Cooking

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This is one of my favorite last minute lunches and dinners. It comes together in less than 15 minutes and is SO filling (and vegetarian too!).

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To be honest, this meal was developed out of necessity. I came home from our fabulous DC trip to a very limited fridge and decided to “wing it.” I always keep great bread in the freezer, so I took a couple slices out, popped them in the toaster and then lathered them with pesto before adding some mozzarella and broiling. For the mushrooms, all they need is a simple sauté and the egg is an easy 2-minute fry. Top with fresh arugula and voila.

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Once you’ve made this for lunch a few times, you can start to time your cooking so you are balancing mushrooms on the stovetop, an egg frying and toast in the toaster oven all at one time. But if you aren’t good at multi-tasking, doing each task one at a time only takes 15 minutes anyways!

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Best Summer Lunch

by Koko on July 17, 2014 · 0 comments

in Cooking

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This is on repeat at our house. With great fresh bread, some homemade pesto and homegrown tomatoes- you can’t go wrong. The easiest step by step process below:

1. Toast your bread. I am a big fan of Trader Joe’s sourdough. I usually buy a couple of loaves and store them in the freezer. A quick 4-minute toast defrosts and toasts the bread perfectly.

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2. Add a good amount of pesto. We have basil plants galore in our garden, so I recently made this pesto, freezing 3/4 of it and keeping the rest in the fridge.

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3. Add your mozzarella. Don’t be shy – the more the merrier.

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4. Top with fresh tomatoes, salt and pepper.

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5. Toast for 4 minutes (or until cheese melts). Top with a splash of good quality olive oil and fresh basil (preferably from your garden). I am a big fan of adding a little balsamic as well or even if I’m getting fancy, some balsamic reduction!

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6. EAT!

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One of the things I love most about this meal is that 50% of it came from my little garden: from the tomatoes to the basil to the pesto!

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Oh Los Angeles

by Koko on June 11, 2014 · 1 comment

in Cooking, Recipe, Travel, Uncategorized

I will never stop loving you. The food, the people, the stores. I love when I get to visit my family and friends. Since Q had some training in Arizona, I extended what was originally a 24-hours trip home into 8 days visiting with family and friends.

There were delicious deck dinners at home.

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And fabulous dinners out.

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There was a girls’ weekend in Palm Springs where we cooked, drank wine and tanned (perfection).

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A fun OneRepublic concert.

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And lots of girls’ dinners.

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What a week it was!

 

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Q and I love to have people over in the summertime. I love entertaining, but I used to get stressed out when I knew we were going to have people over. Over the years, I’ve eased into it and these 6 tips help me have stressful dinners every time.

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1. Create a great outdoor space. Before we bought our Ikea furniture, I would fret about how our house looked. After investing in some great furniture, a sturdy umbrella and a grill, our guests much prefer being outside than in. (Our backyard space)

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2. Create simple florals with grocery store flowers. Why stress about arrangements when you can create your own? Our flower selection isn’t amazing down here in Columbus (peonies, I wish!). So I get the best flowers I can find from our local grocery store and cut them down and put them in these cute mason jars. Sunflowers are also an easy fix.

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3. Make a great dessert… ahead of time. Who wants to be in the kitchen while your guests are over? I always make dessert that morning or the night before. Some of my go-to’s are this Fluffernutter Cake, Coconut Cake, Strawberry Ice Cream and simple Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Bars.

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4. Serve simple snacks. If you want to make something great, just make ONE something great. Sometimes we get so caught up in appetizer making that dinner gets pushed back. I love serving something simple like a cheese plate, hummus and pita or some pico de gallo and chips. I love Spinach & Artichoke dip if the weather isn’t blazing hot.

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5. Make a variety of sides and let your meat/fish take the main role. I know it’s weird from this semi-vegetarian to say, but when guests come over for a BBQ, splurge on some good meat or fish. We love marinating some great steak, a pork shoulder, great burgers or fresh salmon. For me, some fancy sausage from Trader Joe’s works well. For sides, we usually do a veg (asparagus or corn work well) , potatoes, and a big fresh salad.

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6. Overall: be social, not stuck in the kitchen. You don’t want the BBQ to pass you by. Prep ahead of time, keep snacks easy and pour yourself a drink (but not too many because then dinner may never be made!)

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