Archive | Cooking & Recipes RSS feed for this section

fusilli alla vodka

26 Oct

IMG_4054

I’m a pasta girl. If it was appropriate to eat pasta for every meal I would happily oblige. In addition to enjoying the art of eating pasta I also enjoy preparing it. They are so easy to throw together and you can pretty much add any ingredient to them and it works…meat, veggies, spice, dairy, seafood…anything! Last night we had Brian’s parents over for dinner and we decided to make our new favorite pasta dish…spicy fusilli alla vodka. We first made this dish a few weeks ago when we had our friends Rachel & Pj (and their new baby Ben!) over for dinner. It was a big hit that night so we decided to give it another go, this time we upped the spice factor. Brian likes to sweat when he eats food. While I enjoy spicy, he takes it to another level. I gotta keep my eye on him when he’s adding the spices to our meals.

IMG_4045

I found the recipe on Bon Appetite’s website (they pulled it from the Italian restaurant Jon & Vinny’s in Los Angeles. I’ve been dying to try this place so we made reservations for our wedding anniversary in November. I plan to eat lots of pasta that night) The dish is incredibly easy to make, we usually make the sauce before our guests arrive and then reheat it once we are ready to eat.

IMG_4048

FullSizeRender

Frank is absolutely no help unless food makes it onto the floor and needs to be cleaned up. Otherwise he sleeps nearby with his beloved tennis ball.

IMG_4047

Voila! Dinner is ready- we served the pasta with an Italian salad & fresh bread.

IMG_4053

ingredients-
servings: 4
¼ cup olive oil
½ shallot, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, finely grated
½ cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons vodka
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 pound fusilli
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ounce finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
¼ cup chopped fresh basil

directions-

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add shallot and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until paste is brick-red and starts to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add vodka and cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is mostly evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add cream and red pepper flakes and stir until well blended. Season with salt and pepper; remove from heat.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Add pasta to skillet with sauce along with butter and ½ cup pasta cooking liquid. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly and adding more pasta cooking liquid if needed, until butter has melted and a thick, glossy sauce has formed, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add 1 oz. Parmesan, tossing to coat. Divide pasta among bowls, then top with basil and more Parmesan.

*

Sunday night dinner

29 Sep

1

As I mentioned in a previous post I want to get back into kitchen this fall. We fell into a bad habit this summer of eating out or every single night. Seriously…every single night. We had four restaurants in our neighborhood on rotation…Thai, Mexican, Greek & Italian. I knew it had gone too far when the lovely lady who works at the Thai restaurant down the street knew my name and order without any direction- I guess it’s my fault for ordering spicy eggplant with chicken every single time.

Originally I wanted to make a savory fall recipe in the slow cooker this Sunday but the weather in Los Angeles has been SO hot (over it) and it just didn’t seem fitting. I would’ve had to draw all the curtains and blast the AC to make it feel cozy and fall like in our place.  So I switched gears and settled on a lighter chicken dish instead- roasted chicken with potatoes, arugula and garlic yogurt.

I forgot how much I love cooking on a lazy Sunday. The light is always so pretty that time of day in our home. We put on music…Brian cracks a cold beer and chats with me as I chop (he’s also kind enough to document the cooking session for my blog- thanks love!)…Frank plays with his toys by my feet.

It’s one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon.

The dish was an absolute success- such an interesting mix of flavors with the sriracha, cumin & garlic yogurt!

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

Roasted Chicken with Potatoes, Arugula and Garlic Yogurt. 

ingredients-

1 1/2 pounds chicken things and drumsticks

1 1/4 pounds of small Yukon gold potatoes, halved and cut into 1/2 inch slices

2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

2 tablespoons of sriracha

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

4 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 leeks, white and green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1/3 cup of plain yogurt (do not use greek)

1 garlic clove

2 ounces of baby arugula

chopped fresh dill

lemon juice

directions-

  • combine chicken and potatoes in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together sriracha, cumin and 3 tablespoons of oil. Pour over chicken and potatoes and toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours in the refrigerator.
  • meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine leeks, lemon zest, a pinch of salt and the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil.
  • heat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange chicken and potatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Roast 15 minutes. Toss potatoes lightly. Scatter leeks over pan. Roast until chicken and potatoes are cooked through and everything is golden, 30 minutes longer,
  • While chicken cooks, place yogurt in a small bowl. Grate garlic over yogurt and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • To serve, spoon yogurt over chicken and vegetables. Scatter arugula and dill over mixture. Drizzle with oil and lemon juice and serve.

fall / winter 2015

9 Sep

tumblr_mfgr67IakL1r7m9kyo1_500

(image found via pinterest)

With 2015 nearing to a close…I know, I know, we still have four full months, but once September hits I can’t help but reflect on how I want the year to wrap up. September – December always seems to fly by and I find myself surprised every year on January 1st- it almost seems impossible that we are there again. The next four months also happen to be my absolute favorite time of year- I find myself most creatively alive during this time. I also love everything to do with the holidays and what they represent- family dinners, our wedding anniversary, carving pumpkins, dressing Frankie up for Halloween, cooking, warmth, bundling up, decorating trees, cuddling & new beginnings.

The last eight months have been an introspective time for me. Rather than exploring the world around me, as I usually do, I have been instead making the journey within. I knew at the start of 2015 that something was off.  I had baggage that I still hadn’t worked through and I was dragging it around with me. I couldn’t hide from it anymore. It was time to do the hard work, even if that meant that other things had to be put on the back burner. Something very hard for a person who desires immediate results like me to come to terms with. Instead I had to trust the process. It reminded me of that quote by Zora Neale Hurston –  “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” Thus far this year has most definitely been asking me some questions. Ones that needed answering and ones that positively shifted something in me once I did. I feel empowered and for that I am incredibly grateful.

Life man, such a wild ride sometimes, right?

When reflecting about how I want the next few months to unfold, it was clear to me that I want them to feed my soul, creative mind, relationships, home & belly. I want to soak in every bit of goodness that 2015 has left to offer me. I have a feeling the next four months will bring an entirely different energy than the first eight did and I am ready for that new energy.

Some of the ways I would like to spend the next few months…

Deepening my meditation practice. I know I have only been scratching at the surface and I am feeling a pull towards more. In addition to developing a stronger home practice I want to explore Unplug Meditation, Against The Stream & Shambhala Center.

Reading! There are fifteen (I might be setting myself up for failure on this one) books I would love to read before the end of the year. I’ll share them in a later post.

Cooking- I plan on spending some quality time in the kitchen! Again, there is something about fall and winter that inspire me to want to cook. I love hearty recipes and the feeling of warmth that comes from the kitchen this time of year.

I would love to put a small dinner party together in our home each month to bring our family and friends together. I want to make a point to enjoy the ones that matter most in my life. I also love to entertain.

I want to finish a few work projects that have been on the back burner for many many many months. As I mentioned previously, I put some things on the back burner to focus on me and it’s time to dust them off. They involve getting two book proposals finished and ready to submit in the new year and revamping my personal website which has been in purgatory for the last six months.

Practicing yoga. I want to make my yoga practice more of a priority over the next few months. My love for it has been renewed recently and I would love to keep the love affair going. My body just feels so much more balanced when I am practicing regularly.

I would love to finally find a property for the business Brian and I have been building with a few partners this past year. I can’t wait to share about it in the new year! Granted we find a property and the ball gets moving.

My home life- one of the most important aspects of my life. It has been in an incredibly solid and fulfilling place and I want to continue to watch it grow.

*

There are years that ask questions and years that answer,

Years that

fall apart

and years that come together…

There are years that cry and years that laugh,

Years that wonder

And years that strike and clap and thunder.

. . .

Your job isn’t to know — not right now, not quite yet.

Your job is simply

to breathe,

to trust,

to rest

To know that it is all a part of the path —

The mystery and the clarity

The hardship and delight

The darkness and the light alike.

. . .

Dear One,

Haven’t you heard?

“This place where you are right now

God circled on a map for you.”

*

saturday night dinner party

15 Jun

FullSizeRender_3

On Saturday night Brian and I had my best girlfriend Taline and her 11 month old son Liam over for dinner. The last time we had Liam over he was a teeny tiny little babe. He didn’t do much other than look cute. Cut to now…he’s a super mobile (he gave Frank a run for his money), giggly & fun little guy. Having him at the dinner table like one of the adults cracked me up. When planning the menu for the evening I tried to accommodate everyone. I’m new at cooking for a baby thing- what can they eat at 11 months??? I settled on a pasta dish & a peach crisp for dessert ( I figured both could be modified for Liam to eat). Definitely not the healthiest of dinners (helllllo carbs!) but it’s all fun and games until your jeans don’t fit, right?

Of course Brian helped me put the meal together. I swear no matter what I do he will always be a better cook than me. It’s ok I guess…I think I might like baking better anyway. I’ll let him be the cook in the family and I’ll handle the desserts. I mean who doesn’t want to be in charge of the desserts, right? I’ve been wanting to make a crisp/crumble type thing for a while now. They always look so damn good to me when I scroll through pinterest. I’ve also been wanting to make something with peaches because nothing says summer to me like a dessert with peaches.

FullSizeRender

FullSizeRender_1

FullSizeRender_2

FullSizeRender_3

FullSizeRender_4

I couldn’t help but laugh at the last picture. Dinner parties sure do look different in your thirties! In the best possible way too. As I looked around the table my heart-felt incredibly full.

Below you will find the two recipes…

spaghetti all’ amatriciana 

* ingredients

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces pancetta (thick cut), diced
1 small white onion, finely diced
3 large garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes*
1 (28-ounce) can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes
3/4 ounce parmigiano-reggiano cheese, finely grated (plus more for serving)
salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 lb dried spaghetti pasta
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

* directions

-Heat the olive oil in a large (straight-sided, preferably) skillet over medium heat. Add the diced pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, until most of the fat has rendered into the pan and the pancetta is crispy and caramelized slightly. Using a slotted spoon, remove the crispy pancetta and place in a separate small bowl, leaving any fat behind in the pan.
-Over medium-low heat, add the diced onion and saute in the rendered fat for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and lightly caramelized. Add the garlic and continue to saute for an addition 2 to 3 minutes, being careful to avoid burning the garlic or onion. Deglaze the pan with a tablespoon of water, if necessary, to remove any bits of crispy pancetta or bits from the bottom of the pan.
-Add the tomato paste and red pepper flakes, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat for an addition 1 to 2 minutes, or until the paste has thickened slightly.
-Add the pancetta, and any extra rendered fat, back into the skillet, along with the crushed tomatoes. Bring the sauce to a low simmer, and cook, stirring every few minutes, for 15 to 20 minutes. The sauce should be relatively thick. Add the grated cheese to the sauce, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place over low heat while you cook the pasta.
-Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water in a measuring cup, and then drain the pasta. Return the drained pasta back into the pot, toss with a tablespoon of unsalted butter, and add the sauce, thinning with pasta cooking water as necessary until the pasta is evenly coated. Serve pasta with extra grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese on the side.

pasta

peach crisp with gingersnap crumble topping 

* ingredients

Filling
6 cups sliced peaches (peeled and sliced into ½ inch pieces)
¾ cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 teaspoons cornstarch
Topping
1 cup all-purpose flour
⅓ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup brown sugar (packed)
16 gingersnap cookies ((or 4 oz); crushed)
⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
½ cup butter (melted)

* directions

-Pre heat oven to 375 F.
-Mix peaches, ¾ cup sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch in a 9 X 9 inch pan.
-In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugars, crushed gingersnaps, ginger, and melted butter. Spread evenly over peach filling.
-Bake for 40-50 minutes, until topping is golden and filling bubbles. You may need to cover with foil at around 30 minutes to prevent topping from overcooking.

peach crisp

*

Moroccan short ribs

3 Mar

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Recently, I have been obsessed with our slow cooker (I’m trying to remember who bought it for us as a wedding gift so I can send them an extra thank you card). Seriously, we are currently like, best friends. It just makes cooking so easy! Not to mention I look like a master chef when dinner is served- it’s pretty much idiot proof. You just put a bunch of ingredients in it and viola 7-8 hours later you have a tasty dinner. Although, I did make some hybrid Filipino chicken dish this past Sunday that was pretty horrible…I blame that solely on the recipe though. Moving forward I will be avoiding recipes that combine apple cider vinegar and soy sauce. Anyway, back to my recent favorite slow cooker recipe…Moroccan short ribs….it was AH-MAZING and so easy. As you can see from the photos below…even Frank wanted in on it. I guess it was rather mean of us to eat dinner on our coffee table that night.

MSR 1

MSR 2

MSR 3

MSR 4

ingredients:

3 pounds bone-in beef short ribs

1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes

4 garlic cloves, sliced

1/2 cup of dried apricots, halved

1/2 cup of pitted olives

1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

kosher salt & black pepper

1 cup of couscous

fresh cilantro, for serving

directions:

-combine the short ribs, tomatoes (and their juices), garlic, apricots, olives, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon of each salt & pepper in 4-6 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook until the beef is tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 5 to 6 hours. Skim off and discard most of the fat

– ten minutes before serving, cook the couscous

– serve the short ribs over the couscous, topped with cilantro

let’s eat!

7 Jan

photo-38

On Brian’s vision board this year he had the words “let’s eat!” next to a picture of a shirtless Kelly Slater and the words “get back in shape”. I found this all very confusing at first. Did they correlate in some way? Did he not realize the mixed messages he was giving the Universe? I thought I taught this boy how to vision board! When I asked Brian what it meant he explained that the “let’s eat!” symbolized wanting to get back in the kitchen with me. Well, then…how very sweet. He was right though…we used to do a decent amount of cooking together. Not every night but at least once a week we would pick a new recipe and it would always end up being quality “us” time. We’d break open a bottle of wine and talk, laugh and cook. We’ve kinda fallen in the bad habit of cooking totally boring meals during the week and on the weekends either going out or ordering in. He was right we had to get back into the kitchen together!

This Sunday was our first night back. Well, actually it started in the afternoon. We had to marinate, people! We chose a recipe we found in Sunset Magazine called “Grilled Cilantro Chicken with Pickled Tomato and Avocado Salsa”. We agreed upon it because I liked that it had the word “avocado” in the title and Brian liked it because of all the spicy ingredients. I swear, that boy likes to sweat when he eats. We spent the afternoon listening to the “Into The Wild” soundtrack, while the warm breeze swept through our house (seriously..is it really january?) and cooked. It was perfect. Sadly, there was no wine involved because I’m on a no “sugar, booze or gluten” kick but it was still heaven.

The dish turned out very spicy (surprise…surprise) but it was seriously good. Here’s the recipe. 

We’ve agreed to *try* and cook together every Sunday night. Knowing that life will probably get in the way some weekends but at least we are going to carve out some quality time in the kitchen together.

Find me elsewhere: instagram @kate365, twitter, facebook

check-in

7 Mar

When I originally started this blog a year and a half ago, it was ALL about accomplishing my goals. My obsession with it was actually verging on insane! I was NOT going to turn 30 without accomplishing all of them.

While it is still is a blog about setting goals and making them happen, it has also become a blog about everything that happens in between! All the lovely moments that make up my life.

The other day it dawned on me though…holy shit I am more than half-way through my 30th year?!!?!? WHAT!? Seriously? WHAT?! I’m going to be 31 in four months?!?! With this daunting realization I thought it would be a good time to check-in with myself on my progress with the goals for the year….

– Overseas trip (CHECK!)

201212267A9A1426

When I put overseas trip on my list I had no idea where we would end up traveling. I just knew I needed to get out of the states and go on an adventure with Brian. We settled on Hong Kong and Nepal and I am so grateful that we did because what an adventure we had!! If you haven’t read about our trip you can below!

Big news / the travel doctor / the toe  / Hong Kong 1 / Hong Kong 2 / Arriving in Nepal / Kathmandu / Patan / the monkey temple / Bhaktapur / trekking: the group / trekking: the water buffalo / trekking: the starry night.

more posts still to come…

– Volunteer as a big sister

I made a bit of progress with this right out of the gate, settling on the organization I wanted to work with and filling out the paperwork. Then the strangest thing happened…I did nothing after that. Life got in the way and I’ve had my application folded up in my date book ever since. But, the good news is I plan on sending it in this weekend once we finally set up our printer and fax! Fingers crossed that they think I am a suitable candidate to be a big sister.

– Artist dates (CHECK!) 

376246_10152491178920092_639302893_n

I haven’t done as many of these as I would like but I have started them! You can read about them here, here and here

– New living space (CHECK! CHECK! CHECK!)

home

As much as I loved our little bungalow by the beach I wanted to move on because I couldn’t stand sharing a miniature closet with Brian anymore. That and the kitchen drove me nuts- the oven didn’t work for most of the time I lived there.  Let’s just say it was the perfect bachelor pad!

I was ready for us to have a space we could grow in. So I put this one the list thinking we would just rent another slightly bigger apartment by the beach. But sometimes the universe has bigger plans for you! Because we ending up finding a loft that we loved, made an offer, beat out seven other offers and now have a new home to build a life in. High five, Universe!

– Get a French Bulldog

Frank : inspiration photo

Frank : inspiration photo

We couldn’t get Franck until we moved but now that we have  it’s time to find our little boy and bring him home! I’m thinking we still need to settle in our new home a little bit more before we add a puppy to the mix. Soooo, maybe July? Maybe as a 31st birthday gift to myself!

– Publish my writing 

I work towards this goal everyday with my book agent. But alas I have not snagged the right book deal yet. Maybe in the meantime I should focus on publishing my writing other places. Do any of you have any fabulous leads?!

– Ballet classes 

I start a 6-week course at Align Ballet March 30th!! So very excited to get back to the barre. Posts about the experience coming soon!

– Yoga retreat (CHECK!!)

yoga

Awwwww what a magical weekend that was. In three short days I had some major breakthroughs, adopted the motto “Be Fucking Amazing!“, laughed more than I thought possible and met two lovely ladies whom I now call dear friends. Oh, and came home to a surprise engagement!!!

20121024_a9a1024

Speaking of engagements, let’s be honest, I wanted to put “get engaged” on my list of goals for the year but didn’t want to set myself up for disappointment! I also thought it would be slightly awkward to put such a thing on a public goal list. But it was on my secret list! So check that one off too!

What an interesting, life changing and fun eight months it’s been!

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
C. S. Lewis

*

find me elsewhere:  instagram @kate365, twitterfacebook