Thursday, May 21

Cappelini with Lobster, Lemon, & Chives

Angel hair pasta tossed with buttery lobster, fresh lemon, and chives

Canal House Cooks Everyday Lobster Cappelini

My husband and I had our second wedding anniversary on Monday. To celebrate, we went back to our wedding site, the Beverly Wilshire hotel, over the weekend and had a very memorable dinner at Wolfgang Puck's CUT Steakhouse. But because one celebration just wasn't enough, we also made a lobster dinner at home and popped some champagne the next night. This pasta, adapted slightly from Canal House Cooks Everyday, is elegant in its simplicity - just pasta and lobster with a buttery sauce to bring it all together. You can certainly steam and crack your own lobster, but buying lobster meat directly from the a seafood or nice grocery store will save you a ton of time, enough to make this a weeknight-friendly meal. It's a special meal that is worthy of a big celebration.

More Lobster Recipes:
- Lobster & Truffle Pasta
- Steamed Lobster
- Lobster Risotto

Cappelini with Lobster, Lemon, & Chives:
- 1 3/4 lb. lobster, cooked and meat removed from shells
- 1/3 lb. dried cappelini (angel hair) pasta
- 5 tbsp. butter
- 1 lemon, juiced
- small bunch of chives, minced
- pinch of red chile flakes
- kosher salt

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt. Taste it if necessary, it should taste salty.
  • In a large skillet, melt 3 tbsp. butter with the red chile flakes over medium low heat.
  • Add the lobster meat and about 2 tbsp. lemon juice to the skillet. Season with salt.
  • Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 c. cooking liquid.
  • Immediately transfer the pasta to the pan with the lobster and add in 2 more tbsp. butter.
  • Toss the pasta to combine, adding pasta water as needed to moisten (I used almost all of it).
  • Check for seasoning and add more salt or lemon if needed. Sprinkle in the chives and toss once more.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy.

Serves two

Wednesday, May 20

Bacon, Egg, & Spring Veggie Fried Rice

Use up leftover rice in this quick and easy one-pot meal

Spring Vegetable, Bacon, and Egg Fried Rice

I shared my go-to fried rice recipe as one of my first posts on this blog and still make it often, sometimes tweaking it based on whatever leftovers I have around the house. This version comes from a recipe I saw in Food52 and includes a medley of vegetables, lots of egg, and - most importantly - bacon. The salty bits of pork with the soft scrambled egg and fresh vegetables are a delicious combination, but it's the addition of one non-traditional ingredient, honey, that really sets it over the top. The honey adds a touch of sweetness that helps to enhance the savory flavors of the dish, but it also sticks the rice to the pot to form some nice caramelized bites. I use brown rice because I figure it's an easy way to make the dish a little healthier, but any leftover rice will do. This holds up well in the fridge for a day or two and can be reheated for leftovers.

Note: As with any stir-fry, the cooking time goes by fast and it's essential to have all your ingredients prepped before you turn on the stove.

More Fried Rice Recipes:
- Chicken & Broccoli Fried Rice
- Fried Brown Rice with Broccoli & Egg
- Chicken & Mushroom Fried Rice

Bacon, Egg, & Spring Veggie Fried Rice:
- 4 c. cooked brown rice
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 slices of thick-cut bacon, diced
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 2 c. baby kale, spinach, or other sturdy green
- 1 c. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 3/4 c. peas, fresh or defrosted
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp. canola oil
- 1 tbsp. ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 tbsp. honey

  • Add the bacon to a wok or large skillet over high heat and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until browned. Transfer bacon to plate with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the pan.
  • Add in the beaten eggs and cook, stirring occasionally, for a minute or two, until lightly scrambled. Do not overcook.
  • Scrape the egg on to a plate and return the wok to the heat. 
  • Add in the canola oil and onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until softened, then add in garlic and ginger.
  • Cook for a minute, then add in the mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes. 
  • Add in the kale and cook for 30 seconds, or until wilted.
  • Add in the rice, soy sauce, and toasted sesame oil and toss together, making sure to break up any big clumps of rice.
  • Add in the peas and cook for another minute, then add in the bacon and egg.
  • Drizzle with honey and check for seasoning.

Serves four

Monday, May 18

Grilled Asparagus with Lemon, Breadcrumbs, & Burrata

A meatless main of creamy burrata, grilled asparagus, and lemony breadcrumbs

Grilled Asparagus with Burrata and Lemon Breadcrumbs

Yes, hidden under all that grilled asparagus and toasted lemony breadcrumbs is a mound of soft burrata cheese. This is exactly the type of meatless Monday meal that I can get excited about - tender, slightly charred asparagus, crunchy homemade breadcrumbs with lots of zest and herbs, and one of my favorite creamy cheeses. I saw a version of the asparagus and breadcrumb mixture at Gjusta the other weekend but was too preoccupied with their smoked brisket sandwich (it's worth the long wait in line) to try it. In my opinion, adding a ball of burrata to any salad makes it a meal and both my husband and I were full from this plate of food, although you could certainly serve this on a platter and let a larger group share at a potluck or dinner party.

Related Recipes:
- Snap Pea, Arugula, & Burrata Salad
- Asparagus & Arugula Salad with Pecorino Dressing
- Grilled Eggplant with Burrata Cheese & Romesco

Grilled Asparagus with Lemon, Breadcrumbs, & Burrata Cheese:
- 2 balls of burrata cheese, preferably left at room temperature for a few hours
- 2 bunches of asparagus, woody ends trimmed
- 1/4 stale baguette, cut or torn into small pieces
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1/4 c. olive oil + extra for drizzling
- 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, minced
- kosher salt
- black pepper

  • Heat a grill to high.
  • Toss the asparagus with 2 tbsp. olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • In a food processor or blender, pulse the bread until large crumbs form. Don't grind them too fine into a powder. You should have 3/4 c. - 1 c. of breadcrumbs.
  • Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a skillet and add the breadcrumbs and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toast the crumbs until crispy and golden. Turn off the heat and add in the lemon zest and parsley.
  • Grill the asparagus for 3-4 minutes, then flip and grill for another 3-4 minutes, or until charred in some spots and tender. Chop the asparagus into thirds.
  • Tear open a ball of burrata on the bottom of each plate and season with salt and pepper.
  • Top each plate of burrata with half of the asparagus and half of the breadcrumbs.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and enjoy.

Serves two (main course)

Wednesday, May 13

Apricot-Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

Sweet vanilla cake studded with jammy pockets of apricots

Huckleberry's Apricot-Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

Because of the extra hot winter we had, summer fruits are already showing up at our farmers markets several weeks early. Apricots have a short season (usually only 1-2 months) as it is, so I scooped up a bunch to bring home as soon as I saw them. This apricot and vanilla bean pound cake has been on my list since I first got the Huckleberry cookbook last fall and it does not disappoint. The pound cake is dense and buttery with small flecks of vanilla bean running through batter. It calls for ten full apricots, pitted and halved, which seems like a lot to start. As the cake bakes, the apricots soften into jammy pocked through the cake and the juices thicken and caramelize around the cake's edges. The tangy-tart apricots add a nice contrast to the rich cake with maple syrup glaze and keep it from tasting too sweet. It makes a lovely dessert or snack cake and can even pass for breakfast at our house.

Note: After you scrape out the vanilla bean seeds, save the pod and store it in a container with your sugar to make vanilla sugar.

Related Recipes:
- Lemon Pecan Bread
- Plum Torte
- Blackberry Buttermilk Cake

Apricot-Vanilla Bean Pound Cake:
- 10 ripe apricots, pitted and halved
- 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 c. sugar
- 18 tbsp. (2 sticks + 2 tbsp.) butter, cubed, at room temperature
- 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 c. ricotta cheese
- 1/3 c. maple syrup, slightly warmed
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped from the center
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3/4 tsp. baking powder
- 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
- nonstick cooking spray or butter, for greasing pan

  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a bundt cake pan with nonstick spray.
  • Fit an electric mixer with a paddle attachment and combine the sugar and vanilla bean (seeds only) in a bowl. Mix for 5 minutes to infuse the sugar with the vanilla.
  • Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix to combine.
  • Add the butter and mix for a minute, until starting to come together but still lumpy.
  • Add in the eggs, yolk, ricotta, and vanilla extract and mix until just smooth.
  • Fold on the apricots by hand to combine and evenly distribute.
  • Pour the batter in the prepared pan and place in the oven.
  • Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until cake is not longer jiggly in the center.
  • Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a plate. Brush the outside of the cake with maple syrup and let cool.
  • Slice and serve. Cake can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container for a few days.

Serves ten-twelve

Tuesday, May 12

Asparagus & Arugula Salad with Pecorino Dressing

Raw asparagus and greens with a salty, nutty dressing

Shaved Asparagus and Arugula Salad

Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables and its at the peak of its season right now. It's extremely versatile and available in a variety of colors and sizes. It can be grilled, roasted, steamed, or even served raw. This salad from Canal House Cooks Everyday calls for shaving raw asparagus into thin strips with a vegetable peeler (or excellent knife work) and it's best to use thick asparagus because it has a stronger flavor and is easier to shave into strips. The asparagus is mixed with peppery arugula and a simple pecorino dressing. You may be skeptical about the dressing, which just calls for combining a lot of grated cheese with hot water and olive oil, but trust me - it's acidic and salty and nutty and tastes incredible. This salad makes a bright and fresh side dish that is a nice accompaniment to a rich main course.

More Recipes with Asparagus:
- Spaghetti with Asparagus & Poached Egg
- Asparagus Gratin
- Asparagus Soup

Shaved Asparagus & Arugula Salad with Pecorino Dressing:
For Pecorino Dressing
  • Put 3/4 c. finely grated pecorino cheese in a bowl and slowly whisk in 1/4 c. boiling water until smooth.
  • Drizzle in 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil, whisking constantly, until smooth. Season with pepper and salt.
For Salad
  • Use a vegetable peeler to shave 1/2 lb. thick asparagus into thin strips and add to a salad bowl.
  • Combine with 4 c. baby arugula and toss with the dressing. Check for seasoning and adjust if needed.

Serves three-four (side dish)

Monday, May 11

Coconut-Pineapple Pork & Black Bean Tacos

Turn ground pork and canned beans into quick and flavorful tacos

Food52 Coconut Lime Pork Black Bean Tacos

Tacos are a mainstay around our house and run a wide range of styles from healthy grilled veggie to crispy cheesy beef. I thought I'd tried nearly every kind of taco out there until I came across this recipe for coconut-pineapple pork and black bean tacos from Food52. Ground pork and beans cook with a blend of spices and then simmer in a mixture of coconut milk, pineapple, and lime juice. The tacos are a  blend of spicy, sweet, and tangy flavors and get an added kick from fresh herb and raw vegetable garnishes. The main ingredients of the dish, ground pork and canned beans, are very inexpensive and high in protein, making this a surprisingly inexpensive and healthy meal. I actually made a double recipe and used the leftovers in a burrito bowl with brown rice, which served as a bed for all the coconut-milky sauce (highly recommended).

Note: Because the pork is rather saucy, I recommend double stacking your tortillas to prevent them from getting soggy or falling apart.

More Taco Recipes:
- Grilled Cod Tacos with Citrus Slaw & Avocado Crema
- Flank Steak & Rajas Tacos
- Grilled Summer Vegetable Tacos
- Crispy Ground Beef Tacos

Coconut-Pineapple Pork & Black Bean Tacos:
- 8-10 corn tortillas
- 1 lb. ground pork
- 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 onion, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced
- 2/3 c. coconut milk
- 1/4 c. pineapple juice*
- 1 tbsp. lime juice
- 1 tbsp. coconut or canola oil
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- kosher salt
- black pepper
- fresh cilantro, crumbled cheese, thinly sliced radish (suggested garnishes)

  • Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large skillet and add the onion.
  • Cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent, then add in the garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Stir in the cumin, paprika, oregano, and cayenne and cook for another minute.
  • Add in the pork and use a wooden spoon to break up the meat. Season with a big pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Cook for another 5 minutes, or until the meat is brown. Don't stir too much or the meat won't brown and get good crispy bits.
  • If there is a lot of rendered fat in the pan, drain some of it off (my pork was pretty lean so I didn't do this). Add in the coconut milk and lower the heat to a simmer for about 5 minutes, or until thickened.
  • Add in the beans, pineapple juice, lime juice, and another pinch of salt. Cook for another few minutes then check for seasoning.
  • Use a slotted spoon to divide the mixture into tortillas. Garnish with some avocado, cilantro, cheese, and radish.

Serves four-five
*This is a great use for those little cans of pineapple juice you might have in the back of your pantry.

Wednesday, May 6

Sticky Asian Chicken Wings

Sweet, sticky, and tangy baked chicken wings

Sticky Sesame Wings Smitten Kitchen

I love anything that you can eat with your hands, preferably off of a bone, and am a firm believer that chicken wings should be enjoyed year round and not just on game days. As far as weeknight meals go, chicken wings or drumettes should be a go-to: they're inexpensive, quick-cooking, and loved by kids and adults. This recipe (lightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen) couldn't be easier. Just whisk the ingredients for the sauce, toss with the wings, and baked on a sheet pan until caramelized and sticky. It takes about 3 minutes of active time and about 40 minutes until dinner is ready. While they're baking, I suggest making this ginger-miso salad as an accompaniment.

More Chicken Wing Recipes:
- Sweet & Spicy Asian Chicken Wings
- Grilled Chicken Wings with JalapeƱo Yogurt Dip
- Baked Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dip
- Grilled Honey-Lime-Sriracha Wings

Sticky Asian Chicken Wings:
- 1 1/2 lbs. chicken wings or drumettes
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp. hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsp. honey
- 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- several drops of Sriracha or other hot sauce, or more to taste


  • Preheat the oven to 425F. Cover a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together garlic, hoisin, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, salt, and Sriracha in a large bowl.
  • Add in the chicken wings and toss to coat. Spread the chicken wings and any remaining sauce onto the baking sheet and place in the oven.
  • Bake for 35 minutes, turning the wings over halfway through, or until wings are cooked through and the sauce is thick and sticky.
  • Transfer to a serving plate or bowl and sprinkle with the sesame seeds and scallion.

Serves two, can be easily doubled

Tuesday, May 5

Farfalle Pasta with Fava Bean Pesto

A riff on pesto pasta using my favorite spring vegetable

Pasta with Fava Bean Pesto

Fava beans are one of my favorite spring vegetables, but they are only available at my local farmers' market for a few short weeks every year during the spring. This recipe transforms the beans into a smooth pesto by cooking the beans with garlic, chile, and olive oil until tender and then blending them with pine nuts, parsley, and parmesan cheese. The pesto is rich and thick and makes a great sauce for hot pasta. There is actually a lot of vegetables in every serving, which makes it a filling one-pot meal. Make extra pesto and spread it onto a sandwich or serve it as a dip later in the week.

Related Recipes:
- Pasta with Mashed Fava Beans
- Creamy Linguine with Peas
- Pesto Orecchiette with Chicken, Peas, & Fava Beans

Farfalle Pasta with Fava Bean Pesto:
- 2 1/2 lbs. fava beans in pods, beans removed from pods
- 1 lb. farfalle pasta
- 3/4 c. fresh parsley leaves
- 1/4 c. + 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese, plus more to garnish
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp. pine nuts, toasted
- pinch of red chile flakes
- kosher salt
- black pepper

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil, add in the fava beans, and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Drain the beans and transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool. Peel off the outer skin of the fava beans and discard.*
  • Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium high heat and add in the garlic, chile flakes, and fava beans. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the fava beans are soft.
  • Transfer the fava bean mixture to a food processor and add the pine nuts and parsley. Pulse until this forms a paste.
  • Slowly stream in 1/4 c. olive oil, then stir in the parmesan cheese. Check for seasoning.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with salt, and cook the pasta according to package directions.
  • Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 c. pasta cooking liquid.
  • Add the pasta back to the pot and toss with the fava bean pesto and some of the cooking water.
  • Divide onto plates and sprinkle with a little more parmesan cheese.

Serves four
*Fava beans can be prepped and refrigerated a few days in advance.

Monday, May 4

Light & Herby Potato Salad

A mayo-less potato salad with lots of green herbs

No Mayo Potato Salad with Herbs

As someone who hates mayonnaise, traditional American potato salad (and egg salad, chicken salad, etc.) is one of my worst nightmares. This recipe is a much lighter take on the classic, with perfectly cooked Yukon Gold potatoes, thinly sliced red onions, and lots of green herbs, all tossed in a mustardy vinaigrette. The warm potatoes soak up the dressing and take on the zippy flavor of the vinegar and mustard. The herbs add freshness and the onion adds a sweet crunch for a balanced side dish that's much lighter than the traditional. You can make it ahead and leave it out at all day at a picnic and you don't have to worry about it spoiling because it has no mayo. Bring it to your friends' BBQs all summer long and pair it with ribs, burgers, grilled chicken, and more.

Note: The key to a good potato salad is perfectly cooked potatoes. They should be tender but not falling apart.

More (Not Green) Salad Recipes:
- Grilled Corn Salad with Red Onion, Feta, & Cilantro
- Green Bean Salad
- Farro, Asparagus, & Tomato Salad

Potato Salad with Green Herbs & Red Onion:
- 1 3/4 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 red onion, peeled and very thinly sliced
- 1/4 c. chives, minced
- 1/4 c. parsley, minced
- 1/4 c. dill, minced
- 1 clove garlic, smashed and minced
- 1/4 c. + 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp. dijon mustard
- kosher salt
- black pepper

  • Add the potatoes to a large pot and cover with cold water by 1".
  • Bring the pot to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for 7-10 minutes, or until the tip of a sharp knife easily goes into the potato.
  • Drain the potatoes and add to a large bowl. Toss with the rice vinegar, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper.
  • Add the parsley, dill, chives, and red onion and stir to combine.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together the garlic, red wine vinegar, mustard, and a big pinch of salt and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.
  • Pour the dressing over the potatoes and toss to coat. Check for seasoning and adjust if needed.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature. This can sit out for several hours or be refrigerated for a few days.

Serves four-eight (side dish)

Friday, May 1

Ginger-Miso Snap Pea, Radish, & Napa Cabbage Salad

Crunchy sliced vegetables in a creamy Japanese-style dressing

The side salads I make for dinner are usually an afterthought, just some mixed greens and maybe some leftover veggies or cheese tossed with olive oil and lemon. There's nothing wrong with that, but when I make salads like this Smitten Kitchen-inspired snap pea, radish, and napa cabbage salad with creamy ginger-miso dressing, I never want to eat a simple green salad again. The main star is the ginger-miso dressing, which is salty, sweet, nutty, and creamy without the addition of any dairy. If you don't want to go through the hassle of prepping and slicing all the vegetables (but you should - it's worth it), you could put the dressing on some romaine lettuce and call it a day. The salad is heavy on crisp-tender sugar snap peas, which are in season for the next couple of months and are so sweet that you might even be able to skip blanching them and use them completely raw.  The napa cabbage adds bulk and the radishes add bite for a crunchy salad that will hold up to the dressing and can even sit out for a bit without wilting. You could add some shredded chicken to make this a main course, but I served it as a side dish to sticky Asian wings (coming to KSD soon).

Note: The dressing can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for a couple days, in case you want to plan ahead and double the recipe for more salads later in the week.

Related Recipes:
- Grilled Sesame-Soy Bok Choy Salad
- Kale Soba Noodle Bowl with Ginger-Lime Dressing
- Miso Asian Pear Salad

Snap Pea, Radish, & Napa Cabbage Salad with Creamy Ginger-Miso Dressing:
- 1/2 head napa cabbage, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
- 1/2 lb. sugar snap peas
- 4-5 large radishes, cut into matchsticks
- 4 scallions, ends removed, thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted in a dry skillet until golden
- 1/4 c. rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp. sesame oil
- 2 tbsp. canola or olive oil
- 2 tbsp. tahini paste*
- 2 tbsp. miso paste + more to taste
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1 tbsp. ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced

  • In a blender, combine the rice vinegar, sesame oil, canola oil, tahini, miso, honey, ginger, and garlic and blend until smooth. Set the dressing aside.
  • Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and add in the sugar snap peas. Boil for 1 minute, then drain and immediately transfer to a bowl of ice water.
  • Let the sugar snaps cool in the water, then pat dry with a towel and thinly slice, removing any tough stems or strings.
  • Combine the snap peas with the cabbage, radishes, scallions, and half of the sesame seeds.
  • Add most of dressing and toss to coat. Add more dressing if needed and sprinkle with remaining sesame seeds.

Serves four-six (side dish)
*Sesame seed paste. Often found by the nut butters in the grocery store.