Cinnamon Chile de Arbol Donut Holes

National Doughtnut Day is coming up on June 5th.  Let’s celebrate.

Cinnamon Chile Donut Holes

These Cinnamon Chile de Arbol Donut Holes are inspired by my latest donut obsession in San Diego, Nomad Donuts.  If you follow me on Instagram, I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of donut photos that feature their tasty creations.  Nomad regularly serves flavored donut holes, and my favorite is their cinnamon chile de arbol variety.  So much so, that I decided to recreate them at home.  After several wonderful rounds of recipe testing, I finally landed on a method that may just be tastier than the original :)

This recipe starts with a simple mix of freshly ground, toasted chiles de arbol, ground cinnamon and sugar.  A topping for the fried donut holes that’s got the recognizable warm of cinnamon sugar paired with the exciting spark of dried chile.  Toasting the chiles before grinding provides another layer of flavor that works well with the cinnamon.  This spice-flecked topping is tossed with the freshly fried donut holes, creating a lip-tingling treat perfect for breakfast or dessert.  Continue reading for the recipe plus ideas for a National Doughnut Day party!

Read More »

Throw a Backyard Memorial Day Bash with these 12 Simple Recipes (and tips!)

Half Beer Can Chicken

Memorial Day is right around the corner, and it’s about that time to dust off your grill, gather friends and family, and throw a big, backyard bash.  I’ve put together a short list of simple recipes to help you get the party started.  But first, let’s talk party tips:

  1. Don’t make your whole menu from scratch.  Pair one or two (or three) of the recipes below with store-bought items to keep your event stress-free.  Just make sure everything is good-quality.
  2. If friends or family ask to bring something, tell them alcohol or ice.  I always forget to buy extra ice.
  3. Keep one or two foam coolers (or big buckets) handy to store extra ice.
  4. When grilling, make sure you’ve got enough charcoal or propane to fuel the whole party.
  5. Get your friends and family involved with the grilling process!  No need to slave over the coals in solitude.  Burger-flipping, timer-checking and temperature-taking are all good tasks for a guest.
  6. Target is a really good source for affordable disposable plates, cups, napkins and flatware.  Ditch the basic paper plates and red solo cups, and liven up your disposables!
  7. Music is important to keep the atmosphere enjoyable and energetic.  Keep the playlist out of reach (lock your laptop, hide your mobile device, etc.) to avoid drunken, hostile takeovers.  If you see someone trying to fuss with the music, kindly ask for a request, and add their song to the playlist.

Now, on to the recipes.

Read More »

Hard-Boiled Egg Toast with Chermoula

Chermoula.  Sounds crazy, but it’s super tasty.  Let me explain.

Hard-Boiled Egg Toast with Chermoula

Chermoula is a North African sauce made with herbs, spices, lemon, garlic and olive oil, similar to a chimichurri or an Italian salsa verde.  It’s bright.  It’s fresh.  And it’s just packed with flavor.  For the past few years, North African condiments and spice blends have really been coming to the forefront in home kitchens (harissa, za’atar, preserved lemon), providing big hits of flavor with minimal effort.  I think Chermoula might take the spotlight next.

Here, I’ve paired this bold North African sauce with hard-boiled eggs and toast as a satisfying lunch or snack.  But that’s not the only thing you can do with Chermoula.  Far from it actually!  Dress up some broiled white fish with several spoonfuls of Chermoula to take a weeknight fish dinner to the next level.  Rub chicken thighs with this sauce then roast until tender and golden.  Serve extra Chermoula on the side!  Drizzle over charred slices of rare flank steak.  Mix with mayo for a vibrant burger topping.  So many tasty options!  Continue reading for the recipe.

Read More »

Kimchi Grilled Cheese Recipe

Did you know April is National Grilled Cheese Month?  I recently realized this, so I dedicated several delicious weeks this month to perfecting one of my favorite grilled cheese sandwiches, the Kimchi Grilled Cheese.

Kimchi Grilled Cheese

Several months ago, I discovered the amazing pairing of kimchi and cheddar one evening after work.  I often come home starving after a long day of work, and I like to eat a little snack before diving into dinner preparation.  These snacks consist of leftover bread with olive oil, bits of cheese , slices of cured meat and/or any of the various fermented or pickled things sitting in my fridge.  Kimchi, a Korean fermented cabbage, makes regular appearances during evening snack time.  Here’s what my various bites looked like that evening:

Torn chunk of bread dipped in evoo.

Kerrygold cheddar.

Torn chunk of bread dipped in evoo.

Sip of Old-Fashioned.

Cheddar.

Kimchi?

… … … Cheddar.

Kimchi.

Cheddar.

Kimchi.

Cheddar.

On repeat until eventually I was completely full.  I didn’t make it to dinner that evening.  Since then, I’ve formalized this tasty snack time duo into a proper dinner, the Kimchi Grilled Cheese. Continue reading for the recipe.

Read More »

Roasted Poblano Queso Fundido

Queso Fundido, Spanish for “Melted Cheese”, is truly a thing of beauty.

Roasted Poblano Queso Fundido

In it’s most basic form, Queso Fundido is just melted stringy cheese flavored with onion and garlic, and it’s often paired with roasted poblano peppers, spicy chorizo or sautéed mushrooms.  Here, I’ve taken the classic poblano pairing to the next level.  Three fat peppers get nice and charred under the broiler, and one gets chopped and mixed into the Queso Fundido while the other two transform into a vibrant green purée flavored with garlic and lime.  The contrast of the warm, rich cheese and the bright, smokey sauce is 100% addicting.  So much so that the boyfriend and I easily consumed the entire skillet (shown above) in one sitting!! Continue reading for the recipe.

Read More »

Raw Carrot and Beet Salad with Feta, Mint and Harissa

Good morning and Happy Friday!

Raw Carrot and Beet Salad with Feta, Mint and Harissa

Today, I’m sharing a vibrant raw salad made with purple carrots and beets.  These nutrient-packed vegetables are grated, and then tossed with fresh herbs and a bold citrus-harissa vinaigrette.  After a brief rest in the fridge, the salad is finished with crumbles of salty feta cheese.

Carrots and beets have been showing up regularly in my weekly Specialty Produce Farmers Market Box, so I’ve been trying out all sorts of cooking preparations to use them up.  This method of soaking grated veg in a spicy, acidic dressing is common in Moroccan cuisine.  And it’s brilliant!  The acid in the lemon juice tenderizes the grated beets and carrots while infusing with tons of flavor.  Flavors here include orange, garlic, olive oil, paprika and harissa, a spicy, North African chile paste.  Continue reading for the recipe.

Read More »

Roasted Pecan Butter, Honeycomb and Sea Salt Toast

Good morning and Happy Monday!

Roasted Pecan Butter Toast

Perhaps you are wondering why I am so cheery on a post-Holiday Monday morning.  The reason?  I’m currently enjoying a slice of this Roasted Pecan Butter, Honeycomb and Sea Salt toast.  Crispy, smooth, salty and sweet, this loaded toast starts with a slice of crunchy bread slathered with homemade Roasted Pecan Butter.  Finished with chopped pecans, glistening Maldon salt and dots of sticky honeycomb, this simple-to-prepare breakfast can make any morning a special occasion (especially Mondays!).

I mentioned a homemade Roasted Pecan Butter above, and let. me. tell. you, it’s so easy to make.  All you need is several cups of pecans, sea salt and a food processor (or blender).  As the food processor whirs on, the pecans go from chopped to a paste to a puree to (eventually) a smooth butter.  Finish with sea salt to taste.  Continue reading for the recipe.

Read More »

Peanut Butter and Jelly Hand Pies

One of the most classic on-the-go eats, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, gets a dessert makeover in this recipe for Peanut Butter & Jelly Hand Pies.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Hand Pies

Stuffed with crunchy peanut butter cream and tangy grape jelly, these golden brown beauties would be a perfect addition to any picnic or afternoon at the beach.  And given that it’s going to be 80+ in San Diego this week, and I’ve got the next 4 days off, I see an afternoon or two at the beach in my very near future.

Luckily, these hand pies are super simple to prepare, so I can easily whip them up as needed.  The key?  Store-bought puff pastry!  Start by swirling together some cream cheese, chunky peanut butter, honey, sugar and milk until fully mixed.  If you can manage to not eat the entire filling with just a spoon, spread some on cut discs of thawed puff pastry.  Ideally, the puff pastry would be made with just butter (Dufour brand), but I’ve also made this recipe with cheaper types of puff pastry (Pepperidge Farm, I’m looking at you), and it turns out just as well.  Next, top each swath of peanut butter filling with a spoonful of grape jelly, then seal the pie closed with another puff pastry disc.  Be sure to crimp the edges all pretty with a fork.  After a quick bake in the oven and a brief rest, you’ll be enjoying these warm, flaky pockets of goodness.  Continue reading for the recipe.

Read More »

Kale Salad with Miso-Lemon Vinaigrette

Kale is still frequently on the menu at my house, and this Kale Salad with Miso-Lemon Vinaigrette is my latest creation.

Kale Salad with Miso Lemon Vinaigrette

Made with miso, lemon juice, honey, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, this Miso-Lemon Vinaigrette is simple to prepare, but still packed with flavor.  It’s salty.  It’s tart.  It’s bright.   And it’ll make you go “Oh my!” after just one taste.  I’ve paired this bold dressing with an equally full-flavored green: kale.  Prepared like my Raw Kale Salad, the chopped kale gets tossed with several spoonfuls of vinaigrette, then sits for a short while until tender.  A final sprinkling of chopped, roasted pistachios and flaky sea salt add crunch and contrast.

Miso-Lemon Vinaigrette has become one of our weekly standards, because it pairs so well with many other things.  The sauce is on the thinner side, so it packs a big flavor punch without adding too much heft.  I like to drizzle it on all sorts of salads, roasted vegetables and seafood.  Bonus!  The vinaigrette is made with mainly fridge and pantry staples.  You can keep most ingredients on hand, and then pick up fresh lemons as needed.  Continue reading for the recipe.

Read More »

How to Cook Rice Like Pasta

Today, I’m going to show you how to cook rice like a chef.

How to Cook Rice Like Pasta

The process is simple really: cook rice like pasta.

First, let’s talk about the more standard method for cooking rice.  You start by adding water and rinsed rice to a pot in a certain ratio depending on what type of rice you are cooking.  Sometimes you add salt and fat to flavor the rice as it cooks.  The water comes up to a boil, you clamp a lid on, and then cook for a specified time period.  The rice soaks up all the water, and you finish with a fork fluff.  Simple enough.

Now, let’s go over the new process.  You fill a large pot with water, and salt it so it tastes like the sea.  Once the water comes up to a boil, you drop any amount of rice in and cook until al dente (soft on the outside, but a little bite left on the inside).  You then drain the rice and return it to the pot over the lowest heat possible.  After flavoring with some fat and additional salt, you let rice rest for a few moments before fluffing and serving.

I’ve been cooking rice using the standard method for over 10 years now, so when I first read about this new technique (new to me) in Cal Peternell’s Twelve Recipes, I was a little skeptical.  But after initial testing, I was all like this.  And now after extensive testing, I can confidently say that I will be cooking rice like pasta all the damn time.  Continue reading for the recipe.

Read More »