Saturday, January 24, 2015

Piquant – Tampa, FL


One of our Christmas presents from my parents was a stack of CL Deals to use for date nights!  So for dinner last night, we headed to Piquant in Hyde Park. 

It’s in a cute location right on the corner of Rome & Snow Avenues.  I don’t think we’d been there since Sophie’s French Bakery was in that location a few years back. 

The previous restaurant had more of an eclectic coffee shop feel – it still has the bakery, but now it’s a bit more upscale now with ghost chairs, high-back black leather banquettes, and mood lighting.

I ordered the La Tour Eiffel cocktail – the Ketel 1, passion fruit, St. Germain, bubbly & rosemary.  It was served with crushed ice, so it tasted more like a fancy slushy drink.  Lance had the Coppertail Unholy Trippel (served in a 3 Daughters glass…) We still haven’t made our wait to Coppertail Brewery in Ybor, but Lance enjoyed his beer, so we’ll have to check it out soon! 

They served some crispy baguettes before the meal – I had to restrain myself from eating the whole bread basket. 

For my meal, I ordered one of their Signature EntrĂ©es, the Braised Boeuf Short Ribs with gratin dauphinoise, wilted spinach with pine nuts & preserved lemons, bordelaise sauce, and crispy leeks.  The portion wasn’t huge, but it was plenty enough for me.  And it was clear that it was quality over quantity.  The meat was tender and flavorful, and the potatoes and veggies were perfectly cooked.  

Lance had the Piquant Burger – made with Niman Ranch grass-fed beef, topped with a red wine onion confit, heirloom tomato, and white cheddar on a challah bun. It included parmesan, parsley, and truffle oil fries.  It was the perfect burger & fries. 

We didn’t have room for dessert, but their pastry display was filled with all sorts of goodies including tarts, cupcakes, and their famous cronuts.  We’ll need to come back another day and just have sweets & fancy coffee. 

It was a really wonderful meal.  The CL Deal definitely helped with the price though, so keep an eye out on the Creative Loafing website to see whether they post another deal!

Piquant is located at 1633 West Snow Avenue, Tampa, FL 33606 and is open 8am – 8pm Sunday – Wednesday and 8am – 10pm Thursday – Saturday.   

Crispy Mustard-Roasted Chicken


My coworker, Susana, gave me a fantastic cookbook for Christmas that I’m so excited about!  (She had only known me a few weeks at that point, so it was so thoughtful of her).  It’s called Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust by Ina Garten. 

I finally got the chance to try out one of the recipes – Crispy Mustard-Roasted Chicken – and it was one of the best chicken dishes I’ve made.  It was really simple to throw together, but it does take about an hour to bake, so make sure you have enough time. 

I halved the amount of chicken, but wish I didn’t because I would have loved leftovers!  I accidentally made enough of the breadcrumb mixture for the full recipe, so I saved half of it to use another time soon.  It was crispy like fried chicken, but so much more flavorful and not as greasy.  This is going to be one of my go-to recipes from now on. 

Crispy Mustard-Roasted Chicken (from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof)

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 T minced fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1 T grated lemon zest
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup honey Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 4 pounds chicken (we used thighs, but you can use whatever parts you like best)

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  

2. Place the garlic, thyme, 2 t salt, and 1 t pepper in a food processor and mix until the garlic is finely minced.   

3.  Add the panko, lemon zest, olive oil, and butter and pulse a few times to moisten the bread crumbs.  Pour the mixture onto a plate.

4. Whisk together the mustard and wine in a shallow bowl.   

5.  Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.  Generously sprinkle with salt and pepper.   

6.  Dip each piece in the mustard mixture to coat all sides.  Then, place just the skin-side down into the breadcrumb mixture, pressing gently to adhere the crumbs. 

7.  Place chicken on a greased pan crumb-side up.  Press the remaining crumbs on the chicken pieces. 

8.  Bake for 40 minutes, then raise the temperature to 400 degrees and bake for another 10, or until the crumbs are browned and the chicken is thoroughly cooked through. (Even though I greased the pan, I still had to let it soak for a bit afterwards...but it cleaned up just fine.)

We served ours with a simple spinach salad with strawberries, cucumbers, provolone cheese, and Olive Garden dressing. 

You could prepare the chicken in advance if you’d like – just refrigerate after dipping in the mustard and crumb mixtures, then bake when you’re ready. 

Overnight Chia Pudding


I’ve been trying to switch up my breakfast routine instead of just having cereal every morning.  To make it super convenient, I’ve been trying different overnight oatmeal and pudding recipes so I wake up and my food is all prepared for me! 

Chia seeds can absorb up to 12 times their weight in liquid, so if you put them in milk overnight, it turns into a thicker pudding that is really energizing and fills you up for hours.  (You can read this post for more health benefits of chia).  

It only took a few minutes to prepare the night before.  It’s a mix of a bunch of recipes I found online.  You can feel free to adapt the pudding with whatever mix-ins you like best! 

Overnight Chia Pudding (serves 2)

  • 6 T chia seeds
  • 2 cups almond milk (I used regular milk, but I think the almond would give it more flavor)
  • ½ t vanilla
  • ½ cup mixed berries
  • 2 T pomegranates
  • 2 T coconut, toasted
  • 2 T raw pistachios, chopped
  • ½ t cinnamon
  • ¼ t cardamom
  • ¼ t ground ginger
  • Dash of salt

1.  Toast your coconut ahead of time (careful to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn)

2. The night before, prepare the pudding.  Blend the milk, vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger & salt in a blender on the lowest speed. 


3.  Slowly pour in your chia seeds and blend for 2-3 minutes.  Add ¼ cup of the berries to blend them into the mixture (I saved the rest to top the pudding in the morning).   

4. Pour into mason jars or any covered container and refrigerate at least 6 hours. 

5.  In the morning, stir your mixture and top with the remaining berries, pomegranates, pistachios, and coconut (I forgot my coconut unfortunately!)

I did a similar breakfast with overnight oatmeal as well.  It’s the same concept, but you just refrigerate ¼ cup uncooked oats, 1/3 cup milk, ¼ cup Greek yogurt, 1½ T chia seeds, ¼ t vanilla, and fruit in a jar overnight and enjoy the next day!   

I think it would actually taste best to combine the two recipes and add a bit of oatmeal to the chia pudding overnight.  The pudding was pretty liquidy, so if you like a thicker breakfast, reduce the milk quantity or add a bit of oatmeal to the jar.