Tuesday, December 30, 2008


The other day, my husband and myself found ourselves kid-less, so we decided to drive up to Sonoma for lunch. We weren't sure where we were going; we had heard of a place called Mondo, but it was closed, so we ended up at Maya. We have been there several times and its always been good. This time was no different.

We were greeted right away and asked to wait in the bar area for a few minutes. Chips, salsa, and water were served right away by a friendly busboy. After about 10 minutes, we were seated at our table. We weren't greeted by our waiter for several minutes, but when he did show up we were not only ready to order our Maya Margarita, but we were also ready to order our lunch. The food took a little bit, as it was obvious that the kitchen was busy since the restaurant was a full house.

I ordered the house salad, which was green leaf lettuce, jicama, mango, and a chipotle papaya vinaigrette. I opted to add the 5 grilled tiger prawns, and it was a delicious addition. For my entree, I ordered the cheeseburger, which was served on a soft roll, and with yucca fries. It was very, very rare, but I still enjoyed it. The waiter never asked how I wanted it cooked, and I didn't even think to order it medium. I gave half to my husband, and he shared his carne asada tacos with me. The meat was tender and flavorful, and served on top of a corn tortilla, with finely diced red onion and a spicy red sauce. The tacos were served with a side of rice and pureed white beans.

The service was a tad slow, but the food was delicious as always. I will definitely return in the future! :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Pho Noodle Soup

I just couldn't find a recipe that would work for me, so I decided to wing it. Usually I like to follow a recipe and adapt it, but all the recipes I found called for a bunch of ingredients I either don't have or don't like.

(Americanized) Vietnamese Pho Noodle Soup

2 TBSP sesame oil
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1/2 medium yellow onion, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 TBSP whole pepper corns
1/2 tsp sea salt
10 thin slices of fresh ginger
2 carrots, julienned
2 mini bell peppers, thinly sliced
4 cups beef broth
1 bundle of rice noodles
cilantro, loosely chopped
lime, cut into wedges
1 red and 1 green chili peppers, minced
Sriacha or homemade hot chili pepper sauce


Saute the cinnamon stick, onion, garlic, peppercorns, salt, ginger, carrots & bell peppers in sesame oil until soft, about 8 minutes. Add beef broth, bring to boil, simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil, add the noodles and cook until soft..mine took 4 minutes.

Divide the noodles into 4 soup bowls, ladle the broth over the noodles, garnish with cilantro, lime, and hot chili sauce.

The verdict:
There is a lot I would do differently next time. For one, I would get some lemon grass in there, and the other is that I would strain out the ginger, peppercorns, & garlic from the broth after letting those simmer for a few minutes.....and then I would add the rest of the vegetables and let them simmer for 15 minutes or so.

Other than the annoyances of biting into the garlic, ginger, and especially those peppercorns, the flavor was really, really good!!! Even my kids liked it....course, they didn't add the hot sauce or chili peppers...those really added some major heat.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Stacey got me thinking about salads today! I thought I'd post a couple of my favorite salad recipes. The Bean Salad with citrus juice and hot sauce is by Rachel Ray and the Food Network. I've made it several times and I love it. Its good chilled, too.

Bean Salad w/Citrus juice & Hot sauce:


  • Salt
  • 2 pounds store-bought, trimmed fresh green beans or mix yellow wax and green beans, coarsely chopped on an angle
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Fill a high sided skillet with 1 inch of water and bring to simmer. Liberally salt the water. Add beans and cook 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and cool under running cold water.

Whisk juices and hot sauce together in a shallow salad bowl and stream in olive oil. Add beans and toss to coat. Season the beans with salt and pepper, to taste.

I got this recipe below from Alosha's Kitchen, but she got it from The Kitchen Sink. I've made it about 3 times and its just so tangy and yummy!!! I'd never bought chipotle in adobo sauce before, but now I always keep a can on hand!

Chipotle Corn Salad

courtesy of The Kitchen Sink


4 ears of corn
1 medium Vidalia or Walla Walla onion, thickly sliced crosswise
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for garnish
1 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon chives, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
salt and freshly ground pepper

1 head of romaine, sliced

1 avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced


Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the corn and onion slices with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill over moderately high heat until charred in spots but still slightly crisp, about 7 minutes. Let cool slightly, then cut the kernels from the cobs and coarsely chop the onion. Add the sliced tomatoes.

In a medium bowl, mix the sour cream with the lime juice, chopped chipotle chiles, sliced chives and salt and pepper, to taste. Add the sliced romaine to the bowl and stir to coat the lettuce with the dressing. Arrange the dressed romaine on a platter.

Top with the corn mixture. Arrange the sliced avocado on top of the corn mixture. Garnish with chives and lime wedges.