Thursday, March 31

Onion Tart

Within the first hour of our first date, my boyfriend announced that his favorite vegetable is an onion (sexy conversation starter, baby), and I've been incorporating them into my cooking as much as possible ever since. Recent editions of Bon Appetit and Cooking Light both featured similar recipes for onion tarts that inspired me to create my own version. The sweet onions, crispy pastry, and gooey cheese work so perfectly together. I served it with an updated version of my spinach and pomegranate salad.

Caramelized Onion & Gruyere Tart:
  • Slice two large yellow onions* into thin half rings.
  • Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet and add the onions. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook onions over medium to low heat for 30-40 minutes, until the onions are very soft and a rich brown color.
  • Meanwhile, place one sheet of defrosted puff pastry onto a cookie sheet.
  • Fold up the outer edge of the pastry to create a one-inch border around the tart. Crimp the ends with a fork.
  • Fill the pastry (inside the border) with 1 c. grated gruyere cheese, then the caramelized onions, then 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves.
  • Bake tart in a 400°F oven for 20-25 minutes, until pastry has risen and browned.
  • Cool for a few minutes, cut into 4 pieces, and serve.

Serves four
*Or three small.

Wednesday, March 30

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Goat Cheese

Baked chicken can be pretty bland, but add a cheesy stuffing and crispy skin and it's suddenly transformed into something delicious. I recently remembered this recipe and was inspired to create a similar version of chicken stuffed with goat cheese. I think roasting meat on the bone makes it so much more flavorful and juicy, but you can always use boneless chicken if it's all you have on hand. Since the meal only calls for a few ingredients, make sure you season the chicken thoroughly and use a flavorful cheese. I served it with some kale I recently picked up at the farmer's market.

Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken:
  • Cut 3-4 oz. of garlic and herb goat cheese into small pieces.
  • Use your fingers to gently loosen the skin from the meat on two skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts.
  • Stuff the cheese under the skin of both breasts. Season the chicken with 1 tbsp. olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Place chicken on a sheet pan and cook at 375°F for 40-45 minutes, or until skin is crispy and meat is cooked through.
  • Tent chicken with foil and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Serves two

Tuesday, March 29

Bacon & Brussels Sprout Hash

A delicious winter hash with brussels sprouts, potatoes, bacon, and topped with a fried egg

Bacon Brussels Sprout Hash with Fried Eggs

I'm getting back in the routine of going to our neighborhood farmer's market on Sundays, and I was on the lookout for some new spring vegetables. Instead, I came home with the last crop of my winter favorites: brussel sprouts, dino kale, and Yukon gold potatoes. I love to feature fresh farmer's market produce as simply as possible (as evidenced here in my pesto linguine with farmer's market veggies), so I diced the brussel sprouts, potatoes, and an onion with some leftover bacon I had in my fridge. It was a comforting meal that would be perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The fried egg breaks open on top and the yolk forms a sauce that makes it all come together.

More Hash Recipes:
- Chorizo, Pepper, & Potato Hash
- Duck Hash
- Vegetable Hash

Bacon & Brussels Sprout Hash with Fried Egg:
  • Dice three small to medium-size Yukon gold potatoes, one yellow onion, and quarter one container of brussel sprouts.
  • Dice three strips of thick-cut bacon and cook in a large skillet for 3-5 minutes, until bacon is crispy.
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove bacon from the pan (keep drippings in the pan). Set bacon bits aside.
  • Add potatoes and onions and cook for 4-6 minutes, adding a little olive oil if necessary.
  • Add the brussel sprouts and season the vegetable mixture with salt and pepper.
  • Cook vegetables for 4-6 minutes, until they soften and are brown in some areas.
  • Add 2 tbsp. chicken stock and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Once all vegetables are tender, turn off the heat and stir in the bacon bits.
  • Meanwhile, fry 2 eggs to desired doneness. Season with salt and pepper.
  • To assemble, divide hash onto plates and top each with a fried egg.

Serves two

Monday, March 28

Weekend Review: Son of A Gun

Skatewing, Boniato, Red Wine

I'd been looking forward to the opening of Son of A Gun for months now, after hearing buzz that the duo behind Animal were finally ready to open a second restaurant. When we arrived, I immediately spotted Chef Dotolo overseeing the kitchen and knew we were in good hands. Although Son of a Gun's seafood concept seems like a stretch from Animal's meat-centric menu (check out the gluttonous meal I had there last month), their whimsical play on classic dishes stayed true to their aesthetic. Our favorites were the skatewing, lobster roll, and fried chicken sandwich (their signature dish). Of course, the shaken pina colada I ordered only helped to enforce the great experience.

Lobster Roll, Celery, Lemon Aioli
Fluke Crudo, Raita, Oro Blonco, Pineapple, Mint
Fried Chicken Sandwich, Spicy B&B Pickle Slaw, Rooster Aioli
Salmon Sashimi, Beets, Pickled Ramps
Shrimp Toast Sandwich, Siracha Mayo
Pink Grouper, Pho Fumet, Herbs, Lime, Bok Choy
Geoduck Sashimi
Shaken Pina Colada
Flourless Chocolate Cake, Coconut Ice Cream, Banana, Peanuts
Frozen Lime Yogurt, Graham Crumble, Toasted Meringue
*Photos by Blair

Friday, March 25

Madras Chicken Curry & Cumin Roasted Cauliflower

I don't have much experience with Indian food, but I was inspired to try my hand at it after reading an article in last month's Bon Appetit. They featured ten of their favorite store-bought Indian products and recommended a curry simmer sauce from Whole Foods. I'm always looking for more quick weeknight meals, and boy was this fast and easy! I like putting a little extra effort into my side dishes when I take store-bought help, so I picked up some garlic naan bread and roasted cauliflower in the oven.

Madras Chicken Curry & Cumin Roasted Cauliflower:
For Chicken Curry 

  • Cut 3/4 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts into bite-size pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook chicken on a hot, oiled grill* for 3-4 minutes each side, or until cooked through.
  • Meanwhile, heat 1 jar of madras simmering sauce** in a pot over medium-low heat.
  • Add grilled chicken to the sauce and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Spoon chicken curry onto plates and serve with warm naan bread.***
For Cauliflower
  • Chop one head of cauliflower into bite-size pieces.
  • Toss on a sheet pan with 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. cumin, salt, and pepper.
  • Roast in a 425°F oven for 12-15 minutes, or until tender and browned in some places.

Serves two
*A grill pan works well too.
**I used Seeds of Change Madras simmering sauce.
***Available in the bread section at some grocery stores, such as Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. 


      Thursday, March 24

      Shrimp in Thai Curry Sauce

      I've been feeling a bit under the weather, so I really wanted to make something warm that would wake up my sinuses. I already had a lot of ingredients on hand from when I made Thai Chicken Curry, so I only had to make a quick trip to the store. The hot shrimp and slightly-spicy sauce were the perfect answer to my cold and took less than a half hour to put together.

      Related Recipes:
      Thai Curry Chicken Drummettes
      Red Curry Fish with Peanuts & Cilantro
      Thai Chicken Curry

      Shrimp in Thai Curry Sauce:
      • Heat 1 tbsp. vegetable oil in a medium-size saucepan.
      • Add 2 diced shallots and cook for 3-4 minutes, until it begins to soften.
      • Stir in 1 tbsp. green curry paste* and cook for another minute or so.
      • Add 1/2 can of coconut milk, 1/2 c. chicken stock, 1 tsp. sugar and 1 tbsp. fish sauce*. Bring sauce to a boil.
      • Add 1 lb. peeled and de-veined shrimp** and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until opaque.
      • Stir in 1 c. baby spinach leaves and 1 tsp. minced cilantro leaves.
      • Serves in bowls under cooked brown rice. Garnish with lime wedges and more cilantro.

      Serves two
      *Available in the Asian section of most grocery stores.
      **Ask your fish monger to do this for you. 


      Wednesday, March 23

      Balsamic Vegetable & Brown Rice Bowl

      After all the meat-heavy meals last week (three nights of pork and steak with wedge salad), I was craving something light and fresh. These vegetable and brown rice bowls are super quick to put together and can be adjusted to suit your personal preference. I love the sweet and tangy taste the balsamic vinegar adds to the dish. This meal is also a great option for vegetarians!

      Balsamic Vegetable & Brown Rice Bowl:
      • Line two baking sheets with foil*.
      • Toss 1 package of green beans (trimmed), 1 bunch asparagus (trimmed), 1 bunch broccoli (florets only), and 1 thinly sliced red onion with 2 tbsp. olive oil, salt, and pepper.
      • Arrange vegetables on baking sheet and cook in a 415°F oven for 8-12 minutes, depending on size of vegetables.
      • Remove from oven and toss with 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar.
      • Serve over cooked brown rice**.

      Serves two
      *Saves time on clean-up.
      **I use frozen brown rice bags from Trader Joe's or Whole Foods.  

        Tuesday, March 22

        Chicken Tortilla Soup

        Yesterday may have been the first day of spring, but the weather in L.A. has been unseasonably cold and rainy. I was craving something warm, so I asked my friend for her mom's recipe for chicken tortilla soup. When I was in college, she would invite us down to her parent's house in Denver and her mom would make this soup for us. It was so comforting to have a home-cooked meal on a cold Colorado night, and I've been thinking of this soup for years since. After making it myself, I can appreciate all the love and hard-work that goes into this delicious dish.

        Related Recipes:
         - Mexican Turkey Soup
        - Chicken & Chorizo Tortilla Casserole
        - Turkey Noodle Soup

        Chicken Tortilla Soup:
        • Finely chop 2 carrots, 2 celery sticks, and ½ yellow onion (reserve the other ½ for garnish).
        • Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in the bottom of a large pot.
        • Add diced vegetables and cook until very tender (almost mush), about 10 -12 minutes. Season with salt & pepper.
        • Add chicken soup pack (chicken back, neck, wings) and cook for another 10-12 minutes, or until browned on both sides.*
        • Add 4-6 c. water and cover pot with a lid. Simmer on low heat for 3 hours.
        • Meanwhile, rub two chicken breasts and two drumsticks** with 1 tbsp. olive oil and desired seasoning blend.*** 
        • Cook in a 400°F oven for 35 minutes, or until cooked through. Add any pan juices to the pot and shred the chicken. 
        • Once the stock has finished cooking, use a strainer to remove the vegetables and chicken parts.
        • Add the shredded chicken to the pot.
        • Meanwhile, assemble toppings: Heat 1/4 inch vegetable oil in a skillet. Add strips of corn tortillas and cook for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oil.
        • Cut one block of mozzarella cheese into small cubes. Cube one avocado. Slice one lime. Pick leaves off of one bunch of cilantro. Finely chop remaining onion. Open a can of chipotle peppers in adobo.****
        • To assemble soup, pour chicken and broth into a bowl. Allow each person to add their own toppings to suit their tastes.

        Serves six - eight
        * These steps are important to develop flavor. Do not rush this process.
        ** If you don't like dark meat, add the drumsticks to the stock instead.
        *** I used Napa Style Roasted Garlic Rub.
        **** I used Embasa brand.

        Monday, March 21

        Weekend Review: Gjelina

        Guanciale, Green Olive, Fresno Chili, & Buffalo Mozzarella Pizza

        I can't believe it's taken me so long to write about one of my new favorite restaurants, Gjelina! I'd been hearing buzz about their super thin-crust pizza and small plates for months, and after trying it, I can't get enough of their awesome food. It's a great place to take out of town guests because it's located right on trendy Abbot Kinney and has a super fun outdoor patio. I went there most recently when we were entertaining my boyfriend's out of town friend (we also took him to Animal and made slow-roasted pork shoulder), and we tried almost everything on the menu. I'm still a sucker for their fennel salami pizza, but their mushroom toast is a new favorite.

        Marinated Beets, Burrata, Arugula, & Walnuts
        Salt & Pepper Frites with Romesco & Aioli
        Smoked Trout Salad with Avocado, Red Onion & Grapefruit
        Pork Meatballs & Grilled Bread
        Miatake Mushroom Toast with Creme Fraiche & Truffle Oil
        Porchetta with Guajillo Chili & Braised Chard
        Chicories, Tomato, Bacon, & Parmesan Pizza with Sunny Side Duck Egg

        Friday, March 18

        St. Patrick's Day Dinner

        When I was in college, St. Patrick’s Day was a favorite holiday (but then again, so was anything that involved dressing for a theme). Now that I’m a little more grown up, I’m swapping the green beer for whiskey cocktails and the late-night Cosmo’s pizza for a modern Irish dinner. Lamb and mashed potatoes are one of my favorite meals, and I payed homage to the Irish with the added fennel and parsnips. But despite my more adult palate, I’ll never be too old to dress in theme.

        Lamb Chops with Roasted Fennel & Mashed Parsnips:
        • Rub 1 lb. lamb rib chops with salt and pepper.
        • Grill over high heat for 3-4 minutes each side, or until desired doneness.
        • Tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
        • Slice two bulbs of fennel, making sure to remove the core.
        • Toss on a baking sheet with olive oil, salt and pepper.
        • Roast in a 400°F oven for 15-20 minutes, until caramelized.
        • Peel and chop one large russet potato and two parsnips.
        • Place in a pot of water and bring to a boil. Cook vegetables for 20-25 minutes, or until tender.
        • Drain water from the pot and place back on low heat.
        • Mash vegetables with ½ c. milk, 1 tbsp. butter, 1 tbsp. chopped parsley, salt, and pepper.
        • Divide mashed parsnips onto plates. Top with lamb chops and fennel.

        Serves two