Mushroom and Pesto Bites

Have I ever mentioned how I am a huge fan of EASY appetizers?

Well, if I haven’t, now I have! This is the easiest recipe you can make to get something on the table fast as you prepare your main meal. I am always interested in making things from scratch, but let’s face it everyone… as much as we want to have the time to do that, the majority of us do not have that kind of time. So, if you can make puff pastry from scratch, GO FOR IT… but if you don’t necessarily have that kind of time, you can make a trip to your local grocery store and pick up a roll or two from the freezer aisle.

Here’s to easy appetizers! Anush!

Serves 4-6 people

. 1 roll puff pastry, rolled out and cut into  2 inch diameter squares or circles
. 4 tablespoons pesto (you can find the pesto recipe here)
. 1 package of fresh mushrooms, sliced and sautéed in olive oil with salt and pepper
. balsamic glaze
. 1 egg beaten

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Place the puff pastry squares (or circles) onto the sheet pan and pierce along a 5 mm crust and on the inside.
3. Brush egg on the edges of each square.
4. Place in the oven for 25 minutes. Once you take out of the oven, you will notice they will be all puffy, take a fork and pierce in again right away to let all the steam out from each layer of the puff pastry.
5. Spread 1 teaspoon of pesto on each square and 3 – 4 slices of mushroom. Place back in the oven and bake for another 5 min.
6. Plate and drizzle each square with balsamic glaze.

Talina’s Pesto

There are so many delicious recipes for pesto… so of course I have one of my own too!

It’s not too different from the traditional pesto recipe, but its just so delicious.
Pesto is great to put on toast with some tomatoes and extra olive oil, pasta, a grilled cheese and pancetta sandwich, ….oh the possibilities. Try me recipe out and let me know what you think

Photo by: Hayley Boomhower and Sean Rea

. food processor

. 1 bunch of fresh basil
. 1/4 cup almonds
. 1/4 cup grated white cheddar cheese
. 3 garlic cloves
. 1/2 cup EVOO
. juice of 1 lemon
. salt and pepper to taste

1. Pull the basil leaves off the stems of the basil. Add it to a food processor.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients into the food processor and pulse until it becomes super fine and spreadable.
3. Enjoy on some fresh made pasta or a piece of toast.

Get Your Holiday Gift Basket

Having trouble figuring out what to get friends or family for the holiday season? I have a solution! My friend Melissa and I have decided we’d like to bring our food brains together and put together holiday gift baskets. Yes, everyone, they are ready to be sold! Come and get em! They’re delicious, they’re cute, and they’re the perfect gift.







Each gift basket will have an assortment of two pastries, fresh baked bread, and your choice of pesto or honey butter. Everything is hand and home made. Each gift basket is $50 and we will even deliver it to you within Simi Valley, Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, Somis, Oxnard, Camarillo, and Westlake. How do you order one?

Fill out this form below to place your order. Payment will be due at the time of delivery in cash or check form.


Special People//Special Occasions

When I was 6 years old, my parents enrolled me into an all Armenian music conservatory. I learned everything about music and studied classical piano, choir, and dance. One of my best friends, Alik (my sister from another mother really…) was the Founder’s daughter. Her family has been my second family since I was a little girl. They have invested in me in every way possible and have taught me so much. The Barsoumian’s are a family of fine gems, each one beautiful in their own way.

Baron Vatsche (Alik’s dad, Baron means Mr. out of respect and because he’s always been my teacher), had his birthday this week. Alik, her brother Shahe, and I thought, “How great would it be if we had a nice dinner with the family and close friends for his birthday?” So I got to work and came up with a menu. I decided to make stuffed figs (they’re in season, and my favorite thing to make), filet mignon rested on top of a sweet potato and brussel sprouts puree, and my chicken and pesto lasagna. Come to find out later those are actually Baron Vatsche’s favorite dishes!



We all had an amazing evening. Every time I am with them we have amazing conversations about art, politics, spirituality, and many deep life concepts.

Happy Birthday Baron Vatsche, I hope for many more beautiful times in life. Cheers

Sartu Di Riso

This is such a delicious dish to prepare ahead of time for a fun gathering with family or friends. It looks fancy, tastes amazing, and really fun to make. It’s also great for those that are gluten free. With some time the day before you serve, you can prep a whole dish just to pop in the oven and done!

Sartu di Riso is a traditional Italian dish that comes from Naples. There are two types, rosso (red) and bianco (white). There are so many stories as to which is the correct and traditional way to prepare this dish, so I just made it my own and went green. I love pesto, as you can tell, so I made the sartu with a white bolognese sauce and topped it with pesto.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes with a comment!


2 cups Arborio Rice
3 cups water (you can substitute this with low sodium chicken broth too)
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
3 eggs
3 tablespoons EVOO
1/2 pound ground pork
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 cup peas
1/2 cup dry white wine
cup heavy cream
1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 thyme sprig
1 small rosemary sprig
1 bay leaf
small garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pink peppercorns
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg  
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped pancetta
1 finely chopped shallot 
finely chopped peeled carrot 
3 tablespoons ricotta
  1. Put everything for the rice in a pot and bring to a boil. After its come to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cook the rice for 20 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
  2.  If serving this the same day, preheat oven to 350 fahrenheit.
  3. In a medium saucepan, heat the EVOO and add the garlic. When the garlic becomes fragrant, add the shallots.
  4. Add the frozen peas until they have cooked through.
  5. Using the same saucepan, cook the pancetta until its crispy.
  6. Next add the chicken until it is golden. Then add the ground sausage and pistachios. Cook through.
  7. Add the wine and cook over moderate heat, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until evaporated, about 3 minutes.
  8. Add the cream and chicken stock to the pan, then stir in the thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, garlic, pink pepper, nutmeg and a generous pinch each of salt and black pepper. Bring just to a simmer. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly.
  9. Once the sauce has thickened, mix in the ricotta and set aside.
  10. In a separate bowl put the rice and mix it with the eggs until it is very sticky.
  11. You will need a bowl filled with water for your hands. Using a generously olive oiled bundt pan, add 2/3 of the rice and push it against the walls and bottom of the pan creating 1 inch thick walls.
  12. Spoon the bolognese mixture into the well.
  13. Spoon the rest of the rice on the top and press against the rice along the edges.
  14. drizzle the top with EVOO and put in the oven for 40-45 minutes – until the edges and top are a golden brown.
  15. Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes when you take it out of the oven.
  16. Place a plate upside down on the bundt pan and flip the bundt pan over to put the Sartu di Riso onto the plate. Top it with pesto and serve.