Fresh and Easy Pico de Gallo

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My confession….

I’ve made pico de gallo at least once a week for the past month.

I can’t help myself — I’m a woman out of control!

Pico de Gallo
Though in my defense, the tomatoes have been beautiful lately—and pico de gallo can be added to everything!

Of course they’re perfect in tacos, quesadillas, burritos, and nachos. It gives an added punch to breakfasts – omelettes, poached eggs, huevos rancheros. And I particularly love to put a few spoonfuls over grilled chicken or broiled fish.

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After all of the pico I’ve gone through, I realized that I’ve never posted a recipe for my basic, tried and true version of it. All of the ingredients are standard items I always keep on hand but it’s just as easy to doctor it up if you’re feeling fancy.

Add some cubed mangoes for a tropical spin.

Diced watermelon to the mix just screams summer loving!

Some ripe avocado would add a creamy texture to the bright pico.

And let’s not forget the option of Fresh Corn Pico de Gallo.

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Super easy to pull together and should definitely be a staple in your fridge — at least for the Summer!

Happy Taco Tuesday!

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Fresh and Easy Pico de Gallo
Makes approximately 4 cups

Ingredients:

3 cups diced tomatoes*
½ cup finely diced red onions
½ – 1 tablespoon finely minced jalapeno pepper (depending on preferred heat)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
2-3 pinches cayenne pepper (optional)
kosher salt
black pepper

In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, onions, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, cayenne, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Before serving, check for seasonings and add extra salt kosher salt or black pepper as needed.

*scoop out the seeds of the tomato and discard before dicing

Sunday Family Dinner Celebrates the May Babies!

May 2016 Fam Din
Last weekend, Sunday Family Dinner celebrated the May babies in our immediate family — Dad and I!

It was a casual menu for the evening with an iteration of surf and turf — my fav! We didn’t choose any dishes that required long periods of cooking and we managed to do a lot of the mise work earlier on in the day.

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So when it came time for the actual “cooking”, it was pretty easy peasey. Which freed up my time to make/sip pre-dinner cocktails and snap a few photos.

And can we talk about how GINORMOUS these strawberries were???

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I also wrangled Lucas into staying still for a moment to snap a pic with his fur-cousin. He looks so handsome with his fresh hair cut….what a cutie-patootie. And I intend to call him that until he’s at least 50 years old.

Me? Oh…I’ll still be 21 at that time.

Extra bonus points for those of you who caught the red SOLO cups target pyramid in the background.

It was a target…..

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…..for their NERF gun competition.

And let’s talk about this pic below. I told them to give me a fierce, rugged look.

Lucas nailed it….Nina, um….not as much.

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Bella hadn’t seen her Gramps in quite some time so she wanted to make sure that he wouldn’t forget what she looked like.

Grampa–do you see me?!?  PET ME!!!  Give me treats!!! And by treats, I mean–STEAK!!! HELLOOO–I’m right down here!!! Look at me, look at me!!!

She’s not needy at all….

May 2016 Fam Din
Remember when I mentioned cocktails?

Yea…we had a few of them.  And how could we help ourselves? They were so pretty in pink!

I called them Minty Blood Orange Sparklers. It started off with me making a batch of fresh mint simple syrup. After it cooled, I added a splash or two over crushed ice and threw in some vodka, fresh lime juice, Blood Orange flavored Italian Soda and some mint leaves.

Fruity, minty, citrusy, summery……

And the kiddos got MOCKtails—all of the ingredients mentioned above minus the vodka.

May 2016 Fam Din

Speaking of kiddos, we put Maya to work this month. She helped her mom prep our appetizers for the evening — Grilled Flatbread with Ribeye Steak, Tomatoes, Burrata and Italian Salsa Verde.

Here she is whipping up the salsa verde in the mini food processor.

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Her salsa verde had fresh cilantro, parsley, jalapeno, garlic lime juice, oil and S&P. Usually we add some capers and anchovies to the party too but we opted to nix them this time around –so it was kind of akin to a chimichurri sauce.

But who cares—it was fantastic!

And yes, there’s another one of those Yogurtland spoons…..we love prepping with them!

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Beef time!

We tasked our B.I.L., Curtis, with grilling up the steaks for the flatbread.

Hello Beautifuls…..

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And VOILA! The finished product!

Seester T lightly oiled the grates and threw some pizza dough that Maya and Nini had rolled out over them. After it had cooked through, she topped it all with the sliced steaks, ripe Roma tomatoes, burrata and salsa verde. It was lovely! Tons of flavor and would be a great summer meal on its own with a chilled glass of vino.

You could also sub out skirt steak for the ribeye and fresh mozz instead of burrata. But for me, I’m obsessed with burrata and love how creamy and luscious it is.

May 2016 Fam Din
Earlier when I mentioned that dinner was easy peasy, I failed to say it was because we tasked the two older kiddos with the actual cooking of our main entrees – Paella! Paella seemed like an ideal way to get the “surf” component into our meal with lots of shrimp, clams and scallops all in one pot. Plus the chicken and chorizo added the “turf”.

YUM!

Nina and Nini our pros at making Paella and since we had to make a bunch to feed the crowd, we decided that each gal would make their own pot as a competition! They each got a Le Creuset dutch oven to use and all the same ingredients.

And then they were off!

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This is Nina’s finished product….look at all of those colors!

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And here is Nini’s….I could dive right on in!

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They both were picture perfect right? And I was hard pressed to tell which niece made which pot.

Wondering who won in the end?

Maya did…….with this picture.

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Okay, okay…. it was a tie.

Both were delicious and had lovely crispy socarrat. It would have been impossible to choose one from the other. My nieces are so talented and it’s rather comforting to know that they can cook for us as we get along in years.

Oh!

And during dinner, we enjoyed a lovely Caymus Vineyards 40th Anniversary Cabernet Sauvignon –  THANKS Curtis!

May 2016 Fam Din

Then it was time for BIRTHDAY CAKE!!

Normally I’m a chocolate gal but sometimes a light and fruity cake is just divine! So this month I asked Seestrah N to fix up a white cake with fresh berries and fluffy frosting. She came up with this behemoth of a layered cake with ginormous strawberries and frosting made of whipped mascarpone cheese and heavy cream.

Isn’t it lovely????

May 2016 Fam Din
By the time we finished with presents, desserts and dishes….Dad was ready to head home. But we convinced them to stay for just a big longer…..

to PLAY BINGO!!!!!!!

Yup BINGO!  Seester had gotten a BINGO set as a white elephant present and it was high time we cracked it open.

May 2016 Fam Din
And the winners got lottery scratchers!

Here’s the birthday boy scratching away after winning a round of BINGO. Initially he said they’d only stay for one game…..but that one game turned into five:)

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And wouldn’t you know it, neither of the birthday babies won the final blackout round — that went to my B.I.L. Rick!

Talk about happy camper! BINGO winner gets a BINGO scratcher!

May 2016 Fam Din

All in all, it was a great Fam Din –which incidentally was the 4 year anniversary of our Sunday Family Dinners Isn’t it rather wonderful that our siblings’ tradition has carried on?

Can’t wait for next month – and neither can the pups❤

May 2016 Fam Din

This Month’s Family Dinner Menu

Cocktails:  Minty Blood Orange Sparklers and Vino
Appetizers: Grilled Flatbread with Ribeye Steak, Tomatoes, Burrata and Salsa Verde
Entrees: Paella
Dessert: Mile-High Fresh Strawberry and Cream Layered Cake

Alsatian Pizza …. Sorta.

"Kinda" Alsatian Pizza

If I see an Alsatian Pizza on a menu, I’ve got to order it.

Because if I don’t do it—I won’t stop thinking about it and will have regrets for the rest of my life!! MY ENTIRE LIFE!!

Too Much?

Sorry–I haven’t had my Diet Coke today. Anyway…..

Alsatian Pizzas are pure and uncomplicated but oh-so-lovely. Typically it consists of a perfect pizza dough, fromage blanc –or crème fraîche, onions and bacon. How easy is that?!

But don’t let the few ingredients fool you because they’re wonderfully paired. The creamy, slightly sharp and piquant crème fraîche is tamed by the sweet onions and salty bacon.

Heaven.

As in—I’m praying they serve Alsatian Pizzas in Heaven.

"Kinda" Alsatian Pizza2
But you all know me and I can never leave things alone. So I decided to up the ante and add shredded gruyere, sliced mushrooms, and use BOTH caramelized and raw red onions. Why the heck not—LET’S GET CRAZY TODAY!!!

Because it is National Wine Day, which incidentally, goes perfect with my “sorta” Alsatian Pizza.❤

Cheers!!
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Alsatian Pizza….Sorta.
Serves 2

Ingredients:

4 slices thick cut bacon, thinly cross sliced
¾ cup sliced red onions, divided
6 ounces fresh pizza dough, rested and at room temperature
all purpose flour
½ cup crème fraîche
1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
1 cup sliced crimini mushrooms
2 sprigs fresh thyme
kosher salt
black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon corn meal
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoons chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

While the oven preheats, cook the bacon in a skillet over medium-low heat until the fat has rendered and the bacon begins to get crispy. Do not over-brown the bacon, as it will continue to crisp in the oven. Use a slotted spoon and transfer the bacon bits to a plate covered with paper towels. Sauté ½ cup onions over medium heat in the bacon drippings until they become golden brown. Set aside

Take the pizza dough and flatten it with your hands on a floured surface. Use a floured rolling pin to gently roll the crust to about ¼ of an inch thickness. Transfer the rolled out dough to a pizza paddle or lightly floured cutting board. Spread the crème fraîche evenly over the dough. Scatter the caramelized onions, gruyere, bacon, crimini and fresh thyme leaves on top. Season the entire pizza with salt and pepper and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

If you have a baking steel/stone in the oven, gently slide the pizza on top. Otherwise, sprinkle a baking sheet with corn meal and slide the pizza on top of it. Bake the pizza for 12-15 minutes until the crust becomes golden brown.

Remove the pizza from the oven. Sprinkle the remaining sliced red onions, red chili pepper flakes and parsley over the top. Slice the pizza and serve warm

Celebrating Mom’s Birthday with a Rosemary Garlic Ribeye Steak!

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Today we celebrate the birth of a 4’9″ firecracker of a Vietnamese woman who was fiercely loyal, an original hustler, an extraordinary cook, a diehard fashionista, was wholeheartedly stubborn, and a true “Jill of all trades”--our Mom.❤

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It’s always a bittersweet time of year for us as Mother’s Day always falls so close to Mom’s birthday. Our emotions vacillate between sadness to laughter, from deep remembrance to joy, mourning to celebration—and of course, love.

This December will mark the tenth year since since her spirit departed for her next adventure. And although it’s hard to believe that the years have passed so quickly, my siblings and I can attest that she is still so greatly missed.

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There are so many things I wished I asked her, so many stories I wished I had recorded her telling, so many things I wished she would have taught me—and good grief, I miss that woman’s cooking to no end.

So I talk to her all the time–and I believe a few of my siblings do, too. Especially when I’m in the kitchen–bustling around like she did so many times during her life. I have a large portrait of her hanging in my kitchen and I’ll jibber-jabber about everything and anything. Because Mom was a total Chatty-Cathy, a trait that my seester T and I definitely inherited –and I am certain she would be amused by our ramblings.

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When Mom was still with us, we all cooked and prepped with her in the kitchen. But, I for one, definitely deferred to her and leaned more towards on the baking side of the house. But when she passed, cooking became our way of keeping her spirit with us. And since she was the original Foodie, I think we all deep down inside, aim to excel in the kitchen to create elaborate things that we know she would have loved.

You can best believe that I often imagine her scolding us if she saw half the stuff we did in the kitchen. We probably weren’t cutting things right, adding too much salt and likely drinking too much wine/cocktails while cooking. Ok…maybe the latter would be focused at some of us more than others. And yes, those “some” would likely be T and I.

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With that said, it’s no wonder that my rituals for Mom’s birthday all surround food. Like every year, I started this morning off with an early brekkie at Panera Bread inhaling her favorite Spinach and Bacon Egg Souffle. It’s like a rich quiche but with a puff pastry/croissant-like crust. So sinfully caloric to start a day off with but hey–it’s Mom’s Birthday!

And if you’ve read my previous birthday posts for Mom, you know that this little woman loved her some steaks!!! Filet Mignons and Ribeyes all day, everyday! Ok, maybe not everyday—but she would have wanted to at least. In years past, I’ve celebrate her birthday with:

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The filet mignon cuts weren’t looking that great when I was at the market but the ribeyes were gorgeous! So for this year, I’m honoring Mom’s birthday with this Rosemary-Garlic Ribeye Steak. I mean, take a gander at this beauty!!!

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I took the steak, seasoned it with some S&P, and threw it in a resealable bag with some rosemary springs, crushed garlic, and olive oil. It hung out in my fridge for several hours for the flavors to infuse the beef.

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Next came the decision to either grill the steak or cast iron that baby.

I chose the cast iron method because I LOVE how the beef beautifully sears and crusts in the skillet and it gave me the opportunity to bathe the steak in butter while it seared.

Aaaaand…..I also live in a condo where I’d have to hike downstairs to the common area to use the grill.

So that settled that debate.

Aaaaand…..let’s not talk about how that “hike” is actually a 2 minute walk from my front door.

Steak and Potatoes
Did I mention that the steak gets repeatedly spooned over with infused herb butter/oil? Bathed, I tell ya – BATHED!

Now that’s the way to go…..

Grilled Steak
After a quick sear (and bath) on the stove, I threw the entire thing in the oven for a few minutes to finish it off. Depending on the thickness of your cut, as well as desired cook on your steak, you may need to adjust the timing by a few minutes. But a meat thermometer should do the trick.

And if you’re feeling real naughty, after the steaks rest, you can drizzle the leftover infused butter/oil from the skillet over the beef.

HELLO!!!

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I’m quite certain Mom would have loved this steak—because she loved them ALL! But really, I think she would have just loved that I made it for her and she needn’t lift a finger.

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Happy Birthday Mama!

Wherever you are, I hope you’re enjoying a big ol’ steak today!

We love and miss you!

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Rosemary Garlic Ribeye Steak
Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 16-18 ounce ribeye beef steak or two 8-9 ounce ribeye beef steaks
kosher salt
fresh cracked black pepper
3 large garlic cloves, smashed
4-5 sprigs fresh rosemary
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
flaked sea salt, optional

Season the steak with kosher salt and black pepper. In a resealable plastic bag, add the garlic, rosemary sprigs, olive oil and steak. Rub the marinade all over the beef. Squeeze out as much air as possible and then seal the bag. Refrigerate for at least 4-5 hours. Halfway through the time, take the bag out of the fridge and massage the marinade into the beef.

 

Remove the steak from the plastic bag. Use paper towels to dry off some of the marinade—do not discard the rosemary or garlic. Allow the steak to sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes.

 

Place a cast iron skillet on the middle rack of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. After the cast iron skillet has heated in the oven for 15-20 minutes and the steak has come to room temperature, carefully remove the skillet and place on a burner over medium-high heat.

 

Add the butter, oil and allow it to melt together before carefully placing the steak in. Add the sprigs of rosemary and crushed garlic from the marinade bag. Sear the ribeye for 1-2 minutes on each side. While the beef sears, repeatedly spoon the butter/oil over the tops of the meat to baste. Once both sides have seared, transfer the skillet with the steak back into the oven.

 

Roast the ribeye at 400 degrees F for 3-4 minutes or until the internal temperature

reaches 135 degrees F for medium-rare. Allow the steak to rest for 5-10 minutes and sprinkle the tops with sea salt to finish (optional). You can also drizzle a few spoonfuls of the herb infused oil/butter from the skillet over the steak as there is a TON of flavor it in it. Serve warm with roasted potatoes, veggies or sides of your choice.

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo with a Tacos Roundup!

Tacos-Cinco de Mayo

Y’all know my love for Tacos knows no bounds or limits. And it’s rather perfect that I live in a city (SAN DIEGO!!) that enables my Tacos Addiction.

So I can think of no better way to celebrate today — Cinco de Mayo then with a Tacos Roundup! Here are 9 DELICIOSO taco recipes that you’ve got to make TODAY!

Well – if I had it my way, you’ll make them every day!

First up, my Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Spicy Avocado Crema.

Grilled Shrimp Tacos

These beauties are to die for. Ok…so all of these recipes are to die for. But you’ll just love how quick these babies come together and the shrimp are so wonderfully flavored and succulent. And the game changer? The spicy avocado crema. Seriously–that crema is amazing over everything! Tacos, burritos, sandwiches—even salads.

Swoon….SWOON I tell ya!

Next up – Fish Tacos with Avocado-Cabbage Slaw.

Fish Tacos with Avocado-Cabbage Slaw

How could I live in San Diego and not share a fish taco recipe?

These really are one of the most popular recipes on my sites. Folks adore how easy and quick it is to cook the fish (under the broiler) and how refreshing the bright avocado-cabbage slaw pairs with it. It’s definitely on the lighter side of the house–particularly if you sub Greek yogurt for the crema in the slaw. Perfect for warm, weeknight meals!

And of course, I’ve got to share a Baja style fish tacoChipotle-Beer Battered Fish Tacos!

Beer Battered Fish Tacos

These loaded tacos are filled with cod that have been battered with Mexican beer and chipotle peppers to get a wonderfully crispy exterior with a slightly smoky flavor. I dressed them with a power punch chipotle crema that’s mixed up in a blender, fresh veggies, creamy avocado and a squeeze of lime. Can you hear the ocean calling you?

If you’re looking for something a little “meatier”, you’ll definitely love these Beer Braised Carnitas Tacos.

Fat Tire® Braised Carnitas Tacos

This is another fan favorite on the site with spiced pork that has been slowly braised in all types of goodness (yup, BEER!) and then crisped up and caramelized. The flavor and textures are out of this world. I like to serve these “street tacos” style with just a small tortilla, a spoonful of salsa, fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime. I could scarf down at least 6 of these….and I have.

Looking for something a little more figure friendly? How about some Turkey and Peppers Tacos?

Turkey & Peppers Tacos
I almost always have a package of ground turkey in my freezer (you should too!) and they make a beautiful taco filling. These are quite straight forward—browned red onions, peppers, lots of spices, ground turkey and bell peppers. But they are such a great staple that you can even double the recipe and keep some in the freezer for a rainy day. Perfect filling for tacos, burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas, tostadas, salads—-you get where I’m going with this.

And there are always FlautasSpicy Chicken Flautas!

Spicy Chicken Flautas
Flautas are essentially a fried rolled taco and can be filled with a myriad of goodness. This is a mixture of cooked chicken (you can even use store bought rotisserie chicken to cut back on time!), spices, aromatics and lots of cheese. After you fill up the tortilla and roll them up, they’re quickly fried until nice and crispy. I love the crunch from the tortillas and crispy chicken—so good! Dunk them in some sour cream, salsa, guac and you’re ready to roll!

They say brekkie is the most important meal so when you bring Breakfast Tacos to the mix then you know it’s going to be an amazing day!

Breakfast Tacos

Anything goes when it comes to brekkie tacos. But in this gal’s opinion, there must at least be a solid tortilla, ‘taters of some sort, salsa and an EGG! Because everything is better when you throw an egg on it!

Don’t worry my vegetarian peeps, I haven’t forgotten about you! Because I’ve got these tasty and fulfilling Portabello Mushroom Tacos for ya!

Portabello Mushroom Tacos

Portabellos are the meatiest non-meat item  ever!

Yeah….I just said that.

But they’re so wonderful and have so much earthy flavor on its own. And then when you add some extra spices, you’d be hard pressed to miss meat! Wait…did I just say that?! Oh–and if you omit the cheese, this recipe is vegan friendly too!

And finally, one of my favorite tacos ever— Tacos de Papa – Crispy Potato Tacos!

Tacos de Papa

When you mix a Potato Lover, a Tacos Lover, a Lover of Fried Foods, a Cheese Lover, and a Mexican Food Lover together — you get ME!!!!

These gorgeous loves contain nearly every food item I adore (hmm, maybe I should add bacon?) but even if you aren’t me, I cannot fathom that you wouldn’t love these too! Imagine this, a spiced cheese mashed potato mixture enclosed in a crispy taco shell and then topped with fresh veggies, cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice. Heaven right?

Well gang, I hope I’ve got you pumped and excited to make some tacos today and extra points goes to those who whip up a few pitchers of Margaritas to wash them down! There are plenty of different Margs recipes on my site archives if you need some inspiration.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!

The Pacific Northwest and East Asia Blend at Family Dinner

April 2016 Fam Din
We’ve got two birthday boys in April — Lucas and Curtis! And as Family Dinner protocol dictates, when it’s your birthmonth, you call the theme for the menu.

Now with our Lucasaurus, he’s pretty laid back. If there’s something yummy and he gets ice cream at the end, well–he’s all set. So it was up to my BIL, Curtis, to give us some direction.

April 2016 Fam Din
Curtis
is all about seafood and generally loves Japanese cuisine. He mentioned that he wanted crab and the next thing I knew it, we were in crab boil planning mode. We’ve done crab Boils quite often. Remember this time? Or how about this time?

Can you blame us? Seafood boils are freaking D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!!!

But this time, since we wanted to use dungeness crab (they’re back in season–YAHOO!), we thought we’d take a different spin. We ditched our beloved spicy Cajun seasoning packets and headed for the Pacific Northwest for inspiration.

April 2016 Family Dinner
But first–one small order of business.

A few months ago, we decided that while we were prepping/cooking/enjoying Fam Din, everyone would stay off their cellphones or tablets and spend some QT with each other. Only exception? You could use it briefly to snap pics of food or family.

The girls even made a sign for our “docking” station that would rotate from house to house each month.

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So what did we do while off our phones?

We play tennis of of course! Well….Wii Sports but that’s nearly as good.

The pics below may not be as clear as I’d like but I love them. Look at their intense facial expressions.

GAME ON!

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Speaking of GAME ON–check out Lucasaurus. One moment he’s all “sweet face” and the next “100% slugger”.

He’s such a playah’ that he even squeezed in a fast T-Ball game with the homies before dinner was ready.

Stud.

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And what did my seestrahs and I do in between the cooking?

Drank some draannnnkkks of course!

Our cocktail of choice was a concoction that seester T had with her friends one night – Pomegranate Soju with Sparkling Korean Grapefruit Rice Brew.

What does a “sparkling rice brew” taste like? Think of a less sweet, more carbonated wine cooler but a gazillion times better. The whole thing was floral, fruity, and went down dangerously smooth.

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At this point, you may be wondering how this cocktail fits the Pacific Northwest theme.

Well…..that’s where the East Asia meets the Pacific Northwest. At least, the first time for the night.

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Oh–and of course we took a minute or two to snap a few pics.

April 2016 Fam Din

CHEERS!

April 2016 Fam Din
Meanwhile, Lucas had come back from his game, showered and then decided to show his uncle some of his badass roundhouse kicks.

Did I mention our little man just passed his Tae Kwon Do black back examination?

Yeah…I keep him around as my personal security these days.

April 2016 Fam Din
Then at some point throughout the shenanigans, big sis whipped out some appetizers – Shrimp Crostinis!!

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And then we got down to some serious cooking.

How serious?

So serious we had to break out the step stools.

#ShortPeopleProblems

April 2016 Fam Din
And then the girls started getting all kinds of silly.

Not sure if they were getting hypoglycemic from all the waiting or if it’s just their true nature.

You’re right….. it’s the Aliens.

April 2016 Fam Din

Grab the bibs, refill the drinks, plunk yourselves down in a chair because it was finally DINNER TIME!!!

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Sweet dungeness crab, prawns, clams, corn, new potatoes and crusty bread. The “boil” was made from crab stock, lemons, garlic and an insane amount of fennel and coriander seeds. Very, very aromatic.

Oh–and tons, and I mean TONS of garlic butter to dip it all in.

LET’S GET SEAFOOD WASTED!!!!

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And you bet we sure as heck did! Totally natural–birthday celebrations and all.

Though no matter how full we are, there must be dessert! And with two birthday boys, we had to have TWO desserts. One made specifically for each of boys’ favorite flavors.

April 2016 Fam Din
With Curtis, we went for the East Asian flavors because the man loves him some green tea! And after all these years, it’s become quite the challenge to make him a different green tea dessert. We’ve done Matcha Green Tea Icebox Cheesecake, Green Tea Souffles, and Matcha Green Tea Layered Cake filled with Matcha Mousse and the list goes on and on.

Hey–at least he’s consistent.

April 2016 Fam Din
So after squeezing my brain to the core, I decided to make him a Green Tea Tiramisu–also known as a Matchamisu!

I used this recipe to make the fantastically easy and light dessert. I took packaged lady finger cookies and dipped them in a mixture of honey and a strongly brewed green tea. It was then layered with a fluffy filling of whipped mascarpone cheese, egg yolks, sugar, clouds of whipped cream and of course, matcha powder.

Oh! Did I mention that I threw in a few splashes of Grand Marnier? It is a type of tiramisu after all.

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It was a WINNER!

Not only was it crazy easy to pull together but it was so well flavored and light. Birthday boy gave me the stamp of approval! So much in fact, that I’m making a bunch of individual sized Matchamisus for his big birthday bash this weekend.

PHEW!

Better start thinking about his next year’s green tea dessert!

April 2016 Fam Din
As for Lucas’ dessert – my nephew being MY nephew, LOVES ice cream — mint chocolate chip ice cream. And like me, if it’s isn’t green mint chip then we want nothing to do with it.

So as a nod to the “Pacific Northwest”, I made our little guy a Baked Alaska — something I’ve never attempted before. And guess what? It was really easy too!

First off, I used store bought ice cream (I know, I know–but I was short on time!) and let it set out for about 30-45 minutes to soften. I lined a large metal bowl with plastic wrap (for easy removal) and packed the ice cream in it. Then, I pressed a layer of brownie on top to form the base.

Lukey doesn’t like cake—we’re all a work in progress.

April 2016 Fam Din
I covered the top with more plastic wrap and then let the whole thing freeze for several hours. When it was about time to serve, I took the bowl out of the freezer and set it on the counter while we got to making the meringue.

In a stand mixer with the balloon whisk attachment, I whisked up 2 large egg whites, 1/2 cup sugar, 1-2 pinches cream of tartar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and until stiff peaks formed.

We then inverted the bowl onto a plate, piped meringue rosettes all over and then brought out the torch.

April 2016 Fam Din
Most Baked Alaskas, well—are baked. But instead of placing the whole thing in a high heat oven, I opted to use a kitchen torch. I felt more comfortable with this method for a more even browning.

I think it all came out beautifully well. Fluffy-marshamllowly meringue, VERY green ice cream and a chocolately brownie base.

April 2016 Fam Din
It got a thumbs up from this adorable birthday boy….

And if you follow me on Instagram, then you would have saw a video of Lucas face planting into his dessert plate–on his own volition!!!

Silly boy.

April 2016 Fam Din
Another delish and FUN Family Dinner in the books!

Happy Birthmonth Curtis and Lucas!

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This Month’s Family Dinner Menu
Pacific Northwest – East Asian

Cocktails: Pomegranate Soju with Sparkling Korean Grapefruit Rice Brew
Appetizers: Shrimp Crostini
Entrees: Pacific Northwest Dungeness Crab Boil with Prawns, Clams, Sausage, Potatoes & Corn
Sides: Toasted Ciabatta and French Bread
Dessert: Matcha Tiramisu and Baked Alaska with Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream and Brownie Base

Basil Chicken and Egg Lettuce Wraps

Lettuce Wraps2

I’m all about easy to make meals these days…..

Ok, let’s be honest. I’ve always been enamored with low fuss meals–particularly during the weekdays when I’m always short on time. And when those dishes are savory, fulfilling AND on the health conscious then it’s a NGUYEN-WIN!!!

I’ll tell ya, these Basil Chicken and Egg Lettuce Wraps fit that bill perfectly!

And guess what?

It’s PALEO!!! Yup, you read correctly!

Lettuce Wraps3

Partnering again with our friends at Safest Choice® Eggs, I took quality ground chicken and stir fried it with classic South East Asian aromatics.  After a few splashes of fish sauce (there are tons of fantastic paleo fish sauces out there), I topped the chicken with ribbons of Safe Eggs. Tons of lean protein, packed with flavor and yet still light on the tummy.

Click here to read my post on Paleo Basil Chicken and Egg Lettuce Wraps and here for the recipe.

Have a fantastic week!

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