December 30, 2010

Risotto Rosso

I have been saying for awhile that I want to try to make a risotto with red wine, and I happened to find vialone nano in Rhode Island over Christmas, and I was dying to try it. Luckily I had printed this recipe from food52 a couple months ago and it turned out to be the most delicious recipe.

The mushrooms, pancetta, red wine and beef broth gave this dish a rich, earthy depth of flavor. It was truly like nothing I have ever tasted. (Or maybe like nothing I have ever created in my kitchen.)

It just barely made two dinner portions and one leftover lunch portion, so I will definitely double it the next time I make it. (I love having risotto leftover for lunch.) Also, I had about 1 1/2 cups broth left over, which never happens with arborio rice; I am usually scrambling to find more broth to finish cooking the rice. 

December 29, 2010

Crispy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

This post is picture-less, but this recipe is so good that I just couldn't keep it to myself.

For anyone who likes oatmeal chocolate chip cookies - this recipe from food52 may be your new favorite. I know it's mine! The balance of spice, salt, chocolate and oats is just perfect.

December 21, 2010

Chocolate Chunk & Vanilla Bean Cookies

Look closely and you can see the vanilla bean specks!

I have been excited to try this recipe for awhile - I just love the flavor from vanilla beans and there is certainly nothing wrong with semisweet chocolate chunks!!

This recipe is from the Coconut & Lime blog and the cookies are delicious. The recipe says it will make 2 dozen, but I only got maybe 18. It turns out that's a good thing, because they are only good on the 1st and 2nd days. By the 3rd day they taste a little stale. My only complaint is that the cookies don't have a strong vanilla flavor. I was really hoping for a stronger flavor from the bean.

December 19, 2010


Our dear dog, named for a manly man, is certainly not a manly dog. We had about 2 inches of snow earlier this week and after walking a block or two, Patton started to whine and alternate holding up one of his paws as he walked. He finally just sat down and cried. MM had to pick up all 55 pounds of him and carry him home.

Patton's feet were cold. So now he is the laughing stock of the neighborhood with his booties.

Really, mom?

December 7, 2010

Cranberry Bread

mmmmm cranberries

I bought a couple bags of fresh cranberries before Thanksgiving with the intention of making cranberry orange relish, but I never got around to it. I thought I was going to end up freezing them, but then this glorious bread happened! I printed this recipe awhile ago and just (re)discovered it in my recipe book. Boy am I glad I did. If you like tart cranberries mixed with doughy (in a good way) bread and crunchy sugary crust, try this recipe!

I got the recipe from the Arugula Files blog, but it is a Martha Stewart recipe. (I heart you, Martha!)

December 5, 2010

Sky in the Pie

Today's post brought to you by the color orange...

I am terribly delinquent in posting this Thanksgiving pie, but hopefully you won't hold it against me or this delicious pie!

I love this pie.  It gets it name because under the pumpkin is a luscious cream cheese mixture, so it looks like the sky is in the pie. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of a slice so you could see the layers, so you will just have to use your imagination!

This pie also happens to be another family recipe (see here for my great-grandmother's coffee cake), and as far as I am concerned, no Thanksgiving is complete without it.

I made my own pie crust for the first time this year and I would call it a mild success. It was delicious, but I had serious issues rolling it into a large enough circle, which is why the pie in the picture just barely has a crust. I used the Cooks Illustrated recipe as explained on Smitten Kitchen (although I used all butter, no shortening).

Sky in the Pie
(for a 9 inch pie crust)

8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
9 inch unbaked pie crust

1 1/4 cups canned pure pumpkin
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
dash salt
1 cup evaporated milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine softened cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl, mixing until well blended. Add egg; mix well. Spread on the bottom of the pastry crust.

2. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl; mix well. Carefully pour over cream cheese mixture.

3. Bake for 1 hour 5 minutes or until done (mine usually take 1 hour 15 minutes). Cool. Brush with maple syrup if desired (I don't know if I have ever had it with the syrup!)

Note: for a 10 inch pie, keep cream cheese mixture the same, but increase pumpkin to 2 1/4 cups, increase sugar to 3/4 cup and add one more egg to pumpkin mixture. Bake for 1 1/2 hours.

December 3, 2010

What's Left in the Fridge Frittata

Every now and then, I end up with bits of this and that in the fridge and I hear my mom's voice in my head: "Don't throw that away! You can find something to do with it." This week they went into a frittata.

Frittatas hold a special place in my household as it was the first dish I cooked for Marshal Mike when we were dating. I haven't made one for a long time, but decided the ingredients I had on hand would be perfectly suited for it. Unfortunately MM is off playing Army so he didn't get to enjoy the fridge frittata. Below is a recipe for this particular frittata, but think of it as a general guideline and feel free to use any ingredients you'd like!

What's Left in the Fridge Frittata
Serves 3

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 onion, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
6 large eggs
3 tablespoons milk (I had evaporated milk leftover from making a pie for Thanksgiving, so I used that)
1/2 cup grated cheese (I used a combination of Parmigiano-Reggiano and rosemary asiago)
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
A handful or two baby arugula leaves

1. Position an oven rack in the top 1/3 of the oven; preheat the broiler. (I forgot you are supposed to use the broiler and heated the oven to 400 degrees. The top of my frittata did not get golden, which is why you see the bottom of my frittata in the picture above!)

2. Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in an oven safe 10 inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the bell pepper and cook until the onions caramelize and the pepper softens.

3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk, cheese, salt and pepper.

4. When the onions and pepper are just done, add the handful or two of arugula to the pan and stir to wilt slightly. Lower the heat to medium low or low. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and gently stir (I forgot to stir, that's why you can see all of my vegetables in the above picture).

5. When the edges are set, transfer to the oven and cook until puffy and golden (obviously this will take less time if under the broiler than in a 400 degree oven).

6. Let the frittata cool for a couple of minutes (remember the handle of the skillet will be very hot!) Loosen the edges of the frittata with a rubber scraper. Use a plate to invert the frittata and either invert again onto another plate, or keep the bottom as the top, whichever is prettier! Cut into wedges.

November 30, 2010

Jeanne Torregrossa's Coffee Cake

After I made the Heirloom Bakery coffee cake last month, my grandmother emailed me to tell me that my great grandmother (her mother) made coffee cake almost every week. I dug out the recipe and made it for Thanksgiving Day breakfast. It was delicious and got rave reviews from MM's family!

I didn't have any blueberries on hand, so I used walnuts, but I bet it would be even better with blueberries. I am a topping fiend, so I think I will double the amount of topping the next time I make it.

Jeanne Torregrossa's Coffee Cake


1/3 cup of chopped nuts or 1/2 cup blueberries
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons all purpose flour


1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
dash of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a small bowl, mix together all of the topping ingredients.

3. In a stand mixer, cream the butter. Add the sugar and cream well. Add the eggs and mix well.

4. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream and vanilla extract.

5. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix until combined. Add 1/3 of the sour cream mixture to the mixing bowl and mix until combined. Continue until both mixtures are gone.

6. Spoon a little more than half of the batter into a greased 8 inch square baking dish (or other dish of your choosing). Sprinkle 2/3 of the topping over the batter, then spoon the remaining batter over that, and then sprinkle the rest of the topping.

7. Bake in a preheated oven for 45-50 minutes. Leave in the oven for 10 minutes after shutting it off. (I had other baking to do, so I couldn't leave mine in the oven and I only needed to bake it for about 40 minutes.)

November 29, 2010

Applesauce Multigrain Muffins

Well at least it looks good...

I generally like anything made with oats, but these poor muffins may be the exception. They weren't horrible, but I probably won't make them again.

The recipe is from the Washington Post and seeing as I don't even know what Country Choice Organic multigrain hot cereal is (boy, that's a mouthful!), I used old-fashioned rolled oats. I found the muffins to be a little two chewy (maybe that is a result of the oats?) and not necessarily dry, but the texture was off. I also think the muffins tasted too much like canola oil. If I were to make these again, I would be tempted to use vegetable oil instead - or just leave the oil out all together and increase the amount of applesauce.

November 28, 2010

Risi e Bisi

I love risotto and always look forward to fall and winter, which is the only time I want to stand over a simmering pot stirring and stirring.

Risi e bisi is a traditional Venetian spring dish and is supposed to be soupier in consistency than a risotto. As you can see from the above photo, mine certainly looks like a risotto. (Also, being a spring dish, you are supposed to make it with fresh peas, but frozen ones work fine.) The last time I made this dish (before BlB), I did manage to get it soupier, but no matter, it tastes delicious either way! And you will enjoy it in any season!

I combined two risi e bisi recipes to make this dish: one from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian Cooking and one from The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook.

Risi e Bisi
Serves 4-6

6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
6 ounces pancetta, coarsely chopped
1 3/4 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups fresh or partially thawed frozen peas
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a gentle simmer and maintain over low heat.

2. In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the pancetta and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the rice and stir until each grain is coated with oil and hot, about 2-3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until it is completely absorbed. Add 1/2 cup of the stock and stir until it is absorbed. Continue to add the stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring and allowing it to be absorbed before adding more, for about 10 minutes (if using frozen peas, cook for 15 minutes before adding peas).

4. Stir in the peas and the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Resume adding the stock 1/2 cup at a time and stirring until the rice is tender yet firm to the bite, 8-10 minutes more.

5. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and butter. Check seasoning and serve with more grated Parmigiano.

November 23, 2010

Pasta with Parsnips and Bacon

Parsnips a plenty!

We had some bacon in the fridge that desperately needed to be used, so I decided to try this recipe from the Serious Eats website. It is a recipe adapted from an adapted recipe from Mario Batali's Babbo restaurant (did you get that?). And it was pretty good. Like the author/cook says on the Serious Eats site, what this dish boils down to is that parsnips taste good when cooked in pork fat. I wish I had reread his blurb before I made this dish, however, because I certainly would have used parsley instead of green onions. They did not work at all. Not the right flavor combinations.

Also, I only used 1 pound of parsnips and as you can tell from the above picture, it was plenty! I used the other half of the box of rotelle from this dish and would recommend using a short pasta, not fettuccine as the Epicurious recipe recommends.

November 19, 2010

Chicken Marsala with Mustard and Mascarpone

Oh, Giada, can you do no wrong?

I can't even remember the last time I had chicken Marsala, but this is certainly the best iteration of it that I have ever had. Although, when we were in high school, my brother went through a phase when he was obsessed with chicken Marsala and made it all the time. (At least I think it was high school; I could be remembering this incorrectly.) His version of it was terrific as well.

This recipe is from Giada's cookbook, Giada's Family Dinners, which I recently bought on Gilt for super-cheap. (If you are not a member of Gilt, let me know and I will send you an invitation. It is one of the most amazing things ever created. Really great products for unbelievably low prices. Especially if you are an obsessive shopper like I am!) Of course, you can also find this recipe on The mustard and mascarpone work really well with the Marsala and the browned mushrooms. (A note on the mushrooms, which most of you probably know already: cremini mushrooms are also called "baby bella" or "baby portobello".)

A note on the serving size: I used just over a pound of chicken, and a half pound of pappardelle, but the full amount of all the other ingredients (I like a lot of sauce) and it made 4 servings.

November 17, 2010

Orecchiette with Greens, Garbanzo Beans and Ricotta Salata

Giada has done it again!

I was really surprised by this dish. It was flavorful, texturally interesting and satisfying. Plus, I usually do not like Swiss chard, but (luckily) it loses its characteristic bitterness in this recipe. Unfortunately, the chickpeas do not quite seem at home in this dish. Cannellini beans may have been a better flavor match up. And I really love lemon, so I think I might add lemon juice next time I make this.

This recipe is from Giada's cookbook, Giada at Home, and can be found on Also, if you are going to try this dish, please do not substitute feta for the ricotta salata. Their flavors are completely different. Search out the ricotta salata, it won't kill you. AND, it is delicious!

November 16, 2010

Turkey Meatloaf with Mashed Sweet Potatoes

(Please excuse the second post in a row without a picture; I just can't subject you to them!)

I really wanted to like this meatloaf. It is pretty healthy and seemed like a good meal for a Sunday night. Unfortunately, it was a huge disappointment. This recipe is out of Ellie Krieger's cookbook, The Food You Crave, but of course it is also available on Food She calls it "Mom's Turkey Meatloaf," but my mom wouldn't make meatloaf out of turkey and her meatloaf was pretty damn good, so I can't bring myself to call this by Ellie Krieger's chosen name.

I am starting to think this dish failed because of user error because the reviews on are excellent. I think it needed a higher cooking temperature, because mine was not anywhere near the color brown and there wasn't enough moisture evaporation. And there needs to be less onions; I thought I was eating an onion loaf with some turkey thrown in. It could also use something green. Maybe some spinach? Or parsley? I think I would be more inclined to try a completely different recipe than to try to fix this one.

On to the sweet potatoes; they were superb! Normally, I would roast the orange cuties, but the meatloaf only required a 350 degree oven and you can't roast anything at that low a temperature. I was going to boil and mash them like normal potatoes, but then I found this recipe on I had never heard of cooking potatoes like that, but they were delicious! I used skim milk, because that is all I have on hand and honestly, I don't think the heavy cream would have made them any better, just more calorific!

November 15, 2010

Pasta with Tempeh, Caramelized Shallots and Goat Cheese

For the uninitiated, tempeh can be pretty intimidating. It's not pretty (notice there is no photo accompanying this post), it can be hard to find (we had to go to three grocery stores), and if you do stumble across it, what will you ever do with it? Well, have I got the dish for you!

This recipe is from an old "Meatless Monday" column in the Washington Post.  We have had it a bunch of times and it comes out great every time. The marinade is so delicious that I could just drink it. The pasta reheats well for lunch, too. Give tempeh a try!

November 12, 2010

Braised Pork Chops and Roasted Cauliflower with Gremolata Bread Crumbs

Mmmm crunchy gremolata bread crumbs...

Marshal Mike hates cauliflower - he even asked the produce girl at the supermarket to hide it from me. She just laughed awkwardly and continued stocking the produce. Score 1 for me!

I knew I had to try this recipe for roasted cauliflower, which says that it will convert the non-believers. While MM will certainly not go out in search of cauliflower, he did manage to eat about half of the amount I put on his plate. I would have roasted it even longer, but the pork was done and I didn't want it to get cold. I halved the recipe, but absentmindedly zested a whole lemon, so the resulting gremolata bread crumbs were a little overwhelmingly lemon, but they still tasted fantastic.

The pork recipe is from the Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian Cooking cookbook and is pretty good. The orange juice was certainly unexpected, but it worked (I halved this recipe, too).

Braised Pork Chops
Makes 6 servings

4 pork loin chops, each about 1 inch thick
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
Grated zest of 1 orange (I couldn't find any acceptable oranges so I omitted this)

1. Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels (I also trim off a little of the excess fat). Sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper. In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the chops and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 10 minutes total. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until the chops are tender but still pale pink and juicy when cut into the center with a knife, about 15 minutes. (Mine were practically done after the first 10 minutes, so watch them carefully.) Transfer to a plate and tent with foil.

2. Add the Marsala to the pan and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring, until the wine is reduced and slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the orange juice and bring to a simmer. Return the chops to the pan and sprinkle with the orange zest. Cook, basting the chops with the pan juices, for 2 minutes.

3. Transfer the chops to a warmed platter or warmed plates, spoon the sauce over the top, and serve.

November 11, 2010

Cottage Pie

Looks a little soupy...

So apparently I have a problem reducing sauces properly (see this disaster) as my cottage pie was definitely not the proper cottage pie/shepherd's pie consistency.

This recipe is from the November 2010 issue of Martha Stewart's Everyday Food (which Marshal Mike calls a comic book because of its tiny size). And here's a fun fact that Martha taught me - did you know that a traditional shepherd's pie is made with lamb and a cottage pie is made with ground beef? I certainly didn't. But because Martha Stewart said it, it must be the truth.

So honestly the best thing about this dish is I got to break out my mandoline (thanks, UNF!) to slice the potato. So fun!

I will include the recipe below because I can't find it online and you will see that it has you add a cup of water near the end. When I make this again, I think I will try only adding 1/2 cup or so, because not only was the resulting dish soupy, I felt like the flavor was diluted, too. Although MM and his cousin, Tom, had no problems going back for seconds. The crispy potatoes, while not helpful at all at mopping up juices, were delicious!

Cottage Pie
From Everyday Food
I just noticed that the recipe says it serves 6 - that is totally not true. Maybe 6 dieting girls, but definitely not 6 normal people. There were 3 of us and we had one leftover portion.
Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 1/4 hours

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 large yellow onion, diced medium
2 large carrots, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste (I would be tempted to up this amount)
1 pound ground beef or lamb
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 cup dark (porter) beer (I had a hard time finding a porter beer and ended up with Kona Pipeline Porter and it really surprised me! It was delicious!)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 large russet potato (3/4 pound), very thinly sliced

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrots and cook, stirring often, until onion is soft, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in tomato paste. Add meat and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until almost cooked through, 3 minutes. Add thyme and beer and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring frequently, until slightly reduced, 2 minutes. Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir to combine. Add 1 cup water and cook until mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. Stir in peas and season with salt and pepper.

3. Transfer mixture to a 2-quart baking dish. Top with potatoes, overlapping slices. Season potatoes with salt and pepper and drizzle with 2 tablespoons butter. Bake until potatoes are browned around the edges and tender when pierced with a knife, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. (To store, let cool completely, cover with foil, and refrigerate, up to 3 days. Reheat, covered, in a 350 degree oven until warmed through.)

November 10, 2010

Baked Ravioli with Chicken Sausage

Cheesy goodness!

So this is certainly not a dish you would want to eat every night (or more than once a month), but it hits the spot every now and then. The recipe is from Real Simple and comes together pretty quickly. I only veered slightly from the recipe: I used a whole jar of marinara because I felt that 2 cups wasn't enough; and I grated some Pecorino Romano on top of the mozzarella, mainly because I had it in the fridge and need to use it up.

November 9, 2010

Farfalle with Roasted Sweet Potato and Chickpeas

Mmmm sweet potato...

I am an unabashed lover of sweet potatoes. I could eat them every day. I had two lonely sweet potatoes sitting on the counter this past weekend and thought, why not roast them and throw them together with some pasta? (I also threw a can of chickpeas on the roasting pan for some protein.) (Actually, I threw the contents of a can of chickpeas, not the can itself.)

The resulting dish was ok. There wasn't much texture contrast (I think if I had let the chickpeas cool, they would have gotten crispier) and it ended up dry, but the flavor was there!

Pasta with Roasted Sweet Potato and Chickpeas
Serves 3-4

1/2 pound dried pasta (I am not sure if the farfalle was the best pasta shape for this dish, so use whatever you'd like!)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch dice
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Dried Italian seasoning
1/2 large onion, cut into slices
2-3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1-2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (MM's favorite job in the world is picking the little leaves off the stems!)

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes and chickpeas with 1-2  tablespoons of olive oil, some salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Spread into a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast until sweet potatoes are tender and chickpeas are crispy, about 35-40 minutes, stirring a couple times during baking.
3. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Cook the onions until brown and caramelized.
4. Cook the pasta in a large pot of generously salted boiling water until al dente. Drain the pasta (reserve about a cup of the cooking water). Melt the butter in the pasta pot with a tablespoon of olive oil. Return the pasta to the pot and gently stir in the sweet potatoes, chickpeas, onions and thyme. If it looks dry (and it probably will), add some reserved pasta water.

November 1, 2010

Pumpkin Fig Hazelnut Granola

I was looking for something to do with the remnants of the can of pumpkin from last weekend's pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and luckily the blogosphere is awash with pumpkin recipes this time of year. I stumbled upon a recipe for pumpkin cranberry granola on the Framed blog and as it only calls for 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, that was just about perfect.

But I soon realized that I didn't have some of the other ingredients that the recipe calls for, so I just threw in what I had. The recipe below is for the granola I ended up making.

Pumpkin Fig Hazelnut Granola

5 cups old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom (I would probably leave this out next time as it overpowered the other spices)
3/4 teaspoon salt (I used table salt, but I think I would use coarse kosher salt next time)
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup real maple syrup (don't even think of using pancake syrup)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup dried cranberries (I would have used more cranberries if I had them, but that's the beauty of granola, you can throw in whatever you have on hand or prefer.)
3/4 cup chopped dried figs

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. (I have mixed feelings about the use of parchment paper here. I felt that it absorbed too much of the granola's moisture and its sogginess slowed the process of the granola crisping. It eventually did get crispy, but I think it took longer than necessary. Additionally, the whole purpose of the parchment paper is to prevent sticking and for ease of clean-up, but I found that the oats sneaked under the parchment anyway, which defeated the purpose. I probably won't use parchment paper next time.)

2. Stir oats, spices, salt and hazelnuts together in a large bowl.

3. Whisk together brown sugar, pumpkin puree, canola oil, honey, maple syrup and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour over oat mixture and stir to combine. Spread mixture onto the baking sheet.

4. Bake for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and stir. Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven, stir in dried fruits and bake for another 5 minutes. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container.

October 27, 2010

Cinnamon-Spice Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Root Vegetables

I swear there is pork under there!

I had really high hopes for this recipe. I love roasted root vegetables and I love pork tenderloin. Unfortunately, this recipe didn't quite live up to my expectations, but I think I know how to tweak it for next time.

It is part of the Washington Post's food section's Nourish column, which has specific nutrition guidelines for the recipes. I can't remember exactly what they are and a quick search on the Post's website hasn't found anything, but I am sure it has something to do with amount of fat, calories and nutrients.

I will start with the good: this pork was the most tender pork I have ever tasted. It practically melted in your mouth. You almost did not have to chew. But, where was the spice? I expected it to taste like the warm, autumn flavors in the spice mix. So, when I make this again, the first thing I will do differently is make more of the spice mix. I didn't even end up having enough for the two tenderloins I had, which were only about 1 1/2 pounds total (recipe calls for two pounds).

The second problem was that my vegetables did not fully cook in the time frame suggested by the recipe. I could have left them in the oven longer, but the pork had already been resting for 15 minutes and I didn't want to eat freezing cold pork. (Yes, we had to turn the air conditioner back on last night. It was so hot and humid in our house! It is the end of October! Get yourself together, DC weather!) So, next time, I will crank up the oven after I remove the pork; I think vegetables should be roasted at a temperature higher than 375 anyway.

Lastly, I think I might make a quick sauce for the dish. It certainly isn't necessary as the pork was moist and tender, but I just like having a sauce to mop up. Maybe maple syrup and cinnamon reduction? Yum!

October 26, 2010

Pasta with Broccoli, Lemon and Pancetta

Are those wagon wheels?

That was MM's first question to me when I served this dish. I paused, frantically searching my brain for the Italian word for wheels, and nothing. So, I said, yes, they are wagon wheels. I felt so defeated. Luckily, in the light of day, the good ole internet informs me that they are called "rotelle." I am so glad that mystery is solved.

This is the second or third time I have made this recipe (first one is here), and we will keep going back to it. It is quick, balanced and flavorful.

The original recipe calls for fettuccine, but long pastas bug me. I hate it when they stick together in the pasta water; I hate all that twirling; I hate when you can't get one bite on the fork, so you have to bite off the pasta and it either hits your face or makes a mess in some other way; and I hate that it is close to impossible to get a forkful of all of the dish's components (it's either the pasta or the toppings; take your pick). So I decided fettuccine wasn't the right pasta shape for us.

I had a box of Barilla piccolini mini wheels in the back of the pantry for over a year now (could even be two) and I decided it was high time that I used them for something. You will be shocked to know that a) I bought them because I had a coupon and they are cute (I end up with lots of things because they are cute: exhibit 1, my husband, exhibit 2, Gaby, exhibit 3, Patton, and the list goes on) and b) since buying them, I have not seen a recipe that actually calls for rotelle! Please try to control your shock and horror. Anyway, they were the perfect vehicle for this sauce! Easy to stab with the fork and easy to stack up with lemony broccoli, crisp salty pancetta and the sweet caramelized onions.

Yes, that's right, I added onions to this dish. I just couldn't stand letting the pancetta drippings go to waste, so I sliced up a half an onion that had been chilling in the fridge (haha get it?) since last week and threw it into the pan post-pancetta. Delicious! I wouldn't think of making this recipe in the future without an onion.

October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Please excuse the classy plastic dish... 

My friends, Jaime and Jon, bought a townhome a couple months ago and had their housewarming party this past weekend. Jaime likes all things pumpkin, so I decided to try these cookies. Boy am I glad I did! They are like mini pumpkin cakes: soft, fluffy, with a hint of pumpkin flavor and warm spices.

I wasn't sure how the chocolate would pair with the pumpkin (it just didn't seem like a good match in my brain), but it complements the pumpkin well and adds an appropriate burst of sweetness.

If you are looking for something to fill your home with the aroma of fall and whet your appetite for Thanksgiving's pumpkin pie, try these cookies!

UPDATE: These cookies will last over a week in an airtight container or Ziplock bag!

October 22, 2010

Herbed Chicken with Roasted Root Vegetables

With this dish I discovered that I do not like turnip root. It is bitter! Even roasted, which usually makes veggies so sweet. Although, after a quick search on the good ole internet, I realize that I chose at least one turnip that was too large (you should pick smaller ones that feel heavy for their size) and I should have tried the turnips with their greens still attached, instead of the turnip root by itself. Ok, so maybe I will give them a second chance. (Although, I have given brussels sprouts somewhere close to 10 chances and I still don't like them!)

Regardless of my current hate relationship with turnips, this dish is a great fall/winter standby. Tasty, satisfying and easy. And you can throw in whatever vegetables you like (or hope to like). Additionally, you can pair the roasted vegetables with any protein you'd like. This particular technique (it isn't really a recipe) is one of my go-to ways to cook chicken.

Roasted Root Vegetables
Serves 3

A couple pounds of assorted vegetables (in this particular dish I used 2 medium sweet potatoes, 1 large fennel bulb, and 3 turnip roots), chopped. You can chop the vegetables in whatever size you'd like, just keep them all the same size. And remember, the smaller the dice, the faster it will cook.
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-2 tablespoons Italian dried herb mixture (I used Giada's Tuscan Herb Mix)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss all the ingredients in a large bowl. Transfer to a large baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes - 1 hour (depending on the size of your vegetables and desired crispiness of the vegetables), stirring 2 or 3 times during cooking.

Herbed Chicken Breasts
Serves 3

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used the thinly sliced breasts)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Italian dried herb mixture
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix the olive oil and herbs together in a small bowl. Using a brush (I really like the silicon ones because they are easier to clean), spread the mixture on both sides of the chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Cook chicken over medium heat (you can get away with medium high heat if you have thinly sliced breasts, or if you pound regular breasts so they are thin) in a saute pan for a couple minutes on each side, until the chicken is cooked through.

October 21, 2010

Dirty Risotto

The other night was dark and chilly (fall is thankfully upon us) and I was craving risotto. I wanted a recipe that was full of "stuff" so it would be hearty and found this recipe of Giada's on Food Network. (I am embarrassed to say that it took me a couple of hours to realize that Dirty Risotto is a play on Dirty Rice. Although, having never had dirty rice, maybe I shouldn't be too embarrassed.)

The dish turned out fairly well. The guy at the supermarket cut my pancetta a little too thin and I think it would be better if it was about 1/4 inch thick. Also, Harris Teeter was out of pork sausage, so I bought chicken sausage. I bet the pork sausage would have made the risotto a little more flavorful. (Although chicken is healthier.) And as you can see from the picture, I did not cut up the red bell pepper small enough; I think a small dice would have been appropriate. And lastly, we omitted the mushrooms, because MM does not like them.

When it was all said and done, I discovered that I like the taste of vegetarian risotto better than ones with meat in them. And on another risotto note, I am determined to make red wine risotto this winter! Stay tuned!

October 13, 2010

Avocado Hummus

No picture, because we all know what hummus looks like and we all know that avocados turn everything green. 
Ergo, avocado hummus looks like green hummus!

This recipe from the Washington Post is truly fantastic. It comes together in about 5 minutes and is super flavorful. I have had it with homemade spiced toasted pita triangles or store bought pita chips and both are delicious. The hardest part of this recipe is cleaning the food processor afterwards! MM, I think I have a project for you!

October 12, 2010

Heirloom Bakery and Cafe's Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Image from, because mine looked so boring you would fall asleep while reading

I love coffee cake and have tried many different recipes for it over the years, but none has ever really wowed me. This one was no exception.

First of all, this recipe calls for a 9-inch square pan; I think coffee cakes should be round. Second, it did not make nearly enough of the topping. And once it was done cooking, the topping that you put in the middle sunk to the bottom and stuck to the pan.

The cake was pretty light, which I appreciate (there is nothing worse than dense cake!), but it didn't have much flavor. I did enjoy the addition of cinnamon to the topping mixture, so I would be tempted to apply that to future coffee cake recipes that I try, but I don't think I will make this recipe again.

October 11, 2010

Reese's Pieces and Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

Peanut Buttery Goodness!

Although I had to use every ounce of patience I possess to place the Reese's Pieces in rows, I am glad I did because they look so cute!

Of course this is a Martha Stewart recipe - would we expect anything less festive from her? She only called for Reese's Pieces, and while I prefer them over peanut butter cups, I know someone who loves the peanut butter cups, so I decided to do half and half.

This recipe was really easy to make and turned out delicious. I definitely recommend it for any upcoming Halloween festivities!

October 1, 2010

Wide Noodles with Broccolini, Feta, Lemon and Pine Nuts

Photo from

This recipe was featured in the Washington Post's "Dinner in 20 minutes" column (although on their website, it says "Dinner in 25 minutes"), and for the first time in my life, I was able to make dinner in the time it took for the water to boil and the noodles to cook. Such an accomplishment!

This dish was pretty good. It didn't wow us. The recipe only calls for lemon zest and I didn't get any lemon flavor from the finished product. If I make it again, I will certainly use some juice too. One thing I did learn from this dish is that Trader Joe's block of feta cheese is super delicious! Not too salty and harsh as a lot of brands of feta can be. It was creamy and actually made me want to eat feta plain!

September 29, 2010

Balsamic-Glazed Pork with Lentils


I love lentils, so was excited to try this recipe, which is in Real Simple's October 2010 issue. It came together really quickly and was very flavorful. 

The pork just melted in your mouth - it was so tender and the balsamic glaze enhanced its flavor beautifully.

September 28, 2010

Cavatappi with Sausage and Tomato

Wow, kind of looks like every other pasta dish on this blog...

This recipe is from an old Williams-Sonoma Pasta cookbook that was my Auntie Pat's. It can also be found on the Williams-Sonoma website.

It is a simple recipe, which I appreciate on a weeknight, but also quite satisfying and delicious. MM loved it (even went back for seconds) and it reheated beautifully for lunch (I think the flavor even improved overnight). The most time consuming part is dicing and seeding 1 lb of tomatoes. (And no, I did not peel them. Are you kidding?)

On a side note, I think cavatappi (also called cellentani) is my favorite pasta shape. I love how the sauce gets stuck in the center of the pasta and, of course, as should be the reason for all things I purchase, I think it is pretty.

September 27, 2010

Chicken Normande with Mashed Apples and Potatoes

Photo from because the last thing I wanted to do at 9:30pm when this piece of work finished cooking was take a picture!

If any dish is the definition of a hot mess, this one is it! And like any hot mess, it seemed totally normal and manageable in the beginning. Then, slowly, it showed its true colors.

I got this recipe out of the Bon Appetit Best of 2001 cookbook, but you can also find it on First, a little back story on the Best of cookbook. Either last Christmas or the one before, my mom and I were perusing the goods at Ocean State Job Lot. If you have ever been into an Ocean State Job Lot, you know how very special they are. If you haven't, well, I wouldn't suggest searching one out now. You just wouldn't get it. And the experience may scar you for life. So they have a whole shelf of cookbooks on super sale (I think it was buy one at $10, get one free, or something ridiculous like that). So I got the Bon Appetit Best of 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2005 cookbooks.

Back to Saturday night's dinner. I figured, it's Saturday, we don't have anything to do, I can make a meal that is more involved than one I would choose to make on a weeknight. Well this sucker took me over two hours! Just to start off you have to peel 2 parsnips, 4 potatoes and 2 apples. I hate peeling round things! And I think I need a different kind of peeler because I ended up peeling a comparable amount of skin off my finger.

Anyway, it is going along fine, I cook the parsnips, cook and mash the apples and potatoes, cook the chicken thighs (they got great color), and continue on. (Although reading through the recipe online, I realized I skipped over the "cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces" part. Woops!) I didn't have any brandy for the last part where you reduce the broth mixture, so I used more apple juice. Should be fine. Well, I guess I didn't reduce it long enough because when I poured it over everything in the baking dish, it came up awfully high. Then I started to scoop the mashed apples and potatoes on top and it started to overflow all over the stove top. Now, most sane people would have stopped at this point, maybe drained some of the liquid out. Maybe have gotten a larger baking dish. Oh, no, not me! (And I was a couple glasses of wine in at this point seeing as it had been taking so long!) So I put the pan on a baking sheet to contain the mess and continued to scoop the mashed mixture on top. Some of it sunk. Fine. I finally get it in the oven and leave the kitchen to watch It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia with MM. (If you have not seen this show, add it to your queue! It is hilarious. Inappropriate at many times, but hilarious!)

The oven timer goes off 35 minutes later and I discover that the oven had turned itself off at some point. It didn't powerfail, which is what it usually does, because the timer still worked (and it had already powerfailed once on Saturday when I was preheating the oven for the cookies). Great! The internal temp was down to 200, so I turn the oven back on and left the slop in the oven for more time.

Long (very long) story short, the mashed mixture on top never got crusty, although everything underneath it was warmed through. And after all that we didn't even like it. It was like soup with chicken thighs and some mashed potatoes. (Although, I must admit I can see how it would have been better if I had cut up the thighs.) Then MM says, "I don't like chicken thighs, they stay too moist and it makes me think they aren't cooked all the way through." So I said, "Are you saying you like dry chicken breasts because you know they are cooked?" "Yes." Ok, fine.

Moral of the story, I should probably stick to Italian food.

September 26, 2010

Crispy Oatmeal Chocolate and Butterscotch Chip Cookies

Crispy, chocolaty, chewy and crazy-good!

Today's post is sponsored by the letter "c." Just kidding.

I got this recipe from the Food52 website, but as I started to get all my ingredients out on the counter, I realized that I was missing a couple, so I used what I had and ended up with a really delicious cookie! (Just ask Marshal Mike, he consumed six (6!) yesterday!) My version is below.

Crispy Oatmeal Chocolate and Butterscotch Chip Cookies
Makes about 40 cookies

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup butterscotch chips
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chunks

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter and two sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture in three additions, beating until just combined and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Do not overbeat!

3. Stir in the oats and the chocolate/butterscotch chips, distributing evenly. Drop by tablespoon (or ice cream scoop - I use a 1 1/2 tablespoon scoop) on parchment-lined baking sheets, keeping the cookies at least 2 inches apart. Flatten gently with the back of the spoon/scoop and bake for about 14 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through. The cookies are done when the edges are golden. Cool on the baking sheets for a minute, then transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

4. Devour!

September 24, 2010


So as ridiculous parents of pets, MM and I decided that Patton should dress up for Halloween. I am happy to report that his costume came in the mail yesterday!! Here is a sneak preview:

Doesn't he look vicious? On the other hand, it kind of looks like the shark is trying to eat his head...

What a good sport!

(The costume is from Old Navy, should any readers be interested in outfitting their own canines!)

September 23, 2010

Tuscan Roasted Chicken with Vegetables

Apologies for not having a photo - they were all so bad, I couldn't bear to subject you to any of them.

So this recipe is from Ellie Krieger's cookbook, The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life. Well, I can tell you I will not be craving this recipe anytime soon!  The vegetables called for in the recipe are: plum tomatoes, zucchini and fennel. I cannot stand zucchini, so I substituted carrots. The recipe also calls for 4 chicken breast halves with the ribs. I only used 3 and could just barely get everything into my huge Le Creuset oval baking dish.

The recipe calls for baking at 375 degrees for 50-60 minutes (or until the chicken is cooked), and I took mine out at 50 minutes. This resulted in perfectly cooked, moist, interior of the chicken and overcooked edges of the chicken. And don't even get me started on the vegetables. They were completely undercooked! (Well, except for the tomatoes, which were disintegrating at this point.) It was kind of a disappointment. I want roasted vegetables with my roasted chicken! Golden, tender, slightly crispy, sweet and flavorful! Mine were practically raw! I don't have to wait 50 minutes for raw vegetables!

If I were to make this again (and I may because the lemon on the chicken was great and it was nice to get everything together, stick it in the oven and forget about it for awhile), I think I would crank up the heat and cook the vegetables longer than the chicken.

September 21, 2010

Spaghetti Squash

Let's discuss spaghetti squash.

It seems like a pretty harmless vegetable. Look at it - it isn't showy or demanding. It could easily be overlooked for the more interesting looking butternut squash or the prettier acorn squash. But the name gets you. "Ooh, I like spaghetti, maybe I will like spaghetti squash, too."

Then you roast it and use a fork to pull out the golden spaghetti-like strands of squash. "Oh, how pretty, how unique! This will be great!" No! The name is incredibly misleading! Don't fall for it! Yes, I will concede that the texture of the stands are delightful. But it still tastes like squash! No amount of salt, herbs or Parmigiano-Reggiano will help it!

I vote for a name change so future generations won't be tricked into thinking this squash will taste like one of humankind's greatest creations. Let's call it string squash! (Like string cheese - no one calls it spaghetti cheese!) Or how about yellow rugby ball squash! Try it in a sentence: "Yum, let's have yellow rugby ball squash as our side dish tonight! I think its flavor will complement the roast chicken perfectly."

Whatever we call it, let's please stop calling it spaghetti squash.

September 20, 2010

Chicken Spezzatino

Love that Le Creuset!

Maybe it's because it has (thankfully!) been getting cooler at night or maybe it's because I am so busy at work that cooking a complicated multi-step recipe when I get home is enough to make me stop cooking all together and eat peanut butter toast washed down with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc (hey, don't knock it till you try it!) that I have been craving hearty one pot meals that don't require much effort on my behalf. This spectacular recipe is one such dish!

It is from Giada's Everyday Italian cookbook and can be found here. (The biscuit part is not from Giada's original recipe and I think the stew is hearty enough without bread. Although, orzo or some other little pasta that could cook in the liquid might be a good variation.) The Food Network website has a different version of Giada's Spezzatino that also looks great, so I think I will have to try that one too!

September 15, 2010

Orecchiette with Sausage, Beans and Mascarpone

So I don't have a picture of last night's dinner, and I can't believe I haven't blogged about this recipe yet because it is one of my favorites. You can find the recipe here and it is also in Giada's cookbook, Giada's Kitchen.

This pasta dish is the perfect marriage of flavors: salty from the sausage, creamy from the beans and the mascarpone and bright freshness from the oregano. It comes together so quickly and is unbelievably satisfying. Tastes pretty good on the second day too!

September 12, 2010

Baked Pasta with Spinach, Bacon and Breadcrumbs

I was craving a baked pasta over the weekend and wanted to use up some random items in the fridge, so I came up with this dish. It was fairly tasty, but I would do a couple things differently if I made it again.

The first problem was that I added a box of frozen spinach to the sauce because I was trying to make it healthier, and unfortunately I don't think the spinach added any flavor to the final dish. Maybe it would have been better if I had had some ricotta to mix in with it. Or it needed some spice. Perhaps there is a reason most recipes add a little nutmeg to spinach!

The second problem was the crispy topping. I decided not to toast the panko prior to baking because I figured the oven would toast it. And it was crunchy, but it was bland bland bland. I was mighty disappointed. Next time I will toast the panko and parsley with olive oil and salt for just a little bit before sprinkling on top.

The recipe below is how I made it this weekend.

Baked Pasta with Spinach, Bacon and Breadcrumbs
Serves 5-6

Extra virgin olive oil
6 slices bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
35 oz can peeled whole San Marzano tomatoes with juice
Dried Italian seasoning
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 lb dried ziti or rigatoni
1 box frozen spinach, thawed and water wrung out
1/2 lb mozzarella, cubed
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (or whatever you have)
Handful fresh Italian parsley, chopped
Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly oil large baking/casserole dish.
2. Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until browned. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and generously salt once it is boiling.
3. You want about 2 tablespoons of "fat" in the skillet to cook the onion, so add olive oil to the bacon grease until you have enough. Cook onion for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add garlic and stir until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add can of tomatoes with their juice. Use your spoon to break up tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes or until thickened.
4. Meanwhile, cook pasta in boiling water until less than al dente. (It will continue to cook in the oven and you DO NOT want over cooked pasta!) Drain.
5. Stir thawed spinach into tomato sauce. Remove from the heat and stir in the mozzarella, then mix in the pasta. Transfer to the baking dish.
6. Sprinkle the bacon over the top of the pasta, then the panko and parsley. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Season with salt, then sprinkle the top with grated parmesan.
7. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.

September 8, 2010

Fusilli with Sweet Sausage and Fennel Repeat

MM's cousin stayed with us last night and I made Fusilli with Sweet Sausage and Fennel again. It got rave reviews all around. MM even said it was better than the last time!

And on another fennel note, my dear friend Molly sent me a tube of Tom's of Maine fennel flavored toothpaste! I cannot wait to try it! Thanks again, Molly!

September 4, 2010

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Martha Stewart has done it again! These are some of the most delicious cookies I have ever tasted. Salty, crunchy, chewy, chocolaty, what more could you ask for? In some parts of the cookie, it is so light and crunchy it tastes like a meringue.

I made these for my sister and brother-in-law's Labor Day party (which is tomorrow), and I just hope MM and I don't eat them all before we make it to the Eastern Shore! You can find the recipe here, and I would recommend making them soon!

September 1, 2010

My husband is adorable

MM and I are watching last week's rerun of Top Chef and one of the cheftestants said "mise en place" and MM yelled out "onion, celery and carrot!" I started laughing and said, "no, honey, that's mirepoix, but good try." He's so cute.

Chicken Almondine Tenders


So this is one of the first Relish recipes I have made in awhile. It turned out well, although it was even better once we got the honey mustard out of the fridge to serve as a dipping sauce. My only problem with the recipe is that I ran out of the final dredging step (panko and almonds) so the recipe below has increased amounts. And of course I paired it with roasted broccoli and carrots, because we hadn't had roasted broccoli for a couple weeks and were starting to go through withdrawal.

Chicken Almondine Tenders
Adapted from Relish
Serves 2

1/3-1/2 cup flour (however much you need)
1 large egg
3/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds (chopped if pieces are big)
1/2 cup panko
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup canola oil

1. Spread flour in a shallow dish; season with salt and pepper. Lightly beat egg in a second shallow dish. Combine almonds, panko and cornstarch in a third shallow dish; season with salt and pepper.

2. Slice the chicken breasts into 1-inch strips and season with salt and pepper. One at a time, coat the chicken lightly with flour, dip in the egg and dredge in the almond mixture, pressing to adhere.

3. Heat enough oil to coat the bottom of your saute pan (you may not need all 1/4 cup, depending on the pan size) over medium heat. Cook the chicken until browned, 2-3 minutes per side. Don't crowd the pan with the chicken; you may need to cook in batches.

August 30, 2010

Curried Ground Turkey with Potatoes

  Looks good, but...

Where is the flavor??

I have to say I am pretty disappointed in this dish. It seriously needed some help. I got the recipe from Simply Recipes, which is one of those blogs that anyone interested in food blogs reads, so I had high hopes. It wasn't bad and it did taste better at lunch the next day, but just didn't have that Indian food WOW that I was expecting.

The first problem I ran into was that the turkey did not brown. I used my big Le Creuset pot which always cooks things perfectly, and I had the heat up high, so it should have browned nicely, but it didn't. It just stayed its sad almost-white color and ended up being bland and a little overcooked (which happened because I was waiting for it to brown). Then, the onions did not brown either. Again, in theory they should have. But this didn't bother me as much as the turkey because soft onions taste just fine. 

I thought things were looking up with the addition of the ginger and garlic - it smelled amazing! Then all the spices went in and it smelled even better! Perfumed the whole kitchen! (Although the turmeric has left its yellow stain on everything!) Halfway through the potatoes simmering, I took off the lid to stir and check on it and the water was all gone and the spices were sticking to the bottom of the pot! Easy fix though, I just added more water and gave the bottom a good scraping. What I should have added at this point was a handful of salt, as the finished dish desperately needed it.

I will certainly try this again, but may add chickpeas or cauliflower and will definitely make it a point to season every step of the way. I don't think salting a dish at the end has the same effect as salting at all the different levels along the way.

On the upside, the store-bought naan was great!

August 29, 2010

Dinner at Sawran's

The table

My friends, Nicole, Amy and Sawran, and I had dinner at Sawran's new apartment this past week. Nicole made a delicious artichoke, prosciutto, mozzarella, basil flatbread:

Amy brought some tasty prosecco and wine:
Sawran pouring the prosecco


Amy may have had a little bit of trouble getting the rabbit back in the box:

Sawran tried to give instruction with her wooden spoon...

But luckily Nicole stepped in to set the rabbit straight.

Sawran made us a positively gourmet meal of chimichurri salmon, lemon butter asparagus and orzo with fresh vegetables. It was light, healthy and delicious!

And for dessert I made cinnamon semifreddo with fresh berries in individual ramekins. And forgot to take a picture. (Mine looked better than Michael Chiarello's ;) )

Thanks for a fun and fabulous evening, ladies!