Herb Chicken Crockpot

I’m watching the kids for ~10 hours a day this whole week because they’re off until summer school starts next week. To fill in holes between play dates and exploring activities, we spend our time:

Eating at Toma.

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Cheese quesadillas and Horchata for the kids, Chile Colorado burrito for me.

Picking out cupcakes at Susiecakes

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My kid’s family and their good friends invited another nanny friend and I to accompany them for dinner. We ate at a nice Pakistani restaurant, Aslam’s Rasoi, on Valencia St. Asif, the son of the owner, was so great with the kids. He brought them to the back to help make Naan (proper noun?) for the table.

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It was actually really cool to see the process of making the bread! They stick them to the sides of the clay ovens.

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The finished product, courtesy of a four and five year old.

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The food was amazing. The moms ordered everything for us, family style. I was preoccupied with the kids, so I only managed to take a picture of the tandoori chicken

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and my plate, which consisted of Saag Paneer (spinach and farmer’s cheese) and Chana Masala (garbanzo beans). My plate might look a little empty, but rest assured, I had seconds and thirds. 🙂

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Since I’m away from the house for such long periods of time, I knew that I was going to have to bring out the old crockpot to help me make dinner. With that, I’ll leave you with this week’s recipe. Easy, flavorful and most importantly, on my side with time.

Herb Chicken Crockpot

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 6 Hours

Serves: 2-3 (five drumsticks)

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Ingredients:

  • 5 Chicken Drumsticks
  • Bag of Tri-Colored Potatoes, whole
  • 10 Crimini Mushrooms, whole
  • 4 Carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, sliced thick
  • Seasoning of choice (herbs de provence, oregano, thyme, parsley, cumin)
  • 1/3 Cup White Wine
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Big ziploc bag

1. Pour olive oil in a ziplock bag and a heaping of all the herbs you would like (I used herbs de provence, oregano, thyme, parsley, cumin) with the chicken drumsticks inside. Zip the bag and mix until all the chicken are evenly distributed with herbs. (Forgot to take a picture).

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2. Wash the potatoes and mushrooms, chop the carrots to around 1 inch and slice the onions roughly. Layer the crockpot with potatoes first, then carrots, mushrooms and onion. The ingredients are pre-vacuum sealed. If you are thinking why to vacuum seal then read these vacuum sealing tips.

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3. Transfer the chicken into a cooking pan and cook only until all sides are browned for 3-4 minutes. Salt and pepper generously.

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4. Put the browned chicken on top of the bed of vegetables in the crockpot. Place sliced garlic on top. Pour 1/3 cup of white wine, or water. Put the crockpot on low for six hours.

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5. Discuss philosophy with a stranger, run errands or go window-shopping. Come back, and enjoy your herb crusted chicken! Serve on a bed of sautéed spinach and garlic if you’re feeling fancy.

***Please remember that the crockpot works off steam, so it really dilute any flavor that’s in there. Kick up the herbs, salt and pepper for a really delicious taste. If things are coming a little bland at the end, a little salt and pepper or extra herbs really help out (especially with the vegetables).

What’s your favorite crock-pot recipe (please link)? Moms, what creative activities do your kids enjoy doing?

Out-Of-Towners

I’ve been feeling like the days are getting shorter since my summer started. The days quickly come into a end before I feel like I’ve done anything productive. It might be the new Arrested Development episodes that I have been sneaking in throughout the day, or the catch-up naps from the extremely long days from last semester.

This week zoomed by, I couldn’t believe that it was already time to write my Friday post when I opened up Ecto this morning. Chi and I had friends visiting from Alaska (no, not these Alaskans), so it’s been fun taking them around San Francisco and catching up with them. Every time we have guests in town and show them around, I feel so humble to live in SF and try not to take it for granted. It is truly a beautiful place to live and I’m so lucky I got the opportunity to grow up and do so.

Last night, a group of us went to Cha Cha Chas and had the ultimate feast. So much delicious sauce and bread, even though there was so much food I was still hungry when we left!

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It inspired me to write today’s Friday Five: The 5 Places To Bring Out-Of-Town Guests In San Francisco.

With over 5,000+ places to eat in San Francisco, it’s really hard to pick one restaurant to bring your guests when you come to this little city. I even have trouble picking somewhere to eat for brunch because I have so many options. I read an article in Huffington Post that explains why San Francisco is the best place to live; also how SF blows any city out the ballpark regarding restaurants per capita!

1. Cha Cha Cha

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Cha Cha Cha is a tapas bar that is great for medium to big groups. I have brought so many people here and nobody has ever complained, no matter how picky or food critic-y they are! The Sangria is some of the best and I could honestly eat here once a week. It never gets old!

Make sure to get the: Cajun Shrimp, Sauteed Mushrooms, Mussels and Chicken Paillard

My post about Cha Cha Chas here.

2. Beretta

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Beretta is a contemporary Italian restaurant that serves some of the best thin crust SF pizza. They also have many fun and original cocktails and great appetizers.

Make sure to get the: Gnocchi, Beef Carpaccio, Broccolini and Hot Salami Pizza

My post about Beretta here.

3. Patxi’s Pizza

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If thin crust is not your thing, then Patxi’s deep dish might just do it for you! I’ve never been a fan of thick crusts but Patxis is my exception. They have a few locations across the city for easy access and a great selection of specials if you’re feeling stuck on how to order!

Make sure to get the: Meatballs, Chopped Salad and Special/Spinach Pesto Pizza

My post about Patxi’s here.

4. Toma

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Shameless plug, but what would a San Francisco visitors guide be without a Mexican restaurant? Stop by Toma in the Marina before or after hitting the bar scene for fresh, authentic Mexican food.

Make sure to get the: Steak and Mushroom Tacos, Fajita Burrito or the Tara Burrito (not really on the menu, but chicken and steak with avocado, pinto beans, rice, cilantro and onion with Rico’s sauce on the side)

My post about Toma here.

5. Mamas

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Mamas is thee absolute must place you have to take your guests, or even yourself for brunch. There is a reason this small, cozy restaurant tops almost every must-eat list in San Francisco. The only thing I have to say besides try it is to be prepared to wait 2 hours+ during peak hours (read: almost every hour that it’s open). The line is crazy, but there must be a reason people will stand for this food. I haven’t been here for over a year, but I always keep a sweet memory in the back of my mind for this place. Maybe I will go back soon, since I have so much time on my hands now.

Make sure to get the: Prosciutto and Grilled Tomato Benedict, Northern Italian Omelette and Kugelhopf

Photo credit here.

There you have it! All these restaurants are awesome and great to bring guests to share and experiment. There’s tons of other restaurants in SF that are just as great, but you’ll need to live here for a few months to get a real taste of our food scene!

If you have any particular cuisine you would like to try, please e-mail me or leave a comment and I will give you a few recommendations.

Last weeks Friday Five: 5 Things To Get At Toma Restaurant

Where would you bring guests in your city? Is anyone else craving french toast after seeing that picture?

Toma Toma Toma

I was looking back on my old posts yesterday and realized that I talk about Toma in almost every post but I never really explained what it is!

In mid-December, my boyfriend opened a restaurant in San Francisco in the coveted Marina district. A lot of blood, sweat and tears have went into the place and I’m so proud every time I drive by it. This picture is before it even opened; I tried to find a more recent one (there’s chairs and dividers that spruce up the place now) but I guess I haven’t taken one lately.

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The food is considered modern mexican, all the recipes are family recipes from Durango and Obregon in Mexico. The difference is that all the meats are premium and grass fed and they buy all the produce locally as well. The tortillas for the tacos are house-made every morning, which is something that is practically unheard of!

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Toma has multiple meanings in Spanish, essentially it means to drink, to consume or to take. It can be used as a verb (ella toma, she takes) or as an expression (¡Toma!, take that!).

He recently started introducing specials, which are made in a limited quantity every morning and sells out usually by the afternoon.

Monday- Chile Colorado

Tuesday- Chicken Mole

Wednesday- Camarones de Ajo

Thursday- Chile Verde

Friday- Barbacoa

Sat/Sun- Pozole

The specials are some of my favorite things there, you can put them in tacos, burritos, or in a bowl. Sometimes I will be bummed to find out that they sold out before I can get there.

Since I want to continue with the Friday Five, I’ll post my five favorite things from his restaurant!

1. Torta

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A torta is a Mexican sandwich, the bread is usually a sandwich roll (which they call bolillo) with your choice of meat. I really like it with carne asada (steak) and a guacamole spread in it.

2. Salsa

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One of my favorite things about Toma are their salsa, each one is a family recipe that’s been perfected over time. My favorite one is the back right hand side that we call Rico’s. It’s a subtle but after-spicy habanero flavor. It goes on perfectly with cilantro and onion (mandatory at a Taqueria!) and a dash of lime.

3. Burritos

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The one pictured above is actually a wet burrito, which is topped with enchilada sauce. My favorite burrito, which I named myself as the Tara special (Chi refuses to acknowledge it), is a half steak half chicken burrito with beans, rice, cilantro, onion, avocado and sautéed mushrooms. I don’t get it every time because it’s a handful to make, but when I do, I turn into the happiest girl ever!

4. Guacamole

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Sometimes you have to look back and enjoy the smaller things in life, such as plain ol’ guacamole and chips. If you have noticed, I kind of have an obsession with avocados. If it fits, it sits on top of my food and it honestly goes with everything.

5. Tacos

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(Shrimp)

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(Steak, Mushroom, Chile Verde)

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(Chicken)

There’s a reason tacos are at the end of my list. You always save the best for last, right? Growing up in California, I can say I have eaten my fair share of tacos. Without sounding biased, I honestly (swear on my life) think that these are one of the best tacos I have ever had in my life. I can seriously eat these tacos every day without any regret. The tortillas are hand made, so they taste really fresh and fluffy. What’s really good is to put one of the specials I was talking about earlier in here, and top it off with cilantro, onion, lime and Rico’s.

If you’re ever in the neighborhood, let me know and try to stop by! I’m sure we can do you a favor. 🙂

This weekend Chi is going to Vegas, so I’ll be spending Memorial Day a little low key and hanging out with friends I’ve been putting off until school was done.

What’s your favorite Mexican food? Any fun plans for Memorial Day?

Happy Hump Day

It is officially Wednesday, the longest day of the week and I am feeling it all over. Tomorrow is my first Microbiology test, wish me luck!

Toma has rolled out new weekly specials and I was lucky enough to try their Monday Chile Colorado before they ran out for the day. Chile Colorado is a traditional Mexican dish that’s usually a spicy beef stew but Toma makes it more into a paste so it’s still packing a lot of flavor but also easier to eat in a taco or burrito. I will forever be a taco girl, so I decided to get one to try. I took the picture before I could put a heaping of cilantro and onion (which to me, makes the taco).

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Yesterday, I ate at one of my favorite hole in the wall Chinese restaurants, Spices. This gem has two locations (within two blocks of each other!) on Clement St. Their specialty is a Taiwanese style of Schezuan food and it is SERIOUSLY spicy! Now, I’ve been eating spicy food since I was a baby. Indian food won’t make me bat an eye, I can take the hottest peppers, but there’s something so special about how Spices makes their dishes. Schezuan province has a different kind of spicy, it literally makes one’s mouth numb and it feels so good. I’ve been getting the ‘Numbing Spicy Chili Pork over Rice’ since I was 12 years old, I never get anything else!

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Do you just see the hot oil on the bottom of the plate? I’m getting hungry again. I also don’t think I can give up white rice, no matter how un-nutritionally benefitting it is.

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PS: Look what I ended up getting! Chi came home with four boxes Monday night, my hero. I went the next day to buy the other four to complete the set. The little Girl Scout was so adorable. She was Chinese and white and looked just like me when I was younger.

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How’s your hump day going? Is there any foods you know that aren’t exactly healthy that you can’t ever give up?