Roasted Chicken, Sundried Tomato, Mozzarella and Spinach Basil Pesto Sandwich on Rosemary Garlic Bread
Chinese Spiced Pork Tenderloin (Char Siu) Sandwich on Toasted French Roll with Spicy Asian Mayo, Cucumbers, Pea Shoots and Carrots
Roasted Salmon Lettuce Wraps with Cherry Tomatoes, Arugula, and Quinoa
Sliced Turkey Pinwheels with Hearts of Romaine and CheeseScallion, Black olive and Celery Potato Salad
Rainbow Pasta Salad with Roasted Peppers, Tomatoes, Red Onion and Colby Jack Tossed in Red Wine Vinaigrette
Orzo Salad with Stripped Beets, Broccoli, Cranberries and Fresh Spinach Tossed in Sherry Vinegar Dressing
Purple Cabbage Coleslaw with Honey, Peanuts, Carrots and Granny Smith Apples
Vegetable Platter And Fruit Platter
Sometimes we just need something to eat on the go, but with our crazy lives it gets a little tough. I understand–it happens to me too–the days when I can’t get four hours in the kitchen for all the insane ideas I’d love to commit to, but just can’t. So this is something we can all enjoy, make ahead of time and devour in a moment’s notice. I love tuna; the kind that is humanely fished is best and tastes best. To me, knowing that these animals are being treated with respect as they live and die for consumption is very important. This is something that I’ve delved into more often. Being conscious about our food and the lives of the animals we consume is up to us. This is a subject I’ve learned a great deal about and try to practice in my own cooking. I know how animals go to slaughter and I respect each one as I consume them; this also goes for sea creatures. Check your west coast seafood charts here. Food has so many politics wrapped up in it. We have to consciously consume, otherwise we won’t have these luxuries for very long.
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.
I hope everyone’s having a marvelous weekend. I’m at my volunteer yoga studio gig trying to speed up time till I get in the car and am headed for Sin City. I haven’t been to Vegas in maybe 9 months or something like that but that city sparks something in me that can only be felt not said. More than anything the amount of culinary genius set in such a small strip of land of course delights my chef mind. I’ll probably sneak away to a fancy dinner on my own. My co partners in crime aren’t the foodie type. But here i’d like to leave you with a sweet treat and the promise of so many culinary adventures upon my return. I have some really amazing content that I’ve just been so busy with visitors and my niece to be able to write about but I will soon. So here it is.
Banana Vanilla Creme Wafer Pie
I don’t like Banana, a taste so inherited from my dad who doesn’t like banana either. So why would I make this pie? Well I make it because my family adores it. My grandmother used to make this banana pudding from which this pie was so imagined. Its part of my family pudding pies such as the pistachio pie it wrote about here. This pie is a couple of simple ingredients and a lot of beautiful wow factor for a quick sweet treat to an elegant dinner party I’m pretty sure you can get away with this pie. I love pudding pies just for that reason. Simple and ready to go. Layers of waffer cookies, fresh slices of bananas, and vanilla pudding as well as whipped cream line a simple graham cracker crust thats sure to please the pallet of any banana lover. I hope you will enjoy this.
1 graham cracker crust either prepared or store bought
1 large box of vanilla pudding either instant or cook and serve (I think instant is much easier then you don’t have to wait for the pudding to cool and you don’t run the risk of getting a lot of lumps)
2 3/4 cups of milk
5-6 ripe bananas
about 1 cup of heavy cream
2 tablespoons of powdered sugar
1 box of vanilla wafers
Prepare pudding by mixing 2 3/4 cups of milk with pudding mix if using cook and serve like pictured here whisk over medium heat continuously till the pudding comes to a boil take off of flame and mix for two minutes then transfer into a bowl whisk to get excess heat out of the pudding then line with plastic and place in the fridge for about 1 or 2 hours till cool
Cook n Serve kind
If using instant pudding just mix the milk in until its completely incorporated and chill
Mean while Add heavy cream and powdered sugar using a hand blender or a mixer till the cream becomes whipped and stiff about 6-7 minutes depending. Make sure your cream has not been sitting out or it will not mix up also that there is no water in the bowl your mixed your creme in as this too will fail your creamy whipped topping
After the pudding has chilled place 1/4 of the pudding in to the whipped cream you just made fold in with a spatula and set in the fridge
with the other 3/4 of the pudding place about 1 1/2 bananas sliced into the pudding and mix in preserving the banana by mashing only gently. There will still be large chunks of banana in the pudding mixture
Line the bottom of the graham cracker curst with sliced bananas all the way around
then line with vanilla wafers up the side along the crust
add 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the top and smooth out
Repeat this process using bananas in a flat layer and then the cookies in a flat layer then cover with the rest of the pudding mixture
Smooth out the pudding over the top of the pie
Finally remove the whipped cream from the fridge place the whipped cream and pudding on the pie to form a mound and smooth over. If your whipped cream looks too runny you will risk a big runny mess of a pie so make sure its whipped enough to stay in place.
Lastly gently press cookies and bananas on final top layer alternating and you’ve got your pie refrigerate for and hour and serve
You can also make little individual pies as well.
I hope you love this pie as much as my family does. This pie is best eaten quickly so the cookies don’t get too soggy.
Lets just make this quick and dirty. well not too dirty
I made these with the absolute intention of making space in the fridge. I used to make “Fuji wraps” which is what my co workers would ask me for when Italian wasn’t cutting it for the evening. They were a mixture of diced veggies and meat in a soy and spicy Asian sauce piled into Romain lettuce. This is actually a play on a spinach salad this wrap. It can be mixed into a more Italian style by using balsamic vinegar instead of Sriracha , pancetta instead of turkey bacon , and extra virgin olive oil instead of soy sauce.
I hope you fill your lettuce with all things yummy and enjoy the spring with some fresh veggies.
4 pieces of turkey bacon sliced
1 cup of shredded cooked chicken
2 1/2 cups of spinach leaves washed
1/2 small onion minced
1 clove of garlic minced
1/2 cup of corn cut from the cob
1 tablespoon of oil
1 tablespoon of soy sauce (this is adjusted more or less regarding salt of your bacon and how your chicken was cooked)
Sriracha to taste
black pepper to taste
5-7 pieces of Romain lettuce
put oil in the pan heat till hot add sliced pieces of turkey bacon cook till crisp and set aside on a paper towel
to the pot add onion and saute till translucent then add garlic and cook for 5 minutes
add spinach and corn and cook till spinach is wilted and corn is heated through
last add the cooked chicken and turkey bacon so it doesn’t get dry. heat it through and incorporate all ingredients
If you want the turkey bacon to be really crispy top the lettuce wraps with the bacon and don’t mix in with the other moist ingredients
Add soy sauce and black pepper
Taste and adjust seasoning
Scoop into lettuce leaves and Top with Sriracha to your preference.
if you make it the Italian way then you just render the pancetta like the turkey bacon, set it aside
add balsamic to the chicken to season
and top with very good extra virgin olive oil to finish
I love food as a celebration. Large parties, huge spreads of tons of food that have peoples eyes opening wide and mouths salivating and pleasant aromas and sights to only be quieted by the shoveling of food in to mouths. Those are the times I am extremely happy. Life is one big celebration as we know but those days where we can really come together talk about things, people, and places we love and just enjoy the company of those close to us are really something amazing to cherish.
Tonight I did just that.
It was one of my best friends from high school, Michelle’s birthday was last Sunday. She had some mid-terms to finish up so we couldn’t celebrate on her actual birthday but I asked her what she’d like to do, she said nothing which tends to be a growing trend amongst us as we get older, we don’t want to party, we just want to hang out and be mellow. So I said we’re not going to do nothing silly how about I cook for you, she agreed upon request and already my head was thinking about things I wanted to make but haven’t gotten to for a while.
I also informed a good friend of ours, Guy, of the little food party and he said he would join us. I was really excited and happy to have them both over to my place and to be able to cook for them would be really fun. I’ve known Guy since the 6th grade. I’m so grateful to have such amazing friends who are so supportive in my cooking so I took an early morning yoga class and got on my way.
This is the menu I ended up finishing;
Roasted garlic, basil, and Pinot grigio steamed clams & mussels
Braised Chicken, Cacciatore style severed with creamy manchego & smoked gouda white polenta
Thyme Roasted Red potatoes & asparagus
White Zucchini, Organic Red beet, and Avocado Baby Spring Mix salad with White Balsamic Tangerine Vinaigrette
Pineapple and Strawberry Shortbread Tart with Almond Strawberry Curd (no picture)
White Sangria with fresh pineapple, berries and tangerines
Kinda annoyed I didn’t take a good picture of the salad but after all the work i do taking pictures is hardly the priority, I need a photographer but anyway…
I have to say the salad was the most simple delicious thing. Tangerine and parsley along with lovely subtle white balsamic and extra virgin olive oil you have to try it, I think you’ll love it. The creaminess of avocado and the raw white zucchini marinated in the dressing a little ahead of time really makes for something wonderful but different.
White Zucchini, Organic Red beet, and Avocado Baby Spring Mix salad with White Balsamic Tangerine Vinaigrette
Slice 1 white zucchini which is also called Mexican zucchini, I like this particular kind because it doesn’t taste bitter like Italian zucchini tastes sometimes, into pieces that are long and skinny but pleasant to eat
1 avocado ripe sliced
2 hand fulls of spring mix
1 beet boiled and peeled then sliced into thin circles
Juice of 1 tangerine
about 3 tablespoons white balsamic
extra virgin olive oil to your preference
1/2 teaspoon minced parsley
Dressing needs to be done with your taste in mind, so put it all together and season!
Mix the zucchini sticks with about 1/2 the dressing or enough to coat and let sit for about 15 minutes, it pickles them a little and makes the dressing stick add the avocado to the mixture when ready to serve and toss together
plate mixed greens and beets arranging as you’d like, then toss with a little more dressing and top with avocado and zucchini
Easy light simple salad.
I hope you enjoy
I’m so tired I think i could sleep all day. I knew i was gonna be tired tomorrow so i put a roast in the slow cooker for tomorrow always thinking ahead.
Remember about the Online Bake Sale For Japan
here’s the link to my auction items that I’ll be supporting the cause with!
Cheers…Here’s to the most unconventional of recipes where I’m talking a lot instead of only showing you how to make something… ahahaha
Easy pasta in case one day you’re a little hungry
just cause it says poached don’t get scared
its just tactics for fancy cooking
tell someone you poached something for them
their gonna be like holy hell this kid can
plus it eliminates use of a lot of oil and I’m trying to not be 1000 pounds before the end of my life
Farfalle with Tomato Poached Chicken and Broccoli
one box of whatever short kinda pasta you like
i used farfalle… i mean just look at that name… it sounds… delicious
anyway i digress like always
this is why i don’t write recipes
geezus get going…
4 Roma tomatoes chopped
1/2 medium white onion minced
3 cloves of garlic
about 1/2 bunch of basil chopped
2 cups of broccoli washed cleaned and chopped into bit sized pieces my bits are pretty big i don’t like the broccoli to get lost or too smushy!
2 chicken breasts sliced into small pieces now when you do this make sure you go against the gain of the chicken so the pieces remain tender and try and make them as similar in size as possible otherwise you’ll have some dry pieces and some raw ones
1 tablespoon of oregano
2 small cans of tomato sauce
1/2 cup of milk
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
black pepper to taste
a little smoked paprika if you got it
and a dab of cayenne pepper for kicks
large pot of salted boiling water
1 box of you choose it
okay so now
I add the olive oil to the pan… heat it up
then add the onions
cook them for about 4 minutes
then add the tomatoes
sir em a bit till their good and warm
add the garlic
let that cook some more till everything smells pretty good about 3-4 minutes making sure the fire isn’t too high so your not burning anything
there’s nothing worse than burnt garlic so if you burn it throw it away or else your whole dish is gonna be disgusting
okay so now that’s look in good
pour in the broccoli
mix mix mix
add to this the tomato sauce
and mix it all about
simmer a couple of minutes
then add milk and seasonings
good news is were almost done
okay now that the sauce is bubbling away lower the heat and bubble some more for about 5 minutes
add the chopped chicken to the liquid
mix mix mix again
i know but cooking is repetitive just do it
okay so by this time you can stop mixing
put a lid on the sauce and let it cook
about 6-7 minutes
chicken is quick don’t over cook it
and your not gonna die if you get a tiny little piece of raw chicken so don’t be so paranoid your house isn’t the health department and I’m sure your cleaner then your average taco stand so don’t worry plus everything cooks a little longer when you toss it in. Best bet is make sure the pieces of chicken are the same size for even cooking.
anyway the chickens gonna let go of a lot of nice juices into your sauce
so after you got all that cooked up
your gonna cook your pasta in the water
nice and al dente now
none of this over cooked pasta bullshit
my none existent Italian grandmother would be rolling over in her grave
drain the pasta
add a little good extra virgin olive oil to it
i know i said not too much oil but i don’t even think of olive oil as fat really cause its so good for your skin and your life honestly
you need more olive oil in your life
add the pasta to the sauce
mix mix and let all those juices stick to that yummy goodness
adjust for seasoning
always always always taste and put freaking salt in your food!
lesson number one if you got through all this fucking taste your food
it will help
you know what you like
if you want it spicy
if you want it more tomatoey
if you want it to have candies inside i don’t care your gonna eat it fix it the way you like
At the very end put in the basil
because fresh herbs have the most power when fresh meaning at the end always
and sprinkle with a little parmigiano reggiano or maybe you just have a little packet of cheese from take out pizza the other night
whatever floats your boat
and you got it homies
ps I’m down to vegetarianize… veganize this
get rid of the chicken and milk add an extra can of tomato sauce and a little bit of veggie stock or water 1/2 cup instead of milk
chop up some extra broccoli maybe even some peppers or eggplant would be awesome
cook it in the sauce like you would the chicken
and you got the veggie pasta of your dreams