Sunday, November 14, 2010

When your Garden Dies... Basil Mint Pesto is Born

I have experimented with a few versions of basil pesto recipes and I think I have just struck gold with my latest rendition. The recent shift to cool weather has taken a toll on my little balcony herb garden. The basil is beginning to look sad, and the parsley is virtually non-existent. Today I pulled off the last green leaves from my basil plant and had under a cup, so I combined it with about 1/4 a cup of mint leaves. This resulted in a bright, fresh flavor that tops any store-bought version, and it takes less than 10 minutes to prepare!

In a food processor, add:
3/4 cup of packed basil leaves
1/4 cup of mint leaves
3 tablespoons of toasted almonds (I toasted raw almonds in a pan on the stovetop for about 5 minutes)
1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup of olive oil
1 clove of garlic
salt and pepper to taste

And it's as simple as that! Tastes great on bread, sandwiches, pizza, pasta. I plan to use it on spaghetti squash that I will prepare for dinner tonight! Stay tuned for that unique recipe...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Lighter Chicken Pot Pie

As a kid, I loved those frozen Marie Calendars Chicken Pot Pies. As an adult, those things go straight to my ass. At 1,000 calories per pie, it just isn't worth the pleasure anymore. But with my first taste of DC's crisp Fall weather, the warm comforting taste of chicken pot pie has been seeping back into my memory. After reading several recipes online, I came up with this light version of chicken pot pie. It has all the rich, comforting flavors of the original, but is only 388 calories per serving. Feel free to switch out the suggested veggies for any of your favorites. This recipe yields a whopping 8 servings, so if you are a single girl like me, try to control your urge to devour the whole thing, and you can have a pot pie feast everyday for a week!

Ingredients
3 cups of fat free chicken broth
1 1/2 cups of frozen peas (thawed)
1 cup frozen broccoli (thawed)
1 cup frozen pearl onions (thawed)
1 cup mushrooms
1 medium baking potato (peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes)
1 medium sweet potato (peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes)
1/2 lbs of chicken breast (cut into bite sized pieces)
2/3 cups of flour
1 1/2 cups of nonfat milk
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry (thawed)
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons of fresh thyme
2 tablespoons of fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prep vegetables.

Bring chicken broth to a boil in a large pot or dutch oven. Turn down heat to simmer, add all of the vegetables (through sweet potato) and simmer for 6 minutes. Add chicken breast pieces and cook for 5 more minutes. Spoon out vegetables and chicken into a large bowl, leaving just the broth in the pot.

In a medium bowl, whisk together milk and flour until smooth. Add the flour mixture to the pot of chicken broth over low heat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the chicken and vegetable mixture back into the pot with the broth/flour/milk. Stir in the salt, pepper, thyme and parsley and simmer for 3 minutes.
Roll out the puff pastry with a little flour to keep from sticking to the surface. Be sure it is rolled out to fit over an 11 x 7 1/2 inch backing dish. Poor entire mixture from pot into an 11 x 7 1/2 inch baking dish. Carefully lay the puff pastry over the baking dish. Cut several small slits in the puff pastry to allow steam to escape. Cover a large baking sheet with foil, place the pot pie on top (keeps your oven clean). Bake in the oven for 15-17 minutes or until pastry is browned.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Time for a Transformation


I have not posted anything since the first week I arrived in Washington DC. That was about seven months ago. Not that anyone follows this blog or gives a shit.

I had originally started this blog out of fear. I was so afraid that I would be lost, lonely, and hopeless after I left my friends, my family, and my home in California. But the truth is, I underestimated myself. I have made many new, wonderful friends, I have grown to love my cozy Arlington apartment, city life, and my balcony herb garden. I made it through a humid summer, rallies of "Tea-Partiers", the metro at three o'clock in the morning, cab drivers who speed past you in freak thunderstorms, angry office executives who don't appreciate your pathetic attempts to please them, and even fist fights between two psychos on a metrobus. And I can honestly say that I love it here.

I must admit I can be a bit of a hermit on the weekends. I love to socialize and go out every now and then, but believe I am an introvert at heart. Personality tests will second that - the technical classification is an ISFJ.

During these weekends alone in my apartment in Arlington, I find refuge in cooking. I cook elaborate and sometimes exotic meals, I experiment with new cooking methods, and I explore interesting new spices. I have found something that I truly love doing.

I have transformed since I moved away from my home. I have realized that I am much more strong and independent then I thought and that I control my own well-being and happiness.

These realizations led to another realization- the blog that I created out of fear should become the blog to document my new-found love... cooking.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

I Made It

The red eye got us into DC at 7:00am. When I stepped out of the airport door a chill cut right through my light sweatshirt. I usually hate the cold but I loved that feeling. It was as though the city was saying "wake up, Lindsay, you are finally here!"

My apartment was nice. Empty, and a little dark, but I knew it would welcome my furniture and decor. I was very tired, but my excitement kept me from sleeping (or maybe it was the air-mattress that deflated after an hour of me laying on it.) My mom came with me to help me get settled into my new home. We walked around the neighborhood, found the metro, the grocery store, and the local gym. I was not afraid like I thought I would be, I was happy.

The next day we decided to take the metro into the city. Not a great idea on the first day of the National Cherry Blossom festival. The metro cars were packed. Commuters, tourists and strollers. It was terrible. No one should have to ever stand so close to a stranger. I never thought I would be frightened by the recorded voice of a woman saying "step back, doors closing." But those dreaded words scared the shit out of me. We rode the bus the rest of the week. The whole public transportation thing had once sounded modern, green, and trendy. Now it makes me cringe a little, but I am hoping I will adjust.

I feel like I am adjusting well, but I am afraid to speak too soon. My mom left this morning. I took a long run across the Potomac River and through Georgetown. It felt great to be on my own in this new city. I managed not to feel lonely on my first Easter alone- which could just be because I'm Jewish - but I am proud of myself. A little nervous for work this week. But excited to start getting into a routine.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Preparations

Today the movers called to confirm the pick-up of my life and worldly possessions scheduled for next week. The woman on the phone told me that I am insured up to $21,000. Then she asked if that would cover the worth of my stuff. In other words, if my items are lost, this is the amount they will reimburse me for everything. I asked the woman on the phone "what is the likelihood that my items are lost?" She replied, "there is a very small chance." I was disappointed. I softly said, "the $21,000 should be fine."

I just emptied out a closet in my Los Angeles apartment to use as my "movers do not take this stuff" designated area. The parallel suddenly donned on me. There are some things I will need to tuck away. To hang on to during this "adventure." Things that I cannot let anyone take from me, not even for two weeks on a moving truck. Those things get broken into. God I hope it gets broken in to.

One of the things I have to keep safe, in the little closest in the back of my mind is my confidence. My ability to believe that I can get through anything. Something else that cannot be touched by anyone I cross paths with during this change is my sense of humor. Things will go wrong. My ability to laugh at myself and others when this happens keeps me sane and balanced. Lastly, and most importantly, my optimism must remain in that closet. Out of reach of influencers. When a day is rough, I must be able to pull out that optimism and remind myself that the bad days will come and go, and I have to have the strength to remain hopeful about my future and trust in my decision to move across the country.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Some Background

Everything is perfect. Great boyfriend, great apartment, great job. I am completely and utterly content- I haven't felt this way in a while. But recently I had an idea. This is how it always happens, I get an idea in my head and decide I have to make a change right away. Literally, right away. Usually its my hair color, my wardrobe, or rearranging my bedroom. But this time it's a little more permanent, and a lot more work. This time, I have decided to move across the country. To risk my perfectly content, perfectly happy state of mind to experience something different. To say goodbye to the love of my life, my family, my friends, and my flawless routine. To go from a SoCal girl to a big city woman. To begin a new adventure in the most powerful city in the world.

This is a blog about that adventure and about all the emotions, experiences, and problems that are bound to come with it. This is a blog about my courageous move from Los Angeles to Washington DC.