When I was a kid, my favorite American dish my mom made was Broccoli Cheese Casserole. I’m pretty sure she learned it off of the back of a soup can and every year when my birthday rolled around, I’d request she make this casserole. There was boiled shredded chicken, a few cans of soup (cream of mushroom and cream of chicken!), lots of cheddar cheese and broccoli. It was maybe one of the only ways I’d voluntarily eat broccoli.
I feel like we all have a dish we requested for birthdays or special occasions; it probably wasn’t fancy or elevated or all that impressive, but it just reminds you of home.
This tartine is inspired by that casserole dish and I first ate it at a bakery here in Los Angeles. I was so pumped that their iteration of my mama’s casserole had taken a whole new life, albiet a bit fancier one, it took me back. Way back.
For the full recipe and stuff, head over to PBS Food.
Two years ago today I went on my first date with my now boyfriend, Joshua. Up until that point I had dated all the wrong people; most of them were nice and fine but all were wrong for me. I arrived at the restaurant early and he arrived 15 minutes late, which makes me laugh when I think about it because it’s very telling of who we are.
He picked a (now closed but his amazing wine store lives on!) wine bar called Lou’s. It was a pretty ideal first date spot; it was dimly lit and quiet, but full of people, especially for a Monday night, and they served interesting, hard-to-find-wines with really good snacks. We ordered our respective wines – him a barnyard-y Gamay and I ordered a Malbec. There was a charcuterie plate, a burrata salad with roasted grapes and an order of pig candy.
As we ate, we talked about all sorts of things; happy things, funny things, random things and sad things, too. Josh asked me what my hardest challenge in life was thus far. I answered, and then he answered; and then I remember us just staring at each other, absorbing the other’s answer.
Some would say sad stuff is a terrible thing to talk about on a first date, but that’s where we were in our lives. Josh had just experienced the loss of his mom and I think when you’re really sad it’s hard not to mention it. I’m glad we talked about such things. And plus, I’ve never been good at adhering to dating do’s and don’t’s.
The next day I flew to my parent’s house to work on my book and I remember wondering what would happen. I was, for the first time in a long time, excited about getting to know someone, to dive deeper into their life and perspective on the everyday.
We went on a few more dates but a relationship wasn’t something Josh could take on at the time. I was pretty heartbroken and I wasn’t sure why. I didn’t even know him that well! But something just clicked; something with him just felt right. So, I left him alone, but couldn’t forget about him. We ended up running into each other almost eight months later; he was in a better place and so was I. And we’ve been pretty inseparable ever since.
We haven’t been together for a full two years, but the day we sat down for the first time and talked for five hours is a day I love to remember. So, of course, since I’m a romantic, I’m celebrating with Pig Candy.
A life full of grilled cheeses is a good life. If you can enjoy a grilled cheese and some tomato soup, I’m pretty sure it means you know how to chillax. I’m not gonna lie, this holiday season has beat me up. Being sick, alongside too much stuff to do, too many impending deadlines, too many social obligations and too many emails about sales ending soon, has beaten me up. It has all made me crave the week between Christmas and New Years. That week is my favorite week of the entire year; it’s the one week when the emails stop completely, and the thing we’re all supposed to be doing is nothing at all. No guilt about not working.
I recently read an article about guilt and it hit me to the core a bit. I think when you work for yourself, nothing is ever done; you could always be doing more work. This article talks about actually scheduling time in the day to do nothing—it seems strange, counterintuitive and honestly, kind of depressing. Have you tried this?
This year I’m doing something I haven’t really done: I’m editing my wardrobe so I have room for new fall clothes. Who am I?! It kinda feels organized, slightly fancy and something Lucky Mag would tell you to do. I usually read these types of suggestions in magazines while I’m getting my nails done and feel all inspired to do it when I get home but never do. Other things usually end up being more exciting to me. But this year, I’m actually doing it!
Cleaning out my drawers has made me realize that I cannot own enough classic plain white t-shirts. I own a lot of ‘em. And I love ‘em all (minus the ones with food stains on them).
I feel like a classic avocado toast might be food version of a classic white t-shirt. It’s what you could eat every day and not tire of it. Refreshing, simple and so good! I love it.
I teamed up with LeafTV for one last video on my favorite snack EVER! I would include a recipe below but that’s kinda silly. You know what you’re doing when it comes to this.
Omygoodness. I feel like I’ve been gone forever. I wasn’t. I was very nearby, I swear. And I have excuses.
First there was the bout of heat exhaustion that resulted from the terrible Los Angeles heat wave (that has since subsided thank da heavens), combined with a trip to the vintage store to try on, like, twenty, gigantic dresses and getting my hair blown out in a salon that just had their air conditioning break. I felt funny, woozy and started getting cold and sweaty all at the same time. I had a feeling I might be sick, but became even more worried (and sort of depressed) when Josh told me I looked like I was dead, which exactly what you want to hear from a boyfriend. Cute.
Then there was the situation with my server and session files and var files. Good gracious. How boring and confusing all of it is to me. Cheese is so much more exciting, especially when pretty flowers are involved. Zucchini is everywhere, which means so are their flowers. We find zucchini and squash blossoms so very rare and exotic, but in Mexican cuisine they’re actually super common. The taco cart near my house sells zucchini blossom tacos—nothing fancy!
The summer heat has hit Los Angeles and all I want to do is turn up the AC ’til it’s totally freezing, curl up in bed and watch Breaking Bad, but I can’t…because I don’t have AC, so basically I’m dying. A lot of people think Los Angeles is this smoldering, super hot place, but it’s actually fairly mild. Like, the winters are cold and the summers are summery, yes, but the nights get chilly. I likez it.
This whole week people have been freaking about Miley Cyrus; but for me it’s been all about grapes. Sorry Miley and your stupid tongue. Also, those big mascots scared me.
There’s a grocery store that rhymes with Schmole Foods and they actually sell heirloom tomatoes in the dead of winter. (Or at least in California they do.) Heirloom tomatoes in winter go for about $9 a pound, which means that if you tried to make this jam in January, it’d cost you a bajillion dollars. A BAJILLION!
I’m not one to typically take expensive fruit or tomatoes and cook them down and make jam. I always feel like it’s a bit of a waste to use fancy produce to make jam or jelly. Eat ‘em raw, put them in a salad, toss them with pasta. You know, stuff like that. Not jam. “Seconds,” as they call them, however, are kind of perfect for jam. They’re the rejects. Jam is perfect for rejects. Jam is forgiving and actually appreciates overly ripe produce that’s on the verge on being tossed. Pies are kinda perfect for rejects, too.
I have dreams of opening up a little sandwich stand that would be called “Stuff On Toast.” I feel like I’ve mentioned this before. Oh and I’d serve pie too because after you eat something on toast you might want a piece of pie. You might not, actually, but I just want to be prepared in case you do. And maybe coffee. So pie, toast and cappuccinos. It would be our three life necessities under the same small, shack-like roof.
This rendition of Avocado Toast is a bit different. Having white miso in my fridge has become a staple. I love it because in the colder months I can throw it in a pot with hot water, along with seasonal vegetables and make a quick miso soup. I’m obsessed. In the warmer months it’s awesome to have on hand for making quick miso dressing. A little ginger and sesame oil and rice vinegar are added and that’s kind of it. .
I think some restraint in life is needed, right? I mean if I didn’t practice any sort of restraint ever, I’d have a whole lot more shoes, maybe four more corgis (one is enough, trust me), a new car and maybe, just maybe I’d eat nachos like every single day of my life. But when I do make nachos, which isn’t all that often because it’s summer and I need to be in a bathing suit next week (have I told you this?), I practice no restraint. I go to town.
This means lots and lots of cheese. And when it comes to nachos, layering and a low oven temperature is VERY important. You don’t want burnt chips and burnt cheese, man. You want layers of cheesiness all up in between the chips. Just because you get to the bottom of the nachos doesn’t mean you should be eating naked chips! (Can you tell I’m passionate about nachos?!)
And the toppings are important, too. You want them to be plentiful and interesting. I like cilantro, hot sauce, queso fresco, some chorizo, spicy radishes, AND, if you add an egg, this means you can call it breakfast. Who doesn’t want nachos for breakfast, I mean…
Fun side note: If you love nachos, there’s a WHOLE gigantic book on this glorious, cheesy subject. It’s called Ultimate Nachos: From Nachos and Guacamole to Salsas to Cocktails. It’s filled with cheesy nachos, cocktails that compliment nachos, guacamole recipes that should live next to your pile of nachos and then there’s more nachos. It’s like a dream.
If Avocado Toast were a person they’d totally be celebrity that wouldn’t be able to leave their house without a swarm of security. Avocado toast is internet famous–it’s been blogged about, Instagramed about like a million times. And for good reason. It might be my most favorite, simplest snack/lunch in the entire world. Sometimes the simplest things make us happy.
This is a new take on the cult classic, involving grapefruit and hazelnuts (but pictured – because I can’t write a proper grocery list – pistachios, which work equally well). Grapefruit and avocado salads have been around for quite some time now, so I figured I’d put it all on a piece of toast, top it with toasted hazelnuts, some olive oil and a little salt, and call it a day.