Weekly Menu: September 28 – October 4, 2014

Disappearing Zucchini Orzo with Grilled Shrimp

Sunday: Beef Wellington Bites with Red Wine Rosemary Dipping Sauce
Monday: Disappearing Zucchini Orzo with Grilled Shrimp
Tuesday: Leftovers: Beef Wellington Bites 
Wednesday: Leftovers: Orzo with Grilled Shrimp
Thursday: Leftovers: Orzo with Grilled Shrimp
Friday: Camping in Tahoe!!
Saturday: Camping in Tahoe!! 
This is going to be a yummy yet simple week leading up to a weekend of spectacular fall camping in Tahoe, which I'm super excited about! Starting the week off, I'll be making my second Omaha Steaks meal for my guest  post on SteakBytes.com.  They wanted a spin on a tailgating at home dish so I decided to take their Beef Wellington and turn it into Beef Wellington Bites to serve alongside a yummy Red Wine Rosemary Dipping Sauce.  Of course you can also just cook up Beef Wellington normally and drizzle the sauce over it.  I've made this sauce before and it's delicious...only difference is that I mince the garlic and rosemary and leave it in the sauce vs. leaving them whole and taking them out at the end. I also typically half the recipe since I don't need as much. I'll likely serve alongside a garlicky green vegetable...maybe brussel sprouts or peas depending on what I'm in the mood for on Sunday.  Peas seem so much more fitting for Beef Wellington despite the fact that they're not currently in season.

I'll round out the week with an old summer staple...Disappearing Zucchini Orzo with Grilled Shrimp.  I know it's not summer anymore, but I froze some extra shredded zucchini I had from a Farmer's Market run a while back so I'm going to use that up here.  I like that this dish is a bit lighter to contrast the beef wellington as well.  Then off for a weekend of fun camping in Tahoe! Brats, fajitas, grilled corn and more all cooked over the fire...and of course, lots of S'Mores!

As always, if you need a few more recipes  visit my menu archives and recipes to find other meals to round out your week. Happy cooking...
Weekly Menu: September 21-27, 2014
Sunday: Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin with Pineapple Fried Rice
Monday: Leftovers: Tenderloin & Fried Rice
Tuesday: Leftovers: Chicken & Chickpea Stew
Wednesday: Leftovers: Tenderloin & Fried Rice 
Thursday: Leftovers: Chicken & Chickpea Stew
Friday: Dinner Out
Saturday: Easy DIY dinner before going out
I got a little delayed last week, so to start off this week I'm cooking up my first Omaha Steaks product, Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin for my first blog post.  I'm creating a farewell to Summer meal and making the teriyaki pork tenderloin alongside some pineapple fried rice. I'm likely just going to make up my own fried recipe depending on what I have in the house, but I linked to a Food Network recipe for those interested in using a precise one.  Although I encourage you to get creative...fried rice is very forgiving and a great way to get creative and use up what you have on hand! A little taste of Hawaii as I say Aloha to an amazingly fabulous summer.  I'm rounding out the rest of the week with some leftovers I have in the freezer because I'm realizing after only my first Omaha Steaks shipment I'm going to need to free up some freezer space!

As always, if you need a few more recipes  visit my menu archives and recipes to find other meals to round out your week. Happy cooking/eating...
Namu Gaji – My New Favorite Restaurant

Uni

Wow.  Have I found a jewel here in this great food city of ours! Now, to be clear, I haven't really "found" it...Namu Gaji has been in existence for quite a while but somehow I've never been and I feel like you just don't hear about it all that often anymore.  But this place - Blows. Me. Away.  It's one of those places that makes me stop, pause and moan a little after the first bite of each dish. So much so that the staff notices and pays me lots of extra attention because they can tell just how much I'm enjoying their food.  And who doesn't love that kind of patron?! Did all of this melodrama and attention annoy my date?  Probably. But it was a bad date right from the start so I turned my focus to the food...which in turn helped the sous chef turn his attention to me since we were sitting with him at the Chef's Bar.  Way to turn a bad date into a fabulous experience!

Namu Gaji is family run by three brothers and they source many of their ingredients from their own Namu farm.  They classify themselves as New Korean American cuisine.  On their site they refer to themselves as "humble, innovative and personal" and I couldn't agree more  For a slightly more expensive restaurant that serves up some of the most beautiful platings I've seen it is also extremely unpretentious, warm and welcoming.  Even on my first visit I felt comfortable enough on a busy Saturday night to hold up staff for extended chats like they were old friends.  That is rare to find in this city that isn't exactly known for it's service. The people working here truly enjoy their craft and are in this business to bring pleasure to others through their food...so much so that I got a surprise freebie, special dish made for me on both visits simply because they could see my raw appreciation of their work.  I'm not saying to expect that, but wow.  Making me feel that they love me as much as I love them?  Good move and amazing customer service.

Now, I'm going to walk you through each dish...and there are a lot of them! But that's because I've been waxing on so much about this place that my friend decided to bring me back for a belated birthday dinner about a week after my first dinner here. And even still I'm missing a few dishes (like the delish real Korean taco they have at happy hour and the amuse bouche from each visit) that we forgot to snap pictures of before devouring!

So first up...the photo that starts this blog post. Uni. Buckwheat lavash, kumquat, mustard seed, egg white, pistou and of course, uni. This is the dish that made the sous chef and I buddies.  Why?  Because after my first bite and food orgasm sounds, I stopped and said, "Wow.  THIS is sex on a plate."  And I continued to repeat that to every staff member who asked how I liked it.  Little did I know the sous chef responsible for this dish, Mark Zawiski, was right in front of me and overheard this lavish compliment.  This works out in my favor later!

OysterThis next dish is Oyster.  Oysters with uni and panko breadcrumbs.  I got this on my second visit...but only because they had temporarily taken my Uni dish off the menu.  What?!  That's the dish I couldn't stop talking about! I teased the chef..."Wait, I call it sex on a plate and you take it OFF the menu?  I think you should have renamed it on the menu!"  He loved that and apologized and said it would be back on the menu tomorrow.  I pouted as big as I could and ordered the oyster dish since it at least had some uni in it.  While this was nowhere near as good as the true Uni dish, it was delightful and would be divine on a good first date.  Some of the oysters were a bit too big so they overtook the delicate uni flavor but on the ones where the ratio was right it was delicious.

But wait!  As I'm pouting about Uni being off the menu that crafty sous chef Zawiski is sneaking around right in front of me and making it up special for Katherine and I.  Imagine my delight and surprise when it gets brought over to us! Seriously, this is only my second visit here and I feel like a regular and special guest all at the same time. That's hard to pull off and so rare.  Man I love this Uni dish and Katherine did too!

Weekly Menu: September 14-20, 2014
Sunday: Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe
Monday: Leftovers: Orecchiette
Tuesday: Dinner Out
Wednesday: Leftovers: Orecchiette 
Thursday: Board Meeting
Friday: Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin with Pineapple Fried Rice
Saturday: Gala on the USS Hornet!
Fall is in the air, so I'm pulling out one of my old comfort food favorites this week...Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe. Being the singleton that I am it will help feed me most of the week whenever I'm home which is fantastic! But later in the week I'm getting my first Omaha Steaks shipment in which included Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin.  So I'm going to create a farewell to Summer meal and make pork tenderloin alongside some pineapple fried rice. I'm likely just going to make up my own fried recipe depending on what I have in the house, but I linked to a Food Network recipe for those interested in using a proven one.  A little taste of Hawaii as I say Aloha to an amazingly fabulous summer.  I'll, of course, make sure to post a version of my first Omaha Steaks blog post here as well.  Wish me luck!

As always, if you need a few more recipes  visit my menu archives and recipes to find other meals to round out your week. Happy cooking/eating...
Tapas Party!

Tortilla Espanola

I'm part of a lovely rotating monthly ladies dinner party and August was my turn to host...so I decided to forego the traditional sit-down dinner and throw a Tapas Party!  This was particularly fun for me because it allowed me to go down memory lane a bit to when I studied abroad in San Sebastián, Spain and pull out some of my old favorite recipes from my time there that I haven't made in years.  It also gave me the opportunity to really cook a lot...which, yes, is a lot of work, but I truly do enjoy and haven't done in a while.  So what did I make?  Here's a quick rundown with recipe links included...

Tortilla Española...truly no tapas party is complete without this (above).  It is a signature Spanish tapa that you will find at every single tapas bar throughout the country.  While it doesn't sound particularly exciting (essentially a potato & onion omelet), trust me on this one...it's always a huge hit.  This one always feels a bit scary for people to make, review the step by step photo recipe attached in the linked recipe...it's really pretty simple and straightforward if you take it one step at a time.  And just be bold with the flip...own it and it will go perfectly! Traditionally it's served on top of a thin slice of bread but you can eat it on it's own as well (which I prefer).

Shrimp, Salmon and Egg Pintxo - this was my favorite of the entire spread!  Not surprising since it's a pintxo which is the Basque version of tapas and I studied abroad in Basque country.  So this was more reminiscent of the tapas that I ate while living abroad. Slightly more complex and often including amazing seafood.  The viniagrette that you make for this pintxo is to die for and I've been putting it on everything else since (it makes a ton though so you could 1/2 it if you want to). KILLS me that I've lost my pictures of my favorite tapa...guess that means I need to make it again ASAP so I can share the photo!

Pancetta Fig Crisps - ok, I took some liberties with the word "tapa".  This technically isn't Spanish but it is an appetizer that I've made several times and is always a huge hit so I decided to include it. Delish as always.

Pancetta Fig Crisps

Next up a a few "DIY" tapas: