Mediterranean Taquitos

It doesn’t take a lot for me to be impressed with food. I love food so much that I try not to discriminate against anything—except for my hatred of coconut and mango but that’s a story for another time—so I’ll essentially eat everything that is presented to me and I’ll thoroughly enjoy it too. I tend to get really excited over the simplest of dishes. They don’t necessarily have to be super fancy with a million ingredients, half of which I can’t even pronounce, in order for me to like it. Where’s the fun in that? Good food can be simple and you don’t have to sell your arm or your leg to get it either. I’m all for trying new things and expanding palate because I’m a firm believer of having to try everything at least once before writing it off as something I do not care for. How else will you know if you like something or not, if you don’t try it? There’s nothing more unnerving, or scary for that matter, then when I overhear people say they don’t like a certain dish or ingredient, yet they’ve never tried it before and refuse to give it a chance. Come on, let’s be more adventurous. Food isn’t scary. Food is delicious.

A few weeks ago I visited a Mediterranean restaurant by my place—we’ve made a promise to venture out and explore our neighborhood more because there are so many options close by to us and yet we always end up going to the same restaurants—and they make the very best Greek-style street food around. I decided to try something new and picked the Mediterranean Taquitos, although if I’m being honest I probably would’ve picked the taquitos regardless because I happen to really love taquitos. But that’s not the point of this story. They were incredible and I couldn’t stop talking about them all night so Julian eventually told me to make them for my blog, mainly because he wanted some at home but also because I’m sure he wanted me to stop talking about them. Little did he know that I’d still be talking about them till this day and now I’m mentioning them even more because I’ve just barely shared them with you. 

I’ll be talking about these taquitos for a while, and no one can stop me. Can you blame me though? I know that when you give them a try yourself, you’ll be talking about them too. Go ahead and make them already so we can have a discussion around the water cooler. There’s so much to talk about, like the delicious yogurt-marinated chicken filling, the flaky lavash and of course that creamy feta and olive sauce on top of a crisp Greek-salad topping. It doesn’t get any better than that. 

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Spinach, Garlic and Chicken Chardonnay White Pizza

We’re beginning to settle into our new place just nicely these days. I’m starting to cook a lot more, once again, and even getting back into the rhythm of creating new recipes for the site. I’ve been away far too long if you ask me. The very first thing we bought for our new home was a pizza stone, even before we got some of the more important things like a lamp or dining table. I wanted to make sure we had our pizza nights locked in. This is actually the first pizza stone I’ve ever owned. As a matter of fact, someone on instagram recommended it to me a long time ago and I immediately thought about their comment when I picked it up at the store. They were absolutely right, pizzas are 100 times better when cooked on this round ceramic pizza cooking contraption. It’s like magic. Like the future. It makes it so easy to achieve that artisan pizza taste and texture. (The following has been a PSA for Pizza Stones of America. Is that an actual thing? It totally should be).

Moving and unpacking has taught me that we’re all looking for quick and easy recipes that require little to no time in the kitchen. Sometimes we’re just too tired to whip up something fancy during the week, or we simply don’t have the time to devote ourselves to a meal that takes way too long to make. That’s okay. Instead of reaching for that take-out menu, though, we should be focusing on creating simple recipes that taste just as good (if not better) as the restaurant version. I’m always trying to come up with new and exciting ways to incorporate pizza into my daily life. If I had it my way, we’d be eating pizza every single night. Oh, different kinds of course. I mean I do have some standards. Pizza everyday for dinner just sounds like a dream come true, doesn’t it? 

One easy way to turn a drab meal into something fun and exciting is by incorporating wine into the dish. Sure, wine is great to drink with dinner, but it’s also great to cook with! I’ve partnered up with Barefoot Wine to bring you this delicious Spinach, Garlic and Chicken Chardonnay White Pizza. It’ll change the way you think about pizza and wine forever! Get ready to eat the entire pizza by yourself, especially with the creamy white garlic sauce that gets slathered on top of it underneath all of that cheese and tasty toppings. Are you rethinking that “pizza every night” thing we talked about earlier? You should be. 

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Chorizo, White Bean and Chard Bruschetta

Julian and I are in the midst of looking for an apartment. Preferably a dog friendly, hardwood floored, large windowed, blasting with natural light, gas range, large balcony, few unit building, type of apartment. That’s not a lot to ask for, right? I don’t think so. We actually found one that I’ve been obsessing over. One that I’m no longer allowed to talk about because apparently I’ve been driving people crazy over it. I can’t even bring up the subject of that apartment to him (or to my mom and sisters) because if I do…well, I’m not sure what would happen If I do, but let’s just say I was threatened not to talk about it anymore. I mean, sure I’ve mentioned it once or twice (if that), in passing, over the last couple of days, and yeah okay, so I might’ve driven by the place one too many times, bordering on becoming a complete and total stalker, but it’s perfectly harmless. I have this feeling about it. I can’t explain it. Maybe I’m turning into a psychic magician or something as I get older. I don’t know. I just see myself living there, is that a crime? We’re currently in the waiting process, which happens to be the worst process of all because I have to somehow continue looking through all the other dumpy, awful, (not that one I want) apartments, just in case we don’t get my dream apartment. Just in case someone takes it from us, crushing all of my hopes and dreams in the process. Not a big deal at all. 

I’ve been postponing the dreadful packing part of this whole ordeal because I’m lazy but also because…no, pretty much just because I’m lazy. I figure I’ll wait until the very end, then say something like, “I have so much work! I have to post a few things to the blog first!” And then have Julian do it all for me. *Insert evil laugh here.* Shhh, don’t tell him I told you that. It’s our little secret. I did go out and get some boxes though. That should count for something. And by “go out and get some” I mean I bought a few things online and didn’t throw away the boxes they were delivered in. That still counts. I’m way ahead of the game. 

With all of this looking for apartments, driving by that one dream place, and pretending to pack, I’ve been too busy to cook much around here. I somehow keep thinking about that one kitchen I’ll soon be cooking in and how great it’ll be to have so much more space…oh I’m not supposed to talk about it anymore. Anyhow, I’ve been making really easy dishes that require no work at all and can be made rather quickly. Things we can eat while we drink wine because it takes a lot out of a person to look for the perfect place to move into. I’ve always been a big fan of tapas. What about you? They make me feel so fancy whenever we go out to eat some. Also because it’s just a big ol’ sharing feast and you don’t feel super stuffed, like you can barely move, after you eat it. Also, something about tiny food just makes me so happy. I like to pretend I’m a giant eating normal sized food, but in my giant hands it’s super tiny….gosh now that I think about it, I really need to grow up. I should go and pretend to pack some more. Let’s all enjoy this bruschetta though. 

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Roasted Asparagus Sandwiches

I’d like to discuss so much with you in regards to the perfect sandwich. One might think that there isn’t much to it, other than a few common ingredients here and there, but they’re wrong. There’s so much more to it than a few slices of bread and some filling in between. The bread needs to be hearty and toasted. I’m the kind of the guy that likes my bread toasted to the point where it can pass as a lethal weapon. Always have been, ever since I was a little boy. It was so bad that I wouldn’t even eat my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches if my mamma didn’t toast the bread for me. I’d throw the sandwich back in her face if it wasn’t (that didn’t really happen, although now she’ll claim that it did, just you watch). Of course the perfect sandwich has got to have cheese of some kind. No exception. It doesn’t matter what kind of cheese, I don’t discriminate, just as long as there is cheese involved. And lots of it. The ultimate sandwich needs meat, also. I’m not a vegetarian and although sometimes I find it necessary to pretend to be (don’t ask), when it comes to a sandwich, all bets are off. Something salty and cured is definitely a must. Because my dream sandwich involves lots of bread and cheese and cured meat, it needs to have a vegetable of some sort, you know, to pass itself off as “healthy.” Whatever is in season will do, don’t worry about it. It’s really just so that my mom and doctor won’t complain. See guys? I’m eating my veggies! I love vegetables!

So now that we have all that down, the sandwich to end all sandwiches is coming together. Before we can proceed to devouring said sandwich, however, it needs to have  a crunch factor of some sort. I’m all about different textures when it comes to eating. I don’t like to feel like I’m eating baby food, where everything is sort of one note, that one note being mush. I’d say to throw some potato chips directly into the sandwich itself, but I’m trying to be classy here. I sometimes forget that I’m not ten years old anymore and people expect you to eat your chips on the side, not on the inside. All these rules, I can’t seem to keep up. So we’ll classify this sandwich making business up a bit by adding a nut of some sort. Walnuts will do. Pine nuts would be great, sure, but what am I made of money?!

Once you have all these different components together, you can begin to assemble the World’s Best Sandwich. Or Jon’s Ultimate Sammie if you’d like. Or maybe Move Over Subway Because You Ain’t Got Nothing On Us? Okay, perhaps not the last one, I’m still working on the title, bear with me. So here we are making delicious sandwiches like our lives depend on it, because it’s a serious task. One that requires so much more than we originally anticipated. We’re sandwich making masters. Pros. We got this. We’re going to make them open-faced and put an egg on top because we all know that everything is better with an egg on top. Hello, that’s why there’s a saying going around, “put an egg on top.” So now that we know how to make the perfect sandwich, all that’s left to do is to go out and celebrate this feat by making these perfect sandwiches and eating ALL of them until we can’t eat anymore. That’s the only way I like to eat my sandwiches if I’m being honest. 

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Loaded Baked Potato Scones

I don’t think I have to explain my undying love of potatoes to you. I think you just get it. If I were to say to you that potatoes are the best vegetable/starch ever, like in all the worlds, well you would know I wasn’t lying. You’d most likely agree with me, because umm hello, potatoes. I have this obsession with potatoes. That’s where Potato Tacos and Potato Balls come into the picture. Not like a “they’re so good I’m obsessed can’t get enough of them” kind of obsession. While yes that’s true, it’s more like a “I need to eat potato everything and anything because they’re that good,” kind of obsession. I think it’s a healthy addiction. Nothing to worry about. It’s quite common if you really think about it. Don’t look at me like that!

I know that at some point I’ll be asked if these are scones or biscuits, and to tell you the truth, I’m not quite sure myself. I have no idea. Let’s be frank, they look exactly the same. All I know is that they’re flaky and delicious and I want to eat them all. I guess we can call them biscuit scones. Biscones. Or sconsuits. Hey look at us, we’re inventing new things. Aren’t we clever? The answer is yes. Always, yes. In all honesty, jokes aside, scones and biscuits, they’re pretty much the same thing, right? I mean, I can’t really tell the difference. Some sources claim to know the answer. The answer being that scones have eggs in the dough. Um no. I know plenty of scones that don’t have eggs in them so therefore, are they biscuits? Others claim that scones are scones if they are triangular and biscuits are biscuits if they are circular. This might be the case but at the same time, I’ve seen circular scones so I don’t think there’s a right answer here. I think the people who invented each of them got together and decided to play a trick on all of us. They wanted to mess with our heads. 

The bottom line is I made these potato scones/biscuits with bacon and cheese and I can’t think of anything more delicious at the moment. They’re something out of this world, especially right out of the oven all warm and flaky and delicious looking. Am I convincing you yet? These biscuits/scones are sort of like the ultimate snack, perfect for on-the-go. It’s potatoes, cheese and bacon and bread in a small package that you can eat with one hand while you (safely) drive to work or school or where ever else you drive. How about now? Are you convinced? These scones/biscuits are all like, “Hey look at us, we’re loaded with potatoes and crispy bacon and delicious cheese. You need to eat us!” They’re calling out to you because they know you can’t resist. Don’t fight it anymore, go on and make these biscuits/scones for yourself. 

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Kale and Artichoke Dip

So long spinach. Goodbye. It was nice knowing you. Until next time. You’re out of the picture. You’ve been replaced by a new green. Something much more marketable and hip and tasty, and do you want to know something, spinach? People really love the new you, too. It’s sad, but true. They can’t get enough of it. It seems to be everywhere right now. No matter where I turn, BAM, I run into it. You can’t escape it, spinach. You’re done. Cooked. No one wants you anymore. You were popular, what, in the eighties? You’ve had a nice run though, so you can’t complain. I think it’s better to go while you’re still on top. While people still remember you with admiration and nostalgia. Take the high road, on your way out. It’s the only sophisticated thing to do. One day you’ll look back at this moment and think to yourself, “Everyone was right to trade me in. I am a loser. I’ve reached my full potential.” It’s okay though, cheer up spinach. Think of all the happy and healthy times you brought all those people throughout the years—that is before kale came into the picture and stole all of your thunder, rendering you pretty much useless and unwanted. Word on the street is that even Popeye the Sailor Man is getting all his strength from kale these days. Talk about hitting rock bottom, spinach. Hitting the cold hard concrete. In the pouring rain. Shut out with nowhere to turn to. 

There there spinach, don’t cry. It happens to the best of us. You should be happy that kale is getting its chance in the spotlight. It’s nice to share. Between you and I, spinach, I think it’s just a fad. People in this town like to jump on band wagons. You see, in no time they’ll get bored of kale, throwing out words like “one note” and “non-versatile.” I can see it already. You’ll be back on top…eventually. Oh spinach, I’m not saying it’ll be tomorrow or anytime soon. I’m sure it’ll be a long while before people forget about the wonder that is kale. It’s pretty magical, but I’m sure you don’t need to hear that right now.

I guarantee you though, that there will come a day when everyone drops kale like it’s hot. It’ll lose its cool factor and they’ll move on to something new and exciting. Something bigger and better. That’s where you come back in, spinach. You swoop in with a new and improved look. A rebranding so to speak. When Popeye comes running back, you say, “Get lost Sailor Man! I don’t need you!” Get yourself a new spokesperson and reinvent yourself. That’ll win America’s hearts back once again. Then you’ll slap kale in the face and send it running back to the dark hole from whence it came. You’ll have the last laugh, dear ol’ spinach. I know it’s difficult to see that right now because of all the tears and anger towards kale, but you’ll see how right I am. Hey! I know what will cheer you up! I made some dip, maybe you’d like some. Dip always makes me feel better. I tried out this new recipe. It has artichokes and lots of cheese and this deliciously wonderful green in it. Oh what green, you ask? You don’t know it. It’s a new green, spinach. Something out of this world. You’re still number one though (in my heart), and that’s all that matters.

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