Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pittsburgh Farm to Table Conference March 23-24 (Plus Ticket Giveaway)

This is so exciting!

The sixth annual Farm to Table Conference will be held Friday and Saturday, March 23 and 24, 2012, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.  The conference will feature live cooking demos by chefs and dietitians, talks on such topics as nutrition, humane treatment of animals, and gardening, kid-friendly activities, and exhibitions by local farms, creameries, wineries, and more.  There will also be a breakfast event on Saturday morning and a food tasting on Friday night featuring some of my personal favorites (Franktuary and Olio Fresca Olive Oil) as well as other vendors whose products I'm very excited to try (E², North Country Brewing Company, Pretzel Crazy, and more).

If you are interested in the Friday night food tasting event which takes place 5:00-8:00 pm, I have a pair of tickets to give away (a $50 value)!  To enter, do one or more of the following:

Method #1...Post the following to Twitter:
Check out the @FTT_Pittsburgh Farm to Table Conference Mar 23-24: #FTTpgh (via @foodcollage)
Note: You must mention @foodcollage in your tweet so that I am notified of your entry. Also, if you have a private Twitter account and I'm not following you, you must email me to let me know you've tweeted or there is no way for me to know about your entry!

Method #2...Post the following link to your Facebook page and encourage your friends to check it out:
Note: You must email me to let me know you've posted this link to your Facebook page or there is no way for me to know about your entry!

Method #3...Send an email to your Pittsburgh friends with the following link and encourage them to check it out: 
Note: You must include my email address in your list of recipients or there is no way for me to know about your entry!

Only one entry per method but multiple entries are allowed if you do more than one of the above.  For example, if you tweet the same message twice, that counts as only one entry, but if you post to both Twitter and Facebook, you get two entries.  Doing all three will get you three entries!

The deadline to enter the ticket giveaway is 5:00 pm on Friday, March 16. A random drawing will be conducted and the winner will be announced by Sunday, March 18.

Tickets for all conference events are available here.  Teachers get a free registration to the conference and are eligible to earn Act 48 credits.

Support your local businesses and consider attending this conference!

UPDATE (3/17/2012):  A random number was generated using to select the winner.  Congratulations to Twitter user @Kg244403 on winning the tickets!  And thanks to everyone who entered!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Heartfelt Reflections on Year One

I am in a particularly reflective mood.

It was a year ago today that I started this blog.  I had been itching to get back into food blogging after my move to Pittsburgh just six months prior, and I figured a photo-centric blog would also be a great excuse to practice my quickly-deteriorating photography skills.  So I took the plunge, bought a domain name, and started plugging away.  I was skeptical about my ability to keep up with my blog, as I am a pretty busy person generally with a busy full time job and hobbies other than eating and blogging (believe it or not!).  But when I'm home at night winding down for bed, I open my browser, and I play with pictures and I write.  And there is just something about writing - and writing about things you love - that is so soothing and peaceful.  I used to work, work, work, all the time - and don't get me wrong, I love my work - but blogging has given me some sense of balance in my life. It's been one of the reasons that has kept me going.

I often stress that I am no food expert or critic.  I'm just an average girl exploring her new hometown through its food scene and learning to cook one simple meal at a time.  And I am humbled by all that I have had the opportunity to learn in the past year.  I learned that not all eggplant, beer, and coffee are evil. ;)  I explored new areas of town I had never been through its food offerings.  I learned to grow my own herbs and experiment with homemade ice cream flavors.  I learned to cook with ingredients I had never cooked with before.  I tried new foods like epazote and pandan ice cream.  I learned to eat deep fried shrimp heads, eyeballs and all.  I learned new photography tricks (mostly from the Taylor Takes a Taste blog) and taught myself Adobe Lightroom, and in the process have seen improvements in my photography.  There is still much more to learn, but through the first year of this blog, I felt like I have already expanded my horizons in a number of ways.

But mostly, I learned to appreciate the people who are the heart and soul of the local Pittsburgh food scene. I had an awakening during a conversation with Mike Witherel, owner of Coffee Buddha, not long before Christmas when I asked him what his plans were for the holiday. He said he planned to close for the day and finally take a day off - the first day off he would have since opening his shop in July.  I like to think of myself as a busy person, but I'm certainly not as busy as Mike.  Then I meet folks like Arturo Vizzuett, owner of Cinco de Mayo Salsas, who spends hours on end cooking up delicious Mexican salsas and selling them at the Pittsburgh Public Market.  These and many other local folks work tirelessly, day in and day out, for nothing but the love of what they do, and it makes me so appreciative of their product all the more.

It is precisely because of this deep appreciation I have for these local folks that I have unwittingly begun to use my blog as a vehicle to support the small businesses in town as well as local events that are important in my mind (such as a tote bag drive).  I suppose you could say I've become something of an advocate for local small businesses. This didn't started out as a conscious decision on my part, but slowly I've noticed myself becoming more passionate about helping my favorite businesses in the one way that I can.  It is certainly not the focus of this blog, and I have no way to tracking how far these attempts have reached, but at the very least I know of cases where people have visited (and loved!) places like Coffee Buddha, Bite Bistro, and Smoke BBQ Taqueria directly as a result of having read about them in my blog.  The fact that my blog is doing its part, however small, to contribute to local businesses is, well, pretty darn cool.  This blog has allowed me to connect with my local community in ways that I never would have imagined.

Another unintended personal benefit that this blog has afforded me is the opportunity to have met some really cool people in Pittsburgh through blogger events and Twitter.  Natives might not realize this, but Pittsburgh truly has some of the friendliest and most welcoming people around.  Some of these folks have become good friends of mine, and I can't begin to express how much I appreciate them reaching out to a newbie and including me in their social network.  Pittsburgh, and the people who make it great, have been another force that has inspired me to keep blogging.

Last but not least, there are the readers - you - many of whom I don't know in person.  I know a few of you are loyal followers (thanks guys!) and others happen to stumble upon my blog from time to time, but each and every one of you has made this little project of mine all the more worthwhile.  I started this blog for me, not really expecting anyone else to read it, but the fact that you enjoy what I'm doing means a lot to me.  It is yet another huge reason that I keep up with this blog, and having fun while I'm at it.

Before I end this post, I thought it would be fitting to include a picture.  As I was considering which photo to post, it dawned on me that, despite the name of this blog, I have never posted (or even created) an actual photo collage, so I put one together using some of my favorite photos from Year One.  Call it a Food Collage food collage. ;)

Food collage
Food Collage, Year One

Thank you so much for reading.

Photos featured in the food collage: Olio Fresca Pasta, Burgh'ers, Turkey Pesto Sandwich, Shiitake and Sweet Pea Risotto, Coffee Buddha, Chicken Satay Stir-Fry with Orange Scented Jasmine Rice, Habitat, Basil Ice Cream, Bite Bistro, Pure Cafe, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams' Macaroons, Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Monday, February 27, 2012

Curry Away (Edgewood)

To be honest, I would have never known about Curry Away in Edgewood if it weren't for a LivingSocial deal that arrived in my inbox one day back in July.  The amusing name caught my attention immediately, and because both R. and I love Thai food, I figured I'd get the deal so we could go check out this place some time.

This little unassuming joint is located a bit off the beaten path in a little strip mall that's easy to miss.  (Thank goodness for Garmin!)  The inside of the restaurant is tiny with only 14 seats total.  The walls are decorated with photography that customers can purchase.

Curry Away
Inside Curry Away

Curry Away
Inside Curry Away

We went on a Sunday night, so the restaurant wasn't busy aside from some take-out customers.  They seem a bit short-staffed nonetheless, as our server, who is from northern Thailand, seemed to be needed in the kitchen quite a bit.  He was nice, in any case.  For our meal, we started with the appetizer special, the Curry Puffs, with a choice of either chicken or taro filling.  Being a huge fan of taro, we naturally picked taro as our option.  I liked these - the mashed taro filling is sweet but not overly so.

Taro Curry Puffs at Curry Away
Taro Curry Puffs ($5.95)

Taro Curry Puff at Curry Away
Taro Curry Puff

As for the main course, it is pretty much a rule that I must order curry when I'm at a Thai restaurant.  I can't help it.  I am a curry fiend.  I can seriously eat curry every day and not be sick of it.  Of the ten or so curry options, I decided on the Duck Curry, described as roasted duck, tomatoes, pineapple, peas, carrots, and coconut milk.  It was tasty, and there was so much that I got an extra two meals out of it.

Duck Curry at Curry Away
Duck Curry ($12.95)

Duck Curry at Curry Away
Duck Curry

Luckily, R. did not order curry, so at least I get to share a photo of something other than curry. :)  R.'s entree was the Chicken Cashew Nut, with crispy chicken sauteed with chili, pineapple chunks, scallions, and cashew nuts, in a homemade sweet and sour sauce.  I had a bite of it and can attest to its deliciousness!

Chicken Cashew Nut at Curry Away
Chicken Cashew Nut ($10.95)

We followed up our entrees with a shared dessert:  Black Sticky Rice with Taro in Coconut Milk, which we enjoyed.  I so love taro. :)

Black Sticky Rice with Taro in Coconut Milk at Curry Away
Black Sticky Rice with Taro in Coconut Milk ($3.95)

We both enjoyed Curry Away a lot.  It's a nice, casual neighborhood joint that serves great Thai food at great prices.  They offer weekday lunch specials for under $7 and free delivery as well.  I highly recommend it!

Restaurant info:
Curry Away
247 Edgewood Avenue,Pittsburgh, PA 15218
On the web:
On Facebook:

View Larger Map

Curry Away on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Abay Ethiopian Cuisine (East Liberty)

Update: Abay is closed.

Our trip to Abay Ethiopian Cuisine in East Liberty was one I had been anticipating for a long time as R. loves Ethiopian food and I had been looking forward to taking him there.  We finally made it there last Saturday as a little treat after spending a busy day out and about.

I love the menu at Abay, not just because of its intriguing offerings, but also for the background information and even humorous commentary it provides.  I learned that "Abay" in the Ethiopian language of Amharic is the name for the Blue Nile, which is one of two main rivers that feed into the Nile and originates in Lake Tana in Ethiopia.  As 80% of the Nile is sourced from Abay, this name was chosen for the restaurant "because it is a main source of nourishment for the Nile."  That's neat!  A section on "how to eat" explains that Ethiopian food is enjoyed communal style because of the culture's emphasis on community.  The humorous part was the section describing its BYOB policy: "Since wine may...lead you to believe the person you are with is more attractive or engaging than he or she actually is, drinking it responsibly with your meal is encouraged." :)

It didn't take us long to decide what we wanted to order: two combination platters, so we could try a number of different items.  Between the two of us, we ordered a one-person portion of Vegetarian Sampler, which included a choice of any four vegetarian entrees on the menu, and a one-person portion of the Combination Sampler, which included a combination of any four meat or vegetarian entrees.  So between the two of us, we got to try eight different items!

Here are the four vegetarian items we chose and their menu descriptions:

  1. Inguday Wat:  Fresh mushrooms and brown lentils simmered in a spicy berbere sauce.
  2. Kay Sir Dinich:  Potatoes and fresh beets showed and blended with garlic, ginger, and onions.
  3. Ayib Be Gomen:  Fresh collard greens blended with Abay's homemade cheese.
  4. Fosolia:  String beans lightly spiced and sauteed with carrots, onions, and potatoes.

Vegetable Sampler and Combination Platter at Abay
Vegetarian Sampler ($12)
L-R: Inguday Wat, Kay Sir Dinich, Ayib Be Gomen, Fosolia

The four meat entrees and their menu descriptions are as follows:

  1. Poulet a la Sauce d'Arachide: This was a special of the evening, and consisted of chicken in peanut sauce.
  2. Zilzil Tibs: Strips of tender, lean beef sauteed with homemade awaze, peppers, onions, and herbs.
  3. Doro Minchet Abish: Boneless, skinless chicken breast diced and simmered in a berbere stew.
  4. Gomen Besiga: Lean, cubed beef slow-cooked and blended with kale, peppers, ginger, garlic, and onions.

Vegetable Sampler and Combination Platter at Abay
Combination Sampler ($14.50)
Counterclockwise from L: Poulet a la Sauce d'Arachide, Zilzil Tibs,
Doro Mihcet Abish, Gomen Besiga

In addition, our wonderful and attentive server, Britney, brought us samples of yellow split peas, lentils, and beef in berbere stew (Minchet Abish).  The platter comes standard with injera (soft, spongy flatbread) which you tear off and use to pick up the fillings, but it looks like they are willing to provide utensils and rice instead for those squeamish about eating with their hands.  We pretty much loved everything.  Our favorite was by far the chicken special - I wonder if we can petition to have it promoted to the permanent menu? ;)  I also particularly enjoyed zilzil tibs, inguday wat, kay sir dinich, and the minchet abish sample, but everything else was fantastic as well.  Some of the items were listed as "spicy" on the menu, but I didn't think they were all that spicy.  I think my recent habit of eating spicy food is changing my heat perception!

When we were done with our platter (of which we had leftovers), Britney asked if we wanted dessert.  I was really full, but foolishly asked to see the dessert menu anyway.  And, as soon as I asked for the dessert menu, I knew I would order something.  Luckily, R. and I have pretty similar tastes in desserts, so we split the Pumpkin Sambussa and Scoop - two pieces of sambussa stuffed with pumpkin and spices, served with our choice of ice cream (we picked ginger), and drizzled with either honey or chocolate (we went for chocolate).  It was delicious, and I have to say, as an ice cream snob who generally doesn't like anything other than Jeni's, I was pleasantly surprised by the ginger ice cream which is from Dave & Andy's.

Pumpkin Sambussa and Scoop at Abay
Pumpkin Sambussa and Scoop ($5.50)

We both enjoyed Abay tremendously, and we are glad that there is great Ethiopian food to be had in Pittsburgh!

Restaurant info:
Abay Ethiopian Cuisine
130 S Highland Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15206
On the web:
Bonus: BYOB ($2.50 per bottle corkage fee)

View Larger Map

Abay Ethiopian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Andy's Sushi Bar (Strip District)

Last weekend was full of great meals...where do I even start?  On Saturday, I made my usual trip to the Strip District during the daytime, and decided to get some lunch from Andy's Sushi Bar right inside the entrance at Wholey's.  I had heard a lot about this little sushi bar, but this was my first time trying Andy's sushi.  Andy definitely has a lot of fans; the line was super long, but it was fun watching Andy's mad skills in sushi making and his commentary while he hands out free samples of spring rolls to those waiting in line.  (Thanks, Andy!)

Andy's menu is posted above the kiosk, but he is very flexible and would be happy to make whatever your heart desires.

Andy hard at work at Andy's Sushi Bar
Andy working his magic

I had been intrigued by the two specials he had up on his little chalkboard:  Tuna and Kiwi and Salmon and Mango.  Both are maki rolls.  I figured I'd order one of each, only to realize as I watch him make them that they were HUGE.  But both were delicious!

Tuna and Kiwi Maki at Andy's Sushi Bar
Tuna and Kiwi Maki

Tuna and Kiwi Maki at Andy's Sushi Bar
Tuna and Kiwi Maki

Salmon and Mango Maki at Andy's Sushi Bar
Salmon and Mango Maki, topped with fresh mint

Tuna and Kiwi Maki and Salmon and Mango Maki at Andy's Sushi Bar
My really big lunch

While I loved both rolls, I did like the Salmon and Mango one better.  I even managed to get R. to try a piece (he's not a sushi fan) and he loved it!  There was so much sushi that I just couldn't finish it all, but Andy mentioned something about the way he cooks the rice makes it stay fresh longer, so it would be still OK to eat any leftovers.  I was quite impressed by this as I've never been able to make my sushi rice last more than a day before it gets hard.  But Andy was right though, as I saved half the sushi for lunch the next day, and I couldn't really tell it was day-old sushi.

All in all, Andy gives you great sushi and great entertainment inside Wholey's.  I'll be back.

As a bit of an aside, I had also just gotten a new camera last weekend (so exciting!!) so I was a little snap-happy.  As we were approaching Wholey's, we saw the signs on the side (along 17th Street) advertising some of the meats available.  At the top of each sign is the Chinese translation:

Signs outside Wholey's
Signs outside Wholeys on 17th

I don't know how I've never noticed this before, but Dear Wholey's, the Chinese characters above this particular sign for striped bass doesn't say what you think it says...

Sign outside Wholey's
A case of reverse-Engrish at Wholey's

(Ahem...the Chinese characters mean "low pitch" know, as in a "bass sound," not the fish.  Love you still, but thanks for the giggles.) ;)

Restaurant info:
Andy's Sushi Bar
1711 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

View Larger Map

Andy's Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Porch at Schenley (Oakland)

Last week a friend who works at CMU invited me out for lunch.  She suggested either the campus cafeteria or The Porch at Schenley at Schenley Plaza in Oakland.  Um, tough choice there. ;)  Of course it was going to be The Porch at Schenley!  I had been meaning to try this place out anyway.

My first thought as I arrived at Schenley Plaza was that this modern piece of architecture is absolutely gorgeous!  The glass exterior allows for an abundance of natural lighting and a beautiful view of the plaza as you enjoy your meal.

The Porch at Schenley
The beautiful Porch at Schenley

The interior is spacious with plenty of seating available.

The Porch at Schenley
Inside The Porch at Schenley

The Porch at Schenley
Inside The Porch at Schenley

I chose a booth by the corner with a view of the Cathedral of Learning.  The lunch menu consists of mainly salads, sandwiches, and pizza, and I decided to go with the Salmon Pastrami Salad, with mixed greens, leeks, preserved lemons, scallions, and radishes, and caper creme fraiche.  I was pretty happy with it.

Salmon Pastrami Salad at The Porch at Schenley
Salmon Pastrami Salad ($12)

My friend and her husband had been to The Porch a few times and love it.  The Porch is a classy addition to Oakland and I'd definitely be interested in coming back some time to try their dinner menu.

Restaurant info:
The Porch at Schenley
221 Schenley Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
On the web:
On Facebook:
On Twitter:

View Larger Map

The Porch at Schenley on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Scallops with Tomatillo Sauce from Cinco de Mayo Salsas

During my trip to the Strip District last Saturday, I made my usual stop at Cinco de Mayo Salsas at the Pittsburgh Public Market.  Arturo asked me what I was in the mood for, and I explained that I've been very busy and have little time to cook, so he offered this extremely easy and fast recipe that takes only about 10 minutes!


Sea scallops, large
Shallot or garlic
Heavy cream, 4 tbsp
One (8 oz) container of tomatillo sauce from Cinco de Mayo Salsas


Lightly dust sea scallops with flour and saute with a little butter and shallot or garlic.  Lightly heat tomatillo sauce and heavy cream (do not bring to boil).  Pour over scallops.

I served it over a bed of wilted spinach cooked in olive oil and garlic.  The scallops go well with pasta as well.

Amazingly simple, no? ;)

Scallops with Tomatillo Sauce from Cinco de Mayo Salsas
Scallops with Tomatillo Sauce from Cinco de Mayo Salsas

Click here for more recipes using Cinco de Mayo Salsas, available at the Pittsburgh Public Market during the winter and all around town during the farmers market season.

Dinner with Friends: Burgh Gourmand Cooks Manfredi with Lobster Tail and Calabrese Salame

Last Saturday, Burgh GourmandSeñorita Cibulka, and I went food shopping in the Strip District and then  cooked dinner at home.  Well...BG did all the cooking; I was responsible for supplying two bottles of wine and Jeni's ice cream.  I thought I'd share some photos from our meal.

BG started with the veggies, roasting some red peppers directly on my stovetop.  Can't say I've ever done that before.  Luckily, my house didn't burn down...

Roasting Red Peppers
Roasting red peppers

The peppers were then chopped and cooked along with some zucchini and yellow squash.

Cooking veggies

Final product

For the main course, BG had picked up some Pasta Setaro brand manfredi pasta from the Pennsylvania Macaroni Company.  Pasta Setaro is imported from Torre Annunziata in Napoli, Italy, The manfredi pasta is about a foot long and looks like ribbons or the edges of lasagna, and is very high-quality.  I think it was about 10-12 minutes to al dente.

Pasta Setaro's Manfredi
Pasta Setaro's Manfredi from Penn Mac

Pasta Setaro's Manfredi
Pasta Setaro's Manfredi from Penn Mac

BG also got us some lobster tails from Wholey's.  They came from Canada, just like me. ;)

Lobster Tail
Lobster tail from Wholey's

He cooked the lobster in garlic-infused olive oil and butter.  To infuse the olive oil with garlic, first crush several cloves of garlic and cook in olive oil until fragrant.  Then, remove the garlic cloves.

Lobster Tail

Then, chopped Calabrese Salame were added:

Lobster Tail and Calabrese Salame
Lobster and Calabrese Salame

Finally, he tossed everything together, topped it with some shaved parmesan cheese and voila!  Dinner is ready:

Manfredi with Lobster Tail, Calabrese Salame, and Shaved Parmesan
Manfredi with Lobster Tail and Calabrese Salame

It was a delicious and fun dinner, made even more fun with some Chianti imported from Tuscany, Winter Pear wine from Heritage Wine Cellars in North East, PA, and Nebbiolo ice wine from Breaux Vineyards in Purcellville, VA, which BG picked up the previous week when he was in the DC area.  Dessert was supposed to be pistachio baklava from the Pittsburgh Public Market and my freezer-full of Jeni's ice cream, but we were so full that only BG partook in my last pint of Buttercup Pumpkin and Amaretti Cookies ice cream.  I did eat the baklava the next day though, and it was oh so yummy!  Thanks again for a great meal!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Casa Rasta (Beechview)

I have a confession to make: I never used to care too much for tacos.  It's not that I disliked them.  It"s just one of those things I never would crave.

Well, that was until I met taco-loving friends, and awesome taco places like Smoke BBQ Taqueria started popping up in Pittsburgh.

Recently, Burgh Gourmand wrote a raving review of Casa Rasta in Beechview (near Dormont) which made me unusually hungry for tacos.  Yesterday, we (along with Señorita Cibulka) had made plans to go shopping in the Strip District and then back to my digs for a home-cooked meal a la Chef BG (more on this in my next post), but a little detour down to Beechview for some tacos was too tempting to pass up.

To be honest with you, I had no idea that Beechview existed before this.  If you didn't either, Beechview is just a stone's throw from Dormont.

Casa Rasta
Casa Rasta

Casa Rasta took over a small space just two months ago that used to house a pizza shop.  The owners, Laura and Antonio, are super down-to-earth and all-round awesome.  You gotta love their genuine passion for their food.

We started with their weekend special, Ceviche Tostada.

Ceviche Tostada at Casa Rasta
Ceviche Tostada ($3)

At Laura's suggestion, I added some Valentino sauce to the Ceviche Tostada, which was a wonderful idea.  The ceviche was fresh, clean, and flavorful - it is by far the best $3 ceviche you can get, anywhere.  (I think it's worth way more.)  The tostada is crispy and just perfectly sturdy for the ceviche.  No sogginess, no breaking apart randomly.  I didn't think there could be so much science to the perfect tostada, but it is true.

Ceviche Tostada at Casa Rasta
Ceviche Tostada with Valentino sauce ($3)

I also got two tacos, the Steak Taco and the Pulled Pork Taco.  Both consisted of chunks of well-seasoned meat on top of two soft corn tortillas that I believe were baked.  The tacos were divine on their own, but I also added a bit of salsa which made the tacos even more amazing.  And the tortillas had just the perfect consistency.  I never used to care for tortillas (which is probably the reason why I never cared for tacos), but if places like Smoke and Reyna in the Strip District changed my feelings about tortillas in recent months, Casa Rasta absolutely cemented it.

Steak Taco at Casa Rasta
Steak Taco ($2.50)

Pulled Pork Taco at Casa Rasta
Pulled Pork Taco ($2.50)

Salsas at Casa Rasta
Complimentary salsa

For beverages, several varieties of Jarritos Soda are available.  I tried the pineapple one which I liked.

Pineapple Jarritos Soda at Casa Rasta
Pineapple soda

The shop wasn't busy when we were there, and Laura and Antonio were so kind to offer us samples of items, all of which were great.  First we got some quesadilla bites with cheese and a Mexican herb called "epazote" that I had never heard of before.  It was very interesting.

Quesadilla Bites with Cheese and Epazote at Casa Rasta
Quesadilla Bites with Cheese and Epazote

Then, two sweet items:  Chocolate Truffles with Ancho Chili and Blueberry Goat Cheese.  Can you say YUM?!?

Chocolate Truffles with Ancho Chile at Casa Rasta
Chocolate Truffles with Ancho Chili

Blueberry Goat Cheese at Casa Rasta
Blueberry Goat Cheese

All in all, I loved Casa Rasta.  Delicious food prepared lovingly by a friendly, down-home couple - that's what Pittsburgh's all about!

I started this post with a confession that I never used to care for tacos.  Needless to say, I am now a convert.

Restaurant info:
Casa Rasta
2102 Broadway Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15216
On Twitter:

Casa Rasta on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Pork Tenderloin and Red Skin Potatoes with Chile Morita Salsa from Cinco de Mayo Salsas

This past weekend I made yet another recipe from Arturo at Cinco de Mayo Salsas, featuring a new salsa I hadn't tried yet:  Chile Morita Salsa, made with tomatillos, morita peppers, onion, and garlic.  This salsa is just a tad spicy, but full of smoky goodness.  I wish the web had a scratch-and-sniff function just so I could share the amazing scent.

Chile Morita Salsa from Cinco de Mayo Salsas
Chile Morita Salsa from Cinco de Mayo Salsas

I thought the chile morita salsa would be great to cook with.  Arturo suggested pork tenderloin and the following recipe:


Pork tenderloin, 4 servings
Salt & pepper
1 (8-oz) container of Chile Morita Salsa from Cinco de Mayo Salsas

For the sides

Red skin potatoes, 4 servings, quartered, skin on
Spinach, 4 servings
Olive oil
Garlic, chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

Season pork tenderloin with salt and pepper.  Brown on frying pan all around, then place it in the oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil potatoes for 7-8 minutes (no more).  Drain.

After the pork tenderloin has been in the oven for 20 minutes, pour sauce over the meat and place potatoes next to the meat.  Roast for 25 more minutes.

Heat olive oil in pan and add chopped garlic.  Cook spinach until wilted.  Serve with meat and potatoes.

Pork Tenderloin and Red Skin Potatoes with Chile Morita Salsa from Cinco de Mayo Salsas
Pork Tenderloin and Red Skin Potatoes with Chile Morita Salsa from Cinco de Mayo Salsas

Pork Tenderloin and Red Skin Potatoes with Chile Morita Salsa from Cinco de Mayo Salsas
Pork Tenderloin and Red Skin Potatoes with Chile Morita Salsa from Cinco de Mayo Salsas

And as usual, this is simply delicious.  I just love making these easy meals with fresh, homemade salsas!

Click here for more recipes using Cinco de Mayo Salsas, available at the Pittsburgh Public Market during the winter and all around town during the farmers market season.