Friday, October 29, 2010

Cooking & Cox

Shawn and I rarely cook dinner together. Friends of ours know that our small kitchen, my controlling nature and Shawn's detailed recipes do NOT mix. It turns into knocked over flour, snipey comments and mismeasured marzipan. But on occasion there's a window of opportunity where the stars align, we are making dishes where not only our kitchen preparation dances are in sync, but so are the flavors. These are my favorite moments with Shawn. I never hesitate to tell him how much I love those days. It makes me feel like we were meant to be! One of those such nights was last night. Shawn's friend Kathe from high school was visiting town and I suggested Shawn make (MY FAVORITE THING EVER) - Chicken Saltimbocca and I would make Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Butternut Squash and Toasted Garlic Pine nuts.

3 Cups Brussel Sprouts, cut
2 Cup butternut squash, cubed
1/2 Cup Pine Nuts
Garlic Powder
Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper
Step One: Preheat oven to 350. Toss brussel sprouts and squash in olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread over a baking sheet and cover with foil. Bake 20 minutes. After 20 flip and bake without foil until its browned and yummy (another 20)!

Step Two: In a bowl toss pine nuts with garlic powder. Over medium heat toast the pine nuts stirring so that none burn for about 5-7 minutes.

Combine and eat!

On another note - Ive been waiting to spread the love but I can wait no longer, - its time. I wont go as far as to say Cougar Town is the best show on television, but I will stand by my statement that it is the best show people arent watching (thanks, Vicki Locke!).

Here's why:

1. No Contrived Plot Devices. There's no docu camera angle (ahem The Office, Modern Family, Parks & Rec, Arrested Development), no Family guy style "cut to" pop culture allusions - and no CBS style lameness - its just a simple good show that relies heavily on its writing and actors. I think the comedy is slick, relatable and relevant.

2. They Drink. For the same reason I love How I Met Your Mother the characters are doing something I can relate to. If you havent met me Im pretty schooled in the ways of hanging out with friends and drinking. I mean, if they had a contest I would at LEAST come in second (only to Shawn).

3. The Cast. No one is ever going to say they are Courtney Cox/Busy Phillips/Ian Gomez's biggest fans but they do what they are doing really well and dont try to be anything they are not. How Christina Miller is still working is BEYOND ME! She's insanely plastic surgery'd but bless her heart, she's probably sitting pretty on Scrubs/Drew Carey money.

So please enjoy this recipe and catch an ep of Cougar Town. If you dont like it, you dont have to - but admit its doing something not many shows are doing - going back to basics.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sweet Victories!

If you dont like Pumpkin, I am going to assume you were raised in a pumpkin holocaust and therefore have never tasted it and have only from this point on have made snap judgements about its flavors. Also, for this purpose lets assume you hate fall, too. In which case I say read no further, you sorry excuse for an American. If you think the Indians (involuntarily) gave up their land for you to hate their crops, you should think again.

Anyway, I made a Pumpkin Mac & Cheese for my book club tonight but with the leftovers I decided to make a Pumpkin Pie Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Pumpkin is amazing in that way that it lasts over 2-3 recipes. Shawn made pumpkin soup last week and it turned into a pumpkin bread, too.

It was a pretty good weekend in San Francisco, though. Rained like the devil! Our apartment sprung leaks and we looked like fools trying to catch every drip drop and save our TV from wetness. Friday night we saw Paul F Tomkins at the Elbo Room and had dinner at Weird Fish. Excellent date night, if I do say so myself. Saturday we made dinner with friends and Sunday - THE PACKERS WON!

1 cup canned pumpkin pie
1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup of canola oil
3 large eggs
1 package cream cheese
3 cups powdered sugar
2 oz of butter

Step One: Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line cupcake pan with liners.Sift the flour, baking powder & soda, cinnamon. With an electric mixer - mix the eggs, sugar, pumpkin, and oil until smooth.Slowly add the flour mixture until incorporated. Careful not to over beat.Fill the liners 1/2-2/3 full and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 17-20 minutes.

Step Two: Make frosting! Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar and butter with your electric mixer and frost!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chili Cha Cha Cha

The weather has been getting cooler here in San Francisco, I know this because on Sunday night I did something we all do in October *except in LA* - turn on our heat for the 1st time! Its a momentous occasion simply because that 1st time is going to suck. Its going to smell like dust and something may catch on fire. But from then on, smooth sailing. This weather has me craving foods that are warm and cuddly so on Monday night I made a quick Spicy Shredded White Chicken Chili in my dutch oven for dinner. With a few more touches and nuances I think this could be a competition level chili (for football season, not real chili competitions).

Spicy Shredded White Chicken Chili
Ingredients (serves 2).
2 chicken breasts
1 box of chicken stock
1 cup water
1 can of navy beans
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of diced green chilis
1 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
Dash of taco seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, hot sauce.
Olive Oil, splash.
salt & pepper, to taste
Hot sauce, to taste.
Cheese and Avo to garnish.

Step One: In a medium saucepan bring 3 cups of salted chicken stock to boil along with the water. Drop in the chicken and let boil til cooked. 10-12 minutes. Let cool and shred.

Step Two: In pan bring olive oil, onions and garlic to medium heat and cook til soft. Once soft add in the navy beans and the green chilis and let cook together. I sprinkled in some taco seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder and hot sauce! If it gets too dry add more stock. Add in shredded chicken and drained tomatoes. Let cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step Three: Garnish with cheese and avo!

Mad Men Round Up: Spolier Alerts = A.
What a season! I cant say I wasnt a first few episode hater. I feel really uncomfortable if I cant say where a season is taking us and in those first few arcs, I thought we were falling flat. Leave it to Mad Men to slowly crescendo from an intense slow moving season into a frenzy at the end. High points of the season for me were: Trudy's nightgowns, Peggys growth into not just a "get ahead" broad but into a woman truly worthy of the men's work place notice and Don's journaling. I mean who doesnt love a man who journals?! And swims. I really admired how the show had us watch all the uncomfortable moments we thought we'd miss by the episode just ending.

Oh, Betty - will you ever learn? ( I say this like once an episode!).

Concerns for a 5th season: Sally. She's a wild card. She keeps getting older and if we skip another season ahead, she's just going to get older and pull a walt from Lost and have to get written off. Newly Married Don. We as viewers dont WANT to see a happy Don so even though he's engaged to Megan we know he'll ruin it just because we want to see him spiral downward. A happy Don isnt interesting tv.. Its like seeing an un-sarcastic Garfield, he just turns into a happy cat. BORING. Joan's Baby. Roger will cause some trouble, no doubt. I just hope we dont kill her husband off just to make it easy.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Palm Springs And Other Things

If you looked up Palm Springs in the dictionary *ahem dated reference alert, revise* - Wikepedia you would see four words: sun, pool, gay & retired. This weekend I had the pleasure of experiencing 2 of the 4, though reserve the right to return to experience the other 2 in the future. It was my dear friend Jenny's birthday and she was kind enough to pull us from the SF fog and thrust us into a pool weekend Hockney himself would be proud of. I wouldnt call the weekend gluttonous but we did in fact have a great weekend foodwise. I love being friends with Foodies, it adds inches to my belt and yards to my heart. Happy 30th birthday to one of my favorite people in the world, not just the zipcode.

FOOD AMAZINGNESS #1: Thursday night our friends Pam and Lev took us to an all you can eat Korean BBQ place on the West Side of Los Angeles. When I say all you can eat I mean ALL YOU CAN EAT. Like 5 pounds of meat, no joke. I think it was called Tofuya. It was heaven! and we finished everything we ordered. It was only $16 per person too which was a steal.

Food Amazingness #2: After we arrived in Palm Springs we took some relaxation time and played by the pool we decided to make a 5 course tasting menu from apps to dessert. We got a book by Top Chef and Anthony Bourdain and each prepped and presented a course and drank LOTS of wine, hence the pictures being blurry. The courses were as follows:

  • Vegetable Course: A light Peppered Bacon salad with Crispy Shallots, Diced peaches and homemade croutons.

  • Seafood Course: Seared Scallops with a Citrus Fennel Salad.

  • Pork Course: Pork on Pork: Roasted Pork Loin wrapped in Bacon and dressed with a garlic confit and paired with a sauteed spinach.

  • Beef Course: Steak Au Poive with Salted Crispy Brussel Sprouts.

  • Dessert Course: Individual Cheesecakes with a Berry Kraken sauce. Kraken is a spiced rum mostly known for its shot taking, but here was masterfully incorporated into the dessert.