mac & cheese

A little comfort on a cold & rainy night.

I make my mac & cheese the same way mom always made it for me as a kid... to the cooked pasta, just add milk, Velveeta & salt.


pasta with walnuts, sage & garlic

This is another one of my quick & easy meals that I make when I can't decide what I want.

While the pasta is boiling, throw into a pan (on medium heat): a couple TBSP of butter, a splash of olive oil, a handful of roughly-chopped walnuts, and a sliced garlic clove or two. Cook until the garlic gets just a hint of light brown, and the butter has browned slightly. Throw in some chopped fresh sage leaves (sometimes I use rosemary instead) and season with salt. Strain the pasta, dump it in, and toss to combine everything. Top with a little grated parmesan.


cranberry sauce

One 12-oz bag of cranberries
3/4 c sugar
1 c water
1 tsp grated lemon zest
Splash of Cointreau (or other orange-flavored liqueur)

Put the ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature to eat. Couldn't be easier.

Makes a great companion to both sweets and savories. I made it last night, to go with my chicken thighs. Then, when I wrote the chicken post this morning, fell victim to my own food seduction: I looked at the crêpe entry, and they looked so good I had to make them again. I used some of the leftover cranberry sauce as a topping for them. yummmmmmm

(Cranberry sauce recipe from Everyday Food magazine.)

chicken thighs & couscous

This is one of the meals I like to make when I want something quick & yummy, without much cleanup.

Season chicken with salt, pepper & paprika. Place skin-side down on a rimmed baking pan, and into a 450-degree oven for 10 minutes. Turn over, and cook 10 minutes more.

While the chicken is cooking, make the couscous. For one serving, put 1/2 cup chicken broth in a bowl, and heat it to boiling in the microwave. Then stir in 1/3 cup couscous, and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap (it's the same principle as cooking it on the stove, except you don't have to wash a pot & lid after). All of the liquid should be absorbed within 5 minutes. Finish it off with some lemon juice and fresh parsley.



3/4 c flour
1-1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 c milk
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp melted butter

(makes 6-8 crêpes, depending on how thin you make them)

The batter is very simple, the magic really comes from the technique. I use an 8" skillet (the small size makes them easier to control). The key is to use a very hot pan, and cook them very quickly so you get some nice color, but don't burn them.

1. When your pan is nice & hot, take a stick of butter and lightly rub it around the pan (wrap plastic wrap or wax paper around the end of the butter, to give you something to hold onto). The butter should foam on contact—if it browns right away, the pan is too hot.

2. Pour a small amount of batter into the center of your pan, and immediately swirl it around so it covers the bottom. Use
just enough batter to cover the bottom of the pan—just shy of 1/4 cup.

3. The crêpe is ready to be flipped... well, when the crêpe is ready to be flipped (this is where the practice and judgment come in). Signs to look for: you see just a hint of browning around the edge, the uncooked batter top isn't runny anymore (or, just lift up a side and peek to see if the underside looks good). It happens pretty fast, so keep an eye on it. After you flip, it should only need a few seconds to brown the other side a little, since it's pretty much cooked through already.

Repeat from step 1.
Stack crêpes on a plate, with wax paper in between.

Here, I've drizzled honey on one of them, and filled the other with pumpkin butter & dusted with cinnamon. But there's really no limit to how you can serve these...

Fill with any kind of fruit, jam, honey, brown sugar, maple syrup, or dessert spreads (chocolate sauce, caramel, Nutella). Dust with cinnamon, powdered sugar, or cocoa powder. Fold 'em, stack 'em, or roll 'em up. Or just pick them up and eat plain.

Recipe from my old school Betty Crocker cookbook.


pork tenderloin with spinach & apples

The pork: Take a roasting pan and throw in some roughly chopped onion & garlic, and a stalk of fresh rosemary and sage, to make a little aromatic bed for the pork. Lay the tenderloin on top, rubbed with a little bit of olive oil & seasoned with salt & pepper. Add a little bit of water to the pan (1/2 cup or so). Cover and roast at 425, 20-25 min. per pound.

The spinach: Sautee sliced garlic in some olive oil. Add spinach & cook until wilted. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.

The apples: Peel & slice apples. Sautee in butter until soft & browned.


a trip to the apple orchard

Apple cider donuts. Is there any better Fall treat?
(wait, did I already say that about apple dumplings?)

These are the ones that made it home with me. The rest were consumed fresh at the orchard... soft & warm, with a little bit of crispy crunch on the outside.


a little palate cleanser...

(click photos to view large, herby goodness)






apricot glazed chicken


(click 'em... you know you want to)

You only need 5 items to recreate this:

chicken breast + apricot preserves + red pepper flakes +
green beans + sliced almonds

Place chicken & green beans on a rimmed baking sheet, season with salt & pepper (drizzle a little olive oil over the beans). Throw under the broiler for 5-6 min. Take out, top chicken with apricot preserves & red pepper flakes, and sprinkle almonds on the beans. Broil for 5 minutes more. Done.

I'd think that other combinations of meat & preserves would be good as well. Pork & plum, perhaps?

(Recipe from Everyday Food magazine.)


apple dumplings

The perfect Fall treat. I made these using my grandmother's recipe:

2 c flour
1 Tbsp sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp shortening
1/2 c milk
apples (I use cortland or macintosh)
sugar, cinnamon & butter to taste

-Heat oven to 425
-Mix flour, sugar, baking powder & salt in a bowl
-Cut in shortening (so it's broken up into small pieces & well-distributed)
-Add milk, work into a dough
-Roll dough out to 1/8-1/4" thick
-Cut into squares (however big you want your dumplings to be)
-Place a pile of peeled & cut apples in the center of the square, sprinkle generously with sugar & cinnamon, and add some small pieces of butter
-Bring the dough around the apple pile & press it closed
-Arrange dumplings in a greased pan & pour boiling water in (fill about halfway up)
-Sprinkle more sugar & cinnamon over the top
-Bake for about 30 min (or until they look done)

They're great on their own, or served with vanilla ice cream.



ah... Paris. So much wonderful food.
I would go back just for these:

(oh yeah, you're gonna want to click & go large)

The pastries in France really are something special.

I got one of these every chance I got, from the little place across the street from the hotel. I even brought one all the way home and saved it for the next day, so I could savor Paris just a little bit longer...