allana mortell


Roasted Carrot and Ginger Soup Recipe

By Allana Mortell | April 5, 2012

Photo: esimpraim

Photo: esimpraim

While many of us are starting to get into the festive Easter mood, our houses start to fill up of bunnies and candies. One ingredient that also seems to pop up a lot during this holiday season is the carrot. While carrots can be grown all-year round, the tastiest are always found in the spring, making it a great option to use for an Easter meal side dish.

This Roasted Carrot and Ginger Soup has just the perfect amount of sweetness to the tang of ginger. With the addition of another root vegetable that is slowly going out of season, the parsnip, this soup is the perfect combination of winter and spring. This goes great as a starter for your Easter meal or as that last warm meal for those still slightly chilly days. Read More


St. Germain Spring Cocktail Recipes

By Allana Mortell | March 30, 2012

Photo: Muy Yum

Photo: Muy Yum

My favorite way to celebrate spring is with a deserving cocktail. Though most weekends and occasional weekdays, my heart does belong to an Old Fashioned, I can’t discuss the arrival of spring without discussing the wonder that is the elderflower.

The elderflower is the star of St.Germain, the first liqueur in the world created in the artisanal French manner of freshly handpicking elderflower blossoms. Located in the French Alps and surrounding countryside, 40-50 men ride their bicycles and scour through the area to hand-pick elderflower blossoms. However, because of a harvest and blossoming period of 4-6 weeks, the time devoted to finding these blossoms is careful and done with exact precision.

Once the flowers are selected, they are delivered to collection stations where harvesters are paid by the kilo. Then, the flowers are immediately macerated to capture the freshest flavor possible. Throughout the weekly harvest process, the maceration of all the flowers are added together before marrying with the spirits.

The elderflower maceration is combined with eau-de-vie, a traditional grape spirit used for years in the creation of St. Germain. Read More


Chicken in Lemon and Caperberry Sauce Recipe

By Allana Mortell | March 28, 2012

Photo: Patrick Talbert

Photo: Skibler

Let me just say that caperberries are not capers; so for all of you that were about to discard this recipe, not so fast! Same plant, completely opposite flavors! Both caperberries and capers are immature buds of the caperbush, which is derived from the plant, Capparis Spinosa, located throughout the Mediterranean. Capers are much smaller, with a round shape, salty kick and sometimes, crunch. Caperberries, on the other hand, are oblong, semi-green fruits about the size or slightly larger than a table grape with a sweet and tart punch of flavor.

I first stumbled upon caperberries when I was waiting tables at Quartino Ristorante in Chicago. At Q, they served a similar dish, but instead of chicken they used sea scallops that sat on a bed of escarole. The flavor of the scallops with the lemon sauce along with a nice spicy kick from red chilies and the bite of the caperberries made that dish my absolute favorite. Read More


Pomegranate, Blueberry and Banana Smoothie Recipe

By Allana Mortell | March 27, 2012


Photo: keightdee

With the warm weather slowly approaching, we’re always looking for ways to cool down and get our bodies bathing suit ready by eating our fruits and veggies. With that in mind, smoothies are always a great option for a snack on-the-go and a great way to pack in extra servings of fruit we need to stay healthy.

Pomegranates seeds are jam packed with antioxidants, which may help prevent heart disease and cancer, and their sweet tart taste make it a perfect ingredient for a smoothie without having to add extra sugar. While fewer and fewer pomegranates are available in the market, we don’t have to kiss the pomegranate goodbye just yet. Especially when we always have pomegranate juice at our reach!

Try this Pomegranate Blueberry Banana Smoothie for an extra healthful boost in the morning or a sweet treat at the end of your day! For a vegan version, use soy yogurt instead.

Also try…

Very Berry Soy Smoothie

Avocado and Banana Smoothie

Nutrient-Packed Green Smoothie

Mango and Banana Smoothie Pudding


Stuffed Shells with Ricotta, Spinach and Kale Recipe

By Allana Mortell | March 8, 2012

Stuffed shells - Allana

Photo: Allana Mortell

Having a child who despises vegetables and prefers sweet and salty over nutritious and delicious could be considered a parents worst nightmare.  With that said, it’s always a fun treat to stumble upon a dish that combines the best of both. Stuffed pasta shells are like ravioli, but so much better.  The advantage of this dish is that you can combine more than one ingredient (hello, vegetables!) into the inside of the shell, resulting in a flavor-packed and health-conscious dish.

Kale is a member of the cabbage family and simply put, one of the healthiest vegetables around. It’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients are beneficial to your health in more ways than one and also helps in an individual’s detox process, regulating the detox activity in cells.  The antioxidants in spinach are proven to help with one’s vision, skin tone and additionally, help lower blood pressure. Combine these two vegetables with the perfect pairing of cheese and tomato sauce and you have a winning dish, even your kids will love. Read More


Stewed Chicken With Potatoes and Peppers and Garlic Bread Recipe

By Allana Mortell | March 7, 2012

Stewed Chicken- Allana

Photo: Allana Mortell

Given the hectic schedules of most people these days, oftentimes planning a home-cooked meal isn’t always at the forefront. There’s the list making, the grocery shopping, and then, after a long day at the office, the hours spent slaving away in the kitchen, when all you really want to do is order Chinese take-out and put your feet up. That is, until the one-pot wonder came along. The idea that throwing in four or five ingredients into a single space over time could eventually form a completed meal is seemingly brilliant. The one-pot or one-pan meal works even better when ingredients are used whose flavors are complementary to one another. Enter, chicken and peppers.

Historically and still to this day, it’s always been sausage and peppers. Those two go together like milk and cookies – it just works. However, given a few additions and one major substitution, the original Italian staple is getting a makeover. Chicken, peppers, potatoes and balsamic vinegar when combined in one very hot pan, stewed over a flame, ultimately come together to form a comfort-filled, soul-warming dish. Throw in some fresh herbs and you are left with a dish that was not only simple to create, but full of flavor and low in fat as well. Read More


Spaghetti with Fresh Cherry Tomato Sauce Recipe

By Allana Mortell | March 6, 2012

Photo: Fahara F

Photo: Fahara

With a projected weather forecast of 65 degrees for this coming Thursday in New York City, many folks, myself included, have come to the conclusion that dreary winter is long-gone and springtime is right around the corner. What better way to celebrate the return of warm weather with a meal that allows the fresh and seasonal cherry tomatoes peaking up at local markets to undoubtedly shine.

Cherry tomatoes, when sauteed in extra-virgin olive oil for no more than ten minutes, slowly begin to cook down and burst, their juices exploding in a heat-ridden pan. Add garlic, a few pinches of red pepper flake, a cup (or two) of wine, and suddenly, after a few minutes of emulsion, a pasta sauce appears. The flavors from using peak-season cherry tomatoes are so decadent, only few ingredients follow to simply avoid overpowering the main star of the tomatoes.

The success of this dish lies in its simplistic preparation and very short ingredient list. In fact, you may already have most of the ingredients necessary stocked in that pantry of yours and not even know it. Read More

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About The Team

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


Streetbird Rotisserie
Marcus’ Bermuda
Eatery Social Taqueria
Red Rooster Harlem
Ginny’s Supper Club
Uptown Brasserie
American Table Cafe and Bar
Kitchen and Table
American Table Brasserie and Bar
Marc Burger