Andy’s Going Away Party

Taco Bar Spread

A couple of weeks ago, Brandon and I cooked for his dad’s going away party. He’ll be out of state for work for some time so we decided it would be nice to get his friends together and enjoy company while he was still in town. Being in the military is a difficult profession and I can’t imagine what our country would be without the help of so many men and women all over the world who sacrifice so much for our safety.

So for this event we had two chefs and one kitchen. Brandon and I have worked together in some kitchen during various times for the last 7 years professionally, at home, or at someone else’s home/event. You can currently visit Brandon at Blush Restaurant and/or Blind Tiger in Santa Barbara, where he is the Executive Chef.

Though most of my time is spent cooking for my family and teaching yoga, it’s nice to prepare a large meal for wonderful people. We decided to have a massive taco fiesta. Our first go with the barbeque ended up not too successful because the grill wasn’t in working order, so we went for the simple charcoal grill that I’m used to and I grilled the food while Brandon cooked inside. I think overall it was a great team effort. Safe travels, Andy!

Menu

Carne Asada

Grilled Chicken

Chopped Seasoned Pork

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms and Zucchini

Spanish Bay Shrimp

Mixed Vegetable Sofritas

Chorizo Bean Dip

Guacamole

Salsa with Green Chiles and Garlic

Tortillas and Toppings

Dessert

Coconut Cream Pie with Bananas and Fresh Peaches

Coconut Cream Pie with Bananas and Fresh Peaches

Grilled Cinnamon Peaches and Pineapple

Grilled Cinnamon Peaches and Pineapple

Rocky Road Pudding Pie

Rocky Road Pudding Pie

Rocky Road Pudding Pie Recipe

Layered dark chocolate and white chocolate pudding in Oreo crust with marshmallows and chocolate dusted roasted almonds

1 Oreo Crust

½ cup cocoa dusted roasted almonds

1 cup miniature marshmallows

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Place cold heavy whipping cream in a small bowl. Whip with a hand mixer till thick whipped cream forms, no powdered sugar necessary. About 3-5 minutes on medium speed.

1 small box Hersheys white chocolate pudding

1 ¾ cup whole milk

Make pudding according to the box directions for pie.

1 small box Hersheys dark chocolate pudding

1 ¾ cup whole milk

Make pudding according to the box directions for pie.

Pour 1/2 of the white chocolate pudding into the bottom of the Oreo crust. Top with ½ cup of marshmallows and pour ½ the dark chocolate pudding on top. Mix the remaining pudding together and fold in the whipped cream till smooth. Top pie with the mixture and smooth into a mound. Top with the remaining marshmallows and cocoa dusted almonds. Refrigerate for one hour or more.


Cheers,

Unrivaledkitch

 

Veggies, salsa and Guacamole Mexican Inspired Catering Taco Bar Ingredients Chicken, Sofritas and Shrimp for Tacos Carne Asada and Grilled Chopped Pork

El Patron Reseda, CA

 

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We had multiple Father’s Day celebrations for my dad this year. I’ve been working quite a bit, so we braved the restaurant scene that weekend so we would have more time to be with family instead of cooking and cleaning. My dad is such a special person that we can’t help but celebrate him often. So amongst our other Father’s Day celebrations, I got to spend a little time with my parents and grandma at El Patron restaurant in Reseda, CA.  Being in the valley, I’d say we have a great selection of Mexican food choices and El Patron is one of them.

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Our service was very good from beginning to end; our waiter was engaged and very friendly.  As we looked over the extensive menu, I was impressed to see new and different items on the menu that aren’t traditionally on Mexican menus. They have many vegetarian options for people with dietary restrictions and a kids’ menu as well. The atmosphere is family-friendly, but they have a large patio and bar for the adults.

When we finally figured out what we were going to order—after talking and splitting a pitcher of margaritas—we decided on the Molcajete Cielo, Mar y Tierra (sky, sea and land), which is a large mortar with slow simmered sauce with cactus, tomatoes, shrimp, chicken and steak with cheese and fresh tortillas. The dish served two people, but maybe even could have served three. My mom and I really enjoyed the delicious molcajete, which was easily the highlight of our dinner. The portion and ratio of meat and shrimp was impressive, having served a very ample portion of each protein. My dad ordered fish tacos, which had a really nice piece of fried fish in each one, but they weren’t the greatest fish tacos we’d ever had. My grandma had the chile relleno and carne asada taco combination. The chile relleno was better than I’ve had in a long time; the egg was fried perfectly and the pepper wasn’t too spicy. All of the entrees were served with beans and rice as well as a sweet corn cake.

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We had a fantastic meal together celebrating not only my dad for Father’s Day, but also having one last celebration for my grandma’s 80th birthday. I‘m so grateful for my amazing family and all the time I get to spend with them is so precious. I hope everyone had a wonderful time celebrating their dads. 


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Cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

 

 

 

Unrivaledkitch Tamales 2012

The year flew by and I hope each and everyone of you had a great set of holidays. I’ll be catching up on my blogging in the next week so please stay tuned.  Thank you for your support and a healthy and happy 2013 to you all from my Unrivaledkitch to yours!

I’ve been working on tamales every year around Christmas time for about five years. Tamales are a very traditional Mexican/Spanish dish that involves masa, which is dried corn mixed with fat, broth and spices, filled with meat, sauce and/or cheese and are made in corn husks and then steamed. This year I made around 400 tamales for various family and friends. It was a long process, but very fulfilling. This year I made numerous types ranging from roasted green chile and cheese tamales, tomatillo and roasted chicken, salsa Roja and roasted pork to salsa verde and beef. The process takes many hours of hard work and lots of love, which is why I always love the tradition of making tamales. The broth takes time to develop all the delicious flavors and the ratio of meat to masa is always something that can be worked on.

tamales

I also made pozole for my family for Christmas morning, both chicken and pork. Pozole is a delicious soup that’s made of roasted and slow-simmered parts of pork or chicken and is made with simmered chiles and Mexican corn or hominy. The soup is topped with fresh cabbage, cilantro, green onions, Mexican organo and some red pepper flakes to taste. Everyone always enjoys putting their favorite toppings on their Pozole. It’s something that we all look forward to eating on Christmas morning before we open our presents.

Christmas was a wonderful holiday for our family. Maleeya really did score with Santa—she must have been a really good girl this year. We all can’t wait for next year to see what is in store for us all. I’ve been increasing the number of tamales I make by at least 100 each year, so we’ll see what happens in 2013.

I hope you developed some delicious holiday traditions with your family this holiday season.

Happy Holidays to each and every one of you!

Thank you so much for supporting Unrivaledkitch!

Cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

Chorizo with Sweet Potatoes and Zucchini‏

I eat chorizo often. I love Mexican chorizo, though most people have questionable ideas of its origins and what it’s made of. Chorizo is just something I’ve grown up with, eaten many times and will eat tons more of for the rest of my life.  There are different varieties, from beef to pork and the newly introduced soyrizo, which is also pretty tasty. I’ve never made homemade chorizo, which I need to get around to pronto, so here’s a good reminder for me to make this recipe by Spiciefoodie for chorizo check Nancy www.spiciefoodie.com out, she makes amazing food.
And so I digress from my recipe, but that seems like something I often do when I think about childhood foods, because who really had recipes to follow when mom just had to feed a bunch of crazy kids who were starving and nagging her to death. I love you mom. So while she put up with our madness, we would have Papas con Chorizo. My mom would cook the potatoes in the microwave with small diced potatoes covered with plastic wrap to steam in a bath of water, seasoning salt, and butter, until they were soft.  Then she would place a good amount of chorizo in a large pan and fry it till it was no longer a solid form, but melted salty goodness. Then she would place the potatoes in and stir the mixture till it was incorporated. She always set a large portion aside for my brother–he hated eggs–and then with the rest of the mixture, she would place scrambled eggs in it and incorporate well. I can smell the chorizo on Saturday mornings with cartoons blaring, me and my brother and sister arguing about something, and my dad mowing the lawn, all while we waited for breakfast.  We would scoop up mouthfuls of Papas con Chorizo with flour or corn tortillas (I liked corn) and have a full stomach in no time.
This is not my mom’s chorizo, but it is still delicious. It’s made with zucchini, sweet potato, eggs and chorizo and it’s the easiest thing you could do for breakfast in a hurry. It makes for a delicious breakfast burrito filling and you can use any type of Mexican chorizo you’d like for this.
I hope you eat many breakfast meals that remind you of sweet times in the kitchen when you were young.
Chorizo with Sweet Potatoes and Zucchini
1 medium sweet potato, diced small
1 large zucchini, cut in ½ and then in ¼- ½ inch pieces
2 tablespoons Mexican chorizo
4 eggs, cracked and scrambled in a small bowl
½ cup water
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
Splash of Tapatio (optional)
Corn or flour tortillas
In a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat, place a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil in the pan.
Add sweet potatoes to the pan and stir, till edges are slightly brown, about 3 minutes.
Place a ½ cup of water in the pan and 1 teaspoon of dried parsley, stir and cover. Cook over medium-low heat for about 5-7 minutes, till potatoes are soft. Note: This could be longer if you diced your potatoes larger.
If the water has all evaporated before the potatoes are soft, add a ¼ cup more water till potatoes are done.
Take the sweet potatoes out of the pan and set aside.
Take the same pan and add the chorizo to the pan, smashing it and melting it down over medium heat.
Add zucchini to the pot and cook for about 3 minutes.
Add the scrambled eggs and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes.
Lastly, fold in the potatoes and heat till warmed through.
Heat up tortillas and serve alongside Chorizo or make small burritos. Enjoy with hot sauce of your choice; I like Tapatio.
cheers
-Unrivaledkitch

Los Agaves in Santa Barbara, CA

During another evening around Santa Barbara, Brandon and I decided to break his boycott on Mexican food. After working a year and a half in a Mexican restaurant you need a little break from it, but we decided it was time to find some delicious Mexican in Santa Barbara, so we stopped by Los Agaves. A lovely little place on Milpas, the whole restaurant was buzzing with so many people deciding to have dinner here on a weekday evening. There’s something interesting and unique about Los Agaves, as you walk in, a line of people is generally standing, perusing the overhead chalk board specials and the printed menu. Everyone is searching for a seat-yourself table as they are hard to come by in the peak hours of the evening. As we watched for a table while deciding on what we should eat, the choices of delicious items seemed to overwhelm me. After ordering, you can find your way to the wonderful plethora of fresh salsas and at your table, a bowl of freshly fried corn chips arrives. We ordered a side of guacamole, which was delicious and very creamy.

I wanted everything, but we eventually decided on Cochinita Pibil (slow-roasted Mexican pork in banana leaves), which was served with pinto beans, a very spicy habanero salad and freshly made corn tortillas. The pork was tender and wonderfully prepared. You could taste the slow-cooking spices and fragrant banana leaves essence. I ordered the Mole Enchiladas, which were served with rice and pinto beans. The mole was prepared skillfully; it had the strong chocolatey, spicy, deeply earthy flavors of slow-cooking and years of experience. The chicken in the enchiladas was mouth-watering, seated in tender tortillas and smothered in mole. Small amount of toasted sesame seeds finished the plate and added another depth of flavor.
Overall, the meal was fantastic and the service was wonderful and pleasant. From the open kitchen you could see how hard every person in that small space was working to make all this amazing food for so many people to enjoy. I’m really glad we broke the boycott with such an amazing meal.

cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

Why Write Recipes When You Can Just Cook?

I cook often. If I could blog as easily as it seems for me to whip something up to eat in the kitchen, I’m sure I could fill another four blogs with my recipes. But as most of you know, I cook with more intuition than I do with recipes. Recipe writing is an art, a skill, a talent and I’m trying my hardest to be able to do more of it, but sometimes it’s very difficult for me to do so because I was never taught to cook from recipes; I was taught by watching the people I love, make the food they love.  I hope even if there aren’t recipes per se on my blog about everything I cook, if you’re curious about how to make something or how I’ve made something, you do a little research – say hello, drop me a tweet, facebook comment, e-mail, or whichever way we chat, let me know and I’ll come up with a way for you to make it happen. Here are some of the dishes I’ve photographed in the last week of ideas and meals we’ve enjoyed at home. I want to come back and write recipes for them all, hopefully one day I will. But here are the descriptions and a couple of quick recipes. I hope you enjoy these tasty ideas.

 

Romaine Hearts and Arugula Salad with Minced Beet, Pears, Pistachios, Avocado, Cucumber and Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 romaine heart, cored and sliced into small pieces

8 oz arugula

1 large beet, boiled or roasted, peeled and minced into small pieces

1 avocado, diced

1/4 cup of shelled pistachios

1 pear, peeled and thinly sliced

½ hot house cucumber, sliced

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Black pepper

Salt

To make dressing

Add balsamic, honey and Dijon together and add a pinch of black pepper and salt. Mix together well and then slowly pour in extra virgin olive oil till incorporated. Use less or more oil for your desired consistency.

Combine all vegetables in large bowl, except for beets, and toss with vinaigrette.

Before serving, sprinkle on minced beets and consume.

 Black Pepper and Herb Roasted Turkey Breast with White Wine Cherry Tomato Basil Sauce and Lemon Zest served aside Roasted Red Potatoes

Roasted Red Potatoes

Approx. 3 lbs of medium to small-sized red potatoes, quartered and washed, but not peeled

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons minced sage

1 tablespoon minced rosemary

4 cloves garlic, minced

Salt

Pepper

In a large pot, add red potatoes, cover with cold water and add salt to taste.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook potatoes in water until almost done, about 15-20 minutes, but still having firmness when poked with a fork.

Drain water from the potatoes.

Place the potatoes in large bowl and add a couple pinches of salt, pepper, garlic, herbs, and ½ of the oil, incorporate well and place on a large baking sheet. Then pour the rest of the oil over the top of the potatoes.

Put the potatoes in preheated oven and cook for about 15 minutes. Take potatoes out and shake and stir them loose to roast other sides another 10-12 minutes, till crunchy on the outside, but soft on the inside.

Serve with your favorite meat or vegetables.

Carrot California Chile Colorado with Braised Beef served over Black Rice with Roasted Beet Greens and Garlic and Romaine topped with Avocado

Sliced Turkey, Roasted Zucchini, Mushrooms, Almond Butter, Spicy Carrots and Rice Noodles topped with Almond Cilantro “gremolata”

New York Strip Milanese (New York Steak seasoned with cumin, coriander, black pepper and lemon, then breaded in panko and deep fried) served with Slow-Cooked Black and Pinto Beans with Roasted Garlic and Tomato Spanish Rice

Potato, Sausage and Kale soup with Red Pepper Flakes and Parmesan

Cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

 

Mammoth Eats: Roberto’s

Hidden amongst eateries of all sorts, though not known for its culinary successes, Mammoth plays host to a few gems along the way; one of these fine places is Roberto’s Cafe. I’ve written about this Mexican food before, but I figured a couple more pictures for good measure wouldn’t hurt. Roberto’s is a staple that we tend to indulge in every trip to Mammoth. There’s nothing like a nice burrito or taco after a long day on the lake, but the margaritas make it even better.
On this trip we decided to get out of the snow and make our away from a very disappointing experience to something we knew was going to be good. My brother, Kyle, and sister-in-law, Viet-Linh, were most inclined to find a good meal and something to quench our thirst. We decided on a pitcher of margaritas, which was called La Bamba, while watching the football game in the cantina. The margaritas were wonderfully potent with just the right mixing to make you feel warm and toasty inside, despite the blizzard outside. A delightful scent and flavor of Grand Marnier finished the pleasantness of the overall drink.
After we indulged in chips and salsa and our margaritas, we found ourselves looking over the menu. Kyle and Viet-Linh shared the El Jefe burrito, consisting of shredded chicken, potatoes, cheese and beans, all rolled in a flour tortilla and topped with more of the burrito stuffing. The burrito was huge, delicious and very juicy from all the tender chicken. I ordered a combination plate consisting of a pork tamale and beef taco. The tamale was perfectly moist and topped with a delicious red colorado sauce and some cheese. The beans and rice were tasty and the taco was fried well. Overall, a very delicious and hearty meal for the long winter afternoon.
There’s nothing like tequila and tortillas to brighten up any blizzard.
-cheers
Unrivaledkitch

Sol Y Luna

On a street corner of Ventura Blvd. in Tarzana, lies a valley find unlike many others. As I approached Sol Y Luna on Saturday night, second thoughts were in order, a crowd of well to do ladies and gentlemen surfaced, even before we were inside, about 20 people deep. As we approached the hostess, we were kindly asked to wait an hour if we’d like to eat there. Inclined to see what the wait was about, Stephanie and I decided we would just hop over to the local bowling alley and have a beer, catch up about over the holiday adventures and take her outfit photos for her blog. As we waited, it was clear that we would be around for a little while, so finally after about 45 minutes, we decided to take a seat at the bar, which opened up two seats just in time for the two of us to snag them. We were greeted kindly by a very sweetly natured bartender named Jessie. You could tell it was getting to the part of the evening to wind down a bit by the time we were seated, which I appreciate because I know the middle of service in a large busy restaurant it hectic for everyone.
We ordered house margaritas, which were poured from the gun; nothing over the top, but not a bad drink for the price. I’d probably order a Cadillac next time, if I were to have margaritas there again. The bar was studded with fancy decorations, mirrors and lots of different types of tequila and draft Mexican beer. Jessie asked us if we’d like to start with guacamole as an appetizer, which we were inclined to do because it looked so good. The avocados were perfect and creamy, and the large bowl was made right aside us for us to put in whatever it was we’d like to make it mild, medium or spicy.  We were also served two types of salsa: a pico de gallo, which is a more chunky tomato, onion, and cilantro sauce, as well as a smokey spicy salsa with flavors of chipotle. Both salsas were delicious, the chips were perfectly crunchy and light, not too hard or too soft for breaking in sauces or thick guacamole.
As we enjoyed our huge bowl of guacamole and chips, along with our margaritas, we perused the menu to see what our main courses would be. By this time we had decided that we’d just continue to sit at the bar. I decided I would order the salpicon tostada with shredded beef and refried beans. Stephanie had a black bean and cheese burrito. My tostadas were huge and very delicious. The refreshing, light dressing of just simple oil and vinegar and not overwhelming presence of cheese, was an important factor in the overall delightful nature of the dish. This was a refined Mexican-style dinner. Everything just seemed to fall into place and after all the food, we hardly realized we had waited so long. It was an amazing meal with a great friend, awesome service and even the mariachis came by to serenade us. A great place for good food, but I’d say to head in around 9:00 p.m. or later if you don’t want to wait, or go on an off day, but even then, I’m sure some wait maybe in order for this very desirable Mexican cuisine.

Christmas Tamales and Morning Traditions

I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted. This whole holiday season has been the most amazing, honest experience I’ve had in a long time. I love Christmas! It truly does bring out the best (and the worst) in people, but I think that it’s not necessarily Christmas that brings about the worst, it’s our misunderstanding of what is really important: togetherness, happiness, tenderness, contentment and compassion. I hope you carry these things with you always, through theses sometimes strenuous times, and into the new beautiful year of 2012.

This year I decided to offer my “tamale services” to my friends and family. I was both lucky and fortunate to share these amazing tasty morsels with others this year. It’s a new tradition that I decided to take on because the prices, quality and distance I had to travel to buy decent tamales, seemed to not be worth the hassle in the last couple of years. I love being able to decide what to put in  my tamales, from the beautiful homemade sauces: slowly simmered broths from roasted bones, vegetables and lots of toasted coriander and cumin, to the freshly braised varieties of meats, roasted chilies and luscious cheese, which all combine to make the perfect melding of flavor and freshness.  This year I exceeded my previous year’s number by over 100, making around 250 tamales of several varieties for friends and family. It was one of those things where I was able to create without recipes, but with just feelings and intuition: my favorite type of cooking.
Here’s a little photo journey of my cooking adventure.

I also made traditional pozole (you can find that recipe here) for my family for Christmas morning and tested out a new idea for menudo; both were a smashing success.  I want to thank my sister and brother-in-law for allowing me to proceed with my madness in our home through all hours of the night and my little niece for bringing a smile to my face even when I was thinking at 4:00 a.m., “What did I get myself into?” But it was all worth it! I hope you put some of your favorite traditions on the plates of your loved ones this joyous season.
Happy holidays to you and yours and a wonderful 2012!
Love Kimberly
Cheer
-Unrivaledkitch

Tamales and Pozole by Unrivaledkitch

Hello, my sweet friends! I know most of my readers are from out of state or out of country even but I’d like to extend my culinary services to you all as well.

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Order your holiday Tamales and Pozole. Celebrate this joyous season with homemade, handmade delicious food. I hope you enjoy our family traditions with your family and friends! Comment or e-mail me at Unrivaledkitch@gmail.com for more information.
Thank You. Happy Holidays!

Cheers

-Unrivaledkitch