Wednesday, December 5, 2012

In case you're wondering...

I'm not dead, nor have I been abducted by aliens.

I just moved myself and the woman I've been taking care of to two different places.

And then I travelled around meeting my brand new nieces.

And then I had all four wisdom teeth removed and couldn't eat for a week.

Now I'm home with the family for a month and hopefully will be able to post some deliciousness over the holidays.

But in the meantime, rather than sitting in front of your computers hitting "refresh" over and over (which I'm sure all of you have the good sense not to do anyway), go read this book, which has completely revolutionized my life.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries

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These are not your friendly neighborhood burger place fries. They pack a serious punch. And aren't those rounds so much prettier than sticks? I served these for dinner tonight alongside grilled salmon topped with fresh peach salsa on a bed of mixed greens with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic, and a glass of chilled chardonnay. Oh good lord. I felt like I should be in a four star restaurant.

Peach Salsa

Print or download the recipe:
Peach Salsa

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Fresh. Tangy. Sweet. Spicy. Colorful. Just what summer ought to be. This salsa is quick and easy, yet fancies up grilled meat or fish perfectly. Switch out the peaches for mango (and skimp on the honey) for a more tropical version.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Lemon & Lavender Roast Chicken

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Lemon & Lavender Roast Chicken

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I've got a secret for you. You wanna hear it? The key to moist and flavorful poultry is brining. What, you already knew that? So why don't you do it more often? Oh, you do it frequently? Sorry, my bad. Okay, but for those of you who have never brined a bird before, I'm about to change your life. After I learned the secret of brining, gone forever were the days of unattractive upside-down roasted Thanksgiving turkeys, or breast meat so dry it sticks to the roof of your mouth. I never ever roast a bird anymore without brining it first, and done properly the results are unbelievable flavor and breast meat so moist it's literally wet.


I just noticed how the zucchini and squash coordinate with the green and yellow of the lavender and lemon. That makes my artistic heart happy. I also just noticed for the umpteenth time how horribly last-century the dishes at my disposal are. That makes my artistic heart eager for the day I can buy my own dishes!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Peach, Bacon, & Brie Crostini

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Once upon a time I had a vision. Peach and bacon came and spoke to me, begging to be introduced. How could I refuse such ardent entreaty? It was a rocky road, full of burnt toast and grainy peaches, but eventually they came together in perfect harmony and now they are living happily ever after. The End.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wow...

I kind of can't believe my eyes right now.

I might have butterflies in my stomach.

I think I've reached my first real milestone as a food blogger.

I've been featured on the front page of Tasty Kitchen!

Ya know, that online recipe community started by the queen of food blogging...

THE PIONEER WOMAN!???!?!?!!?!?!!?!

I do have butterflies in my stomach.

Whoever was responsible for this decision, thank you so much for considering my recipe worthy of such an honor.

I feel so honored.

Now I'm gonna go do a crazy embarrassing happy dance and brag to all my friends.

So until next time, do yourself a favor and make this sandwich.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Salmon Burgers

Print or download the recipe:
Salmon Burgers

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My quest for the perfect salmon burger has taught me one very important thing: when it comes to burgers, it's always best to stick with the basics. The first time I made them I tried to be too original and topped them with homemade olive tapenade. It was a nice idea, but turned out overwhelmingly rich and salty. So when I made them again I reverted to the classic onions, lettuce, and tomato and both the flavors and textures were much better balanced. Another very bad mistake I made the first time was to overload the food processor, which meant I had to over-process the salmon in order to get everything mixed together. This made for some very dry, dense patties. So hopefully you will learn from my mistakes and make these delicious, healthy burgers perfect the first time!


Friday, August 10, 2012

Chimichurri Steak Sandwich

Print or download the recipes:
Chimichurri Steak Sandwiches

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Oh my gosh, people. Like, whoa. Stop whatever you're doing and make this sandwich right now. It's freaking amazing. Its sole condiment is an Argentinian sauce which, if you've never had, you should try regardless whether you make the sandwich. It's fresh and spicy and zingy. As for the sandwich, have plenty of napkins nearby when you eat it because it's incredibly juicy and messy, and you may even just cry at the beauty of it all.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Two Things

Yeah, that whole "Wednesday Words of Wisdom" thing didn't fly. Apparently I don't have enough wisdom to share a piece of it every week. Or at any rate not enough time. Clearly the delusion that I would have is also due to the ungodliness of the hour at which I wrote that first post. But today, I do have a couple cool things I'd like to share with you.

Excited?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Chipotle Pistachio Chicken Salad

Print or download the recipe:
Chipotle Pistachio Chicken Salad

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As promised in the lamb chops post, here's my new very favorite recipe for chicken salad. I just LOVE this flavor combination! The first time I made a whole bunch of it, thinking it would be great for lunches for the next week. Bad idea. The pistachios turned soft and were downright unpleasant to eat. So only make as much as you'll use that day, or perhaps the next.


But when fresh, the tenderness of the chicken and the crisp juiciness of the grapes and the crunchiness of the pistachios all come together to throw a party in your mouth.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Blueberry Pie *Featuring The World's Easiest And Most Delicious Pie Crust Anywhere At All Ever.*

Print or download the recipes:
Easy As Pie Crust

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The filling for this blueberry pie is adapted from Betty Crocker. The crust recipe is one my mom got from an old lady friend way back before she was married, and my whole family has always used it ever since. Once you try this crust you will never go back either. Okay, maybe you will, but at least I don't have to answer for your culinary choices. But I really do believe this is the best crust in the world. I've never had another homemade crust that even compares to this, and don't even get me started on store-bought crusts! None of that thick, bland, pasty stuff for me, thankyouverymuch. This recipe is not only virtually foolproof, but it's rich and flaky and simply divine. It will change your life.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Lamb Chops with Pistachio Tapenade

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Lamb Chops with Pistachio Tapenade

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I got a box of roasted pistachios at the grocery store a couple of weeks ago to throw in my chicken salad. (That's another recipe for another post the next time I actually take pictures and keep track of quantities, but I promise it'll be worth the wait!) Having some pistachios leftover and finding lamb chops on sale I decided to put them together. I was inspired by the memory of a pistachio-encrusted salmon steak I once ordered, but considering my propensity for leaving more "crust" burnt and stuck to the bottom of the pan than on the meat itself, I figured I'd better go with a separately prepared topping. Googled "pistachio tapenade" to get some ideas for flavors and found Anne Burrell's recipe, which I then altered to get the following version.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

I've decided to institute something new on this blog. Every Wednesday (that is, if I can follow through, which anyone who knows me can tell you I am notoriously bad at [does the "do not end a sentence with a preposition" rule apply in parentheses?]) ... where were we? Oh yes, in order to generate a little more interest in my young and struggling blog, or perhaps just to make sure the rare genius ideas I get are written down so as not to be forever lost in the deep dark recesses of my tangled brain, I'm going to start posting some tip for more efficient cooking or kitchen organization or whatever I've found useful that week each Wednesday. Put them to use in your own kitchen, or not, as you see fit, and feel free to let me know whether you think I'm brilliant or a total nutcase.

So today's tip is as follows:

Friday, May 18, 2012

Rum & Basil Strawberry Pound Cake

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Rum & Basil Strawberry Pound Cake

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I found this recipe over at Keep It Simple Foods and first tried making it a few weeks ago. Despite the somewhat unusual combination of ingredients it became an instant favorite. It's so light and fresh and I love that it's not overly sweet. However, the first time I made it I really felt like it could use just a touch more sweetness. So I came up with the idea for a sauce (which of course must contain alcohol, right?), and to my delight it turned out perfectly and gave this dessert just the right extra something. I also increased the amount of wet ingredients in the cake (partly necessary just because I live in a super dry climate, but also makes it more soft and moist), and substituted lemon juice for vanilla, which I think gives it a brighter flavor. Sometime I'm going to try this recipe with peaches instead of strawberries; I think the rum would really compliment peaches nicely.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Olive Tapenade

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This is super quick to throw together, yet makes a delicious and elegant appetizer.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Grilled BLT Sandwiches

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Grilled BLT Sandwiches

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Not all BLTs are created equal. This one, for instance, is in a class of its own. It was probably the most perfect BLT I've ever tasted. Not exactly the most traditional, but who cares about tradition when shaking things up just improves them?


What makes it is the spread. Out with boring mayo and in with avocado and goat cheese. Mixed. With garlic. And chipotle powder. Mhm. That's what I'm talking about!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Orange Balsamic Glaze

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Orange Balsamic Glaze

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If you are one of those odd and sadly too common people who hates Brussels sprouts you need to try this recipe anyway. It's crazy good. It might just convert you. (By the way, I've found that most vegetables that are generally boring at best, undergo a miraculous transformation when roasted. Who needs steam? Don't answer that.)


Friday, April 27, 2012

Spicy Pepper Steak Tacos

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Spicy Pepper Steak Tacos

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For some frustrating reason I'm always most creative under pressure. (This makes meal planning and shopping a dreaded chore.) If I'd had a week to think about what to do with the chuck roast in my freezer I probably would have ended up settling for a traditional boring pot roast. But when I was frantic to get something started for dinner this morning, and knew I had to incorporate a few things in my refrigerator that simply must go now, it all came together somehow. And it was so not boring!


Monday, April 23, 2012

Fettucini with Creamy Portobello Gruyere Sauce

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Fettucini with Creamy Portobello Gruyere Sauce

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Mushrooms. Cheese. Cream. Wine. Yeah, that sounds about right. I recently had one of those rare moments of instant enlightenment where I just suddenly knew exactly what I wanted to make and exactly how I would make it. And somehow I knew it would be perfect because I could taste it in my mind. This did not disappoint!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Chocolate Raspberry Torte

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Chocolate Raspberry Torte

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I put my entire well-being in jeopardy with today's culinary exploits. I made ganache. I'm not a big baker as it is, as I prefer to avoid precision at all costs, and anything that involves any kind of chemical reaction scares me. It's just too easy to screw things up. I don't know what it is about ganache that has alway intimidated me so much. Maybe just the fancy name, or the fact that I refused to melt chocolate after two disasters with it when I was an emotional young teen. (I only recently broke down and tried it again when I was desperate for chocolate-covered strawberries, and that's when I discovered that hot, melted, semi-sweet chocolate is the closest thing to heaven that can be found on this earth.) At any rate, I've shied away from making lots of gorgeous desserts over the years simply because they had that dreadful word "ganache" in the recipe. I imagined it would be extremely complicated to make and easy to ruin.

But when I came across this recipe for chocolate torte in Cook's Illustrated while looking for a dessert to make for Easter, it looked so irresistible that I just had to cross my fingers and trust the editor's promise that every recipe they publish is fool-proof. If I blew up my kitchen in the process or collapsed in a pool of sweat and tears and clumpy chocolate I could just sue them for false advertising, right? O ye of little faith! It was one of the simplest things I've ever done and the result was...ganache. Now I know why it has such a beautiful name.


I might just start baking more if I'm gonna consistently turn out such impressive looking stuff!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Perfect Cinnamon Rolls

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Perfect Cinnamon Rolls

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I've been craving cinnamon rolls for months now, so when I woke up to a phone call saying church had been cancelled and went outside to find this, I decided today would be the perfect time to whip up some warm, gooey deliciousness.


By the way, will someone please tell me why it's snowing in Arizona in March? It's just not fair.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Grace's Farewell Dinner

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Basil Pesto
Marinated Tomato Salad

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My sister has been here visiting for the past two weeks and we decided to do something fun and extravagant and delicious for her last night here. So we planned a menu of New York strip steaks, spaghetti with basil pesto, roasted glazed asparagus, and a fresh tomato salad. I was delighted to get to the grocery store and find steak, basil, asparagus, and tomatoes all on sale!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Frozen Strawberry Lemon Vojitos

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Frozen Strawberry Lemon Vojitos

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Inspired by a drink I once had at Red Robin (whose food otherwise I think is pretty awful, just sayin'), this was the perfect refreshment after running around town with my sister on household errands this afternoon. And so simple to make!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Scallion Meatballs with Soy-Ginger Glaze

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I think I will run away with cilantro and marry it.

Found this recipe over at Smitten Kitchen, and ooooh, was it delicious!


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Italian Pasta Salad

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Pasta, in all its various forms, I firmly believe, is the food of the gods. A big old bowl of spaghetti drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with a little salt and pepper is perfection itself. But I am forever trying to think of new ways to dress it up. Here's one of my recent recipes. I wish I could think of a more creative title for it, but I couldn't very easily call it "Pasta With Chicken, Mushrooms, Olives, Tomatoes, Pepperoni, Onions, Basil, and Parmesan." Too many ingredients, and no one is really the star of the dish.