allana mortell

Raw Zucchini Summer Salad Recipe

By Allana Mortell | July 26, 2012

Photo Courtesy of Jules:stonesoup

Anytime the temperature scorches above 75 degrees and you’re in the kitchen cooking, the last thing you want to do is crank up the oven or turn on the stove. However, without the use of sauteing, roasting or even boiling, the options for dinner slightly decrease. In order to spice things up in the kitchen, we want to share with you a different take on the traditional dinner salad that not only screams “summer,” but through flavor and execution, transforms itself into a filling, refreshing meal.

Zucchini, when you look closely, seems to be a cucumber in disguise with its bright green color, oblong shape and scaly texture. In reality, it is a hybrid of the ‘cuke or a summer squash with a mild flavor and endless preparation options, like this simple shaved zucchini summer salad. (Try saying that five times fast!)

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Limoncello Raspberry Granita

By Allana Mortell | July 18, 2012

Photo Courtesy of Andreas Ivarsson

We consider the granita an adult version of a slushie. Full of fresh raspberries, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of Italian limoncello, this recipe is certainly a grown-ups’ delight. Though easily omitted for the under 21 crowd limoncello adds a slight sweet bite.  It is reminiscent of the original lemon granitas found all over Sicily which have been served as an Italian street food for years. An added plus: they can be made in advance and stored for up to 2 weeks in the freezer. So, if you’re craving something sweet, start your own happy hour with this tasty ice pop. Bon Appetito!

Photo courtesy of Andreas Ivarsson

No-Bake Blueberry Cheesecake Recipe

By Allana Mortell | July 13, 2012

Photo Courtesy of Annie's Eats

The best part about summer desserts is utilizing in-season berries and this blueberry cheesecake (and no-bake, at that!) is one of the best treats we’ve seen in quite some time. Crafted with fresh ricotta cheese, the texture is delicate and decadently tart from the cream cheese. Lemon juice and honey add sweetness to the cake but its the fresh blueberries on top that puts this cheesecake and your taste buds completely over the edge.

Photo courtesy of Annie’s Eats

Guinness-Battered Cod Recipe

By Allana Mortell | June 13, 2012

Photo: Entitee

Photo: Entitee

Father’s Day is only a few days away and what better way to show Dad (and for that matter, all the men in your life) you really care by showering them with decadent food all day long? While grilling meats and whipping up potatoes is a surefire way to the big guy’s heart, we want to share with you a classic, totally manly recipe for the traditional fish n’ chips that features another of Dad’s favorites, an ice cold brew.

There’s nothing in the world like Guinness Beer, the traditional, dry stout from the Land of the Irish that is one of the biggest selling beer brands in the world. Every day in over 150 countries, 10 million pints of Guinness are being consumed and in the past few years, cooking with Guinness beer has become a delicacy of sorts in kitchens all over the world. Guinness-battered onion rings, Guinness glazed chocolate cake, Guinness beef stew and today, Guinness battered cod.

It’s best for this recipe to use a white fish, whether it be cod, haddock or halibut because the mildness from the fish will pair perfectly with the crisp, browned batter you get from using Guinness. Though you can certainly substitute any beer you would like, we found that the maltiness from the Guinness added the strongest amount of flavor to this un-traditional take on the classic fish n’ chips. Best served alongside some homemade tartar sauce and a stack of french fries, your Dad, his stomach and all those special men in your life will be sure to thank you for whipping up a tasty and unforgettable plate of crispy, Guinness battered fish.

Photo: Entitee


Citrus Salsa Verde Recipe

By Allana Mortell | May 15, 2012

Photo: the delicious life

Photo: the delicious life

One of the beautiful things about cooking in the summertime is the ability we have as cooks to transform a dish from simple to complex by simply using a few fresh seasonal ingredients. Fresh produce, seasonal berries, vegetables and fruits can turn a side-dish into the main star, which is precisely what we are out to prove with our recipe for citrus salsa verde!

Traditionally, salsa verde is a green salsa made with peppers, onions, garlic, and fresh herbs typically served with tacos or spooned on top of meat as a tangy and herbacious sauce. While the green salsa is filling and comforting, we decided to switch up a few ingredients and prepare a citrus salsa verde perfect for the warm months ahead. Read More


Pimm’s Cup Cocktail Recipe

By Allana Mortell | May 11, 2012

Photo: Whitneyinchicago

Photo: Whitneyinchicago

For centuries, London folk have been sipping on a cocktail that epitomizes summer, sunshine and spending time outdoors. That cocktail my friends, is called Pimm’s Cup, a liqueur of sorts that alongside lemonade sells over 80,000 pints each year to spectators.

The main ingredient in a Pimm’s Cup is Pimm’s No.1, created by James Pimm in the 1840s. While working at Oyster Bar in Poultry Street in London, Pimm’s extracted the ‘house cup’ flavored with fruit extracts and spices. The original recipe is still a secret (it has been said only six people know exactly how its made) Read More


Cool Cucumber Cocktail Recipe

By Allana Mortell | April 27, 2012

Photo: Quinn Dombrowski

Photo: Quinn Dombrowski

Cucumber water is perhaps one of the most refreshing drinks out there and is incredibly simple to make. It also is the base for this perfect spring cocktail. Cucumbers are currently in season and with the unseasonably warm spring we’ve been having, they’re the perfect veggie to throw in salads, stir-frys and now, cocktails.

Eating one serving of cucumbers will give you vitamin A, C, and K along with plenty of calcium, iron, zinc and potassium. Because cucumbers are so high in water content, they help rid your body of toxins and reduce under-eye swelling and skin inflammation. Cucumbers are also proven to help soothe sunburn relief, which is a great thing to keep in mind before the sweltering summer comes around.

The first step in making this cocktail is preparing the cucumber water. There are two basic ways to do this, one giving you a much more heavier dose of cucumber. For a stronger cucumber flavor, blend a cucumber in a food processor or blender and pour the mixture through a very fine strainer (or line a sieve with a cheesecloth) and let the mixture drip through in the fridge overnight. Then, mix the resulting cucumber juice with a pitcher of water and voila! – cucumber water.

A more traditional route just calls to cut a cucumber into small chunks, cover in the amount of water you want to drink and let the mixture soak in the fridge overnight. In the morning, strain the mixture and discard the cucumber slices. To make things even more simple, just add cucumber slices to any water filter to spice up that plain, tap water you’ve been drinking. Finally, feel free to add some lemon slices or chopped mint to the cucumber water for an added burst of flavor and punch!

Photo: Quinn Dombrowski 


Chilean Sea Bass with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce Recipe

By Allana Mortell | April 11, 2012

Photo: Elizabeth Martin

Photo: Elizabeth Martin

By: Allana Mortell

There’s something about Chilean sea bass that for me, evokes an image of cooking with my finest china, sipping on a nice Bordeaux with strands of pearls hanging over my neck. In laymen’s terms, I feel fancy as Chilean sea bass always catches my eye. The beauty of cooking sea bass lies in the various options you have to prepare the fish. Grilled, pan-fried, broiled or baked, the opportunities are endless. Whether glazed in miso or brushed lightly with olive oil and lemon juice, you want to highlight the fish without overpowering its delicate nature.

This recipe finds the sea bass atop a bed of the creamiest and most flavorful red pepper sauce around. Red peppers are traditionally roasted on the grill and while I’ve included different ways to roast or even broil the peppers in the oven, you can always use jarred roasted peppers in lieu of roasting on the grill. Though the flavor is certainly more intense from roasting the peppers yourself, this recipe contains some flexibility in how you want to ultimately prepare the sauce and fish itself.

So if you’re searching for that perfect recipe to help you show off your inner “gourmand,” look no further.

More seafood recipes you may enjoy:

Seafood Paella with Chicken and Hot Sausage Recipe

Tropical Salmon and Mango Recipe

Sea Scallop Ceviche Recipe

Red Rooster Marinade Recipe

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Italian Easter Bread Recipe

By Allana Mortell | April 6, 2012

Easter Bread

Photo: Allana Mortell

When I think about Easter, I think about a particular home video my family has that was taken over Easter vacation when I was about five and my younger brother Matt was just over a year old. When the video begins, it shoots to a terrifying shot of my five-year old self, bowl cut, running around the house in an oversize Aladdin t-shirt, searching the premises for Easter eggs and my own personal Easter basket. “Getting hot, very warm, you’re so close, keep going,” my dad would yell, playing that “Hot & Cold” game all parents teased their kids with “lovingly.”

The egg hunt would continue, I would eventually find my Easter Basket and then, it would be time for lunch. This traditional Easter Bread recipe is one we served every year because it was the epitome of sweet  and doughy. With orange zest and almonds for the adults and lots of sprinkles and vanilla glaze for the kids, the bread is the definite crowd pleaser. Read More


Grilled Leg of Lamb Recipe

By Allana Mortell | April 6, 2012

Photo: hrbrmstr

Photo: hrbrmstr

With Easter Sunday around the corner, many home-cooks, chefs and the like are busy preparing a menu for the big feast that takes place in just two days. For some, the tradition of serving ham as the main course remains a staple. However, I would like to share with you one of my favorite alternatives : the lamb.

With a quick and simple marinade, a few shocks on the grill and a nice side dish of roasted potatoes or haricot verts, this grilled leg of lamb recipe outshines anything else you had in mind for Sunday dinner. The beauty of this dish is in the marinade. Red wine vinegar, garlic, herbs and a touch of spicy mustard lend the lamb a flavor profile that is greatly intensified once the meat is smacked on a hot grill. Flames arise, surround the meat and given a few minutes, your dinner is prepared. Read More

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Whether it’s finding the best goat tacos in LA, spotting a well-worn vintage bag in Sweden, or interviewing the “crab man” selling seafood on a corner in Harlem, we tell stories seen from Chef Marcus Samuelsson‘s point of view. strives to create conversations about food, nutrition, culture, art, and design. We want to find Read More


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