Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pure poetry, I tell ya.

A man after my own heart. Michael Ruhlman, you win.
Here's what I'm talking about.

It's the small things.

No one has ever been happier about a glowing on light than I am right now. Seriously. I've been short my beloved PowerBook for months now. Since it shocked my leg, went blank, and refused to reboot. And since I don't live anywhere near a mac store, it's been just hanging out in my laptop bag, waiting sadly...for months.

So when I finally got to the store in Santa Monica a week ago, I was beyond stoked to hear all I needed was a new cord-specifically, an Apple power cord.

See, my PowerBook, in computer years, is ancient. So this isn't my first cord replacement. And since they're like 80 bucks a pop, last time I decided to cheat and buy an off brand for half the price.

And this, my friends, is why I am a brand whore.

The cheap bastard ate my battery. Too low of voltage. Or something...who cares, it broke my baby. And so I have learned my lesson. And received my new Apple power cord in the mail today.

From a marketing perspective, Apple is pure genius. Their stuff just works better with their accessories...and thus, they can charge a crapload for it. From a poor person's perspective...well...damn you, Apple. You're so expensive and so worth it. I just can't quit you. And to be honest, wouldn't if I could.


Everyone, no matter your skill level, should have at least one go-to meal—one you know so well you never need to reference a recipe. More than one, preferably, but one will suffice. Especially important if you're single and have potential suitors to impress. Trust me. People love being cooked for.

And this is a good one-it's always met with 'mmmm's (not that I ever cooked it before I met you, honey...). It's actually from the first real cookbook (thanks Mama!) I ever got, a big book called something super clever like 'Chicken Recipes'...but it didn't disappoint. I should pull it out, actually-everything I've tried from it has been good.

Anyway, without further ado—Chicken Lime Pinwheels. Good with crisp white wine, and I usually serve with rice mixed with a pinch of lime rind before serving (I used quinoa this time).

Shocking that my 'signature' dish is stuffed chicken, citrus, garlic and cilantro, I know. What can I say? I know what I like.
Chicken Lime Pinwheels
About 16oz chicken tenders or steaks, pounded thin
About 2 tbsp butter, softened
Small handful cilantro, finely chopped
About 3 cloves garlic, minced
Cooking spray
Rind from one big or two small limes (save a good pinch for rice or other side dish)
Juice from one big or two small limes
About 2 tbsp brown sugar

Mix butter, garlic, and cilantro til smooth. Spread evenly across one side of each piece of chicken.

Take a piece of chicken, and roll it up from the thin end to the fatter end (so the butter mix is inside). Secure with one or two toothpicks.

In a wok or large sauté pan, heat cooking spray. Add chicken, reduce to medium high. Cook about 4 minutes, turn about 1/3 over, cook 3 minutes, turn remaining 1/3, and cook about 3 minutes or til cooked through.

Remove chicken, keep warm.

Return pan to heat, add lime juice, rind, and sugar. Bring to a low boil, cook about 2 minutes. Remove toothpicks and slice the chicken into half inch or so slices. Pour sauce over chicken before serving.
Roughly 275 cals per 4oz of chicken.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ode To My BBQ.

I didn't even mean to write about my chowder tonight, since I have such awesome 'directions' for it. But I got excited...that or the heat in my apartment got to my brain...

Anyway, I meant to wax poetic about the BBQ. I so love living somewhere that allows me to cook outside for so much of the year...and even though bbqing is more of a 'blue job,' or maybe because it is, it still makes me happy to throw something on the grill. It just screams summer.

Plus, it literally takes 10 minutes to throw something like this together.

Steak, portabella mushroom (drizzled with olive oil and balsamic, grilled with melted goat cheese, tomato slices, and basil ribbons) and spinach salad. De-freaking-licious. Even got a 'mmm, oh my gosh' from hubby. And, really, that's all the proof I need...

-posted out of laziness from my iPhone.

Is it still spring?

Cause it's hot. But 'it's cooler outside,' so the screen is open and I'm not allowed to run the a/c even though my house is currently 80 degrees.

See? I'm not even exaggerating.

*Note to self. When complaining to husband about how hot the house is, it works best when you didn't make something hot for dinner. I hate when he's right. As he unfortunately often is. He's just so damn cute, which isn't fair. I really need to get better at this 'the wife is always right' business.

Anyway, delicious. If you want to improve on the original recipe, like I did, you should totally go for it. So I'm going to give you my advice rather than a recipe. Use or discard at will. (Use it!)

Corn & Potato Chowder
•I didn't have old bay, so I threw in a pinch each plus of cardamom, paprika, pepper, celery seed, cayenne, a bay leaf, about a tbsp fresh thyme, and a couple shakes Tabasco. And a couple tsp or more of salt.
•Use chicken broth instead of water, enough to almost cover potatoes.
•Throw an immersion blender in the pot at the end for a couple seconds to thicken it up a bit. Leave plenty of chunks.
•Use about 2.5 potatoes. Peel them roughly, and cut them small.
•Fat free half and half is totally as good as full fat.
•Stir in most of the cheese before serving, and just sprinkle a little bit on at the end.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Daring? You have no idea.

So, I'm not a stalker...but I happened to find a childhood friend on facebook...out of sole curiosity, which unfortunately is pretty stalker-esque.

Anyway, I was surprised to learn she also writes a food blog. And as I read though it, I discovered she's part of this thing/community called The Daring Kitchen.

So, immediately losing interest in advancing my stalker status, I hopped on over to see what this business was all about.

Turns out, it's fascinating (to me, anyway). You sign up as either a 'daring cook' or a 'daring baker,' and each month they send you a recipe to try. They have a ton of rules-you have to participate a certain minimum amount, you have to post the results, and you have to do it on a certain day. If I couldn't talk about it would all be a bit too fight club for me, but blogging about it seems encouraged, so I'm in.

The parallel is also in, and we're planning on cooking on the same day (we're on a three hour time difference, so we'll see how this goes). We can't blog about it til May 14 (damn rules), so stay tuned. Don't let the anticipation kill you, ok?

Friday, April 23, 2010

And many more, on channel four...

A few facts about me, in regards to my birthday. (Inspired by a healthy dose of honesty I got to enjoy today)

I never care about my birthday until it appears no one else cares, either. So, like, a day before (April 23rd, what a weird coincidence), I become obsessed.

I have decided that "birthday weekend" is far better than "birthday". With me??

I have the best birthday ever. April twenty fourth=pretty. 4/24=pretty. Fabulous.

I will use any excuse to drink mimosas. But my birthday (weekend) is pretty much the most acceptable one. Which is why there are two bottles of champagne and two tall cans of Bud Light Cheladas (so good the next morning...) in the fridge.

I also use it to get away with eating anything I want, doing anything I want, and going anywhere I want. Shamelessly.

I hate being sung to. You are more than welcome to take me to dinner. But only to a place that brings me something awesome, ie. free champagne, dessert, etc. Anywhere where waiters collectively gather to sing/chant/make both them and me want to collectively kill ourselves is unacceptable. At least on my birthday. I'm not 10.

I'm going to be thirty next year. Yowch.

29 is a weird, boring, frightening age. Even more so when I remember baby sis will be 25 next week. Holy hell.

Two of my three former bridesmaids had the exact same response when I told them we were going to a beer festival on my birthday: "it's like they knew!"

And now you all know. And if you'll excuse me, I have more champagne to drink. Mwah.

-posted out of laziness from my iPhone.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rice Stuffed Portabella

Man, I'm good sometimes. Got home from a long weekend in LA (so good to see you guys...all of you!) to a house full of nothing. Well, not nothing...leftover rice, random veggies, some bbq'd sausage, a ton of basil...but nothing that was an actual meal.

So I made one up. I'm assuming a very small percentage of you would have all this madness in your fridge at once, so just use my ingredients as a muse rather than a "recipe," ok?

Quarter onion, chopped
Half a sausage, chopped
Pinch red pepper flakes
Large handful basil, chopped
Pinch oregano
About 3/4 cup cooked wild rice
Balsamic, splash
Olive oil
Large portabella, gills removed

Sauté onion, add sausage, red pepper, basil, oregano, rice, and salt and pepper until heated through. Drizzle with a bit of balsamic.

Drizzle mushroom with oil and balsamic. Sauté mushroom on both sides til soft. Top with rice mix.

Good work, Lucy

Made my way down to Long Beach on Saturday for a belated quasi-surprise birthday party...I had offered to bring chips and salsa, and even though my better judgment was telling me to just buy some, I figured one of my oldest and dearest deserved the homemade stuff. So after taking over the kitchen, I presented salsa, guac, and K's delish standby-warm cream cheese with ranch beans and cilantro.

Of course, there was a) no need for that much dip for 8 people, and b) well, there was this:

Nice spread, ladies. Sorry to have to leave you (and the food!) so early!

-posted out of laziness from my iPhone.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Sorry, too easy.

Well, gotta say congrats to the local hockey boys...The Condors have advanced to the second round of play-offs (applause, cheers, whoohoo!). Which is great. For them. For me, it just means more hockey.

I've tried to explain why I don't like hockey, but it always sounds stupid. It's just...boring. A bunch of guys skating back and forth and back...and forth (excellent skaters, but still). Sometimes they hit the puck, sometimes they even seem to aim. They fight. They trip. And sometimes...very rarely...someone makes a goal.

Sigh. I like basketball. Give me some points. Lots of them. Quickly.

Anyway, it's rough, cause I want to support the hubby and his coworkers. They do such an awesome job running the show, and I want to be the good wife and cheer them (as well as the team) on. And once in awhile, I do...this weekend, I did twice. Well...once and a half. I left after the second period last night. I'd had enough hockey. And hockey food. Seriously, when taco salad is the closest thing to veggies in an entire arena...well, I go with it. You know where this is going, don't you?

Hello, Rabobank Monster Chicken Nachos.

Man, I'm easy. I don't even know why I bother getting the deluxe/supreme/monster versions...all I need is some fake cheese and jalapenos and I sit happily-and quietly-for at least 10 minutes. No wonder the hubby's always so happy to get them for me.

Round two, here we go. Good luck, guys.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I'll clean tomorrow...

Ah, Saturday. Hubby has to work all weekend since the hockey team he works for made playoffs, aka one more sport season that goes on forever (but go Condors!), so I am on my own.

Slept in...mostly cause I knew I had to hit the gym once I rolled out of bed, even though I knew it would be a good thing. Is it weird that I look forward to the gym when I have recipe-writing to do? Man, nothing keeps me on the treadmill longer than some Jay-Z and a blog post or two. I was awesome, too. 30 minutes of walking/writing and then a good 10 min jog. Longest straight jog yet! (I'm a walker, not a runner...used to be a physical thing, but now it's mental. Hence my excitement.)

Then, since my darling, ahem, roommate forgot to tell me we were completely out of toilet paper last to the store.

Now, I really dislike Savemart. I think they're over priced, and as I generally avoid stores with either word 'save' or 'mart' in the name, it makes me shudder a bit. But I keep reminding myself it's actually just a Ralphs with a different name (like Vons and Safeway)...yes, snob. Moving on.

Anyway, it's next to my gym, and this little gem makes me so happy every time I'm in the juice aisle, so I deal. It's like they just know me. Awesome. So, as usual, my TP run turned into a cart full of weekend ridiculousness...mimosa ingredients and new US Mag included, natch. Problem is, when I go to the store post gym, I don't move my car-I just carry all my crap across the parking lot.

Of course, I totally forgot that the lot is I loaded up my cart. But since I'm one of those 'I'll do it my damn self' chickadees, I decided not to let a little thing like a parking lot stand in my way. I loaded up my arms, MacGyvered a way to carry the TP and a 12 pack of club soda cans...and the soda box promptly ripped open. Sending club soda cans all.over.the.lot.

The sweet lady who helped me chase them down totally thought I was insane as I started stuffing cans in my purse (big bags come in handy!!). But come on, it's hardly the first time I had a 12 pack in my purse. Sadly. Or awesomely, however you want to look at it. And I only lost one can, which sprayed me like mad from a hole in its side upon retrieval. Awesome. Good thing it wasn't beer...

Sigh. So here I am. Currently caught up on my netflix (GG, The Hills), my TiVo (24, V, Marriage Ref-still on the fence with that one), and I'm on my second load of laundry. Please don't be jealous...all in a days work.

Sidenote. I liked Katee Sackhoff a lot better when she was on Big Bang Theory. (I don't watch Battlestar Gallactica or whatever her 'main' show is-my nerdiness has limits.) Just sayin'. Not a nice girl in 24.

So now...Dinner time. Some ingenious pantry meal to come. The only thing I didn't buy at the store was dinner. Unless you count two bags of Baked Lays as dinner...which...thinking not the best idea, as good as it sounds. Wish me luck.

Green Monster

Enviable? I like to hope. But fresh and summery, for sure. Introducing my twist on a vodka soda.

No actual recipe for you (sorry), but here's what I did...soaked vodka with thinly sliced, peeled cucumber (maybe an eighth of a cucumber?), added ice, shook well, and strained into a glass with ice. Squeezed in a bunch of lime juice, topped off with club soda, and garnished with a cucumber slice and lime wedge.

Fig Stuffed Pork and Spring Salad

What not to do with stuffed meat? Stick them in an indoor, 2 sided grill. My brainiac self didn't really think ahead...soft goat cheese kinda squishes right on out when it's under pressure. Duh. So. I'd go ahead and either pan-fry in some cooking spray or grill them on the BBQ.
Top both salad and chops with chopped chives. Great with mashed potatoes. Gorgeous.

Fig and Goat Cheese Stuffed Pork
3 boneless lean pork chops, each split widthwise
1 tbsp fig jelly
2oz goat cheese
Salt and pepper

Cut a slit horizontally across the cut side of the pork to make a deep pocket. Stuff each equally with some fig and goat cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper

Cook about 4-6 min a side or til done (I like a bit pink, hubby likes pork a little more cooked).

Spring Salad with Fig Basalmic
1 tbsp fig spread or jelly
Small splash canola oil
Large pour basalmic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Spring mix lettuce
About 4 large strawberries, sliced thin
2 oz goat cheese
Handful candied pecans, chopped fine

Whisk together fig spread, basalmic, oil, salt and pepper.

Divide cheese into about 8 pieces, roll each into a ball, then roll in crushed pecans.

Toss greens (as much as you want for two people) with dressing. Serve into bowls, top with strawberries and cheese balls.

Spiced chicken and wild rice

I served with a bowl of fig spread/jelly (a couple tbsp mixed with a splash of balsamic vinegar), which was great on top of the chicken and mixed with the rice. The other thing in the pic is a piece of sausage...we were getting rid of stuff in the fridge. Totally doesn't go with this meal, but tasty all the same.

Grilled Spiced Chicken
2 chicken breasts (aim for 6oz each)
3 parts cumin
1 part cinnamon
2 parts ground coriander
2 parts salt
Spray butter
(I counted about a small pinch as a part)

Turn on grill.
Mix together spices. Spray each breast with butter, sprinkle with spices, and rub in a bit. Flip and rub the other side.
Cook about 6 min a side on low.

Wild Rice:
About 1/3 of an onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Olive oil
1 cup wild rice (any kind, I like the wild/brown mixes)
A bit more than 2 cups water
Bouillon cube
or chicken broth instead

Sauté onion and garlic in a splash of olive oil. Cook a couple minutes, add rice. Stir, cook a minute or so, then add water and bouillon (or an equal amount broth). Bring to boil, cover and reduce to low. Cook 30-35 minutes until water is absorbed. Let stand a couple minutes.
Serves four.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I need to go grocery shopping.

So what does one do with leftover flank steak?

Talked a lot of business today, so apparently I was still in a creative mood...mixed it with chicken broth rice and frozen edamame, nuked it for 2 minutes, added some salt and pepper, and ta-dow.
Protein, carbs, fiber. Yes. And I'm now officially out of leftovers (and money), so tonight should be interesting...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Better with age?

Some things just get better when you're patient. Most wines, cheese, and calla lilies, apparently -mine were kinda wilty at first and have gotten gorgeous the last two days- just need to ripen a bit. Potato salad, stew...most comfort food, really. Maybe cause they have less seasoning so the flavors need longer to meld? Sure, I'll go with that. And btw, I love my phone. I totally took that pic, like five minutes ago, edited it, and uploaded to this page. Magic. (What was I just talking about? Patience? I have none.)

Last night was no exception. I originally made Braised Chicken and Veggies on Saturday, but I ate alone that night and we just BBQ'd Sunday, so there was tons left over.

Unfortunately, on Saturday I wasn't impressed. It was bland, and just missing something. So I figured I'd let it set and then doll it up later. It was definitely better a couple days later (but I don't want to recommend that. It can't be all that...sanitary? Gross, nevermind. Just do it better the first time.)

Here's my recommendation. Add a lot more salt. Like, alot. (But don't over salt, taste as you go) Add more thyme and a dash of cayenne. And I used cornstarch instead of flour, but flour probably tastes better. And use the butter. I only used half, and it could have used more. Serve over rice (substitute chicken broth for water when you make it. If you can. I almost always do.)

The hubby loved it. I thought he'd think it was bland, but he was all over it. Comfort food wins again.

Yeah, it's in Tupperware. I thought it was only appropriate.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Hippity hoppity.

Do I eat stuff like this? Definitely not. Except on Easter. Or Xmas. Or my birthday. Or your birthday. Annnnyway, it's a holiday. And the only thing better than dark chocolate is when it's filled with coconut cream...or peanut butter.

Oh, god, sugar headache..

Happy Easter, everybody.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Apricot Pork Chops with Blue Cheese Asparagus Salad

On days like this, when I'm trying desperately to remember what I made and how, my savior is Do you guys use it? It's so awesome. I could use it to bookmark anything, but being called, you know, delicious...I only save recipes. It saves the day constantly. Love it.

And that's my endorsement of the week. On to important things, like this gorgeous little number...

Apricot Chipotle Pork Chops
One pork loin
1 cup apple cider
About 2 tbsp salt
black peppercorns (about 8)
1 1/2 cups apricot preserves
2 tbsp rum
About 2 chipotle chiles, minced (the kind in adobo sauce)

In large ziploc or bowl, combine pork, cider, salt and peppercorns. Refrigerate an hour or more.

In bowl, combine preserves, rum and chile.

Grill pork about 10 minutes a side or until cooked to 145 degrees (use a meat thermometer). Baste with preserves before you turn it the first time, and then again about 5 minutes into the second side. When it's done, cover with foil and let sit about 10 minutes. Baste again before serving, and slice. Serve with preserves.

Blue Cheese Asparagus Salad
Adapted from a Cooking Light recipe

one bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into (2-inch) pieces
One shallot, minced
About 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
About 2 tbsp olive oil
grated lemon rind (one lemon worth)
fresh pepper
2 oz (1/2 cup) gorgonzola cheese (or blue)
One package mixed salad greens

In medium soup pan, bring water and a couple pinches of salt to a boil. Add asparagus, cook about 2 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water.

Whisk together a pinch of salt, shallots, vinegar, oil, lemon and a couple dashes fresh pepper in a small bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese.

Combine asparagus and greens in a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.

Flank Steak with Sweet and Sour Shallots

Delicious. And so pretty!

Flank Steak with Sweet and Sour Shallots
Adapted from a Cooking Light Recipe

1/3c honey
About 3 shallots, peeled, halved, and thickly sliced
1/3c sherry vinegar (I mixed sherry and rice vinegar)
olive oil
About 2 tsp oregano
About 2 tsp paprika
One flank steak, halved crosswise
Baby Spinach (about a half bag)
olive oil, about 2 tbsp
lemon juice, about 1 tsp
1/2 tsp or so oregano

Place honey in a medium saucepan over medium heat; cook a minute or two or until heated. Add shallots, stir. Stir in vinegar and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. If dry, add a splash of vinegar. Uncover and cook another 20 minutes or until syrupy. When done, remove from pan, keep warm. Don't wash pan, you'll use it for the meat.

Combine a pinch of salt, pepper, oregano, and paprika in a small bowl. Sprinkle beef evenly with oregano mixture. Reheat pan over medium-high heat. Add about a tablespoon of oil to pan, mix with juices already in there. Add beef to pan; cook 3-4 minutes on each side for medium (I like medium-rare, about 3 minutes a side is good). Let stand 10 minutes, covered loosely with foil, before cutting across the grain into thin slices.

Right before serving, whisk together oregano, oil, and juice in a medium bowl; toss gently with spinach. Serve steak over spinach, top with a spoonful of shallot mixture.

Because I can, and because she's fabulous.

Can I just use my soapbox to brag about my baby sister for a minute?

Baby Sis is gorgeous. Brilliant. Talented. A little bit insane, but that's genetic. After she graduated from UCLA, she realized that even a great degree isn't enough when you're not doing what you love...and that's how she ended up at the Vidal Sassoon Academy and now at an uber chic salon in Santa Monica, LuxeLab.

Annnyway, the point is that if you live in LA and need a hair update, you should call her. I'll gladly get you her info if you're interested. And, if you're up for a temporary drastic change, she's certified in Nordic Hair Contrast extensions. Which she also gets to model, cause she's beyond photogenic. I mean, seriously. Baby girl cleans up nice.

Good work, kid. Love you.

Good Friday, Indeed.

I was so excited to hear fellow blogger and foodie Mrs. Cardoza made a really simple change to my Basil Blue Cheese Pasta to turn it into a vegan delight-and look how gorgeous it looked! Her note to me was 'I stole your recipe and subbed in soy blue cheese. OMG. Thank you times 100,000,000.'
You are welcome times 100,000,000. Mwah. Next time leave some for Mr. Cardoza, yeah?

(And don't feel bad. I ate both servings when I made it and then told the husband it was 'just ok' so he wouldn't be mad for missing out. Nice to meet you, Pot. Love, Kettle)

I know I planned on writing last night, but life happened. Ended up at the Cantina, then to K's for a BBQ (which would have been easier if she'd had any propane...but we made do and ended up with broiled steak, roasted veggies, and yet another last minute risotto-made with champagne, cause we're fancy like that). Not as productive as I'd intended, but fun all the same. I do love Fridays...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My house smells like Thanksgiving

I suppose for April Fool's Day I should give you some sort of horrendous recipe and pretend it's fabulous...but I refuse. I don't really buy into the whole 'let's lie all day for FUN!' business. Or maybe I'm just old and crotchety. And I'm ok with that. (Speaking of...23 days til my birthday. I already got/ordered/convinced-hubby-to-buy-me his gift, so surprises would be appreciated. Just saying.)

I have some catching up to do—we've eaten well this week—so I'll backtrack tomorrow while enjoying my Gossip Girl/The Hills marathon on Netflix (the husband only has a few more weeks of working weekends, so I have to take advantage while I can). I'll give you last night's feast in the meantime.

I bought a couple cornish game hens intending to make this, but as usual, I was out of a key ingredient (butter) and had to make some changes...and since it's impossible that everything go smoothly, I also ended up having to adjust my intended salad, cause I discovered we were out of pistachios. Seriously, for like the first time ever. I live in nut-growing country, people. We get more pistachios for Christmas from clients (such as these jalapeno flavored delights) than one would think possible...we're never out. But...I made do. Walnuts would have worked, but peanuts were what we had. Not my recommendation, but not bad, either.

And because I have a bad habit of asking the hubby if he wants any additional sides well after I've started cooking, Mr. I-Need-a-Starch-Please convinced me to throw together a risotto last minute. (I did ask.) And it was delicious-sauteed the onion, garlic and rice in vermouth and chicken broth, then added fresh chopped basil, thyme, chives, S&P, and a dab of light sour cream at the end. Some days I impress even myself, it's awesome. Especially since after all was said and done, we turned the bird bones (carcasses? ew.) into homemade stock. I'll let you know how it turned out when I figure out what to do with it.

In completely unrelated news, what do we think of this potential signature? I'm not at all sold on it (especially until I get the box around it off). Ideas welcome.

Game Hens with Herb Rub

Game Hens with Herb Rub
Olive oil
dried oregano
2 Cornish game hens (if you get the frozen twin pack, make sure it thaws completely)
1/2 to 1 tbsp or so each of:
chives, finely chopped
chopped fresh thyme
chopped thyme, basil, parsley, or other fresh herbs
Half a lime, juiced
Half a lime, quartered

Heat oven to 425.
Combine a couple tablespoons oil with a couple good pinches each oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper. Rub all over hens, and a bit under the skin, then place them breast side up on a cooking sheet. Cook about 40 minutes, then remove, cover, and let sit 10 minutes before carving.

While the birds are cooking, combine about a tbsp olive oil with a couple pinches salt, pepper, the fresh herbs, and the lime juice. When the hens are done, brush with the herb mix. Serve with lime wedges.
Serves 4.

Herb, Grape, and Goat Cheese Salad

Herb, Grape, and Goat Cheese Salad
4oz goat cheese (the log kind, not crumbles)
About 1/4 cup finely chopped nuts (walnut, pistachio, whatever. Salty are best)
About a cup of red grapes, halved
Bag of spring mix salad
1/2 cup white wine vinegar (or red wine vinegar or a mix of rice vinegar and white wine. Be creative.)
About a tbsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
fresh pepper to taste
1/2 cup oil
chopped basil (about a tbsp)
chopped chives (about a tbsp)
Small bit of chopped mint, if you've got it

Break the cheese into small bite-sized pieces (about 12-14). Roll each into a ball in your palm, then roll in the nuts to coat evenly. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Make dressing by whisking together the second half of the ingredients (vinegar through herbs).

Place greens in large salad bowl, toss with about 1/4 cup dressing (you'll have a lot left over). Top with grapes and cheese balls.
Serves 4.

Basil Blue Cheese Pasta

Best pantry meal ever. Seriously.

Basil Blue Cheese Pasta
2 servings pasta
Olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 onion, chopped
Pinch red pepper
Broth or wine
Small summer squash, halved and thickly sliced
Lemon juice (about 1/4 lemon)
Small handful fresh chopped basil
About 1/4 cup reduced fat blue cheese

Cook pasta according to directions. Drain when done.

In the meantime, heat a splash of olive oil in a sauté pan, and cook onion and garlic a couple minutes. Add squash, red pepper, a pinch each of salt and pepper, and a bit of broth or wine if it's dry. When squash is done, squeeze lemon over, and add basil and cooked pasta. Toss with cheese. Enjoy.
Serves two. Or one, if no one is around to watch.