Sweetiekins

During my recent trip to Scottsdale, AZ, for work which included a day trip to Sedona and enjoy the ridiculously amazing weather and the gorgeous red rock landscape with my very sweet Filipino aunty of a cubicle mate, Lourdes. If you’re following my gastrogasmic adventures on the accompanying Facebook page you’ll have seen some of the incredible meals from that trip.

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My lunch at SaltRock Southwest Kitchen in Sedona, AZ

 

One of those meals followed me home when, a few weeks ago, Lourdes showed me that she had attempted to make these roasted sweet peppers we had ordered for lunch at a small resort in Sedona. She shared one with me and regardless of what they say about food always tasting better on vacation it’s very difficult to mess up oven-roasted mini sweet peppers.  The one thing she hadn’t been able to get was the aioli. I was so inspired that I decided to stop by the Aldi that just opened up down the road (bringing back some fun memories).

Goat Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers

Goat Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers, from Foodfanatic

My own method for cooking up these little babies is to

  1. Toss with (very little) avocado oil or olive oil,
  2. sprinkle with some coarse salt and fresh ground pepper,
  3. You can also add a sprinkle of garlic powder if you want a little extra something,
  4. Roast on a baking tray at 400 F for 20-30 minutes turning about halfway through (fair warning I like them lightly charred so adjust the time as desire).

Simple right? And unlike some other roasted vegetables these taste really good on their own with very little help. But if you’re looking for something to go with them you can mix this aioli up:

  1. Crush 1 large clove of garlic into a small bowl,
  2. Add about a teaspoon of lime juice and a teaspoon of harissa,
  3. Mix in a heaping spoonful of mayonnaise (or I use vegenaise) and an equal amount of sour cream.

Alternatively, and I’ve done this a couple of times, you can just use a butter knife to cut through one side of the pepper and put about a 1-2 teaspoons worth of goat cheese and just consume that heck out of those babies!

Muffin Week: “Chai-Spiced Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Glaze” (Day 6)

These do seem a little more complicated than I’ve been going for but the certainly do seem worth it. Since I work from home on Fridays and this particular Friday isn’t too crazy I think I can schedule a full lunch break to make these while monitoring my “mobile work space”. Some people think I’m crazy bringing all these screens into the kitchen. During work hours I will have my work laptop (in case of any phone calls or urgent emails), personal laptop (with the recipe), Billy the iPad (named after William Blake and usually streaming some sci-fi series on Netflix), and my phone (because I’m popular… and my boss has my cell phone number in case I’m needed for something).

So during a full episode of Star Trek: Voyager I think these could come into being…

Chai Spiced Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Glaze

“Chai Spiced Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Glaze” from Ambitious Kitchen

 

Muffin Week: “Blueberry-Orange Cornmeal Muffins” (Day 4)

I was inspired by blueberries yesterday and thought I should find one that actual calls for blueberries. While I will always be a fan of my favorite blueberry muffin recipe from some time ago (See  ) I think these certainly look… interesting. I’m often wary of cornbread or cornmeal based muffins but I think that a little extra texture in a breakfast food can be good for you. It’s like giving your mouth a little tasting exercise to get it started for the day.

I like to keep something flavorful at my desk throughout the day. Whether it’s something to drink (coffee or tea) in the mornings or some sort of fruity candy or new kind of chocolate covered nut (so far my absolute favorites are the dark chocolate, cocoa dusted, almonds I can get around the corner at Whole Foods) I’m a fan of texture and flavor. So maybe these would be a good start to that day. Plus I feel like people won’t hate me for bringing them into the office. Anything that looks like it might be remotely unhealthy doesn’t seem to go over.

Bueberry-Orange Cornmeal Muffins

“Blueberry-Orange Cornmeal Muffins” from Martha Stewart

 

In-Your-Face Goodness

This morning on the way to work we were a bit early so decided to make a quick stop at a Whole Foods so my chauffeur could pick up some salad for breakfast. Meanwhile, I traipsed right up to the chocolate aisle and browsed for a bar to keep on my desk to nibble on during the day. Because once I get started on my spreadsheets I get up to refill my coffee in the break room and go to the bathroom. Having a lunch break is for those who don’t know what properly organized data looks like.

And in times like these there was only one chocolate bar that could do the job…

Barcelona Bar

I’m not a fan of most chocolates over 65% cacao. This one is 45% and milk chocolate, which I find to be smoother and more enjoyable on a regular chocolate day as opposed to a time that calls for slightly more drastic measures. And unlike a lot of other chocolates this one has a balanced flavor as opposed to these over the top, teeth grittingly sweet options you usually find out there.

And of course in the process of finding good quality photos of the bar of chocolate that kept me and my cubicle mates company all afternoon I found out there’s a place called “Barcelona” in DC that I know need to try out when the weather is more forgiving to one’s human sensitivities.

Barcelona Wine Bar & Restaurant

Barcelona Wine Bar & Restaurant

A Funny Thing Happened on My Way Back from San Francisco

It hasn’t been unnoticed, I’m sure, that the leader of the Free Foodies has been somewhat absent of late. There’s an excuse for that.

I was out in California having a grand ol’ time eating my way up the PCH when I got a phone call offering me a big girl job. It would give me money, training, benefits… It all sounded amazing. And it was. But it was also a major change.

I now work above a Nandos and around the corner from 8407 Kitchen Bar. I haven’t been starving but I also haven’t had much time to write as much as I would like. So I’m dedicating the month of January to catching up on unpublished menus, reviews, and a glimpse into what kind of adventures a real paycheck can help you afford. I’ve been traveling across the country meeting my fellow foodies and checking out some of the scenes as well as learning a lot more about my other passion: spreadsheets.

While I backdate and get everything in order here’s something I’ve discovered at the Panera on the opposite corner from my office that you can make at home and munch on while patiently awaiting my reports. And if you don’t have the time to slow roast your own tomatoes I suggest you at least try one of these in the morning. It makes the day go much better.

Mediterranean Egg-White Sandwich (Copycat Recipe from Foodtastic Mom)

Mediterranean Egg-White Sandwich (Copycat Recipe from Foodtastic Mom)

Gan Bei!

"The Persian Princess" by Tanya Zouev

“The Persian Princess” by Tanya Zouev on The Cook Who Knew Nothing

Welcome to the weekend my Foodie Nation!!!! Mine started yesterday but I have a feeling yours did not so this one is for all you harder working people that have to figure out how to look busy on Fridays to the point where you just end up exhausting yourselves.

I was browsing about the grandness of the internet (stuck to the GASTROporn this time) and found a lovely post about martinis. And they all looked just so yummy and appropriate for the heat that’s going on in the outdoor areas. So check them out! (You click on the pretty photo above. Just as usual.)