A Simple Salad for a Crazy Good Life

17 May

Since becoming a Mom, I have found it extremely important to find recipes that are simple and healthy. As parents, we need our strength and energy! I have found making salads is where it’s at. It’s a simple formula really – greens, protein, fat and color (sometimes I add in a nut and a fruit). This last week I made a chicken salad with avocado, bacon, cherry tomatoes and a dijon dressing. So easy and soooo yummy! I make this type of salad at least once a week. I can buy the ingredients a day or two in advance and boom – dinner is ready!

This yummy salad is low carb, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and soy-free for people with food allergies – but totally full of flavor!

This recipe makes 2 full entree salads…

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6-8 (or more!) slices center-cut bacon, diced
  • 2 boneless, trimmed skinless chicken thighs (4 oz each)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp mild jerk seasoning
  • 3 cups chopped romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1/2 cup baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 avocado – halved and then sliced

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

FullSizeRender (1)

 

  • Cook bacon in a large heavy nonstick skillet until crispy, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel to drain and set aside.
  • Drain the fat but don’t wipe the skillet, leaving any excess oil in the pan to cook the chicken.
  • Season chicken with salt and jerk seasoning, cook in the skillet over medium-high heat until golden and cooked through, about 5 minutes on each side.
  • Make a bed of the romaine and arugula in a large serving bowl or platter (or divide between 2 plates/bowls). Scatter the cherry tomatoes, avocado and bacon on top.
  • Slice the chicken thighs and add to the salad.
  • To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl whisk the ingredients. Pour over the salad and serve right away.

Enjoy!

 

Hot August Nights

7 Jul

I am excited to announce that my second Cookapp Dinner Event has been posted! Reserve your seat today!

Check out the menu below:

Appetizers
Smoked Salmon Burrata Crostinis
Crisp Apple and Prosciutto Skewers

First Course
Heirloom Caprese Salad
Chilled Avocado Soup

Main Course
Roasted Chicken with Clementines, Fennel and Ouzo
Israeli Couscous with Cherries and Arugula

Dessert
Semolina, Coconut and Marmalade Cake with Ice Cream

Wine and Beer will be available with dinner, but feel free to BYOB :)

 

Come on over and enjoy an evening filled with tasty food and good company. I have chosen a menu of some of my favorite dishes. All will leave your belly full and soul happy. Feel free to bring a friend, date or just yourself. If everyone is up for it – we can also finish the night with some really fun board games!

Cocktail hour is from 6:00 – 7:00
Dinner from 7:00 – 10:00

Be prepared to walk up a flight on stairs to get to the front door. Street parking available.

Roasted Chicken with Fennel and Citrus

Alameda Comfort Food

16 Jun

Wow! It has been a loooong time since I have made a post on here. Things have been extremely busy on my end. I have gotten a new job and engaged since my last post!!

I have a new adventure coming up too… a new one in food. I am a Cookapp Chef! Cookapp is this cool new app that allows you to host dinner parties for people in your area. Mike and I love meeting new people and cooking… so we thought this would be a lot of fun. I am hosting my first event June 28th!

I hope you guys can come! Enjoy a fantastic evening of fun, laughter and as always – great food.

Below is the menu…

Ribs

Cocktail Hour
Assorted Cheeses – Humboldt Fog, Honey Bee Gouda and Truffle Tremor
Berry Vodka Gelees
Corpse Reviver #2-Gin, Lemon Juice, Lillet Blanc, Triple Sec and a dash of Absinthe. (1 cocktail per person)

Starters
Escarole Salad with Horseradish and Capers
Burrata with Olive Oil and Fresh Cracked Pepper

Main Course
Slow-Cooked Short Ribs with Gremolata
Roasted Potatoes with Preserved Lemon

Dessert
Classic Crème brûlée

Beverages
Beer and wine will be offered with dinner, but you are welcome to bring other drinks you may like.

Braised Rabbit in White Wine, Mustard and Thyme

15 Oct

A couple of weeks ago, I ran into an old friend/cooking teacher – Chef MikeC and, now new friend, Chef Mark Dessert (I know right!! Fantastic last name! for a chef!) I got so excited that I wanted to have them over for dinner. I knew right then and there I had to make something that I had never made before… what a perfect opportunity to learn something new! So I thought to make Rabbit.

I immediately called the butcher I usually go to – Baron’s Meat and Poultry but they didn’t have the rabbit I needed… so I then started to ask around to figure out plan B. I was directed to go to The Local Butcher Shop. I love it there! The people that work there are so nice and wonderful. I will definitely be going back.

The rabbit we cooked that night was amazing. So tender, juicy… flavorful… wonderful! I loved cooking this too. It was so easy and I was able to leave in on the stove and go entertain my friends. This was the perfect meal on a nice Saturday night. We served it with garlic confit mashed potatoes and a fresh green salad. I paired the rabbit with a nice oaky Chardonnay from Deerfield Winery.

BraisedRabbit

Rabbit

Adapted from Simply Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 1 rabbit – about 3 pounds, cut into serving pieces (I get my butcher to cut it up for me)
  • Salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups of white wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup whole grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Take out your rabbit 30 minutes prior to cooking – you want your rabbit to be at room temperature. Put salt and pepper on your rabbit.

Melt the butter in a pan and brown the rabbit – about 4 minutes on each side. You might want to do this in batches – you don’t want to crowd the pan! Once the rabbit has browned, remove from the pan and put into a bowl. Sauté the shallots until golden brown and fragrant.

Add the white wine to the pan, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan (makes it more flavorful!) Add the mustard, thyme, and water. Bring to a boil. At this point, taste the sauce and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Add the rabbit pieces to the pan – coat the rabbit with the sauce. Drop the heat to medium/low and cover for 45 minutes. You want the meat to be super tender and basically fall off the bone. You might need to extend the time to 1 hour, but not much more. Wild rabbits sometimes need more time.

When the rabbit is done, remove the rabbit and place on a heated platter. Turn the heat back up to reduce the sauce about half. Turn off the heat and add the cream. Stir to combine. Pour sauce over the rabbit and serve.

With side dishes and a 3.3 pound rabbit, I was able to feed 6 people. We also served burrata with some bread.

My soul was extremely happy that night. Warmed by wonderful food and great company.

A Little More than just Tortilla Soup

1 Oct

So much has happened in the last week! Which is why I haven’t been posting as much lately… but that will all change… meaning – I will be posting more on a regular basis again.

I started off last week with a presentation to my Lean In group, at my old job, on how to face your fears (whether is it with your personal life or at work), and to take the opportunity to Lean In. The presentation I did was one of the more nerve wracking things I’ve had to do in my career. I am really happy I did it… but I am also thankful it’s over with. Right after that I got sick. Soar throat… stuffy nose… a little cough. Luckily, I wasn’t sick for too long and I was healthy again by the end of the week. Friday night I went to the FAAS third annual After The Ball fundraiser – which was fantastic. Great company and wonderful wines (of course)

Saturday was a super special day for me. Not only was this the weekend in between my last and new job… but I had a one on one with none other than the wonderful Joyce Goldstein. We sat in her living room… had some cappuccino and pastries and talked about food and what advice she has for me for my future. It was dreamy and made me feel so inspired. I have a new future and I feel fantastic right now. That evening was also extremely inspiring and FUN! Chef MikeC and Mark Dessert came over to make dinner with Mike and I. We had a blast. We braised some rabbit with white wine, grain mustard and fresh thyme. Chef MikeC and Mark Dessert made some garlic confit mashed potatoes and a fresh corn, radish salad with a simple vinaigrette. My stomach and soul were warmed and content. I couldn’t have been happier.

I leave you today with one of my favorite cold weather recipes… now that fall is upon us. I learned this back in college and it has always been a staple in my life.

ChickenTortillaSoup

Ingredients

1 onion – chopped
5 cloves of garlic – minced
1 jalapeño
2 ears of fresh corn (white or yellow) – cut off of cobs, but save the cobs for later!
2-3 chicken thighs or 2 breasts – cut into cubes or shredded
1 28oz can of diced tomatoes
2 cans of black beans – drained
2 cans of pinto beans – drained
3-4 cups of chicken or vegetable stock (depending on how soupy you like it. I prefer mine more like a stew)
Salt and Pepper
4 TBSP Olive Oil

Garnish
Handful of cilantro – chopped
1 package of cheddar cheese
Sour cream or plain greek yogurt
Tortilla chips

1Cilantro
2BeansTomatoes
3Garnish
TortillaSoup

Salt and pepper the chicken and then brown the chicken in the bottom of a pot with some olive oil. Cook through and lightly browned. You might need to cook the chicken in separate batches to brown it properly. Once cooked, take out the chicken and put it in a separate bowl. Sauté the onion, garlic and jalapeño in the same pot with a little more olive oil and salt. Cook until fragrant and golden brown – about 8 minutes. Add the chicken back to the pot along with the can of tomatoes, pinto beans, black beans, corn AND the 2 corn cobs. Do a quick stir – then add the stock to the pot. Stir again. Adjust the salt and pepper to your liking. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes. Stirring occasionally.

You can serve this soup multiple ways. I like to serve my soup with a dollop of sour cream, a handful of cheese, and a big crumble of tortilla chips on top with some cilantro. I don’t make my bowl that soupy – but you can add more of the broth to your bowl if you want. I have also had this soup with out the garnishes and it is also fantastic. This makes SO MUCH SOUP! But it keeps nicely and you can always freeze it for a quick weekday meal down the road.

I hope you enjoy this. I love this soup and I hope you do too.

Thank you for your support!!

Grand Opening – Gary Francis Fine Art

24 Sep

Friends and family!
I would like to take a moment and invite you all to the grand opening night of Gary Francis Fine Art – right here in Alameda! Yours truly will be serving light bites. Some of which I have already shared on this blog! Plus some more amazing appetizers too! Come on by and check it out.

Transported
October 11th – 6-9pm
1419e Park Street, Alameda, California 94501

Below are some of the pieces that will be shown.

Art1 Art2 Art3 Art4
I am so excited for this event! Not only do I love Gary’s art (my entire living room has his art work in it), but this will be my first event that I will be providing food for.

Come on by – look at some great art and eat some tasty food… support your local businesses!

Thank you!!

Cooking with Morgan

19 Sep

Sometimes I want to cook a labor intensive meal… and other times I want to cook something tasty, but simple… and not from a recipe. Last night was one of those nights. I had my friend Devora over for dinner – I needed to do some serious catching up with this girl. I wanted to cook something simple and that didn’t require my attention too much. So what did I cook you may be asking yourself? A fresh veggie and sausage ragout over quinoa penne pasta. BTW – I am getting to know my DSLR camera… so bare with me on some of these images :)

VeggieAndSausageRagu
I used a basic tomato and basil sauce but added some fresh veggies – zucchini, onion, garlic, tomatoes, more basil, crimini mushrooms and some mild italian sausage. I also added some Rockwall Zinfandel… about a 1 1/4 cup of wine. I kind of just glugged it into the sauce.

This was a nice weekday meal. It was flavorful, healthy and simple to make.

I also served a caesar salad – with a fantastic dressing! Recipe here.

Remember last week I said I was going to make Cranberry-Pecan Cheese Wafers?! Well I did. They are fantastic!

CranberryPecanCheeseBiscuits
They don’t look as pretty as the picture… but they are yummy. Next time, I will add some lemon zest and maybe some sort of cream on top – greek yogurt? Crème fraîche? I will have to do some testing. (Thank you Devora for the tip!)

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped toasted pecans
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped sweetened dried cranberries (I also used dried pomegranate seeds and some other random dried fruit I had in my pantry)
  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 4 cups (16 oz.) freshly shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground red pepper
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Parchment paper

Boil the dried fruit in water for about 15 minutes. When done, drain and pat dry with a paper towel.

Beat the butter, cheese and salt in a stand mixer until blended. Gradually add the flour into the butter mixture. Then mix in the dried fruit and toasted pecans.

Shape dough into 4 (12-inch-long) logs. Wrap each log with plastic wrap and chill for 8 hours or over night.

Preheat oven to 350˚.  Cut each log into 1/4 inch pieces and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 13-15 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool for about 20 minutes and enjoy! Nom nom nom!

This recipe made sooooo much… I froze the other logs for later :)

Autumn is Coming Up!

17 Sep

My favorite season by far is Autumn. I love the weather, the wonderful smells in the air, the warm clothing, and the beautiful fall food! – Squash! *I’m doing a little squash dance… whatever that looks like*

I am sooo excited for the food I will be cooking… below is a list of food that I want to make… hopefully I will have enough time!

AcornSquash
Acorn Squash and Sweet Potato Soup from Tartelette

pumpkin-bars-cake
Pumpkin Bars/Cake from The Girl Who Ate Everything

squash-pizza
Roasted Butternut Squash Pizza from Taste for Adventure

pumpkin-quinoa-white-bean-chili
What the what?! Pumpkin Quinoa White Bean Chili from Allyson Kramer’s Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes

cheesecake6
Drooling… Pumpkin Cheesecake from Lick the Bowl Good

risotto
Last but not least – Butternut Squash Rissotto from The Pioneer Woman

Oh my… so many wonderful squash recipes. I could go on and on… but I think this is enough for now.

Is your mouth watering? Mine sure is. This year I am also going to experiment with different kinds of squash… for example… the sweet dumpling squash, fairytale pumpkin squash, carnival squash, and buttercup squash to name a few. What fun names those are too. Who gets to name these things? I want to do that!!

I am also looking forward to drinking spiced tea, pumpkin tea, hot cider (that tastes like apple pie with a little Tuaca – so yummy!). I really wish I had a fire place I could snuggle up to… a girl can dream right?

What are you looking forward to this fall? Or are you someone who doesn’t like this season? Please comment below – I’d love to hear from you.

Check out my first post on Kabocha Squash Tortellini  for some more inspiration.

Nectarine Almond Galette

16 Sep

NectarineGalette

Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen

 

This was the first time I had ever made a galette before… and I think I’ve found my new favorite dessert to make! This was relatively easy… and you can put any kind of fruit inside! I decided to put some beautifully sweet nectarines inside, with some figs on top. Next time I make this – I am going to leave out the figs. They were ok… didn’t add much to the dessert.

I served this with some Berkeley Bowl vanilla ice cream and some Dave’s Gourmet Ginger Peach hot sauce. Next time I think I will put the hot sauce on it all! It added a little more sweetness and a bit of heat – which was the perfect combo for this dessert.

The wonderful thing about galettes is that you can add any kind of fruit you want – plums, grapes, strawberries, cherries… you could even make a savory galette with tomatoes. The combinations are endless.

Enjoy!

  • 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 1 Tbsp. natural cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 4 oz. / 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut in cubes
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. yogurt (I used goat yogurt, use what you have)
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 3 Tbsp. ice water
  • 4 ripe, almost over ripe, nectarines
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp. of fresh orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp. unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup muscavado or natural cane sugar
  • 1 egg
  • splash of water
  • turbinado sugar, optional
  • 1 cup toasted almonds, chopped
  • vanilla bean ice cream, for serving

Combine the first 4 ingredients. Then work in the cold butter into the flower mixture with your hands. Work it until the butter is the size of small peas. In a small bowl mix the lemon juice, yogurt, extract and water together. Then add it to the flour-butter bowl – mix with your hands… be sure not to over mix! Shape the dough into a ball and wrap with plastic. Chill for about an hour in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 400˚. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the nectarines – about a 1/4 inch thick. Put the slices in a mixing bowl and add salt, orange juice, flour, nutmeg and muscavado and stir to combine.

When the dough is ready, lightly flour your working surface and roll out to about 12″ round. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet. Add the nectarine mixture in the middle – making sure you have about 2″ border of dough. Fold the dough towards the center – pleat the dough so it sticks together when baking. Also, don’t make the folds too thick.

Mix the egg and water together and brush onto the dough using a brush. Sprinkle some turbinado sugar on top. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Cooking times vary on your oven. When the galette is done, remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool before serving. Serve with some vanilla ice cream and a sprinkle of some toasted almonds.

Serves between 4-6.

Appetizers Galore

11 Sep

I love making appetizers… a lot of appetizers. I love the variety and the fun you can have with appetizers. Most of the ones I like to make are pretty simple, but pack a lot of flavor. The bites below are some of my favorites…

Crab, sun dried tomato and dill cracker bites… Image
Fresh Summer Rolls…
Image
One of my favorites… Lemon Blackberry Vodka Gelees (recipe)Image
Too many appetizers to name here – you get the idea :)Image
Another fan favorite – Goat Cheese stuffed Cherry Tomatoes. Just cut off the top and a little bit of the bottom, scoop out the insides and then fill with herbed goat cheese and drizzle a little balsamic vinegar and boom! You’ve got yourself a fantastic, easy appetizer.

The sandwich wraps are also pretty easy. Take a lavash wrap, use your favorite kind of spread. I used some plain goat cheese, avocado and fresh herbs, butter lettuce, dried cranberries, toasted walnuts and some salt and pepper. Image
These are also tasty little things too. Also, very simple… not much to look at – but I know I can improve on that. Next time!

Anywho… these are watermelon, prosciutto and manchego cheese bites! Maybe something green or more colorful on them next time? Cilantro? Chiffonade of some sage? Or maybe instead a drizzle of basil oil? So many choices!! Image
I am going to make these next – Cranberry-Pecan Cheese Wafers!Image
I will let you all know how these turn out. Until next time… have a wonderful night. Oh yeah, happy hump day.

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