Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Recipe: Chicken Breast and Watercress Sandwich


 The boyfriend and I do not sit down to dinner together as much as I'd like. You know how it is--you are not hungry at the same time or neither of you wants to eat what the other does or football is one at the same time as Gossip Girl so you are forced to watch TV in separate rooms. But awhile back I had a strong desire to eat together. So I asked the bf pick out something he'd like for dinner, and I made it. We settled on this verbosely titled recipe from Epicurious: chicken breast sandwich with watercress, caramelized onions, and paprika aioli. I mostly followed the recipe except that, instead of grilling chicken breasts, I baked a whole chicken covered with a little butter and some herbs. (It's so much cheaper than buying just breasts.) Plus, I added tomatoes and avocados as topping options, and we used onion rolls rather than sourdough bread. The whole process was simple but took awhile (mostly waiting for the chicken to bake), yet I would definitely say it was worth it! I got the boyfriend's enthusiastic approval, and he's even asked me to whip up the aioli several times since. Now that I'm thinking about it, I need to reprise this recipe soon.

PS: Blogger wants to auto-correct aioli to "maiolica," which my dictionary tells me is "fine earthenware with colored decoration on an opaque white tin glaze, originating in Italy during the Renaissance." So random. Who programs this stuff?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hotel Figueroa: a Moroccan Escape

Ooops! I just realized that it's January 2012, and I still have not shared the pictures I took of the Hotel Figueroa back in September 2011 when my parents stayed there. "A hotel?" you may be thinking, "Why do we need to see pictures of a hotel at all?" Well this hotel is pretty amazing. You would never guess that tucked between a couple of parking lots, a crappy car wash, and an even crappier Italian restaurant there is a Moroccan-themed oasis. The lobby transports you to another place, and the rooms (with actual room keys, not swipe cards!) transport you to another time. The coffin-shaped pool doesn't really transport you anywhere; it's just awesome.

PS: Of the hotels my parents have stayed in downtown, my mom also swears the Hotel Fig has the best beds!

Hotel Figueroa 
939 South Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Vertical" Apple Parsnip Salad (+ Soup)

I had bought some apples that turned out to be not very crisp inside. (Don't you hate that?) I didn't want to eat them raw so I investigated cooking options. This apple parsnip soup came up on Epicurious so I gave it a shot. (It's good, but not nearly as good as the other soups I have made up on my own since.* If I get motivated this weekend, I'll share.) Then with the left over apples and parsnips, I made a "vertical" side salad based on this concept. Except my side salad was shaved parsnips, almond slices, and chopped onions mixed in a homemade honey mustard (honey + mustard + a little bit of lemon juice) with layers of romaine. Also my salad did not stand up as well as the picture from the recipe, but that's probably because the other guy's cheating and there's some vertical-salad-holder in the background. But all in all it was a tasty, healthy dinner, and I used up every single one of those mushy apples!

* But thanks to this soup, I now love making pureed veggie soups. You feel (almost) like you are eating a cream based soup, but all the ingredients are actually vegetables! Decadent yet healthy, and absolutely perfect for the winter. Plus, you can make a big batch or a few varieties and then just reheat individuals portions throughout the week. Super easy.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Lunch at the Blue Crab Grill

Have I mentioned that my father is a chef? (I joke. I know I've told you all about this. Plus half my readers are my family, so you all knew this.) Anyway while I was home over break, I met up with an old friend at Dad's restaurant for a leisurely lunch break during her drive home. Everything was just as delicious as I remembered! I got the crab imperial melt with avocado substituted for the usual tomato. My friend got a special--a grilled cheese with ham and mushroom. Dad is also in the process of upgrading his bar. The first step looks fantastic! I can't wait to show you the finished product this summer. Or if you're in Newark DE over the next few months, you can check it out yourself!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Golden Birthday

Over the holidays my little brother was not the only one to have a birthday. I celebrated my golden birthday--27 on the 27th! I got really into the theme (like always) and made golden cake cake pops, tied golden pipe cleaners to everything, decorated with golden Christmas balls, and covered the sticks in the flower arrangement with golden spray paint and glitter. In fact getting ready for the party might have been as much fun as attending. Kind of makes me wonder why I am in law school and not event planning :) My dad catered so naturally everyone loved the food (a nice perk of having a chef for a father), and I had plenty of champagne and mulled wine to fill the sugar-rimmed flutes and the bow-adorned mugs.

PS: I sported my new favorite up-do, a braided halo/wreath creation that wraps all the way around the head. I took some of the twigs that broke off from the spray painted sticks and mixed them in with the braid for a woodland nymph kind of look. Sorry the picture is terrible, but it was super cute! Plus it is a cheap and unexpected way to add a little something extra to your look!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Annual Longwood Gardens Pilgrimage

Every year I go to Longwood Gardens with my family to see the holiday decorations, and every year Longwood outdoes its previous efforts. This year in the music room, there was an incredible (and edible) display of giant gingerbread trees and candy versions of the Du Pont house and greenhouse! It was much more impressive than the antique perfume bottles that were on display last year. Also this year we dined at the restaurant on the grounds--a first for me. The crab cakes with grapefruit were an unexpected but delicious combination! My only complaint is that there was no mulled wine being sold like last year. Warm spiced wine would have been perfect on such a cold night.

Below, Christmas trees designed and decorated by local school children. They have different themes every year and are always one of my favorite displays.

PS: If you are thinking of going next year, plan in advance! Longwood now requires timed tickets to help alleviate crowds.

UPDATE: My brother wants me to let you know that he's working on becoming a multi-millionaire so he can open a Longwood 2 that is just as good but without the crowds. I'm sure he'll accept donations if you feel like donating to this cause :)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Saying Goodbye to Christmas Break

Siiiigh. Tomorrow school starts again. I am definitely going to miss holiday decorations, lounging around watching endless hours of Voyager (yes, I'm a super nerd), and catching up on old magazines and New York Times. So here's a farewell send off to some of my great holiday memories from the past few weeks. Can't wait until next Christmas!

Update: I can't believe I left out my favorite picture of a Naval Academy ornament that my family gave me!