Monday, October 30, 2006

It's a Freakin' Winta Wonduh-Land

So, I don't have a food post today because CB and I spent the weekend in New Hampshire with HJ and GS. When we planned this trip back in September we assumed that we would do some fall hiking along the Appalachian trail, most likely a 4,000+ vertical climb, which would take about 3.5 hours to complete up and back. When we planned this trip I think we assumed we would be cold and need to dress properly for the elements; I don't think we ever thought we would be hiking though 6 inches of snow - snow which was falling on earth that had been saturated with 3 inches of rain the day before. It was cold, wet, mucky, hard to navigate, but beautiful all the same. It felt like it was December; it served to prepare us for the snow blanketed winter which will be upon us soon. There is just something so serene and beautiful about freshly fallen snow on tree branches; every turn we made along the trail showed us another beautiful snow covered landscape. It was just when you were admiring the beauty of nature that your hiking boot sunk into 4 inches of muck, nearly taking off your boot as you heaved your foot out of the soft wet ground. You know that sound your foot makes as it tries to free itself from the muck and mud, sort of a throoorupf sound? We heard that a lot. So, sorry for the lack of new food posts, but I was a little busy with nature and all this weekend.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Butternut Squash with Brown Butter and Rosemary

I pride myself on being a pretty smart person. I'm a college graduate, I'm well read, I'm up-to-date on local and world news, I have a reasonably large vocabulary; but there are certain things that stump me, that I am really fucking stupid at. These things include; weights, measurements and geography. I can add, divide, do long division, calculus, etc etc, but when it comes to measuring something, I for the life of me cannot read a tape measure.
For example, when CB and I bought our new house we decided to measure all the rooms in order for him to plug everything into CADD so that we could virtually move all the furniture around to see where the couch fit best, and the bed, bureau, etc. and also to see what the dining room would look like painted red before we actually painted it red. So we began measuring every frickin wall in the house, and while measuring the wall in the dining room CB held the end of the measuring tape and I walked along the wall to the end and then stopped and put the but end of the measuring tape up against the wall. He then asked, "what's the length?" my eyes darting about, looking at the tape measure, then looking back at CB, then looking back at the tape measure, beads of sweat beginning to form on my brow, tongue sticking out while I tried to count all the big lines and the little lines then my God trying to figure out what that translated to in inches and distance. I then looked up and said 72 inches and one big line and three little ones after it. This practice didn't last long; it was then that CB really realized when it comes to the school of measuring things I'm on the short bus. If you think this is bad, I'm worse at geography. Seriously. That whole sun setting in the west and shit screws me all up. I have no idea where north is, and even if I did I wouldn't know what the hell was up in the north anyway. Don't ask, I don't know, all I know is when it comes to Trivial Pursuit; I never get the blue pie peice.
Where the hell am I going with this? Well, when I went to the market to get the butternut squash for the risotto recipe (kick ass) I made last week, I needed to get enough squash so that after peeling it and gutting the insides out it weighed 1.5 pounds cut and diced. Needless to say I bought too much because I'm stupid when it comes to these things (see above). Needless to say I've been trying to come up with recipes which will use up the five fucking pounds of butternut squash that I came home with that day. This recipe was easy simple and used up a little bit of the squash that I had left over.
I'll gladly accept all butternut squash recipes - I still have like three pounds I need to use.
Take butternut squash pieces and cook them in a 400 degree oven for 5 minutes to soften a little. After, add them to 1 tbsp butter and 1 tsp fresh rosemary which has been cooking a pan for a few minutes. Saute until cooked to your desired consistency. Mmm.
Obviously the amount of butter and rosemary depends on the amount of squash you are cooking. Adjust accordingly.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Bailey's Irish Cream Chocolate Chip Cookies

Because sometimes you just need to chew your alcohol. Seriously, sometimes you need a drink and a cookie at the same time. This little nugget of heaven is for that time. Say you were on the train and someone pissed you off, maybe they stepped on your foot, or the man in a business suit decided it was more important that he sit instead of the seven month pregnant woman in front of him, or the eighty year old woman beside him. Maybe you've started to ponder what ever happened to chivalry, or better yet, common decency in said public places. Or maybe you don't need an excuse at all. Maybe, just maybe, you're Irish like me, so Bailey's is a suitable substitute for milk just about anywhere, possibly in your cereal, coffee, or cookies.

Bailey's Irish Cream Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1/2 c. butter1
  • /2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. Bailey's original Irish cream
  • 2 1/4 c. cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 (6 oz.) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 c. coconut
  • 1/2 c. chopped pecans

Cream butter, sugars and egg until fluffy. Add vanilla and Bailey's Irish cream. Mix dry ingredients and blend into creamed mixture. Add coconut, nuts and chips. Drop onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Cool.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

No Kitty this is My Pot Pie

I was a senior in college when my roomates and I discovered Comedy Central's show South Park. We loved it, we taped it, we watched it everyday, we waited for Wednesday to come so we could see the next new episode. It was the first season, we were never let down, the shows were pure genius, creating a catchphrase in every episode is no easy feat and they did it swimmingly. One such catchphrase, or textual content is as follows:

Cartman - Nooo kitty that's my pot pie!
Kitty - Meow...
Cartman's Mom - Well then I know a certain kitty-kitty who's sleeping with mommy tonight!
Cartman - .......what?

Will you ever look at pot pie the same way again? I think everytime I hear pot pie I think of this. Just like everytime I hear the word dreidel I hear Kyle's voice sing the dreidel song.

1 quart chicken stock
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders, 2 packages
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, diced
6 white mushrooms, quartered
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Handful flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1 package refrigerated biscuits in tube
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Reserve 2 cups of stock for vegetables. Cut tenders into 1/3's. Bring remaining stock to a boil in skillet, add chicken, cover and reduce heat to simmer. Poach chicken 6 to 8 minutes.

While chicken cooks, in a second large skillet over medium to medium high heat, add oil and butter. To melted butter, add onion, carrots, celery, and mushrooms, adding veggies to the pan as you chop them. Add bay leaf and season veggies with thyme, salt and pepper. Saute 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add flour and cook another minute. Whisk in reserved 2 cups of stock forming a sauce around veggies. Stir in cooked chicken pieces, parsley and peas. Transfer the mixture to a large casserole, oval or rectangular. Open the biscuits and arrange them, edges touching, in a layer across the top of the casserole. Bake 8 to 10 minutes until biscuits are golden brown, then serve.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Dip

This is another recipe from the Healthy Cooking magazine that I picked up in the Chicago airport last month (while waiting for hours on end for my plane to arrive.) It's simple and delicious and just screams eat me, which is funny, because sometimes when I get mad, I scream "eat me" too.

It's great.

1 cup (8oz bar) fat free cream cheese
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp all spice (optional)

Cream the cream cheese until smooth, add the powdered sugar slowly until all incorporated. Add the pumpkin, and spices. Mix well. Chill for 1 - 2 hours. Serve with cinnamon pita chips and fresh fruit slices.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Apple Crostata

An Apple A Day

I firmly believe that eating right, getting lots of exercise and getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night is the veritable fountain of youth. As some of you may know I used to be fat. I'm not going to pussyfoot around the subject, I was fat. I was extremely unhappy and most of the unhappiness in my life stemmed from the fact that I was not okay with who I was; with the body that I was carrying myself around in. This unhappiness led to bad, horrible relationships; relationships where because I hated myself, I thought it was perfectly acceptable for people to treat me like shit, to take advantage of me, to abuse me, to make me feel as bad about the me on the inside as I felt about the me on the outside.

I guess you could say one day I just woke up. It's as simple as that. One day I just had had enough, I realized that happiness doesn't come from the acceptance or judgment of others. It comes from being the best person you can be; from respecting yourself and the body that God gave you, with all of it's amazing possibilities. This is when I decided to push my body, to see what was lying dormant within me. This is pretty much when I decided to become a healthy person, a marathon runner, an advocate for treating your body like a machine that needs to be fueled, not like an animal that needs to be fed.

Just last week I got the news that the doctor found two lumps in my Nana's breast. My Nana is 82. We will help her go through the process of needle biopsies, lumpectomies and if need be chemotherapy and radiation. Since I decided to change my life, and respect my body I have thanked God for legs that run, lungs that breathe and muscles that recover by running and biking for certain causes. My first two marathons I raised money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society honoring my friend's mother who had been diagnosed a few years earlier. Two years ago as my friend battled brain cancer I biked in his honor to help raise money for the Brain Tumor Society. This year it seems as if my body will most likely walk; it will most likely walk for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Society. I say; if you are blessed with good health, do something good with it.

This may not seem like the kind of recipe someone who complains about once being fat should be making, but an apple a day does keep the doctor away and this is a pretty fun way to eat that apple.

This is one of Giada's recipes, like I said; the bitch can cook, or better yet, bake.


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt1
  • 0 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons ice water


  • 2 small Golden Delicious apples, peeled, halved, cored, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
  • 1 Pippin apple, peeled, halved, cored, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon of water (for egg wash)
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted

To make the crust: Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a processor. Add the butter. Pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the ice water and pulse until moist clumps form. Gather the dough into a ball; flatten into a disk. (If the dough still crumbles and does not form into a ball, add another tablespoon of ice water.) Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

For the filling: Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine the apples, 1/4 cup of sugar, and lemon juice in large bowl; toss gently to blend. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, dust a large sheet of parchment paper with flour and roll out the dough on the paper to an 11-inch round. Transfer the dough on the parchment paper to a heavy large baking sheet. Spoon the apple mixture over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold the dough border over the filling to form an 8-inch round, leaving the apples exposed in the center. Pleat loosely and pinch the dough to seal any cracks. Brush the crust with the egg wash and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar.

Bake the crostata until the crust is golden and the apples are tender, about 40 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack; cool for 10 minutes. Slide a metal spatula under the crust to free the crostata from the baking sheet. Cool the crostata to lukewarm. Sprinkle with the almonds and serve.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Butternut Squash and Pancetta Risotto - YUM!

So, the next time you're at home wondering what to make for dinner. MAKE THIS! Dear God make this recipe, it is so damn good. Yes, it takes a little bit of time to make, but this, this is worth waiting for. Have you ever seen Hell's Kitchen? This is that guy's recipe, the original recipe calls for pumpkin instead of butternut squash, but I didn't feel like giving a pumpkin a proctology exam and pulling all its guts out, so I just used squash and the recipe still KICKED ASS.

Pumpkin and Pancetta Risotto
Recipe courtesy Gordon Ramsay's A Chef for All Seasons

Ingredients1/3 cup chopped pancetta
2 to 2 1/2 cups light chicken stock
2 large shallots, chopped
1 pound pumpkin flesh, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Scant 1 cup risotto (Carnaroli, Arborio, or Vialone Nano)
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons mascarpone
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a dry non-stick frying pan and, when hot, fry the pancetta until browned and crisp. Drain and set aside. Heat the stock to a gentle simmer in a saucepan. In a large saucepan, gently sauté the shallots and pumpkin in the oil for about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook for a further 2 minutes to toast the grains. Pour in the wine and cook until reduced right down.

Now pour in one-fourth of the stock and stir well. Cook gently until the liquid has been absorbed,then stir in another ladleful of stock. Continue cooking and stirring, gradually adding the stock,until the rice grains are just tender and the risotto is creamy. The whole process should take about15 minutes. About 2 minutes before the end of cooking, stir in the pancetta, mascarpone, and half the Parmesan.

Check the seasoning, then serve in warm bowls, sprinkled with the remaining Parmesan.


Monday, October 16, 2006

On The Road Again

I'm on the road again traveling for work. I'll be back Thursday will an amazing risotto recipe. It's worth the wait. Until Thursday, take care.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Paprika Pork

Remember how a few weeks back I raved about a little book that I bought for $5 at Brookline Booksmith titled 101 Simple Suppers? Well, I'm raving again, this recipe is also from that book and yes, it was simple and delicious.

Our friendly neighbor across the hall took care of our cat V and all my potted herbs while CB and I were in Rome, so last night we had him over for dinner as a thank you. This meal came together in about 20 minutes, but you let it simmer for over 30 minutes, so it takes about an hour to make in total. I've never cooked pork before, so I'm pretty proud of my first attempt.

2 tbsp olive oil
3 onions thinly sliced
1lb 5oz boneless pork
2 tbsp paprika
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
4oz sour cream
freshly chopped parsley to garnish.

  1. Heat oil in the pan, add the onions and saute on low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened and lightly colored.
  2. Cut the pork into bite size pieces, add to the pan and stir over a fairly high heat to sear and brown all over. Stir in the paprika, cook briefly, then add the stock and bring to a boil.
  3. Lower the heat, cover and cook for 30-35 minutes until the pork is tender. Stir in the sour cream and simmer 2 more minutes. Sprinkle the parsley over the pork, the serve with rice and a green vegetable, (I had peas).

Per Serving: 357 calories, protien 36.5g, carbs 11.3g, fat 18.7g, saturated fat 7.6g, fiber 1.3g

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Window Shopping, Roman Style

I don't think, in all my days I'll be able to express what this trip meant to me. It was amazing, and exhausting, and filled with sites and sounds and smells and tastes I have never experienced before and can only pray I experience again. It was the kind of trip that changes you. It was the kind of trip that will come back to you on a lazy afternoon when you smell basil and tomatoes wafting from a kitchen window. The kind of trip that will come back to you when you smell incense drifting out from church doors. The kind of trip that comes back to when you hold a sip of red wine in your mouth and savor the tannin flavor. It will be the kind of trip that sneaks up on you and fills you with memory when you least expect it.

Rome is a dichotomy in terms. It's ancient and modern at the same time. Its a slow stroll down a cobblestone street and a speeding blur of lights all at the same time. Its locals sipping coffee at bars with tourists clamoring about. Its neighbors speaking in Italian too fast to understand and tourists speaking in Italian too fumbled to comprehend. Its truly amazing in every sense; all senses.

I understand why Rome lures people back time and again. I can only hope I'll be back some day.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Ciao! I’m off to Rome

I cannot think of a better way to celebrate than by traveling and experiencing something new with the person that you have vowed to experience everything with for the rest of your life.

I mean isn’t that what marriage is; experiencing things together, discovering things about each other and yourself together, pushing your boundaries together, doing things together that you wouldn’t have the guts to do alone, constantly discovering together?

Two years ago today I was anxious and nervous. I was nervous about the kind of wife I would be. Could I give everything to a marriage and still retain the fierce independence that stokes the fire of my being everyday. Could I take on the responsibility of someone else’s happiness; could I make him happy? Would making him happy make me happy?

Two years ago today I stood outside the church waiting for the music to queue me to walk down the aisle. As the doors to church opened and the music played and the people stood in anticipation, there you were, at the end of the aisle. I saw you and all the fears and doubts I had on the other side of the door were gone; this wasn’t about me, it was about us. From now on I had a partner someone to make the laughter louder, the tears less salty, the hard times not so hard, and the good times all the better.

Two years seems to have gone by too quickly, but the best part is we have each other forever and that seems like a good amount of time.

Happy Second Babe.