Our Garden Over-Groweth

My mom has these beautiful patty pan squash in her garden that have grown to nearly the size of a baseball glove. Actually, my mom likened them to the size of my 2-year old nephew’s face, but since most of you don’t know my darling Eli, let’s just say for argument’s sake they’re large. 

They are delicious on their own but we wanted to try something different other than sautéing them again. Last night I actually modified my morning glory muffins by adding in some shredded squash for extra nutrients. You can’t even taste the difference! But tonight the squash is getting stuffed.

Stuffed Patty Pan Squash
Yield: 4-6 servings

1 super-large patty pan squash (or 2 normal-sized ones)
1 lb ground turkey
1 med size onion, chopped
1 med size red bell pepper, chopped
1 pkg roasted garlic and pecan rice blend
golden raisins
spices of choice (I used garlic powder, oregano, paprika, grated lemon, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper)

Preheat oven to 375°. Cut tops off the squash and remove seeds. Place in a casserole dish and bake for 10 minutes, or until soft. Lids of the squash can be on or off the bottoms, it doesn’t matter. Be careful not to let them burn or become wrinkled.

Cook rice blend (or regular rice if you wish) according to package directions, using a little less water so that it under cooks slightly, adding in the golden raisins at the beginning of the cooking process so they plump.

Meanwhile, sauté the ground turkey with the onion and pepper, adding in the spices as you go. Cook until the turkey is browned all the way through and season to taste. When both the rice and turkey are finished, combine the two in one pan and stir so they blend together.

By this time, the squash should be done par-baking. Remove the squash from the oven and fill with turkey and rice.

Return to the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until squash is cooked through. You can test this by piercing the top of the squash with a fork. If it enters and exits easily, it’s dinner time!


Savory and Sweet, Switched Up

I am so very thankful for the day off we had on Thursday. I felt so refreshed and ready to return to work yesterday, more so than after a normal weekend. After sleeping in (!) I whipped up a lovely brunch of bacon and waffles. Don't be fooled, this wasn't your average diner breakfast. The bacon was sweet and the waffles were savory. Enter candied maple bacon and cheddar waffles. If you've never tried savory waffles before, promise me you'll try them at least once. I was dubious the first time they were prepared for me, but the concept was interesting enough to give it a whirl. My goodness, they were so delicious, I was hooked!

Candied Maple Bacon and Cheddar Waffles
Bacon recipe adapted from here, waffle recipe adapted from Moosewood's Restaurant cookbook.

Bacon Ingredients:
1/2 lb thick-cut bacon (I used Trader Joe's uncured ends and pieces)
1/2 c maple syrup
freshly ground black pepper (pink peppercorns would work well here, too)
small dash of cayenne pepper

Waffle Ingredients:
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
2/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup sourdough starter (unfed)*
2 T melted butter
1 T finely chopped scallions
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 c smoked cheddar cheese**

Preheat the oven to 375°F for the bacon. While the oven is preheating, start making the waffle batter. In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sourdough starter, butter, scallions, mustard and cheese. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir just until combined. Using the folding method to incorporate the ingredients works really well with this batter so as to not overmix! If it's too thick, add some water or milk to thin out. Let the waffle batter sit for about 10 minutes, until some bubbles start to form. In the meantime, preheat your waffle iron and then get that bacon started!

Line a rimmed cookie sheet with heavy foil. (Trust me, use heavy duty or at least double your standard foil). Place a baking rack over the lined sheet tray. 

In a small bowl, whisk the maple syrup and pepper together. Dunk all of the bacon in the syrup until coated. Swirl it around until the bacon is dripping with goodness. Arrange the bacon slices on the rack so they don't overlap. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Back to the waffles. Give your batter a quick stir. Then pour enough batter for each waffle, about 1/3-1/2 cup depending on your iron size, and bake according to manufacturer's instructions. 

When the bacon timer goes off, flip the pieces over and bake an additional 10 minutes or until crispy. 

Everything should be done at the same time, so plate up and enjoy!

And if you have leftovers, make a pb&j bacon waffle sandwich! The boy surprised me in the afternoon with this creation as a snack. He used PB&Co's mighty maple peanut butter and blackberry jam. Yum!

*When you feed your starter, save the amount that you pour out for these waffles!

**I didn't have smoked cheddar on hand the first time I made these so I used standard needs the smoked! The waffles were just a little too cheesy without and didn't have enough smokey flavor. 


On The Side

If you're trying to up your veggie intake, I've got two words for you. Stir fry. This is a delicious way to get your colors in and it's light enough on the stomach to eat during this heat wave!

Grab your veggies of choice and cut them into bite-sized pieces, making enough for the amount of mouths you're feeding. 

Heat some oil on medium heat and when hot, throw in the veggies. Let them cook down for awhile, say 7-10 minutes until they brown and become soft. Add in teriyaki sauce and Okonomi sauce to coat, about 1 Tbsp of each for 4 servings. Toss in some sesame seeds to toast as well. Make sure you stir constantly at this point so nothing sticks. Cook until all veggies are tender. Done.


It Isn't Rocket Science

I am a big proponent of keeping things simple, not just in life but in food, too. That's the approach I've been taking with weeknight meals, care of my rude awakening into adulthood. Pair together what you have on hand and put something homey on the table - no matter how tired you are!

We were all set to have stuffed clams, but then I remembered we had this lovely eggplant just hanging around the vegetable drawer. Match made in desperation heaven.

Clam-Stuffed Eggplant
Yield: 2 big servings

12 Cherrystone clams
1 med-size eggplant
1/2 c breadcrumbs (I used a mixture of Italian-seasoned and Panko)
1 egg
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
1/2 T garlic powder
1-2 T lemon juice
1/2 T Paprika
Olive oil
Parsley, for garnish

Look over your clams and discard any that are open and don't close when tapped. Scrub the shells to remove any outer grit and sand. Soak the clams in a large bowl of water. Add a 1/2 T flour to the water, which will make the clams purge any sand they have trapped in their shells. Steam the clams in a steamer pot or large pan just until they open, about 2-3 or 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of clam you use. Make sure you don't overcook the clams as they will be cooked further in the oven. Remove clams from pot and let cool, discarding any clams that don't open.

While the clams cool, preheat the oven to 350°F and move on to prepping the eggplant. Wash the outside of the eggplant and slice vertically down the middle. Score the flesh of the eggplant, making sure you don't go all the way through the skin. Scoop out the innards and chop them into 1/2 in. cubes. By this time the clams should have cooled. Remove them from their shells and chop finely.

Add all of the ingredients, except for the parsley, into a large mixing bowl and combine. Add more breadcrumbs if the mixture is too wet or more egg or lemon juice if it's too dry.* Fill the eggplant shells with the mixture and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with paprika and drizzle with olive oil to promote browning.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until eggplant is tender. If eggplant browns too quickly, tent with foil about half way through. Remove foil tent and broil for the last 3-5 minutes to crisp everything up. Let stand 5-10 minutes to let the dish set. Garnish with parsley and serve with fresh lemon wedges.

*As you will find with my recipes, they are mostly a result of trial, error and winging it. Mix with your hands, go with your gut - wise words from my Momma. 


Some Like it Hot

I wanted to share the kale pesto recipe I was talking about earlier. It's a great way to mask a scary-to-some veggie in an unsuspecting way. This particular version has some heat, but feel free to omit the chilis if that's not your thing. Quite frankly, I could go either way with the peppers, but like I said, I've got some spice-loving friends and sharing is caring, right?

Kale Pesto

¾ cup kale leaves, torn
¾ cup packed fresh basil leaves
½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds, or walnuts or pine nuts
2 tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, quartered
2 tbsp lemon juice
1-2 red chilis, minced (optional)

Place greens in a food processor and pulse until broken up. Add in nuts/seeds and garlic; pulse a few times, then add in remaining ingredients and process until fairly smooth, or to the desired consistency, scraping down the sides occasionally. Remember to taste as you go!

Pesto freezes very well. Instead of chilling down an entire container when you are likely only going to need a small amount at a time, try freezing in ice cube trays. Once frozen, pop all of the pesto cubes into a Ziplock bag for compact storage and defrost only the amount needed.


When in Nanaimo...

I never knew what the fuss was. Then I went there, and now I know.

Nanaimo bars are a sweet treat. My goodness, these little bars are so decadent. This particular one is gluten free with a puffed rice and almond base from a quaint bakery near the sea, and I have to say these trump the traditional oat-base. Wish I had a recipe to share!!


Homemade Jam

I love jam. There is nothing more satisfying and smile-inducing than having a muffin or piece of toast spread with your own preserves. It’s comforting and delicious, and the fact that you know what ingredients are in it makes it all the more delectable.

I grew up a grape jelly girl. Now, though, I’m opening up to other possibilities for use in various dishes and more importantly, I’m enjoying crafting my own flavors!

This particular recipe is suitable for the refrigerator or freezer without going through the canning process. Because it gets expensive for me since I don’t live in an area known for its fruit-growing possibilities, I’ve only made small batches before and never felt the need to can, but do as you please!*

Roasted Strawberry Refrigerator Jam

4 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
½ cup sugar, scant
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar or balsamic syrup
1 vanilla bean pod, split and seeds removed, or 1 splash of vanilla extract
- ¼ teasp ground cardamom

Toss the strawberries in a bowl with the sugar, balsamic, vanilla, and cardamom. Let stand 10 minutes so the flavors can marry. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 250°.

Transfer the strawberries to a rimmed baking sheet or small roasting pan.
Roast for about 2 hours, until the berries are very soft and shriveled. Mix around once or twice as they cook.

Let the syrupy berries cool slightly. Pulse in a food processor or mash by hand with a potato masher to a chunky consistency. You ought to let the jam set up in the fridge, but there is no reason you can’t dip your little finger in now for a taste and bask in the glory that is this homemade goodness. Store in a closed jar or container for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator or 3 months in the freezer.

PS. Homemade jam makes for a lovely holiday gift especially when paired with some homemade bread or muffins!


*Ironically after I began brainstorming this post, I was introduced to canning by one of my dear friends. She lives just outside of Vancouver with access to farm-fresh flats of berries and vegetables and when I went to visit the other weekend she and I made an afternoon of canning. We sent our boys out to go see Star Trek and us girls stayed home to make jam! She taught me the process and I must admit there is something wonderful about making jars upon jars of one recipe. Miss you, Kristine!!

Working on some ginger-rhubarb marmalade

The boys infiltrated our kitchen upon their return!


A Girl's Gotta Bake

I've been in a baking mood lately, and a snacky mood, for that matter. Hence the muffins.

Morning Glory Muffins
adapted from Whole Foods' recipe
Yield: 8 jumbo or 16 regular-sized muffins

1 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup + 2T cane sugar
1 T molasses
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup seedless raisins
2 eggs
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Granny Smith apple, cored, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
wheat germ, for topping

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; break up any brown sugar lumps with your fingers or a wooden spoon. Add in the raisins, coating them with the mixture so they don't sink to the bottom of the muffins during baking.

In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, oil and vanilla, then add to flour mixture and stir just until combined. Add apples, carrots and walnuts and stir gently until well combined.

Spoon batter into paper-lined muffin tins, filling each about 2/3 full. Sprinkle with wheat germ and bake for 15-20 minutes for regular-sized or 25-30 for jumbo, until cooked through.

I first tried Morning Glory muffins last year at a farmer's market. A bunch of cyclists were lined up for them after a Saturday morning ride and so I had to find out what all the buzz was about. I can see why these babies are their fuel of choice! They're delicious and nutritious. To be honest, I hadn't thought about this recipe until a few weeks ago when we were on the road early and made a pit stop for some breakfast. Bruegger's had a Morning glory bagel on special and I had to get it, slathered with peanut butter, of course. I couldn't stop thinking about it and so I had to go home and make the muffins myself.


Farmer's Market Finds

I went to my first farmer's market of the season this week! What could be better than getting outside and checking out all of the local goods while chatting away with the farmers, artisans and bakers themselves? Oh yeah - sampling!! I love being able to learn about and try new foods direct from the source, and being a foodie, farmer's markets are for me like a toy store is to an eager child. 

I flocked immediately to Beltane Farm's table. They had an array of goat cheeses out to sample as well as a cooler full of goat milk yogurt. I tell you, it's not easy to find goat or sheep yogurt around here, so I was pretty stoked to see the single-serving yogurts alone. But once I tasted their goodness, I was sold. I have never tasted goat cheese that creamy and luscious. I bought the herbed chevre and immediately dug in when I got home, putting them atop Bespoke crackers

Quick side note about these crackers. They were bought on a whim on vacation this winter and my cheese and cracker snob of a boy (and I mean that in the best way possible) deemed them the best crackers he'd ever eaten. That's some pretty high praise coming from him. They aren't just your average cracker, mind you -- these were oat-based and flavored with lemon and rosemary. Unique and absolutely delicious. So delicious, in fact, that when we got home with an empty bag, we went online and ordered six more. Don't judge. We ordered three more rosemary-lemons and we had to get the variety pack with the other two flavors to try.

Anyway, back to the farmer's market. I truly enjoy seeing what types of foods people are crafting these days. One booth had flavored pumpkin seeds, another had homemade artisan trail mix. There were jellies and jams, pies, pestos, and salad dressings. I hope to be one of them one day!

Aside from the goat cheese, I also bought some more plants for my garden. And by garden I mean pots with soil that line the back of our house. The patch of land where I planted the flowers is so rocky I'm not sure they'll even grow well, but we'll see. The Moorefield Herb Farm had a tempting display of herbs, fruits, vegetables and flowers.

The Caribbean hot peppers initially caught my eye because of my spice-loving friends. It's supposed to be hotter than a habanero, which scares me a little, but it should make for some kickin' hot pepper jelly. Eesh. As I was perusing the rest of her table, the strawberries also caught my eye. I've never grown fruit before and I was reassured that the Alpine variety, in particular, should grow well in a potted environment because they're so tiny. After a quick trip to Home Depot, my new plants are all nestled in their pots awaiting the rains.


Small Changes

We've all been there. Too tired, too busy, very empty fridge. If you've been neglecting your supermarket or have been in a food rut lately, I've got some good news for you. Small changes can make all the difference to your recipes and help you break out of your less than thrilling routine of eats and make quick work of a delicious meal.

Let's talk lunch, the inspiration for this post. I started eating cafeteria food again thanks to my job, and when there aren't enough leftovers from the night before to bring in the next day, it results in me eating my fair share of sandwiches. Take the classic turkey and cheese, please, and check out my swaps.

Wheat bread --> Tomato-Basil wrap
Mustard --> Red wine vinegar
Deli Turkey --> Fresh roasted turkey
Iceberg Lettuce --> Arugula
Tomato --> Leave it in and add some red onion
Swiss cheese --> Sharp cheddar

Take out the bread, the filling and the condiment and envelop some fresh turkey in a flavored wrap and add in some bitter greens that have been dressed in red wine vinegar and you've got a delicious new twist on the lunch-time staple. I can't believe how much the vinegar does for this dish. It's so tangy and bright and really helps to boost the otherwise bland turkey.

With my lunchtime revelation out of the way, let's backtrack to breakfast. Probably the easiest way to make a bland breakfast into a morning must-have is the addition of herbs and spices. Eggs, for example, benefit greatly from some fresh or dried herbs. Whether you're having a quick scramble or hard boiled, try adding salt and pepper, for starters. If you like a kick, add some hot sauce or a ground pepper blend. Not an egg person? Try adding cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice or nutmeg to oatmeal, cottage cheese or plain yogurt. A dash of vanilla, some homemade preserves or a packet of flavored instant breakfast go a long way, too! Still attached to your beloved bowl of cereal and milk? Add some wheat germ and raisins. Trust me on this one!

Now dinner is probably the hardest meal for me to figure out. Don't get me wrong, I love trying out new recipes and whipping up something yummy, but food ruts do happen! I came across this article years ago and had the forethought to scan it in and save it. This list will be a lifesaver for any protein you plan on putting on the table.


Eat More Kale

Last year around this time we started getting weekly boxes of produce, courtesy of our local CSA (community supported agriculture). It was the first time either of us had joined this type of program and we were both eager to give it a go. One of the major benefits, aside from supporting local farmers, is that we got the opportunity to try new things that we either had never seen before or didn't know what to do with so we never bothered to purchase. Unfortunately, since there were only two of us in the house, we just couldn't go through it all in time without giving some away, so we decided to forgo the CSA for this year and spend the money we would have allocated to that on farmer's market finds instead!

Being the recipe nerd that I am, I documented what we made last year with our share of the produce, which I'll share on here from time to time. It kept us accountable for trying to use up all of our bounty, and looking back it was neat to see how innovative we got with our meals.

A few weeks in a row we were "gifted" with bunches and bunches of varying types of greens. They went into soups and stir fries, salads of course, but then we had to get creative. Or should I say, I had to get creative. The boy doesn't touch things like kale at all and still makes a face when it's served. Does this sound familiar to anyone? I can't even say that it's because he's a stubborn eater -- he willingly tries way more things than I do. It's just something about this green that he can't get into. But I digress. If you enjoy something but can't get anyone else on board with you, start disguising it! Kale pesto and Spanikopita are two of my more proud creations. Those recipes are coming.

For now I present to you quite possibly the easiest recipe (can I even call it a "recipe"?) to make kale more palatable for those up-turned noses.

The secret ingredient!

Gingery Kale
Yield 2-4, depending on size of bunch

1 bunch toscano kale, washed, dried completely and torn into pieces
water or broth for steaming
1/4 cup ginger dressing
roasted garlic (if you have on hand) or a few dashes of garlic powder

Heat some canola oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high. Place the kale in the pan and saute until it has some color, about 3-4 minutes. Deglaze the pan with a little bit of water and about half of the ginger dressing. Put a lid on the skillet and steam until the kale wilts. Uncover the pan and add the remaining dressing and garlic. Continue to saute until the kale absorbs the dressing and there is no more liquid in the pan. There is no exact timing on this last part -- you could leave it in for a while if you forget! It will just have more roasty bits at the bottom.

Something a Little Different

We had our first grilled dinner of the season last night! Throughout the day I couldn't decide what country's cuisine I wanted to borrow from, the top two contenders being Mexico and India. I really wanted grilled corn with grated cheeses on top to accompany a lime and herb crusted filet of salmon. But then a sweet take on a curry sauce sounded really yummy for the fish, perhaps with some flat bread and patra on the side. Decisions, decisions. 

In the end I went with something really light as it was hot out and getting late; a simple prep on the fish, lime juice included, wilted gingery kale and grilled pineapple. 

I love grilling fruit come summertime. It's a little more fancy than just eating it plain and it makes a beautiful addition to the dinner table.

Grilled Pineapple

1 pineapple, outer rind cut off and fruit cut lengthwise into spears
2 Tbsp cane sugar or sugar in the raw
a few dashes of cayenne pepper, depending on how hot you like it
1-2 tsp cinnamon

Get your grill going on a medium flame. Meanwhile, soak some skewers in water so they don't char on the grill. Mix up the spices in a little dish and set aside.

Skewer the pineapple spears and spray the grill with nonstick spray. Grill the pineapple for about 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Transfer the fruit to a plate and immediately sprinkle liberally with the cinnamon sugar mix. Or if you're impatient like me, pour it all out onto a plate and dredge the spears in it!

In My Garden

Good evening, all! I just came in from watering my freshly planted garden. This will be the first spring in the new place, so last week I bought some seeds and got to getting my hands dirty! In went some lavender, sunflowers and wildflowers.


I tell you, I haven't found anything more therapeutic, not even yoga, than getting getting into the garden and taking care of what you put into the ground. Even the simple act of watering the plants is calming to me. I was so stressed out the other day I just couldn't wait to get home from work to tend to my flowers!

My mom instilled in me an appreciation of gardening from an early age. I used to love sitting in the grass with my sketchbook and draw all of the beautiful flowers around me, and when the Candytuft went to seed, I would grab them by the handful and head off, sprinkling them around the yard. Flowers weren't the only thing that we grew, though. My mom always kept an abundant vegetable garden. She kept detailed notes on her garden and drew out her plots each year, noting what did well and what didn't so she could rotate crops and improve upon in the next year. Something to admire! I can't wait to have a large enough yard to get in a proper vegetable garden. For now, pots and barrels will have to do for some herbs and perhaps tomatoes and peppers!

I can't wait until this scene has tall, colorful beauties in it!


Not Your Childhood Tuna Sandwich

One of my strengths in the kitchen is making good use of leftovers. I guess I tend to allow myself more creative freedom in my redo than I do with my first go-round. It's always a satisfying feeling knowing that you can make something out of seemingly nothing, like in the case of this tuna sandwich.  

During the week, I find it important to pack breakfast and lunches for us to take work. Something yummy and homemade, perhaps with a cute note tucked inside the bag to make sure there is at least something to smile about! But what happens when you don't have leftovers or cold cuts in your fridge and you really don't have the time during the busy day to step out for lunch? Then it's pb&j to the rescue! Or ingenuity and a can or two of tuna that you forgot you had hiding away in your pantry :)

I was all set to make some awesome pb&j's one morning, my specialty, but then I remembered that illusive tuna just waiting to be put to good use. My Momma always taught me that you need something creamy and crunchy to make a good tuna fish sandwich, the standard for most being mayo and celery. Not in my kitchen! For one, I don't have celery in my fridge at the moment, and two, I've got some fruit that needs to be consumed.

Tuna Fish, redo
Yield: 2-3 sandwiches, depending on size

2 (5 oz) cans tuna fish (I tend to buy the ones packed in water or broth)
Something creamy, enough to bind the ingredients (~1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt + 3 T of mayo + 1 T Dijon mustard)
Something crunchy, enough to act as filler and flavor (1 small bunch grapes + 10 whole cranberries + 1 carrot, all chopped fine)
A splash of red or rice wine vinegar
Bread of choice


Mash everything together, through vinegar, in a bowl. Cut open your bread and top with arugula and tuna fish. Done.

What I love about this recipe is that you can used whatever you have on hand for the "something crunchy." The sweetness of the grapes balances the overall saltiness of the dish and makes it less fishy tasting, while the cranberries and arugula add a true punch of flavor from their bitterness and tartness. I've also paired apples with the cranberries in this recipe, which works just as well. 


Save the Sourdough!

Making sourdough at home requires a lot of trial and error. There are so many factors that lend to bread making alone, but adding in that crucial sour flavor component is a project unto its own. I’m no expert on sourdough yet, but I’m working on it. I had two different starters in my fridge, both of which I ordered here. San Francisco is the classic to which I could base my recipe against because it’s the most common, and Bahrain, which is said to be the most sour of them all. Go big or go home, right?

So I’ve been experimenting with different recipes and methods and obviously with starters. My trainer’s wife, Theresa, even gave me 2 cups of hers to try, which has East coast water and air. But I haven’t found the sour I’m looking for, so no bread recipe to share yet. However, I will share this cioppino recipe, which pairs perfectly with all of this bread I have! Sourdough and this soup are like peanut butter and jelly, a San Fran match made in heaven.


¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 med onion, finely chopped
1 lrg bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 pkg cremini mushrooms, quartered (not traditional, but a nice addition)
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 T vodka
1 bay leaves
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 cup wine (I’ve seen recipes call for either white or red)
2 cups water or stock
1 cup clam juice
1 can crushed tomatoes (16 oz)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lb mild white flaky fish, cut into 2 to 3-inch pieces
1/2 lb mussels, cleaned and beards removed
4 oz medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
12-16 littleneck clams
1 bunch basil and parsley, chopped
Sugar or milk, to taste (in case the tomatoes are too acidic)


Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes, Then add mushrooms and garlic and cook until they soften. Deglaze the bottom of the pot with the vodka. Next up, place in the bay leaf, oregano, wine, water, clam juice, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Add the fish, mussels, shrimp and clams, in that order. Let cook, covered and undisturbed, until the clams and mussels have opened and the shrimp and fish are cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the lid and add basil and parsley. Taste the soup. If it's too acidic, add enough sugar or milk to taste. Spoon into bowls and serve with sourdough and a glass of wine. We made cheesy garlic sourdough to accompany and had 10 year old Clos du Val Cabernet Sauvignon, what could be better than that?

Alright, so with the recipe out of the way, it’s officially story time. Yay! When Hurricane Sandy was slated to hit down, I happened to be visiting with my parents for the weekend, so I just stayed when the rains came. It turned out that my apartment lost power and my neighborhood was subject to looting and gasoline rationing, so it was good thing I had a few extra outfits with me! When the boy was safely able to fly back east from his business trip, a few days after the storm had passed, he stopped at our apartment and piled all of the freezer foods that were still frozen into a cooler and came to cozy up with me and spend some time with my parents. The best part, aside from the fact that we were reunited - he saved the sourdough! I couldn’t believe he thought to check to see if they were still alive! I was touched, and a little more in love to say the least. Unfortunately, the San Fran starter died, but the Bahrain was as bubbly as ever! 


Meyer Lemon-ade

Today's recipe comes courtesy of a thirsty jaunt on the elliptical at the gym. I had been sitting for most of the day at my desk and I just wanted to move! I went all out on that thing and worked up a thirst pretty quickly. That's when it hit me...lemonade! I've got a bag of Meyer lemons sitting in my fridge, waiting to be used in something yummy. There were plans for those lemons to be made into curd or a custard, but for one reason or another, those recipes just never were made. Such is life... hence the lemonade.

It was so gorgeous and sunny out today, it actually felt like spring! Then on my drive home, it got progressively more cloudy and chilly and I kind of got a little depressed. Where did my sun go?? Thankfully, I had a bright, lovely glass of lemonade only minutes away to cheer me up! Take a look at that color, just like the sun. And a little purple umbrella is a nice touch, don't you think?

Meyer lemon-ade

Meyer Lemon-ade
Based upon Ina Garten's recipe
Yield: 1 1/2 quarts

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice , strained. (5 to 6 Meyer lemons)
½ cup superfine sugar, to taste
1 cup crushed ice
4 cups water

In a pitcher, combine all ingredients and stir. Adjust sugar to taste.  Seriously, that's it. I told you it was simple!

So this is not just your average lemonade, it's Meyer lemon-ade. Meyer lemons have a deeper, sweeter, more pronounced flavor than your regular lemons. Let me tell you, they make for a fabulous beverage. This is such a simple recipe, one that begs to be homemade mind you, and you can tweak it to your taste. I don't have a huge sweet tooth, so I go a little light on the sugar, but feel free to use as much as you like. I believe Ina's original recipe calls for 3/4-1 cup of sugar.



Eggs. They are the start to people’s days so it’s only fitting that I start my blog with them, too. Growing up, they came in the form of ham quickies – my dad’s special version of ham omelets for us kids. Nowadays it’s a little more fancy and definitely more varied. Herbs de Provence are often mixed in and runny yolks are left to drip down burgers. Farm fresh are preferred.

To be completely honest, I was never a huge fan of eggs. I was never much of a breakfast eater either, so maybe that was it. And the first Egg McMuffin I had wasn’t until 2012. But I digress. Nowadays I understand why Julia Child spent so much time trying to teach us all the proper way to cook eggs and why Anthony Bourdain, in his book Medium Raw, says, quite poignantly, “I have long believed that it is only right and appropriate that before one sleeps with someone, one should be able – if called upon to do so – to make them a proper omelet in the morning.” The man speaks the truth. Eggs are so versatile and such a humble food, but they take care and patience to master. And it’s worth it.

One of my favorite dishes involving eggs is a cross between a glorified egg sandwich and toad-in-the-hole (egg in a basket). It steps up your run of the mill breakfast and makes it a little more fancy.

Open-Faced Egg Sammie
serves 1-2, depending on hunger level

2 slices whole wheat bread
2 eggs
1 handful arugula, or other favorite green, lightly chopped
2 slices of tomato
Cheese of choice, shredded (Depending on what I have on hand, it will be some combination of gouda, cheddar, mimolette, midnight moon, etc)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Butter for the pan (butter adds so much flavor and richness to the toast)

Using a cookie cutter, small juice glass or a knife, cut circles out from the middle of the bread. Don’t ball up the doughy goodness and pop it into your mouth, we’ll use it later!

Preheat a nonstick griddle or pan over medium and put a pat of butter on to melt. Place the slices of bread on next and let them toast slightly. They need a little head start in the browning process before the eggs are added.

Crack the eggs and place them into the holes in the bread. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place the rounds I told you not to eat on the griddle to toast.

Once the whites have just barely set, add a little more butter to the griddle if necessary, but otherwise go ahead and flip. Turn over the circle, too.

At this point, time is of the essence, so quickly place the arugula, tomato and cheese on top to wilt. Once the yolk is cooked to your liking and the cheese is melted, plate up, top with the toasted round and Bon Appetit!


Hello world! Welcome to my blog – my own little space, soon to be filled with lots of recipes and stories, some photography projects I’m working on and other random musings that make me smile.

I think about food. A lot. Like more than the average person should. Future meals are thought about days in advance and I’m always collecting recipes and cookbooks. I keep a little notebook with me at all times in case I can coerce a recipe out of someone! Making a fancy dinner is happiness to me, especially on weeknights after the 9-5 shitck. I like to think of it as an “I love you” on a plate. With my love for being in the kitchen, I figured it only made sense to start blogging about it. Hell, I certainly think about it enough. So pull up a chair at my table and let’s get to it!