Wild King Salmon Over Pasta with Caprese Salad and Margeritas

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It was so hot this past weekend in Palo Alto, I couldn’t even function. The temperature hit 90 and I simply went comatose for a few days. The only thing that saved me was a nice long swim on Saturday in the late afternoon that made me feel cool and invigorated. When I got out of the pool, I had a text from my friend, Lauren, asking if I wanted to make dinner. My first reaction was YES! but my second was oh wait… it’s too hot too cook.

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Egg White Omelet with Sausage, Cheese, and Peas

20130607-202649.jpgSome people buy purses and nail polish and accessories while waiting in line at a store–I impulse-buy egg whites at Trader Joe’s. I went in for flour and came out with a basket-full of fresh fruits, mixed greens, and a carton of egg whites. So I cooked myself a delicious egg white omelet the next morning with whatever random crap I found in the fridge: shredded Mexican cheese, frozen peas, and a vegan soy sausage.

It was so good that I was half way through it before I remembered to take a photo. Oops.

Mexican Buffet in Tortilla Bowls

My parents told our family friend, Alice, that I have been cooking for them since I’ve been home this summer and she half-jokingly said:

“Will she come over and cook for us too?”

Hell yeah I will! I was inspired by this post from The Yummy Life. A Mexican buffet is super easy to throw together and an infallible crowd-pleaser–the only hard part was making the tortilla bowls. I made them 3 at a time in her regular dinner bowls. The bowls were a little too small for the tortillas and as a result, the sides of the tortillas caved in and gave the bowls a really small capacity. Oh well, it was one of my first attempts, I will get better.

My buffet consisted of:

  • whole-wheat and white flour tortilla bowls
  • fiesta-style chicken
  • white medium-grain rice with a pinch of salt and lime juice
  • buzzed cauliflower (as rice alternative)
  • canned black beans (rinsed)
  • canned yellow corn
  • mixed shredded cheese
  • guacamole
  • homemade mango-tomato salsa
  • and a spinach + peach + strawberry + balsamic vinegar salad as a side dish

and it was divine. Even if the bowls were too small to hold it all.

I didn’t take pictures because I was late and had to rush to make everything aaaaaand I didn’t want to look like a total weirdo snapping pics whilst cooking.

 

Sriracha Thai-ish Chicken Quinoa

I made WAY too much quinoa the night before during my sweet potato burger adventure (measured out 1 cup quinoa UNcooked and then cooked it, realizing only after that they are NOT equal) so I had to come up with another quinoa recipe to use it up.

Ta da! Thai Chicken Quinoa from a fellow wordpress user (holla!) Milk & Cereal.

She makes it look so beautiful

I made a lot of adjustments to this recipe so bear with me. I only bought chicken and improvised everything else with what I had in the kitchen

  • no sweet and sour sauce –> Sriracha sauce
  • no rice vinegar –> balsamic
  • no almond milk –> soy
  • no veggies required –> chopped green beans
  • already cooked quinoa (using water) –> whatever supposed blandness existed was overpowered by the Sriracha

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Sweet Potato and Quinoa Burger

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I made Sweet Potato and Quinoa Burgers using this recipe the other day and they were more delicious than I could have hoped for.

My creative license:

  • whole-wheat hamburger buns and ate mine open-faced
  • topped with mustard, sliced fresh tomatoes, sliced avocado, and mixed greens (instead of onions and cheese)
  • I just realized that I forgot to put an egg in the patty mixture. I guess its a good sign that I didn’t even notice! I accidentally made it vegan!

But for the most part I followed the recipe exactly. It turned out great, and I served the patties warm fresh off the stove.

Portobello Mushrooms with Spinach-Basil Pesto and Goat Cheese

BLe2skZCUAANhkOFor dinner tonight, I used this recipe to create a yummy mushroom appetizer, with a few tweaks:

  • homemade pesto with spinach, basil from outside, grated Parmesan cheese, and olive oil (instead of kale pesto guac)
  • crumbled goat cheese on top (instead of queso fresco)

This one turned out very well, but I should have put off roasting the mushrooms until much later, they were cold by the time I finished the pesto and the quinoa-sweet potato burgers.

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Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Cauliflower as a substitute for grains has become a recent health phenomenon. I decided to try my hand at healthy cauliflower crust pizza after pouring obsessively over this buzzfeed post.

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I used the crust recipe the post provides, with a few tweaks. I put oregano and basil in the processor with the cauliflower instead of adding it after, my mush came out a lovely green color. I should have put the mozzarella in there too, I had a block of it (not shredded) and roughly chopped it myself but it looked ridiculous on the the sheet with chunks of cheese sticking out everywhere. Whatever, I didn’t even notice the cheese after it was baked.

Like the salmon a few days ago, it came out surprisingly well! It took me almost 2 hours start to finish, however. I’m sure my timing will get better with practice—I want this to be a college staple. I miscalculated how much cauliflower I needed to make enough crust for 3 people (a lot) so I had to do two batches and this slowed me down a little. I used two bags of pre-chopped flowerets from Trader Joe’s.

Definitely the most labor intensive part of this recipe is draining the water from the cooked cauliflower. I tried wringing out the pulsed veggie by wrapping it in cheese cloth but the hot water was burning my hands and the mush was seeping out through the holes so I put a dish towel over it (which is what the recipe recommends anyway). Sorry Mum, for messing up a towel. I got like two cups of water out but I probably could have gotten more. I was just sick of squeezing a hot ball of mush… twice.

The finished product! From left to right:

  • chicken, artichoke, and mozzarella
  • margherita (mozzarella and basil)
  • goat cheese and arugula

I used this super simple tomato basil pizza sauce recipe that is basically just canned tomatoes and seasoning. It was the perfect quantity to cover my three pizzas!

The mozzarella, diced chicken, jarred artichoke hearts, arugula, and hard goat cheese were store-bought. I grated the goat cheese from the block and sprinkled it on top of the arugula to keep the leaves from drying out. The basil was fresh from planters outside of our kitchen window. Classic Palo Alto farm.

Yes, that is my wine glass next to the cutting board.

I finished off the peach and blueberry upside down cake with some vanilla ice cream for dessert.