Grilled Baby Artichokes

When my Mom was in town we spent Saturday morning at the Santa Monica Organic Farmers Market. She was very impressed by all the amazing deals we have (like an entire bundle of thyme for $1) and the variety of items for sale. At one point we walked by a stand, the one I always get my broccoli from, her eyes landed on the baby artichokes I pass every week and she made an excited utterance. I always see them but have never been sure how exactly I would utilize them. This got my wheels turning.

Last week I passed them again and thought “what the hell, just buy the adorable artichoke”.

You would too, wouldn’t you?

There were a TON in the pack and I was able to enjoy them several times throughout the week.

These were sliced in half and positioned on my grill pan. I made sure to spray cooking spray on the pan and salt and pepper.

I love how GREEN they are!

All lined up. I used tongs to check them periodically.

Can I tell you how excited I was about the grill marks? Fantastic!

These were pretty good. The grill gave them a smokey flavor and the insides were moist. In the future I really want to try this roasted because adding EVO to anything always makes it better. This really is an ideal side dish or appetizer because it is so easy to cook and delicious to eat. I like challenging myself by picking up something I’ve never cooked before and experimenting with it and this was for sure a success!

Have you ever picked up a new ingredient on a whim and loved it?

Advertisements

Back at it

How was everyone’s Thanksgiving?

Mine was awesome! I took Thursday and Friday 100% totally OFF. I didn’t read, I didn’t outline, and I didn’t blog. All I did was hang out with Catie and her family, ate good food, gave thanks, watched movies, shopped and put my feet up. It felt gooooooood. Sometimes you just want a day or two off. Saturday I got home and ran errands, organized my life, studied and crashed really early.

Good thing too, because guess what tomorrow is? The last day of classes. This is both good and bad. Its great because I will have a lot of very unstructured time, it means the semester is almost over and I’m almost half way done with law school (gah! I can’t even believe it). It also means I have finals. Boo.

Here is what we have to look forward to:

Yup, it all ends on the 16th. Can’t wait!

Tonight I made a very healthy recipe from the Skinny Bitch cookbook: Leek and Sweet Potato Casserole. Casseroles are great when it is chilly. Yes, it was only 55 degrees today. I realize there was a wind chill of 9 in Chicago on Thanksgiving, but I don’t want to hear it. My blood has officially thinned out and a high of 54 is cold. Casseroles reheat well, which is good when you anticipate being short of time. And I really love sweet potatoes. Any excuse, right?

3 leeks. 2 sweet potatoes.

Sliced.

Sauteed (with salt, pepper, rosemary, and garlic).

Arrange (potato, leek, potato). Top with panko. Add vegetable broth. Bake at 400 for 30 mins.

Yes, I added a thin layer of Swiss. I realize that this isn’t vegan or part of the skinny bitch recipe but I ran 8 miles today and I wanted some cheese. Deal with it.

This was a great, easy casserole. Another reason I like Skinny Bitch is that she lists all the nutritional information after all of her recipes. One serving of this is only 280 calories! It probably ended up being more per serving because I added a little bit of cheese. I ate slightly more than one serving because of the aforementioned run. This was a fantastic dinner and I am already looking forward to the leftovers! Definitely a dish worth repeating.

Hope everyone had an awesome holiday weekend!

Giving Thanks

What are you thankful for this year?

I’m thankful for…

Delicious food.

Photogenic Food.

Family, their good health and love and support.

Small animals.

Larger animals.

Getting to study what I want to study….

Where I want to study.

For my friends both near…

and far…

and virtual…

For my good heath and the ability to run, walk and stretch.

For all of the small, beautiful things everyday.

I am thankful for you lovely reader, because I get to blog about something I love for fun.

I am thankful for all the good blessings in my life of which there are many. I am thankful to be secure,to have a roof over my head and the ability to help others less fortunate.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow I am going to Catie’s parents house in the Inland Empire. I am thankful to have a place to go this year. I’m a little surprised by how homesick I am. I only go home about twice a year for a week at a time max and rarely feel really homesick. Maybe its because its my first Thanksgiving away from home. I know tomorrow will be a wonderful day though and I have so much to be thankful for.

What are you thankful for this year?

I have a fever…

And the only cure are more salted caramel macaroons! For real. It’s love.

I had another opportunity to hit Tavern for lunch yesterday. I didn’t pack lunch and forgot my debit card so I had to go home to get it and then before I knew it I was in my car and parking in a spot directly in front of the restaurant. What can I say? It was meant to be.


I also grabbed an ice tea. Obviously its always more tasty to buy an ice tea than it is to make one.

I took the bounty home to eat while I read. The to go meals at lunch at Tavern are so cute! They come with sweet potato chips….

Notice how Izzy is licking her chops. Everyone loves Tavern!

and the sandwich of the day…

The special was ham and cheese with tomato, lettuce, mustard and butter! Yes, you heard right, BUTTER!

It was fantastic. I cannot lie. Could you imagine it being anything but?

The ham wasn’t your typical ham, it was special and expensive ham and the cheese wasn’t normal cheese but the greatest Gruyere I’ve ever had in a sandwich. And it had butter on the freshly baked bread that is made in house!

What can top this?

Hello, lover.

For real. I’m having a serious committed relationship with my salted caramel macaroons and there is nothing wrong with that. This was the best random lunch ever. Don’t you love when something happens to throw off your daily routine and you get to do something extra special? I sure do.

Also tonight I ate this…

The parsnips a super freak!

 

I sure am enjoying my short week before Thanksgiving. I am going to my friend Catie’s families house (we’re calling it “shea”nksgiving). Can’t wait for some time off!

 

Hope you all have a fun plan for Thanksgiving break!

 

Kings Road Cafe

Sunday morning I had a meeting on the east side. In order to get out of bed and get excited for the day I planned to have breakfast at the Kings Road Cafe on Beverly, which is about half way to my destination. I haven’t gone out for breakfast in a while and I was looking forward to trying something in another part of LA.

I walked in around 9 and was able to grab a bar stool immediately. I was just in time because 30 mins later it was packed and there was some vicious fighting for bar seats.I’m telling you, it was cut throat.

Of course I wasn’t dining alone…

It’s that time in the semester… never a day off.

I really liked the vibe of the Kings Road Cafe. It was small and busy but not overwhelming. It felt like the kind of place where you could sit for and read for hours. The service was quick and attentive, plenty of iced tea refills. I had already perused the menu online and knew exactly what I wanted: whole wheat granola pancakes.

I just had butter on my pancakes, no syrup. With that much butter I didn’t really feel like I needed syrup. The pancakes were not too soft and not too thin. They had pieces of granola baked into them which was really delicious and broke up the whole wheatness of them.

These pancakes remind me of the pancakes from The Greenbay Cafe in Winnetka!

Overall, I really liked Kings Road Cafe. The service was so quick that I wasn’t stressed for time which provided lots peace of mind. I really hate being late and when going out for breakfast at a new place you never know how long it might take.  I definitely will be making a trip back the next time I have an early trek to the east side.

The Harry Potter Night

Yes. I like Harry Potter. I’ve read all the books and seen all the movies (some at midnight- but not since early college or late high school). Yes, I realize this makes me a nerd. But I’m also in law school so you already knew that.

At least I have friends who have the same idea.

We started this fantastic night at a California institution: In & Out Burger.

If you’ve never had In & Out then do yourself a favor. Get on a plane to LA asap and get one. It’s the only fast food that I like. They use fresh ingredients that are never frozen and little touches like toasted buns make the burgers special.

The menu is super simple,

but the glory of In & Out is that there are still a million ways to order your burger that aren’t on the menu! Like protein style, animal style, and grilled without meat. They also have the freshest fries (which can be ordered animal style as well).

I’ve interrogated the calorie counter for In & Out many times and in order to maintain some semblance of health I decided not to get anything animal style (which includes 1000 Island sauce and grilled onions) and to split regular fries with Catie because the fries come in around 400 calories.

I got a cheese burger with just grilled onions.

Obviously it was delicious. As mentioned above, Catie and I split fries.

French fry excitement.

My only only only gripe with In & Out, and I don’t know if So Cal people will agree with me or not, but not all In & Outs are created equally. For example, the Westwood In & Out isn’t as good as the Sunset Blvd In & Out. Actually, I think the best In & Out is in West Covina. It was also the first In & Out I went to, so my perception may be skewed on that. What location do you think is the best In & Out?

After In & Out we made our way to the ArcLight. For those of you that are not familiar, the ArcLight is the greatest movie theater of all time. Why, you ask? Well, there is assigned seating, the chairs are like lazy boys, the service is tops and they have the best amenities including, but not limited to, bathrooms, gift shops, and obviously the snack bar. While I think The Landmark at Westside Pavilion is also awesome, the ArcLight is the clear winner in my opinion.

We got there early with plenty of time to go on the “bathroom ride”, the “snack bar ride”, the “gift shop ride” and ogle the display cases.

Catie with some HP costumes.

We also saw some Burlesque costume.

You know it takes a legend to make a star! Is anyone else excited for Burlesque? It looks campy and fantastic, everything I want in a movie. Also they guy who played Volchok from season 3 of the O.C. is in it! How could you not want to see that magic?

Speaking of magic, back to the purpose for the trip to the ArcLight. We made our way to the “world famous cinedome” for the movie.

All the times I’ve been to the ArcLight, I’ve never seen a movie in the dome! The theater is like an IMAX theater but without the movement. It is huge and there really isn’t a bad seat in the house.

At the movie I snacked on popcorn with real butter!

Best movie popcorn ever! It’s never stale and is always topped with fresh, real butter. Yum!

Overall, the Committee had a great time at the movies. Harry Potter was very good and exciting. I have to say, it was so action packed it was a little stressful to watch. In a good way. I’m very happy it is being presented in two movies. It would have been a lot to watch all that action in one film. Have you seen Harry Potter? What do you think?

 

Now What…

Hey there gang!

Now that I am done wrapping up the meals from last weekend I thought I would update about what’s going on post half marathon.

Monday and Tuesday my legs were very sore, especially the front of my thighs. On Wednesday I didn’t feel sore at all and yesterday I went to yoga for the first time since August. I went to an easy beginners class and didn’t push it too hard. I ran 13.1 miles this week, I didn’t need to be a hero. The class was pretty challenging for me. My legs felt good but my hips were very tight and my arms were dying in down dog! I definitely have to go to yoga more.

I also just got back from a four mile run. I took it slow and it was pretty awesome. I think I’m back 🙂

I’ve also begun contemplating other races. For a second I thought about training for the LA marathon in March but I think I want more lead time if I’m going to run a full. But it will happen. Sooner than later.For now I will focus on Half Marathons.

Anyways, my eating this week wasn’t very remarkable but I did make a killer leek pizza. Last week at the Farmer’s Market I spied a glorious leek and had to have it.

For the pizza I used whole wheat Trader Joe’s dough. I cut an entire leek and sauteed it with EVO, salt and pepper until it cooked down. When it was almost cooked down I added chopped garlic and cooked until fragrant.

Then I rolled out my dough and arranged the leeks and garlic on the dough with a little bit more pepper.

I topped with cheddar and baked at 425 for 12 mins.


Yum!

Homemade pizza is hands down my favorite low effort dinner. I like to change it up and not use sauce. It skips a step and I think this pizza is actually better without sauce.

I have an exciting weekend planned. Today was my last Friday class for a long time. Tonight it’s my friends “21st birthday” (in quotes because it is soooo not his 21st birthday, but we can pretend) tonight and tomorrow I am seeing Harry Potter at the ArcLight with the Committee. Should be a fun and hopefully productive weekend. What are your weekend plans?

Huckleberry

After picking up my packet and race info on Friday in Malibu my Mom and I made our way to Santa Monica for treats and shopping on Wilshire. There are several consignment stores very close to Huckleberry an awesome bakery and restaurant. The last time we tried to go to Huckleberry it was super busy and we only got out with a cookie, a very very good cookie. Obviously we went back for more.

Luckily it wasn’t as crowded at 3 on Friday. There were tons of open seats (a good study spot? I think so!) I was hard to pick out our treats because there were so many delectable options. We settled on salted caramel and a pear tart.

Salted caramel was really good. The caramel was cold and placed on a little pie crust. The salt flavor was good, not overwhelming. It really brought out the flavor in the caramel.

Next we tried the pear tart. What can I say, I have a pear dessert obsession.

Really good. This was served room temp but the puff pastry was crispy and played well off of the soft, slightly sugary pear. Excellent selections!

Overall, I loved what I had at Huckleberry. Their menu is chop full of farm fresh breakfast and lunch items so there will be a return trip. Shopping went well too! I got a new trench coat, ruffle top, eyelet dress and a Nanette Lapore silk top in a size 2. I know. I couldn’t believe it either. I blame it on the half marathon training.

Ok! Time to get ice cream and curl up on the couch for Modern Family. Hope you had a happy hump day!

Green Street Tavern

After we lunched at Clementine and visited with family my Mom and I made our way to Old Pasadena for some light shopping and dinner. After unsuccessfully trying to convince my Mom to buy me things in Sur la Table we went to Green Street Tavern for dinner.

Green Street Tavern is super chic and modern looking. The walls are shaped to look like a cocoon and the space is warm and inviting. There were two separated dining rooms. The front room, which we sat in, was small and inviting and the back one was larger and had a really cool design on the walls. The menu has several items that I wanted to try but I started with pinot noir.

Normally I love pinot noir but the Solaire was not my favorite. It was still pretty good as far as wine goes!

Choosing what to order was hard because there were so many tasty sounding dishes on the menu. Mom and I decided to split two appetizers. First we ordered grilled organic tomatoes with burrata cheese, basil pesto and a balsamic reduction.

So good! I love burata cheese and balsamic reduction and the tomatoes were very fresh and flavorful. I would like to order balsamic reduction on everything!

We also sampled roasted beet salad with watercress, toasted hazelnuts, goat cheese and aged balsamic. The goat cheese was like little delicious cheese mountains. I have no complaints with the roasted beets. I love how fresh and seasonal this salad felt.

Then it was time for entrees. There were several options that looked appealing but I settled on braised short ribs with goat cheese orzo (mac + cheese) and garlic green beans.

Holy goat cheese orzo! I MUST figure out a way to make this at home. I already picked up the ingredients and I am working on it soon. It was so good. My mom and I ate and guessed at the “mac and cheese” recipe. The green beans were still a little crunchy (just how I like it) and the garlic flavor was very subtle. The short rib basically fell apart with my fork. Delicious.

Mom ordered the salmon.

The salmon came with polenta pancake and roasted mushrooms and peppers. It looked mighty good.

Because none of the servings were overwhelming we saved plenty of room for dessert. But who am I kidding, we always save room for dessert! We choose a special seasonal offering.

Pumpkin doughnuts with cranberry and honey ice cream. We all know how I feel about everything pumpkin. Covering it in sugar and adding ice cream ONLY improves the situation. We ate this in a matter of moments. It never stood a chance.

Overall, I loved Green Street Tavern and its definitely my Pasadena go to place. It would be a good location for a date or a special meal. Its a bit out of my average price range but the meal was fantastic and the space was cozy. I highly recommend Green Street Tavern.

A Delicious Weekend

There were no blog updates this weekend because I was too busy hanging out with my Mom, eating delicious food, and running my first half marathon (read about it here!) I didn’t even open my computer on Sunday. I didn’t blog every meal but I did capture some!

Right after my Mom arrived we went to Clementine for lunch.

Clementine has switched over to the Fall menu since the last time I went there. Sadly, the best BLT is no longer available. Pretty sad, I know. I settled on the Veg-Italian melt with olive bread, artichokes, and melted cheese. Yum!

Pretty tasty, but no Best BLT. I can’t complain though. We also had a thumbprint cookie with orange marmalade. It was pretty delish! Afterwords we visited family and then made our way to Old Pasadena for an amazing dinner. Stay tuned!