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.

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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.

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Hard-Boiled Egg Toast with Harissa Butter

I’m keeping things real simple today.

Hard Boiled Egg Toast Harissa Butter

My love for healthy, flavor-packed toast isn’t limited to just avocado variations.  No, my friends, I am equally enthusiastic about the beautiful open-faced sandwich above. Meet: Hard-Boiled Egg Toast.

Now I know the combination of eggs and toast isn’t a novel one, but the addition of Harissa Butter takes these breakfast staples to the next level.  Let me explain.

Harissa Butter is a simple mixture of softened butter, Harissa (a North-African chile paste), lemon juice and salt.  This infused butter gets schmeared on a crusty slice of hot toast then topped with sliced hard-boiled egg, picked parsley leaves, salt and pepper.  The combination of flavors is incredibly satisfying.  I’ve been known to eat a slice or two for lunch or dinner, and sometimes I’ll even throw a fresh salad into the mix.

Not familiar with Harissa?  Check out my recipe here.  I also have a tube of Harissa in my fridge as a backup.  Both are tasty options.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Pasta Puttanesca with Roasted Cauliflower

Pasta Puttanesca aka pasta in the style of the ladies of the night aka slut’s spaghetti is on the menu today.

Pasta Puttanesca with Roasted Cauliflower

If you are unfamiliar with this dish, you may be scratching your head at all this whore talk so early on a Tuesday morning, but let me explain.  Pasta Puttanesca is a classic Italian dish where pasta (spaghetti pictured above) is dressed in a sauce made of tomatoes, garlic, olives, capers and red chile flakes.  Rumor has it that the ladies of the night would simmer this sauce, and let the aroma waft out of their open windows with the intent of luring men into their establishment for the evening.  Others say that this sauce was popular amongst these ladies, because all the ingredients can be stored in the pantry.  No need to go to the market to get fresh ingredients between clients!

Whores aside, let’s talk about this version of Pasta Puttanesca.  There are many aspects of the traditional dish that are very enticing.  Pasta Puttanesca is easy (no pun intended), quick-to-prepare, and can be made with a handful of pantry staples.  Here, I’ve added freshness and substance by way of Roasted Cauliflower, freshly chopped parsley and lemon wedges to finish.  Cauliflower gets wonderfully nutty when roasted, and this flavor pairs nicely with the olives, capers and tomatoes.  Parsley and lemon add fresh hits of green and acid for balance.  Each bite is incredibly satisfying.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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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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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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