Archive for April, 2011

April 29, 2011

Recipes from Wednesday cook night- Bourbon Salmon with Steamed Green Beans and Rice

by Nicole Lee

 

I am such a planner. One of those, “I love it when a plan comes together,” types. Where every moment, event, minute detail has been thought of and addressed prior to the plan at hand being implemented. BUT! This week’s “Wednesday Cook Night” failed. Miserably. On all levels. Even with my need to get it right. And being the woman that I am, when that failure happens I lose all momentum. When we went to Publix to buy the salmon? There was none. When I went to take photos? My battery died. When I went to edit the photos I did get? They were mediocre at best. I got a little frustrated and even when Scott offered his point and shoot to take the rest of the photos I just refused, whined and pouted. It was not one of my more proud moments. There is light at the end of this tunnel, though!

Dinner was DELICIOUS. We ended up buying a pre-seasoned bourbon salmon, steamed some fresh green beans, and served it all over jasmine rice. Had some shrimp and cocktail sauce while we were cooking and watched an excellent hockey game (Go Lightning go!). It seems that if I just relax, go with the flow and try not to get so worked up and stressed about the little things it all comes together in the end.

In the meantime look forward to next Wednesday. There’s talk of homemade Thai nomz in the works! It should be quite the night!

Recipe

Ingredients:

                + 2 pieces Publix Bourbon Salmon

                + Fresh green beans, stemmed

                + 2 cups cooked Jasmine rice

                + Salt, pepper and butter to taste

                + Sesame chili oil

Method:

                + Heat grill pan to medium and add sesame chili oil

                + Grill salmon for approximately 3 minutes on each side then set on bed of rice

                + Steam green beans in steamer or microwave, serve with butter, salt, pepper (and fresh dill if you have it!)

                + Drizzle oil over rice and salmon for garnish and enjoy!

WCN (25)    WCN (17)   

 

Bonus!! Molly thought we wanted to share…

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April 28, 2011

A brief intermission in which Nicole informs Florida of its incompetence and ridicules the state government

by Nicole Lee

 

Dear Florida (Government),

I’d like you to remember back a few years with me to a date some time ago. June 17th of 1986, to be precise. Yes, that was the day my lovely face graced this wide world with my presence. I was tiny and scared, but happy to have met you. We had some really great times in those first years. Legally, I mean. With my adoption and the time we had to spend dealing with the goings on of paperwork filing and moving about. Through it all we were great buddies. Then, when I moved to Michigan I missed your state so very, very much. Your warm weather, salty oceans, culturally diverse cities. Deep down I hoped you missed me too. Unfortunately for us the better part of twenty years meant we would not be in touch. I never forgot you, dearest Florida. Never.

Then I came back. Brought all of my things, my cats, myself. We were to be reunited at long last! A glorious reunion of epic proportions, as it were! So for the last year and a half we’ve been bonding, rekindling, finding ourselves together. I’ve enjoyed it so much.

But it wasn’t until today that I realized how little I mean to you. I mean, when I went into the Vital Statistics office to get my birth certificate reprinted, as it was issued here, YOU FORGOT HOW TO SPELL MY NAME. It has been over 22 years since my name had an “h” in it, Florida (Government). It changed before I ever left! How could you forget that? Forget me?

Now I’m dealing with your people to correct their mistake at my expense. I do not know how you could do this to me. I don’t know that we’ll ever truly recover from this. I hope you understand my pain and the suffering you’ve caused me. My heart is bleeding and you just don’t care.

I don’t believe I can continue this letter. Let’s suffice to say I need some time off.

Also, if I don’t get my passport in time for my cruise I might have to beat you up. Just a forewarning.

Broken and hurt,

Nicole, with no “h”

Wooooooow. Today turned out to be an absolutely ridiculous series of events that cost more, took more time and still didn’t really get resolved properly (in my eyes) than I can tell you, but let me try.

My birth certificate and passport are missing. So to get the passport (for my cruise in August) replaced I need my birth cert. The following is the adventure:

The state of Florida now has vital stats offices that will reissue records on site, which is great! Lunch break errands here I come! I go in, give my stuff to the woman, duck out to grab my food, duck back in to get my paperwork and lo and behold: my name is spelled incorrectly. The women behind the counter says, “Yeah, it had an ‘h’ on file, so I printed it that way.” In my head I’m thinking, “My old birth cert, driver’s license, social security card and old passport had no ‘h’…hmm…” But she tells me I’ll need to get in touch with the state to fix it as the office there had no control.

Alright, I phone the state. They look into it. Yup! They had it wrong, so they correct it in the system and tell me I’ll need to get it reissued. At my cost. My reaction is obvious.

Me: So I’m going to have to take another lunch break, go back in, pay another $15 to get this thing reprinted because you had my name wrong, because you didn’t look into it when you realized my license had it spelled differently and because you didn’t tell me that if I walked out you couldn’t fix it?

Her: Yes, that’s correct.

I fought for a little while and they told me they would mail me a new one if I mail the incorrect one back to them, free of charge (I mean, OF COURSE). But it could take 5-10 days. So much for being convenient, right? I guess it’s worked out well enough in the end, right? And as long as I get the passport issued in time I’ll be alright.

But jeez…the government, man. Nickel and dimin’ us for every cent they can with no hope of retaliation. Story of our lives, brothers and sisters. Story of our lives.

April 27, 2011

Oriental Market and making new friends

by Nicole Lee

Having lived overseas there is no place closer to my heart than the beautiful country of Thailand (yes, Scott, I know). I lived there for a year(ish) as an exchange student. It had it ups. It had its downs. But I came home and have thought (and talked) about it every day since. I don’t remember the language hardly at all anymore, but I would love to re-learn. Unfortunately there are a lot of complications that go with that, so I’m stuck without the speaking skills. On the other hand! The food? Oh you bet your ass I brought the taste and the culinary skills to cook it back with me.  ข้าวมันไก่? แกงเขียวหวาน? ผัดกะเพรา?! Just thinking about it makes my mouth water! What does this mean? It means tracking down great markets and restaurants is a MUST. Brandon Oriental Market? Definitely one of my favorites. Selection is great, staff is fabulous and it reminds me of my Thai home. I would send anyone asking me about Thai market style shopping to start in here!

Also! One of the girls that works there? I totally added her on Facebook. She is  Thai and cooks Thai with her Thai friends almost every week! And she invited me to join. Can’t wait and be sure a blog post will follow that!

Tomorrow: Salmon three ways with rice and wilted greens!

    or6

or7    or8

(This was the only shampoo I could find at the supermarkets in Thailand.)

 

April 26, 2011

An Italian Easter with Cat Babies and Gators, Part 2

by Nicole Lee

As promised, post two of Easter fun. I have to say I still feel like a Florida newbie sometimes, but more and more I’ve begun to realize this is home now. I’ve been here going on two years (end of May), which doesn’t seem like a whole long, but the longer I stay the more content I seem to be. No, I don’t have snow on Halloween. No I don’t have snow on Thanksgiving. No I don’t have snow on Christmas. No I don’t have snow on [insert any holiday ALL YEAR LONG]. I guess I miss the nostalgia of my childhood, but deep down, getting away from that part of my life has been great for me. And Florida offers so much beauty. So spending the second half of Easter in Lettuce Lake Park, with Scott and his father, was probably the best way to celebrate. I’m glad I got to do this with them and am especially happy at how cared about and accepted I felt. That’s what holidays and get togethers are supposed to be about anyway, right? It was perfect.

We followed this little adventure up with Disney’s “African Cats”, this year’s Earth Day special. Obviously, Scott and I being the cat people are we just couldn’t pass it up. It was breathtakingly beautiful. There must be months worth of actual footage and the story was at least 18-24 months worth of timeline. The characters, yes,  I know they were “just cats”, but the characters were engaging. I was scared for Sita, the cheetah, and her cubs.  I was worried for Mara, the lion cub, when her mother was hurt and Kali was taking over the pride. I was moved. The sheer force of nature and it’s driving instinct is intense. And to view this from a squishy human point of view? Without our technology we would never survive. I encourage you to see or rent it when you can. It’s a great documentary and if nothing else, the scenery (and Samuel L. Jackson narrating!) is worth more than words can say.

With that I’m signing off. This became more of a novel than I intended, of course, but it was such a great holiday. Moving on! Tomorrow is Wednesday Cook Night with spicy meatloaf on the menu (or maybe Japanese salmon and rice?). Look forward to the photos and recipe on Thursday!

P.S. Scott’s dad spotted a baby gator just lazing around in the river while we were at Lettuce Lake! It was the first time I had ever seen one in the wild and while it couldn’t have been more than two feet long as I was leaning over the handrail of the boardwalk all I could think of was Lake Placid and how my life was about to end. Fortunately I survived and the photographic evidence of our discovery is below. Enjoy!

 

the walk     the walk

me     me

Photos 1, 5-7 taken by Scott, photo 9 taken by Garry, all others and processing by me

April 25, 2011

An Italian Easter with Cat Babies and Gators, Part 1

by Nicole Lee

Easter 2011 has officially come and passed my friends. And what a wonderful adventure it was. I’m not usually one that’s that celebrates religious holidays as it’s not something that I feel strongly about. Furthermore, this particular holiday I have nothing invested in the secular celebration either. Too much candy, creepy bunnies and zombie-like religious figureheads. It just doesn’t really work for me. So the less “traditional” I can have it the better. And this year was a great example of just that. We started off with Maggiano’s Easter buffet. I’m kind of little so buffet style eating is somewhat difficult for me to feel like I’ve gotten my money’s worth, but this was an exception. Food was brilliant, service was spot on and the company (Scott and his dad) was superb. We ate and ate and ate until finally we couldn’t eat anymore. With bellies full of delicious Italian nomz we moved on to exploring what the else Easter had to offer.  (Review for the actual restaurant coming soon!)

The rest of the day was planned while mid-bite, to include a walk through Lettuce Lake Park followed by the Disney documentary “African Cats”. Photos of the park, with the follow up blog post to come tomorrow, so watch for it! In the meantime, though, enjoy what made for an absolutely delicious Easter.