Quick Pasta Primavera

Spring is the perfect time to just throw a bunch of veggies into a pan. Last night I just emptied the fridge and made this up. It was so good!

1/2 red onion (diced)
4 garlic cloves (minced)
1 fennel bulb (sliced)
salt and pepper
Italian seasoning
1 pint baby portobello mushrooms (sliced)
1 green bell pepper (chopped)
1 red bell pepper (chopped)
1 12oz can diced tomatoes (with garlic & olive oil)
1 tbs tomato paste
fresh basil
parmesan cheese

Just sauté the veggies in a little olive oil in this order:
onions & fennel (for 3 minutes)
salt, pepper, and seasoning 
garlic (1 minute)
baby portobellos, both peppers (4 minutes)
canned tomatoes (bring to simmer, 3-4 minutes)
stir in paste and cook until mixture has thickened (2-4 minutes)

Serve with whole wheat pasta, rice, quinoa, or eat as is! 
Sprinkle a little chopped fresh basil and parmesan on top...


New Orleans Walking Tour

Love getting lost in New Orleans. The decor is so beautiful and odd at the same time. Everyone adds their own flare to the terraces. Have you ever been?


New Orleans Grub - Jazzfest 2013

Contrary to what many may believe, New Orleans cuisine does not just offer up fried food and tasty sandwiches. It's not just gumbo and jambalaya either. How about perfectly seared scallops, grilled octopus, bone marrow, and gizzards? Ok, perhaps the gizzards seem par for the course. My point is that when you stray away from Nola's "Time Square" (Bourbon Street) you are in for a real treat: Fine French, Spanish and local cooking!

*Make reservations as soon as you possibly can (for the places that will take them).
We made all of ours months in advance.

Please note, I'm not saying Bourbon Street is a complete waste. There are some staple places to visit there, but don't limit yourself to that area! Get the Po-Boy, get the Gumbo... but imagine going to NYC and only staying in Time Square and eating pizza and bagels. Catch my drift? There's so much more out there. 

We usually stay in the French Quarter, but our favorite area for eating is on Magazine Street. You've got to get a cab, but it's worth it. On our first night, we had a great experience at Boucherie. Here you will find Southern cooking with a contemporary flare. We had amazing seared scallops, crawfish boudin, pan seared duck, and a pork t-bone. Dessert did not make the photo... it was a warm chocolate cake spiced with thai chili.  The setting is also so cozy- you are basically eating in someone's living room as the restaurant takes up the first floor of a house. 

Another place you must go is La Petite Grocery. Out of all the places we ate at, this was the most swank... don't roll up in your sweaty Jazzfest attire. We enjoyed the roasted sweetbreads, rabbit, oysters, grilled octopus, brussel sprouts,  and amazing cocktails.

ROOT is the place to go in New Orleans right now... inventive and a great break if you've just been eating fried food all day. Here we had amazing local vegetables, blood pasta with lamb, bone marrow, gizzards, and a fantastic carrot cake with amarula.

If you want a true New Orleans experience, you must go to Three Muses on Frenchmen street. You get the best of both worlds here: Live music and amazing food! They do not take reservations, so get there early, put your name down, and enjoy cocktails at the bar for 40-60 minutes. The live jazz will keep you entertained. The best bits on the menu: feta fries, crawfish pasta, duck pizza topped with a duck egg, and the grilled shrimp and polenta. It was really dark in there and we only realized later that the flash on our camera actually looked good (it never does)... so we only have the last dish. Next time!

Other staple visits for us:

Tujague's Bar... This place is an institution. Super classic cocktails and the best brisket sandwich. Great for people watching and chatting with the local bartender who's worked there for years! I had my first drink there after no drinking for 2 months. Put me right to sleep. ha

Cafe Envie... We pretty much go here every morning for coffee and breakfast. The coffee is strong and flavorful and the breakfast is simple and very satisfying after a late night out. 

Pere Antoine... Very touristy but we got caught in a downpour and decided to have some grilled oysters and oyster tacos. Hit the spot! 

Cafe Du Monde... Another tourist trap but... if you want beignets this is the place. Like going to John's Pizza in NYC!