When chef decides to review home meals delivery – Sun Basket

I guess it isn’t accurate to call it home meals delivery. It’s a perfectly measured organic ingredients and recipes delivery for you to cook yourself. Which I love. And I thought it would be a good idea to share my view of the service with you!

Have you ever heard the saying:  Farrier’s horse walks barefoot? Probably not (I’m not sure if it’s used in U.S.A.!) , because it’s translated from the traditional saying used in my homeland. You get the point – it’s adaptable to any profession – the roofer’s roof leaks, or, like in my case, the personal chef has no food in a house… 🙂

Well, that’s not completely true. I always have food on hand, but when I cook all day for my clients, I come home and don’t feel like starting all over again just for two of us. So I did different things – a pot of hearty soup that I cook on my day off, and we’d eat it for few days. Luckily, my husband doesn’t mind to eat the same food second day and the third, and sometimes even forth. Or, I slipped into habit of cooking more portions of the same dish so we have food on hand when I’m busy.

But although I’m in the market daily, shopping for my clients, I hardly have time to buy stuff for myself. Sometimes I do double shopping but when I’ve plenty to get for my client’s cooking day, it’s often impossible to add other items on my personal list and separate the orders. So when I finally get to cook something at home, it’s often breakfast for dinner or something similarly simple, because I don’t have all the ingredients on hand.

I kept watching the advertising for Sun Basket repeatedly on Facebook, and finally clicked on it to see what it’s all about. I knew about these services, but never tried one. Sun Basket offers you to pick 3 meals for 2 people, (and organic, which was a big plus for me). You will then get shipped exact measurement of the ingredients needed for the meals you picked, with detailed recipe how to prepare it. In other words, I love cooking. I don’t mind the work. With the price of one meal coming to about $11 and change, the convenience of having the ingredients on hand when I need it won me over. So I went for it.

My first Sun Basket

Partially because I wanted to try it out, partially because I thought that not eating the same food for few days may be a good idea, and also I like the idea of being exposed to different recipes and perhaps even apply some to my own menu for my clients.

So we got the first box last week. Here is what I think:

  1. Packaging – absolutely amazing! I’m really impressed with the attention to detail, how perfectly isolated the box came, with all environment friendly ice inserts to keep the food cold, incl. meats and dairy.Sun basket packaging
  2. Inside the box all three meal’s ingredients came separated in their individual paper bags, so nobody needs to play guessing game which ingredient goes with what. I can just put those bags to my fridge and take out the whole package when ready to cook it. Awesome!c126
  3. Nicely done recipe cards with a picture of the meal, nutritional information and detailed recipe.

First impression: ah-ma-zing, Sun Basket! Please stay tune to my reviews of the individual meals we picked for our first week. Can’t wait to test it out! Coming up soon!

Heeeeereeee we go!

Meal No. 1 – Chickpea and quinoa curry with toasted naan  REVIEW

Meal No. 2 – Steak and Eggs with Tomato Cauliflower Rice REVIEW

Meal No. 3  – Braised chicken with carrots, potatoes and thyme REVIEW



Do you view cooking as a chore?

Or do you see it as a relax time, that takes your mind off daily troubles?

I don’t know why but I was always capable of relaxing in the kitchen. Unless I was stressing about preparing a party for 35 + with approaching arrival time and me not nearly ready 🙂 No matter how stressful my day is, when I come to the kitchen, and start fantasizing about what I can make for dinner, the stress of the day goes a way. Sometimes pouring myself a glass of wine while cooking makes it even more enjoyable.  I enjoy the control over what I eat and what I put in my food, don’t you?

Girl cooking

You see, when I first moved  to America from Czech Republic 14 years ago, I was surprised how different certain foods tasted, compare to what I was used to. I couldn’t find a mustard that I like – everything was either too sweet or too sour to my taste. The same goes for pickles. The butter, way too salty! (until I discovered the unsalted kind). And the yogurt, my ultimate favorite, soooo overly sweet, I started making my own.

Not to mention the bread that never goes bad (that freaked me out). So I slowly went back to basics – I bake my own rye bread without preservatives, I make my own mustard, and I found a brand of pickles I like.

But it’s funny, when faced with another culture and tastes, how different may everything seem. I remember how American tourists, visiting Prague, went to eat to McDonald’s (although they wouldn’t eat it at home) just because it felt safe, familiar. Despite the fact that you can pick  fabulous restaurants in Prague and eat well anywhere. Fear of the unknown?

Going back to my cooking habits – after all, the return to simple, old style cooking proved to be the best way to go. Yes, I use real eggs,  good old olive oil and butter instead of margarine. Interestingly, that’s where all the latest diet trends go! After all, the good, solid meal from wholesome ingredients has the ability to make us happy, and to heal both the body and the soul. That’s why I love what I do.

I’m not sure where you’re reading this, but I’m assuming it may be somewhere cold in January. Living in Florida these past few years made me easily forget that people are actually cleaning up the snow in some parts of the country!

As everybody I know is trying to eat healthier after the lavish holidays, or they came up with the New Year’s resolution to finally loose that belly fat (again), I’d like to share with you one of my favorite, super simple recipes. Adventurous enough to experiment with new flavors? Then you must try this delicious, low calorie, easy to make recipe for Curried Eggplant with Chickpeas and Spinach.  Perhaps not your typical “comfort food for a dark winter night”. But you never know, until you try it!

Will you share with me how you enjoyed it, if you decide to make it?

All recipes paired with wine, Poultry

Honey Orange BBQ Chicken

A while ago, I was searching for recipes with some sweetness to it (since that’s what one of my clients enjoys). I found this recipe on Food Network website, courtesy of Patrick and Gina Neely.

The ingredients sounded promising, I tried it, loved it and so do my clients. It’s  in my repertoire ever since. There are never enough of good chicken recipes, right?

Honey Orange BBQ Chicken

Here is what do you need:

For Marinade:

  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sriracha
  • 1/4 cup Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 chicken cut into 10 pieces – or chicken cutlets (how many you need)

For Glaze:

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) organic butter’
  • 1/4 cup raw honey (I am not a big fan of sweet, so I put little less)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce (I use Annie’s Naturals Organic BBQ Sweet & Spicy Sauce from Whole Foods)
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice

Mix the orange juice, olive oil, hot sauce, mustard and orange zest together in a large bowl. Pour into gallon zip lock and add the chicken (washed and patted dry with paper towels). Close and shake well so everything is covered with marinade.

If you GRILL: Prepare the grill to medium direct heat. Let the chicken come to room temperature before grilling.

If you cook it on top of the STOVE: If making chicken cutlets, I made them on top of the stove, in cast iron skillet.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry. Grill on each side for 5 minutes, then turn the heat to medium-low and cover the lid of the grill. Continue cooking the chicken until it’s cooked through, about 25 minutes more.

STOVE: The same goes here. Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry. I have then cooked the cutlets on high heat for about 2 minutes on each side, then placed the skillet in an oven, preheated to 350˚F, for about 10 minutes.

GRILL: While the chicken is grilling, melt the butter in a small saucepan o the grill. Whisk in the honey, orange juice, BBQ sauce, zest, mustard and allspice. Reserve a bigger half of the glaze in a small bowl for serving.

STOVE: You can do the same on top of the stove, melt the butter, then take off the heat and add the rest of the ingredients. Reserve a bigger half of the glaze in a small bowl for serving. You don’t need that much for glazing, and when you dip it in the glaze afterwards on the plate – hm hm hmmmm.

GRILL: Brush the chicken pieces with glaze, then flip the chicken, glaze side down, and cook for 2 minutes. Brush second side of the chicken with glaze and flip again. Continue cooking for 3 more minutes. Remove the chicken from the grill to a platter and serve with reserved glaze.

STOVE: Take the pan out of the oven, brush the chicken cutlets with glaze and put back for about a minute. Then take out again, flip glaze side down, brush the other side and finish cooking for about 2 more minutes.

Instead of opening and closing oven, you can  also take the pan out of the oven, return it to the stove, and do the glazin’  and flippin’ on top of the stove. Don’t forget that the pan is super hot – better use oven mitts! You can add little more glaze into the pan as the chicken will get this beautiful brown caramelized color!

I have served it here with quinoa pilaf, but you can make roasted wedged potatoes, just grilled vegetables, rice, couscous – whatever you desire! Hope you enjoy this dish!

Honey Orange BBQ Chicken

I paired this dish with super dry, Austrian Grűner Veltliner from Weingut-Groiss and it worked great for me. Good Grűner Veltliner such as this one (my house wine, it comes in 1L bottle) is probably the most versatile wine you can find. It pairs with almost anything! And, one other important thing, if you don’t plan to finish the whole bottle – Grűner Veltliner practically doesn’t change its quality if you close it back and put it in the fridge. Even few days doesn’t make a difference. You can’t say that about most of the wines – 2 days usually are the most you can keep them. And some start falling apart even after 24 hours.

If you prefer red wine, I can imagine it may work but I would stick with lighter body wine, such as Pinot Noir or Sangiovese. Something young, fresh and fruity. Cheers!



All recipes paired with wine, Veggies based & Vegetarian

Simple Indian dish, all roasted in oven

Although I am not a vegetarian, I occasionally enjoy meatless dinner options without even thinking twice. And having this demand from my clients, I am constantly searching for more and more options and various cuisines to make my menus more interesting. Flipping through old Food & Wine magazines, I found this recipe, created by Grace Parisi. It had all the ingredients I like. Here is my slightly adapted version of

Curried Eggplant with Chickpeas and Spinach

Curried eggplant


  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Madras curry powder
  • 1 dried, crumbled chili if you like to add heat
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut oil
  • 1 medium eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 3/4-inch pieces (I did not peel the eggplant)
  • 1 large red onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and washed in colander
  • 1/4 cup finely julienned fresh ginger
  • Freshly ground pepper and Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 5-oz bag baby spinach
  • Warm naan and Greek yogurt, for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 425°. On a work surface, mash the garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt. In a large bowl, mix the paste with the curry powder and vegetable oil. Cut eggplant into similar size cubes, mix with onion, chickpeas and ginger, season with salt and pepper. Toss well together with the dressing so every piece is coated with seasoning and oil.

Spread the vegetables in an even layer and roast for about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the eggplant and onion are tender. Take out of the oven, stir in the spinach (mix so it’s covered with roasted vegetables) and roast just until wilted, about 2 minutes. Serve with warm naan and yogurt.

Curried eggplant, chickpeas and spinach

Seasoned yogurt:

  • 3 full tablespoons of Greek yogurt
  • 1 clove of garlic, mashed
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • Freshly cut mint and parsley

Mix together and enjoy with curried eggplant dish.

Curried eggplant


Healthy cookies? Hell Yes!!!

As a Personal chef, I’m always on the hunt for the newest, best recipes supporting the latest trends and diets. I cook for clients who follow certain diets and in order to make sure they stay on track, it’s my job to make their meals colorful enough. And, if you have sweet cravings, there must be something out there to satisfy your needs while staying within the dietary guidelines, right?? Right! I found this recipe on “Livin Paleo”  – I found many more treasures there, so I am sure to be coming for more later. Reading the recipe for these cookies, I loved the ingredients and immediately tried it at home.

Who said dieting has to be boring, “chewing cardboard” or “choking on salads”? If you follow the latest trends as your lifestyle change (which, honestly, any diet should be, unless you want to enjoy the famous yo-yo effect when you go off it), you can bet that soon there is enough passionate volunteers sharing exciting recipes to make it more interesting and flavorful.

The result was truly delicious, soft and flavorful cookie I can have with my coffee guilt-free. I am a big fan of cinnamon not just for its taste, but also its enormous health benefits, so I wasn’t shy with cinnamon use inside and out. Hope you enjoy it too!

Paleo Cinnamon Cookies
Paleo Cinnamon Cookies

Paleo Cinnamon Cookies

  • 1/4 cup of raw honey
  • 1/4 cup of organic coconut oil, melted
  • 1 whole organic egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla (I used Vanilla extract with Stevia from Whole Foods)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of almond flour/meal
  • 1 tsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon and 3 more for dusting
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • sprinkle of salt

Yield: about 14 small/medium size cookies

Preheat oven to 350˚F and put a jar of coconut oil and honey (if yours crystallized) on the (turned off) stove so it can naturally melt as the oven preheats. Mix almond flour with coconut flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking soda and add pinch of salt to combine.

In the cup, beat one egg with fork and add to the dry mix. Add vanilla extract (or real beans’ seeds if preferred), honey, melted coconut oil and mix well to combine. The result batter should look like this:

Healthy Cinnamon Cookies
The batter for Paleo Cinnamon Cookies


Form small balls in the palm of your hands (I used the smallest, 1/8 cup measurement spoon to make sure I have similar sized cookies), and roll in cinnamon you sprinkled on a plate. You may need more than 3 tablespoons of cinnamon powder, depends how generous you’re with dusting.


Cinnamon powder

Lay cookies on the baking sheet – flattening the balls into similar cookie shapes. I flattened the cookies already in the cinnamon “bath” so they get more cinnamon on them.


Bake for 10 minutes. After they’re done, they will feel soft to the touch. Do not move them until they cool off. Let them sit on the counter on the baking sheet for moment. By the time they cool off, cookies develop a thin, soft skin. Don’t expect a crunchy, hard cookie though. This is a soft, moist  goodness, full of flavors.

I just love them – and they’re full of healthy protein!!! Enjoy!