Tag Archives: date night

on ribs and granny carts: honey herb pork tenderloin

honey herb pork tenderloin

Some years ago, in New York City, I would become very frustrated when I would find a recipe that was perfectly suited for whatever occasion it was, and then a harsh reality would hit.  I’d realize that I didn’t have things like stand mixers for coconut cakes and fancy French mandolins for perfectly cut matchstick slaw, and, oh yeah, I didn’t have that backyard outfitted with a grill that those finger-lickin’ ribs necessitated either.

honey herb pork tenderloin - fresh herbs and garlic

Instead I had a rickety and rusty 1960′s four burner gas stove (of which, two worked reliably, one was dead, and one threatened a gas explosion each time you encouraged it to light), a janky communal collection of pots and pans bequeathed to us from various donors, and a fire escape ‘patio’ that threatened to buckle each time we crawled out the window to enjoy a glass of wine ‘al fresco.’

honey herb pork tenderloin - pureed flavors

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coming in hot: thai green curry cod cakes with avocado cucumber relish

thai green curry cod cakes with cucumber avocado relish

I’m in the camp that excessively dieting in January to adhere to the constraints of some self-imposed and totally unrealistic ‘resolution’ is a bunch of malarky.

thai green curry cod cakes - pacific cod

But really, who am I kidding – it’s only because I know that I’ll totally throw my own game by kamikaze-ing myself with a cheeseburger, a (craft!) beer, and some killer garlic-truffle fries….just for good measure.

thai green curry cod cakes - chopping peppers and onions

Having my sand in the toes here in much-more-SoCal has definitely got my wheels turning however, and I am hesitant to say it but…..as the rest of the country has been beaten tortured to an inch of their frostbitten life by the ‘polar vortex,’ I’ve been cruising around in a t-shirt and flip flops, taking nightly sunset runs on the beach, and have even managed to pick up just a hint of a tan.  The bathing suit….it is on the horizon my friends.

thai green curry cod cakes - green curry paste

[Ducks to avoid rotten tomatoes]

thai green curry cod cakes - avocado cuke relish!

As with San Francisco, the community here in Santa Barbara is super active; with the pleasant weather, everyone is biking, hiking, running, spinning, juicing, and perfecting their yoga poses.  There is a farmer’s market that runs 7 days a week – year round, rain or shine – and a fishmarket out on the pier that rotates in the catch of the day quite literally right from the (frigid!) waters of the navy blue Pacific.

thai green curry cod cakes - cod pulsed in processor

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from pauper to prince: boeuf bourguignon with buttermilk white sweet potato smash

boeuf bourguignon with buttermilk white sweet potato smash

In a departure from some decidedly puritan vegan brown rice bowls, It’s high time to defer to something a bit more hedonistic.

boeuf bourguignon - seasoned beef

It is November – the thick of it – after all, and with the covers of this months cooking mags plastered with the most perfectly burnished and shellacked turkey specimens one has ever laid eyes on, it’s only natural that my gears are wont to shift over and down from virtuous vegetables and principled brown rice to a massive crock of something rich, dark, and utterly savory.

boeuf bourguignon - crisped up edges

Totally outside of how this boeuf bourguignon tastes (I’ll get to that in just a minute), the way it instantly cozifies your house with an absolutely intoxicating scent is almost reason enough in itself to get ye to thine grocery market to procure the items necessary to get on your merry way to Bourguignon Nirvana. (I can assure you there is such a place.)

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boring, says who?: vinegar glossed chicken with pearl onions and parmesan polenta

vinegar glossed chicken with creamy polenta and pearl onions

I’ve been blessed with a husband who eats nearly everything I make enthusiastically (save for a few early disasters in our more formative years, where he smiled politely and made a few gentle suggestions for “next time”), and who has even latched onto and embraced the idea of eating vegetarian more nights than not.

fresh chopped rosemary

Though the vegetarian revelation is quite the surprise from just a few short years ago, there is one thing that surprises me even more still: the man loves chicken.

chicken legs & thighs

Whereas in years past neither of us were “chicken order-ers” at a restaurant – because really, why would you bore yourself with chicken when there are saucy short ribs, tender braised lamb, or a perfectly cooked piece of hailbut on the menu? – the tides have turned.

polenta

Chicken somehow used to seem wussy, like you were the picky eater of the bunch, and it was the only safe way out. And typically, in all fairness to our stuck-up-noses, I genuinely feel it was.  Chicken was boring, a token sauteed breast here and there, always the cheapest thing on the list, and always also the most uninspired.

“I’ll have the chicken.”

Meh.

rosemary & red wine vinegar

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primp & proper: a few of my favorite things (nine, to be exact!)

a few of my favorite things

In this little space I talk mostly of things like butter, eggs, and brown sugar cake, but when it comes time to gettin’ gussied up and going out, I give even the girliest of girls a run for their money. Where that came from, I have no idea – my lovely Mother pulls off the ‘tomboy’ moniker with style and grace – but I’ve always been a bit of a product junkie. Over the years I’ve narrowed down my everyday favorites, and since I am always very curious what other people use and like, here are a few of my very favorite things.

1.  I’d been using my Solano hair dryer for five solid years before it finally bit the dust, and rightfully so – I use the thing darn near every day.  I would have gone right back out and picked up a new one, had the bright yellow case of the Drybar dryer not piqued my interest.  I never would have thought that a blowdryer could be amazing, but this one is exactly that: somehow it manages to tame my kinky and unruly tresses in five minutes flat, and at the same time take them from ultra-frizzy (I’ve not been blessed with the easiest hair) to super smooth and silky, and nearly pin straight.

2.  For years, blush was an afterthought for me – something I put on because I was supposed to, but that never really seemed to make that much of an impact on my overall look.  Then I discovered NARS Amore blusher, and I’ve barely gone a day without it.  It’s the perfect peachy/pink shade that goes on looking extremely natural, and makes you look like you’ve been drinking 8 tall glasses of water a day and getting your beauty sleep. (Because you have, right?)

3.  I’ve flip-flopped between a few mascaras in my time, becoming hooked on Diorshow mascara in college, then onto YSL “Volume Effet Faux Cils” in my 20′s, and most recently onto Larua Mercier ‘Full Blown Volume,’ which I wore at our wedding and for most of the past couple of years.  I recently got a sample of Benefit’s cheekily named “They’re Real” mascara, and I am nothing short of obsessed: the prickly brush manages to get to each and every teeny tiny lash, and does.not.clump.  One coat for day, two coats for night, and I am a very happy camper.

4. So turning 30 happened, and with that came the discovery of LOTS of little bitty fine lines that set up camp around my eyeballs.  NOT COOL.  Being that I can only blame myself for years spent baking in a lifeguard chair on Mayflower Beach, and that I can’t quite bring myself to do anything really drastic just yet (scary needles, I’m looking at you), the Clarisonic is seriously a game changer.  I use it RELIGIOUSLY once in the morning and once at night, and I swear it makes your skin look and feel 23 again.  Or something like that.

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