Smoky Broccoli Soup Recipe

I love broccoli and soup so this recipe was a match made in heaven! This is so healthy and easy to make.

Smoky Broccoli Soup


Serves 8

2 Tbsp olive oil
4 cups chopped sweet onions
1 Tbsp pressed garlic
2 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp and 3/4 cup water
1/2 and 1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 cup chopped broccoli
3 cups cauliflower
2 Tbsp ghee
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
5 cups spinach
1 can organic coconut milk
1 Tbsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Sauté onions for 4 minutes on medium heat, until translucent. Add garlic, cayenne, smoked paprika, pepper, 1 teaspoon of sea salt and two tablespoons water. Stir well, and continue heating for another 2–3 minutes. Add chopped broccoli, cauliflower, ghee, and apple cider vinegar and stir well so that everything is coated. Leave for at least 2 minutes so that the flavors mix. Add 3/4 cup of water, another teaspoon of sea salt, and lemon zest. Continue cooking over low to medium heat for another 6-7 minutes.

Once cauliflower is cooked through, reduce heat, add coconut milk and lemon juice, and stir well. Heat entire mixture enough to warm the coconut milk.

Turn off heat and use a handheld blender or high-speed blender (much smoother with high-speed blender). Add a little more water if you want it thinner. Taste and adjust.


Swan’s Sesame Noodle Recipe

A chef is a person who is a highly trained, skilled professional cook who is proficient in all aspects of food preparation of a particular cuisine.

Although my dear friend Yao-Hsuan Huang (aka: Swan) #swanskitchen wasn’t formally trained, she is proficient at cooking everything – seriously! She gets inspired and just creates magical dishes that are not only delicious, but a beautiful sensory experience. I tease her all the time and ask her to be my personal chef (I could only wish!).

She was kind enough to provide one of her favorite recipes for 3QT.

Sesame Noodles

Swan’s Inspiration: Every year I make my friend’s husband, Tom, a dish for his birthday. One year I brought him a bucket of banana pudding to a bar. Last year he requested sesame noodles. This request made me think of my mom’s liang mian (cold sesame noodle) recipe. She uses Taiwanese sesame paste. I substituted peanut butter because that is what I had on hand. I also added a bunch of veggies. You could really throw in any of your favorite vegetables. The sesame noodles were a hit and have made multiple appearances at other parties.

1 box of spaghetti (any brand- I usually buy what is on sale)
12 oz bag of sugar snap peas
1 c of vegetable oil
1/4 c rice wine vinegar
1/3 lite soy sauce
3 T sesame oil
1 T agave nectar
2-4 cloves of minced garlic (depends on how garlicy you like it)
1 T grated ginger
2 T toasted sesame seeds
1/2 c smooth peanut butter
1 red pepper, sliced thinly
1 orange pepper, sliced thinly
1 yellow pepper, sliced thinly
5 scallions, sliced diagonally whites and greens
2 carrots, shredded
1 c cilantro
1 T toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
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1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water generously, so it tastes like the sea. Cook spaghetti to al dente according to package. Usually it’s 9-10 minutes. During the last 3 minutes the pasta is cooking, throw in the sugar snap peas. They should stay floating on the top. After 3 minutes use a slotted spoon to transfer the sugar snap peas to a bowl of ice water. You want to shock them so they stop cooking and retain their color and crunch. After they are cooled slice then diagonally.
2. While the pasta is cooking whisk together the vegetable oil, rice wine vinegar, lite soy sauce, sesame oil, agave nectar, garlic cloves, grated ginger, 2T toasted sesame seeds and peanut butter. This is the sauce.
3. Drain the pasta and toss in the sauce.
4. Toss in all the peppers, scallions, carrots, sugar snap peas, and cilantro.
5. Garnish with 1 T of toasted sesame seeds at the end.
6. Enjoy!

Beef & Spinach Lo Mein Recipe

Beef & Spinach Lo Mein Recipe

I love noodles. I love Asian food. Let’s be real – I just love food in general! Another warm, comforting dish is beef & spinach lo mein. Believe it or not, this is under 500 calories per serving and gets your lo mein fix in. It’s also super easy to make. Enjoy!


TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 30 min.



  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound beef top round steak, thinly sliced
  • 6 ounces uncooked spaghetti (I use wheat and/or gluten free)
  • 4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 package (10 ounces) fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 red chili pepper, seeded and thinly sliced


  • In a small bowl, mix the first six ingredients. Remove 1/4 cup mixture to a large bowl; add beef and toss to coat. Marinate at room temperature 10 minutes.
  • Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1-1/2 teaspoons canola oil. Add half of the beef mixture; stir-fry 1-2 minutes or until no longer pink. Remove from pan. Repeat with an additional 1-1/2 teaspoons oil and remaining beef mixture.
  • Stir-fry water chestnuts and green onions in remaining canola oil 30 seconds. Stir in spinach and remaining hoisin mixture; cook until spinach is wilted. Return beef to pan; heat through.
  • Drain spaghetti; add to beef mixture and toss to combine. Sprinkle with chili pepper.

Top of the Shop Spice: Ras el Hanout

Keith and my palettes changed after our journey to Morocco. The spices were unlike anything we ever tasted. So vibrant and flavorful. The stand-out was Ras el Hanout, which means ‘Top of the Shop’. It actually originated in North Africa thousands of years ago and can include up to 100 individual spices. Each vendor in the market holds their recipe as a closely-guarded secret. Some believe the seductive ingredients in Ras el Hanout produce an aphrodisiac – I have no complaints about this! The blend is exotic and spices up many of the ground beef or lamb dishes I make. It can also be used on steaks, chops and chicken.

You will find variations of this because there is no set recipe, however, this is the one I use and enjoy.


2 teaspoons of salt

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons powdered ginger

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Measure all the spices into a medium bowl and mix with a fork until combined. Close your eyes and take a slow inhale through your nose. It will transport you to a Moroccan market. Transfer the spice blend to an airtight container and apply liberally to your food.


Brielle’s Beef Stew Recipe

Modern life doesn’t give us a lot of time for putting together elaborate meals so I have developed a love affair with my slow cooker over the past decade. I have used this lovely appliance to create and cook delicious tasting meals with minimal hands on time and effort.

My go to staple is beef stew. After years of experimenting with different recipes/ingredients, I am proud to share what I think is a hearty, decadent, extremely satisfying stew for the colder months.

Brielle’s Beef Stew in the Slow Cooker (serves: 4-6)


4 oz Thick-cut bacon, chopped

3 tablespoons Flour (I use wheat flour)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

3 lbs Boneless beef chuck trimmed of excess fat and cut into chunks (I prefer 100% grass-fed beef from Whole Foods)

1/2 lb Baby carrots

1 Stalk of celery, chopped

3 cloves Minced garlic

1 lb Medium potatoes, cut into cubes

1 cup (8 fl oz) Red wine (I use a Malbec)

1 cup (8 fl oz) Beef broth (*If you live in NY, go to Brodo and get the Hearth bone broth. The flavor is unreal. If you want to be healthier, use unsalted beef broth)

2 tablespoons of tomato sauce (I use Prego No Salt added sauce)

1 tablespoon Rosemary, minced

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 Bay leaf

Basket Brodo










  1. Cook the bacon: in a large frying pan over medium heat, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally until crisp – about 5-7 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off the drippings into a small heatproof bowl leaving about 1 tablespoon drippings in the pan. Set the pan, reserve drippings and bacon aside.
  2. Brown the beef: In a resealable plastic bag, combine the flour, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the beef chunks and shake to coat evenly with the flour mix. Return the frying pan to medium-high heat. When the droppings are hot, add half the beef chunks and cook, turning once, until well browned – about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer the beef to the slow cooker. Repeat with the remaining beef counts adding the reserve drippings if needed. Scatter the carrots, celery, garlic and potatoes on top. Add the bacon.
  3. Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the wine, broth, Worcestershire sauce and tomato sauce. Mix well, bring to a boil and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits on the pan bottom. Pour the contents over into the slow cooker. Add the bay leaf.
  4. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours (high) or 8-9 (low). The beef should be VERY tender. Stir in the rosemary. Cook uncovered for an additional 10 minutes to thicken the sauce.
  5. Optional: Beef Stew always tastes delicious over pasta. Keith and I usually enjoy it over egg noodles or bucatini (because the inside is so hollow it sucks up all the juices).

Final Stew


Definition of Hangry

I think this speaks for itself.


The 60 oz. Bone In Filet at Strip House NY

I didn’t believe a piece of meat like this could exist. It’s like finding a unicorn. Filets have always been a favorite cut of mine and if the bone is in, even better! The flavor is astonishing.

Let me introduce you to Strip House’s 60 oz. Bone In Filet –


Isn’t it beautiful? Oh, that other steak in the picture is their classic strip steak, which is also delicious.

Alright let’s get technical – how is this possible?

  1. Cleave the short loin from the larger loin cuts which are often referred to as tenderloin or filet mignon.
  2. This creates 2 pieces.
  3. The front section is located in the short loin and the rear section muscle, which is usually not found in steakhouses, is fabricated into a steak and then dry aged.
  4. It is seasoned with salt and pepper, trimmed of excess age, and then the dry aged trimmings are rendered down and used to baste during cooking.
  5.  The steak is seared at 1800° before being roasted in the oven until it reaches the customer’s desired temperature.
  6. After the beef rests, the bone is removed, the steak goes under the broiler and is served piping hot.

Right now only 35 are offered weekly and the steak is not listed on the restaurant’s menu. Call ahead and reserve one. The cost is $180 and so worth it.

The meat sweats are undeniable after this meal, but it’s a decadent, delightful, meaty experience. Happy Holidays!

BNBs Do Dessert!

In life, if you are lucky, you have many groups of friends. Some stay in your life longer than others, but all impact and touch you in certain ways.

Let me introduce the Bad News Bitches (aka: BNBs). My husband, Keith, nicknamed us after all the adventures he’s seen us go through. It’s fitting. Trust me. We have our own coffee table book!


These 3 women have been in my life since middle school – oh, yes, we knew each other during those awkward teenage years and have seen each other through heartbreaks, hopes, loneliness, triumphs, marriage, divorce, babies, and many trips to Miami.

My feelings of affection, admiration and love for these 3 women have only deepened over the years, and during this holiday season I wanted to showcase their talent in the dessert department.

Please note: I have no knowledge of desserts and I don’t pretend to! I’d rather eat two appetizers and an entrée and completely skip that last course… I have been known to order pasta for dessert.

I did realize with the holiday season in full swing, a post on sugary goodness would be nice. These 3 ladies are my experts and I hope you enjoy their recommendations and recipes.

Linda Gomes:

Serradura Recipe:

For my recipe I chose a traditional and easy dessert that I make with my sister in law at most holidays. She has been wonderful with embracing the Portuguese culture in her cooking to appease my brother & our family. On her first trip to Portugal she tasted one of my favorite desserts, Serradura (sawdust), and vowed to make it again at home. Now it’s become a staple dessert at every family event. It’s deliciously rich and simple to make!


Linda’s Favorite Bakery

As for my favorite bakery, without a doubt, it’s Magnolia Bakery I know its cliché, but to this day, I still ask my friends every time we go into the city, “Are we by Magnolia Bakery?”  Their cupcakes, in my opinion, are the best cupcakes I have ever tasted. There is something so unique about the buttery richness of their frosting. And let’s not forget the Banana pudding! I could (and have) eaten it by the pound! I dare you to walk by their bakery and not be lured in by the delicious smells of their treats.


Lauren DiPrima:

Too Much Chocolate Cake Recipe:

I don’t have any recipes that I’ve managed to make my own over the last few years, but this is one of my favorites:

Too Much Chocolate Cake


Lauren’s Favorite Desserts at a Restaurant:

While I feel compelled to name something classy, I have to go with the warm chocolate chip sundae cookie.  The warm, freshly baked cookie is topped with vanilla ice cream and makes me nostalgic for the simple desserts of my childhood (when I thought that a Friendly’s sundae was a culinary delicacy).  Sadly, this is only on the seasonal menu so it is an infrequent treat for me.

My first time visiting Egidio’s was during college.   Despite sampling cannoli’s in various bakeries for the last decade, I can’t find anything that comes close to Egidio’s.  The filling is rich and creamy, with the chocolate shell providing the perfect ending!


Tricia Kosnik

Venetians Recipe:

Since it’s the holidays, my recipe contribution has to be Venetians (aka Rainbow cookies or Italian Flag cookies). I’ve been making these every single year since I was 12 years old (even further back than our Holiday dinners at Lauren’s!) and they continue to be a holiday tradition my family won’t let me give up. I’ve made them in more kitchens across more apartments than I care to count and it wouldn’t feel like Christmas if I didn’t make them.

Prep time: 2 hours (1 hour each day, with an overnight setting period)


  • waxed paper
  • 3, 13×9 pans (just buy disposable aluminum pans)


  • 8 ounces almond paste
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • red food coloring
  • green food coloring
  • 1 1/2 cups apricot jam
  • 1 pound bittersweet or dark chocolate, chopped


Day 1:

  • Grease 3 – 13 x 9 inch pans. Line with wax paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
  • Grate almond paste or chop into small pieces.
  • Combine almond paste, sugar, butter, eggs and almond extract. Beat for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add flour and salt.
  • Divide dough into 3 -1 1/2 cup portions. Add red coloring to one of the portions, and green to another, until you get the color you like. Leave the last third uncolored.
  • Spread the batter in the 3 separate prepared pans (they will be thin layers).
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Use the wax paper to remove cakes from pan immediately. Cool thoroughly.
  • Heat jam on the stovetop until it thins out and use a colander to remove the larger fruit pieces. Retain the more liquid jam.
  • Place green layer onto a stable surface (I use a cookie sheet) and spread with the strained apricot jam. Add the white layer and spread jam on that. Top with pink layer.
  • Cover the 3 layers in plastic wrap and place another cookie sheet on top. Weigh down the layers (to compress them and ensure they stick together when cut) with a few heavy books and place in the fridge overnight.

Day 2:

  • Melt chocolate over a double boiler (chocolate in a saucepan, on top of a frying pan of water works fine).
  • Spread chocolate over the cake and allow to set, but not get too hard (can refrigerate to speed it up).
  • When chocolate is set, trim all the edges of your “cake” so that it is a true rectangle. Then, cut the cake into 1-inch squares.
  • NOTE: It will be easier to cut the squares if you keep a glass of hot water and a towel handy. Heat the blade of your knife in the water, dry with the towel, and make each cut. Use the hot water to heat and clean the blade between cuts.

*Store cookies in the fridge for up to one week

Ven Tricia

Tricia’s Favorite Desserts at a Restaurant:

I realized that my favorite restaurants have seasonal menus, so a dessert I may have enjoyed a few months back isn’t offered today. That said, these are my 2 favorites on-the-go:

  • Levain Bakery – I have to give it up to my neighborhood favorite, which also happens to be the best cookie in NYC. Chocolate chip walnut is the classic, but the dark chocolate chocolate is pretty amazing too. They chill the dough before baking, so you end up with a cookie crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside. The line on the UWS is ridiculous during weekends, so be prepared to wait. If you can’t stand it, Jacque Torres Chocolatier has excellent cookies for sale right around the corner.

Cookie Tricia

  • Lady M Confections – The Lady M Mille Crepe cake is divine. It consists of a stack of paper-thin crepes layered with an airy vanilla cream and topped with creme brûlée. It is both decadent and light, creamy and crispy. There is a green tea version which is also very popular. Lady M has an outpost in the Plaza Food hall, as well as on the Upper East Side and Bryant Park.


Hanukkah…and Matzoh Ball Soup!

Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, and began on Dec. 6th 2015 this year. It is also known as the Festival of Lights and the Feast of Dedication.

The festival is observed by the lighting of the menorah. Other Hanukkah festivities include playing dreidel and eating delicious foods like doughnuts and latkes.


In my food obsessed world, my favorite is Matzoh Ball Soup. It’s truly my Jewish Penicillin. In NY, there are 3 staple spots I go:

  • 2nd Ave Deli: Last year, one of my resolutions was to send 365 Gratitude letters to someone / organization that touched my life that particular day. When I tried the matzoh ball soup at 2nd Ave Deli I was so grateful for how delicious it was I sent them a letter. To my surprise, they sent a response…with the recipe!

2nd Ave  letter MatzohChicken Soup

  • Sadelle’s: The bakery/restaurant from Major Food Group. It’s luxury Matzoh Ball Soup.


  • Katz’s Deli: Classic and simply delicious. No matter when you go, there is always a wait but so worth it.



The New York Steak List


Dear Steak…how I love you so. Even with the current trendy health kick you remain my true food indulgence. You are my heavyweight champion of culinary greatness and in honor of your deliciousness will be the first food post on 3QT.

If you know me, you know I have a slight obsession with steak – down to the cuts. It took years and many calories to create this list. I plan on updating it as I discover more delectable cuts. Enjoy!

Overall Great Steak: Costata – my personal favorite in NY, Sparks, BLT Prime, Quality Meats

Filet: Quality Meats, Sparks, Del Frescos, Smith and Wollensky, Porter House NY

Bone-In Filet (more flavor): Arlington Club, Bowery Meat Company  **I am trying the 60oz Bone in @ Strip House this month. Stay tuned!

Porterhouse: Quality Meats, Peter Lugers, Harry’s Café

Strip Steak: Strip House

Bone-in Strip Steak: BLT Steak

American Tomahawk: Costata

Cote de Boeuf: Piora – Not on menu, must order in advance, Dirty French, Minetta Tavern – with bone marrow

Hanger: BLT Steak

Ribeye: Arlington Club, Acme, Wolfgang’s, Manzo (in Eataly)

Cajun Ribeye: Morton’s

Prime Rib: Morton’s, Mission Chinese Food – rolling cart!

Honorary Mention: The Beef Mignonette dish (au poivres and french fries) at Tartine – it feels just like Paris and might be my favorite place in the city. Also a BYOB.