Category: Andrew

Avocado Feta Dip

I spent my birthday weekend in Vancouver BC. Deja vú. I fall in love with that city more and more every time we go and explore more of it. The Portland Timbers have made their way to the MLS playoffs, so we followed them up to Vancouver for their game on the 8th. We would have gone even if it wasn’t my birthday weekend, but it made it a little bit better.

We stayed in an Airbnb in Olympic Village. It was a modern condo that had a Viking range. Swoon. I didn’t cook on it it, but I stared at it lovingly every single day we were there. The rain poured down on our first full day there, but it didn’t stop us from getting out on foot a little bit. Some new favorites from this trip: Rosemary Rocksalt for their namesake bagel, Phnom Penh for some super authentic Cambodian food, Bao Down for a fried chicken steamed bun, Craft Beer Market for 140 beer taps with a high percentage dedicated to Canadian brew, Elysian Coffee for a solid Americano, Japadog for things on hot dogs, and 33 Acres Brewing for the prettiest brewery of all time and their beers are super good to boot. The Timbers won and have moved on to the Western conference finals. It was icing on the cake.

Once my birthday hits, it’s the fast track to the end of the year. I’m all about making foodstuffs for the various events that go out between now and then. I came across this dip in a fit of hunger but wanted something quick. Snacks = meals. So does standing around and eating the giant bowl of potato salad for every meal, but that’s another story. I know more than a few people in my life that would cringe at the combination of flavors in this dip, but that means there is most for me. Depending on your love of feta cheese, you might want to ease into using the whole 4oz depending on the size of your avocado. I love both equally [don’t make me choose a favorite!] so I had no problem committing 110%. I’m sure you could pass on the green onions [scallions, if you’re so inclined] if you wanted, but they’re a nice contrast both in flavor and texture. It reminded me a lot bit of these green onion appetizers that would end up at my parents’ house at family events. Talk about simplicity. Wrap the white part of a scallion in cream cheese. Roll the cream cheese in shredded cheddar. Devour. I’m pretty sure the onion is just a vehicle for cheese, but I am convinced these things are the reason I have no problem eating plain green onions raw as a snack.

Avocado Feta Dip

Inspiration: Green Valley Kitchen


  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 4oz feta cheese
  • Juice of a small lemon [approximately 2 tablespoons or to taste]
  • 3-4 scallions, sliced thin, remove any dry or shriveled ends
  • Cracked pepper to taste


This is one of those things that you have to taste as you go in order to really get the flavor you’re looking for. A little bit of something changes the dynamic entirely.

In the bowl of a food processor, add the diced avocado, feta cheese, and scallions. Remember to use less of the feta if you’re unsure of how much you’re going to like the flavor. Blend until mostly smooth. Add the lemon juice and cracked pepper. Combine. Continue until you get a consistency and taste that you enjoy.

If you don’t have a food processor, you could do it by hand just as easily. I used a small food processor that could barely hold all of the avocado and feta cheese, so the scallions, lemon juice, and pepper were mixed in by hand. I didn’t mind in the slightest. Mmm onion chunks.

I am assuming the lemon juice would keep the dip from turning brown on you, but mine didn’t last long enough to find out.

Korean Tuna Melt

Do you have any of those large Asian supermarkets? We have at least two that I’ve been two, Fubonn and Uwajimaya. They are veritable treasure troves of grocery shopping goodness. I’m equal parts torn about going in here hungry and not hungry. I know going in hungry is asking for trouble since there is so many things I want, but that deli area is so hard to pass up. So. Much. Poke. I want to eat poke by the five gallon bucket. Poke is like Hawaiian fish tartare. Aka raw fish. Delicious diced raw fish or other seafood. It usually marinates in various sauces [soy, shoyu, chili oil, sesame oil, etc] and can have add-ins of seaweed, garlic, green onion, and other fresh ingredients. Again, super hard to not eat it by the bucket full. The freshness of the fish contrasted with the bright flavors of the sauce and add-ins really hits the spot. We went to Uwajimaya last time after devouring a bowl of ramen at Kukai. I was stuffed, and yet we still ate a container of poke in the car like we were pressed for time, toothpicks stabbing each tender cube of fish and/or green onion, shoveling it in.

We went for nothing in particular, only to “walk around,” yet miraculously left with fish sauce, oyster sauce, a large bag of thai chilies, several packages of thai basil, and gochujang [Korean chile paste]. This is probably like going to Costco with less rolls of toilet paper. I’ve been lusting after a container of it it. Lady and Pups’ blog will do that to you. I want to make her chicken galbi ramen, cold and warm salmon scrambled egg rolls, and miso stewed short rib french dip, just to name a few. This stuff is the things my dreams are made of — my delicious, delicious dreams. When these tuna melt nigiri [rice balls] were made, I wanted them. I wanted them badly. I’m also lazy, so I made a sandwich. Tuna melt rice balls can become tuna melts rather easily. Sub bread for rice. It’s a vehicle for that deliciously salty and spicy tuna anyway. And cheese. Gooey cheese.

I kept adding and adding the chile paste. And adding more chile paste. It’s a delicate level of spicy that most people could probably handle. Even my sister. I wanted to go the extra mile with seaweed somewhere, either lining the bread or at least crushed into the tuna mixture, but I had to make due with a liberal sprinkling of gomasio — sesame seeds, sea salt, sea vegetables. Why? See the word ‘lazy’ above. The airy ciabatta rolls at the fridge New Seasons were a solid choice for what I was trying to accomplish here, but I can’t help but wonder if I would have pressed it somehow [cast iron on top of a skillet?] it would have been even better. Melty cheese via the broiler was more than acceptable.

Korean Tuna Melt

Inspiration: Lady and Pups


  • 2 cans tuna in olive oil, drained
  • 2 tablespoons mayo
  • 3-4 tablespoons gochujang
  • 1.5 teaspoons sesame oil + more for brushing the bread
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • Gomasio
  • sliced colby jack cheese
  • ciabatta rolls

Makes 2 stuffed or 4 smaller sandwiches


In a large bowl, add the tuna, mayo, gochujang, 1.5 teaspoons of sesame oil, sriracha, and ginger. Use a form to mix everything together well. Taste. You may want more of something here depending on your tuna and your tastebuds.

Turn a broiler on high. Brush the cut sides of the ciabatta rolls with sesame oil. On the bottoms of the rolls, liberally spread a layer of of the tuna mixture. Top with cheese. Place those halves of the sandwich on a baking sheet and place in the oven.

Let the cheese get nearly melted and bubbly before adding the other sides of the bread to the pan, cut side up. If you don’t do this, expect super crispy bread [read: burnt]. Remove the pan from the oven and Sprinkle the cheesy side of the bread with the Gomasio. Place the top of the roll onto the cheese side. Devour.

Grilled Mixed Paella

I actually used the paella pan!

I was kind of expecting it to sit in my pantry forever a lot longer than it did, but paella has been made. This was the pan we picked up in Boise at The Basque Market on the road trip. It successfully made paella. I’m pretty sure I bastardized it. When researching a good recipe, I came across so many conflicting ways to “correctly” make paella. It’s origins are from Valencia, Spain, and it’s cooked over open flame in the paella pan sometimes called a paellera. From there, there are several types of paellas, do’s, don’ts, and techniques. Two things I did that will probably get shamed is the use of chorizo and not using the correct rice. I didn’t want to buy a separate thing of bomba/Valencia rice. I have a huge bag of jasmine rice in the pantry. You see where I’m going with this. Yes, I used jasmine rice in a paella. I’m not sorry. It turned out just fine. I even got the coveted socarrat, which is the layer of toasted rice at the bottom. It’s a delicacy in Spanish tradition. I’m personally not a huge fan of burnt toasted rice, but all in the name of authenticity.

Of the various types of paellas you can make, I went with the mixed so there would be a little of everything — chicken, shrimp, chorizo, mussels. There is so much flavor going around in the mixed version. Had I added some green beans, it would have been a nod to the Valencia paella tradition, but I didn’t. I was running out of pan space as it was. It’s over here. Olympia Provisions makes a really great Chorizo Rioja by the way. What didn’t make it into the pan made it into my mouth. If there is one thing I’m really, really, really glad I did was buy some saffron. I die a little inside when I see how much saffron costs and how little you’re getting, but it makes the biggest difference. Have you smelled saffron on its own? It smells like paella. I can’t imagine paella without it. Get a few strands. Cherish them.

This all came together really easily. Get everything prepped in advance. The biggest hassle is bringing everything out with you to the grill. Make sure you have everything handy. There are a few steps, but if you have it all near you, it’ll go by quick. That grill gets really hot. Tongs are necessary to move the pan around to avoid hot spots. Changing the type of rice really didn’t make a difference from a timing or broth perspective. I wouldn’t use any sort of brown rice though.

Grilled Paella

I’ve only made the paella once, but the heat changed the color of the pan so it looks well used. I’m into it. Now to make more paella.

Inspiration: Chowhound


  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 16 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1lb boneless chicken thighs, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 8oz cured chorizo, sliced thin
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 2 cups white rice
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 16 mussels
  • salt and pepper
  • parsley and lemon wedges for serving


In a bowl, toss the shrimp in 1/2 of the paprika, salt and pepper. Set aside in the fridge.

Grate or peel and dice the tomatoes. This should yield about 3/4 cup of pulp.

Sprinkle the chicken liberally with salt and pepper.

Heat the grill on high. It should get to 450° – 550°. Hot. Add the paella pan to the grill and let it heat up for a few minutes. This will keep everything from sticking. Add the chorizo. Stir it only a couple of times. Let the fat render and the edges get crispy. Remove the chorizo to a paper towel lined plate. Add a tablespoon or two of the olive oil to the pan depending on how much fat was rendered. I needed both tablespoons.

Add the chicken in a single even layer. Sear each side for several minutes before moving the chicken to the bowl with the chorizo. Add the onions. Stir occasionally so they don’t burn. This may mean moving the pan or turning down the heat. Once browned, add the remaining paprika, garlic, and saffron threads. Stir for only 30 seconds before adding the tomato pulp. Use the juice to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. The color of the tomato will darken as it cooks, approximately three minutes. Add the rice and a teaspoon of salt. Stir to mix thoroughly and the rice is coated in tomato before adding the broth.

Arrange the chicken and chorizo amongst the rice. Bring everything to a simmer. Close the grill and only check on it every few minutes to rotate the pan so it doesn’t burn. DON’T STIR THE RICE. This will help ensure the toasted layer on the bottom. After about 10-12 minutes, the broth should be mostly absorbed. Arrange the shrimp and mussels hinge side down into the rice mixture.

Cook everything for another 10-12 minutes. The mussels should have opened and the rice should be tender. Remove the paella from the grill and cover it with foil. Let it rest for at least five minutes before serving. Toss any unopened mussels and sprinkle the finished product with parsley and a squeeze of lemon.

Jerked Sriracha Pork Tacos

I hit the wall last week. Almost 80 hours in the office. I had nearly 40 by the end of Wednesday. This isn’t a plea for sympathy so much as it’s a statement of the sheer insanity that tax season can be. Hug your local CPA.

I came home early Friday in anticipation for a full Saturday and only wanted to make dinner. Braising meat? Done. Comfort food coming right up. It involves chicken, dark beer, and root vegetables. The recipe is coming soon and it’s a good one.

Roasted meat ranks up there really high on the comfort food scale. Roasted. Like in the oven. Not the slow cooker. The slow cooker does nice things with meat, especially for those of us working in an office setting and want something hearty when they get home without having to wait, but it never tastes the same. No matter how much searing I do beforehand, it’s never the same. I have a secret in the kitchen though. It’s something at my disposal that allows me to bypass the slow cooker. I can prep something the night before or in the morning, leave it in the fridge, and then have Andrew start it for me in the afternoon so it’s ready by the time we want to eat. It’s kind of a win-win. The meat marinates a lot longer and then it gets a trip in the oven instead of the slow cooker. I know not everyone has someone working at home all day, but if you do, take advantage.

This recipe had been calling to me for a long, long time. Jerked anything is a weakness. The jerk chicken skewers at New Seasons are excellent. The Jamaican jerk sauce at Fire on the Mountain is my go-to when I want wings. I hadn’t ever made my own jerk seasoning until now. Lady and Pups always makes food that kills it in the flavor department. Her recipes have never let me down, and I want to make every single one. Since she roasted the pork, I wanted to roast the pork. I didn’t want to dumb it down with the slow cooker. Cue prepping this for Andrew to start in the afternoon. I blended up the Sriracha jerk sauce the night before in the Vitamix which, as I side note, I need to get serviced. All these years of blending finally wore out the gasket or something because it smells funny and leaves grease everywhere. I never thought I’d see the day that I wore out the Vitamin, but there it is.

Korean Jerk Pork Tacos

Andrew popped the pork into the oven after lunch sometime, and the house smelled amazing when I got home. I was kinda lazy at that point and didn’t go much further with that recipe than the pork. I had left over small sweet peppers that I diced up since they’re kind of sweet like the kiwi, and I had a jar of salsa verde on hand. It was just fine. That pork is the star of the show. That meat was so tender and rich. The pork roast I picked up had a lot of fat in it, which is exactly what I want. I’m not afraid of fat, no sir. Homemade roasted tacos on a weeknight? Sold.

Inspiration: Lady and Pups


  • 1.75-2lb pork roast
  • 1/4 cup Sriracha sauce
  • 5 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 3 tablespoons of ginger, diced
  • 3 scallions, white parts only, sliced
  • 1/2 small white onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 teaspoons allspice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • tortillas, salsas, cilantro, sour cream, avocado to serve


Blend all of the ingredients from Sriracha to the salt together in a blender. The smaller the dice the better on the ingredients to make it easier for the blender. Taste for any additional heat and salt. I added some more Sriracha. Spicy please! Pat the pork dry and place it in an oven proof pan. Pour the sauce over the top making sure it’s covering every inch of it. Cover it in foil. You can start roasting it immediately or place it in the fridge until you’re read.

To roast, preheat the oven to 350°. Cut a slit in the foil so there is a place for steam to release. Roast the pork for about four hours. It should be falling apart by that point. Shred it or chop it and mix it thoroughly in the sauce. Serve as tacos, but I bet that would be awesome in a quesadilla now that I think about it. A burrito would be pretty intense. The meat is really rich. Tacos are the perfect vehicle.

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.