Recipe: Mesquite-spiced quinoa with sausage & black beans

I actually whipped together this recipe last weekend, so this post is long overdue. Turns out I’m still playing a bit of catch up from being on the road for business this past week — and with another stint away from home coming up shortly, I better get my feet under me right quick. Any and all avoidance of a Pig Faceplant is a good thing… So, this meal came about while browsing my total fave grocery spot in the whole world — Trader Joe’s, no doi —  for meal ideas that I could make for Chris in advance of my departure, or that he could whip together himself. If it’s been a while since you’ve inventoried the Trader Joe’s freezer section, give it a skim. It’s brimming with bibimbap, sweet potato gnocchi, Sicilian pizza, those fabulously decadent kobe-style burgers and more and could easily be a black hole for all home cooking if one weren’t motivated to do more than heat and eat. Perfect for bachelor dinspiration, right? Except we don’t have a microwave. I’ll save the why we don’t have a microwave rant for later (it’s short: first it was driven by space, now it’s implied superiority, muahaha), … Read More

Pig hiatus + out-of-bloffice protocol

Bloffice. Blog-office, get it? It’s not great, but I know you got it the first time. Just a quick update — I’ve not gone anywhere. Well, that’s not entirely true. I’ve been in Las Vegas for a trade show since Sunday, but I’ve not abandoned ship here at the Pig & Quill just yet. In fact, now that I’m back, I’ve got a couple of recipes on deck to post — plus I broke the cardinal rule of Vegas and documented a good amount of my gastronomic experiences there for detailed retelling later, so keep an eye out this week. In the meantime, if there are other bloggers reading this, please tell me: when you’re on the road, how much time do you spend prepping queued posts or queuing guest posts to fill the void? It’s something I’ve hardly considered (proof again that I’m really only so-so at this whole thing) so please share tips!

Recipe: Spicy garlic noodles (with peas)

Wow, sorry it’s been a while. I seem to have stumbled upon a series of social opportunities this week that took my usual routine of EatCleanBlogBed and chucked it out the window. Happy news is that, while absent, I was off lunching at one of my favorite spots in Sacramento, Magpie (home of the carrot cake cookie!); enjoying course after course of handmade Italian fare at Osteria Coppa with some of my favorite ladies; and enjoying the original jazz tunes of the smokin’ hot Adam Walter Band at the aptly named The Cats tavern in Los Gatos. Who knew there was more to life than sweatpants and Netflix? Ah, the little things. The sad news, unfortunately, is that while this return post is a recipe for, hands down, one of the most adored and frequently enjoyed meals in our house, it’s disappointingly simple. You won’t find any truffle oil, pools of glossy browned butter or fatty pork side here. But oh, this dish brings the flavor. Have you ever heard of the famed Garlic Noodles at the popular restaurant Crustacean (San Francisco/LA)? I won’t use the words dead ringer, but this pasta comes satisfyingly close. This is everyone’s favorite aglio, olio e peperoncino … Read More

My running story

Hi friends. This Sunday, having completed one of the longest (if not the fastest) runs in my short career as a wannabe jogger, I thought I’d take a break from food for a moment to talk about something that is so closely associated with food, sad as it may be: fitness. More specifically, I know there are thousands of foodies out there (granted, they probably don’t read The Pig & Quill!) who swear just as much by their fitness regimen as they do their vast culinary prowess — and the thing is, I am not one of them. Or at least not really. But I always like to hear how fitness factors into the lives of these follow porkers (pet name, not an insult), so I thought I would take a not-so-quick stab at doing the same. Here goes: my running story. By now you may have gathered that I like to eat. A LOT. What I’m not so keen on doing, either a lot or even a little, is exercising. I get a little cardio in here and there walking back and forth from my desk to the kitchen at work. And we have a bouldering wall in our office … Read More

Recipe: Restaurant-style, oven-baked potato rounds

Do you ever have one of those nights when the only thing you can possibly fathom for dinner is a life raft of french fries, preferably with a bucket of bloomin’ onion sauce on the side? I’ll pretend you said Yes so we can close the chapter on commiserating and get on with the good stuff: these de-fricking-licious potato rounds. Ok, so they’re not fries, but they ARE a very close, crispy, seasoned approximation, eerily similar to the thick-cut potato wedges you see at fine dining establishments across America. You know the ones — red and white awnings, 2-for-1 Double Downs, the uuje. But are you ready for the kicker? The bonus factor that made me feel completely justified in eating, oh, a whole crap-ton of these things? They’re virtually FAT-FREE. Uh, boom? Restaurant-Style Oven-Baked Potato Rounds By Emily Stoffel Cooking time: 35 minutes | Serves: uhhh, lets go with 2? Notes: Despite what might seem like a boatload of spices, the recipe below actually results in relatively lightly seasoned potato rounds. If you’re really feeling that fast food flavor, double the spices and skip the extra salt at the end. Bloomin’ onion sauce optional (although The Brown Eyed Baker … Read More

Recipe: Soft-scrambled tofu with oyster sauce, Thai basil and egg

When Chris is out of the house for mealtime, a couple of things happen: 1) I catch up on DVR’d episodes of Real Housewives of ____________ and 2) I whip up a two big portions of a simple, unfussy meal full of comforting flavors — and then eat them both. Tonight was no exception. Tofu is one of those things I always have in the fridge. With sweet and salty oyster sauce and fresh, aromatic basil, this is tofu at its dressed-down best. Soft-scrambled Tofu with Oyster Sauce, Thai Basil and Egg By Emily Stoffel Cooking time: 10 minutes | Serves: 2 Note: While extra firm tofu is great for stir-frys, opt for firm (at the firmest) in this recipe. When warmed through, it becomes silky and smooth while still retaining a bit of structure. Ingredients: 1 T toasted sesame oil 1 small onion, diced 1 container firm tofu, drained 2 T oyster sauce, or more to taste sriracha to taste 1 small bunch Thai basil, torn or roughly chopped 2 eggs toasted sesame seeds hot cooked rice Instructions Heat oil in a med-high saute pan or wok until hot. Add diced onion and stir-fry until translucent and lusciously onion-smelling … Read More

In the Pigpen No.2: Guest blogging, bronzer down! and Netflix

It’s Wednesday, and that can only mean one thing: hump puns. Lucky for you all, this Wednesday we’re also taking a trip to the Pigpen to explore some of the more miscellaneous ramblings of this P&Q author. Get humped up. Here we go: 1) I got my first Guest Blog gig! I didn’t want to steal any thunder from Full Circle when this went live last week, but this past weekend my (first-ever) guest posts for The Good Food Life went live. If you’re not yet savvy (thanks to Captain Jack Sparrow for bringing that one back a few years ago), The Good Food Life is Full Circle Farm’s blog, and it delivers an almost daily (sometimes more than daily) dose of everything from original recipes and fresh produce facts to nutrition tips and organic industry articles. For my guest post, I was asked to put together three weekday dinner recipes, one being my Garlic Chicken and Plums, which featured fresh produce from my first Full Circle delivery — plus two new recipes for Roasted Kale Pesto and a Weekday Wedding Soup that I’ll be posting here later this week for archiving purposes. (For a sneak peek, check out all … Read More

Recipe: Zucchini “fritters” with chard and poached eggs

This afternoon at about 5:45, I called my husband at work. It was the usual: how are things going, when are you headed home, and then — in simulcast — what do you want to do for dinner? My answer: Jinx, you owe me a Coke! His answer: Should we do something with all those veggies in the fridge? You mean, besides just letting them decorate the crisper drawer? Like, yeah, I guesso. So that’s what I did. On the drive home, I mentally inventoried our booty of garden fare and tried to think of a way to cram as much veg as possible into a dish that was slightly more exciting than a wok full of stir-fry. My first thought was a savory zucchini bread, inspired by this griddled gem that has been taunting me ever since I saw it on Food Gal a few days ago. But I wanted to challenge myself to use not just a scant cup or so of zucchini but ALL my zucchini, in one dish that would be consumed in one sitting — without becoming a squash version of Violet Beauregarde in the process. Waffle maker to the rescue. I don’t know if all … Read More

Recipe: Rosemary sugar prune crisp

I know, I know, the first thing that comes to mind when you think prunes isn’t dessert. If you’re anything like me, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t even positive (it’s Barbara Mandrell, if we’re being honest). But last weekend, while having brunch at my grandparents house, my cousin Kyle asked me if I had tried the sugar prunes from their tree. I was shocked. Prunes? From a tree? I thought prunes were only prunes after they were dried, with the fresh version being a plum. Alas, turns out a dried prune is just a dried fresh prune, much like a dried apricot is just a dried fresh apricot  — but then why is a dried grape a raisin? SO CONFUSING. But I digress. A dried prune is a dried fresh prune, which yes, implies that there is such a thing as a fresh prune, and *gasp!* they are quite delicious. Smaller and more oblong than what we might think of as a conventional plum, the prunes that my grandparents grow have an almost candy-like sweetness and a firm but yielding flesh. What’s interesting about their prunes, in particular, is that the tree on which they grow has … Read More

Recipe: Eggs marinara on crostini

This recipe goes out to my dear friend Emily, who, in addition to having an excellent name, has an excellent palate and is one of my most frequent dining companions. At Emily’s request, we made up some of these eggs for a quick breakfast before heading into the office yesterday, but they’re just as much of a treat for dinner or brunch. I believe Rachael Ray would, in fact, call this a BLAD recipe, which is supposed to stand for “Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner” but instead seems like onomatopoeia for a plain ol’ BAD recipe, so I’ll scrap the acronym and call this dish what it really is: fast, cheap and damn tasty. (I do feel I should make the quick disclaimer that this recipe is hardly original. Eggs marinara are (is?) nothing new, and there are countless ways to dress them (it?) up with cheeses, truffle oil, fresh herbs and inventive, homemade sauces. So view this as a method, more than anything. Ok? Ok.) Eggs Marinara on Crostini By Emily Stoffel Cooking time: 10 minutes | Serves: 2 Notes: I like to keep things moving along quickly by toasting my two lil’ slices of bread in a toaster oven. If you’d … Read More