Monday, May 19, 2014

Stay Tuned

The short story since my last post: I worked a LOT. I wrote some other stuff, not on my own blog (duh, obviously). Hashtags became a thing. I quit my job (again). I moved across the country (again). I had a human (last time I'm doing that one). I almost froze to death and baked a lot while keeping said human alive during Winter 2014: Polar Vortex Edition. Should have worked harder to stave off insanity then. I intend to get back to posting very, very soon, hopefully, with some fun stuff. Hang tight!

Monday, May 7, 2012

I'm backkkk... with a new favorite soup!

I'm starting to feel like I can't keep up with all of the different types of social media, and I LOVE social media. I think I need to go somewhere with no Internet, electricity, phone service. For two days, at least? Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and this lapsed blog. Ugh. How can a girl keep up?

Anyway, I was feeling overwhelmed by life yesterday, which I solved by staying in bed reading until 10, then going for a 6-mile walk that involved drinking beer along the way, and then by having a meltdown at my local understaffed, poorly organized, overcrowded Safeway. Then I yelled at a guy who had been power-washing his sidewalk for four hours (seriously, they are FLOWER PETALS - relax, buddy). So, a hot bowl of soup was just what I needed to comfort me on a... balmy spring day. Whatever. It was delicious.

I have a soup secret, and I'm going to share it since no one reads this. If you want to add depth of flavor and richness to your soup, all you have to do is add a piece of Parmesan rind. Just a couple of inches long will make a big difference in a short time. You can usually buy the rinds at any decent deli counter, pretty cheap. I know I'm spoiled by the availability of food in Portland, but this should be an easy find.

I adapted this recipe from one of my new favorite blogs, Eggton, and she adapted it from Bon Appetit. Of course I couldn't follow the recipe exactly! I increased the volume for leftovers, used more turkey than it called for, and I left out the greens. Mostly, because I forgot spinach and didn't feel like chopping any kale. Lazy! I don't think it needed it. Here's my take.

Spring Turkey Meatball Soup

16 oz. ground turkey
1/2 c. grated Parmesan
1/2 c. Italian seasoned bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten
5 large cloves of garlic, 3 minced and 2 sliced and set aside
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 T. olive oil
8 c. chicken broth (heated in stock pot)
2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, halved and in 1/4 inch slices
3 large carrots, peeled and in 1/2 inch rounds
1 c. celery, chopped
2 14.5 or 1 large can of diced tomatoes
1 piece of Parmesan rind (I used this in lieu of the added Parmesan in the original recipe)
1 c. small pasta (I used ditalini)
1 c. spinach, packed (I forgot!)
1/4 c. basil, chopped

Combine turkey, Parmesan, bread crumbs, eggs, garlic, salt & pepper. Form into 1/2 inch meatballs. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan and brown (in batches if necessary) all over. The meatballs will finish cooking in the broth if not quite finished. 

Transfer to a plate as browned and add leek when finished. Saute until leek starts to soften and add garlic, stirring for 1 minute. Add leeks and garlic to the heated pot, along with the tomatoes, carrots, celery, and Parmesan rind. Bring to a boil and add pasta. Cook 8 minutes, then add meatballs and simmer another 5-10 minutes. You would probably add the spinach now. Add basil to finish and serve. Don't forget to watch out for the Parmesan rind!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

things change!

Well, I'm no longer staving off unemployment-induced insanity. I've been hired for a full-time position and apparently forgot how to post! I'll have to try and not divulge too many thoughts or secrets about work... the whole getting-fired/Dooce factor.

Something I spent a lot of time working on in the past few months was a fantastic product, Brella Oregon Pinot Noir. The Web site has launched and it's amazingly beautiful, designed by a dear friend of mine. I highly recommend checking out all of the awesome wine tools the site offers! Very cool stuff.

I'll try and get back to posting more in the next few weeks and months. Bear with me!

Monday, August 29, 2011

summer must eats, vol. 2.

Can you say "slacker?" HA. I've been crazy busy, with lots of great stuff on the horizon and a great trip to New York under my belt, writing has fallen to the wayside. Well, at least writing I don't get paid for... Anyway, I will have to do a New York round up and get some photos posted, but the SLR stayed mostly packed away, so I don't have much to show.

Summer is winding down here in the Pacific Northwest. It's gray and cloudy today, and it's sucking my motivation to go for a run. So, to postpone any physical activity, I thought I'd post a summer must eat, only it's really a must drink. SANGRIA! I had a birthday party for the old man a few weeks ago, tapas style. I made a bunch of small finger foods and salads, and we washed them all down with a giant, soccer-camp style cooler of sangria. Let me tell you: This sangria is sneaky. I mean, the name says it all. Be sure to warn your guests to take it slow!

Two things I did that worked out great: 1) I froze about a two-cup block of good ginger ale to toss in as the guests arrived. This cooled the sangria and, we'll say, thinned it out. 2) I added a quart-size bag of frozen strawberries we had purchased at the farmer's market a few weeks ago. They were really delicious, and were sweet enough that I added no sugar to this recipe. Honestly, I probably wouldn't add sugar anyway, so unless you have a huge sweet tooth, it's not necessary.

The key to me is to get a wine that is full-bodied but not jammy or too fruit-forward. Obviously, Spanish tempranillo works great. I found a very decent sangria-quality wine at my local store for $6.99 a bottle. Just ask in any decent wine store, and someone should be able to guide you. Also, I use Don's Mix (linked below). There are recipes online to make your own, but I bought mine at a local quality liquor store.

Sneaky Summer Sangria
(approximately 30-40 servings - depending on your guests - you know what I mean)

3-4 bottles of tempranillo or other red wine
3/4 c. Applejack apple brandy
1/2 c. Don's Mix
Juice of 1 large or 2 small lemons
Juice of 1 orange
1 orange, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
2 limes, sliced
Other fruit if you choose

In your appropriately sized mixing vessel, muddle the Applejack and fruit slices. Pour in the wine, juices, and Don's Mix and stir. Let flavors combine for several hours. Add 3-4 cups of ginger ale or club soda right before serving (or in individual cups). Garnish with citrus wheels. Party!!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

under pressure! and an awesome recipe.

We are going to NEW YORK in a few weeks, and I am feeling some pressure to pick JUST THE RIGHT PLACES for us to eat. For, like, 24 hours. I get pretty stressed out about these things, especially when there are a lot of options, because I live for fun, quality culinary experiences. I really, really do not fancy myself a foodie, nor do I think I have any kind of talent. But, I enjoy the heck out of it and it seems like food experiences are always so memorable and special to me. Whether traveling, entertaining, or just hanging with my man, I want everything to be Wonderful. And really, I know... first-world problems. Honestly, I enjoy this kind of "stress," except for the effect it has on my waistline. Tight pants are the pits.

Sigh, anyway, I've been slacking on writing and even taking pictures of my dinners because D is on vacation and we've been having too much fun. However, I did make an awesome recipe the other night that was a huge hit with both my brother, who came over for dinner, and D. No leftovers! Everything was devoured. I'm calling it Turkey Gyros, for lack of a better name.

I was craving gyros the other day, but they always make my stomach so upset, and I wanted a healthier alternative to the greasy, rotating meat you get in little storefronts. I was also craving falafel, but I wanted to avoid any kind of greasy frying. This came to mind, and it was spectacular. The gyro-esque flavors were spot-on, and fresh summer produce made it even better. Plus, no stove cooking! Everything went on the grill.

I can't wait to make it again! I used Greektown Billygoat seasoning from the Spice House, which is a family favorite for everything from kebabs to burgers to dips, but any spice blend should do.

Turkey Gyros (serves 4-6, depending on appetites)

1.25 pounds of ground turkey (I prefer the white and dark meat)
2 T. plain breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon good Greek seasoning
Ground pepper
6 pitas, flatbreads, tortillas, pocket bread, etc.

Tomatoes, sliced
Cucumbers, sliced
Onions, sliced
Fresh parsley, chopped
Tzatziki sauce (here is a great recipe - I prefer to use Greek yogurt)
Feta or goat cheese (optional)
Hot sauce (optional)

Mix the turkey through the pepper and form into two-inch patties. Make an indention in the middle with your thumb to keep the shape. Grill or pan-fry patties until cooked, remove from heat and cover with foil. Grill pita/bread as needed. Have diners fill pita with the patties and toppings. Eat hot!

EDIT: I should note that if your spice blend doesn't contain salt, you may want to add some to the burger mix. I'm trying to cut back on the salt, so I didn't add any extra, but that spice blend does contain it.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

dinner, 7/22/11.

I've said before that I "like" "Food & Wine" magazine on Facebook, and I get some of the best menu ideas from them. They just do it right. Great tone, great posts and recipes, great photos. I love it all.

Friday night, at the suggestion of F&W, I made David Burke's Grilled Skirt Steak with Peaches, only I used flank steak. The butcher we frequent usually only has frozen skirt steak, and I didn't want to deal with it, so I got the flank. I really enjoy cooking flank steak. It marinates quickly and is easy to cook, and as long as you cut it right, it's delicious.

The peaches were an awesome touch and even the husband commented how much he liked them. I was pleased, especially considering that grilled fruit is not really his jam. This recipe paired wonderfully with the Arbor Brook Pinot Noir we enjoyed before/with/after dinner. 

Also on the plate was some grilled corn and a spinach salad. I've discovered an interesting method for making an almost-wilted spinach salad without the hot bacon dressing. I toast some sliced almonds in a pan and in the meanwhile toss the spinach with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and some soft goat cheese. Then, when the almonds are hot, I throw them in the bowl and mix everything together. It almost melts the cheese and softens the spinach, and it is soooooooo tasty. Don't forget salt and pepper!

Last night, we used the leftover steak for some tacos. That marinade pulls some serious double duty. Two perfect summer dinners!

Friday, July 22, 2011

dinner, 7/21/11.

Dinner was great last night! I made an awesome grilled veggie quinoa salad and just grilled some simply marinated chicken breasts. The night before, I had grilled a ton of red pepper and zucchini, so I just diced up the leftovers and tossed them into this salad. Elegant, easy, tasty, and any veggies you like would work! I'm just going to grill extra vegetables all the time now to have around for this recipe.

Grilled Veggie Quinoa
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups leftover grilled veggies, diced (zucchini, eggplant, pepper, onion, anything really!)
3 green onions, chopped
Handful parsley, chopped (or any herbs would work)
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

1 T. white balsamic vinegar
1/2 T. lemon juice (more to taste, I like mine pretty acidic)
1 T. olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

Cook quinoa and cool thoroughly. I find it's best to cool it in a bowl rather than the pan or it can get mushy. Add remaining ingredients and toss until well combined. Chill thoroughly and serve. Can be made the night before and leave the dressing off to avoid sogginess. Yum!