Bacon Marmalade

Give Thanks…for Bacon (Jam)!



Over the summer, my friend Kelle and I attended a pop up dinner/picnic of sorts, Dîner en Blanc. Of the many awesome things she brought was a bacon marmalade, or GORB, if you will – aptly named for its ingredients – garlic, onion, red wine and bacon. It was all round awesome and she was kind enough to let me take the leftover jar home. I promptly devoured the jar and had to have more. After a quick e-mail, Kelle sent me the link to the recipe on her blog, Stumbling to Yum. Of course, it would be there, as all good things are.
Fast forward a few months. Now with Thanksgiving around the corner, I decided to impress my foodie family with this fantastic recipe. I am going to say my recipe was “inspired” by Kelle’s as I did not follow the portions exactly, but basically, yes it is her recipe. I just put a bit more brown sugar, balsamic vinegar (aged) and red wine (because, why not?).

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Exercise in Nostalgia – Lamb and Spinach aka “Gongura Mamsam”

Gongura Mamsam

One of the ways many families, including mine, show love is through food. We get together, cook together, and eat together. I remember sitting at the kitchen table as a child, helping my mom prep ingredients while watching her at the stove. One of my favorite dishes from childhood is Gongura Mamsam. What is that you ask? It is a spicy curry made from “gongura” leaves, which are bitter greens, and tender lamb. Gongura is a bit hard to come by for me, so I substitute baby spinach and add lime juice at the end to mimic the flavor. This dish reminds me of home.

This is how I made it:

“Gongura” Mamsam – Serves 6, depending on how gluttonous you are. Cook time 1 hour 40 minutes.

Part 1
  • 3 lb lamb, trimmed of fat and cut into 1 inch cubes (I purchased a combination of lamb chops and lamb loin).
  • 2 medium to large yellow onions, chopped into a small dice (any type of onion will do)
  • 8 green chilies, trimmed of stem and sliced lengthwise (you can use Serrano chilies here as they are easier to find, I used bird’s eye chilies)
  • 1 T finely chopped garlic
  • 1T grated ginger
  • 4T coriander powder
  • 1t turmeric powder
  • 2T red chili powder (I purchased this at the Indian grocery store. This is not the same as cayenne as there are other seasonings mixed in, you could substitute cayenne, however, you will have to adjust the amount based on the heat factor)
  • Salt to Taste

Part 2

  • 2 16 oz. containers baby spinach
  • Juice of 3 limes

Part 3

  • 8 dried red chilies, broken in half (you can purchase these at any asian grocery).
  • 2t cumin seeds
  • 2 stems curry leaves (also can be purchased at an Indian grocery store)
  • 5T vegetable oil

In a large cooking vessel (I used one of my mom’s dishes here – it may be older than me!), place all ingredients in part 1 and mix well. Cook on medium flame for 10 minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally. There is really no need for oil at this point. Just stir to make sure the bottom doesn’t burn. Add 2C water, stir and turn the flame to low. Cook on low for an hour, stirring occasionally . This is a long time, however, we want the meat to become soft. I usually like to cook things quickly, however, this dish requires patience!

Add spinach in batches and stir. The spinach will cook down after a minute or so, allowing you to add more, until you have used up the entire two boxes of spinach. Once this happens, put the top back on your dish and cook for another 5 minutes. Add lime juice and continue to stir.

While the spinach is cooking down, you are going to make an infused oil to add to the curry. Heat oil on medium low. Add all items in Part 3. Stirring occasionally so as not to burn. Let the flavor of the chilies and cumin infuse into the oil. After about 5 minutes, add the oil with all the seasoning to the lamb curry. Stir and remove from flame. Serve with Basmati rice.

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The Best Things I Ate This Year – Brooklyn Style

Christmas with my family.

Christmas with my family.

I kind of “fell off” my blog…for years ::crickets chirping::  I have been eating and enjoying like crazy for the last several months. I am only mildly embarrassed that I can no longer fit into my jeans. Anyway, I have decided to enjoy and eat what I want until the New Year, after which I will reign it in and go back to healthy eating (and enjoying a treat meal once a week).

The best things I ate this year (in no particular order):

Tyler Florence’s “Ultimate Lasagna” – My family tested this recipe out on Christmas. We don’t really have a set Christmas menu, so we kind of put together a mish mosh of items. Previously, I was a die hard fan of Ina Garten’s lasagna recipe, however, Tyler’s recipe is truly ‘ultimate.’ I think the cinnamon is the key ingredient. Recipe can be found

Fried Chicken – From Blue Ribbon . Bet you never thought the best chicken you’d have was at a bowling alley! I tried this fried chicken at Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This chicken was perfectly crispy on the outside – I believe I heard “as crispy as a potato chip” in a description as my cousin shoveled a drumstick into his face – and nice and juicy on the inside. This chicken was not greasy at all, and coupled with a round of beer – hits the spot. Almost makes the almost two hour wait to bowl worth it. Almost.Try it here.

Ramen Burger – I knew something was up when I saw that the longest line at Smorgasburg was for Ramen Burger. Ramen Burger serves a juicy burger with the bun made from ramen. Genius! Love ramen. Love burgers. The end.

Lamb Burgers – Can you tell I like burgers? New York Times magazine did a feature on burgers. I wanted the recipes but was too cheap to purchase the Sunday issue and instead used my iPhone to take photos of the recipes. A girl’s gotta eat right?! I will share my version of the recipe with you. 1 1/2 lbs ground lamb. 1 small onion, minced. 1T toasted cumin seeds (can sub cumin powder if that’s what you have).  1T toasted sesame seeds. 1T chili powder (I use 1t of homemade Indian chili powder sent from relatives in India (which contains other seasonings such as garlic and salt) . Mix with your hands, but don’t overmix. Place on the grill and cook to medium rare, or medium (really medium rare, I’m just pretending you can enjoy it another way). Enjoy on toasted buns (like Martin’s Potato Roll). Top burger with a little cilantro and perhaps a little tzatziki.

Cronut. Dominique Ansel’s played, but oh so freaking delicious doughnut dessert. Get them now. I don’t think people are selling them on the ‘black market’ for $50 anymore. Tejal Rao tweeted about these “one ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.” It’s mine! My precious.

Tuna Dumplings – at Ki Sushi (Brooklyn, NY) Lobster salad, avocado and crunch with spicy sauce, wrapped in paper-thin tuna. Rich and light at the same time. Served on a bed of salad. An oldie, but a goodie. Perfect for a weekday lunch.

Lobster Roll – Red Hook Lobster Pound (Brooklyn,NY) . You can pick these up at their food truck, at various street fairs they participate in, or at their location in Red Hook. These lobster rolls aren’t cheap at $16. I prefer the Connecticut roll with warm butter and lemon. Filled with chunks of lobster. Wash down with a nice Allagash White.Glug, glug, glug.

Coconut Velvet Cake – Piece of Velvet (Brooklyn,NY).  We used to frequent Brooklyn’s famous Cake Man Raven. He once made a cake for President Bill Clinton! Anyway, I guess the rents got too damn high and his workers lifted his (publicly available) recipe when he could no longer afford the rent and opened a place in the very same spot. Anyway, the new location for the original Cake Man is kind of out of the way, and against my better judgment, we go to the its competitor (PoV). I get the coconut velvet cake. It’s an unholy shade of green and covered with cream cheese coconut icing. Usually so moist (I will admit there have been times it has been dry). They sell gigantic slices for about $6 each. Best enjoyed Sunday evenings with a glass of wine (maybe a late harvest Riesling or even Prosecco) while watching Homeland. This will prepare you to face Monday. Trust me.

Capocollo Pizza – Saraghina (Brooklyn, NY). This Bed-Stuy eatery serves pizza that dare I say rivals Brooklyn greats like Totonno’s and Di Fara (I have yet to try Lucali or Roberta’s). Don’t kill me, but I think it may be true! No need to wait, just come on down to the home of Jay-Z, Biggie, and now me! Prosciutto & Funghi is m next fave.

Nutellasagna – Robicellis (Brooklyn, NY). Creator Allison Robicelli describes it as “layers of buttery lasagna noodles, cannoli custard, copious amounts of Nutella, crushed roasted hazelnuts and chopped chocolate, with some marshmallows on top for additional sweetness.” ‘Nuff said.

Berenjena Torta AKA Eggplant Sandwich – The Taco Truck (Jersey City, Hoboken, Morristown, NJ). Great for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. This sandwich is creamy, rich, crunchy, spicy, flavorful and so much more I can’t describe. At $8.50, not exactly cheap (in my mind for a weekday lunch), but so worth it. Follow them on Twitter so you know where to stalk them the truck is located.

Okra Fries- The Cecil (Harlem, NY). Came here for NYC Restaurant Week (don’t judge), these fries were perfectly crispy, crunchy and salty on the outside and soft and gooey on inside. How do I make these at home? This is healthy right? Okra is a vegetable and it’s green!

Fish Sauce Wings- Pok Pok NY (Brooklyn, NY). Juicy, tender, sticky and spicy. I will admit, I licked my fingers a few times. Of course I washed my hands before and after.

I could go on, but the memories may make we want to go eat more. 2014 – it’s been great!

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The $14 Chicken

Months ago my work bestie told me about the “best chicken” she “ever tasted” – Griggstown Chicken. Griggstown is a small farm in/around Princeton, NJ.  I ignored her. There was no way that I was going to pay $14 for a chicken, and a small chicken at that!

I have always scoffed (been too cheap to buy) at the prices of all natural (antibiotic and hormone free) free range chicken. I don’t need to pay all that money for something I don’t even like! Chicken is my least favorite meat.

THEN, one of my favorite food blogs Serious Eats published a recipe for “Perfect Roasted Chicken.”I bookmarked the recipe and kept it moving.

A few months later, they republished the chicken recipe in their top recipes of the year recap. Apparently more people bookmarked that recipe than any other recipe Serious Eats had posted that year.

Today, I bit the bullet and purchased a Griggstown chicken. One of the first things I noticed that it wasnt super wet like the other brands I usually purchase (Perdue and Tyson). It was very easy to dry the chicken.

The skin crisped up beautifully with salt alone. The chicken was flavorful and juicy. My coworker was right – this is the best chicken I have ever tasted.

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Easy Samosas

Samosas are perhaps the most famous Indian appetizer.  I did not grow up eating samosas at home, but always enjoyed eating them when we went to visit our local “little India” aka Edison, NJ for groceries.  Who doesn’t like a deep fried snack? I have a bit of a fear of deep frying after having seen the scars of many aunties who have been splashed by the oil in one cooking mishap or other.  My solution, and also the secret to making these samosas quick and easy, is to use puff pastry and bake the samosas.

 Easy Samosas

  • 2 boxes frozen puff pastry (I use Pepperidge Farm brand), thawed
  • 4 yukon gold potatoes (or any medium size potato you like), boiled until just cooked, peeled, small chop (about 1/2 in cubes)
  • 1 package frozen peas
  • 1t cumin seeds
  • 1/2t  chili powder (karam)
  • pinch turmeric powder
  • 1/2 onion, small chop
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1T canola oil
  • salt to taste
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • flour for rolling out the pastry

1) Heat the oil on medium flame. Add cumin seeds and cook until they become fragrant, don’t burn them!

2) Add the onion and garlic and fry until onion becomes translucent and begins to turn a golden color – about 5 minutes. Make sure the garlic doesn’t burn or it will turn bitter.

3) Add the frozen peas and cook about 8 minutes until they soften.

4) Add the potatoes, salt, chili powder, and turmeric. Cook another 10 minutes.  Turn off the heat and reserve potato mixture.

5) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

6) Sprinkle some flour over the area where you will be rolling out the dough, so the dough doesn’t stick to your work area.  Each package of puff pastry will come with two sheets of dough. The  dough is folded in such a way that there will be three rows. Let these rows be your guiding point. Roll the rough out a bit, then cut each sheet of puff pastry into 9 squares – cut each row into 3 sections.

7) Put a little bit of the potato mixture onto each square, leaving room around the edges,  Brush two adjacent sides of the square with a little egg wash. Fold the pastry over to form a triangle, then seal the edges using a fork – you will get a sort of a crimped look to the edges.

8) Repeat step 7 for the rest of the squares. Brush a little egg wash on the tops of the squares.  Use a knife and make one small slit in the top of each samosa to let the steam out.

9) Bake the samosas for about 18-20 minutes, or until the samosas puff up and turn golden brown.

Enjoy fresh from the oven.

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Healthy Snack

I made a new discovery – Kale Chips! Sounds gross, but they are actually quite tasty.  I am aware I am late to the game with Kale Chips, but I have cooked with kale perhaps only once in my life. I am more of of  Spinach/Swiss Chard kind of girl.  Next time you are craving something crunchy, pass on the potato chips and try these out.

Kale Chips   serves 2-3 (really 2)

  • 1 bunch curly kale
  • kosher salt (to taste – I used about 1 1/2 tsp)
  • freshly crushed black pepper (to taste)  (I used about 6 turns of the pepper mill)
  • garlic powder (optional) (a couple of shakes)
  • chili powder (optional) (a pinch or two)
  • non-fat cooking spray

special equipment:  salad spinner

1) Pre-Heat Oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit

2) Rinse the Kale with water

3) Tear the kale leaves from the stems into potato chip size pieces (medium to large).  Throw the stems into the trash.  Reserve the leaves.

4) Use the salad spinner to dry the kale leaves.

5) Once the kale is dry, spread the kale onto a cooking sheet into a single layer.  (I needed two pans in order to have a single layer)

6) Spray the leaves with cooking spray.

7)  Sprinkle the salt, chili powder, and garlic powder, and pepper onto the leaves.  (For a simpler chip – just use salt and pepper).

8) Bake for about 12 minutes.

9) Remove from oven and enjoy!


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Summer Cocktails

With Memorial Day around the corner, I thought I would share some easy summer cocktails. Enjoy Responsibly.


This is exactly what it sounds like – mango juice and pomegranate juice.  You can make these virgin or with the booze.

  • 1 part “pom” pomegranate juice
  • 3 parts mango juice (I like to use the kind you buy at the Indian grocery store – Maaza or Looza brand)
  • 1-2 parts rum/coconut rum (optional)

Fill a highball glass with ice and add ingredients. Stir.

Henny and “Coke”

  • 1 part cognac
  • 3 parts coconut water

Fill a lowball glass with ice. Add ingredients and stir. Add a slice of fresh coconut for garnish!

Red Sangria

  • 1 750 ml bottle dry red wine (cabernet sauvignon/merlot/pinot noir)
  • 1 1/2 C Sprite or other lemon-lime soda
  • 1 1/2 C orange juice
  • 1/2 C brandy
  • 2T Cointreau/Grand Marnier/Triple Sec
  • 2 T Grenadine
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 2 T lime juice
  • fresh fruit, chopped/sliced – your choice –  apples, strawberries, pineapples, oranges

Mix, Chill. Serve.

note:  if you use orange slices, add it right before serving. The pith can make the sangria bitter if left to sit. Everything else can be added ahead.


Passoa is a passion fruit liqueur.  These are a few easy cocktails to make with Passoa. Serve over ice.  All recipes are 1 part passoa and 2 parts mixer.

Mixer suggestions: Orange Juice, Mango Juice, Sprite

Real Margaritas

None of those gross mixers. Margaritas are very easy to make – just three ingredients: lime juice, tequila, cointreau or triple sec

  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/2  oz cointreau/triple sec
  • 1 1/2 oz blanco  tequila

Fill your rocks glass with ice, add ingredients, stir! Garnish with a slice of lime. Get wasted. just kidding.

You can rim your glass with salt if you’d like. I opt not to. Or to do just a half rim. You can do this by running the lime around the rim of half the glass, then dipping it into a plate full of salt.  If you want your margarita a little sweeter, you can add simple syrup – maybe 1/4 oz.

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