Friday Favorites

Some food-related (mostly) things we enjoyed this past week:

Dan’s mom was in town last weekend, and we took her to Remington’s Seafood Grill for dinner Saturday night.  I had one of the chalkboard specials (don’t you love a place where they write the chalkboard specials with chalk on an actual chalkboard?) — soft shell crab.  It was amazing — delicately crispy on the outside with sweet, delicious crab meat inside.  It was the kind of dish that is so good that when you ask your dining companions if they want a bite, you secretly hope they say no.

We updated (and improved) this black bean recipe by adding a jalapeno and a little bacon, and transformed the leftovers into a dip with sour cream, garden-fresh tomato and avocado.

The movie “21 Jump Street” just came out on DVD.  If you like a silly “buddy” movie with pause-replay-scene-missed-it-laughing-too-hard dialogue and physical comedy, then you’ll probably like this film.  And keep an eye out for cameos by the actors from the original TV show (which, ironically, was a serious drama.)

We love a good tuna sashimi with crispy wontons dish, and this one from Malai Kitchen is one of the best we’ve tried.  Unfortunately, it’s not on their regular menu so we’re not sure what all was mixed in with the tuna (onion? tomato? cucumber?), but all of the ingredients complemented each other well and did not overpower the tuna.  Malai is a great restaurant with lots of good menu choices, but this off-menu, periodic special is one worth stalking.

Dan sweetly brought home a “just because” bouquet of mixed blooms recently, and these white flowers have lasted almost 2 weeks!  Not sure what they are — they look like some sort of rose hybrid — but they are long-lasting and low-maintenance.  All I’ve done to them is remove any wilted blooms and make sure they have water.  They’ll probably last another week or so.



Review: Chihuly Exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum

About a month ago (when you could still be outside for more than 2 minutes without breaking a sweat), Dan and I enjoyed a lovely evening at the Dallas Arboretum, strolling the immaculate gardens and admiring the spectacular sculptural glass works by famed artist Dale Chihuly.  If you’re in the Dallas area and you’ve never been to the Arboretum or seen any of Chihuly’s work, we highly recommend you attend the exhibit, which runs from now until November 5.  But you probably want to wait until temperatures cool down in September-ish.  Even though the exhibit is open in the evenings from 6:00 to 10:00 Tuesday through Thursday, temps don’t come down much during that time (it is 105 degrees as I type this at 5:20 p.m.)  The Arboretum opens at 9:00 a.m., so you might try going first thing in the morning, although we took Dan’s mom there last Saturday morning and it was still pretty steamy.  Weather aside, the exhibit is breathtaking (sometimes literally, as in trying to catch your breath in the heat), and absolutely worth a visit.  And here’s a link to more information about the artist if you’re interested.

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Friday Favorites

Some food-related (mostly) things we enjoyed this past week:

We took a little trip last weekend, guess where?  Nope, not Venice.  Vegas Baby!  It was everything that Vegas always is — indulgent, expensive, entertaining and exhausting.  We met up with some friends and had a wonderful time gambling, drinking, eating and otherwise enjoying the adult playground that is Sin City.  We also managed to come home with some money leftover, rather than donating all of it to the casinos.

Our favorite hotel in Vegas is the Palazzo — perfect location, big rooms, good service and great amenities.  We had an awesome view of the Strip and the mountains in the distance.

Back in the real world, we had a lovely Father’s Day dinner with my parents.  We attempted to cook our first “crop” of okra from our garden, but we left them on the plants too long.  We cut into one and it seemed very brittle.  Apparently you’re supposed to harvest them as soon as they get about 3-5 inches long or they become tough and woody.  Luckily, farmers know this and we had back-up okra from the grocery store.

There is something very satisfying about putting all your ingredients into the slow-cooker in the morning to transform into a delicious dinner that evening.  This recipe is one of our favorites.

The “Plah Lad Plik (Spicy Fish)” is Dan’s entree of choice at the Thai restaurant near our house.  It’s a whole red snapper deep fried with a sweet and red chili sauce.  The chef will remove the head upon request, but there is a little bit of very tender and sweet meat in the collar area that is worth a taste.  And if you’re going to eat a whole fish, you might as well leave the head on.




Shrimp Burgers

Sounds weird, tastes delicious.  Really!  If you like shrimp and want the texture of a hamburger without the red meat, these burgers are a tasty and more healthy alternative.  And they are a vast improvement over our attempt to make veggie burgers, which was a one-bite-so-bad-throw-away-and-order-pizza moment.  This burger recipe from Cook’s Illustrated’s “Light & Healthy 2012” magazine is also easy to make with simple ingredients:  1-2 slices white bread, 1 pound shrimp, 3 tablespoons light mayonnaise, 2 green onions, 2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley, 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, a pinch of cayenne pepper and 2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil.  Topped with creamy chipotle chile sauce and served on a toasted English muffin with lettuce and tomato, these shrimp burgers taste almost like a lighter version of a po’ boy, without the breading and frying, and satisfy a craving for protein in patty form.

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Friday Favorites

Some food-related (mostly) things we enjoyed this past week:

Dinner and a movie is one of our favorite date-nights.  Studio Movie Grill is our go-to theater and has good food and drinks.  Buy your tickets in advance and reserve your seats ahead of time.  (As an intellectual property lawyer, Dan was not fond of me taking a photo in the theater.  Obviously I did it anyway.)

Our local Kroger grocery store sells house-made tortillas.  These were still warm when I bought them.

This is one of our favorite salads.  We added thin slices of leftover pork for an amazing weeknight dinner.

Awesomely handy conversion chart for those of us not so good with the cooking or the math.  It’s also a magnet, and we keep it stuck to the side of our wine fridge.  I use it A LOT.

We love to travel, and the pre-flight glass of wine in the Admirals Club is a wonderful way to begin each journey.

Buttermilk Fried Game Hen

Birthdays just may be the ultimate special occasion.  The single day of the year with the sole purpose of celebrating your very existence.  Whether it’s a milestone entry into a new decade or simply the passage of another year, the day you came into the world is a cause for celebration.  And indulging in a favorite food — especially one you don’t allow yourself very often — is the perfect way to commemorate you.  This year for my birthday, Dan honored me with a rare treat — homemade buttermilk fried game hen.  He used the recipe found in Chef Thomas Keller’s beautiful book, “Ad Hoc at Home” (click the link for the book, then scroll down for the recipe.)  Not so coincidentally, Ad Hoc is one of our all-time favorite restaurants and the book, according to Chef Keller, is “a big collection of family meals and everyday staples, delicious approachable food, recipes that are doable at home.”  While the recipe is indeed quite doable at home, it is time-intensive and involves many steps.  Justifiably so, for a decadently delicious dish worthy of a birthday.

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