Category Archives: Lunch

Goat Cheese, Pesto & Caramelized Onion Triangles

IMG_2921

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to call this.  If Awesome Puffs was a bit more descriptive, I would have said that.  

I recently went to a party that served no food.  A birthday party.  Not even cake.  Just bottled water – and a shortage at that.  Booze would be a distant dream.  I was stupefied.  In all fairness, I do have a tendency to go overboard with the food.  Feeding people is my passion.

With that said, if you come to my house for anything, I will do everything in my power to feed you.  Whether I cook or order in, you will not leave without eating.  If this rouses images from Misery, I wouldn’t blame you.  I even gave my FedEx guy muffins!

Why you ask?  Could it be that my mom will absolutely take offense and give you the stink eye if you don’t eat at her house?  Or could it be that I myself would want to eat if I went to someone’s house?  Whatever the reason, we all benefit with food.  And these triangles.

IMG_2918

What started out as a random experiment turned out to be a family and guest favorite.  These pastries are easy to assemble and easy to store in the freezer for lunch, guests or a great filling snack.

Goat Cheese, Pesto & Caramelized Onion Triangles

yields 8 pastries

Ingredients:

Directions:

 

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F.
  2. Unfold your puff pastry sheets (working one at a time) onto a lightly floured surface.
  3. Most puffed pastry sheets I worked with already come divided in four.  If so, just separate at the perforations.  If not, roll out to about 16 inches and cut into four squares.
  4. On each puff pastry squares (you should have 8), spread with a tablespoon of pesto on one half of the triangle, leaving about 1/2 inch border on the puff pastry.
  5. Top with approximately a tablespoon of goat cheese, tomatoes, and onions.  Just put enough that you can close the triangle without tearing.
  6. Fold the clean part of the triangle over and crimp around the edges with a fork.
  7. Repeat with all remaining squares until you have 8 triangles.
  8. You can freeze at this point in a airtight container or bag.
  9. Bake in a parchment-lined baking sheet for about 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
  10. Allow the pastries to cool on a cookie rack so they maintain their crisp crust.
  11. If you have extra ingredients, make a sandwich! 🙂
Advertisements

7 Comments

Filed under Appetizers, baking, Favorites, Lunch, Vegetarian

Catch Up

I’ve been gone for a while – I apologize.  Well, I apologize if you missed me.  If you didn’t, well hello there!

I’ve been busy doing some family stuff and trying to catch up to some semblance of normalcy.  Let me see if we can update each other (me first) on what’s been happening on this end.

1.  I made the most delicious red velvet cupcakes with the most dreamy cream cheese frosting.

The recipe comes from none other than Ms. Deen herself.  I had it once at a chili-cook off and finally made it myself.  I can’t wait to make it again – with a slight twist that I’ll be sure to share.

2.  I’m attempting to be crafty.  

Mind you, I have no creative bone/nerve in my body.  But, when I saw this, I had to try.  Here is my current progress.

I can’t wait for the finished result.  So far it’s been easier than I thought.  Well, I’ll probably eat my words once the felt flowers come into place.

3.  We have been eating out more.  And the spicier the better.

Now that we have been balancing more with my mom/sister and making sure that we have a lot of family interaction to make this transition somewhat easier, I have been ignoring my home-cooking duties.  Therefore, a lot of lunches and dinners taken to go.

I thought my pregnancy spicy-cravings would decrease as time went on but alas – no.  I can handle the heat and the some.  It’s quite pathetic.  When someone asks me what I want to eat, my answer has almost always been ‘something spicy.’

Luckily, I work across from one of my favorite Thai restaurants in Dallas (Thai Soon), and they have an excellent lunch special.

Pictured above is a beef enchilada and puffed taco from Ojedas.  What is not pictured is the pitcher (yes, pitcher) of salsa that I drank with a side of chips.

4.  We have been painting.

What started out as a project just to paint the nursery turned into a whole-house paint project.  Working closely with our favorite Benjamin Moore paint and advice we read online, it’s been a project that’s mainly done by Binks.  Although I work very closely at the end to make sure he knows all the places he missed.  I’m sure he loves that.  🙂

I’ll show you finished projects soon!

So tell me, what are you up to?  

15 Comments

Filed under baking, Cake, Desserts, Life, Lunch, Uncategorized

Lunch with the Inlaws

Binks and I designate every other weekend as parents weekend and we usually go to the parents’ houses for lunch and dinner.  This past weekend, after finding out that we are having a baby boy, I thought we should do a gender reveal party just for the parents.  However, due to our severe excitement to blurt it out and scheduling issues, we just told everyone and had a lunch with Binks’ parents for his birthday.

‘Tis a rare occasion that I cook for my in-laws.  ‘Tis a rarer occasion that I cook Indian food for my in-laws.  I love my MIL, but cooking Indian food for her is a stress that I have imposed on myself.  The lady can cook.  And, I am a hot mess and I get nervous.  So, in order to pull off a seemingly-easy-full-course Indian meal was something I had to gear up for.

Menu

–  Appetizers:  Fresh cut veggies and lemon wedges. To me, this is the perfect beginning of a heavy Indian meal.  And it goes great as a salad on the side of the meal itself.

–  Main Course:  Naan, Fried Rice, Chicken Tikka, Palak Saag, Potato Sabji, and Raita.

I must apologize.  The only picture I got of the naan was this.

This is the dough at the initial stages.  I totally intend on making this again soon so recipe to follow I promise!

The chicken tikka recipe I used (my absolute favorite) can be found here.  This time, I doubled the sauce because you can’t have enough for soaking with your naan or pouring over the rice.

The saag again is another favorite of mine.  I have to say I love the preparation and ease of saag.  First, you start out with a sink full of greens.  Literally – a sink FULL.

And it all cooks down to this:

The potato sabji is favorite of mine.  It’s truly comfort food for me.  Recipe to come soon!

Finally, to me, no meal is complete without raita.

Dessert:  The best yellow cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting!

Meal Preparation

An Indian meal, in my opinion, takes a long time to prepare.  Unless, you’re my aunt who somehow does everything in an hour.  So, to prepare my meal (as a novice) and have time to clean up (so it looks somewhat effortless), this was a two-day process.

Day Before:
–  Grocery shopping
–  Marinade chicken
–  Make saag and refrigerate in the same pot you made it in.
–  Make raita
–  Clean up entire kitchen.
–  Set out the plates/serving ware you want to use.  This will give you a great head start for the next day.
–  Set out butter before bed to have it softened by the next morning.

Day Of:
–  Make dough for naan.
–  Make cupcakes.
–  While dough is rising, prepare chicken tikka.
–  While chicken tikka is simmering, boil potatoes for potato sabji.
–  After naan dough has its first rise, roll into balls and allow for second rise.
–  Heat saag on low in the same pot.
–  Make buttercream.
–  Frost cupcakes.
–  Plate and set out food, dishes, cups, drinks & utensils.
–  Clean like crazy.
–  Make fried rice
–  Once rice is cooking covered, plate your other dishes.
–  Make naan.

I make naan last so it’s most hot and fresh when people arrive and if people were to arrive when I’m making naan, it’s not as bad or as busy as if people were to arrive when I’m plating or cleaning.  You know?

The best thing to show you would have been my detailed calendar for the day, complete with time frames.  I’ll save that craziness strategy for another post.

How do you plan for guests?  Do you start days early?  What do you take into account when planning a menu?

14 Comments

Filed under Favorites, Indian, Lunch, Uncategorized

Tuna Fish Temptation

Lately, I am hungry all the time.  And, certain foods set off hunger pangs in me like nothing else.  Mostly fish.  For instance, when Tiffany posted all about her sushi dinner, I almost lost it.  I spent a good hour that morning wondering how I could get my hands on some safe-for-pregnancy sushi (meaning the veggie kind) for breakfast.

The other day, my friend told me that when her mom was pregnant, she had a serious craving for tuna salad sandwiches.  I swear to you – a light turned on.  I had to have it.  And, after consulting my OBGYN, I did.  (I get paranoid, okay!?)

Tuna salad sandwiches were a staple growing up.  My mom made it best.  Tons of onions and celery for the best crunch possible.  She also kicked it up a notch with some jalapeno and red pepper flakes.  I wouldn’t do it any different – well except that I do.

I start with the basics.

Tuna, onions, celery and serrano.  These days, you cannot give me enough spicy food.

And I cannot be content with a tuna salad without some grass.  The sticky icky good stuff.

Can you guess this ingredient without clicking here?

Then, some standards in my tuna salad.

I don’t like my tuna salads too mayo-y.  I hate seeing a tuna salad just drowning in mayo.  And, I personally don’t like using so much mayo in my food.  In fact, I haven’t eaten mayo since this post.

My favorite half substitute for mayo is dijon mustard – especially in my tuna salad.

It is rich like mayo but also packs a flavor punch.  This allows me to use the bare minimum of mayo possible for my tuna salad.

What you get in the end is a satisfying and comforting tuna salad made to quell any craving.

Until the next one strikes.  I’m thinking anchovy pizza.  Anyone?

Tuna Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 (7 oz) cans of chunk light canned tuna, drained well
  • 1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion, finely chopped
  • 1 hefty tsp of dried dill
  • salt, to taste (start with a pinch and move up)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes, adjust to taste
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp mayo (I used Hellman’s with olive oil)
Directions:
  1. Combine all ingredients and mix.  Add more or less dijon mustard and/or mayo to your desired creamy-ness consistency.
Please note that it is not recommended for pregnant women (or women of child-bearing age) to eat a lot of tuna due to the mercury levels.  Generally canned tuna has lower levels of mercury than other tuna, but should still be eaten in moderation.  (Source)  
And moderation I did.  I had a sandwich (light on the spread) to quell a craving.  Binks has claimed the rest and has brought it for lunch.

Are you a fan of tuna salad?  Any substitutions you make?  Been craving anything lately?  

17 Comments

Filed under Lunch

So, A Priest and A Lawyer Come for Lunch…

Binks and I had our priest over for lunch.  I was given one day’s notice (he travels a lot) and thought of a great easy lunch idea that won’t leave you weighed down.

Hot mini ham and cheese sandwiches (spread with a mustard and butter mix – trust me it was good)


Cucumber sandwiches with a dash of Tabasco mixed into the cream cheese – it totally makes a difference.

Salad with homemade dressing (red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, fresh black pepper, and a pinch of cumin).  And you can see a tiny portion of the M&M cookies we had for dessert.

The most delicious pasta salad ever!  (I reduced the oregano and the whole salad could have easily been missing the pepperoni.)

I ate this pasta salad for the remainder of the week.  Refreshing and totally hits the spot.  I have to say the tiny bits of cheese were perfect to bite into.

All in all, it was a great time with a good friend and food.

The lunch inadvertently lasted from noon to 5 p.m.  Thank goodness for sandwich snacks along the way.

What would you serve for a lunch gathering?  (I might be the only one but I love dreaming up menus for different events.  Judge me if you wish.)

10 Comments

Filed under Bread, Cookies, Desserts, Lunch, olive oil, Uncategorized

How To Eat A Cheese Steak Sandwich by Oliepants

A road trip from San Francisco to San Diego would be nothing without stopping at one of the most iconic and scenic locations along Highway 1 – Big Sur.  No word would better describe Big Sur other than ‘picturesque’.

And it’s like this all along the way.  Talk about beautiful.  Binks and I got out numerous times to take pictures.

There are a couple of different things we did not know about the Big Sur areas.

1.  Restaurants are few along the coast.  

Luckily we stopped (Binks insisted without Yelp help) at Ripplewood Resort.

A quaint place for a quick lunch.

I ordered the cheese steak sandwich.  There goes any healthy eating out the window.  When on vacation, you can just about guarantee that if a dish comes with fries, I will order it.

Fact: I’m addicted to french fries.

I pretty much got fries with a side of sandwich – just the way I like it.

Binks got the fries also, with a side of ‘kobe’ burger.

Before I tell you my new favorite find, I want to tell you another story.

When I was in college and gaining the Freshman 50, I was obsessed with ranch.  I really would just use it as a condiment for everything – fries, sandwiches, chicken nuggets, veggies.  You name it, I could dunk it in ranch.

Now, I’ve given up those days and changed my routine a bit.

But, some things will never change.  Like this:

There is no better way to eat a cheese steak sandwich than my way.  I’m sure of it.  It requires (1) ranch and (2) Tabasco sauce.  

First, the ranch.  You can’t pick up any old bottle of ranch (you could, but it wouldn’t be exactly the same).  You gotta pick up your favorite ranch – the creamy, drippy, buttermilk ranch.  You just gotta.

Second, the Tabasco.  It has to be the red Tabasco – the Original.

Now, the process.  There are two ways you can do this.  First, you dunk your bite of cheese steak into the ranch, then, you lift it and add Tabasco to the dunked area.  Then, take a bite.

The other way is to mix the ranch and the Tabasco together so you can save your self some time and judging eyes by other patrons or spouses.

Either way, it’s delicious.  I’m drooling as I type.  Judge me.  But, then join me.  You won’t look back.

Now, Ripplewood Resort had no idea I was coming.  I don’t think anything would have been different if they did – but moving on…

The ranch wasn’t runny.  It was thick.  It will do.

The Tabasco was not Tabasco.  It was better.

Meet my new favorite find:

I had no expectations as I was looking forward to Tabasco.  This was OFF THE CHIZZAIN!!  I could clearly taste the freshness.  The garlic and pepper really stood out.  Perfection in a bottle.  And if you know me, you will know that I can go ape shit for hot sauce.

Mind you, I’m not from California and I have never tried this.  For you California residents, is this normal in your neck of the woods?  This hot sauce might be reason enough for me to move there.

Binks was in love too.

He ended up using it on his burger.

I became my college-self.  Dunking bread, beef, fry and every vegetable into the pepper sauce.  Except this time, I could have cared less about the ranch.  Other patrons, namely the one guy sitting to my right, were watching.  I stopped out of embarrassment.  But not without putting one last fry into my mouth.

I looked up the Pepper Plant upon arriving to Texas and I think I’m going to order a few bottles (i.e. Original and Habanero Hot).

Are you a fan of ranch?  What do you use it on?  Is it a guilty pleasure?  Are you willing to try my cheesecake routine?  

12 Comments

Filed under Favorites, garlic, Life, Lunch, Uncategorized, Vacation

My First 100th Bay 2 Breakers!

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that Binks signed us up for the annual Bay 2 Breakers 12K.  This year was especially special because it was the 100-year anniversary.  Pretty crazy huh?

The only other race I’ve participated in was a 5K.  I walked/ran it.  We had every intention of walking this as we had not properly trained to walk/run or run it.  We also had every intention of sticking together, because with a sold-out 50K participant race, you will quite easily lose one another in this massive event.

Now, the 12K amounts to about 7.5 miles.  I wasn’t worried about that.  Binks and I walk about 8 miles per day on a vacation just touring a city.  We’re insane like that.  But, San Fran is not just any other city.  If you have climbed any of its streets, you know what I mean.  I was winded after one.

So, when I heard/read that the B2B has a 11.5 grade incline known as the dreaded Hayes Hill, I was worried.  Real worried.  I can walk but after my experience with San Fran hills, I was shaking.

Despite my worrying, we started.

It was a beautiful day too.  I enjoyed the weather.  I enjoyed the scenery.

I enjoyed the costumes.

I enjoyed the lack of costumes.

Mind you, I was warned/aware of the nudity.  But, I never got used to it.  All I could think about was chaffing, sweating and odor.  No one said my thoughts had to make sense.  It kept me entertained.

Which is exactly what I needed to conquer the Hayes Hill Beast.

This picture does not do it justice.  After you walk for 2.5 miles, there are 5 blocks of hills.  One right after the other.  So, me, being me, climbed one hill right after another.  And, before I knew it, it was done!  I can tell you that it was a proud moment for me.  🙂

Finally – the finish line.  And quite well for my standards.  I don’t run and have never walked a 12K.  I didn’t practice all that much for this 12K (meaning the days before, I walked about 2-3 miles a day with my dog).  I maintained a 3 mph pace and was done in less than 3 hours.  I was quite pleased.

Although this finish line is a bit of a farce for me as a walker because you do have to walk about another 2 miles to get to the vendors and collect the medal.  So….I paced and timed and measured myself.  All in all – that day, I walked 9.9 miles.

It was a glorious day.

Afterwards, I went back to my hotel, showered, packed up and headed out for the road trip.

But, not without food.  We stopped for sandwiches just after getting out of San Francisco.  We found a local place in Pacifica called Colombo’s Delicatessen.

Binks had the Sicilian, which consisted of italian sausage and ricotta cheese.

The peppers made this sandwich.  Yes, that is my bite of HIS sandwich.  I believe in sharing.

I had the chicken Parmesan sandwich.  I usually don’t order this but it was their special for the day and I had to try.

Can I say saucy-licious?!

The best part was the bread.  This family owned and operated shop bakes their own delicious soft bread.  It made all the difference.

Although, I didn’t know it was going to be so huge so we saved the other half for later.

And, then we were off down the coast with nothing but blue skies.

What’s the craziest/longest/most challenging race you have completed?  Why was it so crazy/challenging for you?  How did you feel after?  How did you prep (physically and mentally for the race)?

16 Comments

Filed under Bread, Lunch, Vacation