spinach and artichoke dip pizza

recipe for spinach and artichoke dip pizza



I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is the recipe you never knew you needed…until now. At least that was the case for me—it wasn’t until I was out to dinner Friday night and has a slice of spinach and artichoke dip PIZZA that I was like, “Wait a minute. Wait. A. Minute. I MUST MAKE THIS.” Yeah—that’s pretty much an accurate look into how this all went down. Because really, who wouldn’t want spinach and artichoke dip on a pizza?


pizza dough


We’re huge fans of making homemade pizza in our apartment. Sure, takeout is great (and sometimes veryyyy necessary) but when does pizza not arrive soggy and a bit cold? Rarely, right? Making an A++ homemade pizza is actually much easier than it seems—I don’t even bother making my own dough, but just abide by one secret method: a pizza stone. I seriously swear by Emma (yes, we’ve named our pizza stone Emma Stone) when making pizza at the apartment—it speeds up the process and helps you achieve that sought-after crispy crust.


pizza making technique

Start with store bought dough at room temperature (very important!) on a floured surface. Using your finger tips, start pushing the dough outward in a circle, like shown above (while politely ignoring my terrible nail polish…). Once you’ve made it considerably larger, you can start stretching it using the palms of your hands and gentle clockwise “circles” (kind of like you would wash a car—weird comparison, I know). Place on a piece of parchment paper and set aside.


spinach and artichokes


Next, you’ll want to make your spinach and artichoke dip—if you’re not feeling pizza, you can use this recipe for dip instead!


You’ll need:

  • One container/bag fresh baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 white onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • the juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 shredded white cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 can artichoke hearts (not in a marinade!), chopped roughly


spinach and artichoke dip pizza


In a small pan, cook the spinach in boiling water until bright green and wilted, about 3-4 minutes. Drain in a colander, squeeze out excess water, chop roughly and set aside. Turn on your oven to 500 degrees, placing your pizza stone inside to heat along with the oven.


In a sauce pan set to medium-high heat, saute the garlic, onion and butter in a pan until the garlic is fragrant and the onions are softened and a bit translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Add the flour and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are coated and the flour is “toasted,” about another 2 minutes. Pour in the milk, then whisk continuously until the mixture has thickened considerably and is just on the edge of a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, parmesan, a bit of salt and pepper and the sour cream until combined.


Return the pot to medium heat and add the chopped spinach, chopped artichoke hearts and shredded cheddar cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted.


spinach and artichoke dip pizza recipe


With your dough on a bit of parchment paper, give it another good stretch out. Top generously with your spinach and artichoke dip—you will use almost the whole recipe, but the bit left over you can save to snack on throughout the week! You should have a pretty thick, chunky layer. Top with about a cup (or a bit more) of mozzarella cheese. Transfer your pizza, parchment paper and all, onto your pizza stone that’s been pre-heating in the oven (Careful! It will be extremely hot!).


recipe for spinach and artichoke pizza


Cook at 500 degrees for about 12 minutes, or until the crust and cheese have browned and the bottom of the pizza is nice and solid (you want a good base for all that delicious spinach and artichoke dip!). Allow it to sit for 4-5 minutes out of the oven before slicing and sharing. Enjoy!





eggs in a frame

cheesy egg in a frame recipe



If you’re looking for your new favorite weekend breakfast dish, look no further than eggs in a frame. I can’t even take credit for this dish—I’ve had this for as long as I can remember every time I’ve slept over my roommate’s parent’s house—it’s her Dad’s signature breakfast dish. I knew I wanted to try it out for the blog, and I gave it my own little twist with cheese (I mean, are you surprised?). It’s cozy and yummy and light—perfect for a winter breakfast!


bread for egg in a frame egg gruyere cheese



You’ll need:

  • Fresh bread, sliced thin
  • Butter
  • Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • Eggs
  • Non-stick spray, like Pam

egg in a frame



To start, remove the centers of the bread in a circle—you can use a cookie cutter if you have one on hand, but a glass (which is what I used) works just as well! Butter each side of the toast and the removed hole—you’re definitely going to want to save that, it’s the best to dip in the runny eggs! Place into the pan and toast until lightly browned, then flip to toast the other side.


egg in a frame breakfast recipe

While the other side of the bread is toasting, sprinkle cheese atop the side that was toasted first. Spray the center of the hole with a bit of non-stick spray, then crack an egg in the middle, cooking until the whites are 90% cooked.  Flip again and cook very briefly on the other side (or a bit longer, if you like your yolks more solid).


cheesy egg in a frame breakfast recipe



Serve warm alongside some fresh coffee and the bread hole—perfect for dipping into the runny yolk!



blistered tomato and lobster pasta

lobster pasta recipe



This pasta is one of the most faux-fancy dishes ever. I mean, it looks a bit fancy, right? And it has lobster in it so it sounds fancy, right? Only it’s super simply, super flavorful and a great reason to eat pasta every day of the week for lunch and dinner (as if you needed an excuse). Eat now, thank me later.


fresh lobster tails


fresh tomatoes and basil


You’ll need:

  • 2 cartons of cherry tomatoes
  • 12-15 pieces of fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 fresh lobster tails, cut into small pieces
  • spaghetti
  • salt and pepper to taste


Toss cherry tomatoes on a baking tray with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven on 375 until tomatoes are a bit pruned and softened. Set aside. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. In a separate large saute pan, add the garlic and olive oil and simmer on low heat until garlic is softened and fragrant.

white whine tomato basil sauce


Add the chopped lobster to the pan, along with the roasted tomatoes, ripped up basil and white wine and saute on medium-low heat, breaking up the roasted tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Add salt and pepper to taste.


tomato, white wine and lobster pasta recipe



Add the cooked spaghetti to the pan and toss amongst the sauce until fully coated. Serve with grated parmesan and an additional sprig of fresh basil. Enjoy!




vanilla madeleines with berry compote

fresh berries


Sometimes, you just want to treat yourself to dessert. I’m not talking about a few spoonfuls from your favorite Ben & Jerry’s container—I’m talking about real, true dessert. The kind you’d treat yourself to once every month or so while at your favorite restaurant. Only you can make these madeleines from home, which is a bonus for sure.


A few weekends ago I was planning on making dinner for two girlfriends and needed a light dessert idea to finish the meal off. I have a set of madeleine pans I’ve embarrassingly never used to make actual madeleines (although I did make these honey corn cakes in them), so I went searching for a recipe. Naturally, Martha pulled through with a quick and tasty version—these madeleines were a huge hit with the girls, thanks in part to the fruity compote and fresh whipped cream I made to go on top of them. You’re going to want to save this one!


vanilla madelines


Madeleine Cookies Adapted from Martha Stewart

You’ll need:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (plus a bit more from the pan)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 6 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

recipe for vanilla madelines



In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the eggs and sugars together until very thick and foamy (about 8 minutes). In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture in two additions, folding in with a spatula. Next, fold in the melted butter in two additions, then the honey and vanilla. Refrigerate the dough, covered, for at least 2 hours.


Set your oven to 350 degrees. Coat the madeleine pans with a bit of butter, then set aside. Spoon the batter into the molds, then bake until risen and lightly browned, about 8-11 minutes. Immediately take them out of the trays and allow to cool on a wire rack.

vanilla madelines with berry compote and whipped cream


For the berry compote, combine 2-3 cartons of fresh berries (I used raspberries and black berries) with 1/4 cup of sugar in a pan set to medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries have broken down and the liquid in the pan has reduced and thickened.


recipe for vanilla madelines with berry compote and whipped cream


Spoon over the berries while slightly warm, then top with fresh whipped cream. Dessert time!




blood orange, beet and fennel salad

blood oranges



I almost feel like a fraud giving you a “recipe” for this salad. It’s one of those crazy-easy concoctions that you literally cannot mess up…no measurements, no fancy ingredients, no tough techniques. Just simple, good ingredients coming together in a healthy, quick, flavorful salad recipe. What more could you want, right?!



This salad is actually a riff on something I had while over in Italy—I love how it feels light and summery, but utilizes ingredients that are easy to find during the winter. Sometimes I start to feel weighed down by the hearty pastas and heavy stews of the winter season, so this is a fresh change of pace!


You’ll need:

  • One bulb of fennel
  • 2-3 beets
  • 5-6 blood oranges
  • Goat cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

roasted beets


With your oven set to 425, roast your beets, coated lightly in olive oil and a bit of sea salt, until the skins have darkened and they smell “earthy” (about 30 minutes). They should stay firm but should be easy to slice through/bite into. Set aside to cool.


Skin and slice your blood oranges and slice your fennel—you’ll only be using the “bulb” of the fennel (aka the white part), which has a bit of a licorice taste to it and adds a nice crunch.


beet, fennel and blood orange salad with goat cheese recipe for beet, blood orange and fennel salad



On a large serving dish, arrange the blood oranges and beets together. Sprinkle the slices of fennel on top, along with a few dashes of olive oil, salt and pepper. Finish with some (generous) bits of goat cheese and serve cold or at room temperature. The best part? Look at the art creation your dish turns into when you’re done with your salad….so pretty!

beet salad







winter squash kale salad with pomegranate and toasted barley

winter squash and kale salad



Happy 2015, you guys! Two weeks off from work was heavenly, but it really did a number on my routine…I feel like everything—healthy eating, working out, even blogging—falls out of wack without the (sometimes mundane) structure of work, so I’m looking forward to get back into the swing of things beginning this week, and starting with this salad.


We all know the deal. New year = resolutions. Resolutions = healthy eating. Healthy eating = kale. And lots of it. And we’re under no illusion here that kale is super exciting, right? Right. But there are a few ways you can make it a bit more appetizing, and one of those is this salad. The acorn squash and barley add a bit of hearty flavor to fill you up, and the pomegranate seeds (my favvvvorrrriteee winter fruit, hands down) adds a nice tart hit. This combo will definitely keep kale boredom at bay, I promise you that.





Winter Squash Kale Salad with Pomegranate and Toasted Barley 

You’ll need:

  • One bunch of kale, washed and pulled off the “ribs” of the kale, into small pieces
  • One pomegranate, cleaned
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 acorn squash, sliced thin, seeds removed
  • Brown sugar
  • Olive oil
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


roasted acorn squash


Clean pomegranate and set aside. Slice acorn squash into rings, removing the seeds and pulp from the middle. Put on a tray, drizzling with a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper and brown sugar. Roast in the oven at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes, or until fragrant and softened. Set aside.


toasted barley


To “toast” your barley (which will give it a nutty, deeper flavor), add a teaspoon of olive oil to a deep skillet and cook the barley until slightly browned and fragrant. Add water according to package directions (mine called for 1 and 1/2 cups) then cook on simmer until the water has been absorbed and the barely has enlarged.


In a bowl, combine the cleaned kale with a few drizzles of olive oil and 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then “massage” the kale with your hands until the leaves have softened a bit and turned a deeper green.


kale, barley and pomegranate salad



Toss in the barley and pomegranate seeds, then top with avocado and squash. Enjoy your healthy start to 2015!



wine braised short ribs with truffle mashed potatoes

recipe for wine braised short ribs



The holiday season is all about entertaining—which, let’s face it, can get stressful. You want to pull out all the stops when company swings by, but often that comes at the cost of your sanity. Wouldn’t it be great to find a recipe that was both impressive and delicious while also being a piece of cake to make? Well well well, ask and you shall receive. Allow me to introduce: wine braised short ribs.


At first glance, these babies look like the product of a whole day spent slaving in the kitchen. The reality? Practically everything can cook together in one pan while you focus on keeping the conversation—and the drinks—flowing with your guests. Add some truffled mashed potatoes and roasted gray (yes, gray!) squash and you have holiday dinner party magic. Let’s do this.


short ribs


You’ll need:

  • Short ribs, bone in
  • 25 (ish) pearl onions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 3 cups red wine (I used Merlot)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Rosemary sprigs


Short ribs are the perfect roasting meat for winter—hearty, flavorful and readily available. Buy them with the bone in (which is typically the most available cut anyways) and coat them thinly with olive oil, salt and pepper.


braised short ribs



Put a stovetop-safe roasting pan over high heat and coat the base with olive oil. Braise the short ribs on all sides until they’ve formed a crispy, browned crust. Add the garlic and onions, turning down the heat slightly and allow them to “sweat” a bit.


pearl onions wine braised short ribs


Add three cups of wine, two sprigs of rosemary and top off your cooker. Put it in the oven at 325 degrees for 2-2.5 hours, until the meat is extremely tender and falling off the bone.


gray squash oven roasted gray squash oven roasted grey squash recipe


For the gray zucchini, simply cut them in half, coat with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in a pan, flipping halfway through, at 325 for about an hour (or until browned on both sides).


potatoes white truffle salt


To make truffle mashed potatoes (aka the best thing you’ll ever eat), first boil one bag of gold mini potatoes (about 25-30 potatoes) until softened. Drain, then add to a bowl with a half a stick butter, 1/4 cup milk and 1/2 tablespoon truffle salt (I got mine from The Filling Station in Chelsea Market) and a pinch of pepper. Whip until smooth, then taste test (the best part!) to make sure you don’t need to add more salt.


wine braised short ribs with truffle mashed potatoes


Plate the short ribs atop a helping of potatoes, then finish with some of the cooking liquid and onions from the baking dish. One cozy winter meal, coming up!


wine and cheese party with le creuset

wine and cheese party with le crueset (2)



Hi guys—long time no see! I wish I could say I’ve been missing from these parts because I’ve been traveling or doing something especially awesome, but I’ve just been working. A lot. I apologize for slacking, but I promise I will try to show up more around here!


However, I did recently find a little time to sneak in some fun with the girls. This past Saturday, before heading out for a fun painting night in the city (where I think we all learned our artistic abilities haven’t progressed much since elementary school) I pulled together a little wine and cheese spread with the help of Le Creuset.


le creuset cheese platter wine and cheese party with le crueset wine and cheese party with le creuset



As an avid cook (and food obsessive), I was thrilled to hear that Le Creuset was launching a line of wine and cheese products perfect for any holiday party. They were generous enough to send over a few of the new pieces for me to try out—the round cutting board platter, the carafe (perfect for holding your favorite wine) and the compact lever wine opener—and even a little something for you guys (more on that later!). All the dish ware is made in their signature stoneware in bright, colorful options (I love the red I got!) perfect for taking center stage on your table.


wine and cheese party wine and cheese party menu wine and cheese party with le crueset (1)



I picked up a few cheeses from a favorite local shop, Astoria Bier and Cheese. They helped me pick a delicious mix and I have to say we truly loved each of them. One of them, Cacio di bosco Tartufo, was literally one of the best cheeses any of us have ever had—a bit sharp, a bit creamy, and filled with amazing truffle flavor (my favorite!).


crispy brussels sprouts crispy brussels sprouts recipe bacon wrapped dates bacon wrapped date recipe


I also whipped up two crazy easy appetizers for us to snack on in addition to the bread and cheese—ricotta toasts with crispy brussels sprouts (simply shred and fry the brussels sprouts, then put atop toasts topped with ricotta) and cheese stuffed dates wrapped in bacon (the perfect salty/sweet combo…stuff dates with a piece of manchego cheese, then wrap in bacon and cook at 375 until browned and crispy). They were both definite crowd pleasers, and so easy that I can’t wait to make them for a larger get-together we have coming up next month.


wine and cheese party (1)



And now, the especially exciting part! Le Creuset is offering one lucky ready the chance to win some of the amazing products you see above from their wine and cheese line—the round platter, a wine lever and foil cutter, Le Creuset corks, place mats and pairing chart! Simply enter through the Rafflecopter widget below any time between now and Tuesday, November 25. Good luck!






a Rafflecopter giveaway

french onion soup grilled cheese

french onion soup grilled cheese recipe



I’m about to blow your mind with five words, guys: french. onion. soup. grilled. cheese. I wish it was like, three words, because that seems more dramatic, but five was the most I could narrow it down to.


This grilled cheese though. I mean—there are hardly words to describe it, but I turned to my roommates (and expert taste-testers) to try and get a few descriptors for you—”Insane”, “Holy sh*t” and “This is the best thing you’ve ever made” are just a few of the phrases that popped up. I know I’m setting the bar high here, but this grilled cheese is maybe the best idea I’ve ever had.




French onion soup is a fall main-stay (check out my soup recipe here), and grilled cheese goes with soup better than pretty much anything else. I actually think it would be a brilliant idea to open just a soup and grilled cheese bar—like all the grilled cheeses would be different and compliment the soup pairings…hm…

OK, back on track. This grilled cheese is basically made of up bread (duh) and the beginnings of my french onion soup recipe. Fear not—I don’t expect you to go searching through the archives for it. Check out the (slightly modified) recipe, below:


French Onion Soup Grilled Cheese

You’ll need (makes about 4 sandwiches):

  • One white or spanish onion, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons beef stock
  • 4 tablespoons red wine (can be any kind!)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt, pepper and thyme to taste
  • One medium block of gruyere cheese, shredded
  • Slices of bread


onions for french onion soup caramelized onions


To start, cook your onions on low in your pot with the butter. You want to cook them “low and slow” until they’ve reduced in size, have wilted and become caramelized and browned. The bottom of your pan will get a bit gunky in the process—no worries, this is good! We’re going to deal with that later.


gruyere cheese


While your onions are cooking down, you should shred the cheese for the grilled cheese. Gruyere cheese is typically the type of cheese that is melted atop french onion soup, so that’s what I went with for these grilled cheese sandwiches. As is typical with other cheeses, gruyere melts fastest and most evenly when shredded, so take yours to a cheese shredder for the most gooey grilled cheese possible. Set aside once you’re done.


With your pan still over the heat, add the flour over the onions and toss to coat. Add the wine to “deglaze” the pan, scrapping all the browned goodness off the bottom as you stir to coat evenly. Season with salt, pepper and a bit of thyme. Allow to simmer over low heat for a few minutes longer, until the flour has pulled a thick, burgundy-tinted “sauce” together to coat the onions. Keep over lowest heat setting to warm.


recipe for french onion soup grilled cheese


Coat the bottom sides of bread with butter, then lay atop a hot skillet. Add a layer of cheese to the bread and allow it to melt a bit, putting a cover over top to speed up the process if necessary (a fun trick I learned from the Food Network). Once the cheese has melted a bit, add the onions on top, a bit more cheese and a final slice of bread, coated on the outside with butter.


french onion soup grilled cheese recipe (1)


Continue to flip the grilled cheese until it’s browned evenly on both sides and the cheese inside is melted. Eat hot off the skillet and enjoy your grilled cheese nirvana.





salt baked branzino

branzino with lemon and rosemary



Can you remember the best thing you ever ate? I can—a few of the “best things”, actually. I have a list of about five meals that I know I will never forget, and one of them took place on our trip to Italy this past summer.


On our final night in Sorrento, we ate at Ristorante Bagni Delfino, situated right on the water overlooking Mount Vesuvius. The location alone was amazing, but what really made it memorable was the branzino both my Dad and I ordered for dinner. It was killed when we ordered it (I know—insane) and it was so incredibly moist and flavorful, I think I almost cried. I knew that once I came home, I needed to recreate it.


fresh caught branzino salt for salt baked branzino

The secret to a crazy-flavorful branzino? Salt baking it! It sounds crazy, but crusting the fish in a ton of salt leaves it so juicy and flavorful—it’s a method that makes it look like you spent hours perfecting the branzino, when really it’s the easiest method ever.


You’ll need:

  • One large carton of salt (3 lbs)
  • 6 egg whites
  • Two whole branzino fish, scales removed and sliced down the belly
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary


salt mixture for baked branzino



Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, whisk the egg whites until light and fluffy. Fold in the salt until it forms a thick mixture, similar to wet sand.


salt baked branzino salt baked branzino before cooking



Lay the branzino, stuffed with lemon and rosemary, onto a layer of the salt on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover the filets with the remaining salt, ensuring that each fish is covered with a thick layer around all sides of the branzino.


salt baked branzino recipe recipe for salt baked branzino



Bake the branzino in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the salt has hardened completely and has browned. Allow the fish to sit for around 10 minutes, then start cracking the salt shell with the blunt end of a spoon, being careful not to bruise the fish.


salt baked branzino dinner



Brush off excess salt and serve on a separate dish, removing the bones and sprinkling with a dash of lemon and your best olive oil. Hint: it tastes even more delicious if you close your eyes and pretend you’re on the Italian coast!