Roasted Tomato Salsa

I love salsa. I’ve been known to polish off a single container of salsa, by myself, in a matter of hours. Numerous dinners have been ruined by me snacking on chips and salsa. I’m the first to reach for it when we’re out at a Mexican restaurant, and I’ll normally end my meal by — you guessed it — eating more chips and salsa.

While I’ll eat salsa pretty much in any form (chunky, restaurant style, verde, black bean…), I’m incredibly picky about the quality. I like my salsa freshly made; that junk in the jars doesn’t do it for me. My favorite store-bought salsa is Garden Fresh Naturals, a Michigan-made product that was recently purchased by Campbell Soup (and I swear, Campbell people, if you mess with my salsa, we’re gonna have an issue).

When it comes to restaurant salsa, though, there’s good, there’s great, and then there’s Red Mesa. Continue reading

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Blue Apron: An Unbiased, Unsponsored Opinion

Disclaimer: This is a completely unbiased and unsponsored review of Blue Apron. I was not compensated in any way for my review of this product. All views and opinions are my own.

With all of the sparkly new appliances in our kitchen, you can imagine how excited I am to get cooking. So when I was offered a free trial of Blue Apron (not an affiliate link!) food delivery from a friend, I jumped at the chance. I consider myself a competent cook, but I have been intrigued by these types of services since they became popular.

For anyone who doesn’t know, Blue Apron delivers fresh ingredients to your door along with detailed recipe cards that allow you to cook a gourmet meal any night of the week. The food is shipped in freezer boxes so everything stays fresh, and you have your choice of delivery days so you can pick what works best for your schedule. You can also indicate family size (2 or 4) and food allergies/aversions.

I scheduled our delivery for the day after I returned from a work trip to Europe. I figured I would still be recovering from all of the travel and the time changes, and it was the perfect timing.

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Our box consisted of ingredients and recipes for apreas de carne molida, chicken piccata, and three cheese calzones. All of the ingredients were measured out and ready to go. The recipe cards were easy to follow and the directions seemed relatively straightforward. I was excited to get started!

I immediately noticed was how fresh and high-quality the ingredients were. I was also pleased that there were some items that I wouldn’t normally have on hand in my kitchen, but was happy to have on the ingredient list (like capers — have never cooked with ‘em, but love ‘em). The recipes were also very balanced in terms of meat vs veggies vs carbs, and every dish had something fresh and green in it.

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The biggest difference with cooking a Blue Apron recipe versus any other recipe I’ve attempted is that the mis en place, or set up, is done for you or instructed early on in the recipe. The first step of all three recipes was “prepare the ingredients” by washing, chopping, slicing, etc. While many of the ingredients were already measured out in little baggies, the fresh ingredients required a little more preparation. Continue reading

Why I Will (Probably) Never be a Food Blogger, and a Brownie Recipe

I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest. On the one hand, lots of really great ideas to inspire my cooking, decorating, and shopping habits. Also an easy way to keep all of these great ideas organized and easily accessible.

On the other hand, the expectations that Pinterest sets are normally nearly unattainable. My good friend Stephanie sent me this Buzzfeed article the other day, which perfectly describes the sky-high standards that Pinterest is setting for anyone who wants to cook, clean, look, etc…better.

I especially related to the author’s point about lighting:

“23. I learned that a lot of Pinterest is just good lighting.”

Food photography (and photography in general, I suppose) is so dependant on lighting and photo quality…two details at which I am consistently failing when it comes to taking photos of my food.

I love to cook. But you’d barely realize it reading this blog (house building obsession aside) because I can very rarely get a good photo of the things I cook. The reasons are two-fold: one, because I can’t for the life of me find even one of the two batteries I have for my DSLR, which means I take a lot of iPhone photos; and two, because we are currently living in a tiny apartment with only two windows, which means lighting is ideal basically never.

Continue reading