Friday, January 28, 2011

Pomelo Cake with Blackberry Sauce

Weekend trips to the grocery store have become somewhat of a tradition for us as a couple. Wandering up and down each aisle deciding what will be on the menu for week is fun for us...ok, we may be weird, but there is just something about discovering a really interesting ingredient that we haven't used yet in the kitchen that gets our creative juices flowing. Charisse loves the colors and variety in the produce section while Eric usually gets stuck in the cheese and chocolate section of the market. During our last outing food shopping, Charisse picked up two pomelos but honestly had no idea what she was going to do with them. For those of you who are not familiar with this large citrus and like Eric ask "What the heck is this?" A pomelo is a cousin of the grapefruit. It is large in size with a green peel and has a tart kick that it's sweet cousin doesn't have. A few days later, after the cheese and chocolate had been eaten, the pomelo still sat in the fruit basket when Charisse decided to attempt to use it in a sweet dessert. That night called for cake and Eric called out "Let us eat cake" in his best British woman voice, which sounded like an Australian dog being hit by a car. With a bundt pan in hand Charisse whipped up a dense but not overly sweet cake that incorporated diced segments of pomelo into the batter. After 40 minutes of baking and 30 more minutes of cooling, it was time for the tense moment when the cake is inverted and with fingers crossed and a bit of good luck, pops out in one piece. Unfortunately for Charisse lady luck was not with her this time and our poor pomelo cake broke into multiple chunks. After much pouting, Charisse put the boo boo lip away and reassembled our humble bundt; not the prettiest sight in the world. It was at that moment we decided that in order to hide the seems of our cake, a nice dark sauce should be drizzled over the top and no one would be the wiser. And so a beautiful combination was born, pomelo cake with blackberry sauce was served up and enjoyed by all. Just a tip for all of you readers out there that can't find a pomelo, a grapefruit may be substituted for an even sweeter cake. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Almost Done!

Well our overhaul is almost done, did you notice any changes? We sure do, but thats probably because we spent the whole week making them. Some of the things we worked on we smoothing the format and cleaning the layout which should result in a faster load time. There is also a new header at the top and social media buttons at the bottom of each post! Lastly we added a few other tabs: About Us, an FAQ and a photography section which we're still refining. We have a photo shoot scheduled with our good friends Nicole and Jesse, the former of whom is the mastermind behind the ever popular Nicole Chubb Photography to help bring out our pretty smiling faces.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Doughnut Muffins

Our new vacuum sucks. Thats a good thing, a really good thing. When we moved here from the city, we'd never owned a vacuum of our own, either of us so when we received one as a housewarming gift, we were in second heaven. It was a small Hoover and it was not prepared to handle our house, 2 cats a dog and Eric. During our Christmas cleanup, it gave up and died. Today we went to Lowes for paint and came home with a new vacuum. It works really well, and that has us very excited, something neither of us would have expected 2 boyears ago when we moved in. When we moved in we'd been married less than a year, moved into our first house from a 400 square foot studio in downtown San Francisco. It was safe to say that a new vacuum was not at the forefront of the excitement list. Actually it sounds more like the plot of a bad sit com; city couple moves to the burbs, tries to fit in and get excited about things like vacuums and cooking but the reality is that we've been growing up. Yikes! Who let that happen? Something we pondered over a morning muffin that tasted like the best sugar doughnut ever. Thats right we had muffins for breakfast that taste like doughnuts, eat your heart out city life, unless you are a great muffin shop, then make room, we're on our way!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pardon Our Dust!

We're working on our new remodel and Blogger is having ... issues with the header image, it seems to be widespread right now, so hopefully we'll be fixed up soon and looking good again!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Clam Linguine

Theres been a nasty little cold running through the Bay Area and its had Eric moping around being miserable. Its also given us the problem of not having much to talk about since we haven't done much this week. One thing we did do was go to the viewing party for the Sharks - Vancouver game on Thursday, which was really a lot of fun. Basically for away games they go somewhere (in this case a bowling alley) they bring some marketing people, a bunch of prizes, S.J. Sharkie and tons of fans to make a big party out of watching the game on TV. They had someone playing all the normal hockey songs on the organ, its really like being at a game, but warmer. Our friends Nick and Lisa brought their adorable kids and Dan and Jen were there too. Eric ended up winning a chance to bowl against Sharkie for tickets to an upcoming game and promptly demonstrated to everyone why he plays hockey and not bowling, but he did win a t-shirt and a snow globe, which has for now found a home next to the Sharks gnome. Charisse is busy rolling her eyes at the pair and wondering when she can get them off the mantle. Something we hadn't done lately besides actually go to a game has been seafood. Charisse decided to get us off that particular snide with a linguine. It was fun shopping for this because it gave us the chance to head out to our local seafood shop, Race Street Foods. We're really lucky to live close to the coast, so seafood is super fresh here but it does mean you need to scrub the clams that much more, a small price to pay. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Crispy Green Bean Fries with Wasabi Cucumber Ranch Dip

Part of Eric’s new(ish) job is exhibiting at trade shows around the country, something he’s never had to do before so it’s been a new experience for both of us. He actually spent last week in Las Vegas “working” while Charisse stayed home and went to work, something that was not well received at the Petruno household. Eric was annoyed because he was in Vegas, working 10 hour days and not having much in the way of fun. Charisse was annoyed because Eric was in Vegas without her.  When he got back, we stopped at the In-N-Out right next to the airport and Charisse got a great laugh out of watching him fall asleep midway through his burger. The next day (we slept through the morning) we talked about the blog and some of the things we’re going to change about it. After some deliberation we feel like the look doesn’t exactly match the feel and our photography has hit a virtual wall. We started this last year and we were really interested in pushing the fancy envelope. We saw ourselves as edgy ex-city people who needed a slick and polished blog. We found that we keep going back to homey feel good food with just a hint of the city. We also decided that we should have a picture of us in here somewhere, since it is a blog about us. As you can imagine it was quite the day (Eric got to order more photography stuff from Ebay and gets to take over the dining room table) and as we wrapped up we decided that we needed to fry something, a trait we’ve picked up from our friend Jen’s southern roots. Since Eric just finished a week eating crappy junk food the usual friable suspects were out of the question, so we decided to dig through the fridge and fry whatever came out, which happened to be green beans! Charisse dug out a recipe for a great dipping sauce and fired up the oil. The taste came out a lot like fried zucchini, but with green beans. The real highlight was the dipping sauce, a modified ranch dressing with just enough zing to make it exciting. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Roasted Pheasant with Dried Fruit

So last week was Charisse's parent's Pat and Monica's 35th wedding anniversary, so we had them over for dinner on Sunday. As a terrific start to what Pat refers to as the "three dulls": January, February, March we thought it would be fun to create something different in the kitchen. Our friend Susan raises and trains a breed of bird dog called "Vizslas" which are these beautiful athletic brown dogs. She's very, very good at it and her dogs have won all kinds of titles and awards. We got the call on Saturday that Susan had taken eight pheasants and wanted to give a few to us, which was pretty terrific since we're all about fresh food! We were pretty lucky to have them, but weren't exactly sure what to do with them. Since we still had cranberries leftover from Christmas Eve we decided to go with a roasted pheasant with dried fruit. It was really interesting and took a bit longer to cook than we expected, but once we got it done the bird was fantastic. Its kind of like a cross between a chicken and a duck, not greasy like duck but it doesn't exactly have that chicken texture, its a very unique bird and one we're going to have to experiment with again sometime.

Here's a picture of Pat and Monica going to their high school prom:
Aren't they the sweetest thing? They were together since they were 15! 
And here are some pictures of our meal tickets, Q and Finley: 
(From Susan): Q's fancy name is:  BISS GCh Ch Tivoliz Now Pay Attention MH, CD, RN, AX, AXJ, VC, TDI  (okay, so I'm a bit of an "over achiever" with her! LOL!)  She is a  MH "Master Hunter" (the only hunting related title in her name). This is Q:
(Also from Susan): Finley's fancy name is: HRQ Keep 'Em Guessing JH  (Finn's just getting started, so not as many titles...but the JH stands for Junior Hunter). This is Finley: 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Christmas Cranberry Compote

Its probably normal for people to try and relate their lives to movies or books. Its not always possible to relate to the movies you consider your favorites (its pretty doubtful that Eric will learn the Force) but sometimes it feels like your living out a movie. This week, we've been living out Marley & Me. For anyone who hasn't seen it, the movie is all about a family with a crazy but loveable dog. Its very easy to laugh at for the most part especially if you've ever had a large dog with lots of energy. Why do we feel like we're living in this movie? Here are the most common phrases used this year:

  • Don't chase the cat.
  • Don't chase the other cat.
  • Off, off, OFF!
  • Whats for dinner?
Yeah, its been an adventurous year so far, all 7 days of it. It's also been really hard to get anything done. Between taking holiday decorations down and getting the house put back together (we're still finding pine needles from last year) theres a lot to do so we hunkered down this week and procrastinated most of it. Eric's favorite chair is still covered in ornaments that haven't been put away and the house still smells like pine needles. The only major progress we've made is taking down the outside lights and taking the tree outside. Its also a good time to talk about one of the Christmas Eve traditions we've shattered this year and why were so glad we did. We usually serve jellied cranberry, you know that purple glob that comes out shaped exactly like the can and jiggles? Most entertaining side ever. This year we went with a cranberry compote Charisse found over at This was by far the best use of cranberries since they were first juiced and mixed with vodka. With the sliced scallions they looked as festive as they taste.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Jen's Famous Pumpkin Pie Bars

Eric does not bake. Lets review that one, Eric, the husband half of this blog grills, cooks on the stove top, prepares sandwiches, slices, dices, chops and stirs. He does not put things in the oven and expect them to come out any way except burned on the outside and raw on the inside. Its no wonder then that Charisse was more than a little concerned when he decided he would handle making Jen's Famous Pumpkin Pie Bars for the family that came out from Arkansas over New Years. Thats right, a house full of family and friends and ERIC is going to bake something. There were some quivering boots around wondering just how toxic this would be. Fortunately after an hour and a half, once everyone had scarfed down the taco bar we made and Eric chased Charisse and Jen out of the kitchen with a wooden spoon at least twice the pumpkin pie bars were served. Thankfully nobody died. Not only did nobody die they didn't leave any left, which is always a good sign. This is actually always the case with  these things. We've mentioned them before but haven't had the chance to show them to you all. This is most certainly one of the best tasting fall / winter desserts ever. The base is just basic yellow cake, the middle is a delicious pumpkin pie filling and its topped with a crispy sugar and cinnamon crunch. This really is an amazing dessert, it tastes great and its easy to make so its perfect for pot lucks, large get togethers or just you.