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Happy Thanksgiving!

Prepped Turkey

Let's cook this turkey.

Yeah, I just started a post with a big picture of raw meat. (Have I lost any readers? I hope not.) Look, today is the day before Thanksgiving. I have two related points on the agenda, so I won’t waste anymore of your holiday weekend time rambling.

1. This is cliché, but… today we are thankful for all the wonderful people in our lives, including you, who have supported the launch of our little business over the past year. It’s a really exciting (busy, stressful, crazy) time for us, and we’d be lying if we said we could do it without a little help from our friends. Your continued encouragement means a lot to us, and every time you tell someone about us or pass along our business cards, you are building our business with us. And that really rocks. So, thank you friends, family, colleagues, and strangers.

To those of you who are or have been our clients – you are seriously awesome and we want to be your friends forever. So please feel free to email us and let us know what you’re up to, how your honeymoon was, where you’re wearing the clothes we made for you, and obviously tell us what you’ve been eating since we saw you. We miss you, for real.

2. Here are some hints for making your Thanksgiving food extra awesome:

Turkey: See above, and cut slits in the bird’s skin. Stick your finger in, loosen it up, and shove some flavor in there. We do rosemary and garlic and it makes for some truly excellent turkey.

Mashed potatoes: Use real cream instead of milk, and put some rosemary in those too. And also – red potatoes are the way to go, keep the skins on, they are delish.

Pumpkin Pie: Use a real pumpkin, not a can. A pie pumpkin. Cut it, puree it, OMG yum. Also – for an easy yet superior pie crust, make a graham cracker crust, but instead of graham crackers use gingersnaps. And then you need real whipped cream on top. As in, buy cream and then whip it, and since you’re doing that, add a splash of brandy to the cream. You’re welcome.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Things We Have Eaten Lately

I’m trying to come back friends. Really hard. I’m finding myself at a loss for words (shocking, I know) when it comes to these posts, and maybe it’s just because I’m busy and burnt out, or maybe I’m not sure where this blog is going, but I’m gonna try to just write and see what happens. As always, your comments are appreciated! I can take constructive criticism, for real. Tell me what you most enjoy reading about. (You’re only here for the food, aren’t you? That’s ok.)

So, because it’s been a while since any food was featured, here’s a roundup of some of the things we’ve consumed recently:

Three-Bean Salad with Gouda (vegetarian) – I LOVED this dish. Julia was not a huge fan, but I think that was mostly because I bought smoked gouda and she does not enjoy smoked cheeses as a rule. Too bad for her. I love them.

Ghetto dinner. Ok, this is no high-class meal, but sometimes? You just have to pick up whatever you can eat as soon as you get it home. So. Salad. Chicken. Forks. Wine. DONE.

Oh – you may remember me mentioning how awesome my wife is? And that on my vacation, she totally pampered me food-wise, even though she was NOT on vacation? She made a whole menu of really nice meals, mostly from a Spanish cookbook we have, and let me pretend like I was in a fancy restaurant, where I didn’t have to cook or clean up! And she was all sweet about it, like it was no big deal for her to spend several hours cooking every night for me while I sat on my butt and did nothing. I love her. (Duh.) Here are some of the things she made for me:

Grilled Basa with Chickpea Salad – Julia says she put too much garlic in it (as you do, because the amount of garlic in every recipe should always be doubled. You do that, right?), but I thought it was awesomely garlicky. Then she made this lovely little bean salad with chickpeas, tomato, cilantro, and red onion. I wasn’t expecting it to be a cold salad, and it was really refreshing. Also just as good warmed up the next day.

Potato, Spinach, and Pine Nut Gratin – I’m sure you can guess that this was delicious. I don’t think I need to say anything more about it. By the way, that little salad? Mixed greens with tomatoes, nothing fancy, but the trick is that instead of our usual dressing, she drizzled it with olive oil and cracked a bit of fresh pepper on it. So simple, so good.

And then? Then there was the night she took a couple sea basses, wrapped them in Serrano ham, and stuffed them with more of the ham and garlic. Crisp, salty ham around tender bites of flaky fish? Holy crap, that was yummy. And I haven’t even told you about the vegetables. They were stir-fried with a sesame sauce and amazing on their own. Five star meal.

Oh, and I almost forgot – it was followed by dessert. To be fair, I actually made it, because, you know, I am the dessert-maker. I know what’s what when it comes to custard. (Ask Keely about those Napoleons I made her that one time. Or anyone who ate the top layer of our wedding cake.) Anyway, I digress as usual, I made Crema Fritta. Literally it translates to fried cream. But essentially, it’s custard (think flan or crème bruleé, minus the bruleé), and then it’s battered and fried. And drowned in blackberry sauce, and topped with whole berries. It was SO. GOOD. Not the prettiest thing I’ve ever made, but really really tasty.

And I’ll leave you with that to drool over.

My Favorite Healthy Substitution

Today I am super excited to share one of my favorite tips with you! You will save money and fridge space and your food will be healthier. And it will taste just as good as you imagined it

You know all those things, like chicken salad and tacos and every chip dip under the sun and chili and casseroles that require either sour cream or mayonnaise, which you don’t really want to use because they are not so good for you and/or you use either one so infrequently that it goes bad in your fridge before you use it all up? Well, here is the secret:

GREEK YOGURT.

Whenever you are looking for that creamy tang of mayo or sour cream, just use yogurt instead. It’s really really good. And you can buy low- or no-fat if you’re watching calories, and still enjoy your favorite comfort foods.

We made this potato salad using Greek yogurt and it was delicious. I’m pretty picky about my potato salad, and I really enjoyed this one. The recipe paired it with mustard-broiled salmon. I have to admit I had my doubts about that, because I am generally not a big fan of mustard. However, I love love love salmon. Do you guys love salmon as much as I do? Baked, broiled, raw in sushi… this buttery pink fish is always a welcome guest in my digestive system. I will pretty much give any recipe that contains it a try.

You guys. This was a really tasty dish, all around. The mustard paired really well with the salmon. The potato salad was yummy. The end.

Here’s the recipe:
Mustard-Broiled Salmon with
New Potato Salad
(adapted from Real Simple)

You need:
1 1/2 pounds new potatoes (I used half red and half white)
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
juice of one lemon (about 2 tablespoons, but who’s measuring?)
1 small fennel bulb
4 6oz. salmon fillets
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup fresh dill
salt and pepper

1. Adjust your top oven rack to be about 6″ away from the broiler and turn it on. (High if you have the option.)

2. Put the potatoes in a pot and cover them with cold water; bring to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt, reduce heat, and simmer 15-20 minutes, until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water and then cut into quarters.

3. Combine yogurt, half of the lemon juice, a teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a bowl. Stir in the potatoes and fennel.

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil, and put the fillets on it. Combine the mustard and remaining lemon juice in a small bowl and spread over the salmon. Broil 6 to 8 minutes, until the fish is opaque and cooked all the way through. Garnish with the dill and serve.

Et, voila!

Dinner Party: Cornish Hens & Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

We decided to throw a dinner party this weekend and it went splendidly. The food was fantastic, and the company even better. I may have gone a little bit overboard in making it fancy, but we had a great time. Honestly, the only thing stopping us from doing this on, say, a weekly basis is the cost of the food. Apologies in advance for the blurriness of some of these photos… the amount of wine I consumed may have contributed to a slightly shaky camera, and the inability to notice at the time. Without further ado, here’s what we served:


Amuse Bouche
Warm Brie with Sun Gold Tomato preserves, served on water crackers.
wine Paul Masson Medeira (California)


First Course
Greek Salad with Orzo and Black-Eyed Peas
wine Winking Owl Chardonnay (California)


Second Course
Cornish Game Hens with Blackberry sauce; Sweet Potato Souffle
wine Tilia Malbec (Argentina) and Fat Bastard Shiraz (France)


Third Course
Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake
[that’s chocolate cake, dark chocolate mousse, and mocha whipped cream]
wine Winking Owl Cabernet Sauvignon (California)

home sweet home

After a whirlwind three days in Boston, we got home, exhausted. We both had to work first thing in the morning, so we pulled out this standby favorite from Real Simple. Julia hit the market on her way home, and shortly after Cindy returned from work, we enjoyed Steak with Crispy Potatoes, Broccoli Rabe, and Pistachio Pesto. Julia added some mushrooms to her plate (Cindy hates mushrooms.)


(Click for recipe)

This isn’t a quick meal, but it is a yummy one. The pistachio pesto is particularly time consuming – more so this time because shelled pistachios were not available at the market, so Julia spent a while removing shells before she could do anything else. We like the pistachio pesto, as opposed to a traditional basil pesto, because good basil can be tricky to find, and the flat leaf parsley in this recipe is abundant and cheap!

So, we made a big batch of the pesto, and used it again the following night on a simple whole wheat pasta with shallots and some fava beans leftover from our most recent farmers’ market trip. (Julia’s creation)

Paired with the Crane Lake Malbec that happened to be buy one, get one free, this made a nice, quick and easy weeknight meal.