One Year of Eating with CJ! A photo-retrospective of our top 12 meals in 2010.

Ok, so it's been more like 5 months of eating with CJ but that's not very catchy in a title.  I'm sure you agree.

Here's my top 12 list of our most delicious meals we've made together (and we've made many) in 2010.

12. Guac and chips. 

I'm sure variants of guac and chips would rank as numbers 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, AND 1 on C's list. NOH.  I'd been looking for a while for a stellar dip recipe since C pounds chips as frequently as Obama pounds fists and when I came across the Ina Garten guacamole recipe, I knew it'd fit the bill.

It fit the bill, alright.  It fit the bill AND the hillary!  (ok, I can't promise that's going to be the last presidential joke of this blog post - I'm only on number 12, afterall - but I do promise to do better).  C loved it and the recipe yielded a bucket of guac that C munched on with everything for the next few days.  Pita bread, pita chips, veggies, water - everything was better in her world with the guac in it.

11. Almond soba noodles with bok choy. 

We'd gotten in the soba mood since we'd be frequenting Chopstix in Kearny Mesa for some late night meals. Weather was turning colder (75 degrees instead of the normal 77) and we felt the need for comfort food. Enter: noodles.  On a slight tangent, am I the only one who thinks the Far East Movement is singing about girls who hang out in noodle shops in "Fly like a G6"?  It's "soba girls" and not "sober girls" and you can't convince me otherwise. *folds arms and nods defiantly*

Nothing says eat and fall asleep quite like noodles.  We remembered seeing a variation of the theme on The Actor's Diet so we tried it out.  Per ush, we organic-fied almost everything - organic buckwheat soba noodles with organic bok choy and TJ's raw almond butter (which, beeteedubs, ranks winner of "Breakthrough of the Year" in the 2010 P.P.WM Awards - it comes at $5.99 when Whole Foods charges 3-4x that easily).

I also ranked this meal highly since after first bite, we instantly put the forks down and headed down to Ralph's to pick up Sriracha sauce - the eat needed more heat.  (NOTE: Ralph's wins "Ms. Congeniality" in the 2010 P.P.WM Awards for always being there and having everything but never quite getting the limelight.)

10. Fire-roasted and stuffed peppers.  

This one ranks high just because it was a labor of patience.  When C and I are hungry, we're hungry.  We don't like to wait (are you listening, Real Foods Daily in Santa Monica???) and end up noshing on snacks that fill us up before the main course is done.  The latter lesson had been learned many a time.

This meal took a whopping 40 mins - easily 2x the time it takes for a regular CJ production.  In that time, I counted that C popped 80 pita chips with a variety of Baba Foods hummus (where they charm us to pick up 3 for $10 every Sunday at the Farmer's Market - izzzzza naturaalll!), achieving a breakneck 2 chips per minute pace that easily broke the previous record held by a girl named Beatrice in Istanbul whose 1.4 chips per minute "record" looks laughable in comparison.  Or was her name Bernice?  Ah it doesn't matter.  She lost the record, therefore she is no longer important.

9. Beet-infused brown rice and steamed veggies.  

C would probably rank this last since she doesn't like the way I cook rice.  However, this ranks high here since it showcased how creative we could be with a pantry and fridge that was ran down to a bunch of veggies and rice.  I remembered reading about M Cafe's scarlet quinoa salad once on Dana Slatkin's blog and decided, why not?  The beet sweetened up the rice very well and the combination with the steamed veggies made it light and healthful.  I'm not saying it was macrobiotic.  I'm just saying it was macrobiotic-ish.

8. Pan-seared salmon with Quora and spinach stir-fry. And ketchup.  :) 

C and I eat vegetarian for the most part, we do enjoy fish every so often.  Salmon is something I always get when we eat out and we picked up some salmon for this dish.  This ranks high for the perfection that was the cooking time for the salmon.  It was just right and came out flaky and well-seasoned with indian spices.  We supplemented this with quora - a new discovery that tastes just like ground beef but made from mushrooms!  Think of portebello mushroom burgers and quora doesn't seem so weird.

We punched up quora with some sesame seeds and spinach, and took everything to new levels of awesomeness with Amy's organic ketchup.  Because when you can add ketchup to something, you just gotta do it.

7. Shrimp-on-da-bah-bie with roasted brussel sprouts.

Ah, the brussel sprout phase.  It's like immaturity - you never really leave that phase.  We've all been there.  Don't act like you haven't.

Back to the brussel sprouts: sweetened with agave, seasoned lightly with some s&p and roasted for 30 mins.  The shrimp came out perfect, seasoned with herbs de provence.  Simple preparation, simple ingredients - the natural flavor of the food was showcased in this meal.

6. Agave glazed mahi-mahi with wok veggies and heirloom tomatoes.

Indicative of a common CJ production, we probably ate 48 versions of this which is a reason why it ranks so high.  A solid protein source with a ton of veggies and something raw we would pick up at the Farmer's Market (sometimes fruit, and in this case, some bomb dot com dot org heirlooms - we also used heirlooms in our conceptual salad).

5. Salmon curry. 

The ever-present curry phase.  Seriously, curry has to be one of the best meals ever - you can mix anything you want in there and get great nutrients in one dish.  Very filling too!  We used red curry paste from the Asian Kitchen and amped it up with a tablespoon of TJ's almond butter - a great tip from a great buddy who learned it from a great family in India.

4. "Chili"-cheese fries. 

Quora-based chili, goat cheese on top of Alexia sweet potato fries.  Need I say more?  Let's move on.

3. Tom-Kha soup with sides of blackened mahi-mahi and apple-celery sally.  

No, that's not the incorrect order (you know I'm serious when I use a double-negative).  While the mahi-mahi and apple-celery sally were amazing, the tom-kha relegated them to the Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland of the group.  We've been on an unofficial (but yet very official) search for the best bowl of tom kha in San Diego and wouldn't you know, it's found here in the CJ kitchen. ;)  The stock was the star (as it should be), sweetened and soured and red to perfect heat.  For those of you who we don't (or won't) cook for, the next best bowl is at Bai Yook on University Ave.    Tell them CJ sent you!  They won't know who you're talking about, but who does anyways?!  Hey-o!  Zzzzinnnnnggggggg!!!!!!!!!!!

Here's another shot of Mr. Tom Kha.

2. The Best Mac-n-Cheese in the World!  And ketchup.  

C's mac-n-cheese has been showcased here before but the lauds deserve repeating - this is the best mac-n-cheese in the world!  Gluten-free and dairy-free, it is actually light and healthy!  A side of ketchup, some zucchini spiraled in our phenomenal Joyce Chen spiraler and fuggetaboutit.  It's good night Irene.

1. The Best Quiche in the Universe!  

Another one of C's creations, and it's tops on my list.  A great surprise to come home to - the quiche was flavorful and healthful!  Loads of veggies in there with a flaky crust baked just right - I couldn't believe the thing was gluten-free!  This gets the slight nod over the mac-n-cheese because of the time and presentation - plus, I had a long day at work and this made me really happy.  Hey, context counts.  =)

What we will create in 2011?  Who knows?  But I can't wait to find out! =)

Here's C after meals 12 thru 1:


What was the best thing you've ate this year?  Drop your food-for-thought to comments.  



  1. J, you are totally right about the guac & the "macrobiotic" rice ;) you know me too well! We did some damage with our eats this year. My all time favorite list:

    12. Squash fries (you know I love fries, they were delish!)
    11. Soba Noodles, you're right on!
    10. Beets stuffed with Goat Cheese Raviolis (I loved these, combining healthy alternatives to my favorite raviolis)
    9. Almond Crusted Mahi Mahi with Cauliflower "mashed potatoes" (this dish was so creative and delicious, next time go easy on the garlic ;))
    8. Shrimp & Brussels (we need to do this dish more often!)
    7. Pan-seared salmon with Quora and spinach stir-fry (I could eat this every week and never get tired of it)
    6. Vegan Italian Spezzatino (one of my all time favorites!!! I LOVE THIS DISH!!!)
    5. Mac N' Cheese (Oh you know me, you know me :D)
    4. Tom Kha Soup (I want some right now)
    3. Your Guac (SOOOOO GOOOOOOOD!!! I wish it lasted longer)
    2. "Chili"-cheese fries (I might have been sick but man was it worth it!)
    1. Our first meal (Sally, Squash stuffed quinoa, and red velvet brownies!) Because it was the beginning to all this good food :D


    P.S. WE ROCK!

  2. Hey now - they're called garlic-cauliflower mashed "potatoes" for a reason. ;) Garlic is good for you too! I am always thinking about your health is all.

    Looking forward to reading your blog post today! (hint, hint, nudge, nudge)


    P.S.- F@?! YEAH we rock!