Let’s Cook: Cock-A-Leekie Soup!

Well hello everyone! I’ve decided to try something a bit new by… FOLLOWING RECIPES!? Yes! As an attempt to make the blog more interactive I’m going to devote my Sundays to making any one thing from a recipe requested by you! For each step of the recipe I’ll be taking pictures to give you an idea of what your food should be looking like and at the end of the post I’ll give you my thoughts on the final product as well as rate how difficult the recipe was to make. So if you are on the fringe of cooking something, but feel like a tutorial might be in order or are feeling questionable about how it might taste you can check this out first. If you’d like to see a recipe on here post a link in the comments section and I’ll do my best to make it for you!

This Sunday I went with the cock-a-leekie soup from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook and if you’d like to purchase the cookbook I have linked the title to its Amazon page. I bought this book on account of my problem where if I physically enter the Harry Potter section of a bookstore I have to buy something. So whilst out with my friends for brunch one day I decide to stop in a nearby Joseph-Beth to buy a copy of “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” for a friend who was expecting. Now, I’m not sure if you’ve seen the cover of this book, but it is NOT child appropriate. Which is bizarre since it’s supposed to be a book of nursery rhymes for wizard children… someone should really fix that. Anywho, after deciding on an alternative book for my friend I walked back to the Harry Potter section (like a fool) and proceeded to spend a good ten minutes debating the purchase of a limited edition copy of the Sorcerer’s Stone. As luck would have it I spotted this bad boy and bought it instead. This was a fantastic decision because I’ve cooked several of the recipes in here and they have all been phenomenal!

Cock-a-Leekie from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz

2 Teaspoons plus 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
6 Chicken Thighs (I rubbed mine with Montreal Chicken 2014-07-20 17.34.41Seasoning)
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
1 Pound Leeks, Washed & Cut into ½ Inch Pieces
6 Cups Water (I used 3 cups chicken broth & 3 cups water)
½ Cup Long-Grain White Rice (I used Jasmine)
Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper

  1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a wide pot (I went with my Dutch oven). Add 3 of the chicken thighs, skin-side down, and cook on both sides until they are golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a large plate. Pour out the fat, wipe out the pot, and add another teaspoon of oil. Repeat for the remaining 3 pieces of chicken.2014-07-20 18.10.39
  2. Pour out the rest of the fat, wipe out the pot, and heat the remaining tablespoon oil. Add the onions and cook until they are translucent, scraping up the fond (browned bits) from the bottom of the pot, about 5 minutes. Add the leeks and cook, stirring frequently, for another 5 minutes.2014-07-20 18.09.472014-07-20 18.15.45
  3. Add the water (chicken broth & water if you’re going with my
    alterations), rice, and chicken. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 hour, until the chicken is tender. The rice will be completely soft and almost melted into the soup.2014-07-20 18.27.54
  4. Remove the chicken from the soup. Using a wide spoon such as aserving spoon, skin the fat off the top of the soup. Remove the chicken meat from the skin and bones and chop into bite-size pieces; then return it to the soup. Season the soup with salt and pepper.2014-07-20 19.39.10

At first glance this soup looks very similar to congee, Asian rice porridge typically served at Dim Sum. Which makes sense because by cooking the rice in that much liquid you’re going to end up with rice porridge. To be fair, there is a side note stating that by leaving out the rice and replacing it with 2 cups pitted prunes you can achieve a more authentic recipe. Unfortunately, I didn’t see it until I had all my ingredients in my pot so there was no turning back. Alright, so the soup looks like rice porridge, but does it taste like it? Texture wise
absolutely, but it has a much meatier taste than most Asian based rice porridges. It has a very warm, savory, chicken flavor that reminds me of a heartier version of chicken noodle soup. I would definitely recommend making this on a cool day to warm you up from the inside out. Now go try making this for yourself or leave a recipe in the comments for me to make next week!


Skillet Lasagna

How’s everyone’s weekend going? I took a break from blogging yesterday because we had take-out and game night with friends. Plus the new Sailor Moon Crystal episode came out and I was definitely not checking Hulu every five minutes to see if it’d been posted. Certainly not, that would be obsessive. (#^.^#) Anywho, this recipe is coming to you from Friday night and I’m not going to lie to you – I’ve been eating left-overs for pretty much every meal since then. Which is absolutely a good thing because they’re delicious, so onto the recipe!


2 Medium Eggplants (Chopped Small)
2 Cups Crimini Mushrooms (Chopped Small)
2 Shallots (Diced)
4 Garlic Cloves (Grated)Happy Ingredients
1 Tablespoon Dried Basil
½ Tablespoon Dried Rosemary Leaves (Crushed)
½ Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
12 Dried Lasagna Noodles
1 15-Ounce Carton Ricotta Cheese
8-Ounces MozzarellaThere were no survivors Cheese (Shredded)
1 Cup Whipping Cream
2 Eggs
½ Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
½ Teaspoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Pepper

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Heat your olive oil in a large cast iron skillet on medium high. Cook the eggplant, mushrooms, shallots, and garlic in the skillet until they begin to lose crispness (I did this in two shifts because of the HUGE amount of eggplant.) Once the veggies are just tender stir in the basil, rosemary, and Italian seasoning. Roast the vegetable mix in your oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
  2. While roasting the vegetables cook your noodles according to package directions. I used Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta Lasagne brand to keep the recipe gluten free. Set the pasta aside once done.
  3. To make the cheese filling add your ricotta, 5 ounces of mozzarella, cream, eggs, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to a large mixing bowl. Combine the ingredients using your hands (make sure they’re clean first) until well-incorporated.
  4. Once the vegetable mix has finished take it out of the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Remove 2/3 of the vegetable mix from the skillet and set aside. Using a scraping spatula to spread the remainder of the vegetable mix evenly along your skillet bottom. Place an even layer of lasagna noodles on top of the vegetables and spoon a layer of cheese filling on top of the noodles. Continue this process until you’ve run out of layering ingredients, ending with a layer of cheese filling. Sprinkle your remaining mozzarella cheese on top of the final layer.
  5. Cover your skillet with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover your lasagna and bake for an additional 20 minutes.

Skillet Lasagna

I put a pot holder on my kitchen table, slapped the skillet on that, and let everyone serve themselves. You could be more formal about it, but let’s be honest with ourselves here – nothing quite screams “family style” louder than the cheesy deliciousness of lasagna being served out of a cast iron skillet. I don’t know maybe I’m wrong about that; maybe my family was just weird. Whatever, enjoy!

Plated Skillet Lasagna


Mushroom and Onion Topped Steak with Scalloped Potatoes

If you came to my blog today expecting a healthy, light recipe TURN BACK because today is not that day! It’s steak and potato day because who really wants to be eating salads all damn summer. Also, since moving, I’m surrounded by my male friends all day every day which means that requests for me to make salads are essentially non-existent. At any rate sometimes you just need to enjoy your food without concerning yourself of the effect it might have on your thighs. I would recommend doing just that with this meal.

Scalloped Potatoes

4 Medium Potatoes (Sliced Thin)2014-07-17 18.56.00
1 Shallot (Finely Diced)
2 Cloves Garlic (Grated)
3 Tablespoons Butter
3 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Milk
½ Teaspoon Ground Cayenne
½ Teaspoon Ground Sage
1 Teaspoon Paprika
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Pepper
2 Cups Grated Cheddar Cheese

  1. Preset your oven to 350 Degrees.
  2. Begin by peeling your potatoes, rinsing off any excess dirt that may have been on them, and patting them dry. Slice them as thinly as possible (mine were about 1/8 of an inch thick) and set aside on a plate. Dice up the shallot, grate the garlic, and set both aside on a separate plate from the potatoes.
  3. Melt your butter in a fry pan on medium high heat. Once melted add your shallots and garlic sautéing until the shallots begin to turn translucent. Once your shallots have cooked blend in your flour (I used King Arthur Gluten Free Multi-Purpose) using a scraping spatula.
  4. Next incorporate your milk to the sauce using a whisk. Cook the sauce on medium low, occasionally whisking as the flour will otherwise stick to the bottom of the pan. Whisk in cayenne, sage, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  5. Reduce the heat and stir in 1 ½ cups of cheese to the sauce using your spatula. Continue mixing the sauce until the cheese is fully melted and incorporated into the milk mixture. Turn off the heat and if using an electric stove remove the pan from the burner.
  6. Lightly grease a round baking pan (I used an 8×2 inch metal one) and add a layer of potatoes covering the bottom. Cover the potatoes with sauce and repeat with a second layer of potatoes. Continue until you have used up all your potatoes and finish by sprinkling the remaining cheese on top. Let your potatoes bake for an hour and a half.

Mushrooms and Onion Topped Steak

2014-07-17 18.56.12

2 Medium Yellow Onions (Sliced)
2 Cups Mushrooms (I used shiitake)
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 Tablespoon Butter
½ Teaspoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Pepper

  1. Slice the onion into thin rings and set aside. In a fry pan, heat your oil on medium high and once hot toss in your onions. Cook the onions until they begin browning and losing their crispness. Turn the heat down to medium and add your mushrooms.
  2. Carefully incorporate the mushrooms into the onions. Once the mushrooms have cooked for a bit they will begin to shrink. Once the
    mushroom onion mixture is easily mixed add in your butter. Sautee your mushroom and onion mix in the butter on medium high heat until the mushrooms are fully cooked and tender.
  3. Using a grill pan cook your steak on medium high to your preferred temperature (I went with medium rare).

To serve cut a pie slice sized piece out of your potatoes and place them on your plate. Next to that put your steak and top that with your buttery mushrooms and onions. This meal is more delicious than beautiful so don’t stress out if your potatoes thwart your every effort at restaurant quality plating (mine sure did), just eat and enjoy!

2014-07-17 19.05.44


Delicious Korean Food AKA Anniversary Feast!!

I first tried Korean food my freshman year of college and man is it just obscenely delicious. It’s right up there with my mom’s food (number one forever and always) and Indian on the list of foods I will completely stuff myself with to the point of sickness. Seriously, Korean’s know their way around flavors. So why am I going on about Korean food and how fantastic it is? This past Wednesday was Eric and my seventh year dating anniversary. So of course we had to celebrate with tons of delicious food and the only place we could think to provide that service was Downtown Oakland’s OHGANE Korean BBQ Restaurant.


Incredible mural outside the OHGANE restaurant

I feel that a little bit of history is in order here, I didn’t find out about my gluten issues until my junior year of college and had not been to a Korean restaurant since then. I’m generally skeptical of any Asian food that relies heavily on soy sauce because that shit is snuck into everything and I’ve been bitten in the butt several times by it before. Because of this I asked my server to check that everything I ordered was gluten free and he assured us all of our food was safe. I am going to add the disclaimer though that ingredients can depend on food brands and food prep varies in every kitchen so if you have celiac please for the love of god proceed in eating any of the shown dishes with extreme caution.

We ordered mung bean jun and kimchi kimbop as appetizers. If I had to compare jun to anything it would probably be potato pancakes, but with a bit more of an earthy taste. Kimbop is similar to sushi in the way it’s presented, but the taste (I would argue) is completely different. Ours had this incredible spicy, pickled flavor from the kimchi. Not going to lie I ate the majority of the kimbop… but I had no choice they were too delicious to leave on the plate!

Mung Bean Jun    Kimbop

Oh, maybe I should also mention the ABSURD array of side dishes that came
with our food. I mean holy guacamole were there a ton, sixteen in all. There was an array of different kimchis, several vegetables prepared in various ways, and ones So Many Side Disheswe had absolutely no idea about. We tried them all and the only one we weren’t overly fond of was the dried fish, which by their size I would guess were anchovies.

We ordered two main courses, kimchi stew for Eric and beef short rib stew for me. These came out literally boiling hot in their bowls, which was just way too cool. Eric’s soup was super kimchi-y and spicy. In fact, it was such a mouth burning, hiccup inducing spicy we were only able to finish about one cup each. My soup on the other and was quite mild. It had this incredible garlic-y, onion-y, beef flavor. I’m not talking about an out of the box beef broth flavor. Oh no, no, no, no I’m talking about the flavor of my mom’s homemade ox tail soup that could only be gotten by braising meat still on the bone for hours on end. Oh man, nothing can compare.

Beef Short Rib Stew

BOILING HOT beef short rib stew

So to say the least dinner was delicious and we had an abundance of leftovers packed up for us. To top everything off at the end of our meal they unexpectedly brought us yogurt drinks (yakult I believe) which had a tangy, sweet taste to them. I loved them, Eric wasn’t thrilled so I drank both. Oops.

Well I hope you enjoyed this post, now go out and have your own Korean food adventure!

7th Year Anniversary Photo


Chicken with Pasta and Fresh Tomato Sauce

To start, this dish obviously does not need to be made gluten free. If you are able to enjoy the fantastic delicacies of wheat, barley, and rye please make this as glutinous as you’d like. I will stay in my gluten free corner and weep for my losses… Anyway! This is a fantastic dinner for summer months. It’s light, flavorful and won’t leave you so full that you’ll worry you’ve ruined that bikini body you’ve worked so hard for (or maybe not who knows).


2 Chicken Breasts
1 Teaspoon Montreal Chicken Seasoning
1 Teaspoon Dried Rosemary Leaves (Crushed)
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Pepper
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoon Butter
3 Tablespoon Olive Oil

  1. First clean your chicken by carefully removing any fat or cartilage.
    Next, butterfly the chicken breasts and finish by fully cutting them in half. Alternatively you can pound the chicken breasts to thin them out; however, I find butterflying then splitting faster.
  2. Combine the Montreal seasoning, 2014-07-03 20.03.40rosemary leaves, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Evenly rub the spice mix all over the chicken cutlets. Next, spread the flour on a large plate (I used King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour) and evenly coat the chicken cutlets. Shake off any excess flour before cooking.
  3. In a large fry pan heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter. When the butter oil mixture starts to sizzle add two of the chicken cutlets. Cook each cutlet for 3 minutes on each side, once browned remove and transfer to a plate. Add 1 tablespoon more of each part of the oil butter mixture to pan, repeat browning process on the remaining cutlets, and set-aside once done.
  4. Keep the oil butter mixture in the pan to use for the tomato sauce.


2 Cups Chopped Roma
2 Garlic Cloves (Finely Grated)
¼ Teaspoon Salt
¼ Teaspoon Pepper
½ Teaspoon Dried Basil
½ Cup Chicken Broth
¼ Cup White Wine

  1. In the fry pan previously used to cook the chicken combine the tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat until the tomatoes are tender then stir in the basil.
  2. Add white wine and chicken broth turn heat up to medium high so the sauce will begin to simmer. Periodically stir the sauce to keep anything from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Once the sauce has begun to simmer place the chicken back in the pan and simmer with the chicken in sauce for 5 minutes on each side.
  4. After the entire dish has simmered for ten minutes remove the chicken and set aside on the plate it had previously been on.

2014-07-03 20.04.44

To serve toss your favorite pasta (I used Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta Spirals) in your fresh made tomato sauce & portion onto serving plates. Slice the chicken & place over pasta, garnish with fresh grated Parmesan, and enjoy!

2014-07-03 20.26.42