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
Does anyone else hate the smell of Yankee Candles? I’m not talking about just one scent. I abhor them all.
Continue reading Butternut Squash and Crab Soup
This was a surprising combination. In a good way. I wouldn’t generally think about pairing shrimp with rosemary, but… why not? Even though I cook with rosemary year round, it’s earthy flavor always reminds me of fall. And in case you haven’t noticed, it’s decidedly fall outside. (I’ve got friends in parts of the country , however, who are already experiencing snow. SNOW. In mid-October! Does anyone remember last year when we had our first snow storm in NYC on Halloween? Fingers crossed for a warm and dry one this year.)
When I came across this pasta on a restaurant menu last week, it intrigued me. John and I aren’t eating out as frequently these days (thanks, Ethan), but I knew I could recreate it at home. I like the challenge of trying to exceed a restaurant quality meal here in my own kitchen. Thankfully, this one was easy.
Continue reading Spaghetti with Shrimp and Rosemary-White Wine Sauce
I’ve missed you all! These past two weeks have been hectic, but I’m happy to say we’re finally settled down into our new place. Our last major piece of furniture is being delivered tomorrow morning (new couch!), and then it’s just a matter of going through our remaining boxes. It’s weird having more space than you know what to do with, but I am lov-ing it.
We’ve gone from one small bedroom to three, from one bathroom to two, we’ve added a driveway, garage, and basement, and we’ve got windows galore! I never realized how much I missed natural light until it dawned on me that we’d been living in a cave for the last few years.
I haven’t spoken to John about this yet, but… come visit! I can’t wait to host our friends and family now that we actually have space.
Oh, I almost forgot! We acquired a second refrigerator that lives in the basement. I’m sure this is one of those situations where we’ll never be able to live without a second fridge again. Right now, the freezer is stockpiled with our leftover wedding cake (of which there is still a lot). I plan on making a bunch of freezer-friendly meals before the baby comes to help us transition during those first few weeks, and I’m sure the additional space in the basement will be highly welcomed.
But I know why you’re all here. You don’t actually care about our new house (though you should – it’s pretty awesome). You want food. Ask and ye shall receive.
A winner. That’s how I would describe this curry.
Not only does it taste like the real deal, it’s effortless. Well, as effortless as making curry can be. I won’t pretend to know whether this is authentic or not (I’m guessing “not” given that the ingredient list is relatively short…), but I will say that John and I just moved from a very heavily influenced Thai neighborhood, and after all the delicious foods we’ve tried, I would still label this “Thai” and happily eat it daily.
…unless I have another pregnancy and experience a similar aversion to Asian foods. In which case, get this the heck away from me.
But seriously, this is fantastic. And? It’s the first meal I cooked in our new kitchen. Our kitchen that is easily 3x the size of our old kitchen. That means 3x the storage space, 3x the counter space, and 3x the amount of windows and natural light. I am one happy little cook!
The only thing making me sad right now? I finished the remaining leftovers for dinner this evening. Continue reading Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp
These shrimp are perfect — perfect — for those nights when you can barely move an inch but need to get dinner on the table quickly. (Monday nights are generally like this, right?)
In under 10 minutes, you’ll have these lil’ guys in the oven, bubbling away in butter, while you sit back on the couch sipping on wine or beer or whatever you fancy.
Continue reading Garlicky Baked Shrimp
Hubs and I are about to set off on a little adventure. I’ve got a day of fun (and secret!) outings planned, and then a fabulous (and secret!) dinner reservation for two. I love secrets, don’t you?
Apparently I’m hard to surprise. John says I’m “always expecting” something. That’s probably true… My current expectations involve a large house in Greenwich, CT or Westchester and a sense of understanding when I tell John I need more clothes. Is that so much to ask?
I also have high expectations for my ability to cook. Unless I’m unsure of the flavor combinations, I tend to anticipate that most meals I make will be tasty. I do not always expect, however, that they will be great.
This meal was great.
Continue reading Flounder with Leeks and Couscous
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
A few weeks ago I made a delicious and healthy salmon dinner with jasmine rice and a coconut-tomato sauce. The success of that dish gave me the confidence to continue cooking with ingredients that are less familiar to me. When I recently decided to make mussels for dinner, it took me about 30 seconds to figure out that I wanted to use coconut milk again.
With the amount of food blogs I pore over daily, and thus, the high amount of recipes I’ve bookmarked as “must try,” I quickly scanned my shellfish folder and came across this: Coconut Curry Mussels.
Um, yes, please! Continue reading Thai Coconut Curry Mussels