Mar 14, 2011

Recipe for: Roasted Brussel Sprouts

From the kitchen of: Isabel Canfield

I never grew up eating brussel sprouts as a child, so I don’t really understand how people dislike them so much. I think most kids grew up with parents not knowing how to really prepare them properly. They would just boil the crap out of them until fork tender, leaving all that delicious flavor in the water. I can’t imagine that being good at all. But honestly, brussel sprouts are quite flavorful. They’re cute little leafy buds very similar to cabbages, just in a much smaller scale. They’re high in fiber and vitamin C. If you were a victim of boiled brussel sprouts and vowed to never eat them again, give them a second chance. Roasting them will change how you feel about them.

Ingredients:
Serves 4
1 box of fresh brussel sprouts
3-5 tablespoons of olive oil
salt + pepper
ground sea salt

Directions:
1. Wash and cut. Before cut the brussel sprouts in half, be sure to watch them thoroughly. If they’re not organic, they might have some pesticides on them. Run the sprouts under cold water. Pat completely dry. Then cut the spouts in half. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350º.

2. Season the brussel sprouts. Place the halved sprouts on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil, about 3-5 tablespoons, and season with salt and pepper, about half a teaspoon each. Mix together by hand to make sure all sprouts are coated.


3. Roast the sprouts. Place the baking sheet in the oven. Let it roast for about 35-40 minutes. Mid-way through, take a spatula and turn them over to roast the other side. At 35 minutes, they should be nice and golden brown. Take a bite to make sure they’re cooked through. If they need more time, just give them 5 more minutes in the oven. Oh, the outer leaves that fall off get so nice and crispy. They’re delicious.

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Mar 11, 2011

Mercado de San Miguel

If you ever find yourself in Madrid, there is one place you have to visit if you are an ultimate foodie. The Mercado de San Miguel is the place to get a feel for Spanish cuisine. It’s a very hip indoor farmers market with over 30 vendors selling oh-so-tasty tapas, sandwiches, croquettes, seafood, jamón, sushi, sangria, beer & wine and so much more. We stumbled upon the market on our second day just after we ate our lunch nearby. I was so disappointed that we didn’t get a chance to taste any food that day so we returned the following day and went crazy. We drank ourselves silly and had very happy and full stomachs.

As soon as you walk into the market, it’s packed with locals and tourists, tasting and drinking. The covered market, over 100 years old, is a beautiful piece of art recently refurbished with glass walls and iron details. Great ambiance, friendly faces and fresh food. I loved this place.

Man, people in Spain do love their jamón ibérico. They eat it anytime of the day, with pretty much anything. Jamón ibérico is type of cured ham made only in Spain. It’s the finest type of ham cured for, I think, 36 months. It’s sliced thinly and enjoyed by all.

Fresh pasta and beans galore placed in beautiful handmade sacks.

Here’s Jared enjoying a cerveza at the taco shop, probably his 3rd cup! He does loves his beer.


I had a very tiny tiny sample of their helado (ice cream). It was too small! I had a scoop of their chocolate while Jared had their mint chocolate. Yum!


When we returned the second day, we went crazy. We felt like kids in a candy story. We maybe spent 25 euros, but it was certainly worth it. What a wonderful experience to walk around and try things we’ve never tried before. We sampled five different croquettes, which totally trumps my potato corquettes I had at my wedding. We selected some cheese and meat tapas we thought were delicious. To top it off, we ended our tasting with the best chocolate mousse dessert ever. Hands down, food in Madrid was something else.

Top photo credit: http://www.mercadodesanmiguel.es/

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Mar 10, 2011

I love BAGGU!

BAGGU. What the hell is a BAGGU? Well, to put it simply, it’s a reusable, ripstop nylon bag. It’s durable, affordable, stylish and environmental-friendly. What more can you ask for? I purchased my first BAGGU maybe 3 years ago and I use it for everything. I don’t just use it for grocery shopping, but I’ve brought it to the beach with me, I’ve used it as an overnight bag and I actually used it during my wedding day to store all my crap. Since my first purchase, BAGGU has certainly expanded. They have so many colors and patterns to choose from now, so many shapes and sizes, and they even have totes and backpacks. I feel like I’m a sale rep for them, but I really do think this product is great.

You can mix and match over 50+ colors and patterns when you order online.

The compact bags are great because it can hold something as small as a credit card or as large as shoes.

Best part, they’re so easy to clean. They’re machine washable and can carry a lot of weight.

Photo credit: BAGGU blog

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Mar 8, 2011

Recipe for: The Best Lumpia

From the kitchen of: My parents

I grew up believing my parents’ lumpia was the best. Til this day, I still believe it is. It’s like Italians and their spaghetti sauce. Each family believes their sauce is the best. Well, I certainly believe my parents’ lumpia is the best. If you’re not familiar with lumpia, you should be! It’s so addicting. Lumpia is a traditional Filipino dish, our version of a Chinese egg roll. Every Filipino household does have their own version, it varies with ingredients and size. My parents’ version is made with a simple pork filling and it’s rolled on the longer-side than normal. Each bite is just so heavenly, both sweet and savory. The best part is the crispy wrapper adding texture to every bite.

Ingredients:
Makes 50
2 lb. of ground pork
3/4 cup jicama, chopped in food processor
3/4 cup of carrots, chopped in food processor
5 garlic cloves, chopped in food processor
1 small onion, chopped in food processor
1 egg
2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons of sugar (brown or white)
1 teaspoon of salt & pepper
2 packets of Wei-Chuan spring roll shells (each packet is 25 sheets)
2 cups of vegetable oil, for frying

1. Process vegetables in food processor. To start, process each vegetable separately in a food processor, which includes the jicama, carrots, garlic and onion.


2. Combine all the ingredients together. Very simply, combine the ground pork, chopped vegetables, sugar, soy sauce, egg, salt and pepper in a large bowl until nicely combined.

3. Preparing the rolls. Once the meat mixture is well-combined, it’s time to make the rolls! Rolling a lumpia can be done in 8 simple steps. You can use a ice cream scoop to dish out an even amount of meat onto the wrapper. In step 7, when you’re almost done, dip your finger in egg white to make the wrapper stick to itself. Also, once you’ve made several rolls and you want to stack them on-top of each other, be sure to use plastic wrap in between layers to prevent sticking. Check out the “how to roll lumpia in less than a minute” video clip. Enjoy!

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Mar 7, 2011

Recipe for: Bacon & Blue Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Adapted from the Kitchen of: Claire Robinson

No lie. This piece of chicken is the juiciest thing ever. Maybe you can blame the amount of butter it sits in while roasting in the oven, but let me tell you that it’s worth it, 100%. Claire Robinson is a chef on the Food Network and her deal is recipes with five ingredients or less, her show is called 5 Ingredient Fix. I hadn’t tried any of her recipes before, so I’m surprised the first one I tried was super tasty. But what’s not to like about bacon, blue cheese and butter? If you need a simple, easy to prepare, go-to recipe, I’d honestly recommend this one. Give it a try, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Ingredients:
Serves 4
2 sticks of unsalted butter at room temp.
4 ounces of blue cheese, crumbled
5 slices of bacon
2 tablespoons of chopped scallions
4 skin-on chicken breasts
black pepper

Directions:
1. Cook the bacon & chop. Very simply, cook 5 strips of bacon until crisp. Once cooked, place on paper towel to drain. Chop on a cutting board into little pieces.

2. Make compound butter. Before making the compound butter, preheat oven to 425°. In a medium size bowl, combine the 2 sticks of butter, blue cheese, chopped bacon and green scallions together with a rubber spatula until combined. For this recipe, you will only need half the mixture. You can set the other half aside in a tight container. **Compound butter is simply butter that has flavor or additional ingredients added to it.

3. Stuff the chicken. Place the chicken breasts on a rimmed baking sheet. Using fingers, carefully loosen the skin from the chicken breasts. Spoon about 1/4 of the remaining compound butter under the skin of each breast; smoothing the skin to evenly distribute the butter over the surface of the breast meat. Once all breasts have been stuffed, rub some butter over the skin and season with black pepper.

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