Guest Post by Brooke:
Regular readers of the Grateful Life should be very familiar with Trish's "Food for Thought" posts. These posts are often inspired by the board displayed prominently in the Weebly HQ kitchen, which Trish updates regularly with thought-provoking quotes to inspire and entertain the rest of the Weebly staff. I love this tradition for many reasons, but not least of which because I really love food. Like Really. Love. Food. I often wish I had more hobbies and passions, but food is one thing I can really engage in - both eating and cooking. And why do I love cooking? Because I get to create EXACTLY what I want to eat. What better way to turn around a bad day or place an exclamation point on a good day than creating your perfect meal at the end of it?
While I cook for myself a lot, what I really love is cooking for others. My favorite foods, my favorite people, some wine, AND the potential for some ego-boosting compliments over the meal? Yes please. One of my favorite people to cook for is none other than our blogger extraordinaire, Trish. For one, she is a vegetarian, so I am always pushing my boundaries on things to make for her, since I am a card-holding member of the meat-eating community. Second is the great conversation we always have over a meal and bottle (or 2) of wine - food WITH thought. But probably most importantly is Trish's earnest gratitude and praise for everything I've ever made for her - talk about an ego boost.! Thanks Trish.
So today I thought I would share some of Trish's favorite recipes I've made for her. I'm by no means a spectacular chef, but I do have a few recipes that have been very well-received or that I am well-known for, which I am happy to share with the Grateful Life faithful (photos courtesy of Trish):
#1. Cha Cha Cha Sangria.
This sangria is SO easy and so delicious. I actually recently gave this recipe to someone who works with Weebly to enter in her friends' yearly sangria contest, and she won! I can't throw a party anymore without making this, because I'm pretty sure it's half the reason anyone shows up.
1. Combine red wine, white wine, sugar, lemon, and orange in large bowl or pitcher. Stir well. Refrigerate 6+ hours or preferably, overnight.
2. Before serving, add additional fruit and brandy to taste. Serve over ice. Enjoy!
#2. Guacamole (serves 6-8).
I know everyone has a favorite guacamole recipe, but I stand by mine, and it gets raves every time. The secret? Garlic! Most people put onions in their guacamole but not garlic. I load mine up. Mmm, mmm.... I might need to make an excuse to make this tonight! Guacamole is literally my favorite food of all time. This recipe is an approximation since I have never actually created a recipe, I usually just throw a bunch of stuff into a bowl.
1. In a medium bowl, mash up the avocados. I usually leave the guacamole slightly chunky as opposed to completely smooth, but this is chef's preference. Add lime juice and garlic and mix well.
2. Slowly add some pico de gallo to the bowl - you can add as little as much as you want.
3. Add salt. Taste. Add more salt. Taste. Repeat. Obviously you don't want to over-salt your guacamole, but I find that you always have to add more than you expect. Pro tip: almost any mediocre guacamole can be made better by adding more salt.
4. Serve with tortilla chips, or even healthier, with carrot, celery, and jicama sticks. Eat!
#3. Hawaiian Crunch Halibut (serves 4).
This is one of my new favorite recipes. I am not a BIG fish-eater, but I love it when it is prepared in a way that it doesn't, well, taste like fish. Halibut is such a yummy, mild fish, and this recipe manages to make fish feel both healthy and indulgent.
For the fish:
1. Chop the macadamia nuts into small pieces and put into a clean plastic bag, like a zip lock. Crunch up the saltines and add them to the bag; crunch the nuts and crackers even more once in the bag. Add 1-2 cups of panko crumbs. Finally, add the seasonings to taste, then lay the crumbs flat on a large plate.
2. Pour the flour onto a flat plate and the egg into a medium bowl. Melt the oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large frying pan over medium heat.
3. Dregde the fillets fully in the flour first, then the egg dip. Finally, roll the fillets around the panko/nut/cracker mixture until fully coated. Then place on the frying pan, and brown on all sides - not just the top and bottom. Expected cooking time is approximately 3-4 minutes per side. Once browned, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
4. For the sauce, melt the butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. Stir in the parsley flakes, seasonings, and sugar. Mix well, then slowly whisk in the milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Add the juice of one lemon and stir, and heat for one more minute.
5. To serve, place a spoonful of sauce on each plate, then place a fillet on top of the sauce. Cover generously with more sauce and another squeeze of lemon. Serve immediately!
I hope you will try these and enjoy! One of the things I love most about cooking is that each chef can take one recipe and make it theirs - play around with these! Once you have the basic ingredients you can't go wrong.
And now, for some real Food for Thought, here are a few of my favorite quotes:
"There is no love sincerer than the love of food." - George Bernard Shaw
"I have found that if you love life, life will love you back." - Arthur Rubinstein.
"Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so." - Robert Green Ingersoll