Roasted Parmesan Pork

Roasted Parmesan Pork

I think Parmesan cheese can make anything taste good. Just a sprinkle of cheese won’t do, though. I like to load a heaping mound of Parmesan over pasta, on top of soup, or to anything else imaginable. The nutty taste is too good to resist, and it holds up really well because of its hard texture. So, when I was eating at Fogo de Chao, a Brazilian steakhouse in downtown Chicago, I was excited to see that one of their meat selections was a pork loin completely coated with Parmesan. What would have been very plain tasting pork was covered in a golden brown layer of cheesy goodness, sizzling hot and begging for a fork and knife.

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Pumpkin Cornbread Pudding with Cinnamon Caramel & Popcorn

Pumpkin Cornbread Pudding

With autumn in full swing, it’s finally time for some pumpkin! I went on a splurge and incorporated all of my favorite flavors of fall into one dessert. Never a huge fan of traditional pumpkin pie, I love finding other ways of incorporating pumpkin into my meals – roasted pumpkin soup, pumpkin cheesecake, or maybe using the seeds in a pesto. This pumpkin cornbread pudding I’ve created is definitely up there on the list.

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Scallops with Eggplant Caponata

Scallops with Eggplant Caponata

Perfectly seared… Golden crust… Buttery and mouthwatering… I’m talking about scallops! Scallops are my absolute favorite kind of seafood, and quite possibly my favorite food to eat, period. There’s something about their smooth texture and rich flavor I cannot resist. The best part about them? They’re prepared best by doing not much at all. Simple seasoning, sizzling hot oil, a few minutes on each side, and they’re done.

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Roasted Beet Salad with Black Garlic & Orange Vinaigrette

Beet Salad

What makes or breaks a salad for me is the dressing. It sets the overall tone of every bite. Toppings are important, too, but you may only get a couple bites of each throughout the course of enjoying your salad. The dressing coats every single bite, giving the lettuce its much needed flavor boost. That’s why when coming up with this salad recipe, I gave extra attention to the dressing, a black garlic & orange vinaigrette.

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Potato & Sage Frittata with Fresh Tomatoes

Frittata

Breakfast is best served family style, with large platters of food spread across the table, where everyone can help themselves to a huge variety. There is bound to be one or two egg dishes found on that table, and a frittata is the ideal one. Just like a pie, it’s easy for people to slice off a piece in any size they want. And the best part? You can add basically anything you have in your fridge to a frittata: vegetables, fresh herbs, any kind of cheese, etc. The possibilities are endless, making it a versatile dish to whip up.

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Grilled Romaine with Bacon Vinaigrette

Grilled Romaine with Bacon Vinaigrette

Salads are always a lot of fun to play around with and see what you create. Lettuce is the perfect vehicle to add absolutely whatever you want to it. I usually keep salads light, adding lots of fresh vegetables, herbs, and maybe some sort of protein. I took a slightly different approach when coming up with this salad, making it as indulgent as possible. And trust me, it was worth it.

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Nutella Cheesecake with Sweet Cherry Jam

Nutella Cheesecake

Over a summer vacation to the Bahamas, I ate at Chef Todd English’s Olives. The menu offers rustic Mediterranean cuisine: flatbreads, fresh pasta, a raw seafood bar, etc. While the entire meal was delicious, the highlight for me was dessert. I can never pass up anything with Nutella in it, so when the first item on the dessert list was a Nutella cheesecake, I put down the menu and was ready to order. It was so good that I came back for seconds at the end of the trip.

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