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

Ingredients

  • 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]

Preparation

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Preparation

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.

 

Weeknight Porchetta

I’m in the full swing of tax season if you hadn’t guessed. 60 hour weeks leave little time for hanging out in the kitchen other than making cold brew [currently loving some Dark Horse Coffee Roasters — Andrew’s sister hooked us up with a subscription for Christmas]. I actually made dinner on Friday night, a usual Thai stir-fry, and it felt equal parts foreign and awesome. Most often it’s just catered dinners at the office Monday through Thursday and breakfast on Saturday. I eat out 97% of the time for lunch. There is too much good stuff downtown. My latest lunchtime infatuation includes a jianbing from this new cart called Bing Mi. It’s a handheld Chinese crepe full of awesome, but I prefer to liken it to a giant, softer spring roll. Again, full of awesome. And hot sauce.

So this recipe was made a little while back. I feel silly calling this weeknight porchetta, but if Bon Appétit says it is, who am I to argue? If you’ve ever had porchetta, you’ll quickly realize this is anything but. It’s really just a damn good roasted pork loin or two. Let’s be real — tender, roasted pork covered in lots of bacon [seriously buy more than you need], and nestled with a few heads of garlic. Eat all the garlic. I cannot resist roasted garlic.

Roasted garlic side story: We were having a glass of wine at Spoke & Vine late one night and they were prepping food for the next day, which included roasted garlic. They apologized profusely because they weren’t busy and were trying to be efficient. No need to apologize. I could have a roasted garlic candle. They probably exist. I don’t even want to check.

The thing with this pork is to really cover it in bacon. I didn’t heed my own instructions, thus the paltry amount of bacon in the photo. Don’t do what I did. The original recipe called for one pork loin about 1 1/2lbs. New Seasons didn’t have that, so thus the idea to use two. Math is my friend. It worked out just fine. It was nearly fork tender. I didn’t get the fresh herbs and didn’t think I lost that much from the flavor. Pork and garlic steal the show.

Inspiration: Bon Appétit

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2lbs pork loin
  • 2 heads of garlic + 4 cloves, minced
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary + 1 tablespoon, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4-8 slices of bacon depending on your pork loin, you want to cover it

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 425° and prep your roasting pan [mine could have used a shot of cooking spray]. Lay your rosemary sprigs down in the center of the pan and place your pork on top.

In a small bowl, mix together the minced garlic, coarsely chopped rosemary and fennel, salt, and one tablespoon of olive oil. Rub this mixture over the pork. Top with a healthy dose of cracked pepper. Wrap the pork in the bacon. Try to get as much of the surface covered as possible. Tuck the pieces under the loin as necessary.

Slice the heads of garlic in half lengthwise exposing all of the cloves in the middle. Nestle them around the pork loin. Drizzle them in olive oil. Use more than the tablespoon if it’s not enough, otherwise the garlic will dry out when roasting.

Roast the pork for approximately 40 minutes. If you have a thermometer, it should read 145°. Remove the pork from the oven and let rest for five minutes before serving.

Shredded Chicken Tostadas

I’m such a tostada hater. I also spell toastada tostada wrong on the first time through nearly every single time. They’re good. I do like them. I like the crunch. I have a soft spot for Taco Bell Crunchwraps that I don’t indulge in and haven’t in years. But you take one glorious bite of that wonderful pile of Mexican goodness and the tragically fragile toastada tostada shell shatters into about seven hundred pieces and you now have a glorified taco salad on your hands [lap?].

Sidenote: I really had no idea what I was getting into with making a crockpot full of chicken. Chicken in a crockpot can get expensive. Unless you’re finding a good deal on it, buying three pounds of chicken at New Seasons isn’t exactly cheap [but it’s so good!]. It wouldn’t be so bad if it would last longer than two meals, but in this house? Leftovers aren’t really a thing.

The key to this chicken is the “zesty” Italian dressing. Zesty and Italian dressing is kind of redundant, isn’t it?

Sidetone: I can’t read/write/say the word zest without thinking of this commercial. It was made in the 80s. Of course it was.

The dressing is the key to all the flavor. I also added a ton teaspoon of cayenne pepper [Surprised? Me neither]. I think next time I’d split the chicken into 50/50 breasts and thighs. Thighs always retain moisture. The breasts still fell apart and shredded easily once they’ve cooked low and slow in the crockpot for hours, but I’m kind of a sucker for chicken thighs. More flavor. A lot of the chicken was eaten before we’d even opened the package of tostadas. Have I talked about this bean dip yet? It’s fan-freakin’-tastic. Any time I’m making anything remotely Mexican, I’m buying this. I spread it on everything. I eat it by the spoonful. It’s such a nice texture and has good spice for something off a grocery store shelf. This was the glue on the base of my tostada. I was convinced it’d help hold it together [it didn’t]. I ate one topped with fresh romaine, guacamole, and some fresh shredded queso fresco. After that, I just made a salad out of it and broke the shell into chips. That’s way more my style.

Inspiration: Cooking Classy

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2-3lbs boneless chicken breasts, thighs or a mix
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup Italian dressing
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper [optional, I suppose]

Preparation

In a bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients [except the chicken]. Layer the chicken in the bottom of a crockpot. Pour the marinade over the chicken. Place the lid on the slow cooker and turn it on low for 6-8 hours. I had to leave mine in for closer to 9 and it didn’t dry out. It should leave a little bit of of the sauce, but if you shred it in the crockpot and let it sit for another 15-30 minutes, it’ll soak right up.

Serve in anyway that sounds good — tostada, burrito, taco, salad, quesadilla, enchiladas or my favorite, straight into your mouth.

Sausage and Ricotta Pizza

Sausage and ricotta might be my favorite pizza pairing of all time. BBQ chicken a close second but it’s not nearly as traditional. The pesto base is just enough to keep it light but add another layer of flavor. Tomato would be all kind of overwhelming for me. Get the whole milk ricotta. Just do it. Enjoy the fat. It’s delightfully sweet and has an unbelievably good texture. It softens on the heat the grill and becomes little pillows. I want huge chunks of sausage on my pizza, a blast of flavor with every bite. Craving that kind of pizza right now. Grilling pizza is a year round thing. There aren’t any seasons when my grilling is concerned.

Ingredients

  • 1 ball of pizza dough, room temperature if you’ve been storing it elsewhere
  • 1/2c pesto [I bought premade stuff from New Seasons and had leftovers]
  • 4oz mozzarella, shredded
  • 4oz whole milk ricotta
  • 1/2lb ground hot Italian sausage, cooked
  • Oregano, basil, or red chile flakes for serving

Preparation

Preheat your grill to a high heat. You want it really, really hot to start so it’ll crisp up the dough the way you want. You’ll turn it down to medium right before you toss the dough on.

Roll the dough out to your desired thickness. Brush the top with olive oil. Place the oiled side down on the grill. In 3-4 minutes, check for grill marks on the dough. It should be puffed up possibly, but that’ll disappear. If the dough lifts off the grates easily, you’re in good shape. Pull it off the grill, grill-side down onto a baking sheet and return to the kitchen to assemble your pizza.

Brush or spoon an even layer of pesto on the crust. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella on top. Sprinkle the sausage in an even-isn layer. Using a spoon, dot the top of the pizza with dollops of ricotta. Place the pizza back onto the grill. Continue to cook for another 5-7 minutes. The same grill marks will appear and the cheese will be nice and melty.

Remove from the grill. Top with your seasonings. Allow to cool for a few minutes before cutting and eating.

Salmon Tacos and Citrus Salsa

I absolutely love what ancho powder does to salmon. It’s a really robust heat that doesn’t melt your face. It plays nice, honest. I also love the way it looks. That smokey red hue goes great with the pink of salmon [how unintentionally Valentine-y of me]. It’s a nice contrast. I don’t know why I thought salmon tacos were going to be a good idea, but they were. I usually only eat [or make] fish tacos with a white fish like tilapia or halibut. This is a nice change. It’s richer than what you expect from a fish taco, but that’s where the citrus salsa comes in.

It’s a bright, fresh addition. While the citrus salsa is delicious [and spicy, tread lightly with that chile if you’re not a spice fan], cutting it up was a pain. My pith removing skills are weak. I don’t do it often, so I have hardly any experience. I’m sure it gets easier with time, but I am just not all that interested.

Cilantro crema is also a nice addition but totally not necessary. As I’ve gotten older my love for sour cream has dwindled [although now I’m craving a bean and cheese burrito with sour cream something fierce!]. I’ll eat it if it comes standard on or in something, but I’ll hardly ever ask for it. I really don’t buy it unless I’m making some sort of coffee cake or something. Guacamole is my favorite topping, but not something I’d think to throw on these tacos. Next time I’d probably drop the crema and just top with cilantro.

Fish tacos are something I can eat an abundance of. Well, tacos I can eat an abundance of, but fish are extra special. Something about them seems lighter and as such I tend to inhale them at an even faster rate. These were no exception. I’m glad we made a pound of salmon because we definitely ate all of them in one setting because who likes leftover fish tacos? No one.

Inspiration: Eating Well

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • olive oil
  • 1lb salmon fillets, cut into four pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 3 oranges
  • 2 limes
  • 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 serrano pepper, minced
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • cilantro, sour cream, or hot sauce for serving

Preparation

In a small bowl, whisk together two tablespoons of olive oil, the ancho chili powder, and tablespoon of lime juice. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Brush liberally on the flesh of the salmon. Set aside while you make the citrus salsa and slaw.

For the salsa, use a knife to peel the oranges and limes and remove all of the white pith from them. Good luck. This took me forever. Coarsely chop and put into a bowl. Add the teaspoon of cilantro, serrano  pepper, and 2 teaspoons of rice vinegar. Stir to incorporate. Taste for salt. Put in the fridge until ready.

For the slaw, toss together the cabbage, bell pepper, and red onion. Whisk together the 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the remaining 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar. Pour into the cabbage mixture and stir to incorporate. Place this in the fridge until ready to use.

Preheat the grill the medium-high. Grill the salmon skin side down [spray your grates if necessary] for about 8 minutes. Remove the grill and slice each piece in half lengthwise to get your 8 pieces. Remove the skin. Serve in the corn tortillas topped with salsa and slaw.

Gumbolaya

I guess you could really just call this a stew, but that’s not really telling of what kind of awesome goes inside. You know what you’re getting into when you say gumbo or jambalaya. This is just like both of those, taking the great things about them, stewing them in a pot and pouring them over rice.

The spice is going to creep up on you quickly depending on what you go for in terms of sausage and how much cayenne and creole seasoning you use. The hotter the better for us, as usual. I like to blow my nose during the meal. Super classy, right? The rice soaks up all of the tomato juice and helps mellow the kick. I picked up the okra in the freezer section and finally grabbed a jar of filé powder. It’s a gumbo necessity. I don’t cook this stuff often, but ever since the cajun cooking class I’ve been meaning to get some. It adds a bit of flavor and is a wonderful thickening agent. I’ll even throw it on a bowl of curry every now and then if it’s particularly watery.

While you could use chicken breasts for this, I really really really advocate for thighs here. They have so much more flavor and stand up to cooking for longer periods without drying out. The shrimp is optional, but again, I highly recommend it. It’ll add another layer of flavor to this quick dish. It’s not going to benefit from long cooking time. It needs all the help it can get. You do sacrifice a bit of flavor for the sake of time if I’m honest, but sometimes I don’t want to wait. This is perfect for my impatience.

Inspiration: The Cozy Apron

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 1lb andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1lb chicken thighs [or breasts], cut into bite sized pieces
  • 3 celery stalks, small dice
  • 1 large yellow onion, small dice
  • 1 large bell pepper, small dice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon creole seasoning
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2lb okra, sliced
  • 28oz can of tomatoes with juice
  • 2 cups hot chicken stock
  • 1/2lb cleaned and deveined shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • rice, for serving

Preparation

Heat some oil in large Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add the sausage. Let it sit for a minute or two so the oil starts to release from the meat and it starts to brown. Stir accordingly until all sides are heated. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel covered plate. Add the chicken to the pot. Brown it in the oil on all sides. Remove it to the plate with the sausage. Now add the onion, celery, and bell pepper [aka the holy trinity]. Stir occasionally until tender. Add the bay leaves, creole seasoning, cayenne pepper and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine in the oil and vegetables. Add the garlic and stir quickly so it doesn’t burn or stick. It should smell heavenly. Add the tomato paste, stirring for about a minute or two before adding the stock, okra, tomatoes, chicken stock, chicken and sausage. Stir and bring to a boil before turning down to a low simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Finally add the shrimp and cook for about 2-3 minutes and they get color. Sprinkle the parsley and cilantro on top before serving. Oh and remove the bay leaves. Service over rice.

Chorizo Cornbread

This bread! I have to tell you about this bread. I made it for the Super Bowl because snacks are all I care about. I go to parties for the company food because eating is my favorite hobby. If you follow on Instagram, you saw the ridiculous spread of stuff of at my parents’ house. The dining table was packed full of food and then there was pulled pork, chili, and clam chowder on the stove. So. Much. Good. Stuff.

Picking what to make for social gatherings get-togethers parties is equal parts awesome and overwhelming. There are so many choices. I had a whole bunch of things in mind like Pan Roasted Clams with Potatoes and Fennel, Cheddar and Horseradish Dip, and Green Chile Posole. Then Food52 posted this bread on Facebook or something and it was a done deal. New Seasons makes that obscenely good ground chicken chorizo that was perfect for this. The only substitution I made was trying out Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free (GF) flour blend. They don’t kid that it’s a 1:1 tradeoff. I would have had no idea it was a GF flour both in mixing or in the final product. If you’re toying with trying it for you or someone you want to bake for, it’s not a bad idea. It’s not cheap by flour standards, but I don’t bake a lot so it wasn’t a big loss.

The rest of the recipe I followed to a tee. Even the sifting. I never sift a dang thing, but I didn’t want to risk it with the new flour. The result was a deliciously cake-y corn bread. It’s definitely moist, but it has chorizo, cottage cheese, and buttermilk in it. For some reason the majority of the spice baked right out of the chorizo. Every now and then you get a spicy bite, but it’s definitely not constant despite there being a lot of chorizo in there. Since it’s not corn season, I just thawed a bag of frozen corn and used that. I left the bag in my fridge overnight. I was afraid they’d get soggy, but they didn’t.

I’d absolutely make this again. It was great by itself, under a pile of chili or pulled pork, and soon to be smothered in a poached egg. Poached eggs make everything better.

Recipe: Food52

Ingredients

  • 1/2lb ground chicken or pork chorizo
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6oz buttermilk
  • 8oz cottage cheese
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup corn kernels

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 375°. Prep a 9×9 or 11×7 pan with cooking spray or butter.

Brown the chorizo in a skillet on medium heat. Use a slotted spoon to remove the chorizo to a paper towel lined plate. Add the onion to the chorizo grease left in the pan. Stir occasionally. Let the onion soften an start to brown. The little charred bits of greasy onion are pretty awesome. Remove the onion to the chorizo pile once cooked.

In a large bowl, use a sieve and pour in the flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Tap the side of the sieve over the bowl until everything goes through. Push any lumps if you have any. Add the cornmeal and salt. Make a well and add the remaining ingredients, including the chorizo and onion. Stir until evenly distributed and all the flour is wet. This should be thick and relatively dry.

Pour the mixture into your prepared pan and level out. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the top is browned and the top is springy beneath your touch. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before cutting into squares and eating. It’s great cold or warm.

Chorizo Breakfast Tacos

Breakfast tacos don’t seem to get the love they should. Most people talk about their burrito counterparts almost exclusively. Most restaurants pay homage to the burrito. I don’t understand why exactly. Once I saw the other side, I’m beyond interested.

There is a New Mexican restaurant, Pepper Box, that recently opened a brick and mortar from their food cart beginnings. Their breakfast tacos are to die for. The tortillas are fresh and handmade. The chorizo is the things dreams are made of. The potatoes are the perfect crispy exterior and pillowy interior. The eggs are scrambled in the right shape and texture. You can choose your New Mexican chile [green always for me!]. They’re gigantic, flavorful, and perfect. I eat two because I am a glutton for punishment. I justify it with one chorizo and one farmers breakfast with all the vegetables. Equally awesome, just different. They have plenty of other things, but I can’t get over the tortilla, chorizo, and chile sauce. I could eat them every day.

These chorizo breakfast tacos are no where near as good as Pepper Box. They’re good in their own right, but just different. The key is finding really good chorizo. I bounce between the chicken chorizo at New Seasons and the chorizo from the Mexican market down the street. Two distinct flavors. The chicken chorizo is less greasy so that’s a big determining factor when I’m cooking it with other things. I took some time to boil the potatoes so they’d cook faster in the skillet. They gladly soaked up the chorizo flavor. I scrambled the eggs with everything out of laziness. You could get bigger chunks of egg cooking it separately and then adding it after. A bed of arugula is bright and peppery and Mexican crema is a cool, mellow contrast to the spice going on. You could add cheese or salsa or avocado or whatever your heart desires […or you already have in the fridge].

Ingredients

  • 1 Yukon gold potato, diced evenly
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped small
  • 1/2lb ground chorizo
  • 6 eggs
  • 6 tortillas
  • arugula
  • crema, cilantro, salsa, cheese, avocado, for serving

Preparation

Put the chopped potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for approximately five minutes or until they pierce easily with a fork. Drain and set aside.

While the potatoes cook, heat a skillet on medium high heat. Add the onion. Cook for a few minutes until the onions start to soften. Add the chorizo the chorizo. When it’s almost done, add the potatoes. Sauté the potatoes in the chorizo. Let each side of the potato sit for a couple of minutes before stirring so the edges get crisp.

Whisk the eggs together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the eggs to the pan with the potatoes and chorizo. Cook for a few minutes until the eggs are set. On eat tortilla add a small handful of arugula. Divide the eggs equally on a tortillas. Top with crema, cilantro, and any other items you have.

Chicken Tikka Masala (Crock Pot)

Before I make good on my promise of a crock pot recipe, can we just talk about The People’s Pig for a minute? Not the cart [even though the cart is awesome, too]. I want to talk about their new brick and mortar BBQ spot. I’m just going to say it’s taken the place of the best BBQ in Portland for me. It’s not a large menu, but it’s a good one. Pork and chicken and a handful of sides. The portions are ridiculous [as it should be for BBQ], and the flavor is out of this world. The smoked pork isn’t quite pulled but isn’t quite slabs and it has the most unbelievable char in spots reminiscent of the burnt ends you can get in Kansas City. It’s fall apart tender. The sauce comes on the side for your smothering pleasure. The greens are braised in a deliciously meaty braising liquid. The ribs are fall off the bone tender with a lovely pink smoked color and equal parts deliciously smoky char. I’m in love with this place. It looks like a little country hole-in-the-wall. The kind of place that you don’t feel ironic or kitschy drinking out of a mason jar. It’s freaking awesome.

Anyway, enough waxing poetic about BBQ. Let’s talk about another pot of meaty deliciousness [sorry, not sorry vegetarian friends]. I haven’t made a whole lot of Indian food, but I eat my fair share of it from food carts downtown. This tastes kind of legitimate, which is all I really care about. Does it taste good? Authentic is secondary. I went full on fat with the dairy. I know I really shouldn’t be eating it, but if I am going to, it’s going to be worth while. Full-fat Fage Greek yogurt and some organic heavy cream. The goods. It all comes together unbelievably easy. I made the sauce the night before and let the flavors meld together all night and then put everything in the crockpot in the morning. I really feel bad making crock pot meals sometimes because Andrew works from home and has to smell it cooking all day. My guilt is assuaged when I get a text message on the way home from work that he tested it [quality control!] and tells me how good it is. We’re even.

The chicken is pretty tender. I wish I would have used chicken thighs, and I will next time. Chicken breasts just have a tendency to dry out a little more, even when bathing in a mess of dairy for hours. I whipped up some rice and steamed spinach and called it a meal. A damn good one, too.

Inspiration: Cooking Classy

Ingredients

  • 3lbs chicken thighs or breasts, chopped into bite sized chunks
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • 29oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cracked pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • rice, steamed vegetables, cilantro for serving

Preparation

In a bowl mix together all ingredients from the onion to the cracked pepper. Let it sit overnight in the fridge if you’d like, but it’s not necessary. When you’re ready to start the crockpot, pour half of the mixture into the bottom of it. Add the chicken chunks and pour the rest of the mixture on top. Add the bay leaves. Cook on low for 8-9 hours.

When the time is up, test to make sure the chicken is fall apart tender. Whisk together the cream and cornstarch in a separate container. Pour the cream into the crockpot. Stir to incorporate throughout. Remove the bay leaves. Let the mixture cook for another 20 minutes before serving.