After a week at The Ranch in Malibu I returned inspired to try and stick to a “vegan until dinner time” diet as well as eating a plant based diet one full day a week. My husband and son do not embrace my new found enthusiasm so the dinner I make on my vegan day needs to satisfy them as well….or maybe I should tell them to shove their opinions where the sun don’t shine considering that I’m the boss of the kitchen. But, OK fine, I’ll play nice. Here’s a wonderful Mexican flavored vegan dinner that requires very little time to prepare:
Black Bean Burrito Casserole (adapted from Gourmet Magazine, 1990) Continue reading → (1520)
We love to eat fish, but as I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, not having a grill makes it necessary to find fish recipes that can be made in the oven or broiler. Also, not wanting to spend my entire life in the kitchen leads me to discard those recipes that require too much planning and prepping. I found this recipe on Yummly. If you’re not familiar with this website well then you’re welcome and I’m sorry. You think Facebook and Houzz are a time suck? Yummly is a WHOLE other dimension. Continue reading → (1757)
Picture this: You’re at a dinner party and the hostess places a fruit salad on the table, or you’ve brought one to a friend’s house as your healthy contribution to the night and all of a sudden you hear a sound. What is that? It kind of sounds like a stifled yawn. I’ll tell you what it is, it’s the sound of eyes rolling at the thought of another boring-ho-hum-who-really-wants-fruit-for-dessert-but-I-have-to-pretend-to-like-it fruit salad.
The recipe I am about to share elevates the usually completely average dessert to a whole other level and it really couldn’t be easier. It’s basically a tricked out (dare I say sexy) simple syrup that works gorgeously on mixed berries, melon, sliced oranges, grapefruit, pineapple chunks, even kiwi. So you know the peeled and prepared fresh fruit you buy at Whole Foods? Pick any of them, put them in a pretty bowl and pour this concoction over the fruit. Done. Continue reading → (2812)
I’m a bit embarrassed to confess that until very recently, I outsourced my pancake making to Aunt Jemima. And then, hearing reports from my son that my mom (his ‘abuela’) makes him pancakes from scratch every sleepover morning, I decided to rethink my lazy ass approach to pancake (or griddlecakes) making. It’s a simple, time-tested, tasty and old fashioned recipe borrowed from the classic Fannie Farmer Cookbook. The toughest step in the recipe is melting the butter; that’s how easy this is. Buh-bye Auntie J! Continue reading → (2537)
Granola… Such an innocent little word. It conjures up images of wellness, hiking, backpacking, yoga, and hippies. I’m sure many of you already know this but it’s also a densely packed calorie BOMB. One cup of this seducitive little grain delivers between 200 and 400 calories depending on the recipe. Unless you’re planning on running a marathon that day, it’s hard to justify consuming that many empty calories/sugar/fat for breakfast. If you have the self control to measure out a couple of tablespoons to sprinkle on your yogurt, then granola is a great option but many of us don’t have that self discipline and end up eating way more calories than we want to. Personally, I’d rather save my calorie chits for my evening mezcal.
Enter my mother in law. She and her husband live 20 miles outside Santa Fe, New Mexico on nine acres, surrounded by piñons, junipers, lone buttes and the siren cry of coyotes in the evening. It’s a magical place that lends itself to trail running and fitness. My father in law loves granola, is a triathlete and therefore consumes and burns an insane number of calories a day. So rather than buy granola in the supermarket (the nearest being 30 minutes away) which is loaded with calories and also costly my MIL started making it herself. Here I’ll share her granola recipe perfected over the last decade and lovingly stripped down to a delicious, healthy, crunchy, just sweet enough version: Continue reading → (2422)
Summer is here and I am stewing in “outdoor grill envy”: that resentful feeling when your friends post photos of perfectly grilled steak, burgers, tuna steaks and peaches and you’re stuck in your apartment with only a broiler to cook with.
I am going to share with you two simple flank steak recipes that work just as well under the broiler as they do on an outdoor grill. So you urban dwellers: put your bathing suit on, pour yourself a glass of rosé, crank up the heat, light some citronella candles, broil this steak and pretend you’re grilling outdoors. Who cares what your neighbors think? Continue reading → (2191)
In Italian restaurants I am always tempted by those bowls full of stick to your ribs Pasta Bolognese that I see being delivered to tables around me. I don’t eat red meat often, well maybe never, so I played around with some classic Bolognese recipes and over time came up with my version of it using ground turkey instead of beef. It’s quick, easy, yields a lot and freezes beautifully. Continue reading → (2261)
If your family is anything like mine, when you roast a whole chicken, everyone eats the breasts, drumsticks and thighs but you’re always left with this unappealing carcass of wings and skin. Nope, I’m not going to tell you to ‘simply make chicken stock’ out of the leftovers because mine is not that kind of blog. You know, that blog that is so smug it makes you feel like a failure in the kitchen if you use (gasp) store bought broth.
My advice is simple: don’t roast a whole chicken and save yourself both the messy hassle of carving it and a lot of cooking time.
Serves 4 (three in my household)
Preheat oven to 400
4 bone in, skin on organic chicken breasts (they really are more tender and moist)
Juice of one lemon, remove pits
3 tbs EVOO or basil infused olive oil or lemon infused olive oil
3 chopped or crushed garlic cloves
1 tsp dijon mustard (if you have it on hand. If not, disregard)
Herbs de provence, salt and pepper to taste
In the bottom of a roasting pan whisk together all of the ingredients and coat both sides of the chicken well. Leave the skin on, it gives the chicken so much more flavor and you can remove it before eating if you’re watching your cholesterol.
Roast until juices run clear when you pierce the breast. 35-45 minutes.
As much as I love cooking, I am here to tell you that there are certain products I will NEVER make from scratch and will shamelessly continue to buy from a store because let’s face it, they are just so good. Spending hours in the kitchen replicating the original gives you bragging rights yes, but it also inspires people to want to punch your smug face and it will NOT taste better than the original. So, peanut butter, mayonnaise, sriracha (sorry GP), Oreos, Ritz, Mallomars, Graham Crackers, flour tortillas, are perfect the way they are. Move on people.
But if there’s one product that with just a teensy bit of effort can be improved tremendously it is TOMATO SAUCE. Now, listen readers and listen carefully. If you are having one crazy military operation kind of day and jarred tomato sauce is all you’ve got, then by all means heat that sucker up, boil some pasta and call it dinner. It certainly beats the drive thru at McDonalds or KFC. This is a no judgment zone. Continue reading → (2796)
I have a dear friend who is naturally good at everything. She casually decides to pick up a sport, say golf for example and a month later is hitting that ball like she’s been doing it her whole life. She trains for her first marathon and has a magnificent race finishing way under 4 hours. So when she invited us over to her house for dinner I wasn’t one bit surprised when she served an unbelievably flavorlful sesame citrus halibut and poured me an intoxicating cocktail : The Shanny Fanny. Why the name? Because you will be flat on your ass after a just couple of these babies.
Oh and did I forget to mention that she’s 5′ 10″, has thick brown hair like Jacqueline Smith, legs as long as my whole body, can dance like a pro, is fiercely loyal, imitates people like a stand up comic and would die of embarrassment knowing that I am unabashedly singing her praises?
I know, could she be any more flipping enviable? I’m a secure woman otherwise I might just hate her a little bit. This is my love letter to you Shannon! Continue reading → (1635)