Best Thing I’ve Ever Had at Islands!

I ate something great when I met my husband for a rare weekend lunch out at Islands yesterday.

cheddarfriesThey boast, and truly do have, the #ColdestBeerInTown and they’ve got an amazing menu of burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads, tacos, and some truly sinful appetizers.  If you can skip the fries covered in melted cheese and crispy bacon you have far more willpower than I do! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

I sat down at the bar, ordered an ice cold Kona Longboard from the tap,KO_LBL_Pour-with-Bottle_web_204X3771 and glanced at the menu, but was drawn to the bar top menu announcing their limited time specials: Moa Kaneohe Crisp Chicken Sandwich and it’s spicy brother  Moa Mauna Loa Crisp the difference between the two being the Moa Kaneohe has bacon, Swiss and a cream cheese ranch spread, while the Moa Mauna Loa has blue cheese crumbles, and Buffalo sauce on it.

What really appealed to me about these chicken sandwiches was that the chicken breasts weren’t just the usual breaded in flour, dropped in oil, & fried, chicken breasts.  These chicken breasts were battered in a lighter tempura batter and then double fried.  I love tempura!

I like blue cheese dressing occasionally, but not on my burgers, and not even with my Buffalo wings.  But a girl can always ask the waitress for some accommodations to her order, right?

So, I ordered the cheddar cheese fries with bacon #IHaveZeroWillPower and then ordered the Moa Kaneohe Crisp Chicken Sandwich with it’s crisp bacon, lettuce, tomato, chopped red onion, Swiss cheese, cream cheese ranch spread and substituted the spicy chicken breast used in the Moa Mauna Loa: battered in a spicy tempura batter and fried, then added to the sandwich without the blue cheese crumbles, but with an added drizzle of the Buffalo sauce.

islandssandwich

It came out and people around me asked what I was eating…it was pretty darn impressive. Trying to figure out how I was going to get my mouth around it, I cut it in half and found that the breast was incredibly tender and juicy. Not only was it impressive to look at, it was cooked perfectly, and it was the right combination of fresh, creamy & spicy!

The manager was serving tables and stopped to ask if I liked my sandwich.  I told him I was loving it and commented it should always be on the menu.  He said they actually fry the breasts twice, which is why the sandwiches stay on the menu for such a limited time, the cooks complain they have to spend more time on them.  Knowing that, I’m even more impressed that they can keep the breasts from overcooking.

I give #2BigThumbsUp to the Moa Kaneohe Crisp Chicken Sandwich and Moa Mauna Loa Crisp Chicken Sandwich at Islands Restaurant.  I’m not sure how much longer they will be on the menu, but if you get a chance go to Islands and try them!

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Oreo Red Wine Nutella Cupcakes

red-wine-nutella-cupcakes-with-oreo-nutella-filling-and-red-wine-frosting-767x1024I was sourcing articles related to wine and the picture, almost as much as the title convinced me, although I am seriously deficient in the cupcake decorating department, to give these a try.

I’m not sure what appealed to me more, the wine or the chocolate, but I figured I could manage combining them without staining everything in my kitchen.  I might even be able to pipe on the frosting without too much problem, so I’m off to the store to make these grown up delights!

I found this little bit of deliciousness at a blog I saw on Pinterest: www.yummyaddiction.com.

One thing: I noticed the blogger didn’t specify what type of wine she used or recommend a type.  For my own personal taste, with the cocoa, cinnamon and brown sugar in the cake, I am going to go with a red wine with a similar flavor profile like a Zinfandel, Petite Syrah or maybe a Pinot Noir or Malbec.

Oreo Red Wine Nutella Cupcakes

Makes: 10 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup red wine, any kind you like
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup Nutella
  • 10 Oreos
For the filling:
  • ½ cup Nutella
  • 5 Oreos
For the frosting:
  • 1 cup red wine, any kind you like
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • salt, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 10 muffin cups with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. The cupcakes. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together until fluffy. Add the egg and beat to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract. Stir in Nutella and red wine until evenly combined. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Place an Oreo cookie on the bottom of each cupcake liner. Pour batter over each Oreo cookie and fill each cupcake liner about ¾ of the way full. Bake the cupcakes for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. The filling. In a ziplock bag, place the Oreos and use a mallet to crush the cookies into small pieces. In a small bowl, combine Nutella with crushed Oreos. Set aside.
  4. The frosting. In a small saucepan, combine red wine and sugar. Cook over mediumoreo-red-wine-nutella-cupcakes-center heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves and wine comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes (until the liquid is reduced to about ¼ cup or a light syrup texture). Let cool.
  5. Beat the butter until until smooth and creamy. Slowly add in powdered sugar (1/2 cup at a time), vanilla, and ¼ cup of prepared wine syrup. Beat until no lumps remain. Taste the frosting and add salt to cut the sweetness, if you prefer.
  6. Assembling the cupcakes. Cut out the center of each cupcake with a sharp knife. Fill the cupcakes with Nutella & Oreo filling. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a decorative tip. Pipe frosting into a swirl on each cupcake. Enjoy!

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too:https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Decadent Sunday Dinner

FullSizeRenderEvery once in a while I get a craving I just can’t shake for a thick, juicy steak and a moist, tender lobster.  Thankfully we are in an area where there are Asian markets with whole live Maine lobster in a tank, ready to be steamed for me on the spot, that are surprisingly affordable ($9.99/lb!).

Yesterday I got the craving while shopping in Costco (On a Sunday! What was I thinking?) and I just couldn’t face the weekend crowd we were sure to encounter if we trekked to the Ranch 99 Market.  I knew I had a pair of thick filet mignon steaks in the freezer and Costco had previously frozen Canadian lobster tails that looked meaty enough to satisfy my craving, so I decided to give them a try.

Knowing timing would be my biggest hurdle to making sure everything would be ready and warm at the same time, I set my cooking schedule for a true 30 minute meal:

FullSizeRender_35:30 – Get the steaks started.  I turned the burner to medium-high and pre-heated my favorite pan in my kitchen arsenal, my cherry Le Cruset Square grill pan, then added a spray of olive oil spray, seasoned the steaks with Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning, then put them on the sizzling pan to cook.  Assuming your filet mignon steaks are at least 1 inch thick, turn steaks over after 8 minutes (for medium rare), 10 minutes (for medium/medium well), or 12-13 minutes (for well done).  When you have turned cook the steaks for the same amount of time for your desired degree of wellness and, when there is about 2 minutes left in your cooking time, put a pat of cold butter on top of the steak.

In a pan with a lid, put in 1 inch of water and a steamer insert then bring to a boil.  When water reaches a boil, place the lobster tails inside the steamer insert, cover, reduce heat to low-medium and steam for 8 minutes.  While the lobster tails are steaming, in a small pan (or a ramekin in the microwave) melt a half cube of butter to dip the lobster in.

Open a bag of frozen C&W (A.K.A. Birdseye) whole petite green beans, pour into a covered 2 quart dish and set the microwave for 6-7 minutes on high power.

FullSizeRender_2This timing will have all of your parts done at the same time so that you can quickly plate and serve your dinner at 6:00.  I opened a bottle of  Eberle Rare & Reserve 2012 The Ravelin red wine blend to serve alongside.  The wine was a perfect complement to the boldly spiced steak.  Bon Appetit’.

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

La Cave in Costa Mesa, CA

I love cooking, but I love eating out too.

La Cave was one of the restaurants my husband took me to on a date many, many moons ago.

lacave

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: local restaurant specials & promotions, recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood