Monday, March 31, 2014

The Month in Review - March 2014

Last month when I did my recap, I complained bitterly about the cold weather.  Note that me complaining about cold weather is a running theme in my life.  I remember saying something about March coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb.  Sadly, it's frozen lamb.  We're also getting a little drenched in rain these days but I noticed that its causing the tulip bulbs to start popping up.  So there is hope....

The Month in Review - March 2014

In the meantime, there is cooking.  Lots of tasty and healthy recipes were created last month along with a couple of sweet indulgences and, of course, a cocktail or two...or four.  So let's take a look back at March while we try to get this lamb thawed out.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 28, 2014

French Onion Spaghetti Pie


Spaghetti pie is typically a pasta baked in tomato sauce and cheese.  It sounds good and has been on my to-do list forever now.  But when I saw this French onion version in Good Housekeeping, my head turned.  Sauteed onions in the pasta?  My mom used to do that with egg noodles and I loved it.  Gruyere cheese?  One of my absolute favorites!  White wine sauce?  How gourmet!  This had to be made ASAP.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Crumb Parfaits

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Crumb Parfaits

Today, 30 of my fellow food bloggers and I are celebrating the most amazing made-up holiday you've never heard of.  Yes, we have declared it Chocolate and Peanut Butter Day because such a thing needs to exist.  Our little movement is hosted by Carla of Chocolate Moosey and Miriam of Overtime Cook and sponsored by some amazing companies.  Follow #chocPBday on social media and our Pinterest board for lots of amazing recipe ideas.  And be sure to enter the raffle where 3 winners will receive prizes from OXO, King Arthur Flour or Peanut Butter & Co.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs

When I was growing up, my mother almost always cooked our dinner.  But, every once in a while, I was allowed to choose a pre-packaged frozen dinner.  Somehow that was a treat back then although now I can't tell you why.  My choices were pretty predictable, though.  Either I'd want that perennial kid-favorite, Salisbury steak, or Swedish meatballs with noodles.  For me, it wasn't even about the meatballs but rather that creamy brown sauce, so different than the tomato sauce I was used to seeing with meatballs.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Simple Apple Cake

Simple Apple Cake

Sometimes you need simple, easy to make cake.  Not box mix easy, fresh made easy.  With a moist, just-sweet-enough batter, perfumed with vanilla, and a thin layer of cinnamon apples and powdered sugar on top.  Really, really good simple cake.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thirsty Thursdays: Springtime Martini

Springtime Martini
Springtime Martini

Check out today's post on A Cocktail Life for this citrus blend martini to celebrate the first day of spring!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Peanut Butter Shortbread Sandwich Cookies

Peanut Butter Shortbread Sandwich Cookies

I was so excited for the first day of spring tomorrow.  I set aside some light jackets to be dry cleaned, started some spring house cleaning and got out my sunny daisy cookie cutters.  Then I went outside to walk the dog.  Ugh.  Who put the winter in my spring???

Monday, March 17, 2014

Pan Roasted Tomato Barley Risotto


Of all the canisters of grains and seeds in my cupboard, barley feels the most like a starchy side dish to me.  Sure, it's great in soup but it's much greater cooked on its own and blended with vegetables, herbs or cheese.  Nutritionally speaking, barley is high in protein and fiber so it keeps you feeling full for longer periods of time and anything you can do with rice, you can do with barley.

Friday, March 14, 2014

A Whole Lotta Pie!

A Whole Lotta Pie!

Today is National Pi Day.  That's pi as in the Greek letter π which represents the ratio used to compute the circumference, area and volume of circles.  And yes, I had to look that up because middle school was many centuries ago for me.  The day is meant as a celebration of mathematics but around here, it's a celebration of sweet stuff in a crust.  Way more fun!  So here then is a re-cap of some of the pies I've made in the past so that we can properly honor this day.  Enjoy!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Introducing Thirsty Thursdays

Although I love to be in my kitchen cooking, baking and wielding a cocktail shaker, I've actually spent most of my professional career in the big advertising agencies of New York.  It's not exactly like Mad Men...but it's not exactly not like it either.  It's a serious business with a relaxed style.  Business hours are relative, dress codes are non-existent and there's bound to be a bottle of booze in the drawers of at least half the creative department.  OK, maybe more than half.  Don't get me wrong, ad people work seriously hard and till all hours of the night so ad agencies tend to reward the extreme dedication with perks such as free food and weekly booze carts. Some places call it Thirsty Thursdays and some opt for a Friday 4:00 pm cocktail hour but I don't think I've ever worked at an agency that didn't do one or the other.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Irish Mudslide Sauce

Irish Mudslide Sauce

Last year, I used Irish cream liqueur to make a delicious trifle for St. Patrick's Day.  So, for the past few days, I've been staring at my bottle of Irish cream and wanting to create another recipe with it.  I kept thinking, what would I like to pour this into, other than just a big glass.  So, the desire to just drink it made me think about pouring it over something and that's when I realized that it really, really needed to be a sauce.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Polenta with Butternut Squash, Sausage and Caramelized Onions

Polenta with Butternut Squash, Sausage and Caramelized Onions

When it comes to grains and flours, I usually keep a fairly well stocked pantry.  So, barley, bulgar wheat, farro and quinoa are usually on hand right next to the white flour, whole wheat flour and cornmeal.  But when I'm planning my dinners, I sometimes forget to shop in my own pantry.  The cornmeal, for example, has been sitting there lonely and unused except for the occasional urge for cornbread.  When I'm in a restaurant, a dish of polenta always sounds so appealing so there was really no excuse for the canister of cornmeal not to be shown a little more respect

Friday, March 7, 2014

Savory Beet and Gorgonzola Galette

Savory Beet and Gorgonzola Galette

Every couple of weeks, I come back from grocery shopping with a big bunch of beets.  I roast them, peel them, dice them and toss them into my dinner salads for a few nights.  Tasty and healthy.  But the last bunch was still sitting in the veggie crisper a few days later.  As much as I like roasted beets, I was clearly not motivated enough for even the simple task of wrapping them in foil and sticking them in the oven.  Beet boredom?  Something had to be done!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Scones Spoken Here

Scones Spoken Here

If you had visited my home over the weekend, you would have noticed a thick layer of flour dust covering the entire kitchen, a large section of the dining room table and most of the dog.  (She sits at my feet when I cook and I can't make her move.)  The reason for this lapse in housekeeping is that I've been baking scones.  Lots and lots of scones.  My scone-loving mother taught me to appreciate them but she always bought them from a bakery.  I've spent my adult years in search of the perfect scone recipe and, while I've made lots of good ones, I'm always looking for the "perfect" version.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Month in Review - February 2014

I can't pretend I'm sorry to say goodbye to February this year.  It was a challenging month on several levels, not to mention one of the snowiest on record.  Not that there's any great improvement today with arctic temperatures and yet more snow in the forecast.  But, if the adage is true about March coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb, I'll be hoping for sun and warmth soon.