Chilled Summer Soup of Sweet Peas and Mint

Monday, June 24, 2013

Does anyone else try something out and get obsessed with replicating it at home? Please tell me it's not just me. I tried this soup recently at my favorite lunch chain Pret A Manger and decided I NEED to make this at home. The results came close. Next time, I just have to give myself more time to chill it.

My version was NOT vegetarian but you can certainly make it that way by substituting vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.


4 cups of fresh shelled peas washed and dried
2 shallots chopped (or 1 onion chopped)
1 tablespoon oil (I use grape)
1/2 cup of fresh chopped mint plus a few leaves for garnish
4 tablespoon of heavy cream-- about 1 per serving
1 tablespoon sugar
4 cups of stock (I used homemade chicken stock but you can also use store bought or vegetable)

In a large pot or dutch oven ( I love this one Le Creuset Dutch Oven), cook your onions or shallots till they begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Add peas and stock. Cook on medium flame about 15-20 minutes till peas are very soft. Add chopped mint and sugar. Cook another minute or so. 

Remove from flame. Using immersion blender (I have this one Cuisine Art Immersion Blender), blend till creamy consistency. Some chunks are ok in my book.

Chill for about 2 hours in fridge. If you are in a hurry like I was, you can create an ice bath for your soup

Before serving, add a tablespoon of heavy cream per serving and a bit of mit garnish.

Sweet and Savory: Salad with Strawberries, Goat Cheese and Toasted Almond

Saturday, June 22, 2013

This salad is sweet and savory and hits the spot every time. Served it at a family get together tonight and it was gobbled up.


  1. 6 cups of mixed greens (or arugula)
  2. 1/4 red onion thinly sliced
  3. 1 cup avocado cubed
  4. 1-2 cups of strawberries washed, dried and quartered
  5. 4-6 ounces of goat cheese crumbled
  6. 1/3 cup slivered almonds pan toasted

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons of berry preserves (I used Sarabeth's mixed berry)
Mixed in a bowl and well mixed

In a small hot skillet, toast your almonds on small flame till golden. Set aside.

Wash and dry greens. Add onion, avocado and strawberries. Add dressing, mix well. Top with goat cheese and almonds.


Roasted Smashed Yukon Gold Potatoes

Sunday, June 16, 2013

If you are russian jewish like I am, you probably grew up eating grandma's fried potatoes. If you are  health conscious reformed Russian like I have become, it's roasted potatoes all the way. I am always roasted potatoes, but but never ever smashed them before. Somehow that extra smash took them to the next level! I made this as part of Father's Day Breakfast for hubby and he was super pleased!

4-5 yukon gold potatoes
2-3 tablespoons of oil (I used grape)
Salt and Pepper to Taste
2-3 tablespoon rosemary (fresh preferred)

Preheat oven to 450. Leave the baking dish inside so that it's hot when the potatoes are added in.

Wash and pat dry potatoes. Cut into pieces, don't peel unless there are blemishes. Cut into bite size pieces. Toss with oil and salt. Don't add rosemary yet.

Add potatoes to your preheated baking dish/tray. Reduce temperature to 425. Roast about 1/2 hour tossing occasionally. Add rosemary if desired. Once the potatoes are starting to get golden, smash them a bit with a potato masher, spray with a bit of cooking spray or add a drop more oil. Toss and roast another 10 minutes or so.


Roasted Yucca

Love going out to eat and of course after I try something, I get obsessed with replicating it in my home kitchen. Case in point, yucca fries. Have not really come across yucca and so never attempted it before. Until one day, I saw it in a little vegetable store in my neighborhood.  I wish I had taken a picture of what it looks like in it's natural state, it was a bit intimidating. But after a few google searches, I decided to be brave it and the results were very pleasing.

1 Yucca
2-3 tablespoons of oil (I used grape)
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 

Bring a medium pot of water to boil. In the meantime, peel the yucca with a vegetable peeler. Cut it into 3 or 4 parts (~3 inches each), discard ends.  Cook in boiling water for about 10-12 minutes, unit it begins to split.

Remove yucca from water, allow to cool a little. Cut across horizontally and remove the string that is in the middle. Cut yucca into pieces (any shape is fine).

In a large bowl, toss with oil, salt and pepper.

Roast about 1/2 hour till golden, tossing occasionally.

Zucchini "Spaghetti" with Sausage

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

This zucchini "spaghetti" is so fun and tasty that you will hardly miss the carbs. I bought a GEFU Spirelli Spiral Cutter  a while ago and has been just itching to use it. This was the perfect dish to test it on. It created amazing spirally spaghetti out of the zucchini! I am in love.

Ingredients (this makes 2 servings)
2-3 zucchinis
1/2 cup of tomato paste
2 links of sausage or chorizo (I used one of each b/c I had them left over in my freezer)
1 shallot diced
2 tablespoons of grape oil (divided)
2-3 Table spoons of shaved parmesan
Salt to taste

Wash and dry your zucchini. I did not peel it though you could. Using your spiral slicer, create "spaghetti." Set aside.

Dice shallots. If you are using sausage, remove casting. If you are using chorizo, cut into small pieces.

Preheat pan with 1 tablespoon of oil. Add shallots, saute till they become translucent, about 5 minutes at medium flame. Add chorizo or sausage. Cook about 7 minutes. Add tomato paste, reduce flame and continue to cook another 5 minutes.

In the meantime, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a second pan. Add your zucchini spirals and cook about 4 minutes.  Plate zucchini if you have liquid on th bottom, try to not get it onto the plate. Top with sausage/tomato and shaved parmesan ( I use a veggie peeler to shave it).


Farm Fresh Collard Greens with Crunchy Bacon Bits

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Collard Greens with Crunchy Bacon Bits
Passing by a farmers market, I could not resist these collard greens. So fresh and tasty.
I knew we were having pork chops for dinner so this was a nice modern twist on a Southern dinner.

1 bunch of collard greens washed, spun dried, thick stems removed
3-4 pieces of bacon ( I used Oscar Meyer Thick Bacon)
1/3 cup of broth
1 tablespoon of oil (I used grape)

Cook bacon to package directions. Set  on paper towel to absorb oil. Cut up bacon into small bits. I use kitchen shears to do tihis.

Heat a large skillet with oil. Add collard greens. Cook down about a minute, flip over. Add stock and cover. Cook for 3-5 minutes on medium flame mixing about ½ way through.
Add salt to taste and bacon bits. I served this with Brown Sugar Glazed Pork Chops. Recipe here: Brown Sugar and Garlic Glazed Pork Chops


Brown Sugar and Garlic Glazed Bone In Loin Pork Chops

This was a quick and tasty weeknight dinner! Will definitely be making it again as it was an all around hit. I served this with Collard Greens with Crunchy Bacon.

Pork Chops Cooking in Finished Glaze

Brown Sugar and Garlic Glazed Pork Chops with Bacony Collard Green


4 bone in loin pork chops
3 peeled and crushed garlic cloves
1-2 teaspoons of Monteal Steak Seasoning
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/3 cup of white wine
1/3 cup of chicken stock
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter

Wash and pat dry your pork chops.

Combine Montreal Seasoning, sugar and crushed garlic. Mix well.

Use half the mixture to rub ONE SIDE your pork chops, you will put this side first.

Pork Chops with Rub on One Side Ready to Go into Pan
Melt butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Once melted, hot and bubbling, add the pork chops with seasoned side down. Cook about 2-3 minutes.

Flip over and carefully add the remaining rub on the other side of the pork chops. Cook another 2-3 minutes.  Remove to a plate.

Pork Chops with One Side Cooked About to Be Flipped Over

Add wine and stock and scrape off the bits that are stuck. Cook till the mixture is bubbling and beginning to thicken. Add the pork chops back in and allow the glaze to coat them.
I served these with Collard Greens Sauteed with Crunchy Bacon for a  healthier modern twist on southern cooking from this New York gal.

Pork Chops in Glaze All Ready!