Feb 24, 2009

watermelon radishes - a new twist

so i got these beautiful watermelon radishes from our CSA (community supported agriculture) - Eating With the Seasons and needed to find a way to serve them cooked.
why cooked?  raw, it's a little spicy for hubby and i since we don't have other things to pair it with.  
so i decided to roast them with a little honey to cut the spiciness and they turned out beautifully.

honey roasted watermelon radishes

4 medium watermelon radishes, cubed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp honey

preheat oven to 400
toss everything together
spread onto roasting pan
roast in oven for 15 min, take out of oven, toss cubes around
put back in oven for another 15 min, or until it reaches your desired texture.  we like it soft, with the honey caramelizing the outside to a nice brown.

Feb 23, 2009

Our Santa Fe trip

we arrived in albuquerque last Friday famished and couldn't wait to get to Santa Fe to eat. so we used our new GPS gadget (gift from hubby's dad for xmas) for the first time and found a place to eat within 2 miles from the airport.
the grove cafe and market had a refreshing atmosphere and good food. i had an open face croque monsieur sandwich that came with a nice little fruit salad - yummy!

then we checked in to the Inn of the Governor's and it was an adorable place. the room was a little small, but the furniture was this rough, dark wood that gave it wonderful ambience. the location was great, right in historic downtown and we were able to walk just about everywhere.
in fact, we walked to all the galleries that participated in the Edible Art Tour that was part of Artfeast. the tour was an event where many of the local galleries (and there are TONS in Santa Fe) paired up with a local chef/restaurant/caterer. paying just $35/person (that went towards promoting the arts), we got to sample food at each gallery. walk into gallery, pick up food, look at beautiful art, eat food, walk out, repeat. it was a wonderful way to see great art and try a lot of different food. through EAT, we discovered a few great places to, well, eat.
but Santa Fe has more than great food and we spent saturday hiking around at the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.

we also visited the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and especially enjoyed the Here, Now and Always exhibit. as the museum was fairly empty and the exhibit used personal accounts to enhance the displays, the whole experience felt intimate and truly touching.

there were also some wonderful sculptures outside the museum.

during our trip, we had the pleasure of discovering Kakawa Chocolate House (from the tour) - a real treasure! they specialize in making Mesoamerican style drinking chocolate. it was a little too strong for me, i guess i prefer mine with a little more sweetness and not too much spice. the man that owns the shop is a chocolate historian and the knowledge behind his drinks was just amazing.

per a tip from Prof. O., we went to Cafe Pasqual's for dinner and the food was amazing. everything that the reviews and hype said it to be. but for me, it was not as memorable as Josh's BBQ (a decidedly more casual joint).

we had sampled their green chile brisket during the tour and i was obsessed. it was amazing and i had to have it again. so it was our last stop before the airport. they take their brisket that's been smoked and made a green chile from it - it's smoky and spicy and flavorful and now i'm drooling on my keyboard. i'm not sure why, but i ordered a green chile brisket burrito (i dunno why, i could've just gotten the green chile brisket plain). here is the monster burrito that was served to me (with sweet potato masher) -

i'm not sure if you can tell, but the burrito was bigger than my forearm. and yup, those ridged things that you see, waffle fries. in my opinion, they were just weird and didn't belong. so i picked them out and didn't eat them. but then, when i got to the end of the burrito, i discovered that the waffle fries had soaked up a lot of green chile goodness and that if i topped it with the sweet potato masher (yes, carb upon carb, get over it), it was no longer strange but deliciously delightful.

it was a good trip!

back from santa fe!

went to santa fe, nm this weekend and it was unbelievable! hubby and i only got into little quibbles, no big fights!
okay, that wasn't really the unbelievable part.
quick review of our itinerary:
friday - grab lunch in albuquerque, drive to santa fe, check in, go to the Edible Art Tour, put on by ArtsFeast, http://www.artfeast.com/events/edible-art-tour
saturday - hiking to go see Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, lunch, Georgia O'Keefe museum, dinner at Cafe Pasqual's (yum yum yum!)
sunday - Museum of Indian Arts and Culture - http://www.indianartsandculture.org/
lunch at Josh's BBQ, drive to airport
more to come later!

Feb 18, 2009

easy dinner

so dinner tonight was as planned, but not as good as dinner last night.
last night i made stir fry sugar snap peas with chicken with a mix of brown rice and barley.  healthy dinner!

some people just wash the sugar snap peas and then cook them.  but i hate the "strings" and so i like to take a little extra time to remove them.  here's what i mean - 


stir fry with chicken and top over a mix of brown rice and barley, mmmmmm

recipe is quite easy

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp cooking wine
1 or 2 garlic cloves, diced
approximately 2 cups of sugar snap peas
1/2 tbsp oil (i use canola)
pinch salt

i like to slice the chicken into, well, slices.  mix with cornstarch and cooking wine and garlic.

heat pan, add oil, stir fry the chicken.  when it's just about done, pour it into a separate bowl.  add the sugar snap peas to the pan, stir fry and when it's just about done, add the chicken back in.  add some salt.  if there's too much liquid, take a little more cornstarch (1/2 -1 tsp), mix it with a little cold water and add it to your pan.  it should thicken it right up.  serve over the brown rice and barley.  nice and quick chinese style meal

keeping anxiety at bay

hubby applied round 2 to some of the top MBA programs in the country. i'm talkin' bout the programs that you see in the top 10 lists of US News, Forbes, Business Week, etc. they're all amazing schools with wonderful programs.
and we're currently in the wait-and-see stage of admissions. i believe he's limiting himself to checking his e-mail 2-3 times a day.
and since he was able to predict that he would be anxious, hubby signed up for a ridiculous race that he is training like crazy for . . . an ultra-marathon. in early april, we'll be going to sacto so he can race in the American River 50-mile Endurance Run. b/c a regular ol' marathon isn't quite enough. oh, but he's doing one of those too, Napa Valley Marathon, next weekend. so he's successfully keeping anxiety at bay by working out a lot. and still training for this year's Ironman.
i, on the other hand, just keep writing out dinner plans. and re-writing them.
this is what's planned for tonight:
salmon with dijon mustard
roasted golden beets
plain baked potato

thursday night:
arugula and roasted red pepper salad
swedish turkey meatballs
wheat pasta

let's see if the plans will stick!

Feb 17, 2009

first post! brioche rolls with nutella

i made this for the first time two weekends ago, but hubby didn't appreciate the rolls.
hubby doesn't really like sweets, and he doesn't like nutella (yes, i knew this all before we wed). so i e-mailed our good friend, A., who does like sweets and was coming back from a 4-wk work trip from Japan. i thought, if anyone would like these rolls, it's A., and he's probably craving something like nutella brioche rolls after 4 wks in Japan. so i made them again.  

also made some cinnamon sugar ones too

i made a few modifications the second time around and the adjusted recipe is posted below. the dough is almost like batter and must be chilled to work with. no passing the window-pane test.

Recipe is from http://stickygooeycreamychewy.blogspot.com/ and I believe she got it from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. I halved the recipe and made some minor adjustments.

3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp active dry yeast
2 tsp salt
4 eggs
1/4 vital wheat gluten*
1 1/2 cups wheat flour
2 cups regular ol' AP flour

3 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 13 oz. jar of Nutella

if you'd like to make cinnamon sugar rolls:
1/2 cup sugar (mix of brown and white)
1 tsp cinnamon (or more, if you'd like)

This will make enough dough/batter for two 9 inch round pans of rolls

Equipment: stand mixer with dough hook or large bowl and wooden spoon
Rolling pin
9 inch round pan (2)

*vital wheat gluten not necessary, just sub with regular flour. vital wheat gluten is nice to have though, it gives a nice chewiness to the dough

in a large bowl (preferably attached to a lovely stand mixer), add the water, melted butter and honey. swirl around a little to dissolve the honey a bit.
add the yeast. after a few minutes, it should be foamy and frothy. if not, your yeast may be no good, so throw it out, buy some more and start over.
lightly beat eggs and add into the bowl.

add flour one cup at a time until it's just incorporated. you may have to turn the mixer off the scrap down the sides, no big deal. no need to mix vigorously, lumps are fine.

leave it alone for about 2 hrs to let it rise and double in size. after it's risen, it should sort of plateau on top. then it's ready for the fridge. cover, but not airtight.

When it is completely cold, about 4 hrs in my fridge for this amount of dough, then you can take it out and start making whatever you want.

For rolls, continue on . . . .

Liberally flour a flat surface.

Dump out all the dough. Cut it in half. Put one half to the side (on a floured surface). Flour the top of the piece of dough you are going to work with. Flour your rolling pin. Roll it out into a rectangle. Mine wasn’t very symmetrical, which caused issues later when rolling. So go symmetrical if you can. The thickness of the dough should be about ¼ inch.

I had two kinds of filling I wanted to use: nutella and cinnamon sugar. Nutella first.

Use a whole jar of Nutella (13 oz). Spread evenly. Leave a border of about 1 inch.

Melt the 3 tbsp butter and mix in vanilla.

Roll it from the longer side. And I always find it easier to roll it towards myself. Pinch the ends. To seal the roll on the long side, I usually take the vanilla butter, dab a little bit along the edge and then seal.

Grease or spray your 9 inch round pan.

If you like things to be equally portioned, then cut the log it in half, and half and half, etc. I used a kitchen scissor instead of a knife. Less Nutella oozing out this way. I ended up with 8 rolls. I arranged 7 in a circle around the pan and put one in the middle. Then I left it all alone for about 45 min.

Preheat oven to 350

Brush on more vanilla butter (may need to reheat this). Stick it in the oven for about 30 min or until golden brown.  mmm, vanilla butter.