Weekend Edition: Buy Yourself Flowers

TGIF! I'm back from a wonderful vacation in Mexico City with my twin Anna and our friends Kate, Sveta, and Jenny!

One of the things I did almost immediately, other than unpacking, was buying fresh flowers. You see, when I was a little girl growing up in Russia, my parents and my grandmother always placed fresh flowers in Anna's and mine room for us to see after we came home after summer camp. Isn't that the sweetest tradition?

Well, I now do the same for myself. I encourage all of you to treat yourself to fresh flowers or a new plant!

This arrangement is an homage to Pantone: greenery for 2017 and ultra violet for 2018.


Meatless Monday: Black Nebulla Carrots With Lemony Tahini Dressing & Pistachios

Have you ever heard of Black Nebulla Carrots? If like me you order produce from Washington's Green Grocer, you probably received these beauties in the last few orders. Well, now you can make a stunning vegan dish with them: Black Nebulla Carrots With Lemony Tahini Dressing & Pistachios.

Washington's Green Grocer started a Cookbook Club, which I joined immediately, and the first recipe is a lemony tahini dressing from Alison Roman's Dining In cookbook. Lisa (owner of WGG) posted a recipe idea on instagram of roasting the carrots and drizzling them with the dressing. I went a few steps further by adding chopped pistachios, parsley, and lemon zest.  

Black Nebulla Carrots With Lemony Tahini Dressing & Pistachios

Black Nebulla carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise
olive oil
kosher salt
for the dressing
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely grated
salt & pepper to taste
roasted pistachios, chopped
parsley, chopped
lemon zest

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Lightly coat the carrots with olive oil and season with kosher salt. Roast in a single layer cut side up for 20-30 minutes depending on the size.
2. Whisk the dressing ingredients.
3. Drizzle the carrots with the dressing and sprinkle with pistachios, parsley, and lemon zest. 

Beware that these carrots will stain your hands!!! 

I really liked this recipe. It can be served straight out of the oven or at room temperature. I bet it'll taste equally great with sweet potatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, or any other vegetable you want to roast. The dressing, of course, is perfect on any salad!


Sunday Supper: Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon

Need a filling delicious meal to satisfy your taste buds and warm you up on a freezing cold winter weekend? Make Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon (beef stew) for Sunday Supper.

This is only the first weekend of 2018, and I'm already fulfilling one of my resolutions to make new recipes more often!

As I've mentioned in my earlier post, I've never made Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon...until now that is!

I used this recipe from tbsp, but made a few adjustments.

My thoughts:

1. After making the recipe, I think there really is no need for bacon. There is plenty of flavor from the wine, onions, and mushrooms. Also, the recipe called to simmer bacon in 4 cups of water...what? I simply browned mine.

2. 1 carrot for a big pot of stew is ridiculous ;) I used 3.

3. There are a few steps where you cook the stew in 450F oven for four minutes at a time to cook out the flour. No thanks. I skipped those steps and kept the pot on the stove and then put it in the oven for 3 hours at 325 to tenderize the beef.

4. Did you know good stew beef is expensive? That was news to me.

5. I used brown mushrooms instead of white ones because that's what I had.

6. For the pearl onions, I simply sauteed them for 10 minutes without then simmering them in liquid for 40 minutes. Who has the time? Plus, they are small and 10 minutes was long enough for them to be fork tender.

7. Overall, I loved this stew! It wasn't too complicated to make and I'll probably do it again. Plus, it'll keep well in the freezer.

What have you cooked lately?


2018 Cooking Resolutions & Lucky Lentils For New Year

Welcome to 2018! Hope you are entering the new year in good health and with a good attitude! Are you making any resolutions?

I've made a few cooking related resolutions I'd like to share with you:

1) Cook more new recipes: after making chocolate salami for the first time in December, I felt such satisfaction and pride. There are so many recipes out there I'd like to try. Can you believe I've never made Boeuf Bourguignon?

2) Minimize food waste: this doesn't require an explanation, but will take a lot of work!

3) Stop buying bowls and other kitchen items: one of my friends decided to take a vacation from consumerism in 2018 and I'm following her lead.

What's the photo above you might be thinking? Well, it's the new recipe I made yesterday from Domenica Marchetti for Sausage and Lentils Umbrian Style. Turns out lentils are a lucky food to eat for the new year, and who can't use a bit of luck?

I used green lentils and chicken sausage with basil and sundried tomatoes, but otherwise followed Domenica's recipe closely. Don't skip the step of browning the sausages, I kept mine whole, because it adds a lot of flavor to the final dish.

I garnished mine with chopped parsley and celery leaves.

One new recipe down, many more to go!

Share your cooking resolutions with me!