Sunday, December 29, 2013

Recipe (Re)creation: Chocolate + Orange Florentines

This recipe is courtesy of the Ottolenghi Cookbook, the newest cookbook by the authors of bestsellers Plenty and Jerusalem.  This book is equally wonderful and I highly recommend it.  I went straight to this florentine recipe since I have always had a soft spot for chocolate oranges around the holidays.  I got one in my stocking every year as a kid,  and now that flavor combination always reminds me of Christmas.  I actually looked high and low for chocolate oranges to put in our stockings this year and came back empty-handed, so these helped fill the void.  I ended up drizzling dark chocolate on the cookies, but they are also delicious on their own without the chocolate.  Either way, you can't go wrong.

Makes about 20 cookies


  • vegetable oil
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 2 3/4 cups sliced almonds
  • zest from 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate ships


-Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
-Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and brush with oil.
-Put egg whites, powdered sugar, sliced almonds, and orange zest in a bowl.
-Mix gently and pick up the mix to make small mounds evenly spaced on sheet.
-Dip a fork in cold water and flatten each mound thinly.
-Place one baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes.
-Repeat with the second sheet, baking until lightly golden.
-Meanwhile heat 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips over a double burner.
-When fully melted, drizzle chocolate on the cooled cookies using a fork.
-Eat immediately or store in a sealed container.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Recipe Creation: Perfect Herb Roasted Chicken

I made this chicken for Christmas dinner and it was a total hit.  Chicken can get a bad rap for being boring or dry and this recipe is neither!  The preparation is pretty straightforward and foolproof, yet it looks and tastes surprisingly impressive.  The key is in the basting- it keeps the bird nice and juicy and makes the skin ultra crispy.  This is a perfect staple to have in your back pocket.  Serve with roasted root vegetables and a kale salad and you have yourself a perfect winter meal!

Serves 4


  • 4-5 lb organic whole chicken
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt & ground pepper
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 peeled yellow onion
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 sprigs thyme


-Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
-Wash and dry the chicken and rub all sides with olive oil.
-Place the chicken breast side up on a roasting dish.
-Season the inside and outside of the chicken with salt and pepper.
-Stuff the cavity with the lemon & onion and a sprig each of rosemary and thyme.
-Next, pull the leaves off the remaining rosemary and thyme sprigs.
-Carefully push your fingers under the chicken skin to loosen and make a pocket.
-Put the remaining herbs under the chicken skin and distribute evenly.
-Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, basting every 1/2 hour with the juices in the pan.
-Remove chicken when the skin is nice and crispy and the thermometer reaches 180 F.
-Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes, then transfer to a platter.
-Pour 1/2 cup boiling water into the roasting pan & loosen any brown bits with a spoon.
-Pour the rich juices from the pan into a gravy boat and serve alongside the chicken.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Recipe (Re)creation: Mom's Puffy Pancake

While the holidays are always joyful, they never fail to make me miss my mom dearly. My best attempt at keeping her here in spirit is to make her signature dishes throughout the holidays.  This puffy pancake was one of my absolute favorite breakfast treats growing up.  I would beg for it every weekend and my mom made it for me and my sister every Christmas morning without fail.  This morning I am channeling my mom and spoiling myself (and family) with this beautifully delicious breakfast.  It serves two very hungry people or three to four as a small breakfast.  It looks so impressive, but it's actually quite simple (shhh) and is sure to make your family and friends feel special.  Serve with powdered sugar, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and any berries you have on hand.

Serves 2-4


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Optional topping:
    • powdered sugar
    • fresh lemon juice
    • berries


-Preheat oven to 400 degree F.
-Place the butter in a 9 inch round baking dish and place in the oven to melt.
-Brush the butter all over the bottom and sides on the dish.
-Whisk together the eggs, then add the flour, milk and salt and mix well.
-Pour into the dish and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and puffy.
-Serve immediately with lemon juice, powdered sugar, and berries.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Recipe Creation: Christmas Pozole

I love this soup for so many reasons.  It is adapted from this recipe that I came across a few weeks ago, and I can't tell you how happy I am that I did.   It is a bit of a labor of love, but it is one of the most comforting, satisfying, and nutrient rich dishes I can imagine.  I made it a few nights ago for my dad who had the flu and he called it the 'penicillin' of soups.  I think one of the best parts about this dish is the garnishes.  You can play around with any toppings that appeal to you.  I highly recommend avocados, sliced radishes, jalapeño, cilantro, oregano, and lime juice.  Plus, it just so happens to be green and red, so it's the perfect Christmas soup.  This one is guaranteed to keep the relatives happy : )

Serves 4-6

  • 1 29 oz can of cooked hominy
  • 1 large white onion, sliced thinly
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • salt
  • 2 large chicken breasts, bone-in & skin-on
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 lb tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • Optional toppings:
    • sliced radishes
    • chopped avocado
    • sliced limes
    • diced jalapeño
    • more cilantro & oregano


-Bring 8 cups of water to boil in a large stockpot. 
-Add 3 of the chopped garlic cloves, 1/2 of the sliced onion & 1 tsp salt.
-Simmer with the top on the pot for about 10 minutes. 
-Next, add the chicken breasts to the pot and cook uncovered for 20 minutes.
-Remove the chicken with tongs and place on a plate to cool.
-Meanwhile, strain the broth and set aside for later.
-When the chicken is cool, shred it and set aside.
-Next, grind the pumpkin seeds in a blender and place in a small bowl.
-In a large saucepan, heat 3 cups water & add the whole tomatillos and the remaining onion.
-Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
-Once the veggies are cooked through, transfer them (discarding the liquid) into the blender.
-Add the oregano, the remaining garlic, 1/4 cup cilantro, and 1 1/2 tsp salt & blend thoroughly.
-Meanwhile, heat the canola oil in a large stock pot and add the green sauce from the blender.
-Cook the sauce, uncovered, for about 8 minutes or until it thickens slightly.
-Next, add the ground pumpkin seeds and 1 cup of the reserved chicken broth.
-Cook for another 5 minutes, then add the chicken, hominy, and 3 more cups of broth.
-Simmer, partially covered, for about 15 minutes. 
-Stir in another 1/4 cup cilantro and season with salt to taste.
-Ladle the soup into big bowls, garnish to your liking, and promptly devour.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Libation Creation: Santa's Special Sauce

This cocktail was inspired by a delicious drink called the Maple that I enjoyed one night at Farley Bar in Sausalito.  It is the perfect wintery treat to warm you on a cold night.  It even appeals to non-Bourbon drinkers since its sweet and refreshing.  I made this recently for a holiday party and it was a total hit.  It works well served in a pitcher and the recipe can easily be multiplied for a crowd.  This drink is guaranteed to make your spirits bright!  I mean, how else do you think Santa gets through Christmas night? Ho Ho Ho...

Makes 1


  • 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz maple syrup
  • 2 oz Bourbon (Maker's Mark)


-Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice.
-Shake until well blended and pour into a low tumbler with ice.
-Drink and repeat.