Friday, December 12, 2014

Pesto - Bacon Mac n Cheese

This dish isn't a real recipe (at least not in the traditional sense of the word) since it was made with what I had in my house. This is one of those dish's that can be adjusted to whatever you have around. Ah the beauty of Mac n Cheese.

So, yesterday we were suppose to get some great storm here on the coast. Everyone was all prepared for this great wind storm, and then honestly we got screwed out of it. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't hoping for mass destruction, or anything of that magnitude...just a good ole fashioned coastal storm. So, I closed early at work and stopped off at the store for batteries and a bottle of wine (it's going to be a huge storm right?) then headed home to make something cozy before the power goes out....the power never went out, I don't think it even flickered. This is where the mac n cheese comes in. Mac n cheese is a blank canvas that you can paint according to your mood...or pantry for that matter. This is Pesto-Bacon Mac.

Lrg. Pot
Mdm. Saucepan
Lrg. Spoon
Cheese Grater

Elbow Macaroni
Fontina Cheese
Leftover Pesto
Leftover Herb Cheese Spread
Bacon pieces leftover from breakfast
Pepper and Salt as needed

Okay, so I didn't measure a damn thing, not surprising though right? Here's what I did do...

Fill a large pot with water and set it on the stove to boil, add salt to the water. When it reaches a boil, turn it down just a tad and add the pasta. While your pasta is cooking, move on to the cheese sauce.

In the medium saucepan (on medium-low heat) melt a couple Tablespoons of butter, then whisk in flower until it no longer has that "raw" smell to it and it's has a bit of a crumbly look to it...please don't burn it though. Now whisk in enough milk to create a creamy base for your cheese. Don't put that milk back in the fridge though, you may need it again to thin the sauce...especially since we aren't measuring anything. Now toss in your grated fontina (once again, it's what I had leftover from a brussels sprout gratin recipe from Thanksgiving)and whisk into the creamy base. When the cheese is melted stir in some herb cheese spread (leftover from a whine/cheese/cracker night) and as much pesto as you have left (or can stand). Now, toss in that leftover bacon (because you cooked too much in the morning) and give it a good stir. Taste it, and add any salt, pepper, or anything else you feel that it's missing.

You've been keeping an eye on your noodles while this is going on right? Ok, so when they are all cooked (please don't cook them to oblivion so they become this mushy noodle...thing closer to baby food then noodles). Strain your noodles and toss them back in the large pot you cooked them in (with a tiny bit of butter or oil, so they won't stick to the bottom) now pour that delicious cheesy goodness on top of your noodles, stir it all together and serve yourself a nice big bowl.

In my opinion this can only be truly enjoyed with a nice glass of wine and a classic Christmas movie.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Late Night Munchies

"Mexican" Grilled Cheese

This was one of those "accidental meals" that I so love to discover. It's been a very busy week already, and this was the perfect late night meal. I went from work to book club last night, and just bolted down a quick bowl of soup in-between. Naturally by the time I got home from Book Club I was already hungry again. Not wanting to make a huge production out of my meal, I just started digging around in the refrigerator and found some cilantro that needed to be used before it was too late. Naturally when you grow your own tomatoes and have cilantro, the first thing that came to my mind was salsa. Already having a full jar of homemade salsa my mind just kept jumping through my refrigerator...the discovery of some habanero jack cheese was the clincher. "Mexican" grilled cheese it is.

Cutting Board
Sharp Knife
Butter Knife
Griddle (frying pan works too)

Soft Butter
Chipotle Ranch (I make my own)
Habanero Jack Cheese
Turkey Deli Meat
Rough Chopped Cilantro
Sliced Tomatoes

I sincerely hope nobody needs measurements for grilled cheese, it is after all a very personal dish. We all have our own taste in the amount of cheese that is used.
Slather one side of your bread with the chipotle ranch, then begin to build the sandwich. I built in the following order...Chipotle Ranch, Habanero Cheese, Turkey, Tomatoes, Cilantro, and more Habanero Cheese. Once you have assembled your sandwich, slather one side with butter and put in your hot pan (medium heat) and slather butter on the other side. Buttering the bread gives you a nice crust on your bread as well a good flavor. I generally flip my sandwich three times, so each side has made contact with the pan for a couple minutes at least twice. Of coarse things will vary by how crispy you like your bread and the temperature of your stove...and did I mention how much patience you may posses?
Well you've made your sandwich and it is now ready for consumption. I enjoyed mine with a glass of Hard Blackberry Cider while watching Beasts of The Southern Wild.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Garlic Chicken AND Poached Eggs

Garlic Chicken, Sauted Chard with Onions and Poached Eggs

So, last night I had a couple friends over for dinner. One of them is currently not eating any dairy, beans (I don't think I could live without beans) sugars, or grains. Needless to say a bit of thought was required for dinner...though if I'm being honest this meal was one of the easiest and simplest meals I've made in a long while. Did I mention it was also one of the tastiest I've made in a while? No? Well it was. The meal brought home what we so often forget...less is more. There are very few ingredients for this meal and also very little salt. Allowing the vegetables and creaminess of the poached eggs to speak for themselves is really all you need. Ok, so a little bit of salt helps. Basically what i'm trying to say is, thank you to my friend and her dietary requirements for pushing me out of my "norm". Last night also marked the end of my procrastination to make poached eggs...I just did it!

Large Pan with High Sides
Large "Frying" Pan
Cutting Board
Sharp Knife
Wooden Spoon

4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast - Either tenders or smash them thin yourself
5 Cloves Garlic, roughly chopped
1 Bushel of Parsley, chopped
1 Lemon, cut into wedges
Fresh Ground Pepper

Brush the chicken with oil on both sides, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Heat pan to medium-high heat with a little extra oil in it. When pan is hot and oil is shimmering, put chicken in. Cook about 2 minutes on each side. With thin chicken it will not take long to cook on each side at all. Remove chicken and set aside (tent or keep warm in oven) Remove pan from eat and toss in garlic, parsley and a squeeze or two of lemon. Cook just so garlic is fragrant and slightly browned. Serve over chicken.

1 Medium Yellow Onion, chopped
1 Bushed Swiss Chard, trimmed and chopped (use stem and leaves)
Olive Oil
2T Fresh Oregano, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat large pan (with high sides and a lid) on medium heat, add oil. When oil is beginning to shimmer add in chard ribs and onions with a pinch of salt. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover with lid and let cook about 4 minutes. Remove lid and add oregano and chard leaves. Cook until leaves are cooked through. Add salt and pepper as needed. Plate alongside the chicken and top with a poached egg.*

*I'm not putting the directions for poached eggs in here, because I feel it needs step by step photos if you've never done them before. I will do a poached egg tutorial post soon, hopefully in the next couple of days. Perhaps I will attempt Eggs Florentine this weekend.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Summer Shrimp

As delicious as this dish was, this is not at all what I had in mind to make earlier in the day. I had plans for a lemon-herb risotto with shrimp. However, it ended up being a nice 70 degrees here on the coast and risotto just seemed...wrong. I had already told my roommate to bring home some shrimp, so clearly the evening had to continue in a shrimpy fashion. The question what sort of vessel would these shrimp arrive at the table? Now this where the problem lies for me to convey my recipes...I just started tossing things in a pot. I will give you the ingredients, but I can't promise the outcome since I measured NOTHING, ok well almost nothing. Good luck.

Cutting Board
Sharp Knife
Large Pan w/lid
Wooden Spoon

2 (or so)Tbl. Olive Oil
1 Mdm. Yellow (or white) Onion, Chopped
6 Mini Zuchini, Chopped
4 Mini Pattypan Squash, Chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
4 (or 5) Mixed Mini Bell Peppers, sliced
Oregano, roughly chopped
Garlic Powder
White Wine
Lemon Juice from 1/4 of a lemon
Vegetable broth...2T perhaps

Heat your pan over medium heat, and add olive oil. When Olive oil is shimmering toss in your onions. Cook the onions until fragrant, then add all your squash, peppers and garlic. comes the hard part. I'm sorry, but this is where things get a little shaky and I stopped measuring and just started adding.
At this point I still wasn't entirely sure what I was making, and was just adding things that sounded good.
Season dish with salt and freshly ground pepper, a bit of onion powder, some garlic powder, and fresh (or dried if you don't have fresh) oregano. Stir that all together until the seasonings become fragrant. Now add your shrimp, wine, lemon juice, vegetable broth and honey. Cover and let simmer for a couple minutes. Check frequently so as not to over cook the shrimp. When everything is cooked and smells as you would like it to (once again I'm sorry for the flimsy recipe...I will make this again and measure things i promise) then remove it from the heat and serve with a nice hunk of bread.


Friday, July 11, 2014

Garlic-Lemon Tilapia w/Spinach

This recipe was inspired by my Food Network Magazine, but I tweaked it a little bit. In my opinion there is too much lemon in the recipe the way it was written, the acid would overtake all the other flavors. We ate dinner a little late last night, as yesterday was "store day". That dreaded day where we make a mad dash for Costco/Fred Meyer/Home Depot/Petco all in a single evening after work, in the hopes that we will not have to return for the rest of the month...well to at least 3 of the 4. Anyways, I usual. Dinner was consumed around 10pm BUT, it only took me about 20 minutes to prepare this lovely looking (and tasting) dish for two. So no grumbling that you don't have time to make dinner, because I call bull***t!

Large Pan
Cutting Board
Sharp Knife
Liquid Measuring Cup
Wooden Spoon
2 Plates
Tongs or Fish Spatula

2 Tilapia Filets (fresh please, not frozen)
1/4C. Flour
Salt and Pepper
4T Olive Oil
3 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
1/2C. Dry White Wine
3/4C. Chicken Broth (vegetable is fine as well)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
1T. Butter
2T. Chopped Parsley
4C Spinach

Pat dry the Tilapia then salt and pepper to taste on both sides. Dredge the fish in your 1/4C. of flour, (I find it the easiest to just pour the flour out on a plate). Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in your large pan. When oil is hot at the fish. Cook roughly 2 minutes on each side. When fish is cooked transfer to a clean plate and tent with foil to keep it warm, while you finish up the dish. Add one more tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, and add the garlic slices. As soon as garlic begins to brown add the wine, chicken broth, lemon juice and lemon zest. Turn heat up to high and allow to come to a boil until it reduces by half.
In the meantime toss your clean (uncooked) spinach with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and couple grinds of fresh pepper. Place on your plate, this will be the bed for the fish.
When the liquid has reduced, remove from the heat and stir in the butter then add the parsley. Put your fish on the spinach bed, and pour the sauce overtop. Serve with a lemon wedge and devour.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Coconut Shrimp

Coconut Shrimp with Jalapeño/Mango Dipping Sauce

This recipe was inspired by a bar/restaurant in my town, that served coconut shrimp with a mango dipping sauce that I really enjoyed. Sadly everything about the dish and the bar has changed, and I have no desire to set foot in the place any longer. There is a silver lining however, because they changed everything I was forced (should I want to continue to enjoy coconut shrimp) to come up with another option. Not only have I saved money by making this myself, but I also know EXACTLY what I am eating. The dipping sauce is not mine (that is something I am still working on) but from Rose City Pepperheads They make some wonderful things, and are native to my state, so I don't feel guilty about using their product in the least. Without further ramblings, I give you...happy hour at home.

Cast Iron Pan (or deep fryer if you have one)
2 Mdm. Glass Bowls (for dredge and wash)
Measuring Cup
Measuring Spoons
Spider (slotted spoons works as well)
Wax Paper or Freezer Paper
Baking Sheet

3/4C Panko Bread Crumbs
1/2C Unsweetened Shredded Coconut (can be found in the bulk section of most grocery stores)
2t Lime Zest
1/4-1/2t Salt
1t Pepper
2 Eggs
10-18 Fresh Shrimp, with tails on (frozen can be used as long as you defrost them, also without tails is ok I suppose)
Peanut Oil (Vegetable or Canola is fine as well)

Mix panko, coconut, lime zest, salt and pepper together in one of your bowls. In the second bowl, whisk the eggs together.
Line a baking sheet with wax paper.
Dip shrimp in egg then in panko mixture. Coat liberally, then place on baking sheet. When all the shrimp have been coated, place the baking sheet in the fridge for at least 20 minutes, but up to 4 hours.
While shrimp are in the refrigerator, get your oil ready. Pour enough oil in your cast iron pan so that you will be able to submerge the shrimp for frying. Heat oil on medium heat, until it reaches 375F. Drop cooled shrimp in oil, and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove with spider and place on a paper towel to drain any excess oil.

Enjoy this hot with your favorite dipping sauce. Mix yourself a drink, or sip a beer and enjoy happy hour at home by yourself or call a friend over.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Thug Kitchen Obsessed

Spicy Cauliflower Tacos with Cilantro Slaw

So, I was raised a vegetarian (I eat everything now, as I'm sure you may have noticed from my array of recipes) when it wasn't "cool" to be vegetarian. My parent's are great cooks, and my papa came up with some phenomenal dishes. There are so many vegetarian cook books out there these days, but frankly they seem to all have very similar recipes that just don't excite me. The people over at Thug Kitchen however ( have gotten me VERY excited about vegetarian cooking again. Last week, while unloading a white box (we literally get a white box of Advanced Reader Copies (also known as ARCs) at the book store once a month) I was excited to see they had included an insert from an up-and-coming cook book. With a title like "Thug like you give a f*ck" I was of coarse drawn to it instantly. Sadly there are only six recipes in it, and the book is not released until October. On the bright side I have made two of the six recipes in a span of a week already, and with each recipe my tastebuds have done a happy little jig. I was so excited by the first recipe I didn't even take a picture, I will however make it again and write a post about it. This taco recipe is amazing and even though my friend added ground beef to his, he still ate the cauliflower as well. Coming from someone who is a born and raised meat eater "it's not bad, just different" is high praise in my book. So with a tip of the hat to the people over at Thug Kitchen, I give you the Spicy Cauliflower Tacos!

Cutting Board
Sharp Knife
Whisk (or large fork)
Large Bowl
Medium Saucepan
Small Roasting Dish (I prefer glass)
Liquid Measuring Cup
Measuring Spoons

*Even though the equipment is not listed in the Thug Kitchen book, I will continue to add it since it makes it easier for people.

This is the recipe exactly as it appears in the Thug Kitchen Cook Book ARC

1 Head Cauliflower (about 1 pound)
3/4C Beer*
1/4C Vegetable Broth
1 1/2T Chipotle Hot Sauce (I used Bufalo)
1T Lime Juice
1 1/2t Tamari (soy sauce)
1 or 2 Garlic cloves, sliced
1 1/2t Chili powered
1t Smoked Paprika
1/4t Cumin
1/4t Garlic Powder
Pinch of Salt
1T Olive Oil
1/2 Yellow onion, chopped
6 Corn Tortillas
1 Rice avocado, peeled and sliced
Quick Lime and Cilantro Slaw (recipe below)
Fire Roasted Salsa**

*Whatever you are cool with drinking the rest of is fine here. Just no coffee stout or anything heavy like that.

**I used what I had already made, but I will post their recipe as well.

1. Chop the cauliflower into small florets no bigger than a large coin. Warm the beer, broth, hot sauce, lime juice, tamari, and garlic over medium heat. Add the cauliflower and simmer for about 1 1/2 minutes. Drain. Toss the chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and olive oil together in a large bowl. Add the cauliflower and onion and stir 'til those fuckers are coated. Bake at 400F until brown, stirring halfway, about 20 minutes.

2. To make the tacos, warm the tortillas in the oven or microwave for a hot minute, then pile them high with the cauliflower filling, slices of avocado, and some of the slaw and top with plenty of salsa.


1/2 Head green cabbage (about 1/2 pound)
1 Small carrot
2T Lime juice
2T Seasoned Rice Vinegar
1t Olive Oil
1/8t Salt
1/3C Chopped Cilantro

Cut the cabbage into the thinnest strips you can and make sure those pieces are no longer than 2 inches. This is a great time to get good with your knife if you are looking for a silver fucking lining in all that chopping (see page 000 for how to wield that blade). Chop the carrot in thin matchsticks of the same length. Got that shit down now, right? In a small glass mix together the lime juice, vinegar, oil, and salt. Add the dressing right before you are going to eat and toss that shit well. Add the cilantro and serve.

Ok, so I know the "000 pages" don't make sense, but as I said the cook book is not yet released, and this recipe is from an ARC.


14.5 ounce can roasted tomatoes*
1/2 White onion, chopped, about 1 cup
1/3C Chopped green onions
1/2C Chopped cilantro
3 Serrano peppers, chopped**
8 Coves roasted garlic***
1/4t Cumin
Juice of half a lime
Salt to taste

1. Throw all that in a food processor or blender and blend until it's how you like it. Chunky, smooth, your salsa = your rules. Taste and add more lime juice if you think it needs it. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Keeps for 4 to 5 days in the fridge but your willpower probably won't allow for any leftovers.

*This is the salsa you make when tomatoes aren't in season so canned are your best bet. Otherwise, make the MidSummer Salsa (page 000) with your ripe tomatoes and save this for the winter months.

**You can remove the seeds if you aren't down with a hot salsa.

*** Yeah, that's basically a whole bulb. Roasted garlic is broken down on page 000 but you can use 2 or 3 cloves of raw garlic if you are having a salsa emergency.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Asian Inspired Salmon & Slaw

Soy/Ginger Salmon with Spicy Peanut Slaw

An ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) for Thug Kitchen's upcoming cook book (out in October) showed up at work yesterday. There are six recipes in it to entice the buyer...and believe me it worked. I even marked on my calendar the release date for the book. Anyways, there is a recipe for a Spicy Peanut Slaw in there that sounded delicious, and inspired my very simple (yet tasty) Soy/Ginger Oven Roasted Salmon. The slaw recipe will serve 4 or so (I didn't bother cutting the recipe...who doesn't love leftover slaw for lunch?) and the salmon is for an individual serving.

Cutting Board
Sharp Knife
Large Stainless Steel Bowl (glass is fine too)
Sm. Mixing Bowl
Measuring Spoons

3C Green Cabbage, thinly sliced
3C Red Cabbage, thinly sliced
1 Carrot, cut into matchsticks
2 Scallions, thinly sliced (entire onion)
3T Peanut Butter
2T Hot Water
2T Seasoned Rice Vinegar (such as sushi rice vinegar)
3T Lime Juice, fresh squeezed
1T Fresh Ginger, minced
1T Sirachi (or favored Asian hot sauce)

Put all your veg together in a large bowl, and toss to mix all together.
While the veg sits, whisk all the other ingredients together in a small bowl until well combined. Toss dressing with veg and let sit for a few minutes, to give the flavors a chance to marry.

Glass Baking Dish
Small Bown

Sm. Salmon Filet
2T (or so) Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
1T Dark Brown Sugar
2t Fresh Grated Ginger

Preheat oven to 375

Place salmon filet in well oiled roasting pan.
While oven is pre-heating whisk all the soy sauce through ginger together in a small bowl. Spread soy mixture over salmon and roast in the over for roughly 15-20 minutes. Until salmon cooked to desired doneness.

Serve salmon nice and hot and slaw is best served room temp, so you get all the flavors.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Cindo de Mayo - Part Two

Pork Sausage Stuffed Mini Bell Peppers

As promised, part two of the Cinco de Mayo post. There will most likely be leftover filling, but trust me that is ok! It's great as a taco filling as well.

Large Nonstick Skillet or Cast Iron Pan
Cutting Board
Sharp Knife
Baking Sheet
Measuring Spoons

3T Olive Oil
1lb (or so) of Baby Bell Peppers
1 Small Onion, diced
1 Poblano Chili, seeded and diced
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
3/4t Ground Cumin
3/4t Dried Oregano
3/4t Ancho Chili Powder
1t Chipotle Chili Powder
1t Garlic Powder
1lb Ground Pork
1/4C Cilantro, chopped
3oz Muenster Cheese

Heat oil in skillet on medium heat. Add bell peppers in single layer, cook, turning them until the skin blisters. Transfer to a plate.

Preheat oven to 425.

Add the onion through garlic powder to pan and cook until poblanos are tender, about 8 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and add pork. Cooking, breaking the meat up as it cooks until it is no longer pink, 6-7 minutes. Stir in cheese, then remove from heat and add in cilantro.

Make a slit in each baby bell pepper from stem to tip. Fill peppers with pork mixture (you can stuff these up to 4 hours in advance, and store them covered in the fridge. Bring them up to room temp before you cook them though) and place on baking sheet.

Bake until the cheese is all melted and the peppers are nice and hot, 10 minutes. Season with salt if needed, and serve with a lime wedge.


Cinco de Mayo

Grilled Steak w/Chimicurri Sauce, Pork Sausage Stuffed Mini Bell Pepers and Double Chile Con Queso

So, once again I am late with my posting. It seems to be a very unfortunate and bad habit of mine. My roommate and I celebrated Cinco de Mayo with these delicious foods and a drink that we got from our wall calendar. We picked up a calendar at the beginning of the year that had a drink for every month, we had intended to try each months drink but after the first one we tried...absolutely DISGUSTING, so we put it on hold for a while. However, this months drink was actually pretty good (after some tweaking on my roommates part of coarse) and has kiwis in it. Perhaps I will start adding drinks at the bottom...we shall see. Anyways! Once again I digress...dinner was delicious. I apologize in advance for not knowing exactly how many peppers I used for this dish...there was a decent amount of leftover meat mixture when I did stuff all the peppers I had cooked though. The filling is delicious as a taco or in a quesadilla though, so honestly having some leftover was a great thing. After thinking through the recipes and how long this post could potentially be, I've decided to split it into more than one post. This post will contain the steak w/chimichurri and the Queso.

Cutting Board
Sharp Knife
Grill Pan

1 Bunch Cilantro, roughly chopped
2 Cloves Garlic
2T Red Wine Vinegar
Juice 1/2 Lemon
1/2t Red Pepper Flakes
1/2C Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a blender until smooth, transfer to a small bowl (or a container if saving for later).

Flank Steak
Salt and Pepper
Garlic Powder

Heat your grill pan to medium heat, cook seasoned flank steak on each side for roughly 1-2 minutes per side. You do NOT want to overcook flank steak.

Double-Chile Queso

Medium Saucepan
Cutting Board
Sharp Knife
Liquid Measuring Cup
Measuring Spoons
Measuring Cups
Cheese Grater

1 Shallot, finely diced
2 Small Tomatoes, finely chopped
1/4C Roughly Chopped Cilantro
1T Unsalted Butter
2 Serrano Chiles, thinly sliced into rounds
1 Red Jalapeño, thinly sliced into rounds
1T Flour
1C Milk
1C Pepper jack Cheese, grated
1C American Cheese, grated

Set aside the diced tomato and half of the cilantro.

Melt the butter over medium heat, add the shallot and peppers and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until the shallots are tender, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the flour into the pan, and cooked until the "rawness" is cooked out, roughly 1 minute. Whisk in the milk, bring the milk to a simmer stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened. Stir in the cheese, then remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro. Transfer to a bowl and top with the remaining cilantro and tomatoes.
Serve warm with chips.


Saturday, April 26, 2014


Southwest Chicken Salad

This salad is incredibly easy, so there's no excuses. Salad doesn't have to be the boring plate of limp iceberg lettuce, with ends all brown and soggy. Salad is just the vehicle for anything your mind can create.

Cutting Board
Sharp Knife
Small Bowl

Lettuce (I used red leaf)
Handful of Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1/2C (roughly) Chopped, seasoned chicken thighs (cooked of coarse)
1/4C Black Beans
4Tbl Corn Salsa
4T Chopped Scallions
Avocado-Jalpeno Dressing

1 Avocado, pitted and scooped out
Jalapeño Ranch Dressing
Juice of half a lime

Squeeze the lime juice over the avocado and mash, add in dressing to get a nice creamy consistency.

It really is that easy. Enjoy.


Monday, April 14, 2014


I just returned from beautiful Troncones Mexico. It was the most relaxing vacation I have ever taken. Having that week off makes it easier to dive headlong into the insanity of work and catering, that is about to begin for me starting next week. I admit to not taking a lot of food photos, but here are some from my trip.

Fresh coconut ice cream

Just relaxing in the evening


Tacos de Pescado

This salsa tasted like my Abuelits recipe...delicious.

Warm water lobster dinner.

Fried Plantains

Pelican hangout

These are just a few of my pictures.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Adventures in Sushi

Spring Chinook Salmon Sushi Roll

This beautiful Salmon was caught and cleaned on Friday morning! A buddy and I went halvesies on a Seafood CSA in our local area, and we get a fresh fish cooler every Friday afternoon. This week's haul was Spring Chinook Salmon and Fresh Smelt. We did not use the Smelt in our sushi (we fried it up and it was delicious!) we did however have the good fortune to cut into a couple of the Smelt and find some beautiful roe! After some online research, we decided to use the roe in our sushi roll. Turns out that a large amount of people prefer Smelt Roe to Salmon Roe, after tasting it I can see why. It is EXTREMELY mild in flavor but VERY creamy in it's texture. It really wasn't as difficult to make a simple sushi roll as I thought it would be. Granted this roll is not perfect, and I'm sure sushi chefs would be somewhat appalled by it. However, it tasted delicious and it was REALLY fun to make. I tried to take pictures as we went along, so it was easier to understand then just giving the recipe this time. I'm trying to get better about that, it's just so difficult to stop and take pictures when you are cooking by yourself and in the groove!

This will make two rolls.

Cutting Board
Sharp Knife
Medium Saucepan
Large Bowl
Wooden Spoon
Bamboo Sushi Mat
Plastic Wrap

1C Sushi or Short Grain Rice
1C Water, more for rinsing
1T Rice Vinegar
1T Sugar
2t Kosher Salt

Place rice in a mixing bowl and cover with cool water, swirl around, drain and repeat 2-3 times or until water is clear.
Put the water and rice in a pan over high heat and bring to a boil. Once it has come to a boil reduce heat to the lowest setting possible, cover and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit covered for 10 minutes.

Combine the vinegar, sugar and salt together in in a small bowl. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds or so. Transfer rice to a bowl and fold in vinegar mixture with a wooden spoon until combined. Let rest at room temperature before using for sushi.

2 Nori Wrappers
6-7 Slices Fresh Salmon
1 Cucumber- Peeled, seeded and sliced into matchsticks
2 Carrots - Peeled, trimmed and sliced into matchsticks
1 Avocado - Pitted, peeled and Sliced into strips

Place bamboo mat on a flat surface, cover with plastic wrap then lay down your nori sheet.

Spread your sushi rice over the nori, leaving about an 1" of nori exposed on the side furthest away from you. Lay salmon down in the middle of your rice.

Now lay down your carrot matchsticks on one side of the salmon, and the cucumbers on the other.

Next, place your avocado slices on top of the salmon. This is also the step where we added the Smelt roe.

You are now ready for the rolling. Place your hands on either side of the bamboo mat, thumbs under the mat and index finger on the top for guidance. Use your remaining finger to hold everything in as you begin to roll.

Once you have rolled it all the way up, remove the mat and give it an extra squeeze in the plastic wrap. Roll it all the way up in the plastic wrap...this will hold it together while you cut it.

Now slice your roll to desired thickness.

Last step! Remove the plastic wrap from each piece, place it and enjoy with a little soy sauce and wasabi.


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Chinese New Year

Chicken Lettuce Cups

I know this is a little late, but I unfortunately couldn't find what I had done with my recipe until now. Until very recently I NEVER wrote down my recipes (or measured anything for that matter) so it was damn near impossible to replicate anything I ever made. So now, the biggest problem is that I have recipes floating around my house on little scraps of paper and on the backs of old bills. Luckily I did find these recipes last night, so this is why I am just now posting my Chinese New Year menu. That's my "my dog ate my homework" story and I'm sticking to it.


Small Glass Mixing Bowl
Measuring Spoons
Liquid Measuring Cup
Sharp Knife
Cutting Board

2T Low-sodium Soy Sauce
1T Hoisin Sauce
2T Rice Wine Vinegar
1/2t Salt
1/2t Sugar
3T Vegetable Oil
2 Cloves garlic, minced
2t Fresh Ginger, Minced
1/3C Red Onion, Minced
1C Button Mushrooms, Minced
1/2C Water Chestnuts, Minced
1Lb Boneless, Skinless chicken breasts, Minces (ground chicken can be used in a pinch)
8 Iceberg Lettuce Leaves (they provide the best crunch and balance for this dish)
Fresh Cilantro Leaves, Coarsely Chopped (to taste)
1/4C Unsalted Roasted Cashews, Coarsely Chopped (this is completely optional, but it does give a nice texture contrast)

In a small bowl whisk together the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, vinegar, salt and sugar. Mix until the the sugar is dissolved.

Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in the wok over high heat. Stir-fry the garlic and ginger together for a quick 10 seconds. Add the onion, mushrooms and water chestnuts and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Remove from the wok and set aside.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the wok. Swirl the wok so the oil swishes around the entire wok. Add the chicken, and brown for 1 minute,or until it's no longer pink. Add back the cooked vegetables, turn down the heat and stir in your sauce mixture. Stir for 1 minute, or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is warm.

Now you're ready to serve. Scoop the mixture into the lettuce cups and top with chopped cashew and cilantro.

On to Dessert!

Banana Spring Rolls with Chocolate-Coconut Ganache

Medium Saucepan
Baking Sheet
Parchment Paper
Cast Iron Skillet with high sides
Slotted Spoon or Spider

14-ounce Can of Unsweetened Coconut Milk
1/3C Light Brown Sugar (packed)
1 1/2t Ground ginger
8oz Semisweet Chocolate, chopped
8 Spring Roll Wrappers
2 Ripe Bananas, peeled, halved, cut lengthwise then crosswise.
1 Egg, beaten
Vegetable or Grapeseed Oil (for frying)
Fresh Mint (optional)

In a medium heavy saucepan, combine the coconut milk, sugar and ginger. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Add the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. *This portion of the dish can be made a day ahead. Cover and refrigerate, then reheat over low heat just until pourable consistency.

Put parchment paper down on your baking sheet. Place a spring roll wrapper down in a diamond shape. Put banana piece across center of the wrapper, fold the bottom pointed corner of wrapper up over the fruit, then fold in the sides. Brush the unfolded top section with the egg, then fold over sealing the fruit in. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining bananas and wrappers. *Spring rolls up to this point can be made 4 hours a head, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated.

Pour enough oil into skillet to reach a depth of 1.5inches. Heat the oil between 360 and 375F. In two batches (don't crowd the rolls) add spring rolls to the hot oil and cook until they are golden and crisp, turning them often for even cooking. Roughly 3 minutes per batch. Using your spoon (or spider) transfer the rolls to a surface with paper towels so the excess oil can drain off.

Arrange your spring rolls on individual plates, drizzle with the coconut-chocolate ganache and top with fresh mint sprigs.

Congratulations, you have just created a simple yet wildly tasty (and impressive looking) Chinese New Year meal. Invite some friends over and share the good fortune.


Friday, March 7, 2014

Mustard Whiskey Meatballs

Recipe testing was a success....these are delicious! Thank you Pioneer Woman.
I must reiterate that this is not my recipe, but I have used it several times and it is always a HUGE hit. I have copied the recipe exactly as it is written in the book, with one exception. I stuck with my layout for the equipment and Ingredients. This recipe is from "The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier" by Ree Drummond

Large Glass Bowl
Rubber Spatula
Cookie Scoop
Large Plate
Large Cast Iron Skillet

1Lb. Ground Beef
1Lb. Ground Pork
1 1/2C Panko Bread Crumbs
1 Egg
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2C Spicy Mustard
2T Canola Oil
1C Whiskey
3C Beef Broth
3T Worcestershire Sauce
1C Heavy Cream

1. In a bowl, combine the beef, pork, bread crumbs, egg, salt and pepper, and 1/4 cup of the spicy mustard.

2. With your hands (or a large spoon), mix the ingredients until they're well combined.

3. Use a cookie scoop or teaspoon to form balls, using your hands to shape if necessary. Place the meatballs on a cookie sheet and freezer for 10 to 15 minutes, just to firm them up.

4. Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the meatballs in 3 batches, turning them to cook all over, 5 to 7 minutes to a batch. Remove the meatballs to a plate as they're done.

5. When all the meatballs are on the plate, pour the whiskey and beef broth into the skillet. Allow the mixture to bubble up and reduce for 3 to 5 minutes, or until slightly thicker.

6. Then stir in the remaining 1/4 cup spicy mustard.

7. And the worcestershire sauce. Stir and cook for another couple of minutes.

8. Finally, pour in the heavy cream and stir it to combine.

9. Add the browned meatballs back into the sauce.

10. Simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.

11. Turn the skillet into a makeshift sharing dish and stick toothpicks into each meatball. Serve immediately.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Scintillating Sunday

Cinnamon French Toast with Ginger Banana Sauce

I do apologize for the "brownness" of this dish, but bananas just aren't that attractive when mashed up. They do however taste divine when you add just a couple more things to them. With the exception of today, Sunday's are usually my one day off and I try to take full advantage of them by starting with a special breakfast that I don't eat the rest of the week. Even though I worked today, I still made sure to make myself a special breakfast.

Baking Dish or Wide Bowl
Large Saute Pan
Sm Saucepan
Wooden Spoon

Two Eggs
2T Milk (more if needed)
3t Ground Cinnamon
Good Sourdough

1 Over Ripe Banana
1/4t Fresh Ginger, zested
2t Honey
1/4C Whole Milk


Whisk eggs together with cinnamon and milk. Heat large saute pan to medium heat and melt butter in the pan. Dredge your bread (on both sides) in the egg wash, allowing excess egg to drip off before adding to pan. If there is too much eggs on the bread it will just end up tasting like overcooked eggs and bread. Place bread in pan and cook about 2 minutes on each side, or until there is a nice "crust" on the bread. If you are making this fora large crowd, the french toast can be kept warm in a 200 degree oven until you are ready to serve.

This should be served warm as soon as it is finished cooking, so prepare this last.
If you want a little chunkier sauce go ahead and use a fork to mash the bananas, if you are going for a smoother consistency add all of the ingredients to a blender and pulse until all is combined and smooth. Pour mixture into a small saucepan over medium-low heat and allow to cook for about 5 minutes, until flavors are all incorporated. Do not allow to boil, and you will need to stir this occasionally. Feel free to tweek measurements if you would like a different flavor. Make it your own.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Peoples Pig

My roommate and I were in Portland yesterday, and decided to lunch at the Food Carts since she had never experienced them. I of coarse took her to the Dump Truck, but forgot to take pictures of the delicious dumplings before devouring them all on the spot. I'm pretty sure we both would have been just fine had the lady running the truck just tossed them to us like hungry seals catching fish. Being that we were no longer ravenously hungry after the dumplings I was able to enjoy the next stop a little more. I decided on a sandwich from the Peoples Pig truck. It was a delicious sandwich...however it tasted NOTHING like what the name of it promised. This suppose to be a Pork Mole Sandwich...there was not a trace of Mole flavor as far am I was concerned. It tasted like a delicious short rib sandwich with a little bit of vinegary spice, and some zesty arugula to top it all off. I would eat it again in a heart beat, but if Mole is what you are craving I do not suggest you order this sandwich.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Sunday Mornings

I absolutely love going out for breakfast, but there's also something so nice about enjoying a leisurely breakfast with a nice hot cup of coffee in your pajamas. I'm not a big "sweet things for breakfast" kind of person, but every once in a while a really good waffle or piece of French Toast sounds so delicious. And this past Sunday Belgian Waffles with Orange Vanilla Butter and fresh Strawberries was just what I needed.

Large Mixing Bowl
Medium Mixing Bowl
Glass Measuring Cup
Measuring Spoons
Measuring Cups
Waffle Iron
Small Cookie Sheet (to keep the waffles warm in the oven)


Small Bowl with Lid
Sharp Knife
Zester or Vegetable Peeler

1 3/4 C Flour
2 T Sugar
2 t Baking Powder
1 t Baking Soda
1 t Salt
1 t Cinnamon
1 3/4 C Buttermilk* (well shaken)
1 Stick Unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
2 Eggs
2 t Vanilla

Heat waffle iron, and preheat oven to 200 degrees.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Making sure there are no lumps of baking soda or powder.

In your medium bowl whisk together the buttermilk, butter, eggs and vanilla until well combined. Whisk wet mix into dry ingredients until combined.

Add your batter according to the waffle iron instructions, cook for 2-3 minutes. If need by spray a little oil on your iron to avoid sticking. Once waffles are cooked stack in the oven to keep them warm until they are all ready to eat.

*If you don't keep buttermilk around (and really don't want to go out and buy some) you can make a buttermilk substitute that will work just as well.

Just under a cup of Milk
1T Lemon Juice or White Vinegar
Put the lemon juice (or vinegar) in a glass measuring cup, and pour milk over top until it reaches the one cup line. Let stand for 1 minute, then use as much as you need. This may of coarse be made in a larger batch, just keep the same ratio.


1 Stick Unsalted Butter, Softened
1 Vanilla Been, split
Orange Zest (desired amount)

Mash up the butter with a fork until nice and soft. Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise with a sharp knife and scrap out all the seeds. Add the seeds to your butter mixture. Zest as much orange as you would like (depending on how strong of an orange flavor your want) into your butter. I couldn't find my small zester, so I just used a vegetable peeler to cut off 3 strips of peel (careful not to cut too deep and get the pith) and then minced it with my knife and added it to the butter. Mash everything together until it is all well incorporated and use as desired.

Enjoy this delicious waffle with fresh fruit on top, syrup, whip cream or yogurt...really however you like it. Pour yourself a nice cup of hot coffee or tea and sit down for this delicious breakfast with your someone special, a really good friend, or just enjoy a nice quiet morning by yourself.


Thursday, February 20, 2014


It is important to treat yourself like you are the most important thing in your life. What better way to do it then with a box of salted caramels.

I realize I don't normally post things that aren't MY food, or that I pretty much only post my recipes that are new. However, through the course of my day to day life I have come to realize how much it revolves around all kinds of food. So, once again I am changing up my blog a little bit. It will now be everything that surrounds cooking, my eating, the friends that it brings together and every little thing in between. Sometimes that just means a box a chocolates from me to me, saying "hey, you deserve a treat today"

So treat yourself, you're worth it and you deserve it.