Most mornings I like to start off my day with just a cup (or two) of black coffee. Sometimes on the rare weekend I'll make an exception and eat in the a.m., if Mr. S. cooks his wonderful omelets, pancakes or a plate of crispy bacon. I love breakfast, truly I do...I'm just not an early morning eater. There's something about ingesting food at 8, 9 or 10 am that just makes me feel a bit queasy and off kilter for hours afterwards. So to compensate, I usually end up making my favorite breakfast dishes for lunch or sometimes even dinner. I love that most breakfast recipes are versatile and you can pretty much use whatever's lurking in the corners of your fridge or vegetable bin. Last night's leftover sausage? Throw it in there! Sunday night, you had extra cheese after making some enchiladas? Throw that cheese in there! Garden overgrown with tomatoes and zucchini? Chop 'em up and throw them in there! I'm sure you get my point. Great breakfasts can be created from eggs and whatever scrappings you have lying about. Omelets are probably the simplest of the breakfast dishes to make, but you can always step it up with a frittata or a strata. Never heard of a strata? It's like a frittata but it has bread mixed in. I usually gravitate toward making this dish when I have some leftover rustic french bread that's gone a bit stale. I've listed below what I put into my most recent strata but just use that as a loose guide, there are endless variations. When making your own strata, customize it with whatever meats, veggies or cheese YOU like or have in your fridge. You really can't go wrong as long as you remember the eggs, bread and milk.



4 eggs
3/4 cup milk (I usually use soymilk)
1 1/2 cups (day old) cubed, rustic french bread
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1/2 cup spinach leaves
2 slices prosciutto, torn into small pieces
6 grape tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup cheddar, grated or shredded
1/4 cup mozzarella, grated or shredded
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper


- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

- In a pan, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat until it shimmers. Then add the garlic and saute for about 1 minute. Add in the spinach leaves, prosciutto pieces, tomato halves and onion. Continue to cook until spinach wilts and tomatoes slightly soften. Remove from heat and set aside.

- In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper.

- Place two oven-safe ramekins on a baking sheet. Place the bread cubes inside the ramekins. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread. Add in the sauteed vegetables, prosciutto and a tablespoon of goat cheese to each. Sprinkle the tops with the mozzarella and cheddar cheeses.

- Place the baking sheet with the filled ramekins into the oven and bake for 23-25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

- Eat while still warm.


It's just two weeks until the Buddhist Church of Sacramento's 66th Annual Bazaar. If you've never been, you must! And if you have, get ready for some delicious Japanese dishes- especially their finger-lickin' roasted teriyaki chicken, always a highlight. There's also music, traditional Japanese dancing and Ikebana exhibits to check out for the adults and several game stalls for the kiddos.

Come celebrate the Year of the Dragon!

Where: 2401 Riverside Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95818. (916) 446-1866
When: August 11th and 12th from 12pm-9pm
Admission: Free
More Info: Website 
Entertainment Schedule: Schedule
Last year's festival: My Kind of Town
* Cash only

I know I've probably said this before but man, I feel so lucky to live in California. Oftentimes, I look at magazines like Sunset and will think,"Wow! That place is so beautiful!" when browsing the glossy photos of fresh produce, lush greenery and spectacular flora--then I remember, "I live there, duh." I especially love how we have ready access to an abundance of seasonal produce. My current obsession has been figs. I haven't always been a huge fan in the past, besides the occasional fig newton; but that turned around for me last year, when I had some phenomenal homemade fig chutney at a friend's party. It was served on some artisan bread with some softened goat cheese and it seriously blew me away. So when I saw figs recently while wandering the market, I was delighted. Mr.S. isn't much into chutney so I decided to go with a simple, classic recipe of figs stuffed with chevre. At the last minute though I decided to pick up some prosciutto to wrap the lil suckers in. Hey, you can never go wrong with adding a bit of pork product to your dish, right? Well, these small bites turned out perfect...little savory bundles of warm, salty, creamy goodness. My god, they're so good you won't want to share!

Figs 'n Pigs: Roasted Figs Stuffed with Chevre & Wrapped in Prosciutto


12 fresh figs
3-4 ounces chevre (depending on the size of your figs)
12 slices good quality, thinly sliced prosciutto
honey, warmed


- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

- Gently wipe figs clean with a damp paper towel or washcloth.

- Using a paring knife, slice off the very tip of the fig and then cut two slits (an X) into the top of each fig, going about two-thirds of the way down. Carefully separate the sides and form a small pocket. Press a spoonful of chevre into the pocket. (See below photo) Then softly pinch the sides around the chevre.

- Take a slice of prosciutto, fold it in half lengthwise then wrap it around the stuffed fig.

- Place figs upright (X-side up) on an oiled baking sheet and roast for 10-12 minutes. When the prosciutto is crisp and the chevre gets oozy, they're ready to be taken out.

- Place the figs on a serving tray, drizzle with warm honey and serve immediately.

* If you want to get extra fancy, you can sprinkle the figs with chopped toasted walnuts or Marcona almonds.

* Also, if you're thinking of making these for a party, you can prep a few hours ahead and refrigerate the stuffed figs. But don't roast them until just before you want to serve them because they will get soggy if left to sit.

3030 T Street, Sacramento, CA 95816. (916) 346-4933.

Date night this week didn't start out too great. Mr.S. had a bad day at work and showed up being 50 shades of grumpy. So to lighten the mood, I suggested we keep dinner casual and check out the new Korean taco joint that recently set up shop at the retro-looking gas station at T and Alhambra. Tako (the name's a play on the words "taco" and "Korean") has been driving me crazy in the two weeks it's been open. Since I drive down T Street at least once a day, I can usually smell the enticing aroma of their marinated meats grilling from a block away and it makes my mouth water every time.

We showed up around 7pm and decided to place a to-go order (the weather was so nice, we wanted to take our dinners over to McKinley Park). We decided to go with the bulgogi mini burgers ($6) and an order of tacos (2 spicy pork and one fire chicken, $7). Considering it wasn't a very large order, we were surprised how long it took to get our fact, after awhile I was kind of wondering if they had perhaps lost our order. But nope, they finally came through. We chalked the lengthy wait time up to the place being new and possibly working out it's kinks. Now based on what I'd been hearing from friends, I was really looking forward to sinking my teeth into some tasty fusion food so we skedaddled over to the park. Once we got situated at a picnic table and shooed away the pushy squirrels, we dived in. The bulgogi burgers turned out to be mediocre. The bulgogi didn't really hold up to the bulgogi I've had in the Korean restaurants on Folsom Boulevard. It wasn't fatty or dry, it just lacked flavor. Also, there seemed to be a lot of bun and by my second burger I felt like I was mostly eating a giant wad of bread sprinkled with cheese. The tacos though- they're worth going back for! The meat/slaw/sauce ratio was perfect and Tako's take on "spicy" wasn't kill-your-taste buds hot; in fact, the sauce had a nice, sweet undertone. There were three street tacos to an order and they let us mix and match the meats (marinated steak, short ribs, spicy pork, chicken, fire chicken or tofu)- a recent change, which is a nice touch. Everything we had tasted fresh, no nuking at this place.
Helpful Hint: be sure to grab plenty of napkins, the tacos do get a wee bit messy...ok, a lot messy. :)

All in all, we liked Tako. The owners did a nice job of sprucing up the run down historic gas station. There's indoor and outdoor seating, service is friendly, they use cardboard for their takeout orders and street parking isn't too difficult in the evening (they also have a very small parking lot to the side). Additionally, they take plastic and are open until 10pm--score! I would love to see the tortillas warmed up and the cheese melted- but hey, I realize they're working with a limited amount of cooking space. Hopefully, I'll get back there soon- I'm interested in trying out their short rib tacos and kimchi quesadilla next...both menu items looked intriguing.

On a side note, I hadn't been to McKinley Park's rose garden in quite awhile (it used to be my go to place for reading). The renovation looks fantastic- check it out! It's a great place to take a date...all the roses are in bloom right now and there are comfy benches where you can sit, chat and hold hands.


It's summertiiiiiime and the livin' is easy....ok, maybe it's not quite easy but it's definitely hot and I'm feeling lazy. So if you'd rather relax by the pool or catch up on some Gabriel Macht in "Suits," than slog away in a hot kitchen, I have the perfect hors d'œuvre recipe for you. I'm sure you've seen a hundred variations of this on Pinterest and it's easy to see why- it's healthy, requires practically no effort and is on a stick...and who doesn't love nibbles on a stick? Also if you halve the tomato and use it as a base like I do, it makes it look like a cute little retro piece of art.

Summertime Caprese Skewers


1 (12 oz.) container Trader Joe's Marinated Mozzarella Balls
1 package fresh grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 bunch fresh basil leaves
olive oil or good quality balsamic vinegar (optional)
1 package round toothpicks


1. Thread 1 mozzarella ball, 1 folded basil leaf and 1 tomato half onto the toothpick (with the tomato's sliced side facing the bottom).

2. Place on dish upright, using the tomato as a base.

3. Drizzle lightly with olive oil or balsamic vinegar if you wish.

Well, they say absence makes the heart grow fonder. I suppose that's so since I missed Mr.S. like crazy while he was gone for four days with the kidlets up at the cabin; however, the time away gave me some much needed time to catch up with my awesome girl friends. It seems like we're all busy with trips, kidlets, work or dating lately and it's hard to get together like we used to.  So I was excited on Friday night, when eleven fantabulous gal pals came over for some noshing, drinking and chatting.

Feeling adventurous, I wanted to try a new recipe, perhaps a twist on an old favorite? So I decided to go with - spinach dip! We LOVE this stuff at our house. Guaranteed if I make it or someone brings it to one of our fiestas, it'll be gone in the blink of an eye. But the issue was that I wanted something a bit more refined looking...something...well, something that didn't look like slop in a bowl. So, I browsed around online and came across this great recipe for Baked Spinach Dip Bread Bowls...super cute! I was kind of short on time, so didn't have a chance to do a trial run; hence, the first batch I made (on the night of the party) came out a wee bit more cooked on the edges then I would've like. However, I lowered the baking time to 13 minutes and the second batch the next day came out perfect! These little muffin-sized quiches are wonderful and quite addictive- crusty bread, hot spinach dip...your guests will love them!

Baked Spinach Dip Mini Bread Bowls (adapted from Picky Palate)


1 can of refrigerated Pillsbury Simply Rustic Loaf or Crusty French Bread

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cups baby spinach, coarsely chopped

1 clove fresh garlic, minced

3 oz softened cream cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

2 Tablespoons fresh shredded Parmesan cheese

1/8 teaspoon ancho chile pepper

1/8 teaspoon garlic salt

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Lightly mist (regular-sized) muffin pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.

3. Pop open french bread from can. Place the bread on a cutting board and slice into 1-inch thick pieces. (A sharp knife works best for getting through the dough.)

4. Place each piece in a muffin cup and using your fingers, press it down firmly- covering the bottom and along the side of the muffin cup (it doesn't have to go all the way up).

5. In a pan, heat up your olive oil over medium heat. Saute your spinach until it's wilted, then add your minced garlic. Once the garlic becomes fragrant, turn off the heat.

6. In a large mixing bowl, combine your softened cream cheese, sour cream, cooked spinach and garlic, Parmesan cheese, ancho chili powder, garlic salt, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly so that all ingredients are combined and there are no cream cheese lumps.

7. Spoon about 1.5-2 tablespoons of dip onto the bread bowls. Top with a sprinkle of shredded mozzarella cheese.

8. Bake in oven for 13-17 minutes (start with 13 minutes if your oven tends to like to burn things like the one at Mr.S.'s house does). When the edges start to turn a golden brown color, remove pan from oven and set aside to cool for about 5 minutes.

9. Pop the spinach dip bread bowls out from the muffin pan (I gently slid a knife under them to help nudge them out) and serve while still hot.


If you visited my cottage right now, you'd swear it was Christmas in July. Not because I have a Christmas tree or stockings up but because of the aroma wafting from my little kitchen- a mixture of sweet fruit with an undercurrent of cinnamon and nutmeg. Doesn't that sound delightful? It's plum-apple butter. Yum! Recently a friend of mine was kind enough to share some fresh plums from her family's tree, I wasn't too sure what I wanted to do with them so for the first few days I just ate them as is. The ping pong ball sized plums were delicious- a wonderful nectarous snack. I ate them for several days straight but still didn't make a dent in them; so I had to come up with a Plan B, hence, the plum-apple butter. I took an old recipe I had bookmarked from Taste of Home and played with it a little. The resulting garnet-colored "butter" tasted fantastic and it could be purposed as a topping for a multitude of dishes...I was thinking perhaps pancakes, ice cream, cheesecake or maybe some homemade biscuits? I could probably even muddle it into some summer cocktails? The possibilities are endless....

Old Fashioned Plum-Apple Butter


20 small fresh plums- pitted and chopped (about 3 cups, chopped)
1 Fuji apple- peeled, cored and chopped
1.5 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
dash of allspice


1. In a saucepan, combine plums, apples and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 20 minutes.

2. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

3. Puree in food processor. Return to saucepan- add sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Bring to a strong boil. Then reduce heat and simmer for about an hour and 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The butter will thicken some.

4. Allow to cool. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge, should stay good for up to 3 weeks.

(Makes one and a half pints)


3754 J Street, Sacramento, 95816. (916) 452-7551

Sometimes when you food blog you get so hyped up about the new eateries that open up or a cool new delish dish that's popped up that you forget all about your trusty standby joints. For the past several years, Mr. S. and I have frequented Midtown Taqueria on J Street. The staff's always been friendly, the food's served up fresh and fast and it doesn't do too much damage to our wallets. Now I'm not going to get in a pissing contest with you over whether this place is the most authentic Mexican place in town, whether it cooks their dishes like your abuela used to or if it only uses locally grown veggies and grass-fed meats...because in all likelihood it doesn't. And quite frankly, I could care less. I've never had a bad meal there, left hungry or had awful service so they must be doing something right. Plus nine out of ten times we run into someone we know on the patio so we must not be the only Sacramentans who think Midtown Taqueria's servin' up some consistently good eats.

When I first started going there, I was all about their shrimp burrito, I wouldn't deviate. I think I ate my weight in their shrimp burritos at one point. Their shrimp burritos consist of medium-sized grilled prawns mixed with rice, beans, guac, salsa, cheese and a hefty dollop of sour cream all wrapped up tightly in a flour tortilla then encased in aluminum foil. The burrito was usually the size of my forearm. I never did finish the whole thing in one sitting. But then Mr. S. got me hooked on their carnitas plate and it quickly became my go to dish. I love how they cook their carnitas, it kind of reminds me of the vaca frita I've had at Cuban restaurants. I always have them leave off the refried beans (which Mr. S. loves, I'm just not a bean girl) and go all rice. Eating this with a basket of (free) homemade chips and salsas, drinking a Pacifico on their little "tiki" patio while we people doesn't get more relaxing in East Sac. By the way, if carnitas aren't your thing, the taqueria also offers street tacos (mmm...try the lengua tacos), fajitas, chimichangas, tamales, tostadas, and various seafood plates (mariscos). They also serve up pozole daily and menudo on the weekends (I've heard mixed reviews on their menudo). Best of all, if the patio's too crowded or you just feel like chowing at home, Midtown Taqueria does to-go orders---Olé!

Sorry for the lack of posts as of late, I've been a bit under the weather. I did drag my sorry butt into the kitchen yesterday though to bake a few batch of cookies. Mr.S. is going out of town for a few days this week so I thought I'd send him off with some delicious treats- a batch of chewy peanut butter cookies as well as a batch of crispy oatmeal cookies. To be honest, I'm feeling a bit low that he's going to be away although it was my decision to skip this trip. Hopefully he'll think of me each time he bites into a tasty cookie while he's gone (and doesn't notice that I kept a few for myself). Lucky for me, Pepper's staying behind to keep me company during Mr.S.'s absence. I guess I'll just have to spoil Peppy rotten...well, more than I normally do.

This recipe is from one of my favorite food blogs Lottie + Doof. The oatmeal cookies come out pretty big so be sure to space them well on the baking sheet (I did 8 cookies per sheet). You can also jazz them up with chocolate chips, nuts or raisins if you wish; but quite frankly, I thought they were perfect with just a sprinkle of Maldon salt on the top.

Crispy Oatmal Cookies with Maldon Salt


  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • Maldon salt

  • Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

    2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine : AP flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix throughly.

    3. In your mixer's bowl (w/ paddle attachment), cream the butter until fluffy. Then add the sugars and cream together until light and fluffy.


    4. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well. Continue to mix on medium low. At this time add in your flour mixture and combine ingredients throughly.

    5. With mixer running on low, slowly incorporate the oats into the mixture in the bowl. Mix for about 20-30 seconds on low.

    6. Take about 2 tablespoons of dough and fashion it into a ball shape, then squelch them down to make a cookie about 3/4 inch in thickness.

    7. Place cookies on a Silpat. Make sure they're not crowded because they will spread (about 8 to a sheet is good). Sprinkle the tops lightly with some Maldon salt.

    8. Bake for 13-15 minutes (rotating 1/2 through), until cookies are a golden brown color with crispy edges.

    9. Transfer to a rack to cool. Repeat steps with remaining batter.


    All sorrows are less with bread. ” ~Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote


    6825 Stockton Blvd Ste 200, Sacramento, CA 95823. (916) 428-1188.

    Years ago, I got hooked on banh mi at New Paris Bakery on Stockton Blvd. It was cheap, tasty, fresh...and cheap...oh wait, did I already mention that? When New Paris closed, I was devastated. You see, they made the best baguettes in town. Their bread was the perfect amount of crunchy on the outside and was soft as a cloud inside. I gave up banh mi for awhile after they shuttered their doors. Eh, I didn't need all those carbs, right? Eventually though, I began to miss my sandwiches and got talked into going to Huong Lan. Turned out that they serve up a delicious banh mi and the bread there was good (though not great). It satiated my banh mi cravings...that is until recently. Awhile back, I noticed that their sandwiches had got slightly smaller and the bread wasn't quite as tasty (sometimes even stale). So I started looking around and came across Duc Huong across the street. The banh mi there are comparable (fresh veggies and tender meat), the shop is clean and the staff is super nice. There's been a few times that I wished that they could put in a little more meat and slap on a wee bit more mayo...but those thoughts are tossed aside once I bite into the bread. Oh, the bread! The bread is delish and has the most wonderful aroma! It's almost like the bread that I used to get at New Paris Bakery. Light and airy with a delicate glossy, crunchy exterior. Even better news, is that they sell their baguettes as well as these fantastic sandwich rolls. They have sesame and wheat usually up front in the cases but if you order at the counter, they have freshly baked garlic rolls. Buy the garlic rolls! They're quite big (think roughly the size of a mini-Nerf football) and are only 4 for a $1. They're great for making sandwiches at home (which is what I do since I can stuff as much filling as I want in them) or for just noshing on with some soft cheese or pate. If you don't see them on the bread rack right behind the cashier, just ask; they'll bring out some fresh out of the oven ones from the back.

    Currently: $1.75 small banh mi, $3.00 full-sized banh mi.
    Baguettes $1.00, Rolls 4/$1.
    Cash only.

    Happy Monday! Surprisingly, I haven't been doing much cooking for the past week, just enjoying the holidays and the weekend. With 4th of July being midweek, it felt like there were two weekends to me. Did you do anything fun for the 4th? Mr.S., the kidlets and I attended a block party at his cousin's in East Sac, complete with taco truck then afterwards went home to light a huge pile of fireworks with another cousin that was visiting from Louisiana. It was a blast but I'll admit I'm one of those grade-A worriers when it comes to fact, I probably am a lot like the mom in Christmas story who keeps saying, "You'll shoot your eye out!!" except I'm constantly harping, "You'll blow your eye out!" or "Watch those fingers!" What a buzzkill, I know...but don't worry, Mr.S. more than makes up for my incessant warnings. He LOVES to light stuff on fire, it's that pyro gene that most boys (and men) seem to possess. He's not as obsessed as his neighbor a few blocks away though, who was lighting gigantic fireworks. I'm not sure where he got them but his fireworks show lit up the whole neighborhood's sky and could seriously put Cal Expo to shame. It was so pretty!

    The kidlets lighting some fireworks

    When Saturday rolled around we decided to pack the kidlets up along with a picnic and head to the beach. The weather was nice and cool by the coast and we had a fun time frolicking in the waves. No one wanted to come home since we heard that Sacramento was a stinky hot 101 degrees. Gah!

    Sunday buzzed by for me- farmers' market and a mimosa brunch with a fantabulous friend and then off to a birthday BBQ for Mr.S.'s big bro. The BBQ was quite enjoyable (tri-tip, panzanella and pasta salads, grilled asparagus and a decadent red velvet birthday cake). If it hadn't been for a horrendous migraine that snuck up on me halfway through the festivities, I would have said it was an A+ Sunday.

    So I'm back to the regular week with no BBQs, taco trucks or birthday cake...I'm going to have to cook my own meals today. When my friend Cate and I were at the farmers' market yesterday, squash blossoms were everywhere and cheap! I guess edible flowers are the rage? I picked up a dozen for $2. 

    Now I've cooked with squash blossoms before and know that they get wilty pretty quick; so I knew I needed to cook them ASAP. Hmmm...quesadillas? Soup? No, no...wait! Stuffed squash blossoms! I made these last year- stuffed them with goat cheese and then deep fried them in a light beer batter. Mmm, they were delicious and definitely worth another go round. At this point you're probably thinking, "Cheese? Beer batter? Frying? Is this girl loco? It all sounds so heavy!" I assure you it's not, the end result is a delicate savory dish with a delightful melding of flavors.

    (Beer Battered) Goat Cheese Stuffed Squash Blossoms


    12 squash blossoms
    canola or vegetable oil, for deep frying
    6 oz. goat cheese (bring it to room temp so it's easier to work with)
    2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions
    2 tablespoons fresh herbs (sage, parsley, thyme, oregano, basil- use whatever you like...)
    1/2 cup beer (stay away from using a super heavy beer like a port of stout)
    1/4 cup flour
    1/4 cup corn starch
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1 large egg, beaten
    sea salt and freshly ground pepper


    1. Gently wash the squash blossoms and allow to dry. Cut off stems and pinch off the stamen.

    2. In a mixing bowl, combine: goat cheese, scallions, fresh herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    3. In another bowl, mix batter ingredients together: beer, flour, corn starch, baking powder and egg.

    4. Stuff each squash blossom with a tablespoon of the cheese mixture. You can use your fingers and a spoon to do this or you can pipe it in there with a pastry bag. Twist the top of the blossoms to close.


    5. Heat oil in heavy-bottomed pan or pot over medium.

    6. Once the oil is hot (you want it to be about 375 degrees F), lightly dredge the stuffed blossoms through the beer batter (coating it evenly) and place in pan. Take care not to crowd the blossoms in the pan.

    7. Cook until batter takes on a light, golden brown color- about 2-3 minutes on each side. Transfer blossoms to a paper towel to drain for a few minutes.

    8. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Eat while they're still warm.


    Japanese soba (buckwheat) noodles are a staple in the cupboards at my cottage. They're so versatile. During the summertime, I use them to make zaru soba and in the winter, I usually toss them in some hot tsuyu with a few veggies and some tempura. For potlucks though, I like to make a soba salad. It's quick to make, easy to double and super refreshing on a hot day.

    Japanese Soba Salad


    6 oz. Japanese soba (buckwheat noodles)
    4 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
    3 green onions, chopped thinly
    1/2 orange or yellow bell pepper, cored and chopped
    6-8 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
    1/2 cup shelled, cooked edamame

    1/2 cup lite soy sauce
    1/4 cup brown sugar
    2 tablespoons rice vinegar
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 teaspoon sesame oil
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1 tablespoon ginger, grated
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1 teaspoon Sriracha
    toasted sesame seeds


    1. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add noodles, cook for 4-5 minutes on high heat. Empty into a colander, rinse several times with cold water then drain well. Set aside.

    2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine: soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, olive oil, sesame oil, lemon juice, ginger, garlic and Sriracha. Mix together well.

    3. In a large bowl, combine: noodles, shiitakes, green onions, bell pepper, tomatoes and edamame. Mix together.

    4. Pour dressing over the noodle mixture. Toss gently. Place in refrigerator to chill for at least 20-30 minutes.

    5. Toss again before serving. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy cold.


    I love, love, love this recipe. It's a fun and easy cooking project to do with little kidlets that want to help you in the kitchen but it's also fab for when you're crazy grumpy with PMS and need a sweets fix STAT. Best of all, it only makes one portion so you don't have to feel guilty about indulging. All you need is a few ingredients and a microwave.

    Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake For One (adapted from No. 2 Pencil)


    1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, melted
    1 tablespoon of white sugar
    1 tablespoon of brown sugar
    a few drops of vanilla
    pinch of Kosher salt
    Scant 1/4 cup AP flour
    1 egg yolk
    2 tablespoons of semi-sweet chocolate chips


    1. In a small bowl, combine melted butter, white and brown sugars, a few drops of vanilla and a pinch of Kosher salt. Mix together well.

    2. Add 1 egg yolk. Blend together.

    3. Add scant 1/4 cup AP flour. Stir all ingredients together thoroughly.

    4. Add 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips. Mix together.

    5. Place mixture in a small microwave safe container (I used a medium-sized ramiken). Microwave for 40-60 seconds. (Take care to not overcook otherwise it'll get dry and hard.)

    6. Eat while it's still warm. It goes great with a tall glass of milk.


    Earlier in the week I commented about how sometimes keeping it simple is the way to go. Well, that's exactly what we did this weekend. Mr.S. and I decided to head to the Bay Area and enjoy some down time in Muir Woods. Have you ever been? This was my first time and I was amazed at how absolutely gorgeous this state park is. We were smart and got there early before the hordes of tourists showed up. This gave us time to meander about at a leisurely pace and revel in the tranquility of the woods. It was so peaceful and romantic under the canopy of the redwoods with just the sounds of the creek trickling along that I almost forgot that we were just a hop, skip and a jump from the bustle of SF. It was the perfect place to spend a Saturday morning.

    In the kitchen Sunday, I wanted to stay with cooking something simple. I had some cauliflower in the crisper so I decided to throw together a batch of roasted curried cauliflower. I love roasting my vegetables, it brings out so much more of their natural flavors compared to boiling or stir-frying them. The tender little caramelized bits, a by-product of the roasting, are my favorite part. Although, I would technically classify this as a "side dish," it's so delicious that you could eat it as a main dish or a snack. Also don't forget, this recipe is low in calories and carbs, high in antioxidants and loaded with fiber- making it perfect for those of us who are trying to eat healthy.

    Roasted Curried Cauliflower


    1 head of fresh cauliflower (don't use frozen, it'll come out mushy)

    3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

    2 teaspoons curry powder

    1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

    1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

    1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

    pinch of cayenne


    1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

    2. Wash cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets. Discard the stem. Pat florets dry with a papertowel.

    3. In a medium-size bowl, mix the oil, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and all the spices together.

    4. Add the florets to the mixture and swish around to make sure each piece is throughly coated.

    5. Spread the cauliflower florets out on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer.

    6. Place in the oven and cook for roughly 18 minutes.

    7. Remove baking sheet from oven, drizzle cauliflower with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Serve immediately.