All posts tagged tasty tip

Homemade Strawberry Tart Recipe

Contributing Chef- Abby Reibman- Author of  The Desk and The Stove

This homemade strawberry tart is one of my all-time favorite desserts – the fresh strawberries, vanilla pastry cream and lemon crust all work so well together, and, remind me of lazy Sundays spent at Nonna’s house near Rome. Serve this tasty treat with a glass of Prosecco for your summer get-togethers. A word to the wise: try to save a slice – it might just be even more delicious for breakfast!


Pasta Frolla…

½ cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
½ cup plus 1 tbl sugar
1 egg, plus 1 yolk
1 2/3 cup AP flour
 zest from ½ lemon
3/4  tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt


2-3 cups strawberries, sliced
Lemon zest cut into strips
½ cup sugar
½ cup water

Pastry Cream…

2 1/8 cups milk
½ vanilla pod 
zest from ½ lemon
4 egg yolks
¼ cup, plus 2 tbl sugar
2 tbl AP flour
2 tbl corn starch


1-    In a large bowl, mix together the chilled butter into the flour with your hands, working quickly. Add the egg, egg yolk, sugar lemon zest, baking powder and salt and gather together. Quickly knead the dough into a ball, flatten into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap.  Let chill in the fridge for at least 45 min.

2-    Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 F and begin the pastry cream.

  1. Pour the milk into a pot and add the vanilla seeds and lemon zest. Bring it to boil; once reached, remove from the heat and let stand for 10 min.
  2. Whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar until they become pale yellow (the ribbon stage).  Add the flour and cornstarch to the sugar/egg yolk and whisk to combine.
  3. Add a bit of the milk/vanilla/lemon zest mixture to the eggs/sugar bowl to temper the eggs. Whisk to combine and then add the rest in stages.
  4. Return the entire mixture to a pot and cook over high heat until the cream begins to thicken. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly on the cream and refrigerate for at least 30 min.

3-    While the pastry cream is chilling, roll out the dough on a floured surface to ½ inch thickness and transfer to a buttered and floured tart pan with a removable bottom.  Trim excess dough and prick bottom and sides with a fork. Bake blind by covering the tart with a disc of parchment paper and weighing it down with dried beans – this will prevent it from swelling in the oven.

4-    Bake for 20-25 min until golden brown.  Let chill on a wire rack.

5-    Fill the cooled pastry shell with the cream and decorate the top with the sliced strawberries.

6-    Make a simple syrup for the topping by dissolving the sugar into the water with the lemon zest over medium heat.  Once you have a thick syrup, remove from the heat and remove the lemon zest.  Using a pastry brush, gently brush the syrup over the strawberries to create a glossy look.  Cover and refrigerate the tart for 30 min- 1 hr before serving.


Apples with Honey for Rosh Hashanah

Apples with Honey

Happy New Year to all my Jew Divas! I had a wonderful dinner party for Rosh Hashanah last night and wanted to share my apples with honey presentation for you to make tonight! Super easy, super cute and super cheap! Toast to a “Sweet” new year in style without spending a fortune!  I love this hollowed out “apple bowl” presentation because it is unique and has a country chic feel for fall! Add some walnuts and dried apricots for more color and pizzaz!

How to Make the “Apple Bowl”

1) Cut a circle out of the top of the apple

2) Scoop out the inside until half of the apple is hollow

3) You can cut a circular slice out of the apple to make the sides even and neat if they got bruised while scooping

4) Make sure you expose the seeds of the apple while scooping so that you can see the “Flower” shape through the honey! Nice little touch!

Voila! A super cute way to serve Apples with Honey!

Apples with Honey

Lemon Thyme Cocktail

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Lemon Thyme Cocktail

A lot of people have been asking me for some fun summer cocktails that are super unique! This one is a favorite of mine so I wanted to feature it again as a great summer cocktail option! You really feel like a pro when making your own thyme and lemon infused syrup!

When I was in London my friend Logan introduced me to this fab lemon thyme cocktail and I became obsessed! It is so super easy to make and will liven up any party. It is always important to have a signature drink at your parties that is out of the ordinary and fun, funky, fresh!  This lemon thyme cocktail will get all the guests talking and mingling in no time! Add our super cute DIY fruit bowl to the bar for some cuteastic decor!

DIY Fruit Bowl

DIY Fruit Bowl

Here’s What Ya Do!

Make a Lemon Thyme Syrup:

Equal parts water, lemon and sugar. Bring water and sugar to a boil and add a handful of thyme. Let the sugar water get infused with the thyme flavor for about 15 minutes on simmer! Then, strain the thyme out and add in fresh squeezed lemon! This makes the base of your drink.

Lemon thyme cocktail

Lemon thyme cocktail

Now for the Cocktail:

Take a tablespoon of your lemon thyme syrup and add to a tall glass with a shot of vodka. Fill the rest of the cup half with lemonade and half with soda water. Place a lemon wedge on the side or your drink and garnish with some more thyme! Voila. The perfect summer cocktail!

Lemon Thyme Vodka Cocktail

Lemon Thyme Vodka Cocktail

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Prosecco Rose Petal Ice Pops

Prosecco Rose Petal Pops

Prosecco Rose Petal Pops

My tasty tip this week comes from my Good Day LA appearance from Monday! Now, these prosecco rose petal ice pops are red, white and blue for Memorial Day and 4th of July, but they can be altered by using different fruit and different colored rose petals. I suggest using some pink roses and raspberries for all your summer entertaining needs! These pops are super cute and unique and will be a huge hit at any party! 

Heres What Ya Do!

Take flattened Prosecco (pour prosecco into a bowl and let it sit for an hour)

Add an equal part of white grape juice to the prosecco (about 4 cups)

Add 3 tablespoons of lemon juice

Pour the above mixture into popsicle molds

Add in your fruit and rose petals

Use rose stems as the handle for you pop. Place them in the center and keep in place with tape

Put in the freezer for about 4 hours

Peach and Burrata Salad

Peach and Burrata Salad

Peach and Burrata Salad

A little pizzaz to the Italian favorite! This peach and burrata salad will be a huge hit at your Mother’s Day party! Same old caprese salad but add some sliced peaches to liven it up a bit. The burrata and sweet, cold peach pairs perfectly together! This is a wonderful spring salad that is truly to die for! It’s also super easy to prepare and always is a hit!

What You Need:

2 Large burrata balls cut into chunks

2 Peaches cut into slices

2 Large tomatoes cut into slices

Chopped Basil

Salt, Pepper, Olive Oil


Spring Pea and Radicchio Salad with Mint Vinaigrette

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 Contributing Chef- Abby Reibman- Author of  The Desk and The Stove

Super easy to prepare, spring salads are all about the right combination of ingredients; this crunchy combination of peas, radicchio, zucchini, and radish definitely fits the bill.  Impress your friends at a spring soiree with an elegant feast for both the eyes and the taste buds – This spring pea and radicchio salad with mint vinaigrette is the perfect tasty treat for lazy evenings shared with friends (and a glass or two of bubbly!)

 For the Salad…

1 cup of fresh garden peas
2 small red radicchio, thinly sliced
1 large zucchini, cut into small sticks
8-10 radish, cut into thin circles
a handful of dill, roughly chopped
4-6 mint leaves, chiffonade
olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed with the heel of your knife
salt and pepper

for the vinaigrette…

6 mint leaves, finely chopped
1 ½ tsp white wine vinegar
3 tbl olive oil
a few squeezes of lemon juice
salt and pepper

For The Directions…

1-    Boil the peas for 3-5 min or until they rise to the top (cooked), drain and rinse with cold water.  Set aside.

2-    Sauté the zucchini sticks in a bit of olive oil and the crushed garlic for 2-4 minutes, just barely cooked.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

3-    Combine the thinly sliced radicchio and radish with the cooked peas and barely cooked zucchini in a large salad bowl.  Add the chopped dill and mint chiffonade and season with salt and pepper.

4-    Prepare the vinaigrette by combining all the ingredients into a squeeze bottle and shaking vigorously for 2 min.  Taste and adjust seasonings. Refrigerate until needed.

5-    Dress the salad with the mint vinaigrette and toss altogether.  Taste and adjust seasonings.


Crispy Brussels Sprouts

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I am soooo happy to share my obsession with Brussels Sprouts with all of you! I have been cookin up a storm with these babies and found the perfect recipe! Crispy Brussels Sprouts is where it’s at! This recipe is super easy and makes a great side dish to serve at dinner parties! Your guests will swear there was a chef in the kitchen!


Serves 4

Two bags of Trader Joes’ Sliced Brussels Sprouts

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 1/2 Tablespoons Balsamic

1 Tablespoon caper juice

2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

Sliced almonds

Salt, Pepper, Garlic to taste




Saute the Brussels Sprouts in a pan with olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper and garlic until soft. Do not cook thoroughly! Then, mix in the balsamic and caper juice and transfer the Brussels Sprouts to a greased pan and roast on 375 degrees in the Oven for 25 minutes or until crispy. Add in sliced almonds for the last 10 minutes so they don’t burn! Voila! Crispy Brussels Sprouts to write home about!


Jacked Up Panzanella Salad

Contributing Chef- Abby Reibman-Author of  The Desk and The Stove

In honor of the past Olympics, I thought I’d take a classic Italian summer salad and jack it up on steroids…no really, I’m suuure the Chinese swimmer is legit! Don’t try to kid yourself by eating nachos while claiming that the diet will start tomorrow…(Guilty!) Munch on this jacked up panzanella salad instead; it’s a surefire way to hit gold.


1 baguette sourdough bread, cut into chunks
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tbl drained capers
2 tsp lemon zest
4 small radicchio, thinly sliced
2 red onions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, made into a paste with salt
5-8 assorted ripe heirloom tomatoes, deseeded and cut into chunks, plus 1 red tomato on the vine per serving
1 cucumber, deseeded and chopped into chunks the same size as the tomatoes
½ cup black olives, de-pitted
1 large bunch of basil, chiffonade
shaved parmesan (optional)
olive oil
salt and pepper


1-    Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  In a small bowl, mix together the bread chunks with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper. Spread the pieces on a baking sheet and bake until slightly crispy (7-10 min).

2-    In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, capers, lemon zest and garlic paste.  Add in olive oil in a steady stream whilst whisking to form  a vinaigrette. Add the radicchio, onion, heirloom tomatoes, cucumber and black olives to the vinaigrette and mix to coat. Adjust seasonings.

3-    Cut the tomatoes on the vine into halves of quarters, season with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in the oven until just cooked (about 5 min).

4-    Add in the crunchy bread and basil and plate with the oven-roasted tomatoes.  Jacked-up goodness.


Honey Dijon Chicken


Honey Dijon Chicken

This honey dijon chicken is YUMmazing and super easy and cheap to make! Legit, you need five ingredients including the chicken!! This dish is wonderful for Passover, Easter and spring entertaining! Its sweet and tangy with a perfectly crisp skin. The final product also looks super appetizing and unique with the golden color and mustard seeds!

This recipe serves 8 people!


Honey Dijon Chicken


8 Pieces of bone in and skin chicken medley.

1 Cup of honey

2/3 Whole Grain Dijon Mustard

10 tablespoons melted  butter

3 tablespoons curry powder

Pepper to taste!


Mix all ingredients together and let chicken marinate for about an hour!

Pour contents into a pan and cover with tin foil. Bake on 375 degrees for 45 minutes and then uncover and baste every ten minutes for 30 minutes! Voila! Honey Dijon Chicken!


Saint Patricks Day Cheese Crackers

~Tasty Tip~

Saint Patricks Day Cheese Crackers


These Saint Patricks Day cheese crackers are super cute for your holiday parties! They are also pretty hearty with cheese, salami and crackers to soak up some of your green beer! These little snacks are easy-peasy to make and will definitely be a show stopper!



Take a block of gouda, or any white hard cheese that you like, and cut little block circles and then paint them with green food dye. Take the food dye and paint your round crackers as well! Then take some salami and cut it into strips to wrap around the cheese for the ribbon on your “hat.” You can either leave the salami as is or dye it blue to stand out a bit more. You can also make a vegetarian version by using raisins for the “ribbon.” 


Stick it to the cheese with some sweet green cupcake gel! Finally, cut square pieces of salami with a square cut out in the middle for the “buckle” of your “hat.” Viola! You have the cutest damn Saint Patricks Day cheese crackers! 



 You can also serve these hats with some green artichoke and spinach chips to stay in theme!

Beef Stroganoff with Spatzle

Picture 3Beef Stroganoff with Spatzle


 Contributing Chef- Abby Reibman- Author of The Desk and The Stove

Looking for an easy but impressive winter dish for your next dinner party? Try this simple dish of tender beef, paprika, mushrooms and shallots. Instead of sour cream, use crème fraiche and cognac or sherry for a more upscale version of a Russian classic.  Paired with a noodle dumpling called spätzle, commonly associated with the cuisines of southern Germany, Austria, Switzerland and paprika-famous Hungary, this tasty treat can be prepared ahead of time and reheated quickly to feed your hungry guests.  Even though beer or vodka might be the preferred beverage of choice, The Hostess Handbook suggests enjoying this dish with a bottle of a dry Riesling or Gewürztraminer.


Beef Stroganoff:


4 beef tenderloin steaks (approx. 2 lbs), trimmed and diced or cut into strips
½ cup shallots, sliced
½ lb ea. shitake, chestnut and portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 clove of garlic, made into a paste with the heel of your knife
10-11 oz crème fraiche
2 tbl paprika
2 tsp tomato paste
1 tbl Dijon mustard cognac or sherry
olive oil
salt and pepper
2 tbl ea. parsley and dill, finely chopped, plus more for garnish


1- Season the stripped or diced steak with salt and pepper.  In a large sauté pan, sear off the steak in a mixture of butter and olive oil (approx. 3 min per side). Deglaze with some sherry or cognac. Set aside in bowl tented with foil.

2- Add more butter and olive oil to the pan and sauté the garlic, shallots and mushrooms.  Season with salt and pepper and deglaze with the sherry or cognac.

3- Add in the tomato paste, crème fraiche, Dijon mustard, paprika and chopped herbs.  Mix thoroughly and simmer together for 5-7 min.

4- Add back in the meat and meat juices and stir to reheat and coat the meat with the sauce.  Serve over spätzle




2 cups all purpose flour
½ tbl salt
1 tbl ground pepper
1 ½ tsp paprika
½ cup water
½ cup sour cream
1 large egg


1-    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Turn down heat so that it’s barely simmering.  Set aside a medium bowl of ice water.

2-    In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, pepper and paprika.  In a blender, puree the egg, sour cream, and water.  Add this smooth mixture to the flour and stir to combine (the consistency should be slightly thicker than pancake batter; add more water or flour as necessary).

3-    Using a ladle, force the batter through a colander or food mill into the barely simmering salted water. Let the spätzle rise to the surface (approx. 1 min) and after 30 seconds, transfer them to the bowl of ice water using a small sieve.  This will ‘shock’ the dumplings and stop them from overcooking.  Continue until all of the batter has been used.

4-    Drain the spätzle from the ice water. And set aside.

5-    When you are getting ready to serve, heat up a medium saucepan with a bit of butter and pour in half of the spätzle.  Let sear for a 2-3 min until slightly golden brown on the bottom.  Add the rest of the spätzle with a splash of warm water to reheat throughout.  Serve with the Beef Stroganov.


Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Bourbon Frosting

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Carrot Cake with Bourbon Frosting


  Contributing Chef- Abby Reibman- Author of The Desk and The Stove

This yummy carrot cake and decadent cream cheese frosting comes with a bit of a kick – of bourbon that is! Mixed in with mascarpone and cream cheese, the Hostess Handbook thinks it’s the perfect topper for the nutty carrot-filled treat. These carrot cake cupcakes with bourbon frosting are fabulous served at a dinner party, afternoon tea – or even eaten as breakfast. The Food Network denotes this delicacy one of the top five fad foods of the 1970s…so, grab a disco ball and practice your best John Travolta moves, you and your guests will be sure to work up an appetite for this retro tasty treat!



2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups light brown sugar
3 ½ oz sunflower oil
½ cup of butter, melted

3 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp  ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp salt
½ vanilla bean, seeds only
3 cups carrot, grated
½ cup ea. walnuts and pecans, chopped
zest from ½ lemon


1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.     Whisk together melted butter, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, vanilla

3.     Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Fold dry ingredients into liquid mixture, add in the grated carrots and chopped nuts and pour into two 19 inch, greased, sandwich tins (cake tins)

4.     Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Set aside to cool down. *If making cupcakes, bake for approximately 15 minutes in lined cupcake trays.




8 oz unsalted butter
10 oz full-fat cream cheese

2 oz mascarpone
4 cups icing sugar, sifted
½ vanilla bean, seeds only
1 tbl bourbon
zest from ½ lemon


1.     Beat together the butter, cream cheese and mascarpone until fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and add in the sugar a bit at a time, then the vanilla seeds, lemon zest and bourbon. Mix until Smooth.

2.     Once the cakes have cooled down, frost the bottom one and let it refrigerate for approximately 15 minutes, then add the second cake on top and frost them together.  Decorate with mini carrots and walnut pieces.

Quinoa with Mushrooms and Parmesan

Quinoa with Mushrooms and Parmesan

Dinner parties are always super fun but the menu can be stressful!  You want to make dishes that people will remember and want to re-create at home! This quinoa with mushrooms and parmesan recipe is really simple and unique and will definitely get guests talking! Its a great substitute for rice, roasted potatoes blah blah blah. You have to get creative with your sides and this is a wonderful solution!


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove of garlic chopped

1 onion choppped

2 cups mushrooms chopped

1 1/2 tablespoon butter

1 1/2 cups quinoa rinsed

3 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup grated parmesan


Take the olive oil and heat it in a skillet with the onions, garlic and mushrooms till browned.

Take a sauce pan and melt the butter in it. Add the quinoa and mix for about two minutes and then add the chicken broth to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil and then down to a simmer for 10 minutes.

Mix in the parmesan and the olive oil, onions, garlic and mushrooms to the cooked quinoa! Voila you have quinoa with mushrooms and parmesan! I like to sprinkle some parmesan on top and a medley of pepper to create a nice presentation!


Shrimp and Shitake Shumai

Tasty Tip 

Shrimp and Shitake Shumai

Contributing Chef- Abby Reibman- Author of  The Desk and The Stove

Dumplings, popular on dim-sum tables, are also an integral part of the Chinese New Year feast – these small packages are thought to contain luck. This steamed version filled with shrimp, cilantro and shitake mushrooms are a super tasty treat, and, served in these cute Chinese soup spoons, they are the  perfect canape for your Chinese New Year party. The Hostess Handbook suggests giving your guests small red envelops filled with candy coins (traditionally money) with the dumplings and serving in these cute Chinese soup spoons. 金玉滿堂:Jinyu mangtang (May your wealth [gold and jade] come to fill a hall). In other words: Happy New Year!!!


½ cup soy sauce
1 tbl  rice wine
1 tbl sesame oil, plus more for cooking
½ tbl fresh ginger, minced
½  pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ cup shitake mushrooms, chopped
½  cup  cilantro leaves, finely chopped
¼ cup scallions, chopped, white part only
20 round dumpling skins
juice of ½ lime
splash of white wine


  1. Sear the shitake mushrooms in sesame oil in a small saute pan for about 3-4 min on medium-high heat. Deglaze with white wine and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Combine the soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil and 1 tbl of the minced ginger in a small bowl.
  3. Blend half the shrimp, half the mushrooms, half the cilantro, ½ tbl of the ginger and all the scallions in food processor to form a paste.  Add 2 tbl of the soy sauce mixture and transfer to a bowl.
  4. Roughly chop the rest of the shrimp and mushrooms together and add to the paste with the rest of the cilantro. Stir to combine. Meanwhile, add the lime juice to the rest of the soy sauce mixture to create a dipping sauce.
  5. Separate the dumpling wrappers and using a fingertip, wet the edges of each with a bit of water. Spoon 1 tsp of the shrimp mixture into the middle of the wrapper and gently gather the edges around the mixture, pleating the edges. A bit should be left exposed.
  6. In a large pot, bring about an inch of water to a boil, and rig a steamer on top (I used a metal colander). Turn the heat down to a simmer. Gently place the dumplings in a single layer at the bottom of the steamer (or colander) and cover.  Cook until the wrapper becomes tender – about 5-6 minutes.  Transfer to a serving platter and serve with the dipping sauce.

Pea Soup with White Truffle Oil

Your mama always said to eat your peas and carrots right? Well, maybe that was a 50′s thing! Anywho, I love green peas and wanted to whip up something different with them for the holidays! What about a YUMmazing pea soup with white truffle oil? Ummmmm Yes, please! And this soup displayed on a red plate can be a very festive dish! This recipe is super easy and inexpensive to make for your holiday parties. My favorite ingredients are lemon and manchego cheese! Yup, the lemon gives this soup a nice zing with the rich and bold flavor of the truffle oil! The manchego is subtle but adds a nice undertone! Your guests will be wowed at this unique twist on the petit green pea!


2 Bags frozen petit green peas

1 Large shallot, finely diced (3 Tablespoons)

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 Table spoon white truffle oil

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter

1 Cup chicken stock

2 Tablespoons, finely grated,  manchego cheese

1/4 Cup Heavy Cream

1/2 cup lemon juice

Salt and Pepper to taste


Boil the green peas until very soft. Transfer them to a blender with some chicken stock and blend till liquified. Sauté the shallots in the butter and olive oil in a pan. Then take the green pea puree and sautéed shallots with butter and olive oil and add them together in a pot. Add the rest of the chicken stock if you did not use all of it to blend the peas. Bring everything to a boil and then add the white truffle oil, lemon, heavy cream, manchego cheese and salt and pepper! Garnish with lemon slices!

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