pickled red onions

13 Jul

I hope that all of you are enjoying your summer and spending lots of time grilling outdoors.   Pickling red onions is really simple and doesn’t take that much time.  You don’t have to store them for weeks before they are ready for consumption-in fact, they can be eaten right away.  I love watching the onions turn from deep purple to a bright pink.

Next time you go to bbq at your friends house, instead of bringing the usual 6-pack or burger buns, I suggest you bring over some pickled red onions. They make the perfect hostess gift for any occasion.  I prefer keeping them in these clamp jars, especially if you are bringing them to an outdoor event. Although mason jars look nice, I think it’s easier to get in and out of these jars rather than dealing with a mason jar’s multi-part lid.

I have been playing around with the vinegar-to-sugar ratio because I prefer my onions a little more on the tart side.  If you do like them sweeter, feel free to add more sugar.

How to pickle red onions:

Thinly slice two large red onions. Set aside.

Combine 1 1/2” cups vinegar, 4 tablespoons of sugar, 2 dried chilies, 10 allspice berries, 2 bay leaves.

Bring mixture to a boil in a large, flat pot.When mixture is boiling, add onion slices and reduce heat, simmering onions for about a minute.  Move onions around and make sure they are evenly cooked.  When onions are a bright pink color, remove pan from heat and let cool completely.

There are lots of uses for pickled red onions.  You can eat them on simple steak tacos:  grill steaks, slice up, serve on corn tortillas.  You can also put them on top of your burgers. I like the combination of savory red meat with the like tartness and texture of the onions.  Or, if you don’t eat red meat (silly decision) they work nicely with grilled fish tacos.

Happy Cooking!


lettuce wraps

1 Jul

My sincerest apologies dear readers for being such a horrible blogger these days.  I just don’t know where the past week has gone!  I feel like this recipe is too Sandra Lee for me to post, but I am going to do it anyways.  The truth is that I was going to make a hoisin sauce from scratch, but alas I didn’t have all of the ingredients in my pantry.  I broke down and bought pre-made hoisin sauce (I know, I know).  So, not only I have I been a bad blogger lately, but a lazy one at that.

The highlight of these lettuce wraps is really the summer squash.  They are basically the reason I made lettuce wraps in the first place.  It’s officially summer which means I have been spending quite a bit of time outdoors, staying out a tad too late on work nights, and truly enjoying all of the goodies at the farmer’s market.  I picked up these vibrant little squash for $1.25!!  I wasn’t sure what I was going to make with them, but I brought them home anyways.  Then I remembered one of the main ingredients in my favorite lettuce wraps from Phillipe is yellow squash.  It was decided.  These little squash were going to be turned into lettuce wraps.  I also had some basil on hand (left over from the spaghetti), so I figured instead of making pesto like I had originally planned I would use it for the wraps.

For the lettuce wraps….

Dice squash into small-ish pieces. Set aside.

Rinse chicken, remove any excess fat, and pat dry.  Coat in hoisin sauce. Brown on both sides in pan on medium heat and continue to cook on low heat until cooked all the way thru, about 20 minutes. Remove from pan and let rest/cool.

While chicken is resting, put yellow squash in pan and cook on low until centers become soft.  While squash is cooking, dice up chicken into small bite-size pieces.  Place chicken back in pan and cook squash and chicken together.  Don’t let them cook too long-you don’t want the chicken to over cook, just until the two ingredients cook together.  Remove from heat and fold in chopped basil.  Plate in large bowl and serve with lettuce leaves.

Grocery Bill:

  • 3 summer squash from the farmer’s market $1.25
  • 1 head boston bibb lettuce from the farmer’s market $1.25
  • boneless skinless chicken thighs (about a pound) $3.90
  • hoisin sauce $2.99
  • left over basil…eh about $2.00

Grand Total: $11.39

So, it looks like I owe you a hoisin sauce and more regular posts….

Happy Cooking!

spaghetti with garlic tomatoes

22 Jun

I saw the new Tilda Swinton movie “I Am Love” this weekend.  The movie was fantastic.  I don’t want to divulge too many details about the film (you have to see it), but one of the characters is an Italian chef.  Now, I am by no means comparing myself to an Italian chef (especially the one in the movie), however, watching the film made me crave something simple, filling, Italian, and inexpensive.   I made spaghetti with garlic tomatoes and topped it off with a little fresh basil.  We still aren’t quite in tomato season yet, but they are beginning to show their plump little faces at the farmer’s market and I am very excited about it.

for the spaghetti:

Dice up 4-5 cloves of garlic.  Saute in pan with olive oil.  Rinse tomatoes and remove stems.  Add to pan with a pinch of salt and saute on low heat.  I like to let the tomatoes cook until the skins just start to burst.  Cooking the tomatoes like this allows the skin to keep some of it’s integrity, but the tomato almost melts in your mouth when you bite into one.

Bring pot of water to boil, add spaghetti and cook until al dente, about 8-10 minutes, depending on what type of pasta you are cooking.  I used spaghetti because the tomatoes were quite large and round.  If you are using smaller grape tomatoes, I recommend using capellini instead of a thicker spaghetti. Once you have drained the pasta, add to pan with tomatoes and saute quickly together.

Plate spaghetti and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese and chopped basil.

Grocery Bill:

  • 1/2 lb spaghetti  $0.50
  • 1 container fresh tomatoes from the farmer’s market $4.50
  • Basil $2.99-you can use the leftover basil to make pesto
  • Parmesan- $4.25 for the container…I have been slowly eating the cheese for the past 2 weeks.

Grand Total: $13.50

If  you don’t want to go over budget, skip the basil.  It adds a bit of sweetness to the dish, but it’s really not necessary.

Happy Cooking!

pink champagne

18 Jun

the perfect drink for a special occasion-or really any occasion at all. tastes even better when it’s drunk out of coupes.

happy friday!

radish toasts

14 Jun

Ever since I read this article in the New York Times I have been wanting to roast radishes.  I made a slightly different version than the crostini in the article and discovered that these little radish toasts make a wonderful appetizer for a party, large or small.  Radishes are in season right now, so it’s very inexpensive to cook with them.  Whether you are making toasts for a party or just roasting some radishes yourself, I highly recommend this new approach to radishes! Continue reading

early summer salad

9 Jun

It was painfully hot last weekend in New York.  For the most part, I can handle the heat (I mean hello, I grew up in LA), but the humidity really gets to me.  I usually have a hard time being inside a kitchen on super hot days.   This is an easy salad that utilizes some of early summer/late spring ingredients I picked up at the market.  I’m not going to bore you with details of how to make a salad (if you can’t figure this one out I’m not sure there is much hope for you) but I will tell you what’s in it: local arugula, sliced strawberries, parmesan flakes, a drizzle of olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and a pinch of salt.  Quite a refreshing and light salad, if I might say so myself.
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scrambled eggs with goat cheese and chives

25 May

Brunch is a really inexpensive and pretty stress-free way to entertain.  I had some people over for brunch this past weekend and when I am entertaining I like to keep the cooking as simple as possible.  I made scrambled eggs, potato hash, and put out some fresh fruit with yogurt and granola.  Oh! And there were some cranberry coffee bars, but we will discuss those bars at a later date….

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23 May

I had some friends over for brunch yesterday and I’ll post about the food in a bit, but I wanted to share these beautiful peonies with you.  Peonies are in full bloom right now and I have been splurging on them at the farmer’s market lately.  I can’t help it!  They smell amazing and make the perfect spring time table decoration.


19 May

The other day my brother asked me how to make bruschetta.  Although tomatoes aren’t quite in season yet, they’re  starting to pop up at the market. I have found that the key to making tasty bruschetta is to let the tomatoes marinate in olive oil and salt for a little before mixing in any other ingredient.  I don’t know if this is the traditional way to make it, but it sure tastes good.  Remember when you are storing tomatoes to keep them on the counter top.  If they go in the fridge their flavor will change.

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chicken paillard

13 May

Stressful day at work?  Make chicken paillard!  After countless hours of scientific research, I have come to the very precise conclusion that this is the perfect dish to make after a long day.  First of all, it takes about 10 minutes to make. Secondly, it requires very few ingredients.  But most importantly, you get to pound the crap out of some meat.  Forget screaming into your pillow, just try making chicken paillard and your stress will go away in no time!

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