True to form, I’ve told you about dessert before dinner. What can I say, I was really excited about that key lime coconut cake! But the dinner definitely held up to the dessert that followed. We didn’t really have any plans for Easter dinner, but wanted something that was easy and celebrated spring. We had planned to make an asparagus and bacon quiche with a goat cheese and strawberry topped salad, but things took a turn when we got to the Whole Foods and saw that Vermont Smoke and Cure had a table set up with a bunch of different samples. We love their pepperoni but had never tried any of their other products. We both tried the ham, took one look at each other, nodded, and I picked out the smallest ham they had while Joseph returned the quiche ingredients that we no longer needed.
I hadn’t even known that ham was a classical Easter dish until about a week ago. I have no real memory of Easter dinner growing up. My Easter memories revolve entirely around the chocolate cake with green coconut grass and peeps that my mom made, and the absolute best Easter egg hunt you could imagine. Our good family friends had a cabin in the Shenandoah’s and we would all head out there for the weekend. After a hearty scrambled egg breakfast, we would venture out into the woods where the “Easter Bunny” (aka our fathers) had hidden eggs. As the youngest, Stanley and I would get a head start before our older sisters raced past us and got all the eggs in the higher branches.
The eggs were a mixture of hard boiled eggs that we had dyed the day before and plastic and metal (yeah, really old school) eggs filled with candy. After we scoured the woods for eggs, we would sit on the floor, decide who had won the biggest loot prize, and commence trading of candy for our favorites. Every year there was a “winner” of the special egg: a plastic egg with a carrot or piece of broccoli in it to the great delight of our mothers. We were considerably less amused. Continue reading
Have you ever gone to dinner at someone’s house and before they serve you the food they say, “Uh, I hope you like garlic,” with just the slightest touch of hesitation? Like garlic? Are you kidding? I can’t get enough!
Now, to be fair, I have on occasion turned down an everything bagel because I was afraid of starting the day off with garlic breath, but by lunch, it’s all over. You might just want to sit on the other side of the conference room if I have a meeting with you in the afternoon.
And of course there’s garlic and then there’s roasted garlic. Don’t you just love restaurants that serve roasted garlic with thick, crusty bread to smear it on. Well, if you like that, you’ll love this pasta dish. The lemon adds a nice tang to the sweet, rich flavor from the roasted tomatoes and garlic, while the beans add both protein and a nice flavor and texture, and the basil adds a nice earthy sweetness to top it all off.
I don’t know about you, but I am so incredibly ready for spring. Winter in Boston was brutal with 38 inches of snow in January alone. The snow has finally (mostly) melted and they’re talking about temps in the 50s this weekend. I’d like to say that I’ll be out enjoying the weather, but I’m not particularly mobile with my post-surgery knee. I am bound and determined to make it outside for a least a little bit, even if it’s just to the back porch.
If you ask me, the only upside to all the snow was working from home and having Joseph make me panini for lunch. My office doesn’t have a whole lot of lunch options nearby, and besides, I’m generally happier saving my money to go out for a nice dinner rather than buy a mediocre sandwich because I didn’t bring anything for lunch.
Joseph and I have a handful of recipes that we always keep readily available for the weeks when we don’t have any groceries and don’t have time to sit down and actually plan before going to the store. They’re all mostly healthy, quick, easy, and good. We’ve had this fried rice recipe in our arsenal for a while. Well, not quite this recipe. We usually make this recipe vegetarian, using tofu instead of ham, and the pineapple is a new addition. But that’s the beauty of fried rice — it’s so versatile! It’s great because the key components of it are so easy to keep stocked in your kitchen and you can modify it based on what other stuff you have in your kitchen.
Like I said, up to this point we had always made the dish vegetarian. But we had recently made a Hawaiian pizza (more on that later). We had already decided that we were going to make the fried rice and Joseph remembered we still had pineapple and then I remembered that we still had ham. It was just meant to be.
The seared duck dinner we made for Valentine’s Day was a bit more involved than usual for a weeknight for us (especially after a full day at work and then going to the gym), so I wanted to make a pretty simple dessert. The good news is that there are a ton of recipes out there for indulgent, decadent chocolate cakes that are really easy to make.
I already had plans to make something along the lines of individual chocolate desserts of some kind and then when we were on the chocolate tour at the Taza chocolate factory, I snagged a card with a recipe for molten spiced chocolate cakes. It was perfect timing.
It seems to me that almost every conversation about guacamole has at least one or two people claim that they make the best guacamole ever. I mean, the thing about guacamole is that it is always pretty darn delicious. But, not to toot my own horn or anything, I’ve had several people try my guacamole and proclaim that even though they thought they made a pretty mean guacamole, mine was even better than theirs. Ok, I know, I am tooting my own horn.
I think the thing that makes my guacamole so good is that I try it out as I go along and add more of things as I see fit. I had never, ever measured quantities until last night when I made this. But the thing is that avocados seem to have this neutralizing power. You can put a whole lot of jalapeño in there and barely get any spice. So I will often try the guacamole and decide that it needs more garlic, more cilantro, more jalapeño, and more salt. It always needs more salt than I think it will and the heat level of peppers can really vary. So I add more stuff in and then try it again. I know, it’s lot to ask to keep trying the guacamole. But it’s in your best interest in the long run, so soldier up and grab a chip (or two, or three, or four, or…).
Who doesn’t love a good sweet potato fry? I know that given the choice at a restaurant, I will never pick regular ol’ fries over sweet potatoes fries. They’re just so irresistible! They’re sweet, salty, and oh so addictive.
This recipe takes sweet potato fries to the next level. Now, I have to warn you, they are spicy. I have a relatively high tolerance for heat and these had me sweating a little bit! But sweet, salty, and spicy? These are way too good to pass up!
I was vegetarian for several years and ate enough veggie burgers to keep Gardenburger and Boca in business. Then, when I was eating poultry again, I went on a business trip to Atlanta and a coworker ordered a turkey burger. I was sort of shocked by the idea (turkey??), but since after about 10 years of nothing but veggie burgers, I was intrigued and ordered one as well. I loved it. My coworker told me about some good turkey burgers back in DC, but I kind of forgot about it by the time I got home. It wasn’t until I moved to Boston and starting ordering turkey burgers at Sunset Grill that I became completely hooked.
But with Joseph working full time on his PhD at Tufts, well, suffice it to say, we don’t eat out a whole lot. I was looking for healthy recipes and found this turkey burger recipe from the Mayo Clinic. Totally healthy! Even though Joseph was still vegetarian, he made me these turkey burgers for our first Super Bowl in Boston and several times since. Eventually he got tired of making these awesome burgers and having a veggie burger and he starting eating them too. He’s modified the recipe several times and this is the most current version. I’m sure that a month or two from now it’ll be different again. Continue reading
This is another one of those recipes that I fell in love with before I had even tried it, based solely on the ingredients. It’s got wine and lemon (two of my favorite things) and they’re accented by briny capers and artichoke hearts. The chicken gets pounded, making it extra tender and juicy. In fact, Joseph was doing such a good job pounding it that our landlady, who lives upstairs, called to make sure everything was ok.
We’ve made this chicken piccata before and I’ve always loved it, but I’ve never had as much fun making it as I did when we made it this past Sunday night. That ‘s because when our credit card cash back reward rolled in, we rolled out to Hunt’s Photo and Video and got my new love: the Canon 60mm macro.
Ok, I promised you something healthy after all those cookies and here it is. Believe me, it’s worth the wait. I found out about this recipe from my friend, Anne, who is an incredible cook. After every amazing meal that she cooks everyone oohs and aahs over her creations and she always, always responds by saying, “Oh, it’s so easy.” This is generally met with wide eyes because it’s often clear that it’s certainly not easy by most people’s standards. This soup is an exception. It is in fact very easy and it’s very delicious and it has quickly become one of our go-to recipes for when we don’t know what else to make. It’s easy, it’s healthy, the ingredients keep well for a while, and you can even make it ahead of time, which is just what we did the other night when my sister was coming into town.
It’s a good thing we did, because her flight got in an hour late and we were getting pretty hungry by the time we got home from picking her up. But luckily we had made this soup the night before and Joseph had set the bread maker earlier in the day. We came home to a house filled with the scent of fresh baked bread and all we had to do was throw the soup in a pot to heat up, slice the warm bread, and pour a nice Albariño. It is the perfect remedy to a cold Boston night! Continue reading