Seafood in May

May’s seafood theme was great! Of the recipes we made, I enjoyed the crab cakes and risotto the most. Unfortunately, I do not have pics, so this post is all business and all about preserving the recipes we used so we can revisit them another time!

  • Cajun Crab Cakes– MAKE THESE! They are better than any crab cakes from ay restaurant.

Asparagus Risotto


Life Has Become Too Busy!

The bad news: It’s been way too long since my last post.

The good news: we continue our monthly dinners with Darin & Vanessa and with great success!

I can’t even remember what the dinners were for the rest of 2011! Literally I’m sitting here with my husband, getting an equally blank stare when I ask what the themes were…

I DO know that for this year, we made a vegetarian dinner for January and a seafood theme for March. I’m going to add a separate entries for the dates we had the vegetarian and seafood themes!

Happy spring cooking!

Vegetarian January

Happy New Year! This blog has become my go to for the recipes we’ve made that we want to make again. Forget browser bookmarks!

For a long time I had wanted to do a vegetarian themed menu. It took some serious coaxing before the husband would agree to it. But overall, it turned out great — even with the brief, wife-winning argument about how to deal with the lasagna noodles.

Here is the vegetarian menu:

Artichoke Crostini

Artichoke Crostini

The crostini was super easy and delicious.

Grilled Vegetable Salad

Grilled Vegetable Salad

Grilled vegetable salad looked good and was good. The minestrone felt healthy eating it.

Chocolate Cheesecake

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake

And the triple chocolate cheesecake, well, was over the top!

As for the lasagna, I probably would not make it again. It was OK, but it didn’t have the wonderful visual appeal I was hoping for. I did win the argument with N’Gai about the noodles though. The recipe called for no boil noodles. I don’t care what the box says, I am not a fan of not boiling noodles! I think it makes them chewy and they never turn out right. I ALMOST pulled the, “I’m Italian, you aren’t.” card, but decided not to go there. It was the right choice in the end but overall I think the recipe could use the addition of lots of vegetables.

Definitely make the crostini, grilled vegetable salad, and minestrone!

Life is Peachy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Life is Peachy in August – continuing the tradition of our monthly dinner party!

For a while I was stuck on having a BBQ type menu – or at least a take on American BBQ. I even found barbecue napkins that were super cute so I figured it must be a sign.

But after our trip to San Francisco last month, we kept thinking about the peaches we bought and ate from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. They were so sweet, and of course in season too. So we thought we would take a similar approach as our April’s Ode to Lemon and pick one ingredient – peaches – and incorporate it throughout the meal. It ended up working out great!

The menu really complemented the summer month of August:

I also like the fact that we diversified our recipe sources for this month.

We subscribe to Cooking Light magazine and have had really good luck with their recipes. At least one of their recipes is included in our lineup. But every recipe in this month’s theme is from a different source, and it all came together really nicely.

The only things I didn’t care for was the Peach Bellini and the beer. The Bellini wasn’t sweet enough (a little simple syrup would do it some good) and the peach beer tasted more like peach juice.

But the salad, rice, and dessert totally made up for the drinks being so-so! All in all, another successful dinner!

Food & Comedy in San Francisco

Day 1: Friday

That’s right. 12 balconies. The condo we recently stayed in while visiting San Francisco had 12 balconies in it and it was on the 21st floor of a building in the financial district!

When our friends Darin and Vanessa (also our monthly dinner friends) invited us to hang out for the weekend, we had no idea what was in store for us. Vanessa had stayed in this place before and didn’t let on any details. Which was kind of cool, because it was a lovely surprise.

Not only was the condo a-mazing, but the whole weekend trip was one of my favorite visits to the city. N’Gai and I were in the city for my 30th birthday 5 years ago and this recent trip was the week before my 35th. I’ve been back since for business trips but it was nice for us to take this trip together again. Everything we did was fun!



We went to Tommaso’s Italian Restaurant in North Beach for dinner the first night. It was in walking distance from our condo, which except for Tipsy Pig (more on that later!) everything was! If you check Tommaso’s Yelp reviews you’ll see that they get 4.5 stars out of 5. And we agreed!

We ordered their spinach pizza that almost faked me into believing I was eating salad They make the pizza and then put fresh spinach on top right after it cooks so that when it arrives at the table, it’s just barely wilting but tastes fresh and slightly crunchy. So good! Of course I followed up that “salad” with a plate full of carbs and ordered their Macaroni w/Mushrooms, Olive Oil, Garlic, Parsley, & Sausage. Paleo what?

Tommaso's Spinach Pizza

Tommaso’s Spinach Pizza

Later that evening we went to Punch Line Comedy Club, also walked there from the condo. This walk was very necessary! There we saw Joe Klocek open for The Sklar Brothers. The Brothers were good, Joe was better. He was funnier, more natural and un-rehearsed, and killed it. I hope he comes to The Comedy Store in La Jolla so we can see him again.

Here are some additional pictures of our trip, posted to my Facebook.

Day 2: Saturday

I’ve never been to the San Francisco Ferry Building and felt especially fortunate that we got to experience the Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning. We have farmer’s market’s in San Diego, but they are nothing like this! In fact, the next time I plan a weekend trip to San Francisco, I’m going to make a point of visiting this market again.

From San Francisco's Farmer's Market

Grapes, Manchego, and Rosemary Bread from the Ferry Building’s Farmer’s Market

We had so much fun eating, looking at all of the vendor’s goods, and buying a few things to bring back to the condo. Namely, grapes that looked like they rode the truck to the city, straight from wine country, manchego cheese, and rosemary bread from Acme Bread. I want to live in San Francisco just to eat this as a snack every Saturday!

I also bought a bottle of olive oil from Stonehouse California Olive Oil. I liked the idea of buying semi-local olive oil. Plus, it’s good.

Since July was Darin and Vanessa’s turn to make our monthly dinner, they instead took us out to dinner at the Tipsy Pig in the Marina District. Wow! The food was SO good! As you can see from my Facebook album, it wasn’t exactly swimsuit food. But it was really great and we ordered a variety of items on the menu to try.

Overall, it was our most fun trip to the city and we thank Darin and Vanessa for inviting us along!