Return Flight from Hawaii

Vacation is over, a new phone procured, and the kitchen has been in full swing since I woke up this morning. I’m so looking forward to sharing the next food adventures with you. In the meantime, if you’re like me, holiday shopping has barely started. Yet, we’re 10 days away from Christmas.

Here’s a quick list of goodies:

  • For the gourmand in your life, Around the World Sausage Sample Royale
  • For your friend who’s always too busy to cook: invite yourself over, bring some wine, and cook her a meal while she goes about her business. These recipes from Sabrina Ghayour’s new cook book are sure to brighten up a winter day.
  • Treat yourself to a bit of shimmer with this layered ring from Pandora.

From around the web, some wonderfully curated guides from some of my favorite bloggers:

  • I really appreciate the guide from Dinner: A Love Story. There’s whimsy, elegance, and books (my favorite) all wrapped with quick vignettes on why the item is in the guide.
  • Joanna Goddard’s curated list includes specifics for husbands, sisters, best friends, brothers.
  • David Lebovitz’s guide is definitely food centered, but includes great ideas for edible gifts. And let’s face it, how nice is it when we get a gift to enjoy, rather than a nick knack to find a spot for in the house?
  • There were many, many new cook books that came out this here. Here are just a few!


A-bay, HawaiiBeing a good blogger and traveler, I took some sweet aerial shots of our little island hopper planning departing from Honolulu. Imagine the coast line and Honolulu’s dense city skyline. Then to conserve battery,  I turned my phone off and preceded to place the phone on the seat next to me. Where it stay, until I disembarked and the phone was finally found by someone who (hopefully) needed it more than I.

The good part, it’s pretty freeing to be phone less. No one that needs to be texted, answers that can’t be easily found by just pulling up Google. (Although, Google, thank you for showing us the route to a delicious dinner in Hilo, courtesy of my parent’s phone).

The picture above is taken with the iPad, in a daring adventure I call operation read at the beach. Later that day, we wandered some of the area and found a small grocery store. Groceries purchased, we proceed to make a lovely and simple pasta dinner – local Hawaiian grown carrots and mainland kale included.

Vacation. It’s pretty blessed.

On an Island Pasta Dinner

  • 1.25 lbs ground turkey, chicken or beef
  • 2 lbs of penne pasta, or other short pasta
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large bunch of curly leafed kale
  • 2 small zucchini
  • 3/4 cup of chopped, fresh parsley
  • Red wine – whatever you have on hand
  • 1 jar of Newman’s Own Tomato Basil sauce
  • 1 small can of tomatoes
  • Salt, pepper, and crushed red chili flakes

In large saute pan, brown the meat. Add salt and pepper – about 1/4 teaspoon of each. Add a sprinkling of red pepper flakes. Cook the meat until totally browned through. Move the cooked meat to a separate bowl.

Chop the kale into rough stripes. In a cleaned saute pan, cook the kale until the color intensifies just a bit. Add salt, pepper, or red pepper flakes to taste. Set aside the cooked kale.

Chop the onions, carrots, and zucchini into an equal dice. Mince the the garlic.  In a medium warm pan, cook the onions with salt, pepper, and a little sugar for about 20 minutes, until translucent and starting to brown. Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add in the veggies. Cook 2 minutes over medium heat before adding the jar of tomato basil sauce and the small can of tomatoes. Add the meat back to the sauce. Taste for seasoning. Add in your red wine. Cover and simmer at least 30 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add the chopped kale.

Cook the pasta according to directions on the package. Check the pasta a few minutes before the package says it will be done. The cooked noodles should be a little chewy, as you’ll be cooking them a little bit with the rest of the sauce. Reserve one cup of pasta water. Once the noodles are strained, add them to the pasta sauce.

Combine sauce, pasta, and a little bit of pasta water if needed. Allow to cook together for a few minutes. Sprinkle the fresh parsley and serve.

Adjust the recipe depending on what you have in the house. We made this in our vacation rental, with minimal spices and seasonings. It does really go to show you how fresh ingredients and a  little salt and pepper (and red pepper flakes!) make for delicious dinner.

This morning, I woke up in tropical paradise. I write this post from the big island on Hawaii, after having just spend a good hour walking along the beach, taking in sights of waves, coral, and lava rock. But I’m thinking of you, and how awesome this dish would be for a vegetarian week night dinner.

I packed the left overs away and ate them cold out of fridge for a tasty lunch the next day. Talk about delicious. And for those of us experiencing cold weather, it’s also tasty warm….with bright flavors to remind you of summer!


Sesame Noodles

  • 1 package of Soba Noodles (6 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil
  • 4 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 lime, juiced)
  • Siracha or chile sauce to taste
  • 2 packages of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup of frozen edamame, shelled
  • Sesame seeds for garnish and crunch
  • Cilantro, roughly chopped

In a large saute pan over medium head, add olive oil. Add sliced mushrooms and saute until golden and the mushrooms have shrunk in size, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir the mushrooms every so often as they cook. Add the edamame and cook for additional 5 minutes, or until the edamame are soft yet chewy.

While the mushrooms are cooking, combine the sesame oil, soy sauce, lime juice, and siracha in a separate bowl. Stir to combine.

Cook the soba noodles per the instructions on the package. Strain the soba noodles and add them to the mushroom and edamame mixture. Add the sesame and soy sauce, stir to combine. Serve with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and freshly chopped cilantro.

And because I can’t resist, look at this view from my patio.


We’re a few days out from Thanksgiving, one of the tastiest days of the year. Hopefully we’re not all panicked and making second to last, and final, and definitely last trips to the grocery store.

For those of us with a few spare moments, here’s a sweet recipe to give the host and hostess of your Thanksgiving festivities. It also makes a lovely holiday gift, with it’s rich, jewel red color.

What is it, you may ask? Cranberry Apple Jam.

A mix between apple butter and cranberry sauce, with sweet and tart notes, all wrapped up in a jar and festivity colored to boot.

What is it good on? Warm, crunchy sourdough toast with salted butter. Ham sandwiches (pictured below). You know, left over Thanksgiving Turkey sandwiches. Or maybe: mixed with a little bit of water and used to glaze pork chops.

I usually don’t command you to make anything, but how nice would it be to show up with some Cranberry Apple Jam in hand?

apple cranberry jam, ham sandwich | kitchen notes IMG_2992

One of the great parts of blogging is discovering new blogs and making connections with great people whose path you’d normally never cross. I logged in today and saw so many wonderful recipes from my friends and fellow blog followers, I couldn’t help but share them with you.

1. From SimplyDish, a gluten free cranberry and peppermint fudge. Wouldn’t this look lovely wrapped in a cellophane bags with a pretty ribbon?

2. From Chloe at Food Like Cake, these Nutella frosted chocolate sugar cookies would be a delicious ending to a holiday dinner party. Don’t they look delicious?

3. From Anchor It Down: these delicious looking and sounding quinoa, spinach, and cheese breakfast cups.

4. From Natacha at French Girl Cuisine, this french onion soup sounds perfect for a cold winter night. Who can reset fragrant broth and bubbly cheese?

Im excited to share these great recipes with you! Enjoy.

Ottolenghi's Roast Chicken

I have a love-but-never-cook relationship with Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbooks. The vibrant photographs draw me in, the ingredients list sounds too delicious to not follow through. Yet somehow, when it comes to weeknight cooking, I generally forgo his recipes. There’s not rhyme or reason to this..most likely just my general laziness. (I have a healthy does of lazy).

Since the weather has turned to cooler nights and mornings (yes, dear readers, it was a shocking 58 degrees on my way to work recently), there’s nothing that resonates cooler weather and seasons than a roasted chicken.

Za’atar Roasted Chicken, adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi

  • 2 lbs of bone in chicken legs, breasts, or thighs
  • 2 medium onions, sliced thinly
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 lemon, sliced thinly with seeds removed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salat and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of za’atar

Combine the first eight ingredients in a large, resealable plastic bag. Toss together and ensure the chicken is coated with the marinade. Place the plastic bag in the refrigerator for at least two hours.

Once you’re ready to cook the chicken, heat the oven to 400 degrees. Once the oven has reached the designated temperature, wait 20 minutes. Place the chicken, onions, garlic on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Top the chicken with the za’atar.

Roasted the chicken for 45-55 minutes, until the chicken is browned and cooked through.


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