Archive | July, 2011

English Lesson

31 Jul

Most of you will be aware that I lived in the United Kingdom for some time. Eleven years, to be exact, give or take a few months. In that time I developed a fondness for many of the English delicacies. I’m talking a proper mug of tea, Marmite on toast, bangers and mash, and shepherd’s pie.

The small one was reserved for The Husband—it was too good not to save him some!

Ooh, shepherd’s pie! What a delightful dish to have when it’s cold and rainy outside. Technically, a shepherd’s pie is made with ground lamb (or “mince” lamb in the vernacular), and cottage pie with ground beef, but shepherd’s pie is the term usually used for the meaty, mashed potato-topped—well, casserole, I guess we’d call it over here.

Even though it’s the height of summer in California, not the usual season for such a hearty meal, I made this one for our dear friend Paddy. She lives up at Top of the World, and The Husband used to deliver Meals on Wheels to her. She’s a British expat, and on her own now that her husband died about five years ago and her dear Boston Terrier died earlier this year. I decided this lovely lady needed a bit of good food and cheering up.

Seeing as how Paddy is in her 80s, I threw caution to the wind and a lot of butter in the pan. Continue reading

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Miso Happy!

27 Jul

Salmon in the summer...delish.

We loves us some salmon. And by “us” I mean The Husband, The Dog and myself. The cat, strangely, only likes the cheapest cat food on the planet, which is a blessing, I guess. The Dog gets the salmon skin after it’s cooked, and her coat is very shiny as a result. She’s also a very good girl when she smells the salmon come home!

We get our salmon every Saturday morning from the Halaby’s stall at our farmer’s market. We often get halibut, tuna, swordfish, Mexican sea bass and shrimp too, but salmon is a given. And it’s gorgeous—The Husband will only eat this salmon. Doesn’t matter if the greatest restaurant in the world offered it, he’d turn it down. Did I mention he was picky? (That said, he did like the salmon last night at our friend Ryan’s house–outstanding meal!–but it was in a salad.)

So I decided to bathe it in our favorite grilling marinade of late: miso, garlic and chives in either butter or oil. I adapted this from a Sunset Magazine recipe (possibly the best magazine ever published in the history of magazines, up there with The New Yorker), where they were using it as a melting topper on grilled steaks. The Husband decided we didn’t need it for the steak (after I made it, natch), but I decided to marinate the shrimp in it for the grill. Continue reading

Yes, we like tacos. So sue us.

23 Jul

Are you bored yet? I hope not, because I’m really enjoying writing this blog! So, this is a few days late, as we had these on

Black bean tacos

It wasn't even Taco Tuesday!

Wednesday night, another veggie-dinner night. I was happy to find the tomatillos at Whole Foods, because I love a green salsa, even though The Husband usually doesn’t. But I knew if I made it from scratch I’d win him over. Which I did–he loved them, and especially the salsa. Which I must say, was quite good.

And non-vegans, please, add cheese to these tacos! We were on our cleanse, so no dairy, but they really deserved some nice cotija cheese crumbled on top. In SoCal, you can find this and other delicious Mexican cheese varieties in the cooler section near the processed cheese. I would recommend investing–it lasts for a while and is great in salads as a nice substitute for feta. Speaking of feta, those who do not live in SoCal, like my dear friend Gaby in London, should use feta on top of these tacos. Although cheddar would work in a pinch.

And Londoners, if you can’t find tomatillos, try Booths near St. Paul’s Cathedral. They have a stall at Borough Market, or at least they used to. (How I miss that market!) You can get jalapeños there too, but I’m not sure about serranos. Substitute a green Thai or Indian chili if you can’t find the Mexican variety.

So here we go with the recipe, with my notes, as usual! Continue reading

Pancakes for Dinner

19 Jul
Thai Pancakes

You're jealous of my child-sized stove. Go on, admit it.

I personally wasn’t convinced last night that I should blog about these Thai pancakes, as I didn’t think they were that hot, but The Husband must have been in some sort of psychedelic coconut love-drug haze last night. He loved them. Had seconds, even.

He did admit that the sauce on the stir fry was a little on the salty side—I blame myself for not tasting the oyster sauce before I put it in. It would have been perfect with just a splash of soy sauce, but I got a little twirled up because I remembered we had the oyster sauce in the fridge. To make this fully vegetarian, don’t use the oyster sauce. There’s tricks to replace the egg in the pancakes to make it vegan, but you can comment and ask if you want more info and I’ll happily give it.

So, here’s the recipes with a few notes on what I’ll do next time—because according to TH, there WILL be a next time. Continue reading

Salad Should Always Taste This Good

18 Jul
Salmon and Spinach Salad

Sorry. We had a bite or two before remembering to photograph. So sue us.

And I’ve been bored with salads recently. I’ve been trying to eat them for lunch to be healthy, and then The Husband always wants one at night, because he’s addicted to avocado. Not a bad thing, really. But sometimes—damn, just give me a green vegetable!

Yet, here we are. After our dear neighbors, affectionately called Pal and Am, cancelled on us for dinner, we decided to have the salmon we purchased at yesterday’s farmer’s market. (We were shocked and disappointed recently to find out that most of our FM is NOT organic, but that’s a story perhaps for another time.) Instead of cooked spinach, we decided to go for spinach salad.

So of course I whip out Epicurious on the ol’ iPad, and find a recipe for spinach salad with grilled red onion and tahini dressing. Well, I have red onion, but no tahini. But a little hummous??

Let me just tell you, for someone who was bored of salads, this one turned out to be one of my favorites in a while. In a word: YUM. Combined with the tasty, Indian-spiced crust on the salmon—heaven! Continue reading

Sunday Afternoon Snack

17 Jul
Shrimp Tacos

Nothing like tacos on a Sunday afternoon...

So, The Husband mentioned again today that we should start a blog (and by “we” he meant “me”) about the food we put together so often, from the place in the house we like to call the “one-butt kitchen”.

Sometimes we can fit in there together, if what I’m doing isn’t too complicated, and The Husband can squeeze in the corner to make some drinks. Which is why I’m going to be adding some of his frankly amazing creations with alcohol and whatever else happens to be in the fridge or fruit bowl.

Today, since we’ve been on a Trader Joe’s cleanse for a week (one more to go), we looked for something we could snack on that would fall in the “no red meat, no dairy, no wheat” category. The Husband suggested we use the leftover shrimp from last night’s dinner, some mango salsa from Whole Foods and some corn tortillas that had been loitering with intent in the meat drawer since my birthday weekend two weeks past. Add a little fresh avocado and Melinda’s Extra Hot Sauce*, and we were good to go.

Sadly, we couldn’t have a beer or a margarita with this snack, as we usually would, but it was delicious nonetheless!

If I had made the salsa, I would have put a little more kick in there, so I think I’ll add a very loose recipe for everything below. Continue reading