Have you ever had chimichurri? You may have had it and not known what it is… but it’s essentially an Argentinian pesto, that is typically parsley-based. As with an Italian pesto, you’ll often see slight variations – some are thicker in consistency, some are thinner, some are more finely minced, others are chunkier – but they’re all bright and herbacious and delicious, and a perfect accompaniment to any kind of protein you prefer.


This summer, I’ve made chimichurri a handful of times, and it’s been great because it is a one-sauce solution to multiple different main courses. You guys know I’m not much of a steak person, but my husband IS – so, I can make up a batch of chimichurri, and we can grill his steak, and my shrimp (or chicken, or pork, or fish), and top both with the same sauce. It’s also great spooned over some roasted potatoes, and any traces left on your plate are best sopped up with a big chunk of bread.

makes about 1.5 cups

about one cup of fresh parsley, lightly packed
juice of 2 lemons
zest of 1 lemon
4 cloves of garlic
1 generous tablespoon red wine vinegar
1-2 T honey or agave
large pinch each of kosher salt and pepper
olive oil


If you want to make the chimichurri in your food processor, throw everything but the olive oil into the work bowl, and pulse until everything is chopped well. Stream the olive oil in while the machine runs, adding as much as you like to create your preferred consistency (I used about 1/3 cup, give or take).

If you don’t have (or don’t want to dirty) a food processor, you can absolutely make chimichurri by hand. Finely mince your parsley, and grate your garlic on a microplane grater; then add everything to a bowl and mix.

Taste the sauce for seasoning and acidity; if you had some really sour lemons, you might want to add a touch more honey or agave. On the other hand, if your lemons were on the sweeter side, or the agave you have on hand is extra sweet, you can add a splash more red wine vinegar. Resist the urge to add more garlic right off the bat, as it intensifies as it sits.


You can make the chimichurri ahead of time – just throw it in a jar or other airtight container, and keep it in the fridge. The olive oil might solidify once it gets cold, so just remember to take it out of the fridge an hour or so before serving, so it has time to soften up. The sauce will keep, flavor-wise, for 3 or 4 days, but parsley does brown over time, so it looks less pretty. It’s great for parties or barbecues – as a main course OR an appetizer. Season your protein of choice with salt and pepper, grill or saute it (on or off a skewer), and serve with a bowl of chimichurri for dipping and spooning. Congratulations, you have officially won the potluck competition that only exists in your head!


Chimichurri has been known to save even the most brutally overcooked of steaks,


Philadelphia Roll Stacks

Of all the weird, interesting, different foods I’ve tried to make over the years, one specific food has never appealed to me: sushi. I loooooove me some sushi for EATING… but learning to MAKE sushi has never sounded like much fun. I’m sure that one day, I’ll suddenly feel a need to make sushi, and I’ll run out and buy $50 worth of tools and supplies, and then come back here to declare to you how much I LOVE, OMG, LOVE making sushi at home… but for now, my sushi-eating remains in restaurants, where someone ELSE puts together my dinner.

Philadelphia Roll Stacks (with smoked salmon and avocado)

All that being said: this meal is really, really sushi-like, without 90% of the fuss. Last week, my mom and sister and I threw a wedding shower for a dear family friend, and when it was all over I had an extra package of smoked salmon left. I thought for a while about what to do with it, and eventually it lead me to the idea of a Philadelphia roll! The Philadelphia roll is one of my favorites – smoked salmon, cream cheese, and avocado (though I’ve also had it with asparagus, on occasion). I figured that rather than rolling it up, I could just make it into a nice little stack, and it would taste much the same… and I was right!

Philadelphia Roll Stacks (with smoked salmon and avocado)

This dish is SO light and refreshing. I added a sauce to the whole thing, partially because I knew I had to incorporate soy sauce to give it a genuine sushi taste and feel, and partially because I wanted to add a little spice (a Philadelphia roll doesn’t typically have a spicy sauce in it, but this is the advantage of making my own rules in my own kitchen). I went to the trouble of making the presentation really nice, but it’s worth noting that my husband’s second and third servings (yes, he had three servings) consisted of all the ingredients piled on to a plate unceremoniously, and the taste was just as fantastic.

Philadelphia Roll Stacks
serves 4 as a light dinner, or starter course

4 oz cream cheese (I use the light version)
2 cups cooked brown rice
2 medium avocados, diced small
4 oz smoked salmon, 1/2″ dice
1 T sesame seeds
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 T sriracha
1 T mirin (or 2 t brown sugar, if you don’t have mirin)
1 T rice wine vinegar
1/4 tsp garlic powder
kosher salt and pepper

Philadelphia Roll Stacks (with smoked salmon and avocado)

*To make these neat and pretty stacks, I used a 3″ biscuit cutter to layer my ingredients into. You can certainly use a cleaned tuna can with both the top and bottom taken off, or another shape of cookie cutter, or just stack everything together all willy-nilly. Your taste buds won’t know the difference, I swear.

1.) Start by cooking your rice; I always use the 90-second microwave bags of rice, because they’re quick, easy, and I don’t end up ruining an enameled cast iron pot by burning the rice (not that I’ve ever done that… RIP Martha Stewart dutch oven). While the rice cooks, whisk together the ingredients for the sauce: soy sauce, sriracha, mirin, rice wine vinegar, garlic powder, and a small pinch each of salt and pepper. Feel free to add more sriracha to taste. While the rice is still warm, pour about 2/3 of the sauce over it, and stir to combine. The warm rice will absorb the sauce as it sits.

2.) Toss the sesame seeds into a dry pan over medium low heat, and toast them until they’re lightly golden brown and fragrant. Set aside.

3.) For each serving, spread one ounce of cream cheese as the base. Top with half a cup of the brown rice mixture, then half a diced avocado. Once you’ve added the avocado, sprinkle that layer with some kosher salt – don’t be shy, the avocado really needs the salt for optimal flavor! Finish with an ounce of diced smoked salmon, and a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds. Feel free to add more sauce, if you’d like. Serve immediately.

Philadelphia Roll Stacks (with smoked salmon and avocado)

Yeah, so, we’ve already agreed to put this one on a regular rotation. It’s just so good – and so EASY! It really took about 10 minutes to make, and that’s because I was insistent on making it into a neat, fancy stack. It’s super filling (one stack made a great dinner for me, though I’d add a simple green salad on the side next time), and also really healthy – good fats, lots of protein, whole grains. I mean, what’s better than a dinner that makes you look like some kind of fancy rock star chef, because the presentation is so pretty, but also allows you to feel SUPER SMUG about how health-conscious and virtuous you are?? Win-win, my friends.

“Oh, this? I just whipped it up real quick, it was NO BIG DEAL!”

Crab and Corn Crostini

Crab and corn is a match made in heaven, is it not? Something about those two ingredients together just really sings… so it was an obvious pair when I was trying to come up with a slightly fancy, but not too fussy, appetizer. I wanted something that would (obviously) be tasty, and that would look pretty, but I didn’t want to spend 100 years making it. I think I succeeded pretty well!

Crab and Corn Crostini

Crab and Corn Crostini
serves about 12 as an appetizer

2 medium baguettes
olive oil
8 oz lump crab meat, picked over for shells
8 oz corn (fresh or frozen, preferably)
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 T mayo
1 egg, whisked
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 – 4 T minced chives
large pinch of red pepper flakes
pinch each of kosher salt and black pepper

Crab and Corn Crostini

1.) Preheat your oven to 350°, and line a baking sheet with foil. Slice your baguettes on an angle, until you have about 24 crostini. Lightly mist or brush the crostini with olive oil, and bake for about 10 minutes, until they’re just lightly golden brown and crispy.

2.) While the crostini bakes, make your crab salad. Add everything but the crab to a mixing bowl (use about 3 tablespoons of the chives, and reserve the rest for garnish), and mix it well with a spatula. Once everything else is well-combined, gently fold in the crab, so you don’t break it up too much!

3.) Once the crostini are baked and cooled slightly, spoon the mixture on to the bread. Put everything back into the oven for another 10 minutes or so, to warm the crab and corn mixture through.

Crab and Corn Crostini

4.) Remove the crostini from the oven, sprinkle with the remaining chives, and serve immediately.

Oh man, these were so good! The creamy crab mixture is a great contrast to the crunchy, toasted bread – and the sweet crab and crisp, fresh corn are perfect with the slight onion-y edge of the chives. Even better, these crostini look so pretty all lined up on a platter! Great for a cocktail party, a brunch, or a summer barbecue.

Crab and Corn Crostini

If you don’t want to fuss with topping the individual crostini, you can always just bake the crab and corn mixture in a baking dish (though I’d bake it for a bit longer – maybe 20 minutes – to make sure it warms all the way through). Serve with the toasted baguette, and let guests assemble their own appetizer!

I can’t wait for the start of corn season in the mitten,

Pistachio Crusted Tilapia with Lemon Goat Cheese

In my continuing quest to not hate fish, I try to find ways to dress the fish up a bit – and mask any potential fishy flavors. This particular idea hit me like a bolt of lightning as I was staring into the Trader Joe’s fish case (some people get struck with ideas for the next Great American Novel… I get struck with the next Great American Dinner)… and lucky for me, it worked out pretty fantastically. I’ve actually been craving it since I made it, so I’m pretty sure that’s a good sign in regards to my war on boring and fishy fish.

Pistachio Crusted Tilapia with Lemon Goat Cheese

Pistachio Crusted Tilapia with Lemon Goat Cheese
serves 2

2 tilapia fillets
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 eggs
4oz shelled pistachios, ground until coarse
1 tsp butter
2 tsp olive oil
2 oz goat cheese
juice and zest of half a lemon

Pistachio Crusted Tilapia with Lemon Goat Cheese

1.) In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together the flour, kosher salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Crack the eggs into a second bowl, and whisk well. Add the ground pistachios to a third bowl.

Pistachio Crusted Tilapia with Lemon Goat Cheese

2.) Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the butter and olive oil to the pan. While the pan heats, bread the tilapia fillets – first with the seasoned flour, then the eggs, and finally the pistachios, pressing the pistachios into the fish gently to make sure they stick well.

3.) Cook the fillets for about 3-4 minutes per side, flipping once, until the fish is cooked through. Be very gentle when you flip the fish, as the pistachio crust is relatively delicate, and will come off the fish if you’re not careful!

4.) While the fish cooks, make your lemon goat cheese. In a small bowl, combine the cheese, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Set aside.

Pistachio Crusted Tilapia with Lemon Goat Cheese

5.) Remove the fish from the pan; top with the goat cheese, and serve!

If you like pistachios, you will LOVE this fish. The pistachios get all roasty and brown in the pan, and they add a beautiful crunch to the delicate, flaky tilapia. The tart lemon goat cheese cuts the richness of the nuts, and adds a fresh, light note. You could definitely use this crush on a chicken breast, or a pork tenderloin – or you could switch it up and use something like pecans, instead. Best of all, the whole thing came together in less than 15 minutes… amen for quick-cooking fish! (I am imagining this crust used on a piece of chicken – sliced and added to the top of a salad filled with goat cheese and dried cranberries and a lemon vinaigrette, and now I’m starving. Dammit.)

Pistachio Crusted Tilapia with Lemon Goat Cheese

I wouldn’t say I’m a FAN of fish these days, but I’m not NOT a fan…