Close your eyes and pretend you’re in California for a second
As part of my ode to Taco Tuesday and the promise of switching things up each week, I recently tossed a new combo into the ring: these shrimp tacos. Boy, they did not disappoint. If you’re like most New Yorkers and intimidated by the act of cooking shrimp for the fear it will stink up your apartment, I promise, it’s not that bad! Plus, this avocado crema makes it all worth it. The perfect creaminess on top of a perfectly charred tortilla with some juicy shrimp. For a second, you can close your eyes and convince yourself you’re actually in California and not this muggy still feels summer when will it ever be fall city. We can dream, right??
My go-to pantry clean out meal
You know the nights where you get home and realize you are starving but have absolutely nothing in your fridge to make dinner out of and you just refuse to pay the absurd price of NYC delivery? (I mean really, after the tax, tip, delivery fee, etc, I want to scream). Well, I’ve been there. Many and many of times. Each time, I check my pantry and freezer to assess the essentials I always have on stock and, more times than not, end up making this exact dish. It was at first a random combination I happened to have on hand that I questioned, “will this work, or am I crazy?” and has now become a staple in my budget friendly lifestyle. Don’t knock it until you try it!
The perfect summertime meal
The grill and I have an extremely long and historic love affair. From a very young age, I remember my dad grilling every single thing possible. The scent of the smoke and that char on whatever he was cooking is one of my favorite memories of childhood. Once I became old enough to cook, I was infatuated with the grill and mastering its ability to make every single ingredient produce more flavor than any other available cooking method. Seriously – why does everything taste better when cooked on a grill!? So, after many of nights watching my dad master the method, I one day decided it was my time to try; and the rest was history. While it may seem intimidating at first, I promise it is probably one of the easiest cooking gadgets out there. It does all the work for you! Although grilling is definitely not exclusive to summertime, this is one of my favorite quick and easy meals to throw together for a summer lunch or dinner. Say goodbye to lame salads and hello to flavor!
A fully farmer’s market dinner
This week I found myself in the Union Square farmer’s market doing some research for an upcoming piece (stay tuned!) and I began questioning why I ever purchase groceries anywhere other than a farmer’s market. I get they can be extremely busy at times, and you have to plan your shopping around when they are open, but gosh if you go at the right time, they are extremely pleasant. What is better than picking from a massive selection of produce, protein, and dairy all from local farms and all while enjoying the outdoors? (Get back to me if you think of anything). As I was perusing around and scoping out every single tent, I decided this was going to be the source of all my ingredients for my date night in with Joe. Grabbing the veggies from the organic farm stand, the chicken from the pasture raised organic protein man, and the cheese from the goat milk stand, I was ready to rock. Along with this recipe below, go check out the corresponding IGTV episode on my Instagram so you can feel like we’re in the kitchen cooking together!
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Shining light on a barbecue staple
Why is pasta salad totally the overlooked “step-sister” of a BBQ spread? For some reason, it is a dish I am constantly passing by and never craving. When a client recently mentioned how much he loved pasta salad it triggered me into a train of thoughts that came to the realization: pasta salad not only provides us with a way to still enjoy one of everyone’s favorite dishes in the summer without sweating our butts off, but it is freaking delicious, and extremely versatile. So, I naturally got in the kitchen, and got cooking. Safe to say, I will no longer be overlooking this side at summer cookouts.
A Simple 25 Minute Dinner
The other Sunday, after a weekend of traveling and having zero interest in going to a grocery store, I caved and ordered groceries online to our apartment for us to use that upcoming week. When I got home late that night I was excited to see the groceries hanging on our door until I realized that they were in fact not my order but, instead, someone else’s entirely. Since it was too late for the delivery system to do anything, I emptied the bags into our fridge and took note of what we were working with.
A delicious dairy free spin on a kitchen classic
One of my favorite kitchen activities is creating homemade, and most times healthier, dishes upon the request of friends or family. So, when my mom and I were out to dinner and she was mentioning how much she missed risotto now that she is dairy free, I took it as a personal challenge to make her a dairy-free version the next time she came over. As I contemplated how I was going to prepare this dish, I quickly remembered the delicious coconut milk risotto I had at a recent mindbodygreen revitalize dinner. With the coconut flavor locked down as a definite, I then began to brainstorm for some complimenting ingredients and decided on asparagus, bok choy, mushrooms, and shrimp. With the ingredient list finalized, another lightbulb dinged – I could use my brand spanking new Mealthy Multi-Pot. As an avid believer in pressure cookers and their insane abilities, I was anxious to put this baby to work. I truly cannot believe how easy it makes cooking. This recipe uses both the sauté and multigrain function and prepares this whole dish without the need to wash another pot or pan. How simple is that!? Not only are you able to close the lid, push a button, and get back to that glass of wine you’re enjoying, but the result of enhanced flavor and perfectly cooked ingredients is truly remarkable. This recipe is one that will impress your guests and take minimal effort for you to prep; that’s all we ever really want, right!?
Believe it or not, this was one of the first meals I cooked after my concussion. This whole roasted cauliflower, which is inspired by one of my favorite restaurants in NYC (ABCV), has been on my “recipe to-do list” for an incredibly long time. I was sitting on my couch with my mom when she mentioned her and my dad were going to stay over for dinner followed by her asking, “what should we order in?” As someone who loves to cook for those I love, and have always promised my dad for a home cooked meal after work one day before his commute home, I finally had the opportunity at my fingertips. It was finally time to cook my parents a delicious and impressive meal in my own kitchen. Although I had just suffered a pretty serious concussion and was still unable to turn on majority of the lights in my apartment, which also showed me how magnificently calming a dimly lit home can be, cooking was the one thing I was most definitely capable of.
Guaranteed easiest clean up
We have a general rule in our apartment that if one person cooks, the other cleans. Since I typically am doing the former, Joe is often times the person manning the sink after we finish up our meal. With the constant flow of recipe testing that goes down in our kitchen, I am often questioned how it is possible that I dirtied so many dishes. If you have ever tried to create a recipe, or you are like me and decide to somehow use every bowl, plate, or fork in your cabinets, you get what a shitshow your kitchen can look like after the fact. In order to avoid this situation, and really just make Joe a happier human, I started creating “one sheet pan” dinners. The main requirement of these meals: once done cooking, the only dirty dish (other than those you ate on) is the baking sheet. These recipes are proving to be delicious and, not surprisingly, incredibly easy. I now know what Joe is going to request for every dinner from here on out…
If you follow me on Instagram (which I hope all of you do!!), then you know that whenever I am in Florida it is an absolute must that I have my favorite meal: sweet potato crusted salmon from the Food Shack. I don’t know why I never thought of doing something so brilliant, but ever since I had it a few years ago I can never get it off my mind. Finally, after 3 years of claiming I would do so, I have officially created a recipe in my kitchen for my own version and I can safely say it is BOMB. With a few extra steps, you too can be enjoying this incredibly crunchy exterior yet perfectly cooked salmon.