Author Archives: Karla Makholm

About Karla Makholm

From Boston, attended college in Seattle, and now living in Southern California. I'm a foodie, yoga instructor, and weekend warrior.

Corn and Bean Sriracha Baked Tacos

IMG_2473Rather than our usual taco dinner, we decided to make these baked tacos (sort of a cross between taquitos and enchiladas) because it is so much easier to make them all at once than prepare them one-at-a-time at the table. These would be a great dinner or lunch while watching the game and drinking a beer, and they’re perfect for a crowd. We used up leftover ham and cheddar cheese that we had in the fridge along with refried beans, corn salsa and chopped tomatoes, but you can use a variety of different fillings (ground meat, bell peppers, queso blanco, etc). We also chopped up some iceberg lettuce and made some guacamole to go on the side. We used small corn tortillas, but you can use flour, wheat, or large tortillas… they will all do the job. If you want more of a sauce, add a can of crushed tomatoes or mild salsa on top before sprinkling the cheese on and baking.

Corn and Bean Sriracha Baked Tacos

Small corn tortillas

Ham, cut into strips

Cheddar cheese, cut into strips

Refried pinto beans

Tomatoes, chopped

Corn salsa (combine corn, onions, sugar, chilies, and cider vinegar)

Shredded Mexican cheese, or cheddar and mozzarella

Sriracha

Iceberg lettuce (optional)

Avocados for guacamole (optional)

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease a large deep baking pan with cooking spray, or use butter for added flavor.

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Assemble tacos by filling tortillas with corn salsa, beans, cheese, ham and tomatoes and rolling up. Place them in baking pan with edges down. Pack them close together so fillings do not spill out.

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When the pan us full, sprinkle tacos with cheese and drizzle with Sriracha. Bake for 15-20 minutes until slightly brown at the edges and  cheese is beginning to bubble.

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Let cool slightly and serve with chopped lettuce, guacamole, and your favorite beer.

 

 

 

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Bursting Blueberry-Peach Coffee Cake

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Hey Lauren,

First of all HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I’m sure you got a delectable birthday cake, but I made this one in your honor :).. and because I’ve been craving coffee cake, but didn’t want one of those ones that has a one-inch layer of sugar at the top. So I tweaked a recipe I found on the food network website and made a healthier, lighter version bursting with tons of blueberries and summer peaches! You can’t even tell there’s only 2 tbsp of butter, some added ground flax seed for fiber, chopped walnuts, and one cup of whole wheat pastry flour. Result… great treat for morning breakfast or with ice cream for dessert. Plus its not that hard to make and a great way to use up the last of the season’s best fruit!

Bursting Blueberry-Peach Coffee Cake

Cooking spray or butter for greasing cake pan
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour or regular whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

A pinch nutmeg

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plain yogurt or plain keifer
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh peaches, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 8 or 9 inch cake pan.

Whisk together the all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, the baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and walnuts. In a large bowl, beat the brown sugar, butter and oil until fluffy. If necessary, use the back of a spoon to press out any lumps in the brown sugar. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until fully combined. Beat in the vanilla and yogurt. Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, stirring until just combined.

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Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle half of the nut mixture over the batter and top with the blueberries, gently pressing them into the batter. Add peaches to the batter and spoon the rest of the batter into the pan, smoothing the top. Sprinkle the remaining nut mixture over the cake, pressing gently. Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes.

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Filed under Breakfast, Desserts

Summer Berry Pie from Scratch

IMG_2336So I finally tried your pie crust recipe and it ROCKS! I made this berry pie for our goodbye dinner with Dennis’s mom and sister, us and the pups, before we left for SoCal. The flavors were so good! I used the same ingredients as the rhubarb pie you posted here, except I added a little more cornstarch– apparently not enough because it was still a bit runny. Everyone loved it and it came out looking gorgeous. Next time I would try either tapioca starch or twice the cornstarch to really make the berries stick together. But again, taste-wise this was a winner! Thanks for the recipe Lauren. This will be my staple piecrust.

Hope everything is going well in Chicago. Cooking anything lately? It’s almost FALL! Can’t wait for the new flavors…

 

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Filed under Desserts, Seasonal

4th of July Chile-Lime Chicken Burgers

IMG_2123Hello again! It’s been a while since the last post, but summer adventures, travel, and family weddings are to blame for the lack of home-cooked meals and time spent blogging. Lauren and Bill took a West coast road-trip vacation where they got to explore Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco. I took a East Coast trip to visit family in Boston and stay with friends in New York City, where I had a reunion with the girls I traveled to Prague with three years ago! And just this past week, Lauren and I got all dolled up for a Southern wedding in North Carolina where we watched our older cousin tie the knot! Needless to say, we’ve been busy in a good way. Summer is a time for reconnecting with old friends and distant family, rekindling the love with exciting new adventures, and definitely eating light (to look our best in that brand new polka-dot bikini… or whatever it is). Haha.

I figured 4th of July was a good excuse to get back to the blogging, since food is such an important part of this big celebration. Cookouts, burgers, potlucks, American beer, watermelon, star-spangled cakes and treats… it all about traditional American food, light and fresh to reflect the season. Let’s face it, no one wants to turn on the oven or even cook indoors at all (with the exception of assembly) unless absolutely necessary.

For this 4th of July I decided to make chili-lime chicken burgers. True, they are not your traditional  burger, but it reflects the area I happen to live in, San Jose.. so American it is! I got the patties from Trader Joes and dolled them up with avocado, arugula, heirloom tomatoes, feta cheese, and bell peppers. I also made a simple corn black bean pepper salsa on the side for my quinoa tortilla chips. Nom nom… great snack while cooking.

After preparing my burger I made some strong lemon green tea (I thought about beer, but who wants to drink alone) with lots of ice and mint and sat down to my all-time favorite and very holiday-appropriate movie, Braveheart! Half way through the movie, I got my own personal firework show from my apartment window. I’ve never spent a 7/4 alone, but I have to say, this was one of my favorites. : )

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Chili-lime Chicken Burgers

Trader Joe’s Chili-lime burger patties

Arugula, rinsed and dried

Avocado, thinly sliced

Heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced

Yellow bell pepper

Crumbled feta cheese

Plain yogurt or greek yogurt

Store-bought pita bread, halved

Black bean and corn salsa (optional)

Grill or pan-fry burgers 3-4 minutes on each side. Meanwhile, arrange fixings neatly inside pita bread leaving space for burger patty. When done cooking, place patty inside pocket and drizzle yogurt on top and serve immediately with salsa and chips, and more veggies on the side. Grab a cold drink and enjoy! Happy 4th!

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Main Dishes, Meats, Sandwiches

Country-style Ratatoullie alla Genovese

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I’m sorry about my last post being just a multitude of pictures without any real explanation. I just get so excited by all the wonderful fresh produce in season, and farms, and farmer’s markets popping up that I get a little picture crazy. To me, one of the wonderful things about really fresh, just-picked produce, is that you can experiment a little with it.. the key being not to go overboard and let its true taste shine through. This is why I’ve come up with very few new recipes lately, and gone more for simplicity; letting the vegetables be the stars. Like in my Strawberry, goat cheese, and pistachio salad with walnut thyme vinaigrette or my Vine ripe tomatoes with basil and chevre. Its true you don’t need complicated recipes to make food taste great, which I’m reminded of as I’ve been reading Alice Waters’s biography: Alice Waters and Chez Panisse, which by the way I definitely recommend to any foodie or person interested in how this local food movement got stated–all right here in San Francisco (Berkeley, actually).

Alice Water’s life and vision come alive in this book. Highly recommend!

But before you go searching for that in your local library…try this recipe. Yes, its a recipe, but also lets fresh veggies shine their brightest in a unison of rich flavors. This is a heartier dish, to be served with rice, thick country bread, any white fish (monkfish, halibut, flounder), or on its own sprinkled with some good parmesan or pecorino romano. Unlike some more typical versions of ratatioullie that call for an hour in the oven (you know I’m hesitant of heating my apartment while its 85 degrees outside), this is a stovetop ratatouille. Nothing fancy about it, but the result is something so homey, rich and delicious… you’ll forget your just eating vegetables.

After my most recent trip to the farmer’s market, I somehow got saddled with 3 lbs of vine ripened tomatoes, 6 baby zucchini, and a giant bunch of Genovese basil. So to use it all up, I made a big batch of ratatouille and saved it (for 3 days!) and ate it for lunch or dinner. I would definitely throw in some eggplant and yellow squash if you have it on hand. I like to leave everything in big chunks so the flavors dont completely blend together and it gets mushy. This way each vegetables holds up and at the end you can really appreciate and taste each one for what it is.

If you want a more refined ratatoullie recipe for a dinner party or just to try out your mandoline skills, like the one in the movie Ratatoullie (Remy’s recipes), click here for a recipe from Smitten Kitchen. It has all the same ingredients and flavor, just a different look.

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Country-style Ratatoullie alla Genovese

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 7-10 cloves garlic, peeled and whole
  • 2-3 lbs vine ripened tomatoes, halved or whole if small*
  • 6 baby zucchini or 3 large zucchini, cut into thick rounds
  • (Italian eggplant or yellow squash of you have them, cut into large chunks)
  • 1/4 lb baby carrots or carrots cut into thick rounds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 pinches kosher salt
  • 2 handfuls fresh Genovese basil leaves, rinsed
  • 1/2 can cooked garbanzo beans, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Coarse black pepper & sea salt, to taste
  • Grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese, for serving

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1. Add the olive oil, onion, and whole garlic cloves to a deep sided fry pan or dutch oven over medium heat. Stir until translucent, about 2-3 minutes, but do not brown. Add your tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, squash and/or eggplant to the pan and stir occasionally for the first few minutes until juices start to release. Add the bay leaf, kosher salt, and stir.  IMG_1608

2. As the juices begin to simmer, add a sprig of thyme on top, cover pan, and let simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes (or until all veggies are cooked through, but not mushy). Remove thyme sprig. Let cool for 7 minutes with lid off then stir in basil leaves.

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3. Let sit until just warm and stir in garbanzo beans, balsamic, thyme (leaves only), and salt and fresh pepper to taste.** Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese, by itself or with one of the suggestions below.

Serve with thick country bread drizzled with olive oil and a pinch of salt, fresh pasta, brown rice, or simply prepared chicken or white fish.  The beauty of this dish is in its simplicity so don’t overdo it.

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*make sure your tomatoes are ripe, smell fragrant and sweet, and give them a good wash

**The reason for all the cooking times and waiting at the end is so that the stronger flavors of the herbs and vinegar do not overpower the delicate flavors of the vegetables (which they would if cooked too long). You also want to make sure the beans stay firm, so adding them at the end is important.

I imagine this dish would be served in the countryside in Italy as a no-frills, home-cooked and family-style dish with only the freshest of ingredients (hence the name). That was my inspiration and from Alice who is always reminding us to let things taste as they are– and not to fuss too much. Hopefully you find this meal as warm and comforting as I did, for three days in a row. Here’s so happy and simple eating! Boun Appetito.

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Filed under Blogs & Books, Local, Main Dishes, Seasonal, Sides, Vegetarian

Sticking to the Season: Farmer’s Market Madness!

Happy Dairy Cows at Deer Hollow Farm

Happy Dairy Cows at Deer Hollow Farm

Hey Lauren, I know it’s a little weird because what’s in season for me over in California has not yet reached the Mid-west. I’ve been going to farmers markets here, and I’m still blown away by the variety of fresh local produce that is already here! To give you an idea:

  • Strawberries
  • Asparagus
  • Rhubarb
  • Artichokes
  • Fava beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Spring peas
  • Green garlic
  • Spring onions
  • Oranges
  • Fennel
  • Kohlrabi
  • Nettles
  • Lettuce, mustard greens, arugula & spinach
  • Radishes
  • Herbs: basil, chamomile, mint, lavender, rose geranium, thyme
  • And much more….
My finds at the April farmers market in San Jose

My finds at the April farmers market in San Jose

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Tropical mint green tea

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Strawberry, goat cheese, and pistachio salad with walnut thyme vinaigrette

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Strawberry, goat cheese, and pistachio salad with walnut thyme vinaigrette

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Farmer’s fava beans

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Succulent strawberries and local walnuts

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Vine ripe tomatoes with basil and chevre

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Eating whole tomatoes with basil and chevre

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Fragrant basil bunch

Farm stand wildflower honey and strawberries

Farm stand wildflower honey and strawberries

Mint from my windowsill

Mint from my windowsill

Radishes from SMIP farm

Radishes from SMIP farm

Free range happy cows

Free range happy cows

Farmers market on Skyline

Farmers market on Skyline

Local Vendors

Local Vendors

My window garden

My window garden

New growth from my windowsill garden!

New growth from my windowsill garden!

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Filed under Local, On Food, Seasonal

The Everything Cookie

 

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Just like you have an everything bagel, welcome to the everything cookie. More of the good stuff, less of the not-so-good stuff. These are not your typical flour, butter, sugar cookies. Because let’s face it, as delicious as they can be, who wants to be eating that? No, these little gems are great afternoon pick-me ups and have plenty of fiber and protein to boot. Better yet, you can make them with anything you have in your pantry… throw in any variety of nut, seed, dried fruit, you name it. And don’t forget the nut butter.. that’s the glue and what holds these together.

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The Everything Cookie (& Gluten Free)

1/2 cup coconut oil (or 1/4 cup butter at room temp)

3/4 cup agave nectar

1/4 cup brown sugar (optional, or add more agave)

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

1 cup peanut butter

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup nuts (chopped walnuts, whole cashews, pistachios)

1/4 cup dried fruit or seeds (dried cranberries, blueberries, chia seeds, sunflower seeds)

Preheat oven to 350. Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan. In a large bowl, combine the coconut oil (or 1/4 cup butter), agave, brown sugar, and butter and beat with a mixer until light and creamy. Add eggs, vanilla, and baking soda, and mix well with a spatula. Add the peanut butter and fold in until fully incorporated. Stir in oats, chocolate, nuts, fruit and/or seeds. Place a rounded teaspoon of dough on lightly greased cookie sheets about 1-2 inches apart. Bake 9-10 minutes until lightly brown around edges for soft cookies (and leave in for 2 more minutes of you like them crispy).

1. Whisk oil (or butter) and sugarsIMG_1422

2. Add eggs, vanilla, & baking powderIMG_1424

3. Mix in Peanut butterIMG_1428

4. Mix in oatsIMG_1431

5. Mix in Nuts & seedsIMG_1434
6. Mix in chocolateIMG_1438

7. Spoon onto tray (1 tsp)IMG_1444

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8. Bake 9-10 minIMG_1448

9. Enjoy as dessert… or…IMG_1489

10. Give to friends!IMG_1453

Makes about 48 cookies, so you’ll have to share! I packed them up for my friends at the farm, my sweetheart, and my Stanford friend. Raving reviews from all! Hope you enjoy them too!

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Filed under Desserts