August 8, 2018

Crispy Rice with Shrimp, Bacon, and Summer Veggies 

  Very summery and tasty. It was a win with my two year old, and let’s face it…these days he’s really the only judge that matters. I didn’t think I’d like the raw tomatoes but it really does add a juicy pop of flavor and the acidity cuts the bacon grease. I highly recommend fresh ingredients when possible. Fresh shrimp and veggies makes a huge difference. 
 Adapted from this NYTimes recipe. 

  • 1lb peeled and de-veined shrimp (small) 
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 2 ears of corn or 1 10oz package frozen
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 large tomato or 1 cup grape tomatoes, diced
  • 2 stalks of green onion, minced
  • 3 cups left over rice
  • paprika
  • garlic salt


  1. Defrost corn. (and rice if you store left over rice in the freezer like I do). Dice zucchini, tomatoes. Mince green onion. 
  2. Place bacon in a large, cold skillet (cast iron holds heat better for this recipe!) and heat on medium high. Turn often and slowly render the fat. Remove and set bacon aside on paper towels to drain. Drain some of the fat and set aside. Chop bacon once cool. 
  3. In left over bacon fat, saute shrimp. Season with garlic salt and paprika. Remove and set aside. 
  4. Add more bacon fat if needed. Saute corn and zucchini and a handful of green onions ~1min or until just soft. Add rice and bacon and mix. Season generously with more garlic salt. Add bacon fat if it gets dry. 5-10min. 
  5. Once rice is warmed through, push rice into bottom of the pan and up the sides. Continue to cook over medium high heat. This will create the crust. Wait for the pop and sizzle of the corn and rice mixture. Should smell toasty. ~5min. Cast iron pans make better crust! You can always lift up an edge to check if the rice is browning. 
  6. Top with tomatoes and shrimp and a sprinkling of more green onions. Serve in pan. 


November 16, 2017

Beef and Barley Stew

Just in time for winter! Also, I just started reading this fantasy series called the Farseer Trilogy and there’s nothing like a good fantasy novel while eating bread and stew. And a slab of cheese. And perhaps some wine.



  • 1.5 lb beef chuck
  • 1 small onion, diced (1/2 cup)
  • 1 small celery root*, diced (~1cup)
  • 2 small/medium carrots, diced (~1 cup)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup hulled barley**
  • salt. lots of it.
  • black pepper

*feel free to substitute with regular celery. I like my stew chunkier so I use celery root. Has the taste of celery but with better texture and substance.

**pearled barley has a better texture. Chewier. Firmer. Also takes longer to cook. Follow cooking instructions on the bag so you know how to adjust for cooking time.

Fresh herbs are of course the better option, but I don’t have them lying around often and it requires an herb sachet so that they don’t turn into unsightly green slime in your finished product. Feel free to serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley if you like. Another note, DO get the beef chuck. NEVER prepackaged “stew meat”. Yuck. Chuck is not great for steak as it has a lot of connective tissue. But in a slow cooking stew, all that connective tissue that would otherwise be stringy and tough on a steak melts into a wonderfully silky stew.


  1. Cut beef chuck into thumb size pieces. Not too small or it’ll get rubbery and hard when browning. Salt generously. Heat large dutch oven over medium high heat. When pan is hot, add 1tbs oil. Add meat in batches and brown evenly on all sides. Never crowd meat or you’ll steam it instead and get grey yucky meat. Searing gives it a nice brown crust and adds flavor to the stew later on.
  2. Remove meat and add carrots and celery(root). Salt generously again. Saute for 5min or so until browned but not soft yet. Remove and set aside.
  3. Add onions and garlic. Stir until just soft and garlic is fragrant. Season with parsley/thyme/rosemary/bayleaf. Salt and pepper.
  4. Add chicken stock and scrape up brown bits from bottom of the pot.
  5. Bring to a low boil then turn down heat to simmer and add beef back in. Cover and simmer (NOT boiling. No big bubbles) 2 hours. Stir at the half way point.
  6. Add veggies back in and simmer for another 30 min. (Add barley in at the same time if you’re using pearled barley.) Taste and salt if necessary. Keep in mind you’re adding a lot of starch soon, so err on the side of a bit too salty.
  7. Add barley and stir once, cook 15 min or as per package instructions.
  8. Turn off heat and check on barley. If it’s still a bit chewy, keep cover on pot and set aside for 10min.
  9. Serve with crusty bread. And cheese. And a glass of wine. And of course, a good book.
August 2, 2017

Healthy Zucchini Muffins

Perfect for little ones! Uses very little sugar but has just the right amount of sweetness. Adapted from epicurious.


  • 3 cups shredded zucchini, squeezed dry (important! soggy muffins are gross)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar (or a heaping cup of turbinado)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cups melted butter or oil, or some combo (I did 1/3 cup butter, 2/3 avocado oil)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (pecan or walnuts)
  • 1 cup raisins


  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, vanilla, sugar, oil. Then mix in zucchini.
  3. In separate bowl, mix flour, salt, spices, baking soda.  Slowly add mixture to large bowl with zucchini.
  4. Fold in raisins and nuts.
  5. Butter up a 12 cup muffin pan. Fill cups until almost full. Bake 25min or until toothpick comes out from center clean. Set aside and cool. **also fills 3.5 mini muffin pans. 5x8x3 loaf pan also works, but bake 50 min until top of loaf cracks and small knife inserted in center comes out clean.
July 18, 2017

Quick Weekday Pasta Sauce: Fresh Mushroom and Herbs


  • 1 package mushrooms, sliced
  • fresh herbs (I used what I have, chives. sage is a great alternative. or tarragon)
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup+ chicken stock
  • 1 tbs butter
  • salt and pepper


  • Heat skillet over medium high. Once pan is hot, add a tsp of cooking oil and heat until shimmering. Saute mushrooms and shallots until just soft. Add garlic, herbs, butter, saute another 3 min or until garlic is fragrant.
  • Add white wine and let it cook off. 3-4 min.
  • Add chicken stock and more butter if you want a richer sauce. Adjust consistency with chicken stock.
  • salt and pepper to taste.

You’ll want to start your water for the pasta first. This sauce cooks quickly so the pasta should be done just in time. Drain pasta and add to sauce. Toss and miss over medium low heat until well coated. Ravioli works great too. Especially butternut squash ravioli and sage if you have it!

Optional: add a few handfuls of spinach into the pan when you add the pasta. Toss unil spinach is wilted.

April 25, 2017

Oven Roasted BBQ Ribs


  • rack of ribs
  • dry rub
  • bbq sauce


  1. apply dry rub evenly. cover and refrigerate 2-8 hours.
  2. preheat oven to 250F.
  3. cover ribs with aluminum foil. bake on middle rack 2hr
  4. uncover. bring temperature up to 300. coat in bbq sauce. bake another 1-1.5 hours.
  5. optional: bring temp up to 500 (or broil), ~5m.
March 21, 2017

Lamb and Root Vegetable Stew

Adapted from Food and Wine.

Snow storm in March? Stew it is.

NOTE: This makes a huggge batch. Good for freezing half for another day. Or halve the recipe!


  • 4lb lamb stew meat (I used 2lb bone in, 2lb boneless)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 lb carrots
  • 3/4 lb parsnips
  • 1 lb red potatoes*
  • 1/3 cup celery, diced
  • 1 onion or 2 shallots, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • ~1 tbs parsley
  • ~1 tbs tarragon
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • salt/pepper

*I prefer red potatoes for stews and braises. Holds their shape better. Russet is more mealy and better for mashing

  1. Salt and pepper meat.
  2. Heat large cast iron pot over medium heat. Once hot, add 1-2 tbs high smoking point oil. When oil is shimmering, toss and coat 1/4 of the meat in flour, then brown evenly on all sides, remove and set aside when done. Dredge and brown another quarter batch, etc, until complete. Do nOT crowd meat as this will steam it instead of sear! Remove meat and set aside.
  3. Add onions, celery, parsley, and tarragon and saute until just soft. 3min. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, 1min. Salt.
  4. Preheat oven to 225F.
  5. Add veggies (carrots, parsnips, potatoes), mix and saute for 5 min. Salt generously. Return meat to pot. Add red wine and vinegar and bring to a boil. Let alcohol boil off for 2-3min. Add broth and bring to a boil. Cover and place in oven for 3 hours, stirring once an hour.
  6. Serve with crusty bread!
March 15, 2017

Beef Pot Pie


  • 2 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion or shallots, diced
  • 1/3 cup celery, diced
  • 3 large carrots, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup mushrooms, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 tbs worchestershire sauce
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt/pepper
  • 3tbs AP flour
  • 1 15oz can beef broth
  • 1 package puff pastry, thawed (can take 30-40m)
  • 1 egg, beaten with a tsp of water


  1. Thaw puff pastry. Use two packages if you wanna be fancy and attempt a weave for the crust.
  2. Season ground beef with salt and pepper. Heat large skillet over medium high, add a tbs oil or so and heat until shimmering. Saute beef until almost cooked through. A little pink is ok. Stirring as needed. Remove beef and set aside
  3. In remaining oil, add onions ad celery. Saute until just soft, ~2-3m. Add garlic, parsley, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, caraway seeds and continue to saute, another minute or two, until fragrant.
  4. Add carrots, mushrooms, peas, tomato paste, and saute 7-8m or until carrots just start to soften (will still be a bit crunchy but outside will give way to pressure from a fork). Salt as needed.
  5. Stir beef back in. Stir in flour. Slowly stir in broth. Once mixture begins to thicken and bubble, turn heat down on low and simmer 20-30m.
  6. Preheat oven to 450F.
  7. Spoon beef into a large baking pan. Cut puff pastry into strips. Lay strips down on top of beef. Brush on egg mixture and place in oven. 30m or until crust becomes golden and poofy.

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! 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.