Broiled ruby red grapefruit with vanilla bean or a discussion on simplicity.

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In my opinion (which you get a lot of here on my blog) I have found nothing sexier then simplicity. When you can take something or someone and just enjoy them as they are. The most beautiful things on earth are those that require no particular accoutrement, for example a beautiful sunset or a newborn baby. True beauty is natural, uncomplicated, and done with ease. Life is incredibly short and it seems we manimals have a particular gift for over complication, in relationships, in appearance, even in food. From experience the best dishes I have made usually have the least (usually 5 or less), but best ingredients I can find.
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Vegan IPA beer cheese

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I love browsing the recipes and ideas that others have to share. I was doing some reading on food52 and came across this recipe for vegan cheese and thought it sounded really easy and good. It also made me think of one of my favorite things at the bar I used to work at in Ogden, their Stout ale dip is delicious!
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Lamb Biftekia with Anchovy, sundried tomato and mint sauce

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Biftekia is basically the Greek word for burger. After I graduated high school in 1999 my parents took myself and my sisters to Greece and I ate this several times, usually made with ground lamb, these were often served on skewers and served with different condiments. I decided to try my hand at my own version of these, which are similar to meatballs or meatloaf, I used a roll of delicious Papa George’s 100% American ground lamb and combined it with a few other seasonings. For my sauce I used another flavor packed pantry item….ANCHOVIES! Packed in olive oil and salt these lil’ babies can add umami flavor and depth to many dishes. Anchovies are not just for pizza, they are a great way to add the salt element to a dish, and I used mint, lemon, capers and sundried tomatoes to round out the flavors and served with the lamb biftekia it balanced out perfectly. Similar to the use of the condiment Nuoc Cham in Vietnamese cooking, this condiment can be used with a variety of roasted meat, veggies, or even as a topping for pasta.
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Anchovy, sundried tomato and mint sauce:
3 olive oil packed anchovy fillets
2 Tablespoons chopped, oil packed sundried tomatoes
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons Bragg’s liquid aminos (you can use soy, I would suggest temari for this)
¼ cup fresh mint
¼ cup fresh curly parsley
Juice of one lemon
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons hot water
2 teaspoons capers
I like to use a mortar and pestle for this to keep a more rustic texture, you can you a blender or food processor but just pulse a few times. Combine anchovies, garlic, sugar, sundried tomatoes, mint and parsley, muddle until it forms a thick paste, add the rest of ingredients, and stir to combine. Can be made up to a week in advance and kept in the fridge.
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For lamb biftekia kabobs:
3/4 lb ground lamb, I used one roll of Papa George’s ground lamb
1/4 cup minced onion
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
a pinch of red pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
6 bamboo skewers
In a medium bowl mix meat with other ingredients, portion into six logs. Wrap the meat mixture around skewers. Grill 4 minutes flip, cook another 3 minutes or so until firm. I used my indoor grill pan, you can also do these under a broiler, just watch closely to not over cook. Serve with anchovy sauce.
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Simple 7 ingredient Pico de gallo

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For the last week and a half I have been in my hometown of Ogden, UT. The visit wasn’t planned and was a result of a family emergency. The worst of it has now passed and with a ton of support of family and friends we made it through and are hoping for a full recovery for my Dad. When I was here last summer I posted a recipe for tacos made by my nephew’s girlfriend Felisha. We decided to make them again for dinner and realized I never blogged her outstanding, but simple pico recipe, which is quite essential for the full experience. I went to my favorite Mexican market Rancho Market in Ogden, and as usual the produce was the best around, the roma tomatoes especially ripe and beautiful considering its February and more then a few months out of peak tomato season, the beef is ground fresh to order and the experience is one that shouldn’t be missed if you enjoy a friendly small town shopping experience, if you live in O-town and you haven’t gone there you are to say the least missing out on a rare gem in our tiny ski town.
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We made enough for a crowd, so I am blogging that amount, if you want to half everything to make less you can, but it does stay quite nicely in a sealed container in the fridge for a week or more.
2 lbs Roma tomatoes, stems removed and diced small
1 medium red onion, diced small
3 Jalapenos, diced small, with seeds, now the amount you like depends on how spicy you like it, ours was spicy but not hell fire by any means, choose your own adventure
juice from 3 juicy limes, think ceviche level, in fact you could add fish and make this into an easy ceviche!
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or smashed, Felisha says a teaspoon of garlic powder works fine if you don’t have fresh
one bunch cilantro, stems and all chopped
1/2 Tablespoon salt
Combine in a bowl! Put on everything and anything!
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This is one of those recipes that won’t require a recipe and you will find that you will no longer need to buy any jarred salsa ever! I must say the better the produce the better the product will be, find your own ethnic market in your town and talk to your grocer, butcher, and check out person get to know them and show interest in what they do and tell them you appreciate them…they will let you know about all the best stuff!
For me cooking is a way to show love, and when times get rough sometimes the best you can do is make something to share with your loved ones and to have a meal together. Tell your family and friends you love them and be available when others are experiencing hard times…bumps in the road are essential to living life and with every trial that comes my way I learn from and become a bit more understanding of others….you never know what someone is going through till you walk a mile in their shoes.