Friday, May 31, 2013

5 Minute Salted Caramel Apple Muffins- Food Trend or Taste-Setter?

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So, the flavor of the week seems to be avocado.  Avocado hummus, avocado smoothies... avocado cupcakes?

And I'm cringing just as much now, as I did when I took my first taste of avocado ice cream back in 1984, at a 4-H convention... well, at least when it comes to the sweet stuff.

Guess even in food, everything old is new again.

But, it's been fun watching the food trends over the last 5 months that I've been blogging.

First Nutella (wonder if Giada is getting royalties?)  Then the healthier snacks, like kale chips and roasted chick peas.  The rice and pizza crust replacer, cauliflower (you all are just finally trying this?)  Grains made good again, like quinoa and the newly touted super grain farro (my vegan friends are smiling).  And don't forget Srirach, which like the white sauce at a Japanese Hibachi Grill... is "good on everything," or at least the bloggers have told me so.  Sorry people, spice wimp here.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Leftover Potato Salad Shepherd's Pie- A Meat and Potatoes Lover's Paradise

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"Cook with your nose first, and then with your heart." ~Chef Di

It all started with a jar of Prego Spaghetti Sauce... the plain one.  I was in my early 20's and after spending years cooking in B&B's I'll admit, I'd had my fill of quiche and popovers, not to mention the white dusting of flour that always seemed to grace my clothes, my car... and my hair.  I didn't wear black for 8 years.
So, I set out to conquer some dinner dishes, and like most things in life, I got a little bored with the basics so I decided to mix it up.

But I needed a plan, because being a newly married girl on a budget, I could only afford to start with some small creative culinary adventures.  Baby steps, thus out came the Prego to build from.

I lined up all my spices on the counter, and decided that if I was going to understand flavors... really understand flavors, I'd have to close my eyes, and just smell.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Creamy Potato Salad with Roasted Pears, Cilantro and Romano Cheese for Picnic #SundaySupper

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I've never liked Potato Salad

OK, there I said it.  And while it's practically un-American to admit, (especially seeing as today's Sunday Supper theme is all about picnic food), I'd much sooner reach for the pasta or fruit salad before I allowed some one-note, mushy white glob of potatoey goo take up a spot on my picnic plate.

But, how could it be?  When you think about it, Potato Salad has some of my very favorite ingredients... potatoes and mayonnaise.  So perhaps the problem doesn't lie in the potato, but in the putting together of it all.

So, my mission this week was to create a picnic-perfect Potato Salad.  And what I came up with, well, lets just say... move over hot dogs, chicken and steak, because this Potato Salad is taking center stage on my picnic plate.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Asian Style Honey Lime Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

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I guess you could say I've always been a dreamer.

Which is fine by me, because like they say...

dream big, or go home, right?

Well, this week, I dreamed big, but it was a very different type of dream.

I dreamed of food.  And like they also say, you only really know a foreign language when you dream in it.  Guess that means I'm a true foodie now, right?  Only took 42 years...

But this wasn't just a dream about food, like dinners in exotic locations, or homey comfort foods at family get togethers.  But a recipe.  This recipe.  And the funny thing is that I've never made a chimichurri, let alone tasted one.

It was right on (well, with a few fun twist).  From the ingredients, to the mise en place, to the execution and even the presentation of it all. Yup, it was pretty much an all night dream.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Cali Girl meets Southern Gal's Jambalaya for Low and Slow #SundaySupper

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The garage door creaked, as it slowly made it's way up.  Hat on.  Hair in a ponytail.  Top down.

It had become a weekly thing.  And each week, as the engine roared to a start, after being tucked away neatly in the garage, there were sighs of relief.  Kind of like after those long holidays, where you hope your car starts after sitting in the airport parking lot... just one day too long.

We'd been living on the edge.

I didn't think I'd ever understand why a few months back, my man would even consider buying this 1999 Camaro.  Although, as a child of the 70's, it didn't sound all that old, until I did the math.  Fourteen years old, to be exact.  And a mileage that with previous cars, would have also led us to the dealership, but for very different reasons.

A play car.  And a convertible- well, that's fun, right?  But it's loud.  And it reminds me of a high school kid, revving his engine, with much to prove.  Racing with the wind- not to mention anything or anyone on the road up for a challenge.   A bronze beast that's completely opposite of my beloved car... which is now known as my "old lady car."  Huh?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Apple Pie and Brie Bruschetta Satisfies Your Sweet Tooth

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My first real job out of college was at Sansum Medical Clinic, in Santa Barbara.  This might have seemed like a step down after I quit my Nursing Program, to some.  But it was a step up to me- even though it was just at the new patient check-in desk. 

I was newly married, and excited not only for a new direction in life, but also that my office was only 12 blocks from our new apartment, so I could walk to work every day (rolling my eyes now, partly irritated that I was so motivated back then.  And even more irritated that my proverbial butt mark in the couch is getting deeper and deeper by the day, some 20+ years later).

Yes, I had a car, and even though I came to find out pretty quickly that patient care wasn't my thing (way too sensitive... and kind of have a thing with germs, and egos), I still tried to live in health.  And also be my best as I checked in patients who were stressed, scared, and probably wondering just how much their insurance would be paying, since we had some of the best Doctors in the world.

Well, at least the apples were free.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Green Pea Salad with Leeks, Bacon and Goat Cheese- Pass the Peas, Please!

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If I could eat anything every day, all day long...

it would be pasta.

Perhaps it's the part Italian in me.  Or perhaps it's because pasta is so comforting, so delicious, so versatile, and so cute- coming in all shapes and sizes for just about any type of meal.

Not an easy thing to crave when you're following a low carb diet.

And today I craved pasta salad.  Which, lucky for me, isn't the easiest thing to find at my local stores.

But, I decided to give in, and I set out to make one of my own.  I wrote down all my favorite flavors like leeks, bacon, goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes, and did I say bacon?  Lots of bacon.

And then it hit me... what if I change out peas for the pasta?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Tarte Flambee (A Simple and Delicious French Pizza) for #WeekdaySupper

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When I think of Pizza, I think of two things.  My first job, and Paris.

OK, so my first job didn't last long.  Little Caesars, a place that left me smelling of pepperoni for years.

And Paris?  Yes, the night in Paris, that an angel on a bike, delivering pizzas, saved our lives.

It was our first day there, and my Mom and I (read more about the trip here) clothed ourselves in black, with scarfs and hats (sooo chic!) and hit the streets.  We had a map, but neither of us spoke the language (well, besides the cramming I did with her at the airport and on the plane with French flash cards).

It was PARIS!!!  She had been several times before, but it was all so new and exciting to me, and we walked, and ate, and let the time get away from us.

Before we knew it, the sun was setting, and we were a long walk (because everyone walks in Paris) away from our hotel.  I was grateful that we opted to stay in a hotel that was in a neighborhood, so we could really live, eat and breathe a more realistic version of Paris, rather than the touristy areas.  But, that night, walking down dark alleys, and getting turned around in unlit streets... well, lets just say that when I saw that nervous look in my Mom's eyes, I've never been more freaked out.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Mexaratinis and Fedoras for Cinco de Mayo #SundaySupper

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It was an ordinary Saturday.  I grabbed my tennies and my dog, and off we went for our daily walk around the block.  But, what I saw, as we turned the first corner, was anything but normal.

And what I saw, to this day, still leaves me wondering if it really happened, or if I was seeing things, likely due to too many Mexaratinis the night before.

Paul, in shorts.  And an old t-shirt.  Mowing his lawn.

I met my neighbor Paul earlier that year, and I not only liked him, but was intrigued by him, something that doesn't happen often.  Perhaps it was his Jim Carrey-like animation and quick wit, his English accent, or the fact that he wore a suit, French cuffs, and a fedora...
each and every day.