salad

Dinner and a Movie

Dinner and a Movie

This past weekend, I got a chance to hang out with my friend Grace for dinner and a movie. Grace has a projector in her living room and we’ve been talking about having a Shirley Temple movie night for a while. However, she had the BBC version of “Emma,” so being a proper Jane Austen fan, I jumped at the chance to check it out. I had heard it was better than the movie that came out several years ago and was curious if this were true (I didn’t like the movie, so I figured I was hopeful). I’m afraid I can’t give a final review on the BBC version yet, since we’re not through watching it—it’s a whopping 230 minutes long—since I started snoring at some point in the night, most likely induced by the yummy plum wine I had with dinner. But, I can say I’ve enjoyed every minute we’ve watched so far!

Grace was having a salmon craving, and since that is by far my favorite fish, I was pro that idea. She wanted a fish salad, so we took a tour of the Asian market off Braker Lane, which seems to have the freshest fish selection of any of the super markets around. They slice the fish off while you wait. We also picked up some limes, spinach, pineapple and plum wine.

When we got back to her house, we split up duties. She got to pick basil out of the garden and cook the fish, while I was in charge of cooking the pineapple and making a salad dressing out of the limes, orange, basil, honey and olive oil.

It was a fairly quick dinner and turned out splendid! Not only did it taste really good, but it was a colorful salad that surely had lots of vitamins and minerals, too! When’s the last time you enjoyed dinner and a movie?

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A Salad in Thyme

DSC_2932By Tiffany Young

At work, we have a monthly potluck. It’s probably my favorite part of my job. Everyone in the department—from translations to communications brings a dish to share with others.

Since we don’t have any way to heat up food, except for a microwave, it’s always difficult for me to determine what to bring. Will cold mac ‘n cheese really taste all that great? So much of the time I bring a cold salad or pasta.

This month I brought a delicious cucumber, tomato and feta recipe altered from a Pinterest recipe by Five Heart Home. Their recipe can be found at: http://fivehearthome.com/2013/06/28/tomato-cucumber-salad-with-olives-and-feta/.

A main change to mine is that I used thyme in place of dill, because it’s what I had on hand. I loved it!

Dressing:

  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 1/4 c white wine vinegar (the original recipe used red, but use whatever you have on hand)
  • 1.5 tsp sugar
  •  clove garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • black pepper ground to taste

Whisk together all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.

Salad:

  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 large cucumber, cubed
  • 1/2 c kalamata olives, drained, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 c feta cheese
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss. Garnish with sprigs.

DSC_2926

Take pics, refrigerate for a few hours, eat!

 

I thought I’d have plenty of leftovers after the potluck, since there’s usually so much food, but, alas, I did not. But I’m glad everyone seemed to enjoy it.

After we eat, we usually play a game. This time we played Catch Phrase.

Two of the best moments were:

1) When a lady whose first language is Spanish got the word cop out, she described it as a police officer who is not in. We were super confused, but realized it was a brilliant description once she told us what it was.

2) Just before our boss popped his head in because we were laughing so hard, the same lady as above had given this clue: It’s in your pants! None of us could think of a G-rated answer so we just burst out laughing. Turns out it was pocket change. That was so not what any of us were thinking …

If you want a pick-me-up at work, try planning a potluck. Bring food, bring a game and just enjoy each other for a change!

 

 

The perfect summer salad

If you’re looking for the perfect summer salad, look no further. I found this delicious salad to beat the Texas heat in a year-old Vegetarian Times issue: Cantaloupe-Arugula Salad.

Not only is it cheap and tasty, but it also takes advantage of locally grown melons. I got a canary melon for free from Engel Farms while working at the farmers market, but anyone can buy one for $3. They are nice and sweet right now. An additional $2 for the organic arugula and $6 for the ricotta salata from H-E-B made the salad almost $10, but will make at least 5 salads to eat throughout the week.

The peppery, sweet and sharp flavors mesh wonderfully in each bite. I’ll have to share this salad with Antonio, since he is the one who usually likes pepper, not me.

The salad is easy to make, just requiring washing some arugula, cutting a melon and otherwise just sprinkling on some seasoning. It’s so easy, cheap and carries a wonderful taste that’ll carry you through the hot summer. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

 

Lentils are healthy, inexpensive in soups, salads

One of my new favorite foods to cook with is lentils. For one thing, I only eat fish (animal-wise), so lentils are a great way to pack in protein. It also has a lot of fiber. I also enjoy how inexpensive the meals are with lentils.

But other than just being healthy, I think lentils bring a variety to dishes cooked at home; They can be found in a variety of colors and can be in soups, salads and side dishes. I’ve made several lentil salads recently, cold and hot, and they’ve all been pretty good.

My latest recipe Red Curry Lentils and Spinach, while good, was not my favorite. It tastes good—and looks beautiful—but the seasoning doesn’t seem to be very consistent—probably the chef’s fault, but none-the-less that means some bites are amazing and others a bit lacking depending on the bite. I’d give it a 3.5 spoons out of 5. Better than average, but not lick-the-spoon-clean good.

You can find the exact recipe at http://newhope360.com/recipes/red-curry-lentils-and-spinach even though mine came from a print magazine. I substituted  brown lentil for red, since that’s all I could find at H-E-B and white rice for brown rice, because it’s what I had on hand.

Health.com states “Lentils are to India as meatloaf is to America: the quintessential comfort food.” If that’s the case, I’ve got a feeling I would enjoy the food in India! If you want to combine the two and try lentil meatloaf, no problem!

My mom made something similar to this once she found out me and my brother had become pescetarians.

How about you? Are there any healthy foods you keep returning to now that it’s beginning to turn warmer?

Date Night: Sagra

On our second date, Antonio kidnapped took me on a several hour date that began at Sagra Trattoria and Bar, an Italian restaurant on San Antonio Street. He was trying to make a good impression after his mistake on date No. 1, where he cut the date short because he had other plans. He claims he was meeting up with friends for dinner, but it sure sounded like he had double booked dates to me.

This was a restaurant where he felt comfortable—after all he used to work there—and we had brunch on the front patio in nice weather.

That’s where I fell in love … with the Sagra pizza. He’ll tell you my love for him grew at a much slower pace, but he was on to something bringing me to a place with such great food. Since that fateful day in January 2011, we have been back many times for happy hour and date nights.

The Sagra pizza includes a classic Italian tradition—an egg atop the pizza. This may not sound like a good idea to you, but that just tells me you haven’t tried the Sagra pizza yet. For $15, you get a whole pie topped with tomato sauce, egg, grana padano, spinach, mozzarella and truffle oil. Their other pizzas are also delicious.

Last month we visited them and got the funghi pizza  for $14 with mushrooms, caramelized onions, fresh herbs and fontin. It was good, but I still missed the Sagra pizza, which we returned to on our date night last night.

I also really enjoy their libation menu, which includes not just creative cocktails, but also apertivos—an appetite stimulator—and digestivos—which helps settle your meal. My favorite so far is the apertivo Perucchi Vermouth Blanc with flavors of chamomile, ginger, lemon, cinnamon and orange blossom for $5. It comes in a tiny, tiny cute glass that I enjoy slowly sipping on before my meal comes. The flavors meld together so amazingly.

We also enjoy the wine selection, which comes in three sizes: a glass, a quartino—about a glass and a half—and a bottle.

Outside of the pizza, we highly recommend the fried calamari and the arugula salad, although I can’t recall us eating anything we didn’t love at Sagra. Also, while we rarely eat dessert at most places, unless it’s a special occasion, we usually do ask for their dessert menu. They change their gelato regularly and have great custard-type desserts featuring fruit.

We hope to see you at happy hour some nice evening enjoying the front or back patio, which reminds me—all the seats in the house are quite romantic. Enjoy!

Sagra Restaurant
1610 San Antonio St. Austin, TX, 78701,
(512)535-5988