Archive | February, 2012

Wordless Wednesdays

29 Feb

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I’m hooked on Holy Angels’ Fish Fry ♥

24 Feb

Ahh, Lent.  You double-edged sword, you.  Each year you seduce me with endless fish fries and raffle baskets but then ask me to give something up for forty friggin days.

This year it was Facebook.  I don’t want to talk about it.

So this begins a new SFTS series..

A SOLE Fish Friday guide to Pittsburgh

I will be navigating my way around the city, to many a fish fry but also to some more creative, healthy alternatives.  Each week I will be promoting a different fish fry in the area and reporting back.  Let’s be realistic, the allure of the fish fry gets long before Easter rolls around, and I’m looking forward to sharing some SOLE alternatives. ♥

If you know me, it will make sense why the first post of this series has to be dedicated to Holy Angels fish fry.

This tiny little church in Hays, near the Waterfront in Pittsburgh, has the BEST fish fry in town as far as I’m concerned.  I look forward to seeing what else Pittsburgh has that can beat them!  Holy Angels also has a pretty sophisticated website as far as small churches go (can be viewed here), which also lets you take a look at their menu.  I noticed in their “Fish Fry Volunteer” section, that they are looking for volunteers to bread fish.  Could it be?  A fish fry which actually breads their own fried fish??  I will investigate further when I drop off desserts next Friday morning.

I ordered the Fried Fish Sandwich Dinner, which I realized too late was a bit too eager.

Hello gorg.  This baby came with fries and coleslaw (which I never eat) for $8.  I could only finish half of it! The service at Holy Angels is always amazing and I’m not exaggerating when I say this is my #1 choice for Fridays.  They also have a baked fish option, which I have had in previous years, which is also yummy.

I will say that the macaroni and cheese, which I only tasted, was reminiscent of middle school cafeteria-quality mac: tasteless and overcooked.

How does this series fit within the bigger SOLE picture?  Fridays during Lent are a time when neighborhoods come together and celebrate with food, of course!  Building closer connections to one another IS sustainability.  Growing as a neighborhood, building relationships, sharing values, enjoying quality conversations and company IS local.  The Lent season is when a little SOLE really is good for your SOUL. ♥

Holy Angels Fish Fry
408 Baldwin Rd. Pittsburgh PA, 15207
11:30 am – 6:30 pm
Online Menu: Fish Fry
412-461-9503

 

 

Lightened Up Beef Stroganoff

24 Feb

If you are a new cook like I was, then you know what it’s like to completely screw yourself.  And by that I mean by starting a recipe and realizing halfway through that should have read the ENTIRE recipe before you started.  What I’ve learned to do is to read through the recipe, tackle my prep work (cutting, slicing, etc.) and then assembling all my ingredients.  That way, I know exactly what I need, am able to put things away as I go, and then I also know if I’ve skipped something.  Real talk now, we’ve all done it.

She♥ knows I have a weak spot for random cooking magazines, so on Valentine’s Day gave me Cuisine Lite.  This little mag contained a recipe for a lightened up beef stroganoff.  Hello!  Comfort food at 240 calories a serving?  Despite the warm weather, it is still winter and I am still craving comfort food.

So last night, it was time…

Thundercats Are Go!!!!

That means, assemble the ingredients…obvi.  And preheat the oven to 235°F while you’re at it, doll 😉

Above, I’ve got:

1-1/4 lbs. beef top sirloin, cut into chunks (you could just buy beef tips for stewing if its cheaper)
kosher salt and black pepper
vegetable oil
8 oz. button mushrooms
8 oz. crimini mushrooms
2 cups diced red onion
all-purpose unbleached flour (why would you buy bleached flour?)
tomato paste
dry sherry
beef broth
chicken broth

Start by seasoning the beef with the salt and pepper.  Add 1 tsp. of vegetable oil to a pan and brown the beef tips in 2 separate batches over medium heat.

Once the meat is browned (I have a gas range and it took 5 minutes per batch), move the tips to a bowl and set them aside.

Add 1 tsp. more of the olive oil and brown the mushrooms.  This pan was a horrible choice because I ended up crowding the mushrooms.  I inexplicably picked this pot out of the cupboard.

Once the mushrooms are done browning, just as with the beef, set them aside in a separate bowl.

Add the last 1 tsp. of olive oil into the pot and cook the 2 c. of onion until soft.  Then add 1/4 c. flour and 2 T. tomato paste and cook until it just begins to brown.

Now, my favorite part!  Add 1/2 c. sherry to the pot and begin to deglaze the sides, pulling up all the yummy brown parts that are burnt onto the sides.  This is how you max out the flavor of the dish.  You will want to deglaze this a medium-low temperature until almost all of the sherry is gone.

Add 1/2 cup chicken broth and 1/2 cup beef broth to the pot and transfer to an oven-safe pot.  (I used a cheap dutch oven that I was given years ago.)

After the contents were removed from my cooking pot, I deglazed again just so that I could take a photo for you dolls:

It needs to be in that oven (325°F remember!?) COVERED for 45 minutes.  Then you will add the mushrooms and bake another 15 minutes.

WARNING:  This dish will make your house smell friggin amazing.

I followed the recommendation and served with buttered noodles, tossed in dill.

восхитительный … DELICIOUS!

 

Bumpers-Ball Chasing-&-Buffalo Love

23 Feb

Lord, what a busy day!  I feel like this is the first I’ve been able to gather my thoughts…

I have to apologize for a promise of Beef Stroganoff.   I completely forgot that yesterday was Ash Wednesday and had turn to tuna sandwiches at the last minute.  Perhaps tonight?

Anyway..

We started off by heading to Scottdale, PA (about an hour and 20 minutes southeast of Pittsburgh) to look for parts to our SUV that were damaged when we got rear-ended the other day.  The weather is gorg outside today, make you want to get some fresh air for sure!

After finding some AMAZING deals at Henderson Foreign Auto Parts, we headed back towards the city.

Because little Tuck isn’t’ going to his forever home until tomorrow afternoon, we had to swing by the house and let him outside.  He’s just a little guy and we don’t want him making a mess in the house ♥

While we were at the house, we scooped up the grown dogs and headed to Riverview Park in Pittsburgh’s North Side.  I LOVE Riverview Park and it makes me sad that we have to drive the whole way across town to get to it.  It is worth it, though, and we end up making the drive weekly to take the dogs to the off-leash fenced in dog park.  Riverview Park is interesting to me as a sustainability scholar because it inhabits over 251 acres, much of it unmanaged original growth woodlands, but is located in a high-density urban area.  To some, the word “unmanaged” might sound like a negative thing, but remember – the less maintenance that a municipality has to do on its conservation zones the better it is for the taxpayer.  To me, unmanaged simply means that for once people have managed to leave it alone and enjoy it for what it truly is – natural beauty.  It is breathtaking to see the skyscrapers downtown and rolling hills of forest in the foreground.

 

The Riverview dog park is located directly next to the old Allegheny Observatory – which is still open in the warm months as part of the University of Pittsburgh astronomy program.

We wound down through the Perryville Avenue into the heart of the North Side…

and into Downtown so that we could make a special stop: The Pittsburgh Popcorn Company on Liberty Ave.

I managed to forget my camera, but did find this great picture of the storefront online:

We each ordered a small bag of popcorn, which turned out to be the perfect size:

They do allow you to sample before you buy, which is great because I don’t know if I would have ordered an entire bag of “Buffalo Wing” flavored popcorn without being able to taste it.  Addicting.  Amazingly good.  And it earned its name because this popcorn has got a kick!  If you like spicy food as much as I do – this is 100% for you.

Keep in mind that they do NOT always have the same kinds.  They are like a micro-brewery and switch flavors out every several weeks.

Review: Cirque Dreams – Pop Goes the Rock

23 Feb

If you follow me on twitter, you all ready know that I received 2 complimentary tickets to the Cirque Dreams production called Pop Goes the Rock.  I love theater, and just in case you missed it the first time – I LOVE theater.  I drag her♥ to several shows a year, including the Cirque Dreams holiday production called Holidaze last year.

I had an absolute blast at Holidaze – the stunts were breath-taking, exciting, unexpected, and I felt like a little kid at the circus all night.

There were tight-rope walkers, acrobats, gymnasts, a troupe of girls who stood on bikes and performed like synchronized swimmers oh wheels.  I recommended that show to everybody.  So, having responded to an offer of 4 free tickets on Twitter, we were looking forward to Pop Goes the Rock.

From the beginning, I felt like they had ripped off Holidaze because several of the performances were similar.  But then, several numbers into the show I realized that I couldn’t even compare it to Holidaze because it is of such much lower quality.  The performers were great, don’t get me wrong.  I just felt like the flow to the show was off, I couldn’t connect to the two main vocalists (and believe me, they are singing the ENTIRE time).  I felt like a majority of the first half was karaoke with mediocre dancing with small intermissions of gymnastic feats.  Overall, I was really let down – save your money on this one guys!

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