Saturday, May 25, 2013

Quick No-Cook Chipotle Sauce for Chicken

I love the chipotle taste, but these flavorful peppers tend to be used in small doses. I often find myself buying a can of the chipotles in adobo sauce, and only needing a small amount for the original recipe. So I was eager to find another use for what I had on hand this week, and hit upon this quick and easy sauce. Just a few minutes to whip it up, and it was very tasty served over plain baked chicken breasts. The next night I added some to a refried bean burrito and that was good, too. This is a handy one to have in your repertoire if you are a chipotle fan.

Here's the simple ingredient list:

14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1 tsp cumin
pinch cinnamon
1 clove garlic

Simply place all these items in a food processor, puree, and voila! You've got a tasty sauce that's a nice flavor boost to your meal. I served this with a bit of cheese, a tortilla and a side of kale with bacon. If you find another way to use it, I'd love to hear about it!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Taste of Saratoga Springs

When Jodi came home from a conference with the surprise that she'd won a stay at Batcheller Mansion Inn in Saratoga Springs, New York, I looked forward to the chance to get away and relax in a nice setting. I was pleasantly surprised by the way our recent stay there turned into quite a nice treat for this foodie, too! Let me share some of the highlights in case you find yourself visiting--or, if you're weighing options for a long weekend destination, perhaps this taste of Saratoga might nudge you in that direction.

After four hours of driving to get to our destination, we were ready for a stroll into Downtown Saratoga to quench our thirst. A brewpub called Druthers was our first stop, and Jodi and I both enjoyed our beers. I opted for their All in IPA, and liked its lively hoppiness.

Foursquare's "discover" feature helped us find our dinner spot. Maestro's at the Van Dam Hotel got a lot of good reviews, and we weren't disappointed at picking this spot for our dinner.  They have a creative menu focusing on fresh local ingredients and seem to make as much as they can themselves. We opted for the three course prix fixe, which is just $33. That turned out to be a good choice. I started with some homemade mortadella, served along with very tasty mustard that they also made (if you like mustard, order something that will give you an excuse to try theirs!). The Qupe Chardonnay was a nice pairing for this dish. I'd previously enjoyed some Qupe zinfandel, I liked the nice clean taste of their chard.
I had a Faroe Island salmon dish for my main course that night, served with a 2010 Evening Land Pinot Noir from Oregon. A nice combination! My biggest critique of Maestro's is they could improve their lighting so us food bloggers could do their food more justice! They nicely offered to substitute a cheese course at the end of the meal in place of the regular dessert. I was more in the mood for savory to enjoy with the remainder of our pinot, so appreciated their accommodating my whims.
Breakfast both mornings at the Batcheller Mansion both mornings was a treat. Dining room is gorgeous, and Jodi and I got a nice window seat that gave us a good view of the early spring morning, not to mention better light for my food photos (see omelette top of page). Our gracious host cooked our meal to order as we nibbled on tasty homemade scones. I could get used to that!

We headed to the Spanish restaurant Boca Bistro for lunch on our one full day in town. Tapas and a salad sounded like a light choice after a hearty breakfast. It was tasty but we could have ordered one less plate! Definitely a good spot for lunch or dinner, with some good Spanish wine selections.

We stopped by the Wine Bar for a glass before heading to dinner. They do have a full menu there, too, but we wanted to try a place recommended by my sister and brother-in-law for our meal. The Wine Bar has an interesting list of wines, so I wanted to try something different and ordered a glass of Zilavka, a grape native to the around the former Yugoslavia. Nice views of Downtown Saratoga as we sipped our drinks!

Our final foodie stop for the day was dinner at Chianti Il Ristorante. The picture of the salad was better, so that is shown below. But the highlight there was definitely the main course risotto with filet mignon. Very extravagent, and as tasty as it sounds! After conferring with our knowledgeable server, we landed on a Nebbiolo to go with our meal. As is often the case, getting a bit outside the pricey Barolo region led  us to a good value with this wine choice.
As you can see, we managed to pack a lot of good eating into less than two days in Saratoga! I hope if you find yourself there you too enjoy a good taste of the town.