tasty nom nom an exception to the daily meal


How about fajitas?

Good evening, E!

When N told me he IMed G about what to make for dinner, I laughed. G suggested we try grilled pizza again or cioppino. So N decided on fajitas and margaritas. Makes total sense!

N marinated flank steak for a few hours and then quickly grilled it with a bit of mesquite wood smoke. I like mesquite in small doses.

j's plate

N used to make this fresh pepper salsa -- all sorts of fresh peppers, a few tomatoes, onions, diced, lime juice. I really wanted a fresh corn salsa, so I prepped corn and asked N to make a less-hot version of his pepper salsa and add the corn to it. It turned out well!

e's plate
e's plate

We also had guacamole... that I forgot to add garlic to. That's how you know I was truly exhausted.

While pulling one of the steaks out of the freezer, N discovered a frozen pecan pie. It defrosted in time for a dessert snack. Chester was really happy he got crust treats!

chester pie crust
spoiled cat

Uno was all I could manage after a day of yardwork. I couldn't even make it upstairs to get my real camera. Uno!

braindead game

After Uno we discussed the age of various games. Here's what we learned:

Chess: 6th century AD (India)
Backgammon: 3000 BC (Persia)
Go: 400 BC (China)
Playing cards: 9th century (China)

That was a bit of a surprise! Backgammon is a favorite of mine and a game I was taught how to play at a very young age (I never liked chess, so I guess I got backgammon instead - my brother got chess).

Maybe we can try Agricola (BGG) or Dominion (BGG) next time? I fear the boys will find Agricola too Farmville for their tastes but I want to try it out. I've been looking for a couple of deck combinations for Dominion that are more contentious and interactive for us to try out. I love Dominion but I think everyone else wants a game that involves more infighting!

See you next week!

Filed under: dinner review, games 1 Comment

Copy and paste

Dear J - Nevermind the forecast says cool over the weekend and we got our first sprinkle of rain in over a month. "We will have sangria!"

I wanted a peach sangria, to use up some (home) canned peaches that needs to be use. And this one look particular good with blackberries. I used a Rioja, the only one available at the corner Safeway. Crossed my finger that it will be good. I was puzzling at the green fruit in the recipe picture, then funny thing, in the recipe video, there was lime, but not in the recipe.  The flavor was ok, I don't think it will make it into the rotation. Me thinks dinner people prefer cocktail style beverage.

Untitledflavors melding together - adding fresh picked berries

And through out the week, I couldn't stop thinking about the pork bun at Facing East. I even convinced a coworker to go to lunch there. Knowing pork belly won't do for us, so when G suggested ribs, I encouraged him to try country ribs. Safer choice to avoid burnt food. I also hope it would make a good substitute for belly. Then I consulted some Taiwanese coworkers for tips and tricks on the condiments.

mosaic52a844747959322bc1d8e570c6015848906f7bc1Facing East and my version

I marinated half of the country ribs using this braised pork belly recipe, and reduced another batch for the drizzle sauce. The other half of the country ribs were brined simply. G indirected grill and smoke the country ribs. I think the pork turned out good.

The bun was overwhelming for burger was overwhelming, I didn't find the smaller ones I need, but more pork and fixings later, they turned out ok. The flavor was close.

And thank you for reminding me the kale salad was in the fridge when we sat down to eat. I copycated this salad from the Safeway deli. They call their version SuperFood - kale, dried cranberries, blueberries, carrots, and some little seed or nuts. My version skipped the dried cranberries and I added some goat cheese that was randomly in the fridge. I dressed it with a basic balsamic mustard vinaigrette.

After dinner, and rubber finger dropping a large beer on the floor, G suggested The Train Game - Ticket to Ride. I made the same mistake and kept a route card without enough trains to make the route. Then the second game, G blocked both of us. Gurr. However, my lucky draw of routes put me over the top.

Untitledsomeone blocked our route


Hope you enjoyed the evening. I am going to sip some leftover sangria. See you.

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War! What is it Good For?

Dear E,

Hi! Phew! Little chicks are a lot of work! This is why we had a leisurely dinner about a month ago and also why I haven't written about it yet!

For dinner, I threw together a couple of salads.

The old summer standby: tomatoes, balsamic, basil, mozzarella.

tomato salad
tomato salad

A new trial: Mark Bittman's Roasted Sweet Potato salad from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. Minus the raisins, plus celery (swapping an E-hated item for a E-slightly-less-hated item?).

sweet potato salad
sweet potato salad

I wanted to like this salad more than I did. It was just ok.

N picked up pre-formed burgers at Golden Steer in Bellevue and grilled them.

E's plate
E's Plate

On the social networks Saturday morning, Alton Brown posted about his favorite summer drink, Cucumber Lemonade Gin Punch. It sounded great so I added it to the menu. I'd drink it again. I kept the gin separate so that anyone who wanted just the cucumber-lemonade could have it solo.

gin cucumber lemonade
gin cucumber lemonade

After dinner, we finally played Risk Legacy (BGG). Talk about contentious!

Risk: Legacy
Risk: Legacy

Wargames and dice-rolling are probably your two least favorite game categories! But you soldiered on and tried to beat G's troops back. Unfortunately he was still able to win.

I found that I started playing the game the same way I used to play Risk, despite not having played Risk in over 20 years. This was not that great of a strategy.

I was sort of sad that we didn't get to open any packets but I was really excited when we got to do the end of game modifications. I really like the concept of a game that changes over time depending on who plays it and how the games are won.

It's just too bad it's a dice-rolling wargame!

See you next time!