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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insignificant as they might be: old school spaghetti and meatballs and a simple tomato sauce (with lamb, pork, and beef)

the best old school spaghetti and meatballs and a simple tomato sauce, by cory at eatandrelish.com

I was all set yesterday to tell you about one of my favorite things to make and eat when  I crave something simple, nostalgic, and just so freaking tasty, but then….suddenly these meatballs just weren’t important anymore.  There is nothing more to say that hasn’t already been said about the tragic events of yesterday, and I can’t pretend to be eloquent enough to put into proper words that sick feeling we all carry in our guts, or the fiery rage we have yet to be able to direct at any one person or organization.

whol garlic ready to be minced

A marathon runner, I am most definitely am not, but being from Cape Cod, the Boston Marathon is an event that I grew up with, and one that has served as a point of pride and celebration for Bostonians and Massachusetts residents alike.  At any marathon, there are of course the elite competitors, those more casual “weekend warrior” athletes, the yearly pacemakers and medal collectors, and the slew of first-timer-gotta-knock-it-off-the-ole-bucket-list runners. There are those who come to stand on the sidelines and cheer for someone who is running to support a cause that is dear to their hearts, and those who come every year to cheer for no one in particular, but instead for everyone who impressively puts their mental and physical reserves to the test by donning a number and vowing to finish.

starting to cook down the grated onion and tomato paste

The entire event encapsulates just so much good, and encourages and fosters a strong bond within the community; on Marathon Monday, it’s not just about physical fitness and the fanfare of winning a first place medal, but about the words of encouragement, the triumphant faces of those who’ve overcome and endured a massive  commitment, and the brotherhood that comes along with sharing a struggle. Essentially, so many things that make up the Boston way. The American way. For a monster to come in and senselessly and cowardly take that away from the runners, from Boston, and from all of us….is soul crushing.

bright green parsley

President Obama said today “If you want to know who we are, who America is, how we respond to evil — that’s it: selflessly, compassionately, unafraid.” I know my hometown of Boston is woven of a strong and hardy bunch, and that they will, eventually, recover.  Even still, it’s of little solace in sad times like these, and my heart and mind, along with the rest of the country, and the world, will continue to be with the people and families who were so deeply affected by this despicable and senseless act.

always lots of grated parmesan cheese

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not raining on any parade: butternut squash risotto with pea shoots, leeks, and goat cheese

butternut squash risotto with pea shoots, leeks, and goat cheese

It poured here on Easter Sunday, and though normally that would make me sad and slightly depressed (soggy Easter grass in your basket, anyone?), for some reason, this year, it felt rather nice.

butternut squash risotto with pea shoots, leeks, and goat cheese by cory at eatandrelish.com, roasted butternuts

Generally my first move upon waking on Easter is to immediately scarf the ears off the first poor bunny I see (of the chocolate persuasion, obviously, and preferably while still in bed), before moving on to other nefarious goodies like gooey Cadbury eggs and fist-fulls of Jelly Bellys, and then capping it all off with a cold mimosa. Seeing as by 10am I’ve usually consumed more sugar in those wee morning hours that I have in the entire year leading up them, this year’s Easter began in a more pleasant and decidedly healthier way.

butternut squash risotto with pea shoots, leeks, and goat cheese by cory at eatandrelish.com, arborio rice

The Drill Sergeant (dear husband) rustled me out of bed early, and we managed to eek out a four mile run before returning home to make a shredded kale and apple salad and to check on the french toast casserole that had been doin’ it’s thang overnight in my refrigerator. With two brunch dishes (and a run! and a shower! and blow dried hair!) under my belt by eleven-thirty, we headed over to a friends house for an impressive brunch spread, curated by and contributed to in bits and bobs by all of our San-Francisco-transplant-friends we are so lucky to have here at an arms reach.

butternut squash risotto with pea shoots, leeks, and goat cheese by cory at eatandrelish.com, butternut puree

I had my mimosa (and a generous one, at that), and we gathered around the living room, feasting on scrambled eggs, ham, and asparagus, some crazy good breakfast potatoes, fresh berries, chive-dusted deviled eggs, sliced fresh avocado, and squares of some absolutely addictive rhubarb and ginger cake that I could not keep my fingers off.

(It’s fine. I went for a run.)

butternut squash risotto with pea shoots, leeks, and goat cheese by cory at eatandrelish.com, fresh pea shoots in pan

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