Sunday, January 31, 2010

Salad Days

Dinner tonight was easy, delicious, and took all of 20 minutes to prepare. I made Salad Pizza! I used the recipe that I linked for inspiration, and went from there. First, I went to Whole Foods and bought some pizza dough. Yes, I know how to make my own pizza dough, but I was feeling lazy. Plus, it cost all of 3 dollars and tasted better than my homemade dough. When I got home, I plopped the dough in a bowl that I had greased with cooking spray, covered it with saran wrap, and let the dough double in size, which took a couple hours. I then stuck it in the fridge until I was ready to use it.
When it was time to make the pizza, I made a quick tomato sauce (though I've been known to use canned spaghetti sauce in the past). I took some leftover canned tomato sauce I needed to use (b/c I had eggs poached in tomato sauce for lunch on Sat.), and heated it up in a pot with a little olive oil, garlic, basil, pepper, red wine, and red pepper. It was probably about a half of a cup of sauce, total. I then spread my dough into my big tart pan (b/c I don't have a pizza stone). I haven't made pizza since getting my tart pan, so I was really excited to try it out as a pizza pan because I am a dork. :)
I topped my pizza dough with the tomato sauce (spread thin b/c I didn't want it to overpower the salad topping) and a thin(ish) layer of mozzarella. I also added some thinly sliced tomato b/c I a) love tomato on pizza and b) needed to use up 1/2 a tomato that had been in my fridge for a while (does anyone see a theme to my dinners?). I baked my pizza at 450 for 15 minutes.
While the pizza was baking, I made my salad. I just took about half of a bag of spring mix and tossed it with some homemade salad dressing. My go-to dressing recipe is olive oil, lemon juice, freshly ground black pepper and Parmesan. I tend to use a little more lemon juice than is called for in the recipe, b/c I like a nice tangy dressing.
When the pizza was done, I topped it with the salad and some prosciutto. I popped it back into the oven for a minute so everything would be warm, but in the future I will skip this step. The heat of the pizza wilted the greens anyway.
The pizza was delicious! This "recipe" is also very versatile. You could pretty much top it with any type of salad you like, and the cheese and tomato sauce on the crust is completely optional. I think it would be excellent with just some olive oil and herbs baked into the crust. One variation I would like to try is grilling. In my quest to figure out how to cook my dough (b/c it didn't come with instructions), I found this video recipe for grilled pizza from Gastrokid (and now I want their cookbook even though I don't have kids) that looked amazing.

Friday, January 29, 2010

80 Calories is Not Enough for Lunch

This commercial is ridiculous.

If you eat 80 calories and zero fat for lunch, you will be cranky and ravenous for the rest of the day. (For that matter, 300 calories is on the light side for a meal.) Even if you are on a diet, this is a recipe for over eating later.
In all fairness, an 80 calorie serving of soup would be awesome- with a sandwich.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Peanut Sauce

So I didn't run today. My running buddy canceled, which is not a good excuse at all, because my darling fiance went for a run this evening. I am coming down with a cold, which is a bit of an excuse, but still.
I did go get some delicious Thai takeout from Bangkok Thai for dinner. It was even fairly healthy- I got vegetables and tofu in peanut sauce (called Param Vegetables) for myself and panang curry with chicken for my darling fiance, both with brown rice instead of jasmine rice. I added a little sriracha to mine when I got home because I love spicy food when I'm not feeling great. It was exactly what I was craving for dinner!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


So I have literally run twice in 2010. The first run was probably around 2 miles, and followed by some time spent at the gym. The second was a respectable 7.5 miles (I was trying to see how far I could go- I guessed 8 and was slightly wrong) but that was the weekend before last (I have no excuse for not running this weekend except that I spent all day Sunday cleaning my house, which needed to be done).
I was supposed to run yesterday but my running buddy canceled so I went to the gym and did half an hour on the treadmill. It wasn't running though- it was power walking at a 15% incline and just b/c I'm crazy, a pace of 6 km/hr (normally I do this workout at 4 km/hr). It is some serious cardio, but it is not a run.
I've been great about going to the gym around 4 days a week, so my exercise habit is not suffering, but I'm pretty sure my running is. The problem is that it is dark when I get up and dark when I get home from work and that just sucks for running in the city. I won't run by myself in New Orleans, first of all, and thanks to my schedule I've been getting home fairly late- and I just feel better meeting my running buddy at the gym or going by myself if she can't make it.
I'm planning to run the 10K portion of The Wall this Sunday, but I accidentally waited too long to register online so I'll have to do a race day registration. I need to get with the program and get back on the road! Of course, the days are getting longer, and I'm also supposed to run tomorrow evening, so hopefully I'll get back in the habit soon.
In other odds and ends, I tried cooking a turkey "tenderloin" for the first time last night. I rubbed it with olive oil, then seasoned it with garlic, rosemary, and pepper before baking it. It was good. It was also approximately the size of two chicken breasts- but was a bit more flavorful and tender than chicken breasts are to me. My darling fiance thought that it seemed awfully plump for a turkey breast though, so I'm not sure that my turkey wasn't on steroids before he became my dinner. All in all, it was pretty good.
It was also an excellent excuse to make cranberry sauce! We had frozen cranberries in the freezer so I cooked them down with about 1/2 cup of orange juice, 1/4 cup of port, and agave nectar to taste (maybe a TBSP or so b/c I like my sauce tart). Once I boiled this for a while, it gelled up nicely and was excellent on the turkey. I also had leftover cranberry sauce on top of laughing cow cheese and triscuits (rosemary and olive oil triscuits, to be precise) this afternoon. It was an excellent snack!
I recently came across some sights that have cute dresses that are much less heartbreakingly expensive than Anthropologie, so I thought I'd pass them on. I've so far managed to avoid buying anything from them, but it's really just a matter of time- Lulus, Mod Cloth, and Ruche.
On the home front, Pancake is wearing a cone (and has been for over a week) because he keeps licking a sore spot on his front leg and has basically licked all the fur and skin off b/c he's "overcleaning" that spot. The spot is almost gone, but we aren't taking the cone off until there is nothing left to lick.
The good news is that Pancake and Homer actually hang out and play with each other now. We were worried that Homer would hate Pancake and do nothing but attack him, so we're thrilled that they're friends. The picture above shows them being besties and chilling out on the bed with their toy. :)
The dogs get along well with both cats- actually they let the cats boss them around. This is not necessarily a good thing b/c they let Pancake chase them away and steal their food. Now I'm feeding the dogs in several small batches all evening long so they can get their food and eat it before Pancake comes and gets it b/c I'm pretty sure dog food is really bad for cats.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Incredible Edible Egg

I'm spending most of today cleaning my house because lately my cleaning has been superficial at best. That doesn't really cut it when one has four pets.
I stopped a little while ago to make myself a quick lunch. I don't like sandwiches (I know, I'm a giant weirdo) so sometimes it's hard to come up with something quick for lunch. (Weekdays are better because I just make rice and beans on Sunday evening and take it to work all week.)
Luckily, I remembered a recipe I had been meaning to make- Smitten Kitchen's eggs in tomato sauce. It was delicious and took about 5 minutes to make. (I didn't simmer my tomato sauce for the 10-20 minutes suggested, and it turned out fine.) It goes without saying that it would also make a great, quick dinner. I love eggs because they cook so quickly!
Basically, I had about a half a can of tomato sauce that I needed to use up. I sauteed a crushed clove of garlic in a little olive oil. I then added the tomato sauce and seasoned it with a little honey, a generous amount of basil and red pepper, and a glug of red wine. After it started simmering, I stirred it around for a couple minutes, reduced the heat, cracked two eggs right into the sauce and covered it. I checked the eggs occasionally and after 4 minutes they were perfect- the whites were done but the yolks were still runny. I poured the whole thing over two sandwich thins, and sprinkled goat cheese on top. Then I devoured it. :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Le Foret

Last night, my darling fiance surprised me by making reservations at Le Foret, which is a new restaurant downtown. I'd heard wonderful things about Le Foret and had been eager to try it. I am happy to say that Le Foret lived up to all of it's good press! One thing that really stands out is all the little extras they give you. To start, we were given three different amuse bouche. The first was a cheese and truffle gougère. The second was a savory panna cotta with crab meat, chive, and caviar. The final amuse bouche consisted of three different bites. The first was a tuna and onion tar tare tucked into a cucumber shell. The second part was a rabbit rillette tucked between two rabbit shaped crackers. The final part was a small cup of a creamy onion soup with a piece of shrimp. I could have eaten an entire bowl of that soup! It was rich and creamy, with slight sweetness that matched the sweetness of the shrimp.
I decided to have the chef's tasting menu, which was wonderful. My first course was sweetbreads with puff pastry in brown gravy. The buttery pastry paired well with the lightness of the sweetbreads and the sauce was dark and rich, which added a nice depth to the dish. My second course was chilled tureen of venison and foie gras. The venison was cooked rare, which I really enjoyed. It also had a nice smokiness that paired well with the foie gras. It was garnished with carrots in a vinaigrette, which added a nice brightness to the dish.
My third course was lobster with gnocchi, caviar, and Brussels sprouts. I never would have thought to pair Brussels sprouts with seafood, especially lobster, but it was an amazing combination. The sweet lobster and creamy gnocchi would have been too rich on their own but the Brussels sprouts managed to add both a freshness and an earthiness that really made the dish.
Between my third and fourth course, we were given a palate cleanser. It was spiced apples with a red wine gelee.
My fourth course was a truffled brie croquet served with lady finger apple slices and a walnut vinaigrette. This was absolutely decadent. The brie was coated in breadcrumbs and when I cut into it, it was warm and gooey. The apples were the perfect accompaniment to the cheese.
My final course was a caramelized milk souffle with chocolate sauce. The souffle was delicious and light and the sauce was rich dark chocolate. Perfect.
My darling fiance opted to start with foie gras which I think was served with beets and spinach. For his main course, he had the rabbit trio, which he raved about. He had the cheese plate for dessert.
We also shared a delicious bottle of Sancerre.
Finally, as we were leaving, we were given two lemon madelines for us to have with breakfast today. I had mine this morning and it was buttery and lemony and wonderful.
I loved my dinner at Le Foret. They absolutely spoil you and the food was perfectly prepared. I also really enjoyed dining with my darling fiance. It was such a pleasant surprise to be taken out to such a nice dinner for no reason. After dinner we had a nightcap at The Delachaise (I had a glass of Viogner), then came home. It was a wonderful night.


Before I post anything else, it occurred to me that I've been completely remiss to not say something about Haiti. The situation there is so tragic, so if you haven't already and can possibly spare the money, please donate to one of the organizations helping Haiti. I chose to donate to the Red Cross because I received help from them after Katrina.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


I treated myself to lunch at Jackson Restaurant on Magazine St. today because I am looking for a place for our rehearsal dinner. Jackson is pretty new- it's been open for 3 months, and today was my first time eating there. My lunch was really good. I had grilled teriyaki tuna steak with sunomono (shrimp, cucumber, and red onion salad) on top of arugula, which was one of their specials. I also had a side of truffle fries. The fries were thin cut and very crispy. It was an excellent lunch! I couldn't resist trying the ganache and hazelnut chocolate stuffed chocolate chip cookies for dessert. (All in the name of research, of course.) They were decadent. The service was also very good.
The restaurant is very pretty, with exposed brick walls and concrete tile floors. I met both of the owners (one of whom is also the chef) and they were very nice.
I like the menu because it is very eclectic. They have burgers and salads as well as more formal entrees so there is something for everyone. I think you could manage to eat pretty healthily there as well. They have a roasted vegetable salad (or sandwich) with goat cheese that sounded wonderful. They had another special, a swordfish steak in a cranberry beurre blanc that sounded really good too.
So if your looking for a new restaurant to check out, I would definitely recommend giving Jackson a try.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Oh, Anthropologie, why must you be so expensive? You're starting to replace Jcrew in my affections.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Inspiration Board 1

There is a trend in the online wedding world, it seems, to make mosaic inspiration boards from images on the net. Here is my first try. I started out going for a color scheme of white, green, aubergine and silver, but somehow it morphed into white, yellow, green, aqua, and silver. Some of the images are just things I like and some are actual images of my venues: The Peristyle at City Park (which will feature both my intimate ceremony and a larger wedding bbq later in the day), Ralph's on the park, where the wedding party will be having brunch, and the Lemieux Art Gallery (which is where the evening cocktails reception will be held). What, doesn't everyone have a wedding in 3 acts? :P
I also have a picture of my actual dress (I ordered it yesterday!) but it's kind of cut off in the mosaic. Also, it will be off white instead of aqua.
Other salient details are the king cake (instead of wedding cake); Zapps, lemonade, croquet, and bocce ball (which I want to have at the BBQ); and pralines as favors. The flowers are white roses in mint julep cups (for the brunch and art gallery) and hydrangeas in mason jars which I think would be adorable for the BBQ. I also really love the little succulent plant as a boutonnierre. All of this is pretty much just brainstorming at this point, of course.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I'm Baaaack!!!!!!!!

Hello Everyone!
I got back to New Orleans on Sunday night. I always hate leaving Murren, but there's nothing like a flight across the Atlantic Ocean to make you really happy to be home! I never mind the flight to Europe because I sleep through most of it, since we get to Switzerland in the morning. But since we arrive in the US in the evening, I try to stay awake during the flight home in order to minimize my jet lag. So of course, after a few hours all I can think about is how much I want to be home!
Of course, Murren was wonderful. Skiing was great. I skiied during both the mornings and afternoons on all but two of the days (due to afternoon rain- boo!), and I think I really improved. I am particularly proud of my parallel turns.
A lot of my improvement is due to another year of ski school. I loved my instructor this year- she was a grandmother in her 60's who used to be on the Swiss Ski Team named Vreni (pronounced "Frannie") and she was so much fun! Vreni was incredibly cheerful and upbeat, and she had a million metaphors to describe what we should be doing. (As best I can tell, I'm supposed to be a snowflake-bird with Ibex horns and heavy luggage- which is a summation of all of the different metaphors she used.) She also liked to exclaim "It's a feeling!" while side slipping down a hill.
When I skiied with my darling fiance and his family, we did a bunch of off piste skiing, which is pretty much my favorite thing in the world. :) I also tried a few new things- I skiied at Birg, which is a lot higher in the mountains that I normally ski. You have to take a cable car to get there, and it's so high up that there are no trees. I also learned how to take a T-bar lift (the secret is not to sit down on the bar).
We brought a flip video camera with us this year, so we have a lot of videos up on you tube. Here is one of me taken on our second to last day of skiing (I'm in a red and white jacket). You can compare that to my skiing earlier in the week to see how much I improved. I'll link one more of a little off piste run in Winteregg that we really loved, but feel free to check out the other videos that my darling fiance uploaded (he and his brother recorded videos while talking in California accents and calling each other "ski bro" that were absolutely hillarious). I will also be putting photos online soon. :)
In other news, last night we finally introduced Homer to Pancake. We put Pancake in a cat cage and let Homer sniff around him for about an hour, then we let Pancake out. The meeting was mercifully anticlimatic. Homer occasionally hisses at Pancake and has tried to smack him once or twice, but there have been no serious cat fights. I am thrilled! Pancake is pretty thrilled too- he's making himself right at home. He even slept in the bed last night! Of course, he's also been meowing excitedly pretty much non-stop, which is less thrilling, especially at 5am. :P
Before I go, I should also write a packing recap. I get better at packing every year, but my bag was still a shameful 51 lbs. The mistakes I made were packing a bag of self heating glove warmers (that we keep bringing but never use, actually- I really wasn't thinking when I packed it) and letting my darling fiance put a very heavy power converted in my bag at the last minute. (I can't complain too much about that though b/c it allowed me to use my flat iron.) I also could have packed 3 books instead of 4, I really could have gotten by with 2 instead of 3 pairs of pants, and 2 pairs of PJ's. I also took a couple extra shirts that I didn't need and too many pairs of underwear and socks (which I will probably do again b/c I still like to have extras). I was worried that my new boots wouldn't be warm or waterproof enough (I put waterproofing wax on them before the trip), but they were fine- even when it was raining and snowing. My new ski pants worked out perfectly, which makes me so happy. $30 ski pants rule! I actually didn't use my new black sweater as much as I thought I would (I didn't really feel very cold this year), but it was very comfortable and cozy when I did wear it. I think next year the only thing I will add to my packing list is a pair of slippers. My darling fiance brought his and I was totally jealous.
Anyway, I'm sure I had a million other things that I meant to write, but I can't seem to recall them right now. Blame the jet lag!