Tag Archives: gluten-free

Cooking Food

Grilled Baby Eggplant

Today’s post is about babies. My baby brother just had a baby. She’s named after a food!

When I was five and my new baby brother came home from the hospital, I couldn’t sleep. I kept thinking about all the things that I had to teach him about life and then fretting about the appropriate sequence. I got up and went to his room, and looking down at him, sighed and thought, “You have so much to learn.” Now that he’s had his own baby over 35 years later, I’m thinking the same thing. Wait, why do you think I’m neurotic again?

Luckily, I don’t feel I need to teach baby eggplant much of anything. Babies are so cute, and these are no exception. Awww, look at these sweet little aubergines.

I’m embarrassed to even call this a recipe, it’s so easy. But it’s really yummy. Just slice the babies in half:

Brush both sides generously with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Put them on a hot grill for 3-4 minutes per side, until the flesh is soft and turns a light caramel hue.

Adjust seasoning to taste, sprinkle with pepper and garnish with some cilantro. Yum! You can use the same simple technique with full-sized eggplant too — just slice and grill until the flesh is soft.



  • 5-6 baby eggplant
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • cilantro, for garnish


Heat a grill. Slice eggplant into halves and brush both sides generously with olive oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Reserve the leftover olive oil.

When the grill is hot, place the halves flat side down and grill covered for 3-4 minutes. You should see clear, grill marks on the surface when you turn them over. Grill on the other side for another 3-4 minutes. Eggplant is cooked when the flesh is soft.

Put on a plate, add pepper and adjust salt to taste. Optionally, drizzle with leftover extra virgin olive oil. Garnish with cilantro.

Serves 4 (as a side).

Cooking Food

Eggs Benedict California

I’m ashamed to say that I missed National Eggs Benedict Day, but I am recovering from a malady for which I am taking Mucinex DM for cough and chest congestion. And though I know there is nothing hotter than hearing a woman talk about taking Mucinex DM, I will move along to the recipe at hand.

I was inspired by eggs benedict (can you say eggs benedict without saying Eggs Benedict Arnold? I wish Benedict Arnold were Patrick Henry though — you know, “Give me liberty or give me eggs”) but wanted something a little more lively. The sharp and creamy taste of the goat cheese is a nice complement to the carmelized tomatoes and lemony hollandaise — it just works.

First, make the hollandaise sauce — I like this easy version that you make in a blender.  This version is for 4-6 servings, so quarter it if you’re just cooking for yourself. Set it aside.

Toast both sides of an English muffin. While they’re hot, spoon some crumbled goat cheese on them like so:

Next, poach two eggs. Do not poach any giraffes in Africa. If you’re not sure how to poach eggs, click here for instructions.  When the eggs are done, lift them out of the water with a slotted spoon, let it drain (I wiped the bottom of my spoon with a dish towel to get rid of excess water) and place them on top of the goat cheese while hot, so the cheese begins to melt.

Hm, looks like I stopped taking pictures after that. I blame Mucinex DM.

Slice some sweet tomatoes (I used campari cocktail tomatoes, but some nice big cherry tomatoes would work nicely too), heat up a splash of oil in a pan, and put the tomatoes face down in the hot oil for about a  minute, til they start to caramelize a bit. Flip them over and let them cook on the other side for another minute. Remove the tomatoes from the pan and spoon them over the eggs and muffins.

Slice up half an avocado, and put it on top. Drizzle your lemony hollandaise sauce over everything. I had some fennel fronds so I snipped some leaves over it all for garnish. Enjoy!


Begin with the hollandaise sauce; recipe found here. This recipe makes 4 servings, so adjust accordingly depending on your serving size. Set it aside.


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 English muffin, halves separated (for a gluten-free version, use gluten-free muffins)
  • 4 tsp crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 3 campari cocktail tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tsp oil
  • (optional) fennel leaves for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste


Toast the English muffin. While toasting, poach eggs (for instructions on poaching, click here).

Remove English muffin halves from the toaster and place cranny-side up. Sprinkle goat cheese across the faces, and top with poached eggs, one on each half.

Heat the oil for a minute and place the tomato halves cut-side down in the oil for a minute until it begins to caramelize. Flip the tomatoes and allow to cook for another minute on the other side.

Slice the avocado half into long slices lengthwise and place between the eggs. Garnish with fennel leaves if desired, drizzle hollandaise sauce on top and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 1 serving.

Cooking Food

Gingered Kale and Bok Choy


Our friends Lew and Kim from business school were coming out west with their kids for spring break, so I wanted to start thinking about the food.

Me: Anything you guys don’t eat? I was planning on cow eyeballs wrapped in bacon but just wanted to check.

Lew: We only eat wild grown grass-fed eyeballs.

We were planning a day at the pool so I had to prep a meal that wouldn’t require too much work once we got back. Our local farm is bursting with kale and bok choy, and so is my fridge, so I went for this quick and simple but healthy and tasty side dish. I’m sad to say that I served it with steaks that did not come with eyeballs in the package.

You’ll need some bok choy, kale, ginger root and cilantro:

I prepped the kale ahead of time by separating the leaves from the tough center rib. Just hold it upside down by the stem and run a sharp knife along either side of the rib. I like to pretend when I’m doing this like I’m an ER surgeon. So I am deft, decisive and quick. But not too quick. Better to be the surgeon than the patient.

Chop up the kale and bok choy into rough 1-inch pieces. Mince a tablespoon of ginger, and finely chop a 1/4 cup of cilantro.

That’s all the prep! Now you can go to the pool with your friends fully dressed and take pictures of them from the sidelines because you refuse to get into the water unless it’s 100 degrees outside:

And then come back and look longingly at these glasses because two years ago you developed a tragic allergy to red wine.

So you might as well start cooking. Heat up some oil in a pan over high heat — I’m Chinese, so I have to use a wok. When it’s nice and hot, throw the ginger in and let it cook for about 30 seconds. You will see that the ginger appears to be delighted to be swimming in an oil bath, and may jump around a bit.

Next, toss the bok choy and kale into the pan, stirring quickly and constantly. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the greens while they’re cooking.

Add in a teaspoon of low sodium soy sauce and cook for another minute, stirring the vegetables constantly to prevent burning. Off the heat, throw the cilantro on top and mix in with the kale and bok choy. Remove from pan and serve immediately. Maybe even outside, with people trying to eat normally while you are photographing them.

In this next picture I instructed them to “smile like you’re on an organic farm.”

Got any other suggestions for ways to cook kale or bok choy? Would love to hear them!



  • 1 bunch of kale leaves, center rib removed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large head of bok choy, or 5-6 heads of baby bok choy, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 TBSP ginger root, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped fine
  • 1 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • salt to taste


Heat oil over high heat in a wok or frying pan until shimmering. Add in ginger and cook for one minute. Add in the kale and bok choy, stirring constantly to prevent burning, cooking until leaves just turn a vibrant green. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt.

Continuing to stir, add in the soy sauce and cook for another minute. Off the heat, stir in the cilantro and transfer to a serving dish. Add salt if desired. Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6.

Cooking Food Popular

Savory Bacon Kale Frittata

I’m still reeling from the shock of not having won the lottery, and, $500 million poorer than anticipated, headed back into the kitchen where I am destined to spend every evening (at least until I win the next one).

I love breakfast, lunch and dinner and everything in between, but there’s something I especially love about a leisurely breakfast, especially if it’s not too much work and but looks and tastes delicious. Maybe because it’s so rare to be able to have a lovely meal, enjoy the daylight and tell yourself that you have the rest of the day to burn the calories off. Speaking of, my calves are still growing from the new workout schedule. The other day, when I zipped up my boots, I could actually feel my pulse in my calves. Please tell me there is a point at which this will stop.

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO TIRE OF TEXT ALREADY: I’ve uploaded a how-to video for this recipe! It’s my very first video. So be afraid. Very, very afraid.

I’ve mentioned before that I belong to a CSA so I’m always trying to come up with creative ways to use the produce. I like kale chips, but kale chips all the time is something altogether different.

So one spring Saturday, I took out some very pretty eggs. Tanned, with some adorable little freckles. Is it disturbing to humanize your food is before you devour it?

I think these eggs look lovely and peaceful. Like they just came back from a restful spring break in Jamaica, but away from all the crazy college kids doing keg stands.

Spring break is over, friends. Time to get out of your shells and get to work! (I know, this post is getting a little weird.) Put the eggs in a bowl and beat them (and now it is disturbing to say that, now that I’ve humanized them). I actually ended up using 8 eggs, and added in a half cup of milk, but I thought this was pretty so I took the picture after 5. Beat in 1/4 tsp salt and some ground pepper.

Now slice up some bacon and fry it up — I like to do this in a cast iron pan. It weighs as much as an elephant baby but cooks really nice and evenly, and looks pretty and rustic too. Not that there’s anything about me or my life that’s rustic.

I’ve been using nitrite-free bacon lately, which is healthier but doesn’t last as long — so I’m quite liberal with using bacon when I’ve got a package open. If you had some left over you could try making a bacon nativity scene.

When the fat starts to render, add in some chopped up onions.

Once the onions begin to caramelize, grab a bowl of grape tomatoes and a handful of hand-torn kale or chard leaves, and add them into the pan.

Cook for about 30 seconds, stirring a bit, and then pour the egg mixture into the pan, over the other ingredients. Sprinkle a handful of shredded cheese (I used mozzarella). Stick into a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes, til the edges begin to brown and pull away slightly from the pan. Enjoy!



  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 slices bacon, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • handful of kale or swiss chard (about 1/4 cup), torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pepper
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Beat 8 eggs in a medium bowl and add in 1/4 cup milk, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Over medium heat in a cast-iron pan or oven-proof skillet, saute bacon until fat renders. Add in onions and cook until they begin to caramelize, stirring occasionally. Add in the tomatoes and kale or chard, cook for about 30 seconds, and pour the egg mixture over the other ingredients. Sprinkle the mozzarella on top.  Cook for 30 seconds on the stove.

Put the pan into the pre-heated oven and bake for about 10 minutes, til the edges begin to brown and pull slightly away from the pan. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4-6.

Tell me if you’re gonna try this!

Cooking Food

Red Pepper Soup

I am extra-specially-excited to share this recipe with you today because I have just made this spectacular red pepper soup in anticipation of having my friends Christine and Dirk, who care deeply about food, over for dinner. It’s so lovely and silky and has the perfect combination of sweet and slightly tangy and it makes you feel like you’re doing pliés with a very long flowing ribbon against a perfectly impressionist out-of-focus background.

I first had this soup at a baby shower for my friend Heidi. It was a lovely shower, where instead of gifts she requested blessings written on pretty cards for the baby. Now, having gone to many showers, I am actually quite skilled at baby shower games — including the ones, strangely, that you win by chance — and probably should have reported all those winnings as taxable income. But now that my friends aren’t having so many babies anymore, I’m a little more out of practice, so I was happy to try out this new format. With the close-knit and cozy nature of the shower, and the very personal and heartfelt nature of the blessings, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. For me, especially, since I was probably over-hydrated after having at least four helpings of this soup. See if you can get away with less than four.

Sadly, I don’t know to whom to attribute this recipe. It was passed along by the woman who prepared it, Shannon, who got it from a cooking course she took.

Here’s a quick snapshot of what you’ll need:

Red Pepper Soup Ingredients

Ok, you’ll need a few other things that aren’t pictured, but I forgot to put them in the family picture. Sorry.

Start by slicing up all the veggies and fruit.

Sliced Peppers

Sliced pears

Heat up butter and olive oil in a pot, and throw in all the veggies and fruit. Don’t be alarmed if the pot looks very full, as the they’ll wilt down a bit. Add in 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper. Start the mood music.

Veggies in pot

You’ll want to cook until the veggies are soft, about 10-15 minutes. Add in 4 cups chicken stock and 1 tsp honey, and cook for another 30 minutes. Add in the salt and pepper and adjust to taste.

Blend it in batches til it’s all silky smooth. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, or greens.

Yeah, I know, this is just a picture of my blender. I took it, so I'm putting it in.

This really is one of my all-time favorite soups. What are yours?

Red Pepper Soup



  • 8 red peppers
  • 3 carrots, peeled
  • 3 shallots, peeled
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 4 pears, peeled and quartered
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 4 TBSP (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp crushed dried red pepper
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp salt / ground pepper to taste
  • Optional: sour cream, herbs to garnish


Slice the peppers, carrots, shallots, and garlic. Heat olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add in vegetables, garlic, dried red pepper  and pears (at first I typed “bears”. You definitely want “pears” for this one.). Cook until softened, about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add in the chicken stock and honey, and cook for another 30 minutes.

Puree the soup in a blender and pour back into the pot. Reheat over low heat, garnish with a dollop of sour cream or herbs, and serve.

Serves 4-6.


Cooking Food

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Garlic and Olive Oil

A date has been set for the EPIC BAKING DAY and I must continue to prepare. First, by purchasing more / larger pants with elastic waistbands and then determining the number of 30-pound bags of sugar I need to buy from Costco.  And I know this doesn’t make sense here but I just have to say that I LOVE HUMMUS. People sometimes ask me* what my favorite hummus is, and I have to say that it’s the Trader Joe’s Smooth and Creamy Classic Hummus. Man, I love that hummus! I’ve been eating it by the tubful in my pantry (and then telling people that my jeans are tight because I put on 10 pounds of muscle over the holidays).  It’s really good with tuna, and shepherd’s pie, and on whatever other leftovers I don’t want to taste in particular.  Sometimes I wake up at night in a sweat thinking about it. It’s that good.

I’ve been feeling bad that this blog on the whole presents more problems than solutions. So I thought I’d start sharing some things that people might find kind of useful, like…how to make brussels sprouts!

I belong to a CSA and this means that sometimes making dinner is kind of like being on Iron Chef, without all the fancy cooking stuff and the chefs. I’ve always liked brussels sprouts but they never really blew me away, and I never looked forward to them the way I look forward to hummus. Until The Day My Friend Carol Made These Brussels Sprouts.  Here’s how you do it:

First, you cut the sprouts in half.

Brussels sprouts halved

and then chop up some garlic. My mom peels garlic by using a meat hammer and squishing the cloves, so that’s what I’ve done here. It works well and it’s quick, if you don’t need the whole clove to stay intact. After you’ve squished them out of their skins, chop them up. I forgot to take a picture of that part.


Then toss the sprouts together with the garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper in a baking tray, and broil for about 10 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the sprouts turn a bright green and some of the edges start to carmelize.

Brussels sprouts in baking tray

and that’s it! This is the ONLY brussels sprouts recipe that my family will eat. Enjoy!

*Ok, in this case, people = me.




  • 1/2 pound brussels sprouts, halved
  • 3 large or 5 small cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


Prepare broiler.

Toss the brussels sprouts with the garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Place on a baking tray and broil. Check after 4 minutes and toss the sprouts to ensure even exposure to heat. Pull the sprouts out after they’ve turned a brilliant green, and some of the outer leave have begun to carmelize, between 6-10 minutes. Season as needed with additional salt / pepper.

Serves 2-4.