Goat Cheese and Arugula Pizza with Spicy Honey

This recipe is what everyone needs during this self isolation era. I can promise you that however you are getting your groceries, the goat cheese and arugula are not what’s flying off of the shelves. However, the flour and yeast is so hopefully you already have that stocked in your pantry or you can find pre-made pizza dough; luckily I did.

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Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup marinara sauce

4 ounces goat cheese

1 1/2 cups freshly grated cheese (mozzarella or a blend)

4 cups baby arugula greens

 

Spicy Honey

 

1/2 cup honey

1 jalapeño pepper thinly sliced 

 

Directions

Prep the dough and let it rise.
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Drizzle a couple of tablespoons olive oil into a 9×13 cake pan or dish.
Remove the dough from the bowl and knead it a few times until silky, using a sprinkle of extra flour if needed. Place the dough in the pan and press it out towards the edges. Once it’s in the pan and as close to the edges as it will get, cover it and let it rise again for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 550 degrees F.
To assemble the pizza, press the dough down in the pan with your fingertips and remove any large air bubbles. Spread the sauce on the dough, leaving a small border around the edges. Add on about 1/2 of the goat cheese and top with the grated cheeses.
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Bake the pizza for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and bubbly and the crust around the edges is golden. Toss the arugula with the tablespoon of olive oil. Remove the pizza and drizzle it with a few tablespoons of the spicy honey.
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Top it with the arugula. Add the remaining crumbled goat cheese, don’t forget the jalapeno slices!
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Sit back and enjoy!

Sequestered Lemon Curd and Cream Cheese Pastry

How is everyone holding up in our new reality? I won’t lie, I have cabin fever and it’s only been a week. But to keep my spirits up, I will hang out in the kitchen more and experiment with new recipes.

Our lemon tree is finally having its moment.

I see lemon martinis, in the near future.

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Since all of the time is on my side, I decided to turn a a few of them into a non-alcoholic curd.

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I used this recipe from Epicurious and you guys, it’s so good. Perfect balance of sweet and sour with the butter coating the palate at the end. So good.

Now what? I had newly made curd and puff pastry in the freezer, after a few searches I came across this;  a cream cheese and lemon puff pastry braid.

This was a pretty easy recipe and now that I have a slight grip on how to braid pastry, (it’s a lot harder than hair) I think Kaili will be able to take the lead next time.

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The curd was starting to spill out and I wasn’t happy with my pastry talents but…..it all turned out just fine in the end.

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Not sure how many servings this is supposed to be; but turns out it’s two….two totally worth the macros servings.

January Wrap up

Everyone was saying how long January seemed, but to me, February came out of nowhere. On January 10th, Averi turned 5 and a half. On the girls half birthday they get to choose what/were they want to eat for dinner. Averi chose Chuck E Cheese, last year it was Islands for mac n cheese, so she is par for course of her dining choices. For someone who can go all day with her shoes on the wrong feet she sure is picky about her food intake.

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The girls have also been getting better on skates. We are trying to urge them outside after homework to practice their skating so the next time we go to the rink, they will be more independent.

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I took advantage of San Diego restaurant week (SDRW) and although each year I am less and less impressed with the choices, I was pleasantly surprised this time. Brian and I went to WaterBar in Pacific Beach for lunch and the view wasn’t the only thing that was sumptuous.

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The fish sandwich I had was truly deliciously messy. Our waiter said that the chef put the sandwich solely on the restaurant week menu but I would purposely go back there just for that sandwich.

Shawna and I also took advantage of the SDRW and had another spectacular meal. You guys, these are so far and few between for me that it’s worth writing about. There was crispy pork belly in a brown sugar maple glaze served with a fuji apple salad. We had crispy octopus with salsa verde and the absolute best dish of the night was the pan seared scallops with coconut black rice in a Thai red curry sauce. This dish was so incredible that I went ahead and tried to make it at home a week later.

Please disregard my awful plating and, imagine how good this was. You guys, so good!

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We also made whole roasted fish bathed in garlic, olive oil, jalapeños and lemons.

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I fed us for a week with this crustless mushroom and spinach frittata.

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The Santa Ana winds stopped for a visit and gave us a couple of 80 degree days. We all took advantage of the warm sunshine.

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And last but not least my baby lost her first tooth.

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Now it’s February and we marching towards more birthdays! Can’t wait to share the fun that is in store!

 

 

Sticky Korean Chicken Wings

Chicken wings are without a doubt the best finger food ever. Over the years I have steered towards the sweet and salty sauces opposed to the original buffalo sauce, I find it to be a little boring.  I used a dry rub and a sauce for these and it made them much more addicting. The Gochujang gives them a lingering spice that lends an umami sweet heat.

To lessen the clean up, I grilled the wings; leaving only the saucepan in my workload of dishes.

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INGREDIENTS

18 Chicken wings or around 2 lbs.

Dry Rub

2 tablespoons baking powder

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tsp EACH ginger powder, garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

Korean Sticky Sauce

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup water

3 tablespoons Gochujang (you can find this at most Asian markets and I have also seen it at Vons)

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine or Mirin

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons of chopped scallions

DIRECTIONS

Stir rub ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add half of the rub to a large freezer bag with half of the wings and shake until coated evenly.  Set wings on a large cutting board or a vessel to transfer to the grill. Continue with remaining rub ingredients and wings.
Meanwhile heat the grill to medium-high heat.
Grill the wings until cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.
While the wings cook, start the sauce. Whisk together all of the ingredients in a small saucepan, simmer until thickened about 8 minutes.
Place the rested wing into a bowl and toss with the sauce until they are evenly coated. Garnish with green onion or sesame seeds.
*Note, these can be baked in the oven if you prefer. Heat oven to 400, line baking sheets with foil and top with a baking rack. Line wings on the prepared rack and bake 35-45 minutes or until cooked through. Follow as is, with the sauce.

 

 

Holiday Break

Christmas came a few days late, it had to wait for all of us to get back home. Once we were all back together, it was off to the races.

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Santa brought way to much this year, waayyy too much. I’d like to say it’s all put away by now, but I’d be lying.

Wearing her new Sombrero, Averi helped me make cinnamon rolls. I made a semi-home version using pre-made bread dough and then just whipped up some cream cheese frosting. They were amazing and the pan was empty by the end of the day.

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The week felt like 10 years, I swear you guys. We went to plenty of parks, we cooked, and we made this weird candy that Santa brought. There was sushi, donuts and waffles;  I am actually shocked the girls ate it, strange stuff.

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AND we also sang Karaoke, yes we have apologized to the neighbors.

My family came over for a nice family belated Christmas. We had a taco bar, the annual Sherry cake and played games. Sadly everyone chickened out on their time to be a singing star. Averi however has found her niche.

Averi also got what she asked for from Grandma and Grandpa, a horse. It’s getting a lot of use.

 

 

 

Cancun {Part 3}

This was our first Christmas away from our kids which is in part why we decided to get away. I couldn’t imagine just sitting in our living room without them. We woke up a tad gamey on Christmas morning, luckily we had a special in room mimosa breakfast ordered for 8:30. Then we planned our attack to hit up Isla Mujeres. We went back and forth with just hopping on a Catamaran right outside our hotel to cut out the trip off of  the resort grounds and down into town to catch the Ferry. Buuuut, we weren’t keen on being on someone else’s schedule and having them choose where we were going to have lunch. In the end we decided to just do it ourselves. We hopped in a cab and jumped on the ferry.

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Once we were off the ferry they had people renting golf carts. We quickly grabbed one and within minutes we were in ours heading south down the island. Only 7 km long, its an easy trip around the island. Our friend at the resort told us to go to The Joint, a bar that someone he knows, knows someone else that might work there. Or so that is how the story went. About ten minutes into our cruise we unexpectedly and surprisingly ran straight into….

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That was some luck. We parked and went up to this outdoor bar. There were a couple guys playing some Sublime and a local bar dog. Shawna ordered a mango margarita and I ordered the best espresso martini of the entire trip, you guys it was so good. So good in fact that I ordered another to go. It’s legal there, well I assume it was since the bartender put it in a to-go cup for me.

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Not a terrible view to sit with a bevi.

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Once back in our cart we continued around the island. It’s just beautiful.

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We stopped every so often to walk down the the water and then I was able to get some cell service so we stopped at a cemetery and I called my girls to wish them a merry Christmas.

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Once we made it around the island we parked near Playa Norte. This is where there were restaurants and the beaches had chairs to rent. We had a pretty good lunch on the beach and I was very confident that it was el fin of tequila for me on this trip.

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After lunch we walked up the beach until we reached some open beach chairs. We plopped down, set our alarm and here is the best part. Fell asleep.

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We woke to the alarm and headed back to the mainland with plans of playing pool volleyball. But once we were back we ended up skipping it and just sat in the jacuzzi chatting with people.

For dinner we got all fancied up and went for one last Italian meal. Their garlic cream soup was so incredible you could bathe in it. I will see if I can recreate now that we are home. They had a Christmas show that night, once that was over I was beat.

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We woke up on our last day to rain. Once we were all packed we went down to the cafe for breakfast. Our flight wasn’t until later that day so were able to spend a little more time with friends at the pool until it was time to say our goodbyes. The trip home was a piece of cake and we were back in our own bed by midnight. It was a really good trip, just long enough. If we decided to do another all inclusive I would focus more on going where the food and wine is a bit better. But It’s going to be hard to go back to a hotel that isn’t all inclusive, that is definitely the way to go.

Cancun {part one}

A couple of weeks back we left San Diego before the sun was even awake, viva Mexico. We headed to Cancun for an adult only Mexican holiday. It was a long day of travel but we had the best seat companion, Lily the dog.

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By the time we got our luggage, hopped into our ride and barreled through the traffic it was late into the evening. We chose to stay at Secrets Playa Mujeres, an adult only all-inclusive resort. North of the hotel zone where it’s more quiet. We were greeted with Champagne and shown to our room.

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Our room was nice, we had a soaking tub in the bathroom and the patio, a rain shower with all the amenities one would need. After we dropped off our stuff, we headed down to the first restaurant we saw for dinner. Sadly, we were not impressed with our dishes and had our fingers crossed that this wasn’t setting the bar for the rest of our meals. After dinner we went back to the room to unpack and shower. We decided dessert was a necessity. We put on pj’s, ordered room service and ate in bed while binging the Investigation Discovery channel. Pretty sure that channel stayed put all week, those stories are horrifying.

The next morning we ordered breakfast and ate it on our patio amongst the breathtaking views. We sat and wished the clouds away.

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The weather didn’t heed our wishes and the rain came on and off and ON for the next couple of days. Not that that hinders anyone, everyone was still doing their thing while we sat out in one of the many jacuzzi’s. When it did stop, we moseyed down to the beach to drink in the beautiful grounds.

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This was our first all inclusive experience. Since cash wasn’t needed (aside from tips for the staff) I was sort of hoping that they would have a set up like Great Wolf Lodge. A bracelet that has your room key and a credit card that you wear the entire time. Leaving you not having to worry about a lone room key. When I asked the concierge if I needed to carry the key everywhere, she replied, “you do if you want to get into your room.” Side eye. So no matter what, we were stuck with a key to carry around all day and night.

There were around 7 restaurants on the grounds. steakhouse, seafood, Asian, French, Italian a buffet/cafe, an upscale Mexican and coffeehouse. Plus 24 hour room service. The food was hit or miss. Some things were incredible and some were incredibly bad. Case in point…This shrimp dish was delish.

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This potato soup served during the same meal, was absolutely not delish. It tasted like raw potato water.

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Each night we ended up at the dance club which is a really strong word for what it actually was. Some nights were busy but most were quiet. They did have a couple of pool tables but the sticks weren’t taken care of so after the second day we gave up.

We had a really good meal at the seafood restaurant the following day. We ordered the whole fried fish, the octopus, the chocolate crepe cake and the apple crumble. I was excited to have all this with a cold Chardonnay but the wine was very underwhelming. They poured a basic brand from Chilé and honestly none of the varietals were good. But I guess that’s what happens when we are so spoiled with wine where we live.

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We ended the day on the patio in the tub with wine. We learned that if you want to order a bottle of something through room service they will charge you, but if you just order 4 glasses of wine, it’s included. Brilliant.

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To be continued.