Monday, December 31, 2012

H is for: Happy New Year! {Best of 2012}


2012 was my first full year with E is for Eat...and it's been a fabulous one. There have been many highlights...but in the interest of closing the book on 2012 and looking ahead to 2013...I narrowed it down to just a few. Hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane with me, and please have a safe and happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

G is for: Great Barrier Reef & the Whitsundays {Australia, Part III}

Australia is obviously a pretty big country (almost as big as the U.S. in fact), so there was no way we could begin to see it all in two weeks.

Aside from the days we dedicated to Sydney, the wedding, and wine country...we had time for one more stop. We narrowed our options to Melbourne or the Great Barrier Reef. Ultimately, we decided we couldn't go to Australia without visiting Queensland and seeing one of the world's seven natural wonders.

(And bonus points for those of you who noticed I jumped back to "G" for the purposes of keeping the posts chronological. ;))

Saturday, December 29, 2012

H is for: Hyams Beach, Hunter Valley & Happily Ever After {Australia, Part II}

I suppose H could also stand for: "Hitting the Open Road," or "Honk"...as in, that's what happend a few times when I forgot which side of the road I was supposed to be using.

Driving in a foreign country is challenging enough...but how about throwing in a steering wheel on the right side of the car and driving on the left side of the road? It's no joke. Imagine doing something one way for 17 years to a point where it's almost second nature and then force yourself to suddenly do the opposite.

My mom was brave enough to put her life in my hands as we set off for the second leg of our trip. After spending three days in Sydney navigating ferries, riding trains and walking...we were ready for a new adventure. This one took us south of Sydney to a little town called Nowra (which I had to practice several times before pronouncing it correctly in an Aussie accent..."Naaahhhh-Raaa.")

G is for: G'day Mate! {Australia, Part I: Sydney}

Seasons greetings....happy holidays...and a thousand apologies.

In the short time my blog has been in existence, this is by far the longest I have gone in between posts. More than three weeks. Almost a month. It's embarrassing.

But as excuses go, I think mine is pretty solid (other than the fact I'm using one in the first place). I was out of the country. For two weeks. And this wasn't just your run-of-the-mill jaunt to Mexico. We're talking a 14 hour flight, a 19 hour time difference...we're talking Australia.

To summarize, it was nothing short of amazing. But those who know me well know I'm horrible at summarizing. And with that...I kick off Part I of my Australian adventure.

Monday, December 3, 2012

F is for: Fernet-Branca {ice cream} with a Ginger {syrup} Back

There's a portion of you who cringed when you read the title of this post...another portion who cheered, and still others who asked, "What the heck is Fernet?"

For the uninitiated, Fernet is an Italian liquor that has so many secret herbs and spices, it would be exhausting trying to list them all. Many would describe it as a "mouthwashy" taste...and I would argue that most people hate it the first time they try it. (Ok, maybe the first five times....check out funny gifs on the experience here, or here.)

It's popular in Italy, Argentina, and...San Francisco. Go figure. In fact, 50% of the Fernet consumed in the U.S. each day is consumed in San Francisco. It actually has a really cool history in this city, dating back to the Prohibition days. I highly suggest checking out this article from SF Weekly a few years back. And while I too was among those who didn't like the taste initially, I've come to love and embrace Fernet, and it's one of my go-to drinks nowadays.



Friday, November 30, 2012

E is for: Egg Nog Pudding Shots

Love it or hate it, egg nog is the known for being THE quintessential holiday drink. Me? I normally fall into the "hate it" category...or at the very least the "I'd rather have a Christmas Tree Jello Shot" category. 

But I'm proud to report that this particular version of eggnog gets the Jaymee Sire stamp of approval. It combines the classic taste of eggnog with whipped cream into an always-popular pudding shot. (So really, you can't go wrong).

If you've made pudding shots before, you know they are ridiculously easy. For these eggnog shots, just use store-bought nog in place of the milk and you're in business.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

E is for: El Comedor, Sip 'N Dip, Thanksgiving & Happy Birthday Dad!

When people ask me where I'm from and I tell them, "Great Falls, Montana," the reaction is usually something to the effect of: "Huh...interesting. I've never met anyone from Montana." Either that or: "Really? Do you know so-and-so, I think he's from Kalispell."

Yes, less than a million people live in the entire state, but that state is also the fourth largest in the country landwise...so I don't likely know your long lost relative. :)

And as much as I loved growing up in Big Sky Country, I'm definitely a city girl at heart. If you read this blog, you know how much I'm obsessed with the food and culture of San Francisco. But that's not to say I don't enjoy my time back home...especially the time with my family, and even the trips to some of my favorite bars and restaurants.

Monday, November 19, 2012

E is for: Enchiladas {with leftover turkey}

Thanksgiving is quite possibly my favorite holiday.

Why? Because it involves three of my favorite "f's"...food, family, and football. (It's probably not too surprising to learn that my favorite holiday is one that revolves around food).

And as much as I adore cooking (and consuming) a big, fat turkey dinner...I love the leftovers just as much. But after a few meals of turkey sandwiches and reheating the leftover sides, you're still likely left with a lot of extra turkey.

That's where I come in!

I decided to combine two of my favorite meals (Thanksgiving and Mexican) to utilize some of that delicious turkey...and came up with Turkey Enchiladas!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

E is for: Easy Marinara Sauce {and 9 other Make Ahead Freezer Meals}

Once the playoffs ended and the confetti had settled from another amazing World Series run by the Giants, I was so sick of traveling that I was positive I wouldn't be jumping on another airplane for a very long time. So what did I do as soon as I had a few days off? I booked a flight to Seattle.

No, I'm not crazy. I just couldn't wait one more minute to meet my best friend Kimmy's adorable newborn son, Tucker. The three of us spent an entire day together, and I got a first hand look at how much hard work goes into being a mom.

After a day full of feeding, diaper changing, and errand running...the last thing a busy mother wants to worry about is cooking dinner. Fortunately, Kimmy and some of my other Seattle friends formed a group called "Make-Ahead Mamas." Every 6-8 weeks, they get together and cook up a bevy of freezable meals, ready to unthaw for an easy dinner.

Friday, November 16, 2012

D is for: Delicata Squash {and 12 other Thanksgiving food ideas}

I'm seriously slacking on the food blog these days.

I just looked back at my posts from last November and I posted EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. the week before Thanksgiving. I was a food blogger possesed.

This year...not so much. I can only use my playoff "hangover" excuse so long, so I will blame it on the fact that I am not hosting Thanksgiving this year. Also, I tend to gravitate towards the "old standby" side dishes at Thanksgiving dinner, and I already shared most of those with my readers last year.

So this post will be two-fold. I'm happy to report I'm making my triumphant return to the cooking portion of my blog with this lovely delicata squash recipe. I'll also be sharing my top-12 Thanksgiving recipes if you are still looking for some delicious appetizers or sides for next week.

Friday, November 9, 2012

D is for: Detroit

Photo Coutesy: Karl Mondon
Soooo....I'm *finally* getting caught up. Both with my blogging and life in general.

Ok, that's a blatant lie.

I have a mountain of laundry at home, my gym card has a thick layer of dust on it, and I've only cooked twice in the last two weeks...neither of which made it to the blog.

But I promise I will get there. Eventually.

In the meantime, I'll share with you the third and final installment of my MLB Postseason Food Adventures. This one took us to the lovely city of Detroit, Michigan. Just as with Cincinnati and St. Louis, Detroit isn't traditionally known to be a destination for foodies. But thanks to Detroit product (and kickball captain) Sam Brown, we got some great recommendations during our short stay in the Motor City.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

C is for: Cincinnati

As I type this, I'm currently somewhere over the Rocky Mountains, flying home after an incredible roller coaster of a ride through the playoffs. Over the past few weeks, I've logged thousands of miles, conducted dozens of interviews, and my head has been soaked with beer and champagne on four different occasions. (I hear it's good for the hair).

And though I can barely keep my eyes open, I wouldn't trade a single second of it for anything.

At this point, my trip to Cincinnati for the NLDS seems like ages ago. And I'll be honest, I didn't expect to stay there for an entire week. The Giants were down 2-0 and looked dead in the water. But that's what I loved about this 2012 team. No matter what was thrown at them this season, they found a way to overcome.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

B is for: Broadway Oyster Bar, Pappy’s, & Taste by Niche {St. Louis}

I honestly don’t know how they keep doing it.

Despite falling down 0-2 to the Reds and then 3-1 to the Cardinals, the San Francisco Giants keep finding ways to win and advance. The best description I’ve heard is they are like cockroaches…they just won’t die. You might be able to kill one, but that just means that 10 more will appear out of nowhere.

Because of this never-say-die attitude, I’m currently on a whirlwind tour of Midwestern Cities, following the Giants as they tear through the MLB postseason. Our first stop was Cincinnati for the NLDS, but in the interest of keeping up with my alphabet theme, I’m waiting until we hit the “C’s” to tell you about the ‘Nati. As I type this, I sit on a flight headed to Detroit, so you can bet that D-town will follow as well. But I begin with St. Louis, where our week started off with Broadway Oyster Bar.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A is for: AQ Restaurant & Bar {Restaurant Review}

This post is long overdue. Sort of like my car insurance premium that I almost forgot to pay this week. As I mentioned before, I can barely remember which city I’m in and I’m pretty sure I’m coming down with a cold. It’s a miracle I can even find my way to the ballpark these days.

But I digress.

About a month ago, I had the pleasure of getting together with a couple of my fellow female co-workers, Kate and Mindi. If our busy lives allowed for it, we would love to do this every month or two. But between me with Giants, Kate with A’s/Raiders and Mindi with 49ers, coordinating those schedules is next to impossible.

We were delighted to find a night that worked for all of us, so I picked out AQ Restaurant & Bar, as I’ve been meaning to check it out for awhile now.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A is for: Austin

I woke up this morning and for a second I actually forgot which city I was in.

No, seriously.

In the last two weeks, I’ve been home a grand total of 20 hours. I’ve been to Cincinnati, Austin, back to San Francisco and now St. Louis. And as my loyal E is for Eat followers have noticed, my blogging has understandably taken a back seat to baseball.

You’ll be happy to know I have been diligently taking photos of all of my food adventures over the last couple weeks, and I even have some back-logged posts from before I started my zig-zagging across the country. Only problem is, I haven’t had the time (or energy) to actually write about them and post photos. So I beg your forgiveness and just like my close friends know all too well...I'll be back after baseball season.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A is for: Any Way You Want It {Vodka RedBull Jello Shots}

It's gonna be Nothin' But a Good Time as you Hit Me With Your Best Shot, take me down to the Paradise City and Pour Some Sugar on Me

Why am I quoting Hair Bands from the 80's? Because it's time for Rock of Ages, available On Demand this month. 

But if you're going to watch some rockstars, it's best to party like one first. And what's the perfect drink to keep that energy going while we Rock You Like a Hurricane? Vodka + RedBull of course. And you know what's even more fun than Vodka RedBulls? Vodka RedBull jello shots. And you know what's even more fun than Vodka RedBull jello shots? Vodka RedBull jello shots shaped like guitars.

Z is for: Zazie {Restaurant Review}

The issue with really good brunch spots is that it's really hard to actually go to them on the weekends. Of course...weekends are normally the time people go to brunch. Mimosas, coffee, delicious food, and a lazy morning creeping into the afternoon.

Problem is, everyone else usually has the same idea, creating ridiculous wait times and making it almost not worth the trouble. This is why I had never been to Zazie...until recently.

Remember my cousin Erin and little Kenzie? Well they were both in town recently, along with my Aunt Candy. Unfortunately, my work schedule prevented me from hanging out with them as much as I'd like. But I had a Wednesday morning free, giving us the perfect opportunity to finally try Zazie. It was still hoppin' on a Wednesday morning, but no wait, and we even snagged a coveted window booth to spread out with the baby.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Z is for: Zombie Jello Shots {guest post}

I'm seriously SOOOO pumped to share this recipe today.

Like, abnormally excited. But then again, I get pretty excited when it comes to jello shots.

My faithful blog readers are likely familiar with Jullie Anne Caparas of Mangoes and Palm Trees. She's done a bunch of guest blogs for me, but this one takes the cake...errr....the jello shot. These sound so delicious and are so creative, I'm just beside myself. So without further ado...here's Jullie Anne!
~~~~~~

Hello, everyone! I’m excited to say October is upon us, and Halloween parties are just around the corner. :) I came up with Zombie Jello Shots for this very reason. But, oddly enough, a recent trip to Disney’s California Adventure served as the inspiration for these boozy bites. The “Zombie” is a popular cocktail at DCA’s Cove Bar, where this tiki-bar classic gets a fun twist. Its name and murky green color fit perfectly into the Halloween season, and turning the drink into jello just adds to the festivities. Here’s how to make them!

Y is for: Yuca Fries {baked} with Roasted Jalapeno Aioli

Happy Birthday to E is for Eat!

Today my blog officially turns one year old. Hard to believe this will mark my 218th blog post. Even more impressive...over 475K page views in the blog's first year of existence.

And to celebrate, how about some yuca fries?!?
(Yes, I realize a jello shot would've been more appropriate, but don't worry, those are coming later this week).

But first, let's talk yuca.

It's not spelled yucca, by the way. That's a tree.

Yuca (with one "c" and pronounced "YOO-kah") is also known as cassava or manioc. It's a tuber, similar to a potato. It's also the base for making tapioca. But as a root vegetable, they are perfect for making fries! (Much like their potato cousins).

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Y is for: Youngstown & Beyond {guest post} {Restaurant Review}

I'm very excited to introduce a new guest blogger to E is for Eat today. You may remember my co-worker Matt Maiocco from my post about Ike's Place and the genuine glee he expressed when biting into a Jaymee Sirewich for the first time. Thanks Matt for sharing your culinary adventures from your week with the 49ers!
~~~~~~
When the NFL schedule came out in the spring, I did a quick once-over. The first peculiar aspect about the schedule I noticed was that the 49ers would have a Week 3 game in Minnesota followed by a trip to play the New York Jets.

My first thought: "Youngstown, here we come. . . again."

A year ago, the 49ers famously spent a week of preparations in Youngstown, Ohio, hometown of the DeBartolo and York families. The 49ers avoided approximately eight hours of travel time when the remained in the Eastern time zone between games in Cincinnati and Philadelphia.

So, it was an easy guess that 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh would stick with what worked this season, too.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Y is for: YUMMMMMMM {Caramel Apple Pie Pudding Shots}

Sometimes you just have to throw the rule book completely out the window.

Is there anything at all in these amazing treats that starts with the letter "Y"? Nope. But do you think for one second that I was going to keep these delicious creations from you just because it didn't fit with my alphabet theme? Absolutely not!

This is another "Spike Your Sweets" concoction over on Brit.co. As you know, I've become somewhat an expert in the subject. Brit wanted some sort of boozy treat that inspired by fall, apples and cinnamon. My creation was half miniature pie, half caramel apple and 100% YUMMMM.

I used pre-made pie crusts and a mini muffin pan to create the miniature pie shells. For the filling, it's a pretty standard pudding shot (see my White Russian Pudding Shots in Brownie Bites).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

X is for: Xacuti

So remember my first time through the alphabet I sampled the Xacuti at a Viva Goa in San Francisco? Well this time I was determined to tackle it in my own kitchen and I'm delighted to tell you it was a success!

However, I will say this was without a doubt, one of the most labor-intensive things I've made for the blog. For starters, I've never cooked Indian food before so I was learning a lot as I went along. Also, between figuring out how to open a coconut to roasting spices and making the masala, it consumed most of my afternoon.

Thankfully, my friend Sachi is Indian and consulted her mum, Shree, on the most accurate and authentic techniques for recreating this Goan dish (pronounced "Sha-koo-tee"). Like any recipe, there were dozens of variations online, but I mostly followed the one on The Curry Secret, with a few modifications per Shree's advice.

Friday, September 14, 2012

W is for: White Russian Pudding Shots, Pumpkintinis & Rainbows

Dude.

This post is somewhat of a sensory overload of delicious alcoholic treats. I am also well aware that "W" week has spilled into a second week. I blame it on all of the traveling I've been doing lately. Plus, it's baseball season during a playoff push, which is a crazy time for me. Besides, my blog, my rules.

But before I get to my ode to the Big Lebowski, let's talk about Pumpkin Spice Lattes. People go crazy for these things. The first day they were available, I saw no less than 12 photos of this delightful fall beverage in varying filters jamming my Instagram feed. But you know what's better than a pumpkin latte? A pumpkin *martini.* I've been making these for a couple of years now, but when Brit.co asked me to come up with a creative twist on the Starbucks craze, I decided to add a little Kahlua for some coffee flavor. Thank me later. Click here to get the step by step instructions, otherwise keep reading.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

W is for: Wild Boar Ragu with Whole Wheat Pappardelle

Mirror, mirror on the wall...

When I saw Snow White and the Huntsman on the list for On Demand movies in September, I knew I just had to create something dark and sinister to go along with the dark twist on the classic fairy tale. I recalled the story line from the original, in which the evil queen sends a huntsman on a quest to bring back Snow White's heart, and instead brings her one from a wild boar. Naturally, I thought of wild boar ragu.

Soon after, I found out that this part of the story didn't actually happen in the movie. Wah. Wah. Oh well, the spirit of the dish is there, right? Also, this was a trial run for an upcoming celebrity pasta competition I'm competing in later this month...so stay tuned for that! In the meantime, click here to head over to On Demand Weekly to get the recipe (and to enter for a chance to win some swag)!

UPDATE! The pasta contest is coming up on Monday, September 24th. Among my competitors: Brian Murphy from KNBR and former Giant Dave Dravecky. I'll let you know how I do, but if you're interested in buying tickets, click here for more information.

UPDATE, PART II: My pasta won second place!! I was extremely proud...and everyone seemed to really like it. I was the only competitor without Italian blood, so I think I did pretty well! :)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

W is for: Wisconsin Cheese {& Winning!}


So....I actually won something!!

Bronze prize in the Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Recipe Contest gets you a box filled with $100 worth of Wisconsin cheese. I don't know about you, but in my book, that's pretty damn awesome. Sure, a grand prize trip to New York would've been cool, but I'm perfectly happy with my bounty of cheese.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

W is for: Windy City {Arun's, Spice House & La Fournette}

Just like the first part of this Chicago post, Kasey and I picked up right where we left off. Sometimes we can go weeks (or even months) without talking, but we always seem to be able to flow seamlessly into our conversations which inevitably include stories about food, traveling and life's funny moments.

After our afternoon at Big Star, it was time to get ready for our big dinner out. When arranging the few plans we made for my trip, Kasey asked if I was up for trying something a little different. I'm always game for most anything, so a 12-course Thai tasting menu sounded right up our alley. Sure, there were several places she could've picked that she knows are slam dunks, but I was excited to try something she hadn't experienced either.

That is how we ended up at Arun's for dinner on Saturday night.

W is for: Windy City {Wrigley, Big Star & Perfect Scrambled Eggs}

When I told my friends I was going to Chicago for four days to visit my chef friend Kasey, the immediate response was: "Oh, you guys must have some amazing restaurants planned."

Yes and no.

See, the thing I love about Kasey and our friendship is we are sort of fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants gals. We were roommates in Barcelona during our study abroad program more than 10 years ago and traveled together through Europe as well. We learned a lot on those travels, and we've carried them throughout our subsequent adventures since:

1.) Go with the flow
2.) Don't overplan
3.) Be prepared for epic, random nights

Thursday, August 30, 2012

V is for: Victor's {Restaurant Review}

If either my friend Devon or I are ever having a bad day, we almost always go to Victor’s. And not necessarily for the food.

Sure, it’s decent as far as Mexican joints go, but we go there because you leave the place feeling like a million bucks. The minute you walk in the door, the friendly lady running the place yells out “HOLA GUAPAS!!” (For those of you who didn’t make it through first year Spanish, guapa means “good looking.”)

I suppose we shouldn’t feel that special, as *everyone* is guapa or guapo at Victor’s. But she says it with such enthusiasm, you can’t help but smile. It instantly puts me in a good mood.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

V is for: Veggie Fries {baked} with Sriracha Mayo

Remember the avocado fries I made a few months back?

Well, in the span of five months, they have become the most popular post on the blog, nearing 20K page views and recently exceeding even my jello shots if you can believe that.

So when Brit.co asked me to come up with a healthy take on a traditionally unhealthy recipe, I decided another version of these fries needed to make a comeback.

It's the same breading of panko, pine nuts and Parmesan, but instead of avocados, I used a combo of zucchini, green beans and asparagus. I whipped up a quick Sriracha Mayo to serve as a dipping sauce and was instantly reminded of why those avo fries are so popular. You've got to give 'em a try. Great use of garden veggies and a nice healthy alternative to their potato cousins. Click here to get step by step instructions.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

U is for: Umami Burger {Restaurant Review}

So I'm really bad at making decisions. Like, horrible. Everything from big decisions such as choosing an apartment, to little decisions such as deciding what I want to eat at a new restaurant.

So when someone on Twitter recently asked me about my favorite place to get a burger in San Francisco, I couldn't pick just one. I suggested Marlowe, NOPA, and Mission Bowling Club. Not quite cracking the top 3, but definitely my new addition to the list: Umami Burger on Union Street in San Francisco.

If you're thinking to yourself, "I thought that was an L.A. thing?" You're kind of right. They have a ton of locations in the Los Angeles area, but this is the first in Northern California.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

U is for: Upside Down Cake Jello Shots

You know what else U stands for? 

UNFETTERED FUN.

Seriously.

How can you look at these jello shots and NOT instantly be in a good mood? It makes you think of tropical vacations and sun and smiles and just general happiness.

I came up with this idea as I was brainstorming ideas for “U week.” As you can imagine, the options are limited. Last time through the alphabet, U week was one of the weeks I was in Arizona. Devon did gluten free udon noodles for me and Kim did her own creative twist on upside down cake.

I decided to resurrect upside down cake in jello shot form. Because, when in doubt, just make a jello shot.

Monday, August 20, 2012

T is for: Tomato Salad with Heirlooms, Basil, Capers & Mozzarella

Originally, I had no intentions of posting another "T" recipe. After all, "U week" technically started on Sunday. But I was so inspired by these gorgeous tomatoes I just had to share it with everyone. What can I say? Heirloom tomatoes make me want to break the rules. Can you blame me?

I'll be honest. I don't know much about Heirloom tomatoes beyond the fact that I think they look cool and they taste good. (And they are expensive...I paid $3.99 per pound for these at Whole Foods). I decided I needed to be more educated about them in order to properly share them with you.

A google search produced lengthy explanations about open pollination and seeds. I'm no gardener (although I'd like to be someday), so this mostly flew over my head. Fortunately, I found a pretty layman explanation on The Life in Green blog, which described them this way:

"Simply put an heirloom is a variety of plant (tomato, melon, lettuce etc.) that has been saved and passed from one generation to the next. There may be other criteria that lends one to being an heirloom, such as how many generations a variety has been saved, but leave that to the heirloom aficionados. Let’s keep it simple here, k?"

Thanks Lisa, I couldn't agree more.

T is for: Tropisueño {Restaurant Review} {Guest Post}

Today, I'm excited to turn the blog over to my friend and co-worker, Brodie Brazil. Brodie's "cube" at work is right next to mine, and when we're both actually in the office at the same time, we often talk about food. If you've seen his tweets on the subject, you know that the extent of his cooking skills includes PB&J. But what he lacks in the kitchen, he makes up for in his writing. So when he enthusiastically asked if he could write about his favorite restaurants, I of course happily obliged. Thanks Brodie!
~~~~~
By nature, I am a lazy eater. My decisions for lunch or dinner are often based on how fast I can get food from my hands to my stomach, instead of the prospective quality of the meal itself.  Make a chicken dish in 30 minutes, or make a Salami sandwich in 30 seconds?  I'm sorry Jaymee Sire, but my choice is that simple 99% of the time. I am not particularly proud of this trait, which I thoroughly blame on the rushed nature of my profession.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

T is for: The Hunger Games {Basil Wrapped Goat Cheese Bites}

When I get really into a set of books, I can't put them down. I get sucked in, and I keep reading day or night until I'm finished. I did it with Twilight, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, 50 Shades of Grey, and of course, The Hunger Games.

Since The Hunger Games movie is available On Demand starting today, I was excited to partner with On Demand Weekly once again to bring you an easy little appetizer.

If you've read the books, you know that food is a central theme. (It is the Hunger Games after all). I considered attempting the lamb stew with dried plums or even roasted rabbit or groosling soup. In the end, simplicity won out and I did my own spin on Prim's gift to Katniss on Reaping Day...goat cheese wrapped in basil leaves. Happy Hunger Games and may the odds be ever in your favor! Click here to get the step-by-step instructions.

Friday, August 17, 2012

T is for: Tomatillo Avocado Salsa with Homemade Baked Tortilla Chips

I'm definitely a chips and salsa girl. (Who isn't?)

But seriously, when I go to a Mexican restaurant, I can't stop my hand from constantly reaching for the chip basket and dunking it in whatever salsa is on the table. And if there is queso or guacamole involved? Forgetaboutit. I end up eating so much that by the time my actual entree comes out, I'm already full.

One of my favorite types of salsa is the spicy green kind. It's made from tomatillos with some jalapeno for a little kick. I've never actually worked with tomatillos before this post, and I can't believe I hadn't. They are way easier than they look and they are delicious.

And since I also love guacamole, I decided to combine some avocados with my spicy tomatillo salsa for a creamy take on a Mexican classic.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

T is for: Tony's Pizza Napoletana {Restaurant Review}

Overall, my memories of Naples pale in comparison to the rest of my Italian travels. It was 2002, and I had finished up my study abroad program in Barcelona. Afterwards, I traveled for six weeks, hitting up the South of France, most of Italy, the Greek Islands, Vienna, Prague, Munich, Paris, and the Netherlands.

Like pretty much anyone who has visited Italy, I fell in love. I stuffed my face with pizza, pasta and gelato. I got lost in ancient ruins and met some amazing people. I saw Cinque Terre, Florence, Sienna, Venice, Rome, Positano, Ischia, and Pompei.

We passed through Naples on our way to the Amalfi Coast. I remember one of the girls getting accosted in the train station, and I recall it being dirtier than the other parts of Italy I visited.

But the highlight of our short time in Napoli…the pizza.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

S is for: Sriracha Shrimp Cocktail

One of my favorite Twitter threads recently was when I tweeted this: "Sriracha + ranch dressing = Mind. Blown." I really was just so excited to share my new revelation with the world. I had no idea it would elicit the sort of response that it did. Replies came pouring in about everyone's favorite use for the spicy condiment.

Sriracha mayo, Sriracha on nachos, Sriracha on eggs, Sriracha meatloaf, and one of my favorites: Sriracha ketchup. (And did you know there's even a Sriracha cookbook?!) So when "S week" rolled back around I knew I had to do something with the beloved "Rooster Sauce."

Since I'm already a fan of mixing it with ketchup, cocktail sauce seemed like a genius idea. I also incorporated it into the seasoning for the shrimp as well...creating a spicy new twist on the popular appetizer.

Friday, August 10, 2012

S is for: Sushi Zone {Restaurant Review}

As I was sitting at work on Tuesday night, a reminder popped up on my phone for the next day: "Sushi with Sachi."

Sachi and I made these plans the previous week after indulging in a few adult beverages, so I sent her a text asking if we were still on. She immediately responded: "Most definitely still on. 5PM, table for two."

I haven't known Sachi too long, but this is precisely why I love the girl. She's up for anything. A sushi outing at 4:45 in the afternoon with someone she barely knows? Sign her up.

Let me also say that Sushi Zone has been on my "list" for ages. And considering my gripe about the lack of abundant sushi restaurants in this town, I can't believe it's taken me this long to try it.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

S is for: Strawberry Balsamic Rosemary Ice Cream

Before you scrunch your nose up questioning this combination of flavors, hear me out. This is the best strawberry ice cream you'll ever have. Hands down. For those of you who have had the pleasure of sampling the balsamic strawberry ice cream at Bi-Rite in San Francisco, you probably don't need much convincing.

The balsamic is subtle, and it really brings out the bright flavor of the strawberries. As for the rosemary, that was a last-minute add, and I feel like it really stepped up this ice cream's game. I'm already a fan of using fresh herbs along with fruit in desserts. My first thought was actually to use basil, but I already had some rosemary on hand after making the Rosemary Chicken Salad last week, so I decided to use that instead. Don't worry, you won't be crunching down on actual rosemary. Instead, I infused the herb into the custard base, creating an ever-so-slight-but-delightful rosemary finish.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

R is for: Rosemary Chicken Salad Cups

My original plan was to share with you one of my favorite summer recipes for grilling chicken. But here's the thing. It's not my recipe. I found it on one of the very first food blogs I ever started reading, Kalyn's Kitchen. I discovered her site when I did the South Beach Diet years ago and I still like to get her updates.

Anyways, it's a recipe that calls for a marinade of Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and rosemary (among a few other things). I love it. Like many recipes, I have altered it over the years to suit my tastes. For example, I started using chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts, I often omit the celery seed if I don't have any and I sometimes add a little honey. You should totally check it out.

But this recipe is not for the Rosemary Dijon Chicken....it's for a *chicken salad* you can make with the leftovers (or with any leftover chicken for that matter), and more importantly it includes an adorable way of displaying it.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

R is for: Red's Java House & Primo Patio Cafe {Restaurant Review}


In my ongoing quest to cover both sports and food at the same time, I occasionally like to write about some of my favorite places to eat near AT&T Park. This week, I'm excited to tell you about *two* of my favorite little gems that each have their own distinct charm and character.

I'll start with Red's, the tiny little shack of a place that sits below the Bay Bridge on Pier 30. The thing I love most about Red's Java House is what you see is what you get. What you see is a longstanding San Francisco institution that could best be described as a dive bar. What you get is no-frills food, a back patio that sits on the water and cheap beer. And on a sunny San Francisco day before a baseball game (when I'm not working), there's no place I'd rather be. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Q is for: Quinoa & Ground Turkey Zucchini Boats

So I've sort of just come to terms with the fact that during baseball season, the blog posts are going to be less frequent. Gone are the weeks where I would post 6, 7, maybe even 8 times on a single letter in a single week. These days, I'm lucky to get one or two in a week.

I've also been a little uninspired lately. I guess it happens with everybody, whether it's a blog or a job or a hobby something else. It just means you have to draw inspiration from other places.

Recently, my friend and co-worker Kate Longworth sent me a text with a photo of some stuffed zucchini she made with the vegetables from her garden. My first thought was: I'm jealous I don't have a garden. But my second thought was these would be perfect on the blog! I'm not sure what Kate used, but I decided to use a mixture of quinoa, veggies and some leftover cooked ground turkey I had in the fridge. I thought it turned out to be an easy, healthy high-protein and gluten free meal.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

P is for: Potaje, Pan con Tomate & Plato's Olive Oil {giveaway}

First of all, I know what you're thinking. Yes, I've been a little M.I.A. on the blog this over the last 7 days or so. For some reason, I haven't been cooking as much this week. And even though I had a four-day weekend, I spent much of it trying to catch up with people I haven't seen in awhile, which meant lots of dinners out.

However, to make it up to all of you, today I'm going to share TWO of my very favorite Spanish recipes *and* I'm giving away a bottle of a delicious olive oil for one of my lucky readers! More on that in a minute, but first, let's habla.

As I've mentioned in the past, I spent three wonderful months living in Barcelona during my senior year in college. This is where I met my dear friend Kasey, who I've mentioned several times before on the blog. We were randomly selected to live together in a host home, and our "mom" for 12 weeks was a fantastic lady by the name of Dolores Berga. Whenever I think of Dolores, I smile. She was as warm and welcoming as you could ever hope a host mom to be when you're living in a foreign country. I fondly remember our dinners with Dolores, practicing our Spanish (because she did not speak any English), and sampling some of her home cooking.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

P is for: Park Tavern {Restaurant Review}

There are some restaurants you go to for business, others you save for celebrating a special occasion, and ones you visit just to catch up with a good friend. Park Tavern could easily be filed under all of those categories, but on this particular night, it was the latter.

I first met Jenna Brooks in the newsroom at CSN. She had recently moved to San Francisco from Australia, where she also worked as a television sports reporter. One of my co-workers asked if I had time to speak with her for a few minutes, and even though I was super busy, I agreed to chat with her.

I'd say about 30 seconds into the conversation, I instantly felt a connection with Jenna, and I knew we were going to be fast friends. We again met for lunch about a week later, and have been friends ever since, meeting whenever our schedules allow to catch up and enjoy some of the great restaurants the city has to offer.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

O is for: Outerlands {Restaurant Review}

Tucked away on Judah street in the Outer Sunset, where the fog creeps in early and often stays all day, you’ll find the quaint little hideaway of Outerlands. It’s a refuge from the cool San Francisco air with its welcoming vibe and the basket of cozy blankets at your disposal while you wait outside for your table.

Once seated, the staff is as warm as the atmosphere, and the food and drinks are equally comforting. It was the perfect spot this week to meet up with my friend Kim as we were having one of those frigid July days in San Francisco.

This was actually my second lunchtime trip to Outerlands, and I already knew I would be having a mug of their hot ginger lemon apple cider. Then our server threw us a delicious curveball: “Would you like to add buffalo trace bourbon to that?” Why yes, yes I would. And while you're at it, I’ll take two.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

O is for: Oklahoma Joe's BBQ & other Kansas City Food Finds

Baseball and Barbecue: two of America’s great traditions. Both came together this week as Major League Baseball’s All Stars gathered in Kansas City. And guess who was smack dab in the middle of it all? Your favorite foodie-sports reporter…ME!

Yes, I was there to work, but you know very well that my free time was spent plotting out my next meal, and in Kansas City, that means BBQ. But I also discovered it doesn’t ALL have to be barbecue. The Midwest city had some surprisingly innovative restaurants as well, much like what you would find in San Francisco. More on that later. First, let’s talk meat.

I detailed the dilemma of which BBQ place to choose in my post on csnbayarea.com, which you can read by clicking here. Basically, what I found is it’s pretty subjective depending on who you talk to, but I’d say the Top 5 definitely include the famous Arthur Bryant’s, Gates, Jack Stack, LC’s, and Oklahoma Joe’s. After careful research, I went with Joe’s.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

O is for: On Demand {Apple Pie Ice Cream}

Baseball, ice cream and apple pie: it sure doesn't get much more American than that!

As many of you know, I've been in Kansas City for the last couple days covering the MLB All Star Game. (More on all of the rib-sticking food here later this week).

I've also started doing some guest posts for On Demand Weekly to coincide with new movies available for purchase On Demand. Today, it's the release of American Reunion.

I'm sure I don't need to remind you of the infamous scene from the first movie of this popular franchise, American Pie. Let's just say the apple pie in *that* scene...ahem...was less than appetizing. I promise a much different result from this apple pie ice cream. Yup...I said it: Apple. Pie. Ice cream.

Click here to get the All American recipe. Enjoy the movie and the All Star Game tonight, and stay tuned later this week for some mouthwatering Kansas City BBQ.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

N is for: New Jersey & Beyond

When my California friends asked where I was spending the 4th of July and I told them "The Jersey Shore," I'm pretty sure images of fist pumping, GTL, The Situation and Snookie immediately flashed through their heads. No, not *that* part of the Jersey Shore.

Instead, I was incredibly lucky to visit the sparkling gem that is Seven Mile Island, home to Avalon and Stone Harbor. It's lined with beautiful Colonial-style homes, complete with white picket fences and beach cruisers parked to the side of each house. The town of Stone Harbor is bristling with adorable shops and eateries...like Springers Ice Cream and Hoy's 5 & 10 Store, which have been beloved in the town for as long as anyone can remember.

My boyfriend's family spends an entire week in this magical place every fourth of July, so I was honored to be included in this amazing family tradition this year.



Monday, July 2, 2012

N is for: Nation's Birthday, Top 5 recipes for your 4th of July BBQ's

Some of my favorite memories growing up were from our family trips to Holland Lake in Montana. Every 4th of July and Labor Day, we would pack up the bronco, set off for the lake and rent one of the handful of cabins scattered along the shore.

We hiked to the nearby waterfalls, roasted marshmallows and hot dogs on the campfire, went waterskiing, and fed the family of ducks that lived on the lake. (Yes, that's me on the hike to Holland Falls...check out those bangs!) It's for all of these reasons that Holland Lake is one of my favorite places in the world.

It's also for that reason that I associate the 4th of July with BBQ's and spending time with family. This year, I will be spending the holiday in Stone Harbor, New Jersey with my boyfriend's family, and I'm excited to share in their traditions as well. In the meantime, here are some ideas to help add some fireworks to your Independence Day food table!

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