Showing posts with label food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label food. Show all posts

Saturday, March 01, 2014

aannnndddd....It's March!

Until this past February, I never missed posting at least a couple of things per month. I blame it on only having 28 days. Because you know, that extra 2-3 days would have made a world of difference. ;)

So I'm gonna try and make it up and post every day this month. Or at least till the 21st, which is when I typically peter out whenever I make this monthly commitment.

In the are some pics I shared on Instagram during February...

Can't beat Key Lime Pie in Key West, Florida. Best Key Lime Pie ever. Had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that we had just spent 2 1/2 hours kayaking and hadn't eaten anything in over 4 hours. Our guide took us to a spot sort of off the beaten track.

Princess niece playing my guitar.
I'm still going to my guitar lessons and enjoying it. Loving it. Obsessed with with. I practice over an hour ever day. Sometimes upwards of 3 hours a day. This is my typical MO. Remember knitting? Remember making jewelry? Remember DDR and playing XBOX Rock Band for 6 hours every day for months that I got TMJ from concentrating so hard? But I'm hoping and praying that playing the guitar will stick forever like my paper crafting is.

More to come about my trip/cruise to Florida and Cozumel.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Asparagus Gruyere Tart

About 10 months ago, I pinned this recipe to my Pinterest board. It looked yummy so I decided to make it for New Year's Eve.
It was delicious! I'll definitely make this again sometime. One thing I'll do differently though, is add a little less salt. The cheese is already salty, so the asparagus doesn't need much salt added to it.

Asparagus Gruyere Tart
Flour, for work surface
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
5 1/2 ounces (2 cups) Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 1/2 pounds medium or thick asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Trim uneven edges. Place pastry on a baking sheet lined with parchment. With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2-inch intervals. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.
Remove pastry shell from oven, and sprinkle with Gruyere. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell; arrange in a single layer over Gruyere, alternating ends and tips. Brush with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until spears are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

NOTE: Thaw puff pastry according to package instructions.
Emmentaler or Fontina cheese can be substituted for the Gruyere.
After the 1st bake, let the puff pastry cool a little, that'll allow it to fall if it has puffed up. I gently helped it down by pushing on the top of the tart oh so very carefully, so as not to break the tart. But I mostly let it fall by itself. It may not have puffed as much if I had made my folk piercings deeper.
I didn't bother trimming uneven edges. It seemed even enough to me after rolling it out.

Friday, November 29, 2013

11.29 Candy Factory

I'm starting to believe that I own and operate a candy factory.

I made over 250 caramels for Thanksgiving.

But even a basket full of caramels doesn't amount to 250.

So I'm packaging the rest up, mailing a few and handing some out to my crafty friends when we get together on Monday for our Holiday Dinner.

I have at least 2 more candy making sessions before Christmas Day. Who wants to come over and help? I pay in sugar.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

11.3 Buckeyes

This summer I bought peanut butter from Costco for Camp Retz, expecting to use a lot of it for all the kid's sandwiches. But you know Costco sizes. Even making almost 10 PB&J sandwiches a day didn't dent what I bought and I still had a lot left over.

I have a love/hate relationship with peanut butter. I'm currently not a big fan of it, but thankfully the husband loves peanut butter. So I scoured Pinterest for recipes to use up that peanut butter. I decided to try this recipe for "Buckeyes". I have to admit, it's pretty good. But mixing and smelling all that peanut butter didn't make me like it more. So I probably won't eat more than 1 or 2. Unfortunately, Ninja Nephew is allergic to peanuts, so I can't unload some of them to their family. I'm getting together with some of my crafting friends tomorrow night, so I'll pass some on to them. But I'll dole the rest of them out slowly to Jimmy.


1 1/2 cups Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 -4 cups powdered sugar
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons Shortening


1. COMBINE peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt in large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on LOW until blended. Add 2 cups powdered sugar, beating until blended. Beat in additional powdered sugar until mixture, when shaped into a ball, will stay on a toothpick. Shape into 1-inch balls. Refrigerate.

2. PLACE chocolate chips and shortening in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on MEDIUM for 30 seconds. Stir. Repeat until mixture is smooth. Reheat as needed while coating peanut butter balls.

3. INSERT toothpick in peanut butter ball. Dip 3/4 of ball into chocolate, leaving top uncovered to resemble a buckeye. Remove excess. Place on wax paper-lined tray. Remove toothpick. Smooth over holes. Refrigerate until firm.

Original recipe here.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Biko? or Kakanin?

I've been thinking about this filipino dessert for months now. 1st off, I couldn't remember what it was called. So I had trouble finding a recipe online for it, and I couldn't find it in my mom's treasure trove of recipes. But i did a google search for filipino sticky coconut rice dessert and "Biko" came up. I was pretty sure that wasn't what my mom called it, but all the google images looked like it was the right thing. Anyhoo, I finally found one of her recipes but it wasn't called biko. Maybe because her dialect was Ilicano and she called it something else.

Well, apparently I made her recipe in 2005. I write notes on the margins of successes/failures, etc. When I made it, the rice wasn't cooked dente as I noted it. Her recipe didn't say anything about cooking the rice before baking it. All of the online recipes say to cook the rice before baking it, so that's what I did this time, and I also used this recipe as another guide.

I hate to say this, but it was a disappointment. Something wasn't right. I think it was the rice. Where do you find "Sweet Rice"? Online said it was the same as "glutenous rice", so I used what I thought was glutenous rice, the rice I had was labeled 'sushi rice' but it wasn't right. And it wasn't sticky enough, either. Maybe because it said to rinse it and that removed the gluten? And it also tasted like it could have used just a pinch of salt. I might try making it again in another 8 years. But there will never been a substitute for my mom's cooking.

Any tips or tricks or hints would be appreciated.

(I always thought it was pronounced Kan-kah-nun. lol)

2 cans coconut milk
1/2 cup water
2 cups sweet or glutenous rice (don't use sushi rice, that's what I used!)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar (it could have been sweeter. but maybe if I used sweet rice, it would have been.)
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large pot, bring coconut milk and water to a simmer. Add rice and continue simmering till rice is fully cooked, about 15-20 minutes, stirring continuously so rice doesn't burn. Rice should resemble risotto. Remove from heat. Stir in brown sugar. Pour into a buttered 9x9 baking pan and smooth top evenly. Cover with aluminum foil, bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 30-45 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.

My mom in the center of the action, carving the turkey. 1984.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Mom's Macaroni Salad

Since we were planning on having a couple of friends visit during our 8-9 days at the hideaway, I made a perfect BBQ/summer salad...Macaroni Salad.

It's my mother-in-law's recipe and I usually make it once a year, always in the summer, always when there are several people to enjoy it.

Basic ingredients. Shell pasta, cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, hardboiled eggs, miracle whip (never mayonaise), salt and pepper. Oh ya, onion...but we never put onion because we don't like raw onion. So instead, serve some chopped chives on the side for people to add as they'd like. I can handle chives, just not raw onions. Jimmy doesn't even like chives.

Mix everything together then let the flavors meld in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

Not exactly the most calorie friendly side salad, but what 'mayonaise' based salad ever is? You could use light miracle whip (or mayo if you have to), we've used the light stuff with success. You could also use less miracle whip or mayo.

Here's my mother-in-law's recipe without any of my adjustments:

Mom's Macaroni Salad

2 packages American Beauty Tri Pasta (shells)
1 lg. hot house cucumber, sliced ¼” thick
whole bunch radishes, sliced
bunch green onions, sliced, include 1 inch of greens
6 hard boiled eggs, chopped real fine
4 tomatoes, cut
sm. Bottle miracle whip
salt and pepper

Cook pasta as directed on package. Mix all ingredients. Refrigerate several hours before serving.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Menu Planning

It's Memorial Day Weekend! We're at the hideaway for a week and hoping to have some visitors. So I spent several hours planning meals and grocery shopping. Honestly, it's not a favorite chore, but it's a lot less annoying than flying my the seat of my pants for each meal.

This is what my refrigerator looks like:I need 8-9 lunches and dinners. A handful of lunches will be sandwiches on the lake or out exploring the forest, but this is what I have planned for the next 8 days in no particular order:

naan 'top it yourself' pizzas
sandwiches, pb&j, ham, roast beef
tuna casserole
Rosie's mac salad and ?
soup and sandwiches
naan slices and spinach salad

1. turkey tacos + avacado salad
2. pie in sky (out)
3. chicken enchiladas + green salad
4. grilled burgers + mac salad and corn(or sloppy joes)
5. el jardin (out)
6. molly's chicken chalupas + green salad
7. chipotle lime fish tacos + avacado salad
8. salmon and asparagus pasta + rolls
9. chicken tamale casserole + green beans

While I was doing that, Jimmy was doing this:
hacking our tv. I suppose this voids the warranty. But the tv makes a loud "pop" when you turn it on. Annoying. He's figuring out how to make it stop.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Radish Avacado Fennel Egg Salad

One of my girlfriends is trying to eat Paleo.

If you're not familiar with the paleo diet, here's a quick blurb from wiki:
The paleolithic diet (abbreviated paleo diet or paleodiet), also popularly referred to as the caveman diet, Stone Age diet and hunter-gatherer diet, is a modern nutritional plan based on the presumed ancient diet of wild plants and animals that various hominid species habitually consumed during the Paleolithic era—a period of about 2.5 million years which ended around 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture and grain-based diets. In common usage, such terms as the "Paleolithic diet" also refer to the actual ancestral human diet.

I know I'd never be able to adhere to such a diet, though I do agree that everyone needs to eliminate processed foods as much as possible.

Anyhoo...this was one of her recipes. She doesn't use mayo. I added a little bit but it definitely would have been good without it.

4 hard boiled eggs, cooled and chopped
1 avocado, diced
1/4 cup fennel bulb, julienned into 1/2 inch matchsticks
1/4 cup radish, finely diced
1/4 cup chives, finely chopped
1 tsp. lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
a heaping tablespoon of mayo or greek yogurt if you want a smoother texture

Coincidentally, I had received most of the ingredients needed in my Farm Fresh to You Box the day before.

I also made some roasted veggies, simply tossed with a bit of olive oil and kosher salt.
I used the carrots, leftover fennel and asparagus from my box and included some zucchini and yukon gold potatoes.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Chinatown with a 4 year old

Cousin, her daughter and her mom came into the City on Tuesday. I took the day off and we went to Chinatown for dim sum and bargain shopping.

You may know that I love giving my camera to kids to see what they capture.

While cousin and her mom were shopping, Princess Niece and I waited patiently, shooting photos and playing eye-spy.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Donkey likes Zucchini Bread, too

My cousin's mom is in town for 2 1/2 weeks. I haven't seen her in over 20 years. Well, I saw her at cousin's wedding, but we didn't talk at all. It's been nice getting reacquainted with her again. She's only 15 years older than me, but of course when I was a teenager, she wasn't who I connected with. However, she connected with my mom. When we were young, my cousin and I would play and her mom and my mom would talk for hours.

I wanted to make her my mom's 'famous' zucchini bread. Everyone loved my mom's zucchini bread. So I made a loaf for her and for Donkey.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Food trucks

Are food trucks all the rage wherever you are? They have been very popular in the Bay Area for a few years now and still seem to be going strong. The once thought of "Roach Coach" has become a trendy foodie's dream where you can sample a variety of different cuisines from around the globe in one location. Monday evenings in San Mateo, you can find these trucks lined up with a lot of customers at the CalTrain station.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

On the Table

I never make Easter cards. But I didn't make Valentine's Day cards this year, so instead I'm sending out a handful of Easter ones instead.

On another note...a friend posted this photo on Facebook. It turned my stomach and cracked me up at the same time. So I had to steal it from her, but she stole it form someone else.
There are just so many things wrong with this. I guarantee this will never ever be on my table.

Monday, March 25, 2013

3.25 - The Best Part of the Day

A special treat with Kristina and her kiddos who just keep getting bigger and cuter every day!

Thursday, March 07, 2013

San Diego

After a 9 hour drive, a little pizza and antipasto sure hits the spot.

It's raining pretty hard right now. Hope the weather forecasts are correct that it'll be perfectly dry and sunny by Saturday evening.

Monday, January 28, 2013

On the Table Monday

Even though it's been months since I've done an "On The Table" post, I decided to compile some of the miscellaneous food snapshots I took this month into one post. I notice I tend to post a lot of food photos on Instagram. I'm not sure why, but food photos tend to overpopulate that app. Here are some that I shared there as well as one or two I haven't posted anywhere except here.
Broccoli is one of my favorite veggies. My favorite part is the stem. Sometimes I feel like I'm alone in this, so I posed the question "Stem or Crown?" on Instagram and overwhelmingly, most people prefer the crown. Only 1 friend likes the stem, too. How about you? Do you eat the stem or just prefer the crown?

Trader Joes is my favorite grocery store. I think most of my California friends feel the same. They have a great cheese selection. One day last week I saw this "Chocolate Cheddar Cheese". Hum...sounds...interesting. But I had to try it. I looked for the smallest piece because...well...what if I didn't like it? Well...turns out...that I didn't like it. It was...weird. Odd. Unusual. The cheese was good sharp cheddar, except that it was too salty. It was the dominant flavor. Then out of the blue I'd taste the dark chocolate and it's like "what the heck is that oddball flavor mixed into this salty cheese???" Sometimes the chocolate flavor would be subtle, I'd almost be like "huh, what was that?" but then the next bite I'd be like "yikes! what was that???". Plain and simple: No sir-I don't like it.

I went 6 weeks without getting my Farm Fresh To You box because my delivery fell on Christmas Day so they just cancel the delivery all together. But I was very happy with this winter box: 10 Mandarin oranges, 2 navel oranges, 2 meyer lemons, 4 apples, 1 butternut squash, bunch spinach, 4 bunches bok choy and a bunch carrots.

So after making 6 batches of caramels in December, I felt like Jimmy and I needed a little sugar detox for the month of January. Not completely stop eating sugar because, well, it's me and Jimmy and that'd be like cutting out air. But just lower our sugar consumption by a bit. I'm not sure how well we succeeded, but we made a little bit of an effort most of the time. Except when we went out to the movies one friday night with our movie buddy and saw Zero Dark Thirty then went across the street to the diner and we all had milkshakes. We've lived here 2 1/2 years and that's the 1st time I've been to that diner. And it was the 1st time I've had a black and white milkshake. Which, if you don't know, is chocolate and marshmallow. I had no idea. When I ordered and the waitress asked "you know that's chocolate and marshmallow, right?" I played it cool, nodded and said "yea." {liar}. But I like chocolate and marshmallow so what the heck. Well it was OMG delicious. But hopefully I'll try to limit it to once every 2 1/2 years. Because seriously. Anyone who knows me IRL (in real life) knows that I consume enough Ghirardelli ice cream that I can't afford to add another type of ice cream based snack to my already very long list of vices.

Someone in our household caught the flu. The other person in our household made homemade chicken soup and was constantly disinfecting every surface and washing hands. It helped. I had 1 bad day and now I'm not entirely sure if I actually caught the flu or just had a 24-hour bug or really bad allergies or what. But, knock on wood, I've managed to escape the nastiness that kept Jimmy home and sick in bed for 4 days last week. He's still not 100%, but he's better.

Since he really doesn't eat veggies, he's been eating more fruit to try to get more antioxidants. I have a love/hate relationship with pomegranates. They're kind of a cool fruit and their seeds are pretty tasty, but you seriously have to have patience to de-seed one. Trader Joes sells them in a small carton already de-seeded, but they're not as good. I learned a little trick that helps a bit. Cut the pomegranate into quarters, then hold it in your hand, seeds down, and wack the skin w/ the back of a wooden spoon. It helps loosen the seeds. But it can be super messy if the pomegranate is overly juicy. Martha Stewart wacks it till all the seeds fall out. I just wack it 10 times or so. Almost 1/2 of the seeds fall out, and the rest are loose so they're easier to pull off. It still takes 15-20 minutes, but that's about 1/2 the time it used to take me.

Do you take a lot of food photos? If so, join me on my "On the Table Monday" meme. Of course, it's not limited to food...

Friday, December 21, 2012

12.21: More Candy for Christmas

Butter and Sugar
More Caramels to Share with you
My new Christmas treat.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

12.16: Traditions

The Yuen's had their annual Christmas party today. As always, it was amazing. Not only was it wonderful talking to friends we haven't seen in a while, it was so very wonderful watching all the children run around and play with each other.

Their kids are pretty shy but when they're in their own home, their wonderful, playful personalities really shine. It's the best thing to see and be a part of. Absolutely adorable and they warm my heart.

The party is a cookie party, you know the kind where you bring cookies and share them with everyone and taste and sample and bring some home? But I've got a very loose definition of cookie. I brought my usual pretzel kisses, which the kids seem to love, they disappeared early on, I should have brought more. And I also brought some chocolate caramels. Those were also a hit but much more popular with the adults than the kids.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

12.4: Bright Lights, Big Love

Christmas time is one of the funnest times to play with your camera.

You can't help but smile when you can turn the lights from the office building across the street... one filled with glowing hearts.

Or when the courtyard for the condos next door... suddenly aglow with love.

And isn't it nice to turn this sad, empty parking lot...

...into a spot where a few hearts can light up even the darkest spaces.

Of course, I love the colored lights on my tree...

But when each colored light is transformed into multi mini hearts, I love it even more.

I did it all with this little DIY bokeh filter.
I learned how to make it last year from this website.

So go on...make one for your camera and play and experiment! It's a lot of fun. I promise.

In the meantime, I'll share with you today's box of wonderful winter fruits and veggies...
It was packed to the brim today! It had 2 yellow onions, 1 pound red potatoes, 3 fuji apples, 3 gold bosc pears, 3 eureka lemons, 6 satsuma mandrain oranges, 1 pound baby bok choy, 1 bulb fennel, 1 bunched broccoli, 1 bunched carrots, 1 bunched spinach and a bag of baby mixed lettuce. YUMMY!

I couldn't resist making some roasted veggies for dinner. I used 1/2 the bulb of fennel, all of the carrots, 1/2 of the broccoli, most of the potatoes, some fresh thyme, a little bit of olive oil and a light sprinkling of kosher salt. Is your mouth watering? Plenty for leftovers, too. Unless I have some for a midnight snack!