The Local Ladle

Chorizo Jalapeño Poppers

Chorizo Jalapeno Poppers 1

Every time I open a restaurant menu and to see jalapeno poppers under the appetizers, it’s like the remainder of the menu is a blur. It’s not even an option, I have to order the addicting spicy bites! This past weekend in Chicago, I fought over the last of Old Crow Smokehouses amazing bacon wrapped jalapeño poppers! They sparked the idea of me making jalapeno poppers of my own. Instead of using a bacon, that it most commonly used, I decided to go with a Mexican chorizo. The deep smoky and spicy flavor of the chorizo could not be a better match with the cream cheese and fresh jalapeno.

Check out my notes at the bottom for some great vegan substitutions! Read more

Citrus Endive & Eggplant Salad

Citrus Endive and Eggplant Salad

As I am sure most of you know by now, I love to make warm salads with roasted vegetables. I was inspired to make this particular salad because I really wanted to experiment with roasted endive. Endive is a member of the chicory family, which includes radicchio, escarole, frisee and curly endive. It has a crisp texture and a sweet, nutty flavor with a pleasantly mild bitterness. It’s delicious both raw and cooked. Read more

Cilantro Lime Fried Avocado Tacos

Cilantro Lime Fried Avocado Taco 3

Tacos might just be one of my favorite foods to cook and prepare. I know what you’re thinking… she went all the way to culinary school in Ireland to master the art of tacos? Well no. I can actually say I did not prepare one taco while I was there! Now experimenting with different recipes and flavor combinations back home, I love the never ending possibilities when it comes to tacos. Read more

Quick Chicken Coconut Curry

Healthy Thai Coconut Chicken Curry

When I have left over chicken, the last thing I want the next day is chicken. This recipe is the perfect way to add a new bold flavor and completely transform your leftovers.

Curry always takes me back to my study abroad trip in Thailand. You know when people say that the Westernized versions of worldwide cuisines are dramatically different? They are completely right. No American Thai restaurant could have prepared me for the street food in Bangkok. When unfamiliar food becomes your basic diet, no matter how adventurous you are, I found that my whole group after week one would lean towards a dish that brought out familiarity and comfort to them. For me, this dish was the Coconut Thai Curry! Read more

Fire Roasted Shrimp Salad with Garlic Lime Dressing

Garlic Lime Shrimp Salad

Fire plays such a large role in both beer and cooking, so why not celebrate it by pairing Goose Island’s Sofie with this Asian inspired Fire Roasted Shrimp Salad. Sofie is a sparkling Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale, which is wine barrel-aged with copious amounts of zested orange peel. For all you champagne or wine lovers, this is your stuff!

The complex spicy white pepper and citrus notes of the Ale flawlessly compliment the fresh pop of lime and kick of heat from the salad. I chose to pair this beer specifically with the garlic shrimp because it brings out salinity and natural sweetness, all while cleansing the palate. Read more

Spicy Chinese Pork Belly

Chinese Pork Belly

The idea of pairing food and beer is a satisfying echo. Tasting spiciness in the sip of a beer should evoke a similar spiciness in the bite. The lingering zesty sweetness of Spicy Chinese Pork Belly for example, pairs perfectly with Goose Island’s Matilda because of the beers peppery notes. There is also an opposite approach that suggests that using contrasting flavors can also make for a fantastic pairing. This can be discovered in the recipe below with the fattiness of the pork belly that is perfectly cut by the crisp citrusy finish of a sip of Matilda. Read more

Warm Quinoa & Vegetable Salad

Quinoa Vegtable Salad

There are so many people and hands that go into creating one dish. We easily forget about this. Our society has come to a point that if we can't directly see or feel something, its not there. I fell in love with food because of the story it tells. Not by cooking exactly, but by the story of how the ingredient came upon the plate has always fascinated me. We fail to remember the artisans of cheese, the farmers of the organic carrots, or even the coffee roaster who provide you with the robust aroma and satisfying jolt of caffeine every morning.   These are the hands that need acknowledgement because, end of the day, my part is simple. My role is to take these beautiful ingredients that are given to me and unify them to become one piece of art.

Next time you are in the kitchen, I encourage you to stop to reflect on the love already put into these ingredients

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Turkey Avocado Sandwich

Sandwhich Turkey Avocado

I believe that we eat certain foods in a particular way in order to remember who we are. As simple as how you build a sandwich or the style of soup you choose all stems from a subconscious feeling of comfort and memory. For me, I will always choose the combination of turkey and avocado on my sandwich because it was what my mother always packed in my lunch box! Those flavors evoke a sense of nostalgia for me, that I know will always be with me.

I hope that this sandwich encourages you to fall into your comfort zone of the flavors you love! That’s what a sandwich is and should be! Read more

Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Peppers with Baked Eggs

Stuffed Peppers 3

If you happen to have a pepper and egg in your fridge, I can guarantee you will be able to make this recipe on an almost empty pantry. Not only is this recipe fabulously simple and versatile, but your bowl is literally edible! It’s the perfect “pick me up” meal in the sense that the peppers are filled with vitamins and the egg and quinoa are packed with protein. These stuffed sweet peppers are an easy recipe that goes a long way! Read more

Sweet Potato & Red Pepper Skillet

Sweet Potato Skillet

Sweet Potato SkilletThis is what I call my “cleaning out to fridge skillet.” Honestly, I do not think it can get much better than a one pan meal in our chaotic lives! I urge you to try mixing up the vegetables too, like I said, whatever happens to be in your fridge will work. I also recommend adding bacon, sausage, or ground turkey if you are a meat lover!

I love this recipe because of how versatile it can be. Who said breakfast is only made for the morning? This is a cold Sunday night in pj’s kind of skillet! Read more

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