Hawaiian June

Hawaiian Food

Hawaiian June

This month’s dinner theme was tough to nail down. My husband wanted seafood, I was thinking vegetarian, and neither of us had a solid menu to go from. So… I was researching dinner theme ideas and came across Hawaiian cuisine. We love the Hawaiian islands! And the theme worked perfectly for June, the month that ushers in summer. Plus, BevMo! was having their 5¢ sale, so it was great time to try some new white wine! Here is the menu we created:

Libations

Grove Mill Sauvignon Blanc, 2009, New Zealand

Appetizers

Coconut Shrimp with Spicy Dipping Sauce
Ono Spareribs

Entrée & Sides

Blackened Tuna Steaks with Mango Salsa
Hawaiian Rice
Roasted Asparagus

Dessert
Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Although the coconut shrimp was fantastic, the dipping sauce (which I pulled from another recipe) was my least favorite item on the menu. It consisted of 1/2 cup orange marmalade, 2 tsp stone ground mustard, and 1 tsp horseradish. I didn’t care for the overall taste, so I added salt and sriracha to cut down the bitter sweetness. It helped, but I recommend going with a sauce that you know you like!

The blackened tuna was so good that we made it again about a week later. We bought the tuna from Marukai Japanese Food Specialty Store, which is where we get a lot of our fresh fish.

Banana Cake

Banana Cake

But the best part of this dinner was the banana cake. WOW! My husband started early in the morning on the recipe so that the cake was cooled and settled in plenty of time for our guests. It was definitely one of my favorite desserts we’ve made. It was fluffier and more moist than banana bread. If you like cake, MAKE THIS RECIPE! You will not be disappointed!

April Ode to Lemon

Meyer Lemons

Meyer Lemons

April’s dinner was fantastic! Our theme was all things Meyer lemon. We got the idea from a group of recipes in a spring issue of Cooking Light magazine. We often find and make recipes from this magazine, and they are almost always good!

Here was the lineup:

Libations

Sparkling Lemon Cocktail with Vodka, Sparkling Wine, Rosemary
Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and California

Appetizer

Seared Scallops with Lemon Beurre Blanc, White Wine, Shallots, Thyme

Salad

Fennel Salad with Lemon, Parsley, Shallots, Olive Oil, Goat Cheese

Entrée & Side

Lemon Chicken Piccata Sautéed in Sauvignon Blanc
Roasted Asparagus with Brown Butter and Thyme Lemon Rind

Dessert

Lemon Curd Tart with a Macadamia Nut Vanilla Crust, Topped with Meringues

And here were the results!

April Meyer Lemon

April Ode to Lemon

Apple Orchard Inn

Apple Orchard Inn

Cortland Cottage at Apple Orchard Inn, Durango, CO

My husband and I enjoyed a fun trip to Durango, Colorado to go snowboarding, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. For the first time in our 9 nears of travel together, we stayed at a bed and breakfast and really enjoyed it.

The Apple Orchard Inn has set the standard for any B&B we consider staying at in the future. The Inn has rooms in the main house, as well as six private cottages, all named after different varieties of apples. We stayed in the Cortland Cottage shown in the picture. And it was as cozy as the picture looks!

Kathi, the owner, was so sweet and an wow what an amazing cook too! Homemade breakfast every day, just a few steps away from our cottage was one of the best vacation experiences we’ve ever had! My husband and I really enjoyed meeting new people every morning too. I hope we get a chance to go back, maybe during the summer when it’s green and warm.

French February

This year we were excited to cook French food for French February.

Heart Sourdough

Valentine Sourdough

We decided on a dinner menu that we thought would be a lovely. And while it was… it seemed like a few things went right and a few things didn’t. But I think that had to do with our skills (or lack thereof) vs. the actual recipes. What Julia Child had – we do not. But it was fun anyway! Here’s what we made:

Last year I made a special dinner for my Valentine. It was based on a Chicken Vol Au Vent recipe that Champagne Bakery in Del Mar served, before they Americanized their menu. Because I made up my version, I was wise enough to write down what I did, and here it is for you to also try!

Chicken Vol Au Vent
Valentine's Day 2010

Valentine's Day 2010

Ingredients

leeks
garlic
cremini mushrooms
spinach
unsalted butter
white wine
extra virgin olive oil
1% milk
sour cream
kosher salt
pepper
puff pastry
egg white
chicken breast
Method
Sauté cremini mushrooms in olive oil, white wine, and unsalted butter. Add leeks and continue sautéing. Then add garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes before adding spinach. Then add small amount of milk and sour cream, salt and pepper to taste. Cook chicken separate and add at the end.
Cut pastry into circle for bottom and cut another for top. Cut a smaller circle or other shape in the middle of the top pastry (in my case, I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter that my Grandma Barb gave me). Poke holes in the middle of the bottom pastry, and stack top on bottom with egg white in between. If desired, you can add another layer of pastry between the bottom and the top (with a section cut out) to add a more depth and bowl-like shape. Bake pastry according to instructions (don’t forget to also bake the special shape if you made one!) then add the chicken filling just before serving with the pastry shape on top. Voilà!

Paleo Equals Color

Paleo FoodIt’s been just more than three weeks since we started eating Paleo style. The first thing I noticed is how much more fruit we consume. I can, 1000 percent say:  we were not eating enough fruit! Look how colorful this is! And this picture doesn’t even show the greens we had in the refrigerator: broccoli, kale, Mexican squash, brussels sprouts, salad, carrots, cabbage…

We’ve also been buying high quality meats and fish from the better supermarkets and local stores. It’s not cheap to eat this way, that’s for sure! But the food on our plate is so alive!

The best part of this way of eating is that (with a lot of cardio) we are both losing weight. I have also found that I rarely crave anything sweet because fresh fruit is acceptable. Hello fresh pineapple!!!

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