Monday, April 30, 2012

Bridesmaid Things

I spent the weekend in Vermont performing the sometimes stressful but always fun duties of a bridesmaid. Keeping plans a secret has got to be the hardest part. We planned a surprise bachelorette party and bridal shower for our dear friend Erin and it all went off without a hitch! (Well almost without hitch, there was a pretty serious wedding dress snafu that was thankfully resolved!)


Vermont was beautiful! A lot like Maine but way more mountainous.



First up was the bachelorette party which was a total surprise. We prepared a spread of appetizers, treats and champagne in a suite to start the night. We then hit the mean streets of Burlington which was awesome!

Sisters!
Shenanigans ensued....


The next afternoon was the bridal shower which was to be held at the super cool Middlebury restaurant 51 Main.

Moments before the surprise

Surprise!


The food was great with offerings of assorted cheese, dumplings, hummus, spring rolls and other tasty treats.





Can't wait for the wedding!

Gluten free margarita cupcakes made by the brides mother! Yum!
It was a fun filled weekend but there's just nothing like hitting the hay in your own bed after being away :)

Flat Taco


Is a taco still a taco if it’s flat? I wonder. Well anyway, tonight open faced “tacos” were on the menu! I love corn tortillas and even use them in place of sandwich bread sometimes. You store them in the fridge and they can get pretty stiff so be sure to heat them in a skillet a little to make them more flexible and flavorful. I reached for a can of refried beans as the “meat” and realized we were out. No worries! Mash up black beans instead! I mashed half a can of rinsed black beans with a fork, added to the mash was a tablespoon of olive oil, a clove of garlic, a sprinkle of chili powder, a squeeze of sriracha sauce (my beloved) and s&p of course.  I then added the other half of the beans and stirred it in to add more texture.
After heating four tortillas in a skillet, I spread the refrieds on them as well as spinach avocado and a little cheddar cheese. Into the oven on 375* for about 10 minutes. About this time I realized how great sweet potato “fries” would go with it. Cut one large sweet-tator into fry size slice and nuked for four minutes on a plate (I am too impatient to wait for them to cop thoroughly in the oven, especially at 8:00 at night!) After the mic did most of the work I broiled them in a little olive oil, cinnamon, paprika and s&p.




Top with salsa, non fat plain Greek yogurt and scallions. Delightful! Have a wonderful night people!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Is that Spaghetti?

If you haven’t jumped on the spaghetti squash band wagon yet, you need to. It’s such an easy dinner that seriously satisfies the pasta lovers in this house. After a weekend of indulgences in Vermont (more on that tomorrow) I needed a strictly veg dinner to get back to reality. 

I was pretty confused about how the squash came out looking like spaghetti until I made it for the first time.  Preheat oven to 375* and slice lengthwise. Scoop out the seedy insides and drizzle with a little olive oil and some salt and pepper.  Bake face down in a baking dish in half an inch of water (adding the water and baking upside down steams the squash in the oven). Cook for 45 minutes to an hour or until the skin of the squash is easily punctured with a fork.  
Remove from oven and use a fork to remove the squash. Scrape out in the direction of the strands to keep the “spaghetti” intact. Top with whatever sauce you like or even pesto! 
About the time I put the squash in the oven I started to marinate this summer salad in the fridge. One cuke, one tomato, an onion and some chopped basil in olive oil and red wine vinegar. I like it better after a half hour or so of marinating but feel free to serve right away!
So fresh!
What a treat it is to have the sun still present for dinner photos! Summer must be just around the corner!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Berry Beautiful

I celebrated the return of the sun this morning with what else? Oatmeal! 1/2 cup of rolled oats simmered slowly in 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 a cup of vanilla soy milk. A little cinnamon sprinkled in too and a pinch of salt.




Oatmeal topped with three beautiful strawberries, almonds, coconut and a drizzle of maple syrup. 



Enjoy the day!

Monday, April 23, 2012

In Need of Greenery

We've been too lazy to venture to the grocery store in all this rain we've been having. As a result, I've been seriously lacking in the fresh veggie department; until tonight that is! I always try to have a snack before I go to the grocery store (bad idea to shop on an empty stomach), especially when shopping at the visually stunning Whole Foods Market that I have a slight love affair with. Unfortunately, the only snack left in the cupboard was a crumbled rice cake from the bottom of the bag. Apparently this snack was the least satisfying pre-grocery store snack ever and we ended up loading our cart up with way too much stuff. After cringing during check out we hurried home to enjoy this ultra satisfying panzanella salad. 




In the store I was faced with the decision to buy a package of basil for nearly $3 or buy this lush plant for less than $2. No contest!


The salad consisted of a whole wheat baguette (that I cubed and toasted in the oven) from Portland's Standard Baking Co., 2 chopped hearts of romaine, a giant tomato, a cucumber, some feta, fresh basil and S&P. All tossed with olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Delightful dinner! So fresh and Summery I almost forgot about the downpour happening outside my window :) Almost.

See Your Food at Sea 40

Friday we celebrated my grandmother's birthday with mi familia at the new-ish hibachi joint in Lewiston, Sea 40. I've been to a few different hibachi grills and am never disappointed, tonight was no different! It's fun to see your food prepared right in front of you. It's really more of an "experience" and not just a meal.


We started with some edamame and a spicy tuna roll, and soon our show began! The chefs are really quite skilled and most importantly, fun! Each hibachi meal (you can also order off their regular menu too) comes with soup, salad, veggies, shrimp, fried rice and then you pick the meat or fish you'd like too. I chose more shrimp!


I don't want to give away all their secrets so here is just one of their tricks. Above step one: stack onion slices into what will become a volcano of sorts.


Step two: squirt unknown liquid (presumably alcohol, probably sake?) into the volcano


Step three: light! I feared my eyebrows had singed off for a second there ;) 


Grillin' goodness!



Everything was delish! We then returned to the house to have birthday cake which was the perfect end to the birthday fun :) Happy birthday Nanny!

I Was Made for Sunny Days

I neglected to post these pictures from Thursday morning. I wish the sun would return and all this dreary rain would go away! 



oatmeal with cinnamon, dried tart cherries, coconut and pecans.


adorable lady slipper napkin borrowed from my Aunt Nina!

Blue skies please return soon :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Coo Coo for Coconut Milk


I just recently started cooking with coconut milk and so far I’m really loving it. It’s a great way to mellow out spicy dishes and sort of meld the flavors together.  Last night, a veggie curry was on the menu. As soon as I decided on curry I started the brown basmati rice. Rice seems to take forever so start simmering it ASAP! (Don’t cop out and use minute rice! It’s tasty but has no nutrients!) I sautéed two cloves of garlic and 1 inch of grated ginger in a tablespoon of olive oil. To that I added my veggies from the hardest to the softest. First went the carrots, then the zucchini, then the stocks from the rainbow chard I was steaming in another a pan. Add some spices! I really never measure anything (sorry, I’m working on it!) a few sprinkles of curry powder, a sprinkle or two of garam masala. And definitely only ONE sprinkle of cayenne pepper (a little goes a long way, skip this if you don’t like to bring the heat!) Salt and pepper of course!
Next up add one can of coconut milk. I use the light Whole Foods store brand but this should be available in the international section of any grocery store. Let simmer!
Top with some sliced almonds for some extra protein and enjoy!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tis the Season for Summer Squash

Ok, ok so it's only April but it certainly feels like summer out there! Big salad for lunch consisting of baby spinach tossed in a dijon mustard vinaigrette (so easy: 1 tablespoon of each olive oil, balsamic vin and dijon mustard for a single serving). Topped with zucchini and summer squash that I pan roasted with olive oil, s&p and paprika. 


Crumbled goat cheese and kidney beans came to lunch too.




I hope you are enjoying the sunshine somewhere!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Strawberry Fields

I hate buying fresh berries out of season because they're so expensive! But I just couldn't resist that $6 package of organic strawberries at Whole Foods. I've been trying hard not to gobble them up all at once and savor them! Bowl full of oats for breakfast made on the stovetop and cooked slowly. 1/2 cup organic rolled oats, 1/2 cup light vanilla soy milk and a 1/2 cup of water, heat on low and stir frequently to prevent burning.



Topped with 3 strawberries thinly sliced, a drizzle of maple syrup, sliced almonds and some coconut. Half a glass of OJ was enjoyed too :)



Happy Sunday! It's a lovely day!


Friday at Figa

Friday night we went to Figa in the east end, drawn in by a Living Social deal. This is a great way to try places you may not otherwise have known about. I forgot my camera though, so these are from my iPhone... Not quite as crisp as I'd like! We try a new Portland restaurant most Friday nights and we still haven't been to half of the amazing eateries here. 


Some prosecco for me and a fennel gimlet for him


Water crest, apple and fennel salad as well as shrimp patia(like a crepe) in the back. They are both delish!


I ordered the scallops with braised greens and black thai rice. The scallops were perfectly cooked and so flavorful! I loved it all!




Man-friend got the wild boar rendang served with rice, braised greens and chutney. He loves his meal too.  Everything was really great and we will definitely be back!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sal-mon

Salmon on the grill tonight! (Does anyone else pronounce that sal-mon in their head?) I've been craving a nice piece of fish and tonight I got my fix! We seasoned it with some spicy cajun rub as well as some passion fruit hot sauce we brought back from St. Thomas.

My favorite sparkling water!



Quinoa salad on the side with dried cherries and apricots that I rehydrated in veggie stock. Goat cheese mixed in. This was delightful! I even made extra quinoa salad for lunch tomorrow.

Check out those grill marks!
I think I may be headed to bed?! Early I know! Have a good night!