Tuesday, May 26, 2009

5/25/09 - Breakfast at Amelia's Bistro (jersey city)

We spent most of our holiday weekend getting the place spruced up a bit for our party in a few weeks. Not exactly the most fun way to spend a long weekend but always rewarding in the end. Saturday was trip #1 to Ikea (red rug, pictures frames, scoped out a bed frame & entertainment center) and home depot for paint, Sunday was Ikea trip #2 (return red rug, buy green rug, bed frame and part of entertainment center) and then off to a friends BBQ for massive qauntities of meat and beer (sorry no pics!) so monday was assembly time.... Ikea style! Of course food (and a bloody mary were needed before we even opened the boxes)
When I lived near the waterfront in Paulus Hook area of Jersey City - Amelia's Bistro was pretty much a staple as they would delivery breakfast to very sleepy people on the 3rd floor..... with good coffee! Now that we live together calls for take out are less frequent ...... but since we had so much work to do we decided to treat ourselves.
I had the Wild mushroom, Gruyere and carmelized onion omelet and he had eggs benedict - however the table next to us got the lobster hash and mmmm did it look good!
The table on the other side complained that their food wasn't hot and then when the manager offered to comp them they wouldn't accept! I guess they just wanted it noted? If something is wrong with my meal and I am usually happy to accept a discount.
As always the mini-muffins and jam were delicious as was the breakfast though the bread on the side always confuses me.... just doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the meal.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

5/23/09 - Steak and Green Beans

Since we had fish for the past two nights, we decided to go for a bit of red meat tonight, the last two steaks from our custom butchered side! Our freezer is officially running low! It was a bit sad but I am sure that I can find a way to get the freeze re-stocked soon (Fairway was also running the $5.99 special last week so I might have to wait a few.)

This dinner was very simple as I didn't want to do anything to ruin the natural taste of the steaks, so there was no real seasoning except a bit of salt and pepper. They were cooked on the grill pan which was pre-heated till it was very hot and they instantl seared once I dropped them on - about 5 min each side. Unfortunately my steak (pictured above) was a bit thinner than the others and was maybe done a bit more than I like. The other one was very juicy and perfectly med-rare though.
The string beans were snapped to remove the ends and then boiled in salted water for about 10 min. Since the steaks were served plain I used a raspberry chipotle sauce (by Fischer & Weiser) on the string beans to give the dish some sweet & smokiness.
The raspberry chipotle sauce definitely gave everyting a kick and was very tasty.

An all too common sight in our house at dinner time..... me shutting of the smoke alarm! It seems that this alarm is a bit too close to the kitchen as anytimeI sear something or use the oven it goes off!

5/23/09 - Eggs Benedict - unstructured

Since I made up a good amount of hollandaise sauce I have been dreaming of making my own eggs Benedict for breakfast on the weekend. This Saturday morning seemed ideal (though of course it was a bit delayed as we had to go for a quick run first). Unfortunately we didn't really have all the necessary supplies so there was some improvising - bacon for ham (yum) and pita rounds for an english muffin (not as sucessful)

As the hollandaise sauce was already made and just needed 30 sec in the microwave this breakfast wasn't harder than usual.

I cooked bacon on my grill pan (about 10 -15 min on med heat - flipping once) as its the largest flat surface I have - this worked wonderfully as usually I try to fit way to many slices in my frying pan and they get all tangled and crowded! Also due to the grooves, the grease was easily removed.

To poach the eggs I used a tip I learned a bit ago after many unsucessful attempts at poaching - use a shallow pan (ie frying pan), add a bit of white vinegar (1-2 tbsp) to the water and always crack the egg in a small bowl and slide it in the pan carefully (once the water is simmering). Cook for about 5 min and then removed with a slotted spoon.

To serve I layered the pita, eggs, bacon and then a bit of hollandaise sauce with some fresh pepper.

5/22/09 - Swordfish (finally) and asian veggie stir fry

This swordfish was defrosted for dinner on Wednesday but then the lobster bake happened, and thursday we were out so finally friday it made its appearance on our menu. Luckily it was still quite fresh smelling.

I marinaded the swordfish steak on friday morning before leaving to go to work with a blend of:
3 tbsp (reduced sodium) soy sauce
about 1" ginger root grated
5 turns black pepper
1 tsp thai garlic chili sauce
2 scallions diced
all in a zip lock bag with the fish and into the fridge for the day (I forgot the sesame seeds in my morning rush!)

The fish was very easy to cook - I used my grill pan (as is very common these days) which gave it the lovely grill marks - about 5-7 min on each side at med -high heat

The veggies were based on some lovely snow peas that I bought at fairway on wednesday. I just couldn't resist all the lovely veggies and I bought these knowing that I would be able to fit in some asian style stir fry some where.
To make the veggies I cleaned and cut up:
1 head broccoli - on chunks
1/2 red pepper - sliced
1/2 green pepper - sliced
3 scallions - diced
2 handfuls snow peas - whole
1/2 container mushrooms - sliced
they were all placed in a heated pan w. about 1 tbsp olive oil and stir fried together with some:
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
5 turns fresh pepper

it was all plated up with a bit of fresh lemon

5/22/09 - What my Boyfriend eats when I am not around

Because of the holiday weekend I was lucky enough to get a bit of an early release on friday and went home around 3 pm. When I got home Jeremy was just making his lunch.....

A combo of cheese-filled hot dogs smothered in ketchup and sweet & spicy mustard ...... though I was graciously offered some I have to say I am happy that I grabbed some grilled chicken, rice and plantains at work.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Thursday 5/21/09 - Northport Yacht Club

I had a work event out at the Northport Yacht Club (in Long Island) and though it was a bit difficult getting out there (in retrospect maybe the day before the first long weekend of the summer isn't the best time to travel out on Long Island) it was a beautiful room.

Dinner was buffet style with a lovely selection of salads to start (greens, fresh veggies, garbanzo bean salad, corn & black bean salad, tomato & mozzarella etc). This was very tasty except for the fresh mozzarella - I think living in New Jersey has spoiled me as every deli here makes their own and the one served here just wasn't good. On to the main courses..... a nice veggie medley, roasted potatoes, chicken francese, a white fish (I skipped it as my plate was already quite full) and a carving station with roast beef.

The best part of the dinner was that unlike most of my work events which double as educational hours this meeting was part wine tasting! Since I am very interested in wine recently I was excited to hear what Les Howard of Pindar Wines (Long Island, NY) on the science of making wine.
At my first wine tasting I felt that there were a lot of similarities in perfumery and wine so a class on wine for those in the cosmetic chemistry field would be interesting and just a few months later here I was! We went over three varietals from Pindar - 2 whites - Voignier and Chardonnay and a red - Cabernet Savingnon (I think!). I really enjoyed the Voingier as it was light and crisp with a nice fruity aroma - mainly pears. This wine was aged in oak barrels that had been used 3 times already so they aren't so "oaky".

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wednesday 5/20/09 - Lobster Bake!!!

Even though there was swordfish in the fridge defrosting for dinner, the special on lobsters ($5.99/lb) and little necks (3 doz/$10) was too good to pass up and I decided on an impromptu lobster bake!

This was my first attempt at ever cooking lobsters at home and while I was confident I could drop them in the water...when it came time I ended up screaming for some help! One started to move when I touched it and I instantly dropped it and couldn't get the nerve to pick it back up again.

Since everything was just boiled or steamed it was a pretty easy dinner to make...... I ended up using hand towels as "napkins" so the clean up wasn't too bad either. Unfortunately we still do not have any crackers / pickers which means I had to break open the claw with a hammer again! Oh well at least I got everything out. I steamed the lobsters by putting about 2" of water in a large pan adding a good shake of salt to the water and then bringing it to a boiling while covered with the lobsters and clams inside. It took about 10-15 min for it to come to a rolling boil and the clams to open.

The baby red potato were quartered and then boiled with some old bay seasoning. I wish that I had gotten some corn on the cob but I had already passed through the produce when the idea struck.

Though I don't use any butter, my new little bowls from the Crate and Barrel outlet came in handy for melting some butter for Jeremy.

Everything was really delicious and left us both wishing that we had gotten an extra one or two to make up some lobster salad for lunch tomorrow!

Tuesday 5/20/09 - LaMarca Pasta Restaurant & Duff McKagen

Tonight Jeremy was shooting Duff McKagen's (formerly of Guns'n'Roses and Velvet Revolver) new band Loaded. Since I didn't have anything going on I decided to come with him and make a litle date of it. We fist were thinking of going down to MaryAnn's for some mexican and sangria however since it was close to show time we ended up local to the Blender Theater (23rd & Lex). Though we have been saying for months that we are going to try the Pizza Pub however I was in the mood for something a little more exciting than a slice of cheese. When we walked by LaMarca Pasta I was interested - cute couples and groups enjoying some nice looking pasta dishes. I assumed that it was all home made (as it was a pasta only restaurant) however after examination (ie I spotted a box of Barilla on the counter in the open kitchen) I am not sure this is true.

I had the Involitini w the asparagus cream sauce and he had the manicotti (I think?). The portions were actually a normal size - not a giant pile of pasta that is 3 days worth of food! However the sauces were a bit lacking. While the price was right ($40.10 for 2 pastas and 2 sodas...also served w/ a salad and roll) I don't think that I will be rushing back as I could make 10 days worth of jarred sauce and dry pasta for that amount.

The band Loaded however was a lot more interesting - as one of my first "metal" shows it was basically what I expected.... loud, leather-clad, mostly male, cheesy band names (spider rocket?) and a side of deep knee bending guitar shreds. Loaded was actually quite good (though I still kept in my ear plugs until the final rock montage- iggy pop, stones, GnR, zz top, journey, ac/dc etc) but unfortunately the opening bands weren't really my style.

Also to the way too the drunk (?) to stand up girl who was rocking out and lost her balance and almost ripped my shirt of when she used me to break her fall....... haha you got what you deserved! (she was carried out swinging and legs flailing by some guy I assumed to be the bouncer and missed Loaded)

Monday, May 18, 2009

pasta primavera.... in the NY Times

Thanks to my lovely sister I have been enjoying a NY Times weekend subscription since christmas. Unfortunately I think it runs out soon but until then I will enjoy every page even if it takes me all week long. This week I came across an article about the birth of Pasta Primavera which as I mentioned earlier is a definite favorite of mine

click here to view

5/18/09 - fillet mignon and broccoli w hollandaise

Mmmmm.... yummy steak! and thanks to Cousin Richie who taught me how to test meat for doneness by comparing to the flesh of your hand when clenched in a fist they were perfect medium rares!

Since the softball game went much longer than expected (extra innings were played in the local bar apparently) I got to eat it all! (yes a bit of a piggy but it was so good I couldn't stop)

The steaks (fillets cut from a large hunk of meat we bought at stew leonard's back in early april- the butcher shop cleaned, trimed and custom cut it for us at no charge...and at $5.99/lb what a steal) were about 8-12 oz each raw and just delicious. On one side of one steak I used a beef and burger rub I bought this weekend but I have to say I didn't like it.... too much celery taste for me.

I used our new-ish grill pan which I LOVE for all types of meats and fish.... if you don't have one run down to your closest home goods and get one of these immediately!

after heating the pan for about 3 min on high to get it really hot I placed the steaks on the pan and let them sit without touching them for about 5 min on each side (heat turned to med/high) The steak was perfect for me - still red in the middle but nice and warm through-out. As you can see from the juice on the plate however I didn't wait a few minutes to let them rest and re-absorb the juices as it was almost 10 PM and I was starving!

The broccoli was steamed and then about 3 tbsps of hollandaise sauce was poured on top. The green veggies really helped to cut the richness of the sauce and they were perfect together..... and still a lot left over - I might have to make some eggs benedict this weekend.... any one in the JC area at about 10 AM saturday

5/18/09 part 1- home made hollandaise sauce

Since tonight was a softball night I had a bit of extra time to prepare dinner - I decided that it was a good night to take out the newly re-found sauce cookbook and try my hand at something to accompany the meat. I didn't really have very many ingredients on hand but butter and lemon are almost always to be found (luckily they escaped the great fridge clean out last night!). My last attempt at hollandaise sauce was pretty poor so I was really trying my best tonight..... and it worked perfectly. I think the secret was the addition of my immersion blender with the whisk attachment - apparently my wrist just doesn't cut it!

Hollandaise Sauce
2 tbsp white vinegar
6 peppercorns
1 bay leaf

2 egg yolks
1/2 c (1 stick) butter - softened
salt & pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice

1) heat the vinegar and herbs over low heat to infuse - after 5 min strain and put to the side to cool
2) cream butter in bowl
3) bring water in a double boiler (or heat safe bowl on top of a pan filled with water) to a simmer (DO NOT BOIL!)
4) using whisk beat egg yolks and vinegar together until fluffy (air bubble remain even when you stop mixing)
5) slowly (approx 1 tbsp at a time) add butter to mix and whisk until butter is fully combined - continue until all butter is used
6) slowly drizzle lemon juice in while continuing to whisk
7) add salt & pepper to taste

Hollandaise sauce will last 1 week in the fridge - use low heat to re-use

herb garden update 5/18/09

The herb garden is moving along nicely and I am glad that I resisted some small pre-potted plants this weekend..... the only thing that is still hiding is the chives? also it seems that I either forgot to actually put seeds in some of the spaces or they just didn't grow as there are a few blank spots! Its definitely time for me to start thinning out the plants so the strong ones can get bigger.

5/17/09 - chicken sausage w/ penne

As the summer gets closer and the fridge starts to fill itself with fresh veggies (only a few weeks till the start of the CSA season http://www.jerseygrown.com/) more and more pasta "primavera" type dishes make their way to our table. Sunday night, after a long drive home, was the perfect evening for something simple and casual.

This easy blend of chicken sausage, fresh veggies and whole wheat pasta is a great option for nights when you don't really feel like cooking but aren't in the mood for takeout either..... and the left overs make a great lunch. With simple dishes like this turn up the spices to give it a bit of a kick since it can be a bit plain otherwise.

Chicken Sausage & fresh veggies tossed with whole wheat pasta (serves 4)
1 lb whole wheat penne (or other shape pasta)
1 lb chicken sausage (I used a chicken and apple sausage from stew leonard's that had been hiding out in my freezer for the past month or so)
2 cloves garlic - crushed and rough chopped
1/2 red pepper - diced
1/2 green pepper - diced
1/2 spanish onion (or other sweet onion ie vidalia)- diced
10 mushrooms - rough chopped
10- 15 cherry tomato - halved
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Herbs de Provence (since I chose apple sausage I decided to go with this blend - an italian flavored sausage would be better w. basil/ oregeno etc)
1 tsp dried parsley
10 + turns fresh ground pepper
1 tsp red pepper flake
4 tbsp fresh grated Parmesan

1) cook pasta according to directions until al dente & drain (reserve approx 1/4 c cooking water)
2) in large hot frying pan (med /high)- squeeze sausage from casing and brown - break up into crumbles while cooking (5 - 7 min)
3 ) reduce heat to med and add garlic, onion, peppers, mushrooms - stir till soft (3 min)
4) add tomato and stir to mix
5) add oil and herbs - combine well
6) add pasta & reserved water to meat/veg mixture and mix well - heat until warm throughout (2-5 min)
7) top each bowl w. approx 1 tbsp Parmesan

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday 5/17/09 - Breakfast by the canal

After a slow start Sunday morning, breakfast finally got underway at Lock 17 on the Eire Canal. The post-wedding meet up location gave a great view of the canal (and we even got to see quite a few boats go through) and the weather though chilly was clear.
After a bloody mary (or three) and a round of advil, the air was thick with bacon-y goodness and every one was feeling a lot better.

Jeremy and Beth

After a few hours of relaxing we decided it was best to get on the road and head back to the city.... while the country is beautiful I do wish it was a few hours closer!

Saturday 5/16/09 - Canal Side Inn Little Falls,NY

Our friends were getting married at Beardslee Castle in Little Falls, NY (in the Utica area on Upstate NY) on Saturday and we were invited to come up and join them, while the actual ceremony was taking place we had a bit of time to roam around the town and get a bite to eat. On the suggestion of the hotel front desk we visited the canal area (Eire Canal) which was filled with cute antique stores and specialty shops. After getting a bit lost we found the Canal Side Inn . We mainly ordered off of the daily special menu and it was wonderful. Since it was French, there was all sorts of creamy sauces to be found, however each one had its own unique tastes which was nice.

To start we had a baked scallop dish covered with Parmesan cheese (top) and clams in a white wine cream sauce with farfalle pasta (bottom).

Our dinners came with a cup of Potato Leek soup and a freshly tossed Ceasar Salad.

For the main course I had Mahi Mahi with a ginger glaze and ginger butter (bottom) while Jeremy had the Alaskan Halibut with cous cous and ratattoile (top)

Friday 5/15/09 - Lobster Rolls and Japanese Steak house!

Whenever I am home visiting my parents I can always count on having a few great meals. This visit was no exception!
Jeremy, me, my mom and dad

Even though I was only in town for a little more that 48 hours I managed to fit in a trip Belle Isle Seafood (http://www.belleisleseafood.com/) right on the bridge in East Boston, MA for some fresh seafood! This tiny hole in the wall seafood stand doesn't disappoint. We (mom, dad, sister, Jeremy and I) split some crab cakes, fried clams and onion rings to start and then dug into enormous lobster rolls. Though they don't look that impressive in the bag, wait until you unwrap it and see the amount of fresh lobster meat chunks stuffed into a hot dog roll (over a 1/2 lb of meat I think!) My only suggestion to make it better is to bring your own chair so you can sit outside on the bridge and enjoy the salty air.

onion ring volcano

Later that night we went to one of my all time favorites from my childhood.... Bisuteki, a Japanese (http://www.starwoodhotels.com/pub/media/1141/final_3_w_shadow.pdf) We weren't the only ones craving some Japanese with a side of silly stunts as we ran into some of our cousins who were just finishing up their dinner (unfortunately our chef seemed to need some more practice getting the shrimp tails into his hat!)
I had the Fillet Mignon and Shrimp dinner and stole a few bites of the Scallops as well.

Dinner comes with a clear mushroom soup which I love but can't seem to replicate correctly, and a side salad with that delicious ginger dressing as well as a scoop of ginger ice cream at the end. It might not be the most sophisticated or innovative meal but its always a good time and reliable food.

Thursday 5/14/09: Malden Chamber of Commerce Award dinner

Tonight we were up in Malden (the city I grew up in.... about 5 mile north east of Boston. MA) for the Chamber of Commerce 10th annual Award dinner. My mother received the Shining Star Award for Community Service. It was really nice to be home for a night and see my family as I haven't been up there since Christmas!

Me, my mother and sister

There was a bit of confusion on the way up last night as we realized that the suit bag was still hanging on the back of the door halfway into the drive! Luckily a fast trip to Men's Warehouse in the morning solved everything.

Monday 5/11/09

This week is a short one as we are leaving for CT on Wednesday evening and I have work events all week.... luckily the freezer is stocked up for just such occasions as I skipped out on going grocery shopping.

Tonight we had a bit of everything - some Gnocci ala Sorrento and Mushroom flatbread pizza from Trader Joe's with a nice fresh garden salad (w/ balsamic dressing) on the side to add a touch of fresh veggies to dinner. I really love this flatbread pizza - it has some great flavors and tastes so nice and earthy because of the mushroom blend. Because of the thin crust and high heating temp, this pizza comes out of the oven nice and crispy and delicious. The Gnocci also is nice but its a pretty small serving- if it was all you were eating I don't think you could split it.

awesometown 5/9 -10/09

First festival of the summer and I did barely any cooking.... I didn't get a shot of what we packed up but it wasn't much! here is the packing list:

Fruit (pears, granny smith, macintosh apples)
Food should taste good multi grain 'chips" http://www.foodshouldtastegood.com/#/multigrain/ (yum I love these!)
Abraham's garlic hummus
Salt & Vinegar Pringles
Trail Mix
Turkey & Cheese Sandwiches
Trader Joe's fruit & nut granola bars
Vitamin Water
pre-assembled breakfast wraps (eggs, bacon, cheese)

we were only there from saturday afternoon till sunday early AM and didn't even eat our breakfast wraps till we got home! We also bought and shared a cheese burger and fries. There was a stand selling deep fried oreos though we didn't taste them.... I'm not sure how I feel about mixing sweet and fried though?

friday 5/8/09

The fridge is getting low again and so tonight was easy due to lack of options. We had swordfish in the same Cindy's Kitchen Chipotle & Ancho Vinegrette with sides of steamed broccoli and boiled baby red potatoes with a sprinkling of chipotle spices.

Since it was friday and the end of the work week we broke out some champagne as well!

Friday, May 8, 2009

5/8/09 - fresh herbs..... well almost kinda sorta

this year due to my new and improved larger kitchen/ family room combo and wonderful counter space by the window I was finally able to plant the herb garden I have been dreaming of! Since I was given a few envelopes of seeds last year I decided to try my hand at sprouting and growing a few herbs from scratch ... to my surprise only 2 weeks later its actually working!

I can't tell you how exciting it is to check the little mini greenhouse for new sprouts every day.... its still going to be quite a while before these are ready for planting never mind eating but its fun to see them moving along..

the basil (back right) is by far kicking butt with the sage (front left) getting better every day and the cilantro (front 2 rows on the right) just starting to peek through! the chives (3rd row front right) and parsley (back left) has some catching up to do!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

5/7/09 - Artisanal Cheese: American Craft Beer and Artisanal Cheese

Tonight we attended the Artisanal Cheese class http://www.artisanalcheese.com/prodinfo.asp?number=17BC on American Craft beers (mainly from Rogue Ale Brewery in Portland, OR) and American Cheeses.... now this of course wasn't referring to the plastic wrapped singles you get in the dairy case but instead small batch artisanal (meaning the cheesemaker sources his milk but does not raise livestock) or farmstead (the cheesemaker does it all...raises the cows/sheep/ goats, milks them and then makes the cheese)
We had the pleasure of tasting 4 beers: Rogue's Mom's Hefeweizen, Younger's Special Bitter and Chocolate Stout and Elysian Brewing's The Immortal IPA (Seattle ,WA) . Of all the beers I think that I liked the Special Bitter or IPA the best, however it was fun learning about all of them (the chocolate stout is an oatmeal stout base w. real dark chocolate! yummy but a bit rich if you are having more that a glass) And she mentioned a very interesting sounding new beer that Rogue is making for Morimoto (ie the Iron Chef) which is a jasmine flavored IPA.... I am definitely on the look out for that one!
We also tasted 6 cheeses (in order of strength): Purple Haze (Cypress Grove Chevre, N.CA), Nettle Meadow Kunik (Nettle Meadow Goat Farm, Thurman, NY), Mont Saint-Francis (Capriole Farms, Greenville, IN), Uplands Pleasent Ridge (WI) , Fiscalini Bandaged Cheddar (Fiscalili Farmstead, Modesto, CA) and Crater Lake Blue (Rogue Creamery, Central Point, OR). Of the cheeses I definitely am a lover of all things creamy.... the Purple Haze was the first to disappear from my plate with its fresh, sweet herby flavor followed by the Kunik which was tangy and creamy cheese with a very soft and smooth texture. The only one that was left was the Blue and only because it was so strong a tiny bite was all I needed to get the full taste.

in all a fun night however I think that the wine tasting http://nycwineclass.com/ was a bit better as the teacher was more reserved and gave you more time to taste, talk and come to your own conclusions instead of rushing to the "right" answer. (hopefully a write up of that night will be coming soon.... once I find those notes!)

5/6/09 - International No-Diet day

Wednesday was International No-Diet Day - this is the day for everyone around the world to reject the all to common "diet".... for most women, at least, its a subject that is constantly on their mind. No matter what size you might be I would say that most women still have "those last 5 lbs to lose". For some people this stress and pressure to be thinner and thinner leads to some very unhealthy and risky behavior.... and this doesn't always mean starving oneself. So for one day let go of the guilt!

You are a wonderful and beautiful person regardless of your size and you deserve to be loved. Forget about get thin quick and start learning about respecting your body and repairing your relationship with food.

check out http://womenshealthnews.wordpress.com/2009/05/06/its-international-no-diet-day-go-read-some-shapely-prose/ for some more info on No diet day and some links to sites about the dangers of dieting

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

cinco de mayo 5/5/09

In honor of cinco de mayo I wanted to make something with mexican-y flare to celebrate but tacos or fajitas seemed too obvious... plus that was lunch! I decided on some shrimp and instantly thought of coconut crusted but didn't feel like frying so I did them in the oven. In order to have everything done at once - start up your rice before you start the shrimp recipe. The shrimp were also served with salsa and sour cream and a slice of lime.

coconut crusted shrimp (serves 4)
2 c. shaved coconut
1.5 lbs shrimp (shelled & deveined w/ tails attached)
1/3 c. cornstarch
crushed red pepper
2 eggs, beaten
nonstick spray

1)heat oven to 400 F - spread coconut on sprayed cookie sheet and toast for approx 10 min (shake tray in middle to flip) - remove when browned
2) rinse and pat shrimp dry
3)make breading station w. 3 shallow dishes containing #1 cornstarch and spices, #2 egg wash, #3 toasted coconut
4) bread each shrimp holding by the tail and coating both sides in dish 1 -3 then place on sprayed cookie sheet
5) bake for approx 10 -15 min - flip after 10 min (shrimp will be solid and curled tighter usually)

rice & beans (serves 2)
1 14.5 oz can drained and rinsed black beans
1 c brown rice (basmati)
2 c water
2 scallions - diced
5 saffron stems
1 tbsp olive oil

1) cook rice in rice cooker (approx 40 min)
2) in pan heat olive oil
3) add beans, cooked rice & scallions - mix and heat approx 5 min
4) add saffron

archive entry: sausage stuffed artichoke

Growing up Italian, stuffed artichokes were always part of every holiday meal - so this year when I had to miss out on easter dinner I decided to take matters into my own hands. Along with making these artichokes myself I was able to improve a bit on my families traditional recipe.... don't get me wrong I love tradition but sometimes its just better to put your own spin on things. In my version I used chicken sausage since I like the taste better than traditional pork sausage.

Stuffed Artichoke w/ pan seared scallops and cilantro& celery mayo (with a few bites taken out!)

Close up of the artichoke... that thing was packed full with stuffing!

stuffed artichokes (makes 2 servings)
2 large artichokes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 c water
1 slice lemon

2 chicken sausage
1/4 green bell pepper - diced finely
1/4 red bell pepper - diced finely
1/4 onion - diced finely5 mushrooms - diced finely
1 c panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil

1) wash and clean artichokes - remove outer layer of leaves, trim top 1" of each artichoke off with knife and then use scissors to cut of sharp point on each leaf. Use lemon to prevent cut edged from getting brown
2)steam in pan w cover for about 30 min or until leaves are soft and easily pulled off
3) remove from heat and plunge artichoke into ice cold water to stop cooking
4) remove choke from center (its the little furry part in the center - check out you tube if you haven't done this before)
5)prepare stuffing:in frying pan - reove sausage from casing and brown in pan. Crumble while cooking
6) add veggies and cook until soft
7)add breadcrumbs and butter - cook on low/med until they start to brown
8) let mixture cool slightly and stuff into artichokes -try to get each leaf if possible!
9)pour about 1 tbsp oil on top of each artichoke and place in broiler on low for about 5 min or until top starts to brown

Pan seared Scallops with cilantro and celery mayo is from a cooking light recipe http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=549779

the trick to searing a scallop is to start with a 'dry" scallop - this means one that doesn't have water added to increase its weight. These scallops are usually a bit more expensive but are worht it - some ways to tell is if the sallops are sitting in liquid its usually not a good sign - or just ask your fish store! also make sure to have a hot pan (with oil) and dry your scallop off on a paper towel before dropping it in the pan - also give it at least 3-5 min per side to brown completely.

archive entry: my first egg roll

I think its easy to understand why so many of us love chinese food - its cheap, convenient, exotic, and usually fried! For this dinner I tried to put my own spin on chinese eggrolls, traditionally made with pork - my spring roll is made with shrimp. These are fried however I have plans on making a batch in the oven some time soon! I think they would make a great plan-ahead appetizer for company.

Shrimp Egg Rolls w/ sides of asian -style fried rice and ginger carrots

close up of all the fried goodness!

shrimp egg rolls
1 package egg roll wraps (ie nasoya - found in refridgerator case near tofu http://www.nasoya.com/nasoya/pasta_eggroll.html)
1 lb shrimp
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
2 c chinese cabbage
1 c bean sprouts
1/2 c shreaded carrot
3 scallions- diced
1 tbsp hosin sauce
1/2 c veg oil to fry

sauces to dip:
3 tbsp chinese mustard
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 scallion - diced

1) clean, shell and de-vein shrimp - then dice
2) on med heat w. oil - add shrimp to pan- cook while stirring for 3-5 min or until pink
3) add ginger, cabbage, bean sprouts, carrots and scallion - mix together
4) add hosin sauce and combine - remove from heat
5) placing wrapper at an angle (with a corner facing you) - place 1 tbsp of mixture on wrap fold bottom corner into center, then sides into center and then roll and place seam down on papertowel or wax paper
6) repeat for remaining rolls (approx 20)
7) heat oil on med in large pan - once hot, place egg rolls in oil - Carefully! oil will splatter- do not crowd the pan- you will most likely need to do them in 2-3 batches
8) flip to brown other side after 3 min - remove once brown and set on paper towel to remove excess oil
9) serve with mustard or soy, seasame and scallion mixture

chinese -style fried rice
2 c brown rice
4 c water
2 tbsp olive oil
2 eggs
4 scallions- diced
1/4 red bell pepper - diced finely
1/4 green bell pepper -diced finely
1/4 c peas (frozen is OK!)
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp seasame oil

1) prepare rice in electric cooker (approx 40 min)
2) in hot pan with oil - scramble eggs
3) add rice, veggies and soy sauce - stir to combine
4) cover and heat on low for 5 min to blend flavors
5) remove from heat and add seasame oil

the carrots were from trader joe's! and while good were a little too buttery for my taste

archive entry: monday 5/4/09: Empty Fridge Special

Since my blog just started I thought it would be nice to go back and look at some recent things I have made....even though this is quite easy I figure its good to have a mix of different types of food that I make as not every meal needs to be complicated.

The salmon was taken out of the freezer with intentions of being Sunday's dinner but after a trip to Ikea and then for curtains we ended up just making some quinoa and chicken sausage. So two fillets of salmon and not much else were in the fridge, I only had some green beans left over from my trip to Fairway last week so that made picking my sides an easy task....

The final outcome was salmon fillets (marinaded in Chipotle & Ancho Vinegrette by Cindy's Kitchen http://www.cindyskitchen.biz/). On the side we had green beans with a little soy & sesame and some tri-color orzo with S&P and earth balance