Thursday, June 28, 2012

California, Parker, and Baking Cookies


Look at that face. We flew across the country and I couldn't get to California fast enough to see my Parker (and Annie and Tim but well...ya know).


So many things happened that between jet lag and old age I am not completely sure of the order. I believe that our first lunch was in San Francisco at Wise Sons Deli The food was the best deli food that I have had since being in New York. Annie and I had the Deli Burger. It was ground with pastrami; beet-horseradish spread, deli mustard, iceberg & red onion on a challah bun. Yum. I think Tim and Rich stuck to Pastrami. We shared some chopped liver. This place is so so so good.

Humphry Slocombe

After lunch we waddled to Humphry Slocombe because someone wanted ice cream. Parker got some too. I skipped it because there was no way I could eat another bite.

Fois ice cream!

Ok, I had a bite of Rich's Foie Gras ice cream sandwich. Hey, we made history by having the last of the legal Foie Gras.


So not only did eating go on but so did lots of playing. Parker and I played in his room and I got to read to him. I read him many partial books which he would close in the middle and say "The end".


My Parker (aka Mike - which he has taken to calling himself) and I played with Play Dough. He has his own technique.


He really gets into it.

Thai in the hood

We went for really good Thai food one night. This place is awesome. It is in Oakland in not the best neighborhood but it is worth the risk to eat here. It was amazing but I am not going to tell you the name because then it will become all Trendy and over crowded (but I can be bribed).


I had to have Tom Ka Gai.

There was also down time. Like watching Yo Gabba Gabba with Papa.


Only a couple of timeouts. He looks like he is suffering doesn't he?


There was a party at his daycare that we got to attend.


There was the park in Sonoma.


A little wine tasting.

@oysterwine Hog Island!

There were Oysters at Hog Island. Although the oysters are still amazing the place has gotten disgusting. Valet parking and a VERY drunk 30-something fellow trying to speak french turned me off for good.


I think that Parker could have done without the oysters.


Grammy couldn't.


There was zoo time that was a blast.


Parkers favorite were the Fruit Bats. Mine too.


Parker also loved the goats. Shhhh don't tell him what is in my freezer.


The goats took a liking to Annie. Her new BFF snuck up on her.


Last meal we all had together was at Rumbo Al Sur We sipped cocktails and ate good food. It was really fun.


Last but not least was cookie making with Parker. We made Banana chocolate chip cookies together. He was a good helper.

Good cookie eater too.


I miss my little guy already.

Banana Cookies Recipe
Simply Recipes

1/2 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup of sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 cup of mashed bananas (about 2 ½ large bananas)
1 teaspoon of baking soda
2 cups of flour
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground mace or nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
1 cup of chocolate chips

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
2 In a bowl, mix the mashed bananas and baking soda. Let sit for 2 minutes. The baking soda will react with the acid in the bananas which in turn will give the cookies their lift and rise.
3 Mix the banana mixture into the butter mixture. Mix together the flour, salt, and spices and sift into the butter and banana mixture and mix until just combined.
4 Fold into the batter the pecans or chocolate chips if using. Drop in dollops onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until nicely golden brown. Let cool on wire racks.
Makes about 30 cookies.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Is that a Banana Salad in your Pocket?


Dr. Food and I were going to a party at one of his coworkers houses (Waving to my new friends that probably won't read this and if they do they might never talk to Dr. Food again because his wife is crazy. You know the crazy wife of your coworker? YES you DO! She is the one that talks just a LITTLE too loudly and who might have a problem with personal boundries of others). Wait, what was I talking about before I started describing this "Coworkers Wife" scenario? Oh yeah...

We wanted to bring something different so we decided on a Mango Rice Salad (I have posted the recipe before but will do so again) and something else that we had never made before. I was perusing (love that word) cookbooks and found something that really caught my interest. It was a Banana Flower Salad.


The banana flower can be found in Asian grocery stores. I have no problem finding them around here. What was harder to find was Vietnamese Balm I finally did find it and it is my new favorite herb. It tastes like lemongrass and mint at the same time. If you can't find it I am sure that Thai basil and mint would work. I wrote down the name of this Vietnamese balm (Kinh gioi) on a paper and Linda my manicurist laughed and laughed. What? I am so not bourgeois. Say you are sorry for calling me that.

I then went to the asian market and showed another customer the paper with the word on it. He looked at me like I had a mental problem. But just at that minute I shrieked EUREKA! because I found it.


This salad is a bit time consuming but I have to tell you that it is well worth it.


Dried shrimp goes into this dish. Here they are being reconstituted. Maybe I should keep them as a new pet like sea monkeys.


I believe the salad was a hit because when I last looked it was all gone.


So, really the week has been chicken fish chicken fish... I made this Tilapia that tasted like Doritos. Uh huh, uh huh! Great recipe and not too fattening either. Well that is what the recipe said!


Also made asparagus.


Guess who I am going to go see in two days! Wonder what he wants me to cook for him.

Banana Blossom Salad
from Into the Vietnaese Kitchen - Andrea Nguyen

2 Tbl distilled white vinegar
1 banana blossom, 3/4 to 1 lb
1/2 lb bean sprouts, blanched in boiling water for 30 seconds and drained well.
2 tsp salt
1 boneless pork loin chop or boneless, skinless chicken breast, about 1/4lb
1 Tbl sesame seeds, toasted
1 1/2 tsp sugar
3 Tbl dried shrimp, soaked in hot water to cover for 5 minutes to soften, drained, and finely chopped
1/3 C unsalted roasted peanuts, finely chopped
1/3 C lightly packed Vietnamese balm leaves, cut into thin strips
4 to 5 Tbl fresh lime juice (2 or 3 limes)

1. Fill large bowl with cold water to depth of 3" and add vinegar. Place the bowl near the cutting board. Remove and discard any worn or soft outer bracts from the banana blossom and any exposed flowers underneath. Using a sharp knife, cut off and discard the protruding stem at the bottom. Halve the blossom lengthwise. Make a V-shaped cut in the middle of each half to remove the solid off-white center core.

Place each half, cut side down, and cut it crosswise into half circles 1/16 to 1/8" thick. As you cut, pause occasionally to deposit the pieces into the vinegar water. (There should be enough water to cover the cut pieces. Add more water if necessary.) After cutting the entire blossom, let the pieces soak for 10 minutes.

2. Pour off the water from the bowl and replace it with warm water. Use your hands to massage the blossom gently for a minute. When the water turns cloudy, drain the blossom in a colander, and rinse well under warm running water. Pick up handfuls of the blossom pieces, squeeze them to expel excess water, and put them in a large bowl. (Taste piece of the blossom. If it tastes too astringent, discard about 1/4 of the cut rounds of flowers) Add the bean sprouts and set aside.

3. Fill a small saucepan half full with water, add 1 tsp of the salt, and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Drop in the pork or chicken. When the water starts bubbling at the edges of the pan, remove the pan from the heat and cover tightly. Let stand for 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut pork into matchsticks (or shred chicken). Add to banana blossom and bean sprouts.

4. In mortar, crush the sesame seeds with the remaining 1 tsp salt and sugar. Add to the salad along with the dried shrimp, peanuts, and Vietnamese balm. Toss well to distribute ingredients evenly. Add lime juice starting with 4 Tbl. Toss well, taste, and adjust if needed with more lime juice, salt, and sugar.

NOTE: I followed the recipe exactly and LOVED it. I think you all need to run out and buy this cookbook. It is fantastic.

Mango and Jasmine Rice Salad
Los Angeles Times but given to me by Kay Hartman

Printable Version

1 cup jasmine rice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons lime juice, or more to taste
1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeno chile, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 cup peeled and diced mango
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
Sliced cucumbers
Tomato wedges

Cook rice according to package directions. Let stand, uncovered,
until cooled.

Meanwhile whisk olive oil, lime juice, jalapeno and salt until
blended. Add to rice. Add mango, red onion and cilantro. Toss to
blend and serve at room temperature.

Garnish the salad with sliced cucumbers and wedges of tomato.

Dorito Tasting Tilapia aka Parmesan Tilapia
Adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/8 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
1 pounds tilapia fillets

Preheat your oven's broiler. Grease a broiling pan or line pan with aluminum foil.
In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt. Mix well and set aside.

Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Season fish with anything you would like. I used salt and pepper and a rub I had laying around that had a cajun flavor. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to over cook the fish.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A pot of beans and balls of ice...


So it isn't easy coming up with clever titles to these posts. I could have titled this post "Chicken that I forgot what I did to it" That doesn't quite have the ring to it that I was looking for.


Looks good no? I have no idea what I did to it or even if it was in fact good. Dr. Food? Do you remember?


Although I do remember this Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Sauce. It is so good that you really need to give it a try.


The sauce is a little ugly but I swear it taste good.


I am on a cauliflower kick. I will get over it.


Ok, so I saw this ice ball maker somewhere which I can't remember where now. Probably on the night that I ate the forgettable chicken. Anyhow, I laughed and laughed because this machine is expensive and all it does is make ice. So, being the trendsetter I am, I had bought a gizmo to make ice balls from the Museum of Modern Art in NY. I know! A museum that sells ice ball makers is A-OK in my book.


See? Almost the same and MINE cost 4.00. Dr. Food rolled his eyes over me spending 4.00 for a ice ball mold. Can you imagine what he will do when if I spend 150.00.


All in all it looks pretty much the same. I mean it is ice. It melts. What difference does it make if it isn't perfect. I want that machine to do other stuff with though. Dr. Food suggested that I make the next batch with hot water to make it clear. We will see.


Copper River Salmon. No need to do anything to it. That was for dinner last night.

Hello? HELLLO? I guess I "lulled" you to sleep.

Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Sauce

Printable Version

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 tsp. ground cumin
2 heads cauliflower, cored and cut into 1 1/2'' florets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup tahini
3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced into a paste
Juice of 1 lemon

1. Heat oven to 500°. Toss together oil, cumin, cauliflower, and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Transfer to 2 rimmed baking sheets; spread out evenly. Bake, rotating pans from top to bottom and front to back, until cauliflower is browned and tender, 25—30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, combine tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup water in a small bowl and season with salt. Serve cauliflower hot or at room temperature with tahini sauce.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I am down in the dumps but noodles make me happy


I been feeling down in the dumps. I don't know why. It could be that the weather in New England sucks. It could be that it has been a weird few weeks. It could be that I am a whiner. Yeah, that is it. So, I am not sharing this with you because I really feel that close to you (I have no idea who "you" is or who I am writing to since I think even my mother stopped reading this blog). I am writing to explain why this blog post isn't all that inspired. I don't know why I have to explain to you either since I don't know who "you" are.

Whew. Ok.


I made this Soba Noodle dish. Buckwheat Noodles with Green Beans & Toasted Sesame-Lime Vinaigrette. It was right up my alley. I got it on Pinterest from Farm + House + Table


It really is easy and calls for adding a protein which I didn't do since I was using it on the side to go along with salmon.


Wild Sockeye Salmon is one of the things that I miss in CA. Along with oysters from Hog Island, Crab (not the stupid little blue kind) I want Dungeness crab. Damnit. Oranges and Lemons and limes that don't cost as much as meat. When the dog bites...when the bee stings....when I'm feeling sad. Shut up, I don't know why I wrote that.


However, I paid the price and got a taste of home. I don't wanna hear local schmocal. I am homesick.


I miss my little guy. Luckily we Skype almost every night and he brightens up my whole day. Grammy will be there soon P-man.

Buckwheat Noodles with Green Beans & Toasted Sesame-Lime Vinaigrette

Printable Version

1 package buckwheat soba noodles, cooked to al dente, drained and rinsed
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed, cut into 1″ lengths and blanched
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 c. cherry tomatopes, cut in half
1-2 spring onions, cut into paper thin slices
1 c. cooked chicken or tofu, cut into 1/2″ pieces small handful cilantro leaves
1/3 c. roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped


1/3 c. freshly squeezed lime juice
3 Tbs. fish sauce
2 Tbs. “rooster” chile sauce or siracha (to taste)
1 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. tamari sauce
3 Tbs. toasted sesame oil

Make dressing. Place lime juice, fish sauce, chile sauce, sugar and tamari in a small bowl. Whisk in sesame oil until well blended.

Place all salad ingredients together in a large bowl, reserving a small amount of peanuts and cilantro for garnish. Add dressing, toss well, garnish and serve.