Mango Sticky Rice Avocado Toast

Mango Sticky Rice Avocado Toast

We sweetened up the beloved avocado toast with condensed milk, fresh mango, a coconut milk sauce, and rice crisps to make the Mango Sticky Rice Avocado Toast. Creamy avocado is mashed and mixed with condensed milk, spread onto toast, topped with thinly sliced mango and drizzled with a sweet and salty coconut milk. Rice crisps finished off this dish to add texture.

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Chicken Cordon Bleu-Stuffed Buffalo Wings

What makes a chicken cordon bleu-stuffed buffalo wing? Take chicken wings, debone them, stuff them with swiss cheese and smoked ham, dredge them in bread crumbs, fry them up to a crisp and finish them in the oven until the cheese oozes out. You get the slight crunch, fatty skin, and spice from the buffalo wings, combined with the salty-rich flavors of herbed bread crumbs, cheese, and ham from the chicken cordon bleu-inspired ingredients.

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Pork Tonkatsu Flatbread

Pork Tonkatsu Flatbread

Pork Tonkatsu Flatbread is a Middle Eastern / Japanese “pizza” of sorts. Soft flatbread is topped with fresh parmesan cheese and crispy pork tonkatsu and baked to a slight crisp. Thinly sliced cucumber along with a tonkatsu and tzatziki sauce is then added to the mix. As a finishing touch, the flatbread is topped with green onions and black sesame seeds.

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Paella Spring Rolls

Paella Spring Rolls

Paella Spring Rolls is what I envision a Spanish-Vietnamese wedding would serve (and perhaps it’s already happened!). Shrimp is marinated in smoked paprika and oregano and cooked with a sofrito of onions, parsley, garlic, and of course the star ingredient of any paella – saffron. Along with sliced Chinese style sausage, the spring rolls are stuffed with Vietnamese ingredients such as rice vermicelli, Thai basil, chives and mint, and Spanish ingredients such as lima beans and roasted peppers. All of these beautifully fresh ingredients are rolled into a rice paper and the spring rolls are served with a zesty peanut-tomato sauce topped with the saffron-infused sofrito.

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Maple Cream Cookie Latte

Maple Cream Cookie Latte

Picture a maple syrup-infused vanilla cream cookie, made drinkable, and pumped full of caffeine – that is the Maple Cream Cookie Latte. Fresh espresso is combined with a splash of vanilla, sweetened with maple syrup, and mixed with frothed half and half. To make the rich beverage even richer, I topped it off with whipped cream, cookie crumbles, and more maple syrup. It will take you on a magical sugar/caffeine high before the inevitable nap time!

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Chilaquiles Carbonara

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What Is Chilaquiles Carbonara?

Chilaquiles Carbonara blends together the creamy flavors of Roman Carbonara with the zestiness of Mexican Chilaquiles. Egg is the common ingredient between these two dishes which fuses nicely together in this hybrid recipe. We took rigatoni pasta tossed in an egg and pecorino cheese sauce, then drizzled salsa verde and topped it off with crispy italian-herb breadcrumbs, cilantro and queso fresco.

This dish would serve as an amazing brunch meal with a nice mimosa or margarita!

Where’d It Come From?

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Let me preface this by saying that I’m about to be very dramatic. But the first time I tried carbonara in Rome, it changed my life (didn’t I warn ya?). Up to that point, all of my pre-Rome carbonaras were extremely decadent and filled with cream – which, if you’ve ever eaten carbonara in the US, you know what I mean. The thing is, traditional, authentic carbonara is not made with cream. It’s made of very simple ingredients – egg, guanciale (pork cheek, though may be subbed for bacon or pancetta based on availability), pecorino cheese, and pasta. And IT-IS-A-LOT-BETTER. Roman carbonara is indeed still very rich, but somehow light at the same time, not to mention very flavorful if you use high-quality ingredients. And that is my very long way of saying carbonara comes from Rome!

Chilaquiles dates back to Aztecan history but has since been most closely associated with the Mexican culture. I first had chilaquiles at Anepalco in Orange, CA – which is known for their chilaquiles (if you’re ever in the Disneyland area, definitely stop by). Though I’d have to argue that their huevo divorciados is even better!

Read on for more historical deats..

Origins of the Chilaquiles

Now known as a staple in Mexican cuisine (as well as brunch culture in SoCal and Texas), Chilaquiles goes all the way back to the Aztecs. In fact, the word “chilaquiles” comes from the Nahuatl (Uto-Aztecan) language which means chile water. Over the centuries, chilaquiles has made its way through parts of Honduras, Guatemala, and of course, Mexico.

Chilaquiles was initially created as a method for repurposing stale tortillas – as the tortillas would find a renewed state of deliciosity after being fried and tossed in salsa (I really think this applies to everything). Since then, it has established itself as a fine food for concluding a long night of partying and drinking, as well as the cornerstone of any great brunch spot in the Southwest of the US.

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Origins of Carbonara

Carbonara had its beginnings in Rome in either the mid 19th or 20th century – depending on who you’re asking. Its origin is often associated with coal miners (known in Italian as carbonai) who were said to have gathered the ingredients from local farmers, cooked it over a wood fire with just one pot, then brought the recipe with them down from the mountains.

A still spoken but more highly disputed claim is that the dish came from American GIs from WWII who had locals cook from their rations of bacon and eggs. Of course there is no proof to this story and it seems unlikely that carbonara was made from powdered eggs.

We also don’t know when cream was added to the carbonara recipe, though some believe it was brought in during a time when one of the key ingredients in the traditional dish was scarce (likely eggs). Luckily restaurants in Rome, as well as many amazing chefs around the world, continue to preserve the very basic, authentic, and incredible carbonara recipe – which I find far superior.

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How’s It Made?

Makes: 4 servings  | Active prep/cook time: 45 minutes minutes

Ingredients:

Tortilla Bread Crumbs

  • 4 small corn tortillas

  • ¼ tsp italian seasoning

  • ½ cup finely grated pecorino cheese

  • 4 tsp oil

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • 2 tsp garlic powder

Carbonara

  • 16 oz of pancetta

  • 16 oz of rigatoni pasta

  • 4 eggs

  • 6 oz grated pecorino cheese

  • ½ cup sparkling water

  • ¼ tsp ground cumin

  • Splash of white wine

  • Pinch of black pepper

Toppings/garnishes

  • Chopped cilantro

  • Crumbled queso fresco

  • Red or green salsa

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  2. In a food processor, process all the breadcrumb ingredients on low until you get a coarse breadcrumb texture.

  3. Spread the breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and create an even layer. Bake for 5 minutes, mix, and replace in oven for another 3 - 5 minutes or until crisp.

  4. In a small saucepan, heat salsa on low and keep it warm, stirring occasionally.

  5. In a large pot, cook pancetta over medium heat with cumin and a splash of wine for 10 minutes or until crispy. Remove from heat, drain most of fat, and place pot of pancetta to the side to cool.

  6. Meanwhile, cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. 

  7. Once pancetta has cooled, beat eggs and add it to the pot along with the pepper.

  8. Once pasta has finished cooking, strain and add it to the pot of pancetta along with 6 oz of cheese and sparkling water.

  9. Heat pot over medium heat and immediately mix the ingredients together very rapidly until smooth (about 10 seconds). You want the egg to stay in sauce form, not solidify.

  10. Plate carbonara and top with a drizzle of salsa, tortilla bread crumbs, queso fresco, and chopped cilantro. As an optional addition, add a fried egg and some avocado!

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Honey Walnut Shrimp Poutine

Crispy fries and fried shrimp tossed in a white gravy, cheese curds, candied walnuts and drizzled with a bit of honey – this is Honey Walnut Shrimp Poutine. This creation combines the sweetness of the Chinese-American dish Honey Walnut Shrimp with savory flavors from the Canadian-born poutine. The result is a mound of rich and creamy fried goodness!

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Raspberry Cheesecake Gnocchi

Raspberry Cheesecake Gnocchi

Raspberry Cheesecake Gnocchi takes a savory Italian favorite and turns it into a sweet and slightly tart dessert. The gnocchi (dumplings) are made from cream cheese, ricotta cheese and a graham cracker flour, pan-fried in brown butter and served with a homemade raspberry sauce.

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BBQ Baby Back Rib Baos

This recipe combines the southern flavors of baby back ribs with Taiwanese spices and ingredients. The ribs are slow-cooked in an oven with a brown sugar dry rub until the meat falls off the bone. They are then brushed with a sweet and spicy Taiwanese barbecue sauce, stuffed in a bao and garnished with a spicy cucumber slaw, pickled mustard greens, peanuts and cilantro.

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Bacon Cheeseburger Hummus

Bacon Cheeseburger Hummus

Bacon cheeseburger hummus blends together the mediterannean flavors of zesty chickpeas with the taste of the all-American cheeseburger. Chickpeas are processed until smooth with lemon juice, tahini and spices then topped with ground beef, cheese, bacon bits, tomatoes and onions. The dip is best served with toasted pita bread for a savory snack or nice appetizer for any party.

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Tres Leches Fried Bananas (Turon)

Tres Leches Fried Bananas (Turon)

Tres Leches Fried Bananas is inspired by the popular street food – turon (deep fried bananas), and the rich and sweet tres leches cake. In this recipe, we marinated bananas in a tres leches sauce, wrapped them in egg roll wrappers, fried them up and served them with a thick, decadent tres leches sauce.

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Kalbi Short Rib Loco Moco with Black Garlic Gravy

Kalbi Short Rib Loco Moco with Black Garlic Gravy

Kalbi Short Rib Loco Moco takes the classic Hawaiian loco moco and swaps out the hamburger patties for tender kalbi short ribs. The dish is served with white rice and topped with a black garlic gravy and fried egg. You get a hint of sweetness from the short ribs, which is tenderized with kiwi, a full, rich profile from the gravy with a tangy, balsamic-like kick from the black garlic, and of course creaminess from the fried egg.

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Butterscotch Budino Bread Pudding

Butterscotch Budino Bread Pudding

When you combine one great pudding with another great pudding, you get the Butterscotch Budino Bread Pudding. Not to be confused with Butterscotch Bread Pudding because the “budino” side of this dish is an important component when you consider the thicker consistency of Italian pudding when compared to American pudding. The dessert consists of bread soaked in butter, eggs, milk, sugar and cinnamon – baked; then topped with a sweet and salty butterscotch budino drizzled with a light caramel sauce. Whether you serve it with ice cream or whipped cream (or both), it’s a win.

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Lomo Saltado Drunken Noodles

Lomo Saltado Drunken Noodles

At the intersection of meat, carbs and salt is the lomo saltado drunken noodles (extremely healthy for you btw). Tender ribeye steak is marinated in Asian-Peruvian spices and flash wok fried with homemade french fries, tomatoes, red onions, thai basil leaves and wide rice noodles – culminating in a sweet, salty and wildly flavorful dish.

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Green Chile Pork & Elote Lasagna

Green Chile Pork & Elote Lasagna

This green chile pork and elote lasagna combines tender pork shoulder with salsa verde, roasted corn, a Mexican-Italian cheese blend and layers of pasta. The pork shoulder is cooked overnight in the green chile salsa until it falls off the bone. Corn is roasted and stripped from the cob. And a threefold cheese blend is created from shredded mozzarella, fresh parmesan and crumbled queso fresco. The lasagna is finished with a drizzle of rich crema and chopped cilantro.

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Nashville Hot Chicken Banh Mi

Nashville Hot Chicken Banh Mi

Nashville hot chicken bánh mì is a spicy fried chicken sandwich with a Vietnamese twist. The recipe starts with boneless chicken thighs soaked in buttermilk, double-dipped in flour, and pan fried. The chicken fat and oil mixture is then tossed in cayenne pepper, chili powder, paprika, dark brown sugar and garlic powder and brushed onto the fried chicken. It’s served in a crusty French baguette lined with cajun mayo and topped with fresh cucumber, cilantro, jalapenos and pickled carrots and daikon.

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