Sloppy Bao – Vietnamese Sloppy Joe

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It’s a little hard for me to look at these pictures now because I’ve been toying with vegetarianism the past week and this very meaty sandwiches is seriously one of the best I’ve ever made. I know, it’s a sloppy joe. Not very classy. But this one is so unique, so flavorful, and pretty to look at. It’s really just as easy as a regular sloppy joe but with a few asian condiments mixed in like fish sauce and red-curry paste. The meat mixture is really good, but I think it’s the toppings that make it shine. The recipe I used recommends Thai basil, jalapeños and mangos, but notes that Granny Smith apples could be used too. I trust Martha of course, but I thought the green apples looked and tasted perfect. I have a weird time imagining it with mangos, but if you try it please let me know! I went with lots of basil, fanned out apples, and a sprinkle of green onions for mine. I also subbed chili garlic sauce instead of the curry paste because that’s what I had and it was great too! It seems like this recipe is pretty flexible, which I love and would love to hear any of your ideas for ways to tweak it. All I can say is that you really should try this. I’ve never had anything quite like it before and it was a wonderfully quick and smile inducing weekday meal.

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Turkey Avocado Egg Rolls – CPK Copycat

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Up until a few weeks ago, it had been a really long time since I had eaten at a California Pizza Kitchen. We had some family in town, which meant a girls only shopping trip was in order! We were probably 20 minutes into the outing when lunch became the next inevitable step. When your shopping has barely begun and the food court kinda sucks you can always count on a CPK to be attached to the mall somewhere. And side note: I have mentioned my love for food courts before on this blog, so when you hear me call one disappointing enough for me to ditch it, you know it’s bad. I think my love for food courts has diminished significantly since moving back to Colorado from Boston though. Boston food courts were the bomb! Anyway, this trip to CPK was the first time I didn’t get a pizza and boy was I pleasantly surprised (I replicated my salad too – coming soon!). My mom had the turkey avocado egg rolls for her meal and was nice enough to share because they were so good that everyone needed to experience it. I decided right away to try these at home even though I felt pretty unsure about how well I would be able to replicate the presentation. Really, the most challenging thing was figuring out how to roll them up properly, but after a quick google session I had it down. This turned into a bit of a hybrid recipe where I used this as a guide for proportions and for folding the wrappers, but I did a bit of a different sauce and fried them because, duh. You could of course bake them though! For my sauce I actually used one of those packets of ranch powder in a spicy flavor because for a reason unknown even to me, I hate buying bottles of ranch dressing. If I absolutely need it for something I’d prefer a one-use option. These egg rolls are such an awesome party food/appetizer that tasted even better than the original, in my opinion. They are similar to the guacamole wontons that I made a while back, but with all of the salad like fillings, it could be substantial enough for a full meal if you’d like (I did!).

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A Taste of Foods to Come

DSC_5059[Sloppy Bao – Vietnamese inspired sloppy joe]

I always get mega excited when I try a recipe that is so delicious that it’s worth repeating. I have found a lot of those lately, which is awesome, but despite my enthusiastic texts to my mom and sister immediately following the consumption of a repeatable dish, I never actually repeat it. No matter how good, I am not a recipe repeater. I used to be pretty against outfit repeating. I’m sure this was influenced in some way by the Lizzie Mcguire Movie (anyone?). These days though, I am ALL for outfit repeating. I mean, some weeks I catch myself repeating basically the same outfit every day with just a minor tweak or two…dark skinny jeans, army green utility jacket, white or grey t-shirt, navy Keds = big YES for me.  I of course still love changing my outfits up every so often, but when it comes to cooking dinner I love variety and experimentation, which evidently translates to no repeats. Ever. This isn’t even something I realized until just recently because I used to have a tiny rotation of go-to dishes. No idea what to make and don’t want to go to the store? Ok, time to make some carbonara. Those go-to’s have been neglected as of late and for the moment, I’m totally cool with that. Here are my top 10 recent repeatable dishes that I probably will never repeat but would totally be happy to eat again (Whoa). Most surprising to me is how many salads are on this very official list! I’ll be posting about each of this in more detail very soon. Let me know if any of these look particularly interesting to you!

DSC_5089[Grilled Steak and Onion Salad] DSC_5102               [Just one amazing burger]DSC_5222      [Chipotle Chicken Tacos with Radish]DSC_5270       [Birthday Macarons]DSC_5271               [My pride and joy – homemade croissants] DSC_5311         [Shaved Brussel Sprouts with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette – OMG]  DSC_5328         [Grilled Peach Pizza]DSC_5362         [Turkey Avocado Egg Rolls – Inspired by a lady lunch at CPK]DSC_5369 [Caramelized Peach Salad – also inspired by said shopping day lady lunch]DSC_5381            [Tuna and White Bean Salad]

Colorado Cocktail Taste Test

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Last night after a girly day of shopping, grilled cheese, crafts, and pizza (we are the classiest of girls) we had an impromptu Colorado cocktail taste test hosted by dad (of ‘Dad’s Corner‘ fame). He’s been practicing his bar tending skills over the past few months, so when my sister saw 5280’s poll for the official Colorado state cocktail, she knew he would be game to try at least one. Of course, Dad can’t say no to a challenge so he concocted our own in-home, four person contest between all three. Like I mentioned, I wasn’t expecting to end my night this way, which means that I did not have my regular camera to take lovely pictures! We did our best though. We had a sample size of each drink and picked our own winner/s. Check out our thoughts on all three drinks below! Spoiler alert: YUM.

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Kevin Burke’s “The 4th Pin”bitters, Three Pins Alpine Herbal Liqueur, Whiskey, orange peel.

Dad: offered the most traditional western drink…like when Colorado was an old cow town.

Mom: liked the complex herbal flavors

KT: definitely strong but was pretty good. I liked that I could taste the bitters towards the bottom.

Bepcity: really nice layering of flavors. I don’t always do well with strong drinks, but I really enjoyed this one.

20140209-115852.jpgAlexandra Parks’ “Central Slope Sour”: Lemon juice, honey, Three Pins Herbal Liqueur, Breckenridge Bourbon, Avery IPA

Dad: Becky and her man hands squeezed too much lemon…but still really good.

Mom: really liked the honey and lemon! Would be great on a hot summer day.

KT: liked it best because of the tart lemon juice! It was definitely sour! But again, the herbal liquor added something unique.

Bepcity: loved it! I just felt happy drinking this. The perfect, summery glass of lemonade with a kick.

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Sean Kenyon’s “The Centennial Smash”: Palisade peach, mint, Colorado honey, bourbon, Three Pins Alpine Herb Liqueur

Dad: I think I added too much bourbon…this one needs a second chance.

Mom: thought this would be my favorite, but it was my least…wonder if it would be better when palisade peaches are in season to get more fresh peach taste.

KT: I agree with mom. Felt very summery.

Bepcity: I liked the subtle peach and mint flavor, but agree we should give it another shot.

THE VERDICT

All great contenders for a Colorado cocktail! The girls all agreed that the Central Slope Sour was our favorite while Dad picked The 4th Pin as his favorite. We all expected to like the Centennial Smash best, but it was everyone’s least favorite – possibly due to our own lack of in season peaches. I think we will definitely be trying it again this summer! All three used Leopold & Bros Three Pins Alpine Herbal Liqueur, which is really cool stuff. Highly recommend you take a look at 5280’s post, which has videos of each bartender making their entry. Even if you’re not in Colorado, it was fun to have a little tasting party of these tasty drinks that will get you pumped for summer! I love you, Colorado!

Philly Cheese Steak Night

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My homemade baguettes strike again! Just like the caprese sandwiches, I wanted to make something fairly simple so that we could really enjoy the fresh bread. I also just love how cool I feel slinging my spatula around while grilling the meat and veggies. Maybe I should get a job at a food court?? That would actually be pretty sweet, but I think I would tire of smelling like onions and shopping mall every day…I used the first recipe that came up in a google search for a guide and then kind of did my own thing. I didn’t melt the provolone into a sauce, but I’m sure that would be amazing and I totally forgot that I bought mushrooms to add! I hate when that happens. I think it turned out for the best though since the bread is what made this particular sandwich extra special. Next time I gotta try the melty cheese sauce!

PS this is my 101st post! How cool is that?! I totally missed it when I posted number 100!

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Sandwich Week – Buffalo Chicken Sandwich

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What are two people supposed to do with an entire roasted chicken?? It’s a little bit too much for just two people, but this turned out to be a great way to revive the leftovers! I’m always trying to get Paul to give me hints or ideas about weekday lunches. He usually says anything I make will be good, but one day he said “I know…maybe you could make buffalo chicken sandwiches?” Done! I shredded some of our leftover roast chicken from dinner and put together these  sandwiches. I really like making homemade wings, but these were 100 times easier. I basically tossed some hot sauce/wing sauce with the shredded chicken and topped it with ranch. Plus, coleslaw either on the side or on top! Just a simple idea for leftover chicken, but oh so great for a mid-week work lunch!

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Sandwich Week – Salmon Club Sandwich

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It’s sandwich week on BepCity! Liz Lemon really knows what she’s talking about when it comes to sandwiches. Everyone just wants a sandwich! I have noticed an overflow of sandwich pictures in my photo library over the past month or so and they are all coming at you during this very special week. I’m starting off with one that has been a definite crowd pleaser. I made this once for Paul and once for my whole family. Paul said it was the best sandwich he’s ever had and my mom repeated the recipe a few weeks later. And I thought it was really good too! The sandwich in the pictures was made using three (small) slices of bread and bacon, based on this recipe. It’s basically a BLT with red pepper mayo on the bottom layer, and grilled salmon with a little more mayo on the top later. I’ve also made it with just two slices and no bacon and I promise it’s still great! And healthier too…

So, take my advice, and Liz Lemon’s, just eat this sandwich.

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Just matching my food, no big deal.