vegetable rainbow nest with a poached egg

Kicked off the first day of May with the Whole30 challenge! Why? Well, because I need to hit the reset button on my body. Ever since I started working at The Food Network, I’ve managed to gain back all the weight (and then some ><) that I’d lost while hustling as a line cook in The NoMad Hotel kitchen. No surprise there since the smell of sweet and salty temptations waft through the halls of our Chelsea Market office every. Single. Day. And apparently, at least according to my scale, I’ve been “tasting” one too many “small-bites” of every creation coming out of the FN Kitchen…

For this colorful recipe here, a stroll through your local farmer’s market will most likely provide you with all of the ingredients you need! If you don’t have one, I do recommend purchasing a mandoline to help slice all of the vegetables. Alternatively, a vegetable peeler could work as well.

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Ingredients:

Carefully pass the carrots, radish, and asparagus through the mandoline to get them into thin slices. Arrange in a circular shape on a plate to form the “nest.” Place the poached egg in the center of the nest. Drizzle the flavored olive oil from the poached shiitake mushrooms in olive recipe over the visible parts of the nest, being sure to drop a few shiitake slices and roasted garlic. Serve with a crack of freshly ground black pepper.

porcini mushroom & truffle triangoli with seared asparagus and cremini in brown butter sage sauce

Asparagus is in season so it’s time to eat as much of it as possible! Continue reading to get my recipe for an earthy triangoli pasta dinner. Before you begin, I’d recommend you use more butter than the 4 tablespoons I used last night to get a greater yield on the brown butter sage sauce! Mine could’ve used just a wee bit more sauce.

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Ingredients:

  • Porcini mushroom & truffle triangoli
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • Cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 sage leaves, chiffonade
  • Asparagus, peeled (if thick stalks and fibrous) and coined up to tips
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese

Cook the porcini mushroom & truffle triangoli in a pot of lightly salted boiling water until it reaches your desired level of doneness.

Meanwhile, melt the butter and cook the cremini mushrooms (as much as you like without overcrowding the pan!) and sage leaves until the mushrooms are lightly browned. Add in the asparagus and cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and grated Parmesan cheese.

Drain the cooked triangoli of excess water and add to the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and gently toss until each of the triangoli is glistening from the brown butter sage sauce. Plate and enjoy! If you’d like, you can finish the dish with a top layer of grated Parmesan cheese.

unagi don w/ a poached egg & cucumbers

This post that I have for you today isn’t so much a recipe as it is a how-to guide to plate the dish I have pictured for you below. All you need to make this happen is a ring mold!

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Ingredients:

  • white rice, cooked
  • cucumbers, coined
  • pre-grilled and vacuum-packed Japanese unagi in sauce, steamed to heat up
  • poached egg
  • salted seaweed sheets, sliced into strips
  • bubu arare rice cracker

Once you have all of the above ready, it’s a simple matter of layering! First put your ring mold down on the center of your plate and fill with white rice. Remove the ring mold and top the rice with the cucumbers, a slice of the unagi, and a poached egg. To the side, sprinkle a handful of the seaweed sheets followed by the rice crackers.

In the future, I would place the unagi and a spoonful of its sauce directly on top of the rice so that the rice can soak up the sauce. The cucumber ended up being an unwanted barrier that I picked out and ate first!

endive taco w/ New York skirt steak

It was a Tuesday night after work, and I was strongly feeling the “Taco Tuesdays” vibe.

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Ingredients:

  • New York skirt steak
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1/4 cup diced red onions
  • 1/4 cup diced mini heirloom tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup diced mini bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup diced cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 small lime, zested and juiced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, the good stuff
  • 2 jalapenos, sliced, for serving
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese, for serving
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds, for serving
  • 2 endives, leaves separated and washed, for serving

Season the New York skirt steak on both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat a medium skillet over high heat and melt the butter. Place the skirt steak into the skillet and toss in the garlic cloves. Sear until desired doneness. 4 to 5 minutes on both sides will get you in the ballpark of medium-rare. When the meat is done, remove from the heat and let rest.

Meanwhile, begin dicing the vegetables and herbs for the salsa! When everything is diced, in a large bowl combine the red onions, mini heirloom tomatoes, mini bell peppers, cucumber, chopped cilantro, the lime zest and juice, olive oil, and salt to taste.

Slice the meat and serve with the salsa, jalapenos, goat cheese, pomegranate seeds, and endives. You can put the endive tacos together in advance to serve your guests, but I’m more about letting the guests serve themselves however they like.

We only had goat cheese in the house at the time, but you can use any type of cheese you prefer with your tacos. Same goes for any of the garnishes!

easy weeknight lasagna featuring TJ’s no-boil lasagna noodles

So you know how lasagnas are usually reserved for dinner on weekend nights? Well, not anymore! TJ’s recently (or maybe not, who knows? I just recently noticed it on the shelves so it’s recent to me) came out with sheets of No-Boil Lasagna Noodles that can be layered right into the baking pan without having to be boiled first. So although it’s not the best lasagna that I’ve made in my life, it’s still pretty good. But more importantly, and here’s the selling point, it’s one less pot to wash on a weeknight which makes it a YES in my book.

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Ingredients:

  • Trader Joe’s No-Boil Lasagna Noodles
  • 1-pound ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28-ounce can San Marzano peeled tomatoes
  • Tomato paste
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Ricotta
  • Parmesan
  • Basil, chiffonade plus whole leaves for serving

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In the meantime, brown the ground beef in a saucepan over high heat. When the meat is browned, add in the onions, garlic and entire can of San Marzano peeled tomatoes. Lower the heat to medium and let everything cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down. Add in the tomato paste, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Continue stirring and cooking down the sauce until it reaches your desired consistency.

Now it’s time to layer your lasagna! Grab your baking pan and spread enough sauce to cover the bottom of the pan. On top of that goes your first sheet of lasagna noodles. Then sauce again, followed by ricotta, Parmesan, chiffonade(d?) basil, and lasagna noodles. Repeat with as many layers as will fit in your baking pan, leaving about 1/2-inch at the top to prevent overflow. Bake the lasagna in the oven until cooked through, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, slice, and serve with an optional basil leaf for garnish.

Hopefully you have enough sauce to get you through! I didn’t make it, as you can see by that dried-out piece of noodle peeking through the cheese on my top layer ><.

pan-seared salmon w/ oven-roasted asparagus

Looking for a quick and easy recipe on a Monday night? I’d recommend you give my pan-seared salmon with oven-roasted asparagus dinner a try! From the time you pop the asparagus into the oven, you can count on sitting down to a delicious dinner in under 30 minutes.

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Ingredients:

  • asparagus
  • salmon fillet
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • half a lemon, for serving, optional

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In the meantime, rub enough olive oil to coat each stalk of asparagus and season with salt and pepper. Line them in a single layer on a baking sheet and pop into the oven until cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes.

While the asparagus is roasting in the oven, heat a pan over high heat. Season the salmon fillet on both sides with salt and pepper. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and sear the salmon (presentation side down first) on both sides until desired consistency. For me, about 4 minutes per side for a 1.5 inch salmon is perfect. Plate with half a lemon, optional for the asparagus, and enjoy!

spinach & mushroom quinoa

So when did Meatless Mondays become a thing? I’ve heard of it, and occasionally practiced it, but I never really knew where it originated from. Until today. After a quick research online, I’ve learned that Meatless Mondays was launched in 2003 by The Monday Campaigns; the non-profit group that is also credited with several other Healthy Monday initiatives such as Move It Monday – how cute! Anyway, as found on their website, the goal of Meatless Mondays is “to reduce meat consumption by 15% for our personal health and the health of the planet.” I can stand behind that!

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Ingredients:

  • tricolor quinoa
  • spinach
  • cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • shallot, finely diced
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • lemon, for juice (optional)
  • parmesan cheese, for grating (optional)

Directions:

  1. Rinse the quinoa and cook in a pot over the stove, 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water, by bringing the water to a boil and then lowering to a simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the excess water has evaporated and the germs (the nutrient packed little white rings) are visible.
  2. When the quinoa is almost done cooking, start sweating the finely diced shallots in olive oil until translucent in a large pan.
  3. Add the cremini mushroom slices to the pan with the shallots, without overcrowding, and saute until browned. Turn off the heat.
  4. By now the quinoa should be done. Drop a large handful of spinach in a layer over the cooked mushrooms before scooping the cooked quinoa out of the pot and into the pan over the spinach. The residual heat from the mushrooms and the quinoa should wilt the spinach.
  5. Toss everything in the pan together, seasoning to taste with salt and an optional squeeze of lemon juice.
  6. I also grated in some parmesan cheese, but that’s just a personal preference. Feel free to tinker with the recipe as you wish!