Author: Donna James

Texas Primary Runoff Election 2020 (Part I)

Introduction Hello! My name is Donna. I’m just your regular, 28-year-old gal who believes that as U.S. citizens, we should exercise our right to vote for our local, state, and national government officials and judicial system! I know this is my food/recipe blog and has nothing to do with politics, but hey, this is my blog after all and I will be posting whatever I want! As an immigrant who became a permanent resident and eventually a U.S. citizen in 2014, I am empowered knowing that I can bring positive changes to my community by exercising my voting rights – I want you to experience that feeling too! As a voter, you have the power to decide on the quality of life that you want for yourself and future generations. Your voice matters. Voting is a chance to stand up for the issues you care about! Voting gives us the chance to support candidates and propositions that can help our community, state, and even the entire country. I am hoping that you will want to …

Tarte Flambée

Tarte Flambée is a specialty of the Alsace/Baden-Württemberg and Rheinland-Pfalz regions on the German-French border. It’s made from bread dough rolled out very thinly, then covered with fromage blanc, crème fraîche, thin-sliced onions and bacon. In short, it’s a fancy thin-crust pizza… even though I’ll probably get crucified by some people by calling it that. I first fell in love with Tarte Flambée in New York at this restaurant called La Tarte Flambee. I made a point to eat there every time I visited NYC until I found out that they permanently closed all their locations (it was a sad day for me). Although there’s a million different kinds of delicious food in Houston, this is one of the few things we lack. Earlier in January, I went to a cooking class with my friends at Central Market and the theme was “French Bistro”. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw “Tarte Flambée” on the menu! I was even more excited when I found out how easy it is to make. However, I’m not …

Lasagna with Béchamel Sauce [Kinda Classic, Kinda Not]

It’s 2020. 2020 is full of big things: – Kaykay & I travel to Nigeria (my first time going) – Kaykay starts residency – My brother is getting married – My sister & her husband move back to Houston from New Jersey I’m so excited for all the big things happening, and of course, everything else in between!! I’m also excited because Kaykay got me a new laptop [Surface 3 Laptop] for my birthday & Christmas. It’s beautiful & I love it! I was mostly blogging from my iPad pro, but the attachment keyboard stopped working, so it was almost painful to blog. I love my iPhone, but after owning an iPad for 3+ years, I think they are completely unnecessary and would not recommend anyone to get one (just get a Macbook Air or Surface tablet). Now that I have an actual computer, I feel more inspired to write & post. I even scheduled and planned out the next 3 posts I want to share. Today’s recipe is the last dish I cooked in …

Jambalaya for the Soul

One of my favorite dishes in the world is Spanish Paella. Sadly, I have not found a good Paella dish in Houston. It’s not that they taste horrible, it’s just not made the traditional way in a wide flat pan over fire, so that the edges get crispy and a little burnt. Also, I can’t justify the high price tag for the low quality. Normally, this would prompt me to learn how to make Paella at home, but after reading several recipes (even the easy versions), I’ve decided that it’s not worth the effort to buy all the expensive ingredients and follow a million steps to get there. Thankfully, Jambalaya exists to cure my cravings. I know Jambalaya & Paella are complete different recipes. Paella is seasoned with saffron and Jambalaya is seasoned with Cajun/Creole. Paella uses short grain Spanish rice while Jambalaya uses long grain rice. Paella is also cooked over fire and Jambalaya is cooked over the stove. Somehow, however, the final product ends up tasting very similar to each other! Below is …

“Rotisserie” Chicken Thighs

I blinked in May. When I opened my eyes, it was August. I remember being a kid and complaining about how slow time passes. Now, I cannot stop complaining how time goes by too fast and how I never seem to have enough time to do everything I need/want to do. My husband and I are celebrating our 8th year anniversary (not wedding) on September 1st. I will usually have something planned out or I would’ve thought of a really nice gift, but I have nothing. I’m getting nervous (his “love language” is “gifts”). I really hope he’s not reading my blog. When life is very hectic, my favorite recipes are those that require very little prep and attention when it’s cooking. This “Rotisserie” Chicken Thigh recipe is one of those. I’m air-quoting “rotisserie” here because this recipe is not actually cooked in the traditional rotisserie way, but it tastes like it. All you literally have to do is rub the chicken with some olive oil, spices, and stick it in the oven, set your …

Lemony Garlicky Buttery Atlantic Cod

My blog is officially one year old! I was going to say, “I can’t believe time has gone by so fast!” but it’s the only thing believable nowadays. This past year, I’ve gotten to travel all over America (mix of business and pleasure), meet all kinds of people, and do all kinds of great things – it’s been surreal. It’s a reminder just how time flies, especially when you’re having fun. It also doesn’t help that time seems to keep going by faster as I get older. Here are some of my goals for the blog in Year Two: Categorize my posts for easier navigation Post at least once a month Actually advertise my blog more At this point, I’m not really sure how many people actually read my blog, but I know at least my siblings ask me for recipes and that’s good enough for me to keep going. Today’s recipe is a perfect recipe for when you are super busy like me and don’t have a lot of time (my suitcase hasn’t been …

Korean Beef Quesadillas/Tacos

I have no idea how Korean this recipe is. Maybe 8%. All I know is that this is a really delicious & simple recipe. If you’re Houstonian, this recipe is a copycat of the beloved & famous Oh My Gogi’s quesadillas & tacos. I was inspired to make this because Kaykay banned me from going to their food truck at 9pm (their opening time) because he says they are too “unhealthy” for a late-night meal. He really knows how to suck the fun out of life. Fortunately, a simple Google search led me to several recipes so I can make it at home (before 9pm, of course). This has quickly become one of my go-to meals when I know I’m going to have a busy week because you can cook the beef and eat it throughout the week in taco or quesadilla form. It’s easy prep and most ingredients are something you’d already have in your pantry. And oh how the tables have turned – this is also now Kaykay’s favorite meal too. Apparently because …

Crab Fried Rice

This is so good. This is so easy to make. This is also smelly. I do not mind. I like this recipe because you will make a big batch and there’s enough leftovers for the next day. You can take it to work for lunch, like I do, and sit back and watch your coworkers pass by the microwave (after heating it up) to hear them say, “Ewwww what’s that smell?!” It’s seafood, Karen. Or if you want to be more considerate than I am, I guess you can eat it for dinner the next day. This recipe is adapted from Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings: Hungry for More cookbook. By adapted, I mean that I tweaked the recipe a LITTLE a bit because I found it was a little bland (surprisingly unlike her other recipes). However, I did like her instructions – she made the process very easy to follow. The key is to measure out all the ingredients before you begin cooking. Let’s begin. CRAB FRIED RICE INGREDIENTS 5 cups cooked jasmine rice, preferably cooled or …

Really Good Dry Rub Wings

Flats or drums? I’ve thought a lot about this (can you tell?) because every time someone asks me that question, I answer, “flats.” And they always clap back with, “but it has less meat!” And somehow they think they’ve won an argument. Then I get annoyed because it isn’t an argument to begin with. It’s personal preference. Then one day, it hit me. I prefer the flat pieces because it doesn’t have a lot of meat. Isn’t that the whole point of a chicken wing? If I wanted to eat more meat, I would then opt for a full piece of chicken leg or thigh rather than the wing. With the flat wings, the taste & texture of the chicken skin is what I crave more than the meat. At the end of the day, I’m glad we each have our own preferences – people who are pro-drums and people who are pro-flats. Can you imagine serving wings at a party? It would not be fun if everyone was fighting to get the same piece. …

Soft Amaretti Cookies with Pistachio

Once upon a time, my best friend and I were driving around Houston trying to figure out a new place to grab coffee. We are creatures of habit and normally gravitate to one place – Blacksmith. I’m so glad that for once that we ventured out [a mile away from our usual spot] into this little spot called La Sicilia Italian Bakery & Cafe. They had all kinds of gourmet pastries on display – crostatas, cannolis, donuts, croissants – but what caught our eyes were these fluffy, white little cookies shoved in the corner of the display. We didn’t care that we didn’t know what they were called, we just knew we had to devour them. The nice employee saw us ogling at them and told us they were called soft amaretti cookies (not like the regular crunchy amaretti) and made small talk while she weighed a pound of it that we ordered. We were kidding ourselves when we said we’d only eat one cookie each because we were still full from our previous meal. …