Soy Chorizo Carbonara

This is the first time I used soy chorizo. Having cooked with pork chorizo in the past, I didn’t notice a difference in texture or in taste. I liked using the soy chorizo because I didn’t feel sluggish after eating it like I do when I eat pork.

This recipe was inspired by Serious Eat’s Chorizo Carbonara. I loved how this tasted and it left plenty more servings so I can feast on it during the week. I added a few pieces of arugula in the picture to make it look prettier.


5 ounces whole wheat spaghetti, linguine, or other long pasta
1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
1 cup soy chorizo
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy cream
Black pepper

Add the pasta to a large saucepan of well-salted boiling water and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the chorizo and fry briskly for about 10 minutes, until crisp and cooked through.

Beat the egg yolks and cream together.

When the pasta is done, drain thoroughly and immediately return it to the hot pan. Tip in the crisp chorizo, followed by the egg mixture. Use 2 forks to mix the eggy cream into the hot pasta. It will cook in the heat of the pasta, coating each strand in a light, creamy sauce. Serve right away, with a final grinding of black pepper on top.


Wilted Arugula Salad With Balsamic And Mushrooms

Serious Eats had a great recipe up for Steak Salad with Balsamic and Wilted Arugula and I decided to do a vegetarian-friendly version of it. If you skip the parmesan cheese for garnish, it’s vegan-friendly! This was easy to make and tasted great.


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small shallots, cut into ribbons
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
3 cups sliced mushrooms, preferably porcini, trumpet, or chantarelles
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, plus more for garnish
6 ounces baby arugula, washed well
Shaved parmesan, to garnish

In a large (14-inch) skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium until shimmering. Add the shallots, garlic, and rosemary and cook until translucent. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook until soft and beginning to caramelize.

Take off the heat. Add the balsamic vinegar, tossing well to coat. Add the arugula, tossing until just starting to wilt, then transfer to plates. Top with shards of shaved Parmesan and more balsamic vinegar, if desired.

Greek Salad

I found the recipe for this incredible salad on Serious Eats. The dressing is fantastic and makes more than enough to make this salad repeatedly.
For Salad

1 large Spanish or sweet onion, thickly sliced
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
1 large head iceberg lettuce, sliced paper-thin
4 small fire-roasted red bell peppers, home-roasted or store-bought, cut into strips
3/4 pound English cucumber, peeled, halved, seeds scooped out, and thickly sliced
8 whole scallions, thinly sliced
1 red onion, sliced paper-thin
1 tsp of dried dill weed
1/2 cup small, picked sprigs parsley, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon dry Greek oregano
About 50 mixed green and black olives, brined and/or oil-cured, pitted and halved
2/3 cup fat free feta cheese
4 pepperoncini (pickled yellow peppers), sliced

For Red Wine Vinaigrette
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 small onion, sliced and grilled
6 basil leaves
1 teaspoon picked thyme
1/4 cup fat free feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
6 garlic cloves, pressed
2 shallots, thickly sliced
2 tablespoons dry Greek oregano
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon coarsely cracked black pepper
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For Salad
Brush the onion slices with olive oil and season with kosher salt and pepper. On a griddle pan or in a cast-iron skillet, grill the onion until tender. Separate into rings.

In a large bowl, combine all of the remaining ingredients except the Red Wine Vinaigrette, feta, and pepperoncini. Toss.

Drizzle the vinaigrette and toss the mixture aggressively with clean hands. Scatter with the feta and pepperoncini.

For Red Wine & Feta Vinaigrette
In a food processor, combine the vinegar, onion, basil, thyme, feta, mustard, garlic, shallots, oregano, salt, and pepper. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until smooth.

Cook the Book: Greek Salad


Nachos With Cabbage, Beans, And Cilantro Sauce

I made these nachos for a holiday movie night with some friends. I served each item in separate bowls and let every choose their toppings. It turned out very well. I loved how all the items tasted together.

For the Cabbage
1 heaping cup shredded red cabbage
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar

For the Beans
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 white onion, finely diced
1 poblano pepper, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 15-ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed well
Salt, to taste

For the Cilantro Sauce
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil

For the Cheese Sauce
8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese (or a mix of cheddar and pepper Jack—see note), grated on large holes of a box grater
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 (12-ounce) can fat free evaporated milk2 teaspoons Franks Red Hot or other hot sauce

5 ounces tortilla chips

For the cabbage: Combine cabbage, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Toss to dissolve sugar and salt and coat cabbage with liquid. Let sit for at least one hour, stirring occasionally.

For the beans: Heat oil over medium-high heat in a medium, heavy-bottomed pot. Add onions and poblano and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, tomato paste, chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring, one minute more. Add beans and cook until heated through and beginning to break down a bit, about 10 minutes. Mash beans against sides and bottom of pot with a wooden spoon and stir to combine all ingredients. Taste for salt. Cover and keep warm.

For the cilantro sauce: In a mini food processor, combine cilantro, garlic, lime juice, salt, and olive oil. Process until well combined. Set aside.

To assemble nachos, spread tortilla chips on a large platter. Top evenly with beans and then with cheese sauce. Pour off liquid from cabbage and dry cabbage between paper towels. Top nachos with cabbage. Drizzle cilantro sauce overtop. Serve warm.

For the cheese sauce: Add cheese and cornstarch to large bowl. Toss to combine. Transfer to medium saucepan. Add 1 cup evaporated milk and hot sauce. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with whisk until melted, bubbly, and thickened (about 5 minutes). Mixture will look thin and grainy at first but will thicken and come together after heating. Thin to desired consistency with additional evaporated milk.

The Crisper Whisperer: Nachos With Cabbage, Beans, And Cilantro Sauce
Cheese Sauce For Cheese Fries And Nachos

Ice Cream Cake in an Ice Cream Cone

Lorraine requested ice cream cake for her birthday party. I looked for recipes over the internet and I came across this great one from Lemonpi. Super cute presentation and the execution seemed very feasible. The inside of the cone is coated with a thin layer of dark chocolate. Then the inside of the cone is layered with white cake and chocolate ice cream then topped with chocolate and sprinkles.


1 box of cake mix (I used Betty Crocker Super Moist white cake)
1 quart ice cream (I used chocolate ice cream)
1 box (12 count) of sugar cones
16 oz jar of prepared vanilla frosting
2 4.25 oz. Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate

Bake the contents of the white cake, allow to cool. You can make the cake in any container.

While cake is baking, melt 1 of the Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate bars in the microwave. Microwave for 1 minute. Taste a pastry brush and coat the inside of the cones with a thin layer of dark chocolate. Place completed cones in the freezer. Leave there until set. I left them there for an hour.

Once the cake has cooled, divide the cake in half. Reserve one half for later use. With the working half, take a teaspoon and put cake in the bottom of the cone, filling the cone only 1/3 of the way. Do this to all the cones.

Next scoop the ice cream filling the cone up to 2/3 of the way up the cone. Do this to all the cones and immediately put them back in the freezer. Allow the ice cream to set for an hour.

With the second half of the cake, crumbly the cake up and add 3-4 tablespoons of vanilla frosting. You want the cake to be at a consistency where you can make them into cake balls. After the ice cream has set in the cones, top off the cone with the cake-frosting mix and mold an additional mound on top of the cone so it looks like ice cream on top of an ice cream cone.

Melt the other Hershey’s bar and/or use the remaining melted chocolate to coat the top of the cones and adorn with sprinkles. Place cones back in the freezer to set until ready to serve.

Whole Wheat Pasta With Sun-dried Tomatoes and Sherry Tomato Cream Sauce

Yeah, I know. Another recipe with sun-dried tomatoes. I can’t help it though. I love them! This recipe is inspired by a pasta dish I had when I went to the Magic Castle a few months ago. It had rock shrimp in it. I decided to make a vegetarian version of this dish. I love the sauce, and the sun-dried tomatoes and chives really make it taste great.


1 lbs whole wheat penne rigate
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large shallots
3 garlic cloves
A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry sherry
1 cup vegetable broth
15 ounces crushed tomatoes
1 cup fat free heavy cream
Chives, diced
Sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
Salt & pepper
Shredded parmesan cheese (optional)

In a large saucepan boil water for the pasta. When water begins to boil add salt liberally, let water return to a boil and cook pasta to al dente. Drain.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat with olive oil. Add shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes and saute 5 minutes.

Stir in sherry, stock, and tomatoes and bring to a bubble. Stir in heavy cream and bring to a bubble.

Toss hot pasta with sauce. Top with chives and sun-dried tomatoes. Salt and pepper to taste. You can also top with shredded parmesan cheese too!

Seafood Pasta with Sherry Tomato Cream Sauce 

Israeli Couscous Salad

I love making this. It’s so easy, light, and full of flavor.


1 (8 7/8 ounce) package whole wheat couscous
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
2 -3 green onions, sliced
20 black olives, sliced
6 ounces fat free feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped fine
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped fine
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoon olive oil

Cook coucous according to package directions, drain and rinse in cool water. I prefer using the microwave method.

Combine remaining ingredients and cover and chill till ready to eat.

Israeli Couscous Salad