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
We need to have a little talk.
This burger? You’ll want to make it immediately. Juicy, succulent shrimp, fresh avocado, homemade tartar sauce. Ohmygoodness. I made them twice in two weeks, if that tells you anything.
But seriously. Wipe the drool off your face and get into the kitchen now. Continue reading Shrimp Burgers
I have a mild obsession with figs. I used to think I didn’t like them. Turns out that is false.
Sure, they’re a bit sweet and they look a little funny. But pair them with something salty and BAM! Match made in heaven.
Continue reading Fig and Prosciutto Grilled Cheese
Do other people out there crave sandwiches on a regular basis?
It probably has something to do with my obsession with carbs, but sometimes all I want is a big, delicious sandwich on crunchy, crusty bread.
I could pretty much live off of fresh mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes, and pesto melted together in a warm panini. Ooh, or a warm roast beef sandwich with horseradish cream sauce! Ugh, yum. Or eat chicken or turkey smothered with black olive tapenade daily.
This was one of those days. Not a black-olive-tapenade kind of day. A serious, gourmet sandwich kind of day. Sometimes a Publix sub won’t cut it (actually, that’s not true — a Publix sub will always satisfy me).
For weeks now I’ve been wanting to make a chicken caesar sandwich. I’m thrilled to report back that, once again, Ina Garten has inspired one hell of a dish. Her homemade caesar dressing takes this over top, and I for one have never been more excited about leftovers!
Continue reading Chicken Caesar Salad Sandwiches
This post is dedicated to my wonderful sisters whom I recently acquired though law (thanks, hubby!), but who have treated me like family for years. I could not be more thankful for my relationship with each of them, and for finally knowing the joys of picking on a younger sibling.
Over the last few months, Sister 2 (the one who was born second) has developed a newfound love for cooking and baking. How fortunate for her that she can turn to me with questions! Last week I received quite possibly the funniest phone call ever from her.
It was her mom’s birthday and she wanted to prepare a special dinner. When consulting with me during the previous days, I suggested that she make clams, one of her mother’s favorites. (This is only important because I don’t think she would have made clams without my strong urging.) Sister 2 was worried because the clams were still alive and moving (a good thing!) when she began to prepare dinner. I joked with her that they were staring her down and angry that their lives were about to end at her hand. To say that this unnerved her is quite the understatement.
We had a good laugh, and then she teased that I would probably go tell my friends about this.
“No, no, I’m only going to tell John.”
Sorry, sis! (P.S. I hear she did a fantastic job!)
When making a recent purchase at Fairway, I couldn’t help but think of her and smile. On the menu? Soft shell crab BLT’s. I had already mentally prepared myself to kill these delightful little creatures. When cooking something like clams, mussels, or soft shell crabs, the fresher, the better (which essentially means they need to be alive right up until they’re cooked).
Fortunately for me, the fish monger selling me the crabs offered to clean them. Since I was cooking them for dinner later that evening, I knew they’d be fine.
Cleaning a soft shell crab entails first cutting off their eyes and face. I am 100% serious. You use a pair of kitchen shears and just chop it off. Then, you have to squeeze out a liquid-filled sack behind the eyes. I found out later that this substance was a light green color (just adding to the “gross” factor). After this, the rest is easy. Peel off a few gills, throw away one or two parts that are unpleasantly chewy, and you’re good to go.
The part that was most disheartening was when the little crabs’ legs continued to flail after their faces had been chopped off. C’est la vie.
Thank you, Fairway seafood department, for taking the lives of these crabs for me!
Continue reading Soft Shell Crab BLT with Tarragon Aioli