Grilled Fish Tacos


I’ve talked before about my love of seafood and fish, partly due to being raised near great the great waters of New England.  Lucky for me, I was able to potentially upgrade my access to great fish when I moved to San Diego.  And with El Nino warming up the pacific ocean waters, I’ve been in for a treat this year.  A coworker of mine headed fishing this past weekend, and came into work with a large cooler full of mahi mahi.  I came home with a few beautiful, fresh, filets, and I knew I had to make something simple with it so the fish would shine.

Fun fact – did you know mahi mahi, dorado, and dolphin fish are all different names for the same fish?

This dish is super simple.  I put some adobo and lemon on the fish and grilled it on our grill.  Topped it with a little cabbage, cheese, salsa and guacomole.  Took less than 20 minutes and less than 24 hours from swimming in the ocean to my belly.  Talk about fresh.

grilled fish tacos
(makes 2-3 servings)

2 mahi mahi filets
1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp adobo seasoning
6 small corn tortillas
2 cups cabbage, shredded
2 cups guacamole
1 cup salsa
1/2 cup cheese

Rinse your fish filets in warm water, and pat dry using a paper towel.  Spread adobo seasoning and juice of a half a lemon onto both sides of the fish filets.  Place the fish on a hot grill or pan, and cook on each side for about 3 minutes.  Once both sides are cooked, remove from heat.  Heat up some corn tortillas so they are warm and flexible.  Assemble cheese, fish, cabbage, and guacamole and salsa on each of the tortillas and enjoy!

fish on
– shirley



back to basics: vanilla bean ice cream

I think I am in denial that summer is truly over, fall is flying by, and any day now winter will be here in full force.  The North Face jacket, and even the winter coat is back out from the closet.  As much as I love the frigid winters of the northeast because it’s all I’ve ever known, the first week of those 40 degree mornings is the worst!  And even though those 40 degree mornings have begun, I’m still pretending it’s summer and making some amazing homemade ice cream.

If you’ve never made ice cream at home before, now’s the time to start.  Four ingredients.  That’s it!  Vanilla beans, sugar, milk, and cream!  A few minutes on the stovetop, a couple hours in the refrigerator, and 20 minutes in the ice cream maker, and you have the most delicious and creamiest dessert possible.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
(Makes 1 quart)

1 cup whole milk
3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups granulated  sugar
1 vanilla bean, scored down the middle

Combine all the ingredients and slowly bring to a boil.  Turn the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds.  Add the seeds to the cream mixture.

Let the mixture cool down to room temperature, then refrigerate for about 2 hours, or until the mixture is very cold.

Pour the cold mixture into an ice cream maker bowl and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

- dessert on,


Good morning muffins


I am not a morning person. at. all.  When I have the option to, whether I’m working or not, I’ll be in bed until at least 8 or 9.  Too bad that most mornings I can’t have this luxury, and I am up before 5.  I always have been good about eating breakfast (you mean some people turn down the opportunity to eat?!?! I just don’t get that).   The last thing I want to do at 5 in the morning is try to figure out what to make for breakfast – so, these muffins are great and perfect to eat in the car if I am running late.

The first time I tasted a good morning muffin was at whole foods.  I thought it was so yummy that I immediately found some recipes online as inspiration and played around with ingredients.  Truthfully, I still adjust some of the ingredients and add-ons based on what I have at home – apple sauce, fruit butters, butternut squash all make these muffins taste so so good.

And by the way, if you have a kitchenaid mixer at home, USE IT.  I didn’t use it to make these muffins until recently, and wow.  I regretted not using it every time.  Not only did it make a huge difference in the prep time and eliminating the frustration of mixing a thousand ingredients together, but the muffins came out fluffier and tastier.

muffin prep2

Good morning Muffins
(makes 8 large muffins)

1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup fruit butter, apple sauce, or other fruit “mash”
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup sliced almonds or chopped walnuts
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1 apple, peeled and diced
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup grated carrots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place muffin cups into a muffin tin.  Mix together all the dry ingredients (flour through salt) until well mixed and uniform.  In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together and continue to add wet ingredients (vegetable oil, fruit butter, and vanilla extract) to the eggs.  Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, gather together the add ins, and fold into the dough mixture.  Place approximately 1/2 – 3/4 cup mixture into each muffin cup and top with some coconut flakes or sliced nuts.  Place into oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes.  A toothpick placed into a muffin should come back clean when the muffins are ready.  Enjoy!

Breakfast on,
– shirley

muffins before



cannoli cupcakes


It’s no surprise that I love baking, especially cupcakes.  My favorite part about cupcakes is that the batter and frosting is so versatile.  I think one day I’m going to stick a bunch of batter options (vanilla, chocolate, red velvet, confetti, strawberry, etc.) into a hat, and a bunch of frosting options (chocolate buttercream, vanilla buttercream, cream cheese, whipped cream, etc.) into another hat, and just make whatever I get.  Pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese frosting?  Chocolate cupcake with mocha whipped cream frosting?  Yum.

When I first decided to make this cupcake, I had no idea what to make.  I knew I wanted to go simple with the batter, but I was very open to the frosting options.  I was making this cupcake for a friend with deep Italian roots, and all I could think of was cannoli.  How hard could it be to turn a cannoli into a cupcake?  Turns out it is incredibly easy, and incredibly tasty!

So if you want the cannoli flavor, but want to avoid the cannoli frying, this cupcake will do the trick! Enjoy!

Cannoli Cupcakes with Cannoli Chocolate Chip Frosting
(Makes 12 cupcakes)

For the cupcakes:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup 2% milk

For the frosting:

1 cup whole milk ricotta
8 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

For the chocolate-dipped cannoli decoration:

4 oz dark chocolate, melted
12 cannoli chips

Prepare the frosting first; In a large bowl, beat the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract until smooth.  Slowly add the powdered sugar and ricotta to the mixture and beat until combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  Place the bowl of frosting uncovered in the fridge for about 2 hours.

Prepare the cannoli decoration by dunking each cannoli chip halfway in melted chocolate.  Place each dipped chip on a parchment-lined sheet and leave in the refrigerator for about an hour to harden.

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line the cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour and baking powder.  In a separate large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until uniform.  Starting and ending with the flour mixture, alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

Fill each cupcake tin about 2/3 full with batter.  Bake in oven for 16-18 minutes, or until the sides of the cupcake begin to brown, and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

Once the cupcakes are cool, frost them with the cannoli frosting.  Top each cupcake with a chocolate-dipped cannoli chip.

bake on,


Crab Cakes

Growing up in New England, seafood was always abundant.  Lobster Rolls, Crab cakes, New England Clam Chowder, and the list goes on and on.  Most of these items are popular on menus throughout restaurants in every corner, but sometimes, it’s fun to take these items and make them at home.  It allows you to pick the ingredients, modify based on any preferences, and let’s face it, keep it a little bit healthier (How many cups of butter and heavy cream made up that chowder anyways?!).

One of the first seafood items that my mom brought home and made for us was crab cakes.  It allows you to control exactly how much crab (and what kind) goes into the mixture.  Enter crab cakes with  full of large chunks of crab and not so much fillers. I promise you won’t feel the urge to pay $15 for a jumbo crab cake at the local seafood restaurant anymore!!!

Crab Cakes
(makes 8 cakes)

1/2 onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic
1 cup vegetable oil
4 cans premium crab meat, drained
1 tsp hot sauce
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 eggs
2 tsp seasoned salt

Saute the onion and garlic with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in medium heat until the onion begins to caramelize and become clear.  In the meantime, in a large bowl, combine crab meat, hot sauce, breadcrumbs, eggs and seasonings.  Once the onions and garlic are ready, combine them with the other ingredients.  Add the remaining oil to a pan, ensuring oil is about 1-2 inches in height.  Turn pan on high heat and allow oil to get hot.  Once hot, use your hands to shape about 3/4 cup of batter into a ball, flatten with your hands, and place into hot oil.  Place 4-6 cakes into the pan, depending on size.  After approximately 5 minutes, flip each cake, and cook again for about 5 minutes, until both sides are nicely browned.  Remove from heat and enjoy with ketchup, tartar sauce, or your favorite condiment!!

food on,
– shirley


back to basics: hummus

With the Jewish New Year having just passed, I’ve been thinking a lot about home.  Growing up along the Mediterranean Sea, hummus and pita was almost always a part of every meal.  Authentic hummus and freshly out of the oven pita is one of the simplest, yet most delicious meals you could ever have.  So since moving to the US, our standards for both have been very high.  Over time, we’ve found that there’s really nothing better than homemade.  There’s just no comparison.

Today we’ll start with the hummus.  Because the truth is, when hummus is this good, you could literally eat it with a spoon.  No cracker, chip, pita, carrot, or bread required (although all will be just fine along with it).  The prep time may seem daunting, but I assure you, the patience will be so worth it once you take that first taste.

(Makes 8 cups)

2 cups dry chick peas
1 teaspoon baking soda
5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup raw tahini
Juice from 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Soak the chick peas in water for 8 hours (or overnight) in a large pot.  Drain.  Add water once again to cover, plus 1 inch, as well as the baking soda.  Mix well.  Cook the chick pea and water mixture on low heat.  Skim off any foam with a spoon.  Continue to cook over low heat for 60 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Drain the water, being sure to reserve the liquid.

In a food processor, combine the drained chick peas with the garlic, and process to a uniform mixture.  Add the tahini and lemon juice and continue to process.  The mixture will become thicker over time.  If you feel that the mixture becomes too thick, add some of the reserved liquid.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with fresh parsley, olive oil, za’atar, and/or pine nuts.  Serve chilled with pita bread, vegetables, pita chips, or crackers!

food on,


graham cracker chocolate chip muffins


K and I just started watching Breaking Bad.  We’re a little late to the game – I know.  We’re about four episodes in, and so far so good.  It is definitely a bit more intense than the last series we just finished watching – Weeds.  So with my blood pressure up, and the football game in the background, I figured it was time to bake and relax.  Enter these graham cracker chocolate chip muffins.

These muffins are perfect because they’re very versatile.  I make them cupcake-sized, because it’s just the right portion size for breakfast, dessert, or a snack.  The base is your typical chocolate chip muffins, but the graham crackers in the batter, as well as crumble, is just that crunchy extra kick that you need to take this up a notch.  A great dish to make if you are looking for something simple, but unique, to make for your friends and family!

Graham Cracker Chocolate Chip Muffins
(makes 12 muffins)
Adapted from How Sweet Eats

For the muffins:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup graham crackers, crushed
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup 2% milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

For the crumb topping:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup graham crackers, crushed
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Line the cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, sugar, and salt, until blended.

In a large bowl, combine the milk, oil, egg, and vanilla extract, and beat until incorporated.  Slowly add the dry ingredients to the large bowl, and mix until just combined.  Add the chocolate chips and mix with a large spoon, not a hand or stand mixer.

Pour the batter into the cupcake lines, filling each cup about 3/4 full.

Next, prepare the crumb topping.  In a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, and crushed graham crackers.  Add the melted butter and mix until the mixture resembles wet sand.  Top each muffin with a heaping teaspoon of the topping.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

bake on,