In the spirit of my love for fish tacos, Becky and I decided to celebrate taco Tuesday a bit early and make them on a Sunday, officially making this day, Tsunday.
1.) The “sauce” is comprised of mayonnaise, diced jalapenos, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and a dash of lime juice. Mix well and put in the fridge until the tacos are ready for serving.
2.) Fish of choice, wild caught Pacific Cod (typically any white flaky fish will do). This fish is approximately $12/lb, and I purchased 5oz for $4 that yielded 4 well stuffed tacos. Begin by removing any bones and sectioning the fish into manageable pieces.
3.) Slice the fish into strips 2″ – 4″ long depending on your preference.
4.) Bread the fish strips per usual with a three step process of (1. flour, 2. egg, 3. bread crumbs)
5.) Heat a considerable amount of oil in a skillet until pan is hot (medium-high heat should do). In this case, the entire bottom of the pan was covered with a thin layer of oil. Place the breaded fish strips into the pan and turn as they brown/crisp. This may begin happening in the first minute or two. I cooked these strips for 6 minutes total, turning and flipping the pieces constantly to get an even crispiness and golden brown color.
6.) Remove the fish and allow to cool on a paper towel, which will also absorb the extra oil.
7.) Heat two small corn tortillas (each taco should have two tortillas) on top of each other in another skillet. Once they are warm, move to a place to begin constructing the taco!
8.) In taco: Cooked fish, the “sauce”, cabbage/carrot mixture (store bought in this case), radish slices, cilantro, avocado, another squirt of lime juice, and hot sauce!
9.) Serve with chips and salsa (wooden bowls purchased at a second-hand store for $1 each).
For Valentine’s Day, I decided to make Rebe her favorite meal… lobster rolls! To make these, I went to the Berkeley Bowl and picked up 2 Maine lobsters each about 1.2lbs thinking that I would need that much meat. It turns out these two little pinching critters yield more meat than I was expecting, but hey – more lobster ain’t so bad! [These two lobsters provided enough meat for 5 lobster rolls, keep that in mind when doing this for yourself] I placed them both in the freezer for about 20 minutes to calm them down before boiling. Gary quickly went to sleep and remained quite calm after chilling in the ice box, however his mate was a different story. Jermaine knew what was up. That little pinchey sucker tried to run right off the stove top! Luckily, I was able to out wit his tactics and picked him up and placed him back in his original position repeatedly. Sometimes, I would let him get a little further than the last attempt – however, I stopped that as this was likely crushing to his lobster psyche. To the pot he went, along side Gary. Neither put up too much of a fight as they accepted their fates. Some experience remorse for killing their lobsters while they are alive, however all animals are alive while they are killed so this is natural. I also subscribe to the school of thought that if you kill it, eat it. So that’s just what we did!
(1) 10-15 minutes in a large boiling pot of water
(2) 5 minute ice bath post-boil to prevent over cooking
(3) “Treasure hunt” to find the meat through large knives and an industrial hammer (cover the lobster with a towel when striking with a hammer, trust me)
(4) Combine the chopped meat with mayonnaise, diced celery, salt/pepper, and lemon juice.
(5) Melt butter into a pan and toast the buns open face and face down
(6) Put lobster roll mix into the warm toasted bun and serve with chips!
(6.1) Get brownie points for the chips
Cookies, chili, more cookies, chicken bake, pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins, more cookies, stuffing, booze balloons!, chocolate-covered pretzels, mashed potatoes, more cookies, beer, wedding soup, breakfast potatoes, and more cookies. (Not necessarily in that order). That about sums up our family’s holiday feasting.
Despite all the joy it brings, especially when 11 of us are gathered around the table to share it all, it’s time to let more nourishing foods reclaim our plates. Inspired by a spontaneous confession by E that her hands-down favorite food is chickpeas, today I put together a chickpea salad that I originally found at The Kitchn. This salad is chock full of veggies and protein, satisfies the post-holiday hunger, and tastes delightful. I only wish I could share it with you all at our big family table in Pittsburgh.
Warm Chickpea Salad With Cumin and Garlic
Recipe from: The Kitchn
- 3 tablespoons olive oil*
- 2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 4 cups or 32 oz. chickpeas (garbanzo beans); if using canned, rinse & drain
- 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped*
- 3/4 cup Italian parsley, leaves only, finely minced
- Small handful fresh mint leaves, finely minced
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 3/4 pound English cucumber
- Flaky sea salt
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat.
- When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and crushed red pepper and stir constantly for about a minute. As the cumin seeds are toasted, they will start to fill your kitchen with a beautiful aroma.
- Turn the heat to medium low and add the garlic. Cook, stirringly frequently, for about 3 minutes. Be careful not to let the garlic turn brown.
- Add chickpeas and chopped tomatoes and turn the heat up to medium high. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chickpeas are warmed through and are shiny with oil. Then, turn off the heat and set the pan aside. NOTE: If your chickpeas have already been cooked (i.e., dried, soaked, then cooked), you may wish to add the tomatoes first, then add the chickpeas after a few minutes. You want all the flavors to soak into the beans, but you don’t want your beans overcooked!
- Toss in the finely minced parsley and mint.
- Stir in the lemon juice and lemon zest.
- [Optional: Peel the cucumber and cut it in half lengthwise. Scrape out (and discard) the seeds with the tip of a teaspoon or grapefruit spoon.] Dice the cucumber into small, 1/2-inch square cubes and toss in the with the chickpea mixture.
- If needed (and it usually is), add flaky sea salt to taste.
Refrigerate for at least an hour before eating.
*Note: This recipe calls for 3 Tablespoons olive oil and oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes. This turns out quite oily to me and I opt to use the same amount of olive oil and dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes (if I use oil-packed, I reduce the olive oil by at least 1 Tablespoon).
Some of you reading this recipe may recognize it, as I first tried my hand at making this back in October, when a number of siblings got together in Northern California. I have tried it a number of different ways since then. One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it is so adaptable to what you have in your cupboards, and can be served at any temperature.
On a sunny October day in Sonoma, 5 of us enjoyed this dish chilled – I had reduced the oil and added a can of fire-roasted tomatoes as well. This dish complimented a bottle of white wine, and we dreamed about how good the salad might be with some fresh shrimp tossed in.
Today, a chillier day in December, I’m serving this warm, and added in what I had on hand (swapping in sliced zucchini for the cucumber, swapping chives for mint and parsley, and tossing in some diced chicken breast).
I encourage you to give this a try, and add in changes of your own if you’re feeling adventurous. This unexpected dish may just become a staple at your house – and who knows - it may find a spot next to the chili in Pittsburgh next year!
This post is way overdue. Last month, that’s right, in June. You know, that month that just flew by offering hardly any time to savor the beginning of summer. We’re in the thick of it here in DC in what feels like an extended July 4th hangover. And of course if you’re on the East Coast this week, you’re really feeling the heat. Well back when farmer’s markets were stocked with strawberries and asparagus, Mom came down to DC for a visit.
Sunday, we headed to Eastern Market and wandered the vendors, trying on hats and jewelry and sampling fresh peaches. We loaded up with veggies and fruits and snagged a fizzy ginger lemonade to go with Mom’s annual hot dog indulgence. The market was crowded, the sun was beating, and yet the morning was relaxing. From there we kicked it into high gear making one more grocery run before heading home, making a quick lunch, and launching into making these whole wheat graham crackers.
With Adam’s parents coming into town later that week for the US Open, I wanted to have a healthy tasty snack around. These graham crackers were just the ticket. Mom and I snuck a few just out of the oven. When Adam came home, he made the genius move of spreading nutella on them and topping them with slices of the fresh strawberries from the market.
Homemade Whole-Wheat Graham Crackers Recipe
From The King Arthur Flour website
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 to 3 tbsp milk (approx.)
- additional milk for glaze
In a mixing bowl, combine whole wheat flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and baking powder. In a separate bowl, beat egg till light, then add oil, honey and 2 tablespoons milk. Mom’s trick for measuring sticky things like honey (or peanut butter) is to use some nonstick spray in the measuring cup. Works like a charm!
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until you have a fairly stiff dough, adding additional milk if necessary (we did). Wrap dough in waxed paper and chill until firm, about 1 hour (or longer, if it’s more convenient).
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Divide the dough in half. Turn one dough ball onto a floured surface and knead gently until it holds together. Roll dough out till it’s about 1/16-inch thick; make sure rolling surface is well-floured, or you’ll have trouble transferring crackers to baking sheet.
Cut dough into 3-inch squares, prick each square several times with a fork, and place on lightly greased cookie sheets. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
Brush the tops with milk and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until crackers are lightly browned. Remove crackers from oven, transfer to a wire cooling rack, and cool completely.
This morning, as a June rainstorm poured down outside, Meredith and I started a project that took us down memory lane.
We sorted through 200 pounds of family photos that Dad has taken over the past 30 years.
Oh yes we did.
We came across some good memories, along with some awkward and embarrassing ones, and some photos that captured our attention so entirely that our hearts paused to linger.
The treasure trove of photos contain pictures of several generations of Forneys, from old black and whites….
to siblings we call aunts and uncles….
to siblings we grew up with….
and much much more.
The pictures also document the fashion trends we subjected ourselves too (wayfarers, side ponytails, shoulder pads — you name it, we probably wore it).
We also salvaged a huge archive of negatives and we plan to have the prints and negatives digitized, so that all the Forneys can have access to these beautiful photos and memories.
For now, enjoy these select few!
Usually when chocolate chips are on the table, it’s for chocolate chip cookies. They’re easy, the ingredients are usually all in hand, and they’re delicious. This time, however, I changed it up a bit after finding this recipe from Smitten Kitchen.
When it comes to baking a new recipe for the first time, I shy away from changing the recipe. This way I get a good feel for what textures and ratios that were originally desired. The cookies are nice and moist for a shortbread. The espresso is subtle but there. If I were to make these again I might add some chopped hazelnuts to the chocolate chip mix. Or, if you want to get really crazy, you could switch chocolate chips for toffee chips. Whatever your pleasure is with a little taste of coffee.
Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Smitten Kitchen)
- 1 tbsp instant espresso
- 1 tsbp boiling water
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temp.
- 2/3 c powdered sugar plus some for dusting at the end
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 c all-purpose flour
- 4 oz chocolate chips chopped or mini chips
Dissolve the espresso in the boiling water, and set aside to cool to tepid. Beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar together for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth. Beat in the vanilla and espresso. Add the flour, mixing only until it disappears into the dough. Don’t work the dough much once the flour is incorporated. Fold in the chopped chocolate. Transfer the soft, sticky dough to a gallon-size zipper-lock plastic bag. Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and roll the dough into a 9 x 10 1/2 inch rectangle that’s 1/4 inch thick. As you roll, turn the bag occasionally and lift the plastic from the dough so it doesn’t cause creases. When you get the right size and thickness, seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible, and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or for up to 2 days.
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats or, if you do not have either of those, use a bare baking sheet without any nonstick spray. Put the plastic bag on a cutting board and slit it open. Turn the firm dough out onto the board (discard the bag) and, using a ruler as a guide and a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 1/2-inch squares. Transfer the squares to the baking sheets and carefully prick each one twice with a fork, gently pushing the tines through the cookies until they hit the sheet. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. Transfer the cookies to a rack.
Dust the cookies with confectioners’ sugar while they are still hot. Cool the cookies to room temperature before serving. These are great for dessert or breakfast!
You’ve all had them. Some of you have cooked them yourself. Now directions to Adam’s breakfast potatoes is hitting the world wide web. If you haven’t made these yet, here’s what you’ll need: potatoes (we’ve found Yukon Gold’s to be the best), butter, salt, one yellow onion, and seasonings like garlic powder, cayenne, paprika, and rosemary.
First dice your potatoes and cook them. Our method of choice is the microwave. For 5 minutes with tab of butter. You can also bake or parboil them. The microwave option is certainly the lazier choice that works best after a serious night of drinking.
Next, dice an onion. In a nonstick pan, saute the onions and set aside for later.
Wipe out the saute pan with a paper towel. Add butter (or olive oil) to the pan until just hot (don’t brown the butter). Add your potatoes so that each potato has one side touching the surface of the pan. Cook for 5 minutes. Flip the potatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. Continue until the potatoes are browned on all sides.
Season the potatoes with salt and any combination of the flavors below, or pick out your own! These can then sit on the pan on low for as long as it takes to cook the rest of breakfast. Make a little room on the pan and add the onions back into the mix. And then serve them up!
There’s been a different sound pumping from the speakers in our apartment lately… the sound of the tUnE-YaRdS. Yes, those unconventional caps are intentional. They certainly capture your attention, in the same way their music will. The tUnE-YaRdS have been around for some time, although we stumbled upon them just a few months ago.
The tUnE-YaRdS have a unique and infectious sound, utilizing unexpected beats, vocals, instruments, and song structures. The sound is driven by the creative genius of Merrill Garbus, who originally hails from Connecticut but has found a home in the Bay Area (woo!). Merill plays the ukelele (sometimes by pounding on it) along with various other instruments, and orchestrates the synthesis of these sounds into each tUnE-YaRdS song. But it’s really her compelling, powerful voice that is the hallmark of the tUnE-YaRdS songs; it adds a depth and texture that is not often found in music today. Her bandmate, Nate Brenner provides the perfect complement to her style with smooth and full basslines.
Their creative sound ranges from pop and alt-rock beats, to hip-hop, to bluesy-jazz, to experimental. The music sometimes requires a few listens to fully internalize and appreciate, but you inevitably get there (and find yourself humming all day long). When you get to this point, the lyrics open up. Many of the songs are narrative-style, and the stories they tell might surprise a casual listener – the TuNe-YaRdS unflinchingly confront some serious and topical issues like body image, race, and violence. When layered on top of complex and intriguing music, there’s much to explore!
Pitchfork gives their latest album, “w h o k i l l” a solid 8.8. Respect! My personal favorite has been “Bizness,” although nearly all the songs on the album are notable; Killa is a groovy empowered-woman kind of song, the unexpected “Doorstep” tells a heartbreaking story over a peppy doowop-inspired melody, and Es so captures the funky, offbeat, tongue-in-cheek style that characterizes Merrill’s music.
Here’s a link to their album on Amazon. Below is a video of the song Bizness, featuring some adorable kids and amazing dancers from the Bay Area. Check it out!
Wishing a very Happy Mother’s Day our mom, and all the other moms out there!
Mom, all the kids have made donation to Magee Women’s Research Institute & Foundation in honor of you! We couldn’t think of a better way to honor you on a day that celebrates mothers and women than by giving back to the place where four out of five of us were born: a place that focuses on advancing the field of health and medicine for women and their babies everywhere.
This year the donation went to Womancare International, which organizes educational programs and technical assistance for women across the globe and right in Pittsburgh, including an outreach program for Somali refugee women in Pittsburgh called Healthy Girls’ Circle. It was you who taught us to be generous, charitable, to value our roots, and to contribute to the global community. So we honor you in this way every Mother’s Day! We hope that future generations of women in our family benefit from the advances in health and medicine that Magee is working on today. And we hope to instill in these future generations the same values you’ve instilled in us.
We love you mom!