Category Archives: March 2011

Spring Salad with Spaghetti Squash

Recipe: Rina Oh

This week in Meatless Monday, a refreshing spring salad that’s perfect for a light lunch or a starter for entertaining.

Spring Salad with Spaghetti Squash

Yields 6-8 servings


3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 spaghetti squash (2-3 pounds), split in half and seeds removed
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into thin strips
3 red bliss potatoes, peeled and sliced into thin strips
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tomato, diced
1/2 pound green beans
1 cup feta cheese, cubed

Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat the bottom of a baking sheet with vegetable oil. Place spaghetti squash face down and bake until a fork goes in easily, about an hour. Lightly toss potatoes with vegetable oil, dill, salt and pepper, and place them on a second baking sheet. Bake until a fork goes in easily, about 30 minutes.

2. Remove spaghetti squash and potatoes from oven. With a fork, gently remove scrape out the flesh of the spaghetti squash, and set a colander to drain excess liquid. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.

3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add beans and cook until bright green, but still crisp, about 3-5 minutes. Remove, and plunge into ice water to stop cooking.

4. To make vinaigrette, whisk together lemon juice and olive oil. Add lemon zest and season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Dress each salad ingredient separately and then assemble. Top with feta cheese.


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Filed under Food2, March 2011, Meatless Mondays, Rina's Food2 recipes

Oeufs en Cocotte with Cream and Fresh Strawberry Jam

I made this delicious breakfast for my little boys this morning along with my five-minute rice pudding recipe which I promise to post very soon! You can create your own version by adding herbs, vegetables, and substituting the cream if you dare! Some versions of the classic Oeufs en Cocotte require two eggs, however considering the unwanted calories for my gourmand readers, I opted to use only one.

For my little gourmand elves

Recipe: Rina Oh

Yields 6 servings


6 ramekins, buttered

6 whole eggs

1 1/2 cups heavy cream reduced by half

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups fresh strawberries, quartered

2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/3 french baguette, thinly sliced diagonally

2 tablespoons butter


  1. Place an egg in each buttered ramekin, sprinkle a dash of salt and pepper and cover with two tablespoons of double heavy cream. Place in the oven at 325 degrees for about 12 minutes.
  2. On the stovetop in a medium saucepot, add strawberries, orange juice and sugar and mash to extract fruit juices. Stir frequently and reduce until sauce thickens on a simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside in a mixing bowl over an ice bath to cool if desired.
  3. Bake crustini in an oven at 350 degrees for about 3-4 minutes, remove and smear a teaspoon of butter on each slice, top with a tablespoon of fresh strawberry jam.

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Filed under Hot on the Blog, March 2011, Recipes

Judging the midterm at FCI

Wines served included Aramis Blanc 2008 not pictured here

The grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence. Last week I received a message from a Belgium Chef instructor at the French Culinary Institute inviting me to join a crew of six judges to dissect the works of Level 3 students during their midterm. Yet another offer I couldn’t refuse and found peculiarly pleasing to finally consent drinking the glass of wine whilst sitting through a four-course meal within school grounds. How could I say no to this?

The first course arrived in the traditional manner consommé is served-garniture in a hot bowl with underlining plate and the clarified broth served at table-side. No points were deducted for style of service. However the vegetables were inconsistent on the most part. Some were over cooked while others were al dente, varying in size that factored into uneven cooking. Emily and I surprised the other judges as we meticulously dissected the ingredients during the evaluation. Points were taken off for inconsistency in taillage, over cooked or under, color, plating techniques, and temperature. At one point discussing if perhaps we were being over critical of the student work. Alas, a gem appeared who stood out from the rest and any doubts of unfair judgement subsided.

The first skate fish arrives

Tempted to finish my initial skate fish, I thought to leave room for the remaining three versions no less. Afterall I had near a dozen plates to try before the night was over. My unfinished poussin course rotated around the table for others to try in the bread kitchen, where judging took place. The perfect skate raised the stakes and unfortunately for the remaining students, they had much to live up to.

The almost perfect bœuf bourguignon

The first student presenting a bœuf bourguignon dismissed plating a crucial ingredient-the noodles. Points fiercely came off their charts. The second had over cooked one side of the crouton and it was burned so naturally I didn’t care to taste it. Although the meat was tender, it missed a mark in my taste buds. A little salt can go a long way indeed. The final version delivered a perfect crouton immersed in parsley on the broader end. The correct number of garniture ratio and the sauce held a correct consistency. A little wipe here and there could have earned this one a perfect score.

I was beginning to realize why chefs invented trails in kitchens. After seeing the results tonight, I would only hire a handful of the students if I had a fine dining restaurant. Preferring those who remembered to season the final sauce, presenting polished, hot plates and delivering on time. There’s a reason why establishments such as Le Bernardin and Daniel require four-months on the waiting list before granting a trail in their kitchens.

An over sauced pate choux

I’m not the biggest fan of pate choux and could have exploded by the time dessert arrived. I managed to finish the chantilly crème in the first round. Although the chocolate was rather cold and over sauced on my plate. The remaining presentations seemed mediocre. I understand the difficulty of the students having to create two dishes and this was after all their midterm exam. Nostalgia began to fill me and I began to recount the day I took mine.

This version was still raw inside

By the end of the evening students gathered around our table as Chef Alain instructed us to provide a summarized critique of their work. A bit off the standard one-on-one criticism we were accustomed to at FCI, no less. I felt disappointed to never conclude why the noodles were missing on my bœuf bourguignon. My word of advise to the students: “take a minute to look over your plates, make sure you have all the elements there. I noticed some came in a minute early yet forgot essential plating garnishes, you should have spent the extra minute refining your presentations”. Chef Veronica, whose ghostly voice seemed to ring in my ear throughout the night as I couldn’t help but channel her energy during my final words.


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Filed under Hot on the Blog, March 2011

Mixed Vegetable and Persian Cucumber Curry

Recipe: Rina Oh

You can also view this recipe along with my other Meatless Monday dishes on Food Network’s sister site Food2!

Have you ever thought about cooking cucumbers? If you haven’t, try this vegetarian curry dish with Persian cucumbers. They’re found in local Asian markets and are often used in Indian cuisine. I found these at a local Bollywood video store. You can eat them raw or add them into a stir fry, stew, or curry.

Mixed Vegetable and Persian Cucumber Curry


1 cup raw basmati rice
1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 lb kale, core removed and chopped 1” pieces
6 cups water
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 white onion, chopped
3 curry leaves
5 dried cardamon seeds
1 medium carrot, diced
4 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon chili powder
4 cups vegetable broth or water
2 cups sliced cucumbers
1 15-ounce can chick peas, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can lima beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh pepper to taste


1. Combine rice with 1 cup water in a saucepot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow rice to stand, covered, for an additional five minutes.

2. Boil 6 cups water and cook kale until bright green and tender, about five minutes. Drain.

3. In a large saucepot, heat grapeseed oil and cook onions over medium-low heat until translucent, about five minutes. Add cardamon seeds and curry leaves, and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Add carrots and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.

4. Combine curry powder, flour, and chili powder and add to onions and carrots. Add drained kale, raise heat to medium, and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add vegetable stock and cucumbers, and continue cooking for about 10 minutes. Stir in beans and adjust seasonings if necessary. If the curry is too thin, you can adjust thickness by adding flour one teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is achieved.

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Filed under Food2, March 2011, Meatless Mondays, Rina's Food2 recipes

Rina’s Food2 recipes!

A few months ago I visited the Food Network offices inside the Chelsea Market to interview for a writing position. I didn’t get to write about my culinary school experience as per the interview since my graduation date was too near. Later on in the afternoon I received a call from the editor asking if I was interested to work as a contributing writer for the Food2 blog. This was great news, and more than expected! Since then I’ve been submitting weekly vegetarian recipes for the Meatless Mondays feature! If you’re unaware of what that entails, try a google search and you’ll be amazed at the amount of people who are on board with the initiative. We’re not encouraging you to go completely meatless, but rather encouraging a broader vegetable intake. I’ve updated this site by including all the recipes submitted on Food2. They are listed below starting with the recent post with more to come soon! Click here to see the entire list of recipes.

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Filed under Hot on the Blog, March 2011, Rina's Food2 recipes

Goffle Road Poultry

The Goffle Road Poultry sign right off Wyckoff Ave.

The last two days were filled with organic chicken dinners thanks to the little family owned Goffle Road Poultry store in Wyckoff, NJ. I discovered this walk in shop a few years ago through the recommendation of locals. I’ve previously ordered Japanese Silky chickens, known in Asian cuisine for its healing medicinal benefits to pregnant and menopausal women.

Yesterday afternoon I stopped by and ordered two fresh killed chickens along with six chicken sausages before returning home to conjure up my Roasted Chicken with Yama Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, and Onions recipe. Three of the sausages were sweet and the remaining filled with hints of spicy pepper. I’ve tried both on several occasions and usually barbeque the sausage. Since the weather is not yet permitting, I poached the poulet boudin and seared it tonight.

Below is the recipe for dinner prepared this evening, Chicken Boudin and Lentils with Braised Korean Hot Peppers. The total preparation and cooking time is under an hour. I highly recommend buying poultry and other meats from local sustainable farmers. Along with chicken, the Goffle Road Poultry store offers fresh killed turkeys for T-day  and specialty game meats, home made sausages, organic chicken eggs along with local sustainable honey and other dry goods. The total price of two whole chickens and six sausage links cost me a little over $20.00 dollars.

Goffle Road Poultry 549 Goffle Road Wyckoff, NJ 07481

Tel: (201) 444-3238


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Filed under Hot on the Blog, March 2011, Where I shop for food

Roasted Chicken with Yama Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, and Onions

Recipe: Rina Oh

Yields 8 servings


2 2 ½ -3 lbs. whole chickens

1/4 cup grapeseed oil for cooking

1 tablespoon sea salt

fresh ground pepper

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped

8 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

1 lb. yama sweet potatoes, mirepoix

2 large carrots, mirepoix

1 large white onion, mirapoix

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

sea salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons butter


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Season Chicken skin and cavity with salt and pepper. Heat a large saute pan on the stovetop on medium-high (wait until the pan is very hot) and add two tablespoons of grapeseed oil. Reduce heat to medium and sear trussed chicken for about 2-3 minutes on each side  starting with the leg, back, leg, breast until skin is golden brown. The color of the final chicken will be determined during the initial searing. Make sure you get the color desired now! Repeat steps for the second chicken, add garlic and rosemary into cavity and grease chicken with butter. Set aside.
  3. On the stovetop heat a saute pan, add grapeseed oil and cook vegetables on medium-high heat for about 3-5 minutes until they start to carmelize. Remove from pan and into a roasting pan. Make a well in the center and add chickens.
  4. Roast in the oven for about an hour and a half. Remove and let rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Quarter chicken, starting with the legs, then breasts.


Filed under March 2011, Recipes

Meatless Monday: Middle Eastern Falafel Burgers

This is a non-traditional way to serve falafel, and a good vegetarian burger recipe. If you want to trim some calories, skip the frying part and bake the patties in the oven instead.

Falafel Burger with Olive Hummus and Tabbouleh Salsa
Yields 6 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes


1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons water
2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
1 small onion, quartered
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Corn oil or grapeseed oil, for frying
6 brioche rolls, sliced horizontally

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 cup diced tomato
1/2 cup parsley, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons mint, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch black pepper

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons tahini
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped Kalamata olives
1 tablespoon pine nuts


1. Make burgers: Add chickpeas, water, garlic, onion, cumin, parsley, salt, pepper, bakingsoda and lemon juice to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until minced but not pureed, scraping the sides of the bowl down when necessary.

2. Form into 1-inch balls and then flatten with a spatula. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add falafel patties and cook for 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels.

4. Make salsa: Whisk together olive oil and lemon juice until emulsified. Toss with remaining ingredients.

5. Make hummus: Combine chick peas, tahini, salt, pepper and lemon juice in a food processor and run until smooth and creamy. Top with chopped olives and pine nuts.

6. To assemble: Place 2 patties on each bun. Top with salsa, and serve with hummus.

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Filed under Food2, March 2011, Meatless Mondays, Rina's Food2 recipes