Pickled Red Onions

I have always strongly disliked raw red onions. Even though in small amounts they can be tasty and cooked they are delicious, nothing can ruin a salad or a burger like huge chunks of raw red onion. Maybe its just me, but that sharp taste will stay in my mouth all day no matter what I eat or how many times I brush my teeth. Ick.

But pickled red onions. Those are a whole other story.

Pickled Red Onions

Pickled Red Onions

Pickled Red Onions

Pickled Red Onions

Two essential things to make raw red onions more palatable are slicing them thinly and adding an acid. For this picked red onion recipe you do both. How handy.

Pickled Red Onions

Don’t judge my handwriting.

For some reason when I think of pickling I think of boiling jars and pickling salts and all kinds of other things that I don’t really want to pursue. But luckily you really only have to do those things if you want your pickled whatevers to last more than an year. With this simpler pickling method they should be good for 3 weeks, which is fine by me.

RECIPE:

INGREDIENTS:
1 large red onion
1 1/2 cup of white vinegar
1 cup of sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt
3 teaspoons of whole black peppercorns
2 teaspoons of dried oregano
1 cinnamon stick

1. Thinly slice the onion and set apart. If you have a mandolin this would be a great time to bring it out.
2. Set aside the onions in a small bowl.
3. Bring all the other ingredients to a boil.
4. Pour the boiling mixture over the onions in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit overnight (or until completely cool).
5. Once its cool, transfer it to a jar and keep in the fridge. It will keep for three weeks.

Pickled Red Onions

Pickled red onions have even more tang and sweetness, they retain their crunch yet that sharp lingering taste is gone. Plus they turn a lovely pink color and look quite nice on everything.

Pickled Red Onions

It’s such an easy recipe and I’ve been adding them to everything. Made a stir fry with broccoli + cauliflower + kale with ginger and garlic then added the pickled onions on top. Also made a salad with arugula, roasted squash, goat cheese, pumpkin seeds, and added the pickled onions to that too. Lastly, have not made this yet (am currently waiting on the good will of the avocado ripening on my counter)but plan to make carnitas tacos with guacamole and pickled red onions. That jar will be gone in no time 🙂

TIPS:
1. Feel free to customize the spices. Thyme, rosemary, jalapenos and lime would be great additions as well depending what you’re going for.
2. And the amount of sugar.
3. If you want your onions a bit softer you can throw them into the boiling vinegar mixture for 20 seconds before draining and letting it sit until cool.
4. If you don’t have white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, or another more neutral tasting vinegar would work nicely.

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Bouchon Chocolate Covered Eclairs with Dulce de Leche Coconut Filling

Filled Eclair

Filled Eclair

So the Bouchon cookbook is amazing. The writing is extremely detailed and if you follow it step by step you will most likely obtain perfect results. Minus a little calibrating for finicky ovens.

Eclair

Whereas I stuck to the Bouchon recipe for the eclair dough and ganache topping I wanted to make my own filling. Having some leftover dulce de leche and coconut pudding I thought that would make a great filling. This recipe is based on Manjar de Coco, a Brazilian coconut pudding that is normally topped with prunes and prune syrup. Which sounds quite dismal but is actually pretty tasty. Here’s a traditional recipe for Manjar de Coco from Chronic Cravings.

In the traditional Manjar de Coco recipe you use a can of sweetened condensed milk but I substituted a can of dulce de leche for the condensed milk.

Manjar de Coco with Dulce de Leche

INGREDIENTS:
1 can of dulce de leche
whole milk
3/4 cup of coconut milk
4 tablespoons of corn starch
1/2 cup of coconut flakes

1. Add dulce de leche, coconut milk, coconut flakes, and corn starch into a pan.
2. Take the empty can of dulce de leche and pour two cans worth of whole milk into the pan with all the other ingredients.
3. Turn on stove and cook it on medium heat continuously stirring until its thickened.
4. Chill in fridge.

Remember that the mixture will thicken as it chills so cook until its a little runnier than you want it to be.

Now the Bouchon recipe is quite long and detailed, here is a link to it:

Bouchon Eclairs

Eclairs Cooling

Eclairs Cooling

Obviously did not use a pastry piping bag as was instructed but besides that the only other modification I had to make was that my eclairs were still not airy enough after the baking process was done so I had to leave them in for 8 minutes longer. I blame this on my oven as it tends to undercook things to a certain extent…

Slicing Eclairs

Slicing Eclairs

Filling Eclairs

Filling Eclairs

Ganache

Ganache

Finishing up Eclairs

Finishing up Eclairs

Last step:

Eclair Innards

Eclair Innards

The last step is perhaps quite important because eclairs do not stand the test of time. Every moment they are sitting they are getting soggier so please make sure to assemble them right before you plan to eat them all!

TIPS:
– If you can’t find dulce de leche you can just make it yourself either by cooking it over a saucepan or by boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk, see this link here.

Carnitas Snack Shack

Carnitas Snack Shack is, as the name hints, an inconspicuous little shack in North Park on University Av. that serves a delightfully pork-centric menu. You order at the window on the front and then walk towards the back where you’ll be surprised to find a nice spacious shady patio with an herb garden and another shack towards the back that pours cool draft beer. How handy.

Rib Eye Sandwich

Snack Shack Steak Sandwich

The food is inexpensive and portions are generous. Yet they use high quality all local ingredients and have inventive if sometimes over the top dishes. Not that that’s a bad thing. Its a casual but pleasant atmosphere and despite the uncharacteristically high temperatures and humidity that has been plaguing San Diego lately it was a nice spot to linger at with friends – especially in the evening when it cooled down a little.

Carnitas Snack Shack

Carnitas Snack Shack

Anyways onto the food. Some of their dishes change daily and they’re really good about updating their menu on their website but we ordered dishes that were all staples. You can order their Carnitas in either taco or torta form. The taco form is topped with guacamole and tomatoes on a tortilla and the torta form has guacamole, tomatoes, lettuce and mayo on a roll. I chose taco. Seeing as you only got 2 tacos I was concerned I would still be hungry. This was a completely unnecessary concern because they PILE ON the meat and I could barely finish my plate.

Carnitas Tacos

Carnitas Tacos

Carnitas Tacos

Carnitas Tacos

The carnitas are pretty good but not as amaaazing as I expected. Still really good though. I was hoping for more crispy bits but then again that might be a personal preference. There was a lot of meat and not a lot of just bits of fat which is nice because it sucks when you realize that half your carnitas portion is just blubber. And as always the combination of carnitas + guacamole + tomatoes + greasy tortillas (from the carnitas of course) is always a winner.

The entrees all comes with the corn salad you see in the picture. Its corn tossed in a spiced mayo with some herbs. Its cool and creamy and really tasty and goes well with the fatty meats that seem to populate most of their dishes. Yum.

Another popular item is their Snack Shack Steak Sandwich. This is reminiscent of Board & Brew’s Baja Beef which we boldly declared the best sandwich in SD here. Its sliced rib eye steak, pepper jack cheese, pickled serranos, chipotle mayo and tomatoes on jalapeno bread. And its glorious. Its steak-y and creamy and spicy and super messy but really satisfying. If you’re not super into pork and come here this is the way to go.

Snack Shack Steak Sandwich

Snack Shack Steak Sandwich

Lastly we also ordered the Triple Threat Pork Sand which is a pork loin schnitzel + pulled pork + bacon + pepperoncini-pickle relish + shack aioli sandwich. Pretty much pork every which way. Now sadly I did not get to try this but it was decided that this was superior to the Snack Shack Steak Sandwich which surprised me because that had been my favorite.

Triple Threat Pork Sand

Triple Threat Pork Sand

Dammit I should have tried it.

Oh and we got the fries too. They have bacon salt on them and come with a salsa like condiment that might be an attempt at homemade ketchup. These were pretty tasty and perfectly fried, reminiscent of McDonald’s fries – which is a very high compliment for any attempt at fries by the way. And for only $2.50 well worth it.

Fries

Fries

They have a very decent beer selection too. I went with the Cherry Cider which was crisp tart and not too sweet. Very nice.

Cherry Cider

Cherry Cider

For dessert I got the Banana Split Truffles. You get 2 super chocolate-y ganache truffles covered in dark chocolate and then drizzled with white chocolate, salty peanuts and banana chips. Really tasty. Sadly no pictures because they disappeared too fast. I wished there were more salty peanuts and banana chips to balance out the richness of the ganache but can’t complain too much.

Anyways. Great atmosphere and great food. The only mild annoyance is that on hot days you have flies around because they’re trying to hang out with you on the shade. They light candles that are supposed to keep them away but I would recommend sitting underneath the fans so they stay away definitively. Can’t wait to be back here and try the Triple Threat Pork Sandwich!

CHECK:
Snack Shack Steak Sandwich $9
Triple Threat Pork Sandwich $9
Carnitas $7
Fries $2.50
TOTAL: $29.70 (w/ tax)

P.S. Can’t remember how much the Cherry Cider was so left that off. Sorry kiddos.

Carnitas Snack Shack

2632 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 294-7675

http://carnitassnackshack.com

Related links:

Easy Apricot & Honey Cobbler

So even though we had an apricot tree in our yard growing up I believe this is the first time I’ve had fresh apricots. As far as that tree goes the birds always got to the apricots first. So it was about time I secured some of these guys to do as I please with them.

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Apricots are really good fresh, if you mind the skin like I do it is a bit of a hassle to peel them and sizing up this recipe might be a bit cumbersome. But fear not, there are ways to do it faster by dropping them into boiling water and then ice water so the peels just rub off (see here).

Apricots

Apricots

Apricot is a wonderful little fruit that goes very well with spices (cinnamon, cloves, you name it) and chillier weather food. But since its been so sunny and hot out I decided to forgo any wintry ingredients and go with something that would bring out more fresh and summer-y flavors. Quite simply I thought it was best to thus let the apricots stand out on their own and the only other major flavoring I added was buckwheat honey. Apricot is tart and sweet and this darker honey has deep caramel but at the same time floral notes that play well with the apricot.

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Spoonful of Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Spoonful of Apricot & Honey Cobbler

This recipe is designed to be a) super easy and b) for one person. I imagine you would be hard pressed to prepare a cobbler for one if it wasn’t dreadfully easy and peeling those little guys was really a rate limiting step that discouraged me from attempting to size this up. But perhaps you are a more generous person than I am 🙂

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with Greek Yogurt

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with Greek Yogurt

INGREDIENTS:

6 apricots, peeled and halved
3 tablespoons of buckwheat honey
4 tablespoons of flour
2 tablespoons of cold butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon oats

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 375.
1. Toss the apricot halves with the honey and 1 tablespoon of flour until coated well with no obvious lumps of flour. Add this to a small ramekin that can go in the oven.
2. In a separate bowl combine the remaining, flour, butter, brown sugar and oats.
3. Rub the mixture with your fingertips until it’s in big crumbles.
4. Add this to the top of your fruit mixture
5. Bake for 15 minutes in a 375 F degree oven.
6. Serve with ice cream, creme anglaise or greek yogurt.

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Apricot & Honey Cobbler

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with a Dollop of Greek Yogurt

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with a Dollop of Greek Yogurt

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with a Dollop of Greek Yogurt

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with a Dollop of Greek Yogurt

Perhaps the most important thing I could tell you is that this needs to be eaten hot out of the oven. Give it a couple minutes until its not bubbling lava but as soon as its reasonably still hot you must put a scoop of ice cream over it or dig a little hole in the middle of it and pour some creme anglaise or greek yogurt right in the center of it and watch it as it seeps into all the little nooks and crannies. I chose greek yogurt as I was sort of being healthy but mostly and very sadly did not have ice cream in the house. Worry not though, it was still amazing.

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with Greek Yogurt

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with Greek Yogurt

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with Greek Yogurt

Apricot & Honey Cobbler with Greek Yogurt

TIPS:
– Other dark honeys like avocado honey can be used. Really any honey would be great and they would all change the final flavor a little. I think orange blossom honey and sage honey would be lovely lighter honey alternatives to buckwheat.
– Other fruit could be used; namely peaches, nectarines, any berry or whatever your heart desires. Maybe not bananas though I don’t know how a banana cobbler would fare.
– Do not “over rub” the crumble as you can warm the butter too much, you need cold bits of butter in your dough so its flaky and crumbly.

Brooklyn Girl Eatery – Brunch

So Brooklyn Girl has brunch, which I had no idea existed or else I would have gone sooner. Came here on Saturday around 11 am and was happy to see that there were plenty of free tables, which is nice considering trying to come around dinner time without a reservation has not worked well for us recently!

Brooklyn Girl

Brooklyn Girl

DRINKS:First of all, let me say right off the bat that Brooklyn Girl has the BEST Bloody Mary I’ve ever had. And this sentiment was echoed by others at our table. It’s so flavorful and has the perfect amount of spice. Watery Bloody Marys might very well be one of the worst things ever. I blame these bland and watered down specimens for me believing I hated Bloody Marys for most of the 24 years I’ve been on this Earth (I have seen the light and converted about 3 months ago). They have a special Bloody with bacon and a pickled quail egg too but we all went with the House Bloody which is described as “No Frills, All Delicious, Svedka Vodka, House Bloody Mix Celery, Jalapeno stuffed Olive, Lime, S&P rim”. Spot on.

Bloody Mary

House Bloody

We also loved their Horchata Borracha, or drunk horchata if you habla español. Housemade horchata + Kraken rum = deliciousness. This also came with a cinnamon sugar rim that was a nice touch.

Horchata Borracha

Horchata Borracha

ENTREES: As far as brunch options go they have omelettes, benedicts, pancakes, french toast, granola, and some less usual fare like their burger (add an egg to it!), a T.A.B.L.T. (Turkey Avocado Bacon Lettuce Tomato), a duck confit + duck egg dish, chicken and dumplings, and a breakfast pizza! It’s definitely an interesting but tasty selection.

I went for the Breakfast Pizza which did not disappoint at all. It comes with thick cut bacon, aged white cheddar, eggs, and chives. No tomato sauce on this pizza, and it was better this way. It’s super savory and there’s enough bacon that you get some on each bite. That with perfectly cooked eggs with soft yolks that are perfect for dipping in was heavenly. Wish the pizza had more char on it but besides that it was just about perfect. And huge too! Definitely more than enough for splitting.

Breakfast Pizza

Breakfast Pizza

Some of the other dishes we ordered were the South of the Border, a Mexican inspired benedict. This came with house chorizo, poblano peppers, black beans, red onions, flour tortillas instead of a biscuit, poached eggs, and an ancho hollandaise. I’m not a huge black bean person but besides that everything was pretty tasty. The chorizo was flavorful and the eggs were perfectly cooked. We asked for some hot sauce for this dish and with that it was good to go.

South of the Border

South of the Border

We also got their Traditional Benedict. This was smoked ham, english muffin, poached egg, and hollandaise with potatoes on the side. Despite this being pretty standard fare I liked it even more than the South of the Border because all the components were individually so good. The potatoes were super crispy and I don’t normally like thick cut ham but this one tasted so much more like real pork than the usual salty processed stuff that I could eat it by itself.

Traditional Benedict

Traditional Benedict

DESSERT: Lastly we also ordered the Bread Pudding. This took a while to arrive but it was well worth it. It was piping hot and studded with dark chocolate chips. It comes with an anglaise sauce to pour over the bread pudding, and when you do that the chocolate starts to melt into the anglaise and creates rippling chocolate swirls in the vanilla sauce. Eating this together with the hot custard-y bread is amazing. I was dying for an espresso after this but sadly their espresso machine wasn’t hooked up yet (they recently remodeled). Oh and I didn’t take a picture of it because we all devoured it immediately. So here’s more picture of food:

Not the Bread Pudding

Not the Bread Pudding

CHECK:
3 House Bloody’s $24 ($8 each)
Horchata Borracha $10
Breakfast Pizza $13
Traditional Benedict $11
South of the Border $14
Bread Pudding $8
TOTAL: $86.40

Overall, Brooklyn Girl continues to impress me both with their creativity and with the top-notch quality of their ingredients. They also do a good mix of having traditional options and bolder dishes for the more adventurous. I would definitely highly recommend brunch, especially before everyone else catches on and it becomes as busy as their dinner services!

Brooklyn Girl

Brooklyn Girl

Brooklyn Girl Eatery

4033 Goldfinch St
San Diego, California 92103
brooklyngirleatery.com

Jayne’s Gastropub II

So the first time we went to Jayne’s we loved their patio and thought the food was good but perhaps a tad pricey (see our previous post here). But we loved the decor and vibe of the place so we returned for the most cost-efficient of hours, happy hour!

For happy hour Jayne’s has $6 dollar drinks, wine, and small plates, as well as $5 dollar beer and $3 dollars off regular cocktails! We ordered a couple of the small plates, drinks and dessert and were quite pleased with the food, the drinks and the price. What was great too was that there was plenty of seating at the bar and bar tables during happy hour and unlike a lot of bar areas this one had plenty of natural light and it was a great spot to hang out with friends.

DRINKS: We ordered a Gimlet and the Tom Collins. Both were part of the $6 dollar specials, which also include the Rickey, Highball, Daiquiri and the Old Fashioned . The gimlet is basically gin, lime juice and some sugar so if you are a fan of tart/sour (I am) this is a simple refreshing drink.

Gimlet

Gimlet

The Tom Collins is also gin-based, with lemon, sugar, club soda and a cherry and orange garnish. This is also not very gin forward for those wary of gin and its a nice drink to sip on a hot day.

Tom Collins

Tom Collins

APPETIZERS: So the $6 dollar plates are small plates, we started off with the Crispy Calamari, as we noted previously, Jayne’s calamari is pretty great with a crispy golden crust that is unbeatable. It also comes with lemons, cocktail sauce and aioli for dipping.

Jayne's Calamari

Jayne’s Crispy Calamari

Jayne’s is also famous for their fish & chips. They use that same beer battered fish for their Sea Bass Fish Tacos so naturally we had to order that too. The tacos come with traditional toppings (shredded cabbage, corn, salsa, white sauce) and though nothing too crazy, they were good standard fish tacos.

Sea Bass Fish Tacos

Sea Bass Fish Tacos

Another Mexican-leaning dish in this English pub type restaurant was a Pulled Pork Quesadilla. This was smaller than we were hoping it would be but still packed with flavor.

Pulled Pork Quesadilla

Pulled Pork Quesadilla

Lastly they have the Baby Jayne’s Burger. Jayne’s burger is supposed to be great so I had to order the baby version during happy hour. This is definitely larger than a traditional slider but obviously smaller than a regular burger. It comes with a hefty portion of fries, these were good but not stellar but there were so many we couldn’t even finish them.

Jayne's Baby Burger

Jayne’s Baby Burger

My burger came with pickled red onions, white cheddar, lettuce, tomato and mayo. There was also a side of ketchup. Great bun, good meat and solid toppings. This little guy was very tasty indeed, it would probably have been out of this world if the patty had been medium-rare instead of cooked all the way through, even cooked well-done it was still soo juicy. The medium-rare is a personal preference though and besides that there’s not many unkind things to say about this burger. I’m also sure its harder to cook a slider patty medium-rare since its thinner than a regular patty.

Jayne's Baby Burger

Jayne’s Baby Burger

DESSERT: Since everything else we ordered was a nice shade of beige or brown (happy hour menus rarely have very vegetable or non-fried options no?) we thought we would continue the trend with the Caramel Crème Brûlée. This isn’t normally on their dessert menu but was a special that day.

Caramel Crème Brûlée

Caramel Crème Brûlée

This had great caramel flavor, I actually don’t love the crunchy sugar crust on traditional crème brûlée but here because the custard was infused with caramel the burnt sugar / deeper caramel notes of the sugar crust paired beautifully with the creamy center of the dessert. Since this was an early-ish dinner though I think the crème brûlée did not have enough time to chill and the custard was lukewarm so hopefully next time it will spend more time in a blast chiller!…Yeah we watch Iron Chef, we know what those blast chillers are for 😉

Caramel Crème Brûlée Zoom

Caramel Crème Brûlée Zoom

Overall we were sad happy hour could not be served in the back patio but we liked the food and the prices for Jayne’s happy hour. The service was excellent too, the bartender was super friendly and attentive. If you are planning to go to their happy hour our favorite was definitely the Baby Burger, ask for it medium-rare and you’ll definitely be a happy camper. Oh and if someone orders the White Bean Crostini with Grilled Peppers let us know how it is, I saw one sail by me and it looked quite tasty….

CHECK:
Gimlet $6
Tom Collins $6
Crispy Calamari $6
Jayne’s Baby Burger (w/ fries) $6
Pulled Pork Quesadilla $6
Sea Bass Fish Tacos $6
Caramel Crème Brûlée $9
TOTAL: $48.60

Jayne’s Gastropub
4677 30th Street
San Diego, CA 92116
http://jaynesgastropub.com/

Honey-Rhubarb & Greek Yogurt Parfait with Dark Chocolate

So. This is the first time I have ever cooked with rhubarb. But fear not,  it turned out quite nicely! I love rhubarb in desserts, it adds a great tang to pies and ice cream and pairs beautifully with strawberries or white chocolate.

Dark Chocolate Shavings

Dark Chocolate Shavings and a Swirl of Honey on the Parfait

It might seem intimidating at first because its a stalk-y vegetable that looks a lot like celery that is dyed bright red and you normally do not consume it raw or without cooking it with sugar. But cooking with it does not take very long at all and with the results you get a jammy sweet-tart confection that can be mixed into muffins, swirled into ice cream, mixed into a cocktail or dolloped on yogurt. I chose that last option.

Honey-Rhubarb & Greek Yogurt Parfait with Dark Chocolate

Honey-Rhubarb & Greek Yogurt Parfait with Dark Chocolate

Spoonful of the Parfait

Spoonful of the Parfait

I based my rhubarb on this recipe. I made some modifications and decided to add thyme to it. Thyme is such a nice woodsy herb that adds complexity to the honey-rhubarb compote. If you want it to be even more woodsy you could add rosemary even!

Rhubarb

Rhubarb

Rhubarb - Doesn't it look just like celery?

Rhubarb – Doesn’t it look just like celery?

INGREDIENTS:

Honey-Rhubarb Compote with Thyme

3 cups fresh rhubarb
1/4 cup orange juice
3 tbsp honey
1 sprig of fresh thyme

1. In a saucepan, bring the orange juice to a boil.
2. Add rhubarb, honey, and thyme and stir until everything is well mixed.
3. Cook mixture slowly for about 8 minutes. Taste for sweetness and add more honey if desired.
4. Let the compote cool completely. It can be stored in a jar for up to a week.

Honey-Rhubarb and Greek Yogurt Parfait with Dark Chocolate

Honey-Rhubarb and Greek Yogurt Parfait with Dark Chocolate

Honey-Rhubarb and Greek Yogurt Parfait with Dark Chocolate

honey-rhubarb compote
plain or vanilla greek yogurt
dark chocolate bar
honey

1. Layer the honey-rhubarb compote with greek yogurt
2. After each layer do a drizzle of honey and shave some dark chocolate on top of it.
3. Repeat.

Honey-Rhubarb Compote and Greek Yogurt Parfait

Honey-Rhubarb Compote and Greek Yogurt Parfait

The end result is a delicious mix of creamy yogurt, tangy-sweet honey rhubarb, and a touch of bitter from the dark chocolate. Its low-carb and satisfying (especially if you do big shavings of dark chocolate!). It made for a lovely breakfast today and tomorrow I’m thinking of adding the compote to some oatmeal with almond milk, coconut shavings and fresh sliced strawberries…

Honey-Rhubarb Compote and Greek Yogurt Parfait

Honey-Rhubarb Compote and Greek Yogurt Parfait

TIPS:
– You can substitute the honey in the compote recipe for a sweetener like sugar or the cup-for-cup Splenda! If you use a no calorie sweetener this would be a pretty healthy (and virtually zero carb) recipe.
– Adding in sliced strawberries or fresh blackberries to this parfait would also be lovely.
– If you don’t like dark chocolate, white chocolate pairs really well with rhubarb.
– Naturally you can use any kind of yogurt you like, and adding granola to this would really take it over the top!

Smudgy Honey-Rhubarb and Greek Yogurt Parfait Cup

Smudgy Honey-Rhubarb and Greek Yogurt Parfait Cup

5 Minute Healthy Salad – Strawberries, Feta, Almonds, Turkey + Thyme

One of the best ways to eat healthy during the work week is to BYOL – Bring Your Own Lunch. Cooking a bigger portion ensures you have extra leftovers to bring to work. However there are days when there are no leftovers to be had and very little time in the morning to prep something to take to work. Even though I have turned to Trader Joe’s frozen meals and PB&J’s, I also learned how to make tasty, filling salads that I can throw together in 5 minutes. I love salads with berries and this an easy strawberry salad that requires minimal cooking and will be ready to go in your trusty tupperware in less time than you take to shower in the morning.

strawberry, salad

Strawberry Salad

The best part about this recipe is that the basic concept is there but you can substitute whatever you have in your fridge: if I don’t have strawberries I throw in blueberries, if I don’t have feta I use goat cheese…No turkey? A tiny bit of bacon is not going to kill you. It’s all good 🙂

strawberry, salad

Strawberry Salad

INGREDIENTS:

Mixed greens
5 strawberries
2-3 slices of roasted turkey breast (not the cheap rubber-y kind please)
Handful of almonds
Feta
3 sprigs of thyme
2 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon honey
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat up a small frying pan and add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to it.
2. Rip up the turkey in small pieces and add it to the hot pan. Season to taste and let it get crispy and brown around the edges.
3. While the turkey is browning fill your plate/bowl with the mixed greens and slice up your strawberries and place them on top of the greens.
4. Add almonds, thyme leaves, then crumble feta on top.
5. Add the turkey thats browned.
6. Combine the 2 tbsp of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and honey in a small bowl then whisk together and season to taste. If you are eating this right away pour it on top and toss to combine. If taking to work add it to the bottom of the container so everything doesn’t wilt and you can toss it all together before eating.

Amounts in this recipe are fairly loose because you should not be measuring things that early in the morning. Just add however much you want of each ingredient. I recommend adding A LOT of toppings so that the salad feels like a meal and you’re not just eating greens by themselves like a rabbit :/

You could also always add more meat like chicken breast. I like using meat as just an accent as opposed to the main ingredient in this salad because reducing your meat intake is good for you (but hard to do!) and although we tend to cook full meals for dinner (complete with steaks or salmon filets and whatnot) there are so many tasty ingredients you don’t miss it in this salad.

Strawberry

Strawberry

A great way to make salads more flavorful too is to use herbs like salad greens. If you have ever had tabbouleh or fattoush or other Middle Eastern salads, they use parsley and mint as if they were salad greens not just accent herbs. So have herbs on hand! I grow rosemary, basil, parsley and thyme. All are doing pretty well except for the parsley which apparently cats like to eat…

For this salad basil, rosemary, or mint would also pair beautifully with the strawberries.

Thyme

Thyme

Basil

Basil

Rosemary

Rosemary

So this is a lovely 5 minute salad for spring, look out for future posts on a super fast nicoise style salad and citrus-avocado based salad…

TIPS:
– If you don’t have strawberries: blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries would all do – just make sure its fresh fruit!
– We used fat free feta but using real feta makes the salad creamier and using goat cheese even more so!
– If you don’t have almonds, hazelnuts would be particularly good here. Or else pine nuts, walnuts, pecans, pistachio and most nuts would work…perhaps not peanuts.
– Candied nuts always are really good in berry salads as well! Those have a lot of calories so we stayed away from them this time.
– Any mixed greens maybe with the exception of iceberg lettuce could be used as a base – butter lettuce, romaine, spinach, etc.
– If you use a pre-made low fat dressing that would save you even more time!

Cafe 21

Cafe 21 has long been ranked #1 brunch in SD and being a fan of Hash House I always wanted to go to see this restaurant that upstaged Hash House’s pizza-sized pancakes and my favorite pesto scramble with chicken

sangria, cafe 21, san diego

Sangrias at Cafe 21

Cafe 21 has two locations, one in the Gaslamp and one in North Park. Brunch tends to get pretty busy so we would advise you to go early or late and in general the North Park one is less crowded than the Gaslamp. We went to the North Park location around 10 am and only had to wait a couple minutes for seating at the bar.

You know when sometimes you go to a restaurant and one dish stands out so you know what you absolutely must order? At Cafe 21 there were 4 dishes that I absolutely wanted to order. I considered ordering 2 and taking the rest home but finally decided I should not completely cancel out the benefits of the hot yoga session I attended that morning and decided on only one dish – it wasn’t easy.

Cafe 21 has 4 kinds of sangria and they’re all displaced on the wall – two red wine ones and two white wine ones. We were stuck deciding between the Pineapple Citrus and the Watermelon Cantaloupe. We asked for a taster and ultimately decided on a pitcher of the watermelon one. It was very refreshing tasting and tasted more like melon than wine. This was served with a slice of fresh watermelon and lots of ice; perfect for a hot day.

watermelon, sangria

Watermelon Cantaloupe Sangria

The menu has quite a few options ranging from frittata-style omelettes that come in cast iron pans (you can get one side dish with them), benedicts that come on corn cakes, salads, sandwiches, yogurt parfaits and specials. I decided on the Filet Mignon Omelette that comes with bell peppers and goat cheese with a salad for the side.

salad, strawberry, cafe 21

Side Salad with Strawberry

filet mignon, omelette

Filet Mignon Omelette

The omelette was fluffy and delicious, it comes super hot in the cast iron pan. I loved the goat cheese but wished the bell peppers were a little more cooked as I like them soft instead of crunchy. The filet mignon was cooked medium-well, I suspect it was rarer but cooked while sitting in the cast iron pan. The side salad was delicious, simple greens but dressed with a slightly sweet berry dressing and garnished with fresh strawberries.

My friend got the Prosciutto Omelette. This came with prosciutto, mushrooms, and cheddar cheese. It looked amazing and I think I would pick that one over the Filet Mignon Omelette next time. All the omelettes come with toast as well.

Prosciutto, Omelette

Prosciutto Omelette

Overall everything was quite good, the service was excellent, and we kept staring at dishes come out of the kitchen and inquiring as to what they were as everything looked amazing. Can’t wait to come back here and try the lavash bread with turkey sausage topped with cheese or the smoked salmon, egg, and avocado sandwich. And the baked pancakes with apples….And the shrimp corn cake benedict! Clearly will have to return more than once…

Cafe 21

750 5th Ave
San Diego, CA
92101

2736 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA
92116

http://www.cafe-21.com

Bronx Pizza

Bronx Pizza Counter

Bronx Pizza Counter

Ok. This is not somewhere where you come on a date night and order a Pinot Noir then linger over dinner while picking between pizza with zucchini blossoms and fresh figs or mashed potatoes or whatever is trendy to throw on pizzas these days. This is somewhere to stop by and grab fast, fresh and delicious no-nonsense pizza with friends before hitting the bars or picking up a whole pizza to go when you’re to lazy to cook and you just want to eat yummy pizza  in front of the TV (it happens).

Bronx Pizza

Bronx Pizza

Bronx Pizza is located on Washington St. between 3rd and 4th in Hillcrest. The place looks rather small on the outside but there’s actually a lot of seating inside. When you walk up all the pizzas available by the slice are displayed. You walk in, tell them what you want, pay (cash only) and then go find a seat. It’s efficient, and if you see a long line fear not because they easily clear long lines and even though there were 5 people ahead of us we waited less than 5 minutes.

Pizzas

Pizzas

They have all the traditionals flavors – pepperoni, cheese, vegetarian, meat lover’s – and some more inventive options but nothing too crazy – pesto, white pizza (plain, with spinach or with mushrooms), tomato basil, pepperoni and peppers, artichoke pizza.

White Pizza with Spinach

White Pizza with Spinach

ENTREE: We ordered the Tomato-Basil (actually a white pizza with no sauce and fresh tomatoes and basil on top), the Pepperoni and Peppers (jalapeno and cherry to be exact) and the White Pizza with Mushrooms (mozzarella, ricotta, mushrooms). We loved the pepperoni with peppers; it was spicy, salty and cheesy with the cherry peppers adding more dimension and taste to basic pepperoni with jalapenos. The white pizza with mushrooms was also excellent. They mix the ricotta with herbs so it has more flavor and white pizza pairs well with mushrooms. The mushrooms were also well-cooked instead of those paper-y dry things you get with a lot of chain pizzas. The tomato basil was nice but rather bland we will probably order the artichoke pizza next time instead. The crust wasn’t super thin but it was definitely New York style, we would have preferred a little more char and a little more chew but with the toppings it wasn’t bad at all.

Pepperoni and Peppers (left) and Tomato-Basil (right)

Pepperoni and Peppers (left) and Tomato-Basil (right)

White Pizza with Mushrooms

White Pizza with Mushrooms

Overall we really liked Bronx Pizza, its a no frills establishment serving good food and its cheap and fast. We will be returning for the pesto pizza and the arthichoke pizza (and for how fast it is!).

Bronx Pizza Window

Bronx Pizza Window

CHECK:
Pepperoni and Peppers $2.50
White Pizza with Mushrooms $2.50
Tomato-Basil $2.50
TOTAL: $8.10 (w/ tax)

Bronx Pizza
111 Washington St
San Diego, CA 92103
www.bronxpizza.com