Those who know me well know I’m not much of a sweets person. But John and I were feeling adventurous so went to Beverly Hills to try the new Sprinkles Ice Cream that just opened next to Sprinkles Cupcakes. I ordered a scoop of red velvet ice cream in a cup and it was deeeelish. They take vanilla ice cream and smash a Sprinkles red velvet cupcake in it - icing and all. Swoon! Plus, the cup is so cute how could you not fall head over heels? John ordered pistachio ice cream in a cone. I tried it and it was also very good. But it was brown ice cream in a brown cone, hence not as photogenic as mine.
The place itself is very Sprinkles-esque - simplistic, all white with a splash of color. An Andy Warhol quote is in bold red on the wall, “”Rodeo Drive is a giant Butterscotch Sundae.” Any ice cream place in BH not displaying this quote, shame on you - it’s so obviously perfect. Thomas Jefferson’s recipe for ice cream is scrawled in cursive on the ceiling. (U.S. President and ice cream connoisseur - I’m beyond impressed!) My only negative is the white tile floor, which by our 8pm arrival was super dirty and gross from the day. Lucky for Sprinkles, the crowd of customers left little room to actually see what was under your feet.
All in all, I’d totally go back. Which is a pretty huge compliment from a girl who’d choose a cheeseburger over sweets any day.
Hope your day is as sweet as red velvet ice cream!
P.S. Don’t take my word for it… go try for yourself!
9631 south santa monica blvd/beverly hills, california 90210
And if you’re curious, here’s a link to more info about Thomas Jefferson’s ice cream: http://recipes.wikia.com/wiki/Thomas_Jefferson%27s_Vanilla_Ice_Cream_Recipe
Happy Memorial Day! While it’s fun to be super excited for a vacation from work (YAY!) it’s of utmost importance to remember why. So before I discuss the wonder that is peach-whiskey barbecue chicken, I want to express my deepest gratitude to all the courageous and selfless men and women who died serving our great country - in addition to those still serving around the world today. We could say thank you a million times and it’d never be close to enough!!
How is it already Memorial Day, by the way? Seems like it was just a couple weeks ago I was eating Asian Slaw on Easter. But here we are. Sorry I haven’t posted lately. I’d try to explain, but excessive DVR dates and being too tired after work don’t seem to fall under the good excuse category. At any rate, this is a perfect summer recipe and since Memorial Day is the unofficial beginning of the season I can’t think of a better way to get back on your good side!
I found this recipe on the Pioneer Woman’s website, whose recipes I am now certifiably obsessed with via Chrissy Teigen’s blog, which sidenote is hands down my favorite food blog on the planet.
This isn’t a hard recipe, but it does need about 2 hours of your time. I promise though, it’s totally worth the wait! The ingredients aren’t expensive and some of it you probably already have. For example, if your best friend is as fun as mine you keep a bottle of Jack Daniels on hand just in case she makes an impromptu visit.
So this recipe starts with melting a bunch of butter in the pan. Ummmm… I know! It was love at first melt for me, too.
Next, place your chicken thighs skin side down in the pan and let ‘em sizzle.
Once they’re nice and beautifully golden, take them out and set them aside so you can make your sauce.
Start by pouring out part of the grease, then add chopped onions and let them cook for a couple minutes. For things like chopped onions, a small food processor is your new best friend. (If you don’t have one, I’m sorry and happy chopping. Don’t cry!)
Next up, whiskey. Be careful when pouring because of the alcohol and heat combo. Setting your kitchen on fire is not good for your cooking reputation or mine.
If you’re still reading, you’re still in one piece. Good job. Once the whiskey cooks down for a couple minutes, add the BBQ sauce, peach preserves and water. I didn’t take a photo of me pouring water in the pan because it seemed boring… but oooo la la, peaches! They’re my favorite summer fruit. Sidenote: how fabulous would it be to use homemade preserves? Maybe someday. For now, I used the store brand from Ralph’s and we can just pretend.
Now you’re ready for the Worcestershire sauce. Thankfully for us both this is written as I have never been able to pronounce Worcestershire and can barely spell it. And you’ll need 4 cloves of garlic. Mmmm garlic. Once it’s all combined well, it’s time to put the chicken back in the pot. Pour in the juices from the plate it was resting on, too - it’ll make it taste better plus it feels very chef-y and profesh!
OHHHH EMMM GEEE!!! Doesn’t it look yummy?! Unfortunately, now it needs to be covered and put in the oven for an hour and a half. I know, it seems like forever. But it’s the perfect amount of time to watch a couple shows on DVR, read a book or work out. Just kidding on that last one. Wanted to make sure you were paying attention.
You put the entire pot in the oven. If you’re like me and had visions of the pot cracking under the heat or perhaps blowing up the oven and you - both bad scenarios (especially for me since I was making this at John’s house) don’t worry! I read the recipe over and over, searched “can you put a pan in the oven” on google and called my mom for reassurance. But if you need to make sure for yourself, I promise I won’t judge. Once it’s been in there for awhile, the sauce will start to caramelize. Not that I opened the oven door every 5 minutes to look at it or anything.
Between watching DVR and working out (wink, wink) chop some green onions.
And then, just when you’re about to pass out or contemplate ordering pizza, it’s done! Yay!!!!! Sprinkle some green onions on top of the chicken and serve it with whatever sides you’d like - I did roasted brussels sprouts and rice pilaf (the boxed kind from Trader Joe’s, I can’t make everything from scratch for goodness sake!)
The Pioneer Woman’s Peach & Whiskey Barbecue Chicken
12 whole Chicken Thighs, Bone-in, Skin-on
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 whole Yellow Onion, Diced (Marissa tip: Use a food processor to chop these if you can get your hands on one. If you don’t have one or find that to be lazy, happy chopping.)
1-1/2 cup Whiskey (Marissa tip: If I learned anything from my best friend, the only name you need to know is Jack Daniels.)
12 ounces, fluid Barbecue Sauce (I used Trader Joe’s brand. But use whatever you want - if you want them to be smokey or spicy, choose accordingly.)
1 jar Peach Preserves
1/2 cup Water
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce (Try saying this ten times very quickly. But not in front of your guests.)
4 cloves Garlic, Peeled
3 whole Green Onions, Sliced Thin
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Heat oil and butter in a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Place chicken thighs, four at a time, in the pot, skin side down. Brown both sides, then remove to a plate and repeat until all chicken is browned.
Pour off half the grease, then return pan to stove. Add onions to pan and stir, cooking for 2 minutes. Pour whiskey into the pot, being very careful if you’re using an open flame. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan, allowing whiskey to reduce for a minute or two. Pour in barbecue sauce, peach preserves, water, and Worcestershire sauce. Throw in garlic cloves. Stir until combined, then return chicken to the pot, skin side up. Cover and put pot in oven.
Cook for 1 1/2 hours, then remove from oven.
Serve pieces of chicken over a big pile of smashed potatoes (Marissa tip: or any side you want to make! Better yet, have your guests bring a side!) Sprinkle sliced green onions over the top.
Happy summer… I hope yours is peachy!
You can find the original recipe here: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/08/peach-whiskey-barbecue-chicken/
A month or so ago while in search of a good side dish for dinner, I was lucky enough to land on this little gem of a recipe from Food Network Chef Guy Fieri for Asian Slaw. I became instantly addicted to this stuff, and in fact just brought it to Easter lunch at my Aunt and Uncle’s last weekend. It’s especially great to bring to a gathering because it’s easy to prep ahead of time and doesn’t wilt since the veggies used aren’t leafy. Plus, the colorful ingredients make it very pretty. Pretty food receives extra points in my kitchen.
In essence, Asian Slaw is a bunch of chopped and julienned veggies tossed in a dressing you make yourself. I prefer to serve salad with homemade dressing. Mostly in hope of the cross-your fingers-for-moment one of your dinner guests loudly exclaims, “Wow, this dressing is fantastic, where is it from?” In which case the obviously-practiced-but-breezily-stated reply is, “Oh, that old dressing? Just something I threw together myself.” Applause may or may not follow - in the event it does, it’s only polite to do some sort of bow or curtsey.
However, I will admit the prep for this recipe can be a bit daunting. It’s listed as being “easy” on the Food Network site, which I found somewhat insulting since after making it the first time I was so exhausted from chopping that napping sounded more enticing than eating dinner. Ok, perhaps I’m being a tad dramatic. I promise once you eat it it’ll be worth every agonizing slice. Plus, you can look at it as an opportunity to perfect your knife work.
In subsequent Asian Slaw adventures, I found some ways around all the chopping. An extra set of hands or a mandoline go a long way, as does buying some of the veggies pre-shredded. Also, wine always helps.
Ta-da! See, I told you it was pretty.
Guy Fieri’s Asian Slaw
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 5 tablespoons soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons mirin, or white wine (Marissa tip: If you buy regular white wine instead of mirin or cooking wine you only need 4 tablespoons and then you basically have a whole bottle of wine left to enjoy while cooking!)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 cup thinly sliced napa cabbage
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced green cabbage
- 1 cup julienned carrots (Marissa tip: You can find pre-shredded bags of cabbage with carrots at the grocery store by the fresh veggies. It’s nice to use as a base and saves a lot of time.)
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced bok choy (Marissa tip: I use baby bok choy. Because it’s easier to handle and let’s face it, miniature versions of things are cuter.)
- 1/2 cup bean sprouts
- 1/2 cup julienned snap peas
- 1/2 cup julienned green onions
- 15 wonton skins, fried (Marissa tip: Unless you’re feeling particularly chef-y and want to do this yourself, you can buy wonton strips in the crouton section of the grocery store.)
- Peanuts, for garnish (Marissa tip: I’ve forgotten to add peanuts every time I’ve made it so far, oops! If you do add them, please just make sure none of your guests are allergic to peanuts.)
In a small saucepan add 2 tablespoons olive oil, ginger and garlic, lightly saute until lightly brown. Add brown sugar, soy sauce, and mirin. Saute for 5 minutes and remove from heat. When cool whisk in olive oil, sesame oil and rice wine vinegar.
Mix all vegetables in a bowl and toss with dressing. Garnish with crushed wontons and peanuts. (Marissa tip: I sprinkle toasted sesame seeds all over this when it’s done. Gives it a little extra texture and a lot of extra flavor.)
Happy chopping! And don’t forget to practice your curtsey, just in case.
You can find the original recipe here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/guy-fieri/asian-slaw-recipe/index.html
I was supposed to go to my Cardio Barre class after work but I left too late and couldn’t make it on time. Well, I shouldn’t call it “my” class since I rarely go and it’s with 20+ other women. Details. Sooooo the point is that while my dreams of a perfect summer body are disappearing more quickly than my plate of bacon will on Easter morning (see Lent post), the silver lining is that I’m blogging instead!
I figure since this is my blog, the first recipe I post should be an original. I’m kicking things off with breakfast. It’s a take on lasagna with breakfast-y foods! We call it… drumroll please… Breakfast Lasagna. (SO CLEVER I KNOW.) Technically, this recipe was a joint creation with the bf, but since he doesn’t have a blog I call dibs.
This is seriously the easiest and most open to interpretation recipe ever - which is the best kind because you can truly make it your own. It’s not fancy by any means. But it tasted delish and we enjoyed it, which to us is a victory. And, like its dinner inspiration, it’s perfect to serve to a group. Or, in our case, 2 people + glorious leftovers.
Find a 9” x 13” pyrex or cake pan and spray it with non-stick spray. Not sure if this is necessary but I didn’t want to embarrass myself on my first cooking-ish post so I figured better safe than sorry. Start with some kind of starch on the bottom. We use white sticky rice because it’s sticky and yummy and won’t totally fall apart when served. Spread it evenly on the bottom, like so. We then sprinkled it with toasted sesame seeds. Because we are faaancy.
Next up, broccoli. We didn’t use a veggie the first time, but it was a nice edition. If you don’t like broccoli, use a different veggie! If you love veggies, use more than one kind! For this, we used one medium-sized head cut into bite-sized pieces.
MEAT MEAT MEAT! We chose pork chorizo (a spanish sausage), but really any breakfast meat would be yummy. You can find packages of chorizo at the grocery store by the breakfast meats. Kinda looks like a huge hot dog. We made half the package according to package directions - only takes a couple minutes.
It obv (obviously, for those who don’t understand my abbreviations) wouldn’t be breakfast without eggs! Five scrambled eggs seemed like a good amount, so that’s what we made. As you can see, this is very scientific.
Last time we used hash browns, but who doesn’t love a good tater tot? Half a frozen bag baked per the package directions for a few minutes less than recommended since they’re going right back into the oven.
Last but in NO WAY least, shredded cheese. Any kind will do, we used colby jack. Oooo an action shot!
Now, throw this beautiful lasagna in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 min or until the cheese is melted. Cut a piece as big as you please… it might fall apart a little, but what good lasagna doesn’t? ¡Voilà! Breakfast lasagna is served! I added soy sauce to the rice on mine, John put sriracha ALL OVER his. To each their own.
They say the most important meal of the day is breakfast. This could be true. In my opinion, the most important meal of the day is whichever one is coming next. But that goes without saying.
2 cups rice, cooked (I use medium grain calrose rice - it’s sticky)
1 medium head of broccoli, cut in bite-sized pieces
1/2 link of pork chorizo, cooked according to package directions
5 eggs, scrambled
1/2 bag frozen tater tots, baked according to package directions
1 cup colby jack cheese, shredded
Salt, pepper & sesame seeds, to taste
Ummm… didn’t you just read the blog? ;)
Mardi Gras has never particularly enthralled me. I picture loud, drunk people roaming the streets of New Orleans and vying for beads in inappropriate ways… also possibly wearing face paint and costumes (both no’s for me beyond the age of 10.) Granted, I feel bad for never giving it much of a chance since I try to see the good in everything. So, I’m here to publicly apologize to you, Mardi Gras. Because today, I walked into the break room at work and discovered King Cake.
According to my extensive research, ok, ok, I just typed “king cake” into Wikipedia, “A King Cake is a type of cake associated with the festival of Epiphany in the Christmas season in a number of countries, and in other places with the pre-Lenten celebrations of Mardi Gras / Carnival.”
Being a practicing Catholic and practicing eater, one would think I’d have stumbled upon this gem of a tradition much sooner. Perhaps I was always pre-occupied trying to figure out what to give up for Lent, or maybe I have until today lived under some kind of Mardi Gras-blocking rock.
At any rate, around 5pm I went looking for a snack (a ritual that takes place 1 to 20 times per work day) only to find a colorful, glittery cake on the break room table. Even more intriguing, (which is no easy feat when you’re up against GLITTER on food) was a little emerald green plastic baby laying face down next to what was left of the dessert. First things first though, I was on a snack mission and just struck gold. It was deeelish. A cake, yet surprisingly light with filling and icing similar to a donut. Apparently King Cake is available with different fillings. This one was strawberry-ish. And did I mention the icing had glitter? Um, yum!
Now, back to the baby. According to my colleague Sam, the plastic baby is supposed to represent baby Jesus and whoever finds it in their piece of cake has good luck. (This was later confirmed in my Wikipedia research, for due diligence purposes, of course.) A glittery cake with a good luck baby inside!? It immediately moved to first place in my ‘fave holiday dessert’ category.
Since the baby was left unattended, which plastic or not seemed wrong on various levels being that it (a.) was a baby and (b.) was supposed to represent Jesus, I decided I would adopt it and inherit the included good luck. Naturally, taking care of a plastic Jesus is overwhelming on your own, so I rinsed the frosting and cake off the poor thing and am sharing custody with my work BFF Nicole. I named it Watson. (Being that it is bright green, plastic and has a somewhat scary face, it just seemed wrong to call it Jesus.)
After not giving the holiday any attention for 30 years I am now counting down until the next Mardi Gras. In 2013 I’ll attempt to make my own King Cake, with a less intimidating-looking Watson, of course. Now, back to figuring out what on earth I’m giving up for Lent…
Happy Mardi Gras!
The first post on a blog comes with so much pressure. If this blog was a meal at a restie you’ve never eaten at it’d be like the bread that comes to the table - let’s be honest if it’s not warm and the butter is ice cold it sets the tone for the rest of the experience. So here’s my attempt at serving fresh-out-of-the-oven bread with perfectly tempered butter - you know, the kind you can easily slice a knife into.
I love to eat and I love to cook and I love to take pictures of pretty much everything I eat and cook. If a picture is worth a thousand words, so is a bite. Good, bad or annoying (probably mostly the latter), I’m notorious for making my poor friends, family and boyfriend wait to enjoy their first bite so I can take a picture of whatever we’re about to eat. I then smother everyone with said snapshots on a daily basis via any social media tool I can get my little hands on. (Hence, the fork diaries is born - Happy Birthday, tfd!) It’s not uncommon for me to have sauce and God knows what else splattered on my poor iPhone which has almost been dropped into numerous pots and pans (just a little bit closer so you can see it bubbling!)
I was born and raised in Tulare, a small central California city. Being half Filipino I grew up eating probably as much rice as some small countries and today still consider it (with soy sauce - Kikkoman only, obviously) my go-to snack, breakfast, lunch and dinner. I have a 50th Anniversary special edition gold-lid Kikkoman soy sauce bottle I bought at Target in my kitchen cupboard that I’m quite convinced will someday be worth enough to pass on as an heirloom to my completely unknowing descendants. “OMG great great ______ Marissa left YOU the 50th Anniversary Kikkoman bottle!? You’re so lucky… you’ll never have to work again!”
I digress. I have fond memories of cooking with my parents and baking with my mom growing up - and we continue to make new ones every time I visit home. Even my little brother has gotten the cooking bug as of late (I almost cried when he texted me a picture of his first batch of fried rice.) I’ve lived in Los Angeles pretty much since I moved here for college (Cal State Northridge, journalism major, class of 2003) minus a small stint of moving back up north. My first “real” job was at a food & beverage public relations firm, which introduced me to the business side of the industry and deepened my interest in all things yummy-related.
I worked in PR for awhile at a few places, and now I live in the mid-Wilshire area of LA and work as the assistant to the owner of a financial planning firm which might sound boring but I love my job. And I absolutely love LA and don’t plan to ever move. I could dine at a new restaurant and try a new recipe every day and still not create a dent in my to-eat/to-make list. No matter what anyone says I will defend my opinion that the City of Angels boasts the best culinary scene in the whole wide world. I’m nowhere close to having traveled everywhere in the world so this is obviously a biased view that can be taken with a grain of salt but it is my blog so I can write whatever I want!
Since the bf John entered the picture, who will no doubt make many appearances throughout this blog since he’s my food partner in crime, I’ve had more fun than ever cooking and trying new things when we eat out. Even white onions - which I used to viciously HATE and would not go near with a 10 foot pole - have been casually making appearances on our plates. I’m a rebel without a cause, I know.
Anyway, I think this is a good place to end the first post. Maybe I should have gone with a fork metaphor at the beginning to highlight the title of my new culinary adventure, duh. Oh well, I’ll surprise you with one when you least expect it…
Have a deeeeelish day!