Hi everyone! I’m writing a blog post on my trip to Guatemala.
In the meantime, head over to The Little Ferraro Kitchen and check out my guest post on this Brazilian treat!
Check it out here!
Let me know what you think!
Cinco de Mayo just happened. You’re probably tired of Mexican food, but let’s be honest Corona and Guacamole don’t really qualify as Mexican food. That doesn’t really qualify as food. That’s a snack.
And it’s Tuesday. Taco Tuesday. How about some tacos?
Trust me. You need these tacos in your life.
I remember the first time I ate these tacos. Jesse made them for me, pretty early on in our relationship, and I was skeptical. But I swear it was love at first bite. I’m talking about the tacos here.
Ever since that first time, I’ve probably had them a dozen times with a million variations: shrimp, chicken, etc.
But these are the best.
3 pieces of tilapia, cut into small pieces
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 an onion, diced
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro
Juice of 1/2 lime
salt and pepper
1-2 cups cabbage, thinly sliced
1 diced tomato
1/4 cup mayo
1 tbsp sriracha*
a few lime wedges
1 avocado sliced
Heat oil in the pan. Add 1/4 of onion (so you’ll have 1/4 of onion left for putting on the tacos) and cook for a few mins. Add fish and chipotle (depending on how hot you want it use 1-2 or more, for less spice just use the adobo sauce, not the chile itself), cook for a few minutes until fish is no longer translucent. Stir in juice of 1/2 lime, about a tablespoon of cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Stir together sriracha and mayo. Thin out with some lime juice or water. Depending on how spicy you like it, the ratio of sriracha to mayo might be different for you. Add a bit, try it and add more if you’d like.
Now you can start assembling your tacos (this recipe will make about 6 tacos). Heat up your tortillas. Start by laying some fish in the center.
Then you add your ingredients of choice. We like to have it all on a plate at the table and assemble as we go.
Lay on the cabbage, tomato, onion, cilantro and avocado.
Then drizzle with sriracha mayo. Squirt with a wedge of lime and devour.
That’s exactly what I do. I devour these, because they’re amazing.
Happy Taco Tuesday! What’s your favorite kind of taco?
I love fish tacos, but I think shrimp tacos are my favorite.
This blog post was original a dramatic complaint about how my life isn’t perfect. I just re-read it, and I feel dumb, capricious and immature. Because I realize all the things I worry about are trivial. There are far more serious things in life than the fact that I have a pile of student loan debt, a mean comment from a reader or a little bit of back pain.
Last week, I thought I was having a terrible week. Things kept going wrong, or so it seemed. But I was wrong.
This week is far more terrible, because terrible things didn’t happen to me. They happened to my loved ones, and that is a million times worse.
So in those moments when I feel like my life is crumbling, like a pie crust that doesn’t have enough water to help it stick together, food is important. Those moments are when pie is essential.
Even if you don’t eat it, because by now I know turning to food when things aren’t going well is wrong, make the pie and give it away.
Give it to a loved one who isn’t having the best day, or a friend you haven’t talked to in a long time.
Pie doesn’t heal all wounds, but it helps.
1 1/4 cup of pretzel crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth natural
4 oz cream cheese, softened
7 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
1/2 cup + 3 tbsp strawberry jam
First make your crust by mixing together pretzel crumbs, butter and sugar. Press into a 9” pie dish and place in the freezer until ready to use.
Next, beat together peanut butter, cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk. Beat 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream until if holds firm peaks. Fold whipped cream into peanut butter mixture until combined. Set aside.
Beat remaining 1 cup of whipped cream. Once it start to form peaks, add in 3 tbsp of strawberry jam. If you want to avoid clump, blend your jam before adding it to the whipped cream. Set aside.
Next assemble the pie. Spread half of the jam on the bottom of the pie crust. If it’s hard to spread, feel free to add a little water or blend it to make it smooth. Next spread on half the peanut butter mixture, then another layer with remaining jam. Top with remaining peanut butter mixture. Transfer whipped cream to piping bag and pipe strawberry whipped cream onto the pie, alternatively you can just spread it.
Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight and serve cold to someone special.
This is comfort food to the max, because sometimes we need a little comfort and a big hug.
After a long week, sometimes you need a drink. This week was pretty rough. On Thursday, I pulled a muscle in my lower back while working out. Someone suggested I have a drink to relax the muscles. Worth a try.
I’m not a big drinker, but I love a good gin and tonic. And you know me, I love to spice things up. So I decided to give give it a few little tweeks and this is what I came up with:
2 oz gin
2 strawberries, sliced1-2 basil leaves, chopped
4-6 oz tonic water
twist of lime
Muddle together the strawberries and basil. Add the gin and mix together. Pour over ice. Squeeze in some lime juice, top with tonic water and serve.
Serving it in a mason jar is totally ok. This is about relaxing. Mason jars are laid back. They’re also for hipsters or people who are too cheap to buy real glasses. Glasses are also allowed. They’re fancier.
Either way, get your sip on.
So that was Friday.
Saturday, I met up with Allie from Sweet Potato Bites. We realized we live like 2 miles away from each other and thought we should probably meet up for a doughnut.
Because that’s what foodies do. So we headed to Sidecar Doughnuts and I had a tasty yeast doughnut with chocolate and salt.
Sooo good. Allie was awesome! I’m excited to have made friends with a cool blogger. After our 2 hour chat session, I headed to a thrift shop where I bought exciting things for my upcoming Chicken and Waffle party.
You heard that right. Chicken and Waffles party. It’s going to be epic. I’ll tell you more about it when it rolls around.
Sunday, was also awesome. Well that’s today. Jesse and I are celebrating our 1.5 versary, because we’re cool like that. So we had brunch at Public Kitchen in The Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood.
I bought a Travel Zoo deal for brunch for two. While it was nice scenery, and the bathrooms were awesome…
Brunch was meh. It ended up costing $55 for a glorified continental breakfast. It probably doesn’t help that I don’t really like buffets. I’d much rather just get a plate of food. Jesse and I both don’t eat enough to feel like buffets are worth it. Nothing was omg-amazing-must-have. But oh well. It was still a nice time.
After brunch, we headed back to OC. Jesse needed to work and I did arts and crafts…
Now we’re enjoying cucumber-basil water and trying to figure out what to have for dinner (or am, while Jesse works).
Overall, it’s been a great weekend. Can’t complain, not even about the fact that my back hurts. Maybe I need another drink? What do you think?
What was the highlight of your weekend?
So remember when I finished the Paleo Challenge, I learned I needed to eat actual meals instead of snacks for dinner?
Well I’m trying to get better at that. I’ve been trying to incorporate more salads into my dinners, like the Roasted Beet Asparagus and Arugula salad in my last post. But today and yesterday were long days. I’ve been stressed and I’ve had a headache since I woke up today.
To remedy all that, I did two things:
1. Went to the Good Will
Thrift shops in Orange County aren’t as cheap in the song, nor are they as cheap as they were in Central NY. But I still managed a few good finds.
A tart pan for $2.50, a lovely oval shaped plate for $4.99 (over-priced in my opinion) and a cake plate for $2.50. I also managed to find a rotating cake stand that will be great for frosting cakes.
2. Grilled Cheese
Let’s be more specific. Brie Tomato Basil Grilled Cheese.
Now don’t get me wrong, traditional caprese with mozzarella is lovely, but seriously. This sandwich is out of this world.
Last week someone asked me for tips on a good grilled cheese. Obviously it’s all a questions of taste but here are…
1. Good Bread. If your bread sucks, your grilled cheese will too. Don’t you dare you sliced white bread. Invest in some good bread. I used Trader Joe’s Italian Bread. Tasty enough. Orange County is seriously lacking in good bread bakeries.
2. Make sure there’s cheese on both sides of the bread. If you’re putting something other than just cheese, you need to make sure the cheese is on both sides. The cheese is the binding agent. If you don’t have it on both sides, it’ll all fall apart.
3. Use Real Butter. If you’re going to make a grilled cheese, now’s not the time to be healthy by avoiding butter. No. You’re choosing to make grilled cheese. If you wanted a healthy meal, you’d make a salad. Use butter. It makes your bread golden, toasty and delicious. Don’t skimp.
4. Mustard. Unless you’re making a grilled cheese sandwich with some sort of jam, mustard almost always makes a grilled cheese taste better. Cheese and mustard just go together. I’m not talking about yellow mustard. I’m talking tasty dijon-style mustard or the kind with the wonderful mustard seeds in it. If you hate mustard, you can ignore this comment. But if you like mustard, trust me. Give it a try.
5. Low and slow. Don’t turn the flame on high! Heat your pan to medium/low. It might take a few minutes for it to get golden and for the cheese to melt, but that’s way better than a burnt piece of bread with hard cheese in the middle. Be patient. It’ll be tastier.
That’s pretty much there is to it. Oh and if you use sliced Kraft American Cheese or Velveeta… You’re dead to me
2 slices of amazingly tasty bread of your choice
a big pat of butter
1-2 oz brie, sliced (keep the rind! it’s tasty!)
3-4 tomato slices
1-2 basil leaves, chopped
Spread each slice of bread with butter on one side. On the other side, layer cheese tomatoes and basil. I try not to use too much cheese because brie is pretty strong, so I put half the cheese on one side and the bread and the other half on the opposite half of the other piece (does that make any sense? See the pic below)
Heat pan to medium/low heat. Place sandwich, butter side down on pan. Cook about 3 minutes per side or until golden all around and cheese in the center has melted.
Serve with a bowl of soup and enjoy! I had it with a bowl of Trader Joe’s Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato soup. Tastiest soup from a box ever. I promise!
Added bonus: This month is National Grilled Cheese Month. I have no idea who decided that but I support, and so should you. Eat Grilled Cheese Today!
P.S. Dunking is encouraged.
Lots of vegetables.
They’re good for you. Sometimes sugar and butter need to take a back seat and we need to have something good for you. Like this salad.
2-3 fresh beets
3-5 cups arugula1/2 lb asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces
1 tomato, sliced
2 oz goat cheese
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp honey
2 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
fresh chopped parsley (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 400F. Thoroughly wash beets, then wrap beets in aluminum foil. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 45 mins to 1 hour, or until tender. Allow to cool. Peel and slice. (Note: You can roast a bunch of beets and once and store them in the fridge for about a week in the roasting foil. Peel and slice when you’re ready to serve them)
Steam asparagus for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and rinse with cold water. Set aside. (You can do this while the beets roast, or you can plan your next vacation)
Make dressing by mixing together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Whisk until well combined.
Lastly, assemble the salad. Start with a bed of arugula, layer on the tomatoes, asparagus, beets and goat cheese. Drizzle with dressing and serve! This salad will feed 2 very hungry people or 4 as a side salad.
Eat it up!
I’ve rewritten this post about three times, trying to come up with something as epic as the recipe to come. But I can’t. My brain is asking me for a rest.
Between work and blogging, my creative juices are dried up, in terms of writing that is. Because recipes… I’ve got sooooo many for you to look forward to. But first let’s talk about bananas.
I’m a banana fiend. I eat one daily. I learned it from my mother, she probably eats two daily. That’s ok.
Bananas are on the top of my list of things I think are out of this world, let’s talk about my other favorite thing on the planet: cake.
And combine the two… Banana Cake! Why not? In fact, this cake was so good it had to be made twice. It really was THAT good.
Ok I’ll be honest. I really made this twice, because the first time around I hated my pictures. It was a labor of love (or gluttony or vanity?) to make it again, but that just means I know the recipe is extra perfect for you.
I know everyone and their mother has a recipe for banana cake (and no, this is NOT banana bread).
Even if you think it looks similar, trust me. This is definitely banana cake. What’s the difference?
Texture. Banana bread is dense. This is lighter, and it has an icing. Icing goes on cake. True story.
2 cups + 2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp corn starch
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon plus pinch of salt
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 cup canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 bananas, very ripe and mashed
1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1 package vanilla instant pudding (3.4 oz)
So today, was a crazy day. Ok it totally wasn’t crazy. I was just exhausted. I somehow had the bright idea of going to crossfit twice in a 12 hour time span… I hurt real bad right now. I don’t recommend it. Give yourself at least 24 hours between workouts. It’s a good idea.
But work outs aside, today was a bizarre day for me in terms of personal realizations. Way back when, I used to use SparkPeople to track calories, but I hadn’t logged in for almost a year. So this morning, I randomly did…
I saw my last log in was after I got back from Italy where I ate my weight (and then some) in Nutella, Pasta and Gelato for nearly 6 months. Since then, I’ve lost 18 pounds. That’s kind of a lot on someone who is only 5’3″
I guess getting back home, eating normal meals and exercising a few times a week served me well (even if Paleo didn’t…).
So in honor of the fact that my butt (among other things) shrank, let me tell you about an actual meal (as much as I love cake, it’s not a meal) that is more or less balanced, light and delicious too.
I would consider this to be moderately healthy. Depending on what you serve with it that is…
It involves shrimp, tomatoes, onions and a few splashes of (unhealthy) secret ingredients:
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 onion, diced
1 lb Shrimp, peel on
2 cups clamato
1-2 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp orange soda
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Avocado, sliced
Tostadas, for serving
In a blender (I used my magic bullet), blend together 1/4 of an onion (reserve remaining diced onion) and 3 garlic cloves with some water. Once it’s smooth, add to a sauce pan. Fill with water until about 2-3 inches from the top. Add some salt (or a pinch of bouillon) and bring to a boil. In the meantime, rinse your shrimp and place in a metal mesh strainer.
Cook shrimp in the broth by dipping the strainer into the broth, like this…
Once the shrimp is cooked (pink all over, be careful to not overcook), place in a bowl over some ice. You might have to do this in batches.
Next take about 2 cups of the cooking broth and place in a large bowl.
Add about 2 cups of clamato, ketchup, lime juice and orange soda. Be careful, it’s a science. Taste it along the way to see how it is.
Stir it all together and set aside. Next peel your shrimp (alternatively you could peel your shrimp before cooking then put the skins in the broth to help give it more flavor). Now you’re ready to assemble.
Start by putting a good amount of diced tomato (1/2 cup?), onions, cilantro and Serrano chili in your bowl. Then add the shrimp and avocado. Last pour the broth/clamato mixture over your shrimp. You want a good amount in there because it gives it great flavor.
From there, you’re pretty much ready to go. But don’t forget one important thing…
A beer. Because life is all about balance and a cold beer tastes great with this dish.
Serve with tostadas, extra lime, salt and hot sauce (optional). This will serve 2-3 people.
Whoever said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach as probably right, but they forgot that the way to a woman’s heart is the same direction. I wish I could take credit for this, but I can’t. It was made entirely by an awesome boyfriend who makes ridiculously tasty things.
What was the last healthy meal you had?
Until about 5 days ago, I thought “brown butter” was a crock of shit.
I hate to be crass, but let’s be honest, food bloggers are some of the best bullshitters I know. Don’t worry, I’m include myself in that sweeping comment.
I mean really, we love to make basic things and give them a fancy name that hipsters will repin like crazy and drive traffic to our sites.
Chocolate Pudding with Peanut Butter Mousse and Maple Candied Bacon = Chocolate Pudding with stuff sprinkled on it
Spinach-Quinoa-Peach Salad with Honey-Sage Vinaigrette= a salad with fruit and grains
I’m just calling it like it is. And you know what hipsters love?
Butter. Especially brown butter.
So for a long time, I avoided anything with brown butter, because it just sounded sort of silly, but then on Friday I was bored and I needed to make dessert for the next day. So I thought to myself, why not give it a shot?
At worst it, it’s still just a damn cookie. At best, it’s an amazing cookie.
I won’t lie. It’s a pretty amazing cookie.
adapted from Food and Wine
1 stick of butter
1 cup + 2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate chips
In a pan, melt butter over medium heat. Allow to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, transfer to large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. In the meantime, combine flour, salt, and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.
Once the butter has cooled, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add 1 egg at a time, then vanilla and continue to be beat for about a minute. Add in flour mixture. Mix until almost combined. Fold in chocolate chips until dough is just combined.
Place dough in the freezer while oven preheats to 350F.
Once oven has pre-heated, form dough into walnut sized balls. Place on parchment paper-lined pan and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden around the edges.
Remove from oven, leave on pan for a few minutes then transfer to a cooling rack until cool. Then serve! This recipe makes about 20-24 small ish cookies. If you want larger cookies, bake longer and you’ll probably get about 10.
So I’m going to go ahead and tell you that these are great.
I’m going to swallow my pride and admit I was wrong. Brown butter is pretty tasty. They weren’t lying when they said it gives it a nice nutty flavor.
If you asked me what my favorite food is, I would spend forever trying to decide and ask you a million follow up question… is it my favorite food to eat all the time? or for a special occasion? Savory or sweet? Appetizer? Main dish?
If you were my boyfriend you’d probably just say, “answer the question.”
To which I would respond “Caldo de Pollo, if we’re talking about what I like to eat on a normal day.”
I have a habit of not answering questions, or if I do, qualifying that response with a million follow up excuses as to why I can’t really answer the question.
I’m very indecisive. So here it is. If I had to choose a favorite food to eat all the time, it would be this: Caldo de Pollo.
That just means chicken stew, but this is how my family (and I think most Guatemalan families) makes it.
The vegetables are all in big chunks and there’s a bit of chicken in there.
It’s probably the easiest thing in the world to make. It’s also delicious and healthy. Whenever I go home, I want my mom to make two things: black beans and caldo de pollo. It’s just delicious.
1 lb chicken thighs, bone in (boneless is fine too)
1 bunch cilantro
1 tomato, whole
1 onion, ends cut off and peeled
1 chayote (güisquil), quartered
1 cabbage, cut into 6 wedges
3 carrots, peeled and cut in half
1-2 celery ribs
a few pieces of fresh or frozen corn*
2-3 small potatoes
1 small bag frozen yucca
Avocado, Lime, Sour Cream (for serving)
Fill a medium saucepan half way with water, bring to a boil. Add frozen yucca.
Boil until tender, it should take about 30 minutes. This is crucial. If you put the yucca in the water before it boils, the yucca will stay tough. Make sure your yucca is tender and keep it in the freezer until the water is boiling, then add it to the water.
While the yucca cooks, start the rest of the soup. The beauty of this soup is that it’s fast and doesn’t involve a lot of chopping.
Big chunks of carrot and güisquil (güisquil in Guatemala, but chayote in Mexico so that’s what you’ll probably see it labeled as in US grocery stores) are appreciated. But the cabbage is my favorite part. Not familiar with guisquil/chayote? It looks sort of like a pear from the outside:
And sort of on the inside, just quarter it and cut out the seed in the middle
In a large post, add all of the ingredients. Add enough water to cover the ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 45 minutes or until cabbage and potatoes are cooked through. The take a fine mesh strainer, take out the tomato, peppers and cilantro. Pour some of the broth on it and using a spoon, mash the tomato, peppers and cilantro to get the most flavor out of it, then discard. Add yucca you cooked separate to the pot.
Serve with lime, sour cream and avocado. I usually just eat it with lime and avocado, but sour cream makes it super tasty, just mix it into your bowl just before eating.
*I don’t like corn, so I never use it, but most people (including my mother) add it.
I like to pack mine up into 6-7 containers (that’s how many meals a big pot makes), and take them for lunch for the week.
Healthy and delicious lunch that is totally Paleo friendly if you omit the potato and yucca. Even though yucca is a root, I think it’s too starchy for Paleo.
But seriously, what makes this delicious is the lime and avocado.
It takes a regular soup and makes it out of this world. Don’t skimp on that!
So what’s your favorite food? Something you could eat everyday and not get tired of.