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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Shredded Chicken Gorditas

Shredded Chicken Gorditas | Loves Food Loves to EatToday I’m joining some other fun people on the interwebz in sharing recipes for Cinco de Mayo (scroll to the bottom for links)! Before we get started, a few notes:
  • Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day (that’s in September).
  • Cinco de Mayo is the day that marks the Mexican army's victory over France at the Battle of Puebla.
  • Since the Battle of Puebla, no country in the Americas has been invaded by any other European military, and it’s believed that this victory also helped the Union army beat the Confederacy in the American Civil War.
  • Cinco de Mayo is not widely celebrated all over Mexico, but is celebrated in the state of Puebla.
  • Mexico is a really big country, with tons of regional variations in culture and cuisine. Mexico is not just sombreros, ponchos, chips, and salsa.

Shredded Chicken Gorditas | Loves Food Loves to Eat This year for Cinco de Mayo, I’m trying to move beyond the thoughtless “cinco de drinko” celebrations I’ve had in the past. How do we navigate celebrating and appreciating a culture that isn't ours, while trying not to appropriate it? I think a good place to start is to learn a fact or two about the actual day. And also to avoid dressing up like racial caricatures. And, if we celebrate with food and drinks, which we tend to do in the US, to branch out and see what else Mexico has to offer, beyond guacamole and margaritas (both of which, are also delicious).
Shredded Chicken Gorditas | Loves Food Loves to Eat
That’s what I’m doing…with Gorditas! You might be thinking “you said to branch out and now you’re eating at Taco Bell…the most Americanized “Mexican” fast food place ever.” Here’s the thing: these aren't your run-of-the-mill Taco Bell gorditas... and also, there is a time and place for Taco Bell. I don’t really eat fast food anymore, and haven’t had Taco Bell in years and years. But…one time in high school, we needed a quick lunch when a bunch of family was in town… and we spent around $100 in the Taco Bell drive-thru. That is a LOT of tacos. And freshman year in college, after a couple months of dorm food, my sister drove my roomie and me to the nearest Taco Bell, far from campus, and seriously, it was so comforting and familiar… it felt like a home cooked meal. In my early twenties, I had many post-drinking, late-night, fourth-meal  chalupa supremes. So yes, while I don’t eat it these days, I admit, there is a time and a place for Taco Bell.
Shredded Chicken Gorditas | Loves Food Loves to Eat
However, gorditas happen to be a real thing beyond the walls of Taco Bell, and, according to my research, are actually nothing like the thick, puffy, fast-food flat-bread-like taco shell you may be familiar with. They are, in fact, little round, fried masa-cakes, that are incredibly easy to make, and can be topped or filled with anything your heart desires, from soft fresh cheese, to ground beef, to chicken tingas. They also taste really good fresh and warm, with a drizzle of honey!

After going back and forth between a few cookbooks, I ended up basing my masa-cake recipe off the one in Mexico: The Cookbook, which is beautiful behemoth of a cookbook (according to a lot of reviews, it’s actually really poorly edited and fairly inaccurate, but as a seasoned home cook, I think it has enough to get me started and provide a ton of inspiration… buy at your own risk, I guess). Rather than a traditional filling, I went with my weeknight standby: a store bought rotisserie chicken, shredded and tossed in warmed enchilada sauce. 
Shredded Chicken Gorditas | Loves Food Loves to Eat
Gorditas with Shredded Chicken 
Adapted from Mexico, the Cookbook
Serves 4

2 cups + 3 tablespoons masa
½ cup AP flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1.5 cup + 2 tablespoons water
Oil with a high smoke point (like vegetable oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed) or ghee

Whisk together the masa, flour, and salt. Add water a tablespoon at a time, until dough is moist, soft, and pliable (but not wet). Roll into 15 balls, and flatten each ball to about ¼- ½ inch thick disk.

Heat a couple tablespoons (enough to fully coat the bottom) oil or ghee (I used a mix of both) in a heavy bottomed skillet, over medium heat. Cook a couple of gorditas at a time, a minute or two on each side, until golden and crisp. Drain on a paper towel. Once cool enough to handle, slide open to fill. 

Filling & Topping
½ rotisserie chicken
1 cup green enchilada sauce, warmed
Refried beans, heated
Cotija cheese, crumbled
Sour cream
Shredded lettuce

Shred chicken and toss with warmed sauce. Fill each gordita with a dollop of beans and a spoonful of chicken. Top with cheese, sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, and avo, as desired.

Shredded Chicken Gorditas | Loves Food Loves to Eat

Wait, there's more! 
Check out a bunch of fun Cinco de Mayo inspired recipes! Everything from cocktails and snacks to desserts and dinner ideas!

Margarita Granita by Feast + West
Cinco de Mayo Party Inspiration and Recipes by A Joyfully Mad Kitchen
Poblano & Mushroom Tosadas by The Mexitalian
Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Agua Fresca by Will Frolic for Food
Street Corn-style Roasted Potatoes by A Little Gathering
Pork & Black Bean Stew by think fruitful
Tequila Lime Tart by Love & Flour
Crispy Fish Tacos with Cajun Mayo by Winstead Wandering
Strawberry Watermelon Agua Fresca by A Savory Feast
Carne Asada Fries by Tornadough Alli
Mexican Carrot Dogs with Chunky Salsa Verde by Strength and Sunshine
Raspberry Lime Rickey Margaritas by Feed Me Phoebe
Slow Cooked Carnitas Style Chicken by Simple and Savory
Chicken Fajita Sandwich by Brunch-n-Bites
Cantaloupe Mint Margaritas by The Speckled Palate
Brussel Sprout, Wild Mushroom, Avocado and Feta Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa by Arthur Street Kitchen
Spiced Chocolate Ice Cream with Roasted Pepitas by Bethany Grow
Roasted Veggie Salsa by Living Well Kitchen
Seared Scallop Tacos with Spring Mango Salsa and Avocado Cream by Domesticate ME!
Blackberry mint agua fresca by the Grant life
Nightshade Free Southwest Salad by I Say Nomato
Southwestern orzo salad by Family Food on the Table
Watermelon Mint Margarita by Gold & Bloom
Mix-Your-Own Guac Bar by Hey There Sunshine
Blood Orange Margaritas by Glisten and Grace
Veggie Stuffed Chiles Rellenos with Avocado Cream by Hello Little Home
Traditional Homemade Flour Tortillas by Sustaining the Powers
Slow Cooker Red Chicken Enchiladas by Sustaining the Powers
Sizzling Texas Fajitas by Sustaining the Powers
Margarita Poke Cake by Pink Cake Plate
Cheesy Southwest Egg Rolls by Pink Cake Plate
Mojito Cupcakes by The Rustic Willow
Margarita Shrimp Tacos by Macheesmo
Pineapple Cilantro Salsa by Feast + West
One Pot Taco Soup by A Joyfully Mad Kitchen
Tequila Lime Cupcakes with Margarita Buttercream by Sugar Dish Me
Slow Cooker Chipotle Turkey Tacos by Two Places at Once
Margarita Bar by Mixplorology

34 of the best Cinco de Mayo inspired recipes! Everything from cocktail recipes, dessert recipes, salsa recipes and dinner ideas for Cinco de Mayo. Pin for later!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Warm Lentil Salad with Butter-Crumbed Eggs | #SpringPantryPurge

Warm Lentil Salad with Butter-Crumbed Eggs | #SpringPantryPurge
I have a tendency to hoard but a desire to live minimally.

I have a nostalgia for things, which I come by naturally. My dad was a first generation child of immigrants, growing up in a family who had left everything behind. I think that probably makes you hang onto things a little tighter. When my parents were young and child-free, they travelled around the American southwest, living in a tiny travel-trailer in small towns along the way. That forces you to live minimally. Then when I was born, they settled on a 5 acre property, with lots of room for stuff. When I was growing up, we didn’t have a ton of money, which I also think makes people hang onto things. And we never moved. My entire childhood. So we just kept saving stuff and filling up our space. And overtime, we grew very attached and sentimental about our things. My mom still has all of my childhood toys. So, getting rid of things is hard for me. But I feel so much better in a clutter free environment. I truly feel like clearing the clutter in my house helps clear the clutter in my mind. So, I’m trying.

Warm Lentil Salad with Butter-Crumbed Eggs | #SpringPantryPurge

I’m in major spring cleaning mode, and like everyone and their mother and sister (and my mother and sister), I’ve started using the KonMari method to help me get rid of things. A few months ago I did a huge closet purge, only keeping items that sparked joy. OMG it was HARD. I definitely need to do another full closet purge. For me it’s a process… I get a little more ruthless each time. Having cut-throat friends or family members join the purge helps. 

Evan and I also cleaned out our garage, and our pantry and food cupboards. So, Phoebe’s invitation to participate in a virtual blogger #SpringPantryPurge couldn’t have come at a better time. When I got her email, I had just unearthed, from the depths of my cupboards, a bag and two jars of lentils as well as three unopened packages of panko. If, like me, you hoard lentils and breadcrumbs, this is a perfect spring cleaning pantry purge recipe. It uses up some dried goods in your pantry, but it’s light, fresh, and springy, while still being warm and comforting—perfect for ushering in the new season.

Warm Lentil Salad with Butter-Crumbed Eggs | #SpringPantryPurge The eggs are based on the butter-crumbed eggs from Prune, the restaurant and cookbook. Evan and I had brunch at Prune the first time went to NYC four years ago (after I had read Gabrielle Hamilton’s memoir), and I still think that dish—stewed chickpeas with butter-crumbed eggs and flatbread with olive butter—was the best brunch dish I’ve ever had. I bought Prune, the cookbook, the moment it came out, and lucky for me, that dish is there!

Warm Lentil Salad with Butter-Crumbed Eggs | #SpringPantryPurge In my dish, warm lentils, bacon, and briny cured olives get tossed with a mustardy vinaigrette, spooned over fresh greens, and topped with crispy, buttery, breadcrumb coated, runny-yolked eggs. So long lentil stash, hello lunch! 

Warm Lentil Salad with Butter Crumbed Eggs
Serves 2-4

1 cup small green lentils
2.5 cups water
½ teaspoon salt
¼ pound bacon, diced or cut into lardons
¼ cup cured black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
Mustard vinaigrette (below)
Butter crumbed eggs (below)

First, make the lentils. Add lentils, water, and salt to a pot, and bring to a boil. Cover, then reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30-40 minutes, until lentils are tender, but not mush. Drain any excess water. Taste, and add a bit more salt if needed.

Cook the bacon, and drain on a paper towel.

To assemble, add a pile of lentils to plate, top with arugula, bacon, olives, dressing, and 1-2 butter crumbed eggs. 

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons grainy brown mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely diced shallot
Salt & fresh cracked black pepper

Whisk ingredients together

Butter crumbed eggs
6 eggs (4 for poaching, 2 for the breading)
1 cup panko
Salt & pepper
4 tablespoons butter

Poach 4 of the eggs until whites are set and solid, and yolk is still runny. Using a slotted spoon, gently place each egg into an ice bath to stop cooking, then move to a paper towel to dry. Let eggs dry completely (patting gently if necessary, being careful to not break yolks).

Beat the 2 remaining eggs in a dish, and in a separate dish, add panko with a pinch of salt and pepper. Gently coat each poached egg in beaten eggs, then in panko until totally coated. Set aside.

Heat butter in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium high. Fry each coated egg in butter, a minute or two on each side, until nicely browned and crunchy. Top with a little bit of flaked sea salt.


Wait, there’s more! Check out the other #SpringPantryPurge recipes, and visit Phoebe’s site, Feed me Phoebe, to learn about donating to Feed America!

Feast + West | Honey Chipotle Roasted Chickpeas
Clean Food Dirty City | Lentil Rice Bowl with Shaved Cauliflower Salad
Crepes of Wrath | Garlic Noodles
Appeasing a Food Geek | Wine Wednesday + a Kale and Tomato Galette
Feed Me Phoebe | Maple Pecan Gluten-Free Banana Bread
Domesticate ME! | Chicken and Wheat Berry Salad with Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Arugul
Arthur Street Kitchen | Kale Kimchi
Pamela Salzman | Drunken Beans
The Mom 100 | Banana Bread with Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger
Snixy Kitchen | Kale Salad with Toasted Nuts, Seeds, & Buckwheat
The Speckled Palate | Curried Veggie Rice Bowls
The Naptime Chef | Basil Polenta with Pine Nuts and Feta

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Kristy Taco Salad (with Doritos and French Dressing)

In my pre-teen through teen years, taco salad night was a pretty regular occurrence at my house. I would help my mom season and cook the ground beef (seasoning taco meat was where I got my start in the kitchen), my sister would prep the veggies, and Tami, my sister’s best friend, would grate the cheese. Seriously, I don't have any memories of anyone else grating cheese in my teen years.

If my life was Full House, I was a mix between Michelle and Stephanie, Amanda was DJ, and Tami was Kimmy Gibbler (no offense, Tam) in that she was always at our house, and Amanda was waaayyy nicer to me when it was just the two of us and Tami wasn’t there. And, just like on Full House, sometimes Tami/Kimmy and me/Michelle/Stephanie would hang out and get into trouble without Amanda/DJ, and Amanda/DJ would get really annoyed by it (like the time Kimmy and Steph started that band or the time Kimmy pierced Steph’s ears… totally the kind of shenanigans Tami and I would get in). 

By the way, I thought the first episode of Fuller House was brilliant. They all looked like they were having so much fun. And they were making fun of the show in such a nostalgic, hilarious way. I laughed. I cried. When they dedicated the episode to their moms!!! Are you kidding me! I actually did cry. I could care less about the rest of the series, it’s basically your run of the mill cheesy network-style comedy. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I’m way too busy plowing through Nurse Jackie. Because Edie Falco/Carm Soprano is life, and also… Merritt Wever!? Love her!! Does anyone else think she and Brie Larson look like sisters/ doppelgängers?

Back to taco salad. We would set up a build your own taco salad situation, with leafy green lettuce, super seasoned ground beef, tomatoes, olives, cheese, beans (sometimes black, sometimes pinto), sour cream, salsa, and (always) Juanita's tortilla chips, all fresh and layered nicely on top of each other. That was taco salad.

When I got to college, my roommate Kristy made us a batch of taco salads. If Kristy was in our Full House scenario, she would be Gia, Amber/ Stephanie’s hot, sassy, boy-crazy, party-animal bff who hosts make-out parties and tells her mom that the booze in the dorm room belongs to her roommate (me) when really it’s hers. So she made taco salads, and I. was. appalled. Unseasoned ground beef? Nacho Cheese Doritos? FRENCH DRESSING, FFS!? And all of it chopped and pre-mixed together forming sort of a crunchy-mushy-slimy bowl of neon-orange!? This was NOT taco salad. It sounded terrible. It looked terrible. I freaking loved it. I begged Kristy to make her taco salad all the time. She brought it to every picnic/BBQ/road trip. I introduced it to my family. I gave it the very creative moniker KristyTacoSalad.

Well, it turns out this salad is a thing. It’s all over the internet. One recipe called it “healthy,” lol. My mother-in-law just emailed me a photo of a recipe card she has that’s almost identical, which she said she used to make all the time in the late 70s and early 80s. Someone, somewhere, is probably eating it in a church basement at this very moment. I have a lot of questions. Why is it a thing? Where did it come from? What kind of evil genius came up with it? Have you guys heard of this madness? What is happening here!?! Has John Stamos had work done?!?!?

You could freshen and fancy this up—make a homemade dressing, use a leafier green, layer it, make some kind of homemade tortilla chips, or even serve it in a Doritos chip bag to be hip and twee AF. But you’d be doing yourself and this salad a disservice. It’s amazing and disgusting and wonderful and terrible and addicting just the way it is, and you should definitely take it to a BBQ this spring or summer. 

This particular version of the infamous Dorito Taco Salad/KristyTacoSalad recipe is courtesy of Kristy and her mom Edie (no relation to Falco). I made a few tweaks to fit our lifestyle: Evan doesn’t eat kidney beans, so we used black beans, my grocery store is so fancy it doesn’t carry Kraft creamy French dressing, so we used Brianna’s Zesty French (which was great), and we’re strictly a Spicy Nacho Doritos household, so we used those in place of the classic Nacho Cheese Doritos. If you’re not eating it right away, mix the meat, beans, onions, and olives in one container and the lettuce and tomatoes in another. Just before serving, mix together with the avo, cheese, chips, and dressing. 

Two notes about the photos: My mother-in-law crocheted the red-trimmed towel (!), and I forgot to add cheese in the photos. 

Kristy Taco Salad / Dorito Taco Salad

Serves 4-6
The measurements here are a starting place. Add more or less of what you like. Kristy (and my mother-in-law) use a full onion. Kristy also doesn't season the beef at all, but I'm team S&P for life.

1 lb ground beef 

Salt & pepper
1 can beans (kidney or black) drained and rinsed
½ large onion, diced
½ cup sliced black olives
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 small head of iceberg lettuce, chopped
1 avocado, diced
4 oz grated cheddar cheese
Creamy French Dressing
(Spicy) Nacho Cheese Doritos (the chips aren't a garnish, they're a full on ingredient. Don't be afraid to use a lot... contrary to the recipe I found online, I don't consider this a "healthy" recipe... indulge, go wild).

In a skillet over medium heat, cook ground beef until browned. Drain, and then in a colander/ strainer, rinse (this sounds weird, but trust Kristy, if you don’t do it, the beef will have a greasy coating). Add beef to a large bowl, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in beans, onions, olives, tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, and cheese. Crunch up a bunch of chips and mix in, along with enough dressing to coat. Serve with more chips and dressing, as desired. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Panama Travel

Facebook keeps reminding me that around this time last year, I was in Panama. I just realized I hadn’t posted photos here!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Baked Chicken and Mushroom Rice (aka Chicken No Peeky)

Toward the end of high school, my dad been laid off from work at the aluminum plant, and was doing small, part time jobs here and there. My sister was off in Seattle, at UW, my mom was working... and my dad and I were driving each other crazy.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Hot Cereal, Hot Coffee

Cold cereal was crispy, flakey, or puffy, and served with milk. It was this reason, the splash of milk, that I avoided cold cereal (and still do), aside from a handful of clusters popped into my mouth as a crunchy dry snack.

Hot cereal was Cream of Wheat, simmered on the stovetop, and served with a pat of country crock margarine and a shower of granulated white sugar. On weekends, when dad was home for breakfast, our hot cereal was topped with a generous, scalding hot, sugary sweet splash of black coffee. 


Monday, January 25, 2016

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing and a 7-Minute Egg

In the last few years, I’ve fallen more and more in love with Middle Eastern food. I’m obsessed with tahini and za’atar. 

That’s how I started writing this post. Then I stopped, and started over, because I caught myself doing something that makes me cringe when I see others doing it.  
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