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I failed to mention in my last post that Michelle and I are trying to go low-carb. “Trying.” TRYING. TRYING BUT ITS SO HARD.

I know. It’s crazy because we’re such carb queens. Things changed around January while I was making my New Years Resolutions, and I realized that I have written down “Lose 20lbs” as my goal every year for the past 3 years in my Evernote. Feeling kind of defeated, I downloaded a couple of nutrition books and started reading them on the plane on my way to Tulum.

I don’t know why I thought that was a good idea. It felt really sad reading a diet book on the beach.

Oh don’t worry. I ate :)

But right when we touched down to LA it was back to business. I read Always Hungry, which promotes a high fat diet for 2 weeks to reset your body then phases in carbs and processed foods over 6 weeks so you can be skinny and eat pizzas like everyone else. There’s obviously more to it, but this ain’t a book review site, people!

I have seen some progress and a huge boost in energy. I haven’t been following the program exactly, but my whole world has opened up to so many more options other than rice or pasta as a side.

I stumbled across this recipe for chickpea fritters in my quest for vegetarian protein meals. The creamy avocado cilantro sauce goes great over a basic mixed greens salad with tomatoes, red onion and queso fresco (I would have preferred feta, but I can only afford to buy one type of cheese a week and this was leftover).

One more thing! I had to add some eggs because the fritters wouldn’t bind, and that was probably because I didn’t properly measure the spinach. The plan here was to double the original recipe, but after mixing the ingredients together and looking at my two manly roommates, I realized I didn’t have enough food. So I continuously added more food until it seemed like the right amount.

Definitely will have to try a more scientific method next time.

Spinach and Chickpea Fritter Salad

Makes 6-8 servings

From Whole Protein Vegetarian by Rebecca Miller Ffrench as posted by Kiersten on OhMyVeggies


    • 1 1/2 cup almond flour chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour
    • 2 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 cup water
    • 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
    • 1/2 red Fresno pepper, seeded and minced (reserve the remainder for the sauce)
    • 1 15oz can chickpeas, drained
    • 6 heaping cups fresh baby spinach
    • 2 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves
    • Aroma-free coconut oil, for frying

Creamy Cilantro Avocado Sauce

    • 2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
    • 1 avocado, peeled
    • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
    • 3/4 red Fresno pepper (left over from the Spinach and Chickpea Spoon Fritters)
    • 4 tablespoons canned coconut milk
    • 1/3 cup water
    • 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Put the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, cumin, coriander, salt, and ground pepper in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times.
  2. Add the water and process until combined.
  3. Add the onion and Fresno pepper and pulse several times until combined. Next, add the chickpeas and cilantro and pulse again until incorporated into the batter. If your food processor can fit 6 cups of spinach, pulse spinach with this mixture as well. Make sure to not over process or mince the leaves!If you are like me with a medium-sized food processor proceed to step 4:
  4. Chop spinach into small strips and combine mixture in a separate bowl with 2 eggs.
  5. Fry the fritters. heat 2 to 3 inches of coconut oil in a deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Using a tablespoon, drop spoonfuls of the batter into the hot oil and fry for about 2 minutes on one side and one more on the other. I had the best results when I shaped them like a thick pancake. When the fritters are golden, remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel–lined plate. Test one first to make sure it is cooked through. If not, lower the heat slightly and cook for another minute or two.



Creamy Cilantro Avocado Sauce:


  • Put all the ingredients in the food processor or a blender and process on high speed until smooth. Add more water or seasonings (salt and pepper), if necessary. Serve with the Spinach and Chickpea Spoon Fritters.



Hey! Gonna keep it short and sweet and act like we’ve been diligent bloggers.

This week’s recipe comes from my favorite website Cooking.NYtimes.com by one of my favorite chefs, Melissa Clark. I have to admit… I made it way too salty. I was gifted a huge box of sea salt not too long ago so I’ve been putting it on everything – even when I don’t really need to. Hi hypertension!

I followed the reviews and finished the thighs in the oven as stated in the recipe. They said it “deepens the flavor.” Not sure if it was really necessary, but I’m definitely going to try finishing it on the stove in the summer time when my house transforms into a furnace.

I loved this recipe for its simplicity. We actually started dinner at 8:30pm!

DSCF2537 DSCF2533

Garlicky Chicken With Lemon-Anchovy Sauce

By Melissa Clark

  • 1 ¼ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (4 to 5 thighs)
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 anchovy fillets
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers, patted dry
  • 1 large pinch chile flakes
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • Fresh chopped parsley, for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and let rest while you prepare the anchovy-garlic oil. Mince one of the garlic cloves and set it aside for later. In a large, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the 5 smashed whole garlic cloves, the anchovies, capers and chile. Let cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up the anchovies, until the garlic browns around the edges and the anchovies dissolve, 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken thighs and cook until nicely browned on one side, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip the thighs, place the pan in the oven and cook another 5 to 10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
  3. When chicken is done, transfer thighs to a plate. Place skillet back on the heat and add minced garlic and the juice of one lemon half. Cook for about 30 seconds, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Return chicken to the pan and cook it in the sauce for another 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. Transfer everything to a serving platter. Squeeze the remaining lemon half over the chicken and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve.




This recipe on The Kitchn caught my eye because with the exception of the tortellini and wine, I always have some form of these ingredients lying around my apartment. It was quick, easy, and very delicious, and I’ll probably eat it one thousand times while the weather in LA is cooled down.

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 spicy sausage links, removed from casing (but not broken down)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup red wine** (or chicken stock)
  • 1 28oz can of whole, peeled San Marzano tomatoes
  • 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbs coconut palm sugar
  • 3 anchovy filets, chopped
  • 1 package of tortellini (I used cheese)
  • 1 parmesan rind
  • 2 cups of spinach or kale (I used a spinach/baby kale/arugula mix)
  • salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, to taste
  1. Heat up some olive oil in a heavy pot on high, and add the sausage links. Brown on both sides, then break apart with a wooden spoon. Remove the sausage, leaving the fat in the pot.
  2. Lower the heat, and cook the onion with a pinch of salt in the oil and fat until soft and translucent. Then add the garlic and saute until it becomes fragrant. Add the anchovies and the wine and bring the heat back up to high, and cook until the wine starts to boil. Scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen up any sausage bits stuck to the bottom.
  3. Add the canned tomatoes and break them to pieces in the pot. Then add the chicken stock, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, parmesan rind, and cooked sausage, and season with salt and pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil and add the tortellini, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the tortellini is warmed through.
  4. Add your greens, remove the parmesan rind, and enjoy!

*I personally didn’t use wine because I didn’t have any on hand, so I substituted stock and added anchovy filets.


Michelle and I were really jonesin’ for some Vietnamese food this week.

To be honest, Vietnamese food used to be my least favorite of the Asian cuisines growing up, but now I can’t get enough of it. A big bowl of Pho from Pho 87 is the first thing I crawl to after a night of heavy drinking, and bun chay is one of my go-to lunches during these heat waves.

My dad always orders this catfish dish every time we go eat at a Vietnamese restaurant. It’s perfectly sweet and spicy and the catfish is extra flaky. This recipe from The Culinary Chronicles requires some home-made caramel and coconut soda – a thing I didn’t know that exists.

Cá Kho Tộ

Serves 4-6

  • 2 pounds catfish steaks, washed and patted dried
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup diced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions, divided
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce, more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons nước màu (caramel sauce), divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 12 ounces Coco Rico soda
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, cut into matchsticks
  • 3-4 red Thai chiles, more to taste
  • fresh cilantro leaves

nước màu

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3/4 cup of water


  1. Scrub catfish with salt then rinse. Pat the catfish dry.
  2. Combine brown sugar, shallots, garlic, scallions fish sauce and 1 tablespoon of nước màu. Pour mixture over catfish in a bowl and marinate for 45 minutes to an hour.
  3. Heat the oil in a large heavy pot or pan and sear 1 minute on each side. Pour all the marinade over the fish, the remaining nước màu and the Coco Rico soda.
  4. Add the ginger, chiles and allow the liquids to come to a boil.
  5. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered for about 30 minutes. Gently flip the catfish steaks halfway through the cooking time.
  6. Once the fish has cooked through and the sauce has reduced and thickened, taste and add more fish sauce as needed. Sprinkle the remaining scallions, additional chiles (to taste), and cilantro leaves on top.
  7. Serve warm with rice.


I have a Vietnamese cousin that I used to stay with during summers and school breaks as a kid. She would make this dish for me occasionally, and it was always a favorite of mine. When I was in college and just learning how to cook, I finally asked her for the recipe. I saw the ingredients list and decided it was too complicated. But now, as a professional adult, I looked it over again and decided it was something I could tackle. This one brings me back, and is one of my favorite comfort foods. It’s a great balance of salty and sweet, chewy and crunchy, and is totally worth the effort

Pork & Shrimp Chow Fun

Homemade Fish Sauce
  • 1 c. fish sauce
  • 1/2 c. coconut juice
  • 1 lime
  • 1/2 bulb of garlic, peeled
  • 1/2-1 tsp chili sauce (or as little/much as you like) Sriracha is OK or chili paste
  • 1 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. vinegar
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 small daikon (white radish tuber)
Peel carrots and daikon, then shred them using the larger shredder. Put them into a big bowl of water with about 2 tsp. of salt.  Let it sit for about 30 minutes. Drain.  Rinse.  Squeeze out all the excess water. You can use a cheese cloth if you like.  It’ll be easier.
*While the carrots and daikon soak, you can prepare the sauce*
  1. Peel the garlic and crush it with some of the sugar in a mortar and pestle (if you have one).  If not crush the garlic with the knife.  Crushed garlic tastes better than chopped.
  2. CUT the peel off the lime.  Take the wedges out and crush that together with the garlic.
  3. Put the lime and garlic into a large bowl.  Add fish sauce, coconut soda, all the sugar, vinegar, and chili sauce. Stir.
  4. Add the shredded carrots and daikon. Mix well. Let it sit for about 10 minutes.  The carrots and daikon will change the taste of the sauce.
  5. Taste.  Add more lime juice if you want it more sour.  Or chili sauce to make it more spicy. Or sugar to make it sweeter.  It depends on how you like it.  I usually add more lime juice because your Kuya Andy likes it sweet and sour.
  6. Put everything into a glass jar and refrigerate overnight.
Pork and Shrimp
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork
  • 1/2 lb. shrimps (peeled and chopped)
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. fish sauce
  • spring onions (as much/little as you like) about 2 stalks are good.
  1. Saute spring onions in oil.  Add the ground pork and chopped shrimps.
  2. Add the salt, pepper, fish sauce and sugar.  Stir and mix well.  Cook until pork is done.
Chow Fun Noodles
  • Cut chow fun (wide rice noodle) and separate.
  • Bean sprouts: washed and drained
  • Cucumbers: Julienne
Coconut Cream Sauce
  • 1 (14 oz.) can of Coconut Cream (coconut milk is OK, but Cream is better) make sure you use can, not powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  1. Empty can of Coconut Cream into a pot.  Add salt and sugar.  Mix well with a whisk until hot.
How to Assemble
Put chow fun noodles into bowl.  Add pork and shrimps on top.  Add vegetables.  Pour fish sauce on top.  Don’t forget to add some of the carrots and daikon.  Then pour on the coconut cream sauce.





So I got this BEAUTIFUL cookbook by Margarita Carrillo Arronte for my birthday. I’ve had this on my wish list for a while now because A) its authentic Mexican cooking and B) I mean, look at this cover design!

And since its authentic Mexican cooking, everything requires a few extra steps of marinating or boiling dried peppers. I picked this recipe because it was something I could tackle during the work week. It still involved hours of marinating, but it only took me about 40 minutes to prep before I left for work and then fifteen minutes to cook when I got home. She recommends serving with wilted spinach and rice or mashed potatoes.

I’m not really sure about the amount of ginger in this recipe. 1/2 a cup was REALLY STRONG at first, but then the next day it mellowed out and more of the orange flavors started to come through. I think next time around I’ll try it with less ginger. Another note: I wasn’t sure if the recipe meant FRESH orange juice from the zested orange or orange JUICE like the one in the carton. I used orange juice from the carton so now there’s a naked orange chillin’ in my refrigerator. I’m curious to see how it would taste with fresh orange juice.



The recipe says to seed the tomato. I didn’t 😛 But it was still delicious!




Shrimp in Chipotle Sauce


  • 2 1/2 lbs of shrimp, peeled
  • 3-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 TBSP of orange zest
  • 1/2 cup ginger (divided)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tomatoes halved and seeded
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (divided)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season tomatoes with salt and pepper and brush with 1/4cup olive oil. Roast in oven for 30 minutes.
  2. Put tomatoes, chipotles and half the ginger into a food processor and season with salt. Process until smooth.
  3. Strain the sauce into a shallow bowl and allow to cool. Add the shrimp until well coated. Marinate for several hours or overnight.
  4. Heat remaining olive oil in a heavy pan over medium head. Add remaining ginger then reduce heat to low and heat for 2-3 minutes until browned.
  5. Add orange zest and garlic and saute for 2 minutes until garlic is fragrant.
  6. Pour in orange juice and simmer for an additional few minutes
  7. Add shrimp and marinade and cook for 10 minutes until they are pink
  8. Serve!
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This was one of our bigger dinner parties – by accident! I was planning on only cooking baked beans, but then our party grew from 7 to 12 so we needed another protein for the meal besides ribs. This was only my second time cooking steak on the grill, but after a few tips from my friend Asol, I’ll definitely be cooking steak more often. I researched a couple of quick marinades and wanted to try this on a top sirloin. They came out veeeryyy tasty and it only needed 30 minutes to marinate. Quality bourbon here is the key 😉

I wish i got everyone’s recipes from this dinner because everyone brought such tasty dishes. OH WELL!

Pioneer Woman’s Baked Beans

  • 8 slices bacon, halved
  • 1 medium onion, cut into small dice
  • 1/2 medium green pepper, cut into small dice
  • 2 large cans (28 ounces each) pork and beans
  • 3/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard or 2 tablespoons Dijon

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Fry bacon in large, deep sauté pan skillet until bacon has partially cooked and released about 1/4 cup drippings. Remove bacon from pan and drain on paper towels. Add onions and peppers to drippings in pan and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add beans and remaining ingredients bring to a simmer. (If skillet is not large enough, add beans and heat to a simmer then transfer to a large bowl and stir in remaining ingredients). Pour flavored beans into a greased 13-by 9-inch (or similar size) ovenproof pan. Top with bacon, then bake until beans are bubbly and sauce is the consistency of pancake syrup, about 2 hours. Let stand to thicken slightly and serve.

Bourbon Marinated Steak

  • 1/2 cup Bulleit Bourbon
  • 1/2 cup Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3lbs Top Sirloin (about 6-7 steaks)
  1. Combine bourbon, mustard, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper in a shallow nonreactive dish and mix well. Place steak in a shallow dish and rub marinade all over, coating it well. Allow to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. Once steak has marinated, heat a grill pan or outdoor grill to medium high. Grill steak for 5 to 6 minutes per side for medium rare and remove to a cutting board to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Season with additional salt and pepper, slice against the grain, and serve.



I got this rib recipe from this blog, Steamy Kitchen. In her post she emphasizes how much she loves the “chew” of eating ribs, but I’ve discovered that I prefer mine to fall off the bone. I’d love to try this recipe again, but do it low and slow in the oven for 3 hours. I also adjusted her recipe slightly, and didn’t add any maple syrup. Honestly, I think adding it would’ve made the dish too sweet (but mostly, I just didn’t want to spend $7+ on an ingredient I don’t really use often).

Cinnamon Cayenne Ribs

  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 pounds pork baby back ribs
  1. Remove the membrane from the ribs.
  2. Mix all the spices together in a small bowl, then season both sides with the rub.
  3. Double wrap the rack of ribs in foil, so that it’s completely covered both times. Then place it on a baking sheet or roasting pan.
  4. Bake for 1 hour at 375°F or until the meat starts to pull away from the bones.

I got this cobbler recipe off The Ktchn. It’s pretty foolproof, and I plan on using it again and again. Cobbler all the things!

Peach Cobbler

  • 5-6 peaches, sliced and peeled
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 12 tbs butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  1. Toss the peaches in the coconut palm sugar and lemon juice, adjusting to taste. Then put the fruit mixture in a baking dish leaving enough room for the cobbler topping
  2. Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl.
  3. Add the melted butter, then mix the dough until it forms a crumbly dough. It will look sandy but should hold together when you pinch it.
  4. Make disks out of the dough and lay it over the fruit filling. Any extra topping can be sprinkled onto the fruit mixture.
  5. Bake the cobbler 350°F until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling, about 45-55 minutes.
  6. Let it cool, then serve.



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After having Jo’s peach jam with burrata at her pop-up dinner over the weekend, I was inspired to make my own jam. I’m sure I read just about every tomato jam recipe on the internet (or at least the first 3 pages of my Google search), so I took all the appealing parts of those methods, added some advice from my sister-in-law, and created this ultimo-method below.

Tomato Jam

  • 3 1/2 lbs tomatoes (I used a combination of heirloom grape tomatoes and a bundle of tomatoes on a stem), coarsely chopped, and seeds removed from the larger tomatoes
  • 1 medium green apple, diced
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  1. Cook the red onion in the olive oil until it starts to caramelize. Then add the balsamic vinegar.
  2. Set aside half of the lemon juice, then combine the rest of the ingredients and bring to a gentle boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the mixture gets thick and becomes a jam-like consistency, about 3 hours. Finish with more lemon juice, adjusting to taste.


-I think I’d reduce the sugar next time. Maybe not use the granulated sugar at all?

-The reason I used so much lemon juice was because I thought it was too sweet, so maybe I won’t need as much next time.

-Maybe try to skin the larger tomatoes next time.

This recipe was great on grilled bread, and we mixed and matched our toast toppings and sides: prosciutto, brie, burrata, poached eggs, smoked salmon, shishito peppers, and caprese salad. Tiff rounded out the “tea time and toast” theme with earl grey cookies and green tea cheesecake. Nom.

This was such a fun and laid-back dinner. The heat has been getting to me these days and I just can’t get myself to stand over a stove for more than 5 minutes.

I’m not much of a salad person. Don’t get me wrong, I love my veggies. My usual “salads” are basically cold veggie stir fry bowls. Although, lately I’ve been learning that the best way to enjoy an ingredient is to just let it BE. Bright, juicy heirloom tomatoes and creamy, fresh mozzarella is probably one of my favorite combinations in the world.

Caprese Salad

  • 3 Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Basil
  • 1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Fresh balls of Mozarella

Pour balsamic vinegar into a small pot and bring to a boil then bring it down to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes (or until the liquid is reduced by half). Meanwhile, slice tomatoes and mozarella and arrange on a place. Sprinkle with chopped fresh basil. Remove balsamic vinegar from heat and let cool.