Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pasta with Arugula and Tomatoes

I was starving last night and had very few items in my pantry or fridge. It was definitely a scramble to put something together but after typing in a few things I had on-hand to Google, I found an easy pasta dish from Serious Eats: Pasta with Arugula and Tomatoes.

When making pasta, I am so quick to top it with either a canned sauce or butter and cheese that I never thing to make a simple oil and vegetable sauce. This was perfect! I loved the fresh tomato and arugula mixed with every bite of pasta!

1 pound pasta
3 cups cherry tomatoes (about 1 pound), rinsed

1/4 cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 pound arugula

1/2 cup Pecorino Romano


1) Chop tomatoes into half-inch pieces. Pour olive oil into a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook until fragrant, about one minute. Add the chopped tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes until they have softened, about five minutes.
2) Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Sprinkle in a few tablespoons of salt. When boiling, add the pasta and cook according to the direction on the box. With about six minutes left in the time, add the arugula to the pot. Reserve half a cup of pasta water, and drain the pasta and arugula.
3) Turn the skillet with the tomatoes back to medium high, and then toss in the pasta and arugula. Stir together, and cook for a minute or so, adding some of the reserved pasta water if it is too dry. Season with extra salt and freshly grated cheese.

Recipe courtesy of

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Protein Packed Dinner

I should start this post by letting you all know that since starting my new job and having tons and tons of free foods (mostly dessert) shoved in my face for the taking, I've decided I need to start paying attention to what I eat. No more fast-food lunches, cheese covered pasta every night (maybe once a week or so) and definitely no more dessert in excess! I am a changed woman! I have pumped up my work-out routine and made a pledge to pay more attention to what I am eating.

After assessing my food in-take, I've noticed that I don't eat near enough protein so tonight, I am making a meat-free protein packed meal: Quinoa with Chickpeas and Tomatoes!! It was delicious! This was my first time having quinoa, but I have heard so much about how great it is for you. I loved it! It has a similar texture to couscous but contains far more nutritional value. But I have to warn you: you MUST clean the quinoa extremely well and that can be quite annoying as it takes some time.

1 cup quinoa
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups water
1 cup canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
1 tomato, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons lime juice
4 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1) Place the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold, running water until the water no longer foams. Bring the quinoa, salt and water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
2) Once done, stir in the garbanzo beans, tomatoes, garlic, lime juice and olive oil. Season with cumin, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley to serve.

Recipe courtesy of

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Sweet Treat for Baby Sanneman

Yesterday was the shower for Baby Sanneman, my friend Lauren's soon to be niece or nephew. The shower was held at mother-to-be Dana's house on Long Island. Obviously, I couldn't go empty handed and ever since starting at ICE I really haven't had much time to bake. This was the perfect occasion!

I've made tasty cupcakes for this crew before so I decided to give chocolate whoopie pies a try...for a few reasons: 1) The nursery colors are brown and yellow so dying the frosting yellow would look oh-so cute! and 2) You gotta make whoopie in order to make a baby! ;)

Whoopie Pie Recipe:
vegetable oil or 6 tablespoons canola oil
cups all-purpose flour

baking cocoa
teaspoon baking soda

tablespoons milk

Filling Recipe:
4 tablespoons milk
3 -3 1/4
cups confectioner's sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 425. Lightly coat cookie sheets with nonstick cooking spray.
Whoopie Pies: In a mixing bowl, beat sugar and oil until crumbly. Add eggs and beat well. In separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
Gradually beat flour mixture into sugar mixture. Add milk and mix together well.
4) With lightly lightly floured hands, roll dough into 1 1/2" balls. Place balls 2" apart onto cookie sheets lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Flatten balls slightly with bottom of lightly greased flat-bottom glass.
Bake at 425 for 5-6 minutes or until tops are cracked. Cool for 3 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool.
6) Filling: In a mixing bowl, beat together butter and confectioners' sugar. Beat in milk and extract until fluffy. Add food coloring, if desired.
Pipe filling using pastry bag (or spread w/ knife) on to flat bottom of cooled whoopie pie and top with another whoopie pie to make a sandwich.

Recipe courtesy of

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Prefect Birthday Treat

Yesterday was my Beau's Birthday. He is not a picky guy so he told me I was free to pick any restaurant for his birthday dinner...until he opened his birthday gift that morning and realized that he would much rather play with Google TV after work than sit at a restaurant. Sirens went off in my head! What am I going to cook tonight!? It was his birthday so it had to be great, but fairly quick to make!

Luckily, I started my new job at The Institute of Culinary Education on Monday so great recipes will always be at my finger tips. Obviously, being the "new girl" means I don't really know the in's and out's so I asked a few coworkers for recipe ideas instead. One of my coworkers happens to be a recipe tester at and recommended this amazing recipe for Spatchcocked and Braise-Roasted Chicken. My first reaction was "What the heck is that!?"

I have never heard of spatchcocked chicken but soon found out that it simply means the backbone is removed the the chicken and cooked flat; a much faster way to cook an entire bird. It seemed delicious and I definitely wanted to impress the boyfriend so this was it!

Since this is so new to me, I thought I'd give you a peak at what this looked like while cooking.

One 4 to 4 1/2 pound chicken

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large shallots, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, lightly smashed (skins left on)
2 rosemary sprigs
8 sage leaves
1/2 cup fino sherry or dry white wine
About 1 cup chicken broth
1 lemon, cut into thin slices (skins left on; seeds discarded)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Using poultry shears, cut the backbone out of the chicken. (Or ask your butcher to do this for you. I did...super time saver!) Reserve the backbone. Turn the chicken skin-side-up and press down on the breast bone to flatten the chicken. Generously season the chicken all over with salt and pepper.
In a casserole pan or other low shallow pan large enough to fit the flattened chicken, melt the butter in the oil over medium high heat. When the foam subsides, add the chicken skin-side-down, and the backbone, and brown well, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove to a plate. Pour off all but 1 1/2 tablespoons fat.
3) Set the pan back on the stove. Add the shallots and garlic, and cook over medium heat until the shallot has softened, about 2 minutes. Add the rosemary, sage and sherry. Increase the heat and boil off nearly all the sherry. Add 1 cup chicken broth and the lemon slices. Gently lower the chicken back into the pan, again skin-side up.
If needed, add more broth to come 1/2-inch up the side of the pan. Transfer the pan to the oven, and braise-roast until the chicken is cooked through (an internal temperature of 165 degrees), 30 to 50 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes -- uncovered, or the skin will soften! Carve the chicken. Strain the pan juices and adjust the seasoning. Serve bird and cooked-down broth, and enjoy!

I cannot stop telling you how delicious this meal was. I served this with green beans and rosemary potatoes. YUM!! Literally, every bite of the chicken was packed with flavor, so juicy and incredibly tender. This is a great meal to make if you're looking to impress. ;)