Chocolate-Covered Potato Sticks

Sweet and salty is so hot right now. Not only have milk chocolate-covered potato chips found their way onto the shelves of Trader Joe’s, but they also have a staring role in Ben & Jerry’s new ice cream flavor, Late Night Snack. Now, I don’t know about you, but I definitely don’t need to wait until the late-night hours to snack on chocolate-covered potato chips. In fact, let’s do it right now! Well, let’s switch it up a bit and use potato sticks instead, just because they are cool. Aaand, let’s make our potato stick treats look just like dainty boxed chocolates for a sneaky, sweet, and salty little surprise. Okay, ready, go!

Chocolate-Covered Potato Sticks
Makes 12


1 cup Potato Sticks or Shoestring Potato Chips
12 ounces milk or dark chocolate chips
Sea salt


Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave, heating and stirring every 30 seconds until melted. Fill mini baking cups with chocolate, just to line the bottom. Lightly crumble potato sticks into each cup, and then cover with more melted chocolate. Sprinkle with sea salt. Place chocolate cups in the refrigerator until set. Unwrap and enjoy!


Fennel Seed & Sea Salt Flatbread

New York City treated me very well – while I lived there and during my recent visit. A phenomenal dinner at The Dutch, delicious brunch at Colonie, and wild mushroom risotto that was delivered to our door made me feel like I was right back in the fabulous New York food scene. Where else can you have risotto delivered? Oh, how I miss having the power to order absolutely anything to magically show up at my doorstep – and I do mean anything.

Anyway, brunch at Colonie in Brooklyn was definitely one of the highlights of my weekend. My friend and I sat at the counter overlooking the cute, hipster-type chefs hard at work in the open kitchen. Not only were they incredibly talented, but they were also super charming (single Brooklyn girls take note). We enjoyed champagne, oysters, duck rillette crostini, and some rustic yet innovative charcuterie, which was served with deliciously seeded flatbread. I returned home with the urge to recreate Colonie’s flatbread, resulting in this fennel seed and sea salt version. Whether you break this bread with cute, hipster-type chefs in Brooklyn or with your friends in your own living room, you certainly won’t be missing out.

Fennel Seed & Sea Salt Flatbread
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen


¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup water
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
Coarse sea salt and fennel seeds


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dissolve salt in water. Add flour and stir until combined. Knead a few times until the dough forms a ball. Roll out the dough on a well-floured surface, the thinner the better. Transfer to a baking sheet. Brush dough with some water and then sprinkle with sea salt and fennel seeds. Poke holes all over with a fork. If you would like, you can cut the dough into cracker shapes. Bake for 20-30 minutes until crisp. When cooled, break the crackers into pieces. Serve with a cheese and meat plate and enjoy!


New York, New York

I'm heading to New York City this weekend. Ever since I moved from Manhattan, I've had an empty feeling that I do everything in my power to fix - whether that means religiously reading New York Magazine, drinking Manhattan martinis, or watching movies that were filmed there. Yes, that includes The Muppets Take Manhattan. This visit will be different though. I am crossing the bridge into Brooklyn to stay for one night. It seems that the majority of my friends have since relocated to this trendy and more affordable borough. I'm excited to visit my old stomping grounds in Manhattan, and to see my friends' new favorites in Brooklyn. If anyone has any recommendations for me (either in Manhattan or Brooklyn), don't be shy and let me know!


Cornish Game Hens & Endive Salad

Sometimes we find inspiration in the most unexpected places.

Cornish Game Hens & Endive Salad
Serves 2


2 Cornish game hens, defrosted, rinsed, patted dry, and trussed
Olive oil
Dried herbs of choice (I used Herbes de Provence)
Salt and pepper

For the salad:
Mache, arugula, spinach, or watercress
Toasted pine nuts or walnuts
Shaved Parmesan or blue cheese
Favorite vinaigrette (I mix olive oil, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rub hens with olive oil and season with herbs, salt, and pepper. Place in shallow roasting pan and roast for 45-55 minutes, until golden brown and juices run clear.

Arrange endive, mache, pine nuts, and Parmesan on a platter. Drizzle with vinaigrette. Serve Cornish game hens on same platter, but make sure that "everyone gets their own little baby chicken on their own little baby plate" and enjoy!


Smoked Fish-Stuffed Peppers

Thomas and I spent last week in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was on a mission to watch Clemson win the Orange Bowl, while I was determined to eat as many stone crabs as humanly possible. We both failed miserably. Clemson was absolutely pulverized by West Virginia, and the closest that I got to an actual crab was when one pinched my foot on a sandbar. Stupid crab.

Stone crabs were sold out at every restaurant that we visited, so we settled on smoked fish spread on more than one occasion. This popular Floridian spread is flavored with tasty smoked fish, refreshing lemon juice, and a hint of spice. Coconuts Restaurant won my vote for the best spread since they served theirs with a hefty plateful of jalapeño peppers, thus spawning my idea for Smoked Fish-Stuffed Peppers. With a pinch of heat from the jalapeños and Tabasco, I will gladly take this dish over a pinch from an evil crab any day.

Smoked Fish-Stuffed Peppers


Cooking spray
6-8 sweet mini peppers
4 ounces smoked trout, skin and bones removed
2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
Few dashes Tabasco sauce
2 teaspoons red onion, very finely diced
2 teaspoons jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed and very finely diced
Chopped chives for garnish


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds. Place them on the baking sheet and spray tops with additional cooking spray. Roast in oven for 22-24 minutes, turning halfway.

Break smoked trout into small pieces and place in a bowl. Add remaining ingredients and stir until combined. Remove the peppers from the oven and spoon smoked fish spread into each one. Top with chopped chives and enjoy!


Seared Salmon with Fennel, Walnuts, & Dates

We’re continuing on with this health kick. I feel like Richard Simmons, but without the hairy chest and tiny shorts. Well, only half of that is true. You decide. In all seriousness though, this meal is a typical one for me. I am naturally drawn to healthy foods, but no one wants to read a blog about oat bran, seaweed, and lima beans on the regular. Am I right? So, just in case anyone out there is looking for a healthy recipe or perhaps just a new way to serve salmon, then this dish is for you.

Seared Salmon with Fennel, Walnuts, & Dates
Serves 2


Olive oil
2 4-ounce salmon filets
2 cups fennel, sliced
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup walnuts, chopped
¼ cup chopped dates
Pinch of dried thyme
Splash fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In an oven-safe skillet, sauté the fennel and shallot in olive oil over medium heat until softened, about 20 minutes. Add the garlic, walnuts, dates, thyme, and lemon juice, and continue to sauté for one more minute. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Dry the salmon filets with a paper towel and then season with salt and pepper. Add a bit more olive oil to the same skillet. Sear the filets skin side up over medium high heat for about 4 minutes. Turn and then transfer the skillet to the preheated oven. Roast for 6-7 minutes until cooked through. Serve the salmon atop the fennel and enjoy!


Butternut Squash, White Bean, & Dandelion Soup

Lose weight. Exercise more. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I've got it. Our typical New Year’s resolutions often need a boost other than just a starting date that’s circled on the calendar. Thankfully, this Butternut Squash, White Bean, and Dandelion Soup serves as a detoxifying jump-start. While the squash and beans are loaded with fiber and protein, dandelion greens naturally help flush toxins out of your system. Plus, while this soup is deliciously comforting, it isn't laden with calories and fat like your typical comfort foods of yesteryear. Whether you are bravely embarking on a new health kick or are simply craving a wholesome meal, this basic and clean recipe serves as one step in the right direction.

Butternut Squash, White Bean, & Dandelion Soup
Serves 6


4 cups butternut squash, diced in ½-inch pieces
1 bunch (approximately 1 pound) dandelion greens, rinsed and chopped in 2-inch sections, discarding roots
1 shallot, finely diced
8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
½ teaspoon dried thyme
Pinch crushed red pepper (to rev up the metabolism)
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped parsley


Bring all ingredients to a boil in a large pot. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes, until the butternut squash is tender. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley and enjoy!