Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Windansea Sunday

We decided to take in the beach on Sunday afternoon. We got up early and pulled out our old kitchen faucet then made the trip up to Home Depot to get a new one and all the paraphenila needed to replace it. Chris did an amazing job, it really needed to be replaced. We figured after all that work, we deserved a relaxing stroll on the beach. We parked near where we had our wedding, and walked south on the beach. We had never been down that way, and it was beautiful. The sand was so soft and white, like sugar. You couldn't get anywhere quickly, because you kind of sunk in with each step, but it was gorgeous.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Morning Light

Some call it "May Gray"...
And next month they will say it's "June Gloom"...
But this morning it was just beautiful.
There is something so peaceful when it's gray outside. It's kind of the antithesis of what you think of when you think of Southern California. It's a nice break after our hot weekend last weekend. It was sunny and windy later today- but the morning was just fantastic.

PS: It's something other than cooking too! ;)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Did this become a cooking blog?

So, I have been meaning to try to post about something other than cooking. It's probably the one constant thing that I try to do even when I am busy at work. Chris and I went down to La Jolla on Sunday night for a stroll because the weather was just sooo hot and our house was not going to cool down until the sun went down. Even after that it was pretty steamy. Unfortunately, I didn't take my camera. I was totally bummed, because there were some amazing waves. Everytime we go down there, we are just so impressed by how beautiful it is there and how much we love being on the coast in La Jolla. So pretty.

So even though I don't have pictures of that, I do have some pictures of a yummy chicken dish that I made a few weeks ago. We had this on a Friday night, after a long week of work. It was really good, I served it with a big pot of steamed broccolini and a salad. Click on the link to see Tyler Florence's recipe. Hope you enjoy it too!

Monday, May 12, 2008


So, you all know that I love to make pizza at home. Well, it never occurred to me that even though I make the crust from scratch, I should try to make the sauce from scratch too. I think there is something daunting about the thought of peeling endless tomatoes to make fresh tomato sauce. I also have never been a big "red sauce" person, but I do like pizza sauce because it ususally tastes lighter to me. Well, as with many things- if you think you don't like something, you should try making it yourself. You will probably tweak it in just the right ways that you will realize what you've been missing all along.

So the sauce is actually really easy to make. I grabbed a big package of tomatoes at costco. You probably need about 4 roma tomatoes or about 6 small tomatoes on the vine. I've made this with both- the roma are probably the perfect tomato for this, but if you don't like a chunky sauce, you will have to blend it before you use it. The smaller ones just disintegrated into gorgeous yummy sauce. (More tomatoes to peel, but honestly, this part is sooo much easier than you'd think!) Fill your pot with water deep enough to submerge the tomatoes and bring it to a boil. Then drop them in and boil for only one minute. Strain and return the pot over the medium flame until dry, then add a couple tablespoons of olive oil. (Extra Virgin Olive Oil, of course!) Crush two cloves of garlic into the oil using a garlic press and sautee lightly, don't let the garlic brown. Then add 1/2 tsp (or more or less, depending how much spice you enjoy) of red pepper flakes. Take a look at your red pepper flakes- if they are not a bright red color, toss them and grab a new package at the store. They have lost their kick unless they are bright red in color. While the garlic sautees, quickly peel the tomatoes. I wrapped them in a paper towel and just twisted with my fingers a bit, and the peel came right off. Sometimes the roma tomatoes required a little slit in the skin, but then the peels come right off. Add the peeled tomatoes to the pot with a splash or two of white wine and bring simmer for about 30 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, break up the tomatoes as they cook. They will break down further as you simmer. Use a store bought crust or make your own- it is really very simple. (recipe to come)
Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle with a little kosher salt before spreading the dough on top. You can sprinkle with cornmeal if you like, but I don't like the texture of that on my pizza so I avoid it. If your oven is hot enough, you don't need it. Heat the oven to at least 415 degrees, some people say as high as it will go. I usually don't go past 435, but I am always a wimp when it comes to oven temperatures. I hate burning things. Cook on the lowest rack for about 15 minutes. If you like, broil for the last 2 minutes to brown the top of the cheese. (This might happen automaticallly if you use a higher setting to begin with, but I haven't tried it.) Once you have the consistency of the sauce you want, pour it over the prepared pizza dough.Add some cheese- this was fantastic fresh mozzerella that I also got at costco. They have a lot of surprising things when you look past your staples. The buffalo mozzerella was definitely the better choice for this recipe. When it melts it just gets ooey-gooey as opposed to chewy. I tore these pieces up, but if you want an authentic look, use the circles whole and your pizza will just have spots of cheese. Sprinkle with a little fresh grated parmesan also. If you are using toppings, place them on top of the cheese. They will cook more this way and be more tasty.

Try to let it cool a little before eating it. This is the hardest step, but burning the roof of your mouth really ruins the experience! Thank you to smitten kitchen for the above recipes (which I modified only slightly) and giving me the courage to try making my own sauce. I am so happy that I did!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Mike and Juli

I wanted to let you know that the photos from Mike and Juli's wedding are up, here is a link to them. http://www.mikeandjuli.com/ Thanks to Mike and Juli for sharing their beautiful flowers with us after the wedding. We really enjoyed them!

Also, Chris' good friend Ornob Roy got engaged last m0nth to his girlfriend in Paris. Congrats to him and what a fantastic place to propose!

Hoping that this Friday brings you time to relax and spend some time with your mom... We wanted to tell all of our moms and grandmas that we love you and wish we could be spending the weekend with all of you!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Shared weekend

We had an awesome weekend. Chris' family was in town for the weekend and stayed with us. I was a little worried about everyone feeling like they had enough room in our San Diego house, but it all worked out great. On Friday night, we all went to Phil's BBQ and had some amazing BBQ. Then we went down to Balboa park and wandered around the park a little bit. We checked out the rose garden, which I had never been to. (Or even really knew existed.) There were all sorts of roses, and they were almost all in full bloom. They were fragrant and beautiful. We also enjoyed trying to identify all the different flora around the park. It's such a special place in San Diego... I could go there many different times and always have a different experience there. We had all really wanted to check out the Pompeii exhibit, but it was too late to catch it, and before we knew it, the weekend flew by and we didn't get to see it. Hopefully we will all get to see it sometime soon.

On Saturday morning, we got up, had a continental breakfast, and took off to Costco to get new tires on Jennifer's car before the long trip back to Phoenix. They were super-nice and understood that she was in a rush being out of town, and took care of it really quickly. Then we were off to the races- the Red Bull Air Races, that is. It was really neat and there were a lot of folks in downtown at the Embarcadero for the event. The pilots flew in stunt planes through an obstacle course over San Diego bay at speeds around 230 mph. AMAZING. They supposedly were subject to 9 G-Force pressures, which would basically be 9 times the pressure of gravity on your body. The equation they gave us was if you weigh 200 pounds, it would be as if you weighed 1800 pounds. Unbelievable. After the races, we wandered around downtown a little bit, took in the ballpark, and headed back home. Once Chris finished with work, we all went to dinner at Fidel's in Solana Beach. It was soo good! I always love Fidel's, but it was especially good this Saturday night. I'm not sure if they just had their game faces on for Cinco de Mayo weekend, or what, but it was phenomenal. After that we relaxed at home and watched Into the Wild. Which I love... but it is a sad movie. Spoiler Alert: It's pretty profound, the crux of the movie is basically, that happiness is only real if it is shared. Which made me think about the weekend. We all had such a great time together, but really, the best part about it was that we were able to share our experiences with each other. Chris and I love all the parts of San Diego that we took everyone too, but they were even better for us over the weekend because we got to share them with others, special people in our lives. That was why the food tasted so good, the races were so cool, even the costco trip was fun! And it made the weekend what it was- Special and Shared. Perfect. Except for one small detail. I didn't take any pictures. Not a one! :( Oh, I am always so bummed when I realize we did all these things and yet, no photos. (If you didn't take a photo- did it really happen??) I tend to avoid taking them sometimes when I am really in the moment, because I worry that it will change the mood, but I always miss them and wish that I would have taken some afterwards. So that is the only thing that I would have changed about the weekend!

And by the way... Happy Cinco de Mayo! Hope you get to share it with someone you care about tonight!