Alright friends — time for a Very Important Pop Quiz:
1) Who of you out there are obsessed with big fans of chips and salsa?
2) Who of you out there always end up asking for a second round of chips and salsa when you’re out at Mexican restaurants??
3) Who of you out there basically end up making chips and salsa your main course when you’re out at Mexican restaurants, taking those quesadillas or tacos you ordered home as leftovers???
(Ahem.) I’m not guilty of any of those.
Just kidding. One peek at my Instagram feed and anyone will know that chips and salsa are a mega importante part of my life. Partly because they are my total version of comfort food. Partly because chips and salsa usually mean that good friends and margaritas are nearby. And partly because they are just so crazy, irresistibly, good.
So today I thought I’d join the ranks of other bloggers who have shared their favorite restaurant-style salsa recipes, and offer you my personal favorite. If you search this site, you’ll see that there are plenty of other salsa recipes on here that I highly recommend. But if you’re looking for a classic, fresh, milder, and super easy to make version that is akin to what you receive in restaurants, today’s your lucky day.
I was planning to wait and post this recipe closer to Easter. But as you all know, I seem to have zero patience when it comes to sharing recipes I’ve made that I really love. And carrot cake happens to fall in the category of recipes I really, really, really love. So without further ado, I present to you a very humbly-named classic:
The BEST Carrot Cake.
Well, at least it’s the best in my opinion, as I am a total purist when it comes to carrot cakes. That’s right. I’m one of those people who does not want to see any nuts, raisins, pineapple, applesauce, or (heaven forbid) carrot substitutes in my carrot cake. Instead, give me a perfectly spiced, moist cake made with a heaping mount of freshly-grated carrots and lots of homemade cream cheese frosting. And I will be a very happy carrot-cake-eating camper.
(Ok, ok, though — if you happen to adore nuts and/or raisins in your carrot cake, we can still be friends. I’ve included an option in the recipe for how to add them in.)
Still, in my world, this recipe is Da Best. I even tested it twice this week just to double check with my friends, and they wholeheartedly agreed. (And for the record, this one is 500x better than a box mix!) So here’s the how-to:
Some of you may remember that I caught the blogging travel bug last year and spent a good chunk of 2013 hopping from culinary adventure to adventure. This year, I have decided to spend much more of my time back home in Kansas City. But I was looking through photo albums the other day and was reminded again of what an amazing season it was. I still can’t believe I got to meet such wonderful people, visit so many inspiring places, and — of course — eat so much spectacular food.
One of those trips that I had yet to share with you about on here was my time at Culinaria, an awesome food and wine festival in San Antonio. I had thought this trip might be fun to share in the chilly winter, in case any of you are looking for a fab trip idea for this spring. Tickets just went on sale for Culinaria 2014, which will be held this May. And let me assure you, it is an epic food and wine festival to attend. Everything’s bigger and better in Texas, right? And this festival is no exception. From the incredible chefs and their culinary masterpieces, to the hand-crafted cocktails, to the events, to the scenic boardwalk, to the fine wines, to the CIA…San Antonio shows that they know how to throw a mega party with this festival. And we, at least, had a mega good time.
Wow, that week went by in a hurry! Or maybe I should say, a “flurry”, as we received two more rounds of snow in Kansas City since the last Friday Five. As tends to happen in the Midwest, though, we should be springing right back up from -15 degree windchills to 65 degree sunny days this weekend, and I can’t wait.
I have to say, though, this week was a pretty good one despite the bitter temps. Lent kicked off on Wednesday, and instead of giving up something this year, I decided to spend some extended time with the book of John, and also taking some intentional time each day to just give thanks. Actually, what I’m specifically trying to do is start and end each day by giving thanks because, quite simply, I can’t really think of a better way to bookend a day. So I’m taking the 40-ish days of Lent to see if I can get into that rhythm and let those specific times of thankfulness become a habit in my life and spill over into the rest of my days even more.
Pretty sure I had a jump-up-and-down, shout-for-joy, high-five-my-dog, ballet-leap-across-the-floor, I-am-Fried-Rice-Maker-hear-me-ROAR moment in my kitchen yesterday when I tasted this recipe. After about 15 years of trying, I finally found a fried rice recipe that met my standards. And I am positively giddy.
Oh friends. I think we have a winner here. Let me count the reasons:
This recipe is a riff on the this garlicky baked shrimp (a longtime favorite recipe on the blog). It’s made with the best Mexi combo ever (cilantro + lime, of course). It’s topped with a healthier crispy breadcrumb mixture (hail the Panko!). It only takes about 10 minutes to prep and 15 to bake (easy peasy). And it is crazy good. (CRAZY.)