I was born and raised in Kansas and learned to cook alongside my mother. Now, along with my wonderful husband, I have taken the plunge into the city life in New York. These are my food adventures: in my own tiny kitchen, and in the many restaurants of the city.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cooking with Love Round-up

Thank you so much for everyone who participated in the Cooking with Love event! I really enjoyed reading your stories and the recipes you paired with them. Make sure to check out everyone's blogs for their full story. I just love how food can bring us together!

Becke over at Columbus Foodie submitted her recipe for Pork and Sauerkraut. She talks about how she used to hate sauerkraut, but her husband eventually brought her around. It's a really simple recipe, and it looks so tasty!

Stacey over at Simply Tasty tells us about how she snagged her hubby with Hamburger Helper. :) She gives us a recipe for a homemade version of the boxed stuff that looks so much healthier and a lot more fun.

Nemmie over at Cast Sugar tells us about her husband's sweet tooth and how she helps to cure it with chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting. That is one of my favorite combos, too.

Rubybean over at Broken Yolks contributed with her "How to Score a Husband Cookies". These tasty treats are filled with chocolate chips and toffee pieces. My kind of cookies.

So, I promised a prize to one of you. I put your names in a hat and the winner is Nemmie! Shoot me a message so I can get your address and send you your prize: a copy of Intercourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook. (Let me know if you've already got it and you'll get something else instead!)

Thanks again everyone! And if anyone out there has some other stories for me, I'm still on the hunt for more for the project I'm working on, so send them my way--any stories about cooking and love will do!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fall Fruit Panzanella Salad

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to make my way up to Williamsburg to The Brooklyn Kitchen. It's not only a great, cute kitchen supply store. They also offer up classes on everything from ice cream to canning to pig butchering. And they host a foodie book club. It's my ideal gathering: a bunch of people who love to read and love to cook/eat/talk about food picking a book, reading it, and gathering together to discuss it. The conversation may steer away from the book at times, but never strays far away from food. One of my favorite parts about the book club is that at each meeting the members are asked to bring a dish that is inspired by the book that has been read.
Last month's book happened to be "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbera Kingsolver. It was a book I had been wanting to read for a while now and Joe had brought it home for my as a surprise before I even knew it was the book club book. I was very excited about the coincidence.

I had many ideas about what to bring along with me, but finally I decided to go with something that I have been really wanting to try out: a dessert panzanella. I love traditional panzanella salad, and just thought that some cinnamon and fresh, in-season fruits would be a great accompaniment to the crispy bread. What's really nice about this dish is that it is incredibly flexible: you can throw anything in. Try it with some plums or mango or substitute rosemary or sage for the basil. And it's sweet enough to be dessert, but not so much that it can't be served as a side.

Fall Fruit Panzanella Salad

1 stick butter

2 1/2 TB sugar

1 1/2 TB cinnamon

8" round loaf tuscan/country style bread

4 peaches, chopped

3 apples, chopped

3 TB sugar

1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut the bread up into cubes about 1" on all sides. In a large bowl melt the stick of butter and mix together with the cinnamon and sugar. Toss in the bread cubes until evenly coated. Spread the coated bread cubes on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook until toasted, about 15-20 minutes, stirring a couple of times to cook evenly. Once toasted, set the croutons aside and allow to cool.

While toasting the croutons, toss the peaches with the 3 TB sugar. Allow this to sit for at least an hour to let the peaches juices flow. Then mix together with the chopped apples and the basil. Finally mix the fruit mixture together with the bread croutons. Allow everything to sit together for at least 30 minutes before serving.

This recipe makes a huge amount of this salad! It probably feeds a good 10 people, so keep that in mind if trying it out yourself.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I've been on vacation in San Francisco, but am finally home. I will have some new posts soon (including one of all the awesome things I ate while on vacation), but I just wanted to stop by and remind everyone of the Cooking With Love event!
And I'm trying slowly to catch up on reading your blogs since I've been away--my reader is overflowing! Promise to get to them all soon.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Chicken Roll-ups with Vermouth Sauce, Corn Risotto, and Gougeres

Or, the very, very yellow meal.

I have made gougeres many, many times. I have posted them in my blog a few times, although until recently I didn't realize that was what I was making. The very first time I made them they puffed up beautifully and were light and fluffy. The second time around they turned out just about as nice. But every single time since then they have turned out flat and slightly dense. I have no idea what I was doing wrong. It was infuriating that they weren't turning out. Luckily they still tasted good.

This time around, I actually knew what I was making, and decided to give a slightly different recipe a shot. I went with Ruth Reichl's from "Garlic and Saphires". (now that I think about it, though, I may have tried this recipe before but I couldn't find gruyere so I used something different...maybe the consistency of the cheese has something to do with my puffing issues...) Whatever it was--the cheese, the recipe, the temperature in my kitchen, the smiling down of the gods--they came out perfectly. And tasted heavenly. Let's hope the next time around they turn out just as well!
I do have one question about these: how in the world do you pronounce them? I have read the name so many times but have no idea how to say it out loud.

Along with these (although I truly think I could eat a whole meal of just gougeres), I also made Corn Risotto from the very first issue of Edible Manhattan. If you have an "Edible" publication for your neck of the woods I suggest you pick one up immediately! And finally the meal was rounded out by some chicken rolled up in prosciutto, cheesy goodness. Not too shabby.

Chicken Roll-ups with Vermouth Sauce
3 chicken breasts
6 slices prosciutto
5-6 provolone cheese slices
salt and pepper
2 TB olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 c. dry vermouth
1/4 c. heavy cream
salt and pepper

Butterfly the chicken breasts, cutting them open longways to make a thinner, larger piece of chicken. Using a meat mallet, rolling pin, or canned good, pound the chicken until it is an even width, about 1/2". On the inside of the chicken, layer on two slices of prosciutto and 1 1/2-2 slices of provolone cheese. Roll up the chicken, salt and pepper the outside, and place seam side down.
In a saute pan, heat 2 TB olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, place chicken in the pan, seam side down. Brown the chicken on all sides. Then turn the heat down to medium and cover the pan. Cook until the chicken is done and the juices run clear, about 8 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the pan and allow to sit while preparing the sauce.
In the same pan that the chicken just came out of, add the garlic and cook until it begins to brown. Then add the dry vermouth. Stir to pick up all of the bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Finally, add the heavy cream and cook until the sauce has thickened slightly. Serve over top of the chicken.

Corn Risotto
(Sara Jenkins, from Edible Manhattan)
I did cut this recipe back and didn't follow it down to every single detail, just took the basics of how I usually cook risotto and went with it. I used arborio rice, shallots instead of onions, didn't put the cobs in the stock, but I wish I would have! I think the chicken stock totally overpowered the corn flavor of this dish. Next time I may use some water in place of the stock)
2 TB olive oil
2 TB unsalted butter, divided
2 slices thick bacon, cut into 1/8" pieces
1 small onion, finely diced
4-6 ears fresh corn, kernels sliced off and cobs reserved
2 c. carnaroli rice
1 c. dry white wine
5 c. homemade chicken or pork broth heated to a simmer with the reserved cobs
1 1/2 c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or grana padana
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil and 1 TB butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, until melted. Add bacon and cook, stirring constantly, until bacon starts to crisp, about 2 minutes.
Add onions and pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until onions start to wilt and turn translucent. Add corn and cook until starting to brown and caramelize. Add rice and, stirring constantly, cook for 5 minutes. Add wine; stir until absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 1 c. broth and cook, stirring constantly, until mostly absorbed, about 3 minutes.
Add 1/2 c. of broth and, stirring, cook until mostly absorbed, 2-3 minutes. Continue adding the broth by 1/2 cupfuls, stirring constantly, until you have 1 c. broth left. Add 1/2 c. of the remaining broth, stir another 2-3 minutes, then add the remaining 1/2 c. broth, and cook, stirring for 1-2 final minutes. Risotto should be tender yet slightly firm. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese and remaining butter; cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve immediately with freshly ground pepper and extra Parmigiano, if desired.

(Ruth Reichl)
Servings: 8 as an appetizer
1 c. water
1/4 lb (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1-1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
5 eggs
1 c. diced Gruyère cheese
Pepper to taste
1/2 c. grated Gruyère cheese

Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Combine the water, butter and a teaspoon of the salt in a saucepan and bring it to a boil, stirring until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heat, let cool slightly, stir in the flour, and mix well. Return pan to the heat and stir with a wooden spoon over high heat until the mixture comes away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the heat.
Stir in the eggs, one at a time until well combined. Add the diced cheese, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper, stirring well.
Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto a well-buttered baking pan. Smooth the top and sides of each gougère with a knife, and sprinkle with grated cheese.
Bake in batches for 25 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Serve immediately.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

End of Summer Pasta, Garlic Almond Green Beans

I have been trying to be much better about using things I have in the fridge or in the pantry in planning my meals instead of buying a bunch of new things and letting others just sit around and go bad. As I was going through the refrigerator I noticed a pint of small cherry heirloom tomatoes (I had purchased them at the greenmarket because they were way too pretty to pass up) and a recipe I had once made from Rachel Ray popped into my head. I didn't go back and look at the recipe, since it is such a simple idea (and you are able to do pretty much whatever you want with it), but it is based on her recipe. And I also got rid of three different types of long, skinny pasta--I had just a little left of each one. If you can find some of the last tomatoes of the season floating around, this recipe is a simple, tasty one (and it would be lots of fun--or maybe just really messy--with kids).

End of Summer Pasta
1 pt. of cherry tomatoes (preferably a mixed variety)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 TB shallot, minced
1 TB fennel, minced
1 TB dried basil (if you have fresh it is better!)
1 TB oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 c. olive oil
1/3 c. parmesan
8 oz. pasta, cooked

Cut each of the cherry tomatoes in half and place in a large bowl. Add the garlic, shallot, fennel, basil, oregano. Using your hands, squish together all of the ingredients so it is a soup-y, chunky mess. Add the olive oil, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.
Right when the pasta is finished cooking, drain it, and then toss immediately with the tomato mixture. The heat from the pasta will be enough to "cook" the tomato mixture enough so it is warm.

Garlic Almond Green Beans
2-3 c. fresh green beans, trimmed and cleaned
1/2 stick butter
3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced
1/4 c. sliced and toasted almonds
salt and pepper
juice from 1 lemon

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and almonds and cook until the garlic is tender. Add the green beans. Cook, stirring often, until the green beans are cooked through, but not so long that they become mush, about 6 minutes or so. Top off with salt and pepper and lemon juice to serve.