fresh mango-cantaloupe salsa

GEORGE: Salsa is now the number one condiment in America. JERRY: You know why? Because people like to say “salsa”. “Excuse me, do you have salsa?” “We need more salsa.” “Where is the salsa? No salsa?” – Seinfeld, Episode 43 “The Pitch” It’s already begun. The ubiquitous gearing-up-for-summertime-heat, and the dread that sets in around this time of year in the Phoenix area because of … Continue reading fresh mango-cantaloupe salsa

roast beef + cheddar sandwiches

Back in season 9 of The Simpsons, a lovely little episode aired in which Bart and Lisa are stranded on an island with fellow classmates after their school bus careens off a bridge into the ocean. Plausible, right? The kids have very little food, and one girl (Sherri or Terri, no one really knows) remarks, “I’m so hungry, I could eat at Arby’s!” Thus implying … Continue reading roast beef + cheddar sandwiches

the sandwich of my dreams

The new year is upon us. Hello, 2015! How did 2014 work out for you guys? I hope it treated you well, but I hope that this year is even better than the last. You know how we can make sure 2015 starts out in a wonderfully kickass way? We can make this sandwich and devour it all without apology. Warm and crispy charred toast … Continue reading the sandwich of my dreams

cauliflower-tahini soup with paprika + lemon

You may remember my undying love for Pita Jungle‘s roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce dish? I pretty much order it every time I’m there, and I even made my own version at home so I can have it any time I want!

Recently on a day off, I was craving soup. I was also craving that roasted cauliflower, so I thought I could try my hand at combining the collective awesomeness of a good soup with that roasted cauliflower. Boom, this fantastic soup was born. I now win at life.

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sweet potato, sage + ricotta tart

Hooray, Thanksgiving is almost here!

For the most food-centric holiday around, I wanted to come up with a dish that wasn’t the usual green bean casserole or sweet potatoes with little marshmallows on top (though I do love both those dishes dearly!), but that still encompassed all the flavors and colors of Fall. I have to give props to one of my favorite Phoenix pizza joints, Federal Pizza, cause they came up with this flavor combination before I did, and I adore it!

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creamy polenta with gouda, portobello mushrooms + tomatoes

When I first saw the dish that inspired today’s recipe, I couldn’t wait to make it myself. Kenji over at Serious Eats sure has a way with food! I’ve always loved creamy polenta, and the skirt steak on top with those pretty tomatoes just looked killer.

Go ahead and check out that photo. See what I mean? Doesn’t it just look amazing? I wanted to create it myself, but thought I’d do a vegetarian spin on it by substituting baby portobello mushrooms for the skirt steak. It makes a super hearty, rich and creamy dish for colder weather! Gouda in the polenta lends a nice, smoky quality and the seared mushrooms are the perfect alternative to meat, still keeping that savory and satisfying component to the finished dish. The bright and fresh tomatoes have the perfect acidic twang to cut through all the richness of the cheesy polenta. Make it yourself, I dare you! I know you’ll love it as much as I did.

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sweet potato, sausage + apple pot pies

Holiday traditions are a huge deal for me. Growing up, Halloween always meant creating that perfect costume, trick-or-treating with my sisters and the neighbor kid across the street, and visiting the school’s Halloween carnival before going home and passing out in a sugar coma. In the days leading up to the holiday itself, it meant carving pumpkins and watching It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and the Garfield Halloween special (“I’ll have you know, Halloween is my middle name! Gar-Halloween-field….”) from the video tapes my mom had recorded many years before.

Every year when Halloween rolls around, I still look forward to watching those silly cartoon specials of my childhood, carving jack-o-lanterns and admiring their flickering candlelight in the dark outside my house, and my new tradition — making tasty things to eat. These adorable Fall flavor-packed pot pies are everything a Halloween meal should be, complete with festive orange sweet potato, autumn-appropriate sage and sausage, and the perfect jack-o-lantern face grinning up at you as you eat. Can your Halloween meal get any cuter? I submit that it cannot.

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county fair mini corn dogs

It’s that time of year again. Time to grab your friends, buy your tickets, take a ride on the ferris wheel, and scarf down some junk food. Yep, it’s time to go to the fair!

Though most other fairs happen in late summer and early fall, the county fair where I grew up always came through town in April. I still remember seeing the ferris wheel at night all lit up from a distance, and imagining the smell of cotton candy and funnel cakes galore. And what about those bricks of curly fries? So good.

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As a kid, every year when springtime would roll around, there weren’t many events more anticipated than the county fair. Fun nights spent with your friends, winning some stuffed animals at the midway, and gorging yourself on fried foods until you were sick — it was like a dream come true!

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old school rectangle pizza

Let me just preface this post by saying: high-end, quality pizza, this is not. This is your deliciously cheesy, tasty, greasy, eat-it-in-shame, so-bad-it’s-good sort of pizza. Don’t dive in expecting chewy, crispy, pillowy crust and high-quality toppings.

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Now that that’s out of the way, this pizza totally brought back the nostalgia in full force. Rectangle pizza was the highlight of my lunch week in elementary school! Everyone looked forward to Pizza Day, even if most of the kids would most certainly go on to enjoy much (MUCH) better pizza. I still look back on this pizza with a certain rose-colored fondness. I know it’s not good quality pizza, but it gets the job done and it brings back happy memories of careless youth. It’s the perfect final post in my back-to-school series, and if you ever had this pizza as a kid, I urge you to make it now. Relish the nostalgia and the grease.

You’re welcome.

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classic soft dinner rolls

I can say with extreme confidence that any kid in any school cafeteria in America ate these rolls growing up. At my school, they were ubiquitous with a tray full of mushy spaghetti that, no matter how gross, everyone still seemed to love.

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Here’s something strange that maybe you witnessed during lunch — kids would hollow out the dinner roll and shove the spaghetti inside it, then devour the whole thing. Somehow, this was a thing. Even kids who went to school in other states knew of this! How did this strange method of spaghetti-eating become widespread knowledge? The world may never know.

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