Tis the Season, Part I

Potato Gratin

So much food, so much booze. I am stuffed!

Ah but it’s just so fun while it lasts (and the fun is not quite over yet). Above and below, a delicious little weeknight dinner that only comes together due to random December days off work. Fillet minion, scalloped potato gratin, mushrooms in sherry sauce. And a sip of Cleveland Whiskey’s Christmas Bourbon, all spicy and warm. Weeknight dinner perfection.

Steak potato mushrooms

Last weekend was particularly fun as my brother came in from Chicago, my sister in from DC, and I already live here :). It was a blast.

Friday dinner was enjoyed at home, mushroom-stuffed pork tenderloin, vegetable cous cous and crusty French bread. Lots of board games, lots of cheese and wine, lots of fun ensued.

Pork

Saturday my family went out shopping at the Westside Market and to the Rock Hall, while I stayed behind trying to recover from the cough that never ends. Luckily I was well enough to attend my high school friends’ annual Christmas party and a family dinner at our favorite spot, Spice, in the evening :). Shared bites of Polenta Chickpea Fries, Flatbread, Mushroom Beignets and Ohio Cheeses, followed by OXTAIL BUTTERNUT GNOCCHI – squash, greens, ricotta & pan reduction. Like soft, tasty pillows of heaven.

On Sunday, my siblings and I ventured downtown for a family photo shoot, a surprise Christmas gift to our parents. Despite the rain it was a warm day, perfect for frolicking all over downtown Cleveland and snapping lots of photographs together.

Followed by a traditional English Sunday Lunch – roast beef, Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes and veggies. And then a cheese board….a whole lot of Wii games…and then some homemade sausage rolls and local ice cream. Hello delicious food coma.

And we haven’t even talked Christmas yet! More on that feast next time we meet. Someone get me to the gym.

xo Beth

Glow at Cleveland Botanical Garden

GLOW2

December is flying by, much too fast for my taste. Between work and life, holiday preparations, visitors and visiting – there’s so much to enjoy and what seems like so little time to enjoy it! But as always, I’ve been determined to participate in a few extracurricular Christmas activities before they’re gone for another year.

Like Glow at Cleveland Botanical Garden. I love the garden and try to visit often – especially in the winter. A walk through the warm, outdoorsy interior feels like a nice little vacation from way too much indoor time. I’ve been to fun events such as Cocktails in the Garden and Orchids After Dark but never Glow. So I was happy for the experience this December.

A fun little browse in their lovely gift shop, followed by a long stroll through all sorts of beautifully decorated gingerbread houses and Christmas trees. And finally, a little walk through the greenhouses to see their beautiful poinsettias. So festive, so sparkly :).

GLOW

My favorite, a Victorian Gingerbread. How absolutely lovely is that?

A delightful dinner followed, at Washington Place Bistro’s 2 for $40 Wednesday. Or in our case, 3 for $60 :). It is one impressive special! A shared appetizer and bottle of wine, plus one entree each. I enjoyed my pours of wine with a bowl of Cauliflower Bisque and then Shrimp and Grits. A stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal, perfect for this month of indulgence.

Amidst all the holiday hustle and bustle, the evening was a perfect reminder to occasionally stop and smell the roses (poinsettias), just because. How happy the holidays can be.

xo Beth

Ladies Who Lunch

Nordstrom

It’s Christmas in Cleveland and holiday traditions are in full swing. One of my favorites, Christmas presents shopping with my mum. And not at just any mall, but the extra lovely Beachwood Place. It just seems to sparkle fancy, no? It’s a hike from where I live but we don’t mind, because it makes the day more of an occasion.

Part of our tradition, lunch and perhaps a festive glass of wine at Sixth & Pine in Nordstrom. I love going to Sixth & Pine on a day off from work because for an hour or two I can sit amongst glamorous Ladies Who Lunch, sip Chardonnay and pretend to be one of them. In my dreams.

And of course, the food is delightful. My salad was the daily special, Fresh Berry & Fig Salad with Goat Cheese – organic baby greens and arugula, fresh seasonal berries, dried figs, spiced candied almonds, goat cheese, vanilla bean vinaigrette. Sounds wonderful – and it was as it was – but unfortunately the kitchen forgot the almonds and the figs! Disappointing but they did take it off the bill, so that was something.

Nordstrom2

And of course there is no such thing as a girls’ day out that doesn’t include dessert. A weekly special – chocolate mousse with toffee crumbles, fresh whipped cream and peanut butter caramel sauce. Stop it, really. It was as decadent as you may imagine.

So yes, a fancy little afternoon for a girl usually to be found in yoga pants. I don’t imagine I’ll ever achieve ‘Lady Who Lunches’ status but it’s Christmas and so I believe that sometimes, miracles can happen :).

xo Beth

December Decadence

Steak night2 

In case you hadn’t noticed by today’s 25 degree thermometer reading, Cleveland’s not-so-friendly winter is officially upon us. Which before Christmas, is just fine in my book. Extra cold weather makes warm homes cozier, fire places brighter and bottomless glasses of red wine seem necessary for survival. Days are best spent hibernating – cooking and eating delicious food. Which is exactly what we did this weekend!

On Friday, a late night steak dinner – fillet decked out with a to die for mushroom sherry sauce, which this mushroom aficionado could not. stop. eating. Plus spicy-sweet roast sweet potatoes to really warm our insides. We realized after sitting down to eat that our plates were most definitely missing anything green. But never mind, it was Friday and I think that means vegetables are out and wine is most definitely in :).

Umami Chicken Stew2 

Saturday we enjoyed a fun day out in Ohio City and at the Westside Market, all dressed up and looking lovely for Christmas. We gathered ingredients for that evening’s dinner: Rachael Ray’s Umami Chicken Stew, had a little lunch at Great Lakes (and a Christmas Ale?) and did some present shopping at the Made in the 216 Holiday Shoppe. I loved it! Local gifts are the best gifts, I say.

Later, dinner was delicious – overflowing with all kinds of unique umami flavors. Leftovers are plentiful.

Short ribs2

And finally, a lush Sunday night dinner of Short Ribs and Homemade Dumplings. The short ribs were fall-off-the-fork tender and the dumplings chewy gooey perfection. I could eat a million.

Then we *tried* to make Christmas cookies and I almost made myself cry. Lessons learned include: ‘Quit while you’re ahead’ and ‘Good cooks are not always good bakers’. Oh well – just a little something to keep that foodie ego in check :).

A lovely start to a month of December decadence to come.

xo Beth   

Rachael Ray: The Winner Is…

And the winner is… #6!

Congratulations Sarah @ Cooker Girl. Two complimentary tickets to see Rachael Ray on December 14th and signed WEEK IN A DAY books are all yours. Please email me with your full name and the full name of your guest. And I’ll see you the night of the show!

Thanks to all who entered. For more information, see event info.

xo Beth

Moroccan Meatballs with Eggs: Rachael Ray Ticket Giveaway

Meatballs

How gorgeous is that.

One of many gorgeous recipes to be found in Rachael Ray’s new cookbook, Week in a Day. The book contains more than two hundred recipes that help you prepare five nights’ worth of meals in a single day. A good idea, right? And while flipping through, I could hardly choose which to sample for this post. I see a lot of recipes from this lovely book in our future dinner plans.

Anyway, the recipe was wonderful but I’m sure you don’t care as much about what I ate last night as what you can do in a couple of weeks. Rachael is coming to Cleveland!

Joseph-Beth Booksellers & The Rocky River Public Library present
New York Times Bestselling Author
RACHAEL RAY
And her new cookbook, Week in a Day

Saturday, December 14, 7:00 PM

(Doors open at 6:00 p.m.)
Rocky River High School Auditorium
20951 Detroit Road, Rocky River, Ohio 44116

And I have two tickets and two books to give away to a lucky reader. Three ways to enter:

1. Leave me a comment with your favorite easy weekday dinner.

2. Follow Craveable Cleveland on Twitter and comment letting me know

3. Follow Craveable Cleveland on Instagram and comment letting me know

If you’re already following, you can say so. Leave a separate comment for each entry. Winner will be announced December 6th. Best of luck!

xo Beth

Thank you to Atria Books for the information/invitations. Opinions are of course, all my own.

Pumpkin Pie Pregame

Kokomo

Almost more fun than Thanksgiving day itself, the days that fall just before and after. Skipping out of work early, greeting out of town family and friends as they arrive back home, sharing good meals and lots of laughter over special occasion bottles of wine.

Like Wednesday night’s bottle of Kokomo Pinot Noir, purchased during our May vacation to Sonoma. It was my favorite Pinot of the trip, so I brought a bottle home for my dad on Father’s day. Just as delicious as I could recall! A Pinot that paired nicely with our main, a Lamb Tagine.

Pumpkin pie

And finally, a Thanksgiving Eve pumpkin pie pregame – because there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing (right?). We actually cheated here, although I’m very glad we did. As no one would volunteer to be the maker of this year’s pie, Mr. Heinen’s himself (or maybe one of his baker elves) made this one for us to enjoy at home. And it really was pumpkin pie perfection! We may never go the homemade route again. Which I think is okay because you can’t do it all, all the time now can you?

Brew Kettle

And in case that’s not enough, a ritual post-dinner voyage to The Brew Kettle for a few delicious craft brews and lots of catching up.

Oh the holidays… I love it all.

xo Beth