Almond-Whiskey Chocolate Bites

Almond Whiskey Chocolates
Want to know the best way to win people over?

Almond Whiskey Chocolates

With Chocolates…..

And Booze……

But better yet– with Chocolate AND Booze!!!

Almond Whiskey Chocolates
When I saw Sprinkle Bakes’ post about 5-Minute Bourbon Balls, I knew they were in my future.

Almond Whiskey Chocolates
Heather’s
recipe contains just a few ingredients and can be whipped up in minutes. Melted chocolate, honey, vanilla wafers, walnuts, and bourbon…. YES PLEASE!

Almond Whiskey Chocolates

I followed her recipe fairly close but used almonds instead of walnuts (I’m not that much of a walnut fan) though I’m sure they would be SPLENDIFEROUS with hazelnuts or pistachios as well. I also added a few splashes of vanilla extract and used whiskey since I was out of bourbon.

Though…aren’t all bourbons whiskey? But not all whiskeys are bourbon?

I won’t mind if you use either….or both!

Almond Whiskey Chocolates

Since you do not add heavy cream or milk, these bites wouldn’t technically be a “truffle” but heck–they’re lovely nonetheless and require no baking at all. Which during the craziness of the season can be a much needed break.

Added bonus? They can be made well in advance!

Almond Whiskey Chocolates

I’ll be making a few more dozen of these little bites for my family’s Christmas shindig and think they’d be a great addition to your holiday celebrations!

For the original recipe, please click here.

My Fur Baby

Bella 8th Birthday
Alright y’all…

I don’t know how it happened–but somehow over the  years, I became THAT person.

Bella 8th Birthday

Maybe it’s because my human children are technically my nieces and nephews….

Perhaps it’s because my parents never allowed us to have pups as pets….

But somehow along the way I adopted a fur baby who sleeps in the bed, gets homemade treats, wears Yoda costumes & USC cheerleader outfits, has her paws & booty cleaned with baby wipes after every walk….and has birthday parties.

I know…I have issues.

So it’s no surprise that when my little puggle, Bella, turned 8 last week, we had a little puppy party at Fiesta Island Dog Beach with her buddies.

Oh yes… #SquadGoals

Bella 8th Birthday
Bo
(poodle-schnauzer mix)–her cuzzie and Aspen (also a puggle)–her boo, joined Bella for some birthday shenanigans. The pups spent 2+ hours running around galore while dipping their paws in the water.

Although the bday gal, who used to love to swim, only ran by the water line while she pranced around wearing her birthday bow. Apparently she couldn’t be bothered with swimming for fear that it would mess up her hair—I mean, fur.

Bella 8th Birthday

After all the running around, we went back to mi casa to give the pups a good bath. The below pic is of Bo and Bella sunning themselves after their baths.

Two things:

  1. Bella REALLY is my child. She loves lying around in the sun and napping;
  2. Please don’t judge how dirty the windows are. Wet puppy noses pressed upon the glass 24/7 makes it impossible to have clean windows.

Bella's 8th Birthday

After the baths and a bit of nap, it was time for Bella’s birthday cake!

Okay, okay…it’s less of a “cake” and more of a steak.

Bella 8th Birthday

Here’s the thing…up til her 5th bday, I really DID bake pupcakes for Bella.

Bella 8th Birthday

She gobbled them up–every year! But the girl LOVES meat. So a few years back, I nixed the PUPcakes and grilled her up a nice steak and shoved a candle in it.

It’s usually a grass-fed NY strip or rib-eye.

Don’t be jelly…it’s her birthday!

Bella 8th Birthday

Of course it was torture having to wait for me to light the candle and sing before she could inhale her steak.

And sometimes I even make her wear some ridiculous things.

She loves it!

Okay…she really hates it but the promise of steak is great motivation for her.

Bella 8th Birthday

Yes…I’m rather smitten with my puppy. But in my defense, it’s not just me.

A few days ago, big seestrah sent me the pic below. And yes, you’re seeing it correctly. Princess Leia has her own Christmas tree this year!

We’re a family of enablers.

Quite frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Leia

As for the birthday girl–

Well, let’s just say she partied like a Rock Star for her birthday and passed out all the next day. I tried to explain to her that the recovery time nearly doubles when we get older but she didn’t listen.

Oh well…we’ve all been there.

Happy Birthday, Bella-love <3

Bella 8th Birthday

Homemade Soup Dumplings & Tonkotsu Ramen–Because We’re Insane…

Nov 2015 Fam Din

It’s been two weeks since Thanksgiving and I think I’ve finally recovered from the madness.

Just in time for 15 full days of holiday craziness with my family.

Pray for me.

Nov 2015 Fam Din

At the close of Thanksgiving and 15+ hours of shopping, we held our monthly Family Dinner. When we had chatted about potential menu options a few weeks prior, my seesters and I agreed that we wanted dishes that were low-key and stress-free since we would have been so wiped out from Thanksgiving.

So obviously, we chose a menu that took hours and hours of preparation, that needed to be started days in advance and was highly laborious.

Apparently our strategy was slightly flawed.

We never learn…..

But as always, we started with some cocktails….. Pomegranate-Raspberry Saketinis!

I muddled a bunch of fresh raspberries with pomegranates in a pitcher. Added sake, a few glugs of vodka, several splashes of Cointreau, some fresh lime juice, pomegranate juice and then topped it off with a bit of pomegranate-berry soda.

Nov 2015 Fam Din

Then came the appetizers – Xiao Long Bao or “Shanghai Soup Dumplings”. Normally I would say that dumplings aren’t typically too difficult to make. In fact, I usually love making them and find the folding process rather relaxing.

Not these buggers! We’re all still traumatized!

Nov 2015 Fam Din

Xiao Long Bao are a Shanghainese dumpling with a very thin skin/wrapper. They’re filled with a variety of ground proteins and an aspic that once steamed, becomes soupy–thus the name Soup Dumplings! Dumplings and Soup all in one? BRILLIANT!

Seester T took the lead with these and man, did they take some prep work! Using The Woks of Life recipe, she started with the aspic. Vegans beware because essentially, it’s a natural meat gelatin.

Yes…as in J-E-L-L-O.

Pork bones and other porky bits are thrown into a pot with water and several aromatics. Everything simmers for a few hours and then is strained and chilled.

Voila—Aspic!

Nov 2015 Fam DinShe then made a ground pork filling and threw in some shrimp because surf and turf is always a good idea. Once done, the aspic was cubed up and folded into the filling.

Next, we enlisted our niece Nini to help out with the assembly. Seestrah made the dough according to The Woks of Life’s recipe and used my pasta roller to make thin sheets for the dumpling wrappers.

Remember when I said laborious? It definitely was!

Hand cranking out the sheets so that they were paper thin and then cutting them into perfect circles with a biscuit cutter. Nini then meticulously filled and folded the dumplings to ensure they were all sealed up tightly so that none of the soup would run out during the steaming process. It took about 3 hours for us to make the wrappers and fill them all. Granted, it was our very first time but I will never, NEVER take it for granted next time I have Xiao Long Bao. Those folks can make them in lighting speed!

The XLB had good flavor and paired well with the black vinegar sauce–plus they were fun to eat! If we do ever make them again (and let’s be honest, it’ll be a very LONG time in the future), I’d like to play around with the dough. It was pretty good but I think it could be even thinner, especially on the top where it all purses together so that it’s less dense and chewy.

But heck–for our first time, it was awesome!

Nov 2015 Fam DinFor the main dish, we chose Tonkotsu Ramen where we made everything but the menma and kamboko from scratch.  And if you’re keeping tally, that means the Tonkotsu Broth, Chasu, Ajitsuke Tamago, Mayu and Ramen Noodles—ALL HOMEMADE!

By chance do you recall when I said we wanted a low-fuss Family Dinner?

We’re insane.

A few days prior to Fam Din, Seestrah N started on the Tonkotsu broth because it needs hours upon hours of simmering.  She went with Marc’s route from No Recipe and pretty much followed it to the T.

On the day of Fam Din, she made the Chasu –braised pork belly from Nami at Just One Cookbook. She also threw in an extra few pieces of pork shoulder for some added protein. And let me tell you….that chasu was beautiful, unctuous, pork heaven.

Nov 2015 Fam Din

The night before Fam Din, I prepped Nami’s Ajitsuke Tamago (shoyu eggs) since it’s best to allow them to marinate overnight. They were really easy to make and would be great just atop some steamed rice.

Nov 2015 Fam Din

In addition to the Chasu and Ajitsuke Tamago, we topped our ramen bowls with:

  • Toasted Nori (seaweed) Strips
  • Menma (marinated bamboo shoots)
  • Kamboko (fish cake)
  • Kikurage (fresh wood ear mushrooms)
  • Scallions

I also made Mayu which is a black garlic oil that was drizzled on top of our bowls of ramen.

Nov 2015 Fam Din

Now let’s talk a bit about my adventure with the homemade ramen noodles.

I spend a lot and I mean A LOT of time in the kitchen. As such, I’m pretty comfortable with baking breads, working with yeast dough and making pastas. I don’t have the pasta attachment for my KitchenAid but I’ve gotten by pretty well with my hand crank pasta roller over the years. So when I was nominated (was this because I’m the youngest!?) to make the noodles, I just went with it.

I did tons and tons of research and went with Marc’s ramen noodles as well. He was detailed in account and his pictures really captured the process. If you decide to give this recipe a try, note that he was not lying that this dough is extremely dry. You’ll likely want to keep adding water but just go with it and press it all together until it forms a ball. Trust me, it eventually does.

But here’s where I start to kick myself for attempting this method without an electric pasta machine/KitchenAid attachment. Before allowing the dough to rest for several hours, you have to run it through your pasta roller a few times so that it forms smooth rectangular sheets. Sounds easy right? Well I’m sure it would have been had I not used a hand crank roller with a dry dough. It was crumbling everywhere!

I was sweating bullets trying to shove the crumbling dough into the roller….Add the fact that I tripled the recipe and now you’ll have an idea why my biceps were on fire!

Nov 2015 Fam Din

When it came time to cut them into noodles, a piece of me cried inside knowing that my arms were going to get another work out since I would need to pass the dough through the roller several more times. Another wrench was thrown into the situation when the attachment blade that cuts the noodles got stuck. I ended up hand-cutting the noodles which wasn’t ideal since I couldn’t get it as thin as I had wanted to—but it got the job done.

Moral of the story? If you’re not a pro, use a KitchenAid pasta attachment or similar thing-a-ma-bob if you make fresh ramen noodles.

Nov 2015 Fam Din

But once assembled, we were all pretty darn proud of ourselves.

It tasted LEGIT! Like, TOO-LEGIT-TO-QUIT!

Every component had a role and although laborious, had a distinct purpose to the ramen.

Nov 2015 Fam DinAnd just like the Xiao Long Bao, I will never, never underestimate or take for granted the folks who make my ramen.

Heck–they’re freaking amazing in my book.

Nov 2015 Fam Din

After polishing off our noodles and a bit of kitchen clean up, we actually took off for a little more shopping. Why? Who knows….we were delirious.

But when we came home, we tucked right into dessert.

I had made a simple Matcha Mousse-Chocolate Tart. The base was made out of crushed Oreo Cookies and filled with a fluffy matcha mousse. We’re green tea monsters, so a light and matcha-filled dessert suited us just fine.

Nov 2015 Fam DinWas dinner easy and low maintenance?

HECK NO!

Did I perhaps lose a few months off my life from the stress?

WOULDN’T DOUBT IT!

Did my sis say she needed therapy because of the XLB?

YOU BET!

But were we happy with how things turned out over all?

ABSOLUTELY!

It was a true and deep Labor of Love.

And the cherry on top?

My Trojans whooped the Bruins that day and brought back home the Victory Bell!! Aren’t my kiddos adorable in their gear???? <3

Total Proud Auntie.

Nov 2015 Fam Din

Oh–in case you’re wondering, we went to Target and World Market after dinner/before dessert.

What did I pick up?

A few more additions to my ever growing Nutcracker collection. Priorities people, priorities.

Nov 2015 Fam Din

This Month’s Family Dinner Menu

Cocktails: Pomegranate-Raspberry Sake-tinis
Appetizers: Pork & Shrimp Xiao Long Bao {Soup Dumplings}
Entrees: Tonkotsu Ramen with Chasu, Shoyu Egg, Menma, Kamaboko, Kikurage
Dessert: Matcha Mousse and Chocolate Tart

Slow Cooker Pot Roast Sandwiches

Pot Roast Sandwiches

Are your Twitter-Facebook-Instagram feeds full of Thanksgiving posts?

Because mine are overflowing with them!

And at first, they’re wonderful because they spark deliciously new ideas and give some great tips to face the big feast.

Pot Roast Sandwiches
But if you’re like me, you’ve already had your dishes planned out for weeks…….So the constant barrage of new ideas started freaking me out!

Should I use hazelnuts instead of pistachios?

My standard potato gratin or that deconstructed one from Pinterest?

Do I make my pie the regular way or try out one of those braided crusts or leaves-patterns?

It’s all too much!

Pot Roast

For my own sanity, I’m stepping away from Thanksgiving dishes today to share with you something that I know you’re going to SWOON for–especially after all of the laborious cooking and shenanigans that you’ll be enduring over the next couple days.

SLOW. COOKER. POT. ROAST. SANDWICHES.

<pause for dramatic effect>

These beauties are what dreams are made of. Juicy, tender beef—dripping with wondrous goodness. All piled up on a soft potato bread bun with melty cheese and sweet caramelized onions.

Sorry—-did I just drool over the computer?

Pot Roast Sandwiches

And guess what? Your slow cooker does all the work!

All you need to do is sear the beef a bit and then throw it in the cooker. Once done, the beef just falls apart…..kind of like how I will be after all of the shopping we do on Friday.

So although you may have a ton of turkey and ham leftovers, do yourselves a favor and throw a seared chuck roast in your slow cooker Thursday night. You’ll wake up to the most scrumptious aromas and will have plenty of sustenance ready to tackle post-festivities clean-up, Black Friday sales, and lingering family members.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING FOLKS! <3

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Slow Cooker Pot Roast Sandwiches
Make 6-8 Sandwiches

Ingredients:

1 boneless, beef chuck roast (approximately 2½-3lbs.), trimmed and cleaned
black pepper
kosher salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
½ cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup dry red wine
1¼ cup beef stock, divided
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, thinly sliced to about 1/8 inch thick
2-3 dashes balsamic vinegar
6-8 potato bread buns (or bread of your choice)
2 cups shredded cheese such as Provolone, Swiss, Havarti, Gruyere, etc.

 

Heavily season the beef with kosher salt and black pepper. Rub the garlic powder and onion powder over the beef. Roll the chuck roast in flour and dust off any excess. Heat the oil in a dutch oven or other heavy bottom pot. Once the oil reaches medium heat, sear each side of the beef until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes each side. Once browned, remove and place the beef inside the bowl of your slow cooker.

Carefully pour the wine into the dutch oven. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the bits off the bottom of the pot and allow the wine to boil and reduce by half. Pour the reduced wine with browned bits and 1 cup beef stock over the browned beef. Add the thyme sprigs and place the lid on your slow cooker. Cook the beef on low until the meat falls apart and can easily be shred apart with two forks—about 8 hours depending on the weight of your chuck roast and your slow cooker.

When your pot roast is nearly done and you’re almost ready to serve your sandwiches, start caramelizing your onions. This can take about 40-50 minutes and shouldn’t be rushed or else the onions will burn. Melt the butter into the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and stir to ensure they’re well coated. Stir the onions every few minutes to ensure they do not burn—lower the heat if necessary. Continue cooking, stirring low and slow until the onions become deep brown. Add the remaining beef broth and use a wooden spoon to stir the onions and scrape up any goodies that have formed on the bottom. Once the broth has evaporated, taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and remove the skillet from the burner.

Once the pot roast has cooked and essentially falls apart, take two forks and shred the beef into bit sized pieces. Allow the pan juices to soak into the beef. Taste and add additional salt as needed.

Assemble each sandwich by placing a large mound of shredded pot roast with the drippings on the bottom half of a potato bread bun (or bread of your choice). Top with a few spoonfuls of caramelized onions and shredded cheese. The heat from the shredded beef should start melting the cheese but if not, place under the broiler for a bit. Place the other half of the bun on top and serve with hot sauce, chips, fries, etc.

Enjoy!

 

 

Baked Gnocchi with Kale and Italian Sausage

Baked Gnocchi

Sometimes I dream about food.

I know… it’s kind of weird.

And I’m sure a dream expert could delve into it and say that it’s my subconscious telling me that I’m lacking this or that…..or that I’m seeking comfort of familiar things.

Baked Gnocchi

But I kind of think it may have something to do with the copious amounts of Thanksgiving specials I’ve been watching on the Food Network/Cooking Channel lately.

And it also could be a result of me binge watching a ton of episodes of  The Mind of a Chef on Netflix.

It’s what I do.

But stick with me on this.

Baked Gnocchi

At some point this weekend, I dreamt that I was at a small restaurant and the waiter was explaining to us that the special of the day was baked-handmade gnocchi. And I remembered how I thought it sounded absolutely fantastic. When I woke up, I didn’t remember anything else of the dream–other than the gnocchi.

Strange?

Baked Gnocchi

Who knows.

But that set my course of action yesterday. I had to–no, I NEEDED to make baked gnocchi. Like, STAT!

I rummaged around my pantry and fridge and found that I had everything I needed. I even had some pre-packaged gnocchi I had picked up a few months ago that was just sitting on my shelf, waiting to be used.

Well, I should clarify and say that what actually went into the baked gnocchi was dictated on what proteins and veg I had on hand.

Baked Gnocchi

There was some Italian sausage tucked away in the freezer and half a bunch of kale in my fridge. But if you’re not a kale fan, chard or spinach would be just fine.

Baked Gnocchi

Since I opted for a cream based “sauce”, I thought the dish would need some texture and brightness to cut through all that richness. So while the gnocchi baked, I toasted up some panko bread crumbs with some herbs and spices….and fresh lemon zest!

Trust me on this, the lemon zest did brighten up the party!

Baked Gnocchi

The whole dish was pretty easy to assemble and if you keep a well stocked pantry–it’s a breeze. It really is a similar approach to how I make my mac & cheese but with less cheese. But if you want, go NUTS and use whichever you like…..fontina, gouda, asiago….

Baked Gnocchi

Had I been feeling extra ambitious, I would have made my own gnocchi. But seeing how I was slightly possessed/compelled by my dream, time was of the essence. If you’d like to make them from scratch, here’s how I make homemade gnocchi.

Baked Gnocchi

And if you’re still trying to pull together your Thanksgiving Day menu, this would be a great side dish that can be made in advance. Just add the breadcrumbs and bake until warm and bubbly before serving.

Have a wonderful week!

____________________________________________

Baked Gnocchi with Kale and Italian Sausage

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ pound Italian sausage
1 tablespoon flour
½ cup wine
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup chicken stock, more if needed
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
½ teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes, divided
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons chopped parsley, divided
kosher salt
1 pound gnocchi (pre-packaged or homemade)
2 loose cups torn kale leaves
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup shredded gruyere cheese
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat a large skillet with the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add in the sausage and use a wooden spoon to crumble up the meat while it’s browning. Once browned, use a slotted spoon to remove the sausage to a plate that has been lined with paper towels to drain.

Lower the heat to medium-low and sprinkle the flour over the residual sausage grease. Whisk together for a 1-2 minutes to allow the flour to cook through. Pour in the wine and continue whisking for 1 minute. Add the cream and chicken stock and whisk until smooth. Stir in the thyme, fennel seeds, ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, black pepper, nutmeg, and 1 tablespoon chopped parsley. Continue cooking the sauce for a few minutes until it thickens. More stock can be added if it gets too thick.

While the sauce cooks, boil the gnocchi in salted water for a few minutes until they float to the top of the pot. Drain well and pour directly into the cream sauce. Stir in the browned sausage, kale, mozzarella and gruyere. Taste and adjust with additional salt and pepper as needed. Pour the gnocchi mixture into a 9 inch dish and spread even. Bake the gnocchi for 10 minutes.

While the gnocchi bakes, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium heat in a small skillet. Add the panko breadcrumbs, lemon zest, and the remaining red pepper flakes and parsley. Toss and stir until the breadcrumbs have toasted and are golden.

After 10 minutes of baking, carefully remove the dish. Top the gnocchi with the breadcrumb mixture and return to the oven for another 5-7 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Once baked, allow the baked gnocchi to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

SFD – It’s a Family Thing

October 2015 SFD

It’s crazy to think of it but it’s been 3.5 years since my siblings and I first started having our monthly Sunday Family Dinners.

Every month we try to pick some type of theme for dinner and build a menu around it. Each of us are in charge of contributing some portion of the meal whether it be specialty cocktails, appetizers, entrees, desserts–or even staffing the grill.

And we try our darndest to not replicate dishes—which, I don’t mind saying, is kind of tough after 3+ years!

October 2015 SFD

If you’ve been with us since the beginning of our little tradition, you’ve seen the progression of the meals and in fact, some of them are quite elaborate. From “grilling” steaks with a BBQ chimney to breaking down whole ducks to use them beak-to-tail to reducing lobster stock for hours to make lobster martinis to full on N’Awlins seafood boil to a 9-course Korean feast with homemade kimchi….and that’s just to name a few!

October 2015 SFD
I get a lot of comments and compliments (THANK YOU for them!) about how great the food comes out. We’re often quite proud ourselves, too, but here’s a confession. Nearly every month, there’s some point in the preparation where things get really stressful and one (or more) of us starts freaking out.

It could be anything from the porchetta catching on fire (yeah…that did happen), the dessert not setting properly or having to double-fry pounds and pounds of French fries.   And that’s where the bickering usually comes in—but remember, we’re REAL siblings who are very close. If we didn’t bicker, we wouldn’t be family.

That, and the fact that we’re all Type A and OCD.

We blame it on our parents.

October 2015 SFD

But here’s the thing. Although the food is definitely a perk, the best part of SFD is hanging out with each other for no other purpose or cause other than Family Dinner.

It’s a time where the kids get assigned kitchen tasks to build their confidence in their own selves while allowing the adults to pass down a part of ourselves.

October 2015 SFD

It gives the siblings dedicated time to catch up on family gossip, work, and be silly with each other— over cocktails, of course. And the educator in me also sees it as an opportunity to do a little “team-building” as we come together and challenge ourselves with creating dishes that we often have never tried, let alone never made before.

October 2015 SFD

Because of the blog and because I love to document things, I’m always the one running around snapping pics of the fam, food and puppies. Since I’m still a novice/trial-and-error photographer, one of my stresses during SFD is trying to capture photos that I like. I love to snap photos with natural light and try to stay away from photo editing. But this gets particularly difficult during the latter part of the year where it gets dark so early.

So imagine me trying to finish my dishes while running around the house/kitchen/backyard to take photos. I can be a hot mess!

October 2015 SFDWhich, in full disclosure, is why it can take a couple of weeks after a SFD before I actually post the photos and write-up of the dinner. When I get back to San Diego after a weekend at my seesters’ respective houses, I’ll download the shots I took and peruse through them. If I’m unhappy with the quality of the photos, I start to procrastinate because, again, I am not a fan of photo editing……or at least my photo editing skills.

October 2015 SFD

That was certainly the case for our most recent dinner.

But after these past few days of horrific, HORRIFIC events that have taken place in the world, I’ve been reflecting a lot about my family, my loved ones, my work…..and really – just evaluating everything that is important to me.

October 2015 SFD
So when I pulled up the photos from our last SFD, I saw them from a very different perspective.  Shots that I was upset with because the white balance was off or not sharp didn’t frustrate me as when I first reviewed them. Instead, I focused on why I stopped to snap those particular pics in the first place. Like how Nini was covering her face because she didn’t want me to post pics of her (too bad!) or how sweet it was when Maya and Lucas were playing Wii.

October 2015 SFD
Or how the Coq au Vin big seestrah N made was one of the best I’ve ever had.

Or when seestrah T was rolling out homemade dough for her pie–because she rarely bakes!

Or how the boys decided to push tables into the tiny living room instead of using the dining room or backyard so that we could watch Green Bay get the smack down by the Broncos while we ate (HELL YEA!). GO VIKES!

October 2015 SFD
Essentially what I’m saying is that the next time I start freaking out about not being able to snap the perfect shot or become upset that the meat pies browned too much, I need to take a deep breath and check myself and remember to appreciate/enjoy the important things.

Don’t worry– that doesn’t mean the sibling bickering will ever stop.

October 2015 SFD

So indulge me this time around, Friends. In light of the heavy hearts so many of us have had these past few days–please go hug someone you love today. <3

 

This Month’s Family Dinner Menu

Cocktails: Hard Pear Cider Sangria
Appetizers: Pot Roast and Cheddar Hand Pies
Entrees: Coq au Vin over Cheesy Polenta
Dessert: Flaky Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Chipotle-Beer Battered Fish Tacos…and We Turned 6!

Beer Battered Fish Tacos

Tacos.

My Achilles….

Well, one of the many at least.

Beer Battered Fish Tacos

And I gladly use ANY excuse to have them.

Monday = Taco Tuesday Eve…

Tuesday = Taco Tuesday!

Wednesday = The NEW Taco Tuesday...

Thursday = The NEW Taco Wednesday

Friday = Five More Days Until Taco Tuesday….

Beer Battered Fish Tacos

So it’s really no surprise that I’d default to them in light of our 6th Blogiversary!

Yes Friends, this week marks 6 years that I turned to this space to jabber about food, share lots of pics and tell random anecdotes about my family and loved ones.

Beer Battered Fish Tacos

Thanks so much for sticking around with me through the years and for all of the wonderful messages and positive energy you send through the blog-o-verse.

I heart y’all dearly. <3

Beer Battered Fish Tacos

And if I could, I would invite EVERYONE over for a Taco Fiesta to show my appreciation! But alas, mi casa is tiny….

So for now, let me share with you these Chipotle-Beer Battered Fish Tacos. It’s a riff on the beloved Baja Fish Tacos with a slight smoky kick from the addition of chipotles and adobo sauce. They’re wonderfully crisp, bright, and will just put a big–BIG smile on your face.

Much, MUCH ALOHAS to you all…and here’s to many more Foodventures! <3

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Chipotle-Beer Battered Fish Tacos
Makes approximately 8-12 tacos

Ingredients:

1 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
2 whole chipotle peppers (canned in adobe sauce), divided
2 tablespoons adobo sauce from the canned chipotle peppers, divided
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
vegetable oil
1 pound cod or other firm white fish, cut into 1½ strips|
kosher salt
black pepper
1½ cups all purpose flour
2 heaping tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 ounces cold lager (I used Pacifico)
8-12 small tortillas (I used homemade flour tortillas)
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup thinly sliced cucumbers
sliced avocados
pickled red onions
1 cup thinly sliced radish
2 cups grape tomatoes, quartered
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
lime wedges
hot sauce

Place the crema, 1 chipotle pepper, 1 tablespoon adobo sauce and lime juice in a blender. Puree until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready for use.

Fill a heavy bottom pot with about 2 inches of oil. Heat until it reaches 375 degrees F.

While the oil heats, prepare the fish. Using paper towels, blot off any excess moisture from the fish. Season well with kosher salt and pepper.

Place ½ cup of the flour in a shallow dish. Whisk ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper into the flour. In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining flour, cornstarch, baking powder, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne pepper. Slowly whisk in the beer until just combined. Mince the remaining chipotle pepper finely and add it with the remaining adobo sauce to the batter. Whisk until just combined.

Work in batches of 3-4 pieces at a time to cook the fish. First, dredge the fish into the seasoned flour. Dust off any excess flour before dipping them into the batter. Allow the excess batter to run off the fish before carefully laying it into the heated oil. Fry the fish for about 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on thickness, until golden brown and cooked through. Remove the fish from the oil and drain on a wire rack that has been placed over a tray or plate. Continue with the process until all of the fish has been cooked.

Assemble the tacos. Warm each tortilla over a skillet, open flame or microwave. Place a small mound of shredded cabbage inside the tortillas. Top with avocado, cucumbers, pickled onions, 1-2 pieces of crispy fish, radish slices, tomatoes, drizzle of chipotle crema, and cilantro. Serve immediately with lime wedges and hot sauce (optional).