Tag Archives: Dave

Take Your Children To Work Day: Chicken Tinga Tacos

Today is Taco Take Your Children To Work Day. So it seems only appropriate to have a post about MyFakeFoodDad, Dave.

Few of you have had the privilege of meeting my dad, but to know Dave is to love Dave.

Do you doubt? Let me explain. Meet Dave.

He doesn’t look like he’s having fun, but he is.

He worked on the railroad for his whole career. He can identify the meaning of a train whistle just by its sound. Now that he’s retired, he’s building a model railroad loosely based on the railroad where he worked when he met my mom. Pretty romantical, if you ask me. Also, nerdy. Old white man hobbies, amiright? (Don’t think he’s not reading this. I would say and have said this to his face. Love you, Pops!)

Dave loves Magnum P.I. and The Rockford Files and has instilled in me a healthy love and respect for both. We watch The West Wing every Thanksgiving, Die Hard every Christmas, and Nacho Libre every Easter. For that is how we do.

Dave will do most anything for a joke (sound familiar?), but he’s also really very thoughtful. He’s a long time reader of the Wall Street Journal and always keeps an eye out for articles that would interest me (and my friends). Theatre! Fashion! Production! Television! Recipes! So many recipes! All of the recipes!

A recent article he shared is about the culture of tacos in America. I love that sentence so much that I’m going to write it again. A recent article he shared is about the culture of tacos in America. The summary is that we’re starting to see a trend back toward the traditional roots of the taco and away from the culture of Anything Goes tacos. No, I don’t mean Cole Porter tacos. (That was for all you musical theatre nerds). What I mean is a taco where anything goes, like Doritos Locos tacos, Korean Barbecue tacos, or Tex Mex tacos. These things may be delicious, but they are not authentically Mexican in either flavor profile or ingredients.

The article included a recipe for Chicken Tinga Tacos from Bajo Sexto Taco in Nashville. Run, don’t walk, to make these for Cinco de Mayo. Or any day de Mayo. Or venticuatro de abril. (That’s tomorrow, people.)


They are deeply soul satisfying. The sauce is spicy with a sharp bite from the vinegar, which cools off instantly from the creamy avocado. I paired it with a grilled Mexican corn salad and some chips and guac. Because duh.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that. Tacos are the best. My dad is the best.

I just can’t decide which I love more.

Chicken Tinga Tacos from Bajo Sexto Taco via wsj.com

  • 2½ pounds boneless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 white onion, thinly sliced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • ½ (7-ounce) can chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 12 fresh corn tortillas, warmed
  • 1 avocado, sliced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roast chicken until mostly cooked but still pink and juicy, 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Once cool enough to handle, shred meat coarsely.

Meanwhile, caramelize onions: Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onions, tossing to coat with oil, until softened, 10 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and 2 teaspoons water, then reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring frequently, until tender and deep golden, 20-30 minutes more. If pan becomes dry, add water, 1 teaspoon at a time, to prevent burning.

Make sauce: In a blender, process caramelized onions, chilies with sauce, garlic, vinegar and a pinch each of salt and pepper until smooth.

Heat canola oil in a large skillet. Once shimmering, add sauce and cook until rust-brown and thickened, 3-4 minutes. Add chicken, stir to coat, and cook until no longer pink, 3-4 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Serve chicken on tortillas with a slice of avocado.

Mexican Corn Salad from Bon Appetit

  • 4 ears of corn, husked
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 ounce Cotija cheese or Parmesan, crumbled (about 1/2 cup), plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Prepare grill for medium heat. Grill corn, turning occasionally, until tender and charred, 8–10 minutes; let cool slightly. Cut kernels from cobs and transfer to a medium bowl.

Whisk mayonnaise, lime juice, paprika, cayenne, if using, 2 oz. Cotija cheese, and 2 tablespoons cilantro in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Add corn and toss to combine. Top with more cheese and cilantro.

DO AHEAD: Dressing can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill. Corn can be grilled and cut from cobs 1 hour ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Guacamole from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook via FoodNetwork.com

  • 4 ripe Haas avocados
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
  • 8 dashes hot pepper sauce
  • 1/2 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded, and small-diced

Cut the avocados in 1/2, remove the pits, and scoop the flesh out of their shells into a large bowl. Immediately add the lemon juice, hot pepper sauce, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper and toss well. Using a sharp knife, slice through the avocados in the bowl until they are finely diced. Add the tomatoes. Mix well and taste for salt and pepper.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

And on the 15th day, I moved.

A brief respite from my humble bragging about Barcelona and #ham to tell you that in between my trip to Barcelona and my upcoming production, I moved. (Oh, you didn’t know that I went to Barcelona? WELL, I DID)

I didn’t move because I wanted to. Well, I did want to. But I also had to. My landlady decided to sell the condo I’d been renting. So, I had to find a new place. 

My parents came up last week and frankly, I could not have done it without them. Literally. If I’d done it alone, it would’ve gotten done. Like, all the stuff would be at my house. But I would’ve been living in a fort of boxes because I would’ve gotten overwhelmed and instead of unpacking the boxes, I would’ve come up with something new to do with them. Like make a fort. 

I’m living in a house now, which is exciting. And kind of scary. I think I might set up a tar and feather station, a la Home Alone. Just for some extra security. Bless this highly nutritious, microwavable meal and the people who sold it on sale. (Sorry, Sarah. Home Alone sin, quoting it out of season.)

Here are some pics. 

Naturally, the thing I’m most excited about is my new kitchen. And one thing in particular.  

IT. HAS. AN. ACTUAL. OVEN. For the last 5 years, everything I’ve baked was made in THIS monstrosity. 

Although, to be fair, it didn't usually have other racks in it.

Although, to be fair, it didn’t usually have other racks in it.

I know, it’s worse than Portia di Rossi’s new face. But, seriously folks…

This was really hard for someone who loves to bake. To make a batch of chocolate chip cookies, it would take me over 2 hours. I could fit 4 cookies on a sheet tray. I had to buy special sheet trays to fit the oven. It was just dumb. 

My dad, whose passion is model railroading (I know…we’re a really cool family), compared my love of baking to model railroading. And he said “you’re probably just as excited to bake something as I was to get out there and put cracks on the sidewalks on my model railroad!”

Again, VERY cool family. Welcome to the family, fake future husband!!

So, he asked what the first thing I was going to bake was. And I said: coconut tres leeches cake.

Much like the patatas bravas, I haven’t had a chance to make this yet. But it’s from Food 52, so I feel like it’s gonna be delicious. It’s going to be the first thing I bake. I mean, I may throw a piece of salmon in the oven. But this will be the first cake-ular thing that happens. Because man should not live on bread alone. And let them eat cake. And I’m out of phraseology, but now I’m hungry for cake.


Coconut Tres Leches Cake from Food 52

Serves one 9×13 cake

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), plus more for the pan
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3/4 cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • One 13 1/2 ounce can coconut milk
  • One ounces 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • Zest from 1 lime
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Heat the oven to 350. Butter a 9×13 baking dish. Melt the butter and honey together and set aside.
Whisk the flours, salt, and baking powder together in a medium bowl.
Beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a larger bowl until everything lightens in color and is nice and smooth. Now on lower speed or with a gentler arm, beat in the flour in 2 additions until the batter is just smooth. Fold in the butter and mix until it is just fully incorporated. Pour the batter into the pan and bake 25-30 minutes, rotating cake once halfway through, until it is golden and a toothpick comes out clean. This is going to look like a sort of shallow cake. Don’t worry.
While the cake bakes, mix the three milks (tres leches) together and also spread the coconut out on a baking sheet. When the cake comes out, pop the coconut into the oven to toast. Check and stir every 3-4 minutes. It should only take 8-9 minutes to get golden brown.
Use a toothpick to poke little holes all over the warm cake. Now pour the milk over it — slowly. It is going to look like a LOT of milk and you are going to want to panic. Don’t. My cake actually floated up like a raft briefly! But pour it all on and wait — 95% of that milk is going to adsorb into the cake and the rest is that lake you are looking for. Allow the cake to cool completely, and the toasted coconut as well.
Now whip the cream, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and lime zest together until stiff peaks form. Spread the cream over the cake, then sprinkle the coconut over top. You can dig in right now, our keep it in the fridge for 3-4 days, though I doubt it’ll last that long.
Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Novak family legend says that this rib recipe is why my pops fell for my mom.

If you take a look at the picture below, from 1979, I’m pretty sure he fell for the white pantsuit. Cause how could he not.


Sidenote. We know that this picture was taken on a night when my mother was neither cooking nor eating ribs. Cause how could you eat ribs in a WHITE PANTSUIT. Growing up, when we’d have ribs, I’d have to change into painting clothes to eat them. That is not a joke. And still, somehow, I’d wind up with rib sauce like near my ear. What the fuck was I doing with the ribs? Maybe I have a mouth ear… hmm.

Anyways. These ribs are the jam. And I’d been saying I’d make them for my friends Evan and Lauren since the dawn of time for forever for a while and I finally did about a week ago. Only hiccup? Lauren doesn’t eat meat.





Having never even purchased tofu at the grocery store before, I turned to my go to for recipes, FoodNetwork.com and searched “Barbecue Tofu” and was VERY disappointed. On 14 pages of Barbecue Tofu recipes, only 1 was actually barbecue tofu and it was a segment from a Bobby Flay show about barbecue. I lost interest after :12 seconds. And yes, I did actually look at all 14 pages.

So, I bought some firm tofu and just hoped that Lauren could help me. Cause that’s the kind of amazingly well researched fake food blog this is. Thankfully, Lauren learned me good. Which proves that she chose the right profession in becoming a teacher. She typically works with extra firm tofu, but this worked quite well. She taught me the steps to prepare the tofu. But the greatest lesson that she taught me is that the tofu is just a vehicle for sauce. So wise beyond her years…

Ah. The sauce. You guys. This sauce is so good. And frankly, it plays into some more Novak family legend. My mom tells me she got this sauce recipe off a bottle of Prell shampoo. She got the RIB SAUCE RECIPE off a BOTTLE OF SHAMPOO. I’ve tried Googling to verify, but to no avail. Prell doesn’t even exist anymore. Also? I work in advertising. Nowadays, I can’t imagine the hilarious faux (and real) outrage on social media if bumble and bumble came out with a recipe for Southern Fried Pork Chops. (“Um, yeah, hai, are they even organic free range pork chops, bb?”)

But it was the ‘70s. And it was different. I like this recipe even more because there’s a chance you could’ve been reading it in the shower and thought, “huh, this sounds good. After the Rockford Files, I’ll cruise on down to the store and pick up the ingredients to make this!”

I made the sauce the day before and reheated it over low, stirring frequently.When I made it the day ahead, I put it on some chicken wings that I did in the oven (400 for 45 minutes. Boom. Easy.)


If you’re having ribs, you’ve got to have them with some sort of potato (duh…it’s AMERICA) and you’ve got to have some cole slaw.

I made my internet friend Phoebe Lapine’s sweet potato fries. Phoebe is rull cool. Lives in New York, cookbook author, and private chef. Just competed on BBCA’s Chef Race. I might have shed a tear when she got eliminated. Check out her blog Feed Me Phoebe. Phoebe and I share a love for French fries which makes me think that we’d be friends IRL cause we’d talk about all the different things we’d dip French fries into over cocktails. “Aioli IS underrated,” we’d laugh! And then cheers and order another plate of fries while discussing the pros and cons of beer ketchup.

This recipe for gluten free sweet potato fries is amazing–tasty and easy. In fact, the hardest part is not chopping your fingers off when you are cutting the sweet potato. Seriously, you will want to/try to chop your fingers off. But don’t. It’s not a good idea, even though it seems like one at the time.

For all of my mom’s prowess at the shampoo rib sauce (please note: not made of actual shampoo), I grew up on Marzetti cole slaw dressing. So it’s not too hard to beat, even if it’s just a simple introduction of some acid in the form of apple cider vinegar. And bonus, for those on Weight Watchers, this is only 3 points per serving. Boom.

I was worried about using all one oven to get everything done: the fries go in at 450, the ribs usually go in at 350, the tofu goes in at I have no idea what temperature….700? Is that what it is for tofu? And I am fairly certain that you do not need to bake the cole slaw. (That one WAS a joke, y’all.) I just kept an eye on the ribs to make sure they looked ok. And nothing burned! Well. Some of the rib sauce that hit the sheet tray and burned, causing the smoke alarm to go off. Twice. Causing Evan to look really cool to dissipate the heat from around the smoke alarm.


Everything tasted really good, though. And I didn’t wind up with rib sauce by my ear. Small victories! I did wind up with some on my pants, though. And I almost knocked over my wine. But the piece de resistance was when I made my delicious plate and then dropped it right on the floor. I guess some things never change. I should’ve worn my paint clothes over.

Floor Ribs

Maria’s Famous Ribs, from a bottle of Prell Shampoo in the 1970’s

For the sauce:

  • 2 cups of ketchup
  • 1 bottle of Heinz chili sauce
  • 8 TB of brown sugar
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup of yellow mustard
  • 8 t. of Worcestershire sauce
  • dash of garlic salt
  • thin slices of lemon (1 lemon)

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan or small pot. Bring to boil for 10-15 minutes.

You can use immediately, cool and freeze or cool and refrigerate for use in the next few days.

For the ribs:

  • 1 rack of ribs | My mom says a butcher once told her that it doesn’t really matter which cut you get: babyback vs. spare ribs. The grocery store only had babyback and beef ribs and well, there’s no reason to eat beef ribs unless you don’t eat pork ribs. These babyback ribs were quite tender.

Cut the ribs into sections. (I like to go for 3 ribs per section.) Parboil the ribs in salted water for 45-60 minutes. Check for tenderness. Preheat oven to 350. Drain and pat excess moisture off. Baste ribs with sauce and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Plate of Ribs

For the tofu version:

  • 1 package of extra firm tofu

Drain. Cut into cross-wise. Press excess moisture out with a paper towel. Using oil or cooking spray, pan fry until golden and firm, roughly 10-12 minutes.

Place tofu in baking dish and cover with sauce. Bake for 15 minutes at 350, or until heated through.

Baked Tofu

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Rosemary, from Feed Me Phoebe

  • 1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons loosely packed fresh rosemary leaves
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toss the sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl with the olive oil, rosemary, salt, and paprika until well incorporated.

Before Fries

Arrange the sweet potatoes on the baking sheet in an even layer. Take care to give them some space and not overcrowd the pan. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, redistributing once during the cooking process, until browned and crispy. Allow to cool slightly – they will get even crisper and firmer as they come to room temperature.

After Fries

Simply, Skinny Crunchy Slaw, from Skinny Kitchen with Nancy Fox


  • 6 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup Nancy’s Skinny Ranch Dressing or reduced-fat mayonnaise | I did Duke’s reduced fat mayo here.
  • 2 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar

In a large bowl add shredded cabbage and carrots. In a small bowl whisk together reduced-fat mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar.

Refrigerate the cabbage, carrots and dressing until ready to serve.  Do not toss together until ready to eat.

Whole Shebang

Maria’s Shampoo Ribs, Phoebe’s Fries and Skinny Cole Slaw

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Motherhood - WHAT?!

Making it through motherhoodhood with the grace of a camel on ice skates


A Spanish Adventure - raising kids and giving birth in Spain


Burger Perverts Welcome


bringing a little bit of the south to the city

Erin Lesica

Real Food. Fake Blog.

The Crafty Cook Nook

Preserving Food, Stories, and Place

Justin Timberlake Does Things

Real Food. Fake Blog.


Real Food. Fake Blog.

Crosswords Puzzle Answers Daily

Real Food. Fake Blog.


Real Food. Fake Blog.

Curious And Curiouser

I Find the World Curious


Real Food. Fake Blog.

This American Wife

Real Food. Fake Blog.

Eat, Live, Run

Real Food. Fake Blog.

Seasoned to Taste

I'm just a girl with an appetite.

The Illustrator

Just another WordPress.com weblog