Saturday, March 11, 2006

Dinner at Home

We had a friend over for dinner, and we needed something hearty as we were about to go to a party...

Cream of Spinach Soup
The spinach makes this soup incredibly velvety in texture. Although you can use a blender to puree this soup, I much prefer my immersion blender. I use the Braun Multiquick which I got on sale for about $25. It is an incredibly powerful and useful tool. It also makes cleanup a lot quicker since you can blend in the same pot in which you cook.

-5 cups broth
-4 cups spinach, washed
-2 small turnips or 1 large turnip, roughly chopped
-1 onion, roughly chopped
-5 cloves garlic, peeled
-1/2 cup cream

How to:
1) Sautee the onions and garlic in a bit of olive oil until lightly carmelized.
2) Add the turnips and stock, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer (covered) until the turnips are soft.
3) Add the spinach and simmer for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat.
4) Puree the soup and then add the cream.
5) Serve.

Serves: 6-8

Mixed Green Salad with Balsamic Vinagrette

Ricotta Meatballs in an Artichoke Tarragon Tomato Sauce

-2 pounds ground beef
-12 oz ricotta
-4 tb grated parmasean
-1/2 onion, minced
-2 tb garlic powder
-salt to taste
-2 tb chopped parsley
-2 tb oregano
-1 tb black pepper
-2 eggs
-1/2 flax seed
-2 cans chicken broth

How to:
1) Mix all ingredients thoroughly with hands.
2) Roll into one inch balls.
3) Bring broth to a boil in a deep, wide sauce pan.
4) Reduce heat and add all the meatballs to the broth, cover, and let simmer, shaking sauce pan occasionally, until done.
5) Drain off excess broth.

-3 cans diced tomatos
-1/2 onion, roughly chopped
-8 cloves garlic, peeled
-2 tb oregano
-2 tb parsley
-3 tb chopped, fresh, tarragon
-salt and pepper to taste
-2 cups artichoke hearts, roughly chopped

How to:
1) Sautee onions and garlic in a bit of oil for a few minutes.
2) Add all the rest of the ingredients (except artichoke hearts) and simmer on low for approx. 45 minutes.
3) Puree.
4) Add artichoke hearts.
5) Pour sauce over meatballs and simmer for a few minutes to allow flavors to meld.

Mid Afternoon Snack at Home

Mid Afternoon Snack of Chicken Wings

Brunch at Home

Broccoli, Tomato and Cheese Scramble with Bacon

Friday, March 10, 2006

Dinner at Winterland, San Francisco, CA

Winterland is a place we had been hearing about in various food magazines and so we decided to try it out. It was surprisingly easy to get a reservation a few hours before dinner, but that did not deter us, having learned from Myth that just because someplace is hard to get into, doesn't mean it is any good, and vice-versa. This meal was very good, the place was nicely decorated and the waitstaff was attentive and friendly.

Amuse Bouche of Cucumber Mousse with Pomegranite Ice
This was a refreshing way to begin the meal

Seared Diver Scallop with Octopus in a Savory Broth $14
The scallop was perfectly cooked and very tasty.

Seared Foie Gras with Frisee Salad and Huckleberry Sauce $18
Giao loves foie gras, while Alexis is not so enamoured. However, the tartness of the huckleberry sauce cut straight through the richness of the foie, creating a dish that both could enjoy.

Parsley Root Soup with Braised Pork Belly and Rhubarb $9
The soup itself was nothing to write home about, but when the pork belly was mixed in it was wonderful. The saltiness of the meat was offset by the fairly bland, yet very creamy soup. The rhubard didn't add much more than color, though.

Toasted Chicken Wings and "Gnocchi" with Butternut Squash Puree $15
The "chicken wings" in their black sesame and honey glaze were quite good, as was the puree. However, the "gnocchi", made from foie gras, were just a little weird and too mushy in texture.

Uni with Cucumber Ice $12
This was a gorgeous preparation and the flavorful ice made the texture of the uni (something Giao adores) more palatable for Alexis.

Sirloin Strip and Braised Shortribs with Tallegio and Potato Gratin, Honshi Meji Mushrooms and Red Wine Sauce $29
Each disparate element of this dish was executed very well. The steak was juicy, the shortribs were falling apart and the gratin was cheesy and tender. The single sauce worked well with each part of the dish.

Carmelized Brioche with Olive Oil Ice Cream and Rhubarb $8
The flavors were great, although the brioche was very wet in the interior. Not totally a bad thing, just a bit unexpected. The rhubarb was a nice, tart, addition to the sweet brioche and ice cream.

Food: 2
Service: 1
Decor: 1

Health Code Violations

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Dinner at Home

Brothy Noodle Soup with Tiger Shrimp and Vegetables
This is just another rendition of a brothy dish we've been eating quite a bit since our semi-recent discovery of the virtually carb-free yam flour noodles. These noodles are made from the konnyaku root (a distant cousin of the yam) and are essentially fiber. They are sold under the brand name "Shirataki" at Whole Foods or by various brands under some variation of "yam noodle" at Asian groceries like 99 Ranch.

-1/2 onion, thinly sliced or minced
-6-8 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
-1 lb tiger prawns, peeled
-a few handfuls of spinch, washed
-1 handful of cherry tomatos
-4 stalks chinese broccoli, chopped in 1 or 2 inch pieces
-2 large trumpet mushrooms, sliced thinly
-1 cans broth
-1 tb oyster sauce
-2 tb rooster sauce
-1 tb sesame oil
-3 tb fish sauce
-2 tb soy sauce
-2 packages yam noodles (approx 2 servings per package).

How to:
1) Sautee onions and garlic in a tb of olive oil until onions are just translucent.
2) Add 1 tb soy sauce and the mushrooms and continue cooking until the mushrooms soften.
3) Add all liquid ingredients and bring to a boil.
4) Add in noodles and veggies (except spinach) and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes or so.
5) Add shrimp and spinach and simmer for 2 minutes..
6) Serve.

Serves: 2 plus leftovers

Supper at The Chieftan Irish Pub, San Francisco, CA

We were meeting some friends for some after work drinks and a game of Scopa, an Italian card game that we learned that night. We were a little hungry for a snack...

Fried Calamari $8
These were by far the weirdest "calamari" I have ever seen. They looked like onion rings and tasted like juicy, fishy, onion rings. Alexis dubbed them "Kentucky Fried Squid". Despite our disgust and after a short conversation about sending them back, hunger took over and we ate them all...but never again.

Chicken Wings $8
Well, they were big, that's for sure. And way better than the "calamari". Decent wings.

Food: 0
Service: 0
Decor: 0

Health Code Violations

Lunch at Tandoori Mahal, San Francisco, CA

Tandoori Chicken, Chicken Mahkni and Saag Paneer from the Buffet $9.50
Our favorite lunch time Indian buffet--this triad never disappoints.
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Lunch at Piperade, San Francisco, CA

Piperade is a great Basque place that far outshines its sister restaurant, Bocadillos. Giao went out for a work lunch here (and didn't pay, so we don't know the prices) while Alexis ate catered in food from Brandy Ho's (Alexis ordered the same thing as last time).

Garlic Soup with Rock Shrimp, Bacon, Bread and Egg $9
It was ok. Sounded better than it was.

Fish Carapaccio with Oysters
Very good. The oyster melded perfectly with the thinly sliced fish.

Bisto Steak with Carmelized Shallot, Potatos and Mushrooms
The steak was standard and all but drowning in the shallots. Giao does not eat potatos so can not comment.

Cheese Plate
A goat, a sheep and a cow. All were decent, none were special.

Food: 1
Decor: 1
Service: 1

Health Code Violations

Breakfast at Home

Salami and Eggs

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Snack at Pig and Whistle

Chicken Wings
Always crunchy and served with 3 sauces and a salad. A better combo than most places.

Jalapeno Poppers
These are a shameful indulgence that always leave you feeling way too full.

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Dinner at Work

Leftover salmon salad and soup.

Lunch at Work

Salmon salad.

Breakfast at Home

The usual, Bacon and Fried Eggs.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Dinner at Home

Chicken Curry
This is a curry that Alexis whipped up with the ingredients on hand and it was pretty tasty. However you can use whatever incredients you have in your fridge.

-1 onion, sliced
-5 cloves garlic, minced
-1 inch nub of ginger, grated
-a couple handfuls of spinach, washed
-severl stalks of chinese broccoli, roughly chopped
-8 chicken thighs, quartered
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-1 can diced tomatos
-salt to taste
-garam masala
-curry powder
-coriander powder
-turmeric powder

How to:
1) Sautee onions and garlic on medium until translucent, then add a pinch of each spice and continue to sautee for a couple more minutes.
2) Turn heat to medium high and add the chicken and a few more pinches of each spice.
3) Occasionally stir the chicken until cooked almost through, then add the ginger, vegetables, tomatos and cream.
4) Simmer until a thick sauce is formed and serve.

Servings: 4

Broccoli Soup
This is a great soup that needs very little seasoning. Sometimes I also add a few handfuls of grated cheese.
-1 head broccoli, cut into flowerettes
-1 turnip, roughly chopped
-1 onion, roughly chopped
-5 cloves garlic, peeled
-six cans broth
-salt and pepper to taste

How to:
1) Sautee the onions and garlic for a couple minutes.
2) Add the veggies and the stock. Cover.
3) Simmer until veggies are soft.
4) Puree and serve.

Servings: 10

Lunch at Work

Salmon Salad and Mixed Greens
A very easy lunch.

-2 scallions, thinly sliced into rounds
-1 TB miso
-1/2 cup mayo
-juice of one lemon
-3 cans of salmon, drained

How to:
1) Mix all ingredients together thoroughly.

Servings: 3-4

Breakfast at Home

The usual, Bacon and Fried Eggs.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Dinner at Home

Oven Roasted Broccoli with Dubliner Cheese
This is a very simple to prepare. Simply throw some broccoli into an ovensafe dish and roast (covered) for 15 minutes at about 425. Then throw on some grated cheese and bake for another 5 minutes.

Korean Style Shortribs
These shortribs are broiled on high heat for approx. 10 minutes on each side. It is best to let them marinate for a few hours, or even better, overnight.

Ingredients for marinade:
-3-4 tb soy sauce
-1 inch nub of ginger, grated
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 tb splenda
-chili powder to taste
-1 tb sesame oil

Lunch from Food Inc., San Francisco, CA

This was, perhaps, the worst catered in meal we have ever had at work. We ate a few bites and then just ate our leftovers from last week.

Caesar Salad
The lettuce was fresh, but the dressing was a bad vinagrette, not a caesar dressing.

Salad Nicoise
Horrible. Sad canned tuna atop greens.

Leftover Chili

Surf Clams from 99 Ranch

Food: 0 (Banned!)


Health Code Violations

Breakfast at Home

The usual, Bacon and Fried Eggs.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Dinner at Home

Chilean Sea Bass
Giao made this great sea bass for us, simply steamed.
-sea bass steak
-scallions, roughly chopped
-fermented black beans
-2 inch nub of ginger, julienned
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-soy sauce
-rice vinager

How To:
1) Place fish in a dish or steaming basket and scatter all other ingredients on top.
2) Steam for 10 minutes, or so.
3) Serve

Yam Noodles with Stirfried Vegetables
-1 package yam noodles
-1 cup broccoli
-1 zucchini
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 tb chili garlic sauce
-1 tb sesame oil
-3 scallions, chopped
-2 tb oyster sauce
-1/2 can chicken broth

How To:
1) Sautee all veggies (really you can use whatever veggies you have on hand, I used what was in my fridge) in a bit of olive oil.
2) Boil yam noodles for 3 minutes, drain into pan with veggies.
3) Add chili garlic sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce and chicken broth and simmer until broth has evaporated.

Low Carb Zucchini Muffins
This is a recipe adapted from the Atkins website with the ingredients I had on hand.

-1 cup soy flour
-1 cup ground hazelnuts
-4 eggs
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-1 zucchini, grated
-1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
-1/2 tsp nutmeg
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 cup splenda
-1/2 cup oil

How To:
1) Preheat oven to 350.
2) Mix dry and wet ingredients separately.
3) Then fold dry ingredients into the wet and spoon into muffin tins.
4) Bake for approx. 20 minutes, or until tops are browned and toothpick comes out clean.

Lunch at In-N-Out, Daly City, CA

Giao got 2 3x3s and Alexis got 2 cheeseburgers.
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Health Code Violations

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