Month: February 2012

Pixie Tangerines from Ojai, the charmed sphere.

Pixie Tangerines from Ojai, the charmed sphere.

What a difference in perspective you gain from seeing where fruit comes from 1st hand. I’ve been to the Farmer’s Markets a million times but still didn’t gather all that goes into the care and growth of the fruits or vegetables.  You sort of take things for granted when it is packaged and sold at your local convenient store or Supermarket.

I was recently invited on an adventure for ‘the citrus lover’ up to Ojai to get a first taste/tour of their exclusive “Pixie Tangerines” (they will be in the markets starting March 10th).  In accepting this invitation I was able to walk the farms where the citrus is grown and learn all types of interesting facts along the way.  Did you know that the tangerines get their color when the temperature drops at night and the weather turns cold????  I didn’t.  Like most Americans  I like seedless fruit and most of the citrus we sampled was seedless including the tangerines.  Nothing prepared me for the exquisite taste of these tangerines…..  I called them “jewels for the mouth” a burst of candied citrus tangy-ness with hints of berries and honey…… the PERFECT specimen.

First stop: Friend’s Orchards … this is a Father daughter team ran by Tony and Emily Thatcher.  In addition to the delicious Pixie tangerines they grow, they also produce some of the BEST tasting ‘W. Murcotts’ I’ve ever known.  Here are some pictures of their orchard.



Next stop: Churchill & Brennis Orchards….. Jim Churchill and Lisa Brennis , a husband and wife duo.  Their orchard has been CCOF- Certified Organic since 2007.  They have many acres of pixie tangerine trees and also produce the cute sweet little “Kishu”, look for it… only in season for a few more weeks.  A little photo diary of our visit.



From L to R: Me, Ericka of Nibbles and Feasts, Dorothy of Shockingly Delicious, Nancy of A Communal Table, and Priscilla of She’s Cookin.

The great news is you don’t need to go all the way to Ojai to get your mitts on these citrus gems, Melissa’s Produce will be bringing them to you.  Keep an eye out for this packaging….. when you see it grab away!

 Photo Credit: Group photo taken by Robert Schueller.  Photo of me by tangerine tree taken by Nancy Buchanan. All other photos taken by Nicole Presley.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored or compensated post.
My Shrimp Tater Tacos make Lent the best time of year.

My Shrimp Tater Tacos make Lent the best time of year.

Today marks the beginning of Lent…. Ash Wednesday…. Religious or not, for some reason if you are Latino you usually practice the rituals of Lent. Which basically boils down to no meat on Friday’s (with the exception of seafood) from now till Easter and you give up a luxury as a form of penitence. The people I know usually give up candy or alcohol or some type of food.  Last year I gave up sweets…. I’ll never do that again. 🙂 Either way…. Lent also brings out a parade of amazing recipes that make their appearance during this Cuaresma. I cherish this time of year and all the deliciousness it brings.

All photos taken by: Mando Lopez

Ingredients for Shrimp Tater Tacos:

1 – pound raw shrimp (peeled and deveined) (chopped into 1/2 inch bites)

4 – tablespoons salsa for the ages (Click here for recipe)

1 – teaspoon Lawry’s

1/2 – teaspoon black pepper

1/2 – potato (peeled, chopped into 1/2 inch bites, and boiled for 9 minutes)

1 1/2 – cups grated jack cheese

1 – cup grated cheddar cheese

16 – corn tortillas

1/2 – cup chopped onion

16 – cilantro sprigs

In a bowl combine shrimp and salsa. Mix well. Then season with Lawry’s and black pepper. Set to the side.


Warm your tortilla on an open flame just enough to heat. Then get your work station ready.

Start with a corn tortilla, take a small handful of jack cheese and sprinkle on half of tortilla, then add a tablespoon of raw shrimp salsa mixture and spread it out evenly. Top shrimp mixture with a heaping tablespoon of boiled potatoes and a teaspoon of onion. End with a small handful of cheddar cheese and cilantro leaves, then fold to finish. Start working on the next one.


Ready to cook. Get a comal or large non stick pan and place over a medium flame until hot. Then place taco on comal and cook on each side for 5 minutes or until shell of tortilla is crisp and shrimp inside of taco is white with a tint of pink.

Serve hot, and garnish with sour cream and additional salsa.

This recipe makes 16 tacos

Please let me introduce “The Lent Club”,  a group of spectacular food bloggers. Find their recipes for Lent below, and expect to see more of us as the season unfolds!!!

A gift for you FAT TUESDAY… Buchanan Whiskey’s Pineapple Cooler!

A gift for you FAT TUESDAY… Buchanan Whiskey’s Pineapple Cooler!

Now I understand why Buchanan’s is one of the best and most popular whiskeys in Mexico and other Latin American countries.  I had a chance to swish some Buchanan’s Master Whiskey around in my mouth a few weeks ago and could taste the notes of chocolate and oranges with a hint of something nutty. Perfecto!

It was such a  nice smooth shot.  So smooth I had to put the brakes on it for fear of getting tipsy.  I then opted for the Buchanan Whiskey Pineapple Cooler, it was sheer delight. Who knew that these two ingredients would swirl so harmoniously when poured over ice?  I guess I do now and I’m here to tell you that this will be my drink of choice for FAT TUESDAY…. the last big bang before the lent season begins.  🙂

Pineapple Cooler:

1 part Buchanan Whiskey

3 parts pineapple juice

Pour over a glass of ice.


Photos of me taken by: Ericka Sanchez
Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post.
Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday!

It’s official…. Presley’s Pantry is 1 year old.  It’s growing up so fast. 🙂  Thank you to all the people who have supported me along the way!  I sincerely appreciate it and promise to continue making yummy things to eat. 🙂

Much Love,


Latino Foodie create a tasting menu sparked by Nestle!

Latino Foodie create a tasting menu sparked by Nestle!

As a rule of thumb, I surround myself with nice people. I like it better when these nice people become friends and love to eat and cook, just like me.  Sunday night my man and I headed out to an evening of eating a tasting menu inspired by Nestle hosted by Latino Foodie blog. Pamela of LatinaWineBlogger provided pairing wines…. Oh what a wonderful evening we had…..

Here is a look at the menu:

First Flight– Beef Sliders seasoned with Maggi seasoning with caramelized onions, stuffed with bleu cheese & bacon, dressed in a creamy jalapeno cilantro sauce. Served with garlic hasselback potatoes. Wine pairing: 2009 Aspaldi Rioja Cosecha. Rioja, Spain

Second Flight– Three cheese baked peruvian tallarin verde made with Carnation evaporated milk and Nestle’s Media crema. Wine Pairing: 2010 Pisano Torrontes Rio de Los Pajaros. Progreso, Uruguay

Third Flight– Sinfully spicy and nutty Abuelita Chocolate Chicken Mole Taco.         Wine Pairing: 2008 Flichman Malbec Tupungato. Mendoza, Argentina

Fourth Flight– Chile Verde seasoned with Maggi seasoning and stuffed into a pasilla pepper covered in a sweet cream (La Lechera) of corn sauce. Wine Pairing: 2o1o Chateau Los Boldos Chardonnay Cuvee Tradition. Rapel Valley, Chile

Fifth Flight– Red Hot Velvet Cake. Wine Pairing: Sant Orsola Brachetto d Acqui, Italy

All photos taken by: Mando Lopez

And many chocolate snacks…. sooooo yummy. If your mind is racing wondering how you are going to get your hands around some RED HOT VELVET CAKE…. Just click HERE and it will take you straight to Latino Foodie recipe.

A few pictures from the evening:



From L to R: Stephen Chavez and Art Rodriguez of LatinoFoodie.  Javier Cabral of The Glutster. Nicole Presley of Presley’s Pantry. Norma Vega. Pamela of Latina Wine Blogger.

Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. I am simply blogging this event to celebrate Latino Foodie and their inspired Nestle tasting menu! CHEERS! 
I Heart Mac and Cheese Cups!

I Heart Mac and Cheese Cups!

I learned to listen to my heart long ago…. it’s just as powerful as the mind, and equally as wise.  Even if I refused to listen, it makes itself heard.  The heart wants what it wants….  it could be a MAD love affair or a kiss in the rain or simply a cup of mac and cheese.  I have a mad love and I may want to kiss in the rain if it’s not going to frizz my hair, but one thing is certain, I always want mac and cheese.  I recently had a little gathering and since valentine’s day is around the corner, I made heart shaped cups of my favorite mac and cheese.  Or maybe I made them for my demanding heart.  Which ever the case – AMOR conquers all!

Ingredients for Mac and Cheese Cups:

1 – pint cherry tomatoes (cut in half) (I saute them first in a tablespoon of olive oil)

1 – tablespoon Lawry’s seasoning salt

1 – tablespoon black pepper

1/2 – pound macaroni (cooked according to package)

6 – sliced mushrooms

1 1/2 – cups chopped ham

1/4 – cup chopped green onion (white part only)

1/4 – cup torn pieces of fresh basil

2 – cups shredded cheddar cheese

2 – cups shredded jack cheese

1 – teaspoon chili flakes

24 – heart shaped baking cups

1 – stick butter

1 – tablespoon minced garlic

1 – can 12 ounces evaporated milk ( I use Nestle)

2 – cups half and half

1 – tablespoon spicy brown mustard

3/4 – cup panko bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 400 fahrenheit

In a big bowl combine cherry tomatoes, Lawry’s, black pepper, macaroni, mushrooms, ham, green onion, basil, cheddar cheese, jack cheese, and chili flakes. Mix well. Then fill each heart shaped baking cup with a few tablespoons of mixture.

Line two cookie sheets with aluminum foil then place your heart shaped baking cups side by side.

In a big pan, over a medium flame, add butter and melt down.

Then add garlic to melted butter, along with evaporated milk, half and half, and spicy brown mustard. Mix well and make sure to really  mix the mustard in.

Bring butter/cream mixture to a slight boil. Then pull off flame and fill each cup with 1/8 of cup of cream mixture.

Then top each cup with a big pinch on panko crumbs.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Serve hot! 🙂

 Happy V-Day!

All photos taken by: Mando Lopez
Chocolate Chip Choco-Flan for your Special Valentine

Chocolate Chip Choco-Flan for your Special Valentine

Having a toddler really makes you appreciate your plastic ware….  I can’t tell you how many of my glass measuring cups and spoons have met their demise shattered all over my kitchen floor.  The light bulb went on and I invested in plastic ware instead.  Toddlers also make you realize how your alone time with your Valentine can almost become non-existant unless you carefully plan out an adventure for two.  Me and my honey celebrated V-day early (that’s when we could get a babysitter) with a picnic in the woods….  I of course made one of his favorite treats, Choco-Flan.  Thanks to all the stars in the sky my plastic carrier got the precious cargo from point A to point B in one piece.

Chocolate Cake Ingredients:

1/2 – cup cajeta

1 – box devils food chocolate cake mix (add water, vegetable oil, and eggs according to box directions)

1/4 – cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

In a mixer bowl, combine chocolate box mix cake water,  eggs, and vegetable oil.  Mix on medium for 2 minutes on slow, then bring the speed up to medium high for 2 more minutes.

In a 12 cup bundt pan.  Coat with a non-stick baking spray, then pour in cajeta to bottom of pan.

Then take cake batter and slowly pour over cajeta.

In a tea kettle, fill with water and place over a high flame. While waiting for water to boil, make flan blend.

Flan Ingredients:

4 – ounces cream cheese (I use Philadelphia Cream Cheese at room temperature)

1 – 12 0z. can of evaporated milk

1 – 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk

1/2 – tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 – tablespoon almond extract

4 – large eggs

In a blender add cream cheese, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, almond extract, and eggs. Blend on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Once flan mixture is blended, slowly pour in a circle over cake batter, a little bit at a time.  Then sprinkle chocolate chips over the top.


Next take a piece of aluminum foil (enough to cover top of bundt pan) and coat with non-stick baking spray.  Loosely place sprayed aluminum foil on top of bundt pan and cover. Then place covered bundt pan in a large baking dish and fill halfway with super hot water from tea kettle.

Lastly, place the covered pan in hot bath in oven on middle rack and let bake for 1 hour.

Once cake is baked,  remove from hot bath and remove aluminum foil.  Let cool in the pan for 2 hours, next run a butter knife along the edge of pan to pull cake away from pan, then flip it over onto a plate.  Or on the plate of a cake carrier.

Slowly lift pan up away from plate.  There you have it….PERFECT Choco-FLAN!  Put it in the fridge for another 6 hours and eat it chilled.  If you are taking the cake to a party  top with the carrier lid and transport your choco-flan safe and sound.

 Hecho Con Amor!!

All Photos by Mando Lopez
Disclosure:  This post is part of the Plastics make it Possible for Valentine Bloggers Bake OFF campaign.  Thank you Ogilvy Public Relations for making me the featured baker.  I was provided with bakeware to aid this recipe.