Sunday, February 16, 2014

We Have Moved

I have decided to switch platforms and as such the Blog has moved and there are some big blog changes that you will notice when you visit my new site...

Pacific to Park

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Seared Tuna with Citrus Soba Noodles

I love asian noodles. They are super easy to make, hard to perfect I admit but even when you aren't a culinary genius they always taste great. I make them fairly often as once you buy some of the staple sauces and seasonings, countless combinations can be made. Grab some fresh veggies and your favorite noodle type (I'm partial to soba) and you are ready to go. The other night for an easy but delicious night in, I made seared tuna with citrus soba noodles with snow peas and it was delicious.

If the thought of eating delicious noodles wasn't enough, just wait till you hear the health benefits of buckwheat (what my soba noodles are made of). Buckwheat provides more protein then grains and is packed full of fiber, magnesium and zinc. Also, it has been shown to lower cholesterol and help level blood sugars. Best of all, it is GLUTEN FREE! There are so many more benefits that I could list out for you, but this would become a very long blog post.... but you can read up on them here! Yes, that is right, you can eat noodles to your hearts content and they are GOOD FOR YOU! ... Thank god for that as I eat them a lot. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

What you'll need:

4oz Soba Noodles (100% Buckwheat)
1 cup Snow Peas trimmed
1/4 cup chopped Scallions
Olive Oil for the pan
1 Tuna Steak (sushi grade 1inch thick, cut into 2 portions)
Extra Lemon to squeeze at the end
Sesame Seeds for garnish
Salt and Pepper

You can also add any other seasonal veggies that you enjoy. Just sauté them and mix them in with the noodles. I have used edamame, peas, and carrots, but the options are endless. 

For the Sauce:
Juice from 1/2 an Orange
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1/2 Tbsp. Ponzu
1/2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
1/2 Tsp. Sriracha (or as desired)
1 Tsp. Sesame Oil
2 Tsp. minced Ginger 

Serves 2 as a main dish


1. Mix together all ingredients for the sauce
2. Cook the noodles in a boiling salted water for about 8 min or until tender
3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat (you want the veggies to sizzle)
4. Saute the snow peas and scallions until the snow peas are tender with a slight char, remove from heat
5. Turn off the heat and let the pan cool slightly, add the sauce to the warm pan but be carful as it may steam. Let the sauce warm (bubbles should form), stir frequently as the sauce thickens. 
6. Once the sauce thickens, be careful not to let it burn, mix it in with the noodles and veggies. Season with a squeeze of lemon and sesame seeds. You can also add a little more heat at this point by adding a little more Sriracha.
7. For the seared tuna, season both sides generously with salt and pepper
8. Heat a large skillet, you want the steaks to hit the pan and sizzle. Once hot, add a little bit of olive oil and cook the tuna on each side for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let rest for a few minutes. 

Once the tuna has rested, slice and serve with the noodles. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Girls Night Out

Since graduating and moving to the city, I have realized how easy it is to lose touch with friends. Now, obviously the friends across country are a little harder to meet up with but seeing as the majority of my college friend moved in or around the city, it is amazing how little we actually see each other. We all seem to get caught up with our jobs, significant others and all the other activities that keep our lives running. By placing emphasis on certain areas of our lives, a lot of times we quickly lose track of making plans and seeing friends. So going forward this year, I decided (maybe a sort of New Years resolution) that I would make more time for friends. 

Living in New York, a typical get together is generally a drink after work at a bar. Now don't get me wrong I love a good after work drink now and then, but generally with no set planned time or meeting place plans generally fall through. As such, I decided I wanted to plan something a little more interesting that would spark our interest a little bit more and get everyone there... Paint Nite

Paint Nite is becoming increasingly popular and I was dying to try it. Having heard about it from work friends and seeing their final products I was so impressed by how fun and easy it sounded. Honestly, their paintings looked like REAL paintings above the 2nd grade level. Just to backtrack, for anyone who doesn't know, Paint Nite is a company that organizes painting classes at local bars. They provide all the materials, an instructor and overall a really great time.

So it was set, we finally planned a girls night out and I was thrilled and not gonna lie a little doubtful about our ability to paint this...

So when we arrived, obviously we beelined to the bar for a glass of wine... come on now, obviously a little happy hour is still needed.  Once we grabbed a drink and got our wits together, we found our seats and got ready to get our paint on. 

I tried to act optimistic, but you can definitely see the doubt in my friend's face. Clearly concerned about our ability to complete the painting listed above in just 6 steps! Yes just 6... that's what the instructor said at the beginning and of course I had to come with the most type A group on earth and none of us could let that go. The panic that our paintings would not look good/ we would miss something immediately set in.

How is my sky?!? Did I do OK?

And after all that stress... I kid not. Yes, it was super fun hanging out with friends and painting... but at the same time I am clearly too OCD/ type A to let go sometimes. haha Maybe this can be another resolution... learn to go with the flow. I guess drinking more wine would have helped too...

In the end, even though we were all stressing, they all turned out surprisingly well.

The girls and our final products... maybe our mothers will hang them on the fridge :)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Mongolian Pork Chops

After my recent trip to Napa with C and our dinner at Mustards Grill, we became obsessed with their famous Mongolian Pork Chops.

They were so good C began to gobble them up before I could even snap a pic!

Along with the pork chops, we grabbed up their amazing onion straws which came out in a heaping pile!

As we are serious foodies, once we got home we had to recreate it ourselves. Lucky for us, my mother has a Mustards Grill cookbook making it easy for us to recreate. If you don't happen to have the cookbook lying around, you can find a very similar one online here- Recipe

So with the long holiday, we got a cooking... or let me say C got a cooking. I did what I do best, opened some AMAZING Napa wine and read another very famous Napa restaurant's cookbook... The French Laundry cookbook. 

Lucky for me, C knows his way around the kitchen so he was in charge of the pork chops. After letting him slave in the kitchen for awhile, I finally decide to do more than sit there and look pretty and quickly whipped up some greens. 

The pork chop recipe seems pretty involved with the long list of ingredients, but it was actually pretty easy. Our efforts definitely paid off, as it turned out just as good as I remember. Also note, that just like our time at Mustards, bites were taken before I could snap the pic... I'm sorry! I couldn't help it, it was just too good! 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Cien Montaditos

Although New York was experiencing historic lows for this time of year, nothing could stop me from making the journey down to Cien Montaditos in GreenwichVillage this weekend.

I first was introduced to this montadito chain while studying abroad in Spain and I could not be happier that they made the jump to the US. These montaditos or little sandwiches are amazing! For such a simple concept this restaurant really knows how to pack a punch and keep the Spanish flair. Check out our selections below.

Some of the best french fries I have had in a long time with two amazing sauces! Lucky for me C liked the red one cause I loved the white one... and I wasn't too willing to share!

After returning from Spain there was one thing that I missed most... well maybe after the culture, city, people, spirit, adventures, friends, and travel...and that would be the Tinto de Verano. Tinto de Verano is simply a red wine with either lemonade or sprite. Now I know what all the wine enthusiasts are thinking right now... really?!? watering down the wine?!?... but trust me this is the most refreshing, delightful summer drink around. Now even though it was the dead of winter in NY and hovering below freezing, I couldn't pass up the chance to get my hands on this again. 

Behold Tinto de Verano, just as good as I remember!

After lunch and a few tintos, we decided to head out for a walk around Madison Square Park. With the recent storm, the entire park was buried under a layer of fluffy white snow!

I know Christmas is well passed but I just love this tree! Isn't it amazing! I'm so glad that I was able to come down and see it before it was taken down. I was so busy prior to the holiday's that I missed out on a lot of the cities holiday traditions and as a huge lover of the holidays, I was just thrilled to be able to see this tree all lit up with the snow!

Can't wait to head back to Cien Montaditos... I have a feeling the Tinto will be drawing me back in very soon!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Pinots and Pistols

I feel like it has been a whirlwind these past few weeks. From wrapping up the holiday's to flying back to the city and jumping right into the New Years celebrations, I haven't had a chance to keep up the blog... so I thought I would just back track and give everyone an update on my time in California.

I always love going home simply because there is so much to do, especially with the perfect weather that we had over the Christmas holiday! Seeing as I had more time at home than usual, I was able to do some of the fun things in town. Besides the standard beach trips, which I love (especially seeing as I never see the sunlight back in New York), I was able to go wine tasting in the Valley with my best friend. The Valley has so many wineries which makes it so much fun to wander around, enjoy the ever perfect weather and to just hang out. Gives you something different to do.

We started out at Cowgirl winery with the most amazing outdoor seating area. Going here first was great because it pairs up with its sister restaurant to provide wonderful wood fired pizzas that are delivered directly to the winery, helping us keep our whits about us for the day ahead.

This was the cutest truck that actually had a table in the bed of the truck that you can wine taste in. 

Margarita Pizza

Spicy Sausage Pizza

After spending lunch time at Cowgirl, we travelled on to about four other wineries which were all super fun and just a great relaxing time. My favorite was Boekenoogen Winery. They had the absolute best Pinot's and I loved the tasting room. As the wines are on the pricier side... still totally worth it... I was thrilled to discover that my family actually had received a bottle as a Christmas gift and helped myself to more than my fair share.  

To carry on the best friend outings the next day we decided to head out further into the Valley to practice our shooting. Although my family is not big into guns or any sort of target practice, it was so fun to go out with my friend and her family. We drove out to the farm lands and entered a field full of cows.

Look how cute the cows are!

Actually not so cute when they are running at you expecting food! Why are they so big!

After sneaking past the cows we hit up the shooting range. This was a separate area away from the main field, aka no cows were injured during our target practice, which had some general targets set up for us to hit. At the beginning I do admit it was hard for me to hit anything, but I picked it up pretty fast and soon I was a regular Annie Oakley. 

Empty canisters. 

Like a pro!

The dogs were a little afraid of all the noise and spent most of the day hiding out in the truck. What tough guys huh!

We promise we didn't plan this!

Special thanks to my best friend for the great photos from the range! Can't wait to do it again soon!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Cozying up with Hercules

I absolutely love the snow, especially first thing in the morning when you look out your window to discover the ground covered in perfectly white snow. It reminds me of my childhood, running outside with my sisters to go sledding down our hill or to have snowball fights. Seeing as I live in the city now, the snow doesn't stay perfectly white for long, so you have to catch it early in the morning.

Today was one of those days! Winter storm Hercules... great name huh... hit the city last night and waking up this morning in a winter wonderland was rather enjoyable. In order to prep for the storm I decided that a comforting bowl of soup was in order. So I whipped up a roasted red pepper soup with quinoa salsa.

What you'll need:

4 Roasted Red Bell Peppers, quartered
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Onion, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, sliced 
Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
3 Cups Vegetable Stock
Salt to Taste
1 Cup Cooked Quinoa
1/4 Red Onion (small), chopped
1 Avocado, diced
2 Tbsp Cilantro, chopped
1 Tomato, chopped
Lime Wedge to serve


Roasted Red Peppers at home- 
To roast the peppers you can either place them in the broiler or you can use tongs and hold the peppers over the stove top open flame. I prefer to use the broiler as it is easier and faster. For the broiler method, turn the broiler on to 375. While the broiler is heating up, quarter the peppers and remove the seeds and pith. Arrange the peppers on the sheet pan with the skins facing up. Place the pan in the oven and let them cook for about 10 min, but keep an eye on them as they are quick to burn. Once they are all lightly charred on the outside, remove from the oven and let cool before handling. Once cooled, use a pairing knife to remove the skins off of the peppers. By removing the skins, it gives the soup a smoother texture and keeps the smokey flavor. 

For the Soup-
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and heat until the onion is translucent (about 6 min). Add the roasted red peppers and stock. Bring to a boil; then simmer for 10 minutes. 

Let the soup cool slightly, then transfer to a food processor or blender and blend till smooth. Reheat after blending and season with salt.

Mix together the quinoa, red onion, avocado, cilantro, tomato and season with salt. To serve, divide the soup into 4 bowls and top with quinoa salsa and a squeeze of lime. 

This soup was derived from the Martha Stewart Meatless Cookbook recipe.