Friday, March 29, 2013

Are you alone?

Any other non college sport fan wives/partners/roommates sick of march madness already? OMG, I'm soooo bored. In a brilliant twist of fate, however, Season 5 of Mad Men was released this week, (Um, you can spell Mad Men OUT of March Madness, hello) so I have watched the entire season in my office while the mister watches basketball on the living room tv while watching Giants preseason baseball on my our laptop.


Before you get the wrong idea, he offers to change the channel every's totally me "being thoughtful." Or something, I don't care. This has been my own little indulgence—I watch what I want, he watches what he wants, and next week we'll go back to watching things together.

God, I love Mad Men. It makes me miss advertising so. Not that I don't still do that...(Hire me!), but most of what I do these days is graphic design (and onesie designs, cause why not) and it just isn't the same.

Again, sigh.

Soooo, I design, I watch indulgent tv,  and I make like 5 meals a day (E is really into scrambled eggs right now). This is my life. And I'm not complaining. But when I break out an old recipe and the hubby comments, "This is always one of my favorites," I do a little swoon inside. Because thank you. I can't always be creative.

Great with something off the grill-chicken, beef, etc.

Tomato, Bean and Mint Salad
Juice from half a lemon
about 2 tbsp rice vinegar
good pinch each sea salt and fresh pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
large handful mint, chopped
1 can white beans (or black or pink eyed peas), rinsed and drained
1 package cherry tomatoes, halved

Whisk together lemon, vinegar, S&P, Garlic and olive oil. Mix in mint, beans and tomatoes. Toss well and chill til ready to serve.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Oh, is it snowing?

So, from what I gather, some of you are still dealing with winter. Some of you enjoy this. Some of you, frankly, are nuts.

I live in Southern Cali, and the most snow I'm seeing right now is around the corner, where the local sno-cone shack already opened for the season. I wore a tank top while we ate sushi on a restaurant's patio yesterday. I was told I "got some color" this afternoon. I. am. happy.

I'm also purposefully pretending like it's going to stay this nice and won't turn into the melting wasteland of hell in about a week. I like to say we have four seasons here: Cold, March, Hot, and October. So I'm enjoying every last second of this season while I can.

Cause this also means warm weather food. We broke out the Vietnamese rice paper tonight to make some aptly named summer wraps. I love these because you can use basically any ingredients you want—seasoned and cooked chicken, pork, shrimp, tofu...this time we did ground turkey and as usual, it worked.

Plus they just seem so light and healthy. Until you eat five of them. Whatever. They're mostly green stuff.

Really, they're just Asian burritos, as far as I'm concerned. Grab some meat, some veggies, some hot sauce, wrap it up tight and dip in some more sauce. Have some beer to wash it all down. Yep, that'll do.

Here's what we used. Feel free to experiment and use whatever you want. I like lots of options because then each of my rolls is a little different.

Vietnamese Summer Rolls
Rice paper (bánh tráng—get at Asian markets or Whole Foods, I also like Three Ladies brand if they have it)
Carrot, peeled and slivered
Cucumber, peeled and slivered
Ground turkey (recipe below)
Hoisin sauce
Peanut Sauce (recipe below)
Fish sauce dipping sauce (recipe below)
Deep plate or shallow bowl full of warm water

Peanut sauce:
3 parts thai sweet chili sauce
1 part hoisin
1 part reduced fat smooth peanut butter
Splash rice vinegar and water, to thin
Start there and adjust to taste

Fish sauce dipping sauce:
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tbsp brown sugar
5 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp rice vinegar
Juice from half a lime
1 tbsp Sriracha
Start there and adjust to taste

For the turkey:
Spray a saute pan with cooking oil and brown the turkey for a few minutes, then break up, add minced garlic cloves and green chiles, and continue cooking another 4-5 minutes until it's just about cooked through. Add about 1/4 cup of the fish sauce dipping sauce, and saute until cooked through, another minute or so.

For the rolls:
Take a rice paper wrapper and dip into the water, spinning it around in your hand so the entire paper gets wet. Go around the whole paper twice, then lay onto your plate. arrange desired ingredients down the center of the paper. By this time, the paper should be soft and pliable, but sticky, so gently fold the "short" ends over the filling, then fold one big side over the filling, tucking and rolling over to make a burrito type thing. Get it as tight as you can.
Basil and Hoisin vs. Mint and Peanut Sauce

This probably makes little sense. Just try it. You'll get better every time. I actually do one long end and THEN the short ends, then roll, but hubby insists that's the "wrong" way. I think he's just mad cause mine look better than his do.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I'm not even going to think about what is in sausage.

I should preface this post by explaining that we live half a block away from one of the best butcher shops in town. And we live in Meat City, so that's saying something.

Hubby brought home some sausage the other day, some Kickin' Chicken and some Sweet Italian. Told me he knew I'd only asked for steaks, but we could find "something" to do with it. Then helpfully added that Sausages and Peppers would be good.


Sausages and Peppers? What? I'm questionable on bell peppers, and the idea of a Meat Lovers pizza makes me want to make immature icky-poo faces ( I don't actually know anything else sausage is good for, other than sliced up and served with hot mustard as appetizers).

And so to the internet I went. I found a couple of recipes that seemed simple enough (I didn't want to get crazy here), and hubs asked if we could add pasta to it (no, I don't know why he didn't just make it himself), so I dug around and found some small elbow macaroni to add to this business.

Turns out it smelled delicious (especially once the basil was in), and it looked gorgeous. Here was the finished recipe that actually made it to the table. And yes, it was delicious. Even for a non meat/pepper lover. Seriously.

Sausages and Peppers with Pasta
Spray oil
4 uncooked sausages (about 1 lb), your choice of flavor, but mild is best
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, halved and sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 orange bell pepper, halved and sliced (or green or red)
1 yellow bell pepper, halved and sliced (or green or red)
1 tsp dried oregano
about 1/4 cup thinly sliced basil
1/4 cup white wine (I used pinot grigio)
About 3 servings cooked pasta (al dente; any shape you like)
1/4 tsp salt
good pinch fresh pepper
Parmesan (optional)

Coat a large pan with cooking spray and heat over medium high heat. Add sausages and brown each side around 3 minutes (let them rest against each other if it makes it easier to get each side.)

Remove sausages to large cutting board or plate.

Add onion and garlic to pan. Sauté about 3 minutes. Add bell pepper, wine, and oregano. Stir occasionally, about 5 minutes.

In the meantime, slice sausages.

Add sausage and basil to mix and cook about 3-4 minutes or until sausage is hot and no longer pink. Add cooked, drained pasta, toss well, and cook until everything is heated through.

Season with salt and pepper as needed and Parmesan if desired.