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!!!

Sep 032009

Pesto Mashed Potatoes

This week I had the unpleasant experience of having my wisdom teeth taken out. I know, I am a little late since I think the average age of taking them out when they are 18 not 28. For the month prior I was teething which now I completely understand what toddlers are going through and have a new perspective. Now that I had to revert to eating mushy foods, I made in advance pre-surgery mashed potatoes. In true fashion I had to mess around with them a little and added some fresh pesto; I had gotten some basil at the Farmer’s market last weekend. Now I do love traditional mashed potatoes but this definitely was a fun twist to them and something I would enjoy every so often.



½ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

2 Cups of Fresh Basil Leaves

1/3 Cup of Toasted Pine Nuts

½ Cup of Olive Oil

1 tablespoon of Lemon Juice and 1-2 Teaspoons of Lemon Zest

I used my blender but a food processor would be better. Pulse together Basil and Pine Nuts (I chopped both before placing them into the blender) followed by Olive Oil, Parmesan Cheese, and Lemon Juice + Zest blend all ingredients together until smooth and looks like green pulp if it is too think add a little extra Olive Oil.

Mashed Potatoes

3 Russet Potatoes

½ Cup of Skim Milk

2 Tablespoons of Butter

Salt and Pepper

Peel the Potatoes and boil them until they are soft (a fork can easily puncture through). Remove potatoes from heat and water and place in a separate bowl. In a saucepan heat milk and butter once butter has melted add to potatoes and with a hand mixer whip the potatoes until fluffy and smooth. At this point add about ½ of the prepared pesto to start add more depending on how strong of a pesto taste desired.

Aug 042009


Recently, I was given some fresh garden picked string beans. Growing up string beans were a staple in our house, although we really only ever had them served one way, steamed. I thought I would make this more into a summer salad instead.

1 Lb. of String Beans (cleaned with ends cut)

1 Red Bell Pepper

1 Shallot

¼ Cup of Olive Oil

Juice from 1-2 Lemons

3 Teaspoons of Dijon Mustard

Salt and Pepper

Steam the string bean (about 2-3 minutes) and then quickly place in cold water to make sure they stop cooking. I chopped the Pepper finely but afterwards thought it would look nice if they were cut julienne style (thinly sliced lengthwise) and then chop the Shallot. In a small bowl mix together Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Mustard, and Salt & Pepper. (Start with one Lemon and then see if you need more and how much lemon you like- I am not a good gauge since I love LEMONS!) Now toss together dressing, string beans, shallots, and peppers. It also might be nice to add fresh tomatoes as tomato season is here. This is perfect for a summer BBQ!



Jun 012009



My apologies, the last entry had a some kind of computer glitch with only part of the entry. Here is the complete entry.


I love Chinese Chicken Salads, if on a menu I am always tempted to order it and look no further. The other thing that I love about them is that there are some underlying similarities but so many different kinds of variation that can be done. I think this is the perfect meal to have on a hot summer evening.

Ingredients to Cook Chicken

1 Tablespoon of Chopped Cilantro

5 Slices of Ginger

3 Scallions Sliced

2 Tablespoons of Rice Wine Vinegar

4 Cups of Water

1 to 11/2 Pounds of Chicken

Put all of the ingredients together in a pot and let cook on medium heat for about 15-20 minutes covered. Once chicken has cooked all the way through remove from heat and tear chicken into small pieces. Chill chicken before putting in salad.


1/3 Cup of Vegetable Oil
1 Teaspoon of Dry Ground Mustard
2 Tablespoons of Sesame Oil
6 Tablespoons of Rice-wine Vinegar
Salt and Pepper
1 Teaspoon of minced ginger (optional)
Mix all ingredients together. I find easiest to just put them all into a bottle and shape it up.



I Head of Lettuce (tore or chopped) (I use usually Romaine or Iceberg)

1 Yellow Bell Pepper Chopped into small Cubes

½ English Cucumber Chopped into small Cubes

2  Carrots Peeled and Chopped into small Cubes

6 Scallions (6 diced)

1/3 Cup Chopped Cilantro

½ Cup of Sliced Almonds

2 Cups of Shredded Chicken

1 – 2 Tablespoons Cup of Sesame Seeds (optional)

Fried Maifun Noodles or Fried Wontons can also be added.

In a large salad bowl add all ingredients except fried Noodles. Toss the salad with dressing and right before serving at the noodles.

Feb 112009


Tomatoes and Mozzarella

A friend of mine taught me this when I was visiting her. I thought it was a great little bit size appetizer perfect for a cocktail party. Thank you Becca.

Option A
Cherry Tomatoes
Mini Mozzarella Balls

Option B
Cherry Tomatoes
Olive Oil

Option A
Take each tomato and cut a sliver off of the bottom, so that is can stand up straight. Cut the top off of each tomato and hollow out the seeds. Sprinkle hollowed tomatoes with a little salt and let stand for 15 minutes, and then drain tomatoes. Drip a little pesto into the bottom of each tomato and then stuff with a piece of Mozzarella and top with another drizzle of pesto.

Option B
Instead of pesto wrap each piece of mozzarella with a piece of basil and stuff mozzarella into the tomato and drizzle with a little olive oil.

Feb 032009


In search of a comfort food, one that I believe remains at the top of my list would a tomato sauce. I thought this would also be a good way for me to economize and bring lunch to work, One thing to remember with some sauces is I think they taste better the next day when all the flavors have had a chance to meld together. So I went out and decided to make and Tomato Eggplant Sauce with a base of white wine instead of vegetable broth. Funny how as I child I would cringe at the sight of an eggplant and cant say how many times I can remember my mother saying to meOh, would you just try it, you can hardly taste the eggplant. Now, I love eggplant.

¼ Cup of Olive Oil

3 Garlic Cloves (Finley Chopped)

½ Pound of Eggplant (Finley chopped)

1 Bell Pepper (Seeded and Diced)

3 Small Tomatoes Chopped (about 1 ½ Cups)

1 -2 Tablespoons of Capers *

1 Tablespoon of fresh chopped Basil

½ Teaspoon of Oregano

6 oz. of Tomato Paste

1 Cup of White Wine ( If need more liquid can add more wine or use a vegetable broth)

Salt and Pepper to Taste

In a large skillet heat olive oil and garlic once oil has heated add the tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and capers. Cook over look heat for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook with lid for stirring occasionally for 40 to 50 minutes. If the sauce becomes to think add more liquid.

*I really like capers and get excited when I think they will work in a recipe but I definitely put about 3 tablespoons in my sauce and can say the capers became over powering.

Nov 202008

I grew up having potatoes at practically every single dinner, although always in some new form. There really are infinite possibilities. As I have recently broken out my down coat, hat, and gloves I feel it is time for some soup.

4 Leeks (about 2 pounds sliced and cleaned VERY WELL)
1/2 Cup of sliced Shallots
3 Tablespoons of butter
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
3 Celery Stalks, chopped
5 Garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds of potatoes (Russet or Yukon gold peeled and cut into cubes)
5 Cups of Vegetable broth
1 Cup of Dry White Wine
1 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Teaspoon of Pepper
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Chopped Sage
3 slices of bacon cooked and crumbled

In a large pot over medium heat add olive oil and butter followed by leeks and shallots and cook until slightly tender 5- 10 minutes. Once tender add celery, garlic and cook for another 5 minutes. (Be careful not to brown the onions too much or your soup will have muddy color. I only speak from experience!) Finally add the potatoes, wine, broth, salt, and pepper and let simmer for about 25 minutes until potatoes are soft.

Let the soup cool before placing in blender and blend soup. Heat creamed soup before serving and add chopped sage. Optional- the soup can be topped off with bacon crumbs.

Oct 162008







Recently, I was given a home grown butternut squash. I like butternut squash but have to admit I am not the biggest fan. I want to be a big fan but just have not been able to get on board. But I finally figured out my problem. It is quite evident that I have a sweet tooth. Well when it comes to butternut squash outside of soup I usually have it prepared using brown sugars or maple syrups. What I discovered is, I like my butternut squash salty. Butternut Squash I think is one of those great vegetables for a few reasons: they last a long time, have great color, and can be simply prepared. So how did I learn to love it, by just roasting it.

Take a butternut squash peel the skin off, cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Thinly slice the squash about 1/8 inch and place on a baking sheet. I lined mine with tin foil. Brush one side with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in the oven at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.