Friday, July 31, 2015

Peas Please Snacks

Peas seldom get any respect. They were the vegetable you pushed around on your plate when you were a kid. They are almost never a featured player on a restaurant menu like kale or Brussels sprouts. They tend to be tossed in with other vegetables as a "medley" or in a casserole like an afterthought.

The people at Peeled Snacks are giving peas the spotlight with a line of new snacks called Peas Please. Using organic whole green pea flour and organic brown rice flower, these pea-pod shaped snacks are baked and enhanced with seasonings. The effect is something like puffed Cheetos or a similar snack, but without the overpowering fake cheddar flavor. Or the thirst-provoking amount of salt. Or corn.

Peas Please come in three varieties: Sea Salt, Garden Herb, and Southwest Spice. Sea Salt is the most subtle with just enough salt to bring out the flavor of the peas. Garden Herb tastes of vegetables and herbs with a strong hit of garlic. The one with the most kick, of course, is Southwest Spice, but unlike some of the other crunchy snakes out there, Peas Please is not a raging salt bomb. The cayenne, paprika, onion, and garlic stand on their own with just a hint of saline. Any flavor works well as an accompaniment to a lunchtime sandwich (even on a salad), or as a snack eaten directly from the bag (our favorite way to eat them).

Completely organic and gluten free, Peas Please snacks provide 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber per serving. They're also relatively low in fat compared to other snack foods with only 4.5 grams of fat per one ounce serving. Peeled snacks are available at major retailers around the country like Target, Whole Foods, and Wegman's. In the Baltimore area, Peeled products can be found at MOM's Organic Markets, Wegman's, and some Giant stores. (Starbucks also tends to carry Peeled dried fruit snacks.)

* Any products in this post that are mentioned by name may have been provided to Minxeats by the manufacturer. However, all opinions belong to Minxeats. Amazon links earn me $! Please buy!

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Muhammara

A couple months ago, we took a field trip to Southern Maryland for a fishing tournament. Figuring the ride would be long, we took snack foods in the form of a box of Triscuits and a tub of Trader Joe's Muhammara. We'd never tried the stuff before, muhammara, but the combination of walnuts, roasted bell peppers, and pomegranate molasses sounded really good. And it was. Really good. I could have eaten the entire container myself (AND the whole box of sweet potato/onion Triscuits - yum), but I did share with Mr Minx.

When the next stitch and bitch rolled around, I decided to make muhammara. I typically make some sort of dippy thing, because it's the neatest thing to consume while knitting. There were only two of us this time, but we pretty much killed the entire batch. So tasty, and I think this recipe from Epicurious, with my adjustments (much less bread and oil), tasted pretty similar to TJ's version, only, of course, home-made, and therefore, better.

Muhammara (adapted from Epicurious)

1 large red pepper, peeled, seeded, and roasted, or 1 1/2 jarred roasted red peppers
5 tablespoons fine fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted lightly and chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Big pinch cayenne
4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste

Blend everything together in a food processor until it's a fairly smooth paste. Serve with crackers or crudite.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Diner en Blanc

from: http://paris.dinerenblanc.info/media
Ok, this is kinda cool.

Ever see photos/video of a Diner en Blanc dinner party? It started in France more than 25 years ago and involves people dressed in white dining at white-decorated tables. It's a high-class picnic idea that's spread around the world, and now we're having one in Baltimore.

The Lord Baltimore Hotel's restaurant, The French Kitchen, will host this special "Picnic le Blanc" at Center Plaza (222 N Charles St) on Saturday August 22nd from 7-11pm. There will be a cash bar and DJ, and maybe even food. I say "maybe," because it's up to the diner. For $50 a couple, guests can bring their own food* (it doesn't have to be white). For $100 per couple, guests receive a picnic basket with a roast chicken, couscous salad, fruit and cheese, baguette, and petit fours). All tickets include white-covered tables and chairs...but the guests are expected to bring their own white tabletop decor.

The best-dressed couple and the couple with the best table decor will receive $100 gift cards to The French Kitchen.

If you want to attend, tickets will be available starting August 3 via eventbrite.com. For info, call 410-659-5257.

*No outside alcohol will be allowed into the event.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Bonefish Grill - Hooked on Tuesday

Hooked on Tuesday is Bonefish Grill's new promo featuring three course meals starting at $14.90. Diners have a choice of house or Caesar salad, one of nine entrees (each with a side and veg), and a dessert. Depending on the entree chosen, dinner can cost as little as $14.90 or as much as $20.90, which is still super inexpensive, especially considering all of the choices are either steak or seafood.

Bonefish Grill in Towson invited us to try a Hooked on Tuesday dinner for ourselves. How could we refuse?

We started with a couple of cocktails, including a "Fresh Watermelon Icicle Aphrodisiac Martini" (hand-muddled watermelon, fresh sour, house-made cucumber infused vodka, and frozen watermelon cubes), and a Summer Kiwi Smash (Olmeca Altos silver tequila, freshly muddled kiwi, mint, lemon juice, and an edible summer orchid.) Over the years, I've had several drinks that didn't taste particularly watermelon-y, but this one had a nice fresh melon flavor. The kiwi drink was basically a light-flavored margarita.

There are only two options for appetizers with the Hooked on Tuesday dinner, a house salad with hearts of palm, kalamata olives, and a citrus herb vinaigrette, or a Caesar salad. We tried both. The former was pleasant and light. The Caesar was enormous, with a super garlicky dressing that was quite good.

We skipped over the three $14.90 entree choices (Angler's steak, spicy tuna bowl, salmon) and went for the pricier items. I chose the cold water lobster tail for $17.90. While not particularly large, the tail was nicely cooked. I used the pesto olive oil that came with the bread service as a dip for the lobster; like the Caesar dressing, it was quite garlicky, which I enjoyed. Accompanying the lobster were small Yukon gold potatoes that had been battered and fried. They reminded me of a cross between Thrasher's fries and my grandmother's potato pancakes, only super crispy.  

Mr Minx went for the pecan Parmesan crusted rainbow trout with artichoke hearts and basil lemon butter from the priciest ($20.90) tier. He chose potatoes au gratin for his side, and both of us got the same combo of zucchini and bell peppers with cheese as our veg. Trout and pecans go so well together, and we were not disappointed by his fish.

Next came dessert. Mr Minx's cheesecake, served with chocolate and caramel sauces, was extremely light and creamy, almost like a no-bake cheesecake. My "Jen's Jamaican coconut pie," was quite homey, with a heavy coconut to custard ratio, a boozy Myers's rum sauce, and toasted coconut on top. Honestly, it was one of the best restaurant desserts I've had in a long time. And, according to the manager, it's only available on Tuesdays during the Hooked on Tuesday promotion, so if you want to try it for yourself, that's the time to get it.

Our verdict: Bonefish Grill's Hooked on Tuesday promotion is a great deal. The portions are generous, the food is good, and when else can you get that fab coconut pie? With rum sauce. Seriously the pie is worth the trip. Go. Eat pie. And some salad and fish, too.

* Any products in this post that are mentioned by name may have been provided to Minxeats by the manufacturer. However, all opinions belong to Minxeats. Amazon links earn me $! Please buy!

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