Tag: Pittsburgh food blogger

White Clam Pizza!

Linguini clams is probably my all time favorite dish besides seafood pasta, which is pretty much the same thing. I think because it has a light “sauce,” just a splash of garlic olive oil, white wine, lemon spritzed yum on each bite. Sooooo good- there is seriously something addicting about it! I was thinking, what if I put these heavenly bites on a crispy pizza crust? And so my white clam pizza was born…topped with fresh mozzarella, red onion, and fresh basil.

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Yep! As classy as a fancy appetizer or as “game day” as a buffalo chicken dip, you can take this pizza anywhere!

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The no yeast easy pizza dough recipe is one to keep forever. One time I was out of yeast packets and added some baking soda to my pasta dough recipe, totally worked! It’s a thin crust. You can add herbs for flavor or leave it plain! Experiment, try different things, and let me know what works!

White Clam Pizza

Ingredients:
3 tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 lb. clam meat (I use PanaPesca clam meat in juice)
2 tbsp.lemon juice
1/4 cup white wine
salt/pepper
1/2 cup shredded provolone/mozzarella
6-8 slices fresh mozzarella
2 tbsp. fresh grated parmesan cheese
1/2 red onion, frenched, then cut in half if too big -depends on the size of your onion ūüėČ
Handful of fresh basil or arugula
Pre-made pizza crust or recipe below!

Directions:
Preheat over to 400 degrees.

Heat olive oil in a large pan.

Add garlic, cook 2-4 minutes until aromatic.

Add clams, white wine, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

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Lower heat and simmer until heated through.

Brush pizza crust with olive oil.
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Top with shredded mozzarella/ provolone mix.

Add strained clams.

Top with fresh mozzarella slices and sprinkle with fresh grated parmesan.

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Bake until crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted, approximately 12-18 minutes.

Top pizza with red onion, basil or arugula, fresh grated parmesan cheese, and sea salt.

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No Yeast Easy Pizza Dough
Ingredients:
1-1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp. baking soda
1 tsp. sea salt
3/4 cup water
2-1/2 tbsp. olive oil

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt.
Make a volcano and fill the center with water and olive oil.
Gradually push the flour into the liquid little by little until well mixed.

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Enjoy!
Ciao!

Best Of Pittsburgh Summer Restaurant Week 2015 & More!

The rules of Pittsburgh Restaurant Week are totally simple.
1.) Try new restaurants.
2.) Order something new at one of your faves.
3.) Familiarize yourself with an unfamiliar part of the city! Who knows? You just might go back to eat, to play, to shop!

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WARNING: Plan your summer vacation the week before summer restaurant week! My eating has not slowed down at all, actually, I can’t stop. I am typing to you with my toes in the sand at a resort on Grand Bahama Island. I have one bathing suit that fits and my evening wear consists of flowing, beautiful, amazingly flattering maxi dresses.

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Let’s rewind…
It all began with the Summer Restaurant Week Kickoff Party!
Yummy bites are served to guests cocktail party style and participating restaurants go head to head for the “best preview” award.

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There were many amazing showings. Here are a few of my favorites!

Atria’s
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The Wooden Nickel
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Matteo’s – I visited Matteo’s for the fist time during summer restaurant week 2014 and 20 times since! I didn’t even take photos because I love everything at this restaurant. Bold statement? Nope, I mean everything. My all time favorite entree at Matteo’s… The porcini cappelletti!

The Porcini Cappelletti... Wow!
The Porcini Cappelletti… Wow!

Bill’s Bar and Burger
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T√§kŇć

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And the winner was Pork Belly! Pan, a brand new Asian fusion restaurant in Lawrenceville. I have not had the pleasure of dining, but the Andora restaurant family’s pork belly preview was awesome! Can’t wait to visit!

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My first Summer restaurant week 2015 menu? Sunday Brunch at Verde Mexican Kitchen and Cantina! After visiting for Winter Restaurant Week I knew I had to go back!

I had the chilaquiles…again!!! Definitely worth the trip!
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Monday night was the PRW Blogger Dinner at Grand Concourse! Oldie but goodie for sure. Ok, I forgot how good! I enjoyed a delicious meal and and wonderful night out with new and old friends.

I shared the firecracker shrimp with my new blogger friend Briana White of Breelicious Bites. Check out her blog! She just hosted a mac’n cheese contest!
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Followed by the Summer Chopped Salad

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Roasted Sirloin with Sweet Pepper Chutney and Chili Oil

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And finished with the Creme Br√Ľl√©e…
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My next stop on the PRW Train was Paris 66 Bistro I cannot believe I have not visited this French gem.

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I enjoyed the wine and French baguette.
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French Onion Soup…
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Steak and Frites
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Cooked to perfection!
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And the cholocate mousse …
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Perfect for a lunch stop, date night, or family dinner, visit Paris 66 and its surrounding growing community of Eastside Pittsburgh!

Friday I dined at Sarafino’s in Pittsburgh’s Crafton suburb. Papa bear to my Matteo’s in Lawrenceville, Joe Caliguire does not disappoint. It was the restaurant’s first time participating in restaurant week. I invited a few of my faves to join me for a totally awesome smorgasbord. Blog post coming soon!!

I swore I was never eating again, but the kids and I were running errand Saturday afternoon and ended up at Firehouse Subs…super yummy! This franchise was started by firemen…and they have built the most amazing combinations!

Here was my choice the Sriracha Beef…
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I guess this post is really saying, try something new! Support your local restaurants!
And in Pittsburgh, we are sooooo lucky to have the best!
Enjoy!
Ciao!

Summer Zucchini Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette!

Do you have zucchini coming out of your ears? I definitely do! It is that time of year when I have had enough- totally zucchini breads, zucchini boats, and zucchini breakfast-ed out! What else can you make? There is always the chocolate-zucchini craze of hiding the veggie in chocolate cake, muffins, cookies or brownies. Chocolate is always a great idea, but how about a salad sans lettuce and a smooth and summery homemade vinaigrette? Now that sounds perfectly summer!

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Summer Zucchini Salad
(Serves 4)
Ingredients:
2 medium zucchini
2 vine ripe tomatoes
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 lemon
salt/peper to taste

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Honey Lemon Vinaigrette
Ingredients:
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dijon mustard
6 lemons- squeezed for juice approx. 1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp. honey
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup grapeseed oil or canola oil

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Directions:
Peel zucchini with a vegetable peeler in long strips and place into serving bowl or platter.(I roll-up some of the strips for easy eating and because it adds to the beauty of the dish.)

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Cut tomatoes into wedges and add to the salad.

Sprinkle with 2-3 tbsp. crumbled goat cheese.

For dressing:
Whisk all ingredients except oils.

 

Add oils, lid, and shake vigorously until well mixed.

Top salads with 2 tbsp. of dressing and squeeze a halved lemon over salads.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Enjoy!
Ciao!

Walleye Tacos With a Roasted Corn Peach Salsa!

My neighbors are awesome fishermen and who do you think gets a bag of fresh caught fish after the trip? The neighborhood food blogger of course. Ha! Thank you so much! The fresh walleye I was given this week soaked up the marinade beautifully and made a delicious base for some fresh fish tacos.

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I made a totally amazing roasted corn and peach salsa by cutting spicy pan roasted corn on the cob off the cob and adding the sweet flavors of a diced peach, a small onion, and a handful of chopped chives. Fresh squeezed lime juice pulled it all together!

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Seriously, Pittsburgh might just have a new “thing”…fish tacos!
Fish tacos are most definitely one of my favorite dishes to order out in Pittsburgh. ¬†Believe it or not, ¬†many of our restaurants have nailed a fabulous¬†fish taco entre√©! Some of my favorites…Penn Avenue Fish Company, Kaya, T√§k√Ķ, and Round Corner Cantina. All totally exceptional! Of course I make them at home, too!

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Walleye Fish Tacos
Ingredients:
1-1/2 lb. raw walleye fillets
1 lime
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin

Directions:

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Cube raw walleye.

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Mix lime juice, cilantro, chili powder, and cumin in a mixing bowl.

Add walleye cubes, coat with marinade and refrigerate.

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Heat a pan and cook walleye cubes until just cooked through- pink turns white and flake with a fork.

Roasted Corn and Peach Salsa
Ingredients:
2 corn on the cob
1 peach, chopped
2 pats butter
2 tsp. cayenene pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp. finely chopped chives
1 tsp.cilantro or parsley, chopped
1 lime

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Directios:
Roast buttered corn in a pan or on the grill until desired doneness.
Sprinkle with cayenne pepper.

Cut corn off the cob after it cools a bit.

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Add onion, chives, cilantro or parsley to corn.

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Squeeze the juice of one lime into bowl.

Fish Taco Sauce
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tbsp. sriracha

Mix together and add more or less sriracha to taste

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Build your taco with your favorite flour tortilla.
Add the roasted corn and peach salsa, and top with sriracha sauce.

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Enjoy!
Ciao!

Sushi 101!

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I totally love sushi! Beautiful colorful sushi rolls, the variety of fresh fish, and the artistic presentation most definitely put sushi making into the art category. Having never attempted to making sushi myself, last week I had the opportunity to take a Sushi making class- part of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh’s Get Creative program.

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My first roll ever! Ahhh!

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The talented Chef Aaron Hoover led the class by demonstrating and explaining each step. I attended with my food blogger friend Tasha from The Food Tasters Pittsburgh. We started with the sushi, the rice.

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So sushi rice, a Japanese rice, is cooked, then mixed with a heated vinegar- sugar -salt mixture. The mixture is added while the rice is being fanned to cool it down to create a shiny rice.

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We each had our own stations set-up and prepped with cutting boards, knives, sushi must-haves (pickled ginger, soy sauce, wasabi), and mixing bowls with bright vegetables and fish to add to our sushi rolls.

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We chopped a few of the vegetables with Chef Aaron’s instruction. It’s always really cool to see how a pro chef chops a bell pepper. Bonus! You don’t even need to pick out the seeds his way. Just chop the sides of the pepper on the indents leaving the top, all of the seeds, and fleshy middle in tact as the waste. Voila! Awesome!

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We made various types of sushi, maki, futomaki, temaki, nigiri, and gunkan sushi. A bamboo rolling mat was provided and we got to take it home!

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Inside Out Rolls look so beautiful! Especially with the addition of some black sesame seeds.
I know super fancy, right?

Cones – Temaki Sushi

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We even learned how to prepare miso soup! By including stories of Japanese culture, explaining Japanese cooking ingredients, and making the sushi class fun, Chef Aaron was a great instructor. I loved this class and can’t wait to explore other new genres of cooking! Cajun, Creole, and Chinese to name a few! We ate and took home a ton of sushi, recipes, and instructions!

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The best part for me…we didn’t have to clean up! HA! Just cook and take your sushi home, leaving the mess.

Other offerings include photography, art, and fashion!
Check out The Art Institute of Pittsburgh’s Get Creative program!

Does your city offer these “creative” classes? I would love to hear about it!

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Ciao!

I was invited to attend the Art Institute’s Get Creative Sushi Class free of charge. ¬†All thoughts in this article are my own. You know me-¬†If¬†I don’t have anything nice to say, I don’t say anything at all.

Vegetarian Mexican Manicotti!

Most nights, dinner at our house is an unplanned fridge raid pantry raid mashup. Sometimes I’m missing an ingredient that I want to use and dinner morphs into something a little different. So the day I didn’t have tortillas, but I did have manicotti shells? Yep, Mexican Manicotti… and it is totally delish!

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By making a sweet but spicy pineapple jalape√Īo salsa base, the stuffed manicotti shells can actually be cooked right in a large saucepan. No need to turn on the oven, this light, vegetarian, perfect-for-summer meal is sure to be a family favorite! The dish even looks beautiful. The colors create an amazing presentation!

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Shhhhhhhh! Packed with powerful vitamins and protein, Mexican Manicotti is super healthy, too!!

Vegetarian Mexican Manicotti
(makes 12)

Ingredients:
1 8oz.box (12) of your favorite manicotti shells- boiled until al dente
1 can San Marzano tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup crushed pineapple
1 medium jalape√Īo pepper , chopped
1/2 cup black beans- soaked and boiled or canned beans, drained
1-1/2 cup shredded cheese- monterey jack and cheddar blend (1/2 filling 1/2 topping)
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro (1/2 filling 1/2 topping)
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tbsp. chopped green onions
salt/pepper to taste

Directions:

Drain manicotti and let dry on a cookie sheet drizzled with olive oil to keep them from sticking.

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In a large saucepan, combine canned tomatoes, garlic, crushed pineapple, and chopped jalape√Īos.

Simmer.

In a mixing bowl, combine black beans, shredded cheese, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, chili powder and cumin. Gently stir to mix well.

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Carefully fill manicotti shells with black bean mixture.

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Place filled manicotti shells in sauce pan – 1 inch apart.

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Cover with pineapple salsa from bottom of pan.

Cook 8-10 mins. until bubbly.

Cover with cheese and cook an additional 5 mins. until melted.

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Sprinkle with green onions, cilantro and serve!

This recipe is soooooo great you probably won’t have leftovers…We never do!!

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Enjoy!
Ciao!

Umami Flavor Pops Up in Lawrenceville!

As umami as parmesan cheese? Yes, Parmesan fits into the category of the umami taste sensation, which is a savory, robust, and mouthwatering flavor. The distinct and totally necessary umami was named the fifth taste sensation a little over a decade ago on top of sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. Japanese for “yummy” or “good flavor,” Umami is the perfect name for a restaurant. Don’t you think?

Executive chef of the recently closed Tamari in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood, Roger Li will open his Izakaya, or Japanese Pub called Umami a few blocks away above Round Corner Cantina.

As a sneak peek, Roger held a pop up at neighbor Domenic Branduzzi’s Grapperia. A sampling of small plates, I tasted the Japanese street food dishes that will be served at the new Umami. Since it was negroni week, there was even an umami negroni on the menu!

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The pork gyoza, pot sticker- like dumplings, tasted incredible. A traditional “drinking snack.” Yep, that’s what Li is going for!

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Holy Robatas, Batman!
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Probably my favorite of the night, I tasted every variety of the Robatas, which included chicken thigh, hangar steak, chicken heart, chicken skin, and shrimp!

Chirasi-Sashimi Rice Bowl
For those of us who don’t want to order a la carte sushi, the sashimi rice bowl is a perfect menu option!

Don’t miss Umami’s next Pop Up on the patio at Round Corner Cantina June 22 at 4pm! Umami is scheduled to open its doors this fall!

Enjoy!
Ciao!

Easy Cinco de Mayo Cheese Ball!

Think of an inside-out jalape√Īo popper. That’s pretty much the taste of this delicious and super easy cheese ball! Cinco de Mayo perfection, but it’s also the perfect summer party appetizer! Save and file this one for a summer fiesta! Pairs really well with tequila ; )

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Cinco de Mayo Cheese Ball
(Makes one cheese ball feeds 8-10 as an appetizer)

Ingredients:

1 -8 oz. package of Cream Cheese, softened
1- 2 cup package shredded Mexican cheese
2 – jalape√Īo peppers, chopped (may substitute bell peppers or mild hot peppers to reach desired heat level)
1 large tomato, chopped
1 small onions, chopped
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. cumin
salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro

Directions:

Soften the package of cream cheese either by setting on the counter at room temperature for 30 mins or by placing cream cheese in a bowl of hot water for 10 mins.

Remove cream cheese from package and place in a mixing bowl.

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Add shredded cheese and mix well.

Gently stir in peppers, tomatoes, onions, chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt and pepper.

Mold cheese mixture into a ball. It will be a little mushy.

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Mix garlic and cilantro together and place on a flat plate.

Roll the cheese ball in the chopped garlic cilantro mixture to coat.

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Wrap cheese ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours.

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Enjoy!
Ciao!

Pittsburgh’s Ramen Bar

Located in the heart of Squirrel Hill’s Forbes Ave. business district, Ramen Bar is just what its name suggests, a traditional Asian noodles and broth restaurant. Offering both dine in and take out service, Ramen Bar serves the city’s need for an intriguing Japanese -Asian influenced menu using the ramen technique.

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Open now for about two years, Ramen Bar is the first of its kind to arrive in Pittsburgh. The atmosphere is modern Asian with a cool art cartoon of a character wrapped in noodles. With a BYOB policy, you can enjoy your favorite wines, maybe a nice cold Sapporo, corking fee free!

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So what is Ramen?
The package you get at the store for 10/$1 that college kids live on for 4 years? Ummmm…no! Ramen Bar’s ramen is a much bigger version! The ramen base is a traditional broth. Thick chewy noodles and chunks of vegetables are added. At Ramen Bar you can add an egg or even a wonton to your enormous soup bowl.

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I enjoyed the Takoyaki appetizer ($6.50), a seaweed salad ($5.50), and Kimchi Ramen noodles (9.75).  Takoyaki is round balls of octopus pan fried in a batter. The seaweed salad was amazing!
The ramen alone was a whole meal!! Next time I hope to master eating the Ramen with chopsticks. I made a hilarious attempt!

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Definitely, a unique date night spot or a great place to catch up with friends! Stop by! You might love it!

Ciao!

Farm To Table Ticket Giveaway! Plus, A Vegan Mexican Beer Chili Recipe!

Pittsburgh’s 9th Annual Farm to Table Conference is right around the corner. This year it is being held on March 27th and 28th at the David Lawrence Convention Center. The two day event will feature speakers, demos, local farmers, kids activities, and a taste of local food!

FTT 2015 COOK AT HOME

Spend your Friday Happy Hour at the Friday Night Tasting! Stop in for Breakfast Saturday! There are many ticketing options to meet your needs!

Get your tickets here!

Enter the ticket giveaway HERE!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This year’s theme is “Cook At Home,” the first step in your family’s health and wellness journey!

Here is an easy and delicious recipe I prepared at Farm to Table Pittsburgh’s For The Love Of Pittsburgh event in February!

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Vegan Mexican Beer Chili
(serves 6-8)

Ingredients:
2 tbsp. Olive Oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1 12oz. bottle of your favorite Mexican beer or something lime, jalape√Īo, chipotle flavored
2 bell peppers, chopped
2 jars Clarion Farm Organics jar tomatoes- 1 32 oz.can of diced or crushed tomatoes
1 16oz. bag black beans, cleaned and soaked until plump, or 2-15 oz. cans of you favorite beans, rinsed.
1/3 cup chili powder
2 tbsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. cumin
3 squeezes of Sriracha
Salt/pepper to taste

Directions:

Warm olive oil in a large, deep pan.
Add garlic and cook until golden.
Add onion, bell pepper, and beer.
Cook until vegetables soften, but are still crisp.
Add tomatoes and seasonings.
Cook 15-20 more minutes until bubbly.
Add beans and heat through.

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Top with scallions, diced onions, a scoop of fresh guacamole, and/or your favorite Mexican toppings!

Ciao!

Farm to Table Pittsburgh will email the tickets to the winner directly! Thank you for entering and supporting Farm to Table, Cook At Home, and Shop Local, Pittsburgh!!