Monday, January 28, 2013

Winter Wonderland

This Saturday I found myself waking up at a leisurely 9:30am to snow! Lovely pure white snow! On the ground! This just added to my excitement for the day - you see - I already had plans to trek up to the Bandshell at Central Park for Winter Jam: a man-made snow-shoeing hot-cocoa-filled extravaganza!!

Gore Mountain pumped in lots of snow on top of a nice foundation that mother nature laid down over night. If you were under the age of 10, or just really eager and willing to wait in a looooong line, you could rent show shoes, cross country skis, or even try your hand at quidditch. My favorite part had to be the doggy snow zone! Not only could you watch the array of adorable pups running around with their owners but you could adopt! On the spot!

Both Mayor's Alliance and North Shore had vans on site with a plethora of dogs and cats of all sizes. One particularly sweet pup named Bear caught our attention. He gave my friend Steve a big smooch :-)

Bear really was a sweet dog. We gave him some treats but eventually had to continue on our way. It's now two days later and I keep finding myself seeking out his adoption page. If I'm not careful (and against my better judgement) I might just take him!

Friday, January 25, 2013

quick salmon for two

Last night I stopped at the grocery store - exhausted after getting out of work late. It was much too cold to venture out to a restaurant so I had to choose something simple yet tasty. I already had a great beet soup ready to go in the fridge (care of my mother) so I decided to go with salmon - quick, easy, and delicious.
(I picked a fillet that came in just under a pound - to share with my boyfriend.)  

I had read in Food and Wine magazine this month about a great Salmon dry rub but I was in too much of a hurry to look up the recipe (usually not wise) so I tried recreating it from memory. 

First I set the rice to steam, as that takes about half an hour, and I turned my oven on to 350 degrees F. 

I toasted some spices, about a tablespoon of each:
Fennel seeds
Whole Black Pepper 
Red Pepper flakes

When they were golden and fragrant I moved them to my mortar + pestle and ground them to a coarse powder along with a teaspoon of each of the following:
kosher salt
garlic powder
ground cumin

I then rubbed the spice mix into the salmon - both sides - wrapped it in plastic wrap and stuck it in the fridge for 10 minutes. 

When the rice was almost finished I put the soup on the stove to heat up. After unwrapping the salmon I rubbed it with about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and pan fried each side to make a nice crispy crust. Next I transferred it to a rimmed baking sheet and into the oven it went for 7 or 8 minutes - until just flaking. 
(use a rack towards the upper third of the oven) 

Everything should finish at about the same time - making this a perfect dinner when you're in a hurry - or just don't feel like slaving in the kitchen for hours :-)

All in all it was a great dinner! I still had enough energy afterwards to mix us up some cocktails and boyfriend  loved it which is always a score in  my book!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

wake up call

The more comfortable I get at this desk job the more worried I become.

I've always aimed to work within the realm of creativity, yet as I get older I find myself becoming more and more reserved. I carry with me many of the same goals but I've become scared to even approach some of them. What began as lofty aspirations have diminished into "projects" on an ever growing to-do list that I fear I'll never get to.

I have decided to stop this spiral before it's too late. Instead of sitting here worrying about what my place in life will be I will approach things from a new angle. I will unlearn the routine that began as comfort and became crutch. I will proactively seek out new opportunities for growth and have faith that I may find myself organically.

This process will certainly take time - but I'm hoping that a jump start in spirit will guide me to a place where I can feel good about myself and my contributions.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Weekend Recap

Happy Inauguration Day!!!! I especially enjoyed James Taylor's 20 seconds of limelight this morning :-)

I had a pretty awesome weekend - did a lot of cooking.

On Friday I tried out a recipe for General Tso's Chicken which my boyfriend devoured! I will definitely be adding a copy to my permanent recipe box. I found the recipe on yahoo last week but I tweaked it a bit so my adapted recipe is as follows:

Serves 4

1 cup      all-purpose flour
1/2 cup   panko bread crumb
1 tsp.      sea salt
1 tsp.      freshly ground black pepper
2 cups     milk
1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and diced into 1" chunks
1 cup      water
1/3 cup   soy sauce
1/8 cup   apricot jam
1/8 cup    honey
3 tbsp.    hoisin sauce
1 tbsp.    chinese cooking vinegar
2 tbsp.    cornstarch
2 tsp.      vegetable oil, plus 1/2" in saute pan
4 garlic   cloves, finely grated
1 tbsp.    fresh ginger, finely grated
1/4 tsp.   red pepper flakes

1. Cover chicken pieces in shallow bowl with milk - set aside

2. Combine flour, bread crumb, salt and black pepper in shallow dish - set aside

3. Whisk water, soy sauce, jam, honey, hoisin sauce, vinegar, and cornstarch until well combined in a medium sized bowl - set aside

4. Heat 2 tsp. oil in a large saute pan over medium heat, add garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes. Cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Whisk in soy sauce mixture, bring to a boil then lower to simmer and cook until thickened, 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm.

5. Meanwhile, heat 1/2" oil in large skillet over medium heat. Dredge milk-soaked chicken through flour mixture and pan fry in oil until browned and chicken pieces register 160 degrees on an instant read thermometer, about 5-7 minutes. (Turn once to fry both sides)

6. When chicken is cooked, return the sauce to a burner over medium heat and toss with the chicken to coat. Serve with steamed rice.

Saturday night we had some friends over for food and drink so I cooked down some fruit that I had to make a nice bright simple syrup to go in our cocktails :-)

(a handful each of blueberries and pitted cherries, simmered with the juice of a lemon and 1 cup of sugar)

Surprisingly - Sunday morning I woke up early and eager to bake! I found a quick biscuit recipe on c/o Michael Symon. I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing - snacking on biscuits, eggs, and other accoutrements . Here is a peak at how they turned out.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

no comment

Oh how I love love love yahoo comments!!

Upon arriving at work this morning I read a yahoo article about a man who outsourced all of his work to China for just a fraction of the six figure salary he was making - in order to surf the web all day. With his ample free time, he mulled around on Facebook and LinkedIn, did some online shopping, and made sure to get a daily dose of cat comedy via YouTube.

Sounds ridiculous no? Well as crazy, or ingenious, as it seems, the comments are what really got me.

Here are some of my favorites:

"He should get a second job and out source it too"

"They should give him a raise. That's a CEO mentality right there."

"This is free enterprise at it's finest. Getting others to make you money is the American Way."

....You have to love the hypocrisy of it all. If you're so inclined, you can read the full article here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

photos + fish

Day three after the Golden Globes and the photos just keep on coming. So far a collection of instagrams posted by the stars themselves have been my favorite. Get a couple of drinks in them and the celebs exhibit the same silly behavior as us normal. Keeping it real....ish.

For Dinner tonight I plan on trying to find Snakehead Fish.

This half land/half water based fish is actually a nuisance, wreaking havoc on important frog and bird species, and apparently the texture and taste closely resembles that of Swordfish, which is largely over fished and typically high in mercury. So while making myself a tasty meal I'll also be helping the environment.

Looking forward to hitting the grocery store after work... wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ramblings from a Receptionist

I started my morning by filtering through the usual news outlets.

I scan HuffPost headlines, read down the Yahoo homepage, and even take a stab at - all with GMA playing in the background. As a receptionist to a company that doesn't receive very many phone calls, I have ample time to surf around.

After lunch I switch channels to MSNBC and I start browsing the many blogs I frequent. All these people going on adventures, having fascinating discoveries and concocting mouthwatering new recipes to try!
How does one keep track of it all?!?!

Being sick of scribbling on post-it notes and jotting spur-of-the-moment ideas down on scrap paper to just get pushed into a pile and never seen again - I figure I might as well join the blogosphere and put my own two cents in for once.

So here I go. Ramblings from a Receptionist...