Monday, December 28, 2009


I just returned to New York after spending a week with my family in Florida. Needless to say, as much as I needed a vacation, I found myself in the kitchen. Every night. Strumming up some new and some old recipes to celebrate the holidays. I do have to say that trials in a big kitch are much more exciting than experimenting in my little one in the city. Here is a glimpse of our Christmas Eve and Christmas night menus...we were sure to have options to satisfy everyone's taste buds, with my vegan and non-dairy preferences and the very meat-y, full fat preferences of my husband and brother. I think it all came together perfectly (I even may have convinced some that the vegan recipes might just be more enjoyable than the "real thing").

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies made it to the cookie jar the first have to have treats around the holidays so I made sure to have something that I could enjoy snacking on. I found this recipe from Hello Veggie. They were the perfect thing. Nutty and chocolate-y, vegan and simple to make. I used coconut milk and dark chocolate chips in mine. Maranathan almond butter is one of my favorite things and I was very happy to use it as the main ingredient for a cookie!

Christmas Eve was started with Daniel Boulud smoked salmon, caviar and champagne...we then had our traditional Florida Stone Crabs, served with a wild rice salad (a recipe my mother-in-law introduced me to at Thanksgiving). Being that this was my husband's first Christmas away from home, we were sure to include a little bit of his family tradition with his mother's Santa Clause Soup (an incredible potato-based soup, topped with fresh chives and bacon). I had a little trouble trying to create a non-dairy version for myself, but everyone else thoroughly enjoyed it! (Another challenge for next year!)

Wild Rice Salad

Cook the wild rice in chicken or vegetable broth. Set aside and let cool. Add fresh herbs and vegetables of your choice. I added freshly chopped parsley, green onion, chopped artichokes and halved grape tomatoes. Toss with a simple vinaigrette of olive oil, lemon juice and dijon mustard and top with toasted slivered almonds for a nice crunch. This should all be made at least the day before so the flavors can marinate together. Add the almonds just before serving. I prefer this rice cooked a little al dente but can be cooked longer for a fluffier texture. You might also consider adding shrimp or slivered prociutto ham.

It has started to become a tradition for my husband and I to bring pumpkin pie to the table. We made this for the first time a few years ago and thought we should bring it back again. I considered creating a vegan-ized version but then thought, why mess with a good thing?? (plus, he wouldn't have it any other way!). This Pumpkin Pie recipe is from Williams-Sonoma and will remain in my recipe box for a very long time. The best part is the port-poached cranberry topping! While I personally could not enjoy our pie this year, it was rewarding that everyone else could, and I was sure to have something else to satisfy my sweet tooth.

I found a recipe on Marika Collins' blog madcap cupcake. She has some of the best recipes for sweet vegan treats! I wanted something chocolate-y, decadent and easy to make. This seemed like just the thing that everyone could enjoy. She originally vegan-ized these Nanaimo Bars from a recipe that she had found in the Vancouver Sun newspaper. Anyways, here is my version!
Vegan Chocolate-layered Bars
Bottom layer
1/2 cup earth balance (or other vegan margarine)
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tbsp flax meal
3 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups crushed graham crackers or crumbs
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Middle layer: 1/4 cup earth balance (or other vegan margarine)
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tbsp vanilla custard powder (or instant vanilla pudding powder)
3 tbsp plain soy milk (I used coconut milk)

Top layer: 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1 tbsp earth balance (or other vegan margarine)


To make bottom layer: Grease a 9-inch square cake pan. (Marika recommends lining the bottom with parchment that stuck out the top so you can lift everything out after). In a small bowl, beat flax meal and water together until frothy, set aside. In a sauce pan over low heat, combine 1/2 cup earth balance, sugar, cocoa, and vanilla . Add flax mixture and stir constantly until mixture thickens. Add graham crackers crumbs, coconut, and chopped nuts, stirring to combine. Press the mixture into the greased pan.
To make middle layer: In a large bowl, beat together 1/4 cup earth balance, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla custard powder, and soy milk until creamy. Spread custard mixture over graham cracker base in pan. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.

To make top layer
: Melt semi-sweet chocolate and 1 tbsp earth balance. Pour over chilled bars and spread over top. Return to refrigerator to chill until firm (at least 1 hour).

For Christmas dinner we had a choice of a rosemary and garlic roast leg of lamb or pan-seared salmon fillets. Served alongside was a warm butternut squash and arugula salad and brussels sprouts and apples. Apple Crisp for dessert. We pulled together a classic recipe for the lamb and a simple preparation for the salmon. We adapted one of Heidi Swanson's brussels sprouts recipe from her 101 Cookbooks blog, both veggie dishes were vegan of course!

Rosemary and Garlic Roast of Lamb

1 leg of lamb, bone in
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
8 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 lb potatoes
1 cup chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, chives and parsley)
2 cups diced onions
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup red wine

Wash and half the potatoes. Season with salt, pepper, a little olive oil and freshly chopped rosemary. Rub a whole leg of lamb with lemon juice and freshly chopped rosemary, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Place the lamb in the center of a roasting pan and assemble the potatoes around it. Roast for 30 minutes at 400 degrees F and then turn down to about 350 degrees F for an hour or so, until the meat is cooked to your liking (a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the roast should register about 145 degrees F to 150 degrees F). In the meantime, on the stove-top, add mixed fresh herbs and onions to pan, stirring to combine. Add chicken stock and wine and reduce over high heat until sauce consistency. Slice lamb and serve with sauce drizzled over the top.

Warm Butternut Squash and Arugula Salad

1 butternut squash, peeled and diced to bite-sized pieces
olive oil
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
3 Tbsp dried cranberries
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup apple cider
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp shallots, minced
2 tsp Dijon mustard
4 ounces baby arugula
1/2 cup walknuts, halved and toasted
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes.
While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, and the grated Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Brussels Sprouts & Apples

1 large apple, cut into bite-sized wedges
1 lemon, juice only
fine-grain sea salt
olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
pure maple syrup
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted and chopped
12 ounces brussels sprouts, washed and quartered
Soak the apples in a bowl filled with water and the juice of one lemon.
Add some olive oil to a heated pan and stir in the garlic. After you start to smell a nice aroma, stir in the maple syrup, and cook another 30 seconds or so. Drain the apples, and add them to the skillet, cooking for another minute. Scrape the apple onto a plate and set aside while you cook the brussels sprouts.
In the same pan (no need to wash), add a touch more oil, a pinch of salt, and dial the heat up to medium-high. When the pan is nice and hot stir in the brussels sprouts. Cook for a few minutes, stirring a couple times until you get some golden bits, and the rest of the sprouts are bright and delicious. Stir the apple mixture back into the skillet alongside the brussels sprouts 1/2 of the pine nuts - gently stir to combine. Remove from heat and enjoy immediately sprinkled with the remaining pine nuts.
I found a vegan and raw pie crust at Whole Foods while shopping around and was determined to find a way to use it. It was made with organic dates and almonds, among other ingredients. My family was insisting on an apple pie-sort-of-dessert so I thought I'd go the apple route. Because the pie crust directed me to just fill with fresh fruit and serve raw, I opted not to bake the crust. Instead, I baked the apples and topping separately and then filled individual ramekins with the pie crust pressed into the bottom for a nice surprise "crust". It turned out incredibly well!

Oatmeal Crunch Apple Crisp

6 Granny Smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp flour

1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
2- 4 Tbsp Earth Balance (or other vegan butter), cut into small pieces
1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
To prepare filling: Combine apples, 1/2 cup brown sugar, lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a large bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour over the apples and toss again. Spray a glass 9x9 pan or pie pan with non-stick spray, fill with the apple mixture and bake for about 30 minutes
Meanwhile, prepare topping: Combine 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour, oats, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Cut in 2 tablespoons at a time of the Earth Balance with a fork (or your hands) until evenly distributed. Stir in the nuts.
After the apples have baked for 30 minutes, remove it from the oven and scatter the topping over the apples. Return it to the oven and bake until the topping is golden and the juices are bubbling around the edges, 20 minutes more. Once cooled, scoop out portions to fit each individual ramekin (trying to keep the topping on top!). Top with whip cream (rice whip is a great vegan option) or ice cream and enjoy!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Chickpea and Asparagus Quinoa

I adapted another one of Heidi Swanson's fab recipes from her blog 101 Cookbooks tonight. I am on a major vegan kick right now and she's got some incredibly tasty options in her archives! She uses brown rice in this recipe, but I wanted to substitute quinoa. She drizzles with a homemade tahini dressing that is to-die-for! I made a little extra and will definitely use throughout the week on other dishes, like sauteed kale or serve with hummus and veggies.

extra-virgin olive oil
1 14-ounce can of chickpeas, drained
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 1-inch segments
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup almond slices, toasted
fine grain sea salt

Tahini Dressing
1 garlic clove, smashed and chopped
1/4 cup tahini
zest of one lemon
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp hot water
1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt

Make the dressing by whisking together the garlic, tahini, lemon zest and juice, and olive oil. Add the hot water to thin a bit and then the salt. Set aside.

Add olive oil to a big skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chickpeas and sprinkling of salt. Let the beans saute for a couple of minutes (Heidi recommends waiting for some crusty color on them). Add the garlic and onions. Stir for a minute. Stir in the asparagus with another pinch of salt, cover with a lid for a minute or two to steam- just until the asparagus brightens and softens up slightly. Uncover and stir in the quinoa and almond slices, reserving a few almonds for the garnish. Taste and add more salt if needed. Serve into bowls and drizzle with a little of the tahini dressing to your liking.

Serves about 4.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Berry Breakfast

Always inspired by Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks blog, I am finally diving in and giving a crack at her recipes. I wanted something healthy, satisfying and slightly sweet this morning. I scanned the shelves of my fridge for ideas: left-over quinoa (something that I have been making a lot of lately. A great replacement for brown rice or pasta- sauteed with different varieties of vegetables or served alongside a fillet salmon with fresh herbs). Fresh raspberries also caught my eye and I immediately thought of a recipe that I had come across just the other day- Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa. Heidi's take on a recipe from Dr. John La Puma's recent release - Chef MD's Big Book of Culinary Medicine, a book that she highly recommends written by a someone who is both a doctor and chef. I made it with similar ingredients that I had around the house and it was the perfect start to my Sunday morning. After this trial, I am sure to add this book to my collection.

Warm and Nutty Breakfast Quinoa

I used a red quinoa here and raspberries, instead of blackberries. My quinoa was already made with water, so I never incorporated the milk. Also, a few of Heidi's notes and tips from the book: blueberries may also replace the blackberries, dark honey may replace the agave nectar, and walnuts may replace the pecans. I also added a few hazelnuts to mine. I thought it was a wonderful addition.
1 cup organic 1% low-fat milk, or soy milk
1 cup water
1 cup organic quinoa
2 cups fresh blackberries
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted*
4 teaspoons organic agave nectar

Combine milk, water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat; let stand covered 5 minutes. Stir in berries and cinnamon; transfer to four bowls and top with pecans. Drizzle 1 teaspoon agave nectar over each serving. *While the quinoa cooks, toast the pecans in a small skillet on medium heat for about 3 minutes.
Serves 4.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A warm welcome back to reality...

Just back from tying the knot and honeymoon-ing in was an incredible whirlwind of a dream and now the only thing that I wanted to do all weekend long was eat comforting, home-cooked foods and settle back into reality. The jet-lag was taking longer than expected to recover from, even after trying to strategically plan our sleeping patterns by drinking copious amount of espresso (my Italian jones) on the long flight home. Two of my friends wanted to do a Sunday night dinner so I (obviously) convinced them to come over so I can cook for them instead. We opened a bottle of Chianti and sat around nibbling on fresh fig, prosciutto and clover honey. After some gossip, I started to make the Cioppino, a San Francisco fisherman's stew with fresh lump crab meat, large prawns, halibut and clams. It's good to be home...


(Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Slow Cooking)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 bay leaves, broken in half
2 cans (14 1/2 oz each) diced tomatoes
3/4 cups Chianti wine
1/2 cup sauvignon blanc wine
2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
3/4 lb firm white fish, like halibut, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 lb littleneck clams, scrubbed
1 lb Dungenuss crab claws, or lump crabmeat, picked over for shells
20 large shrimp (prawns), peeled and deveined
1/2 tsp Tabasco
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions and bell peppers and saute until just tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the bay leaves, tomatoes, and red and white wines and bring to a simmer. Partially cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes.Remove and discard the bay leaves. Add the oregano, thyme, fish and clams. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add the crab and shrimp, cover and cook until the shrimp and fish are opaque and the clams have opened, 3-4 minutes. Discard any clams that failed to open. Stir in the Tabasco sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Divide among the bowls and serve at once.
A warm piece of baguette is always good to soak up the juices at the end. Please do stay tuned for a future post on our wedding and Italian travels...Ciao for now!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Autumn in New York

I made this pasta on that first cool night when summer was noticeably coming to an end. With the windows wide-open, we cuddled up on our couch, sipped on red wine and overheard tunes from a west village neighborhood stoop-singing group singing the doo wop classics like"Daddy's Home" and " Blue Moon".

Great New York moment.

Broccolini, White Bean and Pecorino Pasta

8 ounces whole-wheat shells or chiocciole pasta
1 large bunch of broccolini, (or broccoli rabe or spinach) trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
1 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 19-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
2 Tbsp red-wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup freshly shredded pecorino or fontina cheese
2/3 cup toasted breadcrumbs (store bought or freshly made)
crushed red pepper flakes to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook. Stir in broccolini during the last 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and set aside. Dry pot.

Whisk the broth and flour in a small bowl until smooth. Heat oil in the pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the broth mixture and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly, until it thickens, about 3 to 4 minutes (do not overcook here or it will become too thick). Add beans, vinegar, salt and pepper and the pasta and broccolini. Cook, stirring, until everything is heated through. Remove from the heat; add cheese, stirring until it melts. Serve immediately, topped with toasted breadcrumbs and crushed red pepper flakes.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Summer Recap

Summer has officially come to an end...I regret not having time to write about all of our delish recipes that we thoroughly enjoyed over the past few months. But as we fall into the autumnal flavors (and finalize all of our wedding plans!) I am excited to share with you great foods and more recipes to come. Our wedding in Southampton and our honeymoon in Italy will bring you many stories, I am sure...stay in touch and enjoy my summer grillin' images...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

New O'Cookies Flava

Ahh, the Almighty Almond. High in protein and heart-friendly, almonds are a great source of vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, fiber and are a good source of healthy monounsaturated fat. A handful of almonds a day helps reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering the ‘bad’ blood cholesterol by as much as ten percent. Combine that with the low-calorie and flavorful apricot, and add our O'Cookies wholesome ingredients and you've got yourself our new ALMOND APRICOT cookie! A perfect fit for a bright summer day. Try one for yourself. Currently available at Cafe Angelique. Coming to our website soon...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Taco Night Twist

Taco Night Sundays has become a weekly staple for us. This Sunday I wanted to change it up a bit, still keeping it simple but a tad bit healthier. Instead of using the familiar ground turkey and caloric crispy taco shells, I opted for a lighter tilapia fish in corn tortillas. My fiance was a bit bummed at the sound of it, but when I watched him scarf down dinner raving about how good it was...well, let's just say "I told you so".

Fish Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa and Black Bean and Corn Salad

Cooking spray
1 garlic clove, minced

fresh corn kernels (about 2 large ea
6 (6-inch) corn tortillas
juice from one lime
1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 3/4 tsp ground cumin

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup red pepper, diced

1/4 cup red onion, diced

1 Tbsp jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

1/2 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped

1/2 (19-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 lb tilapia fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 Tbsp fresh
cilantro leaves
3/4 cup avocado, halved, pitted and sliced

Tomatillo Salsa, store-bought or homemade

To prepare salad, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray. Add garlic; saute 30 seconds. Add corn; saute 8 minutes or until browned. Remove from pan; cool completely.

In a small bowl, whisk to
gether the lime juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, 3/4 tsp cumin, and 1/4 tsp salt. Combine the corn, tomatoes, red peppers, onion, jalapeno pepper, fresh cilantro, oregano, and black beans. Drizzle juice mixture over the corn mixture, and toss gently to coat.

Heat the tortillas by wrapping in foil and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until heated through.

Sprinkle fish with 1/4 tsp of salt. Combine the rest of the salt, flour and 1 tsp cumin in a medium bowl; dredge fish in mixture and set aside. Heat vegetable oil in the large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, and add fish. Cook 2 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with fork.

Build your tacos by folding the tortillas in half and placing the fish down the center first, followed by slices of avocado and topping off with tomatilla salsa. You can pile on the black bean and corn salad or serve alongside. I used store-bought tomatilla salsa to save time. You can create your own by combining tomatillo peppers, onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt, garlic, and jalapeno pepper.

Use leftover Black Bean and Corn Salad for lunch the next day! I piled salad in a warm corn tortilla, wrapped tightly and sliced into small bite-sized pieces. Top with tomatillo salsa. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I know that I have already written about the best turkey meatballs. Ever. I just thought I'd share this with you...

Served tonight with whole wheat thin spaghetti and topped with homemade tomato sauce. Satisfyingly healthy, flavorful and delish.

Five Minute Tomato Sauce

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp sea salt
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
zest of a lemon
fresh basil, chopped

Combine olive oil, red pepper flakes, sea salt and garlic in a saucepan. Stir while you heat, about a minute, just until everything is fragrant- you do not want the garlic to brown. Stir in the tomatoes and heat to a simmer. Remove from heat. Stir in the lemon zest and fresh basil.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Spring Fever

After a week of being sick and a rainy April weekend, the only thing that could lift my spirits before another Monday was to get into the kitchen. I went to the grocery store looking for inspiration...I wanted something healthy and hearty. Comfort food, to me, is whole wheat pasta. I always try to mix it up with somthing fresh and cauliflower was calling my name. I came across this recipe from and modified to my liking. This is one that you have to try! Serves 4.

Sicilian-Style Cauliflower with Whole Wheat Pasta

3/4 lb whole-wheat fussili pasta
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 cups cauliflower florets, cut into bite-size pieces
2 small shallots, sliced in thin rings
2 garlic cloves, smashed
3/4 cups water
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp golden raisins
1 tsp honey
1 Tbsp capers
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
2 tsp fennel seeds
Freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted
3 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup grated fresh Pecorino Romano, plus more as needed

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat, then salt it generously. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta. Transfer to a large bow and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower, shallots, and garlic, and cook until the cauliflower is well browned, about 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the remaining 2 Tbsp of oil, salt, water, vinegar, raisins, honey, capers, thyme, bay leaf, fennel seeds and season with black pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until cauliflower is fork tender, about 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the pine nuts and parsley. Remove and discard the thyme sprig and bay leaf.

Toss the vegetables and pasta together along with the pecorino. Drizzle with additional olive oil, if desired. Serve immediately.

Monday, April 20, 2009

What's for Dinner?

Ahhh...the ultimate question at the end of a fab weekend. It was a gorgeous day and I cant help but want to take advantage of the good weather and our New York terrace and grill out. First thing that comes to James' mind is steak. Again. But, hey, I'm ok with it (as long as it's fish next time, of course!). We went to Gourmet Garage to see what was fresh. When you're cooking steak on the grill (with a guy) you need corn and potatoes. A little early for the fresh corn season but this "summer nights" preview was tempting our taste buds. So we bought the packaged stuff and I made my "guy-approved, girl-friendly" version...

Grilled New York Strip
with Charred Corn and Sweet Tomato Saute
Garlic and Parsley Red Potatoes to taste

2 New York strip steaks
4 small ears of corn
1/4 lb red potatoes, cleaned and halved
pint of exotic tomato medley
1 cup fresh basil
1/4 cup fresh parsley
salt & pepper
pinch of sugar
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter (or butter substitute)

Before grilling steaks, always let sit out of the refrigerator, covered for twenty minutes. Start with the corn. Heat up the grill to medium heat. Place the ears of corn in a large bowl of cold water with 1 tablespoon of salt for 10 minutes. Remove the corn from the water and shake off the excess. Place the corn on the grill for about 15 to 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes, until the kernels are tender when pierced with a knife. Cut the corn off of the cob and transfer to a medium bowl. Toss with half of the fresh basil, 1 tbsp of butter and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

In the mean time, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and let simmer. Start to chop the fresh basil and parsley and set aside. Once the potatoes are cooked through (you should be able to easily slide a fork into each piece), drain and place in a bowl. Add the fresh parsley, some of the butter, smashed whole garlic cloves and salt and pepper to taste. Stir together. The heat of the potatoes will melt the butter and you will start to smell the aroma of the garlic (Note: mouth starts watering here). Cover and set aside.

While the potatoes are simmering, drizzle the steaks with olive oil and liberally sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the steaks on the grill and let cook until golden brown, turning once, until done to your liking (about 4 to 5 minutes on each side for medium rare). Remove the steaks to a cutting board, loosely cover with foil and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing.

While the steaks are resting, heat the olive oil and remaining butter in a small pan until bubbling. Add the tomatoes and cook for about 3 minutes or until just beginning to soften. Stir through the basil, dash of sugar and salt and pepper. Serve the tomatoes atop of the charred corn. The sweet juicy pan sauce will reheat the corn and add a moist element to the dish.

Serve and enjoy!