Chimichurri Grilled Green Beans

I love dishes that look fancy, are full of flavor, but don’t take a ton of time. Remember that old cooking show, “Semi Homemade,” that’s sort of how I enjoy cooking – especially after a long day of baking (insert shameless 3 Monkeys Macaroons plug here) and schlepping kids and I’m not even sure what I’m doing half the time but somehow the day. just. goes!!! Thankfully, so many brands make incredible sauces and marinades that make it so easy to cook delicious food at home in a pinch. One of those brands is Haven’s Kitchen (I already referenced their Chimichurri sauce in the the Chicken Thighs One Million Ways recipe.)

Living in New York City, without outdoor space, I have come to appreciate my grill pan. It’s totally, without a doubt, not even close to having a real BBQ, but it can still give a great char to proteins and vegetables. For this dish, I use the pre-snipped Green Beans because there isn’t enough hours in the day to do annoying, time-sucking things that Whole Foods can do for me. I spray my grill pan with Olive Oil Spray and let it get smoking smoking hot over high heat. I throw on the green beans and DO NOT TOUCH THEM for 4 minutes. I find the more you toss the green beans the less of a distinguished char you get. After I toss them using a wooden spoon, I then season the green beans with salt, pepper, garlic powder and ginger powder. Allow the green beans to grill for another 4 minutes and then continue to toss and grill for a few-minute increments until the beans are evenly charred and easy to bite through.

That’s basically it. Honestly, on a warm summer day, I would do this outside on the BBQ and just finish them with a squeeze of lemon juice and maybe a drizzle of truffle honey. Many times I have tossed them in my favorite pesto sauce, which is equally easy and delicious because IT’S PESTO! Yum! But for this recipe, I tossed the beans with feta cheese and Haven’s Kitchen Chimichurri. It has a very herbaceous flavor and the oily nature of this sauce really coats the green beans in tremendous flavor. I like tossing the beans with the feta while they are still piping hot so the feta warms a bit and gets a melty, creamier texture to it. If you want to make this dish totally vegan, swap the feta cheese for Violife Just Like Feta which is another one of my favorite things lately.

The Anti-Chopped Salad

I have come to realize that a majority of my favorite foods have come from my Dad. Favorite ice cream – pistachio. Favorite cake – carrot. (Maybe this is where my sweet tooth also comes from!!!) Favorite salad – wedge. A wedge is a beautiful thing because it is SUCH a SIMPLE salad. Almost like a lazy restaurant salad. The antithesis of today’s chopped salad craze. A wedge of iceberg, tomato, bacon, blue cheese – dressing on the side. Some places do onion. If I were to add onion, I’d prefer a pickled red onion. But for Friday night’s dinner I had a lot of mouths to feed, and wanted to make a wedge that would A. feed everyone B. let me use the remaining avocado from my week’s grocery order and C. look pretty.

The only two components you need to prep for this dish are the bacon and the tomatoes but the tomato prep is totally optional. Beautiful, tri-color heirloom baby tomatoes can always be simply sliced in half. I chose to roast mine with garlic and olive oil (for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees) because I enjoy contrasting temperatures in salad. I love a warm topping on a cold salad. This is totally my preference and I think I have great taste.

For the bacon, again, always use a sheet pan with a rack, and roast the bacon in the oven, also at 400 degrees, for 20 minutes. One of the benefits of baking bacon this way is the underlying rack will capture all of the bacon grease. I always store this remaining bacon grease in a glass container and use it for roasting Brussels sprouts or cabbage! I get very upset when housekeepers dispense of said glass container as I usually leave it sitting out on the counter, which is probably not the best place to leave it, but it reminds me to use it. This is what one considers “liquid gold” after they have graduated from breast-feeding.

Assembly. I cut an entire head of iceberg lettuce into eight equal edges and try to arrange them flat-ish on a large serving dish. The flatness of each section of lettuce is important because it allows each guest to take an entire WEDGE of lettuce (get it?) with all of the accoutrements. Over the lettuce you will layer your roasted tomato, chopped crispy bacon, blue cheese crumbles, and in this case – avocado (of course, that has been tossed in lemon juice and a bit of sea salt).

I typically like to serve my wedge with a vinaigrette-style dressing as opposed to a creamy blue cheese dressing. For me a quick mustard vinaigrette uses 1 tB. grainy mustard, 2 tb. apple cider vinegar, 3 tB. olive oil, salt and pepper. If no one is pregnant I love throwing an egg yolk in there as well to emulsify the dressing, but for this particular dinner, I was drawn in by a new find at Whole Foods – Tessamae’s Organic Habanero Ranch – it was a serious winner. It is also shockingly spicy in a good way. This is me telling my friends about it.

Wasabi Pea-Crusted Salmon

I feel like the name is pretty self-explanatory but I’m serious when I tell you people have told me “this is the only salmon they’ll eat” or “this made them like salmon” or as my kids now say, “make me the good salmon, Mom!” (hopefully followed by a “please” on a good day).

This dish is a variation of one of the original dishes at The Stanton Social created by my former boss, Chris Santos. His recipe is available through his cookbook, SHARE, which we wrote together. My version has 3 ingredients and while it looks kinda fancy, I promise it is beyond simple to make.

I usually make about 2 lbs. of salmon. I slice the large (boneless/skinless) salmon steak into about 2-inch thick filets. I place the salmon in a mixing bowl and top with 1/2 cup of soy sauce. After mixing the salmon, I like to let it sit for about an hour, mixing occasionally. If you don’t have time for this step, I’ve also made the dish without letting the salmon marinate at all and it’s not a huge difference. The key ingredient here is Wasabi Peas – one of my favorite snacks on the planet. (If you’re thinking wasabi peas and children don’t mix – the spice, for whatever reason, doesn’t resonate after they have been cooked). Take 1 cup of wasabi peas and pulse in a food processor until you have a gritty mixture.

Lay your salmon steaks on a flat surface. Season with salt and pepper and then COMPLETELY COVER the top surface of each salmon steak with the crushed wasabi peas. After I cover each filet, I like to use a paper towel and press down firmly to further help the peas stick to the fish. In a sauce pan, heat about 2 tB. olive oil (or grapeseed oil or whatever you prefer) over medium-high heat. Sear the salmon – pea side down! – for about 90 seconds. Flip the salmon and then continue cooking until your desired temperate (90 more seconds for RARE-ish, 3 minutes if you like your salmon more well-done).

That’s all she wrote. Super simple. Let me know if you’ve converted any non-salmon eaters. If you have – tell them The Gluttoness sent you. If you don’t – well, maybe yours didn’t turn out so good 🙂

Zucchini is Everything

My husband, Daniel, and I watched the documentary “Game Changers” about pro-athletes who have gone vegan and the amazing recovery abilities and strength that they achieved through the diet. We are not vegan. Not even close. I absolutely love vegetables but Daniel is the kind of guy that still picks the scallions off the top of his wonton soup. So he asked me to start trying to make more vegetables (aside from the usual burnt broccoli) that maybe he would eat. Maybe.

I decided to start with zucchini because its a vegetable I rarely cook in the winter. I love to grill it all summer long, but I have a distaste for the way the water content leaches out in sauce pans and casseroles. Zucchini noodles just aren’t my thing. So here was my solution:

I bought 5 zucchinis and sliced them about 1/3″ thick. I tossed them in a bowl with about 1 tB. of extra virgin olive oil and 1/3 cup soy sauce. I use the soy sauce because it gives the vegetables that depth of umami flavor to the otherwise bland zucchini (also my husband loves soy sauce). After the zucchini has been tossed in the “marinade,” you want to lay your zucchini slices out on baking sheet WITH A RACK. The rack is key because it allows any of the natural liquids to leave the zucchini without leaving a soggy product.

Like most dishes, the seasonings bring this home. On the right, you have AJO SAL (or garlic salt) straight from the salt flats in the Sacred Valley of Peru. Every traveler that visits the salt flats leaves with some variation of this salt of course, it’s part of the tour maybe, but I’m not sure how many of you have actually USED this salt. We love ours so much that when friends/family have traveled to Peru since I have asked them to bring me back more. I can’t exactly explain WHY we love it so much – but I think it’s actually saltier than regular salt if that makes sense. Sprinkled on pizza it’s an absolute dream! But back to the zucchini…

After you dust the zucchini with a LITTLE coat of the garlic salt (a little bit goes a long way), the final ingredient is a generous sprinkle of Everything Spice Mix. I get mine from Zucker’s because it’s my local bagel shop and I think it’s cool that they sell their own blend, but Whole Foods does a great job as well. I go heavy handed with the Everything Spice because, again, we are trying to add as much flavor here as we can.

The zucchini go in the oven at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. The last 5 minutes I like to turn the broiler on because I like to get a little bit of char on the tops of each zucchini rounds.

I served the zucchini with blackened catfish that had a heavy squeeze of fresh lemon and cajun remoulade. Daniel approved!!!!!! Honestly, the next day I ate the leftover zucchini cold and dipped in tzatziki and they were so flavorful having sat in the spices overnight. It was such a delicious combination because the garlic and dill of the creamy tzatziki married with the dried garlic and onion flakes from the Everything spice. I am totally inspired to make an Everything Tzatziki sauce in the future. I love sauces. Sauces are also everything. Stay tuned.

Chicken Thighs 1 Million Ways

If you’ve been to my house for dinner on more than one occasion, there is a seriously high chance you have had braised chicken thighs. Slow-cooking chicken thighs is one of the first things I picked up in the Beauty & Essex kitchen because they used the pulled meat in a variety of applications. Once I got the hang of it, this dish became a staple in my household for three obvious reasons 1. they are cheap 2. they are EASY!!! and 3. they are so versatile depending on what mood you’re in. I’ve never been a slow-cooker aficionado, but this is my idea of “set it and forget.”

Here’s how it goes. Place your chicken thighs in a glass casserole dish. I would estimate about 1 lb. per person but we love having leftovers in my house so I usually make about 5/6 pounds each time. Season thoroughly – sometimes I use my own mixture of salt, pepper and garlic powder. If I’m going latin with the flavoring, I love using Adobo seasoning. When I’m going Indian with it, my best friend’s mom makes this homemade peanut chutney powder that is bonkers good. Whatever direction you are taking this dish, the base seasoning will ensure a flavorful outcome. **When I first got out of culinary school, people would always ask me what I learned. I cannot emphasize this enough when I say that the most important thing is to season your food. SALT + PEPPER people. They are your friends.*** After the chicken is seasoned, place it under the BROILER for approximately 20 minutes. I like the tops of my thighs to be a bit charred (as seen above) because I love textural differences in food. If you don’t want the crunchy bits, 10-15 minutes will be best.

Remove the chicken from the oven and lower the oven temperature to 250 degrees. (Depending on how fatty your thighs are, you may want to strain some of the fat from your casserole dish before proceeding). Now we’re back to #3. The reason why this dish is titled “Chicken Thighs One Million Ways” is because you have complete creative control over the direction of the flavor of this dish. When I first started making this, I exclusively used my boss’s Rattler barbecue sauce, but then I realized that I could use any sauce of my choosing and transform the exact same dish into something entirely different. I add about one cup of sauce/marinade to the broiled chicken, mix well, cover with tin foil and cook in the 250 degree oven for 3 hours. THAT’S IT!!!

For reference, here are some of my favorite sauce/marinades to use:

  1. We Rub You – Spicy Korean Marinade
  2. Haven’s Kitchen – Nutty Lemongrass OR Chimichurri
  3. Maya Kadima – Madra Curry
  4. Frontera – Fajita Simmer Sauce with Chipotle + Lime
  5. Sweet Baby Ray’s – Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Rotten Bananas

I thought my daughter liked bananas. She used to always eat bananas – whole bananas, sliced bananas with almond butter. Maybe she still does. Our old Nanny loved bananas. But now that she’s gone, I keep buying bananas out of habit, and guess what keeps happening?! No one is eating the damn bananas. So each and every week I have attempted to re-create the bananas into a healthy-ish SOMETHING. Each and every week I end up with some chalky disaster destined for the garbage. I know I am better than this, so I kept trying.

Finally, this happened. These Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins aren’t just good – they are great. It’s four days later and I’ve been eating two before bed and sometimes a 3rd in the middle of the night because I am basically this meme:

Anyhow, the next time you find yourself face-to-face with rotten bananas, I got you. And let me just preface this by saying that I follow a lot of Instagram accounts that try to create healthy-ish baked goods and then I want to copy them but I go and look at the recipes and they have 25 ingredients and I’m immediately over it. This is not that. 10 ingredients and you’re on your way to resurrecting those sorry bananas for the dessert afterlife!


3 overripe bananas

2 eggs, beaten

2 tB. butter, melted

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1/8 cup brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

pinch of Kosher Salt

PROCEDURE: Preheat oven 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, mash your bananas. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and mix well. In a separate dish, combine your butter and sugar. Mix well and then add the beaten eggs. Add the egg mixture to your bananas and combine. Add your coconut flour, mix again, and then finally add your chocolate chips until completely incorporated. Pour the mixture into 11 muffin tins. Yes, 11. I made this on the fly and it only made 11 muffins. If you’re lucky maybe you’ll get 12. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until spongy and firm to the touch.