Saturday, August 29

Beat The Heat

The fires have started in Los Angeles. It has become incredibly hot and the smell of smoke outside my window is unbearable. The stove is looking like a punishment.

It’s a challenge to cook without using the stove, while still making a delicious meal. My first idea is to make a salad, but that is too easy. Sandwiches are plain unless you can make a panini, but that uses a griddle.

One of the foods I love is flatbread. It’s a great combination of sandwich, salad, and pizza. You can have many different combinations of vegetables and cheeses. All are delicious!

Heirloom Tomato Flatbread

1 Piece of Flatbread (Naan can be used as well)

1 Ounce Goat Cheese, Room Temperature

2 Tablespoons of Toasted Pine Nuts

1 Heirloom Tomato, Sliced

1 1/2 Cups of Arugula

1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Honey

1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar

Salt and Pepper

Mix honey, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil in a bowl. Season the dressing with salt and pepper. Toss arugula in dressing and put aside. Spread goat cheese on flatbread. It’s important that the goat cheese is slightly warm so it is easy to spread. Sprinkle pine nuts on goat cheese. Place tomato slices on top of the cheese and nuts. Salt and pepper the tomatoes. Then arrange arugula on top of that.

Tuesday, August 25

Buffalo Options

It has been a busy week for me. My parents came to Los Angeles to visit for the week. When my sister called asking for a special recipe request, I felt my parents were the perfect test subjects.

When I was younger, if I wasn’t baking with my Grandmother, then I was helping my Father make some French/American classics. In high school my parents allowed me to cook dinner on a regular basis. Sometimes it was good and sometimes it wasn’t, but they always smiled. They would help me figure out what I could have changed.

My sisters’ predicament is that she needs to make a dish to take to a picnic, but wants to make it with a Buffalo twist. It’s like for a wedding when they say “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” For this picnic, “something Buffalonian, something room temperature, something delicious”.

Buffalo Chicken Mini Wraps

This recipe can be used as an appetizer or add lettuce and would make a great lunch wrap!

1 Chicken Breast

1 Tablespoon Butter

1-2 Tablespoon Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

1/3 Cup Blue Cheese, crumbled small

1 Tablespoon Low Fat Mayo

1 Tablespoon Low Fat Sour Cream


1 Carrot, shredded

1 Celery Stalk, cut thin

Whole Wheat Tortilla

Tooth Picks

Use half tablespoon of butter and melt in pan over medium low heat. Cook the chicken breast and begin to brown. Add the rest of the butter and hot sauce. I used 2 tablespoons, which gives you a pretty hot sauce (medium in Buffalo terms). Cover the chicken breast and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. Take the chicken out, do not discard sauce in the pan but remove from heat, and let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes. Cut chicken up in to a small shred and toss with the sauce left in the pan.

Mix blue cheese, mayo, sour cream, and pepper together for blue cheese sauce. Set aside.

Take tortilla and begin to cut into small rounds with a cookie cutter. If your making a lunch wrap you can skip this step. Then begin to assemble the chicken, blue cheese, celery, and carrot. Place tooth pick through the wrap to hold it together. Enjoy!

The lunch wrap. Same ingredients just added some lettuce mix.

This is another option to take a celery stalk, fill it with blue cheese, top with shred carrots and Buffalo chicken.

Monday, August 17

Home Cooking

Having a home cooked meal with only one dirty dish seems like something from a TV show. They always mix the ingredients and then put the dirty bowl under their counters. My dirty dishes always seem to laugh at me from the sink reminding me that I hate them.

The easy way of not using a ton of dishes is grilling. Well, I don’t own a grill or even a yard. But it reminds me of my Mom’s garlic potatoes she would cook in foil on the grill. They’re easy enough to cook in an oven if you don’t have a grill like me.

Another good use for the oven is oven fried chicken. Chicken with all the taste and cooking in the same pan as the potatoes.

Oven Fried Chicken

1 Pounded Chicken Breast

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire

1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard

Salt and Pepper

1/2 Panko Bread Crumbs

Preheat oven to 400°

In a plastic bag mix Worcestershire, Dijon, salt and pepper. Add chicken breast to make sure it covered with the Dijon mixture. Place bread crumbs evenly on a small dish. Take the chicken bread out of the bag trying to keep as much Dijon mixture on it and coat it in the breadcrumbs. Place on a rack over a sheet pan and then prepare the potatoes.

Garlic Oven Roasted Potatoes

1 Cup Baby Yellow Potatoes, sliced (a russet potato would also work)

1 Tablespoon Butter

1 Teaspoon Garlic Salt

Pinch Pepper

In a piece of foil, place potatoes and break up the butter over top. Sprinkle garlic salt and pepper evenly over top. Wrap foil up tightly and place on the rack with the chicken breast. Place in oven and cook for 20-25 minutes.

Saturday, August 15

Cool Summer Nights

Sometimes people wonder why if I love cooking I don’t do it for a living. There are days where I don’t want to cook. Days when a ham sandwich or a fried egg sounds like the best thing to eat. But posting a fried egg seems silly to me.

That’s why the Farmers Market is the best place for ideas. You might buy an ingredient and it looks good, but you’re not exactly sure what to do with it. For me, it’s a challenge cresting a dish I haven’t created before.

Last week I bought some golden cherry tomatoes. They sat in my fridge and every time I went to grab the grapes they looked at me. Challenged me to try to cook them in a new way. Here is my answer to that challenge:

Summer Pasta

1/2 Tablespoon Butter

2 Tablespoons Onion, minced

1 Small Garlic Bulb, minced

1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes, halved

1/2 Yellow Squash, cubed

1/3 Cup White Wine (chicken stock or vegetable stock can be substituted)

1/2 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

1/2 Teaspoon Thyme

1 Tablespoon Parmesan

Pinch Salt and Pepper


Melt the butter over medium-low heat and then add the onions. Simmer for one minute. Add garlic and simmer for one more minute. Then add tomatoes and squash and cook for another minute. Then add the white wine. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat until the tomatoes start to soften. Uncover, then add balsamic, thyme, and parmesan. Cook for an additional 5 minutes until the liquid is thick. Toss with pasta and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 11

Left Overs

There are a few reasons why I started this blog, but the major factor was my distaste for leftovers. There is nothing worse than day old food! It doesn’t always reheat right and the flavors are not as deep.

Protein is the only food item I will cook ahead and reheat. You can cook it part-way and then cook it fully on the day you want to eat it. Flank steak is great for this type of reheating if you pack it with all its juices.

A few posts ago I made BBQ Chicken Pizza and cooked the whole chicken breast. This saved good BBQ chicken for a salad later in the week. This is a simple recipe, but it’s made special by the homemade vinaigrette.

BBQ Chicken Salad

1/2 Chicken Breast

Mixed Greens

1 Small Green Apple, sliced

1/4 Cup Grapes, cut in half

1 Tablespoon Bacon, minced

2 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar

1 Tablespoon Honey

Pinch of Salt & Pepper

1 Teaspoon Thyme, Rosemary, Basil or any other herb (optional)

In a mason jar or with a wire whisk, mix together oil, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper. In a mason jar its easy because you can just shake it. Put together the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and pour dressing over the top.

Monday, August 10


Providence, here in Los Angeles, has the biggest and most delicious cheese plate. If you order it at the end of the meal, they wheel out a butcher block full of cheeses and let you pick which you would like. They also have the regular accouterment of toast, nuts, and dried fruit.

The cheese plate led me to one of my favorite dried fruits, the fig. They’re so chewy and sweet like an amazing Gusher. My curiosity perked when the fresh fig showed up at my farmers market a few weeks ago.

I tried a recipe that roasted figs with a dollop of ricotta and a drizzle of chocolate syrup. It wasn’t so good. Then I saw a recipe for a tart but I wanted a bit more then just the figs. The mascarpone cheese filling adds a great balance to the fresh figs.

Fig and Mascarpone Tartlet

1/2 Cup Flour

2 Tablespoons Butter, cold

2-3 Tablespoons Water, ice-cold

Pinch Salt

2 Figs, sliced thin

2 Tablespoons Mascarpone Cheese

1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla

2 Teaspoon Sugar

1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Zest

1 Tablespoon Egg Beaters

1 Tablespoon Water

Preheat oven to 375°

Pour flour in to a bowl and begin cutting the butter in to it. This just means taking a fork and pressing the butter threw it to make little bits of butter. Once the butter is about the size of peas, begin to mix in the ice-cold water one tablespoon at a time until dough forms. Don’t over work the dough because you want the butter to stay slightly whole for a flaky crust. Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or over night.

In another bowl, mix the mascarpone, vanilla, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and lemon zest. Set aside. Roll out dough on a floured surface until it’s about 6” in diameter and a 1/4” thick. Prick dough on the bottom with a fork to avoid bubbles. Spread mascarpone mixture in the middle of the dough leaving about 1” of dough for folding. Arrange fig slices on top of the mascarpone. Dust top of figs with remaining sugar. Fold dough in around the figs and brush with egg wash (egg beaters mixed with water). Place in over for approximately 25-30 minutes until golden brown.

Friday, August 7

Mmm... Bacon

There are many factors for how and what you cook. It’s influenced by your heritage, where you live, and the availability of products. Your heritage is a constant but the other factors are changing variables.

The majority of my heritage is German, which effects what I cook. My food has a bold taste and generally has bacon. Now living in Southern California I am open to new produce to apply these flavors to.

I want to put this flavor to zucchini. When I was young, my mother used zucchini for a variety of dishes. I adored the way zucchini could be used for recipes either sweet or savory. A zucchini is also a perfect serving for one.

Gratin Style Zucchini

1 Zucchini, cut in matchsticks

1 Tablespoon Bacon Fat, or Butter

1 Tablespoon Onion, minced

1/2 Piece of Bacon, minced

1 Teaspoon Flour

1/2 Cup Chicken Broth

1/3 Cup Parmesan

1 Teaspoon Thyme

Add bacon fat or butter into a pan over medium heat. Once the fat is hot add zucchini and sauté until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove zucchini from pan and put aside. Add onions to the pan and cook for a minute then add bacon and flour. Cook for one more minute. You will notice that the flour has absorbed the butter or bacon fat. It’s important to cook after adding the flour to ensure the flour has lost its flavor. Add chicken broth and stir for about 2 minutes before you add the Parmesan and thyme. Return the zucchini to the pan coating it the sauce and cook for one more minute.

Thursday, August 6

Pizza! Pizza!

I love pizza from growing up in the northeast. The way you bite into a double cheese pizza like a bite into warm string cheese. Weird analogy but it makes my mouth water.

When I moved to California the approach to pizza was a drastic change. Sure a double cheese is still good out west but cucumbers, feta and Tzatziki sauce? That sounds like a great salad to me, not a pizza. For me the one that shines amongst the eccentric and seen as the glory of California is the BBQ chicken pizza.

It was a pleasant surprise when I tried this unique concoction. The simplicity of the ingredients worked startlingly well. It's delicious though I don’t view it the same as a traditional double cheese. For one serving size the best way to make a pizza is to use pita bread as a crust.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

1/2 Chicken Breast

BBQ Seasoning (optional, personal recipe follows)

1 Whole Wheat Pita

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Onion, diced

2 Tablespoons BBQ Sauce

4 Slices Mozzarella

1/2 Piece of cooked Bacon, diced

Preheat oven to 425°

Season chicken liberally with BBQ seasoning or you can just grill as normally. Slice chicken into thin strips. Brush both sides of pita with olive oil and place on baking tray. This helps the pita crisp in the oven. Spread BBQ sauce over pita then evenly distribute chicken and onion. Place mozzarella equally over pizza to make sure all is covered. Place in oven for approximately 10 minutes until cheese just begins to bubble but not brown. Then sprinkle bacon over for the last 5 to 10 minutes until pizza is bubble and slightly browned.

Alyssa’s Rub ;)

1 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

1 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika

2 Tablespoons Cumin

1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon

1/2 Teaspoon Ginger

1 Tablespoon Chili Powder

1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder

1 Tablespoon Dried Thyme

1 Tablespoon Ground Mustard

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

Mix all ingredients together in mason jar. Can be stored with herbs for up to a year but it might not last that long!

Monday, August 3

The Recipe Heard Around Facebook

Chick-Fil-A is an amazing chicken fast food restaurant. My exposure to the fine chicken delicacies had been limited but their wonderfully simple sandwiches call to me. A lightly floured chicken breast on a honey wheat bun with sweet pickles: straightforward and scrumptious.

A friend had worked at one during high school and he divulged a bit of their secrets. The chicken comes prepackaged in a secret buttermilk mixture that the restaurant adds some pickle juice to. The breasts are then dredged in their secret flour mixture and fried.

One of the new additions is the Chick-Fil-A sauce. A brilliant combination of BBQ sauce and honey mustard that is fantastic on the sandwiches. My addiction to this sauce and sandwiches led me to creating the Chick-Fil-A Chicken Salad.

Chicken Salad (Chick-Fil-A style)

1 Cup Chicken Breast

1 Tablespoon Butter

1 Tablespoon Pickle Juice

1 Tablespoon Honey

1 Tablespoon Mustard

1 Tablespoon Mayonnaise

1 1/2 Tablespoons Barbeque Sauce

1 Teaspoon Thyme

Bacon (optional)

Cook the chicken breast in butter and pickle juice. The pickle juice adds a great flavor and adds moisture to the chicken. Mix rest of ingredients in bowl and add chicken while its still warm. This helps the flavors penetrate the chicken even more. Fridge for at least an hour before serving. I like to top my sandwich with some bacon, then again who wouldn’t?