If you’ve been following this quiet little food blog for a while (first and foremost, thank you), you’ll know I don’t cook anything out of the ordinary. My food mantra – or cooking purpose – is to cook meals at home that are fresh and quick enough to make everyday, using ingredients that are as local as can be. Even with both of us in graduate school and one of us showing up home from class on a week night at 9:30, we still make dinner from scratch. It’s an important way for us to connect after a long day, and as we near five years together, the kitchen is still where some of our most important conversations take place, all while food is cooking on the stove. Cooking at home has never been about making anything overly fancy, or pushing my culinary skills – I started this blog as a way to commit myself to learn how to cook so I would not find myself at thirty eating spaghetti every other night, or relying on a freezer full of frozen meals. But sometimes, I find a recipe that pushes my skills a little further, or I eat something at a restaurant that inspires a new way to think about cooking, or in this case, I fall in love with a beautiful pot and find myself wanting to know more about how to use that. That being a tagine. Read more
My dear friend from college, Irene Wood, makes beautiful jewelry and today (until Midnight!) is offering 40% off her pieces. You can see all of her work here at History + Industry. As a recent owner of three new necklaces, I have to say these pieces are stunning and make what sometimes feels like a boring black or gray dress feel glamorous.
It seems impossible that I haven’t posted about making a plain, simple, minimalist tomato sauce. As a child raised on jarred Classico for the average hurried dinnertime meal or a robust from-scratch bolognese on the weekend, adjusting my palate to the ripe cooked tomato striped of all fancy detractors was an adjustment.
The cookbooks I read all treated the diced tomato with onion and garlic stewed for twenty minutes as the chief recipe, but I was less convinced until I cracked the nut: meat or vodka. Don’t get me wrong – there is a time for this parred down tomato sauce, but I think it should be reserved for summer, when you have the ripest tomatoes in your hands with a bunch of basil growing in the pot outside the back door. It is a recipe for a dinner in the late summer sun when it’s hotter than hell and you want something to refresh, not comfort.
But for now, it’s snowing out side my window and Spring – let alone summer – feels far away. The key to dressing up the simple tomato sauce (using canned tomato, of course) is to add spicy Italian sausage with fusilli, or add vodka with penne and make yourself a proper wintertime pasta. I love the recipe from Slate.com, which you can get in full here. If I can get away with it, I’ll cook this recipe exactly as stated but add two cups of baby spinach, thrown in the sauce just before adding the noodles. But if Frank has his way, we begin the recipe first with a 1/4 pound of Italian sausage, before adding the onion, etc.
The Great Minnesota Get-Together (the State Fair) is right around the corner to delight our taste buds, satisfy all of our “on the stick” cravings, and keep TUMS in business. The roasted corn booth next to the giant slide is one of my favorite spots, so it’s kind of a wonder I’ve never grilled corn myself. Read more
Perhaps boiling chicken is one of those kitchen fundamentals everyone knows about and I’ve been missing out, but I’ve never heard of it. The closest understanding I have of boiling chicken is of the bones after roasting one (to make chicken stock). Well, boiled chicken is the best new thing in my kitchen. It skips the oven (fantastic during the hot summer months), kick starts a chicken broth (if the same recipe that calls for chicken calls for stock, it is very handy), and takes far less time than roasting. Read more
Alas! A wedding, our wedding, to share with you. After receiving the full gallery of images from the big day (563), I thought putting together a short video would be a nice way to share them with family, but am posting here as well for those interested. It’s fifteen minutes long. You’ve been warned. Read more
Frank and I were married on May 19th, and it was the most beautiful, fun, and memorable day of my life. I will write a long post on that soon, with pictures and video (a preview: the bride was surprised by her groom, and much sobbing and shoulder shaking ensued). The planning of said beautiful and wonderful day took up a lot of my free time, which is why you see a “Happy Holidays!” post as the most current. Oh dear. In addition to planning a wedding, I took the GRE and applied to the U of Minnesota’s Masters in Strategic Communication program, which I’m delighted to be attending in the Fall. However, I did plant my garden and received over ten new cookbooks and as I read through them now, am excited to get back to cooking new things (I think Frank has been ready for a while). Hello, I’m here, and will write about my last seven months soon with plenty of new recipes.
First, Happy Holidays! I’ve been absent from here for a while, tending to work life and life life. One of the best reasons one can have to be absent from a blog is because of a vacation, and now that I’m catching up, have a Mother Daughter vacation to share.
My Mom sprung the idea for a Napa weekend one night and three weeks later, we found ourselves in wine country. Read more
I have long been a regular practitioner of wearing Yoga clothing (Lole and Lucy, I’m looking at you), and not so good about having a regular Yoga practice. I have never been excited about fitness – I grew up chasing a soccer ball and it left an anti-fitness mark – and a few attempts at Yoga post-college left me thinking I wasn’t spiritual enough to “really engage.” Read more
I get stuck in food ruts. Sometimes it’s because I just really like one dish (Fettuccine Alfredo anyone? Or Triple Pepper Pasta?) or it’s because I think there’s only one way to make a certain kind of food. Take Stir Fry meat (which the Co-op so nicely labels). I go home with that and I make Stir Fry. Well, I’m a bit over Stir Fry. Read more
If you have not seen Downton Abbey but saw and enjoyed Gosford Park (Julian Fellowes being the common thread, as well as corsets, cravats, and English aristocracy) you have just found eight hours of entertainment you’ll be glad to give away in front of a television. Read more
You’ve gathered at this point that I do not make desserts often. If Frank ate sweets (other than Chocolate Chip Cookies, of which he can restrict himself to eating just one and have his fill), I would bake more often. There is then, only two reasons to bake: New [exciting!] recipe or house guests. Read more
This process was not easy for me. That whole “try on the kind of dress you’ve never worn before in your life and try to feel comfortable in it” just didn’t go well. It took many trips to many dress shops; some shops saw me come and go after two visits, and in one case, it took me three appointments (Amanda has the patience of a Saint) to find my wedding dress. But I did, it’s so beautiful and it’s very me.
But let’s back up a second, because that nice ending to the previous paragraph took a lot to get to. Read more