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Crispy Chinese Garlic Chicken Wings

I mentioned recently that I’ve been trying to cut out starches and sugars, and it has made a huge and positive impact on my energy levels. It’s pretty easy to eat regularly – lots of salads with homemade dressing (which I make anyway), lots of tasty meats, and cheese. But what is missing when [...]

Miso Pork Tenderloin with Apple Ginger Relish

The holidays are over and we can all breathe a sigh of relief. I love the lights and the cookies and the carols and the cocktails and the feasting as much as (or more than) anyone else, but I admit to welcoming the calm space of January, when a little austerity doesn’t go amiss. [...]

Slice and Bake Buckwheat Chocolate Shortbread

I love the holiday season – I really do.   I keep a nested to do list on my phone to keep track of Christmas presents.  I drive out of my way to find houses with the best light displays.  And I bake a lot of cookies.   But there’s a point in the [...]

Five No-Fuss, No-Pasta Dinners For When You Don’t Really Want to Cook

dinners   So if you listen to as many food-related podcasts as I do, you may have noticed that lately there has been a lot of talk about cooking (I blame Michael Pollan)- about how it’s healthier, and better for society, and connects you with your humanity, etc.  Which, hello? is great, and I’ve been saying for years! Yay cooking! We love it around these parts. I also, however, like to play the role of fairy godmother of the reality check. You know and I know that we would LOVE to make from-scratch, healthful dinners EVERY SINGLE NIGHT, but we also both know that sometimes that just isn’t happening. Before you call the delivery man, or open (yet another) box of pasta, I present you for five ideas for easy, quick, no-fuss dinners. They don’t require NO cooking, but they do require MINIMAL fuss and no thought whatsoever. I usually plan to have ingredients for at least one of these in the house at any given time, to account for traffic jams, late meetings, and general exhaustion. [...]

Pumpkin Pie French Toast, or the Hope of Autumn

Pumpkin Pie French Toast Closeup This french toast, then, is my brave attempt to bring a little autumn to my life. The Nuni loves french toast, and while pancakes seem daunting even for a weekend breakfast, I’m always up for a quick egg soak and a fast saute. The five cans of pumpkin puree in my cupboard (we can call it what it is — aspirational pumpkin) inspired me to spice up my usual quick and easy French toast with a little fall flair. I thought that pumpkin pie filling is really just pumpkin added to eggs, cream, sugar and spices — change the proportions slightly and you have the perfect soak for french toast. After all, I may not feel like turning on the oven, but I can handle 10 minutes on the stove. [...]

Summer Vacation II: Great State of Maine and Crab Rolls

Maine Crab Roll Of course, once we got home, I had Maine withdrawal. Lobster in California is never, ever, ever $2.99 a pound. So I made do, in a thrifty New England way, and came up with these crab rolls (which I have, incidentally, also seen served in Maine. I just never ate them because, hello! LOBSTER.) Crab salad, bound with mayo and brightened with citrus (I happen to love grapefruit juice, but lemon juice will work as well, on a toasty buttered bun with a little green lettuce for crunch. It’s a simple and super quick way to get a little piece of New England on your table for a casual dinner or weekend lunch. [...]

Roasted Rhubarb Clafoutis

Rhubarb Clafoutis 4
I have a terrible sweet tooth (as you may have divined if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time), but my sweet tooth is not typical. Not for me the sweetness overload, the gooey cakes, the sugary cookies and candies. I prefer a more subtle sweetness, balanced by savory, or tart, or nutty flavors. Something that could easily be served for breakfast or afternoon tea. Enter the clafoutis. A classic French dessert that’s sometimes described as a custard, sometimes as a pancake. It is a custard with flour, a pancake with more cream. Or it’s own thing. An eggy, custardy, but not insubstantial dessert with a subtle sweetness that is braced by whatever fruit it is made with. It’s not much to look at, generally — it’s really a country casserole, with nubs of fruit poking through a golden, eggy crust. It’s practically foolproof to make, and the batter comes together almost instantaneously. And yes, I am hooked. [...]

Prosciutto Gruyere Pinwheel Hors D’Oeuvres

Prosciutto Gruyere Puff Pastry Appetizers
And these hors d’oeuvres might be my new favorite form of excess. They are fabulous – buttery and crisp and cheesy. I’ve made them for no fewer than four parties this December. And the best part? They are dead easy to make. You will literally be able to make these in the same amount of time it takes you to read this blog post — chilling and baking time not included. I’m not THAT verbose. Easy and fabulous is my favorite kind of food. [...]

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds — Happy Halloween!

Pumpkin Seeds 1 As an adult, I am wary of jack-o-lanterns. You see, I had a traumatic jack-o-lantern experience in college, and I’m still suffering the psychological wounds. As a member of the Senior Class Council, it was my job (together with my roommmate’s) to plan the annual Senior Class Halloween Masquerade Ball. We planned to turn the college dining hall (a gorgeous, soaring Palladian space) into a veritable autumn wonderland, complete with hundreds of twinkling fairy lights and pumpkin lanterns. A week or so before the ball, we visited the pumpkin patch and loaded up my boyfriend’s little blue Ford Festiva with over 50 pumpkins, and carried them up the stairs to my dorm room to await carving the following week. And there they sat, until I noticed a smell. And tried to pick up one of the pumpkins, only to have its flesh dissolve on the floor. The pumpkins were rotting. And slimy. And the stench of those pumpkins was entrenched in my dorm room for quite some time. Talk about a horror story! I still have nightmares about it. Pumpkin Seeds 2 But now I am the mother of a three year old, and to the three year old set, Halloween is a BIG DEAL. There have to be spiderwebs and princess costumes and candy (natch) but most of all there have to be jack-o-lanterns. So I overcame my pumpkin phobia, scraped out the insides with a metal spoon into a bowl (I’m not touching the slimy stuff — the memories!) and carved not one, not two, but three Jack-o-lanterns (OK, Ken, he of the former Ford Festiva, carved one, but I scraped out all three). Of course, three year olds being the tiny tyrants they are, having three jack-o-lanterns was not enough — she wanted to roast pumpkin seeds (I blame preschool for putting these notions into her head). So, because I love her dearly, my gorge rising, I sorted through the bowl of slimy, smelly pumpkin guts (OK they weren’t that smelly — these pumpkins had been living outside instead of near a radiator), and separated out the seeds. Now that, my friends, is maternal love. And then I roasted them, and thanks to the magic of spices, even thought they tasted pretty darn good! [...]

Grilled Brined Pork Loin – Indian Summer

Grilled Pork 3 There are times when all I want to cook and eat is super simple comfort food. Then there are other times when I’m willing to put in a little (or a lot!) of effort to make something spectacular. And then there are the times (well, most of the times, to be frank) where I want something spectacular for little to no effort. And that’s where this recipe for grilled brined pork loin comes in. [...]