chicken fried steak fingers with country gravy

Did you ever eat something so bad that it was actually good? That would be the perfect way to describe the oddly named “steak fingers” we were served in my elementary school cafeteria. They were really nothing to write home about, and were surely mass-produced and most definitely frozen at some point in their lives. These steak fingers bore little resemblance to their homemade counterpart, real country-style chicken fried steak.

No matter how awful the cafeteria’s steak fingers were, I couldn’t help but adore them. Something about that tasty combination of steak, formerly-crunchy breading with lots of black pepper, served with a big pile of mashed potatoes and gravy was just magic to me.

2014-09-07 17.30.56

For this recipe, I decided to stay true to the cafeteria’s version in shape only, and go the traditional route for everything else. Real, down-home, crispy chicken fried steak with boatloads of creamy, peppery gravy and a heap of mashed potatoes. Can I get a hell yeah?

Hell yeah.

Continue reading “chicken fried steak fingers with country gravy”

brown sugar bacon BLTs with fresh herb mayo

2014-08-04 13.20.33

It’s not an easy task to get me to eat mayonnaise.

Oil? Fine. Eggs? Yeah, sure, why not? Blend them together, and I usually want nothing to do with the whole situation.

I did discover that if I dress up mayo with lots of fresh parsley and chives, it’s insanely good. What would this new fancy mayo be good on? Oh, how about some summertime BLTs with oven-cooked mustard and brown sugar bacon, butter lettuce leaves and some super awesome local sliced tomatoes?

I’m into it. You should be, too!

Continue reading “brown sugar bacon BLTs with fresh herb mayo”

little meatball sandwiches with sharp cheddar + crispy onions

2014-07-27 15.06.03

The second round in this National Sandwich Month series brings you a little somethin’ tiny. It’s little meatball sandwiches! Not in the mood for a full-sized sandwich? These little meatball sandwiches are a breeze to put together and super duper adorable. If you’re having a late-summer barbecue or party, or planning recipes for those impending football tailgating parties, this is the tiny, precious sandwich for you. A tender meatball covered in a tangy-smoky glaze, stacked atop some crunchy fried onions and topped with a melty slice of sharp cheddar cheese, all on a mini sized sesame seed bun is just what a fun summer (or fall!) day calls for.

Continue reading “little meatball sandwiches with sharp cheddar + crispy onions”

a serious sandwich

2014-07-20 13.16.11

First up in my National Sandwich Month series? How about some tender steak, peppery arugula, sharp red onion, spicy horseradish cream and a mellow, creamy roasted garlic-cheese spread piled high on toasted ciabatta? Let’s go big, or go home, people. This sandwich packs an awfully big punch of flavors, so you gotta be in it for the long haul cause this sandwich definitely isn’t messing around.

Continue reading “a serious sandwich”

pepperoni pizza eggrolls (my 100th post!)

Hooray! Today I bring to you my 100th blog post, all wrapped up in shiny paper and a pretty bow.

Oh, what? Sorry about those drips of marinara sauce… and the parmesan cheese. Wrapping pepperoni pizza eggrolls is a messy task!

2014-06-30 13.14.45

Continue reading “pepperoni pizza eggrolls (my 100th post!)”

golden roasted cauliflower with tahini + fried onions

This has been my most popular post for a while now! I revised this recipe recently to work out any potential kinks with the tahini sauce seizing up (if this has happened to you, I’m sorry). Scroll down to see the revisions in bold type! -A

If you’re not from Arizona (or southern California, for that matter), then you probably haven’t been to a lovely little restaurant called Pita Jungle. For the uninitiated, Pita Jungle serves all manner of Mediterranean-inspired dishes from cilantro-jalapeno hummus to chicken shawarma sandwiches wrapped in lavosh bread. It’s a veggie-heavy menu, and they also have a lot of items that can be modified to vegan, which is great for people like my vegan sister. 2014-06-17 17.39.50 My favorite item on the menu happens to be vegan as well, even if I’m not. (Hell, I had a double-double from In N Out for dinner last night.) It’s the caramelized cauliflower with tahini sauce, and it’s wonderful. Since the first time I tried it, I’ve been scheming how to recreate it at home, and I’m proud to say I’ve finally done it. Continue reading “golden roasted cauliflower with tahini + fried onions”

mexican pizza = 90s flashback!


2014-05-03 15.00.28

As a kid growing up in the 90s, there was no better night for TV-watching than Friday night. How could you beat ABC’s TGIF lineup of Family Matters, Boy Meets World, Step By Step and Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper?! Perfect Strangers was included in there somewhere. I always had a soft spot for poor clueless Balki.

Continue reading “mexican pizza = 90s flashback!”

cobb salad sandwiches with chicken, bacon + hard-boiled egg

20140428_175942

This sandwich was never supposed to happen.

My initial goal for this recipe was to make Cobb salad stacks à la the wedge salad stacks in Deb’s Smitten Kitchen cookbook. It’s a wonderful, smart way to make a wedge salad, and I thought I could employ the same techniques when making a Cobb salad. I found out a fun fact along the way: Romaine lettuce doesn’t really like being sliced into rounds. Since the leaves aren’t as large as ones on a head of iceberg lettuce, the rounds just sort of fell apart. So, that idea was scrapped.

You know what I like better than salads, anyway? Sandwiches.

Continue reading “cobb salad sandwiches with chicken, bacon + hard-boiled egg”

tortas de carnitas with pineapple + pickled onions

Have you all heard of Serious Eats? Well, one of the guys who runs the site is like a mix of all the best parts of Alton Brown and America’s Test Kitchen rolled into one. His name is Kenji and he has a recurring column called The Food Lab. Kenji knows a LOT about food and is always sharing with the readers of SE, some in-depth recipe for the best version of ________. Whatever it may be, Kenji will come up with an amazing recipe for it. Like this crispy pork carnitas, for one!

2014-02-23 12.15.30

Typically, carnitas (pork shoulder slow-cooked in a big pot of lard) is something I only order when I’m out at a restaurant. I didn’t think I had it in me to make it at home, until Kenji’s recipe came along and gave me hope. He really simplified the process! The goal with carnitas is to slowly break down the connective tissue in the pork shoulder, and the result is some of the most tender, tasty pork you’ll ever want to eat. Usually, the big pot of lard will freak some people out, me included. I didn’t want to have to buy lard (cause who buys lard?), and a larger cut of meat like a pork shoulder was sort of intimidating to me. With Kenji’s carnitas recipe in all it’s simplified glory, I had all the confidence in the world, and soon, I’d have the best pork I’d ever cook in my life.

Continue reading “tortas de carnitas with pineapple + pickled onions”

cauliflower + roasted garlic soup

Are there some recipes you just can’t get out of your head once you’ve made them? Dishes that you crave and can’t wait to make again? For me, this soup is one such recipe.

2014-01-18 10.43.35

I first made it this past Thanksgiving as a starter for the whole giant meal. I had been looking for a somewhat light soup that was also fall-weather appropriate. When I found this creamy cauliflower soup from Martha Stewart, I knew my search had ended! How could cauliflower combined with wine, cream, roasted garlic and parmesan cheese NOT be downright amazing?

Continue reading “cauliflower + roasted garlic soup”