Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers

Grilled Jalapeño Poppers
My sister-in-law Lindsey, or SILLi as I like to call her, made some fabulous jalapeño poppers last week. Her dad, Dave Baggs, came up with the idea of stuffing cream cheese into jalapeños, wrapping them with bacon, then grilling them. Now, anyone that comes up with recipes where bacon is a key ingredient is my personal hero. So, I copied the Baggs recipe, although I did embellish it a little with shredded cheese and cilantro. But you can leave that out and just use cream cheese. Either way you do it, these poppers will blow you head away...or just make you hot for a little while.


  • 12 jalapeño peppers
  • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp. fresh cilantro, minced
  • Pinch Salt and pepper
  • 1 lb. sliced bacon
  • 24 toothpicks

Soak toothpicks in cold water. The longer the better but at least 1 hour.

Cut a slice lengthwise in the jalapeño to make enough space to remove seeds. Make sure not to split the pepper all the way through when you do this. Remove seeds and ribs and wash jalapeño with cold water. It's a good idea to wear gloves during this step, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Mix cream cheese, shredded cheddar, cilantro and salt and pepper in a separate bowl. Put cream cheese mixture inside a plastic baggie and cut a small slit on one corner of baggie (you're making a MacGyvered pastry bag). Squeeze mixture from baggie into jalapenos.

Wrap bacon in a spiral fashion around stuffed pepper and secure with a couple of toothpicks. Grill the popper until the bacon is cooked, about 20 to 30 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving. I'm pretty sure MacGyver would love these!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Thai Iced Tea Latte

I was addicted to iced coffee for a while, until I had a Thai iced tea latte several years ago. The tea flavor is fabulous, especially that cardamon flavor, and the sweetened condensed milk just totally works for me! Anyhoo, the first thing you have to do is purchase Thai tea. I'm very lucky that I live near a store that sells Thai tea, but if you don't have that luxury, you can purchase it at importfood.com or templeofthai.com. If you're too lazy to make it, go to your favorite Thai restaurant and order this refreshing drink. You'll probably get addicted to it, too!


  • Thai tea
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Ice

Bring 6 cups of water to boil. Add 1-1/2 cups Thai tea to a large pitcher and pour over the hot water. Stir well for about half a minute until the liquid is dark brown. Stain the tea into another pitcher using either a traditional Thai cloth tea strainer or a fine sieve. A large coffee filter would work also. Cool at room temperature.

To serve, pour tea over a full glass of ice. Top with sweetened condensed milk (if you want just regular iced-tea, you can skip this) and serve with a straw. Oh ma gawd, it's sooo good....

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Garlic Pommes Frites

I always know when I'm PMSing because I get an insatiable craving for garlic fries and I cry at tiny, cute things, like puppies or kittens--but not babies...they're not that cute! So, yesterday I introduced Matt to garlic fries. I mean fries so garlicky that we didn't kiss for hours. I love these fries and I found that the Lei Back Cafe in South Park has one of the best garlic pommes frites. The second best garlic fries are at The Guild Restaurant in the barrio, so go check them out or make them at home and it's getting more difficult in finding a restaurant here in San Diego that has good garlic fries since the Lei Back Cafe and The Guild restaurant have both closed.

INGREDIENTS (serves 4 guys or 1 girl on her period)

  • 1 (28-ounce) bag frozen shoestring potatoes, such as Ore-Ida® Shoestrings (about 2 cups)
  • Oil for deep frying (Vegetable or Peanut)
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced or passed through a garlic press
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon finely minced Italian parsley
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Over medium heat, lightly sauté the minced garlic in the olive oil. When it gets to a light, golden color, remove from heat and set aside.

In a frying pan or deep fryer, heat the oil to 350°. Fry small batches of the fries for about 2 1/2 - 3 minutes or according to package directions. Transfer fries to a serving dish, then drizzle the garlic mixture over warm French fries and toss. Add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with parsley and grated Parmesan cheese and toss again. Delicious.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Basil Fried Rice

Thai Basil Fried Rice
I was craving Thai food today and I was not disappointed. I usually go to Thai Chada down the street from my work or to Spices Thai restaurant. Both are really good Thai places here in San Diego, but nothing will ever compare to Basil, which was my favorite restaurant back in Boston. I'm not sure if it still exists, but their basil fried rice was my absolute fav! Here's a simple yet delicious recipe for basil fried rice. This is a great dish to make with your leftover cooked white rice. Try to use Thai basil for this dish, if you can.

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 green onion (both the green and white part), thinly sliced
  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup fresh Thai basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • salt and pepper
  1. In a large non-stick frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat.
  2. When the oil is hot, add in the garlic and green onion. Stir-fry for 30 seconds.
  3. Add in the rice and stir fry for about 2 minutes. Make sure to break up any clumps of rice and that the rice is well coated in oil.
  4. Push the rice to one side of the pan. Add the 2 eggs into the empty side of the pan. As the eggs cook, use your spatula to break them up into small pieces and mix the eggs with the rice.
  5. Add in the basil and soy sauce. Continue to stir-fry until the basil is wilted. Add additional salt and pepper, if needed, and serve right away.

    Sunday, August 05, 2007

    Thai Basil Mimosa

    Thai Basil Mimosa
    It is a lovely Sunday afternoon. The temperature in San Diego is in the mid 70s with a slight breeze...so what is a girl to do? Well, of course, sit out by the beach and have herself a mimosa, you silly goose! But not just any mimosa, my friend, this refreshing basil mimosa came about after I found some lovely Thai basil for 69 cents at the North Park Market. I had tons of limes, and as always I keep sugar cubes in stock in case I get a mojito craving. I have to say, this was quite a refreshing drink. I'm pretty sure you can try it with seltzer water instead of champagne and make it non-alcoholic...but what fun is that?

    INGREDIENTS (makes 2 mimosas)

    • 8 Thai Basil leaves
    • 3 sugar cubes
    • Juice of 1 lime
    • Handful of crushed ice
    • Simple syrup
    • Sparkling wine or champagne, preferably Brut

    In a martini shaker, add the Thai basil, sugar cubes, the lime juice and a small amount of crushed ice. Muddle the heck out of it. Add 1 tablespoon of simple syrup (or more, if you prefer), the rest of the crushed ice and cover tightly. Shake. Shake. Shake. Strain the green goodness and pour into two champagne glasses, then slowly top each glass with champagne or sparkling wine.

    Saturday, August 04, 2007

    Marinated Grilled Peaches

    Some of you probably have balsamic vinegar in your cupboard and only use it for salads, or maybe you don't use it at all. But did you know that balsamic vinegar also makes a great accompaniment to fruit, especially strawberries and stone fruits, like peaches, nectarines or plums? If you don't have balsamic vinegar on hand, then buy the most inexpensive one. The grilled peaches will still be delicious. You can do this recipe on an indoor grill, too...but what fun is that?

    INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

    • 4 ripe but not mushy white peaches (you can also use nectaries or plums, if you prefer)
    • Juice of one lemon
    • Walnut, hazelnut or other non-toasted nut oil (if you can't find this type of oil, you can use regular canola oil)
    • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1 cup water
    • ½ cup white sugar
    • Zest of an orange
    • Pinch of sea salt

    Pre-heat your grill to medium and set it for direct grilling.

    Cut fruit in half and remove pits. Brush with the juice of the lemon and the nut oil and set aside.

    Mix vinegar, water, sugar and orange zest in a small saucepan. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Add a pinch of salt and remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature.

    Pour vinegar-sugar liquid over peaches and let sit for 10 minutes, turning occasionally to submerge all cut sides to the marinade. Remove fruit from liquid and set aside. Reserve the marinade and put in a small saucepan and simmer over a medium low heat until liquid is reduced by half. Set aside.

    Place fruit skin-side down on a very clean cooking grate and grill for 5-7 minutes or until warmed through and slightly soft. If you prefer, you can raise the heat until you get some nice grill marks. Alternatively, you can use your indoor grill if you prefer.

    Remove peaches from grill and place back into marinade, and let it sit for at least 5 minutes. Serve warm or cold with a drizzle of the reduced marinade and perhaps a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

    Friday, August 03, 2007

    Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes

    jumbo lump crab cakes
    Oh boy, eating healthy is really hard. I've been on a healthy food kick recently because I noticed there was way too much starch and bad carbs in our diet rather than healthy, high-protein foods. So, in an effort to be healthy, I made these crab cakes...yes, there is a little mayo (not too much), and a small amount of breadcrumbs. All in all, it was okay, although this is a type of dish that I'd rather eat a good seafood restaurant, like Peohe's.

    INGREDIENTS (makes 8 crab cakes)

    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
    • 1/4 teaspoons salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
    • 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
    • 1 pound fresh jumbo lump crab meat

    Preheat the broiler.

    In a large bowl, combine the egg, Old Bay seasoning, salt, pepper, Worcestershire, baking powder, mayonnaise, breadcrumbs and parsley. Then, gently fold in crabmeat (be careful not to break up the lumps). Shape into cakes and broil for 5 minutes.

    Thursday, August 02, 2007

    Beet Salad with Pomegranate Dressing

    I've been in a cooking funk lately, most likely because I've been putting in many hours at work and because Matthew is spoiling me everyday! Anyhoo, I wanted to try something totally new with beets. Yes, my darlings, lovely, crimson colored root beets. I really love the flavor of these herbaceous biennials especially after you roast them and all their natural sugars caramelize. But another reason I wanted to try beets, was because I also had recently bought pomegranate molasses and I had no idea what to do with it. Then, by pure luck I watched a food tv show where pomegranate molasses was used on beets, so I said, what the heck, I'll give it a try!

    The first thing you do is get yourself two or three large beets, scrub them clean and peel their outer skin. Place them in a foil packet with a little olive oil and salt and pepper and roast on 400 degrees for 40 minutes.

    Once they are done, let them cool completely. Slice them into 1/8" slices (be careful because their intense beet juice can stain your clothes) and place them in the fridge to cool down more.

    In the meantime, gather the rest of your ingredients:

    • Pomegranate molasses
    • Microgreens, such as alfalfa or bean sprouts (or for a spicy kick, try radish sprouts)
    • Olive oil
    • Ricotta cheese
    • toasted pistachios
    To assemble: Place 3 or 4 slices of beets, slightly overlapping each other, on a plate. Drizzle a little olive oil and pomegranate molasses over them. In a small bowl, mix the microgreens with a tiny bit of salt and pepper and a little olive oil. Toss lightly. Place a small mound of the microgreens over the beets. Then add a few balls of ricotta cheese (you can easily form them with your hands). Lastly, add a few pistachios, drizzle a little more pomegranate molasses over salad and serve.