Friday, August 31, 2007

San Francisco here I come

I am so super excited. As soon as I finish doing the laundry, pack, clean and water my plants, I can go to sleep and tomorrow morning I will be flying to San Francisco for 4 days!!! I've been wanting to visit S.F. for several years now and finally decided to do it!

Speaking of packing, I was so not looking forward to it, that I decided to do a bit of shopping after work.

Below are just a few of my new purchases: new pants and tank top from Lucy, shoes and dress from Macy's. I also bought black Capri pants, black cardigan (have been looking for one for like ages!), and 2 long sleeve t-shirts from Aeropostale. Phew!!! (Oh, and yesterday I also bought a laptop case).

Okay, must go and get the laundry out of the dryer.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What's for dinner? Roasted Cauliflower

I had a head of cauliflower and no clue what to do with it. My friend Stacey recommended the following recipe from Epicurious. I made it last night and LOVED IT! Seriously, I ate the entire thing :)

Note: I cut the BBQ recipe by 4 (but did use the entire garlic clove) and substituted a few dashes of ground ginger instead of fresh.

Enjoy! and Thanks Stacey!

Roasted Cauliflower with Indian Barbecue Sauce


1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 2-pound head of cauliflower, cored, cut into 1-inch florets (about 8 cups)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger1 garlic clove, pressed
1 1/4 cups ketchup
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar


Preheat oven to 400°F.
Toast cumin in small skillet over medium heat until darker in color and beginning to smoke, about 11/2 minutes. Set aside.
Toss cauliflower and 2 tablespoons oil in large bowl. Transfer to medium rimmed baking sheet. Roast until very tender, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add ginger and garlic; sauté until very fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add ketchup, soy sauce, sugar, and toasted cumin. Bring to boil, whisking to blend.
Reduce heat to very low; simmer barbecue sauce 1 minute to blend flavors, whisking constantly.
Remove cauliflower from oven; transfer to large bowl. Toss with enough barbecue sauce to coat; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 6 side-dish servings

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

An afternoon of Art

Jenny was visiting from NYC and for lunch we decided to go to the National Gallery of Art and see the FOTO exhibit. It was interesting: I liked all the normal photos, but there were quite a few really disturbing ones that were not my favorites. What can I say? I like pretty things.

The trip to a museum is not over until you go to the museum store. There I found a new painting.

The first painting is the one that I already had hanging in my apartment. It's by Robert Delaunay. The second painting is the new one I bought. It's by the same artist, but a slightly different version called Rythme sans fin. I love it!!!!!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Dinner: Coconut Rice and Chicken

I was inspired by the recipe from Real Simple, but of course had to alter it a bit.

Bring to boil one cup of water and one cup of coconut milk. Stir in one cup of long grained rice, bring to a boil, turn to low heat, cover, and cook for 20 min.

In a separate pan, heat some oil, add chicken and season with salt and pepper. Let the chicken brown for about 5 minutes. Add sliced up red pepper and cook for another 3 minutes. Add in minced garlic and let cook for another 2 minutes. Add the remaining coconut milk (from the can of coconut milk you used for the rice) and let the mixture simmer for a few minutes. Add a huge bunch of spinach for extra flavor and vitamins (the spinach will wilt as the mixture continues to cook).

Serve the chicken mixture over the rice. Enjoy!

Notes: of course you can add any other vegetables such as zucchini, broccoli, carrots, etc.

A Date with FOUR firemen

Saturday I decided it was time to get out of my apartment and go outside (I've been home sick for an entire week).

So I took a shower and headed off to the library to pick up a San Francisco book for my upcoming trip. It was seriously like a 100 degrees outside and by the time I made it to the library (less than a 10 min walk) I was beginning to feel a bit off. I felt very dizzy and like I was going to faint any minute (sadly, I know exactly what it feels like).

I sat down by the librarian's desk and asked for some water. Then I really thought I was going to pass out, so ended up laying down on the floor.

The librarian panicked and said she will call the firefighters (their station is adjacent to the library). So a few minutes later in walk 4 firefighters to save me :)

They took my vitals and said everything was normal but asked if I'd still like to go to the hospital: I declined. They also quietly asked if there was a chance I was pregnant: right!

Anyways, I had to ask them to give me a ride home because as sad as it is, I had no one to call and was too afraid of walking back in such hot water. So I rode home in a fire truck with four firemen! Super exciting. One of them was actually cute and did not have a wedding band, but I did not feel I made the greatest impression :)

Anyways, thank you firefighters!!!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Weekend in May (Aug 17th)

I went to Maine for the first time on August 15th with Elena and Katie for Nicole's wedding. It's such a pretty place. Water, boats, flowers. Very picturesque town with super nice people. Great vacation spot.

And the wedding was great!!!
Here are a few pictures:


Sometimes when I need some cheer up, I buy flowers for myself. This past week I've been home sick with a flu, a cold, coughing, who knows what. So on the way back from a doctor, I decided to buy some roses. They are so pretty!

Thank You card

I made this card for Nicole's parents for letting me stay with them for Nicole's wedding. Hope they'll like it. (All you need is a hole-punch, some ribbon, pencils and imagination)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What's for dinner? Gazpacho!

Last night I realized I had too much food in my refrigerator...this would typically not be a problem, but I'm leaving for the rest of the week to go to Nicole's wedding in Maine (Super exciting!!).

So I called Anna and asked for suggestions of what to make using tomatoes and cucumbers. She suggested gazpacho! I absolutely love tomatoes, so this was the perfect idea!

Ingredients: 2 tomatoes, 1/2 English cucumber, 1/2 cup of tomato juice, 1 clove of garlic, 3 broiled peppers (I used orange and yellow), salt and pepper to taste.

Directions: put all of the ingredients into a blender and blend away!

The soup turned out awesome! I topped it with some little Israeli crackers for some crunch. Definitely a great start to a dinner on a hot day.

For the rest of the dinner I made a salad that my parents used to make when I was little and we were on vacation. Combine cut up tomatoes, cucumbers, green onion, hard boiled eggs and boiled potatoes with mayonnaise. Add salt and pepper and ENJOY!

(Note: the original salad version had tomatoes, cucumbers, white onion and sour cream).

Sorry, no pictures this time.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Plantains: Laura would be proud!

Laura, my Puerto Rican friend introduced me to the amazing taste of fried plantains six years ago. Since then, whenever I've visited her in DC, Florida, or soon Puerto Rico, she always made them for dinner. I've also had great plantains in restaurants in Alexandria, Houston, Old San Juan and Dallas.

Alas, when I tried to recreate this "recipe," I failed miserably. The plantains turned out burned on the outside but remained uncooked on the inside.

Finally, when I was visiting my parents in Seattle last month, I decided to give plantains another try. And do you know what the secret is?
You must buy VERY ripe plantains! The skin will look black and they will be soft to the touch. That's it: just start with super ripe plantains, heat oil in the pan and then gently drop slices (about quarter of an inch thick: I cut mine on a diagonal) in the oil. Cook for about a few minutes on each side, drain on a paper towel and enjoy!!!

Thanks Laura :)

What's for dinner? Asian Chicken Soup!!!

Last night I made a super quick, but flavorful dinner: Asian Chicken Soup. I was inspired by a few recipes from Epicurious and Every Day Food.

  • shredded pre-cooked chicken
  • 3 bok choy
  • 2 shredded carrots
  • 1 thinly sliced orange pepper
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • water
  • 1 can of chicken broth
  • soy sauce
  • rice wine vinegar
  • sesame seed oil
  • cilantro
  • green onions


  1. In a soup pot, bring to boil 1 can of chicken stock and 2 cans of water. Add a few splashes of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and a few drops of sesame seed oil.
  2. Add 1 inch piece of ginger (don't forget to fish it out before serving the soup)
  3. To the soup pot, add shredded carrots and thinly sliced pepper. Simmer for 3 minutes.
  4. Add shredded chicken and garlic; after simmering for 2 minutes, add cut up bok choy.
  5. Simmer for 2-4 more minutes.
  6. Serve in a bowl with cilantro and green onions.

Variations: You can add other vegetables (mushrooms, broccoli, peas, beans, nappa cabbage), protein (shrimp, tofu), and carbs (pasta, rice or even potatoes). Make this recipe your own! Remember to taste at the end to decide if you need extra soy sauce or rice wine vinegar.



Was chatting with Nicole today and learned a new word: verklempt.
She was surprised I did not know what it meant since the word is Yuiddish :)

Webster's New Millennium™ Dictionary of English
Part of Speech: adj
Definition: overcome with emotion; clenched; also written ferklempt
Etymology: Yiddish

Webster's New Millennium™ Dictionary of English, Preview Edition (v 0.9.7)
Copyright © 2003-2007 Lexico Publishing Group, LLC

Crafts: Wedding card

My friend Nicole is getting married this weekend to Neal. For their wedding present, I chose a vacuum cleaner from the registry, so wanted to do something a bit more creative for the wedding card.

Last month when Anna was visiting Nicole came over and we cut a zillion of fabric circles to decorate the wedding favors (jars of Maine blueberry jam). I asked if I could keep the scrap fabric pieces. What a great idea that was!

I used the leftover fabric to make the card. I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out and hope the future Mrs. Blake likes it too.

My new red shoes

I finally bought a pair of red shoes. I've wanted red shoes for months now and haven't been able to find anything that I like. They were either too flat, too dorky, too I-work-on-the-corner or too shiny.

And then this past Saturday as I was spending hours trying to find a necklace to wear to Nicole's wedding this weekend and not succeeding, I decided to stop at Pay Less Shoes...and there waiting for me were my red shoes! LOVE THEM :)

They are very different from what I usually wear, but change is good sometimes.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

RECIPES: yellow squash side dish

I thought I'd share something I cooked a few days ago that turned out super delicious and is very simple to make.

1) peel about 5 yellow squash. Cut lengthwise and then cut into quarter of an inch moon shapes.

2) cut a few cloves of garlic.

3) heat olive oil in a pan and add yellow squash.

4) saute for about 5 minutes.

5) add garlic.

6) saute a few more minutes.

7) add soy sauce and pepper to taste, cover with a lid and cook for additional 4 minutes. At the end add some fresh dill, parsley or cilantro.

This is really good hot or room temperature with chicken, fish or pasta.

The leftovers are great cold with cherry tomatoes.