Febrewary.

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Welcome To “Febrewary”
     Today is officially the first day of the second month of the new year. I feel like we as a culture have finally simmered down from the first month frenzy and have come equipped with some sort of routine for ourselves.
As for myself I’ve finally come out of the trenches of being sporadically ill for almost a month and have finally slowed to a pace of life I can manage right now. My sleeping schedule has finally aligned with my goals. My meal prepping is no longer a task that I had become anxious/scrupulous about and I am a month into the new fangled world of Bullet Journaling.
Needless to say the month of January was a readjustment month.
February however is just beginning and I am exclaiming that for this month, I will be writing with a focus on coffee. I’ve written about coffee before and my cathartic  relationship with it, but now I’m going to take that enthusiasm and expand it a bit.
I need to write about different coffeeshops and how each one I step into has a variable vibe.
This will further push my goal to write more and harness my writing skills that I have been in distant contact with (really need to do my English minor justice). Hopefully you enjoy the forthcoming posts featuring Instagram worthy images.
Indelible Gratitude,
-Kat

My Life In Coffeeshops

_DSC1954With the proliferation of popularity amongst social media, the respite of coffee shops and their appeal to customers far and wide is something I can always support.
The relationship I have with coffee shops has been transformative over the years; from stealing wi-fi at Starbucks on a regular basis to engaging with the elderly at my neighborhood Pannikin to now embracing the craft coffee culture and it’s widespread viral presence in today’s public domain, these spaces have always remained a place of this idea of “home-base” for me.
I was introduced to this idea of a home-base in my 6th grade English class. My English teacher at the time had giant letters scripted upon the white board of the classroom that just read “HOME BASE.” She then explained that her classroom, this space we share, is a safe place of ideas and conversation. In this space we do not degrade one another because our opinions are different, we seek to find similarities between ideas and talk about their common space. From that moment on, this arbitrary but philosophical idea of a “home-base” was something I was always seeking.
I found that feeling of a “home-base” in one of two places: a studio environment and a coffee shop.
My life in coffee shops thus far has always been one of connection, collaboration, and creation. I’ve spent my formative educational years spending my weekends in coffee shops, studiously plugged in and tuned out or gathering together amongst my cohort delving deep into the politics and study of design.
Nowadays, post-grad life, I spend my life in coffee shops unplugged and tuned in to the people that inhabit this space. I’ve read a lot of design articles from various parts of the interwebs about the rapid spread of coffee houses and their picturesque atmosphere and how much design thought goes both into the physical space and the business model when it comes to the creation of these environments. I’ve siphoned through the literature but at the end of the day the cathartics  I get when I step into a coffee shop (third wave, obviously) is second place to how I feel when I’m dancing.
I was first really initially introduced to this craft coffee culture around four years ago when I would spend my days in East County San Diego at this coffeehouse called Kaffee Meister. I grew fond of the space because it was quiet and the open window interface that was adjacent to the neighboring park always eased my mind in the greatest of fashion.
Fast forward two more years in 2014 and my caffeine journey became elevated when I decided to spend a couple weeks in Auckland to become reacquainted with who I really am (but that’s another story). I spent a majority of my alone time as one would predict, in coffee shops. The space I frequented was Atomic Coffee Roasters and I would just spend hours, watching people interact and having incredibly personal and intimate conversations with the baristas that worked there. I’ve met some great people in the walls of this establishment and although it will be ages until I meet with them over a cup of coffee, their impressions are clear and distinct in my mind. I’ve also fallen deeply in love with flat whites and pour overs in the land of the Kiwis.
Accelerate that timeline of 2014 two more years again and in 2016 I’ve re-fallen back in love with coffee shops. Although my hometown scene surrounding coffee is still in its progressing stages, the dynamic landscape of all these coffee shops with a unifying but diverse mission to offer a great cup of caffeine and perhaps conversation is something I only hope aims towards longevity. In trying times where all we ever do is live vicariously through our phones, it’s nice to have some real face time, in person, with a hot steaming cup of black fuel to reawaken your senses.
I actually had a more concise outline for this blog post, but I decided to throw that wayward and just go with my gut in the composition of it. I hope you all don’t mind the random stream of consciousness, I guess you can pen me down as a regular Holden Caulfield.
Indelible Gratitude,
-Kat

Sopa de Albondigas Saturdays

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The prep, complete with a groovy playlist.

The Lowdown:

My Saturday mornings consist of farmer’s markets, the local Trader Joe’s, and my weekly duty of making lunch for that day. If you know me, I take my food very seriously! Even more so when it involves my family. Glancing down at the ingredients I picked up from the market, I decided to make one of my all-time favorite comfort foods, Sopa de Albondigas.
Before I even start cooking, I have to put on a good playlist that consists of groovy feel good vibes. It sets “the stage” for a great session in the kitchen, plus, it’s the weekend! In this household, tunes in the kitchen isn’t an option…it’s NECESSARY. My playlist is featured in the righthand sidebar, and also listed below:
Weekend Kitchen Groove Playlist
 **The order of this playlist starts off with an energetic opening of Tuxedo’s “Do It” as a subtle way to get to cookin’ and then proceeds with radio hit “Uptown Funk” and then reverts back in time with a little bit of Motown, preferably Earth, Wind, & Fire and finally slows down with the ever classic “Sailing” just to leave you with a relaxed state of mind as you clean up the kitchen. 


 

THE STORY: Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset

My childhood best friend during pre-school to second grade was of hispanic ethnicity and since my parents were usually busy to pick me up from school, I would go to her house on a regular basis. This is where I fell in love with hispanic food, to be more specific, Mexican food. I remember watching her mother and her abuela compose this soup in their kitchen and even though I was young, I became receptive of the tradition behind this dish. The love and care that went into the making of this soup always made me feel at home..even though I wasn’t technically blood-related, they treated me as one of their own.**It also didn’t hurt that we both had the same last name, so we were kinda like sisters anyways. 

This recipe is to pay homage to my adoptive abuela, the instigator of my love for Mexican food. 


THE RECIPE: Vegprep

INGREDIENTS:
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 white onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled & cut into chunks
2 russet potatoes, peeled & cut into chunks
2 zuchini, cut into chunks
2 stalks celery, cut into chunks
1 white chili pepper, leave whole
1(14oz) can diced tomatoes
30 fl oz. low sodium beef broth
20 fl oz. water
salt & pepper to taste
**chopped cilantro & lime to garnish

Meatballin meatballs
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup cooked white rice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground oregano
1/8 tsp pepper
1 green onion, finely minced
↑ mix this ingredients together in a bowl and form into balls, using about 1 tablespoon per ball.

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The finished product!

DIRECTIONS:
1. Place olive oil in a heavy stockpot and add onions. Cook until softened (about 2-3 minutes on medium high heat).
2. Add beef broth, water, potato, canned tomatoes, carrots and bring to a boil
3. Once soup is up to a rolling boil, lower heat to simmer and cover for 1 1/2 hours
4. Place meatballs and zucchini into soup and let simmer for another 1 hour
5. When soup is done, ladle into bowls and garnish with cilantro & lime and enjoy!

Catch Ya Later
-Kathy

 

 

 

Greek Yogurt Lemon Blueberry Streusel Muffins

I haven’t had an affinity for blueberry muffins in my youth, but not until early last year I tasted my first blueberry muffin that was actually to my liking. The muffin that became the game-changer for me is Janet’s Cafe & Deli blueberry muffin. It’s large and in charge and has this buttery consistency that just makes it melt in your mouth.
If you ever want to check this cozy breakfast joint out, click right here for their Yelp reviews (you won’t be disappointed).
Having had cravings for this marvelous muffin, I decided to embark on a mission to bake a slightly healthier version (but just as tasty). I present to you: Greek Yogurt Lemon Blueberry Streusel Muffins 


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Serves: 24
INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour (or other flour of your choice)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups blueberries

STREUSEL TOPPING

  • 5 tablespoons cold cubed butter (I recommend the Kerrygold unsalted  Irish grassfed butter, so creamy!)
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Prepare a muffin tin with paper liners.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend sugar, oil, and eggs on medium speed until smooth.
  5. Add Greek yogurt, lemon zest, and lemon juice and blend until well combined.
  6. Gradually add flour mixture on low speed, and mix until flour is incorporated.
  7. Fold in the blueberries gently.
  8. Scoop the batter into each muffin cup, filling them almost full.
  9. Top each muffin cup with about 1-2 tablespoons of the streusel topping.
  10. Bake for 3 minutes, and then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 22-23 more minutes. They will be just starting to turn golden brown on top.
  11. Remove the muffins from the tins and allow to cool.
  12. Repeat with the remaining batter.

STREUSEL TOPPING
To make the crumb topping, pour the flour, sugar and cold cubed butter into a medium bowl, and using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut the butter into the flour and sugar until you are have pea sized crumbs of flour coated butter.

 

 

Risotto Balls..Dorito Style

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This upcoming Saturday is my cousin’s birthday and more than anything, he’s obsessed with Doritos Nacho Cheese tortilla chips….
And so began the brainstorming for this recipe, with the trusty help of Pinterest. I didn’t want to make something that everyone has seen before, but I also wanted to create something that a majority of people were a bit familiar with, and so with a little bit of digging and voila! The birth of this mixup mashup appetizer baby was established.
In essence it’s a little bit of Cuban inspiration with the picadillo filling and a little bit of Italian with the risotto outward layer and a little bit of American with the Doritos breading.
Now, you may be wondering….. WHERE’S THE RECIPE?
And, here it is: (BEWARE, LOTS OF PATIENCE REQUIRED)

Ingredients

CILANTRO RISOTTO
1  1/2 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine (Pinot Grigio)
3/4 cup warm milk
4 cups chicken broth/stock
5 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 lime zested
PICADILLO FILLING
1 lb. ground beef (pick one with a higher fat content)
1/2 large bell pepper, finely minced
1/2 large onion, finely minced
1 lime juiced
2 cloves garlic, finely grated
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon light chili powder
salt & pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Worchestshire sauceDORITO BREADING
1 egg, whisked
3/4 ground Doritos Nacho Cheese Chips
3/4 panko bread crumbs

*The steps to follow look daunting, but I highly suggest to make this in a two day process as to not cause yourself kitchen burnout. 

Steps to Making the Risotto Balls Dorito Style

1. Begin with making the risotto, since this needs time to bake in the oven. Preheat it to 350 degrees.
2. Take arborio rice and place it in a dutch oven or casserole dish or anything that can be placed into the oven.
3. On the stovetop, heat up chicken stock until it simmers, then pour over dry arborio rice.
4. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until all liquid has evaporated.
5. Take rice out of oven and allow to cool, while doing so, move on to make the picadillo filling.6. On a skillet turned to Medium-High, brown ground beef.
7. Add minced onions until they start to turn translucent.
8. Add minced garlic and minced bell pepper and stir to cook for a few seconds.
9. Add cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt and pepper, and Worchestshire sauce. Stir to combine.
10. Add the juice of one lime and sprinkle cornstarch if you want the filling to be more dense. Set aside to cool
11. Now that the risotto rice has cooled add in the cheddar cheese to it.
12. Add white wine
13. Add warm milk and stir mixture to combine.
14.  Add the lime zest and chopped cilantro and stir/fold to make a thick sticky rice mixture. Set aside.15. Make the dorito breading, this step is by far the easiest
16. Combine the ground Doritos chips and panko bread crumbs on a plate or shallow pan to prepare for assembly. (I used my Nutribullet to pulverize the Doritos into a fine breading texture).
17. Whisk one egg in a bowl and set aside.

18. ASSEMBLY TIME! Let’s make those balls…..
19. Take a golf ball size amount of the risotto and hollow out a small hole for the picadillo filling
20. Place picadillo filling in the small hole.
21. Press the risotto mixture and shape into a ball so that the filling is no longer visible.
22. Place the risotto-rellenas ball into the egg mixture and coat evenly.
23. Place the recently “egged” r-r  ball into your dorito breading, making sure it is evenly coated and place onto a plate or tray.
24. Repeat steps 19-23 until all your risotto rice mixture is gone (this recipe made about 20 balls that are slightly larger than golf balls)

25. FRY TIME! 
26. In a soup pot fill it with vegetable oil (or any high smoke point oil of your liking)
27. Turn on stove so that the oil is heated up to a Medium-High heat.
28. Wait until oil is hot enough for frying (sprinkle some flour into the pot, if it sizzles, it’s ready).
29. Place your D.R.R balls into the oil, make sure to only fry up to 4 at a time, and fry for 4 minutes, or until golden brown.
30. Just fry up all your balls!
31. Place recently fried balls onto a plate with a paper towel & enjoy within a couple minutes of cooling!!