L'Shana Tova: Easy Dessert Rr Breakfast For Rosh Hashanah

Tonight marks the beginning of a Jewish New Year! Whether you are a religious or a cultural Jew, or just like good food, I have a quick and easy, but gorgeous (!!) breakfast or dessert you can make to celebrate Rosh Hashanah.

It is said that you need to eat apples and honey for a sweet year to come. But what if you forgot that you were out of apples!? Well, I used beets :)

This plate above is something I made for a sweet breakfast before work today:

Homemade Labneh With Beets & Honey
1) homemade labneh
2) roasted beets (use apples or any other fruit you have: or a combination!)
3) honey
4) ginger syrup
5) roasted and salted cashews


For more traditional apple cake and honey cake ideas, check my previous posts.


Meatless Monday: Beefsteak Burger At Beefsteak In DC

Are you looking for a vegetarian burger that's light, has no beans or lentils, and is beyond satisfying? Well, then you either must go to Beefsteak, or make one at home.

Over the weekend I took myself to lunch at Jose Andres' Beefsteak and absolutely loved his tomato burger. This was my second time at this restaurant and each time I've ordered the same thing. Go before the tomato season is over. 

Beefsteak Tomato Burger 
thick slice of beefsteak tomato
pickled red onions
caper herb mayonnaise
olive oil brioche bun
extras: avocado and fresh mozzarella

What's your favorite meatless burger?


Chiko DC: 10 Things To Know Before You Visit

It took me a while, but I finally had dinner at Chiko in Eastern Market. 
CHIKO is the first restaurant from The Fried Rice Collective. Chef’s Danny Lee and Scott Drewno pair modern cooking techniques with traditional Chinese and Korean flavors, while Drew Kim provides his passion for hospitality ensuring a unique dining experience.

Here are 10 things to keep in mind before you go:

1) Show up on the early side because by 7 pm, they are super busy.

2) Chef Scott Drewno is actually IN the restaurant and doesn't simply has his name on the website. {Thanks for sending out a tray of snacks!}

3) If you can, bring friends because you'll want to order pretty much everything on the menu.

4) The name is pronounced CHAIKO not CHEEKO :) Chi as in Chinese, Ko as in Korean.

5) There's a sense of humor when it comes to the menu: the restaurant has Meatless Tuesday specials unlike the well 
established Meatless Monday.

6) You mix your own cocktails! Well, at least the Gin & Tonic that I tried (pictured below) that had lemongrass infused basil seeds in it!

7) My favorites: Wagshal's Chopped Brisket with Soy Brined Soft Egg, fuikake butter, and rice; Potato and Egg Salad, Sichuan Spicy Cucumbers; Chiko's version of street corn.

8) Leftovers make for a great lunch: make sure not to microwave kimchi.

9) Make sure to check out Chiko's specials: on Tuesday they had a great combination of corn, asparagus and pea shoots.

10) Superb service. Even better food.


Meatless Monday: Visit to Bangkok 54 and Atilla in Arlington, VA

Do you feel like you are in a cooking rut? If you answer yes, I highly recommend a visit to an ethnic grocery store. Over the weekend I visited Bangkok 54 and Atilla markets on Columbia Pike in Arlington, VA and picked up quite a few fun products that will be great for experimenting with in the kitchen, and happen to be perfect for Meatless Monday.

First up, Bangkok 54: I was overwhelmed with the varieties of rice, sauces, curry paste, spices, and soup packets. Luckily, one of the women at the store was really helpful and explained which curry paste to use with vegetables (yellow!), and also told me to never ever shake a can of coconut milk! Instead, you are supposed to use the solids to saute the curry paste and the vegetables, and only then to add the liquid! Who knew?

I picked up fresh bok choy, lemon grass, three varieties of curry paste, and buckwheat soba noodles. I also bought a jar of pickled pepper corns that are supposed to be great added to a stir fry.

I'm taking bets on how quickly I'll consume a container of Pocky dipped in chocolate topped with crushed almonds ;) 

By the way, Bangkok 54 is a great place to load up on Sriracha and sambal if you like your food spicy!

Tucked behind the parking lot of Salsa Room, where I go salsa dancing, is a Turkish market called Atilla. Interestingly enough, many of its products looked very similar to the ones you'd find in a Russian grocery store. I could not resist picking up a container of pistachio halvah as a treat with coffee or tea.

I also bought a container of labneh, a jar of roasted eggplant, and a packet of feta to top my tomato and cucumber salad. What was labeled as pomegranate juice turned out to actually be pomegranate molasses: I'm planning to use it in salad dressings, marinades, and to flavor black tea.

Finally, I bought a jar of red pepper and eggplant spread that's great as a dip or to use in sandwiches with mayonnaise.

Let's get cooking!


Dinner In Minutes: Gyoza & Vegetables Quick Soup

Need a quick dinner that will warm you up and leave your taste buds satisfied? I have just the recipe for you: Gyoza & Vegetables Quick Soup

Last night when I got home after work, I decided I did not want to do anything but sit on the couch and chill. For the entire night. And I did just that. Plus all the food! It was one of those nights.

I made a really quick soup for dinner using Thai Vegetable Gyoza from Trader Joe's frozen section, chicken broth I made in my pressure cooker from the bones of a rotisserie chicken, some vegetables and a few flavor boosters. So easy. So good. Pretty healthy, unless you follow it up with enormous amount of hummus, smoked almonds, and pistachio ice cream.

Dinner In Minutes: Gyoza & Vegetables Quick Soup


chicken broth
mushrooms, thinly sliced
peas, fresh or defrosted
red pepper, thinly sliced
Thai Vegetable Gyoza, prepared according to directions
soy sauce
lime juice
parsley, chopped

1. Bring chicken broth to a simmer. Add mushrooms, peas, and red pepper and allow to simmer for 3-5 minutes.
2. Add Gyoza to a bowl, pour over the broth with the vegetables. 
3. Season the soup to your taste with the rest of the ingredients.

I know...pretty precise recipe :)



Bake a Difference with OXO for Cookies for Kids' Cancer

Welcome back from the 3 day weekend! Hope you are all rested and are ready to jump back into work...I know I'm not :/

One of the fun activities I did this weekend, other than dancing, brunch, and a visit to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, was bake Spritz cookies! This was my first time ever using a cookie press, and I loved it.

This blog post is another collaboration with oxo. As always, I'm not being compensated for this post: I received products from oxo to try in my kitchen and am sharing my opinions with you.

This year, OXO will donate up to $100,000 to Cookies for Kids' Cancer. Cookies for Kids' Cancer is a recognized 501c(3) public charity duly incorporated under the laws of the state of New Jersey. 100% of proceeds raised by Cookies fund pediatric cancer research. Visit OXO or cookiesforkidscancer.org for more information.

The Cookie Press was incredibly easy to use and clean. I liked the fact that it was simple to change the disks and ended up using four flower themed disks to make cookies. Oxo also sent me an additional set of fall related disks, which I'll have to try once the weather cools down a bit.

I was already familiar with the OXO pizza pan, and expected the same great performance from the Non Stick Pro Cookie Sheet. It has a great weight to it, is nonstick, easy to clean, and allows your baked goods to brown easily. 

Finally, even though I have plenty of spatulas, both metal and silicon, this one from oxo was the perfect size for the cookies! It's sturdy despite its little size and has a flexible edge that allows you to easily get under the cookies. Please make it in fun colors oxo!!

My friend Kate sent me a recipe for Spritz Cookies from America's Test Kitchen baking book. I also found it here. Butter, sugar, flour, and a few other ingredients are all you need, and I actually had everything on hand! 

The cookies smelled delicious, were super buttery, and not too sweet. I shared them with my friends, neighbors, and condo office workers.

Let me know how you use your cookie press!


TBT: Postcard From Seattle.

Where to eat in Seattle?

It has been about two weeks since I came back from a week in Seattle where I visited family and friends. This turned out to be more of a vacation/staycation because my sister was able to take the whole time off work and our friend Jenny was visiting from Houston at the same time. We ate, danced, went hiking (!!), saw family and friends, and did some touristy things. 

I wanted to give a few shout outs to some of my favorite bites from this trip.

The photo above is from General Porpoise. These doughnuts were worth a hike from the bus stop. I loved the bright interior, gorgeous flowers on the tables, and of course the doughnuts themselves. I had the lemon curd flavor, and was happy that it wasn't overly sweet. Definitely check out this place on your next Seattle visit.

For a neighborhood feel, a great selection of small plates, and a great Happy Hour, we went to Pair. Make sure to order their shakshuka for its smoky flavor, the gougeres if you like carbs, and the daily selection of cheese. The mussels were also superb. Below are the desserts we shared: an in season apricot cake and a mocha chocolate mousse.  

For something away from the city, pack a picnic and head out to Taylor Shellfish Farms. Don't forget your oyster knife and patience: shucking 6 oysters takes forever but is so worth it. The view is stunning and makes you forget about reality.

And finally, The Walrus and The Carpenter. Make sure to show up as soon as the restaurant opens to be seated. The oyster happy hour is the main draw, but next time I'll definitely stay for dinner. These oysters were plump and sweet and I did not have to shuck a single one of them.


Last Of Summer Meatless Monday Salads: Mango, Tomato & Mozzarella

Summer is almost over, so you might as well enjoy a beautiful, colorful salad before summer tomatoes and strawberries disappear for good.

This gorgeous Mango, Tomato & Mozzarella Salad came about as most of my other creations do from random things I had in my refrigerator. 

I had a ripe mango and a bag of arugula from Trader Joe's, organic strawberries and tomatoes from MOM's Organic, and a container of fresh mozzarella.

Having consumed a large amount of Ethiopian and Thai food over the weekend, this salad was exactly what I needed.

Mango, Tomato & Mozzarella Salad
mango, peeled and sliced
variety of cherry and grape tomatoes, halved
strawberries, sliced
fresh mozzarella
chili oil (I used Nudo)
freshly ground black pepper

That's all folks! Arrange in any design you desire.

Happy Meatless Monday.


POPSUGAR MustHaveBox Turns 5!

Earlier this month I received a gift from POPSUGAR: their August Must Have Box on THEIR 5th Anniversary! How sweet is that? One of my favorite gifts inside the box was this Cheers Lacquered Tray from Fringe Studio...because let's face it, everyone can use a little bit of cheer in their life.

The tray is great to hold a remote control, lotions, pens, or iced coffee, an orchid bloom and some ketchup to go with a weekend breakfast of potatoes, a poached egg, and a black bean & tomato salad.

If you are a first time subscriber to POPSUGARMustHaveBox, you can get $10 Off your first box until August 31st

How would YOU use this tray? 

Small print: 
All current Must Have subscribers are eligible for a chance to win! You can sign up before the end of August for a chance to automatically win a *major* surprise each week from following brands: 
Week 1: Limited # of lucky subscribers will win something from Pehr Designs 
Week 2: Limited # of lucky subscribers will win something from First Aid Beauty 
Week 3: Limited # of lucky subscribers will win something from Kendra Scott 
Week 4: Limited # of lucky subscribers subscribers will win something from Tarte cosmetics 
Week 5 (8/31): 5 Grand Prize! Limited # of subscribers something from Cambridge Satchel Co + 1 year Must Have 

Disclosure: I received the MustHaveBox for free but am not being compensated for this post. 


The Bachelorette Finale: Meatless Monday Potluck Dinner

Are you watching The Bachelorette Finale tonight? I am! A few friends are coming over for food, drinks and commentary.

Over the last season, I've hosted about 5 such viewing parties and they are always a success. I get a chance to clean my home, have friends over, and the conversation is always great.

Here are a few ideas for potluck dinners you can put together easily that allow grazing while watching the show. 

1. Don't stress
2. Don't do it all yourself: have friends bring a bottle of wine or dessert or a dip with chips
3. Keep it vegetarian for Meatless Monday
4. Use pretty plates and bowls for store bought snacks
5. Don't worry about everything matching

Dinner #1:
Stove top roasted carrots: quarter the carrots lengthwise and saute in olive oil seasoned with salt and pepper until they are golden brown. I kept mine aldente. Garnish with parsley.

Hummus: store bought or make your own.

Beet chips: save the calories from carbs by thinly slicing raw beets!


Baba ganoush.


Sauteed olives with orange zest, red pepper flakes and garlic. {Similar recipe}

Fresh figs and cherries.

Wine: I found a bottle of Moldovan White Cabernet which I really liked.

Dinner #2:
Big Ass Salad: mixed greens, fresh corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, pickled peppers, pistachios.

Cheese and crackers.

Artichoke dip.

Celery, carrots, snow peas.


Chocolate mocha cake.


For tonight's gathering, I'm making deviled eggs, putting out store bought baba ganoush with kale chips, and assembling a dessert with store bought pound cake, fresh berries, and home made whipped cream. 

My friends are bringing over sangria, cold soup, and a few other appetizers. Make sure to check out my instagram for photos later tonight.