Blog Post from May 2017: After 4 weeks of loads of travel, I am back home and getting back into real life. Interestingly, I have never been more organized with my content when traveling, especially before 4 weeks of on and of travel. I had plenty of content to share posts just as regularly while I was gone. From this time last month, until right now, I have been in Mexico, Portland Oregon and finally, Buffalo, New York. I’ve been down the road and back again, to say the very least.
This final leg of travel, which I just returned from last night, began as an innocent surprise trip home to see my family. I somewhat randomly selected this week, though it was my Mother’s birthday and my nephew’s first birthday, but it was just all a good excuse to come home and surprise everyone.
Sadly as the trip crept closer, I received word that my Grandfather had fallen ill and it wasn’t looking great this time. His body was failing him and it was his time. He was in Hospice. I kept checking in with my mother, from my trip to Portland, asking how he was and managing the wonder of what would happen if he passed if I was in Portland, mere days before my scheduled surprise trip. Could I book a rush trip back to New York from Portland? I would also have to spoil the surprise that I had worked so hard on and it would be a challenge cancelling a non refundable trip, just to come a couple days sooner.
Fruit and I have certainly had our ups and downs over the years. I like to describe our tumultuous connection using the Facebook relationship status of “it’s complicated”. In the past couple of years as I have worked very, very hard to get my gut issues under control, despite the usual suspects, I have come to find that many fruits, especially those highest in fructose to be one of THE biggest triggers in my chronic bloating, gas and general gastric upset.
This isn’t exclusive to me and it’s actually quite common with folks that struggle with bacterial imbalances in their gut, SIBO, leaky gut, etc. Fruits high in fructose can cause fermentation in the gut, which can lead to some not-so-pleasant after effects.
It took me some time to discover that fruit was one of the biggest culprits and more, it was hard for me to understand how a nutritious, healthful whole food, like fruit could be create such gnarly side effects. Seemed wrong. It was in experimenting with a low FODMAP protocol that I found some of the greatest relief and while there are still some fruits today, that I have to be careful with and mindful of how much I consume, it has changed so significantly over the last few years as I have worked hard to heal my gut and get my gut bacteria in better balance.
This Grilled Potato and Arugula Salad with Fresh Herbs is a summertime backyard BBQ staple around here. A must when we are entertaining. Put all other potato salads to shame with multiple layers of flavor and texture.
[This is an updated post from 2011.]
For well over 6 years now this potato salad has been a staple of our summertime cookouts. Whenever we have people over, whether we are cooking up the most elaborate or the most simple of meals – this side dish stunner is my go-to.
Cooking up the potatoes first allows them to soften up a bit, so when they hit the grilled glistening with the Terra Delyssa olive oil, they get a golden brown char to the outside of them, while still holding their shape.
Try substituting baby spinach, kale or other lettuces or greens for the arugula and even play with different vinaigrette moves, try adding in a whole grain mustard, a little lemon zest, maybe add some red pepper flakes.
I am always looking for fun, inspired and unique ways to up my culinary creativity game, without too much extra fuss. Enter tea. I find tea-infusing to take the flavor profiles of recipes to new heights, with little to no extra work and the flavor combinations truly are endless.
This Moroccan Mint Tea infused rice is the perfect example. Beyond boiling some water and infusing the tea for 3-5 minutes, that’s about it for extra work. The rice cooks as usual and you are left with an incredibly flavorful dish, that will knock your socks off.
After sipping on a steamy mug of this flavorful Moroccan Mint Tea from Stash Tea, a beautiful blend of both mint and green teas with a hint of lemongrass flavor, I found I was inspired to create a meal focused on the very essence of the tea. Morocco. The rice is fluffy and fully of subtle Moroccan flavors from the mint to the spices and the flecks of sweet raisins and the crunchy toasted pine nuts. All of this pairs perfectly with the Moroccan Spiced Grilled Chicken Skewers which elevate this to a meal. If you want to go deep into the Moroccan flavors, I recommend adding some preserved lemons when serving.
I am back in New York right now, visiting my family for the week. I’ve been home but a couple of days and it’s been jam-packed with family, friends, fun and of course – eating. We have yet to fill our faces with a Greek feast, but I know it’s coming, that’s always on my MUST-HAVE list when I am home.
In moving to California over three years ago, I have found myself learning how to recreate some of my most favorite Greek dishes that I grew up eating, as well as many that I didn’t. To me, Greek food is the flavor of family and comfort and it’s the taste of home. Good homemade Greek food is always what I crave when I am feeling homesick and missing my family. Lamb is certainly a Greek favorite and while we traditionally enjoy leg of lamb roasted or grilled, I have really come to love ground lamb, as meatballs, in homemade gyro meat, in moussaka or especially these tasty burgers.
As I sit to write the posts for this website, 2-3 times a week, often I find myself lacking the words. I am no writer, have never claimed to be. I am sure my sentence structuring is atrocious, I am certain my posts are littered with typos and poor punctuation skills. I generally didn’t start this website to share my personal thoughts on life or my beliefs, as often as they do trickle into the pages by default. I mostly have always had a strong desire to help make a difference for those, like me, that struggle with their health, are challenged by navigating the ever-evolving landscape of eating and food and what it truly means to be well.
As our worlds are all constantly changing and shifting, as life seems to get busier than ever for us all, I find myself more called to want to simply live my life without a filter, to share my experiences in all their realness and hopefully, simultaneously, inspire you to be excited about getting into the kitchen and tapping into your own creativity. I want you to approach food and your health without fear. I want you all to feel empowered to be your own advocates and to never settle for anything other that feeling amazing, every day. My hope is also that through sharing my recipes, how-to’s and other tips here on the website and on social media, that everyone knows eating well doesn’t always have to be about the crazy flavor combos and complicated ingredients that you can only buy online or at a specialty food store. I think we all have to admit that even though weeknight meals deserve a little flair sometimes, a totally boring, basic
bitchmeal of veggies and some baked fish, that isn’t exactly instagram-able – that’s totally OK, too.
This is a recipe that I have wanted to share with you all for many years, but my disdain for photographing meat has kept me from it. I know, I know. I’ve been holding out. Don’t hate me. But I have long struggled with how to make charred, brown meat look appetizing, I dunno if I did it – but who cares? I did the best I could and this is far too delicious to keep from you any longer.
This is another Greek recipe I grew up eating. My Dad has perfected his Greek Marinated Leg of Lamb. He has done it bone-in and boneless on the grill, in the oven and even over an open fire pit. Every summer when the Greek side of my family has their big family reunion out at the lake, my dad is always in charge of the lamb and it’s a spectacle for everyone. In all honesty, I feel like half of it gets eaten right off the grill.
I am super excited to share with you guys this amazing summery, chilled soup recipe, aka one of my most favorite ways, currently, to enjoy the flavors of the season. The whole idea for this Grilled Summer Veggie Gazpacho was inspired by one of my new favorite kitchen staples, vegan stocks and broths from Massel.
Earlier this year while at the Expo West Natural Products Convention, I had the pleasure of not only meeting the amazing Blender Girl, Tess Masters, who has quickly become one of my favorite people, but in meeting her I was also introduced to Massel, an amazing brand, new to America, hailing from her home country of Australia. Massel makes high-quality easy-to-use bouillons, stock cubes, seasoning granules and Concentrated Liquid Stock. All of their incredible all-natural products are gluten-free and vegan, so they can essentially be enjoyed by all, regardless of dietary restrictions. Massel never adds MSG and all of their ingredients are non-GMO. Besides all of that, the best part about their bouillons are how they taste just like homemade stocks.
Though I am not strictly vegan or vegetarian myself, I do try to limit the amount of meat I consume. If I cannot get high-quality meat from our local farmer or at the farmers market, I much prefer to eat vegetarian. When it comes to homemade stocks and soups, I generally tend to use leftover bones from our grass-fed meat and/or whatever veggies I have on hand, to make a stock every other week or so. But this just isn’t always a possibility, sometimes I need quick and easy, but I still want healthy and real.
Instead of calling this one a recipe, I feel like I should call it a “requirement.” You NEED to grill some peaches, as soon as possible. I feel like this should be mandatory for everyone in the summer months.
It all started with this salad and I haven’t been able to stop since. This particular simple and sweet dish that I am sharing today would be the perfect way to end any summer meal, and it would be especially great at pretty much any summer BBQ. It also makes the perfect snack when you are craving something a little sweet.
I serve mine with a dollop of homemade whipped coconut cream. But, if you eat dairy, you could also just serve it with regular whipped cream, your favorite yogurt, ice cream or even, some mascarpone, crème fraîche or burrata.
Spring produce honestly makes me giddy. I get school girl crush excited to stroll the aisles at the farmers market and my favorite organic grocery store and it feels like Christmas morning every Wednesday when I open the CSA box that our farmer drops off and I get to look inside. I am not sure how you feel about it, but I seriously think all of this fresh green goodness is definitely worth celebrating.
One of my absolute favorite in season vegetables is asparagus. I am not joking when I tell you I consumed about 3 lbs of it myself in a 24 hour period, one day last week. I love it. My two favorite ways to enjoy it is roasted in the oven and grilled. The smokey flavor and those char marks from the beautiful caramelization of the natural sugars are just perfection.
Oh and I personally find just picking those spears up with my hands and enjoying them, sans silverware, only enhances all of this! Try it, you’ll see. Read the rest of this entry »
Last night after we left the studio, we had planned on throwing together something quick and heading to the grocery store to grab what we needed for the next week. By the time we got home, the sun was still shining and neither of us felt like grocery shopping, so instead I decided we could make do with what we had at home and put the grocery store off one more night. I am glad we did.
We had a bag of baby potatoes and some delicious handmade veggie burgers from the Farmers Market, so I decided we would be able to do something amazing with these plus some frozen organic peas. Both my oregano and chives came up on their own from last season and they are growing out of control, taking over my herb box, so I have been trying to take advantage and use them in almost everything I make. Since we were firing up the grill for the brown rice and spinach burgers, this sounded like the perfect way to make a side dish with the potatoes. They really turned out great. There was so much flavor from the fresh herbs and the crispy smoke flavor from the grill was perfect. I think we will be making this a lot this summer.
Grilled Herb Potato Salad
30 baby potatoes, halved
coarse kosher salt
3 garlic cloves, halve two of the cloves, mince the third
1 shallot, diced
1 bunch of fresh oregano, chopped
1 bunch of fresh chives, chopped
1/4 cup of pine nuts
freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons lemon zest
Start by precooking the potatoes. Add the halved baby potatoes, a tablespoon of course salt, two cloves of garlic (halved) and enough water to cover the potatoes by 1-inch to a medium-sized pot over high heat. Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for approximately 10-12 minutes or until the potatoes are just tender.
Drain potatoes in a colander and rinse with cold water to cool quickly and stop the potatoes from cooking.
Start your grill, preheat with the cover on for about 10 minutes on high. Lightly spray a grill pan with cooking spray to keep the potatoes from sticking (if you do not have a grill pan, you can also thread the potatoes onto skewers).
Meanwhile in a large bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the diced shallot, minced garlic, the chopped fresh herbs, plus 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix the mixture to combine the ingredients and then remove half of the mixture to a small bowl, set aside. Add the potatoes to the large mixing bowl, and toss to coat the potatoes with the oil and herb mixture.
Pour the potatoes into the grill pan and set onto your hot grill, we got a bit of smoke because of the little bit of oil dripping, but it gave the potatoes a great smokey flavor. Give the potatoes a stir every few minutes to make sure they aren’t sticking. Once you are sure they aren’t sticking, you can stir them last which will allow them to get crispier. Cook them over a high heat for approximately 15-20 minutes until they are fully cooked and starting to brown and crisp up a bit. (This time will depend on how hot your grill is, we couldn’t get our grill super hot so it took a bit longer, it may only take about 10-15 minutes on a very hot grill). Remove the grill pan from the heat, and add the potatoes back to your large mixing bowl, add the remainder of the oil and herb mixture, the pine nuts, lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste. Toss gently to combine. Enjoy.
(This can also easily be made by roasting or broiling the potatoes in shallow baking pan in your oven. The potatoes can also be boiled 1 day ahead and kept in the refrigerator. Bring them to room temperature before boiling)