Turkey Twist: Sopa de Albondigas, or Meatball Soup

Happy almost Thanksgiving!

IMG_50632

I love turkey day and today I get a head start on the holidays because my friend Meatball is throwing a friends-giving pot luck tonight. Turkey, stuffing, booze…all the goods will be there and I see it as a way to get my stomach into tip top shape for Thanksgiving Day back home this Thursday. Thanksgiving eating is a marathon, not a sprint and I take race training very seriously. Anyway, the point behind the above ramble is that my house smells like Thanksgiving as my pumpkin pie finishes up in the oven, with a new pecan crust recipe courtesy of Ambitious Kitchen that I’m test driving. I do love me some pecans.

Read the rest of this page »

Beans, Bacon and Beer: Frijoles Borrachos, or Mexican Drunken Beans

I don’t know about you, but there are certain people that I have on speed email. They’re my daily “check-in” and it’s reassuring to know that if one of is still MIA by say, 11 AM, it’s possible search and rescue will be called. Those people for me are Lettuce and Yam, and these emails can be from deep meaning-of-life conversation to the banal “what’s for lunch today?” Food is very often a daily topic and today’s went on to discuss the “rank” of certain starchy sides at mealtime.

IMG_50012

It started because Yam commented on how she had couscous for dinner last night.

Read the rest of this page »

Steak and Eggs, Reinterpreted: Machaca con Huevos

IMG_50132

Lose your load, leave your mind behind, Baby James.

Woh, Mexico, it sounds so simple, I just got to go.

The sun’s so hot I forgot to go home, guess I’ll have to go now.

IMG_50132

Who doesn’t love a little James Taylor (the original JT, though I still love the current JT)? I grew up listening to the peaceful strumming of his guitar on every single road trip as a kid, and even now when I hear any of his songs pop up on my iPod, I’m transported back to the backseat of that ugly red Volvo station wagon, driving through the West Virginia Appalachians with the family on summer vacation.

Just like that classic tune implies, this classic Mexico dish sounds so simple…and it is. For my convenience, it’s re-purposed as a slow cooker dish, and rarely does it get any easier. BUT, have you ever used a slow cooker for breakfast?

Now you can! I bring to you machaca con huevos.

Read the rest of this page »

Northern Mexico

Full belly. That seems to be the theme to my weekend. Having been out of town so much recently, I spent a lot of the last two days catching up with friends, so lots of food and drink was had. Good times, great oldies.

Looking forward at the next few weeks, it’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is here in less than fourteen days. We all know that means lots of our favorite foods that, despite how easy some of them are to make, only make a ceremonial appearance that one day a year. I am guilty of the above, when in reality, how easy is stuffing to make? I should be eating it more than just on Thanksgiving Day.   That’s a tangent, but what I’m really here to tell you today is that I’m finally finally moving onward on my worldwide culinary trek to Mexico.  And, taking note of the upcoming holiday, I’m putting a bit of a thanksgiving twist on some of the upcoming dishes.  Seasonal tweaks, if you will.

Something tells me I’m into something good…

Anyway. MEXICO.  I’ve only been once and I fully appreciate that a resort in Playa del Carmen is hardly a true representation of a country. And, despite the fact that I absolutely adore Mexican food (there is a constant debate in my head about whether Mexican or Mediterranean is my favorite), Mexico is not nor has it ever been high on my “to travel” list.  I just really hate hot weather and that causes me to, shamefully, rule out entire areas of the world. I mean, if someone is going to give me a trip to Mexico for free I’m not high and mighty enough where I’d turn it down, but I’m less likely to fund a trip there myself.  Another tangent.  Moving on…

Despite the love of Mexican food, I’m aware that my skill set is limited to the familiar: tacos, fajitas, tortilla soup, burritos. I think for many of us, that’s Mexican cuisine in a nutshell. However, upon further review, it appears that Mexico’s culinary regions are as distinct as those of France, Italy, Spain and India and thus is deserving of three full weeks of attention: Norte, Central and Sud.

First, the north.  Northern Mexico for my purposes consists of an enormous area spanning dry and semi-arid regions from the Baja area on the Pacific coast to the Gulf of Mexico and expanding southwards toward central Mexico.  The climate and conditions in this region lends itself to cattle ranching and dependence on wheat. Therefore, in this area, the food actually is the familiar: flour tortillas, meat, beans and cheese, but get excited when I tell you that I’m not making just tacos this week (though, if I were, would you really hate me that much? Didn’t think so.)

Machacha con huevos (spiced beef with eggs)

Frijoles Borrachos (drunken beans)

Mostachónes (milk candy)

Albondigas (meatball soup)

1929152_509475165725_761_n

Apple Crisp, me and Lettuce on our Mexico trip. BABIES.

Into the Thai Files: Green Papaya Salad and Fried Cashew Nut Chicken

IMG_4780

People, I’m back!

Well, sort of back. I’m currently in San Francisco waiting to fly home into the Polar Vortex. It’s been quite a whirlwind couple of weeks and I’m starting to feel not quite like myself. As much as I do love to travel (and travel I do, often), there comes a point that I’m over my trip and ready to head back to life as I know it. I’m such a creature of routine and being out of it, I start to long for the comfort of my apartment, the peace of my yoga mat, the serenity of the pool, and the bounty of my kitchen. I haven’t properly cooked in close to two weeks (TWO WEEKS!) and with a few more days of settling back into life, it won’t be until next week’s adventures in Mexican cooking when I start to see if still know how.

IMG_4806

Read the rest of this page »

Fava’s Pad Thai

Hi everyone!

It’s been awhile, but I’ve been so busy with work and home and life and traveling that cooking has been a bit of an afterthought (it happens to the best of us).  Fava to the rescue and with her help, I’m sharing with you some easy and tasty Thai favorites before I hunker down with Mexico.

You may recall that I did spend some time cooking the foods of Singapore and Thailand, but since this was already months into my culinary tour of Asia, I was kind of over the Asian food by then. As such, my lone Thai dish was a dessert, those fake fried bananas. AND I didn’t even use homemade wrappers for them. For shame.  Fava fell in love with Thailand last year upon visiting and was shocked and appalled by the lack of attention paid to her new love and vowed to right my wrongs. She did so by cooking a Thai feast for me and Legume and this week, I’ll be sharing her recipes.

IMG_4827

Read the rest of this page »

Cake Break: Coffee Walnut Torte

IMG_48932

Today, a cake. It doesn’t at all fit in with the Southwest theme I’m currently rocking, but I figured that was okay because who doesn’t love a good cake? And that’s what this is. A very good cake.

IMG_4902

If I’m going for honesty (the best policy), I made this to submit for the Great Denby Cake-Off. The challenge was to create the perfect accompaniment to afternoon tea. First of all, I love a challenge of any kind (I can be…very competitive [understatement]) and a baking one?!!! Well, that’s right in my wheelhouse. Secondly, I absolutely adore afternoon tea, and it’s one of my favorite fancy pants things to do with my girlfriends at home and abroad. Paging through British Baking for inspiration, I settled on an English favorite- coffee and walnut cake, revamped with a little Buddha twist.

Read the rest of this page »

Crazy Casserole: Tamale Pie

IMG_4753

Happy Monday ya’ll!

IMG_4753

How was everyone’s weekend? Mine was good, but busy. I took a note out of the book of weekends’ past and stayed disconnected much of the last three days and don’t you know that I sort of loved it?

Read the rest of this page »

Low and Slow: Slow Cooker Southwestern Pork Stew

It’s slow cooker season! Is there a slow cooker season? Maybe not since I made that best slow cooker pulled pork back in August which wouldn’t traditionally be known as slow cooker season so that takes me back to answer my question that no, there is no slow cooker season.

Was that confusing? Stream of consciousness happens after long baths. Nice long, warm, bubble baths.  Like the one that happened tonight.

Anyway, whether or not you feel like there’s a slow cooker season, I bring to you a slow cooker dish. A nice hearty slow cooker southwestern style pork stew.

IMG_4868

It’s not often that I make pork stew, or even really hear of pork stew. There’s beef stew and chicken stew and chilis of both varieties. But this one, this is different and it’s the flavors of the southwest that make it so.

Read the rest of this page »

Eat the World: Seattle and Olympia, Washington

Hi all!

Happy Monday! It is Monday, right? I’m still in a blur from the past three days. Tired and running on coffee, but I did have a great weekend out in the Pacific Northwest visiting Gnocchi and her new digs in Seattle. It was honestly the perfect visit filled with good food, lots of laughing (LOTS) and the perfect mix of adventure and glamour. And because every trip is in some way a quest for most awesome foods, I came home with a full stomach and a suitcase full of jam (more on that later). With that, we have another edition of me, eating the world. This time, Seattle and Olympia.

10313009_393512040800040_7221911138538908403_n

Read the rest of this page »