Farfelle With Sausage, Peas, Tomatoes and Cream

As a child, I grew up spending my Saturdays and Sundays playing soccer. And, believe me, after spending so many years becoming acquainted with mud, dirt, sweat and camaraderie, I have really come to enjoy and love the sport.

Euro 2012 started this past weekend and, as a result, I found a perfect opportunity to watch a few games. Although soccer is popular in the States, it is much more popular in Europe. It is nice to see a change of pace and see how utterly ecstatic and passionate the European fans are and how much they truly love their teams. At the weekend’s end, I am lucky to say that I had watched two games, Germany vs. Portugal and Spain vs. Italy, both of which were great games!

However, after watching Italy play, I became quite hungry and thought of Italian food (naturally). Plus, I had just purchased a basil plant so I wanted to welcome the first opportunity to use some fresh basil in an Italian dish. So, after a little bout of searching, I found a perfect recipe: Farfelle With Sausage, Tomatoes and Cream.

Step 1: Chop Onion and Garlic;
Saute Italian Sausage;
Add Onions and Garlic 

Step 2: Add Pureed Tomatoes
and Touch of Cream; Add Peas 

Step 3: Boil Pasta, Drain; Add Sauce
to Pasta; Toss Extra Basil on Top; Eat! 

After a jam-packed weekend, I was not too utterly inspired to make something uber complex or intricate. As a result, I was very pleased with this recipe because it was simple, yet flavorful and did not feel “heavy” despite the use of a little cream. Plus, the addition of some peas (to add some color and sneak a vegetable serving in) and a sprinkle of Parmesan made this into a delicious meal!



Sweet Potato Fries With Sriracha Mayonnaise

I feel as though sweet potato fries are the new “it” item – they literally seem to be popping up on restaurant menus everywhere. Although the term “fry” usually provides for an unhealthy connotation, at least I feel better consuming sweet potato fries because I know I will be receiving my daily dose of Vitamin B6, C, D and Iron. Besides the vitamin values, I especially became inspired to make them after seeing a mouth-watering advertisement in Cooking Light from Alexia that featured Sweet Potato Fries With Sriracha Mayonnaise.

Step 1: Peel and Cut Potato Into Strips

Step 2: Toss With Olive Oil,
Garlic, Sea Salt and Pepper

Step 3: Mix Mayonnaise With
Sriracha Sauce and Lemon Zest;
Bake, Dip, Eat, Enjoy!

Although I totally jumped on the band wagon with this one, I do not regret it at all. These are extremely easy and provide for a light snack (if you do not dip in mayonnaise like I did of course!) and something that is a little bit healthier than the normal greasy fry.


Turkey Chili

I am habitually cold during the Winter months. I often find myself shivering or continuously making tea in an attempt to increase the temperature of my frigid body. Besides cozy blankets and scaulding beverages, the one food item that always seems to warm me up and simulateneously satisfy my taste buds is chili (especially spicy chili). As a result, during one of these cold January days, I decided to make a healthier and super-simple recipe of Turkey Chili.

Step 1: Heat Onions in Olive Oil Until
Translucent; Brown Turkey in Skillet

Step 2: Add Tomatoes, Kidney Beans,
Chicken Stock, and Black Beans to Large Pot

Step 3: Add Onions and Turkey to Pot;
Simmer for 1 Hour; Stir Frequently

Step 4: Add Cheddar Cheese/Sour Cream/
Whatever You’d Like and Enjoy!

This was an incredibly simple  dish. Of course, due to my love of spicy flavors, I added almost quadruple the amount of hot sauce recommended and added an additional teaspoon of cayenne pepper and red chili pepper flakes. Totally recommend it!


Weekend in Seattle

The Space Needle, Pike’s Place Market, the birthplace of “Grunge”, and the destination for corporate giants such as Microsoft, Starbucks, and Nordstrom are a few characteristics that describe the city of Seattle. In addition, Seattle is home to many different culinary tastes ranging with everything from classic American food to Seafood to the authentic flavors of the International District. Since I’m a natural “foodie” at heart, I couldn’t help but document a few culinary adventures I had while visiting Seattle this past weekend.

GaudiLately, I’ve been trending towards eating smaller and lighter meals (essentially tapas, as mentioned in a prior post here). We choose to go to Gaudi which is a Spanish inspired restaurant in the Roosevelt neighborhood. We enjoyed a bevy of items from the menu including Papas Bravas (potatoes with spicy sauce), Bavas (Spanish meatballs), Jitanitos (dates wrapped in bacon), Mojama (fresh cured tuna), and a few other items. But, our favorite part about Gaudi was the dessert we shared: a sponge cake filled with apricots and cream and topped with a raspberry glaze. Besides the fact that it just LOOKED pretty, it also tasted wonderful too.

Apricot and Cream Filled Sponge Cake
With Raspberry Glaze

Sandwich shops have a hard task to accomplish: to develop sandwiches that are fresh, flavorful, and cannot be easily replicated by any random Joe. To be perfectly honest, what differentiates the turkey sandwich made at an independent sandwich shop from the sandwich made at home or from a nationally recognized sandwich franchise? The key differentiator resides in ingenuity of ingredients. That being said, after glancing at the menu of Homegrown, I noticed a multitude of unusual and unique components within the sandwiches. After much contemplation, I settled upon the Roast Pork sandwich (Stumptown Coffee and cayenne rubbed pork loin, pickled red onion, apple butter, mixed greens, and sage aioli served over whole grain bread). After first bite, savory (pork and sage aioli), sweet (apple butter) and tangy (pickled red onions) flavors simultaneously combined to create a medley of enticing flavors. So, unlike the standard and ordinary sandwich shop, Homegrown mastered the art of combining diverse ingredients and creativity to make delicious sandwiches.

Roasted Pork Sandwich and Lentil Soup

High 5 Pie — I absolutely love and adore pies. Not only do I love combining fruit into desserts, but I enjoy making non-traditional fruit desserts or putting a different spin on a classic pie. That being said, High 5 Pie in Capitol Hill in Seattle serves pies that definitely match this description. The selection at High 5 Pie consists of “Pie Jar” (pies in a jar), Flipside (hand-held pie turnovers), Cutie Pie (mini pies), 7″ Deep Dish (classic pie), and Pie Pop (literally, a mini pie on a stick). Flaky crusts, pie fillings bursting with flavor, and a hip venue unite to make this a pleasant stop for a weekend afternoon. Plus, where else can you purchase pie on a stick?

Classic Caramel Pecan Pie

Pie Pop — Cherry Almond
& Cutie Pie — Berry

Good times and good eats this past weekend in Seattle. All in all, I definitely enjoyed these places and hope to visit again sometime soon!


5 Favorite Restaurants

Through the past 2o or so years I have lived here, Portland has treated me well. But, more importantly, it has also treated my stomach well. My early high school years spiked my curiosity in other culture’s foods and new experiences which prompted everything from trying Ethiopian food for the first time to sophisticated fine dining to food carts. But, throughout this journey, I can happily say that I’ve tried a whole gamut of different food groups and flavors I never thought I’d previously taste.

So, as tribute to the city and restaurants that widened my perspective, I’d like to mention a few of my favorites:

Screen DoorLiving in the Northwest doesn’t present too many opportunities to feast on Southern delights and delicacies. So, when I found the chance to go to a Southern-themed restaurant for brunch, I was absolutely ecstatic. And, trust me, my enthusiasm didn’t diminish at any point during this mid-morning outing. At first glance, when many of the dishes on the menu contained the words “Cajun, Alabama, blackened chicken, fried, and grits,” I knew it was going to be good. But “good,” doesn’t just cut it – the food was AWESOME. Just remember, this is not a joint to visit if cutting carbs, fat, and calories. Indulge in it all!

Try: Praline Bacon Waffle or Cajun Scramble

Tip: Sit at the bar and strike up conversation with the Chefs!

Kenny & Zuke’s Every once in awhile, I crave a large, hearty sandwich. If you find yourself in the same position, look nowhere else but Kenny & Zuke’s. Every sandwich here is guaranteed to feed an army, so no one ever leaves hungry or empty-handed. Personally, I haven’t found Pastrami at many sandwich shops, and if I have, I probably did not try it because I thought it was sketchy. But, here at Kenny & Zuke’s, the Pastrami is definitely un-sketchy and quite delicious. So, that coupled with it’s casual but lively and loud atmosphere keeps its customers coming back (including me) time and time again.

Try: Ken’s Special (Pastrami, chopped liver, cole slaw, and Russian dressing)

Tip: Leave plenty of time when coming here and bring a newspaper or magazine – the line is often very long!

Toro BravoIf you are an indecisive individual, you will love Toro Bravo and tapas restaurants. In Spanish cuisine, tapas basically serve as a variety of snacks or mini appetizers. This is perfect for an indecisive individual because it encourages ordering many different choices to eventually combine to make a meal. And, if you go to a tapas restaurant with friends, it is highly encouraged to share amongst all of the different dishes. But, not only do I enjoy Toro Bravo because of its element of tapas, but the food is also very fresh and flavorful as a result of Toro Bravo’s commitment to use ingredients from local farms and markets. I especially love the different spices used in Toro Bravo’s concoctions as well as the fact that the menu continuously changes!

Try: Machego & Paprika Fritters with Salsa Roja, Smoked Pork Shoulder Sandwich with Celery Root Slaw, and Moroccan Tuna with Dried Cherry Couscous

Tip: Bring as many friends as you can (and friends that like to share)!

Salvador Molly’sChina may be known for the Great Wall of China, but Salvador Molly’s is known for the Great Wall of Fire. Curious? Well, the Great Wall of Fire is a compilation of photos on the wall of contestants who successfully consumed the Great Balls of Fire (Habanero pepper ground cheese fritters). But, in addition to this contest, Salvador Molly’s serves amazing fare with its inspirations and unique flavors coming from Ethiopia, Hawaii, Thailand, New Orleans, Jamaica, and more. And, while waiting for food, make sure to take some time to look at the elaborate walls adorned with various souvenirs, photographs, artwork, and sculptures. Each piece tells an interesting story about the inspiration and food they’ve chosen to make at Salvador Molly’s!

Try: Mojo Kahlua Pork (My personal favorite – you won’t be let down, promise!)

Tip: Go at the noon hour to dine on one of the $4.95 lunch specials!

Andina — I will never forget the first time I went to Andina. After stepping foot into Andina for the first time, I sincerely thought I had left America. The impressive decorations, in-door décor, bright lighting, wafting smell of food, native Peruvian Chefs and sounds of traditional music teleported me to Peru instantaneously. At first glance, I still don’t understand about 75% of the menu; however, the first time I went I ordered a marinated chicken dish and a spicy cocktail with Habenero pepper infused vodka combined with a mango puree. At first sip, the cocktail was sweet but delivered a clever kick of spice at the end and the chicken was very flavorful. Overall, a wonderful experience and I’ve enjoyed my visits since!

Try: Seco a la Norte & Nacute (lamb-shank traditional Northern Peruvian style)

Tip: Call ahead and go on a night when the entire band is playing!

Perhaps writing this post on an empty stomach was a bad idea or perhaps a good idea that it reminded me to go to these restaurants!