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Category Archives: Savory

¡Carnitas!

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Hola, buenas dias!

This past weekend, Fall officially arrived in the Bay Area. We have been enjoying our Indian summer, but like any east coaster who no longer lives on the east coast: I miss real seasons. So when it was rainy and cold on Saturday, I was sincerely giddy!

You know seasonal depression? Well I have seasonal happiness. Completely backwards, I know.  But I truly thrive in the rainy cold (not too cold, please) gray of winter. It invites you stay inside and read, cuddle, or…. cook! Cooking and baking are especially welcome in the winter as it not only provide delicious food but heat too!  We like heat!

In the fall and winter I like things that take a loonnnng time to cook or bake (more heat.) So when I saw a recipe that called for braising pork shoulder for two hours, I am IN.

Fact: meat is not photogenic

After finding the recipe, I did what any self respecting 25 year old girl would do and dressed up like Katniss Everdeen (Hunger Games, anyone?) to go out in the rain to the grocery (and by that, I mean I wore boots, all black, and a braid).

Fixins

I whipped up some onions and peppers for fixins. In a last minute stroke of brilliance, I threw in some frozen corn. Victory.

Whenever I make tacos, I fry up some corn or flour tortillas for B and microwave some whole wheat tortillas for me. I am the semblance of health.

Happy Fall! Happy warming your house with food and love! Happy!

Recipe from here:

3 pounds boneless pork shoulder or pork butt, cut into 2-inch cubes
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice (from about 2 to 3 limes)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste

In a dutch oven or heavy pot, add everything. Then top it off with enough water to just cover the meat. Place pot over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to a simmer and let cook, uncovered, for 2 hours. Resist temptations, and don’t touch the meat. At all.

After two hours, crank up the heat to medium high and let cook for 45 more minutes, turning the meat occasionally.  After that time, all of the liquid should be evaporated. If you find that you think your meat is not cooked enough, don’t be afraid to add more water and allow to cook for longer. You want the meat to be ready to fall apart and a little shredded.

When the liquid is gone, let the meat cook and turn it so it browns all over. You’re done! Your house smells great! You are warm! How easy was that?!

Fixins. 

Around the time you crank the heat up for the last 45 minutes, get some fixins together. Here’s roughly what I did:

1 cup onion roughly chopped.

1 green pepper roughly chopped

1 jalepeno diced

1 cup frozen corn

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon paprika

dash of cayenne

salt & pepper to taste.

In a pan, saute the onions and peppers in oil over low-medium heat with some salt and pepper. Let them cook for about 10 minutes to get that almost caramelized, melty vegetable.  Add your spices and jalepenos and turn the heat up to medium/high. Cook for a couple minutes then add frozen corn and cook until thawed and slightly charred.

Throw the carnitas and fixins in a tortilla with avocado, rice, beans, salsa, sour cream, cheese… go crazy! Loca! Deliciosa!

Gran Bread

Remember that time I made brunch? And I told you I had a quick and easy little bread for an appetizer. Welp. Here it is.

I found it on 101 Cookbooks. So nice and easy for a bread. Only one rise for 30 minutes! And full of whole wheat and oats so it’s nice and hearty. Alone, it’s not as exciting, but proved to be an excellent delivery device for jam or (peanut) butter. It also won my heart because it came from a cookbook she found called Gran’s Kitchen. This little gem is apparently not published in the U.S. but that’s ok because I have a Gran’s Kitchen of my own…

hearty: full of heart.

On my mom’s side of the fam, we call grandmothers “Gran.” I didn’t ever get to meet my Gran but I now get to see Mom as a Gran herself! Sometimes, when you’re three, you need to make this a two-syllable word. Ga-raaaan. Totally acceptable. No judgment here.

hi there.

My mom is a great mom. I would even say the best mom. But she has maybe outdone herself as a Gran. I feel it’s the role she was born to play. Living her best life.

Proofing yeast. Mom taught me that.

Mom taught me how to proof yeast. It can be confusing to figure out if you just read instructions that say heat water on the stove to 115 degrees. What does 115 degrees feel like? Needless to say, I burnt my first proofs. That was some flat and dense bread. Yuck.

Risen!

Alls you got to do is turn the sink water on real hot. Get it so it’s uncomfortable to the touch of that tender skin on the underside of your wrist. While I’m waiting for the water to get hot, I like to warm up whatever measuring device you’ll be using by letting the water run into it. This prevents the water from losing heat so quickly. Have your yeast ready to go because by the time you get that water to the bowl, it’s lost some heat. We don’t want that. This sounds scary, but I promise it’s full proof. (hehe. pun intended).

Now you have no excuses. Make the bread.

1 1/4 cup warm water

1 packet active dry yeast

1 tbs. honey

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup rolled oats (the old fashioned kind)

1.5 tsp salt

2 tbs butter, melted

Pour your dry yeast into the warm water and stir a little to dissolve. Add the honey and stir. Then let proof for 5-10 minutes until frothy.

Meanwhile, mix your flours, oats, and salt in a separate bowl.

When the yeast is proofed, combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix very well.

Grease your loaf pan with some of the melted butter. Turn the dough into the pan and cover with a clean damp towel. Let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350. When ready, bake the bread for 35-40 minutes. Heidi suggest turning the broiler on for just a touch at the end to get the browned top. Totally optional (but I did it). Keep a close eye if you do…

Turn the bread out of the pan immediately and place on a rack to prevent the bread from steaming in the pan. Serve with generous amounts of jam or butter.

 

 

Brunch!

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This weekend I had the pleasure of making brunch for my family (Mom was in town!)… this was the second brunch I’ve hosted and I think it went much smoother than the first. My main goal was to not have to do too much cooking in the morning (as B will tell you, I can become a stress case the morning of)… Here’s the menu:

Spinach Gruyere Strata

Cinnamoney Rolls

Fruit Salad

Sausage

I made a quick little bread for jam and butter when people arrived and also had some mimosas, coffee, and tea. Easy and delicious. I really feel brunch is one of the best meals ever created. I wish we brunched every day. It’s mostly just giant breakfast. And personally, I believe breakfast is the only meal worth paying for…

All of the recipes are forthcoming but today, we’re talking strata. I didn’t know what strata was for most of my life. In fact, the only reason I ever looked up a recipe for it was, embarrassingly, The Family Stone. Have you seen it? It’s a chick flick. That takes place at Christmas. (My favorite things!). Sarah Jessica Parker makes a strata for Christmas brunch that ends up on the floor… but the real point is that strata is a perfect brunch item. You prepare it the day before. Let it sit in the fridge overnight and absorb lots of goodness. Stick in the oven in the morning and voila! Strata!

You start by sauteing onions, add some seasoning, throw in some thawed frozen spinach. Kitchen smells gooooood.

Loooots of eggs get together. Whisk in some milk, dijon, goodness.

Layer it up like lasagna. Fridge it overnight. Bake it in the morning….

Adapted from here:

1 large chopped onion

Salt and pepper to taste

1 10 oz. package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess juices

1/4 tsp nutmeg

9 eggs

2 3/4 cups milk

2 tbs. Dijon mustard

2 cups grated gruyere

1 cup grated parmesan

1/2 pound french bread cubed

Grease a three quart baking dish. Set aside.

Saute the onions until translucent with some salt and pepper (about 5-7 minutes). Add nutmeg, saute about a minute more. Add spinach until warmed through. Set aside.

Whisk eggs, milk, and dijon in a large bowl. Transfer about half to a liquid measuring cup or other sort of pitcher that will make it easier to pour.

Layer 1/3 bread cubes followed by 1/3 spinach and onion mixture, and then 1/3 each cheese. Continue layering, finishing with the cheeses. Then, carefully pour the egg mixture over the layers. I didn’t end up using all of it, be careful not to over-fill. But everyone’s dish is a little different. Trust your judgment.

Cover with saran wrap or aluminum foil and put in fridge overnight (at least 8 hours).

In the morning, take the dish out of the fridge and let rest for about 30 minutes while the oven preheats to 350 degrees. Bake, uncovered for 45-55 minutes until the strata is “puffed” and slightly golden.

Eat it up!

Jalepeño Jack Scones

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HEY YALL. hey. Happy Friday! I hope you all have great things to look forward to this weekend!

I got to start my weekend a little early and go out to dinner at Town Hall in SF last night with a current and former bossman. It was really good to see the former (Steve). He’s from Texas and a really big deal in consumer protection law. Smart man who is fun to listen to (and boy, can he talk).  I picked Town Hall upon Seleta’s suggestion, but also for the menu which features California cuisine–southern style.  This seems to be a hot trend right now, and who am I to argue? I had biscuits with red pepper jelly, crusted red trout and cauliflower (and some fried cheese grits!), and made-to-order beignets. Made me miss The South and made me miss working in eating in restaurants…

But piggybacking on the southern theme, today’s post is appropriate. Wednesday night I made Veggie Chili with Jalepeño Pepperjack scones. The chili was good, but let’s be honest, I could have just had the scones for dinner.

I brought these scones up at dinner last night. Dan (current bossman) told Steve about how I’m quite the baker. And then proceeded to engage in a discussion about how he thinks Martha Stewart is the worst thing to happen to Women’s Lib in the last 20 years. Listen, Dan. Take that back. Martha is simply showing people (man or woman!) how to cook. And occassionally craft (although, let’s be real, her projects are impossible). If it weren’t for Martha, I wouldn’t know how to fold the fitted sheet! Valuable life lessons. That’s what Martha gives.

cubed cheese and cooked jalepeños

 These are pretty basic scones and easy to make. So do it. For your happiness.

This recipe came from… you guessed it, Joy the Baker. And because I didn’t change the recipe one bit, I’m just going to send you to her… Recipe
 
Bon Appetit!