Monday, November 23, 2015

charred cauliflower

I recently had some of the most flavorful cauliflower when Mike and I were out to dinner and it had me thinking about this vegetable in a whole different light. I normally roast it, or boil it and mash it with potatoes, but I have never though to prepare it almost like..meat.

But it's a hefty vegetable, one that can stand up to high heat and charring and not turn limp or burn easily. And this is an incredible way to infuse flavor into this easily overlooked veggie.

I tried it in my cast iron and I have to say: easy and delicious. I saved all of the smaller pieces and pureed them into potatoes, so none of it went to waste either.

Also, in case the 4 ingredient list below doesn't make it clear enough: its E-A-S-Y.

May I suggest this as a turkey day side to break up all those carbs?

charred cauliflower
1 head of cauliflower, with florets chopped so each piece is flat on both sides
salt and pepper for seasoning
2 tbsp olive oil

  • preheat oven to 375
  • preheat skillet to medium heat, add olive oil
  • season pan/oil with salt and pepper, add in cauliflower once hot
  • let cauliflower char for about 3-4 minutes each side, until browned
  • flip over, repeat for 3-4 minutes and transfer to oven for 10 minutes
The result will be perfectly seasoned, slightly charred and melt in your mouth cauliflower. Who knew I would get this excited over a vegetable?


Friday, November 20, 2015

friday tips: kitchen remedies

Focusing todays tips on cleaning tricks and ways I survive minor kitchen mishaps..

how to fight fruit flies:

this one is a HUGE peeve of mine...they drive me crazy!

set out a bowl with a 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar and a few squirts of dish soap. the sweetness and smell of the vinegar will draw them in and the dish soap will catch them and eventually...well..drown them.

the many uses for baking soda:

clean the bottom of a burnt pot. I do this more than I would like to admit, by overcooking a sauce or forgetting about something on the stovetop.

put about an inch of water and two tablespoons of baking soda and let it bubble. scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon and repeat until the burned bits are gone or can be scrubbed away.

clean your glass cook top. I have to say, my stove boils water pretty fast, but these things are a pain to clean. I've bought cooktop cleaners, tried different wipes, nothing can get them clean. until...baking soda.

mix about a tablespoon with a few drops of water until it forms a paste and scrub it on the stubborn spots. then scrub with a sponge, towel, or just your fingers until the spot comes out.

while we're on the topic of baking soda...I also like to date the baking soda I keep on the shelf to keep track of when I last did a deep clean of the fridge.

stinky microwave? 

stick a half of a lemon in there for 15 seconds and then wipe it down with a damp cloth

glasses not coming out of the dishwasher clean?

run a half/light cycle with a cup of white vinegar at the bottom and you will have your glasses sparkling again!


Monday, November 16, 2015

s'mores treats

Up until two months ago, I had never made rice krispie treats before. Sure, I've eaten them tons of times; one of my former coworkers made the BEST ones. (Her trick was extra marshmallows, which I have employed generously below.)

Since my favorite marshmallow-y treat is a s'more in any form, I knew where I was taking these. Simple, quick and oh-so-delicious, whip these up to make your Monday a little sweeter.

s'mores treats
2 cups of golden graham cereal
3 cups marshmallows (I used mini) + 2 tbsp set aside
1/2 cup chocolate chips + 2 tbsp set aside
2 tbsp butter

  • melt butter and 3 cups marshmallows until gooey, add cereal
  • stir together and remove from heat, stir in 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • spread in 9 inch pan, press down with wax paper
  • sprinkle remaining marshmallows and chocolate chips on top, set aside and let cool
  • cut into squares and serve!

Friday, November 13, 2015

friday tips: what does [insert cooking term] even mean?!

For this friday tips session, lets talk about cooking terms. What does it mean when a recipe says chiffonade basil? What is "scant"? And how can you tell the difference between sauté, braise, broil...?

Just a few things I think about when I am writing or reading recipes, preparing foods and thinking about how to bring my cooking to you guys. Am I being descriptive enough? Will people know what this means? Do I even know what this means?

Comment with terms you want help solving!

sauté: (this one I had to look up) from the French word sauter, which means "to jump." to cook food in some sort of fat over fairly high heat, uncovered

dredge: to coat something, usually in a flour

blanch: partially cook fruits and vegetables in boiling water, usually to be finished in another manner or to quick cook. used on green beans, or fruits such as tomatoes to help peel the skin. this method also helps keep the color on a vibrant fruit or vegetable

condensed milk: (another one I had to look up) made with whole milk where the water is removed and sugar is added. it stores for a loooong time in those cans

rendering fat: this means to separate fat from the item cooking; this causes the fat to melt and create that delicious bacon fat juice at the bottom of your pan

deglaze: remove the bits stuck to a pan after cooking meat, usually with wine or liquid such as stock. often times used to form a sauce

parboil/parcook: partially cook a food, to be finished in another manner

braise: often used on a tougher cut of meat; a slow cooking method of cooking meat in liquid, covered, in the oven or stovetop, for hours until the meat is tender

broil: (looked this up because its actually a bit confusing..) cooking food directly below dry heat. usually the distance between the heat and item cook is specifically measured. also helps give a quick, bubbly crust on cheesy items but can cause burning easily!

chiffonade: cut in long term strips, a french term. this is usually used for herbs or leafy greens and involves rolling up the vegetable and chopping.

scant: slightly less than whatever measurement is called for, for example you may see 1 scant cup of flour in a recipe

mince: finely chopped, smallest dice. term typically used on garlic


Thanks to everyone who submitted-there were a few I didn't cover that will be used in a future post!




Wednesday, November 11, 2015

hearty vegetable soup

My absolute favorite part about our neighborhood here in Seattle is the year long farmers market. I love to stroll through, smelling the freshly fried doughnuts, scoping out the produce and picking up some $5 bouquets for the apt. Yep, FIVE DOLLARS.

One nice days (aka not this past Sunday) I can take my time perusing and pick up staples as well as some seasonal faves. But when it's downpouring 3 minutes after you walk outside (ahhh, Seattle) then you get in and out as quickly as possible. This weeks mission? Items for soup.

I didn't know exactly what I wanted aside from carrots: I found some rainbow ones that looked beautiful. I also added some potatoes, spinach and a small berry pie (not for the soup) along with some freshly baked brioche buns. Then I hustled home in my hunter boots, soaking wet and ready to cook.

I had a few other staples on hand to add to the meal. The best part about this soup, as with many of the things I cook, is that it's versatile and is SO HARD to mess up. Seriously, tell me if you do.

hearty vegetable soup
5 medium sized carrots, peels and diced
4 celery stalks, diced
1 shallot, finely minced
1-2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 cup of spinach, roughly chopped
1 cup of kale, roughly chopped
5 small potatoes, cubed into bite sized pieces
4 cups of vegetable stock (low sodium if you can find it)
1 tbsp pepper
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
2 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped
2 tbsp of carrot tops, finely chopped (optional)
1 cup of pasta (I used small pasta)
2 tbsp butter
parmiggiano rind if you have on one hand, or some grated parm

  • heat the butter on medium high heat in a pot, let it melt slightly then add the carrots, stirring
  • lower heat to medium and let cook for 5 minutes, add celery and season with a pinch of salt and pepper
  • continue to stir and add in garlic and shallots, a bit more salt and pepper and let sauté for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently so they don't burn
  • add vegetable stock, rosemary, parsley, carrot tops, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, parm rind and remaining salt and pepper
  • reduce to low heat and cover for 2-3 hours
  • add in potatoes and let cook for 5 mins on medium-low heat
  • in a separate pot, boil water for pasta
  • cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside
  • remove bay leaf and parm rind, add spinach and kale to soup
  • stir together and let simmer for another 5-8 minutes
  • ladle into bowl and spoon pasta on top along with some more grated cheese

variations: literally any veggie you have on hand, adding chicken, sub in rice for pasta, use double the kale and no spinach or vice versa, spice it up with extra red pepper flakes.

I served this with steak sandwiches on the aforementioned brioche buns and it was the perfect cozy Sunday night dinner. Give it a try!


Monday, November 9, 2015

chocolate chip pumpkin bread with cream cheese frosting

I went to make this bread yesterday and looked through my blog archives - twice - to realize I had never posted it. It's the single pumpkin flavored item I make each fall and I'm pretty excited that I get to share it with you all!

It's adapted from a friends pumpkin bread recipe; I just added the chocolate chips, brown sugar and replaced the crumble (also delicious, I will include) with cream cheese frosting. I used to snack on this bread with cream cheese and then decided to cut out the middle man there.

I made two loaves and then a tray of muffins to freeze for an on-the-go breakfast option with coffee.

chocolate chip pumpkin bread
(makes 12 muffins + 2 mini loaves, 4 mini loaves or 1 standard loaf)
3 cups of flour + 1 tsp flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1 16 oz. can of pumpkin
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of brown sugar
4 large eggs, beaten lightly
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (optional but highly recommended) 

  • preheat oven to 350
  • toss chocolate chips in 1 tsp flour to coat-this will help them distribute through the bread and not sink to the bottom
  • spray baking cups/loaf pans with cooking spray and lightly flour
  • sift remaining flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice
  • in a large bowl, mix pumpkin, brown and white sugar, oil and eggs
  • add flour mixture, stirring in slowly and mix in chocolate chips
  • if using crumble topping, add, distributing evenly
  • bake muffins and mini loaves for 15-20 minutes/until toothpick comes out clean; bake large loaf for 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean
  • remove from baking pan and let cool on cooling rack for at least 20 minutes, frost

cream cheese frosting
1 cup cream cheese
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1/3 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • blend all ingredients together with a hand mixer, set aside

crumble topping 
(instead of cream cheese frosting)
2 tbsp flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp butter, softened

  • mix all ingredients in a bowl by hand until it forms a crumbly texture, set aside


Monday, November 2, 2015

eggplant and zucchini lasagna

Lets all be clear here: I'm a pasta freak. It's in my blood. We ate it six days a week growing up and thats a conservative estimate. But..trying new things, looking for healthy alternatives...you know the drill.

Let me also state that I don't think I've completely perfected this recipe yet. I tried it once with just zucchini, and the second time with eggplant and zucchini and both were tasty, but the consistency and presentation left a little to be desired. So I will share with you my recipe, as well as my suggestions for how to solve those problems. When I get it perfect, trust me, you will know.

eggplant and zucchini lasagna
3 small eggplant (also known as Italian eggplant, the longer skinnier ones) -you can also use one large one
3 medium sized squash or zucchini
1 cup part skim mozzarella, shredded
1/2 cup ricotta
1 egg
1 cup tomato sauce (note below)
1 cup bechamel sauce (recipe below)
a handful each of basil and parsley, roughly chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper for seasoning
cooking spray

  • pre-heat oven to 375 and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
  • slice the eggplant and zucchini horizontally using a mandolin or some impressive knife skills, about 1/8 inch thickness
tip: I left the skins on for the color, just make sure you wash them well, but you can also peel them
  • place eggplant and zucchini on baking sheet, lightly coat with olive oil, salt and pepper on both sides 
tip: be stingy with the oil--you want the veggies to get a little dry as that will help keep the lasagna from getting soggy
  • let roast for about 15 minutes, or until the edges start to brown
  • while cooking, heat/prep your tomato sauce-the trick here is to make the sauce extra thick using tomato paste. a watery sauce will only contribute to a watery lasagna
  • if you are using jarred sauce, simmer it, covered, with extra tomato paste. if you are making your own, drain a bit of the liquid and use more of the tomato chunks, and be generous with the tomato paste
  • combine ricotta, egg, 2/3 cup of the cheese, 2/3 of parsley/basil and salt and pepper in a bowl, stir together and set aside
  • spray a baking pan with cooking spray and spread a little bit of tomato sauce on the bottom, then layer eggplant, bechamel and tomato sauce and dollops of ricotta mixture. use enough of the sauces to cover the layers, but don't over-do it.
  • repeat with squash, alternating the veggies, until you reach the top of the pan
  • layer on remaining ricotta mixture, then sprinkle with the 1/3 cup of mozzarella and basil/parsley you set aside
  • bake, uncovered, until cheese melts and bubbles, about 15 minutes

bechamel sauce
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup fat free milk
1/3 cup cream
salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg

  • whisk together butter and flour until it forms a paste, add milk and cream off the heat and stir in
  • place back on medium low heat and let bubble until it thickens, add seasonings and set aside

Friday, October 30, 2015

friday tips: quick tomato sauce

I've mentioned the tradition growing up with Sunday sauce: starting it early in the morning with the smell of sizzling garlic wafting through the halls and the sauce bubbling for hours, stirring often.

Is that the best way to do it? Probably. It tastes delicious and has that deep, slow cooked flavor. But-do you always have all day? Or perhaps you have a sudden craving at 4pm for pasta. What to do then?

I have a few tricks that will help give a quick sauce that all day simmering flavor. And by quick, I mean it can be ready in the time it takes to boil pasta, so use this as a weeknight meal too.

I used canned tomatoes here (and prefer San Marzano, but use what you like/have.) I also like to make a sauce out of fresh tomatoes every so often, but bear in mind that this will extend the prep time as you will have to boil, peel and de-seed the tomatoes.

So here we go...

First of all: save those parmiggiano reggiano rinds. When you have finished the block of cheese, DO NOT THROW THEM AWAY. They are basically sauce, soup and stew gold and you will be so grateful to have them once you taste the difference they make.

I slice them into about 2 inch pieces and save them in a bag in the fridge and pop them into my sauces. The benefit of them, especially in a quick sauce, is that they give you an earthy depth of flavor and lots of richness.

I also turn to wine (shocking, I know) for a quick flavor boost. A few glugs (technical term) into the sauce at the beginning of cooking time gives the wine time to boil and cook through with the tomatoes and provides some body to the sauce. It lends that "cooked all day" flavor even if its only been simmering for 20 minutes. Use a bottle you would drink (and finish the bottle with dinner.)


Lastly, it's no secret I'm a huge fan of fresh herbs and for a dish like this it's no exception. Basil is great, but use whatever you have, which for me is always parsley. It brightens up the sauce and I add half of the herbs during cooking, and the rest on top for a burst of flavor.

Here's my full recipe below:

20 minute tomato sauce
1 can of tomatoes (either diced or peeled, I don't like the pureed)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
red wine (about 1/8 cup, but just two two generous pours over the sauce)
1 two inch parm rind cube
fresh herbs (optional/highly encouraged): parsley, basil-about a handful of each, roughly chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (skip if you don't like the heat)
1/4 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
  • put pasta water up to boil
  • sauté garlic in olive oil over medium-low heat. once it starts to soften, add tomatoes and stir through
  • raise heat to medium-high and add remaining ingredients, save for half the herbs
  • cover and increase heat to high, let sauce bubble for 10 minutes and thicken
  • lower heat to medium, let simmer, stirring frequently
  • taste for seasonings/adjust as necessary, then toss in remaining herbs and serve with pasta, a few dollops of ricotta and some grated parm

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

veggie cheddar soup

No matter what the temperature is, if I find myself at Panera I am getting broccoli cheddar soup and scooping it up with their delicious sourdough bread. Its a delicious & creamy indulgence I can't pass up. I have also made the copycat recipe at home and whoaaa does it call for a lot of heavy cream. I get it, thats the case in many cream-based soups, but...maybe ignorance is bliss. When I make it for myself, I don't want to know how much butter goes into it.

So I decided to make my own, slightly lightened up version. Caution: it still contains butter. And cream. But just like 3 tablespoons instead of a whole stick. And a half cup of cream. I call this balance.

veggie cheddar soup
1 head of broccoli, ends trimmed and chopped into bite sized pieces (I kept mine rather large so you could still see them)
3 carrots, peels and diced (again, in bite sized but still bigger pieces)
2 celery stalks, diced
5 mini red potatoes (or 1 medium-large), peeled and diced
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 bay leaf
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper for seasoning

  • preheat pot on medium-high heat and add olive oil
  • once warm, lower to medium heat and add carrots and celery and let saute until soft (about 10 mins) turning often
  • fill another pot with water, diced potatoes and a few pinches of salt and bring to a boil
  • let boil for approx 3 mins then drain and set aside
  • remove veggies and set aside
  • add butter and flour and whisk together in pan, still on medium heat, until a paste is formed
  • slowly add cream, whisk together, then vegetable stock and let simmer and thicken, about 5-7 mins
  • add nutmeg, bay leaf, and a pinch of salt and pepper, cook for another 8 mins on medium-low heat
  • remove bay leaf, add cheese and stir together
  • let cheese melt into the sauce and then add broccoli, simmer for 5 mins then add remaining veggies set aside
  • stir together, taste and adjust for seasoning and cook for another 5-7 minutes



serve with some sort of bread-I chose naan because we had it on hand-and enjoy!

Monday, October 26, 2015

lamb, feta and yogurt meatballs

I've been doing a lot of experimenting with Mediterranean flavors and spices lately; blame my new obsession with greek yogurt (seriously-what can you not do with it?!?) and this dish is the latest installment.

This meal is courtesy of a stroll through the supermarket with leftover eggplant in the fridge at home on my mind and a faraway memory of these turkey and feta burgers one of my college roommates used to make.

lamb, feta and yogurt meatballs
1/2 lb ground lamb
3/4 cup 0% greek yogurt
1 egg
half of spice blend (mixture below)
4 oz feta, cubed
2 cups breadcrumbs
olive oil

  • preheat oven to 375
  • combine all ingredients (except half of the breadcrumbs) in a bowl-if they feel a bit too wet to form into a ball, add a bit more breadcrumbs, a tablespoon at a time
  • form meatballs-I made about 6 with these, which were really big. you can make them smaller and adjust cooking time
  • roll meatballs in remaining breadcrumbs for a crispy exterior
  • preheat an oven safe pan on the stovetop with olive oil on medium heat
  • place meatballs in hot pan and let cook about 3 mins on each side, until browned
  • brown on 4 sides then transfer to the oven for 15-20 minutes (10 minutes for smaller meatballs), turning once halfway through
  • let cool and place a fork into one to check doneness-it should be only slightly pink but mostly cooked through (oven temps could vary-return to oven for a few more minutes if not cooked through)

pearl couscous with eggplant and peppers
pearl couscous package (also known as israeli couscous)
1 pepper, diced
1 small eggplant, diced
half of spice blend, below

  • sauté eggplant and peppers with spice blend, set aside
  • follow directions on pearl couscous package
  • once couscous is done, add veggies and cover

sweet and sour fig sauce
1/2 cup dried figs, sliced
2 tbsp fig jam
1/4 cup of chicken or vegetable stock; if you don't have it use water
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste

  • combine all ingredients except lemon juice on medium heat on stovetop and come to a low boil to thicken
  • once all have combined and the sauce has a syrupy texture, stir in lemon juice and spoon over meatballs

spice blend
(use on both meatballs and couscous)
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp basil

Once ready to serve, spoon pearl couscous at the bottom of the bowl, top with meatballs and fig sauce, slice pita bread for the side




Friday, October 23, 2015

friday tips: a peek into how I organize my kitchen

I catch a lot of heat for it, but having order in my life is essential. Two years ago when planning thanksgiving, I created an entire spreadsheet with each dish, ingredient, when it would be made and who was responsible for cooking it. Needless to say my friends and Mike teased me mercilessly.

The same approach is applied in my kitchen: everything has a spot and I want it to be easily accessible and thoughtful. I keep extra plastic bags in an empty paper towel roll to keep them from flying around everywhere. I store recycle bags in a basket under the kitchen sink. My dry ingredients are kept in airtight jars with chalkboard labels and measuring scoops inside to easily grab a bit of flour for pizza or baking. 

I wanted to share the tips that work best for me- and share yours with me too!

  • cutting boards, pryex pans and pot lids stored vertically on a desk file sorter-you don't have to move all of them to get to one!


  • salt in pinch bowls stored with pepper, cooking spray, honey, etc on a small lazy susan in the spice rack & lids of each spice labeled on the top with the name, and on the base with a piece of tape with that date opened
  • cute and functional: small jars on the counter with k-cups and sugar with a small teaspoon. I keep it next to the keurig for easy coffee making

  • snacks and pasta stored in mesh/stackable wire bins in the pantry 

  • smaller kitchen utensils in mesh drawers--I like to store my kitchenaid accessories in them

  • the aforementioned flour jars, labeled and stored in the pantry

  • tupperware lids contained in a large bowl

  • a shelf to keep frying pans separate and easy to access



Keeping the kitchen in order makes cooking so much easier and finding a system that worked for me was a huge relief. Most of the pieces I have I found on amazon or from browsing homegoods/tj maxx. It's definitely a process that takes time and you have to find what works for you and your style, but shoot me questions if you have them!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

pulled pork tacos with chimichuri and lime cream sauce

Remember that chimichuri I mentioned a while back? Well, I made it and can say that 1: a little goes a long way and 2: it's got a LOT of parsley in it, just to prepare you.

Having never made it before, I found this epicurious recipe and made one small tweak: I roasted the garlic wrapped in tinfoil at 350 for about 30 minutes. I tend to prefer the taste of roasted to raw garlic, and this helps mask the garlicky flavor for my garlic-hating bf.

Here comes the easiest make ahead meal: both sauces can be prepped and stored for up to three days and the pork is done in the crock pot. I served it with some sautéed potatoes and peppers-just a little planning and you can make this for taco Tuesday!

slow cooker pulled pork
(generously serves 4)
1/2 lb pork shoulder
enough liquid to cover the meat (about 2-3 cups) - we used stock, but you can use water and then season more liberally
salt & pepper coated on the meat before added to slow cooker

  • season the pork with salt & pepper and let sit for about 15 minutes
  • add pork and liquid to slow cooker and set to low; let cook for 5-6 hours
  • remove and let cool slightly, shred with two forks

lime cream sauce
1/3 cup greek yogurt
zest of two limes
juice of one lime
pinch of cayenne, cumin, salt & pepper to taste
minced cilantro (optional)

  • stir all ingredients together and spoon over pork
  • to turn up the heat, add a few extra shakes of cayenne and an extra squeeze of lime to balance it out



By the way: we had tons of leftovers so I repurposed the rest of the pork into BBQ pork grilled cheese. Just in case you needed another reason to make this insanely easy meal.

Friday, October 2, 2015

friday tips: eggs

Couldn't get enough of talking about eggs....so I am back today with a few friday egg tips

First of all, a request: how to easily peel hard boiled eggs?!

I looked into this a bit because I have had some success and some serious difficulty in this area. The "roll the egg on the counter to crack the shells trick"? Total fail. I have tried it at least 10 times and every time my egg whites are a disaster and I am beyond frustrated.

The best thing I have found is to make sure the eggs are cooled off. After boiling them, rinse them in cold water and the fridge, or an ice bath if you can't refrigerate for a few hours. Then tap the wider end with a spoon and peel--that should reveal a little pocket and you can peel from there. It's still not a seamless peel, but its the cleanest one I have found.

You can see my #instacookingvideo here, and below is an example of the rolling method versus the cooling and peeling method:


A few other things that have worked for me:
  • boiling the eggs in a splash of vinegar
  • using eggs up to a week old as opposed to fresh
Other recommendations(that I have not personally tried): 
  • baking soda in the water when boiling
  • place eggs not in cold water, but in already boiling water
What about other egg cooking techniques?
  • Get a crispy edge on your fried egg by sprinkling some grated cheese on the edges while frying
  • Solidify your egg whites when frying by placing a lid on after the yolk starts to set. This helps them cook fully without overcooking the yolk. You get a still runny yolk and solid whites!
  • Not directly related to eggs, but I do like to use butter while still trying to be healthy...I use a small amount, like a half teaspoon, and use a brush to spread it around the pan. I find that I have always used too much butter just to get it to cover the pan and this does the trick, with less butter!
Send me requests or suggestions for what you want to see next!

Monday, September 28, 2015

my favorite breakfast meals

Breakfast has easily become my favorite meal. Perhaps its the obsession I have with eggs, but I think it's the fact that I realized that a few bites of a protein packed breakfast make my day hugely better.

I will note here that I do not have a nutrition background and I generally cook what tastes good. But. I do strive to cut calories where I can and make substitutions that make nutritional yet delicious sense.

I have compiled a few of my recent breakfast faves, all easy to make and worthy of the highest honor: first meal of your day. When you love food as much as I do, every meal counts.

Breakfast tortilla pizza
My most recent obsession to use up leftover tortillas from last nights dinner, and also get pizza for breakfast. Win/win.

Place the tortilla in the toaster oven on 350 with a smear of ricotta (sooo creamy and one of the lowest in fat/calorie cheeses) and maybe some goat cheese or skim mozzarella.
cook up an egg--I go for a medium yolk here with some cooking spray in the pan
layer some turkey, arugula, tomatoes or salsa, or any veggies you have on hand, add your egg on top



Avocado toast

Yep, I know, totally "basic." But full of healthy fat, protein and absolutely craveworthy.

  • I like to make mine with half of a mashed avocado, spiced up with red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and lemon juice.
  • spread that on toast (my favorite low calorie options are Daves Killer Bread-great story behind this brand and only 60 calories a slice & Trader Joes Organic sprouted wheat oats and honey--only 90 calories a slice.)
  • add any kind of egg you like. I go for poached, medium boiled or sunny side up. Something to give me a yolk to add to the creaminess. 
  • slice up tomato, arugula, parsley, peppers--any veggie you want
  • finish with a sprinkle of salt



Yogurt with granola
Greek yogurt has a ton of protein in it--I mix it with fresh fruit like peaches and bananas, honey, some hemp seeds (another protein packed food) and some granola or cereal.
This one is so easy for a quick morning meal when you're in a rush and you can even layer it with the granola in between the yogurt/fruit for an on-the-go breakfast!


Blueberry buttermilk whole wheat pancakes
Probably the most time consuming of the list, but a great weekend brunch idea. I think any fruit would be great in here, and I like to sub out maple syrup sometimes for a fruit compote.




I am working on some greek yogurt pancakes I hope to feature on here soon. I am really bad at writing down my measurements and when you are baking, that is kinda, sorta, important. So stay tuned for those and more!

And send me requests for more breakfast foods and ideas!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

friday night pasta

Growing up, Friday nights were reserved for family dinner. In my great grandmothers basement kitchen (she had two kitchens, mind you), more than 20 of us would gather at her long table, usually to enjoy pasta.

My mom has a big family and everyone lived within minutes of each other, so these dinners were so much of our routine that they felt like they were in my own home. Pounds and pounds of pasta were served, with homemade sauce of course and lots of grated cheese. Feeding the hungry masses in the simplest way possible.

Family pasta nights on Friday was not a tradition that carried through into my adulthood and soon I began to associate Sunday with pasta day and the table got just a bit smaller, in my parents kitchen. But the idea was and is still the same: al dente noodles, a salty cheesy bite, and now, lots of wine poured. I can get on board with that.

Last Friday I had a craving for pasta and was transported back to those childhood Friday nights. A more upscale take on the simple childhood favorite, but delicious just the same.

pasta with mint, peas and prosciutto in a ricotta cream sauce with lemon
(serves two)
1/4 lb of pasta (I used bucatini here, a thin spaghetti looking noodle with a hole in the middle)
4 slices of prosciutto, diced and crisped in a pan
1/2 cup of peas
a handful of mint, roughly chopped
juice of 1 lemon, plus the zest
2 tbsp of butter
1 tbsp of flour
2/3 cup of milk (I used fat free, you can also use half and half)
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
a sprinkle of nutmeg
1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

  • cook pasta to package directions, about 2 minutes before you are ready to pull it, add the peas
  • while pasta is cooking, make your cream sauce by melting butter and adding flour, whisking together to form a thin paste
  • once the flour/butter base is formed, remove pot from heat and add the milk and ricotta, stir in
  • add nutmeg, salt and pepper and let it simmer on low until it forms a creamy sauce (use my back of the spoon trick to test it)
  • once pasta and peas are done, drain and then transfer back to cooking pot
  • pour cream sauce over it, then add lemon juice and mint and stir together
  • before serving, sprinkle the prosciutto and lemon zest on top




Monday, September 14, 2015

pineapple glazed salmon with pineapple & jalapeno salsa

I have never cooked fish much. It's on the expensive side and something that seems intimidating. Undercooked is not an option and overcooked is rubbery or just plain inedible. Before I met Mike I had actually only cooked it once on my own (and countless times with my mothers guidance/direction for Christmas eve).

I tried a few methods...covered it in butter sauce. Crisped pancetta on top. And he had a few bites and would then default to the backup chicken I made for him...

But, these last few months we have been making a conscious effort to eat healthier, have more protein and vitamin-packed foods and there is no better option than fish.

[I have to note here that I believe in the "everything in moderation" approach and can't imagine I will ever stray. I mean, in a week I ate s'mores two ways. But they were small portions. And the rest of my day was balancing that as best I could. This is not going to turn into a health blog and I will never claim to know more than I do, but these are the small changes we are making in our household.]

Theres a local fish market near our place so I walked in one day and picked out some wild Alaskan salmon, as well as these gorgeous giant prawns. Then I spent the whole way home and most of the day trying to figure out how to get Mike to eat it.

I came up with a pineapple and jalapeno salsa with bulgar on the side and then Mike suggested I glaze the salmon with some juice from the pineapple...which is a genius idea. He was actually willing to eat it and I didn't even make back-up chicken!

So here's how I did it:

pineapple glazed salmon with pineapple & jalapeno salsa
2 salmon fillets, each about 4 oz
1/2 cup pineapple, diced finely
1 jalapeno, minced (I removed the seeds & ribs from half to minimize spiciness. leave them in for full spice, or take then out all together for a milder taste)
juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp pineapple juice (I got this from cutting the pineapple/squeezing a few pieces. you can also buy canned, just try to find the natural ones, no added sugar, etc.)
salt and pepper for seasoning
1 tbsp butter

  • preheat oven safe pan on medium heat, add butter
  • preheat oven to 375
  • season salmon on both sides with salt and pepper
  • once butter has melted, add salmon skin side down
  • I let it cook for 3 mins per side, then flipped it back to skin side down, drizzled the pineapple juice on it and put it in the oven for another 4-5
tip: the cooking time will depend on the thickness of the cut and the fish market was able to guide me on cooking times

  • I was looking for the pineapple glaze to get a little bubbly and once it did, I pulled it out of the oven and served it with the salsa on top

to make the salsa:

  • mix the diced pineapple, jalapeno, salt, pepper and lemon juice in a bowl, cover and let sit in the fridge

Let me know what you guys think!



Friday, September 11, 2015

friday tips: s'mores two ways

All summer I have been craving s'mores with no campfire in sight...so I had to improvise! How about in the oven? Or with cookie dough? Check out my tips below for making this indulgent dessert!

First of all, you need cookie dough you can eat raw. This trick has served me well since I love to use it as an ice cream topping, or mix it into homemade ice cream or just consume it with a spoon straight from the freezer.

In place of the egg, use 1/3 cup of vegetable oil, and stir into the batter. Slowly add 1/4 of water until the consistency is creamy enough (not too dry) and don't feel you have to use all the water if the consistency looks like cookie dough. And I pop it in the freezer, so no worries if it looks too liquidly either.

cookie dough s'mores

  • place graham crackers on a small foil lined baking tray
  • heat the oven to 350 
  • layer on a scoop of cookie dough and then a few mini marshmallows
  • bake for 3 minutes, then turn oven to broil and bake for another 3, or until tops of marshmallows have browned
  • put 'em together and enjoy



And quick s'more in the oven? Just break out a small skillet or oven safe dish!
  • pre-heat oven to 350
  • spray pan or dish with cooking spray
  • take melted chocolate chips and layer on the bottom of pan (technique below)
  • place marshmallows on top
  • pop into the oven for 5 minutes
  • turn the oven up to broil and let cook for another 3 minutes, or until the marshmallows are browned
  • dip graham cracker in and enjoy!


melting chocolate in the microwave
  • place in a microwave safe bowl with a splash of milk or cream
  • let cook in micro for 10 seconds, remove and stir
  • let cook another 15 seconds, remove and stir
  • repeat in 10-15 second intervals, stirring in between, until chocolate is silky smooth and melted
I hope you guys enjoyed my sweet take on Friday tips and enjoy the weekend!


Friday, September 4, 2015

new title and more changes to come!

I am hard at work pulling this blog through a bunch of changes and the first is a new name!

As much as I love the idea of creating crave-worthy dishes (and still will!) I wanted a blog that represents me and a wider option of ideas...not just recipes but some of the cooking tips and tricks I have been sharing, organizing ideas, decor and how I keep myself sane...basically my regular life.

Biscotti is an italian cookie...that is delicious. And I will teach myself to make. But its also the nickname I got from one of my best friends in college who was too lazy to spell my long last name...

Hope you guys like the changes and keep your eyes peeled for more!

friday tips

Happy Friday everyone! Hope everyone enjoyed my tips last week to stretch your herbs and avocado.

I have been brainstorming all week to decide what to share with you today…and the answer was staring me in the face, on my counter.



how to ripen a pineapple!
Well, my dad always swears by turning it upside down. I have no proof that there is actual science to back this up, but we always do it and have delicious pineapple. The idea is that this distributes the juices and it ripens evenly. Try it, and let me know what you think!

By the way, do you know how to select a ripe or just about to ripen pineapple? In the store, if you tug on a leaf and it comes off easily and cleanly, its ripe.  Also, smell it. Like most fruits, if it smells sweet and fragrant, you can bring it home and slice it right away! It shouldn’t feel too soft to the touch either.

easy veggie peeling clean-up
This one is super simple, but whenever I’m peeling something (like carrots or potatoes), I place a sheet of paper towel over my cutting board and peel onto that, or peel it directly into the garbage disposal. The paper towel provides the quickest clean up and I can easily move on to chopping and dicing.

Speaking of carrots, did you know you can eat the tops of them like an herb? If you are lucky enough to have a garden, or just grab some with beautiful, full tops at the farmers market or store, don’t be so quick to toss them. 

Rinse them off and chop them up like you would an herb and use them in salads, sauces…anything! Just beware that they have a slightly bitter taste to them, so sautéing would work too if that’s not your thing.
(thanks to chopped for clueing me into this, and the kitchn for corroborating the story.)

ugly fruit finds a new life
Did you hear about grocery stores in France that are givingup to a 30% discount on “ugly” fruit? It’s amazing how much produce is wasted each year in the US just because of the look of it.


Keep this in mind when you are picking fruits and veggies, especially ones that you will eventually peel. Even fruits like apples, peaches and tomatoes are absolutely fine if they have imperfections but don’t feel too soft. Its more about how the fruit feels to the touch and not how the skin looks :)

Enjoy the weekend everyone and send requests for cooking and kitchen tips my way!

Monday, August 31, 2015

watermelon and feta salad with mint

It's hard to imagine summer coming to a close and I personally have been in denial about it because I have just experienced the hottest, most summery summer in five years. So among other things, I have been stockpiling watermelon. 

side note-did you know about yellow watermelon?!?! It’s a little less sweet and juicy but delicious all the same.

We have had bowls full of freshly cut watermelon in the fridge all summer and I am slicing it faster than Mike and I can eat it. And simple, cold watermelon is perfect but I wanted to try to find another way to enjoy this fruit.

Watermelon and feta is a combination I have seen before and I thought the two would make a satisfying sweet/salty salad with a bit of mint I grabbed at the farmers market and a quick vinaigrette.  We were having burgers last week and I decided this was the side that would lighten the dish up.

Mike made the burgers (bison and beef, in case you were wondering) and I whipped up this refreshing and super easy salad.

watermelon and feta salad with mint
(serves two)
2 cups of watermelon, cubed
4 oz of feta, cubed
10 leaves of mint, roughly chopped
juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
a sprinkle of cayenne, salt and pepper
  • whisk the lemon juice, olive oil and spices in a bowl and pour of watermelon
  • toss gently, then add feta and mint
  • serve immediately or chill in fridge



Any other ideas for squeezing every last drop of summer/watermelon? Send them my way!

By the way, I am looking for guest bloggers to share their favorite recipes or food stories with me and my readers. Contact me at vbiscottiblog@gmail.com if you are interested!

Friday, August 28, 2015

friday kitchen tips!

I get a ton of questions about preserving or stretching an ingredient, or using up something that you buy a bunch of for one recipe (looking at you, cilantro) so I would like to start an FAQ of sorts every Friday!

Hopefully I don't give away all of my tricks today--please submit questions! You can e-mail me at cravecreateblog@gmail.com, make a suggestion on Instagram, tweet at me (are you following me yet??) or comment here.

Preserving your herbs
This one can be done in a bunch of ways! To keep them fresher, longer, rinse them after you take them home from the store, and lay them on a paper towel thats big enough to eventually fold over and cover the bunch.

Let them sit and dry on the paper towel for up to 20 minutes, then wrap the paper towel (which should now be damp, otherwise dampen it a bit and squeeze it out) around the herbs, place in a ziploc, squeeze all the air out and seal. they have lasted up to two weeks for me using this method!

The other trick is to freeze them. If you know you won't use them all, chop them up and place them in an ice cube tray and fill it about halfway with good olive oil. This can be dropped in soups or sauces anytime and last for months!



Keeping avocados and guacamole from browning
The most tried and true method is to keep the pit either in the already cut avocado (wrap it in a baggie or plastic wrap), or place it in your guac. If you already threw out the pit, then do a squeeze of lime over the top of your guacamole, place plastic wrap directly touching the top, all around the bowl, then another layer on top of that.

For an already cut avocado, I have seen people use cases like this & this (not sponsored) and swear by them, but I have never tried it myself.

The key is to keep air away from the flesh which is what causes it to turn brown. And I have found that just by cutting off a very thin top layer, the rest of the avocado is usually salvageable the next day.

Oh, and cilantro? I want to add it to salsa, but what about the rest of the bunch? Well Mike and I are brainstorming and pork and chimichurri dish for next week so stay tuned!

If you haven't seen it yet, I am looking for guest bloggers!You don't have to be a blogger already or even a recipe maven- I am just looking to add some recipes here that are outside what I usually make and mix things up a bit.

E-mail me at vbiscottiblog@gmail.com if you are interested!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

stuffed squash blossoms

My parents have lived next door to the same Italian couple my entire life. They have a big family: kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, extended relatives (if you know anything about Italian families, everyone is an aunt, uncle or cousin) yet they always treat us like family too.

That means sending over THE BEST freshly baked bread, sharing lasagna tips and tricks, (often unsolicited) advice on taming the fig tree and even giving my parents the keys to their house in Sicily to stay during their recent trip.

What I have taken away from them after 27 years of living next door was the access to fresh produce that I had never even seen before and another source of cooking inspiration. I have made it no secret that my parents are fantastic cooks and a lot of what I have learned is from them. But our neighbors inspire me with their simple approach to food.

One day my dad caught one of their daughters picking the flowers off our squash branches. He was curious about it but didn't mind and they continued to stock up on these flowers. Then he finally inquired about why they were so valuable and she said "because you can eat them."

"Wait, what?" We have been growing squash my WHOLE life and never knew about this. I've heard of edible flowers but this was exciting--we had been growing these all along with the intention of getting squash, not knowing there was a second, secret food that we could stuff, bake or fry and eat.



Yep, you can stuff these delicate flowers with cheese, bread or flour them and crisp them up into delicious little flavor packets.

(I did a cheese only, non-fried version below, but you can stuff them with sausage, add breadcrumbs instead of a second layer of flour and even fry them in oil on the stovetop just as easily. I tried to make it a little lighter.)

stuffed squash blossoms
(serves 2)
4 large flowers (about 2 1/2 inches long), or 6-8 small flowers
1/4 cup of whole milk ricotta
2 tbsp grated pecorino romano
1 tbsp minced basil
1 tbsp minced parsley
2 eggs, whisked in separate bowls
salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup of flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil

  • preheat oven to 350
  • mix your filling by combining one of the eggs, the ricotta, pecorino, basil, parsley salt and pepper. add any other seasonings you like-oregano or crushed red pepper would be good
  • prepare your breading station by filling a bowl with the seasoned flour and placing next to the whisked egg
  • line a baking sheet with foil
  • carefully open up the flower and take out the pistils (wow. I actually remembered this class from science class)

tip: its ok if the flower tears slightly, just be extremely gentle with it and only allow one side to tear so you can seal it back up

  • spoon about a teaspoon to a tablespoon of the mixture into each flower, close on the side with a toothpick
  • dredge each stuffed flower in flour, then egg, then flour again and place on baking sheet
  • drizzle olive oil carefully over each
  • place in oven for 15-25 minutes, until a light golden brown. turn over halfway through
  • remove the toothpick after cooking and serve with a cream or tomato sauce, or eat as is


Let me know what you guys think!

By the way--did you see I am looking for guest bloggers? You don't have to be a blogger already or even a recipe maven- I am just looking to add some recipes here that are outside what I usually make and mix things up a bit. 

E-mail me at vbiscottiblog@gmail.com if you are interested!

Monday, August 24, 2015

grilled pizza

If I told you that this was the easiest and fastest way to make pizza, would you believe me? 'Cause after I tell you all the ways you can mess it up, it will become easy. Learn from my mistakes and enjoy this delicious pizza before summer is over!

way #1 to mess up grilled pizza: not coating both sides edge to edge with oil. it will stick like crazy otherwise. trust. me.

way #2 to mess up grilled pizza: rolling it out too thin. it will fall through the grill grates. yuck.

way #3 to mess up grilled pizza (I didn't do this one but I happen to know someone who did so its worth mentioning): not flipping the pizza and grilling only one side

way #4 to mess up grilled pizza: setting the heat too high and burning the crust while waiting for the cheese to melt. this happened to me the first time I made it and will never make this mistake again. charred pizza is just not my thing. medium heat.

way #5 to mess up grilled pizza: not having all toppings ready to go as soon as the pizza is flipped. you have seconds to get them on there, close the lid, and let the cheese melt. the crust is delicate and you don't want it to burn. see above.

way #6 to mess up grilled pizza: not trying this recipe below. you're welcome!

fig, prosciutto, arugula, goat cheese and gouda pizza with a honey and balsamic drizzle

5-8 fresh figs, sliced and baked in the oven at 350 with a sprinkle of salt, for about 10 minutes until they start to slightly caramelize and the juices ooze (if you cant find fresh, use dried and just use more since they tend to be smaller.)
1 package of prosciutto, usually about 8 slices
2/3 cup of grated mozzarella
1/2 cup grated gouda
1/3 cup of crumbled goat cheese
1 lb pizza dough
1 cup arugula
2 tbsp honey, plus a bit extra to drizzle at the end
1 tbsp balsamic
salt and pepper for seasoning
olive oil to coat pizza dough
flour for rolling out dough

  • separate your dough into 2-4 pieces, depending on how thick you like the crust
  • roll out dough to about half inch thickness, at the thinnest. go thicker if you like, and shape it however you want. I never try to make it perfectly round
  • mix cheeses together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper
  • unwrap prosciutto, place on plate with figs, ready to go
  • preheat your grill on medium-high heat
  • using a brush (definitely invest in one of these!), spread olive oil on one side of the dough, from edge to edge
  • lower heat to medium on grill and put dough oil side down 
tip: you can just flip it over from a plate/cutting board right on the grill, just straighten/flatten it with tongs and a spatula

  • brush oil on other side of dough from edge to edge
  • let first side cook for about 3-5 minutes. lift edges with tongs and watch for a medium brown color and some crispiness on the edges
  • flip using tongs and a spatula
  • immediately top with cheese mixture, prosciutto and figs, close the lid
  • let cook for about 4 mins, until cheese is melted. 2 minutes into cooking, drizzle honey and balsamic over the top
  • remove from heat, place on a cutting board and top with arugula and another drizzle of honey
  • slice up and enjoy!


There are so many more toppings you can do here, so go nuts and just get that grill going while you still can! Let me know what you think :)



Thursday, August 20, 2015

seattle: the rundown so far

I promised you all a Seattle update after we got settled!

We have been Seattle residents for two months and man has it flown by. Likely due to the fact that I have made a 10 day trip to Boston/Cancun for two weddings, a weekend trip to Austin and a one week trip home to NY during that period, but still.

The trip home was to pick up my cats, Pot & Kettle, and bring them to live with us here. I have had them since I was a senior in college, but they have been living with my parents the whole time I lived in Cali. It was a lot tougher to find apartments that accepted pets in SF, whereas here, everyone does. The trip itself was a little stressful-these two are not used to going anywhere and despise their carriers. I had them cooped up in those things for hours, under the seat on a plane. Kettle actually ripped open her carrier at one point. Needless to say, I had a lot of wine on that flight.

Kettles head peeking out of the carrier on the plane

Now, two happy Seattle cats. Pots face always looks like that, don't worry.

Besides becoming cat parents, Mike and I have been decorating the apartment (I want to share that in a separate post!) and exploring our neighborhood and new city. We live in Ballard and have unlimited access to awesome bars and food, a gorgeous, year-round Sunday farmers market and parks within walking distance.

Before all of this was the 11 day road trip and movers from hell. It was a bit lengthy and more stressful than I would have liked, with very little communication from our movers on when our stuff would arrive. However, it gave us a chance to make so many unexpected stops and have an epic road trip.

We saw the worlds largest oyster in South Bend, WA, relaxed in Cannon Beach, Oregon at a cute BnB, ate and drank our way through Portland, and stocked up on a case of wine on stops in Sonoma and Willamette Valley.

Lets just say we were ready for home by the end of all of this.

On our last night of the roadtrip, in Olympia

Now we are happy Seattle residents, adjusting to real weather and preparing for the gray winter. Wish us luck :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

braised kale

Years ago I achieved what I thought was impossible: getting Mike to eat (and enjoy) kale. Turns out calling it a chip and seasoning it well does wonders.

Well, you all know me to be up for a challenge so once I tackled that, the next impossible feat seemed to be to get him to eat it in any other form. Then a salad worked, again if dressed and seasoned properly. Too easy. I decided I was going to braise this stuff and see where it took me.

I am a strong believer in certain ingredients making a dish instantly better. Butter. Salt. Goat cheese. But garlic is on another level. Its in my blood. The smell of garlic sautéing on the stovetop in a bit of olive oil transports me back to my parents' kitchen on Sunday mornings. Its heavenly smell overtakes my nostrils and makes my mouth water. So yeah, you could say I love garlic.

However, add this to the list of ingredients Mike hates (for those keeping track: its any fish, onions, mushrooms, sour cream and cream cheese in addition to garlic. He also isn’t a fan of tomatoes. Where did I find this one?!?)

fun fact: this dish was the side last night to salmon. Which MIKE ATE. I am as shocked as anyone. Recipe to be posted, obviously.

My thought process for this kale was to prepare it similarly to how my mom makes broccoli rabe: garlic and oil, a bit of red pepper flakes so it is infused with flavor and nearly melts in your mouth. I thought, maybe leave the garlic whole so I can pick it out after I infuse the flavor into the oil…

Find the recipe below and let me know what you guys think…about the recipe, how else I can force feed my boyfriend kale or just opinions on his picky eating habits.

braised kale
1 head of kale, chopped into bite sized pieces, or a bag of pre-chopped (I like lasciano kale which is a dark, Tuscan style leaf, or a curly leaf, but use whatever you can find/have)
3 garlic cloves, left whole and smashed (technique below) or minced finely for the garlic lovers in your life
salt, pepper and red pepper flakes for seasoning, about a sprinkle of each
about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
2/3 cup of water
  • pre-heat oven to 375
  • heat an oven safe pan on medium heat with half the olive oil
  • add the garlic and lower to low-medium heat and let sauté. Watch it carefully, stirring in the pan so it doesn’t burn
  • add kale and remaining olive oil (you want it to be slightly coated but not doused) and stir around
  • season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste (I use a small dash of red pepper to avoid too much heat)
  • let cook on the stove for about 5 more minutes, turning every so often, then add the water, cover with an oven safe lid and transfer to the oven
  • let cook for 30-45 minutes, until leaves are tender to your liking (some people like a bit of a bite, I like them to melt in my mouth)
  • if garlic cloves were left whole, remove before serving (unless whole roasted garlic cloves are your thing, then go for it!)


garlic smashing: If you don't know this trick, it will change your life!

Take your unpeeled garlic cloves, and one at a time, press them under the flat side of your knife and smash down with the heel of your palm. This will help them peel so easily, and also smash them a bit to release their fragrance and flavor.

You can see a demo in my #instacookingvideo

What do you guys want to see next? Any advice or tips that would be helpful? Comment away!