Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hello 30...

I know what you're thinking. It's not my birthday. I'm not 30. When I first greeted 30, I doubt it was such a happy occasion. In fact, I remember it more being a big "F-you 30! This decade is going to rock!" And for the most part it has. But this has very little to do with the age of 30, but more about the number 30. But let me step back for a second...

It's pretty common knowledge that your metabolism can change over time, and even more so once you get out of your carefree 20s. It's harder to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you get busier, have less time to devote to eating well and exercising, and gravity starts to take its toll. I have been doing my best in the last year or so to reverse that trend. I'm in better shape than I've ever been, eating a much more balanced diet, and am generally in a better place than where I was when I entered this decade.

But even the strongest willed can find their Achilles heel. In the last 2-3 months I've found mine in many forms. Beer, for one. An injured foot preventing me from exercising. A healthy appetite even more magnified due to stress.

Today is 30. July 30. And I'm presenting myself with a 30-day challenge to get back to doing what I love: Regularly exercising (who'd have thought I would say I love that!), Vodka drinks (my low carb alcoholic best friend), and most importantly cooking more.

So until August 30th, I am making a pact to:

1) Stop drinking beer for 30 days. Which sucks, but it's feasible when I allow myself vodka. And wine.
2) Provide a home prepared/cooked meal and snacks for myself for lunch every day. This means no hitting the vending machine or cafeteria at work. This will not only have me eating healthier, it will also save me money.
3) Slowly but surely getting back into running. The doctor gave me the all clear, so I'm ready to ease back in.

I place this on my blog as a bit of an oath to myself to hold myself accountable. It's only 30 days, and perhaps it will extend longer and I'll adapt some of these habits again long-term. But for now, it's baby steps to combat a summer of fun and excess.

Speaking of excess, I'll post about all the food I ate on vacation in Montreal later this week. This gives good reason for why I'm enjoying my salads this week.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Spinach and Egg Breakfast Sandwiches

A few weeks ago, I decided to try out a simple egg sandwich recipe that my friend Nick had posted last year on his blog, www.macheesmo.com. In his instructions, he indicated several ways to freeze/store these sandwiches for a later date. I followed the instructions he provided on freezing the sandwiches whole and how to defrost when you need a sandwich.  I tested out this strategy over the weekend, following his instructions for reheating and they defrosted perfectly. 

Spinach and Egg Breakfast Sandwiches (makes 12 sandwiches)


  • 12 eggs, scrambled
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 2 TB butter
  • 6-8 ounces cheese, shredded. I used white cheddar. 
  • 12 whole wheat English muffins 

Scramble eggs and grease each muffin tin with a bit of butter. Add baby spinach to each tin. Just a few leaves per tin will do the trick.

Evenly divide eggs between 12 muffin tins.

Bake eggs at 350 degrees for 20-22 minutes until they are cooked through.

Pop the eggs out of the tins.

To make a sandwich, toast the English muffin, add the cheese and egg. Mash the egg down a bit so it evenly covers the muffin.

Bake for a few minutes to melt the cheese.

To store these, make the sandwich and then wrap tightly in foil, and place in a plastic bag in your freezer. When you are ready to eat, place the frozen wrapped package in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes and it'll defrost perfectly. This equates to the time I need to get ready in the morning, so this may just be one of my new go-to breakfast sandwiches when I tire of my daily morning Cheerios regimen. :)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Food Porn: Estadio.....and I'm heading to Montreal!

Sorry to break it to you, Jose (Andres). I now have a new favorite tapas place in town...Estadio! I've tried to get reservations many times before, but this time I planned ahead for my parents' visit earlier in July. It was well worth the wait and I have a feeling I'll just make reservations in advance a few times a year just to revisit this place.

We ordered a variety of tapas, but some of the highlights included this halibut dish, with a chili sauce, overtop of chick peas, dried cherries and some type of green. Great flavors, just melted in your mouth. I also really enjoyed their roasted corn with spices, herbs and manchego cheese. I tried to re-create this at home earlier this week, but while the result was good, it  wasn't nearly as good as thing. Highly recommend ordering this if you ever find yourself so lucky to get in the door.

Since it was my mom's birthday, we ordered a dessert to share. This manchego cheesecake, with pistachio crusted quince base was the bomb. Seriously.

Speaking of the bomb...I'm going to the gastronomic bomb called Montreal for a few days, followed by a few days in Toronto. I'll be sure to report back with a ridiculous number of food photos and insights to what I'm sure is going to be a great trip!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Roasted Corn with Manchego and Lime

First things first...I just noticed that this is my 151st blog post since I started doing this in January 2012! Not too shabby!  Secondly, I may have just found my new favorite restaurant in DC...but I'll talk about that later this week. This dish came about as a result of something I ate at that restaurant and while this was pretty good, I'm no professional.

I was making tacos and wanted a side dish that incorporated some of the same ingredients as were in the tacos since I had a bit more than I really needed, including manchego cheese and fresh corn. What resulted is this!


Roasted Corn with Manchego and Lime (serves 4)

  • 6 ears of sweet yellow corn, unhusked
  • 2 TB extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 TB (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded, finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
  • 1 cup finely grated Manchego cheese
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced chives
  • 2 tsp finely grated lime zest  

Preheat oven to 450°. Roast unhusked corn on a baking sheet, turning occasionally, until heated through and crisp-tender, about 15 minutes. Let cool. Shuck corn and cut kernels from cobs. Discard cobs.

Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add corn kernels and sauté until heated through and light-golden in spots, 5-7 minutes. Add butter; stir until melted.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer corn to a large wide bowl or deep platter; sprinkle jalapeño and crushed red pepper flakes over. Squeeze lime wedges over; sprinkle with cheese, chives, and lime zest.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Red, White, and Blue Potato Salad

God Bless America...and the potato!

This holiday weekend, I granted myself a hall pass on healthy eating. Because seriously, with piles and piles of meat, grilled food, cookies, etc., it would be impossible to stick to any sort of diet. However, I tried to do my part when preparing food for a 4th of July bash at my friends' house. I was given an explicit request to not make something with mayo (or suspended in JELL-O). This was an easy request to fulfill since I too am not a fan of either, but I did want to make something fairly traditional for the holiday. I found this great potato salad recipe that did not call for mayo, but mustard, which is one of my favorite condiments of all time. So I present you the red, white and blue potato salad. Great flavor (especially when you let it sit in the fridge for a bit before serving) and quick side dish to make for your next BBQ. I adapted this recipe from one found on my friend Nick's blog: www.macheesmo.com.


Red, White and Blue Potato Salad (serves 4-6)

  • 1 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes, chopped (I opted for a bag of red, white and blue potatoes)  
  • 1/2 cup diced red onions   
  • 2 stalks celery, diced   
  • 2 TB capers   
  • 1/4 cup olive oil   
  • 1/4 cup stone ground mustard   
  • 2 TB honey  
  • Salt and pepper
Chop potatoes into about 1/2 inch pieces and boil in salted water until tender, about 8-10 minutes.
Dice up red onion and celery.
In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil with mustard and honey.

When potatoes are done, drain well and add to bowl with other veggies. Pour in dressing and stir well to mix.

Add capers and season salad with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Pear and Gorgonzola Salad

One of the benefits to cooking a lot, as well as eating out often, is I've tried all sorts of flavor combinations. This comes particularly in handy when I'm tasked with coming up with a last minute side dish, with little time to prepare. This happened over the weekend and rather than pick up something pre-made at the grocery store, I drew inspiration from a great salad I've had out. So this isn't so much a recipe as a mention of some great things that go well together in a salad. :)

Pear and Gorgonzola Salad (serves 6)


  • Bag of spinach or spring mix
  • 2 Anjou Pears
  • Glazed Walnuts
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • Gorgonzola cheese (I used most of a small container)
  • Champagne Vinaigrette salad dressing

Place salad mix in bowl with walnuts and cheese. Slice red onion lengthwise and add to the salad. Peel pears and chopped into small cubes, add to salad. Toss with salad dressing and serve.