A taste of Asia-Red Bowl

I wasn’t too sure how I felt about an “all inclusive” asian restaurant…Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese- so in other words you can order everything from sushi to curry. A little weird. But we received a 1/2 off coupon in the mail…so off to the Red Bowl we went.

Nestled in a shopping center, I was pleasantly surprised by this new restaurant. The interior was very modern- tall black ceilings with the mechanical exposed, red wall, large modern red globe light fixtures…and a nice bar. The restaurant was quite busy.

The menu…quite a smorgasboard! I had such a hard time deciding…too many choices. I ordered a bentot box to try a bit of everything. At $9.95…it was quite a bargain. I had beef and broccoli, seaweed salad, rice bowl bites- sushi with tempora shrimp and avocado and brown rice. The portions were large and everything was quite tasty. Service was A+! Not bad for a new restaurant.

For the price…this one is a keeper. I’ll be back!

Bon appetit ya’ll

If you could have dinner with one person, who is no longer on this earth, who would it be? For me, without a doubt, it would be Julia Childs. And I wouldn’t even ask her to cook. She is truly a fascinating woman- a quirky personality, a love of France and a joie de vivre…certainly a kindred spirit for me. I record her show with Jacque Pepin every saturday and how funny is it that every saturday she and Jacque get a little tipsy while sampling the wine for the meal! I smile just thinking of her contagious laugh.

Julia’s dishes are extremely complicated and often not nearly worth the million steps it takes to complete. Don’t get me wrong, I do pay homage to Julia and whip up a little beef bourgeon every now and then…but on an everyday basis- The Barefoot Contessa is a much better option.

A local kitchen boutique often offers cooking demonstrations and I jumped at the opportunity to attend a Julia Childs made easy cooking class.  For a few bucks, I had a night with “Julia”, some red wine and a visit with a good friend.  Actually, our “Julia” was a fantastic, VERY southern African American woman named  Cynthia. Bon appetit ya’ll!!!

 Cynthia had a Julia-esque twinkle in her eye and even sounded a little like Julia and of course she drank lots of wine while preparing our dinner. She prepared Canapes aux Epinards, Fricassee de poulet a l’ancienne, tomates a la provencale (which took me back to provence instantly) and the coup de gras….tarte normande aux pommes….Custard Apple Tart. The dinner was fair…typical Julia…even Cynthia agreed that often her dishes are not wonderfully flavorful. BUT the custard apple tart was out of this world. OMG.  Imagine an apple tart…the best apple tart you have ever tasted…finished off with a rich, sweet custard…baked until perfection. It was almost like twice baked apple tart- baked once then again with the custard. You can’t believe how tasty this dessert was…and this is coming from a girl who says that if it isn’t chocolate, I am not interested.  This fall when apples are in season, I will definitely try to replicate this one.

I’ll tell ya…I want to be friends with Cynthia. She was the most fantastic host. So much fun. Insightful, funny and full of energy. And did I mention that she was the true originator of the sin pot? Yes it is true…and I learned that she made up the recipe because of a burned chocolate cake! So right now, I am trying to figure out an occasion to invite Cynthia to cook for me. Until then…in the words of my old friend Julia- Bon Appetit!

Take Two

Sin Pots again. After realizing the terrible mistake I made with the egg whites versus the egg yolks, I decided to try this recipe again…but follow the directions this time. The egg yolks made the dish ten times more rich and creamy…much more decadent. If serving for a dinner party go with the egg yolk version. If serving on a weight watchers menu…use the whites. It’s always good to have options.

Sin Pots

If you live in Gville, then you know what I am talking about. Sin Pots are an Augusta Road tradition found at the Augusta Grill. Rich warm chocolate cake baked on demand in a little pot (ramekin)…but not fully cooked so that the center is still gooey. Ok so my mouth is watering just thinking about these “sinful” treats. Skip the dinner and head straight for the sin pot.

I came across a recipe recently that I thought sounded very similar to these Augusta Road favorites. To celebrate my MIL’s birthday, I thought we would give it a shot. I was entranced in cooking a gourmet meal, recapping my day with C and enjoying a little Friday cocktail while pulling together the ingredients for this little dessert. In the chaos of the kitchen, I misread the recipe. I thought when I was assembling that it looked a little runny. But hey, I had never made this before and I am not really an experienced baker.

What cooked up were really delicious light fluffy sin pots. Not nearly as dense as  those I had grown to love from the Augusta Grill. But the centers were gooey, rich and delicious. We all agreed this was a keeper recipe. I went to bed thinking about the recipe…dreaming of another sin pot…and I woke up thinking about them. First thing  in the morning I ran down stairs and revisited the recipe. Bingo. I figured out the difference. I had substituted the three egg YOLKS for three egg WHITES!!! Guess I created my own little not so sinful  sin pot recipe! 

Sin Pots
51/2 ounces of really good bittersweet chocolate in small pieces
1/2 cup + 1 TBS butter
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks (or egg whites!)
1/3 cup of sugar
5 TBS of all purpose flower

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease six small ramekins (pots). Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler. Allow it to cool a bit. Combine eggs, egg yolks (or egg whites…for less sinful sin pots) and sugar. Beat on medium for 5 minutes. Add flour- beat until combined. Add chocolate. Fill the prepared ramekins half full. Bake 11-12 minutes. Outside edges should be set, but center should shake when ramekin is moved. Be careful NOT to over bake. You want the inside to remain gooey. Dust with confectioners sugar. Serve with strawberries on the side, ice cream or whipped cream.

Enjoy this little sinful taste of heaven!