Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

Follow by Email

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Dining Out - Buckhead/Atlanta, Georgia: Bistro Niko

While visiting Buckhead this past weekend, we chose Bistro Niko for our Sunday brunch destination.

Follow the link for much more information about the restaurant and menus!

Bistro Niko is definitely a fine dining establishment which transports you to Paris as soon as you walk through the door. We were warmly greeted by our host and were promptly seated for our 11 a.m. reservation. 

The tables were neatly set with white bistro serving pieces and red and white striped table runners.  The jazz trio added so much to the atmosphere!

The high ceilings have amazing architecture.

Our server, Turner, was amazing. He offered excellent suggestions to all of our inquiries. He was definitely one of those perfect servers who takes care of you without hovering and somehow appears magically at the exact time you realize you need something.

Before we started our meal, we were treated to this visual display that immediately had our mouths watering.

Beautiful oysters on ice from several different locations.

 Baskets of bread and cured meats.

And more cured meat on the slicer ready to be sliced and served!

As you will see from the photos, the presentation of the food is amazing. We eat first with our eyes and I was very impressed with the attention to detail of the plating.

We began our brunch with an assortment of three French cheeses (Gruyere, Brie and Bucherondin), toasted bread (with raisins and nuts), crushed pistachios, and spiced apples. ($12.00) The cheese placed on a bite of this bread (or the bread in the following photo), topped with a little of the spiced apples and a sprinkling of the nuts....Oh, it was a heavenly bite!

And a loaf of delicious French bread with butter.

I ordered the quiche with a choice of frites or a salad. I should have ordered both, but I decided on the frites. They were room temperature at best and I should have followed my first instinct and chosen the salad. The bottom crust was a tad over baked for my taste, but the filling of ham, gruyere, leeks and mushrooms was divine. ($15.00)

Sweet Harold can NEVER pass up an opportunity for a great ham and cheese.  So, of course, he immediately chose the Croque Madame complete with an over easy egg.  ($16.00) The ratio of ham and cheese was equally proportioned. And those potatoes? Yes, they are Duck Fat Fried Potatoes.  Yes, they were very delicious and perfectly fried.

Dining Companion #1 had never tried pork belly prepared with a mustard crust. ($14.00)  It was also prepared with a fried egg and crisped duck potatoes. He was pleased with his meal and the few bites I begged from his plate suited me to a T.  I would order this in a heartbeat. The greens were an added bonus mixed in with the sauce.

Dining Companion #2 stayed true to her Scandinavian roots with the Norwegian eggs. ($17.00) Two poached eggs layered on top of potato pancakes with smoked salmon, then covered with a dill Hollandaise and topped with crispy onions. The side of haricot verts added a lovely spot of color on the plate.

And the came the desserts.......

The crème brûlée ($8.00) was soft and creamy on the inside as it should be and the caramel crust was perfectly browned to have that "crunch" everyone listens for as your spoon breaks through for that first bite!

I chose the profiteroles. ($8.00)  Choux pastry, layered with vanilla ice cream, and topped with bitter chocolate sauce and almonds. Yes, it was as amazing as it sounds!

Sweet Harold loves dark chocolate. No, I mean he LOVES dark chocolate. He chose the flourless chocolate cake ($9.00) Rich. So very, very rich. Even after sharing with everyone at the table there were several bites left. That's a shame.

And how about some spirits?

Three Harvey Wallbangers for the table ($9.00)  Vodka, orange juice, galliano

And one mimosa ($10.00)

A delightful meal, time spent with good friends in an elegant atmosphere. Seriously, what more could you want?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Sunday Night Supper

Last Sunday night we hosted a visitor from Nebraska. I pondered for quite a while over the menu. I thought about cooking chicken and dressing. I debated a beef roast with potatoes and carrots.  I even briefly considered an Italian or Mexican meal. But then I came to my senses and decided to prepare a meal that I can put on the table without one recipe. This is the kind of meal I refer to as "cook in my sleep" meals.

Of course, I wanted to use my best china. Or should I say my favorite china. I absolutely adore this Spode Fleur de Lis pattern. I've been collecting this set piece by piece for many years. 

Here are a few pictures of the table setting.

And, of course, our guest had his own personal menu to carry home!

And now to the food. All the pictures are labeled so no need to tell you the food items. I didn't get pics of the appetizer portion as we enjoyed those nibbles on the deck and I simply forgot to take any!

and no, no pics of desserts....but those are already on the blog!

What a wonderful evening.  I hope he enjoyed it half as much as we did hosting!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Baked Eggs in Spicy Tomato and Black Bean Sauce

I adapted this recipe from the March 2016 Issue of Cuisine at Home magazine. This is a wonderful vegetarian meal that would be amazing for either breakfast, lunch or dinner. It came together very easily and you can certainly cook the dish a little longer if you want the yolks of the eggs to be firmer. This dish was ready start to finish in about 45 minutes.

2 T. olive oil
2 Anaheim chiles, seeded and diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup minced onion
1 T. minced fresh garlic
1 t. EACH dried oregano, ground cumin, paprika, and kosher salt

1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes (drained)
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 8 oz. tomato sauce
2 t. of your favorite hot sauce

6 eggs
1 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese
fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
thinly sliced Serrano chiles

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Heat oil in a deep 12 inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add Anaheims and onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes or so.

Stir in the garlic, oregano, cumin, paprika, and salt; cook 1 minute.

Stir in diced tomatoes, beans, tomato sauce, and hot sauce. Bring sauce to a simmer; cook until it's reduced and thick, about 8 - 10 minutes.

Crack eggs, add to skillet on top of sauce. To make sure you don't break the yolks, crack each each into a bowl and gently add them to the skillet one at a time.

Next, sprinkle cheese around eggs.

Bake eggs until whites are cooked and yolks are still soft, 10 - 12 minutes (or to desired doneness). Garnish eggs with cilantro and Serranos. This is a great "Meatless Mondays" meal.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Fruit and Cheese for Dinner !

Regular readers of the blog know how much I love trying new cheeses.  I love arranging different textures and types of cheeses and letting everyone come up with their own combinations.

We'll start at the noon position on the plate:

A Danish blue.....when spread on the slices of Red Pear arranged next to it is an AMAZING flavor combination.

3 o'clock:  goat cheese coated with thyme and lemon....club crackers

6 o'clock:  goat cheese coated with sun dried tomatoes and garlic

Slices of Granny Smith apples

Town House crackers with a small bowl of mixed olives placed in the middle of the serving plate.

This was a perfect supper for tonight.


Sharp Cheddar slices

Monday, April 11, 2016

Teriyaki Salmon served with Asian Chopped Salad

Monday....oh, Monday.This beautiful, healthy and delicious meal was ready start to finish in about a half hour. Yes, I took some short cuts, but it's MONDAY! I'll post pics of the shortcut ingredients I used and, trust me, they were perfect for this meal. 

Let's start with 1 lb. fresh salmon fillets

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place salmon on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes and remove from oven.

This was my first time to use this Teriyaki Baste and Glaze. One word: DELICIOUS. Lightly brush salmon with the glaze and return to oven for another 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and lightly brush with one more coating of glaze and return to oven for 3 - 5 minutes until salmon is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork. Yes, they were perfectly cooked, glazed to perfection and SO, SO, GOOD!

I cooked rice while the salmon was baking and placed the fillets on a serving of the rice. Then I sprinkled with black sesame seeds and thinly sliced green onion. 

Here's the salad I served. This package included savoy cabbage, green cabbage, carrots, celery, green onions, and cilantro. Ready to place in a bowl and serve! It included a sesame ginger dressing with a package of crunchy wonton noodles and sliced toasted almonds.  It was a great accompaniment to the salmon.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Seafood Gumbo

I was in the mood for gumbo. Even though it's Springtime and not really a time of year you'd think of eating gumbo, this was a light version full of seafood. If you don't care for oysters, leave those out and add chunks of mild fish. 

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 small yellow onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic
3 ribs celery, chopped (include the leafy tops!)
3 quarts seafood or shrimp stock
1 - 2 T. Creole or Cajun Seasoning
1 bay leaf
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. hot sauce
a few grinds of black pepper
1 cup sliced okra
1 lb. medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
8 oz. crab claw meat
8 oz. oysters (include the oyster liquid)
cooked white rice
chopped parsley
chopped green onions

In a 5 quart Dutch oven heat, oil and flour over medium heat. Stirring continuously, cook oil and flour until the roux is a light chocolate color (about 15 minutes).

Add onions, pepper, garlic and celery, stirring constantly, cook until vegetables are tender about 5 minutes.

Add stock, seasoning, bay leaf, Worcestershire, hot sauce, and black pepper. 

Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer and let cook for 25 - 30 minutes.

 Add okra and simmer 20 minutes.

Add shrimp, crab, and oysters and let cook 5 - 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.  You may need to add additional salt, pepper, hot sauce, etc.

Remove bay leaf. Ladle into bowls, add rice and top with chopped parsley and/or green onions.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Spring Beef Stew

This is not your typical heavy winter time beef stew. This one is filled with green peas, carrots, and baby spinach. I browned the beef and let it simmer for a few hours on Sunday afternoon.  Tonight it came out of the refrigerator and while it heated up, I prepped the carrots. I tossed those in and while they simmered for about 15 minutes, I toasted the bread.  About 3 minutes to heat the peas through and wilt the spinach and dinner was served! I'll repeat again.....a little bit of prep work on the weekend can certainly help you on those busy weeknights!

2 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 lbs. beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
kosher salt and pepper
1 qt. beef stock
6 shallots, halved
1/2 lb. carrots, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 1/2 cups frozen green peas
5 oz. baby spinach
2 T. chopped dill

In a medium Dutch oven, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Season the meat with salt and pepper and add it to the Dutch oven in a single layer. Cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned all over, about 10 minutes. 

Add the stock and shallots and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until the meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

Add the carrots to the pot and simmer until tender, about 12 minutes.

Add the peas, spinach, and dill and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.

Ladle the stew into bowls and serve with crusty bread.

Adapted from Food and Wine 2016 Annual Recipes.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Bloody Mary Burgers

Now come on....you know you like the extras on this Bloody Mary Burger, don't you? Olive, pepperoncini peppers, pickled okra and green beans, all your favorite garnishments on the adult beverage just ready to enjoy with this burger.  Did I mention that the wonderful flavors of the drink are incorporated IN the burger?  Oh yes.

Here we go !

Serves 4.

1 1/2 lbs. ground sirloin
3 T. prepared horseradish, drained
3 T. tomato paste
2 t. hot sauce
2 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 t. celery seeds
Kosher salt and pepper
Brioche hamburger buns, split and toasted
mayonnaise, red leaf lettuce, sliced tomato and American cheese, for serving

In a large bowl, using a fork, gently stir the ground sirloin with the horseradish, tomato paste, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, celery seeds and 1 t. each of salt and pepper. Divide the mixture into four patties. Transfer to a plate.

Light a grill or heat a grill pan. Season the patties lightly with salt and pepper and grill over moderate heat, turning once until medium rare within, 8 - 10 minutes.

Transfer the burgers to the buns, top with mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, and cheese and serve.

Garnish with pickled vegetables and/or olives if desired.

From Justin Chapple - Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2016

Moscow Mule

A dear friend recently sent me two solid copper Moscow Mule mugs. Trust me when I tell you that these copper mugs get COLD.

The cocktail was invented in 1941 by John G. Martin of G.F. Heublein Brothers, Inc., an American East Coast spirits and food distributor based in Hartford, Connecticut, and "Jack" Morgan, President of Cock 'n' Bull Products (which produced ginger beer) and proprietor of the Cocks 'n' Bulls restaurant on  Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles which was popular with celebrities.

The Moscow mule is almost always served in a copper mug. The popularity of this drinking vessel is attributable to Martin, who went around the country to sell Smirnoff vodka and popularize the Moscow mule. Martin asked bartenders to pose with a specialty copper mug and a bottle of Smirnoff vodka, and photographed a Polaroid picture of them. He took two photos, leaving one with the bartender for display. The other photo would be put into a collection and used as proof to the next bar Martin visited of the popularity of the Moscow mule. The copper mug remains, to this day, a popular serving vessel for the Moscow mule, primarily due to tradition and aesthetic reasons.

Here's the recipe for the Classic Moscow Mule

Fill a copper mug halfway with ice. Add 2 oz. quality vodka, juice of half a lime and top with 4 oz. Ginger Beer.

Garnish with a lime slice and/or mint leaves and serve.

Hello Everyone!

Since January 2nd, I have had several family members in the hospital and/or a rehabilitation facility. Elderly family members have had some very serious health issues and my daughter has given birth. Needless to say, I have not had a lot of time in my kitchen and have really fallen down on my job here providing y'all with new recipes to try. 

We missed celebrating with a party atmosphere Valentine's, St. Patrick's Day, Mardi Gras and Easter. One more week and (hopefully!!!) I will have my father home from rehab and things will settle down. Thanks for all of you who have stayed with me and provided encouragement, prayers, and good thoughts. 

I am in the process of having a few new recipes to share this week and we'll be back on track soon! 

Love you all,