Category Archives: Friday Funday

Recipe: Roasted Salmon with Leeks, Mushrooms, and Arugula

Roasted SalmonJust like pretty much everyone else, my husband and I struggle sometimes to get dinner on the table when we’ve both been working all day. Too often, we resort to takeout. Yet, we both want to eat healthy foods and the best way to make that happen is to cook.

This recipe for Roasted Salmon with Mushrooms and Leeks on a lemony bed of wilted arugula is a godsend for those hectic weeknights. As long as we’re able to hit the grocery store for ingredients, we’re assured a healthy and delicious dinner from our own kitchen in about 30 minutes.

By the way, this recipe comes from Fine Cooking Magazine, which has excellent recipes in every issue. They always include a section for quick weeknight meals and we’ve either adopted some of those recipes wholesale or adapted them for our meal rotation. The magazine is geared toward the more experienced home cook, but has recipes that even a newbie could pull off, like this one. Continue reading Recipe: Roasted Salmon with Leeks, Mushrooms, and Arugula

Friday Funday #6: De La Montanya Winery

De La Montanya (1)My brother moved to the San Francisco area several years ago, and a highlight of visiting him is touring wineries in the surrounding areas. It was probably six years ago now that he brought us to De La Montanya Winery & Vineyards in the Russian River Valley. De La Montanya quickly became one of my favorite wineries, both because of its delicious and reasonably priced wine, and its welcoming atmosphere.

I am by no means a wine expert; I know just enough to be dangerous with a wine list. That said, I think pretty much every De La Montanya wine I’ve tried has been delicious, and when I’ve shared them with people who know wines more than I do, they’ve backed me up! Continue reading Friday Funday #6: De La Montanya Winery

Friday Funday #5: Summer Reads

Get your read on.
Get your read on.

I love to read. Even though I spend a lot of time every day reading on the web for work and fun, my favorite thing to read is a book. I have a few rules for my pleasure reading that I now embrace as part of being authentically myself:

  • I don’t like short stories (they’re not long enough for me to build a satisfying relationship with the characters, and I don’t like transitioning so many times in one volume)
  • I don’t like graphic novels (I just don’t, no real justification)
  • Nothing that strays too far into chick-lit, like where the plot objective is to land a man or have the perfect wedding or acquire the most incredible designer shoes
  • I have weird rules about sci-fi. I usually don’t read it, and the times I like it, the book isn’t too off-the-wall. I can’t do books where the character names are like “Glork” and “Mxybzyb” and I can’t understand where they are or what they’re doing without getting acculturated to their strange universe.
  • I really love murder-mystery-suspense type books, especially if they have forensic science stuff. These are my guilty pleasure.

With those in mind, here are a few of my recent favorites that I think would make excellent fun summer reading on the beach or a roof deck, while you sip your refreshing beverage of choice. Continue reading Friday Funday #5: Summer Reads

Friday Funday #4: Stephanie Izard’s Mixed Mushroom Ragu

Stephanie Izard'sOne of my favorite reality competition shows is Top Chef. I like to cook and eat, so I find the competitions interesting and try to pick up tips as I watch. One of my favorite contestants was the Season 4 winner, Stephanie Izard, now owner of the Chicago restaurant the Girl and the Goat. One of my favorite recipes to cook at home is her Mixed Mushroom Ragu, published in Food and Wine Magazine. I’ll copy the recipe below, then note that changes I’ve made in my version. Although the recipe notes that you can spoon this sauce over meat or fish, my favorite was to serve it is over pasta. I like to use cavatappi noodles because the twists and turns capture lots of the chunky sauce in every bite. When you read the ingredients, you may have a hard time figuring out what the resulting sauce tastes like. It’s really delicious and not at all as weird as the ingredients suggest it might be. It’s salty and savory with a little bit of sweet, and as Izard promises, it will satisfy meat-eaters as well as vegetarians. Continue reading Friday Funday #4: Stephanie Izard’s Mixed Mushroom Ragu

Friday Funday #3: Travel Destination, Iceland!

Vacation Destination- IcelandYes, Iceland!

I would probably never have thought about Iceland for a vacation, but in early 2012, Icelandair offered an incredible travel package between Boston and Reykjavik. I just couldn’t say no.

We went for just under one week in February 2012. The trip package included our direct flights (around 5 hours duration), our hotel, and an expedition to climb a glacier, eat lobster soup, and chase the Northern Lights. While prices within Iceland were expensive, with casual dining feeling more like upscale dining at home price-wise, the entire trip ended up being quite affordable. More importantly, it was very memorable and one-of-a-kind. Continue reading Friday Funday #3: Travel Destination, Iceland!

Friday Funday #2: Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Friday FundayIn honor of Friday being the best day of the work week, and this one not being part of the American work week thanks to Independence Day, here’s a recipe for an incredible dessert that’s easy to make (so don’t get intimidated if you’re not a baker). Presenting Ina Garten’s peanut butter and jelly bars.

Now I do like to bake, and so I resist making these bars because they don’t challenge my baking muscles at all. They’re very simple–the hardest part is measuring the peanut butter because then you have to scrape out the measuring vessel (I have one of these which helps with that issue but then is a pain in the butt to clean and when did my life get so hard?).  Continue reading Friday Funday #2: Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Friday Funday #1: Tröegs Hopback Amber Ale

The Ale of the Hour

For a change of pace, I thought it might be fun to do posts on Fridays about stuff that’s purely recreational, not academic. To kick it off, I have a great summer (fall, winter, and spring) beer recommendation: Tröegs Hopback Amber Ale!

In my own words: I love this beer because it hits this great middle ground between different beer styles. It’s a little hoppy, but doesn’t get anywhere near IPA territory. It’s got a robust taste without being super-heavy. I think Hopback goes well with food or on its own. If I see it on a beer menu, the only reason I might not order it is in order to try something new. It’s definitely one of my most favorite beers, and I find when I recommend it to other beer drinkers, they usually enjoy it, no matter their usual favorite style of beer.

In the words of people who know stuff about beer:

This Is Why I’m Drunk: “a buttered bread smell”; “plenty of balance”

Beer Advocate: 90, Outstanding

Philly Magazine: Best Local Beer 2006

The Tröegs Brewery is in Pennsylvania, and their beers are fairly easy to find on draft throughout Boston and the Northeast. If you’re near a Yard House, they often carry several Tröegs beers on draft.