It’s been a while since I shared with you recipes that are super simple but tasty enough to justify being featured on a blog post.


This very simple “recipe” is from a wonderful cookbook called “Falastin.”  Gently boil as many eggs as you want, but just for 6 minutes. The idea is to get the yolk still pretty creamy. Now in a small bowl, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, and za’tar. Peel the eggs, and chop them coarsely, drizzle your little sauce and sprinkle salt on top. Amounts are totally flexible, I usually go with 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon olive oil and then improvise.  I don’t know how many times I’ve called this lunch, with Ak-Mak crackers or a slice of sourdough bread. So good!



Inspiration for this recipe came from Steeped: Recipes Infused with Tea (I adore it). You will need some smoked tea (Lapsang Souchong), but it is totally worth it to get some and keep in your pantry, even if you don’t enjoy it as a regular tea. I use it in chocolate ganache and quite often in cooking. It gives the food a very nice, subtle smoky flavor.

Slice open one bag of smoked tea, mix its contents with some cumin, smoked paprika, and salt. Open a can of chickpeas, drain and rinse well. Add into a bowl, drizzle some grape seed oil all over it, add the dry spice mixture and mix.  Spread on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, and roast in a 400F oven for 25 minutes until golden brown.  Once again, amounts can be totally eye-balled, no need for precision here. Relax and have fun with it.



I found this gem of a recipe at Spice House website and made it four times in a row. That tells you how much we enjoyed it. It just turns a regular batch of rice into something special.  I made some adjustments to their recipe as I felt that the rice was turning out a bit too underdone for our taste.

(adapted from Spice House)

1 cup Basmati rice, rinsed
1 Tablespoon grape seed oil (or another mild-flavored oil)
5 whole cardamom pods
2-3 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
salt to taste
2 cups cold water  

Add oil to a non-stick saucepan and place the pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the cardamon (you can lightly crush them if you want more flavor), cloves and cinnamon stick to saute briefly. When fragrant, add rice and salt. Saute a minute or so to coat the grains of rice with the flavored oil. Add water, but don’t put the lid on yet.

Once the water boils, turn the heat down and simmer uncovered for 7 minutes. Cover the pan, and let it cook on very gently heat for 7 more minutes. Turn the heat off and let the rice sit in the pan for 10 minutes before removing the spices and fluffing the rice for serving.


to print the recipe, click here

Make sure to count how many little spice pieces you add to the pan so you can be sure to remove them all, although they are pretty visible on the cooked rice later.  There is so much flavor in this recipe, I guarantee you will be hooked on it.



(inspired by At Home with Natalie)

3 salmon filets
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 tsp sesame oil (do not add more, it is powerful stuff)
salt to taste
sesame seeds to sprinkle on top

Place the salmon filets (skin side down) over a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil leave at room temperature while you heat the oven to 350F and reduce the sauce for glazing.

Mix the soy sauce and mirin in a small non-stick saucepan, add the ginger, brown sugar and sesame oil. Simmer gently for a few minutes, until it starts to get a little thicker.   Brush the top of the filets with some of the glaze, season very lightly with salt, and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Reserve the rest of the glaze.

Remove the pan from the oven, brush with more glaze and sprinkle sesame seeds. Return to the oven, and cook until done to your liking. Serve immediately.


to print the recipe, click here

We eat salmon every week, but usually the husband is the seafood cook in our house. I rarely venture into his department, but was tempted to try this very simple preparation. I know I’ll be making it regularly, the only key thing is to get the fish cooked to the exact point you want (which is easier to do with sous-vide, but sometimes it’s nice to simplify things further).  Probe the filet with a paring knife, and remove from the oven when it reaches your personal Nirvana level.

ONE YEAR AGO: Halloween Entremet Cake

TWO YEAR AGO: Pork with Prunes, Olives and Capers

THREE YEARS AGO: Kansas Corn Chowder

FOUR YEARS AGO: Impossibly Cute Bacon and Egg Cups

FIVE YEARS AGO: Pulling Under Pressure

SIX YEARS AGO: Cooking Sous-vide: Two takes on Chicken Thighs

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Miso Soup: A Japanese Classic


NINE YEARS AGO: A must-make veggie puree

TEN YEARS AGO: Vegetarian Lasagna

ELEVEN YEARS AGO:  Brazilian Pão de Queijo



Each year I spot recipes for Easter Pie in websites and magazines, and I tell myself that I’ve got to see what it’s all about, but for one reason or another I never get around to making it.  Still, the chances that this was the year to end my Easter Pie virginity were slim, because the thought of rolling dough in our nano-kitchen was downright scary.  Yet, strange things happened. I read this post, and couldn’t stop thinking about it.  Then, having the house to myself for several hours on Sunday (my husband the golfer!) was the final push to jump in with both feet: when I’m facing a challenging project, solitude is my best friend.  😉

(adapted from King Arthur website)

for the crust:
2 + 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast
1 Tbs sugar
1/8 cup olive oil
1/2 cup + 1 Tbs room temperature water

for the filling:
6 large eggs (3 of them hard boiled, and diced)
1/2 pound diced ham
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmiggiano-reggiano cheese
minced parsley to taste
salt and pepper to taste

for the glaze:
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbs sugar

Make the crust dough by adding all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pmixing until a ball forms.  Adjust with more water if necessary.  When the dough forms a ball, process it for about 20 seconds. Remove it from the machine and knead gently by hand for a minute or so. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, and let it rise for 1 to 2 hours in a warm spot of your kitchen.  The dough should about double in size, and feel bubbly.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling by mixing the diced ham, boiled eggs, ricotta and Parmigiano cheese with the three raw eggs.  Add salt, pepper, and parsley.

When the dough has doubled in size, divide it into two equal portions and roll them into oval shapes, about 10”x 14”.  Place the filling over one of the dough disks, leaving a clean, 1/2 inch border.  Carefully lift the second disk of dough and layer on top of the filling, enclosing it by pressing the borders together.  Cut a slit on top of the pie with a knife or razor blade, and brush the surface with a glaze made from mixing the egg and sugar.

Bake it in a 350 F oven for 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.  Remove to a rack and allow it to cool.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  Things were going so smoothly during the preparations of dough and filling that I found myself multitasking:  a little vacuum-cleaning here, a little exercising there, and even a break to walk the dogs.  But, naturally, the dark clouds were gathering and the lightning struck big time when I went to roll out the dough, and found…… no rolling pin in the house!  Without naming names, someone dispatched my improvised rolling pin (an empty wine bottle without its labels) to the recyclable waste.  In desperation I tried a bottle of wine (with labels on!),  but it didn’t work.   Flour was flying and the dough was beyond its rise.  So, I took matters (literally) into my own hands, and  “rolled” it with the palm of my hand on parchment paper.  It’s not a relaxed activity for a Sunday morning; I don’t recommend it. Actually, it wouldn’t be too bad for a single crust concoction, like galette or another other rustic pie.   But, for this pie you’ll need two disks of dough with similar dimensions.  Perhaps Easter Pie was what prompted the invention of the rolling pin!  😉

All problems aside, this pie was wonderful!  As  Ms. Hamel mentioned in her post,  each Italian family has their own “authentic” version.  Some are loaded with meats, while some – like Pastiera Napoletana – have a sweet, cheesecake-like filling.  This version is lighter than most,  but still substantial.  If you celebrate Easter, then I suggest that you make it this weekend. If you don’t celebrate, it’s a delicious dish for a dinner party.  I’ve been enjoying it for lunch at work with a juicy tomato alongside.  Heaven!

ONE YEAR AGO: Black Olive Bialy

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