I promised forever ago that I would post some quick and easy recipes that you can make when you only have 2 minutes to cook and eat in total. The drumsticks below are SO SUPER easy you don't even have to do anything. I almost feel like I shouldn't post it because now you all know how lazy I am, but they are so good that I don't even feel bad about it. What I do feel bad about is subjecting my roommate to me singing that part of the "One Week" song by the Barenaked Ladies while making these. You know, that interlude where it goes "chickty china the Chinese chicken. Have a drumstick and your brain stops tickin'."

Anyway, another thing that I wanted to talk about was labeling. I know that my last post was on labeling, and you are just like how much can one person really care about the words pasted on to food packaging. But read on--it's interesting.

A few months ago I went to this talk hosted by the Harvard Law Society on food labeling and it's implications (yes, now that I am in Boston I just casually drop Harvard, MIT, Brown, etc. into my conversations to make me seem smart). The panelist were talking about how food labels don't really mean anything. Something that says "all natural" on the label could mean jackshit, and could actually be full of a number of artificial ingredients. Even more interesting was that studies found that when people ate things that were labeled as healthy or all natural or fat free or whatever else that is perceived as "good for you," they actually ate more of it. So like for example, if someone ate oreos that were labeled as organic (organic oreos? whatever the fuck that means), they would subconsciously eat 5, whereas they would normally eat 2 of the non-organic oreos.

Essentially, food labeling has a big impact on us whether we realize it or not. It frustrates me that companies stick these arbitrary "healthy" labels on things, and then make us pay more it for it. They are pretty much stealing money right out of our pockets. This is why I think, as a consumer, it would help us to :

a) Shop more on the perimeter of the supermarket where things do not need to be heavily labeled because you recognize the ingredients in it (veggies, fruits, meats, cheese, eggs, etc) rather than the inner aisles which carry pre-packaged food, and

b) Educate ourselves on the variety of labels that are out there. There is an excellent guide to labels published by Animal Welfare Approved: Food Labeling for Dummies. If you get a chance, I would highly recommend checking it out. It eliminates much of the confusion surrounding all-natural vs. organic vs. cage free vs. free range, etc.
Chinese Chicken Drumsticks

1 lb chicken drumsticks
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp chinese 5 spice
1 tsp sambal olek (or more depending on the kick you want)
3 tbsp coconut aminos
3 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp olive oil

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) Combine all ingredients except for drumsticks in a bowl and whisk.
3) Pour ingredients onto drumsticks and marinate for at least 20 minutes in the refrigerator. I marinated for about 2 hours.
4) Place drumsticks on foil lined baking tray and bake for about 45 minutes.
5) Turn chicken over onto the other side and scoop up the sauce or from the bottom of the tray or from left over marinade and pour over chicken.
6) Bake for an additional 20 minutes or until cooked through.
 
 
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Okay, look, I try not to be that New Yorker (you know, the one who hates on Boston all the time), but it gets hard when you are living in the land of Uggs and American Eagle jeans. Since I came back from Miami/the Bahamas, I haven't been able to get over the cold - which consequently has made me have a not-so-positive attitude towards Boston. So I thought while I make this stew, instead of stewing over all of the things I don't like about Boston, I would make a list of things I do like. 

1) It's really pretty. Architecturally, Boston is gorgeous. There is so much history here; it's actually very charming.
2) No more FOMO. Boston doesn't have as much going on. It's kind of freeing to not always have a fear of missing out.

That's pretty much as far as I got. I know, that's a lame list. BUT I am hopeful that this list grows - just as soon as I get used to the cold. In the meantime, get used to me making dishes that will keep me warm.


 
 
Coming back from Thanksgiving weekend has been rough. My cousin had his engagement party on a cruise to the Bahamas, and after a weekend of warm weather, I am just not liking this cold winter feeling going on in Boston. 

I wanted something quick and hot to combat the cold. Since my oven still isn't working (and my management company is non-responsive), my options were somewhat limited. I remembered I had recently Evernoted* this recipe for a Paleo Chicken Stir Fry on The Healthy Foodie. I didn't have all of the ingredients, so I kind of improvised and ended up with something amazing. Literally. so. good. It tasted like really good Chinese food without the MSG. Who would have thought that to be possible?

*If you are not Evernoting or using a similar kind of app/add-on, you are stuck in Web 2.0 buddy. Get with it and start streamlining your digital life.

 
 
Do you want the good news or the bad news first? Bad news: I totally abandoned the blog over the past few weeks. Good news: I am back from Argentina, officially all moved in to Boston, and started my new job yesterday! It is so weird to be working and living somewhere so new, but so awesome at the same time.

While I was on #funemployment, I made this awesome Ground Beef and Butternut Squash Casserole (adapted from Health-Bent). Health-Bent makes it as a lasagna, but I wanted to be a little innovative (aka too lazy to cut up the butternut squash into planks) so I just bought the precut stuff from Trader Joes and tossed it in there. 


 
 
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Today was my last day of work. It was totally bitter sweet. A part of me was excited for the new opportunity and move to Boston, but then a part of me was sad to leave a place where I had gotten so comfortable and made so many friends. It's especially sad because Megha, one of my really close friends from college has been working with me for the past two years. We used to be notorious for taking coffee breaks, roaming the halls, and going on vacations together. But it is time to move on, and keeping with the bitter sweet sentiments of the day, I thought I would make a blackberry cobbler - using the sweetness of the honey to balance out the bitterness of the blackberries.

This cobbler is such a crowd pleaser. I've made this before for a family party, and if I can please 20 Indians with a sugar-free/grain-free dessert, you know it's a winner. I also made one for Rachel (my roommate). She couldn't reheat it because our oven is totally jank, but apparently it still tasted heavenly even when served cold! 

For this cobbler, I got the ingredients from the Union Square Greenmarket. The blackberries are from Phillips Farm, the egg was from Central Valley Farm, and the honey was from Andrew's Honey


 
 
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I wanted to make these during the week, but with all of my going away madness* and my brother leaving for his freshman year at UCLA**, I just didn't get a chance to be in the kitchen. Anyway, since I am going to LA on Tuesday***, I thought I would get rid of all of my local produce in the kitchen and cook these stuffed zucchinis to last me for lunch today and tomorrow. I got the pork from Violet Hill Farm at the Union Square Farmers Market. I have gotten chicken from them before, but I usually get my pork from Flying Pigs. I actually really liked the ground pork that I got from them this time, and I will probably put them into my rotation more.

The zucchini turned out excellent. The tanginess of the mustard combined with the sweetness of the zucchini made a wonderful and totally yummy combination. I don't think it lacked a sauce, but a sauce would have taken it up a notch.
 
*My coworkers and I may have taken #YOLO to a whole other level.
**I could not be anymore jealous. The kid lives the dream, all day everyday.
***Unfortunately, I am going to have to take a week off from the Locavore Challenge since I am going to be traveling, but when I come back I will have a week off of work (that hopefully won't be taken up with apartment hunting in Boston) to prepare lots of recipes with local ingredients!


 
 
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I am totally a summer girl. Even though my birthday is in October, I really should have been born in the summer. I love everything about it: the smell of garbage in the New York summer air, the hot stickiness of the furnace-like subway platform, and the crazy homeless people at Union Square Park. Ok so maybe those things suck, but you know what, I don't care. You know why - because with summer comes a laid back attitude, people watching, summer dresses, Central Park picnics, sunshine, weekend getaways, and best of all, summer fruit. NOTHING is better than summer fruit. Strawberries, watermelon, lychee, peaches, mango...need I go on. 

In honor of the end of summer, I thought I would make Almond Coconut Pancakes with Strawberry Butter. Even though they didn't come out very round because I realized after I made the batter that I didn't have a spatula, they were beyond delicious. Honestly, I wanted to whip up another batch right after I devoured the first. 

Serve this baby up with a side of pastured nitrate-free bacon, and you've got yourself a well rounded meal. Maybe not, but tevs, summer is over. I might as well indulge while I can.


 
 
I wanted to have a very New York Weekend this Labor Day weekend, and everyone knows you can't have a New York Weekend without doing brunch. Ishita, my partner in crime and amazing food blogger, suggested Tom Colicchio's Riverpark for brunch. Riverpark is known for it's farm right next to the restaurant and views along the east river. This was perfect since I signed up for the 2012 Locavore Challenge. What could be more local than a restaurant that sources from a garden in it's own concrete backyard? We had an amazing watermelon dusted with merken to start that was picked from their farm. Unfortunately, they would not disclose the purveyor of their meat. I hate when restaurants do that. I just kind of want to be like, "why are you being so shady?"

 
 
Rumor has it, I am moving to Boston. Shocking, I know. This weekend my friends decided to take me to the basement of Penny Farthing to show me what my life in Boston is going to be like. They are mean, and I may or may not have had a mild panic attack. So to make it up to me, they took me to do one of the most New York things possible: fancy cocktails and pork buns at Booker and Dax, part of Momofuku Ssam. I  am a huge Momofuku/David Chang supporter. Chang is known for supporting small local farmers and using nose-to-tail dining at most of his restaurants.

This weekend has been filled with so much food and fullness, I just wanted something light and vegetarian for dinner. So I decided to make falafel, but instead of the garbanzo beans I used cauliflower (adapted from I Breathe...I'm Hungry).  The original recipe calls for frying, but since I wanted to avoid frying, I cooked them stove top and then finished in the oven.  It tasted surprisingly very similar to real falafel!

 
 
OK guys, amateur hour is over. This weekend we went over to Simi's new apartment to christen it. Simi (my bff, sommelier, and wiz in the kitchen) told me to pick out a recipe and get the ingredients to make dinner. I totally overestimated Simi's skills and just picked up some pork chops, some cheese, a bundle of strawberries, and a couple of tomatoes and showed up at her apartment. She was like, "um, where is the recipe and what am I supposed to do with this?" Total fail on my part, but her, being as awesome as she is, actually was able to whip up something totally phenomenal from my random assortment of ingredients. 

I got the pork chops from Arcadian Pastures at Eataly. Eataly is my go to when I haven't planned ahead. They have some great farms, and they will always tell you where their meat is coming from.