Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts


Fresh Lemon Ricotta Pancakes- Wildflower Bread Co. Copycat

For the past few years, we've spent a lot of time in Phoenix at baseball tournaments. Phoenix seems to be the chain restaurant capitol of the U.S. !  You know my rule about eating out while on the road, right?
Rule number one:
No eating at places we have back home.
Rule number two:
Refer to rule number one.

When we go on a baseball trip, I never really plan on eating good food due to two main reasons:
1. Baseball trips usually involve carting around boys who aren't interested in eating much besides pizza and burgers, and more pizza and burgers. And Powerade.
2. The games are usually at 8am and 3pm. Not always, but it seems like it.  Right when the thermometer hits about 118 degrees. By the time you return from the morning game, it's time to grab a quick lunch and head back to the field. After you've stuffed yourself with Red Vines, sunflower seeds and Diet Coke for the second time in one day, and if you're in Phoenix in June, all you want to do after the second game is pass out on your bed in the hotel room and cool off.
For the rest of your life the evening, then get up and start the process again.
It seems like the movie Groundhogs Day :)
Really though, all joking aside, good times. Great memories.

NorCal Valley 2014 18U team

These two.  Trouble.

Soaking baseball pants in the hotel tub.
The only way to get red dirt out.
Hot water, TIde and soaking. 

keeping cool. 

Championship game. West Coast Regional, USA Baseball.
we lost :(

Had to buy these shades for summer road trips...

Looking for good restaurants takes a back seat at ball tourneys.  I usually head into survival mode which means- try to find a place to eat that doesn't either fry their entire menu and/or are known for their drive thru!
Occasionally, I  get lucky and find a place like Wildflower Bread Company. It's an Arizona chain (on the approved list of chains for vacay dining, because it's not in Utah). I love Wildflower's Lemon Ricotta Pancakes. They're light and fluffy and taste far better than anything you're used to eating in a semi-fast food place, or any place, for that matter!
If you've never made pancakes from scratch, this recipe is quick and easy and something you'll be able to enjoy in just a few minutes after mixing together.   I promise you this- you'll wonder why you ever bought a box mix, and vow to never, ever go there again.

Fresh Lemon and Ricotta Pancakes
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

2 eggs
1 cup ricotta
2 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat griddle to medium high heat or 350 degrees. You may also wait to heat griddle until after the pancakes are mixed. I do this before mixing the batter because my griddle takes a while to fully heat.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add ricotta, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Whisk together.
Add the water and whisk again.
Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt all at once. Mix just until the wet and dry ingredients are incorporated.  Do not over mix. The batter does not need to be smooth. Let sit for a couple of minutes.
Grease hot griddle with little butter or oil.
Check the batter, it should be similar to the  consistency of a cake batter that can barely be poured.
Using a 1/4 cup measure, scoop out the pancake batter onto the griddle. Cook until the edges of the pancakes bubble and the bubbles pop. Flip the pancakes. Do not pat down. Do not flip more than once. The pancake is done when you quickly touch the middle of the pancake with a spatula, and the pancake springs back. If the batter is too thick, thin with a little water or milk.
Serve immediately with fresh blueberries and syrup.
Serves 4.

-Bottled lemon juice may be substituted, but fresh is best.
-This recipe is easily doubled, if doubling, you may use 3 eggs instead of 4.


Chiles Rellenos Chowder with Fried Tortillas Con Huevos

Just after Christmas, we headed to one of our favorite places on earth, Mexico. Or as my friend Mel calls it "my Mexico".  It was 7 days of post-holiday bliss. Our days went like this:

sleep in
huevos for breakfast with guac
quesadillas for lunch with guac
walk on beach
dinner made by our favorite new friend, Beto.  delivered to our beach house. always with guac.
another nap.
games. yes. amazingly, our non-game playing family unplugged and played games, talked, read and watched bowl games.
good times.

The taco meal- Tacos Al Pastor, Carnitas and beef.
Served with Chorizo, condiments and of course, pico and guac. 

pool time with Aunt Brookie

Ani is not so sure about catching a wave. Yet.

fun with Ani in the pool

Grandpa, getting ready for a beach run

The boys, waiting for some waves

the obligatory family vacay photo :)

view from the living room

best cook and new found friend, Beto

We stayed just outside of Puerto Morelos in the Secret Beach Villas  which offered as many or as few meals cooked to order, and either served outdoors on a patio area (complete with a pet alligator in the pond a few feet away) or delivered and set up in your kitchen.  One of our favorite meals was the Conchinita Pibil served with Chiles Rellenos. The pork dish was wrapped in banana leaves and roasted in a sour orange juice, the Chile Rellenos were stuffed with cheese, battered and fried. A true cheese lovers dream!

the Chiles Rellenos that inspired today's recipe

I thought it would be fun to recreate the flavors in the Chiles Relleno in a soup.  Perfect for a January dinner. The best and most fresh ingredients in my neighborhood are always found at Harmons Grocery.
Get out the guac.
You're going to love this.

Chiles Rellenos Chowder with Fried Tortillas Con Huevos
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 Hatch or Anaheim Chilies, seeded and chopped (about 1 cup)
1 medium white onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 large clove garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 lb frozen corn (about 2-3 cups)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano (optional, but highly recommended)
1-2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese (regular or Pepper Jack)
4 tablespoons butter
l/3 cup flour
3 cups milk, lowfat or whole

4 cups white potato, chopped, skins left on
32 oz chicken broth

Tortillas Con Huevos
10-12 small, thin corn tortillas
2 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons milk
1 cup vegetable oil
grated Monterey Jack cheese (regular or Pepper Jack)

Place oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add chopped green chilies and onion.  Saute for about 5 minutes, or until softened. Add clove of garlic, cook for one additional minute or until fragrant. Add corn, salt, pepper and oregano. Turn off heat, set aside.
Place potatoes in a large pot. Pour chicken broth over the potatoes in the pan. Cover with a lid and set heat to high. After the broth comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium high and cook for five minutes. Turn heat off.  Add the vegetable mixture to the cooked potatoes.
Using the pan that previously held the cooked vegetables, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Add 1/3 cup of flour, whisking with wire whisk. Cook for about 1 minute over medium heat. Slowly add milk about 1/2 cup at a time, whisking while adding milk. Cook for about 5 minutes or until thickened.
Add the milk mixture to the vegetable/chicken broth mixture.  Continue to cook over medium heat until heated through. Add grated cheese. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Prepare the tortillas:
Beat 2 eggs and milk in a pie plate. Set aside.
Heat oil in a fry pan over medium high heat.
Dip corn tortillas, one at a time in egg mixture. Let the excess egg drip off the tortilla back into the pie plate and fry tortilla on both sides. You may need to flip the tortilla more than once to get the middle of the tortilla to crisp up a little. It is not necessary to completely cook the tortilla until crispy. The idea is to fry the tortilla until the edges are a bit golden, and the middle sets up a bit. Remove and drain on paper towel. Top with grated cheese. Cut into wedges if desired and serve with chowder.

-Mexican Oregano is found in the spice aisle in the grocery or packets are often sold near the Mexican foods (hanging on the wall). They are usually less expensive in the Mexican foods section.



Vintage White Cheddar Dip

I took a trip with my girls to Oregon for a few days in August. We ate our way through Portland, then headed to the coast. Here's a little look into our five- food packed, beach loving days in the great state of Oregon! At  the end, I'll show you how to I made this really simple cheese dip filled with cheeses, corn, red pepper and jalapeno and the Vintage Extra Sharp White Cheddar I brought home from our Tillamook Cheese Factory tour...

First stop, berry picking by the side of the road.

Multnomah Falls. Right outside the city. Worth the 30 minute drive.  

A trip to Portland isn't complete without breakfast at THE Original, Original Pancake House.
Sit at the community table, chat with locals, highly recommended. 

Cannon Beach, OR. Haystack Rock. Serious beauty. 

More serious beauty, love these two. 

Time to get serious.

Hydrangeas the size of your HEAD.

Walks on the beach. 

Once at the coast, we headed to Tillamook to tour the factory. We were met by Leeanne,  our lovely tour guide. She led us through the factory, explaining every detail about the cheese making process. Leeanne is an expert on everything Tillamook!

Guess how many pounds of cheese are stored at the Tillamook facility at any given time? 
Did you guess 50 Million lbs?  You're right! 

Watching all of that cheese being made will make you HUNGRY. 
It's hard work touring the factory. 

Enter our friend, Leeanne with CHEESE SAMPLES! 
The next half hour was spent receiving an education on several types of cheeses,
 made under the same roof. 

We tried Squeaky cheese (usually yellow, but this was a special vintage batch). 
The second was a Medium Cheddar. More trivia- It takes 20 lbs of milk to make one 2 lb baby loaf of Medium Cheddar Cheese. Leeanne guided us through about 12 different types of cheese including: Smoked Extra Sharp, Smoked Black Pepper White Cheddar, Swiss and Squeaky. My favorite was the Vintage Extra Sharp  White Cheddar. 

After our cheese tasting, we had lunch. We tried the grilled cheese, of course. And the house made tomato soup. Who can eat grilled cheese without tomato soup? I ordered the Tillamook Mac and Cheese. Creamy, smooth, melty. So good. Made with five cheeses. If you tour the factory in the morning hours, they serve breakfast too. Lots of omelets with CHEESE on the menu.

After lunch, we ventured over to the ice cream counter, where we tried a variety of Tillamook ice cream. This is the 5 scoop sampler bowl. Because we just couldn't decide. So yummy.

Tillamook tour = happy kids.

Stop by next time you're in Tillamook, OR. 
The  self guided tour is free and the ice cream and lunch are reasonably priced. 
And who doesn't want a pic in the baby loaf with their girls?

All of that eating can make you tired. It was a good afternoon for a nap on the beach...

After the nap, a walk through downtown Cannon Beach. Brooke and Corrine making convo with a furry friend. 

More Bananagrams. This time at a restaurant, while waiting for what? More food, of course.
Corriney is determined to win this round. 

The Inn at Cannon Beach was so quaint. Bunnies roaming the property. 

Highly recommend this place. 

We loved out time at the coast. No matter the time of year, the Oregon coast has to be one of the most unspoiled and beautiful beach areas in the world.
After our tour at the factory, Leeanne gave us a round of my favorite, the Vintage Extra Sharp White Cheddar. The flavor is pungent and the round is a little crumbly when cut. I wanted to create a recipe that featured the flavor of the cheese, and I think my Vintage White Cheddar Dip does just that!
This dip is perfect for spreading on crackers or dipping a tortilla or corn chip. It would even be perfect with celery sticks. I added some fresh corn and red peppers to break up the rich creamy texture of the dish.  We served it at a gathering and it was gone in minutes. It's perfect for anything from a holiday party to a tailgating event. Thanks Tillamook!

Me and my cheese.

Vintage White Cheddar Dip
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

1 cup sour cream, regular or low fat
16 oz cream cheese regular or low fat (not no-fat) at room temperature
1 cup Tillamook Vintage Extra Sharp White Cheddar, grated
1 1/2 cups corn, fresh or frozen, not thawed*
1/2 -1 Jalapeno, chopped (seeded if you do not like spicy foods)
1 red pepper, seeded, chopped and divided (a few bits separated for garnish)
1/2 to 1 cup cilantro, chopped (a few bits separated for garnish)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3-4 drops hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco

Mix the sour cream and cream cheese together in a bowl until smooth.
Fold in the remaining ingredients, (leaving some of the cilantro and red pepper to sprinkle on top after baking).
Spoon into a  lightly greased dish for baking. I used a 10 inch round tart dish.
Bake at 375 for 20 minutes on top third of oven or until bubbly and slightly golden.
Serve immediately.
Serves about 10-12 as an appetizer.

- If using fresh corn, cook the corn and then cut the corn off of the cob before using. Measure out 1 1/2  cups of corn for the recipe.
-You may make this ahead and bake when ready to use. Remove from refrigerator about 30-45 minutes before baking.  and set on counter. Bake for 20-30 minutes.
-You may add chopped peppers, tomatoes that have been seeded, onions (chopped fine), green chilies,  and/or other types of grated cheese.
-If you cannot find Tillamook Extra Sharp White Cheddar, you may use other brands of cheese.  This would also be great with an Extra Sharp (yellow) Cheddar cheese. I would stay with a "sharp" variety of cheese. It will cut the richness of the cream cheese and sour cream combination and add a depth of flavor.