Boise, Idaho

When we were trying to put together this road trip [I say “we” loosely because we all know it’s Andrew who did the planning, I just say yes], there was an unspoken skepticism running through both of us. It was unlike most trips we take. There was a lot of car time, a lot of nature, and a lot of really unknown. You kind of a ton of travel info on Europe or the more popular states, but Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana? Not so much.

The bulk of the planning came through our usual methods — a show of Anthony Bourdain’s [in this case No Reservations], Foursquare, Yelp, Trip Advisor, random Google searches. New this time was an app/website called Roadtrippers. The premise is simple. Tell the app where you want to go and how far you’re willing to get off your route and it’ll pull up a ton of really great places for you to stop and see along the way. Additionally, they were sending Andrew a newsletter with travel highlights. There were at least one or two things we did from those newsletters. The trip became a “yes” trip. If it was something to do, let’s do it. Don’t scoff. Don’t crinkle your nose. Don’t try to talk yourself out of it. Just go. You’ll never know what you might find.

Being the efficient employees that we are, we left work a few hours early on a Tuesday. That was enough time to pack up the car and get on the road before the bulk of rush hour traffic. The plan was drive straight to Boise and get the “long part” of the drive over with. Sure we wouldn’t get to Boise until midnight [or 1am with the time change], but we could start fresh on Wednesday. Sidenote: I really had no idea that we’d change timezones on this trip. My map naivety knows no bounds.

The drive was uneventful. We went to the wrong hotel. We were slated to stay at two different Marriott’s on the trip. We had a 50/50 shot of being wrong, and wrong we were. Boise isn’t exactly a huge city, so it really wasn’t a problem. The next morning we headed downtown to find some coffee. Boise’s downtown has metered parking, but only of the coin variety. Cue feeling spoiled by the ones that take cards. There was thankfully there was about 95 cents scattered in my car and they graciously gave you 20 minutes for free. We got a spot in front of the coffee shop so I figured I’d utilize the 20 minutes and then come back out if we didn’t think we were going to be done by then and throw some change in the machine. The District Coffee House was really lovely, and was quite possibly my favorite coffee of the trip. The coffee is micro-batch roasted in town twice a week. They had some really good stuff rotating through. The shop itself is a non-profit that supports an orphanage, which is pretty awesome especially if the execution is spot on, which this one seemed to be. You’d have no clue that it wasn’t for-profit. The space was super open and airy with mid-century modern furniture, a stage for performing of some kind, and a lot of tables to cater to the downtown crowd. There were plenty of students, laptops, and business meetings going on while there on a Wednesday morning. As we were finishing up our coffee [pourover for me, mexican mocha for him], I looked up to see the parking meter person slipping an envelope under my windshield wiper. I really could not believe it had been 20 minutes already. It felt more like 10. I started mildly freaking out because I now had a ticket in order to justify not spending an unnecessary quarter. These are the things that rule my life, people. I am just that neurotic. I grumpily finished my coffee and went outside to assess the damage before we moved on. I slipped the ticket out of the envelope and scanned it. Nothing. I saw no dollars. The fine said $0.00. Upon further inspection [which took awhile since I have gotten maybe two or three in my life], it was purely a warning ticket for staying longer than the 20 minutes. I assume pity was taken on my car’s Oregon plates. Is that normal? I’ve never heard of a warning before. In Portland, I see them all too gleefully slipping tickets on people’s cars. The vacation gods decided to spare me from remaining grumpy.

Did you know Boise has a large Basque population? I didn’t either. They have a whole block dedicated to the Basques called the Basque Block. Clever, right? As soon as I heard it existed, I knew we’d be checking it out since we were just in Spain a year prior. While we didn’t get to Basque parts of Spain then, just being in an area with ties to Spain was enough for me. There is a cultural center and a museum, both of which we really didn’t get to spend some time in. The highlight, other than successfully dodging a group of kids on a field trip, was watching the street-side paella being made at The Basque Market. That shop was heavenly. It’s part dry goods, part meat/cheese counter, part restaurant. They had tapas on hand, really generous wine samples, and prix fix dinners in the evening. We shopped [new paella pan!], drank wine, and had tapas and the paella for one very filling lunch. I was incredibly envious of all the business casual people who were very clearly coming in to get paella for lunch. I want paella for lunch! It was such a good one.

We toured the Old Idaho Penitentiary. It was a fantastic piece of history. It was a prison from the 1870s through the 1970s so you can see the transition through the years from a territorial prison to the more modern cell blocks of today. Several of the buildings are burned out shells, overgrown with nature, and there is even an old school laundry facility. The solitary confinement cells, the gallows, and death row were incredibly eerie and sad. It’s said to be haunted there, but I didn’t notice anything. You couldn’t pay me to stay the night there though. There were a lot of information posted up on walls so you could see just what absurd things people used to get jail time for.

Other than the prison and a brief trip to the closed Boise Union Pacific Depot, Boise turned into just a stop to eat…a lot. There was a stop later that afternoon for four deliciously flakey empanadas at Tango’s Empanadas and Subs. It totally looks like a hole in the wall spot, but it’s busy and smells amazing as soon as you walk through the door. There several [35?] sweet and savory options, all with an Argentinian flair. Holy crap I hadn’t ever had a empanada so good. With a gaucho [original from argentina, ground beef, eggs, olives, onions, bell peppers and spices], an el puerco [shredded pork in our homemade green salsa and potatoes], a picosa [mozzarella and jalapeños], and a caramelo [dulce de leche], I dare you to pick a favorite. Just when you thought one was your favorite, you’d have a bite of another and change your mind. I could have bought a dozen to take with us.

We went to Payette Brewing after the empanadas to try some local beer. It was super crowded, but we found a little standing area to try a taster of each of their beers. They were solid, but nothing mind blowing enough for me to remember. I always get a little giddy when a line up of beers is generally under 60 IBUs. The lower the better for me. Sorry hop fans.

For some completely unnecessary reason, I thought we needed more food after the beer. I think it was partially out of habit because we hadn’t officially had dinner, and partially because it was our last night in Boise and I wanted to eat ALL THE THINGS. So off to BBQ4Life. Yes, that was the name, and yes it was in a strip mall. I’m as sucker for all things BBQ sometimes. It was interesting because they also have a highly vegan menu, which you just don’t see all that often. I think it’s cool that they were able to have a successful meat menu as well as an equally extensive vegan one. That is hardly ever executed all that well. While I wanted the sandwich with pulled pork and mac-n-cheese (!!), I opted for the tri-tip sandwich instead. It seemed much more reasonable and isn’t something you see on all BBQ menus. The meat was really tender and light on the smoke. The only complaint was on the bread choice. It was a little overwhelming for the flavor of the BBQ. The bread should be a vehicle for consumption. Nothing more nothing less.

That was pretty much the end of Boise. We stopped at Flying M Coffeehouse the next morning for a really bold Americano, my tastebuds almost wanted half and half. That hardly ever happens. The place was packed, and it felt much more cozy and rustic. The display case was full of house baked goods, so we took a cookie for the road. Breakfast of champions! Just kidding, we went to a little divy drive-thru burger place that supposedly sold “great breakfast burritos.” Great is relative, but was a solid option. It was a basic flour tortilla lightly filled with a scrambled egg or two, a hash brown patty cut into chunks, griddled deli sliced ham [swoon!], and a slice of slightly melted American cheese. It wasn’t winning any awards, and it tasted exactly like each individual ingredient, but I liked it. It hit the spot and would fill us up as we made our drive on towards Idaho Falls.

Who knew you could write 1,600 words about about a day in Boise?

[photos compliments of Andrew’s camera, our phones, and Instagram]

Herb Salad with Pistachios, Fennel, and Horseradish

We’re back!

We made it home earlier this afternoon, in time to eat a lobster roll from Maine Street Lobster Company, a food cart we’d been meaning to try. Ever since my brief love affair with Boston last fall, I’ve been craving one. It was a solid representation.


Here it is. That was the route. 18 days of glorious vacation. It was a lot of exploration of our own backyard. I’d hardly been to any of these places. When time off calls, I usually cross oceans, so this was a fun change. I’ll definitely be recapping the goodness in the coming days. If you’ve been following on Instagram, you’ve seen a few glimpses, but I’m hoping to steal a few of Andrew’s photos. Highlights included Old Idaho State Penitentiary, Craters of the Moon National Monument, befriending a donkey at a dairy, the Idaho Potato Museum, an unforgettable hike in Grand Teton, witnessing Andrew’s first rodeo, the American Computer Museum, stalking John Mayer, befriending a lot of chefs/servers/bartenders, visiting a town [village?] of 300, drinking a lot of local beer and eating my way across 3,000 miles.

In the interim, let’s talk about a fennel problem.

We all I know I have one.

[I also have a chorizo problem, but that’s another post…]

There are worse problems to have. I realize it’s a love it or hate it flavor since it’s so black licorice like. I love that flavor [thanks grandpa!] nearly in all forms, but fennel may be my favorite because of its fresh, bright crunch. Now that I have the mandolin, being able to slice it thin and quickly is encoring this problem. It’s definitely my new favorite piece of equipment in the kitchen.

This salad came about from the usual grill meat and eat vegetables dinner plan. It turned out so well that I made it two nights in a row, not just because there were herbs leftover [but that too…]. Horseradish is just so good on a fresh, bright salad. I used it all up in the second installation of the salad.

Inspiration: Bon Appétit


  • 4 cups butter lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces
  • 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups parsley, tough stems removed
  • 1/2 cup tarragon leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chives, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 2 tablespoons pistachios, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • salt and pepper


Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Toss the pistachios and fennels seeds in the tablespoon of olive oil. Cook them in the skillet until hot and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss the lettuce, fennel, and herbs together. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and horseradish. Mix well.

Drizzle the olive oil into the mixture so the leaves are well dressed. Toss half of the pistachio and fennel seed mixture into the lettuce. Taste for salt and pepper. Sprinkle the remaining pistachios and fennel seeds on the salads when you serve them.

Chorizo and Chickpea Frittata

Let’s get back into the swing of things shall we?

Tax season? Check. Another CPA exam? Check. Vacation planned? Check.

We’re taking off soon [as in next week] on a road trip. That’s the big trip this year. I realize doesn’t sound nearly as glamorous as jetting off to Europe or Asia for a few weeks, but I really think it’s going to be equally as awesome. I’ve never gone on any sort of significant road trip other than down to California a couple of times or over to Salt Lake City when I was so young that I really don’t remember it. I’ve been to Europe a handful of times now, so it sounded good to dig into a bit of the US for once. The focal points are a few national parks — Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier — but I’m honestly looking more forward to the quirky little towns we stop in along the way. Let’s be real, I’m not that outdoorsy despite living in the Northwest. The No Reservations: Montana episode kind of inspired this whole thing. Bring on the obscure, the hearty, and the history.

Speaking of obscure and hearty, I really didn’t know what to think about this frittata. I would have never thought to put eggs and beans together on my own, but I put a lot of stock in Food52. The whole eggs and beans thing actually makes a lot of sense. The beans are soft, tender, and provide a whole heck of a lot of fiber to a protein heavy breakfast. Eggs and chorizo will do that to you. The spinach and roasted red peppers really brighten up the whole thing. If I had feta on hand, you can bet that would have been in/on the whole thing. It’s like a fully loaded frittata. The egg takes a back seat holding everything together, and lets the rest of the big flavors take over. It comes together quickly when I’m starving on a weekend morning and want to eat ASAP.

Completely unrelated, I’m really liking Food52’s Burnt Toast podcast. I’m not usually a podcast person, but this one is fun. Random food topics that I wish I could get into conversations with people about.

Inspiration: Food52


  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or use a microplane like I did
  • 1/2 cup roasted red pepper, diced
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1/2lb ground chicken chorizo
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • olive oil
  • salt


Brown the chorizo in the pan you’re going to bake your frittata in. Once browned, remove the chorizo but do not drain the grease. Add the onion. Sauté for 5-10 minutes until the pieces are soft and fragrant. The edges might start to brown and that’s a-ok. Add the garlic and stir for about a minute.

Add the chorizo back along with the chickpeas, roasted red pepper, and the smoked paprika. Stir to combine. Add the spinach. Stir to combine. The heat from the pan should start to wilt the spinach.

Turn on the broiler on high. Whisk the five eggs in a small bowl. Pour the eggs into the pan and stir so it’s fully distributed throughout. Stop stirring and let it sit for a couple minutes. When you jiggle the pan the eggs should be mostly set.

Place the pan into the oven. Cook the frittata for a couple of minutes until the top is set and starting to brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit before cutting. It can be served from the pan or inverted onto a serving plate. Slice into wedges and serve.


Buffalo Chicken Dip

Have you ever watched videos about Pyrex dishes exploding? It’s intense. I haven’t had one shatter [thankfully!], but I don’t usually bake with glass. If you do use Pyrex and have no idea what I’m talking about, it might be worth looking into.

That ends your PSA for the day.

Now on to buffalo chicken dip! Frank’s Red Hot is a really bizarre flavor. I like it and feel weirdly addicted to it when it’s around [which is next to never]. I think it’s that vinegar bite. I cringe almost instantly and then settle in for that spicy flavor. The idea of putting it in a dip with a cream-style base mellows out the vinegar just enough that I want to just eat it by the spoonful. That happened a lot.

The base really doesn’t have any cheese in it even though it looks like it. It was magic. It’s all that “cheeze” or cheese-like stuff. It’s actually kind of close — closer than any of the other fake cheese things I’ve tried. I wanted something that I could eat a ton of without worrying about the effects of it. When you’re eating it like a soup, I really didn’t need a bunch of cream. The chicken is also optional, but totally a nice addition. Give me all the protein! I used shredded, but looking back, I’d probably use ground chicken next time. The consistency of the dip can be a little thin, and it was really not all that easy to scoop out the mixture and pull out equal parts chicken and “cheeze.” Speaking of dipping, the celery was challenging. Maybe less so had I used the ground chicken. Chopping it up into the dip would be cool, too. The blue cheese would have been a stellar addition, but would have rendered it full of dairy. I should have served it on the side. WHAT WAS I THINKING?

I wasn’t. Clearly.

Inspiration: Chasing Some Blue Sky


  • 1/3-1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce [I used the full 1/2 cup]
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers [not pickled!]
  • 1 1/3 cup cashews
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Ranch dressing mix
  • Water
  • 2-3 cups shredded or cooked ground chicken
  • Blue cheese, celery, pita chips, etc for serving


Add all of the ingredients up to the Ranch dressing mix to a blender or food processor. Start with a cup of water. Blend until smooth. Continue to add more water to your desired consistency. I used a full 2 cups of water, which is why mine ended up so runny. I’d use less next time.

Pour the sauce into a pan with the chicken. Heat through. Serve hot.

Thai Basil Pork

My first full weekend without work was equal parts good and bad. Saturday felt like Sunday the whole time, but it obviously wasn’t. We checked the box on several big pieces to the new patio out front. Bistro lights were hung. Outdoor furniture has been purchased. More plants have found homes. There are only a few things left to do. Regardless we spent a lot of time outside eating. It’s the new favorite place in the house. Get ready for a lot of food photos from out there. It’s going to happen. Sunday was spent watching a lot of football [soccer], studying, and a whole lot of my body fighting some sort of congestion crap. Not the perfect weekend, but I’ll take it.

This stir fry has become the new curry in this house. I make it all the time. When we don’t know what we want to eat? I make this. If I managed to have some time in the kitchen during busy season? I made this. The first meal back in the kitchen? This.

It started out as this Thai Basil Chicken recipe, and it’s morphed into what it’s become for me now. I don’t measure much anymore; it becomes an shake of this and a dash of that. The overall foundation is there. There is always a fried egg. There is always white rice. The bottle of fish sauce is always on the table. I add it to the stir fry and then again when it’s on my plate or in a bowl. My love of fish sauce is strong. I tried using a defrosted chicken breast once. Don’t do that. It was way too watery. I’ve tried ground chicken, which is good, but kind of bland ultimately. I ended up with ground pork because it’s cheap, already cut up into small pieces, and imparts a lot of flavor with it’s fattiness without being too greasy. Since New Seasons the fridge doesn’t have Thai chilies or Thai basil, it’s jalapeños or serranos and regular basil. It’s still very good, and still very worth it.

Inspiration: Eating Thai Food


  • 3/4lb ground pork
  • 2-4 small jalapeños or serranos, depending on your spice tolerance, sliced
  • 1-2 large handful of basil leaves
  • 5 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
  • 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce, plus more to taste
  • olive oil
  • fried eggs and rice for serving


In a large skillet, heat a couple teaspoons of olive oil on medium high heat. Add the garlic and jalapeños or serranos. Stir often. You don’t want that garlic to burn. Burned garlic sucks. Once it gets hot and fragrant, add the ground pork. While it browns, whisk together your sauce ingredients and sugar. Once the pork is cooked, if there is a lot of grease, drain it. It happens every two or three times for me. It totally depends on the pork. Add the pork back to the pan. There should be no need to turn the heat back on. Stir in the sauce and the basil. Stir until the is basil starts to wilt. Serve with rice and a fried egg.

Chorizo and Brussels or Brussels and Chorizo

Another successful tax season in the books. I’m ready for a change of pace, and I’m ready to get back into the kitchen. Latest bookmarks include: Chicken and Pesto Stuffed Sweet Peppers, Jerked Sriracha Roast Pork Tacos, and Kale White Bean and Farro Salad. I want to eat ALL.THE.FOOD. that isn’t catered.

I made this blueberry slab pie with rye crust for a pie contest at work a couple of weeks ago. [Sidenote: I was originally going to say a week ago, but then I remembered I have no idea how much time elapses anymore. It was at least two, going on three. Time flies!] We were having a Thanksgiving themed dinner and thought it a good idea to have people make pies. Mine didn’t have a lattice top because the dough turned out a little too dry for that. Besides, it looked like a giant pop tart. Way cooler. It was really good. The rye had a savory note that played off the sweet, mellowing it out. I really liked it. It didn’t win because frankly giant blueberry rye pop tart doesn’t win. Chocolate cream does. I really just wanted an excuse to make the pie. It all got eaten that night except for one piece, which I happily ate for breakfast the next day.

This bowl of brussels and chorizo is a dangerous one. If I’m not careful, I can easily eat the entire pan. I was thinking about these brussels this weekend. There are still brussels in the grocery store. We live in a world where we have year-round produce, and I’m still surprised. The original recipe calls for cured Spanish chorizo sliced thin. I went with the ground chicken chorizo for a little more of a spicy kick and I wanted the brussels to bathe in the rendered chicken fat. Using a cast iron skillet to do the dirty work leaves a nice char to the brussels. They’re super tender on the inside and a bit spicy — a winning combination. I put them on a bed of couscous for something different, but really they’re just fine on their own. I could go for a bowl of them right now. And a piece of pie.

Inspiration: Saveur


  • 1lb brussels sprouts, halved or quartered depending on the size
  • 1/2lb ground chorizo
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the brussels and cook until tender, about six minutes. Transfer them to an ice bath to stop them from turning to mush. After about five minutes, drain them and set aside.

Heat a skillet on medium high heat with a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Toss the onion into the pan. Stir occasionally. Once it’s soft and translucent, add the chorizo and crumble. Once it’s almost cooked, add the brussels and garlic to the pan. Toss to coat in the rendered fat. Cook until heated through. Taste for salt and pepper.

Roasted Fennel White Bean Dip

I’ve become a fennel fanatic lately. I had my nose glued to a star anise candle today. My sister gave me that “you’ve lost it” look that sisters can give. I came across this recipe for a fennel and radish salad that I have to make IMMEDIATELY [which really means on April 16th because we all know I’m only eating catered meals at the office until then]. Fennel is just so dang refreshing.

Mixing fennel and white beans in dip form [because what other form is there…] makes a great hummus alternative. Adding a boatload of parmesan and roasted garlic really tie everything together. Roasting fennel mellows out that bright anise flavor and sweetens it up. No one knows it’s in there really, so if you’re a fennel hater we can’t be friends you’ll be just fine. It blends into your white bean base that really just is your creaminess. White beans take on whatever flavor you want it to. My favorite part might have been the crispy parmesan pieces that baked to the dish. I’m one of those people. Plain ol’ pita chips work like a champ here or crudite or a spoon. You get the idea. This is definitely my new go-to dip assuming I have time to roast the fennel.

Inspiration: Sprouted Kitchen


  • 1 large fennel bulb, save the fronds for garnish
  • 4 cloves of garlic still in their skin
  • 2 cups white beans [or one can]
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan, plus more for topping
  • olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment, foil, or a Silpat. Roughly dice the fennel bulb from the white to the light pale green. Keep the fronds for garnish. Toss the fennel and the garlic cloves in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and spread out on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 3o minutes. The fennel will be crisp on the edges.

In the bowl of a food processor, add the white beans, shredded parmesan, the fennel, and the garlic cloves with the skin removed. Pulse to get the mixture started before adding the lemon juice, rosemary, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and 1/3 cup of olive oil. Pulse it all together until it’s a thick puree. Add more olive oil if for consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture into a oven proof dish. Top with more parmesan and bake for 15-20 minutes with the oven temperature increased to 450°. The cheese will be hot and bubbly, browning on the edges. Top with a drizzle of olive oil and the fennel fronds before serving.

Parmesan Black Pepper Grissini

I made this on NYE and it’s almost April. Slow and steady wins the race.

I’ve seen grissini pop up a fair bit lately, on Food52 more specifically, which reminded me of these. Those aren’t the ones I made, but they’re similar. They disappeared rather quickly at the NYE party, which is the highest compliment. I don’t want need to be told they’re awesome. Just eat. When they disappear, I’ll know.

They’re easy and difficult all at the same time. They come together almost too easy. It’s a simple dough. The rise time is next to nothing, so you can totally make them right before you’re walking out the door. I’m living proof. The only thing that was really a challenge for me was actually forming the dough. It was really a lot more dry and tough than I was expecting. They took forever to get to a reasonable length and more than one tore but I just pieced it back together. “A more rustic look,” I’d say. The sprinkling of parmesan and black pepper hides any deformity, and let’s be real, they taste good so no one cares. Rolling them out reminded me of my Play-Doh days. I probably wasn’t very good at it then either.

Inspiration: The Endless Meal


  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon active yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 egg, whisked in a bowl with a tablespoon of water
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese


In a small saucepan on low heat, melt the butter into the milk. You only want it slightly warm to the touch. Remove from the heat and pour it into a separate bowl to be safe. You’ll add the yeast next and don’t want to risk the hot pan overheating it. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and let it sit for about 10 minutes. It’ll start to foam on the top, so you’ll know it’s working.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and you pinch of salt. Add the cooled milk mixture to the flour and mix it together with a large spoon or your hands. It’ll be a dry, shaggy mess until it ultimately forms a ball.

Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for about five minutes. The dough will be smooth on the outside. Place the dough back in the bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let it rise for 30 minutes.

When your time is up, preheat the oven to 350° and prep your baking sheets. Either grease them or lay down a Silpat. Split the dough into 24 equal pieces. I measured them because I’m a bit type-a, but as long as you get close you’ll be fine. Roll them out into long, skinny sticks. Place them on your prepared baking sheet with a little distance between them. Brush each stick with the egg wash and then sprinkle them with the parmesan cheese and fresh cracked pepper. Use your fingers to get as much parmesan to stick as possible.

Bake for about 15 minutes. They should be crispy and golden brown, the cheese especially. Let them cool before removing them from the pan. They’ll harden as they cool giving them more of a crunch.

Eating the baked on cheese off your Silpat is sort of optional, but it’s really not something to be missed.

Cuban Sandwich

I’m in love with Eb & Bean. From their website: Eb & Bean is proudly redefining frozen yogurt with handmade flavors, organic, probiotic-rich dairy, non-dairy deliciousness, and artisanal toppings. The keywords here are the non-dairy and deliciousness. They actually nail non-dairy and do things that aren’t just fruit flavors. There is nothing worse than craving ice cream/fro-yo and all you can find are sorbets. It’s just not the same. Fro-yo just started getting really popular right around my self-imposed dairy ban, and it was really hard to deal with. Even though I’m back on the occasional dairy wagon, yogurt continues to be my nemesis. Having Eb & Bean around is just what I needed. They also strive for the local/seasonal thing too, which generally tastes better. The toppings aren’t just a junky selection of old candy and sad fruit pieces. We’re talking about things like fresh cookie crumbles, donut pieces, marshmallow sauce, honeyed whipped cream, and cold brew bourbon sauce. There is a ton of gluten-free and vegan options if that’s your thing. Three of the yogurt flavors rotate and get all kinds of creative. Tonight? I had the cold brew pecan fro-yo with a mountain of dark chocolate mini chips. So. Freakin’. Good.

Also freakin’ good was the impromptu 90’s dance party I had in my living room last night, but that’s a story for another day.

Let’s talk about Cuban sandwiches. This beast of a sandwich is definitely not an authentic Cuban sandwich, but it’s a fantastic interpretation. That’s all I really care about anyway. Authenticity doesn’t mean that much to me. I’m excited to have authentic eats, don’t get me wrong, but at the end of the day it needs to taste good. That’s priority numero uno.

Bread is key here since the juice of the pork makes such a delicious mess. Slow cooked pork, pickles, cheese, and that gloriously spicy soppressata is so dang good. It’s a mouth party, and you’re invited. The original recipe talks about making zucchini pickles, and had I not been lazy, I’d have made them and told you how awesome they are because I bet they are. I love pickled anything [well, nearly]. I haven’t made pickles because it requires actually having the foresight to make pickles before I want them. I inevitably go to the store and pick some up.

Bon Appétit is to blame the inspiration for the juicy mess that will inevitably drip down your hands with each bite. This magazine never ceases to amaze/fail me. I haven’t been so happy with a food magazine since La Cucina Italiana and we know how they ended up [RIP]. Fingers crossed I’m not the jinx.

Inspiration: Bon Appétit


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 sprig of oregano
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1-2 teaspoons red chile flakes
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3lb pork shoulder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • dijon mustard
  • mayo
  • brioche buns
  • 1/2lb soppressata, thinly sliced
  • 1/2lb pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • sliced pickles [zucchini pickle recipe can be found in the link]


Preheat the oven to 300° and get a large Dutch oven. Heat the olive oil in the Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Optional, sear the pork on all sides for a few minutes. Remove and set aside. Add the onion, carrot, and celery. Sauté, covering in the oil [and pork goodness]. Remove from heat. Nestle the pork back into the pot. Add the oregano, rosemary, chile flakes and chicken broth. Cover with a lid and place in the oven for 3-4 hours. Flip the pork every hour or so if you are able. When the pork if falling apart tender, it’s done.

Remove the pork from the oven and bump the temperature up to 400°. Remove about a cup of the liquid if there seems to be a lot left and shred the pork. Place the tops and bottoms of the buns on a baking sheet, face up. On the bottoms, top with a healthy layer of soppressata, pork, and cheese. Place the pan in the oven until the cheese melts. Keep an eye on the tops so they don’t burn, only get toasted. Spread the top halves with the mayo and mustard. Top the cheesy pork with pickles and cover with the top bun. Devour. Bring napkins.

Chewy Gingerbread Bars

We had friends in town from San Francisco for the weekend, and they generally bring ridiculously good weather for some reason. I don’t know how they do it, but they have yet to see the famed Portland rain. Andrew played host and tour guide while I worked, but I was able to sneak out for a glass of wine in at Bar Vivant, a plate of fresh linguine with braised veal sauce and my favorite tiramisu from Piazza Italia, some homemade musubi made with linguica from my friend Chris, and a ridiculously good biscuit sandwich from Bad Habit Room. Not too shabby for a limited amount of time off. I was still ready for the chicken skewer and salad I made tonight though. Sometimes you got to.

Is it bad that I’m posting about gingerbread in March?

I could actually go for one of these right now despite it being unbelievably sunny and warm. These were like a thick, chewy gingerbread cookie. Sort of a gingerbread brownie [blondie?]. I wish I had used the candied ginger per the original recipe for some added oomph. You should too unless you really can’t stand the stuff. I made them for a group that hasn’t been exposed to a whole lot of ginger, candied or otherwise, so I didn’t want to freak them out by how in-your-face that flavor can be. Mission accomplished. It’s the same reason why I didn’t ice them at all either. I dipped them in coffee at least once or twice. They maintained the chew for a few days before ultimately drying out. A scoop of ice cream on one wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

Inspiration: The Crepes of Wrath


  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup candied ginger, roughly chopped, optional
  • Demerara sugar to sprinkle on top, optional
  • White chocolate drizzle, per the original recipe, optional


Preheat the oven to 350° and line a 13″x9″ pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. I used aluminum and sprayed it with cooking spray to be safe.

Add the butter and brown sugar to the bowl of a mixer. Beat for several minutes until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and mix to incorporate. The sugar mixture will be shiny and you won’t see any of the yolk streaks anymore. Add in the molasses and almond extract and mix. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Fold in the dry ingredients with the wet. Don’t over mix. Fold in the ginger, if using.

Pour the thick batter into the prepared pan. You’re going to need something to assist you unless you don’t mind using your hands [I don’t]. Try to even out the mixture and then sprinkle with the sugar, if using.

Bake for 35-40 minutes. A toothpick should be clear when you test it in the middle. Make the white chocolate drizzle while it bakes, if using. Allow the bars to cool for a good 30 minutes before cutting and serving.