6/13/18

Quick & Easy Ground Lamb With Zucchini & Corn


I'm back from vacation in Seattle with a Quick & Easy Ground Lamb With Zucchini & Corn Recipe. My friends from Superior Farms challenged me to create a quick healthy weeknight dinner recipe using ground lamb and provided a stipend for ingredients.

Given that the temperatures are rising and the summer produce is starting to show up, I wanted to make a recipe that took minutes to make and featured some of my favorite summer produce: corn and tomatoes!

Quick & Easy Ground Lamb With Zucchini & Corn
Serves 4

Ingredients
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound ground lamb
1 large zucchini, diced
kernels from 2 ears of corn
salt & pepper to taste
4 whole wheat pita (the ones I found had 130 calories each)
1/3 cup crumbled feta
1/3 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped dill
hot sauce to taste

Directions
1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add ground lamb and saute on medium heat for 5 minutes.
2. Pour out most of the fat.
3. Add zucchini and corn, season with salt and pepper, and saute for 15 minutes.
4. Toast pitas (in the oven or directly on the gas flame or in a cast iron skillet).
5. Serve a quarter of lamb mixture topped with a quarter of feta, tomatoes and dill, drizzled with as much of hot sauce as you like.
6. This can be eaten with the cut up pita OR you can cut the pita in half and make pita pockets.

This dish had a lot of flavor but did not feel heavy. You can serve this mixture on a bed of salad greens or on top of cubed and roasted sweet potato or use it to make stuffed peppers.

5/21/18

Vegan Eggplant, Chickpea & Tomato With Israeli Cous Cous Meal Prep


Let me tell you about a vegan dish that's full of flavor, color, nutrients, and is perfect for meal prep for the week.

Vegan Eggplant, Chickpea & Tomato With Israeli Cous Cous Meal Prep

Ingredients for 4-6 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil, more if needed
1 medium sized Italian eggplant, diced into 1/4" pieces
1 small onion, diced
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans chickpeas, drained {I used home cooked chickpeas}
1/3 cup halved Kalamata olives
salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste
2 cups cooked Israeli cous cous
fresh basil

Directions
1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add eggplant and onions and saute on medium heat until the eggplant is tender. Add more oil if needed.
2. Add canned tomatoes and their juices, chickpeas, and olives. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, and bring the mixture to a hard simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Add cooked cous cous. Mix to combine.
4. Serve topped with fresh basil. 

5/16/18

Summer Chicken Soup. Meal Prep In A Pressure Cooker.


Let's talk about soup: I love it. Whether it's a bowl of cold summer borsch or a steaming bowl of split pea soup, soup provides nourishment, is great for leftovers, and can be eaten for any meal of the day. Yes, I occasionally eat soup for breakfast.

Over the weekend, I made a version of Pinch of Yum's Instant Pot Summer Soup and am so happy with the results. 

Let me tell you about this Summer Chicken Soup


The base of the recipe is a combination of chicken broth and crushed tomatoes. I used crushed tomatoes with basil to increase the flavor.

There's no need to saute carrots and celery before adding them to the pressure cooker. To make things easier, I did not even peel the carrots.

You can use whichever spices you like the most. In addition to onion powder and salt, I seasoned the soup generously with sumac, which intensified the deep red color of the soup.

I did not have farro, so used brown rice.

As far as the chicken goes, I actually used 2 large chicken breasts with the bones. They were less expensive and provided even more flavor to the soup. Plus, you shred the chicken and can easily discard the bones before serving the soup.

Originally I thought about using frozen corn, but am so glad I ended up incorporating fresh corn because it added a nice texture to the soup.

I topped my bowl of Summer Chicken Soup with strained yogurt, fresh cilantro and Parmesan.

Note that the brown rice (or whichever grain you use) will expand in the soup as it sits in the refrigerator. Not to worry: add a bit more chicken broth when reheating the soup.

Tell me what's the latest soup you ate!

5/14/18

Meatless Monday: Three Bean Salad & Breasts: The Owner's Manual


Oh hi! It's another Monday.

A few weeks ago my friends from Meatless Monday offered to send me a copy of Dr. Kristi Funk's Breasts: The Owner's Manual book and another one to give away to my readers.

Readers...are you out there? I'm hosting a giveaway on my instagram only, so head over there for a chance to win the book!

I've not read the book yet, but one of the things Kristi advocates is reducing meat, and so over the weekend I made Kristi's Three Beans Walk Into A Salad...recipe and will be having leftovers for lunch. This recipe is incredibly easy, can be customized with addition of other ingredients you like, and will be perfect for a picnic!

Reprinted with permission from Dr. Kristi Funk and Chrissy Roth, Certified Plant-Based Nutritionist

Three Beans Walk into a Salad… 
Serves 6
Ingredients:

  • 1 can black beans (rinsed well)
  • 1 can kidney beans (rinsed well)
  • 1 can chickpeas (rinsed well, save chickpea liquid)
  • 1 avocado cut into half inch cubes
  • 2 Persian cucumbers chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano (preferred) or 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 to 3 T of red wine vinegar
  • 1-2 T chickpea liquid
  • Salt and pepper to taste
 
Directions:
Combine beans, veggies and avocado and toss gently. Add oregano, then toss, add chickpea liquid, then red wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

Tip: Chill the beans before making this if you are planning to eat it right away. Or you can make it (minus the avocado), chill for an hour, then add the avocado right before serving.


NOTES: I added one diced yellow pepper, a quarter of a chopped onion, and fresh basil. I chose not to add oregano because it's not my favorite.

I was surprised I did not miss having olive oil in this salad.

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of the book, but am not compensated for this post.

5/7/18

Skinnytaste Easy Bagels With Everything But The Bagel


How about an everything bagel for breakfast? Guess what? You can make your own!

Yesterday my friends Sylvie and Jazmin came over for brunch (with Sylvie's adorable daughter), and I decided to finally make Gina's (aka Skinnytaste) Easy Bagels after seeing them on her instagram countless times.

I admit I was a bit scared. What if they would not turn out well? Oh, I remembered, I had wholewheat bread with seeds and nuts in the freezer: I could use that instead.

No need! The bagel dough, consisting of flour, Greek yogurt, baking powder, and salt, came together super easy. I doubled the recipe and made 8 bagels.

Unlike Gina, I used full fat Greek yogurt in the dough and a whole egg to make the egg wash. I egg-washed the bagels only on the top and sprinkled them generously with Trader Joe's Everything But The Bagel. The bagels took longer to bake than the recipe suggested, but rose nicely and smelled and looked incredible!

I highly recommend halving and toasting the bagels before slathering each half with scallion cream cheese, and adding layers of smoked salmon, cucumbers and tomatoes.

These were much lighter and delicate than the bagels you'd find in your grocery store or coffee shop. They were also smaller, but perfectly sized for not feeling stuffed.



Brunch menu:
bagels with scallion cream cheese, smoked salmon, cucumbers and tomatoes

roasted red skinned potatoes and onions

Jazmin's salad with peppers, goat cheese, red onion, avocado, and a dreamy balsamic and lime dressing

Sylvie's rose and watermelon (which we did not have time to eat, and I'm very happy to have kept)



5/2/18

Chicken Salad With Mango, Cucumber & Radishes


Looking for a fun way to use leftover chicken breasts? Don't want to turn on your stove? Well, then you must make my Chicken Salad With Mango, Cucumber & Radishes.

The photo above is before I added mayonnaise. Of course if you don't love mayonnaise, you can leave it out and use olive oil and lemon juice instead or maybe yogurt, but I LOVE mayo and use it all the time.

Chicken Salad With Mango, Cucumber & Radishes
Ingredients for 1-2 servings 

1 cooked chicken breast, cubed
1 mango, peeled, and diced
1 Persian cucumber, diced
3 radishes, diced
1 avocado, diced
salt & pepper to taste
mayonnaise (as much or as little as you want)

Directions
1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. 

4/30/18

Meatless Monday: Whole Roasted Cauliflower With Dukkah & Parsley


Happy Meatless Monday! Over the weekend I made Whole Roasted Cauliflower With Dukkah & Parsley using a recipe I learned from Vered Guttman

I've tried roasting a whole cauliflower before and was disappointed with the results. Turns out, I was missing a key step: you need to cook the cauliflower before roasting it!

At the event I attended at Sixth & I last week, Vered demonstrated how to cook the cauliflower in salted water with turmeric until it's tender before letting it cool and only then drizzling it with olive oil and roasting it at 400F for about 30 minutes!


Game changer!

I used a yellow cauliflower from Washington's Green Grocer, making the final product super yellow ;)

Also, I'm now obsessed with dukkah! It's a combination of herbs, spices, and nuts. This particular one has toasted hazelnuts, coriander seeds and cumin, to name a few, and is great with roasted vegetables, yogurt, or avocado toast!

4/27/18

Weekend Inspirations: Ranunculus


TGIF! Yesterday after work I picked up a bunch of ranunculus at a farmers market to beautify my weekend. I highly recommend you do the same!

4/24/18

Guide To A Girls' Weekend In LA: Travel Tuesday

Guide To A Girls' Weekend In LA: Travel Tuesday

It's been almost a month since I flew to Los Angeles to spend a long weekend celebrating my birthday (our birthday?) with my twin sister Anna and our friend Kate, whose birthday is just two days prior to ours.

We've traveled together before to Austin and Mexico City and approached this trip in a similar manner: 

1) pick an area to stay
2) book an airbnb
3) make a list of restaurants
4) make a list of cultural sites
5) come up with a hashtag for the trip (#TresAmigasLA)
6) text each other what to pack
7) enjoy

Thanks to my friend Mary, we booked an airbnb in the Echo Park neighborhood and absolutely loved it. Cute little house, tons of cacti, quiet, yet walking distance to many restaurants and not too expensive Uber or Lyft ride away from other points of interest.

Yes, after some back and forth, we decided not to rent a car and had no regrets about it.

Now on to food! Overall, 90% of the meals were absolutely fabulous. In no particular order, below are some of the highlights. 

SQIRL
Luckily my friend Esi got to Sqirl earlier than us and stood in line! This is such a cute, fast moving, delicious smelling place. You'll have a hard time deciding what to get, but cannot go wrong with  their famous Crispy Rice Salad with a side of bacon. I could eat this daily!


When traveling, it's fun to find places that weren't originally on your list, and even more fun when your travel companions are happy to get a random meal in because the food/drinks sound awesome. That's exactly what happened when we walked by SAWYER and saw that they had a $14 happy hour special for half a dozen oysters and a glass of rose! We ordered three of the specials and a few other dishes and enjoyed the stunning restaurant with high ceilings, beautiful flower arrangements, and a bathroom the size of my kitchen.


Another fun thing to do while traveling is setting up play dates with friends living in that city. One of Anna's friends came over for Rose and watermelon in the backyard of our airbnb and gave us two stellar recommendations for Venice Beach area: GJUSTA and DUNE

Below is my breakfast from Gjusta which consisted of toast, the juiciest tomatoes, soft boiled eggs, smoked white fish, labneh, pickled onions, capers, cucumbers, and radishes. It was so good, I tried recreating it at home. 


In Dune, I ordered sabich sandwich: fried eggplant in a pita with pickled vegetables, another egg, tahini dressing and shoestring potatoes. I felt transported to Israel.


Kate saw Chrissy Teigen's tweet about NIGHT & MARKET and we loved the creative food in this super loud, colorful, hectic, and party-for-your-taste-buds restaurant. We went to Song because it was closer to our airbnb. Below is their crispy rice dish. Dreamy!


In other-than-food things not to miss:
The Broad: get your free tickets in advance
The Getty: go for the art, or simply stroll through its gorgeous flower filled garden
Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House: take the tour
Art Deco Architectural Tour




Cannot wait for our next trip!!

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!