Re-Create The Recipe: Chicken With Cannellini Beans

Chicken with Cannellini Beans

Chicken with Cannellini Beans

I enjoyed this dish so much at BarZin that I decided to make it at home last week. As you know, I live out in the boondocks, in the woods, near the Georgia-Alabama line. The grocery stores around here don’t have a lot of “fancy” stuff like chard and pancetta. So, I had to make do, and used some chopped turnip greens and bacon instead. While it did not taste exactly like the dish I had at BarZin, and mine was a bit drier than what I had at the restaurant, it was good.

Chicken with Cannellini Beans Recipe

4 chicken thighs

tenderizer

seasoned salt

Rinse and trim the chicken thighs, and sprinkle with tenderizer and seasoned salt. Bake in a 350 degree oven for thirty minutes, or until done.

2 slices bacon

2 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 16 oz can cannellini beans

1 cup chopped greens (I used turnip greens)

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 cup chicken drippings

Chop the bacon and garlic, and place in a skillet with the olive oil. Cook and stir on medium heat until bacon is browned. Add the beans, chopped greens, italian seasoning, and pepper, stir to mix well. Cover, and cook on medium heat until most of the liquid has evaproated. Stir in the chicken drippings, cover, and simmer a few more minutes. Serve in a bowl with chicken. Makes 4 servings.

Amelia Island Restaurant Week: BarZin Bistro & Wine Bar

BarZin

BarZin

After our tour of Fort Clinch, I was exhausted, so we went back to the Residence Inn to rest and take a nap until it was time to go to dinner. Our dinner the last night in Amelia Island was courtesy of the owner of BarZin.

BarZin's Restaurant Week Menu

BarZin’s Restaurant Week Menu

BarZin is a discreet place with low lights. Hushed conversations, and laughter were heard all around us. The owner came to our table to greet us, and welcome us to his establishment. Then our waiter, Daniel, brought menus. There was a Restaurant Week Menu, and the regular menu, but we were told we could order whatever we wanted.

Fabgrandpa and I both ordered appetizers from the Restaurant Week menu. He had the Warm Beets Hearts of Palm Salad, and I had the Crab Cakes (no surprise there, I am sure). But before the appetizers arrived, we started out with a glass of Riesling, my favorite of wines. It was delicious!

At BarZin enjoying a glass of Riesling before dinner.

At BarZin enjoying a glass of Riesling before dinner.

When the appetizers were served, conversation ceased. Fabgrandpa loves beets. He said his salad was very good. I could tell that he liked it because it disappeared from his plate.

Warm Beet and Hearts of Palm Salad

Warm Beet and Hearts of Palm Salad

My Crab Cakes were delicious also, and were served with a rooster remoulade sauce:

BarZin Crab Cakes with Rooster Remoulade

BarZin Crab Cakes with Rooster Remoulade

For his entree, Fabgrandpa chose the Scallop Shrimp Pasta with Saffron Broth. It was a generous serving and very good. The broth was lightly seasoned, and the seafood cooked just right with luscious jumbo shrimp and large scallops.

Pasta with Scallops and Shrimp with Saffron Broth

Scallop Shrimp Pasta with Saffron Broth

I ordered the Chicken with Chard, White Beans, and Pancetta. It was like a bean soup with chard, pancetta, and rosemary, with a piece of roasted chicken served in the bowl. I will be making this one at home soon! It was very good.

White Beans with Chicken and Chard

White Beans with Chicken and Chard

We were both almost full, but this time we did save room for dessert. Daniel brought out a piece of cheesecake, and a piece of chocolate cake. We shared them both, and I almost did not get a picture of them before they were gone!

The chocolate cake and cheesecakes were both delicious!

The chocolate cake and cheesecakes were both delicious!

We really enjoyed our dinner at BarZin!. If you love a good glass of wine with your meal, this is the place to go in Fernandina Beach. There is a varied selection of entrees on the menu, too. In addition to the ones we ordered, there is Potato Asiago Gnocchi, Blackened Shrimp with spicy sausage in a cream sauce, Fresh Catch, Butchers Selection, and more.

BarZin is located at 4924 First Coast Highway, Suite 10, Fernandina Beach, Florida. You can reach them at 904-310-6620. For information on hours and directions, click here.

 

Re-Create the Recipe: Crab Cakes with Cranberry Chutney

Crab cakes with Cranberry sauce

Crab cakes with Cranberry sauce

As soon as we left Cafe Karibo, I knew I was going to try to re-create those yum-a-licious crab cakes they served us. The ones with the Cranberry Chutney and Brie. Except that I live in a tiny little town, where the only grocery store has never even heard of brie, so I had to improvise and use cream cheese.

This is not the first time I have gone home and re-created the meal I had in a restaurant. I have done it many times. There are recipes scattered all over my blog where I have figured out how they made it in a restaurant, and tried to make it at home. There is the Mexican Seafood Soup. That one took me forever to get it right.  Then there was the Shrimp Stuffed Avocado, and The Black Bean and Shrimp Nachos.  I think that this is the sincerest form of flattery there is for a chef–when a person loves what they made so much that they will try to make it at home. Now I know I won’t ever be as good as the chef at the restaurant, but I can try to emulate them so I can have better food at home. So, it’s not a new thing for me to come home from a restaurant and start trying to make the things I ate there.

My version of the crab cakes turned out very good. For the crab cakes, I used a recipe with no bread fillers that I got from a restaurant proprietor in Virginia several years ago. Then I googled Cranberry Chutney recipes, and adapted to the ingredients I had on hand. Here ya go!

Gluten Free Crab Cakes Virginia Style

1 lb crabmeat, picked over for shells (I used a steamed Dungeness crab from the Kroger Seafood counter

1 beaten egg

4 Tablespoons mayonaise

2 teaspoons mustard

1/8 teaspoon vinegar

1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

2 slices of gluten free bread, processed into fine crumbs

1/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil for frying

Mix all ingredients except for bread crumbs in a bowl. Stir the mixture gently to prevent breaking up the crabmeat lumps. Heat oil in skillet. Gently shape two tablespoons of the mixture into patties about 3/4 inches thick. Place the bread crumbs in a separate small bowl. Roll each crab pattie in the bread crumbs, then place in the hot skillet. Fry for about 4 minutes on each side. Makes 7-8 crab cakes.

Cranberry-Peach Sauce

1 cup fresh cranberries

1/2 cup suger

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 frozen peach slices, diced

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring often. When the mixture boils, turn heat to medium low, and cook until cranberries pop and sauce is thickened a bit. Stir frequently. Serve over crab cakes.

I served my crab cakes with cranberry sauce and cream cheese over mashed potatoes.

Amelia Island Restaurant Week: Visiting Fort Clinch State Park

The main road inside Fort Clinch is a beautiful drive

The main road inside Fort Clinch is a beautiful drive

While we were in Fernandina Beach for Amelia Island Restaurant Week, we stopped in to explore Fort Clinch State Park. I did not get a picture of the entrance, but the main road inside the park is a beautiful road, and I stopped frequently to take pictures of the Spanish Moss hanging in the oak trees along the way.  I think I must have at least thirty pictures that look just like that one up there.

South Bastion of Fort Clinch

South Bastion of Fort Clinch

Fort Clinch, an actual working fort during the Civil War, was established in 1842, when the United States government purchased a tract of land on the northern end of Amelia Island at the Florida-Georgia border. The military installation was to be built on the property to guard the mouth of the St. Mary’s River, and protect the interior shipping.

Fabgrandpa entering the fort

Fabgrandpa entering the fort

Construction began on the fort in 1847 and progressed slowly. So slowly, in fact that by 1860 only two bastions and one third of the brick wall was completed. At the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, Confederate militia quietly took over the fort. However, with the Union Army advancing, General Robert E Lee authorized a withdrawal of the area. On March 3, 1862, Union troops took over control of the fort.

Barracls room in one of the buildings inside the fort.

Barracks room in one of the buildings inside the fort.

Fort Clinch was deactivated as a federal facility in 1867. The US Army maintained the property from 1869 until 1898, when the sinking of the USS Maine in the Havana Harbor brought the US into war with Spain, and brought Fort Clinch into action again.

The prison inside the fort.

The prison inside the fort.

That does not look like a comfortable place to be, in chains on dirty brick floor. The prison was in the same building as the barracks above.

 

Officers quarters

Officers quarters

I love these old buildings. This one reminds me of one of the older classroom buildings on the campus of the University of Alabama where my daughter went to school. I

Me next to one of the cannons

Me next to one of the cannons

Fort Clinch was called into service one last time during World War II, when the Coast Guard, the US Navy, and the US Army joined forces to maintain a surveillance system within the fort.

beautiful sky that day!

beautiful sky that day!

There is a fee of $2.00 per person to tour the fort, but it is well worth it! There is access to nearly all the building, and a volunteer in dressed in the 1848 style of uniform who will talk to you about the history, or give your group a tour.

fort clinch

Fabgrandpa on the trail by the big guns

In addition to the actual fort, there are many hiking trails, bicycle trails, rental bikes, geo cacheing, fishing, picnic areas, and camping areas. There is a pier as well. We didn’t go on the pier because it was a cold day.

Fort Clinch Map

Fort Clinch Map

We did take a drive through the Atlantic Campground, and took a few pictures. There are campsites available for most any size RV, tents, and group camping areas. I have no idea why we never came here with our RV–the campsites look amazing, and have immediate beach access just over the dunes.

 

RV's camped at Fort Clinch State Park

RV’s camped at Fort Clinch State Park

Fees at Fort Clinch are quite reasonable, with entry fee at $6.00 per car and camping $26 per night includes water and electricity.  For Reservations: Reservations may be made up to 11 months in advance through ReserveAmerica. Book Online or call (800) 326-3521 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.) or TDD (888) 433-0287.

The Atlantic Campground. there is also a campground on the Amelia River

The Atlantic Campground. there is also a campground on the Amelia River

We enjoyed our tour of Fort Clinch, and can’t wait for an opportunity to go back when it’s warmer and get some fishing done on the pier.

Amelia Island Restaurant Week: Cafe´ Karibo

cafe karibo logo

Cafe Karibo

The first night we were in Fernandina Beach, we had reservations at Cafe Karibo on 3rd Street as guests of the manager. It only took a few minutes to drive over from the Residence Inn. We parked around the block and walked a short distance. The neighborhood around the restaurant was charming, with a residential feel. There were several quaint restaurants and shops on the block. Even after dark walking was not scary, as it can be in some cities.

The outdoor patio

The outdoor patio

The atmosphere at Cafe Karibo was like a neighborhood pub, with some wooden benches at tables that would seat six, and smaller tables for two to four. If it had been warmer out, we might have opted to sit on the patio. It was beautiful even in winter, but just a bit too chilly that day. It was pretty busy for a Wednesday night. We found a table and soon after, our waiter appeared to take our drink order.

While they do serve wine and beer, we both ordered the Peach Iced Tea, which was a great blend of flavors. The Restaurant Week Menu was offered, as well as the regular menu. You can see the Restaurant Week Menu here: Cafe-Karibo.

We decided on the Caprese Salad and the Crab Cakes for starters. Both were excellent! I know I have had Caprese Salads in many different places, but this one seemed to be the best I have had yet. The Balsamic Vinegar they used was thick and sticky, which is quite different from what I am used to. It just made the whole thing better! There was also a noticable difference in the flavors of the red and orange tomatoes.

Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

Anyone who knows me knows I love crab, any way I can get it. I was not disappointed by these wonderful crab cakes. The only thing I didn’t like was that they did have a bread crumb coating, so they were not gluten free, but I ate them anyway. They were served with brie and a cranberry chutney, something I would have never thought of on my own, but enjoyed immensely. Even Fabgrandpa ate half of them, and he usually does not care for crab. You know I am going to have to re-create them at home now.

Crab Cakes with Brie and Cranberry Chutney at Cafe Karibo in Fernandina Beach

Crab Cakes with Brie and Cranberry Chutney

Fabgrandpa chose the Coquille St. Jaques, or Sea Scallpos with Shitake Mushroom Sauce. These were jumbo scallops, served over smashed potatoes, covered in the mushroom sauce, and had a side of grilled vegetables. The veggies included red and yellpw peppers, zucchini, carrots, and asparagus. He said it was delicious. The only problem he had with it was there was so much he was not able to eat all of it. That man has never walked away from a scallop before, ever. I am not sure if the sauce if gluten free or not, I forgot to ask.

Sea Scallops with Shitake Mushroom Sauce

Sea Scallops with Shitake Mushroom Sauce

For my entree, I chose the Pan Seared Red Snapper. It was served over the same smashed potatoes as Fabgrandpa’s meal, and had the same side vegetables. This plate was gluten free: there was no breading on the fish, and no gravy or sauce on the potatoes. The fish was seared crispy and golden brown, and had a very tasty fruit  salsa on top. (I think it was the papaya chutney, but not sure. It was delicious, though) The vegetables were cooked just right–not mushy, not too crisp.

Pan Seared Red Snapper with Smashed Potatoes and grilled vegetables.

Pan Seared Red Snapper with Smashed Potatoes and grilled vegetables.

We both declined dessert, which was a choice of Strawberry Cake, Mud Var, Creme Brulee, or Chocolate Ganache Cake. We just couldn’t hold another bite. At that point, we were glad that we had parked around the block!

The Cafe Karibo menu includes a good selection of Soups, Salads, Sandwiches, Appetizers, and entrees to fit just about anyone’s taste. A few of the offerings are gluten free, such as the one I had, the Pan Seared Red Snapper. You might also try the Shrimp & Grits, the Rum Marinated Pork Tenderloin, or the Fresh Catch of the Day. (The information here about gluten free menu items is from my own observations of those items, and are not indicated as such on the menu. As always, be sure to ask about the ingredients when you are ordering)

Cafe Karibo is located at 27 North 3rd Street in downtown Fernandina Beach, Florida.  Reservations are recommended for parties of 6 or more, and maximum split check limit is 8.  904-277-5269

Amelia Island Restaurant Week: Residence Inn

Amelia Island Beach

Amelia Island Beach

Last week Fabgrandpa and I finally left the house headed for Amelia Island, Florida. Restaurant Week, that annual celebration of the best meals at the best restaurants on the island, ran from January 17th to 26th. Of course, we needed a place to stay while we were in Fernandina Beach for the festivities, so Residence Inn by Marriott stepped up to the plate. What a delicious place! Yes, a lodging can be delicious, as compared to other places we have stayed that were merely functional. The Residence Inn, was, well, marvelous!

Residence Inn by Marriott

Residence Inn by Marriott

As soon as we walked in, we were greeted by the front desk staff. I introduced myself, and when I did, they all knew me by name! They had been waiting for us to arrive. I was introduced to the manager as “our special guest” and was given a welcome package that had been left there for me by the public relations person. I felt just like a star arriving in Hollywood!

the lobby and cafe area

the lobby and cafe area

There were people sitting in the lobby, enjoying the fireplace, and waiting for the hamburger cookout to begin. We were invited to attend, but we had reservations at another place for dinner. So, we went up to our room to freshen up and get ready to go to our restaurant.And just look at this room:

Living Room

Living Room

The living room had a desk, sofa, coffee table with ottoman, a chair, and a large screen TV with Cable. Free wi-fi made it super easy to get online, too. There was a small dining table with two chairs. And A FULL kitchen:

The kitchen

The kitchen

The kitchen featured a large refrigerator/freezer, a stovetop with two burners, a convection microwave oven and a dishwasher. It was also fully stocked with cooking and eating utensils for four. And I do mean, there was everything you would need to move in for a while and start cooking. I want this kitchen at my house! Or, I want to live here at Residence Inn. For the whole winter! I went into the bedroom to lie down for a while, and just look at this:

the bedroom

the bedroom

The bedroom featured a king size bed that was oh! so comfortable. I slept like a log the two nights we were there. A large closet with mirrors on the doors, a dresser, and a bedside table on both sides of the bed. The lighting could be adjusted from full light to just above dark, which made it great for sleeping or watching TV on the second big screen TV.

The vanity area

The vanity area

The vanity area had plenty of room for two people to move around and get ready to go at the same time if necessary, with a separate area for the toilet and shower. All of the rooms were so beautifully decorated in a warm red and beige color scheme. I loved it!

The bath area

The bath area

When we got ready to go to the restaurant for dinner, the front desk staff offered to have the shuttle take us. But, because we had to run a couple of errands on the way back, we declined. It was nice to know that the shuttle was available though. Other amenities offered were an outdoor heated pool, a hot tub, free Continental Breakfast,  Business Center, Fitness Center, and Laundry Services. Residence Inn Amelia Island hotel is pet-friendly too, so my sister, Linda, wouldn’t have to leave her Bunny Boo at home if she came to Amelia Island for a visit.

Dottie with Fabgrandpa

Dottie with Fabgrandpa

You know Fabgrandpa and I took advantage of the free breakfasts each morning. Of course Fabgrandpa makes friends everywhere he goes, and met up with Dottie, the very nice lady who takes care of setting up the breakfast and keeping the coffee urns filled. We both met a lot of very nice people who were also staying at the Residence Inn. Amelia Island is a popular spot for snow birders to visit when it is cold and snowy up north. I talked to people from Wisconsin, Illinois, Canada, New Jersey, New York and Virginia.

if you want to go there and find out for yourself what a wonderful place Residence Inn by Marriott Amelia Island is, here are the particulars:

Residence Inn by Marriott Amelia Island

2301 Sadler Road, Fernandina Beach, Florida 32034

Contact: 904-277-2440 Fax: 904-277-2449

Email: ameliainfo@residenceinnamelia.com

Make a reservation