Kitchen Muse: Healthy Eats

May 27, 2013 at 9:00 amBY Lorien


Hope everyone is enjoying their Memorial Day Weekend! After an amazing bar mitzvah at the Science Museum on Saturday, I’m up in Cooperstown, NY camping at the Ommegang Brewery (they’re the ones that partnered up with HBO for the Games of Thrones beer!). After what I’m sure will be a weekend filled with lots of eating and drinking, major indulging, I’m looking forward to coming back and focusing on eating healthy. Here are a few recipes that I’m looking forward to cooking up:

Millet “Falafel” with Avocado + Tomato Relish, Goop
Gluten-Free Grapefruit + Pistachio Muffins, The Vanilla Ben Blog
Spring Spirit Polenta, My New Roots
Sweet potato w/ brown rice, chives, crispy smoky chickpeas + almonds, First Mess
Spinach Strawberry & Radish Salad, Good Things Grow
Strawberry Sorbet, The Pure Vege

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CliffNotes: The Brokeass Gourmet Cookbook

May 7, 2013 at 9:27 amBY Lorien


In this new series, I’m going to share with you some books that I thought were worth trying and I’ll write about if it was indeed worth trying. I’ll share cookbooks, design books, novels, how-to books….

First up: The Brokeass Gourmet Cookbook by Gabi Moskowitz (she also has a blog). I love her approach of sharing her wisdom for eating and cooking on a budget, she even tells you how to stock a full pantry and a full bar on a budget. While the book and recipes aren’t groundbreaking, there are several recipes perfect for weekday dinners and when you’re entertaining. The simplicity and her use of making sure to use fresh ingredients, definitely inspired me to want to cook.

My notes:

1. Love her guide to stocking your pantry with all the necessaries, for only $50 she tells you everything you should have.
2. She seems to share my affinity for siracha, she showcases it in many recipes.
3. There are several recipes that call for a food processor, blender or an immersion blender. So if you don’t have one, the cookbook may not be worth it to buy.
4. She has an easy recipe for Pork Pho, one of the few foods that I crave, guaranteed, every few weeks… so that’s a plus for me.
5. Also uses lots of fresh ingredients, lots of herbs. She also uses things that you may already have in your fridge or can incorparte easily into other meals so you really are buying on a budget and not wasting food.
6. Features a lot of Mexican recipes. Huge plus for me, but maybe not for others.
7. I could see myself cooking alot of the recipes after a long of work vs. having to save the recipes for an all day affair on the weekend. She tells you long how it will take to prep and cook.
8. I do wish there was some pictures to go along with the recipes.

My Top 5 Recipes I Can’t Wait to Try:

1. Pea Soup with scallops, basil and parmesan
2. Summer Capellini with red pepper sauce
3. Chipotle cheddar burgers with cilantro aioli
4. Spanakopita burgers
5. White corn and spring onion soup

Find the book here.

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Easy Living: Canal House

March 19, 2013 at 7:40 amBY Lorien


All images from Canal House

After a trip to Stock on Hope Street in Providence, it’s easy to feel inspired to want to spend more time in the kitchen (and to buy everything in that store). So this post started out as a post about cookbooks I want to add to my collection, to help me cook more, better and more important healthier.

But after coming across Canal House, one of their cookbooks (many to choose from, haven’t decided which one I want first) is the first new book I want to add to my collection. They take a home cook approach to their cooking; their recipes seem thoughtful, doable, simple and deceivingly fancy (with that said, some of their recipes are a little fancy for me).

They also have a blog, ‘Canal House Cooks Lunch’, which is surprisingly interesting, and full of ideas for super simple ideas for meals. They made a escarole salad with a lemony vinaigrette looks elegant and delicious, they also made making a soufflé look actually easy.

Have you cooked from any of their cookbooks yet? Would love recommendations on which cookbook to get first.

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Paper to Plate: Candied Orange Peels

March 5, 2013 at 10:35 amBY Lorien



Confession: These came out sooo delicious, but they did not look as pretty as they tasted, in part because I wanted my peels to be thinner than the typical candided orange peel. I couldn’t bring myself to show you the final picture, the sugared peels dipped in chocolate, but despite the look, they really did come out great! Sweet, tart and refreshing. They were super easy to make, most of the “cooking” time is dedicated to waiting…..


1 large navel orange
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate, just because I prefer it)

Using a vegetable peeler, cut the orange part of the peel from the stem end of the orange down to the navel end, forming long 3/4 to 1-inch-wide strips. Bring a heavy small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the peels and cook for 1 minute. Drain and then rinse the peels under cold water. Repeat cooking the peels in the saucepan with fresh boiling water and rinsing under cold water. ( I did this process three times)

Stir the sugar and 1/2 cup of fresh water in a heavy small saucepan over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil. Add the orange peels and simmer over medium-low heat until tender, about 15 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the peels to a sheet of parchment paper to dry slightly, about 1 hour.

Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Stir the chocolate in a small bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Dip 1 1/2-inches of each candied orange peel into the chocolate then place them on the prepared baking sheet and refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 15 minutes.

Find the recipe here.

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Eat Your Veggies: Fennel

January 25, 2013 at 1:30 pmBY Joanna

FENNELIt’s the end of January – I’m a little stir crazy.  Between being sick and having surgery, I’ve seen the inside of my apartment more than I’d like.  When I sat down to write this post, all I could think about was fresh air and sunshine.  It doesn’t even have to be warm – I’d just like some sunny and crisp fresh air.   There’s really no better vegetable to bring sunshine indoors than fennel.

It’s flavor resembles licorice, but is much milder and is fantastic in cold raw dishes, or cooked in a multitude of sauces.  Here are a few recipes I’m looking forward to trying:

1. This warm fennel and Parmesan dip looks tasty.

2. Caramelized fennel soup. Yum!

3. Refreshing pear and fennel salad.

4. Fennel gratin. I love a good gratin.


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Gift Guide: For the Cook

November 7, 2012 at 8:00 amBY Joanna

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The first of our gifts guides this holiday shares some ideas for the kitchen connoisseur in your life.  For the organic cook, here is a collection of some of my faves.  This Japanese style apron is so simple, and actually looks good on (unlike most).  I’m also obsessing over these neutral market bags, they’re inexpensive, so you can buy a few and keep one for yourself.  If you’re feeling generous, buy the bag and fill it with a few kitchen accessories, no wrapping needed.

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Or maybe you know a chef with zippier style.  There are some amazing gifts out there for the spicy chef too.  I love these colorful felt trivets, and this mixing bowl print will brighten up any kitchen.  Of course, the Smitten Kitchen cookbook makes the perfect gift for just about everyone.

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Veggie Spotlight: Celeriac

November 2, 2012 at 10:07 amBY Joanna

Poor celeriac…it’s just not an attractive vegetable.  It’s bumpy, dirty and hairy.  Pretty much, it’s just not pretty.  But don’t let its less than beautiful exterior sway you to pass it by.  It’s actually a very tasty (and versatile) alternative to many of the popular fall root veggies, and it only contains 5% starch (much less than other root vegetables).  Plus, half a cup has only 30 calories, no fat, and a ton of fiber.  Sounds pretty good right?  A relative of the well known stalk celery, celeriac takes 112 days to mature, so now is the perfect time to buy it fresh, but the root has a shelf life of 3-4 months (wow!).

Ok, so what does it taste like, and what can you do with it?  Celeriac has a fresh flavor, somewhat like the better know celery stalk, with hints of parsley and parsnip familiarity.  Peeling it is always a requirement (although I’ve seen recipes calling for skin-on I wouldn’t recommend it).  Use a paring knife or peeler and remove the tough outer skin to reveal a fresh white root inside.  After peeling, drop into a mixture of water and lemon juice to keep the root from browning.  Now it’s ready to use (it’s great fresh and raw, or incorporated into stews, soups, mashes and roasts).  Here are a few good looking celeriac recipes:

Jamie Oliver’s Smashed Celeriac

Martha Stewart’s Celeriac Slaw

Rick Rodgers’ Celeriac Bisk

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From Scratch: Versatile Cranberry Compote

October 24, 2012 at 8:06 amBY Joanna

This cranberry compote recipe is one of those that is so super simple, but looks impressive on a table.  It’s versatile too, you can really play around with your ingredients to change the flavors.  Want a sweeter compote? Savory? Spicy? These are all really easy.

How to eat it?  We all know the traditional use, with turkey, but try this spread on a sandwich with avocado, make a parfait with granola and yogurt, top a cheesecake, serve with good bread and sharp Cheddar or Gruyere, top ice cream…and these are just a few ideas.

INGREDIENTS: 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries, 3/4 cup of sugar, 3/4 cup of water

ADDITIONS (pick one or two, not all): 1 tbsp red-wine vinegar (for zing), 1 tbsp grated orange or lemon zest (for freshness), 1 shallot finely chopped and cooked with 1 tsp olive oil until translucent (for savory), 1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger (for spice), 1/4 cup of bourbon (for smoke), 3 cups red seedless grapes (for sweet), 1/4 cup apple juice (for sweet), 1/4 cup orange juice (for citrus), 1 finely chopped fresh jalapeno (for spice).

DIRECTIONS: Rinse the cranberries and pick out any duds.  Combine all ingredients (all basic ingredients and two additions) in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook until most cranberries have burst and are soft.  About 10-15 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl, allow to cool, refrigerate.  Keeps up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

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From Scratch: Mushroom Duxelle Pizza

October 10, 2012 at 8:22 amBY Joanna

This mushroom duxelle pizza may just be the best pizza I’ve ever made, and I’ve been making pizzas for a long time now.  If you live near a bakery or pizzeria that sells dough, you’re lucky like I am.  I have two really great crusts to choose from when I go to the local market.  Olga’s bakery and Pizza Gourmet.  For this recipe I bought the pre-made crust from Pizza Gourmet (it’s wood grilled about a block from my house!).  If you don’t have a good pre-made dough available, here is a simple recipe.

INGREDIENTS: Pizza dough, 2 packages of white mushrooms rinsed, 10 coves of garlic, one large yellow onion peeled and quartered, 1/2 stick butter, two large balls of fresh mozzarella cheese sliced, 1/2 cup of fresh grated Parmesan cheese, 4 tbsp fresh thyme, and pepperoni.

DIRECTIONS: In a food processor combine mushrooms, onion and garlic. Pulse until you have a smooth paste like texture.  You can chop by hand, but it will take some time.  This mixture is called a mushroom duxelle.

Add mushroom duxelle to a saute pan with butter and cook down over low heat for 30-40 minutes.  Mushrooms will release water.  You want to dry this mixture out so until it just begins to brown. Remove from heat.

Roll out dough and place on a baking sheet. Spread mushroom duxelle on the dough (cover all the way to the crust).  Layer on mozzarella cheese and pepperoni.  Spinkle with Parmesan and thyme.

Bake according to the dough recipe you use.  I baked for 45 minutes.  Make sure the cheese on top begins to brown and check the bottom of the crust for browning too.

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Recipe: Panzanella

September 7, 2012 at 8:33 amBY Joanna

This is certainly one of my favorite salads for end of summer harvesting.  Put all those tomatoes and corn to good use with some garlicky croutons.  It’s simple, easy to make, and filling.  Panzanella is great for entertaining too! You can make it ahead of time and add the bread 30 minutes before you plan on eating.  I’m getting hungry just writing this post.


5 tbsp olive oil, 1 loaf of French bread cut into 1″ cubes, 3 large fresh tomatoes diced (or mix in cherry tomatoes), a large bunch of basil stems removed and chopped, 3 ears of fresh corn, 5 cloves of garlic minced, 4 tbsp capers, 1 ball of fresh mozzarella cut into 1/2″ cubes, 4 tbsp good balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.


In large stock pot boil water and add shucked corn.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Remove from water and allow to cool. Cut kernels off the cob in a large bowl.

Add tomatoes, chopped basil, mozzarella, and capers to the corn and season with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in saute pan, add the cubed bread and cook on low/medium for 5 minutes.  Add minced garlic and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the croutons begin to brown, sprinkle with salt.

Add bread to tomatoes.

Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and toss to mix all the flavors.

Allow to sit for 20-30 minutes, serve.

(Tip – if you’re hoping for leftovers, mix each serving individually, leaving the extra bread in a separate container for storage.)


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