Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Broiled Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce

So I'm back in Davis continuing my internship, and learning some pretty awesome cell and molecular biology. Overall, I think I am off to a pretty good start, except for the part where I got stuck in a pitch black elevator transporting hazardous materials on my first day back. And what I mean by that is I was transporting dishes from the lab that once carried hazardous materials, and the elevator stalled while all the lights went out.


However, I did make a pretty good meal with Charlotte and Rae, last night. The first part of the meal was broiled asparagus with Hollandaise sauce.  I've got to say, I love asparagus, but whenever I eat it I just think of that scene from Austin Powers in Goldmember when Austin replaces the urinating fountain while eating asparagus. If you haven't seen it just google Austin Powers and asparagus, but then again I don't want to ruin eating asparagus for you. Gosh, I have been watching Austin Powers since early middle school, and looking back I am not quite sure its the best movie for a fifth grader to watch when they are having trouble sleeping. But hey, its better than staying up and watching Law and Order SVU reruns with your parents.


Getting back to the asparagus, you have probably noticed my asparagus look a little wilted. This is because they are. We wanted to take pictures the night of, but we were a little distracted drinking wine and complaining. Well, Charlotte wasn't drinking at the time. Why didn't we have Charlotte take the pictures?! Oh well, wilted asparagus it is. 


Rae actually broiled the asparagus, and taught me that I have a broil button on my oven. This is some very handy information, I must say. Lets just ignore the fact that I didn't previously know this. There was nothing special about our broiling, just stick to the basics, and don't forget the salt and pepper! I really should stop forgetting such basic ingredients.


As for the hollandaise sauce, there are lots of different recipes, and I couldn't decide on which one I wanted so I just sort of winged it trying to go off memory. But the important part was 3 egg yolks, a tablespoon of lemon juice and two sticks of butter.  I don't like acknowledging that hollandaise sauce is basically flavored butter. I am still on the hunt for a good recipe that decreases the amount of butter significantly. Let me know if you know of a good light hollandaise sauce recipe. There are lots of recipes claiming you can make the sauce in a blender which always confuses me. I mean its not hollandaise sauce if there is not a serious threat of over cooking it. and having the ingredients separate into some sort of nasty, yellow miso soup, right?


Anyway, pick your favorite hollandaise sauce recipe, and if your at a loss just visit foodgawker, but remember to keep track of the time. Vegetables with hollandaise sauce is a common Easter dish. Hollandaise sauce also goes great with fish or almost anything that includes poached eggs. I really want to try asparagus topped with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Protein Snack Bars

I love snack bars, but hardly ever buy them because they always seem so over priced. This is a pretty basic recipe and allows for a lot of creative freedom when it comes to the ingredients. They also market very well towards the organic crowd. I have a hate love relationship with most nuts so I just stuck with a simple peanut them and I was by no means shy with the chocolate chips. 


This is a very quick and easy recipe and only takes about 40 minutes (10 prep/ 30 baking).

  • 2 cups organic raw oats
  • 1/2 cup whole sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, or hemp seeds
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup organic Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • 1 cup peanut butter or any other nut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts or any other seeds or nuts
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup cranberries
  • up to 1 cup vanilla or chocolate whey protein powder (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine all the dry ingredients (oats through brown sugar) in a large bowl. Mix.  In a separate bowl combine the wet ingredients (Greek yogurt through coconut oil). Mix.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix thoroughly. Now mix in the chocolate, raisins, cranberries and peanuts (all the big chunky bits). Don't forget to taste the mixture to check for the correct sweetness. If you want it sweeter feel free to add more ingredients (raisins, honey, chocolate, etc.) If it is too sweet, add more nuts. At this point, mix in the protein powder, if using. 


Grease the pan (brownie pan works fine) with the extra coconut oil. Spread the mixture evenly along the pan. For less crumbly bars you need to compact the mixture. I found the best way to do this is by placing wax paper on top and using your fists to smash the mixture. Once the bars are compact place them in the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes take them out and cut them into square and then place them back in the oven for another 15 minutes. Cutting them in the middle of the cooking time keeps the bars together and makes them easier to separate. 


This recipe is originally from healthygreenkitchen.

The next day, I brought these snack bars along on our mourning trip to Sausalito. We visited Christopher at Crazy Shirts and he showed us that the store sells shredded money. Only in Marin, can you buy a jar full of shredded money. 



As we continued down Bridgeway, we stopped in the wine tasting boutique. There was this beautiful rabbit wine plug. Of course I don't need a $28 rabbit wine plug, but I'll have to remember it for future present ideas. 


At the end of Bridgeway we walked over the the wooden path and over to the little dog beach. It is a small beach, but I love it. Plus it is mainly occupied by locals, a rare thing to find in Sausalito. I found a couple of nice pieces of white sea glass which I am saving to make a coaster for my teapot. 



There is an old, steep staircase that leads down the the beach from the street. Every time I walk on it I feel my foot my fall through, but I have this feeling for the past ten years and nothing yet has happened.  At the top of the stairs someone painted one of the cities generic trash cans with a view from the beach below. 



Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Srambled Eggs and Avocado Toast

Saturday it was scheduled to be over 100 degrees in Davis and as I wasn't really made for the heat James and I booked it out of there as fast as we could. I truly do love Davis, but my skin was not made for the sun. I spent all last quarter biking in shorts to and from school and my legs are still chalk white, except for the occasional freckle. I fear the summer sun will someday permanently turn me pink. 

On the way home we stopped in Sonoma to see the family and check up on all the animals, including the alpacas (they are getting a haircut Thursday).  As James and I just booked a one bedroom apartment for fall we went consignment store shopping to look for unique household items. It was a successful trip. I pretty much wanted everything, but James and I limited ourselves to a fifty year old frame from Japan ($6). Although, now I am strongly regretting not buying the crystal wine glasses I cam across, which were $4 a piece. The frame reminds me of Sausalito, but most things do these days so I don't think that means much. I am thinking about painting San Francisco.


Once we reached our end of Mill Valley, Tamalpais Valley, we knew we were home. The fog had rolled in and we were basically wearing winter coats. However, the afternoons have been hot here in Mill Valley as well. Saturday, albeit not Davis weather, was definitly threatening serious sunburns and thus Imma and I decided to spend the day in an air conditioned theater viewing Prometheus. I love a good sci-fi horror, plus Noomi Rapace was in it.

While it was still semi-cool we went out for brunch down town Mill Valley at the Sweetwater Music Hall Cafe. Such a perfect little place. I bet it is fantastic at night when the music is live. I had this amazing avocado and scrambled eggs toast with lemon juice. It was so simple, but satisfying. I just had to make my own. 


The toast is incredibly easy. After your toast is nice and warm and slightly crunchy layer it with avocado. Don't be shy with the avocado. Add the eggs, salt, pepper and a little bit of lemon juice. The end result is amazing. You will not regret making this. I think I might try adding some chives and smoked salmon next time.


At the end of my outing with Imma we decided to go shopping, always a deadly decision. I ended up getting an amazing leather bag, half off from Macy's. It is the perfect size. Small enough to keep close, but larger enough to keep a notebook for school, wallet, sunscreen and maybe a camera. I love the long strap because it is great for biking. 


All in all it was a good weekend and a great way to recover from the worst week of finals ever! I learned my lesson about taking four science classes and a lengthy internship all in the same quarter. However, it was worth it and I will be doing it again in the fall. Let's pray for my sanity. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fuel for Finals: 3 Cheese Breakfast Sammie

Yes, I should be studying for finals, but our eggs were just about to expire. Plus this sandwich is a great start to a productive morning. I paired it with some Jasmine tea with local honey. 


Ingredients
  • Goat Cheese
  • Gruyere Cheese
  • Sharp White Cheddar Cheese
  • Basil
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Bacon
  • Egg
  • Whole Wheat Bread

Start by cooking the bacon on a frying pan. Then cook the eggs either over-easy or over-hard. I usually go with over-hard so the sandwich is easier to eat. While the egg is cooking prepare the rest of the sandwich. Add Dijon mustard to the sides of the bread. On one piece of bread add the basil, and on the other, the cheese. I crumpled up all the different cheeses together and squished them onto the bread with a knife. Add the bacon on top of the cheese. Once the egg is done add it to the bacon and then put the sandwich together. 

Now grill it, just like a basic grilled cheese. Start out by buttering the outsides of the sandwich. I usually make my grilled sandwiches on a frying pan over medium heat, covered. Check the underneath of the bread every minute or so to make sure it doesn't burn. Flip it before it burns and then do the same for the second side. You don't want to cook it too fast, otherwise the cheese won't melt in time. I have found that the covered top allows for a more even cooking and melts the cheese faster. 


Friday, June 8, 2012

Pesto Genovese, Classic Pesto

Recently I have come across a variety of pesto recipes and I am dying to try them all, but for the time being I decided to stick with classic pesto also known as pesto genovese. The next two pesto recipes I will try are an arugula pesto and a sun-dried tomato pesto recipe. This recipe is from Saveur.


Ingredients
  • 4 cups of fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts
  • 3 tbsp of grated pecorino
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Start off by blanching the basil. This will ensure a bright green color in the final result. Then add all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth and homogeneous. 

After making this there are a couple suggestions I would make. I would suggest using less olive oil, because the excess oil darkens the wonderful bright green color. Also if using a blender, chop up the basil previously for smoother mixing. 



What is your favorite kind of pesto or pesto dish?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Pea and Radish Salad


Over the weekend my little sister, Tess, came to visit and tell me all about her recent trip to Japan with our good friend Imma Trillo. Unfortunately, as she had only been home for less than 24 hours she was terribly jet lagged. However, the combination of this pea and radish salad with an avocado smoothie truly did make her feel better. If your having a sluggish day, I would definitely recommend this combination! Give it a try and tell me how you feel. 


This recipe is from the April 2011 issue of Bon Apetit, Pea and Radish Salad with Goat Cheese. It is quick and easy, with relatively no cooking. This recipe can be completed in 30 minutes.

Vinaigrette
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp of hazelnut oil (I used peanut oil)
  • 1 tbsp of red wine vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
Vegetables
  • 1 cup of peas
  • 1 cup of edamame
  • 1 cup of sugar snap peas
  • 1 1/2 cups of pea sprouts
  • 4 red radishes, thinly sliced
  • 5 oz of goat cheese

For the dressing combine whisk the ingredient together in a small bowl or cup. Season with sea salt and ground pepper.

Cook the peas, edamame and snap peas in boiling water, separate batches. The peas and edamame for roughly 5 minutes and the snap peas for 1 minute. Place them in ice water immediately to increase color. Cut up radishes and combine. I would also suggest cutting the pea sprouts in half so they are more manageable. Add crumpled goat cheese and vinaigrette and you are ready to go!

What is your favorite salad?
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Here are some pictures from my sister's trip.


Tess



My favorite picture from the market they went to in Tokyo





Sunday, June 3, 2012

Avocado Smoothie

My old room used to have one wall painted green. I loved the soothing affect it created. The color green represents life and rejuvenation, maybe thats why green health smoothies are so popular.  Also, avocados are full of replenishing effects. Avocado mixtures make great hair masks in the winter to prevent dry and brittle ends. 


This recipe is adapted from the Bon Appetit Magazine. I added the honey and changed the ratio of ingredients. I paired this drink with a pea and radish salad.

Combine the following ingredients in a blender. Once the mixture is homogeneous add some chopped ice for texture. 
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 2 Tbsp of lime juice (lemon will work)
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tbsp of honey
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint




Tip: to ripen an avocado, place it in a sealed brown bad with a banana or an apple for 24 hours.

How do you use your avocados?

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Mini Muffins

Looking back on these cookie muffins makes me miss Mill Valley. I made these sometime last summer, but forgot to post them. I miss my Mill Valley home and my families home in Sausalito. I never thought I would miss the fog so much, but this Davis heat has done a number on me.


My old girl, Nanny, back in Sausalito. The house reminds me of an old pier, but we call it the grotto.



And the muffin cookies...


All I did was bake my usual recipe in a mini muffin pan. 



To be honest, there wasn't a real purpose to this change in events, but I discovered that the cookies keep longer in this form. They also tend to be fluffier. I have found that after a couple of days fluffy, chewy cookies become rather stiff. However, in this form they keep their inner fluffiness longer. This adaptation is perfect for a low maintenance snack.


So to wrap it up, if you bake cookies as mini muffins they last longer. Follow my blog with Bloglovin
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