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!




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!


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!



caramel apple dutch baby

caramel apple dutch baby


Ahhh, fall—’tis the season for apples, am I right? And after copious amounts of apple pie, apple chips, apple cobbler, apple cider donuts and warm apple cider, I was jonesing for a little different kind of apple fix.


Luckily for me, this craving coincided perfectly with picking up the latest Bon Appetit issue. I pretty much worship Bon App, and am constantly trying out recipes or ingredients I spot in their pages. When I came across the apple dutch baby recipe in their r.s.v.p section (where readers write in asking for the recipes to their favorite dishes from restaurants), I knew I’d found my Sunday baking project. 


recipe for apple dutch baby



If you’ve never had a dutch baby before, let me fill you in: it’s some sort of hybrid child of a pancake, custard and cake. It’s sweet and quick and comes out looking far more impressive than the time you actually spent on it. You can all thank Bon App for the delicious recipe that’s to follow—I can take credit for nothing besides eating the whole thing with my roommates once I was done photographing it. That, I’m owning.


You’ll need:

Apple Cider Syrup

  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Dutch Baby

  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 large apple, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar


caramelized apples


For the apple cider syrup: Bring ingredients to boil over medium heat in a saucepan. Reduce and boil gently, whisking occasionally, until thick and syrupy, about 30-45 minutes.


For the dutch baby: Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Whisk eggs, milk, flour, vanilla, salt and 1/2 tsp cinnamon in a medium bowl until smooth. Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a skillet—add apples, brown sugar and remaining 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Stir to coat, then cook until apples are coated and softened, about 4 minutes. Set aside.


Heat an empty cast iron skillet (should be able 10 inches in diameter) in the oven for 10 minutes. Take out using an oven mitten, then add the remaining two tablespoons of butter to it, tilting to ensure you coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Add the cooked apple to the center and pour the batter over top. Quickly transfer the skillet to the oven, cooking for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges are brown and the center is set, but still a bit custardy.


caramel apple dutch baby recipe (1)


The dutch baby will sink into itself once you take it out of the oven—don’t freak out, this is supposed to happen!


Finish yours with a generous sweeping of that yummy caramel apple cider syrup and a dollop of whip cream if you have it. Enjoy as dessert—or as breakfast, because there’s fruit and fall is beautiful and fleeting. Reason enough, yes?


recipe for caramel apple dutch baby


slow-cooker pulled pork with honey corn cakes

pulled pork sandwich recipe



I debated endlessly as to whether or not I should post this recipe. You see, slow-cooker pulled pork is my secret weapon—my Hail Mary, my trump card. Any time I want to make people happy (make their stomachs happy, really), I make this pulled pork recipe. So naturally, I like to keep it close to the chest. Because it really (really really) is that good.


Slow-cooker pulled pork is at almost every family function we have. It’s my Auntie Lina’s specialty and we all beg for it any time there’s a celebration or get together on the calendar. Now that I live on my own and do my own entertaining, pulled pork has become my own party go-to. The guys love it, the ladies love it and—perhaps most importantly sometimes—it lays a solid base for a night of drinking. Hey, just being honest.


pork shoulder



Obviously, after all that internal debating, I’ve chosen to share the recipe. And I implore you: make it wisely. It can cause, in not-so-rare occasions, cases of mild obsession, over-eating out of deliciousness and even impromptu marriage proposals. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


These pulled pork sandwiches are best served on toasty potato rolls (MUST be potato rolls) with a decent helping of corn cakes and honey butter on the side (more on that later). This will make about 15 pulled pork sandwiches, which makes it great for a crowd.


You’ll need: 

  • One pork shoulder or pork butt between 3 and 4 pounds (you should be able to find this at the meat counter of your grocer).
  • 1 cup water
  • 18 oz (one bottle) Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

toasted buns for pulled pork sandwiches


Place the pork and water into a crockpot or slow cooker. Cook through the day (3.5-4 hours if you have it set to “high”, between 5.5 and 7 hours if you have it set to “low”). You’ll know it’s done when the meat is fragrant, a light brown color (as seen above) and literally falls apart at the touch of a fork.


Remove it from the crock pot, place on a cutting board and begin to shred the meat with two forks. Drain the crock pot, the add the shredded meat back into the pot, along with the BBQ sauce, hot sauce, brown sugar, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.

slow cooker pulled pork recipe


Stir to coat then allow to cook for another hour. You can keep it on “warm” throughout your party if you have guests serving themselves.


mini cornbread honey



For the mini corn cakes (which taste better than regular corn muffins, because they’re mini), I use a Jiffy cornbread mix—keep it basic, because the real magic here is in the butter. I first had the corn cake/honey cinnamon butter combo at one of my favorite restaurants here in Astoria, Butcher Bar, and knew I needed to try making it at home someday. It’s so easy!


You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup stick butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


Whip ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer until they’re combined and the butter is light and fluffy. Serve on everything from corn cakes and pulled pork (duh) to waffles, french toast and sweet potatoes!


cornbread with honey cinnamon butter





butternut squash and sage pasta

butternut squash



Butternut squash is probably the Pumpkin Spice Latte of the food world. Call it “basic”, call it over-used from September to December—but even you can admit: it’s so delicious.


I try to cook it as much as possible during the fall months but there’s only so much roasted butternut squash a girl can handle. This week, I decided to mix it up by combining it with one of my other favorite things: pasta.

butternut squash for sauce fresh sage


Butternut squash and sage is a fool-proof combo, and for good reason—the duo team up to create a sauce that’s rich, layered and just a bit indulgent (ahem, given the heavy cream and all). It’s a yummy twist for those fall nights when you’re just not feeling marinara sauce again. You’ll need:


  • 1 medium butternut squash, cubed and and skinned
  • 6-8 sage leaves
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan  cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


roasted butternut squash


Cube your butternut squash, then toss on a baking sheet with olive oil, salt and pepper, adding 4-5 sage leaves to the pan. Roast in the over at 375 degrees for 40 minutes, or until the squash is mush but still holding it’s cube shape. Set aside.


fresh butternut squash pasta


While your butternut squash is roasting, set a pan of heavily salted water over high heat to boil. This sauce is best with fresh pasta—we have an amazing factory on our street that sells theirs out of a storefront—but if you go with dried, that works too! Once the water is boiling, set the pasta in and allow it to cook.


butternut squash sauce


While the pasta is cooking, place the roasted butternut squash in a food processor, removing the sage leaves first. Add the garlic, then drizzle in a little olive oil, salt and pepper then blend on high until the butternut squash has turned the consistency of mashed potatoes and is free of chunks.


Add the pureed butternut squash to a large skillet with the heavy cream, milk, nutmeg, parmesan and 2 sage leaves. Stir to combine and allow to simmer on low for five-ish minutes. It will be really thick—that’s the nature of the butternut squash and it holds really well to the pasta, but if the consistency isn’t right for you, feel free to add a bit more milk. Add salt and pepper to taste.


butternut squash pasta


Add your cooked pasta to the pan with two tablespoons pasta water, then toss to coat. Plate, then top with a bit more parmesan cheese and serve with an Olivia Pope-worthy glass of vino. Buon Appetito!!




2 adult lunchables perfect for work this week

adult lunchables


I’m notoriously–almost comically–bad at eating lunch at work. I’ll get so engrossed in what I’m doing that suddenly 3:30 pm will roll around and I’ll wonder why I’m crazy grumpy and have a raging headache.


In an attempt to try and improve this unhealthy habit, I’ve been making an effort to pull together little “lunchables” for myself, packed with a light meal and snacks that I can pick at throughout the day. They’re not huge, because I rarely have time to each much, but they definitely keep me from A) Wasting money on more food, B) Getting too hungry and C) Spending all my money in a low blood sugar-induced raid at the Chipotle across the street. Here are two of my favorites:


turkey veggie rolls

Turkey Veggie “Burritos”

Easy as can be: simply roll up lots of veggies (I use cucumbers, peppers and carrots) in slices of turkey or another deli meat of your choice. I typically pack a stick of cheese, a GoGo Applesauce (which I’m pretty sure are for toddlers but whatever) and a few (ok…maybe more than two…) of Trader Joe’s AMAZING peanut butter cups to go along with the turkey rolls.


greek lunch greek weekday lunch


Another standby? A trusty Greek lunchable, made by combining my go-to Greek salad recipe, homemade tzatziki dip and a bit of bread or pita chips. Sometimes I’ll swap the bread out for a batch of falafel if I’ve had the time to make it Sunday night. The best thing about this combo is that everything gets better after sitting around in the fridge for a few days. The flavor in both the salad and the dip is stronger, meaning you can make big batches and be set for the week–that is, if you don’t mind a little lunchtime repetition!