Buitoni Riserva Ravioli

Tonight I had a treat…

Before I blog, full disclosure: I got this ravioli for free, but my opinions are completely my own and are in no way swayed by the fact that it was free.

With that being said, I do love Buitoni. Whenever we had pasta growing up it was Buitoni, so I have fond memories of eating raw pasta while my mother cooked. I also love how easy and quick Buitoni is to make.

The I decided to make a sauce. I didn’t really have a concrete plan. I just kinda went for it.

Whoops, blurry shot! This has tomato, zuke, garlic, s&p, oregano, red onion and scallions. Let cook over medium heat and watch to tomato reduce.

Then I added in the pasta and of course decided to top it off with cheese.

The sauce turned out shockingly well considering I winged it. I would probably make this sauce again. The oregano was a really nice flavor and fresh tomato is really nice in contrast with the tomato paste I typically add to pasta sauce.

As for the pasta? Delicious. I generally don’t love packaged cheese ravioli. I have a thing against ricotta. Its the one cheese I just don’t love. This pasta was totally different though. I could barely taste the ricotta and the texture was not ricotta esque which made me a very happy camper.

Man do I love pasta.

Farmer’s Market Friday

Yup, today was another farmers market Friday. Today I opted for a quesadilla.

I only ate 1/2 because it was BIG. I knew I wanted to run after work and I didn’t want the meal to be sitting in my stomach like a brick.

I also had a samosa. Rather 1/2 a samosa.

It was DELISH! This was by far the best part of the meal and I will be enjoying it again. Did you know its vegan? Well it was and it was also super yummy. I was concerned that having one wouldn’t be enough for lunch but if I were to add a salad it would be  a passable lunch, right?

Gin Rickey

On the topic of summer cocktails… I decided that I needed a cocktail tonight while watching “An Education”. I consulted one of my many books

I decided on the Gin Rickey since I have Gin and who doesn’t love lime?

Any who doesn’t love gin?

I switched to Tanqueray. It was just necessary.

Boston shot glass, thanks to Carolyn. Mix with club soda

and lime

Gotta juice the lime…

Put it all together and you have a delightful light cocktail…

So light and delightful. This was my first Gin Rickey and I have to say that I love it!

Taste

Tonight I met up with fellow section 3 member Kelly for dinner at Taste. Kelly wanted the “Left Coast Contessa Dining Experience” so I decided that we should try Taste, which I’ve been dying to try for a while.

Taste has two locations in LA: one on Melrose and one in the Pacific Palisades. We opted for the Palisades location figuring traffic and parking would be better.

The lighting was very nice and we really liked the decor. It was trendy and nice. Lots of dark wood and rich browns. This would be a great date location.

Taste has a prix fix menu which I highly recommend. There are several options and the house wine is only $5 when you order off the fixe menu, which is an awesome deal. They even give you a mini decanter! The wine today was a Croatian Red.

Wine with dinner is always fantastic. Kelly and I decided that we would both get the two course option on the prix fix menu. I got an appetizer and an entree and she got the entree and a dessert. There was a lot of sharing.

Our pick for an appetizer was easy: White Truffle Butter Mac & Cheese with Mushrooms

This was awesome! The cheese was literally still bubbling when it came to the table. I actually liked the mushrooms which is odd because normally I am not the biggest fan of mushrooms. The sauce was also super truffl-ey which was nice. Sometimes “truffle” is thrown around and you can’t even taste it. Not a problem with this dish.

For entrees we picked the kabocha squash rissoto and Kelly ordered the crispy chicken paillard

The rissoto was not exactly what I was expecting. It had a really interesting flavor. I suppose I expect my rissoto to be creamier maybe? Not what I was expecting but still good.

The chicken was pretty damn good. Fried to perfection, arugula salad, potatoes (!) and red onion jam which was delicious. I love onions and potatoes. Can’t go wrong. This was my favorite entree. Good pick Kelly!

For dessert we were going to get creme brulee but the waiter insisted, insisted, that we get the bread pudding.We went with the expect recommendation.

I like bread pudding and I have to say that this one was pretty good. I could have gone for a little bit more ice cream but what can you do? There was some chocolate in the mix and it was pretty good.

Overall, we really liked Taste. Taste had a great vibe and is a wonderful place to get a nice longer dinner, catch up with a friend and have a nice glass of wine. Check out their website for special deals, which they have on most weeknights. I have to say that overall, Taste is a little bit more on the expensive side but not too bad for LA and with the special deals its not too bad. Kelly and I had a good time and she will definitely be making some more LCC appearances.

G&T

Is there anything more summer appropriate than a Gin & Tonic on a hot day?**

Obviously the answer to this question is “no”.

When Catie came over yesterday we had to have G&T’s because it was a wonderfully hot summer day. I used the last drops of my Bombay Gin (from now on all Gin on LCC is Tanqueray) and I also used diet tonic. Tonic is actually quite caloric. There was lime for good measure of course.

And for mixing?

Swizzle stick that I got when I stayed at the Plaza in New York when I was 15! My mom saved and sent it when she converted my childhood bedroom to a guest room. Mixes the cocktails well every time.

What is your favorite Summer cocktail?

**Answering “a south side” cocktail would also be left coast approved 😉

Assembly Required

Today’s lunch required some assembly…

Don’t you just love leftovers? It makes lunch so much easier. I just had to slice some tomato this morning and I was all ready for work. I noticed that I had gotten into buying my lunch far too often. This way I can save money and have something delicious to eat.

Ezekiel bread, goat cheese, tomato, and leftover salmon cakes. The salmon cakes made for a delightful and very hearty sandwich.

Much better than the typical wheat sandwich that I’ve been getting weekly with stale bread.

After work I ran 5 miles! I haven’t started 1/2 marathon training yet, but I’m feeling pretty confident about it. All a 1/2 marathon really is is the loop that I typically run about three times. I can’t do it right now, but if I work on upping my mileage and taking it slow I should be able to do it.

For dinner I had whole wheat pasta with broccoli, red onion and goat cheese. The recipe calls for ricotta but I really don’t like ricotta (its the only cheese I don’t love). Goat cheese was a wonderful substitute.

Yep, it was a hungry girl portion…

I deserve it after the long run. Tomorrow’s dinner will be a major treat! I am finally checking out Taste which I have heard is amazing. Can’t wait!

Dijon Salmon Cakes with Couscous

As promised, something interesting on Left Coast Contessa!

Tonight Catie came over for our HBO night: True Blood, Hung, and Entourage. Can I just say True Blood is amazing? Franklin Mott is insane and I love it!

Before Catie some over I got cracking on Salmon Cakes, which is out of Augusts “Real Simple”. Combine in the food processor…

1 lb. of Salmon

Scallions

S&P then mix it up! Once you have mixed a little bit add…

Panko (shout out to Catie’s mom who gave me some!)

Dijon Mustard. Then combine in the processor. Mix until combined.

You take the material and make a came out of it. 1 lb of salmon will make 8 cakes (there are 2 cakes in a serving).

How good does this look?

Obviously, at this point you want to get a pan out and put some EVO in it.

Cook for about 2 mins on either side. While this is going on its a good idea to make some couscous. I made a Trader Joe’s couscous mix and I added cut up olives and basil. I also put a small dollop of goat cheese on the cakes, because goat cheese is delicious and why not?

The final product:

Fantastic! These salmon cakes are so easy to make and could be served so many ways! I already have a creative idea for my lunch tomorrow since Catie and I ate all the couscous.

One more glamor shot!

I also made cookies for work tomorrow! Get excited law clerks!

In other interesting news: school starts in one month. This summer is flying by! Today I pledged to myself that I would be seriously committed to reading a few books that I have wanted to crack all summer but still haven’t read. First is “Fly Away Home” which I started today. I am about 60 pages in. Then I want to finish “The Help”, “One Day” and “Poison Wood Bible”. Today I might have spent 2 hours at Borders. I started to read “The Lonely Polygamist”. I have to say that it was a page turner but that I didn’t buy it. I just don’t want to spend part of the rest of my vacation reading about a man having a mid life crisis. Strong female heroines ahoy.

Are you a planner?

Because I am! I blogged the other day that I needed to go back to meal planning. Meal planning for me is essentially sitting down once a week before shopping and plotting out 4-5 meals that I want to have in the next week. Recently my meals have been fairly lame and I have been over buying at the farmers market and grocery store.

Today when I went to the farmers market I was ready!

So many wonderful things to come on LCC!

Early this morning I went for a run. It is getting HOT! I went for around 3 miles throughout campus at an easy pace. I had a lara bar before my run so after shopping I was getting hungry. Guess where I went?


Orange umbrella means Coral Tree Cafe.If you can go to Coral Tree try to sit outside on the porch because it is quite wonderful in the shade. Of course I started with a mint iced tea.

This time I ordered a Sicilian Panini which had panchetta (holy yum), mozzarella, roasted red peppers, and sun dried tomato. The sandwich also had eggs, was served on homemade bread, and came with potatoes!

You guys… this was really really good. I’ve shared my love of Coral Tree Cafe before, and I have to say that the love just keeps growing. I am not at all an egg person. I rarely eat eggs, normally opting for pancakes instead. This sandwich was fantastic and didn’t taste super eggey at all. I love panchetta and sun dried tomatoes so really there was nothing I didn’t like about this sandwich. The taste of the mozzarella, tomato and pepper really stood out. And the potatoes? There are no words.

Later I finished my shopping and am prepping to head out to Glendale. Catie and I are going out tonight. All the single ladies, all the single ladies….

-Left Coast