Mashed potatoes with goat cheese and caramelized onions.

whip it

It might surprise you to know that I’m fond of the phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Now, to tell you the truth, I’m not the kind of person who really likes fixing things that aren’t food related. A pothole tried to eat my hubcap and it’s just been sitting in my trunk because I can’t be bothered to slap it back on. I’m like, the tire still works? Cool. I’ll let the car dealership handle the hubcap problem when I go in for an oil change. Oh, and ask Colin how long it took me to program the universal remote.

But when it comes to food … I’m always changing things, adding cheese, omitting parsley (because really), tossing in some garlic or bacon or a glug of wine to make a dish my own. But some foods are pretty perfect in their traditional state – like mashed potatoes. Whether you use lots of butter and cream, or sour cream, or cream cheese, traditional mashed potatoes are just tops. But (and isn’t there always a but?) that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experiment.

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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.

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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.

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