Monday, March 31, 2014

Sautéed Chickpeas

Sautéed chickpeas
Now that I am cooking all of my own food, I notice that I eat substantially less meat than I used to. In college, I had a chef that prepared a whole buffet of food for lunch and dinner, Monday through Friday. Even though our chef Anthony always had a vegetarian option, I always found myself reaching for the beef, salmon, or chicken instead of the tofu. 

Nowadays, I mostly eat vegetarian lunches and dinners Monday through Friday. It is so much lazier easier, cheaper, and healthier! Vegetarian proteins, like legumes or quinoa, can be prepared early in the week, keep relatively well, and are easy to throw into salads, soups, or stir-fries. 

This recipe for sautéed chickpeas is quite popular at my house. One of my roommates, Maya, probably makes it once a week for all of us. It comes together quickly, but has complex flavor thanks to the dried herbs and vinegar. Maya like to eat these chickpeas with canned tuna on top, but I just prefer the chickpeas by themselves.

Sautéed chickpeas are my new go-to food when I come home at 7:30 from work, and all I want to do is eat, curl up in bed, and finish reading The Goldfinch. You probably have all these ingredients on hand, so why not try subbing this in for your boring chicken breast and rice dinner?

Sautéed Chickpeas

1 tablespoon butter (use olive oil to make this recipe vegan!)
1/2 chopped red onion
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 
1 can chickpeas
1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
Fresh black pepper and salt to taste

Melt butter in a pan over medium heat.

Add in the onion, and stir for 3-4 minutes until softened.

Pour in the balsamic vinegar, and cook over medium heat until the vinegar begins to evaporate.
Onions and balsamic vinegar
Add in the chickpeas, herbs, and salt/pepper. Stir until chickpeas are hot.
Sautéed Chickpeas

Serve with rice.Sautéed Chickpeas

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Weekend Reading

The best places to find croissants in Paris, according to the WSJ.

Newest taco restaurant to open up in Dupont Circle--it looks promising!

T Magazine this week is focused on food, and I'm definitely picking up a copy on Sunday.

In case you live in the Bay and are in need of weekend plans, check out this great hikes that end with brunch guide.

$175 might be pricey for a coffee grinder, but can you really put a price on a perfect cup of coffee?

How to drink beer without checking your smartphone? Use Offline Glass.

One step closer to limiting antibiotics in food animals thanks to the FDA.

Mark Bittman, making the case for butter, in the New York Times this week.

Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Chocolate Mousse

I have a serious case of wanderlust. 

It should be no surprise to anyone who knows me that I am obsessed in love with Paris and all things French. A true Francophile at heart, I long for strolls through Parisian streets and tours of chateaus. I dream of Giverny gardens and the beautiful Parisian skyline. I'll buy anything with a French flag or saying on it (oui oui!). I wish for afternoons spent in bistros. And most importantly, I may spend too much time at work fantasizing about steak frites and croissants.

As part of my French obsession, I have recently been reading Remembrance of Things Paris: Sixty Years of Writing from Gourmet. It's a great compilation of stories covering Paris, food, and occasionally haute couture or other unique topics. Besides the fabulous recipes and food writing, it's a great perspective on how Paris has changed over the years.  

This recipe for chocolate mousse stuck out because it seemed fairly easy and required no eggs. It looks adorable in cute little cups, and it tastes absolutely divine with a sprinkling of sea salt. This is pure dinner party flair--all of your friends will be in shock that you made chocolate mousse from scratch, no mixes or shortcuts required! C'est parfait!

Chocolate Mousse

from Remembrance of Things Paris

1/2 lb fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
2/3 cup confections' sugar, sifted
2 1/3 cup well-chilled heavy cream

In a saucepan, combine the chocolate and the milk and heat the mixture over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the butter until it is melted and then whisk in the confectioners' sugar and 1/3 cup of cream. Let the mixture cool and chill it, covered, for 1 hour.
In a chilled large bowl, beat the remaining 2 cups of cream until it just holds still peaks. 
Take half of the whipped cream and whisk it into the chocolate mixture.
Then fold the chocolate mixture into the whipped cream. Folding sounds intimidating, but all you do is simply cut through the mixture with your spatula to work in the chocolate mixture using a figure eight motion. Basically, just try to retain as much air as possible in the whipped cream by folding the whipped cream mixture into itself as you combine the ingredients.Divide the mousse amongst 10 teacups, and then refrigerate the teacups for one hour. Serve with a sprinkling of salt, more whipped cream, or shaved chocolate.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Italian Wedding Soup

Zach and I were lucky enough to attend the wedding of close friends over the weekend. The bride and groom are absolutely beautiful people, inside and out, and it was so lovely to celebrate with them and the rest of their friends and family.

With weddings on my brain, I thought of this great Italian Wedding Soup recipe and knew I had to share it with you. It's perfect for a Saturday or Sunday night when you would rather curl up at home instead of going out. The recipe takes about an hour and 15 minutes, but I promise it is worth it for the bowl of delicious hearty soup. 

Italian Wedding Soup

From Ina Gartern
8 servings

For the meatballs:
3/4 pound ground chicken
1/2 pound Italian chicken sausage, casings removed
2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons milk
1 extra large egg,  lightly beaten
1 teaspoon Kosher salt 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

For the soup:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup diced carrots
3/4 cup diced celery
10 cups chicken stock (use low-sodium stock)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup small pasta ( I used orzo, but tubetini or stars is more traditional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
12 ounces baby spinach, washed (I used red kale instead!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

For the meatballs, place all the ingredients in a bowl and mash lightly with a fork. 
With a teaspoon, drop 1 inch to 1 1/4 inch meatballs onto a cooking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the meatballs for 30 minutes, until they are cooked thoroughly and lightly browned.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and sauté until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the chicken stock and wine, and then bring it to a boil. 

Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. 

Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup, and then simmer for one minute. 

Taste for salt and pepper, and then season the soup as necessary.
Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted. 

Ladle into bowls and garnish with Parmesan. 

Monday, March 24, 2014


Since moving to DC, I have realized that California is not only the mecca of sunshine and great weather, but also the best Mexican food you will ever have in your life. Whether you are scarfing down fish tacos and a beer at South Beach Bar and Grille in San Diego or ducking into La Taqueria in San Francisco for a chicken burrito, there is nothing in DC that even compares to the food out West.

One day, I got a craving for really good guacamole. Yes, I could have gone to Oyamel for their delicious table-side guacamole, but why pay the $12 for something I can make table-side at home? This guacamole almost made me feel as if I was back in Southern California--if only the weather out here in DC would get a little warmer!

This recipe is by no means "authentic," but it is delicious. I add in raw red onions to my guacamole, and I realize most people might find the onion too harsh.  However, if you rinse off the onions with cold water before you add them to the guacamole, the onions will not be nearly as strong, yet still retain a lot of flavor.

Feel free to change the proportions on the ingredients listed below--guacamole is more art than science!


1/2 red onion, chopped
2 avocados
Juice from one lime
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup salsa
A few dashes of Tabasco

Rinse the red onion under cold water for about 30 seconds. 

Open the avocados, and scoop them into a bowl.
Add the red onions, lime juice, salsa, cilantro, and hot sauce to the avocados.
Mash the ingredients together using either a fork or a potato masher. Taste, and adjust to your liking, then serve!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Sweet Potato and Apple Hash

Cooking dinner is often one of the highlights of my day, but even I come home exhausted some days after work. Those nights, I often try to piece together some form of a meal with the odds and ends I have at home. Typically, it's some form of grilled sandwich or quesadilla--but sometimes you need a change.  

Looking around my kitchen, I noticed some sweet potatoes that were about to go bad and eggs sitting on the top shelf of my fridge. With the addition of an apple and some shallots, I created a lovely sweet potato and apple hash that I topped with an over easy egg

While this recipe is great for dinner, it would also make a unique brunch dish! Just think how great this would be after an awesome Zumba or yoga class...

Sweet Potato and Apple Hash

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and then diced
1 tablespoon, butter
1 apple, diced into small pieces
1 shallot, chopped
3 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil a pot of water, and then add in the sweet potatoes once the water hits a rolling boil.  Cook the sweet potatoes for four to six minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender. Drain the sweet potatoes.
In a medium sized pan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the sweet potatoes, apple, shallot, and thyme to the pan, and sauté until the hash begins to caramelize and turns brown and crispy around the outside.  Add a dash of salt and pepper to season the hash.
Serve with an over easy egg.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Roasted Tomatoes

A few weeks ago, I went to see Philomena on a Friday night. I planned my night so that I had a few minutes to grab a sandwich from Taylor Gourmet, one of my favorite local sandwich shops. Turns out, Friday night is probably the worst time to go to Taylor Gourmet. Due to the Friday lunch rush, they completely ran out of bread by the time I showed up. 

While they offered to make a sandwich on regular grocery-store bread, I couldn't help but feel disappointed. Instead, I opted for one of their salads, Society Hall, instead. Society Hall is a kale salad with Parmesan, walnuts, roasted tomatoes, and honey herb vinaigrette.  It was  one of the best kale salads I ever had--and I immediately wanted to whip up some roasted tomatoes to throw into my salads for work.  

These roasted tomatoes come together in about two hours, but require basically no work.  You toss the tomatoes with olive oil, thyme, and garlic, then throw them into the oven for two hours. I love throwing them into salads with some chickpeas and kale, adding them to my sandwiches, or serving them as a side at dinner with some roast chicken. I make a batch now on Sundays, and then I store them in the fridge over the week.  This recipe is perfect for early spring--when you are ready for fresh tomato salads, but the tomatoes aren't quite ripe yet.


Roasted Tomatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced
Handful of thyme springs (7-10 sprigs)
Pinch of salt
Freshly cracked pepper
1 lb. of tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Pour the olive oil into a shallow baking dish, then add the garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper.Cut the tomatoes in half, then toss the tomatoes with the oil and seasonings. Lay the tomatoes cut side down in the pan.Bake for two hours, until the tomatoes are completely soft and wilted. The tomatoes keep for about five days in the refrigerator. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Anniversary & Hot Fudge Sauce

To everyone reading this blog, I am so sorry that you are going to have to suffer through an incredibly mushy love note to my boyfriend, Zach, in honor of our anniversary today...

To my fantastic boyfriend--
The past four years have been absolutely wonderful, and I am excited for so many more to come. Thank you for taking me on numerous ice cream dates, wearing button down shirts though I know you hate them, telling me "good night, beautiful" every single night, being my chaperone boyfriend at Taylor Swift concerts, and bringing laughter into my life, even when we are close to 3000 miles apart. Most importantly, I am so incredibly grateful that you love not only who I am now, but also who I can be, and you continue to challenge me to be the best version of myself every single day.

If Zach and I were spending the day together, we would definitely eat ice cream sundaes. From Paris to Ljubjana to San Francisco, we have eaten much, much more than our fair share of hot fudge sundaes.

Today's recipe for hot fudge sauce is so easy that even someone like Zach, who probably eats out every single day, could make it. You simply dump everything into a pot, and stir.  We have Nancy Meyers, the genius behind "The Holiday" and "Something's Gotta Give", to thank for this recipe (and David Lebovitz, since he was so kind to share it in his book The Sweet Life).

This recipe is perfect when you're at home with that special someone. Homemade hot fudge sauce in under five minutes, plus the person you love? Sounds perfect to me. 

Nancy Meyer's Hot Fudge Sauce

From The Sweet Life by David Lebovitz
Makes 1 cup of hot fudge sauce

3 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup heavy cream
Pinch of salt

Throw all of the ingredients into a saucepan, and turn the heat onto medium.
Stir over low heat, until all the butter is melted.  Then, continue stirring for 3-5 more minutes, until the sugar is melted and the sauce is smooth.
Serve immediately over ice cream!

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