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January 14th, 2014

Garlic And Herb Monkey Bread


It’s no secret that Monkey bread and I have a love affair. It all started a year ago when my editor asked me to come up with 12 sweet and savory Monkey Bread Recipes. Embarrassingly enough I never had Monkey Bread before this assignment but I was up for the challenge. All it took was one recipe to get me hooked and now I cannot stop creating new and delicious ways to serve this delectable party favorite. It’s the perfect recipe to make for any gathering because it’s plentiful and fun to eat. I’m definitely making a few different types for Super Bowl Sunday.

Hop on over to Momtastic to check out all of my Monkey bread Recipes like this Pepperoni Pizza Monkey bread and this Garlic And Herb Monkey bread. From Sweet to Savory, you cannot go wrong.

 

 

Find all of my Momtasitc Recipes HERE!!!

 

 

October 22nd, 2013

Macy’s Culinary Council 10th Anniversary

 

I was born and raised in NYC. City life is very different than suburban life in many ways. For example, I never went to a mall until I was much, much older. Growing up a city kid, you don’t really go to malls for shopping. As a kid my mom would take me to Macy’s in Herald Square for all of my back to school clothes and even my haircuts. I have fond memories of the Thanksgiving Day parade, visiting Santa Claus during Christmas time and riding those old wooden escalators up and down with my mom.

Macy’s has and always will hold a special place in my heart. It’s a huge part of NYC and is such a landmark which is why I was so excited to receive an invitation to the 10 Anniversary of Macy’s Culinary Council. I mean, when you receive an invitation to eat and party with chefs  Todd EnglishMarc ForgioneNancy SilvertonMarcus SamuelssonMing TsaiTakashi YagihashiJohnny Iuzzini and Tom Douglas, you really can’t say no, amiright? The Culinary Council is a national culinary authority made up of many of the nation’s rock star chefs. It was created in 2003, with the goal to inspire the way Macy’s customers shop, cook and eat at home. The chefs are both ambassadors and instructors, providing expert culinary advice and leading cooking demonstrations at Macy’s stores, with the aim of teaching customers how to cook and shop like a chef.

Pastry Chef and Rock Star Johnny Iuzzini

 The incomparable Marcus Samuelsson

The store itself has undergone a huge transformation including the addition of an awesome new restaurant on the 6th floor called Stella 34 Trattoria where this event was held.  Upon entry into Stella 34 Trattoria I was instantly impressed by the decor. This is not your average department store food court, it is every bit a chic NYC restaurant. The decor is modern but totally chill and not at all stark or cold.  I have to admit, Stella grabbed my heart when I saw the waiters wearing Converse sneakers as a part of their uniform!!! And we haven’t even talked about the awesome views of the Empire State Building yet. Amazing!! We feasted on culinary delights from all of the Councils badass chefs including these ridiculously delicious Red Velvet Cupcakes with Raspberry Rose Buttercream created by Pastry Chef Johnny Iuzzini.

Thank you Macy’s Culinary Council for allowing me to be a part of your special anniversary. Here’s to many more years of culinary greatness. Cheers!!!


 

 

**Everywhere compensated me for this post on Macy’s Culinary Council

October 9th, 2013

Tomato, Corn and Cheese Stuffed Peppers

Not sure you know this a bout me but, I was a vegetarian for 12 years starting in High School. It was quite the experience for me living with a meat nd potatoes mother who, even after 10 years of knowing me as a vegetarian would ask me  if I wanted chicken cutlets or sausage or steak. I would always reply “Ma (in my thick Brooklyn accent) I’m a vegetarian which means I don’t eat animals and those are all animals”. It never really sunk in. The funny thing is, her unwillingness to cook vegetarian sort of sparked my love for cooking. . I should also tell you that as a vegetarian I never, ever liked meat substitutes. I just wasn’t into compressed tofu in the shape of a hotdog or hamburger because, honestly, if i wanted a freakin’ hotdog, I’d just eat one, pig and all. But those processed vegetarian items keep a lot of people alive, especially if you don’t like to cook or don’t know how to. I get it. They’re quick and easy. I just wasn’t havin’ it and if I didn’t want to eat pasta, grilled cheese and Doritos my entire life, i had to learn to create dishes on my own cause my mother idea of a vegetarian meal was obviously, always gonna include “just a little meat”. OYE!

I’m 34 now, with a family all my own and although I now eat some chicken and fish, I main;y stick to a meat free diet. Since my strict vegetarian days I have created quite a few (OK, a shit load) of vegetarian recipes like these awesome stuffed peppers. They are simple to make and can even be made a few days in advance because they reheat well. Feel free to flavor up the rice any way you’d like. Add more veggies,  different cheese, some jalapeños or go ahead and throw in some ground meat. You really can’t go wrong with stuffed peppers. Hop on over to Momtastic for the recipe.

Click here for Tomato, Corn and Cheese Stuffed Peppers Recipe!

Enjoy!

 

 

 

September 17th, 2013

Waste Not: Tomato, Basil Pizza With Balsamic Glaze

My garden is bursting with red, juicy ripe tomatoes of every single variety. I suppose I was a little over zealous when planting them this Summer. Don’t get me wrong, i am thrilled that my first vegetable garden was amazingly successful but now we are left with many, many red, ripe juicy tomatoes and we simply cannot keep up in the consumption department. I hate to waste food so i’ve been stretching my culinary muscles trying to come up with simple and delicious ways to use up this gorgeous fruit.


Yesterday I made this crazy easy Tomato, Basil Tart with Balsamic Glaze. It all started with some store bought pizza dough (a staple in our house!). I decided that a simple tomato tart would be a great way to showcase the flavors of perfectly ripe, in-season tomatoes. After all, in just a few short weeks, it will be depressingly difficult to find a tomato that even looks like a tomato, let alone one that tastes like a tomato. When fruit and veggies are at their peak, I love to prepare them simply so that their flavor shines and this tart allows the tomatoes to do just that. The trick is to slice the tomatoes super thin using a very sharp knife. Tip: if you don’t have a super sharp knife, a serrated one works well too.

Serve this pizza alongside a salad for a an elegant, easy weeknight meal perfect for meatless Mondays!

 

Tomato, Basil PizzaWith Balsamic Glaze

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

1 store bought pizza dough

2 cloves garlic, minced

6-8 medium sized tomatoes, sliced paper thin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup sweet balsamic syrup (you want the sweet, syrup style, not the thinner, more tangy balsamic vinegar)

1/2 cup basil leaves

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 425. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Allow pizza ough to rest in an oiled bowl covered with a dish towel until it has risen and doubled in size.  Press the dough into the pan until it is a rectangular shape and fills the entire baking sheet.


3. Spread garlic onto the dough, layer the tomatoes onto the dough overlapping them in neat rows. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.


4. Place tart into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the dough is light golden brown. Remove pizza from oven, drizzle with balsamic glaze and top with basil right before serving. Enjoy!

July 31st, 2013

Buttermilk, Chocolate Chip Waffles

I find myself constantly coming up with new waffle recipes. My family is obsessed with them and let’s face it, homemade waffles are so much better than frozen. I love playing around with flavors and proportions to come up with new tastes and textures.

I have 2 and 4 year old boys and they are both chocolate chip obsessed. I find it funny that up until now I’ve never made chocolate chip waffles before. We make a lot of chocolate chip pancakes, but for some reason they never managed to make it into our waffles. I decided to use buttermilk for this recipe because I really enjoy the sleight tang it imparts into pancake and waffle batter.

This waffle is the perfect balance of crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. It definitely has a melt in your mouth quality and will make the perfect addition to your breakfast and brunch repertoire.

 

June 15th, 2013

Eat More Fish! Bumble Bee SUPERFRESH™ {Sponsored}

A little over six months ago I took a vow to take better care of myself. I’m a busy working wife and mother who is often guilty of putting everyone in my life first, except for myself. How many of us gals are guilty of this?

No time!

It was taking a toll on my mind and my body, so I knew that making “ME” a priority was something I needed to do for myself, as a woman. I pledged to make diet and exercise a huge priority in my life. Like many of us, I put it on the back burner for way too long. Life is crazy and it never seems to slow down but that doesn’t mean we can’t find ways to fit it all in, especially when it comes to what type of food we put into our bodies.

One of my favorite ways to eat more healthfully is fish. Being a food writer who has the pleasure of talking with a lot of readers, I realize that there is definitely a fish phobia going on around out there. People often tell me they have trouble buying it and worry that cooking it is complicated. No matter how much I stress the ease and deliciousness of a simply grilled or broiled piece of fish, I know many of you out there still feel uneasy about adding it to your weekly recipe repertoire. I’m here to tell you that it really is one of my favorite ways get a nutritious meal on the table that the entire family enjoys it as well. I have always loved fish cookery and even the fish selecting and buying process, but I definitely don’t always have the time to get to my fish monger for a fresh piece of fish. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself at 5pm with a craving for salmon or shrimp but no time to get to the store. I always wished there was a better way to have fish on-hand so that I can be prepared and stay on tract with my health goals. Anyone who’s trying to eat more healthfully will tell you that being prepared with well stocked fridge, pantry and freezer is key to being successful. I wanted to add more protein to my diet and fish is a great way to do so, but it was always seemed impossible to have it on hand when I wanted it. Until recently, I wasn’t a huge fan of supermarket frozen fish so I avoided it like the plague. Legit—it wasn’t even in my vocabulary. The flavor (or lack there of) always left me dissatisfied, and don’t even get me started on the texture. I’m not one to choke something down because it’s “good for me”. I love food and want to be able to eat well without sacrificing taste. I would never be able to consume as much fish as I wanted if it meant I was settling for sub-par frozen fish.

 

Enter: Bumble Bee  SUPERFRESH™.

 

I recently had the opportunity to try out their new fresh frozen product line of sustainably farmed whole fish fillets. Right off the bat I was thrilled to see that Bumble Bee prides itself on using premium quality tilapia, salmon and shrimp that are free of added chemicals and no preservatives like Sodium Tripolyphosphates—super important, especially when consuming shrimp! The ingredient list is clean which means there are no surprises and every seasoning that is chosen is something I would use myself like garlic, herbs, butter and lemon juice.

When I opened my very first package, I was so excited!! I’m a visual gal and was pleasantly surprised at the packaging and the overall look of the fillets. Each package comes with two vacuum packed premium cut fillets and their very own baking parchments to help seal in all of the delicious flavor while baking. And for you people that hate to clean up messy pans, parchment baked fish means no muss, no fuss! Weee…! The fillets come fully prepared with all natural, chef prepared seasonings. And if that wasn’t enough, the fillets bake straight from the freezer (no thawing!!) which means you can have dinner on the table in 20 minutes or less. How’s that for a busy gals dream come true?

I was definitely visually impressed and obsessed with the ease of preparation, but, let’s face it, the taste test was going to be the clincher. I’m not gonna lie. I was nervous. I know. I know. It’s not that serious. Wait. It IS serious! I had bad experiences with frozen fillets before and that sort of stuff scars a foodie gal like me, ya dig?  I like my fish prepared simply and usually don’t go for fancy sauces or preparations which is why I fell in love with Bumble Bee  SUPERFRESH™ chef prepared seasonings like the Tilapia with Lemon, Pepper and Herbs and Salmon with Garden Pesto. I love that none of their fish is breaded. The flavor of the seasonings were obviously created to enhance the fish without overpowering it or drowning it in. I served my fish alongside some brown rice and simply steamed green beans so that I had a nice clean backdrop to really enjoy what Bumble Bee had to offer me with their seasonings. As soon as I placed the tines of the fork into the still steaming tilapia, I knew I was in for a treat. It was tender and flaky, not tough or rubbery—something that doesn’t often happen with frozen fillets. The flavors were clean which highlighted the mild and delicate flavor of tilapia beautifully.


Hooray!! Bumble Bee SuperFresh™!!! It’s true. I was a skeptic. I didn’t want to love you. In fact, I was scared to death of you but you definitely made me a believer.  I am thrilled to have a way to keep deliciously prepared fish in my freezer with the confidence that a deliciously, nutritious meal is within arms reach and easily prepared in 20 minutes or less. Thanks Bumble Bee®, I know that your product will help me stay true to my vows and this busy, wife, mother and WOMAN is very grateful for that.

 

DISCLOSURE: Bumble Bee SUPERFRESH™ gave me free product and said they’d pay me to blog about it IF I liked it.  I do!

April 14th, 2013

Cinnamon Sugar Monkey Bread


 

I just got done with a whirlwind assignment for 7, yes, SEVEN, monkey bread recipes for the good folks over at Momtastic. What’s funny is I never had monkey bread before I was asked to write a few recipes for it. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of eating some monkey bread then I don’t have to tell you the research was beyond delicious. Apparently Monkey bread recipes are a huge hit over on Momtastic and it was such a blast taking a popular recipe and playing around with both sweet and savory flavors. I think I came up with some real winners and whether you are looking for brunch, lunch a side dish or dessert, there will definitely be something for you. Think; Parmesan & Garlic, Pepperoni Pizza and even Chai Spiced Flavored Monkey bread. But if you are a purist, then the first recipe is for you and the recipe for Cinnamon Sugar Monkey Bread can be had by hoping on over to Momtastic now. I’ll keep you posted as the other recipes go live but, until then, rock this recipe!

Get the Cinnamon & Sugar Monkey Bread Recipe here!

 

 

March 16th, 2013

Shamrock Sipper

We all know what to cook for our Saint Patty’s Day feast, it’s really a no brainer, right?  How many of us are guilty of forgetting the beverages for a celebratory event? Sure, beer is classic and goes fabulously with corned beef, but I love to kick it up a notch with a drink that’s a little more fun and festive. You all know how much I love my signature cocktails, so I played around a bit today and came up with this awesome Shamrock Sipper. The flavor of this cocktail is similar to that of a mojito only it uses vodka instead of rum. It’s light and refreshing and the light green color makes it the perfect cocktail to toast your friends with this Saint Patty’s Day. Enjoy!
February 11th, 2013

Valentine’s Day Cupcake Pops Recipe


I love creating holiday recipes that have an element of crafti-ness to them. It’s fun to stretch your creative wings and come up with a totally fun and festive idea. The kids love it and who am I kidding, I will use any excuse to give my food a “theme”. The other day my kids and i made these crazy easy, super adorable cupcake pops using store-bought mini cupcakes. We popped them on a pretty red and white straw and had Cupcake Pops in a flash. How adorable would these be for the class bake sale or even to hand out as edible Valentine’s?

 

Hop on over to Momtastic for the recipe and make yourselves up a batch today!

 

Valentine’s Day Cupcake Pops Recipe

 

February 4th, 2013

Jasmine Rice Stuffed Peppers

Part of the reason I love writing recipes is because of the research process. Reading, watching and yes, eating are all part of the job. It’s fascinating to learn about a family and their culture through their recipes. The process makes me feel like part historian and part detective. Sometimes you have to dig deep because, as many of us have discovered, retrieving an old recipe doesn’t always come easy. Many recipes exist only in the memory and can only be translated via demonstration. How many of us have had a relative tell us “I don’t have it written down, but I can show you.”?  Those moments are priceless because they are the very essence of family and tradition. What really connects us through food are the memories attributed to a certain dish and the person we remember making it. Smell, taste and touch are all sense that can instantly remind us of a time, place, or person and nothing does that better than food.

Whenever I set out to create a new recipe I do everything I can to learn about the way it’s traditionally made and then I set out to make it my own. Sometimes the changes are minor and other times more drastic. Reading this you might be saying “I do the same thing with my recipes”, and that’s probably true. The wonderful world of cooking is this amazing mix of traditional and new ideas. Each recipe has a history and a story all it’s own, making it as unique and special as it’s creator.

These stuffed peppers are a great example of re-working a classic— a slight spin on a family favorite. I took our family stuffed pepper recipe and decided to bump up the flavor a bit by adding fresh herbs and swapping out traditionally used white rice for super fragrant jasmine rice. The change may not *seem* all that drastic but I assure you they took this dish from simple to special. The flavor is unique all the while preserving the traditional recipe. I think my Grandma would be proud.

Note: this recipe can easily be made vegetarian by omitting the sausage. You can even add in beans to bump up the protein. If using beans, stir pre-cooked beans into the rice mixture before filling peppers. Bake as indicated below.