Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mango Madness

This is going to be a JUST TRUST ME entry. I made major mistakes on this dish but there was a shining star amidst the failures: the Spicy-Mango Peach Salsa. Have I ever let you down? (Okay, yes I used to eat peanut butter on kosher salami growing up and I absolutely adore fake cheez even out of an industrial can...) but that being said - trust in ME the way you trusted in Bill Clinton to run the country even though he had an affair. Our shortcomings are unrelated to the situation at hand and we WILL prevail. Wait wha?

We have entrusted our wedding website to only the finest, the creme de la creme of the interwebs: Roy Creative. (Also known as our friend Roy). We have traded him 5 free meals to get it started for us at Schmuglers.com. Dont go there, there's nothing there yet. DONT TURN THE PAGE! Oh wait, thats a Sesame Street book called The Monster At The End of The Book. This weeks random memory was brought to you by my weird brain. Anyhow! Shawn made his carnitas and I set out to make Cornmeal Crusted Scallops with Spicy Mango-Peach Salsa. The scallops were expensive and shitty. I didnt cook them at the correct temp and they never crisped up and by the time I decided to broil them they were overdone, tough and ugly. Wa.

My last mistake was serving this dish on an orange platter so you couldnt see how beautiful it was. Dang it inartistic idiot!

Spicy Mango-Peach Salsa
2 Peaches
2 Mangoes (e or no e?) 1 diced, 1 pulpy!
1 Anaheim Pepper
1 tomato, diced
1/3 cup diced onion
2 cloves of garlic
salt & pepper
1 dash of sriracha
2/3 cup water

Step One: I peeled the peaches and used 1/2 the diced anaheim peppers and boiled them with 2/3rds cup of water and garlic until pulpy. Then I put the mixture in the food processor so it was liquified.

Step Two: Combine this mixture with the other half of the chopped peppers, onions, tomatoes, and the diced mango and the pulpy mango. Add siracha and salt and pepper to taste!

Step Three: Refridgerate for at LEAST 1 hour.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Too Much Of Everything

There is beauty in simplicity. There is beauty in simplicity. There is beauty in simplicity. I have to constantly remind myself of this in life and in cooking. There IS such a thing as too much of something good, right? Otherwise, there wouldnt be a saying about it. My entire life I have struggled with the idea that everything is too simple and as a consequence I turn on my inner idea wheel and start amping things up until I pass the "just right" mark and stray wildly into the "overly complicated" territory. This went for puffy paint tshirts in middle school - "oh, sarah yours is so pretty! Kate....yours is....wow. Did something explode?!" --- This also goes for accessorizing. Earrings dont seem like enough, add this engagement ring - what I need is a necklace and a bracelet and all of the sudden I'm fucking Cleopatra.

Its alot to take in and I have noticed lately I can plan an elaborate meal and the BEST part of it is what I kept simple. I need to keep reminding myself that to really excel and be the best cook I can be. That being said, we had a great weekend and didnt eat out ONCE! I say this but we cooked two full meals for friends both nights and had breakfast in as usual and ate leftovers Sunday. The SF hippie in me wants to think that is rad! but really, I missed eating out. I fucking love it.

I made Poached Fig spread (see below) and I served it just with crackers but I think it would be best on a piece of bread. We also made a Low Country Boil with fresh shrimp and lobster from the Ferry Building and paired it with corn on the cobb tossed in basil butter. It was a great night with Marq and Dawn and Morinda and Alex.

Poached Fig, Goat Cheese and Honey Spread
6 fresh figs
2/3 cup goat cheese
2 tablespoons of honey
1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
1 cup of water
Step One: Bring 1 cup of water to a simmer. Throw in figs whole and boil until soft. About 3 minutes. Set aside and cool.

Step Two: In a food processor combine the figs, the goat cheese and processsssss! Once processed put in a bowl and fold in the honey. Salt and pepper to taste.

Step Three: Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Below are pics of the Low Country Boil and Corn with Basil Butter. Basil butter was just butter with basil that I put in the food processor and salt and pepper!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Turkey Burger 3.0

It was a lovely weekend in San Francisco this past Saturday and Sunday and what a treat it was to have a lazy Sunday. Friday night we crossed the bay and hung out in Jack London square for some Vegan Soul Food and an opening weekend show of Inception. The Vegan Soul food at Souley Vegan was absolutely off the chain. Absolutely nuts good. See below for pictures. BBQ Tofu Burger, Chicken Fried Tofu, Candied Yams.

I also loved Inception. Yeah, I mean how can you go wrong with Leo, Christopher Nolan and the delicious mind fuck of a plot? My only qualm without giving away spoilers was that they played Edith Piaf music and Marion Cottiard (who won an oscar playing her) - is also in the movie and I dont know whether its an homage or just annoying.

Saturday I had a helluva day pouring beer at the Breast Fest at Fort Mason with the MateVeza crew. Good times, hair bands, day drunk --- all awesome in my book! There were also some fun

And lastly - the recipe. Ah, the recipe. Sweet Sweet recipe. I want to tell you that these burgers are an open book of tastes. The flavor palette is exactly what you think it will taste like, no hidden punches just straightforward good. The biggest surprise was the Toasted Almond Avocado mash - who knew these two tasted so awesome together!?

Goat Cheese & Cranberry Turkey Burgers with Toasted Almond & Avocado Mash
1 lb of ground turkey
1/2 an onion, diced
1 cup dried cranberry's
1/4 cup of goat cheese
1 egg white
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Avocados
3 cloves of garlic
1 cup toasted almonds (I toasted them myself!)
Step One: Combine the turkey with the onions, dried cranberry's, goat cheese, salt and pepper and the egg white at the end to bind the burger. Shape into patties! It should make 6. Shawn cooked these on the grill for about 15 minutes. You could do on the stovetop and it would be just fine too.
Step Two: In a food processor put in 1 avo, the garlic and the salt and pepper. Mish mash it up - scoop out and add the almonds whole. On the side cut up an avo and slice it all chunky like and add it to the puree to give it some body. Salt and Pepper to taste!

Step Three: Do a little dance and put it in your mouth! Oh also top the burger with the puree.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tuna Tuna Tuna Has Done It Again

Its been nice being back in SF with the knowledge we wont be going anywhere for a while. We had a great weekend camping and boating up in Clear Lake with our friend Kris & Darcy and Abby & Jim. Because Kris and Darcy are vegans and Abby and Jim are newly pescaterians it wasnt TOO unhealthy a weekend of camping. Unless you count Darcys amazing homemade bagels, I mean. We need a jew in SF to make the bagels - its just how it goes.

I just hit the gym hella hard Monday and Tuesday and made up a killer 30m workout on the spin bike to the Glee soundtrack. Faithfully makes a great seated climb and Halo/Walking On Sunshine motivated an insane seated/2nd/3rd set. Yeah! I like when I am motivated to go to the gym because pictures of me in a bathing suit from this camping trip were HORRENDOUS.

WHICCCCH then prompted this lovely salad last night after the gym - Grilled Sesame Tuna Salad with Chickpeas and Avocado.

(Ps. this is based on a dish once served to us by Michael Micholic - only I added chickpeas and lettuce!).

Since its a salad, there are no real directions. I just quickly marinated the tuna with splashes of olive oil, lemon, sesame seeds, sesame oil, sriracha, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Shawn put it on the grill so the middle was still rare and it just fell apart - we froze it to cool it down and then tossed it with some lettuce, avocado and red onions and chickpeas and ate our healthy faces off!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Simple and Sweet

Im still struggling with my hash obsession and its only gotten worse. Id like to rename it because I feel HASH gives the impression that its either a breakfast food or its somehow leftovers. or Obviously, neither is true for this dish. I looked online for some synonyms and this is what came up: hodgepdge, mishmash, melange, shambles and litter. I looked up melange which sounded fancy free but it says its a mixture of incongruous elements and this meal was nothing short of harmonious. Sigh. I think I shall just fore go the hash moniker and simple say its Salmon over Pancetta Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Asparagus and Leeks.

This week we went over to our friends Michael & Natalie's to return the favor when they had us over to taste the wines they served at their wedding last summer. We have been talking about doing a toast with an Apple Wine or a cider and our caterers have been really helpful in allowing this so we ordered a few to try. I think the ice wine (though very sweet!) is the winner!

Salmon over Pancetta Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Asparagus and Leeks.
4 salmon fillets (skin on or off, doesnt matter)
1 lemon for juice
4 sweet potatoes, cubed
1 leek, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
6 slices of thin pancetta, chopped
1 bundle of asparagus
Olive oil
2 teaspoons minced rosemary
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste

Step One: Preheat oven to 350. Peel and cube the sweet potatoes. Toss in olive oil and salt and pepper and the rosemary. Roast for 30m, turning once.

Step Two: Meanwhile, chop the asparagus. I personally only took tops and mid way down the stalk. Toss with olive oil. When you turn the potatoes toss in the asp. to roast for the remaining 15m.

Step Three: While youre waiting for the potatoes and the asp to roast, on the stove top start with the pancetta over medium and let the fat render in the pan. Once there's some grease in there add the chopped onions and leeks and continue to let them toss and caramelize and soften. Once the other parts are done roasting add to the pan and cover until salmon is cooked.

Step Four: Change the oven from bake to broil. On the stove top heat olive oil (salt and peppered to taste) - and some lemon juice, the minced garlic and the salmon. Cook for 5 minutes skin side up. Flip them over and then transfer the fish to the broiler and serve once the top looks yum and crispy. Its okay if its a little rare in the middle. Squeeze lemon over and serve!

And now for a sweeeeeeeet little dessert to leave you with - fresh strawberries from the Farmers Market with Vanilla Ice Cream.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

We're Your Source, We're Your Times Union

I just came home from the long 4th of July weekend back at home visiting Albany. Sigh. It was so incredibly nice being home and it was just a very bittersweet reminder that Ive been gone for almost 10 years (on and off!). It has made something very clear: the girl who left at 18 is not the same as the girl at 28. I want to be close to family when possible later in life. Maybe not this year or the next, but maybe the next? Sigh. Anyway - we had a great time in Albany and these were the highlights:

  • Going to Alive @ 5pm and seeing the Gin Blossoms who are old and it turns out NOT the same band as the Spin Doctors. I waited a long time for Little Miss Cant Be Wrong and by god it never came.
  • Met with 3 caterers for the wedding and 1 planner. Also saw the site where we will MARRY EACH OTHER! Can you even believe it!? Still sounds like a fairy tale.
  • Had Kays Pizza. It also became evident that Albany can sort of be trashier than I remember. Alot of suped up trucks revving their engines for no reason and mullets. Go figure. I sort of liked it though!
  • Asked Mike O'Leary to officiate our nuptials! He accepted.
  • Taught Shawn more canasta.
  • Found out my cousin Mark and his fiance Johanna will get married in Majorca and it will be alot better than our wedding. Sad we wont be able to make it!
  • I didnt really run into as many random high school people as I would have wanted.
  • A very pregnant Christina beat everyone at Corn Hole.
  • I got to see Brett!
  • I fell in love with Mirk and the New Familiars.
  • I did not go to Lark Tavern because it burned down last month.
  • I got very lost trying to get to the Rusty Anchor because I was thinking it was the Riverfront Bar and Grill.
  • I stopped at Park Playhouse to watch them rehearse Annie Get Your Gun and had fond memories of being in that show as Dolly in 6th grade. I also thought I was better than the girl playing her now - even at the age of 13. And having not acted in 10 years. Maybe I stopped acting but I never lost the humility :)
  • I did not see my grandfather's grave, which I regret. But living friends and family took precedence. I will see him when I return...
  • Booked tickets for Thanksgiving! 10 Year Reunion anyone!?
  • Met Jess's new bf. Good times.
  • Saw an ACTUAL firefly. Eat that. Well not really!
  • Watched Shawn pretend to know the lyrics to Billionaire with Bridget.

Anyway! While I was home I didnt really do much cooking but my mom did. I am so lucky to have learned from her. For a snacky outdoor lunch I made these apps because I couldnt keep my mind off of them. They are based on the Texas Torpedos we ate in Wisconsin over Mem Day Weekend.

Spicy Bacon Wrapped Shrimp
2 Anaheim Peppers, seeded and sliced
Cream Cheese (like 1/2 a block)
1/2 dozen shrimps, tails tossed and deveined.
Bacon, 1/2 a pack

Step One: preheat oven to 350. Soak the peppers in water for 15m to dilute spice. If you love it dont dilute it. Simple as that! Assemble in this order: spread pepper on cream cheese, press in shrimp (uncooked) and wrap in bacon, pierce with toothpick.

Step Two: Bake for 7 minutes, turn, 7 more minutes or until crispy. If the bacon is not getting crispy switch to broil. Cool for like 2 minutes and then eat these puppies to the moon. Okay, that makes no sense but you get the gist.