Rediscovering the Joy of Cooking

August 19, 2009

Poppy seed Chicken Casserole

Filed under: chicken, main dish, restaurant review — Emily @ 1:57 am

Poppyseed chicken casserole is a staple in the South. I first had this delicious dish at a friend’s house when we were living in Nashville, Tennessee. It is really easy and so tasty. It doesn’t really photograph well, so I didn’t take a picture—but it is definitely worth a try!

If anyone is ever looking for an authentic Southern cooking restaurant while visiting the Nashville area, I highly recommend Dumplin’s in Franklin, TN—get the poppyseed chicken casserole, the cloverlead rolls with honey butter and a glass of fruit tea. And if you’re feeling ambitious—a slice of the chocolate majesty for dessert—definitely get some to go if you don’t have room!

Poppy seed Chicken Casserole

1 package chicken tenderloins (or breast steaks will work fine)

16 oz. sour cream (I use low fat)

2 cans cream of chicken soup

Poppy seeds

1/2-1 stick butter (I try to stick with 1/2)

1 1/2 packages (sleeves) of Ritz crackers

Boil chicken for severl minutes until tender. Mix sour cream, soup and poppy seeds (just until it looks like there are a good amount of poppy seeds throughout). Mix in chicken. Put in a casserole dish. Top with crumbled Ritz crackers and pour melted butter on top. Bake at 325 for 30 minutes, covered (remove foil after 20 minutes).

Serve over rice.


October 3, 2008

El Cholo (Pasadena, CA)

Filed under: restaurant review — Emily @ 5:03 am

We went to the Pasadena location of El Cholo, which has several restaurants in L.A., and has been in existence since 1923 (originally called the Sonora Cafe). It is delicious! And the outdoor patio at the Pasadena location is great—especially for large groups (as we were) and parties.

Tortilla Soup–cup ($3.95)

Fiesta Platter for 2 ($9.50)–Crab and Beef Taquitos, Nachos, Quesadillas, and Chimichangas served with Guacamole and Sour Cream

Sizzling Fajitas ($14.75)–marinated steak sauteed with fresh garden vegetables

Combo #3 ($10.50)–Cheese Enchilada and Tamale served with frijoles and Spanish rich

Carne Asada ($15.50)–New York steak beans, rice and pico de gallo


El Cholo

958 S Fair Oaks Ave
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 441-4353

Nepenthe (Big Sur, CA)

Filed under: restaurant review — Emily @ 3:35 am

This is one of my all-time favorite restaurants. A little on the overpriced side? Sure. But you truly cannot beat the view. Nepenthe is perched 1200 feet above the Pacific Ocean with a beautiful outdoor patio.

Artisanal Cheese Plate—the goat cheese was the best. We found out from our waitress that most of the cheese is available at Trader Joe’s.

Tomato goat cheese soup with pesto and garlic croutons

This soup was amazing! I am desperately trying to recreate it. My mom immediately went home to Chicago and made some for her friends—they said it was the best soup they’ve ever had. Stay tuned for an update of my attempted recreation!

Nepenthe’s famous Ambrosia burger accompanied with kidney and garbanzo bean salad

Be sure to linger and enjoy the view!


48510 Highway 1
Big Sur, CA 93920
(831) 667-2345

October 2, 2008

Sierra Mar (Big Sur, CA)

Filed under: restaurant review — Emily @ 2:57 am

Sierra Mar is located at the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, California. It was one of the most fabulous dining experiences I have ever had, if not the best. The view was simply unbeatable (go for an early dinner at sunset). Very pricey–$105 for a prix-fixed, four-course meal, or you could get everything a la carte. But we wanted to go all the way! Here are a few of the things we tried:

Maine diver scallops with Hawaiian Blue prawn, sweet corn pudding and Choron sabayon

Quail (didn’t get a better description, because Aaron ordered this at the last minute after my menu was already taken!)

Lobster-coconut bisque

Heirloom tomato with Buffalo mozzarella, garden basil and Provencal olive oil

Roast rack of Colorado lamb with semolina “gnocchi”, porcini mushrooms, Italian broccoli and pistachio pesto

Grilled American kobe rib eye steak bordelaise and braised shortrib rossini (topped with fois gras) with Swiss chard and fines herbes roasted potatoes

Warm triple Valrhona chocolate cake with lavender ice cream

Roasted apple beignets with salty caramel ice cream and crunch praline

White Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake with lemon verbena pastry cream and mixed berry sorbet

Amazing sunset from the patio.

After dinner, they had an expert on stargazing and a really powerful telescope on the patio overlooking the ocean where we got to look at some amazing stars/planets/galaxies, etc… It was the perfect evening.

September 29, 2008

Palomino (Westwood, CA)

Filed under: restaurant review — Emily @ 2:46 am

Before heading across the street to the UCLA Hammer Museum for a discussion entitled “Is there such a thing as L.A Cuisine?” moderated by my food hero Jonathan Gold** (Pulitzer prize winning food critic for L.A Weekly magazine), I met up with friends Alisa and Melanie for happy hour at Palomino in Westwood Village. It was also great to be within walking distance of work! Palomino’s happy hour is from 4PM-7PM and every night after 10PM. It features 1/2 off appetizers, $5 pizzas, $4 Budweiser drinks, House Merlot, House Chardonnay and Cosmic Ritas. Get there early—it gets crowded quickly!

**see my L.A food blog: FollowingGold

We started with the King Crab and Artichoke Dip with Parmesan, sliced onions, and served with cracked pizza crust ($14, but $7 at happy hour!)

Alisa and I each sampled the sangria—red and white. They were both excellent.

We finished off with the Rotisserie Chicken Pizza with roasted red peppers, sliced onions, marinara, Mozzarella and Parmesan (ordinarily $11, but only $5 at happy hour!)

10877 Wilshire Blvd # 150
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 208-1960

September 17, 2008

Dodgers All-You-Can-Eat Pavilion

Filed under: Events, restaurant review — Emily @ 1:19 am

While it definitely isn’t gourmet food, you can get a pretty good deal at the Dodgers games. It is definitely a good choice for families or those wanting to avoid some of the high prices of ballgame food. For $28 (one of the discount games), we were able to see the Dodgers play the Rockies and eat unlimited

• Dodger Dogs
• Nachos
• Peanuts
• Popcorn
• Coca-Cola products
• Water

Not a bad deal! Although I will always be a Cubs fan—I still enjoy going to a baseball game in person, and so the Dodgers it is!

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