Category Archives: Uncategorized

My New Relationship…

…with a Cuban Sandwich. It all started so innocently at my local H-E-B. Eyeing me from across the checkout aisle was the new Bon Appetit magazine with some juicy looking ribs on the cover, but it wasn’t the ribs that made me fall in love, no, no, it was a Cuban Sandwich with Zucchini Pickles recipe from their Reader’s Favorite Restaurant Recipes section. I love Cuban Sandwiches and have been dying to try one at home. Reading the recipe I knew that this was going to be a serious committment on both our parts and let’s just say this was an intense relationship from the start. First, you have to make the brine and then “cook” the pork in the brine for two days AND do the zucchini pickles which drain in a sink for two hours and then need time to “pickle” themselves.

As with any start of a relationship, I’ll admit I was a little nervous. With all this waiting and brining and waiting some more, would this be the Cuban sandwich of my dreams? It got down to our official date night last night and you have to roast the pork for 45 minutes and then let it rest an hour, quite the diva isn’t it?
Finally it came time to assemble the sandwich and I really did look at it and say “ok buddy here we go!” how lame am I right? I bit into the sandwich and thought…”yeah it’s pretty good but not as delicious as I had dreamed in my head,” isn’t that how all relationships are? 😉

I can’t find the recipes online (see how demanding this relationship is!?) so have posted both recipes below. If you are willing to make this effort for a sandwich, not a holiday meal a sandwich, then try it. It was good but the best part of it was the Zucchini Pickles, yum!

I’m moving on to a new Cuban sandwich recipe so if you have a favorite for the love people share with me!

Grilled Steak with Tomatoes and Scallions and a Great Mango Salad

So it was the last night of the Everyday Food “1 bag, 5 meals” idea featured in the June issue. Last up was the Grilled Steak with Tomatoes and Scallions. Due to my lack of access to a real grill, I grilled the steak on a grill pan and broiled the cherry tomatoes and scallions in the oven until charred. This was a simple and flavorful dish and I really loved the tomatoes and scallions on top of the juicy steak.

As some of you know, I work in food public relations and one of the unfortunate (ha!) aspects of my job is that my team and I have to test recipes to ensure the dish ideas we provide to consumers are delicious and easy to assemble. It’s a hard job but somebody’s gotta do it. Of course I love all the recipes we try but one that has stood out continuously over time is the Mango, Chicken and Avocado Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing from the National Mango Board.
Because a steak just wouldn’t be enough, I also decided to make this healthy and delicious salad sans chicken to round out my meal. I love this salad so much, since the first day we tested it until now it has been one of my favorites. It provides a perfect balance of sweetness in the mango and dressing, plus the creamy avocado and the crunch of pistachios…great flavor and texture balance.
Coming up next, has a burger I just tested from Bon Appetit already beaten my recent favorite from Food & Wine magazine? Stay tuned!

Sean Thackrey Wines

So none of the recipes I tested this week really were up to par for the site…sad. So I thought I would mention my deep love for a particular winemaker’s wines out of Marin County, CA named Sean Thackrey. I guess you could call him a rogue winemaker since he goes against the current of what many winemakers strongly believe in such as the importance of
terroir and the role science plays in the development and fermentation of his wines.

You can hear these thoughts and more in this interview on I love how he refers to barrels as “spice” for his wines. If you’ve ever had one of his wines, (I’ve had the cost-effective Pleiades a lot and the wee more expensive Orion once) you can really taste the difference in his wines versus others. I can’t put my finger on what makes it so good but once you taste for yourself you can see his theories really reflect in his work.

For you lovely Austinites I checked at Whole Foods Market and supposedly they might be getting in a shipment of Pleiades (yippee!) in the next few weeks and I will post here if it arrives. They do have bottles of Sirius but it’s a little out of my price range at $78.00! Have you had a Sean Thackrey wine? Would love to hear other thoughts!

Open-Face Pork Tacos from Everyday with Rachael Ray

I love tacos, maybe it’s because I’m a Tex-Mex freak, I don’t know, but me and tacos are like this.

I love trying new flavors for tacos and I have never had one with mashed plantains in it, enter the Open-Face Pork Tacos recipe in Everyday with Rachael Ray that is now one of my new favorites.

I was a little worried that two chipotles plus the adobo sauce would make this bad boy super spicy, but mixed with the sweet onions and crushed tomatoes it thickened into a delicious sauce that complemented the meat and orange juice.

The only thing I changed was instead of avocado, I made a guacamole with lime juice, cumin, salt, chile powder, salt and red pepper flakes. I smoothed the pureed plantain on the tortilla, then crunchy tortilla chips, then the guacamole topped with the saucy beef mixture. I always have to have some kind of crunch when all other textures are soft and this worked out well.

I was thinking this could easily be enjoyed as a vegetarian option too if you wanted to add in kidney or black beans instead of meat.

Foods I Love to Hate

I’m very open to anything when it comes to food and love trying new things, but there are just some that I really am not a fan of and they have met their doom here. Muwhahahahahaha! I seriously had a disgusted look on my face the entire time I wrote out this list…it was not pretty.

#1 Fennel: tastes like licorice, no thank you. (Tarragon and anise get off the hook sometimes with me if they are in dishes so they are not on the list).

#2 Portobello Mushrooms: just too meaty for me to be a mushroom, blech

#3 Ricotta: the texture of ricotta is like a grainy, mushy mess

#4 Salmon: I can hear the nutritionistas pulling their hair out now. Salmon, it’s not that I hate you, it’s just if I had choice of any other fish in the sea you would always be last.

#5 – Eggplant: once again a veggie or I guess in this case a fruit (really? I didn’t know that) that is too meaty for my liking. Can you tell I don’t like vegetables that think they are proteins?

#6 – Capers: Ick, the flavor of these just makes me ill which is odd because they have the same flavor profile as olives (see below).

# 7 – Frisee: I was just reminded by a dear reader Wendy that I seriously am not a fan of frisee. You know that curly looking branch stuff that is in spring mix? Ewwww. I loathe this so much that I had to come back and add to my list. Thanks Wendy!

Here are items recently removed from my love to hate list, see Fennel you might be here some day…might being the operative word:

Olives – until a recent tasting here in the office I removed olives from salads, pizzas or dips because I just didn’t like the taste. However, I have come to appreciate an olives salty bite and varying flavors of each variety.

Caramel – this is odd I know. I really didn’t like caramel on things until yet again we had a tasting here in the office and I started to like it, not love it, like it.

Beets – oh beets, you are so earthy and delicious, how did I shut you out of my life for so long?

What are the foods you love to hate? Share with me!

Open-Face Crab Burgers with Red Pepper Dressing and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Red Bell Pepper

Looking at the title I was obviously in a red bell pepper mood eh? I have to say I have been looking forward to these two recipes all week from the May Bon Appetit and they did not disappoint.

First, the Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Red Bell Pepper had some interesting flavor combinations of roasted sweet potatoes, cilantro, shallots, jalapeno, rice wine vinegar, green onions and obviously red bell pepper. I did not have a fresh red bell pepper on hand so used a roasted red pepper from the jar. The recipe doesn’t call for it but I kind of mashed this all together when it was still warm and the flavor was excellent and sooooo easy to make.
The Open-Face Crab Burgers with Red Pepper Dressing were just as easy to make. You will see in the recipe the sauce mimics what goes into the actual burger so you can easily set out two bowls and dump the same ingredient into each bowl as you go. While they melded in the fridge I made the salad and simply grilled and served.
 Give them a try, I think you will looooove these two!