Monday, August 29, 2011

Moscow Mule

On Friday, A and I joined our friends at Anvil Bar & Refuge to indulge in a few specialty cocktails.  I asked the bartender to recreate the Moscow Mule I had in Chicago earlier this month.  He mixed together vodka, homemade ginger beer and lime juice.  It was fabulous!  It was a perfect way to beat the 100+ degree heat we have experienced the past few months.  A, had the sole porter on tap, but it was a bit too smoky for our liking.  I would not recommend it.  After going home to check on Shorty we reconvened with our friends at Block 7 Wine Co.  Our table ordered burgers and pizza, which was just OK but the best part of the meal was the delicious bread pudding with extra caramel sauce.  I would go back for that dessert!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Spaghetti Squash with Edamame-Basil Pesto

The first time I tried spaghetti squash was when we were living in Seattle and received our first box o'veggies from a local CSA farm.  It's such a a versatile vegetable and you can dress it up with any seasonings you prefer.  Try it out and you won't wanna go back to regular spaghetti.

Spaghetti Squash with Edamame Basil pesto
adapted from Cooking Light

1 spaghetti squash
Cooking spray
1 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
5-6 garlic cloves, minced
1 bag frozen shelled edamame, thawed
3/4 cup spaghetti sauce
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.
Cut each squash in half lengthwise; discard seeds. Place squash halves, cut sides down, on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until tender. Cool slightly. Scrape inside of squash with a fork to remove spaghetti-like strands and place into plate.

Place basil, oil, pepper, salt, garlic, and edamame in a food processor; pulse until coarsely chopped. Serve edamame pesto over squash; sprinkle with cheese.  The original recipe doesn't call for spaghetti sauce but I thought it adds a perfect finishing flavor!

Serves 4-5 people

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Grilled Corn & Avocado Salsa

This is a delicious easy appetizer with chips and salsa.  Actually craving another batch!

3 ears of corn, husked and grilled
1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 avocado, diced
3 green onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno, finely diced
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
salt, pepper, paprika to taste

Mix together in a bowl and serve with multigrain tortilla scoop chips :)

Vegetable Bolognese

1/2 pound pasta – I used whole wheat penne
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
5 garlic cloves
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces baby bella mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 can of diced tomatoes
1/4 cup Parmesan

Place the carrots, onion, bell pepper, and garlic in a food processor. Pulse the vegetables until finely chopped but still chunky. Place the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped vegetables, seasonings, salt, and pepper and cook until tender, about 6 minutes.

In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Add the mushrooms and tomato paste and continue cooking, stirring to dissolve the tomato paste, until the mushrooms are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and reserved liquid from the pasta. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and let the mixture simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.

Toss the pasta with the sauce, sprinkle with plenty of parmesan and serve.

Serves 2-3

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Chicago, IL: August 2011

Last weekend, A and I visited Chicago to attend a friend's wedding and spend time with our good friends, Puja and Tanay, whom we met during our time in Seattle.  We flew in Friday night, rented a car and headed straight to Puja's condo in downtown Chicago.  After freshening up and splitting a bottle of yummy Washington state red wine, we went to Hubbard Inn for dinner and more drinks.  There I feel in love with a drink by the name of Moscow Mule, which consisted of ginger beer + vodka + lime juice.  Absolutely perfect!  I was hoping to make this drink this weekend. 

On Saturday morning, A and I headed to the suburbs to attend our friend Sachin's wedding to Shila.  The groom and their friends danced their way to the wedding hall to greet Shila's family.  In between the wedding and reception we ventured out to the local theatre to watch Crazy, Stupid Love.  We rarely get out to watch movies back home so this was a real treat!  The reception was filled with great music, food and dancing!

Sachin with his sister

the groom


groom and me!

my hubby, A

On Sunday morning we woke up to torrential rainstorms but cleared up by the time we left to head back to the city.  On the way we stopped by Dunkin Donuts for a few munchkins and coffee.  For lunch we headed to Lou Malnati's for some awesome deep dish pizza and a few beers. After lunch we walked over to the Bean and Millennium Park.  We wandered around some more until heading back to Tanay's after hearing about a way delayed flight!  Fun times in Chicago, can't wait to go back!

about to grub on deepdishpizza

the bean!

the bean

fun park in the middle of downtown!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Creamy Avocado Spaghetti

Creamy Avocado Spaghetti
adapted from Oh She Glows

2 medium avocados, pitted
6-7 cloves garlic
handful of fresh basil
1/2 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
lemon, juiced
salt/pepper to taste
1/2 lbs spaghetti

Bring several cups of water to boil, add spaghetti and cook for 6-8 minutes.  In the meantime, add avocado, garlic, basil, spices, evoo and lemon into a food processor and process until smooth and creamy.  When spaghetti is done cooking, drain in a strainer and pour back into pot.  Pour sauce onto spaghetti and toss until fully combined.  Serve immediately.  A, liked a dash of sriracha atop the spaghetti for some additional kick :)

Serves 2

Friday, August 5, 2011

Roasted Tomatillo & Bean Enchiladas

I found some amazing tomatillos at Whole Foods (or Whole Paycheck as A likes to say) the other day and knew exactly which recipe I was going to make!  *I have no picture because A was starving and we gobbled up before I could snap one!

Roasted tomatillo sauce:
1 lb tomatillos  (7-8)
1 medium onion, sliced diagonally
1 jalapeno chili, sliced in half
4 garlic cloves
1/2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1.5 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup greek yogurt, creme fraise or sour cream

Enchilada filling:
1 can refried beans
handful of fresh spinach
1/4 medium onion, diced finely
5-6 baby bella mushrooms, diced

12 corn tortillas
Mexican cheese
13x9 inch pan

In the meantime, saute onions, mushroom, spinach in a sauce pan.  Pour the can of bean and a splash of water in the pan.  Once warm, turn off the heat and let cool.

Pour tomatillo sauce at the bottom of the 13x9 inch pan to prevent the tortillas from sticking. Place the tortillas in a dampened paper towel and microwave for 25-30 seconds.  Once pliable, fill with bean mixture and cheese.  Repeat for the remainder of tortillas.  Pour the tomatillo sauce on the top of the enchiladas and sprinkle additional cheese.  Pop into the oven at 375 for 20 minutes and enjoy!  These taste best when served with fresh guacamole and my mom's famous salsa!  Look for a recipe soon.

Serves 3-4 hungry people

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Meet Shorty

Hello, my name is Shorty and I'm 8 years old.  I'm a pie-balled, mini-daschund born and raised mostly  in TX.  My favorite pasttimes include sunbathing, playing with squeaky balls, hiding toys in my blanket and then finding them again and sleeping.  Favorite foods:  anything that you will give me.  Anyways thanks for stopping by!  Time for me to catch some zzz's.  Ruff!
this is me with my favorite toy! 
mom hates this one b/c it squeaks really loud!

me doing what i do best!

Rajma (indian kidney bean curry) + Rice

dinner w/ a side of Shorty

Rajmah + Rice

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small chunk fresh ginger, finely cut
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 plum tomato + 1 red bell pepper, pureed
6 cloves garlic, chopped (yes, i love garlic!)
1 jalapeno chili, cut in half
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
pinch asoefetida (hing)
1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
1 can, red kidney beans
8 ounce can of tomato sauce
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in a deep sauce pan over medium-high heat.  Add cumin seeds and mustard seeds.  Wait until it begins to pop, then add the asoefetida. Add ginger, garlic, onion, green chili, and let saute for one minute.  Then add remaining spices. Wait a few minutes, then add the tomato/red bell pepper sauce, tomato sauce, salt and cook for an additional five minutes, stirring frequently. Add the rinsed kidney beans, bring to a boil then reduce to medium heat and let cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Garnish with cilantro.

Serve with rice and yogurt (i like greek yogurt!).  A usually likes some gunda pickle on the side but opted not to since I had added sufficient spice.

Serves 2-3 people

Peanut Tofu Curry

I was in the mood for some spicy curry but it was a Tuesday at 6PM, I had no desire to go to the grocery store sooo what does a girl do but cook with condiments everyone should have on hand!  I found this quick recipe and knew A would love it too!  Generally I lean towards healthier recipes but peanut butter is healthy too right?

Peanut Tofu Curry
adapted from Daily Garnish

1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
sriracha, to taste
Tofu, cut into pieces
Red bell pepper, sliced

Whisk peanut butter, rice vinegar, liquid aminos, hoisin sauce, sriracha and water until it forms a paste.  If it's too thick, add a bit more water.

Add 1 tbsp of sesame oil in a nonstick pan over medium high heat.

Once the pan is hot, add the tofu.  Flip the tofu several times until it begins to brown evenly on all sides.  Now comes the fun part!  Add the peanut sauce mixture to the tofu.  Stir quickly to prevent sticking or burning.  Add the red bell pepper (or any other veggie you prefer) to the pan.  Mix until evenly coated with peanut sauce and viola done!

Serve with rice or over noodles (I prefer brown rice!  A, can beg to differ...=)). 

Serves 2-3 people