Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Light and Fluffy Pancakes with an Irish Twist

This post was meant for St. Patty's Day but with all the excitement over the weekend it slipped through the cracks. In honor of Saint Patrick's Day I bought fancy butter. Irish butter to be exact.

Yes, I know it's a little bit of an untraditional way to celebrate the day of the Irish. But I assure you there was a lot of beer consumption later in the day.

The morning though, consisted of the fluffiest banana pancakes you could make topped with generous pats of golden delicious Irish butter and real maple syrup. 

The butter was a special splurge after reading how much healthier and tastier butter is from grass fed cows. After having this butter I've decided regular butter is a poor excuse for butter in general. Just what I need, to get on a fancy butter kick.

The pancakes are Mark Bittman's recipe and they require a little more work and an extra bowl, but they are well worth it. These are the pancakes to eat if you don't want to fill up on heavy gut busting pancakes. They are light and airy from the addition of whipped egg whites. I topped mine with bananas, walnuts, the delicious butter, and real maple syrup. Quite a Saturday morning treat!

Peace, love, Irish butter, and happiness!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Food From the Weekend: I said YES!

A very, very exciting edition of Food From the Weekend on this lovely Monday. Funny, how everythingeven something as dreary as a Monday, seems bright and cheery to me now!

First the food. Just to keep you in a little bit of suspense.

Oh, right - the title of the post... well you don't know for sure what I said yes to yet, now do you? Ohhhhh, you already scrolled down the page. Well, play along will you?

Saint Patrick's day fell on a rainy Saturday for us SoCal folks. In fact, I might dare to say it was one of the first days that resembled something like winter this year. And Adam decided it was THE perfect time to ride our bikes 3 miles to Beachwood BBQ. Actually, he wanted to walk and I persuaded him to take the bikes - the less time in the rain the better! The ride was fun despite the cold and the slight drizzle. We enjoyed a few appetizers and I had an out of the world beer from New Belgium Brewing called Cocoa Molé. Tasted like mexican hot chocolate, but better.

{Smothered Steak Fries and Cocoa Molé}

{Blackened Albacore Sashimi - with a couple pieces already missing}

{Hush Puppies}

Beachwood BBQ holds a special place in both of our hearts. It's where we went when we first started apartment hunting together, it's where we take all our visitors and where we celebrate all good things. Basically, it's our place

After lunch and a few beers, Adam walked me down to the pier. We made it about halfway down the pier and then it started actually raining and the wind was bad so we turned around. I thought it was a little weird that we were wandering aimlessly in the rain... but I figured Adam was having an adventurous streak and I should roll with it. We ended up at a little park looking out at the ocean. We then stood there for quite some time. Finally, I was like "let's go, it's cold."He said "No" and we stood around looking at the stormy ocean for a bit longer. I started to think, 'this is it, this is really really it' but at the same time I didn't want to get my hopes up. Then finally he started saying all these nice things, most of which I don't really remember because I started doing mental cartwheels of excitement. And he pulled out the ring, which I'm not even sure I looked at. He got out down on one knee and I fell down to both knees and started crying and said "YES!!"

{The Ring}

Best day ever! I can't imagine a more perfect way for it to have happened. I'm very lucky to have such a wonderful man in my life who is my best friend, my support system, the love of my life, and pretty darn cute and funny! I'm so excited to spend the rest of my life with him!

Oh, and I also got flowers!

We celebrated with friends that night and drank lots of beer and ate Shepherd's Pie and Corned Beef and Cabbage. It was so much fun to be around friends and the atmosphere was so happy and celebratory. I loved it. The outpouring of love has been so sweet. I can't wait for the wedding to celebrate with everyone. I want it to be the best party EVER. 

The next night we went to dinner with some friends and celebrated some more. I get the feeling there will be lots of celebrating going on, and I don't have a single problem with that!


Peace, love, engaged!!, and LOTS of happiness!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Slow Cooker Shredded Pork

I posted about this shredded mexican pork from Lauren's Latest in my What to Eat Wednesday: Blog Edition post a couple weeks back and I finally got the chance to give it a try in the slow cooker. It's super easy and a great way to add some variety into our diet since we don't eat pork very often. There is only so much chicken you can eat before you get really, really bored. And after all, pork is the other white meat, right?

Plus, I got to break out my cast iron skillet which is becoming my favorite cooking item I own. It also makes me laugh because I just watched Tangled for the first time and the cast iron skillet is Rapunzel's favorite cooking item also, but for a much different reason...

Ok, I won't leave you on a cliffhanger like that. If you haven't seen the movie, Rapunzel uses her trusty cast iron skillet as protection and a weapon against all the "evils" that lurk out there in the deep dark world her mother has kept her hidden from - like the super cute Zachary Levi (yes, I know he is in animated form, but he's still super cute even as a cartoon). Sigh, Zachary Levi.

ANYWAYS... so I made this shredded pork and it was very good, but I was hoping the enchilada sauce would stand out more since I LOVE enchilada sauce. But I did cook it on low for about 9 hours since that's how long I'm away for the house so there is a chance I cooked it so long it broke down the enchilada sauce too much. I just added some warmed up extra sauce to the pork when I served it.

You can get the recipe HERE. The only thing I changed was using a whole onion and adding a dash of cayenne since my enchilada sauce was mild and I like things more on the spicy side. This pork is very versatile and would make a great filling for burritos, tacos, mixed with scrambled eggs, or just eaten alone like I did for lunch.

If you make it let me know how you like it!

Peace, love, pork, and happiness!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Back from New Orleans!

Our vacation in New Orleans was amazing! We packed a lot into our short time there and we basically tried to eat everything in the city. I'm starting a new job today so I don't know how much I'll be able to post in the upcoming week, but here's a little teaser from our trip.

{Swamp Tour Alligator}


Peace, love, back to blogging soon, and happiness!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Fresh Friday: How to Prepare Vegetables and Love Eating Them

So I haven't been doing a lot of cooking lately. (Bad blogger.) And what little cooking I have done, hasn't been blog worthy. Although who knew cauliflower pieces tossed with garlic powder, salt, pepper and olive oil roasted in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes could be so. damn. good? Vegetables can be tricky to cook and often they get a bad rap, mainly from kids and vegetable fearing adults like Adam, but if prepared properly you can turn something Adam won't touch with a ten foot pole into something he actually enjoys. So I got to thinking, if throwing together something so easy as roasted cauliflower ends up being so yummy, what other ways do I prepare vegetables that are simple yet delicious? Turns out I've got a few "methods" up my sleeve. I'm hesitant to call these "recipes" because they work best when you do a dash of this, a squeeze of that, and let your imagination join in on the fun.

First up, my tried and true, Zucchini with Almonds.

This tasty "zucchini medley" as Adam calls it (although it's not really a medley since it only features one vegetable and one nut), is so simple and only requires a little knife work. Julienned zucchinis get tossed in a hot pan with toasted almonds, olive oil, salt, pepper, cayenne, and a little lemon juice for about 2 minutes and voila - side dish done! I usually toast my sliced almonds in a pan with heated olive oil first and then add the zucchini and seasonings, finishing with the lemon juice.

Next, the best way to quickly prepare brussels sprouts. Caramelize them. This recipe is from Eat Live Run and it is truly delicious.

{photo from Eat Live Run}

Simply shred the tiny cabbage heads using a mandoline or a knife cutting from tip to stem. Heat some olive oil in a pan and toast almonds and some garlic, sliced shallots are nice in this as well.  Toss in brussels sprouts shreds and cook for about 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice and finally add a tablespoon of brown sugar and cook for another minute. Or if you're feeling naughty - cook up some bacon pieces and add brussels sprouts shreds to the rendered bacon fat with the bacon pieces and walnuts. Skip the lemon juice, but keep the brown sugar for a nice salty sweet combo.

And then we have green beans, specifically haricot verts - french cut green beans. I LOVE these things.  And I'm convinced if I serve them enough, some day Adam will too.

I get mine from Trader Joes, they are washed and ready to go. The great thing about french cut green beans is that they require no trimming and are skinny enough that you can sauté them.

One of my favorite ways to prepare them is what I call Green Beans a la Erica. Since this is how my friend Erica prepares them and they are delicious.

First, heat up some olive oil in a pan. Toss in some sliced or silvered almonds or even pine nuts and toast them up. Then through in your green beans. Sauté for 5 to 10 minutes. Add some minced garlic and let it get toasty. Finish with feta cheese, a squeeze of lemon, and a healthy grind of pepper. Add salt if you need it, but the feta should give you some saltiness.

And lastly, if all us fails and you've run out of ideas for how to prepare veggies, just roast them. Roasting brings out depth and sweetness in most vegetables and adds a nice crispyness that is satisfying and delicious. 

My favorite roast vegetables feature the fabulous haricot verts, yukon gold potatoes, onions, and lots of garlic.

What's your favorite way to prepare vegetables? I'm always looking for new ways to prepare them and new vegetables to try! Has anyone tried kohlrabi? I recently had it at a restaurant and it was freaking delicious!

Peace, love, eat your veggies, and happiness!