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Whole-Grain Dijon Mustard Potato Salad

June 26, 2014

Whole-Grain Dijon Mustard Potato SaladPin it!

This potato salad is like a collection of all of the foods I used to hate.

Key words: used to!

Mustard, pickled red onions, and even capers have all grown on me in recent years. (Capers, most recently — they used to be the bane of my bagels & lox experiences.)

Ingredients for Quick-Pickled Red OnionPin it!

So the other day when I picked up a little container of this vinegary, mustardy red potato salad from a sandwich shop, I enjoyed it immensely. Possibly because it was the first thing I ate after I defended my dissertation…

But don’t get me wrong, it tasted good for other reasons, too!

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Taquería-Style Creamy Avocado Salsa

June 19, 2014

Taqueria-Style Creamy Avocado SalsaPin it!

Add this to the list of recipes filed under: WHY did it take us so long to try making this?!

There are many reasons we frequent some of the taco shops in Santa Barbara. Hunger, convenience, Groupons, entertaining visitors from out of town… And, aside from all of the obvious ones, Paula gets to eat carne asada (which I don’t eat), and I get to eat rajas con queso (melty cheese over grilled onions and peppers) and pico de gallo (both of which she doesn’t eat, because: onions).

Ingredients for Taqueria-Style Creamy Avocado Salsa

But really the salsas rank right up there for THE reason to go out for Mexican food. If it weren’t for those tempting salad-bar-style salsa bars with their rainbow of assorted roasted, charred, blended, spicy, medium, mild, red, green, smoky, tangy, fresh-diced salsas, then we could just make ourselves the same Mexican dishes at home!

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Peaches and Cream Cake

June 12, 2014

I’m back! With about thirty new mosquito bites and one PhD!

Peaches and Cream CakePin it!

As you can imagine, I’ve had an eventful break from blogging…

After 7 years (!) of grad school, last Friday I passed my dissertation defense. (You may now call me “Dr.” but you might be one of the only people calling me that, since my PhD is in linguistics.)

The weekend before that, my little sister Jess got married.

Peaches and Cream CakePin it!

Her wedding was beautiful. The ceremony was on a sunny hilltop in the countryside, and Wisconsin was looking greener than ever. (Or at least I thought so anyway, coming from drought-stricken California.)

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Kimchijeon (Kimchi Pancake)

May 22, 2014

A note to my dear readers: I haven’t missed a single week of posting in over two years, but it’s finally happening — I will be taking the next two weeks off. I’ll be back on Thursday, June 12th! (And if you’re wondering why: One week from today, I give a talk about my dissertation, then fly to Wisconsin for my sister’s wedding. The following week, I fly back to CA to defend my dissertation. Wish me luck!) I’ll miss you while I’m away!

Kimchijeon (kimchi pancake) with dipping saucePin it!

Remember back when I wrote about how sauteed kimchi is like the gateway drug to raw (fermented) kimchi? Well I’m giving you one more recipe that uses cooked kimchi to really win over anyone who still has any doubts.

That’s how passionate I am about the combination of kimchi + heat.

And yes, I know you lose the probiotic benefits of kimchi when you cook it, but what better way to use up that really sour kimchi in the old jar, before you open up a new one? (Although I’m pretty sure you could justify this to any skeptics with the taste alone.)

Making Kimchijeon (kimchi pancake)

Kimchijeon is a crispy, savory pancake, packed with tangy kimchi.

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Albóndigas Soup (Guest Post)

May 15, 2014

Albondigas Soup (Mexican turkey and rice meatball soup)Pin it!

Note from Allison: I stopped introducing each of Paula’s guest posts a long time ago, since she’s written quite a few of them by now. I just wanted to point out that my theory continues to ring true: we make icy granita, and the temperature drops; we plan to share this cozy, comforting, delicious Albóndigas Soup with you, and California finds itself in the middle of a record-breaking heat wave.

(Yesterday it was 99 degrees in Santa Barbara, and today the heat continues… So, yes, this is the last thing we want to eat right now.)

If you live somewhere with rising temperatures and have long since declared Soup Season officially over, just do us a favor and bookmark this recipe for sometime next winter or spring… it’s worth it.

Albóndigas Soup is one of those few Mexican dishes that I’ve rarely come across. Even though I was a fan, I would never see it provided or made anywhere around Los Angeles.

Menudo and pozole are usually the most popular Mexican soups made by family and friends (and most easily found in restaurants). I doubt I’d had albóndigas more than 10 times in my life… until recently.

Albondigas Soup (Mexican turkey and rice meatball soup)Pin it!

Albóndigas are basically meatballs that can be made with ground chicken, pork, beef, turkey, or really any ground meat. (I’ve only had ground turkey albóndigas, though.) The meatballs are packed with spices, mint, and uncooked rice; the rice grains inside the meatballs cook and puff up as they simmer.

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Brown Butter Strawberry Rhubarb Tart

May 8, 2014

Brown Butter Strawberry Rhubarb TartPin it!

I am so excited that it’s rhubarb season. And I wasn’t expecting to be excited about anything this month other than counting down the days until I finish my PhD. (30 days until my dissertation defense!)

Despite my looming deadline, and feeling overwhelmed and anxious because of it, I’ve bought every nice-looking stalk of rhubarb I’ve come across so far this year, and haven’t let a single one go to waste.

Lately whenever I open the fridge door, the jumble of rhubarb stalks stuffed onto the top shelf reminds me to bake. So I’ve been baking. And I think the baking is therapeutic. I’ll probably owe a good chunk of my degree to butter, sugar, and flour. (And, of course, to all of the home cooked dinners Paula and I have made in this kitchen, where I’ve lived for 6 of the 7 years of my PhD program.)

Making Brown Butter Strawberry Rhubarb Tart

If I hadn’t set aside time and money to cook (and eat) my way through the stress, I think I would have dropped out of grad school long ago. Restaurant take-out and quick frozen dinners are fine every once in a while, but I’m sure I would have been miserable if I hadn’t started reserving evenings and weekends for the therapeutic, money-saving, healthy, and wonderful act of cooking.

This got me thinking. Besides the obvious people I’ll acknowledge in my dissertation (my advisor, my professors, Paula, etc.), there are also many… let’s say entities I’d like to acknowledge, even if these won’t make it into the official dissertation.

I give you, in no particular order, My Unofficial Dissertation Acknowledgments:

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Garlicky Kale Pizza

May 1, 2014

Garlicky Kale PIzza with Parmesan and Goat CheesePin it!

We all have our weaknesses. Some foods inspire an insatiable hunger slash lack of control. (And some foods are even designed to do just that.)

Paula and I invented/discovered this pizza a few weeks ago and — although it says below that it “serves four” — we practically polished off the whole thing, just the two of us.

Not that this is a quality you should look for in your food, but rarely have I felt such little control in the face of something that I’ve cooked myself.

Making Garlicky Kale PIzza with Parmesan and Goat Cheese

Lack of control when facing down an open bag of Cheetos? Yes. Orange flavored tic tacs? Also yes. A homemade dinner that’s at least 50% kale? There’s a first time for everything.

Continue Reading: Garlicky Kale Pizza…

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