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Cardamom and Chia Seed Granola

Cristina Soriano

One of my best friends, Leila, is not only a certified chef, but the most domestic goddess I know- I am inspired by her daily. She shared this recipe for granola (knowing that it's an addiction of mine), and I thought to share her wealth of culinary knowledge with you. 

As a recipe writer for Blue Apron, many of her scrumptious recipes are on the Blue Apron blog- a bookmarked website I read daily, and suggest you do too!

4 cups rolled oats (if you’re keeping the granola gluten-free, make sure your oats say gluten-free on them!)
1 cup raw buckwheat groats
3/4 cup raw almonds
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup coconut oil
2/3 to 1 cup maple syrup (depending how sweet you’d like it to be)
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons sea salt flakes


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the dry ingredients: Coarsely chop the almonds. In a large bowl combine the rolled oats, buckwheat groats, coconut flakes, chia seeds, and chopped almonds and toss to mix thoroughly. Set aside.

In a microwave-safe bowl or non-reactive pot combine the coconut oil, maple syrup, cardamom, and vanilla extract. Heat the mixture, whisking frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or just until the coconut oil has melted and everything is thoroughly combined. Remove from the heat.

Pour the coconut oil mixture over the oat mixture, sprinkle with the sea salt flakes, and gently mix to thoroughly combine all the ingredients.

Line a baking sheet with parchment if you have some around. Pour the granola onto the sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven to 400°F, stir the granola to ensure even browning, and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, stirring again after 10 minutes, and keeping a close eye to be sure the granola doesn’t burn.


Allow the granola to cool on the baking sheet for at least 1 hour…if you can! Enjoy with yogurt, milk, and fruit.


The recipe and photos are taken from the Blue Apron Blog.


Cristina Soriano

When my father was studying at the University of Pennsylvania, college dining did not only include deliveries of pizza, microwavable mac and cheese and tubs of buffalo chicken wings – very different from my experience! In fact, he came up with a delicious recipe for Cornish hens (how sophisticated!), which I serve quite often when entertaining. It’s the most simple recipe but with an unexpected twist, so much so that guests always ask how to recreate it!

When I was thinking of a menu for my friendsgiving dinner, I decided on this easy recipe. It is a somewhat unusual dish and requires not too much time for prep, so I though it was perfect.

Serves about 7-8 people.


4 Cornish hens

1 pack Boursin garlic and herb cheese

1 bunch of parsley

4 garlic cloves

I lemon

4 tablespoons of olive oil (or at your discretion)


Set the oven to 375° F.

Clean the Cornish hens and pat them dry.

Chop the garlic and parsley finely and put the herbs in a small bowl with about four tablespoons of olive oil and the juice of one lemon. Season with salt and pepper and mix.

Fill each hen cavity with a fourth of the Boursin and then pour the garlic and parsley marinade over the hen breasts.

Bake in the oven for about an hour or until the meat is cooked through and juice runs clear when cut between the thigh and breast. Put the oven on broil for about five minutes to crisp up the skin.


I do not carve the hens, but cut them in half once they have rested for about ten minutes. If you carve them (as you would a chicken), guests will not be able to enjoy the creamy stuffing. 

A simple recipe that will leave your guests wishing this was served at their Thanksgiving fest rather that the usual turkey!


Cristina Soriano

A bunch of my friends have switched to the gluten-free life (I could never give up pasta!!) so when brainstorming a desert option for a dinner party, I stumbled upon this unique take on coconut macaroons. I’ve adapted the recipe so that the cookies are not too sweet, and I love them. Because they are made with whipped egg whites, they are light and it is quite possible that you find yourself eating more than one...

Adapted from Green Kitchen Stories.

Adapted from Green Kitchen Stories.

Makes about 14 cookies. 



4 Egg whites

6 tablespoons of agave sugar

1 ¼ cups of almond flour

1 cup of unsweeted shredded coconut



½ cup of dark chocolate bits

¼ cup of unsweeted shredded coconut


Pre-heat the oven to 360° F. Separate four egg whites into a medium sized bowl and add 6 tablespoons of agave sugar. You can substitute honey or maple syrup, but I love the taste of light agave. Vigorously whisk the eggs and sweetener for about a minute until mixture is frothy. Add the 1 ¼ cups of almond flour and 1 cup of shredded coconut and fold the dry ingredients into the egg and agave froth with your hands. The mixture will quickly bind. Take small pieces and roll the dough into small balls with your hands. Slightly flatten each coconut macaroon onto a cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes or until the aroma of coconut fills your kitchen and the dough sets.

 While the cookies are cooling, heat up the dark chocolate bits in a double boiler. Once all the chocolate is melted dip half of the cookies into the chocolate and then sprinkle some of the shredded coconut onto the chocolate coating.

If you can resist, set aside to cool and then enjoy!


Cristina Soriano

My dear friend Sofia shared with me one of my favorite recipes for an apple desert. What I love most about the desert is that it is flexible – you can add as much spice as you like. And, for me, the more cinnamon and nutmeg, the better. It also takes no time at all! 


Apple Tart

1 frozen puff pastry sheet

3-4 apples (I like using tart apples, but I’ve tried this with sweeter varieties and it is equally as delicious)

1-2 teaspoon of cinnamon (as much as you desire)

1-2 teaspoon of nutmeg (as much as you desire)

3 teaspoons of sugar

3 tablespoons of butter (in small cubes)


2 tablespoons of apricot jam

1 tablespoon of hot water

Pre-heat the oven top 400° F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 

Peel the apples and slice them in half through the stem. Remove the pit either using a melon baler or a teaspoon (or a grapefruit spoon) and slice each half into thin semi-circle slices.

Lay out the puff pastry onto the cookie sheet and poke it with a fork so that steam can escape from the pastry, leaving it flaky and delicious. Neatly line the puff pastry with the apples, allowing each slice to overlap the other slightly.

 Sprinkle as much cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar as you desire and dot with the butter cubes.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until the smell of apple and cinnamon diffuses throughout your kitchen and the pastry is a flaky golden brown and the apples caramelized.

Mix the hot water with the apricot jam and brush the glaze onto the tart. 

Serve à la mode with an additional sprinkling of cinnamon.