This was my great grandmother’s pot. There are many like it, but this one was hers.
Without this pot, most of my kitchenware has very little history. Without me, and my mother, and my grandmother, and my great grandmother, this pot would have no history … and probably isn’t worth much either, thanks to a few dings, some discoloration from use, and the lack of a flashy French brand name.
Without this hand-me-down pot, I would have had almost nothing to cook food in when I graduated from UCLA and moved to San Francisco nearly 5 years ago. Without my mother, aunt and grandmother, I might never have learned to cook, bake, and candy-make and might never have known how much I love doing all three.
(Here’s me waving “hi” to you, Mom, from several hundred miles away.)
Happy Mother’s Day!
When I was a kid, I loved cabbage – roasted or boiled, slathered in melty butter, and sprinkled with salt. (I still enjoy that sort of cabbage now, but reserve it for St. Patrick’s Day.) However, as much as I liked cabbage itself, I never understood slaw.
Most of the slaws I’ve tasted over the years have been more or less drowned in mayonnaise, and you see, mayonnaise and I aren’t quite best friends. I’m a mustard gal at heart, though I’ve learned to enjoy artichoke leaves dipped in a bit of mayo. But I never acquired that same taste for mayo when it came to cabbage salads. Peanut butter, on the other hand, I have always been able to eat by the spoonful (maybe even dipped in a little raspberry jam for some tart sweetness – yum! and yes, that is a “dessert” that I’ve eaten on multiple occasions.).
So when I first dipped chicken (and lamb!) satay – or even grilled sweet potatoes (seriously delicious with this sauce) – into spicy-sweet Thai peanut sauce, it was basically a dream come true. And at some point, probably after I dumped the leftover mango salsa and a dollop of pink chipotle mayonnaise on the extra cabbage from fish tacos, I had one of those light bulb moments where everything in the background fades out and a bright idea emerges: (more…)
Whoa, that’s a big cocktail. Almost life-sized. You could almost reach through your screen and drink it. Except you can’t. Because it’s mine. But it’s Cinco de Mayo, so let’s hear a little arriba, abajo, al centro, pa’dentro for semi-fake holidays that really just give us an excuse to imbibe tequila and eat guacamole.
Did you know that Mexico’s tastiest mixed beverage isn’t, in fact, la margarita but rather la paloma? (more…)
“Best fish tacos ever.” And that’s not a groundless claim. You can trust me because I grew up in San Diego with exposure to more than my fair share of freshly-made-by-immigrants-who-successfully-crossed-the-border-and-got-us-hooked-on-their-amazing-cuisine Mexican food. But even so, that statement has been uttered (and, therefore, certified) by a real Mexican who would know even better than a native San Diegan would: Señor Brian Griego.
Just a couple weeks after the Griegos’ cutie pie daughter was born, I made fish tacos at their lovely home (mostly as an excuse to see the little princess, but also to catch up with her fun parents). Everyone enjoyed them so much (except baby Kameron, who was still on a milk-drinking binge at the time) that we actually ran out of fish a little early – a huge compliment to the chef (ahem!) but also horrifying because this chef thinks running out of food when she’s serving others is just so embarrassing!
Anyway, I first got the idea on board a late JetBlue flight from Boston to San Francisco, where I watched Food Network for (no kidding) six hours straight. Tyler Florence was presenting his “ultimate” fish tacos, and I was drawn in by the mango salsa (I love spicy-sweet) and the pink mayonnaise. Yes, pink chipotle mayonnaise is that “special sauce” that makes fish tacos so addictively delicious when you’re eating at a restaurant. (more…)
You could say I have a thing for beans – spicy, flavorful beans – specifically of the lentil and chickpea variety, and especially those flavored with Indian spices. You might even call this an unhealthy obsession, except that the beans themselves are very nutritious and, even so, I make sure to eat other, non-bean foods too. Like saag paneer, or tikka masala.
Before Indian food, I never understood the allure of beans (being from San Diego, refried beans – a burrito necessity – were, of course, an exception). And before moving to San Francisco five years ago, I had never had Indian food. Go ahead and gasp. But, again, being from coastal North County San Diego, we didn’t really, um, have Indians there.
I now recognize this to be a great tragedy – culturally, culinarily, and otherwise. But at the time, I didn’t know better, and so I was more than happy to chomp on the authentic Mexican food served up at Cessy’s and consider myself more “in touch” with and “appreciative” of other cultures than the kids scarfing down animal-style burgers from In-N-Out. Luckily, my post-grad job brought me up to the city, where Mehfil changed my life forever (more…)