Wine Tasting – Found Object – Malbec

Wine Tasting - Found Object - Malbec

As part of the planning for my sisters August wedding we are trying to find the best moderately priced wines we can. We are looking for 2 reds, a white and a champagne. To pick them we are rating them from 1-5 with no half points allowed. Now let me warn you that this is a totaly subjective rating system and none of us are wine connoisseurs, just people who like a good wine, so take our advice with a grain of salt.

Tonights wine was a Found Object Malbec which got a unanimous vote of 3 from us. It’s a nice Malbec but was not quite wedding quality, but for the money, if you like Malbecs, its good far a casual dinner.

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Job search update and a health food snack

On the job search front I am actively reaching out to my network and starting to connect with people and companies that I am interested in. I have my first informational interview set up for Friday and I am looking forward to learning more about Sole Society from a fellow Trojan alum. As part of my search process I have been reading a lot of advice from influencers on LinkedIn I have been sharing some of the better articles with my Facebook friends and Twitter followers. Like this article that is a great reminder why and how social media is more important then ever in your job search process. http://preview.tinyurl.com/jwyhutx

I also tried out a new snack for when you get the craving for potato chips but know you shouldn’t eat them, Kale Chips. I was a little skeptical but they were surprisingly tasty reminded me of the flavor of toasted pumpkin seeds. I can’t take credit for the recipe but I did modify it a bit and I am still perfecting it, would love any advice or tips you have. 

Trader Joe’s Organic Ready to Eat Kale Chips 

Spread parchment paper out on a cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray. Cover with one layer of kale and spray with cooking spray again. I followed their advice and tossed the kale with a bit of white wine vinegar, I also added a little garlic powder and pepper. 

Bake at 200 for about 30 min tossing every 10 mins, until crunchy and toss with sea salt.  Image

Meatballs!!

So I know the blog says it is not only about food but also about dating and job searching but after few failed attempts at online dating I am back to the drawing board with that one and I am just getting started with a new refocused job search as my consulting job is coming to an end. So in the mean time more food! Well it was a cold and windy day and I was in the mood for comfort food, but do not want to indulge too much on a weekday so I made my classic but healthier version of spaghetti and meatballs. I also made a homemade tomato sauce, recipe included, to go with it but there are a lot of good jarred options if you are pressed for time.

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Turkey & Chicken Sausage Meatballs

2 handfuls of baby spinach chopped

1 egg

1 egg white

1 Tbs. olive oil

½ cup panko bread crumbs

½ cup non-fat milk

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

1 Tbs. dried oregano

1 Tbs. fresh chopped basil and/or parsley

3 cloves finely diced garlic

1 shallot finely diced

Salt & Pepper to taste

1 package 99% fat free ground turkey breast (usually a little more than 1 lb.)

1 package Sweet Italian Chicken or Turkey Sausage, removed from the casings

 

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 450. Mix first 11 ingredients, up to S&P, until well combined then add the meats. Mix well with your hands until it is incorporated but not over mixed because that will toughen your meatballs. Use a teaspoon to help keep the meatballs all the same size about 1 inch around. Place on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper lightly greased with cooking spray and cook for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Add to sauce and serve with sauce and spaghetti and fresh grated parmesan cheese.

 

Tomato Basil Sauce

 

3 cloves of garlic finely diced

1 onion diced

1 Tbs. dried oregano

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 cup sliced mushrooms

5 roma tomatoes diced

1 can San Marzano tomatoes

1 can tomato paste  

2 cups baby spinach (optional)

¼ cup of red wine

¼ cup fresh basil

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

¼ cup skim milk

 

Directions


Heat olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat add onion, garlic, and oregano until they soften, then add mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes  then deglaze with red wine. Add fresh tomatoes cook until they start to break down then add both canned tomatoes. Cook for at least 15-20 minutes. Add spinach if using cook until soft. Finish with milk, parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Salt and pepper to taste.  

Wedding Planning and kabobs

In addition to a job search and cooking for my parents I have also been helping my sister with wedding planning. So today we are meeting for the millionth planning session (ok millionth might be an exaggeration) to figure out what to do about flowers (which cost a fortune), décor and maybe music… Fingers crossed it is a good use of our time.

 

Coming back to this post a few hours later we did get a few things accomplished, we emailed the florist and décor person and ordered a bunch of décor stuff from http://www.save-on-crafts.com/ (its great for discounted crafts)

 

Following the marathon wedding planning meeting we had a nice light meal of grilled seafood kabobs, rice and sautéed sugar snap peas.

 

Grilled Seafood Kabobs – I purchased these already put together from a local fresh seafood market and seasoned them myself with lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. To make for your self buy whatever type of fish you like to grill (I love good salmon) and cut into 1 inch cubes and stack with 1 inch squares of onion and red and green bell peppers. Season and cook for a few minutes on each side until fish is done.

 

A nice bright fresh side to go with the seafood kabobs is sautéed sugar snap peas. I personally spend the extra money to get the ready to eat vegetables because I found it increases the amount I eat and cook over all, but on to the recipe

Ingredients

1 bag of sugar snap peas

1 clove of garlic finely diced

1 shallot finely diced

1 Tbs. olive oil

Directions

Heat olive oil in a sauté pan, add shallots and garlic and cook until slightly soft. Add the peas and cook over medium heat until tender crisp.  

Enjoy! 

First try and chicken soup

Well I have never done this before but here goes my first post. As you can guess by the title have boomeranged back into my parents’ home again… not ideal but I am making the best of it. Part of that has been becoming their “personal chef” that works out because I love to cook for others and they get to have (if I do say so myself) great meals without the work. So my credentials as a cook are a love of food and cooking and years of cooking for myself and others and one year cooking at an upscale local rustic Mediterranean restaurant. So if this is a blog at least in part about food I guess a recipe is in order. Yesterday one of my “roomies,” otherwise known as Dad, was not feeling well and requested chicken noodle soup.

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients

Mirepoix – 1 diced onion, 2 diced carrots, 2 diced celery sticks

1 Tbsp fresh & dried Thyme

1 bay leaf

2 Quarts of low sodium chicken broth (or use homemade if available)

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 package each of boneless skinless chicken breasts & thighs

2 cups chopped carrots

1 cup sliced mushrooms

2 cups green beans

1 cup peas

½ pound of pasts (any short shape you like)

Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions

Fill a large pot with 6 cups of water, salt and a splash of olive oil and bring to a boil (I cook the noodles in a separate pot so they stay al dente and don’t suck up all the broth)

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat 

Sauté the mirepoix and fresh Thyme until ingredients just begin to caramelize

Deglaze the pan with all of the chicken broth and increase heat to high (you can also first deglaze with a splash of white wine then add the broth)

Add bay leaf and all the chicken and bring to a boil

When chicken is cooked though remove and cut into pieces also remove bay leaf

Turn heat to medium and add the carrots and mushrooms first followed by the green beans

Boil pasta until al dente following package instructions, drain and hold aside

Let soup simmer until vegetables are tender, add peas for the last few minutes 

Salt and pepper to taste

To serve put pasta in a bowl and cover with soup…enjoy!