I have been thinking a lot about balance recently – mainly because my life is severely lacking in the balance department. With a fairly demanding work schedule, coupled with the bakery’s busy season, on top of being a new wife and learning the ins and outs of marriage, and trying to eat healthy, and trying to exercise, and working on the blog, I am pretty overwhelmed. I have not quite mastered how to make it all work. And that is pretty much the answer in and of itself – it can’t all work. I need a better balance of work and play, of marriage and me. (more…)
For those of you not familiar, let me introduce you to the fritatta. A frittata is an Italian-style omelet and, in my opinion, is much easier to make than the traditional French version. Like omelets, frittatas can be made with endless combinations of cheeses, meats, and vegetables. The ease of preparation for the frittata is two fold. First of all, a fritatta is made in a skillet, and as long as the skillet is large enough, can feed a group. (Those of you who have ever tried to serve omelets to order for a crowd know its not the easiest or most efficient way to serve brunch to a group. And I certainly don’t recommend it!) Second of all, the frittata does not need the constant attention of an omelet, and finishes baking in the oven. You get the best of both worlds with frittatas – ease of preparation and it still tastes as great as its cousin, the omelet. (more…)
I was really tired and almost to the point of suggesting take-out, but I had to pick up some prescriptions, so off to the grocery store I went (I use my in-store grocery pharmacy). While I was waiting for my prescriptions, I started to peruse the produce section. I was pretty sure I was going the bagged salad route – a 5 minute, add some grilled chicken, call it a day meal. However, a large display of portobello mushrooms caught my eye (on sale of course) and I decided I would cook. Even the most tired of people could not have turned up these beauties. I turned around and spinach was buy-one-get-one and the meal began to take shape. I grabbed a tomato and headed to the cheese section. To my luck, my a log of my favorite brand of goat cheese was about to go out of code and was therefore 50% off. (This is a good shopping tip – when produce, meat or other perishable products get close to their sell-by date, many stores will discount the item. As long as you use the food that night, there is nothing wrong and you usually get a great deal.)
So I headed home with my prescirption, portobellos, spinach, a tomato and a small log of herb goat cheese. I knew the general dish I was going for, but wanted to see if there were any special ways to jazz up a simple mushroom. I found a great marinade on epicurious.com (this should be your culinary internet go-to, after the blog of course:) and allowed the whole portobellos to sit in a great blend of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, soy, marsala wine and some herbs and spices. The original recipe called for a 4 hour marinating time, but since I was originally thinking take-out, that simply wasn’t happening. I got the mushrooms soaking as soon as I got home, but by the time dinner rolled around they couldn’t have been marinating more than a hour and they turned our great. Portobellos are easy to marinate because you can use their cap shape to your advantage. When the marinade is poured over the mushrooms, a large amount collects in their cap and is allowed to soak. Portobellos on their own are always great, but the addition of a couple of key flavors really helps to make this a WOW dish. (more…)
I first tried this dish in a small restaurant in NYC while visiting friends for the weekend. My friend Amy recommended the scrambled eggs with asparagus and feta – how could I pass that up? I was hooked. The crisp, clean asparagus is a sweet contrast to the faint tang of the feta – all enjoyed against the background of fluffy, creamy eggs. While I am not as fortunate to live in the city and order up these delectable eggs every weekend, I decided that something this simple should be easy enough to duplicate at home. Turns out – it is.
Scrambled eggs are probably one of the most traditional breakfast options. Ranging from a over-cooked rubbery mess, to heavenly fluffy melt-in-your-mouth creamy, scrambled eggs can mean several things. Once you learn a couple of simple tricks, it is easy to produce those creamy eggs every time. With a good technique for creamy eggs, the possibilities are endless to “spice them up” and turn a simple dish into a true breakfast. My first “perfect egg tip”: Don’t forget to season. After you have cracked your eggs, don’t hesitate to add a good amount of salt, pepper and even some fresh herbs. I also like to add a splash of heavy cream to my raw eggs. Whisk the eggs and the seasonings until well incorporated. (One of my biggest pet-peeves is scrambled eggs with distinct chunks of whites and yolks.) Tip 2: For those perfectly smooth eggs, don’t be afraid to give those suckers a good beating. You know your eggs are properly beaten when you lift the whisk and the eggs run off smoothly – you should not have any remaining clumps of egg white. Now to the cooking process. Tip 3: Eggs are often ruined because they are overcooked – either too long a stay on the stove or too high of a temperature. Low and slow is the way to go (more…)
Chicken Pomodoro Paninis
Ravioli with Chicken and Basil
Santa Fe Chicken Pizza
Chicken Salad with Grapes & Almonds
So we’ve talked about how to roast a chicken, now, what to do with all those leftovers? Cooking for two, I find myself with almost a full chicken left after our first meal. So as not to be wasteful (with food or money) I make sure I use up all the chicken meat before it goes bad, even if it means having chicken for dinner for the rest of the week. With a little creativity you can create 4 meals (give yourself a break and cook a steak on Wednesday) with the same cooked chicken and never get bored. Each of these recipes offer a different flavor profile, and are quick, easy recipes that are very manageable for weeknight meals. (more…)
I would have to say that this was my first “signature dish.” And it all came about with an elementary school raffle…
Years ago, my mother won a “Father’s Day Grill Basket” in a school fund-raising raffle. At the time we neither owned a grill, or had a father that was at all interested in grilling, but nonetheless, we were now the proud owners of a grill basket. A normal person would have given the basket away to a family with use for all the utensils, cook books, and funny grilling apron, but no – not my mother. Instead, she marched herself to Home Depot and bought my father a grill for Father’s day. Clearly this was the logical way to go about making sure this basket of goodies was put to good use. So Father’s day rolled around and my father was presented with not only a new grill, but a whole basket of grill paraphernalia. I have mentioned before that my mother was never all that interested in cooking but I promise you that my father was even less so. And so from that day on, the grill became my new toy that benefited not only my dad, but my entire family. (more…)
Cider Braised Pork Tenderloin
with sauteed apples and roasted potatoes
My mother in law is the inspiration for this post. Not very confident in the kitchen, she tends to stick with a simple repertoire. She is recently making an effort to try new foods and cook meals completely out of her comfort zone. She says I am her inspiration, but I attribute all the success to her willingness to try. Encouraged by her new found kitchen courage, I keep an eye out for the simple recipes I prepare to pass along. Everyone can use another quick weeknight meal to add to the rotation, right?
For weeknight meals, I really try to cook out of my pantry or at least plan my meals to limit daily trips to the grocery store (yes, I am one of those people who used to visit the market every day). Luckily I have wised up and found ways to still create fresh, flavorful meals without buying my meats and produce each day. Here’s a quick and easy fall classic…mostly made from ingredients I had on hand.
Recipe: Cider Braised Pork Tenderloin