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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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.

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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.

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Tomato and Horseradish Cocktail Sauce

We’re in the middle of a heatwave here in San Diego, and all I want to do right now is sit by a pool (or at the beach or in a backyard) with an ice cold michelada, and a plate of shrimp cocktail within arm’s reach.

Cocktail Sauce With Shrimp
Preferably this plate of shrimp cocktail, featuring my Tomato and Horseradish Cocktail Sauce.  Made with charred tomatoes, freshly grated horseradish root, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, hot sauce and honey, this homemade condiment is fresh, bright, and has an incredibly light mouthfeel.  The flavors are similar to a classic cocktail sauce, but with the volume turned way up.  What I love the most about this sauce is that it allows the flavor of the shrimp to come through, giving the crustaceans a chance to be more than just a sauce delivery system.  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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Zinfandel Short Ribs with Goat Cheese Polenta and Mixed Herb Gremolata

Zinfandel Short Ribs Can you even believe that Christmas is just 3 days away?  Where did the Holiday season go?  Well, I’ve managed to get most of my gift shopping done; however, I have yet to bake a single cookie or prepare any edible gifts for my coworkers.  AND I’m just finishing up all of my cards today.  Luckily they say “Happy Holidays”, so they are still relevant if they show up some time between Christmas and New Years ;).  I know you’re probably thinking: #firstworldproblems, but I have certain traditions I like to do each year, and it makes me a little sad if I don’t get to all of them.

This year, Jorge and I will be going up to LA on Christmas Eve to have dinner with his family, and then we’ll be driving back to SD on Christmas day.  Christmas dinner will be for just the two us.  Even though I’m not hosting a blowout party (like Thanksgiving), I still want to make our Christmas dinner special.

It’s during times like these when I need to prepare a standout meal with minimal effort, that I’m glad I have this Zinfandel Short Ribs recipe in my back pocket.  Zinfandel Short Ribs are fairly easy to prepare, the ingredients aren’t fussy, and the beef can be cooked a day in advance.  Goat Cheese Polenta and Mixed Herb Gremolata, the all-star accompaniments, come together easily an hour before dinner.  And really, who doesn’t love a good braised short rib?  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Kale and Bacon Frittata

Kale and Bacon Frittata

It’s around this time each year that I’m usually super busy with my full time job.  It’s event season and I’ve got a major one coming up next Saturday.  Amidst extensive planning and preparations, I find myself yearning for a lazy Sunday morning with the boyfriend.  The type of morning where we brew an extra-large pot of coffee.  The Food Network is on in the background, and I’m puttering around in the kitchen cooking up some waffles, pancakes, or scones (Instagramming along the way of course).  A morning with no commitments, and a shower is my most ambitious plan.

Unfortunately, this Sunday morning looks nothing like that.  Even though my schedule is packed, I still try to make time for a delicious, home-cooked breakfast.  Today, I’ve made this Kale and Bacon Frittata.  Rich and smokey, this egg-based dish is make with thin shreds of kale sautéed in bacon fat with shallot and crushed red pepper flake.  A golden-hued mix of egg, smoked gouda and parsley is then poured over the tangle of spicy bitter greens.  Crispy bits of bacon are tossed in at the end.  The finished frittata is luscious and hearty.  With each bite you’ll enjoy a satisfying balance of spicy, salty, fatty, fresh and bitter.  And the crisp bacon provides savory pops of smoke and salt.  I may not be able to enjoy a lazy Sunday morning right now, but at least I can get a small bite of it before diving into my next project.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Marinated Flank Steak Salad with Feta and Arugula

Flank Steak Salad with Feta and Arugula I love a good flank steak salad.  First, flank steak is fairly inexpensive.  You can get a pound of meat without breaking the bank.  Second, flank steak cooks sooooo quickly.  8 to 9 minutes under the broiler, and you have a beautifully rare slab of meat.  Finally, flank steak is easy to master.  Just know that when cooking flank steak, it’s best to leave it rare or medium rare.  And when slicing flank steak, you need to cut across the grain.  Both of these practices will result in a juicy, tender steak (vs. a chewy piece of shoe leather).

I like to test the doneness of my steak by using the poke method.  Start by gently poking the top of the steak (at the thickest point) with your index finger.  If the act of poking leaves an indent in the steak that doesn’t spring back to place, it is too rare.  If the indent springs back, it is rare to medium-rare.  If the steak feels firm, then it is medium-well to well (aka overcooked).  This method takes a little time to get down, but just keep practicing.  By the way, if you are one of those people who likes their steak well-done, I wouldn’t recommend cooking flank steak.

In this recipe, flank steak is quickly marinated in olive oil, lemon, garlic, cumin, and sumac, then broiled until the surface is slightly charred.  Slices of tender pink meat are then arranged on a platter, and topped with arugula, scallion, parsley and chunks of salty feta, dressed in the tangy marinade.  This is a perfect weeknight meal that also holds up well for lunch the next day.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Pressure Cooker Tomato Sauce

Pressure Cooker Tomato Sauce

Sharing a recipe for tomato sauce other than my mother’s is risky business.  Blasphemy really.  But when I saw this Pressure Cooker Tomato Sauce in Modernist Cuisine at Home, I was intrigued.  In this recipe, onion, carrot, garlic and tomato are cooked under pressure until the flavors melt together, forming a vibrant marinara sauce.  Finished with a drizzle of rich extra virgin olive oil and a handful of fresh herbs, this sauce is bright, well-balanced and full of flavor.  You can use this pressure cooked sauce in any way you would use a regular tomato sauce: chicken, pizza and pasta to name just a few.  Personally, I love to tear off chunks of crusty bread, and dip into a bowl of hot tomato sauce.  Now you may be wondering, which sauce is better?  This sauce or my other Homemade Tomato Sauce?  My answer:  neither!  Each sauce has a unique, delicious flavor.  I would be more inclined to make this Pressure Cooker Tomato Sauce during the week (because of the shorter cooking time), and my Homemade Tomato Sauce on Sunday afternoon.  Well that’s it!  I’m just hoping the Italian side of my family will forgive me ;)  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Chicken Stock Recipe

Celery, Carrots, Dried Shiitakes, Onion and Garlic

Today I’m going to share illustrated step-by-step instructions on how to make the most amazing chicken stock you’ll ever have.  I decided to go into great detail with this recipe because it really is a game-changer.  I made the transition from canned stock to homemade last year and I’ll never turn back.  Use stock as a flavorful base to soups, sauces, risottos and grains (just to name a few).  If you start with a super tasty stock, your end result is almost guaranteed to be delicious.

A few notes about this recipe:  The amount of steps may seem a bit daunting, but really, the process breaks down into four easy techniques – prep, caramelize, simmer, strain.  Simply spend a few hours (mainly unattended) on a Sunday afternoon making this recipe and you’ll have flavorful stock at your fingertips for a month.  I should also mention that I don’t add salt to my stock.  I prefer to salt whatever the stock is going into.  Continue reading for a comprehensive guide to my homemade chicken stock.

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