August 12, 2015

quinoa with corn, avocado, tomato, & lime


Corn and tomatoes.  I don’t know about you, but those are the two foods I absolutely CRAVE in August.  Last Sunday, I made this corn soup recipe again.  One of my favorite things about this soup is that you make your own vegetable broth, with plenty of extra to freeze and save or use right away for a different recipe.  Usually I like to make a risotto with my leftover broth — such as this zucchini risotto with shrimp or this red wine mushroom risotto.  But, lately my mom and I have been on a bit of a quinoa kick.  What we like to do is make a big batch of quinoa salad on Sunday and then take it to work for lunch throughout the week.

This recipe is really great because it is healthy, packed with flavor, and surprisingly filling and satisfying!  The jalapeño and lime adds a southwestern tastiness, and the avocado is what makes it feel like a complete lunch.  I find that without something containing some fat (healthy, unsaturated fat such as in avocado or nuts) in salads that I intend to eat as a meal, I am just not as satisfied!

all chopped up ready to go

quinoa with corn, avocado, tomato, & lime


  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion, from one small onion
  • 1 cup tri-color quinoa
  • 1-2/3 cup corn broth (see recipe here) or store-bought vegetable broth
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • corn kernels from 2 cobs (cooked or uncooked, your preference — I used uncooked)*
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeded, membranes removed, and finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh chopped parsley (or cilantro if you like)
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 avocado, cut into bite-sized chunks


Rinse the quinoa if not pre-washed.  Do this by placing quinoa in a fine mesh strainer (so seeds cannot fall through) and running under cold water until there are no longer suds. This removes bitter-tasting saponins from the seed. Then shake the quinoa dry in the strainer.

suds                                     no suds

Heat olive oil over in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add onions and sauté until soft and translucent (about 5 minutes).  Add quinoa to the pan and stir constantly for 3-5 minutes, until quinoa is toasted and thoroughly mixed with the onions.  Add the corn/vegetable broth and turn up the heat and bring to a boil.  Turn down the heat and cover with a lid, simmering for 20 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is cooked. Fluff quinoa with a fork, then transfer to a bowl and cool in refrigerator.

When quinoa is cool, add chopped vegetables.  Make sure to add the avocado last and squeeze the lime juice over it (the acid helps prevent the avocado from turning brown quickly).

*Quick tip on cutting corn off the cob:  Place the fat end of the corn perpendicular to a pie plate and slice down with a large, sharp knife.  The pie plate will catch all most of the flying kernels!

cuttin' the corn                                        kernels

How I eat it: cold for lunch, maybe with some fruit on the side for something sweet!

Recipe adapted from: Once Upon A Chef

quinoa close up

June 28, 2015

spicy brussel sprouts with lemon and parmesan


I’ll admit it. I was always a typical kid who didn’t want to eat her brussel sprouts.  Actually, for a while I was one of those typical adults who didn’t really want to eat her brussel sprouts either. It was only a few years ago that I discovered that brussel sprouts actually can be delicious. And for those of you who are still skeptical of this veggie with a bad rap, I think I can turn you… if you try this recipe!

I am proud to take credit for this concoction myself. We had bought fresh brussel sprouts (don’t go for the bagged stuff) and we were unsure what to do with them.  Now putting bacon in the mix is always a good option, but in this case we were cooking kielbasa as the main so we wanted something lighter and fresher on the side.  I basically took a few of my favorite flavors, and things that we always have on hand and tossed ’em in a frying pan with the sprouts — super easy and super quick! Also, I like my veggies a little more al dente, and sautéing doesn’t get rid of that fresh crunch! And if you are a fan of more well-done vegetables, no problem — just leave them in the pan for longer over lower heat.

chopped up DSC_0887

spicy brussel sprouts with lemon and parmesan


  • 1 lb. fresh brussel sprouts, cleaned and quartered
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 5 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. red pepper
  • juice from half a lemon (~1/4 cup)
  • 2 Tbsp. freshly grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste


Heat the butter and olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Once shimmering and before butter browns, add minced garlic.  Saute for one minute until garlic is tender; do not let it burn.  Add brussel sprouts and season with salt, pepper, red pepper, and lemon juice.  Cook until sprouts start to crisp up, 7-10 minutes. Top with parmesan cheese and serve hot!

frying em upHow I eat it: in bulk

A “no rhyme or raisins” original

freshly prepped

June 22, 2015

layered lemon cheesecake

ready to eat

Happy Father’s Day (yesterday) to all those wonderful dads out there! Especially my dad, my hero who I can always count on, who I am so lucky to have spent yesterday with.  Those who know me well, know that I am ridiculously similar to my dad. And I’m pretty proud of that because he’s absolutely awesome.  First of all (and most pertinent to my blog) he loves a good meal.  One of my favorite things to do with my Dad is hang out at The Shack eating shrimp cocktail and clams on the half-shell and enjoying a Corona.  Did I mention my Dad also has awesome taste in music? We’ve gone to concerts and acoustic nights together and he is always one to burn me an awesome mix. He basically is one of the most cool dudes to hang out with and I consider myself pretty damn lucky.

me & my dad <3

Anyway, yesterday really was a great day relaxing with both of my parents (my mom is just as cool) out in the unpredicted, beautiful weather.  Spending a sunny, summer Sunday with my family always makes me feel like I am on vacation — laying out in the yard/pool until 3:30 until cocktail hour starts at 4 PM, and my dad blasting the Jimmy Buffet Pandora station the entire time.  We usually wrap up the night with a nice grilled meal, and when it a special occasion, I prepare a dessert.  Here is a great summer dessert made with homemade lemon curd. It is lemony and fresh and great topped with any berries you have on hand.  Plus, the recipe makes more lemon curd than the cake calls for, which is perfect for a yogurt, granola, and lemon curd parfait the next day!

squeezed up those lemonscustard ready for storing


homemade lemon curd

  • 3 lemons
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 lb. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 extra large eggs
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (3-4 lemons)
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

layered lemon cheesecake

  • 1-1/2 cups mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup prepared lemon curd
  • Kosher salt
  • 20 whole graham crackers
  • berries, for serving


For the lemon curd:

With a vegetable peeler, remove the zest of three lemons being careful to avoid the white pith. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add sugar and pulse until lemon zest is finely incorporated into the sugar.

Cream the butter and beat in the lemon-sugar mixture. Add eggs, one at a time, and then add lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined. Pour the mixture into a two-quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened – about 10 minutes – stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool or refrigerate.

For the cake:

Line a 9 x 5 loaf pan with plastic wrap, allowing about 4 inches of overhang.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the mascarpone with the heavy cream at medium speed until smooth and firm. Fold in the lemon curd and a pinch of kosher salt with a spatula.

Spread 1/4-inch thick layer of the lemon cream on the bottom of the pan. Arrange a single layer of graham crackers on top, breaking to fit if necessary.  Repeat the layering, finishing with a final layer of cream.

Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. Uncover, and invert cake onto a platter, removing plastic wrap. Serve with your favorite berries!

layering the cheesecake

Lemon curd recipe adapted from Ina Garten

Layered cheesecake recipe adapted from Food & Wine

How I eat it: with blueberries on top and a cup of coffee


June 15, 2015

sweet & spicy ribs with potato wedges

ribs & potatoes

I know, I know — I did it again.  This time it wasn’t just a few months since I’ve posted, but almost a year! It’s not that I didn’t want to, but this past year has been crazy! If you remember this post, you remember that I made some big life changes last spring.  I can now say that I successfully completed my first year of my Ph.D. at Stony Brook, I celebrated one year with both my kitty and my new car (still so in love with both), AND some more big news — I got engaged in January! Most of you who read this blog probably know this already since I totally took over Facebook with pictures and posts about the big day. But, basically, Mike proposed in the city on my birthday weekend and everything was as perfect as could be. I have to share one picture (that most of you have seen) just because this was the best moment of my life so far…

the best moment of my life

Anyway, with all the craziness of school and starting to wedding plan, I unfortunately have barely had time to cook anything exciting.  This led me to realize that not cooking  = stress levels through the roof.  Spending half a day on the weekends preparing a fantastic dinner for my fiancé (still so fun/weird to say!), my family, or some friends is just one of the most fun and relaxing things in the world.  This year has forced me to see that I really need to make time for myself despite how busy life can get. Starting now, I am doing my best to be more committed to cooking (and I guess exercise since a girl’s gotta fit into her wedding dress!)

This past weekend it finally felt like summer, so I took Saturday to enjoy myself and do all my favorite summery things .  I spent the morning at the farmer’s market, where my best find was bottled cold brew coffee from Gentle Brew Coffee Roasters. As you can see, I re-used the bottle to hold some fresh flowers and I just find it to be adorable.  I then spent the afternoon preparing this recipe for sweet and spicy ribs that I found in June’s Bon Appetit. What says summer more than BBQ ribs!?  We enjoyed this with roasted potato wedges and my Oma’s famous cucumber salad (recipe not included here because it deserves its own post). Pair this with your favorite summer cocktail (mine is gin & tonic) and surround yourself with your favorite people and chow down outside and relax — that is what my family and I did!


sweet & spicy ribs

  • 2 St. Louis style ribs
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup smoked paprika
  • 2 Tbsp. cayenne pepper (cut this in half if you’re not a huge fan of spice!)
  • 2 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

roasted potato wedges 

  • large potatoes (I used 5 which generously served 3 people)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

sugar & spiceribs are rubbed


For the ribs:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine brown sugar, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt in small bowl and set aside 1/4 cup of the spice mixture.  Rub the ribs with the remaining spice mixture.  Wrap the ribs tightly in two sheets of aluminum foil and place on baking sheet.  Bake 2-3 hours, until tender. Let cool. Remove ribs from foil and save the juices by pouring into a heat proof measuring cup/bowl.

Melt butter in medium sauce pan until foaming and just starts to brown (do not burn).  Add 1/4-cup reserved spices and juices from baking the ribs. Simmer until reduced by a third.  Remove from heat and stir in apple cider vinegar.

Prepare the grill on medium high heat and oil the grate. Grill ribs, basting with sauce and turning occasionally, until charred in spots (about 5-10 minutes).  Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice between ribs and serve with remaining sauce.

Ribs can be baked one day ahead and stored in the fridge.  They should be brought to room temperature and grilled before serving.

For the potatoes:

Slice the potatoes into thin wedges. Toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Roast at 425 for 30-45 minutes, until golden brown. (After the ribs came out of the oven, I upped the temperature and tossed these babies in — the timing was perfect!)  Serve right out of the oven topped with parmesan and chopped parsley.

taters   ribs on the grilllll

Rib recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

How I eat it: with a Tanqueray and tonic outside on the porch

Enjoy! And I promise to be back soon with more recipes🙂

the meal

August 17, 2014

mint and cumin-spiced lamb chops with grilled baked potatoes


Getting depressed about the summer coming to an end? It’s bittersweet for me.  We all know that I love autumn, especially September, but I will miss the long days and warm weather.  I’ll also miss my little brother who heads back to college in upstate NY for his senior year tomorrow! Anyway, don’t despair, there’s still some summer left! And here’s an amazing meal of which all the components can be cooked on the grill while you sit outside and enjoy the last days of August.  Some of you may have seen that I posted a “blog preview” of this meal — I know I made you wait long enough for the recipe (sorry) ! 

                 DSC_0735       DSC_0742


Mint and cumin-spiced lamb chops

  • 2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 cups fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. ground paprika
  • 2 tsp. allspice (shout out to the neighbors who ground us some fresh allspice!)
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 lbs. lamb chops
  • Vegetable oil

Grilled baked potatoes with chive butter

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped chives
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 4 baking potatoes


For the lamb:

Pulse onions, parsley, mint, cumin, paprika, allspice, and crushed red pepper in a food processor until finely chopped. Season with salt.  Place lamb in a large dish and rub with the spice mixture. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours (you can also marinate overnight).

Prepare grill for medium-high heat and oil the grate. Grill lamb to desired doneness and let rest five minutes before serving.

For the potatoes:

In a small bowl, mix the butter, chives, sour cream, salt and pepper until smooth. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. 

Slice a raw potato cross-wise at 1/3-inch intervals, cutting down but not all the way through. Add chive butter to each slice. Wrap each potato in aluminum foil. Set the potatoes on the grill over low heat and cook until tender, about 45-50 minutes, turning occasionally. Garnish with more sour cream and chives.

How I eat it: with sautéed green beans on the side and a glass of cabernet

Lamb adapted from Bon Appetit; Potatoes adapted from Food & Wine



%d bloggers like this: