Asian Salmon- Another Keeper!

I must admit, this isn’t a new recipe. I’ve had this one for years and years and years and we love it! I am trying to figure out how to get fish in our diet a minimum of once a week and this is usually my go to when I’m in a pinch. I always have everything on hand, especially since some of the ingredients are on the exotic side and I don’t use them in anything but this. (As a side note, I don’t add the cilantro. I never have it on hand (the aphids LOVE it when I have it in my kitchen window herb garden) and my husband claims he doesn’t care for it).

allrecipes.com

 

So now that I’ve admitted that, I’ll now admit something else. This recipe was originally entitled “Halibut with Rice Wine”, but I call it “Asian Salmon”!!! Halibut is just so expensive, salmon is just so good for you and it has a lot of asian ingredients in it! Black bean sauce, mirin, rice wine vinegar… not your common pantry items, right?

I’ve made this recipe for many guests and everyone always raves about it. It’s just so flavorful, it’s hard not to like it. I steam some rice and broccoli and call it a meal. The sauce tastes good on every thing!

Some of the ingredients are odd, but I swear they’re worth every penny. You’ll buy this stuff and use it once a week in this recipe!

Halibut with Rice Wine

Adapted from allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 shallots finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon black bean sauce
  • 1/2 cup mirin (Japanese sweet wine)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 6 (4 ounce) fillets salmon  skin removed
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

Heat oil in non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Cook shallots and garlic gently until fragrant, but not brown. Stir in black bean sauce, rice wine, and soy sauce. Bring to boil and cook until reduced by half. Remove from heat, and stir in vinegar; set aside.
Pat fish dry. Rub with sesame oil and sprinkle with pepper. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil grate.
Grill fish for about 5 minutes per side, or just until cooked through. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with sauce poured over top.

 

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Un-refried Refried Beans- 5 Stars!

Happy Cinco de Drinko!  I hope you all have plans to toss back a margarita or two to celebrate this fabulous day! Because I plan to (chug) sip a margarita or two, I know I’m not going to want to fix dinner cause I’ll be in re.lax.a.tion mode “AH YEAH!”. Here’s an amazing recipe for you to put in the crock pot and then you won’t have to think about dinner after you’re all in vacation mode.

cinco-de-mayo-saguaro

These are amazing. I make them a lot. One of the few recipes I’ve repeated, which pleases my husband to no end! They are so easy and SO flavorful, it’s hard not to want to make them for an easy meal, like burritos!

P.S. Sometimes I forget to look at the menu in the morning and then am scrambling to make these in the afternoon (like today for instance…). If you don’t have a big family or are simply using these as a side, halve all the ingredients and it takes half the time to cook!

 Un-refried Refried Beans

Adapted from allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 1 onion peeled and halved
  • 3 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 9 cups water
Directions

Place the onion, rinsed beans, jalapeno, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin into a slow cooker. Pour in the water and stir to combine. Cook on High for 8 hours, adding more water as needed. Note: if more than 1 cup of water has evaporated during cooking, then the temperature is too high.

Once the beans have cooked, strain them, and reserve the liquid. Mash the beans with a potato masher, adding the reserved water as needed to attain desired consistency.

 

Creamy Lobster Pappardelle- It’s a Keeper! And, HAPPY MAY DAY!

I found another 5 star recipe! It was ah-mazing! AHHHHH-MAZING! The only problem is, of course, the cost of the lobster. It’s definitely a splurge so we won’t be indulging in this recipe very often, but I’ll definitely start keeping my eye peeled for sales. Oh, and Trader Joes recently had frozen lobster tails so I’ll have to inquire about the regularity of those!

www.myrecipes.com

It was a crazy easy meal to make so it’s not just a weekend meal. How fancy would you be telling people Friday morning that you had lobster for dinner last night? Ahhhh yeah.

So basically you start boiling the water for the pasta. Then you boil the wine mixture, boil the lobster (which by the way, I’ve never cooked before), reduce the sauce and it should all come together at about the same time. I’m telling you, easy.

One other perk: the lobster was scrum-didli-icious and would stand alone really well if you just wanted to be fancy and serve lobster tails to your guests!

P.S. Don’t forget to get a bouquet of flowers, leave them on someone’s doorstep, ring the doorbell and run away!

Creamy Lobster Pappardelle

Adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients

1 (8-ounce) package uncooked pappardelle (wide ribbon pasta)

2 cups dry white wine
1/2 cup no-salt-added chicken stock
1 thyme sprig
3 (5-ounce) American lobster tails
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream (I just used milk, because that’s what I had)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Preparation

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
  2. While pasta cooks, bring wine, stock, and thyme sprig to a boil in a large skillet. Add lobster. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until done. Remove the lobster from pan, and cool slightly. Remove meat from lobster tails; coarsely chop.
  3. Add oil, salt, and pepper to wine mixture in pan; bring to a boil. Cook 14 minutes or until reduced to 1/2 cup. Discard thyme sprig. Stir in cream. Add lobster meat and pasta to sauce. Cook 1 minute or until sauce coats pasta, and toss. Sprinkle with parsley and thyme. Serve immediately.

Blueberry Drop Biscuits

I do declare these are amazing! A 5 star breakfast for sure! Word to the wise, eat one and ruuuuuuun out the door so you don’t keep eating them like I did!

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I wanted something different than the weekly norm. Except I didn’t want to put a lot of effort into it. I saw a blueberry muffin recipe and a biscuit recipe and then a blueberry biscuit recipe. I was like “ah yeah!”. Except that blueberry biscuit recipe called for popular name brand biscuit mix that we no longer eat (because it’s soooo processed) so I found this recipe and it’s most definitely a keeper! It’s just as easy to measure out the flour and baking powder as it is measuring out that biscuit mix! Pinky swear!

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Measure, mix, plop, bake, eat. Can’t get much simpler than that!

Blueberry Drop Biscuits

Adapted from: breadbaking.about.com

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh/frozen blueberries
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
Directions

Preheat oven at 450 degrees F. Grease baking sheet. In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter. Stir in milk just until flour is wet. Fold in blueberries. Drop by large spoonful onto greased baking sheet. Sprinkle tops with sugar. Bake at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes or until done.

 

 

 

 

Herbed Crock Pot Turkey Breast & Magic Mountain

Let’s just start off by saying April is not turkey time. If you want to do this recipe at any time during the year other than the winter holiday season, do yourself a favor and take the advice from the butcher at Whole Foods “if you know ahead of time you are going to make this, call us 24 hours in advance and we can defrost a turkey and cut it up for you”. Lesson learned my friends, lesson learned! I swear I had seen turkey breasts the week before and wrongly assumed (you know what they say about ass-u-m(e)ing!) they always had them. The butcher said he could have it defrosted and cut up by 3:30 that afternoon so I went back. The other butcher looked at me funny, went to check on the turkey and said “it’s solid as a rock”. That’s when he gave me that little tidbit of wisdom! Needless to say, with crock pot dinner Wednesday happening pronto, I had to substitute something so I went for the turkey leg instead of the wing. I am just not a wing fan. I don’t get wings…
Anyway, here’s my bit on turkey legs: They’re gross. I used to LOVE them when I went to amusement parks or fairs or the like, but the last time I got one at Magic Mountain a few years back (by the way, that was a sad day. That was the day I learned I had officially become old. Wahhhhh!!) That day included the best laugh I think I have ever had in my whole entire life! We rode Goliath and on the way down the biggest drop, the G forces took over and made my right eye close which made me giggle, which is hard to do when you are hurling through space by the way, which made me laugh even harder. When we got off we looked at our picture and I swear I looked like a cartoon with my tongue hanging out of my mouth like a dog! My husband and I were in absolute hysterics!!! The kind where you can barely stand, much less breathe, and the tears stream down your face (if you were able to stand up), but you weren’t because you thought you were going to die from not being able to breathe, and you had to maintain some sort of composure because you are in public… Ahhh hahahahaha! Of course we bought the picture and if I can ever find it again, I’ll gladly post it! (Ohhhhh, good times! Good times!) Now where was I? Turkey legs, oh yes! That turkey leg was so full of cartiledge I had to peel it back to get to the meat. Gross. I figured it was the hormone laden variety that made it so, but friends, I was wrong. The organic turkey legs from Whole Foods had cartiledge too… yuck. Of course, these turkey legs weren’t made from turkeys on steriods, so they were smaller.

allrecipes.com

Back to the recipe! I just used plain organic whipped cream cheese because that was all that was available. I followed the rest of the recipe exactly. Unfortunately since I’m learning the ins and outs of crockpot land, I had no idea how long to cook the legs and ended up cooking them way too long. I set the timer for 3 1/2 hours and they were already way past done at three hours.
I must say I am willing to try this recipe again. It wasn’t a 5 star recipe, but I think that was because of the lack of the breast. My family enjoyed it along with mashed potatoes and a box of Trader Joes stuffing. I’d try it again!

Herbed Crock Pot Turkey Breast

Adapted from allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 1 (3 pound) bone-in turkey breast half
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup whipped cream cheese spread
  • with garden vegetables
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Place turkey breast into a slow cooker. Combine butter, whipped cream cheese spread, soy sauce, parsley, basil, sage, thyme, black pepper, and garlic powder in a small bowl until smooth. Brush herb mixture over the turkey breast. Cover slow cooker.
Cook until turkey is tender, 4 to 6 hours on High or 8 to 10 hours on Low.

 

Earthquake Life

“They” say LA’s had an earthquake drought, as it were. They’re right! I remember when living in San Diego I felt at least three, one of which was preceded by the trees full of birds suddenly all taking flight at the same time waking me up. Then I moved to LA and it was such a frequent occurrence it was no biggie. I mean, they were small, but it was common place to feel an earthquake. I worked in an older building with a bigger boss and you never knew if he was coming or there was an earthquake. I had a co-worker who freaked out a couple of times only to discover it was our boss coming. The last earthquake I remember was Easter, April 4, 2010. We were hosting Easter in our tiny condo for 16 people (I don’t know how we did it!) and the ground was moving and moving and moving and moving. We all felt it. It was a 7.1 earthquake in Baja in Mexico.

On March 17, 2014 I was woken up by what felt like a doozy. The biggest I think I’ve ever felt. At least it was the closest I’ve ever been to an epicenter! It was terrifying. Everyone I talked to in our complex said it felt much bigger than a 4.4! I tore out of bed like a mad fool, thinking only of my mini-me, and grabbed onto the door jamb to wait it out. The problem is is that you have NO idea if it’s going to get worse or how long it’s going to last when it’s happening! A decorative plate on a bookshelf fell off and shattered on the floor right outside our bedroom door. I leapt over it, realized it was dark, wondered where Eric was, looked at the clock and ran as fast as I could to mini-me’s room where I jumped on her bed with her and laid there long enough to make sure she was ok. It woke her up and she thought someone was breaking into our condo! I ran to get the phone and called Eric who was in the midst of calling me and then called my mom to tell her we were ok. I’m not gonna lie, I was shaking so bad I could hardly lift my arms up to hold the phone!

It’s funny how earthquakes work, if you’ve never experienced one. The closer you are to the epicenter, the more violent they are. The farther away, the more it feels like the ground is “rolling”. Earthquakes are noisy too! I heard people thought a bomb had gone off outside their homes. Plus the structure you are in moans and groans and then if it’s big enough things are crashing around.

On March 28, I was in bed when I felt another earthquake. I again, tore out of bed and headed for the door. However, it wasn’t that bad where we live and my husband yelled to see if I was ok. I opened the bedroom door to see him headed toward mini-me’s bedroom. She felt it and thought someone was breaking in again! That earthquake was a 5.1, which is pretty significant and it red tagged some buildings and emptied shelves near the epicenter, but it was 45 miles away from us.

Then on March 29, I was sitting on the couch and felt another one! It really does get the adrenaline pumping! Mini-me said she didn’t feel it, but Eric said he did. That one was 4.1 and it was about 48 miles away. It’s enough to rattle one’s nerves, that’s for sure! If we have another, I’m hopping in the car and driving us to my parents!

What is it With Car Chases?

Well, at least the person being chased by 7+ police cars and a helicopter was courteous enough to honk his horn to warn other drivers as he blew through our intersection this morning! That’s life in the big city, I suppose. It happens entirely way too often. Like, there was one last week in the middle of the night. I am a deep sleeper so it only wakes me when there is an incessant stream of sirens. This morning it happened five minutes before my alarm went off so I wasn’t in such a deep sleep, which is why I heard the person honk their horn! Thoughtful, I’m telling you, that person was thoughtful.

I remember after I moved to San Diego I was watching TV and they broke in the newscast with a high speed chase. It happened to be on the freeway I could see from my apartment so I went tearing outside to see it with my own eyes. I was SO excited! The big city life, the energy buzzing, I loved it!! It was awesome! I also loved sitting in rush hour traffic. I still remember the giddy feeling I had being crammed on the freeway with a million other cars, on my way to a substitute teaching job. I came from a mid sized town where these things never happened and now I was an adult, doing adult things, and it rocked! 11 years later, I’m totally and completely over the big city life! I want to live in the middle of nowhere and be able to hear my own heartbeat! And if nothing else, watch TV with the doors opened and the closed captioning off…