Banana Mango Chia Seed Smoothie

Banana Mango Chia Seed Smoothie

After a weekend away in Seattle, a stream of plates being served to me at Walrus and the Carpenter, Bateau, Kin Khao and Nojo Ramen (okay, and takeout sushi, let’s not kid ourselves here), I was craving something fresh and homemade. On top of that, embracing my last month on the young side of my twenties has let me drink some really great cocktails and wine.

Once upon a time, smoothies were my go-to breakfast, until they were replaced by even quicker grab-and-go options. But with this most recent bout of stuffing my face, I’ve returned to my blended roots and whipped up a protein-packed smoothie to help me start the day (whether it’s at 7 a.m. or noon).

Banana Mango Chia Seed Smoothie
Ingredients

2 tbsp. chia seeds
1/4 cup milk kefir
1/4 cup mango juice
2 bananas, frozen then sliced
1/2 cup frozen mangoes

For this smoothie, I tried out milk kefir—a tangy, thick variation of milk made from kefir starters that resemble the consistency of cottage cheese. It’s lauded as being better for those with sensitive stomachs and packs in probiotics to boot. And chia seeds? Did you know that these pencil-tip sized seeds are packed with protein, calcium, antioxidants and fiber.

1. In a small bowl, combine your milk kefir and mango juice with your chia seeds. Let these rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours—the seeds will expand and get soft!

2. Once your chia seeds have soaked, combine all of your ingredients into a blender and enjoy!

Grilled Steak Sandwich with Arugula & Hummus

Grilled Steak Sandwich Recipe
I’m constantly snacking on hummus at work, since we’re cursed (by mostly blessed) with small packs of Sabra hummus. So when Sabra announced that they were coming out with sandwich spreads, I knew things were about to get next level. I’m not a fan of mayonnaise, but I always crave something a little flavorful and saucy on my sammies.

Bonus points, Sabra’s hummus spread has 75% less fat than mayo, is made with fresh ingredients and comes in a squeeze bottle to feed my lazy tendencies.

Grilled Steak Sandwich with Arugula & Hummus
Ingredients

1 pound of fresh rib eye (I got mine straight from the farmers market)
1/4 cup arugula
2 slices of fresh bread (mine was from Oakland’s Firebrand Bakery)
1 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. Sabra’s Cracked Black Pepper Sandwich Spread
Salt and freshly cracked pepper

1. Heat a grill or a pan to medium-high heat. Dry rub your ribeye with salt and freshly cracked black pepper and let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes to soak in all that flavor.

2. Once your steak has marinated with all that dry rub, place it into the pan to sear until it’s medium-well. I like the tried and true method of pressing on my steak to figure out if it’s done or not. If it’s as firm as the middle of your palm, you have a medium-well steak.

3. Take two slices of thick bread, lightly butter and pan fry until golden brown while your steak finishes up.

4. Slice your steak into small, 1/4 inch pieces and assemble your sandwich with your arugula. I gratuitously used about 2 tbsp. of Sabra’s delishhhh Cracked Black Pepper sandwich spread—perfect complement to the fresh arugula and steak. Enjoy!

Just as an FYI: I received free samples of Sabra Spreads mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Sabra and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Fall Garden Gazpacho

Fall Gazpacho, Oh Wonderful

I’m spoiled. I’ve grown up in a near-perfect state that rarely dips below 50-degrees, never lived more than 5 miles from the ocean and I can get fresh, local vegetables all year long. I mean, talk about being born with a silver spoon in my mouth or what.

Now in San Francisco, we have fertile farmland to the north, east and south of us, so I’m not even sure why we need grocery stores. Everyone should head to the farmers market once the weekend rolls around. One of my favorite farms, Tomatero Organic Farm, always brings the goods when it comes to fresh vegetables that taste just as perfect as they look.

Do yourself a favor this weekend, get out your blender and make some gazpacho with veggies straight from the farmers market.

Fall Gazpacho, Oh Wonderful

Fall Garden Gazpacho
Ingredients

6-7 garlic cloves
1 Anaheim pepper
3 Early Girl tomatoes, cubed
2 heirloom tomatoes, cubed
1/2 red onion, diced
3 Persian cucumbers, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
Cracked black pepper

1. Before you whip up your gazpacho, refrigerate all of your vegetables for at least an hour to have them a little chilled before they go into the blender. You don’t want warm gazpacho!

2. Once your vegetables have chilled, combine all of your cubed vegetables in a powerful blender and blend until smooth. Gradually add the sherry vinegar and olive oil. Enjoy!

Spicy Sausage Stir Fry

Spicy Sausage Stir Fry

There’s only one thing that I wish my parents had let me do when I was a kid. I’m fine with the 11 p.m. curfew on New Year’s Eve, but I wish those sticklers let me spend more time in the kitchen (hi mom & dad!). With two working parents, quick meals were the norm but as a picky eater, two-ingredient meals were the norm for me. Enter hot dog stir fry—the meal that my parents would make almost every week. For me, it was simple hot dogs and rice. But now that I’m older, I’m down with a little more color and flavor.

Spicy Sausage Stir Fry 
Ingredients

1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1/2 bell pepper, diced
3 baby bok choy leaves, sliced
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, diced
1 tsp. black sesame seeds
1 cup. shredded sweet potato
2 spicy sausages
2 cups brown rice, cooked and frozen

1. Heat a large pan on medium heat and toss in your frozen rice, soy sauce and sesame oil. Let those cook for a couple of minutes until the rice softens.

2. Now mix in everything else and fry for 8-10 minutes until all of the vegetables are al dente. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy!

P.S. Not a registered dietician, but I do cook with only fresh ingredients (minus frozen rice).

Black Bean Soup

I’m a mad soup lover. If someone served me up a different soup every day, I’d be so(up) happy. This weekend it was a little overcast here and I had a bag of black beans and some cojita cheese that I wanted to get through. Combine that with some daydreams of taking a trip to Mexico and I knew what I had to make.

 Black Bean Soup Recipe

Black Bean Soup
Ingredients 

2 cups dry black beans
6 cups of water
1 medium white onion, diced
1 link of Soyrizo (or chorizo)
2 dried chiles de árbol
4 tomatillos, sliced
3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 tbsp. adobo sauce (from chipotle and adobo can)
1 tsp. salt
Crumbled cojita cheese
Lime
Avocado

Black Bean Soup Recipe

1. Quickly rinse and drain the beans. Combine the water, beans and salt in a heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil.

Tip: If any beans float to the top, they’re not the best beans in the bunch. Skim them off the top!

2. Bring your boiling beans down to a simmer and add in the onions, chiles, tomatillos, chipotle and adobo sauce.

 Black Bean Soup Recipe

3. Let your concoction simmer for two hours on low heat but be sure to check on it and stir occasionally. Be sure to add more water if you start to see the top layer of beans.

4. Once your soup has simmered, use an immersion blender to puree your soup. Add in your chorizo and simmer for 15 more minutes.

5. Top off with some crumbled tortilla chips, a little salsa, avocados, cojita cheese and plenty of freshly squeezed lime juice. Enjoy!

 

Korean Meatball Calzones

Alright, this was supposed to be a vacation-inspired recipe, but I couldn’t bring myself to cook something that brought back too many memories of a vacation, especially when I’m hardcore craving an exotic destination. Instead, I thought back to the days of summer vacation back when I was in college and waiting for the new school year to start. When it comes to meals in college, I can separate them into two buckets. Pizza and Korean food. How I kept my weight under 115 those years is something I’ll always be amazed by.

The summer before my sophomore year started, I moved into my very first apartment with three other roommates. While they were at summer school and while I was waiting for the year to get going, I would walk to Albertson’s across the street, pick up a frozen pizza and nosh on it for the rest of the week. Fast forward to senior year when I finally knew how to make somewhat real, pizzas were reserved for late night eats while Korean tofu was the norm.

When you grow up in a biracial family, you can have pasta for dinner one night and bulgogi the next night. So this Korean Meatball Calzone, had I known how to make one, would have been the summer vacation college meal of my dreams.

Korean Meatball Calzones
Ingredients

3/4 lb. ground pork (leaner than ground beef!)
1/2 cup of panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup of gochujang, Korean red pepper paste
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. cracked black pepper
3 cloves garlic
1/4 green onions, bias-cut (cut at an angle)
1 tbsp. freshly ground ginger
2 eggs (we had a double yolk egg!)
1 lb. pizza dough (you can get gluten free!)

Pizza sauce
Your choice of cheese (we used mozzarella and smoked gouda)
Fresh pepperoni (from your local butcher)
Yellow onions (diced)
Black olives (sliced)
Padron peppers or any other hot pepper, sliced

1. In a non-reactive bowl, combine your pork, breadcrumbs, gochujang, sea salt, black pepper, garlic, green onions, ginger and one egg. Delicately mix with a spoon (or your hands!). Roll into small, 1/2 inch spheres or cylinders.

2. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan on medium heat and place your Korean meatballs in. Lightly brown the meatballs on all sides.

3. Meanwhile, let your pizza dough rest and reach room temperature. Flour a flat surface (countertop or large cutting board) and roll your dough until flat and as thick as a hardcover book flap.

4. Once your pizza dough is rolled flat, it’s time to stuff your Calzones. Layer on your stuffing on one side, then fold the dough over and push the edges together. Crack and stir the other egg together to create an egg wash, then coat the folds of your Calzones.

5. If you’re lucky enough to have a grill and a pizza oven, heat your grill on high and cook your Calzones until lightly golden-brown. If you have an oven, heat it to 350 degrees, then cook for 10-15 minutes, also until golden brown. Enjoy!

P.s. I’m not a registered dietician, but I do cook with fresh and local ingredients. This post was created as part of the Recipe Redux series. 

Grilled Corn with Chimichurri

Grilled Corn with Chimichurri

When the going gets tough, just grill up some corn (no BBQ required!). With little sleep happening as of late, the freaking cold weather in the city and leveling up in Pokémon Go (where it’s harder to catch them all)—it’s been a week. So sit back, pour up some wine and turn on some Bachelor in Paradise while you eat this corn.

Grilled Corn with Chimichurri
Ingredients
2-4 yellow corn cobs
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
3/4 cup fresh parsley
3 tsp. red wine vinegar
4 tsp. olive oil
5 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. cracked red pepper
1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1. In a food processor, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, parsley, cilantro, garlic, red pepper, black pepper and salt and pulse until combined. Set aside.

2. Shuck your corn and coat with butter. Heat your grill or if you’re grilling indoors, heat a grill pan on medium-high heat and coat with butter. Grill your corn until it’s lightly charred and once it’s done, coat with your chimichurri sauce and serve!

No-Fail Meatballs & Fresh Tomato Sauce

Fresh Tomato Sauce and Meatballs Recipe

If you haven’t noticed, I got a facelift! No, not my actual face (I’m offended if that was your first guess!), but the blog. It’s so much cleaner, easier to navigate and pictures are taking center stage now with higher resolution. All around, I just feel like the site looks smoother. As I was working on the transition this weekend, I took a long break to whip up some homemade meatballs and pasta sauce made from tomatoes straight from the farmers market.

There are two components to this recipe, both of which are super easy to make. You just need a little bit of patience, a healthy queue of shows that you have yet to watch & something that you really want  to be distracted from. Seriously, I felt more at peace rolling meatballs than at a yoga class.

No-fail Meatballs
Ingredients

1 lb. fresh, grass-fed ground beef
1 egg
1/3 cup breadcrumbs (I used a frozen loaf, toasted, then used the food processor to crumbify them)
1/3 cup chicken stock or veggie stock
1/4 cup goat cheese
1 tbsp. dried parsley or 4 tbsp. fresh parsley, diced
1 tbsp. dried oregano
4 tsp. cracked red pepper
2 tsp. kosher salt
Cracked black pepper

1. In a non-reactive bowl, mix all of the ingredients together and begin to knead with your hands. Pro tip: Coat your hands with a little bit of olive oil when you begin to knead and when you begin to form the little balls of meat. This will prevent meat from sticking to your hands!

2. While you’re rolling your well-mixed meat into 1-inch diameter balls, heat a heavy pan on medium heat. Once you’ve got your balls all rolled (I feel weird writing this, trust), place them into the hot pan and sear until browned on the outside. You do not want to skip this step! This is how they get so juicy!

3. Once your meatballs have seared, set them aside to cool. You’ll be coming back to these later!

Fresh Tomato Sauce
Ingredients

1 lb. fresh, organic tomatoes (I used Early Girls), quartered
3 sprigs, fresh thyme
3 tbsp. butter
1 yellow onion
4 cloves of garlic, diced
Cracked black pepper
Salt

1. Heat a heavy pot (hello, dutch oven) toss in your quartered tomatoes and heat on medium-high heat. You’ll be cooking these babies down and drawing all the liquid from them, or for about 15 minutes.

2. In a separate pan, heat your butter, thyme, onion, garlic, salt and pepper on medium and cook down until the onions are translucent.

3. Once your tomatoes have cooked down, pass the remaining liquid through a strainer to get rid of all of the seeds. Mix in with your butter and onion mixture on low heat, add in your meatballs and simmer for 10 minutes. Have on its own or serve your fresh tomato sauce with a side of pasta and enjoy!

Heirloom Tomato Pie


Last summer, I was OBSESSED with A Chef’s Life. Every night I would fall asleep to an episode and by summer’s end, I had watched every season at least twice. Through all of my watching and re-watching, there was one recipe that I still haven’t stopped thinking about. Enter the heirloom tomato pie. Heirlooms have exploded in popularity and were once those weird looking tomatoes at the farmers market, but are now what everyone crowds around. Get this—some heirloom tomatoes are actual family heirlooms with seeds being passed down through generations. Payne family, where are our tomatoes?

Heirloom Tomato Pie 
Ingredients

1 lb. of heirloom tomatoes, sliced
6 oz. goat cheese
Cracked black pepper
Shredded parmesan cheese
Kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, grated

For the pie crust:
1 cup flour
8 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. cracked black pepper
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 cup ice water

1. Slice your tomatoes and allow them to drain for 30-40 minutes—you don’t want your tomato pie to be soggy! Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2. Combine the flour, butter and spices in a food processor and pulse until the dough mixture resembles a lot of small peas. Gradually mix in ice water, then transfer to a large bowl to hand knead. Cover in saran wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

3. Once the dough has chilled, hand knead into a pie tin, a cast iron pan or a tarte dish and coat the bottom with goat cheese and cracked black pepper.


4. Layer on your heirloom tomatoes and grate a bit of garlic over each layer. Once you’ve used all of your tomatoes, grate parmesan cheese over the top and more cracked black pepper. If you’re feeling like it, put a few sprigs of thyme on top.

5. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown! Slice and serve like a piece of cake, minus the frosting or the candles. Enjoy!

Oven and Foil Shrimp Boil

Oven and Foil Shrimp Boil

Before the year started I set a goal for myself to travel to one new domestic city this year and one international country. So far, so bad. BUT it’s only July (depending on how you look at it), so there’s still some time left. For my next domestic trip, I’m #dying to head to New Orleans for a weekend to eat, tour the cemeteries, eat beignets, and hold an alligator. That’s right, when I dream, I DREAM BIG. So, as my mother would say, I “got a wild hair” this week and decided to make some shrimp boil filled with plenty of garlic, cayenne, black pepper and buttah. But, since city-living means that you don’t have a barbecue or a pit of sand to bury a shrimp boil in, I settled for my oven and probably four feet worth of foil to cook this shrimp boil.

Oven and Foil Shrimp Boil 
Ingredients (serves 2) 

1 lb. large shrimp, deveined
2 ears of corn, cut into six pieces
3 spicy sausages (pork or chicken, up to you)
1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 tbsp. onion powder
2 tsp. cracked black pepper
1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 red potatoes, sliced
1 bunch green onions, sliced
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 lemons, sliced
3 sprigs, fresh thyme

Oven and Foil Shrimp Boil

1. Preheat your oven to 420 degrees. In a small bowl, mix the garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and cayenne together—this will be your spice rub for your shrimp.

2. In a non-reactive bowl, pour in your olive oil, minced garlic, spices and shrimp together. Cover and let marinate for an hour unrefrigerated or up to 3 hours in the fridge.

3. Meanwhile, rip off four sheets of foil to make two foil packets. Drop in the butter, thyme and potatoes and pop into the oven for 15 minutes. Once your shrimp is done marinating, put everything else into the foil packets and cook for 20 minutes or until the shrimp is bright pink.

4. Drizzle with hot honey, more butter and enjoy!