Chocolate Negroni

Chocolate Negroni

A dark powerful drink to start your night off right! A Negroni is an aperitif that is normally served straight up in a rocks glass. I added some chocolate bitters, and shaved chocolate to garnish the drink and make it sweeter for your loved one this Valentine's Day! Doesn't matter if your going out or staying in this is the exact drink you need to start your night off correctly!

Photos by Jessica Marx

Total Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 2 drinks

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz Gin
  • 2 oz Campari
  • 2 oz Vermouth
  • 6 to 8 dashes Chocolate bitters
  • Shaved Chocolate, for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

1. In a large shaker start by adding the ice, then combining the gin, campari, vermouth, and chocolate bitters.
2. Stir until well combined, and chilled. 
3. Strain into a rocks glass over a large ice cube. 
4. Garnish with chocolate shaving
5. Cheers!

Coconut Curry Seafood Stew

Coconut Curry Seafood Stew

This is not a traditional lebanese dish by any means - but it is a favorite for winter dinner ideas. It's warming, light, and full of flavor. Starting off with a green curry, coconut milk base then adding some of my favorite seafood and letting the flavors grow. I paired it with a side of sticky coconut rice for that intense coconut kick, and garlicky bok choy! This is a healthy alternative to any beef stew you were thinking of making and takes a quarter of the time. Enjoy!!

comment below and let me know if you try it out!

Photos by Jessica Marx

Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4-5 people

Coconut Curry Seafood Stew:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and zested
  • 2 inches ginger, peeled and zested
  • 2 tbsp green curry paste
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 1 lb shrimp, cleaned and peeled
  • 2-3 lb mussels, cleaned and bearded 
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro to garnish

Coconut Sticky Rice:

  • 2 cups white long grain rice 
  • 4 cups coconut milk
  • salt to taste

Garlicky Bok Choy

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced 
  • 4-5 bok choy, cleaned and sliced in half
  • 2 tbsp ponzu, or soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

INSTRUCTIONS

Coconut Curry Seafood Stew:

1.    In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.

2.   Add diced onions, cook for 2-3 minutes then add the ginger and garlic. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until the onions have are translucent. 

3.   Add curry paste, and mix together until the onions start incorporating the green curry - about 2 minutes. 

4.   Whisk the coconut milk into the onion mixture until well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning. 

5.    When the broth comes to a boil, add the shrimp and mussels. Cover and let it cook for 5-6 minutes or until all the mussels have popped open and the shrimp are cooked through. 

6.     Garnish with cilantro - Enjoy!

P.S. you can make this spicy by adding your favorite chili, hot sauce, cayenne, or hot pepper flakes. 

Coconut Sticky Rice:

1.    In a medium size pot, combine the coconut milk and rice over medium-high heat. 

2.    Season with salt, and let it come to a boil. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat to low and let it cook for 18-22 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. 

3.    When ready, fluff the rice with a fork - and serve.

Garlicky Bok Choy:

1.    In a large sautée pan, heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat. 

2.   Add sliced garlic, sautée until you can smell the aromas of the garlic - about 1 minute. Add bok choy flat side down and cook for 2 -3 minutes.

3.   Flip the bok choy, add ponzu or soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar. Cook for another minute or until the liquid has evaporated.  

4.   Serve this tasty side dish with any asian inspired meal your making - you won't regret it! 

Cranberry Lime Fizz

Cranberry Lime Fizz

Here's a festive drink to help you ring in the New Year! Wishing you a positive and cheerful year from my kitchen to yours! 

Photos by Jessica Marx

Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingridients:

  • 1 cup fresh cranberry
  • 2 lime, wedged
  • 1 btl champagne or prosecco

INSTRUCTIONS

1.    Place a handful of cranberry, and 2 slices of lime in glass. 

2.   Pour champagne, and enjoy!

P.S. Time will macerate the cranberry and lime flavor into the champagne. You can infuse the drink in advance in a pitcher to let the cranberry soak the flavor.

 

Moscow Mule

Make it Your Way
Moscow Mule

My go-to vodka drink. It's perfect for a cocktail party, dinner party, or for when pregaming with friends. Add fruity or herbal simple syrup to enhance the flavor; or keep it traditional with lime! Cheers to the weekend!

Photos by Brandon Kaiser

Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people

INGREDIENTS

Pomegranate Simple Syrup: 

  • 1 cup pomegranate juice (POM)
  • 1 cup sugar

Rosemary Simple Syrup: 

  • 6 sprigs, rosemary
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar

Moscow Mule:

  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1/4 cup simple syrup
  • 3-4 can/btl ginger beer
  • 2-3 limes, juiced

Garnish:

  • 1 whole pomegranate, seeded
  • rosemary sprigs
  • 1 lime, sliced

INSTRUCTIONS

Simple Syrup:

1.     In a small pot, add all ingridients - liquid, (sprig), and sugar.

2.     Stir the juice and sugar, and cook for about 10 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid becomes thicker.

Moscow Mule:

1.     In a large pitcher, add ice, vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice.

2.     Mix; add desired simple syrup, mix well.

3.     Pour Moscow mule into individual cocktail glasses, and garnish with either a tbsp of pomegranate seeds or rosemary sprig, and lime wedge.

Cheers!

The Ultimate Chocolate Christmas Cookie

The Ultimate Chocolate Christmas Cookie

This cookie is all about the holiday cheer. Starting off with a cookie and dressing it up. You can make this with different cookies, toppings, chocolates - it's all about making it your ultimate christmas cookie!! I used martha stewarts recipe for the cookies! 

Photos by Jessica Marx

Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingridients:

INSTRUCTIONS

1.    Bake off your cookies, let cool for 15 minutes.

2.   Bring water to a boil in a small pot, place white chocolate chips in a bowl, on top of the boiling water - making a double boiler

3.   When the chocolate chips are melted. Dip each cookie, and rest on the sheet tray.

4.   Place the candy canes in a zip lock bag, and crack with a wooden spoon, or wooden rolling pin.

5.   Sprinkle on the cookies, and let rest until harden. 10-15 minutes. 

Enjoy the holiday cheer! 

Kale Pesto Grilled Cheese

Kale Pesto Grilled Cheese

I make a bomb kale pesto, whenever my friends come over that's what they ask for. Every client of mine is always asking me to add my pesto to the menu somehow. After coming up with some fun Hors D'oeuvres using the kale pesto I decided to take it simple - so I made this for dinner and it was too good I couldn't resist posting it! I hope this becomes your go to grilled cheese. The best part about the pesto is that you can make it - freeze it - use it whenever!!

Photos by Eric Helgas

Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 3-4 people

Kale Pesto:

  • 2 cups kale, washed
  • 1 cup basil, with stems
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, or pumpkin seeds (if allergic)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper, freshly cracked

Grilled Cheese:

  • 8 slices, of your favorite bread 
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Kale pesto
  • 4 slices cheddar
  • 1/2 cup shredded asiago
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan

INSTRUCTIONS

Kale Pesto:

1.    In a food processor, add kale, basil, cheese, nut, and garlic clove. Pulse until well combined. 

2.   Add lemon juice, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Pulse while drizzling the extra virgin olive oil. Pulse for one additional minute until all combined. 

3.   Taste and adjust seasoning. 

Grilled Cheese:

1.    Heat a large cast-iron skillet heat up, on high heat.

2.    Meanwhile spread butter on one side of each slice of bread, and 1-2 tbsp of kale pesto on the other side. 

3.    Place 4 slices, butter side down in the skillet. Start layering each cheese on top of the four slices of bread. Starting with the cheddar, asiago, and finishing with the parmesan. 

4.   Top the cheese off, with a slice of bread, pesto side facing down. 

5.   Cook the grilled each for 4 minutes on each side, until the bread is golden brown, crunchy, and all the cheese has melted. 

Enjoy this with a side of soup, or on it's own!

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

When I think of winter food, all I can think about is my grandmother's homemade chicken noodle soup. It's just so flavorful, brothy, warm, and delicious. It can get you back on your feet when feeling sick. You can add any vegetable to this soup but this is the traditional way I was taught to make it! Make a big pot - believe me you'll want to be slurping on this soup all week long!

Photos by Eric Helgas

Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people

Chicken Noodle Soup:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 onions, peeled, chopped
  • 2 lb carrots, peeled, 2' slices 
  • 2 lb potatoes, peeled, cubed
  • 2 Qts chicken stock
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 2 cups egg noodles, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Salt + black pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

1.    In a large pot, over high heat, melt butter, add onions.

2.   Cook onions for 7-8 minutes until translucent and soft. Add carrots, and potatoes and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. 

3.   Add equal parts of water and chicken stock. A total of 4 quarts - 16 cups. Stir the soup, and let it come to a boil.

4.    When the broth starts boiling, add shredded chicken. Reduce the heat to medium-high heat, let the soup simmer for 15 minutes.

5.    Add crumbled noodles, dried parsley, lemon juice, and salt to taste. 

6.    Cook for an additional 10-12 minutes. 

7.    Taste the broth, and adjust the amount of lemon, and salt to taste! 

8.   Enjoy a bowl, and share with your loved ones! 

Minted Tahini Eggplant

Minted Tahini Eggplant!

I can't lie, when I received Plenty - the cookbook by the infamous Yotam Ottolenghi, all I could do was stare at the cover. The longer I stared at it, the more I fell in love! A few weeks later I decided to take a spin on that cover photo. I made one of grandmother's favorite side dishes - Tahini eggplant! As a young boy growing up in Lebanon - eggplant was at every meal. This is my take on a modern healthy lebanese eggplant dish! This could be a main dish, or  a side dish - whatever you prefer :)

 Photos by Jessica Marx

Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 4 people

Eggplant:

  • 2 large eggplants, washed
  • 3 tbsp EVOO
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • Salt + black pepper

Garnish:

  • 6-7 parsley leaves
  • 6-7 mint leaves
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded

Sauce:

  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup tahini 
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp evoo
  • Salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

1.    Preheat oven, or grill to 450F.

2.   Slice the eggplant into thirds, lengthways. Make four small parallel cuts, throughout the heart of the eggplant.

3.    Line a sheet tray with parchment paper, and drizzle with olive oil. place eggplants, cut-side up. Sprinkle with the rest of the olive oil, thyme, rosemary, cumin, salt and pepper. 

4.     Bake for 45 minutes, until brown, soft and tender.

5.    While the eggplants are baking mix greek yogurt, tahini, minced garlic, lemon juice, oil, and salt. Mix until combined, and smooth.

6.   Serve eggplant, with plenty of tahini yogurt. Sprinkle with salt, pomegranate seeds, mint, and parsley.

7.   Sahtein!