Savory · Uncategorized

Mediterranean Food

For the record, I am not an expert cook in this area. However, I am an expert eater. I find more joy arises from sharing what makes us happy. Thus, I will be sharing what I do know from eating a lot of Mediterranean food.

Photo by Grace Nguyen

When I think of Mediterranean food, I think of roasted vegetables, delicious rice, and a grilled meat of some sort. The dinner that I made for my sister consisted of just that. In general, I find Mediterranean food is extremely healthy and is a wonderful option for a week night meal or for the next day’s lunch. After heating it up, it will still look delectable.

For vegetables, I roasted tomatoes, onions, and broccoli in the oven. As for the seasonings, I find that salt, pepper, some garlic powder, paprika, and a little cayenne add quite a bit of flavor while keeping the meal clean. In addition, I also sautéed some mushrooms in a pan along with some garlic salt, black pepper, and balsamic vinegar for some acidity. I understand that this may sound more Italian than anything and… it just might be. Correct me if I am wrong in the comments or leave some suggestions on what I can do differently to change the flavors :). Finally, on the side, I chopped up some cucumbers and squeezed some lemon on top for a freshness to the dish.

For rice, most people will use a drier rice like a basmati. Unfortunately, I only had jasmine at home so that is what I used. However, most restaurants that I have been to usually use a drier, long grain rice. In a pan, I warmed up the already cooked rice and added about a teaspoon of turmeric in for color. Be sure to cook this on low for at least 5 minutes to cook out the raw spice. Using saffron would also be a nice touch if you cooked the rice from scratch. If you would like to use saffron, add it to the water of the rice and allow the rice to cook. The rice will then turn yellow from the saffron and have a wonderful and unique aroma.

Finally, for meats, I used salmon. This salmon came frozen from Costco in packs. I simply defrosted it in the microwave, added some olive oil in a pan, and cooked it for a total of 10 minutes (5 minutes on each side). The seasonings I used are the same as the vegetables for continuity.

All in all, this is a very healthy yet delicious dish. I find that I like to make this when I want to switch things up from regular Italian food or Asian food. Please give this recipe a try and tell me your thoughts and opinions!



Mediterranean Salmon Plate 


  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • a handful of broccoli
  • a handful of mushrooms
  • garlic salt or garlic powder
  • pepper
  • a lemon wedge
  • turmeric
  • cayenne pepper
  • paprika
  • basmati/ jasmine rice
  • salmon fillet
  • cucumbers


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Wash and chop the tomatoes, onions, broccoli, cucumber, and mushrooms.
  3. Pat them dry and toss in olive oil, garlic salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne pepper.
  4. Cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes until broccoli is fork-tender.
  5. Remove the vegetables from the oven and allow to cool.
  6. Warm the pre-cooked rice in a pan.
  7. Add a teaspoon of turmeric.
  8. Stir on low for at least 5 minutes until the rice is warmed, slightly toasted, and a beautiful yellow color.
  9. Remove from heat and set aside.
  10. Pat salmon dry and season with olive oil, garlic salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne pepper.
  11. Sear on medium-high for 10 minutes ( 5 minutes on each side).
  12. Remove from heat and plate.
  13. Chop the cucumber and toss with a teaspoon of lemon.
  14. Plate and serve!



Savory · Uncategorized

Easy Paella Recipe


Hi all! Here is the paella recipe I promised. New update: I am using a fancier camera to up my photo quality instead of taking pictures on my phone. Let me know what you think and what I can improve on. Now on to the recipe!

This recipe is not your traditional paella recipe. From what I have researched from the internet, traditional paella recipes use goat and quail or something that is gamier. That might be something that I can try in the future so let me know. However, for now, the purpose of this recipe is to give a taste of Spain while making it easy.


One of the main ingredients in paella is saffron and I understand that this can be expensive. However, I was able to find a small bottle at Trader Joe’s for 5 dollars which is not a bad deal if you are just going to make this for a special occasion. The saffron adds a nice color and a particular aroma that is hard to describe.


The other main ingredients that I used are arborio rice, chicken stock, and spicy Italian sausage. For arborio rice, I couldn’t really find it at Ralph’s but I did find a risotto mix at Trader Joe’s which has arborio rice in it to be mixed with a packet. As a result, I just used the rice in the box but opted out of the risotto packet inside.

The purpose of Arborio rice is that it absorbs more of the broth. It also gives a different texture than, say, a Basmati rice. People typically use Bomba rice for paella, but if you can’t find it, then feel free to use Arborio rice which will have the same effect.

As for the chicken stock, I have seen some people create a stock with the outer shells of shrimp and add that to the chicken stock to create a different element other than chicken. You can absolutely do that and I would recommend that if you have the time and resources. I had used frozen seafood with no shells in this recipe so I wasn’t able to do that. However, adding the shells into the chicken broth then straining adds another dimension to the stock.


Lastly…the Italian sausage. I wanted to use chorizo for this dish. However, I couldn’t get my hands on any. As a result, I used Italian sausage. I would recommend the chorizo, though, because there are more spices in there that compliment the paella.


Personally, the process of making paella is the more complicated part than the ingredients. In regards to gear, most people use a paella pan. I didn’t have one so I used on a open flat pan that could hold liquids and be put into the oven.

Traditionally, paella is cooked entirely on the stovetop. In my case, however, I was using whole chicken drumsticks which will not full cook on the stovetop. I used a combination of stovetop and oven to fully cook everything.

Ok, thanks for reading my paella rant and now here is the recipe!


  • chicken drumsticks (4-5)
  • saffron (a pinch)
  • peas
  • sausage (2-3 links)
  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup frozen seafood
  • cayenne ( a pinch)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of arborio rice
  • parsley to garnish
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes/canned tomato
  • sliced lemon



  1. Preheat oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Heat some olive oil in a pan.
  3. Add chicken drumsticks and salt and pepper (1-1 1/2 tsp each).
  4. Sear until it develops a nice color then remove from heat.
  5. Cut the sausage links into coins, sear in the same pan, and remove after developing color. (During this process, if you need to add more olive oil, then do so to avoid sticking.)
  6. In a separate skillet, fold the saffron in a square of foil to warm up the spice.
  7. Put the heat on medium and heat spice for a minute.
  8. Remove the saffron from the heat.
  9. In the pan with the oil, add the arborio rice and mix it in the olive oil and juices on medium-high heat for a minute.
  10. Add the chicken, sausage, peas, saffron, tomatoes, seafood, and paprika into the pan and add the chicken stock.
  11. Place pan into the oven for 30 minutes until chicken is full cooked through.
  12. If during this time, the amount of liquid has decreased so the top of the rice is sticking through, add more chicken broth.
  13. Remove the pan from the oven and bring the pan to a high heat on the stove to finish it off.
  14. Heat the pan in order to reduce the rest of the liquid. The rice should almost be finished at this point.
  15. Once the rice is fully cooked through (taste it), add additional salt and pepper to taste, garnish with parsley and lemon wedges, and serve.
breakfast · Savory · Uncategorized

Easy Breakfast Sandwich

Hi all! Sorry I’ve been MIA. Life hit me pretty hard, but I am now back in full force. Today, I’m going to demystify the breakfast sandwich.

Let’s talk about a bad breakfast sandwich for a second. Do you recall the ones that are rubbery? Maybe you remember something that was falling apart because the bread would not hold together and you would try to use a spoon instead to eat it? I’ve been there.

The key to making a fantastic breakfast sandwich is the bread. Whatever bread you use (e.g. whole wheat, white bread, rolls, etc.), toast the bread first and separately from everything else. If you want to toast the bread with butter, use at most half a tablespoon for both pieces of bread. Otherwise, you will have soggy, buttery bread which does sound good but is not suitable for our purposes here. Toasting the bread separately ensures that it will be fully “hardened” before you add eggs and veggies.


To address rubbery eggs, I suggest keeping an eye out for them. A big problem I face in the kitchen is multi-tasking. It’s possible but you are more likely to overcook something that way because you are paying attention to something else. Depending on how you want your eggs, the techniques will vary. If you like scrambled eggs, you will need to lower the heat to medium and take it off the heat just as all the liquid is gone. If you wait too long, it will be rubbery.

For sunny side up eggs, if you are using a scratched up nonstick pan like me, add about a tablespoon of oil. This will make your life easier and it will crisp up the edges of the egg. This is because of the hot oil. In order to fully cook the egg without burning the bottom, crack the egg into the hot oil (watch out for oil splatters) and let it solidify and crisp a little on the bottom first. Then, cover it with a lid. Open the lid every 30s to let out heat and to check if the eggs are done. This will cook the tops quite quickly. Remove your eggs and now let’s start on veggies.


For me, I usually like bell peppers in my breakfast sandwich. I’ll chop up some bell pepper (dice) and use the same pan that I cooked the eggs in. Then, I’ll add a little more oil to cook them.

Now assemble everything together. If you like cheese, put it on top of the egg or underneath it. The residual heat from the egg will melt the cheese. And there you have it! The perfect breakfast sandwich! Top it off with any of your favorite condiments and enjoy it with a big mug of coffee.


Desserts · Uncategorized

Homemade PSL

I’m totally late to the pumpkin train but I thought I would give this a try. This quintessential autumn drink is made a variety of ways. I’ve seen some people make a healthy one with almond milk. Others use half and half. Still, others find that whole milk is best. Whichever method you like, essentially the process is still the same.


You need pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice. Then add in the vanilla extract and then the glorious coffee.

In the end, you get a pumpkin spice latte. However, I will warn against using too much pumpkin puree. Although using a lot of pumpkin makes sense as it is a PUMPKIN spice latte, I find that using too much makes your drink have this almost sour taste.


Try out this recipe. If you like it, then you have found a new recipe to make during fall! If not, you can still run to Starbucks and earn some more points.

Happy Fall everyone!


Pumpkin Spice Latte


-1/2 a tablespoon of pumpkin puree

-1 tsp of pumpkin spice

-1 tablespoon of maple syrup

-2 tablespoons of half and half or creamer of your choice

-2 tablespoons of milk

-your coffee of choice


  1. Put the pumpkin puree in a pan with the pumpkin spice and cook it for 1 minute to get rid of the raw pumpkin flavor.
  2. Add in the maple syrup and let it cook for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add in the half and half or creamer and the milk and turn down the heat.
  4. Let the mixture simmer for about 1 minute.
  5. Brew your favorite coffee.
  6. Take the pumpkin mixture and blend it to create a foamy texture.
  7. Add it to your coffee and top it off with some pumpkin spice.


Savory · Uncategorized

Lemon Rosemary Chicken

This post is almost against everything I stand for. I am a hardcore advocate for using fresh foods for recipes because they taste better and cook correctly. You don’t need to worry about cooking times or varying internal temperatures.

Lemon Rosemary Chicken

With that said,… I made this recipe out of frozen chicken breasts. Honestly, there was nothing left in the fridge and hunger got the best of me. Though, I guess that the silver lining is that y’all have an easy recipe to test out at home.

The chicken ended up coming out juicy which I was very excited about. The key is to fully defrost the thing and to cook it slowly. This allows you to get the inside of the chicken to the desired temperature but also avoids the problem of making the exterior too dry. A big problem that I ran into in the past with frozen chicken (especially when I was hungry) was that I did not allow it the full time to defrost. The chicken then ended up cooking on the outside but was still FROZEN on the inside. Although looking back on these incidences and seeing that fully defrosting something is common sense, my mind does not listen to common sense under the influence of hunger. Can anyone relate or is it just me?

In the end, do as I say and not as I do. Please use fresh foods and don’t be hungry haha.




– 2 frozen chicken breasts (fully thawed)

-2 lemon slices

-2 cloves of garlic

-2 tsp of rosemary

-olive oil for the pan

-salt and pepper to taste


  1. Pat the chicken dry to remove excess moisture from thawing.
  2. Crush garlic and remove skins but do not mince
  3. Heat up pan with oil.
  4. Salt and pepper chicken and add rosemary.
  5. Place chicken in skillet (It should sizzle but do not let the olive oil smoke).
  6. After you see some color on your chicken, turn down the heat from medium-high to medium-low.
  7. Add garlic and lemon next to the chicken in the pan to let it infuse into the oil.
  8. After 1 minute, place the garlic and lemon on top of the chicken.
  9. Allow it to continue cooking until the inside is not pink. (Cooking time may vary depending on the size of your chicken pieces).
  10. Plate and serve.


Savory · Uncategorized

Tamagoyaki- Japanese Omelet

Finally! Here we go! Another recipe is here. Tamagoyaki is a Japanese omelet that is super delicious and tasty. In general, this dish can be consumed in the morning for breakfast along side a bowl of rice and some miso soup (which is a great probiotic by the way). I have also seen some Japanese izakyas (bars) serve this as well. In the case of bars, I do think that tamagoyaki goes well with sake or beer.



One of my favorite aspects of this dish is that it is made from a very fine egg mixture. What I mean is that the egg is beaten very well. In some cases, I have also seen people take a sieve and strain the egg mixture to make sure it is extra fine. Unfortunately, when I took the pictures for this recipe, I did not strain the egg, but if you have the time, I would highly recommend doing that.

Another part of this recipe which I really enjoy is the flavor. The combination of mirin, sesame oil, and soy sauce creates a very different flavor than omelets that I am normally used to. The addition of Japanese mayo, sriracha, yakisoba sauce, and bonito contributes to a plethora of dimensions which makes this dish so interesting.

A thing to note is that most recipes for tamagoyaki do not use yakisoba sauce in the dish. However, I thought that the combination of yakisoba sauce and mayo fused together very will and produced a savory and creamy dimension to the egg.

Overall, I hope you try this recipe. It is very different, but if you like trying new things, then this recipe is the way to go.

P.S. I have also seen people add shredded mozzarella cheese and chasu (a melt-in-your-mouth pork that is used in ramen), and these will also add to this delectable dish.

Tamagoyaki-Japanese Omelet Recipe


-3 large eggs

-1 tablespoon of mirin

-1 tablespoon of soy sauce

-1 tsp of sesame oil

-2 tsp of bonito flakes

-Japanese mayonnaise (to taste)

-Sriracha (to taste)

-1 tablespoon Yakisoba sauce (drizzle)

-green onions to garnish


1. Crack eggs into a medium size metal bowl.

2. Whisk egg along with mirin, soy sauce, and sesame oil.

3. Chop green onion and set aside.

4. Heat up a skillet and spray with a nonstick baking/cooking spray.

5. Spread a thin layer of egg and let it bubble up and cook.

6. Once the egg looks semi-cooked (30 seconds), roll up the egg with a spatula.

7. Add another layer of egg, connecting the rolled up egg to the new layer.

8. Once the next layer is semi cooked, roll it into the other layer.

9. Continue the process until you have used all of the egg mixture.

10. Garnish with bonito flakes, mayo, sriracha, yakisoba sauce, and green onions.

Desserts · Uncategorized

Healthy Banana Oat Muffins

These were inspired by my commutes to LA, studying for the GRE, training for a suicide hotline, and working out my arms. Hope you enjoy!

Healthy Banana Oat Muffins
Photo credit: Grace Nguyen

These muffins are a little crunchy on top but soft on the bottom. They are totally healthy yet satisfy that sweet tooth at the same time. If you would like to amp them up a little more, you can sprinkle a little brown sugar on top before baking. However, I opted for no sugar this time.

Healthy Banana Oat Muffins (makes 12 muffins)


-1 tsp baking soda

-1 tsp baking powder

-1 tsp cinnamon

-1 cup of oats

-1 cup of flour

-3/4 of maple syrup

-4 tablespoons of coconut oil (not melted)

-2 ripe bananas


  1. Preheat oven at 400 degrees F.
  2. Mash the bananas in a bowl
  3. Mix all of the ingredients together.
  4. Sprinkle extra oats on top.
  5. Place in the oven for 8 minutes.
  6. At 8 minutes, lower the temperature to 350 degrees.
  7. Finish baking for 10 minutes.
  8. Take out of the oven and let them sit.


Desserts · Uncategorized

Orange Rosemary Olive Oil Cake

Hello all!

This orange rosemary olive oil cake sounds different but it is seriously an amazing combination. All of the components from the flavors to the texture complement each other so well that everyone in your family is sure to love it!

Flavors: I love the combination of citrus and herbs. There is a tasteful balance that is both sophisticated and delicious. However, finding the right balance for your aromatics can be tricky. Too much citrus can be detract from the sweetness in the dessert and make it unpleasant. On the other hand, too many herbs can be overwhelming and can create the  feeling of having a perfume store in your mouth. Luckily, that’s not the case with this cake. In addition, the olive oil adds another dimension that is subtle yet interesting and palatable. The danger with using olive oil in a cake is that it can seem oily and just weird but, in the right proportions, it can definitely elevate the flavor factor of a cake.

Photo credit: Grace Nguyen

If you would like to amp up the sophistication even further, try adding a little alcohol. In this particular recipe, I use Grand Marnier. Adding a tablespoon of the liqueur enhances the orange essence in the cake and creates depth in the flavor. Now I am not saying that booze = sophistication. I do believe that too much alcohol in your cake can ruin it and make it seem like a college party in the manifestation of a cake. Just keep it classy and your cake will be classy as well.

Photo credit: Grace Nguyen

In terms of texture, this is a delicately spongy and moist cake. I used a combination of Greek yogurt and olive oil which allows the cake to be soft, moist, and not gritty. Also, the flour used is cake flour which gives a softer bite to the cake. However, the best part comes a couple days after when the cake is STILL moist. Yes, it stays soft and moist throughout the week. Now you don’t have to eat the whole cake at once although I don’t suggest that anyway.

All together, the flavors and texture make it a perfect treat for a tea party, after a meal, or for any occasion. I hope you enjoy the recipe and, again, please let me know what you think so I can improve the recipe and make more!

This recipe is the first installment of my dessert series where I will be concocting a variety of yummy treats. Stay tuned for more next week!



Orange Rosemary Olive Oil Cake


– 1 tablespoon of finely chopped rosemary

-2 tsp of vanilla extract

-2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier

-2 large eggs

-3 medium sized oranges

-3/4 cup of olive oil

-1 tsp of baking soda

-1/2 tsp of baking powder

-3/4 cup of Greek yogurt

-1 cup of granulated sugar

-1 1/2 cup of cake flour

-1/4 cup of powdered sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Squeeze the juice from the oranges. You can also use orange juice from the carton. Use a 3/4 cup of orange juice.
  3. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and rosemary. Whisk together to break up any clumps.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the Greek yogurt, orange juice, granulated sugar, and olive oil.
  5. Crack in the eggs and whisk.
  6. Add in the Grand Marnier and vanilla extract.
  7. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix well.
  8. Spray your cake pan with a non-stick spray and pour in your mixture.
  9. Cover the cake with tin foil but do not allow the foil to touch the top of the cake. This will prevent burning.
  10. Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clear.
  11. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
  12. Sift powdered sugar on top and serve.