Friday, July 29, 2011

Grilled Edamame

Have you ever had edamame?

I didn't try this glorious bean until I was well into my 20's, but I wish I'd started earlier.  From my basic understanding, edamame is a dish of young, green soybeans that are blanched or steamed in their pods. You sprinkle them liberally with salt, and then undertake the task of squeezing them into your mouth. Some people pop them out of their pods and onto their plates. I'm not feigning delicacy here; I shove the whole pod in my mouth and squeeze out the beans with my teeth. It's the kind of woman I am.

Edamame is one of my go-to side dishes for a plethora of reasons, including:
  1. Edamame taste awesome.
  2. They are frozen in my freezer and ready-to-go at a moment's notice.
  3. Edamame are filled with fabulous nutrients like fiber and protein.  
Recently, the husband and I were doing some grilling, and I had an idea. What if I tossed the edamame on the grill to cook with the meat? Hmmm. Intriguing. 

It was a fun experiment, and the edamame tasted great. They weren't super smokey tasting, but it was fun to try. Next time edamame is on your menu, mix it up and turn on the grill. 

Grilled Edamame

Preheat grill to medium high. Place frozen edamame in the middle of two pieces of aluminum foil layered on top of each other. Pull up the edges of the aluminum foil and pour about 3 tablespoonfuls of water on top of the edamame. 

Crimp the edges of foil to seal them together, creating a little packet. Place foil packet of edamame on the grill. Cook with the lid closed for about 8 minutes. 

Open foil carefully because it will be filled with steam.

Sprinkle edamame liberally with salt and serve hot.  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Feelings by Lady of the House

It was my sophomore year of high school, and I befriended the phenomenally cool, and oh so foreign exchange student from Germany. Of course she was stuck in the Midwest of all places, but she didn't seem to mind hanging out in basements, loitering at the bowling alley, or waiting in line at McDonald's. One evening, as I stared up at that golden, glowing menu, I proclaimed, "I feel like a milkshake." And the sweet, but totally confused exchange student asked me, "What is it to feel like a milkshake?" We both may never know.

However you're feeling today, here are a few links to take you away for a bit. Enjoy!

*** These paper boxes turn "clutter" into "categorized." Wouldn't they be divine with shortbread tucked inside? Go, have a look at all the pretty options at Smock.

*** Maybe the only thing more fun than enjoying the beautiful wrapping on this soap is tearing it off. Okay, I actually know that for a fact.

*** Can't wait to give one of these bags to each of my September birthday buds. Fabric and Handle serves it up chic and sensible. Yes, please!

{ Lady of the House }

Monday, July 25, 2011

Grilled Corn on the Cob

Did you know that Saturday was National Hot Dog Day? No? Well, by all means, put it in your day planner for 2012. July 23rd...don't forget.

I recognize that hot dogs are a sensitive topic. As they read this post, non-hot-dog-eaters are probably thinking, "Do you know what's IN those things?" (No.) Hot dog connoisseurs, however, are probably wondering what brand I went with. (Nathan's.) People who grew up going to Wrigley Field are probably hoping beyond hope that my dog was dressed with nothing but yellow mustard. (Sorry, I'm a ketchup and sweet pickle relish gal.)

Because I love hot dogs and any excuse to have a get-together, the husband and I called a few friends over for a weenie roast in honor of National Hot Dog Day. As an easy side dish, we tossed a few ears of corn on the grill. I have seen, read, and heard of a million ways to grill corn. The method the husband and I follow may not impart the most smokey flavor, but it's really easy. And when you're too busy drinking beers and playing bean bags to make a fussy vegetable, this can't be beat.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

Preheat grill to medium-high. Remove the husks and silk from fresh ears of corn on the cob. Roll each ear separately in a sheet of aluminum foil, twisting the ends to seal. (The result will look like a piece of candy! Mmmm.)

Place corn on the grill. Grill with the lid closed for about 10 minutes, until corn is cooked through, rotating a few times so it cooks evenly. 

Let your guests unwrap the corn, because it's easier than unwrapping it all yourself. (But if anyone asks, tell him it's so the corn stays warm.) Serve with lots of salt, pepper, and butter. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pan Seared Tilapia with Lemon & Browned Butter

When I made glazed tilapia recently, I thought it was really tasty. "Oh, man, this is so good. Absolutely delicious. Wow. I mean, the combo of the fish and the sauce...Oh, man. Mmm. Geez, this is good." Maybe I should have toned down my ooh-ing and aah-ing, because the husband wasn't quite as enamored as I was.

"Well, I think I'm more of a tilapia-seared-in-butter kind of guy," he said.

Fair. The man likes his fish crispy and buttery. I can handle that. I'll still force him to endure glazed tilapia sometimes (because it really was awesome), but I felt challenged to create a husband-approved dinner.

Not being one to back down from a food challenge, I snagged two more tilapia fillets and set to work.  Flour and butter made it crispy, lemon added a bit of pizzazz. The husband seemed to enjoy this new tilapia very much. When I asked him for a quote to confirm its excellence, he said, "So you can put it on your blog and embarrass me?" Then he paused. I'm pretty sure he realized I held the tilapia recipe as leverage. "But it was flaky and good," he conceded.

He must really love me to let me embarrass him like this.

Pan Seared Tilapia with Lemon & Browned Butter
Serves: 2

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tilapia fillets, about 6 ounces each
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablepsoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Heat oil in a non-stick pan over medium high heat. Season tilapia with salt and pepper. Dust with flour and pat off excess. Add tilapia to the pan and saute for about 4 minutes, until the first side has a golden brown crust. Flip tilapia and saute for 3-4 minutes longer, until the second side has a golden brown crust. Add butter to the pan. Wait until the foaming and bubbling subsides, then add the lemon juice and parsley. Swirl the pan to combine. Plate the fish and pour the pan sauce over it to serve.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Do Give Me a Call by Lady of the House

I'm in a completely new phase of life, I've realized. And with any change comes an introduction to a slew of new people you hadn't otherwise encountered. I was sorely unprepared to exchange information at a party last weekend. In fact, I resorted to my husband's iPhone to jot down a new friend's digits. How tacky! Well, not as tacky as the sound of my own voice, repeating the spelling of my last name while she scrawled my email address on a deposit slip in her checkbook.

We've all been there, but it isn't glamorous or necessary, and I'm determined not to let this happen again. Thankfully, as I type, my new calling cards are in the works. I am absolutely giddy with the thought of custom printed cards I'll be able to hand out here, there and everywhere, but I do realize some of you are snorting and tisking as you read this. How Stepford!, you might be remarking. And while I'm sort of dying to hear your thoughts on what some might deem a dilapidated and useless tradition, I'll beg you to hear me out. (But please do comment, my dears.)

First of all, I'm not on Facebook, surprise surprise. So I don't fall into the category of, "Just Facebook me." (And I probably never will.) Secondly, there's enough texting and tapping of phones, that I do believe perhaps a bit of paper is a welcome, dare I say sturdy and fashionable way to give someone a way to contact you. 'Cuz here's the deal, my mobile and email address are the only things on there, so it's not as if I'm not asking the recipient of my card to post me a letter, or even drop it off by horse and carriage. This is merely a brief pause before we jump back into technical land. (Yes, I just called it Technical Land.) Finally, a calling card allows you a way to carve out your individual taste and style, print it on yummy cardstock and leave your new friends with a small token. And there I go again, so hopelessly sentimental and old-fashioned.

If I've convinced anyone of their need, do take a moment to check out some of the following designs. I'm guessing once you get a glimpse, you'll be on board. They really are too cool not to have in your back pocket. Trust me.

This is the one I ordered. (Yes, Erin. I'm sending you one for your bulletin board. Mwah!)

Rifle Paper Co. aims to please with a line-up of personalized and downright hilarious calling cards. This botanical one is a good entree to Anna's dead-on, quirky style. (If anyone goes for her personalized portrait, will you please do me the honor of sending me one for MY bulletin board?)

Plain, simple, fully customized and super cool. Check 'em out!

And now, for some serious deliberating and work evasion, I give you this to wade through.

{ Lady of the House }

Monday, July 18, 2011

Dill Tuna Salad

In Milwaukee, we're expecting weather in the 90's for the next few days. And I've heard that many of you in other parts of the country are sweating even more. Now, don't get me wrong, I loooooove hot weather, but I'm not into heating up my kitchen when it feels enough like an oven outside.

That's when I turn to easy, fast favorites like tuna salad. Sounds boring, right? Well, it's just not. Forget the staid salad of your past; stir in a smidge of dill from the herb pot on your back porch. Squeeze in a little lemon to brighten things up. Oh, and you say you've got some snap peas from the farmer's market? Well, wouldn't a pop of green be lovely mixed with your tuna?

The recipe below is the tuna salad I came up with based on the ingredients at my house. Don't have dill? Switch to parsley. And maybe you need to make room in your freezer for another carton of Ben & Jerry's. If that's the case, feel free to toss in some (thawed) frozen peas instead of the snap peas. ('Cause nothing cools you off quite like ice cream.)

Give this recipe a whirl, or make your own rendition. And let us know how it turns out over on our Facebook page!

Dill Tuna Salad
Serves: 4

2 cups snap peas, trimmed and sliced in thirds
2 cups cooked and cooled small pasta (such as bow-tie pasta)
1 (6-7 ounce) can tuna
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Zest from one lemon
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Bring about 6 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Meanwhile, fill a separate bowl with very cold water and ice cubes. Place the snap peas in the boiling water for 1.5 minutes, until they turn bright green. Immediately transfer the snap peas to the ice water and allow them to cool. Once cooled, drain the snap peas.

In a large bowl, combine cooked and cooled snap peas, pasta, and tuna.

In a separate bowl, mix together mayo, sour cream, dill, lemon zest, and lemon juice.

Add to the bowl with the pasta and stir gently to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Lime Cilantro Marinade

Last Saturday, the husband hosted a small get-together for his buddy who's getting married tomorrow. All the boys came to our place to toss bean bags, eat good food, and drink some beers. The bachelor requested one thing...beef. With some sort of marinade. Preferably including lime and cilantro.

The husband really wanted to marinade the meat for a full 24-hours, so on Friday night we headed on a romantic date to Costco. We picked up flank steak, the biggest bag of limes I've ever seen, and a couple pieces of pizza at the food court. You can't cook on an empty stomach, right?

Back at home, the husband whipped up a gorgeous marinade. I might have weighed in with a few suggestions, but he gets all the credit for this one.

Since I made sure I was far, far away from the house before the bachelor party got into full swing, I don't have a picture of the finished, grilled steak to share with you. But you can take the husband's word that it was absolutely delicious. He grilled it over medium-high heat for a few minutes on each side until the center was medium-rare. Try it yourself, and let me know what you think!

Lime Cilantro Marinade
From: The genius mind of my husband
This will make enough to marinade about three pounds of flank steak, so feel free to scale it back.

Juice from 5 limes
6 garlic cloves, chopped fine
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
2/3 cup chopped cilantro (one large bunch)
1/2 cup canola oil
Salt and pepper

Whisk together all ingredients in a large dish or gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Add meat and turn to coat. Marinade up to 24 hours, turning the meat occasionally to ensure it remains coated.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

For Rent by Lady of the House

I've been watching too many food-related documentaries lately. You know, the scary ones that tell of land shortage, soil depletion, genetically modified crops and a slew of other gruesome details that leave you hungry and confused on the sofa? The over-arching theme of each film I've seen is that Americans are eating less actual food than ever, and we're paying for it. So, I've decided to make some necessary changes, slowly. (More on that in posts to come.)

My first endeavor was, I realized, an expensive one. After watching Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, I just had to have a juicer. And then in my search, of course, I just had to have the exclusive version Williams Sonoma and Breville just introduced. Well, that's not happening at close to $400!

And then I did a strange thing...I typed in "juicer for rent SF" and, in the way I stumble upon most of what I do online, there before my very eyes was my juicer, and a wonderful new website to share with you:

You guys, this is too much fun. You just type in what you're looking for and your zip code, and if it's out there, you can contact the owner. Punch bowl? Huge table for Thanksgiving? Baby toys for your visiting nephew? You name it. And if it isn't showing up, you send a request and people will contact you if they can help. Hey, and while you're perusing other people's stuff, don't forget to post your own. Yes, you could be making money on that trampoline you used to jump on in the 80's!

I'm picking up my juicer tomorrow for a cool $6 a week. I'll be toasting Rentalic and my health, okay and soil depletion! Cheers!

{ Lady of the House }

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I'm Not Cooking Today

If you go on a bike ride with your husband and one of his buddies, you might fall off your bike and turn your knee. But you might continue the bike ride in hopes of stopping at the new frozen yogurt shop. You might get a healthy frozen yogurt and top it with cookie dough and heath bar chunks. And you might be glad you did.

When you get home from your bike ride, you might realize that your knee hurts more than you thought. And when you're clean-dancing, you might not be able to get as low as you'd like when "How Low" plays on Pandora. You might tell your husband how upsetting this is, and he might look at you like a crazy person.

By the next morning, your knee might be swollen up like a cantaloupe. So you might lay on the couch all day reading and watching TV. You might only "cook" things that require as little hobbling as possible, such as PB&J sandwiches, cereal, and ice cream. And you might plan on doing that for several more days.

And you might not have any guilt about it at all.

Don't forget to wear your bike helmets, everyone. It's better to twist your knee than your face.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Seared Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese Dressing

My pal Therese, of co-op dinner fame, shared with me a recipe for a gorgeous salad the other day. I was pretty pumped to check it out because it called for goat cheese. I think I've been pretty clear about my feelings for goat cheese; it makes me feel weak in the knees.

After work, I swung over to the grocery store to pick up a few last minute ingredients for the salad. I needed:

  1. Lettuce. That one was easy. I got whatever lettuce was on sale.
  2. Chicken Cutlets. Less easy. They didn't have chicken cutlets that day, so I asked the butcher to slice a couple chicken breasts in half for me. I should have been a bit more clear, because I got chicken fingers instead of chicken cutlets. Eh, oh well. Chicken tastes like chicken no matter what shape it's in.
  3. Cherries. $7.99 a pound. I bought plums instead. Why? Because they were on sale. That's how I roll.
My pal, Jill, came over to cook with me, and we used what we had (in other words, not cherries) to pull this salad together. It was good. Since we were having girl time in the dining room, we sent a plate down to the husband in the basement, and he liked it, too. So there you have it: a delicious salad, girlfriend- and husband-approved.

Seared Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese Dressing
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Serves: 4

1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese (about 2 ounces)
2 tablespoons chopped chives
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons water
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound chicken cutlets
3 plums, thinly sliced
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup toasted, chopped walnuts

In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream, goat cheese, chives, vinegar, and water. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees, about 3 minutes per side. Slice chicken into thin strips crosswise.

Divide lettuce among four plates. Even distribute chicken, plums, cranberries, and walnuts on top of lettuce. Top with dressing and serve.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Turn it Up! by Lady of the House

I grew up on Paul Simon, James Taylor and the Beatles. The first concert I ever saw was Phil Collins. I have been teased for a particularly bright Bonaroo t-shirt, and at college in southern California I DID randomly bump into my brother at a Phish show. I may still argue the best way to listen to Super Tramp's Breakfast in America is flat on the floor with head phones and all the understanding of an 8 year-old. (Yes, I have memories of my mom laughing at me for singing the lines, "She's not much of a girlfriend. Never seem to get a lot.") You get the gist. But, I still say, nothing tops terrorizing the baby sitter (thanks to my sister's genius with the stereo) with the fabulous cacophony of Paul Simon's Graceland and the subsequent pandemonium of two, tiny little girls dancing their hearts out as they jumped from cushion to cushion, as if to say, "You don't get this. Go home, lady!"

Music is deeply personal, while somehow it does seem to tie us, connect us and weave a sort of fabric, if not a temporary one. It's why I'll always remember taking the doors off my Jeep for the hot days of high school and blasting Zap Mama, Fiona Apple, G-Love and Fleetwood Mac. It's a sort of siren call to a sensitive ear. Sixteen and wondering, if you play it loud enough, will someone hear what you do?

In an effort to harness a bit of those initial feelings of musical exploration and come to grips with the fact that my last family member in California has now moved to the East Coast, I've performed a valuable exercise--I've created the modern-day mix-tape. God bless iTunes for letting us behave like the animals we really are, while making us feel quite slick and technologically advanced. I submit to you (as sort-of gift queen around these parts) a MIX is one of the most thoughtful and wonderful gifts you could give.

My MIX is based on walking, or commuting. And it's hopefully not too melancholy. (I do tend to lean that way. Surprised?) Really the process itself couldn't be easier. Choosing is the difficulty. Give it a try. I'm guessing your recipient will be dazzled by the tracks you're just not sure about, or a bit reluctant to add. And it's so easy. Open iTunes, hang a right under Quick Links, click on Buy iTunes Gifts, and scroll down to Give Specific Music. It's perfect for the graduate, your hubby, or hey, your folks for playing the stuff for you in the first place!

{ Lady of the House }

Monday, July 4, 2011

Steak Tacos

First of all...HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!! We are so blessed to live in a country where we have freedom and independence. And I am so grateful to the men and women who have sacrificed to allow us to have this gift. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Now, a recipe...

If you think waaaay back to Friday, you'll recall that I showed you our delicious steak dinner. I also promised you leftovers. Well, here you go: easy, delicious leftovers.

Steak Tacos
Serves: 2

Leftover grilled steak (about 1/2 pound)
4 corn tortillas
1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

Thinly slice leftover steak across the grain. Heat steak in the microwave at medium heat until it's just warmed through, about 1 minute. (Heating it until it's just warmed through helps to avoid overcooking the steak and making it tough.)

Meanwhile, heat corn tortillas until they're warm and pliable. You can warm them in the microwave, in a skillet, or over a very low flame on your oven. If you chose this last method (like I did), watch your tortillas very carefully or you'll be looking for your fire extinguisher.

Pile steak and cheese into the warm tortillas and serve.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Grilled Sirloin Steak

An important note to all my vegetarian friends and followers: BE WARNED. This is a meaty post. I'm sorry, but sometimes a girl just needs a steak.

The husband and I recently purchased a new grill. Well, ok, maybe it's not exactly new, but it's new to us. We bought it on Craig's List for $70. It's an old Weber gas grill, and we're obsessed with it. We want to grill all the time. We talk about grilling, read books about grilling, and watch grilling on TV. (Actually, the more I think about it, this is pretty standard for me and cooking, but now I'm happy to have the husband on the crazy bandwagon.)

As part of this obsessive activity, we watched some sort of grilling show with Bobby Flay. Before Bobby (yeah, we're on a first name basis) threw his steaks on the BBQ, he oiled them and then seasoned them with salt, pepper, and...nothing else. Just a whole lotta salt and pepper. Well, that seems pretty darn easy. 

The husband and I thought we'd try Bobby's technique when top sirloin steak was on sale at the grocery store. I snagged a 1.5 pound slab of beef, oiled it, and salted and peppered the bejeebers out of that thing. When I thought I'd seasoned it enough, I put on a bit more. The husband was in charge of manning the grill. A few minutes later, we sat down to a crusty, flavorful, beautiful steak. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  

And, BONUS!, we grilled enough to use the leftovers for dinner the next day. Come back on Monday to see meal #2. Yes, it was just as good as meal #1.

Grilled Steak
Serves: 2 + leftovers
Adapted from our pal, Bobby Flay

1.5 pound top sirloin steak, about 1" thick (or whatever cut is on sale at your market)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Brush steak with oil and season very generously with salt and pepper.

Grill over medium-high for about 4 minutes each side, or until steak reaches an internal temperature of 115-120 degrees for medium rare. Set steak on a platter and tent with aluminum foil, allowing it to rest about 5 minutes until steak reaches a final temperaturee of about 125 degrees. Slice thinly across the grain and serve.