Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Quick & easy dinner for the kids

Me and my young daughter/Sous chef were thinking about what to make for dinner, I'm sure it would save time to plan and shop for the whole week, but we just buy and cook what we feel like having each day. A package of corn tortillas at home set the tone, next was a can of mild enchilada sauce, cheddar cheese, black beans and ground turkey. We browned the turkey and layered all ingredients in a shallow pan. Covered and baked for about a hour and it was ready. With the look of lasagna and the taste of enchiladas, we liked it a lot. There are other options like choice of meat, beans and hotness of sauce. Garnish with cilantro, avocado and sour cream if you like.

Monday, April 21, 2008

So much cheese, so little time

I decided on a new cheese to try with dinner tonight. A soft ripened goat with a ash rind from Spain called Cana de Cabra. Its a small barrel shape that is creamy with a slight sharpness maybe from the ash coating? It was really good and great with crusty bread and a glass of Pinot Grigio. The price was good at $3.50 for a small four ounce wheel. Remember to eat all cheese at room temperature so it will soften and you will get the best flavor.

A trip to Joe's Taco Lounge

There is a lot of trial and error when searching for a good taco joint, one of my favorites is Joe's taco lounge in Mill Valley, California. Its a very funky little restaurant that I think used to be a diner. It is small with counter seating in the middle of the room, there is a narrow aile in the center for the waitstaff to serve. On one wall are shrines to deecated to Jesus and there is also a small narrow shelf that wraps around the restaurant filled with every kind of hot sauce bottle you can think of. Grab a few to try with your food, but if you want the real good stuff, ask the guys in the kitchen for the snakebite sauce (it will bite you and its deadly hot) The menu has all the usual tacos, burritos and enchiladas which are all really good.The desserts here are also good and are made with fruit sorbet served in there hollow fruit shells (mango, lemon, etc) For drinks go with a Mexican beer or sangria, skip the cheap box wine. For the kids there is a also good menu, have them try the "build your own" mini tostadas. A big plus to the location is the famous local dive bar next door (2AM Bar) watch a game on the big screens and then go next door to Joe's for lunch or a late night snack.
I give it 4 out of 5 points

Joe's Taco Lounge 382 Miller Ave, Mill Valley California
(415) 383 8164

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Roasted Vegetables

Shopping for dinner and a bunch of jumbo Asparagus looked great also a basket of nice yellow tomatoes from Mexico, I chose to roast them with garlic, onion and fresh herbs from the garden. Roasting vegetables intensifies the flavor by removing moisture and the natural sugars in the vegetables caramelize bringing out the sweetness. Its a very healthy way to cook with out using a lot of oil or butter. I serve the vegetables by themselves or as a side to maybe a fillet of Halibut roasted along with the vegetables.


Me and the girls were researching dinner options and pot stickers came up, we saw the bigger egg roll wrappers at the market and had the idea of doing the pot stickers with the much larger wrappers. Same filling recipe of saute cabbage, ginger, garlic and ground pork. After its cooked and cooled it is placed and rolled up into cigar shaped egg rolls. These rolls are sauteed in a little oil then a dash of water is added with a lid placed on the pan to finish cooking by steaming. Serve with soy sauce or hot sauce. This recipe can be made healthy by using just vegetables like shitake mushrooms, cabbage, sprouts instead of the ground pork.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Another Taqueria and burrito without sour cream!

Went to a small local taqueria for a quick burrito before my girls softball practice, the small restaurant called burritoville Cafe is popular with the locals and all the school kids. Its menu is pretty basic with all the usual things including a small fresh salsa bar, that's hot sauce not dancing. I had a basic Carne asada (steak) burrito which was filled with a lot of plain rice then beans and a few chunks of meat, nothing to write home about, drown it in bottled hot sauce and get it over with. The plus is a clean dining area with a open kitchen to watch and the prices are fairly cheap. Its a good place to bring the kids. I give it 2.5 out of 5 points
Burritoville Cafe, 531 Magnolia street, Larkspur, Ca

Saturday, April 12, 2008

La Tur Cheese

I stopped by the cheese counter the other day to look over the selection, they often have samples which is a good way of trying different cheeses with buying a big wedge. The counter was featuring a Italian cheese called La Tur which translates to "three milks" cow, sheep and goat. It is a small round washed rind cheese similar to a crusty brie. My eleven year old daughter tried it and liked it, so into the shopping basket it went. We later served it at room temperture with sliced crusty french bread, the cheese is tangy and creamy, we recommend it.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Warm Artichoke, Oyster Mushroom & Arugula Salad

Trimmed Artichokes cooking and the tossed warm Artichoke & Mushroom Salad

I had the idea of throwing together some items from my recent farmers market trip, artichokes, oyster mushrooms and young wild arugula. I started by trimming the artichokes and quickly blanching them in simmering salted water, then cutting them into quarters. Next I sauteed the artichokes with a small amount of Oyster mushrooms, sliced garlic and a splash of olive oil, after a few minutes I added a dash of Sherry vinegar and kosher salt and pepper, a handful of arugula goes in and after a quick toss its ready for the plate, fresh shaved Parmesan cheese and its dinner time. It tastes great and the only thing I would do different next time is to add some crispy thick cut smoky bacon.