Friday, February 26, 2010

Fri-DIY - Paper Covered Lids

I am under the weather today, so just a quick DIY share from this lovely tutorial from Design Sponge. Anything that brightens up every day items with recycled materials is tops in my book.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Meatless Monday - Tuna with Asian Dipping Sauce

Seared tuna w/ dipping sauce

A few months ago, I happened upon a show by this guy one lazy Sunday morning. He was doing a show about ponzu soy sauce (and bacon, but as it is Meatless Monday, no bacon talk today). I'd seen ponzu in the grocery stores right there next to all the soy sauces, and the obligatory bottle on each table at sushi restaurants, but I never found an occasion to try it. However, the episode had some really yummy sounding recipes that I frantically scribbled on the backs of some magazine subscription cards laying nearby. After I finally bought a bottle, I fell in love at first taste with ponzu. It's salty and tangy and all around delicious. It just tastes fresher and more interesting than regular soy sauce.

I created this recipe because it showcases how well ponzu works in a variety of ways. One, as a tangy compliment to meaty seared tuna, and two, as a bright dressing that works perfectly with crisp greens.

Portions below will serve 2

2 1-inch thick sashimi grade tuna steaks
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, ground
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

Dipping Sauce/Dressing:
1/3 cup ponzu soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger (fresh ginger would also be lovely)
1 scallion, very thinly sliced

4 cups mixed greens for salad

Let tuna come to room temperature, about 15 minutes before you are ready to cook. In a small bowl, combine fennel seeds, cumin, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle 1/2 of the mixture on each tuna steak, pressing gently to adhere.

Heat oil in a large non-stick pan over medium high heat. When hot, add tuna steaks and cook to your preferred doneness. If you are like me, that's about 1 minute per side for rare.

Combine all dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle about 2 Tablespoons of sauce over greens and toss to combine. Divide greens evenly between 2 plates and top each with a tuna steak. Serve with remaining sauce on the side for dipping the tuna.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fri-DIY - Inspiration

Let me share a little secret - I tag some of my bookmarks with 'ideas to try.' These are usually images that suggest an idea I could possibly expand on, versus straight-forward tutorials. I try not to think of it as stealing other people's ideas. No one operates inside a vacuum and inspiration is EVERYWHERE! Plus, I don't think I could ever 100% recreate someone else's project. One - it's not in my nature. Two - I remember vividly my course in intellectual rights and would never want to infringe on those of others.

That said, here are a few images that are inspiring me to DIY right now.

Fabric envelopes from the talented ladies at Bird and Banner

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

DIY - Spoonflower

Sometimes I wonder about myself. How could I have missed Spoonflower for so long?!?

Upload your own pattern and buy yardage! Or select from the thousands of awesome designs already uploaded by super talented designers.

Upload your own design and get 10% off any yardage you buy personally. Even better, when someone else buys your design, you get 10% commission! So many great possibilities, go check Spoonflower out right now.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Meatless Monday - Eggs Baked in Parchment with Spinach and Mushrooms

Eggs in Parchment

Full disclaimer this week - this recipe is inspired by one in a recent copy of Everyday Food. However, it has been amped up quite a bit with the dressing, as I thought the original recipe would be too bland. The following proportions will make 2 packages.

1 package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 package cremini mushrooms, sliced
4 eggs
2 Tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400.

Layout two sheets of parchment paper that have been cut into a long oval. Spread spinach and mushrooms in middle of one half of each parchment, leaving at least 2 inches of parchment to the edge. Make two shallow wells in each bed of mushroom and spinach and crack an egg into each well. Season with salt and pepper. Fold over other half of parchment and crimp edges to seal.

Place sealed packets an a baking sheet. Bake at 400 until eggs are set, but yolks are still runny, about 7-10 minutes.

While eggs are baking, combine all ingredients for dressing in a small bowl.

Remove packets from oven and tear or cut off the top layer of parchment from each. Divide dressing equally among the two packets and serve.

Cooking this dish in parchment isn't 100% necessary, but it is impressive to deliver to the table and rip open. If you want to skip the parchment, combine spinach and mushrooms with a little more olive oil and spread in the bottom of a shallow glass baking pan and top with the eggs. OR to serve four, lightly grease 4 small ramekins and divide spinach and mushrooms between them and top with 1 egg each.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fri- DIY Even more Valentine Ideas

Well, after my mini-rant last week regarding Valentine's Day, the irony that I found even more fabulous Valentine's projects is not lost on me. I'm officially giving in to Valentine's fever until Monday! Our plans are lobster tails and Champage for brunch and having the extended family over for a supper of braised short ribs and goat cheese potatoes au gratin. Maybe in between I could squeeze in one or two of today's featured projects. The sweet tooth flags from Twig and Thistle above might make the cut.

Or maybe I should make these cute heart croutons? I am not convinced salad is the best way to say 'I love you' on Valentine's day, though?

I want to make and give away a whole stack of these bookmarks to everyone I love. Too bad I didn't find these sooner because they would have made great favors at my book club party.

Finally, I love love love this rustic branch heart. Beautiful, easy, and cheap!

Here's hoping all you have a happy Valentine's Day!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dress Up - Ruche

Oh Ruche, where have you been my whole clothes-shopping life??

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Parties - Book Club Party

Book Club Party Crafts

Just a few pics from the book club party I hosted last weekend. Lots of food, fun, and literary conversation (and crafts!) had by all.

Book Club Party

Book Club Party

Book Club Party

Book Club Party

Monday, February 8, 2010

Meatless Monday - Quick Garlic and Lime Shrimp

Shrimp with lime and garlic

I know I just did a shrimp recipe a few weeks ago, but shrimp is just too yummy and quick to not eat often. This one has a ridiculously easy marinade and then just a few minutes in a hot skillet and dinner is ready. This would also be great served over pasta for a heavier meal. We ate it with a salad of blood oranges and red onions.

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deviened
Juice from 1 lime
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl (glass or ceramic), and toss well to combine. Allow to marinate in fridge for an hour.
Remove shrimp from fridge. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and marinade to pan when pan is hot and cook until shrimp are opaque. Serve with pan juices.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fri-DIY: Valentines (A few days late)

Sorry for the late posting, I hosted a party on Friday evening and ran out of time to finish this post up prior to going in to full-on party mode. I'm planning on posting pics of the party sometime this week.

Truth be told, I am not a big Valentine's Day fan. All that mushy nonsense sentiment doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Have you read a Valentine's card recently? Sheesh!

However, I do like pink and hearts, so here are a few DIY projects from around the web that aren't too mushy-mushy! Like the sweet straw download from Papermash. Which is free, so generous!

How About Orange strikes gold again with this super sweet heart garland. The hearts would also be fun taped to walls and windows or covering a wrapped package.

Everything about this letter project from Paper N Stitch is adorable. She used wooden spools made for crafts, but these would be wonderful on recycled spools leftover from sewing. This project could also be adapted and use paper for the 'letter' part, which would eliminate the need to stamp the message.

Another example of a sewn paper garland from Oh So Crafty, because you know I am a sucker for a sewn paper garland. RECYCLING BONUS - she uses magazine pages for the hearts.

How much fun is this homemade flip book from Color me Katie? So sweet and clever.

Happy Valentine's Day crafting!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Meatless Monday - Curried Salmon Salad

Curried Salmon Salad

I turn thirty in a few short weeks, and it makes me realize that milestones usually sneak up and surprise me when I'm not paying proper attention. Like the fact that this is my 215th post on Modern Renaissance. Yay me and yay you for reading, thanks!!!

I have a real treat for this Meatless Monday. The husband has a new job which means we get to see each other on the weekends, sweet! However, I am used to only feeding myself lunch on the weekends and now that he expects food, too, I have fallen into a recipe rut. For the past three weekends, we have had tuna melts for lunch every Sunday! Every single one! Now, I love me some tuna melts, but it was getting ridiculous.

Did I do anything about it, though? OF COURSE NOT! I totally forgot about it until lunchtime Sunday rolled around. I didn't succumb, though, I looked through the pantry and came up with the following recipe as a riff on our normal tuna melts. And it was a major success.

Even though we ate it for lunch, with a green salad or nice bowl of soup, these open faced sandwiches would make an excellent light supper, too. Recipe below is for 2.

1 14-ounce can salmon OR 2 5-ounce cans. picked through and any bones removed
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 Tablespoons finely chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped apple
2 Tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon curry powder

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Chill until ready to serve. Serve in lettuce cups or pile it on some toasted bread, dust with cheese, and broil like I did.