Goat Cheese Quesadilla with Balsamic Onions and Squash

Goat Cheese QuesadillasI was given a challenge for a friend’s birthday: bring a vegetarian dish that was filling and not pasta. I had goat cheese and squash at home and so I decided quesadillas it shall be! I also noticed some tomatoes in the refrigerator while I was there looking for that squash. And then I saw the onions and some balsamic vinegar in the pantry and voila! These quesadillas (kay-sa-di-ya) are creamy and have a subtle balsamic taste from the onions and crunchiness from the squash. The melting feeling when you bite in is just divine! I’ll admit that this is one of my new favorite dishes because I can indulge while still feeling kind of healthy about it(whole wheat+veggies-that’s healthy right?)balsamic onions

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Arugula Basil Pesto

Basil-Arugula PestoThis pesto is a fresh take on the Italian classic. A beautiful, bright green, this pesto is zesty, fierce, peppery and not for the faint of heart. While keeping the tradition of the basil, Parmesan, pine nuts, olive oil and garlic, I decided to add some more bitter and bold arugula to give it some pop.

The key to excellent pesto is excellent ingredients. As simple as that. So when you’re out shopping for ingredients try to look for good quality extra-virgin olive oil, artisan cheese and most of all, fresh greens. The freshness is what gives the light, earthy taste with all the vibrant green color. I would recommend this sauce on a dish paired with something a little sweeter to balance out the bitterness of the arugula. May I suggest some pasta with this palate-teasing pesto and some sweet, ripe tomatoes to counterbalance.  Plus green pesto with bright, red tomatoes look absolutely beautiful!P1030266

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Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Caramelized Bananas and Chocolate

Pb icecream with Caramelized Bananas and ChocolateI can’t believe I haven’t posted in 2 months. I can’t give excuses…I was lazy. But now I’m back! My dad’s birthday is coming up so I thought I would  highlight his favorite things: peanut butter and ice-cream! Now, who could resist the American classic: pb, chocolate, and bananas. I know I can’t! Even though it is officially autumn, here in LA, it most definitely isn’t, therefore, ice cream is still perfectly acceptable!ready to eat Continue reading

Fritelles from Carrara Pastries

creamy inside FrittellesI know I haven’t posted in almost a month, but it’s summer…I just guess I’ve been busy. So, I thought today I would finally tell you about what may be my favorite all-time pastry: the Frittelle from Carrara Pastries in Moorpark,CA(I always finish them off before I can photograph them usually..woops). The Carrara website describes these Fritelles as being “also reknowned as “little balls of heaven” this pastry is rolled in sugar and filled with our fantastic cream chantilly.” This little ball of heaven is Amazing! The step-by-step play: 1. As you bite in you taste the sweetness from the sugar followed by a satisfying crunch from the shell. 2. You are overwhelmed by the vanilla silkiness and cool-to-the-tongue richness of the cream. 3. You savor whole bite for a second before slurping up the cream starting to ooze out of the pastry. 4. Dive right back in and repeat!more creaminess Continue reading

Santa Fe Salad with Homemade Guacamole and Pico de Gallo

Santa Fe SaladWow! Already July. Well, nothing says summer like fresh salad with lots of fresh vegetables. So I decided to make a Santa Fe-style salad complete with homemade, creamy guacamole and zesty, crisp pico de gallo. I was channeling my inner Chipotle, but I also wanted to use some of the fresh ingredients at my disposable via my backyard and local supermaket produce section.  Luckily, I even had some extra cans of beans(from all the rice and beans made at my home) so it was perfect for a south-of-the-border inspired salad. Continue reading

Lentil Bruschetta Dip

Lentil Bruschetta DipI’ll start by saying this is probably one of the easiest and tastiest dips I’ve ever had. To be honest, I eat it as a side dish all the time too. It has a sweet tomato flavor from the bruschetta with a satisfying crunch from the chunks of tomato. And the feta adds little bites of creamy saltiness while the basil adds freshness to the dish. And lentils: Hello, protien!(magic to a vegetarian’s ears) Another great thing, you can get all the ingredients at your local Trader Joe’s. Continue reading

Porto’s Bakery and Cafe: My Favorite Cuban Bakery

portos-collage-burbankSo if you have ever been to L.A., specifically the San Fernando Valley, I hope you have heard of Porto’s Bakery and Cafe, a real-deal Cuban bakery that never ceases to amaze me. Everything is baked fresh daily, but sooo much of it! You see trays of fresh treats constantly coming out and just the other day I was buying bread and it was still warm from the oven. Delicious! If absolutely scrumptious smelling desserts(I haven’t eaten gotten to the savory) doesn’t make you want to check this place out, than the prices will. Since they mass produce all the pastries(and trust there is always a line), they are able to sell them for an extremely affordable price. A plain croissant is just a $1.15(wow). Now, I said there is always a long line, but they also have what must be a few dozen employees taking down your order so it goes relatively quickly. Since everyone always orders a few boxes of goodies, these people have amazing memories, I swear. They are so efficient and remember your whole order.BREAD CIABATTA Continue reading