Archive for the ‘Phoenix’ Category

posted by on guilty pleasure, Phoenix

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fried green tomato + bacon sandwiches

UPDATE! Since my original post in 2014, I’ve retested this recipe + have made a few edits to make it even better than before and perfectly fit for 2017! For example…

  1. Green tomatoes are pretty easy to find here in Arizona at such places like Superstition Ranch Market in Mesa, AZ: A stop Grandma + I often make.
  2. I’m a big fan of mayo with this. And more cayenne… 
  3. Eating over my kitchen sink is now something I find myself doing more than I ever thought. 
  4. I find I like the bacon to be cooked well but left more chewy. In the oven, 350 degrees and just until golden brown and on the precipice of turning crisp. 
  5. I still love Alavavdo’s flax seed bread, but use what you’ve got, just make sure to toast it!

It’ll all starts with the Welcome Diner in Phoenix and the night I had their fried green tomato sandwich. Heaven on a plate. I knew I had to recreate it. || Read more

posted by on family, Nebraska, Phoenix, portions, quick

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There are a few things that go through my head when I smell egg noodles boiling in a pot. Winter in Nebraska. My mother making her beef and noodles and more importantly, her tuna casserole.

We all make different life connections with food + recipes, but for me, my mother’s tuna casserole 1) can never be beat 2) is the only way, even to this day I’ll eat tuna 3) makes me miss home. || Read more

posted by on baking, blog, guilty pleasure, homemade, Phoenix

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Oatmeal Scotchies

So, this picture was originally posted back in April of 2013 when I was living in Phoenix with a promise of getting the recipe to you “soon”…sorry about that. Here’s the updated recipe to try (Above 5,000 in elevation? Check out the high altitude recipe).

Makes 2 dozen cookies

What you’ll need:

  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 stick of margarine softened
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar **half of ¾ cup (12 tablespoons)**
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 orange peel grated
  • 1½ cups quick oats
  • a little more than half of a package of butterscotch chips
  1. Mix together the flour, soda, salt, cinnamon + nutmeg in a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat together the softened margarine, sugars, egg.
  3. Stir in the orange peel with a wooden spoon.
  4. Using a wooden spoon, pour in half of the flour mix into the wet ingredients and mix well.
  5. Add the rest of the flour mix, and stir until everything is combined.
  6. Stir in your butterscotch chips and oats with a wooden spoon.
  7. Using two spoons or a scoop, drop the dough onto a baking sheet that is covered with parchment paper.
  8. Bake about 7 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove from oven and let them cool on the pan for a couple of minutes.
  9. Remove the cookies from the pan and transfer them to wire racks to finish cooling.

posted by on cooking for 2, homemade, Phoenix, taking the long way

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Italian Turkey Meatballs + Pasta

I’m on a constant and what seems like a never-ending search to find the perfect meatball recipe. I don’t know what it is, but this challenge is one I don’t take lightly. Blame it on Oregano’s meatballs. I’ve come up with short-cut recipes, no-egg recipes, 100-ingredient recipes (almost an exaggeration) but, I’m still searching.

I had a ½ lb. of ground turkey left over from some turkey chili I made last week that needed to be used up. It was time to give the search another shot. I ran across Chef Huda’s Italian Turkey Meatball recipe. The ingredients were simple and so I gave it a swing using what I had available.


my makeshift breadcrumbs thanks to my Ninja food processor!

The recipe calls for breadcrumbs which isn’t something I always have on hand. I used my Ninja food processor (I link to a model similar to the one I own) and the ends of a loaf of wheat bread and pulsed them a few times until they looked like soft bread crumbs. Works for me!

The meatballs turned out tender, well seasoned and were perfect with marinara and pasta.

Next time I’ll make sure to dice my onion smaller and sauté with the garlic before adding to the rest of the mixture.
Makes about a dozen meatballs

|| Read more

duck eggs


posted by on Phoenix

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My first duck egg

A few weeks ago we were at our friend Fara’s house to celebrate her birthday. She asked if we wanted a “tour” of her backyard chicken coop. Sure, right? How often do you see an urban chicken coop in someone’s backyard…in the city? Aside from the smell (which Fara warned us about) it was pretty cool to see her grab a few eggs from the chicken and duck nests and take them inside to her refrigerator.

I didn’t think anything else about this until this past week she brought over 2 dozen duck and chicken eggs. It’s odd to think of eating duck eggs, at least for me. Fara explained that they are much larger than a normal chicken egg.

chicken vs. duck

chicken egg on the left & duck egg on the right

She also told us that the taste is basically the same and can be used in anything just like you would a normal chicken egg. Fara did warn about frying them and said the white can easily be overcooked and rubbery. I decided to do a little research on this new-to-me ingredient in my fridge.

Saturday morning I whipped up my normal crustless quiche recipe for brunch replacing normal eggs with Fara’s duck eggs. Since they are so much larger, I used four of the duck eggs. Man, were they a pain to crack. The shell is pretty dang tough and took a bit to crack through (this thick skin & shell is also the reason the duck egg will last a month-6 weeks in the refrigerator vs. a store bought chicken egg).

Cracked duck eggs

Cracked duck eggs

I really slammed it down on my counter to get all four of them open. They had such an amazing bright yellow yolk and a very clear egg white. I was excited!

Aside from my spring form pan being warped and some of the egg seeping out of the side while baking, it tasted pretty good! I can’t wait to try the duck eggs in some of my baking, especially with that giant yolk. Should make for some good fluffiness. I’ll keep you posted.

switching gears


posted by on cooking, Phoenix

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ripe seedless watermelon

This is the time of year I switch gears when it comes to what gets done in my kitchen. It’s starting to stay warm here in Phoenix (sorry for those of you who are still dealing with the early spring snow) and the thought of using my oven even to reheat something is not my favorite thing to do.

I hope to be posting more frequently now in terms of “summer” style recipes. I love to keep fresh fruits and veggies in my fridge at all times when it gets hot. Makes for easy snacks and pulling together quick meals during the week and honestly, I tend to eat even healthier when it hits this time of year.

I love this interactive map from epicurious that lets you pick where you live and see what’s in season and easily available for you to get in your local grocery store or your favorite, local farmer’s market!

Almost seedless watermelon

my almost seedless mini watermelon

I picked up these mini watermelons a couple of days ago. They are so sweet and juicy! Don’t forget the fresh cracked black pepper on mine – trust me, try it. It brings out the flavors of the watermelon like you would not believe!

Have a favorite summer-style recipe you’d like to share? Leave me a comment, I’d love to have you share yours with everyone! 

posted by on Phoenix, Q&A

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Questions & Curiosities logo

Province Phoenix's Rita FrenchRita, thanks again for taking a little time to do a Q&A for my blog! I am always intrigued by others’ stories of how they got started in cooking and/or baking, whether that be professionally or as a hobby, like me. I was introduced to you when I was putting together my vegetarian and vegan article for the Downtown Phoenix Dining Guide last year. Tell us a little about yourself!
I was born and raised in Hanover, Pennsylvania. Started cooking at the age of 7 because my mom was an RN working overnights to earn extra money for the family. I served in the military for 6 years doing logistics in a combat engineering unit. Most people wouldn’t know that about me! I love Phoenix; been here coming up on 10 years now. I lived in Colorado before that for 2 years working (cooking) on a dude ranch.

For me, baking was something I always saw my mother doing when I was growing up. I took an interest right away. My dad is always a really great cook (I seek my creative side when it comes to cooking from him!) When/how did your passion for cooking/baking start for you?
Again, really when I was young and started coking for the family. I became like a mini-mom in our family.

Who are some of your culinary inspirations?
White House Executive Chef Cristeta Crawford. To be the first female executive chef at the White House is such a huge honor and achievement.

I used to live in Denver and making the transition from baking in Nebraska to high altitude was something I talk about pretty often on my blog. Many tears have been shed over a recipe I had worked long and hard on to try and get to work in a high altitude atmosphere. Tell me, what’s one cooking/baking experience you wish you could forget?
Nothing too horrific, praise the Lord, but I do remember once when I was a little girl that I made my dad potato salad-except I forgot to cook the potatoes! He was a real champ and ate it anyway.

Favorite dish right now? Favorite ingredient you can’t live without in your kitchen?
Well right now I am a sucker for a great empanada or any latin version of fried rice. I have come up with a bunch of different recipes for arroz chaufa (Peruvian fried rice) that I just can’t get enough of! I’ve also been working lately with creating healthy recipes for school cafeterias. I just got back from being a presenting chef at the Arizona school nutrition conference where I demo’d a few dishes for the schools. It was a lot of fun and hope I get to do it again soon!

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