Before traveling abroad, I had been trying to incorporate more fish into my diet. Not surprising to me, the prices of fresh fish and intimidation factor of cooking something so different limited my progress in meeting that goal. But as soon as I tasted whole grilled fish in Lisbon, fresh paella in Barcelona, and another whole grilled fish in Paris, I knew I had to make more of an effort. The whole sea bass I had in Lisbon was so simply grilled, embellished with only roasted potatoes and a small iceberg lettuce salad on the side. The fish itself was the main event, and for good reason. It was so light and tender, satisfying but not overly satiating. The skin was slightly crispy and perfectly salty. I had to recreate it at home! And surprisingly, it wasn't costly or difficult at all! Whole sea bass happened to be on sale at Whole Foods, so I took it as a sign that now was the time to get over my intimidation of cooking fish and decided to try to recreate my favorite Portuguese meal. For $7, yes, only $7, I roasted an entire sea bass! I wanted to grill it like they had at the restaurant, but unfortunately since we just moved, we haven't bought a propane tank for our grill yet. But roasting it in the oven was actually so incredibly easy that I'll be sure to roast fish just as often as I grill it even when we have our new tank. So, moral of the story- don't be intimidated in trying something new in the kitchen! What's the worst that can happen? It doesn't turn out the way you wanted it to, so you try again! Sounds like fun to me:) I have spent so many years avoiding cooking fish... and now that I know how easy it was, I wish I had just tried to do it the first time I thought about it! I guess I just needed a trip to Lisbon:)

roasted whole sea bass

1 lb whole sea bass (ask your butcher to clean out the organs, etc.- Although I knew I wanted to roast the whole fish and de-bone myself as I ate it, I made the mistake of refusing the offer for the fish to be cleaned because I thought that they would remove the bones, but when I opened up the fish I realized it wasn't exactlyyyyyyy as clean as the ones I had eaten abroad haha)
Olive oil

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Rinse your fish well and then coat with olive oil, and then salt generously. Bake on a cookie sheet for 20-25 minutes, then broil on high for about 2-3 minutes until the top is slightly charred. Serve with roasted potatoes (Bake quartered potatoes at 425 for 20 minutes, flipping half way-I seasoned mine with thyme and salt!) and you're good to go! It's that easy!


Whew, it's been a busy past few months! Though we've had Stems and Savories on our minds, it's been hard to find time to cook, take pictures, and post our recipes. I just got back from a trip to Europe- a trip I've been dying to take since high school! While I was on the plane for eight hours, I was reflecting on what is important to me in my life and what I need to start making more time for. What came to mind? Stems and Savories, of course. It's so easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day bustle and think that taking time to do what we love will take away from the time we need to spend on our work. But I think taking time for yourself is actually one of the most important things you can do to increase your work productivity. From yoga teacher training to moving to traveling to sending out my manuscript for review... there's always something taking my time. Although those things make me happy, sometimes you just need to do what your heart is calling for to re-find your balance. And for me, that was a night cooking in the kitchen and a night posting to Stems and Savories.

The food abroad was amazing. Absolutely amazing. I'm going to try to re-create some dishes that I had over the next few months, and I'm crossing my fingers they turn out well enough to post! Since I spent some time in Barcelona, I figured I'd start with a Catalan Chicken recipe that I actually made in a cooking class at Cooks of Crocus Hill in college. I only took two classes from them, one where I learned to make French food (try this savory tart!), and one where I learned how to make some Spanish dishes, but both classes were absolutely fantastic and make up some of my greatest off-campus memories from college. I actually took this class with my research mentor, which was probably the best way to celebrate our friendship and love for cooking:)

This is one of my favorite recipes ever. The bread crumbs, almonds, chocolate, and parsley mixture used to thicken the sauce is absolutely phenomenal. I hope you enjoy for now, and know that I will try to find some more time in the kitchen in the coming weeks!

catalan chicken with almond, chocolate, and parsley picada

2 pounds chicken thighs
Salt and pepper
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2/3 cup finely chopped onion
14 1/2 ounce can of whole tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
1/4 cup Oloroso sherry
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
One 3-inch strip of orange peel
1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 slice of peasant bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 cup slivered almonds
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Large pinch of saffron threads
Small pinch of aniseeds
Small pinch of ground cloves

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook over moderately high heat until browned, 4 minute per side. Transfer to a plate. Add the onion to the skillet and cook over moderate heat until softened, for about five minutes. Add the broth, sherry, bay leaf, orange peel, and thyme and bring to a boil. Add the chicken, cover, and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, turning once. Meanwhile, toast the bread and almonds on a baking sheet for 8 minutes. Then heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a skillet, add the garlic, and cook over moderate heat for about 3 minutes until golden. Transfer to a food processor with the bread and almonds, then add the chocolate, parsley, cinnamon, saffron, aniseeds, and cloves. Process this mixture to a picada paste. Stir the picada into the sauce that the chicken is boiling in and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes until the sauce thickens. Discard the bay leaf and orange peel, season with salt and pepper, and serve with freshly grated manchego cheese.


As always, I love friends' birthdays because I have the chance to make a homemade cake! It was one of my Italian friend's birthday, and we decided to build on the epic pasta making party by making homemade ravioli (which was amazing, by the way!). I thought I'd try to stick to the Italian dinner theme with his birthday cake, so I started doing a little research. When I googled "traditional Italian birthday cake," the first two results were for a rum cake- my favorite cake my grandmother on my mom's side makes! She makes hers with a boxed yellow cake mix and vanilla pudding, and though it is absolutely amazing, I decided it'd be more fun to make a homemade cake. I had my reservations going in since I hadn't tried making it from scratch before, but it was easy and absolutely delicious!

rum cake

2 1/2 cups flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cup sugar (divided into 1 1/2 and 1/4 cups)
10 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup rum
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
6 large egg yolks
3 large egg whites

rum butter sauce

1/2 cup butter

1/3 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup rum

Grease a bundt pan, add a couple of tablespoons of sugar, and tap and turn to coat completely. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and 1 1/2 cups of sugar in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together melted butter, buttermilk, rum, oil, vanilla, and egg yolks until combined. In the bowl of a standing mixer with the whisk attachment attached, beat the egg whites at medium speed until foamy (about 45-60 seconds). Keeping the whisk running, add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar for another 60-90 seconds until stiff peaks form. Stir the butter mixture into the flour mixture until just combined, then fold in the egg whites. Bake for 40-50 minutes at 350 degrees, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Meanwhile, make the rum butter sauce by melting the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and then whisking together the melted butter, water and sugar over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Let boil, stirring occasionally, until all the sugar has dissolved (about 5 minutes). Remove from the heat, and very gradually stir in the rum. Be careful here because the rum may cause the sauce to boil up again! Once the cake is cool, poke many holes all over the surface before pouring half of the rum butter sauce evenly over the cake. Let the cake rest for 5-10 minutes so the sauce can absorb a bit before inverting onto a serving platter. Then drizzle the remaining sauce evenly over the cake and serve!


You are probably thinking the same thing I thought: there is no way chickpeas can really taste like cookie dough. Well, believe it or not, not only does this taste like cookie dough, it tastes like really good cookie dough. I don't even like cookie dough that much, but I actually get addicted to this! I eat so much more of it than I should haha, but at least it's a healthier alternative to actual cookie dough! In theme with my last post, I made this hoping for a quick, healthy, filling, and delicious snack before yoga, and it is all of the above:) Still skeptical?? You just gotta go for it and see for yourself!

chickpea cookie dough

1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/2 cup peanut butter
5 tablespoons oats
2 tablespoons agave syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons ground flaxseed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Combine the cooked chickpeas, peanut butter, oats, agave, vanilla, ground flaxseed, and salt in a food processor. Process until even in consistency. You can either stir in the chocolate chips with a spoon if you like more chunky bites, or, if you like smaller pieces of chocolate mixed throughout like me, you can add the chocolate chips to your food processor and pulse until it reaches your desired consistency. Store in the fridge if you plan on eating it in the next week, or you can freeze it serving size portions for easy snacking later! Just roll into balls (of your desired size), place on a cookie sheet in the freezer for a couple hours until frozen (this is just so they don't all stick together as they freeze!), then transfer to a container or plastic bag for storing in your freezer, and then take out a serving at a time to let thaw overnight before enjoying the next day! It's soooooo good! I can't stop eating it! I opt for the freezer method so I don't eat it all in one sitting:)


March and April have been slow months for Stems and Savories! I've been doing Yoga Teacher Training since the end of April and although I am SO happy to be a part of such a wonderful community and be learning so much, the ~15hrs/wk (plus ~1 1/2 hours of travel each day) added to my ~50hrs/wk job is killing my free time. And my diet! Our trainings are from 7:30-10:30pm, and I need to take a class at 6pm to get enough hours for the certification, so that means that from 5:45-10:30pm I'm at the studio, and my dinners are now non-existent. It's hard to find something to eat that is 1. going to keep me full, 2. going to not make me want to puke when I exercise, 3. doesn't need to be heated up since there's no microwave at the studio, 4. is healthy, and 5. you can eat on a budget. It took me a couple of weeks to figure it out, but hummus meets all of those requirements! So I started making homemade hummus just about every Sunday and packing it with my salad. And every Sunday, I tell myself I need to post the recipe but can't find the time. When you only have one day off a week, you have a lot of other things you need to get done- like actually eating or sleeping or finishing up leftover work from the week. Well, we're starting our last week of training next week and I finally can't wait any longer to return to Stems and Savories. I've really missed posting! But I do have a couple other quick and healthy eats I've created in the last 7 weeks so I'm excited to post those next! This hummus recipe is about ~16oz worth, enough to get me through a week of packed lunches and dinners! You can adjust it as you'd like too! If you like garlic, go ahead and add another clove; if you don't, feel free to only use one instead of two as I have listed below. If you like your hummus more lemony, add another half lemon's worth of juice! You can also put roasted red pepper, paprika, sumac, or any herb you'd like in there! I drizzled some olive oil and then sprinkled with za'atar below!

healthy homemade hummus

1 1/2 cups chickpeas (1/2 cup dried chickpeas soaked)
1/2-3/4 cup tahini (depending on how much you like the flavor! The more you add, the creamier your hummus will be)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
Juice from 1/2 lemon

If starting with dry chickpeas, let your chickpeas soak overnight with 4 cups of water. Drain once and then add back 4 more cups of water and boil for 1-2 hours until the chickpeas are very soft. Add more water as you need. This will help get you the creamy texture of store-bought hummus! Once your chickpeas are very soft, add the chickpeas, tahini, garlic, and salt to a food processor. Pulse until even, then add the olive oil, water, and lemon juice. If you'd like a smoother, thiner consistency, add more water or olive oil, depending on if you want more olive oil flavor or not. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks!


I'm in a book club, and I think my favorite part of the book club is the fact that we tend to focus on the food we share during our meetings just as much as the book:) I love to read, but I love to cook! And it's so much fun because we usually pick a theme for food that fits with the book, so I get to try making things I never would have thought of without the prompt! Last year around this time we read Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking and our host made some amazing borscht. I remembered having braised cabbage at a Russian restaurant in college, so when she sent out the email saying she was planning on making borscht, I decided to try experimenting with cabbage for my contribution to the meal. I had just read a New York Times recipe for a cabbage torta, so I decided to try my own variation of the torta and make little cabbage pockets for book club! The Times makes one large torta, but I actually preferred the serving-sized pockets because there's a higher torta to filling ratio:) But feel free to make one large one if you'd prefer! I think this could be a great St. Patty's day addition if you're looking to take advantage of the 29 cent cabbage (!) in the stores right now!

cabbage and onion torta

2 cups flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons cold butter
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup cold water

2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons thyme
1 cabbage, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded Manchego cheese

1 egg
1 tablespoon cold water

Mix your dough by adding the flour, whole wheat flour, 2 tablespoons salt, and sugar to a food processor. Process until combined, then add the cold butter in small pieces and pulse to a fine grain. Add the olive oil and water and process to a consistent dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour while you prepare the filling. 

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small cast iron pan over medium high heat and add the sliced onion. Sauté for 5-10 minutes until translucent, then lower the heat and let cook until caramelized, stirring every so often, for about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, sauté the garlic and thyme in olive oil over medium heat until the garlic is golden brown. Then add the chopped cabbage and salt and cook until completely cooked throughout, about 35 minutes. Add in the caramelized onions to the cabbage and stir to combine.

When your dough is ready, roll out to about 1/8" thickness. Cut into 4" wide squares and fill one half (diagonally) of the square with cabbage filling. Sprinkle with Manchego, fold the top over, and press the edges with a fork to seal the dough. Beat an egg with 1 tablespoon cold water and brush over the cabbage pockets. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Enjoy!


Everyone has been sick lately! I've been sick lately! I went an entire four days without being able to leave my bed- not even to move to the couch. So for those of you who have a bug, or those of you who are trying to avoid a bug, try to make sure you're eating well and keeping your body as healthy as you can! Here's a delicious quinoa salad to help you do that!

4 carrots (I used colored ones for fun!)
1/2 cup quinoa
1 tablespoon olive oil
1" piece ginger, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
2-3 stalks of kale, broken into 1" pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoons sesame oil (depending on how much you like that flavor!)

Quarter the carrots and then chop into 2" pieces. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, toss to coat, and roast at 425 degrees for 25 minutes, flipping halfway. Meanwhile, cook your quinoa according to package directions. While the quinoa is cooking, sauté the ginger and garlic in olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the kale and let cook until the kale is slightly crispy. Turn down the heat until the carrots and quinoa are ready. Once they are ready, add the roasted carrots, quinoa, and salt to the pan and mix well. Then drizzle with sesame oil, toss to coat, and serve warm! This will make enough for two salads!


Here's a sweet variation of a couple classic breakfast items: cinnamon rolls and waffles! But combined! You get the sweet, cinnamon swirls of cinnamon rolls, plus the great, crispy texture of waffles. What better way to start your Valentine's day than with these yummy treats?

cinnamon roll waffles

1/4 batch sweet dough, following the recipe through the rolling stage (or, you can make these waffles with any extra slices of the rolls that don't fit in the caramel-filled pans, like I did!)
top with whipped cream, pecans, syrup, any extra caramel left after inverting the pans when making our caramel roll recipe

Heat the waffle iron to its medium-high setting. Place one slice of cinnamon swirled sweet dough in the middle of the iron, close carefully, and let cook until golden brown. Remove from waffle iron and repeat until all rolls are cooked. Garnish with your desired garnishes and enjoy!


Sometimes you just need nachos. My friends and I tend to get addicted to nachos; there are days where literally everything revolves around finding nachos. What's fueling the obsession? That craving for the moment when the chips run out before the toppings. That's when you know you've got it good. But, unfortunately, that's pretty hard to come by. Restaurants tend to skimp! And it takes a lot of work to put together a plate of nachos like that. But what better opportunity to do it than the Super Bowl?! Get ready for a massive nacho event with this recipe! I'd probably prepare the meats on Saturday and then set up a nacho bar on Sunday for everyone to make the nachos they've been dreaming of! Mine would include everything on this list, but feel free to follow your taste buds and add what sounds good to you!

1 chicken breast
16 corn tortillas
Vegetable oil to fill a cast iron skillet about 1/4" full
1-2 cups finely (and freshly!) shredded cheddar cheese, however much you want!
1 can beans
1 t cumin
1 yellow pepper, cut into thin slices
1 onion, cut into half-rings
2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped well
6 ounces cooked shredded beef
6 ounces cooked chorizo
1 avocado
handful cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons sour cream
juice of 1/2 lime

Boil the chicken breast in water for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cut your tortillas into quarters. Heat the vegetable oil in the cast iron skillet on medium high. When the oil bubbles upon gently flicking a bit of water over it, it's ready. Add the corn tortilla quarters and fry on each side for about 2 minutes, until they are golden brown and hard to the touch (with tongs, of course!). Remove to a paper towel and sprinkle with salt. By now your chicken is probably done, so remove the cooked breast from the water and shred using two forks. If it doesn't shred easily, it's not done yet and you should boil until it is no longer pink on the inside and shreds easily. Add the shredded chicken to a new saucepan with 1/2 cup water and the chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Let simmer until the water has been fully evaporated/absorbed. Meanwhile, cook the beans in another saucepan with cumin until the chicken is ready, about 10 minutes. At the same time, sauté the pepper and onion. When the chicken, beans, and veggies are done, move the chips to a single layer on a large cookie sheet. Layer the cheese over the chips, then the beans, peppers and onions, shredded chicken, shredded beef, and chorizo. Top with more cheese! Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Layer avocado over the nachos and sprinkle with cilantro leaves. Combine the sour cream and lime juice in a bowl and drizzle over the nachos! Serve and enjoy the great satisfaction of needing more chips to scoop up the rest of your toppings:)


chips. cheese.

chips. cheese. stewed black beans.

chips. cheese. stewed black beans. chipotle chicken.

chips. cheese. stewed black beans. chipotle chicken. shredded beef.

chips. cheese. stewed black beans. chipotle chicken. shredded beef. chorizo.

chips. cheese. stewed black beans. chipotle chicken. shredded beef. chorizo. peppers and onions.

chips. cheese. stewed black beans. chipotle chicken. shredded beef. chorizo. peppers and onions. more cheese.

chips. cheese. stewed black beans. chipotle chicken. shredded beef. chorizo. peppers and onions. more cheese. baked.

chips. cheese. stewed black beans. chipotle chicken. shredded beef. chorizo. peppers and onions. more cheese. baked. avocado.

chips. cheese. stewed black beans. chipotle chicken. shredded beef. chorizo. peppers and onions. more cheese. baked. avocado. cilantro.

chips. cheese. stewed black beans. chipotle chicken. shredded beef. chorizo. peppers and onions. more cheese. baked. avocado. cilantro. lime crema.