Arugula Pesto


If my 10-year-old self could see me now, I wonder what she’d say.

I was a picky eater with a pretty developed flavor palate. My parents are foodies, but at 10, I was anything but. My parents had a rule that we had to try everything. We couldn’t just stick out our tongue. I remember several evenings around the family dinner table where it was a total battle of wills to just take a bite of the mahi mahi or two bites of the curry. Who knew?

At age 10, all I wanted was a crunchy iceberg salad at dinner. Instead, I had a plate of mesclun and arugula greens. I remember the requests to “finish the arugula on the plate and then….” I didn’t believe in arugula at age 10. Why does this strange lettuce have to have so much flavor?! Arugula, really?? Who knew that I would grow up to be this person that seeks out arugula. Heck, I even grow arugula on my fire escape! That’s how much I love it!

In the off season, I tend to buy the bags of baby arugula from Trader Joe’s. Arugula is in season now – as are a variety of other greens. And I’m in salad green heaven.

Arugula is a fantastic green characterized by its amazing slightly peppery flavor. It’s also sometimes called roquette or rocket greens.


Last week, as I came upon the farmer’s market outside my office, I spotted some beautiful greens and I had to have them. I eagerly bought two bunches. Of course, when I came home and picked up my CSA, there were a couple more bunches. This whole lot of arugula was in addition to a bag of baby arugula sitting in my fridge. Um. I think I had more arugula that I needed. I mean, I love salads, but this much arugula was making me twitchy.

I decided to make a pesto out of the greens. My husband usually turns down a basil pesto, but I had a hunch that the lighter flavor of the arugula leaves would be more to his liking. And I was right!

I washed and dried a few cups of the greens and pulsed it in my Cuisinart along with some garlic, lemon juice, pine nuts, salt, pepper and olive oil. It took all of two minutes.


I added the pesto to some pappardelle that I tossed with some sautéed shallots, garlic, mushrooms, chickpeas and additional lemon juice. I sprinkled on some red pepper flakes and ground black pepper and dinner was served. Dinner was a success. I stored the rest of the pesto in my freezer. I am totally making this again. If only arugula season was year-round.

Hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

Arugula Pesto
  • 3.5 cups of arugula leaves (you can include some of the stems), washed
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup toasted pine nuts
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • additional salt and pepper to taste
  1. Place everything except for the olive oil in to the bowl of a food processor.
  2. Process everything then slowly pour in the olive oil until everything is processed and mixed together.
  3. Taste the pesto and add additional salt and pepper as needed.
  4. Enjoy! Add this pesto pasta or use as a pizza topping. The options are endless.



Lemon Lavender Hamentashen


Disclosure: I got this silicone baking product mentioned below as part of an advertorial. All opinions and content are my own.

I know I just shared some hamentashen the other day, but since those kimchi hamentashen were savory, I decided to share something sweet with you today. I also wanted to feature my awesome new Cuina Silicone baking mat with you. I figured that freshly baked hamentashen were the perfect way to take advantage of both needs. Stay tuned for the end of this post. You’ll have a chance to win your own Silicone baking mat!

It’s Meyer Lemon season apparently.  I don’t think I’ve ever cooked with them, but I love the taste. They are much sweeter than traditional lemons. When I saw them at the market, I knew I had to incorporate some of them in to my cooking or baking. I’ve been wanting to make lemon curd since I can’t seem to find one that is kosher certified. I was surprised to find out how easy it is to make the curd.

I combined egg yolk with sugar and heated over medium heat, whisking the whole time. I then juiced and zested the lemons and stirred it in to the egg yolks mixture. I stirred for several minutes, letting it thicken then added a stick of butter. You want the mixture to get thick. It should coat the back of your wooden spoon. Once ready. I transferred to jars and chilled in the refrigerator.


I was debating between lemon rosemary or lemon lavender dough for the hamentashen. I have a foolproof hamentashen dough that I have played with over the years and knew I could make it work for this application. I just had to choose the right herb. I cook with rosemary often, but rarely use lavender – yet I have it in my house. I decided to challenge myself and use the lavender. I know that both herbs work well with lemon anyways, just not necessarily all together.

I mixed up the dough in my Kitchenaid. I then transferred the dough to a rolling mat coated with lots of flour. I rolled out the dough, and with a small drinking glass, I cut rounds of dough. I then shaped in to Hamentashen and transferred to my baking mat lined baking pan.


Now I want to tell you about this Cuina Kitchen brand silicone baking mat. The fine folks at Cuina Kitchen sent it to me and I was so excited since I had never used one before. I always tend to use parchment paper instead. This silicone baking mat allows you to make cookies without any spray or parchment paper. You just place the mat in your half sheet pan and the cookies go on. They didn’t stick at all! It was so simple. Why did I never buy a baking mat before? Anyways, I highly recommend this silicone baking mat. It worked really well. My cookies came out perfectly and there was no sticky mess to clean up. At the bottom of this post, you’ll have your very own chance to win one of these baking mats!


Meyer Lemon Curd
Recipe type: spread, sweet
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Juice and Zest from 4-5 Meyer Lemons (around ½ cup of juice)
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  1. Beat the egg yolks with a form lightly and place in a small heavy-bottomed sauce pan, along with the cup of sugar.
  2. Whisk well over medium heat, letting the sugar melt in.
  3. Add in the lemon juice and zest and stir with a wooden spoon. Let the mixture thicken a bit.
  4. Stir in the butter, keep stirring with the wooden spoon until the back of the spoon is coated in the curd mixture.
  5. Once the curd has thickened, remove from heat, transfer to jars and chill in refrigerator. Enjoy!


Lemon Lavender Hamentashen
  • 1 cup lemon curd (see recipe above)
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. ground vanilla
  • 1 tbsp. lavender
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 cups flour (plus more for rolling
  • 1 tsp. salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together.
  3. Mix in the eggs, vanilla and the lavender.
  4. Add in the dry ingredients and mix well until it forms a dough.
  5. Transfer to a rolling area that has been liberally dusted with flour.
  6. Make sure to dust your hands and rolling pin as well.
  7. In batches, roll out the dough to about a ½-inch thickness. Cut out circles of dough with a glass. Place a teaspoon of the filling at the center of the dough round. Pinch corners in well to form a triangle.
  8. Transfer formed hamentashen to a lined baking mat.
  9. Bake in oven for around 10-11 minutes.
  10. Cool on rack.
  11. Enjoy!


I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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Lemon Ginger Martini


I’ve been obsessed with ginger lately. I love the boost of flavor it brings to a dish and I seem to be adding it to everything. Why not add it to a drink? I love ginger beer. I knew I would love it in other drinks.

I’ve also been building my liquor cabinet and playing with drink recipes lately. My father has always been the bar master in my home growing up. He has a knack for creating amazing cocktails whenever the family entertains. I try to do the same in my home.

My usual drink of choice is a gin & tonic. My gin of choice is Bombay Sapphire. Though I am also known to get creative. Like I did with my Frozen Cantaloupe Mojitos, I like to play with flavor. I was in a martini mood, but wanted to go outside of my typical Dirty Gin Martini. I mean, I love olive juice, but you have to be in the mood, you know?

I’d been craving sweets all day and I had an excess of lemons in the house. Usually when we have extra lemons in the house, we tend to make some lemonade for the kids. I decided it was my turn to enjoy the bounty this time. I decided to make a lemon and ginger simple syrup and make a slightly sweeter gin-based martini.

I juiced 4 lemons, zested some lemon peeled and cut up some ginger and then stirred it in to some water and sugar. I heated everything up and let the sugar dissolve, while letting the flavors combine.


Once the sugar had dissolved and the lemon ginger flavor was well infused, I strained the simple syrup in to a bowl.


I let the simple syrup cool.

While the mixture cooled, I rimmed my martini glasses with some sugar.


Once the simple syrup was cooled down, I placed some ice in my martini shaker, added about 1/3 cup of the lemon ginger infused simple syrup and then added around a half cup of gin to the shaker. I shook everything and then pour the mixture in to my prepared martini glasses. I also garnished the glasses with some extra lemon zest.


I couldn’t wait to taste the martini. This lemon ginger martini didn’t disappoint. Amazing! If you’re not a gin fan, swap it for vodka. The drink is fantastic and I encourage you to try it.

Lemon Ginger Martini
Lemon Ginger Simple Syrup
  • Juice of 4 lemons
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 inches of ginger, peeled and cut up
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
Lemon Ginger Martini (for 2)
  • Ice
  • ½ cup Gin
  • ⅓ cup Lemon Ginger Simple Syrup
  • Sugar to rim the glasses
  • Extra lemon zest strips for garnish
Lemon Ginger Simple Syrup
  1. Juice the 4 lemons
  2. In a small sauce pan, mix the lemon juice with the ginger, the water and the sugar
  3. Heat to medium and let the sugar dissolve
  4. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from flame
  5. Strain the syrup in to a bowl and let cool completely
Lemon Ginger Martini
  1. Rim martini glasses with sugar. Wet the rim of the martini glasses and place the rim of the glass on a plate of sugar to coat the rim,
  2. Place ice in the martini shaker
  3. Add ⅓ cup of the simple syrup and ½ cup gin to the shaker. Shake well.
  4. Pour in to prepared martini glasses.
  5. Garnish with extra lemon zest (optional)
  6. Drink up and enjoy!



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Baked Salmon with Ramps

As  you can see, I am still using up some of those ramps. I literally went on a ramp cooking frenzy – trying to work the flavor of the ramps in to anything possible. You see, ramp season is only around for a short time. You need to take advantage of the Spring season for these wild leeks as much as possible.

I recently picked up some amazing salmon. I had a bit over a pound of salmon, and it being so perfect and so fresh, I knew I had to cook it just right.


I made up a mixture of garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, honey and chopped ramps. I rubbed the mixture on the salmon and placed it in the oven. It was that simple!

The simple seasoning, along with the fabulous chopped ramps, gave this dish a wonderful flavor. To round it all out, I served the salmon over a bed of wasabi microgreens. This was an amazing dinner.



Baked Salmon with Ramps
Recipe type: Main Course, Fish
  • 1½ lb. salmon filets
  • juice of one lemon
  • rind of ½ lemon
  • 4 ramps, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Place the salmon in a baking dish
  3. Sprinkle the salmon with salt and pepper
  4. Mix together the lemon juice, olive oil and honey
  5. Stir in the chopped garlic
  6. Pour the mixture over the salmon
  7. Add the red pepper flakes (if desired)
  8. Sprinkle the chopped ramps and lemon rind all over the top of the salmon
  9. Bake the salmon at 375 for about 13 minutes - check on the salmon. You don't want to overcook it.
  10. I served this salmon over some wasabi microgreens, but you can serve however you'd like
  11. Enjoy!


Lemon Oregano Baked Salmon

My husband went to the farmer’s market, where I had given him specific instructions along with a shopping list. Of course, once he got there, he improvised. He got what was on the list, and also what appealed to him. Which is totally fine. Happy to have a variety of fruits and veggies on hand – as long as we eat them.

The list included some fresh thyme. I love fresh herbs, and until my garden is ready, I have to make do with store-bought.

As I unpacked the grocery bags though, I didn’t see any thyme. In place of the thyme was some fresh Oregano. I don’t cook with oregano too often. I decided to make the best of it and come up with some recipes that would work with the oregano.

I had planned on salmon for dinner anyways. This Lemon Oregano Salmon just makes sense. It’s very flavorful, was easy to make and everyone was happy.


Lemon Oregano Baked Salmon
  • 2½ Lemons
  • 6 Sprigs Fresh Oregano
  • 8 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 lb. Salmon Filet
  • 1.5 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  1. Slice on of the lemons in rounds and lay in a 9x13 baking pan.
  2. Lay three of the oregano sprigs over the lemon slices. Sprinkle half of the garlic over the oregano and lemon.
  3. Wash and dry the salmon and place the salmon over the lemon and oregano.
  4. Sprinkle the salmon with salt and pepper.
  5. Squeeze the juice of of one lemon over the salmon. Pour over the olive oil.
  6. Chop up the remaining leaves of oregano and sprinkle over the salmon, along with the garlic.
  7. Cover the salmon and let marinate for at least 20 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to broil.
  9. Broil the salmon for around 15 minutes. Fish should be done by then.
  10. Serve over rice with a salad on the side.
  11. Enjoy!







Meatless Monday: Olive, Lemon and Chickpea Pasta

It’s been a little while since I posted over here. I am back from vacation and back in to real-life mode. I initially intended to blog as I cooked while visiting the parents, but for the most part, they didn’t let me have my way in their kitchen.

Both of my parents are amazing cooks. They are also a bit possessive of their kitchen. I get so much of my inspiration from their ideas – both past and present.

My last might in Minneapolis, my Dad took over the kitchen – whipping up an amazingly simple and tasty pasta dish. This dish that I present here is more or less adapted from what he made.  The main difference, is that he used tuna for protein and I used chickpeas. I knew that my kids wouldn’t eat the hot tuna and I was not in the mood to make another dinner for them. This dinner pleased everyone.

Olive, Lemon and Chickpea Pasta

1 pound pasta (I used spaghetti, but fettuccine would work well)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup green olives with pimentos, chopped
1/3 cup kalamata olives, chopped
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
juice of one lemon
1-2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
2 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tsp. grated lemon rind
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup peas
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
olive oil for drizzling
extra  Parmesan  cheese for sprinkling


Cook pasta to al dente, reserving about 1/2 – 1 cup of the cooking water.

I cooked my pasta while I cooked up the sauce/mix-in. Made everything run smoother.

In a large saute pan, heat up the olive oil. Add in the chopped onions and cook for a few minutes.

Add in the chopped garlic, olives and chickpeas. Cook for a few minutes.

Add in the spices, lemon rind and lemon juice.

Olive, Lemon and Chickpea Pasta

Add in the peas and Parmesan cheese.

Stir in the pasta, adding some of the cooking water as you go to wet the sauce a bit.

Serve on a plate. Top pasta with extra red pepper flakes, Parmesan cheese and a small drizzle of olive oil.


Olive, Lemon and Chickpea Pasta

Baked Salmon with a Cumin Rub

This morning, I did something that I rarely remember to do. I took something out of the freezer to defrost. Gasp! In my morning rush, I can usually only handle my coffee and the kid’s lunches. In that order. As I was literally running out the door, I did a mad dash to the freezer and grabbed a couple of Ziploc pouches of frozen salmon. I buy large quantities of salmon at a time, and then freeze in meal size pouches. IIn theory, it’s a smart thing to do – when the process works. I often forget to take it out and am left scrambling at 5:30, and often running to the store for some fresh, defrosted fish or a brick of tofu. Things worked out in my favor today. This meant that a tasty and healthy dinner could happen in a reasonable amount of time. We even covered all of the basic food groups!  Rah, Rah!

Baked Salmon with a Cumin Rub

1 pound of salmon fillet
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. crushed garlic
1 tbsp. crushed ginger
1 tbsp. cumin

Preheat oven to 400.

Mix the olive oil with the spices.

Rub the spice paste on to the salmon.

Let the salmon marinate for about 20 minutes.

Bake in the oven for about 11 minutes. You don’t want to overcook the salmon.

Serve with a salad and some brown rice. Enjoy!


Chicken with Chickpeas

Some people collect stamps. We collect cookbooks. The cookbook doesn’t have to be popular. It doesn’t have to have a celebrity chef attached. It just has to be interesting. I like the cookbooks that come with stories attached to each food. I rarely cook straight from a recipe anymore, but I like the cookbooks for inspiration, and they keep me company in the kitchen.

Several years ago, while on a visit to my aunt, I came across her well leafed copy of Claudia Roden’s cookbook “The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey From Samarkand to New York.” Paging through the recipes that span the world…I knew I had to have this coobook. We finally found the cookbook reasonably priced at a Half Priced Books and quickly got to work deciding what to cook first.  To be honest, I have only made maybe three recipes from this cookbook, but cookbooks to me are more for inspiration rather than cooking straight from them.

On a whim…we randomly opened to a sephardi section of the book – and blindly pointed to a recipe. In a “pick a card any card” fashion, our finger landed on the Chicken with Chickpeas recipe. The first time I made the recipe, I followed it to a T, and it was amazing. The next couple times, I slowly adapted it.  This past shabbat, I made this dish for Friday night dinner…and then and there, my husband and guests insisted I make it again during the week to be eaten and posted to the blog. I laughed…and I obliged.

Chicken with Chickpeas – adapted from “The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey
From Samarkand to New York.” by Claudia Roden


1.5 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp. ginger paste
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 whole chicken, cut up
1.5 cups of cooked chickpeas
lemon zest (from a whole lemon)
juice of 1 lemon
10 cardamom pods, cracked

In a large dutch oven, saute the onion until soft. Add in the turmeric, garlic, and ginger and sautee until fragrant.

Add in the chicken pieces and brown the chicken.  Turn them over after about 8 minutes.

Add in the chickpeas and the cardamom.

Add in about 4 cups of water.  Bring the mixture to a boil. Turn down the heat and cover.  Cook for about an hour.  Serve with rice.  Enjoy!


Herbed Lemon Tofu

I have made my life easier by subscribing to RSS Feeds. Google makes it even simpler with their Google Reader. It puts all my favorite blogs in one place. No drawbacks, but some days, I can just sit and drool at the screen as I page through some of the food blogs that are sprinkled in. For most of my weekday recipes, I stalk many of the vegan and vegetarian blogs for ideas. I recently came across this tasty looking Herbed Lemon Tofu on the VegCooking Blog. It looked perfect for a simple Monday night dinner. It came out tasty. Even J loved it, and J is often pretty skeptical when it comes to tofu dinners. I served the tofu with some steamed asparagus with a lemon mustard sauce along with some basmati rice. Everything tastes better with a bit of basmati.

Herbed Lemon Tofu – (from VegCooking Blog)


1 package extra-firm tofu
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tsp. chopped thyme
salt and pepper, to taste
I also added a couple teaspoons or garlic paste

Preheat the oven to 475°F.

Wrap the block of tofu in paper towels and press for 10 minutes by adding weight on top. Remove the paper towels and cut the tofu into 1/2-inch-thick pieces.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl.

Add the tofu to a casserole or baking dish in a single layer, then cover with the liquid mixture, turning once to coat.

Bake the tofu for 30 to 40 minutes, or until browned, and turn once halfway through baking.


Morrocan Chicken Over Couscous

Someone recently shared with me a Moroccan chicken dish recipe that is cooked in the crockpot. It sounded good, but I am not so big on crockpot cooking (even though I secretly want to be). I decided to adapt the recipe to make it on the stove and also upped the spice ante a bit as well. I was very happy with how easy it was and how well it turned out. Even my 7-year-old asked for second helpings. She ate the chicken and didn’t just pick out the olives! She never asks for second helpings, unless its mac and cheese. So this was the ultimate compliment a mom could get.

Morrocan Chicken Over Couscous

1 cut up chicken
olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon ginger paste
1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
2 carrots, chopped, or a good handful or baby carrots, cut up
rind of one lemon
juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup of white wine
handful of green olives
In a large pan or dutch oven, heat up some olive oil. Add in the ginger. Saute 1 minute.
Dust your chicken with salt and pepper.
Add the chicken to the pot and brown on both sides for 5-10 minutes per side.

Add in the onions and the garlic. Cook for a few minutes. Add in the spices.

Add the lemon rind and the lemon juice. Add in the carrots.

Add the broth and the wine. Cover and cook for 45 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, cook up the couscous. Couscous is super easy. Put the desired amount of couscous in a bowl, and the same amount of boiling water, and cover and let sit for 5-7 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

About 3 minutes before serving the chicken, toss in the olives.

Serve the chicken over the couscous. Enjoy!
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