Dec 2006

Skillet Noodle and Sausage Supper


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • Salt
  • 1 pound hot or sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed and chopped fine
  • 8 ounces penne (2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 (5-ounce) bag baby spinach
  • 1 ounce Parmesan, grated (1/2 cup)
  • Pepper

1. Heat the oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

2. Stir in the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

3. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Sprinkle the tomatoes and penne evenly over the sausage. Pour the broth and milk over the pasta. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, about 10 minutes.

4. Stir in the spinach a handful at a time and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4 to 6.

Recipe from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

Substitutions: Sauteed the onions using water instead of olive oil. Used shallots instead of onions. Used Trader Joe’s Chicken Sausage. Used non-oil packed sun dried tomatoes. Used a pound (1 bag) of whole wheat rotini pasta and doubled the broth and milk. Did not add Parmesean directly to the pasta, but had on hand for everyone to use to their own liking. Added carrots.

Nov 2006

Freddy’s Mexican Restaurant – San Antonio


November 29, 2006
Cuisine: Mexican

1201 S Flores St
San Antonio, TX 78204

Phone: 210-277-1515
Website: none

Entree I: Gordita lunch special – two gorditas served with beans and rice

For our final meal in San Antonio, some locals took us to a hole in the wall Mexican joint for some authentic native fare. The restaurant was definitely off the beaten path and was packed for lunch. While I’m not the biggest fan of Mexican food, I was curious to see how Freddy’s compared to San Diego’s Mexican fare.

Freddy’s looked a lot like a SoCal taco shop (plastic tables and booths, funky yellow walls), but was a lot bigger and did not have a drive through. The locals ordered the gordita special, so I did the same even though I was leaning toward the tamales. Let me tell you, I felt really funny saying, “I’d like a gordita, please.” It’s kind of like saying, “I’d like to be fat, please.” I ordered one chicken gordita and one beef.

I had heard of a gordita before thanks to Taco Bell, but really wasn’t sure what it was. According to Wikipedia, “A gordita is a food which is characterized by a small, thick tortilla made with corn flour. The gordita is typically baked on a comal, a small pan similar to a skillet. The gordita’s thick tortilla is typically split and filled with guisos (soups or stews) or casseroles, like chicken, cochinita pibil, nopales, carne al pastor, etc. These are made mostly for lunch and are accompanied with many different types of salsas.”

My gordita did not come with different types of salsas, although red and green salsa were already on the table. The gorditas came with small sides of rice and beans. The rice and beans were very similar to the ones I’ve had in San Diego. The gorditas were quite tasty. The beef gordita contained ground beef that was well seasoned, if not a little on the greasy side. However, I feel that grease is to be expected and welcomed when it comes to Mexican food. The chicken gordita was slightly less greasy and surprisingly flavorful; I tend to expect the worst when it come to chicken. The chicken was shredded and also seasoned nicely. Both gorditas were stuffed with iceberg lettuce and tomatoes. I discarded the iceberg.

The best part of the gordita is the thick corn tortilla. The texture is just so yummy—kind of like nacho chips that have lost their crispness due to a heavy dousing of cheese and meat.

Nov 2006

Acenar – San Antonio

Photo by Daniel Paz

November 28, 2006
Cuisine: Tex Mex

146 E. Houston St.
San Antonio Tx 78205

Phone: 210-222-2362

Appetizer I: Ceviche / Lime Marinated Fish – Lime marinated fish served with housemade tostadas and slice avocado ($9.75)

Appetizer II: Ostiones / Oysters – Buttermilk fried oysters on yucca chips, jalapeno honey mayo & charred pineapple ($7.95)

Entree I: Oyster Tacos – Chicken fried oysters drizzled with a jalapeno honey mayo, charred pineapple and micro greens ($12.95)

Entree II:Crab Tinga Tacos – Gulf blue crab tomato, onion, chipotle, avocado ($14.95)

Entree III: Pescado Veracruzano / Fish Veracruzano – Fresh Gulf Red Snapper simmered in tomato, olive caper sauce served with green rice and watercress ($17.95)

For a girl from San Diego, I don’t like Mexican food as much as I should. While there are some exceptions, namely guacamole and fish tacos, the genre doesn’t evoke any cravings if you know what I mean.

While on travels to San Antonio for work, two colleagues and I dined at Acenar. Acenar’s Tex Mex/fusion is far from authentic Mexican fare, which is definitely a good thing.

I started off dinner with the cerviche, while my co-worker had the oysters. The cerviche was fresh and sour, but nothing amazing. I wished the pieces of fish were larger. The avocado was a little unripened and the shredded icebrerg, which is sadly a staple in Mexican fare, was a waste of space. The oysters on the other hand were really great. In fact, they were the same oysters as my entree — the oyster tacos.

According to the waiter, the oyster tacos were recently voted best tacos in San Antonio, so I had to try them. The oysters were dipped in a batter that tasted like the Colonel’s Original Recipe from Kentucky Fried Chicken. Mmm. The pineapples added a nice tang to balance out the savory batter. I couldn’t really taste the oysters due to the adornments, but that’s really unavoidable. The corn tortilla didn’t do much flavor-wise for the tacos, so I ate the oysters alone. The tacos came with rice and beans, which were pretty good. The cotija cheese atop the beans were a nice touch. Overall, a very creative dish.

I had one of my co-worker’s crab tacos and thought they were great. The corn tortilla was essential for this taco because the crab was a bit salty. There was plenty of crab, but sadly the avocado was not perfectly ripe.

I had one bite of the Fish Veracruzano and found it to be overly dressed. The buttery sauce overpowered the fish’s natural flavors. I prefer fish preparations to be on the light side so that the fish shines through.

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