Sunday, April 7, 2019

A Month of Updates

Sunday, March 10th: Jambalaya #2

Our second attempt at Jambalaya was super successful. We'd changed up a few of the spice ratios to amplify the heat, and it paid off. The only new note that we had for the next time around was to add more chicken. It ended up being "sausage-heavy," and even though that's not really a bad note, we did think that one more chicken thigh would make it just about perfect.

Sunday, March 17th: Product Strategy Meeting at Specialized

My first time presenting to the Global Market Leaders as a Product Manager at Specialized. I was told after the day finished that I somehow made the budget, revenue and numbers side of our business sound exciting and fun to listen to. haha  Super proud of the team and everything that we put together for this meeting. It was the first time since my tenure at Specialized started (almost 3 years ago now) that I've seen excitement about the apparel business.

Sunday, March 24th: Gnocchi #2

Gnocchi is just going to always be an all-day process, I think. Because it felt so stressful the first time, I started everything around noon this time, and we were ready for dinner around 6:00pm. ha!  The process was a lot easier though, not feeling rushed. I was able to make the gnocchi a proper (smaller) size this time around because I wasn't too impatient to make so many. And the sauce turned out delicious again.

Same issue as last time with the sauce though: we didn't find uncooked duck legs in time to make the dish, so we used lamb again. Hoping to finally use duck legs the third time around, although we also keep feeling like this sauce is pretty heavy. Perhaps there is a lighter version of a sauce that can utilize the duck legs? Or we could save them for round #4? We'll see...

Sunday, March 31st: Chicken Coconut Curry #2

This time around, I was able to find true coconut cream (instead of coconut milk), and we used Chicken Thighs instead of breasts. I'm not kidding, this dish was practically perfect. I would eat this all the time, and it's really quite simple of a dish compared to some of the others we've chosen to learn! Similar to the Jambalaya, we were probably a Chicken Thigh short of a truly perfect ratio to potatoes, but that was genuinely our only note.

Because this turned out so great, we're considering moving on to try making different kinds of curry in future months. We just need to write down exactly what we did with this recipe, and replicate this happiness whenever we want this meal!

I also finally conquered my fear of Hollandaise sauce. I decided to look up a specific "single serving" recipe instead of trying to take a bigger recipe and figure out the proper ratios. (That wasn't working for me at all). I had a very happy plate of Eggs Benedict at home last Sunday, as well.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Santa Cruz 5K: March 3, 2019

A few months back, I was looking for something to kick my motivation back into gear so I signed up for a local 5K race. I didn't really get in all of the training that I needed, but it did force me to get in more running than I've done in quite some time.

My run time was slow, but it felt good to get back out at an event. My mother in law, on the other hand, kicked butt at the race and came in third in her age group!! She smoked me by more than five minutes, and it was fun to have someone to race with.

I'm hoping that our upcoming summer vacation will help to be my new motivation for working out. Bathing suit season is always a reason to get myself into the gym, so hopefully I can keep up the routine.

Chicken Pad Thai Round 1

We had a recipe on deck for Pad Thai, which we'd already made a few notes on. From the last time we made it, we were looking to make a version that was less sweet and more spicy. It helped that we were able to find all of the right ingredients this time around, instead of trying to substitute. On top of that, we added a lot more Cayenne Pepper and it did come out with quite a good kick!

Next time around, we need to put in less bean sprouts. The recipe calls for 3 full cups of it, and we just don't think we need that much. To add a little more crunch to the dish, we also think it would be good to chop up some fresh peppers.

It also goes without saying that I need to use a bigger pan next time.  hahaha  It was a bit of a mess in the medium size skillet.

February Parmesan Risotto

It had been quite a while since we made risotto, and I was interested in seeing if we had picked up any good tips from all the cooking shows we watch. The biggest tip I was sure would help was making sure the broth was warmed before we started cooking with it. And I'm not sure if that was the only thing that helped, but this latest version turned out pretty good.


We think that we might use a little less white wine next time, and sub some if it with fresh lemon juice. Despite adding the wine at the beginning of the cooking process, it still didn't cook all the way out. We also want to add a little more Parmesan to the final stir to make it a little more flavorful.

I do attribute a huge amount of the result to the local, fresh cheese that we found. We bought two blocks of it, so we'll also use it in the next round of Carbonara. Big game changer to have amazing ingredients to cook with!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Chicken Mole in February

After two weeks off from it, we baked another loaf of Sourdough this weekend. It's surprising how much you realize that you got into a groove with the process of making bread. Then, when you don't do it for a couple weeks, you kind of forget. But despite my fumbling on the technique, the bread turned out great this time around.

Tonight, we made our first attempt at Chicken Mole. This is going to be a tricky dish to get right... or at least to make a version that we're both happy to eat every time.

First thing we noticed was that the recipe didn't take an entire weekend to complete. It wasn't the fastest process ever, but I was really expecting it to take at least two days to taste right. And after finishing the meal, I do think that it would have benefited from a longer cook time to bring all the flavors together. Next time, I'd like to try to do something in the slow cooker, and we need to strain the sauce a little more, so that it's not so grainy.

I also am not a fan of the Anise that goes into the recipe. It's just a flavor that I don't like. So next time, I think we're going to eliminate that as well.

It's hard to know how else to tweak this recipe. There are so many ingredients and steps to it, that knowing how to change up just a few things to make it better is tough. This one is going to take us a few times to really figure out, but that's why we're doing it!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Sushi Class

I had a strong feeling that Sushi was going to be a meal that required both technique and flavors that we did not understand at all. So we decided to take a Sushi-making class together last weekend.

The price of the class was well worth it, considering that we learned more more in two hours there than we probably would have in several tries at home, on our own. The Sushi we made was delicious, and now I just hope that we can make it just as great at home next time!

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Bucket Day Beer Release

How often do you get to cross something off your bucket list? It's such a cool experience to be doing something that you've been thinking about for years, just waiting to get the chance to complete. In July of 2017, I did yoga on Bali and crossed that one off my list. Later that year, I went to Rome with the hubs and crossed that one off the list. In December of 2017, we got to see USC play OSU in the Cotton Bowl, and crossed that in-house rivalry game off our list, too. (Sounds like 2017 was a really great year for my bucket list!!)

This past weekend, we started 2019 off with another one. We headed up to Russian River Brewery to stand in line for one of the top rated beers in the world: Pliny the Younger. My husband has carried around a list of the top 100 beers in his wallet for the last decade, but many of them are special releases and very difficult to come by. This one has always been at the top of this list, and something we've had our eye on almost as long as we've been together,

My parents were in town this last week, and we were planning to head up to Santa Rosa to do some wine tasting and tours with them this past weekend. Once we finally got into doing some research about any events going on up there, we realized that we would be in the area at the same time as the Pliny annual release! So we drove up in the morning on Friday the first, to see what the line looked like. And (although this sounds insane) when we found out that the line would only be 1-2 hours long, we decided to wait to get in for lunch. (Traditionally, the line has been no shorter than 6 hours on the first day of the release).

We had so much fun at the brewpub. The experience of the day was so unique, and it was fun to share it with loved ones. The beer is indeed excellent, and the food at the restaurant was great. It's always fun to be a part of an event that involves such oddly like-minded people, and despite the chilly, rainy wait under the tents, I am so glad that we did it!