Monday, August 30, 2010

The Orange County Fair

So a few weeks back the Orange County Fair was going on. Now what you need to know is that I live about 10 minutes away from the fairgrounds and all the years that I have lived here I have never once been to the fair. Well this year I finally went and it did not disappoint. Here are a few pictures for you to enjoy. (And yes I did have a bacon wrapped stuffed jalapeño. And no, I did not have a chocolate dipped bacon stripe but I wanted to!)





























Saturday, August 28, 2010

My Tzatziki Sauce!!!

Ok, not to make my head puff up or anything, but this is the best tzatziki I have ever had! I started with a recipe I found of FoodNetwork.com but ended up changing it so much I had to write down what I did. By the end, it was a completely different recipe but man was it good. Here it is for you all to try to. May I suggest with either lamb, roasted veggies, toasted pita chips, or with some chopped up raw veggies. Enjoy!


Greek Tzatziki Sauce

Ingredients
• 7-8 oz. Greek yogurt
• 1 medium cucumber, seeded
• 2 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 3 tablespoon minced fresh dill
• 2 teaspoons minced garlic
• 1 ½ - 2 teaspoons kosher salt
• ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions
Cut of ends of cucumber and then cut cucumber in half length-wise. Scoop out seeds. Thinly slice cucumber, use a mandolin if you have one. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon salt on cucumber and place in strainer over bowl and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour. After an hour ring out liquid and place cucumber in mixing bowl. Add in remaining ingredients and stir. Flavors will meld more over time.
Yield: 8 servings

Friday, August 27, 2010

Can I get some culture up in the house?


So if you know me in real life and we hang out, chances are that we have gone to eat at an ethnic food place. I love trying all types of cultural food, new spices and sensations, and I like to bring that home with me and use it in the kitchen. Well looking back on the foods of the week, there is no shortage of ethnic food here. With the CSA basket I had I tried to expand my lunch and dinner recipes and also being Pescatarian has made me stretch my imagination when it comes to cooking as well. I wish I had started taking more pictures sooner, but here is a listing of my fun lunches and dinners ethnic style!

Greek Lunch: Grilled veggie pita sandwiches with homemade tzatziki sauce.

French Dinner: Savory Mushroom & Serrano Chile Crepes (I need to add these more to my repertoire, the batter is very easy and so tasty. And have I mentioned my love for Serrano chilies?)
Spanish/Portuguese Dinner: Black bean, corn, cilantro, and cotija cheese empanadas (I even made the dough!)

Cuban side dish: Homemade sweet potato fries sprinkled with cotija, cilantro, and lime

Chinese Dinner: Vegetarian Pot Stickers


So, tomorrow I will post the tzatziki recipe I came up with this week and am going to add to the sister cookbook because I loved it so much! Happy cooking...and eating!


Monday, August 23, 2010

Football Season!!!


Have I ever mentioned how much I love football season? Well I feel it is the best part of the year. Fall, holidays, football, all things great. I love my DALLAS COWBOYS and had the amazing opportunity to go see their training camp in Oxnard, California. A couple years ago I even went to see them in pre-season down in San Diego. One of my life goals is to go to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas and hopefully see them beat the Eagles. (I spit on the Eagles.) Any who, just wanted to inform those of you who live in a box that the official season kicks off Thursday, September 9th at 5:30pm (PST) and is featuring the Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings vs. Reggie Bush and the New Orleans Saints. Should be a great game so make you beer, I mean appetizer plans now! And if you don't already have a team to cheer for, might I suggest America's Team, the Dallas Cowboys!!!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I have internet and a CSA basket!

So moving back down south meant no internet or tv. I have been bumming internet off of my other sister's house when I go over there so to have it installed today made me feel like a grown up again. Yea!

As for the CSA basket, here goes. I no longer have a garden to grown my veggies. My oldest sister has offered me a plot in one of here square-foot boxes but that is not enough to live one. I have been doing research on CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) baskets for at least a year and decided to take the plunge and sign up. 100% organic and locally grown. And today was my first day picking it up. I was so excited that when I saw someone else picking up their basket I asked a million questions and gushed like a little girl. The CSA farm I am supporting also sends an email for each week you get a basket with a description of the veggies and fruit as well as yummy recipes. Here are the quick snapshots I took of the basket and a few recipes they sent. And if I need any other produce I can still go to my local farmer's market. Enjoy!



My box this week included:
Grapefruit, Nectarines, Pluots, Peaches, Carrots, Cucumbers, Basil, Beans, Kale, Lettuce, Dill, Reid Avocado, Grapes, Corn, Cabbage, Valencia Oranges, Summer Squash

Recipes:

Green Bean, Orange, and Green Olive Salad
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
12 ounces haricots verts or small slender green beans, trimmed
2 oranges, all peel and white pith cut away
1/2 cup small green olives (such as picholine)
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
Whisk first 3 ingredients in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Cook beans in large saucepan of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain, rinse, and pat dry. DO AHEAD Dressing and beans can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
Cut oranges in half, then crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices; place in large bowl. Mix in olives, parsley, beans, and dressing. Transfer to shallow dish.


Green Goddess Green Beans
Gourmet Magazine | April 2005
1 1/2 lb green beans, trimmed
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Cook beans in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water , uncovered, until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately transfer to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking. When beans are cool, drain in a colander and pat dry.
Purée parsley, mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, lemon juice, anchovy paste, salt, and pepper in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and toss with beans.
Succotash of Fresh Corn, Lima Beans, Tomatoes and Onions
Bon Appétit | October 2008 by Amelia Saltsman

In this side dish, the veggies are cooked until just tender to retain their fresh-from-the-market flavor. For a delicious finishing touch, a handful of sliced basil is stirred in right before serving.
Yield: Makes 6 servings
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
Coarse kosher salt
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 cups chopped red tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 1/4 cups corn kernels cut from 4 ears of corn (preferably 2 ears of white corn and 2 ears of yellow corn)
2 cups fresh lima beans (from about 2 pounds pods) or 10 to 11 ounces frozen lima beans or baby butter beans, thawed
3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sprinkle with coarse salt. Sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, corn, and lima beans. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until corn and lima beans are tender and tomatoes are soft, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm before continuing. Stir in basil and serve.

Southwest Corn Frittata
Bon Appétit | August 1998

4 large eggs
1 cup fresh corn kernels (from about 2 ears of corn) or frozen, thawed
1/2 cup (packed) grated Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeños
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 6-inch-diameter corn tortillas, cut into small wedges

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion

Preheat broiler. Whisk eggs in medium bowl to blend. Mix in corn, cheese and 2 tablespoons cilantro. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix in tortillas.
Heat oil in heavy medium broiler-proof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until just tender, about 5 minutes. Pour egg mixture into skillet and stir to blend. Cover skillet. Cook frittata over low heat until eggs are almost set, about 8 minutes. Uncover skillet; broil frittata until top is set and starting to brown, about 1 minute. Slide frittata onto plate. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon cilantro. Cut into wedges and serve.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Manic Monday

So I didn't have to be in to work until 11am and I figured I would take advantage of the time and do some errands. Well you know what they say about the best laid plans. Here was my morning:

1. Get ready for the day. Make my yummy healthy lunch from my weekly menu plan. CHECK.
2. Make doctors appointments and other appointments via hands free while driving. CHECK
3. Return clothing items that I deemed to not make the cut. Well the items were in my car but I started driving on automatic pilot and completely missed my exit. Not check.
4. Go to AAA. Renew membership and DMV tags for car. Renewed membership but forgot paperwork for DMV. Half check.
5. Mail Netflix and talk to Post Office about not receiving my forwarded mail. CHECK.
6. Go to grocery store and pick out healthiest option for lunch as my healthy lunch is sitting on the table at home not being enjoyed. CHECK (I am determined to now have it for dinner but am sad I had to buy a disposable water bottle.)
7. Get over my follies of this morning and make a new plan with more details for Wednesday to complete my errands.

Now off to work and starting the day with a fresh perspective.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Think About It Thursday

"When deeds and words are in accord, the whole world is transformed." - Chuang Tzu

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

From chaos to clutter

So I am still unpacking boxes. I hate living in disarray but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Me moving back to Huntington Beach has forced my sister and I to go through the spare room which was kind of our personal storage unit and we have been purging.For example, above is just one of the loads I took to the Goodwill. Either clothes I haven't warn in a while, clothes that don't fit, or clothes that I don't like how they look on me, everything must go! I have also been selling some of my old furniture as well on Craigslist. I posted my dresser and guitar at noon on Saturday and by 8pm they were both sold and gone. Thank you Craigslist!

I have been organizing my closest and shoes.

My new job is business casual and I hate to say this, but I do not own one piece of business casual dress attire. I either lived in jeans or wore a full suit for my last job. There was no in between. I guess I am going to have to invest some money in Dockers which is fine by me!

So in the year that I lived up in Santa Rosa I gained 8 lbs. Hmm, I would have much rather the reverse, but I am working on making the number go away. Since I have been down here I have lost 3.5 lbs. as of this morning. Yea! I admit I was worried as the sister I am living with and I can be bad influences on each other. If there is sugar in the house I will eat it which is consequently why I don't buy sugary things. She is the opposite with that so it can quite easily take a turn for the worse. Instead, we have been good influences on each other. She has been dragging me to try new fitness classes at our gym while I buy the healthy snacks and we have a light healthy dinner, sometimes with wine, instead of other choices we could have made. Living with someone who encourages and strides with you to make healthy choices is one of the best things I could have asked for.

Above is from when my brother-in-law and I made grilled fish tacos for dinner. It is amazing what a good spice rub can do. And can I just say that red snapper is quickly becoming my favorite fish. Oh, and the best spice rubs that I have come across are from Williams-Sonoma. They can be pricey but it is worth the investment. If any of you know a good cookbook for spice rubs or even your own recipe I would love for you to share!

As for now, I am going to go play with these guys.

That is Annabelle and Oliver, my mother's cats that my sister and I are watching for her. I have had Annabelle since I was 10 years old. (I am now 28 so you do the math. ;D ) Yea, vets are amazed she is even alive at this age let alone in such good shape. I think it has to do with the fact that every so often I feed her her favorite food, tuna fish. :) She can smell the can from a mile away and comes running. It is kind of cute. This week I made a salad with tuna on it and as I was walking to sit down she was right at my feet purring and waiting for her share. I laughed and gave her some. What can I say? I am a sucker for animals. Which reminds me, I can renew my Wild Animal Park pass now that I live down here again. So exciting!!!

Hope you all have a terrific day!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Think About It Thursday

"We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them." - Kahlil Gibran