Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pumpkin Cookies

What is the best way to spend your Halloween?
A. Watch your friends Devon and Luke try to make a flour explosion in a backyard
B. Bake pumpkin cookies and drink soy eggnog
C. Watch Gothika
Answer: All of the above!

I stumbled upon this pumpkin recipe on the Internet. These cookies are seriously amazing! They are so soft, almost like pumpkin cake. Jeff has already requested that I make this into a cake with cream cheese frosting. I have no problems doing so because I want to make these again!
By the way, have you ever tried Silk (soy) eggnog? I thought it would be gross and 'healhty' tasting but it wasn't at all. It still had that thick eggnog flavor with a lot less sugar/calories/fat.

Monday, November 29, 2010


And this is it...the last post from California. How could I go to CA and not try In-N-Out? We walked in and I told Jeff I would need a few minutes to look over the menu and decide, he then proceeded to look at my strangely and point out the obvious, "there are only three choices Jenna, it can't really be that hard." I didn't realize that In-N-Out kept it simple and stuck to what they were good at: a hamburger, a cheeseburger and a double cheeseburger (fries as well, of course).

We decided to get the full effect...two doubles, two fries, two drinks, BAM! In-N-Out has good quality food as far as fast food goes, they try to keep most of the processes in house and serve fresh cut fries! I definitely noticed a difference in this burger. Unfortunately, my stomach did not agree but Jeff offered to drive the whole way and let me rest when I needed to.

Goodbye California, we had a great time and we will visit again!

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Caprice

This was hands down the best restaurant of our trip. The food was good but the view made this night absolutely unforgettable. The Caprice is a restaurant in Tiburon...across the bay from the Golden Gate bridge. If you would like to stare across the water at the bridge as the sun sets while eating really good food, please come here! Thank you so much to my dad for this recommendation!
So here is our table up against a window, looking at the bridge

Some sort of green concoction with Madori liqueur in it.
Looking great, as always!
Ahh, I am wearing black and grey...what a surprise!
The restaurant was pretty small which allowed for almost every table to have a view of the bridge.
So here is where it gets good. The bridge, the sun setting and a few local fisherman...beautiful!
Jeff chose our wine and it was so good. A really crisp white, not to sweet or acidic.
Another view of the sunset. So calming!
The City
Jeff ordered escargot. Yuck! I will admit I tried some and it actually tasted really good but I could not get over the texture thing.
Since Fall rolled around I was craving butternut squash soup. The spider-web design was beautiful.
Night on the city
Pork Medallions and potatoes sides. I will admit the dinner was not the best thing I have ever had, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Best dining experience I have ever had :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010


After a beautiful tour of Muir Woods, home of some redwood trees, Jeff and I were ready for some food. Our host, Marcia, recommended Dipsea as a good place to eat and we were glad we tried this comforting country cafe.

Water, water everywhere in CA.
I felt like this is a place where everyone knows your name. Very quint.
Chocolate malt...Jeff's favorite!
Jeff got the Reuben with salad instead of fries (way to make me look bad!)
I had a turkey and caramelized onion sandwich with fries, of course!

And by the way...HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I hope you are wearing your stretchy pants

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Oranges and Eggs

I realize that this breakfast is really nothing special. Eggs and oranges; but the serenity of this picture makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Poor Pairing

Baseball, a nice glass of wine and....caramel corn? What the heck was I thinking? Congrats to the S.F. Giants for winning the World Series (shouldn't it really be called the U.S. Series...just saying). What are odd food or drink pairings you make?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gelato - Ferry Building

Happy Monday to you. Has anyone been to the Ferry Building in San Francisco? It really is a pretty neat place to eat. It is pretty much an indoor farmer's market with shops and restaurants. They had fresh baked breads, local cheese, grass-fed beef and GELATO! Yum! Now I can't remember what Jeff got, but mine (the bottom picture) was a malt ball flavored. Amazing, right? The flavor of malt balls with a few actually malt balls to add texture.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Italian Night

Happy Friday!
Is anyone going to see Harry Potter tonight? I am going tomorrow and I can't wait!

Last Friday I hosted an Italian night at my house to get through some of the recipes that are hard on my stomach. Jeff and I cooked through most of the recipes Thursday, so Friday was a breeze. There were two crock pots going and two dishes ready to go that just had to be thrown in the oven. We ended up with about 12 people, all chatting, drinking vino and scotch, eating some good Italian eats and generally having a good time. The best part of the evening is when my guy friends decided that they were going to ban me from the kitchen and put the food in tupperware, do the dishes, clean the stove top, and take out the trash. Amazing guys!

The first dish was a lasagna from Rose. I know you are suppose to let lasagna set a little before cutting but I couldn't resit. The blend of spices used in the sauce really makes for a great dish!
Not Your Average Green Salad - from Kathleen. I have a feeling that this is one of those recipes when someone had a fridge full of random items they needed to use up. It is kind of a kitchen sink recipe but all of the ingredients go so well together.
Stuffed Flank Steak - from Rose. This recipe was so good and so easy to make. You just buy a flank steak, make a simple filling, put it in a crock pot and let it cook. The meat was so tender and full of flavor from the Italian bread-crumbs. This was the only dish that was completely gone by the end of the party (and we even had 3 vegetarians!)
Eggplant Parmigiana - from Rose. I have actually never had Eggplant Parmigiana and I was really happy I got to try some. The Eggplant is fried in breadcrumbs and then baked in a homemade sauce with cheese and homemade meatballs, sounds great right? I was also really pleased to learn how to make a meatball. They are SO simple and I am wondering why I haven't been making meatballs all along.
Baked Mostaccioli - From Aunt Jean. So once again, I made some mistakes. I had never heard of mostaccioli, so I assumed (you know what happens when you assume) that perhaps it was just a spelling error and it was actually manicotti. So I go to the store, buy manicotti noodles and get started on the recipe. I read through it and realized that nowhere does it say stuff pasta...so I got to thinking, maybe this isn't manicotti. I googled mostaccioli and it turned out that it is a fancy name for penne pasta. Jeff was already out and about picking up dinner, so I called him and asked if he could grab some penne...crisis averted!
Not in the recipe book (because it is just beer) but I thought the foam on the top was just amazing looking.

Thank you to Jeff for putting up with an extra trip to the store, being there to do half of the cooking and prep, picking up dinner on Thursday, suggesting to put the meatballs on the cookie sheet instead of in "a thousand" tupperware like I wanted, and keeping me sane.

Thank you to Ryan for bringing me such a nice scotch to drink, cleaning up and just being a really nice guy.

Thank you Kevin, Mike and Pat for cleaning up. You guys are the best! For real :)

• 1 large can crushed tomatoes
• 1 can tomato sauce (approx. 15 oz)
• 1 can tomato paste (approx. 12 oz)
• Season to taste with onion, garlic, oregano, parsley, basil, thyme, rosemary and bay leaves.
• 1 large pkg. whole milk ricotta (24 oz)
• 1 small pkg. skim milk ricotta (15 oz)
• 4 eggs
• ½ lb mozzarella cheese (½ lb more for layers)
• Salt, pepper, garlic and onion to taste
Mix 1 large package of whole milk ricotta (24 oz) and one small package of skim milk ricotta (15 oz)with four eggs, ½ lb mozzarella cheese, and salt, pepper, garlic and onion to taste. Spray 9 x 13 pan with olive oil. Spoon sauce into the bottom of the pan. Place cooked lasagna noodles in pan, cover with sauce and sprinkle with parmesan (or Romano or mixture of both). Add ricotta filling. Sprinkle mozzarella over the filling. Add a second layer of lasagna noodle; cover with sauce and sprinkle with cheese as above. Add third and final layer of lasagna noodles; cover with sauce and sprinkle with cheese as above. Bake approximately 1 hour at 350 degrees (325 if baking in glass). Cover with non-stick aluminum foil as necessary. Note: Use a total of 1 lb of mozzarella--½ lb in filling and ¼ lb sprinkled on top of each of the two layers of filling.

Not your average Green Salad
• Spring Mix Package (salad only)
• Cabbage (sliced thin) You can also use the packaged cabbage for coleslaw
• Angel Hair Pasta
• Basil
• Cilantro
• Grape tomatoes
• Pine Nuts
• Red Onion
• Paul Newman’s Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
Mix all the ingredients together in the amounts that appeal to you. Enjoy!

Stuffed Flank Steak

• Italian Breadcrumbs
• Milk
• Flank Steak
• Beefy Mushroom or onion soup mix
• Toothpicks
Wet Italian breadcrumbs with milk. Place in the center of flank steak. Roll the flank steak and secure with toothpicks. Place in crock-pot with beefy mushroom or onion soup mix. Add water to almost cover the meat. Cook until tender (6 to 8 hrs on low depending upon size).

Eggplant Parmigiana
• 1 large can crushed tomatoes
• 1 can tomato sauce (approx. 15 oz)
• 1 can tomato paste (approx. 12 oz)
• Season to taste with onion, garlic, oregano, parsley, basil, thyme, rosemary and bay leaves.
• 1 lb ground beef or turkey
• 1 egg
• breadcrumbs
Mix in 1 egg. Shape into meatballs. Roll in Italian bread crumbs. Cook sauce and meatballs in crock pot on low for approximately 6 hours.
• Eggplant
• Egg
• Italian Bread Crumbs
• Olive oil
• Mozzarella
Peel and slice eggplant. Soak in salt water for ½ hour. Put a bowl on top to keep down. Remove from water and pat dry. Dip slices into egg and Italian bread crumbs. Fry in olive oil. Place on paper towel to absorb excess oil. Arrange in layers. Cover each layer with sauce and mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 degrees (325 if baking in glass). Cover with non-stick aluminum foil as necessary.

Baked Mostaccioli
• 3 jars spaghetti sauce
• 1 lb Mostaccioli
• 2 eggs
• 1 lb mozzarella cheese
• 1 lb ricotta cheese
• 1 cup parmesan cheese
• 2 Tbsp. oregano
Boil Mostaccioli for 5-6 minutes, drain, place in 9x12in baking pan (spray with pam). Mix ricotta cheese with egg – ½ cup parmesan and oregano – then mix in with the pasta, mix thoroughly – then pour in spaghetti sauce – mix ‘til no longer orange looking – it will be soupy. Grate the mozzarella cheese over you pasta, sprinkle remaining parmesan over the pasta. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350°F for one hour. (if you want to freeze, do it before baking and thaw completely prior to cooking).

Thursday, November 18, 2010

City View - Dim Sum

Jeff and I wandered around China town in an effort to find some good Dim Sum. There were TONS of places but I wanted to make sure our Dim Sum experience was a good one. We ended up walking into a hotel and asking the concierge what the best place to go was. He said hands down City View.
Dim Sum restaurants are a little different. You sit down and they bring by carts full of food for you to choose from. Often times you have no idea what the food is, then you ask, and you still have no idea what the food is. The whole process is quite an experience and you have to stay flexible and be open to try new foods.
Then they stamp a price area and you pay when you leave
Pork Buns...one of my favorite dishes!
The inside of the bun
Chive and Shrimp dumplings
An inside view
Egg Rolls - A classic.
Jasmine rice in a lotus leaf.
A very interesting presentation, the result was a very thick, flavorful rice.
So this was one of those things I thought I would never try...SHARK FIN. It was interesting in texture (stringy) and had a unique taste. Jeff liked it but I don't think I will be having more...ever.
Haha Glutinous Puff...perhaps not the best thing for me to order
But of course, I did it anyway!
It was filled with some kind of vegetable...unknown to me, perhaps Taro
So these steamed pork dumplings were the one thing I had to have and we could not find them! I made person after person with the carts stop so I could look at their loot. I finally found them :)
And dessert - Sesame balls. Jeff was so excited about these, he could have ordered 20 of them, but I wouldn't let him.
They were filled with some kind of caramel/almond paste.