- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.eVyALSMd.dpuf born and raised: March 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Farewell Papas and Pollo

Once upon a time there was a Southwest meets Humboldt County restaurant in Sebastopol California.  I did love the cabbage salsa and the marinated tofu.  Unfortunately it seems the inconsistency of both the food and the hours has finally done them in.
In truth I'm not exactly sure when they closed, but as soon as I realized I would never get a Papas Tofu again I got a craving I couldn't shake.  I decided I had to make my own.  Papas Tofu is simple enough in concept.  It is a baked potato that acts as a vessel for everything you would have in a burrito.  Rather then meat there is tofu, and the tofu is the mystery.  For may years there has been speculation about what the marinade is, some say soy sauce, others swear it's yeast.  I fried ours in soy sauce.  It was good, not perfect, but it hit the spot.

For Papas Tofu at home:
Start with a baked potato, pile black beans on top, followed by cheese.

Then the tofu!
To make this tofu, you need to cube and marinate firm tofu for at least an hour, you can design your own marinade.  I just used some garlic an soy sauce.  Then fry the tofu with a little olive oil until golden.

I always ordered mine with extra lettuce, so I add a lot of greens and fresh salsa (hot house tomatoes are finally at the farmers market, and they will do for now)

Papa tofu at home is a nice substitute for the real thing, and incredibly filling dinner!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Make Do

Hello!  It's me!  Tonight's dinner was Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Golden Beets with Speck and Gruyere!

Improvising a meal is easy.  You take two (or more) of your favorite meals and you put them together in one bowl and hope for the best.  As my dad says, "It all looks the same in your stomach."  In some cases that could be a really bad idea (like hamburger milkshakes or broccoli ice cream), but in this case it was awesome.  The sweet dirtiness of roasted brussels sprouts and beets complimented the smokey speck, and the gruyere was sharp enough to keep it interesting.  Here's what you'll need:

10-20 Brussels Sprouts
4 Golden Beets
1/4 lb. Speck  (or Proscuitto)
A handful of Gruyere
Some Olive Oil

Preheat the oven to 425˚.  Cut the Brussels Sprouts in half lengthwise and put them on a pan.  Peel the Golden Beets and cut them to be roughly the same size as the Brussels Sprouts, then put them on the same pan.  Drizzle Olive Oil over the vegetables, sprinkle some salt on top, and put them in the oven for 30-40 minutes.  Cut the Speck into 1/2" squares.  Grate the Gruyere.  When the B.S. and Beets are done, put everything in a bowl and mix it all up.  Serve warm.  It's pretty good cold too.

Improvisation is probably the most important skill for home cooking, so use it often and don't be afraid to screw it up!  Thanks for reading!  Peace!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

One End, One Beginning

A month or so before the official start of spring, after the trees have started blossoming, and all the daffodils have come up I start to crave peaches and peppers something fierce.  The end of February/ beginning March is a pretty bleak time for food.  Not as bleak in Northern California then most other places in the US, as we have a year around growing season, we always have plenty of greens, but I want squash!
We got lucky the other night and found the very last of the winter squash at our local farm stand.  We love butternut squash.  We eat them all winter.  As with anything delicious we don't need to do much to it, our favorite way to eat butternut squash is simply roasted, usually in a warm butternut squash salad.

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
Peel, cut in half, and scoop out the seeds
Slice the squash and toss with a little olive oil and a little maple syrup (the maple syrup is optional, but the syrup really helps to bring out the sweet butternut flavor) just enough to lightly coat the squash
Spread out on a baking sheet or two and roast in the oven at 400 until tender, and browning on the edges (I usually check every 20 minutes or so)

When the squash is done we lay them over a bed of greens lightly dressed with some kind of mild vinaigrette, sometimes with a soft cheese, whatever we have and whatever sounds good.

Now for strawberries and fresh peas!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I just can't turn down fresh produce.  How could I?  One of the great joys of living in Sonoma County, is our gardens.  Almost everyone I know is growing something (or trying to).  Walking around my neighborhood you can spot: lavender, mint, tomatoes, peas, and chard growing in tiny containers on front porches, or sometimes (literally) in cracks in the sidewalk.  Chelsea takes advantage of her bay windows and grows herbs and tomatoes in her San Francisco apartment.  Folks with more land tend to be more ambitious,  back yards you could easily waste a day in, perhaps eating from it the whole time.  Quince and sour cherry trees.  Berries and greens.  Even now as we prepare for the new season they are eating large delicious kale leaves and they are offering some to me!

Our friend Theresa has that beautiful garden, and I gladly accepted her kale.
I love kale.  I like to eat it just wilted with a little olive oil and lemon.  I would be happy to eat it just that way for dinner any night.  However,  this time I set some aside for something different.

Kale Chips!
Remove the stem and cut the leaves into bite size (chip size) pieces.  Toss the leaves with olive oil and some lemon juice.

Place the leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet (salt if you like) and pop in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees, until crisp.

Kale chips are simple and taste good, and might be just the thing to have for lunch along side a sandwich.