Saturday, April 28, 2007

Taste of Ocoee - Soong Thai

Yippee! I found a great Thai restaurant here in FL! I was really giving up hope of even finding one, much less it being great. This restaurant is in the top 10 Thai in Orlando. About 20 minutes from where A/T live - near tons of shopping on 50 (Colonial) right off the 408.
We split three things - so we could try more. We got the Pad Thai - very similar to Chai's in Durham which I love. That was definitely my favorite. We also got the Amazing chicken - Alan really liked that one. We also got the Panang Beef - the spiciest of the three. Pad Thai had chicken and shrimp. The Panang had peppers and zucchini, the chicken had peppers - both were in a coconut curry sauce - very very good. It is in the 6-12$ price range and the atmosphere is wonderful and the people very friendly. Definitely if you are in Orlando and are up for an adventure - you gotta try it!
So - now I've found one - and it is only an hour away. Well, I guess it will have to do in between trips to NC. :)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Spice Cake with Orange/Rum Glaze

I got in a baking mood today so I typed in some ingredients I had and pulled up this cake on Food Network. Turned out good - Dad said it was a keeper. Now, I gotta get it out of the house. I had one bite. I'll give some to Papa tomorrow, take some to A/T on Saturday and that should just about do it.
Easy to make... I of course altered it a little. Tangy changes the normal spice cake when you have the orange glaze.
Enjoy! Make it for spring or fall (spice cake is normally fall-y)

325 in tube pan buttered and floured.

1/2 cup chopped pecans
3 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice, cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
3 1/2 cups flour, sifted (or cake flour)
1/4 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk

Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one. Add in vanilla and spices. Add dry ingredients together and alternate adding to sugar mixture with the buttermilk.
Put the pecans on the bottom of the pan. Then pour the batter on top. Bake for 75 minutes or until done. Let cool for 10 minutes, remove from pan.

1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
pinch of salt
1 cup oj
1/4 cup rum
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla

Over medium heat stir all together, let bubble and thicken. Pour over cooled cake.

Enjoy with some cool whip and grated orange zest or peel.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Pineapple and Chicken Salad

This is what I get for watching Public Television - no, I'm not turning into a nerd or anything, was just flipping through the cable guide on commercial and found this. The only thing I changed was I picked up honey mustard instead of dijon - it would probably have been better with dijon. But, it was good, light, and a new way to eat nappa cabbage - which I hadn't cooked with before.

1/4 cup lime juice
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp olive oil

Mix and set aside

1 1/2 lb head of nappa cabbage (all chopped except for core)
3 cups diced chicken (or shredded is how we did it)
4 plum tomatoes - cut lengthwise
4 scallions (green onions) - diced
1 can of pineapple chunks, drained
s/p to taste

Mix all together - pineapple and dressing put on right before you eat it.
Only 175 calories - this serves 6.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Taste of Placida - Fishery Restaurant

Went down to Placida (by Boca Grande, north of Ft. Myers) for lunch today. I know - why go so far for lunch? My Dad knows the owners from when he grew up in Arcadia. This was my first trip down there.

Salad and bread were nothing to rave about. The Gator Bites were good. I ordered the cajun shrimp - small shrimp with entirely HOT cajun seasoning on it over yellow rice and black beans. It was good - but all you tasted was the hot. Then, I split that with mom for some of her grouper sandwich - the best fried fish sandwich I've ever put in my mouth. Flaky, moist, fresh catch of the day slightly battered, great with the fresh tomato slice and tarter sauce. It was amazing.

Then for dessert we split an orange key lime pie slice. That was great too. Slight hint of orange and then it was the color orange too - but you could definitely tell it was key lime pie. Dad got the key lime cheesecake - it was very creamy but not too much of a key lime flavor.

The best thing about the restaurant was the view - looking right into the gulf - right on the water, looking at the dock and the seagulls and the boats coming in.

most decidedly dinner is not on the menu and it was well worth the drive!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Cake

My Mom and I got in a baking mood yesterday - and we actually followed the recipe! :) That is amazing for her.
This cake turned out a perfect plain white cake - if you ever need one. I would just double it for a 9x13 cake or a layered cake. This one made a 7x11 cake pan. You could put a variety of fillings in it (lemon curd and raspberry jam for instance) or still with the chocolate. It was yummy hot and once it had cooled and the chocolate had set up a little bit. The cinnamon and sugar was a little crunchy in the middle. Reminded me looks wise of a coffee cake without the streusel topping. It was good though - very easy, and usually have everything on hand for a quick bake up if company is on the way! Serve it with fresh whipped cream and chocolate sauce.

Chocolate Chip Cake

1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp soda
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup ss or dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs one at a time, then vanilla. Add dry ingredients alternating with the sour cream. Spread half in a greased pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top of that then the mixed 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon. Top with the rest of the batter.
Bake in a 350 oven for 44 minutes (that is exactly how long it took and it was perfectly done and golden - but check your oven). Cool and serve!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Great Vegetarian/Healthy meal

Well, had some lentils in the cupboard and thought I would try out a new recipe I found in a Betty Crocker cookbook, slightly changed of course (because I slightly change all recipes). This was very tasty and satisfying and healthy. To make it vegetarian completely, just use vegetable broth/stock instead of chicken.

Lentils and Brown Rice

3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, diced
Olive Oil
1 small green pepper, diced
16 oz low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dry lentils, soaked and rinses
1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
6 oz water
1 tbsp hot sauce
Italian cheese to finish it off on top to serve (optional)

Cook onion and garlic in olive oil till translucent. Add everything else and bring to a boil then turn it to simmer for about 50 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more water if necessary (I didn't need to). Sprinkle with cheese on top. I served with cranberry sauce, apples, and celery, and cooked broccoli.

It was very yummy and had enough flavor, which I was actually surprised at!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Taste of Plant City - Cuban King and Saturday night eats

We don't know the real name of the restaurant is, but it looks like a little state fair kiosk - they keep overhead low so they can keep the prices low.

Mom and Dad have eaten here before as it is right by the churches we went to when growing up and in high school.

Great cuban - more than a foot long. Hot when we got it, but by the time we got to the park, it wasn't. But, it was still yummy, smashed so we could fit it in our mouth.

Then for dinner I made shrimp and tomatos with cheese grits and bananas foster. Both were good, but still can find better recipes to use for both of those...