Monday, October 24, 2016

Dainty Steak and Eggs

My mother is the queen of leftovers. When we were younger,  it was close to impossible to get us to eat anything if it was deemed a "leftover."  Didn't matter if it was our favorite meal in the whole world, if we saw it come out of the refrigerator or go into a tupperware, there would be a mini-mutiny. 

So, my mother became an expert at hiding the leftovers in plain sight. As long as they were presented in a slightly modified way, there was little resistance in getting us to eat. For the purposes of this blog, I've designated them "Dinner Deux."  Anytime a recipe is tagged with that, you will know that it incorporates leftovers of some kind. 

Fast forward to yesterday... 

 I have these great tiny containers that allow me to store/freeze individually portioned amounts of proteins. I had a ridiculous craving for the skirt steak I made the other day.  I defrosted the steak, whipped up some fluffy yellow scramble, and topped it off with garlic chives from the Union Square Market. 

VoilĂ ! 

You then have a quick healthy breakfast, lunch, or dinner, that doesn't look like the same thing you had last week. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Skirt Steak Salad

The other day my brother and I were absolutely starving. 
We decided to order some takeout because it would take "too long" for us to cook something. While we were waiting for our food, I decided to make some skirt steak to pack for my lunch.

About 45 minutes later as I was just finishing up we realized that the order never went through. 
So, we decided to have some of the steak, pulled together a salad and the dressing with some things I had in the fridge. 

Sanditas [otherwise known as the Mexican Sour Gherkin Cucumber]
1 cup of leftover spaghetti squash (well shredded)

Juice of one Lemon
Grated Garlic 
Grated Turmeric
Grated Ginger
Grape Seed Oil 
 Red Pepper Flakes 
Salt & Pepper to taste

Steak Marinade: 
Apple Cider Vinegar
Grated Garlic 
Grated Turmeric
Grated Ginger

I purchased both the pea and sunflower shoots, sanditas, and nasturtium from the Union Square Market.

In case you were curious the wine is the Divining Rod Cabernet Sauvignon
I'm pretty picky about my reds and this is absolutely delicious, I HIGHLY recommend it. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Pump-, the -kin, the legend... Batmouth


Over the weekend I went up to New England to visit my friend D, and she taught me how to make roasted pumpkin seeds! 

I've never made roasted pumpkin seeds before, in our household the primary concern when carving pumpkins was the swashbuckling tendencies of us hooligans. 

Without fail, every year peaceful pumpkin carving would turn into a pirate battle, or a battle reenactment, usually of the Ninja Turtle variety. Battle lines would be drawn, parents would intervene and the fight would result in a draw due to authority intervention... I still maintain we would have won.  

Regardless, the last thing our parents wanted to do was involve any heating element into that melee so I was super excited to try making them. 

D's pumpkin seed recipe:

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees F- 

1. Remove seeds, rinse, and pat dry.
2. Arrange seeds on an oil coated  (1-2 tablespoons) or Pam sprayed baking pan
3. Season with salt 
4. Bake until seeds are golden brown, check/shake the seeds around every 10 minutes or so to prevent burning and assure that they cook evenly

The white pumpkin had a sweeter aroma than the orange pumpkin and smelled distinctly of honeydew melon.

Meet Batmouth's best buddy... isn't he precious?

D allowed me to fiddle with the seasonings. The only thing I would do differently is I would allow the seeds to cook almost all the way through (85%) before I added the seasoning next time. 

1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp of chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika 
1/2 tsp of parsley 
1/4 tsp of thyme 

Pumpkin seeds pre-baking

So delicious! 

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Monday, October 17, 2016

October means Thackery Binx

We're more than halfway through October and that means Halloween Movie Marathons. Or, if you are terrified of your own shadow like me, an annual viewing of Hocus Pocus. That's about as "scary" as I can handle.

Any proper movie night will need blankets, comfy seats, and most importantly snacks! While there is a veritable universe of snacks available these days my favorite above all others is popcorn.

Let me put it this way; if October means Thackery Binx, movie night means popcorn. 

I like to make my popcorn on the stove top. It gives me a greater degree of control over not only the flavor, but also helps to assure that I will be eating better quality, more natural, ingredients.

When I tried to capture the correct ratios I had a surprisingly hard time figuring out how to share them with you guys.  I just kept eyeballing the amounts and adjusting them.

 So, I found a great guide by Simply Recipes which you can access here. 

My favorite thing about pot-popping popcorn,  is the variety of ways you can flavor the popcorn. 

Some of my favorite combinations are : 
Traditional butter with Himalayan salt
Rosemary Garlic
Rosemary Parmesan
Cinnamon Sugar
Spicy Maple 
 Cheesy Garlic

Use your imagination, the sky is the limit... 

An easy way to get creative with your popcorn is to try different flavored salts like this one from my trip to Iceland 

I had a couple of questions about where I bought me pepper flake Weck tulip jar; I purchased it at the Charles Street Black Ink in Boston but I'm sure you can buy them online. 

Blueberry salt from my trip to Iceland gave a very subtle tang to the popcorn

Can we also just take a second to appreciate the amazing greatness that is Batmouth? 
I'll give him his proper attention in an upcoming post... 

If the movie starts to get a little too terrifically terrifying, follow these fool proof Halloween movie watching methods:

1. Hide under the covers.
2. Climb on top of the person next to you and bury your head in their shoulder.
3. Stick your fingers in your ears and shut your eyes.
4. Excuse yourself to go to the bathroom .
5. Turn off the movie and put on a Christmas movie. 
[It's a fair suggestion, some of the stores around here are already decorating!]

 If nothing else, remember, it's just a bunch of Hocus Pocus.


Monday, October 10, 2016

Broccoli Rabe and Jerusalem Artichoke

In this post we're going to cook two vegetable sides, one way. 

Walking around the Greenmarket some of the stalls will show you how to cook ingredients that might otherwise be intimidating. Enter Jerusalem Artichokes. I've often been tempted to try them but wasn't really sure where to start. Fortunately I was able to try them a while ago and have been hooked ever since. 

 Remember to wash all of your ingredients thoroughly. 

Fresh turmeric 
"Wild" onions - though you can substitute with scallions or green onions
Jerusalem Artichokes 
 Broccoli Rabe 
Salt and Pepper

Prep: Thoroughly wash your onions and chop the entire plant into pieces no larger than a half inch. I also trimmed off the roots at the bulb. This is not necessary as they are edible, I however am not a fan of their texture. 

Thoroughly wash your turmeric. For ease of handling I cut mine in half before grating it. 
Watch out though this stuff stains your fingers

Add a little vegetable oil (I used grape seed) or olive oil to your pan and add the onions. 
Cook for about 2-3 minutes. 

During my trip to France earlier this year I became obsessed with these Tefal pots and pans that have detachable handles. In an apartment where storage space is a premium these are a lifesaver.

After much internet sleuthing, I was able to find them online. 
My life has been forever improved. 

After allowing the onions to cook, grate in the turmeric. 

Give it a quick stir

Add either the broccoli rabe or the quartered jerusalem artichoke. 

For Jerusalem Artichoke:
Prep: Wash and quarter your Jerusalem Artichokes, you want them to be around the same size so that they cook evenly. 

SautĂ© the Jerusalem Artichoke for about ten minutes  over medium/high heat or until it becomes golden brown and begins to soften. 
Salt and pepper to taste. 

For Broccoli Rabe: 


Prep: Blanch the broccoli rabe in boiling salted water quickly. 
We're talking one minute of cooking time in the boiling water and then immediately transferring into a bowl of ice water. Pat dry with a paper towel. 

Your broccoli rabe is now cooked. 

Add the cooked broccoli rabe to the onions and turmeric for 2-3 minutes, enough to heat and season the broccoli rabe. 

Salt and pepper to taste. 

These "sides" are hearty enough to serve as main dishes if you're a vegetarian you can easily add quinoa or beans, or if you are an unabashed carnivore who is trying to up his or her veggie intake, I suggest either jerk chicken or cut up skirt steak. 

 I like to add a little dried hot pepper to the broccoli rabe for some kick. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Doggone Delicious

So, let me start this off by saying that this face right here... 

...was a terror.  

Now that she has gone to super boot camp (he's an actual miracle worker) she is no longer a terror but still the only thing in the world I have an impossible time saying no to. 

Our walks are usually when I have a chance, or really an excuse, to meander around the city and just explore. One of these walks had us stopping by the Roaming Acres stall at the Union Square market and discovered that it is essentially the canine equivalent of Dylan's. After making friends with the guys behind the counter, puppy dog eyeing them for free treats and pretty much bullying me into buying more bones than she knew what to do with I left there with three packs of their Ostrich Pet treats and bones for days... 

Since then, we can't pass Union Square without stopping at the booth and restocking. 

They are fine to keep outside the packaging although they do dry out a little. 
I just cut mine up into training squares after opening the pack and keep them in a glass jar on the counter. 

Make sure to tell people what they are though, during one of our "Sibling Dinner's" one of my brothers mistook them for regular jerky and helped himself to a handful. 
His verdict: dog tested and brother approved. 

If you're in the Union Square area try the treats, your dog (or perhaps even your brother) will love you more for it and if that is not a compelling enough reason... I triple dog dare you! 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Autumn Flowers Combat Hurricane Showers

I love flowers.

They can make me smile regardless of what happened two seconds ago, twenty minutes ago, two years ago, whatever, all is forgotten the second I see a bouquet. 

It's my worst quality: my disability to stay properly furious in the face of any posy.

Please ignore the assorted squash, most of them will be used in an upcoming soup recipe. 

I am a firm believer that flowers should not be special occasion things.  Nor should they cost you a fortune, so the only day of the year I'm ok with not getting flowers is Valentine's Day because frankly IMHO they're tainted with the abject consumerism of the holiday and mean a lot less than they do if they were given on any other day... end of tangent. 

Anyway, the flowers at your local bodega are available, just as beautiful, and with a little time and creativity are just as great as a bouquet ordered by a florist, oh they're also so, so, so, so, so much more affordable. 

Leo (the VERY kind little flower man who deals with my floral addiction patiently, with an indulgent smile as he generously pretends he doesn't realize how coo-coo I am for the blooms) sells a dozen roses for $10. I challenge anyone to go out and find a better deal than that. 

Today Leo had these crazy looking berry flowers which I wanted to play around with in the vase I got in the Hampton's this summer. 

I absolutely fell in love with the minimalist design and the simplicity of the vase. You can get your own at Stems Vases' website. 

Cutting them proved to be a little more challenging than I anticipated... 

Which brings me to another point, everyone should have a screw driver. 

I don't care if you are the least handy person in the world, honestly you can't be worse than I am. 

No, seriously. I am the worst. 

If I try to fix something I usually end up breaking it worse than it was before I tried, hence why whenever anyone can build, create, fix, install, manually assemble anything I am beyond impressed, we're talking bordering on fangirl admiration levels here people! 

That being said:  I FIXED SOMETHING TODAY!!!!! 
I'm bursting with pride. Can't you tell? 

Midway through cutting the stems my scissors broke, and instead of calling my "please fix this now and I'll make you cookies emergency contact" in a panic, I did it myself. 

If it wasn't as obnoxious as it would be, I would actually give myself a gold star for this one. 

Didn't even "strip the screw." Which is one of my many hidden talents, the ability to strip any screw. Even though I'm not sure exactly how I manage to do it as thoroughly as I do... WOW digression.   

Takeaway point: Buy a screwdriver.
Better yet, buy a multitool

But don't use the hammer part unless you actually know what you're doing, I made a hole in my wall with this thing trying to hang a picture by myself. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Seattle Snapshot

My top ten list of Seattle Must Sees: 

Pike Place Market 
The Space Needle 
Fremont Troll 
Seattle Great Wheel 
Gas Works Park 
Experience Museum Park 
One of Seattle's awesome restaurants (The Walrus and the Carpenter, Revel, Delancey, etc.)
The Original Starbucks 
Beecher's Cheese
Pacific Science Center

Moose Drool by Big Sky Brewing