Category Archives: Ramblings

Standard weeknight fare

Made this for supper recently and thought it was a pretty fair representative of a standard weeknight meal. 2 veggies, a little protein, simple, fresh and yummy (in my opinion).

  • Asparagus tossed with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, then broiled. Serve with lemon wedge
  • Roasted gold beets, quartered and tossed with sherry vinegar, salt, pepper and a little feta and mint
  • Wild salmon- pan-seared (skin side up), then flipped, slathered with some pesto from the freezer and popped into the oven on broil (still on from the asparagus) for a few minutes.

Pretty snack

I totally got this one from mom. If you’re going to have an apple, why not make it a little more of a treat?

 

Brainstorming

Ok, ok…I know this is so predictable, but I need to go on a bit of a diet. I absolutely refuse to give up the things I love, but I am willing to make a much bigger effort to balance my diet and exercise. Especially if it means looking better in a dress.

I’m cutting back on calories overall, cutting way back on simple carbs after breakfast, and limiting myself to 2 non-fruit desserts a week. Combine that with the amped up excercise routine I started a few months ago (err, minus a small break around the holidays) and I think I’ll be good to go.

On that point, I did some brainstorming yesterday. I wanted delicious dishes that fit my restrictions so that I don’t feel all sad and deprived. Boo. Here’s where I landed….

Main dishes

  • Thai chicken and basil lettuce wraps
  • Entree salads: Cobb, Chicken Caesar, Nicoise, Steak, etc.
  • Turkey patties with mushrooms and cheese
  • Tuscan chicken casserole
  • Frittata
  • Lamb patties with  minty yogurt sauce  with chopped Greek salad
  • Thai shrimp soup
  • Pescado Veracruzano
  • Roast chicken
  • Mexican chicken & lime soup
  • Venison chili
  • Indian veggie stew
  • Roasted turkey breast
  • Chicken salad, tuna salad
  • French Onion soup
  • Veggie-rich egg scrambles

Sides and Snacks

  • Thai bean noodle salad
  • Green beans with almonds
  • Roasted asparagus (with Parm or hollandaise)
  • Just delicious salads…all kinds
  • Roasted mixed veggies
  • Roasted cabbage wedges
  • Roasted Indian broccoli over raita
  • Sauteed spinach
  • Portobella mushroom stuffed with spinach, pinenuts & feta
  • Fennel and Celery salad with mozz (Dama Blanca)
  • Jicama and green mango slaw
  • La Condesa brussel sprouts (sounds weird, but it’s brussels with red grapes and bacon)
  • Spinach Madeline
  • “Deviled” eggs (egg whites stuffed with hummus)

I’ll update with pics and recipes as I get started. Off to the grocery today!

Lazy, lazy Christmas, baby

Here’s what I have done over the last 2 weeks:

  • Built uncountable fires
  • Basked in the glow of aforementioned fires
  • Read 2 Vanity Fairs cover-to-cover
  • Read 2.5 novels and listened to 1 book on tape
  • Cooked some delicious grub
  • Slept 8-10 hours a night
  • Driven ~800 miles

Here’s what I did not do over the last 2 weeks…

  • Post anything new

I promise to change my wicked ways and catch up, or at least get back on track, before the new year.

 

Birthday dinner

Well, the birthday dinner was a big success. The table was covered with candles, bright colors and little toys. I hung old pics (mostly Polaroids) from the chandelier and got these great balloons that say “Happy Dumb Birthday.”

It all started off with my spicy acorn squash soup, topped with some crispy caramelized shallots:

You can see the carrot cake in the foreground, but here’s a better picture of its insane deliciousness:

In between those scrumptious bookends, I serves roasted asparagus (I should add that recipe) and this Tuscan chicken dish I made up a million years ago. Basically, you serve chicken cutlets with crisped prosciutto and a mushroom Madeira sauce on creamed spinach.  I came up with it when I was on that Devil Atkins diet. It was a keeper, though. Here’s a pic…

My honey’s birthday!

Tomorrow is my honey’s birthday and I’m chefing it up! He requested my acorn squash soup and carrot cake (trying a new recipe from the fabulous new Flour cookbook), and I’m rounding it out with this Tuscan chicken dish I made up and some roasted asparagus. It should be delicious!

One of the reasons I love this meal is that I can make a lot of it in advance. I made the icing yesterday and will make the cake today.  I think I’ll also make the base for the squash soup and the spinach base for the chicken dish tonight. That means that tomorrow all I need to do is reheat and finish the soup, cook my chicken and roast my asparagus. Easy peasy. I think the ability to chug along and make the dishes at a leisurely pace is critical for big weeknight dinners. If I were REALLY smart, I would have come up with something that froze well.

I’m back!

Good to be back in the kitchen. I had two weeks of crazy travel and fantastic food. Oh my goodness. My honey and I had one meal at The Square in London that was pure insanity. The highlights were a teeny tiny foie gras “ice cream cone” and this crab and pasta “lasagne.” Seriously perfect food. I also went to one restaurant in Paris that was started by one of the world’s best sommeliers. You pick your wine and they just bring you food that pairs well, so you have absolutely no idea what you’re getting until it shows up. It was an adventure!

Anyway, I took a week after that to recover and now I am back and ready to rumble!

x

More good breakfasts

I just cannot make myself actually type up a recipe for this kind of thing. I want to keep track of the good breakfasts and maybe give some other folks a few ideas, but that just has to be good enough. What do you think? Am I lazy?

  1. Eggs scrambled with Mexican oregano on whole grain toast with 1/4 avocado sliced on top (squeezed lime and salted avocado) + golden honeydew and plums
  2. Fresh fruit salad ( peaches, plums, strawberries and raspberries) and mini banana muffins (from freezer after niece’s wedding)

Good breakfasts

During the week, breakfasts are designed to be fast and healthy. It’s a bonus if they are also delicious, but that is not the primary objective.

During the weekends, I usually turn up the dial a few notches. It may still be fast and healthy, but you better believe it’s delicious. Plus, it’s always consumed at the big kids’ table. No sitting at the bar or using the tv trays on the weekend. No sir.

Anyway, here are a few breakfasts that I’ve really loved recently:

  1. Chipotle black beans with yogurt + a corn tortilla + quick tomato salad + pineapple, grapes and mint
  2. Eggs scrabbled with pesto + multigrain bread with cheddar and feta + gazpacho + watermelon
  3. Eggs scrabbled with salsa, with Monterrey jack cheese in a whole wheat pita + watermelon

Do I dare to eat a peach?

Caramelized peaches! YUM! I am always looking for good peach recipes. I can’t help myself when I see a peach stand by the side of the road or a big pile of pink, fuzzy goodness at the grocery store, but there is a difference between coming home with peaches and coming home with GOOD peaches. Sometimes they just aren’t good enough to eat all by their lonesome. It’s not their fault. They just need a teeny bit of help. I know for a fact that this is great with ice cream or yogurt.  I secretly (maybe not so “secretly” now) suspect that it would be a great topping with pavlova, pound cake, angel food cake, shortcake, etc.

  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 5 large peaches
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  1. Peel (if fuzzy) and slice peaches. Toss with salt in bowl. Then pour peaches into a strainer, set over bowl and let sit for 30-6o minutes.
  2. Heat the butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. When it is hot but not smoking, add the peaches and sauté them until they sizzle and their juices reduce and begin to thicken, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle the sugar over them, increase heat to medium high and sauté until the juices further thicken and the sugar caramelizes slightly, about 1-3 minutes.
  4. Add the lemon juice and any juice in bowl and sauté until the juices thicken, shaking the pan so that all is well blended. Let the peaches cook, shaking or stirring occasionally, until the juices are very thick, about 1-2 minute.

By the way, the title of this post is from one of my  all-time favorite lines of poetry, from TS Elliot’s “The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock.” Here’s the last little bit…

I grow old … I grow old … I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach? I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves, combing the white hair of the waves blown back, when the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea, by sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown

Till human voices wake us, and we drown.