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I meant to do a lot more cooking last week, I swear. Life got in the way and now I was faced with an all too familiar dilemma - a bunch of miscellaneous ingredients that need to be cooked asap. Oh, the stress!

I knew Manfriend had to be going through meat withdrawal, so I made a pitstop at our corner market to see what I could use. I ended up with a package of Aidells Teriyaki Pineapple chicken meatballs. I mean, you work with what you’ve got, right? Plus it was too cold to stop at a proper grocery store for meat. [This girl = lazy on Monday evenings]

I figured the flavors of the meatballs would work with the book choy, shiitake mushrooms and brown rice pasta I had at home. Awesome.

Not so awesome. Turns out the brown rice pasta I thought I had was actually regular pasta. Hmph. I cooked it anyway (truth: I didn’t notice it was regular until I went to pour the bag into the pot) and it wasn’t bad. I still think the chewy brown rice pasta would work best for this dish, though.

I sprinkled a little of this and a little of that in (go ahead, picture the Swedish Chef) and voila! Dinner! Pretty yummy for a cobbled together Monday dinner!

Teriyaki Pineapple Penne
1/2 package Aidells Teriyaki Pineapple chicken meatballs, quartered 
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 - 3/4 c shitake mushrooms, sliced
2 c baby boy choy, chopped
1/2 lb brown rice penne, cooked
1 1/2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp Soy Vay Island Teriyaki marinade 
squirt sriracha, optional
1 - 2 tbsp low sodium chicken broth (to keep things moist in the pan. You may use all or only some of it)

In a medium skillet, brown meatballs over medium heat. Once you start to render some fat (it won’t be much), add onions and saute for 1-2 minutes. If your pan gets too dry, add a splash of chicken broth.

Stir in mushrooms and a little more broth and cook on medium low for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add bok choy, tahini and teriyaki marinade and stir until combined. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until bok choy starts to soften. Add sriracha to taste.

Gently fold in penne to coat and let cook for 1-2 minutes (closer to 2 minutes if your pasta is at room temperature). Serve immediately.



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Awhile back, a friend hosted a delicious vegetarian dinner and these boats were my favorite (well, one of a couple favorites) of the night!

I kinda made this up as I went along, trying to figure out what exactly was in them. I knew the dish was so simple that I couldn’t mess it up…but I may have. These didn’t taste exactly like the ones we had at dinner, but I like them just as much!

Feta & Dill Zucchini Boats
2 zucchinis, halved lengthwise
1 tbsp shallot, minced
2 1/2 tbsp sheeps milk feta, crumbled
1 tbsp dill, minced
1/2 tbsp lemon zest
drizzle of olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Hollow out the zucchini halves and discard or snack on the insides. Smash together the feta, shallot and lemon zest and fill zucchini with cheese mixture and sprinkle dill on top. Season with a little salt and pepper and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Serve immediately.



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These tomatoes are the result of a whole bunch of leftover ingredients that needed to be used. I had all these random portions of veggies and meat that weren’t quite enough to make a whole dish, so I figured let’s stuff a bunch of tomatoes. Duh.

I used salami because we had an end piece leftover from our HSB picnic the day before, but I think sausage would be great in here too…or you could even omit the meat all together! I list mushroom stems here only because I was using the leftover pieces from the stuffed mushroom caps. Whole mushrooms are totally acceptable too.

Stuffed Tomatoes
5 new girl tomatoes
4 tbsp basmati rice
3 tbsp salami, chopped
3 tbsp mushroom stems, chopped
1/4 c thinly sliced leek
1/4 c low sodium chicken broth
grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Slice off the tops of the tomatoes and hollow them out (I snacked on the insides because I love tomatoes that much), Shave off a small portion off the bottom so tomatoes sit flat in a shallow baking dish.

Brown salami in a small pot and saute leek and mushroom stems in the rendered fat. Stir in rice and cook for about 30 seconds and then add in broth. Reduce heat, cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until rice is 75% done. Remove from heat and let sit covered for 5 minutes.

Spoon rice mixture into tomatoes and cover with foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Optional: Remove foil and sprinkle tomatoes with parmesan cheese. Place in broiler until golden. Serve immediately.

 



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I was in a snacky mood the other night and these seemed like a good dinner option. I did this with turkey italian sausage, but you could do it with pork. You could even do this with another kind of sausage…andouille, chorizo, chicken apple (well, maybe not that last one). Experiment!

I ended up with more stuffing than mushrooms, so I turned the leftovers into mini meatballs. This write up takes that into account, so the number of mushroom caps is doubled here.

Sausage Stuffed Cremini Mushrooms
20 cremini mushroom caps
1 link turkey italian sausage, casing removed
1/2 - 1 tbsp panko (my sausage was a little to goopy for me, so I used closer to 1 tbsp to thicken things up a bit)
1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tbsp chopped parsley

Combine sausage, panko, cheese, pepper and parsley. Generously stuff mushroom caps. Place mushrooms on a baking sheet and bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes or until sausage is cooked through. Serve immediately.



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I started out the week a little too eager about hopping on the cooking train and I burned out fast. I’ve been meaning to make this mushroom quinoa for a couple days now (pretty sure Manfriend started rolling his eyes everytime I said either mushroom or quinoa), but life just got in the way (slash, laziness).

I finally got around to pulling this dish together and I must say, it went perfectly with the leftover shortribs! The earthy, savory quinoa balanced out the sweeter ribs. Ahh! If only I had more green veggies to balance out the meal!

You should make this on a weeknight when you’re looking for a quick meal but maybe also feeling a little lazy. It’s super easy and kinda hands off.

Mushroom Quinoa
1 1/2 -2 c chopped cremini mushrooms
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 onion chopped
1 tbsp dry sherry
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 c low sodium chicken broth
1 c quinoa
1 tbsp grated parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium pan with a lid, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onion starts to soften. Add mushrooms and thyme and reduce heat to medium low. Let mixture cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms start to soften. Add sherry and butter and cook for a minute, stirring frequently. Stir in soy sauce, chicken broth and quinoa. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes or until all liquid has been absorbed.

Fold in parmesan and season with salt and pepper to taste.



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*ok, so not the most photogenic meal…

One of the standout dishes of our trip was a comforting bowl of Pastel de Choclo we had in Valparaíso. Savory meat on the bottom, topped with a slightly sweet and creamy corn. AHH fantastic!

The only reason I am familiar with this dish is because I was having a particularly adventurous 2008 and made it for a work potluck (seriously, do I always work with foodies??). It was a hit with everyone, though I wasn’t into the very dense, cornbread-y topping. So I figured hey, we’re in Chile, let’s taste the real thing.

Woah. Turns out I made a horrible version of this dish. The corn layer should have the consistency of a chunky pudding, not at all dense and dry like cornbread. GAH! Life forever changed!

Now equipped with the knowledge of what a proper pastel de choclo should look and taste like, I was determined to redeem myself.

We’ve been eating some pretty heavy meals lately, so I thought I’d make this a teeny bit healthier by swapping in some lean ground turkey. I prefer my meat portion to be super savory and flavorful…slightly reminiscent of a picadillo. So that’s what I did. As I cooked, I noticed my pan was a bit dry and I didn’t have any tomato sauce on hand (which is what I’d typically use in this situation) so I used what I did have…V8.

You heard me right. V freaking 8. I can’t even tell you how long that’s been in my cabinet or why I own a 6 pack in the first place, but it sure did come in handy for this dish. Please don’t buy V8 just for this recipe. If you have tomato sauce like any normal person would, please use that.

Turkey Pastel de Choclo
1 lb lean ground turkey
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp Goya Adobo seasoning
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp olive oil
1 5.5 oz can low sodium V8
1 tbsp flour
1/4-1/2 c low sodium chicken broth
3 oz sliced black olives
2 hardboiled eggs, cut into eighths
8 oz can creamed corn
1 1/2 c frozen sweet corn, defrosted
1/4 c whole milk
3 tbsp cornmeal
1 tsp sugar
salt & pepper to taste

In a blender, puree corn kernels and milk until most of the kernels are broken up. Stir in creamed corn, cornmeal, sugar and some salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

In a large pan, saute onion and garlic in 1 tsp of olive oil for 1-2 minutes. Add oregano, cumin, adobo seasoning and chili powder and cook for another minute.

Add turkey to the pan and continue cooking until turkey begins to brown, breaking up large bits with the back of a spoon. Pour in V8 (or tomato sauce) and reduce heat. Let simmer for about 5 minutes.

Push aside some of the meat mixture in the pan so you are just dealing with the extra liquid. Bring heat back up a bit and vigorously stir in flour to avoid clumping and then stir to combine with the meat. Slowly pour in chicken broth to thicken up the sauce (you may not need all of it).

Once sauce has reached a nice consistency (you don’t want it too tacky or too thin), stir in olives and let cook for another minute.

Pour meat mixture into a small, but deep baking dish and spread it out to cover the bottom. Top with eggs and then pour corn mixture on top to cover and spread out evenly (think cake frosting).

Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes or until top starts to brown a bit. Transfer to broiler for a couple minutes to complete browning.



Breakfast. I WILL master you.

I flagged this fun looking recipe a few weeks ago for baked egg boats thinking oh, that would be a fun breakfast to make for houseguests. Then, just like that we get an impromptu houseguest! I modified this recipe a bit to make them even cuter…I used my favorite Acme dinner rolls to turn these into single serve boats (canoes??).

My test tasters were impressed, but I was already thinking about modifications as I bit into my crunchy, yet also squishy, breakfast. I think the mini baguettes originally listed in the recipe are actually the perfect size. My baby-sized boats were kind of a pain to make. ALSO, I realized these boats are the perfect vessels for basically any frittata/strata recipe I’ve ever made. Next time, I want to stuff a baguette with the flavors of the Pancetta & Gorgonzola Strata I made way back when. Think about it. DELICIOUS.

Note: as I wrote this recipe up, I realized I was being super brand loyal. Didn’t mean to be, but sometimes I’m just very particular about my bread and ham. The cheese was just an oopsie.

Baked Egg Boats (inspired by Spoon Fork Bacon)
3 Acme dinner rolls
1/4 lb Fra’mani rosemary ham, chopped & browned until crisp
3 eggs
1/4 c whole milk
2-3 tbsp scallions, chopped
3-4 tbsp Dubliner cheese, grated
salt & pepper to taste

Cut a deep V through each roll and hollow out the inside of each roll (not too much, though. You still want some of the soft insides!). Set on a foil-lined baking sheet.

whisk together eggs, milk, scallions, cheese and crisped ham. Season with salt and pepper (easy on the salt).

Since the cheese and ham will tend to sink to the bottom of your bowl, scoop a little out into each bread boat first. Then slowly pour in the egg mixture. I found that it worked best when I let the egg mixture sit for a minute in the boats before pouring more in.

Place full boats into a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown, puffed and set. Sprinkle with any extra ham bits and serve.



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Oh yeah, so Manfriend and I went to Chile for 10 days. Nbd.

Although our trip was split between being outdoorsy in beautiful Patagonia and being cultured folk in Santiago and neighboring cities, this hike was pretty much the focal point of our vacation. I spent so much time researching and planning this portion of the trip that I failed to do any research on the city portion. Whoops.

Patagonia is amazing. You feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nothing but beautiful mountains wherever you look (well, except for when you’re surrounded by flat lands). We found ourselves oohing and ahhing every few minutes and taking tons of photos. These photos don’t even capture the beauty we saw first hand.

I was a little worried about finding a legit day hike in the park, but after checking in with the folks at Landing Standing, I realized that we could totally do the Towers hike in a day.

Who:
We saw a variety of folks on this trail ranging from seasoned backpackers that were planning on camping to day hike enthusiasts like us to some folks that looked like they were struggling a bit.

What:
A moderate to difficult 9(ish) mile hike. I’m still unclear on the actual mileage since some maps and websites reference it in km others in miles and they all say 9. The park map says 9.5km, but that doesn’t seem right. We did 6 miles of climbing in the heat in significantly less time so who knows.

There are plenty of uphill climbs and steep downhills. The most challenging portion of the hike is about 3-4 miles in and it’s a steep, rocky climb to the top.

We completed the roundtrip hike in just under 7 hours, but note that we were told it typically takes people 8-9 hrs.

When:
We hiked this in mid-September and were warned that the conditions were less than ideal for hiking and viewing. There was snow on the ground, and as we got halfway up the challenging portion, it started to snow on us. We got to the towers and saw nothing. I’d probably do this in late-September/early October to avoid the snow and serious heat.

Where:
We started at the Hotel Las Torres where we also decided to crash that night. It’s a pretty fancy hotel, but also the only hotel at the trailhead. If you don’t want to go fancy, they also have some campgrounds and a hostel on site.

Our journey started in Puerto Natales, where we picked up the bus to the park. Once you arrive at the Administration center, we hopped on the Las Torres shuttle (about 2800 pesos/person). For more information about getting to the park go here

How:
From the hotel entrance, we followed a dirt path to the right that took us past all the hotel grounds. We continued over a bridge and kept right the whole way.

We then followed the clearly marked trail for Mirador Torres. You’ll have a pretty steady, but somewhat mellow incline until you reach the Campamento Chileno. It was closed when we were there, but we paused for a snack break since there was a picnic table.

We pushed on through a thick forest are with lots of questionable bridges before reaching Campamento Torres, which is where I believe most of the backpackers stop for the night. You’ll see a sign directing you up toward a mountain and it says only 45 minutes to the top.

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I was determined to crush that mountain and make it in less than 45 minutes. I mean, the woman at Las Torres looked at us like we were crazy for starting our trek just before noon and said ‘it takes 4 hours each way’ with a concerned look on her face. It took us less than 3 hours to get to Campamento Torres so naturally I wanted to finish the one way trek in less than 4 hours. Duh.

That last 45 minutes is no joke. It’s all rocks, all climb, no flat places to pause. The knees started creaking and then I saw it. Snow on the ground. D’oh! I started wishing I had some hiking poles.

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We made it through the first snowy incline only to be greeted with more snow. This time falling from the sky. Great. What did I sign up for.

It got a little easier as we ascended and we kept following the orange markers which seemed to keep winding with no end. And then we saw it. The lake. Frozen over. No towers except for maybe a hint of one through the fog.

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Worth it. It was so quiet up there that all we heard was the creepy sound of rocks falling. Crack crackcrack. I’ll admit, I got a little worried and the irrational fear of a potential avalanche kicked in. We soaked up the snowy sights for a bit and then began our descent.

Not going to lie, I preferred the hike up to the decent. I was feeling the age in my knees and desperately searched for a sturdy stick to use as a makeshift hiking pole. No such luck.

We continued our descent for hours until we could see the Hotel Las Torres in the distance. So close, yet so so far!

Then we made it back. 9 miles (or whatever it is), 7 hours, rain, snow, sweat, creaky knees, no view. Still the best trek I’ve done so far.

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We celebrated with beers at the hotel and treated ourselves to a night in the cozy hotel before jumping on the bus back to Puerto Natales the next afternoon. Thankfully, we were able to sneak a peak of the towers the following day as the weather cleared up!



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While sitting on a very long return flight home from Chile, I realized I hadn’t cooked a proper meal in almost 3 weeks. THREE WEEKS! What the bleep?! I was desperately in need of some QT with my kitchen so I scoured the internet for some inspiration.

As much as I didn’t want to cook a heavy, meaty dish, a recipe for Korean chicken sliders jumped out at me. What if these went beefy? Sort of like bulgogi, but not? So, lazy me ordered some delivery groceries and got excited about whipping this dish up. Then I re-read the recipe. Slow. Cooker. D’oh!

So, I altered some things. Made some stuff up along the way. Googled substitutions for ingredients I didn’t have (slash, I didn’t want to trek to the other side of town to get them). I think these turned out pretty well…I mean, I probably would have preferred the healthier chicken version, but oh well.

Korean Inspired Short Rib Sliders (adapted from Shared Appetite)
1-2 lbs short ribs
2/3 c low sodium soy sauce
3 tbsp mirin
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp ginger, grated
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp red miso paste
2 tbsp water
1 1/2 tsp chili garlic paste
1 tsp sriracha
1/2 tsp mirin
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp flour
1 1/2 c beef or chicken stock
1/4 - 1/2 c water
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp cola
salt & pepper

Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Brown on each side in a large dutch oven. remove ribs and set aside on a plate. Discard excess oil from dutch oven, leaving just enough to saute onions.

In a bowl, stir together miso paste, 2 tbsp water, chili garlic paste, sriracha and 1/2 tsp mirin. Whisk in soy sauce 3 tbsp miring, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, brown sugar and cola.

In same dutch oven, saute onions for 2 minutes. Add ribs and any reserved juices. Stir in miso/soy mixture and add just enough water to cover ribs about halfway. Cover and place into a 375 degree oven for 2 - 2.5 hrs or until meat easily separates from the bones.

Remove meat and bones from dutch oven and shred meat, discarding bones. Skim any excess fat from the cooking liquid. Bring liquid to a boil and stir in about 1 tbsp of flour. Cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in stock and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.

Stir about half of the sauce into the shredded meat and reserve the rest for drizzling/dipping. Serve meat immediately on buns with kimchee, lettuce and scallions.



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Mt. Diablo has been on our to-do list for quite some time now but it has taken a back seat to other easier hikes. Mostly because I think it’s a smidge too far (not true at all), in the land of the hot (uh, fact), a pretty steep climb (also a fact) and then there was that whole fire thing. Yeeaaah. The hiking cards were not in favor of Mt. Diablo.

Then a Weekend Sherpa email popped into my inbox and got me thinking it would be the perfect Labor Day weekend activity, especially with our trip to Chile coming up. We’ve really only done 3-4 mile steep hikes and we’re planning a long hike through Torres del Paine in a couple of weeks. This weekend was pretty much our only chance to fit a practice run in. Whoops.

Manfriend, Friend and I piled into a car and cruised on over to the East Bay on a surprisingly sunny Sunday morning. It was pretty hot to start so we knew we were in for a doozy of a hike. Four hours and approximately 3 liters of water later I began questioning my choices. We survived just fine, but everyone descended wearing their cranky pants. What can I say, four hours exposed to heat that we’re not used to on top of the climbs can make you angry. Do yourself a favor and try this in the winter, spring or fall.

Who:
I’d say avoid this if you aren’t used to/have never walked, run or hiked for an extended period of time. Also, those with questionable knees…the downhill may make your knees scream and I’d say there’s about a mile stretch of downhill with minimal relief.

What:
A moderate to difficult 6.5 mile hike. Significant uphill climbs and steep downhills. Limited shade.

When:
Anytime but summer. Unless you really like the heat.

Where:
This starts at the Mitchell Canyon Staging area in the town of Clayton. Note that there is a $6 fee at the entrance so have exact change and a pen handy.

How:
Pick up a few maps from the Visitor Center since the trails, although clearly marked, can get a bit confusing. The trailhead is near the entrance to the parking lot, to the right of the Visitor Center. You’ll see a sign. Follow Mitchell Canyon Road to Oak Road (hang a left where the split rail fence ends).

Continue on Oak Road through a steep and grassy (or in our case, brown) meadow and until you reach a post pointing you to the Eagle Peak Trail (to Mitchell Rock & Twin Peaks) on your right.

Follow the Eagle Peak Trail, maybe pause for a breather at Twin Peaks and enjoy the silence (we may have stopped for many breathers) before continuing on to Eagle Peak.

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There are tons of great views at Eagle Peak. Perch on a rock and soak it all up!

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Once you’re ready, continue along the Eagle Peak Trail to Murchio Gap. Just note that this is a pretty hairy stretch with a narrow trail surrounded by prickly bushes and branches. Holy clausterphobia!

Once you reach Murchio Gap, you’ll hang a left onto the Back Creek Trail. This is where your descent begins. The first part of it is somewhat shaded, but still a bit hot and if you thought the bush/branch ridden trail to Murchio Gap was rough, you may hate this section of the trail as well. It’s a bit clearer, but you can’t see much around you.

The descent is fast and a bit steep, so proceed with caution. It flattens out eventually, but not soon enough :(

At the intersection of Bruce Lee Road, start following signs back to the staging area. You’ll eventually come back along a LONG stretch of brown meadow(maybe it’ll be green again one day!) that makes you wonder why you did this hike in the first place.

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Don’t worry, it will end soon enough. You’ll see that glorious parking lot. I promise. In 2 miles.

Hydrate, pat yourself on the back and drive yourself into the town of Clayton to celebrate. We celebrated with ice cold beers at the Clayton Club Saloon

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I had a big banh mi craving and wanted to treat Manfriend to a beefy dinner after he was a trooper for a mega long, hot hike this weekend. I figured why not throw some beef into banh mi! This was (surprise!) my first go at skirt steak and I must say it was super easy and fast. Love it. 

I thought my banh mi creation would be great on my favorite Acme dinner rolls so that’s why I made these into 4 mini sandwiches. If you have larger rolls, you could cut the skirt steak in half and split it among two rolls.

I kinda winged the pickled radishes & carrots, so if you have a recipe you like, please use that instead.

Lemongrass Beef Banh Mi
1/2 lb skirt steak, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 c low sodium soy sauce
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp lemongrass, minced
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp fish sauce
2 tbsp kewpie mayonnaise
1/4 tsp fish sauce
pinch sugar
4 dinner rolls (I used Acme)
8 slices cucumber
shredded radish & carrot
onion, thinly sliced
sugar
rice wine vinegar
cilantro 

Combine garlic lemongrass, soy sauce, sesame oil, 1 tsp sugar and 1 tsp fish sauce in a resealable container. Place skirt steak in marinade and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. 

As meat marinates, mix rice wine vinegar and sugar (about a 2.1 ratio) in a small container. Stir in radish, carrot and onion and let pickle for at least 2 hours. 

Mix kewpie, fish sauce and a pinch of sugar in a small container and set aside.

Bring meat to room temperature and heat a grill pan on high. Cook beef for about 3 minutes on each side or until beef is medium rare. Toast bread halves on the same grill pan. 

Smear bread with mayo and top with beef, cucumber, pickles and cilantro. Serve immediately.



So I have this Friend who is a newbie in the kitchen. Like, super newbie. I felt like such a proud momma when she texted me to say she found this awesome avocado pasta dish online and made it all by herself…and even used a food processor (kitchen gadgets are not her jam)! It sounded like a meal right up my alley, so I asked her to share.

I went a little rogue (because that’s just what I do) with the sauce since I a) didn’t have any lemons on hand, b) had some leftover spinach/arugula mix and c) didn’t read the recipe thoroughly so I just assumed pine nuts were involved.

I threw in some browned chicken sausage bits because I was craving meat and made the mistake of using shirataki fettuccine as my pasta. Just don’t. I love shirataki noodles, but this was not the place for them. I forgot that avocado is suuuper creamy and that does not pair well with the mushy/chewy noodles. Toss this with a regular or thin spaghetti.

Also worth noting, I seasoned my sauce til it tasted just right and then when I tossed it with the noodles, I thought it needed more salt. Do yourself a favor and salt the sauce a smidge more than you think you need to. Remember, always taste along the way!

Avocado Pasta (inspired by Damn Delicious)
1 avocado, halved
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
15-20 large basil leaves
handful spinach/arugula mix
1 tsp champagne vinegar
1 tbsp toasted pine nuts
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 c frozen sweet corn, defrosted
2 links chicken andouille sausage, chopped
long pasta, cooked
salt & pepper to taste

Place avocado halves, garlic, basil, greens and pine nuts in a food processor. Puree until smooth. Stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Brown sausage in a large pan. Once sausage starts to crisp, reduce heat to low and add corn and tomatoes. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring frequently. Add pasta and 3-4 heaping tablespoons (you can always add more!) of avocado puree and toss to coat. Serve immediately.



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I’ve been very into tomatoes this week. I’ll find myself snacking on some cute little orange and red grape tomatoes just because. I also get incredibly excited when I’m at the store and see some bright early girl tomatoes or even better, super ugly heirloom tomatoes. I just want them all! Is my body in need of lycopene??

Anyway, I came across a bruschetta salmon recipe a few weeks ago while searching for easy fish recipes for a friend and thought I’d give it a go. It seemed like an easy and refreshing dish to make!

I prefer my meals to be light, but still substantial so that’s why I threw in some beans. There was no need to make a crazy meal with polenta, pasta or some other heavy grain. The beans were neutral enough in flavor that they didn’t take away from the garlicky tomato mix AND they were perfect for balancing out the acidity. Victory!

Note: don’t get scared by the tomato mix I list here. We had a couple heirloom tomatoes from our last CSA box that needed to be used, so I chopped those up in addition to the early girls. Only have one type of tomato? Use that! Have a bunch of different ones? Chop them up and use them all. Variety is the spice of life!

Also, I cooked the salmon to what I think is perfection: medium rare(ish). Our fillets were still pink in the middle, but not cold and raw. PERFECT texture.

Bruschetta Salmon
2 salmon fillets
3 early girl tomatoes, chopped
2 medium heirlooms tomatos, chopped
1/4 c red onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 - 1/3 c basil, chopped
salt
freshly ground pepper
garlic powder
greens, optional for serving

Toss tomatoes, onion, garlic, vinegar, basil and beans in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside as you prepare the rest of the meal.

Generously season salmon with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Heat olive oil in a skillet and place salmon in pan, skin side down. Cook for about 3-4 minutes or until you can see about 1/3 of the salmon turn opaque (bottom and sides). This will vary depending on the size of your fillets. Gently flip salmon over.

Cook salmon for another 3-4 minutes on the other side, or until the whole fillet is opaque. Remove from heat and let rest in pan for a minute or two.

Place some greens on a plate and top with salmon. Scoop tomato mixture on top of salmon and serve.



I’ve been slacking in the kitchen lately. I think it might be due to lack of time and inspiration. I blame the fog.

We had some frozen shrimp on hand (currently the only frozen seafood I will purchase) and most of the ingredients for a simple weeknight pasta dish, so I went with something I haven’t made in ages. Shrimp Fra Diavolo. This wasn’t quite what I rememembered, but it was a nice quick and comforting meal for a foggy evening. I dialed back on the spice for Manfriend, but feel free to make this as spicy as you want by adjusting the crushed red pepper content.

We didn’t have a ton of shrimp on hand, but 12 seemed to be perfect for us plus a leftover meal. You could always do this with more (maybe smaller) OR toss in some other creatures of the sea…scallops, white fish, whatever your heart desires!

Shrimp Fra Diavolo
12 large shrimp, peeled
1 14.5 oz can no salt diced tomatoes
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 c dry white wine
1/2 - 1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 c basil, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper
1/2 lb thin spaghetti, cooked & drained

Toss shrimp in about 1 tbsp of the wine and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Cook quickly in a large pan until they start to turn pink. Remove and place in a bowl as you cook the sauce.

In the same pan, add olive oil and saute onion, roma tomatoes and garlic for 3 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, crushed red pepper and white wine, reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sauce starts to thicken up.

Stir in shrimp and half the basil and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Serve over pasta with remaining basil and parmesan cheese if desired.



It’s IPA Day! You know, another one of those ridiculous (probably made up) holidays that you sort of want to celebrate…like national hot dog day. I mean, I know I do.

What’s on your happy hour (or lunch, no judging) list for today? I want to track down a taste of the latest in Speakeasy’s Limited Series

I got a little teaser email about the Untouchable IPA and now I’m determined to find it. Yes, I know, I could just drag myself to the taproom, but ugh…SO FAR! Have any of you sampled this new brew? Thoughts?