Favorite recipes and stories about home cooking. We love comfort food and dishes that warm the heart. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Cioppino for Dinner

I cooked up my cioppino dish last night and actually took notes. Writing up the recipe now. Stay tuned for the best cioppino recipe ever...

Yes, I'm tooting my own horn, but I've made this dish at least a hundred times and convinced it's the best one yet.

Friday, October 15, 2010

La Honda Wine & Treats

How lucky am I to have a wonderful mother that invites me to her work event: a "make your own appetizers" + wine tasting event, sponsored by La Honda Winery, CuisineStyle & Morrissey/Compton: and the staff was a MAJOR bonus. Getting to chat up Ken (the founder) & Cynthia Wornick was such a highlight.

And the wines... Oh the wines... My faves were the Chardonnay & Pinot (the Pinot paired w/wasabi peas was a delightful and bizarre discovery, but I tested it on a couple of party-goers and the confirmed the perfect pairing). I ended up buying a couple bottles of each (and a bag of wasabi peas on the way home)….

They split the guests between 4 tables, where they were instructed by the La Honda Winery chefs, including head chef, Pamela Keith, in creating amazing appetizers for all to share. And the winning appetizer? Mozzarella/grape tomatoes:

- Mozzarella Bocconcini
- Fresh Grape Tomatoes
- Pesto Sauce
- Melba Toast

It’s so simple and, yet, so deliciously good! I watched one person take seven off the tray – I would have done the same if I could’ve gotten away with it. I’ll give you the deets on the rest of the apps (description and recipes) in a day or so, with pics.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Authentic Taqueria Tacos – Carne/Carnitas/Polo Asada

These tacos are a tasty meat-treat with all the freshness you crave. They have a nice bite, yet They're not too spicy, with street flavor and citrus undertones, that provides a healthy and delicious meal. You can cook it up and serve it hot and fresh or let it cool to serve on a hot day with an ice-cold beer. It’s a perfect dish for those big get-togethers where your guests can serve themselves and keep going back for more.

This dish pairs perfectly with a glass of homemade Sangria or a cold beer.


1 1/2 pounds steak (flank, skirt, filet) or pork (tenderloin) or chicken (breast)
1/3 cup white vinegar (dry sherry will sub)
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
3 limes, juiced/zest
2 red jalapeno peppers, chopped
1 tablespoon minced onions
1 tablespoon salsa Verde (green tomatillo)
1 teaspoon salsa Brava (hot not mild red salsa unless you are timid)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin

Garnish and finish elements

Fresh Tortillas (corn recommended)
Green onions
Sour Cream or Crème Fresh
Hot pepper sauce

Cut the peppers and onions and roast in a dry pan adding a little peanut oil (or high smoke point oil). Once the veggies have sweated a bit add all the dry spices to a side of the pan a let them bloom. Remove from heat and let cool.

Cut the meat into slices about ½ inch (1 cm) thick and give it a few whacks with a mallet or add tenderizer to break up some of the meat fiber.

Once the veggies have cooled put them into a big storage zip-lock bag and add the liquid ingredients, saving the oil for last. Squish & mix the delicious marinade then add the oil and then the meat. Place in the fridge for at least two hours (it’s even better if you leave it overnight).

Meal time…Fire up your BBQ or grill pan and grill the meat to your desired texture. Once done, remove the meat from the pan or grill and let it rest for 10 minutes. While you are grilling, have a friend prepare the garnish, veggies, and sauces. Once the meat has rested, warm the tortillas – not for too long or they’ll become crunchy and unusable.

Viola! Assemble as you like and eat a healthy authentic south of the border style meal. Squeeze a lime over the top to brighten the heat of the tacos.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Jill Silverman Hough’s Lamb Chops with Fig and Orange Tapenade

So, for the past few years, I’ve been really into pairing the perfect wine with the dishes I cook up. Sometimes it’s not always just about the type of wine (Zinfandel, Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, etc…) but the specific label and year can have a major impact on the pairing as well.

After recently joining Twitter, I connected with Jill Silverman Hough (
@JillSHough), author of “100 Perfect Pairings: Small Plates to Enjoy with Wines You Love”, and discovered her recipe for Lamb Chops with Fig and Orange Tapenade on her website. I’m a huge fan of lamb and an even bigger fan of sweet & savory dishes: her lamb chop recipe looked so inventive and just jumped off the page. I couldn’t wait to try it out. When I mentioned to Jill that I was going to try it out and blog about it, Jill seemed very happy. However, she warned me that the suggested wine pairing wasn’t quite as perfect as she had hoped… I took that as a challenge!

I decided to invite some close friends over and try it out with 3 wines (all reasonably priced and 2 of them were my staple pairings for most of my red meat dishes). Per Jill’s
blog post, I knew the wine had to have a touch of sweetness to balance out the sweetness of the orange and fig tapenade. So, I selected a Clos du Bois Zinfandel 2006 and Chateau Ste. Michelle “Indian Wells” Cabernet 2008. The latter was definitely a gamble that didn’t pay off (great wine though). But the one that took the prize and had everyone jumping in their seats was the La Cabotte 2008 "Colline" Cotes du Rhone. It added just the perfect balance and enhanced the orange elements on the dish, really making the perfect pairing.

Overall, the dish was absolutely amazing and everyone loved it. I can’t wait to try it again!