Find Your Bliss

June 22, 2013

My favorite View

My favorite view

Yesterday I worked until about 3pm and then grabbed my beach bag to catch a couple of hours on the sand before I had to run errands (Target! Shop Rite!) and pick up the husband and kids from the bus station. It’s different at the beach this year, after going through the nightmare that was (and is) Hurricane Sandy. The beach is not as wide because the dunes were made larger, to fortify the town from whatever comes next. It feels more crowded because there aren’t as many cut-throughs in the dunes, so people tend to congregate near where they enter. But as I sat there in my beach chair, fully slathered in sunscreen and a magazine on my lap, looking out over the water, there was no place else I’d rather be. Even a couple of hours relaxes me and I managed to fall asleep for 15 minutes or so — the perfect cat nap.

Summer is definitely here, and it’s a relatively short season (my kids don’t finish school for another 3 days!), so if ever there was a time to get outside and find your happy place, this would be it.Even if you can only find an hour in a full weekend, do it! Your mind and body will feel the benefits all week.


We were floundering a bit about where to go for dinner to celebrate our anniversary a few weeks back. We had a reservation at Union Square Cafe, but I was underwhelmed. (It’s an excellent restaurant, don’t get me wrong, I just wanted something new, someplace that felt more special.) Someone suggested Marea to us, and it struck a chord because I had heard good things but always dismissed it because it was Italian. I love Italian food, but $35 for a bowl of pasta gets to be a bit much. But when I went to the menu online, I saw that it was Italian but with a fish/seafood bent. Looked good, so we went. And it was great. The atmosphere is nice, very Central Park South if you know what I mean. (If you don’t, think about a nice hotel dining room anywhere in the world and you’re probably close.) It’s done in good taste but with a certain sterility about it. But you don’t go for the light fixtures. The food is the star here. We went for the 4 course $99 menu, which allows you to pick just about anything from the menu. Chef Michael White doesn’t disappoint. I started with a soft shell crab (in season!), then had a pasta with squid and a red sauce so divine I almost never want to have it again to preserve the memory. (Flavored with bone marrow, fyi.) The scallops were tasty, and I finished with a dessert I can’t remember but it was a suitable ending…even the glass of rose I had was standout. We lingered for 3 hours and didn’t feel rushed; the service was attentive but not overbearing. A perfect spot for a special occasion.


I’m excited to get the grilled going! Tonight I am preparing a recipe from Bobby Flay for a grilled salmon with black bean sauce, and a mango and soba noodles side dish. Then I think we have to ride our bikes to the new Kohr Brothers frozen custard that opened nearby. It just isn’t summer without a vanilla cone and chocolate jimmies! (That’s sprinkles for all of you who need a translation.)

Hope you’re having a great weekend!





June 13, 2013

Blogger’s note: I wrote this post a few weeks ago but I forgot to bring the recipe home from my house so I was delayed…anyway here it is in all its time warped glory…more to come soon!)

Tasty -- and easy!

Tasty — and easy!

I was a cooking fiend this holiday weekend, which made me realize that to be a great chef, you need time, tasty ingredients, and a husband who will clean up. Otherwise, forget it.

I love making salsas in the summer, because they really dress up any old fish that you want to throw on the grill. And because the ingredients ration doesn’t have to be exact, you can improvise with what you have in the fridge. But you always need a jalapeno pepper, and depending on the harvest, they can be hotter than you bargained for, especially on your skin. It’s the seeds that carry the heat, so if you really want to be careful, wear gloves when you’re taking them apart or cutting the pepper. (I sometimes put a plastic bag over the hand that’s coming into contact with the pepper if there’s no glove handy.) The deceiving part is that if it does cause skin irritation, it usually doesn’t start for a little while, after you think you’re in the clear. If you start to get persistent burning, forget washing, water, soap or lotion. Believe me, will not work, and potentially makes it worse. Get a bowl, pour some milk into it and submerge your hand. Keep it there until you feel the burning sensation subside. It should only take a few minutes. Then you can rinse and go about things normally. If it comes back at all, try it again. I have used this twice and it definitely works!

Anyway, on to this weekend’s salsa recipe — I put it over tuna but could easily pair with salmon or another meaty, white fish.

Avocado Tomato Salsa

1 ripe avocado cut into small chunks

1 cup of grape tomatoes, halved

1 cup minced red onion

1 jalapeno pepper or serrano chile, seeded and minced (the serrano pepper will give you more heat)

1 lime, juiced

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. I like to refrigerate for at least an hour before serving, but you don’t have to.

Serve over fish or chicken!


Salad Daze

Salads are a great and easy way to add vegetables to a meal. My kids have both started eating them in earnest, but only with balsamic vinaigrette. (I’ll take it!) I love to mix things up a little, so it’s not just mixed greens on a plate. Fresh radishes are a great way to do that. They add some zest and some crunch, and some color, which is always nice. Goat cheese also makes a salad a little more special. If you buy a small log, put it in the freezer for about 10 minutes and then flake it with a knife onto the lettuce. The freezing lets it flake easier and more evenly.


I am starting TRX tomorrow. Very exciting. I needed a new exercise something to break up the monotony of the machines which I feel like I have become a slave to. (If it’s Monday, it must be the Precor Open Stride.) I will report back.

The other exciting news is that my husband and I gave each other bikes for our anniversary! We had a family ride on the boardwalk yesterday. Loved it.

Hope you’re adjusting to the routine after a few days off…