Monday, February 28, 2011

Packing Is the Worst

I have to go to Las Vegas for work this week. So most of my Sunday was spent doing laundry and other things around the house that needed to be done. Then Sunday night came around and all that was left was to pack... yah, it didn't happen. (Well, eventually it happened).

So instead of packing I made these:

Broiled sweet potatoes!

Easy-Peasy Directions: (borrowed from here)

Set the oven to broil. In meantime, cut up the sweet potato, drizzle some olive oil over it and sprinkle with the seasoning of your choice. (I opted for season salt). Set in the oven for 15 minutes, flip and let broil for another 15 minutes.

The ingredients (+ sweet potato)

So easy. I inhaled them with ketchup. I know, my palette is incredibly refined. 

But seriously, I am going to be making these ALL THE TIME. They're reallllly good.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

That was it?

All week long, we here in San Diego had been hearing about how we were going to be getting a horrible, storm-of-the-century, storm on Friday. Seriously, there were news specials about it. (And I thought Arizona was bad about rain). So Friday finally came around, and I was in full-comfort/hibernation mode for the weekend. Food-wise this meant pizza or CHOWDAH!

I've been wanting to try this recipe (via this blog) for a few weeks and tonight was the perfect excuse to give it a whirl. It was cheap, easy, filling and tasty. Perfect.

Unfortunately, I went to Henry's to get the supplies I didn't have and I was bummed to find out they didn't have creamed corn. Thank goodness for the iphone, in a second I was looking up creamed corn alternatives and I was good to go. (I really didn't want to go to another store for one stupid can of corn!)

After consulting a few different recipes, this is what I ended up doing:

Creamed Corn

  • 1 can corn
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 cup milk (I used skim)
  • salt and pepper
  1. In a pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Sprinkle the flour in and mix so that the two are completely incorporated.
  2. Start adding the milk slowly and stir so that the flour/butter mixture is fully mixed in. 
  3. Add the corn. Cook until the mixture starts simmering. 
  4. Add salt/pepper.  
 It was extremely easy, and only added about 10 minutes to my chowder cook time.


  • Creamed corn minus the can!

    As for the chowder? Oh my gosh. Make this now. I ended up doubling the amount of crab they called for, used dried thyme, and added extra garlic (duh) and onions. Other than that, followed the recipe and was very happy with the results. Word to the wise-don't over do the parsley. A little goes a long way! Yes, learned that the hard way...

    Red pepper flakes make everything taste better :)

    Tino totally approved.

    I'm smiling because it smells delicious!

    Oh yah, and the rain? Meh. Totally overblown.

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011

    It Should Be Thursday

    At least it feels like it should be Thursday. That would mean tomorrow is Friday and the weekend almost here. Alas, it's Wednesday.

    So last night was fun. This morning? Not fun. This girl is tired. And feeling a little blah. And didn't bring lunch today, because that was 5 extra minutes of sleeping (read: playing with Tino)!

    I'm bored and sick of climbing on things. Play with me.

    So what to do?

    Lentil soup and garlic bread! 

    Soup is my go-to comfort meal when feeling less than 100%.


    Rounded out with an always satisfying DC.

    Awesome in a can.

    What's your favorite comfort food?


    So Searsucker was uh-mazing. My full little tummy is still thanking me and I can't wait to go back. From start to finish, it was a great night. The service was wonderful and extremely helpful. And even when there were a few stumbles, they swooped right in and made amends. Fantastic.

    Do you know what else is fantastic? Duck. Fat. Fries. I wish I could eat those every day.

    The other starters were pretty darn good too - spicy calamari, "carb-less" crab cakes, these incredible cheese biscuits (that had an airy-croissant texture to them) they put on the table, and of course, short ribs. yum yum yum.

    It was difficult choosing an entree. There were so many enticing options! Ultimately, I went with the duck that had a pomegranate/pistachio sauce.

    D is for duck AND delicious

    We also ordered some roasted curry cauliflower and grilled asparagus on the side to share. 
    It was all amazing. Seriously. I want to go back. 

    We had a great time. Lot's of laughs and scheming/planning. (We better be going on a trip to Alaska). And because it was Taco Tuesday, National Margarita Day, Sammy's birthday, and S2L outing, we made a stop at La Puerta for margaritas and you guessed it, chips and guac (as if we weren't already full).

    Some snapshots of the night:
    Steph, Des, Sammy.

    Group Shot!

    Love it.

    It's your birthday, here's some tequila!

    George and Ron

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    Oh Fabio

    Burgers were my downfall

    So sad to see you go. So yesterday I FINALLY caught up on all the episodes for Top Chef All-Stars. I know Fabio is not the most recent to go, that would be fellow Italian-heartthrob Angelo, but to me, it's fresh.

    I'm glad I finally watched all the to-date episodes. Top Chef is one of my all-time favorite shows. This season however, took me a while to get into. It was almost...boring. I think it's because the playing field is so elevated. There haven't been many epic fails, and everyone is friendly for the most part (ahem, Marcel). It's like Summer Camp. Watching most of them yesterday (while cleaning and entertaining Tino) got me back into it. Especially as the contestants are dwindling and the finale approaches. Also, having Anthony Bourdain as a permanent judge was an excellent move. I LOVE me some Tony.

    Speaking of Top Chef, I'm super excited to be visiting one of my favorite Top Chef contestant's restaurant tonight. Brian Malarkey! Searsucker! It was my bosses birthday yesterday (happy birthday Sammy!) and since we were all out of the office yesterday for President's Day we are celebrating with dinner tonight. Another perk of working for a start-up - we're like a big family. Probably because we work in such close quarters, are relatively small, work long hours sometimes, and all appreciate the art of a good happy hour ;) So accordingly, birthdays do not come and go without notice.

    Will obviously have a post tomorrow about the experience.

    P.S. Am I the only one still on the Top Chef train? Is it not cool anymore? (not that I care, just curious)

    P.P.S. If you aren't yet burned out on thing Top Chef, make sure to follow Fabio on Twitter. (@fabioviviani) He's hilarious!

    Experimenting With Goat Cheese

    Yup, that's how this girl spends her Monday night - experimenting with Goat Cheese. And it was wonderful. The cheese that didn't make it directly into my mouth made it onto my new favorite "pizza." I'm using the word pizza loosely, but I'll throw around the word "awesome" pretty generously. Ingredients: Puff pastry, caramelized onions and shallots, goat cheese, cilantro and egg. Basically, these were all things I already had in my kitchen. Basically, it was amazing.

    Caramelized heaven.

    Goat Cheese, Onion and Egg Tart

    • 1 sheet puff pastry
    • goat cheese
    • cilantro, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
    • eggs (4)
    • half an onion, sliced
    • 1 shallot, sliced
    • olive oil
    • balsamic vinegar
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In the meantime, over medium high heat add about 1 tbsp of olive oil and saute the onion and shallot. Add salt and pepper. Stir frequently.
    2. After about 15 minutes, when the onions and shallot are soft and beginning to caramelize, add a splash of balsamic vinegar. Let the vinegar reduce and set aside.
    3. Meanwhile, take the (thawed) puff pastry and place on a baking tray (that has been sprayed with canola oil). Liberally sprinkle with chunks of goat cheese, onions/shallots and cilantro.
    4. Crack 4 eggs one at a time and place in each corner of the pastry. 
    5. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
    6. Place in the oven and allow to cook for 20-25 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown. 

    Ready for a date with the oven. 

    I only added one egg, since I was only planning on eating 1/4 of this sucker. And to be honest, I was a little apprehensive about how it would turn out. I worried for naught. It was delicious!

    Umm....yah...Make this tonight!


    Tino made sure to stand by to make sure all went well.

    Thanks Tino!

    Monday, February 21, 2011

    A Week Later...

    Flowers are going strong.


    (Ignore that one little straggler in the middle)

    Not Ready To Let Go

    I'm so sad to see this weekend go! At least it provided the perfect kick-off for the rest of the week.

    But before I look ahead to Tuesday, some final Saturday notes.

    Saturday night was Cara's birthday party. The theme was black and white and everyone looked smashing. It was sooo much fun. There was great company, good music and cupcakes!!!

    The Birthday Girl Cara (in the only pop of color all night) and I.

    And of course, Tino came by to play with his bestie, Gus.

    Hi Gus!

    I think Tino thought the party was in his honor.

    Brynn and Tino. Say cheese!

    Tino and Derrick busting a move.

    Matt is the Dog Whisperer.

    Take a chill pill Tino!

    Ryan and Jenn made an appearance.

    We all need to hang out more often!

    Adam took the black and white theme very seriously.

    So very dapper. (I wish this picture was clearer!)

    Everyone seemed to be having a great time.

    Fun was had. 

    Although, sometimes, three is a crowd.

    Lioyd and Tino bonding. Adam butting in ;)

    All in all, we had a great night. Happy Birthday Cara!

    Sunday, February 20, 2011

    Not Quite Grilling Season

    Even though the rain has stopped and the sun was out, the Sun is still setting pretty early and there is a definite chill in the air. So I'm not quite ready for the grille to come out full-time. (Grilles equal summer in my mind).

    After enjoying a lovely breakfast/brunch/lunch, painting (rooms not pictures) for a few hours and some other nonsense,  Adam and I decided to take a trip to Henry's and gather some fixins' for a quick and easy stir-fry. Less than an hour later, we were enjoying steaming bowls of Stir Fry and watching the end of the NBA All-Star game.

    Veggies and Beef Marinating in a Teriyaki Sauce bath

    Adam took the lead, and I played Sous Chef. I love when Adam cooks. In the mix: red and yellow bell peppers, onion, sugar peas, mushrooms, bean sprouts, garlic, fresh ginger, a serrano pepper, and beef. We also cooked up some rice to go with. 

    Let me tell you, that was one STRONG serrano pepper. Adam said my face got all red. I think he was just being a punk, but my nose did get a little runny (too much?). 

    It might have been hot, but that sure didn't stop me from enjoying it.

    Yum.  (It looked much better in person)

    I Can Get Used To This

    Three-day (Holiday) weekends are grand. That probably goes without saying. So in the midst of this President's Day long weekend, Adam and I enjoyed an especially enjoyable brunch. It was especially enjoyable for two reasons - 1) Sunday brunch is always a joyful occasion and 2) we were able to enjoy said brunch without any Monday Work Dread setting in. (I really do like my job, but still...I could do without Mondays).

    We were up late for a birthday party the night before where one of us had fun and one of us had A LOT of fun and was now having trouble getting up out of bed. ;) I woke up surprisingly early, so I made my way to the grocery store to load up on some fruit, orange juice and bacon (obviously). I then did my best to lure the bum out of bed.

     Who doesn't get out of bed for bacon???

    There was a lot of bacon. Luckily Matt, owner of Gus and Adam's roommate, was around and generously offered to help with the bacon consumption. As you can see I also put some fruit and veggies out for the men. They took the bait. Yay.

    And because it was almost lunch by the time I got around to actually putting everything together, I made my breakfast into a sandwich. A freaking bomb sandwich.

    Bagel with onion and chive flavored cream cheese, bell pepper, and egg. 

    I think this is what my breakfast will look like tomorrow too. 

    Friday, February 18, 2011

    Another Friday, Another Lunch

    Working from home is great. As if I had to tell you. As I mentioned last week, it 's been a very positive change for me. This week's newly discovered benefit? Convenient whenever-I-want-them lunch and snacks. Today I woke up with a huge craving for Egg Salad. You know the rest of the story...

    This is supposed to look appetizing. It certainly tastes appetizing.

    Easy, Adaptable Egg Salad

    • 4 eggs, hard boiled (I used this method - it never fails!)
    • 2 stalks celery, diced
    • 2 green onions, diced. (I use both green and white parts)
    • Non-fat yogurt
    • Dijon mustart
    • Salt and Pepper 
    1. Peel and rough chop the hard boiled eggs. Place in a mixing bowl.
    2. Add the celery, green onions, 2 or 3 big spoonfulls of greek yogurt, a big squirt of Dijon mustard, salt and pepper to the bowl. 
    3. Mix/mash all ingredients together until you've reached the desired consistency. (A Food Processor would come in handy here!)
    4. Enjoy! (I like it served on toasted bread)

    All the ingredients in one bowl. Now mash!

    It's that easy. Add more yogurt if you like it less thick, add more mustard if you like that kick. You get the idea. It's so easy!

    A few notes. I use greek yogurt because I've simply never been a fan of Mayo. But feel free to use it if you wish. I like that the greek yogurt is thicker, and adds a bit of sourness/tartness to the mix. Also, I've added everything from chopped walnuts, diced green apples, curry powder, paprika, etc. Whatever you have in your refrigerator/pantry is game! I also sometimes switch out the eggs for leftover shredded chicken for, you guessed it, Chicken Salad. Genius.


    Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow...

    So two close friends are packing up their belongings and moving to that city by the bay.

    Selfishly, it's always a little sad to see friends go. But knowing they have great jobs and (hello!) a great city waiting for them makes it very exciting. Word on the street is that San Fran has some tasty eating establishments ;) Also, yet another excuse to take a weekend trip to the Bay Area!

    So to send them off in style, we headed to Starlite, a restauarant/lounge/bar in what I guess would be Mission Hills(?). The drinks here are uh-mazing. In particular, this:

    It's a Starlite Mule and it's sooo good. I also love the mug they serve it in. I only had one. These suckers are mad-crazy-dangerous. You do not taste the alcohol, but oh boy, is there some: Rain Organic Vodka, ginger beer, lime, Angostura bitters. It tastes refreshing and zippy. Yes, zippy.

    So zippy!

    We also snacked on their Sausage plate (meh) and some clams (hurrah!)

    Kind of disappointing.

    Kind of not disappointing. (Yay garlic and butter!)

    Starlite itself is about as close to San Fran as you are going to get in San Diego, so it was an appropriate venue choice. It has a dark, moody, retro vibe - lots of dark wood, brick walls, soft twinkle lights, glass. I dig, cats. In the summer this used to be a favorite to sit out on the patio and people watch. Gotta bring that practice back into rotation.

    Anyway, to the point at hand - Good luck Josh and Chrissy! Can't wait to visit soon :)

    Some more pictures of our night:

    Josh and Adam.

    Chrissy and her audience of men ;)

    This chandelier looks amazing in person. The lights are blue and so pretty!

    Adam thinks I should post more pictures of him.

    And because we had Journey in our heads, I put on my Journey t-shirt (best shirt ever) and Tino and I had a jam session to end the night. He's very musical.

    Yes, we are sharing a blanket. It was chilly!

    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    Afternoon Pick Me Up

    That is all.

    Everyone Loves Bath Time! (That's a Lie)

    So living next to the beach has it's pluses. In fact, it's mostly all pluses (do I really need to elaborate?) BUT when you have a puppy suddenly that warm, beautiful white sand is everywhere. Including all over Tino. So last night was bath night.

    Why do you hate me so?

    I suppose it could have gone worse. 


    It definitely could have gone much better. 

    He sulked for the next 30 minutes. In puppy time, that's an eternity.

    At least he smells (and feels) great.

    Dinner was a mish-mash of things. I had guac left over from earlier in the day (bummer!....) so in a few minutes Adam made a nice plate (for two) of cheese and crackers and ham and chips - for the guac. The cheese, crackers and ham were awesome. Especially because it was smoked cheddar from Trader Joes. Delicious! The chips? Not so much. To quote Adam, "they taste like Trader Joes." We determined this meant "healthy." He was right. They were thick and course and kind of bland. Boo. We love food around here, so we don't take kindly to anything that wastes our time.

    Luckily, this past weekend Adam's mom showed me how to make homemade tortilla chips from corn tortillas. I had just so happened to bring some corn tortillas over (I was meaning to make quesadillas...I forgot the chicken, hence the cheese and crackers). In ten minutes we had edible chips. Phew! Crisis averted. 


    This is not "diet" food. 

    Homemade Tortilla Chips

    • Corn tortillas
    • Vegetable oil
    • Chili powder
    • Salt
    1. Pour vegetable oil in a frying pan over high heat. Fill with enough oil so that the oil is about 1" deep.  
    2. In a small bowl, combine equal parts salt and chili powder (I used about 2 tablespoons of each and had leftover seasoning).
    3. Take about 6 corn tortillas and stack them up in a pile and cut to create triangles. I cut the entire stack lengthwise 4 - once vertical cut, one horizontal (you know have a cross) and then two diagonal cuts. This makes sense, right?
    4. Once the oil has heated up (I drop a little piece of corn tortilla in the pan, if the oil starts bubbling around the tortilla, it's ready) place your tortilla triangles in the pan, careful to not put too many so that there is no overlapping. 
    5. After about 2 minutes on each side (they will be nice and golden) place on a plate with a paper towel to allow to drain and cool.
    6. While still hot, sprinkle the salt mixture lightly over the chips.
    7. Place in serving dish of your choice and enjoy! 
    These chips are incredibly delicious. And you can put whatever seasoning you want on them. Next time I'm thinking just salt and lime juice. Although, these were pretty great and sometimes you should just let a good thing be.

    Crappy iphone pic!