Create Your Own Tuna Bowl…

Tuna bowl

I have been OBSESSED with sushi bowls ever since leaving college, because we had this AMAZING place called Rolls n Bowls where you would go in and create your own rice bowl, choosing from an assortment of sushi, veggies, and spicy sauces. We went at least twice a week for 2 years straight. I have been waiting for NYC to bring that idea to life, and they have FINALLY started to catch on to the trend, with a few Poke inspired restaurants opening around the city in the last few months. I have yet to venture downtown to try one; However, in the meantime, I have been incorporating my own fish bowls into our diet.

Today’s Tuna bowl is one that we frequently make because it’s SO quick.  I always prep the veggies during Char’s nap, so that when dinner rolls around, all we have to do is cook the fish. You can eat the sushi sashimi style (like a true tuna poke bowl), but I prefer to sear the tuna steaks (for some reason I find this more filling). We have used several types of fish when making these bowls, so feel free to substitute. Additionally, you can get really creative in your sauces. Today’s was a sweet soy glaze sauce, however a spicy mayo or avocado paste would be just as delicious.

Tuna Steak bowls with spiralized carrots and cucumber: serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of tuna steak
  • 1 cucumber; spiralized
  • 1 carrot; spiralized
  • 1 cup of cooked rice
  • 2 table spoons of olive oil
  • for the soy glaze:
    • 3 spoonfuls of honey
    • 3 spoonfuls of sesame oil
    • 3 table spoons of balsamic vinegar
    • 2 table spoons of olive oil
    • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
    • a few dashes of garlic, salt & pepper

Instructions:

  1. Spiralize both the carrot and cucumber into long spaghetti like noodles.
  2. Combine soy glaze ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Set aside to pour onto dish as a vinaigrette.
  3. Salt and Pepper tuna steaks generously on both sides.
  4. Heat frying pan with olive oil on high heat. Place tuna steaks on pan for about 3 minutes on both sides, or until seared.
  5. Add spiralized vegetables and sliced tuna over rice in a bowl, adding the soy glaze to finish. Garnish with green onions.

Char continues to take on the world this week, motoring around like no one’s business. This week we introduced chicken and string cheese as finger foods, and she loved them both (and so did I). She’s definitely starting to enjoy feeding herself more, and becoming very vocal when Mama is slow to respond to her food tray requests. Pictured below is Char dressed up for a baby shower we had today; I love this amazing Burberry number, courtesy of Teresa Purzner (thank you!!).  I mean, why does my daughter own trendier dresses than me?? Not fair!

IMG_4009

Sunday Snacks with Eggplant….

Caponata 2

 

Happy Sunday everyone! WOW is it HOT out. We literally did nothing today besides attend Church, because strolling around in 90+ degree weather with a baby is no joke. Instead, we stayed inside with the a/c blasting, and got creative in the kitchen. Nick’s Aunt was so gracious to bring over some fresh produce from a farm sharing package she received through Fresh Direct. It’s an amazing deal, featuring a diverse, rotating selection of around 8 seasonal vegetables and herbs. We had some of the freshest tasting garlic, onions, and mint leaves we have ever tasted!! I added the link on Fresh Direct’s website for you to check it out…..Hepworth Farms produce package.

Since Eggplant was one of the items we received, we decided to make Eggplant Caponata. Holy Smokes was this AMAZING. Have ya’ll ever tried green greek olives? I mean, I knew they existed, but I certainly never cook with them, and boy did they add a lot of flavor. This would be a great dish to serve when entertaining guests because very few ingredients go a long way. Or,  if you are feeling super lazy like us today, you could eat this as your entire dinner, served with toasted pitas of course.

Charlotte is a standing machine lately. She loves to give me heart attacks 99 times a day, climbing on anything and everything she can get her hands onto. It’s SO fun to watch her explore and take in the world. We are working on our finger foods. She’s loving yams and white beans as of late, however she would pick out all the puffs out of the line up first on any given meal.

Caponata 1

Eggplant Caponata: serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1 large or 2 small eggplants (unpeeled, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes)
  • 1 medium onion (chopped into 1/2 inch pieces)
  • 2 red peppers (chopped into 1/2 inch pieces)
  • 1 large tomato (diced)
  • 1 bunch parsley (chopped)
  • 1 bunch mint (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp capers (drained)
  • 1/3 cup feta
  • 1/2 cup chopped green olives
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp ras el hanout (otherwise 1 tsp cinnamon, 1tsp cumin, and 1 tsp paprika)
  • 1 tbsp chili flakes
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Juice from half a lemon

Directions: 

  1. In a large pot, heat 4-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil over medium heat (we actually used the olive oil the olives were packed in… we got fresh green Greek olives). Add eggplant, onion, and red peppers and cook until eggplant is browned and soft, ~10-12 mint.
  2. Add the tomatoes, capers, vinegar, and spices (but not parsley or mint). Simmer covered over low heat until eggplant is very soft, ~12-15 mins. Add a little water if all the water from the tomato evaporates. Add salt & pepper to taste. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. Add parsley, mint, lemon juice, and feta, combine everything. Add salt, pepper, and more lemon juice to taste.

 IMG_5551 (1)

Charlotte

IMG_3863

IMG_3886

Pierogi Lessons for the Weekend….

 

Pierogi 4

Pierogi 1

I had originally written this post on Monday, but must have forgotten to hit send- so sorry for the weekend recap on a Wednesday 🙂 With that being said, Happy Hump Day!

We had a really great weekend over here, starting off Friday night with a delicious Pierogi treat with friends at our apartment. Then Saturday, Nick and I had a really fun day date with a few of my other gfs and their husbands. What a treat it was to have a sitter during the day (usually we do evening dates). This might be our new thing, as it really was so refreshing, and left you so rested to tackle the next day, since we came home right in time to put Char to bed. Now backing up to our Friday night feast….Nick was feeling extra motivated, so came up with the idea to make Pierogies, which are basically polish dumplings. This kid LOVES dumpys, as we call them. They certainly aren’t the quickest meal to whip up (he was slaving away for over an hour), but they certainly are well worth it, and devoured within minutes!  I prepped a few things beforehand, which helped save time in the evening, such as boiling/chopping the potatoes and baking the bacon in advance.

We like to serve them with a small side of sour cream, for your dipping sauce….

Pierogi 3
Pierogi 2
Chive/Sour Cream & Bacon/Onion filled Pierogies 
Ingredients: serves 6

Dough:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
Potatoes:
  • 5 russet potatoes
  • 1 large yellow onion (finely diced)
  • 1 pack bacon (cooked until crispy, cut into small pieces)
  • 1 pack chives (diced)
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 tea spoon of salt, pepper, and nutmeg
Instructions:
For the fillings:
  1. Peel, chop, and boil potatoes in slightly salted water, until soft (approx. 20 mins). Drain potatoes, add 2 tbsp butter and 2 generous spoonfuls of sour cream. Mash using a hand masher until smooth. Add 1 tsp each nutmeg, salt, and pepper, then mix and taste… add more salt, pepper, and nutmeg as desired.
  2. Saute onion with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp butter over high heat, until caramelized. Put aside.
  3. Separate the potatoes into equal parts. In the first bowl mix in bacon and onions. In the other bowl mix in chives and 1 generous spoonful of sour cream.
For the dough:
  1. Whisk together the eggs and sour cream.
  2. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Make a well in the middle of the mixture, and slowly add the eggs & sour cream, making sure to slowly mix in the dry ingredients. Once all the liquid has been added, knead the dough until firm (it’s important to knead well so that the dough cooks properly). *This is the same way we make dough for flat breads and pasta
  3.  Using a pasta machine, pass through the dough until as thin as possible while remaining workable (we thinned it to the “7” setting on our machine).
  4. Cut out circles of dough, approx. the size of a large coffee mug.
  5. Add a small spoonful of filling to the middle of the dough, while moistening the edges with a wet finger. Seal the pierogi gently with your fingers, making sure not to rip the dough.
IMG_3861

Hump Day Pork Chops…Lime & Garlic style

Lime pork chop

One of Nick’s favorite meat dishes is a good hearty pork chop. Usually we use a pretty basic recipe with a ton of spice flavor and salt. However, we stepped it up a bit last night with these lime & garlic rubbed chops. This was super easy to prep ahead of time, so by the time Nick walked in the door all we had to do was put them on the stove top. Usually I am a little timid with lime juice, but I must say adding a little more than usual, with a TON of garlic, really helped bring out a great taste here! We served them with simple green beans, which were steamed then baked in olive oil. Nick’s the king of cooking pork chops, always timing them right to make sure they aren’t over done. A word of advice, trust your thermometer, even if you don’t think the chops look ready yet.

Not much new to report on lil miss Char this week…. She is just loving life motoring around the apartment, climbing up on anything she can get her hands on (especially her crib during nap time). I joke about how I used to be so excited to start solid foods with her, and now I spend majority of my day cleaning up her food mess (aka 3/4 of the finger foods she chooses to throw on the floor, instead of her mouth). I have to admit, this truly has been the most exciting and enjoyable month with her….I feel guilty saying that, like I should almost miss the infant/newborn stage. But honestly, I really think these last few weeks have been so so much fun with her, as she develops her own personality and sense of humor. Below are a few pics from today….

Lime & Garlic Spice Rub Pork Chops: serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless pork chops
  • 3 table spoons of olive oil
  • 2 table spoons of kosher salt & pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of the following spices each:
    • cumin
    • chili flakes
    • chili powder
    • cayenne pepper
    • garlic powder
    • paprika
  • 1 lime: you will want to use 1/2 lime for juice in the spice rub, as well grate the zest into the rub (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 5 garlic cloves; finely chopped

Instructions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl combine spices, kosher salt, pepper, lime juice & zest, and chopped garlic. Make sure you dice the garlic finely. You could even grind them in a food processor if you feel like it.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 450.
  3. Toss pork chops with the mixture in the mixing bowl, making sure both sides are thoroughly covered in spice rub. If not, feel free to add additional spices, lime juice, or salt & pepper. I added some additional salt, pepper, and lime juice at the end.
  4. Heat oven-proof frying pan over high heat. Once hot, add 1 tsp of butter + 1 tsp olive oil, spreading to cover the pan Add pork chops, allowing to sear ~3 mins (make sure a nice crust has formed). Flip pork chops and sear other side, ~ 3 mins. Put the pork in the oven, allowing to roast for ~10 mins, or until inside of the pork is cooked to medium. Remove from heat, and allow to rest for 5 mins.

 

 

  1. IMG_3817IMG_3814

Halibut & Risotto….Guest Chef edition!

halibut risotto

We had an amazing low key weekend in the city, consisting of home cooked meals and a very pleasant (however slightly crazy, newly climbing & crawling) baby. Sometimes weekends with no plans are the absolutely best. Saturday night we were invited over for dinner at our friends Katie and Sean’s place, who recently moved across the street. They are expecting a little one in September, and we are so excited for them (and for Char to have a permanent play date).  It’s much easier to throw a sleeping baby over your shoulder for a 1 minute walk home across the street, than to attempt to take a sleepy baby out to a real restaurant at night, dealing with cabs, etc. Needless to say,  I see this dinner sitch working out very nicely and often, in our very near future.

The recipe below features the AMAZING dish Sean cooked up for us, which was inspired by Plated. In case you haven’t heard of Plated, it’s this awesome delivery service that allows you to choose from chef-designed recipes and get precisely measured ingredients delivered to your door each week. We haven’t tried it yet, but I definitely see the appeal, and think especially with a newborn, a service like this would really come in handy. I mean, look at this picture above….doesn’t this look like something a restaurant would serve you? Sean…. you are hired!

PS We have actually never tried to cook Risotto ourselves, because I have been overly intimidated by it. However, after watching Sean do it this past weekend, all while being reminded how delicious it is, I have a feeling we will be attempting it in the near future.

halibut risotto2

Pan Seared Halibut over Risotto w/ Roasted Carrots: serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 garlic clove; chopped
  • 1 sliced lemon
  • 3/4 lb of halibut
  • 2 table spoon of dill; finely diced
  • 1 bunch of leeks; chopped
  • 1 bunch of small carrots; halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • 1/4 cup of pecorino cheese
  • 1/2 cup or arborio rice
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 4 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 2 table spoons of kosher sale & pepper
  • 2 table spoons of flour

*feel free to use more or less butter, depending on your liking- we tend to use less butter and more olive oil to make up for the difference when cooking

Instructions:

  1. In a ziploc bag add garlic, juice from 1/2 lemon, 2 table spoons of olive oil, and Halibut. Let marinate in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 425F.
  3. Bring 3 cups of vegetable stock to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  4. Toss washed carrots in a bowl with olive oil, salt & pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg & cumin. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, or until roasted. Toss with lemon juice and dill once cooked.
  5. While carrots roast, melt butter and 2 table spoons of olive oil in sauce pot. Once butter is completely melted, add leeks and saute until soft (about five minutes). Stir in rice, and continue to stir frequently, for a total of 3 minutes. Stir in white wine until mostly absorbed, another 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add vegetable stock from above to the rice pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to simmer on low for 20 minutes, or until rice is tender.
  7. Remove pot from heat and stir in pecorino cheese, while seasoning with salt & pepper to your liking.
  8. Remove Halibut from marinade, and sprinkle generously with salt & pepper. Dust lightly with flour.
  9. Heat 1 table spoon of butter in frying pan on medium heat. Add Halibut and sear until golden on each side (about 5 minutes on each side). Try to only flip the fish once, to avoid breaking.

Below is a little description of what my day looks like lately…chasing her back and forth from one side of the room, to the next. Needless to say, I started scrambling for rugs, so improvised with the yoga mat.

IMG_5439

IMG_5415
Those thighs …….

Lettuce Wraps for Bikini Season…

Asian pulled pork 1

Happy Friday Everyone! It’s been quite some time since my last post. We were in Florida this past week, celebrating the 4th of July with my fam. We had such a fun time, and it was so great to finally have everyone in town at the same time (it’s been a while since the entire gang has been able to be present). It was so adorable to watch Charlotte with her cousins Grey and Luke. They shocked me with how protective, warm, and cuddly they were with her. And big milestones this week….we officially have a crawler! My life is currently over, as I spend my day following her around as she hits her head on EVERY object possible.

This dish below is an easy weeknight meal we made before our trip, that created 0 leftovers before we left. Pulled pork is one of Nick’s favorite things to eat, and I have found it so simple to make in the crock pot, adding different mixes of spices and simple sauces. This dish was more on the sweet and savory side, thanks to pinches of honey and cinnamon. But what I really think was the best part of this dish were the lettuce wraps. So often we use taco shells, tortilla wraps, buns, etc; but lettuce wraps add such a refreshing and crunchy element to the meal. When ever we do an Asian inspired dishes, we tend to incorporate our cabbage and carrot slaw, which is made up of mostly soy sauce and sesame oil. It adds just enough dressing that the dish requires no additional sauces, not to mention its super quick to make.

Asian pulled pork 2

Asian Inspired Pulled Pork  Lettuce Wraps with Cabbage & Carrot Slaw: serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of scallions; finely diced
  • 1 1/2 lb of pork tenderloin (remember pork shrinks in the crock pot)
  • 1 large carrot; spiralized
  • 1 cabbage; chopped
  • 1 bunch of romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup of rice

for the crock pot:

  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup of chicken stock
  • 3 table spoons of sesame oil
  • 3 table spoons of honey (add more if you prefer sweeter)
  • 2 table spoons of garlic powder
  • 2 table spoons of worecheshire sauce
  • 2 table spoons of cinnamon
  • 2 table spoons of cumin
  • a few pinches of salt & pepper
  • 1 table spoons of cayenne pepper
  • 1 table spoon of chili flakes
  • 1 table spoon of brown sugar

for the slaw:

  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 3 table spoons of sesame oil
  • 1 table spoon of red wine vinegar
  • 1 table spoon of olive oil
  • pinch of salt & pepper
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves

Directions:

Pork:

  1. In a mixing bowl combine soy sauce, honey, sugar, worecheshire , sesame oil, and all spices. Put pork, chicken stock, and mixing bowl sauce into the crock pot. Make sure the pork is covered in the sauce. Add additional spices if needed. Cook on low for 6 hours.
  2. About 15 minutes before serving, I would start making the rice side (it takes about 15-20 to cook).
  3. 5 minutes before serving, pull the pork apart, so that it becomes stringy. Let marinade in the sauce. However, turn off the the pot, or the sauce will quickly dry up.
  4. Add scallions on top of the pork before serving

Slaw:

  1. In a mixing bowl combine soy sauce, sesame oil, red wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and spices.
  2. Spiralize carrot and chop cabbage into strips.
  3. Toss into mixing bowl with the sauce. Season with salt & pepper.

As you can see below…taking a family photo of 10 is quite challenging…..

 

  1. IMG_3613IMG_3571IMG_3747