Monday, March 9, 2009

My New Favorite Food

One more recipe to complete the trilogy-


1 Tbs olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, chopped (I always add more)
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, plus 1 Tbs adobo sauce
coarse salt
28 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes
4 cups of chicken (cut up) if you want chicken chilaquiles, or you can use eggs....we prefer eggs and use 4 
1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro
4 cups (about 3oz) tortilla chips
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup feta cheese or queso fresco cheese

Combine oil and garlic in large frying pan, cook over medium heat until sizzling, about 2 minutes.

Add tomatoes (with juices,) chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, and 1 cup water.  Smash up tomatoes.  Heat until boiling, add salt, then reduce heat but keep it at a high simmer for 6-8 minutes until it thickens.

If you want chicken, add chicken.  If you want eggs, scramble 4 or more eggs and add to pan.  Throw chips in and mix them around so they soak up some of the tomato, then add cilantro and turn off heat.  Serve with sour cream and cheese.  

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pepper Beef (or chicken)

3/4 lb flank steak (or any thin meat that's cheap, or chicken)

2 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs chinese rice wine, rice vinegar...something like that
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp pepper
2 Tbs canola oil, divided
1 cup vertically sliced yellow onion
1 1/2 Tbs minced garlic (or if you like garlic...a whole bunch of garlic)
1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper (about 1 pepper)
1 cup thinly sliced green pepper (about 1 pepper)
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups hot cooked short grain rice.

Cut steak or chicken into small strips. Combine meat pieces, soy sauce, vinegar/wine, sugar, and black pepper

Heat a wok or big frying pan over high heat.  Add to Tbs oil to pan.  Add onion and garlic to pan, cook until onion begins to brown.  Add bell peppers, cook until crisp tender.  Spoon bell pepper mixture into large bowl

Add 1 1/2 tsp oil to pan, add half of chicken or steak to pan.  Cook until browned.  Add to bowl of onions and peppers.  Repeat with remaining 1 1/2 tsp oil and remaining meat or chicken.  Put everything (onions/peppers/rest of meat) back in pan and sprinkle with salt, stir fry 1 minute or until heated through.  Serve over rice

4 servings...or two if you're pigs like us.

Dang Good Salmon Fish Tacos

This is for Kelsey, but also anyone that wants to try it out. Kelsey- we like stuff pretty spicy, so we always add more peppers.  If you follow the recipe it isn't super spicy, but probably too spicy for Rory...maybe taste some of the chipotle pepper to feel it out.  Suzi-  these are the really good tacos I've mentioned.  If you can find chipotle peppers in adobo sauce that don't have wheat in it, everything else is gluten free.

You'll need this blackening spice, which is REALLY good and works for chicken too...if you don't want to make it you can use whatever you like to use to season salmon.

Blackening Spice
2 Tbs kosher salt
2 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs pepper
1 Tbs plus 1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbs paprika
1 Tbs dried thyme
1 Tbs dried organo

Just put it all it a ziploc bag and mix it up.  Lasts 6 months according to the recipe or 2 years if you don't care like me. ha!

Chipotle Sauce
1 cup mayo (we use non fat, its just as good)
3 Tbs sour cream
2 minced canned chipotle chlies in adobo sauce (sold in a can in the mexican section of regular grocery stores)
2 Tbs minced cilantro
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Mix it all up, lasts 3 days in fridge

Rest of the tacos
About 1 1/2 lbs salmon (this amount is for two tacos for six people)
1/4 cup blackening spice
12 corn tortillas
8oz finely shredded cabbage
3 green onions including green tops,  diced up
3 Tbs lime juice
2 ripe tomatoes, diced.
Chipotle Sauce

***This particular recipe had a ridiculously complicated way of cooking salmon.  Here is what we do:
preheat oven to 450 degrees
Put blackening spice on salmon, put salmon on a piece of foil, put salmon in the oven for 15 minutes.  This almost always cooks the fish perfectly.  Check to make sure the fish is flakey and opaque.

In a medium serving bowl, toss together cabbage, green onions and lime juice.  

If you like your tortillas warm, warm the tortillas in the oven for about 8-10 minutes while you're cooking the salmon.

Assemble tacos with salmon, cabbage, tomatoes, and chipotle sauce.  

Friday, March 6, 2009

Things I will not miss about Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is a beautiful place.  I used to love to come visit Suzanne in Ventura and then drive up to Santa Barbara and go shopping.  The weather is almost always great, there are lots of neat little shops and restaurants...I always had a great time.  Then I moved here.  

I got over it.

The blogger at  wrote this about Santa Barbara:

"Santa Barbara has to be the most simultaneously beautiful and boring city on earth. Every street and passageway is flanked by gigantic palms trees and inordinately large pink flowers drowning in sunlight the color and intensity of gold. Yet, my cronies and I spent the entire afternoon at a small booth in a Subway sandwich shop and in our parked car sipping Mike's Hard Lemonade bought at a grocery store. We couldn't find a bar or a patio or even a shop where the average pulse of its customers was over 15. Made no sense to me."

Sums it up perfectly.

Some things that drive me crazy about Santa Barbara-

1.  There is a ridiculous amount of horrible drivers here.  The other day, I was on the freeway in the middle lane, with a semi to my right and a Suburban in front of me.  The suburban was going WAY over the line, almost slamming into the semi.  This is a normal occurance.  People don't feel the need to go when the light turns green.  I've been behind  cars at a red light and had to wait for the next cycle because the cars took so long to make it through.  In parking lots, I'm pretty sure that people have their eyes closed while driving.  When Wendy came to visit me in Goleta for the first time, she noticed the bad driving in less than 5 miles, so I know its not just me.  Oh, and I've been rear ended twice, when I was stopped at a red light and the person behind me decided not to stop.

2.  As if all the bad driving wasn't enough, pedestrians are lacking in brains as well.  In parking lots, they just walk wherever they slow as they want.....while staring at you as you wait for them.  On Cabrillo (the main road along the beach) people just dart out from between parked cars, trying to run across the street, and give you a dirty look when you have to stop fast.  People on bikes do this too.  Then they act like you should be arrested for not realizing they were going to dart out in front of you.  You're on a bike! You're supposed to be following the same rules as a person in a car!  You're not even bothering to pose as a pedestrian and use the crosswalk.  

3.  Everyone thinks of Santa Barbara as this great coastal beach town, but here's a little secret.  The beaches here (at least compared to San Diego,)  SUCK.  My idea of a great day at the beach does not end with picking tar off your shoes or feet.  That's right...TAR.  Its all over the beaches.  Totally gross.

4.  The cops here are really bored.  I got pulled over once because the cop said I had swerved over the line on the freeway.  I had been in the fast lane....there was a center divide directly to my left (the way he said I swerved.)  I would have slammed into the concrete divide.  I didn't swerve.  It was 2am.  He asked if I had been drinking.  I said no.  He asked if I had anything with dinner.  No, I didn't.  Also....dinner was around 6pm.  If I was still drunk 8 hours later we have a problem.  Then he asked to see my ID, saw I was from San Diego, and got all excited, started talking about how he used to live there.  Then he let me go.  I'm pretty sure he just wanted someone to talk to.

5.  I was walking around the grocery store the other day.  There was this seemingly crazy woman with disheveled crazy hair, really messy, dirty, baggy clothes...she was talking to herself in a ranting, crazy tone.  I was like wow poor homeless lady.  She left when I did and got in a Mercedes and drove away.  In Santa Barbara these are rich eccentric people....anywhere else they're homeless.

6.  It hasn't been too bad lately (knock on wood) but the traffic here is ridiculous.  You could be stuck in traffic for half an hour, not moving at all....then you get to move and you're looking for some major accident.  Nothing.  Nothing at all to explain what was going on.  Or you're at a slow crawl for 40 minutes and then suddenly going 80.  (Where's that cop now?)

7. Speaking of traffic, there's only one freeway through Santa Barbara, so if anything happens on the freeway, you're not going anywhere.  For hours.

8.  When I first moved here I nannied for a nut job family that didn't put their baby in a proper carseat, even though I'm assuming they had the money, since they lived in Montecito and put the baby in a Mercedes.  They seemed to think I was supposed to be honored to work for them since they were so loaded and amazing.  They treated me like "the help" and got mad when they caught me talking to their rich "french cousin."  The help doesn't talk to the family...just the children.  The "french cousin,"  who had driven up in a vintage porsche, had started the conversation.  I quit.  I've had a couple great nanny jobs since then, but that turned me off big time.  Oh, they also were kind enough to let me know about their friend who had a place for me to live in exchange for the equivalent of $900 a month in babysitting.  It turned out to be a small room attached to the top of their house....with no closet or kitchen.  At all.  They let me know they didn't have to find me a place, it was just out of the kindness of their hearts.  Thanks.  Did I mention these people paid me the least amount of anyone I have worked for since I moved here?

9.  Santa Barbara is very against growth...they want to keep their small town feel.  That's a nice idea.  The result is that there are no Targets or Walmarts, just a disgusting run down Kmart....and virtually no drive thrus.  How can you have a Kmart instead of a Target?!

10.  When you order food from a window, and get 2 sandwiches and some fries, it should not cost $20...if it does, you're probably in Santa Barbara.

Oh Santa Barbara....I will not miss you.