Thursday, May 31, 2007

Review: Lone Tree Thai

D and I decided to try a new restaurant the other night: Lone Tree Thai Cuisine. Not a very exciting name, considering the street it's on is (you guessed it) Lone Tree. But I was hoping it would end up being a great hole-in-the-wall Thai place less than five minutes from my house. Unfortunately, it didn't exactly measure up.

We ordered a TON of food. Pad thai (the standard by which every Thai restaurant must be judged), mixed seafood green curry, laarb (a "salad" with beef in it) and, as an appetizer, "fish cake." Which was actually fish cakes, plural: there were five of them. The texture of the fish cakes was odd - kind of rubbery and flabby, but the flavor was decent, especially when you put the cucumber-relish stuff on top of it. Next the laarb arrived, and it was....kind of frightening, actually. A huge mound of ground beef with a little lettuce thrown in, a dab of mint, and (supposedly) some cilantro. But the oddest thing about it was the sauce or grease that they cooked it in; at one point, D said "Movie popcorn!" and then that was all we could think of. It was pretty awful. The pad thai was ok, except that they overcooked the prawns - WAY overcooked them. And the green curry was mild (we specified extra-spicy everything, because that's just how we roll) with - again - seriously overcooked seafood. The salmon was cooked well, but all of the shellfish was horribly overcooked.

D and I agreed that we would not be returning.

Coming up soon: Greek(ish) salad. Gotta use up that seedless cucumber and the feta!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Balsamic Berries

Balsamic Berries
Originally uploaded by snarkmeister
This is fantastic on its own, or over ice cream. Yum!

You don't even really need a recipe for this. Just throw together a few pints of cleaned, fresh berries (with strawberries, you'll want to hull them & maybe slice them to a uniform size) in a bowl. I used strawberries, blackberries and blueberries, which I found at my local farmer's market this weekend. Sprinkle a spoonful of sugar over the berries, and then drizzle everything with maybe a 1/4 c good balsamic vinegar. Let it stand for half an hour or so to let the berries soak up some of the vinegar and release some of their juices. That's all there is to it!

Shrimp & Orzo

Shrimp & Orzo Pasta Salad
Originally uploaded by snarkmeister
Mmmm....summery and delicious! Quick to make and perfect for a BBQ or picnic, since it's at its best when it's room temperature. This is a variation on a Barefoot Contessa recipe, and it's my contribution to Sweetnicks' ARF/5-a-day roundup this week.

Shrimp & Orzo
1/2 lb uncooked shrimp, peeled & deveined (tail off!)
1/2 lb orzo pasta
1 c chopped tomato (I used cherry tomatoes)
1 c diced seedless cucumber
1/4-1/2 c diced red onion (adjust amount depending on how much you like onion)
1/4 lb feta, diced
1/4 c basil, torn into small pieces or sliced into thin ribbons
2 lemons
EVOO, salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400°.

Cook pasta according to package directions. While it's cooking, toss the shrimp with olive oil, salt & pepper, and spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet. When the oven is preheated, cook the shrimp for about 3-4 minutes, just until they're pink and opaque. Time will vary depending on the size of shrimp you're using.

In a large bowl, put the tomato, cucumber and onion. Zest one of the lemons and add the zest to the veggies. In a smaller bowl, put the juice of both the lemons, and a liberal amount of kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper (this is going to season the entire salad). Add olive oil, whisking constantly, until you have about 1/2-3/4 c of dressing. When the pasta is finished cooking, drain it and add it to the bowl with the veggies. Immediately pour the vinaigrette over the pasta and veggies. Throw in the shrimp, and finally add the feta and basil. Stir gently to combine, and check your seasonings. Let it sit at room temperature for about half an hour or so, to let the flavors meld. Then dig in, and just try to keep yourself to one or two servings. ;-)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Spinach-Mushroom Frittata

Spinach-Mushroom Frittata
Originally uploaded by snarkmeister.
D had a late shift at the hospital today, so he didn't have to leave until lunchtime. To celebrate, I whipped up this simple frittata (while I was on my staff meeting phone call! It's THAT easy) for brunch.

Spinach-Mushroom Frittata

1 Tbsp EVOO
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 c diced onions
1/2 c sliced mushrooms
1 c loosely packed fresh spinach
4 eggs
splash of milk or half-n-half
Few shakes of Tabasco (optional)
2 Tbsp Boursin cheese, crumbled
1/4 c shredded cheddar cheese
salt & pepper, various dried herbs/spices (I used a prepackaged grilling rub that I got via my wine club a while back; it's got rosemary, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and some other stuff)
1/4 c chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 350°.

In an oven-proof 10" skillet, sautee the onions and mushrooms in the oil and butter over medium heat until the mushrooms are browned and the onions are soft & translucent. Add the spinach and let it wilt a bit. In the meantime, mix up the eggs with the milk (or half-n-half), Tabasco (if using), salt & pepper, and spices. Crumble in the Boursin cheese (a soft, spreadable garlic-herb cheese). Pour the egg mixture over the veggies, and top with the shredded cheddar cheese. Pop the whole thing in the oven for 10 minutes, then broil for another minute or two to puff it up and get the cheddar all golden brown and delicious. Cut into four wedges, garnish with chopped parsley, and serve immediately.

This was the perfect amount for two people, but if you're serving other stuff (like fruit, toast, etc.) you can probably stretch it to four people.

Caprese Pasta

Caprese Pasta
Originally uploaded by snarkmeister.
I picked up a couple of brown tomatoes (a new variety, not brown as in rotten) at the grocery store and wanted to try them in something simple that wouldn't overwhelm their flavor. So I just made a Caprese salad and threw in some cooked campanelle pasta. You don't even really need a recipe for this, people. Just chop up some tomatoes, some fresh mozzarella, and some basil. Toss with olive oil, sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and some cooked pasta. Voila!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

What is UP with the Season Finales this year?

They are all so damn depressing! First Ugly Betty: everyone was totally screwed at the end of that show. Betty & Henry torn apart by a scheming pregnant ex-girlfriend; Santos SHOT while Justin sang his heart out in the school musical; Daniel & Alexis in a car crash; Wili stuck with the world's UGLIEST engagement ring; Amanda learning that her whole life has been a lie and that her parents are really the late Fey Somers and (presumably) Bradford Meade! Jesus. Talk about soap opera.

Then Grey's Anatomy, where I just wanted to slap everyone silly. Y'all can read about my tirade on Grey's below.

Sunday, we got Desperate Housewives: Lynette not only has to deal with cancer, but also her husband's (righteous) anger over her near-infidelity and her raging bitch of a mother who's decided to insinuate herself into her estranged daughter's life at a time when the last thing Lynette needs is more stress. Gaby discovered that her fiance is a raging asshole who only married her for political reasons. Unfortunately, she didn't discover this until AFTER the wedding, and what does she do? She throws herself into a liplock with her drunk ex-husband, who just dumped Edie when he found out she was taking birth control pills while telling him she wanted to have his baby. Is it so horribly wrong of me to hope that Gaby and Carlos did more than kiss? I mean, yes, bad of her to cheat when she hasn't even gotten to the wedding night yet, but...she & Carlos are meant for each other. Bree comes back with a faux-pregnancy bump and a teenage daughter stashed in a convent awaiting the birth of her illegitimate child. How fucking 50's can you get? Snooze alert: Mike & Susan get married, finally. Yawn. But! At the very end...Edie hangs herself!! HOLY SHIT, y'all!

Brothers & Sisters: umm...pretty boring, actually. Senator McHottie's family comes for the engagement party, and they are all a bunch of white trash drunken freakjobs. Nothing much happens, except that the youngest boy gets shipped off to Iraq, and there is a tearful scene at the airport. Again, bringing the sad! What the HELL?

And last night: 24 season finale. It's been a pretty lame season. The beginning of the season rocked, with the nuclear bomb going off in LA, but the rest of it? Yawn. Total snooze-fest. So, at the end last night, we have Kiefer contemplating suicide. Jesus, what a downer.

AND! I just found out that Veronica Mars? It is no more. Tonight's season finale is the end for our plucky blonde mystery solver. Waaaaaah! Throw in last week's AI results, when Melinda got booted....and this is the suckiest spring finale season EVER.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Peach-Blueberry Crisp

Peach-Blueberry Crisp
Originally uploaded by snarkmeister.
I was having some serious fruit cravings when I visited the produce stands in nearby Brentwood yesterday. Both my dinner and dessert heavily featured fruit.

This is an adaptation of Barefoot Contessa's apple crisp recipe. I cut the recipe in half, and I substituted fresh peaches and frozen blueberries for the apples. I also didn't happen to have any lemons or oranges on hand, but I did have some organic strawberry lemonade, which is pretty tart, so I added a bit of that in place of the citrus juice and zest. It turned out beautifully, even if the peaches were a bit underripe (and boy, does that make it difficult to skin them!).

This is also my submission to Sweetnicks' ARF/5-a-day roundup this week.

Risotto with Apples and Manchego Cheese

I had a similar risotto once at an Italian restaurant - it had the sauteed apples, but instead of Manchego, they used Asiago cheese. This dish turned out well, but I think it could be improved with a squeeze of lemon juice at the end to brighten things up a bit.

Risotto with Apples and Manchego Cheese

4 c chicken stock
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 c diced onion
1 apple, peeled, cored & diced (I used Fuji, which was maybe a little too sweet)
1 c arborio rice
1 c white wine
1/4 c grated Manchego cheese
salt & pepper

Bring the stock to a simmer in a pot, and leave it on medium-low heat to keep it warm but not boiling.

Melt the butter with the olive oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the onions and apples, and season with salt & pepper. Sautee gently until the onions are translucent. Remove the apples with a slotted spoon (try to leave the onions in the pan). Add the rice to the pan, stirring to coat it evenly with the oil and butter. Let the rice toast for a minute, then add the wine. Let the alcohol cook off for a minute; when the rice has absorbed most of the liquid, add a couple of ladles of stock to the rice pan. Stirring often, allow the rice to almost completely absorb all the stock before adding more to the pan. Continue in this manner, adding stock gradually and stirring frequently, until the stock is gone and the rice is cooked al dente, about 20 minutes. Add the apples back in to the rice, and allow it to cook for a few minutes more, to reheat the apples and soften them a bit. Add the cheese at the last minute, and serve immediately.

Makes two big servings, or two regular servings and a small portion for tomorrow's lunch.

Friday, May 18, 2007


I am so disappointed in the Grey's Anatomy season finale. What the HELL? Nobody is happy, everyone is screwed, and McAsshole has made a raging comeback. I mean, damn, Shepherd. WTF? You can't give Mere even the littlest fucking bit of of a break when she has a breakdown after her mother dies? Oh no, because everything must be as YOU want it, on YOUR timetable. Fucker. You can go back to your estranged wife and leave Meredith hanging in the wings, and call her a whore when she gets laid, but God forbid she should start actually dating someone seriously, because then you dump your wife like a hot potato and expect Mere to immediately come running back into your arms. And when she finally decides to trust you and get back with you, her bitch of a mother dies. So do you support her when she freaks the fuck out and passively attempts suicide? No. You have your own crisis and can't fucking stand the fact that she doesn't have a permanent goddamn zest for life when she has YOU, because obviously that should be enough to fulfill her and sustain a permanent pollyanna 'tude. And then her stepmother dies and her recently-reunited father blames her for it, and do you come to comfort her and give her a shoulder to cry on? No. No, you do not. Because you are too busy pushing her away since you think your relationship with her will jeopardize your chances of becoming chief of surgery. For all these reasons, I dub thee McAsshole. There is not a goddamn thing about your personality and behavior that makes you "dreamy."

Not that I think Mere is such a great catch. She's a whiny, pouty, manipulative bitch. So they probably deserve each other.

Cristina deserves much better though. And whether she knows it or not, the fact that Burke just left her is going to be the best thing that ever happened to her, because he's another self-absorbed asshole who wants it all on his terms. She definitely did NOT want to get married, and he really just did her a favor. Even if it sucks in the short term.

George needs to stop letting other peoples' wants and needs control his life. He needs to take a break and decide what HE wants and needs, and then make some decisions. I can't tell if he's actually supposed to be in love with Izzy or not. Izzy is just one of those people who "falls in love" at the drop of a hat (or at the drop of the underwear).

In fact, probably the only sane character on the show is Bailey. I love Bailey. But I don't know if she's going to be enough to sustain my interest in the show for another season. Do I really want to spend my Thursday nights spewing hate and bile for an hour while I watch? Yeah, not so much.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I cannot believe it. I can't believe Melinda got voted off AI. I mean, I know every year there's a huge shakeup at this point, but...seriously? Melinda isn't going to be in the final? I am so fucking done with this show.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Stupid birth control pills. I was off them for about a year, so I totally forgot about this. I don't get pre-menstrual syndrome; I get post-menstrual syndrome. I become a bitch the week after my period. *sigh*

Yesterday Rugrat and I got. Into. It. And it was mostly because I was just being all on-edge and bitchy. He was pushing my buttons, sure. But that's par for the course. I was kind of overreacting, so then he started whining and bitching. And saying the same thing over and over and over in that freaking voice that drills into my brain and makes me insane. I kept telling him to stop it, and finally I just told him to shut up. And he HIT ME! (Not that hard, on the arm, but still.) Oh, hell no. That shit does NOT fly with me. So after I beat him to a pulp (just kidding. But I had very stern words with him) we came home and he pouted. And stomped around. And gave me stinkeye all evening, until I made him take a shower. As he was getting in, I was reminding him to clean all his "bits": "Don't forget to clean between your toes!" "I know." "Don't forget to clean your pits!" "I know, mom!" And then, in a burst of inspiration, I brought back the "No" game: "Doooooooon't smile at me." (Corners of his mouth twitch.) "Dooooooon't you do it! Don't you smile at me!" (He can't help himself now, the mouth is smiling all on its own, no matter how angry he still is at me.) "I don't want to see you smiling! No smiling, you hear me?" (Total full-on grin.)

Yeah, I still got it. ;-)

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


I am going through my days in a Benadryl haze. The allergy season has hit full force and I am down for the count. I try to hold off on taking the pills for as long as possible each day, because I know they're going to knock me on my ass, but it's hard to live with the constant itchy-painful feeling in my sinuses, the sneezing, the irritated, watery eyes, and the sinus pressure headaches. My skin itches all over, regardless of how much lotion I put on (because it's the histamines, y'all, not dry skin). All I want to do is go into a Benadryl coma for the next couple of weeks, with a cold wet washcloth over my face. Wake me up when the pollen count dies down, mmkay?


Originally uploaded by snarkmeister.
The quintessential Cinco de Mayo dish...just a couple days late.


4 ripe avocados
juice of 1 lime
1/4 c diced onion
1/4 c diced tomato
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 chopped fresh cilantro
salt & pepper

Remove the flesh from the avocado skins, discarding the pits and scraping off any brown spots. Mash it gently with a fork, and then pour the lime juice over it. Add the onion, tomato, garlic, cilantro and salt & pepper to taste. Mix well, and serve with your favorite corn chips.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Yum Yum Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Dinner 05/01/07
Originally uploaded by snarkmeister.
I made the fabulous Yum Yum Chicken Enchilada Casserole again on Tuesday, and got a picture this time. It may not look like much, but let me tell you....D ate half the pan in one sitting (and this amount could easily serve 4-6 people), and polished off the leftovers the next day for lunch. This is GOOD STUFF, y'all.

But definitely not safe for dieters. ;-)

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Lost: Mindfuck

What. The. Hell?!?!?

LOST is totally fucking with my head every week. This week was kind of the "calm before the storm"...sort of. I mean, there was the whole mindfuckery of Locke's dad being maybe actually dead, but somehow on the island and of course, because everyone's lives totally intersect, he's also Sawyer 1.0. Meaning, he's the con man who ruined Sawyer's childhood, because Sawyer 1.0 was fucking Sawyer 2.0's mom, and convinced her to give the family's life savings to him. So when dad found out he shot the mom, and then himself, leaving the orphan son to grow up and become ultrahot sweaty yummy Sawyer 2.0. Is this all clear yet? Anyway, supposedly Sawyer 1.0 (AKA Locke's Dad) got in a nasty car accident and the last thing he remembers is getting an IV in the ambulance...and then he woke up bound and gagged on the island.

And WTF with Benry trying to get Locke to kill his own father? Oh no, The Others aren't bad people. They don't kill people. They just try to get other people to become homicidal maniacs. And Locke, in his ultimate wisdom, decides to get Sawyer to do his dirty work (so he DOES fit in with The Others, I guess). First he lies to Sawyer, then he manipulates him, then he fucking locks him in a room with Sawyer 1.0 until Sawyer 2.0 discovers the connection and ends up killing the guy because he is a fucking evil unfeeling bastard who TAUNTS poor Sawyer (2.0) until he totally snaps.

So a big FUCK YOU to Locke this week. If you don't have the balls to kill someone off, don't go torture your friends until they do it for you.

And a slightly smaller FUCK YOU to Jack this week, for being a sanctimonious ass. Because that is just Jack. Because he and Juliet are keeping some secret which they reference in front of Kate and then he REFUSES to tell her about it. Ass. He's still being pissy because she shared the glittery hoo-ha with Sawyer when she thought he was about to die. Fucking get over it, you tool. You're getting your rocks off with the resident Other mole, and it's not like you ever staked your claim on Mt. Kate anyway.

But the big mindfuck? The really big whopper? Was how they're trying to tell us now that really everyone is dead. Because the plane was found -- FULL OF BODIES -- off the coast of Bali! WHAT THE FUCK????

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Asparagus Risotto with Lemon and Basil

Dinner 4/30/07
Originally uploaded by snarkmeister.
A nice, fresh risotto for spring, and my first submission to Sweetnicks' ARF/5-a-Day roundup!

Asparagus Risotto with Lemon and Basil

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup diced onion
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups chicken stock (approx) - you can use vegetable stock for a vegetarian meal, but I like it with chicken stock
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces and steamed (I steamed it over the chicken stock while I was making the rice)
Zest from half a lemon
1 tsp fresh chopped basil (or one cube of TJ's frozen basil, which is what I used)
Salt & pepper to taste

Heat butter & oil together over medium heat. Saute onion until translucent and soft. Add some salt & pepper. At the same time, heat the chicken stock until simmering, and then keep it simmering during the rest of the process.

Add the rice to the onions, and saute for a minute or two until coated with oil & butter and slightly toasted. Add the white wine and let the alcohol cook off, about 1-2 minutes. Add a big ladle or two of simmering chicken stock, and stir. Let the rice absorb most of the chicken stock (it will take a few minutes), stirring frequently, until you see the bottom of the pan for a moment when you stir, and then add another ladle or two. Continue this process for about 20-25 minutes, until the rice is creamy and tender but with a little bit of bite (al dente), and you've used up all (or most) of the chicken stock. Add the basil and lemon zest. At the last minute, throw in the asparagus and stir it all together. Check the seasoning, and add more salt & pepper if needed.

Serves two generously (or two modestly, plus enough leftovers for one lunch the next day). Enjoy!


One thing I forgot about when doing my good news/bad news roundup yesterday: ultimate temptation.

Sunday, when I was digging around for the end cap for my little iPod shuffle in my gym bag, I came across a fresh, unopened pack of cigarettes. Instead of swooning lustfully over them and driving myself crazy, I immediately turned to Rugrat and told him to take the pack to the next door neighbor (who smokes, and used to bum cigarettes off me on a semi-regular basis) and ask if he wanted it. There was a split-second of temptation, but I immediately dismissed it.

This is good, right? Because I didn't even entertain the thought of actually smoking one. I can't remember feeling this way after quitting since...well, since I quit when I was pregnant with Ryan. I don't feel deprived or resentful when I see other people smoking, either. I just feel like it is not an option for me anymore; I don't want it. And the fact that I actually forgot to mention it yesterday? Shows what a non-issue smoking is for me now.

So, in short: bad news - I found some cigarettes and was momentarily tempted. Good news - I totally didn't smoke!