August 31, 2010

Smoky Pork Tinga Tacos

My birthday is coming up...October 2. I'm not afraid to say that I LOVE my birthday, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I usually--happily--make my own birthday plans...way in advance, mind you...where we're going out for dinner, what I'll do with my friends, etc. Hell, I even make my own birthday cake!

This year, I asked Jerad & his mom to buy me the new Vitamix, which should be delivered any day now (more about that later). I'm planning dinner with the Food Blog Mafia at Araka sometime that week. But, since my birthday is on a Saturday this year, I really want to do something fun that day. As of now, the plan is to do a taco crawl on Cherokee Street, go to the City Museum (I've never been), have cocktails at Taste, then dinner somewhere still to be decided.

All that talk about tacos & my friend's constant praise of tacos as "happy-making" made us browse Rick Bayless's book for an easy, authentic taco recipe for yesterday's dinner. This one was indeed easy, despite the long cooking time, and it tasted pretty damned amazing...smoky, spicy, rich, deep. We're having leftovers for dinner again tonight.

August 22, 2010

Tyler Florence likes grapes.

Sometimes, blogging has its perks. I mean, I don't blog specifically for the perks. But, sometimes, it does pay off to be a food blogger.

Recently, I was invited to attend a Cardinals game (with other bloggers and local media folks) on Tuesday, to sit in the Red Bird Club All-Star (aka VIP) room, and to schmooze with Celebrity Chef Tyler Florence. I am a fan fangirl of "Hot Tyler" so I immediately accepted the invitation...even if he was promoting "healthy" ballpark food. I mean, when I go to a Cardinals game, I usually go just to eat hot dogs (with mustard & sauerkraut) and nachos loaded with that bright orange cheese-stuff & pickled jalapenos. But, I figured I could play along with healthy food....for Tyler's sake.

Actually, Tyler (I've met him twice now, so we're on a first name basis) is appearing at stadiums across the country representing the California Table Grape Commission during Grapes from California days. After throwing out the first pitch, Tyler made his way to the All-Star room where he introduced himself to everyone and talked to each of us. And take pictures, of course.

Don't we make a cute couple???

August 18, 2010

Zucchini Vichyssoise

School starts again this week, and I was kind of looking forward to starting a new year. Then, I was dreading it....not because of the early mornings or the new curriculum or some can-be-obnoxious students (and teachers)....but because of the 100+ degree temps around here last week and my school's lack of air-conditioning.  Luckily, the weather is supposed to be a bit more mild for the start of school this year.

When I tell people that my school is not air-conditioned, they find it hard to believe that a school in the United States in 2010 doesn't have that technology. But, for whatever reason (I'm guessing finances), only the offices & the library are cooled. 

And, my building is a greenhouse. Not figuratively speaking, but LITERALLY a greenhouse. It is a big square building with an open courtyard in the middle that has a glass roof & trees growing in it. MOTHERFUCKING TREES, PEOPLE. The hallways circle the courtyard, and all the classrooms open to it. My room is upstairs. It's hot up there, I mean downright sweltering. No wonder the students are so crabby at the beginning of the school year. 

August 13, 2010

Mayfair Dressing

St. Louis is famous for inventing several foods. Ice cream cones & hot dogs in buns were first served at the 1904 World's Fair, which also introduced people to hamburgers, cotton candy, iced tea, & Dr. Pepper. Other St. Louis originals include toasted ravioli, gooey butter cake, concretes, peanut butter, Provel cheese, slingers, & 7-Up. 

One of my favorite local recipes is Mayfair salad dressing. It was created at the Mayfair-Lennox Hotel in downtown St. Louis. This dressing is similar to Caesar dressing but has more of a "bite" to it. 

August 1, 2010

Tomato Tarte Tatin

We tried our hand at a little home garden this summer. We planted a small herb garden with basil, thyme, oregano, & chives and a few tomato plants. Our sungold plant is thriving; we pick a handful of little orange beauties each day. We've gotten a few roma tomatoes, but they are a little mealy tasting. We have ONE Beefsteak on the wine vine (Freudian slip!) and have FINALLY gotten a bloom or two on the Brandywine plant.

So, to satiate our craving for fresh tomatoes, we've been buying them at our local farmers market each Saturday. Is there nothing better than a freshly-picked tomato at the peak of the summer season? I don't think there is.

We had quite a few cherry tomatoes of different sizes & varieties...round red ones, oval red ones, orange ones, yellow ones, & "chocolate" ones which have a brownish skin. To use them up we made a tart in the Le Creuset tarte tatin pan we got as a wedding gift.

I can't believe I didn't make this sooner. All I can say is MAKE THIS NOW. Seriously. Now. Go! It's amazingly good.