Oven Roasted Tomatoes

I don’t know who/what/when I was inspired to first try putting tomatoes in an oven, but I know that I was just in the early aughts of my twenties, living in my Berkeley apartment and getting very into cooking. Since my first apartment was small, cheap and didn’t have a real oven, my first batch was made in a countertop version that I hope I never have to use again in my adult life. These oven roasted tomatoes, especially ones at the peak of their season, are easy to make but so, so savory. I prefer this recipe with Roma tomatoes, but any juicy, thin-skinned and meaty tomato will work just fine. My favorite way to eat it? Alone (as in the tomato itself, not me), over a piece of toast with burrata and chopped basil, or as a pizza topping alongside some spicy sausage.

Oven Roasted Tomatoes
Ingredients

1 lb. tomatoes (your pick, but I like Romas)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tbsp. kosher salt
1/2 tbsp. freshly cracked black pepper

1. Pre-heat your oven to 400ºF and line a sheet pan lined with foil for easy clean-up.

2. Wash and pat your tomatoes dry before slicing them in half. If you’ve gone the non-Roma route and are using a more rotund tomato, slice into quarters. I don’t see the need to deseed these, so skip it and save some time.

3. Now get ready to get your hands dirty. Spread your tomatoes across your sheet pan and coat generously with 1/2 of your salt and freshly cracked pepper, then sprinkle on all of the olive oil. Then flip those tomatoes around with your fingers, covering them with olive oil. Once they’re coated, make sure the seed side is facing up and then sprinkle with the rest of your salt and pepper.

4. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until your tomatoes have wrinkled and deflated (sounds sad, but true). Enjoy!

Spicy Soba Noodle Salad with Shrimp & Kale

Remember that Katy Perry song, “Hot N Cold”? That was the JAM my junior year of high school. That and Coldplay’s “Yellow” and NPR’s “Fresh Air” podcast were the mainstays as I did homework in the library after school. Now is it really that surprising to learn that I was *not* Homecoming queen? ANYWAYS, Ms. Perry’s jam deftly describes how you can eat this spicy soba noodle salad—either very hot, fresh out of the pan, or chilled in the fridge for a few hours. It’s spicy, savory and slightly healthy because you’re cooking with soba, which is made out of buckwheat flour (most soba noodle brands are gluten-free) and packed with plenty of fiber. Add in your protein of choice and you’ll maybe be swoll by the end of the week.

Spicy Soba Noodles with Shrimp & Kale

Ingredients

1 bunch Dino kale, de-stemmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
3 tbsp. soy sauce
3 tbsp. hot chili oil (Sambal Oelek, Tapatio, Dynasty, your choice)
2 tbsp. sesame oil
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp. sesame seeds
3 cups soba noodles (after being cooked)
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste

1. Cook soba noodles according to package instructions. Rinse with cold water to prevent your noods from sticking together, then set aside.

2. Next, get your sauce made. In a small bowl combine your soy sauce, sesame oil, chili oil, garlic cloves, ginger and sesame seeds. You’ll be using 1/3 of this sauce to cook your shrimp/protein. 

3. Heat a skillet on medium heat and add in your shrimp/protein once your pan is hot. If you’re cooking with tofu or shrimp, coat the bottom of your pan with a little cooking oil, but if you’re going with ground meat, you can rely on the meat juice.

4. Once your protein has cooked solo for about 3 minutes, add in the 1/3 reserve of your sauce and your chopped kale. Stir fry to gether and make sure your protein is fully cooked (shrimp should be bright pink, ground meat should be a nice shade of brown, and tofu is yummy when it’s slightly golden). 

5. Turn the heat off and grab your noodles on the side and the rest of your sauce. Add it into the pan with your protein and mix together. Garnish with a little bit more chili sauce and sesame seeds. Enjoy! 

Sausage and Broccolini Cast Iron Pizza

Does your family have one of those childhood tales that have stood the test of time? Like one of those stories from when you were still in diapers that they still tell to your friends that are literally in front of your house, waiting in their car to pick you up or that one boyfriend they were meeting for the very first time? You too? Since we’re already on the subject, my story is that I used to stand in front of the window of our old pizza haunt, in my diapers, transfixed by the pizza makers who would be flinging dough into the air. My parents would always joke that they thought I would be a pizza maker one day. Well, jokes on them, because I am! Except, this time I’m not in diapers.

cast iron pizza

Sausage and Broccolini Cast Iron Pizza
Ingredients
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/3 pound fresh ground pork or chicken 
1 bunch of broccolini (skinny broccoli), chopped into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup burrata cheese
1/2 cup of pizza sauce 
Fresh pizza dough (I’m not a dough girl, so I bought mine ) 
1 tsp. lemon zest 
Cracked red pepper 
Salt and cracked black pepper 
1 tbsp. grapeseed or any high heat oil

1. Pre-heat your oven to 475 degrees. If you purchased your pizza dough from the store, let it rest at room temperature for 15-20 minutes so you can roll it out with ease on a floured surface.

2. Since you can’t eat raw sausage, brown your ground pork or chicken with salt, cracked black and red pepper and your pressed garlic in a pan on medium-high heat. Once your meat has browned, set it aside to cool and keep that grease in the pan!

3. When your oven reaches 475 degrees, pop your cast-iron pan into the oven to heat up for 5-8 minutes. This will help the bottom of your pizza crust get, well, crusty. 

4. As your cast iron pan heats up, add your broccolini pieces into your other pan with your meat grease and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until your broccolini is a brighter green and has a little give when you touch it. Then, set it aside with your browned meat. 

5. Now it’s time to channel your inner pizza maker! My dough to pan ratio is to have at least 1/4 inch of dough in your pan when it’s rolled out. For my 10″ cast iron, I used a softball-sized amount of dough. Roll your dough into a pizza shape on a lightly floured surface, with a bit of oil on your rolling pin or on your hands if you’re pin-less. Once your dough is rolled out, take your cast-iron pan out of the oven, coat the bottom with your high-heat oil and carefully place the dough into the pan, making sure that it reaches the edges. 

6.  Then, pop the dough back into the oven and cook for 5 minutes. Then once the dough has become a little bubbly, bring it back out, add your pizza sauce, meat, broccolini, and burrata on top and cook for another 15-20 minutes or until your crust is a beautiful golden brown (or however you like it!). 

7. Add a little lemon zest and cracked red pepper on top and enjoy! 

Souvla-Inspired Avgolemono Soup

When it rains buckets in SF, I eat bowls of soup. My most frequent delivery order is Souvla‘s lemony and creamy avgolemono soup, with bits of chicken and rice that always settles on the bottom of the bowl (takeout container in my case). This week, I spared myself and my Caviar guys from the rain and did my best rendition of Souvla’s very own avgolemono soup.

Souvla-Inspired Avgolemono Soup

Ingredients

3 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 large carrot, quartered
1 large leek, white and pale green parts cut in half
1 small yellow onion, cut in half
2 tsp. lemon zest
2 large eggs
6 tbsp. lemon juice
2/3 cup of long-grain white rice
Cracked black pepper (to taste)
Extra virgin olive oil (to taste)

1. To make your soup broth, bring 4 quarts of water, chicken thighs, leek, onion, carrot and peppercorns to a simmer for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees. 

2. Once your chicken is cooked, transfer your chicken pieces to a plate to cool, then shred. Discard the other broth ingredients and use a fine mesh sieve to strain the chicken broth back into your large pot. 

3. Return broth to a simmer for about 30 minutes to reduce it to about 2 quarts. 

4. Now, it’s time to make the star of the show. While your soup is further reducing, whisk your lemon juice and eggs together until smooth and bright yellow. Then, it’s time to temper it! Grab a cup of your chicken broth that’s been reducing down and whisk it into your egg and lemon mixture, 1 tbsp. at a time. Take great care to stir it briskly—otherwise you’ll have a plate of scrambled eggs. As your avgolemono mixture because smoother, you can eventually add in the remaining 1 cup of broth. 

5. Now, back to your large pot of broth. After it’s been reduced down to about 2 quarts, it’s time to add in your white rice. Stir regularly and cook for 6-9 minutes on medium-high heat so the rice softens. 

6. Reduce broth and rice to medium heat and add in chicken that you’ve torn into bits to heat it back up. Then, slowly add in your avgolemono in small batches, whisking continuously until your soup looks creamy and rich. 

7. Turn off the heat and let your soup rest for 5 minutes, then garnish with olive oil, freshly cracked black pepper and enjoy! 

Have any questions on how to make the soup? Leave me a note! 

Chicken Adobo

Chicken Adobo recipe

UPDATE: It’s now been 5 full years since I first had adobo. A friend and I were on our way to a magical place called Las Vegas and made a pit stop at his parents house who refueled us with homemade chicken adobo. I was sold (still am). Below is some adobo-thoughts from my younger self.

It’s my two year Chicken Adobo anniversary! Two years ago, I first mixed garlic, soy sauce, white vinegar, some peppercorns and some bay leaves into a pot, turned on the broiler and made the most glorious chicken I had ever tasted. In between the past two years, I’ve experimented with a dozen or so other recipes and found a few winners and losers. The key to perfect Filipino adobo is using high-quality chicken, the perfect ratio of soy sauce and vinegar, and patience.

Chicken Adobo 
Ingredients 

Serves 3-4
50 minutes

4-6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
2 birds eye Thai chilis, chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and bruised with the backside of your knife
2 dried bay leaves
Freshly cracked black pepper

1. In a heavy-bottomed pan, bring all of your ingredients but the chicken to a boil. Once you’ve reached a rolling boil, add in your chicken thighs making sure to not layer them on top of each other.

2. Bring your adobo down to a simmer and set your timer for 15 minutes. Once 15 minutes hit, flip all of your chicken thighs over so the other side gets in on that adobo marinade.

3. Let them simmer for 15 more minutes (basically, 15 minutes on each side in a simmer), but bring your oven to the broil setting.

4. Finally, once your chicken has cooked through, place them on a rack over a cookie sheet or in a roasting pan and broil for 5-8 minutes.

5. While your chicken is braising, bring your adobo marinade to a boil in an attempt to reduce down to a sauce.

6. Once your chicken is broiled, place them on top of freshly cooked white rice, spoon plenty of adobo sauce over and enjoy!

Sweet Potato Latkes

*Dates Jewish guy once* but learns how to make latkes from the internet. I guess when you hang out with someone for one minute, it doesn’t mean that you get the secret family recipe. I don’t remember the first time that I had latkes, but I do know that the thought of these fried bites makes my mouth water, especially when I fantasized about a dollop of sour cream on top. To all of my Jewish friends and one foe, happy Hanukkah to you! Also, if anything is sacrilege in this post text me ASAP!!!!

sweet potato latkes

Sweet Potato Latkes 
Ingredients

2-3 chives or green onion stalks, thinly sliced
1 large sweet potato, shredded
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper
1 large egg
1/3 cup neutral oil for frying (I like grapeseed oil)
Cheesecloth or paper towel

1. Grate your sweet potato with a cheese grater. Set the grated potato aside in a bowl that’s lined with cheesecloth or paper towels, then gather into a pouch and squeeze out any excess liquid. Transfer into a dry bowl and set aside.

2. Next, crack your egg in a bowl and mix in your chives or green onions. In the bowl with your shredded potato, mix in your flour, kosher salt and black pepper. Then, add in your egg mixture and stir. Don’t worry if it looks a little on the dry side, your latke will still fry up nicely!

3. Finally, heat up your oil in a frying pan on medium heat. To test if your oil is ready, drop in a morsel of your latke mix and if it sizzles once it hits the pan, your oil is ready. Using an ice cream scooper or a soup spoon, drop your latkes into the frying pan, flattening down your mound with the backside of a spatula. Fry for a minute and a half on each side, or until it’s a crispy golden brown.

4. Once your latkes are ready to come out of the pan, set them aside on a bed of paper towels to soak up any excess oil. Top with a dollop of sour cream. Enjoy!

Kimchi Fried Rice with Turkey

Being Korean means that I * always * need have to have a jar of kimchi in the fridge and a bag of white rice (big or small) in the cupboard. To all the roomies I’ve had before (and currently), I’m so sorry. With many, I mean many bags of leftover turkey in my fridge too, it was only natural to combine my two Korean kitchen staples with those remnants from Thanksgiving.

Kimchi fried rice recipe

Kimchi Fried Rice with Turkey
Ingredients

Serves 2

1 cup cooked rice (the key here is to pre-cook the rice the day before and let it chill in the fridge, or have some frozen rice at your disposal)
½ cup cabbage kimchi, diced
1 tbsp. kimchi juice
½ cup leftover turkey, diced
2 tbsp. sesame oil (highly recommend using Kadoya)
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated

1. Add in 1 tbsp. of your sesame oil into a non-stick pan on medium heat and sauté your kimchi and ginger until the cabbage is soft and the mixture is even more fragrant.

2. Once your kimchi is ready, add in your rice, kimchi juice and turkey and cook until warmed. Once it’s ready, plate your kimchi fried turkey rice and get ready for the best part.

3. Okay, you’ve made it to the best part! In the same pan that you’ve just cooked your rice, add the rest of your sesame oil to coat the bottom of your pan and then crack two eggs in and cook sunny side up. Place them on top of your plates of kimchi rice, sprinkle some sesame seeds on top, then enjoy!

Curried Turkey Salad Sandwiches

Picture this: it’s the day after Thanksgiving, you’ve just rolled out of bed in your pajamas, plodded into your kitchen, opened the fridge and laid eyes on 5 Ziploc bags full of leftover turkey. You, as a normal person whose synapses lead you to appropriate memories, probably thought: “Oh yeah, let’s have a turkey sandwich later.” My monkey mind instantly went to my childhood BFF Elizabeth’s (hey girl, how’s it going?!) 7th birthday party that was held at her parent’s bookstore aka where I spent approximately 13% of my childhood. A castle/princess/medieval/choose-your-own princess mural was painted on the wall, but all I can remember from that party are the life-changing tea sandwiches that were stacked on a cake platter. First of all, the crusts. were. already. cut. off. Second of all, I could pop like 4 different types of sandwiches onto my plate for my own personal buffet of tea sandwiches. Third of all, I have not been able to get said tea sandwiches out of my head for 20 years. So to answer the question of “what should I do with these Thanksgiving leftovers?” here’s what I’ll be doing.

Curried turkey salad recipe

Curried Turkey Salad Tea Sandwiches 
Ingredients

Makes 4 normal-sized sandwiches
Makes 16 tea sandwiches fit for small hands

1 cup leftover turkey, diced (I went with light meat)
2 tbsp. curry powder
¾ cup tart apple, diced (I am a Fuji apple girl for life)
¼ cup mayonnaise
½ red onion, diced
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. cracked black pepper
8 slices of bread
Olive oil

This recipe is way too simple to make but is super flavorful with the peppery red onions, savory leftover turkey and if you’re using good bread—golden, flaky toast.

Curried turkey salad recipe

1. Mix all of your dry and wet ingredients into a bowl and stir together, tasting as you go. If you want more acidity, add the juice of half a lemon, more sweetness, just add a teaspoon of quality honey.

2. Take your bread and brush it with olive oil on one side and toast your bread on both sides until slightly golden and just barely crispy.

3. Add in a heaping spoonful (like ice cream scooper amount) to a slice of bread, then cut the crusts off (tea sandwiches need no crusts!) and then the sandwich into quarters. Enjoy!

Tom Yum Soup with Shrimp and Coconut Milk

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I’m deeply in love with Thai food. So much, that the other day I expressed to my friends that I wished I was Thai, just on the basis of how much I love their food. It didn’t go over well. The way Thai food combines tangy with spicy with Tom Kha, turns sweetness savory with Mango Sticky Rice, and turns salty into earthy with fish sauce makes for some of the most memorable dishes that I’ve ever had. The trick to Thai cuisine is to have your cabinets stocked with the main ingredients: fish sauce, sambal oelek (garlic + chili paste), keffir lime leaves, lemongrass, coconut milk, thai basil, thai chilies. Once you’re freezer is stocked, you’ll have easy access to most Thai dishes.

For this variation on Tom Yum, I cheated. I’ll admit it. Instead of compiling the galangal, chilies, and lemongrass and combining them with a mortar and pestle, I instead found a Tom Yum paste complete with MSG. Side note: MSG isn’t bad — it’s like candy, don’t gorge! This cuts down significantly on prep time, but adds just as much flavor.

Tom Yum Soup with Coconut Milk and Shrimp
Ingredients

1 tsp. fish oil
3 tbsp. Tom Yum soup paste
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 block of tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup small shrimp, deveined
1 can coconut milk
2 tsp. sambal oelek
1/2 jalapeno, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
2 keffir lime leaves

1. In a large pot, bring fish oil, soup paste, broth, coconut milk, sambal oelek, bell pepper, jalapeno, and keffir lime leaves to a boil.

2. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and toss in tofu. Let simmer for about 15 minutes or until the bell peppers begin to soften.

3. 5 minutes from serving, toss in shrimp and cook until shrimp is pink. To serve, take out keffir lime leaves and set aside.

Pork Pozole

*goes to Mexico one time* *thinks that she can cook Mexican food*. If you’re wondering, it’s me. Soup has been and will always be my wintertime meal jam. This one is subtly spicy, hearty (from that pork) and pretty easy to make—it can be a one-pot soup if you really want it to be and it’s a nice go-to whenever you’re feeling a little under the weather (like I might be).

Here’s my recipe for easy pork pozole. 

Pork Pozole (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen) 
Ingredients

1 lb. pork shoulder, cubed
8 cups broth (can be veggie, chicken, beef, whatever!), reserve 1 cup
2 cups canned hominy, rinsed
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 dried ancho chili
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lime, juiced
Salt and pepper

1. Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Place your chili on a cooking sheet, but I like to use a cast iron skillet. Bake for 5-7 minutes, then remove the stem and seeds. With the one cup of reserved broth, place the chili and broth in a bowl together and microwave for 2 minutes and let sit.

2. Meanwhile, in a heavy bottomed pan, heat 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil on medium-high. Once the oil is hot, drop in your pork which should be patted dry and seasoned with salt and pepper. Brown the meat and then set aside on a plate.

3. With the remainder of the vegetable oil, drop in the hominy with and saute until lightly brown. Remove the hominy from the pan and set aside.

4. Reduce heat to medium and add in onions. Cook until softened and translucent, around 10 minutes. Add in garlic and cook for 5 more minutes.

5. Add onion and garlic mix to a blender, then pour in chili and broth reserve and blend until smooth. Add broth, pork and chili/onion mixture to pot and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes to an hour. Remove pork (again) and set aside on a plate to cut into smaller, bite-sized pieces.

6. Add in hominy and pork to broth, then cook for another 30 minutes to 45 minutes to allow hominy to soften. Once you’re ready to serve, add in the lime juice and slice an avocado on top. Enjoy!