Friday, February 26, 2010

Proscuitto, Manchego & Strawberry Crostini

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About 1/2 a baguette
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus some to drizzle
1 cup sliced strawberries
8 slices fresh proscuitto, torn in half lengthwise
16 slices of Manchego (or other preffered cheese)
Fresh basil, leaves torn off stems
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Fresh ground black pepper
Crushed red pepper (optional)

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice your baguette into thin slices and brush with olive oil. Spread slices on a baking sheet and bake until toasty, about 10 minutes. You can serve your crostini hot or cold.


Meanwhile, take your proscuitto and wrap it around the manchego, slice your strawberries, tear off some basil leaves and try not to eat all the ingredients before you get a chance to assemble them.

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I do an assembly line because I realize that if I do them one at a time they get eaten as I make them and I never get to take a picture of a whole plate.


First go the crostini, top with proscuitto wrapped manchego, then a piece of basil, drizzle with balsamic and olive oil, grind some pepper over the top, add crushed red pepper flakes if you like things spicy and finally top with a slice of strawberry.

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Don't skip the strawberry, it adds the perfect balance to the saltiness of the proscuitto and manchego. We tried it with and without and ended up eating all of them with the strawberries. It adds a freshness that is just fantastic.


I can't even tell you how many normal people this would serve. In our house this may or may not have served just two. But I couldn't say for sure.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The talented Adrienne Gunde

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who was our photographer (with the help of her boyfriend Scott) has blogged about our wedding.

I'm still not done reveling in the excitement. I hope you don't mind.

I'm married! You'll have to excuse me, I'm still having those OMG we're married moments. I wonder how long they will last...


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I loved each and every one of the nearly 1200 pictures Adrienne sent me. I'm proud to call Adrienne a friend now as well. She is just pure sweetness and I know you'll love her blog.

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What are you waiting for? See the post HERE!

Monday, February 22, 2010

The view from Seal Beach pier

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Right now B and I both have Saturdays off. Typically we plan some kind of an outing mixed in with running some errands. But mostly just outtings.

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Although it was still a bit chilly down by the beach (by Southern CA standards) we took a walk down the Seal Beach pier.

I love this pier because of the quaint wood planks. In certain places you can actually feel the waves as they hit the pillars.

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We stood and watched the surfers work with whatever waves came their way.

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Surfing is an art.

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A lifestyle.

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A culture.

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A passion.

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I love surf culture. I've never been a surfer but you can't grow up in Huntington Beach and not be a part of it.

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I'd surf but I have a hyper-active imagination that causes me to think that every piece of seaweed is a underwater creature trying to eat me.

If I could surf without having to fall...or put my limbs in the water to paddle...then I might be a pro.

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Instead I just dream about living in a house on the beach.

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Seal Beach is both beautiful and peaceful.

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I love these times before the beaches get too crowded during the summer.

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How was your weekend?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Each day

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“Let every dawn be to you as the beginning of life, and every setting sun be to you as its close.”

~John Ruskin

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Meyer Lemon Curd

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Oh my. I had purchased Meyer lemons for my Meyer Lemon & Strawberry Ice Cream and found that they were so big and juicy I had way more than I needed. I was able to get 1/2 cup of juice in about 1 1/2 lemons versus the normal 5 or so.

The first thing that popped into my head was lemon curd. I didn't realize how addicted to this I would get.

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Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of the preparation. I was too busy licking the whisk.

Have you tried to lick a whisk before? Of course you haven't. Its so unlady-like.

Ingredients: 1/2 cup meyer lemon juice, 2 tsp of zest, heaping 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 2 large eggs, pinch of salt and 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into chunks.

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Now there are 2 ways to do this:
1. The safe way which involves using a double boiler or
2. The lazy way that involves a sauce pan because you don't want to wait for and then wash the double boiler that you used for the ice cream.

Using a double boiler: Place your bowl over simmering water. Add juice, zest, sugar, eggs and pinch of salt and whisk together to break the yolks, then add the chunks of butter and whisk until it thickens. I've also done this using a hand mixer. Then press through a strainer and voila, you've made lemon curd!

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Using a saucepan: Whisk together juice, zest, sugar, eggs and pinch of salt. Place saucepan over low heat, add the chunks of butter and whisk until its melted. Then keep whisking. Increase the heat a bit, to about medium/low. Don't stop whisking! Keep going until it thickens to a beautiful, luscious curd. Immediately press through a strainer. Lick spatula. Lick strainer.

I truly believe that since we whisked this by hand it's considered a workout and therefore balances out the calories consumed from the finished product.

Put in pretty jars and give away as presents, use to top crumpets (which I just discovered) or scones, fill cakes...or cupcakes with it OR just eat it with a spoon like my mom does. Kept covered and refrigerated it will last a week.

Note: I haven't made this with regular lemons yet but they are much more tart/bitter than meyer lemons so I would say increase your sugar to 1 cup. I'll play around with this. If perhaps you make it and its too tart for you... you might fold in some sweetened whipped cream. Report back if you try it!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Marmalade Cafe, Tustin

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Any seafood lovers out there?

A couple of weekends ago we had a hard time finding a place to eat. Weird right? The area we were in was mostly huge chain restaurants, or maybe we were feeling indecisive. We chose a restaurant from a magazine we wanted to try, drove 20 minutes to find its dinner only. I could tell B was getting antsy. I thought of another restaurant and remembered that years before in San Juan Capistrano I had been there and they served their bloody marys with crab claws in them!

B was sold. We drove 15 minutes to get there.

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Only apparently this wasn't the same restaurant chain. Apparently I had no idea what I was talking about. Apparently there were no luscious crab claw bloody marys. I squirmed uncomfortably in my seat and started throwing out suggestions of things he'd like.

It worked.

Thankfully Marmalade Cafe had a big selection. We started with the Chardonnay steamed New Zealand Mussels (hey, those look familiar) and Manila Clams. Actually B ate the mussels and I ate the cheese bread dipped in the chardonnay lemon garlic broth.

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One can never have too much cheese covered bread dipped in broth so I went with a cup of french onion soup as well.

This leads me to a very unfortunate memory of a vegetarian friend who never knew her favorite soup was made of....BEEF stock. I just don't think it would be the same with vegetable stock, although I've never tried it.

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I had crab on the brain. I love crab. Its my most favoritest seafood. I think.

This is the roasted beet salad with crumbled blue cheese, fresh tomatoes, candied walnuts with a lemon champagne vinaigrete. They have lots of options to have added to your salad. Things like chicken, top sirloin, salmon, seared ahi, shrimp, etc.

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King crab, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

For the record this is not a seafood specific restaurant, Marmalade Cafe offers a wide range of choices. However, they aren't inexpensive. I think when it comes to dinner the prices are fine.

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B really enjoyed the BLTA with sweet potato fries and aoili for dipping. I secretly hoped he would get the Reuben but you know, I didn't want to push it and tell him what to get.

You must tread softly when you drag a man all over Orange County looking at estate sales all morning (did I forget to mention that?) and then spend 30 minutes looking for a restaurant that doesn't exist.

Once settled in we had a great lunch. But now I want a Reuben. What is your favorite sandwich?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sisters

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Its was a lovely warm day by the lake in Queenstown. The sun turned the water into a million tiny prisms.

Today I miss the sparkling blue lake.

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Near the docks these steps lead all the way into the water.

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So clear you can see the ducks dive to the bottom.

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In the park behind us someone plays the guitar and sings softly.

We sit and watch the boats come in.

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A family enjoys a walk around the lake. I think they are headed to the farmers market and craft fair nearby.

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But the girls take a moment to dip their feet in the water.

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They sit close together, each in her sundress and shoulder-length hair.

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We watch the ducks look for food as we soak up the sun.

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They sit and softly splash, watching the water trickle off their toes.

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I'm too far away to hear them. Occasionally they huddle and I catch a faint giggle.

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But mostly they just sit.

What secrets are they sharing?

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I wonder if they will remember this day?

I will.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Punting on the Avon, Christchurch

Punting always makes me think of the Mary Poppins scene where they are deciding which chalk drawing to jump in to. Burt says "Punting on the Thames" and makes a gurgle, gurgle, pop sound.

It doesn't really sound like that, in case you were wondering.

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Wave to the crazy lady standing on the bridge!

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See, I'm not the only one snapping photos of random things.

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Christchurch is known as the garden city and it's full of the most amazing old trees.

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We chose to do the garden tour which is 30 minutes through the gorgeous gardens of the inner city.

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You share the water with the local ducks. Actually these are the Paradise Shelducks, a whole family of them. In the front is the mother, then father and trailing behind are all their quite grown babies.

It seems to be one of the few cases in nature where the female is more distinct/colorful/eye-catching than the male. Well, except for humans in which this is almost always the case. Right? Right. Just agree with me here.

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A tall Maori carving. To be honest there doesn't seem to be much of a Maori presence in the South Island. The detailing on the carving was really gorgeous.

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As we glided through the water we would catch glimpses of the historic buildings Christchurch is made of.

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You can just feel the history here.

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We passed under bridges and weeping willows.

On the sides of the bank there were occasional steps and ramps. When Christchurch was first established they would use this shallow river as a way to haul their goods. The land was too soft and the terrain to uneven to take their wares to the trading place in the middle of the city. Instead, horses pulled boats or barges up the waterway and stopped by the bank to be unloaded.

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The guides told us bits of information and answered any questions we might have. I could have stayed on this much longer than 30 minutes.

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After we took a walk through the gardens nearby and wondered what it would be like to live in an area with buildings like this. It made me want to go exploring back home.

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Its like a scene from a book.

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In this picture I am actually standing and looking straight forward. Everywhere you turned there were trees like this. Trees with great branches that reached the ground. Around the base of the trunk were wrought iron benches.

How wonderful would it be to sit and read a book here?

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We ended our walk at this local pub. It was so inviting we couldn't resist.

Are there old, historic buildings by you? Do you ever go visit them?
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