Charleston Twestival

Last night I attended the Charleston Twestival.  What is twestival? Well, being the internet geek I am, let me give you a rundown.

“Charleston is now one of the many international cities participating in the worldwide Twestival, which brings people together using social media in order to raise money for charity.  Each city chooses its own charity and Charleston has chosen Concern Worldwide.  All of the events will raise money to target worldwide poverty.”

It was a really great event! I knew a couple people that attended but also got to make some new friends. BUT…(knew that was coming) unfortunately I couldn’t completely enjoy myself. Because I couldn’t eat anything!

Since I went right after work and wasn’t going to be home until 10PM, I knew I had to eat something. So after a quick stop at the corner store I made my way to Marion Square to eat some dinner. Please look how fancy I am.

Hah!

Seriously, I had a Lunchable for dinner.  Now that was just sad.  Especially since I had to watch people eat delicious baked goods and jambalaya all night.

Bread pudding … which I’ll just assume was delicious

Desserts!

Here are some other fun photos from the event: (courtesy of Chad Norman’s Photo Set)

The event was held at The Real Estate Studio

There’s Sweet Tea Vodka in there!

DJ Natty Heavy was great!

Can you spot me at the auction table? :)

Who doesn’t love breakfast?

Breakfast for lunch. Breakfast for dinner. Breakfast for breakfast.  Really, who doesn’t love it?  I myself prefer the ‘man’ type breakfasts.  Bacons, eggs, sausage, hashbrowns.  Yum. One of my favorites ever is Eggs Benedict.  My Dad makes it every year for Christmas so it’s both delicious and has great memories attached.

I tend to stay away from the sugary-stuff.  Give me sausage links over pancakes any day.  The exception is I LOVE waffles covered in strawberries and whip cream.  Seriously amazing. What’s your favorite?

Spiced Braised Beef With Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut into chunks
  • 2 sweet potatoes (about 1 pound), cut into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons
  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 large red onion, cut into wedges
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • kosher salt
  • 1 10-ounce box couscous (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 2 cups baby spinach (1 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup roasted almonds, chopped

Directions

  1. In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the beef, potatoes, tomatoes (and their juices), onion, apricots, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup water.
  2. Cook, covered, until the meat is tender, on high for 4 to 5 hours, or on low for 7 to 8 hours.
  3. Ten minutes before serving, prepare the couscous according to the package directions.
  4. Add the chickpeas to the slow cooker and cook until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the spinach. Serve with the couscous and sprinkle with the almonds.
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This weekend, I made a meal for two.  My boyfriend and I made Coupon Books for Valentine’s Day, and one of his coupons was a home-cooked meal of his choice.  He chose Spiced Braised Beef with Sweet Potatoes from Real Simple.
The recipe was very easy, as any slow-cooked meal is.  After chopping up the sweet potatoes (harder than I thought!) and red onion, I only had to combine the other ingredients and cook on low for 7-8 hours.
It was a little funny, we ended up eating this heavy hearty stew on the first day of Spring.  It was in the 70s and I was sunburnt! But, it was still very tasty. I do have a good portion of leftovers if I have any takers. :)

A moment please.

So cooking for myself is fun. I like learning new things and trying new foods. But really, I want to go out to eat! I’m in the home stretch (just over two weeks!), but I’m really craving some fried food.  I don’t even care if I sit at a restaurant, I’m just really really really wanting some grease covered french fries. Or chicken strips (fried!). Sometimes I feel like I’m eating a like a rabbit.  Here are some beauties that I’m craving right now:

Chick-Fil-A deliciousness

McDonald’s Filet o Fish … yum!

A burger and fries from Five Guys

Oh goodness. How long till Easter??

Seared Salmon with Oranges and Fennel

Seared Salmon with Oranges and Fennel

  • 2 navel oranges, peeled, and segmented, plus 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 small fennel bulb (stalks removed), halved lengthwise, cored, and thinly sliced crosswise, fronds reserved for garnish (optional)
  • 1/4 cup pitted green olives, halved
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 4 skinless salmon fillets (6 ounces each)
  1. In a medium bowl, combine orange segments and juice, fennel, olives, lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon oil; season with salt and pepper, and toss gently. Set aside.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat remaining teaspoon oil over medium. Add salmon, flat side down; cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Turn salmon; cook until opaque throughout, 1 to 3 minutes more. Serve salmon topped with orange mixture; garnish with fennel fronds, if desired.

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Are there any foods out there that you just keep trying to convince yourself that you enjoy? Like you just keep trying and trying, but you aren’t sure if you love or hate the food?  Well, that’s how I feel about fennel. Little ole fennel. I really can’t decided whether I love or hate. I always clear my plate when it’s an ingredient, but I can’t tell if I enjoy it. Weird, right?

Anyways, this was a quick quick easy meal.  Outside of the salmon, there was no actually ‘cooking’ just assembling.

Mixing the oranges, fennel, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper..

Meanwhile … I made a couple rookie mistakes on my salmon. I used a non non-stick pan, and undercooked it.  Oh well, still tasted okay.

See that little burn? Woops…

Overall, this meal was okay. It really wasn’t enough to fill me up.  Maybe that’s a good thing, but I’ll tell you I was craving something else all night!

Lemony Shrimp with White Beans and Couscous

Lemony Shrimp with White Beans and Couscous
  • 1 10-ounce box couscous (1 1/2 cups)
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 15.5-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  1. In a saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil. Stir in the couscous and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover and let sit off heat for 5 minutes; fluff with a fork before serving.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and scallions and cook for 30 seconds. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, until they begin to turn pink, about 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the beans, parsley, lemon juice, the remaining butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with the couscous.

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In a word, delicious. This was one of those meals I loved. I loved how the shrimp kept the meal light and healthy, but the white beans made it feel like I was eating something of substance. Really, it was wonderful and will definitely be made again soon.

The ingredients were all fairly simple.  Most of the items I already had on stock from another meal that week.  The white beans were really the only thing that I had to purchase specifically.

Outside of chopping up some garlic and green onions and peeling (and of course de-veining) the shrimp, there wasn’t much leg work. After everything was prepped, all I had to do was add to the pan.

Shrimp, garlic and onions!

Plus beans!

I forgot to mention, during all this pan cooking, I had some couscous cooking up on the side. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but couscous is sooo easy to make! I can’t believe it took me 25 years to discover.

Yum, yum, yum!

Shrimp with Snow Peas and Oranges

Seared Scallops Shrimp with Snow Peas and Oranges

  • 1 cup couscous
  • 2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 16 sea scallops (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • Fresh Shrimp
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 orange
  • 3/4 pound snow peas, halved lengthwise
  1. Cook the couscous according to the package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the scallops dry, season with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper, and cook until opaque throughout and golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm; wipe out the skillet.
  3. Using a vegetable peeler, remove 4 strips of zest from the orange; thinly slice the zest.
  4. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the snow peas, orange zest, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, tossing, until the snow peas are just tender, about 2 minutes. Serve with the scallops and couscous.
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Another night of mixing it up! Thursday night I transformed my Seared Scallops with Snow Peas and Oranges recipe into Shrimp with Snow Peas and Oranges. Big jump, right?
Basically I’ve learned that if I want fresh seafood, I need to get to the grocery store before 8PM on a Sunday. No one is ever at the seafood counter and I become a baby and don’t ask for help.  So I bought so pre-wrapped shrimp to substitute for this recipe.  Can’t say I’m upset about it at all, the little  shrimpies were great!
Easy list of ingredients! – I like it!
Last night was the first time I attempted to cook couscous. I really thought it was going to be difficult! I’ve never enjoyed cooking rice (unless it’s in the microwave) and I thought it would be hard to get the right consistency. I couldn’t be more wrong! It was super easy to whip up a batch! Thank goodness, because it’s on the menu tonight. :)
Fluff, fluff, fluff!
The only negative thing about the shrimp, was all the POOP! Those little fellas needed some serious de-veining. Not fun at all. But I guess that’s what you go through for yummy little shrimps!
Poop-free camarónes!
The sugar snap peas and orange vest were an excellent side item. The peas really did soak up the orange flavor.  I ended up microwaving the peas for a little bit before throwing them into the pan (they were frozen) but I still think they turned out great.
Overall, it was a great meal. I’m glad I made the choice with shrimp instead of throwing out the whole recipe. I really think I’ll start using shrimp in recipes more often.  I can’t wait until the Farmer’s Market gets started back up in Charleston, then I’ll be able to get some super-fresh seafood! Yay! :)
Enjoy!