Monday, August 31, 2009

Yeah, Steak Salad...

This was a great solution one night when I was craving red meat but had been eating crap all day.

I didn't have much in the house, so I ran to the store and bought some inexpensive steak (note to self...make sure I order organic beef from Fresh Direct).

I cut the meat up into strips and sort of stir fried them with olive oil, Celtic sea salt and pepper (next time I'll cook and then cut up the meat so it will have the pretty pink coloring).

Then I tossed it with mixed greens, ground mustard, olive oil and white vinegar. You could also use dijon mustard in place of the ground mustard and lemon juice instead of the vinegar. I worked with what I had. I'm sure I also added a touch more salt and pepper.



Saturday, August 29, 2009

Soba What?

Purple Cauliflower! I had to buy it.

I ended up making a stir fry with buckwheat soba noodles...just added some tamari & garlic, simmered the veggies then added the cooked noodles.

This sounds super easy, however, I did have a bit of a mishap with the soba noodles. I didn't realize they were tied together in pretty little bundles so when I went to drop them into the water the ends of said bundles sort of fused together. It ended up being a bit of a noodle battle to try and separate them once in the boiling water...I even burned my left knee a little bit.


But it turned out rather delicious, and beautiful with the green broccoli and purple cauliflower.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Curry Potatoes With Bell Pepper & Tomato!

Is it too soon for another potato post?

Never, I say!

My Mother brought it to my attention that in my other potato posts I never mentioned that I pre-cook my potatoes...Gasp! Thanks, Mom :)

Yes, I usually pre-cook my potatoes because otherwise it takes FOREVER to make "Quick" hash browns.

I cut them to the desired size and shape, put them in a small sauce pan, cover with water and bring to a boil...simmer for about ten minutes and drain...then add to the pan with what ever other ingredients you're working with.

In this case though, I cut up 1 large red potato and added chicken broth (about 1/2-1in) and let it simmer with 1 tsp red curry paste and 1 tsp minced garlic. Then I added one small chopped green bell pepper after about 10 minutes and took it off the heat.

At the end I chopped up two small plum tomatoes and added them with Celtic sea Salt to taste.

(I actually added the tomato because I'd over done it with the curry and needed to cut the heat but it ended up being really tasty!)

This dish was inspired by a "Sassy" friend of mine :)


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Feta Makes Everything Betta

This is one of my favorite quick dishes.

1 Package Penne (I used Gluten free)
1 lb Chicken Breast (cubed)
1 Can Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes
1 Can Artichoke Hearts
1 tsp Minced Garlic
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Feta Cheese

Cook the pasta according to package instructions.

Put tomatoes, olive oil, artichokes and garlic in a pan and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Par-cook the chicken and then add to sauce so it can absorb the flavors. Add in the pasta and Feta. Season with Sea Salt and pepper to taste.

Need I say more?


Sunday, August 23, 2009

2009 Long Island Scottish Games

I had Brodies "Scottish Teatime" Tea with my Breakfast

Of course, I'd rather be in Scotland...but it was nice being surrounded by kilts, nature and the sound of bagpipes for a day. It always feels like something is missing when I "do Scotland" here in NY. There's a feeling in the air that I love over there...the history is palpable and the sky takes my breath away.

Deliciousness ensued with roasted corn and a Haggis Puff...then later a hot dog and fresh squeezed lemonade. It reminded me of going to the county fairs with my Dad as a kid. I also bought some adorable, tiny, silver thistle earrings and a black and tan turtle. I think my purchases accurately depict me...girly earrings and a beer tool ;)

I got all choked up as soon as the drums and pipes began to I usually do...and really enjoyed the beautiful sights of Old Westbury Gardens.

So here, in photos, are the 2009 Long Island Scottish Games, held at Old Westbury Gardens:


Friday, August 21, 2009

1 Potato, 2 Potato, 3 Potato...MORE!

I don't know if it's possible for me to love potatoes more than I do. This week I've been craving them something fierce, don't ask me why...but I must obey.

For this particular delight, I cooked some red potatoes with green bell pepper, garlic, fennel seed, cumin, chili powder, celtic sea salt and crushed red pepper. I ate it along side some "fried" eggs.

Another favorite flavor combo is red onion, rosemary and celtic sea salt.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me

I spent the 10th anniversary of my 21st birthday with some great friends at St. Andrews last night.  Ironically, I think I drank more than on my actual 21st birthday.

It was a busy, great day... beginning with my new baby being delivered to my office!  

That's right folks! I'm typing this blog, rather awkwardly, on my new Mac laptop!

It's awkward because I don't have wireless yet, so she's all hooked up and charging. I'm all hunched over and using my old computer to prop her up (I'm building my new city on top of the old ruins, I guess).  I suppose I could move the keyboard of my old girl and put the new  little lady on the desk, but I don't want to disturb her yet (I still have files to transfer... iTunes and such :)

This is my first laptop, so it's going to take a bit of getting used to...mostly the trackpad instead of the mouse...I keep inadvertently making weird key commands...

But I digress...

My birthday...St. Andrews...

Because if I couldn't be in Scotland, I could at least have a cute Scottish Man serve me drinks and sticky toffee pudding whilst singing happy birthday :)

The embarrassment was secondary to the thrill.  I'm wondering if my Sister specifically asked him to serve me.  If so...NICE.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Grillin' With My Homies

I recently took on the task of grilling while at a friend's rooftop gathering. I technically will count it though there was no fire involved (they aren't allowed to use charcoal or gas on the it was an electric grill). It was, however, the first time I've "grilled" for other people. It went pretty well!

I enjoyed quite a few Killian's and won almost as many games of darts. It was a great night!

Friday, August 14, 2009

My True Blood Recap Trilogy!

For those of you either not on Twitter or Facebook...I had the pleasure of writing some True Blood recaps for TV Guide Magazine's website for a few weeks.

It was a very serendipitous thing and proof that The Universe is listening because I had just been talking to a writer friend about getting some "official" blogging experience and BOOM this fun opportunity arose.


I got to recap the following episodes:

"Hard Hearted Hannah"

"Release Me"

"Time Bomb"

True Blood is definitely a watercooler show in our office :) I can't wait for this week's episode!

*I actually have gotten to write another recap...sort of on the fly...which can be found here:

"A Sort of Home Coming"

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Julie & Julia

You know how things come into your life exactly when they are supposed to? Well, "Julie and Julia" has done just that. In a way it has done for me what MtAoFC did for Julie Powell. Way to pay it forward!

My awesome friend Sara mentioned the book to me a while ago...not sure how or in what context (maybe it was because I do a food/thoughts blog), but the seed was planted.

Months later, I'm in our office's kitchen watching the TV...most likely making tea or heating up some fabulous lunch item...when I see the ad for the movie. I'm all, "Hey, isn't that the book Sara was talking about before?" I, of course, forget to mention it to her (even though we work a few desks apart). Weeks go by, and I keep seeing the ad, forgetting to mention it and then one day we finally talk about it during one of our fantastic little desk-side chats, usually reserved for books and True Blood...and general silliness.

So, I go online and order the book from Barnes & Noble. It also happens to be the last day on a 20% off coupon I have there. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not.

This book has completely revived me and reaffirmed my dreams.

I too know what it's like to feel New York and mass transit suck out my soul little by little...and how tearing apart greens or cutting potatoes can restore it little by little...that and trips to Scotland. JOY!

Reading the book hasn't made me want to cook a ton of Julia Child recipes and write about them, but it does remind me why I started my own blog...and that following my bliss is really the only way to go. Another important lesson is that I don't have to be perfect. I can (and should) make lots of mistakes, improvise to make the journey my own, cry, get discouraged, curse a blue streak. No matter what, the road I pave is mine and will take me to where I should be. And if I keep my eyes on the joy...then it will take me to where I love as well.

So, Thank You Julie Powell!!

Part 2 of the Julie & Julia blog...

Sara and I went to see the movie last night! I'm a little bit in love with Julia Child now...I'll admit it. It was really cute...though I thought the book was much better. The Julia and Paul Child parts were SO sweet. I got misty more than once.

We followed our joy by having pizza and beer beforehand:

and Vodka Gimlets at an Irish Pub in Times Square after:

And how's this for a good sign? "The Whole of the Moon" by the Waterboys came on as we sipped on our first gimlet! This would be my joy, of course...but Sara appreciated my happiness.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Butter Fixes Everything

Rice with "picked out" greens on the side :)

I figure I should post my culinary triumphs and failures here goes.

I had gotten a bunch of fresh garlic mustard during one of my Apprenticeship days and was told that I could make a really yummy infused AC vinegar with I did. I steeped the GM in the AC vinegar for a few weeks (probably too long) and when I decanted it thought I would cook up the pickled GM with some left over dandelion greens.

I sauteed the greens with olive oil, more garlic and a pinch of the newly decanted vinegar in a pan...

Yeah...WAY too vinegary and garlicky....

So it sat in the fridge for a while because as we all know, I hate waste.

I then thought..."Hey! I'll cook up some wild rice to mix the greens with...that will even out the flavors a bit."

So one morning, before work, I cooked up some rice and mixed it in with the greens...very thoroughly, I might add. It smelled it should taste good, right?


I sat at my desk, trying with all my might to enjoy my creation, but no. I even valiantly tried picking out the dandelion greens to see if that would help...

I had pizza for lunch.

Since the thought of throwing away all that lovely wild rice made me cringe, I actually picked out as many of the greens as possible from the remaining dish and threw it in a pan with lots of butter and a bit of white cooking wine (I was heavily influenced by Julia Child here since I'm reading "Julie & Julia" right now).

But I'll tell you worked. It turned my horrified-face-making dish into something a few notches above edible...and that's really all I was after.

So the moral here?

Don't cook up pickled mustard greens with old dandelion greens? Maybe, but also you can more often than not fix things and flex your creativity in the process...and in my case give a tip of the hat to the wonderful Julia Child.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Old Friends

I went to my good friend Debra's backyard bbq in CT on Saturday. She is supporting the "I Live Here Foundation" which is a fabulous project.

I took a Subway to a Train to a Bus to a Cab...and arrived to smiles and faces of "family" I hadn't seen it about a year, but who are most definitely a part of me.

Yes, Alison and Debra. I figure I can use their real names here :)

Alison and I have basically known each other since nursery school and have been friends since we were about 10 years old. Debra is her younger sister and also one of my oldest friends.

I have so many fond memories, including being a witness to many "loving" Sisterly involving me being put in a headlock by Debra on their front lawn. Good times. The fights did eventually stop, thank goodness!

The junior high years that I've sort of blocked out because I hated Junior High...High School, Orchestra, walks on the beach, working at the Donut Shop in the summer, laughter, family vacations, sleepovers, watching movies in the basement, graduations, new jobs, emotional support (Alison was with me when I found out my Dad had passed away)...

I've had the immense pleasure of being at, and photographing, both these amazing ladies' weddings as well as making the invites. I knitted my first baby blanket for Alison's first child, who I finally met on Saturday...a gorgeous little boy named Owen.

It strikes me how many layers we have to our lives. We live and move on and make new friends and time flies by, yet certain things will remain the same. Childhood friends have pieces of each other that others will never share. We hold embarrassing facts for ransom and delight in retelling funny facts to new-comers. I will always laugh with glee while recounting how Alison and I tried to break into our vacation condo because we'd left the key (well, actually, I made her climb through the window in her bathing suit) and while she was half way in we realized it was our neighbor's and they were walking up the steps! We got away...

Real friendship is such a treasure and needs little tending. It's sort of like a patch of wild grows and changes shape, but is always such a beautiful thing to behold.

Alison, Debra and Me on Debra's Wedding Day in 2006