Tuesday, June 7, 2011

LA and Fish Tacos

photo by sara tady ©
Well, we have officially arrived in LA!  I haven't done much cooking yet- who can beat a $5, fresh, delicious fish taco lunch off one of LA's many food trucks?  Pair that with a Jarritos...talk about yum!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Curried Rice and Snap Peas

photo by sara tady ©
I'm not a big fan of leftovers.  Who wants to eat the same thing 2 nights in a row?  A few weeks ago a made this delicious Beef and Broccoli.  I saved half the rice and peas for a round two recipe the next night.  This had a completely different spin that brought us over to India in a matter of a few minutes.

1/2 cup of basmati rice
a handful of snap peas
1 tbsp of Curry powder
1/2 tbsp of Cumin
2 scallions chopped

1. Heat up the rice and snap peas in a sauce pan, or skillet, whatever you have. If rice is dry, add a tablespoon of water.
2. Combine curry, cumin and scallions.  Mix well.
3. Serve with traditional Indian bread, naan.  I get mine in the freezer section at Trader Joe's.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ricotta Gnocchi with Homemade Marinara

photo by sara tady ©
My husband and I LOVE gnocchi.  I was always under the impression it would be nearly impossible to make.  WRONG!  It turns out it's one of the most simple things ever.  I made mine with ricotta cheese instead of the traditional potato gnocchi.  I'm going to try the potato version another time.  This was so easy and it was ready in under 30 minutes.  Crazy!  I accompanied it with a simple marinara which I ALWAYS make myself.  I served this with a simple mixed green salad.  Here's how to do it:

1 small container of full fat ricotta cheese
3/4 cup or so of flour
1 tbsp of garlic salt
1 egg
1 can of chopped or crushed tomatoes (I use fire roasted)
1 small can of tomato sauce
1 clove of garlic, grated/chopped finely
1/2 cup of finely chopped onion
Fresh basil
1 tsp of red pepper flake
salt and pepper


1. In a medium bowl, combine about half the container of ricotta cheese, flour, egg and garlic salt. Mix into a dough.  Add more flour if need be, but not too much!  Careful not to over-mix.
2. Bring a pot of water to a boil, salt.
3. Sprinkle some flour onto counter/ cutting board. Place the dough on top of flour and divide into 4 sections.
4. Roll each section of dough into long strips - about the thickness of a bread stick
5. Starting from 1 end, cut the dough strips into 1 inch noodles. I made the imprints of a fork into each one of mine to help the sauce stick.
6. Drop into boiling water and cook for about 3 minutes.  The noodles will float to the top when they are done. Strain.

Marinara Sauce:
1. In a medium skillet, add a bit of olive oil, garlic, red pepper flake and onion to low-medium heat. Saute.
2. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt and pepper.  Go ahead and sprinkle in any dried herbs (parsley, oregano).

Combine cooked gnocchi and marinara sauce.  Top with fresh basil.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Orecchiette Pasta with Pancetta, Peas and Pecorino

photo by sara tady ©
Wow it's been busy!  A trip to Jamaica, planning for a move across country and starting a new role at work has lead me to neglect my blog, let alone cook!  Here's a delicious and very rich pasta for you.  It was inspired by something I had at Gilt Bar.

1 cup of orecchiette pasta
2 1/2 inch slices of Pancetta from the deli counter
3/4 cup of shredded/grated Pecorino cheese
3/4 cup of frozen peas

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil, salt, add pasta
2. Dice the pancetta into little pieces
3. In a medium/large skillet, add diced pancetta and brown until crispy.
4. When the pancetta is browned and crispy, add the strained pasta and frozen peas to the skillet.  
5. Top with grated cheese and a little freshly ground pepper.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Peanut Butter, Strawberry Jam and Banana Crepes

photo by sara tady ©

A couple weekends ago I was dying for something sweet for breakfast.  I had almost all the ingredients on hand (besides whole milk!) and I followed this recipe from one of my favorite TV chefs.  I substituted bananas for blueberries and also whipped some cream- which is a must!  I didn't use a blender, either.  Just mixed it by hand.  It was so simple and delicious, I just had to share. Try this the next time you make breakfast!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Beef and Broccoli

photo by sara tady ©

This week we got crimini mushrooms, snap peas and broccolini in our produce delivery.  I figured this was a good opportunity to whip up some takeout worthy chinese.  I'm not a huge Chinese food fan- usually opting for Thai food any day.  I was, however, really surprised how good this turned out.  There's more than a few ingredients here, but they are all affordable! There's also more steps than I'm used to taking after a long day.  Nothing is difficult but be prepared for about 45 minutes start to finish.  Totally worth it.  Here's how you can do it too:

1 cup Basmati Rice (or regular white rice)
4 scallions- chopped
2 clove of garlic- chopped/grated
2 tbsp of fresh ginger- chopped/grated
2 tbsp of canola oil
2 handfuls of snap peas- end removed
About a cup of broccoli flourets/ broccolini
1 steak filet (or whatever you have)
A couple dashes of Soy sauce
1 tbsp of Sambal Oelek (can be found in the asian foods section for about $2)

1. In a ziplock bag, place steak, half of the chopped garlic, half of the chopped ginger, a quarter of the scallions, a few dashes of soy sauce, and 1 tsp of Sambal Oelek.  Let marinate for 30 mins.....or however long it takes to prep everything else.  The longer this marinates, the better. Trust me, this is reaaallly tasty!
2. In a sauce pan, add 1 cup rice and 2 cups water. Bring to boil, then reduce with lid on until water is absorbed.
3. In a large skillet, add canola oil, the rest of the scallions, garlic and ginger. Let simmer on low-med. Add mushrooms.
4. Throw the steak on a hot grill, or grill pan.  I like my steak medium.  Adjust cooking times to your liking.  Let steak rest for about 5 minutes after taking off a hot grill.
5. Place broccoli and snap peas in a medium bowl.  Cover with water- microwave for 3-4 minutes. Strain and drop into the skillet with the scallions, garlic and ginger.
6. Add a couple dashes of soy sauce and a spoonful of Sambal Oelek.  Careful- this stuff is spicy.  Adjust as you see fit!
7. Serve over a big scoop of rice.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Chicken Salad Sandwich and Dijon Potato Salad

photo by sara tady ©
About a week or so ago, we had an amazing few days of weather.  My husband and I high-tailed it to Tango Sur on a Wednesday night to share a bottle of wine and dine on the patio.  I wasn't really feeling steak, so I did something a little unorthodox...I ordered the roasted half chicken.  Needless to say, it was deeeee-lish.  I wrapped up the leftover chicken and made what my husband claimed was "the best sandwich he's ever had" for lunch.  That might be a stretch, but either way, it was VERY tasty and this lunch really got us in the mood for summer!  There's hundreds of ways to make chicken salad, here's mine:

Chicken Salad Ingredients:
Shredded Chicken (I almost always use chicken from a previous night's dinner)
1 tbsp of dried dill
1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1-2 tbsps of fresh chopped chives (or green onion)
lots of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup mayo
optional- 1/4 cup cranberries

Mix together!  Done!  Serve on sourdough bread with greens and cheese- my favorite with chicken salad is dill-havarti.  

Potato Salad Ingredients:
Halved fingerling or red potatoes- skin on
2 tbsp of dijon mustard
3 tbsp of red wine vinegar  
1 tbsp of dried dill
1tbsp of chopped parsley
salt and pepper

1) drop potatoes into pot BEFORE bringing to a boil. Salt water
2) In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients
3) Strain when potatoes are fork tender (this means when you stick a fork in them, they slip off)  Be careful to not overcook.
4) Combine with the dressing and chill.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Easy Apple "Pie"

photo by sara tady ©
Who has time to make homemade apple pie?  Not this girl.  I've been cheating with this method for a few years.  It's all the simple ingredients and flavors with a little help from the store and not a lot of time.  If you can slice an apple, you can make this :)

2 apples (granny smith, golden delicious, macintosh-whatever you have!)
1 store bought pie crust
2 tbsp of sugar
1 tbsp of cinnamon
Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees & thaw pie crust
2. Slice apples.  Here's how, just make sure to slice them MUCH thinner as shown above.
3. Roll out the thawed dough onto a greased baking sheet
4. Place chopped apples in the center. Add sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest and juice. Mix together.
5. Fold up the edges toward the center. Sprinkle some sugar on top. 
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until everything is golden and your house smells like apple pie.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chicken Tenders and Sweet Potato Fries

photo by sara tady ©
The other night I got home and we didn't have much of anything for dinner.  I wasn't feeling that creative so I stuck to the basics.  Should I also mention I've been on a serious junk food kick lately?  Oh well, here's a grown up version of a Happy Meal :)

2 Chicken Breasts
2 Sweet Potatoes
1 egg
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tbsp dijon mustard (optional)
dipping sauces (optional)

1) preheat oven to 400 degrees
2) chop sweet potatoes length-wise into about half inch thick "fries"
3) place on a baking sheet, drizzle extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper OR brown sugar if you like them sweet
4) pop these into the oven to get them going
5) get 3 bowls. into each bowl goes the flour, bread crumbs and egg + dijon, separately 
6) cut the chicken breasts into 1-1/2 thick strips, season with salt and pepper 
7) here goes the breading. dip strips into the egg batter, then into the flour, then back into the egg again, then into the bread crumbs.  got it? egg, flour, egg, bread crumbs :)
8) place tenders on a baking sheet (I pulled the fries out, gave them a good toss and placed the chicken on the same baking sheet)
9) pop everything into the oven for about 20 minutes until golden

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Portobello Mushrooms with Red Wine Reduction

We got these beauties in our produce mix this week.  I make mushrooms this way as salad toppings, a side, mixed in pasta or a delicious topping to a steak or chicken.  They are SO flavorful! I absolutely love these. Cooking with wine can be intimidating at first, but trust me, it's nothing!  Open up a bottle of red wine, pour yourself a glass and get ready to eat in 10 minutes.  You will feel like a gourmet chef after this!
photo by sara tady ©

Portobello or Crimini Mushrooms (wiped clean with a damp paper towel-do not run under water!)
Red wine
Salt and Pepper

1) Melt about about 1 tbsp of butter in a non-stick pan.  Medium heat.
2) Drop sliced, unseasoned portobellos or whole crimini mushroom caps in pan to saute 3 minutes.  Do not touch or mix around.
3) Flip over, salt and pepper. 2 minutes
4) Pour about 1/4-1/2 cup of red wine into pan.  Let reduce for 1-2 minutes until wine reduces or becomes absorbed.
photo by sara tady ©

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Blueberry turnover with Homemade Whipped Cream

photo by sara tady ©
I made this great salmon chowder a few weeks ago- here's the dessert I made to go along with it.  This is SO easy and you can make it with any berries you like or even sliced apples (just add some cinnamon)! A perfect ending to a classic east coast dinner.

1 sheet of puff pastry (found in the frozen section)
1 package of blueberries 
Zest of half a lemon
whipping cream
1 egg white (optional)
vanilla extract (optional)

1) Place half the blueberries in a small bowl.  Sprinkle 3 spoons of sugar on top and mash with a fork. Zest half a lemon into the bowl.  Go ahead and squeeze a little lemon juice in there too.
2) Roll out the thawed puff pastry on a greased/non stick baking sheet. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
3) Spread the mashed blueberry mixture as well as the remaining blueberries on ONE HALF of the pastry dough. (You'll be folding this in half into a triangle shape, from 1 corner to the other) Leave a 1 inch gap between the blueberries and the edge. 
4) Fold in half and press the dough closed with a fork.
5) Cut a little 1 inch cross into the top to allow air to escape
6) Brush egg white on top and sprinkle with sugar
7) Bake for 12-13 minutes until golden brown.

Homemade Whipped Cream
Pour 1/2 cup to a cup of whipping cream in a medium sized bowl.  Sprinkle in 2 spoonfuls of sugar and a 1/2 capful of vanilla extract.  With a whisk, beat it continuously until it becomes whipped cream.  It will take about 3 minutes.  Trust me, it's worth the elbow grease!  (if you own a mixer- go ahead and use that if you want).
photo by sara tady ©

Monday, March 14, 2011

Veggie Pot Pie

photo by sara tady ©
I made a vegetable soup a few weeks ago and froze about half.  This is sooo easy and will bring you back to your childhood.  All you have to do is heat up the soup, make a simple roux, and bake the flaky topping.  Virtually no prep and dinner will be on the table, or in my case, breakfast bar, in less than 30 minutes.  So simple and you'll feel like a pro!

leftover soup- already cooked
5 tbsp of flour
4 tbsp of butter
1 1/2 cans of chicken stock
1 sheet of puff pastry
1/2 cup of cream or milk

1) Preheat oven to 400.  
2) Unfold the puff pastry sheet. Trace the top of your serving dish with a knife, cutting through. (Save the excess!!!) Pop into the oven for 13 minutes or so.
3) In a non-stick skillet, make the roux using the above measurements.  
4) Mix in the leftover soup and the 1/2 cup of cream or milk.
5) Pour into serving dish and top with the flaky puff pastry. 

Bonus Dessert:
Cinnamon-Sugar Twists
photo by sara tady ©
Cut the leftover pastry dough into 1 inch strips.  Brush with some melted butter, sprinkle on cinnamon, sugar and twist.  Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes.  You can bake these at the same time as your pot-pie topping!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


photo by sara tady ©
I love cooking with leeks.  They have a mild onion-like taste and are a perfect substitution for regular onions.  Typically, you'll only want to use the white portion of the stalk.  Here's how to prep leeks:

1) cut in half length-wise
2) chop into thin slices (pictured above)
3) drop into a bowl filled with water.  Give the leeks a good swirl.  Leeks are grown in sand which get in between the layers.  You don't want to skip this step unless you like sand in your dish :)
photo by sara tady ©

Pesto Pasta

photo by sara tady ©
Remember the almond arugula pesto I made?  Here's what I did with it :)

salted some boiling water, cooked some pasta, drained, stirred in the pesto, served with roasted red peppers.  done!  tomatoes would have been key here, I just didn't have any!  enjoy!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Grilled Pizza with Roasted Tomatoes and Arugula

photo by sara tady ©
Every once in a while I make something my husband coins as "special".  This was one of those things.  Super simple yet super gourmet.

photo by sara tady ©
Pizza Dough- I used the garlic herb dough from Trader Joe's
Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella
2 Tomatoes
Pizza sauce/ Marinara

1) Preheat oven to 400.
2) Slice tomatoes thin.  Salt and pepper both sides.  Drizzle with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and into oven for 15 minutes
3) Roll out (or stretch out like I do) the dough. Use flour if needed. Place directly onto a hot grill for 4 minutes and then flip for 3 minutes.  If you don't have a grill you can use your oven just put it on a baking sheet.  It won't be as good though, fair warning :)
4) Spoon pizza sauce on the most undercooked side (should be the second side) then layer on cheese, tomatoes and whatever dried herbs you like.  I used oregano, red pepper flake and parsley.  I also happened to have a block of Pecorino in the fridge so I shaved some on top-such a bonus!
5) Put back on the grill for another 3 minutes or so.
6) Take out and top with arugula.