Koreatown Adventures…

kimchi-fried-rice

Sigh…another weekend comes to an end. But what a great 3 day weekend we had- thank you President’s Day:)  We were all over the city with Char the last few days, soaking up every ounce of this glorious spring-like weather. We concluded the weekend with a nice home cooked meal, after a little adventure to Koreatown this a.m. to pick up some items Nick was craving. From there came above’s inspiration; kimchi fried rice. We paired it with some lightly panko-crusted grouper. This dish was DELICIOUS. We cooked the fish similar to how we cook our healthier panko chicken parm, so I didn’t go into detail below, but you can find that recipe here.

Kimchi Fried Rice: serves 3

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger (grated) or 1 tbsp dried ginger
  • 1.5 cups kimchi, chopped
  • 1/4 cup scallions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp each salt + pepper

Instructions:

  1. Cook the white rice with the ginger;
  2. In a medium skillet, saute the garlic with the sesame oil over low heat, until just soft, approx. 3 mins;
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix everything together thoroughly, increase the heat to medium. Stir infrequently, allowing the rice to slightly burn.
  4. Add the scallions for the last minute of cooking. Garnish with a little more scallion and serve.

 

img_5352

Advertisements

October Jackets & Braised Meat…

chili

You must be thinking, how on earth do these two eat chili so many times in one week??  But honestly, it never gets old when the weather turns cooler. We crafted this braised short rib chili over the weekend, and it was SCRUMPTIOUS. Disgustingly, I actually had thirds, while my husband held onto some self control, allowing himself only seconds.We added sweet potatoes, corns, and beans, which gave the broth and overall dish a slight sweetness, which mixed great with the natural spiciness of the chili. Continue reading “October Jackets & Braised Meat…”

Better than Delivery…

pizza2

There is LITERALLY nothing better than pizza night at our house. A few glasses of red, some cheese to nibble on while prepping, great company, and delicious flat breads with a variety of toppings = my dream night.  And because you can never have just one, we made two pizzas, one white and one red sauce. There were only 3 of us, and it’s safe to say we almost finished both pies (oink oink).

The first pizza was my choice; spice rubbed chicken, fig, arugula, ricotta cheese, with a balsamic honey drizzle. We never use figs, and I think they are a fruit that is very under-rated. The second pictured was Nick’s choice, sausage, red and yellow peppers, onion, and mozzarella. It was packed with a ton of spice. Honestly, they both ROCKED. The last minute bonus in the night included the extra pizza dough we had left over. We used it to make simple garlic knots; A little garlic, olive oil, and chili powder go a long way.

pizza1

**Remember our easiest trick/tip is to just BUY the dough. It’s so much faster and I swear the end result is quite similar.  Additionally, we mentioned before for flat breads, leave the pizza stone in the oven as it heats up, transferring the cold pizza from the cutting board, directly to the stone in the oven. **

Spiced Chicken, Fig, Arugula, Ricotta Pizza, with a Balsamic Honey Glaze white sauce pizza:

Ingredients: serves 4

  • 1/2 lb pizza dough
  • 1 basket of figs; sliced thinly
  • 1 cup of ricotta cheese (as your base sauce)
  • 3 cups of arugula lettuce
  • 1/2 lb of chicken breast; chopped
  • Spices for the chicken:
    • 1 tbsp each paprika, ras al hanout, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper
  • Balsamic Honey glaze mix:

Instructions:

  1. Generously dust the chicken with the spice mix. Add salt & pepper to both sides.
  2. On high heat with a few spoons of olive oil, cook the chicken until tender, about 5 minutes on each side. You want it to be cooked most of the way, as it will only be in the oven on the pizza for a short bit. Remove and let sit, until pizza is ready for toppings.
  3. Heat the oven to 475 with the pizza stone inside (you want the pizza stone to be hot to get the bottom crispy).
  4.  Dust the surface you’re going to make the pizza on (we just used a plastic cutting board) with a generous amount of cornmeal.
  5. Form the pizza dough into a pizza crust. We spun it in the air a few times, but mostly cheated and just spread it with our hands on the cutting board. You want it to be pretty thin in the area you put the toppings, and the crust should be thinner than you’d guess (about the same size as your finger… believe me, it puffs up a lot.)       *** hint: only add the toppings right before you transfer the pizza to the oven, or the crust will start to get soggy and stick to your work surface!
  6. Spread ricotta cheese thinly across the pizza dough, covering the entire pie.
  7. Add sliced figs and sliced chicken.
  8. Place in oven for 15 minutes, or until crust is golden.
  9. In a bowl dress arugula with balsamic honey dressing, mixing well.
  10. Right before taking out, cover the top of pizza with arugula, generously. Let cook in oven for 1 more minute, making sure the arugula doesn’t get too wilted.

Sausage, Onions, Peppers, and Mozzarella Pizza red sauce pizza: 

Ingredients: serves 4

  • 1/2 lb pizza dough
  • 2 hot Italian sausages; sliced
  • 1 red and yellow pepper (or any colors); sliced
  • 1 ball of fresh mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup of red marinara sauce
  • 1/2 red onion; sliced thinly
  • 2 tea spoons of chili powder and chili flakes

Instructions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, toss sliced peppers and onions with olive oil. Roast in oven for 10 minutes, or until just soft.
  2. In a frying pan on medium heat with a few drops of olive oil, cook whole sausages until brown. Remove and slice into bite size pieces
  3. Repeat pizza dough steps above (steps 3-5).
  4. Spread marinara sauce thinly across pizza dough, covering the entire pie.
  5. Add sliced sausages, peppers, and onions, and slice mozzarella on top. Dust hot spices on top.
  6. Put in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden.

I probably send at least one swing pic to Nick a day, which goes hand in hand with my rule of getting out to the park at least once a day for Charlotte to have some fun. She will sit in the swings giggling the entire time, and it seriously puts you in the best mood, just watching how something so simple (and FREE) brings SO much joy to her day. I’d challenge someone to be in a terrible mood, to take Char to the park, and see if they don’t return refreshed and happy. It’s therapeutic just watching 🙂

IMG_5763IMG_5751

Meat & Milestones …

pork balsamic 1 - Copy

We had lots to celebrate yesterday! Not only was it Cinco de Mayo, which was obviously enough of a reason to throw a happy hour, it also happened to be Nick’s birthday (for his sake I won’t list how old) & Charlotte’s 6 month birthday. On top of that, we got the green light from the doctor to start solids this week. She has already had oatmeal and yams (separately) in the past few days. I posted a video below so you could see how the first few times went (my apologies my video taking skills are poor). I’d say the oatmeal was a breeze, and the yams definitely threw her for a loop at first, but now she’s full throttle into them! I heard yams are a good starting vegetable, so hopefully we don’t have an epic fail with the next vegetable we introduce. PS After her weight in at the doctor’s, I can’t say I was surprised by her hungry appetite, coming in at 19lbs strong (no wonder my back is KILLING me).

In true celebration form, here is one of our favorite go to meals, which has never let us down. This Balsamic pork rub is SO SO easy and you can prep it ahead of time, with ingredients guaranteed to be already sitting in your spice cabinet. We usually don’t have leftovers when we cook this roast, which is quite scary, because it’s only the two of us eating over 1 lb of meat. However, I’d like to consider it lean, so it’s OK in my book! We top of the dish with simple asparagus that is baked in a balsamic glaze and a simple couscous.

Balsamic Glazed Pork and Asparagus: serves 2-3

Ingredients:

For the pork:

  • 1 lb of pork tenderloin
  • 1 table spoon each of salt & pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 packet of Italian spice salad dressing mix (I use the Italian good seasons packet found in the salad dressing aisle-see link below)
  • It’s not not necessary, but I do add these spices to the mix as well, to give it a little more kick: about 1 table spoon each
    • cumin
    • garlic powder
    • chili flakes

For the asparagus:

  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 4 table spoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 3 table spoons of honey
  • salt & pepper

Instructions:

*It works best if you marinate the pork ahead of time, giving it a few hours to soak in. You can also cook the asparagus the same time as the pork, maybe pulling it out 5 minutes before (depending on the heat of your oven)

For the Pork:

  1. In a bowl mix together 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, Italian spice packet, and additional spices. Stir vigorously.
  2. Add in 2 table spoons of red wine vinegar and  1 table spoon of water to the mix.
  3. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil to the mix. Stir vigorously again.
  4. Pour marinade into a large zip lock bag and place pork tenderloin inside. *I prefer to salt and pepper the pork generously before throwing it in the bag. Toss the bag around a little to get the mix to adsorb into the meat, then store in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
  5. Preheat over 425F
  6. Take pork out of the bag and place on a baking tray. You can pour the remaining marinade onto the roast.
  7. Bake in oven for 35 minutes, or until the temperature reaches 150F. Let pork rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. We usually cook the couscous while we wait to slice, since that is a quick 5 minute thing to do.

For the Asparagus:

  1. Wash and cut ends off of asparagus, and spread evenly onto a baking tray.
  2. In a mixing bowl mix together 4 table spoons of balsamic vinegar and 3 table spoons of honey. Drizzle generously all over tray. Follow with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Lastly, I drizzle a good amount of olive oil (about 1/4 cup) all over as well.
  3. Bake asparagus in oven at 425F for 30 minutes, or until tender. If desired, you can re sprinkle some of the balsamic honey mix when there is about 5 minutes left in the oven, to give it a nice glaze.

Click below for Char’s first yams:

First yams…

IMG_4732.JPG
Happy Birthday and Half Birthday to my two favorite people xoxo

 

About me…

IMG_1612
Thanksgiving 2015-Charlotte was only 2 weeks old

 

Hi!! My name is Nicole and I currently live in NYC with my husband Nick (I know how fitting we have the same name). In November 2015, we welcomed our new baby girl Charlotte Rosalie into our family. Sometimes it’s hard to believe she’s only been with us for 3 months. Up until Charlotte’s arrival I had always worked in the retail industry. I decided in January to take a break from work and spend my time home with our daughter. In between our feed, play, sleep schedule I found myself getting small dosages of cabin fever. I thought to myself what could I get involved in, and that’s where the idea of this blog came to life.

IMG_1369

My husband and I really love food. In fact our first date I think that was all we talked about. Being in NYC is the best place for foodies like us and weekends used to be our time to explore a new restaurant downtown. Obviously since Charlotte’s arrival our restaurant excursions have taken some what of a back seat. Therefore, we have really tried to step up our cooking game. We have always loved to cook and we actually have a lot of fun doing it together, especially with wine in hand 🙂 I decided to start documenting some of our best dishes. We are always trying to tweak recipes into our own healthier versions, as I am a little nutty and like to eat really clean . My husband on the other hand would eat pasta every night if I let him.  I’d say on most nights we meet in the middle.  Most of these meals you can prep/make in an hour, which is great for week day meals. I also felt like it was a fun way to reflect upon my adventures with lil miss Char.

Hope you enjoy!!

IMG_3643

IMG_1960

IMG_1839.JPG