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Friday, April 30, 2010

Dinner or Brunch?

I made this open-faced sandwich w/ricotta, arugula, and fried egg for dinner (recipe here) - but I can easily imagine myself eating it late one Sunday morning for brunch - w/a cold glass of Prosecco or a mimosa on the side of course!

The most challenging thing about this recipe is getting the egg to look "just so."  I must admit I had a couple reject eggs before I made the one pictured above.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Doughnuts Go Gourmet

When I was a little-little girl, you either bought doughnuts from Winchell's, Dunkin, a local mom-and-pop store (in one of the villages in Guam), or if you were really desperate - the gas station.
Now-a-days, doughnuts have gone gourmet and I, for one, am not complaining (who would?).
My favorite local establishment is Top Pot (website here).  Their doughnuts are always fresh, perfectly made, and they have a ton of different varieties.  Yummm!

A dz from Top Pot

P.S.  I just stumbled across the evil nutritional information for Top Pot doughnuts.  If you want to know, click here .... but trust me, sometime ignorance is bliss.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Racking up the Beauty Insider Points

My skin (my combination, sensitive, prone to break-out skin) has always vexed me.

At this point in my life I've basically beat it into submission - thanks to a combination of $$, trial and error, and Sephora

Although - it still acts out.  The hubby likes to tease me b/c contact with nature, foreign skincare products, and unfamiliar detergents will immediatly make rosy rashes appear on my cheeks and hormonal surges always lead to little unwanted appearances (urgh!).

I should also mention that I've been obsessed w/anti-aging products since my early 20's.  I hope my preemptive strike pays off in the long-run.

If you have evil skin like may want to check out some of the products below.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Herbed Arugula-Tomato Salad w/Chicken

Can you tell we got our May 2010 Cooking Light in?  Ever since my friend Leigh got me a subscription for my b-day - I've been hooked! (note: before she got me a subscription she would slip me one of her issues every now and then, and even bought be the 2009 year-in-review cookbook! Leigh rocks!)

Last Tuesday I met up with Lis for a drink and a little Sephora shopping after work, so I needed to make something quick and easy for dinner (but isn't everything I make quick and easy?).  This recipe for "Herbed Arugula-Tomato Salad w/Chicken" fit the bill (find it here).

I usually struggle with vinaigrette, but this one required pretty minimal whisking and the herbs added a nice flavor.  The chicken also truly only needed a couple minutes to cook on each side - and turned out perfectly!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Where the Winos Are

Or maybe I should ask: Where are the wine "enthusiasts"?

I can tell you on Saturday afternoon, I'm enjoying the free wine tastings at Esquin (website here).

The Line @ Esquin

If you like wine (i.e.  you don't think all whites are chardonnay and all reds are merlot) it is imperative that you find your wine shop - a shop where the staff treat you like a friend, you can browse aimlessly, no one steers you towards a $50 bottle of wine for a weekday take-out dinner ($13 or less please), it's not a pick-up joint disguised as a wine bar/shop, and the owner won't engage you in a 30 minute conversation about the minerality of a certain red, which he attributes to the terroir of where the grapes were grown (unless you want him to).

It can be challanging, especially if you don't live smack dab in the middle of  a city.

But be bold!  Use Google, drive around, and check out the wine section at your supermarket (our QFC and Metropolitan Market have great wine sections, dedicated wine guys, and wine tastings!).

p.s.  The Wine Outlet also has weekend wine tastings and deals (website here).
If you have any other wine-shop suggestions in the Seattle area - let me know! 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Seared Scallops w/Thai Vanilla Citrus Broth

I have mixed feelings about this dish. (recipe here, the chef is Andrea Robinson)

If you are going to have a bunch of foodies over for dinner, this is def. a dish you'd want to serve.  The flavors are extremely complex - its sweet, citrusy, spicy, and salty.  The vanilla bean brings it to an entirely different level.  It also pairs well with wine (we had a Pewsey Vale Riesling).

If you're going to have family over or a casual dinner w/friends, this is not the dish for you.  The dish is too abstract.  The maple vanilla flavor of the broth combined w/the brininess of the scallops and fish sauce will confuse their palates, and the serving size is a bit ridiculous (1 scallop each?  We just ate the entire recipe for 8).

So - if you're a jaded foodie and believe there's no flavor under the sun you've yet to try - this is the dish for you. 

If your idea of a great meal is a steak and baked potato - I'd stay away from this one.

p.s.  you can totally tell the hubby made this one since (1) its complex, (2) there are a ton of ingrediants, (3) it takes more than 30 minutes to make

Saturday, April 24, 2010

An Easy Saturday Afternoon Snack

Nat (the hubbie's daughter) came over this afternoon, so I quickly whipped up a batch of hummus (recipe here) and served with pickled green beans (canned last summer), carrots, and crackers.

Totally yummy.

And I got to wear my apron!

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Back-up Plan (Tilikum Place Cafe)

Roast Chicken Salad

Tilikum Place Cafe has been our neighborhood "go-to" place for brunch on Sundays, but with the closing of Txori - it may have to temporarily become our "go-to" place for Saturday lunch as well (which def. isn't a bad thing).

The growth of Tilikum's popularity has been pretty heartening. 

When it first opened Ed and I would pop over for a weekday dinner - and we'd be the only customers, which is a good thing when you want the primo table by the window, but bad if you want the resturaunt to still be in business the next time you drop in.

A review in the Seattle Times a year or so ago really turned the tide for Tilikum (check it out here). 

When we popped in for brunch this past Sunday morning, the place was packed and we were lucky to get a table.  Our waiter told us now-a-days making a reservation is probably a smart thing. Ch-ch-changes.

For more info - check out their website here

Fresh baked bread w/homemade jam

Thursday, April 22, 2010

More Art (a quickie)

This afternoon (after polling my close friends, a couple co-workers, and the hubby) I pulled the trigger on the lovely painting above - which depicts Michigan Ave in Chicago. (artist Laura Dro, she's actually painting a series of paintings in a similar style to this one - they aren't on her etsy site yet (here) but keep on checking)

The style, color palate, and size (a whopping 30x40...yipee) all appeal to me, and I think it'll make another interesting conversation piece.

Its been fun trying to name the buildings and determine what the objects in the painting are. 

Mo thinks the object in the foreground is a lion, I think its a tree.  Ed thinks it's a burning bush and an object in the background is a mosque (a bit of a religious theme).  Mo did a little research and figured out the mosque is actually a water tower.  My co-worker thinks the watertower is actually a "pp" and the item in the foreground is a fountain.

See - conversation piece. 

I'll post update pics when it comes in.


The past three nights I have SLAVED over the hot stove for HOURS concocting delicious meals to blog about.

Okay - maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration since I don't have the attention span to spend hours in the kitchen, but I at least spent 30 minutes slaving over the hot stove (or sipping my sweet tea vodka and soda while eating all the ingredients for the meals I made...whatever you want to call it).

Anyhoo - last night I made a delicious "Asparagus and Smoked Salmon Frittata" (recipe here - I substituted smoked salmon for smoked trout in the recipe because that's what I do). The salmon added a wonderful brininess and the frittata was chock full of yummy and healthy asparagus.

I added a watercress and radish salad on the side (tossed with a light vinaigrette) - and it added the perfect peppery kick.

frittata right out of the oven

finished product w/watercress salad

what the hubby does while I slave in the kitchen (note the martini and GQ)

p.s. If you're a blog reader and you haven't yet signed up to be a follower...please do!  It'll make me feel loved :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Where the "Cougs" Are

I'm one of those people who snicker when I see a woman wearing an animal print, especially women of a certain age.

A discreet leopard print belt or pony ballet flats are fine, but a full on cheetah print dress (w/lots of cleav. showing, a red jacket, big hair, gold jewelry, and a predatory gleam in the eye) usually makes me giggle.

Well - now if I laugh I'm a big hypocrite.

The other day I took the plunge and purchased a "jaguar" print dress (gasp).  I told myself it's okay since the print is a bit subdued...but deep down I know the truth.

I'm "coug-ing" it up. And you know what - it's not so bad.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Seared Salmon with Jalapeño Ponzu

As you can tell from the jalapenos in the pic above, this salmon dish isn't for the faint of heart.

On the plus side - each serving is only 333 calories, the ponzu sauce adds a nice saltiness and flavor to the rice, and for those of you who like spice, the jalapenos add a fresh kick. (I must admit, when I saw they were raw I thought the hubby had made a mistake...but he didn't).

Serve w/a simple green salad on the side, and you won't feel as guilty about that pizza you ate for lunch.

Check out the recipe here

Strawberries w/honey make a yummy dessert.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Ed loves jazz.  Bring him to a jazz show and get a couple drinks in him, and he'll start making grunting/"praise the lord" type noises, playing air piano and guitar, and shouting out song requests. 

Not that it's a bad thing ;)

My friend Maureen, the hubby, and I hit up Tula's on Saturday night to watch The Greta Matassa Group (w/vocalist Robert Vaughn). 

The music was wonderful, the venue cool/casual, and Ed got in a bit of a workout playing his air instruments.  Oh - and I got to wear my new Aldo "shoe-ties."  Sweet.

If you're in the Seattle area and are looking for a jazzy good time - check out Tula's - website here

The "shoe-tie" featuring outfit:

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Breaking Up Hurts...

...even when its a restaurant breaking up with you (sniff)

Txori has been our "go-to" neighborhood joint for lunch on the weekend. The food is great, the atmosphere is unpretentious, and its a quick 3 minute walk away from our condo (perfecto). Unfortunately, Monday is its last day serving food.  If you want all the gory/dramatic details as to why, check out this article in The Stranger.

Sigh.  We can always hope Txori is reincarnated somewhere close by. 

Hopefully this isn't a real break's more like our boyfriend is moving to Spain and we're kind of unsure whether or not he'll ever come back.

The last lunch

Friday, April 16, 2010

The "Lis" Plan - Phase 1 (continued)

Since the hubby was out of town on business yesterday, leaving Tasi (the cat) and I to our own devices, I decided it was once again time to hit up Anthropologie to find more girlie yet innocuous things to add to our household.  (Lis is a genius, if you want to know why - check out this previous blog post).

So far - I've managed to take over our guest bathroom with Anthropologie girliness (well, kinda'), and now I have a couple new additions for our kitchen (woohoo!). 

On the plus - plus side, the items I purchased were on sale.  Yippee!

Mercator Projection Dishtowel (x2)

find them online here

Potter's Choice Coasters

find them here

Oh, one other thing....I didn't want my closet to start feeling like I was ignoring it, so I picked up these shoes too!

you can purchase them here

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Spicy, Sticky, & Sweet

On Tuesday I took pity on the hubby (since I stayed home and rested off the jet lag while he headed into work) - and decided to whip up something for dinner.

Even though our refrigerator was a barren wasteland, I managed to scrounge up the ingrediants for "Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs" (recipe here) thanks to our well stocked spice cabinet and a brief foray into the land of the freezer.

I honestly think this is the best chicken thigh dish I've ever made.  The chicken was moist and the perfect combination of spicy, sticky, and sweet. 

The fact that it only took 20 minutes to make, start to finish, didn't hurt either.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What's the opposite of Bon Voyage? (Bonjour?)

Yes - I am back from St. Bart's and back to real life (although I'm seriously contemplating making an escape and heading back to the island...I just need to figure out how to fit Tasi into my carry-on...oh, yeah, and tell the hubby).

It was warm, sunny, and beautiful.  The beaches are undeveloped, private, and pristine.  Paradise.

I learned several things about myself while on vacay, these being:

1.  I will never be an eco-adventure tourist.  My idea of a good time is laying on the beach, laying by the pool, napping, and going to bed by 10PM.

2.  If paying a ton of taxes means we can drive on smoothly paved roads wider than 1 3/4 lanes, then tell me where to write the check.  Oh wait...I already did (darn taxes).

The Road to Gustavia*

*our little Suzuki rental car is on the side of the road, it didn't like hills or rain

3.  Sometimes I find it a bit embarrassing that I can only speak one language, especially when I run into 8 yr olds who can already speak two (French, English).  Oh well :)

4.  I'm a bit of a prude when it comes to topless sunbathing (although the French sure aren't)...and seeing bottomless sunbathers makes me a bit immature (sample conversation: me: "Ed, I can see that man's pp. giggle. giggle." Ed: "Calina, you're a grown woman." Calina: "Hey, I'm not the one with my pp hanging out.")

5.  If Ed were game - I'd leave everything behind and move to St. Barts in a heartbeat. (Of course you all could come and visit).

Friday, April 9, 2010

Seafood Review & Mercury Poisoning

If you haven't quite noticed by now, I eat a LOT of seafood.

This is mainly because (1) I LOVE seafood; (2) The thought of eating red meat makes me want to toss my cookies (poor Ed, I know he sneaks red meat into his diet when I'm not looking - and sometimes when I am); (3) I have a short attention span and most seafood dishes cook really fast.

This brings me to my next topic: mercury poisoning.  The other day I started getting a bit worried that my seafood addiction might be killing Ed and I.  After reading a brief overview of mercury poisoning on webmd I decided I probably don't have mercury poisoning (no unusual muscle fatigue, exhaustion, dizziness, or nausea for me) - but I definitely should stay away from shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish - which will be incredibly easy (blech).

And this brings me to...a SEAFOOD REVIEW!  Check out the pics and recipes below.

Thai Ceviche w/Coconut (recipe here)

Chipotle Shrim Tacos (recipe here)

Spaghetti w/Clams & Garlic (recipe here)

Spicy Shrimp

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

This or That?

Welcome back to another exciting edition of "This or That?"

This ?

Delicious Paneer Tikka Masala & Garlic Naan from the Indian restaurant a block or so away.


North Indian-Style Spinach Chicken w/Cucumber and Cilantro Salad (chicken recipe here)

I must say, while the paneer tikka masala was'll most likely live a longer, healthier life if you go with the second option, which tastes fresh, healthy, and just a little bit naughty thanks to the dollop of yogurt  (yummm).  

And - its a quick/easy dish to make!  Yay!

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Happy Easter!!

The bags are packed, all batteries are charged, and now I'm just counting down the hours until we leave for St. Barts!  Yay!

BTW - Since I'm a bit obsessive, I've pre-written a couple blog posts - and have scheduled them to post on Wednesday and Friday.

I'll post vacation pics next week.

Below you'll see the final packing list (well, minus a pair of sandals I threw in at the last minute).  Before polyvore, I'd sketch out each item and outfit because as I've said - I'm quite obsessive.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Ah - Rainy Saturdays

Txori is an old stand by for rainy Saturday afternoons, especially when we can hold out for happy hour at 4PM ($2.50 pintxos and wine around $3.00).  I'm happy to report that when we dropped by there this afternoon, the food was still delicious and I didn't spill another glass of cava in my lap (like last time...sigh).

Pics below...I won't even attempt to butcher the names of the dishes.

Check out txori's website:

Friday, April 2, 2010

Tennis (how I'll probably detest thee)

If you haven't noticed by now - my favorite weekend activity is eating, closely followed by sitting on the couch and reading books on my Kindle (which, fortunately for you, I don't blog about).

Inspired by our super sporty friends, Lis & Bryan, Ed and decided its time to get our weekend act together and pick up and outdoor activity that will (1) counteract the effects of all that food, (2) get me our of the house (I'd be a hermit if I could), and (3) we can do together.

This activity is: Tennis!

Okay - Lis and Bryan thought of it first, but we're happily jumping on their band wagon and gearing up.

We purchased rackets and a couple of tennis balls @ Play It Again Sports (find locations here), and are ready to rumble!

Now the only question is: what shall I wear? ;)

p.s.  Just a quick aside - Ed, my in house "tennis pro" (I type sarcastically) told me to "Just pick out a racket that feels good."  After purchasing, we stopped off at a restaurant I Googled the make and model of the racket I picked out..and the first description that popped up was, "Perfect racket for a child just learning how to play."  Sigh

Thursday, April 1, 2010

"Normal" food

The other day, my mother asked me if I ever eat "normal" food (e.g. mac & cheese, fast food, spaghetti, etc).

Well - of course I do! Once I'm outside of a 60 mile radius from my house, all bets are off!  Just ask my sis.  When Ed and I visit the fam in LV - we become fast food eating maniacs!

Within the city limits, I also occasionally enjoy a bbq chicken burger from the RAM or popcorn chicken from my work's cafeteria (gasp!).

When I'm at home, I'm compelled to at least try to eat local and healthy (its the Seattle way), and since I live in Belltown - I'm even more compelled to be a foodie. 

The other night, Ed made a "normal"('ish) dish for dinner: Penne Arrabbiata (Penne w/Porcini in a Hot Tomato Sauce).  The porcini mushrooms lent a meaty taste to the dish, the sauce tasted spicy and fresh, and the penne def. made the dish feel like a splurge.  Check out the recipe below.

Recipe adapted from The Food of Southern Italy, by Carlo Middione

olive oil
3 lg garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
8 tablespoons butter
1 oz dried porcini mushrooms, re-hydrated
1 lb fresh tomatoes, cored, peeled, and crushed (save juice)
8-10 basil leaves
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
1 tsp red pepper
1 lb penne
1 c grated pecorino cheese

In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, brown garlic in approx. 2 tbls olive oil.  Discard garlic once browned, add 2 tbls of butter, and porcini.  Cook for 5 minutes or until browned.

Add tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, red pepper, and cook for 15 minutes - stirring often.

Cook penne as directed on package (keep 1/3 c of pasta water mixed in w/pasta).

Place penne in a serving dish and pour sauce over.  Stir in remaining butter and half the cheese.  Garnish with the remaining cheese and serve.