Kitchen Beautification Project

19 05 2010

Now that I’m between jobs, I’m starting to get a little squirrely, which only means one thing: I need an outlet for my creative energy. The kitchen beauticiation prject is an all-encompassing one that entails a total makeover of the kitchen, as well as its contents.

I have always made of a point of saying that I want us to eat better – more produce and lean meat, less processed food, etc. I’ve always been a big fan of the Clintonville Farmers’ Market and I make a point of getting to know the vendors and what they have to offer. My latest trip yielded sheer gold.

Check out this gorgeous salad I pulled together with fresh spinach, strawberries, blackberries, and homemade vinaigrette.

Of course, the downside of a trip to the Farmers’ Market is trying to figure out where to put everything. Behold the disaster that is the inside of my refridgerator.

As you can see from the dark and blurry photo, everything is crammed in there and is in no particular order. It’s next to impossible to find things and we lose an incredible amount of leftovers because we have no idea what’s in there.
I just read an article in Real Simple about how to organize your refridgerator and let me say that Rubbermaid’s Produce Savers are a godsend! This is your garden variety food storage container, but it has a thing that goes in the bottom that controls moisture and keeps food off of the bottom of the container. Apparently, I’m a little late to the party here – restaurants have been using these for years.
Note: I’m not even being encouraged to promote this product. I just like it a lot!

I also added a lazy susan to the inside of the refridgerator. It takes up a decent amount of space, but at least you can spin it and find your condiments. Obviously, this project is nowhere close to being done, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Kitchen Beautification Challenge: I have very minimal space in my kitchen and have a pantry that lives behind a closed door. It’s cramped and dark in there and finding my spices is a pain, so phase 2 of this project will be giving this space a much-needed makeover. What kitchen organization tools work for you?

Let the Games Begin

10 05 2010
One of the things I love about this time of year is the number of food-oriented festivals that pop up. Let’s be honest – any event with a name that begins with “Taste of” is a good thing in my book.

Taste of Powell was a fine way to kick off this glorious time of year. Held at the always-spectacular Columbus Zoo, 16 local establishments offered samples of their favorite entrees. Upon arrival, I greeted by this guy.

Now, onto the food. A few of my favorites…

Liberty Tavern offered pulled pork sliders house smoked pork smothered with a sweet Carolina BBQ sauce, topped with bacon and cheddar.

Liberty also brought out one of their signature dishes – Kahlue Shrimp, which are jumbo shrimp, sautéed in a sweet and spicy Kahlua butter sauce, and served with creamy risotto.

Flyers Pizza had a fantastic barbecued chicken pizza. This monster consisted of marinated chicken, red onion,3-cheese blend (provolone, cheddar, and pepper jack), cilantro, and was topped with my all-time favorite BBQ sauce – Sweet Baby Ray’s.

Another new favorite in the pizza category was Jet’s Pizza, which had an incredible deep dish pizza. Really, deep dish is my least favorite style of pizza, but I loved this whopper of a pizza with its butter crust.

Kogen’s had a shrimp salad sushi roll, which was incredible – Crisp and fresh, I’m definitely  going back the next time I’m in the mood for sushi. Just two complaints – one being pouring soy sauce onto a paper plate, which tends to absorb everything, and the other being trying to eat sushi standing up when I’d much rather have time to enjoy, rather than sucking it down and moving onto the next item. Sigh…

Gooseneck Tavern (sorry, no website) had what I considered to be the most original offering of the night. Greek Nachos, as you can see, have the typical components of a Gyro – lamb, feta, tomato, scallions, red onion, and cucumber sauce – but served on pita wedges, rather than in the usual pita pocket. Definitely a cool twist on what we usually see at these events.

Finally, if I had to pick a favorite restaurant from Taste of Powell, it would be Lost Shepherd Tavern. They had an absolutely gorgeous Tomato-Tamato salad, which is their spin on the classic Caprese salad. It consists of balsamic-glazed romaine chiffonade, fresh mozzerella cheese, french bread crostini, basil pesto drizzle, and a vbariety of fresh tomatoes. This is one of my favorite salads, but it can be awfully predictable, so I appreciated Lost Shepherd’s variation. What I want to know is where they got their produce – I can only find sad, pale tomatoes, and these were gorgeous, so wherever they go, I want to go there, as well.

Lost Shepherd also offered their Carolina Crab Dip, which is a rich and creamy Carolina Crab and Artichoke Dip, served with warm flatbread. Seriously, I could have eaten a bucket of this.

Note: In the interest of total disclosure, I attended Taste of Powell for free as a member of Tastecasting. We are not professional food critics (thought I’m certainly opinionated when it comes to food), nor are we paid. We are invited to attend these events in order to raise awareness of the establishments involved.