Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Chickpeas, Buckwheat & Pomegranate Salad

It is no secret that I love brussels sprout, and as Thanksgiving is tomorrow, I wanted to share a simple, seasonal, and healthy brussels sprout salad or side dish for your dinner or as a post-thanksgiving detox.  Its not necessary to cover everything in cheese and butter to make it "better". Don't get me wrong, I LOVE mashed potatoes with a dollop of butter, and every once in a while is fine, but balance it with dishes that are wholesome for you and your body like this one! If you have quinoa on hand, feel free to substitute it for the buckwheat. 


1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced lengthwise
1 cup buckwheat, cooked (Try: Eden Organic Buckwheat Hulled Whole Grains)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons zest of a lemon, finely zested/grated
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 15-ounce can organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed (Try: Trader Joe's
1/3 cup pomegranate arils or seeds 
(Tip: Buy Trader Joe's freshly packed seeds or cut a pomegranate in half and use a wooden spoon to pound that arils/seeds out) 
Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper to taste 


How to roast the brussels sprouts: 

Preheat the oven to 450°F.  In a bowl, toss the brussels sprouts with one tablespoon of olive oil and season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Arrange the brussels sprouts on a baking sheet or a rimmed baking dish with the cut sides down. Roast them for about 45 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside and let them cool to room temperature on the baking sheet. 

How to cook buckwheat:

Rinse one cup of buckwheat in cold water. In a pot, bring two cups of water to a boil over medium-high heat, add the one cup of rinsed buckwheat to it. Cover, reduce the heat, and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Fluff with fork, set aside and let it to cool for the salad. 

How to construct the salad:
In a large bowl, add the cooled brussels sprouts and buckwheat in the bowl. 
Add the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, chickpeas, pomegranate seeds and parsley. Toss with a wooden spoon to combine. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper. Serve immediately  or cover, and refrigerate for up to 1 day. I prefer to refrigerate the salad overnight to allow the flavors to marry. Also, feel free to substitute buckwheat with quinoa. Enjoy! 


Come join Chef Takashi Yagihashi at Macy's Culinary Council on State Street 12/12 @12pm

Please come join us as Chef Takashi will be preparing his signature dishes! 
December 12, 2014 @12pm
Macy's on State Street
Chicago, IL
Lower Lever, Culinary Kitchen
RSVP by calling 1-800-329-8667
Macy's Culinary Council is made up of expert chefs from around the country, who are dedicated to inspiring you to eat, cook and enjoy food at home - just like a chef. The MCC includes some of the nation's leading culinary masters like Rick Bayless, Michelle Bernstein, Cat Cora, Tom Douglas, Todd English, Marc Forgione,  Marcus Samuelsson, Stephanie Izard, Nancy Silverton, Ming Tsai, Wolfgang Puck and Takashi Yagihashi. Launched in 2003, this distinguished team provides expert culinary advice and leads in-store cooking demos to teach customers how to bring a little gourmet to their dining table.


Within its very first year of opening, Chef Takashi Yagihashi's Chicago eatery, Takashi Restaurant became an instant favorite with critics and food lovers. Esquire and Chicago magazines both named Takashi "The Best New Restaurant of 2008." Zagat rated the restaurant 29 for food, the best rating in Chicago. Plus, Takashi became one of 18 restaurants to earn a prestigious one-star rating in the Michelin Guide Chicago, 2010. Yagihashi also operates Noodles by Takashi Yagihashi, a rustic Japanese restaurant that opened in 2006 at Macy's on State Street in Chicago. The James Beard Foundation named him Best Chef in the Midwest 2003. His first cookbook, Takashi's Noodles, was released April 2009. He opened his newest restaurant, Slurping Turtle, a tapas and noodle bar, in 2011.

December 12, 2014 @12pm
Macy's on State Street
Chicago, IL
Lower Lever, Culinary Kitchen


Grilled Chipotle Chicken Quesadillas

  • Once a week, I like to get creative and participate in my own "food challenge" by using whatever ingredients or food pantry items I have on hand. Its a great way to ensure you are actually using and consuming the food you buy.  Every couple days its smart to scan through the food in your fridge and pantry, and make a plan to utilize what you got before it spoils.

  • This past day, I knew that I had some flour tortillas that were a few days old, a left-over half of one red onion and a chicken breast. I figured I could turn these into some sort of quesadilla.  I headed over to pantry and found a can of chipotle salsa to spice things up, a perfect complement to the flavors of fresh cilantro and lime. I chose to grill the flour tortillas for the quesadillas because the grill marks add character and give the tortilla a mild smoky flavor. 

  • Grilled Chicken Chipotle Quesadillas 

  • Serves 2 


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 7oz can of chipotle salsa (I used San Marcos) 
  • 1 green onion/scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1-1/2 cups or 1 large grilled free-range chicken, sliced thinly 
  •          (this can be pre-cooked or grill at at time)
  • 2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 4 10-inch diameter flour tortillas
  • 4 handfuls of shredded cheese
  • Sour cream, for serving (optional)
  • Lime wedges, for serving (optional)


Grilling the Chicken 

Before laying your seasoned chicken breast down on your grill pan, you are going to want to make sure your surface is CLEAN, OILED, and HOT!  I promise your chicken will like you better, and you will like your chicken much better if you do this.  This, in addition to a little patience (don't even move the breast for at least 3-4 minutes), alleviates the issue of the chicken sticking to the grill.
Heat your grill pan to 375-450 degrees.  Place the chicken on a clean, oiled, and hot grate.  Cook the chicken breasts for about 4-5 minutes per side depending on thickness.  I like to do a "touch test" with  my finger to see if  the chicken is done, but feel free you use a meat thermometer, it should read 160 degrees. Remove the chicken from the heat, let it rest for a couple minutes, and slice in thin strips, and set aside for a moment. As it rests, begin making the chipotle mixture. 

Chipotle Mixture

In a large sauté pan or cast iron pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute or so. Stir in the chipotle salsa for 3-5 minutes, stirring often. I would slice the chicken at this point. Stir in the scallions, sliced chicken and cilantro. Keep warm on low heat. 
In the same grill pan as you cooked the chicken breast on, over medium-high heat, put down a flour tortilla. After a minute or so add a little cheese and wait until it begins to melt, then add an even layer of chipotle chicken mixture, sprinkle more cheese, and cover with another tortilla. Turn the quesadilla over, and let cook on each side for a few minutes until grill marks are perfect and golden.  If grilling in batches, keep finished quesadillas warm in a 200° oven until ready to serve. Enjoy! 


Chicago Food Film Festival is here! Get 10% off your pass with GIRLFOOD10


Tickets on Sale for 5th Annual
Chicago Food Film Festival,
November 19th-November 22nd, 2014

10% off with code: GIRLFOOD10

Tickets are now on sale for the 5th Annual Chicago Food Film Festival, returning to Kendall College (900 N North Branch St.) on November 19th-November 22nd with five events that feature over 20 food films, including 15 Chicago premieres. The Chicago Food Film Festival is the only film festival in the world where guests can taste what they see on the screen.

“We’re so excited for the 5th Annual Chicago Food Film Festival,” said Festival Director George Motz. “This year’s line-up is better than ever, with films ranging from Award-winning director Craig Noble’s beer film Craft, to fantastic food porn shorts, all screened alongside amazing foods and drinks.”


Wednesday, November 19th, Opening Night
·      A screening of director Matt Reynold’s The Great Chicken Wing Hunt, the full-length documentary about Buffalo Wings and the band of misfits who set out to find the world’s best one
·      Feast on an all-you-can-eat assortment of the world’s best Buffalo wings on the 50th Anniversary of the Buffalo Chicken Wing
·      The best hot wing in America, as discovered in Matt Reynold’s epic feature, will be in Chicago for ONE NIGHT ONLY
·      Scrumptious pies from Hoosier Mama

Thursday, November 20th, Edible Adventure #012 Sriracha & More
·      Die-hard heat seeking fans won’t want to miss this screening of Sriracha, the documentary that traces the origins of everyone’s favorite condiment
·      The after-party brings the heat with an entire menu of sriracha-inspired dishes
·      Tacos from Big Star with a spicy twist

Friday, November 21st, The Night Aquatic
·      An evening of sea-centric films including Squid Chips, The Mobile Blues, Sweet, Sexy Ocean, and more
·      Enjoy a deep-sea spread of seafood favorites including squid, sea urchin, crab, oysters, and sushi
·      Keizo Shimamoto of Ramen Burger fame will be in Chicago to exclusively debut a seafood ramen for the festival
·      Chef Phillip Foss (EL Ideas) will be creating a special uni dish unique to this night
·      All you can eat oysters from Martha’s Vineyard

Saturday, November 22nd, #ILoveBeer
·      Beer aficionados won’t want to miss the craft beer bash with a screening of Craft, a feature-length documentary that takes you on a beertastic voyage to the front lines of the Craft Beer Revolution
·      An entire afternoon of craft brews including Two Brothers, Stone Brewing, Half Acre, Smuttynose, and Begyle
·      Plus custom sausage and beer pairings from Artisanal Wilmette

Saturday, November 22nd, The Food Porn Party
·      The notorious (and crowd favorite) returns with an array of saucy shorts and antics from Larry Cauldwell, the world’s first Food Porn Star, who returns with his new short film, Balls!
·      Brooklyn BBQ Pit Master Billy Durney of Hometown BBQ will be serving his celebrated beef ribs to accomapny George Motz’s film, For The Love of Beef Rib
·      Milwaky Trace frying up some arancini balls
·      Meatballs from Schweid & Sons

Tickets for all events go on sale today at http://thefoodfilmfestival.com/  Code: GIRLFOOD10 for 10% off 


How to Make Bone Broth

In case you haven't heard, bone broths(s) is seriously trending right now. I'm happy that it is finally getting the spotlight it deserves, as I have been sipping on broth in my coffee mug/tea cup for years now.  Something, in fact, that I grew up with in a European household. I have my mom to thank for it.  
I'm sorry I haven't shared my recipes yet, but that's all going to change now. 

If you aren't already making bone broth or your own broth regularly, I'd encourage you to start today.  Many people moan about cooking their own homemade stock/broth, it's not that hard and fool-proof.  Ditch the boxed crap, its super high in sodium and other unnatural flavorings and preservatives. Trust me, once you can make a homemade brother, you will never go back to fake stuff. I promise! 

Every single Chef or restaurant incorporates a bone broth in their cooking. Besides giving rich flavor to your dishes (soups, stews, risotto), it has a tremendous impact on health. It is filled nutrients, it helps boosts your immune system and aid digestion.   I am so obsessed with bone broth I sip on it almost daily in the Winter months to keep colds and flu away.  It also gives me glowing skin and loads of energy. 
You can always make bone broth and keep it in the freezer, when a cold comes on, you'll be glad you did. 

With Thanksgiving around the corner, it's a perfect opportunity for you to take the turkey bones and carcass to make a bone broth. 
There are some of my secrets to making good bone broth:
Use the highest quality of bones you can find, I recommend grass-fed. I only use meat from The Butcher and Larder.
Add vinegar, like Bragg's apple cider vinegar, to the water to draw the minerals out of the bones into the broth.
Roast and brown the bones in the oven before adding them to the stock. This is a tip I received a couple years ago from Chef David Dworshak from Takito Kitchen when I was in a gumbo-off. 


2 pounds of bones (I used the remains from a roasted chicken ie. the bones and carcass) 
2 yellow onions, unpeeled 
2 organic carrots 
2 stalks of celery
2 cloves of garlic 
1 bunch fresh parsley 
a handful of fresh thyme
sea salt and pepper  
1 1/2 tablespoons of vinegar (I use Bragg's apple cider vinegar) 


In a stock pot add all ingredients. Make sure to wash the carrots, celery and herbs. I like to keep skin on onions as it adds a beautiful golden color.  Pour in water, I use filtered water, enough to cover the ingredients. Over medium heat, bring to boil. When it's boiling, a film of foam will begin to form, start skimming the foam out. Once the film is removed, cover the pot, lower to a simmer. Let simmer 3 hours-18 hours. The longer it simmers, the more flavor your broth will have. I like to store my broth in glass jars or freeze in ice cube trays.