If you can believe it, we also had fellow couple in our group of friends who were due one month after we were. Cue December 3 (five days after Lila was born) and their baby was here and 28 days early! I will always be so thankful for the group of friends we have and our friend Kari, brought her A+ game. She did a lot for us those first few weeks, including organizing a friend cooking group to bring us meals each night that first week. Not only is this a fantastic way for your friends to see your new little bundle of joy, but it is so helpful to be around friends and family those first few weeks and you get to enjoy delicious homemade food! So, I volunteered to cook for our fellow new parent couple and wanted to pick something simple, delicious and healthy. Enter this salmon dish from Food & Wine magazine – YUM!
I will admit that while I was pregnant, carbs and sweets were my BFFs. Normally, I don’t indulge in either very often, but I was snarfing breads and pastas and had to have a dessert almost every night (good thing I co-own a pie company eh?). Carbs and pastas and chocolates are a hard habit to break, but I’m trying to get back to my old self and this dish was definitely a step in the right direction. I loved it because I made enough for our friends and for us and it was still quick to make – bonus when you are recovering from a C-section. David and I thought it was perfectly balanced and definitely a keeper, but I knew it was good when I received a text from our friends saying it was delicious! Hooray!
These are three words I love hearing during or after a meal from my adorable husband David. One of the many things I loved about him right off the bat was his love and appreciation of food which was very important to me when I was looking for “the one”. I love exploring new foods, restaurants, wines and cocktails and David is always right there with me having the same great time. What I’m even more excited about is that we get to pass this love and appreciation for food on to our daughter (10 more weeks if you can believe it!). I can’t wait to share baking tips with her, or the right way to balance a dish, or heck, how to enjoy a good ol’ slab of chicken fry.
I know it’s been a while since I posted, and in between being insanely busy with The Pie Society (check it out! http://www.rd.com/recommends/at-last-two-bite-pies/) to getting ready for baby, it’s been a whirlwind past few months. Who knew that preparing for a thing so small could be so much work? Between appointments, getting the house ready, hospital details, I feel a bit like I’m getting off a Tilt-A-Whirl sometimes. Any advice from marathon moms out there?
Back to food! We had a lot of these “A David Favorite” moments going on in the house when I did have time to cook and let me just say, all of these are Emily favorites too. What I appreciated about all of them was they were fast, easy-to-follow, and very, very tasty. If I had to pick a favorite, it would probably be the Summer Beef-and-Rice Casserole from Everyday Food. We had leftovers for days and it kept getting better and better each day. Here’s our round-up of all of them and next up, my new favorite restaurant in Austin!
Everyday Food’s Summer Beef-and-Rice Casserole: YUM with amazing leftovers for days or an hour if you are pregnant. http://www.marthastewart.com/931667/summer-beef-and-rice-casserole
Everyday Food’s Gnochhi with Quick Meat Sauce: Fast and easy. I used pre-made gnocchi from Whole Foods Market because they do amazing with those little potato pillows and that meat sauce is fantastico! Look it’s a demo video! http://www.marthastewart.com/931672/gnocchi-quick-meat-sauce
Bon Appetit’s Kerla-Style Beef Stew: reserve this for a night when it gets a little chilly and enjoy with some buttery toasty bread. You’ll thank me later. Oohh this was a stunner! http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/quick-recipes/2012/09/kerala-style-beef-stew
Cooking Light’s Crisp Chicken Marina: This felt like a fun spin on chicken Parmesan that was healthy to boot. I stirred in a cup of spinach until it wilted for an additional veggie oomph. You’ll be glad you had leftovers lambs. http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/crisp-chicken-marinara-50400000123576/
Last Sunday I wanted to make a fun Sunday chicken dinner but with a little oomph. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good roast chicken but I really just wanted to try these Maple-Soy Chicken Thighs and Miso Grilled Vegetables (http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/miso-grilled-vegetables-50400000122487/) as soon as possible. Yumeh ya’ll! If you like applying the brush to your food then these two recipes are for you. I really enjoyed them together on the plate since you have a bit of Asian influence in each to make each other sing. It’s funny, I was talking to another friend who is also pregnant and she mentioned that she is now just cooking to her whims and cravings instead of having any real reason for making her meals each night. I’m trying to hang on to the thinly veiled mask of things making sense together but who wants to place the first bet that stops in a few weeks? I bet you my husband will be first in line. He’ll probably double down on that it will specifically be spaghetti and meatballs with a side of mashed potatoes and red bean mochi to top it off.
Back to the glazing! Gosh, these Maple-Soy Chicken Thighs (http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/maple-soy-chicken-thighs-50400000122485/) from Cooking Light were insanely good and easy to boot. David liked them because of the maple syrup factor (of course) and I loved them paired with my favorite Asian ingredient miso in the grilled veggies (also from Cooking Light). Plus, you get to sit and glaze the heck out of stuff. I think kids might have a good time doing this in the kitchen with you if you’ve got an avid little cooker at your knee. This was simple, healthy, and filling enough to be a perfect Sunday family dinner. I know David and I both made it one of our favorites!
OK, I’m going to admit that I completely dorked out over the gender reveal party for our baby. Massive, massive dorkage. Maybe it’s because I was so tired in my first trimester and wanted to get my food groove back on or I’ve been fatigued and haven’t been able to spend as much time with friends as I’m used to, whatever it was, I was pumped pandas. Never mind the fact that we were about to start calling “it” her or him instead! David and I got to see baby Kealey that Friday on a sonogram (such a cutie) and then proceeded to give the sealed card to Tyler, my niece’s super gentle chef boyfriend. Alex, my niece, created a blueberry and a strawberry pie filling, the super cute cutouts and then gave Tyler directions on how to make the pie once he opened the card. We got back from lunch and Tyler had done such an awesome job with the pie…look at that, he SHUT IT DOWN. I kept swearing up and down the color looked blue underneath and David thought so too. Not until tomorrow would we know!
So down to the food geeking out part. I wanted to make foods that represented our very different backgrounds including something that embraced my East Texas/Southern roots and his Canadian/Northeast ones. Obviously, my Mama’s chicken fried steak and creamy gravy was on the menu and as was poutine – the national dish of Canada. David requested tomato soup and grilled cheese since he loved that as a kid and fried mac ‘n’ cheese because it’s “just so awesome” in his words. I also served a kale salad for those trying to eat healthy (weird, but it does happen here sometimes) plus Devils on Horseback because bacon, dates and cheese are never wrong, a cheese plate and crackers. I thought earlier in the day that I had bitten off way more than I could chew, but actually, it wasn’t that bad making all this food!
Best new chefs Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbonne created this Potato Gnocchi with Pastrami Ragu and like an old Italian grandmother, I want kiss both of them on the cheek. I honestly don’t have much to say about this one except make it and snarf it I guess. One thing I did do and that’s because I’m kind of a tired bones panda at times and didn’t feel like making from-scratch gnocchi (I know you won’t judge me for that) I bought the chilled version from Whole Foods Market and followed the directions for perfect pillowy gnocchi. This made it extra splendid in my eyes because it was so fast to make after a long night in the kitchen and got me in front of the TV quicker to geek out of over So You Think You Can Dance. Yes, I used to be a dancer (obviously not the caliber of those lovely ladies and gents) and lurve that show. I know, I’m a serious nerd. Don’t even get me started on Star Trek, comic books or Star Wars. Reason #4,567 why David and I are such a good match. Oh and speaking of, this is a David favorite and I remember that because he said it about 10 times; 8 while eating it and twice while getting seconds. If that doesn’t compel you I don’t know what will.
I’ll paint a little picture of a young Emily for a moment. I grew up loving PBS (I’ve always been a public television and radio junkie) and Julia Childs and Jacques Pepin were two of my favorites. I would sit in front of the TV with my head perched in my hands and a smile plastered on my face as I watched these chefs stir up their magic. Between this and my Mom teaching my all the southern ways of cooking, I didn’t stand a chance to not be in the kitchen did I? With Jacques Pepin I always felt like I was learning to cook from an awesome French grandfather and as I got older and started cooking in the kitchen, I realized just how much I loved his recipes too. Fast forward to now, where I’m cooking each night for my wonderful husband in our own cozy little house…ah, life huh? After a few weeks of random dental surgery, we needed soups, stews or anything soft and palatable for a week. I found Jacque’s French Onion Soup and knew this would be a winner for tender mouths and hungry stomachs.
Cooking Light suggests you can use store-bought broth but I followed their recommendation and made my own. Patting myself on the back for that one. Sure, it’s more work and more groceries but you cannot beat this version with any store-bought brand. I felt so Chef-y as I was ladling my from-scratch made soup into the bowls to boil the cheese and bread. It doesn’t take much lambs, obviously. I’ve made plenty of French Onion Soups in my lifetime and never have I ever gone “MMMMMMMMMMM!!!! OMG!” and pointed at my soup bowl like a 4-year old who’s learned to tie her shoes. That should tell you enough to make this if you are craving some seriously good French Onion Soup.
Tonight we are making David Chang’s Pork Butt (Bo Ssam) with Ginger Scallion Noodles. If you haven’t read the post here you go, and if you haven’t made this dish, please let my husband requesting it once a week inspire you to do so now: http://cookinginsidethelines.com/2011/06/the-momofuku-challenge/
It’s that time of year again in The Pie Society kitchen when we make tons of Strawberry Rhubarb pie. I love making this pie not only because it’s delicious and a joy to make in the kitchen, but every time I purchase rhubarb at Whole Foods Market someone makes a comment that they grew up with it in their back yard and have such fond memories of this gorgeous bittersweet root. I love helping bring back memories like that through pie!
David’s reaction to this dish from Bon Appétit was hilarious. He insisted that I place a blog post up about it so all three of you would be inspired to make it and kept going “mmmm!” and pointing his finger at his almost empty plate. The spicy marinade on the chicken was a perfect complement to cool, invigorating notes of cucumber and the bitter and sweet flavors of rhubarb in the salsa. It was extremely quick to make and was so deliciously balanced we couldn’t stop talking about it the rest of the night. This is going under Emily and David favorite and I have feeling will be on rotation in our house for as long as rhubarb is in season this year!
With a slathering of hoisin sauce and other Asian-inspired flavors such as ginger, Chinese five-spice powder, and rice vinegar stuffed inside, this was one of the most unique and flavorful meatloaf dishes I’ve ever made, and definitely my new favorite. In recent years, I’ve been attached to a meatloaf recipe from my beloved Neiman Marcus cookbook but I believe this Hoisin-Glazed Meatloaf Sandwiches from Bon Appetit has officially taken the top spot.
Each time I took a bite of this I’d go “mmmmmm! MMMMMMMM! Can you believe how good this is?” We loved the perfect crispy crust on the outside, the moist and flavorful interior and the fresh and crisp salad of radishes, carrots, cucumbers and cilantro on top (I’m telling you, don’t skip this part!). It actually reminded us of the Bahn Mi sandwiches we had at Elizabeth Street Cafe a few weeks ago. Even though meatloaf can feel a little heavy, I think this one is light enough with the salad on top that it can be enjoyed year round and is going on rotation in our house fo sho.
Oh jeebus folks. WOW to infinity. I just ate this so my belly is really happy right now and I kinda have no words. Savory, beefy, herbalicious, melt-in-your-mouth polenta and cheesy – could this be any better AND it’s a Cooking Light recipe. Nom, nom, nom.
As you might know. I love doing low and slow things on Sundays, and since ACL is going on right in our backyard and we are hunkered down here in the casa, why not? Sure, there are a lot of ingredients, but once you get past all of the chopping it’s pretty easy. I did add two things. One, once the rib sauce started to boil down, I added a tablespoon of tomato paste plus a dash of nutmeg and half and half to the polenta to give it a bit more oomph. We loved the fall-off-the-bone ribs, over the creamy polenta with the wicked sauce and that special touch of parsley gremolata that gave it a fresh zing. Plus, there are delicious leftovers the next day. I’ll be you that sauce is even better tomorrow!
I couldn’t find the recipe online, so here you go:
16 (3-ounce) bone-in beef short ribs, trimmed
5/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons, olive oil, divided
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped shallots
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
6 garlic cloves, sliced
1 rosemary sprig
2 1/2 cups cabernet sauvignon or other dry red wine
1 1/4 cups lower-sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons water
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups fat-free milk
1 cup water
5/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup quick-cooking polenta
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1. Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to pan. Add 8 ribs, and sauté for 6 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove ribs. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 teaspoon oil and the next 5 ingredients (through rosemary) to pan; sauté 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine to pan, and bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook for 13 minutes or until reduced to 2 cups.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Add broth to pan, and bring to a boil. Return ribs to pan. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours, turning ribs after 45 minutes. Remove ribs from pan and strain liquid through a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl. Discard the solid. Skim fat; discard. Return cooking liquid to pan. Combine flour and 2 teaspoons water in a small bowl, stirring well. Add to pan, and bring to a boil. Cook for 11 minutes or until reduced to about 1 cup. Stir in vinegar.
4. To prepare gremolata, combine 1/3 cup parsley, 1/2 teaspoon lemon rind and minced garlic.
5. To prepare polenta, bring 3 cups milk, 1 cup water, 5/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper to a boil over medium heat. Slowly stir in 1 cup polenta. Cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Stir in cheese. Place 1/2 cup polenta in each of 8 shallow bowls, and top each serving with 2 ribs, 2 tablespoons sauce and about 2 teaspoons gremolata.
Well, you will with this Sautéed Chicken with Olives, Capers and Roasted Lemons from the gentle Italian lamb and talented Chef Lidia Bastianich. This hails from the same great line-up of female chef recipes I tried last week and was so lovely in every way. The lemons were muted a bit due to roasting them in olive oil and were contrasted by the briny olives and capers. I also loved the crispy breadcrumbs and arugula (it calls for spinach but I wanted a bit of spiciness to this) that made it feel like a substantial but not too filling meal. The one thing that really gave a “zing” to the chicken was the simple light dusting with flour before sautéing. A simple but effective step that made the chicken slightly crispy while still retaining its moisture. I felt the simplicity and bright, clean flavors of the dish is what really made this a winner for us. Serve this to your loved ones or at a dinner party, trust me, their will be licked plates.