Monday, June 20, 2016

Pesto veggie flatbread

As I mentioned last post, my brother left me with a bit of homemade pesto when he stayed with me in New Orleans*. As much as I love pesto, there's only so many times I can eat it with eggs, in a sandwich, or as dressing. So to finish the remaining pesto before it went bad, I used it as the sauce for a veggie flatbread! (it's not pizza because I bought a pre-made crust. I'm a strong believer in it's only pizza if you toss the dough)

*Much shout out to the community garden at the Green School and its bountiful herb garden. 

Pesto veggie flatbread (serves 2-4) 
1 pizza crust (you can make your own or buy pre-made / frozen) 
1/3 cup mozzarella (I used pearls, shredded works too) 
2 tbs parmesan, grated or crumble 
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced 
1 bell pepper, sliced
2 shallots 
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
olive oil
2 tbs white wine 
1 tbs balsamic vinegar 
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning

1. In an iron skillet on high heat, brown shallots in olive oil. 
2. Add mushrooms. Sautee with white wine** and balsamic vinegar. 
3. Mix in peppers, galic powder, and Italian seasoning. Set aside. 
4. Preheat oven to 425F 
5. Brush pizza crust with olive oil, spread pesto generously. 
6. Top with sauteed vegetables. Evenly distribute mozzarella and parmesan.**  
7. Bake for 15-20 min or until cheese is browned and blistering. 
8. Top with fresh arugula and serve! 

**Rules of my fridge: always have 2+ cheeses and white wine stocked 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Case of the leftovers: Creole fried rice

Because my brother visited me for a week in New Orleans recently, we did a lot of fine dining out and ended up with surprisingly fewer leftovers than I expected considering how gluttonous we were. In addition to some delicious lemon herb roasted chicken from Emeril's (though sadly there's no more truffle fried chicken) and authentic Cajun shrimp and okra gumbo from Cafe de Amis in Beaux Bridge, I also brought home Shaya's roasted cabbage. It's been sitting in my fridge along with some rosemary roasted eggplant and sauteed garlic broccoli rabe, so I decided to heat it all up together with some of my leftover rice. And it'll all end with some leftover homemade blueberry and peach cobbler for dessert (I used leftover farmers market fruit from the trip before, recipe to come!). It's finally my weekend, and because I worked another six days in a row this week, I was in no shape to whip up a fresh hot meal. So thank goodness for leftovers! 

Because I still had tomatoes, scallions, and shallots to use, I decided to spruce up my rice and make it fried in the skillet! It's reminiscent of my chili lime fried rice, but boy has being in the south is seriously influencing my cooking style. 

Creole fried rice
2 cups leftover cooked brown rice, cooked with 1 dz dried shrimp 
2 eggs, beaten
1 Creole tomato, diced 
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 knob gingerm minced
1 shallot, minced 
3 sprigs scallion, diced
1/4 cup kimchi, chopped 
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp tumeric 
1/4 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp sesame oil, lightly coated in corn starch 
2 tbs peanut oil
1/2 tsp sesame seeds

1 link Andouille sausage, chopped 
1 dz medium - large shrimp, peeled and deveined 

1. Brown scallion, ginger, shallot, and garlic with 1 tbs peanut oil in skillet or wok on high heat. Sautee with chopped tomato, kimchi, and optional sausage. 
2. Once everything is slightly browned, add the rice and stir-fry until rice is fragrant. Rice should be slightly harder to the bite, yet still retain some degree of moisture. (This should take 5-10 minutes depending on the heat of your stove top.) 
3. Season on salt, garlic powder, tumeric. 
4. Mix in the two beaten eggs and keep the rice moving in the wok until the eggs are fully cooked and dispersed throughout. 
5. On a separate pan, sizzle shrimp in 1 tbs peanut oil on high heat until browned. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. 
5. Finally, add the sesame shrimp and make sure all ingredients are mixed evenly. 
6. Remove the fried rice from the heat and add the sesame oil. Mix well.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sweet basil orange iced tea

You can keep telling me it's spring, but the sun's screaming that it's summer time. And when it's summer in New Orleans, you have got to stay hydrated. All the festing, drinking, and dancing can take it out of you, so here's a simple refreshing recipe for a delicious iced tea brewed with fresh Thai basil and topped with a fresh orange slice. Trust me, the basil make it naturally sweet itself, but if you must, feel free to sweeten with a touch of honey. 

After a long day at French Quarter Fest, an iced tea was necessary!

Sweet basil orange iced tea (serves 2)
2-3 tbs Thai basil leaves, fresh
orange slice
2 cups water, boiled
1 cup ice 
honey, to taste (optional)

1. Seep basil leaves in fresh off the stove boiling water for 3-5 minutes. 
2. Pour into half a cup of ice.
3. Top and garnish with a squeeze of orange slice 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Spanish Inspiration from Try the World

I don't know where I saw it first, but I clicked an ad for Try the World Food Box to receive a gourmet subscription to a curated box of local food goodies from around the world. The box I received was from Spain, where my brother just spent his spring break. He recalled having tomato jam  served on bread, which I was most excited to try. I was also looking forward to using paprika in everything, like they do in Hungary! To be honest, the box was a bit disappointing. There were a lot of neat things, but most of them required some sort of assembly. I was also a bit weirded out by the canned mussels, but wished the box included some jamon ibierco.

Last night for dinner, I sauteed the mussels with garlic to make a base for a paprika cherry tomato spaghetti sauce. I served it over a bed of baby peashoots and sprinkled it with parmesan for some Spanish Italian action.

For breakfast this morning, I slathered the tomato jam on flax seed bread and topped it with an omelet for an elegant tartine paired with local Louisiana blueberries. As expected, the tomato spread is definitely my favorite part of the box. It's like a fresh light marinara in a jar!

And finally for dinner I made my classic ratatouille, a recipe I derived from my French host parents in Lac d'Annecy. I used squash that I picked up this past weekend at the Crescent City farmer's market and flavored it with olive oil, herbes de Provence, paprika, and persillade, a mix of dried garlic, onion, parsley, shallot and salt from Mont-Saint-Michel and the French box. I served it with brown rice steamed with the canned mussels.

So tell me this, box, who brought who around the world?

canned mussels

spaghetti with mussels in a paprika cherry tomato sauce

local squash

local blueberries, ratatouille + mussels in brown rice

Saturday, April 30, 2016


sweet potatoes and fresh greens on flax seed bread

I'm starting a movement. It's nothing new, it's just to help everyone rethink a meal. You can eat wholesomely satisfying delicious food that just happens to be earth friendly and vegetarian. Being with a vegan, I've learned to be more creative with traditional recipes while trying to balance all the food groups. Give it whirl; meat doesn't have to be part of every meal! I promise you'll feel lighter and livelier after a few days. I personally try to practice being vegetarian on every new moon and full moon and at least for one meal a day. Challenge yourself, feel better, live more colorfully :) 

Apple slices, cinnamon sprinkle, and peanut butter scoops

brown rice and quinoa with lima beans and broccoli

Mango freeze at Jazz Fest

Cherry tomato and basil spaghettini

Boiled vegetables from Tulane's Crawfest

4/20 celebration

Herb spiced tumeric popcorn

Friday, April 8, 2016

Staycation in New Orleans : Balise & Compère Lapin

This was the first time I've had a weekday off in New Orleans since I first started working! It was such a nice break because it reminded me of how it used to be when I had so many sunny afternoons to spend as a student. My stayation landed on French Quarter Fest weekend, so more things were happening in the Quarter than usual. The musicians, bands, street performances, poets, Jackson Square artists, vendors, and visitors just seemed to multiply! Stages and markets are set up in various locations all around the French Quarter, and many restaurants are serving festival food specials ranging from barbecue shrimp stuffed po-boys to crawfish in lobster sauce. Though you already know I'm all about festival feasting, this photolog I'm going to share with you some finer dining experiences I had this long weekend. 

One Warehouse District go-to for me is Balise. It's modern Louisiana fare for the gastronomically adventurous. The first time I went, they just recently started serving brunch, and I had the most juicy hot sausage lambwich that was topped with a runny egg in a soft brioche bun. It's not easily forgettable, so I went back and had the fried smoked oysters with a side of fried smoked cauliflower. Definitely one of my favorite brunch spots in New Orleans. 

Now the real highlight this weekend, however, was my lunch at Compère Lapin. It's located in the Old No. 77 Hotel off Lafayette and I honestly can't stop thinking about it. It's a New Orleans Creole Caribbean cuisine that is exquisite, creative, and hearty. Chef Nina Compton showcases her St. Lucian roots, adding a New Orleans + Southern flair with the sophistication of French culinary pedigree. Her chive buttermilk biscuit was served with small logs of bacon butter and salted honey butter, which I ended up combining on my warm flaky biscuit. I also tried a very flavorful curried goat stew with homemade sweet potato gnocchi and topped with cashews and cliantro. It was reminiscent of Hong Kong style curry beef brisket. My tastebuds still get excited just simply thinking about it. I can't wait to go back. 

640 Carondelet Street
New Orleans

Compère Lapin
The Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery
535 Tchoupitoulas St
New Orleans

Power breakfast! Barley quinoa avocado bowl spiced with Slap Ya Mama

When your cauliflower game on fleek, Balise

Fried oysters with a shaved broccoli + brussels sprouts salad, Balise

Best hot sausage lambwich on the softest brioche bun, Balise

Mr. Jack Daniels courtesy of local artist Simon

Chive buttermilk biscuits with bacon butter + salted honey butter
- AMEN!, Compere Lapin

Chef Nina's signature curried goat with sweet potato gnocchi, Compere Lapin

Miss Luna admiring Reggie's Art from Jackson Square!
Thank you so much for the beautiful New Orleans jazz + architecture print!