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 ;)