Sunday, October 10, 2010

Speaking of my salads...

Here are a couple I've made for dinner recently:

 Above we have butter lettuce, hearts of palm, celery, cucumber, carrot, and avocado. Red wine and olive oil vinaigrette.

 This puppy above was more butter lettuce, hardboiled egg, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, hearts of palm, and cucumber. My usual red wine and olive oil vinaigrette.

And finally, spinach, tomato, carrot, hardboiled egg, sunflower seeds, hearts of palm, and.... red wine/olive oil vinaigrette!

Salad out

This was a recent brunch salad at Luna Park in San Francisco:

It was good. Mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, chopped up hard-boiled egg, blue cheese, avocado, chicken, and bacon. The dressing was a light vinaigrette with balsamic. The chicken was a tiny bit bland and I could have done without the bacon. All in all, I ate the whole thing, but I'm pretty sure I make more interesting salads at home every night. (yawn)

Food not cooked by me!

As this blog evolves into more than what I just make at home, I think I'm going to start including all kinds of food--food I have at really nice places, at really cheap places, food I make at home by using the microwave, what I think about food in general, etc. To start things off, a few weeks ago the husband and I went to the Cliff House in San Francisco with my visiting parents. It was pricey and mostly non-disappointing. But. I wish I would stop trying to order fish stews (and all varieties thereof)--I never like them and I keep trying (excuse the Hipstamatic iPhone fun):

 This was smoked trout and arugula. It was heavenly:

The oysters on the halfshell. Kumamotos. Never disappointing, every delicious bite. And yes, when I finished, I chugged the vinegar:

Heirloom tomato and mushroom appetizer. It was good but it was trying too hard:

 This was actually my favorite item (ok, second to the oysters), which is saying a lot, considering I am not a sweets/dessert person. It was a lemony creamy little cake thing with berries and a perfect non-too-sweet sauce:

Bowties with shrimp and broccoli

This picture came out so glossy looking, which makes me giggle because that means it was REALLY coated in butter. The husband loves throw together pastas, and it's an easy way for me to force us to eat more vegetables. This was a good throw together of bowtie pasta, broccoli heads, shrimp, garlic, and butter. I just sauteed the garlic and butter for awhile, threw in frozen pre-cooked shrimp (thawed under water first), and then the broccoli heads until everything was warm and soft. Tossed that into the bowties, also mixed in with butter and some shaved asiago cheese. Thirds were had.

I eat too much pasta. I actually haven't been craving it much at all since I've been pregnant, which has been awesome and has made me think. I eat too much of the stuff. The white version of it, too many servings at once of it, and it does no good. I don't feel good after, I just feel like I'm in a coma after. And that can be accomplished much easier with a glass of wine/scotch/brandy/vodka (post baby of course) and with much more fun and fewer calories.

Open-face goodness

I love open-faced sandwiches. Could be the Swedish in me, but I LOVE them. I've never been a big meat eater, but I've always been partial to really well done open faced sandwiches. Closed-face you ask? Pass. I don't know. Anyway, here's one of my favorites:

This was sourdough bread, lightly toasted (very lightly), a smear of butter, horseradish, and dijon mustard on both sides, a few slices of black forest ham (I like Boar's head), sliced tomato, sliced onion, a few capers, salt and pepper. Back in the day I used to like to add a little Lawry's seasoning salt. Guilty. A hard-boiled egg on the side, of course. This is seriously so delicious and satisfying and such a better breakfast than cereal or plain toast.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Shrimp, tomatoes, quinoa, and greens

Intense flavor, healthy, scarf scarf:

Here, I took a bag of mustard greens (from Trader Joe's, with the boring old bagged lettuces) and simmered them with a little garlic, oil, and water (chicken broth would have been better but I'm not gonna lie to you, dearest reader). Kept them simmering while I cooked the rest.

Boiled the quinoa per instructions. Usually I doctor it up while cooking with onions, garlic, spices, chicken broth, but not this time--I thought the toppings would be enough.

Then, I took shrimp, and added a ton of butter, white wine, onions, garlic, and fresh chopped tomatoes. Cooked them up fast and quick on a high heat. Then I threw in more butter. Then I kind of laughed to myself like a maniac.

Plated the shrimp stuff on top of the quinoa, added to the greens. Thumbs up were had all around.

Three awesome salads

Like I said, I'm on a salad kick, and I won't be stopped.

Salad 1:

We have:
Romaine lettuce
Hearts of Palm
Hard boiled egg
Leftover shredded chicken
Red bell pepper

Oil and Vinegar dressing.

Salad 2 (with mysterious lighting for some reason):

Red leaf lettuce
Chopped Salami
Artichoke hearts
Hard boiled egg

Oil and Vinegar dressing 

Salad 3:

Finally, we have:

Quartered tomatoes
Indeterminate lettuce
Artichoke hearts
Clover sprouts
Oil and Vinegar.

Bad ass.

Cabbage in a dish

I thought this might be a good time to include a picture of my previously mentioned shredded-and-salted-cabbage-in-a-dish:

It's a thing of beauty. It may be the Polish in me. But this is one shredded head that I can dip into all week for added crunch to salads, stir-fries, or, to shove into my mouth with my hand in the middle of the night when I get hungry. Hey, it beats binging on pie.

Bean thread noodles with shrimp and cabbage

Delicious. Looking at this picture, I can't believe I haven't made this again recently. Without further adieu:

It's stunning, I know. I'll get to the "recipe" in a moment, but you may be asking yourself how such an amazing creation came to be. Perhaps you need an in-progress shot to help clarify matters:
And there it is. This came to be in a wok:

Shredded cabbage. What I do is shred the whole head, salt it, and keep it in a sealed casserole dish in the fridge for a couple days first. Then add about half the cabbage or less to this wok.
Chopped white onion
Chopped garlic, lots
Butter, lots

Let that saute until everything is soft, but not browning.
Add shrimp (cooked, but not warmed)

Separately, prepare bean thread noodles (I love these, there will be a separate post coming on these) by soaking in water until soft. Throw in to the wok.

Let everything get cuddly and warm with everything else, and serve. This is such a tasty, warming, and pleasing dish.

Salad Nicoise

I'm not gonna lie, I'm pretty proud of this one. I was trying to impress the hubby one night, with my mad veggie and greenery skills. I was also trying to act French. I served this for the both of us on one large platter and we dug in like savages, swilling our Sauvignon Blanc on the side:

There it is in all its glory. We have:

Red leaf lettuce, hand torn and placed on the bottom
Chopped up and sliced hard boiled eggs
Chopped hearts of palm
Blanched asparagus stalks
Tuna slices--and not just any tuna. This was hand caught tuna, home-jarred by hubby's dad. You may not all be able to get your hands on such treasures, so store bought will work.

Dressing was a dijon and oil and lemon and salt and pepper concoction.

Upon reflection, this may not exactly have been a true nicoise, but it was heavenly. I remember going at this with our bare hands.

Making up for lost time!

I have been known to make a mean deviled egg. They will infuse you with the cold, dread feeling of the devil himself.

I'm going to wing this recipe, but I may be back later with exact amounts.
3 Hardboiled eggs
2 Tablespoons tangy mustard, like dijon
1 Tablespoon mayo. But good mayo, people. Do not look at my website then use miracle whip or hellman's here. I'm talking nice real mayo without processed crap in it. Processed mayo makes the devil sad.
Dashes of Maggi. You can use worschteshire sauce, but I prefer Maggi.
1 Tablespoon of horseradish--or more--to taste
1 splash of pickle juice. Just do it.
Salt, pepper
1 clove crushed garlic. More if you're cool.

Take out the egg yolks of each of the 3 eggs and mix with all of the stuff above. Then spoon gently back into the eggs. Try not to eat the entire mixture while doing so. 

Top with paprika and capers. 

The devil is pleased.

8 months later.....

Well! I guess you could say I've slacked. I have no excuses, and piles of pictures (figuratively speaking) sitting around needing to be posted. I've been busy, what with getting engaged, married, buying a house, and getting pregnant since my last post. Hurray!

But moving on, I'm going to try to post and go through a lot of pictures I have laying around here. While I promise to do better with exact recipes in the future, the following are mostly going to be a picture-heavy catalog of some of the stuff I cooked and took pictures of over the last few months. There have been a lot of salads as of late, so I think this baby might be a rabbit. Or just like healthy food.

Here we go to get started! I give you, Salami/Tomato/Lettuce sandwich on Rye!

Not sure a recipe would be necessary, but this baby was literally just:

Dijon mustard
Horseradish (just horseradish, no evil cream or other junk added)
Jalapeno Jack Cheese
Butter Lettuce
White Onion

Yesssssss! And one more while we're at it:

Yes sir, here we have:

More Rye bread
More Jack Cheese
Lots more white onion
Sliced pickle instead of tomato and lettuce
Butter instead of Horseradish

Sandwiches have been under-rated in my life recently, and I'm making to change that.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Cold shrimp and tangerine salad

This salad was a huge hit at home, and we both ate more than our one serving. It's going into regular rotation, I do believe:

I didn't have a concrete recipe I could tell you for this one, but roughly:

A few cups of fresh raw spinach
A few cups of medium sized shrimp, de-veined and washed and dried and cold
A couple sticks of hearts of palm (jarred, Trader Joes)
3 or 4 tangeries, cut up into individual pieces
2 cloves raw and crushed garlic

For the dressing, I did olive oil, balsamic, a sprinkle of the tangerine juice, and some of that garlic. The rest of the garlic I threw into the salad. The flavor combinations of the tangerines, shrimp, and garlic were heavenly.

Colorful salad

I was really proud of this one--it's just so pretty and we scarfed it down:

A simple toss:

Chopped romaine lettuce
1 or 2 hard-boiled eggs
1/2 or whole raw red pepper
A few sticks of hearts of palm (Trader Joe's, jarred, as always)
Sprinkle of sunflower seeds

Olive oil
Red wine vinegar (if you're me)
Balsamic vinegar (if you're my boyfriend)

I think we had this with some home-made pea soup, and it had us very satisfied.

Bloody Mary!

Well, I'm trying to make this blog about healthy, whole, tasty, easy-to-make foods, but sometimes, a girl just needs a the morning. Hence, my Bloody Mary recipe. It's still a work in progress, but I'm much happier with what I'm creating now than before, and I think this one is good enough to share.

I'm sorry this won't be as exact as some might like, but I'll keep updating, and it's more fun trying to figure your own exact recipe out anyway, right?

1 small can low-sodium V8 -- though, I think the regular sodium can might taste better in the end
2 shots of vodka --that's just how I roll
Juice of 1 lemon
3-5 grinds of the pepper mill
1 tablespoon (or more) of horseradish --the unprocessed kind, please, for the love of all things good
1 teaspoon olive juice from jarred olives
5 or more dashes of hot sauce
5 or more dashes of woresteshire sauce

Stir stir stir.

This is better with pickled asparagus or celery, but I didn't have it this morning. We enjoyed it with cornichons instead. Very much.

Ham and Cheese on scandinavian-style cracker bread

This snack is totally my Polish/Scandinavian heritage creepin' up on me. I like this as a well-balanced snack before a workout when I don't want a heavy meal. It's amazingly satisfying:

There isn't much of a recipe to this one:

A couple small, thick slices of ham (I use the ham steak from the deli at Trader Joe's--I'm a big fan)
Half a slice of pepper jack cheese
Spicy mustard
Cracker bread (boyfriend calls this my "communist bread")--it's been a great substitution for me to avoid the more doughy and fatty breads

First of many, many salads

I love salads. Salads for dinner--dinner salads, if you will. Salads for lunch, for snacks. With all the love I feel for them, I don't know why I don't make an effort to eat them more often. That said, I will now make an effort to eat them more often, and will post all the different and easy concoctions I make. We had this one a few nights ago and really enjoyed it. Simple, pretty, crunchy, so good!

Easy as...pie:

Romaine lettuce, torn up
1 large cucumber
1 avocado
2 sticks of hearts of palm (I use the jarred ones from Trader Joes)
Generous sprinkle of capers
Squeeze of half a lemon--mostly to keep the Avocados from turning brown, but also because...who doesn't love a squeeze of lemon?
Olive oil
Red White vinegar (though the boy goes with balsamic)

It's not in the picture, but at the end, I got all worried about protein and added maybe 1/2 a cup of chick peas.

We were very happy with this one.

Beans, eggs, lettuce, oh my!

I was working at home today and determined to not resort to my usual I'm-stressed-out-and-need-comfort-carbs-in-huge-quantities, so I tried something a little new for me. I'm really trying to cut down on the white carbs and, more importantly, large portions, and came up with this. It took under 15 minutes to get ready, was delicious, and kept me full until late afternoon:

How awesome does that look? It tasted pretty awesome, and my body thanked me.

Here's what I did:

Maybe 1/3 or 1/4 can black refried beans
1/4 avocado
1/2 slice pepper jack cheese
1/2 cup to 1 cup chopped romaine lettuce
Loose pour of tomato salsa (I love trader joe's red table salsa)
1 egg

I put the beans on a plate, topped with cheese and heated up for a minute or so. In the meantime, I threw an egg in my pan and let it cook sunnyside up. I flipped it right at the end and topped my beans with it. Then I added my salsa, avocado, and lettuce around the sides. Delicious! Healthy! Happy lunch.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Soup (in the slow cooker)

This was originally going to start as a Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili, but as I started throwing ingredients in there, I knew it was going to become the best Black Bean-ish soup I've ever had.

The ingredients were close to this:

1 can black beans
1 can refried black beans
1 can kidney beans
6 small to medium sweet potatoes
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 medium white onion
1 head garlic
Chicken broth

I threw all of the above in my large crock pot, added salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and let it sit for 8 and a half hours on low. When it was done, I mashed it with my hand held blender and topped with a little mozarella cheese and 1/4 avocado. Between me and the boyfriend, we have a LOT of leftovers, so this recipe is definitely fit to feed an army. I will continue to try to learn to cook for just 2 instead of 20.

Here's the finished product:

We absolutely loved it, and most of the work was opening cans and chopping onions. In the future, I  might want to add a scoop of sour cream or tomato salsa too.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Lunch the first.

I'm generally the kind of person who enjoys spending Sunday afternoon/night cooking a batch of something to portion out and bring to work as tiny little lunches for Monday through Friday. Sometimes though, I think I have too much leftover food from the weekend and will throw together something totally random for Monday. Such is this Monday. We have a salad of leftover veggies and lettuce and a lone avocado I found:

You'll notice the two stalks of hearts of palm--courtesy of a glass jar from Trader Joes. Some capers, tomatoes, avocado, spinach, oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and............

Leftover tender delicious chicken from a chicken I roasted. We've been having leftovers for days from this guy--also from Trader Joe's. You'll notice the Trader Joe's obsession eventually, and I'm not on their payroll or anything (but wish I was--sigh). Anyway, this is lunch for Monday. I think it looks exciting.

I wish I had taken a picture of the chicken I roasted as it came out of the oven--browned and pretty with its skin and the such. Instead, I have a before picture of it looking pinkish and peppery and probably nervous. I have an after shot of it right before we started eating, but after I attacked it with a knife:

That's my before. It's so easy, everyone (who eats chicken anyway) should be roasting one of these at least once a month. I took it out of its plastic, rinsed it off, removed the giblet package, put it in this dish, covered in a little olive oil, salt, pepper, italian herb mix, lemon, and that's it. Leftovers for days.

And now for the poor guy after I took a knife to him:

This is after probably 1 and a half hours on 400 degrees. I will get better at making these recipes exact for everyone too, I promise.

Finally, the first nights dinner. We had a leg each from the chicken, plus zucchini, roasted. I chopped the zucchini into fourths, covered in the usual--olive oil, salt, pepper, and baked for an hour. Also cooked up some quinoa that I brought to a boil and covered and let sit for 15ish minutes. I usually do a quick saute of onions and garlic and add that to the quinoa at the end for extra flavor. Compared to rice and potatoes, I think quinoa tastes so much better, and is just so much better for you. I'll do a whole post soon on why it's so amazing: