france meets greece

Brown sugar crepes & Greek yogurt with toasted almonds, honey, and dried cherries.


seared scallops with tropical salsa

Salsa ingredients: mango, pineapple, red onion, finely-grated ginger, fresh mint, lime juice, pinch of chili powder.

Scallops seared in a mixture of olive oil & butter.


curry chicken pot pie

Recipe from Mar. 2012 issue of Everyday Food magazine:

Make crust (a standard pie crust):
1-1/4 c flour + 1 tsp sugar + 1/4 tsp salt. Cut 1 stick cold butter into small pieces, and incorporate into the flour mixture, until it's a coarse meal. Add 5 TBSP ice water and form dough into a disk. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for an hour.

-Preheat oven to 375

-Melt 5 TBSP butter in a large pot over med-hi heat.

-Add 1 onion (diced small) and 1/2 head cauliflower (cut into small florets), and cook until softened, about 8 minutes.

-add 3 cloves diced garlic and 2 TBSP curry powder, and cook for about 30 seconds.

-Add 1/2 cup flour and stir to coat vegetables.

-Slowly add 4 cups chicken stock while stirring. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 7 minutes.

-Stir in 1/4 lb frozen cut green beans and 3 cups shredded cooked chicken. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Pour filling into a 2-quart baking dish.

-Roll out dough to 1/8" thick, and lay on top of the pan. Gather the overhanging edges inward to form a rough crust. Cut a few slits in the dough, to vent.

-Place dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 45-50 minutes, until crust is golden and filling is bubbling around the edges. Let cool 15 minutes before cutting.


simple lasagna

1/2 lb ground beef
half an onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
large can of diced tomatoes
8 oz can tomato sauce
handful each of chopped fresh basil & parsley
1 TBSP sugar
salt to taste
ricotta mixture:
1 container ricotta
handful of grated parmesan
about 1 TBSP each chopped fresh basil & parsley
sprinkle of dried oregano
6 no-boil lasagna noodles
2 cups shredded mozzarella

-Heat oven to 350 and get out a 8x8" pan.

-Sauté the onions & garlic in a little bit of olive oil until they soften (but don't fully brown).

-Add ground beef, season with salt, and cook through.

-Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and simmer for about 1/2 hour. Prepare ricotta mixture while you're waiting.

-Lasagna assembly (from bottom to top):
—spread a spoonful of sauce in the bottom of the pan
—2 noodles topped with 1/2 of the ricotta mixture, layer of sauce, and sprinkle of mozzarella
—repeat above
—2 noodles covered with sauce and the rest of the mozzarella

-Cover loosely with foil and bake for 30 minutes. 
-Uncover and bake 15 minutes more.


swiss chard lasagna

 I used this recipe, with a few tweaks:

- added sweet italian sausage (3 links, meat removed from the casing and crumbled into the pan. Cooked the sausage through before adding the garlic & chard to the pan.)

-assembled in 3 layers of 2 noodles each, rather than the recipe's 2 layers of 3 noodles (fits an 8x8 pan perfectly)

-incorporated mozzarella into the inner layers, instead of just on top


halloween treat

Pumpkin-chocolate whoopie pie
(recipe from the Nov. 2011 Everyday Food magazine)

The cookies
2 c. flour
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
3/4 c. pumpkin purée
1 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. melted butter
1/4 c. heavy cream

Whisk together the wet ingredients, then add the dry ingredients & whisk until just combined. Drop dough in 1-TBSP mounds onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for about 14 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. They're done when the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Let cool completely before filling.

The filling
1/4 c. butter at room temperature
1/2 c. heavy cream
1-3/4 c. confectioners' sugar
2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

Mix with an electric mixer until fluffy. Spread on the flat side of a cookie, then press another cookie on the other side to make a sandwich.


chilly today. chili tonight.

3 strips thick-cut bacon, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced (set some aside for garnish)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBSP chili powder
1 generous tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp paprika
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 cup(ish) beer (I didn't measure)
1 can red kidney beans
1 large can crushed tomatoes
(grated cheddar & diced onion for garnish)

In a heavy dutch oven pot on medium heat, cook the bacon until starting to crisp.

Add pepper, onion & garlic and cook until they start to soften. Mix in spices and cook for a few minutes.

Add ground beef. Break it up and cook until browned. Season with salt.

Stir in beer & beans. Then stir in the crushed tomatoes. Add more salt.

Cover pot, turn heat to low, and simmer for an hour. Stir occasionally.

Garnish with cheddar & some raw onion.

I made cornbread to go with the chili (not pictured). Click here for a simple & quick recipe. (note: I used turbinado sugar instead of white, and substituted 1/3 c. melted butter for the veg. oil)


baked sweet potato

-Wash the potato, poke all over with a fork, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with coarse salt.
-Bake in a 400-degree oven for 50-60 min.
-Slice open, stuff with crumbled feta, and return to the oven, until the cheese gets a little melty.
-Top with greek yogurt, scallions, and fresh thyme leaves. Season with salt & pepper.


heirloom tomato tart

Heirloom tomatoes really DO taste better than their genetically-modified counterparts.

To make the tart: Heat oven to 400. Roll out puff pastry dough to 12"x12", and fold the edges in to make a border. Brush with a very light coating of sour cream, and chill. Then top with a layer of thin tomato slices (about 1/8" thick). Season with salt & pepper. Bake for 20-30 minutes (sprinkle feta on about halfway through), until the dough is done and golden brown. When it's done, top with basil leaves.


taste of summer

Spicy cucumber salad (cucumber with thinly-sliced onion and fresh parsley, splash of rice vinegar and red pepper flakes:
Thanks to my coworker Bob for bringing in cucumbers from his garden to share with the office!

Sweet corn with butter, chili powder, salt & squeeze of lime 
(photo dedicated to Kelly):
New Jersey peaches over French vanilla ice cream, with candied ginger and basil (credit to Bob's garden for the basil):


fun with hurricane rations

Since hurricane Irene has passed without my losing electricity (and because I watched a bunch of episodes of "Chopped" while I was cooped up indoors for 2 days), I decided tonight to challenge myself to come up with a dinner featuring something from my now unnecessary non-perishable hurricane food supply: things like nuts/trail mix, bread, bananas... and beef jerky.

I made queso blanco arepas topped with beef jerky & grape tomatoes:

The arepas: combine 3/4 c masa harina (fine corn flour), 3/4 c water, 1/8 tsp coarse salt, and crumbled queso blanco. Let sit for 5-10 min. Form dough into 4 small "pancakes". Heat oil on medium (dough should sizzle when you put it in the pan). Cook about 5 minutes/side.

The topping: heat a splash of oil in a pan, add 1 clove minced garlic. Before it begins to brown, add sliced beef jerky, to just warm through. Then add sliced grape tomatoes, chopped fresh parsley, and some black pepper and cook for a minute or so. Top arepas with the mixture and squeeze a piece of lime on top.

With the exception of the cheese (which could be left out), none of the ingredients in this meal needs refrigeration. Not a bad meal if you do find yourself without power.

It was quite tasty. The jerky was a bit tough, but actually not too bad.
I would definitely make this dish again, using chorizo or skirt steak instead of the jerky.



I was inspired by this recipe, and adapted it using the ingredients I had on hand.

Heat some olive oil in a pan, and add a smashed garlic glove—just to infuse the oil with the garlic flavor. Before it gets any color, fish the garlic out and add yellow squash (peeled and sliced lengthwise into 1/4"-thick slices and seasoned with salt & pepper). When the squash is nicely browned on both sides, remove from the pan and set aside. Add to the pan a minced garlic clove and some chopped roasted red peppers, and heat through. Then mix in cooked red quinoa, a few chopped pieces of the yellow squash, and cilantro. Serve over yellow squash slices and garnish with a squeeze of lime and crumbled feta.


blueberry-ginger jam

At first glance these two photos look a lot alike... 
but they have different personalities.

The first is savory: ciabatta drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with salt, and lightly toasted. Topped with ricotta (seasoned with salt & pepper), and blueberry jam.

The second is sweet: anise-flavored pizzelle (waffle cookie), scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, spoonful of jam, and bits of candied ginger.

I found the basic blueberry jam recipe in Real Simple magazine, then embellished it a little with the ginger and Cointreau.

2 cups blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
juice from half a lemon
1/8 tsp kosher salt
splash of Cointreau 
handful of chopped candied ginger

Put everything except the ginger in a pot and mash it up. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer for about 20 minutes (until it gets thick). I added the ginger in about halfway through. Let cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge (it'll keep for a few weeks, but my supply only lasted about 2 days).


that's a wrap

My new favorite sandwich: Spinach wrap, slathered with spicy hummus, and layered with lettuce leaves, a bed of pickled carrots & daikon (made using this recipe), and pile of thinly-sliced roast beef.