Greek salad couscous.

little bowl 2

I know. I know. It’s been like, three weeks since I last posted. I was away for a week, then I was simultaneously busy and lazy for another week, and now… I’m getting back on track.

I believe I’ve mentioned before that at my old job, I was spoiled by our cafeteria. It was staffed by two very sweet women and one very nice dude, who just so happened to have been trained at the Culinary Institute of America (and shared some recipes with me, which was awesome). There were fresh soups and salads every day, with “deli” sandwich specials and hot meal specials, and everything was delicious, all the time.  This iteration of Greek salad was featured pretty often, sometimes with chickpeas and other times with Israeli couscous. I always made room on my plate for a little scoop of it. I finally got around to buying a canister of Israeli couscous a few weeks ago, and made my own version of it. You should make it too, especially if you have an olive thing. I…have an olive thing. I’m not proud of this, but I ate a whole can of pitted green olives this weekend. I keep buying them with recipe-related intentions, and then I just scarf them all down and wonder how I got here.

Continue reading

Shrimp tacos with mango salsa.

tacos 3

I know that complaining about the eight thousand million billion tons of snow makes for pretty dull reading material, but seriously, I’m over it. Everyone who’s wearing their pajamas inside out and dropping ice cubes into the toilet and performing intricate snow dances, or whatever it is you weird winter people do, PLEASESTOP.

But, let’s be honest, it’s winter and it’s going to be miserable for at least another month. Instead of letting The Surly take over your life for the foreseeable future, might I suggest cranking up your heat, cracking open a beer and eating some food that feels like summer?

Continue reading

My favorite roasted potatoes.

DSC_1309

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – one of my favorite things about being a grownup is that I can have roasted potatoes for dinner (or lunch. Or breakfast.) whenever I damn well please. I love their crispy outsides and the feeling of comfort that permeates as soon as you pop one in your mouth. I love the way they smell when they’re cooking. And while I’ve sampled many, many variations, this is the signature, tried-and-true version I make most often. Also, whenever I try making some other kind of roasted potato dish, Colin’s all like, WHY TRY TO IMPROVE PERFECTION*?

*paraphrasing.

I’m going to be honest with you – this recipe is a result of “I’m too lazy to chop garlic” and “Having fresh herbs/a garden is haaaard.” (It’s not. But having even the slightest semblance of a yard is a wistful dream.) I don’t even really measure the ingredients – but this time, I did. Just so I can share it with you fine folks. Unfortunately, most of my pictures came out horrible and sallow-looking, so here’s a picture of Sam looking super concerned. And super cute.

DSC_1215

Continue reading

Twice-baked potatoes with kale.

plate 3

Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, please welcome, for the very first time on this humble little blog … kale!

Kale has become an incredibly popular staple for healthy eaters over the past couple of years, and rightly so. It’s chock full of vitamins and minerals, and can be prepared in any number of ways.

For those of you who haven’t managed to incorporate this superfood into your diet, and are perhaps a little wary of this leafy green with its curly, tough texture, here’s a recipe that might help you open your arms (mouth?) to kale. Sure, it’s not the healthiest thing you could eat, but it is delicious, and it’s tangible proof that, as the great Bob Belcher once said, there’s nothing wrong with kale.

Continue reading

Broccoli salad.

DSC_1084

I don’t know about you, but I thoroughly enjoy salad bars. I like piling a random assortment of vegetables, fruits, dressings, nuts and seeds on my plate. It’s so much more fun than getting a regular salad assembled by someone else. I mean, maybe I don’t want just Caesar salad. Maybe I want some Caesar salad, and a spoonful of Waldorf salad to go with it. If I want to plop some baby corns or cherry tomatoes on my mixed greens, I can do that. And if my favorite salad bar staple, broccoli salad, is there, then awww yeah.

Sadly, broccoli is not one of the shining stars of the vegetable aisle. Admittedly, I didn’t like it when I was growing up – and I wasn’t one of those kids who eschewed her vegetables at every turn. I generally ate my peas and string beans without a fuss, and considered carrots and cucumbers to be pretty neat snacks, but unless broccoli was slathered in Velveeta, I wanted no part of it – and even then, I’d bite the florets off the stalks, leaving those behind…possibly concealing them under some mashed potatoes.

But now, I can get down with broccoli. Especially if it’s tossed together with some other veggies, bacon, cheese and a creamy dressing.

Continue reading

Pasta with vegetables in a creamy yogurt sauce

top photo

I’m not really one for making new year’s resolutions. Sure, I probably made some when I was younger, because I thought it was the “thing” to do, but it seems to me that more often than not, new year’s resolutions are about eating better, getting in shape, losing weight or something along those lines. Anyone who has ever frequented the gym knows that trying to get a workout in during January is all but impossible – really, it’s better to just wait ’til February, when the herd thins out – and I think that kicking off the longest, coldest, worst month ever (come at me, January fans) with a pledge to purge your diet of all things sweet/salty/carby/boozy is just a form of masochism, and I want no part of it.

In light of my resolution hangups, and as a tip of the hat to all of you who don’t share this mindset, I think I’ve found something that qualifies as both comfort food and a (quasi) healthy alternative. Also, it’s vegetarian-friendly, so, yay for that.

Continue reading

Chicken scarpariello

plate alone

When I think of home, I think of a place that always smelled like vanilla or apple candles, with every window in the house thrown open to let crisp air and sunlight stream into every room. There was always at least one dog always underfoot, and classic rock records always played through the speakers of the stereo we my mom bought for my dad as either a birthday or Father’s Day gift. At night, Law and Order reruns were almost always on the TV (unless it was 7 o’clock, in which case, Jeopardy always, always won out, despite my dad’s increasing annoyance with Alex Trebek. Can Anderswoon Cooper just replace him already?), and on the weeknights where we weren’t treating ourselves to Chinese takeout, my mom was usually responsible for preparing something delicious, and she always delivered.

When I reached my 20s, I learned the secret to my mom’s delicious weeknight meals: The New York Times 60-Minute Gourmet. It was dog-eared and missing its cover, a well-worn weapon in my mom’s culinary arsenal. She lent it to me briefly before getting sick of my book-hogging tendencies and buying me my own copy, and I returned it with about two dozen Post its marking recipes I wanted to make.

Continue reading

Grilled cheesiest.

top

When I went to Tampa last spring, my coworker and I got lunch at this cute little cafe, L’Eden, while we were killing time before checking in to our hotel. I had a mozzarella, brie and goat cheese panini, and was instantly smitten. It was one of the best paninis I’d ever had…and then I made an amped-up version of it this week, thanks to having plenty of leftovers from Colin’s slightly cheesetastic birthday dinner.

cheeses 2

Just imagine it. Creamy. Smoky. Tangy. Salty. Crispy. Just a little sweet. Buttery. In your mouth. All at the same time.

gooey

 

Seriously. Look at that. Look. at. that. It is the cheesiest of grilled cheeses that I have ever made. And friends, I am a grilled cheese enthusiast. I make grilled cheeses a lot. I think I’ll make one for lunch, now that I’m thinking about it. Oh well. It’s not like it’s even really summer anymore. Cue the violins and sad trombones.

Continue reading

Pizza pizza.

toppings

Last weekend was Colin’s birthday, and much to my delight, he told me he wanted me to make him something awesome (“how is this different than any other night I make dinner?” I asked, probably more menacingly than I had intended), which is way better than agonizing over the perfect gift. Although, not to toot my own horn, I’ve picked out some pretty clutch gifts over the years. He’s easy to shop for, which is why I keep him around rules.

You’re probably expecting this post to feature some of the delightful recipes I whipped up on Sunday, right?

Well … sorry. I was too focused on making everything perfect and in a timely fashion, and didn’t take any pictures. Actually, I took one picture, of my homemade Montreal steak seasoning. But that’s it. Yup, I’m a terrible food blogger. In my defense, two of the recipes have already been featured here (although this time I tried a slightly different tomato soup recipe because hey, it’s fresh tomato season), one course was a cheese/charcuterie plate, and one side was steamed green beans. (Beans + water + heat. Done.) So really, the only thing I could have shared with you that would be worthwhile was… erm, well, the main course. I wish I had photographed it, because Colin said it was one of the better steaks he had ever tasted.

I know, right? Terrible, terrible Lauren. But I have another flank steak in the freezer, so sooner rather than later (hopefully), I’ll make this again, and on that evening, I won’t be spinning around my kitchen like a top that is also somehow on crack. So please don’t be peeved … especially because the recipe I’m about to share with you more than makes up for this oversight. Also, it’s pizza. That also features bacon. So really … you can’t be that mad.

Continue reading

Summer saute

DSC_0134

Ok guys. So it’s clear that I really, really love food. Not only do I (semi-regularly) write a food blog, but I’ve also been known to take it into some weird territory by writing love letters to pot pies and what not. I’ll be the first one to push any dish that features gobs of cheese or crispy bacon, but this – this healthy, vegetarian, cheese-free (ok, I caved and added cheese last night) meal – might be my new favorite dinner. I’ve made it the past two nights, and I don’t really see myself wanting anything else in the near future. I get like this with music, too – when I really, really like a song, I listen to it about five dozen times in a row. I’m not (too) ashamed to admit that, currently, all I really want to listen to “Blurred Lines.” I’ve been in this place for about a month and a half. You’d think I’d be ready to stop, but … no.

Continue reading