I’m calling this a bolognese, but I’m not sure it qualifies. There’s no mirepoix (classic combo of onion, carrots, and celery), and I won’t pretend to know whether I left out any other star ingredients. It is, however, a meat-based sauce, and was cooked low and slow until delicious and bubbly on the stove.
Continue reading Bolognese
I recently read an article stating that the amount of time people spend cooking at home is decreasing. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of home cooks who still make everything from scratch, but for the most part people are turning to slow cookers or semi-homemade options to lessen both cooking times and effort needed to produce meals. I fall victim to the latter most often when making salads.
Normally I think of salads as a “quick fix” meal option. They’re our go-to when we don’t actually want to cook, but need to use up leftovers. On a good night, I can have a simple salad prepped and ready to be dressed in 10 minutes. While the results are generally fine, I need to break myself of the mentality that salads (a) aren’t filling, and (b) can’t be the star of the show.
This recipe can stand on it’s own. You could serve this as an appetizer, but it’s hearty enough — and completely satisfying — as the main attraction.
Continue reading Harvest Cobb Salad
Whether you’ve actually tried it or not, you probably already have an opinion about chicken liver. People generally fall into one of two categories: they love it, or… they won’t touch it with a ten foot pole. I’m here to tell you that (a) liver isn’t scary, and (b) it can be damn tasty. Especially when mixed with bourbon!
I was recently pouring over a restaurant menu in preparation for a meal out with a girlfriend. One item caught my eye: a charcuterie platter. Wild boar sopressata, venison pâté, duck prosciutto, and chicken liver mousse. Oh my god, yum. Unfortunately, a lot of cold cuts are off limits while pregnant. Liver, however, is fair game.
Then it occurred to me: I could totally make that at home.
Once the idea was planted, all I needed was the recipe. I came across two that sounded worth the effort, and at the end of the day it was my indecisiveness which lead to our 2013 pâté taste off.
The first is a classic chicken liver mousse. Provided by the great Julia Child, this is a simple, straightforward version featuring liver, shallots, and bourbon. (She recommends cognac, but alas, we were fresh out.)
The second is an amped up pâté with bacon, apples, and fresh sage. How could that be bad?!
Alright, game time.
Continue reading Chicken Liver Pâté: Julia vs. Modern
You and I, we’re friends, right? You know me by now. It should come as no surprise that my idea of comfort food is a big, heaping bowl of pasta. What with my non-Italian roots and my family’s love for all things eggplant — never ate it growing up — and pork — living in a non-Kosher, yet still practicing Jewish home, the closest I got to pig was bacon, and that’s only because everyone eats bacon — this dish feels like home. You know, if home is something that lacks any resemblance to the actual foods you ate growing up.
The eggplant is sweet, the chorizo warm and spicy, and the mozzarella is completely necessary.
As the temperature continues to drop, this is exactly the sort of plate I want in front of me.
Continue reading Spicy Baked Pasta with Eggplant and Chorizo
Have you ever noticed that eating a piece of cake for dinner is frowned upon, yet dessert for breakfast is totally the norm? French toast, chocolate-filled pastries, doughnuts. All breakfast, yet all still dessert. Try to order chocolate cake instead of grilled salmon and veggies next time you go out for dinner with friends, and I guarantee they’ll all look at you like you’re crazy (while also secretly being jealous of your ballsy choice…). Double standards, man.
In our house there’s a pretty clear divide when we go out for breakfast. John is Mr. Sweet, always wanting rich, decadent plates that are drowning in maple syrup, and I’m Mrs. Savory, hoping to find some sort of omelette with sun-dried tomatoes and feta on the menu. So it was a little weird yesterday when I had a sudden craving for carrot cake. For breakfast.
Continue reading Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting
Remember when summer was about relaxing, hanging out at the beach, drinking frozen margaritas, and grilling non-stop? I’ve pretty much only been doing one of those things. We purchased a new grill a couple months ago and BAM! Like that, we’re grilling pros. Steaks, chicken, burgers, kebabs, seafood, any veggie under the sun. You name it, we grill it. And the best part? It all tastes pretty fabulous.
Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much ‘resting’ around these parts. Summer is busy, man! Weekends used to be about catching up on sleep or having Law & Order marathons. Now, we’ve got a crawling, cruising 10-month old who is not happy unless he’s on the move. He’s also unhappy if I walk out of his sight for more than three seconds. It’s a problem, but an adorable one that makes me feel like the center of my little man’s world. (And let’s face it, I am!)
He’s going to have to learn to share me, though. And soon. Like… by the beginning of 2014? His little brother or sister will be quite unhappy if I can’t devote an equal amount of attention to him or her.
Baby Laing Two (affectionately referred to as BLT) will be making his or her debut in six short months. Estimated due date? January 1, 2014.
Happy new year to us! Continue reading BLT
You guys, it got up to 80 degrees yesterday. I’ve been telling my hubby for weeks to put the AC units back in, and finally, finally last night he did it! This was just as much for his benefit as it was mine. It’s the only way he could get me to stop complaining.
This is a turning point for us. We’ve been grilling for the past two months or so (we were overly ambitious and debuted our grill for the first time this season as soon as it hit, what, 50?), but this is the beginning of lighter, feel-good eating. Grilled veggies, salads, things that make you feel good in the summer. While soups, stews, and chili have become fall and winter staples in our family, I’m not quite ready to give them up for the year. Solution? Cold soup!
Last spring I made a delicious vegan strawberry gazapacho. It was everything you’d hope it would be: refreshing, light, and above all else, simple. Soup in the springtime? Absolutely. (I should make this again for Ethan, I bet he’d love it!)
A few weeks ago I was flipping through channels and wound up on the Food Network. And there it was: an Italian vichyssoise. After watching maybe three minutes of the show, I made my grocery list and headed to the store to pick everything up. I’ll admit that I was a little intimidated going into this. When John was in college, I came up to visit him from Florida and remember his roommates attempting to make vichyssoise. An ambitious dish for a bunch of college kids, no? The end result was fantastic, but I recall one roommate in particular sitting over a ricer for a lengthy amount of time trying to make the world’s smoothest potato puree. It seemed far too labor intensive for me. Luckily, this recipe calls for the use of a blender (I use my handheld immersion blender when making soup — no transferring back and forth necessary!).
Continue reading Italian Vichyssoise
Hello, friends! I can’t believe I’ve been gone for so long. I keep meaning to post recipes, life updates, anything, but there’s always something that comes up. Either I get caught up with work, with Ethan, or I literally just want 10 minutes to spend with my hubby at the end of a long day. Either way, you haven’t been missing much. Case and point? Last night’s dinner was cereal eaten from a mug. I’m not sure when I got this cool, but damn, it feels good
Over the last few weeks I’ve also been gardening. I use that term loosely, as I’m not sure yet how fruitful my second annual garden will be. Last year, we were wildy successful at growing herbs, tomatoes, and zucchini. We botched up the placement of our plants, though. It was a huge mess with tomato plants growing out of control, and a handful of zucchini plants overshadowing everything else in its path (peas, peppers, these never saw the light of day). I blame the demise of last year’s garden on the fact that I was super pregnant and not willing to put the time in outdoors to tidy things up. We’ve learned from our mistakes and are trudging forward.
Our raised vegetable garden is now only housing herbs (an improvement over last year!). We decided to make a grid with gardening twine, and given my neurotic need for organization and order, I’m loving it. We’ve got the standard herbs going: basil, cilantro, rosemary, mint, thyme, sage, oregano, and chives. Summer to me screams of basil and mint. Um, hi. Please hurry up and grow.
All of our non-herbs (aka: everything else) have been moved to the raised bed along the side of our backyard. This year we’re going after a couple varieties of tomatoes (which I swear I’ll keep orderly and trimmed), spinach, arugula, peas, and eggplant. The wildcard? Brussels sprouts. I realize they’re not exactly in season. But there were some gorgeous looking plants at the nursery and we thought, what the hell, we’ll give it a shot. Worse case scenario, we try again in the fall and gorge ourselves on the little beauties then.
In the meantime, I’m still struggling to find a balance between the old “gourmet” me and the new “cook dinner after 7 pm because that’s when our child goes to bed” me. I love making things from scratch (pasta, sauces, bread, etc.), but it just doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. I mean who honestly wants to make pasta from scratch at 8 pm on a Tuesday?
So I compromise. I can still make delicious, healthy, flavorful food. I just need a little assistance from say, a bakery, to bring me a loaf of bread. I need shorter prep lists, less cooking time, and easy clean up.
Enter this chipotle shrimp sammy. Better than your average sandwich? I think so. Continue reading Chipotle Shrimp and Avocado Sandwich
Some decisions are easy.
Should I hold the door open for others? Yes. Should I take my dog for a walk when he dances at the door (puppy dance either means ‘throw my raccoon’ — a toy, not an actual animal — or ‘let me outside to pee’)? Absolutely. Go in for that second (or third) glass of wine? Obviously. Yes. Without question.
See? Easy. Continue reading Chipotle Salmon BLT
Our little man will be six months old in a week. How crazy is that?! Around four months, we began introducing baby oatmeal. We quickly realized that Ethan was not a fan of mush. Not only was he not developmentally prepared for this new addition (he kept pushing the food out with his mouth), but I think he was slightly appalled that his first introduction to food was bland, soggy oatmeal.
I backed off of solids until he was closer to five months, and then went straight for wholesome foods. Perhaps starting off with sweet potato was a bad idea (most pedis recommend beginning with savory and working your way to sweet), but man does this kid love them! After sweet potato we moved on to avocado, peas, butternut, and yellow squash. The avocado and peas were spat back out at my face — see proof below.
First bite of avocado:
I literally cried when he made this face. How could any child of mine not like avocado? (Don’t worry, we went to therapy and he’s now a guacamole eating champion. Kidding about therapy. Not kidding about guacamole.) Continue reading Baby Food