It's good to be back! I know it's been a while since my last post, but I have exciting news. About a month ago, I was offered a job at Airbnb as a Creative Producer on their Design team. I'm so excited to be working for a company that is making a difference in the travel industry as well as standing for inclusiveness and connection.
Because of this change, though, I have been absent from The City Skillet for the last three months. 🙈 Part of it was busyness and getting used to this new life change. Another part was not having access to any of my photos. One weird/spoiled/interesting thing about working in tech is that you are usually provided a laptop by your employer. I keep my personal documents on an external hard drive, but when I left VSCO, I left my laptop. My external hard drive sat there, taunting me. A piece of plastic filled with things I wanted, but no way to get to them.
After all that context and excuse-making, this post is going to be very short, because this recipe is one of the easiest things I've ever learned to make. If you're a fan of chia pudding, but have never made it yourself, get ready for a laugh. You'll be delighted and probably a little embarrassed that you've ever purchased something so easy to do at home. If you can pour milk over some seeds, stir them around, and wait a while, you'll have a tasty breakfast pudding just like that.
Chilaquiles is something I almost always order if I see it on a menu. As far as savory breakfasts go, this one is top tier. It's like nachos + breakfast lasagna. Layers of chips and cheese and meat and beans, topped with whatever your heart desires. In this case, thinly sliced radishes, sunny side up eggs, avocado, cilantro, and green onions.
The best part about this recipe is that you won't be frying tortillas and you won't be hovering over a stove. This chilaquiles is baked, which makes them perfect for a crowd. They also make great leftovers (just store the toppings separately), so don't feel guilty if you make the entire thing for yourself and save most of it for later, which is what I did for this post.
How about that title, eh? I could have shortened it, but I couldn't decide which delicious descriptive word to take out. So, I left them all for one verrrrry long title. Let's start off by acknowledging that these tasty little finger foods are nothing new. There are so many variations of meat-wrapped dates stuffed with soft cheese out there on the internets. However, you can never have too much of a good thing, right?
It's fall, and fall means pumpkin-flavored everything. It starts with the pumpkin spice lattes, but soon creeps into products that have no business bring pumpkined: pumpkin spice Pringles, pumpkin spice gum, pumpkin spice body wash?! No no no. Too much.
I'm not a huge fan of the pumpkin takeover, but I do have a few pumpkin foods that I look forward to every year. These pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are a yearly tradition in my house. Every fall I make them, and usually a few more times throughout the holiday season.
They don't follow my usual crispy but chewy cookie preference, having more of a cake-like texture. Light and fluffy, with fall spices, bittersweet chocolate, and a hint of citrus from some orange zest, these cookies have well-balanced fall flavors. Whether you're a pumpkin lover or hater, give these cookies a try.
This might be the easiest side dish you'll make this month. It takes just 10ish minutes and 6 ingredients (half of which are toppings)! The mayonnaise gives the green beans a rich creaminess without leaving behind any mayo taste or heaviness, while the miso adds a salty, nutty quality. Topped off with some spicy chili paste, sesame seeds, and a drizzle of olive oil, these beans will go great alongside any asian dish or accompanying a simple meat like steak or roast chicken.
I'll admit I'm not the most inventive cook. It's taken time to know what ingredients go together, while also being unique. What has helped me get better and more creative is seasonality. Knowing what is in season every month can help narrow down ingredients that are commonly found together, while still allowing space to come up with new ideas. I know I'm spoiled living in California, where fruits and veggies tend to have longer lives than their midwest counterparts. I like to go to the CUESA site to see what's in season now.
Another tip for building creativity in the kitchen is to start small. For example, this recipe is an open-faced flatbread. It's simple, straightforward, and easy to play around with. My flatbread's toppings are all about spring transitioning into summer. I know it's August, but asparagus has been on super sale almost every week here! I knew I had to do something with it before it's no longer in season. With it is the unbeatable flavor of summer corn. To elevate it a bit and add another flavor and texture, we have a base of greek yogurt with some flavor boosters mixed in.
Near my alma mater, Azusa Pacific University, there is a frozen yogurt shop called 21 Choices. Their frozen yogurt was the creamy kind, almost like soft serve. Although they have 21 different flavors of yogurt, they offer five each day that with toppings pre-mixed into the yogurt, yielding seemingly endless choices in their arsenal. You know it's a good day when one of the choices is their banana-graham-cracker, which tastes very similar to banana bread. I almost always add dark chocolate to it, which they chop from a bar. It gives you these great pieces of varying size throughout your yogurt.
So of course when I set out to make banana bread, I have to have those dark chocolate pieces in there. Mine is a little denser and more cake-like, which I prefer so that you can take it with you as an on-the-go breakfast or snack. It won't be crumbling in your hands as you try to eat it. Banana bread is very easy to make, so this will be quick and fun.