Birds of a Feather

Six on Saturday February 27, 2010

Filed under: The everyday — kcfeather @ 5:26 pm
  • It’s a good thing the Olympics is almost over…it’s time for us to return to our regularly scheduled sleep!  Some 2010 Olympic favorite moments: mostly, the falls (as always); short-track speed skating; downhill skiing; making fun of the ice-dancing costumes and the color commentators
  • Last week, I decided that it was time to inventory our cupboards/pantry and start using up all the random food stuffs we have (lots and lots of cans, noodles, cake mixes, etc.)  Our pantry-clearing recipe from this week was from the recipe book that C’s mom gave me for Christmas – layered chicken enchiladas (which I think might also be called King Ranch casserole, if the internet is right).  We got rid of cans of cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, and green chiles, and also used up some frozen tortillas, frozen chicken breasts and some random chicken bullion cubes that were hiding out in our spice drawer. It was a great (and easy) meal – two thumbs up!  That same night, we had some leftover tangerine juice (and I noticed that the ice cream maker drum was hiding out in the freezer) so we made this tangerine prosecco sorbet. Yum!
  • We’ve both been running a bit, and have decided to run a 10K before we leave California…we’re aiming for one on April 11 in Pescadero. I think it will be a breeze for C, since his runs are longer than mine – but I’m a little nervous about whether I can make it…on Wednesday, I ran 4.5 miles and was SO SORE that night, and I have to basically add another TWO WHOLE MILES for a 10K.  We’ll see!
  • On the topic of “before we leave California,” we’ve both been feeling a little overwhelmed this week about the next few months.  The reality that we only have just over 3 months left has hit, and we’re very sad to leave. Plus, there are a lot of details to take care of (moving, where we’ll live in Boston, etc.), lots of work to be done (C needs to finish his dissertation!)…and, lots of things that we would like to do and people we would like to spend time with. We”ll miss this guy who hangs out on the lawn outside our apartment every so often:

Our neighborhood blue heron

  • We just started studying Isaiah II (starting at Chapter 40) in our community group.  I am so excited – and encouraged, and challenged.  Here’s a little taste:

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.

Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her

that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for,

that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.

A voice of one calling: ‘In the desert prepare the way for the LORD;

make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.

Ever valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low;

the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.

And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it.

For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.’ Isaiah 40: 1-5

  • When we were first dating, Subway was running a special that was something along the lines of “2 six-inch sandwiches and 2 sodas for $8.99.”  C used to always joke that he should take me there on a date (ever the scrooge…I mean, economical one). But he never did, and the special ended (I think). However, now that we’re watching TV (thank you, Winter Olympics!) we became aware of a new Subway special: “Five Dollar Footlong” (sorry I can’t insert the actual jingle…but you’ve probably heard it if you ever watch TV).  So last night, we finally went out for our much-talked-about Subway date.  It was a lot of fun, and only $2.50/person – hard to beat that!
 

Sunday February 10, 2010

Filed under: Holiday,The everyday — kcfeather @ 8:39 pm

We’re getting excited already for a little Valentine’s Day-Chinese New Year-dumpling making-mahjong playing-Olympics watching get-together this Sunday.  So excited!!!

 

Month-o-Salads in Review February 2, 2010

Filed under: Recipes and food,The everyday — kcfeather @ 4:05 am

We’ve sort of decided to extend the month of salads indefinitely, it was so enjoyable (and hopefully healthy, too). But we’ll be very loose about it (so I suppose the decision is to just eat MORE salads, not only salads).  Among other non-salad foods, I’ve been anxious to try some new pad thai recipes (if anyone has a good one, please send it my way!)

In any case, here are some salads we tried, with commentary:

The fennel salad: Fennel bulb and fronds, arugula, toasted pecans, gorgonzola, and red grapes (from Cooks Illustrated)
More appropriately: THE fennel salad. It was our first salad this January, and we knew it would be the best, without even tasting the others. Because it did indeed win the best salad award, we’re putting the recipe below.

Celery root, pear, and toasted hazelnuts
This was decent, but turns out that it’s just glorified coleslaw, which is not exactly what you want for dinner, if you’re eating just one thing.

Spinach salad with roasted hazelnuts, pear, and gorgonzola
With K’s vinaigrette, or just a storebought vinaigrette

Spinach with pecans, dried cranberries, and blue cheese
An old standby

Salade Nicoise
Always a favorite. We loosely use the Joy of Cooking version.

Arugula with finely chopped bittersweet chocolate and pistachios, with a sherry vinaigrette (from A Homemade Life)
We – especially C – had not-so-high expectations for this, but I saw the recipe and wanted to try it). Turned out it was excellent  – the subtle sweet of the chocolate balance out the spice of the arugula and the tang of the sherry vinegar.

Arugula with sugared pistachios, orange, and feta, with a light vinaigrette with fresh mint (from Cook’s Illustrated)
This was an outstanding salad, second only to The Fennel Salad. Perhaps because they both came from Cook’s Illustrated?  Be warned, though – the sugared pistachios are addictive, and perhaps the next big ice cream topping.

Some salads on our list for the next month:

Steak salad with miso dressing (an old favorite)
Caesar salad with homemade caesar dressing
A new version of the celery root salad, a la Bon Appetit
Grapefruit and avocado salad (all the better to use with our new grapefruit knife!)
Spinach salad with avocado, toasted almonds, and oranges

THE Fennel Salad (otherwise known as Arugula Salad with Grapes, Fennel, Gorgonzola, and Pecans, from Cook’s Illustrated)

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. apricot or peach jam (or honey)
  • 4.5 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 4.5 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, minced very fine (approx. 2 Tbsp.)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 small fennel bulb, cored and trimmed of stalks, and sliced very thin (approx. 1.5 cups); fronds chopped coarse (approx. 6 Tbsp.)
  • 8 oz. arugula
  • 9 oz. red seedless grapes (approx. 1.5 cups)
  • 5 oz. gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (approx. 1.25 cups)
  • 3/4 c. chopped pecans, toasted
Whisk jam, vinegar, oil, shallot, 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss the fennel with the vinaigrette; let sit for 15 minutes. Add arugula, fennel frond, and grapes to mixture; toss. Put salad in bowls/plates and serve.  Enjoy!