Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mahi Mahi

Last night I decided to make something a bit healthier, and luckily mahi mahi was on sale. I don't think I've ever cooked this particular fish before, and honestly can't even recall having it in restaurants.

Since Wednesday is my dancing night, the recipe had to be rather quick. I found a recipe for Ginger Glazed Mahi Mahi, went to the store to get the necessary ingredients and started cooking. This was a simple dish to make and the marinade was delicious! I think next time I would leave out balsamic vinegar and increase the amount of garlic. Also, I'll remember to keep the heat on medium instead of high because the honey tends to burn (who would have thunk?). I had some snowpeas cooked with ginger to go along with the fish.

Say What???

Met Wendy for lunch and went to Union Station food court. Yes, not the most culinary choice, but it's nearby. I opted for a sandwich place where you get a sandwich, chips, cookie and a soda for $7.49. The lady who works there asked me what kind of a cookie I wanted, and I asked for a macadamia nut one. She shook her head and said that's not the one I wanted.


Okay, I asked which one I should have, and she said chocolate chip. It was fresh from the oven, so I went with her suggestion. Smart choice! I guess sometimes it pays to listen to others.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I swear to God I'm not pregnant...

...although it would explain all the cravings I've had today. At first I had ice-cream, then I had pistachios, then a Diet Pepsi (okay, that doesn't really count), and then I still wanted something salty and fatty!

My misstep was looking at Coconut & Lime blog and seeing Smoky Mango Pulled Pork recipe. I wanted the pulled pork sandwich right then and there. So that's what I bought at the food court. After eating junk for the entire day, I made a salad to go along with the sandwich. Delicious!

P.S. the picture is of my own sandwich

Wine labels and Magnets

When Alyssa was moving away from DC, I had a mini going away dinner for her and she brought me a bottle of Bodegas Norton 2006 "Lo Tengo" Mendoza Malbec. The wine was suprisingly good (I prefer whites to reds), but what I liked the best was the label, which I turned into a magnet.

A week ago I was strolling in World Market, one of my favorite stores, and noticed that the same company also makes white wine: Bodega Norton Lo Tengo Torrontes 2004. The bottle is now in my fridge, and most likely I'll make a magnet using the label before I drink it.

The magnets will not only remind me of Alyssa, but of course also of Lera, who is a Tango maven!

Yes, sometimes it's smart to choose wine according to the labels.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Playing with Jewelry

Now that I have finally organized my jewelry (instead of having all of it sit in a plastic bowl on top of my nightstand), I can see better what I have. Today I was wearing my black pearl earrings and thought of wearing a matching black pearl ring, but then had a lightbulb moment.

Note: the rings are on a wooden spoon: it looks better on my finger.



Cauliflower 2 ways

I had a head of cauliflower and wanted to do something a bit different. I then remember a great dish my dad makes using cauliflower: break off the florets, boil them till almost tender, "wash" them with an egg mixture and then sprinkle with breadcrumbs. You then fry them in hot oil: delicious! I should have listened to my mom and undercooked the cauliflower a bit, but I'll learn next time :)
The second dish I made was a cauliflower/potato/pea curry with coconut milk (the spices were whole cumin seeds, ground cumin, ground ginger, curry powder, salt & pepper, and fresh garlic and onion).

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Dinner: Use what you have

Paige is leaving in May and has to use up the things in her pantry. The price of food is going up. I did not feel like going grocery shopping. Jenn was coming over after a nap and I did not want her to delay her timing by stopping at the store.

So we decided to make dinner using what we had on hand.

Appetizer: hummus (canned chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, oil from sun-dried tomatoes)

Main course: whole wheat pasta with a spicy sauce Paige made mainly from a can of tomato sauce, tomato paste, some red wine, spices and an onion. Sprinkled w/the cheese Jenn brought

Side dish: Jenn's salad (lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, dressing, and more cheese!)

Side dish: roasted vegetables (zucchini, red onions, green pepper, carrots drizzled with canola oil and sprinkled with salt & pepper and red pepper flakes)

Dessert: graham crackers with Nutella and Cool Whip

Fantastic food and friends! Oh how I'm going to miss Paige.

Mini Lessons From Kamal

Great sushi with a great friend

This past Friday Jenn and I went to Yamazato sushi for dinner. This was my second time at Yamazato's: Jenn took me to this gem of a restaurant a few months ago and I had to agree: they serve the best sushi I've had!

We shared a seaweed salad for an appetizer and then had tom ka soup (spicy lemon grass broth cooked in coconut milk with white mushrooms: I had a vegetarian version, Jenn had it with shrimp). The soup was very flavorful, but I wish the sweetness of the coconut milk would have stood out a bit more.

We then shared a "few" rolls and I wish I had my camera to take pictures of the beautifully made sushi.
* Spicy crunchy shrimp roll
* Spicy crunchy tuna roll
* Kamikaze roll: yellow tail, tuna, avocado (inside) with spicy sauce (outside)
* Eagle roll: I could not find the description of this one, but it had an avocado on the outside with the spicy sauce
Great food, great friends! And to finish the meal we had mango and sticky rice.


Will work for food

Yesterday I spent about 8 hours with Cindy's family. The project was to help build some IKEA furniture. Since both of my parents are engineers, and Anna and I have been building things ever since we were little (be it wood blocks or Erector sets, and now my new hobbie of jewelry making) I was quite confident in my ability to be of service.

Then the movers came with gignormous boxes and my confidence level decreased quite a bit. Before starting on our projects and in order to gain some strenght, we all went to Fortune for dim sum! It was as delicious as ever.

Back at Cindy's, Laila was assigned to be my helper and together we built Ikea Tromso Loft Bed with a hanging table and shelf underneath. Laila was an amazing helper and we proved that girls can build things! By the time we were done, it was dinner time and I joined the Z family for some pizza! They even gave me a ride home and I also scored two sweatshirts: a great way to spend a day by helping out a friend and getting free food!

Who wants to hire me next?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Say What???

This is the first good "say what???" and hopefully not the last.

I received the following email today.

Hi Stacey --

I'm glad to hear you branched out and gave California Tortilla another chance! The Crunchy BBQ Salad is darn tasty, isn't it? The Crunchy BBQ Ranch Burrito, the Blackened Chicken Caesar Burrito and the Honey Lime Burrito with a side order of chips and queso are delicious as well. (At least those are what I love best and it's all about me, Stacey.)

If you send me your address I'd love to send you a free coupon for breaking out of your Mexican food shell. In the meantime, thanks for mentioning us!

Yours Truly,
Queen of Burritos

This must be in response to my blog post about eating at California Tortilla with Stacey yesterday. Pam must have gotten our names confused: but who cares? I get a free lunch out of it!

Stacey...we should go together again and then it'd be 50% off :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A simple dinner for a simple girl...

Okay, maybe I'm not that simple :)

I've been eating out quite a bit in the last few days, and decided to actually cook dinner tonight.

On the menu:
1) roasted red potatoes with red onions, drizzled with olive oil, lemon juice and sprinkled with a bit of chili powder

2) chicken breasts marinated in olive oil, lemon juice and lemon zest, garlic, chili powder, and then seared in a pan and finished in the oven

3) cucumber/tomato/red onion/dill salad with olive oil, raspberry blush vinegar and feta cheese (too bad I did not have any olives)

The food turned out delicious! Note how I used the same ingredients in different parts of the meal. If you want detailed recipes, email me. Btw, I'm super pleased with the way the pictures came out!

The only thing missing was some company. Who wants to come over for dinner?

So Jealous!

This is from The Reliable Source discussion on WA Post.

Springfield, Va.: Last week I met Tim Gunn at the Amtrak Station in D.C.! He was dressed to the nines and quite possibly the nicest person I've met! Wooo my first celebrity sighting!

Roxanne Roberts: He's a doll. Are you a changed person? Dressing better? Did he give you any tips?

I guess I just have to settle for dreaming about him............

Lunch...who would have thunk?

My original plan of getting Chinese for lunch with Ashley fell through, so Stacey suggested California Tortilla. I've only eaten there once, and decided that I preferred Chipotle. However, I'm trying really hard to be open minded and not knock things down before giving them a chance. To California Tortilla we went, and I ordered a Crunchy BBQ Ranch Salad, which Stacey recommended.

I was so pleasantly surprised! The salad was a perfect combination of crisp lettuces, grilled chicken breast, tortilla strips, shredded Monterrey jack cheese, black beans, corn, fresh salsa and scallions, and was drizzled with BBQ sauce and served with a side of Ranch dressing.

Ooops, I just made a mistake of looking up the salad's nutritional value....might have to rethink things ;)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pizzeria Paradiso

I love pizza! One of the best pizzas I've had was in 2 Amys and another one was in San Francisco at Z Pizza. Last night, I went to Pizzeria Paradiso, and discovered my new favorite spot. Can't wait for Anna to visit and take her there, and I think Misha is going to like it too!

The place is pretty tiny so we had to wait for a table, but then a space opened up at the bar. I had their Bosco Pizza (Tomato, Mushrooms, Spinach, Red Onion, Mozzarella) and it was divine! The crust was thin and crispy, and the toppings were in perfect harmony with one another.

Pizzeria Paradiso has a second location in Georgetown, but the one in Dupont is definitely more low key, homey and cuter.

Will have to definitely come back for more!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

It's all about balance, right?

It is absolutely awful outside. And my mood sort of matches the weather: volatile, gray, and raining. What to do? Go to the gym of course. Okay, there are many other things I could have done, but the gym was readily available :)

After burning 500 calories, I came home and had a slice of chocolate ice-cream with peanut butter frozen pie I was testing for Robyn. Delicious!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Every girl deserves to be pampered

Spring is finally here! It's sunny and warm in DC today, and looks like the good weather is here to least for the next several days.

I had an urge to get a pedicure (my feet felt tired from dancing last night), but was wearing closed-toe shoes at work. What choice did I have, but to go shopping for flip flops? Seriously...

I went over to Union Station during lunch, but everything in Nine West and Bandolino was expensive (especially since I really did not need yet another pair of shoes). I finally found a cheap pair of flip flops in Douglas (a makeup store) and headed to Capital Nails for a pedicure.

I don't like having too many choices: it's hard to pick what you want! I ended up choosing Opi's Lincoln Park After Dark, because I have a bottle of it at home, and would be able to do any necessary maintenance.

This was the first time I had a pedicure done by a man: he was okay.

Cheap flip flops.........$2.99+tax
Feeling Pampered....priceless!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

More red jewelry

Remember the red coral necklace I bought? I did not have anything that matched, so decided to cut off two of its strands and make matching earrings and a bracelet. The result is below: I'm quite pleased!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Mission: Impress with Chocolate

So apparently, chocolate is "a gift from the Gods. The cool Gods."

I wanted to impress and to wow, so Anna recommended CIA Mudslide Cookies (and before you ask, CIA as in Culinary Institute of America, not the Central Intelligence Agency). The only change I made to the recipe was to omit the nuts, because someone doesn't like them! This was a fun recipe to make and the results are wonderfully chocolaty! The cookie is fudgy on the inside and crisply on the outside: definitely only for those who are true chocoholics.

Special thanks to Anna for recipe suggestion and to Paige for instant coffee powder!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Say What???

Last night I went salsa dancing, as I always do on Mondays. One of the guys I've met a while ago was there and asked if I danced bachata. I said "of course." I then asked him if he dances bachata. He looked very dubious, and I said I'd take it as a no. And we just stood there. He then decided to give it a try.

Bachata is really a simple dance: two steps to the right, two steps to the left, repeat, and throw in an occasional turn. But with the right person, it feels like you are floating on waves. This was not it, but he kept up with the rhythm. And then he said:

I think bachata is the most sensual dance. It's a vertical expression of a horizontal desire.

OMG! Do people actually say these things in real life? I thought such cheesy lines were only allowed in the movies.

Breakfast memories

I am so tired of eating Wasa crackers with cream cheese for breakfast. It's been several weeks of the same old, same old. Any time I go grocery shopping for the week, thinking of what to buy for breakfast is the biggest frustration. I'm definitely not one of those girls that can just have a Slimfast or yogurt...I need something I can chew.

Today I decided to venture out to Union Station in search of breakfast. And then I remembered the many breakfasts I had with Jenny and Laura in our years of working together. We had a tradition of treating each other to breakfast for our birthdays at a Wings place (I don't even remember the exact name) in the food court of Union Station. Jenny would tend to get a vegetable omelet, and Laura and I would go for either vegetable with bacon or cheese with bacon. The eggs were fluffy, the bacon crisp, and the potatoes were divine! There was also toast with jelly and butter. And it was only $3.25! We would tend to eat one half of the breakfast right then and there and save the other half for lunch. Oh, those were the good days!

Sadly the Wings place closed a while back, and Laura and Jenny are no longer in DC. But, I still wanted breakfast! I wanted eggs and potatoes and maybe even some toast. Luckily, Corner Bakery had just what I wanted:

Farmer's Scrambler $4.99 (better not to know the amount of calories: but I ate 1/2 and will have the rest tomorrow morning) Wake up to eggs scrambled with red and green bell peppers, red onions, mushrooms, potatoes, and cheddar cheese. Served with oven-roasted breakfast potatoes and sourdough country toast.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Russian Mac & Cheese with a twist

When I was growing up, my parents would make macaroni and cheese quite often. But that wasn't your American mac & cheese. They would boil very thin spaghetti and then put shredded cheese on top. As you mixed in the cheese, it formed long strings: delicious! No butter, no bread crumbs, no milk, no baking: just pasta and cheese.

Tonight I recreated the recipe (sort of): 1) boil the pasta 3 minutes shorter than told on the box 2) add broccoli* into the water 3) cook pasta with broccoli till both are cooked through 4) drain 5) add in shredded sharp cheddar, some ground pepper and stir 6) top each bowl with a bit more cheddar and enjoy!

* you can also omit broccoli or add peas....and even hotdogs!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

What's for dinner? Meatloaf

I was inspired by the Southwestern Meatloaf recipe, but of course had to make a few changes. I doubled the amount of garlic, used half canned corn and half black beans (instead of all black beans), and used parsley instead of thyme. In the topping mixture, I added chili powder and paprika. This came out awesome and would be an excellent as stuffing for peppers (I would probably mix some rice into it too). You could also make fun little meatballs from this mixture.

1) filling 2) topped with tomato paste 3) ready to eat (Jenny's plate)

Mango cupcakes

I love mangoes! I also love reading food blogs and last week happened to find Coconut & Lime blog where I found a recipe for mango-chile cupcakes. Today I decided to try out the recipe, but omitted the chile powder and added zest from a California Meyer lemon. Also, in the key lime cream cheese frosting recipe I substituted juice of a California Meyer lemon and added some lime zest.

I really like the frosting, and the cupcakes were super easy to make. I'm not sure if their texture is a bit too spongy because I accidentally added an entire stick of butter instead of just 6 tablespoons...Also, they are insanely sweet! If you try them, definitely cut down on sugar.

P.S. This cute plate is from Jenny! She also gave me two bigger plates that say Scrumptious.

Let's try pork again

I finally decided to give pork another chance! This past Wednesday I bought bone-in pork chops. First I seared them for a few minutes in combination of olive oil and butter and then put them in the oven at 325 for about 15 minutes. They were definitely better than my original attempts, but still not what I wanted to achieve. I guess next on the list will be a pork tenderloin.

Jewelry Clinic

I bought this pair of earrings more than a year ago at Ann Taylor Loft. They have seen better days: one of the chains has broken off, the metal lost its "silver" coating and the earrings just look old and sad.

With two jewelry classes under my belt and several projects completed, I decided to rehabilitate this pair of earrings.

After going to Beadazzled and buying a new silver chain, I used head pins and other supplies I already had on hand to give this pair a new life. I'm pretty happy with the end result (however, I accidentally broke one of the original beads, so the new design has 2 less beads than the original: I can live with this).

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

More things I've tested

Here are some of the recipes I've tested for Robyn that have been published in the Diabetes Forecast. My favorites were the pasta and the chicken recipes. Enjoy!

Big Rewards

Last week was Spring Break, and there was no Everybody Wins mentoring. Instead, I went out to lunch with Ashley. It's strange, how after mentoring for only a month, I missed seeing N*, my mentee, and reading with her: it quickly became a wonderfully rewarding break in the middle of my week. Today we had our "reunion." N was really glad to see me, and we had quite a successful reading hour. I was so proud of her when she was able to finish reading a few sentences without my help.

I made her note-cards with some of the words she still has trouble reading, and really hope her parents will help her to memorize them. I can't imagine how difficult it must be not to be able to read! Think of all the things you'd be missing out.

*I am not sure if I'm supposed to keep her identity confidential

Two Murakamis

When I traveled to San Francisco in August, I fell in love with a painting I saw at one of the galleries. The painting, the image is seen below, was by an artist named Murakami.

Months later, I was impressed when I found out that Murakami is also a well known author and really enjoyed reading one of his books: After Dark. Some people are just multi-talented!
Well, surprise, surprise! Reading New York Times today, I realized that these are actually two different people: the artist is Takashi Murakami and the author is Haruki Murakami; as far as I can tell they are not related. Perhaps Murakami in Japan is the same as Smith is here (hi, Jenny!).