chicken karaage: japanese fried chicken

Chicken Karaage: Japanese Fried Chicken

I’ve always had a thing for fried foods: french fries, onion rings, corn dogs, and doughnuts. You name it, if it’s fried, chances are good that I’d love it.  Without a doubt, my favorite fried food is fried chicken. When I make it at home, I used to use a  traditional Southern fried chicken recipe with buttermilk until I discovered chicken karaage, Japanese fried chicken, or JFC, for short. Now, it’s my go-to fried chicken recipe. Continue reading

polenta with slow-roasted cherry tomatoes and pesto

Polenta with Slow-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Pesto

I love when my garden dictates what I am going to cook. This past week, both the red cherry and yellow pear tomato plants were loaded with fruit, and when that happens simultaneously, we just can’t eat them fast enough. To extend their shelf life, I slow roasted them with a little garlic and some fresh herbs from the garden. At the same time, the basil plant was lush and green, with enough fragrant leaves to make a batch of pesto sauce. Continue reading

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andalusian gazpacho

Andalusian Gazpacho

Gazpacho is a cold soup from Andalucía, in southern Spain. Many food historians believe that it is derived from a Roman dish made with bread and water flavored with olive oil and salt. The name gazpacho may come from the Latin word, caspa, meaning “fragments” or “little pieces”, which refers to the bread crumbs, an essential ingredient in the Andalusian version. The bread not only thickens the soup, but also makes it more filling. Tomatoes, considered today as classic ingredient in gazpacho, was not added to the soup until the discovery of the New World.

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grilled artichokes with shishito pepper aioli

Grilled Artichokes with Shishito Pepper Aioli

Growing up, I wasn’t a particularly picky eater. Like many kids, I just didn’t like vegetables. I would always grumble at my mom’s insistence that I eat something green and/or leafy. Thank goodness she never made me sit at the dinner table until I finished all my vegetables because I would most likely have sat there until I turned 18. I’m proud to say that I’ve come a long way since then. I am certainly much better at eating vegetables now. In fact, I enjoy eating a variety of them and even grow some in my garden.

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lime-cilantro pasta salad

Lime-Cilantro Pasta Salad

As a regular reader, you’ve probably noticed that I am particularly fond of sugar and butter, which, unfortunately, is not good for me nor my waistline. That’s why I am excited to find recipes as healthy and tasty as this pasta salad.  With luscious mangoes, creamy avocados, sweet tomatoes and bell peppers, I’ve found a great way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my diet.

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parmesan bread pudding with baby broccoli, mushrooms, and pancetta

Parmesan Bread Pudding with Baby Broccoli, Mushrooms, and Pancetta

It seems that I can’t get too far away from thinking about food and blogging, even if I wanted to. Last Monday, I had a day off from work and I had planned on a rmuch-needed day of rest and relaxation. I was going to read magazines on my iPad, get a mani/pedi, and order some takeout from my favorite Chinese restaurant down the street. I wanted a day away from the blog, which meant no cooking, writing, and taking photos. I even banned myself from Pinterest to try to disconnect from anything that might remotely lead me back to the blog.

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spaghetti squash with sausage, tomatoes, and sage

I’ve always been curious about spaghetti squash and until this past weekend, I had never cooked with it. A variety of winter squash, it is oblong-shaped with a hard, pale yellow rind and stringy, orange-colored flesh that resembles translucent strands of pasta when cooked. Its texture is slightly crunchy, somewhat akin to al dente pasta. Its season starts in early fall and goes throughout winter. Spaghetti squash is low in calories and is a good source of fiber as well as nutrients like beta carotene, folic acid, Vitamin A, and potassium. It makes a low carb and tasty alternative to pasta or potatoes. Continue reading

hatch chiles and chorizo bake

Hatch chile season is here!  These green chiles were named after the Hatch Valley, in New Mexico, where they are exclusively grown.  The region, located along the Rio Grande River, provides the perfect growing conditions for cultivating these flavorful chiles: hot summer days and cool nights, ample water for irrigation, and mineral-rich soil. They are only harvested once a year, in late July to early August, and the season last for just six weeks. Continue reading

heirloom and cherry tomatoes with peach-basil vinaigrette

We suffer from bland, watery, and mushy tomatoes most of the year, but each summer, we get a reprieve when these deeply-colored, and tasty fruits make their appearance at farmers market and grocery stores.  There are so many varieties, ranging in size, color, and shape.  Depending on the type, tomatoes vary in taste, from highly acidic to very sweet. Continue reading

shrimp and avocado salad with pancetta, lemon, and mache

Shrimp and Avocado Salad

I love lazy mornings like the one I had this morning, with no alarm clocks and no long commutes.  I didn’t have to fuss with my hair, and stayed in my pajamas a little longer.  I slept in, groggily waking up just in time for Chris to hand me my morning latté and to kiss him goodbye, as he scurried off to work.  I spent the early morning wandering about my garden, lamenting my tardiness in planting the zucchini, carrots, and peas, which I promised myself I would do tomorrow.  I halfheartedly leafed through a couple of cookbooks, while watching The Today Show, looking for inspiration for what to make for lunch. I finally got dressed and headed out the door to run some errands. Once I arrived at Whole Foods, I took my time wandering around the pristine aisles, where the produce guy caught me doing a happy dance after spotting some fresh rhubarb, hidden behind some carrots and turnips. Continue reading

chinese salt and pepper squid


Most Chinese restaurants often have “salt and pepper” items on the menu.  Pork chops, shrimp, cubes of tofu, chicken wings, or squid are usually battered and deep-fried and served with a mound of chilli peppers and green onions.  I made my version with squid, using both the body and the tentacles (my favorite part!).  I didn’t want a thick batter so I found this recipe which coated the squid with a dry mixture of cornstarch and flour. Since I don’t like super spicy foods, I used the milder jalapeño peppers instead of Serrano or Thai chillies.  I’m not sure how authentically Chinese this dish is, but as the fragrant aroma of the garlic, jalapeños, and green onions filled my kitchen, I knew this dish was going to be good. Continue reading

tuscan mashed potatoes


I was inspired to cook mashed potatoes using olive oil instead of butter after I tasted the rich and creamy Olive Oil Smashed Potatoes at Birreria, the rooftop beer garden at Eataly in New York City. These Tuscan mashed potatoes have a great flavor from the olive oil, roasted garlic, and rosemary. Obviously, using a good quality extra virgin olive oil is the key to this recipe. Omitting the cream will result in a healthier dish, that is both vegan and gluten-free, with a more distinct olive oil flavor.

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football food: spinach and artichoke dip

Over the last couple of posts, I’ve shared some yummy snacks that are perfect for your football party or tailgate.  The last one I want to share with you is this warm and creamy  Spinach and Artichoke Dip.  This is easy to prep ahead of time, then bake in the oven about 30 minutes before you and your guests are ready to eat. I usually serve this with tortilla or pita chips.  I added the breadcrumb topping to give it a little crunch and more garlic flavor.  The garlic is not overpowering in this recipe since it is roasted for a mellower and nutty taste, but decrease amount if you are garlic-averse. Continue reading