My Favorite Things

Inspired by a post on my friend Courtney’s blog, I decided to write my own list, all food related, of course! Here it goes (in no paticular order):

1. Royal Basmati Rice- white, long-grain: I love this rice! It comes in this 15 lb burlap sack and sells for about $16. You can find it in most grocery stores and Mediterranean markets. I just throw it in the rice cooker with some chicken broth and a little EVOO. It’s a great addition to a stir fry or saucy dish.

2. Buitoni Tortellinis (Spinach Cheese is my favorite kind) – This is the easiest dinner to throw together, with pesto, Alfredo or spaghetti sauce. You can dress up the tortellinis by adding a protein (chicken or grilled, sliced sausage links), cheese (feta or top off with freshly grated parmesan), sautéed veggies (bell peppers, chopped zucchini or edamame), steamed veggies (broccoli or asparagus) or marinated veggies (quartered artichoke hearts or sliced olives). The possibilities are endless…yum!

3. Mr. Kook’s Tikka Masala sauce – now I can make my favorite Indian dish at home (with my basmati rice, of course!). All you have to do sauté and brown your chicken, add the sauce and then stir in some cream at the end. I love to serve this over rice mixed with peas.

4. Satsumas mandarins – sweet, delicious and seedless. These are the ones in the grocery store that you only see once a year, with the ugly, wrinkly skin. Well, this ugly skin peels off easily and quickly, just so you can gobble up your fruit. I just planted my first Satsuma dwarf tree, and named her Susan. Looking forward to eating the fruit.

5. El Torito’s Cilantro Pepita Ceasar salad dressing – so creamy and delicious. A nice change from the typical Ranch or Italian dressing. The hubby always gets happy when he finds this in the fridge. You can find it at the grocery store for $3.99 for a 12 oz bottle. Made by Hormel Foods.

6. Carne Asada Burritos (add rice…hey, I’m a hungry gringa!) – if I could only eat one food for the rest of my life, this would be it. Traditionally, it’s a flour tortilla filled with carne asada (grilled steak), pico de gallo (salsa fresca) and guacamole, but I always add rice (and ignore the looks from the guy taking my order - I know what I'm doing, dude!). The smaller and dirtier the taco shop, the better!

7. Mac-n-Cheese from The Wellington Steak and Martini Lounge in San Diego (Mission Hills) – this is truly a taste of cheesy heaven. Made from white cheddar, gruyere and Velveeta. I tried to make it at home, but it wasn’t as delicious. Need to go back!

8. Avocados - on everything! I love ripe, green avocados on salads, sandwiches, soups, burritos/tacos…everything! I love to make guacamole for chips and quesadillas or smash them on a toasted thick crusty piece of bread and then sprinkle it with coarse sea salt. A perfect snack.

9. Loredona Pinot Grigio 2009– I first tasted this at a Thai restaurant and I felt like I was drinking a delicious glass of flowers. The tasting notes describe it as “aromas of white peach, nectarine and spring flowers followed by flavors of lemon, stone fruit, crisp Fuji apple and ripe pear.” It was pretty difficult for me to find it at a grocery store, so I sadly had to wait quite a while before my mouth enjoyed this wine again. It goes for about $15. The winery is in Monterey, CA.

10. Firefly Ridge Pinot Gris 2007 – I saw this on sale from $15 to $5.99 so I tried it and it’s been love ever since. This wine always seems to be on sale at Safeway/Vons, so I feel like I’m fancy at a cheap price and therefore I can enjoy it as often as I please (and I do!). The wine is light and crisp with hints of fruit. The winery is located in the Central Coast, CA.