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shaved asparagus salad with meyer lemon vinaigrette

7 May

summer timeeee!!! actually though, i dont know why people are always excited about summer. everywhere i have ever lived, summer just means its over 100 degrees every day. when i got into my car yesterday my thermometer said 109 degrees. its the first week of may. oy vay.

on a positive note…summer also means more fresh produce and lots of bright, refreshing food. (if you eat anything more than a salad you may not be able to move in the sauna that is a central texas summer)

enter: shaved asparagus salad with toasted pine nuts, parmiggiano reggiano and a meyer lemon cilantro vinaigrette.

What You Need for 2 servings of Salad:

1 lb of green asparagus

1/4 c toasted pine nuts

a few nice shavings of good parmesan cheese

for the meyer lemon cilantro vin:

2 meyer lemons, juiced

1 teaspoon white balsamic vin

1 T super finely minced cilantro

1/2 T of thinly sliced green onions

olive oil for streaming, maybe about 1/4-1/3 c

salt and black pepps

lets talk about meyer lemons. different than your standard lemon? yes. really fragrant and fruity, not quite as tart. meyer lemons are actually in season in early spring but whatever, they are the

to assemble:

using a vegetable peeler, shave each asparagus into ribbons. unfortunately it’s difficult to shave once you get past the halfway point of the asparagus. i just saved all of these bits to use later in a frittata or another salad. reserve all your shaved asparagus ribbons in a bowl, tossed with the pine nuts.

to make the vinaigrette, combine the herbs, lemon juice, balsam vin, salt and pepps in a bowl. while whisking, stream in olive oil until the vinaigrette comes together and thickens. taste and adjust seasonings.

once you are ready to serve, toss the asparagus and pine nuts with enough vin just to happily moisten but not drench the ribbons. top with shaved parm!


OH AND ALSO. this salad does beautifully as an addition to your breakfast the next morning…

top english muffins or crusty bread with a bit of the salad and a poached egg. yumyumyum! (sorry blackberry photo..)


underrated tomato basil soup

19 Feb

tomato basil soup is underrated. i don’t know why, but it is. but before i get into the tomato soup issue, i have a confession.

i am on a diet. a BIG diet. as we all know, i’ve been happily eating my way through work and school for the last 6 months under the guise that my boyfriend, currently in korea, would not be seeing me for a year. a wonderful turn of events would have it that we are seeing each other in ONE month-this is amazing news. but then! it dawned on me. i am ten pounds heavier than when he left me–and at that point i was already ten pounds heavier than i should have been. RUH ROH. so, as it were, the year long food coma is briefly turning into the month long vegetable coma. can salad induce the food itis?? if only.

i would like to note though, i truly have not had any qualms about what my body, or my love pudge-as i’ve recently named it, looks like. BUT, since i now have one week out of a whole year to see my boyfriend, i would like to look the best i can.

anyway, my sister told me i should post what i’m eating while on a diet on my blog so that i can hopefully help some of the women who are still of the mind set that eating raw celery and cabbage soup is the only way to slim down.

SO BACK TO TOMATO SOUP. LOW CALORIE, MOSTLY TOMATOES. its also perfect for dunking that ooey gooey grilled cheese on rye when NOT on a diet. no, no grilled cheese here. sorry, i’m a cook, not a zero fat grilled cheese inventing magician.

What You Need for 6-8 Servings:

1 box of pomi chopped tomatoes (box not can because of my aluminum erosion paranoia. see: hypochondria)

1 cup of veg stock or water

1/2 white or yellow onion, chopped

3-6 garlic cloves roasted or raw. i have no time so mine are raw. roasted is more delicious.

a few dashes of tabasco or franks or whichever hot sauce you like

2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce

1 bunch of fresh basil (a bunch being like 10 leaves? i don’t know, lots of basil.)


What to Do:

heat 1 TEASPOON of olive oil in a large sauce pot over medium. add in the onion and sweat about 5-6 minutes until translucent. don’t brown. if using non-roasted garlic add that in after the onion has sweat. let that cook about 2 minutes, just until fragrant.

pour in the box of tomatoes, the stock/water, the hot sauce, the Worcestershire and bring to a boil. reduce to a simmer and let it simmer for 10ish minutes.

in batches, pour the soup into a blender (if using roasted garlic, add it now into the blender batches) add in 3/4 of the basil leaves and puree until smooth. do this until all the soup is pureed, return to the pot and taste. add salt and pepper as needed. chiffonade the remaining basil and stir in.

the end!

vietnamese spring rolls with hoisin peanut dipping sauce

2 Jan

hi guys! im baaaacckk! thank goodness, i missed my kitchen. so today i made a lot of food. too much food. for you, and also, for me.  i learned to make a basic vietnamese spring roll recently and i made a more veggie filled version for myself today. traditionally, spring rolls contain steamed shrimp and vermicelli rice noodles however i wanted to keep them vegetarian and low-carb.

in vietnam, families will sit down to the dinner table and each make their own spring rolls at the table. this is great inspiration for a fun, interactive dinner party appetizer. you can set out a “bar” of different veggies and meats and let everyone roll their own spring rolls. or, if your guests are uncoordinated or lazy, you can just make them the night before or the day of and keep them in the fridge.

What You Need for 10 rolls:

rice paper (pictured above), available in the “asian” or “ethnic foods” section of the store. 1 sheet per roll

2 carrots, peeled and cut into long, thin strips

1 large cucumber, peeled and cut into long thin strips

sugar snap peas, ends trimmed

1/2 head romaine lettuce, cut into 2 inch long pieces

fresh basil leaves, kept whole

mint, torn from sprig with a bit of the stem still on (the stem is kept on, traditionally–good flavor and crunch)

HOW TO BE A SAUCE BOSSSS: (sorry, i get carried away because this sauce is

1 small jar of hoisin, about 1.5 cups

1/4 c of creamy peanut butter (my 1/4 a cup is really 1/3 cup because i LOVE peanut butter)

1/3-1/2 c of rice wine vinegar (add 1/3 and then taste before adding more)

3 T of chili garlic sauce, I like it spicy so add 2 T and then taste before adding more

scallions and chopped peanuts (optional, for garnish)

fill a wide pan with water and bring to a boil. turn off the heat and dip one sheet of rice paper fully into the water, you kind of burn your hand but just be creative in hand movement and you should be able to submerge it without submerging your hand too much.

lay the now very soft rice paper onto your work surface. lay down some basil leaves.

add on the lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, snap peas, mint etc. then fold in the sides to cover the veggies about 1/3 of the way on each side. if when rolling, the roll rips, which it will, DONT WORRY, you’re just going to roll the end over it so it should be fine, if it rips at the end, you might need to toss that roll depending on how big the rip is but it’s pretty easy to cover the rips up 🙂

now, lift up the end closest to you and pull over the filling, tucking the edge of the rice paper at the edge of the filling and pulling back towards you so that it ensures a tight wrap. then continue tucking and rolling until its all rolled up.

repeat! put to side while you master the art of sauce bossing.

in a small sauce pot over medium heat combine all of the sauce ingredients, whisk or fork until all combined and warm, taste, add whatever else you think is necessary to make the peanut sauce of your dreams.

slice the rolls on a bias (diagonal) and serve with a little dipping bowl of sauce!!

fresh spring rolls printable recipe

rosemary chicken legs

11 Dec

easy, delicious. lets do it.

What You Need for 5 chicken legs:

5 chicken legs (duh)

1.5 T chopped rosemary

2 garlic cloves, chopped

olive oil

salt and pepps

preheat the oven to 350

stuff the garlic under the chicken skin. drizzle olive oil on all sides of the chicken breasts then season liberally with salt, pepper and the rosemary. sear in a pan over medium high eat just until the skin is caramelized and browned.

once browned, pop into the oven on a parchment lined baking sheet for about 12 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 150 degrees.

searing the chicken off and then baking it ensures a crispy outer crust while maintaining a juicy inside.

thats all folks!! quick, easy weeknight dinner that people think is way more labor intensive than it was!

whole wheat angel hair with basil pecan pesto

1 Dec

it is really embarassing how much i post about pasta dishes. pastaholics unanonymous right here. it’s truly a love-hate relationship.

i often hear friends and family use “healthy” and “low calorie” or “dietetic” interchangeably. Although it’s a safe bet that most healthful foods are not super calorie dense, healthful does not translate to low cal and low cal foods are certainly not always healthy. That being said, this is NOT a low calorie dish, however, it is healthy as it contains whole grains, good fats, protein, and fiber. (and it’s

traditional pesto is made with fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, pine nuts, and parmigiano cheese. (in that order in terms of quantity) I didn’t have pine nuts so I used toasted pecans because it was all I had, and moving my tush to the store is rarely an option by 7:30 pm. I also added some spinach into my pesto both for color and for an extra boost of veggie super powers, and ultimately, because it allows me to justify the pasta in general.

I got beautiful local Texas spinach 🙂 farm to table spinach is a totally different [better] breed of vegetable both in taste and in appearance.

Whatcha Need for 2 Servings…or for one ME size portion:
8-15 basil leaves, washed and DRIED
about 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/8 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese (more if desired)
whole wheat linguine, angel hair, or spaghetti
1/4 cup pine nuts, pecans, walnuts, whaaateva kinda nuts ya got (except peanuts…just trust me on this one)

put a pot of water up to boil.
wash the basil leaves, pat dry dry dry.

toast your nuts. in a dry saute pan over medium heat, flipping frequently for about three minutes.
Smash your garlic cloves.
Combine basil, garlic, nuts, parmesan cheese, a handful of spinach, half the olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper in the blender. If it doesn’t blend that means you don’t have enough oil in. once its moving in the blender, stream in a bit of olive oil so it thickens and emulsifies. 

Put the pasta into the SALTED boiling water. You know you’ve missed your salty friend, admit it, embrace it, and move along.
In the last minute of cooking the pasta, add in a handful of spinach and remove 1/3 cup of pasta water and set aside.
Strain the pasta. While the pasta and spinach are in the strainer, pour a dollop of the pesto into the hot pasta pot. 
Add the pasta back to the pot and mix. Add more pesto as desired/necessary (pesto is very necessary). If the pasta appears very thick add a few drops of pasta water at a time until the desired sauciness is reached. After all, you are your own sauuuce bosss. Adjust salt and pepps as needed.

pumpkin ravioli with pecans and sage brown butter

19 Nov
My heart beats for this type of dish. 
I want to make a list about this dish. Here it is:
  1. I used pumpkin ravioli and butternut squash ravioli but I should have left out the butternut squash, it wasn’t nearly as delicious and plump and flavorful as the pumpkin. 
  2. I know that it doesn’t look so beautiful because the two different raviolis don’t match etc. The taste makes up for what the aesthetics lack. 
  3. Pumpkin ravioli is widely available this time of year at your normal grocery store, if not, you can definitely find it at a specialty store like whole foods, balducci’s etc. Or just buy a pasta roller and make it yourself if you’re feeling motivated. 

The Shtuff:

pumpkin ravioli (approx 5 per person if you’re normal, 9 if you’re me)
2 T room temp butter
1 handful of pecan halves
a little less than 1/4 cup chiffonade-ed sage leaves, loosely packed (loosely packed means you’re not packing it into the measuring cup)
VAMANOSSSSSSS! : (i’m going to do this in list-ish form because list’s are a good thing)
  1. boil a large pot of water, LARGE, the ravioli request that you please don’t crowd them in the jacquzzi. 
  2. kind of chiffonade up some sage, just chop it relatively thinly and so it’s not totally busted looking. Always remember to respect your food. Respect the sage, bro.

     3. Once the water is boiling, SALT it. See my Mountain Salty McSalterstein as an example:

            4. Heat a medium saute pan over medium high heat, add the ravioli to the water-it takes about 4 minutes    cook depending on the size. Once your pan is HOT HOT HOT Add the butter to the saute pan, it should kind of sizzle and immediately start to brown. Add the sage in and let it fry up for a minute. Drain the pasta.
    Notice the butter is brown-ish looking, this is the key. Don’t burn it! just get the pan hot enough so it immediately turns the butter a caramel color, not a mucky brown. You’ll know by the smell 🙂 
         5. add the pecans to the sage butter, toast 2 minutes. 
           6.  Toss the pasta in the saute pan, add a small pinch of salt, garnish with a few sage ribbons. 
     and it’s party rocker time!
    Now for a quick photo montage of my pasta..

    Enjoy with a nice mug of spiced whiskey cider 🙂  
    (my mug is half full  because I sipped as I cooked)

    low and slow lamb

    16 Nov

    with the holidays coming up I thought I’d provide an easy to prep and cook “holiday roast” type thang. 
    What You Need:
    a leg of lamb, bone in. I used a 3 lb leg since I am not having a holiday dinner today and did not need to feed anyone other than my hungry neighbors. Depending on how much your family/friends eat, 3.5 lbs is enough for about 5 people. (give or take)
    a large bunch of rosemary sprigs (10-20)
    a large bunch of thyme sprigs (10-20)
    1 bay leaf
    half a bottle of white wine 
    1 cup of water
    1 cup of low sodium chicken stock
    1 garlic head with the root chopped off so all the bulbs are exposed
    olive oil
    lots of kosher or sea salt
    ground black pepper

    What You Do:
    Heat the oven to 300 degrees. 
    Heat a large pot over medium high heat.
    Rub olive oil on the lamb, cover with lots of salt and some pepper

    Using tongs, place the lamb in the hot pot. You should hear a VERY loud sizzle. 
    Let sear on ALL sides about 7 minutes until a beautiful golden brown crust covers the lamb.

    Remove the lamb to a plate or clean cutting board.

    Turn the heat down to medium-low and pour the water, stock and white wine into the pot. Using a wooden spoon scrape up all the lovely brown goodness bits on the bottom of the pan.

    Put the fresh herb sprigs and the garlic head into the pot.

    Place the lamb back into the pot, cover with an oven safe lid or tinfoil and place into the oven. 
    Cook until the lamb registers at 150 on a meat thermometer. (The carry over cooking will bring it to safe temp once it’s out of the oven) Baste it ever 30 minutes with the liquid in the pot, checking the internal temperature every 30 minutes after the first hour. Should take about 4 hours for a 7 lb leg of lamb, 2 hours for the lamb that I did. 
    Once finished, remove from the pot, cover with foil and let rest so that the juices distribute back into the meat. 
    While the meat rests, strain the braising liquid into a small sauce pan, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and allow the liquid to reduce to a thick sauce. 

    Alternatively, make a gravy. Make a roux by combining 1 T of butter and 1 T flour in the sauce pot over medium heat and then straining the braising liquid into the pot and whisking until thick. Adjust the seasonings and pour over the roast or serve on the side.