Yep, I said it: Garlic Bread Soup. Garlic bread is so good that I found it necessary to harness it in drinkable form. This recipe calls upon the gazpacho method of thickening soups, using bread as a base. The twist: instead of plain bread, i use garlic bread. Bread cubes are sauteed with butter, garlic, and herbs. Onions are caramelized and cooked in chicken stock, then pureed with bread cubes. A touch of cream provides a smooth finish.


1 1/2 cup fresh bread cubes

1 clove garlic (minced) plus 3 more

1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley plus one more

1 tablespoon butter plus one more

2 tablespoons olive oil plus two more

fine sea salt

1/2 cup chicken stock

freshly cracked black pepper

1 medium-large yellow onion (sliced)

3-4 sprigs fresh thyme leaves (stripped)

3 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup heavy cream


Heat one tablespoon butter in a fry pan with two tablespoons olive oil over medium temperature. Cut french bread into one-inch cubes. Mince one clove garlic and a handful of flat-leaf parsley. Once oil and butter is hot, add garlic and parsley and fry for thirty seconds before adding bread cubes. Toss bread cubes in butter mixture and season liberally with salt and pepper. Let fry until slightly toasted before removing from pan.  Transfer to bowl, add 1/4 cup chicken stock, and let soak. Reserve. In a large pot, heat two tablespoons olive oil. Slice onions and add once oil is hot. After few minutes add one tablespoon of butter and thyme leaves. Season with dash of salt and let fry for 10-15 minutes or until deeply caramelized. Then add 3 cloves minced garlic and fry for a minute before adding chicken stock. Season with one teaspoon salt. Allow liquid to come to a simmer before removing from heat. Then, transfer liquid to a blender and puree until smooth consistency is achieved. Transfer back to cooking pot and add 1/2 cup heavy cream. Finish with thyme garnish.

Banh Mi is rising to popularity: a French inspired Vietnamese sandwich that’s making an impact on the American street food scene. French colonization in Vietnam has led to a slew of interesting dishes. Banh Mi is a prime example. Typically made with french bread, Banh Mi sandwiches combine pickled carrots, daikon, cilantro, spicy mayonnaise, and some type of savory Vietnamese meat: lemongrass beef, spicy pork, Vietnamese sausage, etc.

Banh Mi Sliders are my own interpretation, perfect for parties. Same ingredients, same delicious combination of flavors, but in a small, party-friendly package. Ground pork patties are flavored with lemongrass, basil, and Thai chilies, then kissed on the grill. Served with pickled carrots, fresh cilantro, and a sriracha spiked mayo, this dish is the perfect way to introduce Vietnamese flavors to your friends!

Ingredients (Makes 8 sliders)

8 slider buns

1 lb ground pork

3 cloves garlic (minced)

1 inch ginger (grated)

2 green onions (chopped)

1/4 cup chopped Thai Basil

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

3 stalks lemongrass (inner bulb) (finely chopped)

3 thai chilies (chopped)

1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes

3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 cup fresh bread crumbs

Pickled Carrots

8 carrots (peeled and cut into thin strips)

1 cup white vinegar

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

4-6 black peppercorns

Spicy Mayo

1 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon sriracha sauce

Other Ingredients

1/2 red onion sliced

Bunch of Cilantro


Start by peeling 8 carrots and cutting into thin strips (julienne). Combine carrots with vinegar, sugar, salt, and peppercorns and let sit for at least two hours. Mix 1 cup mayonnaise with 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce and reserve. Combine all ingredients for meat patties and divide into eight equal portions. Roll into balls and flatten with palm of your hand to form small patties. Heat a greased grill to high temperature and cook patties for about 3 minutes on each side, or until juices run clear. In the meantime, you may toast slider buns on upper rack in grill for about 2 minutes. To assemble sliders, place patty on bottom bun, then top with pickled carrots, sliced red onion, and fresh cilantro leaves. Spread a liberal amount of spicy may onto the other bun and top. Enjoy!

Gorgonzola and Caramelized Onion Tartlets

These sweet and savory tartlets are perfect for a party. Puff pastry is baked until golden and crisp, then topped with sweet caramelized onions, fresh mozzarella, and for a salty bite, gorgonzola cheese. The beauty of puff pastry is that it can be used in innumerable ways. You can make desserts, appetizers, even main courses with it. And best of all, it comes readily available at your local store.


1 9×10 sheet puff pastry

1/2 large yellow onion (sliced)


freshly cracked black pepper

3 teaspoons white sugar

About 1/2 cup shredded fresh mozzarella cheese

crumbled gorgonzola cheese

Olive oil


Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Shred about 1/2 cup of fresh mozzarella and reserve. Place one sheet of thawed puff pastry over a floured board. Using a 1-inch cookie cutter, cut about sixteen circles and transfer to a baking sheet. Cover puff pastry discs with wax paper and then place another baking sheet on top of it. This will keep the pastry flat and crisp and prevent it from puffing up. Bake pastry at 400 degrees for about ten to twelve minutes or until golden and cooked through. In the meantime, heat up a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a large fry pan over medium high temperature. Once the oil is hot, begin frying onions, seasoning slightly with salt and three teaspoons of sugar, and cook down for about 10-15 minutes until deeply caramelized and soft, almost jam-like in texture.  Once pastry has baked, remove extra baking sheet and wax paper and transfer the discs to wire rack to cool.  Assemble by placing about a teaspoon or two of caramelized onions over each pastry disc, topping with shredded mozzarella and crumbled gorgonzola cheese. Transfer back to baking sheet and slide into the oven, uncovered, for about 5 minutes or until cheese has slightly melted on top. Serve hot or cold and enjoy!

Optional: Garnish with fresh thyme leaves if desired.

Everyone thinks of chili peppers as these hot, fiery things. But they have great flavor too. Most of the times, you’re so overwhelmed by the heat that you don’t even notice the taste. Removing the seeds are a great way of maximizing flavor and minimizing heat. But sometimes, a little pain can be pleasure. Here is my recipe for an intensely spicy, but delicious, green chili sauce. Serve it with tortilla chips or in your favorite taco or fajita. You might burn your tongue,  but you’ll definitely go back for more.


3-4 jalapenos (depending on heat) (large chop)

1 large clove garlic (peeled)

1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

handful cilantro leaves and stems

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2-3 tablespoons sour cream

salt to taste

freshly cracked black pepper


Place all ingredients apart from seasonings and sour cream in a food processor. Puree until smooth consistency is achieved. Transfer to bowl and fold in sour cream. Mix well. You may adjust the amounts of sour cream and jalapenos to your tolerance. Serve with tortilla chips, or as a sauce for meats. Enjoy!

Green Pea Cutlets with Mint, Feta, and Pine Nuts

These are my vegetarian versions of crab cakes: crisp on the outside;  moist and flavorful on the inside.  Green peas are ground, then flavored with mint leaves, feta cheese, red onions, and toasted pine nuts. Rolled in fresh bread crumbs and pan-fried, they’re the perfect bite for a party. Top with a lemon yogurt sauce for a fresh and creamy finish.


2 cups frozen peas (thawed)

1/3 cup chopped red onions

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

2 cloves garlic (minced)

1/3 cup feta cheese (crumbled)

3 tablespoons pine nuts (toasted)

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

freshly cracked black pepper

1 egg

1/4 cup flour

4 slices white or wheat sandwich bread (for breadcrumbs; about 2 cups)

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Vegetable oil

Ingredients for Sauce

1/2 cup yogurt

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon lemon zest

squeeze of lemon juice


liberal amount of freshly cracked black pepper


Buzz three slices white or wheat bread in a food processor. Pour over a plate and mix with parmesan cheese. Reserve. Dry toast pine nuts in a pan over medium heat and reserve. Thaw and drain peas, then process in food processor until course paste is achieved. Then transfer to a mixing bowl and add chopped garlic, onions, mint leaves, feta cheese, salt, and freshly cracked pepper. Mix well, folding in pine nuts. Then add one egg, and 1/2 of bread crumb mixture (1 cup), mix and finish with 1/4 cup flour. Mix well. Take about a tablespoon of mixture and roll in your hands to form a ball, then dredge in the parmesan bread crumb mixture. Slightly flatten the ball to form a patty. Repeat this process until all patties are made. Then pour enough vegetable or canola oil in a large fry pan to come up about a 1/4 inch from the bottom of the pan. Fry in batches, about three minutes on each side or until golden and crisp. Drain on paper towel-lined plate.

For sauce, simply combine all ingredients. Dollop on top of cutlets and garnish with chopped fresh mint. Enjoy!

Spiced Almond-Chocolate Chip Cookies

I rarely bake. Nor do I create recipes for desserts. But every now and then I get the urge to make something different. These cookies are a perfect example. With a hint of cardamom, cinnamon, and toasted slivered almonds, these are not your typical chocolate chip cookies. Think of a nutty, chocolatey snicker-doodle. Bake off a couple dozen, or save the dough and freeze it. Either way they’re delicious!


1 1/8 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 stick softened unsalted butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup white sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate chunks

1/2 cup slivered almonds (toasted)


Pre-heat oven to 375. Start by dry-toasting 1/2 cup slivered almonds in a pan over medium heat, until golden and fragrant. Set aside and reserve. Mix flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. Then add cinnamon and cardamom and mix well. In another large mixing bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, white sugar, and almond extract until creamy consistency is achieved. Beat in one egg, continuing to mix. Then slowly add flour mixture, in batches, mixing to combine. Lastly, fold in toasted almonds and 1 cup chocolate chips or chunks, mixing to combine.

Drop about a tablespoon of cookie dough for each cookie onto a baking sheet and bake in oven for about 10 minutes or until golden. Let cool and enjoy!