February 1, 2017

Butternut Squash and Apple Wild Rice with Pan Seared Duck


If you prep your ingredients and make the rice ahead of time, this meal takes 15m to cook! I’m pretty proud of myself. Original recipe. Woot.


  • 2 duck breasts
  • 1.5 cup wild rice
  • 1/2 cup apples, peeled and diced
  • 3/4 cup butternut squash, diced
  • 1/4 cup celery
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • small onion, diced
  • 1 tsp tarragon
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar


  1. Cook rice: Rinse and add 2.75 cups water. Cover and let rice soak for 30+m. Bring to a boil then reduce to low simmer for 45m. Keep lid on and turn off heat, let rice steam for 10m. Set aside.
  2. Score duck breast skin on the diagonal, rotate 90deg and score again, cutting 3/4 through the skin (don’t cut all the way to the meat). Salt and pepper both sides.
  3. Place two skillets on the stove. Cast iron skillet and large frying pan next to it.
  4. Place duck skin down in the cold cast iron skillet and slowly/gradually bring heat up to medium high to render out the fat. Continue to cook duck, 7m. Set your clock.
  5. Heat frying pan on medium high. Pour a tsp or so of duck fat into frying pan.
  6. While duck cooks, add butternut squash, onions, celery to frying pan. Season with salt/pepper/tarragon/parsley. Stir frequently. ~5-7m or until squash is slightly softened. Add apples, cranberries, chicken stock, and cover, continue to cook ~5m.
  7. Turn duck after 7m. Continue to cook on other side 5m.
  8. Uncover squash, mix in vinegar, and mix in cooked rice. Salt to taste.
  9. Plate rice, top with duck.
February 1, 2017

Zucchini Fritters

Baby’s favorite finger food.

  • 1 grated zucchini, drained
  • 1 garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • coriander seed, smashed with side of knife
  • onion, minced
  • mix, form balls, flatten
  • fry in skillet.

Just getting it down somewhere so I don’t forget. Helps to just drop the balls of dough in the frying pan and flatten with the spatula. These suckers are sticky and get everywhere. Or chill the dough before forming balls.

February 1, 2017

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

IMG_0453.JPGCan easily tweak the recipe for dairy/egg/sugar free. Very moist and fluffy! I found it a bit too sweet. Perhaps I’ll cut the honey down to 1/3 cup next time.

Recipe credit goes to littlebroken.com! Beautiful food photography on this site.


  • 1/3 cup liquid coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup honey (consider 1/3 cup for less sweet)
  • 2 eggs OR for egg free: 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce with 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana (2-3 bananas)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1.75 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries


  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Grease muffin pans with a bit of coconut oil.
  2. Mix coconut oil and honey. Whisk in eggs.
  3. Add banana, pumpkin puree, spices, baking soda, vanilla, salt
  4. Slowly add flour and mix until jUST combined. Fold in raisins.
  5. Spoon into muffin pans.
  6. Bake 5m at 425, reduce heat to 350, continue baking for ~17m or until toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
November 4, 2016

Vegan Apple Fritters


These were delicious! Crispy on the outside, soft and doughy on the inside. Everything a fritter should be. Mildly sweet and very autumn-y. AND they are egg, dairy, and sugar free. I know, I know… Alton Brown would be ASHAMED. But I made them as finger food for my 1 year old. (Holy shit I have a one year old?) Otherwise I’d add a sugary glaze. Even so, I snuck more than a few bites for myself.

I never thought I’d make ANYthing vegan. But I guess when you have a kid that’s allergic to milk and eggs….you learn to get creative. Like… did you know the butter to oil substitute is 1 to 3/4? And applesauce is a great binder when you’re not using eggs? Learning as I go.


  • ~1/2 cup of apples, chopped finely (pea size?)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4  tbs avocado oil (or another oil of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • 1/3 cup soymilk
  • cinnamon
  • allspice


  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Add as much of the chopped apple as you like. It’ll be a sticky mess. NOT like pancake batter.
  • Heat a cup or so of oil in a small sauce pot. An inch or so deep.
  • Drop golfball sized blobs of batter and fry, turning as needed, until golden brown.
  • Remove onto paper towel to drain.
  • EAT.

Had to make my own applesauce cause we ran out soooo this took me a lot longer than I thought it would. TIP: Get store bought applesauce.


July 20, 2016

Baked Eggs with Lentils and Merguez

baked eggs1

Eggs for dinner? Suuurrre why not. I started making this in the morning, intending it for brunch. But it took until 7:30pm for me to complete it. Such is the life with a small human in the house.

NOTE: All measurements are approximate…taste your cooking as you go. Eyeball it. You don’t need to measure. 😀 Plus, aint nobody got time to wash measuring cups and sh*%.


  • 2-3 links of spicy merguez (lamb sausage)
  • ~1 cup red lentils, washed and drained (sift for stones!)
  • 1 medium sweet potato, chopped*
  • 1/3 cup red or orange bell peppers diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • ~1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • pinch of sugar (to cut acidity of tomato paste)
  • ~1 cup chicken stock
  • Eggs

*I sliced on the diagonal, so it cooks faster. Red lentils tend to cook quickly. You don’t want crunchy sweet potatoes. This technique, I believe, is called “rolling wedges”. This is how I cut carrots, zucchinis, etc. Very useful.


  1. Remove sausage from casing. Heat dutch oven on medium high until smoking hot. Add a tbs or two of oil (I always use avocado for its high smoke point and lack of flavor). When oil is shimmering, add sausage and break it up with the edge of your spatula. Remove and set aside once cooked through.
  2. In remaining oil from sausage, add onions, bell peppers, garlic. Salt generously. (Depending on saltiness of the chicken stock and tomato sauce you’re using, you may want to salt lightly.)  Add seasonings. Continue to saute ~5m or until onions are soft and translucent.
  3. Add sweet potatoes. Continue to saute ~3m or so. Longer if you accidentally cut your potatoes too thick.
  4. Mix in tomato paste, tomato sauce, and chicken stock.
  5. Once tomato paste has dissolved, add lentils. Stir. Lentils should not be completely submerged. Add water/stock until it looks like ::this:: or a little drier.
  6. Bring to a slow boil. Turn heat to simmer, mix in sausage, and cover. Simmer for 20m or so until lentils are just soft. (I prefer al dente over soggy)
  7. Grease an 8” cast iron skillet (or if you have a deeper skillet you can use from beginning to end, no transfer is necessary) and spoon in lentil mixture. Using the back of a spoon, press down and create divots for the eggs. Crack an egg in each. Broil in the oven for 5m or so until eggs firm up to your liking.

baked eggs2

Tada! That’s it. Pretty easy to make, I just couldn’t get away long enough to chop veggies and tend to the stove until I put the little one to bed.

PS: I love my wooden spoon. Got it in Halifax this summer on our family trip. My dream (or one of many) is to start a wooden utensils collection. Does that make me weird?

Something so grounded and OG about using a wooden spoon.

And cast iron skillets.

And baked eggs.

July 6, 2016

We ❤️ Ube!

The offspring’s first taste of ube. I think he likes it. 

May 27, 2016

Miso Salmon


  • 2 Salmon filets
  • 2 tbs white miso
  • 1 tbs mirin
  • 1 tbs rice wine or sake
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • optional garnishes: sesame seeds, sliced green onion


  1. Marinate salmon in miso mixture for 2-3 hours in the fridge.
  2. Line baking pan with aluminum foil and brush with oil. Scrape off most of the miso and place salmon on pan. Miso is super salty. Less is more.
  3. Broil on high for 8m or until edges just start to bubble. Remove from oven and set aside.
  4. Heat frying pan on high, add a tbs of oil, place salmon skin side down for 2 min or so to crisp up skin.
  5. Serve. (optional: top with sliced green onion)
May 20, 2016

Pan Seared Duck Breast + Duck Fat Potatoes


  • 2 duck breasts (~1 lb total)
  • salt and pepper


  1. Score duck skin in a criss-cross pattern, cutting deep without hitting the meat.
  2. Salt and pepper both sides generously.
  3. In a COLD skillet (cast iron is great for searing), and NO oil, place duck skin down. Turn heat up to medium. Fry for 5-10 minutes (gradually turn heat up to medium high) until fat is mostly rendered and skin becomes golden brown.
  4. Flip and fry another 3-5 minutes or until meat is slightly bouncy like the fat pads in your palm. Set aside and let meat rest for 5 min before cutting!

Easy? You betcha. I was too lazy to make a sauce so I used store bought mango chutney. Delicious. If you have a good source of fresh duck, this could save you time and money over a restaurant meal! At $13 a pound, this meal only cost us $7-8 bucks a person. Including sides. Total prep and cook time, half an hour tops. AND we didn’t have to get a babysitter! Baby’s room is right behind the kitchen. I’m sure he’s dreaming of duck fatty goodness right now.

Save your duck fat! I kept mine in a glass jar next to the stove. So much you can do with it.


  1. To time this right, prepare your potatoes first. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Cut in halves or threes, salt generously, add herbs and seasonings. (I used parsley and rosemary and some whole garlic heads).
  3. Use the first drippings from the duck fat rendering and pour over potatoes. Return pan over heat and keep cooking the duck. Meanwhile, toss potatoes to coat evenly. Roast in oven for 20 min or so, until golden brown.

Happy eating!

May 12, 2016

Liver and Onion

I’ve been craving Luby’s liver and onion. Where can I get some in the north east? Do yankees eat liver and onion?

No pics. Too hungry and forgot. But liver isn’t a pretty dish anyhow. REALLY easy. Can’t believe I haven’t tried this before. Not to mention CHEAP.


  • 1 lb liver, drained in colander
  • 50/50 flour cornstarch mixture for dredging
  • paprika
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • milk (I’m using almond)
  • 2 large sweet yellow onions, sliced


  • Drain liver, then soak in milk for 30-60m.
  • Pat dry and season with salt, pepper, paprika on both sides. Dredge in cornstarch/flour mixture to evenly coat.
  • Heat large skillet on medium high. Add a tbs or so of oil. Saute onions until caramelized and soft. This may take awhile. Add some water to speed it up. Season with salt. Add a pat of butter if you feel up to it. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  • Reheat skillet. Add frying oil (I like avocado oil. Anything with a high smoke point works, but avocado oil imparts no flavor). Heat until oil is shimmery. Place liver in pan, spacing it out and avoid crowding. Fry for ~3-5 min each side, depending on your stove and liver thickness. Should be browned evenly with no blood bubbling up.
  • Serve and top with sautéed onions. Yum.
April 20, 2016

Creamy Butternut Squash Linguini with Fried Sage

IMG_6690Good to be blogging again! The Little Dictator is almost 6 months old and while I’ve been back in the kitchen for awhile now, I really haven’t found the time to write down and take pictures of the hodge-podge dinners I’ve been making…

This sucker took me almost an hour. Mainly because I had to make everything in batches with my tiny skillet and tiny bullet blender in my tiny kitchen. (OK, huge by New York standards but I’m still a Texan by heart and by habit.)

Adapted from this wonderful recipe on cookieandkate. And by adapted, I mean mostly copied. It’s good stuff! Didn’t need changes.

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
  • 2 pound butternut or kabocha squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into small ½-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt and/or kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups vegetable/chicken broth (I used a little less)
  • 12 ounces whole grain linguine or fettuccine
  • OPTIONAL: shaved Parmesan, BACON…side of spinach…



  • Heat oil in 12 inch skillet or large dutch oven over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the sage and toss to coat. Let the sage get crispy before transferring it to a small bowl. Sprinkle it lightly with sea salt and set the bowl aside.
  • Add squash, onion, garlic and red pepper flakes to skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Add broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until squash is soft and liquid is reduced by half, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.
  • Once the squash mixture is done cooking, remove it from heat and let it cool slightly. Transfer the contents of the pan to a blender. Reserve the skillet. Purée the mixture until smooth (beware of hot steam escaping from the top of the blender), then season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Combine pasta, squash purée and ¼ cup cooking liquid in reserved skillet and cook over medium heat, tossing and adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.
  • Serve pasta topped with fried sage, more black pepper and shaved Parmesan/Pecorino and/or smoked salt, (BACON?) if desired.


  • In hindsight, spinach linguini makes for some ugly presentation. For some reason I still think spinach pasta is healthier. Probably not true.
  • Save a few whole leaves of sage and fry it up for a nice garnish
  • Add chopped fried bacon after blending! (I like bacon. Can you tell?)
  • Onion and garlic can be chopped roughly. You’re blending it, so doesn’t matter. Squash is chopped evenly to promote even cooking.
  • Set aside broth/liquid before blending so you can tweak the final consistency of the sauce.  I liked my sauce thicker. Didn’t add pasta water, didn’t even use all 2 cups of broth.

Unfortunately, after all this work, I forgot to savor my meal and wolfed it down in five minutes. As most parents, I now have a habit of eating as fast as I can, even when the small human is asleep for the night. Le Sigh.

More pictures! Curtesy of RChang while I cleaned up the mess I made in the kitchen. He kept calling over to me “I don’t know… still looks like Jabba the Hutt to me..”


So I added some embellishments. IMG_6692

EDIT: 2/1/17 Tried this again but with a toddler running around these days, I had to find ways to cut down my cooking time. I added onions, whole garlic cloves, and cubed squash into a roasting pan and roasted on 425F for 20m or so. Tossed it all in a food processor and thinned it out with chicken stock. So much easier. And the caramelization from roasting adds a sweetness and depth that the original version didn’t have. Yay for lazy cooks!