Spicy Nori Shake


This tasty Nori Shake is largely inspired by a recipe from Mark Bittman, in his incredible cookbook How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. His books are so stellar because he packs them with recipes, but also includes the theory and the know how that you need in order to create your own recipes. Empowering! That's my kind of cookbook.

This "Shake" is delicious on pretty much everything. When the seaweed meets anything hot (think steamed rice, sautéed veggies or hot pasta) it sticks in the most delightful way, infusing the food with a salty, spicy, nutty kick! It's the best. Not to mention the nutrition blast you are getting from the seaweed, that otherwise might be tough to sneak into your diet.

To the recipe!


  • 2 full sized sheets of nori seaweed (the kind used for sushi wrappers)
  • 2 dried hot chili peppers (or about 1 T chili flakes)
  • 1/8 cup sesame seeds


  1. Heat a skillet or shallow pan on the stove until it is pretty hot, then set at medium high heat.
  2. Place the sheets of seaweed in the skillet to toast. Move it around briskly so that it doesn't stick to the pan. As the seaweed heats up, it will turn a brighter green and become more brittle. When the sheets have turned bright green, remove from heat.
  3.  While the pan is still hot, add the sesame seeds and toast for about a minute, or until they are browned. They will want yo hop out of the pan--so watch yourself! A lid may be in order.
  4. Put the toasted seaweed, sesame seeds, and chillies (spice it to your taste) in a blender or a food processor and blend until the mixture is coarsely chopped.
  5. That's it! Put the shake in a covered container and keep it in the refrigerator. It should keep for about 2 weeks.

To Serve: Try this stuff on everything! You will be dazzled by the flavor it adds to plain rice, salads, and steamed veggies.

I recently barbecued corn on the cob (because it is that oh-so-sweet time of year) and added butter, a bit of Parmesan cheese, and a liberal dousing of this Nori Shake! It was out if this world.


Give it a try and let me know all the ways you shake this shake!


Gathering # 1: D.C. Birthday, A Linfieldian Affair


Gathering number one! It was the first real spring like day in Washington D.C. and what better way to celebrate than to gather a bunch of Linfield Alum for a delicious healthy picnic.  Oliver and I traveled to DC to celebrate the birth of a dear friend as well as take in a cherry blossom or two.

Conversation meandered from from short shorts, the invention of debt, eating for energy, and  “the good ol’  Linfield days”. Not to mention the handful of oddities to be observed in the park: music makers with loads of bling, amateur acrobats scaling park walls, and a suspicious group celebrating an “engagement party”. Needless to say, many laughs were had.

Conversation was fueled by a vitality boosting feast. The menu was inspired by birthdays, the inbetweeness of the seasons (a clinging winter meets a barely there spring) and the fact that I would be traveling with said feast and wanting to spend every last minute laughing with the birthday boy!

The Menu:

Roasted Radishes in Balsamic Radishes are already kicking around the farmers market, and birthday boy is a balsamic fan! Boom—a roasty salad that is happy to be made the day before.

Bloody Orange and Beet Salad with Tarragon I knew these two beauties would look like jewelry in the sun—plus beets are still prevalent at the farmers market and citrus is still at its absolute peak right now. I guess a long long winter is good for something.

Baby Greens with Sprouts, Daikon and Fennel — baby greens are banging right now and nothing makes greens feels fresh, clean and springy that sprouts, fennel and the crisp spicy coolness of a daikon radish.

Springy One-Pot Parsley Pesto Pasta  This pup is bursting with spring veggies and a parsley pesto! Plus it is one of those one pot wonder dishes that you can set and forget while drinking champs with your buds!

The Chocolate Enigma Tart Nothing says "celebration" like a rick chocolatey (healthy!) pie. You’ll have to click to the link to see the enigmatic ingredient list!

The days was a delight, we swooned over food and laughs and and tootled home sun kissed and soul nourished. And then we went to a super cool roof top toga party. These are the days!


***A million thank you's for the video DC GATHERING by oliver ogden on Vimeo.

***Music by  Arielle Dollinger, "The Dream"

Baby Greens with Sprouts, Daikon and Fennel



There is nothing I love more than a big old bowl full of salad! Salads are an excellent addition to any diet, I like to recommend a salad a day as a great way to get loads of fiber, antioxidants, and chlorophyll in one fell swoop.

A fresh green salad is also a nice palate cleanser at the end of a meal, so try shaking things up and serving the salad--LAST. Great for digestion and to freshen the breath. This salad especially is a boon for digestions, specifically because of all the fennel. Fennel is great for digestion, reducing bloat, it's a liver cleanser, and just stupendous all around. Plus,  it is all over the farmers markets right now.


Green leafy’s—the more the merrier.

Spring is a superb time to go wild with leafy greens. There are so many varieties right now, gorgeous lettuces, spinaches, chards, endless varieties of kales, pea shoots,  tatsoi and bok choy--just to name a few. I like to use a variety of  leafy greens in my salads for a couple of reasons. For one, it is nice to use a wide variety for the different tastes, textures and nutrients that leafy green provide. For two, I think that using a little bit of this and little bit of that really extends your produce. Most leafy greens will last for a week or more (greens purchased at your farmers market will last two weeks plus!!), and so why not have them all last through the week, by using a pinch of lettuce here and a handful of spinach there.


Sprouts are simply the best.

Sprouts are a nutritional powerhouse, and given their youthful tenderness, we are able to easily assimilate the nutrients found in sprouts. Sprouts are a phenomenal addition to salads and sandwiches. And add a surprising crunch to light soups as well. I love mung bean sprouts with miso!

Sprouts are also very easy to grow on your own. You simply need some sprouting seeds (I love broccoli, mung beans and lentils), a jar for the sprouts to grow in, and a method for rinsing and draining the sprouts a couple of time a day. I have some nifty little sprouting lids, though cheese cloth would work nicely too.

Maintaining sprouts is also a super fun chore for a child chef in the house. It is fun to watch them grow, the maintenance is pretty manageable (rinse, drain, repeat.), plus what better way to get kids invested in eating them than having them grow them for the whole family. I recommend!



A big bunch of Leafy greens—big variety, spinach, baby kale, lettuces, endive, pea shoots, arugula, bok chou, tatsoi, parsley, chard

1 C lentil sprounts, mung bean sprouts

2 stalk celery, chopped

1 C daikon radish, chopped

1 medium sized fennel bulb, chopped. Include stalk and fine leaves too!

1 C purple cabbage, chopped


3 T olive oil

2 T apple cider vinegar

2 T quality mustard

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Mix her all up and enjoy!

Baby Greens with Sprouts, Daikon and Fennel
Author: Denise
  • A big bunch of Leafy greens—big variety, spinach, baby kale, lettuces, endive, pea shoots, arugula, bok chou, tatsoi, parsley, chard
  • 1 C lentil sprounts, mung bean sprouts
  • 2 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 C daikon radish, chopped
  • 1 medium sized fennel bulb, chopped. Include stalk and fine leaves too!
  • 1 C purple cabbage, chopped
  • Dressings:
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T quality mustard
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  1. Lightly chop greens into manageable sized pieces.
  2. Add other chopped ingredients
  3. Mix dressing ingredients together. I like to add to a pint jar and shake vigorously!
  4. Dress and toss salad approximately 30 minutes before serving. The vinegar will soften the more robust leaves in a very tasty way.
  5. Serve and enjoy all those wild and wonderful greens!

Springy One-Pot Parsley Pesto Pasta

I enjoy pulling these "one-pot-wonder" pasta dishes out of my bag of tricks every now and again, because they are super simple to prepare, fun to experiment with different flavor combinations, and always pretty darn tasty. This batch was no exception.  All the simplicity and fun comes from placing all the pasta ingredients in the pot at the same time. The dried noodles, seasonings, beans, and veggies all fill the pot with about 6 cups of water, once the pot is comes to a boil, cook it 10 minutes or so, the way you would any pasta. It is still exciting to me that this works every time!

I also like that I can throw a bunch of stuff in a pot and confidently walk away, so that my hands are free to do other things. Say, toast champagne and enjoy time with friends!

For this one-pot-wonder, I chose to do a "spring" edition with lot's of fresh baby spinach and kale leaves, green peas, and swiss chard. Plus, some pesto. Parsley pesto!

Parsley Pesto


2 cups packed parsley roughly chopped (approximately 1 large bunch)

1 1/2 cup walnuts

14 mint leaves

10 cloves garlic

juice of 2 lemons

Approximately 1 cup olive oil, drizzled


1. To make up this bad boy I packed all of the ingredients into a blender, you could use a food processor too, and blended. It is smoother sailing if you drizzle the oil in while whirling everything else through the blender.

2. And voila! Pesto.

I am a huge fan of parsley---and for reasons that go way beyond a garnish. Parsley is quite nutritious, an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant rich food. It is a great liver and blood tonic, and freshens the breath to boot. Plus, it is very easy to grow and pretty prevalent, especially in those pre-basil days of spring and early summer. So while you are waiting for basil to pop up, go get your hands on some parsley and try out this incredibly fresh take on pesto.

For this pesto I used a little bit of mint and lemon, which added to the spring time freshness of it all. I also used walnuts, which was good, though I kind of I would have used a greener tasting nut. Something like a pistachio would have been out of this world I think. Dare to be adventurous with your nut choice here! I think any number of combos would work nicely.

You could also go wild and add in some cheese, and nice pungent parmesan would be divine.

This will make about 2 cups of pesto, so you will have some left over. Try it spread on toast with avocado or cream cheese. Or make a quick supper by adding to fresh hot pasta or cooked rice on a night when you just don't feel like dealing with dinner. You know, one of those night when you just want to drink champagne instead!

To the one-pot-wonder!



Springy One-Pot Parsley Pesto Pasta


  • 16 oz OrecchiettePasta
  • 12 oz Peas (I used frozen)
  • 3/4 cup Parsley Pesto, add to taste (See recipe above)
  • 1 big handful fresh kale and/or spinach leaves
  • 8 chard leaves and stems, chopped in small pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked white beans
  • juice of 1/2 lemon, plus a few slices for the top
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 portobello mushroom cut into bite sized pieces
  • 8 cremini mushrooms, washed and quartered
  • 1 red onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I used lots of fresh ground pepper!)
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes (optional, for those with a spice tooth only!)


  1. Empty pasta into a large pot or deep skillet with a lid.
  2. Add all the other ingredients to the pot, be generous with the pesto.
  3. Add about 6 cups water and bring to a boil.
  4. Once boiling, let cook about 10 min, until pasta is tender. Most of the water should be absorbed. If it gets too dry add a bit of water so that the mixture is saucy, but not soupy.
  5. Remove from heat and enjoy! Would be extra tasty with some parmesan sprinkled on top and more fresh ground pepper!

Enjoy your this one pot wonder, and do experiment with your own flavor combos! I will say a pad thai works well with this method too--if that gets any creative juices flowing.