Hippy Juice?

If you’re in the city and find yourself in need of some excitement after work then definitely check out Coqueta for happy hour. Coqueta means “flirt” or “infatuation” in Spanish and it’s a perfect representation of the spunky atmosphere and exciting food. Situated right along the water on Pier 5, Coqueta is nothing like your run of the mill Spanish restaurant/ bar. Both the food and the drinks are innovative and guarantee you a culinary experience. The restaurant is a bit pricy so we just had drinks but the drink menu alone was enough to make us confident that we chosen the right place to pop into for a de-stressing post-work drink. I’m usually an exclusively beer and maybe wine kind of gal, finding most cocktails a bit too sweet for my taste, but I couldn’t stay away from these. I ordered the “Death to Summer of Love,” also known as “hippy juice.” The cocktail was made from house-made hemp milk, dandelions, absinth, spanish brandy, and cava. Below is a picture of my beautiful drink.

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Some other drinks of interest were:

Engine Co. #5: dancing pines bourbon, tobacco infuced creme sherry, lemon, and zurracapote

Pesidio: Belvedere vodka, lemon, almond, fig, farm egg, peychaud’s bitter

Tariff: Jamon iberico infused Gin, acorn and apricot tonic, orange, cava

Conquistadoe: nolets gin, anis tonic, apple-celery juice, spiced fennel salt rim, lemon ice

Andalucia: cream sherry, nocino walnut liqueur, sherry manchego, golden raisins

J & T: Juniper, Lime, fever tree mediterranean tonic

Almond Joy: almond, honey, fig, fever tree tonic

Have I spiked your interest yet? Definitely go check out the rest of their drink menu here and I highly recommend actually going to the restaurant. To get a table you have to reserve about a month in advance but the bar is first come first serve seating. The bar has both indoor and outdoor seating, both of which provide you with great views of the water.

How To Cook

Last night I spent the night teaching one of my friends how to cook. He had mentioned to me one day that his cooking ability was essentially limited to pasta and a very basic stir fry. Since I am a HUGE advocate of home cooking (it’s usually far healthier and cheaper than anything you could pick up at a restaurant, and if you know how to cook it’s often tastier as well) I decided that I needed to change this. So last night I went over to his place and showed him just how easy it is to make fresh, delicious home cooked meals.

I chose something that was easy yet surprisingly yummy, chicken and rice with a chimichurri sauce. Both chicken and rice are incredibly easy to cook and can be used in many different ways. If you know how to cook chicken and rice than all of a sudden a whole world of interesting meals has been opened up to you. The chimichurri sauce was the added flavor I chose to spice up the dish and make it interesting, but you can make any type of sauce that fits your fancy or add any number of vegetables or herbs to the rice to make it fun and exciting.

CHICKEN: The Basics

What you need:

  1. Boneless, skinless, chicken breast
  2. Olive Oil and (optional: various herbs, chicken rubs, or sauces such as BBQ sauce or teriyaki sauce)
  3. A baking dish

What you do:

  1. Rinse the chicken breast
  2. Rub the chicken breast with olive oil and any additional seasonings you’ve chosen
  3. Put a little extra olive oil in the bottom of the baking dish and lay the chicken on top
  4. Stick the baking dish in the oven for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
  5. After 20 minutes check to make sure the chicken is cooked all the way through by cutting a small slice in the middle of the chicken. If it’s still pink then you need to cook it for a bit longer (I usually put it in for 3-5 minutes longer then check it again to make sure I don’t over cook it. If needed I put it in for another few minutes). When the chicken is done it should be whitish but still moist looking.
  6. Optional: at about 15 minutes you can turn the oven to broil and broil the chicken for the last 5 minutes to brown the tops
  7. And you’re done!!

RICE: the basics

What you need:

  1. Rice
  2. Water
  3. A pot

What you do:

  1. (for 1 serving) Boil 1 1/3 cups of water
  2. Lower heat to medium/ medium low until the water returns to a simmer
  3. Add 1/2 cup of rice
  4. Cook the rice for about 10 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. You have to watch it
  5. And you’re done!!

CHIMICHURRI SAUCE: the basics

What you need:

  1. A bunch of cilantro
  2. 1/2 cup olive oil
  3. 1 tablespoon lime juice
  4. 1/2 teaspoon dried chili peppers (if you like spice feel free to add more)
  5. Optional: Fresh mango

What you do:

  1. Finely chop the cilantro
  2. Optional: peel and dice the mango
  3. In a bowl stir together the olive oil, lime juice, red pepper, cilantro, and mango
  4. And you’re done!!!

And Voila you have a delicious meal!! Cut up the chicken, put it on top of the rice, spoon some chimichurri sauce on top, and you’re good to go. Enjoy!!!

Just remember, the 2 basic rules of cooking are:

WATCH YOUR FOOD – unlike baking you can’t just throw something in the oven for exactly 10 minutes, walk away, and come back to a perfectly cooked meal. That doesn’t mean it’s any more difficult though. As long as you hang out in the kitchen where you can easily check every few minutes to make sure your food isn’t burning and is cooking the way you intended, then you are free to spend that time doing whatever you want.

BE OPEN TO IMPROVISATION – If the recipe says put the heat to medium but your food is cooking too fast, just lower it a bit so that it doesn’t burn

Lentil Hummus

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So this week I found myself with A LOT of extra lentils in my fridge, wayyy more than I meant to have. I made a lentil salad last week and just cooked way too many so I decided to get creative with the leftovers and make something different. We had recently run out of hummus, and me being a hummus addict thought, “I wonder if I can make hummus out of lentils?” So I looked online and found this recipe from WholeLiving.com. It is so yummmyyy!! If anyone is either a huge lentil fan, hummus fan, or is just looking for something different then you should definitely try this out. It’s super easy to make. Below is the recipe from WholeLiving for your convenience. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown or green lentils
  • 1/4 cup cashew butter
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Cholula
  • Coarse salt
  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 4 pocketless whole-wheat pitas, toasted or grilled and cut into wedges

Directions

  1. Bring 8 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add lentils, and reduce heat. Cover with a round of parchment, and gently simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain lentils, and let cool completely, about 30 minutes. (Lentils can be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated.)

  2. Place cashew butter, lemon juice, garlic, hot sauce, and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor, and process until combined. Add lentils, and process until smooth, about 2 minutes. With motor running, add 2 teaspoons oil, and process until incorporated. Transfer to a bowl, and chill if desired. Drizzle with remaining oil, garnish with parsley, and serve with pitas.

Carrot and Apple Muffins

Today I went on my first baking spree of the summer. I usually enjoy cooking more than baking, but every now and then I get an itch to use the oven and to create something sweet and delicate. I found this recipe for “Healthified Carrot and Apple Muffins” a few days ago on Kate at the Kitchen Door and the pictures she posted just looked so yummy that I had to try it out. Below are the directions copied and pasted from Kate’s Blog (thanks Kate!), but I would also definitely check out her entire blog for yourself. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. maple syrup
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 6 oz. greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 medium apples, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 c. dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, cherries)
  • 1/2 c. quick cooking oats
  • 2 c. whole wheat flour (I subbed AP with fine results)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
For the topping (I adjusted to use what I had in the cupboard):
  • 1 TBS cold butter
  • 1 TBS brown sugar
  • 1 TBS flour
  • 2 TBS oats
  • 2 TBS sesame seeds
  • 1 TBS ground flaxseed

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F, and line standard-sized muffin pan with muffin cups.  In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, maple syrup, olive oil, yogurt, and vanilla.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, stir together all dry ingredients (oats through salt) until thoroughly mixed.  Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until all ingredients are evenly moistened.  Stir in grated carrots, grated apples, and dried fruit.
  2. In a small bowl, use a pastry cutter or fork to press together butter, sugar, and flour until crumbly.  Add oats, sesame seeds, and flaxseed, and press together until they form a uniform crumbly mixture.
  3. Fill each muffin cup almost to the top with batter.  Sprinkle a spoonful of the topping over each muffin.  Bake for 20-22 minutes, until domed and golden, and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean
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And that’s a look at the final product. They came out wonderfully moist and were perfectly sweet (the fruit did a great job creating a natural sweetness so that its not overwhelmingly sugary). 

Tacolicious: A cheesy name for a restaurant that has so much more to offer than just their queso (pun totally intended. Haha)

Time to talk about everyone’s favorite topic again. Foooood!!!! Today I went to meet my dad for lunch in downtown Palo Alto and we accidently stumbled upon THE most amazing restaurant. It’s called Tacolicious and it’s a wonderful Mexican-style restaurant with a fresh and innovative menu. It starts with tacos as the base and expands to include unique dishes such as albacore tuna tostada, asparagus-poblano pepper soup, and a roasted beet salad with grapefruit and pumpkin seeds. In addition to their impressive menu, they also have an extensive cocktail list featuring more types of tequila than I knew existed, and a fairly large selection of beer and wine. Oh, and all their ingredients are organic.

 

Although they started as a small taco stand at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in SF, Tacolicious has now grown into a hot, up-and-coming, sit-down style restaurant. They have 3 different locations: two in San Francisco (one in the Marina and one in the Mission) and one in Palo Alto.

 

Since we couldn’t decide what we wanted to eat my dad and I decided to share several of the dishes so that we could sample a more varied selection of what they offered. We started off with the Aztec chicken soup (shredded chicken in an ancho chile-tomato broth with tortilla strips, avocado, cotija cheese, cilantro, onions, and lime). It was so lovely. The flavors were complex and interesting. Each bite was slightly different depending on the ratio of ingredients on your spoon. Being a personal fan of cilantro, I preferred to load my spoon with as much cilantro as I could fish out and added a little salsa to spice things up just a bit more. Following the soup we shared the albacore tuna tostada (tuna tartare on top of a crispy tostada with chipotle mayo, crispy leeks, and avocado) and a veggie taco (warm corn tortillas piled high with asparagus, green garlic, mushrooms, and fingerling potatoes).  They were both great! The tuna was perfectly prepared and went so well on top of the crispy tostada. It was the chipotle mayo that really brought this dish home. It provided a little bit of exciting flare. The veggie taco was also fabulous. The asparagus was perfectly cooked and delicately seasoned with garlic. Additionally, I’m such a huge fan of Portobello mushrooms that any dish with grilled Portobellos will rank highly. We finished off the meal with churros and chocolate. I think only one word is needed to sum up this desert: Wow! I knew churros were good, but I never knew they could be this good. Hot out of the oven, the churros, which had a light covering of cinnamon sugar, were perfect on their own and became heavenly when dipped in the rich bittersweet chocolate served on the side. Mmmmmm. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!!