Category Archives: The Balanced Diet

Slow Cooker Indian Chicken Kheema with Peas

If there was ever a New York City neighborhood that represented the concept of “high high’s, low low’s” in real estate form it would be Murray Hill. The area, in the east 30’s of Manhattan, is home to the highest per capita of 22-year-old former frat boys, turned first year analysts. It is also home to the highest per capita of Indian restaurants and specialty food stores, for which it has also been dubbed Curry Hill. A tale of two cities, indeed: of blocks defined by either biryani or Buck Hunter. I think you know which one I prefer. 

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Magic Faux-Tisserie Chicken

You can’t change people. It’s one of the life lessons I need to relearn in every new relationship. For the most part, I agree that we have to “accept our loved ones for who they are.” But there are certain things I think you can tinker with without having to rewire the motherboard. Punctuality, card writing, and general expression of emotion were among the areas I sought to improve after the honeymoon period ended with Charlie. I’ve been astounded and at times brought to tears by the progress on all these fronts, specifically when #2 and #3 have collided. But perhaps the biggest leaps and bounds I’ve seen have been on the food front. I know that might seem obvious; how could Charlie not at least eat slightly better with someone waiting at home for him with a bowl of … Continue reading

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Sheet Pan Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Squash, Black-Eyed Peas and Mustard Sauce

I didn’t think it was possible to feel full from half a dozen oysters, but that was before I went down to The Big Easy. It was only my second visit to New Orleans. The first was right after Katrina, and much of the city was still recovering. So needless to say, this trip really felt like the true taste of all the city had to offer. Our first stop was at Peche, a modern seafood joint that was raved about by nearly every friend I pestered for food recommendations. By 6pm, there was already a 2 hour wait for a table. So Charlie and I posted up at the bar and did what we usually do: we ordered oysters. When the big baddies from the Gulf showed up, we were equal parts impressed and terrified. One was as hefty … Continue reading

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Garlicky Avgolemono Soup with Fennel and Quinoa

The first sign of trouble was the bowl of chocolates on the dinner table. The appetizer course hadn’t arrived yet. And even though I’d hit up the raw bar multiple times, that did little to absorb the dirty martini sloshing around somewhere beneath my black dress. So because I was hungry, and it was a celebration, and empire waists should be cherished, things proceeded to get a little out of hand. I ate the chocolates. I drank the wine. And an hour later when I went to the bathroom, encountering the bride’s mother on the way, I saw a puffy fuchsia face, a neck covered in hives, and a body that was giving me the middle finger for eating all the things. It’s not that often these days that I experience the type of unbridled binge that used to be a staple … Continue reading

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Masala-Style Baked Eggs in Purgatory

Every culture has their spin on a baked egg recipe smothered in tomato sauce. The simplest one, as often is the case, comes from the Italians. It involves the usual suspects: garlic, upon garlic—frizzled in hot oil until golden brown—and a dangerous heap of chili flakes, which sends the eggs into delicious Dante-esque purgatory. Charlie has been working insane hours for the last month, including weekends. So a few Saturdays ago, during one of endless wedding seasons rare respites, I whipped up a quick eggs in purgatory before he left for the office. It felt elaborate compared to our usual olive oil fried egg and bacon MO, but somehow took even less time.

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“Tom Kha Gai” Thai Chicken and Rice Casserole with Leeks

I know you’ve often wondered what would happen if your favorite chicken and rice casserole went to Thailand and came back with a scandalous love child. The answer is THIS. Yes, my Tom Kha Gai rice casserole is that love child. And it also might just be the best thing I’ve cooked in a long long while. There seems to be a lot of takeout love on the site this week, and you may remember me reminiscing about when my go-to order switched from Chinese to Thai. Upon further reflection, it was not immediately after I projectile vomited chow mein all over my kitchen. Rather, it was the first time I tried Tom Kha Gai soup in the motherland.

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Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein with Shitakes and Bok Choy (Gluten-Free)

It’s fairly well documented that I have a serious Thai takeout addiction. Back in the day though, it was far more common for the contents of my red and white to-go boxes to include mooshoo pork and vegetable chow mein. My love of noodles runs deep, and as a semi-hyperactive 11-year-old, that meant that I basically inhaled my chow mein in one continuous mouthful. You would think that the lack of chopstick finesse would slow me down. But it just meant I used them more as a shovel, making sure that the noodles remained in one tangled mop, and my mouth kept moving. That’s not an exaggeration. One time I actually ate my vegetable chow mein so fast that I got up from the table and proceeded to regurgitate the entire meal into the kitchen sink. If that sounds disgusting, don’t worry. … Continue reading

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Greek Lasagna with Lamb, Fennel and Chard (Gluten-Free)

This Greek Lasagna recipe is sponsored by Prego Farmers’ Market. All opinions are my own (duh). Thank you for supporting the brands that make this site (and my global casserole cravings) possible! I did a lot of special things on my trip to Greece two summers ago. I frolicked on the pebbly beaches of Hydra, ate my weight in crisp lemon-scented potatoes, and stalked wealthy shipping magnets from their yachts to see where they were going for dinner. What I did not do was eat Greek Lasagna. This isn’t just thanks to my on-going gluten-free buzzkill. At the time, I didn’t even know what I was missing. Before I left for my trip, my food fantasies were almost completely dedicated to seafood and spuds, and the dozen glorious condiments I could dip them in. To this end, I successfully emptied … Continue reading

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Chinese Stir Fry Green Beans with Pork, Ginger and Chiles

The irony of being a private chef is that the cooking I do for others is often the biggest thing that gets in the way of the cooking I do for myself. It’s a well-known pitfall in the restaurant business: chefs are great at taking care of others and terrible at taking care of themselves. This is in part due to the grueling physical nature of the work, the hours spent in a kitchen, and (sometimes) the Bourdain-level use of certain substances to get through a night of service. As someone who works primarily in other peoples’ homes, I only experience a small degree of that end of day raggedness. But still, the work does take its toll. And during the height of when I used chef-ing as a bridge job, when I came home after a day of lugging … Continue reading

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