Cochinita Pibil Tortas

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For this month, I was paired with Kimberly from Rhubarb and Honey for Secret Recipe Club. I was really excited when I saw that she had a recipe for cochinita pibil – it’s one of my favorite things to order when we go out for Mexican, and I’ve been meaning to learn how to make it for ages. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find one of the key ingredients (achiote paste) and had to improvise. Although the recipe didn’t come out exactly like the restaurant’s (which has a thicker sauce with a stronger, more acidic flavor), it was absolutely delicious.

Creamy Avocado Smoothies {& Saving Recipes!}

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I’ve hinted at it here and said it without saying it there, but since the beginning of the year I’ve been working on a lot of fun, recipe related projects. The biggest one is that I’ve been working with General Mills as the newest blogger for their healthy recipe site, Eat Better America. Since January, I’ve been sending them about one new recipe a week. Then I sit back and wait, and wait, and wait fo them to be published. The have a pretty intense editorial calendar and I knew going into it that there would be a long delay before my recipes went up – I was making “spring” themed recipes in February – but it was still hard to be patient.

Well, my first post is finally up – a green smoothie just in time for Earth Week! This isn’t your typical green smoothie though. I left the spinach and kale in my salads where they belong, and added an avocado instead.

Baked Risotto with Sausage and Kale

Baked risotto with sausage and kale

The man who works in the parking garage near my office was in a particularly bad mood this morning. I can’t say that I blamed him. Saturday’s warm sun had gone away, and cold rain settled in. The air was heavy and damp and everything looked gloomy. As he watched person after person head into their toasty warm offices filled with friendly colleagues, he was stuck sitting alone in his little booth (that is, until he had to come out in the rain to deal with my permit issues). On top of all that, it was Monday. I wished that had some of this hearty sausage and kale risotto to share with him – with it’s stick-to-your-ribs warmth, it would have been sure to cheer him up. I could have used some myself.

Perfect Roast Chicken with Lemon & Za’atar

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During the week that I had off earlier this month, I read the book Beaten, Seared and Sauced. Have you heard of it? It’s about a guy a decade or so older than I am who decides to enroll in the Culinary Institute of America. The book wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be (I couldn’t relate to the narrator at all; he was kind of lame and he complained too much… which, funnily enough, sounds just like me) but it was still an enjoyable read and had some interesting insights into the life of a culinary student.

Mostly though, it left me craving roast chicken.

Shrimp + Grits with Creole Cream Sauce

shrimp and grits

Sometimes I come up with ridiculously complicated recipes with ingredient lists a mile long. I know, it’s incredibly annoying. Other times, I get into the mood for simple food. As long as you use good, quality ingredients, you really don’t need to use a million spices and seasonings to make things taste good. Lately, I’ve been in a simple kind of mood.

I’m taking a class about food blogging right now, and this afternoon I listened to an interview with Molly from Orangette. She commented that as she became more interested in food and cooking, she became less and less interested in fancy ingredients and food trends and focused more on the simply joy of eating something like cheese and crackers.

Bitter Chocolate & Blood Orange Cake

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I took a break from reality last week. I took a week off work, bought myself a pass for unlimited yoga, read three books, played around in the kitchen…it was wonderful.

One of the first things I made was this bitter chocolate and blood orange cake. The idea for it had popped into my head while I had been dreaming about birthday cakes the week before, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.