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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

GRILLED MAHI MAHI WITH PAPAYA SALSA

GRILLED MAHI MAHI
WITH PAPAYA RELISH 
DINNER AT HOME

Staying with the low fat dinners and those green beans that we have been eating all week.  Once you buy those bigs bags of beans at Costco, you gotta eat them even if it takes a week.  Enjoyed some fresh Mahi Mahi that we cooked on the indoor grill pan.  Kicked up the eye appeal with a salsa relish and rice tower.  Then those left over green beans with mushrooms and bean sprouts on the side.  Papaya relish really goes well with the fish.  Just slice up onion, tomato, papaya and mix with a small amount of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Add cilantro and salt/pepper.  Really flavorful and delicious.


Monday, January 30, 2012

CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE CROCK POT DINNER

CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE
CROCK POT DINNER 

My wife picked up a 3 pound Corned Beef at Costco for $13.  The beef came with a bag of spices that we put in a crock pot along with carrots, potatoes, onion, cider vinegar and chicken broth.  Cooked on low in a crock pot for 8 hours.  We basically threw everything in the pot, set the crock pot on low and came home later in the day and it was done.  Added green beans that we have been eating for the past week and cabbage for the last half hour of cooking.  The Corned Beef came out moist, flavorful and delicious.  I mean really good and so tender that you could cut it with a fork.  This was a great meal for under $20.  Plus I can enjoy Corned Beef sandwiches for at least two days with the leftovers.

CORN BEEF AND VEGETABLES IN CROCK POT
COOKED ON LOW FOR 8 HOURS 
CORN BEEF OUT OF THE CROCK POT
CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE DINNER WAS EXCELLENT

NICO'S PIER 38 - HONOLULU, HAWAII

NICO'S PIER 38
HONOLULU, HAWAII


The "new" Nico's Pier 38 is awesome.  Huge open air space with a great view of the harbor.  If you are fan of the old Nico's you should love the new one.  It is located directly across from the old restaurant and adjacent to Uncle's.  As you enter the large restaurant there is a counter where you order off the menu that hangs above.  Daily Specials are posted on a black board.  To the left is a small and bright fish market where you can purchase fresh fish and many different types of Poke.  It is a mini market within the restaurant.  The lunch menu features local favorites like Orange Fried Chicken, Pork Chops, Chicken Katsu, Loco Moco, Beef Stew and Combo Plates.  There are several fresh fish selections as well as Fish and Chips and Poke Bowl.  You can also get salads, sandwiches, burgers and pizza.  We arrived at 11:30 am and there was a sign that said Pizza was Sold Out.  I ordered the Nico's Pier 38 Fish Tacos ($8).  Fresh beer battered fish with shredded cabbage, lime marinade, onions and Nico's Tomato Salsa.  Served with some good home made tortilla chips.  I liked the tacos but wish they had more cabbage and salsa.  My friend ordered the Fried Ahi Belly ($10.25).  Tuna belly steaks that are fried and topped with a spicy tomato salsa.  Looked like he enjoyed it.  Nico's was popular with locals before, but I think this new large restaurant will put it on everyone's list of places to eat.  I certainly will be back with the entire family real soon.  Hope it is not too crowded.  UPDATE:  Went back again and enjoyed a Fresh Ahi Sandwich.  My friend had the Beef Stew and absolutely loved it.  By 11:45 am there was a line out the door.  Seems the word is out about the new Nico's Pier 38.  UPDATE: Went back for a third visit.  This time I realized that the food here is not that great and really nothing special.  We ordered the Margherita Pizza ($14).  Liked the flavor but wish the crust was thinner.  Tomatoes were cut in thick slices.  Took some back to the office and they loved it.  The Fish n' Chips ($9.75) was terrible.  One giant piece of fried fish that was raw inside.  Had to take it back.  This piece of fish could have been cut into three pieces and should have.  The Pesto Chicken Caesar Salad ($9.75) had good Pesto flavor but was a bit boring with just lettuce and chicken.  After three visits, I really don't think the food here is anything special.  The prices are reasonable and should be since you order at the counter and clean your own table when you are done.
UPDATE:  Back again.  Tried the Daily fish special ($12.50).  Fresh Island Ono with a Lobster Creme Sauce.  TOTALLY AWESOME!
Fish was cooked to perfection and sauce was out of bounds good.  I put Kilauea Fire Sauce on the rice and fish and it was fantastic.  Best dish I have ever had at Nico's.
UPDATE:  Have been back to Nico's on several occasions.  The place is busier than ever but i am still not a huge fan of the food.  I ordered the Fresh Fish Wrap ($12.95) and was served a tortilla filled with Mahi Mahi and a whole lot of mayo or some white sauce.  This was terrible and served with a pile of plain bitter lettuce.  My wife tried the Seared Ahi Salad ($10.95).  This was pieces of bland Ahi over some greens.


THE NEW NICO'S PIER 38 IS AWESOME!
NEW LARGE AND MODERN SPACE WITH GREAT
VIEW OF HARBOR.  LARGE BAR AREA WITH FLAT SCREENS
LARGE BAR IN CENTER OF RESTAURANT
OPEN AIR SEATING WITH VIEW OF HARBOR
DINING AREA AND BAR

PESTO CHICKEN CAESAR SALAD
PIER 38 FISH TACOS
FRESH AHI SANDWICH
BEEF STEW
MARGHERITA PIZZA
FISH N' CHIPS
FRIED AHI BELLY

LUNCH MENU (CLICK TO ENLARGE)
DINNER MENU (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

FRESH ISLAND ONO WITH LOBSTER CREME SAUCE.
ADDED KILAUEA FIRE SAUCE TO RICE AND FISH.
BEST DISH I HAVE EVER HAD AT NICO'S.
MAYBE THE GUY WHO DITCHED MY REVIEW CAN EAT THIS!



 SEARED AHI POKE SALAD

 FRESH FISH WRAP WITH MAHI MAHI

 FRESH FISH WRAP DID NOT RATE HIGH ON TASTE

 MAYONNAISE COVERED EVERYTHING

 MENU SAID SALSA?


NICO'S FRESH FISH WRAP

Sunday, January 29, 2012

CHICKEN AND SHRIMP STIR FRY - DINNER AT HOME

CHICKEN AND SHRIMP
STIR FRY
DINNER AT HOME 

We had two chicken breasts and some shrimp in the refrigerator so I whipped up a fresh stir fry using ingredients that we had available. Only had to pick up a few things at the store to prepare this dish.  I marinated the chicken in shoyu, garlic and ginger for less than one hour.  The shrimp were placed in olive oil with some garlic and ginger and marinated shortly too.  I cut up every vegetable I could find in the refrigerator and added some water chest nuts too.  Cooked the chicken and shrimp first and then set aside.  I undercooked them a bit because they would go back in with the vegetables later.  I cooked the vegetables so that they were still a bit crunchy and then added the chicken and shrimp.  Poured in 1/2 cup of Stir Fry Sauce that I bought at the store.  Mixed this all together and served with rice.  Excellent flavor, low fat and healthy!

FRESH VEGETABLES, GARLIC AND GINGER

DICED CHICKEN BREASTS WITH GARLIC, GINGER, SHOYU AND OLIVE OIL
SHIRMP WITH GARLIC, GINGER AND OLIVE OIL
SAUTEE CHICKEN WITH LITTLE BIT OF OIL, GARLIC AND GINGER
SAUTEE SHRIMP WITH GARLIC AND GINGER.
REMOVE CHICKEN AND SHRIMP AND SET ASIDE
SAUTEE THE HARDER VEGETABLES FIRST
ADD IN THE COOKED CHICKEN AND SHRIMP.
POUR IN 1/2 CUP OF STIR FRY SAUCE
ADD BEAN SPROUTS AT END AND REMOVE FROM HEAT
DELICIOUS, COLORFUL AND HEALTY!

MAHI MAHI COOKED IN PARCHMENT PAPER WITH VEGETABLES

MAHI MAHI WITH VEGETABLES
COOKED IN PARCHMENT PAPER
DINNER AT HOME

After the Italian Beefs, Hot Dogs and Pork Fat Sandwiches in Chicago, it is time to get back to some good and healthy low fat dinners.  This dish is simple and delicious.
Click link below for another version of Mahi Mahi in Parchment Paper:
http://greateatshawaii.blogspot.com/2014/11/baked-mahi-mahi-in-parchment-paper.html

FRESH MAHI MAHI FILETS

TOP MAHI MAHI WITH VEGETABLES, SLICE OF ORANGE,
TYME, BUTTER AND WHITE WINE.
WRAP IN PARCHMENT PAPER
VEGETABLE MIXTURE - CELERY, FENNEL, CARROTS,
ONION, GREEN BEANS, ORANGES IN OLIVE OIL
BAKE IN OVEN FOR AROUND 12 MINUTES
FINISHED DISH RIGHT OUT OF OVEN
DELICIOUS, HEALTHY AND LOW FAT

TORTAS FRONTERA BY RICK BAYLESS - CHICAGO


TORTAS FRONTERA
BY RICK BAYLESS
CHICAGO O'HARE AIRPORT
TERMINAL 1, B11

Wow was I surprised and happy to find a Rick Bayless restaurant in the Chicago airport.  This little stand features Mexican Torta sandwiches with a gourmet flair.  I tried the Pepito Torta ($11).  Beer braised beef short ribs, pickled jalapeños, chihuahua cheese, black beans, cilantro crema and arugula.  This sandwich was excellent.  Only wish I had more flights to Chicago so I can sample the others.



TORTAS AT THE AIRPORT


THE PEPITO TORTA
BEER BRAISED BEEF SHORT RIBS WITH PICKLED JALAPENO
REALLY GOOD GREEN SALSA

ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO

ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO
CHICAGO, IL

There are few places on earth that I have visited that move me like the Art Institute of Chicago.  I am drawn to the French Impressionist; Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Cezanne, Boudin, Van Gough and others.  Standing face to face with these masterpieces literally has brought tears to my eyes during the past two visits.  There are so many masterpieces here that you can only wonder how they all were assembled in one place; Chicago.  I am happy to share these photos on my blog.  These photos were taken with my iPhone on a cold winter day in January.  ENJOY!
In a time of change as Emperor Napoleon III of France rebuilt Paris and waged war, the Académie des Beaux-Arts dominated French art during the middle of the 19th century. The Académie was the preserver of traditional standards for French painting, both in content and style. Historical subjects, religious themes, and portraits were valued (landscape and still life were not), and the Académie preferred carefully finished images which looked realistic when examined closely. Colour was somber and conservative, and the traces of brush strokes were suppressed, concealing the artist's personality, emotions, and working techniques.

Pierre-Auguste RenoirGirl with a Hoop, 1885
The Académie had an annual, juried art show, the Salon de Paris, and artists whose work was displayed in the show won prizes, garnered commissions, and enhanced their prestige. The standards of the juries represented the values of the Académie, represented by the works of such artists as Jean-Léon Gérôme and Alexandre Cabanel. Some younger artists painted in a lighter and brighter manner than painters of the preceding generation, extending further the realism of Gustave Courbet and the Barbizon school. They were more interested in painting landscape and contemporary life than in recreating scenes from history. Each year, the works they submitted to the Salon jury were rejected in favour of works by artists faithful to the approved style. A group of young realists, Claude MonetPierre-Auguste RenoirAlfred Sisley, and Frédéric Bazille, who had studied under Charles Gleyre, became friends and often painted together. They gathered at the Café Guerbois, where the discussions were often led by Édouard Manet, whom the younger artists greatly admired. They were soon joined by Camille PissarroPaul Cézanne, and Armand Guillaumin.[2]

Pierre-Auguste RenoirOn the Terrace, oil on canvas, 1881, Art Institute of Chicago

Claude MonetWoman with a Parasol, (Camille and Jean Monet), 1875, National Gallery of ArtWashington, D.C.
In 1863, the jury rejected Manet's The Luncheon on the Grass (Le déjeuner sur l'herbe) primarily because it depicted a nude woman with two clothed men at a picnic. While nudes were routinely accepted by the Salon when featured in historical and allegorical paintings, the jury condemned Manet for placing a realistic nude in a contemporary setting.[3] The jury's severely worded rejection of Manet's painting appalled his admirers, and the unusually large number of rejected works that year perturbed many French artists.
After seeing the rejected works in 1863, Emperor Napoleon III decreed that the public be allowed to judge the work themselves, and the Salon des Refusés (Salon of the Refused) was organized. While many viewers came only to laugh, the Salon des Refusés drew attention to the existence of a new tendency in art and attracted more visitors than the regular Salon.[4]
Artists' petitions requesting a new Salon des Refusés in 1867, and again in 1872, were denied. During the latter part of 1873, MonetRenoir,Pissarro, and Sisley organized the Société Anonyme Coopérative des Artistes Peintres, Sculpteurs, Graveurs ("Cooperative and Anonymous Association of Painters, Sculptors, and Engravers") for the purpose of exhibiting their artworks independently. Members of the association, which soon included Cézanne,Berthe Morisot, and Edgar Degas, were expected to forswear participation in the Salon. The organizers invited a number of other progressive artists to join them in their inaugural exhibition, including the older Eugène Boudin, whose example had first persuaded Monet to adopt plein air painting years before.[5] Another painter who greatly influenced Monet and his friends, Johan Jongkind, declined to participate, as did Manet. In total, thirty artists participated in their first exhibition, held in April 1874 at the studio of the photographer Nadar.

Claude MonetThe Cliff at Étretat after the Storm, 1885, Clark Art Institute,Williamstown, Massachusetts
The critical response was mixed, with Monet and Cézanne receiving the harshest attacks. Critic and humorist Louis Leroy wrote a scathing review in the newspaper Le Charivariin which, making wordplay with the title of Claude Monet's Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant), he gave the artists the name by which they would become known. Derisively titling his article The Exhibition of the Impressionists, Leroy declared that Monet's painting was at most, a sketch, and could hardly be termed a finished work.
He wrote, in the form of a dialog between viewers,
Impression—I was certain of it. I was just telling myself that, since I was impressed, there had to be some impression in it ... and what freedom, what ease of workmanship! Wallpaper in its embryonic state is more finished than that seascape.[6]
The term "Impressionists" quickly gained favour with the public. It was also accepted by the artists themselves, even though they were a diverse group in style and temperament, unified primarily by their spirit of independence and rebellion. They exhibited together—albeit with shifting membership—eight times between 1874 and 1886.
Monet, Sisley, Morisot, and Pissarro may be considered the "purest" Impressionists, in their consistent pursuit of an art of spontaneity, sunlight, and colour. Degas rejected much of this, as he believed in the primacy of drawing over colour and belittled the practice of painting outdoors.[7] Renoir turned away from Impressionism for a time during the 1880s, and never entirely regained his commitment to its ideas. Édouard Manet, despite his role as a leader to the group, never abandoned his liberal use of black as a colour, and never participated in the Impressionist exhibitions. He continued to submit his works to the Salon, where his painting Spanish Singer had won a 2nd class medal in 1861, and he urged the others to do likewise, arguing that "the Salon is the real field of battle" where a reputation could be made.[8]

Camille PissarroBoulevard Montmartre,1897, the HermitageSt. Petersburg
Among the artists of the core group (minus Bazille, who had died in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870), defections occurred as Cézanne, followed later by Renoir, Sisley, and Monet, abstained from the group exhibitions in order to submit their works to the Salon. Disagreements arose from issues such as Guillaumin's membership in the group, championed by Pissarro and Cézanne against opposition from Monet and Degas, who thought him unworthy.[9] Degas invited Mary Cassatt to display her work in the 1879 exhibition, but he also caused dissension by insisting on the inclusion of Jean-François Raffaëlli, Ludovic Lepic, and other realists who did not represent Impressionist practices, causing Monet in 1880 to accuse the Impressionists of "opening doors to first-come daubers".[10] The group divided over the invitation of Paul Signac and Georges-Pierre Seuratto exhibit with them in 1886. Pissarro was the only artist to show at all eight Impressionist exhibitions.
The individual artists achieved few financial rewards from the Impressionist exhibitions, but their art gradually won a degree of public acceptance and support. Their dealer, Durand-Ruel, played a major role in this as he kept their work before the public and arranged shows for them in London and New York. Although Sisley would die in poverty in 1899, Renoir had a great Salon success in 1879. Monet became secure financially during the early 1880s and so did Pissarro by the early 1890s. By this time the methods of Impressionist painting, in a diluted form, had become commonplace in Salon art.[11]

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