Saturday, March 3, 2012

Egg Muffins- Revolutionizing Breakfast (might be an overstatement)

Take some creative liberties with the ingredients... but here is what I did my first go around....
(Thanks Kat for the original recipe!)
1) Chopped up some potatoes and put in the bottom of the muffin tins
2) Added some chopped bell peppers
3) Added some cheese
4) Beat and egg and fill the muffing tins to the brim with the egg
5) Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes... just check on them

Each morning, grab a muffin and heat in the microwave- mini omelette on the go!

***One suggestion: maybe asparagus and goat cheese next week????

Trader Joes BBQ Pizza

I call this Trader Joe's pizza because all the ingredients can be found with one stop at TJ's.

Pre-made pizza dough
Shredded cheese
Frozen artichoke hearts
Bell peppers

For this particular pizza, I used the pre-made dough, but I often make the dough from Alice Waters (see below- super easy)

Before you start... run the artichokes under warmish water still in the package to thaw a bit and saute the bell peppers in olive oil and a pinch or two of salt.

1. Spread the dough and brush on olive oil
2. Bake the dough at 400 until it is a little brown on the crust
3. Take it out of the oven and spread the marinara, cheese, artichokes, bell peppers, salami (or whatever toppings you want)
4. Put back in the oven to melt the cheese just a bit (4 minutes?)
5. Put the pizza on the BBQ for 5-6 minutes to crisp up the bottom.
6. Cut up and enjoy... if you want some spice, add some crushed red pepper before baking a second time.

Alice Waters' Pizza Dough
2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
3 1/4 cups unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup olive oil
Stir together yeast and warm water until yeast is dissolved. Add 1/2 cup flour and stir well. Allow the mixture to sit until quite bubbly, about 30 minutes.
In another bowl, mix together the unbleached white flour, whole wheat flour, and salt. Stir this into the yeast and flour mixture and add cold water and olive oil.
Mix thoroughly by hand. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead until the dough is soft and elastic, about 5 minutes. If the dough is too wet and sticky, add more flour, but only enough to form a soft, slightly sticky dough.
The dough is the right texture when it pulls away from the sides of the bowl of the mixer, but still adheres to the bottom. You are looking for a very soft, slightly moist dough.
Put the dough in a large bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours. For an even better-tasting and more supple dough, let the dough rise slowly overnight in the refrigerator. Remove from the fridge 2 hours before shaping.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Adventures with the Slow Cooker

Garlic Chicken and Potatoes

This "recipe" is an experiment and as we speak, is in the crock pot. I ordered chicken breasts from Abundant Harvest, so I wanted to keep it simple and actually taste the quality of the chicken.

First layer: Bay leaves and lemon wedges
Second layer: Two potatoes, halved long ways
Third layer: Chicken breast (dipped in melted butter and garlic and remaining liquid dumped over the top)
Fourth layer: Chopped parsley, salt, pepper
Fifth layer: 1/2 cup chicken stock

The plan is 6 hours on low.... to be continued

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My Abundant Harvest Box Runneth Over... A weekly appointment with gratitude

The main meal of the week (and a festive one at that) in Jewish households around the world is the Friday night dinner. Shabbat dinner is NOT just any dinner, and rituals are a main focus of this gathering.

I am familiar with Cathoilic guilt, but my Catholic jealousy caught me by surprise. A long meal with friends and family? Yes, please. Fancying it up and creating traditions that bond the group? I'm in. Reflecting on all the highlights the week has provided? I want it.

My thought was incorporating my weekly fruit and vegetable box ( This would allow me to inject tradition into my life while using up all my produce, learning how to cook the veggies that intimidate, and share new recipes with the people I enjoy. Born is "Semi-sustainable Suppers" or perhaps "Not Only Food" or "Chowfriends"... I guess the name will continue to evolve. The idea is simple: cooking a meal every Sunday and having an open invitation to all. I am picturing fun linens gathered from antique stores (an obsesssion I never thought would pay off), sustainable food, and conversation to start the week with some good ol fashioned gratitude.

My goal- maybe March will make itself available to start this tradition and once a month might be more attainable. In the meantime, I will let the ideas marinate. (pun intended)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Motivating tidbit...

Having pasta or a vegetarian soup on Mondays might not seem like a big deal, but adding one meat-free meal per week (for a family of four) has the same impact as driving a hybrid car. Raising livestock produces a large amount of greenhouse gases, so cutting back, even one night per week, makes a big difference.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Soup Sunday!

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 butternut squash - peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes ( I used pre-cut squash. Super Easy!)
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cube chicken bouillon
  • 1 pinch ground cumin
  • 1 pinch ground allspice
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste


  1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat; cook the onion, garlic, and thyme in the hot butter until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Add the squash and chicken stock; bring to a simmer and cook until the squash is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Crumble the bouillon into the soup; season with cumin, allspice, salt, and pepper; remove from heat.
  2. Use a stick blender and puree in the pot. I love my Cuisinart SmartStick® Hand Blender (life changer)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sh@# Chicks Say: I am doin' a cleanse

This week requires no menu planning... liquid diet for me! I went to Pressed Juicery this morning and stocked up on juices for the next 3 days. I think I can manage 72 hours without solid food. What is my purpose for this? It is as much mental as it is physical. I am hoping for a lightness, better sleep, and a clean slate. I hope it will inform my food decisions as I reintroduce solid food back into my week. You know, what are the benefits of free range animals and food that isn't processed? Is that even possible? Pressed Juicery says it best on their website (
"Think of your cleanse with us as the finest tune-up you can get. Expect to complete your cleanse feeling clear, optimistic and rejuvenated on the inside, and radiant and lean on the outside. "

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Busy People Eating Well!

2012 is the year I break the habit of eating poorly when crunched for time. Between work, grad school, and my apathy for packing lunches at night... I find myself eating over-priced processed food that leaves much to be desired in the end. My lunch and dinner rotations provide healthy meals and create the element of surprise in my daily dining. At work, I trade off with a colleague for lunches (she brings Mondays, I bring Thursdays). For class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we have a four-person rotation for dinners. This also allows me to try out recipes on someone other than myself! Win win! I haven't done the math (shocking) but I think it is easy on the pocketbook too. Tonight's meal was burrata, stewed tomatoes, pancetta, and a fresh baguette- complete with cloth napkins! Now if that ain't class, I don't know what is my friend!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sunday (actually Monday!) Night Menu Planning

This week's meals will all come from an article published in The New York Times in 2007 titled, "101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less" by Mark Bittman. I will be trying the few that stand out the most and revisit this list periodically. Who says good food has to take a long time?

Monday: Put a few slices of chopped prosciutto in a skillet with olive oil, a couple of cloves of crushed garlic and a bit of butter; a minute later, toss in about half a cup bread crumbs and red chili flakes to taste. Serve pasta with chopped parsley.

Tuesday: Put three pounds of washed mussels in a pot with a half a cup of white wine, garlic cloves, basil leaves, and chopped tomatoes. Steam until mussels open. Serve with bread.

Wednesday: Cut eight sea scallops into four horizontal slices each. Arrange on a plate. Sprinkle with lime juice, salt, and crushed chilies; serve after five minutes.

Thursday: Fast chile rellenos... Drain canned whole green chilies. Make a slit in each and insert a piece of cheese. Dredge in flour and fry in a skillet, slit side up, until cheese melts.

Happy cooking!

Lessons from Martin Luther King Jr.

"We hate because we fear, we fear because we don't know, we don't know because we have never sat at the same table."

My appreciation for food is just as much about the company at the table as the delicious bites. I crave long dinners with interesting conversations, so this quote hit home. I look forward to many more meals with my friends and family as well as people I will meet and learn from in the future. Today and every day, we remember a great leader who wanted us to love everyone... even if we don't like them.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunday Night Menu Planning

Tonight's menu planning included a glass of white wine and a special guest! Emily came over to start menu planning of her own! Sitting on the couch with a bunch of open cookbooks and Real Simple magazines... I don't know why but it makes me very happy.

Monday Night:
Risotto and Sfranta from The Santa Monica Farmers Market Cookbook (Never made risotto- no time like the present!)

Tuesday Night:
Burrata with stewed tomatoes, prociutto, basil and a fresh baguette

Wednesday Night:
Butternut Squash Soup from Barefoot Contessa (Get to use my new hand blender...)

Thursday Night:
Ricotta Salad compliments of my friend, Tabitha
(ricotta, prociutto, squash shavings, mint... yes mint!, lemon juice, salt and pepper)

Friday Night:
Cheater Chicken Enchiladas (will learn to make authentic sauce by hand someday)

And the week begins! As always, come on over anytime.