Monday, August 30, 2010

Your Personality: In A Kebab.

Over the weekend we celebrated our 3rd camping trip of the summer with our good friends The Micholics and Nickie and Ezra in Gualala Point, CA up the Sonoma Coast into Mendocino where the Russian River meets the ocean. It was fun! And cold. And carsicky - but it was a gem of a campsite and for a camping trip, pretty relaxing. We have 1 more trip at the beginning of October to close out the season on a high note back to Kirk Creek where it all started earlier this year. Im a pro now! We just need a new tent and we'd be in super duper business.

We were in charge of the Saturday night dinner and Shawn and I discussed making kebabs to reflect both of our friends personalities. That way, even though it was as simple as a kebab - it had some significance. Maybe the explanations were a stretch but they seemed like good fits, regardless.

The Michael & Natalie: Minted Lamb, Eggplant & Red Onion Kebab: For these we just put some olive into a bowl, added minced mint with salt and pepper, whisked - and let the lamb & eggplant marinate while we prepared the other ones. The rational behind it was they are a little more off the beaten trail than a steak or a beef and the Mediterranean genre is well liked by them - hence their good restaurant reco - Morac on 16th.

The Nickie & Ezra: Basil Haloumi Cheese with Pineapple, Cherry Tomato and Onion.

For this one we marinated the cheese in olive oil and chopped up basil. Not much else to do but put it on a stick and get her grillin!

Nickie & Ezra are traditionally veggies so I thought this was a great representation of them as a couple: simply sweet and a little bit salty (read sassy).

If you havent had haloumi cheese its my new favorite! Not quite a feta, but consistency of a queso fresco, you can get this cheese at any greek restaurant or at Whole Foods.

The Schmuglers: Whiskey Mustard Shrimp with Sweet Summer Peaches.

Not as exciting as the others as we just combined a whiskey mustard we found at whole foods with some salt, olive oil and lemon juice - they were a hit!

I regret not sprinkling some brown sugar on the peaches though. That would have been key.

I chose this southern comfort kebab as its the theme to our impending nuptials.

There were also a few other highlights & fails to the weekend (food and non food related):

WINNER: Natalie's Fig & Lime Jam and her homemade Dill & Avocado Dressing.

LOSER: My Wheat Oatmeal Banana Blueberry Muffins that I forgot the baking powder in and were too dense to enjoy.

WINNER: Nickie's amazing toasted bread with brie and garlic. Not for the slight of taste buds, that garlic was strong! Also, some wild berries were enjoyed!

WINNER: Post camping breakfast where we enjoyed breakfast papusas!

WINNER: Two excellent additions to the game Kings. 3 is now for GLEE which means you have to sing a line of a song and whoever guesses it first gives out a drink and 5 is for JIVE and you have to do a little jig.

LOSER/WINNER: When I got home I watched the Emmys and that dude from the Big Bang Theory won best actor in a comedy. That makes no sense. GO BREAKING BAD!

WINNER: Shawn because he is cute. :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Watching Me Watching You

And here's a pop culture update! Its been a while, and its been a slow ass television season so there's not much to report on thats great but most of it is tolerable. I spent a very hungover day on Saturday catching up on everything. We have direct TV now and I am enjoying it!

The Last Song: D.
I know, I know - why on earth would I watch this and expect anything less than a trite plot that is essentially Georgia Rules with music? Because its Nicholas Sparks and I keep thinking he'll recreate The Notebook and Ill fall in love all over again. Miley's annoyance rating is an 8 and the romance isnt believable. Only saving grace is the young boy who plays her bro - he got me to cry in act 3.

Unless your television is from the 80s and is stuck on one channel and your choices are NO TV or WATCH THIS - I say never watch this ever. ever.

Date Night: C

Dont get me wrong, there were things I liked about this movie and I laughed out LOUD - but a vehicle starring the most popular and successful NBC stars from the last decade should be a home run. Sadly, this is more of a base hit in the 9th, and then when you try and steal second and you get tagged out and have to do the walk of shame back to the dugout disappointing your fans, your team and yourself. Shame on you, Steve and Tina.

First of all, I hate movies set in 1 day. Second - its just flat and predictable. The only funny parts come from the same formula we like on tv - their honest banter thats pop culture relevant and takes it to the next level. The new genre "crime with ordinary people" was done much better by Pineapple Express. Maybe Apatow should have stopped them at the opening credits.

Eat Pray Love: A-

I am giving the A for these reasons:
- Julia Roberts is a doll. I adore her.
- My friend Evie is going on a similar trip and all I could think of was her and how excited I am for her.
- It made me think of my own life and spirituality and my thirst for travel and expectations and family. What more could you ask for in a movie?
- The food looked divine.
- RICHARD JENKINS YOU ARE GODS GIFT TO ACTORS. DONT EVER CHANGE (or get more famous, because then you may not have the same appeal).
- I didnt want to punch Billy Crudup in the face.

I am giving it a minus for these reasons-
- The jean/carb scene was belittling for bigger girls. (me).
- Her 2nd rebound relationship with James Franco was contrived.
-In the scene where they eat a Thanksgiving Turkey for breakfast they all look too pretty to have "just woken up".

Pit Boss on Animal Planet: B+.
No clue how I came across this show what its even about. I thought the "rage" of Little People shows was over when The Little Chocolatiers was a snorefest but this is something unique and new. I believe they run a dog rescue company. I also believe they run an actors production company. I also read on Wikipedia that the main character ran with the bloods and went to prison for 10 years on attempted murder.

I wont DVR this shit, but if its on - Im watching.

The Big C: B+

I admire Laura Linney in the same way I love Mary Louise Parker. While I can always tell they're acting, I dont care. Their style isnt "carefree" acting its "stage" acting and therefore its very deliberate and tangible. That aspect of the show doesnt bother me. I also absolutely love Oliver Platt! Most shows where the premise is based solely on cancer and a lie make me raise an eyebrow like how long can this go on and still be believable? Breaking Bad proved me wrong so I am willing to be open minded and keep with this gem because it makes me laugh!

Louis on FX: A

Its a rarity when something like this comes along. Its funny, its dark, its believable - and the main character (comedian Louis CK) is like able while still being sort of a jerk. The Jerk Store called and I want him! I probably wouldnt have watched this show if it werent for the "DVR Holocaust" im experiencing right now. THERE IS NOTHING ON. and our DVD player broke. Great guest stars, great tone - I hope it stays on the air and does

Casino: B+.
Yeah, I know - its from 1995! Im like 15+years behind, huh. Its okay though, I get to remember that all the worlds favoritest actors once had careers that were worth accolades and not just SNL skits. It was WAY TOO LONG, like we took 2 nights to watch it but it was a great film, though not better than Goodfellas. But what is?

And I like that its a true story and there's tons of drugs. I cant watch violence tho :(

Monday, August 23, 2010

Vegan Taco Night! Ay ay ay!

Golden Rule of Weekends Going Forward Hence Forth: Do something on a Friday! It makes your weekend feel long. Eek every moment to the fullest, then go back to workeatsleepworkeatsleep. Friday night we had our friends Kris and Darcy and Sam and Amy over for Mexican night! I think the night was a total success. We made Vegan Tacos 3 ways: Tofu "Carnitas" with green chili peppers, Chipotle Shitake Mushrooms and Black Beans and Cumin Paprika Potatoes w/ Roasted Corn (which I think I forgot to take a pic of!). Another shining star among the night were Shawn's MateVeza & Mint Shandys. I tried a revision of my Peachy Mango Salsa from a while back but subbed the Peach for pureed pineapple and it was delish. Also included was a rousing game of celebrity. Honestly, all Star Wars references should be banned!
Also , below are Darcy's awesome vegan margarita cupcakes!

Recipe for "Carnitas" tofu: Shawn braised triangle'd tofu in coca-cola and orange juice, salt and peppered it to taste and added diced green chiles for spice! The consistency was in between BBQ'd tofu and fried tofu. the hard edges really made it glow!

Recipe for Chipotle Shitake Mushrooms and Black Beans: I sauteed sliced shitakes with olive oil, salt and pepper and added a vegan chipotle taco sauce and simmered with the black beans for 10m.

Recipe for Cumin & Smoked Paprika Potatoes with Roasted Corn: I sliced potatoes small, sprinkled heavily with salt, pepper, cumin and smoked paprika. Over medium heat I cooked, turning frequently until crispy! Then I added corn that I roasted in the oven over 350 for 30 minutes (wrapped in foil, smothered in vegan butter and salt) broiling to brown the kernels for 5 minutes at the end.

Monday, August 16, 2010

For Gluttons Only

Sometimes its the simplest foods with minimal additions that make for impressive cuisine, instead of far off ingredients and hard to find herbs. My favorite creation by Shawn in the past years has been his Camembert Chive Mashed Potatoes. I know, Camembert is HARDLY an everyday ingredient for the walmart crowd, but really you just any cheese - even cream cheese, I suppose! We made steak and potatoes on Sunday night to accompany our Mad Men viewing. It seemed super all American and appropriate. Recipe below.

It's been a crazy week at work and I barely have time to be a good girlfriend, good daughter or a good employee for that matter. How am I having time to blog, you ask? I dont, I am just doing so to keep my sanity and to feel like I still have a voice that has nothing to do with RTOs, CMYKs, and EOWs. (all workity work acronyms that normal people dont use daily unless you have to!).

I am still a cool person (somewhere in there).

We had a great weekend, tho with a ton of great food. We decided to have date night on Friday and went to this local restaurant called Starbelly. We loved it! We got 5 courses and split them all - 1. Corn Fritters with jalapeno jelly. 2. BBQ peach salad with blue cheese. 3. Mussels and Chorizo. 4. Cheese grits! and 5. Pork shoulder with pureed hominy. We also tried 3 cocktails - the homemade pimms cup, the shandy and the Madeira cooler. They were all amazing! This entire meal + tip was only $100. We wilL DEF be going back there.

Camembert Chive Mashed Potatoes

3 potatoes, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup milk
1 package of Camembert cheese
1 bunch of chives, minced
dash of salt

Step One: Place potatoes in 4 quarts of salted water and bring to a boil. Boil until soft.

Step Two: Drain potatoes and with an electric hand mixer combine the milk, cheese and chives in a bowl and mix til whipped! I like them soft and not chunky. I like it to be like a soft pillow that magically wafts into my mouth.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Easy (not quick) Breakfast Tamales.

Hold the phone - Tamales for breakfast? Hells yeah, son. Im not going to lie, for a breakfast it was time consuming even though I followed a very simple recipe I found online for Vegan Tamales. I wont call mine Vegan though because instead of olive oil I used butter. I also wont say they were filling. If I was making it again I would make 2 tamales per person and then add two eggs!It was a perfect light breakfast for our visiting family and friends - William Kugler and his gf Katie.

We spent the weekend doing all the things we love in San Francisco - we went to Napa, we ate at Kasa, Burma Superstar and Kiji sushi. We drank! We hung out in Dolores Park.

Easy (Not Quick) Breakfast Tamales
2 Ears of corn
2 cups water
2 cups masa
1/4 stick of butter
1 cup black beans
1 chopped onion
1/2 cup queso fresco, grated.
Chopped Avo
Salt & Pepper to taste.

Step One: Preheat oven to 400. Butter and salt corn then wrap in tin foil and set husks aside for later! Bake for 15 minutes, then unwrap and bake so corn gets roasty and toasty and brownish. Meanwhile, saute the onions over medium until soft and add the beans. Salt and Pepper to taste. Set aside.

Step Two: Bring the water, salt, and butter to a boil. Turn off the flame and slowly stir in the masa or grits until a thick dough forms.

Step Three: Once the corn is done, slice it off and add it to the bean/onion mix. Add queso fresco, too. Combine the dough and the mixture.

Step Four: Scoop a ball into a corn husk and fold it over until it forms a cute pouch. Use your steamer to steam them until they are hot all the way through. I steamed them for 10 minutes and it was perfect.

Step Five: Chop up the avo, fry yourself an egg. Make some bacon and eat yourself a meal!

I will leave you with a moment of ZEN - the tea leaf salad at Burma Superstar, the food pairing at St. Francis and our new favorite drink: Joose.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Jumpin Japantown.

I freaking love Japanese food. That is an understatement - I could roll around and bathe in Japanese cuisine. Salty soy, sexy sake, umami, unagi, edamame - you name it, I adore it. Living in San Francisco I decided it was high time to hit the streets of Japantown and marvel in the discoveries I had yet to taste. I convinced a few friends (which turned into more than a few friends!) into accompanying myself to dinner last saturday night. We actually didnt end up going to more than one place for food (as we ended up getting a little tipsy!) - but I did sample some of Japantown's finest at Yoshi's, courtesy of Bar Mistress Leslie.

Most excellent was the Lobster Trio on the small plates menu. There werent 3 lobsters so dont let the word trio confuse you - but the highlight was the fried calamari steak stick. Not chewy, not mealy, perfectly cooked and not extra greasy. Also deserving of an honorable mention was the crispy pork belly with cabbage salad. Id eat you again! Shawn wouldnt. but I would. Dont get your feelings too hurt.

We moved on in the evening to bar hopping with a smaller crew and holy jeebus was Japantown an underworld deserved of a documentary movie on drug/women trafficking. The first place we went was called "Dimples" (no relation to the karaoke joint in Burbank) - A. You could smoke inside. Weird? B. They served under the table fish jerk with a side of peanuts (see below) - and C. There was most definitely a prostitution vibe coming from the backrooms. Private, duct taped doors shut, $100 covers to go back there. I founf it all incredibly sketchy even though I support the legalization of prostitution. The second place was no better but did provide skinny cigarettes to smoke for freeeees!

All in all it was super successful and I cant wait to go back and eat more wacky things in the Japantown Mall. Ramen and Udon oh my!