Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pink Grapefruit Margaritas

You've seen this cocktail pop up twice already, so I guess I owe it to you to share it!

My inspiration was this recipe.  I followed it pretty closely, but opted for shaken instead of blended.  I also significantly reduced the recipe.  Can you imagine me drinking a cup of tequila myself?  So...scale down as needed!

I increased the lime juice so my ratio was a simple 1:1:1:1.  Write that down--it's complicated.
tequila : triple sec : grapefruit juice : lime juice
Add that all to a cocktail shaker with lots of ice.  Shake shake shake.

I opted for the sugar rim, but Sous Chef suggested a sugar+salt combo and said that was even better.

Perfect for a warm evening!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Guest Post: Thai Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup

Today I introduce to you my first guest blogger, Vron.  Last week she and I had a cross-country Virtual Dinner Party, which despite the three hour time zone difference, was an incredible hit and so much fun.  Vron and I were both without our Sous Chefs in the kitchen, and we more than made up for it with cocktails, fun recipes, and great conversation (through the computer screen)!  Here is Vron's take on our night:

I made Thai Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup a nights ago while on facetime with Sarah! It was so fun! And also I would say that I had three drinks (a glass of wine and a double-strength banana pina colada) which doesn't count as drinking alone because Sarah and I were “together,” or at least connected via the interwebs.

Sarah joked that I didn't follow the recipe at all (I beg to differ), but here is the original recipe pasted below with my mods:

  • 1 cup lentils, rinsed 
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (I used about 5) 
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, unpeeled and diced. 
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric (I used about 1 tsp of curry and 1 tsp of cumin because I didn't have turmeric and was lazy)
  • 3 tablespoons oil 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced (A whole onion)
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, thinly shredded  (about ¾ pounds of baby spinach and 1 package of frozen spinach)
  • 2 jalapenos, ribs and seeds removed, minced (to be fair I WAS going to use this, but then there were no jalapenos in the store, so I used a Sarah/Vron favorite of chili garlic sauce instead)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger (I forgot to add this! And I actually bought it! Ugh.)
  • 14.5 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes 
  • 2/3 cup regular coconut milk 
  • salt to taste 
  1. Pour lentils, broth, and sweet potatoes into a large pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low for 30-45 minutes, or until lentils and sweet potatoes are just barely done cooking.  Add the turmeric, tomatoes and ginger to the pot and cook for another 10 minutes. 
  2. Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet. Add garlic, onions, and jalapenos chili garlic sauce. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the cabbage baby spinach and cook for 10 minutes, or until cabbage baby spinach is cooked through. 
  3. Add cabbage baby spinach (and the package of frozen spinach) to lentil pot and stir in coconut milk. Top with cilantro. 


I thought it was good, though it would definitely have been better with the ginger, which I HAVE IN MY HOUSE and am totally bitter about not having remembered.  I also think the turmeric would have worked better than curry/cumin, but it was still delicious. 

Also one can of coconut milk is way more than you need for this recipe, which is why I ended up drinking it with rum and banana in pina colada form!


Thanks to Vron, I have a new recipe I'd like to try...I had been looking recently for one with coconut milk that did not require 18 other random ingredients I don't have (and I have a lot of Asian ingredients).  

Also, doesn't her Pina Colada-inspired cocktail sound refreshing?  

Thank you, Vron, for the inspiration and guest post!

I think Virtual Dinner Party should become a permanent feature.  Who would like to be my next guest of honor?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Virtual Dinner Party 2

After such a fun and successful first Virtual Dinner Party a couple weeks ago, my friend Vron (nickname) requested an invitation to my not yet planned second party.  So one week later, FaceTime's gears were rolling, and I was cross-country cooking and dining with my friend in North Carolina!

For starters, we opted to make fancy cocktails.

For Vron: Coconut-Banana Pina Colada

For me: Pink Grapefruit Margarita

(Note 1: can you tell we were in different time zones--dark vs. sun still up?)
(Note 2: do you think we had summer on our brains?!?!?)

After a CHEERS, we settled down to make our food, laugh at each other, and eat.
We took goofy photos of our screens...note: we each have girly aprons!

Just like my last Virtual Dinner Party, this experience felt like my guest was in my house for a real visit.  Technology these days...

As for the menu, I made pizza.  I don't know if I have ever announced it here, but PIZZA IS MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE FOOD.  (Got it?)  I love our baking stone, which was a wedding gift from my sweet cousin.  I will eat anything that comes off that stone.

This night, I made a pesto chicken sausage pizza with mushrooms, caramelized onions, and parmesan cheese.

It was a winner, and in case you're wondering, I ate way more than the once slice you see removed here.

Patient Vron, who was sitting down to dinner close to 10pm her time (her soccer game ran late!), made Thai Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup.  Sounds good, right?  Well, stay tuned, because she will be guest-posting next! Vron will share the recipe she used and also offer commentary on our Virtual Dinner Party.

Also, I will be back later with both a recipe for the pizza and my adapted recipe for the Pink Grapefruit Margaritas.  Get ready...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Outdoor Living

My sister came into town today, and with her, she brought some sunny weather.  Several days of rain have caused the garden area behind our apartment to turn bright green, and we finally had the urge to set up the outdoor furniture.

What better way to break in the table and chairs than with some summery drinks?

My herb garden is looking extra green after the recent rain, as well.  I have already snipped a few springs twice this past week for different recipes...I know I will appreciate having them at arm's reach.

I'll be back to post about the summery cocktails soon.  Right now I gotta soak up sister-time!

Friday, March 23, 2012


Happy Friday!!

Who feels me on this one?



And Happy Weekend.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Last Spring

I mentioned that we have had a number of days of rainy weather.  After such a beautiful Fall / Winter (that every local tells me was unusually pleasant), we must be paying for it now with the rain.
Oh well.  We need the water.
Someone reminded me how much the grapes need the rain water, and I quickly made my peace with the rain.

But I was also reminded of the gorgeous Spring seasons we had back in North Carolina.  Good thing I have pretty photos to look back through when I get tired of the rain.

Hi, Iris!

Hi, North Carolina friends!  
I see via you guys have enjoyed some beautiful Spring weather.  Wish I were there to enjoy it with you!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Monterey Getaway

The weekend before last we enjoyed a little getaway to Monterey.  I have been there (numerous times before!), but a weekend trip to the ocean towns of Carmel, Monterey, Pebble Beach, and even south to Big Sur is relaxing and always fun.  We have our favorite activities and restaurants, but the goal is often just to relax and enjoy the views.
For anyone who might be convinced to visit (or to visit us in San Francisco, and we'll take you there!), I thought I'd temp you by highlighting some of the best views in town.

Monterey Bay Aquarium
I am sure I'm biased, but this aquarium

Penguin exhibit
Baby sea otter being groomed by his mama
Sharks, Sunfish, and Turtles (oh my!)

After a day at the aquarium, walk down historic Cannery Row, where Monterey first gained notoriety back in the early 1900s for sardine canning.  John Steinbeck coined the previously named Ocean View Avenue "Cannery Row."

Stroll down Fisherman's Wharf and taste each restaurant's clam chowder.  Each is a bit different from the next...each good.

 Say hi to the sea lions.

Hop on a whale watching boat trip.  Grey whales in the winter, Humpback and Blue whales in the summer and fall.

Spend the next day visiting Big Sur.  With its rugged coast and drop-off cliffs, it is beautiful and serene.

Hiking is the best way to take in the views.

You can't visit Big Sur without a stop at Nepenthe.
Restaurant views don't get much better than this!

But if hiking's not your thing, there's also bike riding or golf...

Swing by Mission Ranch, Clint Eastwood's property where pasture land meets the Pacific Ocean.

And if that's not enough to convince you, take your pick of a Monterey sunset:


Did I convince you?  Time to book your getaway weekend trip!