Thursday, October 6, 2016

Kale and butternut squash salad


Once upon a time, I knew nothing about kale. I was curious so I tried making the highly acclaimed kale chips. Not a fan. So I didn't buy kale again. Then I tried it in a soup. Hmmm, better. Then I joined the CSA and I had no choice but to embrace kale with open arms. I now know the difference between the types of kale. I personally like Lacinato better than the curly kind (can you say kale nerd?). I've also found several ways to prepare it. Creamed kale evoked cheers from my 6 year-old - same girl that won't eat granola and cries when I serve broccoli. But ok, she cheers for kale. Stranger things have happened.

This salad is fabulous for fall and uses not only kale but also winter squash which is making several appearances in my weekly CSA haul. I chuck the squash in the oven in the morning and then toss everything together in time for lunch. It lasts a couple of days so could be made ahead for an easy peasy lunch.

Kale and butternut squash salad
Adapted from Food52 Genius Recipes by Kristen Miglore

  • 2 cups cubed butternut, kabocha or other winter squash
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch kale (preferably lacinato or dinosaur kale), ribs removed and finely sliced, about 4 cups
  • 1/2 cup almonds, cut roughly in half
  • 1/2 cup crumbled or finely chopped Cabot cloth-bound cheddar (or any good, aged cheddar)
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Pecorino or other hard cheese, for shaving (optional)
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat oven to 425° F. Toss squash cubes in just enough olive oil to coat, and season with salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet (lined with parchment for easier cleanup), leaving space between the cubes. Roast in the oven until tender and caramelized, about 30 minutes, tossing with a spatula every 10-15 minutes.
  2. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet in the same oven until they start to smell nutty, tossing once, about 10 minutes. Let cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, toss the kale with the almonds, cheddar and squash. Season to taste with lemon juice and olive oil (approximately 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil).
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Divide salad between two plates or shallow bowls. Garnish with shaved pecorino cheese, if desired, and serve.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Carrot cake overnight oats


To say I was skeptical about overnight oats would be an understatement. The thought that anything good could come out of mixing uncooked oats with liquid and sticking it in fridge over night seemed an impossibility. But I kept seeing recipes for them and friends (who actually have good taste) made them and liked them. Hmmm. Maybe...

Then one week my CSA came with carrots and a recipe for carrot cake overnight oats. Did they say carrot cake? I still didn't try them right away. But a few weeks later, I gave it a shot. First, it's not so much a recipe as an assembly of ingredients. There's no cooking. Just stir. So it's fabulous to make with the kids. Second, it's yummy. The cinnamon and allspice actually make it taste like carrot cake. I eat it with a scoop of plain Greek yogurt (vanilla would be good too) and a few walnuts or pecans.

Carrot Cake Overnight Oats
Adapted from a recipe by Lee Hersh

1 cup rolled oats
½ cup carrot, finely grated
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon allspice
1 tablespoon chia seeds
3 tablespoon raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoon maple syrup
1 and ¼ cup almond milk, unsweetened

1. First, mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Add in wet ingredients and mix again.
3. Place in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 2 hours or overnight. Serve cold.
4. Top with Greek yogurt and pecans.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Fresh and broiled fig salad with arugula and prosciutto


Want to know one of my secrets for making great meals even on weekdays? Add one interesting (and easy) dish to a couple of simple ones. Take last Thursday for example. I cooked a chicken on the rotisserie on the grill and made some zoodles. Not exactly jaw-dropping. I served this salad alongside it. Salty prosciutto, sweet figs, arugula and balsamic. It took about 5 minutes to make but looked and tasted great. Made it feel like a weekend meal.

To make this even easier, you could skip broiling half the figs. It was nice to have a mix of textures, but the salad would be delish if all were fresh.


Fresh and broiled fig salad with arugula and prosciutto
Adapted from Simple Italian Food by Mario Batali

When you find fresh figs, grab them up for this simple, elegant salad.

  • 6 fresh figs, halved
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • 4 slices good quality prosciutto
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1-2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • Extra Virgin olive oil

Cooking Directions
  1. Place 6 of the fig halves on a baking sheet, cut side up. Cook under a broiler for about 3-5 minutes, until slightly caramelized. Remove to a bowl to cool.
  2. Line 2 plates with 2 slices of prosciutto each.
  3. Add the fresh fig halves to the bowl with the broiled ones. Add the arugula and rosemary. Drizzle the vinegar and oil over and toss gently (don't squish the cooked figs).
  4. Pile the arugula and fig mixture on top of the prosciutto and serve.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Lobster, pea, and pea leaf salad


It's hot. Stinky-sweaty kid hot, thank God I run at 5:30 a.m. hot. Maybe not Texas in summer hot, but I'm a bona fide Jersey girl who has had enough of this humidity. And who wants to cook when it's like this (OK, me), let alone eat a big heavy meal.

And so for the first time in all our years of marriage and dating, I served my better half a salad for dinner. I kept it a secret til just before serving (fear of mutiny perhaps). And guess what? He loved it. Even went so far as to say it's better than my lobster BLTs. Whaaaa????

My inspiration? My CSA of course. They gave me fresh peas and beautiful lettuce. So I wanted a dish that highlighted the peas. The lobster is lightly dressed and piled on top of a bed of pea leaves and Romaine. Add red onion, bacon, peas and tomatoes and dinner is done. I find pea leaves at my Asian market. But you could swap another tender green lettuce. And if you cannot get fresh peas, just thaw some frozen ones. Easy-peasy.


Lobster, pea, and pea leaf salad

This light lobster and pea salad is perfect for a light supper on a hot summer night.

  • 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. sour cream
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbp. coarse Dijon mustard

  • Dressing
  • Meat from 2 cooked lobsters, each about 1 1/4 pounds
  • 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
  • 4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup grape of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped red onion
  • 2 cups pea leaves
  • 6 medium Romaine leaves
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

Cooking Directions
  1. Whisk the dressing ingresients in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. If using fresh peas, blanch them in boiling salted water until tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Toss the pea leaves and Romaine with a little lemon juice and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Arrange on 2 plates.
  4. Toss the lobster meat with a little of the dressing to coat. Add more as needed, but don't overdress!
  5. Pile the lobster in the center of the plate then sprinkle the peas, bacon, onion and tomatoes over the top.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Peach and blueberry crostata


What ever happened to the lazy days of summer? This summer feels like it is flying. Fourth of July weekend has come and gone, and it was a good one. On Friday, we surprised our girls with a trip to Sesame Place. My 3-year old's reaction to the news was thanks enough. Saturday found us in NYC, strolling across the Brooklyn Bridge (if one can actually stroll with a 3- and 5-year old in tow...). Sunday, we hung out at home and had friends over for lobsters. Perhaps the most memorable part was two of my mommy friends racing each other through the grass behind my house - their speed was pretty impressive I must say. As the race ended, one tackled the other. I simply love when adults act like kids...

...And so the summer continues.

This rustic peach and blueberry crostata is easy enough to make and uses some of summer's best fruit. There's lemon zest in the dough which makes the flavor even brighter. We actually ate it for breakfast a few days with a dollop of Greek yogurt. It's also amazing with vanilla ice cream. (Blueberries courtesy of my Dreyer Farms CSA share of course...)


Peach and blueberry crostata
Adapted from Eat This Book by Tyler Florence

Make sure to use enough flour so this slides onto the pizza stone or opt for the other method to save the trouble...

Yield: 1 10-inch crostata, 8 servings

  • 2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Zest of one lemon, grated with a microplane
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into chunks and cold
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 Tbsp. ice water, plus more if needed

  • Filling
  • 5 medium ripe peaches, pitted and sliced
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. flour

  • Glaze
  • 1 large egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp. of water
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • Vanilla ice cream, to serve (optional)

  • DSC_0052
Cooking Directions
  1. To make the pastry: combine the flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and mix with a pastry blender or your hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg yolk and pour in the ice water; work it in to bind the dough until it holds together without being too wet or sticky. Squeeze a small amount together, if it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 teaspoon at a time. Form the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. To make the filling: combine the peaches, blueberries, lemon juice, sugar, and flour in a large mixing bowl. Toss the mixture gently to coat the fruit.
  3. Place a pizza stone in a conventional oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Place a rimmed baking sheet on the shelf under the pizza stone to catch any drips. If you don't have a pizza stone, simply assemble the crostata on a rimmed baking sheet and bake it on that.
  4. Sprinkle the counter and a rolling pin lightly with flour. Roll the dough out into a 14-inch circle, about 1/4-inch thick. Transfer the dough to a well-floured pizza paddle. (Or your baking sheet.) Spoon the fruit mixture into the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border all around; brush the border with the egg wash. Lift the edge of crust over the filling, leaving the fruit exposed in center. Gently fold and pinch the dough to seal any cracks. Brush the crust with the remaining egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake the crostata on the preheated pizza stone for 30 to 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and fruit is bubbly and tender. You can use a pizza paddle to remove it or just leave it on the stone as I did. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream. Also amazing for breakfast with a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Monday, June 27, 2016

My Favorite Banana Bread


My girls can be as different as night and day. One is calm, kind of shy; the other is non-stop energy. One will try anything; the other cries at new foods. I love observing their differences, but also seeing how well they (usually) play together.

A week or so ago, I made banana bread. Grandma delivered homemade chocolate chip cookies. I didn't think I stood a chance against those cookies, but that night after dinner, my little Nutmeg replied "Banana bread!" when I asked her what she wanted for a treat. My little Eclair (and Daddy and I) all opted for the chocolate chips... But Nutmeg is her own little person - all 30 pounds of her.

Here's a better example of their personalities. Yesterday we went to an event that offered face painting. The girl doing it had a display of different options: animals, princesses, monsters, superheroes, Minnie Mouse, etc. Eclair picked exactly what I expected: the pinkest, sparkliest, girliest design up there. Nutmeg decided she would accept nothing less than Captain America. This picture will put a smile on my face for many, many years to come... Both my girls, exactly as they should be!
Back to the banana bread: it's moist, packed with bananas, and easy enough to make. I double the recipe and freeze a loaf or give one away. If you freeze it, wrap it first in waxed paper, then in foil, then pop it in a Ziploc.

Banana bread with walnuts
Adapted from Family Meal by Tyler Florence

Yield: 1 9-inch loaf


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 overripe bananas
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Mash 2 of the bananas with a fork in a small bowl so they still have a bit of texture.

With an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk, whip the remaining bananas and sugar together for a good 3 minutes; you want a light and fluffy banana cream. Add the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla; beat well and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated; no need to overly blend. Fold in the nuts and the mashed bananas with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Give the pan a good rap on the counter to get any air bubbles out.

Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Don't get nervous if the banana bread develops a crack down the center of the loaf; that's no mistake, it's typical. Rotate the pan periodically to ensure even browning. Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes or so, and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Zucchini noodles with basil and Parmesan


I swear my life has a soundtrack. Songs that play in my head at random moments. Tonight I hear, "cause sometimes you're shown the light in the strangest of places, if you look at it right." The Dead.

I can't actually recall the name of the song. And I for sure know it has nothing to do with, well, zucchini.

Yes, I said zucchini.

To me the lyric is about taking a different approach, looking at things a different way to get a new result. Like the scene from Dead Poets where Robin Williams has the students stand on their desks to get a different perspective.

Translate that to the world of a 3-year old and 5-year old and it means making the zucchini look like something different so that they will try it. And guess what? It worked! More than worked. It was a hit. "I love the noodles.", "These noodles are delicious". And CLEAN plates!!!!

What's the secret? I spiralized. I've rolled my eyes at the thought in the past. But needing creative ways to use my CSA haul, I've ventured to uncharted territory. I got the Kitchenaid attachment and spiralized 3 zucchini. Add a little butter, garlic, parm and fresh basil, and VOILA! A miracle.

Now, one question. How in the heck do I spiralize broccoli??????

PS I served it with a Griggstown chicken that I grilled on a rotisserie and an arugula and beet salad with local goat cheese (all CSA fare). Thank you Dreyer Farms!

Zucchini noodles with basil and Parmesan

When you need a little hope that your kids will one day love their veggies.

  • 3 medium zucchini, spiralized (you can buy them already cut at Whole Foods)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated, plus more for garnish
  • 8 leaves fresh basil, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt, to taste

Cooking Directions
  1. Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for about 1 minute. Don't let the butter or garlic brown.
  2. Add the zucchini and spinkle with a bit of salt. Saute, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes. Add the cheese and toss for another minute.
  3. Remove from heat and toss in the basil. Adjust seasoning if needed.
  4. Garnish with additional cheese to serve.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Lobster rolls


That, my friends, is what summer looks like.

Lobster will forever be associated with summer in my mind. Perhaps it was childhood vacations in Maine and on Martha's Vineyard where I learned to crack a lobster, getting every last bit of meat from even the little legs. I remember my grandfather eating the tamale and roe, which I found totally gross as a kid.

So now, whether I'm on the Island or home in New Jersey, lobster - in all its forms, but especially piled high on a lobster roll - means it is summer.

I've read countless recipes for lobster rolls. But I'll forego a lot of herbs and fancy sauces and stick with a bit of mayo, a little celery and a few capers. Add Bibb lettuce and New England style buns and it's the perfect lunch (add a cold pint of IPA for summer perfection...)

Lobster rolls

Have your fishmonger steam them for you to save time. And use a rolling pin to get the meat out of the legs.

Yield: 4 lobster rolls

  • 2 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pound lobsters, steamed, cooled and shelled
  • 1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. nonpareil capers, drained
  • 4 leaves Bibb lettuce
  • 4 hot dog buns, preferably top sliced or New England style
  • Butter, to toast the buns

Cooking Directions
  1. Cut the lobster tails into bite sized pieces. I like to leave the claws whole, but cut if desired. Set lobster aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the Mayonnaise, celery and capers. Pour over the lobster and stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Heat a pan over medium low heat. Butter the sides of the buns and toast until golden brown on both sides. Remove to a platter.
  4. Line each bun with a lettuce leaf then pile high with lobster. 2 lobsters usually makes about 4 lobster rolls.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Mint cucumber gin fizz


When I look at a cocktail menu, there are a few ingredients that always draw my attention: herbs (mint, thyme, rosemary), cucumbers, summer fruits like berries or peaches. And I tend to go for gin or vodka. My go-to cocktail is a G&T with lime, but last weekend, I felt like trying something a bit more interesting (and I had a boatload of mint from my CSA).

I had spotted this on another blog and so I busted out the blender and gave it a shot. DELISH! And I'm pretty sure it's healthy because it contains a cucumber, right?!??

Mint cucumber gin fizz


This cocktail screams summer. I'll be making a pitcher for my next BBQ!

  • 4 oz. gin
  • 1 cup cucumber, cut into chunks, plus a few slices for garnish (seed the cucumber before measuring if it's very seedy)
  • 15 mint leaves, plus a few extra for garnish
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar (I used raw)
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Chilled seltzer
  • Ice

Cooking Directions
  1. In the jar of a blender, combine the cucumber chunks, the mint leaves, sugar and lemon juice. Puree until you have a smooth mixture.
  2. Fill two glasses with ice. Add 2 ounces of gin to each glass and the thinly sliced cucumbers. Fill the glasses to 2/3rds full with the cucumber mixture. Top with seltzer and stir well. Garnish with fresh mint and cucumber slices.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Spinach and bacon quiche

Week 2 of my CSA: Holy greens, Batman! This week's share is one ginormous box of greens: spinach, kale, Boston lettuce, parsley, cilantro, Swiss chard, collard greens, escarole... Challenge accepted!
Here's how I'm using these goodies:
  • Spinach: spinach and bacon quiche featured here
  • Escarole: salads for my lunch and also salad to top chicken cutlets Milanese
  • Collards: Braised with barbecue chicken
  • Kale: Portuguese Caldo Verde (chorizo, potato and kale soup)
  • Boston lettuce: Lettuce wraps with Vietnamese marinated pork tenderloin
  • Herbs: Thinking about a chimichurri with some grilled steak
  • Swiss chard: TBD (any ideas, people???)
This quiche is a bit harder than my typical recipe, but it's worth the effort. The dough needs to rest a bit before rolling and he recommends frothing the dairy/egg mixture. I didn't take out the blender but rather used my Kitchenaid with the whisk attachment.

Can't wait to see what next week brings now that the weather had finally turned sunny and warm. Let me know if you have ideas for the Swiss chard. Or the other greens - I'm sure there will be more to come!!

Spinach and bacon quiche
Adapted from Bouchon by Thomas Keller


Basic Quiche Shell Makes 1 nine-inch tart shell - Keller says to use a 9x2 inch ring mold. I don't have one so I used my springform pan and it worked fine.

Yield: 8 servings

  • 2 cups flour (about 12 ounces), sifted, plus a little more for rolling

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

  • 1/4 cup ice water 
2 tablespoons canola oil
  1. Place 1 cup of the flour and the salt in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn the mixer to low speed and add the butter a small handful at a time.
  2. When all the butter has been added, increase the speed to medium and mix until the butter is COMPLETELY blended with the flour. Reduce the speed, add the remaining flour and mix just to combine.  (Remember you don't want to see ANY flecks of butter in the dough, as they will melt when the shell is cooked and leave holes in the shell causing potential leaks when you fill it with custard.)
  3. Add the water a little at a time and mix until the dough gathers around the paddle and pulls cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. It should feel smooth, not sticky.  You may not need all the water, or you may need a little more.
  4. Remove the dough from the mixer and check to be certain that there are NO visible pieces of butter remaining; if necessary, return the dough to the mixer and mix briefly again. Pat the dough into a 7- to 8-inch disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to a day. (If the dough does not rest, it will shrink as it bakes.)
  5. Lightly brush the inside of a 9-by-2-inch bottomless cake ring with canola oil and place it on a parchment lined jelly roll pan. Place the dough on a floured work surface and rub on all sides with flour. Flatten it into a larger circle using a rolling pin or the heel of your hand. Roll the rolling pin back and forth across the dough a few times, then turn it 90 degrees and roll again. Continue to turn and roll until the dough is one-fourth inch thick (yes, this is a fairly thick crust) and about 14 inches in diameter. (If the kitchen is hot and the dough has become very soft, move it to a baking sheet and refrigerate for a few minutes.)
  6. To lift the dough into the tart pan, place the rolling pin across the dough about one-quarter of the way up from the bottom edge, fold the bottom edge of the dough up and over the pin, and roll the dough up on the rolling pin. Lift the dough on the pin and hold it over the pan, centering it. Carefully lower the dough into the pan, pressing it gently against the sides and into the bottom. Trim any dough that extends more than an inch over the sides of the pan and reserve the scraps. Fold the excess dough over against the outside of the ring. (Preparing the quiche shell this way will prevent it from shrinking down the sides as it bakes. The excess dough will be removed after the quiche is baked.) Carefully check for any cracks or holes in the dough, and patch with the reserved dough as necessary. Place in the refrigerator or freezer for at least 20 minutes to re-solidify the butter. Reserve the remaining dough scraps.
  7. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Line the quiche shell with a 15-inch round of parchment paper. Fill the shell with pie weights or dried beans, gently guiding the weights into the corners of the shell and filling the shell completely. Bake the shell until the edges of the dough are lightly browned but the bottom is still light in color, 35 to 45 minutes.
  8. Carefully remove the parchment and weights. Check the dough for any new cracks or holes and patch with thin pieces of the reserved dough if necessary. Return the shell to the oven until the bottom is a rich golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the shell to cool completely on the jellyroll pan. Once again, check the dough for any cracks or holes, and patch if necessary before filling with the quiche batter.


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1 pound spinach, large stems removed, thoroughly washed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup grated comte, emmentaler, or gruyere cheese
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and coarsely chopped
Method:Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, add the shallots and cook for 2 minutes, add the spinach, salt and pepper and cook for two minutes more, until the spinach has wilted.  Remove spinach from pan and drain on paper towels, reserve until ready to build and bake your quiche.

Basic Quiche CustardMakes enough for 1 nine-inch quiche that serves 8 -10

  • 2 cups whole milk

  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • 6 large eggs
1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

  • 6 gratings fresh nutmeg
  1. Combine the milk and cream in a large saucepan and heat over medium heat until scalded (meaning a skin begins to form on the surface). Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Put 3 eggs, half the milk and cream mixture, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and 3 gratings of nutmeg in a blender and blend on low speed about 5 seconds to mix thoroughly, then increase the speed to high and blend until the batter is light and foamy, about 30 seconds.
  3. This is the first layer of custard for the quiche. Once you have assembled the first layer of the quiche, add the remaining custard ingredients to the blender and repeat the process to complete the quiche.

Assembly and Baking:

  1. Scatter 1/4 cup of cheese, 1/2 of the bacon,  and 1/2 of the spinach mixture evenly into baked quiche shell still on baking sheet.
  2. Blend the quiche batter again to aerate it, then pour in enough of the batter to cover the ingredients and fill the quiche shell approximately halfway.
  3. Top the custard with the remaining bacon, filling and another 1/4 cup of cheese.
  4. Blend the second half of the custard and fill the quiche shell all the way to the top, sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of cheese (if you don't have a very steady hand, you might spill some of the custard on the way to the oven; fill the shell most of the way, then pour the final amount of custard on top once the quiche is on the oven rack). You may have some custard left over.
  5. Bake for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours, until the top of the quiche is browned and the custard is set when the pan is jiggled. Remove the quiche from the oven and let cool completely on a rack, then wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 day, or up to 3 days.
  6. Once the quiche is thoroughly chilled, using a sharp knife, cut away the excess crust from the top edge.  Gently remove the outside ring, working it free in spots with a small knife if necessary. Return to the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  7. To serve, heat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with lightly oiled parchment paper. Using a long serrated knife, and supporting the sides of the crust with your opposite hand, carefully cut through the edge of the crust in a sawing motion. Switch to a long slicing knife and cut through the custard and bottom crust. Repeat, cutting the quiche into 8 to 10 pieces. Place the pieces on the baking sheet and reheat for 15 minutes or until hot throughout. 

Serves 8-10

Friday, May 20, 2016

CSA week 1: Spring veg!

Ask my husband if I'm excited about my new CSA share and he will probably roll his eyes. I might talk about it a little too often. Fine, I'm a nerd. But he will have to admit he likes the yummy stuff he gets. I signed up with a local farm in Cranford, NJ. Dreyer Farms is about 15 minutes from where I live so I decided to give it a shot. I got an email about the contents of my first box last weekend: pastured eggs, asparagus, broccoli rabe, shiitakes, local goat cheese, pizza dough, scallions, beets. YUM! So many possibilities.

I've made the eggs for breakfast a couple times this week. I sliced and sauteed a couple of the shiitakes added a bit of chopped scallion greens and then added the egg. These eggs are seriously good - from a farm in Princeton NJ. For dinner last night, I made grilled whole branzino and grilled the asparagus with a drizzle of olive oil and some garlic and sea salt. To go with it, I made this roasted beet salad with some of the local goat cheese. The beets are gorgeous and super sweet and the goat cheese is some of the creamiest I've ever tried. (This dinner took about 10 minutes to prep - roast the beets the night before.) 019
I can't wait for the next 26 weeks of delightful fruits, veggies and treats. No doubt the choices will make many appearances in my post. Tonight we're using the pizza dough and broccoli rabe on a grilled white pizza. If it's a hit, I'll share next week. Til then, enjoy the weekend!

(And for the locals, I think Dreyer Farms still has openings in their CSA if you're interested - Check it out at the link above.)

Roasted beet and goat cheese salad


  • 2 medium beets, scrubbed
  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 2 oz. fresh goat cheese
  • 1 scallion, green part only, thinly sliced
  • 3 tsp. Extra Virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Cooking Directions
  1. To roast the beets, preheat oven to 400F. Place each beet on a square of aluminum foil and drizzle each with 1 tsp. olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Wrap in foil. Roast for 30 minutes, then test for doneness with a sharp knife. The knife should slide in easily. If still hard, roast for a few more minutes until done.
  2. Allow the beets to cool then use your hands to rub off the outer skin. At this point you can refrigerate and store the beets for a day or so.
  3. When ready to serve, divide the salad greens among two plates. Sprinkle the scallions over and the top with the goat cheese. Halve the beets and add them to the plate. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and a little balsamic or lemon juice (I used Mission fig balsamic). Add salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Caramelized scallops with smoked chili cream, mixed greens and potato scallion pancakes


I love technology. I have to, right? I run a cloud computing offering, so I can't really hate technology. Except when it doesn't work. Like the last two weeks. I have an Eye-fi card for my camera. Super cool concept - it automatically transfers photos to my device of choice without any cables. Except when it doesn't. All of a sudden, it wouldn't transfer any of my photos to my laptop. And a blog without photos is, well, dull. So you had to wait.

But now I've got a new SD card reader (my laptop doesn't have one built-in). So no more excuses and no more delays...

We've had a couple good food weeks whilst my camera misbehaved. Ramps, fiddlehead ferns... and scallops! My husband emailed me from work one day, subject line "scallops". That got my attention. Turns out a guy he works with scallops and was selling 5 pound bags. Sign me up! 

They were delivered to my husband last Wednesday at work. Scallops are not a typical Wednesday night dinner in my house, but I had to cook some of them while fresh. The rest would get packed into the freezer (and a bag to dad of course). So I went with a simple caramelized scallop with an easy smoked chili cream. It's from the Black Dog Cookbook which suggested serving with potato pancakes. Super easy... and a hit.


Caramelized scallops with smoked chili cream, mixed greens and potato scallion pancakes
Adapted from Black Dog Summer on the Vineyard

    Smoked chili cream
  • 1 tsp. chipotle chili powder
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • Salt, to taste

  • Scallion-potato pancakes
  • 3/4 pounds red potatoes, scrubbed
  • 3 scallions (green onions), cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil

  • Scallops
  • 10-12 sea scallops, thawed if frozen
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups mixed baby greens
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped chives
  • lemon wedges

Cooking Directions
  1. To make the smoked chili cream, combine the lime juice and chipotle powder in a small bowl and let sit for about 10 minutes. Whisk in the sour cream and salt to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. To make the potato pancakes, grate unpeeled potatoes and squeeze out excess liquid (drier is better). Mix in the scallions, egg, flour, salt and pepper.
  3. Heat 1 Tbsp. of the oil in an 8-inch non-stick skillet until hot. Add half the potato mixture and lower the heat. Cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until golden brown and potatoes are cooked through, another 5 minutes or so. Remove from pan and keep warm. Repeat with remaining potato mixture.
  4. While potatoes are cooking, dry the scallops on a paper towel then sprinkle with salt, pepper and parsley. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a non-stick pan over high heat until just smoking. Reduce heat to medium high and add the scallops. Let them cook for about 2 minutes undisturbed, then turn them over and cook another minute.
  5. Meanwhile, toss the greens with a little olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.
  6. To serve, place a potato pancake on each plate and top with half the scallops. Put half the greens on the side and sprinkle with the chopped chives. Serve with a drizzle of the smoked chili cream and lemon wedges.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Grilled chicken banh mi

banh-mi (2)
A couple of weeks ago, I had a business trip to London. Got home to what at first looked like a normal weekend. But Saturday after dinner, my little Nutmeg had some symptoms that triggered a call to the doctor. The nurse on duty sent us to the ER - more because their office was closed than a true emergency, but ER all the same.

Turned out to be strep with a couple odd symptoms, but my tiny girl was not released til the wee hours, and only after a couple of not-so-pleasant tests. She slept in Sunday but was still tired so I kept her home on Monday. And that's how she became my sous chef. Meet Chef Nutmeg. Pretty cute, huh?

I love cooking with my girls. Yes, it will be messier. Yes, it will take longer. But they love to help and are usually willing to taste whatever they've made. And I get to have my two favorite little people join me in doing the thing I love best.

Our menu: Grilled chicken banh mi with cilantro maggi aioli. The chicken is super easy. The aioli takes a bit of time, so if you're in a rush, use plain mayo or make some sriracha mayo. Both are great on banh mi. Make the pickles a day or two ahead and this is an easy weeknight meal.

You can have the recipe, but I'm keeping my sous chef.

Grilled chicken banh mi
Adapted from The Banh Mi Handbook by Andrea Nguyen

banh-mi (1)

    For the pickled carrot & daikon
  • 1 medium daikon
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. plus 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water

  • For the aioli
  • A handful of cilantro sprigs
  • 1/2 small shallot
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. Maggi seasoning sauce
  • 1 cup canola oil

  • For the sandwiches
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 6 baguette buns, each 6-8 inches long
  • Thinly sliced cucumbers
  • Cilantro sprigs
  • Sriracha

Cooking Directions
  1. To make the pickle, peel and cut the daikon and carrot into sticks about 3 inches long and 1/4 inch thick. Put in a bowl and toss with the salt and 2 tsp. sugar. Massage the salt and sugar into the vegetables for about 3 minutes or until you can bend a piece of daikon and the tips touch without breaking. Flush with running water and drain. Transfer to a quart jar.
  2. For the brine, stir together the 1/2 cup sugar with the vinegar and water until dissolved. Pour into the jar to cover. Discard any extra brine that won't fit in the jar. Refrigerate for one hour and store up to one month.
  3. To make the aioli, pulse the cilantro and shallot in a food processor until minced. Add the egg yolk, Maggi, and lemon juice. Run the food processor for about a minute until you have a creamy mixture.
  4. With the machine running, pour in the oil in a thin steady stream (the stream should be about as thick as a strand of angel hair pasta. The mixture will emulsify and have the consistency of mayonnaise. Store refrigerated in a airtight container for up to a week. Tastes best if it sits for at least an hour.
  5. Trim any visible fat off the chicken thighs. In a bowl, stir together the sugar, salt, pepper, fish sauce, and lime juice. Add the oil and chicken and cover and let marinate for 30 minutes or more.
  6. Preheat a grill over high heat, then grill the chicken thighs until cooked through and the juices run clear, about 10 minutes.
  7. To make the banh mi, spread some of the aioli on the bread. When slightly cooled, slice the chicken across the grain. Pile some chicken into each bun, along with a few cucmber slices. Top with some of the pickle, a few cilantro sprigs and a few drops of sriracha.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Avocado salad

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"The salad is delicious." Words rarely (ok never) uttered by my husband. We're talking a bunch of raw veggies with some acid and a little oil. Not what he typically gets excited about. I get more compliments on dead creatures, things with bacon, etc. Not salad.

But this salad made history by earning his praise!

It came about because I needed a side to go with Indian grilled chicken legs and some Basmati rice. So I turned to my good friend (shameless plug for the site coming). In seconds, I can search my entire collection of cookbooks for a specific course and ethnicity. I entered Indian and salad and voila! I was presented with a list of about a dozen recipes from my cookbooks. I scanned them and this one won out because I had all the ingredients on hand and it sounded fabulous.

Although the book labels it Indian, the flavors could also go with Mexican or any Latin dish - it uses lime, cumin, and cilantro, all common flavors in those cuisines. Can't wait to make it again when tomatoes are in season and fresh from the farm.

avocado salad (2)

Avocado salad
Adapted from One Spice, Two Spice by Floyd Cardoz

Fresh, bright flavors come together in this amazing salad. Make it a couple hours ahead then toss in the avocado at the end.


  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 pint grape and/or cherry tomatoes (preferably a mix of different colors), halved
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, torn
  • juice of 1/2 a lime, or more to taste
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 whole Hass avocados, ripe, but not too soft

Cooking Directions
  1. Toast the cumin seeds in a small pan until fragrant. Cool slightly then grind with a mortar and pestle.
  2. In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion and cilantro. Sprinkle the lime juice over and then fold in the cumin and cayenne. Season to taste with salt. NOTE: Recipe can be made up to this point a couple hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.
  3. Just before serving, halve the avocados, then carefully scoop out each half and cut into chunks. Gently fold it into the tomato mixture. Add more lime juice or salt if needed.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Spiced apple sangria

Well hello sangria weather. It's nice to see you.

red wine sangria (2)

Many years ago, a friend of mine made a batch of sangria. I guess you could say my tastes were not as evolved as they are now because my reaction was, "What is this? Red wine and sprite?" I've come a long way since then (and my friend and I still joke about it.) When the temperature rises, this is one of the first things I make. I love a glass on the deck while the kids play outside and hubby grills something delish. Close my eyes and I'm back in Spain. Doesn't get much better.

This makes enough simple syrup for a few batches. Think party. Or another batch next weekend. I keep the extra syrup in a jar in the fridge. I use good (not great) wine. This particular one is my fave these days. It's drinkable on its own, but not so expensive that you don't want to make it better with some fruit, brandy and spiced apple simple syrup. And I also like to use Laird's apple brandy, but another apple brandy would do.

Forecast says 70's this weekend. Anybody want to come over for a glass???

red wine sangria (1)

Spiced apple sangria
Adapted from The Latin Road Home by Jose Garces

red wine sangria (3)

  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 Tbsp. black peppercorns
  • 1 pear, cored and diced
  • 1 orange, diced, skin and all (discard seeds)
  • 1 bottle red wine, preferably Spanish or Portuguese
  • 1/4 cup apple brandy
  • Juice of half a lemon

Cooking Directions
  1. Peel and core the apple, reserving the peels and core.
  2. Place peels and core into a small pan with the sugar, water, cinnamon sticks and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Allow to cool, then strain, discarding solids.
  3. Meanwhile, dice the rest of the apple and combine in a pitcher with the pear, orange, red wine, and lemon juice.
  4. Add 1/3 cup of the apple syrup to the red wine mixture and mix well with a wooden spoon. Cover and chill. Serve over ice.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Lobster tacos

I wasn't planning to post again this week. Then this happened.

lobster tacos (2)
Pretty irresistible, huh?

Here's a glimpse into what makes me tick: I was on my weekly trip to the grocery store and looked (as I do every time I'm there) at the lobster tank. Imagine my joy when I saw a sign advertising a price drop on lobster. They were all jumbo - 3 pounds or more. So I took one and then contemplated it's future while I finished shopping. (I might have been humming a little tune I was so happy about the lobster. Nerd? Yep.)

It was a weeknight. I still had work to do. So I needed something quick. Lobster rolls? Lobster BLTs? Hmmm. Lobster tacos! I grabbed some avocados and fresh salsa and that lobster's fate was sealed.

(Lobster is quite possibly my favorite food. Ever. It will make many appearances on this blog in many forms...)

lobster tacos (1)

Lobster tacos

Save even more time by asking your fishmonger to steam the lobster for you.

lobster tacos (4)

    sub-recipe if needed
  • 1 jumbo or 2 medium lobsters, live or steamed
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 6 corn tortillas
  • Fresh salsa
  • Guacamole, homemade or store-bought
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Hot sauce of your choice

Cooking Directions
  1. If using live lobster, bring 1 1/2 to 2 inches of salted water to a boil in a large pot. When boiling, put the lobster or lobsters in and put a lid on the pot. Steam for 10 minutes for the first pound and about 1 minute more for each additional half pound. (If using two small lobsters, steam them together for 10-11 minutes; if using a jumbo lobster, cook it for 13-14 minutes) Remove from pot and allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. When the lobster is cool enough to handle, shell it, removing meat from the claws, knuckles, tail and legs. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large skillet over high heat and cook the tortillas for a few seconds on each side.
  4. While the tortillas are heating, melt the butter in a non-stick saute pan over medium heat. Add the lobster and cook until just heated thru. (It will get tough if you overcook it.)
  5. To serve, divide the lobster among the tortillas and top with guacamole, cabbage, salsa and hot sauce (we like Cholula).

Monday, March 28, 2016

Seafood scampi

seafood-scampi-pasta (8)
Easter has come and gone. The highlight was my little Nutmeg trembling with excitement when she discovered that the Easter bunny brought her the last remaining Paw Patrol Pup she needed to complete her collection. Tiny hands literally shaking as she tore off the paper, squealing as loud as she could. Seeing that little face erased my irritation at having to go to 7 stores to find it. The kids make the holidays a joy.

And this was Good Friday dinner, inspired by a pasta dish served at one of our favorite restaurants on Martha's Vineyard: The Square Rigger. It's a home-cooking type of place that serves up super fresh seafood and big slabs of beef. Summer vacation can't come soon enough. In the meantime, this dinner will suffice.

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seafood-scampi-pasta (3)

Seafood scampi

Use whatever seafood you have or can get fresh. I often use lobster when I can get it and sometimes use only shrimp. One whole lobster would do the trick. Or increase the amount of shrimp if that's all you've got.


  • 5 Tbsp. Extra-virgin olive oil, separated
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (or more if you're only using shrimp)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup langostino tails, thawed if using frozen
  • 3/4 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered (or one plum or vine-ripe tomato, seeded and chopped)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black papper
  • 4 scallops, thawed if using frozen
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 pound pasta of your choice (linguine, fettuccine)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh chives or parsley, chopped

seafood-scampi-pasta (4)
seafood-scampi-pasta (5)
seafood-scampi-pasta (7)

Cooking Directions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Heat 4 Tbsp. of the olive oil in a large sautee pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds (don't let it burn).
  3. Add the shrimp and white wine and sprinkle with a little salt. Simmer for 2 minutes then flip the shrimp.
  4. Meanwhile, add salt to boiling water then add the pasta.
  5. Add the tomatoes and langostino tails to the pan with the shrimp and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Season scallops with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. While the pasta cooks, heat remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a small non-stick skillet over high heat. When hot, add the scallops and sear for about 1 minute on each side. They should be nicely brown and caramelized. Remove from pan and keep warm.
  8. Reduce heat under shrimp to low and stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice. When pasta is al dente, strain and immediately stir into the shrimp mixture. Let it combine for a minute or two, then divide among 2 pasta bowls. Top each with two scallops and sprinkle with some chopped chives or parsley.

seafood scampi over pasta

Friday, March 18, 2016

Mix 'n' match granola


I made it to one month. Blogging is starting to feel normal again. (Well, at least the kids don't look at me like I'm a nutjob when I run around with plates of food and my camera...) And I'm pretty sure my husband is psyched cuz he gets all the goodies. Like this one.

Once upon a time, I made homemade granola every couple weeks. For about a year and a half, I've bought granola bars for him instead. He has never complained about it and happily eats his crunchy granola bars. But last night when he came home to the smell of baking granola, he remarked that he forgot I used to make it and then quite eagerly filled a dish for work.

Granola is pretty much impossible to screw up. Unless you forget about it in the oven and burn it, there's really no way to mess it up. I throw in what I have on hand, keeping the wet/dry ratios the same. Feel like pecans instead of almonds? No problem. Have flax seed? Throw it in. Prefer bran flakes to corn? Be a rebel. Add dried fruit, different nuts, flaked coconut. The possibilities are endless. You can even add different extracts to the liquid - a few drops of almond or coconut for example...

My preferred method of gobbling this up is over fat free Greek yogurt. With or without fruit.

Oh, and the three year old ate a whole bowl of it this morning. And the older child willingly tried it and SMILED. Whoo hoo. Happy Friday to me.

granola (4)

Mix 'n' Match Granola
Adapted from Fresh from the Market by Laurent Tourondel

Use this as a guide and then throw in whatever combination of ingredients you like.

  • 2 cups corn flakes (or bran flakes, or use more oats if you prefer)
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 cup almonds (or walnuts, pecans, pistachios, hazelnuts...)
  • 1/4 cup shelled pumpkin seeds (or flax, or sunflower, or a mix)
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 vanilla bean, opened and seeds scraped (or use some vanilla extract)
  • Zest of one orange

granola (2)
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with a large piece of parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the corn flakes, old-fashioned oats, steel-cut oats, nuts, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
  4. In a small saucepan, combine the oil, honey, maple syrup, orange zest and vanilla bean (seeds and pod). Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Discard the vanilla bean pod.
  5. granola (3)
  6. Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients. Stir until well combined. Pour onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Spread it evenly and then bake for about 20 minutes, stirring it halfway thru. Watch the baking time, you want it golden and starting to dry. Remove from the oven and break up the big chunks. When cool, store in an airtight container.

granola (1)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Korean beef lettuce wraps

Theory: If you cut the steak into teensy-weensy pieces, the children will willingly ingest it.

Reality: While child #1 may ingest some of it, she will reject teesny-weensy pieces that are any or all of the following: (1) brown, not pink; (2) too big (AKA teensy, but not teensy weensy); (3) chewy. Child #2 will scarf it all back and ask for more...twice.

This, in my house, is a victory. There were no tears. And everyone ate some or all of their meat. (And Daddy loved it too...)

And I made one - yes one! - dinner. With a slight variation...

These are the kinds of dinners I love. It's fast, fresh, loaded with flavor, and healthy. For the grown-ups and adventurous kids, there's marinated meat and rice wrapped in lettuce with yummy condiments that don't take eons to prep. For the kiddies, there's rice and meat and veg on the side (I did sliced cukes and carrots one night and the corn off the cob when we had leftovers).

The original recipe calls for 4 hanger steaks. This made 2 meals for us and there's a piece leftover in the fridge will will likely find its way onto a salad for my lunch one of these days...


Korean beef lettuce wraps with kimchi puree and ginger scallion (AKA Marinated Hanger steak ssam)
adapted from Momofuku by David Chang

I've made several Korean BBQ recipes like this one. This marinade is by far the easiest. (I have two kids and the main ingredient is apple juice... got that!) If you can't find hanger steaks, try flank or skirt. Didn't think you could rock Momofuku on a weeknight? Guess again...

  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (light soy sauce if you have it)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. Asian sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper

  • Ginger scallion sauce
  • 1 cup thinly sliced scallions (white and green parts)
  • 1/4 cup finely minced fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 3/4 tsp. soy sauce (light soy sauce if you have it)
  • 1/2 tsp. sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • Accompaniments
  • 2 cups sushi rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup kimchi, pureed
  • Bibb lettuce leaves, washed and separated (from about 2 heads)
  • Sssamjang (optional, this can be found in the Korean section of an Asian market)

Cooking Directions
  1. Combine the apple juice, soy sauce, onion, garlic, sesame oil and black pepper in a gallon storage bag. Add the steak and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Make the ginger scallion sauce. Combine all the ingredients in a small dish. Let sit 15 minutes then adjust seasoning if needed.
  3. Prepare a grill for high heat. When the grill is hot, sear the steaks for 2 minutes a side, then monitor until they are medium rare. REmove from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes.
  4. While the grill is heating, cook the rice. Rince the rice in cold water until the water runs clear. Combine rice and water in a pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and cover. Cook until the water is absorbed. Turn off heat and let rest a few minutes. Fluff with a paddle or fork.
  5. To serve, thinly slice the steak. Take a lettuce leaf and put some rice in the leaf. Top with steak and accompaniments and eat it like a taco!

Notes: Ssamjang is a condiment that's a combination of a fermented red pepper paste (gochujang) and bean paste. Sounds completely bizarre but it's really good. You can find it in Asian markets that carry Korean ingredients. For the lettuce, look for hydroponic, mainly because it's easier to wash. I found it at Costco - three heads, no dirt. Can't say the same for my kids after a day playing in the yard... And the kimchi... the cookbook says to make kimchi. I buy it (once had an epic fail in that department...). Look for Napa cabbage kimchi. My fave is from the Asian market, not the ones you find at the likes of Whole Foods...

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Angel hair pasta with chicken, white wine and garlic

I'm a cookbook junkie. Big surprise from a food blogger. (We can and will psychoanalyze my addiction in a future post.) But mid-week, I don't always have time to consult my "friends" (aka Mario, Ina, Laurent, Thomas, etc.) So this is one of my go-to dinners. Few reasons:
  1. I almost always have all the ingredients on-hand - garlic, white wine, chicken, parsley, pasta
  2. I can make it in about 25 minutes. 
  3. I can make it any time of day and heat it for dinner. So if I'm working from home, I can throw it together at lunchtime. If I'm in the office, I can whip it up when I get home.
  4. Everyone claps when it hits the table. Yes, the kiddies actually cheer for this one.
Number 4 is my favorite. And if I make a little extra, lunch for the next day is done for the kids too!

So working moms, make this one tonight. No joke. My husband loves it. My kids love it. Makes for a happy night. (and if you use regular wine instead of cooking wine, BONUS! a glass for mommy!)


Angel hair pasta with chicken, white wine and garlic

I think this originated with a recipe my mom clipped from a newspaper when I was a kid (in other words, longer ago than I'd care to admit). I first made it in college. I no longer even look at a recipe to make it. In other words, it's easy!

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup white wine (I use Pinot Grigio, but you can use cooking wine or whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 small bunch fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • 3/4 lb. Angel hair pasta, or pasta of your preference
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  • chicken-garlic-wine
Cooking Directions
  1. Cut each chicken breast into 4 thin pieces (you can skip this step, but I find it improves the taste and makes the chicken more tender).
  2. On a small plate, mix together flour with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. If you are going to serve the dish immediately, start bringing a large pot of water to a boil for your pasta. If you're making the chicken ahead, wait and cook the pasta just before serving.
  4. In a saute pan with a lid, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat.
  5. When the oil is hot, dredge the chicken pieces in the flour mixture. I don't worry about shaking off the excess - it thickens the sauce and adds more flavor. Place them in the pan and cook until golden brown. Turn them over and brown the other side. Transfer chicken to a plate.
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the garlic, being careful not to brown it. Let it cook for about 30 seconds, then pour in the wine. Bring to a simmer and let it cook for 5 minutes.
  7. Return the chicken to the pan along with any juices that have accumulated. Season to taste with more salt, if needed. Sprinkle the parsley over the top and cover.
  8. Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through. During the last 5-10 minutes cook your pasta and drain.
  9. To serve, put pasta in bowls and top with chicken and plenty of the sauce. Finish with a generous sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
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