December 16, 2012 § Leave a Comment
As Christmas approaches, I’m missing California more and more. I love my home here, though … but it’s ok to be a little homesick.
One thing I am quite homesick for are my momma’s tacos.
She always makes them when we’re at home. And of course, we pull out our little collection of La Victorias from the fridge. My personal favorite is Salsa Brava, which I’ve found is much spicier when purchased in California.
Last Christmas was no different from any other time periods spent at home, and we set the table with boxwood and red-ribbon accents. Brikki had a friend over, and it was wonderful.
I will miss those tacos this year. I will miss my mom, dad, and sisters this Christmas. But I am grateful for what I do have: my husband! My husband’s family! My pup! And, of course, I’m grateful for having two of my sisters so close by. Though they will spend Christmas in California, knowing I get to see them year round makes the distance not sting so badly. I am truly blessed.
September 18, 2012 § Leave a Comment
August 8, 2012 § Leave a Comment
But really, this is so easy—so worth the minimal effort to add an extra layer of flavor that will go well with any sandwich. Do you want to know another way Molly at Orangette uses it? She adds it to deviled eggs. Ah! Imagine crostini with a layer of this topped with egg salad. Yes, I do believe I shall.
We followed suit with The Kitchn and added this to a BALT. Or a BLAT. Or a BLT with Avocado.
There aren’t many finer things in this life than the simplicity of a BLT + A. And then add this mayo? Really, over the top.
Go forth and make this tonight. Here’s the recipe one more time: California BLT with Avocado and Basil Mayonnaise.
July 25, 2012 § Leave a Comment
February 7, 2012 § 3 Comments
What are you doing with your sweetie?
This Valentine’s Day, James and I are heading to Nicks in the Sticks. We’ve talked about going far too many times, so I told him all I want for Valentine’s Day is to enjoy a beautiful steak in this off-the-beaten-path locale.
But, perhaps after our dinner, I might take a cue from Victoria from A Subtle Revelry, and snuggle up with a sweet and nostalgic dessert with just a twist of creativity. Maybe we’ll toast marshmallows in our fireplace, and melt our s’mores with peanut butter cups and berries. Oh how romantic!
Combine this with blankets, pillows, and love, and what a great Valentine’s Day to celebrate with my betrothed.
What are you planning for this Valentine’s Day? A romantic night out with your sweetheart? Or will you be cozying it up indoors?
November 10, 2011 § 7 Comments
It was sad, but I can’t help sharing this recipe nonetheless. What I love about smashed potatoes is that they are easy-peasy to prepare and oh so satisfying. You could roast them for better texture, or you could simply pop them into the microwave for 5 minutes.
Then add some cheese, cream, butter, salt and pepper, and use a potato masher to combine.
Then enjoy. This dish is easy to make and quite decadent.
Goat Cheese and Cheddar Smashed Potatoes
Makes 4 to 6 servings
8 to 10 red potatoes
4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup goat cheese (I used Stone Hollow Creamery)
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil; set aside.
Wash and dry potatoes, and place in a large bowl. Add oil and toss to combine until potatoes are evenly coated. Place potatoes on prepared baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until fork tender.*
When potatoes are roasted, remove from oven and place in a medium sauce pan. Break potatoes open with a fork. Add cheeses, half-and-half, butter, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat and use a potato masher to combine ingredients. Cook until cheese is melted through, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add half-and-half, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed, until desired consistency is reached.
October 24, 2011 § 2 Comments
A fall chill set in late last week. It feels wonderful to bundle up in a sweater, scarf, and boots. And now I’m truly ready to indulge in all things autumn. This morning I’m craving anything pumpkin. But no pumpkin pie for me right now, thank you. Right now I’m all about using that sweet fall squash in a savory dish. So here’s some inspiration:
Pumpkin Ravioli — The Way the Cookie Crumbles
(Here’s a tip: Don’t have the energy for homemade pasta? Try using wonton wrappers!)
Pumpkin Potato Taquitos — Just the Food (Seriously?! This sounds amazing.)
Thai-Spiced Pumpkin Soup — 101 Cookbooks
Chicken and Pumpkin Stir-Fry — Donna Hay
And to wrap it up…
Pumpkin Pie Martini — Daydreamer Desserts
So go have fun with some pumpkin!
September 13, 2011 § Leave a Comment
This was an I-didn’t-bring-a-lunch-to-work-and-I-don’t-want-to-go-out-to-eat kind of lunch. This was also a there’s-no-food-in-my-cupboard-and-all-I-have-is-a-bunch-of-cheese kind of lunch.
This is a grilled cheese gone a bit fancy. Or crazy—whichever way you look at it. I went home for lunch, as I didn’t have the foresight to pack food for the office, and I was anticipating spending money to eat out a few more days that week, so I didn’t want to pay to go out.
I came home, sliced up a peach, and contemplated my main dish. Of course—bread and cheese! But this isn’t just any old bread-and-cheese combination. This grilled cheese contains extra-sharp Cheddar (mmm), goat cheese (always), and a delightful surprise: mustard ale cheese. Ahh, it was very good. The flavors were a bit of a risky combo, I’d say, but they all blended together in a very fun way.
Three-Cheese Grilled Sandwich
Makes 1 sandwich
2 slices sourdough bread
Butter for bread (to grill)
Extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
Mustard ale cheese (I found mine at Whole Foods)
Goat cheese crumbles
Heat a panini press or George Foreman grill. While grill is heating, spread butter on outsides of bread. Layer cheeses on one of the bread slices (side that isn’t buttered). Top with other bread slice (buttered side should be on outside). When grill is ready, place sandwich on grill. Heat until bread is crisp and golden brown, and cheese is melted.
I feel the need to dip any grilled sandwich into something. So who knows what’s my favorite thing to dip a sandwich in?
Oh … yes that would be mustard. Well, not this time.
September 7, 2011 § 1 Comment
Wouldn’t you like to know the secret ingredient to this ooey gooey mac? Well, unfortunately I cannot share that with you. And if you are fortunate enough to be in the know—keep it a secret!
I never saw my Grandma Gibbs make this. In fact, when I spent time with her (she passed away about four-and-a-half years ago), she was usually relaxing in her easy chair in her TV room, surrounded by sisters, daughters, grandchildren, and great grandchildren who loved her. To be honest, it’s hard to picture her out of that chair, let alone standing at a hot stove making this warm, comforting goodness. But every time my mother prepared macaroni and cheese for us as we grew up, this is how she made it. And this is always what she called it. When I’ve made this for friends, some act a bit hesitant to try it when they hear that I’ve added a (ssh!) of (it’s a secret!). But no one I’ve given it to has ever been disappointed. (Oh, a secret I learned from my cousin Emily — drizzle some balsamic vinegar over it.)
Contemplate this deliciousness in loving memory of my Great Grandma Gibbs.
Do you have a family recipe that involves a secret ingredient? If you do, tell me about it. Of course you don’t have to share a secret ingredient. That is, of course, unless you want to.
August 31, 2011 § 2 Comments
So here’s a little something you might not know about me: I may or may not have been addicted to Food Network Star this summer. Ok, obviously if you even talked to me at all this summer, you know that I was quite addicted. I actually sort of knew someone on the show. A long, long time ago, I worked at the Parkway Grill in Pasadena with Jyll Everman. I was a hostess; she was a server. The End.
Anyways, I was rooting for her, of course, through the whole season, and I was very sad when she got eliminated towards the end. Now, I’ll tell you why I’ve brought up my not-so-secret obsession over this reality food show. Susie Jimenez was one of the final two this season, and while she did not win, she introduced an amazing recipe into my life: frijoles con chorizo!
Susie’s concept was ‘Spice it Up,’ and she offered her take on Mexican food. Everything she created on the show had a beautiful story behind it—something I really appreciated.
These beans were part of her sope recipe. But I’m not adventurous enough to make a sope. Actually, I can’t recall a time in my life where I’ve had a sope. However, I noticed they’ve got some at Pinches Tacos, so maybe I’ll have to try one sometime soon. This is my version of the beans—served in an easy, soft taco manner! I love these beans. The chorizo adds just a fabulous spice without it being too overpowering or too… chorizo-y. I think I’ve often stayed away from it just because it tends too add almost too much of that smokey flavor. But the ratio of chorizo to frijoles to queso here is just delightful.
Chorizo, Bean, and Cheese Soft Tacos (Adapted from Susie Jimenez’s Chorizo Refried Beans recipe)
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1 (4-ounce) casing chorizo
¼ cup diced yellow onion, plus more for garnish
1 (15.5-ounce) can pinto beans, drained
1 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ cup sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded, plus more for garnish
½ teaspoon vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray
Soft taco-size flour tortillas
Garnish: onion, cheese, taco sauce, sour cream
Remove chorizo from casing. In a medium-sized saucepan, crumble and cook chorizo over medium-high heat until completely cooked and fat starts to render. Add onion and garlic powder, stirring frequently for 2 minutes. Add pinto beans, stirring to combine. With a potato masher, mash beans into chorizo, and add cheese, stirring to combine. Let simmer about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While beans are simmering, in a separate frying pan, heat oil over medium high-heat, tilting pan to distribute evenly in pan (or spray pan with nonstick cooking spray, which I realized makes life a lot easier). Place tortilla flat in pan. Once air bubbles start to form and tortilla has started to brown on bottom, flip tortilla. Cook on other side. Continue flipping until desired degree of doneness is reached. Place on paper towel to drain any excess oil. Repeat with desired amount of tortillas, adding more oil to pan if needed.
To serve, place about 1/2 cup beans into a tortilla. Top with cheese, onion, taco sauce (if you can take the heat — that chorizo is already pretty spicy), and sour cream, if desired. Roll tortilla into a mini burrito, or fold in half to enjoy as a taco.