Apple Mustard Grilled Cheese

Is there anything more comforting than a grilled cheese? Every time I make a grilled cheese, I'm like why don't I eat these ALL THE TIME?!? and then I remember that balance and not eating all the carbs and fat is important blah blah blah. But since my last post was a kale/quinoa salad and my next post will be a broccoli soup, I figure a little grilled cheese is fine. 

I used to spend my summers working in French deli. For three months every year, I ate like a queen. Café au lait, macaroons, pain au chocolate, madeleines, baguette.... and that was usually before lunch. When lunch hit we would grab a loaf of bread, some ham or pâté, mustard, whatever cheese we fancied and feast. We had a panini press but the deli owner firmly believed that melted cheese was for children, so we never used it... except when he was gone. I firmly believe that melted cheese is for everyone and I'm pretty sure this sandwich proves it. 



Slice the sourdough and spread one side with mustard. Slice the apple and the cheese. Arrange apple and cheese slices on the sourdough.  

On a low-medium heat, melt a knob of butter in a pan. Place the sourdough in the pan and toast the sandwich for 2 - 3 minutes or until golden brown, pressing down with a spatula (or use the bottom of a smaller pan to squash the bread). Flip and repeat, adding more butter if needed. 



gruyere cheese




Go To Kale/Quinoa Salad

So there's some serious snow on the ground here.... fortunately my roommate and I are well stocked and are using our snow days to watch as many Oscar nominated films as possible, drink prosecco, play board games, and eat all the cheese. We figured we might be snowed in for a while, so stocked up before the storm and have since made hummus, veggie pizza, a kale, sweet potato, & goat cheese tart, mushroom soup, and three different kinds of pesto (because you can never have too much pesto). 

While all our snow cooking adventures have been fun, it's also nice to have easy fallbacks to make when you feel the need to eat healthily and/or make something quick and simple. Enter the kale/quinoa salad. It's incredibly basic (in every sense of the word) but I love it. 


The kale is raw but the lemon and warm quinoa help relax the leaves so they have a soft texture but keep their fresh flavor. I often make this on Sunday and then take it for lunch throughout the week (it keeps for about a week in the fridge and can be eaten warm or cold). I'll add a dollop of yogurt to this salad or eat it on top of a roasted sweet potato. If I wasn't allergic to eggs, I would probably add a fried egg and call it dinner. 


Rinse and cook the quinoa in a small pan. While the quinoa cooks, tear and wash the kale. In a large bowl, massage the lemon juice into the kale. Finely dice the red onion. 

Add quinoa and red onion to the bowl of kale. Crumble in the goat cheese, pour in the balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Mix vigorously. 


1 cup quinoa 

1 bunch kale

1 small red onion 

1/3 log goat cheese

juice from 1 lemon

good splash of balsamic vinegar 

olive oil 

salt & pepper

Acorn Squash with Almond Sage Pesto


First, important life update, I got some gloves. I think they were meant for boys, but my hands are so small they work great for me. Now not only am I equipped to survive the chilly weather, I'll also be able to make a zillion snowballs on Friday, if we actually do finally get some snow (eeeeeeee)!!  


In the meantime, here's a toasty little winter dish that hits all the right spots. It's kinda fancy, supremely easy, and extra super delicious. I made it one night when I couldn't be bothered going to the grocery store, so had to use things we had lying around the house, plus some sage from the back garden. My roommate and I ate it with farro and it was incredible. I've since made it so many times I've used up all my home grown sage and have been begrudgingly buying sage at the grocery store. 

We usually eat this with some sort of grain (dressed with a little olive oil and lemon) but it works great on it's own as a snack. I bet it would also work well on the side of some chicken or atop a large bowl of pasta? There's a slightly high pesto to squash ratio in this recipe because I really like this pesto (and usually end up eating half of it on crackers while I wait for the squash to cook). 


Preheat the oven to 420F. Cut the squash into segments and remove seeds. In a baking dish, mix the squash with olive oil, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar and season with salt & pepper.

Roast squash in the oven for 30 - 40 minutes or until tender, turning half way through. 

In a small pan on a medium heat, gently toast the almonds. In a food processor, blend the sage, toasted almonds, pecorino, and lemon juice. Pour in the olive oil as you blend. Season with salt & pepper to taste. 



acorn squash

drizzle of maple syrup 

drizzle of balsamic vinegar

1 cup fresh sage

juice from 1 lemon

1/2 cup almonds

1/4 cup grated pecorino/parmesan

1/4 cup olive oil (plus some for the squash)

salt & pepper


Saffron Yogurt with Spinach and Pine Nuts


In my ongoing quest to find savory breakfasts that don't include egg, I've decided it's okay to eat yogurt on toast in the morning. Especially if that yogurt is served warm with spinach, nuts, and saffron. To be fair, you could eat this at any time of day, but it's quick to whip up and involves lots of energy foods so makes for a nice start to the day (and to the year). Hi 2016!    

I'm back at work now and winter has finally arrived in Washington, which means I need a balance between warm cozy foods to keep me alive and healthy January foods to keep me from exploding from all the extra cheese and booze I consumed over the last two weeks. I also need to invest in gloves (how do I not own any gloves)? 


Warm yogurt may seem a little odd, but the saffron makes it almost more like a sauce that goes with the spinach... think of this dish like a tart deconstructed creamed spinach. Or is that weird? Maybe just think of it like a delicious warm winter breakfast. 


Steep the saffron in 3 tbsps warm water and let sit for 5 mins. Remove threads and mix the saffron water into the yogurt. Season lightly with salt.  

Wash and roughly tear/chop the spinach. Heat olive oil in a frying pan and cook the spinach. Once cooked, season with lemon juice, salt and pepper. In a small frying pan, gently toast the pine nuts. 

To assemble, spread yogurt on a plate, top with spinach and pine nuts. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

(The dish can be eaten at any temperature, but I usually microwave it for 30 seconds before spooning it onto hot buttered toast). 



2 small bunches of spinach 

1/2 cup greek yogurt

few threads of saffron

handful of pine nuts

juice from 1 lemon

olive oil 

salt & pepper



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!