I haven’t done a restaurant review in a while, which makes me sad because trying out new places is one of my favorite hobbies, if you could call it that. I had seen Alexander Pierce on Yelp for quite some time, but it looked like a fancy place and I felt that I needed a special occasion to go. I decided that my birthday at the beginning of April was the perfect time to go. I made reservations weeks in advance, I would recommend this big time!
When I tell you this place is nice, whoooa it’s nice! Private lounge, live singer, you can even get a membership there. The restaurant entrance is located at the back of the building. When you pull up you don’t even realize it’s a restaurant. Then you see the big iron gate with ‘Alexander’ written on it and the beautiful entrance. We were seated quickly and the server was incredibly nice.
When you come to a restaurant like this you have to go all out and that’s what we did.
The pretzel-crusted fried pepper jack was a special at the time, but if it is on the menu when you go ORDER IT. It’s salty, it’s spicy, and it’s the ultimate savory bite. Do not get me started on this meatball. It’s stuffed with gooey cheese, served with a delicious sauce and toasted bread. It could be a meal itself. I recall saying about 10 times ‘this is the best meatball I’ve ever eaten’. And that’s not hyperbole, I truly believe that it was. Onto the main entree, the ribeye. OH MY GOD. I am a med-rare girl, but at some places you go, that means medium or well. That’s not what I want, no no. Alexander Pierce did this ribeye so right, I can’t even do it justice. I added the peppercorn demi-glace, it did not even need that. The steak was so perfectly done that its juices were the only sauce I needed, that’s how you know a steak is done right.
If you are looking for a fancy night out, friends get together, date night, or whatever it is, please check this place out. I think it should be a staple in Akron dining. You could pick this restaurant up and put it in any big city and it would stand out, but I am happy that it is standing out here in Akron, OH.
Holidays are the time that you get to show off your cooking and baking skills. At least that is how it is for me because I am usually cooking for one. I know I am a few weeks late, but I made this chocolate babka for Easter and I have to say it was an absolute hit. This recipe is from the New York Times Cookbook and makes 2 loaves. It is a long process, so I say get started three days before you want the loaf done. I made the fudge filling and chocolate streusel beforehand and it made the process go a lot smoother. As the New York Times said, read this recipe a few times before committing to making it, you’ll need it.
For the Dough:
1/2 Cup Whole Milk
1 Package Active Dry Yeast
1/3 Cup Sugar + a pinch
4 1/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 TSP Fine Sea Salt
1 TSP Vanilla Extract
1 TSP Grated Lemon Zest
1/2 TSP Freshly Grated Nutmeg
4 Large Eggs, at room temp, lightly beaten
10 TBSP Unsalted Butter, softened
For the Fudge Filling:
1/2 Cup Sugar
3/4 Heavy Crem or Half and Half
6 oz Bittersweet Chocolate (66-74% cocoa), coarsely chopped
8 TSBP Unsalted Butter, diced and softened
2 TSP Vanilla Extract
For Chocolate Streusel
1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
3 TBSP Sugar
1 1/2 TBSP Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/2 TSP Salt
4 1/2 TSBP Unsalted Butter, melted
1/3 Cup Mini Semisweet Chocolate Chips
For the Syrup:
2/3 Cup Sugar
2/3 Cup Water
Let’s Get Baking
Let’s start with the dough. Warm the milk in a small saucepan on the stove until it’s lukewarm. Remove from heat, and add in the yeast + pinch of sugar and let bloom for about 5-10 minutes.
Using a mixer with the dough hook [you can also do this by hand it just takes a bit more time] combine flour + 1/3 cup sugar + salt + vanilla + lemon zest + nutmeg and mix. Slowly add the yeast mixture to the dry ingredients along with the eggs. Beat until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes.
Add in half of the butter and beat until the dough is smooth, add in the rest of the butter and wait until the dough is smooth and stretchy about 5-7 minutes. Add in 1 TBSP of flour if the dough sticks to the sides of the bowl.
Butter a large bowl and form the dough into a ball. Roll the dough around in the buttered bowl so all sides are buttered. Cover with clean dish towel and let the dough rise in a warm place for about 1-2 hours.
Press the dough down and recover, let rise in the friedge over night.
Onto the filling: Combine the sugar + cream + salt in a saucepan over medium heat, bring to a simmer and stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Add in the chocolate + butter + vanilla stirring until the chocolate is smooth. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. This can be made up to a week beforehand.
Onto the streusel: stir together flour + sugar + cocoa powder + salt in a bowl. Stir in melted butter until it is distributed and the streusel forms large crumbs. Stir in the chocolate chips. This can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in the fridge.
To make the syrup: combine sugar & water into a small saucepan. Simmer over MED heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat.
Butter 2 9-inch loaf pans and line with parchment paper
Remove the dough from the fridge and divide it in half. On a floured surface, roll one piece into a 9×17 inch rectangle. Spread with half the filling all over. Starting with the long side, roll up into a tight roll, transfer to a dish towel, and place in the freezer for 10 minutes. Do the same with the other piece of dough.
After the 10 minutes, slice the rolls length-wise in half and twist the halves together as you were braiding them. Fold the braid in half and place it in one of the prepared pans. Repeat with the other dough. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let rise in the fridge overnight.
When it’s finally the day to bake remove the dough from the fridge and let it come to room temp. Preheat the oven to 350F.
Using your hands, clump the streusel together and scatter along the bread. Bake the bread for 40-50 minutes, until a tester comes out clean with no dough.
As soon as the bread comes out, pierce it with a knife going all the way down to the bottom of the bread. Pour over the syrup. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool before serving.
Serve and share with family and friends. Baked with Love,
There’s nothing more magical than homemade sauce and pasta. I got a pasta maker for Christmas and I have loved using it. There’s something about knowing all the ingredients that go into your meal. The pasta recipe is from Love & Lemons the Bolognese comes from Pasta Evangelist, I tweaked it a little as I found it worked better for me personally.
1 Cup Semolina Flour
1 Cup All Purpose Flour [if no semolina just do 2 cups APF]
3 Large Eggs
1/2 TSP Sea Salt
1/2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Small Onion, diced
2 Garlic Cloves, peeled and crushed
1 Large Carrot, diced
1-2 Celery Stalks, diced
300g Ground Beef [about 1lb]
2 1/2 TBSP Red Wine
1 14oz Can Diced Tomatoes
1 Cup Tomato Sauce
1/4 Cup Pasta Water
Salt & Pepper
Let’s Get Cooking
You’re going to start by making the homemade pasta first. I made the dough in the mixer, I found that it came out a lot smoother than doing it by hand. You can still do it by hand if you prefer of course.
Combine eggs + oil + salt + flour into the mixer and mix on low until combined into a shaggy ball. Flour the counter and knead the dough for about 8-10 minutes. If it’s sticky, add flour while kneading. It should turn into a smooth ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest at room temp for about 30 minutes.
Using a pasta maker, or rolling pin, roll out your pasta into thin sheets and cut based on your preferred pasta shape.
Onto the bolognese.
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Once the oil is hot, add in the onions until soft. Add in the crushed garlic and cook until fragrant, turn down the heat to MED-LOW so you do not burn the garlic. Add in celery + carrots until soft.
Add in the ground beef, making sure to break it up with a wooden spoon. Make sure there is no pink left in the meat.
Add in the red wine + diced tomatoes + tomato sauce + salt + pepper. Cover and simmer on MED-LOW for about 40 minutes.
In a separate pot, bring salted water to boil. Cook your homemade pasta for about 3-4 minutes, the noodles will begin to float up to the top. Add in the reserved pasta water to your bolognese. Drain the noodles after cooking but do not rinse. Immediately add to the bolognese sauce. Let cook together for another 5-10 minutes.
I feel that people are very split on the best part of chicken pot pie, the crust or the filling. Crust people, don’t get mad at me, but we are focusing on filling today. This soup is all about the creamy savory goodness that is the filling of a chicken pot pie. The next time you are needing a big bowl of comfort try out this recipe from Iowa Girl Eats.
4 TBSP Butter
1 Cup Carrots, sliced
4oz Mushrooms, sliced
1 large Celery Stalks, thinly sliced
1 Large Shallot, chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, smashed and minced
1 TSP Poultry Seasoning
Pinch of Thyme
Salt & Pepper
3 TBSP Flour
2 Cups Chicken Stock/Broth
1 Cup Milk
12 oz Package of Gnocci
1-1/2 Cups Shredded Chicken Breast, precooked [I used a rotisserie chicken]
1/2 Cup Frozen Peas
Let’s Get Cooking
In a large pot, melt the butter over MED-HIGH heat. Once the butter is melted add in the carrots + mushrooms + celery + shallots. Saute the vegetables for about 3-4 minutes. Add in the salt + pepper and turn down the head to MED-LOW, cook for an additional 6-7 minutes.
Add in garlic + poultry seasoning + thyme. Saute for about 1-2 minutes or until you can smell the garlic. Add in the flour and stir the vegetables to coat. Slowly add in the chicken broth, stir while pouring so there are no lumps. Slowly add in the milk as well and turn up to MED-HIGH heat. Bring to a gentle boil, add in the gnocchi, and stir. Let cook for about 5-6 minutes.
Stir in the cooked & shredded chicken + peas. Add in any additional salt & pepper to taste.
I love a charcuterie board and trying out new and interesting cheeses. Recently, I came across this Tequila Habanero Cheese from DeerCreek called The Rattlesnake. So obviously I had to try it out. It’s a delicious and creamy sharp cheddar with a kick of habanero. It’s definitely hot, but it has an amazing flavor. With a cheese this amazing I had to try and incorporate it into other dishes, so obviously I made mac & cheese. It’s spicy, it’s creamy, and it’s definitely cheesy.
1 Clove Garlic, finely diced
1 1/2 TBSP Butter
1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
3/4 Cup Milk
2 TBSP Flour
5 TBSP Cream Cheese
1 1/2 Cup Rattlesnake Cheese
1 Cup Sharp Cheddar + more for on top
8 oz Macaroni Noodles
2 32 oz Chicken Broth
Let’s Get Cooking
Bring the chicken broth to boil and cook the macaroni noodles per box instructions. Strain and put to the side.
Preheat the oven to 425 F
In a large pot, on MED HIGH melt the butter and add in the garlic. Add in the flour and stir well, making sure all the flour is coated. Turn the heat down to LOW and slowly add in the heavy cream + milk, stirring as you pour in. Add in the cream cheese + rattlesnake + cheddar [save some for on top].
Stir to make sure all the cheese melts. Once all the cheese is melted, add in the cooked and strained noodles. Stir to combine.
Pour the mac and cheese into a non stick pan and top with the extra cheddar cheese.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top.
As we’ve seen from my recent postings, I’ve been wanting to put Kimchi in just about everything I can. I’m late to the party in being obsessed with it I know. But it’s packed with such good probiotics, and as a girl with gut issues, how can I not love it. I love using burgers as a medium to fuse different cuisines together, it’s the perfect mix of silky egg, and spicy kimchi.
4 Burger Buns
1 LB Ground Beef
4 Eggs, Fried
4 Slices Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 Cup Kimchi, split amongst the 4 burgers
Salt & Pepper
Let’s Get Cooking
To make your burger, grab a slice of cheese and place it in the middle of the ground beef, form the burger around the cheese. Place on a plate once formed and season both sides with salt and pepper.
Cook your burgers to your liking, I go med-rare so about 6/7 minutes each side. While the burgers are cooking, grab a small frying pan and fry up the eggs in a small amount of oil. Once done, remove from the pan and place on a paper towel.
To build the burger start with the bottom bun, lettuce, burger, kimchi, fried egg, then top bun.
I’ve been wanting to make this recipe for a little while and I finally had all the ingredients in my pantry this week. This pasta dish is incredibly simple, focusing on the two stars of the show, cheese and pepper. I followed Bon Appetit’s recipe for this dish.
6 oz Pasta, your choice
3/4 Cup Pasta Water
3 TBSP Unsalted Butter, cubed, divided
1 TSP Fresh Cracked Pepper
3/4 Cup Grated Parmesan
1/3 Cup Grated Pecorino
Lets Get Cooking
Bring water to a boil and season with salt. Cook the pasta per package instructions, making sure it’s just to al dente. Reserve 3/4 cup pasta water.
In a large skillet melt 2 TBSP butter. Add in the pepper and lightly toast for about 1 minute.
Add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Add in cooked pasta + remaining butter.
Reduce heat to low and add in the cheeses until they melt. Add in the extra pasta water if the sauce seems dry.
We all know that I love Brad Leone, my sourdough starter is named after him. I got his new cookbook for Christmas and was excited to see that he shared his sourdough recipe. Brad’s recipe is completely different from Claire Saffitz recipe that I had been using from the New York Times. Brad’s recipe incorporates olive oil which brings out a fatty flavor that I love in the bread. Brad also doesn’t require you to knead the dough for 20 minutes, which my arms appreciate. If you’re making bread at all it’s increcibly important to have a kitchen scale.
You need a total of 1000g of flour, it can be of different types, but Brad notes it also can be 1000g of all the same
700 g Bread Flour
150g Rye Flour [I used whole wheat]
150 Fine Italian Flour/type “00” [ I just used the bread flour again]
750g Filtered, Room Temp Water
15g Fine Salt
30g Extra-Virgin Olive Oil [I had a little fun here and used my herbs de provence oil]
150g Active Starter, fed the night before
Lets Get Cooking
Sift the flours together into a large bowl and mix in the water. You want the flours to autolyze which will help build up the gluten development. Make sure there is no dry flour left in the bowl. Cover and let sit for at least 30 minutes, you can let it sit for longer.
Once you’re done letting the flours autolyze, add salt + oil + starter to the flour mixture. Using your hands, knead the mixture into a smooth uniform ball. You can knead by gently pulling the dough and folding it over itself, or whatever kneading method works for you. Once you get the dough how you like it, place it back in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. This will begin the fermenting process. Be sure to leave the dough at room temperature.
Here’s the part where you need to watch.
Every 60 minutes during the fermenting process you’re going to have to ‘turn’ the dough. This is done by wetting your hands and pulling up a side of the dough and folding it over itself. Turn 90 degrees and complete these ‘turns’ on all 4 sides. After each turn, cover again and let the dough rest. Depending on how your dough is fermenting you may do 3 turns, you may do 6. Once you’ve noticed that the dough has about doubled in size in the bowl and has a light and airy texture.
Once your fermentation is done it’s time to shape and bake! Flour a surface and let the dough fall out. Cut the dough in half if you are making bread, if you are making pizza dough, cut it into 4 equal pieces. With a bench scraper, slide it under the dough and turn, making it into a ball almost. Have floured bowls ready to place the shaped dough back into it and cover. Flip the dough into the floured bowl so that the bottom of the loaf is facing up. You can refrigerate for a day, which I recommend. Or you can bake that day.
Preheat the oven to 500F and place the dutch oven with the lid on into the oven. Gently flip out the dough onto a floured piece of parchment paper. Cut the top of the dough so it can release steam while baking. Place the dough/parchment into the dutch oven, cover, lower the temp to 460F and bake for about 20-25 minutes. Remove the lid and then let bake for another 45 minutes.
Ever since I’ve had Antoni’s cookbook I’ve wanted to make these dates. I never knew the right time. I just moved into my own apartment and I thought, YES, I CAN MAKE THOSE DATES FOR A HOUSE WARMING PARTY. I know, what a necessary thing to think about when you are moving. Though my housewarming party got canceled due to weather, I still made these dates and enjoyed them on the couch. Antoni’s right, it really is the perfect bite. Salty, sweet, savory, and a multitude of textures as well. See if you agree.
24 Medjool Dates, pitted
1/4 lb Thinly Sliced Proscuitto
3 oz Blue Cheese
24 Roasted Salted Almonds, preferably Marcona
Let’s Get Cooking
Preheat the oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. [ I didn’t have a baking sheet yet so I used a muffin tin & that worked too].
Tear the pieces of Proscuitto lengthwise to get about 24 strips
Cut the dates along the side and stuff with about 1/2 tsp blue cheese and one almond. Gently close the date and wrap with Proscuitto. Place on baking sheet cut side up so the cheese does not melt out.
Bake for about 7-10 minutes until the cheese is bubbling. Let sit for a little before eating, it will be difficult to wait but you don’t want to burn your mouth.
Poke bowls have been my recent food obsession, mostly because I can have a heaping helping of kimchi with it. Poke, which means to cut, is a native Hawaiian dish. You can make it with a variety of different fishes, vegetables, and fats. This has been a favorite lunch/dinner of mine that is easy to throw together. You can get sushi-grade tuna from your local fish monger or you can get frozen tuna and thaw it in a bowl of water in the fridge.
1/2 Cup Sushi Rice/ whatever rice you have
1 piece Frozen/Fresh Tuna, cut into bite sized pieces. I’ve also used canned tuna and salmon
2 TBSP Rice Wine Vinegar
1/2 TSP Ground Ginger
1/2 Avocado, diced
1 TBSP Cream Cheese (I like it for that extra tang)