WE’VE MOVED!

Check us out at our new spot! We’ll still be around reading what you are all up to. Thank you for the support and love! 

Find us at:

http://casapepeoakland.com

xo

casa pepe

Okay, I’m doing this

Andrew and I have been building a new website for Casa Pepe. Through this transition, I gave myself the personal challenge of posting five times a week, Monday through Friday during the month of June. 

The new website’s official launch starts Monday June 3rd and on that day I will post the link to our new site. Thank you for reading. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for us in our culinary adventures!

xo

Sequoia, Casa Pepe

Changes, Challenges, Cherries

Life is just a bowl of cherries…

Sometimes its the pits. As most of you know by now- Andrew and I are looking for a permanent place for Casa Pepe to settle into in Oakland. This shit is hard, guys. Like really hard. There isn’t day that goes by when I’m not asked about the status of our restaurant. And right now- I don’t have much to tell. But keep asking. Thank you for believing in us. 

Everyone told us that this is the hardest business we could possibly get into- and I totally believe it now. But I promise, guys- we’re working on it. Everyday we get a little closer. When the time comes, you’ll be the first to know. 

"Life is just a bowl of cherries;
Don’t make it serious;
Life’s too mysterious.
You work, you save, you worry so,
But you can’t take your dough when you go, go, go.
So keep repeating it’s the berries;
The strongest oak must fall.
The sweet things in life
To you were just loaned,
So how can you lose what you’ve never owned?
Life is just a bowl of cherries,
So live and laugh at it all.” -Lew Brown and Ray Henderson

 

Spring Vegetable Tartine with Avocado, English and Snap Peas, Radish, Mint and Roasted Carrots

Spring Vegetable Tartine with Avocado, English and Snap Peas, Radish, Mint and Roasted Carrots

The perfect boiled egg, breakfast

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This was breakfast. When I have the morning off, you can find me searching through the fridge to see what I can put on my gluten-free toast. Lucky for me, I can usually walk the 15 yards to the chicken coop in the backyard and find a freshly laid egg or two. 

That being said- the key to the most amazingly creamy, custardy egg is the egg itself. Here’s the proof.

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As and experiment one morning, I boiled a backyard egg, and a store bought generic brand egg for the same amount of time- eight minutes at a rolling boil, followed by a quick ice bath before peeling the shell. The top egg was from the backyard, the bottom a generic large corporation egg. You can obviously see the difference for yourself. The store-bought egg was practically tasteless.  Although nutritionally, I have NO IDEA if there is actually much of a difference- the taste says it all. 

There are lots of places that you can get fresh eggs without having chickens in your backyard. Look into it. Its worth every penny.

Soba Noodle Salad with Spring Veggies, and a Movie

So I’d had a few too many, late one evening when I decided to do some online shopping. I bought a pair of espadrilles, some make-up and of course, some nostalgic flicks from my teen years. On this list, was Romy and Michelle’s high school reunion, Now and Then, Selena and To Wong Foo, Thanks for everything! Julie Newmar.

I convinced a few co-workers to watch it with me, promising them dinner. I wanted to make something light and easy that wouldn’t require much kitchen time. I also wanted that something to be colorful so to compliment the bright and flamboyant nature of the movie. This is what I made. 

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What you’ll need:

  • 1 packet Soba Noodles (I used gluten-free)
  • 2 Carrots
  • 2 cups Snap Peas
  • 1 Avocado
  • 4 Radishes
  • 4 Green Onions
  • 1 tbsp minced Ginger
  • 1 tbsp minced Garlic
  • 1 tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • Squeeze of Lime

Julienne vegetables. Cook the Soba Noodles according to directions on the box. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss with tongs. 

Watch Too Wong Foo, Thanks for everything! Julie Newmar

You won’t regret it.

Pea Pancakes with Garbanzo Flour and Scallions

These pancakes are the perfect appetizer- especially if you make them silver dollar cakes- but they certainly hold their own as the star of the meal.  Light, airy and the perfect vessel for tasty spring peas.

What you’ll need:

  • 1/3 cup Garbanzo Flour
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 cup low-fat Cottage Cheese
  • 6 Scallions
  • 1 cup shelled, blanched Peas
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Salt

Mix the first three ingredients in a large boil with a whisk until smooth. Add Peas and half of the Scallions. Cook pancakes in lightly oiled non-stick pan until bubbles form on top, then flip. Top pancakes with a drizzle of Olive Oil or butter, Salt and additional scallions. Add sprouts for texture! Greek yogurt, with a little lemon and salt would be a really delicious topping too! 

Andrew and I rolled some up with mini hot dogs (seriously) and made pea pigs in a blanket. Why not?!

This recipe was adapted to be lighter and gluten-free from this months Bon Appetít magazine. 

Lamb Roast, Easter

Andrew can’t stand it when I take pictures of food.

I’ll admit it, when I see people anxiously holding their iPhone to Instagram what they are eating before the food even hits the table- I have to laugh. I’ve even had people order their food by showing me a photo on Yelp. It drives me crazy. Doesn’t it take away from the experience? Looking over a menu, imagining it in your head, and then getting to see it for the first time as it arrives… Its part of the magic for me. I get why people do it, they want to know what they are getting. But half of the time, they don’t even know what it is that they ordered! Dark blueberry sauce can look like chocolate, or creme fraiche can look like butter or cheese. 

Sigh.

I digress. What I’m saying is… when I take pictures of food at home, I have to hurry. The most important part of a meal is the way it tastes and everything tastes better right out of the oven. Everything that I post, I eat. Andrew is getting better about allowing me a minute to snap a few shots but he’s right- I don’t need these photos to remember how amazing this lamb tasted. Mmmm… with a creamy potato and fennel gratin made my Andrew’s dad and a juicy red wine- I couldn’t have been happier.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter! 

Breakfast for my honey, Spring cleaning

Soft boiled eggs with dipping toasts, freshly squeezed blood orange juice and tea to get us fueled up for Spring cleaning. There’s nothing like a clean house, to inspire you to make a new mess! 

Fava Bean Toasts and Homemade Mascarpone

Fava Beans are possibly the most annoying vegetables to prepare. Shuck, blanch, shuck. The repetitive motion. THE FINGER CRAMPS. Once I’m through half of a bowl of Fava Beans I’m asking myself "Why the hell did I decide to make these again?" You get into that crazy state of mind, like halfway through a yoga class, when you’re like "What am I doing here?" and you’re making TO-DO lists in your head…

And then out of nowhere, something just clicks. It becomes more of a form of meditation. You look at the beautiful bowl of bright green beans and appreciate every single one of them. 

After all the rich winter veggies, these Fava Beans, pureed with Garlic, Lemon and Mint- NOTHING HAS EVER TASTED BETTER. Spread on toast with fresh creamy homemade Mascarpone and you’ll reach kitchen nirvana. 

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Homemade Mascarpone is one of the easiest, most rewarding things you can make. I used this recipe:

http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/cheese/mascarpone.HTM

Fava Bean Puree:

Shuck Favas from their large exterior pod. They will still have a white, second layer. Blanch the favas quickly at a rolling boil for 3 minutes. Remove and dump into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Then remove the second white layer around the favas. They should simply pop out with the pressure of your finger.

Puree the fava beans in a food processor with olive oil. The mixture should be about 1/4 olive oil. Add minced garlic, lemon juice, mint and lots of salt.