Salmon, Yogurt, & Honey Tapas

I firmly believe that holiday snacks are the best part of holiday parties. I am a sucker for hors d'oeuvres and around the holidays everyone seems to up their snack game. The thing is, while little onion tarts with gorgonzola and walnuts and terrine of pork, smoked bacon and cranberries sound insane, I am not particularly good and anything involving focus or paying close attention to detail. 

So I need my holiday snacks to be both fancy and super easy to make, which is why these little toasts are great. Pop open a bottle of sparking wine or a real nice craft brew and pass around a plate of these smoked salmon snacks and no one will complain. 

This is a traditional tapas but a little less common this side of the pond. I recommend using the thickest, fullest of fat yogurt you can find (because you don't want it dripping off the toast). I'd also invest in some nice wild salmon and raw honey, you won't regret the amazing flavors plus it's the perfect season to splurge. 


Slice and toast the baguette. Wait for the toast to cool slightly and gently spread a dollop of yogurt onto each toast. 

Top with slice of smoked salmon and drizzle lightly with honey. Season with lots of black pepper and a dash of salt. 



smoked salmon

greek yogurt


salt & pepper

Love and War and Snow

It's Decemeber and even though the Capital Weather Gang have tragically predicted zero snow fall this month, Christmas is round the corner and I am fully embracing the festive season. Hoping that if I wish hard enough, there will be some sort of winter miracle and a few flakes will start to fall... 

Even though I can't control the weather, I can control the TV! And nothing makes me happier than curling up to watch Christmas movies and shows with a festive drink. Mulled wine, hot chocolate, spiked apple cider--all delicious--but, right now, my favorite festive drink is chilled and sparkling. 

The drink is named after my favorite episode of my favorite snow-filled show. It's perfect for Hanukkah parties, Christmas parties, New Years parties, basically ALL PARTIES. You can make the bourbon apple cider part in advance and then just pop the prosecco when guests arrive. 


2 parts apple cider

1 part bourbon

couple cinnamon sticks

couple sprigs lemon thyme


cranberries (to decorate) 


Mix the apple cider, bourbon, cinnamon sticks, and lemon thyme in a jug. Chill or add ice to chill. 

Pour about an inch of the mixture in a champagne glass and top off with prosecco (it'll be fizzy, so go slow). Garnish with cranberries. 

Lorelei, it's Max. Medina. Maaax Medina. 

Lorelei, it's Max. Medina. Maaax Medina. 

Mushrooms on Toast (Breakfast of Queens)

A few years ago I developed an egg allergy. It's not horribly severe, I can still eat cookies or a piece of cake (and a slice of quiche won't kill me), but if I tried to chow down on some breakfast eggs, it would not be a pretty sight. This makes brunch a really sad meal. I look mournfully across the table at all the gooey benedicts, shakshukas, and huevos rancheros, while I drown my tears in bottomless coffee and order another bloody mary. WOE IS ME. 

But not all is lost because I can still eat mushrooms, butter, toast, and a large dollop of crème fraîche with my coffee and feel like I just conquered the morning. This meal is rich, creamy, warm, and comforting, so great for cool winter mornings. Really, it's perfect at any time of day or night because it's so fast and simple but still incredibly satisfying. 

Sometimes it's the simple things that taste the best...

Sometimes it's the simple things that taste the best...

If I were able to digest eggs, I might scramble some up to go with this? And when I have winter greens lying around, I'll sometimes sauté them up with the mushrooms and add some garlic.    


handful of mushrooms

slice of sourdough 

couple sprigs of thyme

couple knobs of butter

crème fraîche

salt & pepper


Slice the mushrooms. Heat a knob of butter in a frying pan on a medium high heat. Sauté the mushrooms in the butter, add thyme leaves, salt & pepper. Stir constantly until cooked through (approx. 5 mins).

Toast and butter the sourdough and top with the sautéed mushrooms and a big dollop of crème fraîche. Garnish with a few thyme leaves and eat immediately.   

Fried Brussel Sprouts with Whipped Goat Cheese

Full disclosure, I'm not the biggest fan of Thanksgiving (I know, blasphemy for a foodie) but I didn't grow up with the holiday so I don't have any childhood memories of mountains of mashed potatoes or stuffing my face with three kinds of pie. It all seems kind of strange to me, like a plate of turkey with a lot of mushy baby food (sorry don't hate me). 

The problem might be that the British have a tradition of eating a roast every Sunday. Yeah, you heard me, we make an epic roast every single week with roasted potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, and sausage stuffing. So Thanksgiving has a uncanny valley feel for me, it's really close to something I know and love but not quite the same... Fortunately, there's one thing that's the same on both side of the Atlantic - brussel sprouts!

I know brussel sprouts aren't the most traditional Thanksgiving side but they've definitely been around more in recent years and they're super delicious, especially if you fry them and dress them in a honey balsamic vinaigrette. And, no, I won't apologies for using goat cheese in everything. Goat cheese is the best and everyone should eat it with everything. 

This dish is pretty bare bones, but feel free to add hazelnuts? pancetta? breadcrumbs? more cheese? all of the above?  

Also **safety warning** the oil spits a little, fry 'em gently and stand back! 


Wash, trim, and half the brussel sprouts. Heat a thin layer of oil in a frying pan. On a low-medium heat, fry the sprouts in batches (usually 10 - 15 halves at a time). Fry until golden brown and crispy, approx. 1 - 2 mins per side. Remove from heat and place on a paper towel. 

Mix together balsamic and honey (add a pinch of salt and pepper). Toss the fried spouts in the dressing and add salt and pepper to taste. 

Spread goat cheese on the serving dish and pile sprouts on top.  


brussel sprouts

whipped goat cheese

1 tbsp honey 

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

canola oil (for frying)

salt & pepper 

Taste test!

Taste test!

Pumpkin Beer and Goat Cheese Soup


I've been taken down by another cold... which means MORE SOUP! Not quite sure how restorative this one is since one of the main ingredients is beer but, hey, it checks all the warming and comforting boxes. This soup has been on my fall rotation for a while now (it's even a FOOD52 community pick), it came about after visiting the Dogfish Head brewery at the end of a late summer trip to Dewey Beach. We were all incredibly hungover and embarrassingly sunburnt. Ready to give up on summer for that year and fully embrace the cool fall weather, our friend order this soup from the restaurant and it blew us all away. 

We were so impressed by the soup we spent the rest of that fall trying to figure out the recipe (plus finding different toppings, adding sweet potatoes or squash, and experimenting with different beers). The additional toppings and autumnal vegetables were very successful but I stuck with Dogfish Head Punkin Ale. Sure, other beers worked fine, but the Punkin Ale is my favorite fall beer and I like drinking it while I cook.


Stuff for Soup

1 sugar pie pumpkin

1 onion

2 garlic cloves

1 Dogfish Head Punkin Ale (or other Pumpkin Ale)

2 cups vegetable stock

pinch of nutmeg

pinch of cinnamon

spoonful of brown sugar (optional)

olive oil 

salt & pepper


Stuff for Toppings

handful pepitas

olive oil

sage leaves

goat cheese






Preheat your oven to 425° F. Half and seed pumpkin. Rub with olive oil and season with salt, roast pumpkin in the oven until tender (approx. 30 mins). Let cool, then remove flesh from skin.

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Dice onion and garlic and sauté until tender. Add roasted pumpkin, nutmeg, and cinnamon to the pan. Pour in beer. Increase heat and allow at least half the beer to burn off. Once the beer has burned off, lower the heat and add in vegetable stock. Allow the soup to simmer for 10 to 20 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, purée the soup until it's smooth (if you like a thinner soup, you can add some more vegetable stock). Add salt and pepper to taste. If the soup is a little bitter, add sugar. 

In a frying pan, toast the pepitas until they are crunchy and remove from heat. 

Heat olive oil in a frying pan, drop in the sage leaves and fry until they are crispy but still green. 

Cut the goat cheese log into 3/4-inch chunks. Divide the soup into bowls and place a goat cheese chunk in the center. Drizzle the sage oil over the soup and sprinkle the pepitas on top of the cheese. Garnish the dish with a fried sage leaf.


Salmon and Sweet Potato Fishcakes

Okay... so this recipe involves canned fish... it's not the most glamorous ingredient but, hey, it's cheap and easy. You could totally use salmon filets for this, but on a week night it's just so quick to open a can of salmon and mix it in with all the other stuff. Try it and you won't regret it. This recipe is simple, rich, and very satisfying (it's also totally stolen, ht Cheep Beets).

I'd never used canned salmon before I stumbled upon this recipe. Tuna, sure, sardines and anchovies, yes... but salmon? The first time I opened the can and looked down and the pink grey smoosh I wasn't sure anything good was going to come of it. Turns out 'don't knock it 'til you've tried it' was the right attitude here, it tastes great all fried and mixed with sweet potato mash (I mean, it would be hard to find something that didn't). 


So this is now a regular week night dinner. It's so comforting on cool autumnal nights with a light side salad and a glass of wine or a nice IPA. It would almost be a fancy meal if my roommate and I didn't eat it in front of the TV catching up on Nashville

Fall food really is my favorite and the first lot of sweet potatoes came in our CSA last week, so I'm getting ready to cook these on repeat for the next few months. 


1 can of salmon

2 sweet potatoes


juice from 1 lemon

1 egg

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

good pinch of paprika 

canola oil 

salt & pepper

plain yogurt to dip

parsley and lemon wedge to garnish


Peel and chop the sweet potatoes. Boil until tender, approx. 15 mins. Once cooked, mash. 

Slice the scallions and add the scallions, salmon, lemon juice, breadcrumbs, and paprika to the potato mash. Mix together, taste, and season. 

Stir the egg into the mixture and form patties about 2" by 1/4".

Heat a thin layer of canola oil in a frying pan on a low medium heat. Drop the patties (maybe 3 at a time) into the pan. Cook without touching for about 3 minutes, flip, and cook on the reverse side for another 2 or 3 minutes. Add more oil or adjust the heat if necessary. 

Serve with yogurt dip and a lemon wedge, garnish with parsley.