Saturday, August 5, 2017

Super-easy, Tasty Sautéed Garlicky Broccoli Recipe

This tasty broccoli recipe is really easy to make. You could also modify it by adding any desired spice to add more flavor. I found it at: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/december-2007-garlicky-sauteed-broccoli

Ingredients

- 1 1/2 pounds broccoli, cut into 1-inch florets (I only used 1 lb)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- salt
- water
- crushed red pepper (optional)

Directions

1. Put 1/2 inch of water in a large skillet and bring to a boil. Add broccoli and boil just until bright green, about 4 minutes. Drain well and wipe skillet dry.  (I avoided having to dry the skillet by pouring the broccoli into a colander to drain. The hot skillet immediately dried itself.)

2. Add olive oil and garlic to skillet and cook over moderately high heat just until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add broccoli, season with salt and cook, tossing occasionally until crisp-tender - about 3 minutes. Season with crushed red pepper and serve.


Friday, August 4, 2017

Darwin Evolutionary Cuisine - Wonderful

Darwin Santa Maria is a renowned Sarasota chef who's been involved in a number of Sarasota culinary endeavors. We've always loved his food and were anxious to try his latest - Darwin Evolutionary Cuisine. As always, he did not disappoint.

My wife and I both started with the Chilled Mango Gazpacho for $6. It was the most wonderful gazpacho I've ever had- richly flavorful. Every spoonful was wonderful. The gazpacho alone would be enough to lure me back.

My wife's entree was Entraña - grilled skirt steak, roasted sweet plantain, salsa beef criolla, and chimichurri sauce for $26. She is addicted to Darwin's skirt steak at whatever restaurant he operates. She keeps vowing to try something else, but can't pass up the skirt steak.

I had Andino Pesto Coated Lamb Chops with lentil stew, grilled asparagus, and roasted tomatoes for $38. The lamb was superb - tasty and perfectly cooked.

Our wine was a bottle of Pico Maccario Barbera d'Asti - a red from the Piedmont Region in northwest Italy for $34. It was very nice.

They did not have quite enough staff, so the service was a bit slow. There was also one diner who had no volume control.

The restaurant is located in the strip mall just south of Trader Joe's. almost next to the wonderful Peperonata Pasta empanada shop.

We highly recommend Darwin's latest.

Automobile Remote Key/Key Fob Battery Replacement - Be Alert

If the battery-operated key fob/remote key for your vehicle shows any sign of weakening, REPLACE IMMEDIATELY. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a situation where you can't open your car door or start your vehicle. Fortunately, many batteries are easy and inexpensive to replace. Signs of weakening are:
1. You have to be closer to the a trunk or hatchback to open it.
2. The key battery warning light is lit on your dashboard. (This does not always happen.)
3. The vehicle will not start when the key fob is in a place where it's always worked - like a pants pocket.

I had two recent personal experiences and witnessed another. In one case, the trunk seemed to open more slowly and I had to be closer. Also, the battery would suddenly not work when the battery was in my pants pocket. I had to take it out. The next day, the battery died completely. Fortunately, it happened at home. In the second case, the dashboard key battery warning light came on. The next day that battery died.

Fortunately, I found on-line videos that showed how to replace each battery. The owner's manual of one vehicle also described how to replace the key. However, it was not as clear as the video. Both replacements only took a couple of minutes. One battery was very common. The second battery was a little harder to find, but I located one at Walgreen's. One of the batteries was four years old and the other was only two years old.

As a precaution, you could replace the battery every two years.

The key fob for a previous vehicle had a battery that could not be replaced. One had to buy a brand new key for nearly $200. Luckily, that battery lasted the four years I owned the vehicle.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Armand's Place French Tavern, Sarasota - Must Try

In recent weeks, I've been remiss in posting about our great restaurant experiences because I've been tied up in the publication of my novel, Team Triad. However, I have to write about the great lunch we had today at Armand's Place (http://armandsplace.com/) on St. Armand's Circle in Sarasota. Our meal was terrific. It is authentic and offers a selection of dishes that is different than other Sarasota French restaurants. The owner/chef Alexandre, a recent Parisian arrival, is warm, friendly, and talented.

My wife and I both had the three-course "Light Menu" which offers an appetizer, entrée and dessert for $19. There is an extra $2 charge for certain appetizers and desserts. There is a nice number of selections for each course. There is also a two-course "Light Menu" for $16. There are also many à la carte choices.

My wife and I both had the pâté et cornichons appetizer (country pâté, French pickles, and baguette slices). This was one of the extra charge appetizers. It was superb.

My wife's main course was Crepe Strasbourg - with cheese, fried egg, and sausage. Mine was the Crepe Bordeaux - with cheese, fried egg, ground lamb, and mushrooms. Both crepes were terrific.

We both had the same dessert - Crepe Sucre Citron - lemon and sugar crepe. They were delicious.

My wife's drink was a Raspberry Bellini - raspberry purée and champagne - $7.50.

I had two different glasses of wine. The first was a 2010 Chateau le Monge Côtes de Bourg for $8. It was past its prime. The second was a 2015 Raymond Fabre Côtes du Rhône for $8. It was very tasty.

The decor of Armand's Place is light and airy.

Alexandre kindly spoke French slowly and clearly to me so I could practice my French.

If we lived closer to Armand's Place, I could easily become addicted.

Monday, April 17, 2017

One Fix When HP All-in-One Printer Prints, But Won't Copy or Scan

My current current all-in-one printer is an HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus and my previous one was an HP Officejet J6400. Each experienced with scanning and copying, but had no problem with printing. The symptoms were different, but the solution was the same and very easy - clean the glass properly.

The glass may appear to be clean at first glance, but it may be just clouded enough to keep the scanner from aligning properly. The copies and scans I was making just prior to the problem all appeared to be fine.

The symptom with the J6400 was a horrible grinding noise  from the alignment bar. With the 8600, there was no such noise. Instead, I received various error messages, none of which suggested the problem. The messages said things like, "Scan, copy, and fax failed;" and "Can't communicate with printer."

With the J6400, it was the underside of the glass that was dirty. I was very fortunate to find an on-line explanation (by a user, not by HP) on how to access the underside of the glass.

With the 8600, it was the top of the glass that was causing the problem.

There are on-line videos that explain how to clean the glass. It is very important to use glass cleaner or water. It is also important to apply the cleaner to a lint-free cloth, not directly to the glass.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Rick's French Bistro, Sarasota - Magnifique!

Last night, we enjoyed a terrific dinner with friends at Rick's French Bistro (http://www.ricksfrenchbistro.com/) in Sarasota.We are grateful to our friends for suggesting this terrific restaurant. Every bite was wonderful.

My wife and I share an appetizer of Cognac Country Pâté (Pâté de Campagne au Cognac) for $10.95. It was wonderful.

For her main course, my wife enjoyed Grilled Lamb Chops with Provençal Herbs (Cotes d'Agneau aux Fines Herbes de Provence) for $27.50. They were perfect.

My main course was Chef Michele's Duck Cassoulet (Le Canard du Chef Michele) with sausage, white beans, onions, cognac, and white wine sauce for $30.50. It was magnificent!!!!!

For dessert, my wife had chocolate mousse for $7 and I had Crêpes à l'Orange for $7.50. Both were delicious.

Our wine was a nice Paul Bouchard Côtes du Rhône for $33.95.

As is often the case with bistros, the menu and wine list are relatively short, but they cover a variety of types.

The owners of Rick's are Michele and Richard who are from Amiens, north of Paris. Michele is the chef.

Rick's is very popular, so reservations are very important.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Island Grill and Raw Bar, St. Petersburg - a Delightful Lunch

Yesterday, my wife and I joined friends for lunch at Island Grill and Raw Bar (http://www.islandrawbar.com/) in St. Petersburg. It was a pleasant way to spend an early afternoon. 

We both had lobster sliders, which came with three sliders and a side for $17. The sliders were filled with delicious lobster meat, and the fries we had were very tasty. I also had a cup of the lobster bisque for $5. It was a bit on the sweet side, but was tasty. 

My wife had a mango rum punch for $9. She wasn't crazy about it. I had a glass of the Banfi Centine rosé for $7.50. It went perfectly with the lobster.

The sides of the restaurant were open and a nice breeze kept us comfortable.

Our server, Scott, was terrific.

The restaurant web site lists its city location as Tierra Verde, but our navigation system would only recognize St. Petersburg.