Friday, August 31, 2012

Flash Noodle Bowl - serves 4

Summer has been fun, crazy and gone in a flash.  The latter part of the previous sentence has basically been my husband, who after Memorial Day, finally decided that all my nagging would likely stop if he would just start working out and eating better.  After being together for nearly 20 years, the nagging has paid off.  Not only did he start eating better, he has become Mr. Extreme Makeover of the neighborhood.  He's also managed to beat records at Crossfit.  He is a machine.  He drinks protein shakes in the morning (no more 7-11 tacos), packs his own lunch (no more Home Depot Hot Dogs) and drinks a trough of water everyday (no more liters of Diet Coke, kegs of beer or barrels of wine).  He's even cut down on the coffee (down from 8 cups a day with 3 heaping tbs of turbinado sugar) to 2 cups/1 regular spoon full of turbinado and, no more raiding refrigerators after all have gone to sleep (no more pints of ice cream or Debbie Snack Cakes).  Now, he leaves apple cores all over the house.  He came in this morning as I was dressing for the day, eyes all "hey, honey, we still have some time before the kids get up" (like 1 minute before) then tells me that he's 1 pound off his 30 pound goal.  30 POUNDS.  Crazy, gone in a flash, all of my husband's terrible habits (well, that might be pushing it, but I'll take what I can get).  He's that fit, spunky man I married way back when and I have him back.  Healthy and all.  And no, we didn't have time.

Ingredients (inspired by Cooking Light)

4 shiitake mushroom
1 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
4 teaspoons lower-sodium soy sauce 
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 garlic cloves, crushed 
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, sliced 
1 serrano chile, thinly sliced 
1 quart water 
2 cups buckwheat noodles, cooked to package direction 
1 pound chicken cutlets 
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds 
2 teaspoons sesame oil
4 baby bok choy, cut in half lengthwise 
1/2 cup (1/4-inch-thick) slices red bell pepper
1 lime, cut into 8 wedges


Remove mushroom stems. Thinly slice caps; set caps aside. Bring stems, broth, and next 6 ingredients to a boil in a saucepan. Remove pan from heat. Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Sprinkle chicken with black pepper. Place seeds in a dish. Press seeds into both sides of chicken. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan. Add bok choy, cut sides down; cook 3 minutes or until browned. Add reserved mushroom slices and bell pepper. Strain broth mixture through a sieve into pan; cover and cook 2 minutes. Remove vegetables with a slotted spoon.Thinly slice chicken. Place 1/2 cup noodles, about 1/4 cup vegetables, and 4 ounces chicken into 4 shallow bowls. Spoon 1/4 cup broth mixture over each. Garnish each with two lime wedges.

Friday, August 3, 2012

My "Sick" California Vacation Pasta with Salmon - serves 4

Oh how I love California.  Not sure what makes it so wonderful.... hmmmm, maybe the scenery, the hills, the insanely blue skies, the amazing, makes me realize, "how I hate Texas heat" weather, no mosquito's, no humidity, wearing a sweater in July, 60 degree morning runs, the beaches, Irish coffee, eating crab for breakfast, having dinner every night with family and friends or, most of all, hanging with some of the best cousins on the planet.  Mostly my first cousin because in both of our busy worlds, we oddly enough try to take a deep breath and play catch-up with each other every summer.  For me, it's like eating a truffle.  I rarely get to eat them and when I do, it's intoxicating to the last bite.  That's like my time with my cousin.  We rarely get to see each other and when we do, I savor every minute of it. And each year, we say goodbye wondering when the next time will be.  Our trips to San Fransisco are not only fun, but full, joyously full, of good, family fun.  Hanging out with high school girls and getting acting lessons from another, all the while getting in our "ready position" for an evening of badminton. And what a better way to watch the Olympics until midnight, outside, fire burning, all snuggled up cheering for Team USA.  It's a vacation made in heaven and in return, cook to my hearts content all the while sipping wine with my closest friend as the the smaller cousins run about outside, in 75 degree weather, knowing that possibly, quite possibly, they too can have the same kind of relationship with each other as I do with mine.


Corn pasta or regular pasta, cooked to package instructions, saving 1/2 cup of pasta water
1 pound Atlantic salmon, skin removed (have butcher remove pin bones as well)
2 zucchini, shaved (shave with potato peeler)
1 pint tomatoes, halved
(combine the next 4 ingredients together, mixing well to combine)
3 tbs finely chopped oregano
5 tbs garlic, minced
1 tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp Kosher salt 
Additional olive oil for drizzling
Kosher salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 375.  Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with Pam.   Arrange salmon on backing sheet and season with salt and pepper.  Place in oven and bake for about 10 - 12 minutes or until center is cooked through.  Meanwhile, heat large pan with olive oil.  Add tomatoes and shaved zucchini, tossing to coat.  Saute for about 3 minutes then add oregano/garlic mixture to pan. Add reserved pasta water, toss to coat and saute for an additional 3-4 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Remove salmon from oven.  Chop salmon and set aside.  In a large serving bowl, add pasta, vegetables and chopped salmon.  Mix well incorporating all ingredients.  Add more salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately with a drizzle of olive oil.