Food | Steak with Herb Sauce

"The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook"
~Julia Child

Steak with Herb Sauce 5

I’m on a diet. Well not really a diet, it’s more of a reigning in program. Initially it crossed my mind not to share this information, for fear of you thinking that I am some sort of serial dieter- which I am not. But after a week of extreme indulgence in the desert oasis that is Palm Springs, I feel the need to reign things in. It’s not pretty when things get out of hand…

This incarnation of “Bianca does a diet” isn’t a 21 days cleanse, it’s a diet called the Dukan Diet. It’s like Atkins for five days, and then it’s like The South Beach diet thereafter- stressing healthy proteins, whole grains, vegetables and lots of water.

I mean, I don’t really need a program per se, I know HOW to eat; but what appeals to me about following a prescribed diet is the knowledge that as long as I follow the plan, the results will follow.

In any case, for the next week I can only eat lean proteins and oat bran cereal. There isn’t much that one can do to jazz up oat bran cereal with skim milk; but lean meats are an open book. Seeing as I am a carnivore at heart I was excited to enter the first phase of this diet plan; and because it lasts a mere five days, by the time I feel like I might break and binge on something carbohydrate laden, it will be time for the South Beach-esque phase of this program to begin.

Meat is meat, plain and simple; and when cooked properly all that it needs is a skiv of sea salt and pepper and divinity is reached. And though I am relegated to meat for only five days, salted meat would grow tiresome after two days. So I did what anyone would do, I made an herb sauce!

Steak with Herb Sauce 7

An herb sauce of any kind is a healthy eating staple; the infusion of flavor that this simple sauce delivers to a dish- in my case steak- is undeniable. What is amazing about an herb sauce is that it can be made with any herb, any acid and any oil- it’s a bespoke sauce for the discerning foodie.

I made enough of this sauce to last a week, so that in a bind I’d have an easy flavor booster on hand; because let’s be honest here, diets are legendarily known as a life sentence in a tasteless purgatory. But purgatory this is not- I’m headed to taste heaven with steak bathed in herb sauce!

Steak with Herb Sauce 6

Steak with Herb Sauce

3 oz. grilling steak
1 cup fresh cilantro, trimmed of stems
½ cup fresh basil, trimmed of stems
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves
¾ tsp dried red chili flakes
½ tbsp cumin
1 tbsp salt
½ cup olive oil + 1 tbsp

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pan heated to medium high heat. Season the steak on both sides with ½ tbsp of salt. Place in the heated pan and cook for 3 minutes per side- to achieve medium- medium rare. Remove from the pan and wrap securely with foil for 5 minutes- to allow for the meat to rest.

Meanwhile in a food processor, add all the remaining ingredients, with the exception of the oil; power on and slowly add the all the oil. Once completely blended, taste and adjust seasoning if need be.

Slice the steak into strips and garnish generously with the herb sauce.

Food | Edamame Hummus


As I sit here and write, my belly is full from a late night reward of Pho and deep fried ice cream; and I am reminded of the days when I was deep in a cleanse rut- looking for something new and fresh to eat. After many, many days of deprivation in the name of health; I needed something healthy, delicious and DIFFERENT.


Although I ate well on my cleanse, I hit a wall- eating salads, no matter how delicious the fixins will do that. I wanted something that felt bad but was good. I had seen Edamame hummus elsewhere, but none of those renditions felt bad enough to me. Also I have no idea why I am drawn to being bad.


I wanted guacamole. I have no idea where my mind decided that it wanted guacamole; but it did. And honestly this compared to real thing. Days on from the end of my 21 day cleanse, and I am still eating this hummus with carrots, pita and pretty much anything that can support its weight.

Edamame Hummus
1cup shelled soybeans
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp chopped cilantro*
1 tsp chili hot sauce
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste.
In a pot of boiling salted water, cook the soybeans and garlic cloves for 5 minutes. Drain and place in a food processor. Add the cilantro and hot sauce. Turn on the processor and slowly add the olive oil. Stop the processor once the oil is all incorporated, taste and add salt and pepper by ¼ tsp increments. Serve with grilled multi grain tortilla cut into triangles.

*In the nature of full disclosure, I did not photograph this with cilantro; but the very first- and best- rendition I created included cilantro.


Food | Red Velvet Cupcakes

“Every once in a while, a girl has to indulge herself.”
~Sarah Jessica Parker


This past weekend marked the end of my 21 day cleanse- just when I was beginning to get a real handle on it. And although I love how I feel and fully intend to carry forward all my healthy new habits- this girl needed a break day. And oh how I broke.

Sunday was one of best friend’s birthday and I played host for a birthday affair. We brunched- chicken hash with hollandaise sauce; and then we had an after brunch hangout, complete with champagne cocktails and red velvet cupcakes.

Now I have no idea if it was 21 days of food withdrawals, but these, said, red velvet cupcakes are the best cupcakes I have ever had- moist, flavorful and creamy thanks in large part to the cream cheese icing.


I would love to wax poetic about the lovely day with spent with friends, sharing food, drink and laughs; but I have a serious food hangover and my facilities are compromised.


Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing
C/o Epicurious

2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour (sifted, then measured)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Fresh Raspberries

For the cake
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Sift sifted flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla in small bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Beat in dry ingredients in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 3 additions. Line cupcake tins with liners and fill ¾ full. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and removed clean. Turn out onto racks and cool.

For the frosting
Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth.

To frost the cupcakes, place the frosting in a piping bag outfitted with a star tip; and pipe rosettes in the middle of each cake. Garnish with raspberries.