Allez! Gourmet: 2013 In Review

Here’s a happy little recap of Allez! Gourmet blog activity in 2013. I am blown away by the number of blog hits- 11,000! The most popular recipes last year were: paleo lemon bars, Greek yogurt peanut butter dip, and roasted brown sugar sweet potatoes. You bunch of sweeties, you.

Click the link below for more fun stats and to connect to the popular recipes. What started as a casual hobby to share my passion for cooking happy, healthy meals at home has become, dare I say it- widespread. I hope you have enjoyed my posts and I love all feedback. And, as always, thank you for reading!


Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Quickie: Hard Boiled Eggs with Dukkah (veg, gf)

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m in love with the Heidi Swanson cookbook, Super Natural Every Day. This lovely little snack is straight from her book, with a Trader Joe’s-loving twist: I bought my dukkah pre-made. Sacrilege, I know! And while Heidi’s recipe for homemade dukkah is lovely, I couldn’t pass up a high-quality shortcut for $2.99.


Dukkah is an Egyptian seasoning blend made of nuts and spices, and is often mixed with oil and used as a delicioud bread dip. Heidi suggests drizzling a hard-boiled egg with a bit of olive oil and sprinkling with dukkah as a quick and flavorful snack.


This idea has been tantalizing me for months and when I found my jar of dukkah at TJ’s, it was game on. This is much less a recipe than an idea and an inviting way to try a possibly unfamiliar spice blend. So, let’s talk hard boiled eggs and have a snack, shall we?


Inspired by Heidi Swanson

  • pre-made dukkah, available at Trader Joe’s, or made with Heidi Swanson’s recipe
  • eggs
  • olive oil

My foolproof method for hard-boiling eggs is this: place your eggs gently into a pot and cover with cold water, bring to a boil, cover with a lid and remove from heat, allow to sit- covered- for 15 minutes. When 15 minutes is up, float the eggs in a bowl of ice water before peeling. This will prevent those icky green rings around the yolks. Peel, cut an egg in half lengthwise, drizzle with a bit of oil and sprinkle with dukkah. Delicious!

ice bath

Takeout Fakeout: CBW Steamed Veggie Bowl with Quinoa (v, gf)

Crazy Bowls and Wraps. I love this place. Crazy Bowls is a fast food chain where you can get all kinds of tasty creations, as healthy or unhealthy as you’d like, vegan or full-on carnivore, stuffed into a wrap or served over grains as a bowl with your choice of sauce.  Crazy Bowls is mainly in Missouri and California with a smattering of stores in Illinois, which seemed like a weird combination to me, until I thought of what other amazing thing Missouri and California share: Brad Pitt. That’s right. Let’s take a moment of silence for the sustaining force that is the MO-CA symbiotic relationship. Thank you, universe, for Brad Pitt. And thank you, Crazy Bowls, for inexplicably branching out into Eastern Missouri.

bright and beautiful

bright and beautiful

There’s a Crazy Bowls location with a drive though just a few minutes from my office and it’s where I go on the rare days I go to work lunchless. My order is the same every time I go. Every time. “Hi, may I please have the stir-fried veggie bowl with quinoa, double veggies, Thai sauce, and an extra side of Thai sauce? Thanks.” And the total is always $8.00, which always stings and makes me feel lazy and wasteful since I know how to cook a %&$#@ bowl of veggies for gosh sakes and since I know the bowl would cost about $2.00 to make.

Well, guess what? Today, I broke the witchy spell that veggie bowl had on me! I made my order at home, and way more of it. I know the ingredients by heart and grabbed a pre-made peanut sauce at Whole Foods to simplify the process.

saucesMy homemade bowl absolutely hit the spot and with a healthy bonus- I steamed the veggies instead of stir-frying them. Mind: blown. Have you made your favorite to-go food at home? Was it as satisfying? Here’s mine- let me know what you think!



  • 1/4 head green cabbage, cut into 1/4 inch ribbons
  • 1/4 head red cabbage, cut into 1/4 inch ribbons
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into 1″ squares
  • 1 cup edamame
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 cups quinoa, cooked according to package directions
  • bottled Thai peanut sauce or homemade sauce, ya showoff
  • Sriracha, for serving
  • optional: 1 cup kale, sliced into ribbons & 1 small zucchini, sliced into half moons (these are in the CBW bowl)


You’re going to love this process- so easy and versatile! Chop all veggies. Put the quinoa on according to its package; as the quinoa cooks, set up a large pot and colander for steaming. Bring about 1/2 inch of water to boil in the pot, and add the veggies into the colander, with the carrots on bottom.

carrotsCover and cook about 10 minutes. Fluff the quinoa, spoon about 1/2 cup into bowls, then top with as many veggies as you’d like and some sauce.

eat up!

eat up!

Delicious! Meals like this will keep you young:

White Beans, Cabbage, and a Lovely Cookbook (v, gf)

I’ve always looked up to my aunt Liz. A world-traveling, multilingual, distance running biological science grant approver with a PhD, she’s been reliably exciting and in-the-know my entire life (and hers, too). Being around her has always been an exhilarating treat; you should have seen the fervor caused when my two sisters and I would rip open boxloads of Liz’s hair products, makeup, jewelry, headbands, etc. that she was through with or passing on before an overseas move. Watching us divvy those half-used cans of designer mousse was like watching sweaty, sobbing pre-teen fans claw over each other to grab a tossed scrunchie at a Britney Spears concert. Big, Big News.

super natural

As you can imagine, this sense of excitement has only slightly dissipated, mostly because I’ve caught on to the whole “acting calm in public” thing (work in progress). When Liz gave me a copy of Heidi Swanson’s James Beard award-winning “Super Natural Every Day,” I had to work really hard to not squeal and yell MINE as soon as she handed it over. Super Natural is a lovely book by a lovely chef, filled with lovely photos and very helpful tips. In addition to the creative, delicious recipes, the pantry chapter is my favorite- Heidi really breaks down how to properly stock a modern kitchen. The cover recipe looked so glorious, I had to try it first. Cooked cabbage is a win in any dish for me, and this recipe was no exception. Have you tried Heidi’s recipes? What did you think?


Adapted from Super Natural Every Day, by Heidi Swanson


  • 1 bag shredded green cabbage, about 3 cups
  • 2-3 small Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into 1/4″ dice
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • Parmesan cheese, optional


Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat. Take the time to let your OCD freak flag fly and really dice your potatoes into a small, uniform dice. Doing so will not only enhance the beauty of this dish and ensure even cooking of the potatoes, but will provide you with more crispy, cooked potato surface area, and who doesn’t want that?

shallots and potato

So. Do that, then toss the potatoes and a healthy pinch of kosher salt with the hot oil. Cover the pan and cook for 5-8 minutes, scraping the pan occasionally, until the potatoes are cooked through. Add the shallots and the beans.

potatoes and beans

Allow the beans to cook in a single layer for a minute or two, until they’re slightly browned. Scrape the pan again, cook until the beans are browned all over and a bit crispy, then add the remaining tablespoon olive oil and the cabbage. The cabbage will wilt as you stir; once it has broken down a bit, you’re ready to taste for seasoning and serve.  Enjoy!

we served ours with pork tenderloin. 'twas delish.

we served ours with pork tenderloin. ’twas delish.

Have Yourself a Healthy Little Christmas

Happy holidays! I hope everyone reading this is stuffed to the gills with pie and ham and eggnog and booze and sugar cookies. That’s a good way to be. Dave and I have between three and four family Christmases to attend each year and the highlight is always the food. This, for our crazy Cruse appetites, means two dinner plates each and a dessert plate, at every meal. WHOA. Hey, we love life! What can I say? A delicious practice, gorging ourselves, but fleeting and not without serious après-holiday plumping effects.


This year, Dave’s mama suggested a healthy Christmas Eve feast- novel idea! I assume some responsible families, somewhere (somewhere very far away from us, out of sight and mind) have been doing this for generations, but it was definitely a twist in our holiday routine. The menu included mashed sweet potatoes, Oaxacan eggplant spread, shrimp cocktail, quinoa salad, grilled salmon, and roasted pork tenderloin. Not a stick of butter in sight, and the meal was a huge hit! I’ve included all recipes below. What did you make? Does your family steer from the norm and go healthy during the holidays?

dinnah is served!

dinnah is served!


salmonGrilled Salmon with Herb Rub: just posted this Allez! recipe last week! Such an easy crowd pleaser.





OaxacanOaxacan Eggplant Spread: adapted from Gourmet magazine. Char eggplants and poblanos, peel, chop, and combine with white onion, cilantro, lime, and the kicker-  a habanero! Divine. This was the underdog Big Deal dish of the evening. We made it one before, in the summer- it’s really good with ice cold beer. Serve with corn tortillas or tortilla chips.




potatoesMashed Sweet Potatoes: clean, roughly chop, and boil 3-4 large sweet potatoes until tender (do not skin). Drain, return to pot, and mash with 1/2-3/4 c orange juice, 2-3 tbsp margarine, 1 tsp cinnamon, and a pinch of kosher salt. Taste and add more OJ/margarine/cinnamon/salt to taste.




quinoaQuinoa Salad with Avocado, Black Beans, Corn, and Tomatoes: adapted from MindBodyGreen. Cook and cool 1 cup quinoa according to package directions. When cool, add a whisked vinaigrette of the juice of a lime, 2 tbsp olive oil, and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Add a handful chopped cilantro, 1 cup corn, a rinsed can of black beans, 10-12 halved cherry tomatoes, and a diced avocado. Adjust seasoning to taste.



tenderloinPork Tenderloin: we roasted a pre-seasoned pork tenderloin from the store, but here’s an Allez! rosemary pork tenderloin recipe from February, 2012.




Shrimp Cocktail: who has two thumbs and forgot a close-up? This girl! But no biggie- just buy shrimp and serve with cocktail sauce. BOOM.

I hope the holidays were wonderful for you and that 2014 is full of joy and success. And, as always, thank you for reading!


Merry Christmas!




Herb-Rubbed Salmon with Savory Oat Groats & Kale (gf)

My next stop on the one-way kale train I’ve been lately on was a tasty and versatile savory grain recipe. It was a win-win because of the kale and because I heart savory cooked grains. We were given a generous amount of groats from my husband’w coworker, who bought them by mistake. After Dave made them for breakfast several times with milk, cinnamon, and berries, I thought to myself “self, I bet we could get rid of these more quickly if I paired them with dinner.” And guess what? Well, there were still a LOT of groats left and we’re not quite through them and there are only two of us for Pete’s sake, but the new dish helped us slog through.

salmon and groats

I served this with salmon rubbed with my favorite herb rub and cooked in cast-iron. The fish can be grilled or broiled, so cook it however you’d like. The rub takes well to each of those cooking methods. If you don’t have kind coworkers to bless you with a windfall of oat groats, you can find them in the dry goods sections of health food stores or in larger grocery stores. You can usually buy them loose. Also, the groat recipe is vegan!

Adapted from Martha Stewart

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 leeks, sliced into matchsticks and rinsed well in a colander
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 cup oat groats
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 large bunch kale, deveined and chopped into ribbons
  • cracked black pepper
  • a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • lemon wedges, for serving (optional)


Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, the leek matchsticks, and 3 cloves of garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent. Stir in the carrot and the groats, and cook for 1 minute more. Add the stock, water, and salt and bring to a boil; when boiling, reduce heat and cover, cooking for 25-30 minutes.



Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil over medium in a deep saucepan. Add the kale and garlic and saute about 3-4 minutes, until the kale has wilted. When the groats have cooked their 25-30 minutes, stir in the kale and garlic, cracked black pepper to taste, and the crushed red pepper. Voila! All done! I like to serve this dish with lemon wedges on the side.




Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens

  • 2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried minced onion
  • 2 tsp dried minced garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • salmon fillets, 1-inch thick, skin on
  • olive oil


Okay, now for the fish! Heat your skillet over medium and add a teaspoon of olive oil. Add all rub ingredients in a food processor and blend well. This makes enough rub for a few go-rounds, so save what you don’t use in the fridge. You’ll be glad you did, this is good stuff right here.


Rub the salmon on both sides with olive oil. Take 1-2 tsp seasoning per filet and rub that onto the salmon flesh. Place the fillets in your skillet, skin side down, and cook 3-4 minutes, until about halfway done (you’ll see the color changing from dark pink to light). Flip over and cook an additional 3 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and flaky. If you’re grilling or broiling, prep the same way but don’t flip. This rub is so flavorful, surprisingly so. It’s almost the only way i make salmon at home- I hope you like it! What rubs do you use on fish? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

kale. it's so hot right now.

kale. it’s so hot right now.

Where Soul Meets Body: Green Soup For What Ails You (v, gf)

Hi! Long time no talk! Not sure how things have gone during your November, but mine has involved a nasty running fall, bronchitis, and various culinary and alcoholic over-indulgences. Okay, the last few are on me but I found myself in need of purification tonight (soul, mind, and body) and whipped up this tasty and heart-warming soup. I’m nursing myself back to health from the brink of my antibiotic haze and from the over-zealous discovery of my new favorite cocktail, the old-fashioned. Yowza.

ignore my creepy, crepey hand

ignore my creepy, crepey hand

Though the ingredient list below seems long, it’s a chop, boil, and puree kinda soup. The easy kind. The easy kind you can add your own favorite healing green veggies to. Enjoy!


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bag spinach
  • 1 16-oz bag frozen broccoli
  • 3 stalks kale, deveined and chopped (or 3 cups chopped kale)
  • 1 medium yukon gold potato, chopped
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • handful roasted garlic cloves or 3 fresh garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • cracked black pepper
  • a few dashes cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (or 4 cups water and 4 tsp vegetable base )
  • dollop of yogurt for serving, if you like (recipe is vegan if not)


In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped kale and the entire bag of spinach, stirring until the greens are completely wilted. Add the thyme, curry powder, and as much black pepper as you’d like, and cook until fragrant, about one minute more. Ready for the easy part?

Add everything but the yogurt to the pot. This mixture will look super hearty and amazing, because it is. Good for you for making this. Your body will thank you. I reserved a handful of broccoli florets to add back to my soup for texture- do so here but it’s completely optional. If you’re rushed or are fine with your broccoli in liquid form (it’s cool with me), bring all of the ingredients to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.

When cooking time is up, blend the soup in batches. Taste for seasoning once it’s all whipped up. You may want to add salt depending on the saltiness of your broth and garbanzos. Ladle up a big bowl and turn your life around!

Spaghetti Squash & Garlicky Kale: Vegan Italian Extravaganza! (v, gf)

Well, well, well, looks like dinner was vegan and I didn’t even mean to plan it that way. And meat was not missed! This meal was full-flavored, hearty, and robust, sans any major source of protein.  I did miss having a glass of wine, though- but that still wouldn’t have disrupted the accidental vegan harmony (winey ommmmm).


Dave and I made spaghetti squash for the first time last month, after my mother-in-law ordered it at a Ruby Tuesday (who’da thunk it) the night before a race. The race went well and we were left with happy memories of swimming, sweating, and spaghetti squash. I’ve made it three times now, and have been roasting it à la Martha– the squash has turned out well each time. Ms. Stewart doens’t disappoint. You really will be shocked and amazed at how easily the strands shred away in noodle-like ribbons from their gourds. Ooh! Aah! Spaghetti squash has a mild, neutral flavor, so pairing it with this very bold kale worked well. I also opted to use Newman’s Own Sockarooni, a loud sauce, for the squash itself.



  • 1+ lb kale, washed and cut into ribbons
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • water
  • red wine vinegar
  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1 jar Newman’s Own Sockarooni or 2 cups homemade marinara (show-off)
  • salt & cracked black pepper
  • Parmesan, if desired (I understand this is not vegan- leave it off for true vegan purity and click more for a related video)


***Before you begin, let me tell you that roasting spaghetti squash takes an hour and a half. It can be microwaved, but I can give zero advice on microwaved spaghetti squash because I haven’t done it. That sounds pretty unappealing, anyway. Cleared your calendar? Good! Here we go!***

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and move the rack you plan to use to the middle or bottom middle of the oven. Prick the spaghetti squash all over with a knife, in rows from top to bottom. Place the squash on a baking sheet and b=roast for 1 hour and 20 minutes- set your timer for 40 minutes so you can flip it halfway through.

Once you have flipped the squash at 40 minutes, heat your olive oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed dutch oven. Add enough chopped kale to cover the bottom of the pot and stir. It will be snap-crackle-popping, but don’t be scared. Add more kale if you think too much bare, hot pan is exposed and causing oil to pop. Stir and add the rest of the kale, in batches, coating with the hot oil. After all of the kale has wilted (about 3-5 minutes), salt it, cover and reduce heat to medium. After 5 minutes, or if the kale seems too dry, add a bit of water (about 1/4 cup), and recover.


Let this kale cook until the spaghetti squash has just 5 minutes left, and add more water if you need to. With 5 minutes to go on the squash, uncover the kale, cook off any excess water, and push the kale to one side of the pot. Add a splash of olive oil to the bare side, and add the garlic to the oil. Stir gently for 1 minute; then combine with the kale. Add a splash of red wine vinegar, and stir again. Done!


Okay, back to the squash. Remove it from the oven, cut off the ends with the trimmed stem, and cut the squash in half lengthwise to cool- use an oven mitt for this. It will be hot. Let the squash cool for about 15 minutes, then remove its middle seeds with a slotted spoon, the way you would with the seeds of a [piping hot] Halloween pumpkin. Holding a squash half with an oven mitt, scrape the flesh out from side to side over a colander. The flesh will come out in perfect, spaghetti-like strands! Heat a bit of sauce and top the squash with the sauce if your choice. Serve alongside the kale. Tasty, healthy, hearty, ever-loving goodness.