Seafood Cobb Salad

A perfect meal for late summer evenings …SaladSeafoodCobb

Seafood Cobb Salad

2 large servings

Layer together on two dinner plates, and then serve immediately:

6 c. torn lettuce, washed and dried

3/4 lb. cooked shrimp, crab and/or lobster, cleaned and shells removed

2 lg. ripe tomatoes, chopped

1  avocado, diced

2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and diced

4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

wedges of lemon or lime, for garnish

dressing, served on the side

Dressing

Vigorously shake together:

1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil,

2 T. red wine vinegar

1 t. lemon or lime juice

1 t. Dijon mustard

1/2 clove of garlic, minced – optional

pinch of sugar, or to taste

salt and pepper, to taste

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Enjoy! Have a great Labor Day Weekend!

Downtown Manhattan’s Dining Renaissance

For many years, Manhattan, Kansas has had some great locally owned eating establishments, running the gamut from burger joints and donut shops to truly fine dining. That trend has really seen an uptick in the past few years. To the culinary delight of residents and visitors alike, Manhattan now has approximately fifty local restaurants, cafés, and speciality eateries. That means there is no shortage of choices for where to go for a dining experience unique to Manhattan.

 

The downtown area has been one of the main loci of the dining boom. For several decades, the cornerstone of Manhattan’s fine dining scene has been Harry’s Restaurant, located in the historic Wareham Hotel on Poyntz Avenue. Harry’s offers contemporary American cuisine, hand-cut steaks and fresh seafood during evening hours in the main restaurant. (Its deli serves salads and sandwiches at lunchtime.)

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In 2007, Harry’s was joined on Poyntz Avenue by Della Voce, an Italian bistro serving traditional and contemporary dishes and original cocktails in a vibrant urban atmosphere. The bistro, which recently changed ownership, now has weekly specials featuring locally sourced ingredients.

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4 Olives Wine Bar and Restaurant is the latest upscale restaurant to move in downtown, having relocated from its Westside location at the beginning of the year to a completely renovated corner space at 4th and Houston. The restaurant specializes in dishes made with fresh fish, wild game, local ingredients and artisanal cheeses. It also serves a broad selection of classic cocktails and has an award-winning selection of wines. Its bakery, 4 Cakes, which is quickly becoming a favorite place for cupcakes and sweets, is right next door … and speaking of sweets, Hazel Hill Chocolates is almost right across the street.

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While the fine dining is amazing, there is also a fun variety of casual eateries downtown, all of which have opened or relocated to the neighborhood in the last six years and about half of which have opened this past year. Here is a quick rundown.

 

Having opened in 2008, The Chef Café is one of the oldest of the downtown restaurants. The Chef serves an eclectic menu of breakfast and lunch items, cocktails and wine, and is so popular that its regulars queue up out front to wait for a table on weekends.

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Another neighborhood favorite that has been around for a while is AJ’s NY Pizzeria, known for its creative interpretations of the “pizza pie” and for its large patio area – fun for people watching and outdoor events.

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Just down 3rd Street from AJ’s is a new addition, Karnivore, serving BBQ and burgers and a wide selection of beers in an energetic bar-and-grill type atmosphere.

Karnivore

 

Hibachi Hut is a favorite with K-State alumni who fondly recall its Cajun and Southwestern dishes from back when it used to be in Aggieville. Earlier this year, it moved to Poyntz Avenue under new ownership, but featuring the same recipes.

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Also new on Poyntz is the fun and distinctive Bourbon and Baker – part bakery, and part bar – serving Southern dishes family style or as small plates.

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The latest to open is Radina’s Bakehouse, offering coffees, fresh baked breads, light meals and chocolates made by Annette. The Bakehouse is an expansion of the locally owned Radina’s Coffee House & Roastery brand, which has several locations throughout Manhattan.

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While the growth in local dining, is not confined to downtown – it is an exciting trend occurring all over Manhattan! – it has certainly brought an influx of energy to the downtown area.  And all of these restaurants are within walking distance of The Morning Star! Bon appetite!

 

Salmon Avocado Crackers

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Salmon Avocado Crackers

Easy-to-make hors d’oeuvres for warm weather entertaining.

ripe avocado

fresh-squeezed lemon juice

fresh cilantro leaves, a few minced, the rest coarsely chopped for garnish

salt

rice or almond crackers

smoked salmon

lemon zest

fresh ground pepper

Coarsely mash avocado together with lemon juice, a few minced cilantro leaves, and salt to taste. Spoon onto crackers. Top with salmon, cilantro leaves, lemon zest and fresh ground pepper. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

 

 

Honey-Glazed Raisin Pecan Muffins (Gluten-Free)

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Honey-Glazed Raisin Pecan Muffins

2 c. white rice flour (gluten-free)

1/2 c. dark brown sugar

1 T. baking powder

2 1/2 t. ground cinnamon

1 c. Greek yogurt (full-fat)

1/2 c. melted butter

1/2 c. honey, plus extra for glazing muffins

2 lg. eggs

1 c. mixed jumbo raisins

1 c. chopped pecans

muffin papers or foils

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to  400 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with papers or foils.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, butter, 1/2 c. honey, and eggs. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and then stir with a mixing spoon until no dry spots appear. Fold in raisins and walnuts.

4. Divide batter between muffin cups, mounding batter up in the center of each muffin and rounding with the back of a spoon. (Batter will stand above the top of the muffin pan.)

5. Bake for 20 – 23 minutes or until firm to the touch. Remove muffins from the oven and immediately glaze each with about 1/2 t. of honey, spreading honey with the back of a spoon. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Muffins are best served warm with a bit of butter or jam. Enjoy!

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Have a lovely weekend!

Banana Brownies

This is a brownie recipe that I love because the brownies are super moist and let me make use of extra bananas, and an added bonus is that they freeze well. I just made a batch to put out for guests!Image

Banana Brownies

Not overly sweet or overly chocolatey, these have the added flavor and moistness of banana.

3/4 c. + 2 T. all-purpose flour

2 T. Dutch-process cocoa

1/4 t. salt

4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped or just over 3/4 c. semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 c. unsalted butter

1-2 lg. eggs (use 1 for denser brownies, 2 for cakier brownies)

1/2 c. dark brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 c. granulated white sugar

1 c. mashed overripe banana (about 2 lg.)

1 t. vanilla extract

3.75 oz. chopped milk chocolate or 3/4 c. milk chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Butter and flour a 9” square baking pan or spray pan with baking spray.
  2. In  small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa and salt. Set aside.
  3. Melt chocolate and butter together, stirring frequently. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat egg(s) and sugars together until light and fluffy. Beat in banana and then chocolate mixture. On lowest speed, beat in dry ingredients just until they are incorporated. Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Spread evenly.
  5. Bake for approximately 40 to 45 minutes or until firm on top and starting to pull away from edges of pan. (Do not rely on a cake tester.) Place baking pan on a wire rack to cool.

Tip: Freeze overripe bananas so that you have them available whenever needed for baking. Thaw and then peel before using.

Serving suggestion: Sift with confectioner’s sugar before serving or tuck into banana splits.

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Holiday Cranberry Bread – 2 ways

I love using fresh cranberries in recipes around the holidays. Cranberry Bread is one of my favorites and is so easy to make. Enjoy!Image
Holiday Cranberry Bread 

3/4 c. orange juice

1/2 c. mayonnaise

2 lg. eggs

1 1/2 t. orange extract

1 T. orange zest, divided

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. + 2 T. granulated white sugar, divided

2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. baking soda

1/4 t. salt

2 t. ceylon cinnamon 

1 1/2 c. fresh cranberries (picked over, washed and dried)

1/2 c. chopped pecans and/or raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare four miniature loaf pans ( 3 x 6″ ) with baking spray or with butter and flour.*

2. In a medium bowl, combine juice, mayonnaise, eggs, extract and 2 t. of the orange zest. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 1 c. of the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in wet ingredients until uniformly moistened. Fold in cranberries, nuts and/or raisins.

4. Divide batter between prepared loaf pans. Level tops with the back of a spoon.

5. Combine reserved 2 T. of sugar and 1 t. of zest. Sprinkle each loaf with 3/4 t. of orange sugar.** Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the middle of each loaf tests clean. Cool on a wire rack.

* Bread can also be baked in 9 x 5″ pan for 60 – 70 minutes.

** Cinnamon sugar can be used in place of the orange sugar if you are running low on orange zest.

 

Low-fat Banana Cranberry Bread

Replace mayonnaise with 3/4 c. mashed bananas in the recipe above, and increase the cinnamon to 2 1/2 t. The mayonnaise acts as a tenderizer in the original recipe and so the low-fat version is not quite as cake-like, but it is still very moist and tasty, especially served warm with a dallop of low-fat cream cheese. Yum!

 

Thanksgiving Wine Recommendations: An Interview with Chad Lohman, C.S.

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    As I mentioned in my last post, Thanksgiving is a month away and already I am preparing our menu. I do love planning a holiday meal! Thinking ahead, I decided to go into Nespor’s Wine and Spirits to chat with Chad Lohman – owner of Nespor’s and Certified Sommelier – about his wine recommendations for Thanksgiving.

Our conversation went like this …

(Me) Hi, Chad, if you have time, I’d love to talk with you about your wine recommendations for Thanksgiving so that I can pass them along to my readers. I don’t want to take too much of your time, but I have a couple of specific topics on which I am hoping to pick your brain.

(Me) First of all, I think that Champagnes are great for serving with special meals because they go well with so many different types of food.

(Chad) I agree, but unfortunately a lot of people don’t realize that Champagnes, Proseccos, and Cavas – basically, any good sparkling wine – are great for serving at holidays because they do go so well with food. We have a Cava from Spain that we are recommending for Thanksgiving this year. Naveran Cava Brut 2010 ($16.99), which was given 90 points by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, is a nice neutral sparkling wine for pairing with foods.

(Me) Since not everyone appreciates sparkling wines, what would you recommend for a white wine to serve with Thanksgiving dinner?

(Chad) For holiday meals where there are so many different flavors on the table, it is a good idea to have a wine that works well with a lot of foods rather than trying to pair a wine with every dish. Also, you want something that is accessible to different palates. An off-dry Riesling or Gewürztraminer – but not the sweeter varieties – would perform well in this role. You want something that is lightly sweet, but has good acidity. A couple of recommendations would be Alsace Willm Riesling and Hook & Ladder Gewürztraminer ($19.99).

(Me) Oh, yes, I purchased some of the Hook & Ladder around this time last year. It’s not too sweet and has a bite of grapefruit in the finish. I remember liking it with food, but that it wasn’t what I would consider a sipping wine.

(Chad) Right. For a sipping wine, I would go with a Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.

(Me) … something like Rodney Strong Charlotte’s Home Sauvignon Blanc ($19.99)

(Chad) … which is a classic Sauvignon Blanc, or Honig from Napa Valley which is Cabernet country.

(Me)  Thanks. Sorry, I digressed. So, getting back on topic, I am quite happy to drink white wines with Thanksgiving dinner, but I know that we have some friends who don’t like white wines. I briefly considered serving a dry rosé from France, but thought that would be too light to hold up to most of the foods on the table; and someone who doesn’t like white wines, probably isn’t going to like a rosé anyway. Do you have any reds to recommend for me?

(Chad) A darker colored dry rosé – not a sweet White Zin – should hold up ok. Les Lauzeraies Tavel 2012 ($15.99) is a dry rosé with more body and would go with a Thanksgiving ham, for example. For reds, a Pinot Noir or Gamay Beaujolais would pair nicely with Thanksgiving dishes … and, of course, there is always Beaujolais Nouveau which comes out around the 3rd week of November.

(Me) Right. I usually have a Beaujolais Nouveau for one of our Thanksgiving selections. It is very light and as you put it, “accessible”; and also is a traditional selection for the time of year. But if I wanted to serve a Pinot Noir or Gamay Beaujolais, what would be your recommendation?

(Chad) We have two Pinot Noirs that we are recommending right now: Monte Degli Angeli 2012 ($12.99) and Lomas del Valle 2012 ($14.99).  The Monte del Angeli is more earthy and has a softer mouth feel. The Lomas del Valle ($14.99) has more of a big fruit, big (alcohol) mouth feel.

(Me) In my November (Thanksgiving) newsletter, I am including a recipe for Chanterelles Risotto with Truffle Butter.

(Chad) The Monte del Angelli should go nicely with the earthy flavors of the Chanterelles and truffles.

(Me) Now what about dessert? I’ve served dessert wines a few years and they don’t seem that popular at Thanksgiving. Everyone is pretty full by then, of course. I’m thinking about maybe having a brandy for after dinner instead.

(Chad) My recommendation would be a Ruby Port or a Tawny Port, but not a Vintage Port. Now with ports, you are going to want to avoid the inexpensive ones. Which do you think you would prefer? Tawny ports are going to have a little bit more of a nutty flavor. Ruby ports will be a little fruitier.

(Me) Let’s try a ruby.

(Chad) Nierpoort Ruby is actually not a bad price ($19.99) and would be nice for after dinner. Serve it at about 50 degrees Fahrenheit, around the same temperature that you would serve a rosé.

(Me) Great. Sounds like we have some good ideas. Thanks, Chad!

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