easy weeknight posole.

Hi there! It appears that spring has finally sprung here in NY, and this weekend was a mixture of rain and sun, with temperatures climbing towards the upper 60s. Crazy!

Due to this spring weather, I should probably be showing you a super fresh, veggie heavy salad. Next time. 🙂 Instead, I’m going to show you a recipe that will repurpose leftover pulled pork into a whole new dish. You see, a few weekends ago I cooked up a pork shoulder and being only one person in the house, a pork shoulder always yields way more than I need! Naturally you can throw it in tortillas, top pizza, make burrito bowls, slather it with your favorite sauce, but I was wanting something decidedly different with the leftovers. Enter posole! A classic Mexican dish, made with cumin, chiles, tomato and hominy, and of course, some of that leftover pork stashed away in the freezer.

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Traditional recipes call for making a salsa/puree from dried chiles, and cooking that together with the raw pork, slowly over a low temperature. Absolutely delicious, but very time consuming. This recipe, adapted from Martha Stewart, takes less than 30 minutes to come together, as we’re using tomato paste and chile powder in lieu of the dried chiles, and already cooked meat. I also threw in a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes for some extra body, but you can leave them out if you so desire. Easy enough to be whipped together any weeknight evening, and tastes like you’ve been slaving away all day. Love that.

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Posole can be red or green (dependent upon chile type), and is typically very simple: pork and hominy. The garnishes really take it over the top. I garnished this simply with sliced radishes, some cilantro and a squeeze of lime. You can top with thinly sliced corn tortillas, sliced avocado, etc. The options are endless.

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easy weeknight red posole.
adapted from Martha Stewart, One Pot. 

ingredients
1.5-2 cups shredded pork (or chicken or beef), already cooked
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chile powder
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
2 cups water
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 14 ounce can of hominy, drained and rinsed
1 14 ounce fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
1 lime, cut into wedges for garnish
1/3 cup cilantro leaves chopped, for garnish
corn tortillas, cut into strips, for garnish

directions

Heat a soup pot over medium heat, add the oil and heat. Add the onion and garlic and let saute, 3-5 minutes, until translucent and soft. Add the chile power, stirring often, for an additional 2 minutes, being careful not to burn. Add cumin, salt, tomato paste and water, and stir to combine. Stir often and allow the mixture to come up to a simmer, thicken, and combine (this is basically an enchilada sauce!). The simmering/thickening process should take about 10 minutes.

Add the 4 cups chicken stock, cooked pork, drained hominy, and diced tomatoes. Bring mixture to boil, reduce to a simmer, and let the soup gently simmer for 20 minutes, or as long as you’d like. Ladle into bowls, and top with thinly sliced radishes, chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.

Serves 4-6.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

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southern ham, greens + black eyed pea soup.

Hi there! I hope you’ve been enjoying the holiday season, and your Christmas and Hanukkah were (and are!) filled with joy, celebrations, relaxation, and of course, delicious food!

My dad and I cook Christmas dinner for our family, and this year we cooked a whole beef tenderloin, a grilled whole salmon, and I was responsible for everyone’s favorite hasselback potato gratin (probably everyone’s ‘favorite’, because it’s positively laden with cream and cheese, and I only make it once a year because it’s so unhealthy but OH-SO good. I use Kenji Lopez-Alt’s recipe, which can be found here). I also made these beans, which are simple and delicious. Everything was lovely and delicious, and I ate way too much. As you do for the holidays.

Speaking of holidays… let’s usher in the first holiday of 2017 with this soup.

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This recipe is one that I came up with a few years ago, when I was flipping through a cooking magazine and stopped on a warm ham, black eyed pea, and barley salad. I morphed that salad into a soup, surprised my boyfriend who loved black eyed peas with it, and it quickly became a favorite. Legend has it in the South that eating black eyed peas on New Years will bring you prosperity in the following year. So it’s the perfect time to bring you this recipe.

Starting this recipe by frying up a few pieces of bacon imparts a nice smokiness that will carry over to the finished soup. Because we’re using bacon and ham, go light on the salt and only use if needed; tasting often as you cook and develop the flavors. The collard greens and barley will cook for almost an hour, allowing the soup to develop a deep, complex flavor. At the very end, we’re going to add in a splash of hot sauce and cider vinegar, which adds a delectable bit of kick that finishes the soup beautifully.

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As it’s traditional in the Southern US to eat black eyed peas on New Year’s Day, they’re traditionally made with fat back ham, bacon, ham hocks, or other smoky pork. They’re typically eaten with some type of slow cooked green, like collards, turnip or mustard greens. A lot of preparation goes into those dishes; so I love that this soup incorporates all those elements into a one pot dish.

I hope 2017 is a healthy and limitless one for you and all of your loved ones!

southern ham + black eyed pea soup. 

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ingredients
1 medium onion, large dice
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cans black eyed peas, rinsed/drained
1/2 bunch collard greens, thinly sliced
6 cups low sodium chicken broth (up to 2 additional cups to thin out, if needed)
2 pieces bacon, diced
2 cup diced ham
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. cider vinegar
Tabasco
salt and pepper to taste

directions
Cook bacon in large pot until browned. Remove and drain. Dice onion, carrot and celery into a large dice. In large pot that bacon was cooked in, saute garlic, onion, carrot and celery in bacon drippings over moderate heat until onion is translucent.

While onion mixture is cooking, discard stems and ribs from collards and finely chop leaves. Set aside.

Add broth, oregano and barley to the onion mixture, add bacon. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium/medium low and let simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Add collard greens and chopped ham and let the whole mixture for about 20-25 minutes longer, until collards and barley are tender.

Mash half of the black eyed peas with a fork, and add the beans to the soup. Simmer 10 minutes longer, add pepper, salt, Tabasco and cider vinegar to taste. (Because the ham and bacon are salty, additional salt may not be needed). Serves 6.

**Please use organic ingredients wherever possible** 

whole wheat pasta with prosciutto, cherry tomatoes + asiago.

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I was bored one weekend day, and was flipping through some magazines, when the cover photo on one of them caught my eye. Pasta dishes very rarely make me oh and ah, but this one caught my attention for two reasons. 1. It sounded SO summery; combined two of my favorite things: cooked baby tomatoes and zucchini. 2. Most important! I actually had every. single. ingredient. Right at that exact moment hanging out in my kitchen. I mean, how crazy fortuitous! I knew I had to make it.

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Confession: I may not have had every identical ingredient, so I swapped whole wheat thin spaghetti for the original’s penne, and I used a cheese blend from Trader Joe’s that included asiago, parmesan and romano in place of just asiago. This is a delicious, elegant dish that comes together in under 30 minutes (hello, weeknight meal!), but it’s different and inventive enough for guests.

You will need 8 ounces of pasta for four people. That’s a half of a normal box. I realize that this doesn’t sound like much, but trust me. Two ounces is the normal serving size, and with everything else going on in the pasta, two ounces is all you need! It’s super filling and oh-so-delicious. And it uses gorgeous summer produce. Pasta perfection I’d say.

pasta with prosciutto, cherry tomatoes + asiago.
adapted from Cooking Light, June 2016.

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ingredients

8 ounces whole wheat pasta (I used thin spaghetti)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 ounce prosciutto, thinly sliced and coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
6-8 garlic cloves, minced
â…› teaspoon, crushed red pepper
1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 ounces Asiago cheese blend, grated and divided (I use Trader Joe’s blend of Asiago/Parmesan/Romano)
â…“ cup fresh parsley, chopped

directions

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add prosciutto, cook for 3 minutes or until crisp. Remove prosciutto from pan.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to pan. Turn pan down to medium heat (this will ensure the garlic doesn’t burn). Add onion, garlic and red pepper and saute for 4 minutes, or until onion is translucent and soft and garlic is fragrant. Add zucchini and cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and salt; cook 3 minutes. Stir in pasta and vinegar; cook 30 seconds.

Remove pan from heat; stir in parsley, prosciutto and 1 ounce of cheese. Divide pasta mixture among the four bowl and top with remaining 1 ounce of cheese.

Serves 4.

hot + sour soup.

Hello there! We are in a bit of a cold spell here in NY, with a few inches of snow and temperatures in the 20s. Winter had about six months to show up, and it barely did, but I suppose one last hurrah in early April is its sendoff. Call me crazy, but I’m more than ok with it! I’m not ready for hot, summer temperatures, because when it’s chilly, it’s still soup season, and today we’re making a take-out classic right at home!

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Hot and sour soup is something I generally order when I get Chinese take-out, I just love the balance of flavors, and by eating a brothy soup I’m usually less likely to overindulge in scallion pancakes, sesame beef or my favorite guilty pleasure, shrimp egg rolls.

I was perusing a recent issue of Wegmans Menu Magazine, and the issue had multiple Asian-inspired recipes, and this soup caught my eye. I’ve really come to love mushrooms as an adult, and they are wonderful for you. Add some ground pork, aromatics, and some Asian cooking staples, and you’ve got a soup fit for company and cozy nights in, all done in under 45 minutes! How’s that for easy, comforting, healthy and inspired?

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hot + sour soup.
barely adapted from Wegmans Menu Magazine.

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Ingredients

1 tbsp. grapeseed oil
1 lb. organic ground pork
2 tbsp. garlic, minced (about 4 cloves)
2 tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and minced
10 ounces of shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed. Thinly slice.
8 cups of organic chicken broth
3 tbsp. cornstarch
¼ cup warm water
½ cup gluten free soy sauce (reduced sodium)
½ cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tsp. white pepper
1.5 tsps. sesame oil
1organic egg, beaten
3-4 scallions, thinly sliced on bias (green parts only)
salt, if needed

Directions

Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium high heat. Add pork, and cook, stirring to break up any large pieces, for 5 minutes, or until no longer pink. Drain.

Add pork back to pot, and add garlic, ginger and mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes longer.

Add broth; bring to simmer. Cook for 10 minutes. While simmering, mix together cornstarch and water in a small bowl until well combined and smooth.

Add soy sauce, rice vinegar, pepper, and sesame oil to pot; stir to combine. Add cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly until well combined. Slowly drizzle egg into soup, stirring constantly.

Garnish soup with scallions before serving.

Makes 12 cups.

**Please use all organic ingredients wherever possible**

orecchiette with sausage + rappi.

Hey there! Long time, no talk. I know I’ve been MIA, and my deepest apologies to my readers (all 6 or 8 or you. Hi friends!). Work has been absolutely insane, and months of work ramped up and finally culminated last week with a big site visit/interview/audit that will help determine if our program will be able to add a shiny, brand new residency to our repertoire! It has been a crazy amount of work by several people and it was actually quite surreal that it actually happened last week. Of course, the very next day I hopped on a plane to attend a conference and happily, see some dear friends that lived in the D.C. area and of course, squeeze in some time for the National Zoo! It was whirlwind, but so fun and exhausting. Now I’m back and trying to get into the groove of my routine. I’ve been eating way too much take out and snack/pseudo meals due to my schedule. Now that I’m home, it’s time to get back in the kitchen.

One of the first meals I ever made myself was a riff on this recipe, although I used pre-made Italian dressing as my “flavoring” and used diced chicken and steamed broccoli. It was my I’m-new-to-cooking-and-this-is-my-go-to-I-won’t-screw-up meal, and I ate it OFTEN. Now that my cooking skills have improved, it’s rare that I use a pre-made dressing for a marinade/sauce, and little did I know that pasta with Italian sausage, broccoli rabe (a lovely, bitter green) and cheese is a classic Italian dish that is stunningly delicious and simple! I scooped up some beautiful sweet Italian sausage on sale a few weeks ago and it’s been hanging in my freezer just waiting to be used. Even though I’ve been eating lots of take out, finally decompressing from work and travel combined with frozen temperatures have resulted in me craving some serious Italian comfort foods.

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As I’ve mentioned before, if I’m going to eat Italian, I prefer to make it, and this recipe is a great example of why. Just a few good ingredients combined with a relatively quick cooking process yields a beautiful, classic,comforting dish. Broccoli rabe is often called rappi or rapini at the grocery store, and its bitter flavor mellows out during the cooking process. This dish comes together in no time flat, and is crazy comforting. Enjoy!

orecchiette with sausage + broccoli rabe.
adapted from Williams + Sonoma. 

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ingredients

1/2 pound sweet italian sausage, casings removed
1 bunch broccoli rabe, end of stems removed and chopped into 1 inch pieces (about 1 pound)
1/2 pound orecchiette pasta
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
pinch of crushed red pepper
salt and pepper to taste

directions

Heat a pot of water until boiling. Cook past to package directions. Once finished, drain and set aside; do NOT rinse.

Meanwhile, heat a heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the sausage, breaking it up as it cooks. Once it is all browned and cooked through, remove to a fine mesh strainer or plate. Set aside.

Add chicken broth and garlic to the pan and allow to come to a fast simmer. Once simmering, reduce heat slightly to medium and add the broccoli rabe and crushed red pepper. Stir frequently, allowing the greens to wilt, about 3 minutes. Once wilted but still bright green, add sausage back in along with the cooked pasta. Add parmesan cheese and stir to combine.

The chicken stock will have thickened; if it is still very thin, reduce heat to low and allow the dish to come together for a few additional minutes; stirring often. Taste and add salt and/or pepper if necessary.

Divide among four bowls and serve, topping with additional cheese, if desired. Serves 4.

**Please use all organic ingredients wherever possible**

slow cooker spicy + sweet honey shredded pork.

Hi! How was your New Years? Did you do anything fun and exciting or keep it low key? New Years has never been a big celebratory holiday for me, but this year was perfect: a few close friends and I gathered at an apartment, feasted on cheese, bread, wine, champagne punch and cheesecake as we watched old episodes of Sex and the City until it was time to tune into the network’s festivities. We had tentative plans to go and and whoop it up college day-style, but ultimately laziness and comfort won us over. It was a wonderful, chill evening that was completely my style. Great friends are one of life’s most beautiful blessings!

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I decided to kick off the new year with a new twist on an old, tried and true favorite: pulled pork. It is so incredibly versatile and can be prepared in endless ways. I usually go for a true barbecue style rub and slather it up in homemade BBQ sauce, or throw it on pizza with caramelized onions, jack cheese and more sauce. Mm. But that’s for another time. Today, I switched up the flavors to include a spice blend kicked up with cayenne pepper and flavored with raw wildflower honey and cider vinegar. The end result is slightly sweet with a little bit of a kick, but not overtly aggressive in flavor, so it can be eaten plain, or jazzed up in a variety of ways. I usually just stuff it in organic corn tortillas, top with some avocado, lettuce and a squeeze of lime and I’m a happy girl.

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I hope you give this a try and enjoy it as much as I do!

spicy and sweet honey shredded pork.

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ingredients

1 3 pound pork shoulder (bone in or boneless)
1 onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 bay leaf
2.5 tablespoons paprika
1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons cracked black pepper, plus a pinch.
2.5 teaspoons sea or kosher salt, plus a pinch.
3/4-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (less depending on your heat tolerance).
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup raw wildflower honey

directions

Preheat a large, heavy bottomed skillet (cast iron is ideal) over medium high heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When hot and shimmering, season pork liberally with a pinch of salt and pepper and add to skillet, cooking for 2-3 minutes per side, until nice and brown. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, slice the onion and layer in the bottom of the crockpot with the garlic and the bay leaf. In a small bowl, mix together the paprika, smoked paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, salt and cayenne. Mix together with a fork, and add in the cider vinegar and honey. Place pork shoulder on top of the onions and garlic, and spoon the spice mix over the pork; smoothing it on with a pastry brush or spatula.

Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours, or on high for 4-5. Once tender when pierced with a fork, remove to a cutting board. If your pork had a bone (like mine), simply remove with tongs, as the pork will be falling off the bone. Shred with two forks, and serve. I like mine simply with a squeeze of lime.

Delicious in tacos, over rice, piled on a bun, or eaten plain standing over the cutting board. 🙂

Serves 6-8.

**Please use organic ingredients wherever possible**