Thursday, October 16, 2014

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Tomato, Avocado, Almonds, Raisins and Mustard Vinagrette

Get ready, everyone! It's my first post with the new camera!

It never even occurred to me to eat Brussels Sprouts raw; I like them roasted so much that's it's hard to imagine them any other way, but leave it to my mom to plant this idea in my head.

It's best to use a mandolin to slice the sprouts. Careful not to cut your little fingers!

Serves 6 or 7.

You will need:

-1 stalk Brussels Sprouts
-2 Roma tomatoes, cut into wedges
-1 avocado, cubed
-1/3 cup raw unsalted almonds, chopped coarsely
-1/3 cup raisins
-1/4 cup Dijon mustard
-3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
-1 1/2 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
-Salt & Black pepper.

Pull sprouts off the stalk, shred them thinly with the mandolin.

In a large salad bowl, toss together shredded sprouts, tomatoes, avocado, almonds and raisins.

Whisk remaining dressing ingredients in a small bowl, add a little water if your dressing is too thick. Pour over salad and toss.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Borscht with Goat Yogurt

I have recently found myself buried in so many beets that I didn't know what to do. I get them almost every time I pick up my CSA box and I like them, but come on, how many boiled beets can one eat? How many pickled beets can one eat? And even if you put them in a soup where they're not the "main event", they turn the whole thing purple, as if to say, "Ha-ha, thought you could push me out of the spotlight, did you! Well, I'm beets and I'm here!" I feel like beets are constantly mocking me; they even dyed the inside of my dishwasher pink.

Well then, why not learn how to make borscht? I always did love dill, and the stuff is so darn pretty. My little beet adventure ended pretty well, and I used the water left over from boiling the beets to make beet kvass, which was also delicious. I'm actually drinking some as I write this, though the borscht is long gone.

Borscht is supposed to be made with yogurt and sour cream, but I made mine with goat yogurt and vegan sour cream. If you're a bigger fan of cow's milk than I am, go ahead and make it the "real" way. If you're someone who was lucky enough to have tried some of this borscht I made and want it to taste exactly the same, follow the recipe.


-2 lbs. beets, peeled and diced. I used a mixture of red and golden. The red ones will make everything so pink that it won't matter.
-2 cups chicken broth
-1 cup water reserved from boiling beets
-1 12oz container vegan sour cream (I use Tofuitti "better than sour cream"), reserve a little for serving
-1/2 cup goat yogurt
-juice of one lemon
-a splash of vinegar
-2 medium-sized cucumbers, chopped
-3 green onions, chopped
-lots of fresh dill; you'll need it for mixing as well as garnishing
-salt and pepper to taste.


Boil a large pot of water. Cook beets for about 25 minutes until tender. Strain the beets and let them cool, reserve about 1 cup of the water for the recipe, use the rest for kvass or to water your plants : )

Mix together beet liquid, chicken broth, yogurt, sour cream, vinegar and lemon juice until blended. Add remaining ingredients, reserving some sour cream, dill and green onion for garnishing. Let sit in the fridge for a couple hours or overnight. This is how other recipes tell you to do it, but I ate some immediately because I didn't want to wait. It was delicious, of course.

Garnish with sour cream, green onions, lots of fresh dill and don't forget to take a pretty picture of this crazy pink stuff.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Pork Jowl & Kimchi Burger with Pecorino Cheese

Yum yum summery! I knew absolutely nothing about cooking with pork jowl until very recently when a former roommate moved out and left some in the freezer. Combine that with some kimchi I got for free at work (best job ever) and you get this little guy (okay, maybe not so little). This burger is a real treat.

Recipe serves 2.

For the hamburger:

-1/2 pound ground beef
-1 egg 
-1/2 of a small onion, chopped
-1 clove garlic, chopped
-salt and pepper

Other things you'll need:

-6oz. pork jowl, cut into thick strips
-kimchi, amount to taste
-a few strips pecorino cheese, cut into strips like the pork jowl
-cilantro to taste (totally optional, but it's in the picture).
-2 whole wheat hamburger buns

Cook the pork jowl, preferably in a cast iron skillet until it curls up, is really crispy and cooked all the way through. Meanwhile, make the hamburger patties.

Mix all ingredients except egg in a bowl. Crack the egg into the hamburger and mix gently. Form into patties.

Cook the patties in the skillet, unless of course you have a barbecue. Maybe some day I'll have one. Pecorino is a pretty hard cheese so it's best to put the slices on the patties while they're still cooking, soon before you take them off if you want the cheese to be melty.

I don't think I have to tell you how to make a hamburger. Put the stuff on the bun and eat it. Who's a big boy?!?!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Yellow Split Pea Soup with Cilantro, Walnut & Pecorino Pesto

Hello and happy summer, it's been a while I know.

Here's a question: Lentils and split peas, are they warm or cold weather food? There are good arguments in favor of both, but we've had a weird, indecisive month of June so far anyway here in the Bay Area, so here we go with some split pea soup.

For the soup:

-2 cups yellow split peas
-8 cups broth, vegetable or chicken
-1 small, diced onion
-2 colves garlic
-1 pinch saffron threads
-Optional: 1 Persian black dried lime (Omani), chopped
-Sumac for topping (optional but highly recommended)
-salt and pepper to taste

For the Pesto:
-1 bunch Cilantro
-1/4 cup olive oil
-1/2 cup chopped Pecorino cheese
-3/4 cup chopped walnuts
-3/4 cup water
-1 clove garlic, diced
-salt and pepper to taste

Make the soup:

Heat some olive oil in your soup pot, cook the onions until translucent, add the garlic until fragrant. Season with salt & pepper.

Pour in stock, stir and add split peas and black lime, if using. Cover, turn down heat and simmer for about 45 minutes.

Add saffron, cook more until done, about 10 more minutes. Taste and season if Needed.

Make the Pesto:

Blend all ingredients. Taste, season if needed, add more water if needed for texture.

Top soup with pesto and sprinkle with Sumac.

And of course, enjoy.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Chocolate Cake with chocolate Ganache Layer, Salted Caramel petal icing

How do you make a petal cake? It's easy but takes forever, at least for noobs like me.

Check out the icing method here.

I had to keep putting mine back in the fridge to harden because of all the caramel in the icing.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Corned Beef Hash with Poached Eggs

Before we get into this recipe, I just want to let you know it's a complete coincidence that I'm posting this on March 18th, the day after St. Patrick's day. Nope, nothing to do with it at all. Anyway...

Like many of my posts, the idea for this one comes from my mother and me growing up surrounded by her cooking genius. And I say this really nice, flattering thing about her both because it's true and because I'm about to say something that might sound like an attempt to discredit her, even though it's not:

Corned beef hash is easy as...well, you know.

It's another one of those things I saw my mom do when I was young and thought "wow, that's so complicated and hard! I bet I'll never be able to do that."

I mean, of course it will be a lot more labor-intensive and time consuming if you brine and spice your own corned beef, but that's not what I'm talking about here. Maybe future post, but not now, please, I'm tired. Zzzzz....

Recipe for 2 people

You will need:


-1 large red potato, skin on, thinly sliced for quick boiling
-4 big strips cooked corn beef, preferably cold for easy slicing
-1/2 small onion, chopped
-pinch salt
-pinch lemon pepper
-1 Tbsp. olive oil for cooking

Poached Eggs:

-4 eggs
-2 Tbsp. Vinegar
-Medium-sized pot
-slotted spoon or frying basket with handle

Make the hash:

In a medium-sized pot, bring water to a boil and add potatoes, once it starts to boil again turn heat to low and simmer until fork-tender, 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, dice cold corned beef.

When potatoes are done, drain water from pot, heat oil in a skillet and add onions until fragrant. Add potatoes and cook until they start to form that awesome brown crust that corned beef hash simply must have. Add corned beef, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Once the beef is warmed and the hash is well-combined, turn off heat.

Meanwhile, boil water in medium pot, turn down to just barely boiling and add vinegar. Crack eggs, one at a time into a ladle or cup and add to pot. Once all 4 eggs are added, remove pot from heat, cover and let sit 4-6 minutes, depending on how runny you like your yolks.

Serve hash topped with eggs to let the yolks run down into it and make everything all yummy and awesome and stuff.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sweet Pea Fettucine Carbonara

I used to think there were very few people out there who didn't know what pasta carbonara was. It's on ever menu at every chain Italian place, and even Quizno's has it in a sandwich. Not surprising at all, because really, what's not to like about it? It's bacon and white sauce. Everything human beings are hard-wired to crave all rolled up into one.

I used to think there were very few people out there who didn't know what carbonara was until I tried to make it myself and discovered I didn't even know what it was.

(^ Hey look, I made an Italic letter I that looks exactly like the one on the button you push to change to Italic font. Ha. Ha. Ha.)

Anyway, I had no idea there were eggs in it, or that you're supposed to throw raw eggs into the pasta at the very end and scramble it all around to cook it.

I got this sweet pea Fettucine for free at work and thought, hmmm, what's good with peas? Why bacon, of course! And again, not surprisingly, I ended up at carbonara. A lot of people like peas in their carbonara, but here the peas are in the pasta.

I understand that not everyone has access to freshly-made sweet pea-flavored Fettucine, so sorry for being a show-off. Regular Fettucine and peas will work just fine.

You will need:

-12 oz. Fettucine
-5 strips bacon, chopped
-1 onion, chopped
-2 eggs
-2/3 cup half and half
-1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
-salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a skillet, cook bacon and onions until bacon is crunchy.

Meanwhile, scramble together eggs, Parmesan, and half & half with the salt and pepper, set aside.

Cook pasta in boiling, salted water until "al dente" (nice and chewy, not too soft). This should be about 8 minutes for hard pasta, 90 seconds for fresh pasta.

As soon as pasta is done, drain water from pot, pour egg mixture over hot noodles and stir vigorously to keep from scrambling the eggs while still cooking them with the heat from the noodles and pot.  You're done when the noodles are coated in a thick white sauce. This should take a minute or less.

Top with bacon and onion mixture, sprinkle with more Parmesan cheese.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Currant Challah French Toast with Banana and Salal Berry Jam

Salal berries are new to me and I have to say they're very special! They're forest berries native to the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia. BC is where I first encountered them while visiting a friend there, we gathered them in the woods first thing in the morning to have with our breakfast yogurt. So even though it was sad to come home to Northern California where there are no Salal berries to be found, it was okay because I found some home-made Salal jam at a farmer's market on our last day, and they didn't even take it away at the border. Yes!

I hope you enjoyed that little story, but this post is much more about Challah. It's no secret that it makes the most excellent French Toast outside of...France, I guess.

My friend from work made me a small loaf of currant Challah, and right away I knew exactly what to do with it. Glad I did, too, because too many times I've taken a loaf home with the intent to do this and just end up eating it plain with my morning coffee. Which isn't so bad, is it?

(makes 8-9 slices)

-8 slices currant Challah bread (or you can use any Challah bread)
-2 eggs
-1/2 cup milk
-1 Tbsp. Honey
-pinch salt
-2 Tbsp. Butter
-ground Cinnamon

In a pie tin, scramble together eggs, milk, honey and salt, add the cinnamon to taste. Soak four slices of Challah in the egg mixture while you melt 1/2 Tbsp. butter in a skillet.

Turn the slices over to let the egg mixture soak a little more before dropping the Challah slices into the pan. Brown them on both sides while you soak the remaining slices of bread.

You should be able to do this in 2-3 batches, depending on how big your skillet is. If you have a griddle, you might be able to do all of them at once. That would sure be nice (I don't have a griddle).

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Polenta with Swiss Chard and Dinosaur Kale

If you get in your time machine and go back a couple years to some of my old posts (not something I recommend) you'll probably find some ever-so-witty musings over dinosaur kale and its silly name and how it looks like something from prehistoric times or how I wish to gobble it up like a ravenous Triceratops. Well, years later I'm much more familiar with the stuff so don't worry, I'll spare you the cheesy dino jokes.

Speaking of cheesy (sorry, I just can't help myself), what dish tastes even better with a big ol' smattering of parmesan cheese on top? Umm, duh! Every single one, especially polenta.

I recently started getting a bi-weekly CSA and it's been forcing me to cook again, and so I was like, okay, why not start blogging again? Because I'm lazy and useless? I guess that wasn't a good enough reason because here I am blogging again. *blogblogblog*

The chard, kale and green onions came in my first CSA pickup, and the tomato sauce is, oh my gosh, out of a jar because I have a life. So there.

You can't really see it in the picture because it's all covered by beautiful green veggies and tomato sauce but there's polenta under there, I promise.

Here's what you'll need:

Serves 2 people

-1 cup cooked soft polenta, still hot
-1/2 bunch Swiss chard
-1/2 bunch dinosaur kale
-2 green onions, chopped
-1/2 cup your favorite tomato pasta sauce
-Parmesan cheese
-olive oil for drizzling

Chop the kale and chard, steam them together for about 3 minutes.

Divide the polenta into two bowls, top with tomato sauce, then mixed kale and chard, then green onions, then parmesan. Drizzle with olive oil and that's it.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Savory Bread Pudding

These were my first successful new invention at work. I wanted to post a picture because I'm so freakin' proud of them, but I'm still not sure if I want to post a recipe or not, because they're my babies. Weird I know, I've obviously never had a problem wanting to share recipes in the past. See: the entire concept and reason I started this blog.

Maybe later.

Pictured clockwise from top right: bacon, bacon mushroom, and vegetarian potato. All have gouda cheese, kale, purple onions and a hint of jalapeƱo heat.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Because what the Internet really needs is more French Macarons

For the past ten months, I have been working in a bakery doing various things (even inventing some of my own goods!), but mostly making French Macarons!

I'm one of the few awesome smartphone-free people left in the world...I mean, the San Francisco Bay Area, so I haven't really taken any pictures of my Macs (my phone camera sucks).

So the other day I brought my camera to work and did a little sesh with my cute little guys. Allow me to introduce them, from left to right:

Lemon, peanut butter, coconut blossom (rum, orange blossom water and coconut), chocolate, and avocado on top.

Lesson learned: I had freakin' better bring my camera to work more often!

Favorite Buttermilk Pancake Recipe...Ever!

Growing up, pancakes were the stuff of yellow boxes with blue lettering. Somehow I had made it all the way to young adulthood having never made pancakes from scratch, so naturally when I started trying, I discovered the "simple" breakfast flapjack was far from simple. As it turned out, I messed up almost every batch I made!

I guess I should have read a little more carefully as I have the tendency to skim over recipes rather than really soak them in...hmmm...maybe I need to get this notion out of my head that I'm, like, so good I don't need recipes because they're for people who don't know how to cook and blah blah blah.

So I stopped and went, wait a minute girl, you've never made pancakes that didn't come out of a box! Try a little humility, hey?

I know it's been shouted over and over from every mountain top from here to Pluto since the beginning of pancake-making time, but seriously, don't over-stir the batter! If it freaks you out to see all those lumps, just smash them with your finger after you pour the batter on the griddle.

Here's  the recipe that's been working consistently for me. I use whole wheat flour though, because it tastes better and it's healthier!