Nov 292012

Since I was so excited with my sea bass steamed with lemon and thyme, I thought that steaming with a semi deconstructed Pico de Gallo might be good. Trading in the lemon for lime, thyme for cilantro, bell peppers for tomatoes and adding a little chopped red onion. I was happy with the results, but wish I had some fried plantains to accompany it!

Deconstructed Pico de Gallo

Steamed Sea Bass with Deconstructed Pico de Gallo

Steamed Sea Bass with Deconstructed Pico de Gallo


Pre Heat Oven 400 Degrees

Now I made this just for one. It is a great meal to pull together if eating on your own.

1 4 oz. fillet of Sea Bass

1/2 a tomato chopped or about 4 baby plum tomatoes cut in half

1/4 of a small red onion chopped

3 Slices of Lime about 1/4 of an inch thick

1 tablespoon of Clinatro

1 tablespoon of Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

1 Piece of Parchment paper and kitchen string

On the parchment paper mix together tomatoes, onions, and cilantro. Place sliced limes on top  of the pico de gallo and fillets on top of limes. Salt and Pepper and drizzle with Olive Oil. Gather parchment paper together and tie with kitchen string place of a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.



Nov 232010

I think brussel sprouts are like diamonds in the ruff! There are so many different variations and additions that can be added to them. I was going to pre thanksgiving holiday party and said I would bring brussel sprouts, because recently I had been ordering them often when out.  Now, I had never cooked brussel sprouts but I thought if I said I would bring them, I would have to learn how to prepare them! Luckily a friend of mine was over who was a pro and was able to help me out!

Brussel Sprouts

2 lbs. of Brussel Sprouts

1/3-Cup Balsamic Vinegar

3 Tablespoons of Brown Sugar

1 Granny Smith Apple (diced into ½ inch cubes)

½ -2/3 Cup of Chopped Pistachios

¼ Cup of Olive Oil


Preheat Oven 425

Cut the root part of the brussel sprouts off, and take away outer leaves, if looking a little wilted. Cut in half and place head down on baking sheet. Drizzle sprouts with olive oil and salt evenly. Place in oven for about 20 minutes.

While sprouts are cooking in a saucepan cook sugar and vinegar down until is has reduced by half. After brussel sprouts have been cooking for about 20 minutes take them out and toss with the balsamic reductions and place back in the oven for another 5-7 minutes. Finish by taking them out of the oven and tossing with the apple and pistachios and ready to serve.

Now for the holiday my sister is serving Brussel Sprouts and she is steaming then and then frying them with pancetta and serving. I also just had them fried and tossed with Parmesan cheese. There are many fun options for this underestimated veggie.

Hope you have a happy Thanksgiving!!!

Nov 232010

Safety First!

photo (1)

This past weekend, a friend of mine learned the horrible lesson, even if an appliances is off it needs to be unplugged. She was making a ricotta spread and got a clump stuck in the blade.  While getting something out of the blade of the Emulsion Blender, the blade activated.  This lead to the two of us spending the evening at the ER instead of indulging in the ricotta spread. Luckily, only five stitches were needed!

Just a reminder to always unplug electronics, especially when there are blades involved!

 Posted by at 10:35 pm
Oct 132010

I recently went to a cocktail party where the hostess had served roasted figs in balsamic vinegar and honey. They were delicious.  The presentation looked so warm and welcoming. She paired it with roasted almonds and blue cheese with slices of bread. The flavors were amazing. This was something that was a simple to prepare and wonderful to serve to a large or small group as the weather is starting to turn colder.

Figs 1

Figs 2

1o Figs – cut in half and take the stems off

6 Tablespoons of Balsamic  Vinegar

2 Tablespoons of Honey

2 Tablespoons of Sugar

1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon

2 Teaspoons Olive Oil

Pre Heat Oven at 350

On a jelly role sheet (a cookie sheet with sides) or baking dish place cut figs. In a saucepan heat 3 tablespoons of Vinegar, Honey, Sugar Cinnamon, and Olive Oil and cook until simmering. Evenly cover the figs with the sauce and place in oven for 30 minutes then take out every 10 minutes and brush with vinegar. Take out when figs are nice and tender! Ready to serve.

Things that are paired well with Figs: Almonds, Anise, Blue Cheese, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Goat’s Cheese, Hard Cheese, Hazelnut, Mint, Orange, Prosciutto, Raspberry, Soft Cheese, Vanilla, and Walnut.

 Posted by at 9:02 pm
Sep 202010

I am back!! Over the past months, I have thought a lot about my blog but, to be honest, lacked the inspiration/hope,  felt that there were just so many blogs out there, and that cooking was some fad. But, I realize I have always been happiest in the kitchen, whether cooking for myself or for people I love.  My personality has always been an open book, so I will continue to share my thoughts and what I find interesting with anyone who is interested in reading.

What have I been up too? Outside of my cooking, I have been working on mastering knitting, becoming more comfortable with my sewing machine, and trying to finish the needlepoint I started making for my sister’s wedding three years ago. (I thought I should finish it before her baby comes in January!!)Chicken Payard

Along with many hours spent in the friendly skies.  In the kitchen, I have been interested in flavor pairings and pasta. I love pasta and restaurants make it look so easy, so I thought it would be fun to start making my own pastas and working on sauces. And I was correct — I have had a lot of fun working on my pasta! What fun it would be to do a course on Pastas and Gelatos in Italy….Oh, how a girl can dream!

As some know, I have a tendency to be a little over the top. When I entertain, I make three sauces instead of one. I just get so excited to cook for others that I get carried away. But then there are times when I keep it simple, and am so delighted by the result. Chicken Paillard is one of my favorite dishes to order. It is clean and simple, with so many simple variations. Recently, I made it and served it with: Slow roasted Tomatoes, (or speed the roasting and just increase the temperature) Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Mixed Greens with a Lemon Vinaigrette, and a Lemon Wedge. Everything, except searing the chicken, could be done in advance and served at room temperature.

To make the Chicken Paillard

Take a boneless skinless chicken breast and pound it out until it is about 1/3 inch thick, salt and pepper both sides. This can be done  earlier covered and place in fridge. Heat frying pan with a little bit of vegetable oil and cook chicken both sides about 1-2 minutes on each side. Now it is ready to be served. Perfectly simple and something that everyone will enjoy! This dinner was finished with chocolate sundaes. To make them a little more exciting,  I went to a local ice cream store where they make fresh waffle cones and bought four waffle cups!

Mar 022010

I’m not done!

I received an email a few weeks ago from a reader who wanted to vent and thought this blog would be a good place to express his frustration. I was happy to receive his email and upon reading his email, I could not agree more with his annoyance.

He was frustrated that when he goes out to dinner his plate is cleared while other people at the table are still eating. That in fact it is quite rude to clear a plate while others are still eating.  It makes for an awkward eating environment, forcing people to think they either ate to fast, or ate too slow, and should be rushed. My other personnel frustration is when a plate is taken away from you and you haven’t finished eating!  I thought, I would write about it more for food for thought and then look at how to let people know you are in fact finished. Also different cultures have different ways of letting you know when they are done.  Please let me know of any other specific cultural tradition and if you have a frustration like this to vent. I would love to hear.

I know there are many times, I take a break while I am eating. Please see the illustration below showing how your fork and knife should be place to indicate that you are not done yet. Knife and fork are criss-crossed at 8 and 4 if your plate is a clock face.



Okay now I am done. Knife should be placed turned inward and the fork is resting next to it. Using the analogy of the plate being the face of a clock, knife and fork are resting at 5 in the direction of 11. In British culture the fork is face up.



Most importantly plates should not be cleared until everyone has finished.

Asian Cultures

When eating food served in bowl with a lid, replace the lid on the bowl when you have finished.

When you have finished your meal, place your chopsticks on the chopstick rest when provided as they were when you started. If there is no rest make one with the chopstick wrapper.

Illustration Credit: Ask and about Clothes

Feb 122010

Sugar Cookies

Here is a great classic recipe for a simple rolled cookie. Yes, any cut out cookie does take a little bit more work than a drop cookie. One way I cut a corner with these cookies is that instead of frosting them, I just dipped them half in chocolate. I found this fabulous sparkle plate at TARGET. I was so excited I bought 8.

Preheat Oven to 375

1/3 Cup of Butter

1/3 Cup of Shortening/Crisco

¾ Cup of Sugar

2 Teaspoons of Vanilla

1 Egg

4 Teaspoons of Milk

2 Cups of Flour

2 Teaspoons of Baking Powered

In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter, Crisco, sugar, and vanilla. Flowed by adding the egg and whipping until light and fluffy. Mix in the milk and then stir in the flour and baking powder.  Divide batter into three equal parts and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

On a floured Surface roll out one of the parts of dough to about 1/8th inch. With a cookie cutter cut the dough with the cutter and place on baking sheet. Bake for 6 minutes.

You can eat them as is, sprinkle with sprinkles before baking, ice after being cooled or dip them in melted chocolate as I did.

Feb 032010


I can remember the first time I had a Croque Monsieur vividly. I was 8 years old, had just moved to Tokyo with my family, and come back from school orientation and while waiting for my mother in lobby seating area my father ordered one for us. He was so excited to see it on the menu. I think to this day it is still the best croque monsieur; I have ever had. Recently, in the past year I have been on the quest to find one that compares. I have found one that competes but thought I would indulge and try it on my own.  I have seen them cut up small and served as hors d’ oeuvres. Which I think is an awesome idea.

What makes this different from just a ham and cheese sandwich? The Bechamel Sauce.  I never would have thought to put a sauce in a sandwich, but oh how it makes it delicious!

Pre Heat 350 degrees

Croque Monsieur

4 slices of Sandwich Bread

4 ounces of Slice Ham

1 1/4 Cup of Grated Gruyere Cheese

1/4 Cup of Grated Parmesan Cheese

2 Tablespoons of Butter

1 Tablespoon of Dijon Mustard (optional)

5 to 6 Tablespoons of Bechamel Sauce (See Below)

Lightly and evenly butter on both sides of bread and toast both sides in saute pan over low heat until just golden brown. If you decide to use Dijon Mustard spread one side of each toasted slice with mustard. Evenly place the ham slices and about ½ cup Gruyere cheese on two of the bread slices. Top each with one of remaining bread slices, mustard-side down. Spread bechamel sauce to cover the top of each sandwich including the crust. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining Gruyere cheese and Parmesan Cheese. Place on a pan and bake for  5 minutes, then place under broiler until cheese is bubbling and lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

Bechamel Sauce

1 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoons flour

½ cups warmed milk a plus 1 Tablespoon

Salt and ground pepper to taste

1/4 Cup of Grated Gruyere Cheese

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit, about 2 minutes, do not let it turn brown. Add the hot milk, continue to stir, the sauce will thicken and bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper, lower the heat, and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in the Gruyere Cheese.

Jan 212010

Beef B

Julia Child’s Beef/Boeuf  Bourguignon

I saw Julie and Julia the first day it came out. I don’t think, I was the only person that was then intrigued to make Beef Bourguignon and see what all the fuss is about. I made this recently, on a cold snowy night. This is the perfect dish for this kind of evening. While making it I did not understand why there was all this fear in making the Beef Bourguignon. I think the fear comes from the fact that there are multiple steps and it takes a long time to cook. Also you do need a Dutch Oven to make this dish. Since it was the holiday season, I saw it as an excuse for me to finally buy one. This is something that could be made the day before and I think,  actually tastes better the next day. Also a perfect dish to entertain with in the winter since it can be made ahead. It is very hardy.

6 oz Bacon (cut into pieces ¼ inch thick and 1½ inches long)

1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil

3 lbs of Lean Stewing Beef (cut into 2 inch cubes and pat dry)

Slice Carrot  I used 4 carrots and would suggest maybe 6

1 sliced Onion

1 Teaspoon of Salt

¼ Teaspoon of Pepper

2 Tablespoons of Flour- I used 3 to 4 tablespoons

3 Cups of Full-bodied Red Wine

2 to 3 Cups of Beef Stock

1 Tablespoon of Tomato Paste

2 gloves of Mashed Garlic

½ Teaspoon of Thyme

A Crumbled Bay Leaf


24 Small White onions

1 lb of Fresh Mushrooms


Preheat Oven 450 Degrees


Simmer bacon for 10 minutes, and then drain water and pat try. In Dutch Oven/Casserole Fireproof Dish saute the bacon and olive oil for 3 minutes. Remove bacon and set aside. Heat oil and saute beef until browned, do this a few pieces at a time and when browned on all sides with bacon. In the same fat brown all of the vegetables (except small white onions and mushrooms). Once vegetables are lightly browned, pour out the sauteing fat. Return the beef and bacon to Dutch oven and toss with salt, pepper, and flour and place in oven for 4 minutes. Remove from oven and toss again and return to oven for 4 minutes. (This browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust).

Reduce Oven heat to 325

Stir in the wine and enough stock so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, and herbs. Bring to a simmer on the stove. Then cover the dish and place in oven for 2.5 to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

Boil the Small White Onions and then remove skins after cooked from onions. Cut Mushrooms into quarters and saute.

When ready to serve distribute the onions and mushrooms over the meat.