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Friday, June 25, 2010

Dinner with Mom - beanies with chipotle and green chiles

My Mom is a whiz with beans. She soaks them overnight and then cooks them with chipotle peppers (you can freeze these in ice cube trays and just pull them out as you need them), green chiles and ground beef (in moderation). She had some au jus (stock) she had leftover from a roast so she put that in last night's beans. They were so tender, spicy and delicious.

She came over last night with her beanies, and also brought some cut roma tomatoes. I provided cut bell pepper, jicama and bolillo rolls.

We went swimming and then ate while watching the movie "Couples Retreat" with Vince Vaughn. It is pretty silly.

The last time she visited I gave her a can of pinto beans and she made tostadas with them. She said the quality of the beans (a Food City brand) was very good and she enjoyed them a lot. So, we share beans between the generations. Hokey?

Happy eating.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Italian Beef sammie - Niro's Gyros

Sharon treated me to dinner tonight and I met her in her neck of the woods, which is close to Niro's Gyros...lucky for her. I had an Italian beef sammie that was very tasty (lean, too) and she had a gyro which she enjoyed immensely. We shared a greek salad and had hummus that she made herself. Way to go, Sharon! And some lentils too. She is a really good cook! And she gave me some pudding dessert to take home that has chocolate pudding, butterscotch pudding and natural peanut butter. It sounds like a tasty combination but I couldn't possibly manage it after our huge feast.

I would go back to Niro's for Italian beef again, but in the future when I get it to go, I will order it with the "au jus" on the side...otherwise your bread can get a bit soggy by the time you get it home.

Niro's is at 10826 S. 48th St. in Phoenix. 480-753-6476

In the spirit of full disclosure, one of the reasons I couldn't manage dessert tonight is because I had a diablito - a Mexican slushie - about an an hour and a half before I met Sharon. It had to do with errand running and trying to find a cool place to hang out for an hour - which it turned out not to be (cool that is, maybe their a/c was on the fritz) but my slushie made up for that. Go to La Reyna Michoacana on 32nd Street just a few blocks north of McDowell. They have tortas (Mexican sandwiches), popsicles and different kinds of shaved ice treats with chopped fruit.

Reyna Michoacana 2601 North 32nd Street in Phoenix.

Sorry folks, no pictures this time. Too distracted eating...

What's for dinner - going Greek

I'm having dinner tonight with my good friend Sharon. She said there is a place near her that has really good gyros. I am fond of the humble gyro. I get them near me at Z's Greek at 40th St./Indian School Road. They are really stuffed and the quality is very good. Excellent tzatziki.

Will let you know where we end up eating and post a picture.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lamb chops and Greek salad

Greek salad is perfect on a hot summer day.

Juicy lamb chops are a rare treat.

Today for lunch I'm making two lamb chops my aunt gave me recently. She told me to sear them on both sides for 3-4 minutes each and then let them rest in the pan (covered) for 5 minutes off the heat and they will finish cooking.

She also said to sprinkle them beforehand with Italian seasoning, which I do have on hand. If you don't, you can make it yourself with marjoram, thyme, rosemary, savory, save, oregano and basil. I also added a little salt and pepper.

These browned nicely on each side with a little olive oil. On the side I made a Greek type salad with a half a cucumber, a roma tomato and fresh basil, with a vinaigrette dressing. In the spirit of full disclosure, the basil is frozen but it works just as well.

You can get great fresh basil at Trader Joe's or at Fresh & Easy.

The next time I make lamb chops I'm going to cook them the same way but then plunk them down in some spaghetti sauce and let them cook a few minutes, and serve with spaghetti. Mmmmmm.

Happy lunching.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Peas and Prosciutto - from Orangette blog

This came from Orangette blog, another food blog I really enjoy.

I'm going to make it with bacon, because that's what I have on hand. I also do a simple mock version of this with canned peas and bacon and serve it with some french bread (and a glass of red wine if it's available). This is a tasty meal, even though it is so simple. You gotta try it.

Peas and Prosciutto
Adapted from Italian Easy: Recipes from the London River Café, by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers

The original version of this recipe calls for fresh peas, but I used frozen instead. If you choose to use frozen, I recommend buying the kind labeled “petite peas,” which tend to be smaller and sweeter. If you think of it, try to defrost them slightly before using them here. But if not, just bang the bag around on the counter to break up any big clumps.

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
1 spring onion or 2 scallions, chopped
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1 lb. fresh or frozen peas
Freshly ground black pepper
About 2 ½ ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into bite-size pieces

Melt about half of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook slowly to soften. Do not allow to brown. Add the peas, stir to combine, and then add the remaining butter. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas are tender and sweet, about 10 minutes. Add the prosciutto, and stir to mix. Then turn off the heat, cover the skillet, and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Taste, and season as needed.

Serve warm.

Yield: about 4 side-dish servings

Red Cabbage Soup - from thirtyaweek blog

I'm a big fan of cabbage so I'm going to make this soup. It comes from, one of the food blogs I really enjoy.

I think it would be good with some rye bread and butter. I might throw in a couple of pieces of fried bacon that my Mom gifted me with today. She also made me an awesome blt on whole wheat bread.

I digress.

Make this soup, as it looks economical, and well...yummy.

Red Cabbage Soup


  • teaspoon or more (if you like) of olive oil
  • half an onion, chopped
  • half a cup of white wine (or water)
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup pasta shells
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste

To Do:

  1. Heat oil in a large pot and add the onion. Sautee until onion gets soft and translucent (about 5 minutes) and then add wine.
  2. Add the cabbage and stir it around a bit. Stir in the broth and the chopped carrot. Add a little bit of salt and pepper here.
  3. Bring the heat down to a simmer and let it cook for about 10 minutes. If you want to add more broth or water, go ahead (this wasn’t a measured process).
  4. Add the pasta and paprika and bring the soup to a boil for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat and cook for another 5 minutes or so.
  5. Taste and add salt and pepper until it tastes great. Serve.

Banana Nut Bread

This is a tasty bread. Make some for yourself tonight.

Tonight I am baking just to be in the kitchen. I didn't have a particular craving but I had bananas on hand and I like the smell of this bread as it is baking. It is very good for breakfast or as a snack with a big latte or earl grey tea and milk.

This recipe comes from the Tara Tucker Book. Tonight I made it with 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon since I am out of nuts. Cinnamon always smells good baking.

Here's what you need:
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar (I like Zulka moreno - find it at Food City)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice (I used lime and it has worked well in the past)
1 cup chopped walnuts

Combine butter, sugar and cream. Add eggs and beat. Mix in bananas and then dry ingredients. Bake in a loaf pan at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. It might need extra time depending on what type of loaf pan you use.

Happy baking.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tasty eats at St. Luke's Hospital

One of the nice (and talented) chefs at St. Luke's Hospital with his wares.

When I think of a dining experience, food doesn't usually come to mind. Well today I had breakfast that was catered by the nice chefs at St. Luke's Hospital, and wow, they do amazing things with food. There were homemade pastries, omelet, salsa, fruit, yogurt, etc. and all was presented very nicely. One of the chefs agreed to have his picture taken with the finished products (see photo).

I had a huge croissant, fruit and a bottled water. The croissant was super flaky with some type of marmalade that had a ginger flavor. Very interesting and tasty.

This breakfast was served at an Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce meeting where small business people can network, help each other and find new business. At every meeting I meet interesting people who work hard and also do work in the community. Today I was talking with a nice young man who volunteers at Big Brothers. I think that's a great organization.

So, to all you naysayers out food can be good!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Dinner and a movie - with Mom

A juicy watermelon from Sprouts.

My Mom came over for dinner tonight and we watched Garcia Girls together. She really enjoyed it. Elizabeth Peña did such an amazing performance, as did America Ferrara. I'm a big fan of both actresses.

We dined on a tortilla (Spanish omelet) that I made with 5 eggs, 1 large baking potato and olive oil. On the side we had sliced jicama, bell pepper and tomatoes. Mom made her tortilla into a sandwich with a bolillo roll and I had one too, but on the side. She remarked that these rolls (Food City has them 4 or 5 for $1.00 - cheap) would also make good bacon lettuce and tomato sandwiches. I had to agree.

She also mentioned that Fry's has Hebrew National hot dogs on sale right now for $2.00. I told her that I have heard they will freeze if you don't use them all and she said she thought that was right. Hmmmm. I think hot dogs are in the kitchen wench's future...

For dessert Mom went to Sprouts and bought a big watermelon that she sliced in two once she got here and gave half to me. We were actually too full to eat any so in the refrigerator it went, waiting for a snacking experience.

Good times. A simple meal, some catch-up conversation. Well overdue.

Happy eating.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Snow cones, raspados, etc article

I love that did this article. And it is fitting that I make it my 300th post, as my blog name is As you know, a chamoyada is a Mexican snow cone with fruit (tamarind, mango, strawberries, pineapple, etc), chamoy, asian peanuts, lime juice and serpentinas (tamarind candy). Go to Oasis Raspados and get yours today! Locations in Phoenix and Mesa.

I am seriously thinking about getting one of the ice crushers mentioned in the article below, the Hamilton Beach Snowman. I saw one today on ebay for $18 plus $5 postage. A steal! Imagine how many chamoyadas I could make over the summer....


The Snow Cone Grows Up

Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Shaved-ice offerings from Cascabel Taqueria include, from left, the Mexicano, with vanilla bean and nutmeg, blueberry-pomelo and limon. More Photos »

FIVE THOUSAND pounds of ice: as heavy as a young elephant, or five wading pools filled to the brim. Dylan Williams, the owner of Beaucoup Nola Juice in New Orleans, hauled it all in a refrigerated truck from New Orleans to Manchester, Tenn., last week, to supply his snow cone stand at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.

Evan Sung for The New York Times

Nathalie Jordi of People’s Pops shaves ice in Chelsea Market. More Photos »

Chad Batka for The New York Times

Dylan Williams, the owner of Beaucoup Nola Juice in New Orleans, serving shaved ice last week at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. More Photos »

He also had a pile of watermelons, jugs of mango and pineapple juice, and two SnoWizards, stainless-steel contraptions that produce the silky, fluffy ice shavings required for a true Louisiana “snoball.”

A snoball is to a snow cone as Warren Beatty is to Shirley MacLaine: closely related, but prettier, smoother and infinitely cooler. “In New Orleans, you can get killed if you call it a snow cone,” Mr. Williams said.

And no wonder — a snow cone is usually a mound of crunchy hailstones sitting in a pool of synthetic sugar syrup. The ice is crushed into pellets that send shivers up into the brain, and the flavoring has no chance of being absorbed into the ice.

But there is another way. A way of scraping ice so that it falls softly into cups like a January snowfall, and soaks up flavor the way dry ground soaks up rain in July. This is shaved ice, and it is a game-changer.

American food lovers, who seem to be re-examining every humble snack — beef jerky, pretzels, soft-serve — for artisanal potential, are now turning their attention to shaved ice. They are abandoning the Day-Glo aesthetic and fake flavors that they grew up with in favor of the true colors of summer fruit.

The new snow moguls draw inspiration from a whirling blizzard of these treats around the world: Hawaiian shave ice, Mexican raspados, Korean bingsu, Baltimore sky-blue “snowballs” topped with marshmallow, and Taiwanese bao bing flavored with palm sugar syrup. Indian golas and chuskis, sold by street vendors or gola wallahs, are flavored with rose, cardamom, orange and saffron. (A popular source is Saffron Spot, an Indian ice cream parlor in Artesia, Calif., south of Los Angeles.)

Most of them hail from places where summers are hot, and fruit plentiful: Latin America is packed with shaved ice treats, like Nicaraguan piraguas — named for their pyramid shape — Cuban granizados, and frío-frío (cold-cold) from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

“I’ve seen them in Cuba, I’ve seen them in Uzbekistan, I’ve seen them in Korea,” said Nathalie Jordi, an owner of People’s Pops in New York City, who makes shaved ice topped with organic and local fruit syrups. “It’s the simplest possible summer dessert.”

Fresher than Fresh is a snow cone start-up in Kansas City, Mo., owned by Lindsay Laricks, a graphic designer who grows many of the herbs for her blackberry-lavender and watermelon-basil syrups. Ms. Laricks sells her snow cones out of a 1957 Shasta trailer at local markets and art openings. “The trailer looks like a canned ham, but the snow cones are all natural,” she said. “I hope to completely reinvent the snow cone.”

At Pulino’s, an ambitious new pizza restaurant on the Lower East Side of New York, the pastry chef Jane Tseng freezes a purée of almonds, sugar and water, then sends it through the fine grating blade of her Robot Coupe R2N so that a light almond-flavored snow gathers in heaps. It tastes like essence of tortoni, sweetly fleeting.

Instead of having the creamy texture of a sherbet (which is churned like ice cream), or the crunch of crushed ice, or the large ice crystals of a granita, properly shaved ice is soft and snowy on the tongue, and disappears instantly when pressed against the palate. The technology for shaving ice runs from Ms. Jordi’s simple approach (a large block of ice and a shaver) to the complex (the Japanese-made Hatsuyuki HF500, priced about $1,500).

Shaved ice is a wonderful carrier for fruit flavor, skimming lightly across the taste buds, beautifully demonstrated by Ms. Jordi’s lemon-plum combination, or the dry apple-grape concocted by the chef Daniel Holzman of the Meatball Shop on the Lower East Side

Mr. Holzman is the proud owner of a Hatsuyuki, which devotees say earns its price by making perfect shaved ice from regular ice cubes. Most machines require specially shaped blocks that can take days to freeze. (A comparison of home ice shavers is below.)

The notion of “perfect” shaved ice — dry, light, with the slightest possible crunch — becomes clear from one’s first mouthful (“bite” would be too strong a word) of the bingsu at Koryodang, a Korean cafe in the trend-loving heart of Koreatown in Midtown Manhattan. The ice here is powder-soft; the house-made green tea “sauce” that’s poured over it is milky and lush, but with no heaviness.

This is the modern version of patbingsu (kakigori in Japanese), a traditional and basic treat of shaved ice with sweet bean paste. Popular in many parts of Asia, bingsu has morphed into huge, tottering sundaes like the ones at Koryodang and its neighbor, Ele Cafe. (Many Filipino sweet shops also make versions of this treat, called halo-halo.) Chunks of mango and strawberry, scoops of ice cream, whipped cream, toasted mochi, tapioca balls, Froot Loops, canned corn and every color of bean adorn the most over-the-top creations. For a more restrained version, the Excellent Pork Chop House in Manhattan’s Chinatown serves shaved ice with just a caramel sugar syrup, roasted peanuts and a drizzle of condensed milk.

But Mexico might win the global prize for best, or at least most, variations on shaved ice. As they do with juices (aguas frescas) and ice pops (paletas), Mexico’s cooks expertly wring all the flavor out of fruit in their raspados. Even a modest pushcart in a beach town may boast of its delicious treats with flavors like pineapple, coconut, quince, tamarind, mango with chili, apricot, rose petal and guava.

“It’s hard to imagine any place being more creative with ice and fruit,” said Fany Gerson, a pastry chef and author of the forthcoming “My Sweet Mexico” (Ten Speed Press). Ms. Gerson grew up in Mexico City, worked as a pastry chef in the United States and returned for a year and a half of research into the influences that shaped Mexico’s tradition of sweets: native fruits, Aztec kings, Spanish nuns and French chefs.

Apart from basic fruit raspados, she said, there are special treats like the challengingly sour chamoyada, which incorporates shaved ice and chamoys, a childhood treat of salted, sweet fruit spiked with chili powder found at candy stores all over Mexico.

“It just explodes in your mouth,” Ms. Gerson said. She is planning to serve a chamoyada when her new paleta business, La Newyorkina, finds a home as a full-fledged Mexican ice cream parlor.

Abraham Carlos, the Puebla-born chef at Cascabel Taqueria on the Upper East Side, was recently charged with inventing raspados that would reflect both the playfulness of the restaurant and the ambitions of its food. “We wanted them to be inventive and delicious, and also to be something you might add a shot of tequila to,” said David Chiong, one of the owners. The results are beguiling treats in a range of fruity, smoky and spicy flavors, topped with colored sugar, chocolate sprinkles and maraschino cherries. The Mexicano combines vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, anise and chocolate in a way that sounds unlikely yet works beautifully. (Although the Limon, with lime juice and pasilla chili powder, goes better with tequila.)

Mr. Williams, who decorated his stand at Bonnaroo with Mardi Gras beads, uses lightly sweetened fresh juices and eschews colorings on his snowballs, both radical breaks with New Orleans tradition. Like other local treats such as the po’ boy, the New Orleans snoball has qualities unique to that city. Mysterious flavors like “nectar,” “orchid” and “ice cream” predominate, and each flavor can be made in a cream version, so it is possible to order, say, a “cream of ice cream” snowball at institutions like Hansen’s Sno-Bliz, where the same ice-shaving machine has been in use since the 1930s, or at Plum Street Snoball, where the owners make their own condensed milk for drizzling on top.

“There’s always going to be a kid who gives his mom a hard time because I don’t have purple,” Mr. Williams said. “But people who care how things taste seem to like mine better.”

After last summer, Ms. Laricks and her blackberry-lavender snow cones already had enough of a following in Kansas City to inspire dreams of a snow cone empire. Like a number of new, small-scale entrepreneurs, she applied for funding at, where anyone can pledge money to support a start-up business that sounds promising. Last week, ahead of schedule, Fresher than Fresh surpassed its goal of $6,000, pledged by 235 backers, most of them customers.

“I think people have very affectionate feelings toward snow cones,” said Ms. Laricks, who uses a Hawaiian-style shaving machine. “I know that what I’m making is actually shaved ice, but that sounded too snooty for Kansas City.”

Putting Home Ice Shavers to the Test

Commercial ice-shaving machines cost thousands of dollars, but some low-tech home versions have recently come onto the market, for about $25 to $35. The two simplest, the Back to Basics (also called the Hawaiice) and the Hamilton Beach Snowman, both work well, if noisily, with ice cubes. The mechanics of these are simple: a plastic cup filled with ice has a blade on the bottom. A motor spins the ice while you press down, forcing it over the blade. It takes about a minute to shave enough heaps of dry, fluffy snow for four snow cones.

The machines work even better with the provided ice molds, though that requires some planning. The molds can be filled with plain water, or with mixtures of water, fruit purées and syrups to produce flavored snow (try making café con leche ice, then topping the snow with chocolate syrup). I plan to put some favorite sorbet, granita and cold-soup mixtures through the shaver, as the texture is so lovely and the process so simple.

A more complicated Hamilton Beach device, the Icy Treats, can supposedly be used to mix frozen cocktails as well as for shaved ice, but in my experience it didn’t do a good job of either.

The machines go in and out of stock, according to season, but can usually be ordered, or from, (800) 742-8334.

Marble cake with chocolate - direct from Germany

The finished cake. This looks yummy...

Your batter will look like this.

My girlfriend Yecla forwarded a recipe today (with pictures) that is a marble cake with chocolate that she made for her son Noah's birthday.

Looks delicious.


Add the ingredients in this order, 300 grams of butter, 275 grams of sugar, a little vanilla sugar (maybe a tablespoon), 5 eggs, a pinch of salt, 500 grams of flour (she uses whole wheat) and one package of baking powder (the equivalent here would be 1 teaspoon). At the end you mix a little milk with cocoa powder and you mix it in the batter a little so there are two colors, white and chocolate.

Bake at 180 degrees for 60 minutes.

Afterwards you let the cake cool, and melt some chocolate in a double boiler to cover as a frosting.


Añadir los ingredientes en este orden: 300g de manteqquilla, 275g de azúcar, un poco de azúcar de vainilla, 5 huevos, y un poquito de sal, 500g de harina, la mia es harina integral, 1 paquete de baking powder, y al final se mezcla un poquito de leche con cacao y se mezcla un poco para que haya dos colores, blanco y chocolate.

Después meterlo en el horno a unos 180°C durante unos 60 minutos.

Despues deshacer el chocolate para cubrir, calentandolo al baño maría. Y poner por encima del pastel, ya un poco frío.

Mmmm how good does this sound?

The kitchen wench delivers, in English and en Español.

Happy sweeting.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Healthy snacking - mango with chili powder and lime

Mango with chili powder and lime juice is healthy and tasty.

Food City had mangoes on sale last week 5/$1.00, which is almost free.

Today I decided to slice one up and put chili powder and lime on it. If you have not tried this combination, you must!

This also works well with cucumbers.

Note: Mango in Spanish can also mean a good looking guy.

Good to know!

Happy snacking.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Empanadas de cajeta (caramel) and tortillas

Caramel empanadas and tortillas from Marisol

I was gifted some caramel empanadas and flour tortillas today...thanks go out to the giver (you know who you are) and to Marisol, the baker.

This is where I get sappy.

My empanada and tortilla connection most likely is moving out of state soon. I am very broken up about this, but alas, SB 1070 is not forgiving to mis amigos Mexicanos.

I don't have the words readily available to describe my feelings about a good friend leaving, except:

Te echaré de menos...

Fennel and Red Pepper Salad - from

Fennel and Red Pepper Salad

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

This is one of my favorite salads. I make it for buffets all the time because it never gets soggy — the longer the vegetables marinate, the tastier the salad is.

Each week this series will present recipes around a particular type of produce or a pantry item. This is food that is vibrant and light, full of nutrients but by no means ascetic, fun to cook and a pleasure to eat.

For the salad:

1 pound trimmed fennel bulbs, quartered and cut into very thin crosswise slices

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut in thin 2-inch slices

1 to 2 tablespoons minced parsley

1 tablespoon minced chives

1 ounce shaved Parmesan

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or champagne vinegar

1 small garlic clove, very finely minced or puréed

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. Toss with the salad and serve.

Yield: Serves six.

Advance preparation: This is a great keeper. The vegetables marinate in the dressing, and they don’t get soggy, just saturated and extremely tasty.

Nutritional information per serving: 137 calories; 11 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 4 milligrams cholesterol; 8 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 128 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during cooking); 3 grams protein

Martha Rose Shulman can be reached at

This looks delicious. Can't wait to make it. - kitchen wench

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Duck & Decanter

A birdhouse adorns a tree outside Duck & Decanter.

Curried chicken salad on a croissant.

This is the place to be!

Back in the day when I was just a sprout in the early 70's I remember going to Duck & Decanter in Central Phoenix. Back then, it was a sprawling park-like setting, with many hills, ducks and ponds. I remember rolling down those hills and eating small fruit candies that were packed in a little tin. I also remember all of their pickles being wrapped individually in tin foil that would come with your sandwich, along with a piece of hard candy.

It was the stuff. Great stuff.

Today the Duck has a smaller land mass, Alberton's occupies some of the old property and it is a little surreal to think about that. Progress, I suppose.

Jason treated me to lunch after we went to the Crawling Squid and he got another tattoo. He has four total now and seems to be quite addicted. The guys at Crawling Squid are real pros, so get yourself down there (27th Ave./Bethany) if you need cool ink.

At the Duck I had chicken curry salad on a croissant (see picture) with a lime Perrier (yes I'm a food snob) and Jason had some type of finely shaved ham on a ciabatta roll with melted cheese with a Coke. He enjoyed his sandwich very much and also had a pasta salad with yummy veggies and salami.

It's good to have a partner in crime to get tattooed with and consume good eats!

Get yourself to Duck and Decanter for tasty sandwiches. They also have many sweets, imported cookies and different types of candies and baked goods like Fairytale Brownies and carrot cake.

They also have many wines by the glass and beers in the bottle and on draft also, I believe.

There is a fun outside seating area that is perfect for our fair days in Arizona. Today was unseasonably cool, so it was very pleasant to eat our sammies outside amongst the spritely small birds that Jason kept feeding, and they kept coming back. Persistent ones! (birdhouse pictured)
1651 E. Camelback Rd. Phoenix 602-274-5429

Oven fries

Yummy oven fries

I finished the pasta salad for lunch and now it's onto...oven fries. Sometimes I have a craving for what I would call "bar food" which is mostly fried things i.e. hot wings (mmm), fried zucchini, fried mushrooms, etc.

Do you know who makes really good hot wings? Hazelwood's Bar, conveniently located a few hundred yards from where I live. Yes, it's almost too convenient. Once in awhile I get a dozen wings to go with extra veggies. I just love the snap and taste of raw carrots and celery. Yes, rabbit food, I know...but my Mom always had it around when we were kids; we ate a lot of it, mostly a la ants on a log (celery with peanut butter and raisins on top). It is still one of my snacking favorites today.

I digress.

There are a couple of russets in the frig that are begging to be made into fries today, so that's what I'm doing. I preheated the oven to 415 degrees and soaked some wedge cut potatoes in ice water for 5 minutes. Then I dried them thoroughly and placed them on the baking sheet lined with foil and doused with a good amount of olive oil.

The weather is nice today, it just rained and all of the windows are open so I don't mind turning on the oven, which I normally don't care to do in our hot summer months.

These will cook about 15 minutes, then I will flip them and give them another 15. I sprinkle them with kosher salt when they come out pat them with paper towels to get rid of excess oil. Personally I am a fan of catsup but I have heard in some countries they are eaten with mayo. In all likelihood, I would probably not turn down a batch of fries, no matter what they were served with.

I received an email recently from a nice lady who lives in NY and works at Lenny, where they design amazing, beautiful and modern swimsuits. She's from Chandler originally. When I told her I was also from AZ and I'm a foodie she said I must go to New York for eats. She discovered her inside foodie when she moved there, trying many different types of foods. A trip to New York would be so great. There is a tour, I understand, of ethnic neighborhoods where you can just walk around and eat all day long, going from an Italian neighborhood, moving on to a Polish neighborhood, and a Puerto Rican neighborhood, etc. How yummy and interesting does that sound? That's for me.

Again, I digress.

Now, if I didn't have somewhere else to be later this afternoon I would have my bar food with beer or a gin with seltzer (the kitchen wench's version of gin and tonic). But, I'm driving in awhile, so it's iced tea, at least for now. But later today, perhaps, a drinking experience. A sweet vermouth with lemon sounds really good...the kitchen wench is easily distracted, as you can see.

Happy lunching.

AJ's scones - Chicago Hamburger Co.

I needed a sugar rush this morning so I went over to AJs on Camelback and 44th Street and picked up a blueberry scone and a palmier. Just inhaled the scone with a big latte, and saving the palmier for tomorrow.


Just learned that Chicago Hamburger Co (basically right across the street from me) at 38th St./Indian School has Italian beef sandwiches. How come I didn't know this? New Times just did a post on a place in Scottsdale and they said this place has ho-hum Italian Beef but that the good stuff is just across from me. According to New Times, their gardinera (sort of like Italian chunky salsa made with peppers) is homemade. Yes! Whoohoo! I can't wait to go over there and get one.

There's some pasta salad that is coming to room temperature in my kitchen which I will consume most likely before noon. After that, I'm not sure...

Happy eating.

Vietnamese pork sandwich - from food

I can't wait to make this sandwich. If you are too lazy, go to Lee Lee in Chandler, they make Vietnamese baguette sandwiches and they are so delicious with many different lunch meats, pate and pickled veg.

Caramelized Pork Bánh Mì

By monkeymom, posted 10 days ago

Photo: Sarah Shatz

Amanda & Merrill's Notes:

The caramelized pork could be a recipe all its own, but we sure do like it in this sandwich, as well. Most bánh mì are made with a rich and fatty ground pork -- this seasoned pork tenderloin gives the sandwich character. Make sure you use a light airy roll with a crisp crust -- bánh mì is all about the interior. - A&M

This recipe is participating in the Your Best Pork Sandwich Contest Vote

These Vietnamese sandwiches are the perfect fusion of French and Asian cuisines. Bánh mì are usually very inexpensive and come with many different types of fillings. But my favorite is this one, with juicy, seared pork that goes perfectly with the crunchy pickled and fresh vegetables. Pâté is typically in bánh mì and though I list it as optional, doesn’t french bread just taste great with pâté? - monkeymom

Serves 4-6

Caramelized Pork and Bánh mì Assembly:

  • 1-1.5 pound pork tenderloin
  • 3 tablespoons Fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Maple Syrup
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 slice ginger, minced
  • 1 green onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 loaf sweet French baguette (thin) or french bread sandwich rolls. Try to get the kind of French bread with a crisp crust and tender light center.
  • red leaf lettuce
  • pickled carrot and radishes (see below)
  • sliced jalapeno chili peppers
  • cilantro
  • Pâté (optional, but recommended)
  • mayonnaise
  1. Cut tenderloin across the grain of the meat into ½ inch pieces. Flatten each piece to an even ¼ inch between two pieces of saran wrap using a meat pounder, rolling pin, or large bottle.
  2. Mix ingredients from fish sauce to black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning – it should be sweet and savory so add more soy, salt, or sesame oil as you like. Add marinade to the meat and use your hands or large spoon to make sure all pieces of meat are coated in marinade. Marinate for 10-30 minutes.
  3. You can cook the pork on the grill outdoors (best) or indoors using a grill pan or cast iron pan, something that you can get very hot. Heat grill or grill pan to high and turn on that vent fan! Add vegetable oil to meat and stir to coat. Sear first side of meat until very dark brown on one side, then flip and sear on the second side. Be careful not to overcook it. The meat is thin so it cooks quickly, one or two minutes on each side.
  4. To assemble sandwiches, slice baguette and spread mayonnaise on one side, pâté on the other. Add lettuce, meat, pickled vegetables, cilantro and peppers. Dig in!

Pickled Carrots and Radishes:

  • 1/4 pound baby carrots, peeled
  • 1 bunch red radishes, preferably breakfast radishes (daikon are more traditional. I just think red radishes are beautiful.)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  1. Slice carrots and radishes into quarters (or sixths for thicker guys) lengthwise. Mix all ingredients together. Taste for seasoning. Let stand as little as an hour or up to overnight. They keep for several days.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Traveling with your own food

I'm going to Virginia next month for a week. To keep my system in balance (my foodie weirdness, that is), I'm bringing:

espresso maker or french press (this would be the easier to pack option)
ground coffee (I grind it, of course - Pajaro Coffee from Trader Joe's)
earl grey tea
raw almonds
dried fruit (spicy mango and plums from Trader Joe's)

These things will travel well and should hold me until I can get to a local grocery store and buy fresh produce and other munching items to keep in my hotel room.

I'm interested in learning what kinds of snacks/foods you take with you when you travel. And if you have ever stayed in an extended hotel, what did you cook for yourself?

There is a Joe's Crab Shack nearby, but I can't eat there every night...

Happy trails!

Lean times = pantry + condiments + veggies/fruits

A girl on a budget (like this kitchen wench) must bring inexpensive food options together at home. It is actually easy, it just requires some canned goods, pasta (pantry items), veggies/fruits and condiments.

As a rule I like to buy Trader Joe's whole wheat pastas but in a pinch if I am at Fresh & Easy I will buy their pasta since it is cheap (99 cents/lb). They have a couple of different shapes at this price. Add your veggies like grape tomatoes, bell peppers, some canned olives, pepperoncini (or in my case guindilla peppers) with a homemade vinaigrette and there you have it. A delicious pasta salad that keeps well for a couple of days.

Pinto beans are great for my version of "mock nachos" (no cheese) which I heat in the micro for 45 seconds and pour over corn chips and serve with jicama, salsa and grape tomatoes.

Canned peas can make a tasty dinner. Who knew? I like them with a little sauteed bacon and french bread on the side. And maybe with a glass of wine, if it's available.

Condiments will make those items you get from the larder more tasty: dijon mustard, TJ California Estate olive oil, red wine vinegar, capers, black olives (chopped goes a long long way) and pepperoncini or guindilla peppers.

I'm buying a lot less meat these days, once in awhile there is a small salami in the refrig (good with On Auk Mor flatbread crackers from Trader Joe's). Or if I'm celebrating I will make a steak salad (or a few depending on how many steaks come in the package) using skirt steak.

Also I'm down to about one chamoyada per week, from Oasis Raspados. So, in between visits, I'm snacking on: yogurt, raw almonds, tamarind roll candy (Food City has these 4 for $1.00), asian peanuts (Food City also), bagels (Fresh & Easy), dried plums, dried cranberries, bananas, apples and any seasonal fruit. Some fruits pair really well with lime juice and chili powder. This is a refreshing snack, especially for our hot summer.

I'm interested in learning what you are making/eating using just simple items, stuff most of us have on hand all the time in the pantry and refrig.

Happy cooking.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Menu change - what's for dinner...bbq beef sandwiches!

Oreo custard sammie from Culver's

bbq beef a la Marilyn

Plain bagels make great buns for sandwiches. Who knew?

My Mom is a great cook! Yes, I may be biased, but then again, I don't think so. For dinner tonight she made bbq beef sandwiches and we had them on the yummy bagels (see pictures) that I got at Fresh and Easy earlier today. She toasted them with butter so they were all brownish and tasty.

This is how she made the bbq beef:

She took a chuck roast and seared it on all sides in a pan. Then she put it in a pyrex baking dish and added 3/4 cup water to it and some chopped garlic, salt and pepper. Then she covered it tightly with tin foil and cooked it at 350 degrees for two hours. She said it's important to open it once in awhile and add water as needed so it doesn't get too dry and burn on the bottom.

When the roast is done, she let it cool and skimmed off the fat from the juice. Then she added some of the juice back in with the meat she shredded, and heated it up, along with some barbecue sauce. How good does that sound?

The meat was super tender and it tasted like candy. We had the pasta salad I made earlier in the day alongside and everyone enjoyed it. With lots of iced tea to drink.

Afterwards my bro and I went over to Culver's on 8th St./Camelback. It is like diner food but there isn't table service. They have burgers, fried chicken, salads, custard, shakes, etc. I had an oreo cookie custard sammie (see picture) and brought one home for my Mom. They also do a type of blizzard (a la DQ) but they call it something else. My brother had one of these with mint chocolate chip flavors and it looked delicious. He enjoyed it. My Mom really liked hers, so I know we'll be going back.

Culver's makes a different flavor custard every day, and when you go in you can pick up a menu showing what flavor they are making special every day each month. Today it was butterfinger pecan: crunchy butterfinger candy pieces and toasted pecan pieces tumbled in fresh, creamy vanilla custard.

I must agree, the custard is very creamy and has an excellent mouth feel. Wow, I sounded like a food snob just then.

Happy eating.

What's for dinner - pasta salad

Pasta salad a la kitchen wench is appetizing and healthy.

Just finished making the pasta salad for dinner tonight with Mom (see picture).

It has:

penne rigate pasta
bell pepper
carrots (3)
chopped olives
grape tomatoes
vinaigrette made with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, crushed pepper and dijon mustard.

All of the veggies came from Fresh & Easy, their produce looked very good today, as usual. Also picked up some huge plain bagels for sandwiches. They sell them 6 for $1.99. I think that's a steal.

I made a little extra pasta salad for snacking, which I am doing right now. Just to make sure it's safe for human consumption, mind you.

Happy eating.

What's for breakfast - cinnamon toast

How is it that something so simple could be so satisfying? In my case this morning it was cinnamon toast. My Mom used to make it for us when we were little. It is still appreciated today.
I make mine using Trader Joe's whole wheat bread, zulka azucar moreno (it is kind of like turbinado sugar, unrefined) cinnamon and real butter. I have never been a fan of butter like substances and I think the less non-natural chemicals we put in our bodies, the better.

So, stumped for breakfast? Make yourself some cinnamon toast. Or, if you are out of cinnamon, buy raisin bread, there is one out there with cinnamon in it, and you will love it.

Later today I'm headed over to Mom's and we're having ham sandwiches on bagels (my idea since I really like bagels = chewy) and I'm bringing over a pasta salad with lots of veggies. That reminds me, I need to buy vinegar and dijon mustard. It's off to Fresh and Easy! They have those great veggie packs for 98 cents and they are in this kitchen wench's modest budget. Make your pasta salads with Trader Joe's California estate olive oil. It is very fruity and flavorful.

Happy breakfasting.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Black Beans and rice - I can't wait to make this - from

Black Beans and Rice

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

From Cuba to New Orleans, from Veracruz and south through Central and South America, there are many versions of black beans and rice. Medium- or long-grain white rice is traditionally used, but I have no qualms about using brown basmati. Don’t use canned black beans here, as the fragrant broth from the black beans is essential.

Each week this series will present recipes around a particular type of produce or a pantry item. This is food that is vibrant and light, full of nutrients but by no means ascetic, fun to cook and a pleasure to eat.

1 tablespoon canola oil or extra virgin olive oil

1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced across the grain

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups cooked medium- or long-grain white rice, or brown basmati rice

1 1/2 cups cooked black beans with about 1/2 cup of their cooking liquid

Salt to taste

1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan or skillet over medium heat, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until the onion is tender, about five minutes. Stir in the garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Add the rice, beans and about 1/2 cup broth from the beans. Stir gently for about five minutes until the mixture is heated through, and serve. The mixture should be moist. Add more broth if necessary.

Variation: For Veracruz-style black beans and rice, add one to three minced serrano or jalapeño chiles. Cook along with the onion before adding the garlic, rice and beans. In Veracruz, this dish would be served with fried plantains.

Yield: Serves four as a main dish, six as a side.

Green Garlic Ceasar Salad - from

Green Garlic Caesar Salad With Anchovy Croutons

Time: 30 minutes

1/2 cup olive oil

7 anchovy fillets, finely chopped

1 large head green garlic (outer layer, stalk and root end removed) or substitute 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

3 ounces crusty day-old bread in 3/4-inch cubes (about 2 cups)

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 large eggs

2 large or 3 small heads romaine lettuce, separated into leaves and torn into pieces, if desired (about 10 cups)

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated.

1. Make croutons: Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add half the anchovies and cook, stirring, until they melt into oil, about 2 minutes. Stir in half the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about one minute. Add bread cubes, salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toast, tossing frequently, until croutons are golden and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Make dressing: In medium bowl, whisk together remaining garlic and anchovies, plus lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire and remaining pepper. Slowly whisk in remaining olive oil.

3. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Lower eggs into pan. For nearly raw eggs cook for 90 seconds; for soft boiled, cook for 4 minutes. Rinse eggs under cold water until cool enough to handle.

4. Combine lettuce, cheese and croutons in a large bowl. Add vinaigrette and toss well. Crack eggs into salad, scooping out any whites clinging to shell and toss once more. Add salt to taste.

Yield: 2 to 4 servings.

- I'm not a big fan of anchovies, but I know a lot of folks like Caesar Salad. Enjoy!

kitchen wench

Urban outfitters tee - courtesy of

'Eat Less' Urban Outfitters T-Shirt: Tasteful Or Tasteless? (PHOTO, POLL)

Update 9:15 p.m. It seems that the "Eat Less" t-shirt is no longer available on Urban Outfitters' website. Read more here.


Urban Outfitters' "Eat Less" V-Neck Tee is one of the more, well, interesting things we've seen on the chain's website since its Obama/Black t-shirt. Printed on the gray v-neck are the words "Eat Less" in white cursive. But the description of the item reads: "Eat less or more or however much you'd like in this seriously soft knit tee cut long and topped with a v-neck." Perhaps they should have printed all of that on there.