Monday, April 28, 2008


I don't know about you, but when I don't have limes, I need a lime. Isn't that just the way it goes. And now that I have a 1 year old (child that is), I can't easily just run to the store anytime I need to. 

So, being the convenience-loving girl that I am, I wondered how they would hold up if tossed into the freezer?  This way I could have limes (and California tree ripened lemons) on hand always. Well, it turned out better than expected. The peel protects the inside from any freezer burn, and the freezing actually works in your favor, because the flesh breaks down ever so slightly, like frozen stuff does, making it much easier to retrieve the juice! 

All frosty, fresh out of the deep freeze.  I drop it into a bowl of warm water, and it takes about 15 minutes or less for a lime to completely thaw.

See- it's beautiful! And tastes no different from fresh. Someone pass me the Patron. 

FINAL NOTE:  The pith will also be "softened" after thaw, so be careful to discard that before juicing so you don't have bitter juice. I just cut the entire rind off, then squeeze the pulp over a cup, or the food. Zesting can be done before you cut off the rind. 

Friday, April 25, 2008


I was making lunch today and thought I'd do a post of this apple-chicken salad I like to make. It's easy to make, and so healthy- and I always feel great all day after eating it~ I have lots of energy, and it keeps me full all afternoon.

Basically, I make it for one (for me, for lunch). I toss a few chicken tenders in a pan, brown them, then let them cool. I chop one crunchy apple (Red Delicious or Fuji). To my apples I toss in some raisins, a few walnuts, a few cubes of cheese and 1 TBSP of mayonnaise. You can also add celery if you need more bulk. Add the chicken. Serve immediately. 

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Javiers's used to be in Laguna Beach. I had heard of it but never visited. My husband doesn't really like Mexican food, so it's just not something we seek out. Which is fine really, because although I love it, I really don't want to be 30 lbs overweight, so eating it only occasionally is best.

So, we walk in on a Sunday afternoon. It was PACKED.  They have an enormous waiting area, and it was still packed. These pics were just section shots of the bar, then then the "outside" bar area. Not an empty seat anywhere, and the overflow was in the hall, the bar, and outside. It was a beautiful day- about 78 degrees- so no big. Our wait was around 45 min. 

And it's funny, because this was THE most typical "Orange County~ Newport" place you could ever go to... everyone was all Botoxed up and had fish lips and fake boobs. Super plastic. Bleached hair (not that there's anything wrong with bleached hair, ah em...) and it is always just comical to me. I like to laugh at these people. I mean, I live here, so I see it often, but it's still funny. Designer bags and short skirts on women that weight 98 lbs and who are constantly applying lip gloss. Made me wonder what the hell it was exactly that they are eating there? Because I really didn't see too much on the menu that was light, if you know what I mean. 

So here is part of one of their dining rooms (below). The place is gigantic.

This drink was really good. But I have no idea what it was. I saw someone else drinking it and was drawn to the pink color so Alberto brought me one. I asked him a few times what was IN it, but we couldn't understand a word he was saying, so I never did find out exactly what it was. Argh. 

My shot of this- the Carnitas- wasn't good. Sorry. I know better, there is no excuse. It tasted amazing though! 

Mexican white shrimp sauteed in garlic butter. I still get dizzy thinking about it. So freaking good! 

This is just a ceiling shot to share with everyone the GINORMOUS fans on the ceiling. Is it just me, or are those like the biggest ceiling fans you've ever seen? 

SO...... we'll definitely be going back. So I may end up 30 lbs overweight after all. I definitely see why the place was so crowded. It's a really cool place, and the food is amazing. Expensive - the most expensive Mexican place I've ever seen - but someone has to pay the bill to keep those fans going. 

Monday, April 14, 2008


The weather has been amazing here in California (93 yesterday), so I've been starting to grill more on the outdoor BBQ because everyone else is doing it so the neighborhood is just filled with beautiful aromas of steak and burgers and chicken and it's pretty hard to resist! 

With the rich and often fatty meats, I like to try and just make something refreshing to go along with... I call it a neutralizer. So I'm at the store yesterday and I see the jicama. I remember a slaw I had once at Tommy Bahamas... so I'm inspired to make my own version which is a cross between a slaw and a salsa. It's crunchy and refreshing and goes amazing with fatty pork or anything with bbq sauce.

For the fresh slaw:

~ 1.5 C shredded cabbage
~ 1.5 C chopped Jicama
~ 1 Lime (I store my limes in the freezer so I always have them on hand for juice)
~ .5 C chopped Cilantro
~ 1 tsp grated Ginger (I put ginger in the freezer and it makes it a cinch to grate anytime I need just a little)
~ 1 TBSP Simple Syrup (or 1 tsp sugar)
~ Salt & Pepper

For those who have never had jicama, it's sort of like a really crispy pear, but it tastes like a cross between a potato and a radish (only it's not spicy at all like radishes are). It's really good in salads and as a crunch ingredient in things like salsa or tuna salad. 

Chop the jicama and the cabbage roughly the same size - mix all ingredients together, and after tasting you can add just a teensy bit of salt and pepper if you think it needs it, but making this "salty" will ruin it both in taste, as well is in texture (it will become soggy). I have also added a small dollup of mayonnaise before, but I personally prefer it without.  If your lime is really juicy, you might need a tad more syrup/sugar to cut the tart. 

Friday, April 11, 2008


I love Jägermeister. LOVE it. 

The more you have it, the more you want it too. It's creepy addictive. I think it may be like cigarettes- there is a "secret ingredient" that they don't tell you about that makes you an addict against your will.  

Oh, I exaggerate - I'm not addicted, but I sure do like it! And it's always on my shopping list, right up there with onions. Hmmm. Maybe I am addicted?

What the hell is in this stuff anyway?? 56 herbs, roots, barks, fruits and woods from all over the world, that's what. Fifty six. And the process to make it involves lots of grinding, and mixing and macerating - then a year of storage in oak barrels... then more mixing. And exactly what's in it is all a closely guarded secret of course. You can mix it with stuff, but I prefer it up, over ice.

Happy Friday everyone. Cheers!

Saturday, April 5, 2008


I'm not even going to pretend that I'm a grill master, because I'm SO not. I put stuff on the grill, when it's no longer raw, we eat it. Aside from the usual "grilled" flavor (which isn't much because I have a gas grill) the food isn't all that much better than if I'd cooked it in the house. 

With the exception of pork.

Why is it - for those of you who are into the whole grilling thing - that pork comes out a thousand times better when done on the grill? Is it that the oven is a dry heat and the grill is just plain 'ol fire, so it locks in the juices? I'm sure all meat comes out better, but with lean pork the difference is just amazing. This piece of pork roast was about 98% lean. As dry as dry gets. I fired up the grill, seared both sides (total time on the grill was about 50 min) then I pulled it off and just let it sit on the counter covered with foil to finish cooking. As you can see, it was super juicy and just DELISH!  I've roasted like this in the oven, and it is just not the same. Pork comes out like a piece of wood.   

Side dish~ Toasted Basmati rice. Toast the rice in a dry pan for a minute before cooking and it gives it a really nice depth of flavor. Don't let it get any darker than this though. If you let it go to far it will damage the grain and then the rice will have a different texture - almost like instant rice. Ew.

Friday, April 4, 2008


One of my favorite things about authentic ethnic foods is their simplicity. Sure, there are plenty of complicated dishes - hello, mole! But at the same time, the more common everyday foods are just a few fresh ingredients put together to make fantastic eats. Some of my favorites are the grilled Japanese foods~ it doesn't get any more simple than that. Or, fresh Tabouleh. Cuban dishes like fried pork and black beans. Guacamole. The French and their eggs; Poached. Fried. Omelettes. Crepes. 

So today, when wondering what to have for breakfast, I found myself looking at some leftover bread from yesterday and a carton of fresh eggs and I thought, keep it simple. A pat of butter on the bread, pop it under the broiler for a minute or two. Poach the eggs, and garnish with flakey sea salt and fresh ground pepper. It was, perfect.  And had I had a glass of rose' as well, I would have swore I was back in Paris. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Not many things beat a good mac & cheese in my book!  This was as good as it looks.

I have a lot of favorite places in Portland, but Jo Bar has always been in the top 10. Their drinks are fantastic, and they make all their food in a brick oven, which just makes everything so darn tasty! It's not super-fancy, but it's definitely stylish. Just a comfortable place with good food and drinks. 

My all  time favorite dish was their free range roasted chicken, and it was served very simply - over baby greens and the "dressing" was the drippings from the moist and flavorful chicken. Sigh. I didn't see it on the menu this time however, so we opted for a few other choices. Try something new. 

This was the fondue. Can't complain, it was great. I also got the mac & cheese though (seen above) and I think it was the same cheese "sauce" so it was a little like having 2 versions of the same thing. Good thing I like cheese.  That mac & cheese also had mushrooms in it by the way, which really added another depth of richness to the already over-the-top yum factor.

This was the Cuban sandwich my brother got. How GOOD does that look! I think it was probably the best thing on the table that day. Tender pork with enough fat to make it deadly delicious, a wee bit of cheese, some hot peppers and toasted french bread. 

Theo's seafood plate. I didn't get too good of a look at this, because the portion was so small that Theo scarfed it within no time. He said it was good though. Just not nearly enough of it. Come on Jo Bar, clams aren't that expensive. You need to beef up this portion a bit.  (UPDATE: Theo informed me that this was off the Happy Hour menu so it was only like $3. In that case - the portion size was more than acceptable.)  

They display art on their walls, and if I'm not mistaken, I think it's for sale. If you see something you can't live without, like this ..... whatever it is ..... maybe you can own it!