Category Archives: Food

A Day in Monterey

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Today Abby, baby Genesis and I headed down the coast a bit to Monterey. The drive down was gorgeous, and it was amazing to watch the landscape change from mountains to redwoods to dunes and farmland…there is a lot going on in this state, for sure. We arrived around lunch time and were starving, so we quickly parked by the beach and took a stroll down the fisherman’s warf.

The place is lined with restaurants (didn’t think to get a picture of this–you’ll just have to believe me that it’s intense), all basically with the same menu at the same price point, all offering the same view off the two sides of the pier. In our first few steps, we were stopped by a girl standing outside one of these restaurants, offering clam chowder samples out of a vat in a cart. A little surprised, we happily accepted, and sipped our little plastic cups (it really was delicious) while she told us all about how stroller friendly they were, about the beautiful ocean-view table she had for us, and gave us a card for a free calamari appetizer. We decided to walk all the way down the strip before deciding.

As soon as we turned away from her, though, we realized that her tactic was not at all unique. Outside of every restaurant was a man or woman offering samples of THEIR chowder and talking up THEIR eateries. Since we were still holding our little sample cups, we were immediate targets for the “Come on over here and compare” pitch. One could easily, we soon realized, eat a whole meals’ worth of chowder in samples just walking down the pier. It was a bit intimidating, but sorta hilarious too.

We avoided getting another chowder sample and walked to the end of the pier, where I got to meet my first seals and sea lions outside of a zoo. They were really fun to watch for a few minutes. Most were lounging in the sun on a wooden platform, but others had formed a sort of…seal clump in the water, and were just floating on their backs with flippers sticking up out of the water. A boat came through, and had to come to a full stop and drive around them.

After seal-gawking for a few minutes, we chose the path of least resistance and returned to that first restaurant for lunch (much to the delight of the chowder-hawker out front). This turned out to be a fantastic idea; the food was delicious. The free calamari did not suck (I was a bit surprised by this) and our blackened fish sandwiches were wonderful. We chatted, watched a seagull hang out on the window next to us, and enjoyed a nice leisurely lunch while Genesis continued napping.

Eventually, though, she did wake up, and we headed on over to the Monterey Aquarium, which is awesome. I especially enjoyed the jellyfish exhibit, and the huge tank with sturgeon, seven-gilled sharks and lots of other fishies. So cool. There were a lot of beautiful tanks there, and we had a great time. Sadly, due to dogged interference by a small boy intent on violently splashing, I didn’t get to pet a ray, which was a drag. But, I DID get to pet a sea cucumber, which was…sorta gross actually. Not slimy, just squishy feeling.

After the aquarium we made a brief stop at The Twisted Stitch so I could get my yarn fix (you didn’t really think I’d be able to come home without finding a yarn shop, did you?). I had a lovely chat with the proprietor, Dawn, about the rationalization of vacation yarn as souvenir rather than stash, and she helped me pick out an appropriately California yarn. We did, however, find perfectly good reasons for me to buy yarns from Europe (she’s from Whales, and Europe is right next to Whales, so it’s basically all the same thing), from Australia (she has an accent, so an argument could be made, since they also have accents), or from Lorna’s Laces, because they started out in California. Smart woman, Dawn. I did manage to limit myself to one skein, but only by exercising self control.

It has really been a lovely day. But I’m being called to the table, where Abby’s brother has crafted a home-made BBQ sauce for grilled chicken, and then we’re going for FroYo. Yup, life is hard out here. 🙂

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Surprise Fish

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I asked Jason to stop by the store on his way home tonight to pick up some fish for dinner. He called me from the seafood counter to ask which fish he should buy.

“Salmon or tilapia?”

“I dunno–do they have any trout?”

“Yeah.”

“Either salmon or trout, you pick”

“Trout it is!”

I opened the package expecting to find something like this:

So imagine my confusion when I instead found this:

Isn't this a salmon filet? Husband! What game are you playing with my emotions!

Turns out, this is a steelhead trout.

Pretty, aint he?

I’ve see these filets in the seafood case before, but never really investigated them much, but after doing some reading, I think I’ll be buying it a lot more often. Apparently steelhead trout are salmon in almost every way, including life cycle, diet, range and flavor–but unlike salmon, they are not horribly over-fished, prone to diseases when farmed, and in danger of population collapse. According to Seafood Watch, they are actually a GOOD choice for the conscientious fish lover, carrying a rating of “best choice” due to it’s ecologically sound farming practices. Hot dog.

I’m going to take a stab at this recipe for tonight, I think. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

Recipes- Sorta Santa Fe Chicken

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Well,  I thought I would set up a separate section of this blog to post recipes…but apparently WordPress is smarter than me. Whatever, WordPress.

So, I suppose if you could care less about recipes just skip these posts?

 

I recently made a chicken crock pot concoction inspired by this recipe  posted by Lauren on Facebook a week or so ago. As is so often the case, what I did was only loosely based on the actual recipe. This is often because I’m trying to use what I have on hand rather than having to go buy ingredients. I ❤ good food on the cheap, y’all. One of the best things about recipes like this is that you can substitute as much as you want, change things up, add things, and it’ll still come out tasting good. Food Magic! Anyway, this is what I did:

  • ~3 cups of water into the crock pot with
  • 2 frozen chicken breasts and
  • 1 chicken bullion cube

Put on high for a couple of hours. (I started this late in the day with frozen chicken–sacrifices must be made. If I were to do this again I’d start earlier and cook lower and slower) Drop the temp to low and add

  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans (drained, rinsed)
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4ish large white onion, chopped

Cook for another couple of hours on low, until the chicken is good and done. Remove chicken breasts and shred them, then dump them back in along with

  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 can of corn nibblets (doesn’t “corn niblets” just sound adorable and a little disconcerting? What the heck is a “niblet?”)

Let all this cook on low for another half hour or so. Meanwhile, make yourself a mess of brown rice! Or white rice! Or whatever! I made about a cup (uncooked) of brown rice with some chilli seasoning from a packet thrown in on a whim. Mostly this just resulted in bright orange rice. Whatever.

Serve the chicken mixture with a slotted spoon over rice with a sprinkle of cheese and a dab of sour cream for a less soupy application, or serve broth and all with a little less rice and some crumbled corn chips thrown in for a yummy chicken tortilla soup kind of thing. Like most crock pot things, this just got better as it sat in the fridge, and lasted us for several days.

No picture this time. But really y’all–can you imagine some shredded chicken and vegetables over rice? Got it? It looks just like that.

Soooooocks!

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Soooooocks!

You may have noticed my header, which proclaims that I not only sing, but also knit and cook and travel… well so far you’ve seen singing and travel, but none of the other two. Until TODAY that is! 😀

As soon as the weather starts to turn cool, my fingers start to itch and I find myself easily distracted by passing sweaters or the feel of a fine skein of merino. I start trolling through Ravelry looking for patterns, and making mental checklists of friends and family with babies who I can knit adorable tiny things for. Cold weather is knitting weather, that’s all there is to it.

That’s not to say that I don’t knit in the summer. You might remember such summer knitscapades as Who Wants This Scarf?. But there are some very practical reasons why knitting makes more sense in the colder months. Blankets, for instance, are great to knit in winter, because as they grow they drape over your lap in a very pleasing and cozy way. This is less of a benefit when it’s 95 degrees and a million percent humidity out. One of the projects that seems to whisper my name in an especially alluring way is socks. They’re fun and cute and people love to get them from you. Sadly, they are also prone to Second Sock Syndrome–sufferers find themselves bored and unmotivated to repeat the work they just completed on Sock #1. Like this poor, sad, as yet unfinished sock:

Poor sock. I broke a needle, and they were relegated to UFO status (unfinished object).

The solution? Worsted weight socks!

Normal sock yarn is very thin, and thus it takes quite a lot of stitches to make a sock. Worsted weight yarn is thicker, and knits up a heck of a lot faster, making the whole project fairly fly off the needles. Lovely! My first sock-recipient of the season was my darling husband, who got his very own pair of hand-knit round-the-house socks.

Sock

Here modeled on my own foot. The picture he has of them on his own feet is awful, but hasn't yet been retaken.

In fact, these were off my needles less than 2 days ago, and I’m already working my way rapidly down the leg of a new one, same yarn but a different pattern, destined for the feet of a friend who’s been bugging me for a pair since I started knitting. Merry Christmas, unnamed friend. 🙂

And, just to leave you all wishing you could come visit me, this is what I do when I have a day off:

Mmm...Get jealous.

A slightly lopsided yet delicious three-layer carrot cake with homemade icing. 🙂