Girls on Food

Healthy Foods

Devin’s Garlic Parmesan Chickpea Recipe

As a vegetarian, I am always looking for ways to sneak some protein into my diet. Tofu just isn’t my thing unless it’s unrecognizable, fried and smothered in sauce. I am also a chronic snacker. I wander into the kitchen a hundred times a day looking for a bite and eventually, the same old stuff gets boring. After falling in love with chickpea fries at a restaurant last week, I decided to try out my version, minus the GMOs, gluten, and added grease.

Crunchy, full of flavor, and decently healthy, these roasted chickpeas are a great alternative to my usual potato chips. The best part of this recipe is the simplicity. With minimal ingredients, it’s an easy snack or sophisticated salad topper.

Garlic Parmesan Chickpeas:

  • One 29 oz can of chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon of Lucini’s Robust Garlic Extra Virgin Oil (1 tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and 1 tablespoon of Garlic Powder may be used in its place, if necessary)
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese, to taste

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My go-to chickpeas are Eden’s Food Organic Garbanzo Beans. With no chemical additives, they taste super fresh, even from the can. Drain the can and allow them to dry on a paper towel for about thirty minutes for ultimate crunchiness.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Once dry, line a baking sheet with tin foil and scatter the chickpeas across the sheet. Bake for 40-55 minutes, depending on your desired crunch level. After 40 minutes, most will have a hard shell with a chewy center. Around the 55 minute mark, they should crunch like hollow pretzels.

Remove the chickpeas from the oven and transfer them to a bowl. Immediately douse them with a tablespoon of garlic-infused olive oil or your garlic and EVOO mixture.

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I recently discovered Lucini Italia Robust Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and I am obsessed! Cold pressed and authentic; I have been pouring this stuff on everything! It has a rich garlic flavor but won’t overpower your meal. It is also certified Kosher and GMO-free, an added bonus for any ingredient. I advise you to use it sparingly, though! It has the same effect on your breath as a fresh garlic clove.

Lastly, add your desired amount of parmesan and get snacking. You don’t even have to wait for them to cool down!

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This simple recipe is ideal for snacking or as a seemingly sophisticated salad topper. However, it is very possible that you’ll finish the batch while you stand in the kitchen waiting for them to cool.

Jillian’s Tangy Summer Kale Salad

kale saladThis oh so good summery salad is awesome for many reasons. Here’s a quick rundown: It’s easy to make, light but filling at the same time, full of tangy goodness, all plant-based, AND the star of the show is a leafy green packed with antioxidants and fiber. Kale yeah!

I live so close to the beach and after trying to make it there all summer, I finally did last week 🏖☀️🕶 The weather was perfect and since school is gearing back up, we basically had the beach to ourselves. Despite my best efforts at sunscreen, I still ended up getting burned really badly. Like, the front of me was so sunburned I had to sleep on my back for two days because it hurt so much 😭 Since then, I’ve been coating myself in coconut oil and aloe vera like there’s no tomorrow. I figure what goes into my body is just as important in my healing process, too. That’s where my Summery Kale Salad comes in. It’s full of fiber and antioxidants and good fats and detoxifying ingredients 👍

Even though this recipe is enough for 2-3 people, nobody will judge you for eating it all in one sitting. That’s the great thing about salads! 😝

Here are the ingredients you will need:

  • 1 head of kale, washed and broken into bite-size pieces
  • juice from 1.5 small lemons
  • 2 small avocados, cubed
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3 pinches of salt
  • a few sprinkles of garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 slice of red onion, diced
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • optional: 8 strips of Beyond Meat Lightly Seasoned Chicken Strips

Here are the 4 easy steps:

  1. Place the kale, avocado and lemon juice in a large bowl. Use your hands to break up the avocado and massage it into the kale. It’s gonna get a little messy but it’s way easier to use your hands! It’s okay if there’s still some small pieces of avocado when you’re done.
  2. Add salt, garlic powder, hemp seeds and nutritional yeast to the salad and mix (you can use a spoon for this 😛). Feel free to add more lemon juice or seasonings based on how tangy and savory you want it. 🍋
  3. Meanwhile, add some olive oil to a pan on medium heat. Place chicken strips in pan and saute on each side for 3-5 minutes until they brown a little. Remove and let cool.
  4. Cut the chicken strips into cubes and add to salad.

Voila!

tangy summer kale salad

Get your salad on with this flavorful, tangy and super healthy kale recipe!

Jillian 💙

Summer’s Roasted Figs

me eating figFigs. They are everywhere. A Delicious little tear dropped fruits that are only available a few weeks out of the year. Just like Nordstrom’s half yearly sale or Victorias Secret semi-annual sale. No, I don’t have a shopping problem, I just like sales.

I’ve strayed…

I love me some figs. I’m not sure where my love for them stems from. It might be my middle eastern ethnicity, who knows. Regardless the reason, I stocked up. Like a lot. Like way too much. I needed to come up with a way to use them other than eating them like they are popcorn whilst on a Netflix binge. I thought about making jam but, to be honest, that just takes to long and I wasn’t feeling it. I peeped around my kitchen and found a few ingredients every food lover should have. Balsamic vinegar, butter, honey and goat cheese. Boom, I’ll make some roasted figs.

This recipe is seriously the easiest thing in the world to make. With prep and cooking time all together it took me about 20 minutes.

You should let them cool off before shoveling them into your face. Just a thought. You do you, though.

This is everything I used:

Stuffed Fig Ingredients

So I never measure anything. I pretty much eyeball it. These are 1 cup bowls if that helps at all.

fig wet ingredients

So throw all of this in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes until it thickens. While the glaze is cooking, preheat the oven to 400.

Cut your figs in half and top them with goat cheese.

Once the sauce/glaze is done drizzle over the cheese topped figs.

Figs halvedfigs with cheesefigs with cheese and glaze

Pop those bad boys in the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes. I did mine for about 12 cause I am impatient, they were still a little too firm for my liking.

figs finishedOnce cooked to your preference place them on a cute serving tray and enjoy!

I just want to point out that I burned the crap out of my mouth because I NEEDED to eat one right when it came out of the oven. So while I am smiling, know that I burned my taste buds off. SMH

Made With Love: City Kitchen Comes to Sacramento

City Kitchen Sacramento
citykitchensacramento@gmail.com
http://www.facebook.com/CityKitchenSacramento
IG: @citykitchensacramento

When Rebecca Lujan Loveless was just a young girl, her father used to let her stir the pot of chili simmering on the stove. Little did he know he’d spark a passion for food that would become her bread and butter!

As the owner of City Kitchen Sacramento, which launched last week, Rebecca translates that love of food into delicious, healthy meals for her community. City Kitchen emphasizes tasty food that is good for you and uses locally sourced, organic products whenever possible. Rebecca visits the farms from which she buys her chickens, cows, and pigs, so she knows firsthand they are treated humanely – it doesn’t get much more farm to fork than that! She first started City Kitchen in Orlando, FL, where she had already built a following for her delicious eats. After moving to Sac, Rebecca has been working on building her business back up from scratch. Based on the meals we tried last week, I have no doubt in my mind she’ll be successful!

During City Kitchen’s launch week, we were lucky enough to try each of their four meals. Overall, they were delicious! Hot meals showed up on our doorstep between 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM and the variety was incredible.

The first night was a roasted lemon chicken breast, with Hasselback fingerling potatoes and a grilled peach and heirloom tomato salad. My boyfriend, who typically wouldn’t go for a salad, let alone one with fruit, devoured it! Huge win for City Kitchen – they got him to eat his veggies.

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Next up – Taco Tuesday! One of the best nights of the week, we had house-made crispy taco shells filled with ground beef and potatoes, along with chili-lime corn on the cob. This meal was my favorite of all the meals we tried. Between the perfectly cooked corn, the burst of lime, and the salsa verde that topped the tacos, it was sublime.

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Wednesday brought BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches with pickled veggie slaw and sweet potato tots. A lighter take on a traditional pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw, this one hit the spot – but the star of the night were the tots, which were delicious dipped in City Kitchen’s garlic-chive aioli!

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The last night was City Kitchen’s take on a Korean rice bowl, and it did not disappoint. The perfect 6-minute egg created a luscious sauce for all of the rice and veggies, and the beef was addictively crispy.

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The portion sizes were perfect – we were left satisfied each night but didn’t have to worry about leftovers. Most importantly, you can feel the love put into each meal from City Kitchen. What I loved most of all, however, was supporting a local business owned and operated by a woman. As a Hispanic woman, Rebecca is passionate about positively impacting her community through its economy. For her, it’s not just a business, but a way to connect with those around her and build relationships that will make Sacramento a better place for all of us to live.

SF Foodie Fest Preview: Eat Drink SF 2016

EatDrinkSF
Photo by Gamma Nine

I know everyone always claims their hometown food is the best — but when you live where fresh bay water meets sea salt and sand, it’s hard to deny that San Francisco is where it’s at when it comes to fresh produce. Now add the fact that some of our country’s most innovative chefs set up shop all along the peninsula, and us San Fran kids really have something to be proud of. So this year, I’m joining the crowd to celebrate the best of the Bay’s homegrown food, world-class chefs, restaurants, somms, mixologists — and all things to eat and drink in SF — at Eat Drink SF 2016.

Photo by Gamma Nine
Photo by Gamma Nine

About the Eat Drink SF

Each year, Eat Drink SF invites foodies, wine-nerds, culinary enthusiasts, and just plain hungry and thirsty people to meet and greet with top local chefs, bartenders, and sommeliers. The three-day event, running from Thursday, August 26 – 28, will include over 160 restaurants participants who will provide tasty treats, cooking demonstrations, and more.

 

Photo by Gamma Nine
Photo by Gamma Nine

Those looking for a little more to munch on will certainly be able to find it. Participating restaurants include:

1300 on Fillmore, Alembic, Brasserie S&P, Cafe Claude, Cathead’s BBQ, Chiaroscuro, Cross Hatch Eatery, Delfina Pizzeria, Dragon Beaux, E&O Kitchen and Bar, Gaspar Brasserie, Gitane, Hog & Rocks, Humphry Slocombe, Huxley, Konjoe, Lemonade, Luce, Michael Mina, Precita Park Cafe, Roka Akor, Souvla, Spaghetti Bros., SPIN San Francisco, Terzo, The Keystone, The Market, The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards, Tratto, Zero Zero

If you’re interested in learning a few kitchen tips and tricks, you’re certainly going to want to check out the Main Stage where lectures, demonstrations, and Q&A with industry experts will be featured all day. Check out the Events Page for details.

And let’s not forget about us drink enthusiasts! This year, Eat Drink SF will feature over 70 bars, distilleries, breweries, and wineries who will provide the events drinks as well as host tastings and seminars. Featured beverages will include:

Bass Note Sangria, Beaujolais Wines, Bodega Norton, Buena Vista Cafe, Ca’ Momi Winery, Carpano Antica Formula, Chateau Gassier, Concannon Vineyard, Fernet Branca, FloWater, Joel Gott Winery, Kikori Whiskey, Korbel California Champagne, Junipero Gin, Mr. Espresso, Provenance Vineyards, Pure Leaf Iced Tea: Tea House Collection, Purity Organics, Robert Mondavi Winery, SIMI Winery, Singani 63, Sipsmith Independent Spirits, San Francisco Brewers Guild, S. PELLEGRINO® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water, Spirit Works Distillery, Stella Artois, Stella Artois Cidre,Templeton Rye, Teeling Whiskey, The Glenlivet, The Hess Collection, Torres Brandy, Trinchero Napa Valley, Trumer Pils, Tullamore D.E.W, Wente Vineyards, Woodford Reserve, Zaya Rum, and Zodiac Vodka.

Photo by Gamma Nine
Photo by Gamma Nine

And just like the culinary kids, pros in the beverage industry will be hosting several educational seminars throughout the day as well in the San Francisco Wine School Beverage Classroom. I’m personally excited for Saturday’s Chardonnay: Burgundy, Butter & Beyond with Chris Gaither, AS.

Oh, but I do hope the SF Wine School brings more cute tattoos…

SF Wine School Tats

Join Us!

Hungry for more? Tickets are still available on the Eat Drink SF website. And whether you’re there for just one day or the whole weekend, I guarantee you won’t go thirsty or hungry.

Cheers!


Eat Drink SF is presented by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association — the local restaurant representative organization and political advocate.

All photos of EDSF are from the 2015 event. Photography © 2015 Marc Fiorito w/ Gamma Nine | All Rights Reserved

Brittaney’s Berry Yummy Summer Smoothie

Whether you’re out berry picking or buying loads of berries, I have the perfect smoothie recipe for you; it’s also very healthy!

Brittaneys Smoothie

Berry Yummy Summer Smoothie 

What you’ll need:

1 cup blueberries (blueberries are one of the highest foods in antioxidants in the world!)

1 handful of blackberries (high in vitamin C)

1/2 cup of pineapple (to make things a little sweet, also high in Vitamin C)

1 handful of mint (promotes digestion and clears your palate)

Juice of 1 lemon (perfect for detoxification and high in Vitamin C)

1/2 cup of ice

Throw it all in a blender, and blend until smooth! Sit in the sun, and cool off with this delicious smoothie.

Jillian’s Gluten Free Banana Chia Pancakes

gluten free banana chia pancakes

I always thought pancakes were these elusive, complicated and hard to make breakfast foods and that’s why everyone always used Bisquick 🙈

It wasn’t until last year that I realized they are really simple to make in a healthy and entirely vegan/gluten free/delicious manner. I pretty much stick with the same recipe I use when making muffins because it works (and I’m lazy).

These Gluten Free Banana Chia Pancakes have 9 ingredients and in 4 easy steps you can have filling, moist pancakes topped with all the fresh fruit, nuts, coconut flakes, goji berries, maple syrup and chocolate chips you want. Plus, I have a trick for making one batch of pancakes at the beginning of the week that will last you several mornings because my laziness has made me resourceful 👍

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Here are the DRY ingredients you will need:

  • 2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • pinch of salt

Stir all dry ingredients together in a large bowl and get out any clumps.

Here are the WET ingredients you will need:

  • 2 tbsp vegan butter, melted
  • 2 sliced bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups soy milk (or any non-dairy milk)

Optional: semisweet chocolate chips or any other add-ins.

In a separate smaller bowl, use a fork to mash up the bananas. Add in the butter, vanilla extract, and soy milk. Mix thoroughly.

Add your wet mixture to the dry and combine everything together, stirring until you have a smooth batter. Add chocolate chips or any other desired add-ins at this point.

Heat a little coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Pour batter into whatever sizes or shapes you want and cook until golden brown on both sides.

Top with coconut flakes, fresh fruit, nuts, goji berries, maple syrup, vegan butter or ALL OF THE ABOVE.

banana chia pancakes

BONUS! What’s my super awesome trick for extending the life of pancakes? Usually, I will cut this recipe in half when I make it in the morning. I use up maybe a third of the batter making a couple of smaller pancakes. I put the remaining batter in an airtight container and the next morning I add a little water to the mixture because it thickens in the fridge. Then I make a couple more pancakes, put the rest of the batter in the fridge and repeat the process. The batter will last me 4-5 days until I’ve my fill of pancakes 😋

Pancakes 4 lyfe.

Jillian 💙

Hubbly Bubbly Falafel Shop in College Park, FL

Hubbly Bubbly Falafel Shop
3405 Edgewater Drive, College Park, Florida 32804
http://www.hubblybubblyfalafel.com

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Imagine a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern-style Chipotle and you’ll have a good idea of the concept behind Hubbly Bubbly Falafel Shop. In a cheery environment, Hubbly Bubbly has an authentic taste with meat roasting on skewers to go with the fresh hummus, pita, and vegetable salads down the line. Everyone shows up for the food but always come back to see Georgie. Georgie is the talkative Lebanese owner and, if you’re lucky, by the end of your meal, he will bring samples of new dishes to your table.

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My usual order is a hummus bowl with fresh falafel. The hummus base is smooth with paprika and olive oil poured over it. My favorite toppings are the pickled radishes and homemade tabbouleh salad. By the end of the line, my bowl always looks like a bright, healthy rainbow. The crunchy vegetables with the creamy hummus make for a great, lighter bite. Whether you eat your food with a fork or with pita,  you always have enough left to take home for later.

The spinach pies are another must-have! The spinach marinated with a delicious blend of spices is then wrapped in a crispy filo dough.  The Spinach pie is prepared fresh in-house or IMG_5744sometimes delivered each morning from a nearby bakery. The savory pastry is delicious and served fresh from the oven. Along with a delicious lentil dish in a tomato sauce base, the spinach pies were a suggestion from Georgie when he found out I was a vegetarian. Since then, I have always trusted Georgie’s recommendations.

Hubbly Bubbly Falafel Shop is a staple on Edgewater Drive in the College Park neighborhood. The local business has a unique menu and boasts an exciting, local beer selection. With a staff that is more than willing to make suggestions, it’s a great place to try new things in an inviting atmosphere. While you’re there, tell Georgie I say hello!

The Lighter Side of Ireland: de Vere’s Irish Pub in Sacramento

So you’re telling me Irish food isn’t just gravy laden washed down with a pint?

IMG_7353I was graciously invited to de Vere’s Irish Pub by Rodney (aka Burger Junkies) to try out their new “Lighter Side of Ireland” menu. Henry, the owner, spent some time with us before the food starting rolling out. Since Sacramento gets way too hot, he wanted to bring a “lighter” summer menu to the table. He also intends to change the perception of Irish food being heavy and filling, showcasing it can also be light, culinary, and still satisfying. All I can say is that de Vere’s killed it with their new take on ‘The Lighter Side of Ireland!’

de Vere’s Irish Pub
1521 L Street Sacramento, CA 95814
http://deverespub.com

IMG_7355You better hurry, you only have six weeks to try this version of the ‘Lighter Side,’ as they will be changing it up again. It will still be under the same namesake, but all the dishes will be new.  Don’t fret, if you still want the other good ‘ole Irish food, it’s still on the menu. These additional items are just something new to try (for only six weeks). de Vere’s added four entrees and one dessert to compliment their already delicious menu.

Smoked SFullSizeRenderalmon Salad – Frisee, Arugula, Onion, Fingerling Potato, Crispy Soft-Boiled Egg, Wholegrain Mustard Dressing

Grilled Lamb Sirloin – Quinoa, Arugula, Summer Squash, Cranberry, Almonds, Herb Vinaigrette

Smoked Pork Shank Terrine – Cumberland Sauce, Dijon Mustard, Pickled Carrots, Fresh Fruit, Toasted Sourdough

Mary’s Chicken Thigh – Brentwood Corn, Cherry Tomatoes, Zucchini, Cranberry Beans, Preserved Meyer Lemon Chimichurri

Olive Oil Cake – Stone Fruit Compote, Basil Creme Anglaise, Brown Sugar Creme

FullSizeRenderThanks to the awesome staff, plates on plates of these goodies came out to our group. I didn’t go for want, nor did the others. There was an eclectic mix of people in attendance, but many were very skilled food/portrait photographers. So between some serious food styling and arranging, we tasted the goodness that was ‘The Lighter Side of Ireland.’

All the dishes were excellent, but I still had my favorites. By far, the freshness of each dish was easily recognizable in the taste, texture, and palate goodness! Since my end of the table ‘did not do seafood,’ I lucked out and ate almost an entire Smoked Salmon Salad to myself. The crispy soft boiled egg was fantastic, oozing all over the salad, but still having that crispy fried outer layer. The pieces of salmon melted in my mouth. I was happy I was one of the few who liked salmon at our end of the table; it was meant to be! The runner up for my next fave dish would have to be Mary’s Chicken Thigh. This plate was a nicely portioned chicken thigh nestled on a mixture of veggies and beans. The beans were my least favorite, but that is just a personal preference. The fried chicken was so moist and flavorful, the added goodness beneath it was just a bonus!

IMG_7383You almost forget you’re eating lamb when you eat the Grilled Lamb Sirloin. There is no hint of traditional gamey lamb taste, rather a very well seasoned piece of lamb. The textural mix of the quinoa and salad that it lies on is also really, really refreshing. My least favorite, but still of excellent quality, was the Smoked Pork Shank Terrine. It was popular with a few around me, who ate most of my share. I know I’m the one missing out, but something about the texture of the pork wasn’t for me. I loved how they plated this dish and could see it be a great starter or just something to nosh on while you enjoy aIMG_7385n adult beverage.

The dessert truly deserves its own post. Seriously, this will be the best $6 you spend all summer in Sacramento! The Olive Oil Cake baked to perfection, moist and flavorful with a perfect not-too-chewy-or-too-hard crust. I seriously can’t write about it without daydreaming about tasting it! The blend of the fruit compote, basil, and brown sugar flavors topped off the already perfectly baked cake. I’m pretty sure I ate most of two of these dishes, sorry to my fellow tablemates!

IMG_7364As the different dishes were served, I was able to sip on a Basil Gimlet, then a Pineapple Express. I don’t think I could have picked a more refreshing libation to start our Friday evening with, their Basil Gimlet was on point. The Pineapple Express was good, but the Bourbon came through heavily. It was different, but I enjoyed it. I also snuck sips of J’s Blueberry Mule, which made me think “Why I hadn’t thought to order one of these before?” Sub Blueberry Vodka for regular Vodka, so simple! He also had the Paloma but drank it before I could even get a taste…I guess that is a good indicator of how tasty it was.

I had such a fun time meeting local Sacramentans who are just as ‘weird’ as I am. By ‘weird’ I mean they do anything to get the shot, including taking plates outside to get a gorgeous shot of the new dish. Everyone was having such a great Friday evening, trying the delicious and fresh food, all while sipping on refreshing adult beverages. de Vere’s hospitality was beyond gracious, and I can’t wait to see what the Chef has in store for Sacramento in six weeks when he drops his next look at “The Lighter Side of Ireland!”

California crafted, Irish inspired!

Poke is the New Black: The Poke Shack in Los Angeles

IMG_9476The Poke Shack
7257 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
http://www.thepokeshack.com

Shops bringing us traditional Hawaiian poke have been sprouting up on (what feels like) a daily basis in Los Angeles. I think the craze can be attributed to the food being perfect for warm weather, fresh, associated with fun flavors and healthy ingredients. Having already been open in Venice for a year and a half The Poke Shack can be considered one of the OGs before the craze took off. Well, lucky for all you mid to east-side city dwellers, they just opened a new spot on Melrose so you can visit this awesome little poke spot without trekking to the Westside.

IMG_9425The prices are fantastic and at their Melrose location, you can choose unlimited toppings for no additional charge. We put together two bowls to enjoy. Bowl one was tuna with crunchy garlic sauce, kimchi, edamame, misugi, seaweed, and jalapeno. Bowl two was tuna with wasabi shoyu, mango, avocado, and jalapeno. Each bowl also comes standard with cucumber, ginger, onions, sesame seeds and red chili flakes. I also had to try their acai bowl for which you can choose your base juice; I chose mango of course! It came topped with granola, fruit, coconut, and a drizzle of honey.

 

In my humble opinion, my avocado topped creation was the best. The fish is fresh and not “fishy”, I loved the play of spice and sweet between the toppings. The servings are hearty and beautifully assembled. IMG_9472   IMG_9473Also of note is the cute little back patio where you can enjoy your poke in the open air. It’s in the back so don’t worry about being bothered by Melrose traffic. They also have the perfect photo opp with some fishy wings and their very own snap chat filters. Perfect little lunch stop while doing some Melrose shopping? We think so!

Soups for the Summer: Chilled Strawberry Basil

balsamsFor a few years in a row, Christmas break was spent with my extended family at the Balsams Resort in Dixville Notch, NH. We would spend the week skiing by day, and enjoying the resort by night. This place is amazing – kind of a cruise ship on dry land, with huge breakfasts, formal dinners, and various activities in the evening – karaoke, movies, the best arcade room ever, and tons of other fun activities (take the memories with a grain of salt – I was probably 14 the last time we were there). The town’s claim to fame is that the first primaries every election year are held in Dixville Notch. It’s a beautiful little New England city, and this resort is gorgeous! (from what I can tell, the Balsams resort is in the process of revamping, and I am hoping they reopen to the public soon!  I can’t wait to take my family there!).

http://flicksart.blogspot.com/2011/01/winter-at-balsams.html

strawberry soup 3As I mentioned, after a long day of skiing, and a relaxed lunch in the ski lodge, everyone would come back to the resort and get ready for a formal dinner. Men had to wear sports jackets, and the women had to be dressed up. Upon being seated, servers would push carts around with various options for appetizers, dinners, and desserts. To a little kid, this place was glamorous and indulgent, and one of my favorite appetizers every year was a chilled strawberry soup. It was so fancy and unexpected; refreshing after a long day spent bundled up on the slopes!

Every once in a while, I’ve thought back to that unusual soup, but it wasn’t until I was at Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago that everything aligned! So, I’ll have to thank the kind cashier that insisted I take home an extra, giant box of organic strawberries…for comparison purposes! He swore up and down the bigger berries were sweeter than the smaller (he was right!). To me, it just meant we had way more strawberries than we could eat before they all went bad! Luckily, my brother-in-law and one of his kids were in town, so we invited a big group over for dinner. Nothing like experimenting when you have ten people over for dinner! I’m not going to lie – I was nervous about this one! But the feedback was incredible! A couple of foodies over and everyone loved it!

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My toddler loves to help out in the kitchen, and this is a great recipe for a little kid. I wanted something a bit more grown-up than what I remembered (which was basically a strawberry milkshake), so I went searching on Pinterest, and found a Chilled Strawberry Basil soup recipe. As usual, this is slightly tweaked, but here goes:

Chilled Strawberry Basil

Ingredients:

  • Blender/food processor
  • 4 cups rinsed and prepped strawberries (tops cut off)
  • 2 cups strawberry greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice (and 1 lemon wedge thrown in for sweetness)
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend.
  • Chill or serve immediately.

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I topped this with a dollop of whipped cream, a sprig of basil, and a slice of strawberry. We served the soup as an appetizer before my husband pulled some teriyaki marinated pork tenderloin and bell peppers off the grill! Perfect accompaniment on a warm summer night! And don’t forget the perfect dessert for any grill night – s’mores! Hope you enjoy this cold soup on a summer night soon!

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Adoboloco: Pour, Taste & Repeat!

A few days ago we got a little package at GOF headquarters. Adoboloco, a Hawaiian company that specializes in making homemade sauces, sent us their top sellers so we could give them a try. Naturally this package made it to my hands because I love salsas after all I am a Mexican. They are ingrained in my DNA. I am like a sommelier of sauces and let me tell you I was very impressed with Adoboloco.

Adoboloco
http://www.adoboloco.com
800.281.0232
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Adoboloco is a family run business that was born out of a homeschooling garden project. Their sauces are made with lots of love. How do I know that? Well, their products are all natural and non-GMO. On top of that, they don’t put any fillers, refined sugars or oils in their salsas.
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The sauces are naturally preserved by its own ingredients and best of all they only have 4 to 5 ingredients; ingredients that you can actually read and understand like habanero peppers and sea salt. They came in a multi-pack package that has a super cool design, and I really mean that! Somebody took the time to create and label the box. Inside the box were three salsas: Mangoes! Bumbye!, Pineapple and Hamajang.

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All of the sauces were super tasty. I tried them at home first on their own, then I had them on chips and finally on popcorn… yes I love to pour sauces and salsas on my popcorn. But I wanted to taste them in an appropriate environment, so I took them to my favorite taco truck. There I had Pineapple on my chorizo tacos and the Hamjang on my suadero (brisket) taco.

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Then I smothered my potato gordita with the Magoes! Bumbye! It was spicy and sweet. You can immediately taste the sweetness of the mangos. This sauce made me think of fresh and light meals like a ceviche, or any seafood dish would be perfect for it.

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Then I tried the pineapple sauce, and I really enjoyed this one. I would say that this one is hot for the average user but to me it was delicious. There is such a good balance between the habanero peppers, the pineapple, and the apple cider vinegar. I could see me using it with carnitas, Easter Carlona BBQ and well basically anything with pork. Somehow I feel that pineapple and pork are a match made in heaven.

And last but not least I had the Hamajang. This was my favorite one. This one is definitely on the hotter and very spicy side. When I read on the label that it had ghost peppers, it made me so happy. The Hamajang has a complex smokey flavor, and I could pour this baby on nearly everything: eggs, popcorn, steak, pork, fish, etc. The sky is the limit!!

Adoboloco is a hot sauce company that is 100% made in the Hawaii, that supports clean labeling and that also partners with small local farms to source some of the ingredients for their delicious sauces. Mahalo Nui Loa!

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