Thursday, May 2, 2013

cooking: fennel, red pepper, bok choy and brussel sprout salad

 fennel, red pepper, bok choy and brussel sprout salad
 for this salad i whipped out my mandolin to slice fennel, red pepper, and brussel sprouts.
i thinly chopped bok choy greens and added them to my vegs.
i then made a dressing with rice vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper. i tossed the dressing with the vegs and let them soak in all the flavors. this softened the fennel and the pepper which took away some of the crunch.
 fennel, red pepper, bok choy and brussel sprout salad
i served this salad with a salt and pepper seared pork chop since the flavors were robust.
it made a simple up and coming summer meal!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

d.i.y: ribbon dancer

when i was a kid there were so many iconic toys
skip-it. furby. bop-it.
but the one that i remember the most is the ribbon dancer!
if i was going to run around the yard... i was going to do it with a ribbon dancer in hand.
so i decided to share my childhood joy with my kids by making them one of their own.

 
i used some leftover crafting ribbon and decided to use 4 different colors
i then used a lighter to singe the edges so the ribbon wouldn't fray
i drilled a hole through a dowel and fed the ribbons through the hole 
i double knotted the ribbons to finish it off!
it's not as frilly as the original
it lacks sparkles, glitter and the made-in-china look but i'm cool with that
my ribbon dancer is more like the hippy version- eco friendly, no asbestos and made from sustainable wood- kinda look 
diy ribbon dancer homemade kids toys
either way, the kids had a great time with it. 
they danced their little hearts out which is just what i was going for!





Tuesday, April 30, 2013

cooking: endive, apple, walnut and roquefort salad


the first time i had endive i was on date night with the hubs at a french cafe
{ we're kinda wild on date night... eating salads, ya know! }
so after finding it at our local grocer, i decided to give it a go
i used encoutraments that i knew would work together
but was still pleasantly surprised how different it tasted with the new lettuce.
go endive!
endive, apple walnut, roquefort salad
wash and slice your endive in half
small dice some fuji apple and sprinkle with some walnuts and roquefort cheese
endive, apple walnut, roquefort salad
the dressing is some apple cider vinegar, olive oil and some salt and pepper

endive, apple walnut, roquefort salad
plate and enjoy!







Thursday, April 18, 2013

cooking: modern version of smothered pork chops in a mushroom cream sauce and broccolini

we like pork. its low in fat and absorbs any flavors you want to infuse in it.
this time around i wanted to modernize an all time favorite- smothered pork chops.
craig has me on frying restrictions but i knew i could do without!
smothered pork chops with mushroom cream sauce
to begin you want to rinse and trim your broccolini.
regular broccoli will work for this as well you just want to make sure your trees are cut thinly.
season and toss your vegs with olive oil, salt and pepper.
layer in a large casserole dish. 
smothered pork chops with mushroom cream sauce
now for your chops, use ones with the bone in and no thinly cut ones.
you want a hearty stick to your ribs kinda meal.
season both sides with salt and pepper and place in a hot pan with a tablespoon of olive oil.
brown your chops on both side to get some good color.
don't worry about cooking them all the way through you will finish them in the oven in the next step. 
smothered pork chops with mushroom cream sauce
you want your chops cooked to 145 degrees- slightly pink in the middle according to the USDA
so place them on top of your broccolini in your casserole dish and put in an oven at 350 degrees.
this will finish your chops and cook your veg at the same time.
genius! now start your sauce. 
smothered pork chops with mushroom cream sauce
in the same pan your colored your chops, 
sautee some garlic, sliced portobellas and garlic in some olive oil
season with S&P 
smothered pork chops with mushroom cream sauce
add one quart of heavy cream and bring to a boil
reduce heat and then add one glass... i mean one cup of white wine
bubble and boil until the alcohol cooks off
add some fresh parsley in at the very end 
smothered pork chops with mushroom cream sauce
when your pork is done begin plating
broccolini first and then layer your chop and the sauce 
smothered pork chops with mushroom cream sauce
viola! smothered pork chops... no frying and still tons of flavor!




Sunday, April 14, 2013

cooking: poached halibut cheeks in a rosemary thyme cream with spring vegetables

kyler had spring break last week and since the family was recovering from a cold, 
i decided to make a hot lunch. 
i figured it would give us an energy boost which is what all of us really needed.
kyler and i went to the grocery store and scored some halibut cheeks. having only heard about them from craig, i decided to poach them in an herb infused cream and serve them with some spring vegetables.
cooking poached halibut cheeks in a rosemary thyme cream sauce with spring vegetables radish peas and fingerling potatoes
to begin poaching the cheeks, pour one pint of heavy cream into a medium saucepan. season your cream with rosemary, thyme and salt and pepper. i wish i would have had fresh herbs but i had to use dried. once the cream is boiling reduce the heat to a medium low heat. add the halibut cheeks into the cream and let simmer until the fish is flaky.
cooking poached halibut cheeks in a rosemary thyme cream sauce with spring vegetables radish peas and fingerling potatoes
 as the cheeks are poaching, prepare your spring vegs. take some fingerling potatoes and microwave them for 5 minutes. once done in the miker, cut them in half and brown them in a pan with olive oil. don't forget to season them with some salt and pepper. set aside once browned.
cooking poached halibut cheeks in a rosemary thyme cream sauce with spring vegetables radish peas and fingerling potatoes
in the same pan take radishes cut in half and sautee them as well. once almost done add some frozen peas. once the peas are cooked through. set the radishes and peas aside for plating.
cooking poached halibut cheeks in a rosemary thyme cream sauce with spring vegetables radish peas and fingerling potatoes
  plate your dish by ladeling some of the cream into the bottom of a shallow bowl. arrange your spring vegetables and place your cheeks on top of them.
cooking poached halibut cheeks in a rosemary thyme cream sauce with spring vegetables radish peas and fingerling potatoes
 the heavy cream was a wonderful treatment to the fish which is both light in flavor yet dense in texture. the spring vegetables were a great addition to the fish and added some much needed color to the dish.
cooking poached halibut cheeks in a rosemary thyme cream sauce with spring vegetables radish peas and fingerling potatoes
 the kids were starving and stalking their plates as i was taking some final photos. 
the kids gobbled up their extravagant lunch and then ran off to continue playing.
lunch was a success!



Thursday, April 11, 2013

d.i.y: homemade paddle ball(oon)

most kids are not allowed to play with balls inside the house... but if given a balloon instead they would have been just as happy
so i made the kids a quick paddle ball(oon) set that they could play 
and so i wouldn't have to worry about things being broken
all you need is a paper plate and a popsicle stick
i used hot glue but you can easily use elmers if you are patient enough to wait for the glue to dry
so 5 minutes later, i let the kids at it...
and they had a great time!

 just don't get stuck behind the couch!










Wednesday, April 10, 2013

how to: hang a sweater with no bumps!

if you own sweaters... you have two choices when storing them in your closet.
how to fold sweater on hanger no bumps
1. you can use a hanger... only to have weird shaped hanger bumps on your shoulder
how to fold sweater on hanger no bumps
2. you can fold them... only to have massive amounts of wrinkles.
{ i obviously fall into category number 2... as you can tell by the craters wrinkles in my sweater }
how to fold sweater on hanger no bumps
well you have a third option and it's AMAZING!
it's the best of both worlds- hanging and folding!
start by folding your sweater lengthwise... or 'hotdog' if you remember this from school
how to fold sweater on hanger no bumps
 place your on top of your sweater with the hook inside the armpit
how to fold sweater on hanger no bumps
 fold over the body of your sweater
how to fold sweater on hanger no bumps
 and then tuck the end under the hanger bar
how to fold sweater on hanger no bumps
 do the same thing with the arms:
how to fold sweater on hanger no bumps
 fold over and then tuck under the bar
how to fold sweater on hanger no bumps
there it is folks... a perfectly stored sweater!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

cooking: ahi tuna carpaccio with pickled cucumber and radish

kyler and i went grocery shopping sunday morning and had a field day!
the seafood was divine and i couldn't resist the fresh sashimi grade ahi tuna.
i knew i wanted to make a carpaccio since i have never made it before and have seen it being made all the time on the cooking shows i watch
ahi tuna carpaccio with pickled cucumber and radish salad cheesecake factory inspired recipe
i started by making the garnish. i small diced an english cucumber and some radishes and placed in a bowl with salt, pepper, rice wine vinegar, olive oil and some freshly grated ginger. you let that sit while you prepare all the other componenets since you want it to soften and pickle.
ahi tuna carpaccio with pickled cucumber and radish salad cheesecake factory inspired recipe
 now you want to thinly slice your tuna. make sure you sharpen you knife before doing this. the thinner the slices the better the outcome of this dish. it makes the dish feel light and airy instead of heavy and bulky if you chop thick slices.
ahi tuna carpaccio with pickled cucumber and radish salad cheesecake factory inspired recipe
now begin assembling your plate with some watercress on the outside of the plate
try using leaves that are similar in size, this will help the aesthetics of your plating
ahi tuna carpaccio with pickled cucumber and radish salad cheesecake factory inspired recipe
 in the center of your watercress plate your slices of tuna.
to hold the garnish you want to use two pieces of the tuna and make a little volcano
kinda like what you do to mashed potatoes and gravy
this will hold your pickled cucumber and radish salad
when plating your pickled salad be sure to sprinkle some of the pickling juice on the tuna- it adds extra flavor
ahi tuna carpaccio with pickled cucumber and radish salad cheesecake factory inspired recipe
 finish your plate with some macerated avocado, thinly sliced green onions and some sesame seeds
ahi tuna carpaccio with pickled cucumber and radish salad cheesecake factory inspired recipe
 this carpaccio was fresh, light and had a similar flavor profile of sushi- only without the rice!