Category Archives: Italian

Seduced by the Slow Cooker & Christmas 2013

Cooking Light hit my sweet, er savory spot with not one, not two, but a whole section devoted to the sultry workhorse of the kitchen – The Slow Cooker.  In their Slow Cooker Recipes to Feed a Crowd feature I made four of the recipes including the Classic Slow Cooker Beef Stew; Slow Cooker Chicken Tagine; Tangy Italian Beef Sandwiches and Sweet & Tangy Short Ribs.  Most of these were knock your socks off good, but the hands down winner has to be the Chicken Tagine. Nom, nom, nom. This is a new go-to when I don’t feel like doing much in the kitchen but want something spectacular when I get home.


David and I made the short ribs together, followed it to the letter and boy, we were not fans. The Sambal Oeelek (which usually we can both handle) was HOT. I mean on fire, I was choking a bit hot. Not sure what happened, but we are going to try again and see if it was user error. David and I are still both scratching our heads on what went wrong. Regardless, give the the other three a try. They are simply delightful and easy to prep. I just love coming home to the smells of something in the slow cooker don’t you?

Now on to the BIG DAY – CHRISTMAS! I am one of the biggest nerds on the planet for Christmas and last night, David and I were talking about why. On the surface, I love all the smells, colors and flavors of the season – it’s all up my alley. But more importantly I feel this time of year is when things are a little slower and people are just a bit kinder towards one another. Goodness, I sound just like the opening to Love Actually don’t I? But I truly do believe it!

Enough of this gushy stuff, let’s get to the food. So I had to make this perfect roast chicken again and yes, once again, it turned out perfect. So, so, so perfect. I don’t think I will ever follow another roast chicken recipe again. I also made this Stupid Simple Roast Beef with Horseradish Cream from Food & Wine magazine – jeez, this was outrageously delicious. It was perfectly medium rare and juicy to boot. Was it stupid simple? You bet! We smeared and smothered the spicy, creamy horseradish sauce all over the meat and ate with abandon. I also roasted some red potatoes along with meat and then tossed them in the pan drippings when done. These were cracktastic. At one point, Lila had eaten all of her potatoes and when David asked the table if there were any more, one of guests was trying to hide his – he didn’t want to share, hahahaha. I also served a simple side salad of roasted beets, kale, shaved parmesan and roasted hazelnuts with a lemon infused creme fraiche sauce.  Easy, breezy and mostly healthy – it has kale and beets, come on!

Stupid Simple

The only misstep for us was the Dark Chocolate Pudding with Pretzels from Bon Appetit. I followed this to the “T” (as I always do duh, but especially so since it’s a pudding and those can be tricky) and it was waaaay too rich for the table; even with the salty pretzels. People took a few bites and then kindly set it to the side. Good thing we had cheesecake as a backup! Overall, Christmas 2013 dinner was a success but more importantly, we were so grateful to be with amazing family and friends. Hope you and yours had happy holidays and who is ready for 2014?

Italian Vegetable Stew

“A bowl full of health” is what David calls this Italian Vegetable Stew from Bon Appetit.  I made this a few weeks ago for the two of us when the plague was attacking everyone and everything in Austin, including the three of us. It was the first time little Lila was sick and I was on pins and needles but just like everything else with kids, you get through it and you learn that your “gear” is everything. Bless the NoseFrida, the humidifier and saline spray is all I can say.

David and I were so impressed with this stew the first time around we decided to make it again for friends last night for dinner and once again, it didn’t disappoint.  I did make this without adding in the bread since two of our friends are gluten-free and served up toasted garlic bread on the side so everyone else could dip as much as we wanted. Also, I did add a splash of red wine vinegar at the end just to give a hint more acidity, which seems counterintuitive given all the tomatoes but actually, we all agreed it needed it.  Winter does seem to be winding down so be sure to put this into your rotation before the hot summer months get to you…heck, it’s already 80 degrees here today, yeesh. Mangia!italian-vegetable-stew-646

Food & Wine Week!

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved recipes from Food & Wine magazine but I’ve noticed as of late that they have really inspired me to want to cook. Like these whimsical Garlic Bread “Fries” with Marinara “Ketchup” or the three bomb diggity dishes I made the past two days.

Lila just started daycare and while she’s fine, I’m the one losing it with worry and well, missing the heck out of her. So, while I was waiting for her and David to get home, I did what I know will help calm me down and keep my mind off of things…COOK! What better way than to honor the Chef who found sheer joy in cooking than the one and only Julia Childs. I tried this Julia’s Favorite Roast Chicken recipe from Food & Wine and to start, it was divine! Roasted chicken always sounds so simple but to nail it, it takes great timing, and a few simple ingredients to really make it shine and shine this one did. I’m not going to lie, there’s a lot to this but I didn’t mind the effort given the return when it was done. We both raved about this and I followed the instructions to a “T” to ensure I honored Miss Julia. As recommended, I paired it with the Bread Salad with Currants and Pine Nuts.  This was bonkers good and perfect with the roasted chicken. I would recommend a smidge more dressing than it calls for since I felt it needed it at then end to dress it up and add a little more flavor. Otherwise, perfect.

For tonight’s State of the Union speech we made this Antipasto Salad with Bocconcini and Green-Olive Tapenade from another icon of women chefs, Nancy Silverton. Simple should be this recipes middle name and out-of-this-world delicious would be its last. YUM. We snarfed this down in no time, and while I was hoping for leftovers the next day for lunch that was just not the case. The only thing I added was toasted bread to add a bit more crunch and texture to the salad.

I’ve got to say that roast chicken recipe was probably my favorite. It’s lengthy and a bit more of a food workout than normal but worth it! As Julia would say, Bon Appetit!

Antipasto Salad with Bocconcini and Green-Olive Tapenade

© John Kernick

“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.


Potato Gnocchi with Pastrami Ragu

BLESS this dish, bless, bless, bless.

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.

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!

Bucatini all’Amatriciana

Bucatini all’Amatriciana, try saying that three times fast or if you are me, at all. I’m going to go ahead and tell you right now that Bon Appetit is batting a thousand in our house this week as this was also an Emily and David favorite, hands down.

Still with me or have you gone to the store to get the ingredients? Good.

Bucatni all'Amatriciana (Photo by Jeff Lipsky)

I looked up the translation of this dish and of course the first link that comes up on Google is from none other than the Italian Chef god, Croc wearing and super gentle Mario Batali from the Babbo restaurant website. Let’s all gather around and see what they have to say:

This dish is one of the most celebrated in Italian cuisine and a favorite here at Babbo. Named for the tiny town of Amatrice, located 100 miles east of Lazio from Abruzzo this dish can be made both with or without tomatoes. Ever since Abbruzzese shepherds begin the tradition of eating this spicy pasta after a day in the chilly mountain air, the cooking process has always begun with the rich smell of a fatty piece of pork bubbling in the pan. At Babbo, we use our homemade guanciale, or cured pig jowls, with its distinct pork flavor, to achieve the same rich taste that comforted the shepherds of old.

If you count shepherding around a lot of pie plates, Crimps, bags, ties, labels and then cooking in the kitchen for hours,  I was one tired shepherd last night. I decided to prep the sauce before I left and then came home to boil the spaghetti. I simply combined the drained spaghetti with the sauce and dinner was d.o.n.e. We ate this with abandon. Like there was no tomorrow and this was our last meal. OK, a little dramatic. But we did slurp this and both went back for seconds. So rustic, so deep in flavor, so simple and so authentically Italian. Make this, now, no, no, go on, go to the store. I want to hear your reviews after you’ve tried it for yourself!


Prince Charming David Giving the FriendsEaster Toast!

Every year there is an annual event amongst the friends called FriendsEaster. A time to get together to eat great food, drink good wine and most importantly be amongst amazing friends. I experienced my first one last year at our friends Carrie and Justin’s casa. Since they just got married (congrats lambs!) holding it at their house was not very ideal so we decided to hold it at Casa Kealey instead. I have to admit I was a little nervous given that’s a three-year tradition and I wanted to ensure the entree (the hosts’ responsibility) was delicious. Thank goodness the cover of Saveur looked amazing with this simple lamb and potatoes dish or as it’s traditionally called, Cosciotto di Agnello con Patate. I couldn’t say that if my life depended on it.

Cosciotto di Agnello con Patate (Photo by Todd Coleman)

Given that we had a lot of cleaning up to do in the house, I was more than grateful that I chose a very easy lamb dish to prepare. Make the delicious, herbacious, spicy paste, schmear it on the lambs (we had two legs) peel and cut some potatoes and you are good to go for a few hours! The lamb came out perfectly cooked but I did have to roast the potatoes in the rendered fat (here’s your drool cup) for a bit longer than what the recipe called for; about 30 more minutes. I got some great reviews all around! One of our friends mentioned she was not a fan of lamb but gave this a try and she really liked it! YAY! This would be beautiful for an Easter dinner and if you’ve got four or five other dishes to make – I can guarantee it will be a stunner without a ton of work.

I also made these delectable  Dry-Cured Olives with Rosemary and Orange for a quick appetizer option. Once again, simple, delicious and quick. I’m actually eating the leftover olives right now and they are still yummy. I could see these being beautiful in a simple Salad Nicoise as well.

Dry-Cured Olives with Rosemary and Orange (Photo by Landon Nordeman)

Not surprisingly, everyone brought their A-game with the food. We had roasted asparagus; broccoli and bacon salad; roasted jalapenos stuffed with bacon and cream cheese; stuffed avocados; a delicious salmon, cream cheese and caper spread; spinach and artichoke dip; buttermilk pie – one of my favorites –  from The Pie Society and lots of great wine including my new love (it’s $14!!!!) called Gundlach Bundschu. You can get it Whole Foods Market right now. In fact you should do it now, because if I’m near there today I’m going to buy the whole lot.

Here are some pics of us from what turned out to be a lovely FriendsEaster.

The Pie Society's Buttermilk Pie



Channeling my inner Martha...
The FriendsEaster Crew


Farfalle Provencal

My friend “The Boo” gave me the Neiman Marcus Cookbook (2003) as a Christmas present a few years ago and to this day I still love thumbing through it. After hours of working on the house – total remodel mode lambs – we were starving and I wanted pasta BAD. I had all of the ingredients for a basic marinara and was *gasp* going to to wing it on my own; shocking I know. However, I turned to the Neiman Marcus book and voila! a lovely and unique recipe for Farfalle Provencal.

Farfalle Provencal

Make the marinara sauce and while that cooks away prep for your pasta cooking; easy peasy! A few things I changed to the marinara, one I added a Parmesan rind to add a little bit more depth of flavor and not.waste.a.thing. Two, instead of water I used chicken broth for once again a smidge more flavor and I had some I needed to use up anyway.  Jiminy Cricket this was good! The depth of flavor with the savory tomato, salty bite of olives and capers and fresh herbacious basil was delicious. Go ahead, get your farfalle on!

Neiman Marcus Marinara Sauce  – Neiman Marcus Cookbook, 2003

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 6 cupd canned diced tomatoes (with juice)
  • 3 cups canned whole plum tomatoes (with juice)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup chiffonade fresh basil

Yields about 2 quarts

To prepare the sauce, pour the olive oil into a large saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 4 or 5 minutes, stirring often, until garlic begins to brown. Add the diced and whole tomatoes, tomato paste, 3 cups of cold water, the pepper, salt, sugar, red pepper flakes, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, turn down heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Just before serving, stir the basil into the sauce.

Farfalle Provencal – Neiman Marcus Cookbook, 2003

  • 1 quart Marinara Sauce
  • 1 pound dried farfalle pasta (bow tie pasta)
  • 1/4 cup chiffonade fresh basil
  • 1 cup pitted Nicoise or Kalamata olives, julienned
  • 1/4 cup drained capers, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup butter, diced
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Prepare the marinara sauce and set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare the pasta. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat and add farfalle. Turn down the heat to medium-hihg and simmer, uncovered, for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, unitl the pasta is al dente. Drain the pasta in a large colander and shake the colander briefly under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Drain the pasta well and set aside.

Warm the reserved marinara sauce over medium heat, adding the basil as described in the sauce recipe. Add the olives, capers, and cooked pasta, and simmer for about 2 minutes, until the pasta is heated through. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter. Transfer to warm pasta bowls and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.