roasted poblano + chicken enchiladas

roasted poblano + chicken enchiladas

I often struggle with what to share on these pages. Anecdotes about our daily lives, silly toddler stories and sharing a great meal we had are all pretty safe places, but what about the hard stuff? The difficult things are an important part of our human existence and I find that those are the experiences we bond over most frequently. We all have a struggle in some form and it is in that struggle where we see each others humanity. In a society where we have a screen in front of our faces at all times, it is easy to curate our interaction with the world to miss a lot of that real, vulnerable connection. My hope for this place is to encourage us to be authentic with those around us and to connect in a way we can't through a screen. Allow yourself to share those hard places with someone. Cook dinner, share life.

roasted poblanos
peeling poblano skin

This week was really hard.

My family life growing up seemed to be filled with more bad weeks than good ones, while we all lived through the constantly repeating repercussions of substance abuse and severe emotional instability. My sisters and I were lucky enough to make it out mostly unscathed, but occasionally the battleground of our childhood resurfaces and we dutifully put on our uniforms and wield our weapons, in hopes of making it through another conflict. In wars past, my inclination has been to attempt to rescue everyone, but this time, I'm all out of energy and all I can do is throw my hands up and retreat, waving my white flag in hopes the enemy that is addiction will leave us alone once and for all.

It amazes me, when I think about it, how much our choices can affect other people. Something as personal as how many drinks we decide to have on any given night can greatly alter the lives of those around us. Those seemingly small, insignificant choices can have a real lasting impact on those we care deeply about.  It's likely I am blissfully unaware of most of the ways having an alcoholic father has shaped who I am, however, when the careful balancing act of quiet addiction is thrown out of whack, I'm acutely aware of the affects and their tremendous weight. 

We spent the last two weeks dealing with the consequences of his poor decisions. It was painful and confusing and oddly numbing in some ways. By the weekend, I was completely drained. I told my husband that I needed a day where I didn't have to take care of anyone because I really needed to take care of myself. He was happy to give me that time and skipped out on work to support me. I cooked and I stood behind my camera and no one asked anything of me. The enchiladas did exactly what I wanted them to and my sense of control was restored if only for a few hours, and it was perfect. 

roasted poblano enchilada sauce
filling tortillas

If you like your food spicy, these will be your jam. I was actually really surprised by the heat, but it's the perfect amount for me. The sour cream lends a reprieve and if you serve these with some rice and beans you'll have a beautifully balanced plate. The tortillas can tear pretty easily, but just give them grace. They still taste great and all that lovely sauce will cover any holes. 

torn enchilada
saucing enchiladas
spreading enchilada sauce
adding cheese

In every other tray of enchiladas I've made, I have covered the tortillas completely in sauce. This recipe suggested leaving the edges naked to allow them to get crispy, which added an extra crunchy layer I had never had in an enchilada. It's awesome and I'll never go back. 

roasted poblano + chicken enchiladas

The extra step of roasting the poblanos is an essential part of this recipe. It takes little effort and really makes the recipe what it is. Resist the temptation to use canned green chiles here, it just won't be the same. Plus, there is something therapeutic in peeling off those skins. Count it as your end of the day de-stress activity. 

roasted poblano + chicken enchiladas

makes 10 enchiladas

adapted from this recipe from Sunset Magazine


  • 1 1/4 pounds poblano chiles (you can also use anaheim or hatch chiles if you catch them in season)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus a bit more
  • 3 3/4 cups reduced-sodium or homemade chicken broth, divided 
  • 10 corn tortillas (6 1/2 to 8 in. wide) 
  • 2 cups shredded monterey jack, divided
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken (from left overs or a store bought rotisserie chicken)
  • Sour cream, for garnish


  1. Place an oven rack on the second position (or at least 6 inches from the heating element) and another rack on the middle position. Pre-heat the oven to broil. Place the poblanos on a baking sheet and broil on the second rack until very dark, about 15 minutes, flipping them halfway through to blacken evenly. Allow them to cool slightly. Turn the oven down to 400 degrees. 
  2. When the chiles are cool enough to handle, remove the stems, seeds and skin. Roughly chop and set aside. 
  3. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Add the chiles and season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper. Cook for a few minutes and then add 1 1/4 cups chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it reduce by a third, about 10 minutes.  
  4. Place the chile mixture into a blender (careful, it's super hot!). Cover with a clean towel and blend on low (to avoid a really big mess), until the mixture looks a lot like pesto. Set aside. 
  5. In the same skillet, add 2 1/2 cups chicken broth and bring it to a gentle simmer. Grab a large baking sheet and set it up next to the stove. Dip a tortilla (until completely covered) into the hot broth to moisten it. Place it on the baking sheet and repeat with another tortilla. Don't let them touch on the baking sheet or they'll stick to each other. Add a pinch (like 2 tablespoons) of cheese to each tortilla and about the same amount of chicken. Give them a small sprinkle of kosher salt and a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper. Roll them up and transfer them to a 9x13 baking dish, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. 
  6. Pour the chile sauce over the enchiladas, leaving the edges of the tortillas exposed to allow the ends to get a bit crispy, because they're super good that way. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top and again, give it a sprinkle of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. 
  7. Bake on the middle rack for 15 minutes, until the cheese is good and melted. Turn the oven to broil, and move the enchiladas to the rack in the second position. Broil until the cheese is browning, about one minute. Garnish with sour cream and have some milk ready. These babies are packing some heat. 

smoky quinoa with shrimp + bacon

smoky quinoa bowl

I quit my job two months before our son was due. We had decided I would stay home with him until it made sense for me to go back to work. It was a decision we did not make lightly, especially because living on one income in the San Francisco Bay Area is just straight crazy. We live in the land of million dollar 900 square foot houses and everyone knows somebody who sold their three person start up for a whole lot of money. The weather is pretty much always perfect and within an hour we can be in San Francisco or on the beach in Santa Cruz. If that isn't enough, our dearest friends are here as well as half of our family. For many of our friends who have become parents in the last year, the weather just wasn't enough to keep them here and I can't say I blame them. It's certainly difficult to make ends meet, especially on one income. 

When we were working out our one income budget, we knew we would have to adjust our lifestyle. Birthday dinners would be a pizza night at home instead of a fancy restaurant with six of our friends. Travel would be less frequent, if much at all and we would have to tighten the reigns on all of our monthly budget items, including the grocery bill. That was not an easy task for me. I love grocery shopping. Going to Whole Foods is therapeutic for me (although bringing a toddler along makes it less so). I can spend upwards of two hours walking the aisles, adding things to my cart that look interesting as well as executing a loose list of regular items. We cook a lot at home and we do our best to buy organic whenever possible, which includes the meat we buy and all of that adds up, fast. I started menu planning and making detailed shopping lists and did my best to limit waste. Overall, we have made it all work somehow and I'm so grateful I've had this time with my son. The next kid might not get that luxury. Sorry future kiddo, mommy does love you. 

smoky quinoa bowl from supper at six

At the end of the week, I try to plan for meals that can use up what I have left in the fridge, so we tend to have some kind of stir fry, pasta or quinoa bowl. This week, we had a bag of frozen shrimp stuffed way back in the depths of the freezer and some bacon that needed to be used as well as a bowl of cooked quinoa and some herbs. I thought that all sounded like it would go pretty well together, and man, they really really do. 

smoky quinoa with shrimp + bacon

serves four as a side dish


  • 2 cups quinoa, rinsed
  • 8 ounces medium sized shrimp, thawed if frozen, shelled
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 5 pieces of bacon
  • 1/4 cilantro, leaves only
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion

For vinaigrette:

  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
  • juice of one small lemon
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


  1. Bring two cups of water to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Add quinoa and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Transfer cooked quinoa to a large bowl. 
  2. In a medium bowl toss shrimp with the smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, cumin and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Set aside. 
  3. Cook bacon over medium heat in a large skillet until crisp. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. When the bacon is cool enough to handle, chop it into 1/2 inch pieces. 
  4. Wipe out the skillet, leaving a small amount of bacon grease in the pan. Bring the pan the medium high heat. Add the shrimp, and cook until starting to turn opaque, about two minutes. Flip the shrimp over and cook for 30 seconds. Turn the heat off and allow the shrimp to finish cooking in the residual heat of the pan, about one more minute. 
  5. Add shrimp, bacon, red onion, cilantro and 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette (reserve the rest for another use) to the quinoa. Toss to combine and serve. 

fruit leather

fruit leather

I hope I'm not alone in this. I have very high standards for what I consider consumable produce. When I'm at the grocery store, I'm the weirdo examining every detail of each piece of fruit I place in my basket. No bruising, no discoloration, and certainly no insect holes (I've been traumatized by not adhering to that last one). On the way home I make a detailed plan to wash, dry and cut everything to make it more accessible and easier to eat, but by the time I strap a toddler to my chest and haul a diaper bag and 80 pounds of groceries up four flights of stairs, I'm lucky if everything makes it into the fridge. Tomorrow. I'll wash and chop and make it all look appetizing, tomorrow. 

Well, tomorrow comes and goes and it's a week later and that sad clamshell of strawberries has been pushed into the depths of the fridge behind the container of hummus and now that we have licked that bowl clean, the strawberries gasp for air, pleading to be acceptable for consumption. Sadly, they just aren't pretty enough anymore. They're dark and starting to shrivel. Normally, they would be tossed under the sink with the rest of the garbage, but I feel bad for them. After all, our relationship had a great start. 

fruit leather puree

As a kid, I remember having a systematic way of eating a fruit roll up. I never unrolled it completely. I only exposed what I was about to eat and kept the rest tightly wrapped. Nibble after nibble, I'd make my way down it's entire foot length, pressing each piece against the top of my mouth until it dissolved. It was probably the most fun snack we ever had in our lunches. Unless, for some unknown reason, we had pop rocks that day. 

You may have already guessed that I might have been a fat kid. It's true. Pop rocks and celery sticks coated in seasoned salt don't exactly scream health food. We had a lot of fun, but I've had to work pretty hard to get keep my 'pop rocks fat' off. In an effort to have a little fun, my son gets to have an occasional treat here and there, but I try to give him what I hope to be a balanced diet. The original fruit roll up has quite a bit of sugar in it, but homemade fruit leather makes a great low sugar snack and gives a trash can pardon to those less than perfect strawberries. 

fruit leather

I'm gonna be straight with you. This stuff takes a long time to make. It's basically an all day affair. Granted, much of that time is a long stint in a pot, a long stint in the oven and a long time cooling and drying so there isn't a ton of manual labor, but it's certainly not quick. If you're able to, I'd say double the batches and make a ton of it so that you'll feel like you'll get more fruit (leather) for your labor. 

fruit leather

makes 2 sheet pans


For strawberry+raspberry

  • 2 cups strawberries, stemmed and halved
  • 2 cups raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

For aprium+blackberry

  • 3 cups pitted and chopped apriums (a plum/apricot hybrid, but feel free to use either of those, or peaches would be excellent, too)
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger


  1. Puree each mixture separately in a blender until very smooth. If you don't want seeds, strain both mixtures through a fine mesh sieve and place each in it's own pot over medium low heat and cook until thick, about one hour. 
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees and line two baking sheets with non-stick liners. Spread the mixtures thinly over the liners and smooth the top with an offset spatula, if one is available. 
  3. Dry the mixture in the oven until slightly tacky but not sticking to your finger, about 3 hours. Dry on the liner on a drying rack until completely dry, at least three hours and up to overnight. 
  4. Place a sheet of parchment on top of the fruit leather, covering it entirely and flip it over. Carefully remove the non-stick liner and cut into strips, roll up,  and secure with a small piece of tape. Store in an airtight container for up to one month. 

grilled salmon with chimichurri

grilled salmon with chimichurri

Around 7:15 am we wake up to either loud playful gibberish or screaming. It all depends on what side of the bed our toddler happens to wake. No matter which way our living and breathing alarm goes off, we both roll out of bed, wipe the sleep from our eyes and hit the daily routine. Ollie gets a "milkshake" in the morning because he doesn't like to drink milk straight quite yet. He usually gets a peanut butter banana shake with whole milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon (come to think of it, that's probably why he doesn't like it plain but I can't blame him, it's pretty delicious). He takes his daily shake on the couch on dads' lap while catching up with the gang on Sesame Street. It's a pretty solid way to start the day. 

Eventually, after everyone has been fed, caffeinated and dressed, my husband leaves for work and the toddler and I spend the day running, picking up sticks, trying to eat rocks, doing laundry, napping and attempting to throw a balanced dinner together. Some days everything comes together and we get to eat a satisfying, healthful meal and other days my son wants to be pushed in a cardboard box all day and it's all we can do to get something other than cheez its and blueberries in our mouths. On those days, when my attention leans a bit more than normal, a low maintenance dinner is necessary. Cue a quick cooking protein, a bright herb mixture and pre-washed greens (with a glass of wine for me, please). 

grilled salmon with chimichurri

serves 6

This dish comes together quickly. If you have time the day before to whirl the chimichurri ingredients in the food processor or blender for a few seconds, it's gloriously fast. Just throw it in an airtight container and refrigerate it until you need it. 


For salmon

  • 1 cup parsley leaves
  • zest of one lemon
  • juice from half of the lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • large pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 large salmon filet (about 2 pounds), skin on

For vinaigrette

(side note) This will make a half pint jar of vinaigrette, so you'll have lots of extra to use the rest of the week. Woot! Also, if you don't already make your dressings in a mason jar, get on that. It's so easy. Just cap it, shake it and pour it on. Then cap it and refrigerate.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 tablespoon grainy mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper

For salad

  • 12 cups baby kale
  • 2 cups peeled and grated daikon
  • 2 cups grated cucumber (no need to peel)
  • 3 green onion


  1. To make the chimichurri, whirl the first six ingredients for the salmon together in a food processor or blender until well blended and the parsley is finely chopped. (If making ahead, place in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight)
  2. Make the vinaigrette by combining all of the ingredients into a lidded jar. Shake well and set aside. (see side note above)
  3. Pre-heat the grill for zone cooking with high heat on one side of the grill and medium on the other. If you are using a charcoal grill, push the hot coals to one side to keep one side a bit cooler and if you are using a gas grill, you can merely turn the heat to medium if you only have one burner. 
  4. With an oil soaked paper towel and a pair of tongs, grease the grill grate to prevent the fish from sticking. 
  5. Rub the salmon with the chimichurri, reserving about 3 tablespoons. Place the fish skin side down over direct heat until the skin is seared, about three minutes. Move the fish to the cooler part of the grill (do not flip, keep it skin side down) and let it cook until it begins to flake with a fork and is just cooked through, about 9-12 minutes more, depending on the thickness of the fish. Transfer the fish to a cutting board and cut into 6 hefty sized vertical filets. 
  6. When the fish is just off the grill, combine the salad ingredients and toss in about 3 tablespoons of vinaigrette. The greens should be lightly coated, not drowning in the dressing, just enough to make them shimmer. Divide the salad among 6 bowls and top with each with a piece of salmon and a drizzle of the chimichurri.