Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Rapture Skipped Me (so I ate) Spaghetti with Anchovies and Bread Crumbs (Spaghetti con Acciughe e Mollica)

Linguini with Anchovies and Breadcrumbs

The rapture never came, and boy am I relieved because we all know that had the day of reckoning really come I'd be smelling in the sulfur and brimstone. I'm not a bad person all the time, but on a daily basis I have fits of bitch that just take over. I blame most of these fits on my commute and the asshole drivers that I am faced to deal with for at least two hours every week day. 

Or, like when you are at the grocery store, at check out, and you spend a few moments deciding which lane will move the fastest - and then you realize that you picked the lane where the check out person is incapable of doing more than one motor function at a time and doesn't give two shits about the fact that you want to get out of the store because they are going to be there all day anyway so why shouldn't you.  And who pays by check at the grocery store...why is the person in front of you paying by check. And if you can't decide if you want paper or plastic I will most likely yell at you for not bringing your own God Damn Bag, don't you care about this spinning circle you live on called EARTH.

But, then there are the times when I should be calm like in yoga, and I spend the entire class wondering why the Indian girl in front of me sucks so bad at yoga. I know wrong wrong wrong, but when an Indian person comes into class I prepare myself to be schooled in all yoga postures and I'm floored when the person just outright sucks at yoga. I actually wanted to tell her to get to the back of the class if she couldn't balance on one leg because she was throwing me off.

But, then I don't feel too bad about this thought because I came home from class last time and our neighbor Vibs who is Indian was over and I asked if that was an inappropriate thought to have about the Indian girl in front of me and his immediate response was..

"No, she's Pakistani"

I was dying after that.

Spaghetti with Anchovies and Bread Crumbs (Spaghetti con Acciughe e Mollica)

6 salt-packed anchovies or 12 best-quality anchovy fillets in olive oil (see Notes), divided
1 pound spaghetti
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 large garlic cloves, minced
1 or 2 small fresh or dried hot red chiles such as peperoncini or Thai, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley

If using salt-packed anchovies, rinse them under cold water. With your fingers, pry them open along the back and lift out backbone to yield 2 fillets. Rinse fillets again to remove any fine bones; pat dry on paper towels. If using anchovy fillets in olive oil, lift out of jar or tin, leaving oil behind (no need to rinse oil-packed fillets). Finely chop 6 fillets; set aside. Cut remaining 6 fillets into 4 or 5 pieces each; set aside. 

In an 8-qt. pot, bring 5 qts. well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender to the bite, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, put olive oil, garlic, finely chopped anchovies, and chiles in a deep 12-in. frying pan (with at least 2-in. sides) or wide pot and cook over low heat, stirring, until anchovies dissolve. Stir in parsley and remaining anchovies; turn off heat.

When pasta is almost done, set aside 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain pasta and transfer to pan of anchovy sauce. Toss quickly until all the strands are well coated. Add some reserved cooking water if pasta seems dry. Set aside 2 tbsp. bread crumbs, then add remainder to pasta and toss again.
Divide pasta among 8 warm bowls and sprinkle each serving with some reserved bread crumbs. Serve immediately.

The number of go backs that Chris has on a certain dish usually helps me rate the recipe. Chris went back for four servings of this. He really liked it.

Rating = Damn Good

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Smoked Salmon Cucumber Bites with Cilantro Lime Crema

Smoked Salmon Crostini

Therapy, she's a getting hairy....but I'm doing all the crap my therapist is telling me to do, and although I don't like it, I think that Ph.D knows what she's I do what she says. When she analyzed my stress journal she noticed that there were a few things that constantly affect my stress level, one being weighing myself in the morning, so for the past week and for the next week I am not "allowed" to weigh myself in the morning, so then we can see if this helps my anxiety level at all. I tend to think not, considering I've pretty much run for an hour to an hour and a half a day since we started this little experiment, like I've just shuffled the attention and compulsion into more running, I'm not sure that is what she meant to do. This woman must see dollar signs when she reads my anxiety journal, "cha Ching....this girl is going to be in therapy for years, book the vacation honey we can afford to go anywhere with her billings."

Anywho, such a super simple and really attractive appetizer, I made these for mothers day, but really they are perfect for any gathering and so easy to throw together. The cilantro lime crema I used was left over from the fish tacos recipe that I posted last week. So simply cut cucumber on a bias, place some smoked salmon on top put on a dollop of the crema and top with a little caviar and a chive sprig. So pretty.

PS am I the only one that finds it hard to watch Mad Men without a drink?
PPS am I the only one that also things that Air on the G String is a horrible name for a song that is often used in weddings.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

two recipes for the price of one | Mango Avocado Salsa and Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Crema

Its Wednesday, I love Wednesdays because I go to the psychologist, then I go to yoga with Angela and then we drink wine. Its therapy cubed, I've got my mental therapy, my physical therapy and then of course, my liquid therapy. Angela and I call it Wine and Yoga Wednesday, our Italian yoga instructor calls it our Detox/Retox, he's a clever one that yogi master. 

I'm a little late on my Cinco de Mayo recipes.  Woops. 

We had a great little dinner party last week to celebrate, I was in charge of the healthy recipes and Rick and Lisa were in charge of the Spanish wine. 

I made 

The salsa and the rice came from Skinny Recipes and the Fish Tacos came from Cooking Light. Links provided above.

Everything was great - although I didn't get any salsa because it disappeared in about four seconds, someone may have actually liked the bowl, I can't confirm that, though it would not surprise me. 

The fiesta lime rice, I thought it actually needed a little sushi vinegar in it, I think that would have perked it up a bit. 

The tacos were awesome, use the rub recipe that it calls for (delicious) - I couldn't find red snapper so I used mahi mahi - it was a perfect substitution.

We paired the salsa with a nice bright white from Spain and tacos with a nice light Rioja - then we had a much richer meatier Rioja after dinner. Perfect.

AM - If you are reading this - have you ever been to the Pink Door in Seattle for dinner? We are going in a few weeks - just wanted to get your thoughts on it. Thanks

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Garam Marsala Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Garam Marsala Oatmeal Cookies

I have dreams of going to India. I know its dry, dusty, crowded and I'll probably end up with volcanic shits while I am there, but I want to go. I don't know exactly what my pull is, but I'm sure it has something to do with the spices. I am in love with the aroma of Indian food. My neighbor Angela went to India in December and brought me back her grandmother-in-laws special garam marsala spice blend. I've been doing nothing more with this bag of spices other than sticking my nose in it every few days and taking a big whiff; you see, I've never cooked with garam marsala before, and I've been at a loss. That was, until the other day when NPR did a lovely little article on garam marsala in their Kitchen Window segment titled Garam Marsala - a taste worth acquiring.

This article was so well timed, as it came out the day before Angela's birthday. So, Saturday I woke up early in the morning hauled out the mixer, tubs of flour, brown sugar, baking soda, all my baking ingredients that have been waiting patiently in the pantry for me to quit my pity party already and get back to baking, and that's what I did, I got back to baking. The house for the first time in way to fucking long smelled of fresh baked cookies with a hint of Indian spice. I made the batch, kept a few for Chris and wrapped up the rest for Angela - she loved them. Chris loved them too, but he would have preferred that they were oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with garam marsala, not raisin, he thought they were a little too savory for a cookie...I have to concur - next batch will have chocolate chips in it. There will be a next batch, these were very good. 

Check out all the garam marsala recipes here:

Rating = Damn Good

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Therapy Thought Monitoring, and White Wine Risotto for Dummies

White Wine Risotto

What do you do with a $2 half bottle of Vihno Verde? Well you sure as shit don't drink it, you cook with it. But first I bring you Therapy Session #3.

It was a really good therapy session, in the sense that there were a few moments where I felt like saying "out of my comfort zone" and "not ready yet" but I think that's the point, she's getting me started, but not pushing me. This week I have to continue with the stress/anxiety journal, except this time in addition to writing down the level of stress from 1 to 10 (again 10 being "I feel super awesome) I need to write down the thoughts that accompany these numbers,l for example, like when I wake up in the morning and my stress hovers around a 4 I need to write if its because I feel like a fat cow, and I have all this work to do, and when will I have time to get to the store to get some damn groceries. Its okay if the thoughts are random, I just need to write them down, so that we can do "Thought Monitoring" which I've learned is when the therapist looks at my thoughts, analyzes them, determines if they are wrong and then tells me why they are wrong. This should be fun, you know, about as fun as stubbing your toe really. 

I shared with my therapist a little story. Last summer I was sitting outside on the deck reading a wine magazine. There was an article that a woman had written chronicling a trip she  had taken through France, the article was about food, wine and travel. One day on her trip she wrote that she woke up and for breakfast had warm croissants and paired them with a beautiful champagne. She went on to say that this was the best breakfast she can ever remember eating, and that "you just haven't lived until you've had croissants and champagne for breakfast." I remember this article because I remember saying to myself, "well that's something you will never experience, because there is no way that you would allow yourself to let alone, have a croissant, but to pair that croissant with champagne, in the morning no less, because why don't you just blow your entire caloric wad before you even leave the house." My therapist thought this was very sad, that I wouldn't allow myself, this (in her eyes) minor indulgence. This led to her tell me that at some point we would have "Operation Croissant and Champagne" and I would indeed be testing this theory of self loathing if I allowed myself this moment. But not now, because she knows Julie ain't ready to take on Operation Croissant and Champagne just yet. 

I also shared with her that I was scared to run my half marathon this weekend, because I had trained to finish it in 1:45 and I was afraid that I would be depressed if I couldn't make that time. She asked how I would feel if I didn't make it, and I didn't have an answer. 


I just got back from my race, and I finished in 1:45:11, so technically I didn't make my time, running a 1:45 means doing it in that time or under, not 11 seconds over. But you know what, after being a little peeved at first, I just don't give a shit, because I had a great time with family and friends that day. I had cheerleaders and an amazing pink sign with my name on it created by Brenna, Anna and Steve, and I had a fabulous time going out to lunch with them after the race. That was what that day was about, not 11 seconds....not 11 seconds. That 11 seconds can kiss my sweaty, salty ass.

My therapist asked if I thought I was a good runner. And I can't believe after 15 years of running I've never told myself that I was good at it. Well, today, I came in 145th out of 1,000. Today I am a good runner. 

And here is the recipe - it literally is from the "For Dummies" book, and it was good, its a really good base for a generic risotto, but with all the fresh herbs and peas and asparagus popping up now, I'd play with the recipe a bit, I'd make a spring pea and mint version, or maybe a lemon thyme version or an asparagus version, don't just stick to this carrot celery version, it needs something more.
Here is a link to the recipe.
Rating = Good, will be Damn Good with a little doctoring.