Broccoli Slaw with Tahini Dressing

broccoli slaw, broccoliThere are certain groceries or ingredients you buy and seem to only have one use for, and the rest sits around in the pantry or fridge just wasting away. Broccoli is certainly an example of that – the florets get all the glory and then there’s just those leftover large stems, which are perfectly edible and delicious in their own unique way. Tahini is another ingredient that I simply have trouble using up. Tahini is a sesame paste that is a staple ingredient in hummus, and if you haven’t made homemade hummus, you are in for a treat (will post that recipe soon!). This recipe is a perfect way to use up what’s in your refrigerator to produce a fantastic side dish full of flavor. The tahini dressing can also be used as a dip for crudités or…steamed broccoli florets!

broccoli slaw, broccoliIngredients:

  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp plain yogurt
  • 2 tbsp tahini paste
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic , grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • the large stem of one head of broccoli
  • 1/4 head red cabbage
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds

For the dressing, mix together the cumin, yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Trim the broccoli stem of the woody outer layer using a vegetable peeler. Cut about an inch off the bottom and discard. Cut the stem lengthwise into matchstick sized pieces. Cut the carrot into the same matchstick sized pieces. Use a knife to chop the head of cabbage into shreds. Combine the broccoli, cabbage, and carrots in a bowl, pour dressing over the vegetables. Add the chopped parsley, salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with sesame seeds. If not serving immediately, keep the dressing and the vegetables separate, and dress just before serving.

broccoli slaw, broccoli


Potato and (Jarlsberg) Cheese Soup


On a cold, blustery winter day, what tastes better than a bowl of hot soup? Rich, hearty, and creamy potato soup comes to mind when the temperature dips, and it sure does hit the spot. Here I’ve combined the elements of a basic potato soup with the decadence of nutty Jarlsberg cheese, a delicious pale ale, and of course – bacon – because it makes everything better.


  • 4 slices of baconsoup4
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 large russet potatoes, unpeeled and chopped
  • 12-oz beer, pale or amber ale
  • 3 cups chicken stock 
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1.5 cups grated Jarlsberg cheese
  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley, save 1 tbsp for garnish
  • salt, pepper to taste


In a large stock pot, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. When cool, break into small pieces and set aside to use as garnish. Add the onion, carrot, and celery to the bacon drippings in the pan and sauté until softened. Add the beer and cook until the liquid is reduced to about half. Add the potatoes, season the vegetables with salt and pepper, then add the chicken stock. Simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the parsley and then purée the soup using an immersion blender. Now stir in the cheese until melted. Stir in the milk – heat the soup if necessary but do not boil. Garnish with crisp bacon bits and parsley.


Crab Deviled Eggs

eggs1Deviled eggs – you either love ’em or hate ’em. Maybe it’s the smell, maybe its the texture, or maybe you are a wimp and have never even tried them. I don’t think I can change anyone’s mind on this one, so here is a not-so-classic deviled egg recipe for all you egg-lovers. And for the haters – just look at this post for its aesthetic value.


  • one dozen eggs, hard-boiled and cut in half
  • 1/2 lb lump crab meat
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1 tblsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tblsp horseradish cream
  • salt, pepper
  • sweet paprika for garnish

Separate yolks from egg white halves and put in a large bowl. Mash the yolks with a fork. Add the mayo, mustard, horseradish cream, salt and pepper, and continue to mash until yolks are creamy and well blended. Fold in the crab meat, breaking it up slightly with the fork. Using a spoon, fill the egg white shells with the yolk mixture, and sprinkle the tops with paprika.


Rosemary Infused Vodka

vodkaHomemade flavored vodka is so easy to make and well worth the little effort. You can make just about any flavor you can imagine – my personal favoritesvodka2 are vanilla, raspberry, and rosemary. Just take a mason jar, fill it with your choice of premium vodka (I use Ketel One), add your infusion ingredients, seal and place in a cool, dark place. Every few days shake the jar and taste your infusion to see how it’s coming along. Some ingredients take longer to infuse than others. Stronger-flavored ingredients like rosemary only take 2-3 days. Vanilla beans take about a week and raspberries take 1-2 weeks. When your vodka has reached a desired flavor level, strain the ingredients out and re-jar. You can now keep it in the refrigerator almost indefinitely, but I guarantee it won’t last long! Just mix with club soda, fresh lemon or lime, and enjoy!

Korean Dumplings


If it’s stuffed/wrapped/bundled with dough – I’m all over it. I’ve never met a dumpling, pierogi, ravioli, or shumai I didn’t like. This is embarrassing, but I don’t allow myself to buy pierogies (Mrs. T’s are my guilty pleasure), because I will eat the entire box in one or two sittings. The last time I got dumplings from my favorite spot in Chinatown, I ate two orders straight to my face. Get the picture?


These are Korean dumplings – they are filled with pork, tofu and kimchi. Don’t let the insidekimchi scare you, when cooked the pungent flavor mellows and becomes mild. You can cook these any way you like, but I found the combination of steaming and pan frying provides the best texture. If you want to go a healthier route, they are still delicious just steamed.

  • 4 scallions, green parts only, chopped 
  • 1 tblsp minced ginger
  • 3/4 block firm tofu
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 cup vermicelli noodles, broken into small pieces then cooked
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup kimchi, chopped finely and slightly drained
  • a few squeezes of sriracha hot sauce
  • 1 package wonton or gyoza wrappers
  • salt
  • vegetable or canola oil for frying

Using a cheesecloth or paper towels, squeeze out as much moisture as possible from the tofu. In a large bowl combine the scallions, ginger, tofu, pork, noodles, egg, kimchi, sriracha, and a few small pinches of salt. Use your hands to form a small ball of the mixture, about a teaspoon, and place it in the center of the wonton wrapper. Have a small bowl of water at your workspace and wet the outside edges of the wrapper with your finger. Bring the four corners of the wrapper together and pinch the dumpling tightly closed. Keep the filled dumplings covered with a damp paper towel or cloth as you are making them.

dumplingsHeat a steamer or use a pot of boiling water with a steamer insert and a lid. Steam the dumpling for 5-7 minutes. Have a non-stick pan hot, coated with one tablespoon of oil. From the steamer, use tongs to place the dumplings flat side down in the pan and cook until the bottoms are nicely browned and crisp.

Dipping Sauce
For the dipping sauce I just used ingredients I had on hand: Soy sauce, a dash of hoisin, seasoned rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, sriracha, chinese chili garlic sauce, chopped scallions.

Green Lentil Curry

Everyone should make this. It’s easy, healthy, filling, inexpensive, and most importantly – delicious. Although it might not be the prettiest of dishes on here, it definitely contends for the tastiest. I love a good curry, and I guarantee once you make this you’ll make it again – I did!

  • 1 tblsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp ground coriander IMG_1473
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup dried green lentils
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 4 ounces kale, stemmed and leaves finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, small dice
  • 1 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt
    *adapted from Food&Wine’s Green-Lentil Curry

    In a small skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of canola oil until shimmering. Add the cumin seeds and cook over moderately high heat for 5 seconds, just until sizzling. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin and coriander and let cook about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until thick, about 1 minute longer.

    In a saucepan, combine the lentils with the turmeric and 4 cups of water; bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, until the lentils are barely tender. Add the kale, carrot, three-fourths of the cilantro and the cayenne and season with salt. Cook until the lentils and vegetables are tender, 15 minutes. Scrape in the spice paste and the remaining cilantro. Simmer for 5 minutes, then serve garnished with plain yogurt and basmati rice on the side.

Chocolate Stout Chili

Chili is one of those recipes that can constantly be refined. The many variations of types of chili make picking a favorite recipe just as hard as picking a favorite song.

chocolate chili, chili, beer chili, chocolate stoutWhen I make chili, I tend to stick to whatever spices and ingredients I have on hand. I don’t usually go for unusual, “secret” ingredients like chocolate, coffee, or cinnamon.  Feeling slightly adventurous, and (as usual) striving for perfection, I decided to use chocolate beer as a “secret” ingredient. Rogue Chocolate Stout, which I picked up in the beer section of Whole Foods, was the perfect two-in-one ingredient in this recipe. The chocolate beer adds a mysterious full flavor, and a slight sweetness that is offset from the usual smoky spicy flavor of chili. I nailed this one – you can now call me a chili expert.

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 fresh jalapeno, chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2 lbs ground turkey (1 lb white meat, 1 lb dark meat)
  • 2 tblsp chili powder
  • 2 tblsp ground cumin
  • 1 tblsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbslp smoked paprika
  • 1 tblsp chipotle powder
  • 1/2 bottle (12 ounces) of Rogue Chocolate Stout , or any other chocolate flavored beer
  • 2 chipotle chili’s in adobo, chopped, plus 1 tbslp of the juice
  • 1 (15 oz) can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilis
  • 1 (15 oz) can pinto beans
  • 1 (15 oz) can navy beans
  • 1/2 (15 oz) can black beans
  • salt, pepper, olive oil
  • sour cream, shredded cheese, and sliced jalapeno for garnish

In a large pot, sauté the onion, red pepper, and jalapeno until soft. Add the garlic, cook one minute longer and then push the mixture to the sides of the pan. Add the ground turkey, season generously with salt and pepper, and cook until the turkey is no longer pink. Add all the spices and stir everything together. Pour in the beer and let most of the alcohol cook off. Add in the tomatoes, chipotle chilis, green chilis, and all the beans. Bring everything up to almost a boil, and then simmer for about an hour, partially covered.

chocolate chili, chili, beer chili, chocolate stout

Pumpkin Risotto

Growing up, risotto was always red. We ate it on a plate. This was never one of my favorite Sunday dinners (shockingly I used to be the pickiest eater). To make it more fun my sister and I would use a fork and carve out the first initial of our names into the risotto, eat what we carved out, pile it all back together and do it again until it was gone. This pumpkin risotto does not need to be played with to be enjoyed.

  • 1 sugar pumpkin, diced (seeds aside)
  • 1 medium onion – half diced, the other half finely chopped
  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 6-8 sage leaves
  • 2 tbslp butter
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 3 cups homemade chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • salt, pepper
For the Pumpkin Puree:

In a large saucepan, cook the diced pumpkin and the half diced onion in olive oil (season with salt and pepper) over medium heat until soft, about 10-12 minutes. Add the nutmeg, one sage leaf, and white wine – cook until the liquid is evaporated. Using a food processor or blender, purée the mixture and set aside. Roast the pumpkin seeds, coated in olive oil and salt, in a 400° oven. Fry the sage leaves in olive oil.

For the Risotto:

Bring the stock to a boil in a stockpot, then reduce heat to low. Meanwhile, in a heavy bottomed pot, heat the butter over medium and add the finely chopped onions. Cook until soft and translucent. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter, about one minute. Add the first addition of stock, one ladle full, and continuously stir until most of the liquid is absorbed. Repeat this process until the mixture is creamy and still slightly loose, but the rice still has some chew to it. The entire process should take exactly 18 minutes. At this point add the pumpkin purée and cook 2 minutes longer.  Turn off the heat and add the parmesan cheese, season with salt and pepper.


Swiss Chard Tart

Swiss chard is by far my favorite leafy green vegetable. Growing up in an Italian household with a backyard garden, swiss chard picked and cooked the same day was a common occurrence – lucky me! I love its earthy flavor, especially this time of year when the leaves and stems are particularly sweet and tender. This tart is a warm fall treat served alone as an appetizer, or as a simple supper alongside roasted beets and a small salad. Oh, and of course with a glass of wine!

*Serves 6 for an appetizer, 4 as small side
  • 1 small bunch rainbow swiss chard, stems and leaves finely chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tblsp butter
  • ½ tsp grated nutmeg
  • 2 whole eggs, 1 egg yolk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup grated fontina cheese
  • 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
  • Salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 425º. Place the sheet of puff pastry dough into a tart pan, pressing the dough up the sides. Cover and chill until ready to fill.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook until translucent and soft but not browned. Add the swiss chard and cook until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Season the mixture with the grated nutmeg, salt, and pepper, and set aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and cream. Add the cooled onion and swiss chard mixture, and half of the grated cheese. Pour the mixture over the puff pastry in the tart pan and top with the remaining cheese. Place in the oven for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350º and cook 15 minutes longer until the filling is set and slightly browned on top. Bon appétit!

Butternut Squash Flatbread

Which do you prefer – salty or sweet? You know, food preferences say a lot about you!

This flatbread is a perfect balance of salty-sweet. Roasted butternut squash and caramelized onions stand up to the contrast of the slight bitterness  and crunch of radicchio. Bits of prosciutto and nutty fontina cheese add the salty and savory element that make the flavors explode.

*this recipe makes 3 flatbreads about 12×9 each
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • store-bought pizza dough, room temp, divided into 3 sections
  • 2 cups shredded fontina cheese
  • 1/4 lb prosciutto, torn into small pieces
  • 1 cup chopped radicchio
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • olive oil, salt

Coat the butternut squash slices in olive oil and salt. Roast in a 400º oven until soft and slightly caramelized. At the same time caramelize the onions in olive oil a sauté pan.

Turn the oven up to 500º. Roll out and stretch the pizza dough as thinly as possible; I use a rolling-pin and my hands. Transfer the dough to an oiled 12×9 sheet pan. Top with butternut squash slices, caramelized onions, and shredded fontina. Sprinkle with the torn prosciutto, radicchio, and rosemary needles. Drizzle the entire flatbread with olive oil, and bake in the oven on the lowest rack for 5-7 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the bottom is browned and crisp.