TACOS AL PASTOR

Tacos al Pastor

TACOS AL PASTOR

 

While the rest of the country has been experiencing extreme bouts of cold weather, the Northwest has had a surprising amount of sunshine and dry days (knock on wood that this continues!). This sunshine teaser has tricked my mind to transition to Spring and Summer thoughts of sundresses, grilling, trips to the farmer’s markets and more. One of my favorite Summer foods are tacos due to the fact that they are highly versatile, hot sauce is always included (always) and they are a perfect go-to item for a get-together.

For this weekend, I wanted to make something other than the standard ground beef, cheese, onions and sour cream taco combo. While I’m not knocking that staple (it is delicious), I wanted to try something different. These tacos – Tacos al Pastor – were a perfect hit. Its use of charred pineapple, guajillo peppers and copious amounts of cilantro creates a fiesta of flavors that you’ll still be thinking about the next day.

Here’s how to make this recipe:

Step 1: Gather Ingredients for Tacos;
Chop Pineapple and Onions

MAKING TACOS AL PASTOR

MAKING TACOS AL PASTOR

MAKING TACOS AL PASTOR

MAKING TACOS AL PASTOR

Step 2: Add Pineapple, Onions,
Orange Juice, Guajillo Chile Powder,
Spices, Chipotles and More to
Food Processor; Puree

MAKING TACOS AL PASTOR

Step 3: Add Pureed Mixture to
a Bag with Pork and Marinate

MAKING TACOS AL PASTOR

Step 4: Grill Pork and Pineapple
Slices on Grill, Let Pineapple and
Pork Rest and then Chop; Assemble
into Tacos with Onions, Cilantro,
Avocado and Other Toppings; Eat!

TACOS AL PASTOR

I never thought I’d be cooking with pineapple in March. But now, this recipe has me convinced otherwise. The charred pinapples add a bit of smoke to their sweet taste; however, it helps to elevate these tacos when it’s combined with the guajillo chiles, juicy pork, onions and cilantro. Chop up some limes, invite a few friends over and have a fiesta with these Tacos al Pastor!

Cheers!

TACOS AL PASTOR

ROASTED CHICKEN WITH LEMONS, SWEET POTATOES AND SHALLOTS

Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes, Shallots & Lemons

ROASTED CHICKEN WITH LEMONS, SWEET POTATOES AND SHALLOTS

Traveling for work can take a toll on the body. Unfortunately there isn’t often that much access to fresh foods or options, and especially on the days spent on a plane. After this latest work trip, all I wanted to come home to was a simple dinner and one that I knew what all of the ingredients used were too.

I decided upon just roasting a few items that we had in our fridge and I was so happy with the results. All that was needed for a nice, hearty meal were chicken thighs, sweet potatoes, shallots and a few lemons tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Ta-da! A delightful meal and one that was perfect for some smiles after a cold winter day.

Do you have a similar recipe you like to do in winter?

Cheers!

ROASTED CHICKEN WITH LEMONS, SWEET POTATOES AND SHALLOTS

MAKING BROWN BUTTER BLONDIES

Brown Butter Blondies

MAKING BROWN BUTTER BLONDIES

Brown buttered anything is quite the treat. Just the name alone of this dessert – Brown Butter Blondies - sounds sinfully delicious.

After making these blondies, I’d have to attest that the brown butter component is definitely a bonus and much needed. I don’t often think to make blondies since the typical brownie always comes to mind; however, this recipe was a nice change and the brown butter ribbon in the center switches up the overall blondie experience with its gooey center.

Here’s how to make these Brown Butter Blondies:

Step 1: Toast Pecans

MAKING BROWN BUTTER BLONDIES

Step 2: Beat Brown Sugar
and Butter Together, Then
Add Eggs; Mix
with Dry Ingredients

MAKING BROWN BUTTER BLONDIES

Step 3: Cook Butter on Stove

MAKING BROWN BUTTER BLONDIES

Step 4: Beat Brown Butter with
Egg, Vanilla and Brown Sugar

MAKING BROWN BUTTER BLONDIES

Step 5: Reserve Brown Butter Mixture

MAKING BROWN BUTTER BLONDIES

Step 6: Fold Pecans into
Flour Mixture

MAKING BROWN BUTTER BLONDIES

Step 7: Spread Batter into Pan
Halfway; Apply Brown Butter
Mixture; Add Rest of Batter;
Top with Any Remaining Pecans

MAKING BROWN BUTTER BLONDIES

Step 8: Bake and Eat!

MAKING BROWN BUTTER BLONDIES

Do you have a favorite blondie recipe that you like to make? If so, please share!

MAKING BROWN BUTTER BLONDIES

 

CARAMEL FOOTBALL CAKE

Superbowl Sunday: Caramel Football Cake

CARAMEL FOOTBALL CAKE

Happy Superbowl Sunday!

The caramel cake featured in this post is fantastic in so many ways, judging by its vanilla bean-rich moist cake layers, brilliant use of buttermilk and utterly satisfying caramel frosting.

I actually made this cake two weeks prior to the Superbowl and didn’t even initially have the intention of crafting it into a football caramel cake. As I was in the process of making this caramel cake, my boyfriend and I were looking at its recipe page and pictures from Food and Wine Magazine. As the color resembled a football, he had the creative idea to turn this once original round cake into an oval-shaped football caramel cake. I agreed and off we went to cut pieces from the cake and sculpt this cake into a football shape. The last touches just involved lathering on the caramel frosting and topping it all off with some white icing for the stripes and laces.

Whether you would want to use this for a Superbowl party or just make it the normal way, this cake is solid choice for a dessert. Here are a few tips I would suggest:

1. Vanilla Bean: Make sure to buy real vanilla bean at the store instead of substituting vanilla extract. Nothing compares to vanilla bean – the smell alone should convince you to use this every time.

2. Frosting Help: The frosting for this cake is a bit different than other frostings I have done, namely because the frosting is hot when it is put onto the cake. Once it comes off the stove and the mixing process, you have to work quickly to ensure that the frosting doesn’t harden too quickly with the threat of it becoming unspreadable. I would recommend calling a friend or family member to help pour and spread the caramel frosting.

Cheers!

ASIAN CHICKEN MEATBALLS

Asian Chicken Meatballs

ASIAN CHICKEN MEATBALLS

Meatballs are perhaps one of my favorite food items. Throughout the years I have had many different Italian-themed meatballs with a range of different meats paired with spaghetti. While these are fabulous, I definitely welcomed the idea of using chicken instead of pork and beef and having a different spin with a mix of ginger, garlic and scallions, and, of course, dipping them in some spicy hot sauce. This recipe for meatballs – Asian Chicken Meatballs (as labeled in the Food and Wine magazine) or Sesame – Ginger Chicken Meatballs – is a winner, so simple and one that I’ll definitely look to make again.

Step 1: Chop Scallions, Garlic
and Ginger; Add to Bread Crumbs

CHOPPING GINGER FOR ASIAN CHICKEN MEATBALLS

Step 2: Add Other Ingredients and
Mix in Ground Chicken

ASSEMBLING INGREDIENTS FOR ASIAN CHICKEN MEATBALLS

Step 3: Form Mixture into Small
Meatballs; Brush with Canola Oil
and Place onto Sheet to Bake

ASSEMBLING INGREDIENTS FOR ASIAN CHICKEN MEATBALLS

Step 4: Dip in Your Favorite
Hot Sauce and Eat!

ASIAN CHICKEN MEATBALLS
As mentioned above, I absolutely loved the flavors of these meatballs. I don’t buy fresh ginger very often; however, I definitely think it is underutilized and an ingredient that needs to be incorporated into more into meals in the future.

What’s your favorite combination of meatball flavors?

Cheers!

ASIAN CHICKEN MEATBALLS

SALTED BUTTER APPLE GALETTE

Salted Butter Apple Galette

SALTED BUTTER APPLE GALETTE

Sometimes I feel like there is so much stress to make the ‘perfect pie’ or ‘perfect tart’ or ‘perfect pastry dish’. I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve had to redo parts of a crust on a dessert or take extra time to make sure that it looked ‘perfect’.

There are many aspects that I loved about this Salted Butter Apple Galette from Bon Appetit; however, perhaps the best part was that it didn’t focus on being perfect. In some places the galette crust is longer than other parts, in some places the galette crust is browned more than other places, and in some places the galette crust has a more thick crust. But, in this case, not trying to ‘make it look perfect’ resulted in it looking (and, tasting!) better.

This dessert is rustic, yet yields powerful flavors through the salted butter, vanilla bean and sweet apples. This is a definite crowd-pleaser and one that I’ll make sure to make again!

Here are some tips for making this recipe:

1. Don’t focus on the crust: Seriously. Just roll out the dough, place the apple slices on top, and fold the dough over the apples. So. simple. For real.
2. Mandoline: Use a mandoline if you have one. It makes the process of cutting apples so simple and quick.
3. Go big on the vanilla bean, brown sugar and brown butter: The center of this galette might look burned; however, it is not. That is simple the result of the vanilla bean, brown sugar and browned butter.

Let me know if you’ve ever tried this dessert!

Cheers!

SALTED BUTTER APPLE GALETTE
SALTED BUTTER APPLE GALETTE