Posts tagged Sides

The dressing and fresh herbs are the real stars of this dish. Simple ingredients are taken to new places with the addition of sumac, pomegranate molasses, and crunchy bits of pita.

You will not regret the trek to your local Middle Eastern market to find the pomegranate molasses. I want it on every salad from now on, and I’m excited to try it with fish, chicken dishes, or even just with a little lemon on some chickpeas or white beans, I’m pretty sure the possibilities will be endless.



Adapted from Bon Apetit

4 teaspoons ground sumac, soaked in 4 teaspoons warm water for 15 minutes
3 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons (or more) pomegranate molasses
2 small garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons (or more) white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
2 8-inch-diameter pita breads, halved, toasted until golden brown, broken into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
3 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped, or 4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 pound Persian cucumbers, or one 1-pound English hothouse cucumber, quartered lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
6 scallions, thinly sliced
2 Little Gem or baby romaine lettuces, or 1 small head romaine lettuce, trimmed, cut crosswise
into 3/4-inch strips
2 cups (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 cups purslane leaves or additional 3/4-inch-strips romaine lettuce
1 cup fresh mint leaves
Ground sumac (optional)

1. Combine sumac with soaking liquid, 3 Tbsp. lemon juice, 2 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses, garlic, 2 tsp. vinegar, and dried mint in a small bowl. Gradually add oil, whisking constantly, until well blended. Season with salt; add more lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, and vinegar to taste, if desired.

2. Place pita pieces in a medium bowl; pour oil over and toss to coat. Season pita to taste with salt.

3. Mix tomatoes and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add 3/4 of dressing; toss to coat, adding more dressing by tablespoonfuls as needed. Season with salt. Add pita; toss once. Sprinkle sumac over, if desired.



Brazilian side dishes: Hearts of Palm Salad, Deep-Fried Polenta, and Shredded Greens
Brazil dinner

This meal had so many flavors, textures, different tasty elements, it was hard to pick a favorite. I think if I was pressed to choose though, it would be the Hearts of Palm Salad, I loved the tangy palm hearts, crunchy onion, fresh tomatoes, bitter watercress, and just a slight drizzle of olive oil. Delicious, particularly as a side to rich steak and fried polenta!

Heart of Palm Salad

Palm Heart Salad

Adapted from ‘The Food and Cooking of Brazil’ by Fernando Farah

1 can heart of palm stalks, sliced into large diagonal slices
2 ripe tomatoes or 1 cup cherry or plum tomatoes, chopped into large pieces
1 medium red onion, sliced into rings, use only the middle perfect rings
salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ - 1 cup watercress or arugula
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Arrange the tomatoes and hearts of palm in a serving bowl, top with rings of onion and watercress. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Deep-fried Polenta

Adapted from ‘The Food and Cooking of Brazil’ by Fernando Farah

 4 ¼ cups water
3 ¼ cups polenta
1 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp plain flour
vegetable oil for deep frying

1. Add water, polenta, stock and oil to a large pot. Slowly bring to a boil, then simmer until it becomes a think puree, about 20 minutes. The mixture is ready when the bottom of the pot begins to show when you stir the polenta. Sprinkle in the plan flour and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

2. Pour mixture into an oiled 11x11in pan, using a spatula spread into an even layer. Cool, then chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour or until set.

3. Turn the chilled block of polenta out onto an oiled cutting board. Wet the blade of a long knife and cut into approximately 3/4in x 3/4in x 3 ½ in sticks.

4. Half-fill a deep pot with oil, heat to 375° F. Preheat oven to 200° F. Add about 5 pieces at a time and fry for 3-4 minutes, until golden and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon onto a paper-towel lined plate and immediately sprinkle with salt.  Keep warm in a 200° F oven.

5. Fry remaining pieces. Serve right away or keep warm in oven until ready to serve.

Fried Polenta
Shredded Greens

Brazilian-style shredded greens

Adapted from ‘The Food and Cooking of Brazil’ by Fernando Farah

1 bunch collard greens or other dark green
3 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Clean and trim collard greens, removing the thick part of the stalk. Thinly slice by rolling a stack of leaves and slicing in narrow strips across the width of the leaves.

2. Heat olive oil in a large pan, add garlic and let fry for just a moment, then add shredded greens. Cook 3-5 minutes until wilted and softened but still slightly al dente. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve right away.

 I always forget how much greens cook down. I ran out of small bowls, so these greens looked so sad in the big serving bowl. But they made up for their lack of picture-perfectness in punchy flavor. We threw them in the cast-iron after cooking the steak for some extra rich meaty goodness, but if you prefer them vegetarian or don’t want all that au jus in your greens feel free to follow the recipe as is.

Mexican Rice and Roasted Asparagus with Chili and Onions
Mexican Dishes

Admittedly, when I think of Mexican food I immediately think of tacos. And I love tacos. Like, a lot. I also know, however, that there is a very rich culture of Mexican food that does not revolve around tacos. So this year we ventured out and found some delicious non-taco recipes to make. I highly recommend you take the time to make Pollo en Mole Verde. The Mexican rice is pretty standard fare, and makes a good sopping up agent for any saucy dish like the Pollo en Mole Verde. The asparagus is delicious with any meal, on it’s own roasted asparagus is a favorite, with the additional of rich, sweet, and spicy sautéed onions and dried chili it is on another level.

Mexican Rice

Mexican Rice

Adapted from Saveur

2 cups chicken stock (reserved from cooking chicken if also making Pollo en Mole Verde)
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1⁄2 small yellow onion, chopped
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 cup long grain white rice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Place stock, tomatoes, 1 clove garlic, and onion in a blender and purée until smooth; set tomato mixture aside.

2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; add remaining garlic and rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato mixture, season with salt and pepper, and reduce heat to low.

3. Cook, covered, until rice is tender and has absorbed all liquid, 25-30 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Gently fluff the rice with a fork.


Roasted Asparagus with Chili and Onions

Inspired by Rick Bayless

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
½  medium onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 dried pepper, such as pasilla or adobo sliced into thin strips or 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 large bunch (about 1 pound) asparagus, cleaned with bottom 1/2 inch removed

1. Preheat oven to 400˚ F.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat, add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until very soft and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for a minute or so, until soft and aromatic.

3. Set cooked onion and garlic aside, add dried pepper to the pan and toast for no more than one minute, add to the onion mixture. Add vinegar to mixture and stir to combine.

4. On a large baking sheet drizzle ½ tablespoon olive oil, lay asparagus onto sheet and drizzle with remaining oil. Sprinkle with salt. Roast in 400˚ oven for 20 minutes or until tender, flipping halfway through.

5. Serve topped with onion mixture.


Rojak (Jicama and Pineapple Salad)

I think of this as a savory fruit salad. Something completely different and a great foil to heavier foods or a boring Sunday afternoon.


Rojak (Jicama and Pineapple Salad)

Adapted from Cradle of Flavor by James Oseland

For the Dressing
1 tablespoon shrimp paste
¼ cup tamarind water (combine 1/4 cup hot water with 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp, let rest for at least 10 minutes, squeeze pulp and strain)
2 fresh their chiles coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons palm sugar, thinly sliced (or dark brown sugar)
3 tablespoons Indonesian sweet soy sauce

For the Salad
1 small jicama, peeled
½ medium-sized green mango
¼ small unripe papaya
1/3 pineapple
2 small Kirby cucumbers
1 unripe guava (optional)

 For the Topping
½ cup unsalted skinned roasted peanuts

1. Place all dressing ingredients in small food processor and blend into a smooth paste/ dressing. Add additional water a little at a time to make a smoother consistency if needed.  
2. Cut jicama, mango, papaya, pineapple,  and cucumber in small spears or but size pieces.
3. Add all fruits and veggies to a large bowl and mix to distribute. Add ¾ of the dressing, mix and taste. Add additional dressing and salt as needed.
4. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle peanuts on top. Serve right away.

Fried Zucchini with Vinegar and Garlic
Fried Zucchini

This dish is much more delicious than the simplicity of the ingredients lets on. A kick of vinegar lightens up the fried zucchini and the quick coat of flour before frying gives it a crispy complex texture. 

The vinegar in this recipe was what intrigued me to try it and I was right to think it would be great with a simple roast chicken or just as a side to some hearty pasta. If you don't want to mess around with frying it would be almost as good pan sauteed with the garlic and then splashed with the vinegar right before serving. You'd lose a little crispness but keep the flavor balance. 

Fried Zucchini in Vinegar and Garlic

Adapted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan

1 pound fresh zucchini, cut into ¼ inch sticks
2 garlic cloves, smashed but still whole
Vegetable Oil, enough for frying
2-3 tablespoons good wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Sprinkle zucchini sticks with salt and let rest in a colander to shed some of their water.

2. Heat ¼ inch of oil in a wide pan. When the oil is quite hot, prepare zucchini sticks by sprinkling them with flour and shaking off excess. Add about half the zucchini sticks to the hot oil. Fry up just enough at a time that they do not crowd the pan. They should sizzle on contact when added to the oil.

3. Turn zucchini sticks when they begin to brown on one side. When they are brown all over use a spider or slotted spoon to transfer to a deep dish, shaking them to remove as much oil as possible.

4. Drizzle with some of the vinegar, they will crackle. Fry the remaining zucchini in batches.

5. Bury the smashed garlic cloves in amongst the fried zucchini sticks. Sprinkle with remaining vinegar and fresh pepper.

6. These can be served hot or at room temperature. Remove the garlic after 10 minutes if you want less garlic aroma. I leave it in…

German Warm Potato Salad

The concept of warm potato salad was lost on me before making this meal. I always think of potato salad as a gloopy side dish at an outdoor picnic or bbq. This is on a whole other level. Bacony, tangy from mustard and vinegar, deliciously warm melt in your mouth potatoes. Words don't do justice to this iconic dish. Just make it already, and thank me later. 

German Warm Potato Salad

German Warm Potato Salad

Adapted from Serious Eats

2 pounds red potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/2 pound bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3/4 cup finely minced yellow onion (about 1 small)
1/3 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives

1. Place potatoes and 1 tablespoon salt in large pot and cover with cold water. Set over medium-high heat until boiling. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are fork tender, 10-15 minutes. Strain potatoes and set aside.

2. While potatoes are cooking, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate, leaving as much rendered fat in the pan as possible. If there is more than 4 tablespoons worth of bacon fat in pan, feel free to pour some out.

3. Add onions to pan with bacon fat and cook over medium heat until lightly browned and carmelized, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

4. In a mason jar (or small bowl) add vinegar, sugar, mustard, 2 teaspoons of salt, and pepper, put on lid and shake, to make the dressing.

5. Place potatoes, bacon, onions, parsley, and chives in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss gently to combine. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes to allow flavors to combine, then serve immediately while still warm.

German meal
2018 British GP: Afternoon Tea

I love a good tea sandwich. But being a resident of the United States and not Great Britain, I rarely get a chance to actually have one. I think I can count on one hand the number of times I have actually eaten a tea sandwich. I am thinking they should make a bigger appearance in my life, they pair so well with a nice tea cake or a scone for a proper afternoon break. I think I could use more tea time in my life. 

Researching afternoon tea brought up a lot of fun ideas, and I particularly like BBC's Good Food Guide on How to Throw an Afternoon Tea Party. If you are an avid watcher of the Great British Baking Show, as I am, I would definitely recommend you check it out. Some of the more ambitious bakes and showstoppers may have to make an appearance in future years!  

The race in Silverstone offered a lot for British fans to cheer for. At first it seemed pretty disastrous with Hamilton being tapped by Raikkonen, resulting in a spin, and ending up at the back of the field. But with that Mercedes power and Hamilton at the wheel, that didn't last long. Passing the entirety of the field but one, Hamilton made it all the way back to second place, but missed out on his home victory. It made for more drama to keep the fight as close as ever, and Vettel was heard at the end of the race saying “Grande vittoria, qui a casa loro.” “Great victory, here at their home”. Let's see if Hamilton can get him back in Germany and keep this Championship alive! 

Tea Party
Egg salad sandwiches

Curried Egg Salad Sandwich

Adapted from Food Network: 50 Tea Sandwiches

3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
¼ small red onion, chopped, about three tablespoons
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon curry powder
¼ cup mayonnaise

6 slices white bread
3 tablespoons mango chutney

Mix all egg salad ingredients in a medium bowl. Cut crusts off white bread, spread with mango chutney. Add a third of the egg salad to each slice of bread and top with second piece. Cut in half into triangles or small rectangles.

Cucumber sandwiches

Cucumber Sandwiches

1 medium English cucumber, thinly sliced
½  cup Cream cheese
1 tablespoon dill, finely chopped
6 slices white bread

Mix dill into cream cheese, softening cream cheese as you mix. Cut crusts off white bread slices. Spread all slices with dill cream cheese mixture. Add 1-2 layers of sliced cucumbers on one slice and top with the second slice of white bread. Cut in half into triangles with a sharp knife.

Cranberry Cream Scones & Grapefruit Yogurt Cake Recipes as well! 

2018 Austria GP: Chicken Schnitzel and Egg Noodles

My real proud moment of this weekend was having both my parents and my husband's parents under one roof, all eating chocolate cake. I love having family near enough to visit, who wish to spend time together, and who can all enjoy a little cake on a Sunday afternoon. 


For Austria, I had to make the famous Sachertorte. It turned out well enough given I had never made glaze before. All I can say is that it was a tasty mess. And that the cake itself was scrumptious. See the post and recipe: Sachertorte. (coming soon!)

Chicken Schnitzel and Noodles

For our meal for Austria I kept it simple. I made my tried and true Chicken Schnitzel and a side of Egg Noodles with Mushroom Butter Sauce. This meal comes together fast and is much more than you would expect for the effort involved, especially with a nice grainy mustard to dip your chicken in. 

Egg noodles with Mushrooms


Egg Noodles with Mushroom Butter Sauce

Adapted from Rachel Ray, Passport to Vienna

1/2 pound wide egg noodles
2 tablespoons butter
15 cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 large shallot, finely chopped
A handful fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper

Cook egg noodles until al dente, drain and set aside. Add butter to a sauté pan, when hot add sliced mushrooms and shallot, cook over medium heat until tender, 3-4 minutes. Toss noodles with muchrooms, add parsley, salt and pepper. Serve hot.


Endive, Roquefort, and Walnut Salad
endive salad

I need little persuasion to buy a nice hunk of cheese. Though I'm not sure my cheese monger (read: the lady behind the counter at Whole Foods) would appreciate me calling a perfectly beautiful wedge of Roquefort a "hunk of cheese". In the end though, it could look like anything as long as it tastes this good. 

I'm not sure when I became a stinky cheese fan. I'm sure as a little kid I did not enjoy the powerful smell much less the texture of a cheese like Roquefort or any blue cheese, brie, or even goat cheese for that matter. But like coffee, Brussels sprouts, and a seriously spicy curry, I'm a convert. 

This is a lovely composed salad with a perfect combination of crunchy, creamy, bright, bitter, and sweet. 

Endive, Roquefort, and Walnut Salad

Serves 4

Adapted from French Country Cooking: Meals and Moments from A Village in the Vineyards by Mimi Thorisson

3 tablespoons walnut oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and fresh black pepper
3 endives, leaves separated, large leaves sliced in half
2 small apples, thinly sliced
10-20 walnut halves
4 ounces Roquefort cheese

In a mason jar combine walnut oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt and pepper, shake to combine to make dressing.

In a large salad bowl toss together endives, apple slices, and walnuts. Drizzle dressing over salad. Crumble cheese over top. Serve immediately.

Leek Gratin
leek gratin

One of the great things about cooking recipes from around the world is learning new ways to work with ingredients. Leeks are not a common vegetable in my house. I'm never quite sure what to do with them. They make an occasional appearance in a soup or in a braise, but rarely as the star. This dish makes them the star. 

This gratin is very rich and creamy. It would be especially good along side any bright salad or light fish dish. Topping it with prosciutto is optional if you want a vegetarian option, but if you do eat meat it adds a nice salty umami to the dish. 

Gratin de Poireaux
Leek Gratin

Adapted from Williams Sonoma Savoring France by Georgeanne Brennan

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 1 teaspoon butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
6 large leeks, white part and 2 inches of the green, chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 cup milk
4 oz soft goat cheese
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
2 oz thinly sliced jamon or prosciutto (optional but recommended)
2-3 tablespoons grated Cantal or Comte cheese

1. In a large sauté pan over medium heat melt 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil. When the butter foams add leeks and cook until softened, 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside

2.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 1 quart baking dish with about 1 teaspoon butter.

3. In a heavy saucepan melt 2 tablespoons butter. When it foams remove from heat and whisk in flour, salt, black pepper, and cayenne to create a paste. Return to medium heat, add milk in steady stream continuing to whisk. Lower heat and whisk until there are no lumps. Continue to cook until mixture thickens, 10-12 minutes. Stir in the goat chees until well blended.

4. Stir in the leeks, parsley, and jamon. Spoon mixture into prepared baking dish. Top with grated Cantal cheese. Dot entire surface with small cubes of remaining tablespoon of butter.

5. Bake until cheese on top bubbles and a golden crust forms. 20-30 minutes. Serve hot.

Caviar and Champagne Cocktails

When I think Monaco, I think glitz, glamor, caviar, and champagne. And of course Daniel Ricciardo flying face first into the Red Bull pool after pulling off a redemptive win on the streets of Monte Carlo. 

Any excuse to have a cheese plate, some fancy nibbles, and a tasting menu of champagne is a good one for me. I found some cheeses from Italy and France to honor Monaco's neighbors and served up some caviar with melba toast, whipped cream cheese, and crunchy radishes. 

cheese plate and caviar

Caviar can be served on its own or with whipped cream cheese, butter, or even creme fraiche. Suggested additions range from sliced radishes to smoked salmon or hard cooked egg. 

If serving with radishes, a trick to get them extra crunchy is to slice and let rest in ice cold water for 15 or so minutes. Serve caviar in a bowl of crushed ice to keep it chilled. Serve with a non-metal spoon, traditionally mother of pearl, to prevent metallic taste transfer. 


Champagne cocktails are some of the easiest and most elegant cocktails. Everyone feels special drinking from a champagne flute, and with just a little creativity things can be made even more delicious. 


Champagne Cocktail

Classic Champagne Cocktail

1 oz sugar
Angostura bitters
1/2 oz cognac
Optional garnish: Lemon or Orange twist

Add sugar to the base of a champagne flute, shake 2-3 dashes of bitters to saturate the sugar. Add cognac and swirl. Top with champagne or sparkling wine. Garnish with a twist. 


Kir Royale

Kir Royale

1/4 oz creme de cassis
4 oz champagne
Optional garnish: raspberries or lemon twist

Add creme de cassis to champagne flute, top with champagne or sparkling wine. Garnish with raspberries or lemon twist (optional).


St. Germaine Champagne Cocktail

St. Germaine Champagne Cocktail

1/2 oz St. Germaine
1/2 oz lemon juice
4 oz champagne

Add St. Germain and lemon juice to champange flute. Swirl to combine. Top with champagne or sparkling wine.

Bonus Cocktail:

Negroni Sbagliato 

1 oz campari
1 oz vermouth
3 oz champagne

Add campari and vermouth to champagne flute or rocks glass, swirl to combine. Top with champagne or sparkling wine.

2018 Monaco GP: Gnocchi with Mushroom Ragu & French Country Salad

Monaco always gives me a feeling of flighty, effervescent, indescribable excitement. The race is set amongst a weekend filled with sparkling locations, yachts in one of the most famous and beautiful harbors in the world, celebrity faces, smiling drivers, and excitable teams. This is a race weekend when qualifications are almost more important than the Sunday race. The drivers put it all on the line, just them against the clock, against the world. Coming so close to barriers you can barely watch sometimes as they fly around the track. Ricciardo showed the world just what he was made of this weekend. Fastest lap - ever - at Monaco in qualifications and he managed the race handily.  And as the consummate racer he is, he showed his humor and grit throughout. From "I got this buddy" in response to his Engineer near the end of a tough race, to a quick bow to the Prince and Princess before doing his now requisite shoey, he made the day for more than just his fans. He showed the world who he is. 

I always know what I am watching over this weekend, but what to eat is a whole other story. Searching for Monagasque Cuisine has not been the easiest venture. Even the Wikipedia page is sad and practically empty save for two dishes I see time and again: Barbajuan and Socca. In fact the only people apparently searching for specifically Monaco inspired food are other people cooking for F1 races! I found this blog in my search: Race Day Recipes ! I knew I couldn't be the only one with this hobby... Over time, I have also found some fellow enthusiasts on Instagram who I am always inspired by. 

I suppose the challenge may come from the fact that "Monaco is the second smallest country in the world, nestled on the east coast of France near Italy on the Mediterranean. Given its location, the cuisine of Monaco is heavily influenced by French and Italian styles. " Vagabond Journeys

Instead of fighting against the influences, I looked to French and Italian cuisines and Monagasque chefs and restaurants to build a menu for the Monaco GP. Inspired by recipes of Chef Alain Ducasse (of Restaurants Paris, and  Le Louis XV - à l'Hôtel de Paris in Monaco, fame) I decided to make Gnocchi with a Mushroom Ragu. Served with a French Country Salad and simple French Vinaigrette. For starters we decided to just go for it and have caviar and champagne cocktails. Alongside I found some delectable cheeses from France and Italy. All in all, it turned out positively lovely. 

Monaco Dinner


Gnocchi with Mushroom Ragu

Adapted from Food & Wine, Serious Eats and Smitten Kitchen

3 pounds russet potatoes
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

Mushroom Ragu
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ pounds mixed mushrooms, such as porcini, oyster and hen-of-the-woods, quartered if large (cremini work equally well and are more widely available)
Freshly ground pepper
2 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup vegetable or chicken broth, plus more if making sauce ahead of time

To make the Gnocchi

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Pierce potatoes all over with a fork. Set on a wire rack over a baking tray. Bake for 45 minutes – one hour until tender throughout. Rotate halfway through for even cooking. In the meantime, prepare the mushroom ragu.

2. Remove the potatoes from the oven once tender, let cool slightly. Using tongs or a kitchen towel to hold potatoes, peel them, being cautious of the steam they will release.

3. If you have a potato ricer, that is the right tool for the job. If you don’t… try Smitten Kitchen’s solution and use a box grater. Or my solution and use a food processor with the grater attachment. (Honestly, it is not perfect, but it’s also not a mono-tasker!) Rice or grate potatoes onto a clean work surface, let cool for a few more minutes.  Transfer to a large bowl using a bench scraper.

4. Gently stir in egg, egg yolk, salt, pepper, nutmeg and ½ cup cheese.

5. Add flour a little at a time to the potato mixture, mixing with your hands. Use only as much as you need so that dough does not stick to your hands.  Bring dough together with your fingertips and transfer dough, and bits in the bowl, to a cleaned and well floured work surface. Using a fold and press motion, gently knead until smooth. (Serious Eats cautions against using the smearing motion commonly used when kneading bread.) Once the dough is a uniform texture separate it into four balls.

6. Clean work surface well, and dust with fresh flour. Roll out one of the four pieces using your fingertips into a long rope about 3/4 inch thick. Cut the dough into 1 inch pieces using a bench scraper. Transfer to a floured baking tray.

If you want the traditional gnocchi shape, press each piece of dough against the tines of a fork. With your finger, gently roll the dough over the back of the fork creating indents.

7. To cook the gnocchi, place them into a pot of boiling and well-salted water. Stir once very gently with a spider or slotted spoon to prevent sticking. After a few minutes the gnocchi will float to the top. Continue to cook for one minute then remove with a spider or slotted spoon, shaking gently to drain before placing in serving bowl.

8. Serve topped with mushroom ragu and a healthy sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

To make the Mushroom Ragu

1. In a very large skillet, cook mushrooms in batches by melting 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add half of the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until tender and just browned, about 7 minutes. Add half each of the shallots, garlic, and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. In the skillet, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and repeat with the remaining mushrooms, shallots, garlic and thyme.

2. Return all of the mushrooms to the skillet. Stir in the wine and cook until nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes.

3. Add the broth and season the ragù with salt and pepper; keep warm over low heat.

4. When ready to serve stir in extra broth to get to desired consistency and warm through.

Notes on the Ragu:

Ragu can be made ahead and set on low on a back burner or even refrigerated for up to a day, before serving add just enough chicken broth to rewet ingredients and create a sauce to your preferred consistency.

It may seem finicky to cook the mushrooms in batches, but this is important to promote browning and prevent them from just getting mushy from steaming them in their own juices when they are crowded in a pan. Take the time to cook the mushrooms in batches, and you will be rewarded with delicious browned rich flavor.


French Country Salad

French Country Salad

Adapted from Mon Petit Four and Recipe Tin Eats

5 oz arugula, approximately 5 cups
1/2 pound asparagus tough ends trimmed
1/2 cup sliced cooked beets canned
1/4 cup walnuts halves, toasted
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

French Vinaigrette

1 tbsp finely chopped shallots
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
2-4 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. Combine vinaigrette ingredients in a jar and shake until emulsified. Set aside.

2. Steam asparagus until just tender, rinse under cold water to stop cooking process. Set aside.

3. Combine arugula and cooled asparagus in a bowl, top with desired amount of vinaigrette, mix until well coated. Transfer to serving bowl. Top with sliced beets, walnuts, and goat cheese. Drizzle on a little more vinaigrette as desired.

Calamari and Tapas Platter
Calamari and sides

Freshly fried calamari with tangy cucumber and slightly spicy smoky dip might be my new favorite thing. I mean, I've always loved calamari, but I never knew how easy it was to make at home! I was concerned at first because it feels like a bit of a splurge if you might not get it right, but it turns out to be simple and easily comes out delicious the first time around! 

Try it with the quick pickled cucumbers and smoked paprika dip and you'll be sold too. 


Calamari with Tangy Cucumbers and Smoked Paprika Mayonnaise

Adapted from Delicious Magazine

For the Calamari
Vegetable oil for frying
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plain cornmeal
salt and pepper
1 lb fresh squid, cleaned (ask your fishmonger to do this), body sliced into rings

For the Quick pickled cucumbers
½ cup white wine vinegar
½  tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp caster sugar to taste
5 small or 3 medium cucumbers, cut into wedges
Handful fresh dill, roughly chopped

For the Smoked Paprika mayonnaise

1 garlic clove, crushed
½ cup good quality mayonnaise
1 tsp smoked paprika

1. To make the quick pickled cucumbers, combine the vinegar, sea salt and sugar in a bowl. Add the cucumber and dill, then cover with cling film and chill for at least 3 hours or until crunchy and tangy

2. For the smoked paprika mayonnaise, whisk all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Season to taste.

3. To fry the calamari, heat about 3-4 inches oil in a large pan until it reaches 375F.

4. Combine the flour and cornmeal in a large bowl and season well. Drop in the squid a handful at a time and coat with the flour.

5. Fry, in batches so as not to crowd the pan, for 2-3 minutes until pale golden, then drain briefly on paper towels.

6.Serve with the pickled beans and mayonnaise for dipping.

Tapas Platter

A Spanish dinner party is never completed without an all out tapas platter. Bites to savor while drinking and talking with friends. I made the Smoked Paprika Almonds I discovered during Pre-Season Testing, and includes the necessaries: jamon iberico and manchego. In addition we had some fresh fruit, marinated olives, goats cheese, and tangy sweety drop pickled peppers! 

Where there are tapas... there must also be drinks. Try a super simple 5 ingredient Sangria, or a Vermouth Cocktail, or if you're feeling adventurous check out this year's addition to the repertoire a Mediterranean Sauco Cocktail. And, in the end, if you're not feeling adventurous at all, you are welcome to stick with the classics and have a nice glass of Tempranillo or Verdejo. 

2018 Chinese GP: Chicken Wings, Noodles, and Cabbage a la All Under Heaven

Hoorah for a proper exciting race! The first half seemed to be a repeat of 2017, Mercedes, Ferrari, blah blah blah, until bam! A safety car and the Red Bull boys with excellent timing and guts to spare come up the field and mix it up!

I love seeing Ricciardo on top of the podium, that grin just makes my day. We kept an eye on Alonso throughout the race as well, as per usual he was driving that car beyond its abilities, even passing Championship leader Vettel in the final laps. Hopefully this race is a sign of things to come. I was literally on the edge of my seat wondering who Verstappen was going pass at the last second into a corner never made for passing... despite all the controversy, and possibly losing himself a podium, I still say 'Go Max!' because god its so much fun to watch! 

Chinese meal

I hope you enjoyed the race as much as we did. It was made even better with the meal of authentic Chinese dishes from All Under Heaven, a fantastic tome of traditional Chinese cooking. It was so hard to choose which dishes to make, but these turned out to be just challenging enough to learn a little but not get overwhelmed, and they were properly delicious. 

A few new techniques were added to my repertoire with these dishes and new ingredients too! Dry-frying chicken, just coated in corn starch, was a revelation. It turned out so crispy and soaked the sweet and spicy sauce up perfectly. This was also my first introduction to Sichuan peppercorns which are a total kick, they are floral and pungent and have a numbing quality that make them really unique (we even made a cocktail with them!). Honestly, that might be my favorite part of cooking for the races, trying completely new things, both in cooking and eating. Hope you try out a few too!

Dry fried chicken wings


Adapted from All Under Heaven: Recipes from the 35 Cuisines of China by Carolyn Phillips

Serves 4 as an appetizer or part of a meal

12 chicken wing pieces (wings and drummetes)
¼ cup cornstarch
2 cups (or so) peanut or vegetable oil for frying
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 green onions, trimmed and finely chopped
10 dried Thai chilies, or to taste, broken in half and seeds discarded, and/or smoked paprika
¾ cup pale rice vinegar
6 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
1 teaspoon toasted Sichuan peppercorn salt, or to taste (recipe below)
2 teaspoons regular soy sauce

1. Start this recipe at least 6 hours before you want to serve it. Place wing pieces in a work bowl and sprinkle the cornstarch over them. Toss the wings in the bowl until thoroughly coated. 

2. Place a cooling rack on a baking sheet, arrange corn starch covered wings, not touching, on the rack. Refrigerate uncovered so the cool air slightly dries out the wings. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.

3. Pour the oil into a wok or heavy bottomed pan (I use my dutch oven for most frying),  heat over high heat until it reaches 350F. Use a splatter screen to prevent oil splashes. Carefully add 4-6 wing pieces to the hot oil.  As soon as the wings are golden on one side, approximately 3-5 minutes depending on the size of the wings, flip to brown other side. (If you have an instant read thermometer, chicken should reach 165F.) Remove the wings to a large work bowl once they are nicely browned and cooked through. Repeat with remaining wings in batches.

4. Put 1 tablespoon of the oil in a separate saucepan, place it over medium-high heat, and add the garlic, ginger, onions, and chilies, toss in the hot oil to release their fragrance, and then add the rest of the ingredients. Turn the heat to high and quickly boil down the sauce. Boil until it reaches the consistency of syrup, remove from the heat. Toss the wings in the sauce to coat them completely. Arrange the wings on a serving platter and eat while hot. 

To make peppercorn salt:  combine 1/2 cup whole Sichuan peppercorns and 1/2 cup salt in a dry wok, cook over medium heat until salt browns and peppercorns start to pop, let mixture cool. Pulverize in a spice grinder, shake through a fine mesh sieve, and store in a tightly sealed jar.


green onion noodles



Barely adapted from: All Under Heaven by Carolyn Phillips

Serves 4-6

Fried Onions
12 green onions
1 ½ cups peanut or vegetable oil

1/2 cup light soy sauce
1/2 cup unsalted chicken stock

4 quarts  water
2 tablespoons sea salt
12 ounces thin dried noodles of any kind

1.  Clean and trim green onions, pat them dry (to avoid oil splatter), slice them on an angle into long, thin ovals.

2. Line a plate with a paper towel and place it next to the stove along with a slotted spoon. Heat the oil in a wok over medium-high heat. When the oil just begins to shimmer, add a few pieces of onion. What you want is for the onions to gently bubble, so adjust the heat as needed and then add the rest of the onions. Stir the onions every minute or so and let them slowly cook, giving them a chance to release their fragrance and gradually dry out, approximately 5-7 minutes. Keep an eye on the onions (don't walk away!), as soon as they start to smell toasty and a few begin to brown, stir them almost constantly so they toast evenly.

Once almost all of them are brown, remove them from the oil with the slotted spoon and place them on the paper towel lined plate.  Set the wok with the hot oil aside. If you’re going to continue the recipe immediately simply allow to cool as you continue. Otherwise, let the seasoned oil cool, then pour it into a clean glass jar and store in the refrigerator. 

4. Pour ¼ cup of the soy sauce and ¼ cup of the stock into a large work bowl and stir in about ¼ cup of the flavored oil. After adding the noodles, add each of more as needed. I used all of it as my noodles absorbed a lot of liquid. 

5. Put the water in a large pot, add the salt, and bring to a boil. About 5 to 10 minutes before you want to serve this dish, stir the noodles into the water and gently swish them often so they don’t stick together. As soon as the water starts to boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cook the noodles until they are barely done (check package for time). Place a colander in the sink and drain the pasta into it, but don’t rinse it, as the starch on the noodles will help to thicken the sauce and allow it to evenly coat each strand.

6. Put the cooked noodles into your work bowl with the sauce and toss them well. You want the noodles slightly soupy since they’ll absorb some of the sauce, so add more stock if needed. Taste and add a bit of soy sauce or green onion oil, if you want.

7. Serve noodles garnished with all of the fried onions.



From: All Under Heaven by Carolyn Phillips (also on her blog!)

Serves 4

1½ pounds napa cabbage (about ½ large head or 1 small head)
5 dried Thai chilies
2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1½ teaspoons regular soy sauce
½ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1. Rinse the cabbage carefully, removing any damaged leaves. Shake the cabbage dry and then cut out the core. Separate the leaves into stacks of 3 or 4 and place them curved-side down on a cutting board. Use the side of a cleaver, or the bottom of a small pan, to lightly whack the stems; this will serve to gently break them open, and then cut them into pieces approximately 2 x 1 inches in size.

2. Break the chilies open and discard both the seeds and the stem ends. Cut them into smallish pieces. Heat a wok over high heat and then pour in the oil. Immediately add the chilies and fry them quickly until they have crisped up. Toss in the ginger and the cabbage and stir-fry the cabbage over high heat. As soon as the cabbage has wilted, add the vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil. Taste and adjust seasoning. Continue to toss the cabbage until all of the edges are a golden brown. Serve hot.


Hummus and Mezze Platter Tidbits
Hummus platter

I know, I know, hummus is so easy to get in any store and why would you make your own? Let me say, there are plenty of delicious hummus brands out there... but homemade it also SO easy! And you can control the spiciness, garlickiness, saltiness, creaminess, deliciousness! 


Ambitious hummus maker: cook up your own garbanzo beans and test different flavors and combos. 

Want it easy: can of garbanzo beans, tahini optional, garlic level of your choice.

Ready? Set, Go!


Recipe adapted from Inspired Taste and Serious Eats

1 1/2 cups (250 grams) cooked chickpeas or 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas
1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice (1 large lemon) plus more to taste
1/4 cup (60 ml) well-stirred tahini
3-5 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) water (if you cooked your own, use the cooking water)

Olive oil, for serving
Dash ground paprika, for serving

If you choose to cook your own chickpeas (which I highly recommend) use the following instructions:

1/2 pound chickpeas
2 teaspoons baking soda, divided
1 small onion, split in half
1 small carrot
1 stalk celery
2 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves

The night before combine beans, 1 tsp baking soda and 1 tbsp salt in a bowl, cover with 6 cups cold water, cover with a towel and let rest overnight. 
Drain and rinse beans thoroughly. 
Place beans in a large dutch oven or saucepan. Add 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tbsp salt, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and bay leaves. Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid slightly cracked. Cook until completely tender, to a point of falling apart, about 1-2 hours. Remove vegetables and bay leaves. Drain and reserve some liquid, approximately 1/4 cup. 

1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the tahini and lemon juice and process for 1 minute, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then process for 30 seconds more. This extra time helps “whip” or “cream” the tahini, making the hummus smooth and creamy.

2. Add the garlic cloves and blend until garlic is mixed thoroughly. 

3.Add the olive oil, cumin, and a 1 teaspoon of salt to the whipped tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. Process for 30 seconds, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then process another 30 seconds or until well blended.

4. Add half of the chickpeas to the food processor and process for 1 minute. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl, then add remaining chickpeas and process until thick and quite smooth; 1 to 2 minutes.

Most likely the hummus will be too thick or still have tiny bits of chickpea. To fix this, with the food processor turned on, slowly add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water (or cooking water if you cooked your own chickpeas) until you reach the perfect consistency.

5. Taste for salt and adjust as needed. Serve hummus with a drizzle of olive oil and dash of paprika. Store homemade hummus in an airtight container and refrigerate up to one week.

Serve with sliced vegetables or pita bread. We love broccoli, carrots, bell pepper, and cucumber. 

Feta and Herbs

Feta, Herbs, and Onions

Soft Feta
White onion, sliced
Various Herbs (Parsely, Tarragon, Basil, Cilantro, Mint)
Pita bread, lavash, or other flat bread

Layer bread with feta and herbs and slices of white onion

We learned this combo of yummy flavors and textures of fresh feta and herbs from one of my best friends and her husband who like experimenting with Persian and Middle Eastern dishes from her Iranian heritage. Many thanks to their many nights of hospitality and for introducing us to this fabulous appetizer and addition to a perfect Mezze Platter. 

2018 Australian GP: Tandoori Snapper & Chilli Salt Squid Salad

For the Australian Grand Prix I pulled a few recipes from a 1990's-era nouveau cuisine cookbook: A Taste of Australia. We made Chilli Salt Squid Salad and a Tandoori Marinated fish. Cooking with squid is relatively new to me, and this was only my second time making calamari. It turns out to be super easy (given that the squid is cleaned ahead of time for you)! The spice blend on the calamari and the kick of chili in the dressing for the salad were surprising flavors and really quite good. With my penchant for vegetables and simpler meals, I think the salad would make a good meal in itself. Served with a nice cold glass of Australian chardonnay I'm set!

Australia Dinner

The tandoori marinated fish, though tasty, was a bit overcomplicated and underwhelming. I think the flavor of the fish disappears a bit in the melee of other spices in the marinade and sauce. I think it could be simplified. Maybe next year I'll do some more recipe development and bring it back around! In brighter news, I went on a proper hunt for an Australian cocktail and found a beauty: Spiced Pineapple Cocktail (recipe coming soon!)

Australia is always a great spectacle because it is the start of the season and everyone is raring to get back into the swing of things. The race itself was not very eventful when it came to championship challenges, overtaking, or on track drama. Only the double retirement of the Haas team and the heartbreaking video of the distraught mechanics broke up an otherwise straightforward race. It was great to see McLaren in good form and Alonso do what he does best: go fast! Ricciardo was also fun to watch, there is always a little more punch when it's one's home race. We cheered and watched rapt the whole race because no matter what the race was or was not, F1 IS BACK! 

Chilli Salt Squid Salad


Serves 4-6

2 fresh Serrano chili peppers
3 cups rice vinegar
1 cup white granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice

Seasoned Flour
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ tablespoon cayenne powder
½ tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
½ tablespoon fine sea salt

1 lb squid, cleaned
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 large carrot
1 large red chili pepper
1 small red onion

vegetable oil
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (or if you want to be finicky you can pull cilantro leaves of the stems for a pretty finish)

To make dressing, cut the chili peppers in half lengthwise. Place the rice vinegar, sugar, and chili peppers in a saucepan over medium heat, reserve lime for adding at the end. Stir to dissolve the sugar and simmer for 20 minutes or until the mixture has reduced to a thin syrup. Remove from the heat and add the lime juice. Strain and let cool.

To make seasoned flour, mix the flour and spices together and set aside.

To make salad, slice squid into 1/2 inch rings. Finely julienne the peppers, carrot and chili pepper. Finely slice the onion and mix it with other vegetables.

Heat vegetable oil to a depth of 2 inches in a deep saucepan over a medium heat. Dip the squid in the flour mixture until each piece is well coated and then fry until the flour is crisp, about 1 minute. Drain and then slice the squid into 1/3 inch thick rings.

To serve, add the squid to the prepared vegetable and pour over the dressing. Toss and add the chopped cilantro.


Tandoori Marinated Snapper


Serves 4

Tandoori Paste
4 garlic cloves
1 inch piece fresh ginger
1 medium tomato
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, roasted and ground
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/4 teaspoon fennel powder
1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons plain yoghurt
1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil

4 snapper filets (6 oz per person), or other firm fleshed fish

5 red shallots
1 large green (Anaheim) chili pepper
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 cup plain yoghurt (not greek yogurt, you need the loose yogurt and the tang of plain yogurt)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Steamed basmati rice to serve


To make paste, peel the garlic and ginger and chop roughly. Quarter the tomato and remove the seeds. Chop roughly. Place all the paste ingredients in a food processor or blender and process to a fine paste. Lightly smear both sides of the fish fillets with the paste and set aside.

To make sauce, peel the shallots and chop roughly. Roughly chop the chilli pepper. Place all the ingredients, except the yogurt in a food processor or blender and process to a smooth paste. Place the mixture in a bowl and stir in the yogurt bit by bit until desired creaminess.

To cook the fish, heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan or skiller over medium heat. Pan-fry the snapper fillets.

To serve, place the snapper fillets on plates and spoon mint and yogurt sauce over. Serve with steamed basmati rice.


2018 Pre-Testing - Catalonian Rice with Caramelized Onions
rice with caramelized onion

Pre-Season testing is an opportunity for teams to properly get out on track and assess reliability and performance of their updated cars. It is also a chance for teams to show off all the new liveries, rookie drivers get to head out on track for the first time, and fans get to see their favorite teams and drivers back in action. 

This year in the first week of testing it was bitterly cold, and... it snowed. F1 cars do not do snow. Teams quickly adapted and built snowmen, messed around on social media, and prepared for week two. 

Too bad they weren't here with me, because these dishes would warm anyone's bones. Both of Catalonian origin, the rice dish is emblematic of a common Catalonian cooking style where they freely mix meat and seafood, apparently this even has a name: mar y montaña (sea and mountain). And the greens were a perfect complement, though an "everyday first course" they added a special element to the meal. Followed up by a Vermouth Cocktail, this was a great foil to any poor weather. 

arroz con cebolla


All Recipes from The Cuisines of Spain by Teresa Barrenechea

½ pound Manila or small littleneck clams
1 tablespoon coarse salt
½ cup olive oil
½ small chicken, about 1 ½ pounds, cut into large bite size pieces with skin on
2 yellow onions, grated (I highly recommend you do this in a food processor with a garter attachment - to save your cryin' eyes!)
1 clove garlic, finely minced
⅓ cup sweet vermouth
1½  cups water
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon sugar
4 cups Fish Stock
2 tomatoes, halved crosswise, grated on the large holes of a handheld grater,skins discarded
1 teaspoon sweet pimentón or paprika
Pinch of saffron threads dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
¼ pound squid, about 7 inches long, cleaned and with bodies cut into rings and tentacles halved if large
2 cups Spanish rice
½ pound medium shrimp 

1. Scrub the clams under cold running water, discarding any that fail to close to the touch. In a large bowl, combine the clams, coarse salt, and water to cover and let stand for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours so that the clams release any sand trapped in their shells.

2. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown, turning as needed, for about 10 minutes, or until golden on all sides. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and set aside.

3. Decrease the heat to medium and add the onions, garlic, vermouth, water, salt, pepper, and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated (can take up to 30 minutes). Increase the heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes longer, or until the onions are caramelized.

4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 ° F. In a saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer.

5. When the onions are ready, add the tomatoes, pimentón (paprika), and saffron to the pan and mix well. Add the squid, decrease the heat to medium, and stir briefly to mix with the rest of the ingredients. Transfer the mixture to a large (about 15-inch) cazuela (I'm planning to use a dutch oven), place over high heat, add the chicken pieces and rice, and stir to combine. Pour in the hot stock and cook for 5 minutes without stirring.

6. Drain the clams. Place the clams and the shrimp on top of the rice, and place the cazuela (dutch oven) in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. After 15-20 minutes the liquid will be absorbed, the rice will be tender, the clams will have opened, and the shrimp will turn pink.

7. Remove from the oven, cover with a lid or a kitchen towel, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Discard any clams that failed to open and serve.


swiss chard


2 cups water
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 pounds Swiss chard (2-3 bunches), stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup pine nuts (or almost any nut or seed, I used pepitas)
¼ cup raisins, soaked in hot water to cover for 1 hour to soften, and drained

1. In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the salt and Swiss chard, cover, and cook at a high simmer for 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain the chard in a colander, pressing on it firmly to remove any excess liquid.

2. In a skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add the pine nuts, stir well, add the Swiss chard and raisins, mix well. Cook briefly, stirring, until all ingredients are heated through.

3. Serve immediately, or remove from heat, set aside, and reheat when ready to eat.




Spanish Tapas - Pre-Season Testing

Tapas are well loved in Spain. And really, why not? Late afternoon or late evening with a glass of wine or sherry, these make the perfect accompaniment to good friends, a good drink, and a good time. In addition to the recipes below we added some olives, jamon iberico, and some hard and soft cheeses to the spread. Oh, and a few bottles of Spanish wine to wash it all down! 

Given that Pre-Season testing lasts two weeks I thought you might like a few more recipes to round out the menu. And perhaps an excuse to eat some tapas!

The first week of testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya looked mighty cold, it even snowed on track on the last day! Mercedes made a snowman, people made lots of Iceman jokes at Kimi's expense, and reporters shivered while trying to interview reserve-driver and celebrity du jour Robert Kubica. We enjoyed getting back into the nitty gritty with Ted Kravitz and his eponymous "Notebook". IMHO, he really is the best commentator out there because he gets his nose in everyone's business and notices all the tiny details that make the sport so interesting. His Development Corner at the end of week one highlights many of the changes coming this year and gives you little deep dive into the sport! (note: if the videos don't work in your part of the world, you can check out his twitter feed @tedkravitz) 

tomato bread


6 slices white country-style bread
Extra virgin olive oil
3 tomatoes, halved cross-wise

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Place bread slices on a baking sheet and toast in oven for 5-8 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and immediately drizzle with olive oil on both sides.
3. Rub each slice with the cut side of the tomato half, pressing to squeeze some of the pulp and seeds on the bread. Sprinkle the tomato with salt. Serve while the bread is still warm and crisp. 


Smoked Paprika Almonds

Adapted from Devour Blog

This recipe is easy to double or triple so I am providing the measurements per 1 cup almonds, you can decide how much you need depending on the size of your crowd!

1 cup raw almonds
1/3  tablespoon coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon smoked Parpika
1/3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the almonds onto an ungreased baking sheet and toast in the oven for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until almonds are golden brown and giving off a toasted aroma. Watch carefully because they can burn quickly.

2. While the nuts are toasting, combine the sea salt and the smoked paprika in a small bowl.

3. Once the almonds are out of the oven, drizzle with olive oil and toss to combine. Add extra oil if not all the nuts are coated. Sprinkle with the salt and paprika mixture and stir again. Allow to cool. Transfer to serving bowl and serve at room temperature.


Baked Patatas Bravas with Smoked Paprika Dipping Sauce

Inspired by Food & Wine 

For the Patatas Bravas
3 medium yellow potatoes, sliced into wedges
1 Tblsp olive oil

For the Smoked Paprika Dipping Sauce
2 Tblsp mayonnaise
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1-2 Tblsp lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. In a pot, cover the potatoes with water. Generously season with kosher salt and bring to a boil. Simmer the potatoes until nearly tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and let the potatoes dry on paper or kitchen towels.
3. Lay potatoes out on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil, toss potatoes until lightly covered with olive oil. Sprinkle salt on potatoes. Roast in oven for 30-40 minutes, flipping once or twice, until nicely browned.
4. Meanwhile make the dipping sauce. Add mayonnaise and spices to a small bowl and whip with a fork until combined. Add lemon juice slowly until you reach desired consistency/ tanginess.

fennel salad


 Adapted from Genius Kitchen

2-3 small fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut into thin wedges
2 Tblsp olive oil
1 large orange, peeled and cut into segments (supremed)
1 Tblsp white wine vinegar
¼ red onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
6  black  or kalamata olives
4 cups lettuce, romaine or green leaf, torn into bite size pieces (optional)
fresh ground black pepper
1 Tblsp fresh mint, roughly chopped (optional)

1. Pre-heat oven to 400F.
2. Place fennel on a well-oiled baking tray, drizzle with ½ Tblsp olive oil, roast for 20-30 minutes or until tender and charred on the edges. Turn them once or twice during cooking. Allow to cool.
3. Whisk the remaining oil with white wine vinegar.
4.  In a large bowl mix lettuce with ½ the dressing. Remove and place into serving bowl.
5. In same large bowl, gently mix fennel with orange slices, onion, olives and add remaining dressing. Add ½ the mint, salt and pepper, and stir once more.
6. Add fennel mixture on top of lettuce in the serving bowl. Top with remaining mint, and optional fennel fronds for garnish.

24 Hours of Daytona - Shrimp and Pepper Skewers

The Winter Break is long and dull, with no races to watch, drivers to cheer on, or countries to cook for. 

But lo, our drivers have not abandoned us to lay low the entirety of the Winter with no entertainment or drama. One of our favorite personalities in F1, Fernando Alonso, did what he does best and added a little excitement to the doldrums, by racing in the 24 Hours of Daytona over the weekend. Although admittedly we did not watch all 24 hours it was fun to see another type of racing and to cook some fun food for the race. 

In looking for Florida recipes I came across an excellent piece of terminology: Floribbean, any guesses? You got it: Floridian and Caribbean. It seems like most foods in Florida have a few things in common: seafood, bright bold flavors, rice and beans are ever present, and most were washed down with a libation (or two).


In the mood for something bright and summery to battle the 'meh' feeling of it being dark at 5:00 and consistently blustery outside, we made grilled Shrimp and Pepper Skewers (we even pulled the cover of the grill and brought it out of dormancy for the occasion), Black Bean and Rice Salad, Fresh Pineapple Salsa, Mojitos, and Key Lime Pie! 

Shrimp Skewers

Shrimp and Sweet Pepper Skewers

Adapted from: Fresh from Florida

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined with tail on
2 large bell peppers, cut into 1-inch squares
2 large onions cut into 1-inch squares
Fresh pineapple chunks
10-16 bamboo skewers (soaked in water for 1 hour) or metal skewers
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Skewer Marinade

1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Skewer Marinade

1. Combine olive oil, garlic, cumin, chili powder, cilantro and lime juice in a blender and puree until smooth.
2. Taste marinade and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.


1. Mix shrimp with ¼ of marinade in a medium bowl until coated.
2. Make skewers by alternating shrimp, peppers, onions, and pineapple chunks.
3. Season the completed skewers with salt and pepper and brush on additional marinade.
4. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
5. Add skewers to grill and cook for approximately 4-5 minute each side, brushing on more marinade when flipping.

Black bean and rice salad

Black Bean and Rice Salad

From: The Spruce

1 -15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups long-grain rice, cooked and chilled
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 tomato (or ½ cup cherry or grape tomatoes), chopped
2 to 3 green onions, sliced

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Garnish: fresh chopped cilantro     

1. In a large bowl, combine the black beans with the cold cooked rice, green and red bell peppers, chopped tomato, and chopped green onion.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, Dijon mustard, sugar, cumin, and pepper. I like to do this in a mason jar – just add all ingredients put the lid on and shake.
3. Add the dressing mixture to beans and rice and stir gently to blend ingredients.
4. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
5. Toss again before serving and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.

Pineapple Boat

Fresh Pineapple Salsa 

1 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple
1 bell pepper (any color or combo of colors), finely chopped
1 jalapeño, stemmed and minced
1/2 small red onion, minced
1⁄4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. kosher salt

Mix together all ingredients, serve. 

If you're feeling extra ridiculous you can serve this in... a pineapple boat. To make a pineapple boat, err, bowl, cut 1/3-1/2 of pineapple (vertically) off. Cut up and scoop out inner part of pineapple (use chopped up in recipe and for shrimp skewers), and fill with salsa. Top with cilantro for extra style points. 


For desserts and drinks... Mojitos and Key Lime Pie (posts coming soon!).

Abu Dhabi GP - Cardamom Crumbed Lamb, Eggplant Salad, and Apricot Almond Cake

I can't believe it is the end of the season already. The final race in Abu Dhabi is quite a spectacle and a great send off to what turned out to be a pretty exciting year. 

Congratulations to Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton for clinching the Constructors and Driver Championships! Hoping next year we see more competition at the front... I'm looking at you Ferrari. Expecting Red Bull and hopefully McLaren to also show some good upgrades and make this a real fight! 

Images from Instagram (@lewishamilton @mercedesamgf1) 

For the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix we expanded our culinary choices beyond machboos and in fact I ventured all the way... to the library. I found a stack of books on Middle Eastern cuisines which ranged from Israeli, Palestinian, Azerbaijani, Turkish, and Emirati to more countries and regions beyond.  It was fun perusing the recipe books and reading about the regions wealth of food history. 

For this race I picked a few that just sounded too irresistible: Cardamom Crumbed Lamb, Eggplant Salad, and Apricot Almond Cake. 

Middle Eastern Cooking Library Books
Cardamom Crumbed Lamb

Cardamom-Crumbed Lamb Cutlets

Artichoke to Za'atar: Modern Middle Eastern Food by Greg Malouf and Lucy Malouf

2 racks lamb
5 pods cardamom, seeds only, lightly crushed
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons sherry (or apple cider vinegar)
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
½ cup crumbing mixture
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

Crumbing mix:
1 tablespoon sumac
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, roasted (or pan toasted) and crushed
zest of ½ lemon
½ cup bread crumbs

1.     Preheat over to 425F.
2.     Clean up racks of lamb by scraping bones of excess fat and tissue
3.     To make the glaze, put cardamom seeds, mustard, honey, and sherry in a saucepan with a grind of black pepper. Heat gently until the honey melts. Mix ingredients constantly until they come together in a thin glaze.
4.     Combine the cumbing mixture with the olive oil. Add the parmesan to the bread crumbs and mix together. 
5.     Lightly season lamb racks with salt and pepper. Spread the glaze generously onto the meat side of the lamb racks and press the crumbing mixture into the glaze, packing it on generously but neatly. Wrap aluminum foil around the bones to prevent charring.
6.     Drizzle olive oil on a baking sheet and place lamb racks on top of oil. Cook in preheated oven until desired temperature. (Book suggests 12 minutes for medium-rare, 15 for medium – we needed at least 25 minutes for mefium-rare, so make sure to use a thermometer – med/rare 145F.)
7.     Allow to rest with an aluminum tent for 10 minutes.
8.     Slice and serve.

Served with Eggplant Salad and Za'atar bread (or... cheater za'atar bread, recipe below)

Zaatar Bread

Cheater Za’atar Bread

Flatbread (Trader Joe’s Naan, pita bread)
Good quality olive oil
Za’atar spice blend (see below)

Spread 1 tsp olive oil on each flat bread, sprinkle generous amount of Za’atar spice blend on flat bread.

Bake for 5 minutes or until slightly brown and crispy edges form.

Za’atar spice blend

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano (or ½ Tbsp. dried)
1 Tbsp. sumac
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients


To end the night, and the season, we had a delicious Apricot Almond Cake and Quick Turkish Coffees.

Almond Apricot Cake

Looking back over the 2017 season there were some spectacular races and a lot of great race drama. If you want to relive it, the Formula 1 Youtube channel has highlights from every race in a playlist. Alternatively, you can just pull up the defining moments like Baku or Mexico, or some of the most exciting races like Malaysia, Singapore, and China.

Or like me, you can revisit it through food by going back and making more Char Kway Teow and Banoffee Pie

Looking forward to next year, in 2018 two new (returning) races will be added to the calendar, in France and Germany. New races means new food! Can't wait to explore french cuisine and make some delicious things covered in butter! 

It will be a long winter wait for March 25th, 2018... but in the meantime I may have some surprises and fun things in store to keep us entertained and well fed over the break. 

Here's to the future:

"It's been an amazing season and now a new era awaits. The greatest races are ahead of us... " 

Formula 1 Youtube Channel: For more F1® videos, visit