Fancy Toast

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The latest trend to hit the food scene is toast. Fancy toast made with delicious bread and topped with all sorts of yummy toppings. It is a simple meal but the sum of its parts makes it delicious. There is something to be said about freshly baked bread smeared with your favorite topping. For those of us in San Francisco, we have The Mill to hit up when we are in the market for some fancy toast, but if want to try it at home, here are some combinations for delicious, easy toast that works for breakfast, lunch and maybe even dinner.

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I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up, my afternoon snack was homemade cinnamon toast. A snack made up of margarine mixed with granulated sugar and cinnamon and smeared it on a piece of white bread. I would toast my bread for a couple minutes and out came the most perfect after school snack. I can still remember that smell and that taste.

This is the grown up version of that toast. I have taken some freshly baked bread from a local bakery, toasted thick slices, smeared it with ricotta cheese and topped it with all different toppings. The combinations showed here are banana, pecan and maple syrup, strawberries with fresh mint, blueberries with toasted pumpkins seeds, and pistachios, cinnamon and honey. The beauty about toast is that you can top it with anything you want. It is the simplest of meals but sometimes simple is the best.

Head on over to Sacramento Street to get the recipeToast_3

Kale Salad with Butternut Squash, Quinoa and Hazelnuts

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We just got back from a quick but cold trip to Chicago for a friend’s wedding. It was a whirlwind weekend of fun and needless to say, I think I need another weekend to recover. Especially from the cold. I have truly become a softy when it comes to weather. I lived in Boston and NY but forgot how to deal with cold weather. I also forgot that when the weather is cold you are inside all day, eating and drinking. All of this is to say I need a serious detox this week.  This kale salad with butternut squash, quinoa and hazelnuts is the perfect recipe to get me back on track.

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Do you ever have a recipe or dish that you make over and over again for a short time period? This is that kind of recipe to me. Since we are in the winter months – butternut squash is abundant and kale is everywhere so this delicious and seasonal recipe is perfect for this time of year. I have made it many times over the past couple weeks and even served it over the holidays. I recently posted a picture to Instagram with this salad and got a couple emails asking what was in it, so I thought I would share.

So here is my got to salad these days, a kale salad with butternut squash, quinoa and hazelnuts. Easy, healthy and perfectly delicious.

Enjoy

p.s. Two tips for this salad – cut the kale really thin to make it easier to eat and dress the salad about 20 minutes before serving. This helps season the kale and also make it easier to eat.

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Kale Salad with Butternut Squash, Quinoa and Hazelnuts
  • 1 head lacinato kale, leaves stripped and thinly chopped
  • 1 cup butternut squash diced and sautéed until soft
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 3 oz goat cheese
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts toasted, skins removed and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Large pinch salt

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.

Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well. Pour half of the dressing over the kale mixture. Toss well and add remaining if needed. Taste for salt

http://www.alifewelllivedblog.com/2015/02/16/kale-salad-with-butternut-squash-quinoa-hazelnuts/

Valentine’s Day Pizza Night

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Did you realize Valentine’s Day is this weekend? I kind of forgot. I am not too into Valentine’s Day, but I will take any excuse to have a delicious meal. My idea of a perfect date is a Valentine’s Day pizza night where I stay home, drink some red wine, eat pizza and maybe  snack on some of those delicious conversation hearts (I love all holiday candy). Sounds like the perfect night right? You know who is taking care of the pizza part for me, Good Eggs. They have started this amazing “bundle” service where they send you all the ingredients for a dish and all you have to do is cook it of. No worries about grocery shopping – it literally appears on your door. Like magic. All I have to worry about is the wine and conversation hearts.

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We all know my love for Good Eggs right? In case you missed my previous post, it is a San Francisco based company that connects consumers with local produce and artisanal food products. They carry some of the best brands their cities have to offer. Naturally their pizza bundle is not just a store-bought Boboli, rather the dough and the sauce comes from one of SF’s most delicious pizza spots and their mozzarella cheese comes from none other than the best cheese company in the Bay Area. Simple and delicious ingredients and perfect for celebrating Valentine’s Day with friends, family, husbands, wives, significant others or even just yourself.  If you want something a little fancier, they have other types of bundles including spaghetti and meatballs, surf and turf and fresh ravioli. Or if you prefer toppings on your pizza, they have everything you can imagine, like bacon, sausage, red onions, rapini, mushrooms and every type of cheese you can imagine.

If you don’t live in one of the cities where Good Eggs has a market (they are in SF, LA, Brooklyn and New Orleans), no worries, Valentine’s Day pizza night is still a good idea. Whole Foods or your general grocery store will have pre made pizza dough (if you don’t see it in the store, ask the person behind the deli or specialty food counter sometimes they hide it in the back).  Grab some sauce and fresh mozzarella and any of your favorite pizza toppings and  you will have one perfect Valentine’s Day.

**For those in San Francisco, make sure to order your bundle by midnight on Thursday in order to get it on Valentine’s Day. **

Lemon and Kale Spaghetti

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I was recently reading the latest edition of Bon Appétit, (otherwise known as a food lovers Bible). I flip through their magazine each month looking for recipe inspiration as well as different ways to photograph food and style food. I stumbled upon their idea of back pocket pasta, this idea that pasta can be paired with so much more than your typical tomato sauce. You can pair it with just about any cheese, vegetable and/or meat. Most importantly it is a great way to eat through what it is in your fridge. This lemon and kale spaghetti is the perfect example of back pocket pasta and I bet you have most of the ingredients in your refrigerator right now.
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New York Weekend

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I am home after a quick and very cold trip to New York. I was there for about 72 hours but managed to pack in a lot of eating (of course) and a lot of sightseeing. Here are some highlights from my New York weekend.

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1. My first stop in NY is always to get a bagel. There is something magical about bagels from New York. I don’t know what it is – some people say it is the water from the Hudson River that makes NY bagels so good. I think that might be a lie, but regardless it is  hard to beat a chewy NY bagel topped with cream cheese. I grabbed one at the famous spot Russ & Daughters on the Lower East Side.

2. My next stop was to check out the latest food trend – bone broth. Touted for is nutritional values, bone broth is taking off in the world of health and wellness. Brodo in the East Village seems to be the first one to be commercially selling bone broth. It was delicious (just like drinking soup) until it got cold, and then it was not so delicious

3. I made a pilgrimage to Baby Cakes for some gluten-free and vegan donuts. You would have no idea that they were gluten-free and vegan – they are so delicious.

4. After some wandering and shopping I had dinner at The Musket Room. I had never heard of it, but someone recommended it so I thought I would check it out. It is a restaurant in Nolita that’s menu is a modern play on New Zealand food. To be honest, I had no idea what constituted New Zealand food but it is a lot of meat and veggies and all around delicious. I definitely recommend it.

5. I met up with a friend for brunch on Saturday morning. Apart from the weather being -5 degrees it was a great morning. We had brunch at Tipsy Parson and then strolled some galleries in Chelsea.

6. Although the dead of winter might not be the best time to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, I love to walk everywhere when I am in NY and crossing into a borough is no different. It was chilly but there were some fantastic views of the East River and downtown.

7. Before hopping on a plane home, we had one last bite to eat at Roberta’s in Brooklyn. The pizza has a cult like following and I totally understand why. Light and chewy and all together tasty. We got the Bee Sting pizza that had pepperoni and honey on top. Pretty darn tasty.

 

Citrus Salad with Feta, Pistachios and Mint

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I have a serious case of wanderlust these days. All I want to do is dream of places to travel. Even though we just took a trip to Florida for the holidays and we have a couple of weekend trips coming up(like NYC this weekend), I still have this itch to travel. I will take just about any kind of travel –  day trips, weekend trips or even better, international trips. I have my heart set on Morocco for some reason. It has been high on my list of places to visit for a while, I think it is all the colors and patterns of Morocco as well as (and most importantly) the food. I am in love with the flavors of Moroccan food – a mix of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern – it is completely the flavor profile I always turn to when I am cooking. So inspired by my serious case of wanderlust, here is my version of a Moroccan citrus salad with feta, pistachios and mint. If I can’t get to Morocco anytime soon, maybe I can pretend I am there by cooking food influenced by that part of the world.
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Acai Bowl

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Breakfast is one of those things that’s really good for you but no one seems to have time for it. Or at least I don’t. For a while my breakfast was two cups of coffee and nothing else. I quickly learned that by 11 am I was so hungry that I would eat anything that was in sight. Hangry doesn’t even begin to describe it. Also, it is not the best tactic if you are ever trying to watch what you eat.
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Coconut Curry with Chicken and Tofu

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Do you have any New Year’s resolutions or intentions?I had the best of intentions to eat really clean the month of January. In theory I wanted to avoid gluten, dairy and alcohol.  Sadly I couldn’t even make it a week! My lack of willpower is seriously lame.  I have already had a couple delicious cocktails as well as a delicious pizza from a local pizza shop. I am ok with it partly because it was worth it and also in general I try to eat pretty healthy all year-long. (but still I could have gone longer than a week!). Since I am surrounded by food all day, I think I am hyper aware about what I eat, because if I didn’t I would be eating brownies and cupcakes all day (although that would be tasty, the end result would be bad).  This coconut curry with chicken and tofu is the perfect example of the way I like to eat these days,  a dish with lots of flavor, really filling, easy to make and totally good for you.
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