Thursday, July 7, 2011

Easy, sassy weeknight dinner.

I feel like a fabulous French woman! I can make easy, elegant meals on a Tuesday just like any Claudette or Yvette. See?

Roasted rack of lamb. Want the recipe? Lamb, salt, pepper. 500F for 10 minutes. 400F for 20. Rest 5-10. Eat. Best lamb ever!

Provencal tomatoes via Ina Garten channeling Julia.

Yum yum yum yum yum yum yum.



Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A treat in the mail!

Last week, I got a fabulous email alerting me that Kate Spade was having a major sale. 
And on top of the sale, was a coupon code.
and on top  of that, was that I already wanted these.
Really, really bad.

But what I didn't know, was that it would be so much fun to open a package from Kate Spade!

Welcome home, little box!
 First there was the adorable gold stripe paper and pretty purple box.

 ...and inside the little white felt pouch were my new earrings!
Sparkly and fun for the summer.

And then Kate included one last little surprise:

such a fun packaging idea!
I thought this was so much fun! 
Usually when you order something online, it comes in a plastic bag. 
 And some balled up brown paper. 
This made it seem like something really special, a little pop of luxury on a boring Wednesday. 

Thanks, Kate!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"If you're looking for something awesome...

...look no further," is what my husband told me to name this post. Introducing a series of recipes from Cooking Light's awesome new iPad app. The app has a ton of great features, like being able to plan entire menus and seeing how your sides can impact, for example, your sodium intake for the day with colored dots; red means you may want to scale back the sodium or saturated fat, green means you're good to go!

Tonight's meal was Quick Meatloaf with Rosemary-Shallott Mashed Sweet Potatoes and steamed broccoli. I had low expectations on the meatloaf. I like the one my mom taught me to make, which has sausage in it and mozzarella cheese, and bakes for an hour. This meatloaf takes about 35 minutes and it was to-die-for.

Or, as my husband puts it, "Awesome with a million exclamation points!"
He should really be a food critic!

And just because you're cooking light, doesn't mean you can forget about dessert!

Oh, hello there. Who are you?

It's your old friend, apple crisp!

And cool whip. (Say "cool." Now say "whip." "Cool whip!" Love Family Guy.)

Mmmmm. With a million exclamation points.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Grilled Pizza

So lately, I've been obsessed with homemade pizza. It's incredibly easy and delicious. It's a great way to use up odds and ends of vegetables and cheese. That sounds really pragmatic, but I can assure you there's nothing pragmatic about the way homemade pizza tastes! It's smoky and crispy and the closest to one of those wood-burning ovens that famous people have installed in their gardens that you're going to get.

It's also incredibly easy. Like Kraft Mac N Cheese easy. Maybe easier. There are a few things that take it to eleven, though:

Pioneer Woman's Pizza Dough: this is so good. Very easy recipe and really does get better (as she says) if left to rise and hang out in the fridge. I usually replace about a cup of the flour with whole wheat flour. Makes it a little nutty. Like me.

Emile Henry Pizza Stone: you can use this in a grill or the oven, and it really makes a difference. You heat it up with the oven so. It instantly crisps the pizza and cooks the dough from underneath. I always use semolina flour or cornmeal to dust it with - not flour. Flour seems to get gummy and the pizza seems to stick.

Then all you need is a little cheese and some veggies and 8-10 minutes later you have a quick, easy lunch that's way better than delivery. Or diggiorno.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Tuna and Ginger Burgers (Gwyneth Paltrow)

Confession: I bought Gwyneth Paltrow's Cookbook.
Second Confession: I LOVE IT.

I am not going to sit here and tell you how much I either love or hate Paltrow, because, honestly, it's neither. I bought the cookbook because I got the chance to thumb through it at a friend's house and I did so without any judgement or preconceptions. I forgot instantly that it was written by an Oscar winning actress and blogger and mom and rock star wife. I also don't mean that I like the book in spite of her - that's not true either.

I just think it's a great book. It's not built around some kitsch idea like "cook for a day, eat for a month" or "17.43 minute meals!" It's clearly a labor of love, beautifully presented by someone who knows and loves food. It's a lifetime of favorite recipes painstaking curated from family vacations, parties, friends, relatives, holiday traditions and Cape Cod clam shacks.

People mock the book saying she is a name dropper or an elitist snob, but I think, were any of us to sit down and write our book - our collection of recipes from the people and places that have left their indelible wine stains and tomato sauce splatters on us- it might not look much different.

Sure, Paltrow talks about Jamie Oliver giving her a cooking lesson, or having dinner with the Spielbergs and Stella McCartney, or relishes the memory of some exquisite meal in Umbria. But if I replace those examples with the time my grandfather taught me to make coq au vin or the most perfect fish with melt away shoe string potatoes that I will never forget from that teeny restaurant in Normandy, France, I know she is not intending to be ridiculous and showy.

She just loves food. And food people remember everything. We cant help it. Because food isn't really about food. It is about people, laughter, wine, travel, love, family, and comfort. But mostly love.

And, P.S. those tuna burgers? The ones you see right there on a bed of peppery arugula, caramelized shallots and soy-sesame mayonnaise on a toasted wheat bun? Yeah, they knocked my socks off.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Meet my new best friend!

My husband had to buy tools this weekend which I tagged along for under the condition that he then accompany me to the grocery store. Which he did almost willingly! Anyway, bad planning on his part because while he debated over a $18 ball pein hammer purchase, I found this:

Come to my house, please!
This little baby is the Kenmore Elite 21 cu. ft. French-Door Counter-Depth Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator. Phew! That's a mouth-full. The reason this is so thrilling to me, is that my kitchen is a square, and my old fridge stuck out into six precious inches of space. It was also a side-by-side, which means I could fit nothing of any size in the freezer, and I could only see the first six precious inches of shelf space when I opened the fridge. This mean that I threw away four containers of sour cream today and found out that I'm the proud owner of three pounds of unsalted butter (I knew I had already bought some!).

Anyway, we got it 20% off, additional 10% off that and then an additional 5% for opening a Sears card. I know, I know. I hate store cards too. But it was worth it for what we saved on this baby.

Anyway, I absolutely adore my new fridge. All of my food fit into it perfectly with room to spare - especially after I threw away a small fortune in dead herbs and dairy products that I found in the back of the old one.

Speaking of my old one: don't worry, I didn't have it hauled away to the dump, or put it on Craigslist. It will be enjoying a second life at my house, thanks to my husband's ingenuity.

It will soon be: A Kegerator! I hope it looks like this one:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Seared Tuna with Arugula and Fettucini

I really love Bon Appetit, and have bought both of their large cookbook collections, The Bon Appetit Cookbook and Bon Appetit: Fast Easy Fresh. The Cookbook is more of an anthology of all their best recipes. FEF is a collection of their "Fast, Easy, Fresh" column that appears in every issue of their magazine.

I chose this recipe for Seared Tuna over Fettucini with Green Olives and Arugula because I wanted something really fresh and a bit strong tasting. That sounds weird, but after eating out a lot, I crave food that really tastes like what it is - simply and cleanly. This dish is just that.

I chose to use whole wheat pasta because I truly do love the flavor - rich and a little earthy. The tuna is simply seared with a little lemon zest, salt and pepper. All you have to do is boil the pasta, stir in the bruschetta spread and a little lemon juice and cooking water to smooth out the sauce.

My only tweak with the recipe was to not add additional oil. I cooked the tuna misted with an olive oil spray and a dry cast iron skillet. I made my own bruschetta spread since I couldn't find it in the store. I'm glad I did, because I will be mixing it up all the time. I just used a mix of pitted green olives, sundried tomatoes, capers, lemon juice and oil. The sundried tomatoes came in oil, and I felt that was enough for both the oil in the tapenade, and for the pasta.

Toss the arugula in at the end, plate the pasta and voila! It was delicious and was super satisfying.