Summer Nicoise Salad, My Version

Oh, sorry blog. I neglected you for the first half of 2013. Hi, readers! Do you remember me? If you know me well, and you haven’t  just stumbled across Oishii from a google search for “pork loin chops” (our most popular post), then you already know the two reasons behind this embarrassingly long hiatus. If not, welcome, and let me share our joy with you!

1. We’re expecting again! Levi is going to be a big brother in August and the gender is once again going to be a surprise. At almost 29 weeks I’m definitely far enough along that I can’t use morning sickness as an excuse for my lack of blogging, but taking care of a 3 year old definitely keeps me busy. In fact, sometimes I completely forget that I’m pregnant, until I look down and notice the absence of toes, or realize I’m craving a crisp, floral IPA but then remember that I can’t indulge just yet and reach for a sparkling water instead. Speaking of beer …

27 weeks on mothers day

2. Our family business, Discretion Brewing, opened its doors in early March after a year + of planning, and we’ve been as busy as bees selling beer (we have 7 now on tap!) and small plates to pair with it. Despite my growing belly and inability to drink beer, I’m enjoying working behind the bar as a Beer Bestower, as well acting as our Queen of Social Media for the business. Things are going really well, and we’ve been well-received by our town, even by other micro-breweries. The beer community is an awesome one. If you’re ever in Santa Cruz, we’d love to have you!

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Now you can see why our dinners at home have been quick and easy these days — and also based around random pregnancy cravings, ranging from briny olives [this salad] to cinnamon rolls [breakfast for dinner]. I’ve also been terrible at photographing or writing anything down (and, as you know if you’ve been pregnant, when you’re hungry, you’re hungry. No time for pictures). But somehow this meal DID get photographed. I guess I made it early enough in the day that I had a few moments to spare, so I’ll share it with you. Summer is upon is (eek – better get that car seat purchased and decide on a name for this baby!) and this salad is perfect for a warm evening . It also boasts of seasonal farmer’s market faire.

Summer Nicoise Salad, My Version

nicoise salad
Nicoise Salad; the classic French salad is usually composed of tuna, green beans, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, and an anchovy dressing. This is my version.

Start with crisp romaine lettuce, wash, spin dry, tear into bite sized pieces, and pile onto your serving plates. Arrange the various components on top of the lettuce in whatever order pleases you: Quickly blanched farmer’s market green beans  (just 2-3 min in boiling water until bright green and still crisp, then plunge them into an ice bath to stop cooking), halved boiled new potatoes, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced farm-fresh radishes, hard-boiled eggs, halved, sprinkled with a little salt & pepper, some pitted, marinated green & brown olives, and some jarred tuna fillets in olive oil (check out Tonnino brand – we love the jalapeno flavor, one of my favorite pantry staples, and perfect for picnics if you don’t use them in this salad).

Anchovies don’t really agree with me this pregnancy, so I’ll recommend this shallot-dijon vinaigrette instead: Whisk together dijon mustard, sherry vinegar, a little red wine vinegar, minced shallot, a little agave nectar for sweetness, salt and pepper. Add olive oil in a steady stream and continue to whisk until incorporated. Taste and adjust ingredients as necessary. Drizzle the dressing over the top of the salad and all its colorful components. Let your plate be your blank canvas and feel free to tweak things depending on what fresh produce you have available. I hope that I inspired you :) Happy Memorial Day Weekend, everyone!

Top 12 in 2012

Oishii celebrated its 5th anniversary this year, and yet I’ve never presented my readers with a top 10 (or in this case 12 for ’12) post as a way to usher in the new year. Why? Perhaps I’m just not a jump-the-bandwagon type of  person if it appears that everyone else is doing something. But this year, I get it. I realize that it’s a way to look back on the year and remember the good times and even the bad times through the lens of food and the people you shared it with. As we get ready to bid farewell to 2012 (we plan on staying in, eating cheese fondue, and playing Scrabble), I present to you YOUR favorite recipes from this year. Cheers, readers!

12. Blueberry Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

cupcakes 2
I made these cupcakes for Levi’s 2nd birthday last spring. I’m not sure which one was more satisfying – the brown sugar cream cheese frosting or the look on Levi’s face when he got to lick the beater after I made it :). I don’t by any means consider myself an avid baker or cake decorator, so I was thrilled when I received such positive feedback on these tasty cupcakes. They were made with love for my little boy!

11. Grilled Pita Bread

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They’re chewy, they’re hot off the grill, and their pockets can be filled with everything from scrambled eggs to falafel. Homemade pita bread was definitely one our favorite summer recipes and this recipe (originally from Fine Cooking) got lots of fan love.

10. Roasted Figs with Prosciutto & Blue Cheese

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Three main ingredients – one incredible appetizer. These would be a great addition to a New Years Eve appetizer spread.

9. Tori no Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken) with Wasabi-Potato Salad

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We nostalgically refer to Tori no Karaage as “Japanese festival chicken,” because whether the occasion was cherry blossom-viewing in the spring or a hanabi (fireworks) show in the summer, we could always count on there being a fried chicken stand, and it was one of our comfort foods while living in Japan. This post got lots of views this year thanks to Foodgawker.

8. Ultimate Sriracha Burger

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I was happy to see that the Sriracha Burger was in the top 10 in both 2011 and 2012. Let me break it down for you again: a buttery brioche bun, grilled grass-fed beef patty seasoned with Sriracha and soy sauce, bacon, caramelized onions, nutty swiss cheese, peppery arugula, tomato, and a secret sauce of tangy blue cheese dressing mixed with Sriracha. What? You haven’t made these yet? Get on it!

7. Cheesy Chicken & Rice Bake

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Who knew that something Dustin threw together on a whim in response to one of my pregnancy cravings would be such a hit? This humble, comforting dish is very versatile – you can add whatever veggies and leftover cooked meat that you have on hand.

6. Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Jalapeño-Ranch Sauce

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We made these tacos for a summer recipe swap, and they were very well-received in the blogosphere. When grilling season rolls around again, you’ll love the charcoal flavor of the grilled shrimp, and the kick of Jalapeño in the zesty ranch sauce.

5. Goat Cheese, Tomato & Basil Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

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These grilled portobello mushrooms stuffed with goat cheese, tomatoes and basil were our most popular vegetarian dish of the year.  If you’re hungry for more stuffed portobellos, try Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Goat Cheese and Olive-Caper-Pepper Relish or Portobello Mushrooms with Creamy Spinach-Artichoke Filling.

4. Chorizo Mac & Cheese with Crispy Panko Topping

chorizo mac
We took our favorite baked mac and cheese recipe (courtesy of Alton Brown) and added chorizo to give it a little Mexican flair. Yum. Last winter we quadrupled (!!) this recipe, omitted the chorizo, and made it for 12+ extended family members who we were visiting down in southern California.

3. Camarones a la Diabla

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My best friend and I made this shrimp in a spicy, smoky, chile-tomato sauce, inspired by a dish at our favorite Mexican restaurant. It was a hit this year in many of your homes as well.

2. Baked Eggs in Puff Pastry with Goat Cheese & Bacon

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Another successful recipe-swap assignment, we loved these baked eggs in puff pastry with a little goat cheese & bacon surprise in the middle. This recipe was our most-pinned recipe in 2012 and I can understand why. Try these for your next brunch, or if you happen to be craving something breakfast-y for dinner.

1. Simple Pan-Roasted Pork Loin Chops

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One of our simplest recipes made it to the #1 spot this year, which made me happy because I’m a firm believer that simple is almost always best (one of the reasons why I love Alice Waters and her whole philosophy on food). Just a quick marinade of olive oil, fresh chopped rosemary from the garden, garlic, salt, and pepper ready these pork loin chops for a sear in a hot skillet before finishing up in the oven. Hello, easy weeknight dinner!

Well, there we have it, folks – your favorite Oishii recipes in 2012. Have a festive, delicious, safe new year and we’ll see you in 2013! A year of new beginnings!

Spicy Dungeness Crab & Artichoke Melts

Dungeness Crab & Artichoke Melts

Spicy Dungeness Crab & Artichoke Melts

You know what makes me happy every year in early November? A mountain of Dungeness crab meat. When the crabbing season opens and those first boats leave the harbor with their crab traps, us West-coasters know we’re in for a treat.

In my town I think the best place to eat Dungeness crab is little place out on the wharf called Stagnaro’s. Downstairs there is a fish market with a walk-up counter where you can order a crab or shrimp cocktail, a burger, or a whole fish or fresh live crab to take home with you. Inside is a casual sit-down seafood restaurant. But the real treat (and where we love to take out of town visitors) is the upstairs bar, which has an outdoor deck, a panoramic view of the Monterey Bay, and a mean Dungeness crab cocktail. For some reason, the deck is usually vacant, but we have no idea why. It may be a little breezy out there and the seagulls can be loud, but it’s hard to beat the view of the ocean. Look one direction and you see our lighthouse proudly perched on the end of the cliffs with Cowell’s and Steamers (popular surf spots) down below. Look the other direction and you take in a view of the Boardwalk, the sandy beaches dotted with tourists, locals, and beach volleyball enthusiasts alike, and the Santa Cruz mountains standing tall in the background. If you’re lucky, you’ll look down at the water just below you and watch a sea otter eat a sea urchin, or a pack of sea lions splashing and bellowing. All of this while digging into a fresh Dungeness crab cocktail, biting into a warm buttered sourdough roll, and sipping a local pale ale. Sound enticing?

These open-faced sandwiches are piled high with  fresh crab meat that’s been mixed with chopped marinated artichokes, green onions, just enough mayonnaise to hold it together, some lemon zest, and a little minced jalapeño for heat. You top them with sharp cheddar, stick them under the broiler, and you have a satisfying meal that celebrates both the crustacean it highlights and the season.

The recipe comes from a cookbook that I received as a gift from my Grandma who lives in Alaska. It is a collection of stories and recipes from female commercial fisherwomen. The only changes we made to the original recipe were adding a little lemon zest to the crab mixture (because I think lemon and crab are a match made in heaven), using sourdough bread instead of french bread (just a personal preference), and buttering the bread before broiling (why not?). Our changes are noted below. Not in the mood for a spicy sandwich? Simply add less jalapeño or leave it out completely.

We went the economical and labor-intensive route by purchasing a whole Dungeness crab and taking the meat out ourselves (just ask your butcher to crack and clean it for you and it will make the process easier). You can buy Dungeness crab meat, but the price per pound will be slightly more because of the labor involved. It’s up to you! If you can’t find Dungeness crab, substitute whatever crab meat is available to you.

Dungeness Crab & Artichoke Melts

Spicy Dungeness Crab & Artichoke Melts

Spicy Dungeness Crab & Artichoke Melts

(Slightly adapted from The Fishes & Dishes Cookbook; Makes 4 Servings)

1 1/2 cups shelled crab meat, shredded
1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
1 to 2 TBS. minced fresh jalapeño
1 tsp. minced garlic
a couple pinches of fresh lemon zest
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 green onion, white and light green parts, sliced
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 large slices of sourdough bread from a round sourdough loaf
butter
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
chopped fresh parsley for garnish

  • Preheat the broiler and set the rack on the middle level.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the crab meat, artichoke hearts, jalapeño, garlic, lemon zest, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, green onion, salt and pepper.
  • Lightly butter the sourdough bread slices on both sides and place under the broiler until lightly golden. Turn them over and broil until other side is lightly golden. Remove from oven and spread each toasted slice of bread with the crab-artichoke mixture. Top with cheddar cheese. Place the open-faced sandwiches back under the broiler and cook until topping is hot and bubbly, about 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve hot.
Dungeness Crabs (photo from Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Dungeness Crabs (photo from Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Pot O’ Beans, Mediterranean-Style

Pot ‘O Beans, Mediterranean Style

We left you hanging in October, due to a swarm of continuous activity gearing up for Discretion Brewing’s opening in January. Our apologies. Now here we find ourselves in early December. We hope you had a warm, festive, delicious Thanksgiving with the people who are dearest to you. Are your holiday decorations up? Have you checked any gifts off your list? The temperatures are dropping, the rain is coming, and it’s the perfect weather for a big pot o’ beans.

Beans are a versatile protein that can be thrown in a pot with any cuisine’s flavor profile. Think of them as a blank canvas. As they cook, your house will smell fantastic and make you feel good about yourself. It’s true.

Photo from the Rancho Gordo website.

Photo from the Rancho Gordo website.


The beans
– If you’re going to make beans the star of the meal, you’ll want to use dried beans. Quality is key -  I love using Rancho Gordo heirloom beans. Soak them the night before you want to cook them.

The flavor base – Heat olive oil in deep pot. Add diced onion, garlic, and whatever cubed veggies fit with your theme, along with the spices that you think might compliment them – think fennel, carrots, oregano, rosemary, thyme. Or Jalapeño peppers, cumin, coriander, chile powder.

The cooking liquid – Nothing beats home-made stock. We roasted a chicken a couple days ago in anticipation of this dish, using spices and ingredients that we thought might compliment it. Don’t have time to roast a chicken? Store-bought chicken stock will do. Or beer (good beer) is a wonderful cooking liquid (says the girl who’s involved in opening a brewery).

The finish – A squeeze of lemon; a squeeze of lime; a splash of vinegar. A little acid adds a bright finish to your pot o’ beans.

The accompaniments – Did your beans take a turn towards Mexico? Serve with warmed tortillas and cubed avocado on the side. Did curry make its way into the pot? Try store-bought naan (Stonefire naan is a great brand) warmed in the oven and brushed with melted butter. Did you go the Mediterranean route like we did? Serve with crostini.

By all means, use this recipe as a guideline. Feel free to experiment with ingredients. Serves 4-6.

Pot O’ Beans, Mediterranean Style

Pot O’ Beans, Mediterranean Style

(This is a recipe we’ve made several times without measuring anything, but this time I referred to this recipe from Martha Stewart, in order to give you some correct ratios. Enjoy!)

1/2 lb. dried heirloom beans (such as pinto or cranberry)
extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 a fennel bulb, diced
1 large carrot, diced
rosemary (about 2 sprigs, chopped)
dried oregano
dried thyme
cumin
cayenne
salt & pepper
4 cups chicken stock (preferably home-made)
1/2 a large lemon (we used a Meyer lemon from our tree in the front yard), zest and juice.

  • The night before you want to make your pot o’ beans, don’t forget to soak them! Place the dried beans in a bowl and cover with cold water (by 2 inches or so). The next morning, drain and set aside. Oh crap! You forgot? It’s ok – for a quick soak, cover beans in a saucepan with water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 1 hour. Drain. Phew.
  • Heat 2 TBS. of olive oil in the bottom of a deep pot. Cook onion, garlic, fennel, carrot, 1/2 tsp. salt, freshly ground pepper, and any other add-ins until onion and garlic are soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Add beans, 4 cups broth, and another 1/2 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, partially covered, until tender, 1 to 2.5 hours, depending on type of bean (our cranberry beans took 2.5 hours). Add more liquid during the cooking process, if necessary.
  • Add the zest of half a lemon (we used a vegetable peeler and added several big pieces of  zest that we removed before serving). Taste and add more salt to taste. Add the lemon juice if you desire. Serve with crostini on the side – we rubbed slices of sweet baguette with garlic, brushed them with olive oil, and threw them in a 350 degree oven until crispy and golden (turning once), about 12 minutes.

Mexican Stuffed Shells



A new restaurant opened up in town last year called MexItalian – serving Latin-Mediterranean fusion cuisine. One of my favorite entrées there is a Parmigiana Mexicana, breaded eggplant that’s lightly fried, and layered with Parmesan cheese and salsa picante and then roasted. As I was perusing the many enticing recipes on Jenna’s Cooking Journey, my blog assignment for this “Blogger’s Choice” recipe swap, I came across a recipe for Mexican Stuffed Shells, and immediately thought of that Mexican-style Eggplant Parmigiana. I love fusion recipes, but for some reason tend to gravitate more towards Asian fusion ones (no surprise, I guess, considering the name and story behind this food blog). Well, this recipe broadened my horizons a bit. And when rain graced the central coast’s presence last week,  I was looking for a nice comforting recipe that would require turning on the oven. This one fit the bill.

Jumbo pasta shells are stuffed with ground turkey (or you could use ground beef) that’s seasoned with taco seasoning and made creamy with a little cream cheese. Then you lay the stuffed shells in a baking dish on top of a layer of salsa and cover them liberally with taco sauce. After a good half hour in the oven, you cover them with grated jack cheese and return them to the oven until golden and bubbly. A scattering of green onions and a couple dollops of sour cream finish off this Mexican-Italian fusion dish.

This is one of those recipes that we’d love to try again with some different ingredients just to change it up a bit. While we liked the combination of fresh salsa (we used a locally-made one that we love) and taco sauce from a bottle, I think it would be even more delicious with a home-made enchilada sauce, something with a nice smoky/spicy depth of flavor – one that can only come from your own kitchen, opposed to something from a bottle.

But overall, this is a crowd-pleasing dish, a great twist on your usual stuffed shells, and makes excellent leftovers.Thanks, Jenna!

Click on the icon at the bottom of this post to view all of the blogs that participated in this recipe swap! It’s sure to be a great round-up of recipes.


Mexican Stuffed Shells

(Slightly adapted from Jenna’s Cooking Journey, as seen on The Way to His Heart, from which I then traced back through 5 more blogs until I got to blogchef.net. This recipe has sure gotten around the food blog world, which is a good sign!)

1 lb. ground turkey
1 package low-sodium taco seasoning (or use your own, which I should have done, but was feeling lazy :))
4 oz. cream cheese (I used more like 2-3 oz.)
1/2 a box of jumbo pasta shells (recipe specified 14-16 but I didn’t count – was probably over 20 shells)
1 1/2 to 2 cups salsa (I used a fresh salsa that’s made locally – Roberto’s)
1 cup taco sauce (such as La Victoria brand – I didn’t measure, but used almost an entire 8 oz. bottle)
2 cups grated Monterey jack cheese
3 green onions, sliced
Sour cream

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • In a frying pan, brown the turkey, using a wooden spoon to break up the pieces as it cooks. Drain, if needed (our turkey was pretty lean). Add taco seasoning and prepare according to the package directions. In our case, add the seasoning packet, 2/3 cup water, bring to a boil, then turn heat down to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add cream cheese, cover and simmer until cheese is melted. Blend well. Turn off heat, set aside, and allow to cool.
  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta shells according to directions, 8-9 minutes in our case; drain. Set shells out individually on cutting board/baking sheet so that they don’t stick together. Allow to cool before handling.
  • Pour salsa into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.  Using a spoon, gently fill each shell with the meat mixture and place it in the dish on top of the salsa, open-side up. Cover shells with taco sauce (we drizzled a little over each one – we also spooned a little more salsa on top of each shell). Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, add grated cheese and bake for 10-15 minutes more, uncovered.  Top with green onions and serve with sour cream on the side.



Korean Short Ribs with Kimchi and Greens Namul


My husband is a sucker for grocery store samples, which is why last weekend after trying a bite of Mother-in-Law’s Napa Cabbage Kimchi, a big jar of it found its way into our cart. We’re no strangers to the spicy, pickled, fermented cabbage that bubbles as you open the jar, reminding you that it’s happily alive with probiotics. In fact, we were fortunate enough to have our first taste of the stuff in Korea, where it originated. It didn’t take long. We were hooked.


With the jar of kimchi now in our cart, we decided a Korean-inspired dinner was in order. What a coincidence that our butcher recently started carrying Korean short ribs! Also called the “flanken cut,” these beef ribs are cut straight through the bone and are about 1/2 an inch thick, making them ideal for quick cooking. The marinade is a tasty combination of puréed Asian pear, soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, sesame oil, and garlic, and the ribs get even more flavor from throwing them on a charcoal grill. White rice and our kimchi were obvious accompaniments, but we went in search of another Korean side dish, and found the perfect one – namul (or namuru in Japanese, which you often find as a Bento Box filler). You blanch greens, squeeze out the liquid, roughly chop and throw in a bowl with sesame oil, garlic, and salt. So simple.


Our recently married friends (congrats, M+T!) joined us for this Korean-inspired dinner, and we successfully got them hooked on kimchi as well. The jar boasted a good 16 servings, but the 4 of us polished it off in one evening.


Korean Short Ribs

(Slightly adapted from The Paupered Chef)

3 lbs. short ribs
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 Asian pear, peeled and diced
1/4 cup mirin
1 TBS. brown sugar
1 TBS. sesame oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped

  • Place the diced asian pear in a large bowl and purée with an immersion blender (alternatively, use a food processor or blender).
  • Add the soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, sesame oil, and garlic. Whisk until combined.
  • Put the short ribs in the bowl with the marinade.  Toss until coated evenly with the marinade.  Refrigerate for 3-5 hours.
  • Prepare a charcoal grill for high heat. Have a squirt bottle handy (I will explain in the next step).
  • Remove ribs from marinade and place on the grill. Cover. Because of the fat content, you might find that they flame up a little bit. That’s where our squirt bottle came in handy! But then they calmed down and cooked nicely, about 3-5 minutes per side. Serve with Greens Namul (recipe below), kimchi, and steamed white rice.


Greens Namul

(From Just Bento)

2 cups or so blanched greens (we used 1 large bunch of young, tender dandelion greens, and 2 bunches of spinach. Get more than you think you’ll need because they cook down a lot)
1 1/2 TBS. dark sesame oil
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1 large garlic clove
1 TBS. toasted sesame seeds
Optional: pinch of sugar
Optional: chili oil

  • Before blanching your greens, first wash them very well to get all the grit off of them. If your greens have stalks, cut the tender part of the stalk thinly. Discard the tough part of the stalks, if any.
  • Bring a pot of water to boil. First put in the stalks, then the greens that take the longest to cook (we threw our dandelion greens in first). Boil for 1-2 minutes, then put in the spinach. Boil for another minute or less. You don’t want your greens to turn to mush.
  • Turn off the heat. Drain the greens well, then add cold water to refresh and cool them. Drain again and squeeze out the moisture well. Roughly chop. Transfer to a bowl.
  • Grate the garlic clove on a fine grater, or smash it to a pulp with a knife (we did the latter). Mix with the salt and oil. Use your hands to mix the garlic mixture into the well drained and squeezed out greens. Mix in the sesame seeds. Taste, and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt if necessary, or adding a little bit of sugar if the greens are too bitter. If you want it spicy, add a few drops of chili oil.

Caprese Grilled Cheese


Pardon our absence! It’s been a whirlwind of a summer, but I know that our blog readers are awesome and will forgive us.

It started with the passing of my dear Grandma, and that’s all I can say about that right now, because I’d prefer to write this blog post with clear eyes.

And then our whole family had the privilege of being involved in the wedding of two wonderful friends. Levi made his first ring bearer debut, I had my first bridesmaid experience (and first ever manicure – thanks, Miriam!), and Dustin was a groomsman. It was a truly joyful event!

Throw several bridal showers into the mix (from Modesto to Mill Valley, all the way down to San Diego), a toddler who has officially entered the terrible twos (though I’m still incredibly blessed to be his mommy – I love seeing how his personality is blooming), and the fact that the whole family is gearing up for Discretion Brewing‘s opening this fall, and you have a summer that basically  flew by in the blink of an eye. You also have what might have been the world’s longest run on sentence. So I’m a little rusty, folks, but it’s okay, because I really just want to share this grilled cheese recipe with you. We ate it voraciously this evening.

Fall is approaching, and we must embrace tomatoes while we still can! This grilled cheese sandwich consists of two kinds of tomatoes – a yellow heirloom  and a red dry farmed variety, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil from our garden, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. What makes it extra special? The bread. I spread sliced sweet french bread with butter, and seasoned it with garlic powder and oregano. So, basically you have two pieces of garlic bread sandwiching your Caprese salad – a cool center and a warm outside. Now that’s going out (of summer) with a bang.

As we bid farewell to summer (wait, I blinked – what happened to it?) and say hello to fall, a season near and dear to my heart, I may not be posting quite as frequently, as we are all working hard towards our brewery’s opening (stay on top of our progress and find out our opening date on our Facebook page!) But when I’m not crazy-busy, I will continue to share with you what’s coming out of our kitchen.

Bon Appetite and Cheers, dear readers!


Caprese Grilled Cheese

4 Slices French bread
Butter (salted is preferred), at room temperature
Garlic powder
Dried oregano
Fresh Mozzarella, sliced
Heirloom and/or dry farmed tomatoes, sliced
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Balsamic vinegar
Fresh, whole basil leaves

  • Preheat your broiler.
  • Spread your bread slices on both sides (gasp!) with butter. Season with garlic powder and oregano.
  • Place buttered/seasoned slices on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place under the broiler and broil until nice and golden. Flip, and broil until the other side is golden. Remove baking sheet from oven. Turn off broiler and heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • On two of the bread slices, pile on sliced mozzarella and sliced tomatoes. Season the tomatoes lightly with salt and pepper and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Add the fresh basil leaves. Top with the remaining two slices of bread. Return to oven for just a few minutes. The middle of the sandwich will still be cool (like a caprese salad) but you want to warm up the bread just a little before serving. Enjoy! Makes 2 caprese grilled cheese sandwiches.