To me, eggs are total comfort food.  If you are an egg person, specifically a runny egg person, it all comes down to buttery toast dipped in peppery salty yolks.

Achieving the perfectly cooked egg can be somewhat of a challenge, and I am by no means an expert.  But I do think I’ve come up with a fool proof trick for achieving the exact yolk you like, so I decided to share. 

If you’re cooking two eggs, begin with an 7 or 8 inch frying pan. Three eggs- begin with a 9 or 10 inch frying pan. Place 1/2 T butter in the pan, set to medium heat.  Let heat for 4 minutes.

While pan is heating, crack your eggs into a bowl.  As opposed to cracking my eggs into the pan, I crack them into a bowl, and then pour the eggs into the pan.  This allows you to place all the eggs in the pan at the same time, which ensures even cooking times.  Not mention, it also provides a key opportunity to fish out any shells.

Next, pour the eggs into the pan and season with salt and pepper.  Place a lid on the pan and let cook, covered, for 3 minutes.  By covering the eggs, the heat is trapped in and the eggs cook completely- no need to flip!  After 3 minutes check eggs consistently until they are cooked to your liking.  I find a runny yolk takes approximately 4 minutes to cook.  Serve immediately with toast.

Granola bars. I’m always confused as to how one could pack so many ingredients into one little bar.  To complicate matters even further, I don’t always know what those ingredients actually are, which leaves me quite perplexed. Aren’t granola bars just supposed to consist of oats, nuts, and perhaps fruit?

So this weekend I set out to make my own.  While they do contain more than just three ingredients, they’re all easy to identify and something I’m glad to eat.   I particularly like the recipe the I followed (the Contessa’s, naturally) because it strikes the perfect salty sweet balance, and tastes far better than anything I’ve purchased in the store.  I anticipate many more at home variations to come.

Cranberry Walnut Granola Bars adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

Makes 8 Bars

1 1/3 cups old fashion oats

3/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped

4/3 cup shredded cocounut

1/4 cup wheat bran or wheat germ

3 T ground flax seeds

3/4 cup dried cranberries

1 1/2 T salted butter

1/3 cup honey

2 T light brown sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 x8 inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.

Toss the oatmeal, walnuts, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat bran.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the cranberries and stir well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.

I go head over heals for any dessert that involves cream cheese frosting, and red velvet cake is no exception.  I’ll eat red velvet cake any day of the week, but it couldn’t be more appropriate for February 14th.  I’m actually sort of indifferent to Valentine’s Day, but I will gladly embrace it through baking.  Armed with my heart shaped cookie cutter, I decided to make mini cakes instead of cookies for this year’s celebration. Personally, I find that big red sugar cookies look a lot better than they taste. I certainly sacrificed beauty (and perhaps grace) over taste though. While these cakes were exceptionally moist and delicious, I don’t plan on attempting to frost something in the shape of a heart any time soon. Nonetheless, Happy Valentine’s Day!

Heart Shaped Red Velvet Cakes adapted from Saveur

1 tbsp. butter

2 1/2 cups plus 12 tbsp all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cocoa powder

1 tsp. salt

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

1 cup buttermilk

2 tbsp. (1 oz.) red food coloring

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. white distilled vinegar

12 oz. cream cheese, softened

12 oz. butter, softened

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

For the cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Grease one 9×13 in with butter. Dust with 2 tbsp. of the flour and set aside. Sift remaining flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa, and salt into a bowl. Beat eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar in a bowl with an electric mixer until combined. Add dry ingredients and beat until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Divide batter evenly between pans. Bake cakes, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 32-36 minutes. Let cake cool for 20 minutes.

For the frosting: Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in a bowl with an electric mixer until well combined. Add sugar and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, 5–7 minutes.

Once cake has cooled, use cookie cutter to cut out individual cakes.  Then frost to the best of your abilities!


Up until tonight, falafel was something I only considered eating out and never at home.  I assumed making it from scratch would require a slew of ingredients, so it never crossed my mind to make it myself.  It seemed much more natural to buy a falafel sandwich from a food truck or shovel in a falafel platter while crammed inside a small kabob house (aren’t they always small?). But when I began perusing recipes, I was intrigued to find there weren’t too many ingredients and the cooking process was actually rather simple.

So last night I set out to make them, closely following this recipe*, since it had so many rave reviews.  We were blown away by the results, they were absolutely delicious! This recipe completely redefined falafel for me- it is most certainly an at home dish.

I severed the falafel in pitas, and garnished them with lettuce, tomatoes, and yogurt sauce.  You could also serve them with tahini, I’m just quite partial to this sauce.

Yogurt Sauce (dressing for 7 patties)

1 cup greek yogurt

juice of 1/3 lemon

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp grated garlic

1/4 cup crumbled feta

Whisk all ingredients together, cover, and let sit in fridge for at least one hour.  Spoon over falafel when ready to serve.

*The recipe instructs you to form small balls of falafel.  I formed patties and pan fried them, as opposed to submerging them completely in oil.  If make patties, they should 1/2 inch thick.  Coat a heavy frying pan liberally with vegetable oil, and set to medium high heat.  Allow pan to heat for 5 minutes, and then place patties gently in the pan.  Cooking for 5 minutes on each side, until they’re a dark golden brown.

My dad was raised (mostly) in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  To this day, there’s pretty much no place on earth he’d rather be than the desert, as he refers to it. Because of his career, he’s spent his adult life in NY, but he makes a point to get out west every year. Since we were babies my brother and I have tagged along, and subsequently have gotten to know this part of this country quite well. Along with that, has come an affinity for Mexican food.  

I’m slowly expanding my experience in Mexican cooking.  Black bean soup is an perfect place to start because it’s not too challenging, yet as a dish it still hits all the traditional Mexican flavors. I’ve made the following recipe twice.  The first time with canned beans, and the second with dried beans. Dried beans will create a thicker soup, and you can simply add more broth to thin it out. However, when serving this soup as leftovers, I found it had thickened even more, so I served it more as a thick bean stew over polenta.  Both versions are wonderful.  The second is a bit more time consuming, while the first can we whipped up in minutes for a easy weeknight meal.

Black Bean Soup with Cumin and Jalapeno adapted from Bon Appetit

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 chopped jalapeño chile with seeds (makes a spicy soup, use less to decrease heat)

2 15- to 16-ounce cans black beans, undrained

1 15-ounce can petite diced tomatoes in juice

1 cup frozen corn

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1 tsp salt

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and garlic; sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 6 minutes. Mix in cumin and 1 teaspoon jalapeño. Add beans, tomatoes with juice, corn, and broth; bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer 3 cups of soup to blender and puree until smooth. Return puree to pot. Simmer soup until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, serve with grated sharp cheddar, sour cream, and a squeeze of lime.

Polenta Version:  Rinse 2 cups dried beans, cover with water, and soak overnight.  Drain the beans, return to pot, cover with 2 inches of water.  Add in 4 whole cloves of garlic and 1 tsp salt.  Simmer beans partially covered over medium low heat for an hour to an hour and a half, until tender.  Drain beans and set aside.  Commence recipe outlined above. While the soup is simmering, bring 3 cups of water to a boil.  Once boiling, pour in 1 cup cornmeal, whisking continuously so clumps don’t form.  Cook polenta over medium heat, whisking consistently for 6-8 minutes. Season with 1/4 milk, salt, and pepper.  Spoon polenta into bowls, pour serve over, and garnish with cilantro, extra jalapenos, and crumbled feta (cheddar would work too).  Serve immediately.