Thursday, March 25, 2010


So I have this new thing. Every time I go to the grocery store I buy some new item I’ve never tried before. My approach at furthering my culinary education. First it was Leeks [they are great --- a fancy, easy to use onion --- great roasted] and this week I decided to check out Kale. Heard a lot of good stuff. “leafy, delicious, packed with nutrients” Alicia Silverstone was really into it on Oprah. But I am having some ish-ues [issues].

The texture is much more difficult than standard lettuce so you can’t just eat it like a salad. Tried one approach, cooking it like spinach and making a mushroom, kale, and feta omelet. Sounds amazing in theory right?! Except the kale still didn’t cook down like spinach --- was still pretty tough --- and I forgot I really don’t care for omelets, or eggs for that matter, so it was a total recipe fail.

I still have a hefty bunch of kale left in the fridge so I’m not giving up yet and hope to post a success story --- but if you have any advice let me know!

Monday, March 22, 2010


Everything is better to music --- including cooking --- and I wanted to share the music love:
  • Bulletproof by La Roux
  • Hey, Soul Sister by Train
  • Satisfy by Verdera
  • Kandi by OneEskimo
  • Don't Stop The Music by Jamie Cullum


Ok I'm excited about this one. My favorite thing @ PeiWei is the Spicy Chicken Salad and I feel like I just re-created it @ home and for way less money and calories.

1 chicken breast
Salt & Pepper
1/2 cucumber, lightly peeled, cut in half, and sliced
Lettuce: use whatever you have --- I just had iceberg b/c my spinach is bad [but ready to be cooked]. I also bought kale today. It is tough and not something you would necessarily only eat raw --- but chopped up and mixed with the iceberg was fantastic. [More to come on kale]
1/4 cup squeezed lime juice [roughly 2 limes]
1 tablespoon honey [orig. recipe called for sugar but that seemed aggressive so swapped w/ honey]
1 red jalapeno, seeded and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon Toasted Seasame Oil [Yup. Weird and random but it's only a few dollars @ Whole Foods --- we'll find more uses for it]

Tenderize the chicken and cut into 1/4 inch strips. Sprinkle with salt & pepper & paprika on one size. In skillet warm a few drizzles of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken up-side-down then sprinkle the naked side with salt & pepper & paprika. Cover and let cook for a minute. Flip a few times until browned and completely cooked through.
While chicken is cooking combine lime juice, honey, sesame oil, and jalapeno in a mixing cup and whisk.
On the plate add lettuce and top with the sliced cucumber then drizzle with the dressing. Add cooked chicken and enjoy!
Note: if too limey and needs a little more sweet sprinkle a tidge of splenda
[Options: I feel like toasted peanuts or almonds would be good on this to add a little more crunch and some thai flavor flav]


Literally you should never buy any kind of bagged lettuce again --- unless it is Spinach. I used to feel sad b/c the lettuce would always start to go bad before I was even close to finished with it --- but as soon as spinach leaves start to go bad --- you cook them! [I know...exciting]

Spinach leaves
1/4 red onion sliced thinly
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
Serving: 2x

In a small skillet heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium/high heat then add the sliced red onion. Move around with a wooden spoon, cooking for just a couple minutes until begins to get tender. Then shake in the balsamic vinegar --- a few shakes --- stirring the onions around until the soak up the vinegar and are coated.

Add a few handfuls of spinach leaves [spinach is deceiving and you always need way more handfuls than you think]. Add some salt and pepper and stir/fold the spinach around with the onions until it wilts.

Transfer to a plate and enjoy!

[Options: can skip the onions and just use lemon juice and soy sauce and top with feta once cooked so the cheese melts slightly. This would also be really good with dried cranberries mixed in.]


I've really gotten into "roasting" because it's either too cold or I'm too lazy to walk downstairs to the communal grills. And to be honest..."communal grills" sounds kinda nast and now I'm even less excited about them!

I made this up today and it was incred:

1 bunch of fresh asparagus stalks [quantity up to you]
Olive oil
Soy sauce
Vinegar [any kind...I think the kind I have in my pantry now is tarragon]
1 half of tomato quartered [completely un-necessary I just really like tomatoes and had one on the counter that was about to go bad]
Dried cranberries
Almonds, not whole and not sliced but the diced/chopped kind [also completely optional]

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the dry ends of the asparagus off and use a vegetable peeler to lightly peel the stalks. You don't have to go crazy...more like how you quickly peel a cucumber vs. a carrot. Peeling makes the "gus" [tired of typing asparagus] a little less bitter and less stringy. Spread in the bottom of a baking dish.

In a mixing cup add olive oil, vinegar, and soy sauce. You need roughly 1/4 cup of liquid to coat the stalks at roughly 50% oil, 25% vinegar, and 25% soy sauce. Throw in a little salt and pepper and whisk. Pour over gus.

Add the tomato to the baking dish and a handful of dried cranberries.

Throw in the oven for 15-20 minutes [or desired firm/tenderness --- I just did 15]

While baking, warm a small skillet to medium heat. Add a small handful of the almonds. As soon as they barely start to brown start swirling the skillet around to toast. If you don't keep an eye on them or keep them moving they will burn. Toast until brown then pour into a bowl and set aside. [Note: you do not need any oil or anything in the pan to toast the almonds]

Once the asparagus is cooked, plate and sprinkle the almonds on top.

[Options: Feta would be amazing on this I'm just trying not to dairy it up too much.]


So I have to give credit to Abby.Egan for this idea. After grilling out at her amazing house for "The Fence Party" [they had just installed a new fence] I saw a package of Jennie-O Italian Ground Turkey and she mentioned the original plan pre-grill out was to make turkey tacos.

So with that inspiration the next day I went home and made this:

1/2 package of ground turkey [I used the kind pictured and I know it says italian and this dish feels mexican but it works --- swear]
1 lime
Leftover Black.Bean.Salad.
Serving: ~4x

In a skillet over medium/high heat warm a drizzle of olive oil. Add ground turkey...pulling into little chunks as you drop it in vs. just dropping the whole strip in. Push around with a wooden spoon until browned...cover to heat all the way through...stirring every minute or so.

Trick from Abby...halfway through, dump out the "juice" in the sink to get rid of some of the fat...then continue cooking.

Once browned, add Black.Bean.Salad. Basically an even salad to turkey ratio. Heat until warmed. Squeeze lime over.

[Options: You can totally throw this into some wheat tortillas and serve taco style topped with lettuce and diced tomato and avocado. Or you can just eat it as is...which is so good.]


So because of my mom I've discovered the greatness that is the black bean. They are so good...and have lots of protein and fiber. [caveat: I am not even close to a nutritionist...all my information is based purely on nutrition labels and/or hearsay]

The following is for what I call...

::Black Bean Salad::


1 can of black beans rinsed and drained
1 red bell pepper [chopped]

1 green bell pepper [chopped]
1 lime
salt and pepper
1/4 to 1/2 red onion [chopped]
1 can of rotelle drained [spicy if you can handle it]
olive oil
chipotle tabasco

2 cloves of garlic
Servings: 4x


On medium/high heat drizzle in some olive oil and warm. Garlic press the garlic right into the pan and stir around for a few seconds then add the bell peppers and onions. Saute covered stirring fairly frequently until tender.

Shake in a few drizzles of the chipotle tabasco (roughly 5x), add the black beans, rotelle, and some salt and pepper.

Let simmer another minute or so until everything is warm, then squeeze in the lime and serve as a side dish.

[Options: Add diced avocado (yum) on top after plated or feel free to add a can of corn when adding the black beans.]


Here is the introduction to the recipes you will find and some of the basics needed:

[Kosher Salt]
Read once that all chefs have a "particular" salt preference that they stand by. Chefs are allegedly salt snobs. I'm using Kosher Salt currently. It's chunkier than regular table salt and I have no complaints except if doesn't really fit through the holes in my salt shaker. It's more of a "pinching salt" but I like it for cooking.

[Olive Oil]
This is the one and only oil I even have at my apartment. It's definitely known to be the healthiest and I have a soft spot for it after living in a Spanish household for six months where our Senora, Dona, included it in every meal...EVERY meal.

[Chipotle Tabasco]
This was a completely random buy that was called for in a recipe for turkey burgers (I'll post later) and I use it now all the time. Has a great smokey, spicy flavor.

[Garlic Press]
My dad bought me the best garlic press from Williams Sonoma for Christmas and I highly recommend it (pictured below). Garlic is difficult to chop finely and is smelly so it's nice to touch it as little as possible. This one works well and you just rinse it off and throw it back in the drawer when you are done.

[Cups, Tablespoons, Teaspoons, and Measuring in General]
This might get me in trouble here but I just eye-ball it. Literally just got mixing cups and spoons about a month ago on a trip to Target when the grandparents were in town. To be honest though, this is cooking not baking and you don't have to be's pretty hard to mess up but I'll try to include good descriptions.

[Serving Sizes]
As mentioned in About Me, I live alone so I'm definitely not cooking for a family of four. I'll try to specify how much the dishes make so you can increase or decrease as needed.

I'm laughing as I type this with my references to "you" as if I actually have readers/followers :)