Wednesday, March 26, 2014

a little pick-me-up


image by callie

today is my birthday. i'm thirty-five years old but i still feel twelve. ok, maybe not twelve, but i definitely don't feel like a middle aged mother of six.

my dad will always be forty-seven to me and i'll always think of my mom as forty-four. are you the same way with your parents? is there an age you'll just always think of them as being? i wonder if i'll have some sort of existential break down when i turn forty-four...yike! i hope not.

my birthday has never really been that big of a deal to me. however, i do have a few good friends who are self-proclaimed birthday divas and they have so much fun! sometimes for the entire month of their birthday! it's so fantastic.

i told a friend today that a perfect birthday for me would involve going out to eat for every meal with different friends and family and seeing some great movies in between meals. that sounds so extravagant and self-indulgent. maybe that's what birthdays are for...

while i figure out how to celebrate today, here are some great things i found for your wednesday pick-me-up. it was tons of fun stumbling upon each of these. hope you enjoy!

33 genius 3 ingredient recipes. isaac was looking over my shoulder when i found this one and he said with all the seriousness he could muster, "mom, we need all of these in our life." who knows? maybe we do.

a how-to video from food 52 and mario batali. tortelloni my friends, tortelloni.

the unicorn is the official animal of scotland. no joke

15 delicious ways to eat your veggies. and the surprise of my life is that my squash butter crostini with blue cheese, celery and bacon are on the list. happy birthday to me!

pretty pasta i'd probably never make. but it's still beautiful to look upon.

finding this little tidbit was more mind-bending than it probably should have been. did you know oxford university is older than the aztecs? utterly fascinating.

i had tofu for dinner tonight and this recipe looks promising as well.

bahn mi is my favorite sandwich of all time. that's why i'm excited to try this bahn mi bowl. and the woman who wrote this recipe...her name is yeh. can't go wrong.

and jon's not much of a baker so maybe i'll make this last-minute cake to celebrate today. but don't feel sorry for me. i'll love every minute of making it.

p.s. to receive a couple extra "if i were..." menu ideas and secret recipes every month that i only share via email click here. i'll also be sending out recipes every once in a while for testing and feedback.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

the lunchbox


cinema is the second love of my life. well third actually...husband, feeding people, then cinema. 

whenever i'm having a off week or if jon is out of town for an extended period of time, i make it a point to get myself to the theater for a flick. there i find a singular sense of catharthis and escapism that is cheaper and more effective than therapy. 

last week we saw tim's vermeer, an utterly fascinating account of a man who sets out to understand the work of the dutch painter, johannes vermeer (think Girl with a Pearl Earring), and his mastery of light and color. "jaw-dropping" seems a bit dramatic a term to describe a documentary about art history, but man on man, did this keep us on the edge of our seats. trust me. it's a good one.

during the previews though, we saw the trailer for the lunchbox. did you know that in mumbai alone there is a community of 5000 lunchbox delivery men? neither did i! did you also know that harvard university conducted a study and found that only one in one million of those lunches are ever delivered to the wrong person? i know, right??

this film intrigues me on many levels...i'm constantly searching out new flavors and new food experiences. and a culture that puts so much value on a home-cooked lunch is one that i want to be a part of. sign me up. today. i'm also captivated by the relationships built by and around food...the communication and soul-nourishing aspect of feeding people is it for me.

that's why i know i'll love this film. can't wait to see it. here's the trailer...what do you think?

p.s. to receive a couple extra "if i were..." menu ideas and secret recipes every month that i only share via email click here. i'll also be sending out recipes every once in a while for testing and feedback. the next one should be send out this week. talk later dudes!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

a little pick-me-up


image by chelsea scanlan

(i took waaaaaaaaay too long deciding which picture i should use with this post. but i decided on this one because it really shows how i've felt lately. and i want to remember. the end.)

somehow i always find myself in front of the computer on tuesday nights after dinner. tonight was no exception. jon was upstairs directing the kids in the cleaning up of dinner. and it was loud. but the good, happy, i-wouldn't-have-it-any-other-way-but-my-neighbors-might kind of loud. i realized it was tuesday night and i got really excited because i had the time to write a post. and here we are!

as i was listening to them all laughing and crying and working and running upstairs, i remembered how i constantly remind them to make something "mom clean" when they're doing a chore. my hope is that it motivates them to pay better attention because, really? who likes having to go back and re-do something that could have been done well to begin with? not me. 

my dad's way of doing that was to religiously share the same story of how his mom (ila's namesake who i've never met) would constantly tell her boys when they were making their beds in the morning, "if there's a job worth doing, it's a job worth doing well." funny the things you remember...

here's some good news! my actual, real life, grown-up website will launch soon. i know! it's been months since the whole process began and it's even more gratifying now to think of it being complete. so stay tuned...giveaways will abound. and on that note i'll leave you with some great little pick-me-ups for this week. hope it's a good one my friends!

ruby is across the hall in bed singing songs from "frozen" to the babies. made me think of this video. have you seen it yet? it's pretty spectacular.

sushi at home has always been intimidating, but this how-to makes it seem much more approachable.

my friend megan is such a prolific pinner. like she might be the best. for realz. i've never seen anything like it. and now, thanks to her, i know that dandelions burn different colors

you learn something new everyday...even about onions.

absurdly addictive asparagus? yes please. and i love food52.

super useful info for your next party.

so i would need to double this recipe for a party of eight. but really, i would probably triple it. because leftovers and late-night snacks.

over here in the canlas house we think jimmy fallon is KILLING it on the tonight show. and the folks over at los angeles times agree.

if you missed my last post, i'll be in utah for a few days in april and i get to teach a cooking class. it's going to be so fun! wanna come

and i loved this pic on jon's instagram feed from a few weeks ago. read the quote on the car and then marvel at the get-up. i knew that eistein guy was smart.

p.s. to receive a couple extra "if i were..." menu ideas and secret recipes every month that i only share via email click here. i'll also be sending out recipes every once in a while for testing and feedback. talk to you later dudes!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

if i were teaching a cooking class...


poor quality screen shot by callie

hi guys! i've got some good news...the kind folks over at orson gygi invited me to teach a cooking class in their spectacular kitchen while i'm in utah next month. i'm kind of super excited about this! the class will be held saturday, april 12 at 6 pm. 

they have everything set up perfectly. each class is limited to 12 participants and people are divided into stations. the instructor takes some time in the beginning of the class to go over each recipe and share any tips and tricks and then each station in charge of a recipe or two. they encourage people to visit other stations to help out and see what's going on. then when it's all ready, we plate everything up on big platters and share a great meal, family style. the cost of the class is $55 and that includes dinner, personalized instruction for each recipe, a recipe packet from the night and an apron to take home. it makes for a fun girls' night or date night too.

if you're in utah, you wanna go? i'd love to see you there. here's what we'll be making...

- seared mahi mahi with dream sauce
- callie salad with grilled chicken
- roasted sweet potato and sugar snap pea salad
- watermelon with feta, mint and lime
- pan de tomate

and for dessert?
-hot milk sponge cake with broiled coconut topping

if you're interested, head on over to their website and sign up there. can't wait to see you! and more importantly, i can't wait to feed your faces :)

and p.s. to receive a couple extra "if i were..." menu ideas and secret recipes every month that i only share via email click here. i'll also be sending out recipes every once in a while for testing and feedback. hopefully i'll have a recipe to share for friday. talk to you soon!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

a little pick-me-up


image by callie

how is it wednesday already? the fact that time feels like it's going by faster indicates that i'm 100% back to the normal me. in fact, today was great! some exercise, some cleaning, some work, some quality time with my favorite person and a quick lunch date. you forget how good normal feels till you've felt otherwise, don't you think? hewph! i'm glad that phase is over. 

we got some good news yesterday. we've been focusing a lot of time and energy into fine-tuning things at the FINDlab. belinda has been heaven well as shooting fantastic food photos, she's our new lab manager too. i've also been playing a bigger role in how things run and i like knowing that i'm contributing in ways that are meaningful to build the business. the good news is that we're taking a trip in april to work on things that need some face time. it's put me in the best mood knowing that i'll be seeing and hugging family and friends. and eating at some of my favorite places too...oh man, it's going to be so fun! 

i might even be teaching a cooking class while i'm there, so stay tuned. i'll post more info about that as details get finalized. this was a fun week searching for things to share, so without further adieu, here's a little pick-me-up just for you. have a wonderful week you guys!

we watched haute cuisine on netflix the other night. jon started the night in front of the computer and ended up finishing the movie next to me. it's the story of a french country cook who was asked to become the personal chef to the president of france in the late 80's. it has subtitles (which i was totally in the mood for), really mesmerizing cooking scenes and a great story. here's an article about it too. i wanted to go upstairs and start cooking as soon as it was over. oh! and learn to speak french fluently.

my dad went to high school in japan. and my mom learned how to make REALLY good gyoza. instead of making the intricate folds to close the dumplings she had a gyoza press. i have such vivid memories of spooning dollops of pork and scallion filling onto wonton squares and then folding the press in half to seal the pillowy pockets of goodness closed. mmmm. they were so good. i came across this recipe that brought back that flood of memories. looks tasty!

our kiddos would wholehearted agree with this line of thinking.

this diagram made a good showing on my pinterest feed. completely fascinating. and the possibilities are endless!

great tips on storing produce and even herbs.

i've been craving non-asian flavors lately. i want hearty, comforting food...that doesn't involve soy sauce. these potatoes would do the trick.

are you already thinking about easter? in another life i'll choose to spend time on things like this. martha never disappoints.

i kept seeing pics of avocado toast on my instagram feed...especially from new yorkers. am i missing something? but really, i never get sick of the stuff. numma!

last week i mentioned my friend, ryan, and his kickstarter. good news! they funded! and like a week they want to earn a little extra to record the album on analog tape..."straight to tape. no computers or messing around with takes. 8 folks in a room, live to tape." doesn't that sound so COOL? head on over and see what you think...

that's all for today folks! and p.s. to receive a couple extra "if i were..." menu ideas and secret recipes every month that i only share via email click here. i'll also be sending out recipes every once in a while for testing and feedback. hopefully i'll have a recipe to share for friday. talk to you soon!

Friday, March 7, 2014

seared mahi mahi with dream sauce


image by callie

happy friday y'all! i've always secretly wished to be an old southern grandma. mostly because when i think of a southern grandma i picture a woman with her doors and her heart always open to feed and love people who need it most. and because butter, biscuits, fried chicken and fried okra. 

we had a bit of a long week in the canlas home. jon left saturday morning for australia and gets back this morning. maybe i'll be giving him a big hug by the time you read this. or maybe not. long flights and lots of sitting make for sometimes smelly situations. too much? i'm sorry...back to business.

so, we had a long week here with jon gone. luckily, i've got my hormones in check (i deal with PMDD but that's another story for another time) and i'm back to feeling like my old self again. hewph! (that's what our kids say instead of "phew". it's pretty much the best thing in the universe.) my mood improved so much that i didn't even feel the need for a little pick-me-up this week! instead i took kids to the beach and the park and on bike rides. and we cuddled lots too. it felt good. coincidentally, i read a mental health update from design mom this week that helped me keep my chin up. 

i also found myself in the kitchen a couple of nights wanting to create. tonight's dinner was one for the books...seared mahi mahi with dream sauce, brown rice, baked sweet potatoes and roasted brussels sprouts. if i had thought ahead of time about the brown rice it would have only taken 20 minutes or so to throw this together. again, it felt good.

fifty percent of our kids ate the fish and LIKED it. that is statistically significanct in this home. and it was all because of this condiment. i wish you could have seen ila's face when she tasted it. her eyes opened wide and she smiled really big. then i smiled really big. we had a moment. 

i joked on instagram last night that i was going to call it "cilantro and scallion magic dream sauce". then a friend said, "why not?" so dream sauce it is! i'm fairly confident this could make anything taste good. and it's similar to a pesto or a chimichurri and will keep in the fridge for at least a week and you could freeze it in an ice cube tray as well. 

and p.s. to receive a couple extra "if i were..." menu ideas and secret recipes every month that i only share via email click here. i'll also be sending out recipes every once in a while for testing and feedback. but really, let me know if you try this one out. tell me how it goes.

seared mahi mahi with dream sauce
serves 4

4 six ounce mahi mahi fillets (i just bought the frozen wild caught bag from can even cut the fillets in half and it still might be enough for one serving)
extra virgin olive oil

preheat a cast iron skillet on medium high heat. meanwhile, brush each side of the fish with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. when pan is slightly smoking place fish in the pan and let cook for 4-5 minutes. do not touch the fish. when it releases easily from the pan, it is ready to flip. flip fish to the other side and cook for another 3-4 minutes till done. remove from the pan and set aside.

for the sauce:
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 T green onion (one small green onion) sliced thin
1 clove garlic, grated
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 T soy sauce
1 T lemon juice
2 T hot water
1 T canola oil (or any light flavored oil)
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp honey

while fish is cooking, combine all ingredients in a water glass. using an immersion blender, process all ingredients until smooth. if you don't have an immersion blender, a small food processor or blender would work. however, you might need to double the recipe to have enough volume to process.

i like to serve this dish with brown rice and roasted brussels sprouts. drizzle the the brussles sprouts with a little extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper and throw them in a 450 degree oven for 10-15 minutes and they'll be ready just as the fish is done.

notes: this sauce would be wonderful on grilled chicken, pork, beef...really anything. don't avoid this recipe if you don't have fish readily available or if it's not your jam. i also ate it on baked sweet potatoes and it was KILLER. i think the sweetness of the yam was a perfect balance to the kick-you-in-the-face flavor this sauce brings to the table.

dream sauce will keep for a week in the fridge or up to a month frozen in an ice cube tray in the freezer. just remove the cubes after they are frozen and store them in an airtight bag or container.