Classy, I know.
I eased the guilt with a serving of fresh strawberries before and after. It took all my willpower, however, not to make a quick whipped cream for dipping.
A couple of disclaimers: This chili is ridiculously easy and certainly doesn’t need a fancy slow cooker to prepare. Just your favorite ceramic or stock pot. The biscuits, on the other hand, aren’t quite as beginner-friendly. You’ll need a kitchen scale to weigh out the quantities properly. In order for certain recipes – like these biscuits – to bake up properly, you need the precision of measurement that only a scale would give you. Trust me; just get one. They’re not expensive.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1-1/2 pounds ground sirloin
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 cup beer
1/2 cup water
1. In a ceramic pot or stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Stir in onion until softened, about 3 minutes. Add sirloin and let brown, about 4 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and garlic until the tomatoes are wilted, about 4 minutes. Stir in chili powder, brown sugar, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper and tomato paste until well-combined.
2. Add vinegar, beer and water. Bring to a low boil then reduce to a simmer and cover until it tastes delicious, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. While the chili is simmering, make buttermilk biscuits!
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
10 ounces all-purpose flour
1/2 ounce granulated sugar
1/2 ounce baking soda
1/8 ounce kosher salt
3-1/2 ounces cold butter, cubed
7 ounces cold buttermilk (plus additional, if needed)
1/2 ounce melted butter
1. While the chili is simmering: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Cut in the cold butter until the butter is in pea-sized pieces, about 3 minutes.
2. Slowly add buttermilk, mixing gently with your hands. The dough should be moist and pliable, so you might need to add a few splashes more buttermilk. Be sure not to over-work the dough! This whole process should only take about 2 minutes.
3. Turn the dough out onto a clean, smooth work surface. Pat to 1/2-inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut 2-inch circles and place onto a parchment or silicon mat-lined baking sheet. For soft edges, line the biscuits right next to each other, so the edges are almost touching. For crustier edges, give about 1/4-inch space in between each biscuit. Brush the tops with melted butter. Bake in oven until lightly golden, about 12-14 minutes.
Serve all the food together and enjoy!
What kind of beer do I use? Whatever you would drink with this meal. Likely, that would be pretty much anything except a stout. I used Arrogant Bastard for this recipe.
How do I make sure I don’t over-mix the dough? When you’re adding buttermilk, just gently work the dough with your hands until the moisture is incorporated. It should only take a minute or two. And yes, the dough will be lumpy and sticky. That’ll ensure maximum crumbliness.]]>
We decided on using a red curry paste, which is made of large red chili peppers and generally packs less heat than green curry, which uses young green chili peppers. The resulting taste offers a delicate curry flavor with a spicy-but-not-too-spicy finish.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: about 45 minutes
1/2 pound elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons red curry paste
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente, about 8 minutes. Arrange in an even layer in a 1-quart casserole dish. Set aside.
3. While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour until smooth and light golden brown. Make sure it’s free of lumps. Slowly whisk in the milk, cream and curry paste. Add the onion. Simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over the macaroni. Top with remaining cheese. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.]]>
I’ve seen a lot of ups and downs during my job search and wondered a few times if I was really making the right decisions. I had even considered giving up on food media to pursue any kind of interesting opportunity in the tech/start-up space. After all, the chance to join an early-stage company on the cusp of success is a valuable one. Now, I couldn’t be more grateful to have found a food media job at a startup that I think is about to break out in a major way.
But the hoping, the learning, the growing isn’t close to being done. This is just the next phase of my career transition and I’m psyched to share it with you.
To those of you who have helped me along the way, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And to those of you who have been following my experiences, stay tuned.]]>
The thing to order? A pound (or two or three) of shrimp in the Whole Shebang sauce. It comes in a heavy duty plastic bag, the shrimp swimming around in the buttery, flavor-filled, sometimes spicy sauce. Bite off the head, suck out all the yummy brain juices, then eat the shrimp, shell on and all. Maybe ask for an ear of corn in the bag. And get a side of Cajun fries. Oh, and white rice. (And you know what else is really good there? The chicken wings.) Amazing.
I’ve been trying to replicate this Whole Shebang sauce for awhile now, to little success. I’ve even come up with a non-saucy version of Cajun shrimp but the only thing in common it has with The Boiling Crab’s shrimp is its cuisine type.
I came across this Chow recipe yesterday and it just… felt right. Well, mostly right. I made a few changes (like nixing red jalapeños and instead adding cayenne pepper and onion powder) and it tasted verrrry similar to The Boiling Crab’s. The best part? It’s easy. Really. It roasts in the oven in less than 10 minutes.
Serves: 4 entrees (or 6 appetizers)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes
1 pound large shrimp, head and shells on
1-1/4 cup water
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Juice of 1 lemon
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 cup shrimp stock (recipe in Step 1)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1. Make a quick shrimp stock: Remove the shrimp heads and transfer to a 2-quart saucepan. Pour the water over the shrimp heads and bring to a low boil, then reduce to simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Strain and discard heads. Transfer the shrimp (shell on) to a large mixing bowl or casserole dish and set aside. (Pro tip: While the stock is simmering, complete Step 2.)
2. Marinate the shrimp: In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the 1/2 cup olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, onion powder and cayenne pepper (if using). Pour over the reserved shrimp and let marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
3. Preheat oven to its maximum temperature (usually 450-500 degrees) and arrange rack near the top. Place a roasting pan or deep baking sheet in the oven for 10 minutes so it gets hot.
4. Working quickly and using tongs, arrange the marinated shrimp in a single layer on the hot pan or baking sheet. Discard the marinade. Roast the shrimp until bright pink and some of the shells lightly brown, about 7-8 minutes.
5. Remove the shrimp from the oven and immediately pour the stock over them while still on the baking sheet. Finish with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and butter. Stir gently to coat. Serve with rice or French bread and enjoy!]]>
To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what the difference is between flatbread and pizza. I Googled it and came up with surprisingly few results; a discussion on Serious Eats came up but it seems there’s no definitive answer.
What’s my definition? When I think of pizza, I think of a gooey, saucy doughy slice. When I think of flatbread, I think of something more thin-crust, little to no sauce and with uncooked ingredients on top. So let’s go with that definition. What do you think is the difference between flatbread and pizza?
Anyway, this recipe is salty and fresh, filling and light. Balsamic reduction makes for a rich, tart mouthfeel, garlic adds a hint of spice, and the salty bite of the prosciutto and Parmesan is balanced with the freshness of the arugula. Buy an extra ounce of Prosciutto at the grocery and munch on it as you’re waiting for your flatbread to finish in the oven!
For this recipe, my favorite kind of prosciutto is Creminelli’s Prosciutto Crudo from Whole Foods but you can use any kind of prosciutto that’s freshly sliced from your local deli/grocery.
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
16 ounces pizza dough (I like Trader Joe’s Plain Pizza Dough)
All-purpose flour (for rolling dough)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1-1/2 cups arugula
4 ounces prosciutto (fresh from the deli!)
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce by half, about 5-7 minutes. The consistency should be thick but pourable, like a creamy salad dressing.
3. Meanwhile, working on a clean surface (like a marble countertop), dust some all-purpose flour where you plan to roll your pizza dough. Roll the dough out as thinly as you can, hopefully a bit thinner than 1/4″. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
4. Spread the olive oil over the surface of the pizza dough. Pour over the reduced balsamic vinegar. Add minced garlic and Parmesan cheese. Bake until the garlic looks light golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.
5. Top with a single layer of arugula. Drape prosciutto slices on top. Serve immediately.]]>
“It actually isn’t smoked. It’s cured in salt,” I invited myself to the conversation, sounding about as obnoxious as you would imagine. Fortunately, no one rolled their eyes at me.
Some fun facts: Lox (or gravlax or gravlox) is a Nordic dish of fish cured in salt, sugar and dill. The rest of the ingredients — maybe it’s citrus slices, tequila or vodka — will vary with each recipe. During the Middle Ages, it was made by fisherman, who buried it in the sand to ferment it. Specifically, “gravlax” is Scandinavian for “buried salmon”.
Since this delicious dish is salt cured it’s really easy to make. Really. You’d be surprised. You’ll need to do this a day and a half prior to serving, but it pretty much just needs to sit in the refrigerator.
The hardest part is slicing it. Make sure you have a really sharp knife!
Prep time: 5 minutes
For the gravlax:
1 pound salmon filet, sliced in half lengthwise
2 tablespoons sea salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoons white pepper
1/2 package fresh dill (or about 8 sprigs), minced
2 tablespoons vodka
1 package of bagels (I prefer plain or onion)
1 small tub of cream cheese
1 small jar of capers
Remaining fresh dill, minced
1. Drape plastic wrap over a baking sheet or glass dish, lay one half of the salmon filet, skin side down.
2. In a small bowl, mix together the salt, sugar and pepper. Sprinkle half of the salt mixture over the filet. Top with the dill. Pour over the vodka. It’ll look like this:
3. Sprinkle the remaining salt mixture on the fleshy side of the other salmon filet. Place over the salmon in the dish, skin side up. Like this:
4. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Flip over and wrap in a second piece of plastic wrap. Like this:
5. Place in refrigerator and weigh the fish down with something heavy, like a brick. (I used a ceramic loaf pan with a bottle of club soda on top because I’m creative.) Let sit for 36 hours, flipping over the fish ever 12 hours.
6. When the lox is done, unwrap and rinse gently under cold water. Pat dry. Slice very thinly at an extreme angle. (Hint: your knife will almost be parallel to the fish.) Like this:
7. Serve with bagels, cream cheese, capers and the remaining fresh dill. Blush at the compliments from your friends!
I don’t really believe in New Year’s resolutions. Every day’s a new opportunity to be a better you. So why not embrace each day as a new day and make self-improvement a never-ending process?
But I will admit that after the holidays I start to feel guilty about my indulgent holiday diet. So the “cleanse” part is true.
It’s hard to suddenly go from garlic-crusted prime rib roast, creamy mashed potatoes, lechon, pansit and lumpia (hey, this is how Filipinos do Christmas) to a dry salad. I still want to eat hot, filling meals.
And so, since it’s a chilly 65 degrees in Los Angeles, I whipped up a pot of one of my favorite soups. This curried corn bisque has a little extra kick — a more ethnic flavor, more spice and above all, it’s less sodium-saturated and more healthy. I worked off of EatingWell’s Curried Corn Bisque and with a few of my own modifications, it even became a favorite among my family.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil
1 large chopped onion
3 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon Sriracha (optional)
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 16-ounce packages frozen corn (thawed)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1 cup lite coconut milk
2 stalks green onion (for garnish)
1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons curry powder, Sriracha, salt and pepper and stir to coat the onions.
2. Stir in corn, broth and water; increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil.
3. Remove from the heat and puree in a blender (in batches), or puree with an immersion blender into a thick, homogeneous texture.
4. Pour the bisque into a clean pot (this makes blending in batches easier), add coconut milk, and if needed, add a pinch more salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer, about 20-30 minutes. Serve and garnish with the chopped green onions on top.
How much curry and how little curry? I consider myself a curry fiend. But I understand not everyone wants that strong flavor. If you do want a milder taste, 2 tablespoons curry would be ideal. I felt that EatingWell’s recommendation of 1 tablespoon was too bland and resulted in more of a plain corn soup.
What kind of coconut milk? You should be able to easily find canned coconut milk in the ethnic foods aisle at your local grocery. If you go to an Asian market, you’ll likely find there are at least a dozen variations of coconut milk and coconut juice. Be sure you don’t purchase coconut juice as the texture and flavor are completely different. Coconut milk usually comes in a can.
Sriracha vs. any hot sauce. I’m a firm believer that this soup absolutely must be made with Sriracha and not just because I’m obsessed with it. Sriracha has the perfect consistency and the perfect boldness that keeps the texture of the soup while cutting through the coconut and hitting your tastebuds. While I do like Cholula and Tapatio, those aren’t the right hot sauces for this soup. Of course, if you don’t want spicy soup, you can skip this ingredient altogether.]]>
Oh well. I’m certainly not complaining.
I look way too excited.
But it’s my first cookbook! Self-published, yes. An iBook, yes. It still counts.
Several months ago, my good friend (and amazing singer/musician) Allan asked me what I’d want to do with my life if I knew I only had a few years left to live. I had the standard answers: travel, spend time with loved ones, get married, etc. My only unique response was my desire to compile original recipes into a cookbook. Nothing fancy. It’d be my most treasured dishes.
Then funemployment happened and I found myself with more free time on my hands. I was getting discouraged with the job search. I remembered my answer to Allan’s question. I quickly realized there would be no better time to throw myself into a completely new endeavor — not only developing recipes, but also learning about the self-publishing process.
After several weeks, a couple trials and errors in recipes, cursing at Apple Pages, cursing at iBooks Author, lots of help from my partner, cursing at iTunes Producer, cursing at iTunes Connect and whining to the iBooks customer service line, it’s ready!
It’s not perfect, but I’m thrilled. It’s my own recipes, writing and photos — and it’s my favorite type of food: sandwiches. I didn’t do it alone, though. My loved ones served as my chief tasters and my partner Ian helped a lot with retouching photos and the interactive design. It’s truly a cookbook meant for the iPad.
You can download it now for your iPad: 10 Sandwich Recipes for Every Meal of the Day
Thank you to everyone who has downloaded it already, and thank you to those of you about to download it now!
And thank you for reading.
These are my favorite cookies ever. It’s not even so much because I like chocolate chip cookies. (Frankly, I’m more of a savory foods kind of gal.) I love these cookies because of how happy they make my loved ones. My brother will request these from time to time. When my roommate smells them baking she sneaks into the kitchen to lick the mixing bowl clean. In fact, my mom just asked me to make a batch with white chocolate chips. For Christmas? I asked. “Not really… They’re just for me,” she shrugged.
So when my cookie-loving friend Rich invited me to his housewarming party, I was excited to make these. Everyone was bringing some of their best homemade dishes so I promptly called dibs on cookie duty.
The potluck ended up being amazing. Deliciously amazing. Insanely deliciously amazing to the point that even I thought I would never eat again.
Picklebacks promptly followed whiskey shots. Mashed potatoes with caramelized shallots and sage were shoveled onto plates side by side with spoonfuls of mushroom risotto. Sliced mozzarella, tomatoes and basil were piled onto crostinis. Beer-infused roast chicken was picked at by all. It was a miracle we even had room for Rich’s Bulgogi sliders with kimchi; grilled asparagus spears; homemade empanadas; s’more rice krispies treats and Snickers rice krispies treats. And, of course, my cookies.
One day, I’ll explore my own versions of the recipes from this party but until then, here are some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies to hold you over.
Makes: About 30 cookies
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 8-10 minutes
2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup)
1 cup golden brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour, spooned and leveled
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups blended old-fashioned oatmeal
1 10 ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On medium-low speed, lightly beat the butter in your stand mixer (fitted with the paddle attachment), until softened. Slowly add sugar until creamed or well-combined, about 3 minutes. Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, flour, eggs and vanilla.
2. Blend the oatmeal or pulse in a food processor until the flakes look like powder. Add to mixture. Add chocolate chips.
3. Line a baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper. Arrange the cookie dough into 1.5″ to 2″ balls on the sheet and bake until the edges are light golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.
Do I have to use a stand mixer? Yes. The stand mixer isn’t just there to make life easier; it’s necessary. If you just mix by hand, the butter and sugar won’t incorporate together properly.
Why grind the oatmeal? I’ve often found that oatmeal cookies tend to be too chewy and lacking in any flavor other than oatmeal. Blending or grinding results in a still-chewy cookie that will have your friends wondering what mystery ingredient you added.
If you end up with more or less cookies: Depending on how large you want the cookies to be, this recipe ends up creating more or less cookies. I like medium-sized portions, so I form 2″ balls and end up with 30 cookies.
Make an ice cream sandwich! Buy some vanilla bean ice cream and plop a scoop in between two cookies. This sweet treat would definitely put BJ’s Pizookie to shame.]]>
So when my friends Isaac and Trent showed me their Surprisingly Vegan gluten-free waffle mix, I wasn’t exactly salivating in anticipation. It was when I took a closer look and saw it was made up of few, natural ingredients — gluten-free oats, walnuts, flaxseed, coconut palm nectar, sea salt and vanilla beans — that my curiosity was piqued.
At least the mix wasn’t made up of weird chemicals I have to spell-check like aspertame or weird substitutes I know I hate like stevia extract.
I accepted a box and stole my mom’s waffle maker. (Sorry, Mom, I’ll bring it back. Also, Mom, thanks for remembering how to spell “delish megish” and for typing it into the Google.) I was open-minded about the possibility of being pleasantly surprised but still cautious about the potential yuckiness.
First, I was glad to see that the waffle mix was vacuum-sealed, because it’s a good guarantee of freshness. As I prepared the waffles and then poured the mix into my (stolen) waffle maker, I was surprised by how accurate the preparation and cook times were.
Due to my hotter-than-average oven, my cheap and lightweight pans, and many cookbook authors not testing their own recipes prior to publication (you’d be surprised by how often that’s the case), I’ve learned to figure out my own cook times.
Not too shabby, right? An actually healthy waffle. An actually healthy mix where all you have to do is add water. An actually healthy, sweet, yummy breakfast.
Oh, who am I kidding? Of course, I slathered some butter and syrup on that little guy and settled on partially healthy.
And… It was actually good. It had the same, outer slight crispiness and inner fluffiness that any good waffle has. It was vaguely nutty and vaguely vanilla-y. It was a waffle I would eat again.
Which I did. I added a pinch of nutmeg and dash of cinnamon. I topped it with bananas. I spooned on freshly-made whipped cream. I considered dolloping a scoop of ice cream (not necessarily vegan or gluten-free) but I didn’t have any in my freezer.
I thought about other possibilities: Adding chocolate chips into the batter. Pouring the batter into a Belgian waffle maker. Making crepes. Adding a tablespoon of baking powder to make pancakes. Lots of ideas and not enough time to experiment.
If you have any other ideas, if your tastebuds are dancing or if you’re just curious, you can buy the waffle mix on SurprisinglyVegan.com. Two packages cost $16.99, which I think is a decent price for something that actually is healthy (rather than claiming to be) and that’s made up of wholesome ingredients.