Brown Butter Grits w/ Braised Strawberries & Rhubarb

It has been an actual year since I’ve posted on this blog. To be honest, I get a million ideas start five hundred and actually finished ten. Fortunately my lack of follow though has left me with a year’s worth of recipes to share! First up are some of my favorite grits. While we’re on the subject of grits, are you team sweet or savory? I personally love grits of every kind.

Hopefully my next few posts will put us on the same page!

Rhubarb is one of those things I’ve always felt intimidated by but wanted to use. I stuck with a classic flavor combination: Strawberry & Rhubarb. I had no idea what I was doing I opted for slow cooking which has never failed me before.

Roasted Strawberries & Rhubarb and Hibiscus Syrup

3 cups peeled & diced rhubarb
2 cups hulled & halved strawberries
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar; divided
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup honey
3 tbsp dried hibiscus leaves
3 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp ginger white balsamic vinegar
1/8-1/4 tsp fiori di sicilia
optional: 1/4 tsp rose water

Pre heat oven to 300F

Add 1 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup sugar to a medium saucepan and brings to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves. Add hibiscus and steep for 10 minutes. Strain the tea and pour over chopped rhubarb. Steep for another 10 minutes and remove rhubarb, reserving the left over liquid.

Meanwhile in a large bowl mix honey, wine, vinegar, orange juice, lemon zest, fiori di sicilia, and rose water until well combined. Add chopped strawberries and rhubarb and toss until the fruit is well coated.

Add fruit in a single layer to a baking dish (I used a 9″ tart dish) and cook for an hour or until the juices have thickened and the rhubarb is tender.

While the strawberries and rhubarb are cooking, add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup bourbon to the reserved hibiscus tea. Over medium- hight heat bring to a boil stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce to simmer and cook until the liquid reduces by half. Remove from heat and save for later.

Coconut Milk & Brown Butter Grits

2 1/2 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup rice grits
3 tbsp brown butter
3 tbsp honey
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt
ghee to add at the end

Add coconut milk, grits, brown butter and salt to a saucepan. Bring to a boil whisking frequently to prevent clumping. Reduce heat to very low and simmer an hour until grits are soft. (whisk the grits and add more coconut milk as necessary.

Divide grits between two bowls, add the fruit and top the finished dish with hibiscus syrup and toppings for texture. You can add anything you want! I chose: raw cashews, cacao nibs and coconut flakes. I served the grits with scrambled eggs w/ chili oil and picked shallots but honestly they are perfect on their own with a glass or White wine or Rosé

Come back next week for a Classic: Shrimp & Grits

Rose Apple Tart

I’m not sure I can explain how much I love baking and creating new recipes. It’s so completely satisfying to see something you pictured in your head manifested in an edible form.

As I sliced into one of the Rose Apples, I pictured their pink flesh layered on the top of a glazed tart.

There were a few fillings I considered for this tart: cream, custard, and frangipane to name a few. In the end, to really showcase the versatility of the apples, I decided to use an Apple cinnamon compote.

Rose Apple Tart

For Crust
1 frozen or homeade pie crust
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 Tbsp Vietnamese Cinnamon

*Traditionally tarts like this are made with a sweeter crust but since I was short on time I spread a combo of cinnamon and sugar on a frozen pie crust before spreading the compote. You can omit this and it would still be amazing.

For Apple Compote
4-5 apples, peeled, cored and diced into 1/2-inch pieces. (I used a combination of Granny Smith and Rose apples)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp Vietnamese Cinnamon
1 Tsp lemon zest
1 Tsp ground ginger and cloves
1-2 tsp rose water
2 Tbsp Coconut Nectar
2 Tbsp red wine
2 Tbsp water

For the top:
2-3 Rose apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly.

For the glaze:
1-2 Tbsp jam, (I used apple jam but you can use any kind you want) thined out with water and rose water.

Preheat oven to 425 F.

In a medium sauce pan add apples, wine, lemon juice & zest, coconut nectar, rose water, & spices. Cover and cook over very low heat for 30 to 40 minutes.

My recipe calls for more more liquid then you would normally used so it is simmered for longer to give it a chance to thicken. I also wanted an applesauce like consistency so I periodically mashed the apples. You could definitely have a chunkier compote and it’s be delicious.

Line the bottom of a 11 inch rectacular tart pan (with removable bottom) or a round 9 inch tart with pie dough.

Cover dough with parchment paper, fill with raw beans or baking chain, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove parchment paper and bean and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until lightly browned.

Line the pre baked tart shell with the apple compote and layer the sliced Rose Apples on top

Bake for 10 minutes at 425F and then reduce head to 350F and bake for another hour until the apples are soft and the pastry is golden. I started checking the tart at 45 minutes because my oven runs a bit hot and I didn’t want to burn the pastry.

Remove from pan from heat and tart from pan. Brush with rose and jam glaze and serve warm or room temp.

This tart is amazing with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Let me know if you try this and come back next time to see what yummy thing I’m making.💙

Rose Apple Lemon Curd Cake

I’ve never been a fan of apples. I know, it’s blasphemy, considering how versatile and healthy they are. To me they’ve always been kind of blah but I found the most amazing apples on the market on Food 52‘s website.

They’re called Rose (or Mountain Rose) Apples and from the moment I saw them I knew I had to have them. The apples have a yellow-reddish skin and a sweet pink flesh.

I used them two ways. The first was my favorite:

Rose Apple Lemon Curd Cake

For Cake
1 1/4 cake flour
1 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla paste or extract
1/4 tsp: fiori di scillia, ground cloves, nutmeg, ginger, Vietnamese cinnamon, salt
zest of one lemon
2 eggs, room tempature
2-3 Rose Apples, sliced thinly

Make Cake

Preheat oven to 325F and grease an 8-inch round cake pan.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and ginger in a bowl and set aside.

In stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment combine eggs, sugar and butter until light and fluffy.

In a another bowl, mix yogurt, buttermilk, vanilla paste, and Fiori di Scillica.

With the mixer on low speed and fitted with the paddle attachment, add half of the flour. Once combined, add the half yogurt/buttermilk mixture and gently combine. Add the remaining flour combine and finally add the remaining liquid. Scrape down sides of the bowl with a spatula and pour into the prepared pan.

For Apple Lemon Curd

1 1/2 cup apples cored and chopped. I used a mixture of Granny Smith and Rose.
3 Meyer Lemons; zested and juiced
1 1/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter; melted
2 eggs

Make Curd

In a medium saucepan combine apples, lemon juice and zest, sugar and melted butter. Allow to simmer until the sugar has melted. Add eggs, one at a time, and stir until thick and combined about 10 minutes.

Assemble Cake!

Pour batter into prepared pan. Top with lemon curd then arrange the sliced apples in a circular pattern.

Bake cake for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Join me next time when I use these beautiful apples to make a twist on a French Apple Tart

Persimmon Upside down Cake

Lately I’ve been obsessed with persimmons.

It isn’t just their beautiful color or their sweet, tender, flesh that makes me love them, it’s their versatility.

I recently bought 5 pounds of them (oops) so while scrambling to figure out what to do with them, I stumbled on recipes for pork, chicken and some delicious hor d’oeuvres with persimmons, Brie and prosciutto.

I decided to go for baked goods though. Persimmon have such a unique flavor I just knew the desserts would be next level. I’ve also been itching to bake something. Tis the season after all.

There are a few specialty items that give the this cake a complex flavor unlike anything you’ve ever tasted.

The first is Fiori di Sicilia

It translates to Flowers of Sicily and is basically an essence with a mix of citrus, vanilla, and floral notes. You only need a little bit (I used 1/4 tsp) to get a lot of really awesome flavor.

The second is Vietnamese Cinnamon

Without going too much into any of the science stuff Saigon cinnamon has a higher oil content and disperses more evenly into baked goods. It also has a stronger more pungent cinnamon flavor.

The last is a lower protein flour.

If you’re making bread, you’re looking for a dense, or chewy final result. That texture comes from more protein and more gluten. If you’re making a cake or pie crust, however, you’re usually wanting a light, tender, or airy result. This is when it’s best to use a low protein flour.

I got all of these things and more at King Arthur Flour but if you can’t find or don’t have them, they aren’t completely necessary.

Cinnamon Persimmon Upside Down Cake w/ Cranberry Ginger Whipped Cream

For Cake

8 tbsp Unsalted Butter
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp Cranberry Ginger Syrup*
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 cup cake, pastry blend, or All Porpose Flour
1 – 2 tsp Vanilla paste or extract
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp: baking soda, salt & vietnamese cinnomon
1/4 tsp: powdered ginger, cloves, nutmeg, & fiori di Sicilla
1 large egg & yolk, room tempeture
2/3 cup buttermilk
2-3 Persimmons, sliced thinly

*You can omit the syrup, use 1 cup honey, or maple syrup and it would still be absolutely delicious.

For Syrup

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1, 1 inch piece peeled ginger, or 2-3 tbsp ground ginger
2 cup: honey & water
1/4 tsp: fiori di sicilla, cloves, cardamon, & nutmeg
1-2 tbsp corn starch

For Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream
2-3 tbsp honey or cranberry ginger syrup
1/4 tsp vietnamese cinnamon

Make syrup:

Put cranberries, ginger, honey, water, and aromatics into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.

Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes until reduced. Add cornstarch to water then add mixture to the syrup. Cook for a few minutes longer until thickened.

Strain and save for later.

Make cream:

Put cold cream and syrup into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Refrigerate until until cake is finished.

Make cake:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Put 2 Tbsps butter, honey, and Vietnamese cinnamon in a microwave safe bowl and heat until butter is melted.

In a medium bowl whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves nutmeg, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 6 Tbsp butter, 3/4 cup cranberry ginger syrup, 1/4 cup honey, vanilla paste, and Fiori di Sicilia, at medium to low speed until combined 1-2 minutes. Scrape the sides of bowl, then add egg and egg yolk, and beat for another minute.

Add half the flour and beat until just combined about 10 seconds. Add buttermilk, beat for another 10 seconds then add the remaining flour. Beat for 10 seconds, scrape sides, and beat for 10 more seconds.

Swirl the butter-cinnamon mixture around the bottom of a silicone pan, making sure the sides and bottom of the pan are thoroughly coated

Slice persimmons (I used a mandolin with 1/16 inch slices selected) and layer them in a circle on the bottom of the pan.

Pour batter over Persimmons and bake on center rack for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, rotating after 15-20 minuets.

Remove from heat, invert onto cooling rack, and serve with cream, pomegranate arils, and a drizzle of syrup.

I hope you love this recipe as much as I did, let me know if you try it and come back next time for my Persimmon Custard Tart

Persimmons Smoothie Bowl

If you’re anywhere near New York City then you’ll know what I mean when I say fall took ten years to actually get here. I’m pretty sure I remember Halloween being pretty cold when I was a kid. With warming fall favors and and featuring the sweet pumpkin-y Persimmon, we can use this bowl to pretend it’s global warming isn’t slowly sinking in.

Golden Milk Smoothie Bowl

I’ve never been a huge fan of very sweet things. I think that’s why Golden Milk speaks to me. I usually have a version of it every morning with my coffee. The drink has a lot of things–ginger, turmeric, honey, cinnamon, black pepper, milk–that somehow work together. For a totally unique flavor I add .

Lucuma powder is made by drying and grinding a Peruvian (and Chilean, and Ecuadorian) fruit. It’s pretty nutritious–packed with beta carotene, iron, zinc, vitamin B3 and calcium– and adds a subtle maple-like flavor to any dish.
For my bowl I add:
Avocado and kale–for added fat and fiber.

Persimmon–their sweet pumpkin taste adds another layer of flavor.
And coconut milk–I hate the weird film cow’s milk leaves on your tongue.

2 Fuyu Persimmons
2 avocado
2 cup frozen kale
2 Tbsp Turmeric Powder
4 Tbsp ground Cinnamon
1 bsp Lucuma Powder
1 tsp each: Cayenne Pepper, Black Pepper, Nutmeg, Ground Cloves, Cardamon, and lemon extract
1/4 cup Ginger Juice
4 cup Coconut Milk; unsweetened vanilla

The bowl was supposed to be orange but sometimes things don’t mix as well as your think 🙈

To top: Sliced Persimmons, Coconut Flakes, Shredded coconut, Hemp Seeds, Dried Cranberries, Cacao Nibs, and Pumpkin Seeds.

See you here next time for some of my favorite holidays desserts!

A spoon make everything better

I’m the kind of person who really wants to be healthy but also hates running and loves food. Smoothie bowls are great because they appeal to both the nerd in me who loves food science and the easily amused pseudo adult in me who loves pretty things.

Very Red Smoothie Bowl

This first bowl has a perfect mix of sweet and earthy flavors. I wanted this smoothie to retain its bright color without missing any of the benefits of leafy greens.
Enter Moringa Powder.

The powder is made by drying the leaves of the Moringa tree at a low temperature and then grinding them into a fine powder. It’s and comeplete plant protein that’s packed with nutrients.

I used sweeter fruits–strawberries, and raspberries–to balance the Moringa Powder, which adds a nutty and almost green tea flavor. To retain the red color–the Moringa is pretty dark– I added some beet, goji, and pomegranate powder. I may have gone a bit crazy with the powders. 😅

By the way, I get all my superfoods / smoothie ingredients at Thrive Market which is my favorite place to find healthy and natural products. Use my link and save 25% on your first order!

1/2 cup frozen raspberries
2 cup frozen strawberries
2 cup frozen beets
1 tbsp Moringa powder
3 tbsp Chia seeds
1 tsp beet power
1 tbsp freeze dried pomegranate power
1 tbsp goji berry powder
4 – 1/2 cup coconut water

top: pomegranate arils, goji berries, mulberries, dried cranberries, raw sunflower seeds, and crushed rice cakes

ABC’s Bowl

I weirdly love cranberries. They work well in sweet or savory dishes and something about the tart aftertaste thrills me. This is kind of a kitchen sink smoothie bowl but I like it because it’s ultra filling.

1 Honeychrisp apple,
2 avocado
1 tbsp beetroot powder
2 cup frozen broccoli
2 cup frozen cranberries
2 cup frozen dark cherries
1 tbsp Morigina powder
1/4 cup Ginger Juice
1 cup coconut water

To top: dried cranberries, sliced strawberries, pomegranate arils, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, crushed rice cakes and candied ginger.

Dubrovnik, Croatia 7/17

I always travel solo.

It isn’t that I don’t like people—though it kind of is—it’s the freedom of being in a new place alone with you thoughts. To be honest, I’ve always been a quiet observer. It’s spectacular the things you see in New York City when people think no one is paying attention.

When you travel alone you’re able to blend in and stand out at the same time. One one hand your just another traveller. On the other you’re an enigma: you eat, stroll in parks, go to museums, take pictures, check into hotels, all by yourself.

People sometimes looks at me like I have a third head.

They ask: who do you talk to?

I say: sometimes new people. Sometimes no one.

People often ask me: aren’t you scared?

I tell them: for me the scariest thing about traveling alone is succumbing to jet lag. Without a friend, what’s to stop you from checking into your hotel, closing your blinds, and sleeping for 47 hours?

It’s always so hard to acclimate my body to a new (usually more sweltering) environment.

This July was no different.

When I touched down in Dubrovnik, Croatia on the 3rd I was slapped in the face by the beauty of the city.

I was also vividly aware of how freaking hot it was.


I was drinking a full 2 liters of water and I had no extra liquid left in my body to even pee.

It was 32 C out so I dawned my breeziest romper and took the Game of Thrones Tour.

I’m actually not a huge fan of the show (how many characters can one show have and also kill) but I figured it would be a great way to see the city and some of the surrounding islands. Dubrovnik actually has a really interesting history. It was a sovereign state for nearly two hundred years. The small state was not only one one richest of the time, it also used trading and it’s awesome geographical location to avoid conflicts with other world powers (think the Byzantines, Venice, and the Austrians).

When you walk into the Old City, it’s clear the walls have stood the test of time.

I have to say my favorite part of the tour was walking the stairs to Fort Lovrijenac or Red Keep. The views were absolutely amazing and it was actually pretty cool learning about movie magic.
After exploring the city we drove south to the Trsteno Arboretum which was erected in the 15 century by a Croatian noble family. At the request of the family, ship captains to brought back foreign seeds whose plants teneded to thrive in the tropical climate.

Some of the Arboretum was ruined in the early 90’s during the Croatian War of Independence, and more even more was destroyed by a huge fire in 2000, but many of the ancient trees are still standing today.

Oh yeah and something GoT related happened here as well.

By the time the tour ended it was pretty late. I walked up and out of the old city and reached my hotel as the sun was setting. I had dinner at my hotel then went to sleep relatively early to fight jet lag and be ready to explore Bosnia & Herzegovina.

I hope you enjoyed my walk through Dubrovnik. Have you ever been to the Balkans? What’s your favorite place?


Shiojake/Shiozake (shio-salt, jake/zake-salmon) is a common Japanese preparation of Salmon. You’ll find it in: a filled onigiri, a bento, rice porridge, and a traditional Japanese breakfast w/ miso, picked veggies (Tsukemono) and warm rice.

Chef Morimoto puts the fillets in a mixture sake and salt before doing anything else. I’m not sure if this removes the fishy taste but if he does it, we probably should too.

What I like about this dish is it’s versatility. It’s almost as if the Salmon is pre seasoned so it works well literally anywhere you would need some extra salt. I originally made it to use in a traditional Japanese breakfast but I later discovered is goes great in soups, omelettes and in Ozuchake (which I’ll be making next.)

Makes four 4 fillets

4 skin on, center cut, salmon (You want a less fatty fish so I used Coho Salmon. You could also use King Salmon) fillets totaling about 1.5 lbs

4 Tbsp + 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup sake

Mix sake and 1/2 tsp salt until the salt dissolves. Add the fillets one by one to the mixture and let each soak for 5-10 minutes. Remove and pat dry

Salt both sides of Salmon paying extra attention to the skin and and wrap in a few layers of cheesecloth before placing in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Let rest in the refrigerator for at least three hours and up to three days. The longer you let it rest the saltier it’ll be.

I experimented and took them out after 5, 12, and 15 hours. 12 seems to be the sweet spot, at 5 they were salty but not as good as I’ve had at restaurants. 15 hours was way too salty. I literally had to drink a gallon of water after eating them. It all depends on the cut of your fish (how fatty it is) and the type of salt you’re using. I used Maldon sea salt but you can use anything you have on hand.

You can either wrap the fillets individually in plastic wrap & a freezer bag and freeze for 1-2 months or bake, pan fry, or broil.

I cooked with ghee in a cast iron pan and served with Japanese picked vegetables, my classic miso soup and short grain white rice. I also added a bit of White Shoyu (soy sauce) on the side for added seasoning. It’s not traditional and totally optional.

Join me next time when I make Ochazuke/Chazuke, dish made with rice and warm dashi or tea. What’s your favorite cold weather food?

Chicken Udon Miso

My dad is one of my favorite people but he isn’t a very adventurous eater. It’s pretty hard to believe he has a daughter who is always using him as a guinea pig for her crazy recipes.

This Miso was perfect for him. It’s hearty (he’s always complaining about small portions) and though it’s decidedly Japanese it doesn’t stray too far from what’s he’s familiar with. It sure to make anyone in your family happy.

What makes this completely different from any soup you’ve had is the mix of the Shiitake & Iriko Dashi. The fishy Iriko Dashi adds depth of flavor and the Shiitake Dashi adds a subtle and unique umami.

Chicken & Udon Miso

Serves 4.

3 cups Shiitake Dashi

3 cups Iriko Dashi

1.5 Tbsp Red Miso

2.5 Tbsp White or Yellow Miso

2 packages (16oz) Frozen Udon Noodles

1 lb chicken (thighs or breasts), cut into 1/2-inch slices

1/2 large white onion, thinly sliced

1 lb Broccoli florets

8 Shiitake dried Mushrooms; rehydrated and sliced

4 oz (~1 package) Enoki Mushrooms

2 scallions; thinly sliced

1. Season chicken (I used ground perilla, ginger juice, black sesame seeds, and S&P) and sautée in ghee (or butter, oil) until cooked completely through.

2. Slice onions, shiitake mushrooms and scallions. If necessary cut broccoli into bite sized pieces.

3. Add dashi, chicken, onion, broccoli, and shiitake mushrooms to a pot and bring to a boil over low heat. 15-20 mins

4. Remove from heat add Enoki mushrooms and Miso to soup.

5. Put Udon (don’t defrost) into boiling water for about a minute until al dente. Remove from heat and divide into bowls evenly.

6. Spoon soup over noodles and garnish with scallions


That’s it for my Miso Soups. Did you have a favorite? I’d love to hear about it. The next thing I’m going to tackle is (O)Chazuke