Okay, I hate giving bad reviews, but sometimes it must be done. I made Conte's gluten-free cheese ravioli last night for dinner, but things didn't work out the way that I anticipated.

I followed the package instructions and tested one and it was al dente, so I threw it back in and kept heating for a few more minutes on med-high heat. When I took them out, my first bite was great, but I attribute this to the fact that I haven't had ravioli in a while. As I kept eating, I became increasingly underwhelmed. I decided to save the rest of my meal as leftovers for lunch today in an attempt to give the ravioli another shot.

Round two didn't go so well either. The texture is still sort of rubbery/meaty, and the cheese inside doesn't have much, if any, flavor. My poor sad fat ravioli...oh and by the way, I totally thought, based on the package picture, that I was going to have lots of little raviolis, but instead ended up with these supermonstrous ravioli instead.

As with all "bad" reviews, I don't hate the company, just the particular product; I am MORE than willing to try out any of Conte's other gluten-free products. Actually, I don't even hate this particular product, I just think that it bored me and made me upset that I paid $8 for a "blah" meal.

**FYI I purchased the ravioli at the Shaw's on Beacon Street in Brookline, MA
I've been using MyRecipes.com (as well as recipes from Southern Living) a lot lately, and trying to focus on eating foods that won't clog my arteries and prematurely kill me. The other night I used a recipe for Snapper Tacos with Chipotle Cream and, as always, added my own adjustments and special touches.

My recipe is below, and the original recipe can be found here: http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=348357&cookbook_id=5305510

Photo Source: MyRecipes.com (link above)
INGREDIENTS
1/4 cup sour cream
Salt, add amount for your taste preference
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, seeded and minced
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 large tomato, diced
1 tablespoon butter
Red pepper flakes, Cajun seasoning, or paprika
Cumin, add amount for your taste preference
Cinnamon, add amount for your taste preference
4 garlic cloves, minced
Chopped fresh cilantro, about a hand/fistful post chopping
1 pound tilapia (4 fillets)
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
3 limes, cut in half and ready to be squeezed
Corn tortillas (this recipe makes about 10 tacos)


INSTRUCTIONS
Combine sour cream, salt, and chiles; set aside. Only add as much of the chile can as your taste buds can handle. This stuff is smoky!

Season fish with salt and pepper. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, tomato, cumin, salt, cinnamon, red pepper flakes or cajun seasoning or paprika, and minced garlic; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently and adding some cilantro every minute. Arrange fish over onion mixture in pan; cover and cook 3 minutes. Turn fish; cover and cook 2 minutes. Break fish into chunks. Stir in lime juice and more cilantro; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Warm tortillas for about 30 seconds. Fill each tortilla with mixture; top each serving with chipotle cream. Enjoy!

**FYI, I got the tilapia fillets for $8 at the River Street Whole Foods in Cambridge, and used Mission White Corn Tortillas and Chiles in Adobo Sauce from the Shaw's on Commonwealth Ave in Allston

This is one of my favorite meals to make for dinner, but I try only to make it sparingly as a result of my fear of clogged arteries. IT'S CHEESESTEAK TIME!!!!!!!

INGREDIENTS:
GF baguette (I use Against the Grain)
American, cheddar, or provolone cheese
Shaved or thin pieces of steak (Whole Foods or Trader Joe's)
Onions and or green peppers, or other additional toppings to your liking

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Season meat to your liking
2. Turn broiler on
3. Cook meat in frying pan to your liking


4. Lightly toast your bread in the broiler
5. Place the meat on the bread once its cooked, then add your cheese and put the
sandwich (open faced) into the oven for the cheese to melt


Enjoy!

**FYI...I got the shaved steak at the Coolidge Corner Trader Joe's ($5). My backup option is the River Street Whole Foods (~$4), but at WF I get thinly sliced steak rather than shaved steak.

In light of my sister and her boyfriend moving into a new apartment together, she decided to celebrate by hosting a housewarming party. She also decided to put me in charge of the menu. After lots of research, I came up with the following menu in order to please the non-GF, as well as the GF....

FIG DIP
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Fig-and-Olive-Tapenade/Detail.aspx
Ingredients:
1 cup chopped dried figs
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2/3 cup chopped kalamata olives
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
Directions:
1. Combine figs and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, and cook until tender, and liquid has reduced. Remove from heat, and stir in the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, thyme, and cayenne. Add olives and garlic, and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight to allow flavors to blend.
2. Unwrap cream cheese block, and place on a serving platter. Spoon tapenade over cheese, and sprinkle with walnuts. Serve with GF bread or crackers (Glutino crackers).

PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED ASPARAGUS
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Prosciutto-Wrapped-Asparagus/Detail.aspx


Ingredients:
1/2 pound prosciutto, sliced
1/2 (8 ounce) package Neufchatel
cheese, softened
12 spears fresh asparagus, trimmed
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
2. Spread prosciutto slices with Neufchatel cheese. Wrap slices around 2 or 3 asparagus spears. Arrange wrapped spears in a single layer on a medium baking sheet.
3. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until asparagus is tender.

STUFFED CRIMINI MUSHROOMS WITH GRUYERE
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Stuffed-Crimini-Mushrooms-with-Gruyere/Detail.aspx
Ingredients:
36 crimini mushrooms, stems removed
1/2 cup olive oil
2 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
1/3 cup minced shallot
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped Italian flat leaf
parsley
3/4 cup chopped fresh chives
3 fluid ounces lemon juice
2 cups GF bread crumbs or crumbled crackers
5 ounces shredded Gruyere cheese
Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add mushrooms, and cook for about 3 minutes. Drain, and set aside to cool.
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, shallot, garlic, parsley, and chives. Cover, and let the vegetables sweat for a few minutes to release the aromas. Remove from heat, and stir in the breadcrumbs and lemon juice.
3. Preheat the oven's broiler. Scoop out the mushroom caps, and fill with the bread crumb mixture. Place on a baking sheet. Top with shredded cheese.
4. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes, until cheese is melted. Serve hot.

BACON WRAPPED DATES WITH BLUE CHEESE
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Bacon-Wrapped-Dates-Stuffed-with-Blue-Cheese/De
tail.aspx
Ingredients:
1 pound sliced bacon, cut in half
1 pound pitted dates
4 ounces blue cheese (Maytag)
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2. Slice dates in half, and open them up. Pinch off pieces of blue cheese, and place them into the center of the dates. Close the halves of the dates, and wrap a half-slice of bacon around the outside. Secure each one with a toothpick. Arrange in a baking dish or on a baking sheet with sides to catch any grease.
3. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the bacon is crisp. Turn dates over after the first 20 minutes for even cooking.

STUFFED RED POTATOES
http://www.finedinings.com/stuffed_small_red_potato_appetiz.htm

Ingredients:
1-1/2 pounds small red potatoes (about 20)
1 cup sour cream
4 bacon slices, cooked crisp, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons chives, snipped
1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese, finely grated
Fresh rosemary garnish

Directions:
1. Bring potatoes to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and continue cooking until they are fork-tender but still firm. Drain; put into cold water to stop the cooking action then drain again. Using a sharp knife cut each potato in half, do not tear the skins. Scoop out and discard centers of potatoes with a melon baller leaving a 1/4-inch wall. Cut a thin slice off bottom of each potato allowing them to sit level on a plate.
2. In a medium bowl combine sour cream, cooked bacon, seasoning salt, black pepper and snipped chives. Spoon sour cream mixture into halved potatoes until they are stuffed full; sprinkle with cheddar cheese and serve, or if you prefer they can be placed under the broiler to melt the cheese. Either way these stuffed red potatoes are very tasty. Garnish with fresh rosemary.


BACON AND BLUE CHEESE SLIDERS
Ingredients:
1 pound/package of ground beef
8oz blue cheese (Maytag)
1 pack of bacon
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Gulden's spicy brown mustard
2 GF baguettes (Agai
nst the grain), cut into pieces that are sized similarly to the burger patties
Directions:
1. Set the oven to broil. Season the meat with salt and pepper (I use Adobo seasoning). After you season the meat, add a few teaspoons of Gulden's spicy brown mustard to the meat and mix it in well. Shape the meat into mini burgers, and break off pieces of the blue cheese and incorporate it into each burger.
2. Cook the bacon (usually 1-1.5 slices per burger). Once the bacon has cooled and you have dried it of its grease, crumble all of the beacon into pieces (not too small). Add the bacon to each of the mini burgers.
3. Place the burgers on a cookie tray or in glass cookware. Before putting the burgers in the oven, dribble some of the bacon grease over the burgers. Place in the broiler and keep an eye on the burgers constantly. You'll be able to "eye" whether or not they are done.

CAPRESE SALAD ON SKEWERS
http://www.finedinings.com/app
etizer__caprese_on_a_skewer.htm
Ingredients:
Cherry tomatoes
Mozzarella cheese

Fresh basil leaves
Extra- virgin Olive Oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Wooden skewers or
toothpicks
Directions:
1. Using a melon baller make small round balls from Mozzarella the same size as cherry tomatoes or purchase small rounds of cheese the same size as the cherry tomatoes.
2. Thread cherry tomatoes, basil leaf and Mozzarella cheese ball on a skewer; continue threading skewers making as many appetizers the size you like. Drizzle with a top quality olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve these cute little guys.


My visit to DC brought me to Eatonville in Adams Morgan. As a fan of African-American literature, I was blown away by the Zora Neale-Hurston inspiration, the antebellum America setting, and of course, the menu. The entire experience was amazing, and I didn't even mind the 30 minute wait because I got to have a drink in a rocking chair in front of a live folk band.


I started off by drinking a Georgia Peach, which consists of Georgia Moon Peach Corn Whiskey, Sweet Tea, Citronge, and Lemonade ($8). The drink was served in a mason jar and I was instantly hooked! After a few Georgia Peach's we headed over to our table.

The place was packed, and therefore things were a little slow, but our server was sweet and checked several times with the kitchen each time I had a question about whether something could be prepared gluten-free.

I wanted the catfish with jalapeno-cheddar grits, braised collared greens, and tomato butter ($16), but was informed that the fish wouldn't be the same without the breading. My backup choice was the Bourbon BBQ Baby Back Ribs with corn on the cob, coleslaw, and Cajun fries ($21). I nixed the fries and subbed mashed potatoes, and ordered a side of the jalapeno-cheddar grits.


I totally underestimated what I ordered because I found myself surrounded with an overwhelming amount of food (which lead to a massive to-go box later on!). The ribs were cooked PERFECTLY, and everything was seriously outstanding. The grits could've used a few more jalapenos, but were still absolutely delicious.

If you live in the DC Metro area and haven't been to Eatonville, book a reservation and get yourself over there ASAP. If you're heading in from out of town, put it on your to-visit list and have a Georgia Peach for me!

Location:
2121 14th St. NW, Washington, DC 20009 (202-332-9672)
Website: http://eatonvillerestaurant.com/index.html