Category Archives: FOOD

Easy-Peasy Can Be Fancy-Shmancy

By Bianca Bruno

While everyone and their mother may be going on post-holiday cleanses and/or diets, it is still fun to indulge in baking delicious goodies that will make all of your suffering friends envious of your sweet skills. Rather than throw away your leftover baking supplies from the holidays, make some quick batches of these super-easy cookies and give them to those you may have forgotten on your gift list, or who unexpectedly gave you a present despite the fact that you are truthfully only kind-of-sort-of friends (aka acquaintances). Homemade gifts are not to be beat, and these recipes from my family’s arsenal will surely become go-to’s in your own kitchen. While they are simple, they taste just like the recipes from Bon Appetit that have a million obscure ingredients and take hours of work. But be warned: once you give these to your friends, expect requests and demands for these every year.




Coconut Joys
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2 cups powdered sugar
3 cups coconut (sweetened, shredded)
Semisweet or milk chocolate chips for melting (about a cup)

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in powdered sugar and coconut, mixing well. Shape mixture into small balls. Place on cookie sheet and make a small indent in the top of each cookie using the tip of your finger. Fill the centers of the indent with melted chocolate. Chill until firm, at least an hour. Store in refrigerator.
Makes 3 dozen cookies

Cracker Candy
1 sleeve Saltine Crackers
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 bag chocolate chips (12 oz)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a cookie sheet (the kind with a lip) with foil. Lay crackers in rows on the cookie sheet, being sure that they don’t overlap. Heat butter and brown sugar over medium heat to a boil. Continue to boil for two minutes, stirring constantly. Pour mixture over the crackers, using a spatula to spread the carmel as evenly as possible. Heat in oven for five minutes. Take out the candy and sprinkle chocolate chips over it. Cover with another cookie sheet or piece of foil and let sit for five to 10 minutes until the chocolate chips are soft and melted. Spread melted chocolate chips over crackers with a spatula and refrigerate for at least two hours. Peel foil off bottom of candy and break into pieces. Serve immediately.

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I Would Pepper Spray Someone For a Bowl of This Turkey Noodle Soup

By Bianca Bruno

As I’m sure many Americans can attest to, Thanksgiving leftovers are somewhat of a godsend. While the regular Turkey Day encore in my house has always consisted of a pretty damn good turkey sandwich, I decided to up the ante this year, and made it my goal to allow no turkey to go to waste. This recipe for Turkey Noodle soup is a shining example of how much more delicious homemade soup truly is. Even Progresso cannot compete with this shit.

3 teaspoons olive oil
2 tedium leeks, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 stalk celery, chopped
3-4 cups leftover cooked turkey, shredded or cubed
2  bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
10 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
10 ounces egg noodles
1 cup frozen green peas
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Heat oil in a large stock pot or Dutch Oven over medium-high heat. Add leeks, carrots, garlic and celery and saute 4 minutes, until soft. Add turkey, bay leaves, thyme, salt and black pepper and stir to mix well. Add chicken broth and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover and simmer 10 minutes. Return mixture to a boil and add egg noodles. Cook 10 minutes, until egg noodles are just tender. Stir in peas and cook until peas are just heated through, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, discard bay leaves and stir in parsley. Serve with rosemary bread or French bread.

*If the noodles soak up too much of the liquid, add some extra chicken stock or water right before serving

**This recipe can easily be made with leftover rotisserie or grilled chicken for an authentic Chicken Noodle Soup

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Carve Your Pumpkin and Eat it Too

By Bianca Bruno

While Halloween may have come and gone faster than we would have liked, the quick time passage is quite unlike the bitter-sweet chocolate that I searched for upon inspection of my sister’s trick-or-treat bag. It is, in fact, mostly sweet, at least for me, because my favorite holiday is only a couple of weeks away.

There is something about Thanksgiving that is joyous and warm and comforting, much like the food that is over-gorged on by family and friends on this great holiday. It has a significantly smaller stress-factor than preparing for Christmas does, and it isn’t nearly as cold. Even those skeptics of the fall season (or lack thereof) in Southern California, those who criticize our “seasonless” holiday season, but are happy to indulge in our 70-degree weather in the middle of March, can find that a slight bite in the wind on Thanksgiving day is all one really needs to enjoy a nice holiday. As for me, I’ve never experienced the beautiful changing colors of fall, and probably never will unless one of those bio-engineers decides to make a psychedelic, hybrid version of a palm tree. For now, I’m perfectly content wearing flip-flops in November and pretending that I’ll be spending Thanksgiving in New England with Ina Garten. This Pumpkin Soup with Chili Cran-Apple Relish recipe adapted from the Food Network sure helps keep the fantasy of autumn alive.

Pumpkin Soup Ingredients
About 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I never really measure)
1/4 stick of butter (2 tablespoons)
1 bay leaf
2 ribs of celery with green tops, finely chopped
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper (duh! when do you not need salt and pepper?)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground thyme
About 2-4 teaspoons hot sauce (or more depending on your preferred heat level)
6 cups chicken broth or stock, or vegetable stock
2 14-ounce cans of cooked pumpkin puree (or 1 28-ounce can, whatever you can find)
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Cran-Apple Relish Ingredients
1 crisp apple, chopped (I used Granny Smith)
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice (I used the juice of 1 small lemon)
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon






Heat a medium-sized pot over medium to medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and melt the butter. Add bay leaf, celery and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Cook 6 or 7 minutes, until tender. Add flour, poultry seasoning and hot sauce (to taste), then cook flour for 1 minute. Whisk in chicken stock and bring to a boil. Whisk in pumpkin puree in large spoonfuls. Simmer soup 10 minutes to thicken, and then add cream and nutmeg. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until ready to serve.

While soup cooks, assemble the relish by combining the apple, onion, lemon juice, cranberries, chili powder, honey and cinnamon.





Adjust seasonings in soup and relish until absolutely perfect. Serve soup in shallow bowls with a few spoonfuls of relish on top.

The relish is incredibly delicious. I recommend doubling the recipe and eating it on fancy-shmancy crackers, or even just plain out of the bowl.

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Gnocchi di Allie

By Allie Safran

Disclaimer: This is a spinoff of the Gnocchi di Casa at my favorite San Diego restaurant, Enoteca Adriano in Pacific Beach. Though I didn’t follow a recipe and just threw in the ingredients listed on their menu, it came out (sorry Enoteca…) BETTER! If you don’t have the time to make your own pesto, Trader Joe’s has a particularly tasty pesto in the refrigerated section.

“The Pasta Shop” gnocchi (from Whole Foods)
1/4 cup of homemade pesto
1/2 cup of Gorgonzola cheese
2 tablespoons of half-and-half
Olive oil in various measurements
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
1/2 bag of spinach

Begin by boiling a pot of water. Add gnocchi and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a large saucepan, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 minced cloves of garlic and cook on medium heat. Cook for 2 minutes and add half a bag of spinach. When spinach is wilted, remove spinach from saucepan and set aside. In the same pan, add the pesto and Gorgonzola. Sautee until Gorgonzola is melted and creamy. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to 2 tablespoons of half-and-half. Add the spinach back in and cook until ingredients are melded together. Add cooked gnocchi to the saucepan, toss with sauce and top with walnuts.

Serves: 3 to 4 people

Homemade Pesto
3 cloves of garlic
Handful of parsley
3 to 4 cups basil leaves
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup walnuts

Throw walnuts and garlic into the food processor. Add parsley and basil and grind down. Keep food processor going and drizzle olive oil until it’s the right consistency for you.

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Expert Empanadas

Recipe and Photos by Allie Safran

Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry sheets
Your choice of vegetables
Your choice of white cheese (mozzarella, havarti and gouda work nicely)
1 Egg (scrambled)

Besides all of the chopping, empanadas are one of the quickest and easiest, not to mentioned, most delicious things to make. First, defrost puff pastry. Then, sautee any kind of vegetable (broccoli, onion, spinach and zucchini are my favorite) in a garlic and olive oil mixture (pesto works well, too) until soft, but not crispy, and put aside. Cut puff pastry into long rectangles. Fill rectangles with sauteed-vegetables and put one slice of cheese on top. Fold dough over and seal with a fork. Paint egg on top and  pop ‘em in the oven at 400 degrees until the tops are golden and crispy.

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