Month: August 2012

Wreck-It Ralph film inspired Sugar Rush Cake

Wreck-It Ralph film inspired Sugar Rush Cake

I was one of the lucky few that was able to preview portions of the new Disney movie “Wreck-It Ralph.”  I came away feeling thrilled by the magic of the studio and completely inspired by the picture.  I wrote my preview of the film and made a Sugar Rush (which is one of the video games in the movie) inspired cake…. you can find my recap over at SpanglishBaby by clicking here.  Check it out.


Los Angeles Times “The Taste” 3-Day Event.

Los Angeles Times “The Taste” 3-Day Event.

I went to The Taste last year.  An event put on by The Los Angeles Times, and it proved to be one of the best culinary experiences of the year.  I had the opportunity to taste a little bit of Los Angeles’ best cuisine spread out over 3 days.  Click here for the recap of my time last year.  This year will be no different.  The finest of the finest restaurants will be invited to showcase some good eats, there will be cooking demo’s with some of our favorite chefs (Nancy Silverton, Ricardo Zarate, Kris Yenbamroong, and Ludovic “Ludo” Lefebvre), and a steady flow of spirits, beers, and wines.  The 2012 version of The Taste is going to take place all in one location…. Paramount Studios.  Saturday, Sunday, and Monday of Labor Day weekend will belong to Los Angeles and The Taste.  I wait for this year’s event with great anticipation and my elastic stretch pants ready to expand.  If you don’t have tickets yet….. Click here to buy your tickets now.

A pic of me last year about to chomp on a slice of gorgeous bread topped with burrata, grilled grapes, olive oil, salt and a little basil leaf.  I about fainted from the happiness this dish brought me, but decided it would suit me to stay alert so I could continue savoring the deliciousness of The Taste.


For more information about The Taste click here.

See you all there.

Preserving Hatch Chiles

Preserving Hatch Chiles

Those gorgeous New Mexico Hatch Chiles are once again in season from NOW to mid September.  My friends over at Melissa’s Produce sent me a bunch of hot and mild chiles to roast and use for savory spicy dishes. I couldn’t be satisfied with hatch chiles as a seasonal treat so I decided to preserve them for an all year round indulgence. Check out my cool video below to see how.

2012 Hatch Chile Roasting Dates & Locations – Bristol Farms

Get there early the lines will be long!

Saturday August 25th
8:00am – 2:00pm
8448 Lincoln Blvd.
Westchester, CA 90045

South Pasadena
Saturday, September 1st
8:00am – 2:00pm
606 Fair Oaks Avenue
South Pasadena, CA 91030

Newport Beach
Saturday & Sunday
September 8th – 9th
8:00am – 2:00pm
810 Avocado Ave.
Newport Beach, CA 92660
*Live radio broadcast
Sunday, September 9th
with Chef Jamie Gwen
from 8 – 10am

For my Chicken Hatch en Bleu recipe… Click here.

Or for a drool worthy Hatch Chile Corn Bread Strata….. Click here.

For a yummy Hatch Potato Hash…. click over to Geez Louise.

Want to learn to roast Hatch chiles… Click over to Shockingly Delicious.

And Nibbles and Feasts’ Tia Alma Mercado’s Hatch Chile Strips in Red Salsa… Click Here!

Photo and video shot with my iPhone taken by: Mando Lopez
AppleCake Sandwiches

AppleCake Sandwiches

My little boy started a new school this week and I have been packing these AppleCake sandwiches in his lunch as a sweet snack…. something healthy, easy and fun for him to eat during his day away from home!  I only shared my Mott’s AppleCake recipe on Spanglish Baby…. you’ll have to click here to read the recipe.  Make sure to pack your kid an AppleCake Sandwich, or heck, you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy these delights!




Carnitas.  The best way to prepare this perfect style of pork is right here.  I worship carnitas.  I always have and always will.  Carnitas means “little meats” but there is nothing little about the flavor.  I use the pork shoulder which has a nice amount of marbled fat in it.  The fat is part of the secret…. it flavors the pork in the roasting portion of this recipe.  Mmmm.  I used my new Martha Stewart Cast Iron Dutch Oven to complete this heavenly delight and I only have high regards for the results. Carnitas may seem like an elaborate dish to pull off but all you need is a little bit of love and some patience.  The outcome is worth the time it took to slow cook this tender, moist, succulent crunchy meal.

Ingredients for carnitas:

5 – lbs of pork shoulder

meat seasoning (1 teaspoon of each: salt, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, and pepper)

1/4 – cup vegetable oil

1/2 – onion

9 – garlic cloves

1 – dried pasilla chile

1 – tablespoon oregano

1 – teaspoon salt

2 – cans coca-cola

1 – cup whole milk

4 – cups chicken broth

extra salt to taste for roasting

Cut pork shoulder into 3 inch chunks. Remove some of the extra fat on the outside.

Then season meat generously with meat seasoning. Set to the side.

In a 8 quart dutch oven over a medium flame add vegetable oil and allow to heat for 3 minutes. Then take a portion of the meat and fry on each side just to brown 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from dutch oven and set browned meat to the side. Repeat till all meat is browned.


Once all meat is browned add it all back into dutch oven and add in onion, garlic cloves, pasilla chile, oregano, salt, and coca-cola.

Next add in the milk.

and last add in chicken broth.

Bring the flame up to high and bring to a boil. Once broth is boiling cover with a lid and lower flame to low. Simmer for 3 hours.

After 3 hours the meat will have shrunk and there will be a little fat at the top of ther mixture. Mine looks like this.

Preheat your oven for 450 degrees fahrenheit.

Line a baking sheet with a aluminum foil or a baking mat and remove all pieces of pork with a slotted spoon from liquid. Allow pork to sit on baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes. Then break up the pieces of meat with a fork or your hands. The meat will be extremely tender and practically fall apart on it’s own.

Stick it in the oven for 10 minutes and it will get slightly crunchy on top. The fat in the meat will melt and it will fry in it’s own fat. Remove from oven and place in a bowl or on a platter.

Squeeze lime over top and eat in tacos, burritos, tamales or tortas. Carnitas are simply the best.

 Photos by: Mando Lopez and Nicole Presley
Shrimp Ceviche served in a Avocado Shell

Shrimp Ceviche served in a Avocado Shell

Avocados from Mexico sent me to NYC for the BlogHer12 conference.  It was a wonderful experience talking to people about what comes to mind when they hear the words “Avocados from Mexico” and “Abuelita.”  I had such a rip roaring time meeting bloggers I’ve known from the internet and meeting up with friends I only get to see every so often.  Connecting with my peers in person instead of a screen, hearing what they have to say first hand.  I learned.  I danced.  I ate and I socialized…. Isn’t that what conferences are all about?

The New York summer weather had me sweating up a storm, it was hotter than Hades. The humid hot air made me crave my Abuelita Yadira’s fresh Shrimp Ceviche.  She always made sure to chop up plenty of avocados into the tangy cool meal and if I was lucky, she would serve me in the avocado shells with a side of tostadas. The minute I got back to LA I had to make a batch of what comes to mind when I hear the words “Avocados from Mexico” and “Abuelita.”

Ingredients for Shrimp Ceviche:

1/2 – cup of lime juice

2 1/2 – cups of lemon juice

2 – pounds raw shrimp (deveined, peeled, and minced)

2 – cups minced tomatoes

1 – cup thinly sliced red onion

1 – cup minced cucumber

1/2 – cup green onion (chopped)

1/2 – cup cilantro leaves

1/2 – cup minced jalapeno

2 1/2 – cups Avocado chunks

salt and pepper to taste

2 – tablespoons Tapatio

1/2 – tablespoon garlic powder

pinch of oregano

In a large bowl juice lime and lemons. Then mince shrimp to 1/4 of an inch pieces. Add shrimp to lime, lemon juice, then cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight.


In the meantime chop and mince the rest of the ingredients.

Then pour it into the shrimp lime lemon mixture.

Give it a good mix, and serve in a avocado shell or a bowl. I enjoy eating mine with a tostada and an extra squeeze of lime.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Avocados from Mexico and Latina Bloggers Connect. The recipe is mine and my Abuelita’s and the opinions are my own!  Yes, and without a doubt #ILoveAvocados #AmoLosAguacates

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley and Mando Lopez
Chipotle Grape Lamb Skewers – Lamb GIVEAWAY!

Chipotle Grape Lamb Skewers – Lamb GIVEAWAY!

In an ideal world, everyone would eat Lamb.  It would be the first meat of choice that people grabbed for.  We tend to to be repeat buyers stuck in the beef and chicken section of the market…. If only we explored our options.  I’m a HUGE CRAZY LAMB LOVER and am always surprised by the people around me who don’t eat lamb so much or have never tasted it at all.  These words send me into action, I immediately jump on my soap box and tell them how much they are missing out on, and to be ready to become fanatical.  I can’t help it, I utterly enjoy turning people on to deliciousness.

Take these Chipotle Grape Lamb Skewers for example….. My fiance’s mom is an older Mexican woman who has never cooked with Lamb.  Why?  She’s scared of it?  Not experimental?  Not really exposed to lamb dishes?  Who knows.  It could be any of these reasons.  I recently made these Lamb skewers and offer her some.  What do you think happened?  She went NUTS COOCOO bananas over them.  Asking a trillion questions about the preparation and what I used in the marinade.  I guarantee you she went out and bought some Lamb that night to make her own skewers.  My job was done here.

Ingredients for Chipotle Grape Lamb Skewers:

3 – pounds of Cedar Springs Butterflied Leg of Lamb (Chopped into 1 1/2 inch cubes)

3 – tablespoons of basil olive oil

2 – lemons (juiced)

1 – onion sliced

1 1/2 – tablespoons of chipotle powder

1 1/2 – cups pinot grigio

2 – cups Melissa’s Produce Muscato Green Grapes (smashed)

4 – garlic cloves (peeled and smashed)

2 – teaspoons of salt

15 to 20 bar-b-que skewers


Start by cutting your lamb into 1 1/2 inch cubes.  Place in a bowl.

In a another bowl add grapes and smash put to pop grapes. Place to the side.


Now add all ingredients to Lamb chunks, and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate in the fridge overnight.

1 hour before you are ready to grill…. soak skewers in water for at least 20 minutes.

Then remove lamb from fridge and skewer 4 chunks of meat per skewer. Once all skewers are prepared….Toss them on the grill.

Grill on each side for 4 to 5 minutes….. Heaven!

 Do you want to grill some Lamb?

This giveaway is now closed!

Rules for the giveaway:

Leave a comment below letting me know how you like to eat lamb or if you have never tried it, tell me why.

Like Presley’s Pantry on Facebook!

Follow Presley’s Pantry on Twitter!

Tweet:  I just entered to WIN a butterflied leg of lamb @PresleysPantry !  Wanna win one? Enter here!

You can have up to 4 total entries each; however, please note that you have to comment back and let me know which of the actions you took, so that I can keep track of them.

Open to U.S. Residents only.  No PO Boxes, please. Must be 18 years or older to enter.  Contest ends August 17th, 2012 at 11:59 PM, PST and one winner  will be randomly chosen from all entries through

Congrats to Liz Serna…. she is the winner. 

Disclosure: I was provided with Lamb by Cedar Springs to aid this recipe and giveaway to a reader. Melissa’s Produce also provided me with grapes. The combo of these two were heavenly.
Photos by Mando Lopez