Category: recipes

bacon + leek frittata

20160320 Leeks + Bacon Frittata 1 of 1

I am extremely basic when it comes to brunch. Is it my deep love of bacon and sausage? The fact that I find eggs the most versatile of food products? When I’m not swimming in debt and if hashtags are still in, I will be repping #ladieswhobrunch so hard.

Unfortunately, the side effect of my basic love is that others share it. I’ve got competition when I go brunching! It’s not a cute amble with your gal pals into an adorable cafe. You’ve got an hour waitlist. SOMETIMES TWO. We are breaching lunch time now and someone is going to get hangry. It’s most likely going to be me.

You know what the solution is: brunch at home. Invite your chickas over. NO WAITS! DRINK AS MANY MIMOSAS AS WANT WITHOUT JUDGMENT! TALK ABOUT ALL THE INAPPROPRIATE THINGS YOU WANT WITHOUT FEAR OF BEING OVERHEARD! Wait, is that just my friends and me? Please tell me it isn’t.

Anyway I’m talking a frittata today. Because, you know, the above mentioned: bacon + eggs. I like the idea of French toast but will ALWAYS go savory over sweet. Enjoy!

bacon + leek frittata

  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 4 cups leeks, sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup onions, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used soy.)
  • 1/2 cup cheese, shredded (TJ’s Parmesan, Romano and Asiago Cheese)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Set oven to 350 degrees.

Cook bacon on skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Add leeks. Cook for two minutes. Add tomatoes, onions and garlic. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Cook until onions are translucent. Pour into a baking dish. Top with half the cheese.

Beat eggs with milk, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pour into baking dish.

Top with remaining cheese.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until egg is set.

brisket hamantaschen


To all those celebrating, happy Purim! I was recently told the story which is about Haman (bad guy) vs. Mordecai (good guy). To sum up: man dislikes Jews, Jews fight back and win, let’s celebrate! Supposedly hamantaschen are an imitation of Haman’s ears? Or his hat? My big question is why are we eating something reminiscent of the bad guy? Shouldn’t there be a celebratory treat commemorating Mordecai? Or really Esther who convinced the king to save the Jews? If someone knows the answer, let me know. ANYWAY, ears and hat analogy aside, hamantaschen are adorable three-pointed pastries.

I love a sweet treat but this recipe for a savory hamantaschen inspired me. Let’s take that tri-cornered cookie south and fill it with a mouthwatering, saucy brisket. And, baby, this brisket was dolled up so it’s got some heat on it. You have been warned. It’s not cartoon forest-fire-on-your-head hot but it’s got a slow building kick.

Now the brisket recipe is all about the slow burn. Turn it on in the morning and it’ll be ready when you get home from work. The dough isn’t a crumbly cookie but a soft bread. Think calzone. Bonus: it has a quick turnaround so you could make this within an hour or less if you wanted!

brisket hamantaschen

  • 1 pound brisket
  • 1 18-ounce bottle BBQ sauce (I used TJ’s Bold & Smoky Kansas City Barbecue Sauce)
  • 8 serrano chili peppers, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
  • 1 0.25 ounce package (or 2 1/4 teaspoon) of active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 cup bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Place brisket in slow cooker on low heat. Add bbq sauce, chili peppers and liquid smoke. Cook 6-8 hours or until meat is tender. Once done, shred using a knife and fork. Let cool.

Combine yeast, sugar and water in a large mixing bowl. Let sit for ten minutes.
Add flour, olive oil and salt. Mix well. Cover and let sit for five minutes.
Lightly flour a clean countertop. Roll out dough until 1/4 inch thick.
Cut into circles using a biscuit/cookie cutter.

If you’re like me and MacGyvering it, you can use a Tecate beer can and a glass with a defined edge for a rolling pin and cutter. I keep it class, ya’ll.

Remove brisket from the slow cooker. Drain and roughly chop.

Lightly brush the beaten egg on the inside of the dough. Place a tablespoon of brisket in the center. Pinch the dough at three corners of the dough, making sure the pinches are equal distances from each other. Pinch tightly!

Place a teaspoon of sauce in the center of the dough pocket you’ve created. Lightly wash the outside with the beaten egg, especially the seams.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

lamb casserole


When my mom came two weeks ago, she does what she always does: feverishly buys me food because, duh, food is love. Also she is under the impression that I don’t eat vegetables (I do.) and I won’t buy meat because it’s expensive (I don’t.). The final tally of groceries after a weekend with my mom had me doing refrigerator tetris but I can’t say I wasn’t excited by the five pounds of lamb she bought. There have been lamb tacos and roast lamb but my favorite so far, especially in this brisk weather, is the casserole.

I just finished off the last of what I made and, even still, the rich scent lingers in the bowl, wafting over and making me salivate. It’s a hearty thing, plied with vegetables and chunks of luscious lamb. I would recommend it with a bowl of whole wheat pasta. Perhaps a dish to consider making for all my fellow Northeasterners as another winter storm is predicted to hit?

Stay warm and happy Monday.

lamb casserole

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound lamb shoulder, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 large onion, chopped
  • 4 small carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1/2 28 ounce can of peeled tomatoes
  • 2 cups red wine (cabernet sauvignon)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 teaspoon chicken bouillon
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Heat oil in a Dutch oven pot over medium-high heat. Wait until hot to add lamb. Brown the lamb. Add garlic, onion, carrots, and celery. Let cook until onions almost translucent. Add tomatoes, wine, water and chicken bouillon. Bring to a boil before turning down to simmer. Mix in thyme, salt and pepper. Let simmer for 30-60 minutes. Serve with pasta.

pasta alla puttanesca


This is my guilty pleasure. It’s my quick and dirty comfort food. Besides who can resist a pasta that is made “in the style of a prostitute”? Carbs in a heaven of savory salty goodness. You slut.

pasta alla puttanesca
serves 2-3

  • 1/2 bag of pasta (I used whole wheat penne)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 anchovies
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1/2 28-ounce can of peeled tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • salt to taste
  • cheese to garnish (optional)- I used Trader Joe’s Parmesan, Romano & Asiago Cheese.

Boil water for pasta. Add pasta and cook according to instructions. You want the pasta al dente. Drain and return pasta to the same pot.

While the water boils, heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and anchovies. Let the anchovies melt into a paste. Add the capers, tomatoes, red pepper, oregano, pepper and salt. Break up the tomatoes with a spoon. Simmer until the pasta is ready to be drained.

Add sauce to pasta and toss over low heat.

Serve with cheese.

20160302 Pasta alla Puttanesca 3 of 3

watermelon + nectarine caprese salad

Lifetoast 6 of 9

Mom gives a hefty thump thump to see which gives the hollow reply of a sweet, juicy center. I wrap my arms around the chosen one, being careful to hold it tightly. When we get home, she’ll takes out the largest cleaver. Thwack! Thwack thwack thack I watch with fascination as she makes quick work of the watermelon, reducing it to perfect cubes. As she cuts, I grab at the thick rinds to munch on any lingering bits. Perfection.

Lifetoast 7 of 9Watermelon is a quintessential summer fruit of my childhood. We have always salted ours before eating. The salt lets the sweetness of the melon blaze through.

Let’s making something brilliant with this. Add nectarines for diversity, mozzarella because cheese you know, some basil and mint for herby goodness, and balsamic glaze for tang. All things are excellent separately but together..phenomenal.

watermelon + nectarine caprese salad//

1/4 medium watermelon, cubed
2 nectarines, sliced
4 ounces mozzarella, cubed
1/3 cup basil
1/4 cup mint
1/2 tablespoon coarse sea salt
2-3 tablespoons balsamic glaze*

Toss ingredient together. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Lifetoast 8 of 9

*balsamic glaze//

2 cups balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup sugar

Combine over medium heat until sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for about 20-30 minutes, or until glaze is reduced to half. Let cool and store in a jar. Refrigerate.

chicken spring rolls

Spring Rolls  10 of 11

Today is a bonanza. I’m talking to you about chicken spring rolls but really I’m bringing you the option to have…a SPRING ROLL PARTAY. What I love about this is you can prep everything but the rice paper and vermicelli beforehand! I’ll let you know how I made mine and give you other options to add to your spring roll conga line!

Let’s start with what’s in my spring roll:1 Rice Vermicelli  1


  • 1 package of rice paper (not pictured)
  • Pickled carrots (recipe below)
  • Vietnamese chicken (recipe below)
  • 1 cup of cilantro, minced
  • 3/4 head of romaine lettuce, cut into thin strips
  • 1 package of rice vermicelli- 1 bunch inside the package
  • Peanut sauce, for dipping (not pictured + recipe below)

chicken spring rolls//
makes 8-10 rolls

Make the rice noodles/vermicelli according to directions. Let cool prior to starting.

Start by placing a rice paper into a large shallow plate filled with about a 1/4 inch of water. Spin around in the water, making sure to get the edges wet. Let it only sit for a few seconds. Carefully lift out of the water and place onto a clean flat surface.

Add toppings to the top 1/3 of the sheet. Don’t add too much or the paper will rip! I started with pickled carrots. Then added the chicken. (Recipes for carrots and chicken below!) Next up is the lettuce and cilantro.
Spring Rolls  5 of 11

Finally top with rice vermicelli. Now start rolling! And keep it tight! Spring Rolls  7 of 11

Tuck in the filling while folding the side so nothing falls out! Now roll towards the top of your wrapper. Continue to keep it tight. Spring Rolls  8 of 11

Finito!Spring Rolls  9 of 11
Dip in peanut sauce and eat! Spring Rolls  11 of 11

Other meat options:

  • If you’re more into pork, you can substitute the chicken thigh with pork loin/shoulder to be marinated.
  • You could also do shrimp spring rolls! Buy peeled, de-veined shrimp and give them a quick boil until pink!
  • Grilled extra firm tofu slathered with soy sauce would be an excellent idea for vegetarians/vegans!

Other possible filling options:

  • Pickled daikon
  • Cucumbers, peeled and cut into strips
  • Mint
  • Jalapeños, thinly sliced and seeded
  • Peanuts, crush
  • Scallions, deep-fried
  • Egg rolls, fried and halved

Vietnamese chicken//

  • 1 1/4 pound chicken thigh, cut into strips
  • 1/4 small onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon thick soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons sugar

Combine the onion, garlic, pepper, soy sauce, oil, and sugar. Add chicken, making sure to thoroughly coat all pieces. Refrigerate for 4-5 hours up to overnight. Set skillet on medium-high heat. Cook chicken until cooked through.

pickled carrots//

  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips*
  • 1 small poblano pepper, cut into thin strips and seeded
  • 3/4 tablespoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 cup water

Massage carrots with salt and sugar. Put into a well-sealed jar. Add rice wine vinegar and water. Use after 30 minutes. Refrigerate.

*If you would like to add some pickled radish, I would purchase a medium daikon radish. Peel it and cut into thin strips. Just double the salt, sugar, vinegar and water.

peanut sauce//

  • 2 1/2  teaspoons peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Crushed peanuts (optional)

Combine well. Garnish with crushed peanuts if you would like!

brown rice, two ways

Lifetoast  6 of 8

Cinnamon and sugar always makes me think of those cinnamon twists from Taco Bell. Remember those?! My best friend and I used to ransack our homes for change so we could drive to the local Taco Bell after classes. I’d always get a crunchy taco with lots of medium sauce on the side and cinnamon twists. Anyway, this isn’t about those cinnamon twists- which I should one day recreate- but about how with cinnamon and sugar, we can make two things with brown rice: horchata and rice pudding!

It’s really the best of both worlds. After using the rice to make the horchata, I used the strained rice to make rice pudding. The non-wasting Asian genes in me rejoice. 

Served over ice, horchata is the perfect drink for this steamy weather. The rice pudding is lightly sweetened and great for a quick morning breakfast on the go. 

brown rice horchata//

  • 1 1/3 cup brown rice
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/3 cup sugar 
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup skim milk*

Blend together the rice, cinnamon and 2 cups of water for a minute. Add the remaining water. Refrigerate overnight. Using a sieve, strain the rice water. Set aside rice. Add sugar, vanilla extract and milk. Stir and serve over ice.

Lifetoast  8 of 8

brown rice pudding//

  • 1 1/3 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups of skim milk*
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup**
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Put water and salt into a pot and bring to a boil. Add set aside rice. Simmer rice on for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain rice. Return rice to pot. Add in 2 cups of milk, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Cook for 15-20 minutes. Add remaining milk and beaten egg. Cook for 2 minutes more. Take off stove and mix in butter and vanilla extract. Serve cold. 

*If you would like either creamier, use whole milk instead.
** Sweeten this to taste! If you’d like it sweeter, you can increase it to a half cup.  

mini corn dogs


Did you know Thursday was National Hot Dog Day? Or that Friday was National Tequila Day? One. Who makes these holidays official? Two. Is there a calendar I can buy to remember these days?

Unfortunately, I couldn’t take part in National Tequila Day. I drank a glass of port after clinic and was knocked out for a few hours. Let’s be honest, my tolerance is embarrassing. Is this the effects of aging?! I’m going to go with my body is a temple and views alcohol as toxic.

Although my body rejected National Tequila Day, it was all about celebrating hot dogs. As a child, it was one of three pre-approved foods that I could eat on my own. I ate them religiously. The only thing that could make them better is nestling those supple dogs in a warm blanket of cornmeal and deep frying them! And making them mini, but of course. 

mini corn dogs//

1/2 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
generous pinch of black pepper
1 egg
1/2 cup almond milk
4 beef hot dogs, halved
Vegetable or canola oil for frying
Skewers (wooden ones work best; I used cake pop sticks and chopsticks in a pinch!)

Combine cornmeal, 1/2 cup flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and pepper in a tall narrow glass container. I used an old Pom jar. Add egg and milk. Store in fridge until ready.


Pour oil into a saucepan. Set over medium heat.
Skewer the hog dog in the center. Pour the remaining flour onto a plate. Roll the hot dog in the flour. Tap off the excess. Dip into the cornmeal batter, allowing excess to drip off. 


Place the hot dog into the saucepan. Roll while frying. Remove once it turns a deep golden brown. Drain on paper towels. 


Serve with your favorite condiments. Might I suggest curry ketchup?! I used a 1:3 ratio of Madras curry:ketchup. Adjust accordingly.

OH. By the way. Chippendales? Wayyy above expectations. 

chocolate chip blondies

_20150129.Chocolate chip blondies.1

How can sitting in a chair and staring at a computer for hours be so tiring? Studying is embarrassingly exhausting. It seems as if every time I talk to an old friend I’m telling them that I’m taking exams. Again? they ask. Yes, yes. AGAIN. Spring semester is too short so NINE finals are already upon us. The sweet flip side is that the first session of summer has only THREE classes. And only on Tuesdays and Thursdays!!! I will soon have time to do things normal people do! Like wear real clothes! So what I’m trying to say is that dental school has totally consumed my life.

Yesterday I was trying to burn as much details about composite versus amalgam into my brain that I was nursing a headache by mid-day. I said a prayer, put Taylor Swift on Pandora and started browning butter for blondies. Because, you know, that’s what you do hours before your first final.

chocolate chip blondies//
I recently found out what the difference between brownies and blondies are: blondies are made with vanilla instead of cocoa  and brown sugar instead of white sugar. The vanilla version of brownies! These blondies are chewy, more fudgy than cake-y and a bit denser than chocolate chip cookies. And don’t leave out browning the butter! It’s an extra step but it’s what gives the blondies that complex nutty flavor. Yum.

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup butter, unsalted
1 3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks

Set oven to 350 degrees.
Butter a 9×13 baking pan. Line with parchment paper and butter parchment paper.

Over low heat, brown the butter. Just wait until the nice golden yellow bits are a caramel brown. Let cool for a few minutes before adding the brown sugar.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Mix together. Add the butter-sugar mixture. Then add the eggs and vanilla extract. Mix well. Fold in half the chocolate chunks. The batter will be thick.

Pour into the pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate.

Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

greek salad

_20150116.Greek Salad.1

When we lived in Sugar Land, Saturdays were for Panera Bread. My mom would peek into my room, waking me up for coffee. It was one of the very few things I would drag myself out of bed for: hazelnut coffee and a toasted everything bagel. Yum.

In high school, my world had a three mile radius from my home. Panera was a staple, a key place for juicy, very important conversations with my bestie. It was also where I obnoxiously took up a table for hours when I was studying for the DAT after college. I’ve got fond memories of that place.

Anyway, whenever I went during lunch, I would hem and haw but would always get the Greek salad. It was fresh and tangy and I felt fairly virtuous ordering it, even if I paired it with a sandwich.

Center City just got a Panera recently (!!!) but it’s a walk from where I live. After gorging myself on pastries during my recent trip abroad, I’ve been dying for more greens. Here’s the byproduct of my Panera + greens cravings:

greek salad.
for one serving
1/2 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
1 plum tomato, diced
2 red onion slices, diced
7 peperoncini slices
5 kalamata olives, pitted
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

greek salad dressing.
for 4-5 servings
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored! It’s just me expressing my Panera Bread love.