Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I is for: Iceberg Lettuce Mini Wedge Salads with Blue Cheese Dressing

I feel like iceberg lettuce sort of gets a bad rep.

I totally take responsibility for part of that. I almost always prefer things like kale or arugula or other leafy greens in my salads. They are healthier and packed with more vitamins and minerals.

But there’s something to be said for that crunch you get when you bite into a perfectly crisp piece of iceberg lettuce. It’s for this reason it’s a staple at steakhouses in the form of the popular wedge salad.

Since I’m in love with all things mini, I decided some mini wedges were in order. Wouldn’t these be adorable for a dinner party or a BBQ? You could serve them up on a platter and people can easily grab a appetizer-sized salad by simply picking them up by the cocktail toothpick! 

H is for: House of Prime Rib {Restaurant Review}

Admittedly, I'm a huge fan of New American places. I love spots like NOPA or Frances...restaurants putting their own spin classic dishes with ingredients sourced locally.

But sometimes you don't need reduction sauces and infused cocktails. Sometimes you just need a strong martini and a perfectly cooked piece of meat. It's times like that you come to House of Prime Rib.

By the way, this might qualify as my sister's worst nightmare, as she hates red meat. (Though, to be fair, they do offer a fish option). But that's not why you come to House of Prime Rib. As you might expect, you come here for the Prime Rib. I've had a gift certificate I've been saving for a special occasion. That occasion arose recently when my boyfriend got an amazing new job opportunity.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

H is for: Hop, Skip and Go {Naked}

I know "i" week would normally start on a Sunday, but I'm breaking the rules this week. (My blog, my rules). For one, it's a holiday weekend. For two, "i" is always a tough one for me. For three, I will be gone most of the week for a wedding.

Speaking of the holiday weekend...if you are headed to a BBQ or party for the Memorial Day holiday and stumped for what to bring, I've got your answer right here. This might quite possibly be the easiest recipe I've ever posted on the blog. In fact, calling it a "recipe" might be generous. But people are always asking me how to make this, so I decided why not post it on the blog.

This is a carryover from my college days at WSU. (Mom, this is what my college education bought me.) I'm pretty sure this was a party punch dreamed up by some frat guy in an evil scheme to get girls drunk. Well, guess what? It worked. (Hence the name).

Friday, May 25, 2012

H is for: Honey, Honey Dijon Chicken {with Ras el Hanout}

Remember those commercials in the '80's for a cereal called "Nut 'N Honey"? It featured a married couple at breakfast where the husband asks "What's for breakfast?" and the wife replies: "Nut 'N Honey" but he thinks she's saying "Nothin' honey."

Why am I bringing up a discontinued cereal from my childhood? Because it was (sort of) the inspiration behind the name of the delicious chicken dish I made this week.

Not too long ago, there was a recipe from the Trader Joe's Cookbook called Man Pleasing Chicken making the rounds on Pinterest. Before I had even heard of it, I decided I was making a honey dijon chicken for "H" week. Since my version is somewhat similar (uses honey instead of maple syrup), I decided to call it "Honey, Honey Chicken," as in...make this delicious chicken for the honey in your life! And when he or she asks what's for dinner, you can say "Honey, Honey!" (OK, bad joke, I know)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

H is for Harissa {Turkey Burgers & Yogurt Sauce}

I have a condiment crush on harissa.

Yup...I think it may have surpassed Tapatio and Sriracha as my new favorite spicy accompaniment. Don't worry, if you don't know what harissa is, I didn't either until a few days ago. That's one of my most favorite things about my blog. I find things that start with the letter of the week and I teach myself how to make it. Sounds simple, but I get geeky excited about it.

So back to harissa. Probably my first experience with it was the harissa aioli I had a few months ago at NOPA, which they served with their fries. It's a North African chili sauce, most commonly associated with Tunisia, Libya, and Algeria, while also making some appearances in Moroccan food. You can buy it in specialty markets, but as I discovered, it's super easy to make on your own!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

H is for: Hulled Strawberries {Strawberry Cheesecake Jello Shots}

Strawberry season makes me very happy.

It transports me back to a time when I was wandering through my Grandma Joyce's strawberry patch...plucking the ripe berries and probably eating just as many as I collected in the basket.

These days, I get them in my CSA bag instead of the garden. And while I still love them plain as a snack, I also love them in a boozy bite perfect for those Memorial Day BBQ's.

I first saw a version of this idea on That's So Michelle via Baker's Royale in the form of strawberry margarita shots. I loved the idea of using hulled strawberries as an edible vessel for a jello shot but I wanted to do my own version. As I was brainstorming with the lovely ladies at Brit & Co., we came up with the idea of strawberry cheesecake!

Friday, May 18, 2012

G is for: Green Monster Smoothie

For those of you who have heard of the whole Green Monster Movement, this post will be nothing new to you. For those of you who think I'm talking about something related to Fenway Park, then listen up.

There are like umpteen-million combinations for this drink. But the basic idea is you blend up some spinach with milk, some fruit and ice.

Now I know what most of you are thinking..."Spinach?!? In a smoothie?!?"

But hear me out. I promise, promise, promise you cannot taste the spinach. Once you blend it together with the milk and fruit, the only thing you taste is whatever other ingredients you chose to make your smoothie. The result? You get all the nutrients of 1-2 cups of spinach in a sippable drink. PLUS, you will find yourself with more energy, healthier skin & hair, and a decrease for your desserts cravings.

G is for: Grilled Striped Bass In Banana Leaf {guest post}

You may have noticed the blog is a little light in the recipe department this week. But as I told you Tuesday, my normal blog days (a.k.a. my off days) were spent hanging with my cousin and waiting for the arrival of her new baby. The rest of my off day was spent catching up on sleep. (All totally worth it by the way).

Not to worry, I do have one small recipe I will post before week's end, but with the Giants in town all week, it just won't be the normal frequency on e is for eat.

I had already come to terms with this and then I spotted one of my regular guest post contributors, Jullie Anne, tweet photos of this beautiful grilled bass she cooked for Mother's Day. I practically begged her to share the recipe on the blog and thankfully, she happily obliged. So with that, I turn things over to Jullie Anne. (Thanks again...this looks fabulous!)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

G is for: Grilled Cheese {American Grilled Cheese Kitchen Review}

My love for creative grilled cheese combos was well-documented on the blog for National Grilled Cheese Month (click here and here if you missed them). So when my friend Jenny was in town for the Rockies series, I suggested we check out American Grilled Cheese Kitchen in SOMA near AT&T Park.

I've been here before but it had been awhile. So I'm blaming my slightly blurry photos on the fact that I was extremely hungry and also very excited to catch up with Jenny (we met during our days in San Diego).

Now, in the grand scheme of things, is $8-$9 a lot to pay for grilled cheese? Possibly. But let's be honest, it's not really outrageous compared to what you would pay just about anywhere for lunch in San Francisco. They also offer a nice option of the Red, White and Blue Plate Special, which allows you to pair a half sandwich with either tomato soup or a side salad (and an apple), which we both did.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

G is for: It's a GIRL! {+Freezer Meals +Tin Roof Restaurant Review}

Introducing: Kenzie Erin
Fair warning: the blog will be a little light this week. But I have an excellent excuse. I was in L.A. over the weekend for the birth of my new little cousin: Kenzie Erin Purdy!

My cousin Erin was due on Monday, May 14th, so I knew there was a good chance that I would not get to meet the little peanut. However, she insisted I head South for a few days and promised me a great weekend no matter what. Seemed like a good enough reason for me!

I arrived on Saturday morning and immediately started helping them move into a new place. (Who moves into a new apartment two days before her due date? Answer = my cousin. But she had lots of good reasons).

Friday, May 11, 2012

F is for: Frances {Restaurant Review}

Frances first started popping up on my Yelp searches a little over a year ago. With 4.5 stars, it immediately grabbed my attention. And then I tried to make a reservation. When I discovered it was booked solid for 2 months, I knew I needed to try this place.

I did make one around Thanksgiving, but after what I now refer to as the Delfina incident, I was worried my mom wouldn't like it so I cancelled. I couldn't have been more wrong. If you don't like Frances, something is seriously wrong with you.

It's small, but not cramped. It has a bright, welcoming feel, almost like you've stepped into a friend's home. Based on the size, I understand why they book up so fast. (Well, that, and the Michelin star, James Beard nominations and several publications naming it one of the best new restaurants in the country in 2010 thanks to Executive Chef Melissa Perello).

Thursday, May 10, 2012

F is for: Feta, Green Garlic & Avocado Dip

This is what I call a refrigerator recipe. What I mean by that is sometimes I just open up my fridge, and figure out what I can make with the ingredients I have on hand. I sort of just start adding stuff, taste testing, and adjusting until I have something I'm happy with.

I knew I wanted to do something with the delicious sheep's milk feta I had leftover from the asparagus salad I made last week. I also had some mint, cilantro and a jalapeno pepper. And some Greek yogurt. AND some green garlic from my CSA bag. In the end, I also ended up tossing in some avocado that was finally ripe enough to eat.

What I ended up with was a slightly spicy, slightly tangy, very creamy dip that was perfect with kale & fennel chips. And just for the hell of it, I also whipped up some sweet potato chips. (Those might have been my favorite...probably because they were fried. :) )

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

F is for: Fennel & Kale Chips {Baked}

If you're trying to eat healthy but miss that crunch and salt from potato chips, try making veggie chips! Probably the most popular is kale because it's so healthy, and really crisps up nicely in the oven. But I also had a fennel bulb sitting in my fridge and thought I would see how they tasted when prepared the same way.

The result? Two totally different flavors and textures, and I really enjoyed both of them.

I've made kale chips quite a few times and tried all different temperatures. I've found that the best temperature is a really low one, around 250 degrees. Your chips will take longer, but they will turn out more even, without getting the burned-on-the-edges-but-soggy-in-the-middle effect. I used the same technique with the fennel as well. And I would definitely like to try making brussels sprout chips like they serve at Marlowe in SF!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

F is for: Flour + Water {Restaurant Review}

Does anyone watch the show "Portlandia" on IFC? Sometimes it's a little out there, but mostly I find it pretty entertaining. Probably because half the time it could be taking place in San Francisco.

There's an episode where a couple demands to know everything about a local organic chicken they are about to order at a restaurant, and then decide to drive 30 miles to the farm to see where it came from. And another one called "Brunch Village" makes fun of people waiting in ridiculously long lines just to eat at the new hip restaurant.

That's sort of how I feel about restaurants in San Francisco sometimes. Flour + Water is one of those restaurants. After getting nominated for James Beard Awards and receiving several write-ups in national publications, it's become almost impossible to get into the place. *Almost.* They do reserve half of the restaurant for walk-ins, which means there is almost always a line. But when my friend Geno was in town a couple months ago, we discovered you can get right in if you get there right when it opens. (Just for the record, we were there about 5-10 minutes before opening on a Sunday, and we were at least 10 people back already).

Saturday, May 5, 2012

E is for: Espresso {guest post}

For the last day of "E" week, I have a special treat for you all! My co-worker Andy Baggarly is here to share some his special secrets to roasting your own coffee beans. I had the pleasure of getting to know "Baggs" a little better during my two-week stint in Arizona for Spring Training. Not only is he a big foodie like me, but he's very serious about his coffee. So much so, that he packs up his roaster and espresso machine to have with him for the six weeks in the desert. I'll let him take it from here...
Hi everyone! I’m very, very excited to share my love of espresso here on E is for Eat, and I mean it. I’m very, very, very, VERY excited.

(On a related note, it was harder than I thought to pour latte art and take pictures at the same time. So I ended up drinking five double-shot cappuccinos. Did I mention I was very excited?)

We’re lucky to live in San Francisco, home to some of the best coffee in the world. You’ve got Blue Bottle, Ritual and Four Barrel. You’re not far from Portland, home of Stumptown. A lot of people swear by Philz for its dizzying selection of pour-overs. And of course, Berkeley is home to Peet’s. But you can get super high-quality, ultra-freshly roasted coffee no matter where you live. At half the price, too. The secret is to roast your own, and you wouldn’t believe how easy it is. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

E is for: Endive, the perfect low-carb "cracker"

Today's post is more of an idea than a recipe. I had an extra head of endive leftover from my Escarole, Endive & Radiccio Salad I made earlier in the week for National Salad Month and wanted to use it up. (By the way, did you know it's pronounced "on-deev"? So fancy-sounding).

There is a whole website dedicated to this delicate little member of the chicory family. There, you'll find recipes, and nutritional information about the vegetable. Among the many health benefits, they are loaded with valuable vitamins and minerals such as vitamins B and C, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, folate and selenium.

Remember my Neufchâtel & Smoked Salmon Endive Boats I made back in January? I loved the way the endive spears served as a crunchy, low-carb alternative to a cracker. I opened my fridge and spied some canned tuna...so I thought tuna salad would be the perfect accompaniment.

E is for: Edamame Hummus

After eating at Radio Africa & Kitchen last week, I was inspired to make some edamame hummus. It’s one of the many memorable things that comes to mind when I think about the first time I tried Chef Eskender’s Ethiopian food. I decided to email him to see if he would like to share a recipe on the blog. I was delighted when I found not one…but FOUR recipes waiting for me in my inbox. (I shared two of them yesterday in my post on RAK).

He also included the recipe for his delicious edamame hummus that I remembered loving so much. I added a couple of my own touches (a bit of tahini paste because I had some on hand, and a little lemon zest). It’s great served with warm bread or pita, but to be a little healthier, I served it with carrot sticks and really enjoyed it that way as well. And the best part…I think it might have been even better the next day after all the flavors had a chance to blend together.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

E is for: Ethiopian & Eskender {Radio Africa & Kitchen Review}

I first discovered Chef Eskender Aseged's wonderful Ethiopian cooking when he was operating a pop-up restaurant two nights a week at a cafe in the Mission. After seven years, he has finally opened his very own brick and mortar space, and he is still as friendly as ever. He makes a point to come out and chat with all of the tables, which makes you feel warm and welcome, like you are dining with family or friends, and that's exactly his goal at Radio Africa & Kitchen

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

E is for: El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla {Cinco de Mayo Jello Shots}

Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is NOT the celebration of Mexican Independence. (That day is actually September 16th.) The 5th of May is actually the celebration of the Battle of Puebla. (Hence the title of this post...El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla). In the U.S. it's observed as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride.

So now that we have the history lesson out of the way...how about some tequila?!

My jello shot party trick of making boozy bites in citrus peels is well documented on the blog (see: Greyhounds, Arnold Palmers & Mimosa Jello shots). And I'm sure you've seen a variation of a margarita jello shot using lime jello and tequila. But come on, you're better than that. Margaritas aren't generally bright green and good ones use the natural citrus flavors of the lime to compliment the tequila. So that's exactly what I did to make these delicious margarita jello shots. A little fresh lime juice, sugar, tequila and some Grand Marnier give you a Cadillac Margarita in portable, gelatin form. (Complete with a salted rim!)

To get the step by step instructions, head over to Brit & Co.! And don't forget to "like" my new e is for eat Facebook page!

E is for: Escarole, Endive, Radicchio & Shaved Asparagus Salad

As you know, April was National Grilled Cheese Month. Conveniently, May is National Salad Month. I don't know about you, but I could definitely stand to mix in some roughage after indulging in bread and melted cheese for four weeks.

And guess what? As my loyal blog readers, you get to celebrate with me! To help kick off the Month of May, I'm sharing a bright and fresh salad of escarole, endive, radicchio and shaved asparagus tossed with a lemon vinaigrette to celebrate spring and the month of salads.

When my mom and I dined at Baker & Banker a few weeks ago, she ordered a dish that claimed to be served with asparagus. At first, she was disappointed to not see any asparagus on her plate until we realized the beautiful ribbons surrounding her fish were actually thinly shaved asparagus spears. Ever since, I've been wanting to use this idea in a dish, and a salad seemed like the perfect opportunity.
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