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No longer updating, but hope you enjoy the recipes!

Unfortunately, I got too busy to go back to blogging, after I was forced to take a break from it in 2015 because of tendonitis.
But you can still follow my cooking, eating, and travels on instagram: (@spontaneoustomato)

Orange Chocolate Pancakes (Guest Post)

December 18, 2014

Orange Chocolate PancakesPin it!

I may not be morning person but I am definitely a breakfast person, as in, I make a mean breakfast.

I make nearly everything: pancakes, chilaquiles, baguette french toast, huevos rancheros, overnight oats, frittatas. (I say nearly everything because while Allison has designated me the breakfast-maker in the house, she refuses to allow me to scramble eggs; they need to be handled a certain way to be delicately fluffy and apparently I stir them too often.)

Cocoa powder and orange zest sugar for Orange Chocolate Pancakes

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Parmesan Black Pepper Grilled Polenta

December 4, 2014

Parmesan Black Pepper Grilled PolentaPin it!

I took these photos a week or two before Thanksgiving, but I’m craving this dish again as I write this, and hatching a plan to make it again sometime soon.

I don’t think I’d ever eaten polenta up until a few years ago, but it’s become one of my favorite staples to whip up as a weeknight dinner back-up plan. When everything else seems like it would require too much energy, or — even worse — another trip to the grocery store, I know I’ll at least have some polenta and a can of tomatoes around to turn into a meal. And since I always have at least a little butter and an onion in the fridge, I just have to hope to find a little Parmesan in there too, to turn it into a decadent feast.

Parmesan Black Pepper Baked Polenta, ready to be grilledPin it!

I swear, those ingredients combined are even more appealing to me than pasta. (Not counting gnocchi, though, because I LOVE gnocchi.) But I know nearly everyone loves pasta and maybe can’t see the appeal of polenta in comparison, so just hear me out…

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Easy Indian Chicken Curry

November 20, 2014

Easy Indian Chicken CurryPin it!

Last winter I posted a recipe for Easy Thai Peanut Curry. It’s not some labor-intensive DIY-curry-paste masterpiece, but I’m proud of it because it’s a fast, simple way to make delicious Thai curry from ingredients I keep on hand, like coconut milk and ground spices. (Bonus for some: it’s vegan!)

I got a few comments after that post about how reminiscent the method was of those used in Indian curries. In fact, I had come up with the recipe when paging through an Indian cookbook. Many north Indian curries start with a blended paste of garlic and ginger — often with water added for easier blending — so instead of using water in the paste, I used some of the coconut milk that I would later add to the curry anyway.

Easy Indian Chicken CurryPin it!

Ever since then, I’ve been wanting to post a recipe for an easy, under-an-hour Indian curry, using a similar method…

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Balsamic Honey Vinaigrette

November 6, 2014

Balsamic Honey Vinaigrette and Warm Chicken SaladPin it!

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, then you’ve heard me whining — since all the way back in July — about my tendinitis/RSI injury from too much computering.

It felt like a long summer of going to physical therapy, not-so-patiently resting my hands, wrists, and arms, and taking lots of forced time off from the laptop and the internet.

Even now that I’m back to doing a little typing, I’m limiting myself to about 3 hours per day of using my new ergonomic keyboard and taking frequent, regular breaks (using free RSI break reminder apps). And believe me, 3 hours feels like nothing, especially when you’ve been a graduate student/food blogger. I don’t think I’ve ever been so behind on responding to emails in my life.

Balsamic Honey VinaigrettePin it!

But back to this summer: I didn’t cook; I didn’t wash dishes. (Well, I tried, but then my hands were in so much pain that Paula forbid me from doing anything in the kitchen…) So it all fell on Paula’s shoulders — all the cooking and cleaning for two, on top of her full-time job.

And yet, we still survived the summer! (And we only ate 1 or 2 frozen dinners from Trader Joe’s a week!) How did we do it? This salad.

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One-Bowl Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

October 23, 2014

One-Bowl Pumpkin Chocolate Chip BreadPin it!

Two sweet recipes in a row! It must be THAT time of year…

Actually, I am thrilled that it’s October and that the weather’s gotten cooler. For one thing, I can now use my oven again without dire, sweaty consequences. I’m excited about chilly mornings and cool evenings: needing a hot cup of coffee to warm up my fingers when I sit down at my computer each day, and needing a blanket to curl up under at night.

Making One-Bowl Pumpkin Walnut Chocolate Chip Bread

I know there are some who would consider Santa Barbara to be a place that never quite gets hot enough, but for me it’s gotten plenty hot, especially since this drought hit. So I treasure every single one of the cool, misty days when the marine layer floats in over the mountains, and I can briefly pretend that we have seasons here, and that it’s fall.

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Orange Cardamom Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

October 9, 2014

Orange Cardamom Cranberry Oatmeal CookiesPin it!

As promised, today I’m sharing my little sister’s wonderful recipe for the oatmeal cookies that she baked as wedding favors for me and Paula.

These are some of the best ever oatmeal cookies: crisp on the bottom, a little crunchy across the top, and perfectly baked and chewy in the middle. And though I may be partial to oatmeal chocolate chip cookies myself โ€“ but never oatmeal raisin cookies โ€“ the bright orange and cranberry flavors in these cookies won me over immediately. They are incredibly flavorful, with just the right balance of tart and sweet.

Making Orange Cardamom Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

I made a batch this past weekend, and felt that my sister’s additions of orange zest and fresh orange juice to the original America’s Test Kitchen recipe were right on: each time I scooped into the dough to form another cookie, the fresh scent of orange zest floated up temptingly from the bowl.

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The Wedding!

September 25, 2014

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Paula and I got married!

So I’m interrupting my not-so-regular recipe-posting schedule [although finally the tendinitis/RSI pain is subsiding a little] to bring you these photos of our tamale-centered wedding feast!

Next time I’ll be back with a recipe, though… I promise.

Unlike all of my other blog posts, these are not my photos, but those of our fabulous wedding photographer, Debbie Gardner. And the food wasn’t made by me or Paula (although we thought about doing it ourselves — for about 5 seconds!), but by Pure Joy Catering. We were very happy with both!

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Continue Reading: The Wedding!…

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