Heart and Soul cooking for Valentines

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Beef / Steak

Ribeye with wilted super greens and sautéed mushrooms

After teaching several cooking classes, I have learned most people want to feel more confident preparing steak and seafood.  If you have a significant other who loves to handle the cooking of meats and grilling,  it can feel overwhelming when you want to handle the steak on your own.  This recipe is straightforward, step by step approach to cooking a phenomenal steak.  If you want to try your hand at a delicious steak dinner, try this recipe.  Make your Valentine’s heart swell with joy, and reserve your spot in their heart as soulmate over this spectacular dinner.


Time-45 minutes-1 hour


3 Boneless Ribeye Steaks at least 1 inch thick, 8 oz Pre-sliced Baby Bella mushrooms, 5 oz Super Greens (baby chard, baby kale, and baby Spinach), 1/3 cup of red wine, 3 TBS shallots diced, 4 tsp chopped garlic, 2 TBS olive oil, 2 TBS butter, Herbs de provence, 4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme and salt.


Season both sides of steaks with 1 TBS of Herbs de Provence and 2 tsp of Kosher salt.  It’s important to allow steaks to come to room temperature.  Allow steaks to sit in dry marinade for 30 minutes outside of refrigerator.  IMG_1769

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large skillet add 1 TBS of olive oil and 1 TBS of butter under medium-high heat.  Add mushrooms and allow to brown.  When mushrooms are browned add 1 TBS of shallots and  2 tsp of garlic and fresh thyme removed from sprig.  Add red wine and completely reduce.  Season with a 1/2 tsp of kosher salt.  Toss together and set aside.


Place a cast iron skillet onto stove on med-high heat.  Allow pan to get hot before adding steak.  You are going to dry sear the steak.  That means you don’t need to oil the cast iron skillet to brown the steaks.  The reason I don’t add oil is because I will use the same skillet to wilt the greens and I find that it muddies the greens a little less if I dry sear.  Initially the sear does not look promising but I promise once you remove the steaks from the oven.  The steaks will look and be perfect.  It’s a home-cook trick to finish in the oven.


Sear steak 5 minutes per side or until you develop a perfect brown crust.  Place seared steaks into oven safe pyrex.  Do not wash cast iron skillet as you will reuse this skillet as is to wilt super greens.

Medium-rare steaks keep in oven 15 minutes

Medium  keep in oven 20 minutes

Medium-well keep in oven 25 minutes

Well-done keep in oven 30 minutes

Allow steaks to rest at least 10 minutes before serving.


While steaks are resting wilt greens in iron cast skillet that you seared steaks in.  Add 1 TBS of olive oil and 1 TBS of butter to cast iron skillet under medium-high heat.  Add 2 TBS of shallots and 2 tsp of chopped garlic and sauté for 1 minute then add all the power greens.


The greens will wilt down to practically nothing in a few minutes as you mix with shallots, garlic and oil.  Taste for salt, there will be residual salt in skillet from steaks so check to see if the greens need a pinch of salt.  Once wilted down turn off heat and prepare to plate.



Make a bed of wilted super greens and lay ribeye on greens.  Scattered sautéed mushrooms onto steak.  Serve with the starch you love.  I adore homemade french fries with this dish.  However, when I’m being a lazy lady I don’t make a starch which makes me feel very healthy.  Enjoy this recipe!


Happy Valentine’s Day to all the cooks!


Summertime Grillin’ and Chillin’

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Mexican / Steak


Carne Asada (Citrus Marinaded Skirt Steak)

Carne Asada is the quintessential grilled dish in my backyard.  It’s the perfect summer meal to enjoy with friends and family.   When I want to barbecue, I think of Carne Asada or Burgers.  We are fortunate in California to have a plethora of Mexican Carnecerias (Meat market).  At the Carnecerias you can buy marinaded skirt steak ready to grill.  When I lived in New York 12 years ago I couldn’t find marinaded Carne Asada.  I had to figure out how to make it myself.  It is a sweet and sour, citrus marinade that tenderizes the meat.  It grills up in just minutes.  When the skirt steak is done sit down with friends and grab a beer because it’s time to chill.


Time -1 hour and 10 minutes


2 lbs of skirt steak, 1 cup fresh orange juice (3 oranges), 1/2 cup of fresh lime juice (3 limes),  1 cup of vegetable or canola oil, 1/2 red onion sliced, 1 clove of garlic smashed, 1 1/2 tsp of Kosher salt, 1/2 tsp of cumin and 1/2 tsp of Mexican oregano


Place skirt steak in a pyrex platter and add all the ingredients listed above and let marinate for an hour in refrigerator.



After 1 hour take meat out of refrigerator and let sit at room temperature while grill gets hot.  Get grill to take least 400 degrees.  Place skirt steak on grill about 3 minutes per side.  The steak is very thin and cooks quickly.  The basic rule of thumb is to look for great grill marks and flip once.  The marinade has a cup of oil in it so be careful to properly drain excess off before placing on grill to avoid oil fire and flame.  Grill jalapeños and Mexican green onions for added flavor.

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Place cooked meat on platter and enjoy alone with a side of rice and beans.  You could also chop this up for Carne Asada tacos or burritos.  Grab a sit at my table while I pour you a drink.  Enjoy!FullSizeRender 3

Please see blogs: Back to Basics a Mexican Kitchen, Don’t tell anyone I told you this secret and Take a Break.  It’s Labor Day for recipes on rice, beans, salsa and guacamole.

Recipe note:

Please don’t leave out oil in marinade.  It balances the citrus flavor.

Unabashed Eggslut

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Breakfast / Sandwich

Bacon, Egg and Cheese on a Buttered Brioche Bun with Sriracha Ketchup

Have I told you that breakfast is my favorite meal of the day? Well this sandwich is one of the reasons why.  When I lived in New York, having a bacon, egg and cheese on a roll was as commonplace as a breakfast burrito in California.  The restaurant Eggslut has brought the breakfast sandwich to life on the west coast.  They really upped the ante with the introduction of the brioche bun.  They use a chipotle ketchup that adds a tangy sweetness that is appreciated with all the salty and savory deliciousness from the eggs, bacon, and cheese.  If you do not have an Eggslut near you, this recipe will satisfy the craving.

Time-20 minutes



2 Brioche buns, 2 eggs, 6 slices of bacon, 2 slices of American Cheese, 1/4 cup of Ketchup, 1 tsp of Sriracha, butter, salt and pepper.


Butter both sides of Brioche bun and toast on a medium high skillet until golden.  FullSizeRenderFullSizeRender 2








Fry up bacon until desired crispiness.  Set aside on paper towels.

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Mix Sriracha and ketchup together in a small bowl and set aside.

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Before frying egg start to build sandwich by slathering Sriracha Ketchup on the bottom of the bun.  Pile two or three slices of bacon on top of ketchup.

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Start to fry over easy egg by adding 1 tsp of butter on medium high heat.  As egg cooks season with salt and pepper then flip egg once you have golden brown edges.

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Once egg is flipped immediately add cheese and turn off heat.  Finish sandwich by adding egg and cheese.

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Enjoy with your choice of protein such as sausage patty or ham.  The sky is the limit enjoy!DSC_3757

It’s Irrational Not to Eat Pie on Pi Day!

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Chocolate Banana Empanadas (Mini Pies)

March 14th is National Pi Day.  It celebrates the irrational number of Pi.  Whatever the reason, in my world it’s just another day to enjoy some food!  These chocolate banana mini pies are perfect for tomorrow’s festivities.

Time-45 minutes

Servings-24 mini pies


2 pre-made pie crusts, Nestle Dark Chocolate Morsels, 1 banana, 1 TBS brown sugar, 1 egg, 2 TBS granulated sugar, powdered sugar, and bench flour.


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Roll out the pie crust on a lightly floured surface.

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Use a 3 inch circle cookie cutter to cut.  Combine left over dough and roll out again. You should get 12 pies per crust.

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Mash banana with a fork and add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar set aside in a bowl.  Beat one egg and set aside in a bowl.

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With each pie crust use rolling pin to make slightly oval to fit in filling.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of banana mixture a 3 chocolate morsels.  Close and crimp edges on both sides with a fork.

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Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and lay 12 per cookie sheet.  Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar.  Cook in oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Dust with powdered sugar.


Happy π Day!

My Valentine’s Day Gift

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fullsizerenderOn Valentine’s Day last year I had the privilege of meeting a living legend, Nancy Silverton. Nancy needs no introduction. However if you are not familiar with Nancy, allow me to introduce her. She is a chef, restaurant owner, founder of La Brea Bakery, and a James Beard Award winner for Outstanding Chef. Nancy is co-owner of my favorite restaurant Mozza. We celebrate Valentine’s Day every year with the best pasta and wine in Los Angeles. If you are fortunate enough to dine when Nancy is present, she is very visible in the center of the restaurant. She works behind the Mozza Bar surrounded by a marble countertop where she prepares delicious bites with mozzarella. It’s mesmerizing to watch her work with such grace and posture. There are so few moments in life when you get to witness someone who has honed their skills to the point that they make everything look simple. To my surprise Nancy walked up to our table and I about broke into tears. Nancy was unbelievably kind and generous with her time. We discussed the dishes I have made from the Mozza cookbook and she informed me of her new cookbook Mozza at Home. She engaged my husband and kids in conversation. Later Nancy posed for a picture and gave me a really good hug before leaving. This was quite the moment for this home cook who rubbed shoulders with a legend on Valentine’s Day.

One of the most popular pasta dishes, and a family favorite, is orecchiette with fennel sausage and swiss chard. The recipe from Nancy’s cookbook takes approximately 90 minutes. I adapted the recipe to an easier and quicker version for the home cook.


fullsizeoutput_c99eMozza inspired Orecchiette with Fennel Sausage and shaved Brussel Sprouts

Time-45 minutes



4 uncooked sweet sausage links, 4 uncooked hot sausage links, 1 lb and 1 cup of orecchiette  pasta,  1/2 cup of onions or shallots chopped, 3 cloves of garlic minced, 1/2 tsp of crushed pepper, 2 cups of chicken stock/broth, 1 tsp of fennel pollen (see cooks note), 1 10 ounce bag of shredded brussel sprouts, 3 TBS of butter, 1 cup of panko bread crumbs, 1/2 cup of grated parmigiano-reggiano plus some for plating, and drizzle of olive oil to finish.


Fill a large pasta pot with water and start to bring to boil.  While waiting for water to heat, prepare sausage.  Sausage is difficult to break down in a hot skillet.  In an unheated large 13″ skillet remove sausage from casings and piece into cold pan.  Once sausage is broken down turn on burner to medium-high heat and brown.   Sausage has plenty of fat and salt no need to oil pan or season with salt.


It is important to get a good brown on the sausage it helps build flavor.


When sausage looks similar to the picture above add shallots/onions and incorporate into dish.  After 2 minutes add garlic, crushed pepper and 3/4 of the shredded brussel sprouts.  Sauté crushed peppers, garlic and brussel sprouts for one minute then add chicken stock.

Drop orecchiette into pasta water and cook 1-2 minutes under package instructions for al dente pasta.  Reduce the sausage mixture for 5-10 minutes on medium high heat.  When the mixture is reduced but still has about 1/2 cup of stock remaining turn off heat.  When pasta is ready drain pasta water and add pasta to sausage mixture.  Mix pasta into skillet incorporating the sauce onto the pasta.  Add fennel pollen, parmigiano-reggiano, and remainder of brussel sprouts.

fullsizerender-6 Lastly, in a smaller skillet add 3 TBS of butter on medium heat.  Once butter starts to bubble add panko bread crumbs.  Slowly brown crumbs for 5-10 minutes.



Add sausage orecchiette to plate and top with a drizzle of olive oil, more parmiagiano-reggiano, and a tablespoon of  bread crumbs.  A dusting of fennel pollen would be lovely as well. Enjoy!


Cook’s Note:

  1.  I buy Fennel Pollen online because it is difficult to find.  However, you can grind fennel seed in a spice grinder and it tastes very similar. img_5903
  2. Sausage is sometimes sold by weight.  I weighed the 8 links and it weighed 1 pound and 10 ounces.


3.  Always salt your pasta water.  Once water comes to a boil, I put in 1 tablespoon of kosher salt.

4.  In order to get the right sausage to pasta ratio I needed a little more pasta.  Yes, you have to buy two boxes of orecchiette.

5.  I have also used fresh baby spinach or power greens mix in place of brussel sprouts.  The power greens mix has baby swiss chard and it resembles Mozza’s version the best.

6.  Before throwing out pasta water reserve a cup in case your sauce is to dry you can add some pasta water to loosen.