Tuna Nicoise Toast

What do other people eat when they’re on their own? Davis was out of town this week, and I found myself eating the most random assortment of things. For instance, I had an avocado and some almonds one night and rice with stewed tomatoes on another. Does an avocado and almonds even constitute as dinner?!

Feeling a bit dissatisfied on the food front, I took a look around to find what I could find to take me outside of my normal single-person food doldrums and when I saw this in Bon Appetit – I was stunned. Easy comfort for me is almost always fish on toast.  I am so ashamed I hadn’t thought of this before.

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Pan Con Tomate (Catalan Tomato Bread)

A bit of an announcement: Davis and I just found out that he’s been offered a job in New York, and we will be moving back to los Estados Unidos by the end of the year. While I love my motherland and am excited to return, I’m already filled with sadness about all the things I will miss about Spain.

While I’m not prone to hyperbole often (but I really am, let’s not lie), my absolute FAVORITE of all food things in Catalonia is, without a doubt, pa amb tomaquet. I eat it every day on my breakfast entrepan, and I am having a bit of a crisis about what I will go back to eating at home. It is the most simple thing in the world, and I’ve always found those kinds of dishes to be the most delicious.

It is so crazy to know that my living experience in Spain has an expiration date. I have always tried to recognize and appreciate how incredibly fortunate that I am to be here in the first place, and now I’m even more determined to savor every second of this amazing country.

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Pan-Seared Scallops with Four Sauces and Roasted Zucchini with Blue Cheese

I would say that I normally stick to less than fancy fare, but this is one of the most fun dishes that I’ve ever made. Sure, it’s a bit showy, but you gotta be decadent sometimes or life can get a bit boring. We ate these tasty little morsels standing up in our kitchen tapas style, interchanging the sauces on the scallops as we went with zucchini as palate cleansers. Still, either dish would be quite nice as a starter for a dinner party; they’re both able to stand up on their own just fine.

The roasted zucchini with blue cheese was put after each scallop to help completely wipe the flavor of the previous sauce before moving onto the next. Especially with the spicier sauces, the flavorful cheese cut the heat. Since Davis and I like our food spicy, we were partial to the Habanero Lime and Jalapeno Cilantro, respectively. However, the Creamy Lemon with Green Onion and Pistachio Crumble stood up to the test. All and all, this is a dish that could give a person a little culinary hubris.

Not going to lie, this might be the fanciest thing I’ve ever made.

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Jan & Robin – Home Fries

Being from the southern US, I grew up eating home fries almost every morning, and I still like to make them on weekends topped with an egg for an easy hash. I actually have a scar on my left hand from a grease fire caused by getting the oil too hot whilst making home fries for a class breakfast at 15; I’ve gotten a little better since then. I still have an aversion to frying, and now I put them in the oven. It also helps to use less oil and makes them a little less calorie-heavy.

So: less scarring and healthier. Everybody wins.

Jan & Robins are simply yummy things to look at. 

Just in case you aren’t familiar with how to make home fries there is a recipe after the break.

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Couscous Breaded Pork Chops with Honey Mustard

This is an idea I have been playing around with for a while. Last year we hosted some family over, and I realized I don’t have anything in my repertoire that would appease a picky eater. The original idea was to have this be the breading for chicken tenders, and while the breading works really well with chicken, I prefer it with pork chops. However, my husband is not really a mustard fan, so I have worked this up two separate ways.

The couscous allows the breading to be crumbly, but not crispy and stands up to a tougher cut of meat. It’s also incredibly easy to make and a versatile way to change up a standard breaded meat.

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Saffron Sauce with Chicken & Asparagus

A while back, I had dogeared this recipe from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything that used a cream based saffron sauce with white fish. A few weeks ago, I had decided to throw Mr. Bittman’s wise sauce/fish pairing suggestion aside; I took a chance and made this dish using salmon. I am the first to admit that it simply wasn’t a success. This saffron sauce needs to be the star of the show, and salmon rarely wants to share the spotlight. As with almost any other time you that put two divas in the same show together, there was very little working together.

The next day for our lunches,  I had made some chicken and rice and upon seeing my poor, neglected saffron sauce in the fridge – I suddenly became overcome with regret at my fish hubris. In that moment, I decided that what this bootleg bento box needed was a dollop of bright yellow saffron. I have to say, I definitely ate well for lunch that day.

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Bacon-Wrapped Figs

As I am coming to the end of a week that I could only describe as “intense”, I find myself listening to Stevie Wonder and cuddling with a cat. I am trying to get up the gumption to go make something to eat, and am feeling a strangely absent of the desire to do anything.  Now nobody in the history of my existence has ever accused me (not to my face anyway) of being capable of relaxing. Somehow, doing nothing is almost rarely ever on the agenda. You can ask my perpetually bemused husband, how often I can sit through a movie without finding some other task in which to occupy myself.

I realize that even for the most high strung and task oriented of us, there are days when you just don’t – don’t have anything in the kitchen to make, don’t have time to get to the store, don’t have the energy to finagle something magical, but at the same time know you won’t be satisfied with something being delivered. We’re humans, our feelings aren’t meant to make sense all the time. Today, I think I’ve found my secret weapon for a mood like this and that hardly-hidden cure is right out there in the open… and guess what, it’s sweet, savory and easy.

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