Sunday, August 17, 2014

Summer Foodie Fun - The Wharf at the Madison Beach Hotel, Madison CT

The Wharf at the Madison Beach Hotel, Madison CT

Bob and I have been having fun since last summer eating and enjoying the many Connecticut shoreline restaurants near us in Madison, Branford, Guilford, Clinton, and Westbrook.  One of our favorites, well actually my favorite, is The Wharf at the Madison Beach Hotel.  In trying to keep somewhat within a Paleo friendly menu for most of the meal, I have found a truly delectable lunch here with their signature Tuna Tartare.  Not only is it a beautiful presentation, it's a pure pleasure to photograph and it is just simply luscious.  The tuna tartare sits on a layer of silky ripe avocado, topped with a layer of English cucumber.  It comes as an appetizer yet it is easily a lunchtime meal.  It comes with a few kettle chips and Sriracha aioli that has a nice bite and is complimentary to the tuna.

The New England Lobster was dressed in true Connecticut style with butter.  There was plenty of fresh, delicious lobster, claw and body meat, with just enough butter to flavor it nicely. 

Desserts are not Paleo, but when we do have desserts we make sure that it is something that is really worth it and these definitely were.  The cake was vegan and it was so moist and flavorful that it would satisfy vegans as well as anyone else wanting to satisfy their sweet tooth.  

As for the chocolate dessert that I had, it really had it all.  It was small yet seemed huge with all the flavors going on.  It had the smooth sweet chocolate, it was topped with salt, it had the nuttiness and crunch of pistachios spread across the plate, and it had the crunchiness on the bottom.  

One might say that The Wharf is the place to be because of the awesome view from the wrap around deck overlooking the sound, and while that is true it's also the food that gives it that extra star.   We are so thankful that we live close  enough to enjoy this wonderful CT shoreline spot.

Tuna Tartare

New England Lobster Roll

Vegan cake

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Dalton's Restaurant - North Branford CT

Duck Breast and Mushroom Ravioli in a cream sauce topped with mushrooms

Many wonderful meals are shared with family and friends on a Sunday afternoon or evening.  Lately, some of my favorite meals have been eaten out at some really great local restaurants in the New Haven county area.  Dalton's in North Branford, CT is one of those places where the locals can go for some classy gourmet style Italian food in a small, warm, comfortable setting, with excellent friendly bartenders and wait staff.

What's interesting about Dalton's is that you can see the kitchen and the kitchen staff hard at work through the panes of glass at the back of the restaurant.  My husband and I had eaten here before and often eat at their sister restaurant, Ludal's in North Haven, CT.  We like the fact that it's low-key here and quieter.  While Ludal's has a large beautifully modern, zen-like bar area, Dalton's is a smaller quieter bar that sits open to the dining area. We ate at the bar this Sunday night and were treated to not only great service but excellent food as well.

For starter's we tried the Meatball Salad with three meatballs on iceberg lettuce and an order of Escargot.  I've tried meatball appetizers in a few restaurants and this one is the winner of all.  They were held together perfectly, not too solid, not too garlicky, I just loved them!  I could have just eaten that and been happy and in fact will be back again to do just that.  The escargot was not your normal snails swimming in butter, these tender morsels were in a cream sauce joined with thin slices of shitake mushrooms.  It was creamy rich, yet not buttery creamy rich where you don't feel like you can't eat another bite.

Next came the dinner.  The Duck Breast was a special that night.  In fact there were many awesome specials so it was hard to choose.  I heard "Duck" and that was it.  I was trying to get as close to paleo eating as possible, have some duck breast and pick a little at the ravioli.  I did not hear the "creamy" word.  So I had creamy dish no. 2.  And, had the most wonderful mushroom ravioli I have ever tasted.  The Paleo plan disappeared in the joy of pasta Heaven... Hubby, aka Carb Man, had the Cavatelli with Sausage.  It's made with Broccoli Rabe, oil, garlic and a bit of marinara sauce.  And did I mention the beautiful large white plates and bowls they use at Dalton's and Ludal's?  Yes - come check out these bowls! Plenty of leftovers as well.

Ok so we didn't have dessert.  Some sacrifices must be made :-).   Go try the dessert yourself.  If it's anything like the rest of the meal you will be happy for sure!

Thank you Daltons!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Coconut Banana Pancakes

I had a couple of ripe bananas that I needed to use up and a husband that wanted to have pancakes for breakfast.  Coconut Banana pancakes here we go.  He got his pancakes and we had some sausage with sautéed spinach to go with it.

This recipe is a coconut pancake recipe that I made a few tweaks to from Nom Nom Paleo's site.   I added more coconut milk to get it thin enough to pour well.    And the pancakes were sweet enough to not even need any maple syrup.   I have found also that you have to make sure the ingredients are room temperature or this mixture will be a big glop of goo and you'll be lucky to get two mini pancakes out of this.  As it was I could not believe that this recipe could produce 12 pancakes but yes there are 12 pancakes in that photo.  You can also get an idea of how that is possible as you can see in relation to the egg the actual size of these.  So in essence, be prepared to eat sparingly if it's for 2 of you.  That's why we had the sausage and spinach as well.  

  • 2 large eggs preferably free range locally sourced  - and make sure they are room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons coconut milk (I used Goya brand coconut milk -  Full fat) - room temp.
  • ½ mashed ripe banana
  • ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • coconut oil (for frying)
Mix together the eggs, coconut milk, mashed banana, apple cider vinegar and the vanilla extract. Mix the dry ingredients and combine with the wet ingredients.   Coat the pan with the coconut oil on med heat and fry till you see some bubbles then flip them over for a few more minutes.   You need to watch these because they can overcook and brown too quickly once the pan gets too hot.  


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Paleo Eggplant Chips

The Farm CSA share program I'm doing at Farmer Joe's here in Wallingford, CT has been wonderful so far.  I only did the 1/2 share and I'm finding it's not enough to make it through the week.  I usually end up buying some extras like this week's eggplant.  Every week when I pick up my share there is usually a small sample of something they've cooked up with one of the vegetables from that week.  This week's recipe was Eggplant Chips and after tasting it I promptly bought some more eggplant for myself to try it out.  I think it's the first thing that didn't have some kind of sweetener added to it so I was doubly happy.  I dubbed this recipe "Paleo Eggplant Chips" since it fits the requirements.  It's basically just REAL food!  I happened to have some awesome lime flavored olive oil so that made them even more delish.  So here goes:

1 clove fresh garlic, finely minced or sliced very thinly as shown in the photo.
1 Tbsp. fresh sage or other herb - I used sage on some and oregano on others
Olive Oil

Night before:  slice all eggplant into thin disk slices.  Place in colander, layer sliced eggplant with healthy amounts of salt until all eggplant is in the colander.  Put a weight over the eggplant (pot filled with water works well) and let it sit overnight.  Note:  I did this but apparently you need to add a LOT of salt to get it to sweat because mine didn't look any different in the morning - and therefore were not as crispy as they should have been.  
Next day:  remove eggplant.  Rub olive oil on both sides.  
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Sprinkle favorite salt on top of chips (sparingly).  Press garlic over top of egplant and sprinkle with fresh sage or whatever herb you are using.  Place in oven and turn chips to cook evenly.  Remove when crispy.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Italian Ham Pie and Rosemary Garlic Rack of Lamb

Easter Pie
(not Paleo as this recipe uses a crust and processed sausages and if you are following no dairy this is a definite no-no).  Otherwise leave out the crust and you have a very nice lo-carb meal.


Ham - a 1" chunk of imported ham , or a shank ham bone (2-1/2 lb) and dice up the ham
3/4 lb. proscuitto sliced thick
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 basket cheese
1 stick hard dry sausage dry or sweet depending on what you like
1/2 lb pepperoni
12 eggs
course black pepper to taste
Crust:  make your own or use any store made dough

Cut up the meat ingredients to small pieces.  Beat the eggs, add black pepper  and mix in with the meat and cheese mixture.
Grease pan, line with pre-made crust.  Pour mixture into pan.  Top with crust.  Bake at 350 degrees F for about an hour or until an inserted knife comes out clean.

This recipe made enough to fill a 9x13" pan as shown below

Our Paleo Easter Dinner 

Roasted brussels sprouts and carrots with Rack of Lamb (grass-fed from New Zealand)

Lamb recipe:  Mix fresh rosemary (finely chopped), five cloves garlic, Tblsp of salt, 3 T of olive oil.  Rub mixture over chops.  Let marinate a couple hours (or not - I've made these with rubbing the mixture on and letting it sit only for about 15 mins and it tastes the same to me...) and then sear the rack of lamb on all sides in a pan on the stove top.  Then bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 20 mins for them to come out moist and pink as shown in the pic.  If you bake them longer until they are well done they will still be very tender.  

Monday, January 21, 2013

Los Mariachis Mexican Food - Wallingford CT

Skinny Margarita
Los Mariachis Mexican Food in Wallingford, CT.  This place is the real deal.  Family run, freshly made food with an in-town feel and a place to go and just relax. No hustle and bustle of corporate food thankfully!  It's a new/old favorite restaurant of ours.  

The bar area has recently been repainted in darker colors and expanded into a horseshoe shape.  Much better for conversation and holds a few more people than before.  We like to go to Los Mariachis and eat at the bar for a quick, informal meal once in a while.  There is a great happy hour special Sunday to Thursday from 4 to 7PM that includes a margarita and an appetizer.  YUM!  My favorite appetizer food are the tamales.  They are so good!  They are the real thing, perfectly held together with the right consistency of a home made tamale.  You can even see the lines from the dried corn husks that held them together.  Stuffed with pork and hot or mild (you can one of each) the hot ones are perfectly spicy enough for me and the sour cream comes with it to cool down the hotness if necessary.

In the Paleo eating world having a nacho's/tequila night is much better for me than a pizza/beer gig as far as chowing down the carbs go.  And now that I've found that Los Mariachis has Skinny Margaritas - I'm hooked.  Look at that oh so clean, refreshing, limey loaded Skinny photo!  I haven't found a better thirst quenching drink than that around and none fresher either because they squeeze the fresh limes right when you order it.  WOW are they awesome.  Food is secondary to those lovely skinnies!  But eat we must, so along with my margarita, I usually end up with the carnitas.   Ok Ok I know that pork deep fried in glistening vegetable oil is definitely a no no but those pieces of tender, tasty pork are pure comfort food for me - definitely a cheat meal.  Along with a pile of guacamole and rice and beans, it's a win for me.  

Another lovely photo of the beautiful plate of carnitas with a delightful Pomegranate Margarita (not mine I swear!).  A little too sweet for my tastes but another win in the margarita realm.  

Carnitas Dinner

Last but not least, here's Carb Man's chicken burrito.  It's hard to tell how huge this thing is but that's a pretty big plate right there.  If it looks a little lonely on the plate, not to worry, it's a hefty meal loaded with chunks of chicken, rice, beans, lettuce, tomato, and cheese.  It's solidly rolled and held together so nicely too.   

Can't wait until next time to try another dinner or appetizer.  See ya there!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Waters Edge Resort and Spa - Sunday Brunch - Westbrook CT

Water's Edge Resort and Spa - Sunday Brunch - Westbrook, CT

Sunday brunch is a favorite meal of mine.  Well, almost every meal is a favorite of mine but don't tell anyone! That said, someone in the house (alright, yes it was me) wanted to go to brunch to celebrate January, burn some birthday cash, drink some mimosa's, and enjoy some wonderful food at one of my favorite places on the shoreline of Connecticut.  My husband was eager to enjoy the food as well - thank God!

The last couple of times we were here for brunch it was for a holiday event, like Father's Day or Easter.  We expected that it would be scaled back some for a normal Sunday.  Not!

I admit I am not doing a Paleo diet 100%, but I was going to keep as close to it as possible.  Thankfully, Water's Edge has plenty of Paleo and lo-carb choices including this spectacular selection of fresh shrimp cocktail.  They were perfectly crisp and cold and there were plenty of them.  I was pleased to see a beautiful ice carving as well.  I thought this might have been one of those holiday specials only but here it was with all those beautiful shrimp nestled at the bottom of it.  I didn't want to get too close to see what was carved on it, but I imagine it or was it a carving of a bottle of alcohol???  Or was I in a dream state because I was so anticipating that Mimosa?  Ok whatever...

I did say I was Paleo right?  Here are the boring lovely, healthy, vegetables that one can choose at this brunch.  The grape tomatoes are so shiny and colorful!  I didn't take nearly enough photos to show the immensity of options available.

And here is someone else's (liar) plate with the beautiful crepe that was filled with blueberries, coconut, and I think it was almond pieces - or that's what I wanted it to be... and it was flamed at the end with Grand Marnier.  Holy smokes!  Well, it didn't actually smoke -- it  -- just -- flamed!  See all the other good stuff on the plate next to it - like lox and poached salmon, and cucs, and, and, well good stuff!!! 

Here are some more of those awesome veggies that we Paleo people can't get enough of.  And they made them look so pretty too.  Awwwwww.  Wait - is that where the mimosa is supposed to go?  Hmmmm, I think I need to try that next time.

Ahhhhhh - finally, some bubbly.  Yes, I had a mimosa but I drank it so fast you couldn't even see the orange! Hah!  Not wanting to overdo on the fructose in the OJ, I settled for plain champagne for the second one.  Such happy-ness!

What Paleo Goddess wouldn't be happy with this meaty, beefy, array of protein? OK OK the photo doesn't do it justice, I guess you had to be there.  But I could see the juiciness of the lamb, the roast beast, and the pork.  I was just so overjoyed with the choice of the lamb I couldn't see straight.  Geez, the mustard and the white stuff looks so BIG doesn't it - LOL?  I wasn't having ANY of that stuff... 

And, for the finale, the hubby and I shared a small plate of desserts.  I had one.  Really!  They were just the right touch of sweetness.  Well, that means that hubby had the rest.  Yes he did!  

 Thank you Water's Edge for excellent food and as always, wonderful service.  

~ Brenda and Bob