November 2, 2011

San Diego Style Mexican Hot Carrots

I love San Francisco, and I have succumbed to the idea of sf style burritos in tin foil and the weird flat taco thing that you need to eat with chips, however I have a big problem with their idea of hot carrots (or shall I say lack there of). When a taqueria does have them they are most likely from a can with a ratio of 20 jalapeños to 1 carrot- super going over a few recipes and using my San Diego taste buds, I have concocted what I think are the most buenas zanahorias picantes out there!

What you need:
white onion 
white vinegar
mexican dried oregano
red pepper flakes
Black peppercorns
a lot of crushed raw garlic
bay leafs
dash honey or agave
dash evoo

*all of the measurements are based on my desire for garlic, spicy goodness, so please adjust accordingly. 

Step 1: Slice the carrot at a slant about 1/4" thick, cut onion into 1/4" slices, and slice jalapeños length wise leaving in seeds.

Step 2: The ratio I use for vinegar to water is 2:1, boil just the water and add your sliced carrots for about 1.5 min. remove from water and put in a container, arrange with onions. Leave carrot water in pot and add your vinegar.

Step 3: To the water/vinegar mixture add the remaining ingredients and allow to simmer for about 10min.

Step 4: Pour the hot mixture over the carrots and you are done! 

November 1, 2011

Scallops over Brussels Sprout and Oyster Mushroom Salad

The last time I bought yellow oyster mushrooms I put them in a stir fry and pretty much killed them, they are so delicate that any bit of movement snaps them in half and hides any flavor that they may be coveting...when I was at the farmers market I asked the fungi guy the best way to prepare these and he said that they are great raw (I frowned because I hate raw mushrooms) but also that he liked to prepare them like ceviche...I thought I would give that idea a try, and I am glad I did!

Raw Brussels Sprout Mushroom Salad

what you need:
brussels sprouts
oyster mushrooms (i used yellow)
sweet pepper 

1T Olive oil
1tsp Honey
1T Lemon juice

Step 1: Slice the brussels sprouts with a mandolin or with a sharp knife.

Step 2: chop the sweet pepper and simply cut mushrooms off of their base.

Step 3: Mix dressing ingredients and toss with salad, put aside for it to marinate.


Step 0: Prep Scallops by rinsing and patting completely dry, dust with S&P on both sides.

Step 1: Heat butter in a saute pan, once the butter is light brown in color add scallops on med. to high heat for about 1-2 min. (or until brown and not sticking too much) flip and cook for about 30 sec. remove from direct heat and allow to cook another 30 sec. remove and place on a paper towel. 


Add marinated salad, and place seared scallops on top, dress with a mixture of the same dressing mixture as above with some added herbs.

May 9, 2011

Cauliflower, Broccoli, leek and Fava bean Salad

Luke, I am your Fava, where have you bean?!

Fava beans....always scared the hell out of me. Not that their disgusting or hard to cook, it's just that I didn't really grow up on them and to be honest (whats the point in lying about a damn pea looking bean thing) have only had them a few times in my life.

so this is a fly by the seat of my pants, quick salad that I think ruled!

what you need:
fava beans
lemon juice
red pepper flakes

Step 1: blanch un-peeled fava beans till outer layer startes to turn a light color, pull out of water and put in a ice bath. Repeat with the broccoli and cauliflower (blanch till they are tender). 

Step 2: add a bit of EVOO into a pan and saute chopped leeks till they are soft.

Step 3: de-shell fava beans and add to the saute pan with the leeks, cooking for only a few moments.

Step 4: in a bowl add leeks and fava, then add broccoli and cauliflower (make sure to cut into bit sized pieces if you haven't already done so, otherwise it could be awkward).

Step 5: make the vinaigrette by adding 1:1 ratio of EVOO and lemon into the same pan you used to saute the leeks in- to that add the seasoning and whisk together, the residual heat from the pan is all you need, no need to return it to heat. Once vinaigrette is emulsified add to salad and give a toss! 

sorry for lack of photos, I have some how misplaced my memory card in the heat of the moment......iphone will have to suffice fava the time bean.....

May 7, 2011

Fried Chicken with the fixings!

When having a hankering for fried chicken I always wish I could just click my heels 3 times and be blasted back to my Mom's house, but since she lives too far, and eating fried chicken in San Francisco has become luxury dining I decided to take matters into my own hands. 
I have been going nuts for some full fat fried chicken, I need my fix!...normally I make most fatty dishes kinda healthy, I didn't want to sully this dish with making it get on your sweats and lets get fatty! 
(that being said, I can't help myself for at least being somewhat health conscious, didn't affect the crunch factor one bit)...

The Chicken

what you need:
Chicken (bone in, skin on very important)
3/4 C. Milk
2 T. non fat plain yogurt
pinch cayenne 
few drops tabasco
fresh torn sage leaves
dash cumin

Whisk all ingredients together, add clean chicken to mix- put a lid on it, and pop into the fridge for at least 30min.

The Dredge

What you need: 
1:1 unbleached AP flour and fine ground whole wheat flour
pinch cayenne
Canola Oil
3 T. Butter

Step 0: In a cast iron skillet heat oil and butter till it foams when you drop a piece of flour in it

Step 1: whisk dry ingredients in a large container that has a lid.

Step 2: remove a soaked piece of chicken, lightly shaking excess and add to flour mixture, cover with lid and give it a good shake. gently tap to remove the over abundant amount of flour and drop in fat bath.

Step 3: cook evenly on each side, usually 7min. depending on size of piece- remember the bone in takes longer than bone out- adjust oil temp, if you notice burning.

(the best part, almost)

what you need:
chicken bits/fat
2 T. Butter
2 T. Flour
1 C. Milk

Step 1: Once the chicken is done, remove most the excess oil from the pan, leaving about 1 T. of pan crunchies and grease.

Step 2: Heat pan crunchies with butter and add in flour, whisk till becomes a nice brown shade.

Step 3: Stir in milk and allow to boil, stirring constantly. Once thick remove from heat and sprinkle with paprika.

Serve with mashed potatoes and something green and seasonal....

Mashed Potato 
::cut into small even pieces, for even cooking.::

::once drained return to pot and heat gently, removing any excess water that maybe left, at this point your potatoes will start to break apart and become somewhat mashed.::

::heat butter and milk before adding to potatoes, otherwise you will be making glue.::

::don't be lazy, use a hand masher, less dishes and the less over worked your potatoes are the less dense and gluey they will be.::

anyone can make mashed potatoes, but few make good ones...just sayin'

Damn good Easter Ham w/ blood orange honey glaze

During my formative years of cooking I was making tofu, a lot...and one particular Easter I made a vegan casserole, that unfortunately didn't over shadow anyones meat/cheese dishes....anyways now that I have my grown up pants on, my own kitchen, and I eat meat, I want to make Easter Dinner- and well what is Easter without a Ham and Potatoes Gratin??! 

I am good at cooking vegetables and I really enjoy it, however I am still trying to learn about meats, cuts ect. for some reason in my head I though a ham is a ham? It didn't occur to me that most hams that people eat are pretty much pre-cooked, cured or smoked and practically ready to go. I wanted to make my ham from scratch and scoffed at the idea of paying $50 for a ham..screw that! So I got some local 'fresh ham' from the butcher for $3.50 lb and couldn't figure out the cost difference....well the joy of cooking educated me on that particular reason....unbeknownst to me I was going to be dealing with this ham for many more hours than planned...and well to some this may be a bummer, but for me one of the reasons I enjoy cooking is the challenge with this ham was insert flavor so it doesn't just taste like a pork tenderloin.

so first we must brine!!!!!!!

The Ham!
5-7 lb'er

Brine Time:
A vessel large enough to add your ham and brine with a lid.
Water, enough that you can completely cover the ham with the brine.
a generous scoop of sugar 
a generous scoop of salt (think the salton sea)
pepper corns
red pepper flakes
cracked garlic
bay leaves

Step 1: Put vessel with all ingredients minus Ham on the stove. Bring to boil, stir till sugar and salt are dissolved.

Step 2: Remove from heat and allow for a cool down.

Step 3: Put Ham in large vessel and cover with cooled brine, put in fridge for up to 3 days, rotating every time you decide to peak on it.

Now to cook the piggy!

you need:
3 cloves garlic
fresh herbs

Step 1: Make a slurry of all of these ingredients.

Step 2:  remove pork from brine and pat dry, make a hatched pattern in the fat of the pork.

Step 3: Lather slurry all over porky, making sure to get both front and back, season with pepper as well.

Step 3: Pop into a 450˚ oven for 30min, flip and cook for another 30min, re-baste with remaining mixture.

Step 4: Reduce heat to 350˚ and cook for another hour  

post brine, after the rub down

after an hour in the oven
Lets get Glazed!
you need:
2 large blood oranges (sliced)
1/2 honey
1/4 blood orange juice
1/4 good mustard
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp orange zest
1 clove garlic grated

Step 1: in a sauce pan add all ingredients except sliced oranges and bring to a boil, allow to simmer and slightly reduce.

Step 2: remove ham from oven and place orange slices underneath ham. 

Step 3: Glaze ham completely and pop back in oven, cook till ham reaches an internal temp of 150˚, take it out and allow it to rest for 30min. before carving!

it's that easy, and way cooler than pre-made! this was served with an amazing potato celery root gratin, recipe will be posted!

my apologies for lack of photos in this write up, hanging out, drinking and pre-blogging don't always the moment....

April 6, 2011

Finger Foods!

My fantastic Sister in law and I were in charge of my Sister's baby shower a bit ago, of course I jumped at the opportunity to 'quasi' cater it while Julia the decorating queen took care of everything else...We wanted it to be charming and clean, finger foods and lemonade...Everyone had a great time and it was soooo worth  it seeing the smile on my very pregnant little sisters face...

the spread...note the beautiful flower arrangements 

cucumber sandwiches with cream cheese and watercress, Ladies don't eat crust!
cheese plate w/ baked brie, goat cheese w/ marinated and grilled asparagus and blueberry goat cheese log

meat plate w/ salami, ham and bread sticks wrapped in prosciutto (total hit, and stolen from my friend Dino)   
Crostini toasted with a drizzle of olive oil and garlic, smeared with goat cheese and covered with arugula and roasted asparagus
Meat and trees! Sirloin Steak pounded thin, smeared with blue cheese and wrapped around Asparagus, then popped in the broiler to a beautiful med rare.
Gift pops! At the end of the party everyone got to walk away with one of the homemade whales: made by adding melting chocolate into whale molds...

A few of the things that I learned while doing this, is that staying organized is key and knowing what and how people eat. We were left with some leftovers and fed 30+ hungry women to the brim. Also by elemenating the crock pot element from most showers we cut out the utensil and dishwashing aftermath. That being said, doing most the big stuff yourself cuts the cost, yes save some time by buying  dips and small things, but skip the party trays and make your own; it's surprising the quality and savings you will get this way. Also cut your own veggies up, the savings isn't huge but you do have the piece of mind of knowing how long your produce has been around...never trust carrots in water. 

Visit my wonderful sister in laws blog San Diego Songbird for more decorating tips!

....oh and yes, my sister gave birth to her very happy and healthy baby girl Ashlynn last month....

April 5, 2011

Vegan Roasted Potato Salad

When it comes to potato salad everyone has their own variation and favorite, usually stemming from whatever their mom or nana would make...for me I always pretty much had a strong dislike for that mayo, celery, (and I want to punch the Einstein who thought egg would be a great addition), grocery store stuck in the 1950's slop that most of us have become accustomed to. This is my version of what I think potato salad should be: crunchy, good warm, and you don't need to worry about bringing a cooler with you when you go out on a picnic.

depending on season I will use blanched green beans or asparagus, but for this version I used peppers and green onions.

What you need 
(2-3 servings)

1lb Potatoes (fingerling potatoes or red)
1/4 C. Green Bell Pepper chopped 
Green Onion chopped
3 cloves garlic (skin on)
3 T. EVOO as well as some for roasting
1/2 Lemon juiced
1 T. stoneground mustard

Step 0: Turn oven to 350˚

Step 1: Scrub the Spuds, cut into bite sized chunks and put in a bowl of cold water...allow to soak.


Step 2: Dry Potatoes and put on baking sheet with garlic, drizzle with EVOO and massage the bunch together. Pop into oven and cook till golden brown.

Step 3: Make vinaigrette by adding lemon juice, mustard, and the roasted garlic (please remove the skin at this point), S&P- whisk in EVOO till it emulsifies.

Step 4: Pour over Potatoes and lightly mix.

Step 5: Impress your mayo hating friends!