Category Archives: Includes Alcohol

A Winning Night

Yowza! I don’t care what side you were on last night, that was a nail biter at times huh? I wanted to make something quick and simple so we could get back to watching the pundits dissect and predict every single swing state for hours upon end until the polls actually closed and the good stuff got started. I chose this Butternut Squash and Mushroom Tart from Cooking Light with a simple spinach side salad drizzled with my homemade Lemon Oregano dressing.

First, the crust. You know I make crust for a living so I was intrigued by this one with its salt, pepper, baking soda and olive oil as the fat to bind. Interesting. It was like a shortbread crust but savory, and yummy! The combo of butternut squash, eggs, Gruyere cheese, bacon and mushrooms was simply divine. Added bonus, I’m so super duper pregnant right now that I was thankful this was a quick and easy recipe. I’m telling you I can’t stop cooking, I love it too much!

This soared passed any predictions we had and won the popular vote in our house. For picky eaters or if you are in need of a quick crowd pleaser, this definitely has the ability to reach across the aisle and make everyone happy. Oh dear, I’ve been watching way too much CNN.


“A David Favorite”


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! 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.

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!

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!

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.


Cabernet Braised Short Ribs with Parmesan Polenta

Cabernet Braised Short Ribs with Parmesan Polenta


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!



Ribs braising in the sauce. YUM!

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.


Girl Power!

You might be saying to yourself, “self, doth my eyes deceive me or is this really a new Cooking Inside the Lines post?” Yes it is, and I also made you sound like a Shakespearean actor, ha! I know, I know. I’ve been really bad about posting but I have managed to try some fantastic recipes recently, even in the midst of planning a wedding and running my own pie business. I still can’t believe I get to marry the man of my dreams next month. I am just dripping with happiness that I get to be Mrs. Emily Kealey!  Sorry, I digress.

Food and Wine magazine has this excellent little slideshow featuring recipes from top female chefs, and I have the pleasure of telling you that the three I tried were all rock stars. Go ladies, do your thang! I liked these so much, that I’m trying three more from this round-up this week to see how they turn out. Scout’s honor, I will keep you posted. In the meantime, give these three beauties a try. Here they are with my thoughts:

Spicy Chicken Cacciatore – Deep , rich, spicy flavors. A beautiful dish from Chef Barbara Lynch. We loved this “deconstructed” version of a chicken cacciatore, and I love me some chicken cacciatore so I’ve tried many at home. See, you don’t have to pick from the litter, just make this one!

Spicy Chicken Cacciatore (Photo by Marcus Nilsson)

Seared Scallops with Basil, Anchovy and Sweet Corn Pudding – When I saw the pairing of these two dishes I thought, “hmm not sure if they fit together, but they both sound so delicious, let’s just see.” Well, they don’t pair really. I would like to serve the Sweet Corn Pudding with some kind of ham smothered in some kind of gravy. The scallops were just delicious with the basil and anchovies, and I think I would have liked it better if they were nestled on top of a turnip or parsnip puree. They are just so elegant that the pudding kind of threw us off. Either way, both were delicious, and quick to boot.

Seared Scallops with Basil, Anchovy and Sweet Corn Pudding (Photo by Anna Williams)

Hanger Steak with Herb-Nut Salsa – Hands down our favorite of the group. They had us at herb-nut salsa and Chef Naomi Pomeroy is one of my favorites. This was quick, delicious, crunchy, savory, herbalicious and packed a super flavor punch. if I’m in a pinch and want something I know is going to be the bomb, this is it.

Hangar Steak with Herb-Nut Salsa (Photo by Petrina Tinslay)







Pulled Pork Italiano

I’ve had my eye on Saveur magazine’s The Sandwich Issue since it hit the stands. I mean look at this, it’s like sandwich porn.


Although I would like to make every sandwich in this issue, I chose their  Torta Ahogada (Drowned Sandwich) since I had an authentic version in Mexico a few years back. I made this for my friends the other night and it was good,  but the one I made last night was even better. I used the pork leftover from the Torta to make this Pulled Pork Italiano so as you can tell I didn’t go through the 85 steps to get the pork in it’s right place for the recipe. For this shortcut I simply threw all the herbs, wine, onions, garlic and broth in with the pork and let is simmer until heated through and reduced down a bit. After that, I followed the recipe as it calls for and threw the delicious, tender pork on the roll  with the provolone, broccoli rabe and roasted peppers (thanks to our friend Kari for the homegrown delicious peppers!). This was packed full of flavor lambs. David mentioned is seemed like an unlikely combination at first sight, but he ended up loving it just as much as I did.

Pulled Pork Italiano (Photo by Todd Coleman)

I had leftover broccoli rabe and rolls this morning so I grilled the bread in butter and combined the rabe with garlic, leftover crushed tomatoes and salt. After simmering the rabe, I added two eggs and fried until the whites were set but yolk was still runny – the only way to eat an egg in my opinion. Talk about an excellent way to end your night and start your day!

Sautéed Chicken and Radishes with Mustard and Tarragon

To the Bon Appetit test kitchen or actually, the new team in charge, please give a big, fat raise to your staff because the peeps in charge of the At The Market section have nailed it yet again. Y’all are batting a thousand in our household let me tell you.

This dish is super French inspired and contains delicious butter, so naturally I was doing my best Julia Child (in my head) while making this dish. Let me backtrack by saying we had what was an incredibly great but busy day for the little pie company that could, and I was super wiped out when I got home. It was bad y’all, I suggested ordering a pizza…Somehow, I think with a little vino encouragement, I got up and carried on *fist shake*!  “Carried on” may not be the correct term (I’m so dramatic :)), as this took no time to make. I didn’t have white wine (that’s odd for this house) so I deglazed with a bit of lemon juice and sherry vinegar. I LOVED this. That sauce. Gosh, that sauce. With the bitter tarragon, mustard, butter and broth it just sung on top of the sauteed chicken and radishes that had turned a little sweet from being sauteed as well.

I served this with a side of Carrots with Caramelized Ginger. This is a super simple side that worked beautifully with the chicken dish! I think I might make this my go-to side dish if I’m stumped and need something quick. Delicious!

Pull out the apron, have a glass of French wine, wield your stick of butter and channel your best Julia Child – you are going to love this for sure.


Carrots with Caramelized Ginger (Photo by Nigel Cox)

Nom Nom Nom

So I had to share this photo of me with my new favorite t-shirt ever. Yes, it’s a brontosaurus eating tree leaves that says “Nom Nom Nom.” Thanks to my friend Kari for an awesome t-shirt. You know, it’s the little things that make me a happy panda, er, brontosaurus.

Nom, Nom, Nom!

Speaking of nom nom noming, this Chicken with Cornmeal Dumplings recipe from Everyday Food magazine was spectacular. I love dumplings. I grew up eating my Mimi’s chicken and dumplings dish when I was little – my gosh she made the best I’ve ever tasted! I’ll have to share the recipe with you someday won’t I?

This dish had tons of flavor with a wonderful blend of carrots, celery, green onions, green bell pepper, thyme, beer (!) and chicken thighs. What we couldn’t get over was the texture and taste of the sauce; it was thick, creamy and packed a delicious punch.

I pretty much followed this to a “T” but did include about a 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic with the veggies, and I threw in a pinch of cayenne pepper when I added the vinegar to give it a little spice.

This was one of David’s first experiences with dumplings and he loved them. YAY! And as he likes to state after a successful meal, “Absolutely blog worthy.” The recipe is not online so here you go lambs. As the magazine states “This stew has a zesty New Orleans feel,” well, I  say let the good times roll with this one poodles, it ROCKED.

Chicken with Cornmeal Dumplings, Everyday Food, April 2011 (p.114)

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (1 ½ pounds), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • ½ bunch scallions, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and diced medium
  • 2 celery stalks, diced medium
  • 2 medium carrots, diced medium
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 2 bottles pilsner or another light-or-medium bodied lager (12 ounces each)
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 recipe Cornmeal Dumpling Dough
  1. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper, add to pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a medium bowl. Add 2 tablespoons butter, scallions, bell pepper, celery, and carrots to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until scallions and celery are soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in thyme and flour and season with salt and pepper; cook 1 minute. Return chicken to pot and whisk in beer. With your hands, roughly tear tomatoes and add to pot along with juices. Bring to a rapid simmer and cook, uncovered 30 minutes. Season to taste with vinegar.
  2. Reduce heat to a medium simmer and drop dough by rounded tablepoons on top of stew. Cover and simmer until dumplings are cooked through 7 – 10 minutes.

Cornmeal Dumpling Dough

In a medium bowl, whisk together 2/3 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), 1/3 cup fine yellow cornmeal,  1 ½ teaspoon sugar and ¼ teaspoon coarse salt. Using your fingers, work in 1 tablespoon unsalted butter until small crumbs form. Stir in ½ cup buttermilk.


Chile Con Carne

Three simple little words for such a powerful dish. Bon Appetit did a special on chilis from around the country and of course this proud little lady chose the one from TEXAS! Some Texas chili rules. Number one, no beans. EVER! Rule number two, there will be beef.  Rule number three, bring on the spice.  Sometimes following the rules is fun.

Chile Con Carne (Photograph by Marcus Nilsson)

As the magazine states:

Chili is practically a religion in Texas. The thick, meaty “bowl of red” dates back to San Antonio in the 1820s. By the 1880s, the city’s plazas were full of pushcarts run by “chili queens” who would lure customers with live music. And Texans may argue about chili ingredients – but purists agree that the hearty stew would never, ever involve beans.

Roger that. This chili, like most real versions, has a lot going on and takes quite some time – but if you heart chili you won’t mind one iota. I followed this to the letter and it turned out perfect. It’s beefy, spicy and yes, a very dark bowl of red.  I topped with fresh tomatoes, green onions,  cilantro, and Monterrey Jack cheese. YUM! I aslo served with this amazing and so simple to make Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread. The only addition I made was I added pickled jalapenos and sauteed cork kernels for a little spicy/sweet oomph.

Before the cold slips away (YAY!) make this bowl of chili today. I just wicked rhymed that without meaning to.

Honey-Marinated Pork with Gremolata

To me, you can never go wrong when you combine honey with anything. I mean right? Think about it, what’s one thing honey doesn’t go well with? Bon Appetit explores this idea in their At the Market section focused on the lucious, good for you nectar from our gentle bee friends. I have to give mad props to the Bon Appetit staff for the amazing recipes they have in this section. I’ve done two other rock star recipes from the past two issues (see here and here) and this Honey-Marinated Pork with Gremolata was simply awesome as well.

Honey-Marinated Pork with Gremolata (Photo by Jamie Chung)

I marinated the pork in the morning since we would be out all day on Lake Travis. Let’s let that sink in shall we? Go ahead, I”ll wait………..we had our first day on the lake on January 30th! It was so beautiful here yesterday and sitting on a boat chatting and relaxing with friends was a great way to end the weekend.  I guess we need to celebrate the warm weather since it’s going to be in the low 20s later on this week, with the possibility of snow. An 80 degree day and then a few days later a chance of snow. Whoa-k. I won’t get into how that’s a tad odd, even for the ever changing Texas weather.

Back to the pork people. After searing the two tenderloins and placing in the oven, I made the gremolata and then moved on to the salad I chose as a side dish: Escarole with Bacon, Dates and Warm Walnut Vinaigrette. OUTSTANDING. There I got that out of my system. This is originally an entree salad but I lowered the amount to keep it as a simple side. We loved, loved this salad. It’s super easy to put together and the dates, walnuts and bacon all played quite nicely together.  I didn’t have walnut oil (who does?) and couldn’t find escarole (what gives Austin?) so I just used olive oil and fresh arugula for the greens; still freaking delicious. We loved the pork and you really tasted the full honey flavor in every bite.  Plus the reduced sauce and gremolata on top made the pork sing such a pretty song. We have leftovers today and I can’t wait for lunch time to get here so I can inhale the rest of the pork.

Both big winners in our house, I hope they will be in yours too.

Escarole with Bacon, Dates and Warm Walnut Vinaigrette (Photo by Kiyoshi Togashi)

Menu Plan + What You Should Be Making Tonight

Lambs! Here is my upcoming menu plan. That scallops dish looks INSANE. Super excited about this week! 

 Sunday: Honey-Marinated Pork with Gremolata and Escarole with Bacon, Dates and Warm Walnut Vinaigrette 

 Monday: Grilled Cheese and Kale Sandwiches with Tomato Soup 

 Tuesday: Lemon Artichoke Risotto and Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette 

 Wednesday: Scallops with Blood Orange Gastrique and Roasted Beets with Citrus and Feta 

So on to what you should be making tonight or this week for sure is homemade pici. We had a little ladies’ dinner at my friend Kari’s house and she’s been to Italy  not once but twice. Mmm hmmm, next time she better pack moi in her suitcase. Her food tales alone make my mouth water. Since she’s returned, we’ve been able to have a little Italy in Austin, including this homemade Pici and Bolognese Sauce.  For me, rolling Pici requires me to use a section of my brain that I don’t think is actually functional. Kari made it look as simple as breathing and I made it look as easy as neurosurgery…not good poodles. I sucked at it completely, but don’t let my lack of brain cells or motor skills deter you. This was super fun to do as a group plus it’s homemade pasta people, it  just tastes that much better. For the full pici making process and recipe, you can visit the Cretaiole website and then be a sad panda that you are not actually at Cretaiole rigt now.  Kari also shared her bolognese recipe which is so superb.  Mangia!  

Perfecto Pici!


THE Bolognese:

  • 6 to 8 ounces (150-200 g) ground beef – it shouldn’t be too lean, or the sugo will be dry
  • 2 ounces (50 g) pancetta, minced (optional; if you omit it increase the beef)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • A quarter of a medium-sized onion, minced
  • A half a carrot, minced
  • A six-inch stalk of celery, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 3/4 cup crushed tomatoes or 2 tablespoons tomato paste dissolved in 1/2 cup water (I used fresh tomatoes, quartered them, quickly scraped the “goo” (seeds) out of each quarter and cooked them in a pot with some garlic until they were soft and mashed.)
  • Beef broth (If you don’t have any, dissolve half a bouillon cube in a cup of boiling water)
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pound (500 g) of pasta.
  • Grated Parmigiano.


If you omit the pancetta you will want the full 8 ounces of meat. Mince the pancetta and the vegetables, and sauté them in a casserole or Dutch oven with the oil. When the onion is golden, add the  ground meat and continue cooking till it’s browned. Stir in the wine and let the sauce simmer till the wine has evaporated, then add the tomatoes, a ladle of broth, and check the seasoning. Continue simmering over a very low flame for about two hours, stirring occasionally, and adding more broth if the sugo looks like it’s drying out. (I ended up using the entire 2 cups of broth to make sure it didn’t dry out over the 5 of so hours I simmered it) The sugo will improve steadily as it cooks, and if you have the time simmer it longer – Artusi suggests it be simmered for six hours, adding boiling water or broth as necessary. When it is done it should be rich and thick. This meat sauce will serve about six as the topping for a first course of pasta or gnocchi, or about four if served over pasta with a tossed salad on the side; in either case serve it with grated Parmigiano.