Tomatillo Salsa...Revisited

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Hey there.

Yeah, I know. I’ve been away for a while. BUT I can explain. For real this time though. Remember I told you I was going to Paris in May? Welllll, we got ENGAGED while we were there! So everything has been crazy since then. We’ve been working on wedding planning (the hotel is a nightmare to say the least, but everything else is going fine…) and my job has picked up speed too, so between both of these obligations, things have been pretty busy. So this is why I’ve been away. Don’t get me wrong - I’ve been cooking. I’ve been doing a LOT of cooking, actually. I’ve been making recipes that are new to me, as well as recipes that are familiar to me.

All of this got me thinking, actually. I’ve always meant to go back to my old recipes and refresh the pictures, and update the actual ingredients/instructions as necessary. My blog has been around since 2008 (WHAT?!?!?) so you can imagine that many of my old posts could use a little refreshing, if you want to put it mildly. Thus, I am super excited to re-post this revisited recipe - Tomatillo Salsa!

I actually got this recipe from one of my friends down in the Texas area. He made it for me when I was visiting Austin years ago and I basically required him to ‘fess up this entire recipe stat. This salsa is a tasty dip for tortilla chips, or can be drizzled over pretty much anything in sight to amp up the flavor. Do not underestimate this condiment. I am so glad that I made it again, as I hadn’t given it much thought until recently. If you’re interested in the original THK recipe that I posted back in 2011 (omg, I was basically a child then), here you go!

One more thing - As I ease my way back into this quiet blog and begin posting again, please be patient with me. I’ll probably be a bit sporadic for a while, until things begin to settle down in my life. Thank you!!!

Tomatillo Salsa
from The Hobo Kitchen

Print Recipe

  • 12 tomatillos, chopped~8-10 jalapenos, chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped

  • dash salt and pepper, to taste

  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro

  • 1/3 cup vinegar

1) Add all items into a blender until creamy.

2) Pour the salsa into a saucepan and simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes.

3) Let the salsa cool, then use as desired!

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Easy Turkey Meatballs with Pumpkin Curry Sauce

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Whew! Wait. April is over? What? It’s been quite a whirlwind few weeks. I know I always say this, since I’m a broken record. But anywho…. unfortunately things will probably be slow around here for a bit since work is picking up for the foreseeable future AND I’m about to go on a big trip! We’re heading to Paris, France next week. And why is there so much to get ready before then? I mean, when did all these To-Do’s pile up? Why do I have to be an adult?

So anyhow, between trying to stay on top of work and contributing to the planning of our European vacation, which starts in only in a few short days, I haven’t been finding time to blog. I’ve been cooking though. I actually just made these same turkey meatballs today, for the second time this month. I just haven’t found time to share them here yet! However, if you have been following me on the Instagrams, you will have seen both instances of me making them [shameless plug for more social media followers, ha!].

I’m slightly obsessed with these meatballs. What’s funny is that I have shied away from making meatballs because I had it stuck in my head that it was a lot of work. How wrong could I be? Making meatballs is actually a pretty easy task. Prep all the ingredients and mix them together, then shape the meat into balls and bake or saute as necessary. That’s it. You’re done. Why haven’t I been making these for forever!? I made these with ground turkey, but that was only because I couldn’t find ground chicken in my grocery store. You can use either!

In this case, I paired these meatballs with a pumpkin curry sauce. This sauce can get crazy spicy, so be careful when making it! I absolutely love this sauce and I’ve spooned this over pasta and ravioli before too. It’s really the best. You already know that I have an obsession with pumpkin flavors, and if you didn’t know, I also really love curry. Put these two together and this is a no-brainer for me.

These meatballs make a delicious appetizer that you can serve individually, as I show in the pictures. You can also choose to serve a few of them over rice or pasta, drizzled with the sauce for a really tasty lunch or dinner.

Easy Turkey Meatballs with Pumpkin Curry Sauce
makes 18 meatballs

Print Recipe

For the meatballs:

  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs

  • 1/4 cup milk

  • 1 lb. ground turkey (or chicken)

  • 1 large egg

  • 3 tablespoons grated onion (or shredded in a food processor)

  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh basil

  • 2 tablespoons sour cream

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • olive oil for forming meatballs

For the pumpkin curry sauce:

  • 1/4 stick butter

  • 1 small diced yellow onion

  • 1 can diced tomatoes

  • 1-2 tablespoons your favorite hot-sauce

  • approximately 1 (~15 ounce) can pureed pure pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)

  • 3 tablespoons curry powder

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth

  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon powdered cayenne pepper

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Make the turkey meatballs:

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. If using the foil, then lightly spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.

2) In a large bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs and milk. Allow the mixture to sit for 2-3 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs absorb the milk.

3) Add in the chicken, egg, onions, basil, sour cream, salt, and black pepper. Use you hands to mix the ingredients together until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix, or your meatballs will be tough. Allow the mixture to rest for 10 minutes.

4) Pour a little olive oil into your palms, then form the chicken into 18 meatballs. Set the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet.

5) Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Make the pumpkin curry sauce:

1) While the meatballs are baking, melt the butter for the sauce in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add in the diced onion and saute until just translucent.

2) Pour in the can of diced tomatoes, including the liquid. Sprinkle in your favorite hot sauce. (I recommend to use it sparingly, as you can always add more heat after the sauce is finished. It’s much more difficult to remove the heat once it’s added.) Reduce the heat to medium-low.

3) Pour in the can of pureed pumpkin, the curry powder, garlic powder, and vegetable broth. Allow the sauce to cook uncovered for 20 minutes, or until it reaches a yogurt-like consistency. Sprinkle in the desired amount of cayenne pepper, as well as the salt and black pepper.

4) Drizzle the olive oil into the sauce and remove it from the heat. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree the sauce until it becomes as chunky or creamy as you like. Serve hot over the chicken meatballs.

**Note: It goes without saying that you can make each of these recipes separately and pair them with other proteins or sauces. This is just what I made and enjoyed.

— Turkey meatball recipe slightly adapted from Little Broken blog
— Pumpkin curry sauce recipe from Food Network

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Hudson Table - French Country Kitchen Class: A Review


About two weeks ago, my friend Courtney and I took a cooking class over at Hudson Table, a space in Hoboken that holds cooking classes, chef’s dinners, and catered and private events. The theme of this one was French Country Cooking. You can see the fruits of our labor in the photo above! (Photo credit goes to my dear friend Courtney Kochuba!)

I’ve been to a few cooking classes at Hudson Table before. I was impressed every time, so I finally decided that this time I would document the process.


For just about every class, you’re welcome to bring your own bottle of wine to drink while cooking. This something that we took full advantage of! If you’re cooking with friends, there should definitely be wine, right?

The classes typically hold up to 16 people. 4 tables are set out for 4 groups of 4, and each group is tasked with cooking the entire menu. However, even though this class was Sold Out, the other 2 people in our group didn’t show up! So Courtney and I had to make the entire meal ourselves. I didn’t mind since I actually find it pretty relaxing to be cooking in the kitchen.

I know you’re interested in hearing what we’re making, so here is the menu -

  • Escargot a la Bourguignonne

  • Haricots Verts aux Champignons, Echalotes et Noisettes

  • Coq au Vin

  • Tarte Tatin

At the beginning of the class, we all introduced ourselves and played a quick icebreaker. The chef, Gene Monaco, talked about the dishes and prepped us for what we would be doing through the 2 hour course. We also got a quick lesson on knife skills so that we could efficiently cut up the onions, shallots, garlic and apples that we needed for our meal. Once all this was completed, we were told to start cooking!

Our first task was to get to work on the Coq au Vin. They had prepped some of the ingredients (thankfully!) and so Courtney focused on starting to render the bacon and braise the chicken. Meanwhile, I started to peel and core the apples for the Tarte Tatin. Eventually I moved over to the stove to start caramelizing the butter and sugar for the dessert.


I arranged the apple slices in the pan into circles and then added any remaining apples on top of the first layer. The Tarte Tatin is an upside-down dessert so we want it to look as pretty as possible.

Also, check out that chicken below!


I will note that we didn’t make the Escargot ourselves, as the Hudson Table staff brought the dish out to us already assembled. They had made the compound butter already and added the snails.


The staff put the escargot in the oven and 10-12 minutes later it was ready to eat! They brought around slices of baguette to pair with the appetizer. We were at a natural stopping point as we waited for the chicken and the apples to simmer further, so Courtney and I snacked for a bit. I admit that I’m not a huge fan of escargot, but I did try a bite or two just to make sure I got the full experience. That butter though! Amazing!


Check out this meal!


Once the apples were done, we removed them from the stove, added a layer of puff pastry and moved the pan to the oven for about 30 minutes.

I started in on the green beans next. The Hudson Table team had already blanched the beans, so I now added them to a pan with some butter, shallots, and mushrooms.

Look! The Coq au Vin is almost done!


Once all the flavors blended together for the haricot verts dish, we added in the hazelnuts just so they could warm up. We then plated the beans, alongside the Coq au Vin, which we served up simply in the pot.

All the teams typically finish their meals around the same time, as we do get help from the Hudson Table staff to make it easier on us. We all sat down with our wine (or waters) and dug in. It was so delicious! I only recall having Coq au Vin once before and that was years ago. I forgot how good it was. I admit that everything we ate was drenched in butter (besides the chicken) but given I don’t really eat such rich food all the time, I was fine with it. And everything tasted so so good! Courtney did an amazing job!


Last, but definitely not least, was the Tarte Tatin! I had arranged the apples in a circle so that it looked pretty. However! One of the staff was testing whether or not the apples were tender enough to be put into the oven and he started to stir one section of the apples, so my design is a bit ruined in one area. Please forgive that. At any rate, the taste of the tarte was amazing. If you love caramelized apples and tarts, this is probably something that you will love. I sure did.

So, in closing, I think you can tell that I love the Hudson Table. I would really recommend taking a class here, whether you are adept in the kitchen or if you’ve hardly picked up a knife before. The Hudson Table team will prep everything, walk you through all the steps, and — the best part — they will clean up afterward! They do all this with a smile on their faces and you can tell they really enjoy their jobs. I can’t wait for my next class here. You have to book pretty soon after the monthly class schedule comes out, as many classes sell out within days. If you see something you like, I would suggest to book it right away! If you end up taking a class here, let me know what you think!


Instant Pot Thai Chicken Curry Ramen

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Work/Life balance. Let’s just say that this is “In Progress”. My job has been pretty busy lately and on top of that, I have a work trip next week as well as 10 billion chores and errands on my To-Do list. I would like to point out that I must really love my job because I was scheduled to have a girls’ dinner date at Murray’s Cheese Bar next week. I cancelled on my friends so that I would be fresh and awake for my flight early the next morning. Let it be known that as soon as I return to the NYC-area, I’m heading over to Murray’s. One can never have enough cheese.

So anyhow, what am I doing right now? I’m currently sitting on the couch at midnight on a “school night” trying to talk to you about this Thai Chicken Curry Ramen.

I’m really obsessed with this dish. I’m not usually one to repeat recipes quickly, simply because I have so many dishes that I want to make. However, I’ve already made this twice in about a week and a half, which is something for me! I’ve made this both in the Instant Pot (it’s super quick!) and also on the stove.* Either method works fine, but in case you don’t have an Instant Pot then don’t worry…because you can still do this! This dish is so forgiving and you will be a star because you will have dinner on the table in no time.

*If you decide to make this on the stove, add the chicken stock, coconut milk, tahini, red curry paste, garlic, ginger, chicken breast, and mushrooms to a large pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Continue to simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breast. Continue with the remaining steps.

Instant Pot Thai Chicken Curry Ramen
makes 2-4 servings

Print Recipe

  • 2 1/2 cups no sodium chicken broth

  • 15 ounce can coconut milk

  • 2 tablespoons sesame paste, tahini, or nut butter of choice

  • 1-2 tablespoons red curry paste, depending on spice level desired

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 inch piece of ginger or 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger

  • 1 large chicken breast

  • 1 cup cremini mushrooms, sliced

  • 2 blocks ramen noodles, packets discarded

  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced

  • 2 handfuls spinach

  • fish sauce or salt, to taste

  • lime and cilantro to finish, optional

1) In the Instant Pot insert, add in the chicken stock, coconut milk, tahini, red curry garlic, ginger, chicken breast, and the mushrooms. Close the lid and cook on High pressure for 4 minutes.

2) In the meantime, bring a medium pot of noodles to a boil. Add the ramen noodles to the boiling water and cook for approximately 3 minutes, or until the noodles are still slightly firm. Drain the noodles and divide between bowls.

3) Once the Instant Pot is done, use the quick release to de-pressurize. Remove the chicken from the Instant Pot and shred into bite-sized pieces. Place the chicken into the bowls.

4) Add the red pepper slices and the spinach into the soup. Stir well until they are incorporated. Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings if necessary by adding in fish sauce/salt, or more curry paste. Divide the soup between the bowls as well.

5) Finish the soup with fresh squeezes of lime and cilantro, if desired. Serve hot.

—recipe very slightly adapted from I Am A Food Blog

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Chocolate Stout Pretzel Peanut Butter Bars

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I recently moved apartments in Hoboken and now I live pretty close to an Everlast boxing gym. Boxing is definitely not for me, but there is a stellar Strength and Conditioning class that I’ve started taking 1-2 times a week. It’s only 45 minutes long which is a perfect length of time. I’m usually dying by the 30 minute mark, so it’s good to know that we’re at least in the home stretch by then.

I bring this up because ever since these Chocolate Stout Pretzel Peanut Bars have entered my life, I feel like i need to spend even more time at the gym. These dessert bars are so addictive! Honestly, if you’re going to have a vice, it should be something like a mixture of pretzels, dark chocolate, and peanut butter. This is going to shock you, but I’m not a huge peanut butter fan. I don’t dislike it, but I don’t go crazy over it. At least not until now. I absolutely loved the peanut butter flavor in these bars. I just can’t get enough of them. And, this is why I gym.

Oh, did I mention that there is also stout beer in here? We already had so many reasons to love this dessert, and now there’s one more. Granted, there’s not a lot of beer and since these bars are baked, they’re still fine for kids to eat. The stout just adds a subtle malty flavor to bars. Friendly reminder: St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner. I’m sure your family and friends would really enjoy if you decided to turn up on their doorstep with a plate full of these treats.

So yeah, you’ll be seeing me at the gym some more, as I’m pretty certain these dessert bars will be in my oven quite regularly from now on. Sorry, not sorry!

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Chocolate Stout Pretzel Peanut Butter Bars
makes 9-16 bars, depending on the size of your bars

Print Recipe

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (do not use natural peanut butter)

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, packed

  • 1/2 cup white sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/4 cup stout beer

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips, divided

  • 1/2 cup pretzels, slightly crushed

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray, or line with parchment paper. Set aside.

2) Add the peanut butter and melted butter to a large bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat the two ingredients together until incorporated.

3) Pour in the brown and white sugars. Mix together again until fully combined.

4) Add in the eggs, beer, and vanilla, beating each ingredient in until mixed well.

5) Stir in the salt, flour, and 1/2 cup chocolate chips.

6) Pour the batter in the prepared pan and spread it as evenly as possible. Top the batter with the remaining chocolate chips and the pretzels.

7) Bake until the edges have set and the center is slightly wobbly, about 30 minutes.

8) Allow the bars to cool before cutting and serving.

—recipe slightly adapted from The Beeroness

Instant Pot Hawaiian Beef Stew

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Allow me tell you about my Instant Pot. I’ve sort of been holding out, since I actually got my Instant Pot last year in August. I’ve also been incorrectly referring to it as the “InstaPot”. I know that’s not it’s name, but it just seems to roll off my tongue faster. Sooooo I guess I’ll have to work on that.

If you follow me on Instagram (if you don’t, I’m at @thehobokitchen) you may have seen that I’ve already made a few recipes in my Instant Pot. However, this is the first time I’ve actually posted and shared pictures on the blog. This is partly because 1) I’ve been using the Instant Pot mostly to make dinners, and the lighting in fall and winter evenings are not a food blogger’s friend; and 2) this is the first dish I made which I actually think tasted amazing. Now, to clarify, I think the previous dishes tasted good. The first thing we made was a pork loin with a balsamic rosemary reduction. The sauce was delicious, but the meat was overcooked. The second thing we made was a chicken and sweet potato stew. It was again tasty, but the sweet potato was overdone and essentially turned to mush at the slightest stir or touch. So this time, I learned my lesson and decided to reduce the pressure cook time by about 20 percent to improve my results.

I decided that I would try a Hawaiian beef stew for my latest “test” recipe. I know that everyone is looking for the pineapple in this dish, given the name, but guess what? We don’t need to have pineapple in a dish in order for it to be Hawaiian. And I promise you that you won’t even miss it in this recipe. It’s that good. Reducing the pressure cooking time in the Instant Pot really worked for me! The meat shredded with the touch of a fork and was very tasty.

Another change that I decided to make was to not use the Saute feature in the Instant Pot. I’ve found that it sometimes leads to the “Burn” notification popping up during Pressure cooking. So for this recipe, I browned the beef on the stove prior to placing all ingredients in the Instant Pot. Obviously, you can use the Saute feature in the Instant Pot if you wish, but I just found it easier to separate the processes. Either way, you’ll have a tasty meal made in almost no time. I can’t say enough good things about this dish!

Instant Pot Hawaiian Beef Stew
makes 6-8 servings

Print Recipe

  • 2-4 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided

  • 2 pounds beef chuck, trimmed & cubed into 1-inch pieces

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper

  • 2 yellow onions, quartered

  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt

  • 6 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 3 potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 1 8-ounce can tomato puree

  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce

  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce

  • 3 cups low-sodium beef stock, divided

  • rice for serving

1) Use a paper towel to pat the stew meat as dry as possible. Season the meat with the salt and ground black pepper.

2) Add 1/4 cup of flour to a medium bowl. Dredge the meat into the flour so that it will coat the meat. Shake off any excess.

3) Meanwhile, pour 1-2 tablespoons olive oil into a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Add the meat and brown on both sides. You will need to work in batches, and may need to add more olive oil to the pan as you repeat the process.

4) Once the meat is all browned, add to the Instant Pot. Add in the onions, carrots, potatoes, and celery salt. Pour in the tomato puree, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and 2 cups of the beef stock.

5) Give everything a big stir to combine. Lock the lid on the Instant Pot and ensure the vent is in the “Sealing” position. Cook the stew on High Pressure for 28 minutes.

6) Once the timer goes off, use the quick release to depressurize the Instant Pot. Once the pin drops, unlock the lid and turn the pot to the Saute setting.

7) In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 cup of beef stock and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour. Pour the flour slurry into the beef stew. The stew should thicken quickly. Allow the stew to simmer for 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately over rice.

— recipe slightly adapted from Plays Well with Butter

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One-Pot Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup

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For this week, I’ve made you some soup!

I will say that the description of “soup” is a bit liberal. I found that this was a bit more of a stew consistency (more to come soon with another stew I have planned for you!). But really, this was quite tasty and so easy to make on a weeknight. Bonus - I made sure to add more cheese and basil than called for in the original recipe, because who doesn’t need more basil and cheese in their life?

By the way, did I mention that we’re going to Paris in May?!?! I can’t wait! I haven’t been to Paris since 2008, so it’s been over 10 years and I’m so so ready to head back again. Our diet is basically going to consist of croissants and coffee and wine. I’m pretty sure this is a sustainable lifestyle. I’m into it. So now the next few weeks will be filled with online searches for Paris excursions and tours and museum visits, and clearly we will need a map of every boulangerie in a one-mile radius from our Airbnb. If you have recommendations, please send over as well!

While we eagerly await our trip, please enjoy this amazing tortellini soup. My gift to you!

One-Pot Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup
makes 6-8 servings

Print Recipe

  • 1 medium onion diced, or 1 cup

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

  • 1 spring of fresh rosemary chopped or ½ teaspoon dried rosemary

  • 28 ounce can diced tomatoes

  • 15 ounce can tomato sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 4 large fresh basil leaves or ½ teaspoon dried basil

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

  • 4 cups chicken stock

  • 1/2 cup light cream

  • 20 ounces three-cheese tortellini

  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese + extra for garnish

  • salt and pepper, to taste (optional)

  • fresh basil, to garnish

  • shredded Parmesan cheese, to garnish

1) In a large 6-quart pot, add the onion, garlic, olive oil, and rosemary. Saute the ingredients over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the onions have softened.

2) Pour in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, chicken stock, and cream. Give the mixture a stir to combine the ingredients, then allow the soup to simmer for 15-20 minutes.

3) Toss in the tortellini and cook for 7-10 minutes, or until the pasta is tender.

4) Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

5) Serve immediately with additional Parmesan cheese and fresh basil if desired.

—recipe very slightly adapted from Gal On A Mission

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Garlic Mushroom Risotto

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Hi friends! I have your next meal right herrrrrre.

I will admit that I didn’t JUST make this risotto. I’ve started a new annual tradition where I make risotto on New Year’s Day, so this is what I made on the first day of 2019! Since then, I’ve packed up all the crap in my apartment (and there was oh-so-much crap!) and moved to a new place. Don’t worry - I still live in Hoboken, but I’m finally getting the chance to come up for air after all these “fun” moving obligations are over. There are still pictures to hang, but for the most part, everything is done. I also cooked my first meal tonight in the new place. I’m working on a recipe for some lamb chops for you guys, but there’s always some reason to rush through and I don’t get a chance to measure out the spices…so there’s that.

While we wait for those lamb chops, I present this risotto to you!

I’m in love with it. I’ve always loved risotto, but I actually stopped making it for about a year. I have a really bad habit of dropping recipes that don’t work for me. It doesn’t matter that I’ve made a certain recipe a bunch of times before. The one time that I make it and it’s not so good….I’m done for a while. I’m working to try to change this, but it’s a tough habit to break!

This recipe turned out to be really amazing though. Surprisingly, I don’t think I’ve ever made sauteed mushrooms and spinach before and I’m not quite sure why. This is clearly a superior recipe and the butter and garlic in this part of the dish don’t hurt at all. I had extra mushrooms and spinach left over and I confess that I made the vegetables sans risotto a few days later just so that I could eat it again. It was so so good!

So anyway, I’m working on making a few new recipes to share with you guys and I can’t wait to get back into some sort of routine over here! See you soon, but in the meantime, I beg you to make this risotto because you won’t regret it!

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Garlic Butter Mushroom Risotto
makes 4-6 servings

Print Recipe

  • 3 1/2 or 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced and divided

  • 12 ounces uncooked arborio rice

  • a splash of dry white wine (optional)

  • 12 ounces sliced baby portabella mushrooms

  • 2-3 cups spinach or other veggies if you want

  • 1/2 - 1 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

  • a squeeze of lemon

1) In a medium pot, heat up the chicken broth until it reaches a gentle simmer.

2) Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat.

3) Add 2 cloves of garlic to the pan and saute for 1-2 minutes.

4) Pour in the arborio rice and toss the grains in the butter and garlic for another 1-2 minutes. If using white wine, pour the wine into the pan now.

5) Next, pour in 1 cup of the warmed chicken broth. Stir the rice and broth gently, until most of the liquid has evaporated. This could take a few minutes. Then add another 1/2 cup of chicken broth and repeat the process until the rice is tender and creamy.

6) In another saucepan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. Add the remaining 2 cloves of garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes, or until warmed through and fragrant.

7) Add in the sliced mushrooms and saute for 5-10 minutes. You might also wish to add a splash of white wine here. Once the mushrooms are cooked through to your liking, remove from heat and stir in the spinach until wilted.

8) Plate the risotto, then top with the mushroom and spinach mixture. Sprinkle generously with the Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and an extra squeeze of lemon if desired.

— recipe very slightly adapted from Pinch of Yum

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Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

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Are you still here?


I know I’ve been away for a while. I can explain.

Things got a little bit hectic as we were heading into the holiday season so I made the executive decision to take a break from this blog. Not that I don’t love it, but I just couldn’t keep up with everything. Things will still be busy through January, as I’m moving apartments in a few weeks and it’s a pretty busy month for my job. At any rate, I’m hoping to come back to this here blog with a vengeance in February. I don’t have an actual date in mind yet but know that I’m going to sporadically be coming in and out of this forum for the next month or so until I get back into a schedule.

The interesting thing is that I’ve actually been making a ton of new-to-me recipes over the past few months. I’ve just not been photographing and posting them here. So I have quite a few recipes that I need to re-make and take photos of so that I can show you!

Also by the way - Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year! Please know that I’m wishing you and your family and friends the best! I’m so happy you’re (still) here. And I hope you stick around a bit more. Here is a slow cooker recipe for you, as we try to ease into the New Year and out of our busy Christmas/Holiday season. This seems like a very appropriate recipe with which to start of 2019!

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken
makes 6-8 servings

Print Recipe

  • 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • 2/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce

  • 1/3 cup honey

  • 1/4 cup tomato paste

  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 tablespoon water

  • 4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

  • 2 teaspoons onion powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sriracha chili sauce

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • 1/4 cup cold water

  • sesame seeds for garnish, if desired

  • scallions, thinly sliced for garnish, if desired

1) Season the chicken with black pepper on both sides. Place the chicken pieces in the slow cooker in a single layer.

2) In a small bowl, use a whisk to combine the soy sauce, honey, tomato paste, rice wine vinegar, garlic, garlic powder, ginger, water, sesame oil, onion powder, and chili sauce. Pour the mixture over the chicken in the slow cooker.

3) Set the slow cooker to Low and cook until the chicken is cooked through and tender, about 2 hours.

4) Move the chicken to a cutting board and use two forks to shred the chicken breasts into smaller pieces. Set aside.

5) In another small bowl, whisk the cornstarch with 1/4 cup water until dissolved. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the slow cooker. Cover the slow cooker and cook for 20 minutes on High, or until the sauce has thickened a bit.

6) Add the chicken pieces back into the slow cooker and toss to coat the meat with the sauce.

7) Serve warm, and garnished with sesame seeds and scallions if desired.

—recipe slightly adapted from Tracy’s Culinary Adventures

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken2.JPG

Livin' The Life 10/25/18

I know….I haven’t been around. I’m working on it! But life is happening and I’m just trying to keep up.

While I work on actually cooking more….here are some recent shots to show what I’ve been up to instead. Fall is my favorite season and I just can’t get enough of the crisp weather, freshly-picked apples, and ALL of the pumpkins and squash. Can we also enjoy this while drinking our obligatory cup of PSL? Yes, please.


My family came to visit at the end of August and we FINALLY got to see The Lion King musical on Broadway!


I know that I talked about Burger & Lobster in my last LTL update, but I went yet again! And I already have plans to visit in November. Judge not.


This is my 3rd year attending the Metropolitan Opera Summer HD Festival. It’s outdoors and a pre-recorded opera is shown onscreen as the sun sets. Did I mention that it’s also free? It’s a great way to enjoy some of the final summer nights, as it happens usually the week before the Labor Day holiday. I will mention that the past 2 years, it was pretty chilly by the time the opera was finished, but this year it was hot and humid the.entire.time. Gross. But the opera was amazing!


Trader Joe’s is my new favorite grocery store. I recently found out they sold a convenient meat and cheese platter, which basically means I’m eating meat and cheese for the next 2 days. Thanksbye.


We finally went apple picking! I haven’t been in years but this year I reserved a rental car back in May (!!!) so that I would have absolutely no excuse not to do this. It was so much fun! I guess I should start planning next year’s trip now?


I’ve been taking Sunset Yoga classes in the Antique Bakery event space in Hoboken. Two local yogis, Meghan Kramer and James Calleo, started this monthly event this summer. I’ve been to a few so far and they are so much fun. Imagine a hundred-person yoga class in a large beautiful room, overlooking the NYC skyline, and with the sunset on the horizon. Then, after you finish the class, there are usually some alcoholic treats to enjoy.


Post-yoga NYC skyline pic


I received one of the best birthday presents ever - an Instant Pot! I love this so much. I need to experiment more, but this is my inaugural attempt at cooking with it. I made Rosemary Balsamic Pork Loins. No I didn’t take pics, but this was so delicious that I would definitely make it again!


We saw Richard Bona at his club, Club Bonafide. The show was fantastic!


All about that meat and cheese plate. This is using the meat from TJ’s. We actually ran out of the cheese that came with the package. Thankfully I hoard cheese, so a crisis was averted.


Flying out of JFK for a long weekend trip to Florida! The NYC skyline is so pretty.


Lunch in Tampa at The Rusty Pelican. Loved their decor and their food.


My friend’s balcony in Tampa. Yessssss!


Got our culture on at the Salvador Dali Museum in Tampa. This was my favorite painting.


There was also a Clyde Butcher exhibit at the Dali museum. This shot looks like it’s moving.


Oh hey, melting clock!


I’ve been having a moment with salads. I want to eat ALL the salads!


Sunday morning walks on the beach.


Bathroom pic at The Oxford Exchange. I’m obsessed with it!

Of course I didn’t see that open cabinet door until just now…


Wall art in the hall leading to the bathroom. I could have stood here for a while.


Lunch views at The Oxford Exchange.


Not the best picture, but the real reason we went to Tampa was to see our Steelers dominate over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers!


Checked out the new Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken spot in Hell’s Kitchen. Yummy!


This year’s Bacon & Beer Classic was hot hot hot! It was held at the US National Tennis Center and yes, there was a lot of bacon and a lot of beer.


Alert! Trader Joe’s is filled with pumpkin items. Get ‘em while you can!


I revisited my Smoky Shrimp & Grits recipe. I forgot how good this is.


Last week we saw Robert Glasper during his residency at Blue Note in NYC. He still has a few shows left on the schedule if you’re interested! The night we went, he was playing with Nicholas Payton and Christian McBride.


I’m definitely interested in this halo halo. Nom! Mama Fina’s is the Filipino truth!


I caught up with my dear friend Katie a few weeks ago and we had dinner at Pappardella. I’ll admit that we took a bunch of selfies before this one and I may not have looked my finest. How do you take a selfie with closed eyes when you’re the one snapping the picture…?


Finally! Some IC Light on the East Coast! Watched the Steelers play at The Ainsworth in the East Village, which is the new home of the Steelers Nation NYC fan club.


BRIC’s 2019 Jazz Fest featured Terence Blanchard, featuring the E-Collective. Love love love!