Sunday, June 24, 2012

Week 25: Wonton Tacos

I went on vacation.

On that vacation, I ate. I walked, then I ate, then I walked some more. I still have no idea how much I walked, but it was a lot. I think I ate just as much.

I was not overly impressed with the food on leg one of my trip. Washington, D.C. has a lot of stuff to do right around the National Mall, but not a lot of places to eat. I stayed 5 blocks east of the Capital building and that really limited what I could eat for dinner. Sure there are plenty of cafes around for lunch or an early dinner, but once 6:00 pm hits, everything closes. The food was just, normal.

Then I went to New York City. I made up for the banal food in DC when I was in NYC. 

Day 1: Tom's Restaurant (late lunch), Apple (happy hour), Yakituri Taisho (dinner), Max Brenner's (drinks)

Alex picked me up from the bus stop and got me on the subway successfully. After ditching my bags, we went to Tom's Restaurant. This is the exterior for the restaurant on Seinfeld. They had really good milkshakes.

I had some fruity drink at Apple, then a bunch of meat at Yakituri Taisho. It's a little hole-in-the-wall place where your waitress leads you through a maze of tables and bars to get you to your table. We ate shrimp balls, meat on sticks, and some other shrimp thingy.

Then it rained and it was chilly so we stopped at Max Brenner's for a hot chocolate. There are a bunch of different ways to get the hot chocolate, dark, light, milk, etc. I think all are probably delicious.

Day 2: Absolute Bagels (breakfast), Stand4 (lunch), Shima (dinner)

Ayesha left for work before I got up, so I got a text stating "Breakfast, Absolute Bagel" and then the directions how to get there. The plain bagel with strawberry cream cheese was very good. Not just strawberry flavored cream cheese, but real strawberries in there. After sightseeing, I met up with Ayesha and Alex for lunch. I still had a lot of bagel in me, so I had a little burger slider at Stand4. It came with fried pickle chips. A+A got a s'mores milkshake that was really good. It had little s'mores on top and I think there were graham cracker crumbs in the shake. After everything I had eaten that day, I was glad that my dinner plans weren't until 8:00. I met up with my friend Jim for sushi in the East Village. We ordered sushi, the kind where it's just rice with a piece of seafood on top of it. I have never had it this way, and I really enjoyed it. If you don't think about the fact that you're eating raw fish, it just melts in your mouth. That is a sign of really good, fresh fish. I learned that. I also had little pork dumplings for the first time. We finished it all off with ice cream. 

Day 3: Alice's Tea Cup (brunch), The Lobster Place (lunch)

If you have even the tiniest bit of girly-girl in you, you will love this place. Themed after the tea party from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, this place is dainty and precious. There is a book of different teas that you can order and one of the menu options is tea and scones. Ayesha had the day off, so she brought me here. She had a fruit infused tea that was REALLY strong. I wanted the vanilla tea, but they were out so it was substituted with a Bourban Vanilla tea. Not bourban-y at all. This was all paired with a waffle, a mixed berry scone and a pumpkin scone with a really great glaze. The scones were served with a berry compote and clotted cream. I was quite happy.

We did some shopping and walking and lounged on the High Line. Then we did Chelsea Market and I finally got my seafood. The Lobster Place smells like fish, but has some really good food. I had a lump crab BLT and Ayesha and I split a cup of New England clam chowder. Yum. Dinner was with A+A's friends at poker night and there was pretty much just desserts...and cold medicine because somewhere between DC and NY I picked up a nasty little bug.

Day 4: The Garage (brunch), Waffles and Dinges (snack), Harlem Tavern (dinner)

I am a recent believer in serving alcohol with brunch. I don't care about Bloody Mary's. They don't even look good. Even a Screwdriver sounded a little strong. However, the Mimosa is perfect. It tingles and sparkles and it's a great pair with brunch. I had blueberry stuffed french toast that was phenomenal. The edges were practically caramelized and even though I was really hungry, I don't think I managed to eat the entire thing.

After spending a few hours at The Met, we wandered into Central Park and had a waffle-y snack at Waffles and Dinges. Dinges = toppings = ding-us. I had a mini-wafflini with Nutella and strawberries. A+A went with a full waffle with ice cream and chocolate and strawberries. It looked delicious, but there is only so much food I can put into my tummy.

Dinner was at Harlem Tavern. I was exhausted by this point and didn't really want to catch the subway downtown so we stayed in the neighborhood and got burgers.

I would go back to NYC just to eat more food. Everything was good and now that I'm back, I just want more of it.

Wonton Tacos

Similar to the Lasagna Cups a few weeks ago, these are pretty simple.

Cook about a pound of ground beef and season it with taco seasoning.

Put a wonton wrapper in the cup of a cupcake pan. Put some meat in there and top with cheese. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes so the cheese melts and voila! Dinner.

I got the bright idea to throw some corn in with the meat and it added a nice sweet taste in there. I put some black olives on top once they came out of the oven too.

*Pictures to come*

Friday, June 22, 2012

Week 24: High Protein Quinoa Almond Berry Salad

It's hot here in the Midwest. If you have never lived here, it's definitely an experience. Not only do we get heat, we get humidity. I know it's bad when my phone beeps in the morning to tell me what the weather is and the humidity is already at 90%. That means I'm going to leave a few minutes early so I can bike to work a little more slowly than usual. It helps that work is downhill from where I live. Going home is an entirely different story. 

When it's so hot out, I don't want to eat. That is probably the best diet, the Summer Diet. It's so hot that you don't want to eat, but coupled with the fact that turning on the stove or the oven seems like the worst idea ever, BAM! there goes 5 pounds. 

I ate popcorn and chocolate chip cookies for dinner one night this week. Another night, cold pasta. Smoothies are good too. 

this is the time of year that I just want a nice cold salad. I eat too much pasta already so I wanted something new. Maybe a rice salad with lots of veggies. What I found was quinoa. 

I have in fact made quinoa before. I bought some at least a year ago and made a savory side dish with it. I didn't like it. When I reheated it, it wasn't good. This is delicious though. It's sweet and grainy without being bread and it's really good cold a few days later. Make it when it's hot, you won't regret it.

High Protein Quinoa Almond Berry Salad 
originall from

3/4 cup dry quinoa
1 pint strawberries, sliced (2.5-3 cups)
16 oz. fresh blueberries (1.5-2 cups)
1 cup cherries, pitted and sliced
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
Pinch of kosher salt
1/2 cup almonds, chopped

1. Cook quinoa according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, chop the fruit and place in a large bowl.
3. Mix the dressing ingredients (maple syrup, balsamic, lime juice, salt) in a small jar and adjust to taste if necessary. Note: You may have to double the dressing recipe if your salad is quite large.
4. Fluff cooked quinoa with a fork and add to large bowl with fruit. Combine. Pour on dressing and mix well. Serve immediately or chill in the fridge until serving time. Serves 2-3 as a main or 4-6 as a side.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Week 23: Lemon Pound Cake Kabobs

Engineers like to eat. I have learned this in the past year that I've been working at UM. We have on engineer that comes over to the bullpen and asks, "Do you have any cookies?" This changes daily, or even hourly. Sometimes he wants candy. Sometimes he doesn't care and just wants some food. They'll eat anything.

I'm not saying that architects don't like to eat, but not like engineers do. 

We like to get together and have potlucks. We have a Thanksgiving potluck that was great. We had Christmas grazing day the day before our Christmas break. It's been a while since a holiday and a few days ago we heard about an impromptu potluck. I originally decided to make something healthy because most people make dessert, but I gave in to my sweet side and made a dessert. I tried to healthify it by putting fruit in it and on both sides.

Lemon Pound Cake
originally from Cooking with Directions

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1 egg
low fat milk (filled to 1 cup line when mixed with egg)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 lemon, zested and juiced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x5 loaf pan. 

In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt.  

In another bowl, cream together butter, greek yogurt, and sugar. Break 1 egg into a measuring cup and then fill to the 1 cup line with milk. Add to butter mixture and beat well. Add vanilla, lemon zest and juice. Add dry mixture and mix well.
Pour batter into an 9x5 inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean.

To assemble the kabobs:

Slice the cake into cubes. Slide a cube onto a round toothpick. Slide half a strawberry on one side and a raspberry on the other. Use whatever fruit you want really. Melt some white chocolate in a double boiler and drizzle it over the kabobs. I didn't measure it, just estimated it. 

Eat and enjoy. :)