The Blended Burger Battle - Sunday, June 5, 2016 - Sushi on a Roll - San Diego, CA

Watch me judge the Culinary Fight Club's The Blended Burger Battle, this Sunday, June 5, 2016 at Sushi on a Roll in San Diego, CA. See details below...

Vote for my #BloggerRecipeChallenge2016 recipe, Quick Beef Barbacoa Stew

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Quick Beef Barbacoa Stew

With work and family life, it can sometimes be hard to have a homecooked meal. But this hearty one-pot meal can be prepped and cooked within an hour.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Number of People Served: 4-6

  • 1 large tomato, pureed
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 6 tablespoons Del Real Foods Fire Roasted Red Salsa
  • 1.5 lbs Melissa's Produce Baby Dutch Yellow Potatoes, quartered
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 package Del Real Foods Seasoned Shredded Beef, chopped
  • 1 package Del Real Foods Barbacoa, cut into chunks
  • 3-4 tablespoons Del Real Foods Friojles Refritos

  • 1 large green jalapeno, diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 large red jalapeno, diced
  • 4-6 tablespoons sour cream

  1. Puree large tomato in NutriBullet or blender until smooth. Add to pot along with beef broth and salsa. Cover pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Quarter potatoes and chop garlic. Add to pot and lower heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Chop up shredded beef and cut up barbacoa into bite-size chunks. Add beef and sauce from barbacoa to pot. Add refried beans to thicken stew (add more if thicker base desired). Uncover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. To serve, ladle stew into bowls. If desired, add a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle diced jalapenos and shallots for added color and flavor.

Foodie Fest Encinitas VIP Dinner at Coral Tree Farms

A Friday early evening drive just a couple of exits south of The Kate Stanton Inn seemed to take an eternity with the homeward bound and visitor traffic heading to San Diego for the weekend. But, hidden at the end of a residential community cul de sac is Coral Tree Farm & Nursery. It has been a family-owned and operated business since 1958 and grows heirloom vegetables and organic tropical fruits like avocados, cherimoyas, and guavas. They also sell eggs from their healthy, free pasture flock of heritage breed chickens, raised without antibiotics and eat organic feed. They also offer space for private events like the dinner this evening.

The event began with live music and conversation with table mates. Chef John Gonzales, from Bottaro WoodFired Pizza, prepared three items for the first course.

Tuscan Salad included marinated tri-tip steak grilled in the oven atop spring mixed greens, shaved parmigiano, and freshly made lemon olive oil dressing. The steak was grilled to a perfect medium rare complete with juicy and tender texture. The greens and dressing balanced the dish with slight bitter, sour, and sweet flavors all working together.

Margherita Pizza is topped with crushed tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, sea salt, and olive oil. Simple yet delicious! The crust has a nice texture with a bubbled bottom crust and slightly smoky flavor from the wood burning oven. The sweet tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and herbaceous basil tantalized the taste buds.

Blonde Tomato Pizza is topped with ricotta, fresh heirloom tomatoes, garlic, and parmigiano. This is a pizza that you might not be able to stop eating. Luckily, they only served one slice. The creamy ricotta works well with the garlic and tomato flavors, like lasagna. Mangia!

La Jolla Brewing Company paired their Sunny Jim’s IPA with the first course. It is the flagship IPA with a crisp bitter bite then yields to mild citrus tones. It makes a nice pairing with spring/summer salads as well as being an excellent springtime brew all on its own.

Chef Sonia Tryhane, from Foodiesbysonia, prepared the second course. Brazilian Style Shrimp made with yucca root, coconut milk, and spices served with rice. The dish was very flavorful, also reminiscent of Thai curry with the spices and coconut milk being quite addictive. The yucca root brought the South American flavor to the mix. The shrimp were a little over cooked, but keep in mind, she prepared this banquet style for around 100 people.

Boochcraft paired the Tumeric Tangerine Ginger Kombucha with the second course. It is made with simple ingredients: filtered water, black tea, cold pressed tangerine, turmeric, and ginger juices, and cane sugar. It is brewed like a craft beer can contains healthy probiotics, vitamins, and minerals. The citrus, ginger, and turmeric flavors paired well with the coconut milk and spices from the shrimp.

Chef William Eick, from 608 Mission, prepared the third course. Milk Poached Halibut cooked with peas, confit garlic, and clarified milk/flower tea. This wildly imaginative dish really pushed the boundaries of ways to serve halibut. The milk and poaching process of the halibut gave it a buttery flavor while not waterlogging the flesh of the fish. The peas were the perfect color accent and the fresh pea flavor paired well with the halibut.

Robert Young Estate Winery paired their 2014 Alexander Valley Chardonnay with the third course. It’s a tropical beach vacation in a glass with golden color; mango, papaya, and melon aromatics; kiwi, guava, nectarine, caramel and toasted macadamia flavors on the palate.

Chef Alex Carballo, from MotoDeli, prepared the fourth course. Flat Iron Chimichurri served with a grilled spring vegetable salad. An excellent, tender, juicy flat iron steak grilled to a perfect medium rare. The mix of grilled vegetables worked perfectly with the meat and the herbaceous chimichurri.

Robert Young Estate Winery paired their 2012 Scion Cabernet Sauvignon with the fourth course. This cab is aged in 100% French oak barrels and is a hybrid of California and Bordeaux styles. It is structured and balanced with plenty of fruit notes.

Kate O’Hara, from Brothers Provisions, provided an artisan cheese plate. The double cream brie was amazing with its creamy, buttery texture and flavor spread onto the sliced baguette will send you into cheese heaven.

Brian Trout, from Half Pint Ciders, presented three ciders. The first is Cidrerie Daufresne’s PoirĂ© from Normandy, France. This pear cider is made from local pears of lower Normandy. It has a fine effervescence with pale, yet brilliant yellow color. It has a fruity nose and tangy fruit notes are defined on the palate.

The second is 101 Cider House’s Indian Pale Cider from Los Angeles, CA. It is a blend of American cider apples and west coast hops. Tart, fragrant, and citrus notes are experienced on the palate combined with a sparkling effervescence.

The third is Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse’s Prohibition from Vancouver Island, BC. This is made with home-grown heritage apples and aged in rum-soaked barrels for a minimum of six months. This produces deep rich flavors and aromas of brown sugar and rum.

Gourmet Mediterranean Chocolates served two different chocolates. The first was a Jamaican Dark Rum Truffle. The second was an Everything Square. Gourmet Mediterranean makes their dark chocolate treats from cocoa beans grown on sustainable growth plantations. They do not use flour, butter, dairy products, or eggs. They use only the pure Belgian dark chocolate, dried fruits, nuts, tahini (sesame seed butter), coffee, pure vanilla, and cold-pressed olive oil. The products are all gluten-free and vegan.

As the guests started to depart, a schwag bag was offered and filled with foodie goodies from Gogobot, Coola, Nibble, Frazier Farms, and The Salami Store, along with coupons from Bamboo 2 U and Beach House Too, Yelp Eat 24, Outlets at San Clemente, Equinox, Nii Bar, and a Foodie Fest Passport good through October 31, 2016.

With bellies full, it was time to head back to The Kate Stanton Inn for a wonderful night’s sleep to get ready for the Foodie Fest Encinitas at The Lumberyard. Stay tuned for the article!

For more information:

598 Park Ln.
Encinitas, CA 92024
Hours: Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Parking: Street but be mindful of “No Parking” signs on parts of Park Ln. You may need to park around the corner and walk.

The Kate Stanton Inn is “Home Sweet Home” in Encinitas, California

Encinitas is a little over an hour’s drive from Orange County (an hour and a half to two hours with traffic). It is a relatively new town that was incorporated in 1986 joining the communities of New Encinitas, Old Encinitas, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Olivehain, and Leucadia. It’s definitely a beach town but while, at the same time, having a tropical feel to it as if driving on the Big Island of Hawaii from mauka (mountain) to makai (toward the ocean).

A short drive from the freeway is The Kate Stanton Inn. Liz Clarke is the main innkeeper and shares her home with you, a home away from home. She has lived in Encinitas for almost 40 years and knows the community rather well. After a warm greeting and check-in with Liz and Carol (who has resided in Encinitas for over 20 years after moving from the United Kingdom), you are shown your room. Just like at home, you are welcome to the living space and outdoor patio. From the outdoor patio, you can actually see the Pacific Ocean to the west and San Elijo Lagoon Reserve to the north. It is the largest coastal wetland in San Diego County with nearly 300 different species of birds calling this beautiful place home throughout the year.

The Nantucket Room is a bright and airy 300 square-foot bedroom with bathroom en suite. This first floor room is decorated like a Nantucket beach cottage with traditional blue and white colors. There is also a wonderful cross-breeze from being on the corner of the house along with lots of shade on the south side. The room includes a queen bed, flat screen TV above an electric fireplace, private bathroom, work desk, rocking chair, chaise lounge, and private patio. The private patio has a tropical feel surrounded by fruit trees and flower bushes.

After settling in, Liz will serve up early evening cocktail or glass of wine. While sitting in the living room and relaxing, you feel so comfortable as if catching up with long, lost relatives. Conversations of childhood, how you met your mate, what you do for a living, and what your plans while in Encinitas come with ease. Resident mascot, guardian, and attention receiver, Kai, a mixed breed pup, is the friendliest and gentlest dog you’ll ever meet. She looks to be part Rottweiler, German Shepherd, and maybe Labrador Retriever. She has the cutest blonde “eyebrows” giving her a look of curiosity when she looks at you. After finishing drinks, it was time to head out for a dinner celebration. Stay tuned for the article on this.

When we returned, Liz and Carol had performed a turn down service with comforter pulled down and provided a cold bottled water and York Peppermint Patty as a sweet, minty touch before going off to Neverland. Such the perfect touch to end a perfect day!

In the morning, Liz prepared a lovely breakfast of what she calls “Lazy Innkeeper’s Eggs Benedict”. Hollandaise is easy to make but takes a lot of time and patience until you get the perfect consistency. She found that after making hollandaise sauce, most guests either didn’t want any or just wanted a little bit. So instead of hollandaise sauce, she melts cheese on top of the poached egg and calls it a day. It totally works! The flavor is reminiscent of an open-faced breakfast sandwich, but more luxurious. The eggs are poached to perfection and when you cut the egg, a gush of golden, silky yolk flows out, lovingly saucing the egg whites, ham, and English muffin below. A make-your-own-parfait of vanilla yogurt, granola, fresh blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries is absolutely splendid as light and creamy meets sweet and tangy.

After breakfast, it was time to do some work. But Kai had other plans. Kai wandered into our room and wanted some attention. After a doggy massage, she plopped down on the floor and took a nap. The hubby returned to the rocking chair to watch TV and the author returned to her laptop to finish some assignments before venturing out to the beachside of town for the Foodie Fest Encinitas. Stay tuned for the article on this.

After the Foodie Fest Encinitas, a food coma took over and it was couch potato time. The food coma turned into a nap until dinner time. Liz and Carol recommended a restaurant called Fish 101 which has a casual atmosphere and also has poke on the menu. Stay tuned for the article on this.

On Sunday mornings, Liz likes to serve bagels and lox for breakfast. Carol picks up bagels warm and fresh from Einstein Bros. Bagels along with a selection of cream cheeses. Standard accompaniments of sliced tomatoes, red onions, and capers are artfully displayed along with sliced and peeled mango and first-of-the-season peaches. The toasted, soft, chewy wheat bagel is the perfect base to the fluffy cream cheese, buttery cured salmon, sweet red onion, and salty capers. The sweet fruit paired nicely with savory fare.

After breakfast, it was time to head back to Orange County. The Kate Stanton Inn is a lovely home away from home in a cozy beach side town. Check in and stay a while the next time you are in the San Diego area.

To see more photos, please visit OC Food Diva’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

For more information:
1904 Leucadia Scenic Ct.
Encinitas, CA 92024

Melissa’s Deluxe Pantry Box Recipe Series: Quinoa Cranberry Pudding Parfait

Melissa’s Deluxe Pantry Box in this post was provided by Melissa’s Produce but the opinions expressed here are my own.