Monday, November 30, 2009


I've got lots of fun foods I've been experimenting (think soy-fest!), but it's not looking like a good week. It's only Monday and things just aren't going so great...definitely puts a damper on my motivation to blog :(

I am taking a ton of photos and actually taking note of what I think of some of these new products I picked up at Whole Foods this weekend, so I hope to get back into things later on this week. Promise to catch up on everyone's blogs soon!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

New Toy, Pizza and Beer. MMMM

I NEEED to get back on a decent eating kick. I feel the holiday madness is about to start and my body is not ready for it...not at all. All the salt/heavy foods/booze/caffeine is starting to get to me :(

I had to work at the store on Black Friday, which really meant recovering from Thursday night while standing in a quiet store. Fortunately my new toy arrived in the mail that morning (super early!)
Yes, I caved and am now an iPhone user...and I kinda love it! I'm sure the fun will wear off eventually, but for now I'm enjoying my early Christmas present to myself.

I decided I needed some social interaction so I messaged Sparky to see if he wanted to grab dinner once I was done with my shift. We ended up at Matchbox in Chinatown for some pizza and beers. When we lived in Chinatown, Jamie and I would occasionally do takeout from Matchbox (it's a bit on the pricier side for a random pizza night, but definitely a treat) and our favorite pizza was a make your own with tomato sauce, cremini mushrooms, caramelized onions and sausage. YUUUUMM.

We split a large half
Veggie (cremini mushrooms, spanish onions, roasted poblano peppers, roasted garlic, mozzarella, fresh herbs, fingerling potato crisps) half Fire & Smoke (fire roasted red peppers, spanish onions, chipotle pepper tomato sauce, garlic puree, smoked gouda, fresh basil)
I must admit the potato chips on my pizza was kinda weird, but not terrible. The Fire & Smoke pizza was INSANE. Nice smoky flavor, but holy hotness! I love spicy but this was like painfully spicy. No joke. Good thing I had one of these to cool my tastebuds (thanks to Google Images)
I sampled Delirium Tremens at Brasserie Beck a few months ago and have been addicted since. If it's on the menu, chances are I'll be ordering it.

I also got a small
Simple Salad (mixed greens, pear tomatoes, red onions, dried cherries, pecorino romano, parmesan crisp, balsamic vinaigrette) to start because I was craving ruffage.
And then before we left, I sipped on some Brooklyn Brown Ale (again, thanks Google Images)

We moseyed over to RFD for a couple more beers before heading home. I sampled barley wine (Flying Dog Horn Dog) for the first time...not bad, but jury is still out on how I really feel about it. Moved onto my safety beer - Brooklyn Lager and called it a night. Definitely needed the sleep after all that Thanksgiving Red Bull :p

Thanksgiving Recipes Galore!

As promised here are a few recipes for the tasty T-day treats I made :)

Turkey Bacon Wrapped Shrimp w/Gorgonzola
(makes 18 pieces)
18 large shrimp, tail on, butterflied
2 tbsp crumbled gorgonzola
1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
black pepper
6 slices turkey bacon, sliced crosswise in thirds

Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with foil. In a small bowl mash gorgonzola, pepper and parsley with a fork until combined, set aside.

Take a pinch of cheese mixture and stuff shrimp. Wrap bacon around and secure with a toothpick. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until shrimp turns pink.

Chicken Andouille Meatballs with Chimichurri
(makes 30-35 meatballs)
1 lb chicken andouille sausage, casing removed (I use one from Whole Foods)
1/3 c cilantro, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c potato flakes or panko
1/2 onion, finely chopped
vegetable oil

Combine sausage, cilantro, egg and onion in a bowl. Slowly add potato flakes or panko until mixture is dry enough to mold into balls. Refrigerate mixture for at least 30 minutes.

Shape sausage mixture into small balls. Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a frying pan and brown meatballs. Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

Manchego and Rosemary Stuffed Dates with Bacon
(makes 30-40 dates)
30-40 dates, pitted
manchego cheese, cut into matchsticks
1 sprig rosemary
1 package low-sodium bacon, halved crosswise

Preheat oven to 375 and line a cookie sheet with foil. Slide manchego cheese and 1-2 rosemary leaves into dates and wrap each date with bacon. Secure with toothpick and bake for 10 minutes, draining pan of bacon fat during cooking if necessary.

Roast Turkey Breast
1 (8 lb) whole turkey breast
1 stick butter, softened
3 tbsp sage, chopped
3 tbsp thyme, chopped
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tbsp white vinegar
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp salt
black pepper

Preheat oven to 375.

Pulse butter, herbs, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor until combined. Rinse turkey, pat dry and place on rack in roasting pan. Stuff butter mixture under skin of turkey and rub remainder on the outside. Roast breast side down, covered with foil for 1 hour. Flip bird and roast uncovered for another 1.5 hours. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before carving.

Happy cooking :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Pheew, so glad it's Saturday and no work tomorrow! How was everyone's Thanksgiving? I hope they were filled with delicious food and lots of family and friend fun :)

This Thanksgiving I entertained the original running buddy, her roomie and two of their friends at my place. I was excited at the thought of cooking for everyone (um, cooking withdrawal?) but I was also a little nervous about a) cooking a turkey breast for the first time and b) taking the majority of the work on by myself. Yikes.

I got a little hyped up on sugar free Red Bull Wednesday night after work and tried to get most of my prep work done. Around 10pm I realized I had forgotten a bunch of critical items so I switched to cleaning/kitchen dance party mode. Good times ;p I finally fell asleep around 2am and jumped out of bed at 9am to get last minute items at the Giant - I can't even begin to explain how much I love living a block from the grocery store. While I was there, I decided I'd maintain the insanity and grabbed another sugar free Red Bull (mind you, I bought the 12 oz cans each time). Got home, slammed the Red Bull and got to work!

On the T-day menu:
Mini Crabcakes with Lemon-Dill Aioli
Turkey Bacon Wrapped Shrimp with Gorgonzola
Chicken Andouille Meatballs with Chimichurri
Manchego and Rosemary Stuffed Dates Wrapped with Bacon
Morrocan Spiced Roasted Chickpeas
Sing Buri Cashews
Roast Turkey Breast
Wild Rice Stuffing with Cranberries, Mushrooms and Chestnuts
Roasted Vegetables
Candied Yams
Also on the menu (but forgot to take pics) were spiral cut ham, Stovetop stuffing (yes, my Stovetop cherry was popped), fondue, garlic mashed potatoes (OMG. BEST potatoes), homemade apple pie, pumpkin pie and flourless chocolate cake. FOOD OVERLOAD!

The crabcakes were a last minute addition as I opted in for the latest Tastemaker option - to make one of the recipes listed on
Safeway's Holiday Recipe Site. After browsing the options, the crabcakes looked the most fun...though I was a little concerned about the whole canned crab thing.

After prepping the crabcakes Wednesday night, I unwrapped the bowl and it smelled like perfectly fresh crabcake mixture ready to form into cute little patties:
And, since I ran out of breadcrumbs mid-cooking session, I grabbed a canister of Old Bay seasoned breadcrumbs and dredged the crabcakes in it before pan frying. I thought it was a pretty smart fill in...who doesn't love Old Bay and crabs??I'll post the recipes for all these treats tomorrow once I remember exactly what I did ;) I did a lot of improvising and since no one else was really certain how to make gravy, I winged it and I think it was a success!
Can't wait to catch up on everyone's feasts tomorrow morning with a giant cup of coffee! I'm SO excited to have a productive Sunday :) G'nite!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Fast food?

Posting real quick before I forget and then I'm off to finish planning my last minute Thanksgiving menu and clean!

Last night, I was good and opted to cook a giant vat of chili instead of caving into my Vietnamese craving. I'm not kidding when I say I made a giant vat either...I filled FOUR quart-sized containers for future consumption! I forgot to take pictures, but don't worry, I'm sure you'll be seeing it soon enough ;)

I did a slight variation of my usual Turkey Chili, tossing in some chunks of chicken breast (instead of the chorizo), a little more of the spices and added about 1/3 c of the Magic Hat #9 I was drinking. Also, I put the beans in as it simmered (instead of waiting) and used about 3 cups of broth to make up for the extra meat. Verdict? Not bad. I definitely missed the chorizo, but I liked that it was a little thicker and the extra cinnamon-y flavor (uh, yeah, I messed up and put in a 1/2 tsp instead of 1/4). Do you find yourself changing up safety recipes?

The next few nights are going to be a bit crazy since I've got a ton of cleaning and cooking to do and not so much extra time. I'm hoping I can get a lot of stuff prepped Wednesday night after job#2 so I can take it easy on Thursday. There's just 5 (I think?) of us right now so it's not a massive feast or anything. I am experimenting with roasting a turkey breast...kinda nervous. I'm fine roasting a chicken and a whole turkey, so how hard can it be to roast an 8lb boob? We'll see.

Since I'm trying to be super productive tonight, I made a fast and really random dinner based on stuff that needed to be eaten in my fridge. I present to you Asparagus and Goat Cheese Tortizza.
O yes, Tortizza. A tortilla pizza.

Asparagus and Goat Cheese Tortizza
1 flour tortilla
1-2 tbsp goat cheese
handful asparagus, thinly sliced
sprinkle Herbs de Provence
sprinkle garlic powder
freshly ground black pepper
pinch salt
lemon zest
pinch shredded parmesan cheese

Sprinkle goat cheese on tortilla and season with Herbs de Provence. Scatter asparagus on top and sprinkle garlic powder, black pepper, salt, lemon zest and parmesan. Throw in toaster oven until tortilla starts to brown.
For a random meal, it was pretty f-ing delicious! I liked the asparagus/goat cheese/lemon zest combo - really fresh tasting and the Herbs de Provence added another dimension of flavor. I'd even try this combo as a regular pizza!

It went perfectly with the last of the Magic Hat box:

Also, for those following me on Twitter, I've FINALLY found a place to get my jeans shortened with the original hem! Kenyon Square Cleaners - I get my jeans back on Monday, so I'll definitely report back!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fancy Pants

Sometimes you just need to treat yourself to a pretty meal. I did just that this evening :)
I don't know why, but I was craving a pretty looking dinner ALL day. Strange, right? So I pictured a potato crusted salmon and that was it. The side dish was pretty much up in the air until I got to the grocery store and saw some fatty asparagus (it's pretty rare I find asparagus this plump). Check it out:
I know, not super plump, but our Giant usually has super super skinny asparagus.

Potato Crusted Salmon for One
1 (6-oz) salmon fillet
1 tsp fresh rosemary
1 fingerling potato, thinly sliced
olive oil

Preheat broiler. Place fillet on a baking sheet and scatter rosemary, salt and pepper on top of fish. Lay potato slices on fish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper.
Broil for 5-7 minutes or until fish and potatoes are cooked through.
Do you like my super thin potato slice? The thinner you can get the slice, the better. I find myself wishing I had a fancy mandolin on days like this...

To supplement my fishy, I went with some Quinoa, Asparagus, Mushrooms and Artichoke "Risotto".

Since I usually make quinoa into a salad or tabbouleh, I thought I'd experiment and take a different approach this time around and treat it like I would a risotto...sort of.
Quinoa, Asparagus, Mushroom and Artichoke "Risotto"
1 c quinoa
1 1/3 c broth, plus 1/3 c
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small shallot, minced
1/4 c cremini mushrooms, diced
1/3 c artichoke hearts, quartered
4 stalks asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 c fontina cheese chunks
1 tbsp parmesan cheese
1 tbsp white wine
salt and pepper

Boil 1 1/3 c broth and salt in a small saucepan. Add quinoa, cover and cook for 15 minutes; set aside.

Heat olive oil and butter in a pan and saute shallot until softened. Saute mushrooms until softened and then add white wine. Add asparagus and artichoke hearts and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in quinoa and cheeses and reduce heat to medium low.
Slowly add 1/3 c broth to thin out cheese and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately
Once I had that done, I placed the fish on top
and worked on a quick sauce (I microwaved because I completely forgot about sauce until the last minute):
Lemon Mustard Sauce
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp white wine
1/4 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp maple syrup

Stir all ingredients in a bowl, microwave for 30 seconds stirring frequently.

Kinda reminded me of a dressing I've made, but you know what, I thought it tasted good with the quinoa AND the fish. Not too shabby for a last minute item!
Ok, now I MUST crash. Almost fell asleep while at job #2...perhaps I'm too old for sleepovers haha.

Broccoli lovin'

I know, I know, I haven't posted in days - such a blog slacker! Kitchen life has been sort of uneventful lately (I'm really trying to cook at least once a week!) and the whole not running thing has gotten me down (seriously itching to run) so I don't want to bore you guys with little things. Also, this always happens when I live alone...I feel compelled to be more social/spend less time at home because let's face it, the apartment is lonely and I'm the type of person that craves interaction. Hopefully you guys don't mind my scattered postings :/

The past couple of days have actually been jam packed! I squeezed in a last minute haircut on Wednesday at Bang Salon (the Verizon Center location) with Roberto, my current favorite. I was way overdue for a cut but I had no idea what to do with my ridiculous mane. I finally decided on just a trim with layers and some side bangs. Yeah, nothing exciting - totally my safe cut. Roberto tried to get me to do full on bangs but I promptly passed because bangs make me nervous. But I might consider them at a later date...

So this is what the 'do looked like. I have not been able to get it to look like that since Wednesday. Ha. And yes, I look that tired in person...sleep schedule is all messed up!

Dinner that night was some leftover Chicken Tortilla soup from Whole Foods (no photo). I was in Tenleytown earlier in the week and had to get some grocery shopping done so I decided to stop at the Whole Foods, practicing restraint, to see if they had my absolute favorite store-made soup. They did so I walked away with one of those big containers of it! You have no idea how much I love this stuff. It's kinda salty so I only get it every so often, but if there was a recipe for this sucker, I'd make it all the time (with some mods)! You should see if your local WF has it and give it a try! Note - it's the one found with the chilis and stews.

Last night was my scheduled cooking night since Susan and I had plans to revert to our younger years and have a gym/dinner/sleepover night. The whole gym thing fell to the wayside when I got an email from old coworkers organizing a happy hour ;p I haven't seen these ladies in awhile so I couldn't say no, plus it was one of those weeks at the office...a drink was definitely in order!

I met up with everyone at Elephant and Castle for a couple beers (apparently Boddingtons has become my drink of choice there, sort of like how the Black Velvet is my drink at The Big Hunt) and Susan met up once she was done with work. It actually took a lot of willpower to not order snacks! I kept chanting 'budget! budget!' in my head.

We finally made it back to my apartment close to 8pm so I tried to make dinner as quickly as possible...starving! On the menu - chicken breasts stuffed with spinach, feta and sundried tomatoes served over crisp potatoes, broccolini (you bet!) with a lemon/butter/wine sauce. A bit of a random creation, but I wanted some broccolini and needed to use the bag of spinach in my fridge.
I was pretty confident about the stuffing, but not so confident about what to do with the taters or the sauce. I'll be the first to admit that I don't know the first thing about sauces, but that doesn't mean I won't give it the good 'ol college try!

There aren't really any measurements for the stuffing (I grabbed and threw into food processor and I may or may not have been cooking slightly buzzed) but here's a guesstimated recipe.

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Spinach, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Feta
1 1/2 handful spinach
1/3 c full fat feta
1/3 c sun-dried tomato halves
2 chicken breasts, butterflied and pounded to 1/4" thick pieces
8-10 toothpicks
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Pulse first 3 ingredients together until a pasty mixture is formed. Lay chicken breasts out and pat a generous amount of the mixture on each piece.
Roll chicken up, secure with at least two toothpicks and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium high heat and brown chicken on all sides. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
Pretty chicken, yah? Thank Susan who was my photographer for the evening!

As the chicken was baking, I started on the potatoes and broccolini - super fast and easy!

Potato Crisps
2 large fingerling potatoes, thinly sliced
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

Heat butter and olive oil in the same pan the chicken was cooked in over medium high heat. Sprinkle potatoes with a generous amount of salt and pepper and place potatoes in pan, making sure they form one layer. Cook for 3-5 minutes on one side, stir and cook for another 3-5 minutes or until potatoes start to look brown and crispy. Plate immediately.

Spicy Garlic Broccolini
1 bunch broccolini, trimmed
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chili paste
2 tbsp water or broth

Heat olive oil in a pan and saute garlic for 1 minute. Add broccolini and water or broth, stir and cover to steam for 3 minutes. Add chili paste and saute for 1-2 minutes.
So here's the taters and broccolini on the plate:
Once the broccolini was done, I got to work on the sauce.

Lemon Butter and White Wine Sauce
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chardonnay
1 1/2 tbsp heavy cream
Salt and pepper

Heat butter in chicken/potato pan. Once butter has melted, add lemon juice and chardonnay, stirring constantly. Whisk in cream and salt and pepper.
Heat til combined and pour over dish.

More tonight - might be a stir fry sort of evening! Happy Friday!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Food, plays, awards, o my!

Hello again! I took another break from blogging last night to do dinner and a show with Susan and her parents who were in town for the weekend. It's been ages since I've seen them (mind you, I've known Susan since we were FIVE) so it seemed silly not to meet up!

I skipped out of the store early so I could catch an early early dinner at Oyamel
in Chinatown.
I packed my bag full of stuff to change into but forgot my camera - the one thing I kept reminding myself to pack! Argh! Anyway, we split some guac, salsa and chips (really tasty, but a tad salty, chips!) and then I got the Sopa Tarasca estilo pátzcuaro (black bean soup with light Mexican cream and cotija aged cheese, served with a side of crispy ancho chili, avocado and fried tortilla) and a Salpicon (chilled spiced shredded beef with romaine lettuce, pickled onions, tomatoes, cilantro, chipotle salsa and chiltates) taco. I was surprisingly full...must have been the pre-dinner banana while walking ;)
We rushed around the corner to the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company where we were seeing Full Circle (from the website):
The ancient Chinese myth of the chalk circle re-emerges at the fall of the Berlin Wall: as the crotchety East German Chancellor watches a play, students suddenly riot and the profiteers swoop in. Amid the chaos, two women launch a madcap chase to save an abandoned baby and outrun the vultures of both communism and capitalism. Their journey through Woolly’s entire building comes full circle back to the stage—but can a disgraced artistic director help them reset the nation’s moral compass?
The play made use of the entire building and there were points where we were standing and the actors just kept doing there thing while standing amidst the audience. Very cool. I recommend checking it out if you're in DC between now and November 29th!

Tonight's dinner wasn't as exciting, but it was pretty f-ing tasty. I picked up a random box of lentils at World Market last week and decided to nuke them up tonight with a handful of broccoli rabe.
UM, I'm DEFINITELY buying this box again! Or maybe learning how to make this lentil rice dish. I was pretty impressed with the nutritional information...usually boxed/ready to eat things have a crapton of sodium, but this comes in with only 180mg which is better than most!

I found out this afternoon that Val had passed a blog award onto me :) Thanks, Val! I'm excited to pass this onto six more bloggers I think are awesome.
This award is bestowed upon blogs that are exceedingly charming.
These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends.
They are not interested in self-aggrandizement.
Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated.
Please give more attention to these writers.
Deliver this award to six bloggers who must choose six more and include this cleverly written text into the body of their award.
I will pass this award to some of my bloggy friends that I find exceedingly charming…

Val from Chicago Marathon Val - I think Val and I started blogging around the same time and I'd love to meet with her one of these days. She seems like a cool, down to earth person who would be fun to run or go on food adventures with!

Meghan from Travel Eat Love - OMG, I recently started reading Meghan's blogs and tweets and I'd love to hang out with her too! I think we have a ton in common - even a shared love of zinfandels!

Heather from Trials of Training - I'm surprised we haven't run into each other already! Although she's waaaay faster than I am, I'd love to run or grab a beer with this lady one of these days! Her running posts are funny, informative and motivating - she makes me want to be super fast too!

Sophia from Burp and Slurp - Oh Sophia, one of the few bloggers I've actually met in person! She has such enthusiasm for food and comes up with some great recipes. Plus, her photos make me hungry at my desk!!

Holly from The Healthy Everythingtarian - Holly's posts and vlogs always make me smile and laugh. She reminds me of some of my good friends and she seems like she would be SO much fun to hang out with!

Jessica from Jessica is Getting Fit! - I always love reading Jessica's posts because she always has something new and interesting to write about. No wonder she's also Indianapolis' Quick Workouts Examiner ;) She's inspiring, real and her blog always gets me thinking!

I'm so glad I've come across these great bloggers and I know keeping up with them will definitely help the next three months fly by ;)