Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Looking on the bright side

So I am constantly reminded indirectly that people should always look for the positive in life.  That it is somehow unacceptable to be negative or project frustration outside of one's body.  I want to do it but it seems to irk the cosmic balance in the world.  When I do my positive self talk, something even worse seems to follow minutes later, worse than the thing that caused me pause initially.  Maybe someone out there can shed some light.  Maybe I should get hypnotised?

Anyways.  So I went to Puerto Nuevo in Mexico over the weekend.  I had forgotten how fun it was to travel to another culture.  Needless to say, their economy has been drastically affected by the drug lords war and killings subsequent.  Nothing drives this point home as much as having restaurant staff chase your card down the street and beg you to eat at their place.  Dont even get me started on the willingly homeless who collect government benefits in the US. 

Doesnt it look picture-pretty?  This was the view from our restaurant balcony.  No beach access however.  Romantic place with mariachi floating by periodically.  Too bad I didnt get to enjoy with hubby. 

Outside the restaurant, we ran into a few fishermen who had come to sell their bounty to the restaurant kitchen.  What you see is Black Sea Bass of the monster variety.  From afar, it resembled seals.  I am not even kidding.  It was almost the length of the older Toyota pickup truck bed.  As a non fisherman, I was still impressed by the haul.  I could have eaten for a year or two on this meat alone. 

This is the amousse bouche.  I may have spelled that wrong btw.  It is a warm shot of lobster creme.  We first thought it was sauce for eating with our main dish later.  I saved the day by asking in my high school level spanish.  Yes, you can call me a hero.  I did enjoy the shot.  Savory, creamy and a bit fishy.  Yummers. 

Tortilla soup.  It was either this or salad, but seeing as how much of a weenie I was about not consuming water or uncooked produce from this area...  Soup was decent but not spectacular. 

This was my dish.  It was the clear winner of the night.  Shrimp stuffed with crab and cheese, wrapped in bacon and then baked off.  Crispy and soft on the inside.  Cheesy but not too heavy at all.  Rice, beans, and mashed potatoes were just there.  I was surprised to see the use of chayote in the veggie blend.  Too bad I was already getting full after chips, lobster shot and tortilla soup...

Medium size lobster.  I dont know why but plain lobster isnt all that titillating for me.  This with rice, beans and soup or salad was 23 bux.  To me, not that great a deal.  Moving on.

My friend ordered this turf and surf combo.  Pretty tender meat and guacamole was fresh (but a little bland).  It came with a medium lobster as well.  Why oh why didnt I love lobster?  I would have had a smorgasbord this day.

This was the order of my other friend.  Shrimp scampi.  I didnt get to taste because it went pretty quickly.  The fish was disappointingly mahi mahi only, especially after seeing the gigantic sea bass that seemed to swim in the waters so freely.  Do you see the garlickly bits in the olive oil?  Doesnt it look rather nice?  The mahi mahi was decent but nothing life changing for me.  Geeesh I sound like a buzz kill.  I honestly dont remember loving anything except my shrimp though...

A cheesy end to this post.  For some reason, my camera kept putting a blue tint on any picture I tried to take of the ocean.  See the way the light hits the water?  I want to come back.  With my husband later on.  Enjoy. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Holiday Anxiety Season

Does anyone else get the nerves around holiday time?  One of my character flaws is over thinking and over analyzing everything.  Holidays bring about anxiety to the fullest--pressure to see family, buy the perfect gift, put in enough days at work, too much impulse shopping, entertaining on a budget, etc.  Plus this holiday season will be one spent without my new hubs due to him being out of town.  SIGH.  Any suggestions on how to not run away screaming for two months???  Dont get me wrong.  I dont want to be negative so that is where that kind of talk will end for today.  On to the food....

In the past week, I believe I cooked dinner for friends twice.  First night was Greek.  Homemade falafels, mixed greens salad with lots of feta, tzatsiki sauce from scratch, and cous cous with garlic, parsley and olive oil.  Yummy.  I even converted a confirmed meat and potatoes man to eat this veggie fave.  Woo hoo.  Take a look-sie:

The thing I love about cous cous is that it is so easy to make, you can throw just about any ingredients into it and make it a meal, can be eaten cold or warm, etc.  I could go on and on but I wont. 

The thing that is great about my salad is that I now have a quick and easy salad dressing out of 3.5 ingredients- balsamic, high quality dijon mustard, olive oil, and pepper.  I can share the only have to ask. 

I forgot to mention in my intro paragraph this amazing appetizer that you must must try.  Super simple to make I promise.  Grill an eggplant and cut into chunks--try to have the purple skin on each piece that you plan to put on the stick.  Cube a nice brie into the same size as the eggplant.  Alternate on the stick, arrange on a nice contrast plate, and drizzle with S&P, balsamic, and olive oil.  Thank me later. 

The pics of the falafel, pita bread and sauce didnt come out so will just have to imagine it.  The falafel was nice because it had a nice spiciness and was perfectly fried aka not dried out. 

The next dinner with pals turned out to be Halloween.  I may or may not have been irrationally fearful of opening my door to strangers at night on a constant basis.  I had to lure my friends over with food bribes to help me get through the night.  Pathetic really.  The menu?  Crispy tacos, lemon cilantro garlic rice, organic refried beans and chicken enchilada soup from scratch.  My tacos are practically legendary if I do say so myself.  Super simple--but you have to use good ingredients! Dont cheap out on the cheese...