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posted by on guilty pleasure, quick, Vegetarian

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grilled provolone and leeks sandwich

I’ve mentioned before how much I love my subscription to Vegetarian Times magazine and October’s issue featured some awesome spins on the classic grilled cheese sandwich. I mean, who else is going to do a feature on the anatomy of a great grilled cheese?

I’m a huge fan of leeks but if you’re not familiar, they’re along the family lines of a green onion and garlic, but have a really subtle flavor and is amazing for adding some crunch to dishes. Leeks can be tricky to clean, so if you’re buying them root intact, Simply Recipes has an awesome tutorial on how to get them clean before you cook with them.

For me, since I’m all about shortcuts (sans kitchen, remember?) I picked up a bag of two, pre-cut leeks from Trader Joe’s. I’m short on storage space so the two leeks were just the right amount to make about 3 sandwiches.

The combo of the creamy provolone and the crunch from the leeks makes sure you never go back to the a normal grilled cheese sandwich ever again.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 slices of sourdough bread (I don’t use sourdough often and didn’t want to get a whole loaf, so I picked up a mini round loaf at TJ’s that was easily sliced to make about 3 sandwiches)
  • 1 cup of leeks, thinly sliced and only the green part
  • Provolone cheese (shredded or sliced)
  • butter
  1. Prep the leeks by heating a small amount of olive oil and a tiny bit of salt and pepper.
  2. Cover and cook over medium heat until the leeks are tender. Should only take a couple of minutes. Set aside.
  3. Butter one side of each piece of bread.
  4. Place butter side down in a skillet that’s on medium heat.
  5. Layer with provolone, sliced leeks and another piece of provolone and the other slice of bread, butter side up. Since I was using a round loaf, I folded my sliced provolone into two pieces and layered with the leeks.
  6. Cook on both sides until golden brown and the cheese is melted. Enjoy!

recipe adapted from Vegetarian Times

posted by on beer

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Madamin LoverBeer
Trappist Provisions in Rockridge

Trappist Provisions in Rockridge

Trappist brewery is still on my to-do list here in the Bay Area but while walking along College Ave. in Rockridge I found their little gem and second location, Provisions.

Both a bar with 9 awesome taps and a bottle shop with a pretty great selection of craft brews.

Great little location if you’re looking to try something unique and an awesome staff ready to help you make a pick if you’re indecisive.

I had the Madamin Sour Ale from LoverBeer in Italy. Not quite sour enough for me but super delicious. 6.2% ABV

crock pot chili

Sep
2013
29

posted by on cooking for 2, Crock-Pot

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turkey chili

Another super easy crock pot recipe that can be vegetarian, or not. I added in cooked ground turkey to the recipe below but honestly it would have been just as good without it! Definitely better the second day, too!

Remember, this is for my small 2-quart crock pot. If you have a normal human-sized crock, use full cans of the ingredients below. Also, as far as the seasonings go, it really depends on your taste and how spicy you want the chili to be. Below I’ve just given recommendations. If you like spicy, you could always add in some green chilies too!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed + drained well
  • ½ can of cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed + drained
  • 1 can of petite diced tomatoes, undrained (using large crockpot? use 2 cans)
  • 1 can of corn, drained (can use frozen!)
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • ½ tablespoon smoked paprika
  • chili powder
  • 1-2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1-2 tsp. italian seasoning (I know… but I didn’t have just oregano)
  • red pepper flakes
  • ½ lb. ground turkey, cooked (optional)

Now comes the easy part! Throw all the ingredients into your crockpot, put the lid on and cook on low for 8-10 hours. In all honesty, since I was cooking the meat and adding it in later I started this later than I normally would a crock pot recipe so it probably cooked 6-7 hours until hot and bubbly.

I was short on time so I cooked and seasoned the turkey, added it in after about 4 or 5 hours and let it cook the rest of the time.

adapted from NewLeaf Wellness’s freezer recipe

pot roast for two

Sep
2013
21

posted by on cooking for 2, Crock-Pot, portions

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pot roast searing

Pot roast reminds me of Sundays and Grandma H. Super simple to make, even in my two-person crock pot. I asked the butcher to cut a pot roast in half for me so it would fit in my little crock pot. Worked perfectly!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Chuck roast
  • 1 medium onion
  • baby carrots
  • Sea salt
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Garlic powder
  • Italian seasonings
  • Olive oil
  1. Slice the onion into thick slices. Place in the bottom of your crock pot.
  2. Layer with the baby carrots giving the roast a place to sit.

    season both sides of the meat well! I know you're jealous of my hot plate!

    season both sides of the meat well! I know you’re jealous of my hot plate!

  3. Prep the roast by seasoning well, rubbing all the seasonings into the meat (both sides).
  4. Heat some olive oil into a pan and get it hot! Sear the roast for up to 5 minutes or until browned on both sides.
  5. Place the roast on top of the carrots, put the lid on, turn on ‘low’ and let cook all day (8-10 hours on low or 4-5 on high)
the finished pot roast and veggies

the finished pot roast and veggies

For those using a normal sized crock pot, throw in some halved potatoes with the carrots and onion .

Normally I do this, but with my smaller crock pot I didn’t have the room and wanted the flavors from the onion and carrots over making room for potatoes.

posted by on beer

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Karl Strauss Big Barrel Double IPA

Karl Strauss Brewing out of San Diego, CA was another one of my favorite picks for IPA day 2013. Their Big Barrel Double IPA is part of their Special Releases at 9% ABV and can be found in kegs or 22 oz. bottles as shown.

Check out the video from their website:

posted by on cooking for 2, Crock-Pot, Oakland, portions

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Crock-Pot Chicken + Potatoes

If someone were to tell me that one day I’d be okay with not having a kitchen, I would have definitely called you crazy. These days I’m taking on just about everything as a challenge that I’m going to win.

So begins my journey with a hot plate, microwave, mini fridge and now a Crock-Pot®.

Crock-Pot

my new best friend – bought this 2 quart crock at Target for under 12 bucks

I began doing research. Lots of research. Google brought up a lot of recipes for crock pot cooking but I needed something that didn’t require a lot of food storage and recipes that would fit my 2 quart crock that’s perfect for two people.

My first recipe came from a Google search that brought up busycooks.about.com (not kidding). Let’s not forget this lady was promising deliciousness in three ingredients only.

Let’s just say, this dish was the most delicious home cooked meal that I’ve had in a really long time. Plus, all I had to do was throw the ingredients in, turn it on low and let it cook while I was at work all day.

Here’s what you’ll need: 

• 3 small/medium potatoes, cleaned + skin left on (halved if small, quartered if medium – I used Yukon Gold)
• 2 boneless + skinless chicken breasts
• Italian salad dressing (Zesty is best)
• salt + pepper

  1. Place the potatoes at the bottom of the crockpot (veggies will take more time to cook than the meat so meat should always go on top!)
  2. Drizzle with the Italian dressing (just enough to coat the potatoes – eyeball it)
  3. Pour a little bit of water (¼ cup was enough for my small crock) over the potatoes
  4. Place the chicken breasts on top of the potatoes, folding in the small end if needed.
  5. I seasoned first with some salt + pepper but it’s probably not needed.
  6. Drizzle some more Italian dressing on top of the chicken
  7. Put the lid on the crock and let it cook on low all day

I put this together in just a couple of minutes and started the crock at about 8 AM. When it was time to eat around 6 PM the potatoes were cooked and the chicken was falling apart (that’s a good thing in the crock world!)

I’ll definitely be making this one again and there will be a lot more crock recipes coming soon! In the meantime, you can follow what I find on my Crockpot Pinterest board.

If you’ve got easy crockpot recipes to share, send them my way or let me know if you’re interested in doing a guest post!

posted by on travel

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Joe's Tacos in Mill Valley, CA

After a day trip to Stinson Beach in Marin County, California and thanks to a quick food search on Foursquare, I ran across Joe’s Taco Lounge about 12 miles away in Mill Valley, California.

Stinson Beach

Stinson Beach was busy but not annoyingly crowded

Walking in, you’re greeted with a bar that sits in the middle of the restaurant and are surrounded by religious iconography, kitschy Mexican decor, bright red and green paint and fun lights. I loved all of the fun tablecloths on the tables too!

loved this tablecloth on our table

loved this tablecloth on our table

There isn’t anything on the menu that I wouldn’t have tried and I loved that it reminded me a little of a menu a taco truck vendor might have. I ordered a Mexican Coke, the marinated crab tacos and a side of Mexican rice.

marinated crab tacos

the marinated crab tacos had an awesome habanero mayo on them – so good!

I love the history behind this place + will definitely be back. Mill Valley, you are one lucky son of a gun to have this gem!

hot sauces

let Jesus help you pick your poison – lots of different varieties all around the restaurant on these little shelves

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