Thursday, July 14, 2011

Salmon Peanut Sauce Stir Fry

About a month ago, after seeing the recipe on A Couple Cooks for fresh spring rolls and accompanying peanut sauce, I knew I had dinner made for sure that night. However, after thoroughly enjoying the recipe, I thought I could make even more delicious-ness out of the sauce they came up with.

Thus came the salmon stir fry. You could certainly make this with chicken or steak or shrimp or whatever you please, but it works particularly well with the flavor of salmon. It is also great this time of year when all the veggies are in season. Feel free to mix and match with whatever vegetables your farmer has available!


For the fish:
A few salmon fillets (we generally buy ours frozen from TJ's)
2-3 cloves of garlic
olive oil
juice of 1 lime, 1/2 a lemon
spices: Moroccan 35 spice, salt, parsley, and a dash of cayenne

For the stir fry:
1 green pepper thinly sliced (or 1/2 green, 1/2 red or yellow if you like things more colorful)
2 carrots grated
1/2 large zucchini, grated
large handful of snap peas, chopped or whole
a small handful of basil
several cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated

For the sauce:
1/3 Cup hoisin sauce (I used just slightly less)
2TBS natural peanut butter
1 tsp or so sriacha sauce (pending desired heat)
2 TBS water

Cook the salmon with a bit of oil, garlic. Sprinkle with spices and juice of citrus fruits.

Stir fry the garlic and ginger in oil a minute or two, add the veggies, stir fry over high heat about 2 minutes.

Mix the sauce ingredients, blend with a fork, then pour over the veggies and stir fry another minute or two.

Serve salmon over rice and top with veggie stir fry.



Wednesday, July 6, 2011




Alex and I have been doing LOTS of traveling this summer! After Montreal, we finally did get to use up our free Airtran vouchers and did in fact find somewhere tropical and awesome. After much discussion, we finally settled on Bermuda! We were originally wanting to do the DR or Puerto Rico, but decided against PR because we didn’t have enough time to really get to the parts of the island we’d be interested in and against the DR for basically the same reason and that Airtran only flies into Punta Cana, which is all inclusive resort central, which basically is about the grossest thing possible if you ask me. I’m kind of a travel snob/granola liberal in that I refuse to have anything to do with resort-y type places for a multitude of reasons. (If you’d like to know my reasons, I’m happy to share, but figured I’d leave the politics for another day.)

ANYWAYS, so yes, what we’d read about Bermuda sounded perfect, beautiful beaches, mopeds, and not so much into the huge hotel chains. And really, when else am I going to fly for a weekend to Bermuda unless hubs and I have free airfare? After figuring out we could book the flights we moved onto finding a place to stay, which was supposed to be easy peasy since there were some handy websites that had loads of apartment type rentals for cheap. However, these website are all basically through this company called Bermuda Rentals. Which, though has many cheap, lovely properties, was, in our experience, a freaking nightmare to book. I felt like I was pulling teeth just trying to give them money. I had to follow up SEVERAL times and had to keep calling them (which is annoying because they’re in Canada) instead of email. Finally, after several follow-ups, and a confirmation email that fell through, they emailed to say opps, sorry, even though you've been trying to book for over a MONTH we don't have any thing at all. In fact she said, "it looks like your reservation fell off a cliff." Umm, what? To which I wrote a very strongly worded email response saying, yes, so, that's not going to work for us. I also tweeted to say never EVER book with them.

The best part of all this was that I ended up feeling almost as cool as dooce, in that literally a few hours after I tweeted, I got the fastest response ever from these guys, at like 5am they sent an email saying, just kidding, they would most definitely find us somewhere to stay within our budget. Oh, and could you please update your twitter account to reflect that? Wow. Well then. I guess social media IS effective. I let them know there would be no changing of any statuses until we actually were booked and had gotten there without any hiccups.

The day arrived for our departure and Alex and I headed off to the airport at the ungodly hour of 3:45am. Only to be told once we arrived at La Guardia that our flight was canceled. Come back tomorrow! WHAT?? Seriously people, never fly on Air Tran if you can help it. LAME. We rebooked things so we could come back a day later and made arrangements with work, but still this was ridiculous.

The next day things fortunately went off without a hitch and we finally made it to beautiful Bermuda! The place we were staying also has their own taxi service, so we were even picked right up from the airport.

Our hosts for the weekend, Wade's Garden Inn were amazing in every way. If you head to Bermuda, I highly recommend them. Just book directly through them, not through another agency! They picked us up from the airport, gave us a tour of their little part of the island, took us to the grocery store to pick up food, and were just generally awesome. And their accommodations were spotless and beautiful, and just a walk over the hill or quick trolley ride from Horseshoe Beach!

Wade's Garden Inn

The bay around the corner from our Inn.


Beautiful orchids in our apartment.

The area we were staying in was purposefully away from the hubbub of town, we were going for as relaxing as possible, and that was what we got. We mainly spent our days relaxing at the beach or walking along the railroad trail enjoying the scenery. Since we stayed in an apartment we cooked our meals for breakfast and lunch, and then just went out for dinner, which made things much more affordable. Food is pretty pricey on the island.

We had hoped to rent mopeds, but for this trip, it was just a bit much. Next time for sure!

Horseshoe Beach. Of COURSE the day I brought my point and shoot to the beach I forgot to charge the batteries and it was dead. But, this is the view from the road of the beach we spent our days at. Alex couldn't get over how blue the water was and kept saying, "I can't believe a place like this actually exists!"
The second day we were out was busier then the first, but both were fairly low key. If you walked around to the far edge of the horseshoe, there would be hardly anyone. The first day we walked around the rocks at the end and found ourselves on a practically deserted stretch of sand, it was lovely.

An old railway trail runs up the center of the island, and now makes for a lovely trail for walking.
Lots of pretty flowers abound!

And chickens too!




Gibb's Lighthouse.


View from the trail.

The only photo of the two of us, nice and sunburned! Though much too short of a trip, we had a wonderful time and will hopefully be back someday!

Friday, July 1, 2011


Alex and I had been talking about taking a trip for Memorial Day for awhile, and had actually been hoping to use up our free airtran ticket vouchers to go somewhere awesome and tropical. However, after learning about the annoying-ness of blackout dates, we found out that wasn’t going to happen. Still wanting to go somewhere however, and wanting to make good use of our current location in NY, we decided to head north and make a long weekend roadtrip to Montreal.

Ever since moving here I’ve heard people gush on and on about how awesome Montreal is, so I was super excited to go. We weren’t disappointed. I still can’t believe how much we both loved it, and were thoroughly convinced we could live there someday. NYC is can be so crazy, but Montreal was just so incredibly pleasant. I can’t describe it any better then that. The houses were bright and cute, there was tons of biking, the parks were awesome, and the food was terrific. And, it’s all in French! Despite the fact that it rained practically the whole trip, we had a fantastic time and will surely be back soon!

Alex and I took off early Friday morning and met surprisingly little traffic as we made our way out of the city. The drive itself wasn’t bad at all, about 7 hours I think with a stop for lunch, about equal to driving down to Chi-town from mpls, but WAY better scenery! We drove through the Adirondacks, and they were stunning! Everytime I head upstate, I can’t get over how beautiful this state of NY is, and how very different the rest of it is from the blip on the map that is Manhattan.

We crossed the border without incident, though did think we missed our exit but soon enough righted ourselves and enjoyed the drive into Montreal. The only problem was now it had started to rain, which it did then continue doing for nearly the entire weekend. LAME.

We found our B&B, Le Rayon Vert, and then circled back around the block to find a parking spot. I had been a little worried about parking, but it turned out to be not a problem at all. The owner of the B&B also offered to move her car so we could have a spot right in front, but we ended up just leaving it where it was about 2 blocks away, no worries at all.

The B&B is on the ground floor.

Le Rayon Vert is in the Plateau Mont Royal neighborhood which was SUCH a great place for us to stay. Close to the beautiful parks, restaurants and shops, but on a quiet street so there wasn’t a raging scene under our window at night. It was also beautiful, the breakfasts delicious, and the owner incredibly helpful. If you’re looking for a place to stay in Montreal, I would for sure recommend this place! (And it’s cheap!!)

Our room.

Crazy door.

Cool light fixture with beautiful molding to the ceiling.

When we got there the first late afternoon we relaxed for a bit and then just went out to explore. It was unfortunately drizzly, but we luckily packed umbrellas, so were ok for the most part. Though I think Alex was a bit cold as he didn’t even have anything long sleeve. We mainly wandered into shops on one of the main streets and then found a nice little asian fusion/thai place to grab some dinner. (Food was definitely a little more pricey then I was expecting! Even coming from NYC.)

The next day again was pretty grey, but we set out on a mission to find Alex a new coat (he’d been on the market for a rain jacket anyhow) and bought me a bigger nicer umbrella then the puny one I’d had before. We also decided that this much rain clearly called for us to enjoy the culinary awesome-ness that is Montreal. We would walk and shop a few blocks and then duck into a café for a snack.


The first stop of the day, Swartz’s Deli. Oh my gosh, you guys. This was THE. BEST. SANDWICH. EVER. Seriously, I can not begin to describe the amazingness. If you are in Montreal, go here and eat one. And a pickle too for good measure. YUM.



I love the rooftops!

After another a few blocks, we had clearly walked off our sandwich (I mean we did just split one since it was like 10:30 or 11 in the morning and all) we popped into another little café for some sweets. Also, very delicious.



From there the rain let up a small amount and we decided we would try and walk around Old Montreal a bit and see what we could find.

Old Montreal was so great, cobble stone streets, old Europe feel, and lots of fun art galleries, kind of like soho in NYC, but less crazy.









After we had our fill of old town it was time for the event of the day. Alex really wanted to find a spot to watch the final game of the champions league (soccer) so off we went to find a suitable establishment. After looking into a few places, we settled on an irish pub like place and manage to squeeze ourselves into the very last table in back. While watching the game we perused the menu and found out this place had poutine! The dish I’ve been told I MUST try while in montreal.


Although this poutine wasn’t traditional in that it was drenched in a curry sauce instead of the traditional gravy, it was nonetheless awesome. (I think I may have liked it more because of this, as it made it a little less heavy)

After the poutine and the soccer, we went back to our b&b for a nap and then got ready for dinner. One of the many great things about Montreal is the abundance of byob restaurants, and we made sure to take advantage on at least one evening we went out. The first night for dinner, the rain had let up, so we strolled up an down Duluth Street, a lovely pedestrian street filled with all sorts of restaurants. We finally settled upon a French place that served some the best food I’ve had in a very long time. We had amazing steak tartare, a beautiful salad, and fish to die for. Delicious. Pricey, but with our own wine, much more reasonable.



Day #2 started off overcast, but at least not raining, so we decided to try out the bixi bikes that are seen all over Montreal. Basically, bixi bikes are short term bike rentals that allow you to get pretty much anywhere in the city. So much fun!


We road them up to the huge farmers market in little Italy and it was a great little bike ride! The farmers market had tons of stuff, and lots of venders selling prepared foods as well, so we made sure to get a snack as well.






Unfortunately, after walking around for just a bit, it started to rain again, so we were stuck just hanging out under the tent. Boo. Alex decided he still wanted to ride in the rain so took off back for the B&B while I decided to hop on the subway instead. Which was better as I could then carry all the fun stuff we bought at the market.

Later that day it did finally start to clear up and we were able to go for a run and enjoy the greenery in the park at Mont Royal and go for another evening stroll before dinner.



I love these houses!

One of the other things I noticed while in Montreal was the abundance of crazy street art. Check some of these out!






Sunday evening we headed out to Pinxto, a Basque (Spanish) tapas bar. We ended up getting the tasting menu, so got four tapas each and then an entrée for dinner. The tapas were gorgeous, seriously works of art, and tasted delicious. We didn’t have a reservation, so sat at the bar, but this was still an awesome place for dinner. Afterwards we walked around and picked up an ice cream cone and enjoyed the neighborhoods a bit more.

On Monday, the day we leave of course, was sunny and beautiful! I was SO sad we had to leave as it would have been wonderful to explore the waterfront, or have a picnic or do anything outside without getting rained on. We settled for heading up to top of Mont Royal park to enjoy the view from the Chateau and spend a bit of time being barefoot in the grass before heading back to the freeway.

Downtown Montreal

Olympic park in the distance


Alex played a bit of guitar.


A quick bite before we left.


The gas station on the way home... I just had to take a photo. :-)
I mean really?

We will be back Montreal!