Pasta Preview from Keys To The Kitchen

Keys To The Kitchen Heirloom Tomato Burrata Pasta Recipe from

Do you know how much I love you? Enough to share a preview recipe from Keys To The Kitchen with you and only you. If that doesn’t prove my devotion, I don’t know what does!

To celebrate the fast-approaching publication date of Keys To The Kitchen, I wanted to share this simple pasta of marinated heirloom tomatoes with fresh burrata that you must make before tomato season ends. Oh, and for some extra lovin’ I’m pairing with my publisher, Chronicle Books to do the first cookbook giveaway. So, head over to Chronicle and leave a comment so you can be the first to get your hands on Keys To The Kitchen!

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Weeknight Shrimp and Tofu Pad Thai


One of the most common questions I get asked is what I cook when I’m not cooking.

Between recipe testing, styling, and shooting, work leaves me with plenty of leftovers,  but there are a few easy, quick recipes I always rely on and have “most” of the ingredients on hand. (Meaning, I keep the dry ingredients as pantry staples so I only have to stop by the store for a handful of fresh things.) I’m going to start sharing these easy weeknight recipes with you beginning with Pad Thai.
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The Original Fusion Food

Aida Mollenkamp Easy Healthy Dinner Recipe Shrimp and Vegetable Saimin

I had a revelation this trip: food in Hawaii was fusion long before the term was ever coined.

Sure, some modern dishes are historically Hawaiian and others have been slightly tweaked from a distinct ethnic dish, but a good amount of food in Hawaii is the result of a mash up of numerous cuisines and flavors. One such dish is Saimin: it’s origin dates back to sugar cane plantation days when various immigrants worked and cooked together and saimin reflects all those influences. Saimin has a broth reminiscent of Japanese dashi, uses egg and wheat noodles reminiscent of Chinese chow mein noodles, and is garnished with an assortment of toppings hailing from Chinese, Hawaiian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Filipino cuisines.

My first taste of saimin was a late-night meal at the Hawaiian fast food chain, Zippys, which was forgettable, to say the least. Fortunately, I’ve had better tasting saimin since, but every one has been so MSG-filled that I walk away feeling like I’ve made out with a salt lick. Recently, my friends in Hawaii asked me to craft them modern, homemade, healthier versions of their favorite local grindz (aka only-in-Hawaii foods) and when I asked which to start with, one of them blurted out, Saimin!
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Bumper Crop Charred Tomato Pasta

Aida Mollenkamp Easy Healthy Dinner Recipe Charred Tomato Pasta

It started with a text. My friend wrote, “bumper crop of tomatoes! you want?” I quickly responded “yes” and within hours I was biking across town with bags of tomatoes hanging from my handlebars.

I know you’re probably thinking how delightfully summery that is. How it conjures images of Italy. How there I’d be replaced by a deeply tanned, lithe girl dressed in a vibrant flowy skirt so impossibly long that the gears would threaten to eat the hem with each push of the pedal. And, how she’d be attraversando the piazza with a basket of picture-perfect tomatoes.

But that was not me. I was zigzagging across Hollywood after sundown, whizzing along back streets on my single-speed bike, and clad in a reflective ski helmet that logs more time on my bike than it does on the slopes. And rather than crossing a piazza, I was doing my best to avoid potholes that were more or less the size of my small apartment. Needless to say, I arrived home to find the tomatoes were far the worse for the wear. To salvage them before the fruit flies took over, I embraced their squished state by charring them until they blistered and tossing them with pasta.
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