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Gnocchi reminds me of my childhood in Bangkok. Isn’t that weird? Small, potato dumplings, native to Italy, remind me of my childhood growing up in Thailand, the land of chili peppers and fish sauce. But, believe it or not, the first time I ever tried these incredible, pillowy dumplings of deliciousness was in Bangkok. My family used to eat at this little Italian restaurant and, although I hardly remember any details about the restaurant itself, I remember the happy times with family and friends and I remember the amazing gnocchi. The important stuff. (more…)
Matt and I took a few days off last week. We “went down the shore” (as they say in Jersey) and spent a few days with family and then spent some time at home relaxing. I did some reading (finished Mindy Kaling’s book and started One for the Money, by Janet Evanovich), A LOT of laundry, and a fair amount of cooking. I love days that have no set agenda and you’re free to be as lazy or as productive as you’d like. Every now and then, days like that are 100% necessary, at least for me. On one such day I made these easy, cheesy scrambled eggs with pancetta and scallions. I slept in (read: woke up at 8am and lounged around watching Food Network and Bravo until 10am) and leisurely made my way to the kitchen. I was about to pour myself a bowl of cheerios when I decided that I wasn’t in the mood for an ordinary breakfast. This was a special day! A lazy day! And, occasionally, lazy days should be celebrated. So, I made scrambled eggs. But not just any scrambled eggs. Delicious, creamy scrambled eggs with salty pancetta and crunchy scallions. (more…)
I like to cook (obviously) and most of the time, the stuff I make turns out pretty well. Granted, this doesn’t happen all the time. One time I attempted to make “Indian stuffed peppers” and they were completely inedible. It was a total waste of ingredients because, after attempting to choke down half a pepper, I threw out the second half along with the other five peppers I made. Even my husband, who usually manages to eat even the so-so meals, admitted they were terrible. So, yes, I definitely have some moments I am not proud of in the kitchen but, most of the time, I manage to turn out pretty decent meals. I feel like I have to defend myself and say that the Indian pepper catastrophe was fairly early on in my cooking “journey” and also let you all know that only the good stuff makes it onto this blog. I don’t post the bad recipes, or even the so-so ones. Maybe that goes without saying, but I’m feeling slightly self conscious after admitting that not everything I make turns out delicious, in case any of you were under that impression.
This is all to say, that even though I’ve had some kitchen mishaps, I’ve also had “wow” moments in the kitchen and creating this pasta with heirloom tomatoes and feta (and basil and pancetta) was definitely a wow moment for me. This is a recipe I’m really, really proud of. Sometimes after I make something, I think of all the things that could be improved upon for next time. Additional ingredients I would add, or ingredients I’d omit the next time I make the dish. I wouldn’t change a thing about this recipe. I’ve been thinking about it all day and I can’t wait to eat the leftovers for dinner tonight. That’s how good it is. I felt that way about my brunch casserole with eggs, potatoes and bacon as well. There’s something extraordinarily satisfying about creating a dish that tastes this good. I’m proud of all my recipes on this blog, and they’re all special in their own right, but this one has to be one of my favorites. (more…)
When I originally bought this bag of shaved brussels sprouts, I thought I would sautee it with some bacon, or roast it in the oven like I usually do. But it’s summer and I decided to make a shaved brussels sprouts salad instead. Plus the work was already done for me, thanks to Trader Joe’s. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you and can’t find pre-shaved brussels sprouts somewhere else, You can chop them thinly with a knife or (carefully) use a mandolin slicer. You may be able to even chop the brussels sprouts up very finely in a food processor. Although, I haven’t tried that yet so don’t quote me on that! (more…)
Recently, I’ve been making a lot of vinaigrettes. There are actually a lot of uses for basic vinaigrettes. There’s the obvious use for it as a dressing on top of cold, green salads, but I’ve come to find that it’s great on many different vegetables and works in warm dishes as well, like my grilled eggplant and corn salad, for one. You could probably even use it as the base for a really great marinade for chicken, steak, or shrimp. A basic vinaigrette also happens to be the star in this recipe, my warm potatoes with mustard and dill. The quick and simple vinaigrette is the reason this dish is so good. It’s tangy and salty and combined with the hearty potatoes and the fresh dill, it’s a match made in heaven. (more…)
I feel like I’ve been cooking a lot with eggplant lately. Hopefully you’re not sick of it yet! It’s just so good this time of year and I can’t seem to get enough of it. I love it. It’s probably one of my favorite vegetables. Hence, the plethora of eggplant recipes. I also can’t get enough of the local sweet corn around here. It makes me sad to think summer is almost over and that a lot of the fresh vegetables and fruit I love so much will be out of season in a month or so. But, summer’s not over yet! So let’s enjoy it while we can and take advantage of all the delicious food this season brings. This grilled eggplant and corn salad is one way to do that. The hot, grilled eggplant absorbs the tangy vinaigrette and the combination of that with the sweet corn is SO good. I wish I made two batches of the stuff because between my husband and I, it vanished in a couple of hours. (more…)
Happy Saturday! It’s overcast and rainy in this corner of the world today, and, although I do love sunny days, there’s something about days like today that make me feel relaxed. I don’t know about you, but this week was a doozy for me and a relaxing, lazy Saturday feels SO good. So, in the spirit of lazy days, I have a super simple (aka lazy) recipe for sour cream marinated chicken for you. Marinades for meat are so great because, most of the time, you can prepare everything for the marinade in advance and let the meat sit in it until you’re ready to eat. Perfect for relaxing, lazy cooking because there’s really very little actual cooking involved. (more…)
Zucchini and yellow squash are overflowing from local farms around here this time of year. If you read my last post, you know I bought a bunch of fresh produce during my most recent trip to the farm stand. Amongst that fresh produce, were a couple of zucchini and yellow squash. I’ve been cooking with zucchini all summer long. I’ve grated it and put it in pasta with mushrooms and parmesan cheese. I’ve chopped it up into bite size pieces and stir fried it with some corn (recipe to come). I’ve sliced it lengthwise, grilled it and drizzled it with soy sauce. There’s a lot you can do with zucchini. My mom sautees it with garlic and a can of diced tomatoes and it comes out delicious. But, out of all the ways to cook and prepare zucchini, zucchini cakes might be my favorite. (more…)
I’m obsessed with the produce from local farms this time of year. This past weekend I went a bit overboard and bought a little too much. Everything looked so fresh and beautiful and I couldn’t resist. I bought zucchini, yellow squash, onions, tomatoes, peaches, blueberries, and two GIGANTIC eggplant. Seriously these eggplants were huge. I probably should have stuck with just the one, but I do love eggplant. In an effort to use up all this produce, particularly the eggplant, I’ve been cooking a lot of meatless meals (sorry, Matt). Work was also crazy busy this week with client visits and lunch meetings and so, the office was inundated with all sorts of naughty food (i.e. birthday cake, Philly cheese steaks, pizza, etc.). So the meatless meals, full of veggies, were also part of an effort to counteract all the bad food I encountered (and ate) throughout the week. This easy eggplant stir fry was one such meal. If you don’t like eggplant and prefer to eat meat, you could definitely do this with chicken, or even beef, but I think the eggplant holds up really well in this dish and I didn’t miss the chicken at all (although I rarely do). (more…)
I found a new favorite breakfast item today in Trader Joe’s uttapam with coconut chutney. Some people might not want to eat these delicious little Indian pancakes for breakfast, but they are a perfectly acceptable meal for lunch or dinner (or a snack) as well. I happen to really enjoy them for breakfast, but I did grow up eating rice and fish for breakfast in Southeast Asia. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy an omelet or a pancake now and then though. Mmm…French toast too. I’m getting off topic here. Back to the uttapam!
A little bit about uttapam: Uttapam are oftened referred to as Indian syle pizza. However, I prefer to compare it to a pancake as opposed to a pizza because the dough is more spongy. Naan would be more suited for Indian pizza (in my opinion). The uttapam dough is made from fermented rice and black lentils, then topped with vegetables. Also, a little fyi, uttapam are gluten free and vegan. (more…)