I really like coffee. I have to be careful not to say the other “L” word though, because I know a lot of people who their coffee very, very seriously. And I am not one of those people. I did work at a coffee shop on-and-off for 3 years. But I’m not a coffee snob and I’m not a caffeine junkie either. I don’t sniff to find the subtle notes of vanilla, chocolate, the faint aroma of berries [or whatever]. I don’t fall into a stupor, or worse, erupt into a volcano of rage, if I’m deprived of my morning cup o’ joe. I don’t do espresso, I won’t drink it black, and I won’t look down my nose at you if you don’t either.
Nope, I’m the one at the milk station in the corner, pouring in the cream and loading up on sugar until your tooth aches just looking at me. That is, if I didn’t order the carmel-icious-vanilly-yummy-drink-with-extra-whipped-cream. But coffee snobs of the world: don’t look down your nose at me. Don’t judge me and tell me I don’t really like coffee if I load it with sugar, cream, caramel, chocolate, or whatever tickles my fancy that day. Because I do. I really, really do. So nanner-nanner-boo-boo. I’ll drink my coffee and my sugar too.
But it’s hot here. Have I mentioned that before? It’s very, very hot. Hot enough that a swim in the ocean at 7:00 in the morning is not an insane act of bravado, but rather, a cool, refreshing relief. All. Year. Long. So a scalding cup of coffee, as delicious as I agree it is, isn’t what I generally crave in the morning as I wake up sweating under my one sheet with my fan on in 80 degree weather at 6:30 am. Obviously, some genius already thought of a solution to this problem of hot-drinks-in-hot-weather, namely, ice. Duh. But seriously star-bean-peet-leaf? 3 bucks? To put some ice in your already-not-that-great coffee? No thanks. I’ve got a better idea.
Recently, I had reason to celebrate. Brett and I have been together for 3[!] years. Holy dang. I know that may not sound impressive to some of you (yes, I’m talking to you, parents-who-have-been-married-for-26-years), but for me? That’s a serious accomplishment. And since we’ve never bothered to celebrate any anniversaries before (in fact, we made up a date, but that’s normal right?) I thought we ought to at least recognize this one. So I decided to be fancy and nice and make dinner! [and possibly drink too much wine, I’m not telling.]
I had been wanting to make paella for-ev-errr and had a recipe bookmarked in my cookbook. So when searching through it to find something to make, lo and behold, the book fell open to the paella page! Perfect! I don’t know if I’ve ever had paella before this… but it sounded really good and looked a little fancy (I mean, it had shrimp and mussels.. can’t you call that a little fancy?) so decided to splurge on the saffron and go for it.
Turns out, my grocery store is not as well-stocked as I expected. I could find no chorizo, no saffron and no mussels. Hm. Issue. Okay, I figured, we have fresh fish that Brett just caught, we can use that instead of mussels (which I wasn’t entirely sure either of us liked anyway) and I can use portugese sausage instead of chorizo..but no saffron?! It seems like that would be kind of essential, right?! After much searching and fretting and eyebrow scrunching and asking the workers oh-so-nicely-yet-with-a-slight-tone-of-desperation-and-urgency-and-yes-I-might-cry-if-you-don’t-have-saffron, I found both saffron and real chorizo. In the fancy section. Yeah, uh-huh that’s right, my grocery store has a separate section for fancy things. Why? Probably just so they can charge me more. But hey, I’m a sucker for fancy packaging so I bought. Mussels were still on the outs though, but I didn’t cry about it or anything. Really. Continue reading
Over the past two weeks, several exciting things have happened. 1. My parents came to visit me for the first time, which means I got to hang out at their hotel (which had a waterslide into the pool, by the way) and eat and drink for free for a whole week. 2. I got a job I really really wanted. STOKED! 3. It was my birthday.
So with so many things happening all at once, I obviously had to make something fantastic to celebrate. So I decided to try and conquer Cheesecake Factory’s Vanilla Bean Cheesecake. Now, if you’ve never had this particular cheesecake before, google where the closest Cheesecake factory is to you and order yourself a slice. Heck, order yourself a whole cake. It’s that good. (I do not work for Cheesecake Factory, nor was I paid in any way to say this.) That particular Vanilla Bean cheesecake is hands down my favorite cheesecake in the whole world. And I love me some cheesecake. Continue reading
I really love granola. Don’t you? I mean, it’s so crunchy and yummy and delicious, especially with some yummy yummy yogurt and some fruit on top. But the bummer about it is.. it’s kind of expensive. And I can never find brands at the store that I like… unless they’re like one million dollars for a bag. Yes, I know, I exaggerate, but still! So I have embarked on a quest to create the perfect granola-at home.
The first time I made granola was over the summer and I’ve made it several times since then. Every time I’ve used a slightly different recipe (or no recipe at all..) and every time the granola has turned out differently, and never has it been perfect. It’s either too sticky and not crunchy, or crunchy but doesn’t cluster, or tastes funny and doesn’t cluster but at least it’s almost crunchy… or I don’t even know but it’s not my dream granola. Saturday I tried again. This time, the granola turned out as close to what I want as I’ve gotten so far. It’s still not perfect, because even though its nice and crunchy and the flavor is good… there aren’t really any clustery bits which is my favorite part of granola. But still, its a pretty decent recipe so I thought I’d share. Enjoy!! Continue reading
“Huh? What the heck is bittermelon?” I know that was the first thing that popped through at least 90% of your minds when you saw this. Don’t feel bad about it. Bittermelon is a very strange creature and its no wonder you’ve never heard of it. Half the chefs on Food Network’s “Chopped” the other day hadn’t either! And they’re professionals. I hadn’t ever heard of it until last year around this time when we spotted some at the farmer’s market and B nearly jumped for joy as he placed it in our already-overflowing bag. Don’t worry… I was just as confused as you. Probably even more confused, as I could see the thing. Check it out:
Weird, huh? Yeah, I know. But don’t let the alien-fruit-vegetable-looking-thing and the name (melon.. yum.. but bitter?..ew..) scare you! It’s actually not half bad! Well… it is a little weird. But if you happen to see bittermelon at the farmer’s market next time you’re there… pick it up! Try it! This recipe actually tastes kind of delicious once it’s all together.
Ok. I don’t actually understand the saying “easy as pie” because let’s be completely honest.. pie isn’t all that easy to make. I promise you every time I try i screw something up. Whether it’s accidentally dumping the half-baked crust out of the pan ,or cutting into what you think will be a pie only to realize it it actually pie soup, or the fact that way too many pies require oven+stove+oven time; I have never found pies particularly “easy”. But nonetheless, I love pie, and it’s one of my favorite things to (attempt) to make.
So I made this pie a couple of weeks ago and the only reason I made it was because I had leftover pie crust dough from my spinach and bacon quiche. I had to use this dough and I happened to have a giant costco-sized bag of frozen mixed berries in my freezer. So if you ever end up in the same predicament as me, here’s the perfect solution! And incidentally… this pie actually is easy to make! Continue reading
So. Saturday morning I woke up early and went to bootcamp. Yes, that’s right. Bootcamp. It was one of the most intense experiences of my life. For a good twenty minutes at the beginning I really thought that I might keel over and die right there on the sand. And for some reason I decided it would be a good idea to continue doing this four days a week for a month. I start tonight. Dear lord, wish me luck.
But what came out of this was something really spectacular. I came home and ate a mountain of breakfast. Why?Because I deserved it. I worked out. Which I never do…and the bootcamp claims that you burn 800 calories in a mere 45 minutes, so I figured I had to eat about a thousand when I got home… you know.. just in case. I was ridiculously starving, and I couldn’t think entirely straight, I just knew I wanted a whole lot of food. So I tried to make something new (which, for me doesn’t always work) but this time it turned out pretty good. I honestly just threw together whatever I had. I would change a few things in the future, so I’m going to put the changes on here as well, so you can take your pick of versions.
So last week we bought these big fat sweet Italian sausages at the store, and we used a couple to make some tasty pastas, as would be expected. But I’m not always the hugest fan of those types of sausages. I like breakfast sausage… but not always dinner sausage.
It was getting to the point that we really had to use these sausages or they would go bad, as they had already been sitting open in the fridge for a couple days. So Brett got all fired up about sausage sandwiches for dinner.. and I merely said… oh… okay…
But don’t let my initial lack of unadulturated enthusiasm fool you, folks. Because these sammies turned out lip-smacking good. And the best part is? Hardly any effort required: only one pan, and stuff you probably already have in your fridge. Here’s how we did it.
Well, I’ll be honest. This wasn’t what I wanted to write about next. But my recent photos are on Brett’s computer and I am currently on my laptop and watching ghostbusters 2 on TV, and as our tv is also the monitor for his computer, clearly I am unable to get the pictures off of his computer right now. But I do feel its time for another dose of delicious. So, I searched my files and found these little beauties I made over Christmas. Let me tell you. They are good. Actually, I should have Brett tell you since he ate like seven of them in one sitting and they’re so rich I think I only ate like one… over all of break. But that’s besides the point. They’re delicious and easy AND…(hm. I clearly got excited about something else but it’s a very important part of the movie right now so I totally forgot what I was going to say… so I’ll go with…) FANTASTIC.
oh. my. goodness.
that was pretty much the only words that came out of my mouth after I tasted this. I don’t even have anything else to say here. go recipe. Continue reading