Friday, June 29, 2012

Tonight's Dinner: June 29, 2012

I love me some Mexican food.  Tonight we went out to dinner for our friend's 28th birthday.  By 9:00pm all of the wives were tired and ready to go home.  The husbands were rearing to go for some birthday partying.  ...I think the wives won.  We're getting old and need our sleep!

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Very blurry, but you get the picture.  Of course, there were no left overs.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tonight's Dinner: June 27, 2012

Tonight was a grill night.  I marinated spicy lime chicken for Nick to grill up as well as skewered some cherry tomatoes for a grilled corn and cherry tomato salad. The recipe for the corn salad didn't actually call for the corn or tomatoes to be grilled, but we wanted to pump it up a notch.  I also added baby spinach and chopped celery tops from the stalks I was cutting up for my mid-morning snack.  I also concocted my own vinaigrette.  So pretty much, I didn't follow the recipe, but used it as inspiration.  I'm sure the original is good...but mine was great.

Having just the chicken and corn salad didn't seem like enough to me so whipped up some ricotta-pesto polenta for some carbs.  

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Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad 
4 ears corn; grilled
1 box cherry tomatoes; grilled
1 cucumber; peeled and seeded
5 celery tops
2 c baby spinach
3 tbsp EVOO
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp fresh rosemary; finely chopped
3 tbsp flatleaf parsley; finely chopped
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper 
Grill corn on grill with no seasoning and husks removed for 15-20 minutes, rotating as necessary.  Skewer cherry tomatoes and cook off direct heat until soft and bursting, about 5-7 min.  Cut corn off the cob using bowl-in-bowl strategy (pictured below).  Assemble salad. 
For vinaigrette: Combine all ingredients in a glass jar and shake until fully mixed.  Note:  I prefer the jar to whisking because there is less clean up and you can put to top on when you're finished to store without having to transfer the oil-based dressing. 

Place a small bowl upside down in a larger bowl.
This will help you cut your corn so that your knife
doesn't hit the bottom of the bowl and there is room
for the kernels to fall. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tonight's Dinner: June 26, 2012

Fail.  I've realized after all these years that I'm like my dad and don't like pesto.  I think I was trying to convince myself that I really enjoy it, but I just don't.  I didn't finish my dinner and Nick reminded me that on our first date I ordered a pesto gnocchi and didn't finish that either.  Granted, that was probably from nerves, but I also didn't go back to eat my left overs after the date was long over.

If you hadn't guessed, I made a pesto for dinner.  Nick thought it was great!  My first mistake was that I didn't know that you should cook your pesto with the pasta.  I had poured it on top of Nick's dish like a normal pasta sauce.  After he tossed it into a small frying pan, it was much tastier.  Still, it didn't float my boat.  Maybe if I would have used a recipe...  Nick thought it tasted like a normal pesto sauce and that it was really good for my first (and last) try.  I don't understand why I don't like it.  I love all of the ingredients!

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Before tossing it in the pan

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After tossing in the pan

Since it was a little bit warm, I also made a cold tomato-basil soup.  I'm not really sure what the difference is between this cold soup and a gazpacho except that gazpacho sounds cooler.  "I made a gazpacho last night", sounds way more impressive than "I made a cold tomato soup".  Whatever name the soup falls under, it was very tasty.   We both agreed, however, that it would have been better warm.  Maybe we aren't gazpacho lovers.  I know from the cruises I've been on that their gazpachos were never my favorite. Alas, tonight's dinner was nothing to go crazy over.  The best part was the turkey kielbasa that Nick grilled for the top of the pasta.  Hillshire Farm did most of the work on that though. 

I brought some of the soup for a mid-morning snack.  I'm going to warm it up and have it with gold fish. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tonight's Dinner: June 25, 2012

Tonight Nick and I couldn't agree on the execution of what we wanted to make.  We knew that I was making bacon wrapped honey-mustard pork tenderloin, but I wanted to roast it and he wanted to grill it.  Luckily, the tenderloins came with two pieces in the package so we each were able to cook ours the way we wanted.  Nick's turned out to be much more pretty with color, but mine was much more flavorful.  The original debate was that the bacon and honey-mustard marinade would drip off.  It did.  But there was a lot more color to the bacon than mine.  He was also able to control his temperature better.  I had mine covered in foil so that the veggies wouldn't burn.  I tried to broil mine at the last minute, but I think it pushed it a little to the more done side.  It was medium when I prefer my pork to be medium rare.  Nick's turned out much better in the center.

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Nick's tenderloin

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My tenderloin with "brocolette" and mushrooms.  Basically, they're just long
broccoli that I thought was the same as brocollini, but I think they might be
a little different.  

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I used left over sage-garlic butter spread from my garlic bread last week and
added a few more cloves of minced garlic and some chopped up basil.  

Monday, June 25, 2012

Tonight's Dinner: June 24, 2012

As usual, I spent my Sunday at my parents house doing laundry and shopping.  Ah, the life of leisure I live.  My parents are going on a cruise at the beginning of August so I was on a mission to find my mom some new clothes for her vacation.  It was the first time I'd been in the mall since my friend Juni came to visit last summer.  I must be getting old because after an hour and a half I was pooped and tired of looking at the stores that all carry the same type of clothing.  I did come out with some pretty nice stuff for my mom and only have to return two items as well as some items for myself too.

Once I got done shopping we had a BBQ with the Ryan family to discuss said cruise. My mom had marinated short ribs and I grilled up some squash as my standard grilled vegetable.

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For dessert, Mrs. Ryan brought over a banana split bar.

Tonight's Dinner: June 23, 2012

I had wanted to make chicken salad for a BBQ that we were going to on Friday evening, but I got lazy and didn't end up making it until Saturday night for dinner.  It turned out really well and we had a ton left over so I'm kicking myself for not making it for the BBQ.  That's how laziness goes I guess.  I used this chicken salad recipe as a guideline, but used a whole rotisserie chicken and left out the water chestnuts and grapes.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Tonight's Dinner: June 21, 2012

After an exceptionally large lunch at BJs with my coworkers and boss, I would have thought that I wouldn't be very hungry for dinner.  I had apparently picked the highest caloric item on the menu, but I love chicken fried steak.

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Feeling guilty, I went for a difficult uphill run with Emmy in the wind.  It was so windy at the top of the flag pole hill that we ran up that her leash was blowing all over the place and at one point caught a breeze, flew up, and dropped on her head.  She looked back at me like I had done it or something. The last time I felt wind like that was on a cruise ship deck during a night at sea.  It was pretty intense for being a sunny day at 5:30pm in Concord. 

When we got back, my mom had a scrumptious meal waiting for us.  Yum yum yum.  She made a savory pork tenderloin, roasted red potatoes, sauteed mushrooms (which I didn't eat) and garlic green beans.  The pork tenderloin was so huge that I didn't believe her and thought it was a pork loin.  It was, however, very juicy and tender so I came around her after cleaning my plate.

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She put the pork on her little piggy platter from

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Nick's plate since I don't eat mushrooms much anymore.  He gave me some of
his green beans because he knows that they are my favorite.  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tonight's Dinner: June 20, 2012

Tonight for dinner we had a "steak house" dinner.  Basically, we had steak and potatoes.  I had two pieces of filet mignon left over from Father's Day that I wanted to make before it started doing that brown/oxidization thing that beef does.  While Nick was taking Emmy for a walk-run I grilled up the steaks and roasted some potatoes, mushrooms, shallots, and garlic with a cilantro-rosemary oil.  It was quite tasty even though I generally don't like cilantro.  I've found that if I chop it up very finely and cook with it, the flavors come through and I don't find myself biting into nasty giant chunks of green.

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Perfectly rare for my tastes

Cilantro-Rosemary Oil 
3 tbsp fresh cilantro; finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh rosemary; finely chopped
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp ground black pepper
1/2 c EVOO 
Mix all ingredients together thoroughly.   Pour over desired vegetables.  
 For vegetables:
Roast on middle rack at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tonight's Dinner: June 19, 2012

For round two of massage night Shanna was actually successful at giving us massages. (Last time we just talked all night.)  I slept so well and generally feel more relaxed.  Because we were both getting massages, we ended up having a very late dinner.  It's a good thing I had prepared the lasagnas the night before and the veggies and garlic bread were simple.  I love making these individual sized lasagnas, but it felt rather lack luster when making them because I couldn't fit in layer upon layer of veg and cheese like I was planning.  There ended up only being one layer each of ricotta, mushroom, spinach, and mozzarella.  I thought it still tasted good, but it kind of all mushed together.  This could also be because I put them back in the oven to keep warm so the cheeses didn't set up while cooling.  I also made garlic bread with a homemade spread of butter, sage, parsley, and garlic.  I actually used herbs from my little herb garden!  Usually I forget that they're out there.

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I tossed brocollini, cauliflower, and garlic in EVOO
with salt and pepper then roasted at 400 degrees
for 30 min.  I took out the florettes early so that
they wouldn't over cook.  

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Easy Garlic Spread 
1 stick unsalted butter
2 large garlic cloves, grated
2 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
1tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped 
Mix all ingredients together and spread over french bread.  Add shredded mozzarella if desired. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tonight's Dinner: June 18, 2012

I was trying to be brave and have salmon belly two different ways.  Nick really liked it, but I chickened out and ended up eating rice and seaweed for dinner.  As a result, I had a dream about Hot Pockets and had to make myself a breakfast burrito so that I wouldn't ruin my workout last night with two pepperoni Hot Pockets from 7 Eleven.

I tried marinating the fish with soy sauce, garlic, and ginger for one portion and then Nick put together the dill and garlic cedar plank fish.  This time around I didn't enjoy that Ranch 99 left the fins on some of the pieces.  I don't like fish to begin with and didn't want to touch them long enough to snip them off.  Nick had to do it for me.  Yuck.

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Look at that fin!  Why do they leave it on there?  

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Tonight's Dinner: June 16, 2012

I know, my dinner post dates are a little backwards, but I was trying to compile all of the pictures from various cell phones in our family.  I believe I finally have them all.

Saturday was a very busy day for us. We first drove out to Daly City to have dim sum at Koi Palace with Nick's grandma on his Dad's side. This was the first time meeting her because Nick doesn't speak the same dialect that she does.  The food was delicious and I got to taste my first suckling pig and xiaolongbao that Nick has been raving about since he got back from Hong Kong a couple of years ago.  They were just as good as he described.

Xiaolongbao: soup encased in a dumpling

After dim sum we headed to Union Square to go to visit Nick's sister at Nordstroms and also go to Saks to look at their Manolo Blahniks.  Unfortunately, they didn't have the pair that I was looking for in stock, but I did try on one pair that a lot of wedding magazines show and were also in my beloved Sex and the City.  They were nice, but not really something I could wear again after the wedding.  If I'm spending a month's worth of rent on shoes, I better be able to wear them more than once. The gentleman told me that he could order them for me, but I didn't want to commit to $850 shoes a year and a half away from the wedding in case my tastes change.  That would be a very large credit if they didn't look as spectacular as the pictures.  Needless to say, we left empty handed and with money still in my bank account.  

On our way home we also stopped by the Davies Symphony Hall to pick up tickets for the Wizard of Oz Movie Night and Pixar in Concert.  We were able to avoid the extra $10/ticket surcharge by picking them up at the window.  It was a big money saver since we were buying the cheapest tickets.  

After getting home, Nick and I lounged in our very hot apartment before getting ready to head back out to San Francisco for dinner at Incanto. Nick had made reservations for both of our families to get together for an engagement celebration.  We brought with us three bottles of wine from Wente Vineyards to try since we're leaning towards them for a venue and also a bottle of champagne that our friends Frank and Jenelle gave us. It was the champagne that they had at their wedding and what we were drinking when we first met.  The dinner was long, but relaxing.  We ordered six appetizers and each had our own entree as well as dessert.  Melissa got foie gras ice cream! I thought that was pretty cool, but stuck with a raspberry sorbet.

Bacon-wrapped pate

Truffle shavings with mushrooms

Foie Gras with strawberries over Texas toast (we had to get it before it is banned)

Salumi platter and spicy sardines (at the top)

Clams and tripe

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Christopher's pork belly; Mrs. Fong had the same

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Melissa's spaghaettini with an egg yolk inside and tuna heart shavings
 over the top.

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My lamb chop and lamb meatball

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My Dad's seared Yellowtail; Mr. Fong had the same

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My Mom's fresh pasta with seafood

Nick's chicken with zucchini waffles.  It was their play on chicken and waffles


TOMS Summer of Sight

When we were in the city on Saturday we stopped by Nordstroms to visit Nick's sister.  Toms shoes was having an event with a free photo booth.  We happened to be there at the right time.  For some reason the website doesn't allow me to save the pics and post them as I normally do, but the link is below.

TOMS Summer of Sight

Tonight's Dinner: June 17, 2012

I wanted to do something different for Father's Day than what I made on Mother's Day, but my Dad was really looking forward to having crab and prawns.  I had bought thick-cut filet mignon from Costco to grill up, but my parents thought it would be too much food if we each had our own filet, a crab, and prawns.  My Dad would have been fine with just a crab and some prawns, but I really wanted to make the filets.  The crabs that Ranch 99 had were on the smaller side so I settled on making two filets and cutting them in half to share because I wasn't convinced that we would have enough to eat.

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tonight's Dinner: June 13, 2012

My good friend Shanna is in town for her brother's graduation so we got together with Bonnie for massages. After a couple of drinks and dinner, we were in no mood for massages, but we still had a great time chatting and catching up.  The grilled chicken turned out really well, as did my zucchini. I forgot to take a picture of my final plate because we started scarfing it down, but I did manage a blurry picture of the chicken before I put it in the warmer.

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Cheese appetizer as always

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Chicken or Beef Marinade 
1c soy sauce
3 tbsp garlic powder
3 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp ginger
2 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper 
Mix all ingredients together in a large ziplock bag.  The mixture should become thick with saturation.  Add chicken or beef. Let marinate for at least 4 hours.  

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tonight's Dinner: June 12, 2012

This week is going to be busy for us.  With a handful of people on vacation from my office, my to-do list is over flowing, Nick's office has a contractor in from out of state visiting, and we have all of our evenings booked with social events. I know, us, having social events on weeknights.  It's almost unheard of.  We're going to be tired at the end of the week.  Good thing we can do a little bit of lounging on Sunday.

Last night was our one free night.  Originally my Mom and I were going to go out to Pinole to check out the David's Bridal sale that is going on until the 18th.  It's been pretty hot so we decided to go on Sunday during the day instead and leave Emmy in the nice cool house.  Our apartment gets super hot and Nick wasn't going to be around to keep her company.  I didn't want to leave her alone for the evening since she was alone all day while we were at work.  Instead of going dress shopping, Emmy and I headed up to my parents house to bask in their AC and have some dinner.  We also went for a little run up to a local flag pole, but it was so hot we turned back before completing our normal three mile run.  One mile in heat sure feels like three miles.  Even Emmy was running slowly.  For dinner we had Chinese long green beans, baby bok choy, and beef over rice.

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Tonight's Dinner: June 11, 2012

I had a hair appointment right after work and Nick went to pick Emmy up from my parents house so we both got home later than usual.  I went with an easy Chicken A La King over the rest of the fresh spinach noodles that I had in the fridge.  It took all of 20 minutes and was a one pot meal.  I added some sauteed shallots and garlic to the Cream of Chicken soup and also a couple handfuls of fresh spinach to liven it up. That's what I call a good Monday night dish.

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