I make some of my best dishes off-the-cuff when I don’t feel good. When I’m sick, I need rest, green tea, and hot delicious food, in that order. Plus throwing together a very quick, simple but tasty meal for myself lifts my mood and helps me feel better.
This little veggie hash is one of those things. I didn’t think much of it when I threw it together the first time, but then it was gorgeous. So gorgeous I had to make it again a few days later. It not only takes very little time and looks gorgeous, but it’s easily customizable and full of veggies and it features one of my favorite sausages of all time: calabrese. Continue reading
You like all of those words. You like them individually. You’ll also like them together. You’ll want them to hang out more, maybe rent an apartment in New York together. You’ll want them to have an insanely popular television show on TLC where you can follow along with their hopes, dreams, careers, personal relationships, good times and inevitable betrayals. And you’ll cry at the reunion show, “Lemon Cranberry Cream Cheese Muffins: The Next Batch” because no one thought that Cranberry would show up, but she will. She will.
(This is why you shouldn’t write blog posts when you’re tired.) Continue reading
Well, it’s New Year’s Eve. How exciting and yet terrifying. I mean, after midnight tonight, it will officially be 2011. And I have to say, I’m a bit disappointed. I mean, I love my Camry and all but I kind of thought by now I’d have a flying car, or at least a pegasus that was hooked up to a cart of some sort. But no. My vehicle is still a non-magical, non-nuclear powered terrestrial vehicle.
But if I can’t have a personal automotive levitation device, I might as well have the next best thing this new year: brunch. I love brunch. First of all, it’s a delightfully crunchy-sounding word. Brrrrruncccchhh. It’s like weekend-in-a-bowl. It’s also flexible, relaxing, laid back, amenable to last minute plans, sociable and full of delicious flavors and my friends and I are indeed fans of delicious flavors (and also of the TV show Psych). Thus, we are big believers in the awesome healing powers of a good brunch.
Our last brunch was a bit last-minute. It was a couple weeks ago and the planning started on Friday, I think, with Paul messaging me as to whether we were interested in brunching at his place on Sunday. On Saturday, he laid out his menu ideas and we assigned tasks during a quick phone call and then we went grocery shopping for whatever items we didn’t already have in stock. On Sunday, Josh, myself, Brian and Rita trooped over to Paul’s house to get the party started, so to speak, with him and his roommates. Continue reading
When I was a little kid, my grandparents raised chickens. I remember helping my grandma feed them and having to collect the eggs. I remember the rooster strutting around and generally being absolutely nothing like Foghorn Legorn. But mostly I remember them all chasing me around the yard.
Chickens are jerks.
But they do produce tasty, tasty eggs. And I’ll admit that deep down I always hope that I’ll someday get to raise some chickens in my backyard that will be as awesome as Billina, the talking chicken from Return to Oz or even Chicken Boo from the Animaniacs. That silly Chicken Boo. He thinks he’s people. But mostly, I really just like eggs.
Unlike other breakfast foods, which are often greasy or absolutely bursting with sugar which is not a good way for me to start off the morning, eggs are just complete little packages of deliciousness. I like them scrambled, fried for sandwiches, hardboiled, deviled, baked with herbs and olive oil, and occasionally I like to go all out on the weekend and I very slowly scramble them over low heat for about 10-15 minutes with olive oil, butter, a touch of cream and shavings of my favorite flavored Monterey Jack cheese. That last one, by the way, is deadly but delicious. Eat lovingly but sparingly.
But I also like to make Eggs in Purgatory, which is basically eggs cooked in spicy tomato sauce. One of my favorite egg breakfasts. And you know what breakfast is really good for? Dinner. Continue reading
Cream makes everything better. So does butter. We always suspected it, but more and more I realize that it’s an eternal truth. In fact, I’m starting to suspect that primordial ooze was really sweet cream butter. Yep, that’s right. Full-fat dairy gave birth to the universe as we know it.
All right, well maybe not. But it did give birth to these pancakes. But don’t worry; it was a lot cleaner than you think, and with less screaming.
I’ve struggled to make good pancakes for a while. I could do it when I was a kid but that was when we bought like, Aunt Jemima boxed mix and it was chemically engineered to be so easy that even a 9 year old could do it. But when I try to make that kind of magic out of raw ingredients on my own, sometimes it doesn’t work out. They turn out rubbery or chewy or whatever. This is, of course, a travesty because Josh likes pancakes. So Lauren practices her pancakes. I have a go-to recipe that I trot out and it’s usually pretty good but a few weeks ago, I found a way to make it even better. And then earlier this week, I tried it again for dinner. And let me tell you, it works. What’s the secret, you ask? Continue reading
maybe she meant, let them eat cherries
Or, “What to do with 14 pounds of canned cherries.”
Josh likes cherries. Josh likes canning. Josh cans cherries. Lauren carries off two cans of cherries. Lauren cooks cherry cake. Cherry coffee cake. Cherry coffee cake with canned cherries. Josh is cheery. Josh likes cherry coffee cake with canned cherries.
I was bored on Saturday and that’s usually a recipe for disaster deliciousness because when I get bored, I bake. Only I was running low on ideas. It’s amazing, really—there are seven hundred and fifty recipes in my Evernote cookbook and yet, not a single thing I wanted to make right then and there. Well, that I could make anyway, with what I had on hand.
So I went offline and in search of my 40-something cookbooks. I wasn’t inspired by much there that day either, until I went through a Tastebook I had put together several years ago. If you’ve never been to Tastebook, it’s basically a site that lets you organize and print your own cookbooks—it’s rather nice, and I especially like it for gifts. But anyway, I’d printed myself a cookbook of recipes I found online a few years ago and one of them–the very first recipe in the book, actually—was for a cranberry coffee cake. Well I could do that, I thought. But I don’t have any cranberries. But I did have a basement wine cellar full of unfermented fruit (I know—I’m doing it wrong). That is, full of cherries that Josh bought fresh and canned a few weeks ago. Josh likes cherries. Josh likes cake. Cake likes cherries. Lauren cooks cherry cake. Continue reading
So like I mentioned in the last post, Pom Wonderful sent me another free batch of their pomegranate juice to see what I could do with it. I love when this happens. I like having to be creative with something. Especially something free. And plus, you know, I figure that pomegranate juice is so healthy for you that it totally trumps all the egg and cream that’s in this french toast recipe, plus the breakfast meats (with an ‘s’) that I served it with.
Ok, maybe not. Maybe it won’t instantly unclog your arteries but it is full of antioxidants and hey, every little bit helps.
Oh, also it’s really tasty. And let’s be honest here. That’s the most important thing. What did Lennon used to say? “All you need is love deliciousness.” I’m pretty sure that’s what he said. It sounds right.
So anyway…I came up with this on kind of a whim this past Sunday. I come up with most things on a whim. And a prayer….Who could it be? Believe it or not, it’s just meeeeeee…..
Sorry. Had a “Greatest American Hero” moment there for a second. Where was I?
Oh, right, right, french toast. With pomegranate.
Josh is a big fan of french toast. I’m really more of pancake gal myself, but Josh, he loves him the pain perdu. He makes a mean french toast casserole. The only downside is that french toast casseroles take some planning and work. And you know me–I like to do things on a whim. And a prayer. Who could it be? Sorry, I’ll stop now. Anyway, I like to do things on a whi–er, more spontaneously, and with few ingredients. I honestly was just preparing a basic french toast batter and I thought, hmm, maybe I could just throw in some of that pomegranate juice and add a little flavor without any real work. Turns out, yes I can. Continue reading
That headline’s a reference to Spaceballs, by the way, if you didn’t recognize it. And if you didn’t recognize it, shame on you. Your penance shall be sitting down immediately and watching this national treasure of a film—while you’re waiting for this jam to cook down, that is.
So I’ll be up front here. I am not a domestic goddess of any sort. I’m barely a domestic imp. I don’t sew–I can, but I don’t and I don’t have any desire to. I clean but not nearly as much as I should. I don’t really decorate. My gardening skills and interests are minimal. I don’t can. (That sentence looks so wrong, by the way.) I don’t bake my own bread. And I know those things seem kind of odd, seeing as how I do cook a great deal and I’ll even make my own candy, chocolate, oreos and now I’m working on Snickers bars. But I dunno. Canning doesn’t really appeal to me and seems like quite a bit of work for an end result that’s not chocolate. But I do like jam, and I like it minimally processed (as I prefer all foods to be, except Taco Bell, which gets an exception because it’s not really food anyway). I don’t like jelly though. I guess you could say that I’m not ready for this jelly. (No? No good? Well they can’t all be winners). But I do love jam, especially stirred into some plain Greek yogurt with some chocolate chips and walnuts—that’s a winning breakfast right there, my friends. Raspberry jam is awesome. But strawberry jam is awesomer still. Because I love strawberries so, so much. It’s my second favorite flavor next to chocolate, and right before “barbecue.” And it’s June! Fresh strawberries abound cheaply. Take advantage of it. Continue reading
This is it. The very last Sunday spent in my apartment. Might as well celebrate it eggcellently (snicker).
Shortly before Christmas, my grandmother gave me a cast-iron skillet. Gorgeous one, too, with nice high sides. I have no idea how old it is but judging by the facts that it had been laying in the back of a cupboard, she couldn’t quite remember how she got it it and that the average age of items in her home is 53, I’m going to assume it’s probably about as old as me. But it’s nice high sides, ability to maintain a constant high heat and ease of going between the stove and the oven made it perfect for this morning’s potato and spinach frittata.
I’ve made frittatas before but I just want to reiterate how fantastic they are. You can put anything into one, they’re fast and easy to make, very filling, easy to expand for as many people as you like and best of all, easily done in one pan. Continue reading
I found a recipe in Cooking Light for Strawberry Jam Crumb Cake. It just sounds scrumptious, doesn’t it? It looks pretty good too. I have the week off and you know I can’t go more than a few hours without getting bored and baking something. My immediate thought was to make cookies, and then brownies, and then I thought that maybe I should try and wean myself just a little bit off my dependence on the black gold that is chocolate and try something new. And I’ve never made a crumb cake before (as least, I don’t think so, and if I ever did, I guess it was so terrible that I blocked it out) so I figured, why not?
Of course, I didn’t have any strawberry jam because what fun is baking if you actually have all the ingredients you need? I did have apricot preserves, though, since I’d needed it for my spicy apricot chicken. Works for me. Continue reading
Aaaaaaaaaand we’re back.
It was an odd weekend, really, this past weekend. There was very little cooking and no baking. Indeed, a pall of sadness hung over our apartment. Poor Josh had to have all four wisdom teeth removed at once and…well, let’s just say, he’s seen better weekends. And while I was reasonably healthy myself and not even a fraction as miserable as Josh, I tried not to cook too much because I felt sort of like a meanie making delicious food when he was subsisting on soft oatmeal and light Gatorade.
But today, as Josh slowly makes his way back to health and normalcy, I am slowly making my way back into the kitchen. I baked a super easy cake recipe I found on AllRecipes.com, which yes, I did choose because it didn’t require butter and lazy girl that I am, I didn’t feel like trekking to the store to get more. What’s even more shocking about that is the fact I was nearly out of butter to begin with. But no matter! I experimented and the cake looks good but as of the time of this writing, I have not tried it yet.. Continue reading
I’ve said before that despite evidence to the contrary, I don’t really like to bake. I only do it because I like baked goods and so far as I know, you either have to bake them or buy them. And really it’s better if you bake them.
Well today I wanted to use up some buttermilk and I figured, might as well make something for breakfast tomorrow–after all, Josh will be back late tonight, he’ll want to sleep in tomorrow morning; might as well have breakfast waiting for him already. Muffins sounded about right.
Now, I am not the Muffin Man of this apartment. That would be Josh. Josh is the Muffin Man. He makes delicious blueberry lemon muffins and someday I’ll get him write a guest post on that. But he’s not here today. So the muffin making is up to me.
I have this recipe I’ve been wanting to try for a while–raspberry cream cheese muffins—from MyRecipes. Looked delicious AND they were healthy. I adapted the recipe a bit, though, to make it fit my style more. And by “fit my style more” I mean, “I added dark chocolate.” Mmmm. Chocolate. I also added the seeds of half a vanilla bean and a bit more of a nice rum-based Tahitian vanilla. But what’s really important here is the chocolate. Let’s not forget that. Continue reading
I like to snack, and I like healthy but delicious snacks. So the other day at work, I made up this beautiful little concoction:
This is a delicious little yogurt parfait made with Fage 0% Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt, if you’ve never had it, is much thicker than the yogurt we normally pick up at the store, because it’s strained in order to remove the whey. The Fage yogurt has the consistency of say, warm cream cheese. It’s comes plain, but I would never eat it like that. It’s traditionally the base for tzaziki sauce, which is that great cucumber-dill sauce you often get on gyros or other Greek dishes. Here, it’s flavored with a couple tablespoons of my grandmother’s homemade strawberry jam and topped with the crumbles from my last homemade granola bars and the last few strawberries from my trip to the farmer’s market. The combination of the sweet strawberries, the chocolate and the coconutty crunch of the granola was excellent, if I do say so myself.
Try it out, and customize it…use raspberries, peaches, blueberries, apricots…after all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
So, yeah, I don’t really eat breakfast foods, per se. I know, I’m odd. I’m told that on a regular basis. I used to eat breakfast foods. I used to eat pancakes, french toast and waffles until I realized that those delicious yet sugary carbs were exactly the reason I was crashing and feeling crappy by midmorning. Again, I tend to have low blood sugar and reactive hypoglycemia and the worst thing I can do is start out the day with a metric ton of sugar pouring into my bloodstream. So I stopped eating those. Eggs tend to make me sick, and I only ever ate them scrambled anyway and not very often. And breakfast meats like sausage and bacon are full of fat, which I tend to avoid not only due to my preference for eating somewhat healthy but also because meat tends to make me sick to my stomach for some unknown reason, and the fattier the meat, the worse it is (I know, I know, I’m so oddly delicate, right?). So I avoid breakfast foods. We go out to brunch on the weekend and my husband gets an omelet or french toast…I get a chicken caesar salad. Or a gyro. Go out with coworkers during the week; they get bagels and cream cheese, I get chicken salad. That’s just sort of the way I am. Besides, in my opinion, lunch foods are way superior–and more varied–than breakfast anyway. Continue reading