See you next week!
October 6, 2017
The best part about developing a recipe is the “creative aspect”. I’m not talking about getting fancy with ingredients here. I’m saying that you need to use stuff that is already in your possession. I usually open my fridge and spice cupboards, pull out this and that and then experiment by mixing different sauces and spices.
It’s the way I cook. It’s the way I was taught to cook by my mom. It’s the way I like it.
Does everything always turn out perfectly? Well, no. But lucky for you, it won’t show up here until it’s tried, tested and approved. Not only by me, but my only victim right now – Steve.
So, last night I made this chicken and MANNNNNN was it ever good. The only thing I would say is that this recipe needs a HEAT ALERT. I used fresh chili peppers here and they are dangerous.
This is the second time I’ve done something this stupid, but I’m going to let you in on it even though you will be shaking your head while reading this.
Yep. I cut the peppers and then rubbed my left eye. Do you know what ensued next? Me running around the kitchen splashing cold water in my eyeball and basically screaming.
Screaming, splashing, running. I was a sight for sore eyes. Oh wait. It was my EYE that was sore. Nevermind.
The only way I can describe it – painful and funny at the same time. But then again, that’s what it’s like to live with me. Ask Steve. He knows.
As with the majority of my shoots, I make things ahead of time so we don’t have to wait to eat our meals. Times have changed since the boys lived here. They were used to watching their food walk past them and became very accustomed to eating lukewarm meals. No wonder they moved out.
What I’m getting at is this. The longer this chicken sits in the sauce, the better it gets. Sweet, sticky, chili laden HEAT. And speaking of sauce, I made this recipe on my insta story and I found that there was a teeny problem with the ratio of liquid. I needed MORE! So what does one do? Double the sauce recipe and bingo bango it was PERFECT.
Another winner of a chicken dinner.
SWEET HEAT LIME CHILI CHICKEN
– 7 – 8 chicken thighs, skin on
– Garlic powder
– oil for frying
– Juice of 2 limes
– 4 tablespoons hoisin sauce
– 4 tablespoons light soy sauce
– 4 tablespoons oyster sauce
– 4 tablespoons sweet chili sauce, store bought
– 4 tablespoons brown sugar
– ½ teaspoon garlic powder
– ½ teaspoon black pepper
– Sliced chili peppers
– 1 sliced lime
– Chopped fresh parsley
1) Heat a large skillet on the stove with 2 tablespoons of oil. Pan fry chicken on both sides until skin is browned and crispy. Remove from pan and place into large oven proof casserole dish.
2) Preheat oven to 400F.
3) Prepare your sauce by mixing all ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk until blended. Pour over chicken.
4) Bake chicken for 25-30 or until juices run clear. Switch oven to BROIL and crisp the chicken skin until brown. DO NOT STEP AWAY FROM THE OVEN. The chicken skin crisps up really quickly and it will burn.
5) Garnish and serve.
See you next week!
July 10, 2017
I host a lot during the summer. I mean…a LOT.
I don’t like losing my pool time to be a slave to the kitchen BUT I need to feed everyone! So I’ve come up with some super simple summer lunches that I’ll share with you over the next couple months.
There are no recipes here, mostly I’m using store bought items and just dolling them up with fresh ingredients and a stunning but very easy table setting.
I had two friends staying with me this weekend, so for lunch I served cheeseburgers with sliced tomato and onions, macaroni salad, chips and guacamole and fresh fruit.
This menu sounds like a lot of work doesn’t it? I did nothing. I just so happen to have an incredible local butcher who has the most amazing selection of fresh and pre-made foods. Here’s what I got:
-Fresh burger patties
-1/2 pound sliced cheese
-1 large tomato
-1 red onion
-1 container of guacamole
-1 container of macaroni salad
-1 pint of Strawberries
-1 pint of Raspberries
-1 bunch of mint
-1 jug of lemonade
When I got home, I prepped lunch. Here’s how:
-Wash everything – herbs should always be washed as soon as you get home. Whatever you are not using, wrap in paper towel and put into a Ziploc.
-Put leftover herbs into small glass jars or vases to decorate your table.
-Slice your tomato and onion.
-Put strawberries and raspberries in a bowl or berry basket. I found a ceramic berry basket at my favorite store in the city called Fish’s Eddy.
-Pour your store bought lemonade into a glass jar or a pitcher and add: sliced strawberries, raspberries, sliced lemons and a few mint leaves.
-Right before my guests were due to arrive I fired up the grill and threw the burgers on. I grill my burgers for about 4 minutes per side, on a high flame. Once I flip them, I let them grill for another two minutes and then add the cheese. Top onto buns and serve.
-When guests arrive, set out the macaroni salad. The one I served had mayo in it so I made sure to keep it refrigerated until we were ready to eat.
-Pull condiments (ketchup, mustard and relish) and set on the table for guests to top their burgers as they please.
Now let’s set the table. I found the most adorable yellow baskets at Target for a buck each! They also sold really cute liners that I ended up using as placemats on my table.
I have tons of cloth napkins so I used plain white ones for this table setting because, why not?! I set out utensils and our shatterproof Party People cups (I hate using glass outdoors!).
I filled a small bucket with ice and placed bottles of water and our favorite Narragansett summer beers on ice.
Now all I need…are my guests. Let’s EAT!
March 24, 2017
For those of you who have been following along on Snapchat and my Insta Story, you know what the current state of affairs is in my home. We are living in total chaos right now during a kitchen and main floor renovation. No one said this was going to be a walk in the park, but we have learned to manage without a kitchen, and to be honest, I’m quite proud of US. Here are a few things we are doing to get us through the next few months.
1) We set up a “mock” kitchen – The location of this kitchen is in our boy’s old bathroom upstairs. Well? There’s a sink, a counter, a toilet and a shower in there, so what more did we need? Nothing.
2) Our new pantry area – We placed boxes of the contents of our cupboards and flatware drawers in my youngest son’s old bedroom. Perfect space to store all the large tubs of dry goods, sauces, oils, cleaning equipment etc. (My first thought about using our every day dishes was NO WAY. Why not just live on paper plates for the next three months? That didn’t bode well when you actually have to cut something on your plate and you saw right through it to the table. Besides, it wasn’t an eco-friendly idea anyways…despite the fact that I’m a total lazeball when it comes to doing dishes without a dishwasher. God, I’m spoiled.
3) Cooking with no stove – Yes, we have NO STOVE, but the good news is we have a fridge, microwave and I bought a hot plate for my food videos, so basically we are GOOD to go. The microwave comes in handy for reheating meals and the hot plate is just the best thing on earth for making everything from stir-frys to soup.
4) Our new dining room – We set up a bridge table and two folding chairs in my office/studio. It’s fine, with the exception of the days where we had the heat turned OFF by the contractor and sat shivering with a small space heater at our feet while eating our dinner.
This turkey vegetable egg drop soup is the easiest reno recipe ever. Everything is made in one pot on the magic hot plate and voila…….you have a meal in a bowl. In fact, you have a meal that you can actually eat right out of the pot – to save yourself from cleaning the bowl!
TURKEY VEGETABLE EGG DROP SOUP
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 medium onion, minced
– 1 clove of garlic, minced
– 1 large carrot, chopped
– 1 large tomato chopped
– 4 cups chicken broth, homemade or boxed organic
– 1 cup cooked turkey, shredded
– 2 eggs, beaten
– salt and pepper to taste
– 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
– 3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
1) In a medium pot heat olive oil over medium high heat. Saute onion for 3-4 minutes. Add minced garlic. Saute for another minute. Add chopped carrot. Add chopped tomato. Continue to saute for a few more minutes. Add chicken broth and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add shredded turkey. Remove from heat. Start stirring in a soup in a circular motion. Slowly drop beaten eggs. Stir for about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add chopped flat leaf parsley and grated parmesan. Top with additional parmesan and parsley!
Click here to see a quick run through of these steps!
March 17, 2017
Green isn’t limited to shamrocks and leprechauns. At this epic spread, it’s the inspiration for a healthy, yet hearty lunch that offers a spread of crudités with green goddess dip, mini fruit-topped pavlovas, and iced green tea.
Here’s what comes to mind when I think about St. Patrick’s Day: loads of green food, rainbows, pots of gold, shamrocks and of course, leprechauns. Even if you’re not Irish, you can create, style, cook, bake and host a gorgeous and elegant St. Patrick’s Day party!
This table offers a lush meets luxe dining experience. Think green and leafy intertwined with white and gold accents for your table settings. In keeping with the traditions of this theme, I used all of Martha’s recipes to blend together a wonderful, healthy lunch for family and friends.
One of the most eye-catching details at this table? The four-leaf clover napkins! Since this holiday is always fun and festive, I wanted to try my hand at napkin-folding. The only problem I have with this type of challenge is following instructions. This was a perfect job for my husband to tackle. (I bet you didn’t know that he is an expert napkin folder. Now you do!) He has so much more patience when it comes to tasks like this, it’s wonderful. Here’s how!
One thing I loved doing for an anniversary party I hosted recently, was a DIY garland for the table runner. It was super easy, reasonably priced, and packed a punch as a focal point for a simply beautiful centerpiece. For this garland, I included frisée (pronounced “free-ZAY”), which is used to refer to a variety of endive with curly, pale green or yellow-ish leaves. I created the garland with an edible factor, which is also appealing to the eye.
Let’s get back to the food. I chose these recipes carefully, based on three ingredient colors: green, white, and a pop of gold. For a quick appetizer, I created a wonderful crudité platter with green goddess dip.
My main course dishes were super healthy, green, and packed with protein. A warm quinoa and chicken salad, baby bok choy with ginger and garlic plus a refreshing salad with buttermilk dressing.
Don’t forget a signature mocktail. I served a cool and refreshing iced green tea with cucumber, which paired perfectly with the meal.
Lastly, dessert was easy: mini pavlovas garnished with fruit and a fresh herb that kept the St. Patrick’s day theme going — green grapes, kiwi, and mint.
Wishing you a pot of gold and all the joy your heart can hold.
Here are some quick tips for hosting this party:
Get festive with your food, think green and clean.
Showcase your creativity by cutting foods into pretty themed shapes. For example, a green pepper sliced width-wise looks exactly like a shamrock or four-leaf clover.
Give your tablescape a focal point, like the DIY garland.
Incorporate traditional with a modern twist: a four-leaf clover napkin, gold drinking straws, confetti and a menu filled with color themed food.
Include a signature “green” drink.
Author/Photographer/Stylist: Debi Traub | @simplybeautifuleating created exclusively for
Party props: Little Miss Party
Tableware, Props: Pier 1 Imports
Florals: Irene’s Floral
View all recipes by clicking on the pictures above
February 17, 2017
Okay guys. This maybe wasn’t such a good idea but I don’t want to discourage you from attempting to make your own (supposedly easy) Chinese dumplings.
Reason being is that these are a huge “patchka” (literal translation: to mess around with food or a project)
Think of these as a culinary challenge to your dexterity and patience.
Have you ever watched professional chefs make dim sum dumplings? Truly an art.
They take the dough, stuff it, seal it and steam the dumplings efficiently. Within seconds, they have mastered hundreds of precisely made dumplings. That being said, they do this for a living. Day in and day out. THEY ARE DUMPLING MAKERS.
I had a few factors working against me when I tried these. One being that I’m not Asian and have never made a dumpling before (hang on, I tried making what we call “Jewish wontons” once and experienced the same result….crappy kreplach. Secondly, for a change I was in a hurry to make and photograph these in time for the Chinese New Year. Do you know what happens when you rush? Besides breaking into full on shvitz (sweat) here’s a list of my excuses……
I didn’t feel like making my own dough. Already, that’s a problem and classified as a cop out for authentic dumplings.
Although I’m pretty good with my hands, the majority of these SO CALLED dumplings fell apart as soon as I steamed them. Not pretty, not pretty AT ALL.
I ate the ones that fell apart so no one would witness aftermath of the exploded dumplings. Not a great idea since I was trying to hide the disaster and therefore couldn’t eat dinner seeing as I WAS STUFFED to the gills with dumplings. A full out giveaway that “something went awry” with my experiment.
I came to the conclusion that it’s much easier to go out for Dim Sum and I plan on doing that in the future.
Have I scared you enough to look away from this blog post?
Check out how nice they are……..(I mean, see how nice the ones that turned out look?)
The truth of the matter is, practice makes perfect and the next time I tried making these I used yoga breathing to get through the process and they were STELLAR.
almost forgot something. The dipping sauces. I wanted to make MY own and I did. What I didn’t do was write down the recipes for each one. Brilliant right? I’m going to do my best to remember what was in them but just in case I forgot an ingredient please forgive me. I’m blaming it all on the dumplings.
CHICKEN & BOK CHOY CHINESE DUMPLINGS
– ½ lb ground chicken
– ¾ cup baby bok choy, steamed and finely chopped
– 2 tablespoons, chives finely chopped
– 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
– 1 garlic clove, finely minced
– 1 tablespoon sesame oil
– ½ teaspoon rice wine vinegar
– ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
– 1 package round wonton wrappers (you can find these at an Asian supermarket)
– 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, if pan frying
– black and white toasted sesame seeds for garnish
– Additional chopped chives for garnish
1) Combine the ground chicken, bok choy, chives, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, vinegar, and pepper into a medium bowl until well blended.
2) Place wrappers on a work surface lined with parchment paper.
3) To assemble the dumplings place ½ tablespoon of filling per wonton.
4) Rub the edges of the wrappers with water using your fingertip.
5) Fold the dough over the filling to create a half-moon shape, and pinch the edges to seal. (here’s where you need to be very careful, make sure those edges are tightly sealed otherwise you will end up with E.D.S. – Exploded Dumpling Syndrome.
6) Now you can either steam or pan fry the dumplings, here’s how:
7) To steam the dumplings, add about 1 to 2 inches of water into the bottom of a large pan and bring to a boil. (I have a double decker bamboo steamer and I make sure not to submerge the bottom layer of the steamer into the water)
8) Layer the steamer baskets with vegetable leaves (I used bok choy) to prevent the dumplings from sticking.
9) Place the bamboo steamer over the water and cook for about 10 minutes or until the dumplings are fully cooked.
10) To pan fry the dumplings, add oil to a pan and sauté dumplings for 2-3 minutes on one side until golden brown. Add in some water (3-4 tablespoons) and place a lid over the pan to steam. The dumplings should be done once all of the water has been absorbed. Garnish with additional chives, chopped peanuts and serve with dipping sauces. Makes about 24 dumplings or in my case 15 due to E.D.S.
11) Serve with dipping sauces and garnished with sesame seeds and chives
GINGER SOY DIPPING SAUCE
– 1⁄4 cup light soy sauce
– 3⁄4 tablespoon rice vinegar
– 1 teaspoon honey
– 1 minced garlic clove
– 1⁄2 teaspoon sesame oil
– 1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
– 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger
Whisk all ingredients and serve.
SZECHUAN PEANUT DIPPING SAUCE
– 2 tablespoons peanut butter
– 4 tablespoons hoisin sauce
– 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
– 1 teaspoon sriracha ketchup
– 3 – 4 tablespoons water
– 1 tablespoon crushed peanuts
1) In a small microwave-safe bowl, add hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, 3 tablespoons of water, peanut butter, and sriracha ketchup. Mix to blend ingredients.
2) Microwave on high for 20-25 seconds. Remove from microwave, and use a fork to combine ingredients together.
3) If sauce is too thick, add 1-2 additional tablespoons of water to achieve a thinner consistency.
4) Sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Serve as dipping sauce.
FIERY THAI DIPPING SAUCE
– ½ cup water
– ¼ cup rice vinegar
– ¼ cup white sugar
– 1 large garlic clove, finely minced
– 1 ½ teaspoons red chili flakes
– ⅛ cup water
– 2 teaspoons cornstarch
1) Combine water, rice vinegar, sugar, garlic and chili flakes in a small sauce pan. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar.
2) Bring to a slow simmer and cook for 5 minutes, keep stirring so it doesn’t scorch.
3) In a cup or small bowl, make a slurry of the cornstarch and ⅛ cup water.
4) After the sauce has simmered for 5 minutes, slowly pour in the cornstarch mixture.
5) Bring the sauce to a boil and cook gently for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
6) If the sauce isn’t as thick as you want, boil for another minute or so.
7) Serve as dipping sauce.