Posts tagged ‘Yum’

April 14, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday – Volume 4


I just finished Bossypants by Tina Fey and it cracked me up.  She is extremely funny (not shocking), but also obviously very thoughtful and a great writer (also, by the way, totally fine with f-bombs.  Just thought you should know before running out and reading it to your five year old or something).   It is written as a series of connected essays, and I found myself reading several of them out loud to my husband or sending them to my mom and sister.   A fun, quick read.


I understand the Kindle opposition; I too LOVE the smell and feel of books, but I was over the moon yesterday when I discovered my dear Anne Shirley Blythe can be gotten for free for the Kindle.  Now she goes with me everywhere.  I love her.


 My newest home idea is to paint my kitchen thusly:

I kind of have a wild hair that I want to do it this weekend.  Which, check back with me on Monday because we will see.


I just read Pioneer Woman’s official confirmation that she’ll have her own show on the Food Network soon.  Wow!  See how blogging can pay off?  Two book deals, a potential movie deal, and your own tv show.  Way to be awesome, Ree!  I am sure I can anticipate the same for myself in the near future.


Today I found a recipe for cinnamon rolls that doesn’t require proofing or rising?  What?!?  I am going to try immediately.  Also, on the exactly opposite end of the spectrum, chocolate cookies with yeast.  My whole world is flipped, turned upside down.


Is the song in your head now?  One of my favorite bizarro phenomena of the modern era is that anyone of my generation (early-mid 80s babies) can sing every lyric of that song with almost no prompting at all.  It’s universal (alright, United-Statesian).


Gratuitous baby cute:

Who said I wanted to wear a bunny hat anyway?

This was taken the day she started getting roseola.  We thought she was just grumpy but she was on her way to sicky.  She’s all better now, though!

Thanks to Jen at Conversion Diary for hosting Quick Takes!

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April 6, 2011

Chicken “Carbonara,” or, How to Make Do With What is in the Pantry

The other night I went to make dinner and I was missing several key ingredients.  I didn’t have cream to make a creamy sauce, I didn’t have tomato sauce to make a red sauce, and I couldn’t figure out what to make with my thawed chicken thighs.  I visited Pioneer Woman for some ideas, and decided to try an extremely modified carbonara.  Using this as a starting point, I gathered together these guys:

Not shown: two eggs,  olive oil, spaghetti (or whatever long noodle pasta you like), and a couple of tablespoons of butter


First, season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Put the chicken into a deep skillet skin side down.  Let it brown really well and then flip to the other side.  Check out my new splatter shield!  Favorite kitchen gadget.  I am freakishly afraid of being splattered on.

While the chicken is cooking, dice up your onion and mince your garlic (or cheat, like me, and use the stuff in the jar).  Also, grate your parmesan cheese.  You’ll need about 3/4 of a cup. Once the chicken is done, transfer it to a plate and drain all but a tablespoon or two of the fat from the pan.

Saute the diced onion in the chicken fat and after a minute or two add the garlic as well.  Saute until translucent.

Thus endeth almost all of my useful pictures.

Go ahead and get your pasta going at this point.  I used spaghetti, cooked to the instructions on the box.

With a slotted spoon, remove the onion and garlic from the pan and add in your mushrooms.  Brown them up nicely and remove them from the pan as well.

Deglaze the pan with about a cup of wine and let it reduce til it’s almost gone, then add in a cup of stock (note: I think chicken stock would be preferable, but I was working out of the pantry and we didn’t have any).  At this point, add your garlic, onions and mushrooms back in and let simmer.

Now here’s where things get weird.  In a separate, large bowl (big enough to fit everything including your pasta) beat together your cheese and your two eggs.  As soon as your pasta is finished, drain it and dump it, piping hot, on top of the egg/cheese mixture.  Immediately add the onion/mushroom/stock sauce to the top to the bowl along with about 3 tablespoons of butter.  With tongs, briskly toss everything together for a few minutes until it all comes together and looks nice and creamy.

Top with pine nuts, more parmesan and some pepper and next to your crispy chicken and I promise, as bad as that last picture is, it was quite good!

And yes, it would have been nice to have a finished product photo here.  No, I don’t have one.  I think my camera died before I had a plate ready.  At least, that is the most likely explanation.


April 4, 2011

Oh, the Entertainment – The Auld Irisher

Since the hubs and I started dating lo these 3 1/2 years ago, we have had a great time visiting new (and often extremely interesting) restaurants.  Our favorite way to find out-of-the-way places is to flip through our Entertainment Book and pick something that sounds good and is close by and to check it out.  This method has resulted in a number of entertaining stories, because as often as not, the restaurants advertising in the EB are… how do you say… unique.

There is the “Italian” restaurant that also serves hot wings, burritos, and orange chicken.  There is that other Italian place with great food but a strange owner who tossed the menus on the table, grunted when we ordered our food, and poured the wine straight to the top of the glass (I’m talking, we needed straws to keep our laps dry).  When he brought the check, not only did he not give us our discount, but he used some imaginative math to find our total.   We could have eaten at Ruth’s Chris for what he tried to charge us.

At one french restaurant we made best friends with our waiter who told us that their bananas foster was okay, but his wife’s was better and did we want to come over later to try it?  The first Indian restaurant we tried had an actual matchmaker working in the back corner (I kid you not).  We were the only other people in the place and spent no time talking to each other and the entire time listening raptly to the matchmaking going down in the back corner booth.

Despite a few negative experiences, for the most part we have loved checking all these new places out and if nothing else, we almost always get a great story out of it.  In case anyone else in the Orange County area wants to get in on the fun, I’m going to start a new review section chronicling our adventures (and misadventures) at locations in our Entertainment Book.

Oh, the Entertainment, Review #1 — The Auld Irisher

Long overdue for a date, the hubs and I went to see a movie (The Adjustment Bureau – recommended.  Philosophically interesting with a love story.  Listen for the sweet Thomas Newman score– love him!) and have dinner.  We wandered over to the restaurants adjacent to the theater and saw the Auld Irisher among them.  A quick consultation with the book told us we had ourselves a winner (buy one entree, get one free!) and we went in.

The ambiance was just right for a pub: loud but not raucous, dark but not scary, and intimate but not crowded.  We settled down into our booth and ordered a Jameson (to split; were I to have a whole Jameson to myself the hubs would have had to toss me over his shoulder, caveman-like, to get me out of there).  Just perusing the menu was fun.  They have everything from ahi burgers to steamed mussels to shepherd’s pie (plus they spell “Children’s Fair,”  “Children’s Fayre” and what’s not fun about that?).  I settled on the fish and chips, and after much debate he went for the lamb burger.

While we waited our waitress brought us HP Sauce (!) and other British-y condiments.

See?  Authentic.

The food came out quickly, was piping hot, and looked lovely.  My fish and chips was deliciously crispy and beer-battery.  Just exactly what one wants in fish and chips:

Do forgive the terrible phone picture, but as you can see my fries were so irresistible some were already being stolen.

Hubs’s lamb burger was also so, so good.  It was juicy and flavorful and I didn’t even know I liked lamb.  Just excellent.  Another equally bad picture:

That salad had homemade bleu cheese dressing on it as well.

All told, we really enjoyed the Auld Irisher and would highly recommend it to other Entertainment Book treasure hunters.  I’d go there without the discount too; the prices were very reasonable for the high quality food: 14 dollars for the fish and chips and 13 for the lamb burger, I believe.  With our buy one, get one free discount we got out of there for under 30 bucks even after the whiskey and tip.

This pretty much speaks for itself:

Rest assured, all the fries were eaten before any plates were cleared.

March 16, 2011

Birthday Dinner

Photo credit:  The Pioneer Woman

Today is my hubs’s birthday.  He is 3 cubed and he is psyched about it.  He got a composter for his birthday (yes, I am that romantic) and we are having  possibly definitely the best steak and sauce/side combo ever for dinner.  It’s going to be legendary.  PW is not messing around.  I wouldn’t lie to you.  It is spectacular and if you haven’t made it I implore you to do so.  I don’t even like blue cheese and I could put this stuff on my ice cream, it’s that good.

Try it.  Trust.

PS- Where would you be without me to guide you to these little known sites like “YouTube” and “Pioneer Woman”?

March 15, 2011

This is why I avoid Trader Joe’s

These are on my desk right now.  Full disclosure: I have already had one and it’s 9:32am.

People talk about it like it’s a health food store but I always leave with what must surely be crack-laced chocolate covered pretzels, parmesan crisps, wine, fried fontina-filled riceballs, and, like, pink lemonade.  It’s not just me, right?  Or does everyone else leave with tabbouleh and quinoa and organic baby spinach?

It’s the big questions in life, you know?