Monday, October 22, 2012

My Chopped Chef Salad

Fall has finally arrived in Los Angeles... and I sure hope it sticks around!

This month should also be officially renamed "Rocktober." It feels like every major artist and band has been playing the southland this month. In the last two weeks alone I've seen—Florence + The Machine (amazing!), David Byrne & St. Vincent (also amazing), Neil Young and Crazy Horse (words cannot describe the amazingness), a tiny private Deadmau5 show (set to air on KCRW in November), and Peaches (love her). And I only had to pay for tickets to two of them!

I love music and find it great inspiration for cooking and writing. I almost always have it on when I'm making a meal, or sitting at my computer (I'm listening to Yeasayer right now). Today's recipe is one of my favorite dishes to throw together for a healthy, protein-packed lunch.

It's my take on a Chef Salad. I like my salads chopped—more yumminess in every bite. This salad combines high protein ingredients, such as salami, turkey, feta cheese, and quinoa. And lots of great vegetables, like cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper, and arugula. The secret ingredients? Fresh chopped dill and hearts of palm (though artichoke hearts would be great, too). As a note, I love using leftover quinoa (or other grains) by throwing them into salads the next day.

As for dressing, I love Annie's Naturals Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette, but any sort of vinaigrette would taste great. You can also just whip up your own dressing (this is my fast lunch recipe, so occasionally shortcuts can really make a difference).

Chopped Chef Salad

Serves 2 people
Prep time: less than 10 minutes


1/2 cup sliced deli turkey, chopped
1/4 cup salami, chopped
1/2 cup quinoa, cooked
1/4 cup feta, crumbled
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup hearts of palm, chopped
vinaigrette of your choosing (such as Annie's Natural Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette)


1. Place ingredients in a salad bowl and add the vinaigrette. Toss the salad well.

2. To serve, distribute the salad evenly between two bowls. Garnish with a little fresh chopped dill and freshly ground pepper, if desired. Enjoy!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Bourbon Caramel Brownies

Happy Columbus Day!

I'm deep into the revise on my new book, so it's not a holiday for me. But I'm hitting up a Florence + The Machine show at the Hollywood Bowl tonight. She's amazing—very excited!

The weather has also finally cooled off, making me believe that it really is fall.

For this holiday, I was thinking... chocolate... caramel... dessert...

I love these brownies and baked them recently for the Cookies for Cody charity bake sale. I just realized that I never actually shared the recipe, so what better day than today?

P.S. Check out my new feature article "The Career Path Less Traveled" for WHOLE LIFE TIMES! It also happens to the their food issue—you can download a free copy!

Bourbon Caramel Brownies

Makes 9 brownies
Baking time: about 25 minutes


2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1/2 lb bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

bourbon caramel sauce
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup heavy cream


1. To make the bourbon caramel sauce, cook the sugar over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until golden brown and caremalized. Add the bourbon and stir to combine. Then, add the butter and cream and stir to combine. Cook for another 10 minutes, or until the sauce comes together.

2. To make the bacon brownies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

3. Whisk together the eggs, vanilla and sugar until smooth. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring to combine. Add it to the eggs/vanilla/sugar mixture and stir to combine. Then, sift together the flour and cocoa powder, and fold into the wet mixture. 

4. Spread the batter into a parchment-lined 8 inch square pan. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the top (note you may not use all of the caramel). Bake for 20-25 minutes.

5. Let cool in the pan. Cut into 2 inch squares (should yield 9 brownies).