Thursday, May 28, 2009

San Diego

Apologies for the lack of posts, as work has been busy. We're headed off for a weekend in San Diego. We'll leave you with a picture from last year that shows what Chase will be thinking about as we drive over...and promise some good posts when we get back!

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Meatless Mondays – Southern Style

I’ve been doing some spring cleaning the past couple weeks, and really trying to simplify and de-clutter.  In the process, I wanted to get rid of old issues of Cooking Light and Food and Wine.  I mean, there is no sense in keeping all these, when recipes are online these days, right?  Well, I couldn’t help but flip through each magazine before throwing it in the recycle pile.  Hence, the reason it is taking me weeks…

In one of the back issues of Cooking Light, March 2007 to be exact, I found a recipe that I thought would make a great Meatless Monday meal.  Black-Eyed Pea Cakes with Collard Greens.   It was part of a Southern Cooking feature article and sounded like something we would really enjoy.  Since the recipe used canned black-eyed peas, I thought this would be a quick and simple meal for a Monday evening.  Well, it wasn’t as quick as I was expecting.  The bean cakes need to be made and then refrigerated for 15 minutes, and the greens simmered for 45.  The bean cakes were quick to throw together, and next time I would skip the step of sauteeing the garlic and onion before throwing in the food processor.    After I got started making the dish, I opened the refrigerator and realized we finished the fresh collard greens that I had purchased for this recipe. We were having fun using them to make little appetizer “wraps.” So, since we always have Red Chard on hand, I made that quick substitution. 

I apologize in advance, this dinner wasn’t the most photogenic. 

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Like I said I substituted chard for the collards, and the only other thing I did differently was to use vegetable broth rather than chicken broth to make it truly vegetarian.   Rounding the meal out with some red quinoa for extra protein and whole grains

Overall, the pea cakes and greens had good flavor, but I still felt like it needed a little something.  I doused mine with a little Frank’s Hot Sauce, which gave it a little something-something.   Not gonna lie, this was good, but probably not a repeater for us. 

Here’s a picture from our weekend adventure – hiking in Payson Arizona along the beautiful Christopher Creek.

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Is it still considered southern if I used chard instead of collard greens?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Murphy Goode-Chardonnay

Now that it seems that the  100 degree days are here to stay, a glass of white is sounding more appealing.  I’ve had a couple good pinot grigios and sauvignon blancs in the past couple weeks.  Chardonnays though, are not usually my first choice.  Occasionally, a good unoaked chard is welcomed, but I don’t care for very oaked or buttered chardonnays. 

So, the other night when I pulled out this bottle of Murphy-Goode Chardonnay, Scott was a bit shocked that this was my choice for the evening.  I thought it would go lovely with the chicken dish we were having.  I was a little nervous that it would be oaky, but was in the mood for a medium bodied white, and this one seemed to fit the bill.  I ended up being pleasantly surprised.  This white had lovely notes of apple and pear, with a touch of oak, but not overly so.   I think I detected a little vanilla as well.  It was such a delicious match for the chicken and apple dish that we paired with it that night.  It gave me a new appreciation for chardonnays. 

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This is the chicken dish that we paired with the 2006 Murphy-Goode Chardonnay.

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This is the same recipe that I posted here, but I used chicken instead of tofu (and added a few shitakes.)

 

What is your favorite white for the summer?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Easy and Light Dinner – Thanks to Wildwoods

The other day I came home to a big box with the word, “perishable” marked on it.  Well, we all know what that means…food!  I was the lucky recipient of a few Wildwood products to review. 

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I received a couple of their soyogurts, one plain, and one plain, but with probiotics added.  The other samples were of their Pasta Slim, a low calorie, wheat free, gluten free alternative for pasta.  Not only that, it has only 20 calories per serving!  My mind was immediately racing at the score this would be for someone with diabetes watching their carbohydrate intake.  Then, I saw that it was also gluten free and thought it would be great for people that suffer celiac disease, which is an intolerance to gluten.  BUT, that’s all great in theory, really, it still has to taste good. 

I decided to give the fettuccine noodles a whirl first.  One thing I learned with the tofu shiratake noodles, is to drain them well, rinse, drain, and dry.  This is easily done with a colander over the sink in a couple minutes.  The beauty is that they only needed to be warmed in the microwave after that.  Here is what I got out of one bag of the fettuccine.  (2 servings)

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I tasted a noodle plain, and it did not have any funny taste or smell (like the shiratake noodles do.) It had a bit of a slippery texture, but not in a bad way.  I did a shrimp in wine sauce for topping and it turned out delicious. 

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Shrimp in Wine Sauce (serves 2)

1/4 onion, sliced

1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup-2/3 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup broth (chicken, seafood, or veggie)

2-3 oz goat cheese

1 tsp fresh tarragon

1 tomato, diced

1/2 lb peeled and deveined shrimp

salt and pepper to taste

Sautee onion in a bit of EVOO until starting to soften.  Add mushrooms and wine and broth.  Let simmer about 5 minutes, or until sauce reduces a bit, then add the shrimp.  Cook a few minutes and then add fresh tomato, tarragon, and salt and pepper.  (We also threw in a handful of fresh spinach.)  Sprinkle generously with goat cheese and serve over the Pasta Slim.

 

I was curious as to what Scott’s reaction would be.  Being half Italian, and having a grandmother that made homemade pasta, I was skeptical of his acceptance to this.  So what did he think?  He really enjoyed it.  He said he probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought if I hadn’t mentioned that it was not real pasta.  I liked that I didn’t feel heavy and weighed down like I sometimes do after a big pasta meal.  I didn’t feel guilty about having dessert after dinner either.  (OK, who am I kidding, I never feel guilty about eating dessert.) 

Would I buy it this in the store?  ABSOLUTELY.  It is healthy, and a lot quicker and easier than boiling a pot of pasta.  Thanks again Wildwood!  Next up I will try the spaghetti noodles.  I’m thinking of a peanutty noodle type recipe.  Stay tuned!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Meatless Monday and last Friday’s Movie Night (at the Drive-In)

Tonight we made an old meatless stand-by…pizza!  Homemade pizza is so easy to do on Meatless Monday or any day of the week, for that matter.  When you add your own favorite fresh toppings, the “meat” is not even missed.  This week we made a “salad” pizza.  Basically, everything for a good salad, put on top of pizza dough. 

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A base of pizza sauce, followed by some canned artichokes, finely chopped; mushrooms, grape tomatoes, onion, mozzarella AND feta cheese.  The last minute that the pizza was on the grill, we threw on some fresh arugula.  It turned out perfect! 

For vino, we enjoyed an old favorite, Layer Cake Shiraz

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Seriously, good!  It is a super dark and smooth.  Lots of berries, and even a hint of chocolate, hmmm…maybe like a chocolate layer cake with raspberry filling?  (I have to admit, I was drawn to this bottle of few years back, because of the picture of the cake on the label.  Cake is right behind wine on my “favorites” list.)  This wine is a little above our “everyday” wine budget at about $14.99 per bottle, (we usually keep our everyday wines to $10) but it’s well worth the splurge! 

Finally, I’ll leave you with some photos of our Drive In outing last Friday night.  We love to go to movies, and the drive in is so much fun because we can bring our own Paws and Pours!

The typical Golden Retriever, Chase LOVES to stick his head out of the window of the car.  I decided to capture what I saw looking out the rear view mirror. 

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A picnic dinner of sandwiches, chips and a bottle of red.  Our acrylic wine glasses come in handy, we feel classy, wine at the drive-in.  haha

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Scott with his “pour”

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Chase with his “pour”

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A little movie action…

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And finally, Chase is tired and ready to go home.