Monthly Archives: October 2011

Friday Food Round-Up!

This week was an epic testament to the power of all manner of leftovers.  Leftovers from parents.  Leftovers from places.  When I got home on Sunday, I had no energy or will to action any sort of meaningful dinner, and on Monday I worked the longest day in memory.

The key to making leftovers work?  Making sure the leftovers you have are delicious.  Which in our case (French Stew + Chicken Saltimbocca – thanks, Mom!  Spicy Chicken from Gion.) they definitely were.

Mediocrity just doesn’t reheat well.

Tuesday – Chicken Schnitzel with Mustard Sauce and Cauliflower Gratin from Great Easy Meals

I’ve had a bag of panko bread crumbs for the better part of a year now and I still can’t really remember what I originally purchased them for.  I mean, I know from the fact that they were open that we’ve used them before.  But beyond that?  I’ve got nothing.

This dish was a great excuse to use them.  Panko gave the schnitzel SUCH a light, crispy crust.

I was a little bit skeptical of the mustard sauce – which was merely a blend of greek yogurt, dijon and salt + pepper.  But it was creamy, rich, and not TOO strong.  If I was looking for an interesting way to spice up baked potatoes or needed a light sauce for vegetables again, I would make it again in a heartbeat.

re: The Cauliflower –  It’s really time for me to start using the suggested cheese and heavy cream when I’m making gratins, because 1% milk and shredded mozzarella are just not the same.  Fact.  Was it tasty?  Sure.  But did it taste anything like what the recipe writers intended?  I suspect not.

Thursday – Beef with Broccoli, Mushrooms and Peppers inspired by The Pioneer Woman’s Beef with Snow Peas

I don’t know about y’all, but I don’t just have snow peas lurking around my house.

What I do usually have hanging around in my fridge on a weekly basis?  Broccoli.  Mushrooms.  Bell Peppers.  Green Onions.

Since Ree already re-purposed this recipe once with peppers, I felt completely comfortable re-purposing it with the vegetables I had on-hand.  And, since we were planning on using a little less than a pound of beef, the vegetables REALLY bulked it up.

Our only modification (beyond the obvious vegetable additions?): Doubling the sauce so that it would coat everything adequately.

What is your favorite dish to eat as leftovers?

I’ve got to say, Indian food reheats EXTREMELY well.

What kind of bread crumbs are your go-to choice?  Panko?  Regular?  Italian?

About these ads

Coming to Terms

This has been a real week of coming to terms with things.

Sunday evening, 6:00 PM – We turned on the heat.

Monday morning, 7:30 AM – I realize I can’t leave the house without a scarf anymore.

Tuesday morning, 6:00 AM – I acknowledge the fact that hot coffee in the morning is the only thing that will get me out of the house until the trees have leaves again.

Wednesday afternoon, 4:00 PM – I notice that none of my sweatshirts really feel Warm Enough.

Thursday evening, 5:50 PM – The big guns come out.

Legwarmers strike.

I don’t know how I blacked out this Essential Apparel from my memories of fall/winter/early spring, but truly, I did.

And the moment I put them on, just like the last time I had this revelation, the shivers disappeared.

It’s going to be a long five months.

Legwarmers: Are you a believer?

A Piece of The Hive

A few weeks ago, I won a giveaway on Julie’s blog.

Right?  How is that even possible?  I spent the entirety of 2010 not winning ANY giveaways and suddenly in the last month I won two.

I suppose we could write it off as one of those When It Rains It Pours-type things.

The sweet swag?

A jar of honey.

But not just ANY jar of honey.

Y’all should know that this particular jar of honey falls square in the category of Things That Make My Heart Explode like Megan’s Blackberry Grand Marnier Jam.

Which is now the one and only thing I have in common with Ree Drummond and Alton Brown.

But back to the honey.

Julie went big this year and became a beekeeper.  She researched the whole affair, built a hive and…kept it.  For real.  With the suit.  With the smoker.  With the honeycombs.  The whole nine yards.

If you can imagine what beekeepers do, she was doing it.

So it’s pretty special, because it’s the first honey from the hive.

But it’s also pretty special because I know just how hard she worked and how far she has come since she ordered her beekeeper’s suit in March.

When she announced she was going to give some of it away?  My jaw literally dropped.

That stuff is liquid gold.

So, now I’m left with the dilemma of what to do with it.  Most certainly some of it will end up on my oatmeal.  Drizzled on bread with butter.  Blended into butter and served with cornbread.  Licked off of a spoon.  Painted on roasted meat as a glaze.

But I kind of want to action some baking with it as well.  I just have a sense that some sort of bread/cookie/cake could be just an epically fantastic (and quite possibly extremely forgiving) mode of honey consumption.

Plus, it will keep the party going just a little bit longer.

What do you typically use honey in?

Have you ever won a blog giveaway?  Was it a fantastic prize or did you end up receiving really bizarre stuff?

A Bit of Pumpkin Spice

Let’s talk Pumpkin Spice Lattes.  Also known as Part Dos of the Fall Five.

On Thursday morning, the opportunity to get coffee at the airport instead of embracing thrift and making my own presented itself.

Truth: I actually really enjoy the experience of brewing and drinking coffee in my kitchen in the morning.

Did I mention that Starbucks’ Perfect Oatmeal is actually pretty legit?  Because there’s that too.

But that’s me getting off-topic.  Oatmeal is neither here nor there.  Lattes, on the other hand, are center stage.

I thought I loved them.

It’s great if you still do.

I ordered a tall, skim latte – no whip.  I felt like if anything, this would make the pumpkin flavor a little bit bolder and the sweet and creamy factor a little bit less…prominent.

Important question: How necessary is the whip in a latte?  Because I’ve never really gotten the point.

But let’s get serious.  I grabbed my cup from the counter, walked off and started sipping.

My verdict?  I had…a latte.  And a kind of mediocre one at that – it didn’t taste even remotely reminiscent of pumpkin.  In fact, it didn’t even really taste spice-y.

Yes, I realize it would be more appropriate to write “spicy,” but I think we can all agree that’s not what I was going for right there.

After settling down at the gate, I took my show on the road and workshopped the issue for a bit with Stephanie and Sarah who both also agreed that the best way to describe these foam-laden heralds of fall would be…Disappointing.

So that leaves me crossing my fingers and toes that they they don’t mangle my Eggnog Lattes this winter.

Pumpkin Spice Lattes – love or hate?  Do you actually think they taste like pumpkin?


What is your favorite coffee drink?

Recovery – It’s A Part Of The Plan

Recovery: Week Two = Finito

The theme:  Just Because You Don’t Feel Like You’ve Been Run Over By A Semi Doesn’t Mean You’re Anywhere Near 100%.

Yeah.

After a few days of running, I was hurting again, but in New and Exciting places.

So I decided to give it a rest (since that’s what you’re supposed to do)  and I spent a couple of days on the exercise bike.  Which means that I also spent a couple of days wincing when I sat down, in the name of Cross Training.

How nice.

Remember how I never, ever ride the exercise bike?  Me too.  So next time, if someone wants to be That Person who throws themselves in front of the train so that homegirl can take a seat comfortably, I will be forever indebted to you.

I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that this week, the doubt began to creep in.

Because I am the queen of irrational moments, I decided that there was no way I could possibly be able to log another 36 mile week again.  Much less run 10 miles (my favorite distance) or whip my body into shape for the first annual, Kat Eats Two Thanksgiving Dinners In Three Hours Treadmill Half-Marathon also known as the KETTDITHT-Half.

For interested parties, there will be details to come at the beginning of November.

Feel free to laugh at the ridiculousness of everything that just happened there.  That’s just how the mind of a runner works.  It’s all or nothing.  Period.

But I stepped back, cracked open my planner (where my recovery instructions are highlighted in green) and reminded myself that last week I was supposed to do up to 25% of my pre-marathon mileage.  And this week was about doing from 25% – 50% of my pre marathon mileage.

So  11.5 miles?

WAS JUST FINE.

It was appropriate.

It was normal.

It was A Part Of The Plan.

This week?  There is more work to be done.  More miles to be covered.  More yoga to be practiced.  More flapping Pilates to take part in.

Running Pack in The Sky: Would you participate in a treadmill race (at the distance of your choice) on Thanksgiving morning?

Bikers: Is there a way to get around the sore booty thing without buying the expensive fancy shorts?

Uno: I don’t know that I’ll bike that much once I’m back to fighting-form.  Dos: I think Marcus will kill me if I buy more gear right now, considering the fact that I have a bag of running tights just sitting in my closet right now, waiting to get in on the action.

It’s a Series

Lindsey: We did a terrible job of documenting this trip.

Truth.

Even though this wasn’t the busiest trip in-terms of official sights seen (it was more of a clean-up extravaganza), I would definitely say it rivaled our New York trip last fall in-terms of miles moved.

Which is to say, we still saw a lot of stuff.

I was ready to go crazy with the camera.  I made it a point to have it in-hand rather than tucked away in my bag.

When the time came to point and shoot, I was like…?  Can’t we just live our lives?

I mean if the choice is between enjoying a glass of wine and the crazy, rave-quality sound system in the courtyard of the Hirshhorn during the Warhol gallery opening OR taking pictures of a lit fountain at night…

Well, the glass of wine will always win.

I will admit that I was 11/10 fascinated by the bases of the flag poles in the capital.  So I snapped away at those things like a woman possessed.

It’s a series.

As far as museums go?  I’m the kind of person who follows directions and refrains from using photographic devices while in the exhibits.

Some things are best experienced in person.

I just can’t imagine that  year from now, I’ll have an emotional connection to a grainy photograph of a Stradivarius violin.  And if I’m still drooling over Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers, that probably means it’s time for me to source a pair of my own.

When you go on vacation, what’s your strategy for photo-documenting?

Live and Let Live

Confession: I very nearly ate an entire bowl of bolognese sauce at dinner tonight.  In case you think I’m given to exaggeration, please believe me when I say I Am Not Kidding.

Lindsey and I performed the equivalent of flash mob yoga on the banks of the Potomac, which is to say that we practiced flash yoga.

Pro: We did not end up with water stains on the crotches of our pants.

Con: Weird dudes stared at our booties.

I extended my fro yo feast streak to three days.

And I found the most bitchin’ halloween costume of all time.

Most important question: Am I going as a cougar (woman) or cougar (cat)?

Vacation is good.

Friday Food Round-Up!

I’ll be honest, when it came time to go grocery shopping this week, I had absolutely zero interest in formulating any sort of meal plan.  But I cracked open my recipe binder and started looking for recipes that we had never touched.  What’s the point in saving them if you’re never going to make them?

Even though I do print off the odd-dud here and there, I like to think that I know what future me will want to eat for dinner.

I usually end up being right about that.

Sunday – Indonesian Fried Rice with Trader Joe’s Chicken Cilantro Mini-Wontons

Warning: When you attempt to action a fried-rice arrangement that is meant to serve six, it will really feed 12 extremely hungry people.

The recipe called for lots of shrimp-type things that we didn’t do.  And then we added egg, mini-corn, broccoli, peas and edamame to the already necessary mushrooms and onions.  We doubled the ketjap manis.

Was I perplexed when it instructed me to cover the rice and place it into the oven while I stir fried the remaining toppings?  Yes.  But the end result was far less messier than other Wok-capades I’ve had in the past year.  I would use that technique again in a heartbeat for other stir-fries.

PSA: If you’re a pot sticker lover, but you’re trying to live healthfully, check out the Trader Joe’s Chicken Cilantro Mini Wontons.  I was turned onto these by my cousin probably three years ago and they’re to die for.  So flavorful and confusingly low-calorie.  To the point where I’m not even sure how they could possibly be legal.  What I do know?  That we always have a bag of them in our freezer.

Monday – Melissa D’Arabian’s Sesame Chicken, leftover fried rice

Truth: I LOVE Melissa D’Arabian.  She’s never given me a “dud” recipe, the ingredients she uses are totally reasonable and the techniques she employs are realistic for someone who just wants to get dinner on the table.

So I stirred up my marinade, dumped the chicken in and let it do its thing in the fridge for a half-hour or so while I tried to wrap my mind around how I could possibly come up with anything that even remotely tasted like chinese food.

And when it was time to get cooking and I still didn’t have an answer, I tossed the chicken in the flour/sesame seed mixture, laid it out on the pan, drizzled it with butter and just Trusted In The Process.

The end result was crispy, moist,  chunks of chicken.

Your point, Melissa.

Portion-wise, we used three smaller pieces of chicken and ended up with enough food for dinner and lunch for both of us.

Our modification: We took the marinade, added another 2 T of soy sauce and mirin and boiled it for about 10-12 minutes to reduce it down and create a syrup-y sauce.  When the chicken came out of the oven for the second time, we drizzled the sauce over it, tossed it up and served.

Tuesday – Roasted Sirloin Tip, Hash browns, Green Beans

Thank God for Rainbow – that place practically gives away their meat.  Yes, I’m sure that it’s meant to be a loss-leader to draw people into the store.  But in my case, I really only go into the store to buy…beef.

This was our first attempt at a beef roast-style arrangement.  I was shooting for greatness, but since Marcus and I are not beef-cooking experts yet (I know, right?) I was bracing myself for an epic display of mediocrity.

Theme of the week: Trust In The Process.

We let it sit at room temperature (obviously), seasoned it up with some salt and pepper and about a teaspoonful or so of Penzey’s English Prime Rib Rub and once we put it in the oven (which was cranked up to 500 degrees and then immediately brought down to 350), we shut the door and tried to channel some patience.  And a little bit of prayerfulness.

40 minutes later, our faith in the unknownable was rewarded.

Yes, I realize the way that I chopped it up isn’t the proper presentation for a roast.  But because we got the weird end bit that couldn’t stand up in order to be cut, it just made more sense to do some wedges and perform all of our butchery on the plate.

Glory.

Wednesday – Vegetarian Taco Hash, Guacamole

As a direct result of my freestyle grocery trip at the beginning of the week, Wednesday left me a little bit puzzled when I was faced with two avocados, two limes, a jalapeno and a three-pack of green bell peppers.  Apparently the whole color thing was a little bit thematic.

But tonight would be a perfect example of why it’s good to know what you have in  your cookbooks.  Because sometimes you’ll intentionally go out to buy all of the ingredients for a meal, and other times the meal will just happen.

Example: Bri gave me a recipe for her Beef Taco Hash about a year ago.  Tonight I had basically all of the ingredients, but they in different incarnations (example: I had bell peppers, hash browns and onions instead of the fiesta-mix hash browns).

So I cracked open a can of refried black beans, stirred in some taco seasoning and got hustlin’.

The end result is what could be best (and only) described as a Man Meal.  A pile of ingredients with lots of flavor but no aesthetic.  Delicious.  Easy.  Filling.  Wonderful reincarnated as breakfast (how disappointed am I that I can’t see that one through this weekend?).

A complete meal to bring to work.

I’ll post the recipe for what I actually made later this in the next week or so.

Are you a proficient cooker of meat or do you end up over-cooking it?

Do you read through your cookbooks?

The First Day

image

I’ve been up since 3:15 AM (CST).

I spent a half-hour on the tarmac in Minneapolis. 

My second flight was delayed.

But I made it to D.C. in one piece!

After I stopped by Lindsey’s apartment to reinvent my carry on as a purse, I got on the Metro and headed off towards the mall.

My first (ravenous) stop: Fro yo.

Obviously.

I thought I could handle the craving, but in all reality I was just starving.

My second stop: The Newseum.  Without going into so much detail right now (I’m blogging on my phone right now, so there will likely be more snaps later), it was like a spiritual home.  I loved it 11/10.  I practically danced through the place.

My third stop: A lovely round of happy hour drinks at Circa and a ferocious falafel-topped salad from Sweet Greens.  Love.

What foods/meals do you crave when you’re on travel?

What is the longest amount of time you have spent on the tarmac waiting to take-off?

Last Minute Mayhem

Happy Wednesday, kittens!

I’m not going to lie.  I’ve been holding out on y’all a little bit.

Tomorrow morning, I’m getting on a plane to add just a little more of this to my life.
I’m going to visit Lindsey in D.C.!

Our plans: a gallery opening, running on the mall, happy hour, doing some museum round-up with the handful that I didn’t hit last time, sourcing some fro yo, visiting Arlington, sourcing more fro yo and the MLK monument.

And as a lovely added bonus?  On Friday morning I get to do breakfast with Sarah.  How fantastic, right?

Usually I’m a Militant packer, but for some reason I just couldn’t get my head in the game until today.

Exhibit A

The battle scene at 5:00 PM CST.

I mean, yes I made sure that my laundry was done so I could pack anything and everything.  No, I did not strategically envision specific ensembles for the weekend.

My biggest fear is that I’ll get there and I won’t have anything to wear.  Obviously it’s a totally irrational thought considering the fact that I’ve worn Lindsey’s clothes before and you know, she lives half a mile away from a Nordstrom RACK where you can buy things.  With cash.

This is America, after all.

It’s not that I want to look like a local per se, though I’m positive that Marcus and I did pretty darned well with our nice shoes when we were in Europe.  But I feel like the moment you tell anyone (anywhere!) that you’re from the Midwest when you’re on vacation, they immediately mentally move you from the “With It” column to the “People Who Sleep With Livestock Near Their Fireplaces In The Winter” column.

We all have the woman who wore a scrunchie on the subway to thank for that one.

Where is your next getaway planned for?

Are you the kind of person who packs in advance?  Or do you pack the night before?

Even though I usually pack the night before, I usually start making my packing list at least a week in advance.