Thursday, December 4, 2014

Get on the Road

When I woke up on Saturday I knew I was in the mood for an adventure. Luckily, I was able to convince this other guy that not only would an adventure be a great idea, but that he should drive. (I win!)


We decided to head out to Solvang, Ca.  It is a town about 2 hours north of Los Angeles and it is a really pretty silly place.  It has this crazy theme around Denmark and one of my friends even called it "The Epcot of Wine Country".  Basically, its a town where you can eat, drink wine, look at windmills, and eat Danish pastries.  


We started the day at Andersen's Pea Soup.  This is a California travel icon!  An inn and restaurant known for it's pea soup and silly decor.  The soup was actually pretty delicious, and the entire experience was kitchy and silly...which is basically what our entire day was!





We walked around the town, wine tasted, and ended the day with a few beers and this charcuterie plate that must have been handed down from the angels, because really...have you ever seen anything more beautiful?



If you are in the mood for touristy goodness with enough booze to keep you buzzed for hours...than Solvang is the place for you.  We will be back soon enough...


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Cheers to the Bride to Be

This might make me sound #basic, but I enjoy a good shower. It's always  nice to get together with friends and family and I like almost any party that revolves around pretty dresses and glasses of champagne...so really, what is not to like?

A few weeks ago, I was invited to the shower of my friend Ana at the Chado Tea Room.  The tea room is at the Japanese American Museum downtown and the experience was lovely.  I don't think I have been to "a tea" since my mom took me to the Plaza Hotel when I was 13 years old.  Needless to say, I can't believe I haven't had more tea in my life.  It was such a fun place to get together. 




Don't mind the lipstick mark on my tea cup. #classy

The tea itself was delicious, but the best touch was the little trays that they placed on each table.  Each tray had assorted finger sandwiches, scones with creme, and little desserts.  Nothing like personal desserts to start a party.



It was so nice to celebrate Anna before her wedding in January.  And I heard there are lots of Groupons for the tea room...who want's to go for a cup?!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

It's 1950 Up in Here

Sometimes I really like to honor the tradition of the "Sunday Night Dinner" with something super traditional for dinner. That is why when I was meal planning Sunday morning and came across this recipe on Skinnytatse for pork chops I had to make them!  

Making pork chops for dinner made me feel very June Cleaver.  I should have put on a frilly apron and oven mitts.

The recipe was easy, quick, and delicous. I can't say that I am normally a pork chop person, but these will be making an appearance in our kitchen again in the not too distant future. It was a winner for sure.


Oven "Fried" Breaded Porkchops

Ingredients:


  • 6 (3/4-inch thick) center cut boneless pork chops, fat trimmed (5 oz each)
  • kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  • 1/3 cup crushed cornflakes crumbs
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/4 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray a large nonstick baking sheet lightly with oil.
Season pork chops on both sides with 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Combine panko, cornflake crumbs, parmesan cheese, 3/4 tsp kosher salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder and black pepper in a large shallow bowl. 
Place the beaten egg in another. Dip the pork into the egg, then crumb mixture.  Place on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining chops.

Directions: 

Lightly spray a little more oil on top of the pork and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I Won! I Won!

Like any blogger, I like to take my chances in a nice giveaway now and then just to see what can happen.   I admittedly never win, but it is always fun to check out new products and new blogs.

But this time...I ACTUALLY WON!

Alissa over at 33 Shades of Green hosted a giveaway for a $200 gift certificate to Minted and I won!  Minted is an amazing site with the nicest cards and prints and the gift card came at the best time...Christmas card time!

What's funny is, the day before I found out I won I went to the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland.  The gardens were beautiful, and in one of the pavilions they had a small cup of sticks.  The directions had you shake the cup of sticks until one fell out. The sticks all had numbers on them and the number matched a drawer in a small chest that the cup was sitting on.  And low and behold...look what my fortune said...


Prosperity is right! Nicest Christmas cards ever coming to a mail box near you this holiday season!  Thanks again Alissa!

Monday, November 24, 2014

First Day in Portland

Last week, I spent 4 days in Portland, OR working with a few schools up in the Pacific Northwest.  Lately, I have been spending a LOT of time in this part of the country and I could not be happier about it.  Portland was amazing...albeit, VERY cold compared to Los Angeles.  

I do, however, think growing up on the East Coast has made me equate cooler temperatures with the holidays.  As much as I love Thanksgiving and Christmas, it always take a bit more effort to get into the spirit in Los Angeles when the temperatures can still be in the mid 70s when you put your tree up.  The temperatures in Portland where PERFECT and I feel ready to get my holiday on after a few days up north...it doesn't hurt that the air in Portland literally smells like pine.

My first day in the city was Sunday so I was able to spend it doing what any tourist should...eating and drinking.  My first stop was VooDoo Donut.  I only got one donut which was a mistake of epic proportions.  The second I finished it I wanted 12 more...



You know what else Portland is good at besides Holiday temperature and donuts?  Beer.  They are really, really good at beer.  I stumbled upon a really cool tap room literally steps from my hotel and indulged in a few local brews.


I walked off the beer and donuts with some exploring and got myself to Powell's.  Guys it's the strand without being anxiety inducing and a million degrees aka its amazing.  I may or may not have spent almost a full hour in there.


I realize that most of my recent posts have been about food.  Eating it, making it, thinking about it.  I wish I could say it was that time of year, but really...this is just kind of how I operate all year long.  Sorry I'm not sorry.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Less Dangerous than a Mandolin

I feel like I can't believe I don't talk about my vegetti more. It's the weirdest/greatest thing I have purchased in a long time. Basically it turns vegetables into fake spaghetti and it makes cooking dinner expodentially more fun (and it's not as dangerous as that god damn mandolin...torture device I tell you!) And if you use one of those 9 million Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupons in that pile of mail on on the counter (no? just me?) it's under $10.  Winner winner fake vegetable noodle dinner.

I mean look at that little guy go! Those are sweet potato "noodles" people! Noodles! And they are so cute! 


What did I make with those sweet potato noodles? This....and it was damn delicous:


Ingredients

  • 1.5-2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 sweet Italian sausage links, decased, crumbled
  • 1 large (350g+) sweet potato, peeled, Blade C
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
  • 6 asparagus stalks
  • optional: grated parmigiano reggiano cheese, to garnish
Directions

  1. Place a large skillet over medium heat and add in the olive oil. Then, add in the sausage. Cook the sausage until browned, 5-7 minutes. Continue to crumble the sausage as it cooks. While the sausage is cooking, snap the bottoms off the asparagus and then shave with a vegetable peeler, starting from the bottom of the asparagus tips all the way down to the end of the stalk. When done shaving, chop off the tips and set aside. Set aside all shavings and tips.
  2. When the sausage is done, add in the sweet potato noodles, garlic, red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and then add in the broth and parsley. Let cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes or until sweet potato noodles are cooked through and soften. After 5 minutes into the noodles cooking, add in the shaved asparagus and asparagus tips. Toss to combine and let the noodles finish cooking.
  3. When pasta is done, plate into bowls and garnish with optional grated cheese. Enjoy!
Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thursday Thanksgiving Recipe Prep

This is the second year in a row I will be cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Living on the West Coast with family out east, it is just too short of a time (and too damn expensive) to fly home for Thanksgiving.  For that reason, Thanksgiving is usually spent with my "urban family".

Last year, my life-partner Grace and I cooked Thanksgiving for the first time and it was widely successful (minus the turkey juice I spilled on the carpet).  This year we are even more ready to go.  We might even be super ambitious and run a turkey trot that morning (getting to confident? perhaps hahaha).

Here are a few recipes that I am planning to bust out this turkey day:


When I made this last year, I believe our friend Andrew exclaimed, "Bacon
and carrots together at last".  It's on the menu again.


Ok, I confess.  Last year's stuffing came from a bag.  This year it's
all Martha baby.


I brought this jalapeƱo creamed corn to a friendsgiving the Saturday after Thanksgiving
last year and it was a huge it.  It's going on the main menu this time around.


A 3-year veteran of Thanksgiving dinner, it's perpetually on my menu.
Delicious, traditional, and easy.


This, this is my white whale?  Can I do it?  Maybe.  Will I try? Probably.
I'll let you know how it goes.

Any tried and true Thanksgiving recipes I should be giving a go this year?

 
 

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