Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Jam Packed Weekend

the best surprise ever!

smoked fish platter..yum!

6 foot long sandwich

the birthday cake..chocolate cake with chocolate frosting..delicious!

the whole spread for Sunday

cotton candy!

fresh strawberries, blackberries, and meringue cookies

chocolate and raspberry souffle

Grandpa holding a baby picture of himself that his sister (aunt Doris) gave him

This past weekend, I traveled to Houston for my Grandpa's 2nd Bar Mitzvah celebrations. He just turned 83 and in Jewish tradition the "normal" life span is 70 years old. So for those that live past that age are said to start their life over again. So essentially, my grandpa is now 13 years old!
He did an amazing job chanting his Torah portion in perfect Hebrew and he gave an outstanding speech that touched on the events that lead up to this day. After the temple services we celebrated with a big dinner at Tony's, one of the premiere restaurants in Houston. I didn't get pictures of all the food, but I couldn't go without documenting the desserts! We had chocolate and raspberry souffle's and homemade cotton candy as well as fresh strawberries and meringue cookies!

Then on Sunday we through my mom a Surprise 60th Birthday party at her friend Sharyn's house. It was the best surprise ever, she had no clue what was going on! Just seeing the shock and excitement on her face was priceless. We had the party at lunch, so we went all out with the Jewish Deli food (my favorite). We had smoked salmon, smoked whitefish, bagels, pickled herring, deli sandwich's, blintz souffle, quiche..and it just keeps going.
So, of course I got pics of all the food to share with everyone.
I couldn't have asked for a better weekend with family and great food!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pics from our yard

So, I have a few non food related pictures I would like to share. I snapped some amazing pictures of these gorgeous butterflies and moths that hang out right outside the window of my office. They love to snack on the tree that's in our neighbors yard. I'm not sure the name of the tree but it has really pretty lilac flowers and the bees and butterflies seem to love it.
Then I got some pics of our land of the lost garden in the back yard, the basil and cilantro are loving this heat. And the watermelon plant grows like 6 feet a day. It has taken over the entire flower bed. But I am hoping to get some juicy watermelons out of it!
And then yesterday my Dad and Ann were here and helped re-do the landscaping in the front yard which was really exciting. We can barely move today but it was all worth it! It looks fantastic and I couldn't have done it without them!

Chicken with Tarragon and Quick-Roasted Garlic served with Southwestern Rice and Corn Salad with Lemon Dressing

This chicken dish was so easy and so flavorful. The fresh tarragon brings such a fresh flavor to plain ole chicken breasts. I think tarragon is one of those spices that most people don't use a lot but it is so good. We served this chicken with a southwestern rice dish that was equally as tasty.
Here is what you need for the chicken:

3 large unpeeled garlic cloves
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped

Heat a small non stick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cover and cook until browned in spots and tender when pierced, turning occasionally, 9 to 10 minutes. Transfer to work surface to cool.
Meanwhile, sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large non stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until browned and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side..depending on the thickness of the breasts. Transfer chicken to a plate.
Peel garlic. Add garlic and wine to same skillet;cook until reduced by half, mashing garlic finely with fork, about 1 minute. Add broth and tarragon; simmer until liquid is reduced by half, 3 to 4 minutes. Add butter and stir until melted and sauce looks a little creamy. Return chicken to skillet, along with any juices on the plate. Simmer to heat through turning occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and spoon sauce over it.

For the Southwestern Rice:

1 cup long grain white rice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1/2 cup chopped fresh poblano chile
1 avocado, halved,peeled, and diced
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Cook rice until just tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. Drain again.
Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice and 3 tablespoons oil in small bowl. Season with salt and fresh cracked pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large non stick skillet over medium heat. Add corn and poblanos. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute until vegetables are just tender, 5 minutes. Scrape into a large bowl. Add rice, avocado, green onions, cilantro, and dressing; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pasta with Cauliflower, Anchovies, and Fried Croutons

Everyone knows I love pasta and could probably eat it every day of the week if I could. So, I always am looking for new pasta recipes to switch it up a bit. I found this recipe in the Bon Apetit magazine. It sounds a little much with the croutons..sort of a carb overload..but it was actually a great combination. And for those of you who don't like anchovies, this is a very mild flavor and it doesn't make the pasta taste fishy. But, If you want to omit the anchovies all together I think that It would still taste just as good. Oh and I am not a big cauliflower fan, but the roasting makes them taste delicious!
Here's what you need:

1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed, cut into 1-inch florets
8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound of shell pasta
3 slices crusty country style bread, cut into cubes
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/3 inch cubes
3 garlic cloves, chopped
5 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss cauliflower florets with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and spread in single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until cauliflower florets are tender and beginning to brown in spots, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but firm to the bite, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Set pasta and cooking liquid aside. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large deep non stick skillet. Add bread cubes and saute until golden brown and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and cool.
In the same skillet add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil on medium high heat. Add zucchini and garlic and saute until zucchini is golden brown 3 to 4 minutes. Add cauliflower and anchovies and saute until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Add pasta water, 3 tablespoons butter, parsley and drained pasta; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and divide pasta into bowls; sprinkle with croutons and parsley to garnish.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Orange Roughy with Roasted Fennel, Tomatoes, and Oil-Cured Olives

Last week we made a great fish dish, that I think most everyone would like. That is if you like tomatoes, olives and fennel..and you would be crazy not to. This is a great dish for the summer because it is light and fresh and healthy.
All you need is the following ingredients:

1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large fresh fennel bulb with fronds attached, trimmed; bulb quartered lengthwise, then thinly sliced, fronds chopped and reserved for garnish
1/2 red onion, halved lengthwise through root end, thinly sliced
1 pound orange roughy filets, about 2 filets
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 large garlic cloves, peeled, and crushed
1/4 cup chopped fresh italian parsley
1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup oil cured black olives, pitted, and halved

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Generously brush a baking sheet with olive oil. Arrange fennel slices in single layer. Top with onion slices in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Drizzle with olive oil to coat. Roast in oven for about 20 minutes or until the fennel and onion start to brown and caramelize.
Meanwhile rinse fish with water and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Lightly dust the fish on both sides with flour. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in large pan. Heat over medium high heat until oil is hot. Place fish in pan and cook until golden brown on both sides about 3 minutes per side. Remove fish from pan and set aside. Using the same pan pour the wine in the pan and add the garlic and cook until wine has reduced to half. Then add the tomatoes and olives. And cook for another 3 minutes on low heat. Then place the fish back in the pan and sprinkle parsley on top; remove from the heat.
Take the roasted fennel and onion and place on the bottom of the plate then add the fish and sauce on top. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


beautiful fruit salad

my fave...lox and bagels

Leah getting ready to eat the french toast souffle

So a couple of weeks ago my cousin graduated from high school! So of course there was a big celebration with lots of delicious food. My other cousin who is already a college student decided it would be a good idea to make individual cakes for all her friends with the school mascot design on the top of the cake. It was quite an undertaking to say the least. But they turned out great, and were a big hit!
Congrats to Rachel for making it through some of the toughest years of your life! Now the real work begins! :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Our 3rd Wedding Anniversary

yellowtail roll with crispy shallots and avocado

spicy tuna roll

pork belly

beef on hot rock

lubina with almonds and grapes

yellowtail with yucca chips

baby octopus lollipops

My husband and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary on Thursday. We went to Uchi here in Austin. We went there last year for our 2nd anniversary and we loved it. So, we thought why not make it a tradition. Its not the type of place we would eat on a regular basis because its a little on the expensive side for us. But its perfect for special occasions. The food is like Japanese tapas. So, the plates are small and its best if you order a lot of different things so you can try as much as possible. Everything we have tried is fantastic and the service is amazing. The waiters are all so nice and knowledgeable about the food. So let me take you through a list of what we ordered...we got baby octopus lollipops, which sound weird, but they are so good. They are kind of sweet and smoky flavored because they are cooked on a grill. And simply served with a flavored sea salt. Then we ordered the yellowtail with yucca chips, raisins, and marcona almonds. Its such a great combination. Then we got the Japanese fish called lubina which was served with grapes and almonds. This dish was phenomenal, perfectly balanced flavors of smoky fish with sweet grapes. Then we had the pork belly which was our favorite dish of the night. It was served with watermelon radishes, kumquats, and Thai chili's. I just don't know how anyone could not like pork belly, especially when its served like this. Then we shared a couple of sushi rolls and we got Japanese beef that you cook on a hot rock. This was our least favorite, but not because it didn't taste good it was just not as good as all the other awesome dishes we had.
We got one dish of yellowtail and Thai chili's complimentary because it took them a while to bring out one of our courses. Which I have to say was pretty awesome. Then they made a special dessert for us because I couldn't eat any of their desserts on the menu (they were all dairy desserts). They made two different sorbets one of grape and some kind of Japanese fruit and then the other was pea and mint which was very interesting.
The best surprise of the whole night was when they brought us our bill and it was just a note that said Happy Anniversary from my uncle and aunt and cousins as well as my mom! We couldn't have asked for a better end to such a special day.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Been a little busy....

So, I just wanted to touch base with all of my readers who look forward to getting my delicious recipes every week. I am sorry I haven't been writing for the past week and half. Things have been a little crazy. I am in the midst of starting my own company and working freelance for a friend of mine and have just not had the time to blog about new recipes. But fear not I am going to be posting some more delicious recipes soon. Please hold tight, everyone!