Asheley’s new thing is wanting to do a Tough Mudder, a 160-mile bike race in Ohio this summer, and various triathlons. She spent the other day looking up information about wet suits and bike gear. Oh, and she just signed up for cross fit.
Honestly, I don’t get “the enjoyment factor” in all of this. But I’m happy because she’s super excited about it, and that’s really all that matters. Asheley loves these types of athletic challenges. Me? Well let’s just say making tortillas has been the extent of my extreme sporting this month.
Didn’t I just make corn tortillas? I know, I know. Those were really great. And ridiculously easy to make. But the flour variety are definitely my tortilla of choice. Asheley’s too. No, they aren’t as healthy. And it’s hard to find any redeeming nutritional value about them. But gosh they’re good, so leave me alone (more…)
It has many names. Pico de Gallo. Salsa Fresca. Salsa Mexicana. I’ve even heard some restaurants call it “mild salsa”. Hey, it’s flexible. Like my wife, it will answer to almost anything.
We actually just had this conversation yesterday. Her name has an extra “E” in it: Asheley. Do you see it? So naturally, she always gets the question, “Do you pronounce it Ashley or Ash-e-ley?” And her answer is always indifferent. Either way. It doesn’t matter. You can call me whatever. I avoid this conundrum all together and affectionally just call her hun. It’s easier that way.
So feel free to call this popular Mexican condiment whatever you wish. I just wouldn’t recommend “hun”. That would be weird.
We’ll get to the carnitas. I promise. But first, there’s something we need to talk about. Today, along with over 200 other food bloggers, I dedicate my post to Food Bloggers Against Hunger.
I know I’m normally pretty light-hearted and laid back in my posts. One very, very kind person even said they find my writing witty. But today we need to have a chat. It’s a pretty serious one. And I’m asking that you really take a couple minutes and read through this entire post. Don’t just skim through the pictures and the recipe. I’ve never asked you to do that before, but for this, it’s important.
What if you woke up tomorrow and didn’t have the financial means to feed your family? What if literally, your refrigerator was empty. Pantry empty. You’re not a slacker. You work hard and put in long hours to try to provide for your family, but the cost of living is simply more than the wage you’re paid.
Or maybe you lost your job and were able to successfully apply for food stamps, but that only allots you $4 per day for food. Four dollars.
What would you do?
That’s what filmmakers set out to answer in the recently released documentary, A Place At The Table. Movies don’t often disturb me. This one did. A lot. Here’s what I learned…
The humble tortilla. A tabula rasa. A perfect, innocent, beautiful blank canvas. It’s the foundation on which so many of my favorite foods are built. I love tortillas. I’m uncertain if life would be worth living without them.
I have to admit, I’m more of a flour tortilla kinda guy. Judge me as you will. There are times that I do totally dig the corn tortilla though, and I know a lot of you might be partial to them as well. I figured the safest bet would be to learn how to make both kinds to appease the masses. For those of you who share my flour preference, stay tuned for that post. Today is all about the corn.
This was actually my first attempt at making tortillas. I’ve always wanted to, but figured it would be a lot of work. And store-bought tortillas do the trick just fine, don’t they? Wrong. And wrong. I can’t believe how simple and quick it was to whip up a batch of homemade tortillas, and they taste so much better than the commercially packaged ones.
I hope you like Mexican food… because I’m bringing it non-stop for the next few weeks. One of my absolute favorite holidays is coming, and I want to make sure you (and I) are ready.
Cinco de Mayo. Three beautiful words that bring tears of joyful anticipation streaming down my face. Okay, well not really, but you get the idea. It honestly is one of the holidays I most look forward to.
By the end of the month, you will have enough recipes to throw one ridiculous, slightly out-of-control Cinco de Mayo party. People will be talking about it for weeks. You’ll be a legend within your circle of friends. And it starts right here, right now.
Asheley loves pickles. LOVES them. I even got her an “I Love Pickles” t-shirt for Christmas. She wears it with a smile on her face and pride in her heart.
Personally, I’m not a fan of the conventional cucumber pickle. They just don’t do it for me, unless we are talking about those little bread and butter pickle chips. I’ve liked those since I was a little squirt of a kid.
But we’re about to embark upon a completely different story. Pickled onions are a precious gift. I cherish them. I adore them. And they are ridiculously easy to make. 5 minutes and you’re done.
I’m a total nerd. Always have been. Always will. And I don’t just accept my nerdom, I embrace it.
Learning is fun to me, especially when it involves food. Cookbooks account for 90% of my bookcase. Stacks of magazine subscriptions clutter every room of the house. My internet bookmarks bar is filled with various food blogs and other recipe websites.
I recently read this pretty interesting list of cooking tips from chefs put out by Food Network. And of course that got me thinking about some tips of my own. Although there is still about 100 lifetimes of knowledge to acquire before I even scratch the surface of the collective culinary world, here is a good start for those of you who are just starting out in the kitchen. 10 very simple, very easy ways to instantly improve your cooking.
Leftovers. Ugh. The word alone immediately underwhelms me. It’s the opposite of an exciting meal. But Asheley is big on leftovers, since she absolutely hates wasting perfectly good food. And I can’t say that I disagree. It’s just so often, boring… unless you are talking about reheating a batch of that Creamy Tomato-Basil Soup or Fire Roasted Chili from the freezer. I love those leftovers.
But then this amazing idea popped in my head. And amazing ideas rarely pop into my head. Just ask Asheley.
I just made these luscious, tender, fall off-the-bone Braised Short Ribs with Swiss Chard and Polenta. There were plenty of leftovers, but not quite enough for another full meal. Don’t you hate it when that happens? The next day as I stared at the short ribs in the refrigerator, sitting alongside the sautéed swiss chard studded with crispy, salty pancetta, a light bulb went off.
If you follow me on facebook (which if you do by the way, thanks and you’re totally awesome. If you don’t, become awesome by going here), you know that I actually made these braised short ribs over a week ago. It’s taken me way too long to post this recipe for you because, well, I got distracted. I was just so excited to share that Creamy Tomato-Basil Soup with you and then started the birthday festivities for Asheley.
Asheley had a great birthday weekend. We spent a lot of time with family and friends. Our friends Steve and Val taught us how to play this awesome new game called Settlers of Catan while delicately scarfing down cupcakes from Molly’s. And the crown jewel of the weekend was a pretty darn amazing meal at the 3-Michelin Star restaurant Eleven Madison Park. I’ll be sharing pictures of that meal with you soon.
But see, now I got all distracted again. Short ribs. Right. I’ve been really wanting to braise short ribs for a couple months now, and I finally got my chance. Okay, well yes, technically I did actually braise some short ribs in beer about a month ago for my favorite Fire Roasted Chili recipe. But let’s not get all technical.
March is a such a great month. There are so many things to be happy about. Asheley’s birthday is almost here. That means celebrating with lots of good food, surrounded by our family and friends. We actually also made a reservation for the two of us to celebrate at Eleven Madison Park in NYC. We are super excited about that.
The sun is beginning to stretch out it’s light ever so slightly. I wake up and it’s actually not pitch black. My drive home is spent in warm sunshine. This month builds up my anticipation for all the good things that comes with spring.
But as much as I can’t wait for nicer weather and long sunny days spent outside at my grill and in the vegetable garden, I will definitely miss the warming, winter comfort food that Asheley and I have been grasping onto these past couple months.
We’ve been on this tomato soup binge recently. It’s quick. It’s easy. It’s no fuss, delicious, homey, make me forget about the frigid weather outside type of food. This creamy tomato – basil soup hits the spot, especially with a side of extra-gooey grilled cheese. I make the soup. Asheley’s totally in charge of the grilled cheese. I get yelled at for using too much butter (like there is such a thing as too much butter).