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    All posts in Recipes

    How to Host a Brunch (and still Sleep In and go for a Run)!

    The key to hosting a stress free brunch is serving dishes that can be prepared the night before.
    Friends were asked to arrive at 9 and we had planned to take off for 3 mile run by 9:30.
    This gave us just the right amount of time to throw things in the oven before heading out, and 30 minutes later be greeted by the welcoming aromas coming from the kitchen as we run through the front door.

    Looking to release some happy endorphins?
    Lace up your sneaker and hit the outdoors with a pal… check out our Sunday rout

    The Menu:
    Homemade Granola and Berry Parfait (Recipe)
    Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding (Recipe)
    Savory Spinach and Ricotta Bread Pudding (Recipe)
    Fresh Chopped Mediterranean Salad (Recipe)
    Mimosas and Coffee

    Orangina, Prosecco and Fresh Strawberries
    I didn’t have one, but judging by the empty bottles, I think they were a hit


    “Panzanella” is Italian for Bread Salad
    I make this with heirloom tomatoes, asparagus, Italian black olives, big hearty croutons made with 2 types of Acme breads, fresh basil and a simple balsamic vinaigrette

    I catered a beautiful Picnic Birthday Party this weekend at Stow Lake in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park
    Like I’ve said before, one of my favorite things about catering is coming up with a menu and all the cute little creative ideas to make the party all the more special and personal.
    This party in-particular had a great menu and lots of extra little special touches.

    a few clips from the picnic:

    lemonade served in a large jar with raspberries, lemon slices and mint
    tin bucket filled with bottles of tea and San Pellegrino 
    honey-soy glazed chicken skewers
    garnished with black sesame seeds and parsley
    sweet cornmeal cake layered with fresh mango, papaya 
    and mango butter
    chopped salad (corn, avocado, feta, bell peppers…)
    forks wrapped in a napkin and tied with green and white baker’s string

     Kids lunch boxes:
    “who’s name starts with the leller l”

    Long sheets of Butcher Paper instead of tableclothes.  
    Secured to the green picninc benches with the twine

    this gives the picnic a very organic and natural feel

    Thai Coconut Rice with Fresh Mangos

    Asian, dessert 0 Comments
     My favorite Thai dessert!
    Super easy to make for a crowd, this recipe can even be tripled
    and made way in advanced

    Picture I took while in Thailand
    Served in little banana leafs 
    Enjoy warm or at room temperature 
    Somewhat adapted from the Food Network 
    Yields 6 servings
    1 T olive oil
    1 1/2 cups basmati rice
    1 (14 oz) can unswetened coconut milk
    2/3 cup water
    1 t salt
    1 large ripe mango, peeled and cubed
    coconut for garnish
    In a large sauce pan heat the oil over medium heat
    Add the rice and stir to coat
    Add the milk, water and salt
    Bring to a boil and, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed
    Remove rice from the heat and fluff with a fork
    Place the lid back over the rice and allow to steam for 5 minutes
    Put out onto a serving dish, top with mango cubes and garnish with coconut
    yumyum this is dangerous


    Thai Cucumber Salad

    Asian, salad 0 Comments
    Spicy yet Cool and Fresh
    So nice on a hot sticky summer day in Thailand… or SF

    I have no idea where I got this recipe.
    Yields 4
    4 T sugar
    2 T rice wine vinegar
    1/2 t salt
    4 T water
    Red Pepper flakes to taste
    2 cups cucumbers, peeled, seeded sliced 
    1/4 cup red onion
    1/4 cup fresh mint roughly chopped
    1/4 cup fresh cilantro roughly chopped
    Combine the sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper and water in a small sauce pan over high heat.
    Stir until sugar is dissolved 
    Let it come to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes
    Let cool
    In the meantime, prepare your cucumber, onion, mint and cilantro in a medium bowl
    Pour the vinegar mixture over your vegetable mixture and toss to coat

    Carmel Graham Cookies

    dessert, vegan 0 Comments

    My Aunt Izzy is the inspiration behind my love affair with food and cooking.  I have many childhood memories of summers spent in the kitchen whipping up treats with Izzy and Mindee (my cousin).
    These Graham Crackers were a favorite of mine and Mindee’s and were requested often.
    With only 4 ingredients, these tasty treats are super easy to make, even for kiddies

    24 Graham Crackers
    1 cup butter
    1 cup brown sugar, packed
    1 1/2 cups chopped nuts

    Preheat oven to 350
    spread 24 graham cracker on a cookie sheet
    In a heavy sauce pan, over medium heat, melt the butter and sugar
    Bring to a boil. allow to boil for about 5 minutes
    Pour evenly over crackers
    Sprinkle with chopped nuts
    Bake for 10 minutes
    Cool for 10 minutes
    Cut between each square


    Broccoli, Beans and Pesto Rice with Pine Nuts and Parmesan

    grain, nuts, side dish 0 Comments
    Like most of the things I make, they’re inspired by what ever happens to be in my fridge and the ingredients can easily be changed and adjusted to your liking

    If I had a term term for my cooking style it would be “don’t make it so technical”
    This dish is a perfect example of just that.  
    The grain is up to you, actually, this is my favorite combination with orecchiette pasta.
    Asparagus or spinach could be used in place of the broccoli
    Feta crumbled on top is a delicious option too.
    Yields 2 for main, or 4 side dishes
    Basic Grain Pilaf, or 2 cups of a cooked grain
    1 T olive oil
    2 cups Broccoli
    1 cup Cannellini Beans
    2 T Pesto
    2 T parmesan 
    1 T pine nuts
    Heat the oil in a large skillet 
    saute the broccoli for a few minutes
    Add a little water, cover and steam for a few minutes until tender
    Add the beans and pesto to the skillet, turn up the heat
    Add the pesto and heat
    Top with toasted pine nuts and parmesan cheese

    Rhubarb Bars

    dessert, nuts, vegan 0 Comments

    I have been wanting to experiment with rhubarb lately so I thought a good place to start would be with my mom’s basic jam bar recipe (see here)
    Another inspiration for making these bars is that I’m still working on using up the lb of slivered almonds left over from an event I catered 3 months ago.

    I don’t often feel this way about recipes I come up with, but I must say, I whipped up a couple tasty things today (Rice with Broccoli, Pesto and Pine Nuts too)!

    2 sticks butter (can use earth balance to make vegan)
    1 cup sugar
    2 cups flour
    1 cup coconut
    2 cups Almonds (ground)

    Rhubarb Filling:
    3 cups Rhubarb chopped
    2 T Lemon
    3/4 cup sugar
    2 T cornstarch

    Preheat the oven 350
    Grease an 8X8 pan

    Cream the first 3 ingredients
    Add the coconut and nuts and mix
    Pat 3/4 of your dough into the bottom of the pan and bake for 20 minutes
    In the meantime, make the Rhubarb Filling
    In a large sauce pan cook the rhubarb and lemon until nice and tender, about 10 minutes
    Add the sugar and cornstarch and turn up the heat.
    Continue cooking for 1 minute
    Spread over the baked dough and crumble the remaining dough over the rhubarb mixture
    Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes

    Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting


    Comfy Cozy Breakfast for the “wait, what, it rained last night!?” kind of morning

    Ok, the pros and cons of not having a television:
    Pors: Obvious
    Cons: will it rain or shine?

    I woke up this morning to the smell of wet pavement.  Yes, I do love this smell, it brings me back to childhood for some reason, but, come on, it’s April!

    My plan was to head to my favorite neighborhood cafe, Crave, order a Cafe Au Lait and work on my computer for an hour or so…
    But, I think I’ll stay in this morning…

    Ingredients to make a perfect Comfy Cozy Morning:
    A warn bowl of gooe and coffee covered in foam!

    Warm bowl of gooe
    Yields 2 serving
    1/3 cup Quinoa
    1/3 cup Oats
    1 1/5 cups Almond Milk (or what ever you have)
    cinnamon stick
    1 t vanilla extract
    1 T ground flax seeds (optional)
    2 T Pecans (or any nuts yo have on hand) toasted and chopped
    drizzle of honey

    Combine the first 6 ingredients in a sauce pan
    Bring to a boil
    Reduce heat to a simmer and cover
    Cook until water is absorbed and quinoa is cooked, about 15 minutes
    Divide evenly in 2 bowls
    Top with extra milk, honey and nuts

    There is nothing more blissful than warm foam touching my lips!
    I recently discovered how to make FOAM at home and have been walking on sunshine since!

    Heat your milk in a small sauce pan
    Pour into a french press
    Pump vigorously

    This was only about 1/4 of the way full, the rest you see here is the magical foam


    ingrained in your memory…your Basic Grain Pilaf

    Actually, there is not even a recipe for this post!
    The point is, we need to always keep cooked whole grains on-hand in our fridge!
    The first step to eating healthy:
    Stock your fridge with healthy,  pre-made (by you) foods!
    There are many verities for grain pilafs, my favorite is quinoa 
    with this rice medley I buy in bulk (brown, red and black)

    Having this on hand will keep you from turning to processed foods like toast for breakfast, croutons on your salad at lunch or pasta with your fish at super.  And it is always available and ready to eat, which mean NO work for you! And, it can keep in the fridge for days!

    I know we all complain about “not having enough time to cook”… well, you can’t use that excuse anymore!

    For example, you can use your already made Basic Grain Pilaf for:
    Cook with eggs in a frying pan (2 minutes)
    Heat up in a pot with milk, cinnamon, vanilla, raisins and almonds for porridge (2 minutes)

    Throw on your salad (timeless!)
    Mix with bean and wrap in a tortilla (1 minute)

    Throw into your soup instead of pasta (I do this with Thai curry too yum yum)
    Put in a baking dish with white wine, top it with fish, rosemary, tomatoes, capers etc and bake

    If you know that you will be using your Basic Grain Pilaf for savory dishes only, substitute the water for broth and even cook up a chopped onion in the pot before adding the rice.
    This will really add a lot more flavor.
    I usually choose to make mine with water (and no onion obviously) so I can have the option to make porridge in the morning too

    Get creative with your combinations, portions and quantities of each grain.
    Combinations I enjoy:
    Millet and Quinoa
    Rice and Amaranth


    Miso Cod and Japanese Eggplant over Sesame Cabbage Rice

    Asian, grain, seafood 0 Comments

    a winner for sure
    I’m asked repeatedly by clients to make this

    Miso-Glazed Fish:
    (note) To make it really simple, just mix equal parts miso paste with brown sugar and spread that evenly over the fish

    2 T Mirin
    2 T rice wine vinegar
    1/3 cup miso paste, white or brown
    2 T sugar
    oil for baking
    4 skinless cod fillets (about 6 oz)
    Scallions for garnish

    Combine the first 4 ingredients in a small pan
    Whisk constantly over low heat until the sugar melts
    Transfer glaze to a small bowl and let cool completely

    Heat the broiler, with rack 6 inches from the flame
    Coat a baking sheet with oil
    Arrange the fish on the sheet and brush generously with the glaze
    Broil until fillets are browned on top and opaque throughout 6-8 minutes

    (note) You can use your Basic Grain recipe here! After you have made the cabbage add about 2-3 cups of grain and mix well.  Add the 2 t rice wine vinegar, cover, and warm at low for a minute or 2.
    Also, I did not have fresh ginger once so I used my pickled jarred ginger that I always have on hand in the fridge, it is so delicious, I eat it plane 🙂

    2 T safflower oil, or other natural flavor oil
    1 cup cabbage, coarsely chopped
    1 t peeled and minced fresh ginger
    1 garlic clove, small minced
    1 cup long grain brown rice (I like Basmati because it cooks the fastest)
    1 1/2 cups water
    2 t rice wine vinegar
    1 T sesame seeds

    Heat Oil
    Add cabbage, garlic and ginger, cook uncovered for about 2 minutes on medium until wilted
    Spoon cabbage mixture onto a plate (or at this time add your pre-made Basic Grain)
    Add rice to the pan and stir until lightly toasted, about 1 minute
    Add a pinch of salt and water
    Bring to a boil then reduce to low
    Cover and cook for 30 minutes
    Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes
    Stir in the cabbage mixture, vinegar and sesame seeds
    Toss and enjoy

    Japanese Eggplant:
    1 T rice wine vinegar
    1 T soy sause
    1 T sesame oil
    1 T brown sugar
    1 T minced fresh ginger
    1 garlic clove minced

    8 Japanese eggplant, cut crosswise into about 1 inch pieces
    oil for pan
    salt pepper
    sesame seeds and scallions for garnish
    Whisk the first 6 ingredients
    Heat the oil in a large skillet (maybe cook in batches, you want the eggplant to have lots of wiggle room while cooking)
    Add the eggplant and cook for a few minutes, tossing often
    Add the sauce, being sure that all the eggplant is covered equally by the sauce.
    Turn the heat up and really grill and brown the eggplant
    reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce has turned glaze-like

    Lamb Meatballs with Yogurt Mint Dip

    These are great little guys for an appetizer and can be made ahead of time

    I love the freshness of the mint with yogurt.  
    It adds a really nice refreshing contrast to the spicy lamb meatballs
    Lamb is Adapted form William Sonoma, New Flavors for Appetizers
    Yogurt Dip was thrown together by me, I’ve never actaully measured actually, there’s no right/wrong way to make yogurt mint dip 🙂
    Yields about 40 meatballs
    1 cup yogurt
    2 T Fresh mint chopped
    salt and pepper to tast
    (minced garlic or lemon to taste, optional)
    Fort the meatballs:
    2 Slices of white bread (I used 1 cup bread crumbs because that’s what I had on hand)
    1 lb, ground lamb, grass fed and organic (please!)
    3 green onions, white and light green parts thinly sliced
    1/4 cup parsley, chopped
    1 egg
    1 t cumin
    1 t sweet paprika
    1/4 t allspice
    salt and pepper
    Preheat the oven 400
    Line a baking sheet with foil and spray
    Tear crusts of bread and rip into pieces, place in a bowl with a little water and soak
    Ina  large bowl, combine the lamb, green onions, most of the parsley, the egg, and seasonings.  
    Mix well with your hands
    Scoop into teaspoon size balls, roll between hands and place on sheet
    Repeat, spacing about 2 inches apart
    Cook for about 15 minutes until nice and brown.  rotating the pan and turning the meatballs with a spatula to insure even cooking

    Raisin Bread Pudding

    This breakfast was inspired by nothing other than the neglected Raisin Bread waiting untouched and unloved for a month in my freezer 🙁

    Since I was making for one (me!) I used a ramekin, but this can easily be multiplied to feed crowd and baked in a large casserole dish.  This is a good dish to make when you are serving brunch because it can be made (should actually be made) the night before, to soak up all the flavors.  Just assemble the night before, and pop in the oven right before guests arrive.  
    Beat the eggs, milk, cinnamon and vanilla 
    Add the cubed bread
    I flavored plain greek yogurt with vanilla and cinnamon, 
    and added a dollop to each ramekin during the last minutes of baking

    Yields 2 Ramekins

    2 Slices Raisin Bread cubed (I used Glutino Cinnamon Raisin Bread)
    1 egg
    Cinnamon to taste
    Almond Milk (cows milk is fine if that’s what you have on hand)

    Greek Yogurt Topping: Flavor with vanilla to taste

    Add chopped nut before serving.  I have a ton of slivered almonds left over from an even, which I have been putting on everything for the past month


    If making in a casserole dish:
    8 pieces of bread
    4 eggs
    4 cups of milk
    cinnamon and maybe a little sugar

    Other options would be to add more raisins or even a chopped apple.
    Try topping with mascarpone cheese


    Braised Chicken Marsala and Sage Polenta

    Don’t be intimidated, this is simple to make and
    so mouth watering delicious
    I first made this for clients, and now I just keep coming back to it when
    I’m in a jam and need something fancy to whip up

    She does it again, adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Martha Stewart’s Dinner at Home

    Yields 4

    Chicken Marsala
    4 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin on
    4 chicken drumsticks
    1 T EVOO
    2 red onion, peeled and quartered through the stem
    2 Plum tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
    6 thyme springs
    1/2 cup marsala (Italian sweet wine)
    1 1/4 cup chicken stock, low sodium
    Preheat oven to 400
    Rinse chicken, pat dry with paper towel and season with salt and pepper
    Heat the oil in a large oven proof skillet (I love my cast iron skillet)
    Working in batches, brown the chicken, about 10-12 minutes, transferring chicken to a plate
    Pour out the access fat
    Add tomatoes, onions and thyme to the pan, cook 4 minutes
    Pour in Marsala and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes
    Add the chicken back to the skillet and pour the broth over
    Transfer to the oven and cook until tender, about 35 minutes
    Transfer chicken to a platter, arranged nicely and garnished with fresh thyme
    Skim off access fat from the pan, simmer liquid over medium-high heat
    until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes
    Spoon sauce over the chicken

    Sage Polenta
    5 cups water, plus more as needed
    1 cup course Italian polenta
    2 T fresh sage, chopped
    3 T unsalted butter
    Bring water to a boil in a large sauce pan
    Add 2 t salt
    Whisking constantly, add polenta in a slow and steady stream
    Return to a boil.
    Reduce heat to a very low simmer
    Cover partial and continue to cook, stiring occasionally
    When creamy and begins pulling away from the side of the pan, about 40 minutes
    Add sage during the last 5 minutes
    If the polenta is too think to stir, add water (up to 1/2 cup) stirring continually
    Remove from the heat, stir in butter, salt and pepper

    Broccoli Rabe Pizza

    Gluten Free 0 Comments

    I’m currently obsessed with Udi’s gluten free pizza crusts

    I had some broccoli rabe going old in the crisper and thought what better than garlicky sauteed greens on pizza!?

    The pizza crust is 320 calories, topped with tomato sauce, veggies and a little cheese, you can enjoy the entire pizza, guilt free!

    Udi pizza crust
    Tomato sauce
    Broccoli Rabe, chopped
    1 Clove of garlic, minced
    Olive oil
    Fresh buffalo mozzarella, sliced
    Parmesan Cheese
    Preheat Oven 400
    Heat the olive oil and add the broccoli
    Sauté for a few minutes before adding the garlic, continue cooking for a couple of minutes
    Add a little water to the pan, cover with a lid
    Finish cooking the broccoli by steaming
    Top the pizza crust with pesto and tomato sauce
    followed by broccoli mozzarella slices and parm
    bake for about 15 minutes

    Buon Appetito

    Buckwheat Blini

    so light and airy, these little guys are perfect paired with
    smoked salmon or trout

    wikipedia event I catered
    Yields about 15 blini
    2 T butter
    1 large egg
    1/4 cup plain yogurt
    1/3 cup whole milk
    1/3 cup flour
    1/4 cup buckwheat
    sea salt
    1/4 t baking soda
    melt the butter and let cool
    In a bowl, whisk the egg, yogurt and milk
    In a small bowl whisk the flour, buckwheat and salt
    Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and whisk
    Add the cooled butter and whisk until there are no more lumps
    Heat a large nonstick frying pan or griddle over medium heat until hot
    Spray the pan
    working in batches, add the batter to the pan by the tablespoonfuls
    Cook until slightly bubbly around the edges, about 1.5 minutes
    Flip the blini and continue cooking for about 1 minutes longer
    Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining batter