Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pulled Chicken Tacos

I made some pizzas last week and had some left over pulled chicken from Trader Joes.  Usually I would make my own pulled chicken and my own BBQ sauce but I was tired and exhausted from a long week and figured I'd give this BBQ Pulled Chicken a shot.  I was really happy I did, it was tasty, spicy, smokey but not too sweet.  Perfect!  Like I said, I made pizzas last week and they turned out really well, post on that later but for now I used leftovers to make these tacos and it was truly a magical moment.

Pulled Chicken Tacos:

Leftover Pulled Chicken in BBQ Sauce from Trader Joes
shredded cheese - I used smoked Gouda
thinly sliced red onion or shallots
pea shoots (left over but you can use cabbage or any other green you want)
lime zest and juice
corn tortillas

Spoon pulled chicken mixture onto a few corn tortillas, top with some cheese, put in the microwave for 45 seconds or so.  Top with the onion, cilantro lime zest, any greens you desire.  Roll into taco form and chomp down on, chew, swallow, repeat.  Nom, nom, nom.

I loved them so much I ate 3 tacos.  Usually I cap it at two, but I couldn't resist one more.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Corn and Basil Salad

A few years ago, I went to go visit my friend Katelyn in LA for the Fourth of July.  We had a party at her boyfriend's house and everyone brought a dish.  One of her friends brought this Corn and Basil Salad and it was amazing!

I'm part of a surprise birthday party for a friend of mine.  We are taking her to a water park and having a nice lunch picnic outside.  The great thing about this salad is that it is great cold or at room temperature which makes it perfect for having a picnic outside.

Corn and Basil Salad

2 cups of frozen corn, thawed and cooked
1/2 red onion, chopped finely
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 big hand full of basil, sliced into ribbons
hand full of parsley, chopped

Combine the cider vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil with a whisk and taste for seasoning.  Add to the corn, onion and garlic and coat to combine.  At the very end add the basil and parsley.  Serve at room temperature or cold.

Baked Beans

I am not from the South, nor did I ever really grow up on Southern Comfort Food.  However, living in San Francisco, your repitoire gets drastically expanded with every new restaurant or food truck opening.   This whole Southern kick started awhile back when I made my Pulled Pork Sliders, an equally delicious and laborious dish.  I have been thinking I should make it again but didn't want to put in the whole effort on a weeknight.  I calculated how long it would take to make BBQ ribs with all the fixings on the side and decided that would be put on hold for a warm Saturday afternoon with friend.  I did realize however, that I could make some of the "fixins" on the side and to hold off my BBQ fix for a bit.  Baked Beans and Coleslaw seemed like the perfect easy weeknight meal I could tackle in 30 minutes after I got home at 8pm from working out.

So here goes, I will be the first to admit that my recipe is not a standard recipe, it has out of all things Pancetta in it (to be fair I wanted to use bacon but TJ's was out of it).  The beans are actually Baked Beans from Trader Joes in which I doctored up, very unprofessional Amy.

Baked Beans:
tiny splash of peanut oil
2 ounces of cubed pancetta (half the box that TJ's had)
1/2 sweet onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 jalapeno, minced
1 can of Trader Joes Organic Baked Beans
1 heaping tsp chipotle sauce or 1 chipotle minced
splash of water
salt and pepper
2 scallions, chopped

In a sauce pan, heat the little amount of oil and add the pancetta, brown to render the fat.  Remove with a slotted spoon.

Add the onion, garlic and jalapeno and sweat on medium heat.  Season with a bit of salt and pepper. 

Add the beans into the pan with all the sauce, add the chipotle and a splash of water.  Add back in the pancetta and let reduce on low to medium low heat for 7-10 minutes and taste for seasoning.  Garnish with the scallions and cilantro if you have it.

Corn Cakes

First of all I am very sorry for the lack of posting lately.  My computer is currently broken which makes the whole typing and uploading pictures a bit of a challenge.  Working on it though.  Should be resolved shortly - I hope!

After work yesterday, I realized that I had very little in my fridge to cook with.  I'm talking no lettuce, a half an onion, some limes, frozen corn, and pink lemonade.  Needless to say, it had been awhile since I went grocery shopping.

I just got back from an amazing long weekend in Manhattan with the Boy.  We visited the Boy's college roommate and his girlfriend.  They were very generous in letting us stay with them, which in turn forgoes us spending money on a hotel, which forwards that money to drinks and dinners out.  We had a fantastic but very busy time.  Ate at Momofuku Noodle Bar, almost got struck by lightning in a massive downpour, played with kittens, ate at Mermaid Inn, went to Birreria - a beer restaurant on the top of a 15 story building, ate dumplings at Rickshaw, saw X-Men: First Class, brunch at Elephant and Castle, visited High Line Park, tried to get boys to have pedicures, and lastly went to the Chelsea Market.  That was all in three days.  I finally came home on Sunday night exhausted both mentally and physically, but happy to be sleeping in my own bed, not an air mattress.  New York is an unbelievable city; cabs are everywhere, their driving is some sort of art, everything is always open, their hipsters are different, nothing ever stops, it's hot and humid, even at night.  I loved visiting and can't wait to be back visiting my college roommate in a month or so.  There is something truly unique about Manhattan, a buzz that is hard to describe but is very infectious. 

But back to the fact that there is no food in my fridge.  Here is my dilemma - I'm exhausted from my trip and working all day, don't have the energy to walk to Trader Joes and then up my hill back home, and it's hot (San Francisco is having some record breaking temperatures right now high 80's and low 90's - very un-San Franciscian like).  I figured I have to fashion something together to feed my grumbling belly.  I look into my freezer hoping there would be an amazing 5 course meal ready for me to eat but sadly that doesn't happen.  I see some frozen corn and remember a recipe I saw on Generation Y Foodie these Corn Fritters.  Wham, Bam, Thank You Ma'am - that's what I'm going to make.  Throw whatever I have in my stark fridge into them, serve with a Chipotle Aioli and I had a refreshing vegetarian dinner.  Now that I think about it, I could have added some Pancetta or Bacon to it to make it a little heartier but whatever it was damn tasty and I was very happy with the result.

Corn Cakes:

1 heaping cup of frozen corn, thawed
1/4 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
1 egg lightly beaten
zest of 1 lime - save the juice for the Aioli below
pinch red pepper flakes
few pinches of chili powder
few pinches of garlic powder
2 tbsp flour
1/4 - 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp- 1 tbsp peanut oil

Chipotle Aioli:
2 tbsp light mayonnaise
juice of 1/2 a lime
1/2 tsp chipotle paste
dash of garlic powder
salt and pepper
chopped cilantro

Green onion for garnish.

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

In a large bowl combine the egg, lime zest, and seasonings together.  Add the flour and stir to combine.  Add the corn, onion, garlic and tomatoes.  Add the breadcrumbs until the batter is combined but not too dry.  On a plate sprinkle some of the breadcrumbs, enough to coat the cakes and season with salt and pepper.  Separate the batter into 4 sections and make 4 pattys.  Coat with the breadcrumbs on both sides.  In a large skillet heat the oil and add the cakes, you should hear a sizzle.  Cook on each side about 3 minutes till golden brown and transfer to the oven for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile make the Chipotle Aioli by combining all the ingredients and stir to combine.  You may want to add more lime juice or more chipotle paste to accommodate your liking.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Beet and Watermelon Salad

After the Boy and I got back from Wine Country we stopped at Oola in SOMA for lunch.  We had this amazing Beet and Watermelon Salad that we completely devoured.  The Boy wanted to make it again for dinner, so we did and it turned out amazing.  I substituted Watercrests with Pea Shoots but Micro Greens work well here also.

Watermelon and Beet Salad:
4-5 beets, cubed
1-2 cups of largely cubed watermelon
1 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1 large handful of pea shoots or some type of green
1 handful of pistachios
1 sprig of thyme, leaves removed
1 tbsp Champagne Vinegar or
Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar at TJ's
1 tsp - tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

To make the dressing, put the thyme leaves, salt, pepper and vinegar in a bowl.  Whisk in the olive oil in a stream till combined.  Add to the rest of the salad and toss to combine.  Add a touch of cracked black pepper on top at the very end.