Thursday, April 8, 2010

So much to say!

But I'm going to try to keep it brief...not promising anything ;p

I had a post, actually a couple, drafted up this weekend but I got distracted and never got around to posting. Ah well. I made a last minute trip to New Jersey for Easter and so I could squeeze in some time with the nephews since I probably won't get to see them as much now that I'll be a West Coaster. Yep, in case you missed the not so subtle hint, I'm moving to San Francisco at the end of the month! Woo! There's so much to do before I leave!!

I'm really excited about this huge change, but I'm also (obviously) sad and nervous about it all. I've spent the past 10 years in DC - CRAZY! Yeeh. Ok, now what have I been up to...

After the day of eating, sunning and drinking at Crissy Field, I definitely needed a large bowl of veggies to close out my trip. Monday dinner was at Grove Cafe in the Marina. It was nice and cozy and we were able to get a massive bowl of greens each. I went with the Yucatan Chicken (achiote chicken, marinated onions, tortilla chips, sliced avocado and a habanero vinaigrette)
I'm so glad I got the dressing on the side...that was some spiiiiicy stuff! Loved it though...spicy, tangy, a little sweet - all my faves. The bread was great too - a little buttery and pressed. YUM! Excellent way to close things out :)

Things got even better when I found out I got the job shortly after getting home on Tuesday :) I broke the news to everyone and began the planning process. Who knew so much would go into moving across the country??

I had work at the store on Friday and randomly met up with a few friends from college for dinner at Sabores in Cleveland Park. I've eaten at Sabores a few times before and have had pretty decent (albeit slightly pricey) experiences. Six of us sat down pretty hungry and were ready to order. I'm assuming the kitchen wasn't ready for us because it took almost an HOUR for our food to arrive. Mind you, Sabores serves tapas. UH. WTF?

Our food eventually came out and it was mediocre. I got the Brazilian Chop-Chop Salad (hearts of palm, baby beets, celery, radishes, carrots, jicama and water cress dressing)
and the Brazilian Chicken Turnovers (fried pastry filled with chicken, cheeses, red peppers, parsley and tomatoes)
I've had both of these before and really liked them...which is why I ordered them again. This time around, the turnovers were lacking in flavor and I don't remember them looking so fried wonton-y. Same goes for the salad. I remember there being a lot more chunky veggies and more flavor. Ech.

Aside from the service and food, it was a fun night. I was glad to catch up with friends and I also got a little sad that stuff like that probably won't happen so often once I move :( It started to hit me that I'm leaving everything that's familiar behind.

So Saturday I took a quick train trip up north and about halfway there I realized I packed everything for a Sunday morning run except for a shirt. D'oh! Luckily my sister had to make a quick run to Walgreens for some last minute Easter goodies and what do you know...they have t-shirts! FOR $2.50! hahaha. Yes, I totally bought a $2.50 Hanes t-shirt. Amazing.

I helped fill some eggs up with fun treats and I got an Easter box of goodies too! They showed up later on in the week at the office...
My gummy bunny farm went well with this Spongebob Crabby Patty
For real?!

I slept in on Sunday and played Easter bunny before setting out on a 40 minute run/walk in the old 'hood. I remembered why I used to hate running. The neighborhood I grew up in isn't exactly runner friendly. I dodged a lot of stray bushes/branches and tried not to fall on broken pavement. Oh, and most of the roads don't have sidewalks...
I also paid a visit to my elementary school that seems to have gotten bigger
and my middle school that didn't properly fall into a walk segment so it didn't get photographed. Gorgeous day for a memory filled run :) When I got back, I got bamboozled into cooking Easter dinner...but not before some biking with the tots!
When I got back to the house, it was time to get cooking! My mom had a pork tenderloin and lamb chops and I decided to go with a larger scale version of the Tropical Stuffed Pork Tenderloin I made awhile ago.
Unfortunately the store didn't have the couscous I wanted so I got frisky with a box of A Taste of Thai Coconut Ginger Rice and Mango. I basically tossed in some mango chunks while the rice cooked...very nice together! I also made use of the extra juices/sauce in the baking pan by adding some flour and reducing the liquid. No waste!

For some ruffage, I blanched some snap peas, sliced some red peppers and chopped some red onions for a Soy-Ginger Snap Pea Salad

Soy-Ginger Snap Pea Salad
1/4 c soy-ginger sauce (see below)
3 c snap peas, blanched and cooled
2 red peppers, thinly sliced
1/4 red onion, minced

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and let marinate for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Soy-Ginger Sauce
3 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp oyster sauce
1/4 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp freshly grated ginger

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl.

That was the tropical end of the table. I went basic when it came to the lamb chops. Let it be known I've never cooked a lamb chop in my entire life. In hindsight, I'd probably french the chops, but who am I kidding, I don't have the skills for that...yet.

I took a chance and tossed a bunch of flavors together and pan seared the chops (I had no patience to deal with the oven/broiler). I served them with some bitter greens to round the meal out.

Rosemary Lemon Lamb Chops
8-10 lamb chops
1 1/2 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp freshly ground pepper
zest of one lemon
olive oil

Combine rosemary, salt, garlic, salt, pepper and zest in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil on lamb chops and liberally sprinkle rosemary mixture on each side. Heat a pan over medium high heat and cook chops for 3-4 minutes on each side.

Arugula Salad with Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette
3 c baby arugula salad
1/4 c red onion, thinly sliced
1 tomato, quartered and cut in half
1 tbsp dijon mustard
splash rice wine vinegar
splash maple syrup
juice of half a lemon
2-3 tbsp olive oil

Whisk mustard, salt, pepper, vinegar, syrup, lemon juice and olive oil in a bowl, set aside. Combine arugula, onion and tomato in a large bowl. Mix in dressing (you won't need all of it) to lightly coat greens.

After dinner, we quickly packed up since my parents and I had a long drive to DC. See, I may have coerced them into driving down with me to help pack. What? I'm all by my lonesome! hehe. No joke, my parents got SO much done on Monday while I was at work. I came home and bookshelves were taken down, furniture taken apart. SUCH a relief! They walked down to the store and we decided to grab dinner at...wait for it...Paragon Thai! Surprise!

We split three dishes family style (duh) and had a bunch leftover. I told my mom about the Tofu Pad Thai (slightly spicy) that I like
And my dad eyed the Spicy Tofu with Crispy Thai Basil special (and of course I forgot the actual name since it's been a few days). It was no joke spicy...and slightly sweet. Sort of like a really spicy General Tso.
Also on the table was the Angel Eggplant special (eggplant, minced chicken, tofu in a light brown sauce?). This was probably my favorite dish of the night. What can I say, I love eggplant! The flavor reminded me a little of Chicken Ka Pow, which I love. Two thumbs up!
AGH! So much food! It doesn't end there! My mom took charge of the kitchen on Tuesday and whipped up a Broccoli Rabe, Shrimp and Corn concoction.
I have no idea what went into this flavor-wise...except I did see some garlic...and she asked for some teriyaki sauce, which I didn't have.

WOOH! *BIG deep breath* Sorry for the length...I had a TON of photos I needed to dump in here. I think I've got all the weekend goodies covered :) I'll see if I can get that last recipe from the momma.

Off to crash...looking at all these piles of things to be packed/sold/tossed is making me tired!


MarathonVal said...

I'm soooo excited for you about the big move!!! I remember you talking about wanting to move to SF back in November thinking "well duh Karena, don't we all"... and now you really are! Congrats!! :)

sophia said...

holy crap...I can't believe I missed this! Where have I buried my head? You're going to SF!!! OMG! My favorite city ever!!! Ahhh! I'm so excited for you, Karena!!! WHEEEE!!!

Anonymous said...

Congrats!! again :) we'll all be jealous when you start raving about life in Southern Cali!

on another note - that is Definitely NOT the "traditional" easter brunch/dinner/etc :) Only *you* would "get frisky" with rice. haha!

Jessica said...

Um, hello - I didn't realize that you were going to SF! That's one of my favorite cities. I'm SOOOO jealous! Good luck out there because I'm so excited for you!

J said...

Congratulations on the big move! 3 years ago I did the opposite move (from CA to DC) and know how scary it can be but can tell you from first hand experience that you will have a blast exploring your new coast. I was born and raised in California so please don't hesitate to ask if you need anything. Oh, and please keep blogging :)

Travel Eat Love said...

I am so happy for you for all of these exciting changes! Hopefully I can build up the bravery to go for it too. . . :)

Kelly said...

Congrats on the big move! I could never do it but its fun to live through you daredevils :)

Looks like you had some delicious food- that spicy tofu looks yummy!

Karena said...

Thanks everyone!! Hopefully I'll be back to blogging regularly soon. Trust me - I'll have tons of exploring to write about when I arrive.

I'm in the home stretch!! :) Bear with me and my spastic/long posts!