Eggplant And Mushroom Stir Fry

Happy Birthday to my good friend Danielle! After a day of running, Arrested Development and laundry on Monday, Chi and I headed out to The Tipsy Pig in the Marina to celebrate the birthday of one of my oldest friends.

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I have known these girls since 8th grade, I can’t believe it’s been almost ten years! Time really flies. The last time we all got together was a little over a month ago, so it was always fun to see familiar faces.

Check out how fun the drinks look! They had a pretty awesome cocktail menu and the drinks were light and tasty enough to be perfect for a socializing hour.

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Chi and I were the only ones that had not eaten dinner, so it was worth getting something to eat on the menu. Plus, everything looked and sounded delicious, so we weren’t too upset about it. 😉

Everyone shared an appetizer of smoked bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese. I’m not the biggest fan of Mac ‘n’ Cheese, but this dish was so good, I wish we got another one to share!

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Chi and I, a lover of Bruschetta, couldn’t resist when we saw these prosciutto with fresh burrata cheese, roasted garlic puree, meyer lemon, broccoli di cicco and mustard blossom. They weren’t the most lady like thing to eat (read: picture me stuffing my face with a dollop of cheese), but it was so worth it.

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I spy another little Tipsy Piggy!

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Last, because we pigged out with everything else, is a Tipsy Pig burger — served on a pain de mie bun and a side of sweet potato fries. If I wasn’t full after the Bruschetta, I was definitely full after the burger!

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We stayed for a few hours before everyone had to leave due to early work schedules. I’m super excited because there’s a huge chance I’ll get to hang out with D and V on Thursday! Yay for my girls twice in one week!

The recipe I wanted to share with you this week is a delicious, restaurant worthy, Eggplant and Mushroom stir fry. I knew what I wanted to make in my mind, but I wasn’t sure exactly how to execute it, so I called my mom (of course!) This dish is considered vegetarian, but Chi wanted some animal protein with it, so I cooked up some of my chinese chicken sans bok choy. These flavors went really well together, but the eggplant’s flavor was also strong enough to hold up on it’s own!

Eggplant and Mushroom Stir Fry

Prep Time: 25 Minutes

Cook Time: 10 Minutes

Serves: 3

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Mexican Eggplant
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 7 White/Crimini Mushrooms
  • 1/2 Onion, diced
  • 3/4 Cup Basil
  • 4 Green Chiles, optional
  • 5 Tbs Peanut Oil
  • 2 Tbs Seasame Oil
  • 1 Tbs Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbs Rice Vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbs Corn Starch
  • 1/2 Tbs Sugar
  • Sesame seeds, toasted, to garnish
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

**Whole Foods only had Mexican eggplants, which are a lot rounder and short, but any eggplant will work for this recipe

TO PREP

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1. Cut the eggplant into fours, lengthwise. Cut each 1/4 diagonally, and then in half. Each piece shouldn’t be more than an inch thick.

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2. Wash and cut the mushrooms into thirds, deseed the chiles and cut them into half and dice/mince the onion and garlic. I was lazy so I used a food processor, but it’s very simple by hand.

3. Wash and set aside your basil.

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4. Grab your wok and turn it on medium-high heat. Pour 2 tbs peanut oil and 1 tbs sesame oil. When the wok begins to lightly smoke, toss in about half of the eggplants, and let them brown for ~3-4 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

5. Set them aside and repeat with the other half of the eggplant.

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6. While the second batch is cooking, prepare a mixture of 1 Tbs soy sauce, 1 Tbs vinegar, 1/2 Tbs Corn Starch and 1/2 Tbs sugar. Mix for 30 seconds.

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7. Take the second batch of eggplant out and set aside after cooking for ~3-4 minutes.

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8. Pour the garlic, onion and chiles into the pan and let it cook while sautéing the mushrooms. When mushrooms look almost ready, throw in the mixture of soy sauce/vinegar/cornstarch and cooked eggplant and stir everything rapidly.

9. Toss in the basil when stir fry is almost done.

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10. Toast sesame seeds in a smaller pan for three minutes while stir fry is cooking.

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11. Set plate with rice and garnish with basil and sesame seeds!

Voila!

Have you eaten eggplant before? What’s your summer travel plans?

The Bride To Be

It’s been so, so, so long since I’ve ate with Jacque. I’m pretty sure I saw her sometime in between, but I can’t find a post about it.

We are both so busy with school and work, it’s hard to find a time for both of us to meet up. Fortunately, Thursdays at 5:30p works well for both of us (as long as we don’t have any tests that day). We planned to meet on Union St. and stumbled into this bar/restaurant that was sporting a pretty mean happy hour.

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There was so much to catch up on, such as:

1. Her upcoming nupitals (!!)

2. A pair of old classmates that engaged in some chemistry (if you know what I mean)

3. My BodyPump class yesterday (oh my god..)

The last time I saw her she was happily living with her boyfriend and now she is planning a wedding! When I found out she was engaged a few months ago, I was ecstatic because it means that I get to attend a beautiful summer wedding in upstate New York! Also because Jacq and her fiancee make a badass couple.

(Jacque wanted me to remind you that she just came from teaching yoga. I think she looks b-e-a-utiful!)

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I mesmerized over the ring, awed over her dress and looked over wedding invitations with her. It’s so exciting to plan a wedding, however, there are so many components that I felt overwhelmed just listening to all the things she had to do.

Look at this clear cut, 1.5 carat beauty. M did a good job and made sure it was a fair trade diamond, which was something that is important to her.

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The waitress, who I fell in love instantly, served both of us whisky gingers. Jacque never had one before so I’m happy she tried it! It’s my favorite drink. I really wanted to try a Poor Man’s Black Velvet (Guiness & Cider), but they didn’t have any cider. Next time!

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Happy hour included $5 dollar appetizers and guess what we ordered.

Totchos.

Tater Tot Nachos. What.

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Did I just die and go to heaven? I know I’m not the healthiest eater, but I also don’t indulge this much. This was just on another level.

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I was actually really upset at myself because I promised myself I would eat healthy for the rest of the week. I did my first BodyPump class on Wednesday and I seriously had no idea how intense it would be. I honestly would rather do Tough Mudder again than have to do attend another class. With that being said, I have another class scheduled for Friday night. 🙂 I’m feeling the pain but it feels so good at the same time.

We were really full after eating half the tots, but still wanted to try other items they had so I ordered a chicken slider. It was accessorized with bacon, avocado and sprouts. Although it’s made to fit in a toddler’s hand, it was honestly the perfect size.

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The bride to be ate a vegetarian taco; sweet potato, beets, tomato and lettuce.

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Time flew by so fast, we seriously were there for 2 1/2 hours! I couldn’t believe it when I looked at my phone after. We did a little window shopping before going home and made plans for our next outing. Tuesday Trivia, perhaps?

Any weddings you’re attending soon? What would be your dream exotic taco?

Happy Birthday, Richie!

This weekend was filled with celebrations! Chi picked me up after work on Saturday and we headed over to Crissy Fields to celebrate Richard’s birthday. Parking was so easy and we found them in record time. They were still setting up, so while the boys unloaded the car, I took a picture to show what kind of amazing view we had in our afternoon backyard.

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It was just absolutely breath taking; I try not to take these things for granted sometimes, especially since I get the pleasure of driving over the Golden Gate Bridge everyday for school. It’s so fascinating to look at, particularly when the fog is rolling in the morning.

I’m always down for a good barbeque, but one thing that puts me off is the wind. It’s not a big problem, but the hair in my face and the cold constantly pushing at me puts me off a little. Bailey (my godson) thinks the same thing.

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Finding our table was hard for a lot of our friends. Crissy Fields has a small entrance that can be hard to miss, so it took a lot of us to try to explain where our tables were. We even started using this lonely palm tree as a marker, only to find out later that there is another lonely palm tree further down away from the bridge.

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If you walk ten feet down towards the water, there is a nice sandy beach area to hang out with. I saw a lot of people in the shallow end of the water, but can’t imagine how freezing it was for them! The sun was out but the air was still cold. PS: Another picture of the Golden Gate Bridge. 🙂

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The wind made it hard for us to start the fire for the grilling, it was really amusing to watch.

Q. How many men does it take to start one fire?

A. Three!

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Of course, they got it done at the end, and we were served some good ol’ fashioned American BBQ. Burgers and hotdogs, anyone? We even had a few veggie burgers for our vegetarian friends.

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Of course you’re wondering, “Tara, what are you guys washing it down with?” Well, my dear, a friendly keg happened to make its way over to our party. A Blue Moon keg, while we’re at it! (As fun as a keg sounds at a BBQ, I hydrated myself with water to make sure one of us was okay driving home.)

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Happy birthday, Richie!

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And a bonus picture of the lovely couple.

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Do you enjoy indoor or outdoor birthday celebrations? Any unique barbecuing ideas?

Jamon Y Queso

Hi friends! I just wanted to pop in and tell you about a great time I had on Saturday. Before we get into the nitty gritty, I wanted to ask if anyone played Candy Crush? My co-workers recently turned me on to it and it’s seriously all that has been on my mind.

All of our friends were coincidentally free at night, so we all gathered up like old times for a fun night out. We left our house around 6:30p to try to catch a cab, which is a little hard on my side of town (mostly residential, etc). The sunset was looking a little crazy, so I had to capture a picture.

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When we finally gave up and starting walking toward the BART, a empty cab stopped right in front of us. Isn’t it funny how those things always happen? We payed our $20 dollar fare to the heart of downtown, where our friends recently moved too. I was the only one to have seen their place before, so it was nice to get everyone on the same page.

Let’s keep in mind that it was the night before St. Patrick’s Day, so it was crazy downtown. There was even an alleyway rave that we considered attending, but we all agreed to eat; so we were on the hunt for an affordable, yet tasty dinner. When passing Claude Ln, we noticed that there was a stretch of a weird backyard-alley dining. Each restaurant put up these pop up tents and it looked so fun! The first restaurant was French, which we couldn’t all agree on so we walked down further and seen a cute Spanish restaurant. Yes, please! This next picture doesn’t quite show the vibe of this hidden alley, but this was the popup tent of the restaurant we went to. (Imagine about a row of 4-5 of these.)

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If there is a perfect example of a hidden gem, Gitane would be it!

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We walked inside to put our name on the menu (do you see that perfect table open for the seven of us? I do!) and was introduced to the most bizarre, Moulin Rouge-esque decorations.

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I’ve never been to a 50s French nightclub, but this is how I imagine it. The bartender told us that it use to be a French restaurant, but they didn’t change the decor when they changed owners.

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While waiting for our table to be cleared, we tried some of their fancy cocktails at the bar. I had the Los Muertos, which is a tequila, sweet vermouth, grapefruit marmalade and lime concoction. These cocktails were really tasty, I can say they rivaled the drinks at Beretta.

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Boys will be boys. These guys have been friends since kindergarden, can you tell? I’d say they’re more like brothers.

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And an instagrammed picture of the girls. If you ask me, I’d say we’re a pretty good looking group!

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Since we were eating Spanish food, it’d be wrong to do anything but tapas, so we ordered a bunch of appetizers to share. Although, I’m not sure how much the waitress liked that.

First to come out was a pretty sad looking (but delicious) taster of cheese. We couldn’t come up with a unanimous decision of our favorites, each one had a special characteristic. In case you were wondering, the dressing on the side is fig. It was definitely a group effort to figure out what fruit it was, I’m sure the patrons next to us had a good laugh.

L-R: La Peral, Murcia De Vino, y La Serena.

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Obligatory bread picture, to use a base for the cheese and jamon.

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They gave us a double serving of proscuitto, which was really nice of them and much appreciated. The Iberico was truly divine, it just melts in your mouth. I think that one was the group favorite.

L-R: Jamon Iberico de Bellota, Lardo Iberico, y Jamon Serrano.

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We also ordered the Alcahofas, which is artichokes roasted & crisped, sun chokes, manchego cheese and olive oil. I really enjoyed this dish, as did the rest of the people.

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Missing was a plate of asparagus, so I will set you up with a grand finale of Albondigas, which was made with braised rabbit meatballs, spicy sofrito, and oregano. This dish was definitely the star of the show, everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m not a big fan of gamey meat, but if I was, this would of definitely of been my favorite dish.

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I had a blast hanging out with everyone, since we haven’t all went out as a group in a long time. After dinner, Chi and I went home early because he had to work the next day. We may or may not of ordered a pizza when we got home, don’t judge us! 🙂

Now off to play Candy Crush!

How was your Saint Patrick’s Day? Do you enjoy eating gamey meats?