Archive | November, 2011


17 Nov

My love for catfish lately is no secret. I freaking LOVE what you can do to this fish. I am in love with the feeling I have after enjoying a piece. It’s nice to make hearty, ridiculously flavorful cheesy bacon dishes, trust me, but there is no feeling like eating something completely delicious and yet also pretty darn good for you. Better than most the crap I make, anyhow.

I used to hate fish. I’m still not a fan. When the specials are announced at a restaurant, my eyes never get wide when the server talks about the today’s fresh fish. I don’t care. Fish is lame and to only be eaten by people on serious diets. In my silly mind, at least.

But not this fish. Combine that tastiness with the ease of making it, and I swear you’ll be obsessed, too.

My favorite way to easily and quickly do up a filet of catfish is here:

But lately I’ve been on a kick with all sorts of store-bought rubs. It kind of drives me crazy on twitter when I literally post the entire recipe in 140 characters and have 100 people coming back to me to say “WHAT’S IN THE RUB?? RECIPE PLEASE!!” Stop over thinking! Don’t complicate it. You can literally go into any store and buy some cajun seasoning or lemon herb seasoning. Maybe people just think I’m fancier than I am? Trust me, sometimes I am just not in the mood to make a big production out of things. Especially breakfast when I am STARVING. And it has been brought to my attention that MANY of you have never had catfish and eggs. What!! Holy moly it is GOOD! Plus I usually end up eating breakfast around 11am so it’s a nice lunchy breakfast.


Got a couple of catfish filets (no bones!) from the seafood counter. Sometimes I see the ones that already have the seasoning on em, but I’ve learned now to just literally turn around while they are pricing the fish and bam, cheap seasoning all over the place. It’s hilarious how much more they charge to sell it pre-seasoned, when you can buy a enough an arm lengths away to season about 20 filets on your own. Whole Foods! WHY I OUGHTA! This is my favorite seasonings right now but I have endless amounts in shakers in my cabinet….lemon and garlic tonight.

Anyhoo, it’s so easy that I even feel dumb saying it but…. lay out your seasoned filet (I season it til it don’t stick no mo) on a lightly greased piece of foil atop a cookie sheet….yes I am a heavy-handed seasoner…

Bake for 10-12 minutes at 450 degrees. It might loooook not cooked but it is. I just lovvvve a juicy catfish filet oh baby.

Heat up a bit of oil in a non-stick pan jusssst above medium heat. Gently crack and egg and don’t touch! Everytime I get the urge to touch a sunny-side up egg, I spaz out and ruin it. I am incapable of being gentle, but if you’re better at it, try to keep the whites in a neat circle, dammit.

It’s funny actually. I can cook a lot of things, but over-easy and sunny side up eggs give me the MOST trouble. IT’S AN EGG.

Anyhoo, lay the egg on your catfish, season with salt and pepper and make sure to break that yolk until your catfish is swimmin in it. Ideally there would be two eggs here but I only got one to look purdy. Sigh.

Too yummy of a photo to not repost 🙂 A wonderful little 12 minute meal to give you energy for the day.


Oh oh oh. Scalloped Potatoes!

16 Nov

Will try and refrain from talking about the….incident….that happened halfway through this. Just note the change from “no hospital bracelet” to “hospital bracelet” .

Both my mom and sister sent me their recipes for this. I made my mom’s, just because I know how to hand adjust the proportions to what I personally like, but my sister did a better job of writing it all out. Plus she uses a stick more of butter. Winner!

And I know you all are gonna say, “what if I add cheese?” — to which I say, SURE. Add cheese. You know me. I would prefer if everything in the world was wrapped in bacon and sprinkled with cheese. But this is one of my most favorite dishes in the world (see “interesting day” post) and I really, REALLY would urge you to bake it this way first, then taste and add cheese at the end if you just must have cheese. The fact that this can be so satisfying and delicious to me without having cheese should tell you something…it’s awesome.

Here is what my sister wrote, with a couple of my little changes from my mom’s recipe:

Scalloped Potatoes (with bacon and ham)

5 large potatoes
1 lb pack Thick cut bacon
1/2 lb Ham steak
1/2 c Flour
2 sticks Butter
1 lg Onion
1 pint Half and half

Salt/Pepper/Lawry’s/Garlic powder

Peel and slice potatoes, rinse and drain and layer about 1/4 of potatoes in a large casserole dish. Cube the ham into 1/2 inch cubes and sprinkle on top of potato layer. Repeat alternating potatoes and ham. Dot pieces of one stick butter on top of butter. On top, lay 4/5 slices of bacon.

For the sauce/roux:

Fry 5 slices of bacon in a sautĂ© pan in a touch of hot oil. Remove cooked bacon and add diced onion, sautĂ©ing until lightly brown. Transfer bacon grease to a large saucepan. Add remaining stick of butter and sautĂ©ed diced onion. Add half of the flour, stirring into a thick paste.  Add half of the half and half and whisk out all the lumps. Add rest of flour, sprinkling lightly to avoid lumps and add rest of half and half. Allow sauce to thicken, stirring constantly. Should be the consistency of really thick gravy. Add milk and stir constantly; enough milk to lighten sauce a bit, approx 4 c. Add salt and pepper to taste. I usually end up adding many dashes of lawry’s, one small dash of galic powder, and salt and pepper in the end to this gravy. If the gravy you pour over your unbaked scalloped potatoes isn’t flavorful, your entire dish won’t be. So make sure to keep tasting this gravy at every “dash” of something. Should taste like oniony, garlicy, salty, bacony deliciousness without being completely salty overwhelming.

Pour over potatoes and bake covered at 350 degrees for about 90 min, then uncover and broil the top for 5 minutes or so, til brown.

adding bacon grease to the stick of butter. oh baby. (sautéed the onions in bacon grease after this, forgot. Blame the hennessy in the background)

adding flour to the oil / butter mixture

terribly blurry and disgusting photo of the finished gravy. Once again, blame the hennessy.

oh my how did that get in here?

lalala…back to work. do do doooo.

oh did I mention I also made my chipotle chicken with my severed thumb? because I did.

it was good. the key is to get your guests so drunk that they don’t even mind that there may or may not be blood in it.

poke-test for softness! that’s what she said.

mmm. wish I had my camera but this’ll do for now.

Remember to try and get some thickly sliced ham at the deli counter and cube it yourself. A lot more flavorful to get good ham. And by flavorful I just mean salty. Nomnomnom.


Thanksgiving Lineup….

16 Nov

I tried to look up some photos for this post, maybe some old Thanksgiving photos, then I saw this, which is ummmm perfect and fitting. There was a point in my life that I was absolutely OBSESSED with the fat booth app. Literally obsessed. I did it to ANYONE I encountered. Flight attendants, waiters, anyone. I have hundreds of these photos on my phone. Also I figured that if I posted this at the top of this post, I’d be more inclined to post again soon, to try and bump it down to the bottom. I mean look at it. Shudder.

Ok so Thanksgiving.

Absolutely terrified. Excited. But LOATHING the trip to the grocery store for this. And I LOVE the grocery store. I go to one where they are a bit nuts, Ralphs on Ventura. Every couple of minutes someone comes on the intercom and says something funny or makes fun of the other employees (with love) or sings “happy super old birthday” to someone at the deli counter. It’s kinda awesome and I find myself giggling up and down the aisles.

We will be having about 20 or so people in our home, with one oven. John’s family will be coming from Ohio for Thanksgiving, whereas every other year we have gone out there. So it is awesome of them to come out…and I need to make this great. Did I mention one oven? I mean who has 2 ovens besides those real housewives people who hire outside chefs to even come use them, but man, you never notice until this holiday that having one oven sucks. As soon as I get back to LA, I will be looking for one of those double ovens because timing and hot food is extremeeeely important to me and something I am normally really good at, but not with this many dishes. Nooooo way.

Since a baked turkey would steal all my oven space, we bought a pretty snazzy deep-fryer and have Todd English sending us his favorite recipe for deep-fried turkey. What a cool semi-friend to have, right?? Didn’t even know you needed a recipe for deep fried turkey! I thought you just dropped that shit in (thawed, of course) and ran for your lives.

I never even eat turkey on thanksgiving. Maybe a tiny sliver, but for me, sides are where it’s at. Still picking out the desserts, but definitely thinking pumpkin cheesecake in jars (because jars are awesome), and berry cobbler with brown sugar crumble and vanilla ice cream melted all over.

And I’ll tell you this right now. Think of a flavor you want to to have. A dish. See if Paula Deen or Ina Garten have the recipe for it online by googling, and go to the food network site listed. That is the only way to go for me, unless it’s a family recipe or a near and dear friend of mine has passed me their own recipe for something. I always put all my faith in Paula and Ina and their hearty, homey, flavorful recipes have literally NEVER let me down.

Ladies and gentlemen. Presenting my starting lineup for Thanksgiving 2011…

*Deep fried turkey with gravy (recipe to come)

*Cranberry sauce. I refuse to have that can-molded cranberry gel on my table, delicious as it is. So simple. Make it. (

*John’s macaroni and cheese ( Make SURE to click the video for an awesomely red holiday sweater.  Also, “seasoning salt” means LAWRY’s. MUST BE LAWRY’S!

*Ina Garten’s parmesan mashed potatoes, that I add some garlic and bacon crumbles to…tastes like you put a baked potato into a blender and poured it into your mouth, which is pretty much what my elderly years will be about. I’ve had other recipes where the parmesan overwhelms, but this is just perfect. (

*my mom’s scalloped potatoes with cream and bacon. You know, the one I cut my fingertip off for then came home to finish making like nothing had happened because THEY ARE THAT GOOD! Posting today, I promise. I also have a sweet potato dish coming up. You might think that’s a lot of potato dishes but 1, why are you questioning potatoes? Are you a terrorist? They’re awesome. 2, each dish has totally different flavors. Cheese. Cream. Sweetness.

*Green bean casserole. Can’t you just picture the fabulous Paula Deen saying this in that adorable southern accent? “Grain Bain Casserollllle”. There are about 350 comments on Paula Deen’s site regarding this 5-star reviewed recipe. I am a rating freak, by the way. I will do a lot of research before deciding upon a recipe, and make sure to read 90% of the comments. If a recipe is great, the only low ratings will be from people who made their own mistakes. Who burns something then gives it one star?? I give YOU, one star, jerk. NOT MY PAULA!

*Deviled eggs with spicy dijon and tabasco. I know it’s a bit Easter-y, but these little egg halves basically exist for me to pop into my mouth all throughout this cooking process, so hours later I can say, “fuck, who let me eat all those eggs??  I feel disgusting”. It’s tradition. (

*My favorite Thanksgiving bite. Stuffing with a bit of gravy allll over it. Since this dish is clearly so important to my tastebuds and I, I will be branching out this year and trying a recipe different from Stove Top. All fanciness aside, I think Stove Top stuffing is delicious. I also love the Marie Calendar’s boxed mix. It’s so easy on a day where everything is a bit overwhelming. But I’m gonna really dive in this year, meaning I will be testing out some stuffings all week. Not a bad job at all. Now only if I got paid for it…..I pretty much only get paid to look like the opposite of someone who enjoys stuffing. Damn my love for food.

*Sweet potato casserole with pecan and brown sugar crumble. Never made it but this one has nearly 1000 reviews praising it like baby Jesus. The only tragedy here is that all the photos look like baby Jesus’ diarrhea. So that’ll be something to try and adjust. And I am totally doubling up on this butter/pecan/brown sugar crumbly top. BEST BELIEVE. (

*Paula Deen’s cream biscuits. Which will probably be the last thing I make. Out of exhaustion and basic lack of clean dishes to use, these biscuits ( might turn into pop n fresh.

*Paula Deen’s baked wild rice. Stumbled across this yesterday and it hasn’t left my mind. Mushrooms, onions, cream, sherry. And judging by the video, pretty easy. One of the things I am most looking forward to cooking! (

* (UPDATED) Southern fried corn. Something I’ve been talking about ALL year. It’s time. It’s time. (

So there you have it. The list so far. No life-changing, innovative ideas here. But it’s Thanksgiving! Making things that everyone already knows, that everyone will love, more than any other year. I like that challenge. And did I mention the football and the drinking? The football and the drinking. And family. Family too.

PS: Really feeling like I need more veggies, so if you know of an awesome veggie dish, lemme know before I settle on cheesy broccoli. And believe me, I would love to settle on cheesy broccoli. Any other non-veggie side ideas also welcome in the comments! I want to over-do this Thanksgiving to the max. MOREEEE DISHES!


well yesterday was interesting.

15 Nov

Anyone who knows me, knows I love a good story.

Yesterday was pretty much an accumulation of good stories.

If you follow my twitter, and I’m pretty sure that’s the only reason any of you even know about this blog, you would know what happened to lead up to that photo above.

Still hyped from the excitement of seeing one of my childhood idols (I mean, would YOU tell her to look into my camera?) all day and running around HER OWN HOME,  I came home excited to make dinner for John and his friends. Football on, lots of drinking and friends. My favorite time to cook.

I had chicken thighs marinating in my chipotle marinade for a couple of nights and had sent out the email to my parents for the recipe for their homemade scalloped potatoes, something I grew up eating. My mom would make insanely huge batches and I just remember them getting tastier and tastier throughout the week, as the leftovers were where it’s at. From the second they were in the oven, and every 5 minutes until they were done, I would stick a spoon in and eat the creamy, bacony gravy or use my fingertips to pluck out a chunk of ham. Oniony goodness would fill the house. One of my clearest memories.

So yeah. Decided I had to make this before making it for actual Thanksgiving dinner. Was pretty excited to try out the new mandoline, something I’ve used many times before. Bought one at a grocery store so I probably just underestimated how sharp that little bitch could be. I put john in charge of potatoes as I worked on the gravy, and about 10 seconds in, he cut himself. But being the man that he is, he just ran and got a band-aid as I taunted him. Then bam. I felt the blade go through my thumb and hit the backside of my nail. There was no pain. Only shock. Then the heat set in. I ran around the kitchen doing this weird “oh fuck oh fuck” dance, something that can best be described as me kicking my legs behind me and crouching up and down repeatedly. It was then immediately decided that it was hospital time, as my little finger was shooting blood non-stop like some sort of haunted house shit.

I still have flashbacks of the moment it happened. Afterwards, John’s friend, Hassan, held my hand under running water as his trainer malcolm handed me a tequila shot (bad for bleeding, good for the spirit). I started bawling at the pain, but laughing hysterically as well. I mean I had just sliced off the side of my thumb while taunting my boyfriend for being so careless. I attempted to use the “safety” thing, but deemed it “flimsy”.

The hospital was fun. John drove as I shook my leg up and down in my seat like a crackhead. Kept trying to sneak a peek at the damage but was shrouded with a curtain of blood. The tequila shot made me giddy. Prone to bleeding ridiculous amounts, but giddy nonetheless. What! I’m being honest. Rules, schmules. I was happy.

They decided they couldn’t do stitches, as there was no skin to stitch. But they did clean John’s wound as well. Two for one deal!

If we aren’t two stupid, bloody peas in 2 bloody, stupid pods, then I dunno who is.

Scalloped potatoes recipe coming up. Couldn’t bring myself to include it in the same post. Although hey, you guys know me by now. Totally something I would do.

Be careful out there. Things happen quickly. We are luckiest when we can laugh after.


easy, cheesy guacamole!

13 Nov

Pretty proud of myself for that little rhyme. It’s the little things.

First off, sorry for the crappy photos. Didn’t bring the camera to los angeles so looks like we have to settle for the ol’ iPhone. Not to mention the fact that my phone lens is constantly coated in a thick layer of bacon grease which I’m pretty sure has just become a lasting part of my home now.

I don’t know why, but I never really think to make guacamole. And you’d think that with all the football Sundays we have, it would be a staple. But no. I just always am kind of “meh” with it. The one you get in the little tub at whole foods is a little too plain and clean tasting — who else in the world use the word ‘clean’ as a negative but me. And those ones that you have made table side at mediocre mexican restaurants is always just…blah. But when I was presented with the challenge to make John’s trainer, Malcolm, fall in love with one of my own personal loves, the avocado,  I was ready for it — with this very recipe.

Malcolm HATES avocado. He gags at the very sight of it. So what better way to get someone to fall in love with something than to cover it in melt-in-your-mouth Vermont cheddar cheese? If you love guacamole with a kick of heat and some garlicy tang and CHEEEEEESE, you will love this. Alton Brown basically has my favorite guacamole, this is definitely inspired by that, but I add a little more garlic and take away some tomato and we really think we’ve adapted this recipe perfectly to our tastes, so hopefully you’ll love it too 🙂

  • 3 ripe avocados, not too soft, halved and peeled
  • 1 diced tomato (or more, if you love tomatoes. who cares. it’s your guac!)
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • dash of garlic powder (not mandatory)
  • 1 cup (or more if you are smart) of grated cheddar cheese

1. Halve your avocados and scoop out of the skin in whole chunks. Put into a large bowl and cover with the juice of an entire lime. This is both for flavor and to stop it from browning. This browns quickly! It’s like it’s some sort of guacamole defense mechanism to stop you from eating it. We’ll show them.

Some people drain out the remaining lime juice, but I’ve found that there isn’t much that isn’t absorbed to even care about.

Mash the avocado with a potato masher (or fork) but make sure to not beat it to a pulp. Try to keep it creamy and chunky all at the same time!

Add the salt, cumin, pepper, dasssssh of garlic powder and cayenne and fold in with a fork.

Next, gently fold in the tomatoes, cilantro, onions and garlic.

Tomato tip: I like to thickly slice the tomatoes and dry them off with a paper towel before dicing into cubes. I feel like it helps because I get to keep some of that green color rather than turning the guac into a murky, reddish brown mess.

CHEESE TIME! Fold it alllll in. And I know it’s tempting to overdo it and add a ton, but you don’t want it tooooo chunky. Add small handfuls (hehe) at a time and keep tasting!

Mix it all up and adjust to taste! I usually add more salt at the end because I’m a disgusting salt crackhead.

Enjoy! xx

baked. eggs. in. ham. cups.

12 Nov

Alright now. If you follow me on twitter, you’ll know that I love posting photos of this yummmmmmy breakfast / brunch idea.

There is something about this that makes it a huuuuuge crowd pleaser while still remaining SUPER EASY! After I spent an entire morning taking photos and experimenting with flavors, trust me, I definitely found myself saying, “well shit, I could have definitely just folded those ingredients into an omelette”. BUT I feel like this is somewhat different and exciting for people. You could invite 5 or 10 (or 20 if you’re popular and i don’t wanna be mean or anything but all those people aren’t really your friends and they’re probably just using you you should really cut it down before you get hurt you’re not on real housewives or anything so there is no other reason to have so many people in your life it’s kind of a waste unless you’re just having a schmoozey get-together and trust me i know how those are wow this is a really long parenthesis thought and you’ll probably have to scroll up to even see where i left off to connect these sentences) people over for those early football games and this would be a flawless dish when paired with a spicy bloody mary.

Let’s get right into it. Preheat your oven to 375 and line your small , lightly greased ramekins with 2 thinly sliced (i tell my deli counter guy, “thin but not too thin”, whatever the fuck that means) pieces of your favorite ham. I like to do it “rustically” but while still making sure there are no large gaps or holes.

Ok. let’s do this shit.

First up, the greek ham cup: spinach, feta and tomatoes. I bought some tiny feta cubes at a regular grocery store in a jar that were soaked in olive oil and spices. What spices? No idea. Don’t even care, because you can’t go wrong. Could you use regular crumbled? I’m sure. This stuff is all about playing around, which is why it’s so damn easy.

Heat up some olive oil in a sautee pan set at medium/high. Once that get’s nice and hot, toss in a clove or 2 of minced garlic:

Sautee the spinach for a few minutes until it basically becomes like something you didn’t even pay money for. Wilted and sad.

Spoon the spinach into your ham cup and toss in some diced tomatoes of your choice (I hate tomatoes and really only like little sweet guys) and a few little cubes of feta. Do as much as you’d like of whatever filling but make sure you save room for the cracked egg on top:

Pop in the oven at 375 for 22-25 minutes, a little more if you’d like. The yolk will look hard and maybe even overcooked while the white will look runny. But it’s not… me.

This is what you get…

I poke any little bubbles with a sharp knife at about the 15 minute point. Remove from oven and let sit for just a minute or so, not too long. Use a fork to gently lift the ham cup out of the ramekin to have something looking like the photo up top. I like to pair this with sliced avocado, which I pair with basically everything in life.

So now that you have the basics down, I’ll just quickly show a couple of my other favorite flavors!

Southwestern cup: diced red bell peppers, mushrooms, onion and tomatoes sautĂ©ed in olive oil with a dash of seasoning salt, LAWRY’S!

Put sautéed yumminess into the ham cup, crack the egg on top and put in the oven. Then add some grated cheddar cheese about 15 minutes in:

Another tip: your ham edges willlllll blacken. Just use some scissors to clip off the edges orrrrr better yet, say screw it, because burnt edges are delicious.

Last up, my new favorite, the tomato, mozzarella and pesto cup.

If you can find “mozzarella pearls” soaked in water in a little tub at your grocery store, this is best, but if not, any few chunks of mozzarella will do. Put your mozzarella pieces into a small bowl and add enough pesto to coat. Toss the cheese and pesto mix into the cup, and add plenty of diced tomatoes. Crack the egg on top, bake again…

Mmmm. There are so many new flavors I wanna try….next time, I will be adding bacon crumbles to everything….

Let’s brainstorm new flavor combos in the comments below! Enjoyyyyyy


Cooking in Everyday English

10 Nov


As you know through twitter, I am alive. I have been working pretty much non-stop for the past 2 weeks, which in my industry is pretty awesome. It’s crazy — sometimes I will cry myself to sleep at night because I have a solid month of VERY little work, then all of a sudden, boom, you are absurdly busy and exhausted from travel. When it rains, it pours. And I am so lucky for that.

Been battling this nasty cough for about 2.5 weeks now, and have just felt a bit physically miserable flying every 2-3 days. NOTHING makes me feel more gross (and puffy) than an airplane. Yeah yeah, “drink water!”, but it’s the plane! The plane means alcohol. You just….you just HAVE to drink. One, to ease the pain of just being around so many idiots, and two………..I dunno. I guess that’s the only reason but it is a big reason, alright?

Haven’t been cooking anything new. Been doing the same old recipes that I am still absolutely obsessed with, chipotle chicken (or shrimp!), super simple baked cajun catfish for lunch, and that lemon garlic bacon awesomeness that we dubbed “yardbird”. Classy.

But one thing I have been doing is reading cookbooks on my long flight, and my favorite one right now is Todd English’s “Cooking in Everyday English”. Now I will be the first to admit, he is a friend of ours and the first guy we go to when we have some sort of big dinner or party we need a catered meal for (he doesn’t personally cook but he will plan the menu and his team is AWESOME).

What we love about Todd is that, after having him do my birthday party last year, we learned that he is an AMAZING southern comfort food chef. I had no idea — I thought he was all about mediterranean flavors but man, does he make an amazing giant turkey leg — one of my favorites from my birthday party. I think it was, at least. I was sloshed.

I don’t want to try to sell you things on this blog. You know that. There is nothing in it for me to tell you to buy his book on my lowly wordpress food blog. But John and I cooked from it a couple months ago and ever since, I’ve been itching to make his simple to semi-simple, flavorful, homey dishes every day. And I am pretty bummed out I left it in NYC.

If you do get it, please promise me you will first make the lamb lollipops with cherry peppers (SO MUCH FLAVOR and so, so simple at just 4 steps) and the crab cakes with spicy aioli. I just recommend you use about 1/8 of the oil that John did to pan fry those suckers. The crab cakes were nearly deep fried as you’ll see below. But hell, we all know I am NOT above a deep fried crab cake.

I’ll be back soon with new recipes 🙂 and excuse the greasy camera lens and “rustic” photos.