Weekend Inspiration: 5 Key Ingredients

Today I asked my instagram followers which 5 Key Ingredients they like to have on hand. I also shared mine: garlic, onion, eggs, coffee and half & half. See their responses, follow their accounts, and share yours!

Have a great three day weekend.


Green Mango Smoothie Recipe

Want something quick and easy for breakfast that you can take on the go, and yet is satisfying, filling, and nutritious? Make my Green Mango Smoothie!

You know my love for mangoes! I typically prefer fresh ones, but picked up a bag of frozen mango cubes at a grocery store over the weekend. I also picked up a bag of baby spinach. While wondering around the grocery store picking up random ingredients, I remembered I had a lone banana in the fridge: SMOOTHIE, I thought.

I grabbed a container of almond milk and made Green Mango Smoothie the following day. The green comes from spinach, but you seriously can't even taste it!

Green Mango Smoothie
Makes 2
2 cups frozen mango chunks
1 cup baby spinach leaves
2 cups almond milk
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 ripe banana

Pure all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

This smoothie was so good! I had it for breakfast on Monday and Tuesday and it kept me pretty full until lunch time (there was also a large mug of coffee). The smoothie mixture did not separate as it sat in the fridge, and the texture remained smooth and silky.



Meatless Monday: Beet, Blood Orange & Avocado Winter Salad

Ready for a gorgeous winter salad full of color, flavor and texture? Then you must make my Beet, Blood Orange & Avocado Winter Salad pronto. This salad will be perfect for Valentine's Day dinner at home, or Meatless Monday dinner, or a random I ate too much last night so need a lighter lunch meal, which was the case for me yesterday.

I love the combination of roasted beets, citrus and cheese. This time I opted for golden beets, blood oranges and goat cheese. This is a layered salad but you can mix it if you want. I happen to find this presentation elegant and perfect for one or a party.

Beet, Blood Orange & Avocado Winter Salad
baby spinach leaves
butter lettuce, torn into pieces
golden beets, roasted, peeled, sliced
avocado, sliced
blood oranges, segmented {reserve the juice for the dressing}
goat cheese, crumbled
toasted hazelnuts, chopped
whole grain mustard
olive oil

1. Arrange all ingredients other than mustard, olive oil and salt on a large platter.
2. Whisk together blood orange juice, whole grain mustard and olive oil. Season with salt. Use whichever proportion you like. 
3. Drizzle the dressing on top of a salad.
4. Dig in.

Yes, I ate the entire platter: it was so satisfying. I loved the creaminess of the avocado and goat cheese contrasted with the toasted hazelnuts. 

There are so many variations to this salad:
1) use arugula instead of spinach and butter lettuce
2) if you can't find blood oranges, use grapefruit or regular oranges or tangerines
3) try blue cheese instead of goat cheese, or shave Parmesan on top of the salad
4) pistachios or pecans would be a great substitutes to the hazelnuts

What are YOUR favorite winter salads?


Weekend: Flower Power


TBT: Jose Andres' Minibar In Washington DC

If you live in Washington DC or follow its food scene, you have without a doubt heard of Minibar, one of Jose Andres restaurants that focuses on creativity, ambiance, experience and avant-garde cooking. 

This is not the type of restaurant you walk casually into on a random Wednesday night. You need to plan ahead, make reservations, and make sure you have $275 in savings. I've never dined at Minibar even though I've lived in DC for 15 years.

All that changed when my friend Emily was visiting from Chicago and asked if I'd join her for dinner at Minibar to celebrate her big birthday.

I said yes. I was a little apprehensive. Will the meal be impressive? Will I still be hungry after? Will it be worth the splurge? Will we be well taken care of?

I'm happy to report that from start to finish we had an unforgettable meal. The service, the food, the atmosphere {they had orchids everywhere!}, and the theatrical way the food was plated were truly superb.

Some of my favorite bites included gnocchi, ceviche, caviar and broiled cabbage! There were more than a few instances when I definitely would have taken a second helping, such as in the case of a fried doughnut stuffed with ice cream, but alas this was not that type of a restaurant.

As the meal was coming to an end, we tried what is called a dragon bite. See for yourself ;)

A video posted by Olga Berman (@mangotomato) on

If you have am opportunity to splurge and treat yourself, or are lucky to have someone else treat you, definitely go!


Comfort Food: Hummus With Ground Lamb, Feta & Pistachios

Comfort food doesn't have to mean low and slow, fattening, braised, or warm. It can be something that takes you less than 15 minutes to make, still has a lot of color and texture, and that doesn't leave you wanting to unbutton your jeans ;) This is exactly the case with my Hummus With Ground Lamb, Feta & Pistachios.

This year I'm continuing my friendship with Superior Farms because we have the mutual love of lamb. They sent me a gift card to cover the cost of groceries and asked me to come up with a cold weather/comfort food dish.

This dish is inspired by the hummus plate I had at Shaya in New Orleans last month

Hummus With Ground Lamb, Feta & Pistachios

1. Brown ground lamb in olive oil and season with salt and green za'atar. Make sure to drain any excess fat. 
2. Spread a thin layer of hummus on a dish.
3. Top hummus with browned ground lamb, chopped pistachios, cubed feta, chopped fresh cherries. {Note: I originally wanted to use pomegranate seeds, but my grocery store was out of pomegranates. Cherries were a great substitute. You can also drizzle pomegranate molasses.}
4. Drizzle the dish with chili oil and add a sprinkle of salt and za'atar.
5. Serve with pita chips.

What would you make with ground lamb?


Weekend Inspiration: Find Beauty In All Things