Friday, December 30, 2011

M is for: My Top Ten from 2011

(Courtesy: CU Independent art/Beth Schonberger)
I've noticed a lot of my favorite food blogs are putting together "best of" lists this time of year. I decided to join in the fun even though my blog has only been in existence for about three months. But I've been busy during that time...65 posts with most of them being recipes! And with "M week," coming to a close, it marks the halfway point for eisforeat.

Since I have a smaller sample size, I was going to just do a Top 5. But it was too hard to pick only five, so I decided to do 10. Some of it I based on popularity on the blog (ahem...jello shots), and part of it was based on my pride in coming up with that particular recipe.

So without further ado...(drumroll please)....I present My Top Ten Recipes from 2011.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

M is for: Mushrooms Stuffed with Crab {a Tailgate Special}

It's crab season!!

I can't believe it's taken me this long to get around to posting a crab recipe, but I'm definitely going to be eating more of this as long as it's Dungeness Crab season in San Francisco.

Stuffed mushrooms are also a favorite of mine. I have a version that includes chopped pepperoni and mozzarella cheese and another that calls for Italian sausage and cream cheese.

These beauties I concocted as I was waiting out a flight delay at LAX. Simple and delicious, the crab is the star here. And I LOVE the addition of cooking them on the grill.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

M is for: Mac 'n Cheese with Roasted Jalapeños and Pancetta

Spicy Mac 'n Cheese: Comfort food with a kick!
Like most of America...I've been overindulging a little this holiday season. Just look back at my posts over the last few weeks. Cookies, jello shots, pasta, pizza...the list goes on and on. (And that doesn't even count the stuff I *didn't* blog about).

Next week...the healthy eating starts. January 3rd...mark it down. (Why not the 2nd, you ask? Because I have something fun planned for that night...stay tuned). But in the meantime, I have one more week to stuff myself with things like macaroni and cheese.  

My friend and coworker Mandy is OBSESSED with mac 'n cheese. So much so that she has her own blog dedicated to finding the best mac in San Francisco. Sadly, she is out of town this week and didn't get a chance to taste my masterpiece. But I'm still dedicating this post to Mandy and her eternal love for all things noodles and cheese.

Monday, December 26, 2011

M is for: Mozza {Los Angeles Restaurant Review}

As I mentioned in my Melted Snowman Cookie post, I spent the holiday with part of my family in Los Angeles this year, soaking up the rays and not missing a white Christmas one bit. Instead of cooking a big dinner like we normally do, we thought it would be fun to hit up one of L.A.'s many great restaurants on Christmas Eve.

My cousin Erin selected Osteria Mozza, which is part of the Mozza Restaurant group, partly owned by Mario Batali. (Also apropos of "M" week).

If you are looking for some of the most amazing Italian food you've ever had outside of Italy, you should definitely check this place out next time you're in Los Angeles. They also have a pizzeria next door, which would be perfect spot for a more casual gathering.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

M is for: Melted Snowman Cookies {& Merry Christmas!}


Well didn't that turn out perfectly? I hope everyone is enjoying their Christmas holiday. I'm down in L.A. visiting my cousin Erin and her husband Stu. My mom is here, along with my aunt, and we are certainly enjoying the 70-degree weather and sunny skies.

My cousin shares my love for the kitchen, but got the good baking genes in the family. (She gets it from my Aunt Candy, who made a delicious chocolate torte on Friday. I just might have to bust that out for "T" week).

But for the blog, I have been eyeing these melted marshmallow snowmen cookies I saw on Pinterest for a few weeks. It turned out to be a fun project, as we played around with different icings and used our Great Aunt Ruth Kitchell's sugar cookie recipe.

Friday, December 23, 2011

L is for: Lemon Garlic Aioli with Grilled Artichokes, a Tailgate Special

As my loyal blog readers know, I receive a weekly CSA vegetable service. On accident, I ordered TWO different ones last week, so needless to say, my fridge was overflowing with veggies. 

It worked out, because vegetables are GREAT on the grill, thus making them perfect for tailgating and my Friday tailgating feature. Among my bounty of vegetables, I had four artichokes, and decided I would try grilling them. I also had some leftover lemon juice from making the lemon peel jello shots.

I eat artichokes pretty often, but this is the first time I had tried them on the grill. Like most vegetables, it infuses a smoky flavor that can only be achieved on an open flame. Happy Tailgating and Merry Christmas! 

Monday, December 19, 2011

L is for: Lemon Meringue & Arnold Palmer Jello Shots

Before you start praising me for another stroke of jello shot genius...this is not an original idea. Just do a google image search for lemon jello shots and you'll see what I'm talking about.

However, I will take credit for these DE-LICIOUS flavor combinations. Well, one of them anyways...the other one, I have to credit my cousin Erin, who loves jello shots even more than I do.

For those of you who haven't seen this clever trick, you just have to try it. It's super easy, and your friends will think you are the coolest kid at the party.

And to kick up the flavor a notch, consider using whipped cream vodka and lemon jello for a lemon meringue or use sweet tea vodka for a jelled version of an Arnold Palmer.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

L is for: Latkes with Homemade Applesauce

Potato Latkes with Homemade Applesauce
My co-worker and friend Randi has been one of my loyal blog followers from the beginning. Randi is Jewish, so with Hanukkah coming up this week, she passed along her family's latke recipe (a.k.a. potato pancakes).

I did a little research to prepare for this post and I learned that the reason latkes are eaten during this holiday is because they are fried in oil, which commemorates the miracle oil that burned for eight days. Even though I'm not Jewish, I'm honored Randi shared her recipe and tradition with me and was excited to make them. (And besides, I love both potatoes AND fried things, so it's a win-win).

Randi told me that when her family makes this, they make so many that they form an assembly line in the kitchen with "stations" to get them done more efficiently. Sometimes I wish I had an assembly line in my kitchen. Though, I guess there really isn't room in mine.

L is for: Little Saigon

On Friday, as my photographer Rob I were covering the sentencing the sentencing of Home Run King Barry Bonds, I noticed we were in a specific section of the Tenderloin called Little Saigon.

I looked it up, and apparently in 2004, the city of San Francisco officially designated the two-block stretch of Larkin Street between Eddy and O'Farrell streets, as Little Saigon. About 15% of the city's Vietnamese-American residents live in that area, and the businesses in that corridor are predominantly Vietnamese. Enter a little hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop called Saigon Sandwich.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

K is for: Kale Salad with Butternut Squash

Kale with roasted butternut squash, pepitas, sunflower seeds, & pecorino
If you've seen my last few recipe posts, you'll notice a common theme: alcohol. 

Yes, I know it's the holidays, and 'tis the season for parties and dinners and desserts, but I feel like I've been overindulging in the holiday food and drink department lately. I needed something healthy, something green, something cleansing. I needed kale. 

If you remember, I made this kale salad for Thanksgiving. This is a recipe by way of a local chef Anne Olson, passed along to me by my friend Devon. It's easy to make and perfectly highlights fall & winter flavors.

Friday, December 16, 2011

K is for: Ketchup Cola Marinade {a Tailgate Special}

Coca Cola Classic is the secret ingredient for this BBQ sauce
I'm not sure where I stumbled upon the idea to use cola in a marinade, but I'm so glad I did because I loved it! It totally sounds like a weird component of a BBQ sauce, but I can personally vouch for it.

I'm a big fan of marinating meats...especially when you're planning to cook them on the grill. It helps keep the meat from drying out, and it infuses a lot of flavors into each bite.

This one is basically a twist on a basic BBQ sauce, with Cola and Ketchup being the main ingredients.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

K is for: Koo {Restaurant Review}

Let me preface this post by saying that San Francisco is by far the most amazing city I've ever lived in for quality of amazing, interesting restaurants.

However, having lived in San Diego for almost five years, I feel as thought San Francisco is sometimes lacking in the sushi department. Don't get me wrong, there are fantastic sushi restaurants in the city. But in San Diego, they are everywhere. In San Francisco, you have to look a little harder. A field trip to Koo in the inner sunset is one of those hidden gems.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

K is for: Key Lime Pie Martinis

Key Lime Pie Martinis...they taste exactly as they sound. The creamy, limey, tropical taste of a key lime pie all wrapped up into a sippable drink.

These were once a staple at any party I hosted...a recipe first introduced to me by my cousin Erin. I haven't made them in a few years, and given my newfound obsession with whipped cream vodka, I thought this was the perfect time to revisit an old favorite.

Key Lime Pie is usually considered a summer flavor, but I think because of the green color, it totally passes for a holiday drink.

My friend Sophia decided to have a girls holiday dinner in which we met at her house for drinks on a Monday night, and moved onto Perbacco Ristorante for dinner. Enter the Key Lime Pie Martinis.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

K is for: Kahlua & Oreo Pie

This is my kind of dessert. It involves no baking, very few ingredients, and alcohol.

These frozen Kahlua and Oreo treats happen to be one of my mom's go-to recipes as well. If you decide to make them, you'll understand why. They are ridiculously simple and dangerously addictive.

I brought them to my friend Andrea's on Sunday, who was hosting a girls painting party. (Which, by the way was a really cute idea...see my masterpiece on the left).

Sadly, I forgot to take them out of the freezer during the party and accidentally left them there. Andrea texted me this morning: "Damn you for leaving me with a 5,000 calorie delicious dessert!" Like I said, dangerous. I'm just glad it's not in MY freezer, or else I would be in big trouble.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

J is for: Jolly Jello Shots

Calling these "Jello Shots" is sort of like an insult to these beauties. As I was told several times last night, they are a work of art. And they are. I took great care and calculated hours to make these as beautiful as they are tasty. And I'm not gonna lie, I was proud.

Yes, they contain alcohol in gelatin form, but these are a far cry from your typical college jello shot in a paper dixie cup. THESE are classy, sophisticated, and totally acceptable to drink/eat well into adulthood. Add in a few holiday themed colors and shapes, and these will become a staple at all of your holiday parties.

Since starting the food blog, I've actually been wanting to make jello shots for awhile. My cousin Erin made some amazing ones for my sister's bachelorette party and I'm a loyal follower of That's So Michelle and Jelly Shot Test Kitchen, so I'm crediting all of them with the inspiration behind these masterpieces.

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Friday, December 9, 2011

J is for: Jalapeño Poppers {a Tailgate Special}

Jalapeños, bacon, and cream cheese. What more do you need?
My dad has a few "signature" dishes that constantly get requested at family gatherings. Among them: artichoke dip, baked beans, chili, and jalapeño poppers. I love them all.

It being "J week" and all, I decided to make the poppers for my tailgate blog. But instead of roasting them in the oven, I thought they would be great on the grill...making them perfect for a tailgate party.  Spicy, cheesy, and smoky all rolled into a single bite.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

J is for: Javier's and Jalapeño-infused tequila {Dallas Restaurant Review}

I'm in Dallas for work this week covering the Baseball Winter Meetings. Mostly this involves me sitting around a hotel lobby stalking people and hoping news will happen in front of me. Riveting stuff. Although not particularly difficult, it's time consuming and allows little chance for leaving the hotel to explore the local eats. Fortunately, we had a little time to do this on Sunday night.

But before I get to what we ate...I need to tell you about the tequila we had AFTER dinner at our hotel bar. They had all sorts of infused spirits available that are made in-house. The one that intrigued me most was a grilled pineapple and jalapeño tequila. The bartender was nice enough to allow me to try it and explained to me how it's made.

They literally grill up some pineapple and jalapeños, and pop them into a bottle with either gold or reposado tequila. She said the flavor only takes about 4-5 days to start taking effect, but sometimes they will leave it in there up to a week or two. The result? A tequila with a smoky hint of fruit and a spicy aftertaste. No limes or salt needed. I just might have to try infusing something myself!

Monday, December 5, 2011

J is for: Jerusalem Artichoke {Sunchoke} & Potato Soup

Since I'm traveling for work this week, I planned ahead, and made this soup a few weeks back. The base for this soup is something called a Jerusalem artichoke, or sunchoke. I received them in my weekly vegetable bag, and was excited to try them.

I also received some red potatoes that same week, and I decided that together, they would make a great soup, perfect for this time of year. (Yukons probably would've been better, but the red ones turned out great!)

Contrary to the name, they are not related to Jerusalem nor are they an artichoke. However, they do have a similar flavor to the artichoke, with a slightly sweet and nutty taste.

They are actually a species of sunflower, native to North America. The roots are an edible tuber and can vary in color from tan to white or even a pinkish or purple color. They are a great source of potassium.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

J is for: Just For You Cafe {Restaurant Review}

I swear I didn't even plan it this time. My friend Kim and I were running an errand in the Dogpatch area of San Francisco and wanted to grab brunch afterwards. We actually tried to go to Serpentine, but it was going to be at least a 30 minute wait. Instead, we wandered down 22nd Street to Just For You Cafe.

I had been there before, so I could already vouch for the food, and then it dawned on me...J week. Perfect!

It's kind of got the diner/greasy spoon atmosphere going, but the food is outstanding. (Plus, they serve Mexican Coke...which I love). I appreciate the signs on the walls like "We reserve the right to pour coffee on your cell phone" and "We love your baby, not your stroller."

I is for: Italian & the Most INCREDIBLE Ice Cream {Zero Zero Restaurant Review}

Soft serve + olive oil + sea salt = genius
OK, so I was totally just going to save this place for "Z" week, but I simply cannot wait that long to share Zero Zero with you.

I drive by Zero Zero pretty much everyday on my way to work. It always catches my eye and I always wonder how it is or what kind of food they serve. I finally decided to look it up on Yelp, and I was blown away by the amount of positive reviews for this little Italian place. That was a couple months ago. I can't believe it took me this long to check it out.

The perfect occasion arose tonight as I have been wanting to take my co-worker Tory out for dinner. Not only is she one of the people who suggested I start a food blog, but sadly, she's also leaving San Francisco in a week to take a job with our affiliate in Boston. I've worked pretty closely with Tory over the last couple years, she being the main field producer at Giants home games. Inevitably, we end up talking about food A LOT, so it seemed fitting that her farewell dinner get featured on the blog.

Friday, December 2, 2011

I is for: Inside Out Bacon Cheeseburgers {a Tailgate Special}

These burgers give you a delicious surprise when you bite into one!
After trying the awesome burger at Heirloom Cafe last week, I was inspired to create my own version for the blog. I decided to add crumbled bacon and use an aged white cheddar and stuff them both in the middle of a hamburger patty.

The result? Melty, meaty, cheesy, bacon-y perfection on a bun. These would be great for a tailgate. You don't have to worry about packing cheese or bacon because they are already packed inside the hamburger patty. You could also make them with a grill pan on your stove.
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