2 Recipes: California Breakfast Pudding & Sriracha Broccoli With Honey Butter

I thought I’d give you two recipes this morning, since I was feeling indecisive about which recipe to blog. Enjoy!

California Morning Pudding

Adapted from Food and Wine, specifically by Grace Parisi

Have you had chia seeds yet? They’re sort of the kale chips of the online food world right now;­­­ they seem seem to be everywhere. Given their health properties (hello, fiber, protein and omega 3s), rich history and interesting texture, they were bound to show up in my cooking rotation eventually. The seeds become boba or tapioca-like when soaked in liquid (in fact, some just sip them in water as a refreshing drink), but more importantly, they give me an excuse to eat pudding for breakfast.

I call this California Morning Pudding because its toppings: dates, oranges and almonds, are all from my home state. Their contribution to the dish is a layer of acerbic sweetness, which is the just the right way to be woken up on a cold winter morning. Oh, and I hate to oversell you new ingredients here, but Cara Cara oranges are another thing you should seek out if you ever get the chance. They’re the less bitter cousin of grapefruit, who has still inherited that same gorgeous blush.


2 ½ cups unsweetened soy milk

½ cup chia seeds

2 tablespoons of honey

3 Medjool dates, pitted and torn into pieces

1 Cara Cara orange, peeled and sliced (you can sub grapefruit or any other orange)

6 or 7 almonds


Mix together the first 3 ingredients in a quart container (I used a leftover yogurt container). Shake or stir the mixture, cover and let it sit in your refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, give the mixture a good stir. Spoon about a cup or so of the pudding into a bowl and top with the dates, oranges and almonds. The leftover pudding will last for a week.

Broccoli With Sriracha Honey Butter and Toasted Sesame Seeds

I’ve been working from my pantry a lot lately. And if this is “cooking with what you have”, I’m thinking I should do it more often. Honeyed and spicy with just enough fat to add some flavor, this dish is great on its own as well as stirred into a salad or noodles.


1 cup broccoli, steamed in a steam basket or the microwave

generous squirt of Sriracha hot sauce (or more)

1 teaspoon of honey

½ tablespoon of unsalted butter or olive oil

toasted sesame seeds (optional)


Top hot broccoli with the rest of the ingredients, stir and enjoy.


Melissa Clark’s Spicy Calamari With Israeli Couscous

I’m not one for posting other’s recipes unless I somehow riff on them. But tonight I am singing the praises from my apartment that smells like lemon, garlic, butter and the sea—and I only have NY Times writer Melissa Clark to thank.

Her book, Cook This Now was just released in October, and it’s everything I like in a cookbook. The recipes are fast (which is nice for after-work preparation), flavorful, and even a little healthy (yes, Ms. Clark I noticed all those whole wheat ingredients!). Each chapter is separated by month, so you cook with what’s in season. Even though this recipe is from the February chapter, it shouldn’t be missed at any time of the year.

Since copyright issues are sticky, I’ll just give you the basics and implore you to go out and buy her book. I’d offer to lend you mine, but I’m already making 3 recipes from it this week…I don’t think it’s going anywhere soon. This recipe reminds me why I love seafood-it’s light but not dull, and almost demands to be washed down with a glass of crisp white wine. The (kind of) recipe:

Cook Israeli couscous according to the package (I like Bob\’s Red Mill) and toss with  a little olive oil. Heat more olive oil in the largest pan you have, and throw in a pound or so of cut calamari, red pepper flakes, parsley, basil, garlic and butter. Toss until opaque, about 4 minutes. Finish with an abundance of lemon. Hide the leftovers from your dining partner.

I’m Just Here For The Dip

Find my original article here

You may be a diehard football fan and could care less what you eat along with your beer during the game. But I guarantee there is someone in the room who might be thinking, “I’m just here for the dip.” In honor of your food-focused friend—and perhaps your hungry self as well— here are three options to serve during the big game.

For the healthy friend:

Crispy Kale Chips

Definitely consider doubling this recipe—the crunchy texture (surprisingly different from regular sautéed kale) is addicting in all its salty glory.


  • 1 bunch of kale, any variety
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Tear the kale leaves off of their stems. Put away stems for another use. Toss kale leaves with the olive oil on a baking sheet and season generously with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook for 10–12 minutes, watching closely to make sure the chips don’t burn. Pile high on a plate, and serve.

For the spicy companion:

Smoky Salsa

While store-bought, watered-down pico de gallo may be the standard at football parties, this salsa is much more flavorful and almost as easy as picking some up at the store.


  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 can of low sodium tomatoes, drained
  • 2 chipotles and 3 tablespoons of adobo sauce from the can
  • 1 cup of cilantro, roughly chopped


Peel and cut the onion into four pieces. Drop the onion chunks into a food processor, and pulse until chopped (alternatively, you could just chop the onion by hand before proceeding to the next step)—about a minute.

Peel the garlic cloves, and add them to the bowl of the food processor and pulse for 30 seconds, or until finely minced.

Add the rest of the ingredients and process until the mixture is slightly chunky—about three to five minutes. Serve with tortilla chips.

For the traditionalist:

Homemade Ranch Dip

Since the real thing is so simple to prepare (and almost free, if you have a well-stocked pantry), there’s no reason to serve this dip from the bottle.


  • 1 cup of greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons of dill
  • 1 tablespoon of onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


Mix all ingredients in a bowl, tasting seasonings to your liking. Serve with veggies or chips.

The Sriracha Cookbook: A Review

my orginal article can be found here

Randy Clemens’ Twitter page assures that he is “not affiliated with Huy

photo by Karl Kuhls

Fong Foods—just a huge fan!” But he is more than just a fan of the fiery condiment; Clemens has become somewhat of a connoisseur. With a culinary degree and a gift for writing recipes in a no-fuss style dabbled with humor and anecdotes, he is someone we can certainly learn from.


Although some dishes, like the Turned-Up Tuna Tartare and Sriracha Ceviche are more advanced, the majority of the recipes fall under spicy stoner food—and I mean this in the best way possible. The dishes from this book are definitely the kind of food to accompany a cold beer—which makes sense, because Clemens is also an established beer writer. Sriracha and SPAM Fried Rice, Bacon Sriracha Cornbread, and of course, The Ultimate Sriracha Burger, are all dishes that a drunk might pull together—an extremely talented drunk person who knows his flavor combinations.

What stands out:

Besides the fantastic idea for the book itself, what’s unique is that Clemens has really done his research. This is evidenced by a foreword about the roots of authentic Thai Sriracha, as well as background information on the man who brought it to the United States, David Tran. Along with the recipes, Leo Gong’s photography is spectacular; causing cravings for Cheddar-Sriracha Swirl Bread you didn’t even know you had. Obviously, Clemens also deserves points for creativity—in the back of the book is an unexpected dessert section. Can’t say I saw that coming.

What’s not so great:

While there are some healthy recipes, there are a mere three salad and vegetable dishes in the entire book. It would have been interesting to see more experimentation in that department, but it’s certainly not a deal breaker.

The verdict:

This book, like the condiment, is addicting and inspiring. It’s great to see how far this sauce can really go flavor-wise and cuisine-wise. In fact, Clemens inspired me to make my own Sriracha dish:

Sriracha Sunset Soup

Like Clemens’ recipes, the amount of heat in this dish can be varied to the desire of its eaters. A mixture of oranges, carrots and garlic; this soup takes on the golden hue of the sun setting, as well as its heat. Feel free to top with any protein after cooking (a fried or poached egg might be tasty) or simply a handful of chopped cilantro.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 4 large carrots
  • 2 tablespoons of Sriracha hot sauce
  • 4 tablespoons of grated or dried ginger, fresh is preferable
  • 3 cups of low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup of orange juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice (Meyer is great if you can find it)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon of low sodium soy sauce
  • 3 scallions
  • Salt, freshly ground pepper, and more Sriracha to taste


Peel the carrots and cut into coins, about one inch thick. Mince the garlic. Grate the ginger and slice your scallions. Bring the olive oil to medium heat in a medium saucepan. When the oil is hot, add garlic and sauté until soft, about two minutes. Add the carrots, Sriracha, 3 tablespoons of the grated ginger, broth and juice. Bring to a boil. After the mixture comes to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cover half way. Cook until the carrots are tender, about 25 minutes. Blend mixture with an immersion blender to desired consistency (alternatively, you could let the soup cool and mix in a regular blender). After the soup is blended, add the lemon juice, sesame oil, soy sauce and scallions. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt, freshly ground pepper, and of course, more Sriracha.

Hot Damn!

See the original article here

On a recent afternoon, I sat down with some spice connoisseurs to discuss some of Portland’s local offerings of hot sauces. Some of us could take the heat better than others (there were glasses of milk poured for the weak), but we can definitely conclude that Portland knows its spice. Here are our results.
Uncle Dubby’s Jamaican jerk sauce


Uncle Dubby’s Jamaican jerk sauce

This flavor-packed sauce won almost instantly amongst our judges. We found it particularly delicious for its flavor variants: The combination of parsley, garlic, cilantro and other spices made something so special that one of us claimed, “This sauce makes me want to cook and create things.” The spice level is especially impressive, since it slowly hits you, taking its time to make way to your taste buds. The especially prominent taste of garam masala had our mouths watering and us feeling like it should be called “Indian Jerk Sauce” instead.

Another factor that places this sauce in the Gold position is its maker. Uncle Dubby’s hot sauces are made inside John “Uncle Dubby” Wray’s apartment. This bearded pinball pro/artist/bartender acts almost like a spicy “dealer”; only those who are in the know can purchase his sauces. His sauces—which are vegan—are sold in mason jars, and he said he started making them by taking cookbook recipes and tweaking them: “I liked the recipes, but I knew they could be better,” Wray said. Many of Wray’s friends use the sauces as marinades as well as for dipping. All of his flavors are available for $5, and the only way you can reach him is by going to Hawthorne’s Bar of the Gods and asking.


Fire on the Mountain’s
bourbon chipotle

This all-purpose sauce came in at a very close second to our winner. The sauce, which originates from the Portland restaurant Fire On The Mountain Buffalo Wings (they have one location on North Interstate and one on Burnside), is more like a BBQ sauce than a salsa.

The heat, unlike Uncle Dubby’s sauce, hits you straight away, then the flavors arrive after, almost like a good wine. The fruit juices (lime and orange) are a nice aftertaste without being overwhelming. One taster said, “It’s not too sweet, which I love. I hate it when BBQ sauces overdo it with the sugar.”

The bourbon flavor is not a major component of this sauce, but only a slight note. This sauce would be delicious on chicken or tofu, or perhaps added to a chili for some extra kick.

The Rest

Secret Aardvark
habanero hot sauce

Although this sauce has been named “crack-like” by many of its followers, our tasters weren’t as impressed. Perhaps it was its sensational competitors that shadowed its greatness, but we found the carrot flavor extremely overpowering in this sauce.

Uncle Dubby’s mango habanero
and chipotle red

Both of these were also delicious, but one taster found the mango habanero “Too much mango and not enough heat.”
As for the Chipotle Red, it had a nice smokiness and heat in the back, but just wasn’t as memorable as its flavorful brothers and sisters.

What’s your go-to salsa or hot sauce?

Harissa Bloody Mary

*recipe published in the Daily Vanguard*

Harissa (a North African spice paste) has been showing up in a lot of my cooking these days.It’s got a nice balance between smoke and spice, and adds a good kick to any traditional tomato dish. You can buy harissa at well-stocked grocery stores (Whole Foods, New Seasons or plenty of ethnic markets), or make your own by soaking dried chiles and then grinding them with spices in a coffee grinder.
Here’s a harissa-laced breakfast beverage-I prefer gin myself, but feel free to use vodka. It’s your thing, do what you wana do.

Harissa Bloody Mary

6 cups of R.W. Knudsen Family Very Veggie juice (or any other low-sodium tomato juice)
3 tablespoons of harissa paste
1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
3 grinds of black pepper
2 tablespoons of horseradish
4 ounces of gin
The juice from one big lemon or two Meyer lemons
Several shakes of Worchester
1 tablespoon of salt
Celery sticks, green bean or asparagus for garnish

Add ice to pitcher, filling up about halfway. Fill with gin or vodka. Add tomato juice and stir with large spoon. Stir in harissa, tasting along the way to fit your heat preferences. Add peppers, horseradish, lemon juice, Worchester and salt. Pour into ice-filled glasses and garnish with celery, asparagus or green bean. Serves four.

Spicy Pig&Pineapple Tacos

**As Previously Published in The Daily Vanguard**

Sorry I’ve been M.I.A. lately, I’m in between homes right now so my camera and cord are in the bottom of some box as we speak. I made this recipe for my bf and his family last week and it was delightful, and I thought I’d share. I love the smoky taste that comes from grilling, but since I have no access to a BBQ at the moment, the broiler has done the work for me. This was inspired by a recipe on the Whole Foods website, and the salsa is freakishly easy, so have at it-enjoy this outside in the sun to conjure feelings of summer. It’s coming kinda soon, right?

1 lb pork tenderloin
5 or 6 key limes
1 onion
1 large handful of cilantro
1 fresh pineapple or 2 or 3 cans, drained
corn or whole wheat tortillas
chili powder

Slice pork tenderloin vertically into thin strips. Set aside.

Chop pineapple, making sure not to include the tough center, or alternatively, drain cans of pineapple, saving the juice for another recipe. Slice onion into large wedges.

Line a baking sheet with tin foil and preheat your broiler to high.

Add pineapple and onions to baking sheet, and let it broil for 8–10 minutes, stirring occasionally when the fruits and veggies start to get brown.

While pineapple cooks, finely chop cilantro and lime wedges.

When pineapple and onions are nicely browned, remove from the oven and put in a large bowl and cover with tin foil.

Add pork to the same baking sheet, sprinkle with chili powder, salt and lime juice. Broil for 8–10 mi
nutes, being careful not to overcook it.

While pork cooks, put a stove burner on very low heat. Char each tortilla, a minute or so per side, until a nice brown starts to appear and the tortilla softens a bit. Stack on a plate and cover with a paper towel.

When pork is finished, take out of the oven and squeeze with the juice from several limes.

Build each taco with pineapple, pork and onions. Serve with Sriracha, fresh cilantro, lime wedges and Tangy Green Salsa.

Tangy Green Salsa
A tangier take on the classic Pico de Gallo, this recipe calls for tomatillos, which can be found in most grocery stores.

1 lb tomatillos
1 large handful of cilantro
juice from 5–6 key limes
1 teaspoon of sugar
red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove

Remove papery layer from tomatillos and dice into small pieces. Finely chop cilantro, as well as the garlic clove. Place tomatillos, cilantro and garlic in a bowl. Add limejuice, sugar and red pepper flakes and taste so the meal heat and tartness are both to your liking. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate for 30 minutes to overnight, and serve with tacos, eggs, or tortilla chips.

Dios Mio Cocktail
Enjoy this one on a hot day with your favorite Mexican meal.

1 ice-cold Mexican beer (Corona, Dos Equis, Negra Modelo, Tecate, etc.)
½ ounce of Bacardi Limon
1 lime
1 ounce of tequila, any variety

Pour beer into a tall glass (or concoct inside a Corona bottle). Add Bacardi, tequila and juice from the lime. Enjoy ice cold with spicy food.