Save Water, Drink Tequila

 

Drought conditions are no joke (trust us, we’re headquartered in Southern California). We’ve become experts in reducing water consumption and one of the best ways is by offsetting the difference with tequila. You don’t even have to run the tap to whip up the Cucumber Margarita: a slow sipping, cucumber breeze that elevates your senses and carries you away to warmer places and friendly faces. Just don’t forget to hydrate (with real H2O, not tequila, please).

Sweet Chili Rim Salt

1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp coarse kosher salt
1 Tbsp sugar

Swirl together on a plate until completely mixed. Easy peasy.

Cucumber Margarita

4 oz tequila
2 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz fresh orange juice
1 Tbsp agave
1 cucumber, sliced thick
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced

In a blender, add tequila, lime juice, agave, orange juice, and cucumber – pulse for 1 minute. Strain liquid into a cocktail shaker, add jalapeno slices, muddle. Shake with ice enthusiastically, then strain into serving glasses rimmed with sweet chili salt and filled with ice. Top with slices of cucumber or jalapeno to kick it up a notch. Olé!

Grilled Cheese, Please!

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The results are in, and the 4th Annual Grilled Cheese Smackdown was one for the books! Thanks to all the folks who participated and brought their A-Game (“A” being for “appetite”, of course). Pair any of the following with beer and tomato soup (because thats what we did) and we’ll see you next year for the 5th Annual Grilled Cheese Smackdown!

Das Bier Belly Grilled Cheese, Team Toad&C0
Winner of the 2016 Golden Spatula Award

Sandwich Ingredients: Pretzel bun, Honey stone ground mustard (mix honey with your favorite stone ground mustard), Kerrygold butter (or other European style butter), beer cheese (make your own, because why not?)

Make it: Cut off edges of pretzel bun so it is a square shape. Slice bun in half, spread ample butter on outside top and bottom, spread mustard on one side inside and add sliced cheese. Heat a frying pan over medium high heat. Cook one side until nicely browned, flip and cook other side until cheese is melted. Enjoy with a side of Popcorn and bread & butter pickles (and again, make your own because why not?)

Beer Cheese:
7 oz. (1 package) Kerrygold reserve cheddar
3.5 oz. fontina cheese
4 Tbs Kerrygold butter
6 Tbs flour
1/4 cup half and half
2 dashes hot sauce
1 tsp Worcester sauce
1/4 cup brown ale

In a small saucepan, heat butter over medium high heat until melted. Add flour in portions whisking vigorously. Continue to whisk and cook for 1 minute. Add milk until well blended and reaches a consistency that coats the back of a spoon without running off. Slowly add beer until incorporated, then add Worcester and hot sauce. Add cheese and keep whisking until melted with no cheese lumps. Remove from heat. Decant into a parchment paper lined storage container and refrigerate until cool.

Bread & Butter Pickles:
1 cub apple cider vinegar
2 cup water
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 Tbs rainbow peppercorns
1 shallot sliced
2 sprigs dill
2 cucumbers sliced in 1/8” thick rounds on a mandolin
1/2 cup of brown sugar

In a saucepan, combine all ingredients except cucumbers and shallots. Bring to boil, remove from heat. Put cucumbers and shallots in large mason jar, pour liquid over, let cool and refrigerate 24 hrs. Eat within 2 weeks (which won’t be a problem).

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Bren Bahn Mi, Team UCSB Bren School Sustainable Fisheries Group 
The 2016 “People’s Choice” Award

Sandwich Ingredients: Bread, butter, shredded gouda cheese, caramel pork (make it yourself, it’s better), pickled carrots and daikon radish (squeezed of excess liquid), thinly sliced cucumber, thinly sliced jalapeno, cilantro

Make it: Liberally butter the outside of two slices of bread. Sprinkle half of the cheese on the inside of one slice and top with a scoop of caramelized pork, pickled carrots and daikon, cucumber, jalapeno, cilantro, then top with remaining cheese. Sandwich with the other slice of bread, buttered side up. Grill on medium heat until golden brown and cheesy.

DIY Carmel Pork:
2 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs water
1 Tbs oil
1 shallot, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound pork tenderloin, thinly sliced
1 Tbs fish sauce
1 Tbs lime juice
2 Tbs sriracha

Heat sugar and water in a pan over medium-high heat until it caramelizes, carefully adding the water until the sugar dissolves, then set aside. Heat oil over medium-high heat, add shallots and garlic, cook until the shallot is tender. Add pork, caramel sauce, fish sauce, lime juice and sriracha. Cook about 3-5 minutes.

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Bristol Bay-ngin Sockeye Sliders,Team Salty Girl Seafood
Winner of the 2016 “Fish Outta Water” Award

Ingredients: Avocados, whipped cream cheese, chives (green onions), peppadew peppers, french bread, salt, butter, Smoked Sockeye Salmon (from Bristol Bay, of course)

Make it: Mash avocados, add salt to taste. Chop chives, add to whipped cream cheese. Cut peppers into strips. Butter outsides of bread (for grilling). Add avocado to one side, cream cheese and chives to the other. Place salmon on one side, add peppers, close it up, and throw it on the press!

Goudalicious, Team Santa Barbara City Firefighters
Winner of the “Make America Grate Again” Award

Ingredients: Ethnic Breads Sourdough, fig jam, applewood smoked bacon, bacon smoked gouda cheese, butter, caramelized onions (with a splash of fig jam in the saucepan)

Make it: Grate at least two blocks of bacon smoked gouda. Liberally spread room temp butter on the outside of fresh sourdough bread. Spread a large dollop of fig jam on the inside of the bread. Layer a large handful of cheese, 2 strips of bacon, caramelized onions, more cheese. Twice. Grill until crunchy and cheesy.

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Eat, Cheese, Love, Team Santa Barbara Symphony

Ingredients: Kalamata olive bread, butter, fresh sliced mozzarella, grated parmesan, olive tapenade, capers, caramelized shallots, balsamic reduction.

Make it: Butter both sides of kalamata olive bread. Place two thick slices of fresh mozzarella and lots of grated parmesan on one slice of bread. Spread tapenade on the other slice of bread and drop a few capers onto the tapenade. Combine and grill with lots of butter. When grilled cheese is hot off the press, top with caramelized shallots, shaved parmesan and a drizzle of balsamic reduction.

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The Filthy Leprechaun, Team UGG

Ingredients: Rustic white bread, corn beef, caramelized onions soaked in Makers Mark Whiskey, garlic aioli mustard, Irish cheddar, swiss cheese, smoked sharp cheddar, garlic mayonnaise

Make it: Spread a healthy spoonful of garlic mayo on the outside of rustic bread (this is the side you grill). On the inside of the bread, spread garlic aioli mustard then layer with a handful each of shredded Irish cheddar, swiss cheese, shredded corn beef, caramelized onions, smoked sharp cheddar. Grill until crunchy on the outside.

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Grilled Cheesy Beer Pub, Team Ontraport 

Ingredients Brown Beer Sourdough French Toast(eggs, salt, lots of pepper, brown beer instead of cream), smoked gouda,  classic sharp cheddar, sautéed mushrooms (brown butter, shallots, more brown beer, deli mustard and a touch of cream)
Make it: Make fresh french toast and sautéed mushrooms separately. Shred all the cheese. Layer cheese, mushrooms, cheese, mushrooms, cheese between two french toasts. Lightly grill in a panini press until the cheese is perfectly melted!

4th Annual Grilled Cheese Smackdown

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Veni. Vidi. Cheesy.
They Came. They Saw. They Grilled Cheese.

Centuries from now, when anthropologists look back on the great battles of history, the Toad&Co Grilled Cheese Smackdown will rank among the mightiest battles of humankind. A modern day Battle of the Bulge, the 4th Annual Grilled Cheese Smackdown recently rocked Toad Headquarters on an unseasonably warm spring evening….

This whole thing started a few years back when we heard that April was National Grilled Cheese Month. A holiday we can all get behind, we asked our friends to throw down their best sando’s in a bid for the coveted Golden Spatula Award. Thus, the first battle of the Grilled Cheese Smackdown was waged. Scorned and ready for redemption, the 2nd Grilled Cheese Smackdown pitted veterans vs. newbies, duking it out for Biggest Cheese. The 3rd in a series of intense battles, the 2015 Smackdown saw the rise of an empire as a two-time winner was awarded the Golden Spatula for a second time. So this year, armed with bread knives and sticks of butter, seasoned masters and a handful of new recruits went head to head in the cheesiest, gooiest, most savory Smackdown this side of Waterloo.

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The competition pitted 10 teams against each other – teams from partner non-profits, like-minded local companies and two teams from Toad. At 5:30pm, with griddles on high and spatulas ready at the whim, five teams in Heat #1 brought their finest:

  • Salty Girl Seafood: Newbies to the Grilled Cheese Smackdown, the Salty Girl Seafood team came in swinging with their Bristol Bay-ngin Sockeye Sliders – a sustainable take on a tuna melt, sub sockeye salmon for tuna and avocado cream cheese for swiss. Sounds whacky, tastes amazing. Salty Girl Seafood is a 1% for the planet company that sources and distributes sustainable, traceable seafood to ensure the continued health of oceans, fisheries, and fishing communities.
  • UCSB Bren School of Environmental Science and Management: One of the great Smackdown masters, the Bren Team took on Asian fusion with their Vietnamese Bhan Mi Grilled Cheese. The Bren School is a graduate program focused on research, teaching, and community service related to solving environmental problems.
  • Santa Barbara Fire Department: Never one to shy from the heat, local firemen Phil and Billy were serving up heaping samples of their Goudalicious Grilled Cheese (the key: LOTS of cheese). The SBFD has operated continuously since 1881 and keeps 123,000 Santa Barbarians safe. Thanks guys!
  • Ontraport: We were a little intimidated when we heard the Ontraport Team had a Ringer – Lee Abbott who’s currently competing on Food Network’s All Star Academy! Lee and Brendan certainly lived up to the hype with their smoky Grilled Cheesy Beer Pub – they were infusing mushrooms with beer on site! Ontraport supports entrepreneurs in delivering their value to the world by removing the burden of technology and automating their business.
  • Sonos: New kids on the block Sonos came prepared with a slow-cooker full of comfort food. 1 part cheese, three parts sloppy joe, smashed between two thick slices of Texas Toast, lathered in butter, grilled to perfection. Sounds like our new favorite slow jam. Based in Santa Barbara, Sonos is a leading brand in premier audio technology (trust us – we’ve got Sonos speakers bumpin’ every day).

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With the bar set high, our second heat had to whip up something truly mouthwatering to change the judges’ minds. Hailing from the far reaches of the globe with only the most refined palates, our judges came to the Smackdown prepared for greatness. Back-to-back Smackdown winner’s Nina & Ian from Toad&Co cast the first two votes, followed by First Smackdown winners Kathryn and Michael from local cheese emporium C’est Cheese. Cooking up tomato soup for the event AND doubling down as a judge, Anthony from the Organic Soup Kitchen was born to judge the GCSD. Rounding out our judges were 3-time Smackdown participants Eric & David from LoaTree, an environmental lifestyle company that profiles changemakers, builds community and inspires action through unique storytelling and marketing. With such sophistication salivating over every sammy, the stakes were high for the second crop of contenders…

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  • Toad Team #1: Our materials manager Deborah and her beau Toby threw their very stylish hats into the ring for the first time with their “Sunnier Side of Grilled Cheese”. What was so sunny? Sunny side up eggs! And in case you couldn’t wait for breakfast for dinner, a pink box of bribes Danish pastries dared you to take just one more bite…
  • UGG: Shoe designers Sara & Sam rocked green Ugg slippers and “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” shirts while cooking The Filthy Lephrechaun. Does it get any better than whiskey and corned beef? It does when it’s in grilled cheese form.
  • Santa Barbara Symphony: A regular attendee and first time competitor to the GCSD, the brother and sister duo representing the SB Symphony took us to the rolling hills of Northern Italy with their Tuscan inspired Eat, Cheese, Love. The Santa Barbara Symphony was founded in 1953 on the belief that a special city deserves a special orchestra.
  • Patagonia: We managed to pull some Patagonia folks off the trail and outta the surf for a few hours to whip up a killer grilled cheese. Forgoing a griddle altogether, Team Patagonia sautéed a mish mash of cheeses on the camp stove and stuffed the concoction into a hollowed out baguette to make the “It’s Better After Midnight” Grilled Cheese.
  • Toad Team #2: The dynamic duo in the office and in the kitchen, our Toad&Co women’s designers Guin and Sarah put their home-grown know-how to the test: Proud Minnesotan Guin made her own beer cheese while Santa Cruz raised Sarah pickled bread & butter pickles from scratch. The result? The pretzel-bun beer cheese grilled cheese served with a side of popcorn and brown ale, aptly named Das Bier Belly.

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It was a knock-down, cheese-out fight. The judges toiled while the crowd sampled the best of the best. Local brewers Telegraph Brewing Company kept our whistles whet with their finest lager and the Organic Soup Kitchen made sure we always had piping hot soup to accompany our sammies. After two heats, the carnage finally abated and from the ashes of the Grilled Cheese smackdown rose the victor: Das Bier Belly, from Toad&Co’s Design Team! Honors were given for the “People’s Choice” and “Make America Grate Again” Awards, and the “Fish Outta Water” Award went to a fitting choice. For the winning grilled cheese recipes, click here. Thanks again to all teams who participated and keeping good company with us! We’ll see you next year for the 5th Annual Grilled Cheese Smackdown!

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Healthy Orange Carrot Muffins

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We’re all trying to eat a little healthier these days. We’re letting our bodies recover from the holidays and starting strong with resolutions, but if you’ve got a sweet tooth then breakfast can be one of the hardest meals to get right. Luckily, these Orange + Carrot muffins from our gal Luci are low in fat and high in guilt-free deliciousness. Naturally sweet carrots and a healthy  dose of Vitamin C from means you’re getting in your vitamins before you’re even done with coffee. Bring on 2016, one resolution at a time.

Orange + Carrot Muffins (12-14 large muffins)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup nonfat greek yogurt
3 tbsp oil
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
1 tbsp orange zest
1/2 cup orange juice
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (can use AP flour)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine wet ingredients (sugar through carrots) in large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients.
3. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients.
4. Fill greased muffin tins at least 3/4 full.
5. Bake 20-22 minutes and enjoy with coffee! Refrigerate within 24 hours.

The Invite Says “Bring a Side”

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Well folks, Cookout Season is upon us. We’ve dusted off the grills, pulled out the reusable wine glasses and spread our picnic blankets. Between Friday concerts in the park, Sunday BBQ’s and Tuesday family dinner we’re constantly whipping up a tasty side to share. So many activities, so little time. Here are some of our favorite dishes that will have you our the door and ready to party in no time!

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Photo and recipe courtesy of Team Toad

 Mint Mojito Fruit Salad 
3 cups strawberries, sliced
2 cups blueberries
2 cups blackberries
1oz. St. Germain Liquor
2 limes, squeezed
A few sprigs of fresh mint, chopped

1. Wash fruit and layer in a big bowl.
2. In a cup, mix lime juice and liquor.
3. Pour lime juice over the fruit and mix. Sprinkle in fresh mint as you mix the fruit. Garnish with a few sprigs of mint and viola!

**Any seasonal fruit will do – we also like raspberries and watermelon!

 

 

 

 

 

Lemon + herb Healthy Potato Salad - vegan recipe - Luci's Morsels-2
Photo and recipe courtesy of Luci’s Morsels

 

Lemon & Herb Potato Salad (Dairy Free) 
7-8 cups chopped golden potatoes
olive oil, salt and pepper for taste
2/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup tarrgon, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup basil, chopped
2 lemons, bested
2 lemons, juice (approx. 1/3 cup)
2 tbsp wholegrain dijon mustard
2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly cracked pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a bowl, coat potatoes with olive oil and salt and pepper.
3. Lay potatoes on large baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes until tender, stirring once at the 20 minute mark.
4. Combine potatoes (hot or cold) with chopped herbs, zest, juice, mustard, salt, and pepper. If potatoes seem dry, drizzle with more olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Photo and Recipe by Partial Ingredients

 

 

 

 

 

Mexican Roasted Corn Salad 
2tbsp butter, for sautéing
4 ears of corn (or 3 cups of kernels)
2 tbsp mayo
2oz. cotija cheese, finely crumbled
2 green onions, chopped
1 handful cilantro, chopped
1 jalepeno, minced
1 lime, juice
1 tomato, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1tsp chilli powder
salt and paper for taste

1. Saute the corn in butter.  Stir to coat and cook on medium high for about 10 minutes until the underside has charred. Stir and let cook for another 3-5 minutes.
2. Add the jalapeno and garlic and saute for about 1 minute.
3. Mix everything together in a bowl, and garnish with cotija.

Sweet Potato Hummus - Vegan - Luci's Morsels-4
Photo and recipe courtesy of Luci’s Morsels

Sweet Potato Hummus
1 can garbanzo beans, drained (liquid reserved)
1 cup cooked sweet potato
2 garlic cloves
1 lemon, juice and zest
5 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp reserved liquid from beans
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly cracked pepper
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Place peeled garlic cloves in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until garlic is finely minced. Add beans and sweet potato. Pulse to combine. Add in remaining ingredients. Taste for seasoning. Serve with veggies and pita.

 

3rd Annual Grilled Cheese Smackdown

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We’re generally a pretty laid back bunch, but we take our grilled cheese very seriously. It all started in 2011 as a modest celebration for National Grilled Cheese Month when a handful of Toads claimed they could make the best grilled cheese. The results were downright delicious!

With a fire in our bellies and a hunger for more (and let’s face it, any excuse for a party), we decided to kick it up a notch: We forged the Golden Spatula Award – the highest honor to be bestowed upon a gourmand – and invited local businesses and non–profits to show us what they were cookin’ with. Boy, did they bring the heat. From Mac n’ Cheese filled ciabattas, to waffle ironed Monte Cristos, to a sandwich who’s popularity was only eclipsed by some very scandalous aprons, we’ve seen some serious chops displayed at the GCSD over the years.

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And like a fine cheddar, the Grilled Cheese Smackdown is just getting better with age. This year’s 3rd Annual Grilled Cheese Smackdown was the best yet: Our friends at The Organic Soup Kitchen set up a grilled cheese and tomato soup station, we whet our whistles with beer from our favorite local brewery, Telegraph Brewing Companyand we gathered around to watch 10 local teams throw down their gooiest, cheesiest, tastiest grilled cheeses in the battle for the coveted Golden Spatula.

Outside under the twinkle lights, friends popped from station to station sampling the award winning sammies, picking up tips and leaving high fives, while our team of esteemed judges had their hands (and mouths) full tasting creations from return competitors and a handful of rookies:

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For the third year in a row our friends at LoaTree came dressed to the nines and ready for a smackdow. LoaTree is a lifestyle company that profiles changemakers, builds community and inspires action through unique storytelling.
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Like most academics, the folks from UCSB’s Bren School have a scientific approach to the perfect grilled cheese. The Bren School is a graduate program focused on research, teaching, and community service related to solving environmental problems.
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Throwing their hat in the ring for the first time was the Direct Relief team who’s sammie, “Deliver a World of Gouda” was a crowd pleaser. Direct Relief is a medical aid organization that works to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty.
Rick and Kimberly, our trusty Dealer Services Manaager at Toad, went for Ricky's tried and true "Hot N'Sticky". The secret? mixing sriracha sauce INTO butter!
Rick and Kimberly, our trusty Dealer Services Manaager at Toad, went for Ricky’s tried and true “Hot N’Sticky”. The secret? mixing sriracha sauce INTO butter!
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C’est Cheese, our Year 1 champs came back to reclaim the crown with a killer breakfast grilled cheese. A family-run cheese shop and cafe in downtown Santa Barbara, these guys bring a whole new level of credibility to the Smackdown.
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They might be rookies to the GCSD, but the Deckers team made a veal grilled cheese that smacked of old school expertise! Deckers Outdoor Corporation designs, manufactures and markets innovative, function-oriented footwear developed for high-performance outdoor, sports and recreational activities.
Our neighbors, the Ontraport Team, had all the late night munchies in their "Dude, Where's My Grilled Cheese?" (Hot Cheetos, bacon, siracha, BBQ chips, gold fish crackers…). Ontraport supports entrepreneurs in delivering their value to the world by removing the burden of technology and automating their business.
Our neighbors, the Ontraport Team, had all the late night munchies in their “Dude, Where’s My Grilled Cheese?” (Hot Cheetos, bacon, siracha, BBQ chips, gold fish crackers…). Ontraport supports entrepreneurs in delivering their value to the world by removing the burden of technology and automating their business.
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The guys from Union Bank showed up with backup… Union Bank is dedicated to providing unparalleled service to customers, colleagues and communities. Grilled cheese included upon request.
Ian and Nina go together like bread and butter. Competing for Toad for the last three years, these two headed into Year 3 as the reigning champs.
Ian and Nina go together like bread and butter. Competing for Toad for the last three years, these two headed into Year 3 as the reigning champs!
Isabel and Daisy, the Toad copy writer, rounded out the Toad teams. Their Indian inspired "Dharcheesling" enlightened our tastebuds.
Isabel and Daisy, the Toad copy writer, rounded out the Toad teams. Their Indian inspired “Dharcheesling” enlightened our tastebuds.

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All said, it was a battle of epic proportions of cheese, pitting mozzarella vs. Munster, goat vs. Gouda, provolone vs. parmesan. Teams wowed with home grown veggies and perfectly golden crust, and we saw the most multicultural selection of grilled cheeses yet (Indian grilled cheese, anyone?). The competition was fierce but in the end there could only be one winner… reigning champs, Ian and Nina’s appropriately named El Jefe Chees-urito!  Let’s see if they’ll make it a three-peat at the 4th Annual Grilled Cheese Smackdown, or will a new victor be crowned?

Thanks to all the participants, judges, and spectators who made this year’s Smackdown such a success – we can’t wait for next year! In the meantime, here are a few recipes to tide you over…

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C’est Cheese’s Breakfast Grilled Cheese – The “Fancy Pants Award” 
Makes 1 sandwich:
1 grilled ancho chile cut in strips
Thin sliced ham
Aged white cheddar
Mild cheddar
2 slices sourdough bread
1 egg
Arugula
Butter

1. Butter the outside and inside of the bread. On the inside of one slice, layer ham and ancho chile strips (the more the spicier!)
2. Add one layer of mild cheddar then a layer of aged white cheddar. Top with other slice of bread and grill until cheese is melted. Meanwhile, poach an egg in boiling water.
3. Top perfectly grilled sandwich with a small handful of arugula and place poached egg in a nest of arugula. Yum!

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Ian & Nina’s El Jefe Chees-urito – The “Two Time Champ” Award 
Makes 5 sandwiches:
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 lb marinated Carne asada, cooked
1 cup of Dubliner cheese, shredded
1 cup of Irish cheddar
1 cup of jalapeño jack cheese, shredded
1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 stick of butter, softened
1/4 carmelized onions
1 can red enchilada sauce
1/4 cup cotija cheese, crumbled
sliced radishes soaked in an ice bath
sourdough bread, sliced
1 jar pickled carrots*
2 cups avocado whip**
1 bag cantina style tortilla chips
Limes cut in quarters

*To make Pickled Carrots: 5 carrots – peeled and sliced diagonally, 1.5 cups rice wine vinegar, 1/2 cup sugar, and a pinch of ginger, cumin, garlic powder and salt. Mix in a bowl, cover and let sit overnight.
** To make Avocado Whip: 3 avocados, 3 cloves of garlic and a pinch of salt. Toss into a food processor and mix until it’s light and airy.

1. Mix butter, caramelized onions, parmesan and chopped garlic. Slather the butter mixture on the outside of the sourdough bread slices.
2. On the bottom slice stack a handful of the dubliner, the cheddar and the jack. Next a layer of the Carne asada,then another handful of all three cheeses on top of that and top with about 5 crispy chips. Add the top slice of bread with the buttered side up.
3. Stick the sandwich in the back of a panini press and leave for about 6 minutes or until the bread is nice and crispy without being burned.
4. Let cool for two minutes and then cut in half diagonally. Drizzle with red enchilada sauce and top with cotija cheese. Serve with extra chips, avacado whip, pickled carrots, radishes and a lime wedge. Muy bien!

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Direct Relief’s Deliver a World of Gouda – The “Best Use of Branding Award”
Makes 4 sandwiches:
4 brioche rolls
1 cup cilantro butter**
1 cup BBQ Sauce (your favorite or homemade)
Smoked gouda cheese, sliced
2 cups BBQ Pulled Pork, cooked
1 jar Hooper’s Chili-Style Pickles
4 Direct Relief mozzeralla logos**
4 small square slices of Extra Sharp Cheddar
4 small square slices of Sharp Cheddar
4 small square slices of Gouda

*To make cilantro butter, combine in a food processor: 1 stick softened unsalted butter, 6 cloves chopped garlic, 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, 2 tbsp fresh lime juice, a pinch of salt and pepper.
**On a wide, thin slice of mozzarella, cut out the Direct Relief caduceus logo with a sharp knife (just be careful!)

1. Slice brioche rolls in half and coat the whole thing with cilantro butter.
2. Liberally Lather the bottom piece with BBQ sauce, then a layer of sliced gouda, then a handful of pulled pork, then a layer of sliced pickles, then another layer of gouda, and top with other half of the bun. Press in griddle until cheese is melted.
3. On the top of each grilled cheese, make the Direct Relief logo: A square of extra sharp cheddar in the top left, a square of sharp cheddar in the top right, a square of gouda in the bottom right, a square of sharp cheddar in the bottom left, and lay the mozzarella caduceus right in the middle. Hover the grill over the sandwich to broil the cheese until it melts!

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Daisy & Isabel’s The Darcheesling – The “New Age Award” 
Makes 2 sandwiches:
Fresh mozzarella log, sliced into 1/4″ thick rounds
2 cups spinach
1 sweet onion, sliced
4 slices of naan bread
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 jar masala sauce
1 jar mango chutney
1 jar spicy mint sauce*

To make spicy mint sauce, place in a food processor: 2 handfuls of mint, 2 handfuls of cilantro, juice from 2 limes, 3 serrano peppers, a pinch of salt for taste, and if it seems thick add a splash of water to loosen it up.

1. Mix the melted bunter and chopped garlic and spread on both sides of two pieces of naan bread.
2. In a skillet, saute onions and spinach with a splash of masala sauce.
3. on the inside of one naan, spread a layer of spicy mint sauce, then layer all the sautéed veggies. Top with a layer of mozzarella.
4. On the inside of the other naan spread a liberal amount of mango chutney. Place on top of the mozzarella and panini press until naan is crispy.
5. Warm up the masala sauce and pour into a ramekin. Pour remaining mango chutney and masala into ramekins. Cut sandwich in half and serve with the three dipping sauces.

Happy (Extra) Hour

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An extra hour of sunlight means getting outside after work, more sunset walks, a hearty garden and an extra hour of happy hour! Ok, maybe not an extra hour, but isn’t Daylight Savings a great excuse to whip up a pitcher of margaritas and unwind with good company?

The Mint Tangerita

3 tangerines, peeled
1 cucumber, diced
1 handful of fresh mint
1 cup fresh lime juice
3 cups sparking water
2 cups Cazadores tequila

In a pitcher, muddle together tangerines, cucumber and mint. Add lime juice, sparkling water and tequila. Mix well, pour over ice, salud!