Strawberry cake

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I probably should have shared this when strawberries were in super season (it's a thing, I promise), but remembering/knowing/caring when every piece of produce is in season isn't always my strength. Like, sometimes I try while other times I just want to eat the food I want to eat. 

For instance, I ate brussel sprouts last week during a heat wave. Do you know how many regrets I have? ZERO.

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If you are good at the whole produce-in-season thing (you good little human), this cake is still okay to make! Because do you know the best thing to do when strawberries aren't at their absolute best? Stick them in the oven! Even better if they're on top of cake batter!

I love fruit, but I do this weird child-like thing when I buy it in that I BUY IT ALL. Even if I plan on just picking up one pint of strawberries or two peaches, I inevitably freak out and convince myself I need three times the amount. But like, how is one person supposed to eat so much fruit before it goes bad?! I rarely eat breakfast (my bad), I never think to take it to work with my lunch (also we get free apples at work!) and while I'd LOVE to be that person who considers fresh fruit dessert everyday, the reality is that I'm 75% ice cream at this point in my life.

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Luckily, when it comes to cakes, this is a pretty simple recipe so it's easy to pull together when I find myself with ALL THE STRAWBERRIES. The batter comes together in a few minutes and if you're even a little bit of a baker, you most likely have all the ingredients on hand. Except maybe the berries, but I probably have enough in my fridge for you so don't worry about it. 

I love love this cake slightly warm with some whipped cream, but it's also great at room temp. And while it's obviously a dessert, nobody is going to yell at you for treating it like an afternoon snack with coffee or tea or wine because sometimes life is rough. 

Actually, you know what? Just eat this for breakfast. You deserve it. 

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Strawberry cake

  • 6 TB butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup + 2 TB sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 lb strawberries, halved

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a springform pan and set aside.

Whisk together flours, baking powder and salt.

In a separate bowl, beat butter and 1 cup sugar until fluffy and pale (about 3 minutes). Mix in egg, milk and vanilla. Add in the dry ingredients and mix until just smooth.

Pour in pan and arrange strawberries on top, cut sides down. Sprinkle 2 TB sugar on top.

Bake for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 325 and bake for 50-60 minutes before until golden brown on top.

Let cool in pan before serving.

Recipe from Smitten Kitchen and Martha Stewart

Notes:

This will stay good for 2-4 days at room temp, covered.

The cake also freezes well! I like to cut it into individual slices, wrap in plastic and then store in Tupperware or a large storage bag.

Pinot Coladas

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Don't worry, I've got your weekend plans right here. All you need to do is a find a rooftop or patio and a friend (or 5) to share with. Shouldn't be hard.

If you don't know me in real life (hi - nice to meet you!) then you should know I'm that annoying person who says "I bet I could make this" when I'm at a restaurant or bar. It certainly doesn't stop me from going to said restaurants and bars, but it's just a thing you should expect to come out of my mouth.

I'm a very fun person to be around. Really!

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This is a recreation from one of my favorite wine bars in Seattle. They do a couple different types of wine slushies, but this might actually be my number one favorite! My love for coconut knows no bounds, and while I don't go around ordering pina coladas everywhere I go, I've never been mad at one. 

This is the perfect combination of wine + fruity cocktail and definitely deserves a spot in your weekend drink rotation. Actually, scratch that. It's summer! Drink this on a Tuesday and love life a little extra. 

Need another reason to make this? It's a GREAT way to stretch a bottle of wine! This might not be important to some, but it mattered to me after my friend and I (so that's TWO people) polished off THREE bottles and then some one night. While I regret nothing, it is nice to know I can bust out this drink and know we're set for a little while.

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If you need an extra nudge to make this (WHO ARE YOU??), know that this tastes great straight out of the blender BUT can also be kept in the freezer until you need it. Whenever you're ready to drink you just have to give it one last whirl in the blender and you're good to go.

Be extra, friends. You deserve it.

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Pinot Coladas

Serves 6-8

  • 1 bottle Pinot Grigio (750 ml)
  • 16 oz frozen pineapple
  • ¼ cup rum
  • 1 cup coconut milk (I prefer canned)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1-2 cups ice

Blend everything together until smooth. Start with 1 cup of ice and add more if the consistency seems too thin for you. All of this fills my blender to the top so feel free to do this in two batches!

Notes:

These are delicious straight out of the blender, but I did find that I got the best consistency if I made the drink ahead of time, let the mixture freeze for at least 6 hours (or overnight) and then re-blended right before serving.

Make sure to taste as you go. Feel free to add more pineapple, coconut milk, sugar, RUM, whatever. 

Use whatever kind of Pinot Grigio you like! Definitely doesn't have to be expensive - I've used multiple brands and it's always turned out. 

Crispy herbed chickpeas {vegan}

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Meet my new favorite weeknight dinner! 

Crispy beans! Flavorful herbs! Fluffy rice! Creamy avocado! Doesn't that just sound so wonderful?!

Perfect for those times you don't think you have it in you to cook after a long day. Especially perfect if you realize you have a bunch of herbs in the back of your fridge because you forget they are there and keep buying more (not that I would know anything about that...). 

I always, always have canned chickpeas on hand, and we've established that my fridge is full of herbs so this is a really easy dish for me to pull together. If I have rice, I serve it over rice (these photos were actually taken with leftover takeout rice!). If I have some other grain, it goes on top of another grain. Sometimes I'll eat it with a salad. Or toast. Sometimes I just eat it straight out of the pan (this is a thing I do a lot. No shame). 

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And because my favorite meals always have a cool, creamy component I throw some avocado on there. If I don't have an avocado (the horror!), a little greek yogurt does the trick. Or some vegan sour cream is a delightful treat too if want to keep this totally plant based. 

My point is that if you have some chickpeas and something green, you have dinner. So give Seamless a break for once.

And then have a cookie. Because despite everything I just said, sometimes making yourself dinner on a Tuesday is just hard. 

Crispy herbed chickpeas

Serves 4

  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • Around 2 cups herbs (I used 1 cup cilantro + ¾ cup parsley + ¼ cup chives here)
  • To serve: rice, avocado, lemon, etc.

Using a clean kitchen towel, pat the rinsed chickpeas dry. They don’t need to be bone dry, but too much extra moisture will hurt their crisping ability.

Pour oil in a large frying pan. Crush garlic cloves, add to pan and turn the heat to medium. When garlic just starts to sizzle add chickpeas, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and cumin and stir. Spread in an even layer (as much as possible) in the pan and let cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While chickpeas cook, chop your herbs. I normally just pile them all on my cutting board together and chop, chop, chop. I like them to be pretty minced but a few bigger pieces/leaves always seem to allude the knife. It’s fine.

When the chickpeas start to pop a little and some are split open (the majority should be nice and browned), take them off the heat and stir in your herbs.

Serve with rice or any grain of your choice, with avocado and a squeeze of lemon (if you want). These are also delicious on toast, smeared with a bit of greek yogurt or ricotta on the bottom (this would obviously not be vegan)!

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

Notes:

The measurements for herbs up there are totally up for debate. Those are the ones/amounts I like to use the most, but this recipe is perfect for whenever you find yourself with leftover herbs of any kind! It’s also very forgiving with herbs that might be a little past their prime (which is always for me, because I tend to overbuy).

These are really good at room temperature too, and make an awesome addition to salads!

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

 

No churn chocolate-covered strawberry ice cream

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I gave you a smoothie and salad last week - we all deserve some ice cream today. Plus we only have about 6 weeks left of summer, which means pumpkin spice will be pouring out of our faces soon enough. 

Not that pumpkin anything makes me stop eating ice cream - I'm certainly not above freezing in the name of some good mint chocolate chip. I might even argue that summer is one of the worst times to eat ice cream because it can be a logistic nightmare. When was the last time you walked down the street eating ice cream on a hot summer day and didn't turn into a sticky toddler? 

I can literally FEEL you guys rolling your eyes at me. 

It's okay. I made you no churn ice cream. NO CHURN GUYS. 

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I've probably mentioned this before, but I have very limited counter space. However, that has not stopped me from owning numerous kitchen appliances that I probably don't need (looking at you SodaStream) but desperately love (looking at you SodaStream). And then of course I have all the stuff that I actually, truly need like a blender, food processor (this is actually new but I can't remember life without it all of a sudden?), my various coffee-creating things (so very important) and so on. 

And while I'm fairly good at talking myself into things even if I don't need them (still looking at you lovingly SodaStream), the ONE thing I actually can't get myself to buy? A ice cream maker!

Now there's a possibility I won't ever need one! Has anyone else tried no churn ice cream before? I know it's been around for a while, and I now deeply regret holding off for so long. 

Aside from the fact that you don't need a whole new gadget for this, the ingredients list is fairly small and the process fairly easy. And it's SO GOOD. Like, obviously it doesn't taste exactly like ice cream but it's really, really close and still so incredibly delicious.

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Naturally, I made this one a tiny bit more complicated with the roasting of the strawberries and the chocolate swirl (but who has ever been mad at a chocolate swirl??), but I would say it's still a pretty simple dessert to put together. And of course, you don't have to make strawberries complicated if you don't want to - experiment with your favorite flavors!

Now go make this ice cream and decide what new kitchen toy you want to buy in place of an ice cream machine. 

Might I suggest a SodaStream?

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No churn chocolate-covered strawberry ice cream

Makes about 2 quarts

  • 1 lb strawberries
  • 2 TB sugar, divided
  • 1 TB grand marnier (optional)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup chocolate chips, melted (I used dark chocolate, but you can use your favorite!)

Preheat your oven to 350.

Cut the tops off and halve the strawberries. Toss half of them with 1 TB of sugar and spread out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes and let cool.

Meanwhile, mix the rest of the strawberries with the other 1 TB of sugar and grand marnier (if using) and let sit while the rest of the berries roast + cool.

When the roasted strawberries are cool, mash them slightly and mix with the sweetened condensed milk in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl beat the whipping cream until just whipped (soft peaks and all, you know). Fold the whipped cream into the milk mixture until just combines. Add the rest of the strawberries and gently fold to incorporate.

Pout half the mixture into a loaf pan. Add half chocolate and use a butter knife or skewer to swirl together. Top with the rest of the ice cream and chocolate and swirl again.

Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 6 hours. I like to let this sit out for 10-ish minutes before eating for the best consistency.

Process adapted from the one and only Martha

Notes:

In case you're wondering, the reason why I only roast half the strawberries is that I found the roasted mixture gave the dish the strawberry flavor, while the "marinated" ones served as the chunks. When I tried it one way or the other (so either all roasted, or all marinated) I didn't get the flavor I was looking for. A little extra work, but you're worth it!

Grilled southwest salad with creamy cilantro dressing {vegan}

grilled southwest salad with creamy cilantro dressing

There are about a million and one things I miss about living in NYC. Family/friends, a dog named Mollie, the Museum of Natural History (seriously), the kid who plays the sax at Union Square....just to name a few. 

But you know one kind of weird thing I miss? Like, really really miss??

CHOPPED SALADS.

Hopefully I don't have to spend too much time convincing anybody that chopped salads are superior to not-chopped salads. It's an actual fact. Studies have been done, the votes are in, it's written in history. 

None of that is true BUT STILL CHOPPED SALADS FOR LIFE OKAY?!

grilled southwest salad with cream cilantro dressing

For two years I could find one on every corner, and  it was glorious. An overpriced weekday lunchtime triumph, if you will. Within 15 steps of my office I could go build my perfect salad and watch as someone chop, chop, chopped it into bits perfectly mixing everything with my dressing of choice. No need to worry about inconsistent bites because everything is everywhere (in salad terms this makes sense, I promise)! No concern over looking like a baby who just discovered solid food while trying to fit a weirdly large piece of lettuce in your mouth because it's all been chopped into perfect. tiny. bites.  

But now? Nothing! To be honest, I'm mostly annoyed because I live in a city that I actually think would welcome chopped salad bars with open arms. We're all over here drinking kombucha and hiking and I just really think we need a place to fulfill some salad dreams. 

Okay fine, that's a lie. I'm not hiking. I do drink a lot of kombucha though. Sometimes I add alcohol. BUT SOMETIMES I DON'T!

( I should pause here and mention that I could be totally wrong about all this, and there might actually be a place a girl can get a salad here? Seattle people HALP!)

grilled southwest salad with cream cilantro dressing

So now that we've established my feelings toward chopped salads, it feels like a great time to tell you this salad I'm sharing today is not, in fact, chopped. 

Do you hate me now? I hate me now. 

But look, as delicious as I think it is this salad just did not photograph well when chopped. So for the sake of food photography these are regular ol' boring salads, but please don't let that stop you from giving yours the chop treatment.

And chopped or not, I love this salad. It's easy to put together and super customizable. Use your favorite vegetables, or better yet use the ones that have been in your fridge a smidge longer than they should. You're grilling most of them up anyway! Because I kept the dressing vegan, I decided to go all the way and left off the cheese and meat with this one. But by all means, do not be afraid to throw some grilled chicken on here. Or steak! Or shrimp! Some feta cheese wouldn't suck either!

And this dressing? I am SO into it. I unabashedly love creamy dressings - even when they negate the health benefits of a salad - and loved the idea of making something really creamy without any cream or yogurt. Enter coconut milk! Along with the avocado it simultaneously makes the dressing super creamy, while also balancing the heat of the jalapeno. So good! I made it over and over again for testing purposes, and the last two times neither batch even saw a salad. Instead I just stood over my sink dipping anything and everything into it. Cucumbers, carrots, tortillas, crackers, roasted potatoes, whatever I could get my hands on.

Again, SO GOOD.

grilled southwest salad with cream cilantro dressing

Grilled southwest salad with creamy cilantro dressing

Serves 4

  • 2 ears of corn
  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 small red onion, halved (or ½ a large one)
  • 8 cups romaine lettuce

Creamy cilantro dressing:

  • ½ large avocado (or 1 small one!)
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno, coarsely chopped 
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 TB lime juice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2-4 TB water

Rub the corn, poblano peppers and green onions with oil and season with salt. Grill until softened and charred (I did this on the stove in my grill pan, but you can obviously do this on a real grill!). When done, let vegetables cool slightly and then chop the peppers and green onions and cut the corn off the cob.

While the other vegetables cook, chop up the romaine lettuce, thinly slice the red onion, dice the red pepper and drain and rinse black beans.

(P.S. Feel free to grill up that red pepper if you want! I just happen to love it raw, but it's 100% delicious when grilled too.)

Divide everything between 4 bowls and drizzle with dressing OR combine everything in one large bowl and let everybody serve themselves!

Make the dressing:

Throw everything into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. If it's too spicy, add some more coconut milk or avocado! Want more acidity? Add more lime juice! Tinker until it's perfect for you and then add the water last to control the consistency - I usually start with 2 TB of water and add more if I need it. The amount is up to you based on how thin you want this to be.

Notes:

The dressing keeps well in the fridge for a week, and is awesome on everything so don’t be afraid to make a double batch. I especially LOVE using it as a dipping sauce for roasted sweet potatoes.

I keep the seeds and ribs in my jalapeno because I like the heat. If that's not your jam, you can either remove all of that or just start with half a pepper and go from there.

To make this a chopped salad (sorry I have to), I like to build a bowl and before dressing it pour all the veg out on a large cutting board. Then I chop it to my heart's content before putting it back in my bowl and mixing with the dressing. It's unnecessary work, but I've never regretted it. 

 

My favorite green smoothie

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Do you even remember a time when all of our drinks didn't come pouring out of a blender? 

We live in an (admittedly, wonderful) world of margaritas and wine slushies so it's more important than ever to keep that blender going. But today - and please hear me out here - maybe we put down the tequila and pick up some spinach? Maybe?

This is obviously not the first recipe for a green smoothie, and frankly it might not even reach full health potential, but I love it enough to drink it a few times a week and we can all agree that's a win for me (the girl who ate ice cream for lunch). I like these the most because compared to others I've seen it doesn't have a million different ingredients, but still manages to include some hipster healthy favorites (kept in mason jars because DUH).

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I added smoothies into my life last fall when I convinced my parents to do Whole 30 with me, and decided we all needed smoothies to get through it. So off we went to the grocery store where I proceeded to pick up the most gigantic bags of frozen fruit you've ever seen. Very large bags of frozen fruit. Like, why do these bags even exist SO BIG. 

Am I exaggerating? ONLY A LITTLE BIT. 

Long story short, I only lasted 10 days on Whole 30 and that fruit is probably still sitting in my parent's freezer. Whoops. 

But! I discovered smoothies have a time and a place in my life so that's good, right? I've never been a huge fan of getting a smoothie when I'm out because I always feel like they are just....too much. Like, they're trying too hard? I don't know - don't listen to me.

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Basically, at this point the main purpose of my smoothies is to get TWO GIANT HANDFULS of spinach in my system at any given time. I add this and that to make it taste good and now I have a pretty good system down. I've also started making little smoothie packs to keep in the freezer which makes things even easier than they already are (see notes below for more info on that).

Alright, off you go to your blender! And don't forget to clean it out before the tequila goes back in.

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My favorite green smoothie

Serves 1 (easily multiplied)

  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 1 banana, preferably frozen
  • 2 cups spinach (or just 2 big ol' handfuls)
  • 1 cup soy milk (or any milk/liquid of your choice)
  • 1 TB chia seeds
  • 1 TB hemp hearts

Add all ingredients to blender and blend away!

Notes:

Technically, the chia seeds and hemp hearts can be optional but chia makes it more filling and I swear the hemp hearts make it super creamy, which I adore. 

To make smoothie packs, freeze the mango, banana and spinach in a ziplock bag, plastic bag or mason jar (full disclosure - getting frozen things out of a mason jar is hard, but doable if you let it sit out for a little bit). When you're ready to drink, just dump it all in your blender and add the seeds and milk (you might need a tiny more milk since the spinach is frozen too, but that depends on your consistency preference). TA DA!

You can also blend multiple servings of the smoothie over the weekend and just grab and go throughout the week. I find it only stays good in the fridge for about a day, so I prefer to freeze them and then let it thaw overnight in the fridge.

If I'm not making the packs, I like to freeze a bunch of bananas to always have on had. Instead of freezing them all separately, I just slice each one into 4 pieces and throw a bunch in a bag. When I'm ready to make a smoothie, I grab 4 chunks and I'm ready to go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ginger paloma popsicles

I couldn't wait, I had to share another popsicle idea.

In my defense, I did warn you about this. It's the summer of popsicles over here, and I'm not stopping. Are savory popsicles a thing? Is that weird? I'll look into it. 

(P.S. Before I go any further, did you know it's Popsicle Week? WELL IT IS. These are not an official part of Popsicle Week because I didn't get my life together in time to throw my name in. BUT! I had already planned on sharing these before the holiday weekend anyway so it really just felt right.)

Every summer, I like to declare a drink my "drink of the summer." And by declare, I mean DECLARE. While it's not something I spend months researching or anything, I do put just enough thought into it to make people shake their heads when I talk about it. 

And to be clear, this does not mean I ONLY drink one thing during the summer. That would be silly. Instead, I'm most annoying about this particular one. You understand.

I'm sure by now you've figured out 2017 is my year of Palomas! I just love them, and when it's warm and my plans included drinking on a patio or roof this is the drink I want in my hand. They're just sweet enough to make it easy to take down 10 at a time, but tequila-y enough to make you realize that's never a good idea. They're easy to make for 1 or a crowd and nobody has every has sipped a Paloma and decided it wasn't refreshing. It's like the definition of refreshing!

All of that to say, I poured the drink into my popsicle mold and HERE WE ARE. I added a simple ginger syrup because I LOVE the little bite the ginger gives these, but feel free to make a normal simple syrup and leave the ginger out if it's not your thing (honestly, it's the tiniest little bite though. Try it!). And in case you're wondering, it's the ginger that makes these a little darker than a normal Paloma. 

Like many frozen cocktails, these are BOO-ZY. Like, whoa. But that's the fun! They pretty much saved my life during a weird 90-degree day we had here (guess who doesn't have AC?!), but I also highly suggest sharing with friends.

In fact, here's my one piece of advice for you: Be THAT person who always has fun popsicles in the freezer. It's a good person to be. 

Ginger paloma popsicles

Makes 10 popsicles, plus an extra drink (you’re welcome)

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup ginger
  • 2 cups grapefruit juice
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • ½ cup tequila
  • ½ cup club soda

Make the ginger simply syrup: Chop the ginger into small pieces (I don't peel it because we're going to strain it out, but you can peel it if you want). Combine with sugar and water and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, and then remove from heat, let cool and strain.

Combine syrup with grapefruit juice, lime juice, tequila and club soda. Pour into popsicle molds, leaving some room at the top for expansion. Freeze for at least 12 hours (I know that feels long, but I’ve found that works best for boozy popsicles like these).

Notes:

Depending on the molds you use, you might have to let the popsicles freeze for a few hours before inserting the sticks so they stay straight.

If the popsicles are hard to remove from the mold, you can dip it into hot water for 15-20 seconds to help release.

My favorite carnitas

I am SO excited to share this recipe with you today! For two reasons:

1. They are delicious and the whole purpose of this blog is to share delicious food.

2. Sharing them means I can finally stop making them.

I recognize that 2 kind of contradicts 1, but hear me out kids. Basically, I didn't want to share these until I was totally sure the recipe worked and would be something people loved. The cycle generally looked like this:

Make carnitas --> like carnitas --> have friends try carnitas and give feedback --> test one last time before posting -->decide to change something up last minute -->like those carnitas --> have friends tell you they like those carnitas --> test ONE last time -->RINSE AND REPEAT.  

No joke, this has been going on for a long time. It's like another full-time job at this point. 

(Not true. That was dramatic.)

Anyway, I just kept wanting to tweak things here and there, and could never settle on a recipe that felt totally, 100% perfect. With that said, these are probably also not totally, 100% perfect but I LOVE them and I really think you will too.

Again, maybe not totally, 100% perfect and definitely not totally, 100% authentic but still really, really good! 

I settled on this version because I think they are just as delicious on tacos as they are on a salad, and that's important when we're talking about a giant amount of meat. I mean, sure you can eat 700 tacos and call it a day (my hero), but if you like to switch it up these go on/with almost everything!

At my healthiest, I was mixing them up with roasted vegetables and calling it lunch. At my not-so-healthiest, I was....probably eating them straight out of the pan like a monster. 

This is me. This is who I am. Please love me. 

(Okay, but can you blame me? Look at those crispy bits up there!)

I consider this a pretty simple recipe since it's fairly hands off until the very end. If you've got a slow cooker you're on your way to carnitas and isn't that so exciting?!

And if you don't have a slow cooker, I'm sure you can still do this in the oven! I haven't tested it yet but the internet tells me it's possible. 

This is obviously great for a crowd, but if you're not feeding eight million people these also stay really well in the fridge and freezer. Trust me on this - I've pretty much had leftovers on hand for the past two months. The good thing is that I now know a million different ways to use carnitas, so I'm sharing some of my favorites down below! 

Alright, I'm done rambling and ready to share (but also really nervous?). I promise not to talk this much about pork again for a long time!

Carnitas

  • 5-6 lb pork shoulder
  • 1 TB cumin
  • 2 TB chili powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

Trim fat off the your pork shoulder, and cut into big chunks (cutting it is optional, but I find that it makes things easier later). If you want, brown the pork in a little vegetable oil, just 1-2 minutes per side. When they are done transfer to your slow cooker (this is also very optional - I only do it because I have a fancy slow cooker that lets you brown meat and then cook it in the same pot. It's fancy and I love it very much).

Mix together all the spices and sprinkle over pork. Add garlic, orange juice and oil. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

When pork is cooked, take out and shred with two forks. Transfer back into slow cooker and mix with juices left in pot.

To finish them off, you have two options:

Turn on your broiler and get it hot hot hot. Line a baking sheet with foil and spread pork out in an even layer. Broil for 5 minutes. Take sheet out, ladle some of the leftover juices over and toss with tongs. Broil for 3-5 minutes more until the edges are deeply caramelized and crispy.

OR

Heat a large frying pan on medium-high. Add 1 TB vegetable oil and spread pork out in an even layer. Let cook for 2-3 minutes, pressing down with a spatula to help it crisp up. Toss pork and let it cook for 1-2 minutes more. If it starts to look a little dry, just add in a few tablespoons of juice.

The latter is my favorite way (I think it comes out just a smidge better on the stove), but the former is perfect when you need to make carnitas for a crowd. Both are great!

Serve in tacos, burritos, bowls, whatever!

Notes:

If you're not eating these all at once, they keep really well. You can fry/caramelize them all at once and then keep them in the fridge for about a week, and in the freezer for...probably forever?

Alternatively, you can store the pork as-is out of the slow cooker and then fry up whatever you need, whenever you need it! If you do this, either transfer some of the juices into the container as you pack it up or keep it in a separate container in your fridge. You'll want it when you broil/fry them up later to keep things from drying out. If the idea of keeping meat juice in your fridge weirds you out (I get it), just keep some chicken stock on hand! 

As mentioned, I like these on pretty much everything. A few options:

  • Tacos (duh)
  • Burritos (also, duh)
  • Nachos (you see where I'm going)
  • Rice/grain/salad bowls
  • This Quinoa Skillet <-- I replace the chicken with leftover carnitas and it is SO GOOD. The best thing to make on the weekend and eat for lunch all week
  • Make your favorite chili and replace the usual meat with these
  • Avocado toast + warm carnitas on top is a surprisingly delightful weekday dinner
  • Make a hash with potatoes, onions and peppers. Add carnitas. Top with egg. BREAKFAST LUNCH AND DINNER DONE

 

 

Caramelized onion, sausage and goat cheese frittata

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Here's a fun way to start off a post about a frittata: I don't really like eggs. 

I don't hate them or anything, just not really a fan. The only time I ever find myself wanting eggs is when I'm desperate for a breakfast taco but can't find one because apparently they don't exist outside of Texas and.....well that's really a whole other story that I'm sure you'll hear soon enough.

(Beginning, middle and end of that story is WHY DID I EVER LEAVE TEXAS?)

Anyway, I don't love eggs but I really, really like making a frittata. I can't explain it, but it's one of my favorite things to cook. Saute some things, whisk some eggs, sprinkle some cheese and BAM you've got breakfast, brunch, lunch, snack and dinner!

No, seriously. This recipe makes a whole lotta frittata. It is FILLED with some of my favorite things - chicken sausage, caramelized onions, GOAT CHEESE. Also spinach. But then also GOAT CHEESE.

And some eggs, of course.

Specifically, 12.

One. Dozen. Little. Eggs. 

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It works any time of day, and the best part is that you can let it sit out for a while and it still tastes good at room temperature. Some people say you can eat it cold, but that makes me want to die a little on the inside so maybe we stick with room temp or warm. Cool? 

COOL.

In case you are wondering (you are), my favorite way to serve this is at brunch! I love having friends over for brunch (big fan of day drinking over here) and this dish is a perfect addition to a brunch spread. Because it can sit out for a while, you can make it ahead of time and just keep it out for people to pick at. Serve with a salad, fruit, maybe some muffins? And mimosas! It's the perfect way to spend the day before falling asleep on your couch at 3 p.m. (oh look, another reason why I like hosting at my place).

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Sausage, caramelized onion and spinach frittata

Makes 6-8 servings

  • 1 lb sausage (I love spicy chicken sausage in this, but use whatever you prefer)
  • 1 TB butter
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional if you don’t want a little heat)
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • 12 eggs
  • ½ cup yogurt
  • 2 oz goat cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

Cook sausage over medium heat, crumbling as it cooks. When it’s done, remove from the pan and set aside.

Add butter to pan and let melt. Add onions and ½ tsp of salt. Cook over medium-low heat for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want them to get soft and deeply caramelized (but, um, if you burn them a little because you called your parents and maybe forgot you were cooking onions it’s still going to be okay). When onions are done, bring the heat back up to medium-high and add the sausage back in the pan along with the spinach. Season with red pepper flakes and oregano and stir until spinach wilts. Spread everything out evenly in pan.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk eggs together with yogurt, ½ tsp of salt and pepper until smooth. It's okay if the yogurt stays a little bit lumpy but you want it pretty smooth. Pour eggs over sausage and onion mixture, tilting the pan a bit to make sure the eggs are distributed evenly.

Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, just until edges start to set. Crumble goat cheese over the top and then place pan in oven. Bake for 20 minutes, until middle is just set.

Notes:

Because I used a 12-inch cast iron skillet, a dozen eggs were used in the making of this dish. If you have a smaller pan (or just don't need this much egg in your life) you can use less. You basically just want to the eggs to even out with the filling when you pour them in - they don't have to cover everything but it should look pretty even. Alternatively, if you prefer a thinner frittata you can just use less eggs!

Store leftovers, covered, in the fridge for 5-7 days.

Burrata caprese

caprese

Looks like it only took me two weeks before I came here with a non-recipe. But in my defense, is it really summer if you're not throwing fresh tomatoes and creamy cheese on a plate and calling it dinner?  

So fresh. So summery. So not like the chilly rain I'm watching fall down as I type this (damn it, Seattle).

I live in a tiny studio with no garden, patio or anything of the sort and the freshest produce is either a 15 minute walk or Amazon Fresh delivery away. But still! Every time I make caprese I feel like I just walked in from a garden and effortlessly threw together something wonderful. I feel like my mom (who does grow tomatoes and basil) or Ina Garten (who probably invented tomatoes and basil)! 

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Burrata is like a love language to me and has almost ruined regular mozzarella for me (ALMOST). I will literally fight anyone who tells me they don't like burrata. Who looked at an already wonderful ball of cheese and was like "you know what this needs? a bunch of cream in the middle, that's what!" WHO DID THAT?! I need to be their friend please!

Most of the time I make a caprese salad I use cherry tomatoes and those little balls of mozzarella and add as much fresh basil as I can possibly stand (so that's, um, a lot of basil). Then I drizzle on olive oil, a little lemon juice, salt and pepper and it's good to go for me. Rarely measured and always eaten by the bowlful. 

This version is more of a "company caprese" if you will. It looks pretty and fits perfectly next to a cheese plate and wine. All the wine, really. Be sure to let the person you love the most make that first cut in the cheese and watch their face fill with joy as that creamy filling starts to make it's way out.

Oh wait, I might be the only one who enjoys that. Did I just make this really weird? SORRY.

(Not sorry.)

This time I made it on a Saturday morning, took photos of it and then ate it for lunch for like 4 days straight. Just as good - even without the wine! 

I created the recipe below to be helpful, but in all honesty you should do this to taste. A little of this. A little of that. As long as you have fresh tomatoes, basil and cheese it will never go wrong. 

Burrata caprese

Serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side or appetizer

  • 4-6 tomatoes, depending on size (I used a mix of roma and beefsteak)
  • 2 balls of burrata
  • Basil, torn or cut into small strips  (as much as you’d like!)
  • 2 TB lemon juice
  • 1 TB balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Balsamic glaze (optional)

In a small bowl or measuring glass, whisk together lemon juice, balsamic and olive oil. Add half of your basil and stir to combine. Set aside.

Slice tomatoes and arrange in a large bowl or platter (I quartered some of my smaller tomatoes just to add texture, but you don’t have to).

Arrange burrata on top of tomatoes

Pour dressing over tomatoes and cheese and season with salt and pepper. Remember tomatoes can take a lot of salt (but still do it to taste)!

Sprinkle with remaining basil, drizzle on balsamic glaze (if using) and enjoy!