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7 Jan

Happy New Year everybody! I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday season (eating great food of course). My entry today actually utilizes a unique gift given to me by none other than Nerf 1: pasta caberneti! This pasta is made with cabernet sauvignon wine flour that gives the pasta a bold color and unique taste. Image Since I had never had this kind of pasta before, I wanted to make a simple dish that would let noodles be the center of attention. Therefore I didn’t use a heavy sausage or chicken but used sautéed mushrooms. I didn’t follow a recipe, I just kind of used whatever I had in the kitchen so everything was eyeballed and not measured. Below I list all the ingredients that I used and the approximate measurements. Buon divertimento!

  • Half a package of pasta caberneti
  • 1 Tb of olive oil
  • 1 Tb of butter
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • About ¼ cup of minced shallots
  • 1 tsp. of fresh rosemary
  • 6 medium sized portabella mushrooms (about 2 cups), sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Bring water to a boil. According to the package instructions it was six cups of water with one teaspoon of salt for half the package of pasta.
  2. In a separate sauté pan heat the olive oil and butter over low-medium heat.
  3. Add the minced shallots and garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes.
  4. Next, add the fresh rosemary and sauté until fragrant about 30 seconds to a minute.
  5. Finally, add the mushrooms and sauté until soft. I added a tiny bit of water to help with the softening of the mushrooms. Image
  6. Once the pasta was al dente (about seven minutes) I added the cooked pasta directly to the sauté pan with the mushroom mixture and tossed all together.
  7. When the pasta was plated I sprinkled a small mixture of romano and parmesean cheese on top. 


One Giant “Secret” Dinner Party

16 Mar

Nerf 1 with some exciting news…

On the evening of Friday, May 25th, 2012, people from all over San Diego will celebrate the pleasure of dining elegantly and grandly with old friends and new friends in one of San Diego’s beautiful outdoor spaces!


On the evening of Friday, May 25th, 2012, people from all over San Diego will celebrate the pleasure of dining elegantly and grandly with old friends and new friends in one of San Diego’s beautiful outdoor spaces. These lucky guests will be the first to attend the inaugural Le Dîner à San Diego, a spontaneous flash elegant “pop-up picnic” dinner feast that has been steeped in mystery until this magical night – when the location will be revealed and guests will be finally invited to eat, drink, and be merry! 

Le Dîner à San Diego is inspired by “pop-up flash mob” dinner parties which have taken place in France, Germany and several other European and Canadian cities. In 2011, these events were held in Chicago, New York, Atlanta and in San Francisco with Le Dîner à San Francisco where over 3500 people gathered on October 14, 2011 at the Music Concourse in Golden Gate Park to celebrate the simple things that connect us all; wonderful food, great wine, and dining with the people we love.

On May 25th 2012, Le Dîner à San Diego ‘will hold it’s inaugural event and bring a unique American approach to this fine international tradition. Le Dîner à San Diego will celebrate the pleasure of dining elegantly and grandly with old friends and new friends in one of San Diego’s beautiful outdoor spaces.

Email us at to be added to our wait list. On March 25, 2012 at 9:00am, participants will be sent a link toregister to host a table at Le Dîner à San Diego and invite up to three additional friends or family members. Registration cost will be $25 per person which covers the venue, entertainment, table rental, and basic comfort amenities.

Guests for Le Dîner à San Diego are encouraged to dress elegantly in white, bring their own chairs (we will be providing tables) and whatever elegant picnic accoutrement they desire. While guests are unified in the spirit of the event, the way they choose to celebrate will be of their own design. It is the hope of the Le Dîner team that the evening will be one of creativity, spontaneity, and magic. 

There is no “right way” to participate in Le Dîner à San Diego; there is only a time, a place, and a group of your best friends with which to share the unparalleled experience of this unique event.

I found this in the “about” section for the event Facebook page. It sounds like a really fun and very large dinner party! Not sure if 1,000 are actually going to be turning out, but even if it turns out to be a group of 20 I’ll make sure I’m going to have a grand ‘ole time. Readers – let us know if you’re planning to attend!

Chicken Kababs and My Vitamix…a Love Story

7 Feb

A desire for grilling and something with veggies had me on a quest to make some chicken kababs (kebabs? kabobs?) . I love Persian style chicken kababs (joojeh kabab) and found a recipe from blogger Tumeric and Saffron and another from I took elements of both and created my own recipe to my tastes. It’s actually pretty simple to prepare and cook and you’re left with really juicy chicken. If you have a Vitamix like I do, then it’s even less time consuming (thanks to my Dude for the awesome Christmas present!).

Marinade recipe:

3 pounds of boneless chicken

1 teaspoon of saffron powder or saffron threads

2 tablespoons of hot water

1 cup of plain yogurt

1/4 cup of olive oil

1 large onion cut coarsely

2 cloves of garlic peeled

Juice of 1 lime

Zest of 1 lime

2 teaspoons of peppercorns or 1 teaspoon of ground pepper

kosher salt to taste (I used about 3 tablespoons)


Cut chicken to kabab sized cubes and set aside. Put saffron threads in hot water and let it steep for 10 minutes or longer. Using the Vitamix, blend the saffron water, saffron, yogurt, olive oil, onion, garlic, lime juice, lime zest, peppercorns, and kosher salt for about 30 seconds or until everything is smoothly blended. I used my Vitamix (thanks, Dude!) which saved me a ton of time not having to chop and grate. The Vitamix even ground all the peppercorns! I blended everything for about 30 seconds, poked around the mixture with my wooden spoon, then blended for another 30 seconds. Marinate the chicken in this mixture for at least 8 hours or up to 2 days. If you don’t have a blender or food processor to do this, you’ll need to grate the onion and garlic and use ground pepper.

Chicken cubes marinating in a ziploc bag.

Baste recipe:

Juice of 1 lime

1/4 cup of butter, melted

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Skewer the chicken and prepare the baste by mixing the lime juice, melted butter, salt, and pepper. Grill the chicken for 8 to 15 minutes and make sure to baste in between. I decided to include bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms on my skewers. Make sure you space everything well on the skewer so it all cooks evenly. Serve with grilled tomatoes and saffron rice.

The marinade is really gloopy and cold. I swear this is worth it.

The Dude basting the kababs. Much love to him for freezing his butt off on our porch in 40-some degree weather to tend the grill. 🙂

Here are the first batch of grilled kababs. We couldn’t help ourselves and promptly started digging in.

This is probably the 3rd or 4th batch of grilled kababs. Good char and color on this one. Major props to The Dude.

Review of recipe:

I’d have to say this came out pretty darn well. I doubled my recipe (I really just bought waaaaay too much chicken) and this came out to over 30 skewers. In all honesty, the marinade recipe produced a LOT of marinade. I would say that you could increase the amount of chicken to 4 pounds with the same amount of marinade. This produced really, really, ridiculously juicy chicken with great flavor. I would add some cayenne pepper powder to the marinade to give it a spicy kick and maybe an extra tablespoon of kosher salt. Another word of advice is to ABSOLUTELY baste the skewers. The baste makes the veggies taste soooo good and brings a sense of cohesiveness to all the elements of the kabab.

Speaking of the veggies, I would definitely splurge and get criminis or baby portabellas. They seem to hold up well on the grill while the regular white mushrooms liked to fall off. I’d also use red onions next time instead of the white just because I think the flavor of the red onion might compliment the rest of the kabab more. For the recipe I posted above 3 bell peppers, 1 very large onion, and 1 pound of mushrooms would suffice. For funsies, I added some broccoli to the skewers and the grilled broccoli with the baste is super yummy! Watch out since the florets like to char.

Chicken Pot Pie

20 Nov

I have this recipe of chicken pot pie that I keep tweaking each time I make it. It started off as a recipe from Ina Garten and morphed into something that consists of only things that I like. My big issue is how little time and energy I have to cook after a long week of work. This recipe takes advantage of awesome Costco rotisserie chicken, Pillsbury pie dough, and a mix of frozen and fresh vegetables that I happen to have on hand. Ina’s recipe calls for heavy cream (which I don’t use) and it doesn’t seem to make any difference.

Essentially, you just make the pie filling and if you’re lazy you can bake up some biscuits from a can. If you’re lazy and still want to have a nice presentation, you can use refrigerated pie dough and make an awesome looking pie. Whatever you choose to do, this recipe makes enough to fill 2 pies and then some. Share your bounty and you’ll make friends.

Ingredients (makes a ton of filling for 2 pies and then some)

  • Meat from 1 whole rotisserie chicken
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
  • 1 1/2 cups celery, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp of dried or 1 tbsp of fresh parsley leaves
  • Pinch of thyme
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • ¼ cup of milk or heavy cream (optional)
  • 2 cups medium-diced carrots,
  • 1/2 to 1 cup Fresh or frozen chopped broccoli florets
  • ½ lb mushrooms
  • 3 large russet potatoes, diced
  • ½ to 1 cup Corn kernels (frozen, fresh, or canned)
  • 2 pie crusts (store bought or make it yourself)


Cut the chicken into large dice. You will have 4 to 6 cups of cubed chicken.

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add celery, bay leaves and other herbs and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and milk or heavy cream. Remove the bay leaves and add the cubed chicken and veggies. Mix well and let simmer for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lay first pie crust in pie pan. Ladle pot pie filling onto crust. Do not overfill. Place second pie crust on top of filling and fold under edges. Brush top of crust with beaten egg and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cut slits on the top of the crust. Bake pie for 20 min at 400°F and then lower temp to 375°F and bake for another 25 to 40 minutes or until top is golden brown and filling is bubbling hot.

My masterpiece

The insides of my masterpiece

Facebook? Indeed we do!

6 Oct

Nerf #1 here just letting you all know that I am still alive and well! I of course decided to start our blog right around the time work was getting cuh-razy. Major thanks to Nerfs #2 and #3 for holdin’ the fort!

Just wanted to let everyone know that we’ve got a facebook group if you’d like to join: If we can get 25 fans, I think facebook considers us pretty legit.

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