Friday, January 4, 2013

Recipe Success - Warm Wilted Winter Greens

Heyo!  I wanted to share a recent recipe experiment that went very well and pulled me slightly out of my comfort zone.  I am kind of weird about my salads - for the most part, I prefer "savory" salads as opposed to "fruity" salads.

As an example, when picking between a spinach salad with roasted beets or a spinach salad with strawberries, I would always go for the beets.  And I have historically detested Waldorf salad, or any salad with mandarin oranges or candied walnuts or anything sweet in them.

Anyone else that way?  No?  Just me?  I'm weird...I get it.

Unfortunately for Marc, he looooves fruity salads, and I am usually in charge of the salad-making at our house.  He's never complained, but deep down, I know he's itching for me to throw some grapes into my leafy meals.

So, for our New Year's dinner, I decided to give a new recipe a try, and I am very excited to say that not only did Marc love it, but so did I!  This might actually make a reappearance for Thanksgiving or Christmas next year =)

Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence (we love him)

    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1/2 pint walnuts, for garnish 
      • *we used sliced almonds, since Marc doesn't like walnuts...weirdo
    • 3 bunches assorted winter greens (such as Swiss chard, radicchio, or escarole), washed, stemmed, and torn into pieces 
      • *we used escarole
    • 1 tablespoon grainy mustard 
      • *I was scared of this ingredient, for some reason, but it is key!
    • Extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds, for garnish
    • Parmesan shavings, for garnish
    • 1 shallot, chopped, for garnish
Cook honey and balsamic together over medium-high heat in a large saute pan, about 5 minutes. Toast walnuts in a small skillet; set aside to cool.

Pile greens on a platter. Stir mustard into balsamic-honey dressing, then whisk in about 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil; pour over greens. Season greens with salt and pepper and garnish with walnuts, pomegranate seeds, shavings of Parmesan, and shallot.

It sounds a little tricky, but it was fantastic.  Look at me, expanding my salad repertoire =)


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Time for a new camera - help!!

Okay, I am still working on cleaning up our Fiji vacation pictures and I will be back in blog-world soon!  I have just been seriously enjoying the time off of work and spending the days lounging with friends and sue me =)

For my first post, I would like to request the assistance of my photographer friends.  While we were in Fiji, our "fancy" camera broke.  And by "fancy" camera, I mean our point-and-snap, not really that fancy camera.

So now it's time to purchase a new one and I'm not so keen on just getting another point-and-shoot.  My opinion is that if we're going to spend money on an actual camera, we should get something that's better quality than my camera phone.  I have the new Samsung Galaxy S3 (love it!) and the camera on this thing is if we get a new camera, it needs to be worth the money and worth hauling it around. 

Our previous camera spent most trips tucked into it's travel case, because the quality of photograph wasn't really better than my cell why even bother with the extra electronic device?

This is where I need your help!  What should we get?  Please please help.

The camera we recently had was the Nikon Coolpix S220.  I think I bought it because of the Ashton Kutcher commercials...oops.  I ended up HATING it and I vow to never purchase another camera like this again.  Here are a few of my "must haves / complaints" from my recent camera experience...
    • - The Nikon took amazing landscape photos, but the indoor pictures were awful.  Indoor photos always ALWAYS came out with a yellow tint.  Always.  We messed with settings, adjusted the flash, and the best we could come up with on indoor photos were over-or-under-exposed, still slightly yellow images.  I want this camera to take beautiful indoor photos with "as true to life" colors as possible, as well as amazing landscape/outdoor pictures.
    • - I'd love an auto-focus but would like the option to switch to manual focus (I know nothing about photography...I assume those are different things!).
    • - Marc says we don't want a digital zoom but an optical zoom.  Again...I'm ignorant about cameras/photography...
    • - We want this to be affordable.  I'm not interested in becoming a professional photographer, but I want to be able to go on trips and take decent pictures of us, family, friends, babies, mountains, dogs, get the idea. savvy friends...can you help?  Essentially, we need a step up from a point-and-shoot, but not quite as fancy as something you professionals use.  Does a camera like this exist?  What are your suggestions?

Your assistance and advice is much appreciated =)
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