Monday, June 30, 2008

Wonderful Weekend

Downtown Winter Garden

This is our town. We LOVE our town. Only recently has Tristan decided he would share it with us and stop saying "MY town, MY clock." We take great pride in it as we have watched it grow and develop over the past 5 years. But it hasn't developed too much where it has lost it's small town feel. It's still so quaint and unpretentious with cobble stone streets, a wine & coffee bar, a bike trail running through it, and just a few high end boutique/restaurants to balance out the lawn mower place and historic museum. The clock tower has been standing for almost a century (I will have to confirm but that sounds good for now) and sits next to a fountain where a band plays every Friday and children eat their ice cream from the new French bakery. How proud I am to live in a town, where if I was visiting & drove by, I would exclaim " gosh, I wish I could live there." And to add on to my excitement, they just started a farmers market every Saturday morning.

And what a wonderful weekend! Wonderful enough to lift me away from that downward spiral. Lots of quality time, just the 3 of us.

Terry & I enjoyed a couple mojitos poolside, which I am able to whip up so quickly now and to perfection. It still feels like such an accomplishment every time I make one, since we worked so hard to make it right. We also enjoyed a quick trip to a newly discovered seafood market where Terry got a delicious shrimp salad sandwich which is served on a toasted New England style hot dog roll.

So fresh and so yummy, it makes my mouth water. Places like this are my favorite because you just don't see neighborhood seafood markets much anymore. I enjoyed a crab cake sandwich with a remoulade sauce which was 2nd to the shrimp. I also made another little discovery in a nearby town, just by going a different route to a familiar place. It's a little creamery and coffeehouse in a cute residential neighborhood. I stopped by with Tristan to sample their goods before bringing a close friend or hubby back with me. Unexpected discoveries like this put me in such a "life is good" mood.

Church on Sunday was inspirational & fun given our conversation as we walked the huge parking lot. I was explaining to Tristan why it was important for us to go.

Me: We don't expect for you to understand everything they're saying but it makes mommy & daddy feel really good, and it makes us better parents.

Tristan: It makes me tired. Daddy, how does it make you feel?

Later in church, the assistant pastor who we hardly hear from was speaking. Tristan reaches over to me and says "I think he's a new passenger Momma."

After church and for lunch, we did go to OUR town to a new Thai restaurant which opened a few weeks ago, My Thai Blossom. What a great name. We had been once before and this time was even more delicious. Just another reason to love OUR town.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Recipe Re-Visited

I wanted to post MY picture (not an online version) of the Tuxedo Sesame Chicken & Wasabi Slaw I made because it came out so good, the picture & the dish. I meant to post the pic with the recipe at the time but it just didn't happen. The white wine went especially nice not just with the chicken but the heat of the wasabi as well. If you make just one thing, try the wasabi slaw. It was more a salad than a slaw but the homemade dressing made it wet like a slaw, which was very welcoming.

A week after I initially made this, I broiled some salmon, chopped it and put it on top of this wasabi slaw. One word - DELICIOUS!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

THE Mexican Mojito

THE STORY: Below the recipe
THE RECIPE: Right Here Baby

The following makes a single drink:

5-6 mint leaves, torn up (Use 6 if you like mint)
2 lime wedges or half of one key lime (cut into 2 wedges)
3/4 oz 1800 Silver Tequila
3/4 oz Cointreau
1 oz Sweet & Sour Mix (we use Mr. & Mrs. T)
1/2 oz Agave Nectar Syrup (I find this in my organic section at Publix)
2 oz club soda

In the glass you will be sipping from, place your torn mint leaves. Squeeze the juice from your limes into the glass and then drop limes in. Take a muddler or back of spoon and gently smash the mint and limes together. This will release the oils from the mint as well as the lime rind. Fill glass halfway with crushed ice.

In a cocktail shaker with ice (just to make the alcohol cold) add your tequila, cointreau, sour mix and agave. Shake well, strain ice and pour into glass. Top off with the club soda. Stir and enjoy.

If you're making more than one drink at a time, just do it the same way but double up accordingly in the cocktail shaker and then pour into each glass. I just highly recommend muddling the lime and mint into the glass you will be sipping from. I also recommend topping that glass off with the club soda rather than mixing it with the other ingredients in the shaker.

I urge you to try this, especially since Terry & I worked so hard to bring it to you. If you try it, write me and let me know how it turns out and I will send you something Mojito-ish.

Muddler for the Gentle Smashing of Lime and Mint

This one pictured would have 3/4 oz on one side and 1 1/2 oz on the other. The one we bought was a multi jigger so just one side had all the ounces

THE STORY: I don't pass on a recipe unless it's tried & true and this one has been TRIED!!! We met the Mexican Mojito on our drive home from vacation. It was June 11, a day I will never forget....ok, it was at a chain Mexican restaurant, On the Border, in Gainesville. I don't usually do chain Mexican since we are 1-2x a week regulars at a genuine one a couple of miles from the house but this one was outstanding. I ordered a mojito because I was thirsty. Well, it was delicious and even Terry loved it.

So, we ask for the recipe, they gave it up, we tried it. Couldn't duplicate. Tried it again. Failure. A little too sour, a little too sweet. We knew the ingredients were probably just not balanced precisely enough. After all, they called for 3/4 oz of this and 3/4 oz of that and eyeballing was just not good enough. A week later after many attempts, Terry stopped by the restaurant and got the skinny, and a mojito. They confirmed not only the measurements but that we indeed needed to be precise with this drink & the best way to do that was with a jigger, pictured above. It measures liquids on the 1/2 and 1/4 ounces. Even the best of bartenders use jiggers, they said.

We also needed to make sure we were releasing all the mint & lime oil by using a muddler. That I knew. So naturally, we bought a jigger & a muddler. This weekend, waiting for jigger, but with muddler in hand, we had a brilliant idea to quadruple the recipe thereby turning 3/4oz into 3oz. Lo and behold, we were reunited with the Mexican Mojito. Pure perfection. Funny thing - as Terry & I were sipping on this refreshing & minty concoction, the jigger shows up in the mail. It will and has been used but quadrupling seems so much more intoxicatingsensible. We are also pretty convinced that the way in which you do this matters.
all like Yeah and high fiving eachother
fabricated a reason to drive the 1 1/2 hrs all the way back to the restaurant, something about having to visit one of his hospitals and make a sale
in the mood and needed some alcohol to escape my depression because vacation is over

Monday, June 23, 2008

Vacation Wrap Up

I have been pre-occupied with a lot of good stuff on the home front this past week that I never got a chance to really talk about our vacation and post more pics. I also had a hard time putting the pics into a fun mosaic sort of fashion I have seen on other blogs. I couldn't move on with other posts until I wrapped this up so finally here are just a few other pics and a review of our vacation.

It was incredible!! Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort was beautiful. The food, the condo we stayed in, the weather, all simply exceeded our expectations. Tristan was the perfect travel companion. One morning while in the middle of us in the big bed, and half asleep, Tristan extended his arms out to both of us and pulled our heads into his shoulders. Our hearts melted. He also went into the ocean water for the first time as well as took a shower with Daddy for the first time ever. So, we had some special moments.

I also remained extremely motivated while on our trip. One morning I went jogging on the beach, another time I jogged from the beachside of the resort all the way to the bayside. I even woke up one morning at 6am to jog before Terry had to leave for golf at 7am!! While I had a few indulgent meals, I didn't go crazy just because I was on vacation. So, the healthy feeling stayed with me and made our trip even more awesome! I cannot wait to go back to Sandestin sometime in the future!

Terry & I at Baytown Wharf

Tristan building a sand castle

These were the best oysters I ever had in my life. Chargrilled and then drizzled with seasoned butter and romano cheese.

This was our view from the room

Beach Fun the Right Way. We would go to the pool during the day when it was stifling hot and then go to the beach about 4:30 when it was more comfortable.

Look at that beach-kissed face

Me by the Pool with a Michelop Ultra. Tristan's favorite thing about the pool - the waterfall.

Handsome Hubby with a Hole In One

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Back from Vacation!

Tristan's 1st time in the ocean water

Tristan and I ready for our last night out on vacation.

And oh what a night we had. I guess Tristan left me no choice but to finish his Chocolate Martini.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Friday Foto

Tristan last year at the beach when we met Auntie Lauren halfway in Ft. Pierce.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!!!! I will be visiting and posting at some point before vaca ends.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tuxedo Chicken with Wasabi Slaw

I made this recipe this past weekend and I loved it! The two go so well together but if you're going to make one or the other make the wasabi slaw. It looks like a regular salad but they call it a slaw because it's made with bok choy & cabbage and then tossed with a wasabi homemade dressing. I actually plan on making the slaw tonight with some cut up broiled salmon. The slaw makes for 2 people. As for the chicken, I try not to pan fry often so next time I will try baking it.

Wasabi Slaw
1 tablespoon wasabi powder
1 tablespoon water
4 teaspoons rice vinegar or cider vinegar
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup thinly sliced bok choy
1 cup thinly sliced Napa cabbage
1 small red bell pepper, cut into thin 2-inch strips
1/2 small unpeeled cucumber, quartered lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced
Mix wasabi & water in medium bowl. Let stand 10 minutes. Stir in vinegar, brown sugar, oil, ginger and salt. Mix bok choy, Napa cabbage, bell pepper and cucumber in large bowl. Add dressing; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or until ready to serve.
Tuxedo Sesame Crusted Chicken:
1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
3 tablespoons black sesame seeds
1 egg
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast halves, pounded to 1/2-inch thickness
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
Mix bread crumbs and sesame seeds in shallow dish. Beat egg, garlic powder, salt and red pepper in separate shallow dish. Dip chicken in egg mixture. Coat evenly on both sides in bread crumb mixture, pressing firmly so mixture adheres to chicken. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add chicken pieces; cook 5 minutes per side or until chicken is browned and cooked through. Repeat with remaining chicken, adding remaining oil if needed. Serve with Wasabi Slaw.