Asparagus and Mushroom Tacos with Quick Pickled Onions

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When I was young, without fail, whenever my mom would ask what we wanted for dinner, my sister and I would chorus “tacos!”  Taco night was our favorite.  There was something about the self-assembly part of taco night that made it extra special.  I usually loaded mine up with extra cheese, only adding lettuce or tomato if strongly encouraged. I still love taco night, but these days vegetables play a starring role instead of being a simple afterthought.  I have written about taco night before, as it’s a favorite in our house.  While I love these zucchini and potato tacos, … Continue reading

Polenta Crackers

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I have a Pinterest board called “kitchen projects” where I save more in depth culinary experiments that I want to try.  In the past I’ve had good luck with a variety of projects, which is how I’m characterizing recipes that require a little more time or technique than is usually available on a busy weeknight.  Some of my favorite kitchen projects include homemade paneer, corn tortillas, and homemade noodles for this shiitake mushroom soup.  I’ve had a couple of cracker recipes saved for a while, and I finally decided to bite the bullet and see how hard cracker making could … Continue reading

Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding

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Some foods inspire an instant an intense reaction.  No one “kind of likes” chia seeds.  With chia seeds, and certainly chia drinks like the Synergy or Mama Chia drink, the love/hate reaction is instantaneous.  My camp describes these drinks as “refreshing” and “delicious.”  The other camp might choose words like “slimy” and “disgusting.”  Chia seeds are slimy in liquid, but that doesn’t put me off them in the slightest.  If you land solidly in the “slimy” and “disgusting” camp, then this is NOT the dessert for you.  Might I point you towards my mini molten chocolate cakes instead? Chia seeds … Continue reading

Kale Coconut Salad

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When you move to California (having never even visited before), you falsely feel like you have some sense of the place.  TV and movies promise palm trees, sunshine, and surfers.  While I knew I was moving to Northern California and not San Diego, I was still surprised our first morning here (in August no less), that I needed to pull on a sweatshirt to go search out a local coffee shop.  I always find myself explaining to friends and relatives back home that my part of California is usually always 67 degrees.  Even in August.  Even in November. So this … Continue reading

Strawberry Edamame Salad with Ginger Honey Lime Dressing

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This was one of those meals that come together while I stood in front of the fridge.  Usually when I stand in front of the fridge with the door open, I just find myself eating cheddar cheese, so this was a happy surprise.  I’ve been keeping a bowl of cut up strawberries in the fridge (to distract me before I can reach for the cheese).  I also had some edamame in the freezer, and when I mixed the strawberries and edamame together, I just grabbed some sunflower seeds from the cupboard for crunch.  I thought the dressing idea was at … Continue reading

Chilaquiles

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When we were in Long Beach last weekend for J’s cousin’s wedding, we ate a quick lunch at the restaurant attached to our hotel, Cafe 3737.  I had a serious craving for huevos rancheros, but unfortunately the black beans that came with the dish weren’t vegetarian, so I went with the chilaquiles instead. I’d never had chilaquiles before, and this was definitely a refined version of the dish.  I tend to think of chilaquiles as something you make when you wake up after a long night and realize you want eggs but have no vegetables or other omelet fillings around.  … Continue reading

Irish Soda Bread

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Irish soda bread signifies March and spring to me just as much as daffodils and birthday cake.  My mom has always made it in March, usually to have at our birthday party, and somehow it feels not quite right to make it at other times.  Even now, living in California, where things seem perpetually in season, I find myself avoiding strawberries through winter.  I look forward to strawberry season and have no desire to ruin strawberry memories with a pale pink imposter in February.  March is Irish soda bread season in my turning of the world.  My mom has always … Continue reading

Olive Oil Granola

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When Melissa Clark writes about something, it sticks in my brain.  I received “In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite” two Christmases ago, and promptly read it cover to cover.  “In the Kitchen” seamlessly weaves stories and recipes together to create a cookbook that you can enjoy as a novel if you prefer.  Her Olive Oil Granola has been lodged permanently in the back of my brain since that first reading.  I only recently started making my own granola, with this simple granola recipe.  When that experiment turned out so well, the olive oil granola memory started shoving its way … Continue reading

Breakfast Oatmeal Bars with Plum Jam

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The homemade snack kick continues!  These oatmeal bars vary from the previous granola bars (chocolate chip pretzel, honey peanut butter pretzel, and coconut chocolate chip) which were all variations on a similar theme.  These bars use flour in addition to the oatmeal, and have a layer of jam in the middle that contributes most of the sweetness. I used the plum jam we made last summer from our backyard plums.  This jam had a definite tart note to it, so a sour cherry or a raspberry jam might be a good substitute.  This summer we’ll be prepared for the plum … Continue reading

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Crispy Kale

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Soup making is the perfect activity for a weekend afternoon.  Very little conscious thought is required for a simple soup, and you can putter around, reading or cleaning while keeping the soup on the back burner.  My black bean soup might seem to have a very long cooking time, but it slowly simmers away in the time it takes to clean our two bedroom apartment.  Or watch a few episodes of Downton Abbey.  You know, however you choose to spend a Sunday afternoon. I love bringing soup for lunch throughout the week, though at work I’ll liberate some goldfish from … Continue reading