Hot Pot

So when twins are home from college, it's all about food here at home! (Okay...what day really ISN'T about food?!?)

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On the menu was an amazing hot pot! Hot pot you ask?! (It's SO good!) Hot pot is an incredible Chinese dish where the center of attention is a simmering pot of "hot" broth. And what's even better about this dish is that it has been around for more than 1000 years! Can someone say Jin Dynasty? Very cool.

You start by cooking a bunch of aromatics like star anise and dried chilies in a wok with some ginger and garlic. The house starts to smell amazing! The broth is usually a base of chicken broth and a hot pot soup base. We get that base at our favorite local Asian Market here in town. And then you prepare the feast by setting out multiple items to cook in your simmering pot! Noodles, veggies like bean sprouts and sliced bok choy, and any kind of sliced meat or seafood. We used tenderloin and chicken along with some fresh caught shrimp! Everyone gathers their bowls and puts in their own combination of goodness and into the hot pot it goes one at a time until just cooked through! Once done, you get to make your own secret sauce and then have it alongside your bowl of goodness. We usually go for seconds at this point!!

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Ava introduced this to our family after seeing this prepared on the tv show "Bizarre Foods" and thought it would be a hit. And guess what? It was! I'm not sure what's so bizarre about it, but I do know Sophia and Maya enjoyed making their bowls up too. Ava has become an expert! Many thanks to her for always being the chef in our home for hot pot family night:)

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What do you think? Would that be a hit in your family too? 

Keep on cooking with your kids. You never know what "bizarre" or unique food you may become addicted to. And the time spent in the kitchen will make it even more special for everyone.



Garden fresh

This past Wednesday I had a bumper crop of Roma Beans!

This plant is gorgeous and makes summer grilling a breeze. I added some root veggies and slice onions and layered the dish with seasoned turkey burgers on the bottom of my pan. Cover with foil and throw on the grill and dinner will be ready in about 20 minutes!

And while harvesting I got to take time out to enjoy the view❤️

What's your favorite summer vegetable??



Graduation Weekend

This past weekend was exciting yet bittersweet. My twins Ava and Lukas graduated from Skutt Catholic. It seems like only a brief moment ago I was holding them as babies, and now, they're getting ready to move on to the next big chapter in their life. I couldn't be prouder.

Their graduation party was in part to celebrate all the amazing accomplishments throughout their high school career...and also a celebration with of!!

We had Dantes pizza oven to cater the event and I must say...Best. Pizza. Ever. We had a choice of three pizzas and they were prepared fresh and hot! The dough was tossed every time - SO cool!! They tasted simply blissful! Nothing like it on an unusually cold May afternoon! 

We also had the most incredible salad as well. The Granada Padano - which is similar to Parmesan and Pistachio gave it a savory taste and delectable crunch! The salad was gobbled up by guests as fast as the pizza was!!

I could not asked for a better pair of guys to take care of us throughout our event. So hardworking. And seriously -- so talented. Much thanks to the entire Dante crew for making our family's celebration so tasty!

P.S. These Eclairs from Le Petite Paris French Bakery were also a crowd favorite!


Getting Spoiled By Dante Pizzeria

Last Saturday, Crème de la Crème was invited to participate in Dante Pizzeria's Summer Menu Tasting Event!  It was a chance for Omaha bloggers to sample Dante's seasonal offerings before the main public.  We. Had. A. Blast!  Monica and I sampled five wines, a salad, chilled soup, fresh pasta, and two fish entrees.  We were truly spoiled.

Dante Pizzeria is famous for their Napoli-style pizza.  But, what many don't realize is their wide, fabulous selection of seasonal offerings.  Every ingredient has a story.  Even their flour is selected with the greatest precision.  While the flour comes from Wyoming, it is shipped to California and milled before arriving at the restaurant.

Dante Pizzeria’s Summer Menu focuses on Southern Italy’s love for fish.  Chef Strawhecker dispelled the widely held belief that it is impossible to get fresh fish in Nebraska.  The skate and mackerel were harvested on Friday, immediately Fed-Exed to Dante, and enjoyed the following day on Saturday.  

One thing that resonated with me was when Chef/Owner Strawhecker explained that while food is very important, sometimes service is more important than food.  The presentation and service at Dante’s sets the bar for fresh, locally sourced dining. 

Sommelier Adam Weber gave us a fabulous presentation on the storied history of the featured wines.  Each course was paired with his curated wine selection.  Dante Pizzeria boasts 182 Italian wines.  It goes without saying...the wine was paired to perfection.  I don't know what was more fun: tasting the food or sipping the wine.  My favorite was the Glera sparkling wine and Monica's was the "blu di burson".


Chef/Owner Nick Strawhecker prepped each dish with fascinating stories of where he sources each ingredient to give Omaha an authentic taste of Italian dining.  

Oh my gosh.  I could not stop eating this salad.  I was the last one to have my plate taken — I wanted to lick it clean.  The chives were amazing and the toasted bread crumbs on top had an addictive crunch.  

The Chilled Asparagus Soup with fresh tomato gave it a sweet kick.  Presentation? Amazing. Almost too pretty to eat! And the radish the freshest I've had...such a nice crunch and texture. Loved the olive oil drizzle.

I'm a fan of freshly made pasta -- and Chef Strawhecker's Wild Boar Ravioli was outstanding! Can you believe a customer of his shot this?  500 pounds of wild boar meat.  The homemade pasta was the perfect al dente.  The meat stock with the bones stewed for 7 hours with mirepoix and LOTS of wine for an amazing sugo.  

Chef Strawhecker called this first entree "the sexiest fried chicken".  Cape Cod Skate with sun-chokes, carrots, hazelnut, and brown butter. Skate had a crispy outside, with a buttery, flaky inside texture.  The sun-choke puree was smooth and buttery, and the baby carrots were so sweet and tender.   

The next entree had a Mediterranean influence!  Wood-roasted Cape Cod Mackerel with cece bean, blistered tomatoes, and arugula.  The mackerel was so tender.  Spring mix on top gave a perfect balance and fragrance to the flavorful mackerel.

Dante has an authentic Bolognese gelato maker.  The last course featured a Raspberry Gelato with lavender syrup and crushed biscotti.  It was heavenly!  Nothing else like it around here.

Thank you Dante for such a nice afternoon!  We will be seeing you again soon.  Cheers! XOXO Paula

Sunday Dinner by Lukas

What's for Sunday dinner??

Lukas took it upon himself to give his mom a night off! On the menu...grilled burgers. But these aren't just ANY grilled burgers! He thought he would tempt our family's palate with an Asian inspired burger. With. Peanut butter. heard me! I was hesitant at first but the flavors came together so well it was amazing!! A spicy peanut butter Asian sauce was slathered on the toasted bun -- and the burger was topped with crispy bacon! On the side, he made some hand cut potato wedges and seasoned them just right! On to the grill they went with the burgers. Perfection!

Thank you Lukas for what will be a regular menu item at our house this summer!!

A Crème Eggstravaganza

Hope everybody had a fabulous Easter!! Thought I would share some photos of our Easter eggstravaganza over here!!

A Spinach BLT Salad was the starting dish alongside an amazing Spiral Cut Brown Sugar Encrusted Baked Ham. Homemade tender White Cheddar Biscuits and an Asparagus Custard Tart were the supporting side dishes.

Sophia helped me with a Double Layer Vanilla Malt Cake that I was inspired to make. I wanted to finish off the meal just right! The Coconut Cream Cheese Icing was topped with mini chocolate eggs...adorable!

Cheers! XOXO Paula