Friday, September 12, 2014

Recipe Creation: Meyer Lemon + Strawberry Ice Pops

As Indian summer is upon us in San Francisco, the temperature is rising and there is truly nothing more refreshing than an ice cold popsicle.  I have been on a total lemonade kick recently and figured if I liked it cold, I would really like it frozen.  I had some strawberries I'd gotten from the farmer's market a week before and I couldn't let them go to waste, so I threw those in too.  Not only do the strawberries make the ice pops even more beautiful, but they also add some texture and are a nice sweet surprise.  This recipe is definitely on the more tart side, so feel free to add more agave if you like a sweeter treat.  Otherwise, keep the recipe as written and you can enjoy the fact that you are not consuming an ice pop loaded with a bunch of added sugar. Though they are super fast to whip together, you do have to be patient and keep them in the freezer for 4 hours before enjoying, so plan ahead!

Makes about 12 ice pops


  • 3/4 cup meyer lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup ripe strawberries, sliced


-Pour the lemon juice, water, and agave nectar in a blender.
-Blend for about 30 seconds or until well-mixed.
-Add the strawberry slices to the lemonade and pour the mixture into popsicle molds.
-Make sure to leave about 1/2 inch at the top of each mold to make space for the popsicles to expand as they freeze.
-Put the tops on the molds and freeze for at least 4 hours.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Restaurant (Re)creation: Kokkari's Watermelon Salad with Pine Nuts, Feta + Basil

This salad is amazingly simple and refreshing (not to mention, BEAUTIFUL). Watermelon is in season right now and this salad is the perfect way to showcase it. Kokkari nailed this recipe with the salty feta, touch of basil and crunchy pine nuts. You can also swap the basil for mint if you prefer. Either way, you can't go wrong!

Serves 6


  • 2 1/2 lbs watermelon, chilled
  • 1/4 lb Greek feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 3 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Optional- freshly ground pepper


-Cut the watermelon into 1-inch cubes and arrange on a serving platter.
-Crumble feta all over the watermelon.
-Sprinkle with pine nuts and torn basil.
-Drizzle with olive oil and top with a twist of freshly ground pepper.
-Serve immediately.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Recipe (Re)creation: Grilled Peach + Prosciutto Pizza

I just took a fabulous cooking class at Sur La Table and we focused specifically on grilled pizzas.  The hands-down winner of the night was a grilled peach and prosciutto pizza.  I ended up eating two of them (yes, two) and was determined to make them at home.  I added mozzarella, caramelized onions and some lightly dressed arugula leaves to the top and had myself a culinary masterpiece.  While we did learn how to make our own dough (I will post this later), it is a little time consuming and must be made a few days in advance, so I used Whole Foods store-bought dough.  The key is the leave it out so it is room temperature when you are ready to start forming the crusts.  That way it will be much easier to work with and you will be much happier with your results.  You don't even have to own a BBQ to make these pizzas- any grill pan or griddle will do!

Serves 1-2


  • Vegetable oil (for brushing peaches and grill)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large white peach, pitted and sliced
  • 8 oz. pizza dough, room temperature
  • flour (for forming crusts)
  • 2-3 sliced prosciutto, torn
  • 2-3 oz. fresh mozzarella, torn
  • 1/2 cup arugula
  • 1 3/4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar


-Preheat your grill or grill pan over high heat and brush with olive oil.
-Heat a large non-stick skillet and add 1 tbsp olive oil.
-Add the yellow onion slices and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
-Remove the caramelized onions from heat and set aside.
-Next, brush peach slices with oil and place on grill.
-Cook until they develop grill marks, then flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
-Carefully remove peaches from grill and set aside for later.
-With floured hands, form the pizza dough into a ball.
-Pinch the dough with your thumbs and forefingers to stretch it out.
-Once it is round and flat, place the dough on a floured surface
-Brush one side with oil and place the oiled side down on the grill.
-Cover, and cook until grill marks appear (about 3 mins).
-Then oil the top and flip again until the other side also has golden grill marks.
-Remove from heat, top with torn mozzarella, prosciutto and peaches.
-Return pizzas to the grill, cover, and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
-Mix the arugula and remaining olive oil and balsamic in a small bowl.
-Top the pizza with caramelized onions and arugula salad.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Recipe (Re)creation: Green Gazpacho with Marcona Almonds

This creation was inspired by a lovely marcona almond gazpacho I had at Contigo recently.  While mine is not a white gazpacho, I did decide to add marcona almonds to a more traditional green gazpacho.  I adapted a recipe that I came across in Bon Appétit and the final result will not disappoint.  Serve as an appetizer or as a light lunch.  It is the perfect chilled summer soup!

Serves 4


  • 1/3 cup marcona almonds, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 1/2 cups ciabatta, torn and crusts removed
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled and cubed
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 tomatillos, husked and sliced
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • 2 jalapeños, seeds removed and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • kosher salt


-Whisk together the vinegar, lime juice, yogurt, and 1/2 cup oil in a bowl.
-Add the bread, cucumber, bell pepper, tomatillos, scallions, jalapeños, garlic & almonds.
-Toss to coast, cover, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
-Purée the mixture in a Vitamix or high powered blender until very smooth.
-Transfer to a large bowl and season with salt, as needed.
-Ladle soup into bowls, drizzle with olive oil, and top with the remaining almonds.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Recipe (Re)creation: Crushed Beets with Greek Yogurt + Herbs

I came across this lovely crushed beets recipe in my June edition of Bon Appetit.  I fell in love with the combination of greek yogurt, lemon zest, herbs and perfectly roasted beets.  I just made a few changes and added toasted hazelnuts and a drizzle of balsamic reduction at the end.  Otherwise, I stayed pretty true to the original recipe. This is one dish I will be adding to the regular repertoire for sure!

Serves 2


  • 1 lb. small or medium beets
  • 5 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp. freshly torn dill
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • Maldon sea salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp. toasted hazelnuts
  • Balsamic reduction


-Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with tin foil.
-Place scrubbed beets on the foil and drizzle with 1/2 tbsp oil.
-Season with salt and paper and wrap the foil around the beets.
-Roast beets for 40-50 minutes, depending on their size.
-Let cool, remove the skins of the beets with a paper towel and crush.
-Meanwhile, whisk the lemon zest, juice and 2 tbsp. oil in a bowl and set aside. 
-Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a large skillet, add beets, and season with salt and pepper.
-Cook the beets until browned, about 4 minutes on each side. 
-Transfer the beets to the bowl with the vinaigrette and toss.
-Add the mint, dill, and hazelnuts to the bowl and mix.  
-Add the remaining 1/2 tbsp. oil, and sprinkle with Maldon sea salt and pepper. 
-Serve with dollops of greek yogurt and a hefty drizzle of balsamic reduction.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Recipe Creation: Quinoa Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies

Since today is graduation for so many of my students, I got an unexpected day off! After a leisurely walk and lunch in Marin, I still had the whole afternoon ahead. Naturally, I was drawn to my kitchen. I have done a lot of savory dishes lately, but I really wanted something sweet.  So I started brainstorming and threw three of my favorite ingredients into one tasty cookie: quinoa, almond butter and dark chocolate chips.  It's a winning combination.  One piece of advice: let the quinoa cool before you add the chocolate chips, unless you want the chips to melt and turn the whole cookie brown.  Otherwise, the recipe should be pretty straightforward.  As far as cookies go, they're pretty darn healthy and who could say no to a cookie that tastes (and looks) this good? You'd have to be crazy.

Makes about 15 cookies


  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 2 tbsp. applesauce
  • 1/4 cup agave
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup mini dark chocolate chips


-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
-Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
-Place quinoa and water in a small saucepan and bring to boil. 
-Reduce to a simmer, and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until water evaporates.
-Remove from heat and let quinoa cool to room temperature.
-In a medium sized bowl, mix the almond butter, applesauce, agave, vanilla, and salt.
-Mix in the quinoa, brown rice flour and chocolate chips.
-Spoon dough into tablespoon-size mounds and place on baking sheet.
-Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the bottoms begin to brown.
-Eat immediately or allow to cool completely before storing.  Enjoy!

Recipe Creation: Mexican Corn, Black Bean + Quinoa Bowl

This dish was inspired by a recipe I came across on the SF Cooking School Blog.  I love making quinoa bowls, and decided to up the ante by adding sautéed corn, feta, and a fried egg.  Serve with tortillas and you can even turn the bowl into DIY tacos.  Gotta love it when versatility tastes this good.  Dare I say this is the perfect, easy, weeknight meal?

Serves: 2-4


  • 1 cup rainbow quinoa
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup cooked black beans
  • 1 scant tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 jalapeño, minced
  • 2 tbsp. cilantro
  • 3 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 3 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 ears of corn kernels 
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup feta
  • Salt & pepper
  • Optional- eggs


-Heat a saucepan on medium heat and add quinoa.
-Dry fry the quinoa for about 3 minutes, or until slightly toasted, then add water.
-Bring to a boil, then turn to low and cook quinoa for about 15 minutes.
-Meanwhile, toss the bell pepper in a bowl with the red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper.
-In a small saucepan, sauté the corn in butter and set aside.
-Next, transfer quinoa to a medium bowl to cool.
-Add the beans, corn, cilantro & jalapeño to the quinoa.
-Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, cumin, salt & pepper.
-Toss the dressing into the quinoa bowl and sprinkle with avocado and feta.
-Distribute salad into individual bowls and top each with a fried egg.