Thursday, May 30, 2013

A (wo)Man and His Pan

When my brother went off to college, my mum was understandably sad--her baby was leaving! The good child was gone! She was just stuck with the little hellion (me, at age 16). 

And yet, she gave my brother a cookbook that is basically the only thing you need when you're a young man going to live the bachelor life and need to survive when you're ill-equipped to cook for yourself every single day--and too poor to buy every single meal.

Insert...A Man and His Pan, the subtitle of which sums up the entire principle of the book: "if you can't cook it in a non-stick skillet, it's not worth cooking." (Don't let the horrible cover fool you; I mean it was published in 1999. And, if I recall correctly, the 90s weren't exactly known for their style--I'm looking at you overalls buttoned on one side, bucket hats and frosted tips).

Although this recipe is not actually IN that cookbook, after I made it that is exactly what it reminded me of. One pan. One bottle of wine (although only about a glass goes in it, the rest if for you for doing the work!). One dish complete.


4 boneless chicken breasts, tripped
Coarse salt and ground black pepper
1/4 cup AP flour
2 tbsp olive oil
3 shallots, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved


1. Season chicken with salt and pepper; coat with flour.

2. In a large saute pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic and saute until cooked through.

3. Add chicken and cook lightly on each side. Add white wine. Cover with lid and let cook through.

4. Add tomatoes to pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on high until sauce has thickened and tomatoes have released juice. Serve chicken with juices poured over.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

Thanks to everyone who has served...
in the past, present and future.

I hope everyone enjoys their holiday but remembers that, although we get a day off and many of us go to the beach or lake or similar vacation spot, this day is to remember those brave American heroes who fought and died as members of our armed services.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Traditional Summer Dish Revived

I've really been in the mood for summer lately. I mean COME ON it has been such a tease lately--the weather is in the 80s, but it is cloudy or rainy or just not so great. I'm dying for long days spent at the beach, eating dinner on the sidewalk outside New York restaurants and grilling!

One of my favorite simple summer dishes is Italian sausage and peppers. You can eat it plain, cook it with potatoes, onions and mushrooms, put it on a sandwich with marinara sauce...the possibilities are endless! I only ever eat it during summer, however, because it is traditionally a grilled meal.

Not anymore my friends.

Just like when you cook this outside, reviving this during cooler (or even frigid) months is still a very simple process. Cut your onions and peppers into small pieces. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and put the veggies on it, tossing with olive oil. If you want to go super simple, stick the raw sausage on top of the veggies and cook in the oven at 450F. Little more time? Using your grill pan, grill the sausage over high heat before plopping them on the veggie tray.

Either way, a summer-style dinner is ready, inside, in no time at all. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Thyme Roasted Mushrooms

Sometimes, when you come home from work exhausted, the idea of cooking an entire meal can seem overwhelming. You don't want to eat takeout (again), but just thinking about a creative meal involving dicing and slicing and spices is just...a lot.

On those nights, I recommend doing a very basic protein (think chicken sauteed in olive oil on the stovetop or baked in the oven, a plain white fish roasted for 8 minutes, etc.) and spend more time on your side--it will make it seem as if you've spent time cooking, as you're not just eating microwaved frozen veggies, but takes way less time to prep than doing a fancy protein. 

These mushrooms are exactly that side. Active time for this recipe? A mere two minutes (four if you're not good at dicing). Yes, you read that right. And you can stick these in the oven with your baking chicken or roasted fish and pull everything out at one time. And if you make this recipe with a bunch of're done for the week.

How's that for good food fast?


Cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
10 sprigs of thyme
2 cloves of garlic
One small shallot
Olive oil
1/2 tsp butter


1. Preheat your oven to 450F. Line a baking tray with tin foil.

2. Mince your garlic and shallot. Remove thyme leaves and mix leaves with garlic and shallots. Place cleaned mushrooms on baking tray. Sprinkle flavor mixture over mushrooms. Pour small amount of olive oil over mushrooms and toss, mixing all ingredients and ensuring mushrooms are lightly coated.

3. Roast in oven for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. 

4. Before serving, add butter to mushrooms and toss. Serve warm.

also, did you notice my gorgeous new bowls? All part of a dinnerware set I purchased this month from One King's Lane. If you haven't heard of it yet, One King's Lane is the equivalent of Gilt or Rue La La, except it has flash sales for houseware--everything from furniture, to lamps, to cookware, to pillows to patio umbrellas. I'm sure you can imagine how much time I spend browsing each day...

Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all of you wonderful women who have given birth and raised beautiful, independent and successful children. Unsurprisingly, a big shout out goes to my lady of choice, Freddi, who is everything I hope I can ever be in my lifetime. Thanks for making me the person I am today.

This weekend was the third-annual O'Brien ladies weekend. My mum came up to NYC and we had a lovely couple of days, starting with dinner at Spice Market, brunch at Pastis, shopping in Meatpacking and the West Village, dinner at Sushi of Gari before trekking home for actual Mother's Day. 

Good news--my parent's new kitchen (basically an entirely new first floor) is complete! Thus for Mother's Day, my mum was incredibly excited to cook in it for the first time! We started with breakfast (as the day is wont to do), with me making pork roll, egg and cheese sandwiches with a side of bacon for the lady we were celebrating. We then barbecued for lunch before heading to the country club for the Mother's Day Scramble -- the four of us had lots of fun and spent some serious quality time doing something other  than eating.

Here are some pictures from the very cool remodel:

the new stovetop area with massive industrial (and gorg) hood

the new massive island--it will fit 6 people comfortably--with below cabinet microwave, sink and area for cookbooks!

the new refrigerator and bar cabinets with glass panes rather than wood

my dad and Kodi's nook--areas for all her leashes and toys and a small washer/dryer to clean their muddy stuff

new outside door and TV that is on one wall--the DVR is going to be moved into the garage (behind that wall) so it is hidden

Pretty cool right! It is very fancy, all new appliances and definitely the hub of the house--especially with that massive TV to keep those who are not cooking occupied. And designed entirely with my family in mind by my lovely mother! Nice work girl.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sunday Meal Planning

Finally, after two and a half years of living at my apartment, I have curtains! Sorry to all the gentlemen living across the street and big thanks to the boy for getting all manly with a drill and hammer and putting these up for me. I also have a new standalone bar so I have more room in my kitchen for glassware and dinnerware that isn't dedicated solely to alcohol. 

But, more importantly, my brother and his girlfriend got engaged this weekend! My family and her family spent Saturday celebrating the engagement and it was a great time all around. We went to some pretty cool bars in the Gunks.

I hope everyone has a great week!

Monday: Garlic-shallot salmon with buerre blanc

Tuesday: chicken milanese

Wednesday: salmon with avocado/tangerine salsa

Thursday: salsa chicken burritos with mexican rice

Friday: chicken bundles (family recipe to come) 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Meal Planning

After the past week of having something to do literally every night, I need a break...and some good home cooking. I've also made a new spring resolution (it is kind of like a New Years Resolution for procrastinators like myself) to blog my meals more! I refuse to let being busy at work keep me from showing you the delicious meals I eat on a regular basis. So you'll be seeing a lot more of me!

Also, happy passover to my Jewish readers! 

Monday: Happy Passover to my Jewish readers! I'll be having roasted garlic-shallot salmon with veggies

Tuesday: tuscan shrimp with cannelini beans

Wednesday: compound butter- broiled mussels

Thursday: sole meuniere with spinach

Friday: butter and beer boiled clams

Saturday I will be going to my parents for Easter Sunday and, unfortunately, the house is still under construction and there is no kitchen to be found! So unless the weather magically warms up to be grilling-temps, we'll be going out to dinner. Good news is that I'll be going to my favorite place, Ardmore Farmer's Market, and will be bringing back delicious meats to highlight the next week.

Also, has anyone else noticed that it is supposed to snow tomorrow...and we're only a week out from April? I'm officially a believer in climate change...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fettucine with Peas and Pancetta

I spent this past weekend in Baltimore with the boy. We had a lovely time going to numerous (too many, in fact) restaurants (for anyone in Baltimore, I highly recommend this one) and probably should have stopped while our wallets were ahead.

After eating out every single meal, we decided that a nice home-cooked dinner was in order before I got on my train back to New York. I rarely eat pasta at home, since I try to focus on eating fish and veggies, and jumped on the opportunity to try a new one. The boy, who is not one to complain normally, obviously had no issues with me taking over dinner. In fact, I'm pretty sure he was darn happy about it.

Note: we made this for four people so that he would have leftovers for the week, so feel free to cut this down as appropriate


1 lb. fresh fettucine
1/2 lb. cubed pancetta
1 clove garlic, finely minced
4 tbsp. butter
1 small white onion, finely diced
2 tbsp water (or chicken stock)
1 c. light cream
2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1/4 c. grated Parmigiano Reggiano


1. Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain.

2. Meanwhile, in a small pan, heat olive oil and garlic. Add pancetta when hot and cook until golden. Set aside in a small dish.

3. In the same pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft. Add in the water and season with salt and pepper. 

4. Stir in the pancetta and cook for about 2 minutes. Add cream; bring to a low simmer and cook 5 minutes until thickened.

5. Add cooked pasta to the saucepan. Mix well to coat the pasta fully with the sauce. Lastly, stir in the peas and Parmigiano and enjoy!

For sides, we made roasted asparagus and garlic bread (cause what is better than carbs on carbs??)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sunday Meal Planning

Leprecon didn't happen this weekend...instead, my friends and I all went to a fabulous brunch at Revel and then played the fabulous game Pub Golf. It is basically a pub crawl with a sports theme. Interested? Check out the rules.

This week for me? Healthy, quick food:

Monday: salmon with red pepper sauce

Tuesday: beer and bacon clams

Wednesday: huevos rancheros

Thursday: brown butter halibut with mushroom brother

Friday: shrimp tacos with apple chutney

Saturday: shrimp and guacamole tostados

Sunday: broiler mussels

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

French Beef Stew

To all my loyal readers, I apologize for going MIA for so long. Work has been super hectic since I returned from New Orleans, but it has not all been for nothing...Last week I officially received my promotion! Yay me!

I went home this weekend to celebrate my promotion with my parents and to celebrate my brother's and his girlfriend's birthdays (who happen to only be three days apart, how cute is that?!). Friday we went to St. James in Suburban Square, which is super convenient since I take the Amtrak to the Ardmore stop (aka 35 yards away.) On Saturday we all went to the amazing sushi restaurant Nectar and chowed down like it was going out of style.

Although I have not been blogging, I have been cooking. I made this recipe on a cold Sunday when I had time to watch the bubbling, boiling mix become a delicious stew. It was perfect for a snowy day.


3 lb. cubed stew beef
750ml bottle of Bordeaux or Cote du Rhone
Salt and black pepper
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
5 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
5 carrots, peeled and cut into slices
1 orange, washed and cut into wedges
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
Olive oil
16 oz. can of tomato past
4 oz. pitted black olives, chopped


1. Season meat with salt and pepper on all sides. Please meat in a large Ziploc bag with wine, thyme, bay leaves, parsley, carrots, onion, garlic and orange wedges. Cover and marinated in the fridge over night--at least 12 hours, perfect would be 24.

2. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large stockpot. Remove the meat from the marinade and brown the pieces. Pour the marinade over the meat and bring to a boil. Keep at a rolling boil for 5 minutes, skimming off the foam.

3. Lower the heat to simmer, stir in tomato paste and add about 5 cups of water. Cover and let stew on low heat for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

4. 15 minutes before the stew is ready, add the pitted olives. Let cook for 15 minutes on medium heat without the lid to thicken. Serve over mashed potatoes, as I did, rice or pasta

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Meal Planning

Happy Oscar night! Best dressed nominee for me is clearly Naomi Watts--she looked gorg! 

I'm calling Daniel Day Lewis for best actor and Argo for best picture--because the Academy totally screwed up not nominating Ben Affleck for best director, he's a shoe in for picture.

Here is my Sunday Meal planning list:

Monday: toasted baguette with pesto, garlic and prawns

Tuesday: chicken schnitzel with arugula salad

Thursday: baked mussels

Friday: brown riced stuffed peppers

Saturday: Leprecon in Hoboken!

Sunday: sausage and red pepper pasta

Monday, February 11, 2013

New Orleans

Hello real world. To be entirely honest, I did not miss you.

In case my lovely readers have been wondering where the heck I went, I just spent a magical five days in New Orleans for Mardi Gras weekend. It was an awesome trip filled with delicious (fried) food, great new and old friends, a ton of beads and other fun objects thrown from floats and, luckily, no boobs (cause really, what women wants to see those)!

My very first parade. Before I left, I was concerned that I wouldn't like the parades and would be the odd man out. Boy was I WRONG.

One of my friends from college (and my new love, his sister) live in New Orleans and their dad is part of a Krewe. We got to go with their dad when he dropped off all his accoutrements to riding on a float, and were able to see all of the floats in the warehouse and even get on a few. 

Best never-before-seen tourist spot ever!

Every house was super decorated for the holiday. Move over Christmas, Mardi Gras in NOLA has you beat FOR SURE.

It took me a while, but I figured out how to "win" the parade game. Next time--I'm buying ball tickets!

While I was not sure how much I would enjoy the parades (LOVE!!!), one thing I was not in the last bit concerned about was liking the food. I mean, who doesn't like fried food served with more fried food served on bread. It was every dieters nightmare, but, for a vacation, it was perfect. I must say, the one thing I am happy about coming home for is the healthy food (salmon and asparagus, here I come). I need a serious detox...

My first meal off the plane--peacemaker po' boy. Half fried shrimp, half oyster, remoulade sauce and all deliciousness. But seriously, fried food served on bread with fries as a side? Carbo-load anyone?

We got the above po' boy and this fried soft shell crab platter (served with fries AND hushpuppies. Seriously. Michael Phelps would fill up on this food) are from the delish Acme Oyster House in the French Quarter

Muffaletta from Napoleon's House, a restaurant known for their drink the Pimm's Royale. And they're $17 bottles of house wine, which was delicious and perfect for a large party.

On Friday, we all went to my friends house for a crawfish boil. I learned from expert NOLA-residents how to de-shell a crawfish and chowed down on these little nuggets, corn, sausage and a delicious beer from NOLA Brewing

Friday night we walked from my friends to Dat Dog, a hipster-ish hotdog stand that looks like it used to be a gas station. Obviously I ordered the chili cheese fries and...

...a polish kielbasa topped with guacamole. 

and tried a bite of this deliciousness--polish kielbasa topped with creole mustard and sauerkraut

Other NOLA food recommendations from places where I chowed down much too quickly to take a picture included:
  • John Besh's Domenica - the tagliatelle with rabbit and duck was to.die.for.
  • Cafe Adelaide and the Swizzle Stick Bar - i got a lamb shank that looked like a brontesaurus bone
  • The charbroiled oysters at Dragos, which may have been the single food highlight of my entire trip
  • Last, but CERTAINLY not least, is the wonderful Praline's By Jean, owned by my friends' family and the location for our parade shenanigans. I highly recommend going there to meet the sweet Jean and devouring the pralines. Seriously. Stop reading. Go now. Your stomach will thank me.
Basically, I can't wait to go back and eat even more deliciousness. Is it Mardi Gras 2014 yet?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms

On Golden Globes Sunday, I had a bunch of savages over for a classy party. By savages, I mean five of my very good friends who just happen to eat and drink a lot. And by classy party, I mean I bought champagne. Ok, prosecco. Don't get particular with me.

We started the shindig when the E! Live from the Red Carpet coverage started because, lets be serious, that is the best part of the show. And everyone stayed until the final awards were announced. You know what that means? Lots of food had to be served periodically throughout the night.

Now I am a big fan of prepping dinner parties in advance so you can hang out with your guests. That being said, when you have some of your best friends over for six hours, your best friends who get hungry when they're drinking champagne (prosecco), you have to take some liberties. This is the perfect appetizer for an event like this as it takes only about three minutes to put together. Disappear into the kitchen for five minutes, go back ten minutes later to pull these out, and become your guests new favorite person. Or, if these are one of the last items you serve, like they were for me, you continue your run as the best host ever since you keep magically appearing with more food.

Hence the reason I love my friends.


Baby bella mushrooms, washed stems removed
Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
Prepared basil pesto (store bought or using this recipe)
Pam olive oil spray


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Place mushrooms cap down on a baking tray.

2. In a bowl, combine breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Add enough olive oil so mixture begins to stick together but you don't want it to actually become wet.

3. Using a teaspoon, stuff the mushrooms with your breadcrumb and parmesan mixture. Top each with a small spoonful of basil pesto. Spray top of all mushrooms with Pam olive oil.

4. Bake in oven until browned, about 10 minutes.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Italian Veggie Stuffed Chicken

Is anyone else out there dealing with ridiculously cold weather? The high in New York City today is 23 degrees and, with the windchill, it feels in the single digits. When did I move to Alaska?

Cold weather calls for warm food. And Italian food. But I'm on a "healthy eating kick" (read: diet. But I don't like saying the "d" word cause then I freak out an eat a pound of chocolate. Yeah, issues, I know) so heavy pasta is out of the questions.

Hence, chicken stuffed with a selection of Italian ingredients, like roasted red peppers, tomatoes, basil and spinach. Yum.


Chicken breasts, trimmed
Small tub of ricotta
One bag of baby spinach
Jar of roasted red peppers
Cherry tomatoes
Fresh basil
Salt and pepper
White wine
Olive oil


1. Preheat your oven to 350F.

2. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, baby spinach, roasted red peppers (in bite-size pieces), cherry tomatoes (quartered, seeds scooped out) and chopped fresh basil.

3. On a clean surface, lay out your chicken breasts. Spoon the stuffing mixture into the middle of the breast and roll like a jelly roll. Use the toothpicks to secure.

4. Place the chicken in a casserole dish. Pour olive oil on top of each chicken breast. Place a sliced red pepper on top of the seam. Pour white wine into casserole so it covers the bottom.

5. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until, if pierced, the chicken runs clear. Serve with a bit of the white wine poured over top and enjoy!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday Meal Planning

Better late than never I guess. Yesterday I hosted a Golden Globes party with a group of my friends, which involved an inordinate amount of champagne cocktails, very carb-heavy food and even Crumbs cupcakes (yeah, we do Sunday Funday like the best of them). 

This calls for a food intervention. Or a cleanse. But cleanses are, as we all know, the worst. So food intervention it is.

I'm also participating in Dinner: A Love Story's Seven Days, Seven Meals challenge --basically, you need to try out seven new recipes in seven days so you can break out of your rut. Since I've basically been eating the same meal since New Years, this is timed perfectly for me. Wish me luck! 

Monday: salmon florentine

Tuesday: sausage, peppers and onions

Wednesday: spinach and cheese ravioli with pesto

Thursday: salmon with avocado remoulade

Friday: teriyaki marined salmon

Saturday: dinner here 

Sunday: french beef and red wine stew on garlic mashed potatoes

I am going home this weekend to belatedly celebrate my mum's birthday (hence the dinner out on Saturday). But don't feel bad for her, we also celebrated her birthday the weekend before the big day. My family fully believes in birthmonths rather than birthdays. It's pretty much the best.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Oldschool Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

As I said in my sole previous baking post, I'm not a big baker. And I'm not. With one exception. Every holiday season, my mum and I spend a day baking cookies. Nothing fancy--we're a pretty basic family and none of us are huge into sweets. We either bake oatmeal raisin cookies, chocolate chip cookies or, if we're feeling bold, both.

Now this is what is called a family tradition. This year, for example, I took a train home to PA so that on Saturday I could bake with my mum, and then proceeded to drive up to the Catskills where my brother is building a cabin the next day, picking him up on the way. You know, the brother that lives 10 blocks away? Yeah that one. You know what would have been easier than taking an hour and a half train Friday night and then driving two hours back to NYC to drive two hours outside of it? Not leaving NYC. But that was our day to bake, and I was not going to be the one to disappoint my mum, especially not around the holidays. 

Besides that, the day that we bake cookies is also the day...we decorate the tree! And I love decorating the tree. We have another tradition in my house--every single year we each get an ornament with that date on it. So I have ornaments going back to my adorable first birthday, throughout my early childhood (which is ruled by ornaments with dogs on them...I guess my parents finally got the message), into my formative years (formative=teenage=bratty. just saying) and even through college. It is one of my favorite traditions ever in my house and one that I'll continue with my family. 

Tradition people! Tradition! What's next, lasagna with sausage in it? 

This year we made oatmeal raisin cookies. This is our riff on the old-fashioned oatmeal cookie recipe provided on every box of Quaker Oats since...ever. We've changed the rules a little to improve it, but this is the same deliciously classic recipe that made oatmeal raisin cookies a household love.


2 sticks of butter
3/4 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups old fashioned oats
1 c raisins


1. Heat oven to 350F. Get your electric mixer out and set that baby up.

2. Get out three bowls. In one bowl, combine your sugars and drop in your butter. In the second combine your beaten eggs and vanilla. In the third, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

3. Remove ingredients to a regular mixing bowl. Add oats and raisins to bowl and mix in.

4. Using a teaspoon, drop dough onto ungreased cookie sheets (you can use a bigger spoon if you prefer a larger cookie; my preference is for small ones that are taller)

5. Bake eight to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to cookie sheet and cool. Then eat to your heart's content...which my family did, hence the lack of a finished picture. *sigh* Doesn't my family understand I'm a food blogger and i need the FINAL product more than the process?