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
Here’s the thing about rolled or stuffed chicken: I generally don’t like it. It’s either too heavy (the ratio of cheese or filling to chicken is off) or the chicken dries out. Either way, I’m more likely to add a beautiful sauce or side dish to my chicken than to stuff it.
This chicken might be the only exception. By stuffing the chicken with mascarpone, I can pretty much guarantee that once the cheese melts, the chicken will be left with a beautiful sauce (flavored by the additional ingredients in the filling — pancetta and scallions!) and that the chicken will be moist throughout.
I realize this is all very confusing without pictures, so let’s take look.
Continue reading Bruschetta Chicken with Mascarpone, Pancetta, and Scallions
Remember that sun-dried tomato pesto I made yesterday? You need to make it. I’m not kidding. It’s an essential component of this pasta recipe, and you’re definitely going to want to try this.
I call this an “Ari” recipe. It is titled thusly because my fiancé would prefer not to eat it. Now before you start doubting the deliciousness of this pasta, you should know that the fiancé is not a lover of sun-dried tomatoes. (I know, right?!) He’ll eat them in small quantities, and every now and again he’ll enjoy how I prepare them, but in general, they’re just not his thing. So when I made this pasta, I went crazy over it and he was… unenthusiastic.
Dishes like this (which tend to be healthier, meat-free, and full of my favorite ingredients) are reserved for those rare occasions when the Mr.-to-be is unavailable for dinner.
How fortunate for me that he’ll be out-of-town this weekend! I might even throw a sun-dried tomato party in his absence.
Before you ask, yes – you are invited. Please bring wine.
Continue reading Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta
Every January, people all over the world vow to eat healthier — to make smarter decisions regarding food and exercise — as they ring in the new year.
I thought long and hard about doing the same thing, but… I decided not to.
Okay, well that’s not entirely true. Yes, I would like to lose a few pounds (who wouldn’t?). And yes, I would love to feature some healthier meals on TR. But that won’t be starting for at least another week or two. I’ve got some delightfully yummy homemade meals that are just too good not to post, and let’s be honest, they’re part of the tis-the-season-to-be-jolly mantra. AKA: good for groups, great for parties, but not at all low-calorie, low-fat, or well, low-anything.
But they are highly fun to eat.
Tiramisu is one of my all time favorite desserts. I used to order it at restaurants until I tried this version. Now it seems like nothing else compares.
Continue reading Tiramisu
Experimenting with unfamiliar ingredients can be as rewarding as completing one’s Master’s thesis (I wouldn’t know…). On the other hand, it could lead to cursing in one’s kitchen, setting off the fire alarm, and throwing your improperly seared duck breast in the sink and rushing out to your favorite burger joint to commiserate with your fiancé over the fact that patience is not one of your virtues. Not that I’ve ever done that.
If that were to happen, however, I bet the next dish I’d make would be a classic. Something that never disappoints, whose recipe list I know off the top of my head, and leads to zero frustration in the kitchen.
I can’t even count the number of times this pasta dish has appeared on my plate. Over the years, I’ve made numerous versions: vegetarian-friendly, replacing chicken with shrimp, substituting all kinds of veggies, but this is my favorite preparation.
Continue reading Farfalle with Chicken and Mascarpone