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.

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Inventive San Diego Cocktails [with recipe!]

Zymology 21 Cocktails

It’s a well-known fact that San Diego is the craft beer capital of the US, but did you know that our cocktail game is equally on point?  We’ve got bars and restaurants that are making their own flavored syrups, ginger beer, bitters, shrubs and alcohol infusions. Pairing these handcrafted elements with thoughtful flavor combinations results in some seriously inventive and damn tasty cocktails. Below, I teamed up with Expedia Viewfinder to share a variety of libations from 3 hot bars and restaurants in San Diego plus a recipe for an incredible tequila cocktail.

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Roasted Salsa Verde Recipe

Salsa Verde was the first salsa I attempted to make at home. Let’s just say my initial batch was a complete disaster.

Roasted Salsa Verde Recipe

It was 2008, I was living with several roommates at the time, and I was using this recipe for reference. My instincts told me that a quantity of 5 serrano chiles would make the finished salsa waaaaay too spicy, but I went ahead and made the recipe as written. Instincts were something I wasn’t listening too that much at the time, so my first batch of Salsa Verdes was fiery to say the least. Instead of throwing the salsa out, I tried to make the best of it, and my roommates and I suffered through several extremely spicy meals together.

Since then, I’ve 100% mastered this vibrant salsa. Made with roasted tomatillos, jalapeños, garlic, scallions, cilantro and lime juice, this salsa verde recipe is bright, balanced and so, so addicting. Continue reading for the recipe.

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Pumpkin Chicken Chili [Giveaway]

Today I’m giving away a gorgeous KitchenAid 4 Quart Cast Iron Pot PLUS I’m sharing an easy (and healthy!) recipe for Pumpkin Chicken Chili.

Pumpkin Chicken Chili Let’s start with the chili. Freshly ground chicken thighs, skin and all, are sautéed with onions, bell pepper and garlic until fragrant and brown. Flavor and body are added by way of chile powder, red pepper flake, cumin, pumpkin beer, pumpkin purée, red beans and fire-roasted tomatoes. The chili is finished with a dollop of rich sour cream, cilantro, crunchy pumpkin seeds, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Made in just one pot, this comforting fall soup comes together in under an hour!  Rich, bold flavors.  Hearty, satisfying texture.  So.  Yum.  Continue reading for the recipe, and giveaway details.

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Avocado Toast 5 Ways

If you enjoy avocado as much as I do, then you’re going to love today’s article.  I’ve got 5 fresh avocado recipes for you below!

Avocado Toast 5 Ways In particular, Avocado Toast.  The concept is fairly simple.  Mash up half an avocado with salt, pepper and some sort of acid (lemon or lime juice) to taste.  The flavors should be bright without covering up the cool grassiness of the avocado.  Spread this mash over a lightly toasted piece of bread, and you have Avocado Toast.  It’s that easy!  I like to use whole wheat bread here, but sourdough or country bread would also work well.

Avocado Toast can be enjoyed for breakfast or as an afternoon snack.  Avocado is packed with healthy fat and nutrients, so I find that just 1 slice can keep me full and satisfied until my mid-morning meal.  I’ve also served these luscious green beauties as an appetizer (on thin slices of seedy baguette).

To take things up a notch, here are 4 variations on the basic Avocado Toast:

  • Egg + Bacon + Chive.  A dressed up version perfect for Saturday breakfast.
  • Frisée + Bacon + Lemon.   Similar to one of my favorite sandwiches (minus the tomato).
  • Tomato + Basil + Balsamic.  Italian flavors that pair well with avocado.  Serve as an afternoon snack or a simple appetizer before dinner.
  • Corn + Chile + Lime.  My Mexican spin on Avocado Toast.  Big, bold flavors.

The recipes below are more like loose guidelines.  I barely included exact measurements, because most of the toppings are to taste.  Don’t like red onion?  Leave it out.  Love bacon (like me), add more.  A scatter of this.  A sprinkle of that.  Just know that the flavors in each recipe work well together.  Quantities of toppings are up to you.  Also, each recipe uses just 1/2 an avocado.  If you don’t plan on using the other half immediately, sprinkle the cut side with acid (lemon or lime juice), press plastic wrap directly against the flesh of the avocado, and store in the refrigerator.  Continue reading for the recipes.

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Green Goddess Guacmole

You guys, this guac is so darn tasty.

Green Goddess Guacamole A mashup of green goddess dressing and guacamole, this rich, herb-flecked dip is completely and utterly addicting.  Rumor has it that green goddess salad dressing originated in the 1920’s in San Francisco.  The dressing is typically made with mayo, sour cream, anchovy, lemon and a flurry of finely chopped fresh herbs.  Here, I’ve taken some of these flavors, and applied them to one of my favorite Mexican dips, guacamole.  This recipe starts with cool jade cubes of ripe avocado.  Finely chopped shallot, garlic, parsley, cilantro, chive and tarragon are then added with sour cream and anchovy paste.  Lime juice and kosher salt bring everything to life.  The entire mixture is mashed with a fork to keep the texture somewhat chunky.  Each bite of this adventurous guacamole is packed with incredible herbaceous flavor.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Deviled Eggs Three Ways

It’s the post you’ve all been waiting for…

Deviled Eggs 3 Ways Not one.  Not two.  But three deviled egg recipes.  With Easter just around the corner, I’ve come up with a game plan in advance to use up all of those leftover hard-boiled, dyed eggs.  Step 1:  Make deviled eggs.  Step 2:  Throw a Deviled Egg Party.

Let’s dive right into Step 1.  Below, I’ve provided recipes for a variety of deviled eggs: Chile Garlic, Avocado Bacon and Pickled Beet.  My Chile Garlic Deviled Eggs are made with fiery Sambal Oelek, chopped cilantro, and plenty of fresh lime juice.  These flavors are big and bold.  Next, my Bacon Avocado Deviled Eggs are prepared with crispy bacon bits, rich avocado, chopped green onion, hot sauce and lime juice.  Guacamole in deviled egg form, this variation is highly addictive.  Finally, Pickled Beet Deviled Eggs are made by pickling whole hard-boiled eggs with sliced red beet in a liquid flavored with red wine vinegar, black pepper and bay leaf.  The egg whites soak up both the flavor and the color of the pickling liquid.  The yolks are then mashed with mayo, chopped pickled beet, pickling liquid, prepared horseradish, and chopped fresh chive.  All three eggs are so. yum.

Use these three recipes as a guide to make your own variations.  You’ll need three tablespoons of mayo for every six eggs.  Then, add spicy (kimchi, pickled jalapeños, Sriracha) and fresh (cilantro, parsley, chive, mint) elements to cut through the richness of the yolk and mayo.  Salt is a must.  If you find that the yolk mixture needs a little lift, add acid (lemon, lime, vinegar).  Continue reading for Step 2, plus my three recipes for deviled eggs.

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Roasted Fennel and Apple Guacamole

Roasted Fennel and Apple Guacamole Jorge and I hosted game night recently, and one of the many tasty dishes served that evening was this Roasted Fennel and Apple Guacamole.  But first let me tell you a little about the game we played: Cards Against Humanity.  This game is awesome.  Basically one person reads a question or a fill in the blank statement (the black card), then everyone else tries to answer that question or complete the statement using the cards they have in their hand (the white cards).  The person holding the black card then decides which pairing is the funniest.  What makes this game awesome, is that the white cards can be pretty darn outrageous.  I mean, we played for almost 4 hours, and I couldn’t stop laughing for most of the evening.  My face hurt afterwards.

I think Cards Against Humanity has been out for a little bit, and I’m probably late to the party here.  But if you’ve never played, and you don’t mind a little over-the-top humor, you need to give this game a try.  So much fun.

And if you want to host a game night of your own, I’d definitely recommend making this guacamole.  Rick Bayless released this recipe last year, and I’ve had it bookmarked ever since.  Sweet, herbaceous fennel is roasted until tender and fragrant, then added to cubes of rich avocado along with crisp, tart apple, lime juice, jalapeno, and cilantro.  This seasonal variation of a Mexican classic is sharp, creamy and wonderfully complex.  The licoricey fennel compliments the avocado while tiny pops of green apple offer contrast in flavor and texture.  The fennel isn’t really overpowering here.  With each bite, you’ll notice just a hint of fennel at the end.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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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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Tamarind Trail Mix

Jarring Tamarind Trail Mix

Jorge and I are headed off for Portland and Seattle in several days, and I’m currently in the process of preparing for this 9 day trip.  Today will be spent doing laundry, and purchasing any last minute items like my cologne that’s just about to run out (Jo Malone Assam & Grapefruit), hiking shoes, new jeans and a gift for a friend’s wedding we’ll be attending on Saturday.  Tomorrow, I’ll be organizing my belongings and starting the packing process.  I’m one of those people who packs waaaaay too much stuff for vacation.  Whatever, I like outfit options!  On Thursday, I’ll be baking another batch of this Tamarind Trail Mix.  Traveling without substantially delicious snacks is something I rarely do.  Airport food is typically the worst.  Hi, $11 sandwich that tastes moderate at best.  And don’t even get me started on airplane food.

Sweet, salty and wonderfully complex, this Tamarind Trail Mix is flavored with cayenne pepper, cumin, coriander, honey, brown sugar, tomato and tamarind.  Roasted nuts, seeds and coconut are then tossed with sweet dried mango and citrusy chopped cilantro.  The finished mix is incredibly savory and undeniably addictive.  I like to pack up my travel trail mixes in mason jars to keep the contents from getting crushed in my bag.  I should note that I’ll be making most of the trail mix in advance.  On Saturday, right before we leave for the airport, I’ll add the chopped cilantro.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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