Moules à la Marinière (Steamed Mussels in White Wine)

One of my favorite cities to visit in Europe is Paris, and boy do the Parisians know how to cook their seafood just right. I am convinced that any dish with copious amounts of lemon and garlic end up being delicious, whether it’s seafood, chicken, or vegetables. I think my version of this dish incorporates heavier amounts of garlic and parsley, but trust me, it’s well worth it!

These beautiful mussels came live, overnighted in a box from none other than the beautiful, luscious, seafood-laden state of Maine. I have to say, these were some of the best mussels I have had in the US – I can’t compare them to the ones I’ve eaten in some of the top Parisian restaurants (simply because everything is tastier when you have the Eiffel Tower as your backdrop – not your screen saver, but the real thing!). However, this recipe is easy, delicious, and a one-pot meal that doesn’t have to be for a fancy event. It’s healthy too!

I hope you get to try this recipe out, and as always, I would love to get any feedback from any recipes that you have tried! Thanks for reading 🙂



Yields: 3-4 servings, depending on whether this is a main dish or one of a few
Ingredients
30-40 fresh mussels, scrubbed and debearded
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
12 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup white wine
3 tablespoons butter
3 green onions, chopped
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
5-6 San Marzano tomatoes (canned straight from Italy – they are delicious!)
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Clean your mussels thoroughly and place them in a large bowl with cold water, covering them with water completely. Let them soak for about 20-30 minutes to remove any dirt or sand. I like to soak them for 20 minutes, drain them, then refill the bowl with cold water and let stand once again. You will definitely enjoy this dish more sand-free!

Heat your extra-virgin olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-low heat until shiny (but not smoking). Add garlic, and cook for one minute, stirring often so they do not brown or burn.

Add the chopped green onion and tomatoes, cooking until almost tender, about 5-7 minutes.

Pour in the white wine, and stir in the chopped parsley and butter. Bring to a boil, and allow to boil until the liquid has reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Season with Kosher salt and pepper to taste.

Add the mussels to the pot, cover and allow to cook until the shells are opened, about 10 minutes. Transfer the mussels and sauce to a large serving bowl, discarding any unopened shells. [Note: any mussels that did not open during cooking can be a health hazard and indicates that the mussel was already dead prior to you cooking it, and could contain bacteria that can make you ill – so please don’t ignore this step!]

Serve with lemon wedges, toasted bread and a glass of chilled white wine. ENJOY! 🙂

Slow-Cooked Egg over Sushi Rice

A dear, foodie friend of mine has so kindly loaned me his sous vide machine (these things are pricey!) – and boy have I been having fun with it! Just when I thought that sous vide experiences were reserved for my daydreams while I watched Iron Chef episodes, I’ve been graced with the opportunity to experiment with this glorious mechanism and absolutely divine way of cooking foods slowly and gently at various temperatures.

Given that I’m a true egg fanatic, I had to start my experiments with eggs. I wish I owned one of these machines now – I think it will be hard to go back to stove-cooked eggs! I hope you enjoy this simple recipe – it does require a sous vide machine, but don’t worry if you don’t have a sous vide machine – just poach your eggs in boiling water on the stove per your liking, and the rest of the recipe can stay the same!

If any of you had childhoods like mine, I grew up eating boiled white rice with soy sauce and butter – and this recipe takes me down memory lane in such a warm, fuzzy way :).

Super quick to assemble, super easy to devour in under 5 minutes, and incredibly easy to entertain with (friends or family!) – kids will eat this up too 😉 I hope you enjoy! 🙂


Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients

4 large, organic eggs
4 cups hot cooked sushi rice
4 teaspoons dark soy sauce
roasted sesame seeds, to taste
green onion, finely sliced, to taste
salt, to taste
Optional garnish: a few drops sesame oil

Directions

Preheat your water ‘oven’ using your sous vide machine to 145°F. Place eggs (in shell) in water bath and cook for at least 90 minutes, and up to 4 hours (depending on how runny you like your eggs).

Divide hot rice evenly amongst four serving bowls. Carefully crack your cooked egg, creating a hole at one tip using your fingertips to allow the contents to come out. Pour out the egg into a small bowl, then carefully pour it, or ‘set it’ on top of rice.

Drizzle with soy sauce, sprinkle with sesame seeds, scatter sliced green onion on top, and eat, mixing egg into rice! Garnish with Kosher salt, to taste, if needed.

Italian Rustic Vegetable & Polenta Soup

Winter has definitely made it’s statement with recent events (namely hurricane Sandy in the US), along with heavy rain in California these days. What better way to ring in the colder months with a satisfying, one-pot meal! This soup is hearty (the polenta fills you up!), but it’s healthy with a chicken broth base and lots of fresh vegetables. Serve this as a starter or have a bowl of this for dinner!

Feel free to experiment with different vegetables like zucchini, leeks, and even eggplant if you enjoy those. However, this is traditional Italian style ribollita!

Enjoy! 🙂


Yields: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
2 stalks of celery, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup of fresh corn kernels, cut off of a corn ear (or use canned corn if fresh not available)
1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed or chopped
3 tomatoes, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cups low-sodium chicken (or vegetable) broth
1/3 cup instant polenta (available in the pasta section at Trader Joe’s and other local grocers)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Garnish: freshly grated parmesan cheese

Directions

In a large heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, corn, onion, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion and corn begin to brown, about 6 minutes.

Add the parsley, thyme, garlic, and tomatoes, cooking for approximately 2-3 minutes, stirring often to make sure the garlic does not burn. Stir until fragrant. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Slowly stir in the polenta and cook until the soup thickens and the vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes.

Stir in the butter and season with salt and pepper.

Ladle into soup bowls, garnish with grated cheese, and serve hot with breadsticks or sliced baguette!

Stuffed Double Baked Potato

This is a dish that can stand alone on it’s own as a one-dish meal – it’s hearty, satisfying, salty, creamy, and simply delicious. If you’re vegetarian, just skip the bacon garnish! I made this for my aunt when she was visiting from India a few years ago, and now every time she comes into town, she always asks me to make this since she loves it SO much! 🙂

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family has and make it your family’s favorite! 🙂 PS, this is THE MOST kid-friendly dish, EVER! 😉


Ingredients

4 large baking potatoes, washed, dried, and pricked all around with a fork
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
Kosher salt, as needed

8 slices of cooked bacon
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

Optional garnishes: chopped olives, green onions, sour cream, bacon

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Rub olive oil and kosher salt all over the prepared baking potatoes.

Place the potato directly on the oven rack in your preheated oven. Place a baking sheet or piece of aluminum foil on the lower rack below the potatoes to catch any drippings / salt that falls. Bake the potatoes for 60 minutes.

[Note: you will know the potatoes are done if tender when pierced with a fork and the internal temperature reaches 210 degrees F. You can also use a meat thermometer to test for doneness]

You can also test for doneness by gently squeezing the middle of the potato (using a pot holder). If it gives in easily to your touch, it is done.

When potatoes are done, allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh into a large bowl using a spoon (be careful not to rip the potato skin). Save the skins and set aside.

Add the following into the large bowl with the potato flesh: sour cream, milk, butter, salt, pepper, 1/2 cup cheese and 1/2 the green onions. Mix with a hand mixer until well blended and creamy (feel free to add more sour cream/milk if your mixture is too dry).

Spoon the mixture into the potato skins. Top each with remaining cheese and green onions.

Bake for another 15 minutes in your preheated oven and serve hot! Top with cooked bacon slices and sour cream, and other optional garnishes listed, if desired. Enjoy!

Greek Quinoa Salad

Happy Sunday night! What better way to start the week than with a healthy, make-ahead lunch idea! Fresh, easy, simple, and easy on your waist line! 🙂 If you enjoy meat, feel free to add rotisserie chicken for a more filling meal! Enjoy!


Ingredients
2 cups of cooked quinoa (according to package directions), cooled
1/2 cup tomato, chopped
1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup kalamata olives, halved
1/2 cup cubed (or broken up) feta cheese
1/2 cup sliced red onion (or finely diced)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt, to taste
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Directions

In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients and serve! Can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Enjoy!

Pad Kee Mao (Drunken Noodles with Ground Chicken and Vegetables)

For those of you who enjoy Thai food, you must have ordered Pad Kee Mao or Pad See Eew (a.k.a. ‘Drunken Noodles’) at some point. Hopefully you enjoyed them as much as my husband and I do!

Pad Kee Mao literally translates to ‘Drunken Stir Fry’ in English, and there are numerous variations on these ‘drunken’ dishes that are very often sold by street vendors in Bangkok and the rest of Thailand.

Rumor has it that the ‘drunken’ description comes from the fact that it originated in late-night revelers’ kitchens after stumbling home from the nightclubs in the wee hours of the morning. 😉 I suppose after a night of partying, nothing soothes the stomach like some starch and meat! 😉

Pad Kee Mao typically has sliced pork in it, however this is my rendition of it with ground chicken and vegetables! However, feel free to omit the chicken and replace with 1/2 cup of thinly sliced pork (of any cut), or use both meats and have a flavor party! I wanted to re-create what I had at the Thai restaurant (but without the MSG and loads of oil that made my noodles super shiny), so I hope you enjoy my healthier version of Pad Kee Mao.

This dish seemingly has a lot of ingredients, but if you have what’s needed on hand, this can morph into a wonderful weeknight meal and your go-to recipe for a weekend get together. Just pair it with one of my curries Panang Curry ;-), steamed white or brown rice, and you have a gourmet meal waiting for you and your loved ones! And if you feel like going the whole nine yards, serve this menu along with Nobu’s Miso Black Cod, and your meal will be talked about for many weeks after! 😉

Menu Idea: Chiang Mai Panang Curry, Pad Kee Mao Noodles, Miso Black Cod, steamed white/brown rice.

Enjoy! 🙂


Ingredients
1 (14-ounce) package wide rice noodles (you can use thinner pad-thai noodles too!)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup of finely diced or sliced white onion or shallots
3 medium garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 pound ground chicken
2 medium red or green bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 cups of broccoli florets (the broccoli head, no stem), washed
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/8 cup oyster sauce
1/8 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 2 limes)
1 medium jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced (remove the pepper seeds if you don’t like spice!)
1 cup loosely packed Thai basil leaves (or regular basil if you don’t have access to Thai basil)
Optional: red chili powder, to taste (if you want it more spicy!)

Directions
Place noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak for about 15-20 minutes until loose and almost completely to your liking. Drain and set aside.

Heat vegetable oil in a large wok over medium-high heat, and add chopped onion and garlic stirring with a wooden spoon or tongs for about 2 minutes until softened (careful to only soften them – do not brown or burn!)

Add ground chicken and break into small pieces. Continue to cook until chicken is white and almost cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Add bell peppers and broccoli florets, stir-frying until the vegetables are softened.

Push chicken mixture to one side of the pan and add eggs to the center. Scramble with a your wooden spoon until eggs are set and don’t run, about 1 minute.

Push scrambled eggs to the side and add in: oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, and sugar. [Note: If you feel like there is not enough liquid in the pan and the noodles are too dry, feel free to add a little chicken broth].

Once the sauce and vegetable mixture is boiling, add the drained noodles and toss to coat. Remove from heat, add jalapeños and basil, and toss to combine; serve immediately. Top with roasted peanuts (salted or unsalted), chopped green onion, and enjoy! 🙂

Piquillo Pepper & Chickpea Soup

I tested Food & Wine’s recipe, and have made a few measurement adjustments and added some new garnishings which I think are amazing with this soup. I actually prefer the recipe without rice and without chicken, but feel free to add those if you wish! If you do end up adding rice and/or chicken, it becomes a very satisfying one-pot meal!

Vegetarian or not, this is a fabulous recipe. I was taken aback by how QUICK it is. With the BlendTech blender I use, this is actually a no-cook recipe (also goes for VitaMix users), since these blenders heat up the soup so much while blending it’s not even necessary to reheat. I timed myself and it took a total of 6 minutes to make this recipe start to finish. It takes me more time to drive to Whole Foods and pick up a ready-made soup from there!

I hope that those of you who don’t have much time to cook try this out and make this a regular on your recipe rotation – I know I have!!! And lastly, if you like your meat, use chicken stock instead of vegetable, and top it with shredded chicken!

Enjoy! 🙂


Ingredients
1 cup drained piquillo peppers, reserving a 1/4 cup on the side, thinly sliced for garnish
1 cup store bought plain hummus (or you can make your own homemade hummus – my recipe is so easy!)
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Garnish:
high quality extra-virgin olive oil, drizzled
habanero hot sauce (Trader Joe’s)
cubed avocado
fried chickpeas
thinly sliced piquillo peppers
store-bought rotisserie chicken, shredded

Directions
In a blender, combine piquillo peppers, hummus, and stock. Puree until smooth and season according to taste with salt and pepper. Heat in microwave or in a saucepan over medium heat until desired temperature. Serve hot in bowls garnished with drizzled olive oil, piquillo peppers, and any other garnish ideas I’ve given that tickle your fancy. Enjoy! 🙂