Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fall Soup & Swine Flu

We spent most of the late summer and fall traveling. We went to Chicago, NYC, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Province Town. Out of 9 weekend, we were in our home relaxing for exactly 1! (This is probably also part of the reason why I haven't blogged as much as I would have liked.) We visited friends and family and had a fantastic time in all our jet setting.

Our last trip was to PA to visit my sister, brother-in-law and youngest nephew, Taylor. It was a great trip that included a Pearl Jam concert, a trip to the local farmers market and introducing my nephew to the spoon.

It also included picking up my first Food & Wine magazine since my subscription ended earlier in the year. It was the Thanksgiving issue, which is my all time favorite issue of any food magazine. You have to expect food magazines to go all out for Turkey Day. It is after all the holiday for which they are written. I find that if I get the November issues of Food & Wine and Real Simple each year, I can be kept cooking through most of the winter.

This year, interestingly enough, it wasn't one recipe that inspired me. It was all the great recipes with squash, sweet potato, leeks, and cauliflower that had be drooling and I didn't want to make each one, I wanted them all....NOW! So I made up my own.

I roasted cauliflower, butternut squash, carrots, parsnips and sweet potatoes in the oven for about 50 minutes. I could have eaten these as is, but instead I threw them into the food processor with some chicken broth and blended them until smooth.

I then sautéed onions, leeks and celery for 5 minutes before adding the pureed winter vegetables and a box and a half of chicken stock. I added about 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger, some nutmeg and let this simmer for 20 minutes. I topped it with some fresh parsley and roasted pumpkin seeds.

The result was a fantastic winter soup that was hearty and earthy. It carried Jared and I though the following week where we were both home from work for 4 days with the swine flu. I would recommend staying away from the flu and making some version of this soup!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Labor Day & Lobster

For the third year in a row, Jared and I celebrated our anniversary in NH with lobster. We were a couple weeks late this year (Labor Day) and accompanied by friends, but it made the occasion all that much more special.

I can't tell you what else we ate, but I know it was fabulous because we were there with Jillian, Ari, Ben and Hana, four of my favorite foodies. As a result, I also can't share any recipes with you. However, I can share this wonderful photo which makes me happy every time I see it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Inspiration in the Bottom of a Pumpkin!

Jared and I were home the weekend before Halloween and had a rare Saturday night at home. We made what I am sure was a fantastic dinner although I can't remember what we had, and carved us some pumpkins. Amid the messy gore that resulted we decided to roast our own pumpkin seeds. Photos happened and all of a sudden I was inspired to start blogging about food again.

It's not that I haven't been cooking in the 5 months that I last posted. I have cooked dinners for friends and brunches for family that were 100% blog worthy! I have even taken photos of some. It's just that on the evenings when I could have been writing about my adventures in the kitchen, I was generally curled up with my Kindle reading away. I have finally found my way out of reading what looks like more than 40 books (according to my Amazon account) and back to my blog.

I am going to boast and tell you how proud I was of our pumpkins. I did the two small ones, and Jared was responsible for the big one. I thought they were all unique and beautiful, however our pumpkin seeds were the perfect combination of crunch and salt and totally out did the pumpkins from which they came.

Making the seeds was easier than I thought. If you can believe it, we actually looked it up online to check. After the slightly painful sorting of the seeds (to remove all the pulpy innards) we boiled them for 10 minutes in some super salty water. I didn't think this was how my Mom used to make them, but the interweb told us to and when has it ever been wrong before?

Once the seeds were boiled, we spread them on a cookie sheet that had been well oiled. They went into the oven at 400 degrees until they started to turn brown. You know that was a nerve wracking 20 minutes. I mean how awful to go through all the pulp sorting to burn the seeds just as you were about to be able to pig out on all their crunchy goodness!!

In any case, we saved them from a burnt ending and then salted to perfection and chowed down. My only warning (besides watching them carefully while they are in the oven) is that pumpkin seeds have more fiber than you would think....

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My Biggest Challenge Yet!

Tomorrow night I will face my biggest, toughest culinary challenge yet...

(add dramatic music here for the Food Network effect)

I will be cooking dinner for 25 of my nearest and dearest colleagues!! I am pretty excited and spent the whole day cooking. I brought in the reserves and traded brunch for help from my mom and grandma and we got it all done very quickly.

My fridge is now stuffed with,
  • 10 lbs of steak tips marinating in my homemade BBQ sauce (that's what I am holding, pre-marinade in the photo)
  • 4 lbs of chicken marinating in my homemade teriyaki sauce
  • 3 lbs of mayo-less potato salad
  • 1 super large bok choy slaw
  • my mother's special copper pennies
  • the makings of an amazing fruit salad
  • 4 kinds of blue cheese
  • 1 homemade black bean salsa
Tomorrow I will head home early, throw together the fruit salad and pick up some beer. (I don't have enough room in the fridge to keep it cold, so I am going to buy it cold and then throw it in the cooler with some ice.)

Jared will start grilling when he gets home, and the crew is supposed to be here around 7. I am sure it will be a great time and for those of you who have been reading this blog for a year (Dan, Dan, Owen, Yoav...) you better bring your appetites!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dreams Really Do Come True

Last April I wrote about a chocolate cake recipe that I was dreaming about. It looked like the perfect combination of chocolate and peanut butter with a little twist. I promised myself I would make it at some point, and then came to work at HubSpot, the land of masterful bakers, and gave up baking all together because I am not worthy.

I sent DA the chocolate peanut butter crunch cake recipe 10 months ago as soon as I learned he liked to bake. I then asked him about it once a week for 10 months, until he finally consented to make it for me.

Each month we have a HubSpot Dev Team party to celebrate all the great work we are doing. This month was on Cinco De Mayo and was going to be at JO's house. There was also going to be a bake off between the masterful bakers. As soon as I heard that I laid down the gauntlet and told DA he HAD to make the chocolate peanut butter crunch cake, and he did. Of course, I didn't get to go to the party because that morning I rushed off to Pennsylvania to see the newest addition to our family, (insert AWWW here.)

However, DA did not let me down. Not only did he take photos of his creation, he saved a piece just for me!

The cake was fantastic! It was moist and amazing but the kicker was the frosting. He deviated from the recipes there and it was totally worth it. I don't even like frosting most of the time, but I licked the container clean before I gave it back to him.


1 box Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge Mix

1 8oz package Plain Cream Cheese
1 stick Unsalted Butter
1 cup Smooth Peanut Butter
4 cups Confectioners Sugar
1 cup Cocoa Krispies

Bake the cake in two 9" rounds according to box directions. Cool the cakes for a couple of hours and use a long serrated knife to level them.

Combine the Cream Cheese, butter and peanut butter with an electric mixer, beat until light and fluffy. Sift sugar and add to frosting one cup at a time. If frosting is too thick add a little water to loosen it.

Put one cake round cut-side up on a serving dish and add about 1/3 of the frosting. Sprinkle a layer of Cocoa Krispies on top. Add second cake layer cut side down on top of frosting. Use the rest of the frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake. Fill your palm with Cocoa Krispies and gently press them onto the side one handful at a time, working your way around the cake.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Amateur Gourmet on Steaks

Like the Amateur Gourmet I cannot cook a steak to save my life. It's been an on going debacle in my kitchen, one that has me permanently scarred when it comes to cooking beef. The tough thing is that beef keeps cooking when it comes out of the oven, so it's tough to tell when it's ready vs being too early or too late.

However the Amateur Gourmet has saved the day by sharing tips from the brilliant Chris Lim over at BLT. I haven't tried this yet, but I full intend to follow these instructions the next time I am feeling adventurous.

I think the tip I am going to use the most is when Chef Lim explains how to tell when a steak is done by feel. I know you are supposed to be able to do this, but I had never heard the bit about the meaty portion of you hand at the base of your thumb. Brilliant!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Miami, Tacos and Blog Lies

JR and I spent the early part of this week in Miami, it was part birthday present, part "GET ME THE HECK OUT OF WINTER!" We flew down Saturday morning and were out by the pool sipping peach coconut pina coladas by noon!

I had never really spent any time in Miami before, but I knew the food was supposed to be great, so JR and I both did some reconnaissance before we went. By the time we got down there, we both had lists of recommended places to eat and the only restaurant on both lists was El Rancho Grande. It was of course a no-brainer, we had to go there to eat!

We started with the margaritas, which I heartily approved of, and then shared their guacamole and salsa with chips. I was thrilled because their salsa actually had a little zing to it, which I find to be rare in most restaurants.

I always order fajitas at Mexican restaurants, I love them and it's fun to compare. These were without a doubt some of the best. It wasn't anything fancy, but the seasoning of the chicken, steak, pepper and onions was awesome.

JR got the El Rancho Grande Taco Special which was a chicken taco, a beef taco and a pork taco. The soft taco shells were fresh and again the flavors were rocking. It was the perfect dinner before the NCAA mens basketball finals and we were both thrilled with the recommendations.

On the other end of the spectrum, we went to Wish at The Hotel. Their outdoor patio dining room was beautiful (the photos really don't do it justice.) I didn't do photos of the food, I forgot because I was too busy eating it. I ordered their heirloom tomato salad which blew me away because the tomatoes were August-delicious and it's only April!! I would pay tons of money for tomatoes like that this time of year!

For my meal I had the branzino, which was done perfectly on a bed of Israeli couscous with currants, onions and olives. JR had a scallops which were big, plump and tender. JR asked the host to take a photo of us, and then proceeded to tell him I was a "famous" food blogger and would write a rave review of the place. For that we got to go to their roof top bar (which was closed for the evening) and watch South Beach pass us by from above. It was so spectacular I might have JR lie about my blogging status more often!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter + Passover = Eastover

This weekend is not only my birthday but it's also Easter AND Passover! JR and I spent Friday night out celebrating my birthday at Match (and had a wonderful time) and celebrated Easter and Passover together on Saturday with both our families. The weekend has been a wonderful, glutenous affair filled with friends and family, what more could a girl ask for?

For my birthday, my parents sent me 3 fancy blue cheeses from the Rogue Creamery in Oregon. They are really quite spectacular. My favorite is the Crater Lake Blue which is one of the sharpest and smoothest blue cheeses I have ever had. Their most famous blue, the Rogue River Blue has won all kinds of awards and also has a very distinctive flavor. JR's favorite was the Smokey Blue which is a smoked blue cheese that I can imagine will be amazing on burgers.

I spent Saturday making a Turkey and Eggplant Passover Lasagna. If you aren't familiar with Passover, it's the Jewish celebration of their exodus from Egypt (you know the story, it's the one about the 10 plagues and Moses parting the waters). During the week of Passover, you are only supposed to eat unleavened bread, which means matzo, a large flat cracker. This recipe is a fantastic Passover option, using egg soaked matzo instead of noodles and a delicious turkey, eggplant, mushroom, carrot, tomato and cinnamon filling. I changed up the recipe slightly, and my version is below.

My mother-in-law made lots of traditional Passover items including homemade Matzo ball soup and potato kugles. My favorite, and which I must learn how to make is her beef brisket. It's melt in your mouth tender and deliciously flavored. I managed to take a tupperware full of it home and today we made brisket and blue cheese sandwiches that were so good I cried over my last bite.

It was a delicious weekend and I think I need to run an extra mile every day this week!

Turkey and Eggplant Passover Lasagna


  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup Olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 1 pounds fresh mushrooms (button, cremini, or shiitake), sliced
  • 1 bag julienne carrots
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 large eggplants, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 3 cloves garolic, minced
  • 10 thick, unbroken matzo crackers
  • 2 liquid egg cartons
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 1/8 cup honey
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large frying pan, brown ground turkey, approximately 10 minutes. Once brown, drain, then sprinkle 1 tablespoons of cinnamon onto mixture, and set aside.
  3. In another large frying pan, heat 1/8 cup olive oil and saute diced onions until browned. Add sliced mushrooms and carrots to onion mixture, and saute together with seasoning, pinch of salt and pepper, until cooked. Place cooked mixture in large bowl and set aside.
  4. Using the same frying pan (do not wash), add remaining 1/8 cup oil and saute with pinches of salt and pepper, diced eggplant and garlic, until soft. Add these ingredients to onions, mushrooms and carrots in the mixing bowl. Add minced parsley, salt, freshly ground pepper, and remaining 1 tablespoons of cinnamon.
  5. Add 1 can of tomato sauce to vegetable mixture. Combine browned turkey with vegetable mixture; adjust seasonings. Add 1/8-cup honey to taste, and set aside.
  6. Use 2 aluminum roasting pans, 1 for matzo-soaking process, and 1 for egg dipping process.
  7. Fill 1 large aluminum roasting pan halfway with almost boiling water. Add matzos, 1 at a time to this "bath" and soak until wet through, not falling apart, but pliable (10-20 seconds). Remove and lay on paper towels. Place more towels on top of matzos to soak up excess water, if necessary.
  8. Fill second large aluminum roasting pan with about 3 cartons of liquid eggs. (You will dip the softened matzos into egg mixture, 1 at a time as you layer.)
  9. Grease 1 (9-1/2 by 13 inch) glass baking dishes lightly with olive oil. Open remaining cans of tomato sauce, pour into mixing bowl, and set aside.
  10. Start layering in Pyrex baking dish. First with a thin amount of tomato sauce on bottom, then with 2 to 2 1/2 egg dipped matzos (these are used similarly to lasagna noodles), then with filling mixture, then several dollops of tomato sauce, continuing to repeat process until the baking dish uses 6 to 8 matzos. Finish with a layer of matzos brushed lightly with tomato sauce. (Note: the baking dish should have 3 matzo layers total.)
  11. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes, until top is firm and golden.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

World's Best Homemade Pizza

I am many things, one thing I am not, is modest about my pizza. I am a firm believer in Boboli pizza shells. As a result, you might claim that my pizza is not really homemade. In response, I ask you who really wants to eat soggy pizza? Most of the time when I make or eat pizza made with dough from scratch and NOT cooked in a pizza oven, that is exactly how it turns out... SOGGY. Since I am making after-work-dinner, I need something that is quick and delicious. So I use Boboli Thin Crust Pizza shells which means every time my pizza is crunchy and fantastic

Ok, enough advertising (and I didn't even get paid for it!) The pizza shell isn't all that makes my pizza amazing, in fact it's so amazing I didn't even get a photo of it before I cut it OR before I took a bite.

When I made pizza the two most important factors are a crunchy crust (which I believe I have already covered) and LOTS of toppings.

This story isn't really about the pizza or the shell, it's about mother daughter cooking from a distance. A couple of weeks ago I was dreaming about a pesto chicken pizza and as I walked home from work I was talking with my Mom on the phone and I told her what I was thinking. Her response was, "Wow, that sounds amazing, I am going to make that for dinner too!"

What's cool is that I am a avid cook because my Mom is a great cook. She reinvented her cooking to be more healthy when I was around 10 and at the same time made herself an AMAZING chef. I didn't complain before when we were eating sloppy joes and homemade mac & cheese (who would?) As an adult, I appreciate all the effort that she put into cooking healthy, which probably has a lot to do with how healthy JR and I eat. Having lots of healthy pizza toppings is just part of this.

So any way, back to the pizza, it was really quite simple. First I took a Boboli pizza shell and spread it with pesto. Then I took some chicken and I grilled it up in a black pepper marinade from McCormick. This is a total family secret, and since I am letting it loose, go buy this stuff right now.

I sliced the chicken nice and thin and put it on the pizza with a topping of sun dried tomatoes.

Then I sauteed some red and green peppers and sweet onions which I season liberally with red pepper (did I mention I like my spice?) I threw a heaping bunch of peppers and onions on the pizza and covered it with LOTS of mozzarella.

The second secret of the night is to place the pizza directly on the oven rake before baking it according to the Boboli instructions on the pack. This will insure it's crunchy-ness. The pizza was great and we really enjoyed it.

The cool thing is my Mom totally spun the recipe on her own and then sent me photos! She used broccoli instead of the red peppers and feta cheese instead of the mozzarella. Knowing her track record, I am sure it was also an amazing pizza!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Orgasms

My work place is a place of unending surprises and devilish temptations. I have already told you about the kitchen with the amazing never end supply of diet-breaking-goodies. On top of that I have some freaking amazing bakers who bring me goodies from their kitchen a couple times a week, and I am powerless to stop myself from eating it ALL.

I mentioned AE and her amazing cookies to blow your mind last week. What I didn't tell you was that her baking streak continued to Dulce De Leche stuffed cookies and then on to my favorite, chocolate cherry cheesecake stuffed cookies. This did nothing but add a full 5lbs to my bottom and convince my friend and co-worker DA that he needed to get in on the action and start baking as well.

DA is no amateur when it comes to the baking game. I have almost blogged about him on 2 separate occasions, neither time stopping because his chocolate chocolate chip cookies and 7 layer bars were not worthy, but instead because I am a lazy food blogger. This week changed everything when he pulled me out of my blogging stump with his Chocolate Peanut Butter Orgasms (my name for these delightful I-need-to-get-back-in-a-bikini-diet-breakers not his.)

They were the perfect combination of chocolate and peanut butter, and he did something to the peanut butter to make it sweet and a little crumbly like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. In all honesty, these cookies were like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups on CRACK! This is really saying something, since I am not a huge peanut butter fan (I know it's almost sacrilege) and even I thought these were amazing.

He was willing to share the recipe and it's below. I haven't tried to make it myself, but it was too good to pass up or pass along. Make these (JL&JL, go make them NOW seriously!) and then sit at home all weekend and eat them by yourself!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Orgasms

Ingredients Chocolate Cookies:
2 1/4 cups Flour
1/2 cup Melted Butter
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
3/4 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder

Cream together the butter and sugars. Mix in Eggs, Salt and Vanilla. Sift together Flour, Baking Powder and Cocoa Powder. Mix dry into wet about 1/4 at a time. Refrigerate for an hour.

Peanut Butter Filling:
1 cup Smooth Peanut Butter
1 cup Confectioners Sugar

Mix together Peanut Butter and Sugar. Refrigerate for an hour.

Stuff cookies using the cookie stuffing method:

Bake at 379 degrees for 9 - 11 minutes.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

This is Why You Are Fat

My friend on Twitter, @gracekboyle just sent me this link and I have to tell you it might be one of the best sites I have ever seen.

This is Why You Are Fat . com

That's right, it's a site of photos and descriptions of food that explain why we are fat. Believe me, every item is outrageous, awesome and slightly disgusting. These examples are pretty much the Mac Daddy of the Bacon Explosion.

The best part is everyone can submit their own for inclusion on the site. I might have to come up with something JUST to get on this site.

Here is one example for the road.

Taco Town Taco

Saturday Night Live-inspired: crunchy beef taco with nacho cheese, lettuce, tomato and southwestern sauce wrapped in a soft flour tortilla with a layer of refried beans in between, then wrapped in a corn tortilla with a layer of Monterey Jack cheese in a deep fried gordita shell with guacamole sauce baked in a corn husk topped with pico de gallo, wrapped in a crepe, filled with egg, griere cheese, sausage and portobello mushrooms, all wrapped in a chicago-style deep dish pizza wrapped in a blueberry pancake and finally deep fried with spicy vegetarian chili dipping sauce.

(submitted by Drew via hulu)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cookies to Blow Your Mind!

My friend AE brought some of the most delicious cookies to work today. I want to say they are some of the most unique, but I would be lying as a couple of weeks ago she brought in candied bacon chocolate chip cookies, but these are pretty darn unique too. In any case if you need a cookie recipe to blow minds, this is the one for you!

I wish I had my own photo of these puppies, but the 70 cookies she brought in were gone before I could whip out my camera! They are Salted Carmel Chocolate Cookies. Her inspiration (and the photo) came from this recipe.

She improved it by using vanilla bean paste instead of extract and rolling the cookies in a sugar sea salt combination. The results were SPECTACULAR!

They were the perfect combination of chocolate, salty and caramel-gooeyness. I held myself back and only ate one, but I could have easily downed a dozen!

AE's Salted Carmel Chocolate Cookies

1 cup butter,softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons sugar mixed with 2 tablespoons sea salt
48 ROLO candies

Beat butter until creamy. Gradually beat in white sugar and brown sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla bean paste. Combine flour, baking soda and cocoa. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating well. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Work with one part at a time, leaving the remainder in the refrigerator until needed. Divide each part into 12 pieces. Press each piece
of dough around a chocolate covered caramel (such as a rolo). Roll into a ball. Dip the tops gently into the granulated sugar and salt mixture. Place sugar/salt side up, 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets.

Bake for 8 minutes in the preheated oven, rotating pan halfway at 4 minutes. When you taken them from the oven smoosh down the rolo with the back of a spoon and let cool for 4 minutes on the baking sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely. If you try to take them off sooner the caramel might try to come out the bottom

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Most Photographed Recipe

Have you ever cooked something and thought it was so beautiful that you had to take a photo? Maybe I am weird, but I photographed "pretty" meals long before I started blogging, and as my last post showed, even when I am not blogging I still take the photos!

There is one meal which I make on a semi-regular basis and pretty much EVERY TIME I make it, I photograph it, and I have NEVER written about it. I went through my photos the other day to see how many I could find, and this is really just a quick sampling.

The photos go back to 2006, which means I have 3 years of photos of this one meal. The meal hasn't changed all that much. Sometimes I don't have sun-dried tomatoes, or I add green beans instead of snow peas, but the beauty of this meal is it's versatility.

I always have a can of Pillsbury reduced fat crescent rolls in the fridge and some egg beaters in the freezer. So long as there are some vegetables and cheese in the fridge I can pull a Tomato Broccoli Crescent Pie together in 15 minutes. Sometimes it doesn't have tomatoes OR broccoli in it, but the idea is the same and it's always delicious.

Tomato Broccoli Crescent Pie

It's really hard to mess this recipe up. So play with it and see what comes out. It pretty much always looks beautiful and is absolutely always delicious!


  • 4 cups diced vegetables (coarsely chopped broccoli, onions, mushrooms, peppers, green beans, snow peas, asparagus, etc.)
  • 1/3 cup julienne sun-dried tomatoes in oil (if you can't find those in oil, you can use the dried ones, just make sure you soak them in HOT water for 30 minutes first)
  • black pepper
  • garlic
  • 1T basil
  • 1T oregano
  • 3/4 - 1 cup egg beaters (you can use real eggs if you like, it's roughly 3-4 eggs)
  • 1-2 cups grated cheese (mozzarella, sharp, muenster, Parmesan, mix it up)
  • 1 8oz. can refrigerator crescent rolls

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Open crescent rolls, unroll and press into pie plate to create crust.
  • Chop vegetables and stir-fry for about 3 minutes in olive oil over high heat, just to soften.
  • Add sun-dried tomatoes and spices to veggies. Remove from heat.
  • In a separate bowl, mix egg beaters and cheese together. Add vegetables ad stir together. The mixture should be gooey and cheesy but not too runny. You really can't mess this one up, so just go with your gut.
  • Pour into the pie crust and then throw in the oven. It generally bakes for 30-40 minutes, depending on how thick it is. Just pay attention to it and take it out when it's firm in the middle.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes. This might be why I have so many photos of this recipes, it's something to do during the 10 minute wait (which honestly is generally more like 2 minutes in my house.)

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Delicious Month

I was going to tell you all about my last week of cooking. I made a couple incredible meals and knew I would never post about each, so I was going to pull them together. Then I realized I have really had an amazing MONTH of eating and even though I haven't been writing, I have been taking photos.

January in Boston is COLD! So I made soups! I have 6 or 7 amazing recipes that are staples in our house, but I was getting tired of the same-old-same-old, so I went on a hunt for a couple new recipes. In one week I made both an awesome Squash and Chickpea Moroccan Stew,

and an okay Georgia Peanut Soup. I say okay because I was so excited about this recipe and in the end it was just vegetable soup with peanuts in it, nothing too different or crazy, but still tasty. The Squash and Chickpea Moroccan Stew will be added to the collection since it had a different flavor and got better each day.

We then spent an evening over at my friend C. Superfine's place enjoying her world famous lasagna.

Not only is her last name fantastic (yes, it is really Superfine!) her lasagna is as well! She uses Paula Deen's recipe which has 7 kinds of cheese in it including a block of cream cheese. It's as creamy and amazing as it sounds! I had been hearing about it for months and was thrilled to give it a shot. Her's was so good, I might make some alterations to my lasagna recipe.

I then spiced things up with a new squash recipe from a new foodie blogger that I have been enjoying. The Traveler's Lunchbox has a great assortment of recipes and she blogs about as often as I do, so I don't feel guilty when I don't write more. This recipe was great and unique, but I got a little over zealous with the red pepper and it was almost too much. It got better with time and I enjoyed it all week.

I made the squash with a roasted turkey breast, which allowed me to introduce JR to a childhood favorite of mine, Turkey Tetrazzini. I haven't had Turkey Tetrazzini in YEARS! Probably because I have been afraid to make a turkey up until now, but it was totally, 100% worth it.

The recipe is below and next time you make a turkey, make a big one and use some of the leftovers for this, I promise you will enjoy. Two secrets you should know about, first you can get 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup which makes this a lot less awful for you. Second, if you have access to homemade fresh pasta, like the stuff you can get at Dave's Fresh Pasta, I highly recommend using it. JR and I found over the leftovers all week!

We ended the month spending another night with C. Superfine and my good friend JS. The four of us went to Red Bones a Davis Square staple that JR and I have been hearing about from everyone and their mother since we moved here. The four of us ordered the dinner for 4 and ended up with enough food for 10 of us. It was amazing and I plan to go back as soon as possible for their pulled pork and coleslaw.

It was a fun, delicious month and it's a wonder I didn't gain 15 pounds! I would do it again in a heart beat. Let's hope the next month is as tasty!

Turkey Tetrazzini

1/2 package (8 oz. size) pasta (or 1lb fresh pasta any flavor)
1 package frozen peas
2 cups cooked turkey
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese

1 can cream-of-mushroom or chicken soup, undiluted
1 cup turkey or chicken stock
1 cup sharp grated cheese

1. Cook pasta according to instructions, a minute or two before it is done, add the frozen peas to the boiling water. Once cooked, drain and keep hot.
2. In sauce pan, combine soup, stock and sharp cheese mixing well. Bring to a boil, stirring often, and then remove from heat.
3. Toss pasta and peas with the turkey, almonds and half the sauce. Turn mixture into a shallow, 2 quart baking dish. Pour the rest of the sauce over the pasta in the dish and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and paprika.
4. Broil for 4 minutes or until Tetrazzini is brown and bubbly.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Homemade Pasta in Boston!

I lived in New York for 4 years and during that time I became a bonafide New York food snob. While I might not have written it explicitly, when I moved to Boston there was part of me thinking, “Oh my god, I am never again going to be able to eat in a decent restaurant or have fresh foods again!” You would have thought I was moving to a remote village in South America! Instead, I am happy to report that Boston has stood up again it’s big sister to the south west remarkably well.

While we do eat at home more here in Boston, it’s not for lack of great restaurants. I have been blown away by some such as O Ya and L’Espalier (a dinner I sadly regret never having written about). More recently I fell in love with Drink, down by the water front, for their amazing service and even more amazing cocktails. With that said, when leaving each of these places, in the back of my mind I thought, “In Boston, really? Who knew!”

What has really been amazing to learn is that I can get out of this world ingredients here in Boston that the New York food snob in me would have assumed were only in New York. In fact there are things I couldn’t get easily in New York which haven’t been a problem here at all. For example, sulfite free wine (the only kind I can drink) was impossible to find in New York and seems to be everywhere here in Boston!

The most recent amazement from this great city has been Dave’s Fresh Pasta. It’s a small specialty grocery on my walk from the T to our new home with some of the most amazing foods. Honestly, it blows Whole Foods out of the water with its cheeses, pastas, sandwiches and sauces, and while I am sure similar stores can be found in New York, I never lived next to one!

Some days I stop on the way home to pick up a pound of fresh rosemary pasta and have them cut it to linguine or angle hair depending on my mood. (Yes, they keep it in sheets and cut it to a size of your choosing while you watch!) Other nights, I’ll just grab a stinky blue cheese or a loaf of fresh foccacia. Yesterday, I picked up their Sun-dried tomato pesto, turkey, arugula and caramelized onion sandwich for dinner and a bottle of wine. It was amazing!

Every time I stop in I find something new and amazing. When I was talking to the sandwich man yesterday he told me they are expanding and taking over the two stores next door. Instead of adding seating, they are going to add more amazing groceries and foods (possibly even fresh fish!) I couldn’t be more excited and I didn't have anything close to Dave's in New York.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Why can't I blog?

I am not sure why I haven’t been able to write a decent blog post recently. It’s not that I haven’t been cooking and eating and enjoying it more than I should. It’s more than when I sit down at my computer I come up with 12 other things to do! I have photos, I have recipes, I want to share and yet I still don't. Until today!

This morning I was finally, for the first time in almost 2 months, inspired. It’s really only because it would be a shame to keep this to myself. I have no idea what to call it, because I didn’t create it. I had it for the first time at Dizzy’s more than a year ago. The first time I tasted it, it was on their specials menu and I gushed to the waitress and extracted a promise that they would serve it the following weekend.

So the following weekend I went back, and sure enough, there it was again and I was in heaven. It’s so simple and yet, so amazing. Basically they took some fresh focaccia bread and cubed it. They then tossed it with a drizzle of olive oil, basil, fresh grated Parmesan and fresh ground pepper. They then poached two eggs and threw them on top. See, I told you it was simple, and yet the yolk blends with the bread, the cheese adds just enough salt and the basil just gives it the wow factor. I think I ate it 3 or 4 weekends in a row.

Then we moved, and I haven’t had it since!

So this morning I realized I had made some fresh par baked bread last night and had enough left to try and pull this off. I was worried about the eggs, which is probably what has kept me from trying this for over a year, but decided to be a woman and grow up! I went to a post on Smitten Kitchen on how to poach and egg and read up. It was so much easier than expected.

When I pulled it all together, it was so beautiful I had to stop for a photo and it was there I knew I was going to write another blog post.

Go try this one, I promise, it’s well worth it. If you decide to loose faith in me as a blogger, that's fine because not only did I skip Thanksgiving AND Christmas, I forgot my 1 year anniversary of blogging. What's not fine is not treating yourself to this as soon as you can. This morning, I didn’t even share one single bite with JR and I think I am going to make it again tomorrow, just for me!