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.