Month: June 2011

The Great American Grilled Cheese has an Amazing Mexican cousin named: Quesadilla!

The Great American Grilled Cheese has an Amazing Mexican cousin named: Quesadilla!

I have a quesadilla three to four times a week without fail.  This craving usually takes place around eleven O’clock at night.  First things first: I go into the kitchen and pull open the cheese drawer to see what I have to work with.  I sort through my options and dream up what I think my tummy and tongue will be most roused with.

On this particular night, I have left over grilled corn on the cob in the fridge from yesterday’s dinner.  Mmmmm grilled corn will taste delicious wrapped in Tillamook’s melted pepper jack.  Enough said…. I’m all over it.  The results were heavenly and I was so overjoyed dancing in my kitchen that I made another one.  Ate it up so fast I almost felt cheated out of a second serving.  I needed to share the wealth, I ended up calling a friend of mine over so she could sample the quesadilla as well.  IT MADE HER A TRUE BELIEVER!  Welcome to the QUESADILLA CLUB, where all the BEST CHEESES rub elbows.

All Photos taken by: Nicole Presley

This recipe will make 10 quesadillas

Ingredients for corn and rub:

2 – ears of corn

1 – tablespoon room temperature butter

1/2 – teaspoon minced garlic

a pinch of chili flakes

a pinch of black pepper

Remove husks from corn along with any corn silk (strings).

In a small bowl mix butter, garlic, chili flakes and pepper together.

Then with your hands or the back of a spoon, rub butter mixture all over corn.

Place your buttered up ears of corn on a hot grill/bar-b-que grill. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until corn is nice and tender with plenty of charred bits.

Then take a knife and scape off all the kernels, and discard the core. Place all the corn kernels in a bowl… we are about to make the filling.

Ingredients for corn filling:

A bowl of grilled corn kernels

1 – tablespoon sour cream

2 – tablespoons crumbled queso fresco

1/4 – teaspoon Lawry’s seasoning salt

Take bowl of grilled corn kernels and add sour cream. Mix well. Then add Lawry’s and crumbled queso fresco. Mix well and set to the side.

Ingredients for QUESADILLA!

10 – flour or wheat tortillas (I use Guerrero)

1 – pound grated pepper jack cheese (I use Tillamook)

1/4 – cup thinly sliced red onion

1/4 – cup fresh cilantro leaves

bowl of grilled corn filling

2 – ripe avocado

Place large pan over a medium flame, and allow pan to get hot. Then lay a tortilla down flat and add 2 small handfuls of grated pepper jack to half of tortilla.

Then add a few slices of red onion and a couple of cilantro leaves.

Next take a large heaping tablespoon of corn mixture and evenly spread across cheesy half of tortilla.

Lastly take another small handful of the pepper jack and sprinkle it on top of corn mixture. Eek…. the little cheese monster in me is happy.

Then with a pair of tongs fold the non cheesy half of tortilla over and let melt completely.

Once cheese is melted and tortilla is crisp, then take out of pan and add cubed avocado chunks to quesadilla.

That’s it your done. You’ve officially entered my cheese drawer and know ONE of my quesadilla secrets. Crisp. Creamy. Spicy. Cheesy. Sweet Corn. PERFECT!

In the SNACK of time: Coffee and Croissant

In the SNACK of time: Coffee and Croissant

SNACKAS of the day: Iced Latte Coffee and Croissant from Lee’s Sandwiches.  This coffee is a caffeine lovers dream come true.  I’ve had my share of espresso shots and many cups of turkish coffee, but the energy level provided by those types of coffees pale in comparison to the vibrance that Lee’s coffee brings.  You can literally feel the coffee entering your body and penetrating your senses to the height of ALERTING the energy bunny in you.  It’s the most unreal hyper burst of zero to sixty I’ve ever experienced.  Sometimes flying in the rafters is just what the day calls for.  Plus it perfectly sweetened with condensed milk… goes down smooth.  Oh, and while you’re at it, pick up a croissant at Lee’s too!

Photo taken by: Nicole Presley

Salad Series: Beet Sandia Cucumber Salad in a Pura Miel Lime Dressing with a Blue Cheese Pistachio Mint dress up!

Salad Series: Beet Sandia Cucumber Salad in a Pura Miel Lime Dressing with a Blue Cheese Pistachio Mint dress up!

No words can describe how refreshing and sabroso this delightful salad is.  It will make you want to dance, jump rope, yodel, and make sand castles all in the same day!  Of course it will… the dressing has honey in it.  I recently found out HONEY is a natural energy booster that will help sustain your energy levels through out the day!  YAY!  I stuck that information in my pocket and thought “I’m going to start making my own salad dressing with honey in it!”  Paired with beets, cucumber, my favorite sweet watermelon, and pistachios it’s sure to be a palate thriller.  It’s time to get summer started.  Go ahead – Dance yourself silly.

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley

This recipe will make 4 salads.

Ingredients for honey lime dressing:

1 1/2 – tablespoons honey

1 – tablespoon Nakano rice vinegar

1 – tablespoon olive oil

2 – tablespoons fresh lime juice

In a small bowl add honey, rice vinegar, olive oil, and lime juice.  Mix well and set to the side.

Ingredients for salad:

3 – beets (I used both red and golden for this salad)

1/2 – seedless watermelon

1 – cucumber (peeled)

2 – tablespoons crumbled blue cheese

1 – tablespoon chopped pistachios (I use Wonderful Pistachios)

1 – tablespoon fresh mint (chopped- about 4 to 5 leaves)

a pinch of black pepper


In a medium pot filled halfway with water, place over a high flame and bring to a boil. Add beets and let boil for 30 minutes or until fork can easily pierce through.

Once cooked, take off flame and drain water.  Rinse under cold water allowing beets to cool, and drain again.  Then take a beet and cut off ends, and slowly peel off skin either with your fingers or under running cold water.

Once all skin is removed, slice into quarter inch slices.  If using red beets, slice them last. They will stain your fingers and all the other veggies/fruit.  That’s the reason I photographed the golden ones. 🙂

Now slice up the watermelon into a 2 x 4 rectangle about an inch thick, and slice the cucumber into a 1/2 inch thick vertical slice.

Then assemble.  I started with 3 red beets on the bottom, then added a slice of watermelon.  Topped the watermelon with a slab of cucumber and placed a golden beet up on top.  So pretty and color drenched.

Let’s get the dressing on this stack!  Pour one tablespoon of honey lime dressing right on top and let it drizzle down.

Lastly sprinkle with blue cheese, pistachios, chopped mint and a pinch of black pepper! EAT IT UP YUM!


Chicken Pate Ooh La La!

Chicken Pate Ooh La La!

My LOVE for French food never seems to die, but I have an equal admiration for FRENCH films.  “J’aime Le Cinema” are words I live by!  Here is a list of some of my favorites in no particular order.  On any given night I will pop one of these films in and swoon.  Rent one.  Own one.  Sit back with a toasty baguette, a jar of chicken pate, and find yourself feeling very French!

Film List:

Fantastic Planet / Diva / Leolo / Delicatessen / Belle de Jour / The Umbrellas of Cherbourg / La Vie en Rose / Wild Reeds / The Dinner Game / Un Chien Andalou / The Big Blue / Paris, Je T’aime / The City of Lost Children / Persepolis / The Discrete Charm of the Bougoisie / Swimming Pool

Not to mention…. half the time I’m watching the film… I’m waiting to see what they’ll be eating. 🙂

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley

Ingredients for chicken marinade:

1 – tablespoon brown spicy mustard (I use Guldens)

1 – tablespoon minced garlic

1 – teaspoon black pepper

1/4 – cup green onion (sliced)

1/4 – cup olive oil

1/2 – cup white wine (I used chardonnay)

2 – boneless skinless chicken breasts

In a big bowl add mustard, minced garlic, black pepper, green onion, olive oil, and wine. Mix well.

Then add chicken breast and put in the fridge to marinade for a few (3 to 4) hours.

Ingredients for chicken pate:

1 – tablespoon olive oil

2 – garlic cloves (peeled)

4 – tablespoons butter (room temperature)

1/2 – teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

1 1/2 – teaspoons brown spicy mustard (I use Guldens)

3 – tablespoons mayonnaise (I use Best Foods)

1/2 – teaspoon black pepper

1/2 – teaspoon salt

Ingredients for pate spread:

1 – baguette

1 – green apple (sliced)

4 – radish (sliced)

Place grill pan over a medium high flame, add olive oil, and allow grill to get hot.  Then add both chicken breast and discard marinade.

Grill chicken on each side for 7 minutes, or until middle is no longer pink.

Once cooked, take chicken off grill and cut into several pieces to cool.

In a food processor add chicken pieces, garlic cloves, butter, sesame seeds, mustard, and mayonnaise.  Pulse until smooth.  Then add black pepper and salt.  Pulse to combine.

Remove from food processor and place in a jar or bowl and refrigerate for 45 minutes. Then grab a baguette, slice it up, toast it if you like, and spread pate on bread.  Top it off with slices of green apple and slices of radish.  Voila!

My fiance says this pate is BITCHEN!

In the SNACK of time: Lasagna Cups

In the SNACK of time: Lasagna Cups

Snackas of the day: Lasagna Cups by HeirloomLA!  The most clever cup since the cupcake explosion.  Hand rolled lasagna noodles, various fillings, and fresh cheeses all fit neatly into a small tin.  I LOVE IT!  In the world of just wanting a bite, but really wishing for an entire serving, these lasagna cups are the perfect size.  I remember the first time I laid my eyes on these cups I thought “What a cute novelty, but what do they taste like?”  My answer is to the point: DELICIOUS!  Who knew that a hand sized package could hold a knockout punch?  They come in over 12 different savory flavors, and they are all outrageously exquisite. Pumpkin Brown Butter Sage, Sweet Corn, Short Rib, and Veal Osso Buco are the ones I fell head over hills with.  These lasagna cups will provoke a need for a celebration!  I propose you get your hands on some as soon as possible.

Photo taken by: Nicole Presley

Saturday Brunch with my friends @ The York- gastropub

Saturday Brunch with my friends @ The York- gastropub

Tonantzin, Myself, Sandra, Allison, Antonette, and Israel


I needed some bonding time with my sweet gal friends.  Tonantzin called at the right time and strung a thread of friends together for a brunch of closeness.  We sat and chatted over food that tasted like it was made in a home kitchen, simple but GOOD.  Croissant sandwich, french toast with berries on top, coffee with Frangelico cream, and a big juicy burger with fries.  Oh and not to forget the amazing HARISSA (north african spice) aioli we had smothered in our sandwiches and used as a dipper for our fries and potatoes.  Mmmmm.  I cherish times like these, and can’t wait to meet up with my girls again soon! Cheers!


The York

5018 York Blvd.

Highland Park, California 90042

323) 255-9675

Brunch Saturday and Sunday : 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
The York on Urbanspoon

Salad Series: Pesto Pine Nut Dried Tomato Grilled Asparagus Pasta Salad… Yum-Dogs!

Salad Series: Pesto Pine Nut Dried Tomato Grilled Asparagus Pasta Salad… Yum-Dogs!

I remember the first time I tried pesto pasta salad, and who I was with.  My uncle Ron, the most exciting person on the face of this earth.  Not only does Ron make me feel like I could walk on the moon, he is also a wealth of information, and a experimental food lover/taster/cook.  His character is very playful and lives to push the envelope on all aesthetic levels.  Everyone who meets him is immediately taken by his talent, wit, and kindness.  Oh I wish you could meet him, or maybe your lucky enough to know him.

It must have been more than two decades ago, he was having a birthday party at his home in Silverlake.  Amongst all the beautiful tasty dishes sat a big bowl of pesto pasta salad.  The food was definitely a hot topic of the night, and had everyone in a social chatty mood, as it always does in his home.  But the pesto pasta salad was also the first to go, I recall being truly disappointed that a second serving wasn’t in the stars for me.  By the following weekend…. I was making my own version.  Thanx for the inspiration Ron!

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley

Ingredients for pesto:

6 – ounces fresh basil leaves (about 3 packed cups)

4 – garlic cloves (peeled)

1 1/4 – cups olive oil

1 1/2 – cups toasted pine nuts

5 – ounces shaved parmesan cheese

1/2 – teaspoon black pepper


In a food processor or blender add basil, garlic cloves and 1 cup olive oil. Pulse/blend until smooth.  Then take a spatula and scrape down the sides. Add pine nuts and pulse/blend some more until smooth.

Next add shaved parmesan cheese, black pepper, and remaining 1/4 cup olive oil pulse again till smooth.

Set to the side.


Ingredients for pasta salad:

1 – pound campanelle pasta (cooked according to box, and drained) (I use Barilla)

1 1/2 – cups pesto

1 – tablespoon chicken or vegetable bouillon (I use Knorr)

1 – cup sun dried tomatoes (cut into small strips)

1/2 – cup toasted pine nuts

2 1/2 – cups grilled asparagus (cut into 2 inch pieces)

1/2 – cups shaved parmesan cheese

In a big mixing bowl add cooked and drained pasta, bouillon, and pesto. Mix well.

Then add sun dried tomato strips, pine nuts, and grilled asparagus.  Mix well.

Mix in parmesan cheese, and garnish with a basil leaf and a sun dried tomato! That’s it your done! Enjoy!

It’s so easy being GREEN!