Monday, August 22, 2016

Easy Low Carb Pizza with Trader Joe's Ingredients

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It's easy to make a very fast low carb pizza when carb cravings strike. All these ingredients I got from Trader Joe's but you can get similar things at grocery stores. One Pizza will have more or less 7 Net Carbs depending on how much toppings you put on there. The Tortilla (which will serve as your pizza crust) only has 4 net carbs so everything you put on top of that adds to the net carb count.



Ingredients:

Sonoma Carb Cutting Tortillas

Bruschetta Sauce

Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Egg

Mini Heirloom Tomatoes

COOKED Sweet Chicken Sausage (Use your favorite Sausage or Pepperoni)

Grated Parmesan Cheese

Salt & Pepper

Fresh Basil



Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. I used my toaster oven for this and it worked fine.

2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, or grease down a pizza pan.

3. Put the Tortilla in the middle of the pan

4. Spread the Bruschetta Sauce on top of the Tortilla

5. Cover with Mozzarella

6. Add toppings of choice. I put an egg, tomatoes, sausages, basil.

7. Add parmesan, salt and pepper

8. I baked mine in a pre-heated toaster oven at 400 degrees for 10 min and then broiled it for another 5 minutes. This part will vary depending on whether you use the oven or toaster oven. It's summer in LA so I'm not going to turn on the oven to 400 degrees, thank you very much! But, you do you. Just make sure the egg is cooked and you're fine since everything else is already cooked or can be eaten raw.

9. Serve immediately! Perfect thin crust LOW CARB pizza. You won't even miss the carbs.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy/Nut-Free Matcha Calamansi Banana Bread

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In searching for an Allergen Free Banana Bread for my baby, I had to combine what was on the internet with some tricks of my own.

This moist banana bread recipe doesn't need eggs, milk, wheat, nuts, soy to make it taste amazing.

Ingredients:

The Base:
5 Ripe Bananas
0.5 cup sugar or your favorite sweetener
0.5 tsp matcha powder
2 calamansi zest

Oil/Liquid/Spices:
0.5 cup olive oil (use cold pressed)
0.5 tsp vanilla extract
1 good scrape of fresh nutmeg (2 pinches if using powder)
0.25 tsp cinnamon (I use 1/2 tsp of Saigon Cinnamon)

White Powders:
1.5 cups of Gluten Free Flour (I Use Pamela's GF All-Purpose Flour Mix)
1.5 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt

The Crunch:
0.25 cup sunflower seeds
0.25 cup pumpkin seeds
0.25 cup coconut shavings

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Grease a cake pan (7.5 x 4 x 2.5 inches) or a rectangular cake pan (7.5 x 2 inches) with some oil.

3. Blend all the ingredients in "The Base" - Bananas, Sugar, Matcha Powder, Calamansi zest in a blender until "The Base" is smooth.

4. Pour "The Base" in a large mixing bowl and add in all the ingredients into the mixture from the "Oil/Liquid/Spices" - olive oil, vanilla extract, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

5. Now it's time to add the dry ingredients in "The White Powders" - Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt. Combine these ingredients and put them through a sieve over the banana mixture.

6. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until the entire mixture looks uniform. This will ensure that the batter doesn't become goopy.

7. Now, add everything in "The Crunch" to your batter (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut shavings). You can add nuts if you're not avoiding it. Walnuts go really well with banana bread. You can also add chocolate chips or dry fruit. I'd avoid adding ALL of this. Just pick one or two.

8. Pour the batter into the greased baking pan of your choice, and slip it into the preheated oven.

9. 30-40 minutes later, depending on your oven, check on your Banana Bread by sticking a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean and the batter doesn't look like jello when you're moving it in and out, then it's done.

10. Take out the banana bread and let it cool on the cooling rack.

Serve immediately, or not. This should be good for a few days.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Pollo Campeon (Chicken Champion) - Santa Cruz, Bolivia

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What makes a chicken, a chicken champion?

Pollo Campeon (Translated to "Chicken Champion") has been around for more than 30 years and counting. The company started really small in a tiny location with barely enough tables to call it a restaurant. The owners are Korean immigrants who came to Bolivia to try to create a viable business. Since that time, they have expanded to 7 locations in Santa Cruz and counting. Some say the reason for their success is because of their dirt cheap prices (adjusted for inflation). Others say it's because they give you a consistent product, they have a drive-thru, they give you a little of everything, they give you a bucket of rice with your 1/4 chicken order. But, let's be real. The majority of people go back here over other rotisserie joints around town because of their incredibly addicting green sauce.

It's interesting to have seen their empire rise from a small restaurant to a chain beloved by the local community. A business created by immigrants is now definitely part of the fabric of Santa Cruz. It's everyone's Tuesday night dinner. It's easy, simple, delicious, pretty global in the way it suits people's tastebuds, cheap, slightly healthier than actual fast food. AND YOU CAN GET A HANDFUL OF EXTRA GREEN SAUCE FOR A COUPLE MORE CENTS.

Crack, I tell you. And no, this sauce is different from the green sauce in Peruvian restaurants that you will likely compare this to just by looking at the photos. The sauce at Pollo Campeon is creamier (maybe more mayo), less spicy, possibly a tang from mustard, possibly nutty from peanuts. Who knows what really goes in there. It's just crackiliciously good.

And now for pictures:


(How a 1/4 chicken combo looks from the exterior)

(When you open it, you see a 1/4 chicken resting its juices on handcut fries, 2 packets of green sauce, and a whole side of rice. You're going to want to mix all this together so you can stretch out the green sauce to douse it all over your food. If you were smart, you would have bought extra green sauce)


(How it looks all mixed in before the green sauce shower. Sorry I didn't take a photo of how it looks with the sauce all over it. I think I devoured it too fast)


Pollo Campeon
Various locations
Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Monday, July 27, 2015

Cuñape

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"Cuñape" is the best cheeseballs in the world, and it’s from Santa Cruz, Bolivia. These gooey and addictive cheese balls are similar to the Brazilian "pão de queijo" or the French "gougères" or the Colombian "pandebono" but all of these are different from each other as well. Gougères are lighter and more airy while the Brazilian ones are chewier but drier on the outside. I would say the pandebonos are closest in taste and texture to the Bolivian cuñape but it is slight more bready.

In Bolivia, we use mennonite cheese (farmer's cheese) for this recipe and honestly without that cheese it will never be exactly like the original but you do what you can. I've been hunting down a similar cheese in the U.S. for ages but the closest I can get to it is to use the queso blanco or fresco and add some more salt (or even mix some feta into it).

The history of the cuñape is very interesting. It is a Guaraní word that means "a woman's breast" because when they bake, they form a little peak in the center. To get this "peak" you must insert your thumb into the bottom of the ball creating a little hole before putting it downward on that hole on the baking pan for the oven. If you don't do this, the cuñape can end up looking very flat when you take it out of the oven. Since baking powder is traditionally not used in making these, this "hole" step is really important for the right shape.

Ingredients:
1 Cup Yucca Starch (you can get these in latin mkts, also known as Tapioca Starch or Manioc Starch)
1 Round (3 cups) of Mexican cheese like Queso Fresco (or a mixture of fresco and feta)
1 egg
SALT, Water, and milk, as needed (use more salt if you're only using queso fresco, which isn't as salty)

Cuñape
1 taza de almidón de yuca
3 tazas de queso fresco
1 huevo
Leche o agua si es necesario (si está muy seco)
Instructions

Preheat oven to 305 degrees.
Crumble the cheese into a big mixing bowl (it should crumble easily) and add the yucca starch and egg and a pinch of salt. Knead it with your hands until you have a dough-like consistency. At this point, if it's too dry, you can add some milk or water.

Make them into little balls and insert your thumb into the bottom to make a hole in the bottom (this helps create that peak I talked about above). 
Place them on top of a non stick pan or a floured pan. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
Place them in the oven between 15-20 minutes.
Do one batch first. If it comes out too cheesy, then add more starch.

Spanish instructions:
Rayar el queso, mezclar con el almidón de yuca y agregar el huevo batido. La consistencia debe ser blanda haga unas bolitas haciéndoles un pequeño hueco con el dedo por debajo y póngalas en una bandeja para hornear. Deje quince minutos. Ponga en horno caliente por 20 mins. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

El Chato Taco Truck

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We alway drive by and see the lines, sigh, and say another time. This time though, the crowd's gone because it's a little later. Tonight's the night! We finally swing over to park (almost getting into an accident from an oncoming truck without his headlights on), and head over to the truck. Did I say head over? I meant skip over! Once there, a hipster looking dude makes a line behind us. We tell him to go first since we're El Chato virgins. He tells us to get the al pastor tacos. It's the best he's ever had. He then orders a quesadilla. Uh, okay. So we get 2 al pastor tacos, 1 chorizo taco, and 1 quesadilla with the mixed meats, and 1 horchata to go. The total comes to $8. Really? I just paid $9 for a shitty salad at baja fresh for lunch! 



Once home, the devouring begins. Why is it SO good? Is it the price? Is it the spice? Is it the fatty goodness? Is it the convenience?


I don't know but I think it's one of the more legit Mexican fares in this area.

El Chato Taco Truck
5300 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90019
Phone number(323) 202-6936

Popotla,Valle de Guadalupe, Ensenada,

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Oops I did it again. 

I went back down to Mexico after my first amazing trip to the Valle de Guadalupe that I had to return with others. 

This time, we stopped by the sleepy seaside town of Popotla first.

Here are the highlights:



my car, after it got stuck on the beach.

you roll your car right in front of the crashing waves, grab a table and order

We saw a fisherman get off his boat with this 
BOATLOAD of uni.

this is maria with her stash

They are ALIVE

my hungry companions

A fisherman with his boat

Before our feast

fresh fresh oysters

Oysters so fresh all you need is some lime and hot sauce.

In Popotla, you buy the seafood and bring it to a stand like this
and ask them to do whatever you want. You can also buy the
seafood from the stands as well.



Our bowl of Uni that we got from our purchase.

Everything is so so fresh.

The campechana we got.

Our Uni

Oysters

Ceviche

Spider Crabs




Rowdy people watching the butchering of fish.



This area was very masculine. 
We were the only women there apart from a 
couple of women who were managing the stands. 





The beautiful, dank chocolate mussels


Our spider crab deep fried

They gave us a rock to pound it with.

Maria is crying over how beautiful this lunch now dinner is.

We got another seafood cocktail.


Then we went to one of the restaurants there to check out the 
Rosarito style lobsters.

We got the smoked marlin tacos here but they weren't as good 
as the ones we had in TJ a while ago.

this rosarito style lobster was bomb.com.


The Spread



Then we went to see some dinosaurs before making our way down 
to the Valle de Guadalupe

*****

After driving around in the dark with no streetlights or GPS we somehow found our bed and breakfast!!! It was so charming and beautiful. It's called Casa Encinares and we found them on airbnb.com and got a great deal. For the three of us, we got the big house on top of the hill that was divided in half. We got lucky!!! Well, except for the hike up to our quarters but then again, we sorta needed the exercise seeing how much food we had just consumed and we were about to tackle way more.


In front of our quarters. Too bad I didn't get a good shot of the house.


The main area

We joined the other people who were there for some brekkie


BTW their breakfast was fantastic. 

We opted to do the wine tour with the b&b and oh look! 
You can see our house on top of the hill. 
Yup! Half of that was our quarters!

We made new friends quickly

This is inside our booze bus

Before the wine tour

LA Cetto Winery









Then we went to Endemico! Where I stayed the last time I was there.


So beautiful


Starting to get tipsy

quick cheese tasting

okay, drunk

At one of the 3 wineries we went to

***************

Before heading back to LA, we had to stop by Ensenada to eat at La Guerrerense. By far, this little stand is the most well-known seafood place from Ensenada in LA (and maybe anywhere outside of Ensenada). 


Typically in any port city where cruises dock, you wouldn't assume
that the best place to eat at in that city is right in the middle of
tourist central. But in this case, it is!!!

Just look for locals whenever you travel and you will be at a legit spot.

We got a variety of seafood tostadas and devoured everything




After, we drove down a couple blocks to get some 
amazing fish tacos, ensenada style.

This place was so legit, on the corner of the street.
Absolutely no tourists in sight.

There is no address for that fish taco spot but it was right next to this place

So we got some paletas...

and

Then we did some tourist shit:



Like order micheladas and get friendship bracelets.





It took forever to cross the border back to the U.S.
I think I have to get a SENTRY pass or a fast pass.
I can't deal with the wait and I'm itching to go back again.

My Loot:


Yes, I brought back ONE chair. 
some wine, olive oil, bread, cheese,
two vases, a blanket, 
some ceramics, ONE handmade glass.








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