Saturday, July 31, 2010

Chilaquiles...Every Time

I know I said in a previous post that I like to branch out and try new things, but I'm beginning to think I led you astray...every time I go to the Old Town Mexican Cafe in San Diego, I get the exact same thing: the chilaquiles with red sauce, my eggs over easy, and a side of corn tortillas.

I've tried to order other dishes, I really have. They have terrific cheese enchiladas and their carne asada is great. But. I've ordered chilaquiles elsewhere and I've never tasted any that are half as good as the ones from Old Town Mex. So that's what I order...every time.

Chilaquiles are basically corn tortillas (or day old tortilla chips) baked in an enchilada-type sauce, then topped with eggs, green onions, and queso fresco (a crumbly Mexican cheese). Served beside a generous spoonful of refried beans (also topped with melted cheese), I cannot resist them.

The combination may sound strange. It may look odd, what with the egg-yolk-river and all. And I understand your hesitation. All I can say is that when you tear off some of that homemade corn tortilla and wrap it around the perfect ratio of eggs, beans, chips, and cheese, you know what delicious is. And you just may not order anything else again.

Happy Searching,

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wacky Word Wednesday

On a regular basis, I come across cooking words that I have no idea how to pronounce (half the time, I'm not even sure what they mean...until I look them up).

Sooooo, I decided I would share what I learn. Wednesdays will now be reserved for wacky cooking-related words I come across (along with some clarifying pronunciation). Enjoy!

Today's word?

boule (pronounced like "cool"): A round loaf of white bread.
We enjoyed a sourdough boule with mussels and white wine.

Happy Searching!

*Information courtesy of &

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Holy Crab!

I realized it's been awhile since I've showcased one of Ryan's masterpieces (even though I eat them all the time). This dish was inspired by one of our favorite indulgences, crab legs. Caught fresh from the Costco Seafood Road Show, two or three legs usually satisfies our appetite for a taste of luxury. This time, those legs had a fancier fate than simply being dipped in butter. They put on a tuxedo and hopped into pasta baked with four cheeses.

That's right...Holy crab! Crab Mac & Cheese, ya'll! Let me just tell you, it was out of this world.

The recipe was a hybrid of Ina Garten's & Emeril Lagasse's. After removing all of the crabmeat and boiling the pasta, Ryan made a homemade four-cheese sauce: Gruyere, Pecorino Romano, Fontina, Parrano. Sauteed onions and garlic, pancetta, and chives made the sauce ooze with flavor. The nutty, sharp, creamy, salty cheese sauce surrounded bits of crab, chives, and cavatappi pasta (which is my absolute favorite pasta shape, by the way).

Tossed together, scooped into a glass baking dish, and topped with tomatoes and buttered bread crumbs...

...this was the end result. I can't tell you how hard it was to wait for the 10 minute "cool time". So after 9 minutes, I dished up a hearty portion (I already knew it was going to be good), and drizzled it with teensy bit of White Truffle Oil (one of our William's-Sonoma gift card splurges).

Ho-LY CRAB! Luscious, perfectly rich, make-your-mouth-sing delicious.

Happy Searching,

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mission: Popover

Inspiration struck like lightning last night during an episode of The Best Thing I Ever AteThe hubs and I were both nearly drooling as Tyler Florence described his favorite appetizer--popovers--from BLT Steak in NewYork City.

We both said, "We should make those...tomorrow!" (Only because we needed to buy the pan and Williams-Sonoma wasn't open at that hour).  Twelve hours and $20 later, we were ready to go.

Having never attempted these doughy delights, we were both surprised at how easy they were to make. The batter is only four ingredients: milk, flour, salt and eggs. Mix it all up, pour the batter into the pan, and top each one with cheese (the BLT recipe calls for Gruyere, which is a Swiss cheese...nutty and scrumptious)! Bake for 50 minutes at 350 degrees and...

...what emerges from the oven are edible, cheesy clouds. Like savory cream puffs, these popovers were everything a good popover should be: airy and light with a few custardy crevices and a golden crust.

Split one open and spread on a little butter lovin'--and you're tasting something amazing. I should warn you that they don't keep very well, so you may feel compelled to eat all of them several in one warm, cheesy, heavenly sitting (not that I did anything of the sort)...

Mission Popover=Deliciously accomplished!

Happy Searching,

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ode to Taco Shops

Taco shops, oh taco shops
Your greasy grub is the best
Although others try to compete,
Your Mexican food beats the rest!

You're one of my favorite features
Of the Southern California scene
Tex-Mex is not Mexican Food
(and I'm sorry if that sounds mean...)

But Robertos, Albertos, Sombreros,
Juanitas, Los Panchos and more
Serve in-and-out grub with minimal flair
And delicious choices galore!

Carne Asada's a favorite of mine
But Carnitas are tasty as well
Burritos as big as your head, if you want
And their beans are better than swell

We got our fix from Lolita's
And their comida lived up to its name
A Chula Vista childhood fave,
They were on top of their game

Five Super Rolled Tacos
With guac, lettuce, crema and cheese,
And Carne Asada Fries?
You bet! Por favor! Yes, please!

And one California Burrito
Full of French fries, cheese, guacamole
Some Carne Asada to top it all off...
Dios Mio! Delish! Holy Moley!

For now, I'll be dreaming of salsa
And homemade tortillas, too...
Until next time, Taco Shoppies,
I bid you a delicious adieu!

Happy Searching!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Fair Fare

Summer in San Diego offers so much to see and do...and eat! One of the greatest traditions in America's Finest City is the San Diego Fair, which is held in Del Mar right off the coast. Picturesque and packed with people, it's full of the usual fair staples:

1. Cool exhibits (butter sculptures, anyone?)
2. Lots of cute animals (newborn baby goats...awww!)
3. Fun rides & games (huge ferris wheel overlooking the ocean=priceless views)

I love 1, 2, and 3, but (not surprisingly) I look forward to 4 the most.

The volume and variety of deep-fried cuisine is kind of overwhelming: fried pickles, fried Pop Tarts, fried Klondike bars, fried s'mores, fried butter. Fried butter?! Yep (didn't try it, but heard it was quite tasty). Your arteries practically start to clog when you enter the fair gates.

If that's not enough to get you going, you could always snag some chocolate-covered bacon or a zucchini weenie (a hot dog stuffed into a whole hollowed out zucchini, then battered and fried like a corn dog). Tempting, no?

But one of my favorite fair foods is the classic giant turkey leg. Given the large selection of indulgent treats, however, I wasn't completely sold...until I caught a whiff of the grill. My nose led me straight to the medieval-looking meats, all in a golden brown row.

Smoky, crispy, tender. Alongside a basket of fried zucchini strips, which were coated in a light, tempura-like batter (and served with thee fair condiment, ranch dressing)? Deeeeelicious.

This year's fair fare definitely met my greatest expectations. It was greasy. It was gluttonous. It was good!

Happy Searching,

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Summer Strawberry Pie

Growing up, having a summer birthday was sort of a bummer. Your birthday didn't really get acknowledged in school and when it came time for your party, your friends were likely away on vacation. But...there were definitely some perks. June birthdays= no school, perfect weather for pool parties, and strawberry season. And to me, that means one thing: my mom's strawberry pie.

For birthdays, cake may seem like the obvious dessert choice but I have never been a classic birthday cake kind of gal (that's my hubby's department). Although I can appreciate a good cake, I gravitate towards the more unconventional birthday desserts like fruit tarts, ice cream cake, or pies.

The thing is...I'm kind of picky. I don't really like pies unless they're homemade. And I don't mean to be such a snob, but after being raised by a mother who's even made her own ketchup, the grocery store pies just don't do anything for me.

But this pie? This pie makes my eyes roll back in my head. When I take that first bite, I need a moment of silence to honor it's deliciousness.

The strawberries, of course, have to be ripe and sweet. The glaze (which is simply mashed strawberries, sugar, water, and cornstarch) is just sweet enough to enhance the strawberry essence. The homemade whipped cream is light as a cloud. I mean, is there any dessert that sings summertime more than this?

My mom always swore this pie was "so easy" to make and after watching her it, I have to agree. Her recipe is close to this one, but she uses half the amount of sugar in the glaze. It's still sweet, but you can always add more if you like it sweeter.

If you like strawberries, you have to try this don't even have to make your own dough. Get a frozen pre-made pie crust (Mama B even approves of this shortcut), get some strawberries, and get ready for your mouth to do the happy dance! One bite and you'll know that summertime has officially arrived...

Happy Searching,
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