Lobster Rolls...two ways

When it comes to seafood, lobster is the king.  It's the kind of king that requires you to don a bib before enjoying his delicousness to avoid making an unsightly mess.  Yet people seem to do it without hesitation.

Shrimp and crab are my shellfish of choice.  I prefer the kind of shellfish that requires a ton of napkins without having to revert back to infancy.  But that doesn't mean I won't enjoy the succulent meat that comes from a lobster.  I just rather all the hard work be done before it reaches my dinner plate.

Hello lobster rolls!!!

Although this is typically a New England staple, I had my first lobster roll a couple of years ago while Mr. Foodie and I were on vacay in San Francisco.

Oh, how I love San Fran.  The bay, the weather, the culture and the FOOD!! I would live there in a heartbeat and love every single, solitary second of it.  We basically ate our way through that city in four short days.  But the few pounds I would have gained were walked off as we explored the city.

I digress.  Back to lobster rolls.

We ate here and I was quickly smitten with the signature dish.  The creaminess of the lobster salad on a beautifully buttered bun was perfection.  And then last year, I saw this photo on Gourmet magazine, a lighter version of the lobster roll, and knew I had to try this at home.

365 days later, give or take a few days, I finally did.  Since lobsters are decent prices these days and July and August are the peak seasons for lobster, lobster rolls were recently on the menu.
And I decided to fill both desires by making two kinds.  First was the one from Gourmet magazine (above) and then the more traditional kind (below)
Although both versions were very tasty, Mr. Foodie and I both preferred the more traditional one. I don't think my picture does it the best justice but you can't beat the combo of the lobster with mayo and celery.

I'm definitely hooked.  I now need to plan a trip to the New England area to get the real deal. But I may be just fine with another visit to SF.


Market Salad

I have a few minor obsessions.  Don't we all.  Most are related, some aren't, but don't judge. Just hear me out first.

Obsession #1: I'm probably overly obsessed with food blogs, obviously.

Obsession #2: I'm a tad bit OCD which is translated into my obsession for a clean kitchen and me washing dishes...by hand. No dishwasher! And no help from company on this one, except my mother. It even took a while for Mr. Foodie to be granted this privilege.

Obsession #3: I love the grocery store.  I go to approximately 3 different grocery stores on the weekend when shopping for the weeks food.  Yet in still, I end up in a grocery store, at minimum, two extra times during the week.  I go so much I pretty much know the layout of any grocery store and have friends calling me from other states asking where they can find an ingredient they're looking for.

Obsession #4: Unrelated to the previous ones but anyone who knows me would probably say I have an obsession with the Golden Girls reruns that borders on the unhealthy side. I've gotten my daily dose of Rose, Blanche, Dorothy and Sophia for the past 10+ yrs. thanks to Lifetime and a somewhat understanding fiance'.

Remember, we're not judging here!

Obsession #5: Undoubtedly one of my most healthy obsessions would be with salads. I try not to order them often when I go out to eat because I'm often disappointed and feel I could have done better at home. But a salad is my preferred choice for lunch Monday-Friday.  We eat so many salads around here I can't believe I haven't shared more of them with you.
You can never go wrong with a simple salad (lettuce, tomato, cucumber) but going back to obsession #1, I have found many ways to mix them up and keep them interesting.

This is the current favorite in our household.  This salad is ridiculously good. I mean look at how amazing this is. You're eating half of the suggested colors from the rainbow and it tastes so darn good.

Just add a little of the homemade salad dressing (not pictured) and I think you may have an obsession to add to your list


Just Because

... I love this new pitcher I purchased as a souvenir during a recent trip to Mexico
... I think these flowers are fun and beautiful
... the combination simply brightens the room and my mood, so maybe it'll do the same for you



Tequila Lime Chicken w/ Pico de Gallo

We are knee deep into summertime so that means grilling is in full swing at our house.  Mr. Foodie and I share the responsibility in that I do all the prep (honestly, all the hard work) and he mans the grill, pun intended.

It all works out for me because it is HOT outside by the grill even when we try to wait until early evening to actually put the food on the grill.  He generally doesn't complain either way because when he gets stuff like thisthis or even tequila lime chicken for dinner, his complaints simply vanish.

I found this recipe via the Pioneer Woman.

I hadn't made anything from her in a while but I'm sure you remember what a big fan I am. Her recipes haven't let me down yet.

Initially, I was skeptical of the tequila & chicken combo which is strange since I am always a big fan of the margarita.

Extra tequila please!

I decided to trust my instinct...and P'dub of course and after a couple of hours of marinating the chicken, I am glad my instinct was right on target.  The chicken was so full of flavor unlike anything I could have imagined.  I was very pleasantly surprised. Topped with sliced mozzarella cheese and fresh homemade pico de gallo...I'm just going to go and ahead quote Campbell's soup here...M'm, M'm, Good.
I used my own simple pico de gallo recipe, see below.  Any leftover is great with chips as a snack, to use with huevos rancheros for breakfast or even topping for your tacos.

Tequila Lime Chicken
Printable Recipe

4 limes, juiced
5 garlic cloves
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
2 handfuls cilantro
3/4 cup tequila
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast (I cut mine in half making the breast thinner and creating 8 chicken breast)
shredded jack cheese and pico de gallo for topping

In the bowl of a food processor or blender, add the lime juice, garlic cloves, jalapeno pepper, salt, cilantro and tequila.  Pulse a few times until combined.  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and pulse until combined.

If you cut the chicken breast in half, there is no need to flatten or tenderize the chicken.  If you choose to leave them whole, place the chicken in plastic wrap and flatten using a mallet or the bottom of a heavy skillet.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Place the chicken in a plastic, resealable bag and pour the marinade over the chicken.  Let chicken marinate for a minimum of 2 hours up to 24 hours.

When ready to cook, heat the grill or grill pan to medium high heat.  Remove the chicken from the bag and place on the grill.  Cook until completely done, turning over once. When the chicken is almost done, place the cheese on each of the chicken breast to melt.

Serve chicken topped with pico de gallo

adapted from pioneerwoman.com

Pico de Gallo
Printable Recipe

5-6 roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely minced
a handful of cilantro, chopped
salt to taste

Combine the tomatoes, onion, jalapeno pepper and cilantro in a bowl.  Stir together so all the ingredients know one another.  Add salt to taste.

Note, pico de gallo doesn't hold up well past 24 hours in the fridge.  It's best to make it in small batches so it can be fresh.  You can always prep your ingredients ahead of time and mix together just before you prepare to serve.


Classic Banana Bundt Cake

I am determined to make this cake for my wedding reception.
We have decided that we don't really want a big, traditional wedding cake.

We'll probably have a simple two tier cake for the obligatory photo-op.  Hopefully, my dear friend at Sweet Tooth Cake Design will do the honor since I've been asking her for two years already :)

My vision is for a homemade dessert table.  My mom's delicious poundcake, my aunt's secret recipe red velvet cake, my matron of honor's mom's peach cobbler.  A couple of other things I would like to make which I haven't quite decided on just yet.  But definitely this Classic Banana Bundt Cake

It may sound a little adventurous for me, the bride, the contribute items to the dessert spread but it is such a simple cake with minimal steps.  The most time consuming part is the baking.  I just need to make sure I have a few very ripe bananas, which I always seem to have around and have learned to freeze for smoothies, banana bread and now this cake.

I have been wanting to make this cake from some time now, wondering if there would be a big difference in taste from banana bread.  There was a distinctly lighter texture and slightly sweeter taste than bread, but one things for sure, it was de-li-cious.

I took half of it to work and it was a hit. And believe me, my co-workers wouldn't hesitate to tell me if it wasn't good.

Classic Banana Bundt Cake
Printable Recipe

3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temperature
4 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and lightly flour classic bundt pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt and set aside

Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment or hand mixer with a large bowl, beat butter until creamy.  Add the sugar and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each egg.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the bananas.  Finally, add half of the dry ingredients (the batter will curdle, don't be worried).  Add all the sour cream and then the rest of the mixture until blended together.

Scrape the batter into the bundt pan. Rap the pan on the counter to avoid air bubbles in the batter and smooth out the top.  Slide in oven (do not place on a baking sheet for even cooking) and bake for 65-75 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Transfer cake to a rack and cool for about 15 minutes before removing the cake from the pan.  Invert the cake and continue to allow it to cool completely on the rack.  Cover until the next day as the cake will be even better.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving. You could put a cream cheese icing or lemon glaze on top but I loved the simplicity of the powdered sugar.

originally adapted from Dorie Greenspan's cookbook via the foodlibrarian