Signature Dish

I love trying new recipes. I know you’re not supposed to test new recipes out on guests, but there are so many great things to be cooked out there, that I often do just that. Besides, I LOVE researching things. Anything, really. But combine my love of research with my love of food, and you’ll often find me online or pouring through books to find new ways to combine ingredients to make a fantastic meal.

I went home to visit my family in New York last fall. While there, my mom took me to a dessert baking class being held at my family’s church. I ended up sitting next to a woman who clearly had the same love of cooking as I did. We got to talking and she asked me, “What is your favorite thing to make?” I thought about it for a second, and ended up telling her that I love trying new recipes so often that I rarely make the same things twice! She laughed and said she did the exact same thing.

It got me thinking, though. If there was a dish that I would describe as my “signature dish” or my favorite thing to make, what would it be? Most of the time, the super fancy things are saved for holidays and are either made once a year or just once, period. Like the time I made homemade croissants for Thanksgiving. Probably won’t do that again.


Or even the pesto egg casserole that I make every year on Christmas morning. But that’s not my signature dish; that was something that my parents made every Christmas, so I have adopted the tradition.

egg souffle recipe

Family recipe (with notations) passed down

I guess if I had to choose, it would be two things. One is my granola. I’ve made it for brunches, for new moms, brought it on ski trips, and even thought of starting my own granola business to sell at our farmer’s market (where I was told that the farmer’s market is for farmers only, thank you very much). And second is my mediterranean chicken dish. Nothing super fancy or elaborate, which may be why it’s my go-to dish. It simply needs to be marinated for a few hours and then thrown into a pan and baked. But it’s delicious. This dish is loved by those who are convinced they hate olives, and despite the use of prunes (which sounds so unappealing; amirght?), people get hooked.

2015-02-04 18.29.45

The recipe originally comes from Deborah Norville, but was given to me by my mother after she made it on one of my visits home. Again, it’s super easy, and you can definitely play around with different ingredients or amounts if you like. (I tend to go heavy on the olives and capers!) I find that the bone-in, skin-on chicken breast works very well for this, but I’m also partial to dark meat, so occasionally I’ll throw some thighs in with it as well.

Give it a try and see if it becomes one of your staples as well!

Mediterranean Chicken

  • 5 or 6 pieces of chicken (bone-in works best)
  • 3/4 cup dried prunes
  • 1/4 cup green olives
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2-3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients except for brown sugar and place in a zip-top bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.

Place the chicken in a single layer in a baking pan and pour marinade over top. Sprinkle sugar evenly over chicken. Bake until the chicken breasts have reached a temperature of 165, about 50 minutes. If chicken skin is not golden enough, turn on the broiler and let it brown up for a few minutes – keep your eye on it!

Note: I have accidentally left off the brown sugar and it still comes out delicious!

Love More

“How would your life be different if…you decided to give freely, love fully, and play feverously? Let today be the day…you free yourself from the conditioned rules that limit your happiness and dilute the beautiful life experience.” – Steve Maraboli

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here. Sometimes when I look back on the last few years it seems as though nothing has changed and other times it seems like everything has changed. It’s like when you run into someone you haven’t seen in a while and they ask, “How are things?” The usual answer seems to be, “Oh you know, same old.” It can be overwhelming to explain to someone you haven’t seen or talked to recently what all you have been up to. And it’s easy to forget, too.

My husband (yes, I’ve since gotten married… you know, same old) and I were recently trying to remember what we did for my 30th birthday last year. Both of us had trouble remembering and ended up going back to old credit card statements to jog our memories. And it was a fantastic birthday weekend! Awesome brunch, beach bar bicycle crawl, amazing french dinner, NBA game. But we get so wrapped up in the day to day that we forget to take the time to remember the good stuff. And there is lots of it.

We just got back home to Santa Monica from Boston after hearing of the unexpected death of my father-in-law. If there is one thing that everyone seemed to take away from the trip it was, why wait? How often do you say that you want to do something, only to put it off thinking that there will be a better time? Whether that be visiting family, calling a friend, learning a new language, starting a new job.

For me, writing is something that I really enjoy, but sometimes find it hard to come up with “worthy” (whatever that means) topics to write about. I’d like to make an effort to live a life that leaves itself open to interesting writing. And that doesn’t mean extravagance. It simply means doing the things that give us fulfillment – visiting family, cooking good food (my love language), seeing friends, and most importantly, loving more.

While I don’t necessarily make resolutions at the beginning of each year, I’d like 2015 to be a year of documentation. Something to look back on and remember what it is we’re doing here. It’s not just about trudging through life and making it to the weekends. Yes, that is part of it. But let’s look for the good stuff. It’s in there, now let’s go find it.