Sunday, July 29, 2012

Asparagus Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I may have a snacking problem.  Except that I don't really think of it as a problem.  I just really can't help it that I want to eat something every few hours.  Or every hour, but who's counting?

My most recent favorite snacks include the likes of Trader Joe's Cookie Butter (I blame Joy and Tracy for this one), Starbucks' bistro boxes, Starbucks' cashew and almond packets, Fage greek yogurt with honey, and grilled cheese.  In my defense, I usually put together a few of these items to form what I like to call a "meal".  So if you think about it that way, I guess I'm not always snacking, technically.

To be honest, this is how I make it through a whole week of traveling without gaining 10 pounds a month.  It's no big secret that I've been keeping.  Mostly, my diet developed out of a desire to eat everything in sight.  Eventually, I settled on having a little bit of each thing.  Here's an example of my lunch from earlier this week: small Whole Foods salad with hard-boiled eggs and grilled chicken, a California Roll, half a grilled cheese sandwich (it was a tomato and spinach grilled cheese!), and a small bowl of soup.  I'm accustomed to getting odd looks from cashiers.  This is the pure randomness of my food life.  Just let it be.

Usually the summer doesn't put me in a grilled cheese mood.  In fact, I'm usually only in a grilled cheese mood when I go out to a diner and someone else can make it for me.  However, I've been getting cravings for it in recent weeks so I decided to throw another concoction together.  And this time I threw in some asparagus.  I can't claim all the credit, though.  I got this idea from Kevin over at Closet Cooking.  He's got a great selection of grilled cheese recipes just ripe for the taking!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Chefs & Champagne 2012: A Review

It's been a whirlwind weekend for me, friends!

First off, I drove to Central Jersey on Friday for a work training event.  Yeah, I got that 9-5 to think about too. Friday evening, the roommate and I drove up to Poughkeepsie to celebrate a friend's 30th birthday/going-away party.  Since what happened that night will stay within the 4 walls of the The Orient, I will just leave it at that.  The next morning we all had brunch, and then I was on my way to the Hamptons for this year's James Beard Foundation's Chefs & Champagne Event.

My friend Ya-Roo took me and another friend to this event for the first time last year and we had an amazing time.  We had so much fun that we decided to go back again this year!   To sum things up, JBF Chef's & Champagne is an annual tasting event with small plates created by celebrity and well-known chefs.  For the most part, the chefs are all affiliated with restaurants in the NY/Philly area.  This works out well for me, as I spend a lot of time in both locations and thus have the opportunity to visit these restaurants.  Last year and this year, I fell in love with new restaurants that I never would have even known about if not for this event.

Here's a photo collage of my food journey.  I'm hungry again just putting this post together!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Corn, Asparagus & Green Bean Salad

Maybe you've figured this out by now.  If not, I'm about to tell you:  I have begun an obsession with vegetables.  This means that you can expect to see a few veggie-related dishes on this blog in the near future. Just a heads-up.

Corn.  Let's talk about it.  There's nothing like a fresh ear of corn.  Or, in my case, fresh corn kernels.  I have an aversion to eating corn on the cob, even though I become obsessed with fresh corn kernels all summer long.  I have this burning desire to put corn in everything.  The end of corn season is a sad sad time in my kitchen.  (Although that means that Fall is right around the corner and that's my hands-down favorite season!)

This week, I was inspired to make a corn salad by Julia from Fat Girl in a Skinny Body. This is my first real taste of this year's summer corn so I wanted to keep things simple.  I didn't want to drown it in heavy cream like my scalloped corn with bacon from last year.  (Did I mention that dish turned out magnificently delicious?  I may need to make that scalloped corn again.)  But for now, I wanted to have a light side dish that really allows you to taste the corn and asparagus.  Don't forget the asparagus, since that's in season as well.  Oh, and I also tossed in green beans, just because I had them on hand.  Don't you cook like this too?   I can't be the only one.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Spring Vegetable Pasta

Every once in a while I try to do an inventory of all the straggler items in the refrigerator and pantry.  This time around, I found some All Mixed Up pasta that I had purchased a while ago.  I think I may be turning into a pasta hoarder, because I know for certain that there's more pasta up there.  It's such an easy purchase to justify.  You never know when you need to whip together a quick dinner for house guests...

OK, so we rarely have house guests.  And when we do, since my roommate and I live in Hoboken we can either walk a few blocks to indulge in dinner or simply jump on the internet to have it delivered to our door within 30 minutes.  I'm working on getting my pasta issue in check.  Truly, I am. The first step is to use up the pasta which is in our pantry, willing and able to feed a family of 8.

As I was looking through the Adventures in all Things Food blog which was assigned to me this month by the Secret Recipe Club, I stumbled across a Spring Pea Pasta recipe.  Now, I've made some sort of pasta dish for several of my previous SRC posts.  I recently swore that I would move away from this approach and make something different.  Uh, but Andrea's pasta calls for peas, zucchini, and cheese.  You know how much I love those things!  Maybe I'll cave for just one more month...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad

Who the heck am I to tell you how to make a Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad?

I mean, it's pretty self explanatory, right?  Well, the goal of this blog isn't solely to provide you with new recipes and recipe ideas.  It's also to remind you of simple, tried-and-true recipes that you may not always think about.  With all the fancy food being slung around the food blogger-sphere these days, sometimes you just need to take a step back.

Also, (and this is full-disclosure) it's summer.  Let's be real.  At times I'd rather be out with friends enjoying this great weather instead of inside cooking.  This is just a fact of summertime life.  I still love you.  That is truth. I love you enough to give you this simple Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad to cool you down this July.  

...See what I'm doing here?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Livin' the Life 7/7/2012 & Giveaway Winner

The past few days have brought forth some "4th of July" goodness.  Yup.  Goodies.  All up in this blog post...and the SlimKicker giveaway winner will be announced!

 Making a Secret Recipe Club Recipe dish.  I've been trying to stay away from pasta since I've already made a few SRC pasta dishes.  Maybe next month...

Monday, July 2, 2012

French Onion Soup Grilled Cheese

Whoever first came up with this idea was a genius.  Caramelized onions totally belong with melted cheese and toasted, crunchy bread.  That much is true.  I had heard of a French Onion Soup grilled cheese before, but it slipped my mind (I don't know how!!!) until I saw a post from Joy the Baker a few weeks ago which jogged my memory.

A quick trip to my neighborhood bodega yielded the ingredients, which I swiftly turned into caramelized balsamic onions.  Those caramelized onions were gooood.  I can eat them all by themselves.  What?  I had to taste test, ya know.

Now that the onions were ready to go, so was I.  On to assembling this sandwich goodness...

Btw...did you know that this SlimKicker giveaway is still going on?  Food for thought!