Friday, September 30, 2011

Fortune Friday

So did anyone besides me notice that I totally missed fortune friday last week.  FAIL BRENNA!!!  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ira Glass talks about "Being Creative"

So when I was updating my website, I don't know, 6 months ago, I had a hard time trying to figure out what should be on my homepage.  Art, a video, a picture of me? I just couldn't decide.  Then I found a quote from the ever wonderful Ira Glass and knew it was just what I was looking for.  It sort of represents where I'm at in my life as a designer.  So today I was surfing blog land and came across this video, so I had to share.

This hit home for anyone else?

Pistachio Crusted Halibut with Polenta and Sauteed Beet Greens

Woah, that's a long title.  I usually like to keep recipes to separate posts, but this was such a perfect trio that I wanted to keep the meal all in one.  This was comfort food at it's best.  One of my co-workers gave me a nice piece of halibut that her fella caught in Alaska.  The rest of the meal just kind of fell into place.  I really wanted to try polenta and I just recently learned that beet greens are amazing and had found some at the farms market last week.  So, with all that, I cooked!

For the Halibut
What you'll need:
about 1 pound halibut fillet
1/2 cup salted pistachios
1 cup corn meal
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 cups milk
2-3 tablespoons oil (I used canola)

Slice halibut into about 1 inch thick strips, then remove skin (if its still there).  Place fish in a ziplock bag and pour milk over top.  Let sit for an hour in the milk.  When ready to cook, preheat oven to 375.  In a food processor add nuts, corn meal, salt and pepper and pulse until pistachios are broke down into small bits, but not powdered.  In a baking dish, add oil so it coats the bottom with a thick layer, you may need a little more oil depending on the size of your dish.  Don't skimp.  Bread each side of the halibut lightly pressing the nuts into the fish.  Place fish in pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, depending of thickness, flipping half way.

For the Polenta
What you'll need:
1 cup yellow polenta (I got mine at Winco in bulk)
1 cup cold water
3 1/2 cups hot water (from tap is fine)
1 tsp salt
2 tablespoons half and half
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

In a medium to large pan, add polenta and cold water.  Whisk around a little, turn burner onto medium and add salt and 2 cups of the hot tap water.  Stir constantly until all the water is absorbed (5 to 6 minutes).  The more you stir and work the polenta, the creamier it will be.  Once water is gone, if you stop stirring, polenta should bubble, add remain 1.5 cups, half a cup at a time until water is again totally absorbed.  Now reduce heat to low, cover and let sit for 2 minutes.  After that, add half and half and cheese and whisk for 2 to 3 more minutes.  Polenta should be think and creamy and you shouldn't really see anymore grittiness.  Serve with anything from thick soups to meat sauces, anything goes!  

For the Sauteed Beet Greens 
What you'll need:
2 bunches beet greens (or 1 bunch beet greens and 1 head romaine lettuce. I only had one bunch, next time I will buy 2)
1/2 cup bacon bits plus 2 teaspoons of the bacon fat
1 cup sliced onion
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

Fry bacon (3 or 4 pieces. I like to use scissors to cut into pieces before I fry it, less messy than crumbling with your hands).  Remove from pan, drain fat leaving 2 tablespoons and add onion.  Cook onion until nice and browned and caramelized. Turn heat to medium and add vinegar, sugar and pepper.  Let vinegar bubble for a minute to reduce slightly and add bacon and beet greens.  Mix around until greens are well coated and begin to wilt. About 1 minute.  Add romaine and mix again.  Turn off heat and let sit for another minute.  Toss one more time.  Serve on its own or with polenta.  

Here are the pictures.  I didn't think I was going to get to blog these recipes because my camera was still having issues.  Kam fixed it after I had already began cooking, so I missed a few of the beginning photos.  You'll still get the idea.  I was cooking all this at the same time so I'm just going to run all the photos together.

After 5 minutes.

I would make all of these recipes again.  I think polenta will be experiment with much more this winter.  Call me crazy, but its rainy and yucky here in Spokane today and I couldn't be happier.  Sweaters and boots.  Just about time to bust out the old tights....summer was amazing this year, but I'm so happy its fall!  Enjoy!


Saturday was Spokane's 2nd annual Oktoberfest.  We had so much fun last year that we could no way miss it this year.  Last year we met another couple there, and over the year they have become really great friends, so of course we had to celebrate our one year anniversary with them.  Unfortunately my camera had a bit of a malfunction and stopped working before they got there, so I only have a few photos to share from early in the day.  Anyway, not too much to say, hope you enjoy the pics!

First brew!  

My handsome husband =)

By the end of the night, this was PACKED with people.

It's the Chicken Polka!!!

Chicken hats and beers!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Indian Burgers of sorts

Ok, if you all are getting tired of these Indian inspired meals, just give me a heads up because I can't stop.  Just the smell of curry and cumin makes me want to cook.  Kameron used the left over burger patties in his eggs this morning and I had read a post from some random cooking blog the other day about putting about 1/4 teaspoon of yellow curry in scrambled eggs.  So I suggested that he add some to complement the burger, and the smell of it is amazing!

So yesterday when I got lazy because it was friday night and I didn't feel like cooking this crazy awesome (time consuming) meal I had planned, I turned to the burger I had in the fridge.  I have been dying for some tikka masala or something like it sense our honeymoon, so I thought I would try indian spices in burgers.  Then as I was making the burgers I remembered that we still had some left over rice pilaf from the other night.  One step further, what if we had the burger over rice with some tzatziki on top!  Yes!  Dinner.  I will give the recipe for the burger patty, if you choose to make them, I would recommend tzatziki as a topper, even if you just have a normal old burger with some tomato and lettuce.  Really good tasting burger no matter how you use it!

What you'll need:
1 pound lean ground beef (I had 7% fat)
1/2 teaspoon yellow curry
1/2 teaspoon red curry (or just 1 teaspoon of whatever you have)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup greek yogurt
juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup v8 juice (or any tomato juice, I just happened to have spicy v8 on hand)
1 egg
1 cup bread crumbs

Add everything into a bowl and mix until spices are well combined.  Place in the fridge for at least a half hour.  Make patties and bbq or broil or pan fry, what ever you have, until cooked through. You could even skip the patty step and just fry as you would for taco meat.  Eat however your heart desires!

Trusty Dex photo.

Easy and so good.  If you want to use the burgers like I did, here is a link to the rice pilaf and tzatziki that I made.  Happy saturday and enjoy!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Peach Frozen Yogurt

Last night we went to Perry Pizza (our favorite pizza spot, I think the owners are starting to recognize us) to try out one of their new pizzas.  Instead of using the normal mozzarella they experimented with brie.  It was wonderful, especially for a brie lover.  I'm totally inspired.  But back to the Yogurt, across the street from Perry was a little farmers market.  After dinner we walked over, it was around 7 and all the vendors were starting to close up shop but not before we grabbed some beets with their greens, carrots, sausage, and fresh peaches.  I had plans to make nectarine ice cream but last night when we were driving home I told Kam I could whip up some fresh peach frozen yogurt, and of course he said OK!!!  So that's what I did. Really basic recipe, but simply delicious!

What you'll need:
2 cups plain greek yogurt
1 cup half and half
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup sugar
4 or 5 peaches

Fill a medium large pot with water and bring to a boil.  Drop in peaches and boil for about 2 minutes.  Remove from water and allow to cool enough to handle.  Peel off skins, cut in half and remove pits. While peaches are boiling add remain ingredients into a large bowl and mix until well combined.  Set aside.  Add peeled peaches into a food processor or blender and pulse until pureed, but still a little chunky.  Add to base and mix.  Place in fridge until cool, over night is best. (I was in a hurry so I skipped that last step.) Once cool, place into ice cream maker and freeze according to instructions.

Not too sweet, wonderfully fruity and creamy.  Peaches and cream more or less.  Like I even have to try and sell it.  I love making ice cream at home because the first night you get to eat it straight out of the ice cream maker when its like soft serve, then the second night you get the solid ice cream.  Enjoy!