Bites of Tucson

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I went to Tucson this past weekend to visit my close friend, Jen, who recently moved there. I have only been to Tucson one time; to tour U of A and then I never returned. Ever. Except to see Matisyahu once.

Where to eat in Tucson, Arizona

This time I was prepared; I asked friends where I should eat. See, pre-college I didn’t care as much about food. It was only when
a) Food Network was my life soundtrack anytime I was in my dorm room
and
b) I had to cook for myself if I wanted home cooked meals
that I fell in love with cooking. So, the first time I went to Tucson I didn’t eat at any of the places I’m about to tell you about and that was a downright mistake. I did have a slushy from eegee’s, however, which had some redeeming qualities. I digress. Here’s where and what I ate in my 27 hours in Tucson this weekend:

Miss Saigon

Miss Saigon saved me, like a delicious superhero, from my breakfast- and lunch-less morning. I ordered Pho Ga (chicken pho) and Jen ordered Bun Tom Nuong (char-broiled shrimp over vermicelli and greens).

Tucson Pho: Miss Saigon. Where I Ate in Tucson.

Everything was so delicious; my favorite part about this type of foods is the fresh herbs, and they were plentiful. I typically never finish a whole bowl of Pho but I totally did this time and I felt as accomplished as the one single time I ever finished a Chipotle burrito, except I didn’t even have to try this time because it was so good. I actually had to stop myself from drinking the broth afterwards. They brought extra Thai basil to dress up my pho, along with cilantro, bean sprouts, hoisin sauce and Sriracha.

Vietnamese Pho in Tucson at Miss Saigon

Sushi on Oracle

Sushi is one of my favorite foods in the world, and I always get excited when I find restaurants with affordable and authentic fare. Sushi on Oracle delivered; I enjoyed Albacore with Ponzu, and Jen and I shared a Spicy Yellowtail Roll and a Vegas Roll.

Sushi in the Desert: Sushi on Oracle in Tucson

The albacore was so fresh it melted in my mouth. The Spicy Yellowtail Roll was also very fresh and had a really nice, delicate yellowtail flavor without being too spicy. And the Vegas Roll is essentially the dessert of sushi; melted gooey cream cheese with soft avocado, succulent salmon and sweet eel sauce is all I need to be sent into sweet sushi-coma submission. I was beside myself for the rest of the night, all I could keep saying was how good it was.

Sushi on Oracle: Vegas Roll

Food Conspiracy Co-op

I have a weakness for organic/local/artisan grocers, so naturally, we went to the Food Conspiracy Co-op twice in the span of a day and a half. Twice. No one was surprised. The first time I stood in the spice aisle for way too long reading every label and then gawking at the river that became 4th street when a hurricane-like storm swept through. A tree fell on someone’s car and the power flickered; panic rose within me at the thought of the registers failing and not being able to take home all the teas and spices and medjool dates in my basket.

Rain Storm at the Food Conspiracy Co-Op

Sonoran Sleep Tea from Tucson's Food Conspiracy Co-op

Don’t worry, I was able to purchase them. In case that visit wasn’t enough, I had to go back the next day to get more tea and more dates and some fresh figs because Jen had never had one and everyone deserves to eat a chilled fresh fig in the summer sunshine with one of their best friends. So we did that, and it was magical. I have tried 3 of the countless teas I bought and love all of them so far, and I am now completely obsessed with dried chipotle chili flakes. I have put them on almost everything savory I’ve eaten since I’ve been home. Jen is going to have to ship me a kilo or 10.

Cup Cafe at Hotel Congress

My sister’s friend told me I must order the baked eggs, and that it would be the culinary experience of a lifetime.

It was amazing.

Cast Iron Skillet Baked Eggs at Cup Cafe in Tucson

I got the baked eggs. It was a culinary experience of a lifetime. I MEAN WHO WOULDN’T LOVE EGGS WITH LOX BAKED IN CREAM???? Yeah, no one, that’s what I thought. This dish typically comes with ham in it but lox was an option and I can’t pass up lox + eggs, ever. It was so good and rich and creamy and good. If you are in Tucson, get the baked eggs. Also, I had my first bloody mary from a bloody mary bar and felt really fancy about it and loved the whole experience.

Bloody Mary with Cilantro, Cucumber, Artichokes, etc.

Now you are ready to go forth and eat baked eggs and buy 100 teas and eat albacore with ponzu and the yummiest pho eva. Report back and let me know if you loved it as much as I did.

By the way, if you’ve ever wanted to watch me cook LIVE now you can!! Join me on Periscope, a new live-streaming app, and watch me cook, meal prep and answer all of your questions LIVE! You can find me @TsiporahBlog on Periscope :)

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Heirloom Tomato Salad & Herbs de Provence Vinaigrette

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A mid-summer heirloom tomato salad with fresh fava beans, basil, and an herbs de provence vinaigrette. 

The morning air carries a thick, warm, heady breeze from the night before, and all the plants seemed refreshed. Those are my favorite mornings in the summer; post-monsoon, the air vibrates with energy, nurturing our garden and our hearts. The wind buzzes with seeds of change, and I feel it.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Herbes De Provence Vinaigrette Ingredients

Tomatoes are bursting in the farmers markets, and the smell of them is exactly what tomatoes should smell like. Earthy and vibrant, I knew these tomatoes needed just a touch of a light vinaigrette to really shine. I paired them with fresh fava beans and thinly sliced red onion for a bit of a bite and texture. I dare say, this is the perfect summer salad.

Herbes de Provence Summer Tomato Salad

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Favas & Herbs de Provence Vinaigrette

Ingredients

2 lbs heirloom tomatoes
3 large pods of fava beans
2 tsp herbs de provence
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
sprinkle of salt and pepper
fresh basil, ~10 leaves or more, to taste

Directions

Thinly slice the red onion and scatter in the bottom of your serving dish. Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top of the onions. Remove the fava beans from their pods and shells and thinly slice each bean. Sprinkle the sliced beans and fresh basil over the top of the tomatoes.

red onions in a serving dish

Herbes de Provence

Combine herbs de provence, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic clove in a jar and whisk to combine. Pour over the tomatoes and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Serve immediately, at room temperature.

Summer Heirloom Tomato Salad IMG_4956

Enjoy!

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Miso-Glazed Mixed Vegetables

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Pan-cooked vegetables drizzled with a sweet, savory, umami miso glaze. All kinds of satisfying.

I recently purchased my first-ever container of miso. I know. I waited so long. I looked at it longingly every time I went to the store, day dreamed of the recipes and soups and complex flavors I would achieve… and it took me so long to take the plunge. I don’t know why, but I’m super glad I did. I ate miso soup every day for almost a week, and then decided I would branch out into the unknown and see what miso pairs well with.

Miso Glazed Mixed Vegetables Recipe

Turns out it pairs amazingly well with mustard and maple syrup. Sounds so weird but trust. It is oddly addictive and you can make a small enough batch that, if you don’t like it, you can just toss it. That’s what I did at first but then I made a quadruple batch just to have some extra in the fridge because it’s just too good!

The veggies don’t need much; a little coconut oil in the pan will do, and the sauce does the rest.

Miso - Maple - Mustard Dressing

This was a quick dinner for me, and it made about 3 servings as such. It could also be a great side dish for any meal, and would serve about 4 people as a generous side.

Miso Glazed Mixed Vegetables

Ingredients

Vegetables
1 sweet potato, cubed
4 leaves bok choy, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
1 cup broccoli florets
2/3 cup cauliflower florets
1 tsp minced jalapeno
1/2 tbsp coconut oil

Sauce
2 tbsp miso paste
2 tbsp seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp maple syrup
1.5 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tsp whole grain mustard
1/8 tsp jalapeno, minced
1/8 tsp sumac

Directions

Chop all of your vegetables and set aside. Heat a skillet or a wok over medium heat. Add the coconut oil. Once the coconut oil is hot, add the sweet potatoes. Cook on medium for about 10 minutes, or until they are about half way done (not soft or fork tender yet, but getting there).

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce: Whisk all of the sauce ingredients together. Taste for sweetness and spice, and adjust as you see fit. You don’t need to add any salt; miso is salty enough.

Next, add the onion, broccoli and cauliflower to the pan with the sweet potatoes. Stir fry for about 4 minutes or so. Add the rest of the vegetables and stir fry until the sweet potatoes are fork-tender. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle the sauce on top (or douse the vegetables in the sauce, however saucy you’re feeling that day is up to you).

Miso Dressing Recipe: Miso Glazed Vegetables

Enjoy!

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Bourbon Vanilla Cake

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Sweet vanilla cake with a hint of bourbon. 

Vanilla Bourbon Cake via Tsiporah Blog

You all – this cake. It is dangerously good. It is pure delicious madness and danger and unicorns all in one pan. I developed it with the sole purpose to create a cake that was the perfect accompaniment to lemon curd – I love lemon curd enough to do just that, but what resulted is a cake that shines all by itself (although I won’t judge you if you still want to use it as a vessel for your lemon curd).

Vanilla Bourbon Cake with Lemon Curd

Some comments that I’ve received about this cake include the texture is velvet; it tastes like sugar cookies, only better; and that it reminds my Dad of something my Granny used to make when he was a kid. One friend said it couldn’t be better and that I’d outdone myself. I’ll let you decide.

Velvety Bourbon Vanilla Cake with Lemon Curd - Garden Party Recipe via Tsiporah Blog

This cake would be great to bring to a party or brunch, but it is so easy that you could make multiple batches in one weekend  because you accidentally ate the first all by yourself because it is too good not to share. Enjoy one mini cake and gift the other to a friend. Kindness!

Bourbon Vanilla Cake

Ingredients

1/3 cup white sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp bourbon vanilla, homemade or store bought*
1/4 cup softened butter
1/2 + 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
Optional: 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Baking spray and 2 tbsp flour to prepare pans

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare two mini loaf pans: spray with baking spray and scoop 1 tbsp of flour in each pan. Tilt the pan so that the flour coats the entire inside of the pan. Tap the bottom of the pan over your trash can to get rid of any excess flour. Set the prepared pans aside.

Combine sugars, egg, vanilla, bourbon vanilla and softened butter in a mixing bowl. Beat to combine on low, then on high for 5 minutes.

Combine flour and baking powder in a separate small bowl. Alternately add the flour/baking powder and milk into the sugar mixture, mixing well between each addition.

Use a rubber spatula to stir in chopped nuts. Pour batter evenly into the two prepared mini loaf pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy!

Bourbon Vanilla Cake Recipe via Tsiporah Blog

*If you don’t have bourbon vanilla, you can substitute 1 teaspoon of bourbon and 1/4 tsp extra vanilla extract. Making bourbon vanilla at home is easy and fun! (I think all kitchen experiments are fun) – simply make vanilla extract, but use bourbon instead of vodka. It takes about 8 weeks to infuse the alcohol with the vanilla flavor, so plan in advance!

P.S. I have a brand new Instagram account! Go check it out and let me know what you think :) I’ll be posting even more recipes and snapshots of my favorite foods that may not make it to the blog! Check it out here: Tsiporah Blog Instagram

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