Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Spaghetti Bolognese

There is something about holistic, delicious, meaty, chunky sauces. Spaghetti Bolognese is a fancy way of saying spaghetti with meat sauce, but doesn't bolognese sound so much more fun? In addition to the filling and tasty dinner that results from the recipe below, you'll also get to enjoy the amazing aroma of Italian cooking while this sauce simmers. Mama Mia!!


1/4 cups olive oil
3/4 cup grated carrots
1/2 large red onion, diced
1 lb. ground beef
1 Tablespoon dried oregano (or fresh if you have it)
1 Tablespoon dried basil flakes (or fresh if you have it)
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2-1 cup red wine
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cans (28 oz.) whole tomatoes
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper, to taste
fresh parmesan cheese


Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or skillet over medium heat. Add grated carrots and onions and cook a few minutes. Make a well in the center of the mixture and then add in the ground beef. Cook for a few minutes until brown, gradually stirring it into the carrot mixture.

Toss in oregano and basil. When the meat is browned and combined with other ingredients, make another well. Add tomato paste and let it heat. Add garlic and stir to combine.

Make a well in the center of the mixture and add red wine. Stir together. Add Worcestershire and stir. Add canned tomatoes. Finally, pour in milk, stir, and let simmer for 30 minutes to 2 hours--however long you need.

Serve with pasta and good ol' parmesan cheese.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Grilled Nectarine Summer Salad

When summer comes around, there is a lot of talk about grilling. I love it. There's nothing like a fresh meal that has been cooked outside in the open air. BUT...grills are for boys. BIG tools, BIG fire, and BIG slabs of meat. So, my feminine touch on grilling ironically involves a very masculine man...George Foreman. The George Foreman grill is perfect for small bites. Easy clean up. And you can use it year-round. This recipe, of course, can also be done outside--a great option if you're already heating up that fire-breathing bad boy.


(for the dressing--adapted from organicauthority.com):
1 nectarine, peeled and pitted
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (slightly less if you have a mild palette)

(for the salad):
6-10 oz. fresh greens (spinach, spring mix, or butter lettuce would all work well)
1-2 oz. fresh goat cheese (or fresh feta cheese)
2 firm, but ripe, nectarines, pitted
1-2 Tablespoons pine nuts (can also substitute almonds or pistachios)


Make the dressing. Blend all dressing ingredients together in a blender or food processor. Pour into a serving dish, cover, and let chill in refrigerator.

Prepare the salad ingredients. Slice each nectarine into 8 pieces. On a well-oiled grill (or George Foreman ;) ), place the nectarine slices. Let cook for about 2 minutes and flip, using tongs. Cook about one more minute. Set aside on a plate and let cool. 

Heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat and add pine nuts. Let sit for a minute and stir around. Once toasted, remove pine nuts from heat and let cool.

Once pine nuts and nectarines are cool, mix all ingredients together and let the summer sizzling begin!


For a more filling alternative, serve with sliced grilled chicken or blackened chicken on top.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Simple Blackened Chicken

We are back. Paradise was amazing. Shave ice, POG juice (Passion, Orange, Guava), teri burgers, loco moco, and, of course, pineapple, are among the food highlights. Spending every day under the sun was a perfect start to summer and this recipe is a perfect, simple way to ease back into a daily cooking schedule. It is great for summer and spring and fall and winter. :) It is savory and, most importantly, juicy delicious!

(double, triple, quadruple as necessary)

1 chicken breast
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 Tablespoon olive oil 


Using a mallet, beat down chicken breasts until about 1 to 1-1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle garlic salt and lemon pepper on both sides of the breast. Pat down.

In a saucepan over medium heat, pour about 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil and heat through. Add seasoned chicken to the pan and cover with a lid. Let cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side until cooked throughout and all pinkness is gone.

Serve and enjoy.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Land of Pineapples

I'm off to the land of pineapples for a couple weeks. I'll resume posting when I return.

In the meantime, click here for one of my favorite summer recipes: grilled pineapple.


Frrrozen Hot Chocolate from Serendipity

(This looks like hot chocolate, but it's not!)

I. am. a. sucker for chocolate milkshakes. I think of it as a good way to get my dairy intake. When I first heard about the concept of Frozen Hot Chocolate, I knew it would be good. And when I experienced Serendipity 3's signature dessert for the first time, it did not disappoint. Since the actual New York restaurant is almost 3,000 miles away, I decided to recreate the experience in my home a couple weeks ago. Ah, it is such a refreshing way to drink hot chocolate, especially in the summertime. It also proved a good use for the extra mint whipped cream I had leftover after baking the Chocolate SoufflĂ© Cupcakes with Mint Cream for the second time (per request) a couple weeks ago.

For this recipe, I believe the better the chocolate you use, the better the drink will be. While my Hershey's chocolate version was delicious, I think this would be exponentially more satisfying the richer and creamier the chocolate you use.

*from epicurious.com


6 half-ounce pieces of a variety of your favorite chocolates
2 teaspoons storebought hot chocolate mix
1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
3 cups ice
whipped cream
chocolate shavings


Chop or break the chocolate into small pieces and place it in the top of a double boiler over simmering water, stirring occasionally until melted. (I don't have a double broiler, so I just used a pot and glass bowl.) Add the cocoa and sugar, stirring constantly until thoroughly blended. Remove from heat and slowly add 1/2 cup of the milk and stir with a wire whisk until smooth. Cool to room temperature. (This shouldn't take long if you used cold milk.)

In a blender, place the remaining cup of milk, the room temperature chocolate mixture, and the ice. Blend until smooth and the consistency of a frozen daiquiri. Pour into a giant goblet, mug, or any type of serving dish you desire, top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, and enjoy with a spoon or straw.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Chicken Tikka Masala

Despite growing up with Indian next-door neighbors (who, by the way, were not discreet about celebrating Holi--an Indian festival of colors--in their backyard), my first experience with Indian food wasn't until about six years ago in Provo, UT. Bombay House offers a unique slice of authentic culture in a slightly "culture-lacking" city, and the food is flavorful and delicious. Since my first foray with this delightful cuisine, I have ventured into a few more Indian restaurants in the LA area, but Bombay House still remains my favorite. And chicken tikka masala my favorite dish. I really didn't think I would be able to re-create this creamy, tomato-ey, tangy dish without foreign spices and hard-to-find ingredients, but I was wrong. The only ingredient I didn't already have was plain yogurt. 

Hope you enjoy this delicious, flavorful, and grub meal!

*Adapted from My Kitchen Cafe


3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

(for the marinade):
1 cup plain yogurt
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (depending on your "hotness" preference; may also be substituted with paprika)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger (optional)
1 teaspoon salt

(for the sauce):
1 Tablespoon garlic
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1 cup cream

cilantro for garnish


Using kitchen shears, cut chicken into 1-inch cubes. Combine all marinade ingredients together and pour over chicken cubes. I like to use a large ziploc bag for this, but a shallow dish works well too. Store in refrigerator for an hour.

After an hour, cook chicken over medium heat in a frying pan, until cooked through. Discard marinade. Once chicken is fully cooked, remove from heat and cover with a lid.

For the sauce, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté garlic for one minute. Season with cumin, paprika, and salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken and simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve with basmati rice and garnish with freshly chopped cilantro. Jai ho!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Seasoned Tilapia with Mango Avocado Salsa

Summer is here! Can we sing the Hallelujah praises now? I spent all day yesterday in a swimsuit and fell asleep with  sunscreen on my skin and a bit of sand in my toes. The grills have been smoking in our apartment complex and, well, I could go on and on with reasons why I love summer, but this is a food blog, not a summer blog. But I will list just one more reason why I love summer: dishes like this. Simple, flavorful food with fresh ingredients that speak for themselves. Avocados and mangoes are a magical combination.

For tips on how to cut a mango, click here.


(for the fish):
3-4 fillets tilapia (or other white fish)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon (or less) cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
juice of one lime (or 1 Tablespoon lime juice)
olive oil

(for the salsa):
3/4 cup red salsa
1 mango, chopped
juice of two limes (or 2 Tablespoons lime juice)
1/2 avocado, chopped


Place the fish on a plate and sprinkle with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and juice of one lime. 

Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish and cook until golden on the outside. Remove from heat and cover, until ready to serve.

Make the salsa. In a medium bowl, combine 3/4 cup red salsa, mango, 2 Tablespoons lime juice, and avocado. Serve immediately with fish. 


This also works well as fish tacos. On a small corn tortilla, layer chopped lettuce (cabbage or iceberg works best), then fish, then salsa. Let the warm summer nights begin.