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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Mango Curried Chicken Salad

There's something about Curried Chicken Salad that I just love. It's bright in both color and flavor, gives a pungent kick, and is full of mix-ins of different textures that make for a great bite. B and I decided to make ourselves a nice refreshing healthy lunch, and because I know she's also a major CC (curried chicken) lover, I thought I'd whip us up a batch. While I had never made it before, its a recipe that can be easily dissected through my palette and I combined all my favorite things from the best chicken salads I've had and put them into this dish. The special thing about mine however? It's much lighter and healthier because NO mayonnaise is used. Mayo gets replaced with greek yogurt for a flavor thats just as rich and full, but will keep your Fourth of July figure in check. Roasted chicken gets tossed with almonds, dried apricots, fresh mango, scallions and a mango curry sauce for an amazing blend that will have your tastebuds singing and you're bod still banging. Eat on thick slices of rustic grain toast, lettuce cups, or over some greens for a deeeelish lunch and enjoy. B and I certainly did.

Mango Curried Chicken Salad, serves 4


1 rotisserie chicken
2 mangos, peeled
1 cup greek yogurt
squeeze of lemon juice
1 tbs curry powder plus more for taste
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/3 cup whole smoked almonds
1/4 cup dried apricots
1 bundle of scallions

Recipe: Cut the strings off of your chicken and peel off the skin. 
 Remove the meat from the bones and roughly chop into hearty sized pieces. Use all the meat, white and dark. Set the chicken aside.
Now for the sauce: roughly chop one of the mangos. In a blender combine the chopped mango, yogurt, lemon juice, and spices. Blend until creamy and set aside.
Now prepare your mix-ins. Chop the remaining mango 1/2 inch cubes. Roughly chop the apricots and scallions.
 In a bowl combine the chicken with all yo mix-ins.
 Toss the chicken and mix-ins with the sauce and put in the fridge to chill for at least 15 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh scallions and enjoy yo lunch !
loooook at the color

curry crazy

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ultimate Coco Krispie Treats

Okay I've done it. I've kicked regular rice krispie treat's a$$. Yes, I'm a lover of the original, but sometimes more is just so much better. More in this case means coco krispie treats mixed with m&m's with a layer of oreos and chocolate. Can you say #nom? Cause I can. Prepare to be the most popular person at your bake sale. Once you make these, the normal one's will just look weak. When I received a text from Connor asking me to make him a study break treat I laughed. Thats like asking a dog if they want a bone. I headed to Fro-Gro and this creation came to me while I roamed the aisles and I couldn't get out of there fast enough to bring it to life. Big shoutout to my sous-chefs/assistants Cowboy Connor and Evan and to my oh-so-generous host, El. These are easy, quick, and, as pointed out so nicely by Dober, don't stick to your hands so you can keep studying!! Obviously thats the most important reason to make them.

Coco M&M Krispie Treats with Oreos and Chocolate


3/4 stick butter
1 1/2 packages large marshmallows
1 box coco krispies
1 large bag M&Ms
1 pack of Oreos, double stuffed, DUH + 2 tbs butter
1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips +1/2 stick of butter

Recipe: In a microwavable bowl melt the 3/4 stick of butter. Add the marshmallows and mix and return to the microwave, heating for about 1 minute until the marshmallows are puffed and fluffy. MAKE SURE THEY DON'T SPILL OUT OF THE BOWL! Gradually mix in the krispies. Once the krispies are mixed in, mix in the M&Ms.
In a lightly greased casserole dish, spread half the mixture into the bottom of the pan. I like them thick, but adjust to your taste. Crush the oreos in a plastic bag and mix with the 2 tbs melted butter. Pat this mixture on top of the flattened krispies. In a double boiler melt the chocolate chips and 1/2 stick of butter until creamy. Pour this over the oreos and using a spoon slather it  evenly.
 Pat down the rest of the krispies on top of the chocolate.

Press them down with seran wrap so they are well shaped. For immediate eating, put them in the freezer for about 20 minutes, and go to town. Otherwise, keep them in the fridge for about an hour and then they can sit outside in room temperature. CUT in hefty squares and love me forever.

 Check out the layers on these bad a brick wall of HEAVEN
 close uP
 My sous-chefs staring at the originals wondering how they can even compete with these babies
 a plate of paradise
 tada tada tadaaaaaa !

kookoo for coco krispies

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


forks: 9.5
price: $$$

1221 Locust St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107

I am VERY excited, and I mean very excited. Why so excited, you ask? Well, last night I had a taste of what I believe to be one of the best restaurants in Philly, and guess what? It's VEGAN. I am not playing or joshing around on this one, 4real, this is pure business. Vedge is an upscale vegan restaurant serving food that is some of the best I've had in Philly, that just so happens to be vegan. It's honestly unbelievable and I'm EXCITED because everything on their menu is new and innovative and fresh, both in the literal and non-literal sense. My fellow veggie lovers Ali and Sabrina joined me on this excursion as we ventured to taste the extremely talked up restaurant. I mean the reviews I read made Vedge sound like heaven, so my expectations were very high. The restaurant boasts a modern chic vibe with cool mahogany countertops. Theres a window to the open kitchen and a bar along a prep area which is where we were oh-so-happily seated.

I had read the menu probably 1,000 times online before being handed the physical thing, but still struggled to select what I want due an extreme case of order anxiety. Our friendly waitress suggested we each order three plates, and we did just that. We were also handed the "Dirt List," the restaurant's list of their daily vegetable offerings and just reading them had me whimpering into my napkin because I knew I couldn't get them all. We started with the brussel sprouts and the zucchini from the "Dirt List." The brussel sprouts were shaved and grilled and topped with a smoked mustard. Brussel sprouts are my favorite vegetable and now this is my favorite place to get them. They were crispy and crunchy and flavorful, and had an intense smokey flavor from the mustard. I kept searching for pieces of bacon because it REALLY tasted that smokey but then I remembered I was in a Vegan restaurant. They were unbelievable.

The zucchini was sautéed in a simple pesto sauce and the dish was clean, elegant, and beyond tasty. The sauce tasted summery and light with new flavor notes hitting your palette with every bite. After the first two courses, we were speechless.

We also ordered the bite plate, a combination of the "small bite" section on the menu that featured pickled vegetables, pick 'n peel lupini beans, a white bean purée, and olives. The pickled vegetables were awesome, especially the pieces of curried pickled cauliflower. The bean purée was so tasty that we kept it after we finished the rest of the plate to use as a dipping sauce later. The olives were good but the beans were kind of weird. The plate is decent, but passable.

And then the magic really started. I've found a dish and I want to marry it and its the Salt roasted golden beets with avocado, capers, smoked tofu, rye, and a creamy cucumber sauce. I actually have no words. Every component of the dish was seasoned so well and when you put it all together, a solar eclipse will actually occur in your mouth. The tofu sends a smokey note that marries so perfectly with the creaminess of the avocado and the freshness of the beets. This is vegan cuisine at its finest.

Then came the saffron cauliflower soup with fennel pollen, and green olive persillade. It's amber color was reflected strongly in its saffron flavor and the texture was hearty and rustic, yet it still managed to be light in taste. SO yum.

Also from the "d-list" came our orders of Peas and Carrots and Yellow Wax Beans. Say bye bye to your classic peas and carrots as these get a welcome makeover with a flavorful and potent Jamaican curry. The actual peas and carrots are tender and delicious and once again the sauce is killin it.

The beans were seared with a sesame and miso sauce that was actually in my dream last night. I was swimming in a river of it, in a place called heaven. These are salty, tangy, crunchy and just perfect. I'm obsessed with miso and the flavor on these is bold but pairs nicely with the relatively blandness of beans themselves.

Next came the portabella  mushroom carpaccio with a horse radish mayonnaise, pickled cabbage, and cornichons. The plate was beautiful but this was my least favorite dish. The textures of the mushroom and cabbage were just too similar and didn't really do it for me.

But, no fear, because it was back to magic with the vegan take on braciole, thin eggplant and cauliflower wrapped around jasmine rice sitting in a vibrant salsa verde. This was simply wonderful. A blend of textures and a multitude of different flavors sang harmoniously on the plate and made for, in the word's of Ali, a "delectable dish."

Last but certainly not least, was the grilled tofu over edamame purée with bok choy and a piece of crisped tofu skin. Peace out steak, tofu has moved in and can surprisingly be just as delicious. The tofu got a kick from Chinese mustard and the silky edamame purée lent a velvety softness that put the tofu over the top.
If you cannot tell, I'm in love. I'm infatuated by Vedge and their ability to create such spectacular dishes that left me asking, who needs meat/cheese/dairy/eggs? The food is beautifully plated, clean, and light and I think where they take it totally beyond is with their sauces. Their sauces are layered, complex, and extremely flavorful taking simple vegetables and elevating them to Mt. Fiji status heights.

Vedge, ya KILLIN it

*thank you Ali for your lovely sign out line

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


forks: 5.7
price: $

102 S. 21st St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Yes, this post is a little overdue, but nonetheless needs to be shared. We all know that my favorite meal on the planet is a simple roast chicken, crispy skin, and tender meat mmm. Even though roast chicken is one of the easiest things to make, its hard to find a place that not only makes it right, but that just makes it plain and simple. My pal, T-Mar, feels the same way, and we've bonded over this roast chicken passion, determined to find one worthy of becoming "our spot." Lulu also told me she started liking me more when I told her roast chicken was my favorite food...the things food does... WELL N-E-wayz, it just so happens, I found a spot in Philly thats serving up beautiful rotisserie chickens with a variety of sides that will make your mouth water. I introduce, Rotisseur, French for rotisserie, le duh, a small spot in Center City where one can get a nice dinner or quick lunch of a classic roasted chicken. The chicken is pretty juicy with a browned skin *not crispy :(*, and while its not THE best I've ever had its definitely good and will totally suffice while I'm not eating my mom's famous one at home. Pick from a selection of portion sizes that come with sides or one of their sandwiches and you're setting yourself up for a meal of total comfort.
For a hungree person, I recommend the half chicken. Yes, it sounds ambitious and big, but its the perfect amount, and comes with two sides.
Lulu and Syd who got the 1/4 found it to be not filling enough.
here is a 1/4: just not enough
 Syd with her pickled vegetables and 1/4 chicken:
 Close up:
Syd and Lu after total domination, aka GO WITH HALF
I had a side of roasted vegetables and kale chips, The vegetables were nicely roasted yet still maintained a solid crunch, and the kale chips, while being well seasoned, were too oily.
toooo much oil up in here
Lulu got a side of the Mac and Cheese, which was more baked then cheesy, a little dry for my taste, but it was no doubt good and had a nice crispy top.
Syd got the pickled vegetables. They were my favorite side. A nice array of vegetables had a more then mild pickle that offered crunch and a nice zing that was a nice flavor contrast to the main chicken.
Then we get to my favorite thing of the meal, Tamara's chicken Banh Mi; roasted chicken with pickled onions, cilantro, and some kind of delicious sauce on a crusty roll. The roll wasn't the best thing ever, but the filling inside was awesome. Killed it with the flavors and the chicken got an extra boost of moistness from the sauce. YUM.
So, my opinion. Rotisseur is a good spot for what it is, a place to get a classic roast chicken. Some sides are better then others, but the chicken is better then average and will definitely satisfy your roast chicken craving, a craving that pangs me nearly every day of my life #hungreegirlprobs. Try the chicken plain, but also opt for the Banh Mi, totally the way 2 go. 
Me and T-mar in celebration of roast chicken:

i <3 roast chicken

Monday, June 25, 2012

Poached Egg with Mozzarella over Seared Onions

Kels and I woke up and we wanted eggs. But we wanted so many different types of eggs, that it was decided that this morning would be known as "eggapalooza." We're talking sunny side up, fried, scrambled, and poached. We wanted them all. My favorite creation from the morning was simple, elegant, yet utterly delicious and extremely rich. Seared onions are topped with a fluffy poached egg, that is finished with shredded mozzarella cheese and a little chili powder. The onions were a little crispy and happily sopped up the runny goodness of the yolk. SO simple, yet so pretty, easy, and mouthwateringly divine. Also, it takes only about 10 minutes to prepare, so yes, try it now.

Poached Egg with Mozzarella over Seared Onions

1/4 cup diced viadlia onion
1 egg
1 tsp white vinegar
1 handful shredded mozzarella cheese
sprinkle of salt
sprinkle of chili powder

Recipe: Drizzle some olive oil in a skillet and heat until smoking. It should be very hot. Flash sear the onions, for about 3 minutes, so they are browned but still maintain their bite. Put them in the bottom of a ramekin.
 Meanwhile, poach your egg. Heat a saucepan full of water and add the vinegar. Bring until almost boiling, but make sure not to let it boil. Crack the egg into the water and using a slotted spoon gently push the whites over the yolk. Let cook until the egg floats to the top, about 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and put over onions. Top with shredded cheese and sprinkle of salt and chili powder.
 Put under the broiler for about 2 minutes, until the cheese is melted and it starts to brown.
 Eat with a good piece of bread and enjoy !


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Blueberry Crumble Cake & Blueberry Crumble French Toast

My mom had invited some people over for dinner and I took it upon myself to be in charge of dessert. DUH. I was having trouble deciding what to make. It was just too hot for chocolate, but I was sick of making fruity crumbles and crisps, and I didn't feel like making a pie either. Then it hit me: fruit cake. Okay I know what you're thinking, fruit cake? EW. NOBODY LIKES FRUIT CAKE ITS DISGUSTING. Fruit cake is that thing your weird Aunt Helen brings to the Christmas party that sits alone in the corner without a bite to its name. But, sorry Aunt Helen, thats not the fruit cake I'm talking about. MY fruit cake is actually a berry crumble cake that can be made with any fruit you choose. Fruit cake a la moi. A rich moist lemon vanilla cake gets mixed with fresh blueberries and then topped with an almond blueberry crumble. Its totally 2D4. But wait...thats not all...the next day I made French Toast out of this thing and topped it with a cream cheese honey blueberry frosting. Wow. SO, hasta vista old fruit cake, and say hello to my little friend, the blueberry crumble cake. 

Blueberry Crumble Cake

2 cups flour
1tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup greek yogurt, full fat
1 tsp vanilla
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
2 1/2 pints of blueberries

1 stick butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Recipe: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside. In a bowl with an electric mixer cream the butter and sugars. Once well combined, add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.  Add the yogurt, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice and mix for about 3 minutes. Gradually add the dry ingredients. Once the ingredients are all well mixed, add 2 pints of blueberries by hand and mix gently, keeping them whole. 
Pour into a 9 inch GREASED springform pan. 
Topping: In the electric mixer cream the butter and sugar. Add the flour and slivered almonds and mix until a dough is formed. 
Stir in the 1/2 pint of fresh blueberries. Pat evenly over the top of the cake batter. 
Bake at 375 with convection for 1 hour, until the cake is set and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
AND let it cool...then cut dat baby open
And serve yourself a MASSIVE slice
With some ice cream
foiiine i'll share i guess..
The top is SOOo crumbly and goo.
And then you wake up the next day. And you realize, OMG that's one of the best things I've eaten, and I want more. But I've eaten SO much of it that I want it kind of differently...and this is where my sheer culinary genius sets in. Lets turn this baby into French Toast. Firstly, french toast is my favorite thing, I'm a die hard fan. Secondly, when you make a french toast out of a rich and moist cake like this, you can only get one result: UNBELIEVABLE. 
Blueberry Crumble Cake French Toast

2 slices cake
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp cinnamon sugar
1 dash vanilla

2 tbs cream cheese
1 tsp honey
3 fresh blueberries, chopped

Recipe: In a bowl whisk the egg, milk, sugar and vanilla. Soak the cake pieces in the egg mixture, for about 5 minutes, turning both sides over so it is thoroughly soaked through. 
In a skillet melt some butter and coat the pan, heat until hot. Cook the slices on each side for about 3 minutes, until crisply browned.
Frosting: Combine all the ingredients and mix/mash together. Serve on top of the French Toast with powdered sugar and maple syrup.
 sorry this is too beautiful not to capture excessively
 cloooose up
 And look inside...

we LOVE fruit cake