Seared Tuna and Avocado Burgers


A twist on the classic lobster roll, these seared tuna salad burgers are easy to pull together and perfect for summer nights. Make sure your tuna is fresh- it shouldn’t be brown and instead, a bright red. Specks of white are okay, and a little black is too. I did the unimaginable and actually purchased two frozen half-pound steaks from an Asian grocery store. They looked much better than the supposedly fresh stuff. Let defrost overnight in the refrigerator.


Seared Tuna and Avocado Salad Burgers

Serves 8

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Adapted from Ina Garten

Olive oil

1 pound tuna steak

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 lime, zest grated

3 tablespoons lime juice

1/2 teaspoon wasabi powder

1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce

6 dashes hot sauce

1 avocado, diced

1/4 red onion, chopped

1 tablespoon scallion, minced

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

8 hamburger buns

2 cups arugula

Heat sauté pan over high heat for 2 minutes. While heating, rub olive oil on tuna steaks and season with salt and pepper. Place tuna in pan and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side until seared. Remove from heat and cut into small cubes.

In a medium bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons olive oil, lime zest and juice, wasabi powder, soy sauce, hot sauce, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the avocado. and then the tuna, red onion, scallion, and sesame seeds. Line the buns with arugula and fill with tuna mixture.

Pistachio Pesto Flatbread


What it is: Pistachio Pesto Flatbread

Where is it: Garces Trading Company, Philadelphia, PA

Price: $10

What’s in it: Thin cracker-y flatbread with pistachio pesto and mozzarella, topped with arugula and (who would have guessed?) horseradish

Why you need it: you can choose between vegetarian pizza dough or dough made with duck fat. The vegetarian dough is perhaps too matzo-like but the toppings are what made this delicious. A hint of zing! from the horseradish sealed the deal.

Grilled Swordfish Kebab Salad

IMG_1539What it is: Grilled Swordfish Kebab Salad [Special]

Where is it: Rapscallion Table + Tap, Acton, MA

Price: $11

What’s in it: Grilled swordfish kebab with red pepper and onion over mixed greens, with a vinaigrette, blood oranges, and pine nuts

Why you need it: the portions are spot on and this was perfect for lunch. The fish was perfectly cooked and the addition of pine nuts and blood oranges were a welcome surprise.

D&N Have Exact Change Sandwich


What it is: D&N Have Exact Change Sandwich

Where is it: Hi Rise Bakery, Cambridge, MA

Price: $10

What’s in it: Avocado, Monterey Jack cheese, roasted tomatoes, arugula, smoked serrano mayo, on sourdough

Why you need it: this is heaven in sandwich form, though frankly any sandwich sounds good at this joint. The smoked serrano mayo is what brings this sandwich together, plus some unbelievable bread.

Reflections on Running [Part 1]

Nearly two years ago, I had a dangerously close call at the Boston Marathon. People who I hadn’t spoken to in years came out of the woodwork, wondering if I was okay. My professors called, saying they alerted the deans that I was running and “would you just call us back?”

My heart shudders when I think of this. Two minutes slower, my life would have been very different or non-existent.

I ran the following year as a member of the Tufts Medical Center team. My father works for the Dental School, for patients with developmental disabilities, and Tufts is the closest hospital to the finish line. The symbolism was incredible motivation, pushing me to raise thousands of dollars.

What is most interesting is- I don’t remember last year’s run, or at least not clearly. Sure, I have photographs. Family, co-workers and friends all cheered me on. I do remember the armed policemen on the roof of Hopkinton High School at the start, and I do remember meeting up with friends at a hotel near the finish. Certainly I remember the sunburn on my right arm, and my right arm only. But what lacks is any significant memory of this race. I didn’t run my fastest, though it was my fastest Boston run. I didn’t want to vomit as much as I had wanted to in 2012 when it was 80 degrees outside. I crossed the finish line and swiftly moved into the area to receive my medal, almost as if I were on a conveyor belt. Perhaps I was delirious, but I didn’t feel a thing. My muscles hurt, yes, but my emotions? Where were they?


Climbing Heartbreak Hill in 2014

Fast forward to October 2014. I ran the best race of my life at the Chicago Marathon. I PR’ed but not only that, I felt great. I smiled the entire race, meandering through the different neighborhoods of Chicago, trying to soak it all in. I was healthy, fast, strong- and not in Boston. My boyfriend and I coordinated where we would meet up after the race – “not near the finish line,” he said. I think I have internalized this for more than he meant, but I couldn’t help but think he was just as scared as me to hang out near the finish line.


Chicago Marathon 2014 – my face says it all

And now, I am currently preparing for the Vermont City Marathon in Burlington, VT on May 24th. Training hasn’t been easy with this winter weather (plus a sprained ankle, a head cold, etc.), but I’m doing it. For myself, my health, blah de blah.

The Boston marathon is approaching, though. April 20th. I can’t get that out of my head. It’s not that I wish I were running (I am actually glad to be taking a year off), but suddenly the emotions that I should have felt in my 2014 run are gushing out. Most likely this has to do with the press coverage of the trial. It’s hard to avoid it. I run through a crowd, and I can’t help but think, is that person on their phone about to detonate something? It’s unreasonable, irrational, and sad that I have these thoughts. I have told myself that I can’t watch this year’s race, even though I believe spectating is sometimes just as important as racing.

As I prepare for the Vermont City Marathon, I will try to flush these emotions away. I am scheduled to run the Chicago Marathon again in October. I qualified for the 2016 Boston Marathon, and pending that I get accepted into the race, I’m going to make sure that that race becomes the best race of my life. Perhaps I’ll be speedier, maybe just stronger, or perhaps I’ll finally be able to just let go.

Greek Yogurt Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins


It’s been a while since I’ve posted here–life took over for a bit. Don’t worry, I’ve still been cooking. In fact, I’ve written a few pieces for Daily Burn including my favorite White Bean and Roasted Red Pepper Crostini [recipe]:


But for today, I’ll leave you with a fantastic muffin recipe that will knock your socks off. Thanks to my co-worker for the recipe suggestion, I made these Greek Yogurt Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins in an attempt to use up overripe bananas sitting in the freezer. Damn are these satisfying. The yogurt is a great binding ingredient, replacing much of the oil but retaining the moisture. I added some chocolate chips, because, well…everything is better with chocolate. You only live once, right?


Makes 20 muffins, or 40 mini-muffins

Adapted from Averie Cooks

3 medium ripe bananas [frozen bananas work well, just make sure you let them thaw]

1 large egg

1 5.3oz container banana Greek yogurt

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

pinch salt

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour muffin pans. 

In a large bowl, mash banana. Add egg, yogurt, oil, sugar, vanilla and spices. Whisk well. Add the remaining dry ingredients, stirring just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Spoon batter into muffin tins until three-quarters full. Bake for 20-22 minutes (10-11 minutes for mini muffins). A toothpick should come out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan.

Tuscan Orzo Salad


I’m happy to announce that I will be doing some writing for DailyBurn, a fitness start-up focused on helping you get to a better, stronger, healthier you.

If you’re looking for a way to use up some of summer’s last bounty, check out this Tuscan Orzo Salad. Combining ripe tomatoes with fresh arugula and shaved Pecorino Romano cheese is my version of bliss.


Barb’s Cookies: The Secret-Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies


I almost didn’t want to post this recipe, since it is such a treasured one. Here’s why:

18 years ago, my family moved into a new house. The neighbors across the street, Bob and Barb, brought over housewarming cookies. They were so delicious that we asked for the recipe. We’ve since given a batch of these divine treats to almost every new neighbor, including most recently a young couple up the street.


Now, what makes these cookies so damn delicious? Coffee.


And two kinds of coffee!

Instant espresso dissolved in water, as well as ground coffee. Sounds gross, or overwhelming in flavor, but believe me (and the other 8 neighbors) that the minute amount of coffee actually brings out the chocolate flavors.


Here’s the treasured recipe:

Makes 5 dozen cookies

1 cup butter

1 cup white sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp instant coffee, dissolved in a few droplets of water

1 tsp ground coffee

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips [splurge here! I used Ghiradelli]

1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets. 

Cream butter, sugars, egg and vanilla. Beat in flour, salt, powder, soda, and coffees. By hand, mix oatmeal, chocolate and walnuts into the dough. 

Place tablespoon-sized drops of dough on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool for 2 minutes, then transfer to cookie rack.