Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Hump Day Lunch Break: Lollapalooza Eats, Late Night McD's, and more!

Why not eat your lunch while reading about eating at the same time? It makes sense in my food obsessed world! Here's what I have been nibbling on over the last few days.  
Tip: you can also read about eating while eating breakfast, dinner, and/or snacks too! Oh the glory! Eat on...

 - Graham Elliot's lobster corn dog
Picture Courtesy of chicagobusiness.com
Lollapalooza Chow Town Lineup!!  Shout out to Edzo's and and Gale Gand!

McDonald's After Midnight
Picture Courtesy of Delis.com
McDonald's After Midnight Menu!?!

Shrimp Tacos
Picture Courtesy of realsimple.com
Should you Buy Frozen or Fresh Shrimp?

Picture Courtesy of food52.com and grubstreet.com
Food52 Moving into E-Commerce with Provisions Store

From left: Chefs getting their 5k on, Eric Ripert toasting life, Rick Bayless and Susan Feniger.
Picture courtesy of Food Republic
2013 Aspen Food and Wine Festival

Monday, June 17, 2013

Video Blog: Nectarine Salad with Crispy Prosciutto and Goat Cheese

Perfect, I tell ya! This salad is perfect; summertime captured in a bowl.  Even on a rainy, mucky day this salad will bring you sunshine (no SPF required!). Made with nectarines, blood plums, and strawberries it is a quick, easy, and totally satisfying meal.  The sweetness of the fruit pairs delightfully with the salty prosciutto and the bitterness of the white balsamic and goat cheese add perfect finishing touches.  

As an added bonus, for the first time ever, I am introducing you to a video series called Hands on Cooking (literally you will only see hands and food!).  In this short two minute video you will see how easy this recipe is to prepare along with some upbeat music to motivate you.  Hope you like it!

The Essentials:
Serves 2

  • 2 nectarines, sliced
  • 2 blood plums (or regular plums), sliced
  • 6-7 strawberries, sliced
  • 2 TBS mint, chopped
  • 2 TBS prosciutto, diced
  • 2 TBS goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 TBS white balsamic vinegar
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 cup arugula
  • salt and pepper to taste
1. In a medium bowl add the first four ingredients.

2. In a medium saute pan add a drizzle of oil and heat over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes.  Add in the prosciutto and fry until crispy about 4-5 minutes.  Set aside on a plate lined with a paper towel. 

3.  Meanwhile, add vinegar, oil, goat cheese, salt and pepper to the fruit and mix well. 

4.  Divide arugula evenly between two bowls and spoon fruit mixture over top.  Sprinkle on crispy prosciutto and dive in!

Friday, May 31, 2013

5 Things You Never Knew You Could do with Your Salad Spinner

Five new spins (pun intended) for your salad spinner.
Originally posted by me on Good Housekeeping Research Institute's blog Inside the Institute.

Don't have a salad spinner? Check out my reviews of 19 new spinners and see which one ranked the best!

All pictures are courtesy of Good Housekeeping 

I'm going to let you all in on one big, fat, secret.  OK, here it goes: Your salad spinner can do more than just dry greens! Go ahead and take a minute.  I completely understand that this news is more shocking than Lindsay Lohan's latest shenanigans.  

Welcome back. If you own a salad spinner you already know that it's the best way to dry lettuce and other greens so your dressing will cling to them.  But you may not know that there are an abundance of other purposes your spiffy spinner can serve.  



Water ofter gets trapped inside tubular pasta shapes like rigatoni and penne.  Use the basket to strain your cooked pasta and then give it a quick spin to remove the trapped water before adding your sauce or dressing.  Better yet, mix your pasta and sauce together in the bowl of you spinner and bring it to the table to serve. 



Whether you call yourself Betty Crocker and bake cakes like you mean it or just have the urge to try your hand at one on a rainy summer day, you'll need to find a way to protect your cake from air, dust, bugs, and little fingers.  Place your cake on a plate and use the bowl of your salad spinner as a cover.  This also works for cupcakes and brownies.  Keeping these desserts covered will help them stay moist and last longer.  

Channel your inner Papa John this summer and try making homemade pizza dough.  No matter what recipe you use, the dough will need to rise in a covered bowl and your salad spinner is perfect for that.  Place the dough in the bowl without the basket and put on the lid.  Let it rise for as long as the recipe calls for and viola you're ready to roll!

In the mood for black bean salad? How about a satisfying white bean dip? Either way you're going to have to drain and rinse canned beans.  And what better vessel to do that in than your trusty salad spinner? Simply pour the beans into the basket, rinse them until the water runs clear, and give them a quick spin to remove the remaining moisture. 

Let's face it, salads are boring meals without toppings and dressing.  Berries are a great way to add sweetness and antioxidants to your salad.  Rinse them in the basket of your salad spinner and toss them with your favorite greens.  Using fresh herbs, such as mint, thyme or oregano for salad dressing is a flavorful and healthy way to spice up your greens.  Pick the leaves off the stems and give them a quick rinse, some hefty spins, and you're ready to go. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

From Emily's Kitchen: Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Everywhere you look and everything you read is grill this, grill that, grill, grill, grill. It sure makes a girl living in a tiny NYC apartment with NO GRILL a wee bit jealous. I wanted steak. Grilled steak. Obviously that wasn't in my cards so I cooked my skirt steak on the stove top and finished it in the oven the way any poor soul without a grill would do (woe is me).  But then I realized, no matter how you cook your steak--grilled, pan seared, or baked in your oven--the secret lies in the sauce.

Go ahead and take a look in your refrigerator.   I'm willing to bet enough mula to buy me an NYC apartment with a porch to house a grill that there are herbs lying around, wilting, turning brown and almost ready to go to waste.  Stretch that neck and look a little farther, way in the back.  Move those carrots in the drawer and under the string cheese, there they are! Mint, cilantro, and parsley, Oh My!  Proceed to take out your blender, food processor, mortar and pestle--whatever chopping instrument you prefer.  Pop some herbs in the bowl, add a little acid, maybe some sugar, a  pinch of spice and grind away.  Cook your skirt steak however you fancy and top with the delicious, long lasting new herb sauce. BONUS...I bet if you keep reading below I'll share with you other ways to use up this versatile chimichurri sauce. Promise.

The Essentials:
Makes 1 cup

  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup parsley leaves
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 shallot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and rind removed, coarsely chopped
  • juice of one lime
  • 2 TBS white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1.5# skirt steak (can also sub flank steak)
  • salt and pepper
  • oil for skillet
1. Combine the first nine ingredients in the base of a blender. Pulse 8-10 times until ingredients are finely chopped and well mixed.  Season with salt and pepper if desired. Store in an air tight container.  This can be made up to three days in advanced. 

2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large skillet, heat 2 TBS oil over high heat until smoking.  Remove pan from heat until smoke is gone.  Place skillet back over medium high heat.  

3.  Season steak with salt and pepper and sear on one side for 4-5 minutes or until a dark brown crust forms. 

4. Flip to other side and sear for 1-2 minutes.  Place pan in oven and cook for 5 minutes longer.  Remove steak from oven and let it sit on the cutting board for 5 minutes to allow the juices to disperse throughout the steak. 

5.  Slice 1/2 inch pieces against the grain and top with chimichurri sauce. 

6.  If you are grilling your steak, sear for 5-6 minutes on one side, flip and sear for another 4-5 minutes.  Let rest for 5 minutes longer and top with sauce.  

**Tid Bit**
Save the chimichurri in an air tight container in the fridge.  Use it the next day as a salad dressing. Broil halibut or tilapia and top with the sauce. Toss vegetables such as asparagus, green beans, or grape tomatoes with a few TBS of chimichurri and roast until veggies are cooked through.  

Monday, April 15, 2013

From Emily's Kitchen: Chicken Noodle Soup with a Twist

To those of you who live in a state where recently you thought warm weather was here to stay, but then, SURPRISE, two days later grumpy old winter reappeared, please pay close attention.  And, to those of you who live in states where it's ALWAYS warm and sunny, pardon my jealousy, but also, please pay attention.   

This Asian twist on chicken noodle soup is perfect for all types of weather.  It is warm and comforting for cold nights and simply satisfying for the rest of mother nature's mood swings.  If you are in the mood for Thai food, this soup crushes all cravings and is much healthier.  Whip it up for a quick dinner and have leftovers for the rest of the week; just store the noodles in a separate container and mix in some oil to keep them from sticking. 

The Essentials:
Serves 2
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 oz thin thai noodles
  • 2 Thai chilis, seeds and rind removed (or leave a few if you like the spice)
  • 2 tsp grated or finely minced ginger
  • 1 tsp grated or finely minced lemongrass
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 32 oz. box low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 can lite coconut milk
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 TBS chopped cilantro
  • Sriracha for serving
1. Bring a medium pot of water to boil.  Add in chicken breasts and simmer until cooked.  Drain, shred with two forks and set aside. 

2.  In another medium pot, cook thai noodles according to the directions on the box, drain and set aside.

3.  In a large soup pot, saute chilis, ginger, lemongrass, garlic and shallot in olive oil until tender and translucent, about 5-7 minutes.  Add in stock and coconut milk and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 20 minutes.  

4.  Add in shredded chicken, lime and cilantro and stir to combine ingredients.  Let simmer for 1-2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper. 

5.  Add your desired amount of cooked noodles to a soup bowl.  Ladle in soup, garnish with sriracha and some more cilantro if desired.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

From the Test Kitchen: Lil's One Bite Banana Cookies

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but the following is a scenario that happens in my kitchen rather often.  I come home from the grocery store and my bags are packed with fruits and veggies (and chips, let’s be honest). I unload finding each item a special home in the fridge or pantry and the bananas always end up on the countertop; a good thing because it makes me remember to eat them.  Fast forward one week and there are still one or two bananas that weren’t lucky enough to make it into my belly only now they have brown spots and aren’t appetizing enough to eat raw.  I don’t like to waste and typically turn to banana bread to use them up, but when I tested this recipe for Food52 a new, and delicious, use for my brown speckled bananas had been exposed.   

These little one-bite wipper snappers are the perfect, semi-healthy cure for your sweet tooth.  There are so many flavors happening at once; sweet from the coconut and sugar, spicy from the curry powder, and salty from the fleur de sel.  It really is umami and the story behind the recipe is adorable.  Check it out here.

**The cookie dough can be made in advanced—a great time saver for a different/elegant dessert for your next gathering.  

**Mine stayed soft and chewy for 1.5 weeks in an air tight container

The Essentials:
Makes 3.5 dozen
  • 6 TBS unsalted butter, softened to room temp
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 banana-with brown spots or without
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 TBS unswetened shredded coconut
  • Fleur de sel for sprinkling

  1.  Preheat oven to 300° F.
  2.  Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.
  3.  Add ½ t baking soda to mashed banana. Set aside for a minute.
  4.  In a bowl, stir together flour, curry powder and salt.
  5.  Mix banana mixture into butter mixture. Add vanilla, mixing to evenly combine.
  6.  Add half of dry mixture to wet ingredients and mix for 10 seconds. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix until just combined, using a spatula to scrape down the sides. Fold in unsweetened coconut.
  7. Drop by the teaspoonful on two parchment lined baking sheets, leaving about an inch between each. Bake, one sheet at a time, until golden brown, about 14-16 minutes, rotating the pan once halfway through. Sprinkle hot cookies with fleur de sel if desired. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Best enjoyed warm.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Healthy Helpers: Spicy Ginger & Coconut Snapper

It's officially Spring, which means bathing suit season is quickly approaching (I hope!).  It also means it's time to say goodbye to all the bad stuff I have been eating and welcome in the healthy food. But healthy food doesn't have to be bland and boring; the exact reason I was inspired to make this snapper dish. Red snapper is an excellent source of lean protein and  Vitamin D (aka: sunshine).  Where have you been sunshine?  We miss you in NYC.  

I was really pleased with the way this dish turned out. It had a  sweet-n-salty taste with light hints of coconut--which makes me think of sunshine.  I'm starting to see a pattern here.

What other recipes make you think of sunshine and warmer weather? Leave your ideas below or comment on our Facebook page. 

Serves 2

For the Spice:

  • 2 6oz red snapper filets, skin removed
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  •  pinch of salt
  • 1 TBS toasted sesame oil
For the Sauce:

  • 1 TBS toasted sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3 red thai chilies, sliced
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated
  • 1/4 cup green onion, sliced
  • 2 TBS tamarind paste
  • 1 TBS red chili paste
  • 1 TBS soy sauce
  • 2 TBS brown sugar
  • 6 oz lite coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 8 oz package baby portobello mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, julienned
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, julienned
  • 1/2 cup orange pepper, julienned
  • 1/2 cup yellow pepper, julienned

1. Wash the snapper in cold water and pat dry.

2. Place garlic, ginger, turmeric, coriander and salt in mortar and grind until a paste is formed. Spread paste evenly over snapper and set aside.

3. In large wok, heat sesame oil over medium heat. Place snapper spice side down in wok and cook for 10 minutes; remove and keep warm.

4. In wok heat, sesame oil over medium heat. Add garlic, chilies, ginger, green onions; sauté for 3 minutes.

5. Add tamarind, chili paste, soy sauce, sugar,coconut milk, water and bring to boil. Simmer and reduce heat. Add mushrooms, onions and peppers and let simmer for another 10 minutes or until sauce thickens.

6. Serve over jasmine rice and ENJOY!!