May 18, 2008

just a warning…

we’re in remodeling mode around in my kitchen! This means we’ll be eating outdoors for the next few weeks…months?!?! God I hope it doesn’t take that long!!!

So you might see some make-shift dinners like this one from tonight…for the next few weeks…..

tonight's dinner

I got some cute avocados in my organic veggie/fruit shipment this week:

teeny tasty avocados

Casey jazzed one up with sea salt, freshed cracked pepper & olive oil…

casey experiments

Here’s me devouring one of my favorite food combos EVER!
(tomato, basil, garlic rubbed crostini & olive oil- salt & pepper too!)

on my plate

I’d also like to thank my hubby for painting the door to the *man room* this weekend.
Here it is with the first coat. Doesn’t it look smashing?

casey painted the theater door

Also this weekend:

-had buckwheat pancakes with lots of butter, syrup & strawberries
-went to the city to pick up Red Sox tickets
-had a yummy lunch @ Naan & Curry
-beat the heat and saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall (super funny)
-met up with a friend in the city
-worked around the house on the remodel
-tried to stay cool…temperature was up to 99 at one point!

May 14, 2008

Hamburger Tomato Pizza

I thought that I would bust this out, while I’m on a roll with Everday Food recipes. I stared at the picture in the current issue for like 10 minutes straight. I kid you not.

If that doesn’t get you to try it… Perhaps mine will?

fresh out of the oven

(yes that pan is WELL-LOVED)

Now check up close!

i added basil- good call, tracy

I like a crust that’s a little over cooked and crispy!

up close

eating it outside was the best!

first slice

Hamburger Grape Tomato Pizza (Everyday Food-May 2008 issue)

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • All-purpose flour, for work surface
  • 1 pound frozen pizza dough, thawed
  • 3/4 cup store-bought marinara sauce
  • 1 cup grated provolone cheese (4 ounces)
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1/4 pound ground beef chuck
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • A handful of fresh basil! (I added this and it was PERFECT!)

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Rub a large rimless baking sheet (or a rimmed one, upside down) with oil.

2. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin and your hands to roll and stretch dough into a 15-by-11-inch rectangle (if dough becomes too elastic to work with, let it rest a few minutes). Transfer to prepared sheet.

3. Spread sauce evenly over dough, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Top with provolone, tomatoes, and if desired, onion; scatter beef over top. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Bake until crust is golden, beef is cooked, and cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately. (it’s not as good the second day for some reason!)


May 13, 2008

Tex Mex Enchiladas!

i'll have seconds, thank you

I’d like to admit right here and now that there was once a time when I was scared to make enchiladas. I’ve overcome that fear and can now look back and think how silly I was.

So I started telling you about my little Everyday Food binge huh? Well… I recently watched an episode of EVERYDAY FOOD on PBS and was immediately inspired to make some for myself. I thought that if they can do it so fast- I CERTAINLY CAN. I know you can too!

Not yet inspired? Perhaps I can tempt you with a little close up?

tex mex enchiladas

I just followed this recipe from Everyday Food:

Tex Mex Enchiladas (makes 8 total)


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 small canned chipotle chili in adobo, minced-plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from can
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 lb. lean ground beef
  • Coarse salt & ground pepper
  • 8 tortillas (6 inch)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (about 6 oz.)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro

1. Make Sauce: In a medium saucepan, heat 1 ½ tablespoons oil over medium. Add flour and cook, whisking occasionally, 1 minute. Add broth, chili powder, chipotle and adobo sauce, and ¾ cup water; bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat, and simmer until lightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

2. Make Filling: In a 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat remaining ½ tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add onion, garlic, and beef; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until cooked through, about 8 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 350°. Spoon ¼ cup sauce in bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish. Set aside. Make enchiladas: Stack tortillas; wrap in foil, and warm in oven, 10 minutes. Fill each with a heaping ¼ cup beef mixture and 2 tablespoons cheese; tightly roll up.

4. Raise oven heat to 450°. Arrange enchiladas, seam side down, in baking dish. Top with remaining sauce; sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, until hot and bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Serve garnished with cilantro and perhaps some sour cream like I did!

If you follow the link above, you will find their instructions for freezing your batch!

***Note: After assembling the enchiladas, I was concerned that there might not be enough sauce covering all the tortillas. I decided to drizzle the leftover adobo sauce on top of the assembled enchiladas. I think this added a LOT of flavor!!! ***

This will definitely be in our regular rotation. I can’t wait to experiment on different types of filling!

May 8, 2008

Strawberry Rhubarb Panna Cotta

Have I ever mentioned that I have a subscription to EVERYDAY FOOD? It’s a really great publication for anyone who is starting to broaden their cooking/baking horizons. It’s also a great for those who don’t have a lot of time after work and want to enjoy simple tasty meals. Every recipe is accompanied with a photo which makes it easy for you decide if you really want to make something.

A lot of the times I just look at the pictures to get inspired…but never end up making the recipes. I think I’ve had my subscription since the magazine started! Which means I have a HUGE stack of them in my kitchen. There’s been soo many times where I contemplate discontinuing my subscription because I have so many issues I have yet to cook from. But, I found this month’s issue to be pretty inspiring! I was excited to find at least 6 recipes that I immediately wanted to try.

So last week I got some rhubarb in my weekly organic fruit/veggie shipment from Farm Fresh To You. I’ve never made ANYTHING with rhubarb, so it was a delight to see this following recipe in this month’s issue. I hopped right to it!

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote (Everyday Food- May 2008)


  • 1 pint of strawberries (hulled & halved)
  • 2 stalks of rhubarb cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup of water

1. In a large saucepan, place strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, and 1/4 cup water; bring to a simmer over high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb begins to break down, 6 to 8 minutes. Serve warm or cold!

***This simple recipe produces the tastiest topping! I ate A LOT of it soon after making. It will instantly transport you to summer! ***

I had every intention on using this compote with yogurt for my breakfast the next morning…..but all of a sudden I saw one of my favorite desserts in the magazine. VANILLA PANNA COTTA!

It’s something I’ve wanted to try making…. but for some reason I thought it might be too complicated.

On Sunday, I quickly got over my fear and dove right in.

Here we are in progress… (see the strawberry rhubarb compote?)

strawberry rhubarb finished-panna cotta in process

I brought all the chilled ramkeins over to my sister-in-law’s house and served them up.

Just top with the compote after you release the panna cottas from their molds!

panna cotta with strawberry rhubarb compote

Sooo incredibly creamy & light. Can you say decadent??

Vanilla Panna Cotta (Everyday Food May 2008)

*serves 6*


  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 3 cups half & half
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • a dash of salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Place 1/4 cold water in a small bowl; sprinkle with gelatin. Set aside to soften, 5-10 minutes

2. In a medium saucepan, combine half & half, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil; remove from heat. Add vanilla and softened gelatin mixture. Stir until dissolved.

3. Divide mixture among six- 6oz. ramekins. Chill, covered with plastic wrap until firm, at least 4 hours and up to 3 days.

4. To serve, run a small knife around the edge of each panna cotta to loosen, then carefully dip bottom of the ramekin in hot water for a few seconds. Invert onto a small plate and shake firmly to release the panna cotta onto the plate.

***In the magazine, they recommend drizzling the tops of the panna cotta with maple syrup. Perhaps next time I’ll try that. ***


snippets of geekdom

woke up saturday morning….started the day off right:

saturday breakfast

ate my weight in oranges (not really)

i ate soo many oranges this weekend

went to the Maker Faire with the hubs & met some friends there:

maker faire 2008


April 29, 2008

flashback: weekend!

It’s Tuesday…and all I can think of is the past weekend and the weekend coming up. We live for weekends don’t we? Weekends seem like the only time I am able to play in the kitchen and take photos at my own pace…and this weekend I did just that.

Started off with breakfast outside on the patio….

Here I am busy working in the kitchen while Casey snoozed:

the makings of breakfast

End result = eggs with chives & cheddar, toast with strawberry puree and coffee!

eggs, toast & coffee

Our plates were licked clean…


I did some gardening…

new planties

I bought a new doormat for the patio…

new doormat

A new fern for each bathroom (i love them!)

new fern in the bathroom

We fixed up our other deck and ate the Orange Strawberry popsicles I made on Friday to celebrate!

made our deck look nice

I stuck three cucumbers in the juicer and out came this lovely shade of green…

cucumber juice!

The cucumber pulp inspired me to make tzatziki…and then I ended up with this:

sunday's dinner

I made turkey meatballs without following a recipe…

turkey meatballs, greek salad etc.

And of course I had to use that cucumber juice so I made a delightful ginger-ale/cucumber/mint/lemon concoction…

cucumber, ginger ale, mint, lemon



-watched a few movies (La Vie En Rose, Into the Wild & Alpha Dog)

-Casey continued to work on painting our kitchen cabinets

-I started a sewing project that ended terribly 🙁

-Took a trip to Home Depot

-Daydreamed about my perfect kitchen…..

What are you doing this weekend?

April 27, 2008

Creamy Mac & Cheese and Better than Brownie Cookies!

This weeks girls night (plus 1 boy) was all about comfort food.

I made a New York Times recipe for Creamy Macaroni & Cheese (found via Smitten Kitchen).

Thank you Deb!

Did I ever tell you how much I love the crunchy bits of Mac & Cheese??  I used to fight with my two older brothers over the crunchy parts when we were growing up.

Aren’t you jealous- Ryan?

i love the crunchies

Here’s a close up of the creaminess….the cottage cheese was a nice touch!

mac n' cheese!

I paired the mac & cheese with a salad (cucumber, tomato, red onion & feta with a mustard dressing) and some steamed broccoli.

I HAD to balance out that fat/veggie ratio….

girls night (plus 1 boy) dinner

Creamy Macaroni & Cheese

New York Times 01/04/06

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup whole milk cottage cheese
  • 2 cups milk (not skim)
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 handful of breadcrumbs (not in the original recipe-I added this)
  • Pinch cayenne
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 pound elbow pasta, uncooked.

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees and position an oven rack in upper third of oven. Use 1 tablespoon butter to butter a 9-inch round or square baking pan.

2. In a blender, puree cottage cheese.  When consistency is extremely smooth, add milk, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg and salt and pepper together. Reserve 1/4 cup grated cheese for topping. In a large bowl, combine remaining grated cheese, milk mixture and uncooked pasta. Pour into prepared pan, cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes.

3. Uncover pan, stir gently, sprinkle with reserved cheese and breadcrumbs. Dot with remaining tablespoon butter. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes more, until browned. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

***The only thing that I regret…is not making a double batch!***

And for dessert…..

don't touch them!  they are cooling!

Earlier that day I decided to make these brownie cookies I found from one of my flickr buddies. I totally screwed up the batch when I made it a couple of weeks ago. I ended up with 1 big cookie the shape of my cookie sheet! I got it right this time…Not sure what happened.


makes about 18

The recipe came from Welcome to My Pantry (thank you!)


  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/8 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

-Set oven to 350 degrees

1. Melt 1 cup chocolate chips with 2 oz. of unsweetened chocolate. Add butter, stir til melted.

2. Mix eggs, vanilla and sugar in a medium bowl.  Combine thoroughly. Set aside.

3. Mix flour & baking powder together in a small bowl.

4. Add melted chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and slowly add your dry ingredients.  When stirred, add remaining cup of chocolate chips- stir!

5. Scoop cookies onto a cookie sheet.  Bake & try not to scarf them down the second they get out of the oven!

if only this was a swimming pool




My makeshift Neapolitan dessert!

I put two cookies in each of bowl, topped it with vanilla bean ice cream and added some strawberry sauce on top!

For the strawberry sauce, I pureed strawberries with a little bit of sugar & water. Taste as you go and check the consistency and it’s pretty darn easy.

What’s your favorite comfort food?