Monday, January 31, 2011

Guten Appetit

Or "Enjoy the meal" in German (so says Google). Chris had a hankering for burgers and I whipped up this warm German potato salad to accompany them. Simple, tasty and a comforting alternative to the slew of cold salads I usually make. We had a close call with our indoor burgers that resulted in our smoke detector screaming and a house that will probably smell like Wendy's until 2012 but at least I know I can make decent potato salad in the winter.

German Potato Salad
Adapted from Epicurious. Serves 4.

  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 heaping tbs flour
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/4 tsp. finely chopped rosemary
  • 4 good sized red potatoes, sliced and boiled until just soft
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  1. Fry bacon until crisp and all fat has been rendered. Drain on paper towel.
  2. Add onion to skillet and saute until just soft. Stir in flour and cook a few minutes until just golden. 
  3. Add vinegar, water, sugar and spices. Stir continually until thick. 
  4. Gently toss potatoes with sauce, add bacon and parsley.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Portrait of the artist

As a 16 17 (!) month old toddler. Colin's new favorite activity is coloring. He will actually go a good twenty minutes or so, just pushing the crayon and paper around. We now seem to have crayons hiding in every nook and cranny of our house, but so far he's been pretty good about keep his art confined to that pad of paper. And whenever he finds a loose crayon he wanders around going "Color? Color?" and looking for his tattered yellow canvas.

Edited - Whoops! He's actually 17 months! When do we get to start counting in years?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Giving you the bird

Seemed like an appropriate title for the classiest of all poultry preparation - beer can chicken. This dish is slightly more refined though, featuring Guinness and a sauce made with fig jam. I actually had a huge post written up with the recipe and my notes. And then Blogger ate it. And I cried. And then I drank a glass of wine and realized that I might as well just link you on over to the original version at the Real Martha Stewart.

My adaptation put the softened butter (mixed with fresh rosemary, salt and pepper) under the skin of the bird, rather than on top. That's a great trick for extra flavor and moisture in any variation of roast chicken. Chris loooved the fig sauce. I thought it was a bit sweet and in retrospect probably could have benefited from some Dijon mustard.

Happy Saturday! Now, where did I put that wine?

Friday, January 28, 2011


I had a rare few minutes alone in the house today. Instead of bubble baths, pedicures and naps, it was mostly filled with vacuuming and sorting the dog toys from the baby toys (neither dog nor baby can seem to tell the difference). Before I got started, I did take a minute to try my hand at a self-portrait. I'm not totally self absorbed - it was the weekly challenge for a photo board I frequent. And challenge is the perfect word for it.

Is there such a thing as an in-focus self-portrait? For the time being, let's just pretend they don't exist.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A boy, a spatula and a very patient dog.

Don't worry. No Chow-mixes were harmed in the making of this video.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Making Pop Eye Proud

Mmm. Spinach risotto. Don't get the wrong idea - it's only slightly healthy. Really, it's more like a cross between creamed spinach and a cheesy risotto, so the nutrients of the spinach are negated by lots of butter and parmesan. I think it was Mario Batali that said, "If your risotto isn't as good as a restaurant's, just keep adding butter and cheese." I like to apply that philosophy to a lot of things.

Spinach Risotto

  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 3 tbs. butter
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/2 c. dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 - 2 c. chicken broth
  • 1 c. pureed spinach (about one package of fresh baby spinach, steamed and pureed)
  • 1 c. parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  1. Melt 2 tbs butter with olive oil in pan over medium heat. Add shallot and saute until soft. 
  2. Add rice and continue to saute and stir until it becomes a little bit translucent. 
  3. Pour in white wine and cook, stirring frequently, until it has all been absorbed by the rice. 
  4. While wine cooks off, heat broth for a minute or two in a large mug in the microwave. Until it gets a little bit steamy.
  5. Add 1 c. broth. Like the wine, stir frequently and allow it to be absorbed by the rice. Do the same with the next 1/2 c. of broth (reserving the extra 1/2 c. in case you need it after adding the spinach puree). 
  6. When the rice is nearly done and absorbed the broth, add the spinach puree. It will have a bit of liquid in it, so continue to stir and allow it to be absorbed. If after the spinach liquid is absorbed your rice is still too tough for you, add the remaining broth and continue. 
  7. Turn off heat and stir in cheese and remaining 1 tbs butter until combined and melty. Serve!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ribeyes, rosemary and red wine.

Or, the cure for the common toddler. Colin was in rare form on Saturday evening. He was coming down with a cold, had new molars poking through and was functioning off a mere 45 minute car nap.  Luckily, we were able to put him down for bed a little early and reward ourselves with glorious hunks of red meat and a fair amount of alcohol. We typically grill steaks, but it's too cold to even think about standing outside for that amount of time. I found this perfectly simple and delicious recipe for pan seared steaks with a tasty red wine sauce in my January Martha Stewart Living. The rosemary, which is growing like mad in a pot on my dining room table, was my idea. Blue cheese mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus were great accompaniments.

Steaks with  Red Wine and Rosemary Sauce
Based on this recipe from Martha Stewart.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil.
  • 2 big ole steaks like ribeye, delmonico or New York strip. 
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tsps finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus two springs.
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1 tbs butter, cold
  • 1 tbs Dijon mustard


  1. Heat the oil over medium high in skillet. Heat oven to 250. 
  2. Rub steaks all over with salt, pepper and chopped rosemary. 
  3.  When screaming hot, sear steaks for about 4 minutes per side (and if they're very thick, sear the short sides as well), until thermometer reads 130 degrees. 
  4. Place steaks on cookie sheet or oven proof platter in oven while you cook the sauce.
  5. Reduce heat to medium, and deglaze with wine. Add rosemary sprigs. Cook until almost mostly reduced, about 5 minutes. Add stock, and cook a few minutes more until reduced further. Turn off heat and whisk in butter and mustard. Add any accumulated juices on cookie sheet/platter. Season sauce with salt and pepper and spoon over steaks. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

Florida Fotos (Pt. II)

Conch Republic:
Feeling dirty? 

Oh snap!

Hemingway's writing desk (and his ghost - woOoooOO!)
A urinal repurposed as a cat waterer
Cat curled up on Hemingway's bed. Snuggly.
Whoops. My pack of cigarettes must have fallen out of my rolled up t-shirt sleeve.

Babababarcuda through the hull of a glass-bottomed boat

So fun! Til next time, KW!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Florida Fotos (Pt. I)

Just a few shots from the first half of our jaunt.
Sea of Grass along Sawgrass Parkway. According to my mom, this would be an excellent place to hide a body.

Sunset in the Everglades

So long! And thanks for all the fish!.

Man, this place is crawling with sunsets.

Corkscrew Sanctuary

Big bird.

My mom and I, giving her new favorite restaurant free advertising.

Margarita made with freshly squeezed limes and pink Himalayan salt. That's how we do.

Guava wine at a rare Florida winery. Also on the tasting list: coconut, mango and lychee.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Beans and Greens Soup

It was fortuitous that Smitten Kitchen posted a recipe for chard and white bean stew just as I had a lovely bunch of greens slowly wilting in my vegetable drawer. That recipe served as inspiration, but I streamlined it a bit. This is definitely a quick and simple soup rather than a more complex stew.  I'll be honest with you -- these greens were several days neglected and by the time I used them I couldn't even remember what kind they were. Pretty sure the were chard. Or maybe an unruffled kale? More tender collard? I think any of the above would work, regardless.

Beans and Greens Soup

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. dried marjoram (or oregano)
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 bunch (about a pound) greens
  • 2 cans of white beans, rinsed and drained.
  1. Heat oil in dutch oven over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic until almost translucent. Add carrots and celery and cook until tender. 
  2. Add spices to vegetables and stir.
  3. Pour in stock and bring mixture to up to a boil.
  4. Stir in greens and beans. Turn down heat and simmer until greens tender. 
  5. Serve with with bread, cornbread, starch of your choosing.

Margarita O'clock

Sunset in Everglades City.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Me and my big ideas

The fallen confetti has been swept.  Dick Clark has been delicately bathed in the amniotic fluid of a rare white tiger and put away in his cryogenic chamber.  And the time for resolution making has come and gone. There is no denying that we are totally in to 2011, but I thought I would take a moment and jot down some food related to-dos for the year.

Things I Want to Make in 2011:
  • Turtle brownies. Caramel pecan, not reptile. 
  • Artichoke pudding/flan/deliciousness. I had an amazing savory custard dotted with briney artichoke hearts from Wegman's  last week. Step 1 is to figure out what it's called.
  • Chocolate souffle
  • A poor man's light set-up for taking food photos after dark.
  • Pop-overs. (I'm looking at you, Kim!)
  • 2 recipes per month from both Martha Stewart Living and Everyday Food. I really have to put these subscriptions to work. They should be filling my tummy and my blog, not just lazing about on my coffee table.
  • Bacon risotto. Just try to wrap your head around the extreme awesome that may occur.
  • Brown sugar cookies

What are your food goals for 2011? Or, is there anything you want me to see me make? Friends and family (both real and internet), any recipes I've made for you that you'd like to see on the blog? I'm open to ideas! Let's have a delicious 2011, everyone.

Is this thing on?

Just playing with my blogging app. Still can't figure out how to upload photos, though.

Quote of the day: "Manatees are about as interesting as a floating piece of fat." - Mom

Friday, January 14, 2011

Gone Fishing

Or rather, conch hunting.

Key West - 2009

I'll be away for  few days on a road trip to Florida with my mom. Ultimate destination: Key West. Should be fun, hopefully warm. Don't bother trying to burgle my house - Chris and Colin will still be there, along with our vicious canines.

In an effort to actually keep up the 365 idea, I've prepped a few posts to run while I'm gone. Although, I'm struggling with the scheduled post feature of Blogger for some unknown reason, so we'll see how that turns out. I've also downloading a blogging app, so you might be treated to some grainy iphone pics of  my adventures while I"m away!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Building service

This broom brought us a solid 20 minutes of entertainment. And slightly cleaner floors.

How cute is my rockin' little janitor?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sweaty strangers

Yesterday, my neighbor Julie and I went to our first hot yoga class. I figured I would either love it because I really enjoy yoga or hate it because I don't like feeling gross. It turned out to be a mix of the two. First of all, the room stank like urine. Chris and I have high class taste in cinema and one of our favorite movies scenes is the dinner scene in Talladega Nights (you know, the one with the 8 lbs 6 ounce Baby Jesus), where Will Farrell's son boasts that he peed his pants and wore his dirty pee pants all day. That's what this room smelled like - dirty pee pants.

But, the smell did not compare with the worst part of hot yoga - you have to do it with other people. Strange people with varying levels of hygiene and concepts of personal space. The man whose mat was in front of me was a solid nine feet tall, clad in only bike shorts, and had a faded tattoo of Donald Duck on his chest. Because of his gargantuan size, he couldn't be confined to the limits of his own mat so he often seemed to hover over mine. You guys, he SWEAT ON MY MAT. Gah! Beads of stranger sweat on my yoga mat. It was grosser than gross.

Anyway, despite the extreme ick factor it seemed like a pretty good work out. The heat wasn't too bad-- not unlike being nine months pregnant in August. I think I just need to find a less popular session or take up a nice roomy corner next time. We have four classes left on our Groupon deal, so that's four more chances to get totally skeeved out and risk some sort of infectious rash, or four more good workouts. I'm going to think positive and focus on the later.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Colin brought home his first finger painting today.

I love this stuff, really. But I'm not quite sure what to do with all of it. The librarian in me wants to rush out and buy a stack of mylar sleaves and acid free boxes, but I'm sure we'll only be able to save so much over the years. For the time being, we'll just have to risk the direct sun exposure and hang it prominently on our refrigerator.

And tonight I caught Donkey showing Colin a rare sign of affection. This dog will leap four feet in the air for the slight chance you'll pat his head for his effort, but generally wants nothing to do with the baby. 

A second later.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pork Loin Stuffed with Pears and Blue Cheese

This was a very tasty Sunday dinner, but I'm not going to lie - it wasn't the best version of this dish that I've made. Unfortunately, when I did make that eye-roll-of-pleasure pork loin a few weeks ago, I neglected to write down any of my steps and so, this was my best attempt to recreate it. I'm not quite sure what was off here - the ripeness of the pear? The type of blue cheese? Hit me up in the comments if you have any suggestions for improvements. And what do you think of the sauce idea? It worked well, but I wonder what might have been better? Something with port? Your thoughts are welcome!

Pork Loin Stuffed with Pears and Blue Cheese , topped with Balsamic Cream sauce
  • 3 lbs pork loin, butterflied and pound flat
  • 1 pear, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 c. blue cheese, crumbled
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Sprinkle unrolled pork with salt and pepper and then distribute pears and blue cheese evenly, leaving about an inch margin on all sides. 
  3. Start at one short end and slowly roll pork up tightly. Tie with butcher's string every inch or so. Tuck ends in as best you can. Sprinkle outside of roast with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat a large, oven-safe skillet over medium high. Add a tbs of olive oil and brown pork on all sides, about 10 minutes. 
  5. Place pan in oven and roast until meat thermometer shows internal temp of 145 degrees, about 45 minutes. 
  6. Remove roast from pan and allow to rest on cutting board. Place pan on burner over medium high. Deglaze with balsamic vinegar. 
  7. Once vinegar is reduced and sticky, whisk in cream. Turn down heat and reduce a bit more. 
  8. Slice roast in one inch thick slices, top with sauce.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Snowy morning

Too bad it didn't stick around long enough to play in, but Colin thought it was fun to watch. And yes, that's an aqua house. I can't wait to get some leaves back on these trees. . .

Friday, January 7, 2011

Columns and cuddles

Random shots from my evening. 


My attempt at cloning out the shaving cream. Still had a little trouble reconciling the change in light.
In black & white. Still playing with conversions.