Everyone knows pudding is a fun word to say, but who knew baking bread pudding could be so easy?  We wanted to make a dessert and bread pudding recently became a favorite so I looked up a recipe and found one with 4.5 stars on Allrecipes.com.  Want to hear another plus?  All the ingredients were already in the house!!  Bread, butter, eggs, sugar, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon!  If you're a baker, you should already have all those ingredients in the house.  Instead of the optional raisins, I decided to chop up some bananas and throw it in there.  Turned out great!!  And to add, we made it healthier by using wheat bread since that's all we ever use here anyway.  Unfortunately, we got too hungry and scarfed down the dessert so I never got an after photo but here it is before I set it in the oven.  Really simple, even Peter could make it without my assistance.


A Weekend in the Wilderness

So apparently, my friends and I know how to whip up a good meal...or four.  This past weekend was spent in Groveland, CA which is about 30 miles from Yosemite National Park.  A group of 9 of us rented a lake house which literally had a lake in its backyard, equipped with a gorgeous dock, a pretty bench swing, a paddle boat, and kayaks.  After a long week at work, it was nice to sit on the dock reading a book with a beer, kayak across the lake, then play a game of 6-on-6 volleyball with some strangers.  The weather was perfect, the company was amazing, the activities made us feel oh-so-naturey, and the food was spectacular.

Our first meal was Saturday morning.  Long and Preety woke up early and put together this delicious breakfast with toast slathered with fruit and a yogurt sauce, along with eggs and potatoes.  You can bet there were mimosas involved as well.

After some reading and kayaking on the dock, it was finally time for lunch and it was our turn for this meal.  Peter and I put together our typical tri-tip salad, except it was more of just a steak salad.  We cleaned out that value pack of steak, that's for sure.  It was simple - just a box of spring mix, corn, walnuts, cheese, cranberries, croutons, and of course steak topped off with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  We used up two huge containers of salad which ended up being a perfect portion for 9-10 servings.

Then it was time for our 3 course meal by Jeremy and Jim.  Don't think this was a simple cabin trip type meal.  They spent the previous days brining and marinating their meats.  Yes, I learned what brining is!

Below are some pork belly skewers that were cooked on the grill.  If you know me, you know I love eating fat and anything that's burnt so I was in heaven.  We even got wine pairings for the entire meal - the pork belly ended up going really well with a chilled glass of Riesling.

It's hard to follow that appetizer, but they then revealed a butternut squash and arugula salad, chicken and veggie skewers, and lastly mushroom risotto in a portobello mushroom!  Wait, so there are mushrooms in the risotto which sits in another mushroom!  I was blown away.

And for the last course, we were served cardamom panna cotta.  I had no idea what cardamom was until now.  

The chefs somehow knew exactly what I enjoy eating and ended up throwing it all into this wonderful 3 course meal.  Superb guys!

And last but not least, our final meal before we all headed home.  Anya and Stacy put together a good old continental breakfast with your waffles, bacon, eggs, sausage, and apparently some special hashbrowns that are a secret recipe that they wouldn't share!  You can't have breakfast without mimosas so we all had a few glasses before it was time to clean up and start the 2.5 hour drive home.

Next up for the group, maybe a Tahoe cabin trip.  What delicious food can we create for that??


Oh My.....Ninja??

It's too bad I didn't make this sandwich but it was so good that I have to feature it on this site.  Vietnamese sandwiches are pretty popular.  The concept is pretty simple; you have a french roll, pate, grilled pork (or other meats), plus your typical veggies like cucumber and pickled carrots and daikon.  Clearly, the photo below is packed with a whole lot more than just grilled pork.  You've got your grilled beef, tofu, pork meatballs, lemongrass chicken, a fried egg and bacon!!!  To be honest, I'm sure I'm missing some ingredients on this list but my brain can't retain all the items!  So the sandwich was purchased from a food truck called Omininja which I now discovered is O Mi Ninja.  Like all other food trucks nowadays, you can follow them on Twitter or Facebook to find out where they're located which is around the San Jose/Sunnyvale/Fremont, CA area mostly.  Check them out if you're a local.  It's $8 for their loaded sandwich with a side of shrimp chips plus you need to try their spicy orange Ninja sauce!!


Fondue Fun

We're huge fans of fondue and the best fondue restaurant around is La Fondue which we save for birthdays or anniversaries since it can cost almost $200 out the door.  So when it came time for putting together our wedding registry, we knew an electric fondue was a must-have.  It wasn't until recently that we finally got a chance to use it.  Peter was in charge of handling the mushroom & wine broth and looking at the instructions, it seemed like an easy task for him.  The recipe was meant for a party of 6-8 so we tried cutting it in half for the two of us but Peter, my human calculator, learned the hard way that re-calculating cooking units is a bit more difficult.  The end result was that it never really thickened and the cheese didn't fully melt in with the wine broth but that didn't stop us from enjoying our meal.  Although it didn't end up perfectly, it has great potential for a re-do.  If my sweet tooth ever kicks in, I'm sure a chocolate fondue night isn't too far away!!

Snack Time - Smoked Salmon Goodness

The only thing missing is the c word.  I mean capers, people!

Really, all you need are crackers, a pouch/bag of smoked salmon (we bought ours at Trader Joe's), cream cheese, and capers (optional).  It's a delicious mid-day snack, especially with a nice glass of wine.


Apartment Therapy Post!

So when we first toured our Japantown townhouse, I already pictured where the couch was going, how to fill the space between the dining room and living room, and what direction our bed was going to face. I was also a big reader of the Apartment Therapy site and had aspirations of getting our house featured on the interior design website. Well, over the weekend I submitted a few photos of our place on their online form and this morning, we were featured as a "House Call". Better yet, I'll be working with the site to get a full House Tour going, which will feature 25-30 photos of the entire house and little interview with us. For now, the link to the House Call is below and I will post the link to the House Tour soon!



Coq Au Vin

My French cousins visited last summer and made this amazing dish, Coq Au Vin.  It's chicken cooked in red wine.  Don't let the name scare you off, it's actually a really easy dish to prepare.  I found a couple recipes on Allrecipes.com and ended up going with the one that I was easily able to alter and make my own (and also with ingredients that were easy to find).  For instance, I didn't use cheese and subbed the cornstarch with flour, didn't add in any tomatoes, and added in mushrooms and baby carrots.

Gotta say, I was pretty impressed with myself but I'll need to tip the bottle of wine a little more next time.  The heavy cream came on a little too strong so it'll help with add more flavor and just more sauce overall.

Peter gave the thumbs up so we'll give this another try in a couple of weeks!