Tuesday, September 29, 2009

San Diego Salad and Ava’s first ‘first class’

My sporadic posting has something to do with our frequent travel.  After 9 days in San Diego, we were home for 5 days before heading out to Minnesota.   Fortunately, in those few days home between trips I was able to do a little cooking. 

As a side dish, I made a simple salad with some of the lovely produce we brought back from San Diego. 

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Sliced heirloom tomatoes, with a handful of the smallest heirlooms I’ve ever seen,  (literally, come of these were as small as capers) and a goat cheese and caper stuffed squash blossom.  After photographing I decided it needed just a hint of something more and added a little olive oil and balsamic and a dash of S & P.  Not only stunning, but the flavor, when all ingredients were so fresh, really was wonderful.  The tomatoes were actually quite sweet and really mixed with the saltiness of the goat cheese/caper combo. 

Now, back to flying to Minnesota.  Not only was it Ava’s first flight, but she was spoiled with riding First Class both ways!  Hope she doesn’t think that is how she will always be flying.  ;-/  She did wonderfully well.  Slept through take off and landing without drugs, bottles, etc. 

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More coming on the MN trip in the next post!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Meatless Mondays – More Mushrooms!

Sometimes when it comes to vegetarian entrees I get in a rut, utilizing only tofu, pizza, or some beans.  Don’t get me wrong, I love those and could eat them happily over and over, but I can’t forget another favorite, the portabella! 

Every time I make portabella mushrooms I tell myself I have to have them more often.  So versatile, and yet so satisfying, even for the diehard meat lovers.  I have to admit, I never use a recipe, instead using up whatever ingredients I have on hand and my imagination to build a magnificent meatless ‘shroom. 

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This week, I marinated the ‘shrooms in a little balsamic and red wine.  I scooped out the inside of each of the mushrooms, diced it up with onion and capers and sautéed in a skillet for 3-4 minutes.  To that mixture, I added a bit of chopped basil and arugula.  Sprinkled with goat cheese and fresh purslane, it was ready for the grill.   Grill for 7-10 minutes or until portabella is done and cheese is melted.  I served some marinara on the side for dipping.  

We couldn’t decide what wine would complement the meal, so we celebrated ‘Martini Mondays’ and had dirty martinis instead.

What are you having for meatless Monday?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Back From Vacation

My lack of posting in the last two weeks has to do with eight glorious days of this…

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and this…

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and a little of this…

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That’s right, our summer is not complete without a week in San Diego.  We stayed in Del Mar, renting a condo with our friends, Renee and John, we found on VRBO.  We have had great luck finding vacation rentals this way and absolutely love being able to have the space and freedom of a condo or house, versus a hotel room.  Especially now, having a new baby and all the gear that goes a long with that.  Of course, it also allows us to take advantage of the local farmer’s markets and do some cooking! 

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This is a picture of Chino Farms, an organic farm where many popular San Diego restaurants get their local organic produce.  Renee and I had fun coming up with some yummy meals with our loot.  One evening we decided to do a casual pizza night.  (surprise, surprise huh?)  We love our pizza nights.  Now, our pizzas are no ordinary pizzas.  No, we take it up a notch from cheese and sausage.   We made three this particular evening, one traditional, one with fresh arugula, tomatoes, capers, etc.  But, the real star of the night was Renee’s little creation…

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Make this NOW, and thank me later!

Here’s how:

Trader Joe’s original pizza dough ( or homemade or your favorite brand of refrigerated dough)

Lightly pre bake the crust for 3-5 minutes.  Spread with a lot of nice creamy goat cheese.  Top with fresh arugula, a few roasted red peppers, and some sliced tomato.  Bake an additional 5-10 minutes until dough is cooked.  Take out and drizzle with balsamic syrup.  A-freaking-mazing! 

Of course lots of wine was consumed over the evening, a tried and true, J Lohr Seven Oaks Cab, and also a new found white that was quite good. 

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I used to think I didn’t like Chardonnays.  What I’ve realized this summer, is that I didn’t like overly oaked, big, buttery chardonnays.  I’ve fallen in love with a few Argentinian and Chilean chards that are more crisp and citrus, and this one was no exception.  It was a delightful apertif, with crisp hints of green apple and a little mineral, it did not overpower like a chard sometimes does.  Will be seeking this one out around home. 

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A great time was had by all:

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The trip is not complete without mentioning the Paws and Pacifiers.  Ava and Chase loved the fresh air and ocean breezes…

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Cheers!

What was your favorite vacation this summer?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Quick and Easy

I don’t know if I can entirely blame being a new mom on my interest in quick and easy meals lately.  It might be the record breaking heat we’ve had here this summer.  Either way, it has been fun coming up with things Scott and I can make for dinner, when our hungers high, and our motivation low. 

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know we love pizza night at our house.  We make the dough from scratch and love coming up with topping combination that we both will enjoy.  As much as we love to make homemade pizza, it’s not going to happen when it’s 7:15 and we walk into the kitchen with the low motivation I mentioned above.  Enter Ten Minute Flatbread Pizza. 

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Utilizing Flat Out Wraps (or pita bread would work,) toppings of your choice, and the toaster oven this came together in 10 minutes (about 3-5 minutes of prep and 5 minutes in a 400 degree toaster oven.  Scott and I each topped our own flatbread with what we were craving.  I went with the simple pizza sauce, mozzarella, sliced tomato, capers and fresh basil.  It rocked my face off!   A few of these would make a great appetizer for a happy hour get together. 

We had our pizzas with a great weeknight wine, the Meridian Pinot Grigio.  A nice hint of citrus – grapefruit? and a mineral like finish, it was the perfect refreshing complement to our meal on this hot evening.