Friday, May 22, 2015

tzatziki sauce

Writing to you guys from my parents house in NY!

Its been a hectic few days at home and have been busy gobbling up my faves so not much cooking has been happening. Last night my dad fired up the grill and made some steaks and shish kebabs that we got from this amazing greek butcher in queens. They are authentic lamb and beef: I watched the butcher cut them up and skewer them myself.

A little tzatziki sauce to dip the meat into is my favorite thing and I have loved experimenting with yogurt sauces lately, so I whipped up a quick one to go with dinner. I would pretty much put this on anything, but it would make a great sub for mayo on a sandwich, or just to dip pita chips into!

tzatziki sauce
1 cup of 1 or 2% plain greek yogurt
juice of half a lemon
2 tbsp dill
1/4 cup finely diced cucumber
1 garlic clove, minced and made into a paste (steps below)
salt and pepper to taste

combine all ingredients and season to taste. chill before serving

garlic paste
finely mince 1 garlic clove and season with a few sprinkles of sea salt
using the back of the knife, mash the salt and garlic into a paste, scraping the back of the knife against the cutting board
repeat until the mixture is a paste consistency

Give me some ideas guys! What would everyone like to see in a future post? More videos, detailed tutorials..?

Friday, May 15, 2015

#eggseries: soft boiled eggs

I am so excited for the response I have gotten on the #eggseries and can not wait to share some more tips with you! I hope everyone is happily poaching eggs and ready for the gooey, dipable soft boiled eggs you are about to get.

I have seen a few variations on cooking these (including boiling the water, then placing the eggs in), but this is the way my mom has always done it, so I am teaching you her way.

heres what to do:

  • place eggs in pot of cold water, make sure the water covers the eggs and bring to a boil
  • once boiling, remove from heat, keep covered for 1 1/2 minutes (watch it closely!) and then remove and place in egg cups 
tip: if you don't have egg cups, use small cups or mugs and cushion with napkins or paper towels
  • crack open the tops of the eggs with the back of a spoon and scoop off, removing any egg shells
  • season with salt and pepper and dip butter toast or english muffin sticks in.  

//sorry for the poorly focused second half--its tough to film some of these angles!//

Next up: I am going to take the weekend to research and teach myself the proper omelette and #instacookingvideo it for you next week. Mike and I leave for my parents on Monday, so you may get some demos from the parents household, and soon, all demos to come from our new Seattle kitchen!

Enjoy your eggs people!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

poached eggs..

..and the kickoff to "Veronica teaches you how to make eggs" #eggseries.

After a few questions on how to poach, soft boil and scramble an egg and realizing I do not know how to make a proper omelette, I have decided to launch the #eggseries. Its a great ingredient that can be enjoyed so many ways and more importantly, so easy to make once you have mastered it.

First up..poached eggs. You can check out my #instacookingvideo or follow the steps below. I taught myself how to make these when I was in my eggs benedict obsession period a few years back. The presentation really turns out beautiful with the soft egg white enclosing the runny golden yolk and can be just as delicious with a piece of toast or some asparagus as it is with a fancier benedict.

Heres what to do:

bring a pot of water to a slow, not rapid boil and add a splash of white vinegar.
tip: this is supposed to help the proteins "coagulate" but all I know is, I always do it this way and they turn out great every time
crack your eggs into a small bowl then slide them one at a time into the water
let simmer for 1 1/2-2 minutes and then remove with slotted spoon and let drain on paper towel
season with salt and pepper and serve

poached eggs on top of stewed tomatoes and an arugula/herb mix with a dollop of ricotta

Friday, May 8, 2015

potato latkes

Mikes mom found this recipe in the Boston Globe when he was a kid and from there, he was hooked.

This is a re-typed version his sister used for a school project--so adorable
She makes them every time he goes back home and they are delicious: crispy but fluffy and just slightly salty. I love to dip mine in sour cream (or the yogurt sauce I tried last night) but his standby is apple sauce. There are some habits of nine year old Mike that I won't try to change.

I did need to learn how to make them though--I had never even had latkes before we met. His favorite food and I can't make it? Not acceptable.

We tried a few times and I have to say it was one of the tougher recipes for me to tackle. Potatoes have a lot of water in them and if you don't squeeze it out, they won't fry or crisp up properly. Getting that outside crust is critical.

Last night I made a batch and was laser focused on getting them right. The verdict?

"Almost as good as my moms."

That I can live with.

Recipe is below, I make a slight adjustment to the one above by adding an extra tablespoon of flour.

potato latkes
4 potatoes, peeled and diced in large chunks
1 small to medium onion, peeled and diced in large chunks
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp of white pepper (regular pepper will do as well, you will just see the specks)
3 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
vegetable oil for frying

  • grate potatoes and onions (or use your food processor which is easier and much quicker) into a colander and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. 
  • there will still be moisture and I squeeze them again before frying so don't kill yourself, but try to get as much out as you can
  • mix egg, salt, pepper, flour and baking powder in a bowl, add onion and potatoes and mix together
  • preheat pan with about 1/4 inch of oil on medium-high heat
  • tip: oil is hot enough when you flick a bit of water into it and it sizzles
  • place mixture in a colander over a bowl and squeeze handfuls of the mixture to get the water out and then form into a cake and place in the oil
  • press down slightly with a spatula and let crisp up--first batch may take about 5-6 minutes, later batches are quicker. you want the edges to be brown and crispy
  • flip and press down, then transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain. season with a bit of salt
  • move to a foil lined baking sheet and keep warm in a 200 degree oven until all batches are cooked and ready to serve
  • serve with sour cream or apple sauce, or my lemon herb yogurt, recipe below
lemon herb yogurt
3 tbsp fat free greek yogurt
juice of a half a lemon
a handful of chopped herbs-I like parsley and basil
salt to taste

stir ingredients together and serve over latkes, chicken, or thin it out with juice of a whole lemon for a creamy dressing!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

I'm working on this craft I found on pinterest and need 1587 more wine corks

It's like this e-card was made for me.

I have been saving wine corks since I moved to California 5 years ago. I grab them from everywhere--one Monday morning I found a handful stashed in my coat pocket while I was walking to work. So lets just assume I have a prettyyyyyy good stash.

My goal was to make a craft with them which I never got around to doing. I am also not terribly creative, but with being unemployed and all...well, you find yourself with some free time on your hands.

I started simply a few years ago with this hurricane jar, a tall candle and some corks:

Cute, easy, puts my wine obsession on display

But in the past week I have amped it up a bit. As a mothers day gift for my mom, I spelled out "VINO" in wine corks which was so fun to make and I can not wait to give to her. 

I decided to keep going with it. Wine cork magnets, wine cork heart, wine cork coasters (or trivets--they are kind of big, what do you think..?)

Anyway I am not keeping all of this because Mike will kill me for producing more stuff as we are trying to purge pre-move. And also, they are good gifts right? Maybe I will take my talents to Etsy...

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


 I am often asked how I come up with my recipes and meals. Where does my inspiration come from and how do I know what does with what?

I started out watching a ton of cooking shows. Food network was in constant rotation on my TV for a good five years. Giada, Paula, Ina, Bobby, Tyler…they gave me a foundation to build on and the principles for which I build my recipes and ideas off of to this day.

I also watch a ton of cooking videos online, read recipes on pinterest and follow other food bloggers on instagram. Inspiration can come from any place at any time and I find myself drawing on these things often.

But my start came from watching and with that I realized that I wanted to give my readers and followers something similar and thus the #instacookingvideo was born.

My first was how to cook bacon on an accordion in the oven. Life changing for me and I will never go back to cooking it stovetop.

If the video above doesn't work, you can view it on my instagram.

I am searching for more ideas to share so tell me what you would like to see. Some ideas in the queue are kale chips and artichokes and I am also going to do a 2 minute mug cookie which I just tried last night and died of absolute happiness.

//updated to include link to cookie mug and recipe//

If you aren’t following me on Instagram, you should probably start now.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

a different kind of cocktail

Yes, yes this is normally a food blog, but as I consider the evolution of this I want to test some other topics.

I loved blogging about decorating, and with another move to come (you can read about it here, or see Mikes much better written version) I will be obsessing over home decor oh-so-soon.

Before I got into cooking, beauty products were my passion. I worked at bath and body works when they sold makeup and various skincare collections and learned so much about what brands and products I loved. It got me into face scrubs, eye creams, nars blush (orgasm, their best selling and most popular blus has been my jam for years) and even my favorite lip balm with their c.o bigelow partnership (which they discontinued!)

In college, the top drawer of my dresser was not full of clothes but instead dubbed "the secret drawer" that my friends could peek into for some fun samples or just a dab of moisturizer for their neck (make sure you add moisturizer to your neck every time you do your face or it will age faster.)

I now have my tried and true standbys and then a few products that I am still trying out or tweaking. One of my newest concoctions is to make an anti-frizz "cocktail"- I have insanely curly and frizzy hair and already had 3 products in my morning rotation. Needless to say it takes forever.

I like to use leave-in conditioner to give my hair a bit of softness and also help tame it, and sometimes moisturizing oil gives it just a bit of sheen. But adding two more bottles to my routine exhausted me. (I can't stress enough how long it takes me to rake product through my hair..)

So I took a page from my shampoo trick for years (mixing a clarifying with moisturizing-I only wash twice a week max, so this helps make it count) and mix another hair "cocktail."

In my regular bottle of hair milk, I squeeze in a bit of leave-in conditioner-I like mixed-chicks-and then a few squirts of a hair oil and shake it up. Instant blend of these products and only one thing to apply, in addition to my gel-mouse rotation.

A few of my other fave finds:

vaseline to take off stubborn eye makeup
a claw clip to wrangle all of my hair ties in one place
bath and body works "just a minute" hand scrub to soften heels--also a huge lifesaver in between manicures
urban decay naked2 eye shadow palette--great selection of everyday to smoky nighttime colors
neosporin to repair ragged cuticles
ddf sulfer therapeutic mask-acne cure!
apivita dark circles and puffy eyes mask-absolutely saved me when I would stay out late partying in my younger years, or just not get enough sleep. slap it on the am for a few mins, tissue off and you look awake and alive.

Let me know if you have tried any of these, or some of your beauty faves!!