52 Weeks: 33/52

We had a nice break from the same-ol routine and got out of town for a few days. Here’s what we were up to:

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Blue skies

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Goodbye dreary SF…

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Hello sunny Oahu!

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Diamond Head crater

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We hit the ground running, no slouching for us. Soon as the plane landed, we grabbed a quick bite to eat and hoofed it up to the top of Diamond Head. It felt good to stretch our legs after the long plane ride.

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There must always be an incentive for hard work… Shaved ice rewards afterward. My favorite flavor is lilikoi (passion fruit).

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Cooling off after a long and hot/sticky walk.

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Banyan trees are plentiful here.

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After seeing this, I’m certain I won’t be getting my hair done by Daniel.

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Furikake Popcorn

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Know what goes well with an ice cold beer? Chips you say? Meh. Peanuts? Sure, but not what I have in mind today. If you’ve never had furikake popcorn and you enjoy a frosty beer, then this snack was made to pair with that beer… especially if it’s of the Japanese variety. I did you a favor and will proceed to dazzle you with my incredibly easy and fuss free snack that’s a sure crowd pleaser. Did I mention there’s no stove or oven involved in this goodness? I know, almost too good to be true. If you’ve got a microwave, you’re half way there. Let’s get to popping.

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Furikake Popcorn:

Serves 2 as a snack

1/4 cup popcorn kernels

1 paper lunch bag

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

1/4 tsp salt

1 T furikake (Japanese rice seasoning)

1/4 cup spicy rice crackers

1/4 cup nori

Place popcorn kernels in a brown paper lunch bag with the toasted sesame oil. Fold ends twice and shake to distribute the oil among the kernels. Microwave on high for 2- 3 minutes (depending on microwave) or until there are 4-5 seconds between pops. Mine took exactly 2 minutes.

Add the furikake and rice crackers to the popcorn bag while popcorn is hot. Shake up and transfer to a bowl. Top with nori and enjoy while hot.

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Fish Taco Enchilados

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In addition to sandy beaches and great climate, San Diego is known for excellent fish tacos. Interestingly, these delicious fish tacos are made in the Baja style which can be had by driving an extra mile past San Diego. The real deal. Hands down, the best fish tacos I have tasted so far are in Baja. Thankfully, we can get some pretty great tasting tacos right here in town. I usually go for the fried fish over grilled, but have found through tasting trial and error, some places are better at one or the other. Lately, I’ve been loving the enchilado tacos which are marinaded in a chile sauce and then grilled or cooked on a flat top. I’ve been making my version of enchilados almost every weekend. I’m definitely hooked and these tide me over until the next time we can get down to Baja… or our local taco truck.

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Fish Taco Enchilados:

1 pound fresh grouper fillets (mahi also works well), sliced into 1 1/2- 2″ strips

4 cloves garlic

1/3 cup grapeseed oil

3/8 oz dried chile (25% chile arbol, 75% togarashi), blackened

1 T shoyu

1/4 red onion, sliced very thin

1/2 habanero chile, sliced very thin

pinch dried oregano

juice from 1/2 lime plus additional lime wedges for garnish

cilantro for garnish

cabbage, thinly sliced

2 radishes, thinly sliced

2 cups cheddar cheese, grated

sea salt to taste

Chile Marinade:

In a wide mouth container, combine garlic cloves, chiles, grapeseed oil, and soy sauce. Using an immersion blender, blend until until chiles and garlic are minced. Set aside. As the mixture rests, it will separate and the chiles will sink to the bottom. Just stir with a spoon to get it all incorporated again once ready to use.

Habanero Relish:

In a small bowl, combine the red onion slices with the habanero. Squeeze the lime juice over and toss with a fork. Add the oregano, sprinkle with salt and set aside.

Prepare the grill. Wile you’re waiting for the coals to be ready, marinade the fish.

Marinade the Fish:

Place the sliced fish fillets in a pan large enough to accommodate all in a single layer. Spoon the chile marinade over the fillets, coating both sides well. Cover and refrigerate.

When the grill is ready, remove the fish from the refrigerator and sprinkle the fillets with salt. Grill to desired temperature, flipping the fillets over half way though. They cook very quickly so don’t even think about stepping away to tend to another task. When they are properly grilled, place on a clean dish and cover with foil.

Prepare the tortillas:

Place your tortillas on the cool side of the grill. Let heat up and soften on one side, then turn over and immediately sprinkle 1/8 cup cheese onto the middle of each tortilla. Grill until the cheese is melted. This should only take around 30 seconds. As all grills cook slightly differently, you might have to move the tortillas between the cool and warmer sections to ensure they don’t char or burn.

Place one slice of fish directly on top of the melted cheese. Top with cabbage, habanero relish, radish, and cilantro. Finish off with a squeeze of lime.

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52 Weeks: 32/52

Heat and humidity is creeping back so we spent the days trying to be as cool as can be. That means lots of air conditioner and cold drinks. Here’s a glimpse of what this past week looked like:

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Checking out an exhibit by James Drake at MCASD: An Anatomy of Drawing and Space. Interesting drawings and prints but my favorite was the video installation of huge pigs devouring the contents of a dinner table.

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Ending the day with a cold beer at Border X Brewing.

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This fancy low rider was parked outside.

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Another Space Invader installation that I just discovered in downtown.

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Relaxing with a whiskey and soda while watching Johnny Marr cover Smiths songs. Not bad. I’ll take what I can get.

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This speaks for itself.

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Vegetarian tacos from San Diego Taco Company.

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Almost twilight in Logan Heights.

Happy weekend to you all!

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Esquites

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One great thing about summer is the simple pleasure of having a few extra hours of sunlight in the day to sit on the porch sipping a mint julep– when life’s busy schedule allows. On days when this is not possible, I take pleasure in the bounty of a summer corn harvest. I love corn in almost all renditions. There is hardly a dish I would pass up, unless it included mayonnaise. In that case, it’s all yours. I’ve been known to grab a styrofoam cup brimming with esquites from street vendors when in Mexico. I can’t resist. This is truly a pleasure that has yet to disappoint me. I thought I’d share this simple recipe because it’s one of my favorite ways to enjoy corn. Of course, there are infinite ways to make esquites, but in my opinion, the simpler, the better to let the natural sweetness of summer corn really shine through.

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Esquites:

3 ears of corn, remove kernels and set aside

1 serrano pepper, seeded and chopped fine

1/2 onion, diced

2 clovces garlic, minced

2 T  olive oil (more if needed)

salt to taste

2/3 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half vertically

cotija cheese for garnish

cilantro, a few sprigs for garish

1 lime, cut into 4 wedges

crema (Mexican sour cream), optional

Saute the onion and garlic with olive oil on medium heat for 1 minute. Cover and let cook on low heat until they turn translucent. Do not let the garlic brown. Add the chopped serrano chile and corn kernels and turn heat up to medium high. Saute for 1-2 minutes and add salt to taste. When corn has softened a bit, remove from heat and add the tomatoes. Stir to combine and transfer to a bowl. Garnish with cilantro sprigs and cotija cheese. Enjoy with sour cream and a squeeze of lime.

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Heirloom Tomato and Avocado Toast

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I’ve never had $10 toast and likely never will. For me, it’s more of refusal to cave to a ridiculously over priced trend and shining example of band wagon jumping. It’s just not for me, but you go ahead if that’s your thing. I won’t judge. There’s absolutely no reason for me to fork over an obscene amount of change for toast, however fancy. Yes, it looks pretty and is hand made, not to mention the convenience which I suppose is a huge draw and is all very tempting, I know.

Since anyone can be handy in the kitchen and perfectly capable of growing his/her own tomatoes, stopping by a farmer’s market, or selecting produce over hot cheetos we can make our own version of fancy toast. It tastes great, comes together quickly and with minimal ingredients. The best part? You can make an entire tray for $10 or less. Run and tell that.

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Heirloom Tomato and Avocado Toast:

yield: 2 servings

1 ripe avocado

1 small clove garlic

pinch of kosher salt

juice of 1/2 lime

2 sprigs cilantro

handful of heirloom tomatoes, quartered or sliced

1 T avocado oil

2 slices sourdough bread

Quick Guacamole:

Using a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic and salt together to make a paste. Add the avocado and mash to desired consistency. Add lime juice. Set aside.

Assembly:

Toast the sourdough slices, spread a generous amount of guacamole on 1 side of each slice. Top with tomatoes, cilantro garnish, drizzle with avocado oil and sprinkle with sea salt to taste.

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Salmon Collars

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I was on a mission to find some grouper and maybe some sardines this weekend at the fish market. No sardines, yes grouper, and some delicious salmon collars. What a nice surprise. Fish collars are far less expensive cuts of fish than the commonly seen and beautifully displayed fillets. They have an abundance of flavor and are usually quite meaty. A simple preparation and restraint in ingredients is the best way to enjoy this lesser known piece of fish.

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Broiled Salmon Collars:

2 salmon collars

Sea salt

1 T toasted sesame oil

Sansho leaves for garnish

1 lime, juiced

1/2 cup soy sauce

Prepare the Collars:

Fresh fish should not have an overwhelming “fishy”odor, but nevertheless, it will have some sort of fish smell. This technique aids in lessening the fish smell while softening any “fishy” taste. Pat the collars dry and sprinkle sea salt on both sides. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit for 15- 20 minutes. Gently remove the salt with a paper towel and wipe each side while patting excess liquid dry. It’s important to dry the fish as much as possible before cooking.

Ponzu Dipping Sauce:

Combine the soy sauce and lime juice in a non-reactive container and set aside.

Preheat the Broiler:

Place collars skin side up on a foil lined sheet pan. Lightly brush on sesame oil and season with salt to taste. Broil 5 minutes and then flip collars over and broil another 5-7 minutes until done and the ends are a bit charred. Remove from broiler and garnish with a few sansho leaves.

Serve with brown rice and a simple salad.

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52 Weeks: 31/52

I spent this week preparing for the next partly in an effort to get ahead and partly to keep myself on track. Once the weekend comes around, it’s easy for me to get distracted and put the mundane things off until the vary last minute. Not this time. I was efficient and got most of the to-do list checked off. Here’s what I was up to:

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This horse and buggy sign caught my eye while we were driving.

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Summer’s bounty at the farmer’s market.

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I really like these black tomatoes, so pretty.

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Space Invader art. I saw this a year ago and finally got around to snapping a photo of it.

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San Diego’s first open-air fish market was a smashing success, but not for me. By the time we arrived, this was the line and I doubt there would have been anything left to buy with only three tents of fresh seafood and a hoard of eager shoppers.

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A calm day in the harbor. I like the overcast skies, but not the humidity.

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Prepping the grill for fish and vegetables. I see a cold glass of white wine in my near future.

Cheers to another fabulous weekend. I hope you’re having a great one!

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Peach Galette

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I’m insane. I turned on the oven and stove on a hot and humid day. What was I thinking? I’m not going to lie, it was miserable for an hour or so but I dare say it was worth it. We’re overflowing with ripe peaches over here as you’ve likely seen in the last few posts. It’s a delicious problem to have and I’ll be sad when the season is over. Our little tree is almost done producing so I’m savoring each and every peach from here on out.

This time I decided to try my hand at a galette and since the peaches were juicy, I made a quick mixture of cinnamon, almond and flour to layer on the bottom and help absorb the extra liquid. If you can stand it or if you’re lucky enough to have air conditioning, give this buttery, flaky peach galette a try. Top with vanilla ice cream for an extra decadent treat.

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Peach Galette:

10 ripe peaches

almond cinnamon mixture

pate brisee

1 T butter, melted

1 T raw sugar

Pate Brisee

from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters

1/2 cup ice water

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

12 T (1 1/2 sticks) butter, cut into small cubes

2 T heavy cream or 1 small egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place the flour, salt  and butter into a bowl. Using your fingers, cut the butter into the flour leaving some large, irregular pieces. Using a fork, mix the flour and butter mixture while slowly pouring in the ice water until the dough begins to form clumps. Add more ice water if needed to brink the mixture into a cohesive mass. Gently pour out onto a work surface, need lightly until there are no dry patches and separate the dough into two. Flatten into a disk and wrap in plastic. Chill for at least an hour.

Remove one of the disks of dough (save the other for something else) and dust your work surface with  flour. Make sure to smooth out any cracked edges in your disk of dough. Proceed to roll out in a circle until approximately 1/8″ thick. If dough cracks or you get some holes, just pinch off excess dough and patch up the cracks. This dough is very forgiving, but you will need to work quickly so the butter does not warm up.

When you have your round shape, transfer dough to a parchment lined sheetpan. If the dough is too soft, place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Poached Peaches:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the peaches. Let boil 30- 45 seconds. Remove and place into an ice water bath. When cool enough to handle, peel skins off with a pairing knife and slice peaches into 6-8 slices per peach depending on size. Set aside.

Almond Cinnamon Mixture:

1 T all purpose flour

1 T whole almonds

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Chop the almonds and place into a food processor with the rest of the ingredients. Process until the nuts are fine and the mixture is incorporated. Set aside.

Assemble the Galette:

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and sprinkle the center of the dough with the almond and cinnamon mixture, concentrating mostly in the very center.

Place peaches over the almond cinnamon mixture leaving a 2″ border around the edges.

Fold the edges toward the center, over the border of the peaches and continue around the perimeter of the tart until all edges are folded.

Brush the dough with melted butter and sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake 40- 45 minutes until edges and bottom is golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes before serving.

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52 Weeks: 30/52

This last week has been crazy crowded in town with everything from  clogged freeways and streets to long lines at some restaurants and general hassle getting around. Add heat and humidity to that equation and it’s easy to see where this bus is going.  Here’s some of what was happening this week:

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Annual Comic Con craziness.

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Getting away from it all and grabbing a beer as the sun went down.

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Tacos and Mulitas + beer = instant mood lifter.

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Checking out the Art Crawl at Glashaus.

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Gotcha! Putting this little guy to the challenge and making him work for his treats. #frustratedpup

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Pink clouds and nightfall.

Stay cool this weekend and enjoy it while it lasts!

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