Fry Bread Breakfast Tacos

It might not come as a shock to you that my favorite thing to do as a kid was eat. Oh yeah, big surprise, this food blogger loved to eat when he was a little boy. How original. But it really was my all-time favorite hobby (still is), and I was a pro at it too (still am). If they handed out trophies for eating, my mom would have mine displayed around the mantel for sure. If she had a mantel. I’d have dozens, humble brag. Where was I?  Oh yeah, I could eat like no one’s business. As a matter of fact there are a ridiculous number of photos of me just stuffing my face. It’s weird, but not really because that’s pretty much all I did. I’d share some of the pictures with you now, if they weren’t so disastrous to look at. Don’t worry, I won’t subject you guys to such chaos. No one deserves that. Hey, thanks folks for taking pictures of your kids eating with food all over our faces. I’m sure they do that on purpose so they have something to embarrass us with later on in life.

I wasn’t a picky eater at all either. I would never ask, “What is this?” or “Why does it look like that?” To tell you the truth, I wouldn’t even have time to ask because as soon as I sat down at the table, I’d start scarfing it down. Whatever it was. I’d already be requesting seconds before my mom even had a chance to sit down. I exaggerate, but only slightly I assure you. I was strategic about eating as well. Not in the way that you might think. Nothing crazy like none of my food could touch each other or anything like that—that’s a real thing that my sister suffered from and I’d just stare at her, reassured she was an alien with her partitioned plate. Her alien status worked to my advantage though, because boy was she a picky eater. Not so much any more but every so often it will come out and show it’s ugly face. Anyhow so there I was, young me (awesome in my dinosaur shirt that I’d never take off), and there she was my alien sister, slightly older, eating as slowly and as neatly as possible and with a fork no less (what a girl). I’d purposefully sit next to her because I’d know she’d  inevitably not like something on her plate and I’d be lucky enough to get it. She’d discreetly toss it onto my plate. I’d play it cool too. “Ahh man, you want me to sit next to Nick? But she has cooties!!” I’d yell out, but secretly I’d be thinking, “Yessss! I get to eat seconds and her food on top of that! Score!”

Although I enjoyed every dinner meal, there were certain days I’d look forward to the most. Like Taco Tuesdays, that often times became Tostada Tuesdays with the occasional Burrito Tuesdays thrown into the mix. That one didn’t have the same ring to it but we loved Burrito Tuesdays all the same. My mom would get creative and switch it up as much as she possibly could. So here I am, older me (still awesome sans dinosaur shirt) with the same penchant for tacos. Still sitting next to my sister (cooties and all) at restaurants or parties, grabbing the foods she doesn’t care for right from her plate. Some things never change, and I’m happy that they don’t. Tacos however, those are always changing and I’m glad that they are. Like these fry bread breakfast tacos for instance, combining three of my favorite things; breakfast, tacos and fried things. How could you possibly go wrong?

[Read more...]

Baked Blueberry Crumb Doughnuts

I was originally going to act like this recipe and post is no big deal. Yeah, blueberry baked doughnuts. So what? Oh yeah, I totally put a cinnamon crumb topping on them, doesn’t everyone? Scoff scoff. I was going to pretend to not even be excited about them, because that would be much cooler, right? The reality is, I’m not that good of an actor. Also I underestimated my love of doughnuts. I’m not even going to pretend that I don’t like those pillowy delicious treats and that this post isn’t a big deal, because it is in fact a very big deal. Monumental actually. Let’s all take a moment to ponder and comprehend the gravity of the situation we find ourselves in at the moment. The situation being that we’re all going to have to stare at these doughnuts for the next several minutes, and have to deal with the fact that they aren’t right in front of our faces. Why aren’t they right in front of our faces? Why aren’t we devouring them at this very moment? I mean, this is the stuff that dreams are made of. I’m convinced that blueberries and cinnamon are up in heaven, for sure. Just between the two of us though—you and I, don’t tell anyone else—I’m still very surprised that I was able to come up with such a delicious recipe, almost overnight. Sometimes I surprise myself, like whoa.

Right from the beginning, I knew I wanted to make another baked doughnut recipe, like the one before, if you recall (Baked Peanut Butter Chocolate Doughnuts) because that one actually changed my life forever. Maybe even in ways that I could never have dreamt of. So there I was one day last week, scratching my head and pondering as hard as I could, “What should my next post be? What can I make, but really what do I feel like eating?” Then BAM it all sort of made sense to me in an instant. It came to me in a vision-like dream. It hit me hard like a bullet (slight dramatization). I knew I needed to make these doughnuts because in reality my all time favorite doughnut is the cinnamon crumb doughnut. You know the kind? The yeast variety rolled around in a cinnamon crumb topping. It’s the best. I could go for a few dozen right now actually, but that’s a whole other story. They’re delicious and completely addicting. Like wake up in the middle of the night and eat about ten of them without realizing it, addicting. Then wake up in the morning and proceed to have another ten like if your life depended on it and you were about to win a medal for it. That’s the best kind of addiction to have, in my opinion.

So a few days later I was getting ready to make a batch of baked cinnamon crumb doughnuts for you guys—but let’s be honest it was really for me—when I realized I had a pint of fresh blueberries in the fridge. The only thing on the top shelf actually, and it was almost as if someone was telling me to make blueberry doughnuts at that very instant. A sign sent from I don’t know where. Probably from me because I’m like seventy percent sure I bought those blueberries in the first place. Several hours later I was devouring the best doughnut I’ve had in a very long time. Turns out blueberries and doughnuts are meant to be together forever, and if you don’t believe me, I guess you’ll just have to find out for yourself. Be sure to let me know the moment you become addicted so that I can rub it in your face and say I told you so. I’m kidding, I wouldn’t really do that….I’d also throw in an “I Told You So” dance because that’s the way to do it.

[Read more...]

Brussels Sprouts and Apple Quiche

I’m going to be completely honest with you all right here, right now. I feel like you need to hear my confession. I’m currently knee deep in denial friends and I can’t help it. It’s not even the good kind of denial, it’s the bad kind. I actually don’t know if there’s a good kind of denial but I feel like there might be, and if this was the good kind I’d sure know about it. So I’ll reiterate, it’s not the good kind. I refuse to believe or even acknowledge that it’s mid-November already. I don’t want to even think about saying it out loud because I feel like if I do, then that’ll make it real. It’ll put it out there and I’m not ready for that kind of permanence. Seriously though, where has the time gone? Where is it heading so fast? Hey time, slow down a bit yeah? Why are you in such a hurry? You’re moving way too fast for my taste. I feel like it was Thanksgiving and Christmas 2012, just yesterday. I keep asking everyone I encounter—from the cashier at the grocery store, to the mailman, even the dog on the street—”Can you believe it’s almost the end of the year already?!” They responded to me just as shocked as I was, except of course for the dog. He just looked at me and tilted his head to the side. Probably thought I was a piece of bacon or something. The sense of time lost on him no doubt. Memo to myself, I need to think more like a dog and lose my sense of time. Added to my to-do list.

The thought that Thanksgiving is just around the corner is giving me anxiety and it’s starting to sink in. It’s creeping up fast and I have not yet begun to prepare myself for this gigantic holiday. Don’t get me wrong, physically I’m prepared. I’m always ready to eat large amounts of delicious turkey and sides and pie until I can’t move anymore and all I want to do is take a nap or eat some more. (Whichever comes first.) If I could, I’d do that everyday of my life. I’m totally kidding (but not really). Thanksgiving happens to be my favorite holiday—just in case you didn’t already know that—second of course to the 4th of July. But we’ll save that conversation for another time. This isn’t a 4th of July post. So at the moment Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. That’s all you need to know. Someone might need to slap me a couple of times to shake me out of this trance though. My mind still thinks it’s summer, and I have the unusually warm weather here in LA to thank for this. It’s mid-November, it shouldn’t be this hot! Get it together California, you’re killing me!

As my mind tries desperately to get into the right mindset for the upcoming holidays,  I decided to let this post give me the inspiration and boost I’ve been looking for in order to prepare myself for all the cooking and eating (and eating) that’s sure to come soon. I figured that if I used ingredients typically found around the Thanksgiving table, I’d be able to get inspired and get my act together. So I bring to you this Brussels Sprouts and Apple Quiche. I think it screams Thanksgiving without beating you over the head with it. It’s more like “Oh hey, morning after Thanksgiving meal! You look mighty tasty,” instead of, “Oh wow this is like Thanksgiving exploded all over the place,” and that’s something I can totally get behind. I don’t know if this post really helped or not. Just continue to lie to me. Let me be in denial for a few more days. I’ll deal with it next week, but for now I’m going to eat this quiche and pretend that it’s not, absolutely not, mid-November and I think you should do the same. We’re all better off this way.

[Read more...]

Baked Peanut Butter Chocolate Doughnuts

I’ve been in a funk lately. An unexplainable funk. I was recently on a mini vacation, visiting a friend in Michigan and I had the best time ever. Of course the company I shared, definitely helped with that. Can I just take a moment to tell you how beautiful Michigan is during this time of year?! I mean seriously, it really is. It was my first time there and I was blown away by everything. It’s the type of beauty that takes your breath away. The kind you only see in movies and certainly not the type you see in Los Angeles. I mean sure LA is awesome in it’s own right. We have the beaches and sun and pretty consistent perfect weather. A few palm trees here and there. Just a few. It’s a different kind of beauty all together. I was born and raised here and I’ll forever consider this place my home, even if life takes me somewhere else. However, to experience a real autumn where there are actually colors on trees and leaves on the ground with a chilly air clinging to everything, now that’s something everyone should experience at least once in their life. How do people do it in the East Coast? I wouldn’t get any work done at all. I’d find any excuse to go outside. Anyhow, needless to say it’s been hard getting back into the groove of things. I was so sad when I had to leave, even threatened to stay. I haven’t been able to shake off the good times I had there and jump back into the mindset of doing the things I have to do. Does that happen to anyone else when you’ve come to the realization that the good times have come to an end? How do you go back to work and your daily routine when all you want to do is go apple picking, wine tasting, nature-seeing, antique shopping and cuddle up in a warm place with someone special? That’s been my dilemma lately, which is why I’ve been slacking on my work on here. I apologize. I’m back though (slowly but surely) trying to remind myself I’m not on vacation anymore and daydreaming about the possibility of going back. I snapped a few pictures here and there with my phone and those are definitely helping with my blues. I thought I’d share a few with you here. You can also see more on my instagram. Are we friends on instagram? If we’re not, we should be. What are you waiting for?

I started thinking to myself, wondering what would be the best way to get back into work. This is my 100th post after all (no big deal) and so I wanted it to be special. Or at least special to me. I began to brainstorm all of my favorite things. That wasn’t easy because when it comes to food, it’s all my favorite. In the end it sort of made sense to make this big one hundred a doughnut recipe because doughnuts are my life. I mean seriously, I can’t get enough of them. Remind me to tell you about the one year my family didn’t give me a birthday cake and instead a tower of doughnuts with candles. Best birthday ever? Yes. It’s really a short story that involved me eating them all. I also thought a doughnut recipe would be perfect to share because it was super cold in Michigan—like freezing cold although everyone there thought I was crazy all bundled up while the locals are in shorts, tees and flip flops—and doughnuts are perfect on cold days with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee or tea.

Now, I’ve already professed my love—some might call it an obsession but let’s not go there okay?—for doughnuts on this blog before. Yeah it was a good celebration in honor of my favorite snack/breakfast/dessert/treat. If you recall, that recipe involved blueberries, bourbon and basil. What?! Crazy I know, but boy oh boy were they delicious. This time around I thought I’d honor my most favoritest (totally a word) of favorite doughnuts. It’s common knowledge from anyone who knows me so well that I always make an instant jump for any and all cake doughnuts more than the yeasted ones. Not that I don’t care for yeasted doughnuts because I do, I don’t discriminate. I just happen to really love cake doughnuts. Especially the kind with the chocolate glaze and chopped nuts on top. Forgive me for a second while I drool over the thought of those. Okay, I’m done drooling. Normally those doughnuts are just plain ol’ vanilla. I wanted to switch things up a bit by making my doughnuts with a peanut butter cake base because we all know that peanut butter and chocolate were meant to be together until the end of time. Old friends that go way back. And we all now know that I need those doughnuts in my mouth.

[Read more...]

Cinnamon Sugar Coffee Cake

Let’s talk about cake for a second. Okay, I lied. Let’s discuss cake for more than a second. If I had it my way, I’d only talk about cake. All the time. That’s the only thing thing on my mind. If someone asked me a specific question or was talking to me about a completely different topic, I’d respond simply with “CAKE!” I’d just shout it out to them. Scream it to their face. Part of me wants to do it just because I’d like to see what their reaction would be. The other part wants to do it because I love cake. I wouldn’t even care if it made sense or not. Cake makes perfect sense. ALL THE TIME. In reality, if I could, all I would talk about is butter and sugar and cinnamon. Talk about a love affair. Those three ingredients have my heart. Forever and always, I’ll never say no to them. Butter and sugar and cinnamon together is the stuff dreams are made of. Put those three together and I kid you not, you could solve all of the world’s problems in one easy swoop. Seriously though, it would make the world a better place. Just imagine if criminals had a piece of cake before they committed their crime, they’d change their mind and wouldn’t go through with it. That’s how good cake is. That’s the power of the cake. I’m probably exaggerating a tad. I mean not all criminals would change their mind after eating cake. But I’m sure a select few would. I say, give everyone cake. Cake for all.

I’ve been on a savory kick lately, as you can probably tell from the last couple of posts. I mean sure, potato tacos are freaking delicious. I ate about fifty of them, and I’m not even joking. Okay, I’m joking. It was more like forty-nine. Calzones? Why not? Give them to me. On cold rainy days, panini and roasted tomato soup is sort of my jam. But with all that being said, cake (cinnamon, sugar and butter) well that’s just hands-down-no-contest, a sure fire winner for me. All I want to do lately is stuff my face with cake. Cake of all kinds. If you subscribe to the newsletter, you’ll have noticed the chocolate bundt cake recipe I included in it. Ate all of that without even a second thought. If you read the newsletter—which you should have by now because I sent it out at midnight. What are you waiting for?!—you’ll also know that it was my sister’s birthday this week. Of course I made her a birthday cake. It was a chocolate hazelnut cake with a nutella filling. Ate it. Stuffed the whole thing in my mouth. So when I decided to swing things back to sweet on the blog, the only logical thing to make and shoot and share was a cake. Duh. Cake for life. I immediately thought to myself that all I needed in life at that very moment was sugar, butter and cinnamon. So guess what…I made a cinnamon sugar coffee cake. I wanted it to be simple and yet a classic recipe that you guys would want to make. I hope you want to make this cake because let me tell you, it’s a delicious breakfast cake. I should make an entire cookbook of breakfast cake. I’d call it “Yes I’m Eating Cake For Breakfast And No You Can’t Have Any.” Or something like that, it’s a work in progress. It would give me an excuse to recipe test and eat nothing but cake for breakfast without people judging me. (Like my mom and doctor). I’d say, “I’m just working on the book. I have to eat this cake because it’s research!” We’d all have an excuse to eat cake first thing in the morning once the book came out. I’d be the reason every kid (and a few adults here and there) would be demanding cake for breakfast. I’m okay with that. I could live with myself. Gimme that cake.

[Read more...]

Pistachio Cherry Cream Stuffed French Toast

All I’ve wanted to do lately is talk about bread. And french toast. And butter. Really I just sit around all day long thinking about soft pillows of bread, spread with butter, and then made into french toast. My mind usually drifts off to all sorts of crazy delicious scenarios that involve me eating nothing but bread. Large mountains of bread. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, right? Of course that’s totally not really weird for me because I’m always thinking and talking about bread and butter and french toast on a daily basis. Just a normal day in the life of Jonathan Melendez. A few weeks ago I made homemade challah, which actually was the last post and my current addiction. If you think that I can’t eat two entire loaves of challah bread in the span of 24 hours, then you are very much mistaken. You underestimate my love for bread in general. It’s a love affair. I’m only half embarrassed to admit that I can eat two challah loaves in one sitting, but at the same time I’m kind of, sort of, maybe just a little bit, proud of that important unimportant fact. I’m like “Golly oh boy Jon you’re a magician when it comes to eating bread. You should have your own reality show or something!” Then somehow I go off on a tangent, much like I always do, thinking about what the title of my show would be. It would have to be something bread related like “Cutting The Crust with Jonathan Melendez.” “Two Loaves, One Man.” “Oh If I Was A French Baguette…” Clearly I’m still working on the title and the plot of the show, although I know that whatever it is it would involve a lot of bread. I mean like a lot of bread (we’re talking an obscene amount really, so envision with me here). I can live with that. You won’t hear any complaints from me. Unless of course I somehow run out of this supposed “never-ending” bread. In which case, I’d probably just move away slowly from me before I bite you for taking my bread. I’m totally kidding….you wouldn’t take my bread.

I may or may not (let’s be real, we all know I did) have eaten the two loaves of bread from the last post before I could even make this french toast post. Of course I was SO upset that I had to redo this recipe. I mean more bread, really?! Ugh, gosh what a drag. My life is so difficult. Woe is me. I dragged my butt back into the kitchen and made more bread—like I was being forced or couldn’t think of something better to do when we all know it’s all I really wanted to do. How tragic does that sound? Don’t feel bad for me though, I had four loaves of bread. When I finally practiced enough will power to prevent myself from eating the fourth loaf, I turned that last challah into a delicious breakfast and brunch dish. I think you just found an excuse to make breakfast for dinner. I’ll let you take all the credit too as long as you invite me over.

[Read more...]