Weekend: Happy 2017

Big Sky. Beauty. All you wish for.


Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes: Braised Pulled Pork BBQ & Creamy Corn Polenta

I grew up with a mom who was a fan of pressure cooking. This was back in Russia. No, I don't have any stories of explosions to report. For one reason or the other, however, I did not start using a pressure cooker until earlier this year. I just never thought to buy one. And then one showed up at my door.

So far I've used it to make beans, ribs, pulled pork and chicken tikka masala. This weekend I added two more recipes to my repertoire. Both of the recipes, Braised Pulled Pork BBQ and Creamy Corn Polenta, come from Bren Herrera's new cookbook Modern Pressure Cooking. I received a preview copy of the book for the blog. All opinions are my own as always. 

You could read the book and learn about pressure cooking, pick up tips and techniques, and plan an entire menu made in a pressure cooker, or you could page through and choose a few recipes and jump in. Guess which one I chose!? :)

It's funny that a Jewish girl chose to make a pork recipe. But then I've never kept kosher. I decided to make the Braised Pulled Pork BBQ and serve it with Creamy Corn Polenta. My original plan was to make both recipes in the same day, but it turned out a bit much. I ended up making the pork on Saturday (first night of Hanukkah...oy), and serving it over freshly made polenta on Sunday. 

Braised Pulled Pork BBQ
Serves 6

1 1/2 cups diced Spanish onion (large dice)
1 cup diced green bell pepper (large dice)
2 Roma tomatoes, cut into large dice
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3/4 cup cider vinegar
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoons tomato paste
3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
1 cup ketchup
1 1/3 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon chipotle chile powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano {I did not have it, so left it out}
1 cup chicken stock
3 1/2 pounds pork shoulder, skin off, cut into 3" pieces

Place all of the ingredients except the pork in a large mixing bowl and mix well with a spoon or spatula. Using tongs, place the pork in the pressure cooker. Ladle all of the sauce over the pork. Do not stir. Close the lid.

For the electric pressure cooker: Use the meat/poultry setting, or set to high pressure (10-12 PSI) and 45 minutes.

When done, turn off the cooker and allow the pressure to release on its own, 10 to 12 minutes.

Here's what I did after opening the pressure cooker: take out pieces of pork and let them cool slightly. Then using two forks, pull the meat apart on a cutting board. Get rid of all the fat!!! This will take a while.

Pour the sauce with the vegetables into another bowl and let it cool. Remove as much fat as you can. Then put the pulled pork into the bowl. 

I found it best to make this recipe the day before serving it. The flavors mingle and intensify and you can remove even more fat once the entire dish has been in the refrigerator over night.

Creamy Corn Polenta
Serves 4 to 6

2 1/2 cups water
1 cup milk, plus 1/2 cup
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal (noninstant)
2 teaspoons sugar (I did not use it)
1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 teaspoon fresh
1/2 teaspoon achiote oil (optional: I used chili oil)
1 cup corn, canned (drained) or fresh
2 tablespoons salted cultured butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste (I used quite a bit more)

Add all the liquid, except the 1/2 cup of milk, to the pressure cooker and stir. Bring to a very light boil using the saute setting, about 3 minutes. {I used meat setting on mine.}

For electric pressure cooker: Set to high pressure (10-12 PSI) and 8 minutes total. I could not figure out how to do this on my model, and used rice setting instead.

Once all the pressure is out, open the cooker. Gently stir in the corn, remaining 1/2 milk and butter. Season with salt. Serve immediately.

Both the recipes were straight forward. Bren provided directions for both the electric and the stove-top pressure cookers. My condo smelled incredible! I served the pork directly over the polenta topped with corn kernels, red onion and cilantro. It was such a comfort meal, and I'm having leftovers for lunch today.

Don't be scared of pressure cooking. Use this book as a guide to make everything from beans to tongue (!!!!) to flan!


Weekend Flowers

Have a festive weekend whatever it is you are celebrating! 


Weekend Inspiration: Sparkle

Wishing you a sparkling weekend! 


Taco Tuesday + Travel Tuesday = Austin Report

Today's post is all about Taco Tuesday and Travel Tuesday!

Oh what I would not give for some breakfast tacos! Writing this quick post brings back awesome memories of spending Thanksgiving in Austin with Anna and Kate. Special shout out to Naomi for excellent food recommendations!

This was my second time in Austin and I was looking forward to good food, good company, and low key time. I got it all and more.

Our first taco stop was at Torchy's. It was fun sitting outside, listening to the birds, and discussing the day's plans over tacos, Mexican corn {off the cob} and one of the best spicy guacamole I've had in a while. This was also the first place I've discovered Topo Chico. {Photo above.}

The photo below is from a taco place we visited twice: Las Trancas. Good food at super low prices, good service, music, spicy salsa. What else do you need? Definitely go for tongue tacos, barbacoa and vegetarian!

For something with more ambiance, go for al fresco lunch at El Alma. I had a fish taco with a side of Bloody Mary and mango fresca, chips and salsa and ceviche. That's where the new blog header comes from too. Don't leave this restaurant without trying their tres leches cake.

And finally, Tamale House East. Yes, despite the name, this restaurant with a super cute outdoor space has tacos! We were surprised that tacos were served in flour tortillas {I prefer corn}, so I mostly ate the insides with a fork. A combination of black beans, avocado, and bacon was great. As was the potato/egg/cheese taco. We also tried one of their tamales with mole sauce.

And for some great news, looks like I would not have to go back to Austin to get my taco craving satisfied: my friend Anna is opening Taqueria Del Barrio right in DC! Cannot wait.


Weekend Vibes: Pantone 2017 Color of the Year

Pantone announced its color of the year for 2017 and I could not be happier. It's called Greenery and it's a bright, happy-looking, and vibrant green. Never mind that the name sounds close to an ex boyfriend's last name, this color has been my favorite for years.

If you've been to my condo, you know my kitchen is a bright apple green color.

This color is also something I love in plants, doors, my wallet and handbag.

I think this is the perfect time to look at some greenery and get excited for the weekend ;)


Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato & Chorizo "Lasagna"

Love leftovers?
Love lasagna?
Love cheese?
Love a casserole?
Well, then you MUST make my Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato & Chorizo "Lasagna!"

I made this dish a few weeks ago and froze most of it after having a few servings because 1) it's pretty decadent and there's no need for me to eat this 4 times in a row 2) this is a great dish to freeze and have over a few weeks when you need a random lunch or dinner 3) when you come back from a vacation to an empty refrigerator, it's nice to have a full meal in the freezer.

I don't have any hate for noodles, but sometimes it's fun and more nutritious to play around with other ingredients. In this case, I roasted disks of butternut squash and sweet potatoes and used them instead of noodles to layer this "lasagna." You can choose to use all butternut squash or all sweet potatoes, or even add a few layers of lasagna noodles.

Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato & Chorizo "Lasagna"
Serves 4-6

"trunk" part of butternut squash, peeled, cut into 1/4" thick slices {use the bottom part of the butternut squash, where the seeds are, for something else}
2 sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/4" thick slices
olive oil
salt & pepper
10 ounces Mexican chorizo, browned
24 ounces tomato sauce {I used Terlato Kitchen Pomodoro because the company sent me a few samples: I'm not being paid for mentioning them}
3 cups full fat ricotta
1 egg
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons adobo sauce {leave out if you don't like spicy food}
2.5 cups shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup panko crumbs

1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Coat sliced butternut squash and sweet potatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in a single layer for 10 minutes on each side.
2. Add 1 cup of tomato sauce to the bottom of a baking dish {I used 8x10 inch rectangular Le Creuset}
3. Add an overlapping layer of roasted vegetables.
4. Add 1/2 of chorizo.
5. Mix together ricotta with an egg, thyme leaves, adobo sauce and salt and pepper. Add half of the mixture on top of chorizo.
6. Sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella.
7. Add 1 cup of tomato sauce.
8. I'm getting tired of typing this ;)
layer of roasted vegetables
the rest of chorizo
the rest of ricotta
1 cup of mozzarella
the rest of the sauce
NOW combine the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella with the panko crumbs and top your concoction
9. Lower the oven temperature to 350F and bake your lasagna for 30 minutes. As an option: put it under the broiler for a few extra minutes.
10. Allow the lasagna to "chill out" for at least 10 minutes before cutting into it.

1. Leave out chorizo for a completely vegetarian dish
2. Feel free to use more cheese
3. You may have some roasted vegetables leftover. No worries: eat them for another meal.


Meatless Monday: Ricotta With Radishes And Marcona Almonds

I love avocado toast. But it's rare to find avocados that are perfectly ripe exactly when you want to eat them. Also, I've been trying to cut down on carbs, which makes the "toast" part somewhat problematic.

Still, occasionally I crave something smooth and decadent with a bit of heat (in avocado toast I add sriracha!). That's how this Ricotta With Radishes And Marcona Almonds idea came about. You get the creamy ricotta, which has zero need to ripen, the crunch or radishes, similar to a toasted piece of bread, and a drizzle of chili oil instead of sriracha, with a few extras thrown in.

1) using a fork, vigorously whip ricotta in a bowl
2) spoon ricotta onto a shallow plate or a board, or if you desire a toasted baguette slice
3) drizzle with chili oil
4) top with radishes, Marcona almonds, celery leaves
5) sprinkle with Black Truffle Sea Salt {shout out to San Francisco Salt Co for sending me a few samples}

This makes a great side salad, light lunch or an appetizer.


Cheers to the weekend

TGIF. I'm no longer in Austin, but I have plans for good friends and food this weekend. And perhaps some laundry.

Hope you do too!


Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing you and yours a happy Thanksgiving!  I'm away on a mini vacation and relaxation. Follow along on instagram for all the happenings.


Meatless Monday: Vegetable Soup With Leftover Ramen Noodles

Whether you are traveling for Thanksgiving and want to clean up your fridge, or are simply looking for a quick dinner to make tonight, my Vegetable Soup With Leftover Ramen Noodles is perfect. Bonus points: it perfectly fits Meatless Monday movement.

Whenever I go out for pho or ramen, I only ask for half the noodles because the broth is the star of the show in my opinion. When I went out for ramen with a friend to Haikan, they said they could not just give me half the noodles, but instead would bring the noodles in a separate bowl and I could add as much as I wanted to the broth. Strange, but alright. I used half the noodles and took the leftovers home.

This soup is incredibly quick to make, and you can use whichever vegetables you have on hand. The key is to thinly slice your vegetables so they will take a short time to cook.

1) Bring vegetable broth to a simmer.
2) Add thinly sliced vegetables and frozen vegetables {if using}, and bring the soup to a boil.
3) Lower the heat and simmer the soup for about 10 minutes.
4) Add leftover ramen noodles and reheat. 
5) Drizzle with sriracha for an added kick of flavor.

For my soup, I used portobella, broccoli, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and frozen corn. Look at all the colors!

What are you eating tonight?


Happy Weekend: Weekend To Do List

TGIF! This is the last weekend before Thanksgiving, and the last weekend before my vacation.

This weekend I'm planning to clean house, go on a neighborhood walk, and cook.

Here are some photos to inspire you to do the same.


Andouille Corn Chowder: The Gourmet Kitchen Cookbook

My friend Jennifer published a cookbook. I know famous people y'all ;) Not only did Jennifer create over a hundred recipes in The Gourmet Kitchen, but she also shot all the photos. If you are familiar with her Savory Simple blog or follow her on instagram, you'll easily recognize Jennifer's stunning photos. 

Don't be afraid of the gourmet in the title of the book. The recipes are approachable, incredibly well explained, and can be made by cooks of any level of expertise. If nothing else, buy the book for the gorgeous photo of eggs: tear out a page and frame it for your kitchen gallery wall {yes, I'm planning to do just that!}.

When Jennifer sent me her cookbook, the recipe I wanted to make immediately was Andouille Corn Chowder. Luckily, I bought all the groceries before getting sick and had a large pot of this spicy, creamy and decadent soup to last me through the weekend and a few extra days this week.

A video posted by Olga Berman (@mangotomato) on

Andouille Corn Chowder
Copied with permission

PREP TIME: 15 minutes
COOK TIME: 40 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 55 minutes
YIELD: 5 to 6 servings

  • 1 tablespoon clarified butter or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 9 ounces (approximately 3 links) precooked turkey Andouille sausage, diced small
  • 1 1⁄2 cups diced yellow onion (approximately 1 large)
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus a pinch 
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 1⁄2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade 
  • 1 medium russet potato
  • 1 1⁄2 cups whole milk or half-and-half
  • Kernels from 4 medium ears of corn (approximately 3 cups)
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter to finish (optional)
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

  1. Heat the butter in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottom saucepan. Brown the sausage over medium-low heat until crisp. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Add the onion and a pinch of salt to the Dutch oven. Place a liquid measuring cup filled with water near the stove. Allow the onion to cook for several minutes, stir- ring periodically as it begins to caramelize. A brown glaze will begin forming on the bottom of the pan. If at any point the bottom of the pan looks like it’s about to become too dark and start burning, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the reserved water and scrape the brown bits back into the onion. Once the onion is soft and lightly caramelized, add the flour, tossing it with the onion to coat. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  3. A brown coating should begin to form on the bottom of the pan, this time from the flour. Once the pan has a brown glaze, add the chicken stock and use a spatula to scrape the brown bits up from the bottom of the pan so they combine with the liquid. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.
  4. While the stock is heating, peel and dice the potato (a small or medium dice). Once the stock is boiling, add the milk along with the diced potato. Turn the heat to medium-low and allow the mixture to simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered, stirring frequently to prevent the potatoes from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Add the corn kernels and simmer for another 8 to 9 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the sausage, salt, and pepper and stir for another 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. If using butter to finish, stir just after removing the pan from the heat. Top each serving with fresh chopped parsley and serve.

The soup could not have been easier to make. Although this was my first time making a chowder, it will not be my last. Easy to follow steps, normal ingredients, and a delicious final product make this recipe something I'll make again and again (and I've already told my mom and a few friends about it).

You could definitely make this soup without the sausage, but I loved the spicy kick the andouille sausage gave to the chowder. I think it'd be fun to use butternut squash instead of potatoes for a more winter feel.

Final note: I used frozen corn which was very convenient! Can't wait to heat up the last portion of this chowder for lunch today.


Meatless Monday: Vegan Cream of Cauliflower & Sweet Potato Soup

Happy Monday! Hope you all had a great weekend. I was a bit indulgent in what I ate: pizza, cider, bagel, and biscotti to name a few of my carb'y decisions.

For dinner last night I decided to eat something slightly lighter and healthier by turning a curry from that week into a soup.

Yes, you can do that!

Let me first tell you about the curry:
sauteed fresh garlic and ginger with curry powder, cumin powder and salt & pepper
roasted sweet potato cubes
parboiled cauliflower florets

I finished the curry with coconut milk and a bit of the liquid from parboiled cauliflower and a hand full of defrosted peas.

I like serving curry with freshly chopped parsley and red onion.

Last night, then, I pureed the leftovers from the curry, reheated it, and served in a plate drizzled with chili oil and topped with chopped red onion and parsley. The color isn't the most appetizing, but the flavors are great. If needed, you can thin out the puree with a bit of water or vegetable broth.

In fact, I had some of the soup leftovers for breakfast today ;)


Happy Weekend!


Slow Cooker Tikka Chicken Masala From Skinnytaste's Fast and Slow Cookbook

I love Indian food so much. Occasionally I make Indian inspired recipes at home by incorporating Indian spices into my regular dishes. When I bought my friend Gina's, skinnytaste, second cookbook, Skinnytaste Fast and Slow, the first recipe I decided to try was Chicken Tikka Masala. The recipe is part of the "slow" section of the book and was a good guide for using my slow cooker. I'm sure you can also use a heavy bottomed pot and adapt the recipe to that if you don't own a slow cooker.

Reprinting the recipe with Gina's permission.

1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless, chicken thighs, cubed {I used chicken breasts}
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon ghee or butter
1/2 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 (14-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
6 tablespoons canned full-fat coconut milk
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

Place the chicken in a slow cooker and season with 1 teaspoon of the salt.

In a medium skillet, melt the ghee over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, cumin, cayenne, and cardamom. Cook, stirring until the vegetables are soft and the spices are fragrant, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender along with the tomatoes and blend util smooth. Pour over the chicken in the slow cooker and add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Sir in the coconut milk. Serve garnished with the cilantro.

This was a really simple recipe to follow. The sauce was smooth and fragrant. Don't expect it to be as rich and buttery as the one you'd get at an Indian restaurant. The flavors develop and become stronger if you leave the dish in the refrigerator, and I imagine it'd be great to freeze.

I served this chicken dish along with Gina's chana masala because both dishes used some of the same main ingredients.

I can't wait to make some of the other recipes from Gina's book.


Vegan Meatless Monday Breakfast: Red Quinoa Bowl

Are you looking for Halloween recipes? Sorry, not going to find it here.

Instead, I'm going to tell you about a Vegan Meatless Monday Breakfast I'm eating right now: Red Quinoa Bowl.

I'm not a huge fan of quinoa. There, I said it. But I was getting tired of eating hard boiled eggs for breakfast and thought I'd give quinoa another try.

Here are a few tips:
1) Toast your quinoa in a bit of oil in a hot pan before adding liquid. Try not to use water: instead, use a vegetable broth to increase the flavor. For the ratio, use 1 part quinoa, 2 parts liquid. Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat, cover the pot and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and wait about 5 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with the fork.

2) Toppings: toppings are the key. Think different textures, colors, flavors. This time I chose Marcona almonds, blistered tomatoes***, kalamata olives, cilantro, and fermented beets.

I'm pretty satisfied with this breakfast and I'm sure it'll keep me full till lunch!

***To blister tomatoes, heat a cast iron skillet and add tomatoes. You don't need oil. Toss the tomatoes around until the have blackened skin. Done.


How To Decorate Pumpkins Without Carving Them

pumpkin, diy, crafts, arts & crafts, halloween

When I was in College, we had to do an exercise of saying one adjective that described ourselves that started with the first letter of our name. Mine was O, and all I could think of was objective. Looking back, I should have chosen obsessive because I get obsessed with things.

My current obsession is mini pumpkins! They are so cute, inexpensive and cheerful!

You don't have to carve them. Leave them as is or add a bit of liquid glue and glitter!!! Easy, chic, and they can last through New Year and serve as winter decorations.

Don't forget to check out my nail polish pumpkin decorating tutorial from a few years back.

pumpkin, diy, glitter, fall, home decor, halloween

What are YOU obsessed with?


Meatless Monday: Chaia Vegetarian Tacos in Washington DC

vegetarian, tacos, washington dc

Over the last year I've heard a lot about vegetarian tacos at Chaia. They started selling their creations at farmers markets, but I rarely wake up early enough to visit the markets on the weekend. Or even if I do wake up early enough, I'm too lazy to get dressed and wash off the makeup after a night of dancing to metro over to a farmers market.

But then Chaia opened a location in Georgetown! This, I could do. I waited, however, for the weather to cool down a bit and for Uber to have one of their specials where I would pay only $3 to pool from my condo to Georgetown (instead of taking the metro, which is especially a mess on the weekends, and then walking).

Anywayssssssssssssssssssss. I finally made it to Chaia a few weekends ago to meet with my friends Alyssa and Nazilla. The restaurant is adorable. Great music. Welcoming decor. I liked that there were only 5 tacos to choose from because sometimes I get overwhelmed by the choices.

From the menu below I chose the mushroom taco, creamy kale & potato taco, and an eggplant taco. I liked them all. They were filling, delicious, and creative. I also liked the hot sauce available at each table. You get 3 tacos for $11, which is a pretty good deal.

mushroom feta, red sauce + cilantro
creamy kale + potato pepper jack, poblano crema, green sauce + pickled onions
smoky eggplant ricotta salata, parsley sauce + cilantro
moroccan carrot goat cheese, chipotle yogurt + mint
garlicky lemon greens queso fresco, roasted tomato + smoked paprika salsa
So if you are looking for a Meatless Monday dinner, check them out for sure! Or you can use the ingredient combination as an inspiration for your next meal. 


Brussels Sprouts: Love Them Or Hate Them? Brussels Sprouts With Sriracha & Roquefort

Brussels sprouts...love them or hate them?

I happen to love them but only when they are prepared properly: crispy on the outside, tender, but not overcooked on the inside.

The latest combination of flavors, and a new technique of preparing these beauties, comes courtesy of Gina aka SkinnyTaste. Magically, I happened to have all four ingredients (or their cousins) on hand to make a version of her Buffalo Brussels Sprouts with Crumbled Blue Cheese.

I liked Gina's method of first searing and cooking Brussels sprouts on top of the stove and then finishing them in the oven. You could, however, do the same technique in the oven by first searing the halved Brussels sprouts on a cookie sheet for about 5 minutes cut side down and then continuing to roast these shaking the pan occasionally.

I did not have Franks Hot Sauce and used sriracha instead. For the blue cheese, I used Roquefort Society Bee variety. So good. All you have to do is top the roasted Brussels sprouts with sriracha and crumbled cheese right before serving.

Yes, I ate the entire mini skillet worth of Brussels sprouts for lunch.

How do you like eating Brussels sprouts?


Marcus Samuelsson's The Red Rooster Cookbook: Sunday Tomato Eggs

breakfast, marcus samuelsson, red rooster cookbook

When I went to NYC this past February, the one restaurant I really wanted to visit was Red Rooster in Harlem. Luckily, my friends were happy to check it out with me for dinner. I loved the cheerful atmosphere, live band and the food. Well, now you can make some of the recipes from Red Rooster because the owner of the restaurant, Marcus Samuelsson wrote The Red Rooster Cookbook!

The book comes out October 18th, and I'm excited to attend a Macy's Culinary Council event in Washington DC at Metro Center Macy's on October 26th to meet Chef Marcus Samuelsson and to learn more about the book. Additionally, there'll be Harlem-inspired food and entertainment from W.A.F.F.L.E (We Are Family For Life Entertainment) and The Rakiem Walker Project: maybe I'll bring my dancing shoes ;)

For more information on the event and to purchase your tickets, click here.

This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Macy's; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

When I searched for a recipe from the book, I found one for Sunday Tomato Eggs published on WWD. The recipes reminded me of shakshuka, and I decided to make it this past Saturday.

Because I followed the recipe pretty closely, I'm not going to retype it. Basically, you make a tomato sauce using Mexican chorizo, onion, celery and garlic. Of course you add tomatoes (crushed)! The fun additions in the sauce were capers, olives, chipotle in adobo and horseradish!

Marcus says to poach the eggs directly in the sauce and serve them on top of toast topped with buratta and basil.

breakfast, marcus samuelsson, red rooster cookbook

I already had a hard boiled egg in my fridge, so used that and fresh mozzarella. The recipe was easy to make, and the sauce is delicious if you want to use it as the base for chili or to serve mixed with pasta or on top of polenta!

breakfast, marcus samuelsson, red rooster cookbook


Happy Fall Weekend

Pumpkin, fall, autumn, October, weekend

Fall, trees, October, weekend


Beef, Bagels & Brunch in NYC & Brooklyn

This past Friday I took Amtrak to New York City for a four day weekend. The occasion was my friend Jenny's wedding. I loved celebrating Jenny and Chris, getting out of town, hanging out with my friends Laura & Carlos and their kids and eating all the things.

The theme for this post is the letter B ;)

Above is an incredible sandwich of roast Beef I got for my Amtrak ride back to DC from the newly opened Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors at The Pennsy. To be honest, I wasn't sure about paying $12 for a sandwich, but it was so worth it. Sesame bread, goat cheese, watercress and pickled onions with thinly sliced roast beef: perfection. My fellow Amtrak passengers were probably super envious. {Thanks Jenny for the recommendation!}

Below is an everything bagel from Absolute Bagels that came highly recommended by Jenny and also my airbnb hosts. It was only a 5 minute walk from where I was staying and had a relatively short line thanks to Monday being a holiday. The smoked salmon was like butter!

I had not one, but two bagels in NYC. The other one was also an everything bagel, but with white smoked fish salad from Murray's Bagels. Fun place. Be ready to stand in line.

And finally, a double B: Brunch in Brooklyn at Rabbithole. It was a super rainy Sunday, so we had no trouble finding a table. There were roasted potatoes, bacon, Bloody Mary (ooh another B!), pancakes, hot chocolate and fun conversation.

Can't wait to go back to NYC to eat at more places!


TGIF: Happy Weekend

Wishing you a happy weekend.  Good food. Good company. Perfect fall weather. 

This is an apple pie I made at the baking class at Buttercream Bakeshop.  I'm taking it with me to New York today. Adventures await. 


Dinner In 20 Minutes: Seared Tuna Steak With Sautéed Eggplant

tuna, eggplant, recipe, quick and easy, seafood, domenica marchetti

Dinner in 20 minutes that's healthy, satisfying and is great as leftovers? Yes, that's possible!

This Seared Tuna Steak With Sauteed Eggplant recipe is courtesy of an idea Domenica Marchetti gave me when I asked what I can make with a tuna steak I had at home. Yes, it's nice to have a cookbook author as a friend.

Luckily,  I had Domenica's Rustic Italian cookbook in my possession as well as pretty fairy tale eggplant from Washington's Green Grocer. I overly simplified Domenica's recipe for Tuna Tagliata with Eggplant Salad and Oregano Oil, but the end result was still awesome.

Seared Tuna Steak With Sautéed Eggplant

Ingredients: the quantity is up to you!
olive oil
fairy tale eggplant, diced
white onion, diced
sherry vinegar
tuna steak

1. Pour enough olive oil into a skillet to cover the bottom. Allow the oil to heat. Add diced eggplant and onion and season with salt. Saute for about 10-15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Turn off the heat and add a few splashes of sherry vinegar. {Domenica used red wine vinegar in her recipe, but I did not have it, so used with sherry vinegar.}

2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a small skillet. Season tuna steak with salt and sear on both sides for 2-4 minutes depending on how rare you want the fish to be in the middle. I wanted mine to be pretty rare!

3. Slice tuna across the grain, as you do with any other steak, and serve along with the eggplant and onion mixture. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top.

tuna, eggplant, recipe, quick and easy, seafood, domenica marchetti

I was not sure how the eggplant would go with the tuna, but I had nothing to worry about. The combination was stellar! I had leftovers straight out of the fridge next day at work and they were almost better! {Side note: please never ever heat fish in an office microwave room!}

Simple. Nutritious. Pretty. I'd make this dish again for sure!


Meatless Monday: What To Do With Black Radishes? Black Radish & Chioggia Beet Crudo

Meatless Monday: What To Do With Black Radishes? Black Radish & Chioggia Beet Crudo

In my last week's order from Green Grocer, I received black radishes and Chioggia beets. I also won a super cool little mandoline/slicer that I've been obsessed with for days. I used all these things to make a pretty plated salad that's colorful, crunchy, and vegan!

Black radishes look like turnips but taste like regular radishes. You don't have to peel the skin. Use them in salads or pickle them or roast them!

Chioggia beets, also known as candy striped beets, have a beautiful pattern inside. If you can't find these, use regular beets or golden beets.

Crudo is thinly sliced raw fish drizzled with acid and olive oil. Think thinly sliced raw salmon or scallops topped with fresh lemon juice and fruity olive oil. I decided to do something similar with vegetables!

thinly sliced (use mandoline!) black radish
thinly sliced (use mandoline!) Chioggia beets
thinly sliced (use mandoline!) Persian cucumbers
thinly sliced (use mandoline!) lemon
black cured olives
lemon juice
olive oil
kosher salt

1. Arrange the vegetables and lemon slices in a pleasing pattern.
2. Scatter olives.
3. Dress the salad with lemon juice and olive oil and salt.

The radishes were really spicy. I ended up cubing and roasting 2 out of 3 radishes in 425F degree oven for about 40 minutes simply drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt.