Welcome Fall!

I know it’s a bit early for the fall back in my hometown of LA, but here in downtown Vancouver, the skies are grey, the cruise ships are no longer docked in the harbor and at Granville Island, all of the hustle and bustle of the summer crowds are gone. I can’t say that I’m sad to see them go, because I am absolutely loving the calm and quiet and my morning chats with the local vendors and not feeling like a salmon swimming upstream to get my morning marketing done. While the vendors are sad to see them go, I am just giddy inside 🙂 I love the Granville Marketplace. In moving to a new city, it’s a place of comfort for me as I sip my extra hot almond milk latte from my favorite coffee stand, “Le Petit Ami”…delightful and the way I end every shopping excursion there!

With fall in the air, the weather has definitely taken a turn and it’s nippy, windy, drizzly and we’ve been starting the wet weather here, which means bring on the hot meals…especially chili!!!

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With that said, I am a HUGE fan of a hot bowl of chili. I love chili with beans, but sometimes the beans don’t agree with me or with E and there’s nothing worse than being in a meeting at work having a nice hot bowl of chili in your belly and those beans NOT agreeing with you. So, this is my version of chili that WILL agree with you and there are no worries about the beans. Also, some of you may be living the Paleo lifestyle or a diet that does not allow legumes of any sort, so this is a great mix of a turkey and veggies giving it that chunky chili feel. I use 50% veggies, and 50% turkey, and you can spice it up or down, however you like it!

You can, of course, top it with sour cream and shredded cheese, or without as pictured above. It’s really a great base to add whatever is in your fridge at any given moment. Sometimes I add some BBQ sauce to it or hot sauce to add a bit of kick or a different flavor. Truly, it’s your call as to what you want to do. Like I said, it’s a great base for other ingredients you can add.

Click here for the recipe.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Happy Fall 🙂

Roma xo

 

Mexican food, hands down, is my favorite go-to meal. It’s comforting, it’s satisfying, but oh can it be fattening! Here is my version of Chocolate Mole that I’ve made with raw cacao powder, almond butter instead of peanut butter, a touch of honey and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce 🙂 Nothing makes me happier than a chunky Mole. Here’s what my version looks like served over carnitas that I’ve been slow roasting or slow cooking all day with carmelized onions. Sooooo good! :

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There are two restaurants that I’ve had MEMORABLE molé in, I mean, in the memorable way that you take to Yelp immediately to talk about how fabulous a place was. The first place was at the Red Iguana in Salt Lake City, Utah. Eric and I went there for taco’s and this place is the real deal! Authentic as all get out, and if you are uncertain as to which mole you want, they bring you a platter to taste test ALL of them, I mean ALL of the moles they make in-house. Usually at a Mexican restaurant they serve molé..t.heir one molé that they specialize in, but at the Red Iguana, they have about 10 to choose from. It was amazing and mind blowing all at the same time. They really want to make sure you order the right one to accompany your meal, so I urge you to try them out the next time you’re in Salt Lake City. They don’t take reservations and it’s a small place, so be prepared to wait for a table, or, try to visit them before the dinner rush so you can partake in their Mexican goodness! Also, my hubby said that his grandmother used to make the most amazing tacos, and the Red Iguana makes them the same way. It literally flashed him back to his childhood with mouth melting tacos, so that’s another tidbit to know about their food. AUTHENTIC 🙂

The last place I’ve had memorable molé is at Calibri Mexican Bistro in San Francisco, CA. Amazing food. Awesome ambiance and a family run business. They DO take reservations on Opentable, so make sure you check this place out. Their molé was to.die.for and it’s a very dark, almost black molé poblano with chicken. OMG. So memorable and mouth pleasing. For sure, don’t miss out on this place which even has their own Mamacita on their premises making homemade tortillas served right to your table!

With that said, I have created my own easy version of Molé. Molé can be a very, very time consuming sauce to prepare, but this is a modified version that give me my fix in-between the Red Iguana and Colibri visits!

Most molés that you have in a restaurant are quite thin, but in my version I use an immersion blender and leave it chunky because I do love to taste the pieces of chili and chopped tomatoes (you can’t taste the tomato flavor due to the heavy spices and cacao powder), but it certainly does add a very nice texture to it.

I love to serve my Molé over slow roasted carnitas with carmelized onions…I mean, it’s got the best flavor, moreso than serving it over chicken, but another way I use my molé is to slather it over a tray of chicken enchiladas. Damn delicious!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. You can make it less spicy by just adding 1 chipotle pepper rather than the 2 that I use, and you can also slice the pepper open and remove any seeds inside for a more mild version as well. Olé, olé!!!

I’ve been experimenting a lot lately with cauliflower, from pulsing it into rice sized pieces in my food processor to boiling and mashing it up for a low-carb replacement for mashed potatoes…but this recipe, hands down, is the easiest one of the bunch! Literally, you just bake it in the oven and slice it to serve when it’s cooked through. All you have to do is chop off the green stem and leaves and make sure that it sits flat in the baking dish (any size to accommodate will work – I used an 8×8 dish for this sized cauliflower). Pour olive oil over the top of it and rub that goodness in, sprinkle salt and pepper all over it, cover tightly with foil, and bake it at 400 degrees for about 50 minutes. Let it sit for another 10 minutes on the counter and slice to serve.

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Not only is it impressive, it’s an easy way to get your veggies in for dinner! I like to add chopped green onions as a garnish, and on this particular night, I was making my honey-soy chicken for dinner, so I spooned the juices from the chicken dish over the top. Really, you could use any sort of sauce that you’re cooking your chicken or meat with and drizzle over the top once your main meat/chx dish is finished, or use a favorite sauce (teriyaki or a soy sauce and so on)…the possibilities are endless! You can also just use the olive oil with salt and pepper and keep it simple. I’ve also added ghee in a few pats all over the top after it’s baked and watch it melt into the golden cauliflower. Just scrumptious!

I hope you enjoy this new way to eat cauliflower as much as we do at Casa Barba!

Roma xo

It’s amazing how something as simple as sauce can change an entire meal! Without sauce or a marinade, a bland piece of chicken, beef or pork is just that – bland! With it, it can transform into an amazing and succulent piece of meat! That’s exactly what this homemade Hoisin Sauce did for these pan grilled pork chops! I love to make extra sauce to use to marinate chicken for the next meal, or a beautiful piece of flank steak, but whatever you’re hankering for dinner, it’s great to have this sauce on hand as a marinade and a condiment!

My pork chop obsession dates back a decade to Nola Restaurant in the French Quarter, New Orleans. There, E and I had, hands down, the BEST pork chop of our lives. It was surrounded by glazed yams and literally, no joke, after stuffing ourselves, we had great plans for the evening and nothing transpired as we ended up back at our hotel room passed out in a food coma. They were THAT GOOD! Since then, I’ve been on a mission to perfect a pork chop with a yummy sauce and this recipe pretty much hit that target!

Look at these mouth watering pork chops covered in this fabulous sauce. In addition to marinading and grilling these chops in it, I then used it to spoon over the rice and veggies as well!

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I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit (March 2016 issue), and knew that I HAD to make it. So yummy and lip smackin’ good with each bite!

I hope you enjoy this homemade Hoisin Sauce recipe as much as we have. It’s better than any bottled Hoisin Sauce with all of those extra junky ingredients added!

Click here for the Bon Appetit Hoisin Glazed Pork Chops recipe.

Roma xoxo

 

 

It’s Taco Tuesday, my most favorite day of the week! One of the EASIEST dinners that I make is a salmon bake. Sometimes we have the salmon with mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus, but most of the time I make tacos with it because the salmon roasts in the oven with sliced onions and bell peppers with your favorite teriyaki sauce, so it’s a no-brainer to heat up some tortillas and make a taco dinner out of it.

Here’s what the salmon looks like when it comes out of the oven:

Salmon

This is 2 lbs of Atlantic Salmon, skin off (I have the butcher remove the skin and I cut it up and feed it to my Pugs ~ they go nuts for it and it’s so good for their skin and fur)!

This recipe is SO easy! 1-2 lbs. of salmon, 1 onion sliced, 1 or 2 bell peppers (I use red and orange), olive oil, your favorite teriyaki sauce and corn or flour tortillas. That’s it! Here’s the end result! See below for the recipe.

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If you get a chance to try my favorite teriyaki sauce ~ Bone Suckin’ Yaki ~ which I purchase at Whole Foods…definitely pick up a few bottles. I always have at least 3 bottles in my cupboard because I use it in this salmon bake, my chicken teriyaki stir fry and for many other recipes that I make. It’s the perfect blend of sweet and tangy and is a thicker sauce which is a great, because some of the bottled teriyaki sauces I’ve used are far too runny and thin, so this is a thicker sauce which holds up much better in an oven bake or stir-fry.

Click here for the recipe.

Enjoy!

Roma xo