Miso Chicken

Disclaimer — this recipe came to me via my son, David.  He inherited my cooking genes :-).   The original recipe can be found at Epicurius.com.  The recipe does not call for bell peppers or onions but it is a nice way to eat some veggies.  The recipe calls for chicken breast but I am a huge fan of chicken thighs so that is what I used.

Miso paste is a staple in our home for marinades, miso soup.  I use toasted sesame oil, but in general it should be reserved for drizzling rather than cooking with it.


1 pound boneless, boneless skinless chicken thighs

Grapeseed oil, canola or the oil of your choice.

For the Marinade:

2 tablespoons miso paste (I used white miso because that’s why I had but you can use red miso as well).

1 1/2 teaspoons light sesame oil

1 1/2 teaspoons chopped ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Sriracha to taste — or other spicy sauce such as Gochujang (Korean paste)

****Optional — bell peppers, onions — if you want to make it a stir fry.

Feel free to experiment with other veggies or not — as with any other recipes, make it your own by adding or subtracting.   Be brave and have fun!

All-American Chili

It has been freezing cold in Chicago, the perfect weather for hearty meals.  This is by far my favorite chili recipe.  Don’t let the long list of ingredients intimate you.  My shortcut is to chop all the ingredients, combine all of the spices, rinse the beans.  I put the tomatoes in a bowl and gently squeeze them and crush with  my hands.

For a heartier meal, I cook some pasta — usually elbows or any other kind of small pasta and serve with the chili on top.

As with many chilis, it is tastier the next day.  This recipe was enough for two meals for 4 people (3 hungry boys and moi).

I like to sprinkle ours with shredded mozzarella cheese, chopped green onions and if you like, a dollop of sour cream.  Yum!

Here is a link to the recipe and complete list of ingredients .  Bon Appétit!



Easy peasy Ginger Fried Rice

I love this rice when I absolutely don’t feel like doing anything too complicated.  I always have left over rice which I freeze.  Yes, rice freezes well up to a month.  The best time to store the cooked rice is when it’s just finished cooking.  Make sure to pack the rice with steam and cover the lid immediately to trap the steam and moisture (I usually save in on a pyrex glass container).  When the rice has cooled, store in your freezer.  The quality will stay well up to 1 month. You will need to reheat it before using.   If you will be using the rice within a couple of days then no freezing is recommended.

If you don’t have any left over rice and would still like to make this easy recipe, you could cook the rice early enough to let it cool down completely, even refrigerate for a bit if possible.

I am including the link to this recipe from Mark Bittman whom I absolutely adore.  A couple of notes:  1) Make sure not to overcook the ginger/garlic or they will be bitter — it needs to be crispy and brown (not black!).  2) I didn’t have leeks so I used shallots and it turned out just as yummy — I understand scallions can also be a good substitute.   I would NOT use regular onions as they may be too pungent.



Watercress Salad with Radishes

Shhhhhh…I am in love with Watermelon radishes. Its flesh is tender-crisp, succulent, and firm. Its flavor is mild, only slightly peppery with almond-sweet notes.  It can be eaten raw or cooked.  It is an heirloom Chinese Daikon radish, member of the Brassica (mustard) family along with arugula, broccoli and turnips. Watermelon radishes are most commonly available during spring and late fall, since they are a cool season crop.

The original recipe calls for watercress and I have made it that way but this time I had to substitute with Arugula and still loved the results.     While at Wholefoods, I had to research substitutes for watercress — sometimes you just have to improvise!

Attention: don’t add the watercress or arugula until the salad is ready to serve as they will wilt.



2 watermelon radishes thinly sliced

4 regular radishes (you can add black or white wines for color)

4  cups Watercress or Arugula

1 medium tart firm apple thinly sliced  (Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, or Braeburn) — unpeeled and seeded —

3  lemons  –  1 thinly sliced —

4 spring onions thinly sliced into rings

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Step 1:  use a mandolin — if you have one — to slice the radishes and the apple or use a regular knife — feel free to include the core as it is eatable.

Step 2: quarter the apples and the watermelon radishes so they are bite size

Step 3: Slice the lemons as thinly as possible and remove seeds

Step 4: Put everything in a bowl and squeeze the juice of one lemon, add pepper and salt to taste and massage the ingredients.  I mean massage not just mix with spoon — don’t feel afraid to show all the ingredients some love :-).   Marinade for 10 to 15 minutes.

Once you are ready to serve, add the watercress or arugula, spring onions and mix.  Add olive oil, squeeze 1/2 of the left over lemon (or the whole lemon depending on how lemony you like the salad).  Taste for flavor and add more salt as needed.

Finally — I tend to like my salads on the lemony side.  If you don’t,  you may want to be more conservative with the use of lemon.  When it comes to cooking,  it is easier to err on the side of not enough as it is alway easier to adjust by adding.

Hope you enjoy!

Recipe found at:




Farmer’s markets

Whether traveling overseas or at our home city, visiting farmer’s market is a favorite past time.  I love the colors, the people, the fresh produce.  Of course our markets pale in comparison to the ones in France for example, but it is still lovely to visit them.

Secret — I fallen “in love” with our local fromager.  He has a limited but yummy selection of cheese.

Otherwise, I like to buy produce I am not too familiar with and experiment.  This is part of the beauty of farmer’s market — locally produced and seasonal items.

And the colors are absolutely beautiful.  I love beets and try to eat them as often as possible.  It is a problem though when I am the only one at home in love with them 🙁

And flowers?  I love them at home!  No special occasion is needed to bring beauty into our homes, n’est-ce pas?

Truly Magnificent Granola

I tend to prefer savory breakfast over sweet but, this is my to go recipe when I am in the mood for the latter.  Pair it with your favorite yogurt — I am in love with skyr a thick, creamy yogurt from Iceland.  A bit on the pricey side so I purchase it when on sale.

I found this recipe at a blog called pioneer woman (link towards the bottom).  I have tried different versions but decided this is my favorite one.  It is really a simple recipe that calls for mixing your dried ingredients, then the wet ones, mixing them together, bake and voila!  It doesn’t get any easier plus your home will smell wonderful.  This batch was made using the ingredients suggested in the recipe but please feel free to use your favorite dried fruit (mango, apricot, figs, apple).

I store mine in mason jars but you can also put in a ziploc bag.  You could take to work as a pick me up late afternoon snack 🙂


Crunchy Thai Peanut & Quinoa Salad

Who says you can’t make a good meal for one???  Hectic week with travelers going away to college, Hong Kong and DC!  However, I still like to cook healthy food even it is just for me.  I came across this recipe and have been wanting to try making it for a while now.

I finally made it yesterday and paired it with a fillet of swordfish which was on sale at Whole Foods.  I have left overs for about 3 days 🙂

I really like the Asian twist to Quinoa and will have to unequivocally say that it has become my favorite way to eat it.  It helps to have some of the ingredients at hand.  We always have a supply of rice vinegar, low sodium soy sauce and ginger which came in handy for the dressing — everything else needed are basic kitchen ingredients.  I love ginger so I followed the advise of adding more than the minimum.

Hope you enjoy!

Recipe found at Cookies + Kate — she has some amazing recipes

Crunchy Thai Peanut & Quinoa Salad


Kale Salad

I love salads as a side dish or as a meal unto itself.  Kale has become one of my favorite ingredients to substitute whenever I want to change my salad routine.

There are many types of kale.  Curly Kale is probably the most recognizable one, sold in bunches at your local grocery store or at your local farmer’s market — where I bought mine.  It is usually bright or dark green with tight ruffled leaves and fibrous stalks that can be difficult to chop, but easy to tear if fresh. It has a pungent flavor with peppery and bitter qualities, so make sure to pick younger looking leaves for less bitterness.  It is a power house in terms of nutrients and its low caloric content :-).  So many health benefits and so yummy!

Confession: many moons ago, I used to buy bottled salad dressing.  But once I learned how easy it was to make it my own, I never went back.  If I don’t want to spend time making one, it is just easy to add olive oil, lemon and voila.  In fact, growing up this was the de facto salad dressing.  My mom would just squeeze some lemon into our salads (no measurements whatsoever).   So aside from tomatoes,  we go through a lot of lemons and limes at our house.

In this recipe I used nutritional yeast instead of parmesan cheese.  I love cheese but like to substitute whenever possible.  Nutritional yeast is favored by vegetarians and vegans alike.  The name is not the most appetizing name but it provides a wealth of vitamins, minerals and protein.   I buy mine at Whole foods in the bulk section.

Serves 2-4


1 Kale bunch (about 4 cups once cut up)

1 red pepper diced

2-3 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast (or parmesan cheese)

1 Tsp powder garlic

3 Tbsp lemon (or more)

salt to taste


Step 1: Tear the leaves from the stalks, wash and dry.  Once they are dried, stack the leaves on top of each other, gently roll them into a cigar, and then use a sharp knife to slice them into thin ribbons. This is a technique called Chiffonade.  It sounds complicated but it is not.  The secret to eating raw Kale is that you want to slice it as thin as possible so it is easy to digest.

Step 2: Dice the red pepper

Step 3: Put all the ingredients in a bowl, add the olive oil, lemon and mix. Next, add the garlic powder and nutritional yeast and mix again. Finally, add salt to taste.

Attention: feel free to substitute fresh garlic instead of garlic powder.  I much prefer fresh garlic but the powder one is quick shortcut if pressed with time.  Also, do adjust the lemon taste to your liking.

Finally, try vegetables and recipes that challenge your comfort zone. Why the hell not?

Watercress salad

Here is a salad perfect for hot summer days. Watercress is filled with so many nutrients: more vitamin C than an orange, more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach and more folate than bananas.  In American diet it was used as a little more than a plate garnish but it has gained popularity as the next superfood.  Hippocrates, the father of medicine, used it to treat his patients. In England watercress sandwiches were a staple of the working class, until the 19th century.

My mom uses watercress often in soups and salads.  In Guatemala it is known as “Ensalada de Berros.” Repeat after me: berros and start rolling those r’s!  This was one of my favorite recipes growing up.

I made this today and it was the perfect accompaniment for our salmon and quinoa dinner.  You can buy it pre packed or a bunch in the vegetable section.

Prep time: 15 minutes                                    Serves: 2-4


4 ounces of watercress

1/2 cup diced radishes

1/4 cup chopped onions

1 medium size tomato, diced

1 1//2 limes or lemon

salt to taste


Step 1: Chop the watercress

Step 2: Dice the tomatoes and radishes

Step 3: Chop the onion

Step 4: Add all the diced vegetables to a bowl

Step 4: Add the lime/lemon juice and salt to taste

Attention — Watercress is a bit bitter so the sweetness and acidity of the lemon/lime will balance that out.  Enjoy!


The Perfect Guatemalan Guacamole


There are plenty of versions of Guacamole, mine is a simple one.  I grew up eating this version as an accompaniment to a good churrasco, to make Guatemalan tostadas (more on this later), or as a spread on French bread.

A simple rule of thumb to making a perfect guacamole is using good, ripe avocados. My mom taught me to check for ripeness by gently pressing the outside of the avocado. If there is no give, the avocado is not ripe yet and will not taste good. If there is a little give, the avocado is ripe and ready to eat.  Warning: If there is a lot of give, the avocado may be past ripe and not good.  The challenge sometimes is finding that perfect avocado so an alternative maybe planning ahead in which case unripe avocados are okay to buy.

Prep time: 10 minutes                                Serves: 2-4


2 ripe avocados

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1/4 cup minced white onion

1 Tbs spoon of freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice


Step 1: Cut the avocados in half. Remove seed. Scoop out the flesh with a fork. Place in a bowl.

Step 2: Using a fork, roughly mash the avocado. (Don’t get carried away! The guacamole should be a little chunky.)

Step 3: Crush the oregano leaves (Guatemalan style by placing it on the palm of your hand and then rubbing gently) and add.

Step 4: Add salt, lime (or lemon) juice, chopped onions and mix gently

Start with this recipe and adjust to your taste.  Remember that it is always better to add more salt or lime if needed than to over do it.

Add the pits to the guacamole and cover with plastic and chill to store: Place plastic wrap on the surface of the guacamole cover it and to prevent air reaching it. (The oxygen in the air causes oxidation which will turn the guacamole brown.) Refrigerate until ready to serve.