Fideos with ham, shrimp and clams

Since the first day Adam and I became a couple, we committed to seeing each other as much as possible despite the fact that at the time, I was living in New York and he was living in Boston (we met in college and were friends for 5 years prior). We took weekly turns on the bus to/from New York/Boston to spend the weekends together (and I’m proud to say in nearly a year, we only missed 2 weekends because of work and school related travel!). For any of you that have been in long distance relationships, you know how hard it is to be apart during the week. Of course that also made the weekends that much more special. We took advantage of every minute together. It was like honeymooning every single week Smile

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Between Boston and New York, New York was decisively the cooler of the two, and I made sure to show Adam the best the city had to offer. We spent our days eating and drinking all over New York, enjoying perfectly pressed sandwiches oozing with goat cheese and plump tomatoes; feasting on ice cream, cookies and pastries while exploring new neighborhoods (ok the pastries part was all me Winking smile); and finishing our nights with indulgent dinners and cocktails at fancy restaurants. It is then that dining out became the core of our relationship. Good food really does bring people together (oh yeah, and love).

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Eventually I developed an interest in cooking, but our love for eating out never died – it remains to be our favorite past time. Unfortunately due to my lack of income at the moment, our eating out budget has been cut significantly (it has been the hardest part of our transition). To “ease the pain,” I’ve been trying to recreate memorable meals out at home. Open-mouthed smile

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This dish of fideos with ham, shrimp and clams (recipe here; I halved it and it still made about 8 servings!) was inspired by a dish I had in a (surprise, surprise!) New York restaurant, Casa Mono (<—Mario Batali’s Spanish tapas restaurant in Union Square). It was my first time trying fideos which are thin noodles, replacing rice in this paella-like dish (yes, I know paella actually refers to the pan – not the dish – but in my mind rice, seafood and meats all cooked together with safron and Spanish spices = paella, regardless of the vessel they are cooked in). We were so blown away by Casa Mono’s fideos with chorizo and clams – we ordered round 2!

When Kerstin, Shannon and I decided to make a Spanish inspired feast, instead of going out to eat, I was eager to try my hands at a fideos dish myself… and I have to say it came out absolutely perfect – as good, if not better, than the fideos dish at Casa Mono!! Side note: Kerstin made manchego stuffed meatballs and fantastic potatoes and Shannon made some crazy brown rice milk cupcakes with almond cream cheese frosting, and her boyfriends supplied some home brewed beer and hard cider – oh yeah, we ate well that night!).

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This dish is a little time consuming but it’s mostly inactive time. You can also make the ham hock broth ahead of time, and then the whole thing will come together leisurely in about 45 minutes. Easy peasy. It was my first time cooking with ham shanks/hocks (I found them in the frozen section at Whole Foods) – they lend an incredible smokiness to the whole dish since the noodles and seafood are cooked in the broth they produce. Oh and I also couldn’t find “fideos” so I bought angel hair pasta and broke it up into smaller pieces – it worked like a charm! This dish was hearty, smoky, briny (from the olives and clams) and buttery (from the shrimp) – I thought it was an incredibly impressive dish that is just perfect for company. Pair it with a simple salad or make a few other tapas, and your guests will be happy. I promise Open-mouthed smile

Have you ever had fideos? Do you like recreating meals out at home?

PS – If you haven’t yet, don’t forget to enter my giveaway!

Blogger no-no

Guys, you are so sweet with your comments on my vacation recap post. I had a fun time writing it – so many pictures to choose from. I literally took hundreds, so I’m glad you enjoyed them. :D

So I forgot to take my camera and iphone today when I went to work. I guess I’m still in vacation mode. Doh ;) I know – a big blogger no-no. Have you ever done that? I felt so naked all day. Not only did I not have my camera and was unable to take my food pictures, I can’t check my personal email from work so I felt disconnected from the world (I had over 50 new emails when i finally picked up my phone!!). As far as food pics – luckily I took a picture of dinner last night (and ate the leftovers for lunch). I’ll have to describe my snacks to you, okay? Let’s start with dinner since today is CEiMB Thursday.

This week’s recipe for grilled zucchini roll-ups with herbs and cheese (recipe here) was hosted by My Table, Their Table. Some CEiMB members make their weekly recipe on the weekend and just post them on Thursdays but since my blog is journal-like, I typically am “forced” to make the chosen recipe actually on Thursday. The grilled zucchini roll-ups sounded great but I knew I needed to make something else for dinner to bulk them up. Enter – big salads!

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I’m not going to lie – these babies were even smaller than I anticipated and were kind of a pain in the ass to make. I think it I had all day to make them and was lucky enough to use a real grill instead of a tiny grill pan (thus necessitating 4 batches, with a “break” to stop the fire alarm from beeping) and then leisurely rolling them, it could be fairly easy. I mean all you have to do is slice the zucchini (I used a mandoline), grill them, then stuff them, right? Time was not my friend today, so I kind of got flustered and gave up on the mid-way. We didn’t need that many for dinner anyway and the rest of the zucchini ribbons could just be used in a de-constructed salad.

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I used fresh thyme instead of parsley, and cut the fresh basil into ribbons. I also apparently used more filling than 1/2teaspoon/roll since I ran out of the goat cheese after making only 9 rolls (see above). The biggest test is of course the taste test. What did we think? I LOVED them! Well I love all the ingredients individually so it was a no-brainer, really. Adam liked them too but thought they had too much cheese (I guess Ellie’s proportions would have been right up his alley since he basically scraped a bunch of the goat cheese out. The horror. :lol: ). Overall I’d recommend this recipe if you are able to take your time. :mrgreen:

With the roll-ups I served us some fun salads – arugula, cherry tomatoes, ham, grilled zucchini, cannellini beans, pine nuts and goat cheese. Drizzled with some lemon juice and a teaspoon of EVOO.

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I liked this dinner but I’ll admit it was more “me” than “Adam.” I think the chef gets to be selfish once in a while, no? :)

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Rewind to…

BREAKFAST

Ww toast with nutella + coffee

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Yes, I’m on a nutella kick now after vacation.

+ a green monster – skim milk, frozen spinach, frozen banana, frozen strawberries, almond butter, ice, xantham and guar gums. Yum! :D

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LUNCH

Leftover cuban inspired mac & cheese (recipe based on the Pink Apron original). I had to healthify it, though, so for 4 servings I used 8oz pasta, 4 oz lite mexican blend cheese, 1T butter and 2/3 of the rest of the ingredients. Oh and I didn’t realize that we ran out of eggs so I omitted them and I used skim evaporated milk instead of whole. It turned out pretty yummy (leftovers were actually better than fresh). The pickles were awesome in this version of mac&cheese. Trust me!

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WORKOUT

I worked out for the first time in 6 days today! The last time was my favorite yoga class last Thursday and I went back to it today. I brought all of my workout gear to Aruba but it just didn’t happen. I felt surprisingly tight at first (like I’m sore from working out too much, haha maybe lifting those drinks was a workout after all) but eventually relaxed and got into it. I hope to get a real sweaty workout tomorrow. I am way overdue!!

SNACKS

1 orange, 1 small packet of sommersaults, 1 nut box from Tatte (it’s my treat every few months – today was the day) and lastly another ww toast with nutella. I kind of felt guilty for overdoing it in the sweets dept today but they all did taste amazing so I’m hoping tomorrow I’ll just naturally crave cleaner eats. Let’s cross our fingers for that. :D

All right, sorry for the lack-luster post. I have lots of topics I’d like to post about but it’s not in the cards today. You’ll just have to check back here soon. :cool: My bed is calling my name. Gnight! :grin:

Spooky dreams

A nightmare last night woke me up in the middle of the night. I dreamed that all of my teeth fell out… it started with easily being able to pull out a tooth, then another, then all of them starting to crumble in my mouth. I couldn’t breathe because they were all coming down at once with their giant roots getting in the way of each other. I was also at school for some reason, so I tried to find a dentist but she wasn’t around… and the guy that greeted me in the classroom couldn’t care less about my problem. Man, that was one unpleasant dream! :???:

The first thing I did this morning (after making some coffee) was to google what that meant. Eek, maybe not the best idea! People out there have some whacky interpretations, although I did find that it’s a very common dream. Have you had it before? Not fun, not fun at all. Some interpretations did say that it means you may be worried about expressing something and that your voice may not be heard. Before going to bed last night, I was prepping for a presentation in front of our credit committee. Maybe I was worried about that? I plan on kicking ass during committee today – no need to lose any teeth over it. ;)

Now let’s rewind back to yesterday’s eats. It was one lazy day!

BREAKFAST

Mashed banana, pb & j sammie on a FFL english muffin + coffee

+ 2 coconut macaroons

[all together = 430 calories]

LUNCH

Mixed greens, pinto beans, avocado, corn, salsa and grilled shrimp

I cooked the shrimp on the George Forman grill… quite the set-up!

The salad was awesome. If I can make a healthy meal like that without a kitchen, anyone can!

[330 calories]

SNACK

Power bran muffin + Barney Butter

This guy was the last one in the freezer from a batch I made last month

Barney Butter – I’m all out now :(

There was about 2.5T left. I made sure to get every bit left. ;)

[439 calories]

[180 calories]

DINNER

Ham, avocado + dijon mustard on ww pane + a half-sour pickle and baby carrots

So, so good…

GETTING SNACKY AT NIGHT

[70 calories]

[73 calories]

[200 calories]

Do you ever remember your dreams? Ever tried to figure out what they meant?

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