Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Vegan-omics

There's this amazing vegan restaurant in San Diego that I became addicted to in law school. Kung Food. They had the best wraps and fresh juices.


Even now that I'm miles away and the restaurant has been shut down by greedy corporate types, I still have cravings.....and when I do I have to make tofu burritos. Once again, my good natured husband who eats just about anything (but tomatoes) humors my indulgences. (Of course, he's a Kung Food fan too, so that helps). I had left over tofu from dinner earlier this week, so tonight when I got home and wanted something quick and easy tofu burritos sounded JUST right.


Tofu Burrito
Ingredients
2 flour tortillas
salsa
1/4 cup chopped red onions
1/2 cup brown rice cooked with cumin and chipoltle chili pepper
lightly fried firm tofu, cut into strips
cheddar cheese
1 bell pepper cut into strips and grilled

Directions
Divide ingredients between the tortillas and roll. Told you it was quick and easy.



In other news, we are now thankfully done with Con Law review. And yes, it was taught by Cherminsky, which only goes to show he did not get better with age. AND it might be wise for Barbri to invest in new lecturers since it appears he was the lecturer 100 years ago when Sharon took Barbri. I also am getting more and more confident in my abilities since these were the comments I overheard today in class:
1) I don't understand it - I haven't gotten a single multiple choice question right! (WOAH, really? Cause if you completely guessed you have a 1/4 chance for each question.......unless you're trying to get them all wrong - which isn't the point of this test.)
2) I'm soooooo far behind in the assignments! (note to self: we've now been in class for 1 full week...well, minus Memorial day, so that's 5 classes.....and 8 days to do the assignments......hmmmmm maybe some of you need to stop picking your nose and start doing the work. Or not. I mean, after all, if you all fail, there's a better chance I'll pass.)
3) Once I start studying it takes me like an hour to focus! (CURSE YOU MTV!)
- so I'm thinking I might do well on this thing after all!

AND, just a side note - saw Pirates this weekend. Loved the plot, Adored the music, hated the ending (okay part of the ending). I don't need a happy ending if it doesn't fit with the movie (See My Best Friend's Wedding), but if it fits? Give me a happy ending every time! Aaaaaarrrrggghhhhh

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Why hello there pointy pencil!

Barbri has taken a turn for the worse. A gouge-your-eye-out turn for the worse. Torts wasn't so bad, in fact, it was almost enjoyable. Okay - so I'm beginning to find out that its not the subject, its the lecturer. Torts was bad, but the Torts lecturer? Hysterical. Laugh your butt off funny. Told us not to quit using drugs while we were studying for the bar. But Con Law? I think they dug up a dead guy to do the lecture. The man is Ichabod-Crane stiff, with a sense of humor of a corpse. But what's worse? He thinks he's a stand up comic. So we were subject to these zingers all day long. "The state increased the taxes on dairy farms - seems like they were trying to milk some extra money from them." Yeah....a bunch of people left after the first break. They'd rather fail the bar than be subject to this guy. And we have another day of him. Oh joy.

The good news? I rock at Con Law. No really, I'm expecting a letter from Sacramento in November telling me they have never had someone score so exceptionally on the test before.

The other good news? I ran outside again today - and no sprained ankles! I've really been freaking out about running outside since I seem to attract sprains like magnets. But I did it! And it is soooo much better than the gym. I've really missed that.

Its definitely spring. Looking over my past posts there's a lot of "green" going on. Between the fresh basil pizza, mint and zucchini soup, and sage margarita I'm beginning to feel a bit like Kermit! There's nothing like fresh herbs to make you feel like spring. And everyone's heard of May flowers right? So Jon and I went to look at them. I spent half the day yesterday studying, and then Jon and I went to Sherman Gardens. Its so beautiful - they have a great rose garden, cactus garden, orchid garden, and a special section of smell good plants (I'm sure that's the technical term). They even had a koi pond with 3 foot koi!!!!

Seriously, tell me this thing isn't beautiful (whatever it is). And for those of you who are cheap like me, Mondays there are free.

Tonight for dinner I adapted an appetizer recipe and turned it into a great dinner. Jon looooooved it. Well, he would have liked it better if I hadn't served it with tomatoes (Jon hates tomatoes) but you know what? The plate needed some red, so sucks to be him. The original recipe is for chunks of chicken topped with goat cheese and wrapped in prosciutto, served on skewers. We eat a lot of chicken, and I'm always looking for new recipes so I thought this might work well with chicken breasts. I baked the chicken breasts, and then topped with the goat cheese and spinach leaves before wrapping it in prosciutto. I served it with fresh sliced tomatoes topped with an easy cream sauce and some hunks of bread.

Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken with Goat Cheese
Ingredients:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast
salt
pepper
4 slices prosciutto
2 oz. goat cheese, at room temperature
6 spinach leaves, cleaned

Directions:
1) Heat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheets with foil. Lightly spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.
2) Season chicken with salt and pepper. Place chicken on baking sheet. Bake chicken 20 minutes, or until cooked through.
3) Spread 1 oz goat cheese over each piece of chicken. Place 3 spinach leaves over cheese, then wrap in prosciutto.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Wasted Away Again in Margaritaville


I did it! I graduated! Got the diploma and everything! The graduation went as well as graduations can go. I mean it was long and boring, but I got the degree and that's all that matters - right?

After the graduation the real celebration began. We went to lunch at Casa de Pico. I love Casa de Pico. Ever since my first time in San Diego when Des suggested we "get margaritas." I should tell you that one of the things I love about Des is her love of chips, salsa, guac, and margaritas. We're soul mates. The original Casa de Pico moved from Old Town to Grossmont Plaza, but it is worth the drive. And we didn't have to deal with any other graduation parties.

This was my first margarita. Do you see the size of that thing? Look at the size of my head, now look at the glass, now back at my head.....are you getting the correlation? I got a medium because I was too embarrassed to order the large. Its seriously large enough for 4 people.

Now, those of you that know my from college know I can hold my liquor. Unfortunately you will all be very disappointed to learn I can no longer pass the Zach test after 2 drinks. Those of you who know me now know what I'm talking about. I am a COMPLETE lightweight/cheap date/drunk. In fact after that one margarita, I was having trouble holding a conversation with my niece. But did that stop me? No way! I'm learning Spanish and "Uno mas margarita por favor" is high on my knowledge list. But don't worry, I had a small.

Then it was off to Alexa's. Alexa's roommate from 1L year was Jamie, who apparently makes the world's greatest Sage Margaritas. What's that? Did I hear Margarita???? Yes Please! They were delicious! So I stole the recipe of course, but I think I'm going to tweak it a bit, since I'm more of a grand marnier girl than a triple sec girl. And maybe play with some other herbs. What can I say? I'm inspired. Now pass the salt and the lime!

Jamie's Sage Margaritas
Ingredients

Sage
Triple Sec
Tequila
Margarita Mix (she used premixed, but you can also make your own with a 3-2 ratio of Sweet and Sour and triple sec)

Directions
1) Muddle Sage until it is throughly muddled (basically you want all the sage goodness to come out of the leaves)
2) Add a 3-2 ratio of margarita mix to tequila
3) Add 1 oz of triple sec for as many servings as you are making

Thursday, May 24, 2007

B.D.E.

My friends and I have this great habit of abbreviating things (IDK, my BFF Jill? - okay, maybe its not that bad) But we do have B._.E.'s (Best ___ Ever). This applies to B.P.E.s (Best Post Evers) B.Q.Es (Best Quote Evers) and now B.D.Es (Best Dip Ever).

This dip is truly the B.D.E., or at least the B.C.D.E. (Best Cold Dip Ever - nothing could compare with hot spinach artichoke dip, right?) I think it might be the lemon juice which cuts the creaminess....of course I could be making that up. I've been pairing it with Broccoli Rabe (brain food) but it would work equally well with other veggies, chips, or even honking pieces of bread. I think it will become my new party staple....that is, in August... when I'm allowed to party.

Best Dip Ever
Ingredients:
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonaise
1 Tbsp fresh minced tarragon
1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
salt
pepper

Directions:
Combine all ingredients and chill

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Everything I touch turns to gold

I did it! I completed my first day of Barbri. Now, between you and me I was hella nervous - I had trouble sleeping last night. I was so afraid I'd get there and everyone would be smarter/more prepared/better looking than me. I also harbored a fear that I would be the only one there (I don't know which is scarier - being with smarter/better prepared/prettier people or being alone with myself).

BUT it was easy! They lull you into a false sense of security by cutting the class in half (we got out 2 hours early) and assigning minimal work to do the first evening. But believe me, I feel as though I'm at the peak of a mountain, and its allllll downhill from here. Jon had convinced me to take a day off a week from any sort of review, but looking at the schedule they gave me I don't see how that would be possible without putting myself horribly behind and failing the penultimate test of my brilliance. We'll see how things go.

As for the cooking half of this entry, well lets just say some of us are getting pasta in meat sauce tonight and I don't have any sort of "recipe" I use short of "Meat gets cooked first, then veggies, then tomatoes" so I will entertain you with the dinner I made Saturday night because its far more "fun."

Saturday the in-laws went to a wedding and Jon and I got our only dinner together this week for just the two of us, so I went all out. Okay, not really, but I did step it up a notch. Since we spent all day at the beach we were looking for something cool and refreshing for dinner, so I started us out with a chilled soup. Now Jon was really looking forward to this, even though he hadn't had a good experience with cold soup, and frankly I'd never had an experience at all. I mean who eats COLD soup? Isn't the point of soup to warm you up on a cold winter night? This one sounded appealing though because in addition to being cold, it included mint - perfect after a day at the beach. Kinda like a mojito, right? The soup was incredibly easy to make and we both really enjoyed it. Jon enjoyed it so much he told me I should start "cooking for emotions" but when I asked which emotion this covered he was at a loss for words. He tried again.
"No, I mean, cooking foods that make you feel a certain way. For instance, this soup is great if you want to feel refreshed." I guess that means he liked it (if you don't know by now, I am married to one of the world's greatest men who loves everything I make, well everything but lamb and pancakes, but that's a story for another time).

And now we come to the title of this post. I honestly believe it - as least as far as the kitchen is concerned. Heaven help you if you let me near a sewing machine and a pair of pinking shears. But really, I can never seem to mess up in the kitchen. To follow the pizza from Friday night, I had planned to serve homemade sorbet. I mean, how hard can it be right? Pour some stuff into the ice cream maker, plug it in, and VOILA, dessert. Alas, I am terrible naive. I read the instructions for the ice cream maker ("Have on hand 4 trays of ice cubes, a box of salt, and 2 cups of water") Aha! I thought, I can do one better, I have 6 trays of ice cubes! I pour the ingredients into the canister and plug the sucker in. )Okay, quick now, layer the ice cubes and the salt........)It didn't take long before I realized I didn't have near enough ice cubes (4 trays???? 4 trays???? Who are these people kidding? Or perhaps this is an inside joke and the ice cream maker people are giddy with delight at the fact they have snared another unsuspecting fool.) But what was a girl to do? (I'm sure this will be fine, it'll freeze!) An hour later I notice I now have no ice, merely a vessel filled with cold lemon water surrounded by equally cold regular water. I try to think quickly and decide to throw the whole thing in the freezer. It is not till much later that night I begin to get the cold sweats thinking about how in the morning I will have a gigantic cube of lemon ice and we will have to pass around the container, each taking a lick.


As the post title may indicate, this was not the case. I opened the freezer in the morning to find perfectly formed lemon sorbet. As though it was all part of my master plan. Jon and I greedily shoveled our dessert into our mouths as Jon went back for seconds. I didn't realize how greedily Jon was shoveling until the next day when I went to get it for the kids, only to discover it was over half gone and there would only be enough for the kids and one adult portion. Brother-in-law won the roe-sham-boe and got the adult portion, which he was thrilled to rub in everyone's face, cautioning sister-in-law from finishing his last spoonful.


Chilled Zucchini Mint Soup
Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs zucchini, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 bunch mint
1- oz plain nonfat yogurt
salt and pepper

Directions:

1)Steam zucchini and mint about 15 minutes. Let cool. Discard mint.
2) Puree zucchini in food processor until smooth. Pour into large bowl.
3) Stir in yogurt. Season with salt and pepper.
4) Garnish with mint sprigs.



Lemon Sorbet
Ingredients:

2 Tspn lemon zest
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 cups water

Directions:

1) Stir all ingredients together until sugar dissolves.
2a) Recipe says: place in ice cream maker and freeze according to directions.
2b) Kate says: Place in ice cream maker for an hour - sorbet will not be frozen. Curse for a bit.
3) Remove sorbet to freezer safe container. Freeze for a few hours/overnight.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Entertaining the Troops



I am the luckiest girl in the world. Know why? As soon as I finished my last final I got the amazing task of getting our place ready for the in-laws. I know, I know you would all LOVE to trade places with me. Especially those of you who have been to our darling little apartment and been banned from the guest room area which had never been unpacked/cleaned since I moved in. Basically it had turned into a place where we threw things. Opening the door itself was quite an ordeal, and now we were going to have people sleeping there???????







I cleaned, swept, vacuumed, mopped, shined, unpacked, and killed anything living or growing that got in my way and after 2 1/2 days the place was spotless. Really, the Queen could have come over and been impressed. And that my friends was the easy part, because now that the place was presentable I had to feed the circus that was coming to town, Brother-in-law, Sister-in-law, and their two children.


Cooking for children is a little trickier than your average adult. Your average adult will nod politely and mmmm and ahhhh over food as the discretely push it to the edges of the plate, or a napkin, or a nearby ficus. Children on the other hand, have no problem telling you flat out "I don't like this." So I put on my thinking cap and came up with..........Barbeque Pork? Jon quickly jumped in to the rescue and suggested pizza. He's a genius, no really, he is. Pizza would be perfect! Kids love it and they can even help make it, and I'd make something that even the adults would enjoy and since we're kinda healthy eaters, I wanted to ensure it wasn't going to light.


This is probably a good time to introduce one of my all time favorite Kitchen Friends, my "All New Complete Cooking Light Cookbook." She has never failed me, and she didn't this time either. My neice and I made the Quick Pizza Margherita with fresh pizza dough from Trader Joes. The verdict? The kids loooooved it. My neice thought it was great even though she doesn't like tomatoes, although she did say the crust was her favorite part. Her brother tried to put an entire slice in his mouth at once. Brother-in-law and Sister-in-law were equally impressed, and Jon? Well Jon helped himself to 6 slices. A success!!!!!



Cooking Light's Quick Pizza Margherita

Ingredients:

2 packages pizza dough (the recipe calls for refrigerated crusts, but I like fresh dough better)

2 tspns EVOO

1 garlic clove, halved

8 plum tomatoes, sliced thin

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

2 tspn basalmic vinegar

1 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

salt pepper

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400

2. Roll out dough onto 2 baking sheets covered with cooking spray. Pat each into a 13x11 inch rectangle. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove crusts from oven and brush with 1/2 tspn oil and rub with cut side of garlic. (baking the dough before topping it keeps the crust crisp)

3. Arrange tomato slices on crusts leaving 1/2 inch border. Sprinkle evenly with cheese. Bake for 12 minutes or until cheese melts and crust is golden.

4. Combine 1 tspn oil and vinegar, stirring with a whisk. Sprinkle pizzas evenly with sliced basil, salt, and pepper. Drizzle vinegar mixture evenly over pizza. Cut each pizza into 8 rectangles.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Turning Over a New Leaf

I know I know I know. I suck. I don't write, I don't call, you and mom are always worried about me. Well folks, its about to get worse. I am about to descend into Dante's Seventh Level of Hell, otherwise known as studying for the bar. For most of you this means I will become that fleeting memory of "that girl you used to know." (For some of you I'm already there). BUT you are in luck, because in order to retain my sanity, Jon has magnanimously agreed to let me keep cooking this summer. (Perhaps not so magnanimously though because he definitely benefits from the end result......)

And well, Desiree has done me a complete disservice by recommending I read Julie and Julia, which if you haven't read is stupendous. I felt an immediate connection to the main character:
1) She loves Buffy (I KNOW right?)
2) She wanted to be an actress, but that didn't pan out exactly for her
3) She cooks
4) She has the world's sweetest husband.
I mean we're practically the same person right?? Well between that and my "What's Cooking" Nest board obsession (and if you don't know about this, you're probably better off, because you probably already think I'm crazy and don't need any more evidence) I decided I really want to do a food blog. (Oh no, here comes a list again)
1) I'm going to be cooking anyway
2) Pretty much its the only contact I'll be having with the outside world so you can keep track of me and make sure I haven't gouged my eyes out with my shiny #2 pencils (which by the way I must pick up)
3) It'll be an amazing stress release for me to vent on how things are going with the bar, but also to share some of my hard work with someone other than Jon....

So stay tuned. Tomorrow I'll fill you in on all the cooking I did for the inlaws this weekend.