Goodbye, Year of the Taco

In the first weeks of January, I declared 2016 would be the “Year of the Taco” at Skinny Girls & Mayonnaise. And the year did not disappoint.

The last taco

The last taco

I ate delicious tacos in East L.A., Mexico and Hawaii. I added six new taco recipes — including air-dried pork, Veracruz-style fish and Oaxacan turkey mole — to a blog that already boasted nearly a dozen. It was a good year. More

Globalization, Topanga Style

Globalization is a bit of a loaded word these days. Obama likes it, but Trump sorta scrunches up his nose and waves his arms about it.

We celebrated the globalization of our own little coastal California canyon recently with “Heritage Day” in my 5th grader, Willa’s class.

The Heritage Feast

The Heritage Feast

“Dad, what’s our heritage?” Willa asked about a week before her heritage presentation was due. Her mother and I cobbled together an approximate lineage. Between the two of us, she was probably close to 50% Irish, I contributed my 25% Swedish, plus some English and Welsh; my wife added German and Norwegian, plus a bit more English and Welsh. More

Thankful (But Not for Grasshoppers)

I had just finished my last post about my pal Mike and his wife Bridget harassing me from Oaxaca with their photos and videos of delicious meals, when they returned — bearing gifts!

There was a lovely and colorful dishtowel, a jar of black mole paste which to this cook is as good as its weight in gold, and there was a small jar of chapulines — roasted grasshoppers.

Chapulines

Chapulines

On the adventurous eater scale of 1 to 10, I consider myself about a 7. I’m no Anthony Bourdain. But I’ve recently been venturing more deeply into the euphemistically named world of “variety” meats, have sampled the slimiest offerings the world’s oceans put forth, and am a fan of such culinary curiosities as Japanese fermented natto and the stinking durian. There’s not a lot I won’t try, at least once. But one taxonomic class I have steadfastly resisted ingesting is that of the insect. More

Queues and Barbecues

They asked me to do it again. Despite the lines — oh! the lines… — they asked me to do it again.

“Is there anything we can do about the lines?” they gingerly put forth.

Last Halloween, our children’s annual grade school Halloween carnival got an upgrade. It moved from school to the ballfield at the local community center, a live band would play, there would be a bar… And they asked me to do the food.

The Chef boogying at sunset

The chef/fairy/cow boogying at sunset

I was to cook for somewhere between 450 and 600 people. I was a week in preparation and was all set — except that the chimneys I needed for my coal were 90 minutes late. The carnival had opened at 3:30, people began queuing up for food at 4-ish. And I didn’t have anything to serve until close to 5 p.m., at which point the line had stretched from our home-plate set up well into left field. We would never catch up.

More

Pokē, Mon!

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When a friend gives you a block of yellowfin tuna, make Hawaiian pokē!

And so my friend Erin passed along another chunk of yellowfin tuna. And after making ceviche and pokē (in that order) the previous time she gifted me tuna, I decided this time to make pokē and ceviche (in that order).

PEMA3306

It was an ordinary Monday, which I decided to transform into an extraordinary Hawaiian Monday. In addition to the pokē (served on crispy won ton skins), I grilled some Korean-style beef short ribs, made some mac salad and some plain white rice. Nothing gourmet, just good, working-class Hawaiian — served with something close to a mai tai. (Rum, OJ, pineapple juice and grenadine). More

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