Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Fresh and Easy Salsa

It's Tuesday, yo! I don't know about you, but here in San Diego, that can only mean one thing... Tacos! Taco Tuesday is a legitimate event. A reason to eat, create, and cook delicious tacos. Traditional tacos, crispy tacos, corn tortilla tacos, lettuce wrap tacos.... Ground beef, chicken, pork, lobster... You name it, and San Diego puts it in a taco. There's no stopping the creativity, taste, or options, and for this reason, it's incredibly easy to celebrate taco Tuesday each and every Tuesday without ever getting bored. 
Tonight's menu includes a self-serve topping bar, flour tortillas, and traditional ground beef. It's an incredibly easy to prepare meal, that is high in flavor. And at the epicenter of all that flavor? Homemade salsa.
There are so many different iterations of salsa. I make several different ones, depending on my mood, and what's on that day's menu. This is by far, not only one of my favorites, but also the most versatile. It's even a great base, from which to build more complex salsa's. And, it pairs perfectly with ground beef.  
3 vine ripened tomatoes, quartered
1/2 of a large jalepeno
1 small red onion
the juice of 1 lime
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
6 hours prior to service (letting your salsa sit for a minimum of 6 hours, intensifies the flavor profiles, and creates an even tastier salsa) grind all above ingredients in a food processor for about 30 seconds. Refrigerate.  
Seriously, that's it. Simple, easy, fresh. There will be no turning back.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Prosciutto, Dill, and Marscapone Egg Puff

This Sunday is Easter and, if your family is anything like mine, you are starting to put together a Brunch menu for post egg-finding nourishment. 

At our house, the Egg hunting is a full out contact sports. We actually have to have two separate hunts, a kids hunt and a grown-up hunt. It's that, or specifically assign each participant their own color, size, and type of egg to find.  It's that competitive. For a family that mostly eschews all sports activities, on Easter, we surprise ourselves.

The morale behind all this, is that by 10:30? We. Are. Starving.

I came up with this take on a dish my aunt makes (stay tuned for my version of that dish) and calls "The Egg Puff." What's an Egg puff you ask? Well, it's sort of a cross between a frittata (although much less fun to say) and a soufflé.  But its much, much easier than either, and twice as versatile. It can be made ahead and served cold, or prepped ahead and popped into the oven right before serving and enjoyed warm. I often make both versions, and serve them simultaneously to make sure both vegetarians and carnivores (who, lets face it, luck out and eat both) have options. It's that easy.


10 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 carton mascarpone (16 oz)
4 cups shredded mozzarella
10 slices of prosciutto, diced
2 TBS fresh dill, minced
1/2 cup melted butter, cooled


Preheat oven to 350.
Beat eggs until light, fluffy, and pale yellow.

Add flour, backing powder, salt, mascarpone, mozzarella, butter, dill, and prosciutto, blend until smooth.

Pour mixture into a well buttered baking pan. I used a 8 1/2 by 12 Le Creuset. 

Bake 40-45 mins; top should start looking like this...

... and the puff should look solid (not watery), although moveable, when jiggled.
And that, is it. Trust me, once you add this to your brunch or breakfast rotation, you won't go back.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Blood Orange Margarita

The citrus around here has been phenomenal lately. Crisp, fresh, sweet... perfection. It's lending itself brilliantly to all different types of recipes...but by far, the best way to enjoy it.. is juiced. And what makes fruit juice even better? Tequila, of course. 

I've wanted to do a sangria style margarita for a while now. And the vanilla blood oranges I had access to a couple of weeks ago, were the perfect vehicle. Trust me.  Once you have had a Margarita this way, there is no going back.


2 cups of Silver Patron Tequila
6 oz Agave
2 oz Grand Marnier
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 1/3 cup freshly squeezed vanilla blood orange juice
2 vanilla blood oranges, sliced
12 cumquats, sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges
Pink Himalayan course salt
Blood Orange Soda (I used the Trader Joes brand)

In a large pitcher combine the agave nectar and Grand Marnier. Stir until combined. Add cumquat and blood orange slices to the pitcher. Add both juices and tequila. Stir. Refrigerate 4-6 hours before serving.

Rub a lime wedge around the edge of each glass, then dip glass in salt to rim. Add 3-5 ice cubes to glass. Fill glass 2/3 full with Margarita mixture. Top with blood orange soda (about 2oz).

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Pumpkin Pancakes

It's Veteran's Day, and with no work to do and no place to be, it's the perfect time to indulge in some breakfast for lunch. (In case you were wondering? We also had breakfast for breakfast too). 

I whipped out my trusty Vanilla Bean Pancake recipe; but low and behold, we had no vanilla. Zip, Zilch, Nada. This, in and of itself, is a heinous pantry crime-- one I fully intend on rectifying as soon as I am done with this post! Luckily for me, I had just purchased canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice, because? 

My kids are pumpkin fiends. Seriously. I currently have 8 boxes of pumpkin bars, three boxes of pumpkin o's, pumpkin bread, pumpkin yogurt, and pumpkin granola. I'll say it again... my kids are pumpkin fiends.i

Which in this case was extremely advantageous; as vanilla bean pancakes quickly became pumpkin pancakes with just a few minor adjustments. Like the original, they are dairy free (I think using rice milk instead of whole milk creates a lighter, fluffier pancake), however for those of you "true" dairy fanatics, regular milk will work just as well.


4 cups and 2 T of flour, 
1/2 cup of sugar
1 t salt
1 t pumpkin pie spice
4 t baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 box of rice milk (plain, unsweetened)
2 T canned pumpkin


Preheat a griddle over medium heat. 

Whisk together the dry ingredients.

Add pumpkin, eggs, oil and rice milk. Whisk until batter is almost smooth. 

Using a cookie batter scoop, ladle out pumpkin batter on griddle, Flip pancakes when bubbles form and start to burst.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tastes of Fall: Apple Cinnamon Sangria

So a couple of years ago, we had the summer of Sangria. And what a summer it was. Multiple recipes tested, tasted, and repeated. Sangria continues to be a staple of summer.

But what about now? Fall has set in, and just like with food, I'm starting to crave something a little less light and crisp, and a little more filling and homey.

Enter the perfect season changer: Apple Cinnamon Sangria.

Made with Hard Cider, instead of wine, and maple syrup instead of honey or sugar, it's a heartier version of the summer favorite. And every bit as drinkable.


6 Fuji apples, core removed and sliced
2 oranges, sliced
1/4 cup real Maple Syrup
1/2 cup Jim Beam Bourbon Whiskey
1 cinnamon stick
33 oz of Hard Apple Cider
Unfiltered apple juice


8 hours before serving combine all ingredients except for apple juice in a large pitcher. Mix to combine. Refrigerate. Couldn't be simpler to enjoy fall in a glass.

When serving, fill glasses 2/3 full with Sangria and top with cold unfiltered apple juice.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Sesame Butter Basted Scallops

So it's no secret that my kids watch (are obsessed with) cooking competitions. They argue it out with Gordon Ramsey and Tom Colicchio, each and every time. They criticize and provide "helpful" hits for my dishes, each and every time. That's the downside. The upside? They are exposed to new foods, and new methods of cooking, and they are constantly asking for me to make things, that they haven't tried. Their most recent request? Scallops.  Now, I LOVE scallops anyway I can get them; raw, seared, wrapped in bacon, baked, etc.... But for the kids first experience, I just wanted to serve them simply, so they could really taste what a scallop is supposed to be. No fuss, no muss, just pure unadulterated scallop.

And, you guys! This scallop dish was just that. Perfect, simple, easy, and all scallop! Not to toot my own horn, but I may or may not have texted Jamie after tasting them, saying they were the best I've ever had. 


18 Large scallops (I plan on 2-4 per person)
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup unsalted butter
Kosher salt


Remove scallops from fridge. Place on paper towel. Salt both sides of the scallop. Let sit while prepping pan.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. When warm add all but 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil. Turn heat to medium high and add half the butter. When butter starts to turn a beautiful golden brown add scallops to the pan. The key to a good sear is high heat, and not over crowding the pan. I did mine in two batches. 

Once scallops are in the pan, leave them alone for 2-4 minutes- gently basting them by spooning the melted butter/oil over the top. Move them gently with tongs to see if they are easily moved, or still "stuck" to the pan. Here's the key- if you can't move them, don't. Once they are a beautiful golden brown, you will be able to easily flip them over. Once they are flipped, add 1/2 of the remaining butter. Continue to spoon baste for another 2-4 minutes, until you are easily able to remove them from the pan. Set aside to rest, cover with tin foil.

Add remaining oil (the last bit of the butter will go in, after the second batch of scallops has been flipped). Repeat.

That's it. All that's left is to enjoy them. 

Oh, and make sure you get them from an actual fish market- there is a big difference in quality and taste!

Friday, February 27, 2015

I can handle a little more bok choy on my plate, can you? Otherwise known as, the Art of the Noodle Bowl.

Thursday's are my fun days. They are the days in which my Farmer's Market Box, full of fresh organic and local produce, and all its extras arrive. They are there, waiting for me on my doorstep, when the kids and I arrive home from the daily school pick-up. I know I will have some type of pasta, bread, cheese, fish, sausage and a variety of fruits and veggies waiting for me-- but the exact type and kind? It's a pure mystery. (I'll confess, that while yes, I have specifically ordered certain items for the week- I've long since forgotten what they were). It's basically my own personal chopped basket. Together with the kids, I plan our meal as we pull out our bounty of food and stock the fridge.

Last night, the overwhelming suggestion was a bok choy and tofu noodle bowl. Purely demanded (and completely devoured) by my four munchkins. It's a incredibly easy stir-fry, and one that can be changed or embellished to add whatever fresh produce you might have on hand. Let's face it, it's so versatile, that I having no udon noodles on hand, deigned to use the fresh angel hair pasta that came with my delivery.


Sesame Oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup pineapple juice
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large spring onion, diced
1 package extra firm tofu, chopped
2 heads of bok choy, greens and part of the stems chopped
1 lb udon noodles (or, as I did, Angel Hair)


Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Follow package instructions for noodles. Drain and set aside.

Coat the bottom of a large skillet with sesame seed oil. Heat at medium-high. Once oil starts rippling, add onions and garlic. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tofu. Sauté for 2 more minutes. Add bok choy, soy sauce, and pineapple juice. Toss to coat, and let bok choy soften, about 5 minutes. Add noodles and stir to coat. Let sauté for another 3-5 minutes to absorb all flavors. Serve.