Friday, November 7, 2008

Lobster at Coyote Cafe

Just because you're dining in New Mexico doesn't mean everything you eat will have a Mexican/New Mexican flavor profile. In fact, many Santa Fe restaurants offer a huge variety of options - including the legendary Coyote Cafe.

We tasted multiple dishes that were a feast for the eyes as well as our palates. Maine lobster with Vietnamese chutney was simultaneously gorgeous, tender, sweet and spicy. Chef/owner, Eric DiStefano, also served samples of elk marinated in Negro Modelo Beer with a side of garlic mashed potatoes; and a large ham tortelloni and a sherry mushroom sauce.

Dessert offered a trio of tastes. Pedro Jimenez sherry was the perfect sweet counterpoint to coconut ice cream and torto, a decadent round of chocolate almond and caramel layers between dark chocolate cake, covered with deep, dark chocolate ganache. The striking ambience has plenty of punched copper, natural light, and ribbon-like light fixtures that cast a warm glow across the contemporary space.

So next time you visit the Land of Enchantment, know that the culinary options are broad and creative, with something for every taste.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Harvest Cake with Honey Cream Cheese Glaze

There's something about fall that definitely brings out the 'nester' in me. And when I nest, baking is often part of that equation. Here's a fun way to empty out your produce drawers and create a very unusual but healthy (relatively!) dessert. ENJOY!

Harvest Cake with Honey Cream Cheese Glaze
Serves 15-20

1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 large apple with skin on, plus 1/4 cup water
1 cup grated carrots (start with about 1 1/4 cups carrot pieces)
1 cup grated zucchini , skin on (start with about 1 1/4 cups)
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup extra virgin olive oil (which adds sweetness to the cake)

Using food processor, chop walnuts fine and set aside. Cut apple into bite-sized pieces, add to food processor with water, and puree to the consistency of apple sauce; set aside. Grate carrots - set aside; and zucchini - set aside.

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients thoroughly, and then add eggs and olive oil. Fold in apple puree, carrots, zucchini and walnuts. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan, two, eight-inch layer pans or 15-16 cupcake papers. Pour batter in pan and bake 40-45 minutes in a 350-degree oven (20-25 minutes for cupcakes). Let cake cool to room temperature and top with

Honey Cream Cheese Glaze

2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 cup honey
Combine butter and cream cheese thoroughly. Stir in vanilla and honey to create a medium thick glaze. Spread evenly over cake, which will show through glaze.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Walking on Water in Overland Park

As the thermometer seeks a set point between spring and fall temperatures, in Overland Park, Kansas, occasional dips below freezing remind us that winter isn't far behind. One of the best places in this city to observe the changing seasons is in South Lake Park. A .4 mile walking path encircles the small urban lake, which is surrounded by old-growth trees, modern playground equipment, much-used half basketball courts, and several picnic tables.

But watching wildlife provides the greatest diversion for walking enthusiasts at South Lake Park. Each spring, fully grown mallard ducks shepherd tiny new ducklings across the glassy water, as baby rabbits venture out in the open. By summertime an occasional blue heron stands, statuesque, beside the shore, before taking flight on a whisper of enormous wings.

As days grow shorter and the wind turns colder, honks from dozens of Canadian geese signal their annual migration to this sheltered place. And, when winter settles in, these noisy guests sometimes walk across the frozen water.