A large part of me (the sweaty part) despises summer, but this year I’m like super into it. I’ve been inspired to make all sorts of stuff. Also, I’ve embraced wavy hairs.
This shrimp ceviche might be my most favorite thing EVER. It’s inspired by the ceviche I always order at one of my favorite LA restaurants, Corazon y Miel. The chef there loooves Peruvian food, you can just tell. I believe he’s from somewhere in Central America and while people like to consider it a Mexican restaurant (and sure there are Mexican influences), it isn’t completely true. It seems like he takes some of his favorite Latin American flavors and sort of does a mishmash of them, creating his own unique takes on traditional dishes.
I was born in the south and my family has lived there their whole lives but I don’t really consider myself southern, though I’m definitely southern-ish. I have a strong attraction to southern states, people and food. It was really no surprise that I went back to the south for college, North Carolina to be exact.
My first friend (and best friend ’til this day) at college was a svelte costume design major named Tre. We went everywhere together, including the cafeteria. Rumor had it that our school was just one grade above prison food, which as you know re: Orange is The New black is BAD. Naturally since we were in the south, they had pimento cheese at the salad bar. And everyday Tre would eat pimento cheese on white bread. EVERY SINGLE DAY. (I opted for cereal.) I honestly never touched the pimento cheese because if you think it looks a little scary now in my pictures, imagine how it looked at the ‘one grade above prison salad bar’. Rough.
This past weekend was ALL about girl time. And by girl time, I mean Amelia and I hanging out on the couch, going on hikes, going to the park, binge-watching Orange Is The New Black and driving around running errands.
My dude went on a dude-camping trip and I wasn’t invited. Even if I was invited, I’m not a big camper, if you hadn’t guessed. I like nature, I like waterfalls and the scenery and all that but I also like taking showers and being able to charge my phone. The real-deal camping is a lil’ tough for me.
Also, this means I can’t binge-watch Orange is the New Black, which I’m thoroughly enjoying. Doesn’t it make prison look like fun?! I know prison isn’t fun but the show doesn’t make it seem all that bad. But mainly I like that the characters are flawed and interesting and are usually really good people, just people with off-kilter ethical compasses who made bad decisions.
Ok, less talkie about TV and more talkie about this asparagus.
When roasting, I always try and go for the thicker asparagus. I find it less stringy and fibrous than the super skinny asparagus.
I mixed a bit of white asparagus in this, too. But you definitely don’t have to.
The mayonnaise! AHH! This dish is technically paleo because paleo peeps looove a good homemade mayonnaise. I personally like how paleo ppl make mayonnaise too. No blender. Just one of these immersion blenders.
Add everything to the jar or cylinder container and then pulse. Everything will come together. It feels magical. Hazelnut oil is a little expensive, so if you don’t want to use it, don’t! The actual hazelnuts will make it super nutty.
Last Friday I bought a $13 movie ticket, along with a small bag of $6 popcorn, and joyfully watched the new Jon Favreau movie, The Chef. I loved it! Sure, there were problems with the movie, like the relationship between him and Sofia Vergara (seems a little unrealistic) but whatever, I took the ride.
Not to give too much of the movie away but part of it was shot in South Florida, where I grew up the majority of my life and it made me miss home in a way I never do. I miss my family, but I rarely miss Florida. My meh-ness toward Florida can usually be summed up with one word: humidity.
Despite the excessive moisture in the air, Miami does have a vibrancy and energy that I really do love. And I love all the Latin people (and food) in South Florida. It made me want the food of my peeps. For as long as I can remember I’ve always been obsessed with this Peruvian Aji.
If you go into a Peruvian restaurant, most likely it’ll be on every single table. We eat it with everything. The ingredients can be tough to find. There’s usually a bit of black mint and fresh aji amarillos peppers in the sauce. So, in order to make it as assessible, I altered the recipe below to be as United States-friendly as possible.
Aji amarillo past might be the toughest ingredient to find, though if you live near a Latin American market, it’ll most likely be there. It’s also online. If you can’t get a hold of it, you can always add a bit more jalapeño.
I have a feeling that none of you would be my friend in real life if:
#1 You could hear the voice I use when speaking to Amelia. We all have animal voices. Mine is just REALLY bad. And strangely enough, it’s gets more grating the more tired I get.
#2 You could see me (sometimes!) reach into my dirty hamper and take out dirty socks and put them on my clean feet because ‘they’re not that dirty and I like black socks to match my black Nikes.
#3 You could see how many dishes I dirty when making simple things like a salad, lettuce cups or coffee. ‘Working clean’ is for fancy chefs or people who are more organized in their brains than me.
#4 You could see how many times I open the fridge/freezer, take a swig of something and then return it (versus, you know, pouring myself a glass). But really, I live with only one other person and we make out all the time so it’s totally fine if I double-dip, right…
And now, hummus.
This hummus is a labor of love. I’m afraid that you’ll hate me because of this hummus recipe. I’ve made a super simple thing kind of more complicated but I think it’s worth it so please hear me out. Please!
This recipe starts with shucking a bunch of peas, which I honestly like doing. There’s something about repeating the same motion over and over that is soothing.
And then, I juiced the jackets! Whaaa! If you don’t have a juicer, you can totally skip this step, but I wanted the hummus to be as green as possible and I love the notion of waste not want not.
No matter who you are, you’ll like this recipe. You’ll LOVE this recipe if:
A. You grew up in the 90s and used to go to TGIFridays with your friends where you’d eat appetizers only.
B. You and your parents would go out to dinner at Olive Garden and you’d order fried calamari and the tentacles would terrify you, but you’d still play with them and give them voices.
C. If you went to Macaroni Grill and loved drawing (borderline offensive) things on the paper tablecloths in crayon.
I know I just described my 12 year old self here but I also did all of these things in college, too. Very little spiritual growth happened for me during that time.
When I first moved to LA, and for the first time was completely on my own in this world, I freaked out if I spent more than $10 a meal. So, I did what any penny-pinching new college graduate would do: I found the cheapest most delicious meal at a Mexican-hole-in the wall where I could order three taquitos for $4. Not only was I pumped about saving a bit of money but I was also super stoked to be eating super delicious crispy taquitos. I’m big on texture so I’ll always order the crunchy variety of anything. Crispy tacos over soft tacos, etc., you get the idea…
Sometimes I look back at those times, and while I was super scared about how everything was gonna turn out, they were some of the best times. What’s not to love about being 22 years old and eating $4 taquitos in an alley with friends. Now, I prefer to make my own taquitos because I can control the flavors, quality of meat and most importantly, quality of tortillas.
The pretty tart that takes exactly zero minutes to throw together. And by zero I mean about 15 minutes. All you need is a sheet of store-bought puff pastry (because seriously who can deal with making it homemade) and a bunch of fresh asparagus. I usually go for the thicker asparagus because I think they’re better for roasting. Those weird fibrous strands don’t really happen when biting into thicker roasted asparagus. Two cheeses, a few pinches of red pepper flakes, lots of pepper and a bit of lemon zest. It’s Spring on a plate!
For the whole recipe and more pictures, jump over to PBS.
My Sunday rituals are strong. They usually start with an early trip to the farmer’s market, followed by lots of recipe testing. I love cooking on Sundays. And then, TV. Lots of that too.
The past few Sundays, I’ve spent watching Game of Thrones and I’m gonna lie, I barely understand what’s going on. Still. But I keep watching, thinking someday I’ll understand every single character, their family, etc. It’s wishful thinking, really.
Silicon Valley is more my steez. Lots of awkwardness and a CEO who wears those tennis shoes that slip on like socks. Those are so strange. Why do those exists?! I don’t get it.
Words usually flow pretty easily for me in this space. I just write like I’m having a conversation with you, like you’re here just chilling with me, sitting on my couch looking around my apartment, being nosey as shit. But today I’m kind of wordless. I’m a little mopey.
A strange heatwave has come through Los Angeles, making it kind of dreadful, honestly, and worst of all, Amelia is sick. She has a bit of a stomach flu that I’m trying to cure with brown rice. I’m hoping she sleeps it off. The psycho in me keeps checking her stomach while she sleeps, making sure it’s rising and falling. I have a feeling I’m going to be one of those crazy mothers who wakes up in the middle of the night to check and make sure the kids are still breathing. It’s a mama thing, I bet.
Today we have artichokes, which if I’m trying to make a good little segue, take a bit of mothering. At least in the beginning anyway. The whole act of cutting and trimming an artichoke is super easy, though I imagine even the most experienced cooks have to google it to be reminded exactly what needs to be done. There’s kind of a lot tasks, man!