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.

Read More »

White Bean, Fennel and Chorizo Salad in a Jar

I have a confession to make.  Over the past several years, I’ve developed quite a jar obsession.

Salad in a Jar Two and half years ago, I was only a few months into dating my boyfriend Jorge.  He was heading up to San Francisco at the time to visit friends, and I asked him to bring me some items from the city.  Can you guess what I asked him for?  Not a loaf or two of glorious SF sourdough.  No chocolate from Ghirardelli.  No artisan, hand-crafted this or that.  Instead, I asked for jars.  Particularly Weck Jars from Heath Ceramics.  At the time, they were a bit of a rarity.  Crate & Barrel and West Elm hadn’t started selling them yet.  I was completely elated the evening Jorge walked through the door carrying two large bags filled with carefully-wrapped Weck Jars.  This obsession has continued ever since.

With such a wide variety of glass beauties at my fingertips, I’m always looking for new ways to use my jars.  And now, I’m jumping on the Salad in a Jar bandwagon.  Here’s the basic idea: salad ingredients are layered inside a large canning jar in such a way that the greens stay crisp and fresh.  Liquids at the bottom.  Greens at the top.  With this framework in place, you can make a number of jarred salads on the weekend to enjoy throughout the week.  Continue reading for my layering technique plus a Salad in a Jar recipe that uses white beans, fennel and chorizo.

Read More »

Tomato Confit Pasta

With just 3 fresh ingredients and minimal effort, you can have a plate of this seasonal pasta on the table in under 1 hour.

Tomato Confit Pasta I know the word confit may conjure up some feelings of worry and anxiety, but I assure you, the process couldn’t be easier.  The term confit is typically associated with meat (especially duck), but can also be applied to fruits and vegetables.  Confit simply means to cook something in fat at a low temperature for a longer period of time.

Here, I’m tossing cooked pasta with slow-roasted tomato confit and chopped fresh basil.  To make the tomato confit, simply toss cherry tomatoes, garlic and basil in olive oil, and slow-roast for 45 minutes.  The resulting tomatoes will soften and blister, releasing some of their juices on to the pan.  The tomatoes and juices will have a wonderfully concentrated tomato flavor.  The pasta cooks up while the tomatoes are in the oven, keeping cook time to a minimum.  For best results, give this recipe a try while tomatoes are in season.  Continue reading for the recipe.

Read More »

Roasted Garlic Infused Vodka

I’m keeping things really simple today.

Roasted Garlic Infused Vodka This quick and easy vodka infusion is perfect for anyone who loves garlic as much as I do.  Roasted Garlic Infused Vodka can be made in just 24 hours with only a handful of ingredients.  The sweet-savory aroma and flavor work perfectly in one of my favorite cocktails, the Bloody Mary.  I’ve got a new Blood Mary recipe coming up next, so be sure to check back in soon :)  Continue reading for the recipe!

Read More »

Rainbow Chard Soup

I’m bringing the freshness today.

Rainbow Chard Soup Freshness in the form of a vibrant green Rainbow Chard Soup made with ingredients found in my Specialty Produce Farmer’s Market Box (FMB).  Several weeks ago, I started picking up a FMB at SP, and I’ve really been loving the variety of fresh goodies found within.  Specialty Produce, a local wholesale distributor, stocks many of the restaurants around town with beautiful, high-quality produce.  Some of their products are imported, while others come from farms in the area.  They also open up their warehouse from 8am – 5pm to individuals.  This is where I get almost all of my produce.  Here’s a list of the produce found in my most-recent FMB:

White Corn – Black Sheep Produce
Heirloom Mix Eggplant – Weiser Family Farms
Fennel – Rutiz Farms
White Scallions – McGrath Family Farms
Peewee Mix Fingerling Potatoes – Weiser Family Farms
Baby Mix Beets – Black Sheep Produce
Rainbow Chard – Lakeside
Strawberries – Be Wise Ranch
Broccoli – Lakeside
Jalapeno – Coke Farms

When I first saw the contents of the box, I immediately started thinking of soup ideas, and with San Diego LGBT Pride happening in just a few weeks, I decided to focus on the rainbow chard.  This soup recipe starts with chopped fennel sauteed with scallions, garlic and jalapeño.  Water and coconut milk are added along with chopped rainbow chard leaves.  Once the leaves turn tender, everything is blended until silky smooth.  I like to add a handful of spinach to the mix just before blending to amp up the green flavor and color.  The soup is finished with a a dollop of Greek yogurt, toasted almonds, coconut flakes, sliced scallion greens, and freshly pickled rainbow chard stems.  Such a bold variety of toppings may seem over-the-top, but I just love all of the contrasting flavors and textures.  Both flavorful AND healthy, this Rainbow Chard Soup is bright, fresh, and incredibly satisfying.  Continue reading for the recipe.

Read More »

Grilled Kale Caesar with Torn Croutons

Several months ago, I had a grilled kale salad at a special event, and I’ve been dying to recreate it ever since.

Grilled-Kale-Caesar-(smaller) Organic lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur or black kale, is the star ingredient of this healthy, summer salad.  When cooked over hot coals, this leafy superfood transforms into something truly delicious.  Crispy edges provide savory notes of smoke and char while the inner portion of the kale leaf stays tender and chewy.  These grilled greens are tossed in a creamy Caesar dressing spiked with lemon, garlic and Parmesan cheese.  Torn croutons add pops of satisfying crunch.  This salad is a delicious mix of flavors and textures.  Continue reading for the recipe.

Read More »

Grilled Dry-Aged Steak [Giveaway]

I’m giving away some beef today.  Are you ready for this?

Grilled-Dry-Aged-Steak2 And not just any beef.  I’m giving away a WestRidge Big Steaks package, including two Boneless Ribeye Steaks, and two T-Bone Steaks.  We’ll get to the giveaway details in just a bit.  First, let’s talk MEAT.  WestRidge Beef specializes in high-quality, dry-aged, antibiotic-free, hormone-free beef products.  Raised outdoors in a stress-free environment, their cattle are fed only natural products like grass, grain and hay.  I’m giving you these details, because they all have a major positive impact on flavor.  I got to sample a number of different steaks from WestRidge, and they are all so, so delicious.

This recipe for Grilled Dry-Aged Steak features two of WestRidge’s beautiful t-bones.  These steaks are dry-aged for 21 days, concentrating the flavor (as a result of moisture loss), tenderizing the meat, and adding rich notes of nuttiness and umami.  The dry-aging process also modifies the aroma of the steak, amping up the beefiness while adding a funky note similar to blue cheese.  I should also mention that these steaks are reddish-brown, rather than the bright, vibrant red you see with supermarket steaks.

Seasoned simply with flaky sea salt, these dry-aged t-bones are quickly seared on a screaming hot grill, adding savory flavors of caramelization, smoke and char.  The steaks then rest for 10 minutes in a golden butter bath infused with garlic, rosemary and thyme.  I need to tell you that these are some of the best damn steak I’ve ever had.  Tender, juicy and incredibly flavorful.  Once you learn this technique, you’ll want to cook all of your steaks this way moving forward.  Continue reading for the recipe plus a WestRidge Beef giveaway.

Read More »

Grilled Tri-Tip with Green Garlic Salsa Verde

I’ve got some exciting news to share!

Grilled Tri Tip with Salsa Verde For the next few months, I’m partnering with the new Jimbo’s… Naturally! located at Westfield Horton Plaza on some seriously tasty and organic recipes.  Jimbo’s… Naturally! is a local San Diego business that focuses on high quality organic and natural food.  Their new location at Westfield Horton Plaza is a beauty!  In addition to a juice bar, deli, and bakery, they’ve got a sizable selection of organic produce.  The green garlic I discovered in the produce department was the inspiration for this Italian salsa verde.

To showcase some of the products found at Jimbo’s… Naturally!, I put together this recipe for Grilled Tri-Tip with Green Garlic Salsa Verde.  Organic, grass-fed beef tri-tip is quickly marinated in a sharp blend of garlic, rosemary, lemon and olive oil.  The roast is then placed on a searing hot charcoal grill to develop a wonderfully charred, caramelized crust, and finished over indirect heat to keep the center tender and juicy.  After a brief rest, the tri-tip is sliced against the grain, and served with a Green Garlic Salsa Verde.  This vibrant condiment is made with fresh parsley, garlic, red chile, capers, lemon and olive oil.  Bright, fresh flavors permeate both the beef and the sauce, making them a perfect combination for any summer barbecue.  Continue reading for the recipe.

Read More »

Roasted Garlic Focaccia with Rosemary

Who wouldn’t want a slice of this?

Roasted Garlic Focaccia Herb-flecked and golden, this airy Italian bread is flavored with roasted garlic-infused olive oil.  Its dimpled, burnished surface dotted with nubs of caramelized garlic.  Each bite of my Roasted Garlic Focaccia with Rosemary is pure heaven for garlic-lovers.

For me, focaccia is one of the simplest breads to make.  I actually prepared my first focaccia ever when I was in high school!  In its most basic form, focaccia is made with olive oil, water, yeast, flour and salt.  The dough is then stretched into a wide, flat shape, and dimpled across the surface.  These dimples allow olive oil to reach the center of the bread, creating a moist texture.  After baking, the surface of the bread gets hard and golden, while the interior remains soft and light.

This focaccia recipe is made with olive oil that’s been infused with an entire head of roasted garlic.  The aromatic oil is added directly to the dough, and is also used to brush across the top once the dough has been formed.  Nuggets of caramelized garlic are scattered across the surface of the bread, reinforcing flavor, and adding a satisfying textural element.  A sprinkling of fresh rosemary and crunchy sea salt to finish.  Continue reading for the recipe.

Read More »

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.

Read More »