Chorizo Stuffed Sweet Peppers

[PSA – apparently the photos in the blog have been acting up. If you notice anything funky going on in your browser, please let me know. Thanks!]

It’s seems to be a common theme when my schedule gets insane a little bit busy, all I really want to do is cook [or leave the country, but that’s a little less practical]. It’s my happy place. It’s gotten to the point that all of the random bits of food in the house are gone. Every last egg, frozen vegetable, steel cut oat, lentil, and frozen shrimp are gone. We’re back to the status quo of condiments, more condiments, a few other condiments, and jasmine rice. When I’m not sitting at the office, I feel like I’m reading recipes. I read some of my cookbooks for fun the other day [Ad Hoc at Home and The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook] partially for inspiration and partially because food. I was debating snacks this weekend and I stood there [there being the bathroom doorway?] searching the pages of bookmarks I have saved for a good 30 minutes. Thirty minutes! I could have walked to the store and back by then, but no, I had too look at them all. ALL OF THEM.

We probably could use another Costco run, but that usually results in buying way more than I intend to [kinda like Target…]. This recipe was completely inspired by the random Costco purchase coupled with that ridiculous jalapeño popper we ate in Idaho Falls on the road trip. To recap, we ate at Republic American Grill & Tapas Bar and had the best jalapeño popper of my life. It was a deep fried jalapeño stuffed with chorizo and laying on a bed of cherry cream cheese. Think about that. It was incredible, and I usually don’t like deep fried much of anything.

I’m sure you know those sweet mini multi-colored peppers. I picked up a bag of them at Costco and stuffed them full of my weakness chicken chorizo from New Seasons and cream cheese. Under the broiler they went and while I could have eaten them straight from the pan, I took the time to put arugula on a plate, top it with some of the peppers, and then drizzle some Italian dressing on it. Greenery is good for you, and I happen to love arugula a lot. Spicy and herbal greens hold up well to the sweet, spicy, and creamy combination these little peppers became. I didn’t bother with the cherries assuming that the sweetness of the peppers would compensate. It seemed to do the trick. All I was missing was the batter and deep fry, which I didn’t miss. Fried foods are not high on my list of things I seek out. I won’t turn them down, but I don’t go out of my way.

Chorizo Stuffed Sweet Peppers



  • 1 bag of sweet mini peppers
  • 1lb bulk chorizo
  • 4oz cream cheese
  • 5oz arugula
  • Italian or a simple lemon and olive oil dressing


Heat a skillet on medium high heat. Brown the chorizo, breaking it down into small pieces. While the chorizo browns, slice each of the peppers in half, cleaning out any seeds and membrane. Drain the chorizo of any fat and allow it to cool slightly in a bowl. Scoop the cream cheese into the bowl and mix thoroughly with a fork or your hands. Using the same fork or your hands, stuff each of the peppers with the chorizo mixture.

Turn the broiler on high place the peppers on a cookie sheet. Place under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese is bubbling and the peppers start to show signs of being under the heat. I should have left them under a little longer but I was so excited to eat them.

Toss the arugula with the dressing or just drizzle it on the plated greens. Top with a few of the mini peppers. Good luck with that peppers to greens ratio. It’s a tough balance.

Curry with Beef Kofta and Spinach

Remember when I said I was eating out too much? Yeah, just when I think I’m ready to give it up I have two back-to-back meals that rank high up in that realm of “best ever.” It’s been awhile since I’ve been that excited.

Kachka – it was a ‘not-a-date’ night with my friend Jenny. Our catch-up nights always involve dinner somewhere and we end up parking ourselves at a table for a good three hours. I don’t think we’ve ever been disappointed, and Kachka was no different. It’s getting a lot of good press in the food world [Bon Appétit and NY Times, for example], but we managed to get a table without a reservation or a wait. I was really surprised. My knowledge of Russian food is limited, but as usual, I don’t really care about authenticity [although, I hear they hit the mark]. Does it taste good? I’m sold. We opted for their Ruskie Zakuski Experience, which is a sampling of nearly all of their cold small plates, and an order of the cabbage rolls. The food is very smoked fish heavy, and it was so, so, so, so good. Highlights = Baltic Sprat Buterbrodi [tiny smoked fish, parsley mayo, pumpernickel toast], beet cured king salmon, and Herring ‘Under a Fur Coat’ [7-layer salad of herring, potatoes, onions, carrots, beets, mayo, eggs]. My mouth watering just thinking about it. We finished dinner with Russian style ice cream sandwiches made with wafers, black currant tea milk caramel, and hazelnuts. We were talking so much that the ice cream started to melt, but it reminded me so much of an airy, less sweet, cold marshmallow fluff. Everything is better with black currant tea milk caramel.

Kukai Ramen & Izakaya – best. ramen. ever. Not that I’ve had that many bowls of ramen, but I like to think I just save my experiences for the good stuff. Their locations are in the NW, Taiwan, and Japan. Sounds legit enough for me. The garlic tonkatsu shoyu ramen has a thick, rich, garlicky broth. The noodles don’t clump together and have a great texture. Those seasoned half-boiled eggs are the things dreams are made of. I could eat just a bowl of those. Seriously good stuff. I see now, though, why they offer a low sodium version of the broth. It didn’t taste extraordinarily salty, but my god could I feel it later. Sausage fingers. Worth it.

Beef Kofta Spinach Curry

The curry in this recipe is much more Indian than Thai. Garam masala will do that. This is a ridiculously simple curry to throw together. I’m always intrigued when a curry doesn’t have coconut milk. It’s a nice change to get the full on flavor of the spices. It has a whole mess of spinach in it, too, which I will never be bummed about. I could eat spinach all the time. The meatballs come together easily without a binder of some kind, but don’t suffer from texture issues. The key is to brown them, and I mean really brown them, before rotating them in your hot skillet. I’ve learned to resist the urge to move them even though I  want to. If I think they’re ready, I know I need to wait a little longer. This ensures extra flavor while keeping the meatballs together.

The meatballs don’t stew in the curry sauce for that long. It’s a quick and easy meal in that respect. If you want to infuse more flavor, and you have more time on your hands, feel free. It ends up smelling really good, though, so it’s hard to justify waiting.

Inspiration: Fuss Free Cooking


  • 1lb ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 small white or yellow onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 10oz frozen spinach
  • 1 cup of water
  • salt, pepper
  • diced chilies, cilantro, rice for serving


In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of water with 1 tablespoon of garam masala and the teaspoon of turmeric. Mix until smooth. Set aside.

In another bowl, add the ground beef, the other tablespoon of garam masala, and a heavy pinch of salt and pepper. Mix with your hands until combined. Using an ice cream or cookie scoop [or, you know, your hands], roll out little meatballs of a uniform size — approximately a tablespoon. Heat a pan on medium high heat. Space the meatballs out in an even layer. Do this in batches if your pan is too small. Allow the meatballs to brown fully before moving. Set the meatballs aside.

In the meatball pan, add the the onion and sauté until soft and translucent. Turn the heat down to low and add the grated ginger and garlic. Stir quickly and often so it doesn’t burn. Add the turmeric/garam masala mixture to the pan. Sauté for about two minutes.

Add the tomato paste and sauté for another couple of minutes. It should darken in color. Add the chopped spinach and water. Bring the water to a boil before turning the heat back down to a simmer. Cover the pan with a lid. Allow the mixture to simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to break up the frozen spinach if it’s been clumped together. If the curry starts to get dry, add more water. After 10 of the 30 minutes have elapsed, add the meatballs. Try to submerge them as much as possible. Cover and simmer for the remaining 20 minutes.

Now is a great time to make rice if you haven’t.

After 30 minutes, check the curry. Taste for chile flakes or salt. Serve the curry and meatballs with rice. Top with any of your garnishes.


Roasted Vegetable & Cumin Chickpea Bowl

When I haven’t been working 10-13 hours a day [tax time round two!], we’ve been entertaining Andrew’s parents who were in town for a little over week. When people are in town, you know you’re eating way too much well when you’re not showing them things like the Elk Rock Gardens of the Bishop’s Close [cue plug of Andrew’s blog].

Things eaten in the last week: a funguy burger with my favorite fries from Killer Burger, a tuna melt and fat slice chocolate chip zucchini bread at Community Plate, a pile of brisket with horseradish aioli from Radar, a machaca burrito from King Burrito, a buffalo chicken pizza from MOD Pizza, a Jamaican jerk chicken salad from Fire on the Mountain, a Bowl of the Gods acai bowl from Kure Juice Bar, a turkey and brie on a baguette with a cup of fragola pasta salad from Addy’s Sandwich Bar, a lemongrass chicken and crispy pork belly vermicelli bowl from Freshroll, a duck bologna, egg, sauerkraut, coffee mayo and American cheese breakfast sandwich on a parker house roll at Portland Penny Diner, and a bacon cheese burger at Tilt.

Guys, I’m tired of eating out. It happens sometimes. Everything in moderation.

I made a chicken basil stir fry [based on this pork recipe] almost immediately. Simple flavors. A vegetable or three. The body seems to handle only so much butter and salt.

This simple roasted vegetable bowl fits the bill for just what I want after a week of eating out. The vegetables are great on their own, but even better when in a bowl for easy eating with a side of cumin chickpeas. The hardest part is actually getting them to the bowl because I find myself popping a piece of sweet potato here, a piece of broccolini there until half the tray is gone. I’m the type of person that could easily stand there and eat an entire tray of roasted vegetables all to myself. I’ve been known to do it with crudité platters too. Vegetables are a weakness. There are probably worse problems to have.

The original recipe from Minimalist Baker has a three ingredient tahini sauce, that would have been awesome if I actually had tahini on hand. I ate it plain because that’s just how much love I have for roasted vegetables. The cumin chickpeas were really, really, really great. Crispy outsides with soft insides. A bright pop of flavor with every bite.

Sweet Potato Chickpea Bowl


Inspiration: Minimalist Baker


  • olive oil
  • 1 large sweet potato, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 bundle of broccolini, tough stems trimmed and cut into pieces [stalks too!]
  • 1 bunch of kale, torn into bite sized pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 15oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric


Preheat the oven to 400° and line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat. In a bowl, toss the sweet potato and onion in some olive oil and salt and pepper so it’s lightly coated. Spread them out in a single layer on the baking sheet. Place in the oven.

After 10 minutes, toss the broccolini in the bowl with some more olive oil and salt and pepper. Add it to the baking sheet in the oven.

After another 10 minutes, toss the kale in the bowl with some more olive oil and salt and pepper. Add it to the baking sheet in the oven.

While everything is roasting, heat a heavy skillet on medium high heat with some olive oil. Toss the chickpeas in a bowl with all of the spices so that they’re evenly coated. Add the chickpeas to the hot pan. Let them sit for 30-60 seconds to really develop a crispy char before stirring. Adjust your heat if necessary. Once they’re crispy on all sides, and your kitchen smells awesome from all of the spices, remove them from the heat.

When the vegetables are done, you can either serve up individual bowls or mix everything together in one large bowl and go to town. The ones in the small bowl above was just for looks. I totally ate it out of the large bowl.

Coeur D’Alene & Wallace, Idaho

[Part one, two, three, four, five, six]

The end of our trip came quickly. Just like all trips do. The beginning feels like a slow and steady pace. The middle starts to dominate, and before long you’re packing your bag to head home. It sneaks up on you. I spent a lot of time wishing we could have done more, but there isn’t anything too relaxing about running yourself into the ground trying to see anything and everything.

We stayed in an Airbnb while in Coeur D’Alene. It was another detached unit from the main house. They converted their garage into an apartment. It was incredibly clean and cozy. The location was walkable to the lake or downtown, and they even had bikes you could borrow [not that we did].


Coeur D’Alene was a destination on our tour, sure, but it also served as the last stop before the 6+ hour drive home. The city is known for its lake, mostly, so we spent a lot of time walking down by the lake or through town and back at the apartment reflecting on all that we had seen throughout the past few weeks. It’s a lot to digest, and if you don’t write it down in some fashion, you will forget. It’s inevitable.

Since most of this part of the trip was relaxing and redundant, I’ll spare you the mundane details. Highlights included: eating pork tacos and garlic fries and drinking local beer at Crafted Tap House, starting the day with coffee and scones at Calypso Coffee, finally washing the car off from all the road grime, eating our weight in sushi at Syringa Japanese Cafe, and watching the Champions League Final at Capone’s Pub & Grill.


An extremely memorable part of the trip was the time we spent in Wallace, Idaho, a silver-mining town. It’s a small little piece of history. It’s mostly known for being where Dante’s Peak was filmed, but I think you should go there to grab a beer from Wallace Brewing Company and to take a tour of the Oasis Bordello Museum. The bordello was active up until 1988 when the madam and the ladies of the establishment left town because the FBI was coming to visit. Nearly everything was exactly as it was since they left in such a hurry. It’s an amazing piece of history, even if it is a bit seedy.

The heat affects Coeur D’Alene in the summer something fierce, despite being on the lake. We didn’t end up in the water at all, but I wanted to.


It’s a different sort of ending to a trip to come home from a long drive in your car versus a really long flight. The car turned into a moving closet with all the crap I felt like we packed around. We felt infinitely lazier than when we’re out of the country because of the car, too. The number of miles spent on foot dwindles considerably when you have a car at your disposal. The sites are generally more spread out out here anyway.

The takeaways from this trip were: 1) America is beautiful, 2) I’m thankful for national parks, 3) people at national parks can be generally stupid when they treat it like Disneyland, 4) there is good food everywhere5) I could live in Montana [or Jackson, Wyoming, once I with the lottery], and 6) saying yes to pretty much everything is usually a good idea. How else are you going to see the world’s largest potato chip and tour a bordello museum?

Kale, White Bean, and Bacon Salad

There has been a period of time this summer where I would put a [rinsed and drained] can of white beans over greens of any kind and call it a salad day. The combination is refreshing, filling and easy all at the same time. Bonus points for being good for you. Of course the results of these endeavors generally end up not too photogenic [read: ugly] or we end up eating it all before I can take a photo. This was the one exception. Just in time for the rain to move back in.

Kale and I are friends. I enjoy that hearty green flavor that it carries, trendiness be damned. Massaging it in dressing or roasting it can generally make it more palatable for those who don’t share my fondness for green flavors. Substituting something else for the kale wouldn’t be the end of the world. I’ve had something similar with arugula and spinach without any real issue. Go lighter on the dressing if you do. In this case, the dressing is a simple one made of mostly staples that even my kitchen has [except for lemon zest, which I unceremoniously leave out 9/10 times]. Dijon mustard [and mustard in general] will always make me happy. I’m getting the hang of making dressings in a mason jar. The key is to actually get the seal on well enough so when you start shaking it, you don’t end up wearing it. That’s happened. At least twice.

Kale White Bean Salad

The table in the photo is of the new patio table! We haven’t spent nearly the amount of time I expected to out there this summer since the weather has been so unbearably hot and most of my time has been spent studying for CPA exams. When we had been getting out there, we managed to conjure up every nearby flying bug [flies, bees, and mosquitos] to join our party despite the use of mosquito repellant coils and candles. They’ve ran us off a couple of times because it’s just too much. Here’s to hoping the newfound cooler weather and rain runs them off so there can be a few more meals out there among the dying boxwoods and ferns. Seriously, the heat was too much. I’m ready for the partly cloudy, on-and-of rain we’ve been having.

Inspiration: White on Rice Couple


  • 1 bunch of flat leaf kale, ribs removed and torn into bite sized pieces
  • 4 slices of thick cut bacon, double if you can’t get thick, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 15oz can of white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley


In a jar, add the olive oil and the rest of the ingredients through the parsley. Add the lid and shake to mix together. Set aside. Alternatively you could whisk the ingredients in a bowl.

Heat a skillet on medium high heat. Add the bacon pieces. Cook until crispy. Remove them to a paper towel lined plate to drain.

Reduce the heat to medium on the pan and add the garlic for approximately 30 seconds, stirring often so it doesn’t burn and it gets coated in bacon grease. Add the kale to the pan, stirring occasionally until it starts to wilt. Add the beans and the Worcestershire sauce until the beans are warm.

Add the kale and beans to a large bowl. Add the bacon and dressing. Toss to combine and incorporate the dressing.

Serve warm [but it’s equally good cold].