Raw Kale Salad

Raw Kale Salad Jorge and I just got back from a spectacular trip to Charleston, South Carolina.  Thanks again for all of the recommendations.  Throughout the trip, we had a number of crazy delicious meals including dinner at FIG and Husk, and some damn good soul food at Martha Lou’s Kitchen.  I’ve got a gallery below featuring most of the food Jorge and I ate during our trip (poorly lit dinners not included).

After a vacation where I practically ate my weight in butter and fried chicken, the first thing I was craving when I get back home to California was this Raw Kale Salad.  Gnarled shreds of lacinato kale are tossed in a bright dressing made of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, black pepper, crushed red pepper, and grated Parmesan cheese.  The salad then sits for 20 minutes, so the dressing can break down the fibrous texture of the kale.  Finished with a drizzle of EVOO, a dusting of Parmesan, and several grinds of black pepper, this simple salad is healthy, hearty, and packed with incredible flavor.  The first bite will literally smack your taste buds.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Parchment Roasted Potatoes

Jorge and I are in Charleston, South Carolina right now!!  So I’m going to keep this short today.

Parchment Roasted Potatoes My recipe for Parchment Roasted Potatoes is super easy and super tasty.  Petite fingerling potatoes are tossed with whole garlic cloves, rich olive oil, kosher salt, black pepper, and several sprigs of rosemary, thyme and sage.  This flavorful mix is then wrapped up in a parchment packet, and roasted until tender, creamy and just golden.  Roasting potatoes in parchment locks in the aromas of the garlic and herbs, infusing more flavor into the small spuds.  The dish is finished with a fresh scattering of chopped flat leaf parsley.

I first made these potatoes back in 2012, and I’ve been making them at least once a month ever since.  On a busy weeknight, I can prep the parchment packet by the time the oven preheats.  I can prepare the rest of the meal while the potatoes cook.  So simple!  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Easy Homemade Hollandaise [video]

I’ve got a super easy recipe for you today.  Homemade Hollandaise.

Easy Hollandaise Sauce Normally, when one thinks of hollandaise (the sauce on eggs Benedict), easy is not the first word that comes to mind.  To make traditional hollandaise, you need to whisk egg yolks with lemon juice until thick.  You then place the bowl of yolks over simmering water, and stream in hot butter, whisking all the while.  The butter will eventually emulsify with the egg, forming a silky, rich sauce.  If the mixture gets too hot, the eggs will scramble, and the sauce will break.  If the butter is not hot enough, the sauce will never thicken up.  What I’m getting at here, is that the traditional way of making hollandaise is both tedious and prone to failure.

So how do we make this process easier and more foolproof?  First, forget the whisk and double boiler.  Second, get yourself and immersion blender, and a tall, narrow container. Similar to my recipe for Homemade Olive Mayonnaise, this process uses an immersion blender to emulsify the sauce in a matter of moments. The resulting hollandaise is just as creamy as one made using the traditional method. Without all the hassle of course. Continue reading for the recipe plus a video!

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Chile Lime Pepitas

Chile Lime Pepitas I’m going to keep this brief, because Jorge and I are on vacation in MEXICO!!!  These Chile Lime Pepitas are made with just 4 ingredients, and they can be prepared in a matter of moments.  Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) are toasted in a dry pan, then hit with fresh lime juice, kosher salt, and chile powder.  The resulting snack is spicy, salty and incredibly tangy.  The type of tang the tickles the sides of your tongue as you chew.  I love to eat these spiced seeds by the handful with an ice cold beer in the other hand.  So tasty.  Just be sure to have some napkins around, because your hands can get a little messy ;)

If you are interested in following Jorge and me as we adventure around Chiapas, Mexico, you can check us out on Instagram.  This is me.  And here’s Jorge.  Continue reading for the recipe!

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Foolproof Hard-Boiled Eggs

Foolproof Hard-Boiled Eggs Cooking hard-boiled eggs is one of those kitchen basics that I’ve had the hardest time mastering.  After extensive recipe testing, I’ve come to the conclusion that cooking the perfect hard-boiled egg is no simple task.  As a matter of fact, there are way too many recipes on the Internet right now that make this task seem easier than it actually is.  So today, I’m sharing a detailed process for preparing Foolproof Hard-Boiled Eggs.  This process has made the act of boiling eggs 100 times more enjoyable for me, and I hope it does the same for you.

Before we get to all of that, let’s review some of the challenges associated with cooking a hard-boiled egg:

  • It’s a proven fact that the moment you turn your back on a pot of hard-boiled eggs to-be, is the exact moment that the water will start boiling.  So when you return from that quick trip to the bathroom or that short email break, you cry out, “Oh shit, the water is boiling.”  And then you start to wonder, “How long has it been boiling?  Just a minute?  Two minutes?  Should I turn the heat off now?”  At that point, your timing is completely ruined, and all you can do is hope for the best.
  • Let’s face it.  Peeling hard-boiled eggs might be one of the worst kitchen tasks EVER.  It’s up there with skimming fat off soup, and straining anything through a coffee filter.  You stand at your kitchen sink for 5 minutes with the water running, carefully peeling the shell away from the egg.  You peel a little, but then a chunk of the egg white comes off.  You peel a little more, hoping that no egg will come off, but then more white breaks away.  You repeat this process until your egg looks like it suffered a shotgun wound at nearly point blank.  Then you look beside the sink to see you still have 11 more eggs to go.  Womp womp.
  • So finally you get to the point where you can eat one of your hard-boiled eggs, and you cut it open to find a powdery, grayish-yellow egg yolk.  AND it smells like sulfur.  YUM!

These challenges have kept me from cooking hard-boiled eggs over the years, only making an exception for the occasional deviled egg.  But last year, I tackled these challenges with vigor, eventually leading to the process outlined below.  Continue reading for more details.

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What Is Your Favorite Salad Recipe?

Salad with Pickled Vegetables It’s salad season.  You know that time of the year when everyone’s got the “I really want to lose 3 pounds” New Year’s resolution, resulting in a diet of juices, smoothies and (most of all) healthy salads.  Working in the retail industry, I am constantly keeping up with sales trends and consumer behavior.  I can confidently confirm that January is the most popular month for kale, spinach and all other manner of leafy green vegetables.

During my work week, I like to prepare a more simple salad for lunch (similar to the one pictured above).  This salad is made with tender greens, something crunchy (nuts or seeds), something pickled, and an acidic vinaigrette.  I’ll often serve a protein on the side (chicken breast, shrimp, pork chop).  A tart vinaigrette is one that I almost always like the most.  Usually made with sherry vinegar (recipe below).  There’s just something about a salad with big, bright flavors that fills me up and keeps me satisfied while at work.

On the weekends, I like to prepare salads that are a bit more involved.  These salads can include roasted vegetables, homemade croutons, broiled meats and/or various shaved or crumbled cheeses.  Sometimes I’ll let loose, and make a creamy salad dressing.  I mean it’s the weekend, so it’s totally allowed ;)

Since salad is going to be on my daily menu for the next 3 months, I am on the hunt for some new inspiration, so please share your favorite salad recipe in the comment section below.  Continue reading for some of my favorite salad recipes plus a recipe for my Sherry Vinaigrette.

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Top 10 Recipes from 2013

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Before I dive into a fresh batch of recipes for 2014, I wanted to take a moment to share the most popular Kitchen Konfidence posts in 2013.  The list below is ranked based on view counts from Google Analytics.  I always love taking these delicious trips down memory lane :)  So many tasty moments.  Did your favorites make the Top 10?

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St. Germain and Champagne

St.-Germain-and-Champagne I’m keeping things incredibly simple today with this champagne cocktail perfect for any New Year’s Eve celebration.  There’s only two ingredients: St. Germain (elderflower liqueur) and brut champagne.  To make this drink, fill up a champagne flute 1/3 of the way with St. Germain, then top off with champagne.  Done.  Instant party.

St. Germain is one of my absolute favorite liqueurs.  If you’ve never had a taste, you simply must.  Right now.  Make your way over to the drinking establishment closest to you, ask the bartender for a shot, and savor each sip of fragrant, flowery goodness.  The sweetness of the St. Germain balances the dryness of the brut champagne, creating a well-balanced cocktail that can easily be enjoyed all night long.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Roasted Garlic Oil

Roasted Garlic Oil

I’ve got a quick and easy recipe for you today:  Roasted Garlic Oil.  I started making garlic oil several years ago after watching a number of Nigella Express episodes.  That’s the series where she starts every. single. savory recipe with garlic oil and scissor-snipped scallion.  Although this seemingly forced simplicity bothered me at first (I don’t mind chopping garlic and onions), I decided to give garlic oil a try, because hey, I love the Nigella.  I mean really.  I could watch her all day long.

My garlic oil experimentation had simple beginnings.  Simmer some garlic in olive oil for a short time, steep, strain, done!  Over the years, I’ve tweaked my process, amping up the flavor with toasted black peppercorns and fresh thyme.  I also upped the cooking time and temperature to avoid that whole botulism thing.  The resulting Roasted Garlic Oil is incredibly fragrant and flavorful.

If a recipe calls for chopped/minced garlic, I still like to use chopped/minced garlic.  This infused oil comes in handy when my time is short, and I am looking to add a subtle garlic flavor to my recipe.  For example, I’ll often use this Roasted Garlic Oil when I’m cooking eggs in the morning.  Even I couldn’t imagine chopping garlic at 6am.  I also like to use this oil in a vinaigrette quickly shaken up before work.  Add 2 tablespoons Roasted Garlic Oil to a jar with a scant tablespoon of sherry vinegar, a dab of Dijon, 2 pinches of salt and lots of black pepper.  Cap, shake, done.  But really, you could use this oil in any way you’d like.  So simple.  So versatile.  Continue reading for the recipe (plus an animated gif!).

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Bacon Tostilocos

Bacon Tostilocos

Oh man do I have a fun recipe for you today!  Tostilocos, a Mexican street food specialty, are typically made by cutting open a bag of flavored corn chips and piling on toppings such as pickled pig skin, tamarind candies, Japanese peanuts, jicama, cucumber, lime juice, chamoy and hot sauce.  I first had Tostilocos last year at our San Diego LGBT Pride festival.  Jorge and I had been walking around all day, and I was getting huuuungry.  We stopped to sit for a moment in the shade, when Jorge hopped up and said, “I’ll be right back.”  Several minutes later, he returned with a bag of Tostilocos.  After just one bite my taste buds were all like, “Whaaaaaaat???”  Such a crazy combination of flavors that just completely work well together.  Sweet.  Salt.  Sour.  Crunch.  I’ll have to say the one element I’m still not completely sold on is the pickled pig skin.  It’s like savory gummy worms.  But wet and slippery.  Not my fav.  So when I was coming up with a homemade version of Tostilocos, I decided to substituted thin strips of smoky bacon for the pickled pig skin.  I also included some quick pickled cucumber and red onion to add another note of sweet, sour and salt.  You can easily make these pickles at home in just one hour (mainly inactive wait time).  Jorge and I will still get Tostilocos each year at the festival, but now I can easily satisfy cravings in between with my bacon version!

If you don’t live in San Diego (or any other City bordering Mexico), some of these ingredients may look very foreign to you.  Try to find a Mexican market in town.  They should have everything you need.  Or you can easily purchase these items online.  I purchased everything at Pancho Villa’s Farmer’s Market here in SD.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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