Sunday, April 10

a delightful rice gratin.

I just love gratins! Potato, zucchini, cauliflower... you name it. If it's cheesy and golden on top, I want it. Unfortunately, potatoes aren't all that nutritional and the eggs and cheese can make it kinda rich. When perusing (one of my absolute fave foodie sites), I came across a recipe for a Spinach Rice Gratin that had pine nuts and shredded Manchego cheese in it. I took down the recipe thinking I could easily recreate this with whatever nuts, veggies and cheese I had on hand. This is a great recipe to use when you have leftover rice from the night before and nowhere to go with it but the garbage (or mixed in with the dog food!). This gratin is still made with eggs and cheese, but substantially less than you would normally find in say, a potato gratin. It still tastes delicious but at the same time quite obviously on the healthier side.

I have the original recipe from included below, but when I made the gratin I didn't have any tofu and used Gruyere instead of Manchego. I also added some red pepper flakes and garlic powder. Black olives is one of the few ingredients I just don't like, so left those out as well. A Mediterranean style gratin would be great, too -- try adding roasted red peppers, kalamata olives and feta cheese, and throw in some leftover chopped chicken if you aren't a tofu fan.

spinach & brown rice gratin
2 1/2 c. leftover/pre-cooked brown rice, room temp
1 1/2 c. well finely chopped spinach
4 oz firm organic tofu, crumbled
10 black olives, chopped
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1/3 c. pine nuts or almonds, toasted and chopped
2 tbsp EVOO
1/2 c. shredded Manchego
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
Freshly cracked pepper

Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Grease a 10-inch round or square baking dish with a bit of EVOO. In large bowl combine the rice, spinach and tofu. Reserving a bit of each for garnish, stir in the olives, red onion, pine nuts and EVOO. Now stir in 1/4 cup of the cheese. In a small bowl whisk together the eggs and salt. Fold the eggs into rice mixture, pour into prepared baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until casserole is set, and the top toasty and golden. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining onions, olives and nuts. Sprinkle with a bit more salt and fresh cracked pepper before serving. Serves 8-12.

roast cod with anchovies and white bean puree.

This delicious cod recipe is from one of my fave new cookbooks, pure simple cooking. (Thanks Lena!) It really is super simple to prepare and tastes absolutely gourmet. Start to finish, this meal took me about 30 minutes or so. It has few but powerful, palette-pleasing ingredients, which succeed because of the interplay of flavors -- the sweetness of cod, the saltiness of anchovies, and the earthiness of beans. The roast cod is served atop a bed of white bean puree. When you take a bite, be sure to eat the cod along with the white beans... it's to die for.

It doesn't get much better than Las Vegas in April; we enjoyed this meal outside with a nice glass of Chardonnay. One of my favorite medium-priced Chardonnays is La Crema, and its buttery finish goes perfectly with the fresh, saltiness of this dish. Yum-o.

roast cod with anchovies and bean puree
2 tbsp EVOO
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 (14-oz) cans cannellini beans, drained
2/3 c. chicken stock or water
S&P (*I added 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes as well)
1/4 c. EVOO
a good squeeze of lemon

1 (2-oz) can anchovies, drained
1 heaping tbsp. flat-leaf parsley
6 tbsp EVOO
a good squeeze of lemon
2 tbsp EVOO
4 (6-oz) cod fillets

1. For the beans, heat the EVOO in saucepan and gently cook the onion until it is soft. Add the garlic, beans, stock, and S&P. Cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes.
2. Process the bean mixture in a blender or food processor with the EVOO and lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Keep this over low heat or serve at room temp.
3. Finely chop the anchovies and parsley together and stir in EVOO and a squeeze of lemon. (*I added some fresh cracked black pepper also.)
4. Preheat oven to 400F. Heat 2 tbsp EVOO in nonstick pan over med-high heat. Season cod with S&P and cook for 2 minutes, then turn cod over and cook for another minute. The fillets should be a nice gold color on both sides. Transfer fillets to roasting pan and roast for about 8 minutes, until opaque and cooked through, but still moist.
5. Serve the fish atop white bean puree and some of the anchovy dressing spooned over top.

Sunday, February 20


I have this obsession with a smoothie from a local place in Vegas, Rachel's Kitchen. At Rachel's, this smoothie is called "The Incredible Hulk." It has banana and peanut butter and honey and is straight up just amazing. I get actual cravings for this smoothie multiple times a week. But at 5 bucks a pop I feel like it may be a bit excessive to continuously pay each time I get a craving... especially when I could make the smoothie myself! So one day (probably after the fourth smoothie that week) I simply asked them how they made their infamous Incredible Hulk. And they told me! Exact measurements and all. Love when that happens. It's super simple and you probably have most of the ingredients in your kitchen already.

I love a good smoothie -- whether on a hot day or just for something different, give this one a try. I happen to be a peanut butter fanatic and so this particular smoothie fits my taste buds well. It would be great to enjoy before or after working out, and for added protein you could easily throw in a scoop of whey. Depending on how thick you like your smoothies, feel free to adjust the amount of ice used.

The Incredible Hulk
Recipe courtesy Rachel's Kitchen, Las Vegas, NV

1/4 cup milk
1/4 silken tofu
1 banana
1 heaping tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon honey
2 cups ice

Blend and enjoy!

Thursday, February 17

L&L: lamb and lentils.

After a rather long hiatus, I am officially back on the food grind again... with lots of great recipes to share. Just because I haven't been blogging the last couple of months doesn't mean I haven't been eating! :) And after many a delicious meal, I've decided to start with lamb and lentils -- two very yummy ingredients. I can't take credit for either of the following recipes I am going to share with you, but I truly love both and thought they might suffice in spicing up your dinner rotation. As super simple as both dishes are to prepare they look fantastic and taste as though you've been slaving over a hot stove for hours.

Some people are funny with lamb. Not me! I think it's divine. Lamb isn't something I eat everyday mind you, but on occasion and instead of the per usual beef and/or chicken, a delicious roast leg of lamb does the trick. Feel free to create your own variation on the stuffing used in this recipe depending on your taste buds. If you have a smaller/larger leg of lamb, adjust the cooking time appropriately. This recipe calls for a 3-lb boneless leg of lamb; the roasts I typically buy are about 4 pounds give or take, so I normally add 20-ish minutes to my cooking time until it reaches a nice medium to medium-rare temperature. If you prefer your lamb rare, roast until internal temperature reaches 140F. I usually take mine out around 145F -- after letting it rest for 15 minutes, it's perfectly medium.

Lentils are one of my favorite ingredients to cook and eat. They are extremely healthy and act as an elegant side dish to any meal (or could easily be the star themselves, if you feel like going veggie). Recently, I've been buying Black Beluga Lentils which don't require soaking and cook in a relatively short amount of time. You know I'm a big fan of taking recipes and making them my own, but this is one where I don't change a single thing. (Well, with the exception of the type of lentils - this is an Ina recipe and she uses French Green Lentils that require soaking.) Cook's note: For added yummyness, top with a heaping spoonful of sour cream.

Lamb Stuffed with Goat Cheese, Tomatoes and Basil

Recipe courtesy Diana Henry, Pure Simple Cooking

6 oz soft goat cheese, crumbled
6 oz sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained, and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup basil leaves, torn
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 tbsp EVOO

1 (3-lb) boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of excess fat

1. Mix everything for the stuffing together gently - break up the goat cheese but don't turn it into a paste.

2. Preheat oven to 400F. Open the lamb out like a book. Cut some pockets in the thickest parts of the meat - this just gives you extra places into which to stuff the cheese mixture. Season the flesh of the lamb liberally with S&P and spread the stuffing over it, pushing the cheese mixture into any pockets you've created. Roll up, tie with string at intervals, and season well.
3. Place in a roasting pan and roast for 15 minutes. Decrease the temperature to 375F and roast for another 50 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a carving board, cover with aluminum foil, and insulate with clean kitchen towels. Let rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

Braised Lentils

Recipe courtesy Ina Garten

1/2-lb lentils
1/4 c. EVOO
2 cups chopped yellow onions
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only
1 1/2 cups chopped celery (4 stalks)
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots (3 carrots)
1 tbsp minced fresh garlic
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp red wine vinegar

Heat oil in large saute pan, add onions, leeks, thyme, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Add lentils, celery, carrots, chicken stock, and tomato paste. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Add the vinegar and season to taste.

Sunday, December 12

a few catch-up recipes

So I haven't been doing the best job at keeping up with An Edible Mashup. No excuses -- but I've been doing lots of cooking the past week (the boss was in town) and I want to share with you a select few recipes that I really enjoyed creating. And eating, of course. In order: a smoky paprika glaze that's good on anything, sauteed black eyed peas and leeks, sweet potato gratin with chipotle puree and individually sized meat loaves.

My culinary class final is this Thursday and we're required to prepare two chicken dishes, one starch and a vegetable. I'll be preparing the below glaze for one of my chicken dishes and the Sweet Potato Gratin as my starch. You'll have to let me know if you think they are A+ worthy dishes. :) Enjoy! 

Smoky Paprika Glazed Chicken
I first used this recipe on shrimp and sausage skewers. This time, I brushed on chicken and grilled. Reserve some of the glaze to brush on after cooking. Use on your favorite protein or veggie.
3/4 c. EVOO
4 large garlic cloves, pressed
2 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
5 tsp. smoked paprika
4 tsp. sherry wine vinegar (if you don't have, substitute red wine vinegar)
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Whisk oil, garlic, thyme, paprika, sherry wine vinegar, S&P and red pepper in medium bowl to blend for glaze.

Black-Eyed Peas & Leeks
I came across this gem on another food blog, and it's fabulous. Very simple to make. If using dried herbs, I'd start with a little less and adjust at the end if necessary.

1 tbsp. EVOO
3+ tbsp. unsalted butter
4 leeks, trimmed of dark green parts, quartered lengthwise, then 1/2" slices
3 cups cooked black-eyed peas (you can start with dried or buy them canned)
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh marjoram
1-2 tsp. finely chopped fresh tarragon
Fine grain sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat EVOO over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of the butter in large skillet. When hot, add leeks and a couple big pinches of salt. Cook gently, stirring regularly until leeks are nice and golden. Add drained beans to skillet. Cook until heated through, stir in marjoram, tarragon, more salt and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir well, taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.

Chipotle Sweet Potato Gratin
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4" thick rounds
2 cups heavy cream
1 tbsp. chipotle puree
2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
1/2+ cup freshly grated parmesan
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for layers
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more for layers

Preheat oven to 475F. Whisk heavy cream, chipotle puree, parsley, salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning. Divide potato rounds into 4 parts. In square baking dish, arrange potatoes one layer at a time so that each round overlaps the next slightly. Sprinkle each layer with salt and pepper and pour 1/4 of the heavy cream mixture on top. After pouring heavy cream mixture on top layer, cover gratin with parmesan and bake until potatoes are tender, about 20-30 minutes.

Mini Meat Loaves
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten
1 tbsp. EVOO
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3/4 tbsp. tomato paste
1 1/2 tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup chicken stock or broth
1/3 cup dry plain bread crumbs
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup grated parmesan
4 tbsp. ketchup
1/2 pound each of veal, chuck, pork


Preheat oven to 350F. Heat EVOO in medium saute pan. Add onions, thyme, salt and pepper and cook over medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes, until onions are translucent. Off the heat, add Worcestershire sauce, stock and tomato paste. Allow to cool slightly. In large bowl, combine meat, eggs, bread crumbs, parm, onion mixture, and lightly mix with your hands. Divide the mixture into 4 and shape into mini loaves (about 6 to 8 ounces each) on a sheet pan. Spread 1 tbsp of ketchup onto each loaf. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until cooked through.

Sunday, November 21

food I can't live without: A Culinary Ode to Lancaster

Having lived in Las Vegas for more than 3 years now (yikes!), it gives me a different perspective on growing up in Lancaster County. I remember the first time I went back home to visit after living across the country for 6 months. My appreciation for pine trees, open fields and back country roads had never been stronger. Not to mention the food. While I am also very appreciative of the opportunities Vegas has provided me and the friendships I've created, this "city" can feel very cookie cutter-ish. (Cue theme song from Weeds.)

Last weekend I went back East for a last-minute visit to see my parents. For as many people who come to Vegas to get away, for me it felt like a vacation to get outta here even if for only a few days. When in PA there are certain foods I must eat in order to get my Lancaster foodie fix. Foods you can't get anywhere else that hold a special place in my stomach of a heart. So, in addition to my love of that fresh-smellin' country air, the following is a mixture of food I just can't live without.

1. Central Market in downtown Lancaster -- I know technically this isn't one food item in particular, but collectively this place houses tons of delicious food I absolutely love. It would be almost impossible for me to be in Lanc and not wander through market at least once.

2. Let's hear it for whoopie pies! Considered a Pennsylvania Amish tradition, I've been eating these pies since I was little. My taste buds would ordinarily choose salty edibles over sweet, but nothing beats a homemade whoopie pie. Pictured left, a chocolate whoopie pie with peanut butter frosting (my fave) and a pumpkin whoopie pie with cream cheese frosting. Hats (or should I say bonnets) off to the Amish, who in general know what's up when it comes to delicious, farm-fresh food.

 3. Turkey Hill ice cream, iced tea, etc. An original a la Lancaster County, Turkey Hill is something you don't quite appreciate the culinary value of until it's no longer a car ride away. Their ice cream is creamy, smooth and well worth the calories. This particular photo features a pint sized container of Turkey Hill ice cream stuffed with Tastykake Chocolate Cupcake (also born in PA). Chocolate ice cream with chunks of chocolate cupcake! No, this is not a joke folks. Apparently it is also half the fat or calories or something and let me just say, it's a revelation. Bravo.

 4. Grandma Utz's Handcooked Potato Chips. OK, so deep down, I am really a fat girl at heart...and this is my absolute number one go-to snacky when I can get my hands on a bag. I l-o-v-e potato chips. Like a fat kid loves cake, I heart Grandma Utz Potato Chips. I'm sure most of you are familiar with regular Utz potato chips, but these my friend... are a very special breed born in Hanover, PA. They are super salty, kettle-like potato chips cooked in the best kind of fat -- lard. And boy are they worth the heartburn one might experience after devouring a bag... I mean, a handful.

5. Pennsylvania Dutch food in general -- Lebanon Bologna and Egg Nog are pictured here... other favorites include (but aren't limited to) red beet eggs, apple butter, chicken pot pie (the kind with homemade noodles) and pretzels.

6. Downtown Lanc is home to some really good, locally owned restaurants and bars. A handful of which I insist upon eating at when back home. Alley Cat Pizza is greasy, thin and full of flavor. Order with extra cheese and pepperoni and you'll be one happy camper. Their tasty blend of cheeses and the way the crust and pepperoni edges crisp up is what makes it for me. Other restaurants/bars I love... Character's, The Belvedere Inn (try the caesar salad, it's grilled and one of the best I've ever had), Annie Bailey's, Rachel's Creperie, Carr's... the list continues.

Thanks, Lancaster. See you at Christmas.

Monday, November 8

Chicken Pot Pie on the Go

So after a week of summery 85 degree weather, it was finally chilly enough for some layers today! It was windy and cold (well, for Vegas) while walking to my car which got me in the mood for warm, feel good comfort food to end my Monday. This recipe is a take on one I'd found online some time ago courtesy Miss Paula Deen, but I of course spruced it up with fresh veggies and created a healthier version than the original (i.e. omitting a stick of butter).

Chicken pot pie is like delicious, homemade meatloaf -- for me, it brings about that warm fuzzy food feeling I love so much. This recipe doesn't call for homemade dough and I bought a whole roasted chicken from the grocery store which makes it very time and kitchen friendly. The ingredients are simple, and from prep to cooking should only take you about an hour. It is a fabulous (and delicious) take on "homemade" chicken pot pie. I baked mine in a 2 quart casserole dish, but for a more elegant touch you could absolutely divide the mixture up into individual ramekins and serve, probably about 6 servings. Feel free to add whatever veggies you like, I've added potatoes in the past as well as corn and winter squash.

Easy Chicken Pot Pie
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced onion
1 cup frozen peas
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 cups instant biscuit mix
1 cup milk (I used 1%)
1 can condensed cream of chicken (I used the 99% fat free version)
1 cup chicken broth or stock

Preheat oven to 350F. In saute pan, heat one tablespoon of EVOO. Add carrots, celery, onion, garlic and fresh thyme and saute until almost tender, about 3-5 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together cream of chicken, broth/stock, pepper, salt, red pepper flakes and garlic powder. Add in veggie mixture along with peas and chicken, stir to combine. Transfer to greased casserole dish. In separate bowl, whisk biscuit mix and milk until smooth. Pour evenly over pot pie filling and bake until golden brown, 35-40 minutes. Note: With 10 minutes left, brush top with EVOO and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper. This will help with the browning. Let set about 10-15 minutes after removing from the oven. Enjoy!