Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Lil Sushi, So You Say

I'm frequently driven by fierce avocado cravings.  I bet ya couldn't tell it was one of those days...   And I'm not sure what I intended to happen with crab and avocado and little to no other crab complimenting ingredients on hand.  I had no other choice but to turn to my good friend, Google.
'
The search resulted in loads of ooey, gooey dips that would have been appropriate if this dish and I were planning to arrive someplace other than my newly purchased placemat (Anthropologie, much respect).  Page two, page three, page ah ha!  Do you know how many sushi rolls have crab and avocado?  Why I didn't think of this sooner, I don't know.  But it turns out sliced avocado, a little lump crab, and ponzu sauce equals a perfect little sushi substitute.  

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I Got Fed

Although passing by granola place after veggie place after grassy place gave me a sense of being, I had a different mission during my Austin vacation.  The only important task on my agenda was checking out the food project a friend of mine has been slaving over for quite some time now: The Shed.  If only all "important tasks" could be so un-task-like. 
'
We ordered the full spectrum of the Mohawk location offerings: pulled pork sandwich, brisket sandwich, and for me?  Well, it's never that simple.  A BBQ and bread combo has never been my fancy, so The Shedders whipped up something along the lines of a pulled pork sundae.  Y-U-M!  Pulled pork in Texas is a rarity in itself, and combined with a sauce from the gods themselves?  BBQ treasure.
'
If ridiculously tasty BBQ and a hip venue are up your alley, you should probably get yourself fed at The Shed too!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Christmas In August


Tonight I left my Junior League Provisional Meeting with a sense of soon to be accomplishment and five cookbooks, FIVE!  As if my cookbook shelf isn't already in need of additional structural support...  But, if you've known me for any bit of time, you're well aware that crowded drawers and failing shelves barely count as a detour in my ongoing purchasing journey.
 '
Nonetheless, I'm exicted!  A Mid-Summer Night Cocktail was my first brush with this culinary collection and it came with great success.  The next recipes on my League blogging agenda?  Lobster with Lemon Basil Butter and the Farmhouse Salad.  Word on the street is each and every recipe has been tested to the Nth degree, and then some.  And that, is a comforting concept in a kitchen that is no stranger to a meal mistake!
 '
If you'd like to add one of these gems to your structurally sound (or unsound) shelves, they can be purchased here.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Comforty Goodness


My mom's infamously easy tuna noodle casserole was, hands down, a top five most frequently requested meal of my childhood - lucky her!  I carried the recipe in my 'first time living alone' box of tricks when I left for college.  And I continued to whip it up until gluten-free ruled my life.  The recipe was nixed from memory upon reading the ingredients of every cream of mushroom soup can I could find.  

Although I rarely eat gluten-free at restaurants since finding out I'm not officially intolerant, I steer clear of bringing glutenous groceries home.  In my opinion, gluten in the average American diet is beyond excessive and not as necessary as your handy dandy food pyramid makes it seem.

Off my soap box, back to the meal...  

Every few trips to the market, I head to the gluten-free aisle to grab a bag of brown rice pasta.  Most of the items on that aisle, though gluten-free, tend to be super processed and hokey, so I grab what I need and go.  This time...  I noticed a gluten-free cream of mushroom soup and my most memorable cozy, comfort meal came to mind.

Mom's Recipe - Altered (2 servings)
2-1/2 oz. of Albacore Tuna in Water, Drained if Canned
1/2 Cup of Parmesan Cheese, Freshly Grated

Boil noodles per package instructions.  Mix noodles, soup, and tuna together and pour into an oven safe bowl (I used a pie plate).  Sprinkle with cheese and bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Super Food Smoothie


I've seen wheatgrass advertised from time to time over the years, but never gave it a second thought.  Why?  Simply put, in my experience, the taste was wretched.  

But when I saw the lone pallet of grass at Greenwise last week, I felt the need to own it.  And since the impulsive need to own, well, anything is far from uncommon for me, I decided to think about it.  After all, it was a twenty dollar piece of sod.

I used the same methodology as I do with clothes, shoes, make-up, appliances, gadgets, electronics, everything.  If I go home and never give it a second thought, then I must not have wanted said thing all that badly.  However, if I found it was all I could think about and it made an appearance or two in my day dreams and night dreams alike - there must be a need.

I'm somewhat sad to say that wheatgrass crossed my mind that many times in one week that I allowed myself to bring the pallet home.  To justify my purchase, it's going to be a "green" smoothie kind of week.  And to justify the taste, I'll keep in mind that one ounce of wheatgrass contains the same amount of nutrients as 2-1/2 pounds of green veggies.  That…  Is a lot of veggies.

Super Food Smoothie:
1/2 Cup Wild Blueberries
Sambazon Acai Package
1 Tablespoon Agave Nectar
1 Gala Apple
2"x2" Square of Wheatgrass
1/2 Cup Water
8 Ice Cubes

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

And Where Have You Been?


Let me just start with...  This was not tonight's original game plan.  A storm blew threw this afternoon and with it came web-like lightning, horizontal rain, and a massive headache.  All I wanted to do was shut my eyes.

Grocery shopping was a challenge.  The full armed elevator ride to the 11th floor was a challenge.  However, cooking was not, as everything else seemed to be, a challenge.  I began sautéing some baby bellas and searing some scallops and all seemed well in the world.  While standing in the kitchen eating, I remembered a few of my sweet purchases.  It was then in my best interest to eat faster.

I've always been a fan of coconut milk "ice cream"; it nears the top of my favorites list on the pantry staples page.  But when I was at the market earlier this evening, a new flavor accompanied the coconut pint my freezer is accustomed to: passionate mango.      

I scooped myself a dollop of mango, scattered sliced strawberries, and sprinkled it with mini chips.  Holy crow.  It's not often, if ever, you scream praise for a food out loud when you're alone.  I just couldn't help myself, kind of embarrassing, glad I was alone. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It's A Growin'

One would think an indoor garden would have been checked off of my to-do list much earlier in life.  The truth is, I've tried.  In Dallas, I managed to destroy three basil plants on three separate occasions.  And more recently, succulents.  Succulents?!  I killed unkillable plants!  It's a miracle that Clarke is still amongst us...

In a search to fill the blank wall in my kitchen, I found an Ikea inspiration ad from which I decided to steal almost every decor detail.  Two problems...  my negative green thumb abilities and zero natural light in my kitchen.  After more research, I found that I could overcome the natural light issue using traditional CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) bulbs as "grow lights".  And after more consideration, I decided I would overcome my planting inabilities with dedication.

The newest living additions to my home are basil, cilantro, and thyme.  If these puppies have a positive life status through the end of August, I'll add rosemary, dill, and chives to the collection.  I'll also consider replacing the target desk lamp with a more aesthetically pleasing stainless CFL hood.

This is a true Fashion Meets Function moment in the KV household!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hunky Halibut

I bought this fish for no other purpose than I like halibut (I know stuff like this now).  I figured I could dust it with seasoning, broil it, and call it dinner; however, there's a theoretical limit to how many times I can post about broiled fish.  And likewise, there's a not so theoretical limit to how many times I can eat the "same" fish.

Due to my broiling assumption, I did not recipe hunt for alternatives nor did I purchase any ingredients out of the norm at the market.  Dilemma?  A bit of a dilemma...

Light bulbs and sirens went off simultaneously as I remembered the ridiculous amounts of wine I had recently purchased to stock my wine fridge.  Going only off of ingredients I thought might taste OK, I started mixing.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the smallest saucepan you own.  Add 2 cloves of chopped garlic and 2 stalks of chopped green onions to the melted butter and stir over medium heat for a few minutes.  Add 1 cup of white wine (I used Souv Blanc), salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil.  Add fish fillet and poach, turning mid-way, for 6-8 minutes or until fish is cooked all the way through.  Spoon a small amount of the broth over the fish and disregard the rest.

For the record, poaching is the new broiling in this kitchen!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Choptastic!

Salads are a sole exception to my food scarfing tendencies.  It's not because I don't love them, I do.  But when you combine a dressing fork dipper with the need for a little of each ingredient in every bite, you get an uber slow foliage feaster.

This little salad chopping gadget is shear genius (no pun intended).  It turned my ordinary salad into dense decadence.  I threw baby spinach, romaine, avocado, green onion, cucumber, and blue cheese in a bowl and chop, chop, chopped.  I drizzled with the tiniest bit of balsamic vinaigrette and satisfyingly ate every last bit.  I can promise you that drawer time will be scarce to non-existent with this thing!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Get Her To The Greek

Since the popularity explosion of Greek yogurt, I've made an effort to regularly stock my fridge.  Lower cal, higher protein, and superior texture...  Yeah, it was a given.  What I had yet to realize was how easily other dairies could be replaced with this Grecian gem.

I stumbled upon Jillian Michaels' chicken salad recipe over the weekend and I was pumped!  I love any kind of salad in the summer: egg, tuna, even my food nemesis, chicken.  And when I saw that mayo was subbed out, I was this salad's biggest fan.  I fixed it up on Sunday evening and ate it for yesterday's lunch and dinner and today's lunch - it's that good.  And if you toss the bread and plop it on a bed of baby spinach?  You're looking at three gigantor servings at mere 320 calories a pop.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dear Blender, I Love You


My mid-year resolution should include blending daily for no other reason than I love it (my blender that is).  It's the one tool in my kitchen that never fails at producing miracles.  And it's the only tool in my kitchen that guarantees vitamin packed-ness with the touch of a button.

I've been randomly craving cream of asparagus soup for too long to have not already posted something.  Perhaps it has something to do with creamy soups and 100 degree weather not jiving.  But more likely, it has to do with forgetting my sporadic craving each and every time I pass through the market's automated entrance.

You'll need:
1 lb Fresh Asparagus, Chopped
3 Leeks, Sliced
2 Garlic Cloves
1 - 16 oz Can of Vegetable Broth
1/2 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
1 Tbsp Parmesan, Shaved

Boil asparagus, leeks, and garlic until tender (about 15 minutes).   Blend vegetables until 100% smooth.  Add vegetable broth and yogurt and blend again.  Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Colorful Coverage

Pictured above is my staple go-to dinner.  And while it happens to be super simple, it also happens to have a purpose - greens for metabolism protection, reds for cancer prevention, and both for heart-disease prevention.  Who knew a ten minute meal could have your color bases covered?

Typically, I wilt spinach leaves with heated red sauce and throw in some gluten free pasta, but tonight I was reminded of my frozen food debacle and decided I wanted to "cream" my own greens.  So much better than frozen!  It might even cook faster than the five to seven nuking minutes required by the previously mentioned frozen fare.

Melt 1/4 to 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a pan.  Throw in a couple handfuls of baby spinach leaves until they are fully wilted.  Sprinkle with a tablespoon or so of sharp white cheese, stir, and voila!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Healthy Pants Pizza

Some days you crave fatty pants pizza, some days you settle for lazy pants pizza, and the other days?  Well the other days you just need healthy pants pizza.

A few weeks ago during one of my all too frequent grocery store trips, I stumbled upon a sample stand.  And if you've been with me to the market, you know that by stumble upon, I mean ran to.  Rarely do I 'stumble upon' a sample stand and think "I'm happy I just ate that".  In fact, before that day, it had never happened - a scrunched face and search for the nearest paper towel is more like it.

To create your own healthy pants pizza, you'll need:
- 1 Eggplant
- Pizza Sauce
- Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
- Typical Toppings (I chose spinach, mushrooms, and onions)

Thinly slice eggplant.  Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place eggplant disks.  Broil eggplant on each side for about 4 minutes or until browned.  Watch closely as they burn easily, especially the ones in the back!  Cover with sauce, cheese, and toppings, and broil another minute or two until the cheese is bubbly.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Merry's Miracle Tart

After being on the road for two weeks, I felt as though I could not eat one more junky bite.  Knowing this, my Dallas friend, anxious to show me a new health hot spot, brought me to Southpaw's Organic Cafe.  She ordered the Dr. Luke sans beast and it looked amazing.  But honestly, I couldn't imagine anything passing through my food abused lips.

In true 'I can't sit still' fashion, I wandered around the store.  I honed in on the refrigerated goods and the word 'raw' immediately came into focus.  I'll take one of these!

At 400 calories for one Merry's Miracle Tart, it's not a guiltless treat.  But knowing that the the ingredients were quality, the fats were good and the taste was to die for, was enough to make me not care.  Rumor has it these bad boys are sold at Whole Foods - I'll keep ya posted!   

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Oh No?


Wanting to love something and actually loving it are often disconnected.  As we approached 230 Forest Avenue, it was a place I wanted to love.  The scene was quaint, well styled, well lit, and perfectly packed.  If I could pick one restaurant style that defined me, this would be it - high expectations were instantaneous.

I ordered my favorites, the steamed mussels (and clams) appetizer and Chilean sea bass entrée.  And as I waited for the food to arrive, I wondered if I would soon hit a rock wall of disappointment.  A feeling of ‘oh no!’ rushed over me.

It was a false ‘oh no’ as I was definitely not disappointed.  In fact, there was no room for disappointment between the two complete packages of inner and outer beauty that found their way to my table last night.  Even though 230 Forest Avenue is a little far from home, I am positive it will remain highly ranked on my list of all time favorites! 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Feed Me Now




Cross country flights are brutal, two cross country flights in two weeks - my oh my!    By the time we landed at LAX, bussed to the rental car lot and headed to Long Beach, I was starved.  It took a few minutes to calculate across time zones exactly how long it had been since I'd last eaten.  As the words six and a half hours came out of my mouth, I realized I needed food, now.

I also realized that when I get this hungry it's impossible to figure out what I'm in the mood for.  Sushi within Pacific walking distance?  I wasn't sure it was what I was craving (why isn't that what I was craving?), but I was more sure that sushi was a better decision than my only other option: Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles.  I'm pretty sure I'll never get what all that rage is about.

We plopped into a booth at Bai Plu and embraced the speedy service.  And the sushi?  Quality, quality.  The fortune?  "There is prospect of a thrilling time ahead for you".  An exciting outlook for my next few weeks of traveling adventures!




Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Flopping Flounder

You're not imagining it; I'm partial to seafood these days.  Since the acquisition of my fish cooking skills during 'Technique de la Hanz', I just can't stop.  The thought of cooking chicken has always caused an urge to snooze, there's a limit to how many times you can pretend turkey tastes differently than chicken, and beef?  Beef lost its attraction after living steps from the Bern's Bar.  So fish it is.

And if you thought spending a lifetime within eye shot of water would create a connoisseur of some sort, you'd be wrong.  Beyond salmon, tuna, and grouper...  I'm clueless.  If you can imagine someone spinning me in circles, blindfolded, and telling me to point - that would be a fairly accurate description of tonight's seafood department experience.  And, that would be the only possible explanation for how I ended up with flounder.

Due to my lack of grill, I brushed the filet with olive oil, sprinkled it with Northwoods Seasoning, and broiled it for 5-7 minutes on each side.  I served it atop seasoned and sauteed baby bellas, asparagus, green beans, squash, and zucchini.  The veggie medley equaled "woah!" and distracted me from my new found dislike - flounder.   

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Beautifood




Tonight's meal inspiration stemmed from an article that was sent to me a while back entitled '10 Ways to Eat Yourself Gorgeous'.  The article was shelved and I'm not certain why.  But from this point forward, food brain-block or not, I will be referencing it quite often.

My plate consisted of broiled salmon brushed with olive oil and fresh dill and boiled artichoke with dill garlic butter for dipping.  The salmon/artichoke combo created a dish rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Protein, Vitamins B/C/D, Magnesium, Folic Acid, and Biotin.  And chances are, if the last sentence bored you, you're in dire need of a meal like this!

I am beyond pleased.  So pleased, in fact, that I am immodestly giving myself the highest rank on every scale - A+, 5 stars, all 10's.  

Monday, May 10, 2010

Spaghetti? Sort Of...



A few weeks ago, a friend suggested a spaghetti squash recipe she made post kicking butt at the Boston Marathon.  I raided her leftovers and knew I'd give it a shot.

After a weekend of birthday/mother's day glutton, I was craving something veggieful.  And subbing a meal's primary starch with a veggie?  Well, that sounded right about where I wanted to be.  I scribbled down the ingredients and B-lined it to the market on my way home from the office.  

My excitement for the recipe grew as I realized my basket was only lacking two ingredients and I hadn't yet left the produce department.  And feta and kalamatas?  I barely had to brush the processed aisles to scoop those up!

This dish was a delightful main course, but could also be served along side a lean meat for a more "complete" meal.


Side Note:  Tastes even better chilled the next day.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Quickie Lunch


Meal satisfaction, for me, tends to come hand in hand with simplicity.  And uncoincidentally, my simple means faster and fresher.  Five ingredients or less is a good theory in my book.

This 'five or less'-er lunch was protein packed and full of feel goodness.

- Turkey Breast, Thinly Sliced & Cooked
- Baby Spinach Leaves
- Shallots, Chopped
- Sunflower Seeds

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Kabobs and College


 This week's game night, Kabobs and College, was a tribute to plunging into adulthood.  I'm about to run full force into 27 and figured I'd bravely attend with an 813 identifier.  I could tell the swap affected more than me as it was significant (or shocking) enough to be suggested as a dinner dedication.  We ran with it.

Each guest arrived wearing their favorite (or most readily available) college tee, something to grill, and something to ice.  And as I looked around, I witnessed much more than the obvious greatness of our group, I witnessed the grown up-ness of our group.

Although hamburger and natty light college staples were present, the grill was dominated by veggie kabobs, fish fillets, and Boca burgers.  We even passed on the previously proposed card games to gather around the TV, watch the NFL draft, and patiently await Tebow's placement.  Simply put, tonight was a 'bommin' success!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Disaster Turned Delish

Sometimes BIG mistakes turn into something good, or in this case, something tasty.  I fully intended on following a recipe for some sort of Thai-ish dish tonight, but between the lack of fresh herbs available and my recipe carrying phone dying at the store, I was forced to go impromptu.  Eek!!!

My brain is certainly equipped for a great deal of impromptu dishes, but Thai?  It most certainly is not.  And although I'm still not entirely sure how this disaster turned delish came to be, it did.     

Prepare the noodles per the instructions on the package.  Throw the pepper, green onions, stir fry vegetables, shrimp, and peanuts in a non-stick pan over medium heat until everything is warm.  Whisk the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.  Add the noodles to the vegetables and stir until the noodles soften and are able to mix well with the vegetables.  Pour the sauce over the noodles and vegetables and stir over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.

1/2 Pack of Rice or Bean Vermicelli Noodles (3 oz.)
1 Pack of Fresh Stir Fry Vegetables - Steamed (12 oz)
1/2 Lb. Cooked Shrimp - Tails Removed
1 Serrano Pepper - Minced
1 Bunch of Green Onions - Sliced
1/4 Peanuts - Crushed

Sauce:
2 Tbsp Fish Sauce
2 Tbsp Roasted Red Chili Sauce
1 Tbsp Agave Nectar
1 Lime - Juiced

Monday, April 19, 2010

How Refined

Another Seminole Heights hip spot has been added to my list of favorites!  The seasonal menu is creative, the rooftop patio is divine, and the background music is beyond grin worthy.  My ipod, on it's coolest day, wouldn't play The Knife and The Refreshments in the same shuffle session!

My recent craving for adventure was not enough to coax me into sampling the bone marrow or sweet breads, so I played it safe with ceviche.  The portion was plenty and the coconut accent was delightful in every sense of the word.  To top it off, select bottles of wine are a mere fifteen dollars on Friday nights.

I can't wait to experience a Refinery Brunch.  And with dishes titled the Early Girl, Hangover Helper, and Tree Hugger - I'm bound to visit again soon!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Games and Gumbo


The resurgence of elementary school fads is upon us and I like it.  I like it so much, in fact, that I'm going to take any opportunity to rock a romper, tie my hair to the side, and (most importantly) whip out a board game.  Tonight will be the first of many game night blog entries in which a theme and main course recipe will be posted.

The theme for tonight: Games and Gumbo.  The game has yet to be determined as my guest list, rather lack of guest list, is a bit disorganized.  The main course, however, is not disorganized and was prepared last night in total Type A fashion.  

In my search for the perfect game night gumbo, I found the spectrum of recipes to be infinite.  Once again, guidance was provided by one of my go-to websites, cookinglight.com, where I found a Shrimp and Crab Gumbo that wouldn't cause an instant coronary clog.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Rando, Rando, Meat Commando?

A serious case of the Mondays is likely to cause a blah food mood.  And with my brain checking out around 10 AM today...  a lack of creativity checked right on in.    

I'm rarely not hungry enough to skip a meal, so when my blue moon lack of appetite decides to make an appearance, you better believe I cram in some earth made goods.  Or at least I'll try.  I stared blankly at my fridge for a while and could only come up with mushrooms? 

I sauteed an 8 ounces pack of baby bellas in 1/2 tablespoon of butter and gasped at green straws by nuking a frozen creamed spinach.  A brand of creamed spinach in which, after further label examination, I will not purchase again.  I'm a much happier gal knowing words like hydrolized and autolyzed are not floating around in my kitchen.

Technique de la Hanz


It's an unusually nice feeling to leave dinner with a theoretical certificate of completion.  Perhaps sharing a kitchen, namely someone else's, isn't the end of the world.  And perhaps some handy habits can be learned when prepping along side a "pro".  

The menu: grilled grouper with a citrus salsa and carrot couscous.  Yu-um!  Other than lacking a green veggie (take note Hanz) everything was A++.  

Added bonus?  I can add cutting a mean citrus supreme to my list of culinary talents!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mussel Mama

I like mussels, and not just because they're awesome, but because they force you to enjoy them.  Imagine the scarf action that would accompany a bowl of mussels sans shells.   You'd probably eat twice as many and enjoy them half as much.  Thankfully, shelled mussels give you the time to chew patiently between each perfectly rationed bite.

The simplicity of staple restaurant apps continues to surprise me.  Less than ten minutes of prep and even less time to cook - really??  The mussels were just about ready to be removed from heat when I realized I hadn't even unpacked the asparagus from my grocery sack.  Luckily asparagus cooks quickly as well.

Eatingwell.com has once again provided the foundation for a simple, rock solid dinner.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Crab Shack Baby

Three days and two restaurant meals is a limited time frame to prove your city's food worth to out of towners.  Two meals is even more of a challenge when you have, on more than one occasion, stated that Tampa kicks Dallas' tail in the food department.  And although this was a challenge incapable of being won, I gave it a darn good try.

Each restaurant was predictably delicious and provided my guests with polar opposite dining experiences.  We went from a coursed meal amongst red velvet at Bern's Steak House to paper napkins just past the redneck riviera at the Crab Shack.

This was my first Crab Shack experience and let me tell you, it is nothing short of treasure.  Raw Oysters are nine bucks a dozen, king crab legs are 12 bucks a half pound, and our waitress was sweet as pie.   

I hope that my full-bellied friends found their trip brag-worthy and will return quickly so I can continue proving that small town dining can, in fact, compete with The Big D.



Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Big Taste, Small Plate

Whether you're up to date with my blog posts out of interest or pure boredom, it's a known fact that I'm attempting a less rigid restaurant lifestyle.  Needless to say, attending a restaurant by myself and ordering three unknowns is big deal for this girl.

I'm also a firm believer in "meant to be" moments, especially if the moment takes a turn towards spectacular.  And tonight was just that.  If one of the thirteen friends I had asked to join me for dinner tonight accepted, I wouldn't have sat at the bar.  If the gift certificate I received hadn't expired, I would have ordered a safe seared tuna entree.  Since neither of my intentions took place, I awkwardly hopped up to the bar alone, requested a menu, and thoroughly examined.

What's a girl to do when she wants everything and nothing at the same time?  Order a bunch of stuff.  It turns out that Restaurant BT is just the place to order a bunch of stuff.  And not just any ol' stuff - perfectly presented and prepared plates.  The bar menu is extensive and contains surprisingly affordable fare.  My dinner?  Crab & Asparagus SoupTuna PouchTuna Tai Chanh, and House Cured Salmon on Herb Toast.  Cashing out for only $12 may also make BT the hottest deal in town.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Yum Yum - Can I Get a Scoop?

Mangoes and avocados frequent being the center of health hype attention.  And deservingly so, both can be considered vitamin powerhouses, cancer preventers, skin improvers, digestion enhancers, and the list goes on.  And just when you think the list is coming to a close, it probably goes on some more.

Many suggest consuming these tropical treats daily.  If you're looking for a realistic way to do just that, check out the recipe below.  Mix the following ingredients and refrigerate in a sealed dish.  Eat a scoopful as a snack or jazz up salads and sandwiches that may be lacking anything "super".

2 Avocados, cubed
1 Mango, cubed
1-2 Tbsps cilantro, chopped
1 Lime, juiced
Salt to taste

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wokin Wontons


The first blog entry after a brief hiatus better be a good one.  And because of this, the pressure for a blog worthy dish has been rearing its ugly head for entirely too long.  Solution?  A gift from my favorite (and only) uncle.

At first glance, bamboo steamers seem like they could be deceivingly difficult.  Not the case.  Just set atop a wok with shallow boiling water and you've got yourself a deal.

And homemade dumplings?  The closest I've ever come is plopping a few frozen nuggets in a traditional pot of boiling water.  And even though I've always purchased a "natural" brand, their contents have always been a slight mystery.

The following shrimp wonton recipe is heavenly.  They're fresh, and there's nothing mystery about them.

- 1/4 to 1/2 lb of cooked shrimp
- 1/2 cup mushrooms (I used baby portobellas)
- 3/4 cup green cabbage
- 1/3 cup green onions
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon Bragg's Liquid Aminos
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 packet of Nasoya Wonton Wraps
- Ponzu Sauce

Finely chop all of the ingredients up until the ginger.  Use a cheese grater to grate the ginger.  Mix the shrimp, veggies, and soy sauce in a bowl.  Plop a spoonful of the filling in the center of each wonton wrapper.  Wet the edges of the wonton wrappers, fold them, and firmly press the edges together.  Fill a wok with as much water as you can that won't seep into the bamboo steamer and bring to a boil.  Place the wontons on cabbage leaves on each rack of the bamboo steamer (this will prevent them from sticking to the steamer).  Set the bamboo steamer in the wok and steam wontons for 6 minutes.  Serve with ponzu sauce for dipping.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fluff It To Me



I want to shout off of rooftops how excited I am about today's breakfast.  Not only because I've been dancing around the idea of making it for quite some time now, but it changed my world a little AND I'm still full.

Adding egg whites to Irish oatmeal does not sound the least bit appetizing.  But after reading about others' successes, I decided to give it a shot.  It's hard to believe that a 16 calorie addition can give an extra 4 grams of protein and an unimaginable fluff to an oh so ordinary breakfast.  After briskly mixing the white into the hot oatmeal, try adding 1/2 tablespoon of butter and 1/2 tablespoon of agave nectar to satisfy your salty/sweet side.  At less than 250 cals a pop, why the heck not!  Did I mention it's delicious?





Monday, March 8, 2010

The Grocery Binge

I had high hopes for dinner tonight.  I made a list and purchased every item on it, with only a few impulsive extras.  And then my first mistake happened...  I cracked open my Hapi Mix.  I cracked open the darn mix before I even put the car in drive.

The next mistake happened as I was unpacking my sacks.  It doesn't take a betting man to predict I would crave a bite of every single one of my impulse purchases - reason number 576 why an impulse purchase at the grocery store is a bad decision.  And it was as I picked up my sweet snack that I decided the stir fry I intended on making tonight could wait until tomorrow.   

It turned out to be only a mini bad decision as Attune Bars are only 90 calories and have five times the amount of live active cultures as yogurt.  I popped a veggie burger in the toaster oven, scarfed my sweetness, and embraced my Monday night badness.

See you tomorrow night stir fry!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Flavor a la Low Sodium


Rice and chicken, chicken and rice.  I'll eat them, I like them, but if you told me I couldn't have either again, I wouldn't be heartbroken.  And since I don't eat either on the regular, I didn't mind one bit when tasked with providing a flavorful, low sodium, rice recipe.

I can unbiasedly say that boiled bone-in chicken is highly underrated.  It's tasty, healthy, and most importantly, hard to mess up.

1 Carrot
2 Celery Stalks
3 Cloves of Garlic
1 lb of Drumsticks
2 Serrano or Jalapeno Peppers (guts removed)
2 Spanish Onions
Boil in Bag Brown Rice
1-2 Handfulls of Long Leaf Spinach
1 Tbsp Earth Balance "butter" or real butter

Chop veggies into big pieces.  Boil water in a large pot and add veggies and drumsticks.  Reduce heat to medium, cover, and boil for 30 minutes.  Remove drumsticks and add rice bag to chicken broth.  Remove skin, cut chicken off the bone, and set aside.  When the rice is finished, remove the rice and veggies with a slatted spoon.  Add spinach leaves to chicken broth until they are wilted and remove.  Strain excess water from spinach leaves.  Mix "butter", chicken, and rice.  Add seasoning to taste.  

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lazy Pants Pizza

Tonight had potential for serious derailment.  I think most Thursdays do.  You spend all week working, dieting, deadlining, exercising, erranding - by Thursday you're pooped!

I was so close to ordering take-out, but somewhere during the crazy amounts of rationalizing going on in my head, I thought of a quick compromise.  Hooray for pizza!

Lazy Pants Pizza:
- Sprouted Wheat Toast
- Baby Spinach
- Tomato Sauce
- Mozzarella Cheese
- Garlic Powder

While sprouted wheat bread is toasting, heat tomato sauce in the microwave for a minute.  Stir spinach leaves in the tomato sauce and microwave for an additional minute.  Spread tomato sauce on sprouted wheat toast, sprinkle with garlic powder, and cover with cheese.  Toast until golden.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mid-Day Escape

I am fortunate to be able to come home daily for lunch.  Most of the time, I re-heat my leftovers from the previous night.  But with spring creeping in, I was in the mood for something fresh.

I've had this sandwich in the back on my mind since hitting up the airport Starbucks a couple weeks back.  Don't get me wrong, theirs was good, but I knew I could bedazzle it and make it mine.  I subbed sprouted wheat toast, nitrate-free turkey, baby spinach, honey mustard vinaigrette, and goat cheese.  So...  I modified pretty much everything but the cuke.  It's a safe bet that I'll be eating this exact sandwich for lunch this week until I'm forced to make the vegetarian version because I've run out of turkey.

To satisfy my dessert tummy, which on a rare occasion is full, I ate the leftover "Avocado Chocolate Mousse" from last night's feast.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Is that Gak?

Your face will cringe before your first sip.  You'll mentally prepare yourself for the grossest green gulp of your life.  You're nervous, it's weird, you feel like a contestant on Fear Factor.  After you muster up the courage to drink?  Apples.  All you taste is apple.  And I describe this to everyone I "con" into drinking this concoction, but they don't believe me until after their first sip.  It's a guaranteed "I told you so".   

Green Smoothie:
1 Apple
2 Kale Stalks
1 Handful of Grapes
1/2 Cucumber
1/2 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Ice

I deviated from my usual formula and added avocado to the first batch.  Mistake!  You couldn't taste the avocado, but it turned the texture into something that resembled Gak.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Productivity, Interrupted.

Returning from vacation with a cold and list of mandatory work functions created a chore-filled Saturday.  I tossed on some sweats, made oatmeal and hot tea, and opened every window in the house.  It was chilly, but I was heated with motivation -  I was on it.

I was cruising through my list like a girl on a mission, multi-tasking the fun amongst the unfun.  Laundry, dishes, and a side of sweet tunes.  And then... a curve ball to my productive day - a text.

It's impossible to turn down an outdoor drink when spring weather is impatiently peeking at you in February.  So we marched to Wine Exchange, decided to make it a bottle kind of day, and ordered the ahi tuna.  I prefer my tuna with wasabi and soy, but surprisingly, the carmelized onions stole my vote for best supporting side.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Gluten-Free Goodness


Today as I headed north on Florida Ave, feelings of excitement replaced the usual feelings of annoyance that accompany the drive.  Seminole Heights is always the center of "up and coming" talk, but it's difficult to witness the follow through as it's not on a route often traveled.  But as I looked for 6605, I noticed more than increasing numbers on abandoned buildings, I noticed new storefronts.

The ideals of New Urbanism are ingrained in my being (another big thanks to Tammy).  And a good storefront, as nerdy as it may seem, makes me giddy.  Don't worry, I can type and push up my theoretical nerd glasses simultaneously.  But back to the point, North Florida is on the path to being...  hip?  As I opened the door and entered Viitals Bakery & Cafe, that thought was no longer a question.  North Florida is, in fact, on the path to being hip.

I was immediately drawn to the heart-shaped cookies, but refrained.  Well, for a moment.  My lunch date was running late and my belly was raging with hunger, so I ordered one and took a seat.  "You know, I like to heat those up in the toaster oven for 30 seconds, it makes them really -- ".  Sold!  I bet she's never seen a girl in a high waisted skirt and ballet flats run so fast with cookie in hand.  And 90 seconds later, the cookie was heated, delicious as promised, and gone.

We ordered the Sophisticated Panini and the Caprese Sandwich - both beyond satisfying.  I couldn't wait to get back to the office and tell my Heights friends about the new hot spot in their hood.

P.S.  Viitals now makes gluten-free pizza crust for Gourmet Pizza Company and that pretty much makes me do kartwheels on the inside!
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