Archive for May, 2012

May 31, 2012

R’s Chicken Parmigiana

R made this.

Ok, half way through, he started stressing out and I had to finish pan frying, but I’m still proud of him. It tasted really friggin’ good.

(Secretly, I’m thrilled he gets so frazzled in the kitchen. It just means my services will always be needed/appreciated.)


  • 1 lb chicken breast, scallopini
  • ~1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • ~1/2 cup shredded parmesan
  • 1/4 cup corn starch <— my idea
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard <— R’s idea. good call!
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • salt
  • parsley
  • 1.5 cups of your favorite tomato sauce
  • oil for frying


  1. Place chicken breast on cutting board and cover with saran wrap on top. With the back of a long chef’s knife or butcher’s knife, pound all the way across breast. Rotate knife 90 degrees and pound across again. Repeat with each piece. Smoosh chicken with palm or flat of the blade until it is even thickness throughout. Set aside. Tada! Scallopini.
  2. Mix panko, parmesan, and corn starch in a flat pan/plate.
  3. Beat egg and mustard together in a shallow bowl.
  4. In a small saucepan, heat tomato sauce on simmer until it just begins to bubble. Cover and keep warm on stove.
  5. Dredge chicken in egg wash, letting excess run off. Dredge in dry mixture and pack on crumbs. Lift and lightly shake to let loose bits fall off. Heat a large skillet over high heat with 2 tbs oil (not olive oil. It smokes too much. Try vegetable oil, ghee, or avocado oil, or any other good frying oil.) When oil is hot and shimmery, add first chicken breast. Reduce heat to medium. Pan fry until golden brown, ~2-3 minutes. Make sure pan is not too hot or chicken will burn. Flip and fry other side. Begin dredging next chicken breast as you’re finishing up. Repeat.
  6. Spoon a few spoonfuls of sauce on to a plate. Spread. Plate chicken on top. Sprinkle on parsley and serve.
May 30, 2012

“Beef” and Broccoli

I’m two days into my “detox”, after a weekend of gluttony in LA for the Memorial Day holiday, and all I can think about is some good old greasy fake Chinese food.  Here was my compromise:

This is a WONDERFUL imitation beef. Good firm texture, minimal soy flavor, and the best part? “Lightly Seasoned.” I don’t have to worry about my stir fry tasting like thyme and parsley. This makes them very versatile. At ~$3 bucks a package, I will be stocking up.

I love Trader Joe’s. I love their prepared food section, I love their affordable prices, and most of all, I love SPECULOOS. Holy crap. speculoos filled chocolate bars? Screw this diet. For those of you who are all “speck-you-what?” Speculoos is a nutty spread, much like an illegitimate love child of nutella and caramel. Too good to be true. But oh. It is. Ladies and gentlemen, speculoos IS real. Say it with me now: speculoooooos. And it is slathered over many a waffle in the food truck lined streets of New York City. So delectably decadent, that the last time I was in New York, the whole city was SOLD OUT.  I kid you not.

But I digress. Back to fake – fake Chinese food.


  • 1 package of Trader Joe’s Beef-Less strips
  • ~2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ~2 tbs soy sauce*
  • 3-4 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1 dash sesame oil
  • 1-2 tsp corn starch
  • 1/3 cup water

*like all chinese stir fry, I season to taste. Excuse my approximations. Soy sauces very widely in saltiness.


  1. In a small mixing bowl, add soy sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce, and slowly stir in corn starch to thicken into a consistency of ….thick chowder. Adjust seasonings to taste. Set aside.
  2. Warm a large wok or skillet over medium high heat. Add broccoli and a dash of water. Cover and steam, shaking pan frequently without removing cover to mix. Steam ~3 minutes. Uncover and remove broccoli.
  3. Heat 1-2 tbs oil in skillet until shimmery hot. Add beef and break up the strips. Lightly brown evenly. Strips are already cooked. You are basically just browning and warming.
  4. Add florets, garlic, and toss. When garlic becomes fragrant (~1 min), add sauce. Mix. Thin with a water if you want soupier sauce.

Mmm, mmm good. And healthy! AND vegetarian!

May 25, 2012

Spinach Paratha

Very fun to make. Perhaps will mix in white flour next time so it’s not as tough. Also, must invest in real rolling pin instead of using my water bottle. I did not get the skin thin enough, I don’t think. (: Pictured: topped with homemade mango chutney, raita, and baked curry tilapia with raisins and almonds.

May 20, 2012

Sloppy Joes + Buttery Chive Mashed Potatoes

What’s better than Sloppy Joes? Sloppy Joes while watching zombies. Mmmm….braaains…

Finally catching up on Walking Dead. An unintentional combination. Really. I totally forgot about the second half of this season, which started in February when I was preparing for national board exams.  I think it was the mound of ground beef sitting on my kitchen counter after grocery shopping today that reminded me I had many episodes of brain noshing excitement to catch up on. How appetizing.

Adapted from this recipe.


  • 2 lbs extra lean ground beef*
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 – 6oz can tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1.5 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 3/4 tbs salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 8 hamburger buns (I like potato bread)

*feel free to use imitation meat. I actually had about half a package of Upton Natural’s ground seitan left over in my fridge and mixed that in with my 1.75lb of beef.

In a large skillet, brown meat over high heat. When the pink of the ground meat is almost gone, add onions, garlic, and bell peppers and saute on high until just soft. Add tomato paste, vinegar, chicken stock, and seasonings. Mix well and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes to let flavors meld. Uncover and let thicken for ~5 minutes or so, while you toast buns. Top buns with meat and serve.

Buttery Chive Mashed Potatoes:

Cut up potato into small cubes. Place in bowl, cover with wet paper towel, and nuke ~5 minutes or until fork tender. Mash. Add 1 tbs of butter per potato used, and stir in milk (warm) until you reach the consistency you prefer. Salt to taste and mix in chives.

May 13, 2012

Butternut Squash and Apple Galette

Good weekend! Visited La Jolla, R won his tennis tournament, got 9+ hours of sleep each night, and most importantly, I got to cook a WHOLE LOT these past few days. Oh, and not to mention, kicked ass on National Boards. (:

Ive been meaning to make a gallete for the longest time now, but I keep coming up with excuses not to make my very first pastry dough. “I have no food processor.” “I have no time.” “It’s too humid today.” but really, the truth is “I’m scared to f*ck it up.” Anyway. I used all of the excuses in my arsenal today. Went ahead and made this recipe with store bought dough. Still good! Maybe next time I’ll make it all from scratch…

Adapted from Food Network:


  • 1 large apple, sliced
  • 1 small or 1/2 medium butternut squash (about 3/4 pound), halved, seeded
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 1 tbs unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 slice bacon, fried and diced
  • 1.5 tsp rosemary
  • 1.5 tsp thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbs Dijon mustard
  • 1⁄3 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 pie crusts, combined and rolled out

Preheat oven to 375F. Place halved butternut squash in a microwaveable plate and nuke for 4+ minutes or until just barely soft. Slice. Combine with sliced apples, red onions, butter, seasoning, salt and pepper, and bacon. Stack two pie crusts on top of each other and roll out into one large pie round (I like to roll some rosemary into the crust). In the center 9 inches or so, spread a layer of dijon. Add vegetable mixture. Bake for 30 minutes or until pie crust just begins to brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle on goat cheese in center of gallete. Raise temperature to 400F and continue to bake, 10 minutes or so, until cheese melts and crust turns golden brown.  Slice with pizza cutter and serve!

May 13, 2012

Lamb Kabobs + Mango Chutney

Kind of a mix of genres here: Mediterranean lamb kabobs and Indian chutney. MMmmmm… my first attempt at chutney. Success! Sweet, tart, spicy… what’s not to like? As for the genre mix, I could probably use more classic Indian spices for the kabobs, but I had some leftover greek salad and tzatziki sauce from last night’s dinner, so I kept to the original recipe for the most part.

LAMB KABOBS:  (6 or so kabobs)

  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp whole coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for brushing on grill
  • 24 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 20 minutes (optional)

In a large mixing bowl.,,  lightly combine lamb with garlic and seasonings. Do not over work or you’ll get tough kabobs. Set aside in fridge while you make the chutney. If you don’t have a grill or skewers, form short sausage-like links with the lamb and in a hot skillet (or griddle) coated in oil, “grill” kabobs until just slightly pink in the center. Make sure to rotate often to insure even browning.

MANGO CHUTNEY (makes ~1 cup)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 red onion, diced finely
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeds discarded and finely diced
  • 1 large mango, diced
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine diced mango, jalapeno, sugar, vinegar, and salt in a bowl. In a small saucepan, heat a bit of oil until hot. Add onions and saute 3 minutes or until soft. Add mango mixture. Reduce heat to a medium simmer (low bubbling). Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Chutney should be thick and almost jam-like. Set aside to cool while you grill your kabobs.

Serve kabobs with tzatziki sauce if desired, and warm pitas.

May 6, 2012

Avocado and fried egg on toast

  • siracha
  • avovado
  • fried egg
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • lime
  • toast
  • optional: grilled shrimp adds extra snap and texture.

Squeeze lime over sliced avocados. Place on whole grain toast. Top with fried egg (and shrimp). Drizzle on siracha and season with salt and pepper. Best lazy breakfast EVER.

May 4, 2012

Guiness Braised Beef Stew

Perfect thick and hearty stew! Serve with toasted sour dough or Irish soda bread. I’m still trying to finish off the other 5 bottles of Guinness left over from this recipe. Probably not a bad thing….

Adapted from My Recipes.


  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 2 pounds boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 5 cups chopped onion (about 3 onions) $
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 (11.2-ounce) bottle Guinness Stout $
  • 1 tablespoon raisins
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 0.5 lb carrot, cubed
  • 0.5 lb parsnip, sliced diagonally
  • 0.5 lb turnip, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


  1. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Place flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle beef with 1/2 teaspoon salt; dredge beef in starch or flour. Add half of beef to pan; cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove beef from pan with a slotted spoon. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and beef.
  2. Add 4 cups of onion to pan; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  4. Stir in broth and beer, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.
  5. Return meat to pan. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, raisins, caraway seeds, and pepper; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Stew should have small, infrequent bubbles.
  6. Uncover and bring to a boil. Add carrots. Reduce to low.  Cook 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  7. Add 1 cup of reserved onions, parsnip, and turnip. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and bring to a boil; cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Salt to taste. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

NOTES: I feel the flavor of the parsnips is rather overpowering. In the future I might reduce the parsnips by half to 1/4th lb, and use rutebega or celery root instead. Also, the turnips also didn’t do much for me. They don’t bring much to the stew in terms of texture or flavor. I might just substitute with potatoes in the future.

May 4, 2012

Chipotle Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Adapted from my hero, Alton Brown.


  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 whole pepper from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 tsp adobo sauce from the can
  • ~1 cup milk or cream
  • salt
  • 1 tsp+ dried chives (if using fresh, use 2 tsp)
  • 1/4 cup+ grated Parmesan


  1. Dice sweet potato uniformly into 1 inch cubes. Place in a microwave safe bowl. Cover with wet paper towels. Microwave for 6+ minutes or until fork tender.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add potatoes, minced pepper, adobo sauce, and butter. Add milk bit by bit as you mash, adding more until you reach the consistency of mash potato that you prefer.
  3. Fold in cheese and chives. Salt to taste.

Note: for some reason the potatoes I bought today had white flesh, not orange like your typical sweet potato o_O… had the texture of sweet potato, but it wasn’t nearly as pretty.

Served with sautéed spinach and pan seared scallops:

For a How-To on scallops, feel free to review my previous post!

May 2, 2012

Stuffed Zucchini, Take 2

Just arrived in southern California where I’ll be living for the next 4 months or so! First thing on my agenda? Groceries.

There is a Whole Foods AND a Trader Joes, all within 1 mile of my apartment. I think I’m gonna like it here…

Here’s the original baked zucchini recipe. Although with this type of squash, the stuffing got a bit too runny. I think I may have to precook the shell and drain it before I stuff it.