Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Musings of a mutt.

I've said before how much I wish I had some sort of cultural heritage-food wise-to fall back on. Italian, Spanish...Moroccan would be super. But instead, I'm just your everyday white girl mutt. Scottish, English, a little German and Welsh, I think. With two parents who grew up with mid-western mothers. If you aren't familiar with this breed, they cook things like potato salad, meatloaf, and casseroles. Seasoning generally consists of salt and pepper. Sometimes paprika...usually on a deviled egg.

The hubby, on the other hand, grew up with Italian and German in his blood, and a step dad who is half Texan, half Indian/Burmese (right? I get so confused), and therefore scoffs at the mere use of salt and pepper. Sigh.

By the time I met him, I had already realized I liked being in the kitchen more than my mom ever did, and had begun experimenting. One of my first Pammy 'fixes' was making Chicken Parm with marinara...my mama uses tomato soup. (Baby Sis likes mom's better. I may not agree, but I get it.)

And by the time I met the now in-laws, I had just finally gotten used to hot sauce. More specifically, I'd gotten used to my boyfriend putting hot sauce on everything I made. Usually without tasting it first. (I will never forget him putting Tapatio on Chicken Marsala. So. Mad.) But as time passed, my taste buds evolved. And now, as you know, I need the spice.

So I feel fortunate that I married into a more...interesting...food family. The husband grew up with sauces and lasagnas and curries and pilau...wonderful things that give me something to aspire to. My mother-in-law put in the work and learned to make everything her husband's mom used to make, so now I feel like it's my turn. She's had way more practice and is a fabulous cook, so I hope I can compete even a little...but I think I do ok. The pilau I made the other night turned out better than usual (Pilau is basically Indian Pilaf...basmati rice sauteed with onion, garlic, fresh ginger, cumin, curry, cloves, cardamom, bay leaves, salt...delicious, but my combination of spices is never quite right, and it's either too strong or too bland. I thought it was too strong. I'll trust him on this one) and it went well with an Indian-inspired mint-cilantro halibut. Looked good, tasted good, and was really pretty easy. I so love my food processor.

I'm know I'm still learning. And I know I'll get better. But lucky for him (and our stomachs), I'm a good student. And an overambitious one at that...

Halibut with Mint-Cilantro Sauce

Halibut with Mint-Cilantro Sauce
From a Cooking Light recipe

One serrano chile, halved
handful cilantro leaves
small handful fresh mint
About 3 stalks green onion, chopped roughly
1/2 cup fat free plain yogurt
About 2 tbsp low-fat cream cheese
Good squeeze fresh lemon juice (about 1/4 a lemon)
small piece(about 1/2 inch) peeled fresh ginger, chopped roughly
good pinch salt (1/8 tsp-ish)
good pinch sugar
good pinch cumin seeds (or ground)
2 garlic cloves
About 1/2 teaspoon garam masala*
6-ounce skinless halibut fillets (two or four)

*If you don't have Garam Masala, mix some curry powder, cinnamon, garlic powder, allspice and cumin. Or any combination of those.)

In food processor (or blender), pulse serrano until finely chopped. Add cilantro, mint, onion, yogurt, cream cheese, lemon juice, ginger, salt, sugar, cumin, and garlic until as smooth as you can get it.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Combine garam masala and about 1/4 teaspoon salt; sprinkle evenly over fish. Add a splash of oil and a small pat of butter to pan; swirl until butter melts. Add fish to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until cooked through and flaky (you could also grill for a few minutes a side). Serve sauce over fish.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday, drunky Sunday.

Awesome things about my patio:
It's close to my bathroom. It's close to the kitchen. (So why did we take a cooler out with us? Cause we can, obviously.) There's no driving involved. And the BBQ, while cooking meat five feet from me, smells wonderful.
Hint. Sausage+spicy mustard=magic.

Bad things about the patio. We have to crank the Sirius radio from inside, which makes me nervous. I don't want to be those neighbors. Luckily, the Lithium station is awesome enough that only a super lame-o would complain at 5 pm on a Sunday. Not concerned. Also, an animal somehow had its way with the area surrounding the patio, so now and then we get a lovely whiff of excrement. Mmmm. Pass the sausage, please.

Luckily the pros outweigh the, shall we say, shiity negatives. I have my boy. I have my sorghum based beer (Redbridge), which allows me to feel like I'm participating in what should be lauded as probably the most drink-a-beer-on-the-patio-and-enjoy-spring day we've had this year.
Sigh, just another rough day in Cali.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

I miss bread.

How's the gluten free overhaul going? Glad you asked.

Dinners have been going well. We did goulash with brown rice pasta last night, and an Indian inspired halibut with rice the night before (recipe to come). But since I have been trying to be better about cooking for two rather than a small army, I've had less leftovers-AKA lunch. And anything I have to buy puts me in dangerous territory.

I can't eat pho every day, and thai food gets pricey...fast food generally is a no-go cause everything is processed or fried...and when you add in the cost factor, I'm pretty much always better off bringing lunch.

Otherwise I end up having to make a mid-day store run, which ends with something strange and not particularly exciting. Say hello to the bread-less turkey sandwich.

Low fat honey roasted turkey, low fat provolone, spicy mustard, and romaine. Contain your excitement, if you can. (Actually, it was quite tasty...but it's just not gonna cut it every day.)

I'll just keep reminding myself that this is doable. A turkey sandwich wouldn't be any better on a warm, fresh, fragrant piece of rye...

Oh, god, I can smell it. Mouth...watering...daaaaamn it.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Multitasker supreme.

Today I'm trying something new-writing this while on the treadmill. Not the brightest idea, to be sure, but it excites me for so many reasons.

I get so bored at the gym. If I'm with a friend, I get to chat, which works perfectly well as a distraction. Otherwise, I have to have music -Jay Z's the Blueprint 3, currently- which I inevitably end up singing/mouthing along to and looking like that girl. Rad. Whatever.

But even with music, I need more, or else I spend the whole time sending ugly looks at the time display, impatiently waiting for it to hit 30:00. So instead, I'm the girl listening to my iPhone, watching Bonnie Hunt on mute while writing what must look like the longest text message ever. (I so love the personal TVs here, btw. The big ones are set to Fox news. No.).

What can i say? I have to multitask. Always. I'm either the most capable person I know or the most easily distracted (know anyone else like that, mom??). Why do one thing (walk) when I can do four (walk, watch, pretend to rap, write)? That's just plain efficiency, baby. At home I'd be watching tv while reading a magazine while chatting up the hubby. While writing. This way, at least I'm burning off the dirty martini I'm bound to sip on while making dinner later. Like I said...efficient.

And look at that.

The minutes just flew by. I haven't even gotten a chance to search cooking light for dinner ideas yet. Excellent. Something to do while I stretch...

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It's settled, I'm an inspiration.

Which is fabulous, in case that wasn't clear.

I love, love, love when people tell me they tried something because of me. Or ask me for food advice because they're incredibly picky and need ideas (Mrs. Allen, I'm talking to you). Or when old friends tell me their husbands read me regularly cause they find me funny. Or, even better, when they dedicate blogs to me.

You guys are awesome. Just wanted you to know.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It's an obsession, pho sure.

I cannot stop eating pho.

It was bad enough when I was just hitting Saigon for chicken pho every week or two. But then a new place opened across the street from my office a couple weeks ago...trouble. Cause now everytime I go there (it's called Pho Hut, and their logo seriously looks like Pizza Hut's, which annoys me to no end) I feel guilty for not going to Saigon, so I go there like 3 days later, and then the next week I'm too lazy to go far, so Pho Hut happens...it's a vicious cycle, really.

And honestly, I don't care for Pho Hut's pho ga (chicken), cause they use dark meat and breast with skin...ugh. Not for me. But their beef pho is great. As is their tofu pho, which I tried today for the first time. Tons of veggies and some not quite distinguishable...meat?...accompany the tofu chunks, which was a nice change of pace.

So I really do have good reason to frequent both spots. And do, obviously. But holy crap, it's a lot of food from either place. And I end up killing it every.single.time.

So it always amuses me that the hubby seems to think if I have pho on a, say, Tuesday, I won't want it again on Friday for our weekly lunch date. Wrong. I'm a pho machine, baby. Bring it on.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Reason #362 I made a good marital decision.

When I got home last night from a very long, very fun, and very exhausting weekend in my hometown, the hubby had not only gone to the store, but cooked us up a FAB dinner. And bought me more vodka in case I was out (I mentioned wanting a Dirty).

And it was so.good. Grilled boneless pork chops with creole seasoning, baked potatoes with all the goodness, and cauliflower and broccoli? Yum! Good work, honey.

Oh, and he can totally add baked potatoes to the list of things he's better at. He rubbed them with olive oil and salt, threw them on a baking sheet, and baked them at 425 for about 45 min. Fluffy, soft, perfect.

Kinda like him. Well, minus the soft and fluffy parts.

Friday, March 19, 2010

All I can do is try.

I always feel so sorry for the hubby when I make normally gluten-full meals gluten-free...like last night's chicken parm, about which he expressed a little too much disappointment about it not being breaded (and apparently I make it wrong, rme, I cook the chicken in the sauce; he thinks I should add the sauce at the end after it's cooked. I think he whom has dinner cooked for him should not practice 'constructive criticism.')

Aaanyway, I had tried to make up for the lack of breading by adding a special little layer of goodness in the chicken-I sliced them almost all the way through and layered some basil leaves and half a slice of provolone in each.

Other than that (and the addition of sliced mushrooms to the sauce), I used my regular recipe and served over quinoa. IIII thought it was fab. And totally ate my leftovers for breakfast.

Next time, hubby gets to make it. I expect homemade sauce, too. (*wink*)

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

I am doing this.

November 1, 2006 was the day I stopped eating gluten. No wheat, no barley, no oats. No bread, no pasta, no beer.

It was a horrible, horrible day.

But I was so good for so long. I was checking labels, baking my own bread, and investing in sorghum-based beers. A huge pain in the ass (and the head, if I cheated...I would get horrible headaches after I ate even a trace of wheat), but it was worth it. I've had eczema my whole life, and dermatologist after dermatologist prescribed me lotions and creams and ointments...even a pill that blocked the 'itch-sensor' in my brain...and nothing worked. So finally, 25 years later, a chiropractor suggested I cut out gluten. And, ta-da! No more itching. Magic.

So why have I gotten lazy? Cause I'm a jackass, apparently. I have no good reason other than than I am weak. Weak, weak, weak. And now, itchy.

And since having a specific date set to stop eating gluten worked the first time, I decided this week to do it again. And today is the day. Cause my legs itch so much I've been bruising myself scratching them. And that, my friends, just ain't cute.

Wish me luck.

We are so moving back to the beach.

Last night the hubby rather impatiently pointed out that I have yet to write about our excursion last weekend...which tells me he wants to relive it already. And since this trip was more booze based than food based, being hungover from St. Paddy's Day seems the appropriate time to write...so here we go.

During our Snoop-guided drive over, we stopped in Avila Beach at the recommendation of my hair colorist—she promised the seafood at the restaurant at the end of the pier was worth the detour. As we walked to the end of the pier, however, we weren't quite sure what we'd gotten ourselves into...the "restaurant" was disturbingly reminiscent of a huge metal shack. So we looked at each other, got over it, and walked inside.

Nothing spectacular about the inside of the Olde Port Inn...it's the views that matter, and the fact that their tables are basically glass tubes that let you look down into the water below you. Very cool. So after we awwwed about the family of sea otters playing right in front of us, and oooohed about the specials (100% crab meat crab cakes), we sat back and realized vacation had begun.

And what a way to start. The crab cakes were a.maz.ing, as was the mixed seafood grill and the crab and shrimp salad (the bill was not...must begin asking how much specials are instead of immediately ordering out of excitement). We will totally go back there. When we're rich.

Once we checked into the hotel a little later, we somehow came to the conclusion that the best way to hang out in downtown SLO is by bar...so one overpriced cab ride later, the impromptu pub crawl began...at like 2pm.

Pammy H. Pub Crawl Rules:
Must sit at bar.
Must order one drink, but no more than three.
Water is mandatory after two drinks.
Each bar must somehow be documented.

Let me tell you...the hubby and I are troopers. As the night, err, day, progressed, my handwriting got more and more illegible, so here's where I think we went:
Black Sheep Bar & Grill
Bull's Tavern
Downtown Brewing Company (where we convinced the bartender to sell us an empty growler as a souvenir)
Frog & Peach
One World Wines (cause why wouldn't we go wine tasting after 4 bars? Hello, the South American wines came with empanadas.)
Buffalo Bar & Grill
China Buffet (because after 6 bars at 8pm, there was no point in going somewhere good. We did not sit at the bar. But we did have a beer.)
And all was finished off at the hotel bar. Ask nicely and one day I'll show you the flip videos from that stop. The poor bartender didn't know what hit her.

Somehow we managed to get up in the morning (with some help from the Hangover Gods-Bud Light Cheladas are magical), and headed back to Big Sky restaurant for a late breakfast. I was dying to try their pozole, which was gorgeous (the poached egg weirded me out cause I don't really do yolk, but it looked pretty) and deliciously spicy.

After walking around downtown and the San Luis Obispo Mission, we finished our trip in Pismo Beach. We hit up Brad's restaurant for clam chowder...and as we know, I can't pass up shrimp cocktail, so we killed one of those, too. After a long walk on the beach (which ended up with us getting trapped in the RV camping ground...don't ask), our happy tummies and sandy feet reluctantly headed home.

Sigh. Til next time...

Monday, March 15, 2010

The saga continues...

You may remember my tirade against Fresh & Easy a while back...I thought I was over it. Apparently not.

I'd gotten over the fact that they're owned by the European monopolizer Tesco, and realized that I don't have to let picketers scare me away (I'm such a baby). I even had a pleasant-albeit ultimately unhelpful-email conversation with a F&E rep after she read my complaints. (I say unhelpful because I got the distinct feeling I was receiving canned answers.) So I've still been shopping there now and then, when I want tomato-basil soup for lunch (the BEST!) or need something equally quick for dinner.

This, however, may end. The number one thing they had going for them was their gluten-free selection. Especially the Betty Crocker mixes-brownies, cookies, and cake. Do I make cookies, brownies or cake? ...like, every six months. Maybe. So...no. But the point is that it's there when I need it.

Like last week, when the hubby wanted brownies...so off we go, down the baking aisle, and are greeted by nothing. A long, empty row of nothing. Totally, utterly out of gluten-free brownies, cookies and cake. Dude. So we took our chances and asked an employee to look in the back for us. She was very, very nice, and sympathetically told me they were out and assured me they would be getting a shipment the next day.

Which brings us to today. Yes, the section was stocked. With everything Betty Crocker could possibly make-except, you guessed it, anything gluten free. And not only that...the tags showing where they should go were gone. Which means...uh, oh, Fresh & Easy. Uh. Oh.

At least your french fries and chicken are good...I guess that's something.

He's a keeper.

You know a man loves you when he offers to skin chicken for you. It's gross. He wins.

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App of the day award goes to...

If you've ever tried to go to a Chipotle anywhere near lunch time, you know it's a zoo. And according to the old manager, my local branch is the busiest in the entire chain. So, yeah, horrible.

Which is why endorsement of the day goes to the Chipotle iPhone app. Order, walk in, pick up. And I won't lie...bypassing a line of 3 dozen people makes me feel superior and a bit snooty. And I do love snooty.

And they didn't even mess it up! Black beans, veggies, salsa, guacamole, and extra lettuce. With a side of tortilla chips, natch. I won't eat them all, I promise...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Shizzle.

There's nothing quite like driving along the coast, taking it in, and hearing Snoop interrupt with "in one hund-ed yards, take a right, then stay straight...like a playa do".

If you have a Tomtom navigator, look into the voice options. Best upgrade ever. The hubby and I have been giggling the whole drive. And it's not like we don't know where we're going...it's just so much more fun with Mr. Dogg. Plus, when you arrive at the destination, he thanks us for letting him roll with us.

He's one polite mofo. Ooh-wee.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

She sells seashells...

There are few things in life this San Diego girl (at heart) loves more than the ocean. It has this amazing calming effect on me-the second I smell it in the air, something takes over and life is good again.

Lucky for me, the hubby knows and understands this, and when we're both getting the itch to escape the valley, he knows just where to take me for a weekend getaway.

Central Coast...wine tasting, beach viewing, food eating. Perfect. Going to San Luis Obispo tomorrow with a stop in Pismo Beach either on the way there or the way back. I'm not a huge fan of Pismo, I think it's kinda...overrated (trashy)...but ocean is ocean. And it's always an adventure at Pismo...last time we came home with tattoos...so let's see what happens.

Can't wait! You'll hear from me Monday, all aglow from the salt (and booze, I'm sure). So if I'm sounding more chipper than usual, I have good reason.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

It's TAPAS, not topless.

One day last year, K and I got the itch to make a tapas feast. And for no better reason than us being determined and bored, we ended up putting together an amazing spread of shrimp, tortilla, goat cheese rolled grapes...and that's just what I remember, so I'm sure there was more...mushrooms? It was amazing, seriously. We may have eaten a huge portion of it all by ourselves, which you would not find so fatkid had you tasted it. So not surprisingly, I think about it sometimes when I'm brainstorming dinner ideas.

Finally gave in on Monday, so the hubby had quite the surprise when he got home. I wanted tortilla, but it's not the most practical for a weeknight (i know, like any of this is...whatever). So instead, I went with spicy shrimp and asparagus and totally went crazy with the appetizers--marinated olives and mushrooms, chunks of manchego cheese, and I made spiced almonds by tossing roasted marcona almonds with a tiny drizzle of olive oil and about a tsp each of cumin, salt, and smoked paprika. (which are somehow still around 2 days later...they're so addictive).

Man, I love this serving dish. Makes serving toppings and appetizers look so purdy. The almonds, by the way, were the only things left standing in the wake of our destruction. (I'm so not upset about eating a lot of shrimp and asparagus. Cheese and olives, on the other hand...)

Drink with Sangria. In case there was any question...

Tapas Style Shrimp

Tapas Style Shrimp
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2-3 oz sherry or vermouth
a tbsp or so of olive oil
chopped fresh parsley
juice of one lemon
and if you're lucky enough to get to eat it, a Baguette to sop up the nummy-ness.

Saute the garlic and red pepper flakes about a minute. Raise heat to medium high, and add shrimp, juice, sherry, and both paprikas. Saute about 3-4 minutes, or until shrimp is pink throughout and no longer transparent. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour all into a serving dish, sprinkle with parsley. Eat immediately. I dare you not to eat it all.

Spanish Style Asparagus

Spanish Style Asparagus
Adapted from a Cooking Light recipe

Fresh parsley
One shallot, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves
About 3 roasted piquillo peppers, chopped (They come in a jar—roasted red peppers work, too)
Half a seeded plum tomato, chopped
About a tbsp rice vinegar
olive oil
Dijon mustard
fresh pepper
One bunch asparagus spears, steamed or broiled and cooled
1 hard boiled egg (just the white is healthier)
A tbsp or so drained capers

Place parsley, shallots, large pinch salt, and garlic in a food processor or blended and chop until as small as possible. Transfer to bowl, stir in piquillo peppers and tomato. Add vinegar, a splash of oil, a small squirt of mustard, and black pepper to taste, stir well. Place asparagus on serving dish, and drizzle with pepper mixture. Toss just a bit (without making a mess of the serving dish).

Chop egg white. Sprinkle egg, capers, and a bit of chopped parsley evenly over asparagus.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Oh, Julie...Oh, Julia.

My mom and my dear friend Kate have both been pestering me to watch Julie & Julia since, like, the moment it came out(it's so yooouuu, they both say). But as we don't go to the movies cause we're brokeasses, we depend on netflix, which doesn't always work out as easily as it should. Especially when your husband gets hold of the queue and moves his wishlist to the top of the list and then doesn't watch them...and they sit...and sit...

So a month later...I had my revenge. And am currently in possession of Gossip Girl, season 2, disc 2 (finally), The September Issue, and, at long last, Julie & Julia.

So I write this half paying attention, and half watching this wonderful movie that reminds me far too much of my own life. I love so much that Julie drinks dirty martinis as she cooks. And loves to write. And freaks out when her food goes wrong. And has a fabulous husband...

Happy sigh of content. Watch and love, kids. And drink a dirty while you do it...or at the least, eat something yummy.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Best "boxed" mac and cheese ever.

The parallel thinks you can't get anything good out of a box. Especially if that thing is mac and cheese. I however, beg to differ. It's so easy to dress up...and here is the proof. The best mac and cheese I've ever had, I think. And bonus, low fat. Kinda.

Out of the box Mac & Cheese
Box of mac and cheese (I like the Trader Joe's rice pasta and cheese)
Olive oil
Small head broccoli, cut in bite size pieces
1 small shallot, diced
Chicken broth
Salt and pepper
Pinch nutmeg
1/3 cup non fat Greek yogurt
About 2 oz reduced fat smoked Gouda, chopped

Boil the pasta in salted water according to box directions.

Meanwhile, In a skillet, heat a splash of oil, then add shallots, saute about 3 minutes. Add broccoli and a bit of chicken broth, stir often about 10 minutes or til broccoli Is almost soft (or as soft as you want), adding a splash of broth now and then if it looks dry. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Turn off heat.

When pasta is done, drain in colander, return empty pot to stove over low. Heat yogurt, cheese mix, and Gouda pieces, stirring constantly, til Gouda is melted and sauce is smooth.

Add broccoli mixture and drained pasta, mix well til well blended. Serve hot.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Make your parents dinner. You owe them.

I definitely can't complain about the weekend...my parents came to visit, so we spent most of Saturday with them, and then Sunday was spent running errands, cleaning the patio furniture, and then soaking up the insanely gorgeous weather and doing my favorite thing-absolutely nothing.

Having the 'rents here is always entertaining. Especially when I split a bottle of wine with my ma and we get all giggly and do things like yoga poses in the living room while the men roll their eyes at each other. They so married us for a reason. Anyway, my mom has been hinting around that I need to cook for her (and by hinting, I mean leaving me facebook messages that say 'move home and cook for me'), so I had to do some brainstorming and think of something fancy-schmancy to serve while they were here.

When I'm thinking deceptively easy and impressive, stuffed chicken is always a good call. And since I had some herbed goat cheese to kill and a couple extra shallots laying around, I went with it.

Kept it simple-caramelized the shallots and mixed them with the cheese, stuffed it in the chicken, and sprinkled everything with fresh thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Browned each side, poured in a bit of chicken broth, covered, and simmered it about 8 minutes a side. Served it with Caesar salad and herbed basmati rice, and voila.
My dad wasn't a huge fan of the rice (so I gather, anyway, he didn't eat all of his), but I really like it as a side. I follow the recipe I linked above pretty much exactly (more thyme, salt, and basil), so I won't bother reposting, but I recommend trying it with chicken or pork.

And they both thanked me, like, a million times (You're welcome!!), cause they know it was made solely out of love and not at all out of owing them 18...26...ish...years of supporting me financially, so I know they liked it-or at the very least, appreciated the effort.

Anytime, guys. XO.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

When snackies are needed...

and you're gluten free, it's generally pretty restrictive. Cause what I really want is salt and carbs. Tortilla chips? We know this. Pretzels? A bazillion times yes, please.

Which is why my endorsement of the week is Glutino's gluten-free pretzel twists. On their own, fab...with spicy mustard, omg. Homer Simpson noises.

Plus they're fairly low cal, for a snack. Glutino, again, you win. I have yet to meet a product you make that I don't like. When I'm rich, I'll buy your stock. Xoxo.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I get crazy cravings. And no, I'm not.

I got a serious craving for meatballs and pasta yesterday afternoon when I was making my grocery list...like, it sounded sooo good. And the hubby's Italian side doesn't ever seem to mind pasta, and since he also loves meatball sandwiches, I knew he'd be fine with the idea.

Actually, I especially recommend cooking this for meatball sandwich lovers...it makes a lot of leftovers. On the days I force myself to put the fork down, anyway. I love these.

Went well with what turned out to be our last bottle of my new go-to Zin (Rootstock)...and since we killed the bottle, it's apparently time for a Trader Joe's run.


Meatballs in Marinara
1 slice bread, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
About a 1/4 cup shredded Romano or Parm
Salt and pepper
1 pkg lean ground turkey
Olive oil
1 jar marinara or other pasta sauce
1 can diced tomatoes, drained

Mix bread (gluten free works), garlic, egg, cheese, turkey, and a good pinch each of basil, thyme, oregano and S&P with your hands. Roll into balls, any size you want (up to about 2 inches across.) Stick in the fridge til ready to use.

Heat oil on high heat, and brown the balls on each side as best you can for a couple of minutes. Add sauce and tomatoes. Simmer, covered, about 20 minutes or til the meatballs are cooked through.

Serve over pasta. About 5 servings.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

They don't call it Jewish Penicillin for nothin'

For whatever reason, I love matzo ball soup. Like, love it. I couldn't even tell you the first time I had it, but it had to be in college, cause that's the first time I got to go to a Seder or drink Manischewitz or any other Jewish awesomeness.

So when I cut the gluten, that was one thing that was miserable to give up. Which, in turn, was crappy on the hubby, cause he loves it too...and he's been hinting around how good it sounds. Grrrr. I'm such a sucker. So when he was feeling sick Monday, I figured I'd make him some.

I behaved. Mostly. I threw some roasted chicken in, which gave me something to distract me with so I didn't miss the matzo toooo much (I gave myself one ball so I wouldn't cry).

I also figured I'd just go big and make latkes to go with...mmmm. I'm not a big fan of frying, so next time I might try throwing them on the griddle. Hmm...maybe for Passover...

Latkes and other reasons I wish I were Jewish

The secret to making good Jewish food as a non Jew? Using a box (seriously, the Matzo Ball Soup mix is fantastic). Oh, and Google.

I found this Latke recipe on NYCNosh.com, and only made a couple adjustments. They could have cooked longer and at lower heat than I did, so I'm going to include their directions on that part and recommend you do as I say and not as I do. Just call me your own personal guinea pig.

3 large or 4 medium potatoes, peeled
1 onion
2 eggs, well beaten
1.5 Tablespoons matzoh meal (or flour-I used Bisquick)
large pinch salt (a little less than a tsp)
1/4 tsp pepper

Cut half of the potatoes into small chunks. Boil in salted water until tender (about 20 minutes) and mash. Sprinkle flour on top of this.

In a large bowl, shred the onion. Then shred the other two potatoes into the onion, and mix. Get a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth, place the shredded potatoes and onion in the middle, then squeeze as by twisting until no more liquid can be extracted. Return to a dry bowl and add egg, pepper, and salt. Add the mashed potatoes and mix.

Form into palm-sized patties that are about 1/2 to 3/4 inches high. Fry these patties in 1/4 to 1/2 inches of corn oil (do NOT use olive oil) . The patties will need to cook for about 5 minutes on the first side, so if they do more than go slightly brown after a minute or two, your oil is too hot. Flip after five minutes with a spatula and fork and cook on the other side for about 2 minutes, or until dark golden brown. Drain thoroughly on paper towels. Serve with applesauce, salt, and sour cream. Makes approximately 10 latkes.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Portabella Risotto

Ridiculously good. And fancy! This serves four, but it can serve less-just have one extra cap for the rice.
Portabella Risotto
Half onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
Olive oil
1 cup Arborio rice
3 cups broth
1/2 cup white wine
5 large portabella caps, gills removed
Salt and pepper
1 oz herbed goat cheese
Fresh thyme
Chopped fresh parsley

Chop one of the mushroom caps. Set the rest aside.

Heat a bit of olive oil, and sauté onion and garlic about 4 minutes. Add rice and mushroom, sauté another few minutes over medium heat.

Turn on grill or oven to high heat. Rub mushroom caps with a bit of olive oil. Throw them on the grill when you're about half done with the next step, and cook about 5 min a side (or about 12 min in the oven)

Add wine, stir occasionally until liquid is absorbed. Add about a half cup of broth at a time, each time letting it absorb before adding more. Check to see if it's done after 2.5 cups worth, adding the rest if not.

When all liquid is gone, remove from heat and stir in goat cheese, pinch of thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.

Plate a scoop of rice on each plate, set a mushroom cap on top, and fill with more rice. Sprinkle with parsley.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Thank god that's over.

I pretty much knew going in that the weekend would be a disaster...so let's just say I had reasonably good Healthy Weekdays and leave it at that, shall we?

Yes, I'm deliberately not posting this weekend's debacle. Let's just say it involved my inability to open over-sized boxes of Hot Tamales without demolishing every last one of the evil little things, my fondness for liquid meals, and not nearly enough sleep.

I'm frustrated with myself...especially since in reality 'Healthy Week' should just be called 'How I should actually eat every week.' But now it's over, and I don't have to share my mortifying details with you any longer.

Whatever. New day, new week, new month. (March??? When did that happen??) And I have something new to try-I'm going to start posting recipes separately from my random musings, which should make things easier. It's a pain to search right now, and I totally use this blog as my recipe box. So let me know if you like/dislike.

I've also decided I need a closer. XOXO is taken...any suggestions?