ingredients to combine… quality caramels and quality salt. In her letter to me Erica said this is the only salt she uses now. I can see why. A little bit goes a long way and it is quality. I know most people assume all salt is the same… not so. The crystalization is able to change flavors and textures, the coarseness of the grind changes the way a dish cooks. Quality salt is a must and this one did not disappoint. I think we all know I combined these two to make an awesome salted caramel sauce, but I have a lot of salt leftover that I have been using as I cook.

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Next she sent me some amazing oils, vinegar, and honey, all local to her. I always have a use for great balsamic vinegar and olive oils, so these were a welcome treat. The Balsamic is going to be used for a grilled flank steak and the oils for all sorts of creations. As for the honey, I had a taste, it is superb. Sweet, smooth, and sultry. As for what I am going to use it for… I will let you know when I decide.

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Finally, Erica sent me something I very rarely treat myself to. A gourmet spicy sausage… salami style. I rarely treat myself to these because I am often disappointed at the quality. NOT THE CASE HERE!!! This was my favorite item of the package. A wonderful spicy after kick, great flavor, fantastic texture, not dry at all. I ripped into this as soon as I opened the package and it barely lasted for anyone else to even have a taste. Thank you!

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Thank you so much Erica for a truly wonderful Foodie Pen Pal package. Please check out what she got from her pen pal and her fantastic blog, thelandofsalt.com.

As for what I sent, my pen pal recipient was Judy Thompson. Judy does not currently blog, but I will be doing a special SECOND REVEAL DAY later this week that includes what I sent to Judy 🙂

Why the second reveal day you ask???? Because Judy was so nice and thoughtful that she sent a surprise package back to me! What did she send? Tune in later this week. Also included in that post…

A MAURPOWERFOODIE GIVEAWAY!!!! In order to pay it forward for the kindness of Judy sending me a package back, I am going to giveaway a duplicate of the package I sent her to one lucky follower. Details to come in that post, so pay attention and you too could get a MaurPowerFoodie Penpal Box.

Well, thus ends my ninth Foodie Pen Pal experience, and again it was an extremely positive one. I can not wait till May’s list is revealed and I get to do it all over again, month after month. If you want to take part in this program check it out:

The Lean Green Bean

Be sure to stay tuned for the big reveal each month, the second reveal this week, and the GIVEAWAY! :-) Until next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” signing off… Thanks for reading.

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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.