A Fond Farewell…

This blog was only the beginning of the culinary collaborations between Hillary and Amy – and what fun it was! But alas, the time has come for an official goodbye to you – the faithful readers of ataleof2kitchens.  We have loved sharing our kitchen creations with you and hope you’ll continue diving into our recipe index.

Thanks for all your love, support & good eats.

With love,

Amy & Hillary

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Steak Salad… and we’re sorry.

We know, it has been a WHILE since we posted anything. But to be fair, the 2 kitchens have gone through quite a few changes in the past six months. For starters, both of us moved into brand NEW kitchens; Amy is on the Upper West Side and I’m in downtown Brooklyn. Amy also has a fabulous new job as a private chef, and a lovely fiancé! She can give you all more deets on these exciting things herself.

Since our lives just keep getting crazier as time goes on, we’re going to shift away from our old structure of ingredients and/or themes, and just show you some of the more delicious and exciting things we’re cooking up for ourselves.

I’ll start you off with a tasty and healthy steak salad recipe. I’ve been on a bit of a health kick so far in 2014, eating mostly (gasp) paleo (no dairy, no grains, no sugar), and I hate to admit it, but it makes me feel really great. I’m running the NYC marathon this November so I’m trying to transform myself into a superhuman by then, one healthy meal at a time. Of course I still eat pasta, pizza, and ice cream (among other things) but try really hard to use moderation…

I’m a huge fan of the spicy steak salad from Mooncake Foods in NYC — so here is my attempt to re-create it!

For three servings you will need:

For the salad:
1 12 oz flank or skirt steak
1 avocado, sliced
Cherry or grape tomatoes
Baby greens — I used baby kale
1 cucumber, sliced
Fresh herbs — mint, cilantro, Thai basil (if you can find it!)

For the dressing:
Juice of 2 limes
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp fish sauce (or soy sauce)
Juices from the steak after it has rested
s+p to taste

Allow the steak to come to room temperature for about an hour after taking it out of the fridge. Dry it thoroughly with paper towels, and season each side with salt & pepper.

Preheat a cast iron pan on the stove over medium/high heat. Add just enough olive oil to cover the pan with a thin layer. Cook the steak for 5 minutes on the first side, then flip over and cook for another 3-4 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 135 for medium rare.

Let the steak rest for about 10 minutes, then slice thinly against the grain.

Assemble the 1/3 of the baby greens, cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, herbs & steak on each plate, add dressing and enjoy!

steak salad

Posted in Avocados, Beef, Citrus, Greens, Healthy, Quick & Easy, Tomatoes, Work Week Lunches | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PG Pina Colada

With all this brutal heat we’ve been having, I needed a cool and refreshing pineapple recipe (that didn’t leave me with a horrible headache the next morning). So here we have a virgin (and lite!) pina colada to transport you far, far away from the NYC humidity.

For 2 servings you will need:

1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into smallish chunks
10 oz coconut water
1/2 banana (preferably frozen)
Ice (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a blender, buzz, serve & enjoy! Then queue the cool island breezes and the song “Escape” by Rupert Holmes.


Until next time!

Posted in Bananas, Cocktails and Mocktails, Pineapple | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rum Soaked Grilled Pineapple over Angel Food Cake

Even though you may think standing over a hot grill sounds absolutely miserable in this crazy heat wave I can assure you this little treat is totally worth it.  It’s easy, refreshing, boozy…what more could you want from a summertime dessert!?

Making angel food cake from scratch isn’t quite as easy as making a Duncan Hines yellow box cake but I bet you it’s easier than you think…the trick for a light and fluffy cake is sifting the cake flour twice. Take the extra minute – it’s worth it.

What you’ll need:
1 cup cake flour
¾ + ¾ cups of sugar
12 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ t vanilla extract
½ t almond extract
1 ½ t cream of tartar
Angel food cake pan
1 ripe pineapple
Myer’s Dark Rum (or dark rum of choice)
1 T brown sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
1 t powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  In a large bowl sift together the flour and 3/4 cup of sugar. Set aside. In the bowl of stand mixer, combine the egg whites, salt and extract. Beat until the mixture is just frothy, then sprinkle the cream of tartar on top and continue beating until they form stiff, glossy peaks.DSC_0002Add the remaining sugar gradually, 1/4 cup at a time.  Transfer the meringue to the largest bowl you have – if you want a fluffy cake it’s imperative you have space to fold in all the dry ingredients.  Sift in the dry ingredients slowly while folding them in.DSC_0008Spoon the batter into an ungreased angel food cake pan, and bake the cake for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until it’s golden brown and the top springs back when lightly touched. Remove the cake from the oven, and place it upside down on a metal funnel to keep from crushing the top. Let the cake cool for at least 1.5 hours – this allows the cake to keep it’s structure.DSC_0012As for the boozy pineapple finish…step one: heat up the grill – nice and hot, clean it and then lightly grease it.  Trim the whole pineapple and slice into ¾” slices.  Toss the slices in a bowl with brown sugar and dark rum.  Grill the pieces for about 3 minutes on each side (depending on how soft you want them).DSC_0020Once grilled, pour the sugar/rum/pineapple juices over a piece of the pineapple, a slice of angel food cake and top with freshly made whipped cream (feel free to add a little bit of rum in that as well!).  Absolutely scRUMptious.


Posted in Pineapple, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment



We’ve officially hit the dog days of Summer – it’s a convection oven outside, a freezer inside and all you really want to be doing is sipping something cool poolside.

While our 9 to 5’s often get in the way of turning that dream into a reality why not act like you’re on vaca and break into a juicy pineapple for a little mid-week tropical refreshment!?

Repeat after me: piña colada time.  And that’s just one of the many delicious ways to enjoy this week’s ingredient – check back later this week for more!


Posted in Pineapple | Tagged | Leave a comment

Whipped honey vanilla ricotta with fresh berries

Ricotta is one of my favorite things to make — it is so easy, and tastes so much better than its store-bought counterpart! There are a zillion different things you can add to homemade ricotta jazz it up a bit, from herbs to garlic, to tomato sauce… and so many more. But for a tasty 4th of July treat, I added vanilla & honey and topped it with fresh berries.

For about 10 or so servings you will need:

1 quart half & half
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
Pinch of salt
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp honey
Blueberries & raspberries

First, make the ricotta. In a medium-sized pot, bring the half & half and salt to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat, add the vinegar, stir a few times and let it sit for a few minutes while it separates.

Set up a sieve over a bowl or colander, and line the sieve with cheesecloth or a paper towel. Pour the curd & whey mixture into the sieve and let it drain for 15-20 minutes.


Move the ricotta to a bowl, add the vanilla & honey and whisk vigorously until it becomes light and fluffy.

Put a few spoonfuls of ricotta into a small bowl or glass, top with berries and enjoy!


Posted in Berries, Festive Cheer, Ricotta | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Berry Cream Scones

Waking up with a sparkler in your coffee might be the best way to kick off the 4th of July but a red, white and blue berry-ful scone just might be the next best option.  These tender scones will set the tone for a perfectly patriotic day.   They are super simple to whip up – even better if you prep them the evening before, stick them in the freezer and bake them off bright and early.  Nothing like a warm scone straight from the oven!

Here’s my take on a classic King Arthur Flour recipe (made even better when enjoyed with friends on a beautiful summer day…just sayin.) – I added fresh berries but feel free to substitute in nuts, dried fruit, chocolate…whatever your heart desires!

2 3/4 cups AP flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 t salt
1 T baking powder
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 large eggs
2 t good vanilla extract
2/3 cup heavy cream
1-2 cups fresh blueberries and raspberries
Plus sanding sugar and a touch more cream to top.

In a large bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients.  Place all wet ingredients (eggs, cream, extract) in another bowl and gently whisk.  Add the small pieces of cold butter and work into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter, a fork or your hands (always works in a pinch!) until the pieces are about pea sized.DSC_0003Pour in the wet ingredients and mix until just pulled together – don’t over work the dough – if it’s a little wet add a touch more flour, a little dry, a touch more cream.  Gently work in the berries.DSC_0007Now for shaping – how you shape the scones is up to you – make into a long log or wide circle and cut into triangles or make uniform circles using a biscuit cutter.  Heck, feel free to make free form scones if you’d like by placing large dollops on the parchment paper lined baking sheet.DSC_0013Once the scones are shaped lightly brush the tops with cream and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake the scones for about 30 minutes or until they are slightly brown and spring back to the touch.  (If taking them from the freezer simply put them straight into the oven – it will make deliciously light and fluffy scones!)  Serve with butter and jam, or maybe just an American flag.
Have a safe, happy and tasty 4th of July!DSC_0031

Posted in Berries, Festive Cheer, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Red, White & Blue!

tumblr_lntkobjJmN1qkik3go1_400In honor of Independence Day next week we’re going to be cooking up some delicious red, white & blue foods! Check back to see how creative we can get with color!

Posted in Festive Cheer | Leave a comment

Chicken Salad Veronique

I guess the egg [salad] came before the chicken [salad] after all! (ha-ha). But seriously, this chicken salad is quite refreshing and almost floral tasting with the addition of tarragon and grapes, perfect for this hot and muggy weather we’ve been having! I totally agree with Amy on the mayo-based salad point — I mean who knows how long those have been sitting in their little containers at the grocery store or out under those steamy glass panels… much better to make them yourself. This recipe is based off of Ina Garten’s, but lightened up with some non fat greek yogurt.

For four servings you will need:

4 split (2 whole) bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup non fat greek yogurt
2 tbsp tarragon, roughly chopped
1/2 cup celery, diced (optional — I don’t like it!)
1 cup green grapes, halved
Olive oil
S+P for seasoning and to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a sheet pan, brush with olive oil, and season liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35-40 minutes or until cooked through.

Allow the chicken to cool, then remove the skin and dice into small bite sized pieces, about 1/2 inch. Combine the mayo, yogurt, and chicken in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Add the tarragon and grapes and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy as is or in a wrap or sandwich!


Posted in Chicken, Salad, Tarragon, Yogurt | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tarragon Egg Salad

You know those dishes that you love, but you’ll only eat if they’re homemade?  For me that’s any sort of salad made with mayo (chicken salad, tuna salad, potato salad, etc.).  I usually like a lot more fixin’s and a lot less mayo than what receipes typically call for.  Not to mention I most often wind up throwing in some dijon mustard or vinegar – I love the added tang.
I decided to make egg salad this week (to top some beautiful tomatoes I got at the farmers market last weekend!) just the way I like it and chocked full of tarragon.

What you’ll need:
10 eggs, hard boiled
1/2 cup mayo
2 T red wine vinegar
1 T prepared horseradish
1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 T finely chopped tarragon

Hard boil the eggs (a good trick – don’t use fresh eggs – they are harder to peel!) – put eggs in a large pot and just cover with water.  Let the water come to a boil, cover, remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes.  Let the eggs cool and peel.

Chop the cooled hard boiled eggs and place in a large bowl along with all other ingredients.  Mix well and add plenty of salt and pepper.  Be sure to taste as you season!

DSC_0002 DSC_0010Layer the salad on bread or in a bowl over lettuce and tomato – a perfect, pack-able lunch!

Posted in Eggs, Tarragon | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment