Swiss Chard Tacos with Radish-Mango Salsa


Healthy version of a taco anyone? This Swiss chard taco was the first dish I made this summer from a visit to the farmer’s market! Since I moved to Lincoln Park, I am much closer to Green City Market, one of the largest farmer’s markets in the city. It was the first time I’ve been and it turned out to be a really great one with tons of local farmers and vendors. Upon overhearing a fellow shopper ask for a chocolate croissant and get denied, I learned that this market does not sell or use any ingredients from anywhere further than 500 miles. Since chocolate is grown past 500 miles from Green City Market, it’s not sold there at all! Pretty cool, huh?! Unless you are craving a chocolatey breakfast treat like that guy. I did, however, get myself a regular croissant and was more than pleased.

In my hour and a half of wandering, I made three purchases: Swiss Chard, Radishes and some Carrot Habanero hot sauce, all of which I used in my cooking last night!

Here is the mountain of beautiful chard I got to choose from:


And here is what I happily brought home:



I have always loved radishes but I’ve never cooked with Swiss Chard before. I have heard over and over again that it is a delicious summer ingredient to feast on. Acting on my Mexican food craving I decided to make some healthy tacos out of it. They turned out to be really delicious and fresh-tasting.

Swiss Chard Tacos with Radish-Mango Salsa

For the tacos…

1 bunch Swiss chard

1 large yellow onion, sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup vegetable broth

Pinch red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

Spinach tortillas

Feta Cheese or Queso Fresco

For the salsa…

1 bunch of radishes, sliced into discs

1 mango, diced

2 tablespoons minced onion

2 tablespoons minced jalapeno

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1 garlic clove, minced

1 lime, juiced

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Start by heating oil in a pan over high heat. Turn heat all the way down to low and add onions, stirring frequently until golden brown. Add the garlic during the last couple of minutes until cooked through. Remove onions and garlic and add Swiss chard to the same pan, turning up to medium-low. Add the vegetable broth and cover. Let cook for about 10 minutes until wilted. Add onions and garlic back into pan and stir in red pepper flakes, cumin and salt and pepper. Serve in a warm spinach tortilla and top with the radish-mango salsa and the feta.





Veggie Burgers


So I finally moved out of my East Lakeview apartment in Chicago and into my fresh, new, love-the-location Lincoln Park apartment! One of the BEST things about my new place is the size of the kitchen. All this extra counter space made me especially excited to cook my first meal. I decided to make some veggie burgers and start off healthy! I adapted this recipe off the blog Oh She Glows and they turned out to be quite the delicious dinner.

Veggie Burgers

1/2  cup red onion, diced

4 large garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup chopped spinach

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 eggs

1 cup oats

1 cup bread crumbs

1 cup grated carrots

1 cup grated beets

1 can of black beans, rinsed

1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and  chopped

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon oregano

Salt and black pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sauté the onion, garlic and spinach in olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet for about 3 minuets. Place all ingredients except spices into a large mixing bowl and stir well. Season the mixture with the spices and salt and pepper. With wet hands form the dough into patties and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for a total of 30 minutes, flipping once. Serve on toasted buns with your choice of toppings. I went with pepperjack cheese, avocado and BBQ sauce! Enjoy!



Mango and Avocado Salmon


I made this salmon for dinner last night for my sister’s 16th birthday! While the flavors and ingredients in this dish are very summery, I was actually able to find really fresh mango and avocado to make the salsa topping taste how it should. And it gave me an excuse to use the grill for the last time before the dreaded Chicago winter hits us.

Mango Avocado Salmon

For the salsa…

1 mango, diced

1 jalapeno, minced

1/2 red onion, minced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tomatoes, diced

1 lime, juiced

1 bunch of cilantro, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

1 avocado diced for topping

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

For the salmon…

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 pinch of pepper

Salmon fillets

combine marinade ingredients and let salmon refrigerate for one hour.

Heat your grill to medium and place salmon fillets on foil. Cook for 20 minutes or until fish is opaque.

Serve with salsa topping and enjoy!!

Bar Ombra

Last weekend my friend R from and I went out to dinner in Andersonville in Chicago. We wanted to step out of the bounds of our usual spots and try something fresh and new. We decided on Bar Ombra which was featured in Chicago Magazine’s Best New Restaurants of 2012. Because R is a vegetarian this place looked like it had a lot of menu items that would be fitting. And it was a tapas place so we could try a much of their delicious looking dishes!

The place had a great ambiance with walls dressed with old newspapers, chalkboards displaying the menu, wooden booths and leather seats made out of old leather jackets!

We started out with a bottle of red Pratello Rebo that was smooth and tasty!

Next we moved onto the Cicchetti part of the menu for little tastes of different vegetarian dishes. They served this to us all on a clean white plate and we dug in…

Clockwise from the spoon we ordered:

Charred corn with tomatoes and watercress pesto (our fav!)

Tomato, watermelon and rind salad with feta

Cabbage with golden raisins

Grilled summer squash and peppers with red wine vinaigrette (waiter’s suggestion…don’t know why he’d suggest such an average dish)

Roasted apples with pecorino cheese, walnuts and balsamic

….We thought of this as an appetizer because the dishes were not very big but gave us a great taste of what their menu had to offer. Like i said the corn was our favorite! We probably got the last of the summer’s fresh corn and the pesto that went along with it was a great complement to the dish. I also really enjoyed the roasted apples but it only came with one apple that we had to split. The tomato and watermelon salad was a winner but we both tossed aside the rinds that were in the salad because they were a little too watery and firm. The cabbage was cole slaw-like and the golden raisins were a nice touch (I’m going to steal that for the next time I make cole slaw!)

Next we ordered from the insalate, panani, fritti, pizette, bruschette and fromaggi parts of the menu. First we got the Pecornino cheese platter that came with sliced baguettes, jam and mustard. The cheese was phenomenal and we mostly ate it without the pairings.

Then was the beet salad with watercress, gorgonzola and walnuts. Beets are always a favorite to me and this salad in particular was awesome. Needless to say I gobbled this one down.

The bruschetta with peaches, almonds, goat cheese and chives was next. This was something on the menu I was anticipating to be my favorite. However it was a bit of a disappointment. The goat cheese was put on so heavily that it overwhelmed the whole dish. I couldn’t even taste the peaches which were not as juicy as I had hoped.

Next up was the arancini neri, the black rice balls. These were really yummy and it was a nice touch that they used black rice for the inside. Just wish the marinara they served it with was smoother so I could dip it more easily!

Last of the main course(s) was the margherita pizza. Can never complain about pizza made from scratch…delicious!

We ended our entire meal with coffee and tiramisu then went out on the town with extremely full bellies! Needless to say I would recommend this place when you want an upscale meal with lots of choices! Even if you do leave a little too full to move!