Posts tagged ‘olive oil’

February 20, 2014

Spinach Mushroom Toast with Goat Cheese

This dish is delicious, simple, and great for people on a budget.

When I moved to NYC six months ago (Six months ago? What?) I knew that I would have to make cuts to my budget when it comes to food, and it is important to buy as many fresh veggies as possible. Since moving here, I have cut down on my meat consumption significantly because of the cost. Going semi-vegetarian was never hard for me, but it is not a lifestyle that I would force on anyone. My body probably performs its best on a completely vegan diet, but I can’t really imagine a life without cheese. While I never cooked that much meat in general, I do enjoy ordering fish or seafood when I am out. We all have different priorities and goals.

During every grocery trip, mushrooms, a good, hearty bread and spinach are always on my list. You can make something similar with your favorite veggies, arugula and goat cheese are always winners, with some freshly cracked black pepper.


1 slice country unbleached whole wheat bread, usually an artisanal variety (I love the unevenness of the slices and supporting local bakeries, which is easy to do when you are shopping in a local grocery store in Brooklyn, but use whatever you can find)

1/2 cup baby spinach leaves, or whatever green you prefer

1/2 cup sauteed mushrooms

1 generous tablespoon soft goat cheese

Freshly cracked black pepper, if desired


Toast bread if desired. Spread with cheese and top with spinach and mushrooms. Top with freshly cracked black pepper if desired.

January 9, 2014

Lemon Garlic Green Beans with Sesame Seeds

This simple yet elegant dish adds some classy sophistication to any meal, even if your main course is something as delicious as mac and cheese out of a box.


2 cups green beans, fresh, ends trimmed, washed

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper as desired


In a saute pan, add olive oil. Heat on medium heat for a minute or so. Add the beans, and top with the lemon juice and minced garlic. Cook for 6-10 minutes, keeping an eye on the beans. They should still have some crunch by the time you are through but also be slighty crispy on the sides. Top with sea salt and black pepper as desired.




January 8, 2014

Brussel Sprouts with Honey Miso Glaze

How has your week been guys?

I am having a really great start to 2014, which is nice considering that last year was just not that much fun for me overall. Some great things happened, including me moving to NYC and qutting a horrible first job, but overall it was a pretty stressful process to get acclimated. Our apartment is feeling more and more like home these days. It has come a long way from the bare bones loft it once was, even though it is still to the point where there is not an overwhelming amount of things. One of my worries was that since the apartment has so much space, there would be the possibility that we would feel the need to clutter it. My roommate and best friend has a keen eye for finding some great things for free, and that is how we scored a spice hutch for food, teas, and dry goods as well as a beautiful ornate frame that compliments the brick wall nicely. We even got a bar cart thatI made simple syrup for last night. The apartment has a lot of good memories made in it already. It is the first time that I have lived with a group of people that does not infuriate me with their cleaning habits and that I want to hang out with all the time. We all compliment each other pretty well. We go out together, have dinners together sometimes, but also have our own lives too, which is a good balance. It has made moving to a big, new city much easier. I have met new friends, and slowly but surely, my life here is one that I am growing happier and happier in. Since it is the first time that I can entertain and have people over to my place for dinner, I have taken advantage of it. When I lived at home, I used to cook or bake for the family whenever I wanted to focus on somethign else for a while. I think recipes, written in such a simplistic yet direct manner, are comforting in their predictability. You always add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Sometimes, I wish there were a recipe for life. Too philosophical? Sorry, I get stuck in my own head and I am a part of team idealist.

I am like anyone else and there are definitely days when I do not feel like cooking, but getting everyone together for a simple yet elegant meal is really fun sometimes. I have made polenta witha  poached egg, parmesan, chives, and butter for my first dinner and even hosted a dinner party for the neighbors in our building where I made mushroom quinoa and beet salad with goat cheese and oranges. Last night was a simple girls night with plenty of veggies (green beans with a squeeze of lemon and garlic with black pepper and salt) and the classic Annie’s white cheddar made with butter and greek yogurt. I am excited the year has been so fun so far (all eight days of it). Now onto these brussells:

This honey miso glaze is awesome and flavorful. I especially like it on top of fresh green spinach salads with goat cheese, walnuts, apples, and cucumbers as well. Whip up this nice gaze for your guests and they will think you are a five star chef (or at least I like to think that is what they think).

Miso Glaze

1 tablespoon white miso paste

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Sea salt and pepper to taste


2 cups brussel sprouts, cut in half and roasted at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes until crispy and brown on the sides (spray with a cooking spray, coconut oil or butter before roasting)


Combine everything for the miso glaze in a bowl and mix well. Drizzle over the roasted sprouts. Great witha couple sprinkles of goat cheese!



December 12, 2013

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Simple and delicious, these roasted brussel sprouts are flavorful and simple to make. Great under some poached egg and salt and pepper.


2 cups brussel sprouts, washed and dried, cut into quarters

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper, as desired


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a baking dish, spread brussel sprouts on sheet and lightly spread with olive oil. Top with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes or a couple minutes longer until the bottoms of sprouts are crispy.


Great with sriracha and greek yogurt.


September 17, 2013

How to Make Hummus – Cheat Sheet

May 31, 2013

Cinnamon Olive Oil Chocolate Torte


They say there are two people in life, the cookers and the bakers. The bakers are more careful, measuring and cleaning as they go. They are the Type A personalities. In cooking, you need to be more flexible. You need to be able to think on your feet and taste as you go, adding the right spices or seasonings and using a recipe as a template. There really is nothing like baking. As much as I love cooking, I love the process of measuring out sweet sugar, flours, sorting, melting coconut oil, pouring oil oil, springform pans, ripping parchment paper, and putting out all the pots and pans for mixing. I love the process of lightly whipping eggs, of cracking eggs, of sprinkling spices. From scraping out pureed pumpkin to pouring coconut milk, the whole baking process gives me something to keep my hands busy. You put it all into a pan or you scoop the batter into rounds and you end up with this creation that warms the whole home. My new future apartment in my head has the perfect kitchen. It has a new oven that I don’t have to play with the temperature, but as it always is with me, the moment I have that, I will miss my oven that I know so well. I am the queen of never being satisfied.

I bake the most often when I need an escape from the dilemmas that roil around in my mind. There really isn’t anything that is plaguing my mind at the moment, but there is always that haunting feeling that is so common among millennials like myself. It’s that cold, sinking feeling that you are not living up to your true potential. The feeling of not so instant gratification and being too impatient to realize that life is actually always on time. I am always dreaming about something better, and lately I have been doing something better to get to where I want to be, but part of me is still petulant that it isn’t here yet. Pretty awful of me, huh?

We pretend like we are rooted to the places we are, but we have the freedom to fly anywhere we want to. I know I do, but for me, it is just about finding the right place to fly to. I pretend that I need a new solid job offer to move anywhere but that isn’t true. It is not easy to pick up your life, pack it into boxes and move across the country, but with some savings and an open heart, you can do it. But I have always been the controlling type. I like knowing when things will happen. My Moleskine planner is a necessity and when I don’t have it on me, I get pretty nervous. In savasana (corpse pose), I still run over my to do list in my head. I lay awake sometimes at night and think there is so much to do everyday, and while anyone should be proud of being able to work 50+ hours a week and run around all the time, some weeks it gives me more anxiety than anything. I am unfulfilled on a level that I felt like I settled for something, and I haven’t really forgiven myself for doing that just yet. I feel as though sometimes I don’t take enough risks, and I am trying to work on that. Even if it is something small, I think it will help me make some big jump sometime soon. I am still the girl that traveled to a dozen countries and would rather hop on a plane than do anything else. I didn’t know how it would turn out when I went to live in two countries for nine months when I was 21, and now at 23, I keep thinking of all that could possibly go wrong. But at 21, I didn’t have obligations besides academic ones, and at 23 I have financial responsibilities.

Maybe that is why I like baking so much, you need to be in control because substituting another oil for olive oil would ruin the science. The perfect measurements of things and the right ingredients can yield you something beautiful. And then there are these recipes that are great bases, but with the right warm spices, it is brought to life. This is one of those recipes. I originally read this in a magazine while I was sitting in Barnes and Noble after a yoga shift on Sunday, waiting for some yoga classes to start in two hours. This lovely, simple recipe is from Nigella Lawson. I have always loved her attitude and accent, and watching her on the Food Network has always given me countless ideas to play with in the kitchen. I have embedded her recipe below, with my additions and notes for the torte I ended up making. I don’t cook with all purpose flour a lot, but I do love the cakelike texture of this torte with the all purpose flour is worth it enough for me to try it once in a blue. The addition of light brown sugar and warm cinnamon made the torte even more flavorful to me, but feel free to add cayenne instead if you want more of a Mexican hot chocolate inspired torte.


— From Nigella Lawson’s “Nigellissima: Easy Italian-Inspired Recipes” (Clarkson Potter, $35) 8 to 12 servings

2/3 cup regular olive oil, plus more for greasing
6 tablespoons good-quality unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
½ cup boiling water
2 teaspoons best vanilla extract
1½ cups almond meal (flour) (see note) (I used unbleached all purpose)
½ teaspoon baking soda
Pinch salt (I used Pink Himalayan)
1 cup superfine sugar (I used light brown sugar)
3 eggs

**3 teaspoons cinnamon (my addition)

**I topped the torte with a sprinkle of powdered sugar

1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 1 x 9-inch springform pan with a little oil and line the base with parchment paper.

2. Measure and sift the cocoa powder into a bowl or pitcher and whisk in the boiling water until you have a smooth, chocolatey, still runny (but only just) paste. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then set aside to cool a little. In another smallish bowl, combine the almond meal with the baking soda and pinch of salt.

3. Put the sugar, olive oil and eggs into the bowl of a freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment (or other bowl and whisk arrangement of your choice) and beat together vigorously for about 3 minutes, until you have a pale-primrose, aerated and thickened cream.

4. Turn the speed down a little and pour in the cocoa mixture, beating as you go, and when all is scraped in, you can slowly tip in the almond meal mixture. Scrape down and stir a little with a spatula, then pour this dark, liquid batter into the prepared pan.

5. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the sides are set and the very center, on top, still looks slightly damp. A cake tester should come up mainly clean, but with a few sticky chocolate crumbs clinging to it. Let it cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, still in its pan, and then ease the sides of the cake with a small metal spatula and spring it out of the pan. Leave to cool completely or eat while still warm with some ice cream, as a dessert.

Note: For a more cakelike crumb, substitute ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour for the almond meal. But without the almond meal, it’s more of an everyday cake, Lawson writes.


Next time, I might add some citrus zest or lavender. You could always use chia eggs (water and chia seeds) for the eggs if you would like, but I love eggs and the rich flavor this has with the ingredients I used, so please feel free to adapt this according to your tastes. As I always say, there is always room for dessert.

health and happiness always,



May 1, 2013

Roasted Garlic

Why have I not discovered this earlier?

The cloves are perfect and soft and sweet and incredible spread on everything from toast to crackers to dressings to marinades. I have made a dressing numerous times now with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, and garlic cloves mashed with a touch of mustard and some tablespoons of water.


3 whole bulbs of garlic of however many you want to roast

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil per bulb

Foil paper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel the garlic bulbs. Cut the top part of the cloves so that the tops of the cloves show. Place on foil paper and top with seasoning and oil. Wrap well with the foil paper and roast for 35 minutes or until the cloves are tender and soft.




April 25, 2013

Cheap Girl’s Risotto

4 cups chicken stock, low sodium or even better, homemade
3 ounces roast chicken, precooked
1 package large button mushrooms, diced

3 cups spinach
1 tomato, diced
1 cup risoni (orzo) pasta
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, 2 tablespoons for stirring, 2 tablespoons for topping
½ teaspoon crushed garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil
Pepper to taste
Pour two cups of the chicken stock into a hot saucepan. Have the stock come to a boil and pour in the ½ cup of orzo pasta. Keep stirring so that pasta does not stick to the bottom of the saucepan. In a small frypan on another burner, heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil and throw in the diced tomato, the crushed garlic, the button mushrooms, and the roast chicken. Saute until the mushrooms are tender and the tomato has liquefied, and the skin of the tomato comes off. The chicken is already cooked so you are just warming it up and having the flavors of the tomato and garlic fuse with it.
The orzo should be creamy because of the chicken stock and it should have soaked up the entire flavor of the chicken stock as well. By this time, the tomato, garlic, chicken, and mushroom should be roasted and you can pour the contents of the pan into the saucepan with the chicken orzo. Mix well and add pepper to taste. The final touch is the Parmesan. Add on top and mix well, and add some more on top for garnish. In the end, you get a hot, small pasta with a ton of flavor and cheesy goodness. Red pepper flakes are option if you are feeling spice!



April 13, 2013

Quinoa Caprese Salad with Lemon Balsamic Vinigrette

I make a huge batch of quinoa for the week on Sundays. This salad is refreshing and delicious with nutritional superstars like protein packed quinoa, lemon, cherry tomatoes and spinach. This is a great take anywhere salad.


Serves 2

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup fresh mozzarella pearls

1 cup quinoa, any color, cooked

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Basil leaves, fresh, as desired

Pepper, to taste

1 cup baby spinach leaves


Combine lemon juice, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar with a whisk until well combined. Combine the rest of the ingredients and toss with dressing and serve immediately, or save the dressing on the side to save for later.



March 25, 2013

Red Bean Quinoa

Protein in a delicious, colorful bowl. Beans are cheap and nutritional powerhouses, so this is a superstar bowl you have here.


1 cup rinsed kidney beans

1 cup cooked quinoa

1/2 cup sautéed mushrooms, any kind

1 cup spinach

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon Romano or Parmesan

1 teaspoon olive oil

Freshly cracked black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried basil


Saute kidney beans with olive oil and minced garlic, until cooked through,about five minutes on medium heat. Add spinach leaves and cooked quinoa to mixture. Add mushrooms and dried basil and cook through, about another five minutes. Add vegetable broth if you want the additional home cooked flavor. This also makes the dish less oily because you are basically wet sauté-ing the dish. Top with black pepper and cheese if desired.