Okra with Bacon, Tomato, and Onions

I just joined a local CSA. Well, it’s really the only one around here, which really annoys me because Bakersfield is supposedly an agricultural powerhouse. But I guess they’ve really been phasing that out.

As a kid I had to drive several miles through corn and cotton fields to get to my elementary school. And if they were rotating a crop field that season they’d have sheep occupying the empty land. Now there are tons of track homes wearer those crops were and it honestly is really upsetting for me to drive through it. I want the rural landscape of my childhood. I wish people valued and understood the importance of local farming for both the community and the environment.

I could go on and on, but this is a food blog so back to lighter things-food. I went to our tiny (but wonderful) farmers market to pick up my CSA box chock full of fresh, organic veggies and what do I get? Okra. I’ve never had okra and I’m not going to lie…I was terrified of it! I heard all those stories about the sliminess of okra plus it looks like a chile but isn’t spicy and that’s just bizarre to me! Well I couldn’t let it go to waste, so make it I did. And it was delicious. And not the least bit slimy.



Okra with Bacon, Tomatoes, and Onions

5 slices thick cut, applewood bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 medium red onion
1.5 lbs okra
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
Salt & pepper
1 tsp garlic powder




Here’s how you do it: 

Heat a large heavy skillet to medium-high heat. Cook the bacon until brown. Remove bacon but leave the grease in the pan. (We want all that goodness to cook our onions and okra). Reduce heat to medium and throw in the onions and salt. Cook until soft and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add okra and cook for about 6. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Voila!








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Chile Rellenos

Every time I see my grandma she always asks me what I want to eat. It doesn’t matter whether I’ve already eaten or not, she makes me food. And I eat it. So I’ve learned to just work up my appetite when I know I’m going to see her. You know….it’s easier that way.

One of my favorite dishes that she makes is Chiles Rellenos. It’s such a treat! They’re pretty labor intensive, but its so worth it. This time around she taught me how to make them, I photographed and took notes, and now I’m passing it on to you.

Look who joined us in the kitchen!

Grandma and I were in the kitchen for a while so Moby took a nap.

Chile Relleno con tortitas de papa (Stuffed Chiles with mini potato patties)

10 chile pasillas

2 large eggs

3 large egg whites

1 cup flour (you won’t use all of it)

3-4 small potatoes, boiled and mashed

2 c cheddar cheese

1/3 c canola oil

Ok let’s get started. First, wash and dry the chiles pasillas. Save that grocers/produce bag that you bought them in! You’ll need it soon. Place on stove burners on high heat to char the skin.

Remove from stove when they are almost completely black and look like this:

Immediate place all charred chiles in the bag that we bought them in and tie the top of the bag in a knot. We leave the hot chiles in the bag to sweat so that the charred skin is easy to remove later. How long? Well we made an emergency bean run while the chiles were sweating it out…so I’d say we were gone for about 30 minutes. While the chiles are busy sweating it out, peel and boil the potatoes.

After about 30 minutes of sweating it out, remove the chiles from the bag and peel off the black skin off of the chiles pasillas with your hands. They should come off pretty easily at this point. Once you’ve removed the blackened skins, the chiles should look soft. Make a single slit in each chile and remove the seeds. When you’re done they should look like this:

By now, the potatoes should be fork tender. Drain all the water and mash with a potato masher until almost smooth. Stuff each chile with about 3-4 tablespoons of potato then with 2 heaping tablespoons of cheese. 

Set aside a shallow dish with flour. Separate 3 egg whites from yolks and add to a bowl. Then crack 2 large eggs (yolks and all) into the bowl. Using a hand mixer beat eggs until fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Coat each stuffed chile into the flour, then the eggs.

Heat up a heavy skillet (preferably cast iron, but hey, use what you have) with canola oil. Once the skillet and oil are hot, gently place the chiles in the skillet. DON’T MOVE THEM AROUND THE PAN! Let them get a nice golden brown color on one side before moving or flipping them. They’re done when both sides are golden brown.

Remove from skillet to a large plate. 

Ok, Chile Rellenos done!

Now onto the delicious little potato patties that we serve with them.

Tortitas de papa

Using the remainder of the potatoes and cheese from the chile rellenos plus one egg, combine all ingredients and create a small palm-sized patty. Place into the skillet you used for the chile rellenos. Add oil if necessary. Cook on medium-high heat until golden brown on each side.

Serve Chile Rellenos with the tortitas de papa, spanish rice, and canary beans (frijoles peruanos). It’s a delicious and filling vegetarian, Mexican meal. One of my all time favorite meals. Period.

Buen provecho!

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Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza

I love ordering prosciutto arugula pizza from Italian restaurants. My first experience was in a popular pizza joint in Buenos Aires that served wine in pint sized ceramic penguins. I’ve ordered it a few times at different restaurants back in the States, but my best experience was in Las Vegas restaurant in Palazzo on the Strip. I go back almost every time I’m in Vegas. I love this kind of pizza!


I was craving it so I decided to take it upon myself and make it for dinner the other night. Delish.


Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza

Pre-made pizza dough
2-4 tbs extra virgin olive oil (or white truffle oil if you want it to be outrageously delicious)
10-12 slices of prosciutto
4 c organic arugula
1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan

Here’s how you make it:
Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
Set out your dough so it reaches room temp. Flour the surface that you’ll be using and the dough then roll out until desired thickness. I like my pizzas very thin. Drizzle olive oil on the dough and spread to cover surface. Remember to pierce the dough with a fork all over.

Pop it in the oven for 12-15 minutes. Remove when it’s a golden brown color and immediately place slices of prosciutto on it. Then layer with arugula and Parmesan cheese. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil and sprinkle freshly cracked black pepper on top. Cut into slices and enjoy this simply delicious pizza!!


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Red Beet Risotto

When I studied in Chile last year, I frequented Buenos Aires, Argentina quite a bit. I love just about everything about BA – the loud, friendly (sometimes too friendly) people, the bustling streets, the open air markets called ferias, the fantastically beautiful yet inexpensive leather goods, the ice cream, the food, and the STEAK. OMG the steak is fantastic. Can I go back just for a steak and malbec filled dinner? With dulce de leche panqueques? Pleeeeeassseee?

Ok I digress. So on one of my many trips to Buenos Aires, I went to my favorite breakfast/lunch cafe, Oui Oui in the Palermo district. It’s a fantastic little place with the BEST cafe con leches EVER. Anyway, I went for lunch with my mom and brother when they were visiting and ordered the lunch special “el menu” (pronounced “men – ew”) which included a bunch of wonderful courses and mint lemonade (which I need to try to recreate). Can you tell I love BA? I keep getting excited and talking about everything except the point.

So the point is, on this “menu” that I ordered came with a gorgeous red beet risotto with goat cheese and arugula. Not only was it gorgeous, it was DELICIOUS! I’ll admit, it was my very first beet experience and now I’m obsessed with these beautiful red root vegetables.

Red beet risotto at Oui Oui in Buenos Aires

The other day I decided to recreate the dish that I adored so much with a few variations. It did not disappoint.

I suggest you try it!

Red Beet Risotto with Parmesan and Arugula

2 – 3 red beets, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes

1/3 c finely diced yellow onion

1 stick of unsalted butter

1 c arborio rice

2 tbs balsamic vinegar

4 c chicken broth

1/2 c grated parmesan cheese

2 c fresh, organic arugula

Salt and pepper to taste

Here’s how you do it:

Melt butter in a large saucepan on medium-hight heat. Add diced beets, onions, salt & pepper, and saute until soft, about 6-8 minutes.


Remove contents of pan and throw into a blender. Blend until almost smooth (a few chunks adds texture). Return blended beet-onion mixture to pan. Add arborio rice and mix into the beet mixture. Add balsamic vinegar.


Reduce heat to medium. Now, begin incorporating chicken stock into the rice. Begin with 1 cup of broth. Stir until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid, then add next cup of broth. Stir until absorbed. Continue with this method until all 4 cups are mostly absorbed, about 20 minutes. 20111105-140210.jpg

The rice should be fluffy and tender. Turn off the heat and add parmesan cheese. Cover and let sit for 2 minutes.

20111105-140221.jpgServe topped with arugula.


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Sopa de Albondigas (Mexican Meatball Soup)

Since being back in my hometown, I’ve been doing a lot of cooking with my grandmother. She’s has tons of delicious recipes from her childhood in Mexico. I’ve been trying to absorb as much information about them as possible, so eventually I can pass them on to my progeny in the future. So yesterday I was feeling pretty lazy about cooking so I picked up 2 pounds of ground beef thinking that I’d make tacos for lunch and spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. I don’t know about other people, but these aren’t exactly rainy day comfort foods to me, so I decided to make my grandma’s Albondigas soup. And I’m sooo glad I did!

It was delicious. You’ll enjoy it too.

Sopa de Albondigas (serves about 6-8 people)

2 lbs ground beef

2 c white long grain rice (I use the brand Mahatma)

lots of water to fill a large pot 3/4 full (Maybe about 16-20 c?)

salt and pepper to taste (be generous)

1/3 c chopped mint leaves

1/2 – 3/4 c chopped cilantro, depending on personal preference

2 large egg whites

1 lb carrots, cut into medium sized pieces

1.5 lbs potatoes, cut into small-medium sized pieces

2 cups tomato sauce

Here’s how you do it: First, fill a large pot 3/4 full of water and generously salt; place on stove and turn on med-high heat. Let come to boil.

While you’re waiting for the water to boil, place ground beef, 1 c of rice (reserve the other cup for later), mint leaves, cilantro, egg whites, and salt & pepper to your taste. Mix well and form small-medium sized meatballs. Let sit for about 5 minutes.

When the water comes to a boil, add the meatballs carefully to the pot, then add chopped carrots.

Skim off any fatty foam that floats on the surface of the water.

Once the meatballs rise to the surface, add quartered potatoes, remaining cup of rice, and tomato sauce to the pot. Cover pot, and cook until meatballs are cooked through.

Serve with a few wedges of lime and warm corn tortillas.

Simple but delicious. This is my kind of comfort food. Enjoy!


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Spanish Rice


I grew up eating this rice and my family still makes this rice at least a couple of times a week. Needless to say, its a staple in the Medina household and it will never away!

It’s so delicious yet simple and my friends have always asked for the recipe.

This is one of those recipes that I know is going to show up on this blog regularly, so here it is!

The Medina Family’s Recipe for Spanish Rice


a small cut of onion (less than 1/4 of the onion)

2 tbs canola oil (or if you want it to be really good use lard)

1 c long grain rice (Mahatma brand is my favorite)

3/4 – 1 c tomato sauce** (you can used the canned kind or make your own, which is sooo much better….see below for recipe)

2 1/2 c chicken broth (or water with 1 cube chicken bouillon)

Yes, its really that simple.

Tomato sauce recipe:

2 small or 1 large tomato

2 cloves of garlic

a small cut of onion (about 1/2 the size of your palm)

1/4 c water

Cut up tomato and onion into smaller pieces. Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth.

Ok, back to making the rice.

Place a skillet on med-high heat. Heat oil and add onion and rice.

Stir often until rice turns to a golden brown color.

Add the tomato sauce to the pan and stir into the rice.

Then add the chicken broth, allow to come to a soft boil.

Cover, reduce to low heat, and simmer until done (about 20 minutes), stirring occasionally.

….y listo!! You’ll love this as a side with tacos, tostadas, enchiladas, chiles rellenos, chile verde, grilled chicken, and anything other type of mexican food. Believe me, no restaurant or boxed spanish rices will ever compare.

Buen provecho!!


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Chocolate Chip Madeleines

My little brother, Landon, is a freshman in college up in San Francisco and since I know firsthand how exciting it is to receive a package in the mail while living in the dorms, I’m putting together a little care package for him. Last time I sent him one, I made nutella filled madeleines, which were divine, but this time I thought I’d send a slight variation on that: CHOCOLATE CHIP MADELEINES. Yum. I’m not sure why that kid loves madeleines so much ….oh wait, I do – they’re buttery deliciousness in a cute package. What’s not to love?!

Speaking of things to love – take a look at this face.

My new kitchen buddy, Moby the schnoodle

I’ve been looking for a dog for the past couple of months, but last Friday I finally met my match. He’s a 6 week old schnauzer-poodle mix and he looks like a teddy bear. He already follows me everywhere and has a habit of falling asleep at my feet – even if I’m just washing dishes.  I’m in love!

Ok back to food. I bet you want the recipe to these delicious chocolate chip madeleines.

Chocolate Chip Madeleines (slightly adapted from Epicurious )

10 tbs unsalted butter

2 tbs locally produced honey

3 large eggs

2/3 c sugar

1 c all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

1/4 to 1/3 c mini chocolate chips (depending on your preference)

In a small saucepan, melt butter and honey.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, beat eggs and sugar for 6-8 minutes, until the volume increases 3-fold.

See the little fluff ball at my feet? I love this puppy.

Once all that air is incorporated, carefully fold in flour, baking powder, and salt.

When the flour is mixed in well, carefully add the butter honey mixture; mix well. Add chocolate chips.

Cover and let sit in the fridge for at least one hour.

Scoop batter into greased madeleine pan and bake for 13 minutes at 375 degrees F.

Enjoy with a cup a coffee or black tea! Delish!

I wish I got care packages like these when I was in college! Landon is going to be one happy student.

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