Monday, July 30, 2007

What Didn't I Make Yesterday?

I had a bit of a self-directed food fest this weekend, which began with Chai Latte Ice Cream. Unfortunately, in an attempt to make a healthy version, I made it too ice-milky. It tasted good, but the texture was too ice crystal-y. I'll get it right next time.

I made homemade hummus for the first time. It made a good amount, and has been great for dipping pita chips and farm share veggies. I got a little too experimental here (actually, I didn't read the recipe very well and neglected to add the chickpea "juice" from the can), so it is a very thick hummus.


We had B(L)Ts for lunch on Sunday with our farm share tomatoes (sans lettuce), with some farm share cucumber pickles that had been pickling for a few days. These were first pickles I've ever really enjoyed.


AND, we grilled our first fish so we could eat our first halibut with our first fresh mango salsa accompanied by our first side of quinoa. Uber healthy and good. Although, we learned that halibut is a flaky fish and therefore sticks like crazy to a grill grate.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Sweat!

Finally, I have joined th lovely gym down the street from my workplace...AND I actually went there today during lunch. (This, as opposed to the Bally's to which I've belonged for two years and to which I have never once been. Oops.) This is progress.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Smoke, Fire and Steaks!

Finally! A calm summer evening (and a fridge full of sirloin tips) allowed us to try out our charcoal grill for the first time. Much was learned during this first endeavor, and this new grillin' knowledge will be applied very soon as we plan to grill chicken tonight.

Our chimney starter allowed us to grill without using lighter fluid:


Our first grilled meal!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Suggestion to Google

As a graphic designer, I use Google's Image Search function all of the time. I may not use the actual images, but I've found it a great way to brainstorm when trying to come up with solutions for design/advertising problems, and sometimes I use Google images in making comps. The problem is, I find the Google Image page set-up to be very annoying for extended use of this feature.

Keeping in mind that I sometimes look at hundreds of pages of images, I am slowed down by the "NEXT" button being located on the bottom of the page. Because the images sizes on each page are different, the "NEXT" button is not always in the same place, meaning I have to move my mouse or sometimes scroll to find and hit "NEXT" to proceed.


Writing about this makes me feel incredible lazy. I realize it takes very little time or effort to move my mouse 1/4". But the web and such search tools are set up to maximize speed and efficiency. My suggestion to Google was simply to put an additional "NEXT" button and row of page numbers at the top of the page. This button would always be in the same place and would make searching Google Images much easier. Many stock image sites have done this, and I tend to stay away from those that don't, or any that make the process more difficult (Getty Images, eg). Hoping that Google responds to my suggestion for this easy fix!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Grilled Chicken with Mango Salsa

No, not on the charcoal grill. : (

I made Ina Garten's Mango Salsa recipe yesterday - a cooked salsa with onions, ginger and jalapeno. I do love condiments! I may not make this salsa again, however, as I prefer fresh salsa over those that are cooked. (Plus, it would cut down on cooking time!) Note my husband's lovely salad.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Lemon Ice Cream

I made some lemon pudding a month or so ago that just woudn't set. It was my first homemade pudding, so no doubt it was my technique and not the recipe that kept it from achieving a solid state.

The flavor was great, though, and my sister-in-law Barb gave me a great idea. My pudding brought back memories of her pregnancy-driven addiction to lemon ice cream many years ago. I didn't know such a thing existed. Lemon sherbet? Sure. Lemon sorbet? Of course. But ice cream?

The pudding recipe was so similar to the ice cream recipes I had been testing that I figured I could pour it into our ice cream maker with great success, and I was right. The result was a unique, somewhat healthy (um, there's actually no cream in it...) summer treat!

Our awesome KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment in action
(thank you again, Mike & Joan!):


The result:

Everyone Knows It's...


...Windy.

Our big plans to light up the new grill were thwarted yesterday by some serious winds and the threat of thunderstorms which remained just that - a threat. So, we made some seriously thick burgers on the grill pan indoors (along with some seriously thick smoke) along with my first caprese salad ever:


I'm thinking our dessert is deserving of its own post.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Amatriciana with Penne and Chicken

I discovered Amatriciana sauce many years ago at La Dolce Vita in Boston's North End. This bacon-y (or pancetta-y) tomato sauce has a hint of spice. I later found an excellent Amatriciana sauce at the fabulous Capone Foods in my old stomping grounds, Union Square in Somervile. (Oh, and their eggplant dinners are amazing!)

So, it was about time I tried for myself. I used pancetta, and don't think I had quite enough of it on hand. It also didn't crisp up like I had hoped. It wasn't bad - it just wasn't as good as the ones I have come to love. I will try again soon with bacon (Amatriciana Americana?) and will re-post!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Omega-San!

Despite the heat and humidity, we fired up the oven last night to cook some Teriyaki Salmon. Luckily, it cooks quickly!

As we were resting and digesting, I noticed there was a section of Martha Stewart Living dedicated to the benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Oh, three = san in Japanese...sticking with a theme here). We felt extra healthy.

This was the first "fish dish" I cooked after taking my fish class, and this is probably the fourth time I've made it. It just occurred to me that I already have it on my blog in salmon steak form! What I *don't* have on my blog is the surprisingly tasty Asian-inspired salad I made to go along with the meal.

The salad itself was a mixture of greens and spring turnip - net very Asian. But the dressing I whipped up was a combination of rice wine vinegar, olive oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, salt, pepper and toasted sesame seeds. I'm really enjoying the freedom and healthiness of making my own salad dressings. Once I perfect the process, I'll post some of my very own recipies...all of which have been inspired by someone else's...but aren't all creative endeavors?

Thursday, July 5, 2007

A Three-Hour Nap (A Three-Hour Nap)

I don't mean to imply that our 4th of July New England Aquarium Whale watch was dull. It's just that the Dramamine/lunchtime beer combo sent me into a coma that could have lasted until my morning alarm on the 5th of July.

The good news is, we saw whales for the first time ever AND neither of us got sick on the ship. We ventured to the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, which sits at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay (location image below from their website).


Now that we've actually been on the whale watch, my mind has erased any preconceived notions of a whale watch and replaced them with the real thing. I do know that I had high hopes of catching whales leaping out of the water - this did not happen (no surprise). We seemed to follow the same two humpback whales as they fed. They would come up to the surface for a few moments to breathe, then dive for about five minutes at a time. We would wait to see where they resurfaced and try to cruise closer to them before their next dive.

Their blowholes look like giant nostrils!


I kept trying to look one in the eye, but no luck...


Diving for food:




A chance view of a German Tall Ship in the harbor:


And home again:

Monday, July 2, 2007

Peppery Pork

OK, OK... "Pork au Poivre" with a side of sauteed Swiss chard.

Very easy, very healthy, pretty good.

"Touch Him, Splinky!"

...encouraged my husband (jokingly, of course) as Garrison Keillor strolled by our row of seats as he warmed up for the Prairie Home Companion broadcast from Tanglewood this past Saturday evening. Touch him, I did not but photograph him, I did.

This photo has particular meaning to me because for the many years I listened to A Prairie Home Companion on weekend drives back and forth across the Mass Pike, I had no idea what Mr. Keillor actually looked like. My mind invented a face for the voice: that of a plump old white-haired man with a beard (think: Santa Claus). When I first saw his photo in the newspaper a couple of years ago, I actually had a difficult time accepting that his was the face attached to the mouth from which the familiar voice is broadcast. I'm OK with the idea now, and really enjoyed seeing the show (and Mr. Keillor) in person.