November 13, 2011

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Tahini and Fig Balsamic Vinegar Reduction
1/2 Pound of Brussels SproutsExtra Virgin Olive OilSaltFig Balsamic Vinegar Tahini SaucePreheat the oven to 350 degrees. Chop ends off of Brussels Sprouts and slice in half lengthwise. Save any leaves that fall off in the process. In a bowl, toss Brussels Sprouts with a few tablespoons of olive oil until generously coated. Sprinkle with a few pinches of salt and toss again to coat evenly. Transfer to baking pan and spread evenly. Roast in the oven until sprouts are tender and start to brown. You may want to toss them in the pan to make sure they cook evenly. While the Brussels Sprouts are roasting, pour fig balsamic vinegar into a saute pan. It will reduce by about half while you reduce it. Whisk throughout the process over medium/high heat – be careful not to burn it! Once the balsamic has a syrup quality, remove from heat. Place Brussels Sprouts in a serving bowl and drizzle with balsamic reduction and tahini sauce. Serve immediately.
This recipe is inspired by the best Brussels Sprouts I’ve ever had – from Tanoreen. Their version is fried Brussels Sprouts with a tahini and pomegranate molasses sauce. I thought the fig reduction would have a similar sweetness and tang to the pomegranate. If you can’t find fig balsamic – just use plain!
Pictures from New Orleans are below. Many thanks to Chris & Sabrina and Ashley & Sam for being wonderful hosts and taking me to the best places to eat (high priority!)

Where shall I go next?

October 26, 2011

Muhammara from The Green Goddess. New Orleans, LA.

August 31, 2011

This morning I booked my 30th birthday flight to New Orleans for October. Since my birthday falls during CMJ craziness in NYC and I’m planning a wedding the day after, I’m going to leave town on the 22nd to hang down South for a few days.
I was there last November, so I got a lot of touristy things out of the way, but I’d love recommendations for restaurants/activities while I’m there! Anyone know of any places I shouldn’t miss this time around?

December 3, 2010

I realize that the week after Thanksgiving the last thing people want to think about is cooking, but as it is the holiday season and everyone and their mother is having a dinner party, it’s always good to have a few recipe ideas on hand. These Brussels sprouts were a major hit at the Thanksgiving dinner I attended. If you pay any attention to this blog, or perhaps my life generally, you probably know I’ve been nuts for B. Sprouts for the past two years. There was a few times last year that I had to stop myself from eating them every day. I digress, let’s get to the recipe.

Sweet Lemon + Thyme Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts, trimmed an cut in half1/2 cup pecans, roughly choppedzest of one lemon, plus juice2-3 tbls brown sugar1-2 tbls fresh thymeOlive oilsalt + pepper to tasteToast pecans in a 350 degree oven until brown. In a large pan, saute Brussels sprouts in a olive oil with salt until they start to brown. Turn frequently. Lower the heat a bit and add pecans. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Toss the sprout/pecans until evenly coated. Toss in lemon zest and thyme. Salt and pepper to taste and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice.
In addition to the Brussels, I whipped up some cheesy mashed red potatoes. Mashed potatoes have saved me at many a family meal. To give you an idea, my Aunt Linda and Uncle Gary just sent out the invite to Christmas Eve. On the menu: prime rib and turkey. I am forever grateful that my family loves to over-prepare with 8 million sides and appetizers (and bottles of wine!) I’ve always been a well fed vegetarian, even in a world of salmon, bacon and prime rib. 
Cheesy Roasted Garlic and Chive Mashed Red Potatoes (these are really unhealthy. Sorry! Also, this makes enough for 10 people…)1 bag of red potatoes, scrubbed and chopped1 wedge Fontina cheese, grated3/4 container of light sour cream1 head of garlic1/2 chives, choppedButtersalt & pepper to taste
In a large pot, cover potatoes with water and throw in a few pinches of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are very tender. Chop the tops off of the head of garlic and remove any excess skin. Douse in a good amount of olive oil and wrap in foil. Roast at 350 until the cloves are very soft. Remove potatoes from heat and drain water. Add in garlic, butter and sour cream. Begin mashing, adding in more butter and/or sour cream as needed. Mix in Fontina cheese. Once mixture is a smooth consistency, add in chives and salt and pepper to taste.
(On a side note: I wish I had used milk as well. You probably should.)
I spent Thanksgiving in Greenpoint at the lovely apartment of Brooke and Ryan. We ate, we drank, we danced. I was so full by the end of dinner that I couldn’t touch the spread of pies that people had brought. Once things were winding down, I headed to The Drink, the bar that a few friends are opening very soon. I hadn’t been there in a couple of months, and it’s looking amazing. I’m hoping I’ll get to visit again before I head home next week.
Speaking of home – I’m referring to Washington State, where I was born and bred. I’ll be there for a long stretch – 2 1/2 weeks. Plenty of time to see my niece, catch up with old friends, hug my family and breathe some fresh air.
Finally, I still have a few to edit/upload, but here’s another batch of photos from Louisiana. Bourbon Street 
Swing dancers on Royal Amazing duo on Royal View of the French Quarter

Gator faces 

November 11, 2010

I’ve only been in New Orleans a little over 24 hours and I’m already falling in love. I have the greatest hosts imaginable: Chris, who runs local label Park the Van, his charming and amazing tour guide wife Sabrina, their dogs Taco and Sophie and two cats (who have been giving me dirty looks for invading their space.) They’ve already taken me around various parts of the city and last night, they took me to Herbsaint.
The real reason for this post is so I can try to explain the mind-blowing meal I had while it’s still fresh in my memory. Herbsaint, is a French-inspired restaurant with Southern influences run by James Beard award winner Chef Link. Their menu doesn’t have many vegetarian options, but our server Noah (friend of Chris and Sabrina) said he could have the kitchen whip me up something. And it was worth the risk. Oh my, it was worth the risk:
Sticky rice cake, sauteed bitter greens, browned cauliflower & mushrooms, topped with pickled squash. One of the best vegetarian meals I’ve ever had and it was made up on the fly. I literally wiped the plate clean with a piece of bread. My compliments to the chef. My fumbling, gushing, compliments.
Based on my meal, you’d think I would have believed Sabrina when she told me their Banana Browned Butter Tart was life-changing. I didn’t. And I was wrong.
We got a selection of desserts – pumpkin tart special, fried apple pie with frozen yogurt – along with the banana tart. They were all delicious, but the banana tart was what I can only describe as a religious experience. The buttery crust literally melted in my mouth. I kept telling myself to keep it together so that the restaurant wouldn’t see my eyed rolling into the back of my head. Noah even made it “Elvis style” with peanut butter ice cream on the side. Are you kidding me?
Herbsaint. New Orleans. Banana Brown Butter Tart with Fleur De Sel Caramel. Life changing. You may not believe me, but just you wait.

November 3, 2010

Oh October, you escaped me so quickly. With so many birthday parties, a trip upstate, many hours wandering New York trying to snap a decent photograph, CMJ and other activities, I’ve barely spent a minute in the kitchen. My fridge is a cold barren wasteland with a single egg, a wilting red pepper and not much else. I will be better! Soon!

Many weeks ago, I did make some cabbage that is great for an easy side, but before I get to that, some proof that I’ve been doing more than… well, than doing nothing.

Enough of non-food pictures! It’s cabbage time.

Boiled Cabbage


– 3/4 head of Green Cabbage, chopped
– 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
– 1/2 white onion, sliced
– 1/2 cup white vinegar
– 1 tbls granulated sugar
– salt and pepper to taste
– 1 tsp oregano (optional)
– water


In a large pot, add cabbage, onion, carrots and white vinegar. Fill with water until vegetables are covered. Bring to a boil. Add salt, pepper, sugar and oregano. Continue to simmer until cabbage is soft, but not mush. Remove from heat and serve, straining out liquid with a slotted spoon.Many recipes that I saw for cabbage said to use butter, but I see no need. The vinegar does give this a little bite, which I love. This was one of those dishes that I made on the fly that left me impressed with myself. So simple, healthy and delicious.

I intend to get back to cooking very soon – but first I’ll be spending a week in Louisiana and Mississippi starting Tuesday. I plan on driving along the Mississippi River through Woodville and Natchez, spending a night there. Then, hopefully Baton Rouge, and back down to New Orleans, where I’ll be for a few more nights. I haven’t spent much time down South, so I’m very excited to explore. Please give me any recommendations you may have!

After I get back, I drive up to Boston to work for a week, and then it’s Thanksgiving! Whew!