All posts in Recipes

A Whole New Toad In A Hole

Since I was a little kiddo my favorite breakfast has been Toad In A Hole.
It’s simply an egg cooked inside a piece of bread and not only is it as cute as can be, but you have your toast right there, ready to soak up the yolkness!

Now that I have aged a bit and acquired a more, well, sophisticated pallet, I thought it was time to make a few tweaks.
I added 2 of my favorite ingredients: avocado and sheep’s feta cheese
I used gluten free bread, obviously :o) and feel free to experiment with different types of cheese, I know I will.  A sharp cheddar would be awesome with the avocado.

(I was inspired here)
Serves 2
2 eggs
2 pieces of sliced bread
Butter for spreading on the bread
2 T cheese

You will need:
A cookie cutter, or something to make a cut out in the bread.  OH how cute would heart shaped ones be on Valentines Day!?

Make sure your goat cheese is soft and ready to spread or already sliced
Cookie cutter a hole into the bread, reserve to toast with breakfast, or if you are impatient like me, eat it while you are waiting for your egg to cook.
Lightly butter both sides of the bread
Place the bread in a hot pan and gently break an egg into the hole
cook for about 2 minutes
In the meantime, slice your avocado
carefully flip the Toad In A Hole and gently spread the cheese on the toast
Cover the pan with a lid for 1-2 minutes
Nicely place the avocado on top
Cover again for about 1 minutes, just to warm the avocado
Carefully place on plates and top with fresh pepper and coarse sea salt
Adjust cooking times depending on how runny you like your eggs.  This left them still runny as you can see.

For Valentines Day I’m doing this!
As seen on Domesticated blog

Woke up Crabby…

At what point do you go from being able to have a few margaritas and still feel like 100 bucks the next morning OR have a few margaritas and wake up absolutely crabby!?
Does this aging happen over night, literally?!

Last night Mindee and I had dinner (and margaritas) at Tacolicious in the Marina- a neighborhood where the pitch of women’s voices reach a frequencey unlike anywhere else in San Francisco and all the men look and dress the same.  Not exactly mine and Mindee’s type of neighborhood… it’s the authentic tacos and margaritas, not the well groomed men, that keep us coming back for more.  By sun down and the time it takes Mindee and me to finish our first margarita, this place has gone from taqueria to swanky, sleazy, sweaty bar!
These aren’t the sugar packed and pre mixed margaritas, but rather made with actual lime juice and good quality tequila! So good, they go down like juice!
Anyway, I woke up feeling, well you know the feeling, not entirely chippery, to say the least.  And the only thing sounding remotely appetizing is something hot, spicy and greasy!
I mixed together what I had on hand, canned crab (is that tacky?) bell peppers and hot sauce and the result were these perfectly little moist crabby cakes! yum!

Enjoyed anytime of day for any occasion, casual or fancy, hung-over or chippery, these little guys are a pleaser for sure!
I topped them with homemade herb aioi to really add to the fat-factor!

Makes 8 small cakes
3 cans crab
2 eggs
1/2 bell pepper diced
2 T homemade aioli (or mayo)
A handful of mixed fresh herbs, chopped (parsley, chives, dill)
1 garlic minces
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup bread crumbs (I used gluten free)
Sanf and pepper
Extra bread crumbs for rolling
Vegetable oil for frying (I used grape seed)
Mix the eggs
Add the remaining ingredients
Divide into 8 patties
Fill a shallow dish with some bread crumbs, season with salt and pepper
Line a baking sheet with foil, spray
Roll the cakes in the bread crumbs and press the crumbs into the crab
Place the tray in the fridge for about 30 minutes, allowing them to firm up
Preheat the oven to 300
Heat the oil in a frying pan
In batches of four, fry the cakes, about 3 minutes on each side
Transfer back to the baking sheet and continue with the remaining four
Transfer the sheet to the oven.
Heat the crab cakes through, about 10-15 minutes


Oh, Honey!

Amaretto and Honey Grilled Bananas

Amaretto is an Italian, sweet, smooth, almond liquor.  It is wonderful in cookies, and cakesor even savory dishes like lamb.  My dad is a retired Italian man, which mean the 3 liquors always on hand are: grappa, limoncello and amaretto.  A couple other kitchen staples of my parent’s are bananas and plain Greek yogurt.  One morning I was staying at my parent’s house and decide to throw these flavors together for breakfast.  This is shaping up to be a deliciously spiked Sunday….

The Amaretto and honey are so delicious together! Beware though, I kept making more and before I knew it I had the munchies :o)

I put this over greek yogurt, but how delicious would this be poured over pancakes!?

Serving for 2
Equal parts Honey to Amaretto (up to you :o) )
I did 1/4 cup of each
2 bananas sliced at an angle
1 cup Yogurt
Slivered Almonds for garnish
Preheat the broiler
In a bowl mix the honey and liquor
add the bananas and toss gently
leaving the extra sauce in the bowl, use a fork to gently place on a baking sheet
Broil for 3 minutes
Meanwhile, divid the yogurt among serving bowl and drizzle with the extra sauce
Take the bananas out, gently turn each banana slice over and return to the broiler
Broil and Additional 3 minutes
Divid the slices among the yogurt and top the Slivered almond

Strawberry Sunday

There are few things in life better than waking up on a Sunday with absolutely no obligations and plans.
To have the whole day to do whatever makes you happy… How often does this happen, really!?
I love a culinary challenge and any opportunity to get creative in the kitchen.  I thought, “Well, I have a big carton of strawberries, why not make every meal today involve strawberries somehow!?”
And that’s what I did: created, cooked and indulged in 3 meals plus dessert!
Baked Strawberry Oatmeal Crumble


Melting Cambozola, Strawberry and Thyme Crostini

Seared Ahi Tuna with Strawberry Salsa
Chocolate Lava Cake with Strawberry Coulis
What a delicious Sunday!

I’ll write down my recipes before I forget, and post soon.


Packet of Provençal

fish, herbs, main entree 1 Comment
 My favorite way to cook fish is provencal style:
capers, olives, tomatoes, rosemary in white wine is a heavenly combination!

I love cooking fish is in a parchment paper packet for s many reasons.  It is simple with very little hands-on time.  It’s a healthy way of cooking because the fish is steamed in it’s one juices.  They are fun to serve at dinner parties, guests are impressed.  And the possibilities of herbs, vegetables and fish used are endless!
This dish is a perfect example of when I cook and not use a recipe or really pay attention to quantities. It’s really up to you and your preferences.  If you really like capers, add more! Or use thyme in stead of rosemary if that what you have on hand.  So, with that said, I’l list the ingredients but don’t pay too much attention to the quantities- make it how you like!
Serves 4
1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes halved
1/4 cup kalamata olives, halved or chopped
2 T capers
1 T rosemary
2 T white wine
4 pieces of cod
2 cups of a cooked grain
Preheat oven to 350
Now the fun part- assembly!
In a bowl combine the fist 5 ingredients
Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper into large oval shapes, as wide as the length of fish
Fold the paper in half
Place 1/2 a cup of rice right beneath the fold
Season the fish with salt and pepper
Top rice with fish
Evenly top the fish with your caper olive combo
Fold over the parchment paper and crumple close the packets
Place them on a baking sheet
Bake for 25 minutes
Careful when opening, steam is hot
This is nice served with roasted asparagus
While the fish is cooking toss asparagus with olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper
Spread on a baking sheet
When you take the fish out, turn the oven to broiler, and put in the asparagus
Set the timer for 2 minutes
Meanwhile, open the fish packets and plate them
Toss the asparagus again and return to the broiler for 2 minutes
Divide asparagus evenly among the plates

My Summer Soup has a name and it’s “Pistou”!

soup, vegan 0 Comments

I love making fresh vegetable soup with a mix of beautiful seasonal veggies.  I had no idea that the product of my mornings trip to the farmer’s market is a specialty in Nice, France.  You see, I belong in France!

You can get creative with the ingredients and ratios.  Do not make this so technical.  If you want more of one veggie than the other, go for.

I didn’t use a recipe, becaue like i said, it’s usually just a random combination of seasonal market finds, but here is one I found that is very similar and will work lovely
Cookbook: Mediterranean, a taste of the sun in 150 recipes
1 small shallot, chopped
1 carrot chopped
1 boiling potato chopped
8 oz can of chopped tomatoes
5 cup vegetable stock
1 zucchini chopped
8 oz can of white beans (optional)
1 cup green beans, cut into 1/2 ince pieces
1/2 cup peas
4-6 T Pesto
1 T sun dried tomatoes
sea salt and fresh pepper
Fresh parmesan (optional)

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large pot
Bring to a boil and simmer, covered for 20 minutes
Meanwhile chop up the sun dried tomatoes and combine with the pesto, set aside
Add the green beans, peas, beans and zucchini
Season with salt and pepper
Cook until the beans and zucchini are just tender
Cruncher is better than soggy, in my opinion
Ladle the soup into individual bowls
Top with pesto and fresh parmesan

Pasta shells or rice is nice here too.  If using rice add it in the first step.  For pasta add it with the beans.

Bon Apetit!

Eggplant with Cinnamon, Pine Nut and Currant Pilaf

main entree, vegan 0 Comments

The funny thing about cooking all day for a living is that by the time you get home, the last thing you want to do is cook for yourself.  In an attempt to try and eat more well rounded meals (how long can I live off of Greek yogurt honey and walnuts) I thought a good place to start would be to make something that I can cook in advanced and reheat during the week.

Stuffed veggies are a great option for vegetarians
Big, hearty and healthy, plus they reheat well!

The combination of pine nuts, raisins and cinnamon was inspired by a dish I had in Turkey this summer.

Side dish or light lunch for 4
4 small eggplants
2 T olive oil
3 T pine nuts
1 onion, chopped
1 t coriander
1/4 cup currants
1 T dried dill
1 tomato seeded and shopped
1 1/2 cup of grains (I did a combo of rice and quinoa)
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350
Slice the eggplant lengthwise
Rub a little olive oil on the cut sides, place face down on a cookie sheet
prick with a fork
Bake for 25-30 minutes
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet and stir in the pine nuts, cook until golden
Add the onion, and soften
Add coriander and currants
Add the sugar, cinnamon, dill and tomato
Toss in your grain and mix well to coat
Pour in 3 cups of water, add a little salt
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer slightly covered for 30 minutes or until rice is cooked

Scoop out the inside of the eggplants, leaving at least a half inch
Chop up the insides and mix into the rice
Season with good salt and fresh pepper
Stuff back into the eggplants
Garnish with chopped parsley, pine nuts and currants

These also freeze well.


Warm Avocado and Pesto Crostini

I feel so sorry for avocados.  They have such a short life.  Really, only one perfect day to be enjoyed at its best.  And once you cut in, there is no going back.  It’s only downhill for the little lady from there.

My beautiful little Hass Avoacodo had been sitting on my windowsill for a couple days now, just waiting to ripen to perfection under the sun light.  This morning, I reached up to give her a little squeeze and she waaaaaaas perfect!

Now my favorite part of being a chef begins… coming up with something delicious and creative with a few given ingredients.

My culinary wheels did a little spin that went something like this:
Basil on it’s last leg of life, why not pesto (my recipe made with brazil nuts),
Marinated feta I’m currently obsessed obviously must be smothered on top (recipe)
A big hearty slice of bread, because what’s better than crostini?
And all put under the sizzlin broiler to let the flavors really melt together!
Oh, and of course finished with fresh ground black pepper, sea salt and a drizzle of extra aged balsamic!

Please don’t end!

I was not planning on having an entire avocado for lunch today, but honestly, I didn’t feel I had a choice :o)

For those of you who like to eat gluten free when possible, you have got to try this bread.
I keep it in my freezer and cut off pieces as I like
And this is my favorite Balsamic, from Napa Valley


Like Pesto- But Not Really

herbs 0 Comments

I loooooooove pesto, and have so much fun experimenting with the herb and nut combos!

This recipes is one of my favorites and in an attempt to make it a little more of a guilt free spread I gave it a few tweaks.
I skimp on the oil, keeping the calories down and making it a thicker, and use Brazil nuts instead of the traditional pinenuts.  Brazil nuts are super healthy for you and I just read that they are considered a complete protein (here)  woooah!
I like to get creative with this type of spread, I think you will have fun experimenting with the combinations too!

A few of my Favorite Combinations:
Mint and Pistachio is great with Lamb
Parsley/Cilantro (3 to 1 ratio), Yogurt and Almonds go well on Fish Tacos
Parsley, Feta and Walnuts on Moroccan Tangine

So I guess really there is nothing “pesto-y” about my version except that it is a combination of herbs, cheese and nuts.  Traditionally pesto genovese (originally from Italy, Liguria) is made with basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmigiano and olive oil.  The best pesto outside of Liguria (and I would know!) is at Farina in San Francisco’s Mission District.  Really, you will be licking your plate!

Base your choice of ingredients off of these ratios:

2 cups of Basil
2 cloves of garlic crushed
1/3 cups Brazil nuts
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil

Put the garlic in the food processor and pulse a few times
Add the basil in batches, pulsing each time
Add the nuts and continue to mix until well combined
While the blade is running pour in the olive oil
Add the Cheese, mix just a bit
Add the salt and pepper
Adjust the ingredients to your taste


Marinated Feta and Roasted Asparagus on Crostini

Oh my gosh, talk about a party in my mouth! This was inspired by the pound of asparagus lingering in my fridge and my latest obsession with marinated feta.  Well, not to mention, I had an hour to think about what to have for breakfast as I was waiting for my car tire to be patched (I’m always driving over nails!)
Oh I just thought of something great! How delicious would a poached egg be on top? So the order would be: toast, asparagus, egg, crumbled feta.
Ah, I cant wait to try it! can’t it be tomorrow morning already!?

Ok, this may look time consuming but it is sooooo simple.  I literally cooked everything at the same time on one pan.

Marinated Feta (recipe)
3-4 Spears of asparagus per crostini
Olive Oil
1 Garlic Minced

For the crostini, cut your baguette at a major bias to really get a nice big surface
Preheat Broiler
Toss the asparagus in oil and garlic
Drizzle the sliced baguette with a tad oil and rub with garlic
Place asparagus and bread slices on a cookie sheet
Broil for 3 minutes (set a timer!)
Take out and toss the asparagus a bit, turn the crostini and drizzle with a tad more oil
Return to the oven and broil for 3 more minutes (timer)

*oh, if your marinated cheese has been in the fridge like mine, place it in the oven to warm up (in an oven proof dish).  The oven will be warn because your broiler is pumpin!

Spread the Feta over your Crostini
Top with a few pieces of asparagus
Drizzle with balsamic (I like the really thick, super aged kind)
Sprinkle with parmesan
Sea Salt and fresh ground pepper

Good Mornin!

Marinated Feta

Spread over warm crostini and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic

Mindee and I were first introduced to marinated feta in Greece this summer.  You know the Greeks…they looooove their feta!

Since then, we always have a bowl of this deliciousness marinading in the fridge.  It has become my new favorite condiment, and I’m sprinkling it on almost everything these days, from my poached egg in the morning to my crostini with grilled asparagus (recipe) at lunch


There are only a few ingredients here, so choose good quality cheese and oil! I used sheep feta but goat is just a yummy. I think next time I make this I will use a harder cheese.  This brand happened to be a little too soft, which has great flavor but you want the cheese to keep its shape more than mine did.
20 oz feta
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 T garlic infused extra virgin olive oil
1 Heaping T of Herbs de Provence
1 t black pepper corns
1/2 t sea salt, or to taste
Cube the cheese and set aside
Whisk the remaining ingredients in a bowl
Add the cheese and gently toss
Let sit for 30 minutes before serving
Serve at room temperature
Transfer to a container with a lid so you can keep it in the fridge
Enjoy- I know you will!

Quinoa Tabbouleh

All the times I enjoyed tabbouleh in Greece and Turkey this summer, I thought, “how nice would this be made with quinoa as oppose to bulgur”

Well, quinoa has yet to find its place on shelves in Turkey, but it is available anywhere rice is sold here in California.  I assume always use quinoa in a recipe that calls for a grain.  Not only because it is gluten free but it is also a complete protein, making it the ideal grain for vegetarians.

I added chickpeas and stuffed into heirloom tomatoes (sorry no pic) and garnished with lemon zest and a mint leaf for a light lunch
For dinner, omit the beans to keep it as a side dish, serve along grilled salmon and and asparagus, oooo and lots of lemon zest! Perfect!

Serves 6 side or 4 main
1 cup quinoa
1 large cucumber, chopped
3 tomatoes, seeded and cubbed
2 cups parsley, finely chopped
1 cup mint, finely chopped
1 can Chickpeas, rinsed well

Lemon Dressing:
1 lemon, juiced
1-2 garlic cloves, to taste, minced
3 T good quality olive oil
sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Cook the quinoa.  set aside in a bowl, even in the fridge, to cool completely.
Whisk the dressing ingredients in a bowl and set aside

Meanwhile, prepare all the vegetables.

Toss the quinoa with veggies with the quinoa and gently toss with dressing
Season with sea salt and pepper
Garnish with lemon zest and whole pretty pieces of mint


Roll into Spring

appetizers, vegan 0 Comments

I am so overwhelmed right now with food, I don’t know where to begin.
Lists. Lots of them. Big ones.
Recipes I’ve made and need to share.
Recipes I’ve had on recent travels and need to share.
Recipes that look delicious and I must make, devour and share.

Checking off a recipe from my “I’ve made and must share list” are these fresh little bites of springtime.  Fresh Herbs are the key ingredients, but really anything seasonal and fresh will be great.  The filling possibilities are endless!

The creamy nut sauce is so good, you may just eat it on its own

I make these for vegan clients for their lunches and as appetizers at private parties.  They can last a couple days in the fridge with a wet towel around them.  Therefore, I recommend making a bunch… rolling takes a while to get the hang of, so the first few may be a little wobbly looking, and the assembling is easy once you have all the ingredients laid out and ready to go.
Don’t let the rice paper intimidate you, like it did me at first. Soaking them in water for 20 seconds is all it takes

Ingredients for Asian Rolls:
Rice Paper
Rice noodles Tossed in Sesame oil
Bell peppers
Shredded Carrots
Cilantro and scallions
Tofu (optional)
Sprouts for garnish

Ingredients for California Rolls:
Quinoa tossed in a almond oil
Shredded carrots
Basil and mint
Shrimp (optional)
Sprouts for garnish

Have ready:
Big shallow pan for dipping the papers in (I use a big skillet)
All your veggies to one side in bowls
A work surface for assembling with a a damp cloth
Cutting board
Place a rice paper in the water and rotate for about 20 seconds
Lay it on the damp towel
Place your grain or noodles across the bottom third in a thin line
Top with a few veggies
Tightly roll and set aside
After you have a few made, cut them at a diagonal
Top with sprouts and Peanut sauce

Asian Peanut or Californian Almond Sauce:
3 T Creamy Peanut or Almond Butter
3 T rice vinegar
2 t soy sauce
2 t brown sugar
red pepper flakes to taste 1/2 – 1 t

Whisk together and enjoy


Turkish Sultains Ate Beans Too

beans, vegan 0 Comments
Turks and Beans go hand in hand
Vegetarians and Beans go hand in hand
Me and Turkey go hand in hand

I admit, I can be a foodie brat sometimes.  And the fact that I don’t eat wheat, factory farm animals and processed foods make it all the more difficult to please me.

With that said, I am more than happy with a well seasoned, perfectly cooked bowl of beans and rice  Not to mention, beans and rice make a complete protein.

These Turkish bean dishes satisfy the foodie in me for sure
The picture above is of one of my favorite meals in Istanbul, a restaurant right outside the walls to the Istanbul University in a beautiful plaza on a beautiful afternoon.  It was 2 pm and very table was occupied by groups of friends from the university: well dressed and well mannered.
Our meal ended with Turkish coffee and what other than…baklava!
Here I’ll share my two favorite Turkish bean dishes
Green Beans with Tomatoes and Dill

So fresh and clean tasting, you can serve at room temperature with rice on a hot summer day or serve warm with crusty bread on a chilly night
Adapted from The Turkish Kitchen
1 Onion Chopped
2 Garlic Cloves
2 T Olive Oil
1 1/4 lb Green Beans
1 T Sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
14 oz can chopped tomatoes
Handful of fresh Dill, roughly chopped
Salt and Pepper

In a large sauce pan, cook the onions, garlic, and oil over low heat until softened
Toss in the Green Beans, coating them in the onions and oil
Add the sugar and lemon juice
Add the tomatoes to the pan and bring to a boil
Lower the heat and add the dill
Cook for 35-40 minutes, or until beans are cooked and sauce is thick
Season with salt and pepper

White Bean and Tomato Soup
Photo: 2 tl for 1 kilo = 50 cents for 1 lb
This traditional Turkish soup is o simple yet incredibly satisfying
It’s no wonder they have been making it for hundreds of years
Serve this soup with a little parsley sprinkled on top and steamed rice on the side

Adapted from the Sultan’s Kitchen
2 T olive oil
2 T butter
1 onion chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Large tomatoes, diced
2 T tomato paste
1 1/2 cups white beans
4 cups vegetable broth
1 carrot diced
1 celery diced
1 t red pepper flakes (I add more- I love spice!)
Salt and Pepper
1/4 cup Parsley

In a medium sauce pan, heat the oil and butter
Cook the onion until softened, about 2-5 minutes, add the garlic
Add tomatoes, paste, and beans
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes
Add the carrot, celery, and red pepper
Cook for another 15 minutes or until the veggies are cooked
Ladle into bowls and garnish with parsley

Before : 

Pick Me Up Rice Pudding

When you’re feeling a tad down in the dumps, there’s nothing better than a little warm creamy sweetness to get your happy pheromones jumping :o)
Rice pudding does the trick
I’m in Turkey and midway through my month long hiatus from reality (aka work and responsibilities) when I started feeling a little anxious.
The thoughts like, “What the hell am I doing?  I can’t just leave for a month? I have a life back home, emails to return, clients to cook for, responsibilities, bills to pay” started haunting me.
We had plans to go horseback riding in an hour and I knew I needed to calm my nerves before hopping on a horse.
At this point my stomach is turning, though I hadn’t eaten all day, and the only thing sounding appetizing is a bowl of creamy rice goodness.
Luckily for me, this is a specialty in Turkey and sold at every corner bakery.

1/2 cup short grain pudding rice (I used sweet rice) rinsed thoroughly under running water
8 cups full fat milk
1-2 t vanilla extract
2 T rice flour
*Get creative with this: chopped nuts on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Use coconut milk and sprinkle with shredded coconut

Place the pudding rice in a deep, heavy pan, pour in enough water to just cover the rice and bring to the boil.
Lower the heat and simmer the mixture for 5-6 minutes, until the water has been absorbed
Pour in the milk and bring to the boil, stirring, then lower the heat and simmer until liquid begins to thickens
Add the sugar, stirring all the time until the sugar has dissolved, then stir in the vanilla a simmer for a further 15-20 minutes
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400
In a small bowl, moisten the rice flour with a little water to make a smooth paste
Stir in a spoonful of the hot liquid
Add the rice flour mixture to the pan of rice, stirring all the time to prevent lumps
Once the liquid has thickened a little, transfer the mixture to a large ovenproof dish and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, until the pudding is lightly browned on top
Remove the pudding from the oven to cool, allowing a skin to form on top

Bodrum, Turkey

Cals: 365, Protein: 12, Carbs: 50, Fat: 13