Wednesday, July 9, 2014

How Berkeley? So Very.

This weekend, I finally had one of those stereotypical Berkeley experiences. I can't believe it took me 8 years of living in this city to get around to it. Yes, folks, I walked to Berkeley Bowl and did my grocery shopping with a backpacking pack. For years, I've shopped there and had a hearty "oh, Berkeley" chuckle to myself watching people stroll up with their oversized packs, happily loading them up at the checkout, in their own endorphin-induced contentment. I never thought I would be one of them, but we've entered a new season of life, guys.
Anyway, my friend Sonja is one of those friends who brings out the best in you. When we're together, we always seem to have great ideas and end up eating well and getting housework done; she's a good influence on me. Basically, we're perfect sister wives. And our menfolk love each other, so all is well in the world when we're living in the same city. Which we currently are. So, Sonja's in town, which means that we get to get together randomly, like on Sunday, when I texted her asking if she wanted to help me purge my shoes (part of July's YoCP). Not long after, she was on my doorstep and we were crafting a plan for the day. Our grocery shopping trip involved 3.3 miles of walking (and I carried 20lbs for the second half!), great preparation for the 3-day backpacking trip Will and I are taking this weekend. We weeded the garden, did laundry, purged the shoes, dealt with some fruit flies, and did a little stretching. 

When Will came home from the driving range, the three of us went back to the garden to thin the carrots and do some more weeding...and we ended up picking radishes, sugar snap peas, and mint for our dinner, along with the tops of the carrots we thinned (which we later turned into pesto, along with the radish greens). The garden is looking pretty damn good after two months! We'll be picking tomatoes soon, and cucumbers and beans are growing well too. Hell yeah. Oh yeah, we planted a garden for my 30th ("dirty thirty" garden party). It's going well.
Anyway, we needed to make some dinner before Will's hockey game - it needed bread, and meat, and we wanted to use all the veggies we'd picked (along with some we'd bought at Berkeley Bowl). From the braintrust that is Kim and Sonja in the Kitchen, we came up with the following:

Mexican-Inspired Bread Nachos

Start with one sourdough baguette from La Farine.
Or any baguette. Or probably any similar bread.
Tear it up and put it in the bottom of a baking dish. 
Top with leftover meat (in this case, shredded Barbacoa beef
from Thursday's lunch at work).
Top with cheese (we used sharp white cheddar and pepper
jack), pickled jalapenos and salsa. Would've used more
salsa and jalapenos but I ran out.
Top with more cheese.
Bake, uncovered, for about 20 minutes at 350F. When the
cheese is melty, switch to the broiler and broil until golden
brown and crisped up, another 5-10 min or so.
Marvel at the ooey gooey deliciousness you created.
Serve with a crispy, crunch salad full of veggies to make
yourself believe you're eating something healthy.
Have seconds.

This recipe is basically a variation of the Rachel Ray "lazy lasagna" model: bread + sauce + meat + cheese. It's a great way to get mileage out of stale bread, but I like it with fresh bread just gets extra squishy. It's super forgiving, and very adaptable - I bet it would be great with veggies and a cream sauce, or with a pesto and some chicken, or with bacon and egg as a breakfast casserole...there are lots of options here, people. Have you ever made this type of bread hot dish meal? Have any good combination recommendations?


  1. You go girl! I love the Berkeley Bowl. Ryan and I once had an exotic fruit party and bought all the varieties we'd never tried there.

  2. Woah, a 20 lb pack for 3 miles? It's been years since I backpacked, and I don't think I ever did that much (although at the time, that would have been like 1/3 my body weight). How much did you carry this most recent backpacking weekend?

  3. Ooh what a great idea for a party! They have some wacky-looking fruits for sure!

  4. Well, it was only 20 lbs for the last 1.5 miles or so :) But this weekend, my pack was 20 lbs, for about 7 miles (Echo Lake to Aloha Lake, Aloha to Lake of the Woods, back to Echo Lake) -- and I made it out alive!

  5. Awesome food