Bringing the Restaurants Home

Food brings people together, wouldn’t you say? It starts conversations, stirs innovation, and even sparks debates amongst who, what, or where is better. It’s a huge part of why many of us go out to restaurants- to eat good food and to socialize (and because sometimes we just don’t feel like cooking). However, I didn’t enjoy a larger variety of food until the last 10 years. I explored with garlic, ginger, basil, brussel sprouts, lamb, beets, and even bitter melon (which someone joked to me once, “The day that you like bitter melon is the day that you are officially old!”) I guess i am officially old!  But these were all foods I hated as a kid. Bitter melon had to be the worst, but it is supposedly one of the healthiest.  My palette sure has changed over the years, but after having eaten out so much, I wanted to start bringing the restaurant foods home!

I’ve fallen in love with cooking. It is tiring after a long day of work, but when I have a plan and I’ve gotten all the recipes, I just want to make the best dish I can. My other half though, doesn’t need much planning. He’s a natural with whatever we have in the fridge!  So recently, we had a few nights where we challenged (and worked with) each other to create dishes we’ve never made before, all completely from scratch.  From a packet of ground meat to avocados mashed up and basil blanched and blended. We were allowed to use a little help from Google images and Pinterest for image ideas, but no recipes (except dessert). We’ve been experimenting with different food combinations, presentations, and making dishes that we would normally love to eat at restaurants. Here were some of the results!

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Appetizer : Blanched asparagus served with a poached egg, topped with bits of bacon and parmigiano reggiano cheese

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Entree: Crispy salmon (Gordon Ramsay style) on a bed of spaghetti squash with chives and parsley – that crisp on the skin is amaaa-aaaazing when pan fried perfectly.

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Entree:  Tomato sauce quinoa fusilli with homemade turkey meatballs, kale, and parmigiano reggiano cheese (Can you tell what kind of cheese we have stocked in our fridge yet?) 😀

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Entree:  Ground beef burger with caramelized onions, bacon, guacamole, and an overeasy egg – served with a side of baked potato fries. The bread was not from scratch, of course. They were bought individually from Parisi Bakery in Little Italy.

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Dessert: Basil panna cotta – Out of everything we made, this was by far not good, but it was a great experience to know what goes into panna cotta (don’t ask.. trust me.)  I’ll definitely try again one day but without the heavy cream and a whole cup-less of basil!

The learning process is timeless, and I’m excited to cook even more. What foods do you love in restaurants that you would want to try making at home too? We’d love some ideas to try out!

xoxo as always, thanks for reading!

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