savory chive crepes filled w/ ham & gruyere

Woke up to some serious crepe cravings yesterday, but we only had all-purpose flour in the house… that didn’t stop me though! Traditionally crepe batter is made with buckwheat flour, but how off the mark can using AP flour be? It turns out, somewhat off the mark. Following the recipe posted below, the end result will still be delicious, but the batter, and therefore the crepe, will end up being on the thick side. If you give it a go, feel free to alter the ratio of milk to flour and let me know if that lightens up the density of the crepe! Also feel free to share any fun stories that occur – I actually had to change my shirt during the process after I flipped a crepe onto myself instead of into the pan XD.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chives, finely sliced
  • butter (for the pan)
  • ham, sliced
  • gruyere

Procedure:

Pulse the milk, flour, eggs, butter, salt, and chives in a blender until well mixed. Transfer the batter into bowl and cover with plastic wrap, doing your best to ensure the that the plastic wrap is in contact with the top layer of batter to prevent it from drying out. Refrigerate the batter for about 1 hour to allow the gluten in the flour to relax.

When the batter is ready, butter the bottom of a large heated pan and pour in about 1/4 cup of batter. Swirl the batter around the pan so that it spreads out into a large circle. Cook until you are able to lift the crepe up to see if the bottom is lightly golden. When it is, get ready for the hardest but most fun part of the recipe: flip the crepe, with great morale, and cook through until it is golden.

I filled my crepes with ham and gruyere, but you use any other savory fillings you’d prefer such as mushroom duxelle, eggs, tomatoes, etc.

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spinach & mushroom quinoa

So when did Meatless Mondays become a thing? I’ve heard of it, and occasionally practiced it, but I never really knew where it originated from. Until today. After a quick research online, I’ve learned that Meatless Mondays was launched in 2003 by The Monday Campaigns; the non-profit group that is also credited with several other Healthy Monday initiatives such as Move It Monday – how cute! Anyway, as found on their website, the goal of Meatless Mondays is “to reduce meat consumption by 15% for our personal health and the health of the planet.” I can stand behind that!

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Ingredients:

  • tricolor quinoa
  • spinach
  • cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • shallot, finely diced
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • lemon, for juice (optional)
  • parmesan cheese, for grating (optional)

Directions:

  1. Rinse the quinoa and cook in a pot over the stove, 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water, by bringing the water to a boil and then lowering to a simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the excess water has evaporated and the germs (the nutrient packed little white rings) are visible.
  2. When the quinoa is almost done cooking, start sweating the finely diced shallots in olive oil until translucent in a large pan.
  3. Add the cremini mushroom slices to the pan with the shallots, without overcrowding, and saute until browned. Turn off the heat.
  4. By now the quinoa should be done. Drop a large handful of spinach in a layer over the cooked mushrooms before scooping the cooked quinoa out of the pot and into the pan over the spinach. The residual heat from the mushrooms and the quinoa should wilt the spinach.
  5. Toss everything in the pan together, seasoning to taste with salt and an optional squeeze of lemon juice.
  6. I also grated in some parmesan cheese, but that’s just a personal preference. Feel free to tinker with the recipe as you wish!

bok choy & shiitake duo

Inspired by Jeong Kwan in the first episode of Chef’s Table Season 3, I tried my hand at cooking shiitake mushrooms that taste better than meat using the two ingredients she suggests: soy sauce and sesame oil. The end result was definitely good, but better than meat? Unfortunately I cannot make that claim. Maybe I should have fried the mushrooms a bit before poaching? Next time. For now though, this recipe will give you shiitake mushrooms that are delicious and certainly better than some meat dishes out there! I paired the shiitake with a head of bok choy to lighten up the plate from the earthy flavors of the mushrooms. I hope you enjoy the duo!

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Ingredients:

  • bok choy
  • shiitake mushrooms (optional, decorative cuts on top – can also just make an “X” cut)
  • salt
  • soy sauce
  • sesame oil

Directions:

  1. Get a small pot of lightly salted water boiling for the bok choy. When it comes to a boil, turn down the heat until it is just simmering and add in the bok choy. Let the bok choy simmer until it reaches your desired texture before removing from the water.
  2. In a large enough pan, lay the shiitake mushrooms top side down in sesame oil over medium-low heat. After about a minute, add in the soy sauce. You want the ratio to be about 1:5 of sesame oil to soy sauce. When the top changes to a darker color, flip each of the shiitake, turn up the heat a bit, and cook until done.
  3. Remove the shiitake from the pan and reduce the soy sauce & sesame oil mixture until the sauce thickens.
  4. Plate any way you desire being sure to include some of the sauce with the mushrooms!

spam musubi

One of my favorite ways to eat spam is in spam musubi; a Hawaiian dish which is basically a block of gorgeously fried spam pressed on or in between rice and then wrapped with a strip of seaweed. No, I do not know what spam is – and I do not want to know because this treat is wayyy too delicious to give up! Feel free to add additional ingredients to customize your musubi. As you can see in the picture below, I’ve added some eggs into the mix, along with a sprinkling of Bubu Arare (Rice Crackers) for crunch and a line of Kewpie Mayonnaise because I can, because I wanted to, but mainly because it just takes the musubi to a whole another level!

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Ingredients:

  • sushi rice
  • spam
  • seaweed
  • scrambled egg (optional)
  • bubu arare (optional)
  • kewpie mayo (optional)

Directions:

  1. First you make a batch of sushi rice following this sushi rice recipe.
  2. While the rice is cooking up, remove the block of spam from the container (this might require a ton of banging) and then cut them into 1/4 inch slabs. Fry these slices of spam in a flat stovetop pan until they are seared and crispy on both sides.
  3. When both the spam and the rice are ready, scoop enough rice to cover half of the seaweed (or all of it!) and place the spam on top of the rice. Layer on any additional optional toppings you desire.
  4. To finish, roll the spam in a similar fashion as you would following these sushi rolling tips and seal with rice. Easy and yummy!

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black bean rotini fiesta

With the weather finally warming up again, I’m starting to think about my summer bod more and more. For me, this involves contemplating dusting off my running shoes and hitting the streets – yet to happen – and collecting all of my willpower to resist the sugar and butter cravings that I’ve been letting myself succumb to over the holidays. To fight the cravings, I’ve been filling up my grocery cart with fruits and vegetables to make me feel guilty about eating anything else when there’s plenty of good produce slowly deteriorating every day in my fridge. I think it’s working? Though what would I give for a cronut right now…

Anyways, out of curiosity, Phil and I had purchased a bag of organic, gluten free black bean rotini from Trader Joe’s that has been sitting on our pantry shelf for a few weeks now. I didn’t know what to do with it for a while, but seeing the peppers, tomatoes, and red onions in our fridge inspired me to put together a fiesta-themed dish because black beans –> Mexican food –> fiesta! At least that’s how my train of thought went.

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Ingredients:

  • black bean rotini
  • sausage or chorizo, coined
  • bell peppers, medium dice (the more colors the better!)
  • grape tomatoes, halved
  • jalapeños, small dice
  • red onion, diced
  • corn, cooked and off the cob
  • peas, cooked
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • any blend of cheese for topping

Directions:

  1. Cook the rotini as per the instructions on the package and drain when al dente. In the meantime, get your knife work done for all of the vegetables.
  2. Heat up some oil in a pan and lightly sear the sausage or chorizo.
  3. In a large bowl, toss together the rotini, sausage or chorizo, bell peppers, grape tomatoes, jalapeños, red onions, corn, and peas with enough olive oil to lightly coat the rotini. Season to taste with salt while tossing.
  4. Top the black bean rotini fiesta mix with any blend of cheese to finish.
  5. Get your party on.

back with a bowl-geance

Hello world! I’m baaacckkkk~ And finally able to spend some time in my own kitchen again! For those of you who may not know, the past few months I’ve been working first as a garde manger line cook for the main dining room at the one-Michelin starred NoMad restaurant before being selected to join their bar team (responsible for one of the best burgers in the WORLD according to Bloomberg). Not taking Chef up on his offer to join the team after my ICC Externship and making the conscious decision to leave the restaurant and not pursue a career as a professional chef is bittersweet. For me, although I loved working in the kitchens of a fine-dining restaurant (one that’s also internationally known for its chicken), I also love life. And unfortunately life and being a part of society AND having the time to put into the relationships that I deeply care about just wasn’t feasible for me with the hours I was working. Let’s be real, we’ve all heard that work-life balance as a cook is pretty much nonexistent, but that was something I didn’t truly understand until I was one. Even on the occasional Mondays or Tuesdays that I had off of work, I didn’t spend the day frolicking in the sun as I thought I would, but instead slept in before spending the rest of the day nursing cuts, burns, and sore muscles – symptoms that somehow miraculously disappear though as soon as I put on my kitchen clogs and chef’s whites.

There are many factors that went into this decision, but in the end, I just wasn’t willing to sacrifice enough to pursue what I had thought was my dream career. So although I am a little lost right now, at least I know that I am in the right field and hands-down want to continue working with food. Tomorrow I will be flying out on an adventure to Vietnam to spend some time with two of my loves, but when I’m back, you will find me sniffing the streets of NYC for good food and my next culinary journey! For now though, I’m finally back to functioning on normal daylight hours, and back with a bowl-geance.

Please continue reading for the recipe for this dinner bowl featuring brown rice, roasted carrots & broccoli, seared sausages, scrambled eggs, and semi-dehydrated plum tomatoes.

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cucumber & lime honey water

Have a spa moment at home with this refreshing cucumber & lime honey water! The trick to is combine the honey with some hot water in advance to get the honey to integrate quickly into the drink without you breaking a sweat stirring or shaking.

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Ingredients:

  • lime (lime wedges optional for garnish)
  • cucumber slices
  • honey
  • water

Directions:

  1. Melt as much honey as desired into some hot water.
  2. Combine the hot water with cold water.
  3. Add the cucumber slices (as many as you want to taste!) and squeeze the lime juice into the water.
  4. Let chill in the refrigerator for ~1 hour or overnight and enjoy!