Archive for July, 2011

Saturday, July 30, 2011

roof done!

ready?!

Our Hawaiian neighbors helped us bang the roof out in no time, very nice!

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Friday, July 29, 2011

anthropologie

Always fun to rummage through the sale racks at Anthropologie near by, I got this blue print maxi dress

and a Moth summer sweater on clearance, it reminds me of Rodarte shredded sweaters from a few seasons ago, but in softer shades.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

snakes

Sometimes you dig holes in your yard to get dirt and you get a snake. Right near where I have my 3 rotating compost piles, Yikes!

then it gets poked with a stick and slithers away into the neighbor’s yard.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

rice or noodles?

Rice or noodles? I am of the latter category, I would take a bowl of noodles over rice any day. Most rice preferring people argue that noodles aren’t as filling as rice and they tend to get hungry again shortly after, an interesting theory, I’ll still stick with noodles. Asian rice noodles, mung bean noodles or a plate full of pasta and a glass of good wine is my ideal meal. Here’s one of my favorites.

Most Asian countries seem to have their own take on this noodle dish. When I was a kid my parents would order the chow fun with gai lan (Chinese broccoli) and beef at this old Chinese dive, Ken’s Restaurant on Ellice Ave. in Winnipeg, it was so good. The marinated beef was so tender, the garlicky, sweet gravy like sauce mixed with the noodles and the crunch of Chinese broccoli made it the perfect meal. It must be well over 30 years now since they opened their doors and Ken’s still there, open late and still serving good grub.

The Thai version of this dish is called Rahd Na and my friend, Sandy makes a mean rahd na. Over the years I’ve tried to master this dish and I finally got it by realizing that I just needed to be heavy handed with the flavorings, being timid with the sugar and seasonings does not apply here.

And conveniently for me, there’s a produce stand at the local Farmer’s Market in Leucadia every sunday that I can always count on for Asian greens and herbs, freshly picked and great prices too.

Rahd Na with Grass Fed Beef and Gai Lan

4 oz. grass fed beef (sliced against the grain into thin bite size pieces)

3 Tbsp grapeseed/canola oil

2 large handfuls of fresh flat rice noodles (the wider the cut the better)

2 tsp dark soy sauce (optional)

1 Tbsp minced garlic

1 Tbsp white soy bean paste

1 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp oyster sauce

2 cups chicken broth

2 large handfuls gai lan (Chinese broccoli, cut into 2″ pieces, stems and leaves)

2 tsp cornstarch

4 Tbsp water

freshly ground black pepper

ground roasted thai chili flakes to taste

sliced serrano chilis pickled in vinegar to taste

Directions

1. Heat 2 tbsp of oil, add rice noodles and dark soy sauce and pan fry til noodles are heated through and the edges of the noodles start to crisp up a bit. Plate the noodles in a big bowl, set aside.

2. Using the same pan heat 1 tbsp oil on high, add the minced garlic and reduce heat to medium high, cook the garlic til lightly golden then add the sliced beef, sugar and oyster sauce and continue cooking, stirring til beef is nearly cooked through. Then throw in the Chinese broccoli (stems first as they take a bit longer to cook, then the leaves) and mix.

3. Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl.

4. Add the chicken broth, freshly ground black pepper to taste (I like black pepper so I’m very generous with the turns on my pepper mill). Add the corn starch mixture to thicken the sauce, continue stirring. Once you’ve reached the desired consistency of the sauce, pour everything on top of the noodles in a big bowl.

5. Once the dish is plated I then add a teaspoon of dry roasted ground thai chili flakes (add more or less depending on whether you like things spicy or not), also add a tbsp full of sliced serrano chilis in vinegar (add more or less depending again on your spice intake and whether you like things with a sour kick). I tend to like a sour note to offset the sweetness so I even squeeze a piece of fresh lime to top it off. Mix it up and feast.

Monday, July 25, 2011

favorites

(A.L.C. tunic w/ attached fabric covered bead necklace, Uniqlo leggings, Miu Miu sandals, and our favorite Marni leather bag, it gets carried very often, love the neutral color and the gold ring accents, so easy to wear).

Sunday, July 24, 2011

summer nights

Working from home and eating salt and vinegar french fries for dinner, we looked up outside and saw the prettiest sky tonight. Love summer nights.

Friday, July 22, 2011

mangaris

The custom wood paneled garage doors were delivered and installed this week by Garage Doors Unlimited out of San Diego and we couldn’t be happier with them. We did some research on finding the right hardwood for our decking, facia, soffit and for the garage panels, the most obvious pick was Ipe, a Brazilian hardwood that everyone’s been using for many years now. Weary over the cost we did some looking and stumbled upon Indonesian Mahogany (Mangaris) at J.W. Lumber in Escondido, a hardwood with similar qualities and color to Ipe and it was 30% cheaper too, the choice was obvious. So with some back and forth negotiating on the price we settled on Mangaris. We also found that having the boards milled for the garage doors, oiling them ourselves and delivering them to Garage Doors Unlimited to get built was a cheaper option, a bit of work on our end but the savings was worth it. Oil the wood once over and let dry for a day, the deep, rich color you get looks great. Now we’re recycling and re-purposing the old lumber from the demo of the house to make a work desk and shelves for inside the garage, lots of sanding, cutting and building this weekend.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

dehydrator

My cousin, Sam who now lives in Minneapolis recently told me about her horror story of trying to dry food outdoors in her backyard this summer. It was quite the story and I just couldn’t tell her that I recently purchased a heavy duty stainless steel food dehydrator with 10 stainless steel shelves, didn’t feel that was what she needed to hear this week. I hadn’t tested it out yet too, so I had no clue whether it functioned properly, was even worth talking about.

I started thinking of purchasing a food dehydrator after a nostalgic conversation with my friend, Jeanne, we were craving green papaya salad with sticky rice and some fried Laotion beef jerky, that’s gotta be one of our all time favorite meals. I knew drying food outdoors in the sun would be problematic here, the sunny dry heat is great but the ants out in full force looking for food, not so much and I also didn’t feel too great about the cheaper plastic food dehydrators in the stores, heating plastic, I’ll pass. And so I settled on the stainless steel TSM Food Dehydrator I won on Ebay for 40% cheaper than retail and I’ve been in full dehydrating mode all week. The mangos at Costco and the Asian supermarkets are really good right now and the Northwest cherries and organic cameo apples were on sale too at Henry’s last week so I successfully dehydrated all three. I got a thumbs up from everyone who tried them, it’s a great investment. The benefits of eating raw are well known and you just can’t go wrong with this purchase when you know vital and essential nutrients that we need to stay healthy aren’t being destroyed when eaten raw or cooked slowly at a temperature under 118 degrees F. I can’t wait to make Laotion dried beef jerky with a grass fed beef roast from the store, I’ll be calling my mom for the recipe.

I always get bugged for choosing to prep my food sitting cross legged on the floor with my weaved rattan-like raised eating trays and stools that I bring back with me from my trips to Laos. Sitting and prepping on the ground reminds me of my mom and her outdoor kitchen near her charcoal burning low stove, sitting low means she can easily check on what’s cooking over the heat as well.

I store the dried fruit in my clear Takeya BPA free Acraglass containers. Japanese-inspired designs with the best twist top airtight pouring lids, so light and comfortable to lug around and the seal is so tight and for liquids it never leaks, I love ’em.

Monday, July 18, 2011

beasties

Last night we were woken up by coyotes and other beasties in the hood, they must have been in mid hunt or something, super chatty, perhaps celebrating a kill, a neighbor’s cat or chicken, who knows? Running through the yard barking up a storm and if only we understood coyote bark we could mess with them.

Our yard was overgrown and wild for many years before we moved in so there’s a long history of all kinds of beasties claiming it as their playground. We hear them, we’ve seen their mean looking tracks and we’ve been rudely awakened by their smell. Yes! Skunks trump the animal chain here with their stench as coyotes don’t seem to scare them or prey on them like they do the neighborhood chickens, cats and dogs.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

home

Home at the beach

and minutes from home, I don’t know any girl who hasn’t spent money in the new H&M store that just opened a couple of weeks ago in Encinitas. I stocked up on their lightweight cotton button up shirts, a summer staple with skinny jeans and shorts.

And in the new underground parking garage for the recently opened Whole Foods store in Encinitas on PCH, fuel efficient means priority parking spaces right outside the elevators, sweet! A friend reminded me, it is SoCal, people act like hippies but drive huge SUVs?!