Red Robin's Birthday Burger

I'm a big fan of the Teriyaki Chicken Burger at Red Robin. So a little over a year ago, I was happy to learn that when you sign up for their eClub you get a free birthday burger - whatever burger you want - vaild a week before to a week after your birthday.

Since the closest Red Robin to my house is about 25 minutes away, it seems like the only time I get to eat their Teriyaki Chicken Burger - but I'm not the only one!


Recipe: Seared Lamb Double Chops with Gruyere Gratin, Green Beans & Balsamic Reduction

  • 3 T. evoo
  • 1 half rack of lamb (8 ribs)
  • 2 T. rosemary, chopped to dust
  • 1/2 T. thyme leaves, chopped to dust
  • 2 T. parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 c. heavy creme
  • 2 T. unsalted butter, brunoise
  • 3 russet potatoes
  • 3 oz. gruyere
  • 1 T. parmesan
  • 2 small handfuls of green beans
  • 2 T. unsalted butter
  • 2 T. shallots, brunoise
  • 1 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T. honey
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2. In a small bread pan, cover pan with foil, fold over sides of pan. Spray foil with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. Pour crème into small bowl and set aside. Cut up butter into ‘pea’ size pieces and set aside. Peel potatoes and place in large bowl filled with water. Put mandoline on thinnest setting possible and lay over crème filled bowl. Remove 1 potato at a time from the water bowl and slice potato through mandoline into crème. Carefully flip slices in bowl around to make sure each is coated with crème. Place gratin dish in front of you and make the first layer of potato overlapping each piece by half, from left to right, then a second layer with top to bottom. Sprinkle lightly with pepper, salt, 3 pieces of butter and using a zester, cover layer of potatoes with about 1 T. gruyere. Continue layers of potatoes. Use a zester to finish on top with a parmesan-gruyere mixture. Place gratin dish on a sided cookie sheet and place in oven to bake for 30-45 minutes. If gratin becomes too dark for you, cover with foil. To check doneness: Remove from oven and run butter knife through center of gratin; if it slips through with little to no resistance, gratin is ready. When done, remove from oven, and let cool about 15 minutes.
    3. Bring a pot to a boil, add 2 T. salt. Drop in green beans to blanch. In a saute pan, add butter until golden brown, add shallots and saute until translucent. Add green beans, toss to coat and remove from heat.
    4. Add balsamic to a small pot and bring to a boil. Whisk in honey and let reduce by 3/4. Balsamic will turn into a thick (and very yummy and sweet) syrup.
    5. Cut lamb rack in half, place in bowl with rosemary, thyme, evoo and toss to coat. Place rack on roasting rack in cookie sheet with tenderloin down and rack up and place in oven to bake for 10-15 minutes (rare); 15-20 minutes (medium); 20-25 minutes (well). Remove from heat and let rest at least 1/3 of the cooking time.

    To Serve: Place gratin in center right of plate, lamb rack in center left and green beans in between to enjoy. Drizzle balsamic reduction around edges of plate to enjoy. Garnish with 1 sprig of rosemary laid on top of gratin or stuck in green beans to enjoy.


    Recipe: 5-Spice Seared Scallops with Garlicky Broccolini, Golden Raisins & Pine Nuts with Pan Sauce

    I went to dinner at Ceiba with my husband and some of his friends from out of town. I was in a bad mood when I arrived because I was about an hour late (attempting to drive from Potomac, MD to 14th and F at 5:45pm on a Tuesday), not to mention arriving to find that it was an all male dinner and they politely waited for my arrival. I felt terribly guilty. But all my paranoia and frustration went away when I saw the combination of seared scallops, 5-spice, Broccolini and golden raisins. It was a mood lifter and hopefully when I make my 5-Spice Seared Scallops with Garlicky Broccolini, Golden Raisin & Pine Nut Saute with Pan Sauce for my clients – it gives them a little positive breeze as well.
    On a side note: Ceiba has really great (and most importantly FRESH) Ceviche – it is only number two in my mind to Zengo – which is more interesting in flavors (due to their Asian-Latin fusion thingy). If you like Ceviche or if you have been scared to eat raw fish cooked with citrus juices – these are the two places to ensure a delicious and safe meal.
    5-Spice Seared Scallops with Garlicky Broccolini, Golden Raisin & Pine Nuts Saute with Pan Sauce
    (serves 2)
    • 10 Sea Scallops, fresh with muscles still on the side
    • 4 T. 5-Spice
    • 4 T. unsalted butter
    • 2 T. canola oil
    • 5 gloves of garlic, roughly chopped (or subsitute spanish onions if you don't like garlic - as pictured above)
    • 1 bunch of Broccolini
    • 1/4-1/2 c. golden raisins
    • 1 c. chicken stock
    • 1/4 c. pine nuts
    • salt and pepper to taste.
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, place pine nuts on cookie sheet, spread them out and place in oven (middle rack or place them as close to the middle as possible)to bake for 5-10 minutes (depends on your oven) until toasted and golden brown. Make sure to remove them from the cookie sheet when golden brown and set them aside.
    2. Bring a medium pot to a boil and add 1 T. salt. Cut the rubber bands from the Broccolini and drop them in the boiling water to boil for at least 1 minute until they are bright green and the stalks are partially cooked through. Strain from the water and plunge the Broccolini into an ice bath until cooked, then remove and set aside.
    3. Place the scallops in a bowl, remove the side muscle and sprinkle over salt, pepper, 5-spice, toss to coat. Heat a saute pan to high heat until almost smoking, drop in 2 T. butter and 2 T. canola oil until melted and crackling, carefully drop in scallops and sear until golden brown and caramelized (do not touch once you place them in the pan - let them caramelize!) about 2 minutes, then flip and caramelize/sear the remaining side (about 2 minutes). Remove saute pan from heat and take out scallops from the pan and place on cookie sheet, cover with foil to keep warm.
    4. Using the same pan (as long as you didn't burn it up), add 2 T. butter and swirl the butter around to deglaze the pan a little, add the garlic, saute until starting to turn golden brown, add chicken stock, raisins, pine nuts to deglaze pan, while cooking the garlic through. Reduce the sauce by half, add salt, pepper and the broccolini to warm it (about 1-2 minutes), tossing it gently in the sauce.
    To Serve: Using tongs, place broccoli in center of plate, vertically from top to bottom. Top with scallops in a line, vertically on top. Spoon garlic, raisin, pan sauce mixture over and around scallops to enjoy.
    Want to add some spice? Add some chopped red thai chiles when you cook the garlic - it'll pack a punch!


    Amazon Giving Peapod Some Competition

    Just an FYI that Amazon is now offering online grocery shopping, giving peapod a little competition.

    Amazon is even running a deal when you spend $49 or more, enter GROCERY2 at check out and you’ll receive $10 off your order. Just remember to be tricky and work the system. Be sure to only buy $49 worth of stuff at a time, then if you have more to buy, start a new order.

    Each order will then be $39 and there is free shipping on every grocery order. There is no limit to the amount of times you can use the coupon so Go grocery shopping at Amazon here!


    Recipe: Aromatic Seared Tuna with Green Beans, Zucchini Pancakes & Mustard Pan Sauce

    One of my more popular summer-time dishes I offer to clients is my Aromatic Tuna with Green Beans, zucchini pancakes with mustard pan sauce. My clients seem to really enjoy the simplicity of this dish. By showcasing fresh, high quality ingredients you can’t go wrong. And it doesn’t hurt that this is definetly a less than 30 minute meal preparation.

    Aromatic Tuna with Zucchini Pancakes, Green Beans & Mustard Pan Sauce
    (serves 2)

    • 1 lb. center cut tuna
    • zest of 1 lemon
    • 3 T. finely chopped rosemary (almost like dust)
    • 1 egg
    • 3 T. APF
    • 1 small zucchini, brunoise
    • 2-3 T. of crème, stock or water
    • 1 handful of green beans
    • 2 T. unsalted butter
    • 2 T. mustard (grainy dijon is good)
    • 1 c. chicken stock
    • 1 T. unsalted butter
    1. Combine the lemon zest, rosemary and 3-5 T. canola oil in a bowl, set aside.
    2. Remove the chain along the tuna center cut. Cutting away the ‘fatty, light pink’ portion and leaving about a 4 inch thick and 7 inch long piece of tuna tenderloin. Cut it in half, evenly, making 2 equal pieces (each piece as close to a perfect square as possible). Place each piece the lemon-rosemary-canola oil mixture, toss to coat and let sit.
    3. In a medium bowl combine the egg, flour, zucchini, crème (or stock, water, e.g.), whisk together and salt and pepper to taste. It should be a slightly thick pancake-like batter. If not, adjust with more/less water or flour. Heat a saute pan on high, add 5-6 T. canola oil and let it get hot, using a ladle (just like pancakes), pour out some zucchini pancakes and let fry until golden brown. Using a spatula, carefully flip them over and fry other side until golden brown. Remove from saute pan and place on paper towels to absorb the excess oil. If you don’t think the pancakes are cooked all the way through, just microwave them for a minute or two or place them in the oven at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes until cooked through.
    4. Bring a small pot filled with water to a boil. Add 1 T. salt. Drop in green beans and let boil until they turn bring green and are partially cooked through (about 2 minutes). Strain water and beans from pot and place beans back in pot with 2 T. butter, remove from heat and let sit aside.
    5. Pour out the remaining oil in your zucchini pancake saute pan and place back on the heat on high. Let pan get very hot, almost smoking. Grab your tuna, dust with salt and pepper and gently toss it in the canola oil-rosemary-lemon zest mixture. Shake them a bit to rid of excess oil, then place in saute pan and sear for 15 seconds, then using a fish spatula, carefully flip in pan and continue to sear all remaining sides in 15 second intervals. If pan starts to get too dark and look like it is going to burn up the ‘goodies’ falling of the tuna while searing, turn the pan down to medium heat. Once both steaks are seared, let them rest on a cookie rack on a cookie sheet.
    6. Keep using the same saute pan (only if the pan doesn’t have burnt stuff in it), and turn the heat down to medium high (if you haven’t already), pour in the stock and allow it to reduce by half. Whisk in the mustard and allow to continue to reduce until there is only about ¼ cup in the pan. Remove it from the heat, whisk in the remaining 2 T. of butter until dissolved.

    To serve: Warm the green beans in the pot with the butter, salt and pepper to taste. Place (1-2) zucchini pancakes in center left of the plate, 1 piled on the other, yet slightly the top slightly off center. Place the tuna in the center right of the plate, next the to pancakes. Place the green beans vertically in the center of the plate, in between the tuna and the pancakes. Drizzle the mustard pan sauce over and around the tuna to enjoy.


    Restaurant Review: Burger Bar at Mandalay Bay (Las Vegas)

    Just returned from Las Vegas enjoying the sites, sounds and the fabulous ‘non-humid’ heat of 107 degrees. It was great. I ate my way around the strip and had a delicious uber-bling-Vegas burger at Burger Bar at Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino.

    Burger Bar is a build your own burger place, but with gourmet items. Therefore I had a...

    ...kobe beef burger on an onion roll with roasted asparagus, gruyere cheese, red wine reduction and caramelized shallots sauce, sautéed oyster mushrooms and of course...seared foie gras.

    Although the burger was around $45 - it was awesome! And I even passed on the shaved truffle for an upcharge of $30.

    I love Vegas - where else can you can get truffles, foie gras and american style kobe beef on your burger? Vegas baby - yeah!