Sunday, October 31, 2010

Twist On A BLT: Bacon & Tomato Ravioli With A Salad Of Romaine, Almonds & Dried Cranberries

As we move thoroughly into fall, I decided to buy one last batch of fresh tomatoes from the farmer's market.  Given that we still have a good quantity of that wonderful Pasta Prima ravioli from Costco, I thought I would do something with that. Since we had lettuce and tomato already included in the menu, adding bacon jumped into my mind.

I cooked up some onion, garlic and crushed red pepper in EVOO.  I then added the chopped fresh tomatoes and let soften and blend in. Finally, I  added in those bacon pieces you get in the bag (real bacon, please, no substitutes) and warmed it through.  We garnished it with grated cheese and ground black pepper.

While not brilliant, we both agreed this was a very good dish and it took about as much time to make as it does for me to  do a posting on it.  The crushed red pepper gave some background heat and using the last of the farmer's market tomatoes gave it a fresh flavor.  We will definitely make this again: quick, easy, tasty and affordable is a hard combination to beat.

To go along with the theme of BLT, we had a romaine lettuce salad. The dried cranberries (craisins) are on sale this month at Costco with a coupon so three pounds of them cost 3.99, a real bargain.  We finished the salad with those crunch sliced almonds you get at Costco and it made for a wonderful salad that was pretty also.
I am sure we will find lots of good uses for those craisins. Aside from being affordable, they are colorful, tasty and good for you.  I highly recommend buying a bag before the sale is over.

For wine, we had the Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio 2008 that was given a solid rating Costco Wine Blog.  While not the best Pinot Grigio ever, at less than $8 a bottle it is a very good value. This someone sweet wine went well with the freshness of the tomato and my wife and I both agreed with the review that it was easy to drink and enjoy with this dinner.

To sum this up, the concept of Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato being used together has been around for a long time, but this shows there are still ways to innovate and put new spins on the idea.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sorry About The Lack Of Posting-Regular Posting Will Resume 10/31

I have gone to a new work schedule and I have had some personal things that have been needing my attention.

My "regular" rate of posting at least a couple times a week will resume on 10/31.

Happy Halloween.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Tribute To My Father And Pizza With Artichoke Hearts And Salami On Roasted Garlic Crust

Back when we were kids, my mom used to make pizza on Saturday night using french bread for a crust. It was something we looked forward to every week and it is one of those memories of childhood that you treasure and keep in a special place in your heart.

Recently, the tenth anniversary of my father's passing away came around and it made me think of that painful time and how we dealt with our loss. On the Saturday after my dad passed, my brother and I made french bread pizza at my mom's house both as a way to make a good supper quickly and as a way to connect to our father.

I am a person that would rather remember a someone's life rather than their death but realizing it has been ten years makes me think and reflect. Food is a pillar in reconstructing memories so for dinner on Saturday night, we made pizza using some bread with roasted garlic from Costco.

For the pizza sauce, I took some tomato sauce, spread it on and seasoned it with dried parsley, dried basil and a little ground black pepper.  Then I topped it with artichoke hearts and salami from Costco.  It was finished off with mozzarella and put under the broiler.

I thought it turned out great.  Those artichoke hearts from Costco are true bargain at just over four pounds worth for 8.49.  And we love that salami from Costco, it is so tasty and versatile.  Finally, the fresh baked bread seasoned with roasted garlic was a flavorful and substantial crust. And of course, using the bread for the crust was extremely quick.  In fact, I am sure I am spending more time writing this blog entry than making the pizza.

As I write this, I am just a little misty eyed.  I think back to the days of childhood and those Saturday night memories.  And I think about my father.  I am positive he would have been thrilled that I was writing a food blog. My dad loved a lot of things in life and let me assure you,  food was at the top of the list!

I am sure we will make pizza like this again and I am also sure it will always remind me of my childhood and of my dad.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Follow Up On The Availability of Products Mentioned Here At Costco Cuisine.

I have had several comments about the availability or lack thereof of various products mentioned here.

In my posting about Palermo's Margherita Pizza, it was commented by one reader that this item was no longer available. As items vary from region to region, I can't vouch for her store, but at least in the ones in Grand Rapids, Michigan still have them.

In the posting about Aarti's pizza,  someone commented that Costco sells paneer cheese. Unfortunately for me, I could not find it in either store near me, but who knows, maybe sometime soon I will be able to buy it.

In my review of Sabatasso's Pizza Variety Pack's,  it was asked where you can buy them.  I looked around and the stores in Grand Rapids, Michigan did indeed have them. 

Finally, I just went shopping for provolone cheese last night and I noticed a change in the one store I stopped at. Instead of Stella Provolone in a 2 1/2 pound package for $6.79, they had a 2 pound package of BelGioioso for 6.99. While still a good deal, this is a bit of a price increase. We have been big users of the BelGioioso fresh mozzarella, so I wonder if they are just consolidating cheese suppliers?

In any case, do keep in mind products of disappear and reappear in Costco.  Please also keep in mind that Costco is a big company that tailors itself to the needs of individual markets, so inventory does vary from store to store.   But on the upside, out of the dozens of postings I have done, only a few have "availability" issues.

October 14, New Coupons Become Active

Sorry about not posting for a while, some late days at work and I have been sick.

In any case, here is a reminder about the new coupons going live today, October 14.  My wonderful friends at "Addicted To Costco" have plenty of information about the new coupon book here. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Clarification To Post On Chicken Panini With Naan Bread

It appears I was a bit vague in my post and I appreciate the input to help me clarify it.

It was asked if I sliced the naan bread in half.  The answer is no, I used two pieces of naan bread.

Each slice, on one side, was sprayed with EVOO and then sprinkled the chopped, fresh rosemary.

The sides with the rosemary on it faced toward the inside of the sandwich where the meat, cheese and tomato was.

I hope this clarifies things.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Chicken, Fresh Mozzarella And Fresh Rosemary Panini On Naan Bread-First Panini We Have Had That Was Better The Second Day

After making Aarti's wonderful pizza, we had a couple of pieces of naan bread left over.  Obviously, such good and useful food shouldn't go to waste, so I put on my thinking cap and started working on how to make a panini with it.

We had some fresh tomatoes around and we also had some of that wonderful Belgioioso mozzarella and I thought I would use those.  That left selecting a meat and I choose some deli sliced chicken.  These are all fine ingredients, but I thought I could put this over the top by seasoning this with some fresh rosemary because I do feel rosemary and chicken is a righteous combination.

Thus the design of the sandwich was this:

I sprayed some EVOO on the inside of the naan bread and then sprinkled chopped, fresh rosemary on that.  Then I covered each slice with the deli chicken meat.  Finally, I laid down the cheese and fresh tomato and flipped over the top slice of naan/chicken and I had a sandwich with bread and chicken on both sided with cheese and tomato in the middle. 

I then put the sandwich in a zip lock bag and put it in the fridge for a while to let the rosemary flavor meld into the EVOO.

After that, all it needed was a few minutes on the Griddler and dinner was done. (We also served it with some of the tomato basil soup we got from Costco a while back). Here is the finished panini:

As for how it turned out: the fresh tomato and mozzarella made it a bit moist and sloppy to eat. Not impossible, just a bit sloppy. But if the sandwich was a bit juicy, the flavor was spot on. As I said, rosemary and chicken go great together and that was the first thing my wife commented on when she tasted it.  The chicken,  tomato and fresh mozzarella also was a good combination of meat, vegetable and cheese.

As for the naan bread, it is a fabulous bread for panini and we will definitely be using it again and experimenting with it.

We had a fine meal of this with that organic tomato basil soup from Costco and that left a quarter of a sandwich for our lunch the next day.  And that is where things get really interesting: this is the first panini we have made that was better the next day!

After sitting overnight in the fridge, the sandwich solidified and was definitely less messy to eat. Also, the rosemary flavor blended in better after sitting overnight.  We both felt that this sandwich improved overnight.  And it works both hot and cold, because I warmed mine up and my lovely wife had her's cold.

This experiment was a great success both with this specific combination and our discovery that naan bread works great for making panini.  And it was a good use of Costco ingredients with the bread, EVOO and cheese, plus the soup on the side.

Friday, October 1, 2010

"Eat This, Not That" Recommends Palermo's Primo Thin Margherita That You Can Buy From Costco

Recently I was visiting my mother and she has to watch what she eats. She recently bought on of those "Eat This, Not That" books to help her in that quest.

I was thrilled to see them give a very positive rating to the Palermo's Primo Thin Margherita that Costco carries and that we have enjoyed so much and posted about before.

This is a hard combination to beat for a pizza:

  • Great taste
  • Great price
  • Healthy
No doubt about it, these will definitely continue to be a standard item for our freezer.