Sesame-Mozzarella-Cilantro Salad


I have a friend (hi, Fred!) who can look in his refrigerator, size up his ingredients, and make something on the fly. It’s an amazing skill, and even more impressive to watch him in action. I wish I had the same ease and confidence in the kitchen.

In an effort to clean out the fridge, I found myself pulling a Fred, as I looked at the odds and ends. Spinach, cilantro, fresh mozzarella, green onions, mandarin oranges … Honestly, I was a little skeptical as to how this would all play out, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well everything played together. The main star is definitely the cilantro, with the spinach solely providing fluff and nutrition(?). The mozzarella mellows the cilantro’s sharpness, and I like fruit in my salad to give a contrast to whatever savory components I’ve thrown in.


I believe that salads are to taste, and I also believe that recipes should be done by weight. However, this I made this salad on the fly, so I measured nothing. I confess. Here’s the basic ingredients you need, but it’s on you to figure out the proportions in which you would like everything.

-Sesame-Mozzarella Cilantro Salad-



Fresh Mozzarella

Sesame-Ginger Dressing and/or Sesame Oil

Mandarin Oranges (drained)

Crispy onions

  1. Using your hands, gently rip cilantro into large chunks. Add cilantro and spinach to a large salad bowl.
  2. Cut mozzarella into bite-size pieces. Drain mandarin oranges. Add both to bowl. Top with crispy onions and drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of dressing and/or oil.
  3. Cover with another bowl and shake to coat.
  4. EAT.
  5. Feel like Fred. AKA feel like a genius in the kitchen.


Happy cooking, friends!


Easy Homemade Pizza Dough (Anything Dough)

Hello, friends! Today we’re making an easy pizza dough. It’s almost an everything dough. Right now I’m reading Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish, so maybe if you’re a bread nut like him, this isn’t an everything dough. But for novice bakers like you and me, it does the job! It’s pizza dough, dinner roll dough, cinnamon roll dough, focaccia, basic white bread…see? It’s everything.

I swiped this recipe from Sur La Table. The kitchen was making pizza one night last summer and it was divine. Pizza crust, summer vegetables, and an olive-oil drizzle. Yum.

Let’s bake! First, you’ll need to prepare the yeast. Make sure the water’s not too hot, or you’ll kill ’em off! Then you’ll be sad, and I’ll be sad for your un-fluffy bread.


Some directions will say to sprinkle the yeast into the water and let it sit. I like to give mine a quick, gentle stir in the sugary water to make sure all the yeast is activated.


After you let it sit for around five minutes, it’ll become nice and poofy. It’s a major transformation from the water-y mixture you started with! It will also smell like…bread. If your yeast doesn’t look like this after the five-ish minutes, it’s probably too old and you’ll want to buy a fresh jar.


I like to pour the mixture into a small well in the flour. You could do this without a standing mixer; it’ll just take you a little bit longer.


This dough is particularly wet. DO NOT add more flour! Only add so that you can roll out your dough at the end of the process.


After mixing, transfer the dough to a well-oiled bowl so that it can rise. For easier handling, either oil or wet your hands with water (but not too much). After an hour an a half, your dough should have doubled in size. Depending on the temperature of your room, though, it could take less or more time.


At this point, I sprinkled my dough with a little flour to help me ease it out of the bowl, but I would have used oil or water again. You can store it in the fridge overnight, or continue on and bake whatever you’re dreaming up. Mine’s in the fridge, waiting to be turned into pizza with yellow squash, zucchini, and spinach!


Happy baking! Here’s the recipe:

Easy Homemade Pizza Dough (from Sur La Table)

2 ounces (1/4 cup) warm water (110˚F-115˚F; I microwaved mine for a little under a minute)

2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (I used Fleischmann’s active dry yeast)

16 1/4 ounces (3 1/4 c) flour

1 1/2 tsp sal (kosher or sea salt, not iodized table salt, please)

8 ounces (1 cup) water

1 1/2 ounces (3 tbsp) olive oil

  1. Dissolve yeast into 2 ounces warm water mixed with a pinch of sugar. Let sit for around five minutes until yeast are activated.
  2. Place flour and yeast mixture into a bowl, and either mix using a dough hook for approximately five minutes until tacky and cleanly pulling away from the sides of the bowl, or kneading by hand for around 10 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl and place in a warm spot. Let rise for 90 minutes or until doubled in size.
  4. Punch down the dough and store in the fridge overnight, or continue on and bake at 350˚F. Don’t forget to roll the dough out onto a floured surface. It makes four personal pizzas.

French Onion Soup

#domesticwithdad is back with the first project of the summer: how to make French onion soup!

(Also, can I put a couple grammatical questions on the table? To Oxford, or not to Oxford? Do you capitalize after a colon or leave the proceeding letter lowercase? These little inconsistencies with AP Style and other styles…I need everything to be on the same page!)

College friends, I will be frank: T/this soup is time intensive! Caramelizing the onions takes around 30 minutes, and then the soup must simmer for 45. BUT, I am a super-fan of multi-tasking (another debatable concept), so sometimes, I babysit my simmering vegetables while doing my homework next to the stove. Do what you gotta do.


Anyways, first things first: C/croutons! I think 75 percent of the reason I eat this soup is to eat the croutons covered in melted Gruyère. YUM. You could make the croutons while you’re waiting for the soup to simmer; whatever floats your boat. I wanted my bread to be super-stale because it was going to be sitting in soup later!


Croutons are easy and unfussy. Buy a baguette or sourdough (or make your own), slice to desired thickness, butter, and salt & pepper it. You could alternatively do an olive oil drizzle in place of the butter … whatever makes your socks go up and down. We went the butter route.

As for the onions, cut to the desired size. We went with larger chunks, just because we didn’t think small pieces would hold up very well. For comparison, this is what the raw onions look like:


And after they had been reducing for a bit:


And the final, caramelized product:


Mom used to make a batch of these every week and pull them out of the fridge as needed. That’s also an option, if you fancy it.

The recipe we’re using calls for four cups of beef stock and four cups of chicken stock. We went rogue (because we don’t usually play by the exact rules) and did eight cups of chicken stock, because that’s what we had and we’re cheap. Everything turned out delicious.


If you don’t have ramekins, you technically don’t have to throw the soup in the oven, but it does seal the deal. I guess microwaving your soup + cheese would also work. Please do not microwave the crouton.

-French Onion Soup (courtesy of Dad’s favorite place…FoodNetwork!)-


4 yellow onions

1 stick butter (1/2 cup)

1 overflowing cup white wine

4 cups beef broth

4 cups chicken broth

4-5 dashes Worcestershire sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced


French bread/baguette

olive oil or butter

Gruyère cheese, thickly sliced


  1. Chop onions to desired size. Slice bread for croutons. (As much or as little as you’d like.)
  2. Melt stick of butter in large pot. Add onions, stir to coat. Cook until soft and translucent. Add wine and cook until caramelized (a deep golden brown). Add broths, Worcestershire sauce, garlic. Simmer for 45 minutes.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil. Either butter both sides of the bread before placing on baking sheet, OR lay bread on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Top with salt and pepper. Bake at 350˚F until deep golden brown.
  4. Ladle soup into ramekins and top with crouton and Gruyère. Broil until cheese is bubbling and brown. OR, grate the cheese over soup, microwave to melt, and top with crouton.
  5. EAT.


Happy cooking, friends!

The Loveless Cafe

Nashville. If you’re a true foodie, the city does not evoke thoughts of country music. Instead, you’re dreaming about biscuits and fried chicken, the two foods that put Loveless on the map.

Like everything else I’ve found during my (roughly) three days in the South, Loveless was charming, quaint, kind, and friendly. Lots of “y’all,” “dear,” “baby,” young lady,” and “how ya doin’s.” As venerated as it is in the foodie world, Loveless is not flashy. A café, general store, and motel compound, it sits inconspicuously on Highway 100, 30 minutes outside of the city. Although it is technically “Nashville,” we drove through a bit of country road to reach the café, and I think it’s actually in a little suburb, Bellevue. If you’re not paying attention, you may even miss it; the sign isn’t even brightly colored.

Once you find Loveless, you’ll walk into one of the most amicable places with the sweetest waitresses. The only thing that beats that is the plate of warm biscuits that they set on the table covered with a simple red-checkered tablecloth.


The biscuits are served with little cups of strawberry, blueberry, and (surprisingly delicious) peach jam! The peach jam was our favorite, so we bought some at the general store. They even sold two-ounce pots, so I can take one back to Boston!


It took every ounce of self-control not to eat all the biscuits…and I didn’t! But I really did want to. I will never look at biscuits the same way ever again. Sorry, Boston University biscuits. I thought I loved you but…we’re breaking up.

I will confess that I probably would have eaten all the biscuits, but Loveless is also known for their fried chicken, and it would have been a real shame to come all this way and not try it. There was so much chicken. I had to call for reinforcements (grandma).


Again, Loveless has earned its reputation. The chicken was sublime. Yes, sublime. Which means it was super-amazing, because according to my writing professor, sublime is a very strong word. This is mighty-good chicken. It deserves a strong adjective.

Loveless serves its fried chicken piping hot, with delicate, crispy skin. The chicken is juicy and it melts in your mouth. I never understood what people meant when they described chicken as melt-in-your-mouth good. Now I do, because this chicken was just that. It was so good, I’m going to use sublime for a third time, and in doing so, I am probably committing a journalism faux-pas or two. Good thing I’m not a journalism major.

Please vist Loveless Cafe. Also, if I raved to much about everything, please set the bar low. Everything was horrible. (I’m joking, of course, but I want you to visit and form your own impressions.)  Cheers, friends, and if you do anything, eat all the biscuits!



Cafe Luna



Early birthday, to be exact. Yes, I will take notes for you on Wednesday.


Secondly, I need to talk about Cafe Luna.

Cafe Luna is an extremely tiny establishment in Central Square, and they do excellent brunch. I first discovered it last year, when Amanda and I were (surprise, surprise) very early to church and needed to do something to kill the time. The berry french toast still makes appearances in my food dreams; it was divine.

Sarah picked Cafe Luna (on the recommendation of Zagat, or something) as the destination of her birthday brunch. I had not returned since the first adventure with Amanda, but now…I’m thinking this brunch thing needs to happen more often.

I personally recommend any of the french toast options. I think that’s what they’re best at. This time around, I went with a corned beef hash (also delicious), but the french toast (and the lemon ricotta pancakes) is really where it’s at.


Happy eating!



Jennifer’s chocolate & raspberry french toast.


Dumpling House

Happy year of the rooster! Last Friday, Sarah and I went to Dumpling House to celebrate the lunar new year. Dumpling House specializes in…dumplings (surprise!), but they also have a dish of “rice cakes” that are not actually cake, but definitely delicious. In Italy, they use these “rice cakes” and serve them as actual noodles. Either way, they are delicious.

If you go, I recommend the soup dumplings! It’s been a week now, so I’m not sure if I remember correctly, but I believe we ordered pork dumplings. Divine. Also, do yourself a favor and try the potstickers, too. Don’t forget the rice cakes! We ordered ours with beef.

Go early, because it becomes busy around 6pm, and they don’t take reservations!

Happy eating!



Sunday Brunch on a Friday

Hi hi, friends!!

What’s new?

Back in Boston, for one.

Kind of listening to La La Land’s soundtrack on repeat. And, if you know me and my taste in movies, this should have you somewhat floored.

And what’s old? This brunch adventure, that’s what! I meant to write about this on Friday, but then I got sidetracked with coffee and packing, so it didn’t happen. Now it’s happening.

What exactly? This:


And by this, I mean this Monte Cristo sandwich, which you can find at Mama’s in Washington Square Park. Can I tell you something? This is the sandwich of my dreams. Cheese in involved. I’m just really sad that there are no longer pots of raspberry jam sitting at each table, and that the jam they serve with this sandwich is actually blackberry jam. That’s okay, because this sandwich is still amazing, but let’s just say the jam was what sealed the deal. I am now open to sniffing out new brunch spots.


This brunch would not have happened if Divya had not invited me!! We have known each other since first grade and she is still as lovely as ever! Our friendship mainly consists of watching sad-ish rom-coms together and finding and/or making food. Last time we met up, we made Croque Madames, so we went to find food this time around. Of course, I had to take a photo of her sandwich too, which was delicious, and again, I’m so sad there are no longer personal jam pots because the jam would have been all over this sandwich. These sandwiches do not know how fortunate they are to be divine independent of jam.

Originally, I had been planning to take myself on a date to the city and explore Haight-Ashbury, but I am actually super glad that I was too lazy to go on my own and that Divya invited me for brunch!! I like being a loner, but traveling with friends shows you the city’s fun, hidden crevices that need introducing.


As we marched back to BART, Divya showed me an alleyway covered in murals! And since you’re reading this, I guess we’re friends, so I’ll tell you where it is. (Behind City Lights Bookstore & Publisher.) You’re welcome!!

Boston neighborhood explorations will recommence…tomorrow!! I’m actually exploring the South End neighborhood on assignment for BU’s lifestyle magazine. It’s the largest urban victorian neighborhood in the country, so I’m excited to walk around!

See ya soon, friends!