Posts tagged ‘spinach’

April 18, 2011

the steak method

A few weeks ago on Amazon, I bought these two items:

An instant-read digital thermometer and a 10-inch cast iron pan.

Of course, there are a multitude of uses for these 2 tools, but the main reason we bought them was for these:

Jeff and I love a good steak, and we really love the idea of making it at home to save some money. We’ve wanted to try the method of searing it in a pan and then finishing it off in the oven, which is hard to do without a cast iron. Friday night’s dinner became the day we made it happen!

So after my Fresh & Easy market trip the other day, we took a bottle of this,

and used it to marinate the steaks.

Some sources say to marinate it for about 6 hours, but we ended up just marinating it for 24 hours.



This is what we did with the steaks (which we got off of a Good Eats episode):

-Preheat the oven to 500F and stick the cast iron pan into the oven for about 5 minutes.

-Season the steak with kosher salt & pepper, then rub a little oil with a high smokepoint (we used Grapeseed oil) onto the steaks.

-Take the cast iron pan out of the oven and place the steaks onto the pan.

-Sear one side of the steak for 30 seconds, flip and sear the other side for 30 seconds.

-Flip the steaks over again before sticking the cast iron pan with the steaks into the oven for 2 minutes.

-Flip the steaks over for the last time and leave in the oven for 2 more minutes. (We took the temperature of the steaks at this time and it was around 130F, which is about medium-rare, which is what we wanted.)

-Take out of the oven and let the steaks rest.



Yum. It was a littttttle more medium than we would’ve liked but that might’ve been because we let it rest for quite a while. Next time, we might leave the steaks in the oven for 1 1/2 minutes on each side instead of 2 minutes. Of course, it also depends on the thickness of the steaks.

But I will say that these were the best steaks we have made at home yet!

We had the steaks with brown rice, roasted carrots, roasted garlic, and sauteed spinach.

Jeff’s favorite vegetable is carrots. And he told me about 5 minutes before we were going to cook the steaks that he wanted carrots with dinner. I was slightly annoyed because carrots take a little longer to roast in the oven and wished he had told me earlier. But I found out from Friday night’s dinner that carrots will cook in almost no time when an oven is set to 500F and the carrots are cut into tiny, tiny pieces. The carrots were perfect, drizzled in a little grapeseed oil with salt & pepper.

I also halved a bunch of garlic cloves and stuck them into the oven with the carrots. I find that I like “roasted” garlic this way better than this way:

Of course this way is absolutely delicious, but all the garlic cloves turn out soft and mushy. Whereas we find that the garlic gets crispy on the outside and soft on the inside when we just halve a whole clove and stick it in the oven (with a little oil, salt & pepper). Plus, it is 100% easier and 100% cleaner, especially if you have those huge bags of already-peeled garlic from Costco.



Dessert was just as amazing and it included this:

Shouldn’t be toooo hard to figure out. ;D

Did you have any good eats this weekend?

April 15, 2011

a new contender

Like many, Trader Joe’s is the main grocery store I go to. I love it because it’s generally cheap, has unique products, and is super close to where I live (a 5 minute drive).

Some of the other grocery stores I like going to but don’t go to that often include,

Whole Foods: Of course I always have a blast walking around Whole Foods, but it’s a 15 minute drive away instead of a 5 minute drive which makes a big difference in terms of convenience. But maybe this is a good thing because they’re $$$.

Costco: I only buy a few things from here mainly because I don’t have a huge # of people to feed so most of their products are too much for me. Plus, they’re a 15 minute drive away instead of a 5 minute drive so I just don’t find myself going here too often.

Safeway: I usually go here for things I can’t find at Trader Joe’s, such as dried milk. Or when I’m having a random hankering for Haagen-Dazs at midnight (because they’re open 24 hours)

Asian Supermarkets: I love Asian supermarkets because often they can be cheaper, and they sell things I can’t get at other supermarkets. For example, king oyster mushrooms, a certain sweet potato, and zucchini squash that is not as skinny as the ones they sell at other supermarkets.



But watch out, because there’s a new grocery store in town and I think I’m in love!

Up here in Northern California, Fresh & Easy Markets are just starting to pop up here and there. I was incredibly happy to find out that one was opening up really close to my house, even closer than Trader Joe’s! I’ve been to Fresh & Easy once in LA, but it was in a rush so, not really.

Anyway, I think the biggest thing is that there is another option for me to buy my groceries. Some of their products are cheaper than Trader Joe’s and some of Trader Joe’s are cheaper than Fresh & Easy’s. I guess that’s what it means to be a competitor! :) Fresh & Easy does seem to sell more things in general than Trader Joe’s though.

Here’s what I bought on my first trip there! (I’ll be comparing prices with Trader Joe’s in parenthesis)

I’m still on a quest to find the best soymilk, so I immediately picked up their vanilla soymilk (Trader Joe’s is a little bit cheaper). It was good, but still not quite what I’m looking for. And of course, butter (Fresh & Easy’s is a little bit cheaper).



2 for $3! (Fresh & Easy is a little bit cheaper, but then the bag is a little bit smaller too)



I got suuper excited when I saw this. This whole bunch of cilantro for 98 cents! Trader Joe’s cilantro bunch is tiiiny and I think it’s also a few bucks. Trader Joe’s is organic, but I’m okay with my cilantro not being organic. I’m obsessed with cilantro. I can have a salad made entirely out of cilantro, and I would if it weren’t so expensive!

When I was in Southern California one time, I went to a Subway where they had CILANTRO as an option for a topping. They also had Tapatio sauce. BEST. SUBWAY. SANDWICH. EVER. I’m topping all my sandwiches with this cilantro. Heck, I’m topping everything with this cilantro!



KEY LIMES! for 98 cents too! Awesome. I bought 2 of these bad bunches. :)



Because we love it.



Because we love it. AND Fresh & Easy’s Blue Moon 6-pack is the cheapest I’ve found (not including sales) – $6.99! Even Trader Joe’s sells it for $7.99.



I’ve been to Fresh & Easy a grand total of 3 times in 2 days. Fine, one time was to get oranges for the Blue Moons and the other time was an equally important trip (you’ll see on my next post), but in Jeff’s words, “you’ve betrayed Trader Joe’s.”

Don’t worry Trader Joe’s, I’ll be back!

What’s your #1 grocery store?

April 14, 2011

you say salmon, i say salmon

I’ll be honest, I say salmon incorrectly. I pronounce the “l” and for that, Jeff is ashamed of me. Ah well, now I say it just to annoy him!

Yesterday, I went to Trader Joe’s.

-organic baby spinach

-organic baby carrots

-frozen brown rice (ugh why does this have to be so convenient?!)

-chicken sausage

-2 buck chuck

-and salmon, the reason for the Trader Joe’s trip!



Everything for $22.67 –



This particular grocery trip happened after I asked Jeff if he felt like having salmon for dinner. And after he said oh yes please!

We LOVE fresh salmon. I like to prepare fresh salmon in the simplest way possible – just seared for a few minutes on each side on a fry pan. The absolute worst thing to me is 100% fully cooked salmon – it just tastes so dry and blah. I like it to be slightly undercooked in the middle. And no salt or pepper is needed because the salmon is just so delicious on it’s own!

I have a question though. Is farm-raised salmon really not good for you? I think I’ve heard from places here and there that Wild Alaskan salmon is a much healthier choice. I’ve never tried Wild Alaskan salmon, but I kind of sort of have a huge feeling that it is not as delicious as farm-raised salmon. I’d love your input if you have any idea!

Anyway, our dinner last night (and tonight!) was 1/2 of one salmon fillet each, brown rice, and sauteed spinach with garlic.

That pile of spinach is 1/2 the bag of the spinach. It’s my most favorite way to eat spinach! After the salmon is seared in the pan, there is the perfect amount of the fish’s oil left in the pan. Then to the pan, I add a bunch (6 cloves, but that might be a little excessive) of minced garlic, and then the whole bag of spinach. then I season with a little salt and pepper. So simple and so good!

For a while, I really wanted to love having spinach in my smoothies so that I could get more spinach in my diet. And to be honest, it’s not that bad, BUT I really prefer my smoothies to be purely fruit based, like this. And THEN when I made this sauteed spinach, any desire to have spinach smoothies flew out the window. It’s so easy and delicious to get spinach into my diet this way and I don’t have to sacrifice my smoothies for it! In fact, I need to save my spinach so I could eat it like this more often!

Plus, supposedly you get more of spinach’s nutrients when the spinach is cooked!

This is one of Jeff and my favorite meals. Usually, we douse all our meals with crazy loads of spicy sriracha sauce, but this is one meal we don’t put on any. The flavors are so simple and delicious, we just want to taste that!



For dessert, we had this:

An equally perfect ending.