Prosciutto Pepper Puffs

Here’s a simple twist on the recipe for crab puffs I posted a while back to accomodate those heathens who dislike crab. There were more of them out there then I originally realized – my mother and father being two of them – so out with the crustacea and in with a hot and zesty one-two punch of prosciutto and serrano pepper that’ll keep these babies flying into your mouth faster than you can keep count. And being as light and mouth-watering as they are, you won’t want to keep count.

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Señor Verde’s Chicken Enchiladas

What do you do when you’ve arrived at home with an UNBELIEVABLE amount of affordable vegetables and a brand new Rachael Ray knife?  You get to work putting together a flavor-infused Mexican feast that serves six…  then you make sure you invite only one other person over to enjoy it with you!

Some of you out there know where I get my produce.  In the local area surrounding our production offices, the market I hit is famous not just for its jaw-droppingly low prices on everything from fresh produce, meats, alcohol and fresh breads, but for its war zone of a parking lot with a single entrance, a single exit, and a slew of locals who are either over the age of eighty or simply ignorant to common driver’s courtesy.  Plastic bags and runaway shopping carts dart around freely, as do at least three or four different languages and a healthy amount of honking and cursing.  It’s even worse inside.  It’s never anything but packed to the gills, and a mustering of patience is required along with extra-protective footwear and a heightened sense of self-preservation.

Yes, I very much have to be in a overwhelmingly composed, almost reverent state of mind to venture into the Super King Market at 2716 N. San Fernando Road in the Glassell Park neighborhood of Los Angeles.  I take a deep breath, purse my lips, tuck down my head, and concentrate on the finish line, much as I imagine I might if I were forced to walk across hot coals or experience a colonoscopy.

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I Can Get You to The Hamburgers

Apparently, wherever we’re going, you do not want me to drive.

I’m forever being reminded by Sean and Laura, two who claim to be friends, that rarely do I dare drive more than thirty miles an hour on the freeway, but that I’ll happily plow over the center divider and zip down the wrong side of any city street if it gets me through the light faster.

I’ve also been told that I’m not very good with driving directions.  On this point, I have to agree.  I have never enjoyed having a car.  As with most of society, I don’t like putting gas into it and I don’t like having to insure it, but my disinterest in the entire idea of automobiles goes even further.  I have no desire to keep the interior clean.  If a knob falls off of something and hopelessly rolls under the seat, as far as I’m concerned that’s the knob’s new home.  Somewhere in the trunk I may have jumper cables or a spare tire, but they’re completely buried underneath old laptops, empty luggage and 1990s mix tapes I made with my 1990s boyfriend.  For me, the automobile is mostly a trying and unfortunately necessary nuisance.  If Henry Ford and I met one day, it would be interesting to see which one of us would beat the shit out of the other first.

I can do a great many things well, but getting someone from Point A to Point B in my Chevy Malibu is not one of them.  Sure, like anyone I can be occasionally absent-minded.  Who among us hasn’t temporarily lost a pizza in their house only to find it under the bed after three hours of exhaustive searching?

But when it comes to successfully reaching a destination behind the wheel, I am only what can be politely called a pure and total abomination.  I have lived within the same twenty-mile stretch of Los Angeles for the last fifteen years, and I still get lost on the way home from work.  I once had to pull over to the curb and call my boyfriend to remind me what his cross-streets were.  As for the friendly British woman who tells me from the little box on the dashboard, “In one hundred feet, turn left…” she needs to learn that advance warnings like that do not help me.  They merely create a ball of anxiety in my stomach that increases over the next ninety-nine feet until I’m so worried I’ll disappoint her I completely forget what she told me to do in the first place.  And instead of ending up at Disneyland, I end up in Venezuela having to ask a rebel para-military group how to get back to the 101.

There have been times I’ve gotten so lost driving that I’ve considered giving up on finding my way back and just re-locating to wherever I currently am.  “It’s not too bad here,” I cheerily reason with myself.  “This place has a lot of appeal.  There are many available apartments. I could rent one today.  And look, a FotoMat!  That’s convenient.  Yes!  This is making more sense the longer I consider it.  I’ll just pull over and live here now.  True, I’d have to buy all new clothes, new furniture, and replace the cat.  Plus, since I don’t know where I am, it would be impossible for me to tell friends and family how to get here for a visit, so I guess it’s out with them, too!  But that’s not a bad trade-off for such a quick solution to my problem.  It’s just like the sign says… If I lived here, I would be home now.

But something curious and stimulating happens to me whenever I’m San Francisco.  Freed of my car in a town where walking is often easier and faster, I find I’m suddenly imbued with a superior sense of direction that emerges so unexpectedly and is so remarkably accurate it frightens everyone I know, me most of all.

It’s odd and unsettling.  I don’t understand it, but it’s true.  I can’t get you to the Hollywood sign though I live less than five miles from it, but I can get you anywhere in San Francisco.  If the City by the Bay is a charming, fog-infused maze, I’m the smartest baby rat in the box.

I can get you to Union Square just in case you want to say hello to the silver guy standing motionless on a box with a donation cup in hand. Or I can take you to Clown Alley on Columbus Street where Sean and I once encountered a traditional jazz funeral complete with brass band, dirges and hymns proceeding right through the middle of the Financial District.  If you want to see articulated skeletons of bats and rabbits, I can get you to Paxton Gate on Valencia Street. It’s right next door to the city’s only independent pirate supply store where you can scoop your own lard!

And once an afternoon of street performers, music and trying on hook hands has come to a close, I can get you to the hamburgers.

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Pizza and a Movie #3: Texas BBQ Chicken Pizza with Prosciutto and The Black Scorpion (1957)

The Black Scorpion centers on a misunderstood prehistoric creature who is accidentally freed from his underground cave by a volcanic eruption and proceeds to roam all of Mexico in search of friendship and understanding.

Unfortunately, he is unable to find it, so instead he decides to slash his way through thousands of locals, demolish infrastructure, and create economic chaos in an attempt to weaken the peso.

Click here for the Recipe!

Crab Tostadas

MG and I confronted two big questions today.

First… what do you make for dinner that will be satisfying and delicious, but super-easy because you started drinking champagne at four o’clock in the the afternoon and don’t have the energy to attempt anything even remotely ambitious?

Second… is it possible to eat a fantastic deep-fried tortilla loaded down with crab meat, jalapeño, avocado, tomato, onion, lime, and cotija cheese ONE-HANDED and NOT drop morsels onto the table?

The answer to the first question: Crab Tostadas.

The answer to the second question: No Fucking Way.

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MG’s “Almost Famous” Tacos

If you can’t go more than a week without a taco, you need to come by my place sometime.

Tacos usually hit my table at least every seven days, packed with well-seasoned chicken or turkey simmered for at least ninety minutes in a bath of chopped onion, jalapeno and bell peppers, garlic and cayenne pepper (sprinkled in sparingly if guests are coming, generously if it’s just MG and me, and enough to turn the entire pan crimson if it’s me alone)

Apartment 402 was the place to be this past Tuesday night as MG made for me a celebratory “back from San Fran” mountain of crunchy-tender-succulent happiness that nearly made my eyes pop out of my head like a wolf in a Tex Avery cartoon!

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BBQ Bison Burgers

OK, yeah, so MG and I made complete pigs out of ourselves with these burgers tonight.

ARE YOU LOOKING AT THEM? If so, you can hardly blame us.

MG threw me a culinary air kiss (fingers to puckered lips which then shoot off into my direction – is there a better name for that?) and declared this “one of your most satisfying meals yet!” He doesn’t just give these kinds of compliments out, people, so take a very good look at this burger. I don’t often pat myself on the back, but…

It didn’t hurt that I used ground bison instead of beef or lamb (if you follow me here, you know beef is almost non-existent in my diet, and lamb has recently surpassed turkey as favorite burger meat of choice).

Bison is new to my kitchen. A few of its merits: less fat, less calories, and more protein than a comparable serving of beef. Also, similar to lamb, it just breaks apart in you mouth like magic. In fact, you need to take extra care in the pan as well or it might just fall apart on you during a flip. No matter though… push it back together, or don’t. Scoop it out it pieces, melt a little cheese over it and eat it over the sink.

The meat also really absorbs whatever flavors you pack into the pre-cooked patties.

And while you might feel the need to slather it in BBQ sauce as you would a beef burger, DON’T.

In fact, to be honest, I would have enjoyed it just as much with no BBQ sauce and maybe a fresh slice of avocado in its place. Bacon is most certainly a welcome addition as well.

Dare I go the route next time of cheese, avocado, bacon AND BBQ sauce?

If you were here, you would see the angel and the devil that have magically just appeared on my shoulders and have begun fighting for control of my soul.

Bison, people… BISON!

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