Category Archives: Mains

Balthazar French Onion Gratinée

foods_174So, I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never actually had the SoHo brasserie version of the recipe I’m about to gush over. But since I’ve made this soup a few times now, I am confident I can brag about the results you can achieve at home.

As temperatures have dipped down into the 20s here in Seattle, I come home from work and crave something piping hot. Preferably with a cheesy crust.

I don’t think it’s a mistake that Balthazar calls the recipe a “gratinée,” since the jam-like texture of the onions, broth-logged bread and cheese crust on top make the soup portion feel like an afterthought. One thing I’ve learned with this recipe (as with many aspect of cooking) is to practice patience. The recipe says to cook the onions down for 30 minutes, which when you’re hungry and stirring the pot seems like an eternity. After about 10 minutes, the onions will become soft and take on a light caramel color, which may lead you to believe you’ve reached that “golden color” referenced in the instructions. Do not stop. I actually set a timer so that I wouldn’t shortchange the onion transformation process (I have a tendency to get a bit impatient). Stir, stir, stir. Don’t let them burn, but let the onions become so caramelized that they seem to almost disintegrate. They should begin to latch onto the wooden spoon when you stir.

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Fall Quinoa Salad

I like to have a few recipes on hand so that, on occasion, I can feel like Gwyneth Paltrow. Did you just cock your head and give the screen a quizzical look? Let me explain.

Ms. Paltrow is reported to follow a fairly strict diet, based around locally sourced, seasonal and organic food. She stays away from processed foods, red meat, sugar and dairy for the most part. She also does things like soak raw almonds in water before she eats them to allow for better digestion. If you’d like a first-hand (and highly entertaining) account of what it’s like to eat like the Goop goddess, please read Rebecca Harrington’s The Cut article. While I’m not signing up for veganism just yet, eating a full bowl of colorful veggie and seed goodness, free of impurities (and sadly cheese, meat, bread and all the other things that generally excite me) makes me feel like I’m following in her amazingly youthful footsteps. And like I deserve a pat on the back for all my good deeds.

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Football Chicken Fry

I look forward to football season more and more. With it comes a welcome cooling trend from the summer heat, festive weekends and, of course, addictive snack foods that go best with sports. I don’t know all the stats or follow the majority of the games, but I’m just as happy being along for the ride (and around for a lot of the food). For a recent UW game, I decided to change up the usual chips, burgers and hot dogs for some good ol’ fried chicken.

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Topless Turkey Burgers

burgerasparagus_40 Tomorrow I am planning an epic day of cooking with my older sister. We have a list of freeze-capable recipes we are making for a friend, who is about to have twins and will most likely need a stockpile of meals. Because I don’t think we will be doing the traditional BBQ activities, I made these turkey burgers this week to put me in the festive mood for the Memorial Day weekend.

This first burger appearance on the blog is not meant to suggest that I always prefer turkey over a luxe combination of beef products. I’m a true lover of the beef burger arts. I don’t often make burgers at home, but when I do, I prefer turkey (insert Most Interesting Man in the World Meme).

I’ve made plenty of turkey burgers, meatballs and meatloaves in my day, and I’m keeping these burgers in my repertoire because they have the optimum levels of spice, heat and bite from the onions and garlic. They are awesome for a weeknight dinner, weekend BBQ and the patties freeze well when wrapped tightly in plastic. I used the 93 percent lean turkey because I think even turkey burgers need a bit of fat to be flavorful, but you could use the ultra lean stuff is you like. I also used whole spices that I ground with a mortar and pestle first, a step that may seem fussy but I think adds much more smokey flavor. I like to chop all of the burger-enhancing ingredients in a food processor, because I like how the onions, garlic, peppers and spices become so fine that they blend into the patty. No big chunks of onions here. You can of course chop these ingredients by hand, just make sure to take a little extra time to make the pieces very small.

For toppings, I use a fat-free black bean dip from Trader Joe’s, red onion, sliced tomato and arugula. I really like how the tangy bean dip compliments the smoky spices and cilantro, and also adds some moisture to the final product (since turkey burgers have a tendency to become dry). These burgers would also be great with some pickled red onions, avocado and chopped spinach. Enjoy the long weekend!

Topless Turkey Burgers

Adapted from Bon Appetit Spicy Turkey Burger recipe

Makes about 6 patties

1 ½ lbs ground turkey

1/2 cup minced onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 minced garlic cloves

2 teaspoons chopped jalapeño or serrano chile with seeds

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Kosher salt


6 mini whole wheat pitas

Fat-free black bean dip

Red onion, sliced

Tomato, sliced


Combine onion, garlic,  jalapeño or serrano chile, cilantro, coriander, cumin, paprika, and black pepper in a food processor. Pulse until the onions are finely chopped and the ingredients are incorporated.

Add the vegetable and spice mixture to a bowl with the ground turkey and use a fork to combine.

Form into patties about the size of your palm. Season with salt and pepper.

Grill patties over medium-high heat for about 5-7 minutes per side, until they are cooked through.

To finish the burgers, lightly toast the mini pitas and spread a tablespoon of black bean dip on each one. Place a burger patty on each pita, and top with red onion, tomato and arugula. Serve immediately.

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Chicken Marbella


I consistently reach for the big bowl of lemons on my counter and a handful of herbs whenever I decide on a “something chicken” dinner. Even though these components are simple, they are always the most satisfying to me. That is, until I tried Chicken Marbella.

This dish comes from Sheila Lukin’s iconic Silver Palate cookbook, and develops such a complexity with minimal effort. Lukin began incorporating Mediterranean flavors into her food when she started a catering business in the late 1970s. She then opened The Silver Palate food shop in New York Chicken Marbella was one of the first main dishes served at the shop.  See the full recipe here.

I was introduced to this dish a couple of years ago at a friend’s bachelorette weekend in Lake Tahoe. My friend’s sister marched into the cabin with about four Ziploc bags of  chicken parts marinating in olives, prunes, capers, garlic and spices. I hovered in the kitchen and watched as she added white wine and brown sugar to trays of chicken in the oven. The result was tender chicken in this unique, briny sauce complemented by the candy-like prunes. She spooned the chicken over herb cous cous and I have not forgotten it since.

To recreate this dish in a shorter amount of time on a weeknight, I used two pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I’m normally all for the amplified flavor of bone-in, skin-on cuts of chicken, but for a quicker version this worked splendidly. The key with Chicken Marbella (and I can’t stress this enough) is to marinate overnight. Trust me on this one, you don’t want to shortchange yourself.

Note: If you opt for the boneless version, cooking will take about 30 minutes less. Just make sure the chicken’s internal temperature reads 165 degrees on a meat thermometer.