Pesto Zoodles with Burrata and Tomatoes

I almost forgot that my spiralizer existed. While cleaning my pantry I spotted it sitting lonely up on the top shelf. I promised myself to use it the next week. If you meal plan or prep ahead of time, this dish can come together in five minutes. Otherwise it might take a good twenty minutes or so; Choose wisely. With no cooking at all,  this dish is good way to feel like you are having a big bowl of pasta without the guilt.

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Ingredients (for 2-3 people)

3 zucchini, spiralized

1 to 1 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1 ball of burrata

Pesto

2 cups of fresh basil

1-2 cloves of  garlic (or more, don’t let me stop you)

1/3 cup of toasted nuts (you can use pine nuts, pistachios, almonds or walnuts. Do YOU)

1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese (grated)

1/2 cup of olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Chopped pistachios to garnish

Directions

Put your spiralized zucchini in a big bowl.

Throw all the pesto ingredients into a food processor and blend until it’s to your liking.

Spoon as much pesto onto your zoodles for your taste and toss. Your hands are the best tool for this job.

Toss in your tomatoes.

Get your ball of burrata (SO delicious) tear it up and gently drop it all over.

Drizzle with your favorite olive oil and throw on some chopped pistachios. Taste for seasoning and then and serve. Voila.

 

Enchilada Meatballs

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I am not your number one meatball fan, just not my jam.  But the thing with this dish is all. of. the. flavors. And using a tortilla to soak these up with the addition of avocado’s and sour cream, so good you guys, so good.

Kaili wanted to be chef so the credit really goes to her, I was just her kitchen side-kick.

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This recipe is *adapted from Delish.

Kaili really surprised me with her determination to start and complete this dish. She cut, rolled and even taste tested enchilada sauces to determine the best one to use.

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Kaili’s take away from this dish was “I like the enchilada sauce and the meatballs but not the green stuff on top, and I like lots of sour cream!” See, I told you it was good.

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Ingredients

1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup bread crumbs
egg
cloves garlic, minced or grated
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped (plus more for garnish)
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1  small onion, chopped
jalapeño, minced
(19-oz.) can enchilada sauce
1/2 15-oz.) can black beans, drained
Salt and pepper to taste
1 c. shredded cheddar
1 c. Monterey jack
avocado, sliced

 

*for serving:  Tortillas, sour cream, your favorite hot sauce.

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, garlic, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Season mixture with salt and pepper, then form into meatballs about 2 inches in diameter.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add meatballs and cook to an internal temperature of 140 degrees , about 2 minutes per side. Remove from skillet and transfer to a plate while you make sauce.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet. Add onion and jalapeño and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in enchilada sauce and black beans and bring mixture to a simmer.

Return meatballs to skillet, tossing them in sauce. Top meatballs with cheeses and bake until beef is cooked through and cheeses are melty, about 15 minutes more.

Garnish with avocado and more cilantro. Serve with warmed tortillas and sour cream.

 

 

Back to School Date

The girls are back in school. Can you believe baby A is in Kindergarten? I sure as hell can’t. I’m not sure why but it seemed like the craziness was elevated this year. Maybe it’s because I have so many things going on, or maybe it’s because our Target decided to remodel this summer. Trying to get school supplies there was like fighting my way through a zombie herd.

Back to school shopping is at the moment a one on one activity. It’s physically impossible for me to take both girls shopping for clothes and get anything accomplished. They are completely different little humans. Averi, the fashionista wants to look and try on all the pretty things, where as Kaili only wants a certain type of shorts, she’s very picky, or as some would say, she just knows what she wants. She’s so small that we struggle to find anything that fit’s her right. It’s definitely a thing I have to do with each of them separately.

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The girls have eased in well to their new classes. Averi has had the teacher boasting about how great she is. I even had a dad approach me and express his gratitude to Averi for helping his son with an activity that he was struggling with. –> insert exploding heart.

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Shawna and I decided to take a “back to school” date and headed out for a wine pairing dinner.

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A three course prix-fixed meal with wine pairings awaited us. She ordered the better starter, a roasted summer squash salad with fresh ricotta, it was amazing. I got the roasted prawns and sea bass in a spicy curry. It was good but heavy handed with curry paste, almost a palate ruiner (is that a word?) We both got the pan seared sea bass with tarragon jam and it was pretty good. I hate to nitpick, I really like this place.

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For dessert, she ordered the pavlova. My grandma always made us these served with whipped cream and strawberries, they are really delicious. I ordered the obvious chocolate dessert, a take on a trifle.

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The wine pairings were fine, nothing to write home about but we left overly satisfied. We night capped at a bar that has turned into a favorite local spot that leaves us wondering what or whom we will encounter each time we step foot inside. Can’t wait to tell you some stories.

 

 

Flat Hand-Pulled Noodles with Chili Oil Vinaigrette

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This recipe hails from American Test Kitchen, my most beloved cooking show. Their post for Biang Biang Mian came across my Instagram feed and I’m pretty sure I drooled on my phone. I’ve had hand-pulled noodles and I’ve seen them being made but I have never attempted them myself. And I won’t lie, making fresh pasta isn’t something I do. But recently Shawna has been making it, no tools but her own hands and it’s so delicious. I think there is a time and place for the fresh noodles and this is definitely the time.
The Chili oil has a number of ingredients but I promise the end result is worth it. Something you would order in the Sichuan province of China. Spicy and best paired with a Tsingtao or another light beer. I beg you to try it.

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Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen

Ingredients for Dough

2⅓ cups  bread flour

¾ teaspoon salt

1 cup  water

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Ingredients for Chili Vinaigrette

10 to 20 bird chiles, ground fine

½ cup vegetable oil

2 garlic cloves, sliced thin

1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thin

1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns

½ cinnamon stick

1 star anise pod

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons black vinegar

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon sugar

4 quarts water

1 tablespoon salt

12 fresh cilantro sprigs, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

6 scallions, sliced thin on bias

 Directions For the Dough

Whisk flour and salt together in bowl of stand mixer. Add water and oil. Fit stand mixer with dough hook and mix on low speed until all flour is moistened, 1 to 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium and knead until dough is smooth and satiny, 10 to 12 minutes. (Alternatively, mix dough in food processor, following instructions above.) Transfer dough to counter, knead for 30 seconds, and shape into 9-inch log. Wrap log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to 48 hours.

Directions For the Chili Vinaigrette: Place chiles in large heatproof bowl. Place fine-mesh strainer over bowl and set aside. Combine vegetable oil, garlic, ginger, peppercorns, cinnamon, and star anise pod in small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until sizzling. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer until garlic and ginger are slightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Pour through strainer into bowl with chiles; discard solids in strainer. Stir chili oil to combine and let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar until combined; set aside.

Unwrap dough, transfer to lightly oiled counter, and, using bench scraper or knife, divide into 6 equal pieces (each 1½ inches wide). Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, bring water and salt to boil in large pot; reduce heat to low and cover to keep hot. Working with 1 piece at a time, oil both sides of dough and flatten into 7 by 3-inch rectangle, with long side parallel to edge of counter. With both hands, gently grasp short ends of dough. Stretch dough and slap against counter until noodle is 32 to 36 inches long (noodle will be between 1/16 and 1/8-inch-thick). (If dough is hard to stretch to this length or is snapping back significantly, set aside on counter and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, continue stretching remaining portions of dough.) Place noodle on counter. Pinch center of noodle with forefingers and thumbs of both hands and pull apart with even pressure in both directions to rip seam in middle of noodle and create 1 continuous loop. Cut loop to create 2 equal-length noodles. Set noodles aside on lightly oiled counter (do not let noodles touch) and cover with plastic wrap. Repeat stretching and cutting with remaining pieces of dough.

Return water to boil over high heat. Add half of noodles to water and cook, stirring occasionally, until noodles float and turn chewy-tender, 45 to 60 seconds. Using wire skimmer, transfer noodles to bowl with chili vinaigrette; toss to combine. Return water to boil and repeat with remaining noodles. Divide noodles among individual bowls, top with cilantro and scallions, and serve.

Thai BBQ Ribs

I was watching the news the other morning and the segment was about a local whiskey, a peanut butter whiskey actually. Apparently Dave Grohl gave them a shoutout at a concert this summer and now sales are booming. They were chatting about all the different drinks they make but their chef was also busy whipping up dishes featuring the libation. When the segment ended the camera panned to a plate of ribs and that got me thinking about dinner. My mind went straight to Satay with a peanut sauce, which I love, and how I have never thought to pair that with ribs. Luckily I keep my Asian pantry staples plentiful so that left me with a very short shopping list. I knew what ingredients I wanted but I wasn’t sure how I wanted to execute the cooking. After some recipe searching I landed on this one here, and I was not disappointed.

*note* I did not have a lime juice for this so I substituted lemon juice + Rice vinegar

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Recipe adapted from *Half baked Harvest

Ingredients for Ribs

3-5 pounds baby back ribs

1 1/2 cups sweet Thai chili sauce

3/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons Red Curry Paste

2 teaspoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons fresh ginger grated

2 cloves garlic minced or grated

crushed red pepper to taste

Ingredients for BBQ Peanut Sauce

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup ketchup

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter warmed/melted

1/4 cup sweet Thai chili sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon Mirin

2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste

1 tablespoon Chinese 5 spice

1 lime juice

1/4 cup cilantro chopped

Directions

Place the ribs in a large baking dish or roasting pan.
In a large 4 cup glass measuring cup or bowl combine the sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, red curry paste, fish sauce, ginger, garlic and pepper. Whisk to combine and then pour the marinade over the ribs. Place the ribs in the fridge for at least 4 hours to as long as overnight, turning then once or twice if possible to make sure they get fully covered in the marinade.
Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 3-6 hours (if you go the full six hours bake them at 275 degrees F.) or until very tender. Try to baste the ribs once or twice during cooking.
Meanwhile make the BBQ sauce.
In a large glass measuring cup or bowl whisk together the soy sauce, ketchup, warm peanut butter, sweet chili sauce, rice vinegar, Mirin, red curry paste, Chinese 5 spice, lime juice and cilantro. If the sauce is not mixing place it in the microwave or over the stove and warm until everything is melted together. Add water to thin if needed.
When the ribs are done cooking preheat the grill to medium high heat and grease the grates. Remove the ribs from the baking dish. Slather the ribs in the Peanut BBQ sauce and grill 3-5 minutes per side or until lightly charred. Be careful flipping the ribs as the will be very tender.
Serve with chopped peanuts and cilantro, with extra sauce on the side. Enjoy.

The Girls and a Recipe

I feel like I should rename the blog “Disappearing Act.” It’s not that I want to neglect it, its just “gestures at everything”. Life is busy and when time slows down we find ourselves with a new Netflix show or out at a new dive bar. Priorities people.

Since we’ve last talked Kaili turned a year older…8 YEARS OLD! Can you believe it?

She had a choice between having a birthday party or going to Great Wolf Lodge, she chose the latter. We drove up early on a Monday morning to stop at Crystal Cove for brunch and a game of tag with the waves.

 

With full bellies we headed to check in at the hotel. Great Wolf is an indoor water resort that the girls just love.

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We stayed two nights and despite a few health hiccups, they had a good time. They were  asking when we were going back before we even left.

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On Kaili’s actual birthday I made her a rainbow Unicorn cake per her request.

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We had a fun filled Memorial day weekend. Spending a day at SeaWorld and a couple of days in OC. The girls did it all and we were wiped OUT come Monday night.

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While the kids were away Shawna and I took an adult weekend out to where the weather was warm because this May grey-June gloom bullshit is really getting to us.

We returned sun kissed and ended up at the San Diego Margarita Festival. It was a really good but crowded time. I could put this on the calendar for next year. Join us!

 

The one thing that always remains the same is my love for cooking. A lot of good food has come out of my new(ish) kitchen.

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Lemon Meringue Pie
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Fresh Fettuccini
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Roasted Gaspacho
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Whole Roasted Snapper
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Panzanella Salad

One of the best recipes I have come across is this one, Pan Seared Scallops with Lemon Caper Sauce. The only difference that was made was we didn’t add the noodles to the sauce, instead it was poured over the top, and the tomatoes were left out. It was absolutely delicious and I’m pretty sure I could eat it every week, why are scallops so good?

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