Here’s just one more reason to love the holidays: Dungeness crab season has begun y’all! We went to one of the local asian supermarkets and nabbed some live Dungeness crabs from the tank, took ’em home and cooked ’em up. Truth be told, I feel a genuine sadness when dipping a live being into a boiling water bath… but that feeling fades when the lemony garlic butter sauce aromas fill the room. We’re a heartless family when it comes to delicious food. Sorries! The steam from the kitchen clouded our patio doors so JJ and I wrote messages while we waited for H to finish our meal. We cracked and ate our crab with some crusty bread and drawn butter. So fresh, so fancy, so divine. Happy Sunday to us!
I mean, what can I say about my favorite food? Nay, my favorite cuisine? I remember quite keenly my first experience with Vietnamese food. Some years ago I had a co-worker who was Vietnamese but born and raised in France. Her taste in food was impeccable and she took it very, very seriously. The ritual of it, the importance of quality… and she had a reverence for proper form. She took me to my first authentic Vietnamese restaurant in SoCal. She taught me what to order (for a beginner: spring rolls and pho) and how to order it (rare steak on the side), prepare it (how to add veggies, sauces, etc.) and consume it (how to spool noodles onto the spoon and dip it in broth to get a mixture of all the wonderful flavors). I haven’t veered from what she showed me and I’ve had hundreds of bowls of pho since then. I don’t know what it is about the flavors of Vietnamese cuisine that resonate with me so deeply. The restaurants are often no-fuss with a “family business” type feel. The impact of each dish is based on how fresh the ingredients are – there’s no hiding behind subpar proteins, veggies and herbs. I have two bucket list items that pertain to this delicious food:
If I ever do either of these things you, my fair blog readers, will be the FIRST to know! Until that day, I slurp on.
* I wish I were clever enough to have come up with the title of this post on my own. But, I’m not. Holly gifted me a shirt that says Souper Pho-reak on it and it’s one of my faves.
** For those that have always been curious, it’s pronounced “phuh” not “phoh.” FYI
Oprah and I have at least one thing in common: I too LOVE BREAD. I’ve always desired to make it from scratch but never enough to actually purchase a bread maker. And then, by the grace of the Pinterest gods, I discovered this recipe for no-knead bread that doesn’t require anything other than the ingredients, an oven and a stand mixer. Check, check and check! Let me just tell you that this bread came out exquisitely. And it was super easy! The original recipe calls for rosemary but I only had fresh thyme in the fridge…so that’s what I used. I ate it fresh from the oven. Warm, sliced thick and slathered with butter and sea salt. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. I’ll bet they serve this at every meal in gluten heaven. Give it a try and see for yourself!
This avo egg salad on toasted bagel is such a simple meal that I don’t even think it warrants a “recipe.” Not really. Smushed avocado on toast is having a moment in the culinary world, it seems. Same easy concept here, just added hard boiled eggs to the equation. I toasted up an everything bagel and slathered on some butter while it was still warm. In a bowl I mixed together an avocado, a couple of hard boiled eggs (chopped), a bit of mayo, some s+p, paprika, garlic + onion powder, cumin. I topped the bagel with the avo egg salad mixture, some cayenne, scallions and then more freshly ground pepper. Delicious! And mostly healthy. *wink* Now if you’d caught me on a fatty patty day I would’ve browned the bagel in some leftover bacon grease to add more flavor buuuuuut luckily for my waistline this just wasn’t one of those days! Let’s try to keep it healthy here, Mya.
While walking home from the Old Oakland housewives’ market today we happened upon a brand spankin’ new coffee spot called Luckyduck Cafe + Bike Shop. It’s only been open for about 10 days apparently and as soon as we walked in the door we were digging it. Bevvies, pastries, food options – all on point. As you may or may not know my wife is a cyclist so having the bike shop in the back garnered them some major points! I’m so glad that we discovered this new local spot! I hope that we get the chance to spend some time there and appreciate it before the laptops invade! Happy Saturday, y’all.
So my baby is cutting his second tooth… which means that he’s been crabby and low-grade whiny for the last 24-36 hours. Whenever whining is sustained for long periods of time like that it makes me feel fucking batty. Like, it should be a government sanctioned torture method. Forget water-boarding! Try this! So after Jude went to bed last night I threw together my usual pasta dinner because I’m famished at that point. He goes to bed after 9 or 10 some nights so unfortunately that means a euro dinner time for Mommy. I put whatever protein I have with whatever pasta I have mixed with any veggies I have. I hope that by now you’ve come to expect this type of razor sharp precision from my kitchen. If you keep expectations low, you can only go up from there! Last night it happened to be Costco cheese tortellini + ground beef sautéed with red wine/garlic/chicken bouillon + blistered tomatoes + scallions + parm. I always sprinkle my pasta with crushed red pepper and salt because I want to, that’s why. It was good, it was satiating , it did the trick. Fast forward to today where time has gotten away from me and I haven’t eaten since breakfast. Coping with my tiny-teething-tyrant ( I <3 alliteration) has been an all-consuming task today and the minute that I got a break I re-heated these leftovers. Wouldn’t ya know that as soon as I finished putting this meal together I was summoned to deal with a messy diaper. Such is #momlife! Luckily, this pasta was still warm today when I ate it, nay, thoroughly enjoyed it. This style of dish is so easy, so filling, and it’s a cinch to fit at least 3 or 4 food groups in there. No wonder I use this recipe equation at least twice per week!
I had a hankering for cake the other day. Much to my delight, I already had the necessary ingredients in my kitchen. We were sorely overdue for a grocery run when this craving hit so the fact that I had everything was serendipitous to say the least. [score 5 points for using ‘serendipitous’, my favorite word of all time!] I did my usual Pin-head* searches for simple, old fashioned cake recipes and found this one. It worked like a charm. I searched separately for a cream cheese frosting and this is what I found…also worked like a charm. Bada bing, bada boom! A cake was born. In the process of making this cake I realized that I’d really like to step up my decorating skills. I think it’s time to invest in some pastry bags and fancy tips and all that jazz. To put it ineloquently: I’d like to possess the ability to pull a delicious, moist and beautifully decorated cake out of my ass; anytime, anywhere.Yes, folks – – – my idea of talent!
*Pin-head – an avid/obsessive Pinterest user; to the point of insanity.
On Sunday we took a leisurely walk from JLS —> Chinatown —> Uptown and decided to grab a bite to eat at Duende. The walk itself was fun but unremarkable; we go on walks as a family all the time. However, the fact that we had such a lovely dining experience at the restaurant meant a lot to Holly and I. Namely because we had our 5 month old with us and we were still able to fully enjoy, relax and appreciate our eats + drinks. These days, we find ourselves eating standing up, eating hastily, eating food after it’s gone cold, etc. This happens more often than not and it comes with the territory of having a little one… so for a minute there we hit the pause button on going out to eat at the schmancy joints. Plus, we reeeaallyyy don’t ever want to be “those people” with the unruly child that disturbs the rest of the paying customers. Being that our family livelihood is rooted in the food + bev industry it’s supes important that we conduct ourselves in a certain way while in public places. JJ is still just a baby but he’ll learn this as he gets older. For now though, he’s pretty mild-mannered and it really showed when we went to Duende. He was mellow and chatty. He flirted with the manager that came over to say “hi.” He polished off a bottle, rested his head on Mamo’s chest and seemed generally unbothered by the organized chaos around us. We were so impressed. It felt great to be able to enjoy a glass of wine and some paella in peace. Go Juju! Keep up the good work!
Sorry for the picture quality on this one but this meal was a victory for me today, y’all! This morning I made a few batches of baby food for Jude and I mucked it up by using honey in the sweet potatoes instead of sugar. For babies under 1 year honey is a big no-no apparently. Whoopsie! I only added a tiny bit of honey and some coconut oil. It tastes delicious but he can’t have it. I hate to waste food, especially lovingly-prepared food so I thought I’d eat it myself for dinner. I consulted with Holly about what flavors go with sweet potatoes and she suggested chicken with herbs and lemon. Man, was she right on the nose! I roasted whole chicken legs in a mix of fresh herbs (basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary), scallions, lemon, butter + olive oil, salt and pepper. I placed the chicken over the warmed sweet potato purée and drizzled some of the pan drippings over top. I sprinkled on some cayenne for kick. Basting the chicken while it cooked really kept it moist. [sidenote: I actually like that word] The flavors worked together so very well. Even though I had to eat it standing up – mom style – it was still amazing. I’m so proud of this one, you guys. I’ll be repeating this one soon. Baby food + a protein = gourmet meal. Go figure!
Guess what, everybody?! My son tried solid food for the first time and he hated it! [insert cry-laughing emoji] Here he is tasting a purée of avocado and breastmilk, then promptly spitting it out. He’s also tried some squished peas and had the exact same reaction. Perhaps it’s just the green foods that he’s not super into yet? We’re going to try sweet potato next and see if that’s more his jam…appealing to his sweet tooth might be the way to go. Just look at his face! He’s clearly thinking “Seriously, Mamo? SERIOUSLY?” Ah. I love this kid.