Monday, June 30, 2008

Bacon wrapped scallops and Apple turnovers

These were both experiments. For less than $15 I was able to make two large plates of pasta and seafood. Pretty good, huh?

Bacon Wrapped Scallops

Servings: 2-4
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 15 min

1 pack hickory bacon
1 pack frozen sea scallops; defrosted (you can get these from you fish monger)
Pepper to taste

handful of toothpicks

Slice bacon in half vertically (hamburger style opposed to hot dog kids). Take a defrosted scallop and wrap a piece of bacon around it. Push a toothpick through the two ends of bacon and then another going the opposite way so that the toothpicks form an X shape. Sprinkle ground black pepper over both sides of scallops and bacon. Put wrapped scallops on a baking sheet and under a preheated broiler on the lower rack. This is to help crisp up the bacon. Broil for 3 minutes on each side. Once semi-cooked under broiler, put in a medium-high heat frying pan (no oil). Sear on each side for about 5 minutes. You don't want the scallops to be tough and over cooked. If you poke them and they are getting firm take them off.

I paired this with Allison's Red Bell Pepper Sauce macaroni. It worked out pretty well.

This weekend I also made apple turnovers. I bought puff pastry from the grocery store because I was too lazy to wait all day for the pastry to do it's thing. I got the stuffing recipe from How to Cook Everything. I've been craving apple turnovers for over a week now. My mom used to make us the Pepperidge Farm frozen turnovers. I always loved them and they were such a nice treat. The ones I made tasted just like them (maybe because I bought Pepperidge Farm puff pastry). They were much more work than the frozen ones. I thought that I would never get all of the sugar and juice off of my counter. They were good, but they weren't that good. I think I'll be buying the frozen ones from now on. Although I got 8 turnovers compared to buying 2 at a time, I don't really feel like grating all of those apples again.

Our lucky girl with her weekly marrow bone.

On Friday Ed and I actually went out! A friend of mine was having a party that turned out to be her and two other people, but we had a lot of fun. I can't remember the last time that Edward was actually tipsy. It was great fun and nice to hang out with non computer science people (no offense guys).

Thursday, June 26, 2008

No work today!

I decided that I am not going to work today. It feels good. Anyway, I was just watching this show called A Makeover Story. It's kind of fun! While watching and sucking down my coffee I looked down to see what the stylist would say to me. I could see the stylist saying to me "first of all, you need to get rid of that Hairy Otter shirt and basketball shorts" and "you got your glasses how long ago?". I think I'm going to watch A Wedding Story while I finish up my morning coffee. I woke up a little late today (10 25).

Last night we watched the Olympic trials men's and women's gymnastics. Shawn Johnson looks like she's definitely in. She's such a cute kid too. All of the other girls looked really mean and serious. Everyone is sooooo good! I think that I had half moon shapes from my nails in my cheeks for all the women's routines. The mens not so much since I only know what looks good and not all the technical stuff. It's not that I know technique better with the women, but I'm much more invested in them for obvious reasons. There is a male contender from Fremont though, which I thought was pretty cool. The announcers sounded amazed that a Chinese guy could be going to China for the Olympics. FYI the 2008 Summer Olympics start on 8*8*08. The lucky number! Well that's what my Uncle Tommy says anyways.

This is a concoction that I whipped up last night. I've cleverly called this "Allison's Red Bell Pepper Sauce".

Allison's red bell pepper sauce
4 tbsp evoo
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh sage, chopped
1 red bell peppered julianned
2 tbsp anchovy paste
3 tbsp crushed red peppers
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp dried rosemary
2 cups elbow pasta

Geat evoo. Add fresh garlic, sage, salt, and bell pepper. Sautee. Add ground pepper, red pepper flakes, rosemary, and anchovy paste. Add to pasta.

I was very surprised that this turned out so well, especially since I'd never used Anchovy Paste before. It was very, very tasty. With this pasta Edward and I grilled a Southwestern rub roast.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I made a good steak!

I'm notorious for not knowing how to make the easiest meals (many of which I'm very fond of) such as grilled cheese sandwiches and steaks. Well I fixed the grilled cheese problem by putting them under the broiler. I know, they're not "grilled" cheese sandwiches but they look and taste like grilled cheese. So I decided to suck it up and try to make steak. Usually when we have steak they come out super tough and dry. In Riverside I was actually buying fillet mignon just so I guaranteed that it would be moist and tender. That got a little expensive. This week Price Chopper had a sale on London Broil steaks. I took the plunge. I seasoned the steak like my mom, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder (about a tsp each per side). Then I seared the steaks to get a nice brown color and stuck them in the oven for about 30 minutes. Success!

Can you believe that the little pile of spinach on the plate is one whole bag? We each ate an entire bag with our dinner. It's a good thing they were on sale for $1 a piece. I usually buy the bunches, but this seemed like a pretty good deal and was SO much easier.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Red Snapper

Yesterday I got some whole red snapper at Price Chopper. Edward scaled and grilled them for us. I didn't enjoy the dinner that much. I made some couscous and green squash with it, but I accidentally added way too much hot sauce. Even though we like very spicy stuff, this was too spicy. I also thought that the fish was a little fishy for my taste, but I ate it anyways. I don't think that I will be making this again and don't think it's worth putting the recipe up. The fish was just seasoned with salt, pepper, and EVOO. I thought that the pictures of the fish cleaning were interesting though.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Baby shower candy and then some

On our weekend errands, Edward and I stopped by Michael's and picked up some candy molds (the ones from a previous post) to test them out...well I tested them out. These ones are peanut butter candy, but we're planning on using yellow chocolate for the shower. We got peanut better because Edward said that he would be more likely to eat the pb (not lead) than chocolate. So here they are!

I started using a plastic baggie with a little hole in the corner. That worked, but the bag was hot!!! So I did the rest in a tupperware and scooped in the peanut butter in with two spoons.

On Friday night I made my favorite meatballs and an Arrabbiata Sauce. If you like a little bit of spice, this is probably a good recipe for you. However, in true AC style I spiced this up a bit. Instead of the instructed 1 tsp crush red pepper, I put in 3 tbsp. I also added a jalapeno with seeds in and 2 8oz cans of tomato sauce instead of 2 tbsp tomato paste. This sauce turned out so well that I'm going to make it in bulk and freeze it for quick use. Mommy, you probably shouldn't use my variation of the sauce.

For the meat balls I used the recipe from Better Home and Gardens: Simple Slow Cooker Recipes (also a VERY good buy). This recipe is from "Meatball Sandwiches" (169).

1 slightly beaten egg
2/3 cup finely chopped onion (3 tbsp onion powder)--onion upsets Ed's stomach
1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 dried oregano, crushed
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef

In large bowl combine all ingredients and mix (meatloaf style). Form into balls on a 15x10x1 inch baking pan. Bake, uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 20 min. Drain if needed. The recipe says that it yields 32 meatballs....mine only had 18. I must make them big.

Yesterday (Saturday) I went to the biggest Walmart that I have ever seen...and I'm sure there are bigger! No wonder people think that Walmart is taking over the world. Anyways, after all of our errands Edward and I were in for a messy surprise. Emmy, our beloved angel of a dog, knocked over the kitchen trash can, ate and then threw up the chicken skins from my giant pans of 58 cents a pound chicken, pooped right by door, pooped and peed on the bed, and spread chicken germs all over the house. All I have to say is thank god Edward is as calm as he is. He proceeded to help me clean it up and keep me from screaming at Emmy at the same time. I know that once the damage is done,as a dog, she probably wouldn't have any idea why I was yelling at her. So since Edward was there, I kept my cool. I don't think I know anyone else who would be so calm if their pet defecated on their bed. So after bleaching our duvet cover and comforter, washing the blue blanky and sheets, washing Emmy's bed, and saving Honeybear, Seal, and Kitty, I was able to cuddle with Emmy again and feel a little sorry for her that she wasn't feeling well from consuming nasty garbage chicken skin that was probably spoiled. At least she recovered. Her paw pads were very hot, which to me means that she has a fever. She felt much better though after a couple of hours of me reading through telepathy to her (same way I've been doing to Honeybear for years). Anyway, I picked up a new trash can today.


New--Edward said that it's very "quick" because it is red. Well duh Edward, I got this one for you!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Binge Cleaning

I've come to the conclusion that I am a binge cleaner. Edward said that most people wouldn't think this is a bad thing, but I'd rather be a constant cleaner. I think the only room that I clean constantly is the kitchen and I'm always picking up Emmy's toys.

Last night I didn't sleep well at all. Emmy and I are gluttons to the max. When I got home from work yesterday she burped right in my face. I thought that she had gotten into the garbage or something. I was wrong. She had broken into a bag of dog treats that we kept on the floor by her crate. The bag was pretty full and she ate it all! She was fong paying and burping all night! While her tummy was full of treats, I was filling myself with wine. Well, as most people know, alcohol cancels out allergy medicine. So not only did I have a massive wine headache, I had allergies as well. I woke up at 4am with my nose running and my head pounding. I was sniffling so loud that I was sure that I would wake Ed up. I went to sleep on the sofa, but then I was like, hey, we have another bed. So I went to go sleep in the guest bedroom. Feeling miserable, I called Emmy to sleep with me. As soon as she jumped on the bed she let out a huge burp. I thought she was going to puke on the bed. So I took her out to go potty to make sure that she wouldn't have any accidents. Apparently I wasn't the only one suffering from my greed. While I was waiting for the Doozer to go to the bathroom, I went to turn on the big fan in our bedroom for Ed and told him that I would be in the other room. I didn't want him to wake up and wonder where I happened anyway, but at least I tried. After letting Emmy back in, I took a Claritin and went back to sleep. Thankfully my headache went away and my allergies were gone by 9am.

Anyway, even though I am very tired from poor sleeping, I went into a cleaning frenzy after Ed left for his office. He had forgotten to do the dishes so I started with that. The last time he forgot to clean the rice pot I pretty much broke down and got very upset...more upset than I should have for a silly little rice pot. I was trying to avoid another one of these episodes by cleaning it up myself. Then I started two loads of laundry, cleaned the bathroom, picked up 10 Emmy toys, and dusted and polished the coffee table. I even remember to dust the bookshelf. I think there as at least a millimeter of dust on there. It was so gross.

Portobello Mushrooms with green squash and arugella

This was pretty tasty, but I put too much EVOO on for Ed's taste. I sliced the squash and coated it with EVOO, fresh rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, salt and pepper. I chopped up my herbs and then tossed them into the bowl. I let the veggies (mushrooms and squash) marinate in the oil then tossed them onto the grill. Adding the arugella, we chowed down.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I wanna go to Friendly's...

I love their little jingle. Anyways, I managed to make a chicken quesadilla at like half the cost and fat. Even though I think that the fat from the restaurant adds to the flavor, this is a much healthier version. I used the 58 cents a pound chicken thighs and chopped them into cubes. In my wok I cooked them with 1 tsp of salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp dried parsley, and 1 tbsp paprika. In a separate frying pan I warmed up two flour tortillas. I added cheddar cheese (mine is white) between the tortillas and layered on my chicken with a slotted spoon so no grease got in and then piled on more cheese. With a smaller frying pan, I weighted down my quesadilla so that it would cook faster and would have a little bit of that toasted flavor. You can warm up the weighting frying pan, but when I did, it was too hot and burned my quesadilla a bit.

This recipe doesn't taste exactly like Friendly's, but it's pretty close. I think I'm going to go back to Price Chopper and get more chicken so that I can prepare lots of quesadilla chicken and freeze them in individual baggies. This way I can make myself quesadillas quickly when I'm craving Friendly's.

P.S. I have no shadows in my pictures! I think it's because it is day time and there is light coming in the windows.

High Adventure Day

Today my family is starting out on their 640 mile bike ride from the Golden Gate Bridge to the border of Mexico. My dad and brother are doing the ride, while my mom is in one of the caravan cars that will carry all of their packs and food. I called this morning to wish them a good time. I forgot to say good luck! Oh well. Good Luck family!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Middle Eastern Rub Pork Loin

I gave this a B+ because Edward thought that it was very good, but I thought it was just okay. At first the loin wasn't cooked all the way through so I had to cut the strings that was holding the meat together and the cook it some more. We ended up just cutting the meat into slices and then cooking it on the grill that way. As the last recipe that I tried didn't have the same "kick" as my other things, I adjusted the rub to something that we are more used to.

Middle Eastern Rub (adapted from GHK 300)
Servings: 6
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 30 min

1.5 lb pork loin
1 tbsp dried mint
2 tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika

Combine mint, cumin, salt, black pepper, chili powder, and paprika. Completely rub over the pork. Grill over medium....until done. About 30 minutes.

This was very simple and easy in terms of seasoning it, but I'm so impatient that I don't like wait!

I'm hoping to breeze through The Host very quickly so that I can get back to my project reading. What I really need to do is start writing. I've only read the first page (out of 60) of my grad application story that I'm planning on heavily revising. I'm scared/ashamed to read it because I know that it wasn't good enough for handfuls of schools. It just brings back bad memories. I'll have to face my fear sometime though.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pastrami-Spiced Round Eye Steak and early morning blues

For all of you faithful blog readers, you probably noticed that I'm posting a little later in the day than usual. This is because I had to go to an activity training for summer camp. Three long hours of playing games is not as cool as it sounds. I was taking my coworker since he doesn't have a car so I had to make sure that I didn't over sleep and miss the training. The training was at 9am, the location 20 min away, the scheduled friend pickup was at 8 20am, and my coffee pot takes about 30 min to brew half a pot (it likes to take it's sweet time). My first alarm went off at 7 15am and I got up shortly after that. I didn't want to fall back to sleep and miss picking up my friend. I don't understand why people wake up so early. There is nothing on tv to watch with my coffee and I was exhausted the rest of the day. I have a feeling that summer camp isn't going to be very pleasant. 40 whiny teenagers from 8 30am-4pm. Yikes. After the training Edward and I had lunch at one of our favorite diners, Manory's, and then I promptly fell asleep with Emmy under my/her blue blanky. When I woke up an hour and a half later I didn't feel like I had taken a nap at all. It was awful. So with my limbs feeling like dead branches, I finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird. It was very good by the way. I think that I'm going to read The Host next by Stephanie Meyer (the author of Twilight) so that I can write a review for the Book House owner.

I'm feeling much better now that I have energy back in my body. I took Emmy to the football field in the middle of RPI's campus to play frisbee. Edward met us there and then came home with us. We like that field because it has a fence all the way around so that if a bike happens to go by she can't get to it. It only took her the short walk back to our house before she was ready to play again.

Last night we had Pastrami-Style Round Eye Steak. I actually followed the recipe, but we only gave it a B. Edward said that it didn't really have that kick that my food usually has. Probably because I didn't add my own touch! Again, this is from The Good Housekeeping Cookbook (295).

Pastrami-Spiced Round Eye Steak
Servings: 4
Prep time: 15 min plus marinating
Grill time: 13 min

1.5lb round eye steak
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp cracked black pepper
2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
3 garlic cloves, crushed with garlic press (I grated mine with a microplane)

Combine coriander, paprika, black pepper, ginger, salt, sugar, and red pepper. Grate garlic and spread over beef. Rub seasoning all over the surface of the meat. Let marinate for 2-24 hours in a ziplock bag. (I didn't) For grilling I like to let my meat come to room temperature because it seems to cook a little more evenly. Grill on medium for 13 minutes, turning halfway through time. Let meat rest for 10-15 min before slicing (this lets the juice go back into the meat).

Couscous 1:1

According to Rachael Ray the ratio for couscous and liquid is 1 to 1. In an earlier recipe I said 1/2 cup liquid and 1 cup couscous. I guess I'm too impatient and don't let it sit to soak up the liquid.

Monday, June 16, 2008

More food!

Hello everyone! I have more food pictures and recipes. Just so you know, the reason why I put all of these pictures and recipes up is because I figured if I can do it, then you guys can do it! I had told my Uncle David and our friend Tim that I would give them a list of recipes, but I still haven't typed a list yet. I half about half of a crock pot recipe list, but I keep forgetting to finish it. So, as if to make up for my lack of crock pot list, I've been posting easy and healthy recipes on this blog for them to try (as well as everyone else).

Shrimp skewers with Creole seasoning
Time: 20min


6 prepared shrimp skewers
1 tbsp creole seasoning

1 bunch spinach
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp crushed red pepper

1/2 head romaine lettuce
2 mushrooms
1 can black olives
1/2 c vinaigrette

You can cook the shrimp on low-medium on the grill, but it was raining so I did it under the broiler. Sprinkle shrimp with creole seasoning on both sides. Place on a baking sheet and under the broiler; on the lower rack. Cook shrimp 2 minutes a side under broiler. While shrimp are cooking, stir fry the spinach with chili powder and crushed red pepper. Be careful, this is very spicy. Cook until barley wilted. Take off of the heat immediately. The heat from you wok/pan will continue to cook as you take the shrimp out of the oven. The stir fry should take no longer than 3 minutes. You don't want to have totally "dead" spinach.

For the salad I just used the left over vinaigrette and assembled the salad like any other salad.

I was able to make this whole dish in less than or equal to 20 minutes. Ed had come home from the office and went to take a shower. I was done pretty much as he sat down to cuddle with Emmy. It's very fast and since I got the shrimp on sale ($1/skewer) it was pretty inexpensive.

For Edward's 2nd father's day, I made him fish. It's his favorite. As I'm sure you all know, I really wanted to try Emeril's recipe. Well since I can never follow recipes to the T I have to say that this dinner was no exception. So this is an Emeril inspired dinner.

Sesame Oil Haddock with sauteed veggies and couscous

Servings: 2
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 15 min

2 Haddock fillets, cut to fit pan
1 tsp kosher salt, per side
1 tsp ground black pepper, per side
1 tsp sesame oil

1/2 c chicken broth
1 c couscous

1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 green bell pepper, julienned
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp EVOO

Cut the two fillets to fit your pan. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the fish, rub in slightly. Pour a very small amount of sesame oil on one side of each fish. Rub in and then flip. Use excess oil from the cutting board for the other side of the fish. In a hot pan, drop in two fillets at a time. Drop heat to medium. Once one side of the fish is completely white, flip fish. When the fish is completely white and flaky, take fish off heat.

While the fish is cooking, bring chicken broth to a boil, remove from heat and add couscous. Fluff with a fork and cover.

Add EVOO to a separate sauce pan until hot, add red and green bell pepper. Toss until slightly see through. Add salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Do not let the peppers become wilted. You want the peppers to be cooked, but still very crunchy. Mushy peppers with already mushy couscous and fish won't add any umf to the dish.

Our lucky little girl had a very good day yesterday. After we got up, we took her to the dog park. She hadn't been there in over 2 weeks! She played very hard with her new fur-cut even though it was still pretty hot. After that, Edward took me out to dim sum! A friend of mine had told me about this place a couple of weeks ago. It wasn't as good as SF dim sum, but we enjoyed it. It was pretty good for being in our area. I was sleepy after that so I took a nap. Around 4pm I went to the grocery store. I like going to the store earlier now because there is a better selection so I guess I'll have to keep going around noon like I have been. I was feeling generous so I got Emmy a couple of marrow bones. The last set we got her went to waste because she didn't chew them fast enough. I think she is getting the hang of them though and they will help her keep her teeth clean. I also was able to get a whole bunch of chicken for basically nothing. I had to stock up. I got 18 chicken drumsticks for only $3! Price Chopper was having a fantastic sale on their chicken for $0.58 a pound. That's amazing!!! I got a whole family-sized pack of chicken thighs also for only $2.50. Edward laughed at me because I ran into the TV room where he was playing video games saying "I got 18 drumsticks for only $3.18! It's like I got them free!" He looked at me like I was crazy. Yes, yes, I realize that "only $3.18" followed by "free" doesn't really make sense, but the chicken was so cheap it was a steal and I was trying to express how good of a deal it was.

Next week we're going to have all of the stuff in our freezer. I hope I have enough chicken recipes so that we don't get bored! I took the time to deskin and trim all of the chicken thighs. I also cut up three pieces so that I can use them for our quesadillas at the end of the week. Emmy got the nice meaty bones and she was thanking me for them after. She loves chicken.

Oh my gosh. Julie sent me one of those flat-rate boxes full of spices and food. I could smell all of the yummy spices when I picked up the box. Mmmmm... Emmy kept smelling it too. Thank you Julie!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Grilled tilapia with grilled squash

I seasoned this tilapia with my general creole seasoning, which is easy and never lets me down. I put the fish on foil (making sure to puncture it so that the nice smoky flavor clung to the fish) and had Edward grill them up. I didn't put any oil on them, so they stuck a little to the foil. I can't remember exactly what I put on the squash, but I sliced them about 1/8 inch thick and then coated them in EVOO. If I recall, I added about 2 tablespoons of creole seasoning, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1 tablespoon of garlic powder. I'm pretty sure that is all I put into the bowl, but it was very tasty.

This week my plan is:

Sunday: Pan Seared Cod--This is the recipe that I posted from the Essence of Emeril.

Monday: Pastrami-Spiced Flank Steak

: Basic Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Middle Eastern Rub

: Chicken Quesadillas-- I am in love with Friendly's chicken quesadillas so I'm going to try to make them myself.

: Portobello with Arugala Sandwiches

I am quite excited about the quesadillas even though the menu has some pretty interesting stuff. What can I say? I'm easy to please.

So far grocery shopping by studying the Price Chopper ad like it's a text book is working out well for my budget. I think that I managed to buy all of our food for about $40 last week. With meat and vegetables that is really good.

Happy Father's Day Baba!

I wanted to make sure that my daddy sees this before the actual day.

Of course Emmy was looking at me like she was saying "Get that camera out of my face."