Top 10 Restaurant Meals & Recipe Highlights


As promised, my “Blast from the Recent Past” continues!   My objective in this week’s Eblast isn’t to relive the past, but be grateful for each and every experience I’ve had with my family, friends, and God’s great gift of food.  Starting with ten and ending with one – here are my top ten restaurant meals from 2012:

#10

Pizza, Chinese & Foodie Friends 

Marc Bello and his girlfriend Jennifer are incredible foodies from Pizza-a-Casa in NYC.  They make amazing pizza at their shop where they also offer classes on how it’s made.

 

Marc and Jennifer joined me for a sampling of a new Yunnan Restaurant, Lotus Blue, managed by a good childhood friend of mine, Jeffrey Lim.  Lotus Blue is not your typical “asian” restaurant. It’s a true fusion of cultures and culinary style with deep, brothy, and bold flavors – including the use of the pungent durian fruit for a tasty dessert!

#9

Home Town Food

Eating in the Philippines means encountering a lot of fresh seafood, pickled seaweed, whole roasted pig, fried chicken, and rice – all eaten “island style.”  One restaurant, Kai Lui Restaurant in Palawan, really impressed me. Not only did it have a great fusion of Filipino flavors but a relaxing, no-shoes policy. If you are ever in Palawan, dinner at Kai Lui is a must.

#8 

Auction Dinner with the Baldwin Family

As part of my service I try to provide dinners as prizes for charity auction.  One of the prize winners this year was the Baldwin Family, who also happen to be parishioners at the church where I now serve in Millersville, MD.  The Baldwins own a home construction company, so they know the importance of quality in the kitchen!  At their home I prepared three types of pasta, a sampling of flavor-packed bit-sized foods, chutney, and finally three big bites of the fusion fajitas featured on the Food Network – but it was the kitchen that was a gourmet chef’s dream!

Trio of pasta – pesto, norcina cream, and amatriciana – bacon and onion.

 

Trio of meats: garlic shrimp skewers, bacon wrapped pork tenderloin over white truffle potato puree topped with an apple onion. 

 

#7 

Asian Gyro in Oklahoma City?

  

Fr. Hamilton, a good priest friend of mine, was so excited about this hip new food place in Oklahoma City, and after tasting their fusion of flavors, I can understand why!  Delicious.

 

Foodie Express
Foodie Express

#6

Eats of Italy in New York’s Eataly

I sometimes long for authentic Italian cuisine.  Many small towns have Italian immigrants with the skills and connections to source out authentic ingredients, but I’ve found that Eataly in NYC makes me feel like I’m back in Roma.  If you are able to check it out, make sure you go in the late morning or afternoon to avoid the mega crowds at lunch and dinner times.

#5

 Ristorante Cecilia Metella

Most Italian / Roman restaurants have specialty pastas, but one in particular stands out for me. It’s the world famous Scrigno pasta from Cecelia Metella Restaurant just outside of Rome, near the sacred catacombs.  The meaning behind the pasta, its taste, and – of course – learning how to make it for my TV show Savoring our Faith made it all the more fantastic!

 

#4 

Talk and Eat in Talkeetna, Alaska

Finding food in the small villages across America’s largest state was quite an adventure. I was drawn to the hipster-earthy village of Talkeetna, a famous foodie hotspot, known for its love of food and nature. I had to agree with the masses on this one. It is another must if you have the opportunity.

 

Alaska Trip Part 2 What To Eat
Alaska Trip Part 2 What To Eat

  

#3

 Florida Fiesta!

This past year my family went on a vacation to the beaches of Florida. Besides the sun and surf, I also enjoyed the spicy, bold – yet so simple and delicious – Latin influenced foods.  One place I discovered was Fuego Latina, a nondescript Latin food lover’s hot spot in a strip mall. Check out their “sampler” platter – a meal for literally 3 people!

 

#2

 Mission Barbecue

As you know, food is only a means to an end for me.  The owners of Mission Barbecue have a similar philosophy. In addition to having friendly and super-fast service, providing some of the best local barbecue in the area – smoking beef, pork and chicken at least 2 times a day – they donate proceeds from their food sales to the Wounded Warrior Project.  For Mission Barbecue, good food is the means to a good end – to help our wounded warriors and first responders.

 

Culinary Confessions -Mission Barbecue
Culinary Confessions -Mission Barbecue

#1

Dinner at Celebrity Chef John Besh’s home with his family!

Through my good food-priest-friend, Msgr. Nalty of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, I had a crab salad gumbo dinner with world famous Chef John Besh and his family. It was a beautiful experience. I was able to witness the faith of their family both in their exchanges and in knowing their oldest son was coming late because he was serving as a peer minister for his high school retreat. Later, in another beautiful experience I found ironically amusing, I was able to surprise Chef Besh’s mother and father, who recognized me as the priest on TV who cooks.

 

To round out my Blast of the Recent Past for 2012, I also want to share my favorite recipe:

Bacon Wrapped Turkey Breasts!

Click on the picture to access the recipe!

 

2012 was truly a year of great adventures and achievements, and yet, for many of you, there may have been loss or sadness. We offer all of these to our Lord, good and bad times, and give him praise for everything we have, for we are still here today and have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. May 2013 yield many more great times and accomplishments for each of us as we seek to build stronger families, have better meals, and be ever-pleasing to God.
 
Be sure to keep checking out the website for updates on upcoming events, recipes each week, new blog posts and articles. And now, registered members can leave comments on events and recipes, so we look forward to hearing from you. We would love for you to share your experiences with us, as you are all part of the GBM “fam”. 
 

 

 

 For all of you who have received Spicing Up Married Life and want to share it with others, please leave a review on Amazon for others to share in. Your review may help provide insight to those seeking ways to strengthen their relationships in or out of the kitchen. We would love to know what you think of it as well, so please post today!

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView our videos on YouTube
SUBSCRIBE, LIKE, COMMENT & SHARE!
Any submissions may be used in future Grace Before Meals publications.

 

Posted in Dinner Discussion, Recipe, Recipe- Pork, Recipe-Meats, Recipe-Turkey, Restaurants, Video | 2 Comments »

Pinoy Plates!

Pinoy” is a nickname for Filipinos.  However, it describes more than a people.  It also describes the culture, including the food culture.

(Open market – Boracay, Philippines.)

(Open market – Boracay, Philippines.)

In this week’s Blast I want to share with you some cuisine, Pinoy style.  After all, people ask me, “what is Filipino food?”  My quick answer is:  DELICOUS!

In a more technical sense, I would describe Pinoy food as a unique fusion of Asian and Spanish flavors.  It has truly become a place of world flavors.  Colonized by Spain, situated in the middle of Asia, and heavily visited by Europeans, Australians, and Americans for military purposes and exotic getaways, Filipinos have adapted their traditional plates to create unique flavor profiles.

(Fresh Lapu-lapu, a type of grouper – a delicacy because this fish is particularly difficult to catch.)

(Fresh Lapu-lapu, a type of grouper – a delicacy because this fish is particularly difficult to catch.)

(Lunch at a seafood restaurant on Mactan Island, Philippines. Check out some of my observations and descriptions about the food.) 

(Click to watch a video: Lunch at a seafood restaurant on Mactan Island, Philippines.  Check out some of my observations and descriptions about the food.)

Anthony Bourdain’s TV show, No Reservations, showed the struggle to discern what is truly Filipino Food.  The fact that the Philippines’ nation is comprised of more than 7,000 islands means each island has its way of doing things.  Yes, the “island mentality” means the inhabitants of each island think their food is the best!  But Chef Bourdain agreed, Philippines is the “Land of lechón!”

(Lechon – filipino style.)

(Lechon – filipino style.)

Let’s start with the common foods.  Filipinos eat pork, seafood, and chicken, in familiar sautéed, grilled, stewed, and fried preparations.  Philippine beef is not as succulent as well-fed Midwestern cattle or Japanese Wagyu.  Instead, the red meat more often used is goat.  Slaughtering the fattened calf comes only during big celebrations.

Filipino fruits and Asian vegetables help maintain healthiness in a diet that can be saturated by fatty fried, but oh so tasty, foods.  The use of rice wine vinegar to help break down richly flavored foods brings a vibrancy and variety to the flavor profile of dishes such as the lechón, Filipino manok (friend chicken with infusion of ginger, garlic, and soy sauce), and adobo (vinegar-braised pork or chicken that would be drained and refried).

(Seaweed and tomato salad with rice wine vinegar.)

(Seaweed and tomato salad with rice wine vinegar.)

Pancit, the famous clear rice noodle that combines poultry, pork, and seafood can be prepared in several ways.  So too, the Filipino egg roll, called lumpia, which uses rice paper to wrap all types of fillings (primarily beef and vegetables) before its deep fried to a perfectly crisp golden brown.

(My mom's egg rolls – a taste that makes you say "Thank you, GOD!")

(My mom’s egg rolls – a taste that makes you say “Thank you, GOD!”)

There are some very strange foods, like blood pudding (dinuguan); the famous Fear Factor speciality, Balut (a gestated and fermented duck egg); and a few others too unique for this family friendly E-mail Blast!

Despite the unique (or odd) foods, travelers to the Philippines never go hungry.

(Filipino fish monger at an open Philippine market.)

(Filipino fish monger at an open Philippine market.)

In fact, visitors often rave about the seemingly endless variety of flavors you can choose from, as long as you’re willing to be at least a little adventurous.  For the American and European palate, Filipino food is best described as well marinated and exploding with flavor.  If someone has to add salt or pepper to a Filipino dish, then that person must have muted taste buds!

(Mrs. Dorothy's Philippine Herbal Cookies – completely healthy (gluten free, and cholesterol free, i.e., really good for you) and really tasty!)

(Mrs. Dorothy’s Philippine Herbal Cookies – completely healthy (gluten free, and cholesterol free, i.e., really good for you) and really tasty!)

I (half) joke with people and explain the reason why I had friends as a kid was because my mother cooked so well.

(A Grace Before Meals presentation at a private pro-life function at the home of Steve Peroutka. Good food makes good friends.) 

(A Grace Before Meals presentation at a private pro-life function at the home of Steve Peroutka.  Good food makes good friends.)

Maybe you can try my version of Filipino Food.  Click here for the recipe.

Let Us Pray:

God bless our families with faithfulness, celebrations around their dining room table, and the perseverance to celebrate together around God’s sacred Table – His Altar of Sacrifice.  In a special way, God bless those families that struggle with putting food on the table and bringing their families around it.  We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

(Nephews keeping vigil at a Marian Shrine at a beach resort. Expressions of faith at world class beaches!)

(Nephews keeping vigil at a Marian Shrine at a beach resort. Expressions of faith at world class beaches!)

What was your favorite traditionally ethnic family meal?  Have you ever had Filipino food? If so, what is your favorite?  Your comments help encourage our community to share ideas and to spread the word.  Be sure to encourage family, friends, and fellow parishioners to sign up for these free E-mail Blasts.

Watch Grace Before Meals episodes on Youtube! Follow Fr. Leo on Twitter!become a Fan of Fr. Leo and Grace before Meals on Facebook!

Mount St. Mary's University: Proud Sponsor of Grace Before Meals

Posted in Grace Before Meals, Menu Inspiration, Prayers, Recipe, Recipe- Pork, Recipe-Fish, Recipe-Pastry, Recipes | 7 Comments »

Menu Inspiration

Tender Inside and Out! Savory and Sweet Pork Tenderloin

Tenderness describes many things – emotions, food, a romantic feeling, or a recovering wound.  The word opens our minds to something delicate, and something very much needed in a world that can be so harsh and hard, dry, and lifeless!

(The tender image of the Sedes Sapientiae – Seat of Wisdom – and how Mary serves as a "chair," i.e., someone who tenderly cares for Jesus, who is Wisdom Incarnate.)

(The tender image of the Sedes Sapientiae – Seat of Wisdom – and how Mary serves as a “chair,” i.e., someone who tenderly cares for Jesus, who is Wisdom Incarnate.)

This week’s Blast will celebrate a great fall recipe that can bring some tenderness to your table, on your table, and around your table.  I cooked this pork tenderloin for some of our Baltimore seminarians studying here Mount St. Mary’s Seminary.  In the midst of a busy semester, they needed a little fraternity and food.  While they would never admit it, these moments of friendship and brotherhood are compassionate moments of goodness and even tenderness.  The food helped bring out the gentle side of these Christian gentlemen.

(At the recent Baltimore Book Festival, fellow Mount St. Joseph High School alumnus, Glen, class of '88, came out to watch and support me, a fellow Mountie. High School is an important and tender time of development in the life of teenagers. Be sure to encourage friendships that endure – even if the friends don't always see eye to eye!)

(At the recent Baltimore Book Festival, fellow Mount St. Joseph High School alumnus, Glen, class of ’88, came out to watch and support me, a fellow Mountie. High School is an important and tender time of development in the life of teenagers. Be sure to encourage friendships that endure – even if the friends don’t always see eye to eye!)

I hope you enjoy this pork recipe that is tender inside and out.

Kale and Apple Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Want the Recipe? Simply Login or if you have not Created an Account, then click here to create a FREE login and gain access to Fr. Leo’s exclusive recipes!

(Kale and apple stuffed pork tenderloin.)

(Kale and apple stuffed pork tenderloin.)

This week’s recipe has a couple different parts to it: first, preparing the filling, composed of sautéed kale and diced apples; second, wrapping the tenderloins in good quality bacon to keep the outside texture crispy and tender at the same time!

(Filling in the sautéed kale and apple in the butterflied tenderloin.)

(Filling in the sautéed kale and apple in the butterflied tenderloin.)

(After rolling the pork tenderloins, top off with a few rosemary leaves, not just for garnish but for an extra savory taste.)

(After rolling the pork tenderloins, top off with a few rosemary leaves, not just for garnish but for an extra savory taste.)

This meal can help heal tender wounds and provide the tender consolation of table communion with family and friends.

Father, help us to remain open to the tenderness of charity, the kindness that comes from authentic faith, and the consolation that hope gives to believers.  May we always remember those who go without family, faith, and food.  Keep us generous in our desire to feed those who hunger for the great gifts You generously give to Your people.  We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

(Another tender image of St. Joseph comforting the Lord Baby Jesus as he was crying, maybe fussing as Joseph tried to put Him to bed. Can you imagine the tender love that Mary and Joseph had for Jesus?)

(Another tender image of St. Joseph comforting the Lord Baby Jesus as he was crying, maybe fussing as Joseph tried to put Him to bed. Can you imagine the tender love that Mary and Joseph had for Jesus?)

Give this recipe a try, and tell us your thoughts.  Do you have a recipe or cooking technique that helps keep meat tender and delicious?  Your culinary comments help our members connect food, faith, and family.  When you ask questions and share your stories you remind our Grace Before Meals team of the positive influence our work has in the world.  Post your comments below.

Watch Grace Before Meals episodes on Youtube! Follow Fr. Leo on Twitter!become a Fan of Fr. Leo and Grace before Meals on Facebook!

Mount St. Mary's University: Proud Sponsor of Grace Before Meals

Posted in Food for the Body, Food for the Soul, Food for Thought, Grace Before Meals, Menu Inspiration, Prayers, Recipe- Pork, Recipe-Meats, Recipes | 8 Comments »