La Super Rica, Hollister Brewing Company, Jeannine’s in Santa Barbara

The first part of this adventure is here. Enjoy :)

We then waited until hunger struck again, which ended up being around 9:00 p.m. and headed over to downtown Santa Barbara to La Super Rica. This is a very famous restaurant in SB. They are known for being one of Julia Child’s favorite joints, as well as being featured on numerous other things, none of which I knew, but Michelle had been wanting to go, so we went. And I can see why this place is famous. We went pretty close to closing, so there wasn’t a very large line or really much of a crowd. We were greeted by the owner, still taking orders and busy making food even that late into the evening, which I always know is a sign of respect and hard work. We ordered a bunch of different things: pork tamal, vegetable tamal, carne asada taco, chorizo and cheese with fresh tortillas and guacamole. I could just sit there and eat the tortillas and the masa if I had to, because they were so good. These tamales were the perfect mouth melting texture, where you don’t even have to really chew in order to eat, they just dissolve with fresh corn and lard flavor. You can watch the ladies and gentlemen in the kitchen pressing each tortilla fresh and placing it on the flat top to warm them through. There are three different salsas to choose from: a smokey spicy chipotle flavored sauce, salsa verde and a pico de gallo. Everything was really delicious and we left with more than enough food in our stomachs.




After this, we headed out to have a beer and a chat at Hollister Brewing Company. The bartender was very kind. I had the house brewed stout, which had lovely chocolate hints, delicious and rich. Michelle had pumpkin ale, which was very fall forward and smooth. We also had a glass of Pinot Noir on the house, because it was poured by mistake. We chatted about craziness and caught up on the latest of late, then headed back to the apartment to turn in. Noticing an immense difference of life the two of us have gone through, I’m so glad I have an amazing friend whose friendship shows no bounds. Throughout our lives we know we’ll be there for one another, even if it’s not every day or even every month; we’ll still converse as if we just got out of class together.

The next morning we woke up and had a little chat, got ready and headed downtown for a nice breakfast and a little more time to catch up before I headed back home. We made our way down to State Street and walked the bulk of shops that lined the streets with the other interesting people trying to get a little early morning stroll and breakfast. We stopped for brunch at Jeannine’s  a lovely little café and bakery, setup in a European style setting with cordial, stylish faculty promptly greeting guest as they arrive. You stand in line and order food with a menu that is presented to you upon entering. A lovely line of house made pastry and a perfectly setup coffee and tea bar awaits you. The tables are well-adorned and the staff is fantastic, professional and pleasantly helpful.  We ordered two dishes; Michelle had salmon hash with potatoes, and poached eggs, while I had a goat cheese, asparagus and fresh corn omelet with mixed potatoes. I loved my omelet. The eggs were light and fluffy and the filling was refreshing and delicious. The asparagus was cooked perfectly and everything was just very tasty and skillfully prepared. The potatoes were seasoned nicely and the whole plate came together cohesively. Michelle’s food was also amazing—freshly flaked salmon and perfectly poached eggs were a highlight on the plate. I loved this atmosphere and the food was an experience and not just a second thought. You can really tell these people believe in their business and I just love that.





We had such an amazing time together eating and enjoying each others company. I look forward to another fun visit with my amazing friend who’s joined me on so many of my adventures in life. I love you Michelle! Good Luck with school, see you around Thanksgiving I hope :)

Cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

 

Mashed Cumin Black Bean Quesadillas with Extra-Sharp Cheddar and Cilantro

often find myself checking out the fridge because I’ve forgotten that I should eat something. I know most people don’t do that, but I think it’s the reminisce of chefdom which occasionally peak it’s head out of the shadows and stops me from eating even if I’ve been cooking all day. When I was Executive Chef I was the skinniest I’ve ever been, STRESS period end of the story.

This is one of those pantry empty type items which came to me in a time of great hunger and quick thinking; where all of our most simple, yet delicious ideas come from. Without a doubt, I always have tortillas, cheese and beans in my house. Those are staples in my food repertoire along with rice, pasta and some form of canned tomatoes. I can’t live without these things, so as you can see, I have a big carb problem. Well, I wouldn’t say problem, more like affinity to these ingredients. The possibilities are endless, which is why I try and keep them stocked at all times.

So for my little hunger pang I decided that I should make some quesadillas. Now I normally wouldn’t write about something so simple, but I love the crunch combination of what fresh herbs and a little veggie love can accomplish with something as simple as a quesadilla. I hope you enjoy these meatless hearty stacks of cheesy goodness.

Mashed Cumin Black Bean Quesadillas with Extra-Sharp Cheddar and Cilantro

1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar

¼ bunch cilantro leaves picked from stems, washed and dried

8 corn tortillas (small size)

1 can black beans drained and rinsed twice

1 pinch cumin

1 pinch cayenne pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons salsa (your preference)

2 teaspoons sour cream

3 leaves Romaine, chiffonade (thinly sliced)

1 Roma tomato

Salt and pepper

In a small pot, add rinsed beans and heat over medium. Add 2 tablespoons of salsa to beans and mash with a fork or masher and then add cumin and cayenne pepper.

Place 4 tortillas on cutting board and spread beans on one side of tortilla.

Add cilantro to the top of the beans.

Add cheddar to the top and cover with remaining tortillas.

Heat a skillet with enough extra-virgin olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, until very hot. Place quesadillas in hot skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes on one side and then turn and cook about 2 minutes until cheese is melted.

Repeat with remaining quesadillas.

Once finished cooking top the quesadillas with lettuce, chopped tomato, salt and pepper, a little bit of salsa and sour cream to your preference.


Enjoy!

Camping and a Going Away Party

gaviota in

creek to oceanwalking beach and pier

train

gaviota

seal

tent

cooking outside

me and miche

My life seems to have evaporated in front of me this last month, but in a very amazing way. I’m so lucky all my friends and family are so amazing and I’ve had such an amazing August and September already. There’s so much coming up and I’m getting ready for so many big moves in life—it’s scary and exciting. My friend is on the same journey, but hers is educational bound. My best friend from high school got into grad school at University of California, Santa Barbara. I’m so proud of her. Since I won’t be seeing her as often, we decided to take a weekend trip together in the great outdoors about 30 miles from where she’ll be attending school at Gaviota State Park. The beach was beautiful. We spent the days in the sand drinking sangria and eating snacks in the evenings. We had campfire meals and were blown away, literally, by the howling wind. So much for camping, but we tried. I had so much fun. The night sky was just gorgeous and the water crashing on the shore was amazing.

steak skewers

foil grilling

broccoli

propane

grillin

sweet and savory

sangria

rib eyes

zucchini

eat

miche eating

me eating

Menu
Dinner Saturday night: Togarashi and ginger soy sauce marinated steak skewers with red bell peppers, Steamed soy broccoli, and Grilled corn on the cob. A completely utensil-free meal made on the wood burning campfire.
Breakfast Sunday morning: Scrambled garlic and swiss cheese eggs, grilled turkey sausage, mixed fruit, and French bread toast with Cinnamon and vanilla Mexican hot chocolate made on a outdoor propane stove.
Sangria made with Pinot grigio white peaches, granny smith apples, nectarines, raspberry rum and cranberry vodka mixed.
Dinner: Grilled herb marinated Bone-in Rib eye steaks, Roasted Rosemary fire potatoes, Grilled home grown green and yellow zucchini.
Cooking outdoors on a fire that can’t be controlled, not to mention the howling wind, is pretty intense, but I’d say we still ate very well and had lots of fun with it all. Anyone else been beach camping this year? You should go! It’s really fun to get out there, get dirty and cook up some grub under the stars. Beautiful!

So the next weekend Michelle had asked me if I would be able to cater her going away party for about 20-25 people and of course I told her I would. This is the menu. Everything went over so well and we had so much fun drinking, going in the hot tub and enjoying summer time as it quickly fades away.





Menu
Dry ground Mexican chili compound butter smeared grilled corn; Carne asada tacos with smoked paprika and sweet chili; Marinated lime and lemon ginger roasted chicken tacos; Spanish Rice with scallion and roma tomato; Three grilled chilies serrano, jalapeno and pasilla; Taco toppings: lettuce, queso fresco, sweet white onions, and cilantro; Vegetarian chorizo slow cooked homemade re-fried pinto beans, Pico de gallo, Salsa roja with vinegar marinated jalapeno

Good Luck at school Miche. I love you!

As for it being 9/11, I hope with these friendships and loving memories we remember the people that lost their lives and who still believe in our great country.

In gratitude

Cheers
Unrivaledkitch

The simple pleasures of the eastern sierras; Mammoth Lakes, CA.

As a young girl, and even now in my twenties, I looked forward to our family vacations in the summer all year long. Three pretty rough, very close in age, small kids: my sister, brother, and I, crammed in the back of a car together with enough belongings to last us on our one to two week trip, was always a tight fit. But even with the five and a half hour ride ahead of us, we were able to survive killing each other every year. I love Mammoth. A lot of people do, but it’s most famous for its ski resorts and snow; during the summer time its beauty is astounding. You don’t ski in the summer, so when people ask me if I went skiing up there and I go in the middle of August, please pardon my backward glance–it happens all the time.

Lake George

 

Lake Mamie

 

Twin Lakes

 

Lake Mary

 

Horseshoe Lake

 

 

 

Mammoth Lakes is home to some of the most pristine clear blue lakes and creeks, thousands and thousands of tall pine trees and other green beautiful vegetation, and nights of pitch black skies with stars all a flutter, like nowhere else I’ve been. The basin of Mammoth Lakes is home to many smaller and some larger bodies of water. The main lakes accessible by road are Lake Mary, Lake Mamie, Horseshoe Lake, Twin Lakes, and Lake George. These lakes are all beautiful with their own mystery and stories to be told. The lakes are stocked with Rainbow Trout and have some of their own native varities at the depths of the clear waters from the winter’s melted snow. We always go fishing and this year, as with most years, we were very sucessful. We catch usually catch over 40 trout, not to mention the ones we let go, but keep and cook, as well as freeze, fish to bring back to family and friends. Catching fish is not all fun and games; I love fishing, but cleaning fish is another thing. I can clean them and I do clean them, but it’s not my favorite part. My dad so wonderfully decided to let me photograph the steps for cleaning trout. I hope you enjoy the labor that goes into the fish you eat.

 

Here’s a photo log of how to clean a trout. (please click on the pictures for enlarged photos)

 

 

 

Now that’s fresh fish!

Also, in Mammoth we pay homage to the local eateries that we’ve been frequenting for years on end. Places like Angels, Roberto’s, Giovanni’s, and Shogun are likely stops in town for lunch or dinner.

 

Angels

 


 

This American style BBQ house is doing well and very crowded on most days of the week. For a nice BBQ sandwich or a very icy cold beer, this is a good place to go. They serve warm scones with your meal and their shoe string onion rings and house made BBQ sauce are delicious. I had a brisket sandwich that was tender and flavorful. They also have a pretty mean rack of ribs here, but I opted to go with the sandwich.

 

Roberto’s

 

 

Mammoth’s answer to Mexican. We always go here. My dad loves Mexican food and I think everyone knows, so do I. We stopped in with the whole gang to have chips and salsa, some margaritas, and a little lunch. I had a chili con carne burrito and my family had a very affordable lunch special consisting of one cheese enchilada and one taco, choice of chicken or beef, with rice and beans for six dollars. My dad always gets the chimichanga here, a fried burrito with all the fixings. Delicious.

Giovanni’s

http://www.giovannismammoth.com/

This pizza parlor is always packed with kids and families, all getting in a slice of pie. Though rather expensive–most things are in Mammoth–the pizza is hot, scrumptious, and huge. Giovanni’s is home to the Mammoth-size pizza which is an impressive 19-inch pizza that feeds 6 or more. It’s not on the menu anymore but ask for the Meatzza pizza with all the types of meat they have. Order it to go and relax at the cabin with a slice of pizza and a nice movie.

 

As the mountain has become vastly more popular with tourists many new establishments are up and coming in the area. Supporting local eateries in such rough economic times definitely helps. While we were visiting town didn’t seem to be hurting but we were in mammoth for their music and wine festival.

So between the eating out, fishing, hiking and enjoying the beautiful sunshine and weather, we went swimming and soaked in the hot tub, and of course, I cooked for my family.

Everyone that came up was very excited we brought my little niece on her first vacation and trip to Mammoth. She was so awesome up there; I think she loved it. The altitude and the car ride are rough on kids, but she was great. So my sister, brother-in-law, mom, dad, and grandma all came up and we enjoyed our week together. My sister only stayed with the baby for 3 days because they had to get back and didn’t want to overdo it, but it was still really nice. My uncle, aunt, and cousin joined us for a day on the lake, which was a nice surprise as well. Unfortunately, my brother and sister-in-law couldn’t make it, but we hope the entire family can go up next year.

click for enlarged photos

While in Mammoth, I made scallops with sautéed spinach and bacon, mashed potatoes, tomato and goat cheese salad, roasted artichokes and spinach with flank steak. We enjoyed this on my mom’s birthday, August 14. The next night we enjoyed rosemary and mushroom pork chops with scalloped potatoes and green beans. On another night we had BBQ chicken quarters with mixed green salad. It was very nice to make food for everyone to enjoy all together. High altitude cooking is very interesting because there is less oxygen and atmospheric pressure in the air. The boiling point is only 208 degrees instead of 212 degrees and evaporation of water is therefore faster, so liquids have to be increased for even cooking.

 

 

Times flies whenever I’m in Mammoth and before I knew it, we woke up and it was time to go home.

 

On the way back home we stopped at the famous Erick Schat’s Bakkerÿ  for some cheese bread and raisin bread. They have loads of amazing things, from the most extravagant breads to the simple sheepherders. Sandwiches, sweets, drinks, and so many different eats are piled high into this tourist attraction. It’s like a bread Disneyland–you will

definitely wait in line.

 

We also always stop to buy beef jerky at Mahogany Smoked Meats. This place has some of the best beef jerky I’ve ever tasted. It’s so flavorful and it’s tender, not like those leathery pieces of meat you get at the supermarket in the check out. We always get Sweet and Spicy and my brother and dad like Habanero, which is very spicy. They also sell sausages and smoked bacon and have other meats made into jerky, so ask for a try and stop in to get some. It’s really very tasty.

 

 

 

And just like that, we were back in Los Angeles. I love Mammoth and I love condo life in the Sierras, so skip the snow one time and see for yourself, all the beautiful sites that this area has to offer in the summer sunshine.

Also pictured Convict Lake just outside of Mammoth and Grant Lake in the June Loop.

Convict Lake

 

Grant Lake

 

Cheers

Unrivaledkitch

 

Chicago Frontera Grill by Rick Bayless

I love all different types of food, the kind that’s interesting, witty, and playful as well as the type that is just straight forward and tastes delicious. But what I like the most about eating other peoples food is the guessing game of what’s inside. The best menus to me are not ones that tell all about every little tiny thing that’s in the dish though I know there are people with allergies and food preferences that need to know what’s going to be in side, I prefer to taste and find out.

So on my second day in Chicago I woke up and looked online at the maps and tried to figure out where I was going to go so I wouldn’t be as lost as I was the day before. A good plan I assumed, I don’t have an Iphone or a fancy phone where I can just follow my navigation which I think is cheating. So I just got out that big map and tried to find where I was going old school style.

I decided that I wanted to go to Frontera Grill by Rick Bayless for Lunch. I’ve been to Red O on Melrose before which is in Hollywood, Ca but Frontera is the flag ship restaurant of the Bayless Fine Dining Mexican Empire. Frontera was opened in 1987 by Bayless and his Wife and since has grown to incorporate the beautiful Topolobampo  which is right next door and shares the same bar, host stand, and facilities but offers a more refined, upper class, and chic place to dine. As well as the corner store just outside XoCo this little place is where Bayless and his wife offer Mexican street food and snack to a sidewalk of eager eaters for a quick bite and bustling inside of hungry customers.

Walking up to Frontera the sidewalk is lined like so many places in Chicago with a little planted fenceing that gates off where diners can enjoy the somewhat tumultuous playfulness of the scattered sunshine with the clouds that this windy city is so well known for. As you walk into this bright beautiful restaurant with playful colors of sizzling and frosty notes, a little piece of bright Mexican culture peeks its head at you. Having no reservations here is a big mistake but what can you do, I’m not about to plan out every step of my vacation, I’m just not that type of girl so I asked if there would be any seating available for lunch and they assured me I could have a table. Most places aren’t very accustomed to single diners but I wasn’t pushed off to the bar which I liked.

My server Ray was fantastic. His demeanor was calm but busy the way a server should be. He paid just the right amount of attention necessary with the absolute chaotic feel of a wildly busy restaurant in the peak of lunch time, though I saw this from my trained eye; no diner would have been able to feel the chaos at all. As I perused the menu for ideas and inspirations some things caught my eye but others just seemed a bit heavy for my liking when I eat lunch. I started with Topolo Margarita: Sauza Conmemorativo tequila, Torres orange liqueur, housemade limonada, shaken table side. The blend of tequila with the limonada was heaven; perfectly tart with just the right amount of sweetness in this margarita gave the perfect mid afternoon buzz to my 2nd day of vacation. Ray kindly informed me to take a sip and he would pour the rest just so nothing was wasted.

After going though the recommended dishes I decided to go with a sampler platter of seafood Marisquera de Lujo: Grand Seafood Platter with one dozen oysters & their accompaniments, classic Ceviche Fronterizo and Coctel Atun Tropical. I was by myself so I got the ½ portion which still came with 6 oysters I chose to have two of each kind because they were offering 3 types that afternoon. The accompaniments that were given were a chipotle sauce that was perfectly sweet and hot with a very nice smoky finish, as well as a tomatillo and habanero mioneta oysters (mioneta is a Mexican version of Mignonette which is a condiment made from minced shallots, cracked pepper, and vinegar used for oyster eating) which had a very different type of heat that was not over powering but subtle as well as a very acidic finish lovely with cilantro and cut up pieces of onion. The three oysters were verities of Fanny Bay from British Colombia, Wianno from Massachusets, and Shibumi from Washington.

I ate the oysters 1st by themselves with no sauces just to have experience the favors of the oyster unaltered except for a small amount of lime. The Fanny bay I’m most familiar with these larger oysters have a very distinct flavor with nice brine but a more firm texture when chewing. I also chose to put the chipotle accompaniment on the other one which was really wonderful. I love the slight smokiness the chipotle offers. The Wianno are really very good as well. They offer a sweeter high brine and smoother finish. These are farmed sustainably in the waters on Cape Cod delicious, I chose to put the Mioneta on this oyster which was a really good balance with the acidic lime and sweet oyster with the crunch from the onions. Finally my favorite of the bunch because they were so unique the Shibumi, they have a very sweet, pump, full texture with a slight saltiness. So small and perfectly shippable, with the last oyster I decided to add a touch of both sauces which I thought was one of my most perfect bites of food I’ve ever had.


Fanny Bay

Wianno
Shibumi

Moving from oysters to the other two dishes which were in small margarita glasses sitting atop crushed ice, the 1st glass had Ceviche Fronterizo which is a traditional ceviche with albacore tuna which had the correct balance of sweet, hot, acid, and salt that makes ceviche the most perfect thing to eat in my opinion. The addition of warm crispy tostaditas makes a wonderful crunchy addition to the smooth fish. The 2nd glass had the Coctel Atun Tropical a mixture of Big eye tuna from Hawaii, a smokey avocado tomatillo guacamole, and lovely mango grapefruit salsa on top. The whole thing gets mixed together and it’s just wonderful. How many times can you hear good in this a thousand I guess and I haven’t even got to dessert. To be honest though everything was amazing. I was thinking of getting one other savory item but I decided to just go to dessert because the seafood itself was just so wonderful on its own, a perfect taste of the sea.

Now the best for last dessert, This Duo de Flanes: A duo of caramel custards: “cafe con leche” & classic Mexican vanilla. Cacao nib-pecan shortbread, sweet milk froth. Now I don’t have to say much of anything for this because it was that good. Along with the bitterness of the espresso I had this flan was the best I’ve ever had easily. The cocao nib shortbread gave the crunch to the dessert and the smooth caramel with its bitter after notes from the Mexican vanilla was to die for. As I grew more and more full I couldn’t help but to finish the plate lingering over the café con leche with milk froth my absolute favorite and something I’ll have to work on to make on my own. Just wonderful!
My meal ended on such a high note that I would definitely recommend coming to Frontera a long standing amazing establishment of fine foods with Mexican flavor in Chicago.

Thank you very much to all that made this awesome meal happen, you are all truly masters at your craft.
Cheers
Unrivaledkitch

Pozole… Happy Fathers Day Dad!

An Early Father’s Day Wish…

What does a father really need on father’s day? My dad likes peace and quiet, maybe a couple of packs of pro v golf balls,  or these days  to pitch in on his latest eBay find, some food, and a couple of cold beers which really isn’t much. My dad’s a simple man and the best one I know. More than anything my dad is a pillar of strength and stability in my family that I would never ever trade for anything in this world. I love my dad so much and he’s taught me so many lessons in my life that I can’t even begin to tell you how much he means to me but I hope that everyone out there is able to have an amazing dad, husband, father to your child, grandpa, step dad or whoever, that you love and get to say thank you and I love you to on this very special Sunday but really it’s my hope you tell them every day.

I love you Dad.


That’s my dad holding me :) oh memories!

On Sunday I’ll be making brunch of a lavish proportion; my dad has already asked me to make Pozole. Pozole is the name for larger kernels of corn that are processed to make hominy but is also the name of the dish of Mexican soup made from pork and hominy amongst other things. My dad is Japanese but maybe my mom being Mexican and Native American and his love for Mexican food had something to do with him marring her. No but seriously my dad loves Mexican food. I surprised him last year for Christmas and made homemade Pozole and he loved it and said it was one of the best he’s had and we’ve eaten a lot of Pozole. I thought so too. So here’s my recipe adapted from an amazing friend of mine and a couple of cook books and making this soup over time for Pozole and I hope you find it well.

Pozole

4 pig’s feet cleaned and halved

4 lbs of pork soup bones

3 lbs of pork loin cut into large chunks

1 head of garlic outside skin removed then cut in ½

2 large white onions peeled and left whole

1/4 lb of New Mexico chiles seeded and steamed

 8 oz package of Pasilla chiles seeded and steamed

4 cups of very hot water

1 XL can of white hominy

2 tablespoons of dried Mexican oregano

Salt to taste

2 tablespoons of black pepper

1 tablespoon of garlic powder

1 tablespoon of cumin

Boiling water as necessary

This is the real deal… pig’s feet and all.  It’s a long process and it will make your whole house smell like soup. It’s not as bad as boiling tripe for though Menudo but it’s pretty pungent. The key to any amazing soup is knowing how to season it well by letting all the flavors meld and tango with one another. This process is not simple and makes a lot of soup about 12 generous portions which are very generous so make it freeze it eat some now, tomorrow and next month. The cooking times for the different portions of meat are so done in layers which helps prevent over cooked portions of pork.

Here we go…

Rinse pig’s feet in warm water about 5-7 times just to remove any last minute grit.

Place in a very large pot and add water to cover feet

Bring the feet to a boil over high heat and then reduce to medium and simmer for about an hour and a half

Removed feet and set aside reserving liquid in pot

Once meat is cool enough to handle remove meat from the bones and discard bones and skin

Add meat to liquid reserved in the pot

Now add pork soup bones and cubed slices of pork tenderloin (if you find the tenderloin is expensive you can also use pork country ribs as well or in place of the tenderloin the will be a little fattier but are a good substitute or addition for a meater soup) to pot along with garlic intact with just the waxy paper removed and cut cross ways and onions simmer over medium- low heat covered for 2 hour.

Mean while Removed stems and seeds from chilies add them to large bowl and cover with very hot water allow to rehydrate for 25 minutes

Now check to see that all the meat is tender and remove large pieces from pot as well as the garlic and onions and set the vegetables aside from the meat.

Squeeze the garlic from its wrapper into a blender add the cooked onions to the blender as well add the presoaked chilies and about 1 cup of the water they were soaking in

Blend in blender till smooth then pour through a sieve so that any leftover seeds are not in the final puree

Return mixture to the pot.

When the meat is cool enough to handle shred apart with the grain into larger pieces discard any large amounts of fat or bone from the pork soup bone mixture.

Return meat to pot add black pepper, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and Mexican Oregano and cook for 30-45 minutes to allow spices to bloom in broth

(When you salt this soup it’s going to take a good amount of salt to penetrate the natural development of flavors in the chiles and meat, add salt in small quantities and mix making sure not to over salt because prepared hominy has salt in it already. Allow to cook for remainder of time and readjust seasoning at the end before serving)

Finally add the large can of hominy drain and rinse from contents of the can and cook for 20 minutes or longer uncovered. If necessary add extra water to cover meat.

The longer the Hominy sits in the soup the more flavor it will take on but the 20 minutes will make sure the hominy does not overcook and loose its texture.

Cool and let Soup sit over night in fridge for maximum flavor but who are we kidding you just spend about 5 hours on a soup!


eat some right away!!!!! it will still be amazing, just the next day it will develop even more flavor!

Pozole is known for amazing condiments

Thinly sliced green or red cabbage

Minced white onion

Sliced green onions

Cilantro

Lime wedges

Extra Mexican Oregano

Red Chili flakes

Sliced Avocado

 Sliced Radishes

All make amazing additions to this wonderful soup! I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does.


Cheers
Unrivaledkitch

Twitter and Foodbuzz and RSS FEED and Facebook


I’d like to thank foodgawker and tastespotting for featuring my grilled corn on their sites. Very awesome

My blog had record number of views for some entries lately so I want to thank everyone so so much for being here and supporting me and my food writing as well as my food.

Lastly I’m going to be in Chicago for a week… eating and ravaging the city. So I don’t think I’ll be blogging very much if any while I’m gone. I maybe able to get in a couple of blogs before I leave but please keep up to date with me on Twitter and Facebook and I’ll be back with many tales of food adventures!


Lots of love my friends and much gratitude!

Thanks again for being amazing people
-Kimberly

Nopales. Cactus Preparation and Nopales cotija frittata

I’m not really a huge fan of breakfast. But there are times when the breakfast mood does strike me and making myself breakfast is always the only way to cure it. I don’t wake up early unless I have to. I did while I was going to yoga classes and I might try making myself go in the morning but it’s so hard to get out of bed when I don’t normally go to sleep until after 3AM.

When I was growing up my mom would fix us breakfast. She always made these little potatoes she micro waved with seasoning salt and mixed eggs and Chorizo with them. To this day that’s still one of my favorite breakfast items to eat, though I always roast potatoes in the oven.  I’m going to make homemade chorizo soon. And I’m talking about Mexican chorizo not Spanish. On occasion my mom used to also make Nopales and eggs. Nopales are cactus pedals; they are cleaned from their spikes and boiled till tender. Cactus has a flavor unlike anything I’ve ever had before; it’s tangy and has a bit of a slimy texture to them. The slime can be avoided by fresh cactus and double boiling but it’s always going to have a little of that characteristic difference.

I decided I wanted to pick some up from the store and to my surprise fresh cactus is amazing. My mom used to use the kind out of a jar which I think is still good too. Fresh cactus is a little laborious to prepare but once it’s done it’s really amazing. Here’s my recipe for preparing blanched cactus.

 

Pick Cactus pedals that are not too large or to wilted or shriveled.

The larger they are the tougher they tend to be

Run a knife over the pedals to get off each of the pricks then wash with water to make sure their all gone

 

 

Take the cactus and cut it into strips and then into bite sized pieces

 

After all the chopping and dicing is handled, rinse with water twice.

 

Place all cacti in a large pot

Cover with cold water

Add about a teaspoon of salt

 

Boil until just about fork tender about 10-12 minutes depending on how large your pot of water is and how much cactus is in it this time will vary so go off the tenderness of the cactus you don’t want them to be hard but they can’t be mush

 

The water will be really thick drain it off

Add fresh water to nopales and cook for about 5 minutes

 

Drain again

 

 

Use cooked cactus in any way you’d like

 

With this cactus I made a quick Frittata with Cotija cheese, spinach, tomatoes and cactus.

 

I love Cotija cheese, it’s a Mexican cheese that is called Cotija because that’s the city in Mexico… Cotija, Michoacán where it was first made. Cotija is a hard cow’s milk cheese that can have a similar flavor to a mixture of feta and Parmesan. I love both hence loving this cheese as well.

If you ever venture out of your comfort zone please try a delicious Mexican style frittata such as this one.

This frittata is not as eggy as traditional ones are because of the moisture of all the veggies. I like mine that way because I don’t like  a whole ton of egg so adjust accordingly. I also used some sliced peeled and seeded tomatoes on the bottom of the frittata for freshness. This recipe can be modified to do the same thing or just scrambled instead of the other steps its all delicious.

2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 small white onion minced
1 clove of garlic chopped
1/2 cup of chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 cups of prepared cactus
1 cup of chopped spinach
1/2 cup cotija cheese add more or less depending on how much cheese you like in your frittata (this is a strong cheese so taste it before you use it) it can be substituted with queso fresco or  for milder flavors
8 eggs
1/4 cup milk

preheat oven to 400 degrees

Place oil in bottom of pan (either use an oven safe pan or you can transfer the vegetables to a 9 inch baking cake pan) on medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute till translucent, add tomatoes and cook for couple of minutes then add spinach and cook till wilted and most of the liquid is evaporated ad cactus and mix together till thoroughly combined add salt and pepper to about a pinch of each.  Set aside  with fire off. In a bowl mix together cracked eggs, milk, and cheese setting aside about a couple of tablespoons to sprinkle over the top.

Top the vegetable mixture with the egg mixture use a spatula to kind of pull away at the edges so the egg goes to the bottom of the pan sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top and place in the oven for about 10 minutes

Flip out of pan and eat.


I hope you enjoy and even if you don’t maybe your exposed to something new.

A little reminder. If any food bloggers are interested.


 As I’ve mentioned previously I am partaking in this wonderful food blogger event at Nancy’s blog spiciefoodie called Your Best Recipe. Each month i’ll post a link to spiciefoodies blog and she and many of my other fellow food bloggers come together that month to feature their favorite recipe they featured on their blog. Mine for this month are my Vegan clementine blueberry cupcakes with candied blueberry compote. This is a very important recipe to me so if you haven’t taken a look you should and you should also make the cakes, their awesome. If your a blogger please click this link and sign up to take part in the event yourselves.  On the 30th i’ll post a link back to her post so you can check out the beautiful food others have made. Thank you Nancy for hosting this awesome event.

This is what the round up looked like for March YBR MARCH

Cheers guys
Much Gratitude

Unrivaledkitch

Twitter and Foodbuzz

Olvera Street

 

I enjoy cultural playgrounds, places where people can come together over food, trinkets, and just good company to enjoy themselves and maybe something out of the ordinary. In downtown Los Angeles these places are very prominent. The one I’m going to introduce today is Olvera Street. My family has been going to Olvera Street for my whole life, we would go as children and I fondly remember the scents of rich flavored foods, cinnamon, and cumin floating about from the nearby restaurants. This is street is lined with carts full of strange items to wear, trinkets to buy, and amazing goodies to eat and scattered throughout are restaurants selling some amazing Mexican delicacies.  

When my sister was born right after (well I’m assuming not right after but you know what I mean) my dad and grandma went over with a couple of other family members to Ceildo Lindo to get taquitos which are fried shredded beef stuffed larger corn tortillas smothered in a beautiful green avocado/ tomatillo salsa and fresh creamy refried beans topped with cheese to celebrate the 1st born child/grandchild. My sister is now 28 years old and shes about to have her first baby.   Ceildo Lindo is a small shack of a place where there are about 6 tables inside the cubby corner and you stand and order and someone hands you your food right there, its simple and fantastic. The sauce is what really does it more then anything. I’m sure these are good because I expect them to be a certain way and they normally always are.  My sister and I recently visited and we sat outside eating and talking remembering how it used to be.

My grandma has been going to Olvera Street probably at least 50 years now or longer, we used to take a trip to Olvera Street before we went to stay with her in Huntington Beach for the weekend. We’d hold hands walking together as little kids, looking and poking one another, drinking piping hot champurrado from La Luz del Dia. Champurrado is a Mexican hot chocolate that is thickened with masa or corn flour. It has a very strong cinnamon flavor with subtle chocolate notes & a different kind of thickness of corn mixed into it. It’s delicious in the stick to your ribs kind of way, where you can’t have too much but I love it.  So in my life these two places are staples of my childhood memories and I’m sure they’ll be passed down to whoever wants to listen to them.

La Luz is a beautiful place but normally we just get champurrado because we want to have taquitos, but the food here is wonderful and authentic. Their hand made tortillas are really delicious and there are always people filling the place.

Delicious food fun


Cheers

Unrivaledkitch

Twitter and Foodbu

Four More Days till the Online Bake Sale to Help Japan
Click the banner to check it out and see the details


here’s the link to my auction items that I’ll be supporting the cause with!

Simple Whipped Cream Pistachio Pie

 

Pistachio Pie is one of the things I remember as a child. My sister would ask my mom every year to make this simple pie for her birthday dessert. There would be blue candles atop (her favorite color) and she would smile big as she blew them out. March 12th was my big sisters 28th birthday and I kept in the tradition of making this pie which I haven’t had in a very long time. The pie my mom normally prepared is made with cool whip but I don’t like the texture of that stuff so I just used homemade whipped cream. I’m sure I could have made homemade pistachio pudding. and graham cracker crust but i was also making dinner for 10 people and I didn’t want to give her a heart attack by changing something we’re so used to. I’ll try it next time, but till then if you want something a little different and very easy or if you’re looking for a new Saint Patrick’s Day dessert. I encourage you to try this simple sweet for march my sisters birthday month and her favorite Pie. I love you Keek, Happy Birthday!

Whipped Cream Pistachio Pie

2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons of powdered sugar
2 small packages of Jell-O Pistachio Pudding
2 3/4  cups of whole milk if using
¼ cup of crushed pistachios
One graham cracker crust

Beat the cream and powdered sugar with a hand mixer till light and fluffy but having a firm consistency to hold up in the pie. The whipped cream is not made very sweet at all because the pudding is really sweet if you want a sweeter whipped cream please adjust to your liking.

With a whisk mix pudding and milk and stir till thickened

Layer ½ pudding in pie crust and flatten with a spatula

Then add ½ whipped cream and smooth over

Then add the other portion of the pie filling

Top the center of the pie with more whipped cream

Sprinkle over the top pistachios

Chill for an hour

Slice and scoop out

Enjoy your Pudding Pie

Here’s a couple pictures of the rest of the food I made my sister for her birthday dinner.

Menu Spanish rice, Smoked Paprika Pinto Beans, Carne Adovada( slow roasted marinated pork in red sauce), Crunchy Chicken Tacos with assorted toppings, Pico De gallo, Pisachio Pie and Orange Creme Fruit Tart( pear, orange, strawberry, blackberry, white peach, and fuji apple) with apricot glaze

I was really happy with how the meal came out, everyone seemed to enjoy being together and just having dinner with one another which was very nice. I’d have to say the tart is one of the desserts I’m the most proud of making. I love fruit tarts and really wanted to make one because i haven’t since culinary school. Tart Recipe/ Tutorial is one thing I’ll have to write about soon.

Online Bake Sale for Aid in Japan

If you’ve seen my last name Fujitaki or read through my blog you’ll know that my Dad is Japanese he was born in California and so were his parents who ultimately lived most of their child hood lives in Japan but came back to America to get married and raise their families. My Japanese culture is so important to me and has molded and shaped my thinking, respect, and honor in a culture that’s roots are from a far away land but so dear to my heart. So as you know I’m deeply affected by the devastation of such a horrible series of disasters in Japan.  My Japanese culture is something I’m very proud of and I can honestly say that since these events have happened something in my bio chemistry has changed I feel weak, tired, sad but i try to be strong, I constantly meditate on the hope and compassion that these people so desperately need and I hope you’ll think about it as well.

I’d like to remind anyone of Sabrina’s efforts at Thetomatotart.com to rise money for Japan with her Online Bake Sale. Sabrina is a brilliant and very carrying food blogger based out of San Fransisco, I’ve loved her blog for a long time so when she asked me to be a part of her efforts for relief in Japan I gladly accepted. This weekend I’ll be working on my entries for the Bake Sale which subsequently you’ll be able to bid on during the March 30th auction where all proceeds will go to Japanese relief efforts. I will soon be posting about my auction items here at Unrivaledkitch. Also if your a food blogger and have a blog or if your just interested  and would like to join the efforts please e-mail Sabrina at bakesale@thetomatotart.com or please continue to check back on my blog for further updates. The crisis in Japan is terrible and we have to do something. A simple gesture of hope and compassion is all i ask for, but if you can do more please think about it.

Cheers Guys

Unrivaledkitch
Twitter and Foodbuzz

Simple Whipped Cream Pistachio Pie

Pistachio Pie is one of the things I remember as a child. My sister would ask my mom every year to make this simple pie for her birthday dessert. There would be blue candles atop (her favorite color) and she would smile big as she blew them out. March 12th was my big sisters 28th birthday and I kept in the tradition of making this pie which I haven’t had in a very long time. The pie my mom normally prepared is made with cool whip but I don’t like the texture of that stuff so I just used homemade whipped cream. I’m sure I could have made homemade pistachio pudding. and graham cracker crust but i was also making dinner for 10 people and I didn’t want to give her a heart attack by changing something we’re so used to. I’ll try it next time, but till then if you want something a little different and very easy or if you’re looking for a new Saint Patrick’s Day dessert. I encourage you to try this simple sweet for march my sisters birthday month and her favorite Pie. I love you Keek, Happy Birthday!

Whipped Cream Pistachio Pie

2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons of powdered sugar
2 small packages of Jell-O Pistachio Pudding
2 3/4  cups of whole milk if using
¼ cup of crushed pistachios
One graham cracker crust

Beat the cream and powdered sugar with a hand mixer till light and fluffy but having a firm consistency to hold up in the pie. The whipped cream is not made very sweet at all because the pudding is really sweet if you want a sweeter whipped cream please adjust to your liking.

With a whisk mix pudding and milk and stir till thickened

Layer ½ pudding in pie crust and flatten with a spatula

Then add ½ whipped cream and smooth over

Then add the other portion of the pie filling

Top the center of the pie with more whipped cream

Sprinkle over the top pistachios

Chill for an hour

Slice and scoop out

Enjoy your Pudding Pie

Here’s a couple pictures of the rest of the food I made my sister for her birthday dinner.

Menu Spanish rice, Smoked Paprika Pinto Beans, Carne Adovada( slow roasted marinated pork in red sauce), Crunchy Chicken Tacos with assorted toppings, Pico De gallo, Pisachio Pie and Orange Creme Fruit Tart( pear, orange, strawberry, blackberry, white peach, and fuji apple) with apricot glaze

I was really happy with how the meal came out, everyone seemed to enjoy being together and just having dinner with one another which was very nice. I’d have to say the tart is one of the desserts I’m the most proud of making. I love fruit tarts and really wanted to make one because i haven’t since culinary school. Tart Recipe/ Tutorial is one thing i’ll have to write about soon.

Online Bake Sale for Aid in Japan

If you’ve seen my last name Fujitaki or read through my blog you’ll know that my Dad is Japanese he was born in California and so were his parents who ultimately lived most of their child hood lives in Japan but came back to America to get married and raise their families. My Japanese culture is so important to me and has molded and shaped my thinking, respect, and honor in a culture that’s roots are from a far away land but so dear to my heart. So as you know I’m deeply affected by the devastation of such a horrible series of disasters in Japan.  My Japanese culture is something I’m very proud of and I can honestly say that since these events have happened something in my bio chemistry has changed I feel weak, tired, sad but i try to be strong, I constantly meditate on the hope and compassion that these people so desperately need and I hope you’ll think about it as well.

I’d like to remind anyone of Sabrina’s efforts at Thetomatotart.com to rise money for Japan with her Online Bake Sale. Sabrina is a brilliant and very carrying food blogger based out of San Fransisco, I’ve loved her blog for a long time so when she asked me to be a part of her efforts for relief in Japan I gladly accepted. This weekend I’ll be working on my entries for the Bake Sale which subsequently you’ll be able to bid on during the March 30th auction where all proceeds will go to Japanese relief efforts. I will soon be posting about my auction items here at Unrivaledkitch. Also if your a food blogger and have a blog or if your just interested  and would like to join the efforts please e-mail Sabrina at bakesale@thetomatotart.com or please continue to check back on my blog for further updates. The crisis in Japan is terrible and we have to do something. A simple gesture of hope and compassion is all i ask for, but if you can do more please think about it.

Cheers Guys

Unrivaledkitch
Twitter and Foodbuzz

Food Nostalgia

When you become a foodie or when you go to culinary school or you’ve kinda just decided to widen your horizons in food sometimes certain things you used to eat get ruined but I still believe there are some places or thing that we eat no matter how turned up your nose gets from culinary knowledge, you’d still eat things you ate as a kid because its what you’re used to. This last couple of ventures out have proved that to me and I’d like to share them with you.

I’ve had a very busy last couple days with lots of family and friends.

Saturday night we had Mexican food out in Eagle rock at Ernie Jr’s  with my mom, dad, sister, brother in law and Bachan.

My Bachan, a little Japanese lady who’s my dad’s mom, loves Mexican food but it can’t be anything too spicy because spice is not widely used in Japanese cuisine so she’s not used to it. My dads been going to Ernie Jr’s for my whole life and probably since he was in his 20’s. his buddies would go with him there after tennis and my mom and dad would go there on dates. I always get # 22 Rice with Chile Verde, my dad used to always eat it too; it’s made with a tender Spanish rice topped with braised beef in a light green chili sauce with melted cheese over the top for 7 dollars. We always get an order of guacamole which is okay but we splash it with their house salsa and scoop it up with crispy chips,that I always have too many of, its something I’ve been eating for so long it’s still good. We just sit, talk, and eat all together. It’s always been that way, I’m glad we enjoy each others company in a place so familiar.

Later that Saturday night I had girl’s night out and about with the ladies in Westlake and west hills with a couple of cocktails and some dancing before the babies got home on Sunday  The music was playing the vodka was flowing it was a lot of fun. Times have changed quite a bit but I’m glad we can get out and do a little dancing \ and wake up the next day, spending time on the couch watching cheesy movies. That evening we had Brawts and caramelized onions with baked beans, some real comfort foods with the girls families return.

I got home Sunday night and packed a lunch because I was headed to Mountain High Monday morning with my friends Joanna and Jack for Joanna’s Birthday. They went snowboarding which I opted out on because I’m notoriously clumsy and I didn’t want an unexpected hospital bill. So I woke up at 5am my normal bed time and was so tired from the rest of my weekend, but I’m glad I went. The snow was so fresh and beautiful. I haven’t seen ice sickles like that since I was a kid. The snow was so thick; you sunk in. I know a lot of you live in snow like that. I can’t even imagine. We made it up there and I read harry potter and listened to music, drinking in all the beautiful scenery and taking pictures.

After they got off the mountain, Joanna wanted to go to Johnny Carino’s Now the story behind this is that Jo and Jack both worked at Carino’s in Simi Valley about two years ago. It was one of those sad stories where one day they were open and in this economy one day they were closed. So they really had no closure on the whole event. I was with her though it and I understood she really loved her coworkers and had a lot of fun at her job. We were about 25 miles away from a Carino’s in Victorville when we went to Mountain High, otherwise there are none where we live. Carino’s is at best mediocre chain food, so I drank more than I ate but I understand the nostalgia and I was glad to be a part of their little going away party.

We enjoyed Hand-Breaded Calamari Served with spicy marinara sauce as well as Baked Stuffed Mushrooms Spinach, Parmesan cheese, red onions and garlic topped with lemon basil cream sauce, roma tomatoes and basil.

Then main course Spicy Shrimp and Chicken Penne pasta, cayenne pepper romano cream sauce, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and green onions.

So now that I’ve had these things I can easily make them and improve on them for her whenever she’d like. I’m glad I got to share in one of my best friend’s birthdays with Peach Bellini’s swirled with sangria and beer, snow, and a little closure. I’m glad I have my friends and even when you don’t have a 5 star meal, 5 star company makes up for it all.

Happy Birthday Jo I love you!

So where are some of your favorite meaningful places you go?

thanks for tagging along on my nostalgic food journey

cheers

Kimberly
Unrivaledkitch
Twitter and Foodbuzz