Friday, December 25, 2009
2 cans of garbanzo beans, drained
One bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 TB lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup of olive oil
black pepper to taste
salt to taste
sugar to taste (it should have a bit of a tang to it)
Combine everything in a blender. Blend until smooth. Chill. Enjoy! Super simple :)
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Another nerve-wracking attempt at a new dessert for Christmas dinner, but everyone seemed to like it :)!! I will definitelyyy be making this again!
8 jonagold or golden delicious apples (they're best for baking)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped raisins
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
8 teaspoons of Grand Marnier (1 tsp per apple)
butter (or I used Smart Balance)
cool whip or vanilla ice cream
1. Wash the apples and preheat the oven to 375 F.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, walnuts, raisins, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
3. Core the apples but stop before you hit 1/2 an inch from the bottom of the apple. Make sure you scoop out enough to fill it up with the delicious filling! Using a melon baller worked the best. I bought an apple corer, but I think those things are only useful if you plan to go through the bottom of the apple which is not what we want here.
4. Drop a dollop of butter into the apple (1/2 a teaspoon).
5. Distribute the filling between the apples, stuffing them to the top. Save remaining "stuffing" to sprinkle over the cool whip or ice cream.
6. Spoon a teaspoon of Grand Marnier into each apple.
7. Top each "apple bowl" with another 1/2 teaspoon of butter.
8. Arrange apples in a 13''x9'' baking dish with a bit of depth (perhaps 2-3 inches).
9. Pour enough boiling water into the bottom of the pan to cover the bottom of the dish and have the water reach a depth of about 1/2 an inch.
10. Bake for 40-45 minutes. The skin should begin to look wrinkly and the apples should be soft, but not mushy. Make sure you prod the bottoms of the apples to make sure those are semi-soft as well since the tops will bake first.
11. Serve immediately with a fork and knife. They are absolutely beautiful when cut in half!
Friday, July 10, 2009
Drive to Half Moon Bay
In the late morning, we drove from San Jose to Half Moon Bay. We took 280N and then we got onto Highway 92. The length along highway 92 is so pretty! It's a one lane road so we hit a bit of traffic, but you drive through forests and pass lots of greenhouses and stands selling flowers.
Stop off at the Chamber of Commerce and Vistors Bureau
235 Main Street, Half Moon Bay, CA
Once you drive into half moon bay and hit their cute little main street, you'll see the Visitors Bureau along your way to lunch. We stopped in for some great advice, maps, directions, etc.! The woman here is really nice and there are lots of maps, guides to half moon bay, and brochures for you to browse.
Lunch at Chez Shea
408 Main Street, Half Moon Bay, CA
Chez Shea is an eclectic organic restaurant that doesn't skimp on flavor. It's an order-at-the-counter and find your own table kind of restaurant. Everything on their lunch menu is $8-10 and they have the "people on yelp love us" sticker in the window :). My dad and I had the Torta Ugalde, "a savory blend of carnitas, ham, avocado, roasted tomato salsa, queso blanco, lettuce, tomato, and onions on a Mexican telera bun w/ a mild jalapeno mayonnaise" ($9). My mom had the East-West Fish Tac0, "fresh fish marinated with Moroccan chermoula and cooked on the griddle, served in flatbread with tzatziki, harissa, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, and salsa" ($9). Finally, my brother had the Portabello sandwhich with carmelized onions, roasted peppers and braised greens, on house made focaccia bread topped w/ a piquillo-pecan spread ($8). Wow, everything tasted fantastic - really unique and rich flavors! The sandwiches even came with home-made potato chips that were very addictive. The only con...it may be difficult to find a seat!
Wine Tasting at La Nebbia Winery
12341 San Mateo Road, Half Moon Bay, (650) 726-9463
So, my family actually didn't get to go to La Nebbia. By the time we decided that we wanted to do wine tasting, it was past their closing time (5:00). I did give them a call, however, and the woman on the phone told me that for $6 per person, a tasting would include 4 reds, 3 whites, a dessert, plus you get to keep the glass. They have special events on certain days as well. For instance, on July 25th, they will be having a Garlic BBQ for $25 per person in advance, $30 at the door. If you drive from San Jose or that area to Half Moon Bay, you will pass this winery before heading onto Main Street. If I could re-do my day, I would have made sure to come here!
Biking the Coastal Trail, Bike Works Bike Shop
520 Kelly Avenue, Half Moon Bay, (650) 726-6708
Located in a big Victorian house, Bike Works not only has a great selection of bikes and cycling gear w/ a fantastic staff, but also rents out bicycles by the hour for rides along Half Moon Bay's Coastal Trail. Rates are $20 an hour and you really need only 2 hours to ride the Coastal Trail. We were given cruisers and I had always wanted to ride one! It had big cushy seats and a retro look :) The staff is knowledgeable, friendly, funny, and helpful! The trail is two blocks away from Bike Works so the shop is in a really convenient location. The ride is so beautiful and the trail is paved. You'll ride parallel to the beach and parallel to a horse trail as well. This was definitely the highlight of my day! Here's a picture of one stretch of the ride:
Grab a Pint at Half Moon Bay Brewery
107 Broadway, Half Moon Bay, (650) 726-6708
Sigh, yet another thing we didn't get to do! After returning our bikes, my family did get some drinks and an appetizer at the Miramar Beach Restaurant (also along the coast trail), but I wish we had gone to the Half Moon Bay Brewery instead! Just listen to this: "Sandy Beach Blonde Hefeweizein: A traditional Bavarian-style, unfiltered wheat beer with a wonderful aroma of banana and clove." Sounds girly and delicious. Just my style :) They even offer a beer sampler tray w/ 4 oz. of a beer at $1 each. Not only that, but HMBB would have been so close to the restaurant that we picked for dinner.
Seafood Dinner at Mezza Luna
459 Prospect Way, Half Moon Bay, (650) 728-8108
After our long day, we were ready for a hearty seafood dinner. Mezza Luna is an Italian restaurant with some yummy surf and some turf dishes as well. The ambiance was comfortable and inviting. We were greeted by our Italian-speaking waiter with a Betty Boop tie. :D The bread is the kind of rustic bread you can't wait to dive into once they set it onto your table. The food is simple and satisfying, but the portions are a bit small! I had the Zuppa del Pescatore, fresh assorted seafood sauteéd ín white wine, tomato and saffron broth (18.50). It was a bunch of assorted seafood (octopus, mussles, clams, prawns, and calamari) in a thin but tasty broth. My brother had the red snapper w/ capers special. My parents shared the catch-of-the-day mixed grill for two which came with two big slabs of grilled salmon and sea bass (my fav!) with green beans and polenta on the side ($39). For dessert, I had the torte of the day which turned out to be black forest cake. Ooh, it was so moist and chocolatey with whole black cherries in the filling and a thin layer of almond paste in the middle. Delicious!
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Roasted Potato, Asparagus, and Strawberry Salad
2 medium sized yukon gold potatoes, thinly sliced
1 bunch of asparagus
12 oz. strawberries, thinly sliced
1 small bunch of spinach
6 hefty handfuls of mixed salad greens
1 small bunch of fresh thyme
5 cloves of garlic
Red wine vinegar
Honey Dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 375F.
Blend olive oil and garlic until smooth. Thinly coat potato slices in garlic-oil mixture and lightly salt and pepper. Arrange on a small baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Place 5 or 6 sprigs of thyme on top. Bake for 40 minutes. If potatoes are still too firm, bake for 5-10 minutes longer.
In a pot, bring to a boil 7 cups of water, lightly salted. Cut ends off of asparagus and discard ends. Cut the remaining stalks in half. Prepare a big bowl of ice water. Place asparagus pieces into the boiling water. Cook for 4 minutes. Then, immediately transfer asparagus using a pasta spoon or tongs into the ice water to maintain the vegetables' bright green color. Place bowl with veggies into the fridge. Drain after 10 minutes.
To prepare the dressing, stir together 4 TB red wine vinegar, 4 TB olive oil, 2 TB honey Dijon mustard, and 1 teaspoon of minced fresh thyme in a separate bowl. Combine spinach, salad greens, and strawberry slices with salad dressing prior to serving. Serve with potato slices and asparagus on top.
Monday, May 4, 2009
adapted from: http://www.publix.com/wellness/notes/Display.do?id=Recipe&childId=HYPN3_000005
1.5 lbs of salmon
2 cans of 14.5 oz diced tomatoes (no salt added)
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 small orange bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 seeded and diced jalapeno
1 tsp dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, chopped
juce of 3 limes
Preheat oven to 425 F. Oil a 9x9 pan w/ olive oil. Chop vegetables and put in a bowl. (If the peppers make your skin feel uncomfortable due to the pepper oil, apparently you can rub your fingers with olive oil to prevent the hot oil from irritating your skin). Mix with 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Drain one of the cans of tomatoes. Add tomatoes. Add the other can of tomatoes with the tomato juice. Mix. Place salmon in the pan, skin side down if the skin is still attached. Lightly salt and pepper the fish. Spoon the salsa mixture on top of the fish. There will be enough to fill the bottom of the pan. Do not cover. Put in the oven for 15 minutes. Check with a fork. If it is opaque and flakes, it is done. If not, replace for 5 minute increments until the fish is fully cooked.
Broccolini w/ Olive Oil and Garlic
1 lb. Broccolini
3 cloves of garlic
2 TB of olive oil
Cut off broccolini stems, but leave the florets (they should be about 4 inches long after chopping). Boil broccolini for 6 minutes. Heat oil in pan. Stir in garlic. Drain broccolini. Stir fry for 5 minutes. Super easy!
Broccolini is a crispy and crunchy veggie that is a cross between a chinese broccoli and regular broccoli. I don't think it has as bitter of a flavor as regular broccoli, but it's not as soft as reguar broccoli either. You have to boil it because it's a pretty tough vegetable. From what I've read, if you don't boil it, it will be really tough to chew. Broccolini contains vitamins A and C, iron, folate, and calcium. Pretty good for you! Broccolini looks a lot like broccoli rabe, but without all the leaves. And broccoli rabe isn't even related to broccoli :)
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
My good friend Mel and I just came home from a Spring Break road trip down the California central coast, starting from San Francisco and ending in Santa Barbara. The road trip took us 6 days and it was definitely a leisurely pace. I really wanted to blog about our trip because we found it difficult to find some set itineraries online and I really hope that someone stumbles upon this and finds it helpful. I'll write about our activities, our lodging, and our good eats. We're students of course so we tried to do this kind of on the cheap... but it was a bit of a splurge. So, to all those eager travelers out there, this is for you!
+Drive from San Francisco to Monterey
+Walk around Cannery Row
Mel and I left San Francisco around 3 PM and we hit some bad traffic. I think the drive was supposed to take 2 hours and it may have taken us 2.5-3 hours. So we got there a little before dinner time and we decided to walk around Cannery Row for a bit. We were bombarded with free sample offerings of clam chowder. It was stimulating for the eyes, but we decided that we would try to avoid some of the touristy restaurants on the pier.
514 Lighthouse Ave.
Total Bill: $42.36
Crystal Fish seems to be a popular place for both the locals and for visitors from out of town. It received 4 stars on Yelp and it is located away from the tourist trap restaurants of Cannery Row and Fisherman's Wharf. It's a cozy place with a great menu and tasty food. Mel and I ordered the Hawaiian Poke (raw fish marinated in green onions, soy sauce, & sesame oil), the Kamakaze Roll (california roll topped w/ assorted fish & crunchy topping), the Caterpillar Roll (avocado & unagi), and the Harbor Roll (fried calamari & tuna). The rolls are a bit small, but the poke appetizer is worth trying anyway so might as well order both. Total: $42.36. This was definitely a splurge and we were hungry!
2058 N. Fremont Street
Monterey, CA 93940
1 Night Stay: $69.96
This hotel was clean, cheap, conveniently located, and offered a complimentary breakfast (waffle maker, muffins, cereal, coffee, juice, apples & bananas). Free wireless internet is also offered. We booked using Expedia.com.
+Hike in Point Lobos ($10)
+Earthbound Farm Stand
+17-Mile Drive ($9.75)
+Walk around Carmel shops
After eating breakfast, we spent our morning (around 3 hours) at Point Lobos State Reserve. I cannot recommend this place highly enough. It is so worth the $10. Point Lobos is absolutely breathtaking - the views and the scenery are so picturesque. The trails are great - you can hike through the forest and along the beach. There are so many coves and little beaches and the place is teeming with wildlife. You can spot the sea lions and there were lots of little squirrels running around. Just beware of the poison oak!
We also drove through the 17-Mile Drive. The entrance fee is $9.75. The first couple of miles were disappointing and we thought we may have made a mistake driving through this, but when we finally hit the coastline it was certainly very beautiful. There are many stops along the way to hop out and take pictures and we got to see the famous lone Cypress tree on the rock. I also highly recommend driving with some Frank Sinatra and other oldies blasting. Me and Mel thought that that made the drive :).
In the late afternoon, Mel and I decided to walk around Carmel-by-the-Sea. We stopped in at doggie boutiques, Anthropologie, and J Crew. We also spent an hour in the ONLY bookstore in Carmel. Yes, they have ONE. We managed to not spend any money on the merchandise, thankfully. The stores here are pretty high end.
Earthbound Farms Produce Stand
Salads, Soups, Pizza, & Paninis
7250 Carmel Valley Road
Carmel, CA 93922
Price: $13.02 each
For lunch, we went to the organic Earthbound Farm Stand. They have a little shop with lots of produce and packaged food items. The prices are high, but it's yuppie and enjoyable in that way. Mel bought a ton of strawberries which she ate slowly throughout the rest of our whole trip. I bought some fig jam and some pumpernickel. Tastes like nutrients. If you're kind of a healthnut, their salad bar is to die for. The ingredients are super fresh and there's just so much to pile on your salad - fresh beets, edamame, sunflower seeds, rustic croutons, garlicky broccoli, spinach, arugula, etc. They weigh it and you pay that price. Mel and I both had the salad and we also had a cup of creamy asparagus soup.
Hula's Island Grill
Hawaiian Seafood/ Asian Fusion
622 Lighthouse Ave
Monterey, CA 93940
Total bill: $47.23
We ate dinner at Hula's and it was just a really fun restaurant with red lighting and hawaiian decor, but not too cheesy! We ordered way too much and spent way too much, but it is a semi-reasonably priced restaurant (around $12 for each entree) and we could have escaped with a smaller bill if we hadn't wanted so many things on the menu. We ordered two appetizers - the island style poke ($9) and the hawaiian ceviche ($9) with a side of plantains ($2). We also ordered drinks and a dessert (the macadamia nut ice cream pie). The mixed drinks here are really, really strong so be careful! The plantains are so tasty... they are semi-caramelized bananas and for a side order it was pretty generous.
Carmel River Inn
Carmel, CA 93922
1 Night Stay: $64.05
We somehow got upgraded to a cabin and it was really cute and clean. Everyone gets their own cabin and there is even a little parking space for each house. Our cabin had one room, one queen bed, and a bathroom. It was clean and the heater worked well... it rained that night so we really needed it. Free wireless internet but no free breakfast :/.
Big Sur & San Luis Obispo
+Driving down Highway 1
+Movie in San Luis Obispo
We drove through Big Sur, stopping to take pictures every now and then. I think this stretch of the drive down Highway 1 was the most eye-popping. The cliffs, the coast, the winding roads, and the redwoods just made this so quintessentially NorCal. We didn't stop to hike because we were expecting rain that day even though the sun was fortunately shining. The drive from Carmel to Big Sur and then to San Luis Obispo took about 3.5 hours down Highway 1. Later that night we watched I Love You Man at the Downtown Centre 7 Cinema in San Luis Obispo.
1491 Monterey St.
San Luis Obispo, CA
Price: $7 for two fish tacos
Mel and I ordered fish tacos. I got the grilled salmon taco and she ordered the mahi mahi taco. This place offers a wide variety of food - burgers, tacos, chowders, pizzas, and pastries. It seemed really popular with the students of Cal Poly. Good cheap eats!
210 Madonna Road
San Luis Obispo, CA
1 Night Stay: $66.98
Free breakfast & wireless internet.
Grover Beach & Santa Barbara
171 North 2nd Street
Grover Beach, CA 93433
Price: $48 for 2 hours
Mel and I had so much fun riding ATVs for the first time on the beach and dunes of Grover Beach. We paid for two hours, but because Mel, a mother and a daughter, and I were the only customers, we actually got 4 hours of playtime! That was so appreciated! If you go, ask for Pat. And if they aren't too busy, Pat may take you out and act as your guide/instructor. Mel and I were such wimps when we first started... that is until Pat came to join us and really pushed our limits. We worked our way up to a dune that was 100 feet tall and we went over the side of it. It was crazy and addictive. I just kept going up and down and up and down to experience the rush. Just be warned that you will have sand EVERYWHERE when you are done. Oh, this place also really seems to have the best prices in the area. Wear sunscreen!
170 W Grand Ave Ste 101
Grover Beach, CA 93433
Good place for a fast, cheap breakfast. The food tastes like diner food. It's really close to Arnie's ATVs.
729 State St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Around $13 for each entree
I love this restaurant. Everytime I come to Santa Barbara I eat here. I was introduced to Pascucci's by a friend and native of SB and it's always popular and busy. I highly recommend the baked brie, roasted garlic, candied walnuts, and pear appetizer ($9.95). The entrees are all great too. Mel ordered a pasta dish w/ chicken, tomatoes, and a rosemary cream sauce and I had the almond-encrusted baked chicken w/ a creamy sauce & capers. This place is so cute on the inside too! Oh and free cheesy garlic bread w/ refills! Pinkberry for dessert is also within walking distance. Yum yum yum!
The Sandman Inn
3714 State St
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
2 night stay: $162.20
Free breakfast & free wireless internet. They also have a DVD player and you can borrow DVDs from the front desk (they have a wide selection of new releases). Mel and I decided to take advantage of the DVD player and we watched When Harry Met Sally (I loved it) and Babel (it was just okay). We rented these DVDs from Blockbuster, though, because we had seen most of the ones offered at the front desk. The mattresses were soft and the inn is a bit far from the main State street downtown area, but you can't beat the price!
Malibu & Santa Barbara
+Walk around Santa Barbara's State street
Mel and I climbed down some boulders off the side of the road to get onto the beach which apparently was a private beach, but we didn't know at the time... at least we got to see the beautiful homes and the well kept beach area! The non-private beach areas are also great. We got lucky with some beautiful weather :) The drive from Santa Barbara to Malibu takes about an hour and a half.
John's Garden Fresh Health Store
3835 Cross Creek Road
Malibu, CA 90265
Price: $8-10 for a sandwich
John's Garden Cafe is a lunch spot that serves soups, burgers, and sandwiches. They have a big selection of chips and drinks and sunny outdoor tables for you to eat on. Mel had the shrimp salad sandwich & the honey lemonade (all very yummy) and I had the curry lentil & tomato soup w/ the $8 fruit salad. But the fruit salad is huge. It has strawberries, papaya, honey dew, cantalope, bananas, & pineapple with yogurt, coconut, and almonds on top. I could not say no. Ooh and it's also a good place for some celebrity sitings. Mel and I saw John Slattery!
Los Arroyos Mexican Restaurant
14 W Figueroa Street
Santa Barbara, CA
Price: $10-13 per entree
Mel and I were really craving some good Mexican food and we tried to research really hard. We finally settled on Los Arroyos. I think we both really liked this place. The food isn't too heavy and they have a great salsa bar... but they don't offer free chips! My entree also didn't come with rice and beans! :( But, I was still full afterward so I guess it was okay. Mel had the steak burrito mojado and I had Tony's Alambres (a mixture of cooked peppers, onions, chicken, steak, tomatoes, and cheese on three corn tortillas). My entree was kind of like an open faced sandwich...but an open faced...burrito? It was tasty. And their horchata is really yummy. Tastes like melted ice cream with cinnamon. Yummy :). I swear there has to be a better Mexican restaurant in SB though...
The Sandman Inn
3714 State St
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
2 night stay: $162.20
+Hang out in San Francisco
If we had known how much faster driving up 101 would be compared to the drive down Highway 1, I think Mel and I would have wanted to spend more time in Santa Barbara. State street is really long and has so many cute shops and cafes and it would have been nice to spend more time there. But, when we got back to San Francisco (Mel's home sweet home) she took me on a driving tour of the city and that was so awesome of her. I got to see big mansions and cool, hip parts of town :).
5 Masonic Ave
(SW Corner of Masonic and Geary)
San Francisco, CA 94118
Price: $10-13 for an entree
Mel and her bf Griffin and I ate dinner here. We ordered the Ahi Poke for $11 (yeah... more Poke!) and a couple orders of Spam Masubi ($2.50). It was my first time eating spam. It's salty and delicious and when wrapped up in some sushi rice and seaweed it is the perfect combination.
829 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
Mel also took me to her favorite frozen yogurt place. We ate pink berry in SB and we wanted more froyo!! This place was so cool. They have so many flavors - Snickerdoodle, Green Tea, Peach, Mango, Cookies and Cream, Yogurt-flavored, etc. And you can choose from lots of toppings -fresh fruit, coconut, nuts, chocolate chips, sprinkles, & MOCHI! You just put whatever you want into your cup and then you pay by the weight. It's a much better deal than Pink Berry and it all tasted so good :).
My house. Sorry, this place is exclusive! It's good to be home :)
Monday, February 9, 2009
By: Naomi Shihab Nye
These shriveled seeds we plant,
corn kernel, dried bean,
poke into loosened soil,
cover over with measured fingertips
These T-shirts we fold into
perfect white squares
These tortillas we slice and fry to crisp strips
This rich egg scrambled in a gray clay bowl
This bed whose covers I straighten
smoothing edges till blue quilt fits brown blanket
and nothing hangs out
This envelope I address
so the name balances like a cloud
in the center of sky
This page I type and retype
This table I dust till the scarred wood shines
This bundle of clothes I wash and hang and wash again
like flags we share, a country so close
no one needs to name it
The days are nouns: touch them
The hands are churches that worship the world