is fondue a fon-don’t?

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, yesterday was my dad’s birthday.  In celebration we went out to dinner at The Melting Pot.  I had only been to this fun-due (ha) restaurant once before and had only had dessert there.  Yesterday, we had the full four-course fondue experience.

My parents decided on the Latin American-themed meal and we all dug into to course after course of fondue goodness.  First we had a spicy cheese fondue with bread, apples and tortilla chips to dip.  I loved the apple and cheese combo and devoured most of the apple chunks by myself.

After that was a salad course.  Not too exciting for me.  Have I ever mentioned that I’m not that into vegetables?  If I haven’t, I meant to.

The salads were followed up by the main course which I was felt much more enthusiastic about.  We had two different sauces, Coq au Vin and Mojo.  I was sitting closest to the Coq au Vin sauce but bother were delicious.  We took turns skewering and cooking filet, shrimp, chicken, pork, corn raviolis and veggies in the sauces.  They also provided us with several delicious sauces to top our main course selections with and my favorite was their Gorgonzola Port sauce, it was so good!

Of course, the most exciting part of the meal was dessert.  We chose two chocolate fondues, one with marshmallow and Oreos mixed in and the other with dulce de leche and sea salt.  You can imagine how delicious they were.  We stabbed bits of brownie, strawberries, marshmallows and Rice Krispie treats until we made sure there was no chocolate left in either pot.

I would say that out Melting Pot dinner was a huge success.  Cheers to my dad!

One topic that came up was whether or not this would be a good place for a first date.  I mentioned that it might be awkward since you basically have to eat the same thing and your meat is mingling together in a pot.  But someone made a good point that it would be a great first date spot because it’s interactive so there’s something to focus on other than the typical get-to-know-you rundown.  In the end, I agreed that it would be a good place for a date.  I like having something to do on a date so it doesn’t get awkward.  You could always have a good laugh over losing your meat or a potato in the pot, right?

So, what do you think?  Is fondue a fon-don’t on a date?

Do you prefer interactive dates when you’re getting to know someone?

What’s the most fun, interactive dinner you’ve ever had?

hmp – guacamole

While guacamole isn’t a meal in and of itself, it could be with the right chips to dip into it.  Because of that, I’m including it in the Homemade Meal Project.  Plus it’s one of those foods that’s easy to just buy off the shelf but not much harder to make at home.  The result of a homemade guacamole recipe are always delicious.

Guacamole

1 large ripe avocado (ripe avocado give when you lightly squeeze them)

1/4 cup of salsa

2 teaspoons lime juice

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

dash ground chipotle

dash salt

Cut avocado in half, lengthwise and twist to separate halves.  Using a spoon separate the avocado’s fruit from the peel discarding the pit.  Place in medium bowl.  Add lime juice, garlic powder, chipotle and salt.  Mash the ingredients together using a fork or spoon, mixing well.

Enjoy!

To store, cover guacamole with plastic wrap making sure that the plastic makes contact with the guacamole in order to prevent browning.

Now wasn’t that easy?

My guacamole took on a brownish tinge right away because of the salsa.  To avoid this try adding fresh tomato, onion and jalapeño instead of salsa.

Now, I mentioned that guacamole isn’t a meal all by its lonesome but don’t worry, we didn’t eat this on its own.  Stay tuned for the very first guest post on Pomelo Sunshine to hear what we had for dinner tonight.

Do you buy your guacamole or make it at home?

What do you like to top with guac?

pink lemonade cookies a la kelly

Tonight we will host our first dinner guests since moving into the apartment, Todd’s parents!  In preparation, I spent a bit of time in the kitchen yesterday baking up some treats for dessert.  First on the docket, Kelly’s Pink Lemonade Cookies.  When I read her post a few weeks ago I knew that these summery cookies would be perfect for this dinner.

This recipe was easy to follow and only uses 6 ingredients – now that’s my kind of cookie!  If you’d like to try these yummy cookies, the recipe can be found on Laughter, Strength, and Food.

I followed Kelly’s recipe exactly except that I substituted in whole wheat flour because that’s all we have right now.  By the way, if you’re going to substitute in whole wheat for all-purpose flour, you can’t do a cup to cup equivalent.  The easiest conversion I’ve found is this: if the recipe calls for 1 cup of all-purpose you should use 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons of whole wheat flour.  Make sense?  I’ve used this conversion 3 or 4 times and it’s worked great.

Now back to the cookies.  They came out of the oven like this:

And after dressing them up a bit, they looked like this:

I happened to have some pink sugar sprinkles left from a Valentine’s long, long ago and they were the perfect thing to top the cookies with.  Don’t they remind you of candy buttons?

Even those these cookies are for dinner tonight I tried a few with a big glass of pink lemonade and they were so good and refreshing, the perfect summer cookie.

I was going to post about my other baking adventure but this post is getting lengthy so it will have to wait until later on.

Do you have any favorite summertime baked goods?

Did you bake anything tasty this weekend?

saturday morning market

Yesterday was a gorgeous, hot, summer day in Grand Rapids.  I kicked it off by walking to the farmer’s market.  We are so lucky to live just a 10-minute walk from the farmer’s market.  This was my first time going this year but I plan to take advantage of it all season long.  Going to the Ann Arbor farmer’s market a few weekends ago really whet my appetite and I was so ready to get down to the Fulton St. market.

Grand Rapids isn’t exactly a walking town, almost everyone drives to get anywhere, even if it’s only a few blocks ago but as I got closer I started to see people walking and biking away from the market with fresh flowers, bags of veggies and homemade breads in hand.  I love seeing that bustle of people out and about, it’s something I miss from my days in Buenos Aires and something I crave, maybe a big city move is in order?  Anyways…

When I arrived to the farmer’s market it was bumping!  The place packed from wall to wall stall to stall and I started to make my way through the crowds.  I like to walk through the whole market once to see what there is before deciding on what to buy.

I was glad to see that there was a lot of fresh produce available but upon closer inspection most of it was from other states, California, Florida, North Carolina, the warmer states.  Pretty as it was, I decided that there was no reason to buy non-local produce at the farmer’s market (sorry farmers) and settled on some asparagus which is grown right here in West Michigan.

I found a stall that sold it by the pound and bought just a 1/2 pound.  I find that a normal bunch is too much for the two of us and a lot ends up going to waste.

I also bought a few cupcakes, a bar of oatmeal soap from the Grand Rapids Soap Co. and some fresh flowers.  I have to say, fresh cut flowers are my favorite thing about the farmer’s market.  They just make me smile, simple as that.

After the farmer’s market I met up with my mom for lunch then went and spent some time at my favorite bookstore, Schuler Books.  It was a lovely way to spend a hot Saturday.  By the time I was done with all of my errands, Todd was home (he had been at a Phish concert in Detroit overnight) and we hung out for the rest of the afternoon before going down to Festival in the evening.  Festival was great but I’ll fill you in on the food and entertainment later.

I hope you all had a wonderful Saturday!

Do you buy only local items at the farmer’s market?

 

zingerman’s got that something

On Sautrday, after we had wandered though the whole farmer’s market we walked over to an Ann Arbor institution, Zingerman’s Deli.  I’ve enjoyed some of Zingerman’s products before – specifically several loaves of their delicious Parmesan Pepper bread, compliments of my former boss.  I was excited for our Zingerman’s experience because I’ve only heard positive things.

There was a line for sandwiches when we got there so we got in, preparing for a long wait.  Less than 10 minutes later we were at the front of the line where a tray of samples awaited us.  While we waited out our final moments in line, we were offered bites of brownies, roasted peanuts, cheese and even mini sandwiches.  I was impressed by the spread and it made our already short wait a breeze.

When we got inside the deli, it was packed but that gave us plenty of time to decide on what we were having and also to take in the vast array of products offered there.  On top of being a deli, Zingerman’s also offers dry goods, has a creamery, a bakery, and owns a coffee shop next door that is aptly named Zingerman’s Next Door.  They even have a mail order business so people across the country can have access to their products.

I could have spent $500 on products there but, since we still had furniture to buy, just ordered a sandwich and lemonade.  I am not a huge sandwich fan.  If I eat a sandwich it is almost always grilled and evenly more likely to be some form of grilled cheese.  I don’t like lunch meat and pretty much only eat it when it’s offered to me and I don’t want to be rude.  I do, however, love barbecue and chicken so I was torn between Jay’s BBQ Chicken and Benno’s Birdie.  Taking the advice of an extremely friendly and helpful Deli worker, I chose Benno’s Birdie.

I chose well.  The (half!) sandwich was stuffed full of Amish chicken breast, Ligurian pesto, oven-dried tomatoes and fresh handmade mozzarella and served between grilled rustic Italian bread.

There was a part of the sandwich where the pesto met the butter they used to grill the sandwich and it was the most delicious salty, butter taste.  Mmm.  That was a great sandwich.  To top it off, the lemonade was delicious too, a perfect balance of sour and sweet without favoring either taste.

I can see why Zingerman’s is so popular.  They have a ton of options, use local ingredients and offer high quality deliciousness.  They just seem to have found that something special that a place needs to be a huge success.  It helps they don’t seem to take themselves too seriously.

You’ve gotta love a good sense of humor.

Are there any food institutions near you?

What’s your favorite sandwich?

sunday morning pancakes

I almost never make pancakes.  I like pancakes but I’m almost always hungry again an hour after I eat them.  This morning, I woke up craving pancakes.  I blame Alexa from Simple Eats because I read her post featuring pancakes shortly before going to bed.  They looked so delicious that I just couldn’t shake the idea!

Thankfully I had a box of pancake mix in the cupboard.  I got it off the clearance shelf at Target a few weeks ago.  Chocolate Raspberry pancakes.  How could I resist?

The pancakes turned out just as delicious as I was hoping.  There are chunks of chocolate and white chocolate in them and they gave the batter the perfect amount of sweetness.  Although the copious amounts of blueberry syrup I topped them with didn’t hurt either.

If you live buy a Target, you should run there to see if they still have a box of these on the shelf.  They were so, so good.  I even talked Todd into trying them – he hates fruit and I just overheard him say, “Hey, not bad.” – pretty high praise from him for anything containing raspberries and soaked with blueberry flavored syrup.

Thanks for the inspiration, Alexa!

Now I have more relaxing and long weekending to do.  I love three day weekends!

Do you enjoy flavored pancakes or just the classic variety?

How are you kicking off summer this weekend?

extended family secrets – she’s a sourpuss

After Scott’s graduation and brunch on Saturday we spent the afternoon at Joel and Kim’s house relaxing and enjoying the sun.  I read for awhile then joined Todd, Scott and Todd’s dad in a game of bags.

It was a close game but Todd and I pulled through and won.  Since we didn’t want to gloat we claimed the win for Team Neckers which included all present.

Eventually the afternoon led into the evening and we got hungry again.

Thankfully Kim had run into a meat salesman the day before we arrived and was swindled into buying a fridge-full of meat.  That meant a celebratory barbecue for us!  We had steaks, asparagus, the best (and only) potato salad I’ve ever eaten and caprese salad.

It was a delicious, robust meal.  Of course a great meal should be followed up with a great dessert and this meal was no exception.  Kim introduced us to her grandma’s specialty which she calls Sourpuss.

Sour Puss begins like this…

With a few turns of your spoon the separate piles of blueberries, sour cream and brown sugar turn into a sweet, creamy dessert.

I was skeptical but Kim made me a believer – Sourpuss is delicious!  If you need a quick, easy (and interactive!) dessert, this is a great option.

I did a Google search for “sour puss dessert” and found nothing but when I searched “blueberries, sour cream, brown sugar dessert” and got one result.  Apparently Sourpuss is known to the wide world as “Blueberries with Brown Sugar Cream“.  I say that’s a lame name and I’m sticking with calling it Sourpuss.

A few glasses of wine and rounds of Apples to Apples later we were all ready to crawl into bed.  So much fun can be exhausting!  The next day Todd and I headed back home.  It was a whirlwind trip but well worth the quick turnaround.

What desserts are staples at your family get-togethers?