Monday, August 15, 2011

Camping 301: Cuisine De Camping.

We've now camped in Big Sur 4 times! Should I now consider it a tradition? I think so. I am a big fan of traditions. Overall it was a blast but I was disappointed that the weather proved to be more foggy than SF and not at all sunny as the weather on my iphone purported. How much of a downer can it be when you're with friends and have booze though!? It cant be. It's built in amazingness.

Things I Learned while camping this weekend:

1. A Roasted Red Pepper has it's skin removed. Uh-huh. Yep. Put this on the list of shit I didnt know. I am going to say this is due to the fact that for 10 years I didnt eat red peppers cause they made my tummy hurt. Now, after some intense red pepper conditioning (a little once a week) - I'm all in and in love with them! Doug, our camping companion roasted these puppies over the fire the night before to include in the wraps for lunch. He roasted them and then removed the skins.

2. The Ultimate SMORE is actually not made with a Hershey's bar its made with Nutella. This darling idea came from a few of us who said when the chocolate doesnt melt its sort of a bummer. Graham Cracker + Nutella + Burned Marshmallow = Ultimate smore.

3. Planking is not just for athletic yoga freaks in public. It's actually better with Salmon. I had heard of Cedar Planked Salmon but never seen it in action. It truly is a great way to cook the fish in that it takes on an oakey flavor, cooks it perfectly and also you can burn the HELL out of the bottom and it doesnt effect the fish. Bravo to Aaron & Jenny for doing this one right.

4. An Orange Is An Orange Is a --- CAKE! Cute, functional and delicious. The trifecta of desserts. Jenny hollowed out these oranges, used a boxed cake mix and stuffed them with vanilla cake. She wrapped them in foil and then cooked then in the fire for 40 minutes. We thought they were just perfect! Next time I would put in some choco chips or nutella.

5. When Drinking A Simpler Time You Should Always Toast with a story of a Simpler Time! When you crack these mofos open amongst friends make sure to share a memory of a time when you think things were simpler. It's a great way to make new memories while toasting old ones.

Anyway, it was a culinary tour de camping. Friday night was our night to cook but I just prepared a chili at home the night before and heated it up upon arrival.

Butternut Squash, Black Bean & Hominy Poblano Chili

1/2 Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed.
1 can on black beans, rinsed.
1 big can of hominy, rinsed.
1 can of cannellini beans
2 cans of roasted tomatoes, diced and rinsed.
2 cans of diced green chilis + the water.
1 white onion, diced.
3 cloves of garlic, sliced.
2 poblano peppers, roasted at 400 degrees for 30m, flipping once.

1/4 jalapenos + some juice

Dash of Cinnamon
Dash of cumin.

Garlic Salt
Salt & Pepper

Step One: Over medium heat, saute the chopped onion and garlic until soft. 10 minutes. Then toss in the cubed squash and the diced green chilis. Cook and stir for around 15 minutes until soft. Salt with Garlic Salt.

Step Two: Take 1 of the roasted poblanos and put it in the food processor until it looks like pulp then stir into the chili. Add the cumin and the cinnamon then add the rest of the ingredients, saving the 2nd chili for the top (like in the picture). Cook for 45m over low.

Step Three: Garnish with white cheddar and diced red onions.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lovely Little Weekend

This weekend had a BIG to do list but we decided to screw it all and just enjoy ourselves! And enjoy ourselves we did. I had a fantastic weekend that included:

A Friday Chill Night with Season 3 of Friday Night Lights. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You're sick of hearing about it! But damn that Tim Riggins is to die for. He is made up of : 1/4th Jordan Catalano's amazing flippy hair that sometimes slips effortlessly into his face, 1/4th of the broken "can I fix you, bad boy?" of Ben Covington, 1/4th the wittyness of Pacey Whitter and 1/4 the good looks of the older brother on 7th Heaven. Le sigh. If I was only 16 years younger.

A Saturday night with our friends Adam & Melissa of Hogs & Rocks and bowling at Sea Bowl. You dont have to have a huge menu in this city to be popular. In fact it's preferred that you just do 1 or 2 things well and the rest can rest on those laurels. We tried out the Mission favorite Hogs & Rocks (thats right, pig products and oysters were the stars) - see below for the amazing cocktails and salty meats. I give this place an A and I cant wait to go back! We even had Duck Heart which was pretty tough but a fun little adventure. I also tried bowling an entire game with my left hand and suffice to say, I did not break 100.

Went on an amazing day hike with Evie, Marq, Dawn and their 2 excited Dogs to Cataract Falls. I would say it was the perfect hike, with the perfect weather and the perfect friends but I would be missing the part where we got lost and turned a 3 mile hike into a 5 mile hike by completely going out of our way and making a wrong turn! It was awesome nonetheless and I totally recommend the hike 10 times over with the caveat that you MUST eat lunch in Fairfax afterwards at the Barefoot Cafe. A must!

..............and finished the night off on Sunday with some Into Thin Air by John Krakauer.

Pretty sweet weekend.

Oh! And I almost forgot the point of this post.......

Mexican Turkey Stuffed Roasted Poblano Peppers.
Thes babies were or net. okay how about they were the This is one of those recipes that you can make time and time again and just keep switching up the ingredients and modifying it until you have the perfect meal. I wouldnt change this variation a bit. It was my perfect meal. I topped it with some greek yogurt I mixed with cumin just to make it a little crazier.

4 Poblano Peppers
1 pound ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 can of black beans, rinsed.
1 cup of corn (I chopped it off the cobb, but you can use canned).
1 big can of diced green chilis, with juice from can.
1 can of roasted tomatoes, diced and rinsed.
a few pickled jalapenos.
1/2 cup of cheese!

Step One: Preheat oven to 400. I cut the tops off the peppers but didnt throw them away - I roasted them on each side for 20 minutes until they were soft! I didnt take out the seeds or anything I just popped em in.

Step Two: Over medium heat start with olive oil, onions and garlic and cook til the onions are soft. Keep on medium heat and start to brown the turkey. Once sort of cooked pour in the
green chilies and the jalapenos and continue to cook for 10m, turning occaish. Once you're done, salt and pepper to taste and throw in the corn and the beans and the tomatoes and simmer for 20 while your peppers roast and your flavors develop.

Step Three: Before stuffing the peppers with the turkey mixture, toss in your cheese so it doesnt melt until baked. Remove the peppers and stuff with the turkey mixture then bake for an additional 10 minutes......


Monday, August 1, 2011

The Thrill Of It All

The weekend went so fast! I spent Saturday with my girlfriends Jenny and Evie outside of Sacramento soaking up the 90 plus degree weather gossiping about college and getting excited for the wedding weekend which is just about a month away. So much still to do! But I definitely feel in control. Let's just say this weekend was tres bad for my wedding diet but today is Monday and its August 1st so it feels super new to me.....I have 4 weeks to lose 10 more pounds and I think I can do it. And if I cant, its too late - shawn - you still have to marry me.

Upon returning to SF and its overcast wintery weather Shawn and I decided to fore sake our Friday Night Lights obsession and even put off Breaking Bad and True Blood for another night and rent a scary movie - Insidious. Watching this made me realize some things about scary movies:

1. Scan The Screen. My brain does double time on scary movies. Every frame I am desperately scanning the angles and empty spaces to prepare myself for something scary. Much like having to read subtitles on foreign films my movie watching experience is not just about watching the movie but seeing the movie differently than intended. Or is it? I wonder if they have dont studies on your brain during scary movies and if the anticipation levels match that of say getting your blood drawn. Anticipation is always worse than actuality.

2. Hypnotized. In this movie the main character gets hypnotized and I started considering whether I believed in hypnotism? I found myself subconsciously (pun both intended and unintended) - trying to become hypnotized simultaneously with Patrick Wilson. But why?! It's not real! Did I really think that by listening to a metronome and following the sound of the woman's voice somehow I would venture into my own subconscious? The attempt was brief but I came to the conclusion quickly I dont believe in it. Aliens and government conspiracies will be the extent of my fantasy beliefs.

3. Show Yourself. Much like going to a male stripper, you desperately want the payoff full monty shot but once you get it - you wish you had just never seen it and kept the mystery. You cant have it all. Most scary movies, when they show the real monster its not scary it trivializes the demon therefore losing all the clout surrounding it. We'd all rather see the outline of someone scary then see it revealed at the end only to make you think he looks like Dave Grohl during his Nirvana days. It's obviously relative but sometimes I wish the movie makers would skip the reveal and never let you see the demon.....

Anyway, in unrelated news I made these amazingly quick tacos on Friday and Shawn was a huge fan. They were cheap too. The star of this was the Lime Avocado Greek Yogurt topping. It was delicious on its own.

Shrimp & Chorizo Tacos with Lime Avocado Greek Yogurt Sauce
3 Links of Deli Case uncooked chorizo.
1/2 pound of uncooked shrimp
3 limes
1 cup Greek Yogurt
1 Avocado
1 White Onion, chopped
Cilantro, chopped.

Step One: I uncased the chorizo and browned it in a pan over medium until crisp and brown. While I was doing that I gently salted the shrimp and cut into bite sized pieces, then squeezed a whole lime over them. Once the chorizo was cooked I tossed in the shrimp which need about 5 minutes to cook total...just make sure they turn pink!

Step Two: Stir up the greek yogurt and mash up the avo and squeeze in the lime. I used 2 limes but some people would only want 1. Shawn is a lime addict. Salt a little!

Step Three: Chop the onion and cilantro for topping. Toast the tortillas and eat!

We used part wheat/part corn tortillas and they were delicious and even healthy.