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Mini Pies on TODAY

7/28/15


I've been trying to write this post for a day and a half.  A day and a half!  Trying to balance life is a daily struggle of mine, and I'm sure you can all relate.  I have so much I want to cook, so much I want to share with you, and yet I'm trying to actually put my swimsuit on this summer and go UNDERWATER with my kids.  As in, who cares about how cold the water feels or what my hair looks like or having to shower after (or not).  I'm trying to play with my kids!!  And so my to-do list grows and grows and grows... WHY IS BALANCE SO HARD.

Back to trying to share with you, my virtual friends.  Yesterday I had so much fun baking mini blueberry pies with my friend Savannah on Today.  It was a Today Original recipe, and they were simple and delicious.  Yes, yes, I may have made a few mistake during the segment, but I think you know that I embrace errors in the kitchen and I certainly try not to take cooking too SIRIously.   

You can check out the segment and view the Today Original recipe here.




All photos by Samantha Okazaki

TODAY Show: Eggplant 3 ways

7/24/15


Well, "veggie week" at the Today Show has come and gone, and I may have converted Carson (and Savannah) a teeny, tiny bit with my greek yogurt eggplant dip (however it's true, eggplant is technically a fruit... whatevs).  If you missed yesterday's segment, or want the recipes (plus a delicious bonus stuffed eggplant recipe), check everything out here!

AND, I'll be back on TODAY on Monday, baking up something summery and sweet.
Have great weekends!

(photo by Samantha Okazaki)

TODAY tonight: Cauliflower Steak

7/22/15


If you're unfamiliar with my "TODAY tonight" series, it's when Carson won't stop talking about something he ate at work, so I make it at home to shut him up.  However, this time around, I didn't even have to wait to hear him rave.  I was watching Aarti Sequeira on the show and I instantly wanted everything she cooked.  She made cauliflower three ways, and I could practically taste the vibrant, Indian flavors through my TV screen.  

It was the "cauliflower steak" with a lime yogurt sauce that made me run to the store for the vegetable.  I cook cauliflower a lot, but something as simple as cutting it differently and marinating it with different spices completely transformed it for me.  I am obsessed.  Even my son loved it!  I will make this again, and again, and again.  Recipe here.

And speaking of Today Food and vegetables, I will be there tomorrow trying to get Carson to eat a particular one he doesn't like... wish me luck!



We served it with a version of this salad because we just can't get enough.

Kale, Quinoa and Chicken Salad

7/20/15


People, it's hot.  Like, real hot.  Like, I thought I'd sit outside for a minute with my computer and let my just-showered-hair (after 3, fine 4 days) dry in the summer breeze until I realized my boobs were already sweating HOT.  When it's this hot, I feel the need to eat really light, probably because my body feels bloated and heavy and I also want nothing to do with the kitchen.  This is, eat lots of vegetables (and sip white wine for lunch?) type of weather.  But I always forget how easy it is to throw a salad together for lunch.  For some reason it doesn't SEEM easy, but with leftovers involved and some minor weekend prep, a week-day salad can be effortless.  See the one I just made below...


Kale, Quinoa and Chicken Salad
Serves 3

1 bag frozen quinoa with vegetables* (or 2 cups cooked quinoa)
3 cups baby kale
1 cup shredded roasted chicken
1 avocado, diced
3 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup crumbled greek ricotta** (or goat cheese, or feta)
Balsamic glaze
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Prepare quinoa as instructed on bag (I did this Sunday night and kept it in tupperware).  Assemble rest of ingredients and toss.  Drizzle with balsamic glaze and olive oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. 


*Found this in the organic section of the freezer.
**Sometimes I get in a feta/goat cheese rut, so I tried this Greek ricotta the other day and I'm OBSESSED!  So creamy.

Pasta with Arugula Pesto on TODAY

7/17/15


In case you missed my Today Show segment yesterday or need the Bow-Tie Pasta with Arugula Pesto recipe, click here for both!  And I'll be back next Thursday... trying to get Carson to eat his veggies.  It should be entertaining :)  Have a great weekend!  


Photos by Samantha Okazaki.

Tuna Avocado Toast + Bertolli Contest

7/16/15


Want to know something?  I love olive oil.  Some women collect shoes, or handbags, or jewelry... and I collect olive oils.  One of my favorite brands, Bertolli, is celebrating their 150th anniversary and they sent me that beautiful anniversary bottle above.  It's so pretty!  I want to carry it around like a handbag or wear it on my feet!  I'm very normal!  Anyway, to celebrate, Bertolli is having a recipe contest in which you could win a trip to Tuscany (as well as other prizes) just by submitting a dish using Bertolli oils.  Check it out here and enter soon, the deadline is July 31st!

The other night, using Bertolli olive oil (duh), I tried to recreate a dish we recently had at the Manhattan Beach, CA restaurant Love and Salt.  If you follow me on Instagram, then you know I pretty much fell in love with this restaurant right away.  We ate insanely crispy yet juicy roast chicken, and pasta with bone marrow (yup), and a salad with crispy garbanzo beans... all while sipping spicy margaritas.  And we began the meal with an albacore tuna and avocado toast.  This toast was something magical... every bite so full of bright texture and flavor.  I could have made love to the toast alone... perfectly crispy and probably soaked in delicious olive oil.  Creamy avocado, with a hint of lemon, topped with fresh, chunky tuna that melted in your mouth, and sprinkled with some sort of olive (caper?) mixture and a sliver of onion.  Am I still talking about this toast??

I thought it would be the perfect appetizer to make with my fancy olive oil, see what I did below...      


I had ciabatta bread leftover from our local pizza joint, so I used that, however you could use sourdough or french bread.  Just slice, and sauté on the stove in a splash of olive oil over medium heat until both sides are golden.  Take a can of solid white albacore tuna (soaked in water), drain and place in a bowl.  Scoop out an avocado into another bowl and mash with a fork.  Take the juice of half a lemon, and sprinkle over both bowls.  Drizzle both bowls with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  To assemble toasts, spread avocado first, then tuna and then top with some chopped kalamata olives (or use an olive tapenade).  Serve and enjoy!  

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie

7/15/15


Hello there!  Remember how last week I said I'd be traveling for a bit, but I'd check in and blog once in awhile?  Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.  That was before my almost-one-year-old decided to wake up at 4am every morning.  She'd be like, what, woman??!  My body is telling me it's 7am, so wake up, and make yourself that hot smelly drink with all of the fatty cream, and play with me!!  And so my days started in the wee hours of the morning, and by early afternoon my brain felt like mush.  Hence, no blogging.  However, that didn't stop me from making cookie dough.  Because when you're out of town for a week and your brain is mush, you need to buy basic groceries like bread and milk and brown sugar and chocolate chips.  I'm not normal.

One morning last week, at like 5:17am, I decided to make cookies.  Did I want to make a large batch?  No.  Did I want to make a small batch?  Not really.  Instead, I wanted to make one GIANT treat, for me to eat for breakfast (mushy brains are dangerous).  But for reals, what's more fun than a huge cookie... shared amongst friends or eaten alone in the dark before the sun comes up.
    
Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup of chocolate chips, or desired amount

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  With a mixer, cream together the butter and both sugars in a medium sized bowl until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla and the egg, and mix until combined.  Add the dry ingredients, and mix until just combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Place onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and flatten into a circle (should be about 1-inch thick).  Place cookie sheet in the fridge for about 30 minutes, and then bake for 15-20, until cookie has browned slightly.       

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