Wednesday, August 8, 2012

August travels

Not much cooking lately... we've been too busy traveling the countryside of Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota, quaffing local brews and good food.

We ate at The Happy Gnome and The Muddy Pig, and there were others we missed, but these two really impressed, both in food and craft brew on tap. (Sweet corn bisque! Feta and olive tapenade bruschetta! Falling-off-the-bone pork ribs!!) I'm not sure what caused the plethora of interesting restaurant names, but most were in this Summit Hill area, which was very cute and included Northern Brewer.



We took the Great River Road most of the way back, and saw some great towns. McGregor, Iowa? Alma, Wis.? Shops, breweries, places to eat, great views. We'll be back, folks. No doubt about it.




The views from Route 52 northwest of Dubuque were also stunning. Rickardsville, Iowa – which boasts a population of 180-plus, about the size of the town nearest where I grew up – has the best views per capita of just about anywhere I've seen in Iowa.




And I would LOVE to show you the view, but my camera cord is hiding. No doubt in plain sight. Anyway, picture rolling green hills, sun shadows on valleys with farms tucked here and there, miniscule herds of cattle and a general sense of peace on the breeze. Is this heaven? Nope, still Iowa.



Anyway... in other news, we got home and life continued as per usual. I made a killer chicken tomato dish this past weekend, to reintroduce homemade food into the diet. I guess I could throw down the recipe while I'm here... :) We are overrun with tomatoes here, so thus, a tomato dish!




Killer Tomato Chicken with Pasta

Mince three cloves garlic and saute in 2 T olive oil. Add six small tomatoes, diced; one cooked chicken breast, diced; and 1/2 cup black olives, sliced in half. Add 1/2 cup of white wine, 3 cups water, 2 chicken boullion cubes, 1/2 t. Italian seasoning, 1/2 t. Greek seasoning (all the countries!) salt and pepper. Turn to low, and let simmer a half hour. Turn to high and bring to a boil. Add 1 cup of orzo pasta, and boil about 9 minutes. Serve over torn pieces of crusty bread in shallow bowls with a side of steamed green beans. Yum!





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