Grilled Portobello Burgers

[PIC to come]

And by Burgers, I mean the giant portobello caps. Leave some time to marinate these but as far as the cooking, they are quick.


  • 4 Portobello Mushroom Caps, washed and dried
  • 2 T Fancy Mustard
  • 3 T really good Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 C Olive Oil
  • 1 – 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • Cracked Pepper
  • Rosemary, finely chopped


  1. Wash the mushroom caps and leave out to dry while you prepare the marinade
  2. Combine the rest of the ingredients and whisk together until well combined.
  3. Place the mushrooms in a shallow dish and cover with the marinade. You might have to flip them or baste them at some point in the marinating process.
  4. Marinate as short as 20 minutes (or I’ve gone as long as 4 hours) Both were delicious. But as always, the longer the marinade, the better the flavor.
  5. Grill for best flavor.

Shirin Polow (Iranian Rice Pilaf)

Shirin Polow ++ the pear and plum

I veered from the original recipe in a big way but I love this.  Like, love LOVE this. I’m still working out the kinks with the “golden rice crust on the bottom” thing but even without getting this absolutely correct, this rice was AMAZING. The sweetness of the oranges against the scallions and spices was…. well…. dreamy. And like i said, I veered. I changed major things. And maybe this doesn’t even fit in the Shirin Polow category anymore? I don’t know. But I do know you should now commence cooking the best rice ever.

[ Based on a recipe from here: ]


  • 1/4 C Sugar
  • 1/4 C thinly Sliced Orange Peel (make sure to scrape as much of the white stuff off as you can. It can be really bitter. Also, chop peel really small or it will overwhelm the dish)
  • Just enough water to dissolve sugar
  • 4 C Long-Grain White Rice [I used Jasmine]
  • 2 T Kosher Salt
  • ½ Cup Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Fenugreek
  • ½ C Canola Oil
  • 2 T Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1 Cup Boiling Water
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo Chiles [Optional or use any spice here]
  • 1 T Dukkah [Optional but not nearly as good if you leave it out]
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cardamom
  • Raw Shredded Carrots
  • Roasted Vegetables [I used Mushrooms, Tomatoes & Red Peppers]
  • ½ Cup Slivered Almonds
  • ½ Cup Chopped Pistachios
  • A handful of Scallions
  • A handful of Cilantro


  1. Bring sugar and water to a boil in small pan [I used my tiny all clad fry pan] over high heat. Add orange peel and cook until tender, 8–10 minutes. Let cool and set aside.
  2. Cook your rice in salted water according to its directions about 5 minutes shy of being done. Put in colander to drain.
  3. While your rice cooks, shred the carrots and prep any other vegetables you plan on using.
  4. While rice drains, combine milk, fenugreek and oil in the pan you plan to use and turn on to medium heat [I’ve used my cast iron skillet as well as my All Clad Frying pan. The cast iron makes for easier removal of the crust as well as better flavor.]
  5. When rice is drained and milk pan is hot, add the rice to the milk mixture. Don’t stir it. Let it mound in the middle and using the back of a wooden spoon, make 5 holes for steam to escape. Cover and cook for about 10.
  6. While its cooking, get your butter, boiling water, and spices ready.
  7. After the ten minutes are up, pour the butter and boiling water over the rice, add the Scallions, Aleppo chiles, Dukkah, Cardamom  and lightly mix in (dont scrape up bottom yet). Cover and turn heat down to med-low and cook until the crust on the bottom is really brown; about 20 minutes. [You’ll want to check the progress at about 10 minutes, just to make sure its not burning]
  8. When done, scrape up crust from the bottom of the pan and mix into rice. Serve on a platter. Garnish with the orange peels, nuts, scallions, cilantro and the roasted vegetables on the side.

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

roasted tomatoes ++the pear and plum

Not only does this taste awesome, you’re also going to make your house smell incredible for hours. We served them as a side dish (but they would be amazing over pasta with roasted garlic and olive oil…. mmmm… I’ll do that next time.) I also sprinkled a tiny bit of hot pepper over them at the end which was really really great.


  • 3 – 4 Tomatoes (medium size)
  • 2 T Olive Oil
  • 1 – 2 Garlic Cloves, sliced thin
  • A couple sprigs of fresh Rosemary, chopped fine (You could also use Basil and/or Thyme)
  • Sea Salt
  • Fresh Cracked Pepper
  • Aleppo Peppers (or your favorite crushed hot peppers)


  1. Preheat oven to 325° F
  2. Cut each Tomato in half once (horizontally) and take out the seeds.
  3. Pour Olive Oil onto baking sheet or pan and rub the cut side of the tomatoes in the oil.
  4. Flip them over so they’re sitting cut side up and rub the cut Garlic over them. When you’ve rubbed all the tomatoes, put the extra garlic in each tomato where the seeds used to be.
  5. Sprinkle them with Salt, Fresh Cracked Pepper and Herbs. (make sure to push the herbs in so that they dont sit on top and burn.)
  6. Bake for 2 hours or until done.
  7. Sprinkle some Hot Pepper on the top (optional) and serve.

Lemon White Beans with Garlic Polenta

Lemon White Beans with Polenta ++ the pear and plum

I have these lemon cravings. Sometimes its a problem. Especially because we do not live anywhere near a lemon tree and I’m always having to run out in the dead of night to buy lemons at the store. (I hear there’s this magical place called California where people actually have them IN THEIR YARDS. This, I cannot imagine.).  Anyway, When my lemon needs happen at dinner time, this is the recipe I return to. It’s just as great in the cold snowy winter as it is on a rainy summer day.

I tried to make this vegetarian but I missed the chicken so much that I added it back in. Sometimes I just need that flavor. Just one breast though so its more of an ingredient for flavor than the main event. If you want more chicken, you could add a couple more breasts.

(thanks to my friend Kathy for the original version of recipe)


  • 1 Cup Polenta
  • 3 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 1 Chicken Breast, skin on
  • 1 Lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1 Bulb Fennel, shaved on a mandolin (optional)
  • 1 tsp fresh Rosemary
  • 1 tsp fresh Thyme (I used Lemon Thyme)
  • 1 Can Canellini beans
  • 1/4 Cup White Wine
  • Sea Salt
  • Fresh Cracked Pepper


  1. Cook polenta in a sauce pan according to directions using the broth as the liquid and adding the minced garlic to the broth.
  2. Cook the chicken in a covered skillet, skin side down on medium heat until almost done.
  3. When the chicken needs a couple more minutes, add the Wine. Wait about 30 seconds, then add the Lemon Zest, Juice, Fennel, Rosemary, Thyme, Beans and cover until the Chicken is done.
  4. Serve the Beans and Chicken over the Polenta. Salt & Pepper to taste

++ Note to self: The recipe is good as it stands but I may update it the next time I make it to make the polenta thinner.

Vegetarian Sushi

Vegetarian Sushi ++ the pear and plum

Rolling and cutting sushi is incredibly satisfying.

Wrapping a big mess into a lovely green cylinder that you then slice into neat little rounds. I wish i could roll up my living room and slice it neat.

3 things to note:

1. Make sure you use sushi rice – I read a bunch of recipes. There are lots of opposing opinions about using different kinds of rice – However – NO ONE says sushi rice doesn’t work so I stuck with that. Please let me know if you have another option.

2. I use our serrated bread knife to cut the sushi. Whatever knife you use, just make sure its super sharp.

3. If you want to 1/2 the recipe and make less, that totally works.

Recipe in two parts below… First: making the rice and Second: making the roll.

(Rice Recipe from Alton Brown)

MAKING THE RICE  (makes 4 Cups)


  • 2 cups sushi or short grain rice
  • 2 cups water, plus extra for rinsing rice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt


  1. Place the rice into a mixing bowl and cover with cool water. Swirl the rice in the water, pour off and repeat 2 to 3 times or until the water is clear.
  2. Place the rice and 2 cups of water into a medium saucepan and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, uncovered.
  3. Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
  4. Combine the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small bowl and heat in the microwave on high for 30 to 45 seconds.
  5. Transfer the rice into a large wooden or glass mixing bowl and add the vinegar mixture. Fold thoroughly to combine and coat each grain of rice with the mixture.
  6. Allow to cool to room temperature before using. [I put mine in the fridge while i prepped the veggies]



  • Seaweed wrappers [Sold at any decent grocery store.]
  • Avocado, Cucumber, Carrots [I used a mandolin to shred the veggies long and thin]
  • Sesame seeds
  • Soy Sauce (as much as you want for dipping)
  • Tiny bit of Ginger, minced fine and added to the soy sauce (optional)
  • anything else you want to add.. pickled ginger? cream cheese? sweet potato? basil? bean sprouts?


  1. Set up your station: Put a large flat surface on your table. (I used my cutting board.) Fill a small bowl with cold water and put that near you. Surround yourself with your chopped veggies, cooled rice, sesame seeds, seaweed wrappers and whatever else you wanted to include. Once you get going, you’re going to be covered in rice so you want to have everything at the ready.
  2. On your flat surface, lay out one piece of seaweed and cover the whole thing with a thin layer of rice.
  3. After the rice is spread out, place your vegetables at the end nearest you (because when you start rolling, this edge will end up in the middle of your roll). Add sesame seeds over the vegetables.
  4. When everything you want in the roll is all situated, start to roll away from you. Keep everything pretty tight or you wont be happy when you start to cut them. When you get to the end, you can use your water to seal the roll shut. You now have a green cylinder.
  5. Use your serrated bread knife to slowly cut your sushi pieces.
  6. After you make one roll, you’ll see what you want to change for the next one.



Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Cashew Cream

Roasted Red Peppers:Cashew Cream

This is my first recipe using the Lemon Cashew Cream I made the other day and it was just as lovely as i had hoped. I roasted the red pepper myself on the gas range top and chopped the kale ahead of time so it was a super fast – kid is crying and i need to get dinner on the table 5 minutes ago – kind of dinner. But it looks fancy and relaxed doesn’t it? I must be awesome. Pretty sure.

The directions on How To Roast A Red Pepper are below.

(Adjust recipe amounts for whom your feeding. I was just feeding myself because the aforementioned crying kid is not as excited by this meal as I am)


  • 1 Roasted Red Pepper
  • A handful of Kale
  • 1/4 Box fettuccine
  • A couple spoon fulls of Lemon Cashew Cream


TO ROAST A RED PEPPER: Wash the pepper well and then lay it down on the grate of your gas stove and turn the flame to medium-high. Leave the pepper there for a minute or so, until that side is mostly black, and then flip it. Repeat this process until all the sides are charred and black. (Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn your house down. Not really. Well, kind of.) When it’s done roasting, let it sit out and cool. (Avoid the temptation to cool it/peel it under water because you’ll wash off a lot of the smokey flavor and oils) When its cool, peel the skin off, chop up and get rid of the seeds. Drizzle with olive oil and then store in fridge until you’re ready to use it. They’ll  last for a week or more.

  1. Cook pasta according to directions on box.
  2. While pasta is cooking, saute kale for a couple minutes until it begins to wilt.
  3. In the mean time, chop up the previously roasted red pepper.
  4. Drain the pasta when its done and toss with the Cashew Cream. (I had to heat up the Cashew Cream because mine came straight from the fridge. You can add more water if you want a thinner sauce.)
  5. Toss in vegetables and  top with Salt and Pepper. I’m a parmesan cheese addict, so I added that too.


tags: Vegetarian, Vegan, Fast Dinner, Quick Meals, Dinner, Lunch, Appetizer, Dressing, Pureed Nut Sauce

Red Lentil Stew with Ginger and Cilantro


Theres a blizzard outside which always  means a good slow simmering soup for us.

(recipe makes about 4 servings – you can stretch it by putting it over rice)


  • Coconut Oil (or your choice oil) for pan [See Comments Section]
  • 1 Onion, chopped fine
  • 1 Stalk Celery, chopped
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Curry Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Celery Salt
  • 1 tsp Fresh Ginger, grated (I prefer to grate on a zester)
  • 2 Cups of Red Lentils
  • 3 Carrots, chopped
  • 3 Cups Vegetable Broth
  • Yogurt (for on top of the stew)
  • Cilantro as a garnish


  1. Saute onions and celery in oil on medium-low until they soften and turn brown. Stir often. Cook for about 20 min.
  2. Move the onion/celery to the side and add the spices. Move the spices around the center of the pan for about 10 seconds, until fragrant, and then mix onions into the spices.
  3. Add in the ginger and mix into the onions.
  4. Mix in the lentils and carrots, pour in broth and simmer covered on low for about 15 min. Dont let them go to long or you’ll have mush. Good mush…… but stil mush.
  5. Serve over rice or just as stew. Top with Faje yogurt and Cilantro.

tags: Dinner, Lunch, Stew, Soup, Hearty, Protein, Good Leftovers, Wild Rice

Sauteed Brussel Sprouts and Kale with Cashew Pesto

brussel sroput

We’re trying out a new way of eating over here. I was reading Bon Appetit magazine recently and there was an article that has kind of changed everything for me. Simply put, the meat doesn’t have to be the main thing. (Brilliant!) Meat as more of a side, or condiment. (Who would have thought!) Now every meal becomes this small dish extravaganza of wonderfulness…. I’m not even overstating it : )


  • olive oil for the pan
  • handful of brussel sprouts, rough chopped in food processor
  • handful of kale, choppped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 T of my Basil Cashew Pesto


  1. Wash and prep brussel sprouts (take off any manky leaves and chop off tough stem)
  2. Saute garlic for 30 seconds in a large pan. [i’ll talk your ear off about how much i love my cast iron skillets if you let me. Use one if you have it.]
  3. Add brussel sprouts to pan… Cook for a couple minutes… until the little pieces stuck to the edge start to brown. Turn off heat.
  4. Now, since my pesto was made the day before, and came straight from the fridge, I chose to move the brussels to the edge of the pan, warm the pesto in the center and then mix it all together there. You do what you gotta do.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and serve plain…. or with rice…. or with pasta.


Tags:  Side dish, Dinner, Salad, Warm Salad, Vegetarian, Vegan



(with an exclamation mark because this is my 100th post!)

I thought about this polenta all night after having it for dinner and thats why I’ve elected it worthy to be # 100.  This is some serious comfort food goodness AND has been great as a leftover as well. (Breakfast polenta with a poached egg. Lunch polenta with grilled vegetables). It’s just really good. But here’s the thing…. I just used cornmeal. Is the corn meal called Polenta different? I’m not sure, but I’m sticking with corn meal. Love to hear if you do something different!

Original recipe here  (I’ve made a couple edits)


  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 tsp chicken bullion
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Leaves from 4-5 springs of thyme, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup of polenta [I used cornmeal that my farmer friend grew and ground herself!!]
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt to taste


  1. Put the milk, water, bullion and the minced garlic in a heavy sauce pan and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the thyme and some black pepper. Add the polenta in slowly in a steady stream while constantly whisking so there won’t be any lumps. Reduce the heat and cook for 25 minutes while constantly whisking. [It was pretty soupy after 25 minutes but i couldn’t wait any longer to eat it and like i said, it was great.]
  3. Remove from the heat and add the mascarpone and parmesan and whisk well until smooth and creamy. If too thick add a little more mascarpone. Taste for salt.
  4. Serve few tablespoons per person with whatever you’d like on top. We topped ours with sautéed Portobello and Oyster mushrooms.


tags: 100th post, appetizer, dinner, side dish, breakfast