Nothing beats a hand-held meal. Wrapped up nice and tidy and delivered with a delightful medley of texture and flavor, the burrito is a truly brilliant invention. As the spanish naming of Los Angeles would imply, we are blessed with fantastic mexican food everywhere you turn, can’t beat that! With these two burritos, one chicken and one steak, we (myself and food stylist Sienna DeGovia) set out to make these hand-held delights simple but mouth-watering. Each ingredients really brings it and does it’s job well, it’s a real meal for sure in the style of Chipotle! Get ready to unbutton that first button!

The other great thing about burritos is that they can be really healthy and free-form, not requiring measurements or real recipes. I’ll take burrito night over taco night any day! Here are some burrito ideas…

steak burrito, beef, meat, mexican food, fast food, food photographer, food photography, los angeles, crystal cartier

  • Seared steak cut into strips
  • Bell peppers and red onions sautéed quickly in olive oil at high heat
  • White rice with finely chopped cilantro
  • Cooked corn kernals
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Sriracha
  • Flour tortilla (or corn for gluten free), warmed

chicken burrito, meat, mexican food, fast food, food photographer, food photography, los angeles, crystal cartier

  • Shredded rotisserie chicken
  • Black beans
  • White rice
  • Finely diced red onion and tomatoes
  • Finely chopped cilantro
  • Sour cream
  • Guacamole (optional)
  • Flour tortilla (or corn for gluten free), warmed


let the day flow slow

into night

quiet breath

soft step

speak in hushed tones

i will return          tomorrow

tea, drinking tea, young woman, relaxation, outside, dusk, solitude, lifestyle photography, crystal cartier, los angeles


and then there’s… 😉pink flamingo, grass, lifestyle photography, crystal cartier, los angeles

Custard dishes make my heart sing. They are my number one irresistible dessert. Cookies, meh. Cake, pffft. Custard, YEEEEES pretty pretty PLEASE!!! Thank the sweet universe for the likes of creme brûlée and flan! This recipe has a “choose your own adventure” bend to it. The dulce de leche portion of this is an option, a wonderful, life-altering option, but not required. If you’re looking for less effort or time simply use the condensed milk as-is for a classic wonderful flan. For something with a little extra va-va-voom try the dulce de leche option. It’s pretty ridiculous!

I dig this kind of recipe because it’s a make ahead number that is simply a dump and serve situation for a dinner party. Personally, I really like my friends and want to spend time with the people I invite over. I’m not looking to be a kitchen martyr with a need to impress. Time to drink, eat and be part of the festivities instead of being banished to the kitchen!


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  • 1 cup and 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1- 14 ounces can sweetened condensed milk (ps: it’s a good idea to make the dulce de leche ahead of time)
  • 24 ounces whole milk
  • 1 Tablespoon ground vanilla bean or seeds of one vanilla bean
  • 1- 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened at room temperature (optional but makes a FANTASTIC silky texture)

Dulce de Leche:

~ Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

~ Dumped sweetened condensed milk into glass pyrex or mason jar. Cover with aluminum foil and place into a larger casserole dish. Fill large dish with water until it reaches about 3/4 of the way up the pyrex to make a water bath. Bake for 60 minutes or more, checking the water level every 30 minutes to add more as needed, until the dulce de leche takes on a rich caramel color. Remove from oven and whisk smooth. Let cool.


~ Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

~ Heat 1 cup of sugar in a pan over medium heat. Swirling as it melts, until the color brown to a caramel shade. Remove for stove and evenly distribute caramel into 6-8 individual ramekins.

~ Gently blend together eggs, then whisk in milk, dulce de leche/sweetened condensed milk, cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Pour custard base into ramekins.

~ Place ramekins in a large baking dish and fill the dish with 2 inches of boiling water to make a water bath.

~ Bake for about an hour checking doneness with a toothpick just slightly away from the center.

~ Remove and let cool. Chill upside-down in fridge overnight.

~ To serve, run a thin knife around the edge and invert onto a plate. The caramel will run down the sides of the flan beautifully.


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