Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Restaurant (Re)creation: Contigo's Pimientos de Padrón

~ Contigo's Padrón Peppers (above) ~
~ My Padrón (Re)creation (close-up) ~
~ My Padrón (Re)creation ~

This wonderfully simple recipe was inspired by my favorite tapas dish at Contigo: Pimientos de Padrón. If you haven't been to Contigo yet, it's a must. Their menu is comprised of inventive tapas dishes and delicious cava.  These Padrón peppers are a great snack to have with a glass of wine or an ice cold beer. Most of them are mild but occasionally you'll get a hot one, which just makes them all that much more fun. You can think of them as a more exciting alternative to nuts or olives. Try to make this dish as soon as you can because Padrón season is coming to an end. If you're lucky, you might still be able to find them at the farmer's market but not for much longer (season is typically June-September)
Ps. These are highly addictive so buy them in bulk if you find them- they can be stored for about 2 weeks (but you'll probably devour them quicker than that)...


  • Padrón peppers (as many as you can find)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt to taste


Wash whole peppers and dry them on a paper towel.

Put a sauté pan on medium heat and add the olive oil.

Toss in peppers and let them cook, stirring occasionally, for about 6-8 minutes. 

Remove peppers when they start to blister and season liberally with sea salt.

Let the fun begin! 

1320 Castro Street (@ 24th)
San Francisco, CA
(415) 285-0250

Monday, November 14, 2011

Recipe (Re)creation: Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

~ My Chili (Re)creation (both pictured above) ~

This recipe was not inspired by a restaurant, but rather was inspired by a chili cook-off that I went to yesterday.  I figured there would be a lot of traditional meat-heavy chilis and thought it would be a refreshing change to have a seasonal chili in the mix.  I based the chili on this recipe but made a few important changes.  I used black beans instead of pinto beans, substituted chicken broth for vegetable broth and used fire roasted instead of stewed tomatoes.  I also added chipotle chili powder, garlic, corn, cocoa powder and chili sauce for a little extra kick.  Then I finished the chili by garnishing it with chopped avocado and shredded cheese and served it with warm corn tortillas.  You won't believe its vegetarian when you try it because its super rich and hearty on its own.  Maybe even the staunchest of meat-eaters can be swayed?

Serving Size: 2-3 generous portions (recipe can easily be doubled)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 10-oz red-skinned sweet potato, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 can of fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of sweet corn
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • 1 avocado (for garnish)
  • Grated jack or white cheddar cheese (for garnish)
  • Tortillas


    Heat olive oil in heavy medium sauce-pan over medium heat.

    Add onion and sauté until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

    Then add garlic, both chili powders and the cocoa powder and stir 1 minute.

    Add broth and potato and cover pan; reduce heat to medium and simmer until potato is almost tender, about 10 minutes.

    Add tomatoes with their juices, corn, and black beans.

    Simmer uncovered until chili thickens and potato is very tender, about 10 minutes.

    Mix in cilantro, orange peel and a splash of chili sauce.

    Season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with avocado and cheese and serve with warm corn tortillas.

    Bon Appétit!

    Monday, November 7, 2011

    Restaurant (Re)creation: Terzo's Chicken Spiedini

    ~ My Spiedini (Re)creation (both pictured above) ~
    I had to start with a Terzo (re)creation because anyone who knows me even a little is aware that Terzo is my home away from home.  I have a minor obsession with the place.  I eat there at least twice a week and they treat me like family.  I love everything on their menu, but my all-time favorite is their chicken spiedini. I cannot tell you the excitement I felt when I saw that Terzo's Chef, Mark Gordon shared his spiedini recipe in an interview back in 2008 (see interview).  I dream about their combo of grilled bread, tender chicken and spicy chimichurri sauce.  I made a few tweaks, but stayed pretty true to the original.  I was surprised by how easy it was and it looked and tasted almost exactly the same as Terzo's version.  That is a sign of a successful (re)creation!  This will become a weeknight staple for sure...

    Serving Size: 12 Skewers


    For chicken marinade:
    • 1 garlic clove, peeled and sliced
    • 1 bay leaf crumbled
    • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
    • 1/2 tablespoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed chili flakes
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
    • 2 splashes sherry vinegar
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    For spiedini:
    • 2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    • 1/2 loaf country white bread, crusts removed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    • 1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1/4 cut cilantro leaves, coursely chopped
    • 12 8-inch bamboo skewers

    For the marinade: 

    Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend until coursely chopped.

    For the spiedini:

    Soak the skewers in warm water (so they don't catch on fire!).

    Place cubed chicken in a mixing bowl and mix with 2 tbsp (or more) of the marinade.

    Place bread cubes in another bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste.

    Skewer the pieces of chicken, bread, and onions on each skewer and repeat.

    Brush more marinade on the skewers before grilling.

    Grill over a BBQ or grill pan until the chicken is fully cooked and the bread is crispy, rotating the skewers so they are cooked uniformly.

    Top with extra marinade, a healthy splash of olive oil, and more fresh cilantro.

    Note: If you are a carb fiend, you can make a few extra skewers of just the grilled bread (its heavenly)


    3011 Steiner St (@ Union)
    San Francisco, CA
    (415) 441-3200

    Friday, November 4, 2011

    I have a confession...

    I may as well just put it out there.  I am obsessed with good food. I might be guilty of boring people, on occasion, with the details of what I ordered at a favorite new restaurant or of spending copious amounts of time describing the recipe I tried out for the first time and then proceed to email it to everyone I know and love.  If these things do not sound interesting to you then perhaps you will not enjoy this blog.  However, if you do enjoy hearing about fun restaurant (re)creations, key ingredients, and easy weeknight preparations, then please read on.  I would love to hear your feedback and please share the blog with friends.

    Happy cooking (and happier eating)