Romesco’s Cucumber Martini

It’s about to get all sorts of tasty up in here.

Cucumber Martini Several weeks ago, I had an outstanding meal at Romesco in San Diego with my boyfriend Jorge.  David Nelson, a friend and food writer extraordinaire, also joined us for the afternoon.  Romesco, known for its upscale Mexican-Mediterranean cuisine, is a must-visit restaurant by Chef Javier Plascencia.  Jorge and I had a fantastic experience at Misión 19, another Chef Plascencia hotspot, just months earlier in Tijuana, so I had a feeling that Romesco would be a treat.  And let me tell you.  It was.  Continue reading for highlights from our meal at Romesco, plus a recipe for their super tasty Cucumber Martini.

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Yogurt Panna Cotta with Easy Plum Compote

I’m not ready to give up summer just yet.

Yogurt Panna Cotta with Plum Compote Apples, pears, quince and pumpkins will all have their turn.  But for now, I’m holding on to summer with this Yogurt Panna Cotta with Plum Compote.  Panna cotta is a favorite dessert of mine, because the process is easy, and the results are spectacular.  Typically made with heavy cream, panna cotta is custard-like dessert that is thickened with gelatin instead of eggs.  The texture is smooth, rich and silky.  In this recipe, tangy whole-milk yogurt is flavored with sugar, citrus zest and an entire vanilla bean, then firmed up with powdered gelatin.  After an overnight chill, the panna cotta is topped with a sweet-tart Plum Compote (made with 3-ingredients!), and fresh, fragrant mint leaves.  So simple.  So delicious.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Watermelon Ginger Spritzer

I’m keeping things short and sweet today.

Watermelon Ginger Spritzer And when I say short, I’m referring to the serious lack of time it takes to blend up this delicious, non-alcoholic beverage.  The sweetness comes in two forms.  First, chunks of watermelon ripe with fragrant, sweet juices are blended and strained, forming the most vibrant-colored liquid.  The pure essence of watermelon really.  Second, sweet and spicy Ginger Syrup is added to the mix for depth of flavor.  The drink is finished with freshly squeezed lime juice for balance, and sparkling water to lighten the texture.  This Watermelon Ginger Spritzer is crisp, seasonal, and incredibly refreshing.  A perfect summer beverage.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Kale and Avocado Summer Rolls

Spring Roll Making During San Diego’s June Gloom, the weather is rarely ideal for going to the beach.  Which makes me sad, because it’s around this time of the year that I start yearning for a beach day.  The beach is one of the main reasons why I moved from New Jersey to San Diego.  Each year while I was growing up, I would spend a week or two at my Aunt’s beach house on Long Beach Island (eating many of these).  It was one of my favorite times of the year.  So naturally, when it was time for me to move out on my own, I picked a city with easy beach access.

On the rare occasion in June when the sun decides to break through the marine layer, I immediate make plans to go to the beach.  I pack my bag with a book, iPad, iPhone, tanning oil (I am a New Jerseyite at heart), water and snacks, like these Kale and Avocado Summer Rolls.  Kale is marinated in a dressing of honey, lime, fish sauce, garlic and chile, then wrapped up with a fresh mix of carrot, cucumber, avocado, mint and cilantro.  These flavors are bold and bright.  Portable gourmet, this summer roll can easily stay in my bag for a few hours without worry of spoilage.

So it ends up that today is actually one of those rare beautiful days in June.  I’ve got my bag almost all packed up, so I’m going to finish here.  I’ll be on the beach enjoying a few of these tasty rolls.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Pear Salsa

Pear Salsa

Fragrant chunks of crisp, Bartlett pear are tossed with sweet red onion, fiery bits of serrano chile, fresh mint and verdant cilantro.  This beautiful bowl of purple and green is then dressed in a simple mix of olive oil and lime juice.  Fresh, bright and SO yum, this recipe makes a lot of salsa, so make sure you have friends or family around to help you finish it.  I love to serve this up with some tortilla strips, but you could also spoon atop a seared piece of fish or mix in with steamed rice.

We’re all familiar with tropical fruit salsas like pineapple and mango, but really, you can use any type of fruit.  I’m getting a little giddy just thinking of the possibilities!  Apple and thyme salsa?  White peach and tarragon?  Berries and sage?  So many options!  What’s your favorite type of fruit salsa?  Continue reading for the recipe and share your thoughts below!

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El Comediante

El Comediante

El Comediante (Spanish for the comedian) is your cocktail for this weekend.  And the next few weekends.  Made with Red Bell Pepper Rum, Ginger Syrup, lime, ginger ale, red wine and mint, this colorful cocktail is packed with flavor and aroma.  The red wine floating on top pairs beautifully with the red bell pepper rum.  And with each sip, you’ll get a nosefull of spicy fresh mint.  Get a few of these in you, and you’ll be giggling all evening long.  Continue reading for the recipe plus a video from my recent segment on San Diego Channel 6!!

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Ripe Plum Tabbouleh

Ripe Plum Tabbouleh

With the 4th of July just around the corner, I’ve been testing out some nontraditional sides that would fit in well at a barbeque.  Tabbouleh is a Middle Eastern salad typically made with bulgur, tomato, herbs, lemon and olive oil.  The flavors are fresh, bold and clean.  A perfect counter to the assortment of smokey, fatty meats usually found at a backyard barbeque.  Stone fruit just screams summer to me, so I decided to substitute in some ripe, juicy plums for the tomatoes.  This salad starts with small mound of sliced scallions.  Tiny jewels of ombre-hued plum and fiery red chile are added just before a fragrant flurry of chopped mint and parsley.  Textural bulgur is crumbled in at the end with a dressing made of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  The finished salad is utterly addicting.  Because tabbouleh is dairy-free, it can sit out a party for a little while without worry of spoilage.  But I highly doubt it will sit around for too long before the whole bowl is finished.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Tomato Salad with Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette [Giveaway]

Tomato Salad with Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette

This Tomato Salad with Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette is a vibrant celebration of one of my favorite ingredients, the tomato.  Sitting atop a mound of textural couscous is a haphazard mess of yellow, orange and red dressed in a fragrant, fruity vinaigrette.  Finished with a scattering of chopped oregano, tarragon and mint, this salad is freshness incarnate.  These bold, scrumptsh flavors are sure to keep the fork-to-mouth motion in full effect until the last morsel is consumed.

I should also mention that the types of tomatoes used aren’t particularly important.  Can’t find yellow cherry tomatoes?  Go with all red.  Orange tomatoes not available in your local market?  Pick up a roma, beefsteak or plum tomato.  Simply use the recipe below as a general guideline.  You’ll definitely want to make sure all of your tomatoes are ripe.  This salad is best consumed during the summer months when tomatoes are in season.  Continue reading for the recipe plus giveaway details.

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Arugula Mojito

Arugula Mojito

Arugula might not be the first ingredient that comes to mind when making cocktails; however, I assure you that it’s peppery green flavor works perfectly in this refreshing mojito.  A handful of leafy arugula is muddled with bright lime juice and honey simple syrup, then shaken with woodsy gin.  Finished with a fragrant sprig of mint, this Arugula Mojito is a delightfully complex beverage perfect for a warm spring afternoon.  With each sip, you’ll get a pleasant noseful of mint – a slight nod to the classic mojito.  What are your favor springtime beverages?  Share your thoughts below plus get the Arugula Mojito recipe.

Just for fun:  IS THAT A MOJITO?

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Frozen Mojito Melon Skewers

Frozen Mojito Melon Skewers Frozen Mojito Melon Skewers are a fresh, entertaining dessert perfect for your next summer bash.  Ripe honeydew wedges are soaked in rum, sugar, mint and lime juice, then frozen into a cool, handheld treat.  Preparation of this dessert includes piercing the melon wedges with wooden skewers or pop sticks.  This makes the dessert both easy to eat and fun to play with (melon mustaches anyone?). The finished texture of the melon is similar to firm sorbet.

I’ve slightly adapted this recipe from one found in On a Stick!, a new cookbook by Matt Armendariz.  Matt’s publisher graciously sent me a copy of this book to review.  So glad they did.  On a Stick! features 80 recipes of food… on a stick!  Favorites include Deep-Fried Ravioli, Elote (Mexican corn on a stick), Chicken and Waffles and Fudge Puppies (chocolate covered waffles on a stick).  Fun and whimsical, this book is a must-have for anyone who enjoys entertaining.

I am featuring this recipe in particular because I find the process both interesting and highly adaptable.  You could soak any type of melon in a mixture of alcohol or simple syrup then freeze.  Sugar and acid would be needed in most cases.  Herbs optional.  Here are some potentially tasty ideas:

  • Watermelon with Sambuca and Lime
  • Watermelon with Vodka, Basil and Balsamic Vinegar
  • Cucumber with Gin and Lime
  • Cantaloupe with Pimm’s, Ginger, Mint and Lemon

Find the recipe below for the Frozen Mojito Melon Skewers.  Once you learn the process, try one of the variations above or come up with your own combination!

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