Sometimes You Just Need a Laugh

Y’all, as someone who loves food, I am a fan of Chef’s Table on Netflix – the documentary series that profiles world renowned chefs. Being familiar with the show, I couldn’t help but chuckle at this parody that was sent to me recently. Take a watch!


Peas and Thank You

Y’all, I have to be honest. This week’s recipe post is kind of a cop-out. But that’s because I’m out of town. However, I promised myself I would post every Monday and Friday. So, I give you this week’s recipe that’s good for you and your babes – pureed peas for baby and peas with truffle butter for you. And it all takes about 10 minutes. You’re welcome.

Here I am in Israel with my mom. That's why I'm copping out on this post. But I'm with my mom - so that makes it OK, right?

Here I am, out of town…with my mom. That’s why I’m taking the easy road on this post. But I’m with my mom – so that makes it OK, right?

**This post is a cop-out because once upon a time I wrote a post about how I love school cafeteria food. And in the post I included a recipe for peas with truffle butter. Yea, truffle butter. Because. Truffles.

Here we go…

Prep time: Not long 🙂
Cook time: About 10 minutes
Serves: 2-4 adults, depending on your main dish & about 1/2 to 1 cup of baby pureed peas, depending on desired texture

One 16oz (1lb) bag frozen peas
1/2 tablespoon truffle butter, or regular butter if you don’t have truffle butter
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cool water

Pour frozen peas into a medium pot over medium/low heat. Put water over peas to help them defrost and cover the pot for about three minutes. DON’T OVERCOOK THE PEAS. You want them to have a crunch and be slightly warm, but not frozen in the middle. Guys, there is only one thing that is worse than overcooked peas. Keep reading to find out. Once the peas are in a good place, transfer the peas to a strainer. Nothing is worse than watery peas. So now you know what is worse than overcooked peas.

Here is a photo of peas being strained, because I felt like I needed another photo.

Here is a photo of peas being strained, because I felt like I needed another photo. I’m sure more professional bloggers, and my husband, would advise against adding poorly taken photos of peas in a strainer just because I feel like I need another photo. Oh well.

For your baby’s food – take half of the peas and throw them into a food processor. Blend until desired texture, adding water if needed. When your baby is ready for more texture, you can mash peas with a potato masher or fork for a chunkier consistency. Place mashed/pureed peas in ice cube trays and freeze for individual services.

GUESS WHAT – YOUR BABY PEAS ARE DONE! Now, onto the adult portion of your meal.

Poorly lit peas, ready for freezing.

Poorly lit baby-food peas, ready for freezing.

Put the rest of the peas back in the pot once drained, and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Bring pot to low heat.

Mix in 1/2 tablespoon truffle butter, or regular butter. If you don’t have truffle butter, you can use regular butter and add truffle salt. Or truffle oil. Or truffle anything. And if you don’t have truffle anything, you can also finely dice up 1/4 cup mushrooms and throw them in. They don’t pack the same punch as truffle, but it will still taste delicious. And if you don’t have mushrooms, you can just butter the peas. Because butter makes everything better (and you’re still going to add cheese….cheese and butter = never a bad thing).

Once butter is mixed in, add the parmesan cheese so it gets melty.

Butter and cheese...yes, peas! (yea, I did that)

Butter and cheese…yes, peas! (yea, I did that)

Serve with just about anything. This is also really delicious over pasta!

Finished peas and a pork chop.

Finished peas and a pork chop. Ta. Da.

One More Time with Feeling!

Yes. It was as good as it looks.

Yes. It was as good as it looks.

Well hello /family/friends/fellow bloggers/followers! It’s been a while. As per usual, I kept up my blog for some time and then completely abandoned it for a while. The good news – the last time I kept it up for five months. The time before that, it was only two months. Maybe this time I’ll keep it up for eight months. I’m clearly on a four-year plan for a consistent blog.

Anyway, last we spoke I was cooking up simple yet delicious recipes in my NYC kitchen and sharing them with you on this blog, along with some anecdotal story that I found hilarious or heart-warming and you perhaps thought was “meh”.

There is a new and exciting component to this blog that I’m working on. It is fresh, fun and will help you plan parties for 2-100 people. What is it, you ask? Well, you’ll just have to stay tuned to next Thursday morning for the post. For now, you can wait with bated breath for its arrival.

Since I last blogged I turned the big 3-0 and I’m loving it. There is something about being 30 that gives me a sense of confidence that I didn’t have before at work and in my every day life. While I was always outspoken, I did come into contact with people who I allowed to speak to me in a way that I didn’t like and made me feel pretty terrible. Since this whole 30 thing happened I’ve stood up for myself a lot more, and it feels good. I’m also working on letting go of feeling guilty for things that are out of my control. But I’m Jewish, and that whole “Jewish-guilt” thing is true. So I have a feeling this will be a long battle.

I’ve also cracked the code on cat-sweater wearing grandmothers. Yes, that’s right, people. I’ve done it.

Just me and my paw prints.

Just me and my paw prints.

Back in December, a friend of mine and I decided we were going to wear some ugly-Christmas gear to a non-ugly-Christmas sweater party. My friend found me the cat’s pajamas of a sweater – A red sweatshirt with kitties prancing around (one has a real-live bell on its tail!) and the sweatshirt reads, “Grandkids leave paw prints on our hearts”. I paired that sucker with a nice green turtleneck, a pair of leggings and some Christmas socks. I arrived at the party to major laughs. After a cocktail I realized how happy I was to be in such comfortable clothes. No adjusting some skirt I was wearing. No worrying about eating too many appetizers so that my jeans would feel tight. No rearranging a shirt to make sure it stayed where it was supposed to. I was in my cat-digs and I was at peace. My friends all accept me and love me for who I am, so I wasn’t worried that I needed to dress to impress. I looked at my husband and said, “Is it sad that I can envision myself as this type of grandma?”. Suddenly, I started to get excited about the prospect of eventually embarrassing my unborn children and grandchildren. These cat-sweatshirt wearing grandmothers have it all figured out. They are at an age where they aren’t concerned with what anyone thinks about them, their friends and family will love them no matter what they wear. Plus, they can have some fun embarrassing everyone around them because they are so confident in who they are. They know how the world works, and realize that things they worried about for so many years just don’t mean a damn thing. They know what truly matters. It’s actually genius.

Now to food. After New Years I found myself at Fairway where they were having a major meat sale. And I mean major. I got myself a beautiful 1.5lb beef tenderloin (already tied up!) for a total of $13.75. As you may or may not know, beef tenderloin is very expensive. Looking back on it, I should have stock-piled those suckers. But alas, we live in NYC and don’t have much freezer space. Last night, I made this delicious and EASY beef tenderloin recipe that impressed my husband so much he said it tasted like we were at a fancy restaurant. I love when he says that stuff to me. I paired it with these Brussels sprouts and a sweet potato with cinnamon and sugar. Overall prep time was 15 minutes and total cook time was 1hr. So all in all, for 45-minutes I watched Downton Abbey and sipped a Bourbon on the rocks while my dinner cooked. SOLD.

Get The Fat Outta Here

Creamy, delicious, amazingly satisfying...CAULIFLOWER!

Creamy, delicious, amazingly satisfying…CAULIFLOWER!

A few weeks ago while I was at the gym I got the most intense craving for something creamy. Mac and cheese? Mashed Potatoes? Vichyssoise? I almost got up and left the gym in the middle of my ab workout. I could barely control myself. However, Neil and I are on somewhat of a healthy pattern (I use the term lightly). So instead of jetting out of the gym and bulldozing anyone who stood in my way, I finished my ab set while trying to think of a way to create something really creamy, delicious, flavorful AND healthy.
Cauliflower. That was my ticket to cheat a world of creamy-overindulgence. I have read a million different recipes that use cauliflower as a substitute to make them healthy. Pizza. Steaks. Mashed Potatoes. I could totally do this!

I exited the gym, carted myself to the grocery store. Leeks were on sale (because to be honest they looked like they had about 15-minutes of life left in them) so I grabbed those along with some cauliflower. I also picked up some nonfat Greek Yogurt (I prefer Fage over other brands because of it’s thick consistency).

I headed home and created this recipe that tasted unbelievable. I actually impressed myself with how simple the recipe was and how devilish it tasted. Next time you’re craving something super unhealthy but don’t feel like blowing a bazillion calories, search the wonderful world wide web for what you’re craving and just add the word “healthy”. You’ll be amazed at what you can find!

Our Anniversary & Ben Affleck

Neil & Me on our wedding day.

Neil & me on our wedding day.

Some thoughts on marriage – and I swear I’ll bring it back to food.

April 3rd was my two year anniversary. It’s kind of hard for me to believe that I have already been married for two years. I adore my husband. He is my rock. And sometimes, I want to kill him (and he wants to kill me).

Neil is a few years older than me and we grew up in the same hometown. We went to the same high school and when I was 16 and he had just graduated we went to a toga party where I got way too drunk, chased him around a basement, kissed him for a fleeting moment before I ended up dry heaving in his mouth and promptly escorted myself to the bathroom. Needless to say the story went down as my most embarrassing moment and I was happy that I didn’t see him again. That was, until 10 years later when a mutual friend mentioned that Neil was moving to New York. I semi-repeated history and chased him down via Facebook. We started chatting over gmail and a few months later when he moved to New York we started dating. I was smitten early on and knew that this was the man I was going to marry.

I had previously been in a 6-year relationship with a really great guy, but we weren’t right for each other. As much as we fought to try to make it work, the bottom line was we wanted two different lives. It was difficult to end, but from my professional stalking skills I see that he is happily married to a beautiful woman living the life he always wanted to live. I like to think we groomed each other for the real thing.

So when the real thing did come along I clung to it. 16-months later we were engaged and here we are, married for two years. While watching the Oscars this year I teared up during Ben Affleck’s acceptance speech. And when he got to thanking his wife, I just about lost it. In all honesty, I was pms-ing, so I was a bit more sensitive than usual, but still. I thought it was the most heartfelt, honest and loving thank you to his wife. Marriage is hard work. It’s not a constant walk in the park with rainbows and sunshine. But it’s the best damn thing I’ve ever done and I wouldn’t want to be walking through life with any other partner. The next morning I was raving about the speech and most people who I talked to about it had the complete opposite reaction – they thought he was insulting his wife.

I stumbled upon this article that states, “If you’re partnered for life, if you’re fighting this good fight against biology, then you understand that — and you see that there is nothing Affleck could have said that would have honored his wife, and HER work, more.” I couldn’t agree more.

Now back to food. Neil and I decided we wanted a nice home cooked meal for our anniversary. My best friend always talks about a lamb recipe she makes, so I called her up for the details. Rosemary, garlic, honey, lamb-loin chops. Delicious! I tweaked her recipe just a bit and added some dijon mustard. This is what I came up with, and it was honestly the best meat I’ve ever made in my life. I paired the meat with roasted potatoes and asparagus and started the meal off with my aunt’s caesar salad. Neil played bartender and made a round of delicious cocktails and then we opened a fancy bottle of red wine.

The evening was perfect. After dinner we watched our wedding video. In my dad’s speech he talked about how when times get tough during our marriage, which they no doubt would, that we should look at each other, think about our beginning, reminisce about our wedding and say “I remember why we did this.” While we watched the speech on our second anniversary Neil took my hand, squeezed it hard and said, “I remember and I promise never to forget.” While my stomach may not flip anymore with his every phone call and text message, and his half-smile and affectionate stare can no longer immediately get him out of trouble, he has my heart. Forever and always. He is my partner and our marriage is the most important job I have. It’s good, it is work, but it’s the best kind of work, and there’s no one I’d rather work with. Thank you, Ben Affleck.

It’s All in the Timing

I know, I know. I’ve been gone for a while. I needed to spend some time on some personal stuff. But I’m back! I never really left – just needed a mental break. But I’ve been thinking about Simply in the Flavor every day. 🙂

Often my friends will ask me how I’m able to time meals that I’m cooking so that everything is ready at the same time. My trick is simple. Everything that I cook is pretty easy and does not need a lot of attention. For example, tonight I’m making ridiculously easy roasted potatoes and Brussels sprouts with even more embarrassingly easy pork chops. The potatoes and sprouts all go in one baking dish and get popped in the oven for a little over and hour. Meanwhile the pork chops take about 10 minutes total. I’ve had the potatoes in for about 40 minutes and am taking the down time to write this blog post. Multitasking is so hot right now.

Anyway, this bone-in pork recipe makes incredibly juicy and flavorful chops. The potatoes and sprouts add a colorful and tasty pop to the plate. While the overall time on this meal takes about an hour and thirty minutes, you’ll have time to throw in a load of laundry, play a few rounds of letterpress, update your blog and check Facebook 27 times before you even have to worry about throwing the chops on the grill pan. Bon appetit!

Feel the Burn

My senior year of high school my friends and I started a tradition of getting together on Thursday nights to watch Friends. We would cuddle up in my friend Seth’s basement and order in pizza and wings from Galla’s. This was before my dreaded Celiac diagnosis. My parents wondered why I was coming home Thursday nights doubled over in pain and woke up every Friday morning vomiting. At one point my mom accused me of being pregnant which A) would have been impossible and B) does not make sense since my “morning sickness” only hit me one day a week. Years later when my Celiac was discovered my mom first shed a tear since I had such stomach problems for so long. She felt terrible that as a mother she couldn’t figure out what was wrong. She then apologized for accusing me of being prego all those years ago. “Don’t worry mom, I forgot you even did that” I said to her in a soothing voice. In reality, I didn’t forget and I would have most likely casually and back-handedly brought it up at some point. But good old mom beat me to it, and I so appreciated it.

But I digress. I’m here to talk about wings. Seth and I decided it would be a good idea to order the hottest wings possible and have a contest to see who could eat the most amount of wings without wiping our faces or hands. Sweat filled our brows, our lips burned and swelled, tears welled in our eyes and on Friday mornings not only would I wake up and vomit, but I would go to school with a faint orange ring around my mouth – stained from hours worth of chicken wing eating and no clean up.

To this day, I still love a good chicken wing. I made this wing recipe for super bowl and it was a huge hit. The base of the recipe comes from Bon Appetit. In this case, I doctored it down (not up) and cut out just a few ingredients and changed some of the measurements to make perfectly crispy, baked chicken wings. Plus, it’s gluten-free and since they are not fried, these babies really aren’t too bad for you.

Next time you eat chicken wings I urge you to take the wing challenge and bask in the orange-ring glory the next day.