Posts Tagged ‘Ithaca’

Double Whammy – Thai and Butternut

Okay, so it’s been over a month since my last post?!??  =(

A LOT has happened in a month and flying too and from Seattle is not the least of it even if it was after a hurricane…  This last flight from WA to NY has reconfirmed in my mind that red eye’s SUCK.  Hence, the reason I am posting at 3 4 am in the morning.  I failed to power through the day as I originally planned.  “Oh, I’ll just lie down on my bed for a little bit” turns into crashing all afternoon.  I find coming back east is harder to readjust to time than traveling west to east.

However, that didn’t stop me from eating and cooking, heavens no.   I actually ate out and cooked in the same day woot!  After coming back to the food desert that was my apartment, I decided to go grocery shopping AND treat myself to arguably the best lunch special in Ithaca: Taste of Thai Express!

They have lunch specials and a set 3 course lunch menu for $13!  I got Goong Salon for appetizer which is shrimp wrapped in noodles and then fried.  It’s like shrimp mummified in crunchy noodles.

Followed by Tofu Pad Thai:

And finished with Sweet Black Rice:

So much food for $13!  Okay, so more like $15 + tax and tip.  It’s enough for 2 meals pretty much.  I brought some containers and was literally packing it up as I ate.  Is that weird?  I’m pretty sure that’s what my server was thinking.  I did have a server at Maggiano’s tell me that bringing my own containers was ‘so cute’ and that she loved us (me + sister) because it saved her so much work.  She was a particularly honest server… haha.

Following that meal I completely crashed and woke up 4 hours later thinking about dinner.  I already had a plan of what to make.  Right before I left I picked up some awesome veggies at Dilmun Hill, the student farm.  Basically, in exchange for volunteering some time you get free, fresh, straight-from-the-ground, veggies!  I had that butternut squash in the back of my mind and I decided that some type of butternut squash pasta would be delish.  I had already google searched and shopped, for this How Sweet It Is recipe in the morning.  And how sweet it looks!

So that kinda looks like a glob with some cheese and seeds on it, but it tastes real good!  It was based off the How Sweet It Is recipe with a few changes.  1) Obviously used bowties (farafelle if you want to be Italiano) instead of penne, UWUH (Use What You Have) 2) Used soy milk because that’s what I bought 3) Increased the mozzarella cheese from 1/4 c to 4 oz ~1/2 cup because I was using a bigger pan 4) No sage or bacon.

   
All together it looked like this:

   

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This makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.  I will try and back post some of the other things that have gone on the past 5 weeks, but we’ll see how that goes.  Modified recipe below!

Roasted Butternut Squash Casserole  *from How Sweet It Is*

+ 1 sm-med butternut squash, peeled n chopped + seeds

+ 1/4 t salt

+ 1/4 t pepper

+ 1/4 t nutmeg, I used whole

+ 2 T unsalted butter

+ 1 sm shallot

+ 1 T flour

+ 1/4 c mascarpone cheese

+ 2/3 c milk

+ 1/2 lb whole wheat bow-ties/farafelle

+ 1/2 c freshly grated/chopped mozzarella

+ 1/4 c freshly grated parmesan

Roast chopped butternut squash and seeds (if desired) in olive oil, S+P, for 40 minutes flipping halfway through.  My seeds were a bit toasty after 40 so take out the seeds a bit earlier.  Mash roasted squash with a fork or potato masher and set aside.

Boil water for pasta and cook as directed.

Meanwhile, heat medium saucepan over medium heat and melt butter.  Add shallots and stir until butter and shallots are browned.  Add the 1 T of flour and stir til smooth for 1-2 minutes.  Add mascarpone, milk, squash, and spices.  Stir til combined.  You can save some pasta water to thin out the sauce if you’d like or add more milk.

Mix pasta with about half of the butternut sauce.  Pour into shallow baking dish (I used one a tad bit smaller than a 13×9 inch pan, maybe 8×11?) and spread remaining sauce over top.  Sprinkle cheese on top and bake for 20-30 minutes depending on the dish size.

Garnish with roasted seeds and eat til stomach’s content.

Gah, it is so late now I’m hungry again!  Night!

Ready for the Week!

This weekend was pretty good.  I did a Suicide Prevention Walk yesterday morning (5 miles), hung out with friends, managed to not drive at alllll today, and cooked food for the week ahead.

oodles of peanutty soba noodles

I find that cooking during the week can be difficult sometimes and it’s great to just wake up and have something ready to take for lunch.  I made the above noodles which were yummy and some mediocre fried rice.  I used a Guy Fieri recipe for Peanut Soba Noodle Salad that I had alllmost all the ingredients for!  Amazing, I know.  I figured it’s one of those recipes where it’s okay to guesstimate the measurements without heinous repercussions.  I only cooked about 2/3 of a pound of soba so I had some extra peanut sauce in the end, but hey, maybe I’ll make some spring rolls later in the week?  Bah, the point of this was to not have to cook for a while…  Oh well, the only other problem is actually eating all this food.  I have a whole 4+ servings of peanut noodles and a giant bowl of fried rice to eat through this week.

Happy Eatings.

ricee

The HEIGHTS

I’ve graduated and still am in Ithaca and there are still restaurants I haven’t been too!  The family came to visit for the holiday weekend and my dad suggested The Heights Cafe & Grille after perusing the interweb.

I may have a new favorite restaurant in Ithaca… Let me show you.

a whopping calamari appetizer and beet salad!

There was also bread, pita, and garlic hummus and we figured two appetizers would be good for four people.  This is the biggest appetizer serving of calamari I have ever been served in my life!  We stupidly asked for more bread right before the apps came out and we couldn’t even touch it we were digging into the calamari so fast.  Couldn’t even finish all the calamari to save room for the rest of the meal.  Not only a giant serving but perfectly crispy calamari with a chunky thousand island-ish tartar sauce.

Oh yeah, and the entrees came with salads choice of arugala or cesear.  I knew there was something missing in my pictures…  The portions were pretty generous with those as well.  Lots of dressing though.

The mains were as follows:

braised short ribs

burger

branzino

scallops with gnocchi

The scallops and gnocchi were to die for!  My mom who ‘doesn’t like gnocchi’ was a fan of the delectably soft potato dumplings and the scallops were just like scallops should taste: sweet and buttery.

Branzino was also good.  Not like the most amazing fish I have ever tasted but nothing to complain about.  Is it sad that I now think of the new Spiderman movie where Gwen Stacie’s mom makes branzino for dinner with Peter comes over to her fancy NYC apartment for dinner?  She did say it about a thousand times “My mom’s making branzino for dinner, braaannzino.”

Burger delicious and also giant.  There seems to be a theme here for the portions.

Spare ribs were also good, but I feel like there could have been more flavor incorporated into the meat.  It just be that I’m used to calbi when it comes to spare ribs?  I was slightly underwhelmed nonetheless.

Last but not least, desssert!

chocolate souffle with a frozen berry terrine

On the menu with entrees there was a little blurb that mentioned that the chocolate souffle had to be ordered with the entrees for there to be enough time to bake.  So we foolishly thought that that was the only dessert and ordered two to split.  Well, there were other desserts on their dessert menu but the chocolate souffle was delicious and the frozen berry terrine was cool.  I liked the figs most in the terrine and I think it’s my first terrine ever!

I have to mention the coffee though.  Instead of just the cream and sugar that usually comes with coffee there was a whole plate of rock sugar on a stick, cinnamon sticks, mini chocolate chips, raw sugar, and whipped cream to add into your coffee…  It was the most amazing coffee service ever and they didn’t even charge it since only my mom ordered it.

The website says it’s casual and it’s the most casual fine dining type place I’ve been to.  There are back servers and servers and the decor is elegant and understated.  The portions though were waaaaaaay bigger than I was expecting at a fine dining type place.  Someone at the table next to us ordered the steak and it was a giant pile of meat.  It might have been the way they cut it up and piled it onto the plate but it looked huge.

The prices were also more on the fine dining end but not ridiculous.  The burger was the cheapest entree at $19 but my big teen brother didn’t even finish it.  It was so much food we had leftovers which are now sitting in my fridge :).

Note to self, maybe order one appetizer for four people since there’s the bread and salad before the entree and there is more dessert than just the souffle.  Oh, and also order coffee even though I don’t really drink coffee but they give you so much stuff to add it is amazing.  If there’s one thing I can assure you, it’s that I will definitely be coming back to the Heights!