Monthly Archives: September 2011

J. Crew Why Do You Do This To Me?

Not Fair

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Restaurant Style Salmon

Restaurant Style Salmon aka Pan Seared Salmon is one of my favorites to eat. It’s also one of the easiest to make especially if you are already making a salad with vinaigrette dressing (which is seriously not that hard). I think once you make your own salad dressing you never go back, but I digress… 

We pan-sear the salmon to lock in the flavors and also to get a crispy skin and brown top. By then popping it in the oven, the salmon cooks through without drying out and getting overly crispy/brown. The best part of this recipe is that whatever vinaigrette you use will work. We’ve tried it with a simple olive oil/lemon one as well as a pomegranate dressing and both tasted delicious and created two different types of flavors.

Restaurant Style Salmon

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds salmon (we like chinook)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vinaigrette (like this one)

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Sprinkle salt and pepper along the top of your salmon. Set aside.
  3. Heat a 12 inch saute pan on the stove. Add olive oil in pan and let sit until it glistens. Tilt your pan so oil covers the entire bottom of it.
  4. Lay salmon in the hot pan skin side up for 4 minutes. Flip salmon over. Cook for 4 minutes.
  5. Remove salmon from stove. Top with your vinaigrette and place your pan with the salmon into the oven for 10 minutes. (Timing may vary depending on thickness of salmon, you want the salmon to cook through without drying out).

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Tangent Thursday

1. Remember that little Marc Jacobs cosmetic bag I hinted to Q that I wanted… well sometimes when your boyfriend is deployed and you feel sorry for yourself, you go online shopping at 11PM at night and use zero will power. And then before you know it your cart has 4 new items in it and you get an email saying “Order Confirmation…”


2. Sometimes letting two of the smallest dogs sleep with you can cause the worst night’s sleep. Sometimes they even wake you up 8-10 times per night scratching, barking and jumping on and off the bed. But you always forgive them and think the next night will be different.

Is that a stuffed animal? Weird, I wonder whose that is in the bed…

3. Sometimes all you want for dinner is a salad with walnuts, goat cheese and strawberries. And when you arrive home you realize you don’t have any strawberries…so you replace them with raspberries…and you are happily surprised. And mid-way through your salad you need something else…oh yes, a carb. And you heat up a bagel thin and slather it with Laughing Cow cheese. And dinner is served.

4. Sometimes it’s the night before a trip and you have no motivation to pack. And it doesn’t look like motivation is heading your way…

Doesn’t the black and white make it look more dramatic?

5. Sometimes you put your PJs on at 7:30PM and plan to be asleep by 9:30 because of said “dogs sleeping in bed” problem… no picture required for this one 🙂

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What I Ate Wednesday Part 13

So I finally got to talk to Q this week and guess what happens? My phone line goes out. I mean what are the chances right? We finally got it fixed today, but it was a rough few days talking on my cell and dropping calls left and right (iPhone I love you, but I am not a fan of the dropped calls). Today the technician came over, fixed the phone line and found water damage on our DSL line and guess what? Now our DSL works twice as fast… everything happens for a reason right? Now, food time…

Breakfast – 10:00AM

Coach’s Oats made with vanilla almond milk and water, topped with Sunbutter, blueberries and a sprinkle of Bear Naked Granola. I really liked the addition of the granola, it gave a good crunch.

Lunch – 2:00PM

Umami Burger (the best in LA, seriously)- burger with shiitake mushroom, caramelized onions, roasted tomato, parmesan crisp, umami ketchup. Side of sweet potato fries and some regular ones thrown in too. I’m not a big beef eater, so I had half of this pup, but it was delicious.

Dinner – 6:30PM

Baby Romaine with strawberries, goat cheese and toasted walnuts with a Pomegranate vinaigrette (recipe coming later this week)! After having that burger and fries for lunch I really needed a light dinner and some greens!

Dessert -TBD

Craving a banana bread pudding from Magnolia bakery, we had one of these last weekend during a girls night and I have been dying to have another. But since I’m already in my PJs at 7:40 I’ll probably make some sort of creation in the kitchen that has lots of sugar 🙂

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Fish Tacos with Pico de Gallo, Cabbage and Lime Crema

These fish tacos look like they are complicated (lime crema?!), but they really are not (lime creama = sour cream + lime). They are easy to prepare with a quick marinade and then thrown onto a griddle/grill pan (a great investment for any kitchen).

There are two highlights of this dish. The first is the pico de gallo. Since it is made with grape tomatoes instead of normal Roma tomatoes, there is a sweetness to it which really pairs well with fish. The second highlight is the lime crema. For some reason adding the acid to the sour cream makes a huge difference. Instead of the usual small scoop, I layered a couple of large spoonfuls onto each taco. So delicious.

I think the best thing about this recipe is that it is really versatile, you can use different types of fish and play around with your spices. The recipes for the toppings are great to have on hand for entertaining. I would put them on nachos, set them out with some chips or put them on top of a quesadilla.

Fish Tacos with Pico de Gallo, Cabbage and Lime Crema

These tacos are surprisingly easy to make with everyday ingredients (nothing too crazy). They are great for a big family dinner since everyone creates their own tacos. 

Serves 4

Prep Time: 45 minutes (30 is for marinating)

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

For the salted cabbage:

  • 1/2 small green cabbage, sliced thinly
  • juice from 1/2 of a lime
  • pinch of sea salt

For the Pico de Gallo

  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered or halved
  • 1/2 small red onion, peeled and very finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • minced jalapeno (optional – if you want some heat)

For the Lime Crema

  • 1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • zest from 1 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • dash of tabasco

For the Fish Tacos

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds white fish fillets (cod, pollock or haddock) or ahi tuna, cut into finger sized pieces

For serving:

  • corn tortillas (we allotted two per person)
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced

Directions

For the salted cabbage:

  1. Combine ingredients in a large bowl. Make sure cabbage is well coated by lime juice and salt. Let sit for 20 minutes.

For the Pico de Gallo:

  1. Combine the tomatoes, onion and cilantro in a bowl. Add salt and lime juice and set aside.

For the Lime Crema:

  1. Combine ingredients in a small bowl and keep in fridge until ready to serve.

For the Fish Tacos:

  1. Combine all of your ingredients in a large ziploc bag to marinate. Let sit for at least 10 minutes (ideally 30-40).
  2. When ready to cook, heat up a griddle or grill pan until hot. Lightly spray griddle with Pam or other nonstick spray. Lower heat to medium and layer your fish across the griddle. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side until just cooked through.

For serving:

  1. Layer all the components (salted cabbage, pico, de gallo, lime crema, fish, tortillas and sliced avocado) together on the center of the table, family style, letting everyone assemble their own tacos.

Loosely adapted from My Father’s Daughter

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Pan Am

All children grow up a little embarrassed of their parents (right?). I used to make my dad drop me off a half block away from my elementary school, I would jump out of the car as fast as possible and scurry in, not looking back. These days, I have my dad drop me at the front of a bar and I give him a big wave and say “Bye Dad!” How times change…

I never knew how cool my mom was until I grew up enough to realize it. She was a juror on a big trail (“The Hillside Strangler”), ran marathons and was a Pan Am flight attendant for 17 years (1968 – 1985) all before I was born.

She was on a plane that was highjacked, she served heads of countries, she flew around the world thousands of times. She used to fly when flying was still considered a luxury.

We recently stumbled upon a set of negatives from when she was flying. We got them developed over the weekend. I just love the photos.

I watched the show “Pan Am” this morning and was a little underwhelmed, but am giving it a chance. It seemed a little over-acted and didn’t grab me right away. And I so wanted it to.

But when I look at these photos I am so overwhelmed at how cool my mom was and is. And can’t believe she lived this life all before I was around (and I’m really upset she didn’t hold on to any of her old uniforms).

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Turkey and Tofu Lettuce Cups

These turkey and tofu lettuce cups are a healthy “go to” staple in our house. We usually  have them on a Sunday night after an overly indulgent weekend of eating out a little too much and having a few too many sweets. This dish is a fresher, healthier asian turkey stir-fry (similar to what you would get at Chin Chin) with a little brown rice spooned into a leaf of crispy romaine. I love the presentation as well as the easy eating style.

Occasionally we make this dish with turkey or tofu only, but thought the combination of the two actually worked really well together. The dish looks complicated with its ingredients, but it really isn’t that hard and once you have all of them, you can make the dish over and over again (which we do). For some of the sauces, like the black bean garlic sauce, you can get them at a small Asian market or Amazon (what CAN’T you get on Amazon?).

I took these pictures before the brown rice was cooked, but we usually layer it on the lettuce leaf and top it with the turkey/tofu mixture. We usually have leftover turkey/tofu and I like to put it in omelets or have it for lunch the next day over some brown rice.

Turkey and Tofu Lettuce Cups

Serves 4-5

These lettuce cups can be easily individualized. If you want to add a little more of one sauce and less of another, go ahead, you can’t go wrong with this recipe. Also adding any additional veggies would work as would mixing your rice directly into your turkey/tofu/veggie mix. Have fun with it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup minced mild sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup fine chopped carrots (we had shredded carrots that we chopped)
  • 1 cup fine chopped brown cremini mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon black bean garlic sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 18 ounces firm tofu, drained and cut into small 1 inch squares
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion (add more to your taste)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 4 cups brown rice (optional)
  • 2 heads of romaine lettuce

Directions:

  1. Heat up a large frying pan on high heat. Add 1 tablespoon canola oil and let sit for a minute until the oil glistens. Add your ground turkey to partially brown it. As the turkey cooks down, it will release liquid. After 3 minutes (or until turkey is partially browned), remove turkey from heat, pour into a colander and let it sit to drain off extra fat.
  2. Place your large frying pan back on flame, turn the heat to medium. Add 1 teaspoon canola oil. Let sit for a minute until oil glistens. Add garlic, ginger and chopped onions to pan and let cook down for 30-45 seconds. Add in your carrots. Cook for 60 seconds. Add in your mushrooms and cook for 3-5 minutes or until carrots and mushrooms begin to soften. Add the black bean garlic sauce, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce and sriracha. Stir sauces into veggies and turn heat to high.
  3. Add drained turkey, spinach, tofu, green onions and cilantro to mix. Stir to combine. You can break up the tofu into smaller pieces once on the stove. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until turkey cooks through. Once turkey has cooked through, turn heat off, place a lid on top of your pan and let sit for at least 10 minutes (preferably 20-30).
  4. Serve with brown rice and hearts of romaine and create a “do it yourself” station where each person can add however much of each element they would like.

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