Restaurants: A Love Story

Sorry for the lack of original posts recently. I have spent the past two weeks more or less on continuous vacation traveling to San Francisco and then Boston. On the flight back to the west coast last night this post that I wrote as a guest blog for Melissa almost a year and a half ago was weighing on my mind. My trip back to Boston was amazing. Long time readers know I went to college in Boston and lived there for 4 years before a moved to LA a little over three years ago. I felt pangs of homesickness for Boston as the plane flew west. I reached into my monogrammed LL Bean tote and pulled out my brie and roasted chicken sandwich from my favorite bakery. The taste of the food was comforting, brought back many old memories and genuinely tasted like home. I was reminded of this post I wrote about why I love restaurants and by extension, food in general. The food I create and the restaurant meals I consume are sort of the mile markers of my life if you will. I never cross posted it here so I thought now would be a good time to share. I hope you enjoy.

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I have had a lifelong love affair with restaurants. According to my Mother, I went to my first restaurant at the tender age of 1 week old. It was a breakfast place near my parent’s house. My Mother is a fantastic cook but pretty much not a day went by in my youth where I didn’t ask if we could go out to dinner. Why? Who knows! I was ordering chicken fingers with honey mustard at literally every restaurant I went to.

Eating a scone at Blenheim Palace in London, England; May 1989, 21 months old. International foodie. Clearly, I was intently focused.

My love of restaurant dining has stayed with me since my first trip when I was one week old. I have an unnatural love of bread baskets, fancy bathrooms, menus, restaurant décor, being waited on, and all the other trappings of restaurants. Luckily, 20 some years later I found myself living in LA which is basically a foodie playground. I still love restaurants and I make it my mission to go to as many as possible.


So why do I love restaurants?

Trying new types of cuisine

One reason I love going to restaurants is that I get to try new and interesting cuisine. Where else are you going to try authentic Ethiopian food? Sitting around the mesob (which means table) eating delicious meats and veggies on a large pancake-like bread circle is an experience you can’t really have at home. I love trying food I’ve never had before or new and interesting combinations. It helps that I’m not a very picky eater and I trust most chefs to produce tasty dishes.

One of my favorite ethnic cuisines is sushi. There is an amazing sushi restaurant near my parent’s house that produces visually stunning rolls, like this…

It’s supposed to be a turtle! I could never recreate this which, to me, makes the meal even more special.

International dining is always a new and fun experience too! I love French food (probably because I love anything with a liberal application of butter) and dining in Istanbul was delicious and fascinating. The restaurants in Istanbul served all the meals in small plates. There was so much feta, eggplant, olives, chickpeas, and lamb. It was Mediterranean foodie heaven. Plus, international dining teaches you wonderful lessons about other parts of the world. Like if you order a martini with olives in Istanbul you will get this:

Yes. That is a glass of vermouth with a dish of green olives. See! Restaurant dining is a rich, cultural learning experience that allows you to try new things and expand your personal borders!

Getting waited on

No lie, I think one of the main reasons I loved eating out as a child was because I got waited on. It’s sad but true. As kids my brother and I always had to set and clear the table. I hated this chore and used all kinds of trickery to avoid it (spoiler alert: it never worked). Restaurants were a magic place where we didn’t need to clear the table and we were able to order ice cream for dessert. Even at greasy holes in the wall, we didn’t have to lay out napkins for everyone in the family. It was magical.

I still love going to restaurants for this reason. Don’t get me wrong, I love cooking, but it’s nice to not have to do the dishes.

High quality food

Obviously, sometimes we go out because it’s the path of least resistance. It’s late and nothing looks better than fast food. But many times I go out to eat and get a truly special meal, one way better than I could have produced on my own.

Like crispy fried chicken.

A beautiful tart.

Or a decadent dessert.

Yep, drool -> meet the keyboard.

Making friends

A fun byproduct of going to the same restaurant countless times is that you develop friendships with the owners and the people who work there. As a little girl I always had breakfast at the same restaurant with my dad and we got to know the staff well. They became family friends and every trip home in college was marked with visits to Green Bay Café to catch up. One of my cherished memories from growing up is having a restaurant owner and family friend divide a thick chocolate milkshake into two cups for my brother and I while we sat at the funky, retro inspired bar. It’s the friends we shared these memories with that makes them special. The people you meet and the connections you make build everyday life.

I still love making friends at my favorite eateries and it makes me want to go back. For example, one of my favorite LA haunts, Tavern in Brentwood played host to President Obama last week so of course I stopped in to get all the details over the weekend!

I love soaking in an exciting atmosphere and Tavern was abuzz last weekend. I met several new people and people I ready knew to talk about what went on. Seeing their enthusiasm put a smile on my face. It was exciting and the perfect demonstration of how restaurants can be community centers.

The ritual of eating: food is love

Probably the main reason I love restaurants is that meals out mark all the major events in my life. Lunches and dinners are organized to celebrate graduations, homecomings, reunions, birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions. I can remember what I ate when I was accepted to law school, when I graduated from college, when I turned 21, when I reunited with an influential college mentor, and when I bonded with my best friends. Food, and for me restaurant meals, mark the major occasions in our lives and the minor daily event that bring us closer to people. Meals are a ritual, they bring people together.

Celebrating graduation with friends.

Bonding with blog friends, Amanda and Kaitlin, over sausage. Yes, sausages in a beer garden can be considered a restaurant.

With my best girlfriends in the college’s dining hall, where so many memories were made over meals.

Restaurants and I have an epic romance and I don’t foresee it ending anytime soon.

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Slanted Door

The first time I went to San Francisco my good friend Chrissy took me to Slanted Door in the Ferry Building for cocktails and appetizers. The prices on the menu were a little outside the reach of my law student budget, not to mention the restaurant was totally jammed so we were in and out pretty quickly. This time I was back with my Dad to bank roll the dinner. What we didn’t expect (and duh probably should have) is that you need to lock down your table at Slanted Door about a month in advance. Whoops. I needed to get out on a run so I put Dad in charge of figuring that one out.

When I got back he said we could probably get a table if we were there when it opened at 5:30. Yeah, it was the early bird special but it was worth it.

We got to sit outside and had this impressive view…

I was so excited to rip open the menus.

I cannot remember what I had to drink the first time I went to Slanted Door. This time the choice was easy. I ordered a French 75: dudognon reserve cognac and prosecco, lemon; on rocks.

It was so good I ordered two.

As you can tell, we wasted no time establishing that we needed appetizers and entrees and dessert. This is why I like meals out with dad, there are always multiple courses.

We quickly ordered the slanted door spring rolls with pork, mint, shrimp and peanut sauce.

So fresh and so delicious. I love the huge shrimps with the mint.

We also decided to order two entrees and share them. I interrogated the waiter about what the best food on the menu was.

The theme of the food on this trip was seafood. Dad basically had clam fest the first several days of the trip. The waiter recommended the caramelized wild gulf shrimp with garlic, yellow onion and caramel chili sauce and Dad quickly called dibs on it.

Don’t worry I made him share. It was sweet and not too spicy which is good. Totally mouth watering.

I ordered the cellophane noodles with green onion, crab and sesame. What can I say? I was feeling the need for carbs.

Again, so fresh. The ingredients here are just the best. I love the food in San Francisco. Plus, I haven’t had good cellophane noodles in a long time.

The entrees at Slanted Door seem simple but they were both so delicious. The ingredients are fresh and the blend of seasonings is perfect. Nothing was over sauced (ick) or bland.

We tore through BOTH entrees and decided that we needed some sort of dessert. After a big dinner I wanted something light.

Poached peaches with crème fraiche.

This dessert had me a crème fraiche. It was light and delicious and summery. Perfect end to a perfect meal.

After dinner we went on a long walk to digest. I had a massive food baby after all this food. I highly recommend Slanted Door. It was one of the best meals that we had while traveling. If you can’t get in for a meal, try to check out the bar and order at least an appetizer.

Bru Haus: So Close and Yet So Far.

Brentwood is known for many things but a happening night life scene is not one of them. Despite this there are a handful of bars along Wilshire my friends and I like to frequent occasionally. So when my friend Gwen suggested dinner at Bru Haus before going out Saturday night I was excited to check it out.

source

If you follow me on twitter, or read this blog or have talked to me for more than 1 hour you know that there are two things I feel very passionate about: tater tots and sweet potatoes.

Thus, when I opened up the menu and saw sweet potato tots I nearly broke out into my Carlton Banks happy dance.

I also easily decided to order an IPA: Widmer Brothers Drifter Pale Ale.

I will give Bru Haus credit for having a killer beer list. Probably the best beer list in all of Brentwood (really, it isn’t a competition). I choose this one from the IPA section of the menu. Honestly, I mostly chose it because it was the cheapest option. It was just OK. It wasn’t that hoppy- kind of a letdown. However, it was $6 and I drank 2 so clearly it wasn’t that awful.

The major disappointment though?

When the sweet potato tots arrived I asked for ketchup. However I was told there was no ketchup. Only “Beet-chup”.

OK. Let’s break this down for a second.

I consider myself to be down with food snobbery. It’s not like I live for it or love it. I can be happy with fast food, at a greasy spoon or at Tavern. When I go to Father’s Office I do not care one lick that they don’t have ketchup because they have the most awesome aioli ever. I’m generally a roll with the punches kind of girl. I like food. I’m not too picky. I actually love beets. I have been known to roast a beet in my day.

However, this beet-ketchup is an abomination. Not to be dramatic, but it really wasn’t my favorite and I didn’t feel like any of the aiolis made up for it. It kind of ruined the sweet potato tots for me.

Overall: Great beer list (but didn’t love the Widmer Brothers), sweet potato tots (but maybe sneak in some ketchup packets from the Mc Donald’s across the street?), and great outside seating. I will probably make another appearance at Bru Haus. I mean, you can’t go to Cabo Cantina every night I suppose. But I would choose a different beer and have to figure out how to better negotiate the ketchup situation.

Ok blog readers: Beet Ketchup. What say you about beet ketchup?

Seasonal Eats

Another week and I’ve been MIA. I know, I know. It was the last full week of class this week and finals are impending as I mentioned earlier this week.

4 exams, 1 35-page paper before December 16th. What was I thinking? I am way too easily swept up in the excitement of classes that sound interesting and/or are with great professors. The good news is that only 2 of my exams utilize “black letter law” which is good for this theory loving girl.

But for the record, I feel a bit like this right now:

Alert, anxious and rifling through paper.

So, as I mentioned it was a busy week but I did manage to cook a delicious dinner this week. Unfortunately, I did not come up with the recipe myself. Can’t win them all.

I made Pumpkin Mac and Cheese and it was everything I wanted and more. I love those dinners that you can make in a casserole dish and then eat out of for meals. Yes, this means I ate pumpkin mac and cheese three times this week. Don’t judge. I foresee this happening more than once in the next few weeks.

This was also my first time using pumpkin, rather than just laying on them. I KNOW, I KNOW. All healthy living bloggers, whatever that is, are OMGSOOBSESSED with pumpkin. I have decided that I like pumpkin in certain contexts. For example, I for sure like pumpkin topped with whipped cream or with carbs and cheese. I still have 3/4 of a can chilling in my fridge so I need to figure out what to do with that. If you have any suggestions for a 3/4 can of pumpkin let me know by dropping a comment!

In other news, Thanksgiving is next week and Kaitlin is hosting! I am so excited to have thanksgiving with Kaitlin. She’s a food blogger so I know it’s going to be good eating plus lots of wine and I’m clearly going to need a break at that point. I’ve decided to make Eat, Live, Run’s caramelized Brussels sprouts because, as we know, I love Brussels sprouts. I also plan to make my eggplant dip. Any by “my” I mean “my mother’s” and by “my mother’s” I really mean “Barefoot’s”. I’ve never blogged the recipe so you can look forward to that next week!

Finally, I have Tavern news!

My favorite restaurant has opened another outpost in Beverly Hills. I haven’t been yet since I live walking distance from the original but if you’re in that hood make sure to check it out!

Go get yourself a treat. You earned it.

Also, I found Suzanna Goin’s (the chef/owner of Tavern) Brussels sprouts recipe which is on the Tavern Thanksgiving menu: Braised Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta, Balsamic, and Breadcrumbs. Oh yes. I debated making it for Thursday but there are going to be many veggies at Kaitlin’s thanksgiving and I want to be accommodating. I debated bastardizing the recipe by switching out the veal stock and pancetta but doing that just didn’t sit right with me.

But! I encourage you to make it and let’s face it. It has pancetta and Brussels sprouts so I will be making it eventually!

And finally, Congrats to everyone who passed the bar today! I cannot believe that a year from now I’ll be finding out my bar results.

So, since I have no free time to cook my own things, link me a great, easy, quick recipe for me to try.

Linguini with Caramelized Fennel

There are two things that I love: fennel and anything caramelized.

Don’t act surprised. Fennel has a licoricey flavor. Caramelizing involves cooking something in butter for an extended period of time. What NOT to love?

You may have noticed that it’s been a while since I’ve featured a pasta dish on the blog. I love me some pasta but I ate a great deal of quinoa while marathon training and I still am eating a great deal of it. However, the other day I came home from school and was just craving a big bowl of pasta. I blame the cooler weather and the impending rain. It makes me want to carb load. But then again, everything makes me want to carb load.

It’s been a while since I’ve cooked something truly blog worthy. I blame law school. I’m taking some really interesting classes but I have 4 exams and a 35 page paper all staring me down in December. What was I thinking!? Finals prep normally lasts for about a month and my fear of how much work I have to do have motivated me to start earlier than usual.

Finals are starting to get to me. Like today. I did laundry. I washed, dried and folded it before I realized that I neglected to add detergent. Seriously people. Sometimes I wonder about myself.

In any case! My meals have been roasted veggies and quinoa -> boring. Hopefully I can make some bloggable meals in the next few weeks. I promise to try!

Linguini with Caramelized Fennel

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 servings of brown linguini (portion determined per package directions)

2 tbs unsalted butter

1 blub of fennel, sliced length wise

1 can diced, unsalted tomatoes

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 cup red wine

1 head of broccoli

Goat Cheese

Oregano

Salt

Pepper

Instructions:

Cook pasta in salted pasta water. When the pasta is halfway done cooking add the broccoli to the boiling water. Drain and set aside once al dente.

Melt butter in a sauce pan over low heat. Add the sliced fennel. Stir gradually at a low heat until the fennel softens.

It might take a while. Add a pinch of salt and pepper while stirring.

Once the fennel has softened add the garlic until fragrant. It should only take minute.

Then add the can of diced tomatoes and red wine. Turn the heat up.

Let the sauce cook until it has reduced a little. Add more salt and pepper. Add the oregano. Stir frequently.

Add the pasta and the broccoli to the mix and combine well with the pasta. Serve in a bowl with a big dollop of goat cheese on top.

The fennel really serves as a substitute for onion and I really like it. The sauce isn’t anything too different than usual but I loved mixing it up with fennel. I really like a simple diced tomato and red wine sauce. I added the goat cheese on a whim at the last moment but it the perfect way to top the pasta. The noodles were warm and melted the goat cheese. Melted goat cheese on pasta? Yes! All day everyday!

How was your weekend? Considering finals, mine still managed to be pretty fun.

Quinoa Stir fry

Hola gang!

Sorry I went totally MIA this week. See I had a plan of what I was going to blog at the beginning of the week.

But it didn’t quite turn out how I wanted it to…

Chocolate Chip Toasted Macadamia Nut Cookies. Delicious, but flat as a pancake. I know they’re delicious because even though they turned out super flat I still managed to try them. I need to figure out what I did wrong, right? Right. I’m going to go back and retool this recipe before posting it but it will be back because the toasted macadamia’s were fan-tas-tic!

Don’t worry, I developed something delicious tonight to share with you: Quinoa Stir Fry

I went out Thursday night for Halloween and didn’t get home until after 4 am (-> so late but SO worth it) and I am still exhausted! Around 5 o’clock tonight I was puttering around my kitchen, thinking about getting takeout and trying to decide what I wanted that would be easy. Being tired and working on final exams prep all day was makes me lazy. Then inspiration struck! I’ve been a quinoa eating machine the past few days and I love stir fry so why not combine the two?!

For the oil I used coconut oil and I added chopped up carrots, lima beans, broccoli, and sliced Brussels sprouts with some grated ginger. I even made the sauce myself!

Ingredients:

1/3 cup quinoa

1 cup water

Chopped veggies (I had 1 1/2 cup of chopped broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots and lima beans)

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon grated ginger

Sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon honey

Tiny dash of toasted sesame oil

Instructions:

Heat and water with the quinoa in a pot and let cook until the quinoa has absorbed the water. Set aside.

In a pan bring the heat the coconut oil at medium high heat until melted. Add the veggies and the ginger and cook until softened.

In a small bowl measure out the soy sauce, honey and toasted sesame oil. Whisk until combined. Once the veggies have softened, add the sauce, combine, and move the heat to low. Then add the quinoa to pan, combine and then serve!

So delicious! I was puttering around my kitchen with some pretty low expectations but I can tell that this is going to be a Katherine classic. I’m obsessed with quinoa right now. It’s so easy to cook, filling and a nice change from my go to dish of noodles. I think this whole thing took about 20 mins to throw together.

I’m also new to using coconut oil and I really like it. I typically use extra virgin olive oil in my cooking but I like the hint of flavor that coconut oil adds to a dish. I need to figure out new ways to work coconut oil in to my meals.

Next time I think I’m even going to add an egg to make it resemble quinoa fried rice. Oh yes, that will be winning.

And because I am the height of excitement I am off to take a bath and crawl into freshly washed sheets. I have a 5k in the morning I need to rest up for!

Law School Perks

Sometimes law school is a soul sucking experience designed to make you feel like you’ll never be right again.

Sometimes you get free things branded from West Law and Lexus, the two major legal research engines. For example, t shirts, water bottles, and free copies of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Federal Rules of Evidence and the Constitution. Sexy.

And sometimes you win in a major way and you get free food and beer for making it to 3L.

And if you’re really, really lucky your professor will let you get food and beer and bring them into class.

Exhibit A:

Free tacos and beer!

In exchange they wanted a donation for the class gift. I almost asked if I could post date my check for 15 years from now. I restrained myself.

Also!

It wouldn’t be a blog post without a marathon update. No, I am not going show you another picture of me covered in water at mile 19+. But I will show you a picture of the amazing Chicago themed 26.2 sticker I affixed to my car the other day.

Yep. I’m one of those people now! I’m so glad I waited and ordered this Chicago specific one rather than getting a generic 26.2 sticker. It goes nicely with my red car and my Obama 2012 sticker.

I also did an excellent job of getting to Zumba directly after class today. On Wednesday I’m at school for 10 hours and normally am completely exhausted by the end of the day. During marathon training I always took a rest day on Wednesday but it was really nice to get out and get moving. I was still tired at the end of the day but I wasn’t nearly as exhausted as I usually am. I also went on a 3 mile run yesterday, my first since the marathon. I’m really glad I took a full week off after my marathon and I definitely need to train myself off walk breaks if I want to get faster. The temptation to walk was so strong on my run yesterday. Clearly this is a sign that I need to work on pacing and motivation in the future but for now it’s nice that working out is low pressure.

What is your favorite workout that I should try?

San Francisco Treats

Oh kids. Buckle up for an insane post. I have been to the promise land (San Francisco) and the food is good!

Why did I go to San Francisco? Well, normally I wouldn’t go out of town once during a semester let alone twice, two weeks in a row. Last week, after coming back from Chicago, I made the decision to go to SF this weekend. My law school friend Chrissy has been living in SF externing and my college roommate and treat soul mate Carolyn was also going to be in town to run the Nike Women’s 1/2 Marathon. When another friend agreed to carpool it became clear that this trip was meant to be.

I drove up Friday, checked in with friends in Berkeley and went to a pot luck in the city. It was an awesome night and there are no photos.

Except this one:

Saturday, however, I made up for it. Chrissy and Kelly brought me to the San Francisco Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building.

It was love at first sight.

I even tried a new variety of apple: Hawaiian apples! It was sweet and crisp. In addition to the regular farm stand items they also had prepared food and the venders inside the Ferry Building.

Chrissy started me off with what was probably the greatest thing I’d ever eaten (Note that I said that statement a lot yesterday).

The first item we ripped into at 10:30 was this amahzing Porchetta sandwich with arugula from Roli Roti. The three of us split the sandwich and it was far and away the best pork sandwich I’ve ever consumed.

Crunchy, saucy, spicy perfection. We all split it and it was so so so so amazing. I would have this weekly if I lived nearby.

Then we moved to another stand, El Porteno.

First we got an empanada. I chose cheese and caramelized onion and again, we split it.

Again, cheesy perfection. I loved it and couldn’t get enough.

Chrissy they said that the dolce de leche cookie looked really good and maybe we should split it. This is why I’m friends with Chrissy. Obviously.

This was a delicious buttery cookie with dolce de leche caramel in the middle. It was as good as it looks.

Once inside I made sure to make a pit stop at Blue Bottle Coffee.

I’ve had this place on my radar for a while and, as a coffee aficionado, I couldn’t wait to check it out. The wait was long but I knew I had to try this coffee so I persevered and stayed in line. It was so worth it.

Smoothest latte of my life. Love this and if I lived in San Francisco I would probably quit Starbucks and Coffee Bean cold turkey and only drink this. I know that is an extreme statement but it’s true!

After the Farmer’s Market I said goodbye to Chrissy and Kelly for a while and I went on a walk through San Francisco to meet Carolyn at, where else, a bakery.

When I travel I really like to wander the city I’m, absorb the spirit and stumble upon new things. The walk to the bakery was three miles so I got to see a lot of the city everything from the Mission to city hall to the tenderloin which is famous for crime, drug use, and Hastings law school.

Streetcars.

City Hall. This building reminded me of Milk and made me want to run for office so badly it’s not even funny.

Trees near city hall.

Houses in the Mission.

After a long walk I made it to my destination, Tartine Bakery.

Tartine came heavily recommended from several people and Carolyn had already made one trip there so I knew I was in for some delicious eats.

I hopped in line and salivated at everything in the case.

Carolyn had already warned me about the croque monsieur and I knew that in addition to treats I HAD to order it.

I was not disappointed.

This may be one of the best things I’ve ever had to eat. A bold proclamation but I feel confident making it.

This sandwich is an open face sandwich with béchamel, gruyere, thyme and pepper. I want another right now so badly.

Oh, and it was topped with heirloom tomatoes.

Carolyn soon joined me and we ate our treats.

First I had a chocolate walnut cookie. Obviously, it was delicious.

We also got some delicious macaroons.

How adorable is it?

We decided, however, to take the treat up another notch.

Clearly, Carolyn and I sniffed out soft serve ice cream like a couple of bloodhounds. It was from Bi-Rite creamery across the street from Tartine.

This is good.

But this….

Is even better.

We sat down in Dolores Park, got a second hand weed high and ate our treats.

Pure excitement.

After treats we stumbled upon $2.50 sangria, had a drink and then made our way back to Chrissy and Kelly’s for dinner.

But first we had a friend photo shoot.

I love everything about this.

Then we went to Slanted Door for appetizer and drinks with Chrissy and Kelly…

And Osha for a pre race dinner for Carolyn. We had Thai food. I enjoyed dinner, my friends and was too busy having fun to take pictures. Even though there aren’t words I promise it was delicious. After dinner I said bye to Carolyn, foam rolled my legs.

Chrissy and I took her dog Penny on a long walk through Chinatown to North Beach, areas of the city I hadn’t seen. On the way home we were part of a police chase! You can read about our police chase here. Literally, we were standing on a corner one moment and behind a police line the next!

This morning I woke up and had to leave pretty early. I took one final spin through the Ferry Building this morning. I helped myself to another Blue Bottle Coffee and went to Il Can Rosso for breakfast.

I almost never order eggs but something told me to get the slow scrambled eggs with crescenza, chives, and garlic crostini.

I know, I know I keep saying this but these eggs are the best eggs I’ve ever had. They were drippy, cheesy and chivey plus the bread was fantastically toasted and added a bit of crunch.

Looking at this picture, all I want to do is lick my computer screen.

Don’t you?

I had no problems polishing this off.

And with that my first trip to San Francisco was a wrap! I wish I could have stayed longer and seen more but it was a great first trip to San Francisco. I foresee many more trips north in my future. I’m off to face plant in my bed because I have to go back to school tomorrow. All good things, like all good dishes, have to come to an end.

Easy Soba Noodles with a Homemade Sauce

Remember when I made salmon with bok choy and discovered sesame oil?

It looked a little something like this…

The instant I tasted the sauce all I wanted to was slather it on some soba noodles. Everyone told me to use sesame oil sparingly but the salmon recipe called for 1 tsp but with the salmon to absorb the sauce everything worked out perfectly. Unfortunately the first attempt at putting the sauce on soba was totally misguided and the sesame oil flavor was way too strong. I worked out the kinks and now the sauce is great on soba.

Soba Noodle Stir Fry in a Homemade Sauce

Ingredients

2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons honey

Grated ginger

Tiny drop of sesame oil

Pinch of garlic salt

Assorted chopped veggies (I used eggplant, beans, scallions, bok choy and sugar snap peas)

1 serving soba noodles

Instructions

I started by chopping the eggplant, beans, bok choy and peas.

I love the purple and white colors of the beans and eggplant. I heated up a pan with a dollop of EVO and added the beans and peas. I started with them because they were going to take the longest time to cook. The I added the eggplant and the bok choy. I cooked until the bok choy was wilted and everything was cooked through but not burned.

While the items were cooking I put together the sauce.

It was super easy. I just added all the ingredients together and whisked (I also added the ginger through it wasn’t photographed).

Weird picture, I know.

Anyways, while all this was going on I cooked the soba noodles. I love soba because, like the sauce, they are ready in less than 3 mins.

I added the soba to the veggie mixture until the sauce coated everything.

And that was it! Dinner is served!

As you can tell, this took about 15 mins to make and was so simple. Personally, I always try to make homemade sauces. Yes, I’m that weirdo who hasn’t bought marinara sauce in three years. I really like this sauce as an alternative to Trader Joe’s Soyaki which is my normal go to. I love the sweetness of the honey and the bite of the ginger. Ginger is one of my favorite flavors!

In other news: I went on my final weekend run before the marathon tonight. I did 8 miles and it was the last long run where I saw the ocean. I ran 8 miles with a 9 min per mile pace (still running 10 mins, walking 2 mins) and felt fantastic. I’m going to take it very easy this week and I am so excited to head to Chicago on Thursday. I’ll be posting more about running this week than I will about cooking, just a heads up!

Tomato, Basil and Feta Orzo

Seeing as I started the summer with a delicious orzo salad, roasted shrimp orzo, I figured I should end the summer with one. I broke open a cookbook I got for my birthday from my Mom.

So far, this cookbook is great! I love the recipes (there are a ton) and the saucy commentary with the recipes. This one was pretty simple. I subbed the mozzarella for feta because it’s what I had on tap. This recipe took literally no thought to put together and was great cold the next day. We had a mini heat wave last week with temps in the 90’s. Having no AC, a cold lunch was necessary. I couldn’t bear to turn on the oven.

Tomato, Basil and Feta Orzo Salad

Ingredients

3 servings of orzo

1/8 cup chopped basil

1/8 cup EVO

1 tablespoon EVO

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved (I used orange and yellow ones from the FM)

1 small minced clove of garlic

1 cup crumbled feta

Sprinkling of pepper and sea salt

Instructions

Combine the halved tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, feta, and 1/8 cut EVO in a bowl. Stir and let sit for 1 hour. This was great because it allowed me to get a post run shower in. Wahoo!

After an hour, cook the orzo. Combine the cooked orzo with the other ingredients and the additional tablespoon of EVO. Salt and pepper to taste.

Seriously, can a meal get any easier? I don’t think so. The tomatoes were so fresh and amazing, because they’re in season now. The feta melted just slightly onto the orzo and the basil. Be still my heart it was so good! Is there a better flavor combination than tomatoes and basil? Nope.

This makes three servings. With my marathon appetite I housed a serving and a half and chilled the other portion for lunch the next say. As I mentioned above, it was so hot that the chilled portion came in extra handy. I don’t think I would have heated it up if I could have; it was great cold like all orzo salads. This is something I can see myself making in mass for several days worth of lunches.

One Year Ago: I set my 10k PR in the Santa Monica 5000. It was also the race that introduced me to Kaitlin! Isn’t running wonderful?