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The Book is Out!!!

4/17/18


It's here!  It's here!  
I wrote a book and it's here!  
Check you local bookstore!!
Or, you can still find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble... 
(and I've always wanted to say this phrase)
"...or wherever books are sold!"

For a sneak peek, check out these videos.  I talk about the book, and I make some recipes from my favorite chapters... It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere and Sweet Treats (obviously).     






This process has been an insane, emotional journey and I'm full of gratitude for everyone that worked so hard to help make it happen... including YOU.  You are my favorite :)  

Book Signings!!

3/30/18


Now that March is almost over, the countdown is officially on for April 17th when... my cookbook is officially released!  Can I sign yours?  Pretty please, with chocolate chips on top??

Remember, you can pre-order now at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

See below for my upcoming signings.  I would love to meet you!


NEW YORK CITY
Saturday, April 14th - 12PM
Williams Sonoma Columbus Circle

NEW YORK CITY
Thursday, April 19th - 10AM
NBC Studios Store at Rockefeller Plaza

MINNEAPOLIS, MN
Thursday, May 10th - 7PM
Magers & Quinn

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ
Thursday, May 17th
An Evening of Wine and Roses 
Ticketed event, benefits Newton Medical Center

BEVERLY HILLS, CA
Sunday, May 20th - 1PM
Williams Sonoma Beverly Hills

Roasted Salmon with Chiles and Leeks

3/28/18


Does it feel impossible for anyone else to get stuff done lately?  My to-do list has reached comical highs, proving March Madness isn't just a sport thing.  ("A sport thing" - as you can see, I'm really into it!)  It always seems to be a busy month as we transition from winter to spring, activities ending and others starting, vacations from school, holidays, and already planning for summer.  Am I stressing anyone out with this talk?  Sorry not sorry!  #venting

So the other night, I was overwhelmed from a day of eleventy (favorite non-number) errands, and I didn't want to cook.  We had gone out or been at someone's house for dinner the previous three nights in a row, so I knew it was time to make something myself, but I felt like a kid being forced to take a nap... "I DON'T WANNA!"  (I think moms should be allowed one proper temper tantrum a week.) 

Alas, I had already gone to the store... I had already bought food that I had no plan for... so I put on my big-girl panties and started cooking... a lovely image, yes.

Carson usually grills salmon, but recently I've been seeing slow-roasting methods of our favorite fish, so I thought I'd give it a try!  I made a simple marinade consisting of red chili paste, olive oil and garlic, poured it over salmon in a baking dish, topped it all with sliced lemons and put it in the oven.  As it slowly-roasted, I lightly fried some leeks in oil until they were crispy.  When the salmon was cooked, I scattered the crunchy onions on top of the fish, and sprinkled it all with chives.  

It, was, so, good!  You use extra commas like that when you really mean it.  The flavors had taken their time soaking into each bite, and the salmon was light and perfectly flaky with a yummy, salty crunch from the leeks.  Most importantly... it was easy!  A great dish for lazy nights.  Recipe below...   


Roasted Salmon with Chiles and Leeks 
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Serves 4

1.5 pounds center-cut salmon filet, cut into pieces
3 tablespoons red chili paste
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 leek, washed and sliced
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons chives, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 275.  Place salmon filets into baking dish and season with salt and pepper.  In a small bowl, whisk together red chili paste, olive oil and garlic.  Pour evenly over salmon and place lemon slices on top.  Place dish in oven and roast for 15 minutes.  Remove and baste fish, then place back in oven for another 15-20 minutes, until salmon is cooked through.

While salmon is roasting, heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add leeks, and sauté until they start to brown and crisp.  Make sure to stir frequently, as they can burn quickly.  Remove and place on a paper towel-lined plate.  Season with salt.  

Place leeks and chives over salmon and serve.

M&M Piñata Cake

3/19/18


Hey party people!  My son turned NINE last week.  NINE.  NINE TIMES.  (Bueller, anyone?)  That's so old.  As Carson pointed out, he's halfway to 18, at which point he'll leave us forever (orrrr, maybe he'll go to a local college and live in our basement until his 40's...I'm okay with that, I think).  We celebrated on Thursday, his actual birthday, with an Italian dinner out and then cake at home.  Since he's getting older and a Yo Gabba Gabba cake will no longer suffice, I had to get creative.  I've been curious about these "piñata" style cakes for awhile now - the ones that are sliced open to reveal an inside full of candy - but I wanted him to think it was just a regular old cake...

...bwa ha ha.  Bwahahahahaha.  That's my evil, sneaky laugh.

So I baked it while he was at school, following this tutorial, and it was pleasantly easy to pull off!  I followed a recipe from MY BOOK for my favorite yellow cake (you TOO can have this recipe when the book comes out on April 17th!!!), and sliced each layer in half, resulting in four layers.  I cored out two layers using a large, circular cookie cutter, and then placed them all on top of each other with the cored layers in the middle, icing in between each.  One of the layers broke apart, but I was able to use frosting to glue it back together.  Problem solved!  We filled the center with mini m&m's - but you could use sprinkles or bite-sized candy bars... anything your heart desires!  


Explosion!!!


It's like a barfing candy cake, or something that sounds more appetizing.  

Two thumbs up!!

Fusilli alla Vodka

3/7/18


Anyone else in the middle of a snow day with no snow?  Anyone else hiding from their daughters because they won't stop fighting?  Anyone else have a son slithering around on the floor out of boredom - who is laughing at the suggestion of doing some homework?  Do these things make anyone else crave comfort food, like a big pot of creamy pasta?  I am here for you.  Keep reading.  

There is a restaurant in Los Angeles called Jon & Vinny's, and it's magical.  Described as a modern diner (with old school hip hop usually pumping through the speakers), they serve Italian inspired meals like hand-tossed pizza, classic pasta dishes and the best meatballs you'll ever eat.  One of my favorites is the fusilli with vodka sauce, and by the grace of god Bon Appetit recently published the recipe.  Of course I made it last weekend, and of course it was insanely delicious.  

It's the perfect meal for a snow-less snow storm.      

Recipe HERE.

p.s. I know a lot of people ARE getting heavy snow today, just not us, and I'm bitter about it because I'm supposed to be in Nashville right now, so I'm whining.  The End.    




Green Goddess Tuna Salad Sandwich

3/6/18


I've been neglecting tuna fish.  Not on purpose, but I seem to forget about the canned fish, which is too bad, because I love it.  Sad!  Recently, however, this sandwich made its way into my Instagram feed, and it caught my attention.  How can you say no to tuna salad that's smothered in green goddess dressing??  (And if you're too lazy to click on that link I just provided, green goddess dressing usually  consists of mayo, sour cream, lemon juice and a bunch of fresh green herbs.)  Besides, in the photo it's served between a toasted English muffin - and that's the best way to eat a tuna salad sandwich, if you ask me.  This recipe does NOT disappoint.  It's bright and refreshing and will make you fall in love with tuna all over again.        

Recipe HERE.





Tropical Pitaya Smoothie

2/16/18


So, I think I'm over winter now.  Yep, ready to move on.  Let's go, spring!  Show your face.  Oh, it's only mid-February, you say?  I need to be patient, you say?  STOP SAYING THINGS.  Let me vent about winter for a second.  Let me whine about grey skies and puffy jackets and unmatched mittens and dry skin and chapped lips and cooooold.  Ok thanks, I'm done whining.  I'll talk about food now...

Like this tasty and nutritious tropical smoothie that will make you feel like you're on a Hawaiian beach (sort of).  I've recently discovered frozen Pitaya (AKA dragon fruit) smoothie packets and they are delicious (I use this one).  They're subtly sweet and packed with nutrients.  The best part?  The smoothie possibilities are endless.  Actually no, that's not the best part.  The best part is they will turn your beverage into a punchy pink that no child can resist.  It's like drinking a unicorn!  

This particular recipe couldn't be easier.  In fact, you don't even need a recipe.  Just throw your favorite fruit into a blender, add something green (or not) and a liquid (almond milk, coconut water, juice, etc) and voila... the feeling of warmer weather in a glass.  Recipe below :) 



Tropical Pitaya Smoothie
Makes 1 

Half a banana (fresh or frozen)
Handful of frozen strawberries
Handful of frozen pineapple
Handful of kale or spinach
Half a pitaya smoothie packet
Coconut water (about 1/2 cup)
Shredded coconut (optional topping)

Blend first 6 ingredients in a blender until desired thickness is reached.  Pour into a glass and top with coconut.    

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