Iguana NYC – Ole!

A little while back a few friends and I went to see the Flamenco Ballet Festival that comes to NYC every year. (If you live in the area and haven’t seen it yet, you MUST get tix next year!) To keep with the Latin theme of the night I booked us reservations at a place nearby called Iguana, “the most spectacular Mexican Restaurant in New York”! Let me tell you, it really is.

I was skeptical of the place because it’s in a pretty touristy area. However when we first set foot in the restaurant I was 1. in awe of the size of it (it’s  massive for NYC) and 2. the ambiance (hellloooo Spain). We got there before the bar and dinner rush so we had time to soak it all in. We started off with their signature tequilas – if you’re in to margaritas, you’ll feel like you hit the jackpot at this place. They have an entire page in the menu dedicated to margarita flavors, and the back of it is a complete list of their tequilas. Since we were going to the show right after we had to keep ourselves under control (i.e. no tequila flight tastings) but we did each have a delicious margarita – grapefruit, skinny Iguana, and kiwi.

True to form, we also started off with their guacamole. They made it fresh right in front of us, and it was some of the best guac I’ve ever tasted. Unfortunately (or fortunately for my taste buds) we filled up on the stuff. Because after that, we decided to keep to tapas and each ordered small plates to share.

I ordered the coconut shrimp that was fried and lightly brushed with honey. The shrimp were massive and felt like a meal in and of themselves. The mix of the sweet and salty was a perfect compliment to my margarita. Next up was the calamari (side note: my husband is so not in to latin food so he played it safe with the calamari, but even he admitted how tasty it all was). Lastly, we ordered something a little more hearty, empanadas, and they were melt in your mouth.

Aside from the delicious food and spot on ambiance, the staff was friendly without being overbearing and, yes, even the bathrooms were pretty amazing. (Guys, they had authentic hand painted Spanish sinks. For real!) If you couldn’t tell already, I highly recommend this place. It really is the most spectacular Mexican Restaurant in New York!

Iguana NYC

Happy Eating, XO.

Tea Party with the Easter Bunny

So if you are actually more of a grown up than me and maybe wanna swap out these recipes for a bridal or baby shower vs. a make-believe Easter bunny tea party, feel free to. I mean that is OBVIOUSLY not what they are intended for and are strictly meant for large hat, gloves, and pearl wearing occasions such as Easter Sunday. However, I will not judge you for using them for adult events in which Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s are served in place of tea & crumpets. Not that I have any clue what a crumpet is nor will I be showing any of you how to make one. Luckily, a lot of the essentials for this tea party you already have in your arsenal of recipes. Look back at the truffled crostini and the deviled eggs as a good place to start.Then build upon the fine tea party foods by adding the two finger sandwich recipes below:
  • 2 tbsp. butter (unsalted)
  • 1 tbsp. chopped chives
  • 1 cucumber thinly sliced in rounds (word on the street is radishes are a great replacement ,but kids find it spicy so I left it as cucumbers, but a thought if you want to do half & half).
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 6 slices of bread cut into the same sized rounds as the cucumber (I used a brioche)
Mash together the salt, pepper, chives, & butter. Spread a thin later on the bread and place the cucumber slice on top. Smear the other bread before finishing the sandwiches. Serves enough for you, the Easter Bunny, a doll, and Mr. Teddy Bear. (or 4 adults if again, that’s something you are into, hanging with adults or real people for that matter).
  • 2 tbsp. whipped cream cheese (or crème fraise)
  • 1 tbsp. chopped dill
  • smoked salmon
  • 6 slices of bread cut into squares (I used a pumpernickel since it was darker than the brioche)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 6 slices of bread cut into the same sized rounds as the cucumber

*same methodology to “construct” as above.

Finally, offer an assortment of teas. Not just hot, think iced tea as well! Fruit infused or even good old Arnold Palmers. Lastly, some store bought cookies would be a good way to finish off with something sweet. Enjoy a relaxing Sunday afternoon with your dolls & the Easter bunny or bridesmaids, whatever you see fit.
Happy Easter & Happy Eating, XO.

Homemade Dill Dressing

Ever since Sonia posted the flies and swims recipe, I’ve had cravings for dill. Weird, I know. I’ve never given dill a second thought (why would I?). But it was so refreshing, I want it in all the recipes! So it got me thinking, how hard could it be to make a dill dressing? I got a little “epicurious” and found a simple recipe for it, but my own spin on it is below. It’s the perfect compliment to our kale and quinoa salad (recipe coming soon!).

*Makes about 2 cups of dressing.

  • 1 1/4 cups mayonnaise (please don’t use Miracle Whip. I usually love the stuff but it def doesn’t work for this. Trust me, I tried it with the first batch.)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Whisk the mayo, sour cream, and heavy cream first, then blend in the rest of the ingredients. I stored mine in a cute mason jar so it will last a little longer. And who doesn’t love mason jars these days?!

Happy Eating, XO.

Pear Salad

So all my lamenting about it feeling more like fall & winter than Spring finally paid off! This was the first time we had nice weather and it lasted all weekend long! I mean we had to turn on the AC that’s how nice it was! Having said that, its time to eat lighter and more spring like now. So below is my quick and easy salad. I served it with the are you too chicken last night. Yum-o!

  • 2 Bartlett pears (fairly ripe)
  • 1/2 of a medium yellow onion (Vidalia works, but so does a Spanish onion)
  • 1 bag of the Sorrento Salad Mix from Trader Joes (it just has arugula, baby spinach, and lettuce in it. I also throw in a fist full of shredded raddicho just because I had some in the fridge and I like the purple color).
  • 1 cup of sesame sticks (photo below & also bought from Trader Joes-sorry that’s where I grocery shop, but I will say most stores will have them in nuts & snacks aisle, look near trail mixes)
  • 1/4 cup of champagne pear vinaigrette with gorgonzola from Trader Joe’s (I know homemade dressing is better, but I was hung over so I did a short cut, big deal, its yummy nonetheless).
  • Optional is to add some crumbled gorgonzola on the top but I was trying to keep it light so I left out, the vinaigrette is creamy and silky enough you shouldn’t miss the added cheese.

Slice the pears in long, Julienne strips. Do the same for the onions and toss with the sesame sticks, salad packet and dressing. Serve immediately and a good tip is to make sure the pears and onions are cold from the fridge when serving, I don’t know what it is about a cold salad on a warm afternoon! Oh and the peppery arugula coupled with the sweet pear and the sharp onion and crunchy sesame sticks is the perfect combo of different taste bud pleasers we try to achieve in all of our sultry salads :)

photo

Happy Eating, XO.

So Kale and Quinoa Walk in to a Bar…

…a salad bar! Get it? Yeah, yeah I know, stick to my day job…

Anyway, the other day I whipped up our fruit parfait for breakfast and made way too much quinoa. I couldn’t just throw it out so I got to experimenting. This is how it went down: Quinoa’s healthy, so what else is healthy? Hmm, throw in some cucumbers, beets for some color, kale of course, and fresh dill! (Only because I’ve acquired an obsession with it since the flies and swims recipe). Top it all off with the quinoa and you actually get a pretty filling salad. I also paired it with our homemade dill dressing (I told you, obsessed) and it was damned refreshing, perfect for spring.

*Makes 1 personal sized salad.

  • 2 cups fresh baby kale
  • 1 cup of sliced cucumbers
  • 1 small can of beets
  • 1/3 cup of finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup of homemade dill dressing
  • 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa

Toss together everything but the quinoa (I mean you can if you want to, but I prefer not to). Once the dressing is evenly coated on the salad, top with the quinoa and garnish with a bit of dill.

Kale & Quinoa saladHappy Eating, XO.

 

Grilled Artichokes

If you’re an East coaster like we are, I’m sure you headed outside last Sunday and stuck your face to the sun to soak up the warmest day we’ve had all year! I didn’t throw on my bathing suit just yet, but I did break out the flip flops and fired up the grill. (And popped open a bottle of Pinot Grigio, of course…).

Grilled veggies are one of my favorite sides, so I took advantage of the beautiful sunny day and grilled some artichokes. If it’s still too cold where you are (I heard Michigan got 8″ of snow last week?! Our condolences…) you can also roast them like we mention in our Eat Your Vegetables post.

  • 2 artichokes, cut in half down the middle
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil (enough for coating the artichokes)
  • 2 tsp of garlic salt or Adobo
  • 1 tsp of  parsley (dried or fresh)

Fill a pot with enough water to cover the artichokes, or use with a steamer. While the water is boiling, drop in the garlic cloves to infuse the artichokes with a bit of the flavor. Boil or steam for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, mix together the olive oil, 1 tsp of the garlic salt and parsley.

When the artichokes are done, coat them well with the olive oil mixture. Place them on a hot grill flat side down and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tsp of garlic salt. Grill each side for 8-10 minutes. They go great with our Sherry Vinegar Hanger Steak or Omega 3.

Grilled artichokes

 

Happy Eating, XO.

You like us! You really really like us!

In honor of our 100th damn post (can you believe it?!) we want to dedicate this to all of you, our followers!

Time to get a little mushy here kids. When Sonia and I started this blog, we did it because we know how hard it is to work a full day and have to make dinner when you come home (we’re groaning right along with you). We know it’s hard to find simple recipes that taste good and don’t require too much effort. We hope we have delivered and would love some feedback on this important milestone for the blog. Trust us, we get giddy over the comments section and love trying new recipes, restaurants, and food.

Anyway, we can’t believe we are at the big HUNDO. Especially since this little pet project was culminated from a simple Saturday afternoon chat that took flight, with a hope and a dream.

We’ve really had the best time, not only testing and creating recipes, but connecting with all of you!

Thanks again for being our followers and cheers to at least 100 more delish posts! (and maybe 500 followers by June? C’mon guys Jess & I have a little bet going, help us do it! Spread the word.)

photo (4)

Happy Eating, XO.

Squash It

I have a fellow foodie that is just my spirit animal when it comes to trying new dishes and eating out together. Not only is she just as adventurous as me, but she is a phenomenal cook. One day when we were discussing different recipes we both came to the conclusion that we are obsessed with autumn vegetables and summer fruits. Those are the best seasons for the respective produce and you should go crazy making dishes that incorporate those seasonal ingredients. Now I know I am a long shot away from Fall, but with the recent flurries we experienced in the Philadelphia area, it sure feels more like autumn than spring. Check out this lovely butternut squash (one of the shining stars of the Fall veggie scene) recipe, it even re-uses the maple syrup you bought for this chicken recipe and the squash from the Fall Stew. Plus, eating it should help me “squash” my feelings of missing Fall. Oh what a wordsmith I can be.

  • 1 package of the pre-peeled and cubed butternut squash from Trader Joes (I am obsessed with TJ and lazy, perfect combo).
  • 1 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. of the maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. of cayenne (although I did equal parts of cinnamon & cayenne, since I like the heat)
  • 1 tsp. of course sea salt
  • Optional: 2 tbsp. low fat sour cream & 1 tsp. chopped fresh chives.

Set the oven at 400 degrees and toss the ingredients with the squash. Spread out on baking sheet and cook for 20-30 minutes. I do the fork test and prick the larger piece to check for done-ness. If it slides out and the squash is soft, you can shut off the oven & let it cool. I also serve this with a dollop of cold low fat sour cream which I sprinkle with chopped chives. I adore the yummy mild onion flavor it adds to the dish. Plus any potato chip lover knows that sour cream can’t breath without onion/chives.

Happy Eating, XO.

Date Night Dinner

We all need a lil night to indulge. Some yummy food, a good bottle of wine, and a night in to cozy up with your hunny. This is the ideal dinner for a candle lit night at home. So get the DVD ready, grab some fresh flowers and get this meal on the table. Lucky for you, there is wine in this recipe so the bottle will be open before your significant other even comes over. I restrained and didn’t use garlic in this dish (for the obvious reasons involving kissing & bad breath), but most certainly will next time. Anyway, Serves 3-4 so you will have left overs unless you double-date it..

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 3 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 2 Tablespoon of olive oil (I cut down to 1 tbsp. because I figured there was enough butter)
  • 2 Tablespoon of butter
  • 2 tsp. of fresh thyme leaves (you know if you have a herb garden or if you are normal and want to use 1/2 tsp. dried thyme)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy cream (subbed for the half & half I had in the fridge for coffee)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

In a skillet over medium – medium/high heat melt butter and combine with olive oil. Prepare chicken breasts by sprinkling both sides with a little sea salt.
Saute the chicken breasts until golden and cooked through; remove and set aside. In the same skillet, saute the mushrooms until soft and starting to brown (5 minutes). Add the thyme, wine, and vinegar. Let the wine reduce, then add 2-3 Tablespoons of the half & half, and heat until warmed through. You can serve with a vegetable and some rice.

Happy Eating, XO.

Pull Apart Bread

It’s time to get creative with the old “bread bowl” idea. Don’t get me wrong, I love bread bowls, but it’s high time to make them even easier to make. I’m sure it goes without saying, but this is a great app for a dinner or cocktail party. I always tend to wait to the last minute to get ready for a party and this honestly has saved me many times.

  • 1 loaf of sourdough bread
  • 1 cup of pesto sauce (I used the instant powder kind. Works just as well.)
  • 1 cup of mozzarella
  • Sprinkle of oregano all over

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Score the bread (ie, don’t cut it all the way through) horizontally and vertically to get your “pull apart” pieces. Pour the pesto sauce in to the crevices and use a spatula to smother it in there. Trust me, you want it on every piece! Next, stuff the mozzarella in each crevice and sprinkle on the oregano. Bake for 15 minutes.

Last step – go to town on it! You won’t be able to restrain yourself. But don’t worry, we don’t judge.

Pull apart bread

 

Happy Eating, XO