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Friday, September 30, 2016

Review of California Rancher’s Hog Wild Habanero BBQ Sauce + Recipe



I have been a HUGE fan of California Rancher with their beautiful seasonings for every day cooking. Their Santa Maria Style Seasoning is great on steaks. I used that seasoning on my filet mignons during the Blogger Challenge last year at the World Food Championships. Their Monterey Seafood Seasoning is great on salmon and also eggs. The Oaky & Smoky Seasoning is great on pork, steaks, and chicken.

Hog Wild Habanero BBQ Sauce ($7.49) is a spicy, new BBQ sauced based on their award-winning Hog Wild Cajun-style seasoning. It is crafted to deliver a spicy habanero kick without overwhelming your taste buds and has the perfect balance of heat and sweet. I came up with a recipe to utilize this flavor-packed sauced.

Hog Wild Adobo Pork Chops by OC Food Diva
4-6 servings

4-6 Costco boneless pork loin chops, ¾ to 1-inch thick
¼ cup Hog Wild Habanero BBQ Sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons Pasolivo Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Sidral Mundet Apple Soda
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon shoyu
1 tablespoon garlic powder
Optional side: Melissa’s Produce 100% Organic Red Quinoa

1. Place chops in a plastic bag or Tupperware marinader.
2. For the marinade, in a small bowl, whisk together BBQ sauce, brown sugar, olive oil, apple soda, cilantro, red wine vinegar, shoyu, and garlic powder.
3. Pour over chops and seal. Marinate at least overnight, turning every 4-5 hours.
4. When ready to start cooking, preheat oven to 400°F.
5. Drain chops and discard excess marinade. Place on grill/pan and sear for 6 minutes on each side.
6. If making the quinoa side, cook per package direction on the stove top or in a rice cooker.
7. In a foil-lined baking dish, add oil to grease the bottom of the dish.
8. Once chops are seared, place in baking dish and place in the oven for 30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 140°F.
9. Let the chops rest for 5 minutes. Serve with red quinoa or side of your choice and Hog Wild Habanero BBQ sauce.

California Rancher also carries a line of cashews and almonds featuring California Rancher seasonings.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and go “Hog Wild” for California Rancher products as much as I do!

For more information:
Available online or at Sprouts Farmers Markets and Whole Foods Markets

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Stefano’s has a second location in Laguna Hills, California



I have been going to Stefano’s since it was first called Golden Baked Hams. We found it in our Entertainment Book and have loved it ever since. The second generation is now working the business with Chef Frankie manning the kitchen and Alana heading up the Catering and Events. In October 2015, their second location opened in Laguna Hills so South Orange County can now have a convenient location right off of the 5 Freeway. On Saturdays and Sundays starting at 7 a.m., Stefano’s Laguna Hills has a breakfast menu that will knock your socks off.

The interior has a nice open feel with wrap-around windows for lots of natural light and a larger dining room area than the Yorba Linda location.

 

Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes ($12.50) are served with lemon curd and Crown Maple Syrup. The pancakes are fluffy yet hearty. The ricotta gives it a heavier texture than buttermilk pancakes and adds a creamy richness. The lemon curd and blueberries balance each other with their tangy lemon and sweet blueberry flavors. Rating: 5/5


Golden Baked Ham & Swiss Panini ($9) is made with Golden Baked Ham, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise, and honey mustard. The thick-cut ham is juicy and has the perfectly balance of sweet, salty, and smoky. The Swiss cheese adds a nutty flavor. The honey mustard adds just the right amount of tangy and acidic flavor to the mix. Rating: 4.8/5

One of my favorite menu items is the Bur-Gini ($10.25). Bur-Gini is a panini made with Stefano’s signature blend of ground chuck, short rib, and brisket patty and topped with roasted garlic, jalapeno cream cheese, bacon, avocado, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, and onions. This is a fantastic burger in panini form. The spicy jalapeno cream cheese, sweet garlic, and creamy avocado and cheese pair well with the beef blend patty for the perfect burger. All the flavors in Laguna Hills are consistent with those in Yorba Linda. Rating: 5/5

If you’re in South Orange County, you really need to see what Stefano’s is all about and see what we North Orange County foodies love about Stefano’s!

Atmosphere: 5 out of 5 stars
Décor: 5 out of 5 stars
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Food: 5 out of 5 stars

For more information:
Stefano’s
24781 Alicia Pkwy.
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
+1.949.837.1426
Hours: Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Stefano's Golden Baked Hams Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, September 23, 2016

Yalla Mediterranean is healthy, filling, and fun food in Seal Beach, California



Mediterranean cuisine is on the rise with movies like The Avengers when Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man says, “Have you ever tried shawarma? There’s a shawarma joint about two blocks from here. I don’t know what it is, but I want to try it.” It is a cuisine that incorporates multiple cultures, ingredients, and spices for a healthy and fulfilling diet.

 

Yalla Mediterranean takes away any intimidation you might have with its friendly atmosphere. Their line is set up assembly-line style. The sides are all out calling to you with their fresh vibrant colors.

 

The meats are freshly grilled to order on skewers.

 

The dining room is Mediterranean in hue with the azure blue counters and chairs paired with a reclaimed look and feel.

 

Step 1 is to choose your style. Your choices are Wrap (choice of traditional toppings, spreads, and sauces), Chopped Greek Salad (romaine, tomato cucumber salad, feta, Kalamata olives, and Mediterranean vinaigrette), Power Greens Salad (kale, balsamic apricots, toasted almonds, feta cheese, and lemon vinaigrette) or Plate (basmati rice, choice of seasonal vegetables or spiced lentils, up to three sides, and pita.

 

Step 2 is pick your favorite. Your choices are Falafel (house made, GMO free chickpea fritters), Chicken Skewers (all natural chicken breast with fresh herbs and spices), Chicken Shawarma (slow roasted with Lebanese spices), Steak Shawarma (slow roasted with Lebanese spices), Shalafel (half Chicken Shawarma and half Falafel), Salmon Skewers (wild caught with fresh herbs and spices), or Kefta Skewers (Turkish spiced ground lamb and beef).

 

For the plates or if you want to order extra sides, you can choose from: Baba Ganoush (eggplant, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, tahini, and olive oil), Hummus (GMO-free chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil), White Bean (celery, red bell pepper, parsley, cilantro, scallion, dill, garlic, olive oil, and red wine vinegar), Fire Feta (spicy blend of peppers, feta cheese, and secret seasonings), Beet & Kale (roasted beets, feta, and Mediterranean vinaigrette), Greek Potato (scallions, olive oil, and red wine vinegar), Turkish Slaw (red cabbage, cilantro, lime juice, honey, and olive oil), Tabouli (parsley, dill, tomato, cucumber, bulgur wheat, lemon juice, and olive oil), Moroccan Carrot (cumin, dill, golden raisin, honey, olive oil, and Mediterranean vinaigrette), Basmati Rice (cardamom, turmeric, lemon juice, and olive oil), Lentils (warm spiced lentils), and/or Grilled Vegetables (seasonal produce)


Sauce choices are Chermoula (cilantro, green onions, peppers, olive oil, mint, ginger, and sea salt), Harissa (tomatoes, paprika, brown sugar, chermoula, onions, garlic, sea salt, and spicy red chili peppers), Tzatziki (yogurt, cucumbers, dill, garlic, kosher salt, and olive oil), and/or Tahini (sesame paste, lime juice, Mediterranean vinaigrette, olive oil, and kosher salt)

Here are some combination plates you might like to try:

Plate ($14.00) served with Salmon and Kefta Skewers with Basmati Rice, Lentils, Beets & Kale, Hummus, Baba Ganoush, and Chermoula & Tzatziki sauces. The salmon is perfectly grilled with buttery, succulent flavor. It pairs well with the Chermoula sauce. I love kefta and it tastes exactly how I like it with bold beef and lamb flavor. It pairs well with the Tzatziki sauce. The basmati rice is good with cumin flavor notes. The lentils are cooked perfectly to a hearty stew/chili-like consistency. The Beets & Kale are sweet with tender beets and a little bitterness from the kale. Hummus has a creamy consistency and is not too lemony. Baba Ganoush is creamy and sweet from the eggplant with herbaceous flavor. Rating: 5/5

Plate ($14.00) served with Steak and Chicken Shawarma, Fire Feta, Greek Potato, Tabouli, Grilled Vegetables, Basmati Rice, Lentils, and Harissa & Tahini sauces. The steak shawarma is tender and juicy. It pairs well with the harissa sauce. The chicken shawarma is very flavorful. It pairs well with the tahini sauce but doesn’t need it since the chicken is quite flavorful on its own. Greek Potato is similar to German potato salad with a vinegar/oil base instead of mayonnaise. It is very light. The tabouli has a refreshing, clean flavor but needs some salt. The grilled vegetables add a nice contrast to the rice and lentils. Rating: 4.8/5

If you’re looking for a new way to enjoy Mediterranean cuisine, Yalla Mediterranean is ready to spice up your next meal.

Atmosphere: 5 out of 5 stars
Décor: 5 out of 5 stars
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Food: 5 out of 5 stars
Sustainability: 5 out of 5 stars (100% compostable packaging, napkins, straws, utensils, and cups; Uses reclaimed wood in the décor.)

For more information:
Yalla Mediterranean
12420 Seal Beach Blvd.
Seal Beach, CA 90740
+1.562.596.4801
Hours: Daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Parking: Free shopping center parking

Yalla Mediterranean Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato