4/23/18

Meatless Monday: Asparagus, Broccoli & Chevre Frittata Adapted From Ellie Krieger


Spring is finally in the air! Why not make a frittata to celebrate? I adapted Ellie Krieger's recipe by using dill instead of chives, adding broccoli, using more chevre (goat cheese) and topping the final dish with tomatoes.

This frittta is easy to make, can be served hot or at room temperature, and makes for great leftovers.

Plus, the title is fun: ABC (Asparagus, Broccoli, Chevre)!


Meatless Monday: Asparagus, Broccoli & Chevre Frittata Adapted From Ellie Krieger
Adapted from Ellie Krieger's recipe on Washington Post 

Ingredients for 4
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch asparagus, thick ends discarded, the rest cut into 1" pieces
1 head broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
1 leek, white and light green parts only, chopped and washed well
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
7 large eggs
1/4 cup milk (use whatever fat % you like)
salt & pepper to taste
4 ounces chevre (goat cheese) broken into big pieces
1/4 cup chopped dill
2 tomatoes, sliced

Directions
1. Heat olive oil in an oven proof pan. Add asparagus, broccoli, and leeks and saute for 8 minutes on medium heat. Stir in parsley.
2. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with milk, salt and pepper and pour over the vegetables.
3. Cook frittata over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. You want the eggs to set around the edges but not in the center of the frittata.
4. While the eggs are cooking, preheat the broiler and position the oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the top.
5. Arrange chevre chunks on top of the frittata and broil for 2 to 3 minutes. Don't burn!
6. Top the finished frittata with dill and tomato slices.

4/19/18

What To Do With Skinless Boneless Chicken Breasts: Cajun Rub


Do you wonder what to do with skinless boneless chicken breasts? If you, like me, just can't get yourself to eat the supposedly more flavorful and definitely less expensive chicken thighs, and instead buy skinless boneless chicken breasts and then fear ending up with dry as rubber protein, I have an incredibly easy, juicy, and flavorful recipe for you.

Yesterday I twitted for suggestions on quick and easy recipe ideas to make with chicken breasts, and the Watermelon Board people gave me a great idea for Cajun chicken! I did not have the ingredients to make the watermelon salsa, but absolutely loved how the Cajun spice mix worked out.

What To Do With Skinless Boneless Chicken Breasts: Cajun Rub
Slightly adapted from Watermelon Board

Ingredients

1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons bourbon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon salt
3 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon canola oil

Directions
1. In a small bowl combine the first 7 ingredients. Save half of the spice mix for later and pour the other half into a shallow dish.
2. Coat chicken breasts with the Cajun rub on both sides.
3. Heat oil in a nonstick pan and saute chicken breast for 5 minutes on each side. Cover the pan and cook chicken breasts on medium heat until they reach 165F degrees. Depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts, it could take 5 to 15 minutes.

SO much flavor. The chicken breasts were juicy and perfectly tender on the inside. You can use them as the main course or mix into salads. I served mine on a bed of white bean puree with radishes, feta, white onion and basil. Sort of random, but it worked.

4/16/18

Boozy Strawberry Shortcake With Thyme & Black Pepper


Need a quick and easy dessert you can make in advance? I present Boozy Strawberry Shortcake With Thyme & Black Pepper. I used the recipe for the biscuit part from Food Network, but spiked up the strawberry mixture with rose and added thyme and black pepper for a modern and savory touch.

If you aren't as adventures as I am when it comes to dessert, stick to the original strawberries + sugar mixture.

Boozy Strawberry Shortcake With Thyme & Black Pepper
Adapted from Food Network

Ingredients
For the biscuit part
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1-2 tablespoons sugar in the raw

For the strawberry mixture
3 cups strawberries, diced
2 cups rose, or more as needed
4 sprigs thyme, leaves only
black pepper to taste

1 1/2 cups heavy cream, whipped

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
2. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. 
3. Add heavy cream and mix to combine. The mixture will look a bit clumpy. Don't worry.
4. Add the mixture into an ungreased 8" baking pan, sprinkle with sugar in the raw, and bake for 25 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, macerate the strawberries in rose and thyme for about 20 minutes.
6. Strain the strawberries (drink the wine) and add black pepper to taste.
7. Once the biscuit part is baked, take it out of the oven and allow to cool on a cookie rack. Cut out round shapes using a biscuit cutter and layer a mixture of strawberries and freshly whipped heavy cream.


I really liked how easy this recipe was. If you have a large sweet tooth, you will want to increase the amount of sugar and make sweetened whipped cream, but as I mentioned earlier, I enjoyed the savory feel of this dessert.

If you want to make this dessert in advance, keep all of its components separately and toast the sliced biscuit before serving.

4/13/18

Sunday Supper: Garlicky Turkey & Ricotta Meatballs From Julia Turshen’s Small Victories


Whether you are staying in this Friday the 13th, looking to make a Sunday Supper, or want easy meals to prep for the week, I highly recommend Garlicky Turkey & Ricotta Meatballs From Julia Turshen’s Small Victories. Garlicky is actually not in the title of the official recipe, but that's definitely a very important flavor in the meatballs.

I made these over the weekend because my twin mentioned them, and have eaten them for several meals, shared some, and have a container with these balls in the freezer.

Turkey can be somewhat blah, but with the addition of basil, parsley, garlic, and ricotta, these balls are bursting with flavor and are unbelievably tender. They are also a breeze to make.

The only change I'd make would to beef up the tomato sauce. I followed the recipe, but the sauce wasn't thick enough and could have used more flavor. I suggest you use your own favorite recipe, which can definitely come out of a jar ;)


Yes, meatballs are usually served with spaghetti, but I had mine with a side of roasted potatoes. These would also be awesome on top of mashed potatoes or in a sub.

And as an extra, because you'll have extra ricotta, make Ricotta and Avocado Toasts!

My resolution of making more of other people's recipes is going strong! Let me know if you have a favorite recipe I should try next.

4/9/18

Quick & Easy Meatless Monday Lunch: Smashed Potatoes With Kale, Roquefort & Crispy Chickpeas


Need a quick and easy Meatless Monday lunch or dinner idea? I have just the recipe for you. Potatoes. Kale. Chickpeas. You don't need the exact quantities: use as much of each ingredient as you wish.

If you want to make this dish vegan, leave out Roquefort. 

Smashed Potatoes With Kale, Roquefort & Crispy Chickpeas

1) To make chickpeas: heat the oven to 430F. Dry the chickpeas really well n(I used the ones I made in a pressure cooker, but you can use canned), drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and cayenne, and roast in a single layer for about 20 minutes.

2) Smash boiled red skinned potatoes with a bit of sunflower oil. Season with salt.

3) Saute thinly sliced kale in olive oil until it is cooked through. Add to smashed potatoes.

4) In a bowl, add potatoes with kale, top with crumbled Roquefort, and crispy chickpeas. Sprinkle with chopped parsley

Sooo good!!! You can definitely use milk instead of sunflower oil to make this into more of mashed potatoes texture. Don't like kale? Use spinach or even arugula.  

4/3/18

Halva & Tahini Brownies Adapted From Sweet Cookbook


Who wants gooey brownies filled with halva, tahini and topped with flaky salt? You do? But you are afraid it'll take too long to make? Don't worry! I have an easy recipe adapted from Sweet for you.

A few weeks ago I received samples of Hebel & Co halva, which is hand made in Los Angeles and happens to be organic. The packaging is adorable, the aroma is divine, and the taste brought me back to my childhood and eating halva with tea when I was a little girl in Russia.


I'm saving the pistachio and hot cocoa flavors to eat later, but incorporated the vanilla flavor in an adaptation of Tahini & Halva Brownies recipe.

Halva & Tahini Brownies Adapted From Sweet Cookbook
Ingredients
1 box brownie mix (I used Ghirardelli's Double Chocolate premium brownies with chocolate chips) including the number of eggs, water and oil needed for the mix
6-8 ounces halva, cut into 1/2" cubes
1/3 cup tahini
2 teaspoons flaky salt

Directions
1. Prepare the brownie mix as instructed on the box.
2. Carefully fold in halva cubes and pour into a prepared baking dish.
3. Drizzle tahini on top and swirl it into the brownie mixture with a butter knife or a chopstick. Top with flaky salt.
4. Bake the brownies according to the instructions for your mix.
5. Allow the brownies to cool before cutting into them. 


These were rich, decadent, and indulgent. I froze most of the brownies for later, but shared a few with my sister and friend on the trip to LA.

Disclaimer: I received the halva samples free of charge but am not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

3/26/18

Strawberry Crumble With Almonds


Oh Hi another Monday! This is a short week for me because I'm off to LA in the next few days to celebrate my birthday with my twin and our friend Kate. Sunshine here we come!

Speaking of sunshine, it still feels like winter here in DC area, but over the weekend I baked a quick dessert that reminded me that warmer weather will be here soon.


Have you ever made a crumble? It's one of the easiest and most versatile desserts AND has a bonus of being an excellent breakfast option.

I found a recipe for Strawberry Crumble on the Diethood blog and made only a few changes to it:

1) I used regular flour instead of almond flour
2) I added a handful of sliced almonds to the topping

This was an incredibly easy dessert to put together, and the aroma of strawberries and brown sugar mixed in with a bit of cinnamon filled my condo!

You can make this recipe in advance because it reheats really well. Make sure to have vanilla ice cream to go with it. And coffee.

3/19/18

Dinosaur Kale & Ricotta Spread With Chickpeas & Tomatoes

Do you have too much kale? I have a quick recipe for you for Dinosaur Kale & Ricotta Spread inspired by Jamie Oliver.



Dinosaur Kale & Ricotta Spread
Ingredients
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 bunch of dinosaur kale, stems removed and discarded, leaves thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, smashed
salt to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 tablespoons water
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup ricotta

Directions
1. Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a skillet. Add kale and garlic, season with salt, and saute until the kale has wilted.
2. Using an immersion blender, puree kale with garlic and the rest of the ingredients in a wide mouth jar.
3. Adjust the seasoning.

Idea #1: Serve the spread with home cooked chickpeas, halved cherry tomatoes and more ricotta.


Idea #2: spread this concoction on toasted challah, top with cold corned beef and sliced avocados. SO good!


What would you do with kale!?

3/16/18

Weekend Inspirations: Ricotta, Cucumber & Hard Boiled Egg Toast

If you, like me, are dreaming of the weekend and a big breakfast with a mug of coffee, and maybe a cactus (because why not?), I have just the idea for you!

Ricotta, Cucumber & Hard Boiled Egg Toast

1) Start with home baked bread
2) Toast the bread and slather it with ricotta
3) Season with truffle salt: why not be fancy?
4) Add sliced Persian cucumbers
5) Add 8 minute hard boiled egg (the center of the egg is not completely cooked)
6) More truffle salt
7) Add halved cherry tomatoes
8) Serve with coffee



3/12/18

Meatless Monday: Raw Beet Salad With Pistachio Butter, Citrus & Dates


Oh hey, it's another Meatless Monday! I'm barely awake after 4 nights of poor sleep, but have a bright and cheerful (and accidentally VEGAN) recipe to share with you today: Raw Beet Salad With Pistachio Butter, Citrus & Dates.

It all started with a broken arm 4 years ago...that led me to start ordering my produce from Washington's Green Grocer and building a great relationship with Lisa, the company's co-owner. In a very sweet gesture, Lisa sent me a copy of Six Seasons and two frozen pizzas to celebrate our anniversary in my latest produce order. I was very touched!

The first recipe I made from the gorgeous book was an adaptation of Beet Slaw With Pistachios and Raisins.

Here are a few things I changed: I used dates instead of raisins and added citrus segments and diced avocado. 

Look at the gorgeous colors! I recommend julienne'ing the beets instead of grating them for a more appealing look and better texture. I'm not sold on the mint in this salad, and would probably leave it out next time.

Pistachio butter was simple to make and would be great on top of challah or spread on a toast and topped with avocado and sprinkled with salt. 


If you've not given beets a chance yet, do it now!!!

3/8/18

Long Weekend in Savannah in 10 Photos

If you are looking for a fun long weekend getaway, I highly recommend going to Savannah, GA. A few weekends ago I flew to Savannah to meet my friends Jenny and Laura whom I've known for 16 years! This was my second time in Savannah, but the first for my friends. Below are ten things to do!

1. Find an AirBnB in the city. We booked a great one near the Forsyth Park (the famous fountain below), and absolutely loved the architectural details of the house, beautiful kitchen, backyard for sipping Puerto Rican coffee each morning, ability to walk to most places, and our host who was very quick at answering all of our questions.


2. Sandfly BBQ: this was our first lunch in Savannah. Luckily we got a table inside where it was air conditioned. Get all the pork, brisket, chicken, and sausage. Mac & cheese and coleslaw were great; the fried okra needed more seasoning or Ranch dressing. The sweet potato fries were perfectly crunchy and not greasy.

We walked some of this off on the way to the grocery store (more on that later).


3. Brunch at The Collins Quarters: brunch is probably my favorite weekend meal. Just like most places in Savannah, The Collins Quarters doesn't take reservations, but we only had to wait about 30 minutes on a late Saturday morning. Not to worry: there are plenty of cafes and parks around to wait.

I ordered a Bloody Mary and a lamb burger; Jenny had smoked salmon toast, and Laura had a quinoa dish. The food was great, and we had the perfect opportunity for people watching because of our outdoor table.

Because the food took a while to come out, the manager automatically comped our drinks: a nice touch!


4. Dinner at Atlantic: we were lucky to be able to snag a table for dinner at Atlantic. Make sure to come close to when the restaurant opens. Speaking of open, the open kitchen is beautiful and stopped me in my tracks when I saw a massive carrot cake. Alas, we had other plans for dessert and did not order it. {Make sure to check out their bathrooms with a beautiful blue tiled floor and orange lockers.}

Atlantic was casual and fun, and felt like a neighborhood place you'd visit often. Their romaine wedge salad blew me away: bacon wrapped dates, hazelnuts, and a creamy blue cheese dressing. For the entree, I chose a duck breast and was not disappointed.


5. Dinner at The Grey: located in the old Greyhound terminal, this was a fun way to spend our last night in Savannah. The service and food were superb, and our waitress gave us a great recommendation for breakfast the next day.

I decided to be brave and order a whole roasted fish (head, bone, skin, and all) and loved it! The other highlights were octopus, foie & grits, and farmers cheese cheesecake. Laura loved her chicken with curry, almonds, and currants, and Jenny enjoyed the special of the night (I think it was halibut). The smashed potatoes, were lovely too!


6. Breakfast at B Matthew's: yes, I started with another Bloody Mary. It was a vacation: don't judge. My entree was superb: fried green tomato Benedict on a homemade biscuit with potatoes instead of a fruit salad. The eggs were perfectly cooked, and I loved the fancy little greens on top. Bonus: it fit with Meatless Monday!


7. Forsyth Farmers' Market: such a fun Saturday activity! Yes, I have super white legs. I never get tan. Anyway....I bought a King of Pops blackberry ginger lemonade pop: refreshing, not overly sweet, and thirst quenching.


8. Breakfast at AirBnB: not each meal needs to be at a restaurant. As I mentioned, our first day we went to a nearby grocery store and bought chips and dips and meats and cheeses and wine for a "picnic dinner" at home and also provisions to make breakfast. Below is a turkey/pepper/onion/cheese frittata, baked plantains, toast with Nutella, salsa, tomatoes, strawberries, and a Rose cocktail. Such fun!!


9. Wormsloe Historic Site: only 7 miles away from Savannah is this beautiful nature reserve with massive trees, a hike trail, and water views. So glad my friend Mary's sister Noel recommended we check this out.


10. SCAD: check out The Savannah College of Art and Design museum or some of the buildings scattered around the city. 


Leave a comment to let me know if I missed something ;)

3/5/18

An Ode To Molly Yeh's Scallion Pancake Challah: Meatless Monday



It's the second week of March. How are your New Year resolutions coming along? I'm doing pretty good when it comes to making new recipes. Here's one I made last week: Molly Yeh's Scallion Pancake Challah. I saw this recipe on food52, printed it out, and made it with just a few changes.

This challah was so easy to make: only one rise, no complicated ingredients, AND it has scallions in the middle of each braid part. The toasted sesame seed oil gives the challah a hint of unexpected fragrance, and I used the everything but the bagel Trader Joe's spice mix to round up the flavors.



Look at the texture!! I would add a bit more salt next time I make this recipe. 2/3rds of the loaf are safe in my freezer because I know myself: I would not be able to resist eating the whole thing in just a few days.

Over the weekend, I made breakfast of toasted challah slices with an Israeli inspired salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, and white onions; hummus, and a hard boiled egg. And coffee. By the way, shout out to Melissa Maya Pottery who made this gorgeous mug I bought as a Hanukkah present from my parents. LOVE it. 



Here's to more successful recipes!!

2/22/18

Quick & Easy Lunch: Tuna Salad With Chickpeas & Red Pepper


Let's talk about Quick & Easy Lunch: Tuna Salad With Chickpeas & Red Pepper.

I almost always have canned tuna in my refrigerator (solid white), and it makes for an incredibly quick lunch or dinner. You can keep it simple by only adding mayonnaise and maybe some white onions, or go all out with fun ingredients such as avocado, corn, herbs, olives, etc. Here's my latest concoction ;)

Quick & Easy Lunch: Tuna Salad With Chickpeas & Red Pepper
Serves 2-3

1 can of solid white tuna, drained
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 red pepper, chopped
mayonnaise: the more the merrier
salt & pepper to taste
2 scallions, sliced
potato chips on the side

This salad keeps well in the refrigerator and is great for leftovers.

Tell me your favorite tuna salad combination!

2/20/18

Eggplant Fetteh: Syria Recipes From Home Cookbook


Love eggplant? Then I highly recommend you make Eggplant Fetteh from Syria Recipes From Home Cookbook. That's the latest cookbook featured in the Washington Green Grocer's Cookbook Club.

I made this recipe last week by roasting sliced eggplant in the oven and topping it with yogurt/lemon juice dressing (and adding sumac to it), pomegranate, broken pita chips, cilantro, and pistachios instead of pine nuts.

You really don't need the exact amounts: use as much of each ingredient as you like. Instead of mixing everything in a bowl, I made a big ass plated salad and consumed it in its entirety.

2/15/18

Tahini Chocolate Chunk Cookies: New Year, New Recipes


Remember my resolution to make more new recipes this year!? Well, Tahini Chocolate Chunk Cookies is the latest one I tried. I literally baked these cookies this morning before going to work.

Here's what happened:
1) I saw a link for Tahini Chocolate Chunk Cookies on The Nosher Facebook which led me to 
2) Hey Alma website and to 
3) Sonya Michelle Sanford's website and instagram.

I already knew I love tahini cookies, so adding chocolate chunks and salt to them made perfect sense!

The recipe was incredibly easy: I made the dough last night after eating steak/potatoes/asparagus/Prosecco dinner I made for myself for Valentine's day. The dough needed to be refrigerated for 24 hours, but overnight worked out just fine.

I scooped the dough this morning as I was getting ready for work and brewing coffee, and putting on makeup, and attempting to straighten my hair.

These cookies are so good!!! Please use chocolate chunks as the recipe mentions and not chocolate chips. Next time I'll add pecans.

I love when I make a new recipe and it works!!! I brought some to work to share ;)

2/12/18

Winter Salad


Winter salads can be as colorful, flavorful, and delicious as spring or summer salads.

Over the weekend I combined a few random ingredients from my refrigerator and pantry in a large bowl and liked it so much, I decided to remake it, plate it nicely and photograph it in order to share with you. You are welcome.

Winter Salad
baby spinach
Cara Cara orange segments
blueberries
red pepper, thinly sliced
pecans, toasted
dressing: whole grain mustard, remaining juice from segmenting the orange, olive oil, salt & pepper

2/8/18

Roasted Butternut Squash & Avocado Toast on Le Creuset Dutch Oven Bread


Think bread baking is hard!? Think again! Le Creuset Dutch Oven Bread is something you can easily make on a lazy Sunday with very little effort. In fact, that's exactly what I did last Sunday as most of you were getting ready for Superbowl. 

I used this recipe from Le Creuset but added about a tablespoon of za'atar during the last rise and baked it for 10 extra minutes, and then finished it under the broiler to get the top crust really crispy.

Yes, that's my attempt at a football design ;)


Using a stand mixer made kneading this bread a breeze. The dough was super smooth, doubled in size in only 2 hours, and wasn't sticky to work with.

I'm still trying to figure out how to make the bread itself more flavorful: it needed a lot more salt in the dough itself, but that could have jeopardized the work of the yeast. I did love adding za'atar, but thought it would have gotten inside the bread itself and not just the crust.

Here's a slice of the bread toasted, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with plenty of truffle salt: I'm fancy like that.


Roasted Butternut Squash & Avocado Toast on Le Creuset Dutch Oven Bread

Ingredients
thick slice of bread, toasted
avocado, sliced
roasted butternut squash cubes
sour cream mixed with sriracha to taste
fresh cilantro, chopped
salt to taste
za'atar

Directions
Assemble all ingredients.
Dig in with a knife and fork.

I had to slice and freeze most of this loaf so that I would not inhale all the calories at once.

Happy bread baking!

2/5/18

Sweet Potato, Avocado & Feta Meatless Monday Meal



If like me you stayed up to watch This Is Us last night, you may be barely awake now. But don't worry, you are minutes away from a nutritional, easy to put together, and Meatless Monday approved breakfast or lunch. Or make my Sweet Potato, Avocado & Feta recipe for dinner.

It all started when I wanted an avocado toast but did not have bread. (I eventually solved that problem by baking my own bread on Sunday: check my instagram.)

Instead, I sliced a roasted sweet potato into planks, sauteed the planks in a bit of olive oil and topped them with sliced avocado and crumbled feta.

I then topped this concoction with an Indian spice mix my friend Sangeetha shared with me (her mom made it!). I don't know exactly which spices are in this little jar, but I think there's turmeric and curry and maybe cayenne for sure. It's divine on all things ;)

2/1/18

Loaded Baked Potato And Cauliflower Soup From Healthyish With OXO Tools


Just as the weather was starting to warm up a bit, the cold front returned. What's better than a steaming bowl of soup for lunch or dinner? A steaming bowl of soup topped with bacon ;)

My friends from oxo sent me a copy of Healthyish cookbook, which I've already written about, with a variety of oxo tools to make Lindsay's Loaded Baked Potato And Cauliflower Soup. {Disclaimer: the book and the tools were a gift. I am not compensated in any way for this blog post. All opinions are my own as always!}

Although my kitchen is pretty well stocked, it's always fun to get new tools to play with. Also, I gave the older versions of these tools to my friend Emily. Win/win!

Pro 8" Chef's Knife - So sharp!! I think everyone needs a chef's knife, and this one did a great job cutting through large potatoes and cauliflower; plus, it's made in Germany, which is a good thing in my book when it comes to kitchen tools.

12" Tongs - perfect for taking out strips of bacon from the pan or reaching out to the top shelf of your cabinet to grab a bag of snacks.

Wooden Corner Spoon - who doesn't need an extra wooden spoon? This one has a straight side, which makes it easier to reach into the corners of your pots and pans.

Coarse Grater - perfect for any cheese or vegetable!

Swivel Peeler - cushioned handle with an extra sharp blade! This peeler handled Russet potatoes as if they were butter. 

Kitchen and Herb Scissors - my favorite part about these is that you can take them apart for ease of cleaning or to sharpen.


And now for the soup!!!

Loaded Baked Potato and Cauliflower Soup
Makes 12 cups; serves 4 to 6

True or false? The best part of a baked potato is the toppings. If you agree, then this soup is perfect for you. Starting off with bacon fat means that the entire soup is infused with delicious, smoky flavor. And, instead of just using starch-heavy potatoes, a blend of potato and cauliflower makes for a creamier, lighter soup. All this as balance for the classic baked potato toppings, naturally.

INGREDIENTS
4 large slices (8 oz/225 g) extra-thick cut bacon
2 onions (12 oz/340 g), chopped (about 2 cups)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large russet potatoes (2 lbs/910 g), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) pieces (about 5 cups)
1 medium head cauliflower (1 ¼ lbs/570 g), cut into small florets (about 6 cups)
8 cups (2 L) chicken stock or vegetable stock
Sour cream, chopped fresh chives, and grated Cheddar cheese, for serving

HOW TO MAKE IT
Heat a large soup pot over medium-low heat. Place the bacon slices flat in the pot and cook, turning a couple times, until crispy and most of the fat has drained from the bacon, 8 to 12 minutes total. Using tongs, transfer the bacon to a paper towel–lined plate, leaving the fat in the pot.
Add the onions, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are translucent and soft, 10 to 12 minutes.
Stir in the potatoes, cauliflower, and stock, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a strong simmer and cook, stirring here and there, until the potatoes are very soft, 15 to 20 minutes.
Purée the soup, using a blender in batches or a handheld immersion blender. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if you like.

Slice or tear the cooked bacon into bite- size pieces and sprinkle it over bowls of the soup. Serve topped with sour cream, chives, and cheese.

The only changes I made to the recipe were 1) using scallions because my store did not have chives, 2) using an immersion blender, and 3) adding a bit of cayenne powder in the end.

The soup is comforting and filling and is great for leftovers the next day. My friend Emily came over for dinner with her boyfriend Cal and we paired the soup with epic grilled cheese sandwiches cooked on a panini grill with onions, ham and tomatoes! SO good. The onions Emily cooked in leftover bacon from from the extra bacon I cooked for the soup ;)

1/29/18

Coriander-Rubbed Chicken Breasts With Lentil Radicchio Salad From Healthyish Cookbook


Meal prep can be so exhausting. What if you could make a dish on Sunday that you could eat for several lunches during the week without getting bored? Would that not be awesome? What if, on top of the convenience and great flavors, that dish was simple to make, good for you, and fun?

That's exactly what Coriander-Rubbed Chicken Breasts With Lentil Radicchio Salad From Healthyish Cookbook is!


I received a copy of Lindsay Maitland Hunt's Healthyish cookbook from oxo for a campaign I'm doing with them (more about it next week), and after paging through the book and admiring the beautiful photos, decided to make this recipe.

I'm not going to retype the recipe (go buy the book!), but here are the things I liked about it:

1) Tahini dressing: it has mayonnaise in it! If you've met me, you know how much I love mayonnaise. Also, instead of the usual lemon juice, Lindsay uses lime juice. This dressing is garlic free: this means I'll feel comfortable eating this dish at work without the fear of alienating my coworkers.

2) Lentils form the base of the salad with an addition of the slightly bitter radicchio. Cucumbers add the additional crunch and color.

3) Surprise factor comes from the use of preserved lemons! I've never thought about adding them to a salad, but really liked the idea.

4) Chicken breasts: Lindsay bakes the chicken in the oven in a covered baking dish with a bit of water after marinating the breasts in coriander powder, salt, pepper, and olive oil. The result is really tender meat! 

5) Meal prep: if you are planning on making this recipe for the week, I recommend adding the dressing to each portion when you are about to eat the salad. Same goes for feta.

Disclosure: I received Healthyish from oxo for a nonpaid campaign and am getting no compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.

1/23/18

Travel Tuesday: Mexico City Best Bites

It's been slightly over one week since I've flown back from a 7 day vacation in Mexico City with my twin and our 3 friends. I was blown away by the mere size of the city, how inexpensive everything was, the colorful houses and street art, kind people, and countless beautiful parks with cacti sprinkled around the city.

Below are some of the best bites we had while in Mexico City. I highly recommend them all. {Quick note, not pictured is our first late breakfast at Lalo because my picture did not do it justice. You should still go and get a Bloody Mary and anything with eggs and fresh tortillas and chorizo.}

El Moro: the crispiest, non greasy, and satisfying churros! No wonder this establishment has been in business since 1935! There are several locations around the city, but I highly recommend the original one.


Street Tacos: don't be afraid of street food! There was a taco stand next to our airbnb which we visited at least 4 times! Two tacos for 30 to 40 pesos, which is less than $2! This particular cart had a bar set up with several types of salsa, grilled potatoes and onions, and even cactus leaves! The first night I topped my tacos with the spicy salsa, without realizing it, and had tears coming out of my eyes to an amusement of an old Mexican man! 

Kate also suggest we bring our own plates from airbnb when getting tacos to go instead of using styrofoam containers: we got some amusing and confused looks :) 


Rosetta Panaderia: this might have been one of the best croissants I've ever had. I usually go for croissants filled with chocolate or almond paste, but this one had ricotta and spinach and was worth the wait. We missed out on having dinner at Rosetta, but loved having our morning mocha or coffee and pastry at this sister restaurant.


Eno: the wait at Lalo was too long for our last late breakfast in the city, so we strolled a few blocks and decided to eat at Eno. That was a great decision! I had eggs in spicy tomato sauce with chorizo and avocado, and freshly squeezed tangerine juice. I could have this every single day of my life!


La Casa de Tono: this was one of the places my friend Joahna recommended. The line was out of the door at 9pm and we were slightly, to say the least, overwhelmed once we got inside. This place reminded me of the busy dim sum restaurants in New York City: tables filled with locals and tourists, food flying out from the kitchen, the noise of conversations, and a ridiculously low bill. We ate and drank for $35! For five people! Guacamole itself was worth the visit. 

This restaurant is known for posole, which I usually don't love, but liked their version because of the flavorful broth, tender chicken, and hominy which was more tender than the versions I've had in the states. At one point my friend Kate and I had to hold a few plates in our hands because there was no place on the table!


Note: we did eat at the famous Pujol. I liked dressing up and feeling a bit fancy and lunching in a beautiful restaurant. The service was top notch. The food was creative and well prepared, but it did not wow me.

I can't wait for the next food vacation :)