Patty Pan Squash Succotash with a Poached Egg

Saturday morning. I wake up and look at my phone. It's not even 8 am. After a night of salsa dancing, that's not enough sleep at all. I fall back asleep. I wake up when it's almost 10 am. I get up, go to my living room, turn on the AC and the TV and watch the Food Network for an hour.

Wait, I'm hungry. I should make breakfast. Or is it lunch now? Who cares!?

I go to my kitchen. I haven't done any major grocery shopping whatsoever, but I'm good with coming up with random dishes from random ingredients. Plus, I'm not super picky. Ha. That was a joke ;)

That's how I created Patty Pan Squash Succotash with a Poached Egg.

Patty Pan Squash Succotash with a Poached Egg
Serves 2***

olive oil
2 large patty pan squashes, diced
kernels from 1 corn on the cob
1 yellow pepper, diced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
salt & pepper
red pepper flakes to taste
2 poached eggs

I'm not sure exactly why, but I'm totally in ♥ with this photo.


1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the next four ingredients and saute seasoned with salt & pepper and red pepper flakes until golden brown.

2. Divide the mixture between two bowls, top with poached eggs and chive.
3. Dig in.

***If like me you live alone, make this entire recipe, but only poach one egg. Save half of the succotash for lunch next day. Check in next week to see what I did with it ;)

Happy weekend!!!


Southwest Sweet Potato Patties

Sometimes my random ideas work out well, sometimes not so much. In the case of these Southwest Sweet Potato Patties, I loved the flavor, but the patties did not really held together well. I'm guessing there wasn't enough of a binder. If I were to make them again, I'd add an egg, panko crumbs or regular bread crumbs. Still, the color, the texture and the spiciness of these were great!

It all started when I picked up a random large sweet potato at the store. I brought it home and roasted it in the oven when I was roasting beets to make my Russian Beet Salad with Mayonnaise and Walnuts. The potato then sat in my fridge for a few days until I needed to make a quick lunch with whatever else I had in the refrigerator because I just loath going grocery shopping when it's so hot out.

Southwest Sweet Potato Patties

Makes 4 patties


1 large sweet potato, roaste whole, peeled, mashed
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 corn, kernels removed
1/4 red onion, diced
2 tablespoons shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend)
1-2 teaspoons Southwest seasoning

oil for sauteeing

to serve
sour cream mixed with salsa
spinach drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice


1. Combine the first six ingredients and form into 4 patties.
2. Saute in oil on both sides for 3-5 minutes.

Serve on a bed of spinach mixed with olive oil and lemon juice and top with sour cream/salsa combination.

If you want, you can saute the red peppers, onions and the corn before mixing them into the patties mixture, but I did not think it was necessary. I actually liked the slighly crunchy texture it added to the patties.

Hope you don't mind me sharing a recipe that wasn't a 100% perfect ;)


Perfect Picnic Dish: Bulgur Salad with Vegetables

Whether you need a new picnic dish, a Meatless Monday meal, or just something to take to work for lunch, you will love this Bulgur Salad with Vegetables.

Bulgur cooks pretty quickly in salted boiling water and is good for you because it's whole wheat!

There are no specific amounts for this salad: use as much of each ingredient as you wish. Personally, I prefer to have the same amount of vegetables as there is bulgur. 

Bulgur Salad with Vegetables


cooked and cooled bulgur
tomato, seeds removed, chopped
Persian cucumbers, chopped
red pepper, chopped
chives, chopped
black cured olives, pits removed, chopped
red onion, chopped
avocado, chopped
olive oil
lemon juice
salt and pepper


1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
2. Refrigerate for at least an hour and then check for flavor and add lemon juice, salt and pepper if needed.

This salad is great for leftovers, but I'd recommend only adding as much avocado as you can eat immediately because otherwise it turns brown and slightly mushy.

Of course you can add any other vegetables you like: corn, radishes, zucchini, or broccoli. Also, feel free to add basil or cilantro, experiment with spices, and even add feta!

You can serve the salad in a bowl, of course, but for something a bit more fun, how about serving it in the avocado skins?

Have you cooked with bulgur?


What to do with Ground Pork: Asian Pork Meatballs with Teriyaki Glaze

This past Saturday, I randomly went shopping at 11 o'clock at night. It was so lovely: hardly any people, no screaming kids, no long lines: just peace and quiet. I did not have a grocery list in mind and just picked random produce, flowers, and new shampoo. Then I decided to get a package of ground pork and figure out what to do with it.

That's when I remembered one of my most popular posts: Spicy Turkey Meatballs. It has been pinned more than 3K times!! {Those are big numbers for me.}

I decided to do something similar with the ground pork and that's how Asian Pork Meatballs with Teriyaki Glaze came about. {Thanks Cindy for the idea of adding teriyaki.}

Asian Pork Meatballs with Teriyaki Glaze
Makes 12 meatballs

1 pound ground pork
1 egg
2 garlic cloves, microplane'd
1" fresh ginger, peeled and microplane'd
splash of soy sauce
splash of Worcestershire
splash of water
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
pinch of red pepper flakes
peanut oil
Teriyaki sauce
sesame seeds

1. Combine the first 9 ingredients and form them into meatballs. I recommend using a cookie scoop to keep the balls uniform.

2. Heat the peanut oil in a skillet and brown the meatballs until they are golden brown.
3. Once the balls are brown, drizzled the teriyaki sauce over them and continue to cook until the balls are cooked through (test one to make sure!).
4. Sprinkle the balls with sesame seeds.

These were incredibly flavorful and gorgeous. Don't you agree?

To serve, I made a quick Three Pepper Salad: yellow, red and green peppers mixed with red onions, cilantro, sesame seed oil, a bit of salt and sesame seeds.

This was a filling and pretty lunch!

What would you have done with ground pork?


Beet Salad with Mayonnaise & Walnuts: Russian Recipes Revisited

This Beet Salad with Mayonnaise and Walnuts is one of the easiest and most satisfying Russian salads I've grown up with. I actually almost forgot all about it, but then I made this beet dish from Jerusalem cookbook and thought: omg, the Russian version is sooooo much better. So I had to make it for this month's Russian Recipes Revisited.

Beet Salad with Mayonnaise and Walnuts

{I'm not providing specific ingredient amounts because this is more to taste.}

beets, roasted and grated***
garlic, minced {or use a microplane}
walnuts, toasted and chopped 
optional: chopped prunes, chopped cilantro or parsley

***To roast the beets, wash them, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, wrap in aluminum foil and roast on a cookie sheet in a 475F degree preheated oven for at least an hour, or as long as it takes.

1. Combine grated beets with mayonnaise {use as much as you want}, garlic {ditto}, chopped walnuts and a bit of cilantro. You can also add prunes, but I did not.
2. Refrigerate this salad for at least an hour.
3. It's great as an appetizer or as a side.

Isn't the color just absolutely gorgeous!? This salad brought back so many fun memories of family members and friends sitting around the table, eating zakuski, which are salads and appetizers, and waiting for the main course.

Will you make this salad?


What to do with Dates: Spinach Salad with Dates, Summer Berries & Almonds

Who wants dates!? If this wasn't a food blog, I bet you'd think I'm talking about the dates of romantic type. Alas, those have been quite rare over here, but there is always hope, right?

Ok, let's get back to the food.

Earlier this month I received four huge boxes courtesy of Bard Valley Natural Delights which contained organic Medjool dates, pitted dates, chili lime date rolls, almond date rolls, pistachio date rolls and coconut date rolls.

I was blown away by the variety and generosity of my gift and was happy to share some of the bounty with my friends.

I also wanted to make something with the dates. In the past, I've made Rice with Dates, Pistachios and Scallions and Biscotti with Hazelnuts and Dates, but wanted something lighter this time around.

That's how I came up with Spinach Salad with Dates, Summer Berries & Almonds.

Spinach Salad with Dates, Summer Berries & Almonds


dates, pitted and chopped
strawberries, quartered
pickled red onions
supremes of orange
toasted almonds, chopped
olive oil
whole grain mustard
garlic, minced
salt & pepper

1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl except for olive oil, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper.
2. Whisk together the oil with mustard, garlic, salt & pepper and pour over the salad.
3. Eat.

Isn't this a gorgeous salad? You get the sweetness from the berries and dates, a bit of pucker from the pickled onions, and the heat from the garlic.

About Bard Valley Natural Delights™ Medjool Dates
Known as the “Fruit of the Kings,” caramel-like Natural Delights Medjool Dates are considered the best-tasting, most luscious dates in the world. In addition to being a good source of fiber, they contain no added sugar, are high in antioxidants, and offer important vitamins and minerals including Potassium, Copper, Magnesium, Vitamin B6, Niacin, Calcium, Iron and Vitamin K. The Bard Valley Medjool Date Growers Association (BVMDGA), a consortium of family growers in the southwest, is responsible for over 60 percent of the Medjool dates grown in the United States. Thanks to their efforts, Natural Delights is the top Medjool date brand in the country. For more information, visit www.naturaldelights.com.
Disclosure: I received the dates as a gift from the Bard Valey Natural Delights, but was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.


Perfect Summer Brunch Dessert: Apricot & Almond Crostata

Looking for a perfect summer dessert? Then you must make this Apricot & Almond Crostata.

Here's the back story: I flew to Seattle at the beginning of June to visit my family and friends and to celebrate my mother's birthday. Clearly I've known my parents my entire life, but there are certain things about them I will never understand. For example, when asked what she wanted for her birthday, my mom said nothing.

You see, if someone would have asked me, I would have been able to give a list of at least 10 things in different price categories. But maybe that's just me.

Although my brother decided my mom would love a brand new TV, which she did, and that's what we purchased for her with our dad's help, my twin Anna and I also decided to make a Sunday birthday brunch for our mom, dad, and my siblings' significant others.

The brunch menu included roasted potatoes, mozzarella/tomato/basil salad, smoked salmon, sliced avocado, English muffins and mimosas.

For dessert, Anna and I decided to make Almond, Apricot, and Cream Cheese Crostata from Epicurious.

Unfortunately, the store did not have the almond paste. So we had to improvise.

To make the almond paste, we ground almonds with some confectioner's sugar, and egg white and a bit of vanilla extract. We did not want to use the almond extract in case that would be too almond'y ;)

{The butter in the list to the left was for something else.}

To make the crostata, I unrolled the pie crust and realized it was completely broken into pieces. Luckily, I was able to glue it back together with the warmth of my hands.

We then combined the cream cheese with the almond paste and an egg yolk and spread the filling on top of the pie crust.

Next, Anna arranged the halved and pitted apricots into perfect concentric circles and we brushed the apricots with warmed up apricot jam.

The dessert baked for about 40 minutes in the oven.

{For more step by step photos, check out Snacking in the Kitchen.}

This was such a light and not overly sweet dessert. It held up well for a few days and was shared with a few friends who absolutely loved it. You can make the same with plums or nectarines or a combination of those fruit.

Most importantly, our mom loved the dessert and the brunch we made her and the TV!!! Good times was had by all ;)


What to do with Leftover Wasabi? Wasabi Potato Patties with Canadian Bacon and Peas

Do you ever wonder "Good lord, how does she come up with this stuff?" I mean really, how many people wake up one day and make Wasabi Potato Patties with Canadian Bacon and Peas?

Ok, I'll tell you.

A few weeks ago I picked up sushi at my grocery store. The trick to hopefully not getting sick from a grocery store sushi is to ask the sushi people to make a combination "plate" instead of picking up an already made sushi. That way you'll know you are getting fresher stuff. It's worked for me this far.

I ate the sushi. It was fine. I had a bit of wasabi leftover and did not want to throw it away.

So I decided to use it. I also had some random red potatoes, and Canadian bacon. And I almost always have frozen peas. So there you go: Wasabi Potato Patties with Canadian Bacon and Peas.

Wasabi Potato Patties with Canadian Bacon and Peas
Makes 6 patties

3 small red potatoes, cubed, cooked in salted water till tender
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 pieces Canadian bacon, chopped
1/3 cup frozen peas, defrosted
3 tablespoons fire roasted diced green chiles (from a can)
1-2 teaspoons prepared wasabi

to serve: sour cream mixed with additional wasabi

1. Saute Canadian bacon in the olive oil till crispy. Add peas and chiles.

2. Mash cooked potatoes and mix in the bacon, peas, chiles and wasabi. Allow to cool before making patties.

3. Form patties. Saute them in a bit of olive oil for 3 minutes on each side. Serve with wasabi sour cream.

These were super easy and really delicious! They make a great lunch, dinner, or a fun unusual brunch dish.

For other fun potato ideas, check out Potato Balls in Tomato Sauce, Potato Patties with Summer Sausage and Cheese, and Mushroom, Potato and Pea Potstickers.