Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Happy Anniversary to us!

Tonight is our two-year wedding anniversary. I gave Dana her present early, and she gave me these framed pictures from the weekend of our wedding:

That was a fun day. One of the pictures she didn't include was when I hit her in the stomach with the whiffle ball bat while trying to hit the pinata. Oops!

Continuing the Fridge Cleanout

Last night Dana made an amazing pasta dish out of a lot of the things we're trying to use up in our fridge:

It's kind-of a carbonaraish sauce (eggs and parmesan cheese whisked together, then combined with the hot pasta to quickly cook and form a sauce) with artichoke hearts, broccoli, hot pepper flakes, garlic and pancetta. So good!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Something New for Dinner

Last weekend we were feeling adventurous during our shopping trip, and bought some ostrich patties at Whole Foods. They came from a farm in Massachusetts that specializes in ostrich. Ostrich meat is leaner than beef and chicken, but "packed with hearty flavor" as the packaging read. Dylan grilled them outside just like burgers, while I cooked baby bok choy with garlic inside. We then added some of the bbq pinquito beans (I made a big batch on Sunday) that we need to plow through before Friday. I think I liked the ostrich better than Dylan - it has a very unique flavor.

Pat on the Back

Streak has recently become partial to resting on the back of the couch. Dylan usually sits right below her after work, and sometimes she reaches a paw down to let him know that she thinks he's a good guy! After he's fed her dinner, of course.

Also, note Dylan's new haircut. Pretty decent for an amateur barber, huh? Me, I'm his amateur barber! And I wouldn't allow the buzz cut, so I think I get some extra points for that :-)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Dinner: Pork Tenderloin, Kale, and Beans

For dinner tonight we grilled a pork tenderloin with some kale and the last of the pinquito beans - the kale is actually from Whole Foods this week. We skipped the farmer's market today because we are leaving for New Zealand on Friday and also there was the La Jolla half marathon today so traffic was crazy. I know, pretty lame excuses.

Grilling the pork with our Baby Weber Q worked well to sear it, but didn't cook it all the way through, so we finished it off in the oven. Dana cooked the beans with onions and this great BBQ sauce. We have tons of beans left over so I'll be taking it to lunch this week. We're timing it all to have our fridge cleaned out Thursday night. :)

Does this look like 3 1/2 weeks worth of luggage?

It looks like a lot on our table.

Saturday Dinner : Egg Sandwiches and Brussels Sprouts

We leave for New Zealand on Friday, and just realized yesterday that we had almost a dozen eggs to use up before the trip. So, last night's dinner was an easy one to figure out - egg sandwiches on Dylan's homemade ciabatta with red onions, Vermont cheddar and chili garlic sauce. No dinner is complete without a serving of greens, so brussels sprouts on the side. The picture below was take while the eggs were frying, so imagine the scene with a fried egg on top of the onions.

Only 10 eggs left!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Last Minute Preparations

Everyone knows that you need to have a valid passport to travel to a foreign country. It's tough news when you pull out your passport 1 week before departure and see that it expired 2 months ago. This is what happened today at approximately 5:01pm, when I opened Dylan's passport to find that it had expired in March. It seemed for a few long minutes as though we wouldn't be leaving for New Zealand next Friday after all.

Hope was restored after a call to the US Passport Agency - we happen to be lucky enough to live within driving distance of one of the few US Passport Offices, located on Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles. The deal is that you make an appointment with an automated system, and then go in person to apply with your old passport, 2 new passport photos, a completed DS-88 form, proof that you are traveling within the next 14 days, your driver's license and a check for expedited service in the amount of $135. You should then get your new passport anytime from later that day (if you stick around the office and they happen to finish it that day, which is not guaranteed) to 3 business days later. So, the alarm is set for 3:45am tomorrow so that Dylan can get on the road bright and early to make sure not to miss his 8am appointment on Wilshire Blvd. Please cross your fingers, all you blog readers out there, that he comes home with a shiny, new passport!

Photo below (amazing to me how Dylan can still look good, when his expression rivals the DUI mugshots of Lindsey Lohan and Nick Nolte) was taken at 7pm tonight at Kinko's. Stay tuned for the results tomorrow and wish us luck!

Oh, and we had a very yummy dinner tonight, but no photo. Spaghetti with balsamic cream sauce (onions, garlic, bacon, artichoke hearts, cream, balsamic, parm). I was trying to copy a recipe that I had at a local restaurant - La Taverna. It came out pretty well. Then I juiced 8 oranges by hand and we had juice for dessert.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tuesday Dinner : Yellow Chard, Mashed Squash, Grilled Chicken

Dinner tonight was sauteed yellow chard, mashed butternut squash and grilled chicken thighs. The chicken marinated all day in our standard olive oil, balsamic, garlic, herb, hot pepper flake mixture. The mashed squash has a little butter, cream and salt. I've always believed that butter and cream are good for you in moderation. Maybe a little pat of butter here and there helps keep your body primed in the fight against arterial plaque build-up. Mainly, I think butter & cream are good because they are very natural and real - just the cow and some energy at work there. And just a little bit can help make very delicious veggies taste even more delicious!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday Dinner : Fish Tacos with Collard Greens

After work we stopped at El Pescador and picked up some wild red snapper and a ripe avocado with a mission to make fish tacos for dinner. First I made a sauce (mayo, lemon juice, garlic, chile). Meanwhile, Dylan chopped red onions, avocado, lime slices and shredded cheddar cheese, while warming the tortillas in the oven. Then we cooked the fish in our non-stick grill pan over the stove, along-side another pan with the collard greens and garlic. The tacos were assembled on the counter, and served with a side of greens.

Dylan's New Shirt

Dylan got this new shirt at Banana Republic after work on Friday. I think it looks great on him! This pic is before work this morning...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Streaky the Super Cat

Dinner : Soba Noodle Salad with Ribs

For dinner tonight, we used the spinach and navel oranges we got at the farmer's market this morning, and the grass-fed beef ribs and soba noodles we picked up at Whole Foods. First we made an orange/soy vinaigrette (grapeseed oil, fresh squeezed OJ, soy sauce, seasoned rice wine vinegar, red pepper flakes, toasted sesame oil, minced fresh ginger). We dressed the bed of spinach and soba noodles with this mixture and plated them. The ribs marinated all day in: achiote chile, olive oil, honey, soy. Dylan grilled the ribs outside and they went on top of the cold salad. All accompanied by a bottle of Orange Blossom Amber. You can't tell from the photo (because the flash was on), but the room was dim, flickering with candlelight. Very romantic - and yummy too!

Farmer's Market Run

The Goods:

- Onion
- Carrots
- Yellow Chard
- Garlic
- Fuji Apples
- Pink Lady Apples
- Navel Oranges
- Strawberries
- Brussels Sprouts
- Collard Greens
- Spinach

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Dinner: Lentil, Tomato, Baby Broccoli Stew

Today we did the fridge clean-out to make way for our Sunday shopping trips. We used left-overs to make a stew-like dinner that consisted of:

  • Red Lentils (that turned yellow once cooked)
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Bacon
  • Garlic
  • Baby Broccoli
  • Basil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Red Pepper Flakes
We served it with homemade ciabatta and a zin. Very tasty!

Dana's water bottle

About six months ago Dana got fed up with the slight weird "chemically" taste from her Nalgene bottle. After looking into it, we searched for replacements. Many sites recommended steel or aluminum bottles, but we were still worried about the taste. This led us to glass, and after keeping our eyes open for a week or so I saw this at Von's:

It's a 46 oz POM tea bottle that we fill up every morning before Dana takes off for work. Just right!

Dinner: Taco Surf at the beach

A few nights ago we went to Taco Surf in PB with our friends Darin & Melissa. We took it to go and ate down at the beach. Behold the California sunset:


No pics of the girls unfortunately.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dinner: Burgers, Baby Broccoli, and Mango

Tonight we had a great dinner - burgers from the grill, fresh mango chunks and baby broccoli.

Also tonight I bought Dana a present. At lunch today I saw a co-worker hanging her purse from the table using this neat little gadget. I knew Dana would want one since it's no fun to put your purse on the floor when out and about. So we looked at them together and this is the one she picked out:

Hopefully it will get here before our vacation!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Dinner: Salmon Burgers, Spinach, AND Strawberries

Bread: Ciabatta from the new book

I got this book in the mail this week - this is the first attempt from it. The author is the same that wrote the wheat bread book that I've been using for the last few months (and loving). This book was written before that and deals with all types of breads.

I think it came out pretty well. A couple of observations:
  1. I bought a baking stone today. Definitely cooked nicer.
  2. He recommended 'spraying water' into the oven in the beginning of the bake to create steam. I don't have a spray bottle so I just threw ice cubes in (I think I read that in some other bread book). It worked fine but took about 15 minutes longer than the recipe said to bake.
Here is the loaf after the initial rise:

After splitting into smaller loaves:

And the finished product:

It tastes pretty's a little dense, nothing like the huge bubbles in the book, but still good :).

Streak the Sneak

Streak isn't usually allowed in our bedroom (except for waking us up if we sleep in late, or if we have people over at the house so she can have some privacy instead of hissing at our friends). Sometimes she sneaks in there though when nobody is looking. She likes the fluffy duvet, and I don't fault her for that. If I catch her when she's awake, I will shoo her out of there pretty quickly. But sometimes I catch her like this:

And it's hard to make her leave when she looks so comfy. So I just leave the room and pretend I didn't see.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Baby Birds

There is a nest filled with baby birds that just hatched a few days ago, right outside our living room window. It's about 1.5 feet from the window just above Streak's bed, so close that we could reach out and grab it! The mom bird comes back to the nest regularly with food and the little babies stretch their necks up, beaks open, waiting for her. I think they might fly soon! Here is a picture of the mother bird carrying some things back to the nest:

Here is my best attempt at photographing one of the baby birds. He is just below (and a little to the left) of the largest pink flower:

Let us know if you can identify what type of bird this is!

Friday Dinner : Spaghetti

We threw together this dinner last night after work with all the leftover stuff in the fridge:

- spaghetti
- spicy italian sausage
- tomato sauce
- red onion
- garlic
- baby broccoli
- balsamic
- olive oil
- hot pepper flakes
- shavings from a block of Irish cheese that tasted like a cross between parmesan and cheddar

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tongue Out

This morning Streak came in our room and woke us up by jumping up on the bed. This is a rare occurrence, but we did sleep later than usual since both of us have been sick with colds. If one of us doesn't show up in the main room by about 7:30am, I think Streak feels that it's her duty to come in and check on things. Here's the weird part: after she jumped up, she stuck her tongue out and kept it that way for 10 minutes. It was very funny looking, and Dylan was even able to grab a camera and record it. After 5 minutes, we started to wonder if something was wrong with her, so googled the condition ("cat tongue stuck out") on the laptop and found all kinds of scary explanations as to why your cat might be doing this. Eventually she pulled the tongue back in her mouth, and life went on as usual.

Tuesday Dinner : BBQ Pinquito Beans, Baby Broccoli, Fried Egg

Tuesday's dinner started with a batch of bbq pinquito beans (a variety of pink beans that we found at the farmer's market on Sunday). I learned via google that the name "pinquito" is spanglish for "pink" and "quito" = little in Spanish -- and the beans really are pink and little!. The bag of beans came with a recipe, so I decided to try it out. It consists of slow cooking the beans with tomato sauce, garlic, onions, cumin, chile, bacon and a few other things. We had some baby broccoli and eggs on hand, so this was the result! The eggs we get at the farmer's market are from the Eben-Haezer Poultry ranch in Ramona (a local town). They are excellent!

Monday Dinner : Salmon, Russian Kale & Dijon Sauce

Have a few dinners to catch up on - this is the first one. The Russian kale can be found in it's original (whole) form on our farmer's market post from Sunday. The Dijon sauce was a garlic mustard vinaigrette. It was good!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Dinner : Leftover Risotto, Yellow Chard & Raspberries

The goods from the Farmers Market

From far left:
  • Eggs from Ramona (we actually get a dozen)
  • Yellow Chard
  • Russian Kale
  • Pinquito Beans
  • Tangerines
  • Fuji Apples
  • Carrots & Radishes
  • Baby Broccoli
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet Potatoes
Everything was grown in the San Diego region. Most is organic, but some of the farmers don't have certification so it's just 'no-spray' (basically organic without the paperwork).

When we get home we always wash and prep everything so it is really easy to grab on the fly. Stay tuned for appearances by these fruits and veggies in our dinners this week ;).

Dinner: Butternut Squash & Bacon Risotto

We had our friend Tom over for dinner last night - here's what the dinner looked like:

Dana made her excellent risotto - so good!

French Bread Disaster

I tried the normal 'French Baguette' from Artisan Baking yesterday. I made the mistake of not using a baking stone and it burned horribly!

This is after taking the bread out 10 minutes early. We were able to salvage most of it by cutting off the bottom.

I really need a baking stone.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Streaky on Morphine

This morning we woke up to a very sick Streak. I won't go into the messy details, but it was clear that she needed to visit the vet right away. We took her in and after impressing the staff with her excessive hissing and howling, she was finally restrained, examined, and had a full panel of blood work drawn. The conclusion so far is that she has a urinary infection. Blood work results available tomorrow will tell us if there is something more serious wrong with her. We were sent home with a bottle of antibiotic medication (given twice/day), and 20 mini-syringes filled with a morphine-derived pain medication (given 3 times/day). I came home from work early today so Dylan and I could administer the first dose of pain medication (one person to hold her down, the other to shove the syringe in her mouth). She has been staring at the walls with intense interest all afternoon. I only wish we could know what is going through her head. She does seems to be feeling much better, which is a big relief for us.

By the way, if anyone in the San Diego area is looking for a vet, Governor Animal Clinic is tops. I have only the very best things to say about their staff and doctors - top notch all the way!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Dinner: Red Cabbage, Burgers & Peachy Canyon Zin

Had to use the broiler again tonight for the beef. For our reference, eight minutes a side did the trick. The cheese is 'Young' Emmi Gruyere, and the cabbage was cooked with a little balsamic vinegar.

Dinner: Grilled Chicken, Kale, Beans and Onions

I'm catching up a little bit - a couple of nights ago we had grilled chicken, kale and some beans. On Sunday we cooked about a pound and a half of dried pinto beans with some onions - it made a massive amount which we will be working through this week.

Anyway, we set out to grill this chicken outside and discovered our propane tank was empty. So in a slight change of plans we broiled the chicken and it came out great. We ended up eating at the computers as I was launching a project that night...