Monday, February 28

Wrong Number

I get a lot of calls for some random woman - we'll call her Sarah. The calls are usually from adult men from Nevada.

Today, I started thinking about how many calls I get for her, so I thought I'd try Googling her name and my phone number.

Bad idea.

"Sarah" is a shemale & adult escort working in Las Vegas.

My brother-and-sister-in-law looked him/her up, I went to the same link, and it's definitely a man. To think about all the men who have called me over the past 3 years expecting to talk to Sarah... kind of disgusting.

Never-mind that my phone number is posted all over the internet attached to this fabulous individual.

Thanks, AT&T. And Nevada, oh how I miss you so...

HOME STRETCH.

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TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 22nd
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BROCCOLI AND LEEK BISQUE + STRAWBERRIES + FLATBREAD

bisque

BROCCOLI AND LEEK BISQUE
Recipe from Always in Season Jr. League of Salt Lake Cookbook, p.176

This soup was very easy, and very delicious. It tasted even better the next day. I used frozen broccoli (cheap!), and pureed the soup in the blender before serving.

1 c. sliced leeks (be sure to wash them in water to get all the sand out)
1 c. sliced mushrooms (we omitted this ingredient)
3 T. butter
3 T. flour
3 c. chicken broth
1 c. broccoli florets
1 c. light cream
1 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Saute the leeks and mushrooms in the butter in a saucepan until tender. Stir in the flour, and cook until bubbly. Add the chicken broth. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly.

Add the broccoli. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the broccoli is tender. Stir in the cream. Add the cheese, stirring until melted, or sprinkle the cheese over individual servings.

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WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 23rd
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MEATBALL CALZONES + SALAD + STRAWBERRIES

calzone

MEATBALL CALZONES

- Your favorite pizza dough recipe
- Ikea meatballs (cooked in oven at 450 for 15 minutes)
- Marinara sauce
- Fresh parsley (optional)
- Mozzarella + Parmesan cheese
- Egg wash (1 egg + 1 T. water, beat well)

Divide pizza dough into balls about the size of softballs. Roll out about 1/4" thick in a nice oval shape. Arrange meatballs, sauce, cheese, parsley on one half of the oval. Brush egg wash over edges and fold over dough to form a nice half-circle. Crimp edges with a fork, and brush calzone with egg wash. Cut 3 large vents on top of calzone.

Bake on pizza stone at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. They'll leak all over the place, so I suggest putting parchment paper between the calzone and your pizza stone.

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THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 24th
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chicken dinner

CHICKEN + CREAMED SPINACH + ROASTED CARROTS

Baked some chicken in the oven with a little thyme and seasonings.
Roasted carrots a la Ina Garten, as seen in the February 14th post.

CREAMED SPINACH
Kind of made this one up, but it turned out pretty yummy!

WHITE SAUCE
3 T. butter
4 T. flour
1/2 t. salt
1 c. milk
Melt butter, whisk in flour + salt, and cook 2-3 minutes. Add milk gradually, stirring until smooth and thick.

SPINACH
2 T. butter
1 shallot, minced
1 bag frozen spinach (thawed + squeezed dry)
2 c. fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1/2 t. pepper
1/4 c. Parmesan

Saute shallot in the butter in a large skillet. Add the spinach, and cook until moisture evaporates. If it looks too dry, add a splash or two of water. Season with pepper. Add white sauce and Parmesan cheese to spinach, and stir until combined. We added a little mozzarella, too.

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FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 25th
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SALT LAKE TORTELLINI SALAD + FRESH FRUIT
Recipe from the Favorites cookbook, p. 98

tortellini salad
This is my new favorite pasta salad.

8 oz. cheese-filled tortellini, cooked + drained
1 c. broccoli florets (I use frozen, it works just fine)
4 oz. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 (13.75 oz) can quartered artichoke hearts
1 (6 oz) can black olives, drained + halved
1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, rinsed + drained
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, rinsed + drained
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 lb. sliced dry salami, cut into thin strips
1 (16 oz) bottle Bernstein's Cheese Garlic dressing (we use maybe a third of the bottle, which is plenty!)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 avocado, sliced

Combine all ingredients in large bowl EXCEPT for the tomatoes and avocado. Refrigerate for several hours. Just before serving, stir in more dressing, and top with tomatoes and avocado.

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SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 26th
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CHALLAH + INA'S CHALLAH FRENCH TOAST + CARAMELIZED BROWN BUTTER RICE KRISPIES
It was a very healthy day, obviously low-carb.

challah braids

CHALLAH
Recipe from America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.
This recipe is awesome. Be careful not to put too much egg wash on top, it will make the loaf burn. Keep your eye on it! Next time I might bake it a little lower in the oven.

french toast

INA'S CHALLAH FRENCH TOAST
French Toast recipe from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Family Style cookbook or here.

I made the challah Friday afternoon, and Taylor surprised me and made the French toast all by himself that morning. I love this recipe - it is delicious! It has a little bit of orange zest in it. Challah bread makes all the difference (I just love saying "challah!").

CARAMELIZED BROWN BUTTER RICE KRISPIES
Recipe from The Essential New York Times Cookbook, on NYTimes website here.
Recipe also seen on Smitten Kitchen here.

We drove to Poulsbo for an indoor BBQ with my cousin Stephanie and her family, and brought these for dessert.

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SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 27th
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SWEET POTATO POT PIES
Recipe from 101cookbooks.com here.
We have these a lot. They're delicious, and really easy!

pot pies
Note: turning off oven and leaving pot pies inside while running to the Church to pick up your husband will result in slightly burnt puff pastry.

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MONDAY, FEBRUARY 28th
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HOMEMADE TORTILLA QUESADILLAS + BLACK BEAN SALSA
Homemade tortilla recipe via Gourmet Magazine here. We probably won't use lard, though. Sorry - I hear shortening is a great substitute.
Black Bean Salsa recipe from Favorites cookbook, p.145

Cumin is the secret to a great black bean salsa!

1 can black beans, drained + rinsed
8 oz. frozen corn
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro (we always omit this - can't stand cilantro)
2 T. chopped green onions
2 T. chopped red onions
1/4 c. fresh lime juice
2 T. vegetable oil
1 1/2 t. cumin
1/4 c. chopped ripe tomatoes, drained
salt + pepper

Build your awesome quesadilla (we use plain old cheddar), throw some shredded lettuce on top, a mound of black bean salsa, and some fresh avocado. Yum!

THE END!

Friday, February 25

READY.

I think I'm ready for Spring.
blossoms 1

On my morning run I noticed blossoms starting to pop out around the neighborhood. While walking back into the house, I took a look around our backyard and found all kinds of blossoms ready for Spring.

blossoms 2 (1)


I feel like I've been stuck in a "winter funk" for the past three years as we've been moving around the country. It's been really hard for me to adjust with each move - to meet new people, figure out where I fit in, and find meaningful work that has something to do with the degrees I slaved so hard to earn. Opportunities have not come easily. Throughout the three years of not being heavily involved in teaching or performing, I built up a wall of self-doubt and insecurity. Now that we're stable, it's time to break through it, and the thought of doing that completely stresses me out.

blossoms 2

When I saw these blossoms dusted with snow, nearly frozen, but ready to come out, I thought that that is just like my life right now. I know, totally cheesy, but it really struck me.

So here's to breaking out of the "winter funk" - anyone with me?

Thursday, February 24

CHEF TAYLOR

A couple of nights ago, I walked into the kitchen to see this:
double boiler 2

Taylor's version of a double-boiler.

double boiler 1
"What? I want some melted chocolate on top of my souffle!"

I think he has watched a few too many episodes of Chopped and Top Chef.

Me? I broke off a chunk of dark chocolate, slapped it on top of the souffle, and microwaved it.

Monday, February 21

MORE DELICIOUSNESS.

This past weekend was quite the combination of highs and lows. That's all I'm going to say.
I strayed from the plan a little, but hey, that's life.

And you know what?
Life is good.

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FEBRUARY 16th
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LEFTOVER NIGHT

We had eaten all of our leftovers (okay, I ate all the leftovers for breakfast + lunch), so we made breakfast sandwiches. Yum!

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FEBRUARY 17th
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CHICKEN + WHEATBERRY SALAD
Supposed to be coconut crepes, but it seemed too dessert-ish to me that day.
Recipe from
Cooking Light here.

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FEBRUARY 18th
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HOMEMADE GYROS + TZATZIKI
Our friends invited us out for Gyros at Fourno's, which was delicious! We were going to make our favorite homemade gyros the following week, so here's the recipe:

LAMB MARINADE
1/4 c. vegetable oil
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. balsalmic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 t. marjoram (I've left this out before, and it works just fine)
1/8 t. thyme
1/8 t. rosemary
1/8 t. oregano

I buy boneless pieces of leg of lamb at the grocery store - really inexpensive (around $2.99 for one pound), and it's already cut into small pieces, so the meat cooks very quickly. Marinate the lamb for 1-2 hrs, then roast in oven at 400 degrees (basting occasionally) until cooked all the way through. Slice into smaller pieces.

TZATZIKI
1 c. plain yogurt (we used Greek yogurt - ha ha)
1/2 cucumber, peeled + seeded + shredded
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. lemon juice
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

Find some awesome flatbread, and add lamb + thinly sliced red onion + feta cheese + lettuce + roasted tomatoes + your fabulous homemade tzatziki. Heaven.

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FEBRUARY 19th
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CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA + FLATBREAD + MANGO LASSI

I'm just realizing that we had a lot of meat this week. Whoops. Oh well.
We used Trader Joe's Masala sauce ($2.99), some chicken, and whipped up some Trader Joe's couscous ($1.99 for a box that will last you for months). Let chicken cook in the masala sauce, serve over couscous, heat up some flatbread, and you have a meal.

MANGO LASSI

1/2 c. of greek yogurt + frozen mango + agave nectar (to taste)

OR you can get some of this juice:
We're addicted. It is amazing. It's on sale, too (at least in Seattle)!

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FEBRUARY 20th
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squash 1 squash
blender spoon

BUTTERNUT SQUASH PASTA + BROWN BUTTER + FRIED SAGE
Recipe from Martha Stewart Everyday Food here.

Note: do not use a wooden spoon when pureeing squash in blender. Not that I tried to or anything.

BROWN BUTTER + FRIED SAGE
Heat up a skillet over medium to high heat. Add butter and sage leaves. Swirl until the starts to bubble and get a nutty scent. As soon as it starts to darken, remove from heat. Flip over sage leaves as necessary, and remove once they have darkened.

Drizzle brown butter + sage over pasta.

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FEBRUARY 21st
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skiing

OUT TO EAT + CHOCOLATE SOUFFLES

We cross-country skied around Mt. Catherine today. An entire mountain! If only we had known going into it that the loop was more than 10 miles long, 75% uphill, and ended going down an entire ski run - maybe we wouldn't have left our water + snacks in the car. Don't ever try to ski down a regular ski run in cross country skis. It just doesn't work. About halfway through we were starving, and stuck on the other side of a mountain in the middle of a blizzard. The only thing that kept us moving was the promise of Mexican food and homemade chocolate souffles (another Oldroyd classic).

Here's the chocolate souffle recipe from this picture.

1 T. sugar
1/2 c. Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. butter, softened
1 c. milk
1 t. vanilla
2 T. sugar
1/2 c. sugar
4 eggs, separated

Preheat to 350 degrees. Butter 6-cup souffle dish (or individual ramekins), and coat with 1 T. sugar.
Combine cocoa + flour in medium bowl. Add butter, blend well.
Scald milk in medium saucepan. Reduce heat, add cocoa mixture, beating with whisk until smooth & thick. Remove from heat, stir in 1/2 c. sugar and vanilla. Let cool.
Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each. Cool to room temperature.
Beat egg whites in large bowl until foamy. Gradually add remaining 2 T. sugar and beat until stiff. Stir small amount of whites into chocolate mixture, then carefully fold chocolate mixture into remaining whites.

Pour into prepared dish(es). Bake 6-cup souffle dish for 40-45 minutes, until fluffed (individual ramekins will be around 30 minutes or less).

Serve immediately with fresh raspberries and whipped cream.

Tuesday, February 15

I HEART CREME BRULEE

Anyone see Jimmy Fallon last night? Fictionist is up for an amazing Rolling Stone competition, and you all need to check them out and cast your vote here.

We spent our Valentine evening cooking, watching Toy Story 3, and eating homemade creme brulee (and I can't for the life of me figure out how to add in all the fancy accents, so just pretend they're in there). Our tradition for Valentine's Day is to make a new recipe together. It's cheaper than eating out, you don't have to pay a tip, and you don't have to find anywhere to park!

valentines dinner

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VALENTINE'S DAY
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SIRLOIN STEAK + SCALLOPED POTATOES + STRAWBERRIES + CRÈME BRÛLÉE

Grandpa T gave us Omaha Steaks for Christmas - brilliant idea. We just oiled up a grill pan, seasoned them with salt + pepper, grilled away, and ate them plain, no sauce necessary.

SCALLOPED POTATOES
Recipe from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, p.142 (a must have)
Soooooooooooo delicious. We have a huge bush of thyme next to our back porch, and I can't believe how delicious thyme makes everything.

2 T. unsalted butter
1 onion, chopped fine
1 T. minced fresh thyme*
2 garlic cloves, minced*
1 1/4 t. salt*
1/4 t. pepper*
5 medium russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8" thick (use a mandoline if you have one!)
1 c. low-sodium chicken broth (we ran out, so I just used water!)
1 c. heavy cream
2 bay leaves
4 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
We added 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Melt butter in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, cook until soft. Stir in * ingredients, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the potatoes, broth, cream, and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are almost tender (about 10 minutes).

Discard bay leaves. Transfer potatoes to an 8-inch square baking dish. Gently press potatoes into even layer, and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake until golden and bubbling, about 15-20 minutes.

CRÈME BRÛLÉE
Recipe from
The Essential New York Times Cook Book. Recipe online here.

creme brulee

Taylor was in charge of picking a dessert, and he picked creme brulee! The recipe is really easy, and we just used our oven's broiler to get the sugar shell on top. I was expecting the recipe to not work out, because we accidentally turned off the oven mid-way through the cooking time, so they ended up taking 2 hrs. to cook! We quartered the recipe, so we ended up with only 3, and boy, that was a mistake. Not nearly enough!

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TUESDAY
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BLACK BEAN BBQ PIZZA

Easy recipe, especially for a day when you don't want to put in a lot of effort... which is every day, I guess.

Leftover frozen pizza dough
BBQ sauce
Can of black beans, rinsed and drained, dry
Can of diced tomatoes, rinsed, drained, dry
1 c. frozen corn, thawed
1/4 c. red onion, thinly sliced (I used a shallot, it's what we had)
Fresh cilantro (if you like it - we hate it!)
Cheese of your choice (we did some pepperjack, cheddar, and parmesan)

Other good toppings: fresh tomatoes, jicama, roasted red peppers, chicken...

Heat pizza stone in oven at 425 degrees. Roll out pizza dough onto parchment paper. Assemble pizza. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Shred some lettuce to put on top, with a drizzle of ranch dressing and maybe a little lime juice.

Monday, February 14

WEEKEND

The souffle worked! Why had I never made that recipe before? It was delicious, and so easy.
souffle
Here's the action shot Taylor took. It didn't come out picture-perfect on top, but the flavor was amazing!

For your enjoyment: the first time I made a souffle (I think this is 2001):
birthday
Oh, to be 18 again. I look like I'm ready to put my whole face into it. I really do get that excited about food, it's kind of sad.
Remember Snelgrove ice cream? Those were the days...

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FRIDAY
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I strayed from the plan.
A friend needed a meal, and I didn't want to subject her to squash + quinoa.

TORTELLINI SOUP + HOMEMADE FOCCACIA

TORTELLINI SOUP
from the Favorites Cookbook

1 lb. mild Italian sausage
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup water*
2 (13.5 oz) cans beef broth* (we used vegetable bouillon, worked great)
1/2 c. white wine or apple juice* (we had neither, so I just skipped this)
3 carrots*, sliced
1 (28 oz) can, crushed tomatoes*
1 t. dried basil*
1 t. dried oregano*
1 c. sliced zucchini*
4 T. fresh parsley, chopped*
8 oz. cheese tortellini (I bought a huge bag of tortellini at Costco for like $5 in December).

Brown sausage, drain fat, return to pot. Add chopped onion + garlic, cook until tender.
Add * ingredients. Simmer for 30 minutes (or longer). Add tortellini 5-10 minutes before serving and cook until tender, but not soggy (ours took forever to cook). Garnish with Parmesan cheese.

foccacia

HOMEMADE FOCCACIA
From the Always in Season Jr. League of SLC cookbook (probably my favorite cookbook).

This recipe uses a pizza dough recipe with some modifications. It was very fast! The dough only needs to sit for 10 minutes, and you can pop it in the oven!

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

4 to 4 1/2 c. flour (divided)
2 envelopes fast-rising dry yeast
1 t. sugar
2 t. salt
1 1/2 T. olive oil
1 3/4 c. water
2 T. fresh chopped rosemary

Combine 3 cups flour + yeast + sugar + salt in large mixing bowl.
Heat water + olive oil to 125-130 degrees in small saucepan.
Stir water/oil into flour mixture, beat until smooth.
Add more flour, enough to make a soft but firm dough.
Knead on dough hook for 5 minutes.
Let rest, covered with plastic wrap, for 10 minutes.

Roll out or press onto well-oiled cookie sheet, about 3/4" thick. Press indentations into dough with fingers, and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with chopped fresh rosemary + sea salt, and crushed garlic (we opted out of the crushed garlic).

Bake @ 500 degrees for 10-14 minutes, until golden.

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SATURDAY
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KABOCHA SQUASH BOATS + QUINOA
Recipe from the amazing SproutedKitchen.com

This was really, really good. The hardest part of this recipe is cutting the squash open. You could substitute couscous for the quinoa, but quinoa is soooo delicious. That, and we just like saying "KEEN-WAAAA!!!" when we sit down to eat.

Usually I'm kind of uneasy about presenting Taylor with a giant segment of squash on his plate: "I'm sorry, but it is really healthy, and good for you, and I think it looks kind of tasty."

tay's squash

He loved it -- and not the fake be-a-polite-husband loved it -- he loved it, loved it. And I did, too.

The quinoa has pears, cardamom, lemon juice, and fresh basil in it. Eat with a spoon, and scoop up delicious bites of squash with every bite. We used agave nectar instead of honey, and didn't put in the spinach (we used it all in our lemon burrata pasta), but it didn't need it anyway. I would suggest adding some toasted walnuts on top, or maybe pine nuts.

Recipe link here. Sprouted Kitchen is a gorgeous website, and all the recipes are so healthy!

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SUNDAY
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Dinner with friends. Forgot to take pictures.
Kristen brought a delicious salad, Robin brought monkey bread for dessert.

PORK TENDERLOIN + WILD RICE + ROASTED CARROTS + FRUIT + BUNDT BREAD

AUNT AMY'S DELICIOUS PORK TENDERLOIN
Recipe from Favorites cookbook, p.166.
I don't know who Aunt Amy is, but it was delicious.
Email me if you want the recipe - I feel horrible posting the entire Favorites cookbook online.

WILD RICE
Bought one of those plastic tubs of Royal Select rice at the store... it lasts forever.

ROASTED CARROTS
Recipe from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. Ina, I love you.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Peel + chop 12 carrots diagonally, into 1 1/2" long pieces.
Toss in olive oil + salt + pepper + chopped Italian parsley
Spread out on cookie sheet.
Roast for 20 minutes, or until tender.

BUNDT BREAD
A recipe from my dear friend and roommate of 2 years, McKenzie.
This recipe has turned into an Oldroyd family staple.

The Bundt Bread recipe was one of my first blog posts, so I'll let you go back to yesteryear to retrieve the recipe.

Warning: it is baked in a stick of butter. Yum.

Recipe and ancient blog post here.

Thursday, February 10

Caught up.

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Monday
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ROASTED TOMATO SOUP + NO-RISE BREADSTICKS

tomatoes roasting-pola
If you have a can of diced tomatoes, you can make this soup. Roasting the tomatoes gives the soup an awesome flavor - something I learned from the Food Network.

ROASTED TOMATO SOUP
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil (divided)
salt + pepper
1 real carrot, peeled + diced*
1 yellow onion, diced*
2 cloves garlic, minced*
1 c. chicken broth^
1 bay leaf^
2 T. butter^
fresh basil
heavy cream

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, and drain the tomatoes well (save the juices!). Spread out tomatoes on cookie sheet (use parchment paper or foil for your own sanity), drizzle with 1/4 c. of olive oil, and season with salt + pepper. Roast tomatoes for 15 minutes or so (until caramelized).

While your tomatoes are roasting, put the remaining 1/4 c. of olive oil in a large pot over medium/low heat. Cook * ingredients until soft, then add caramelized tomatoes. Add ^ ingredients, and simmer for 20 minutes or so. Remove bay leaf, add basil + cream, and puree in food processor or blender until smooth. Garnish with fresh basil.

NO-RISE BREADSTICKS
Kind of a biscuit-y breadstick, but they're easy and quick (and delicious, because hello, they're baked in butter).
These bake at 450 degrees, so you can throw them in as soon as the tomatoes are done roasting.

1 1/2 c. flour*
2 t. sugar*
1 1/2 t. baking powder*
1/2 t. salt*
2/3 c. milk
3 T. butter, melted
Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in 11x14 pan (you could do this while you're roasting the tomatoes).
Combine *. Add milk until soft dough forms. Gently knead (you may need to add a little extra flour). Roll out to rectangle, and cut into 1" thick sticks. Coat sticks in butter, and arrange in pan. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. Bake at 450 degrees until golden (14-18 min.).

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Tuesday
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dinners 1

LEMON + SPINACH + TOASTED ALMONDS + BURRATA CHEESE + PASTA
Recipe from Bon Appétit here.

This was delicious! I halved the recipe - it makes a ton (4 cups of spinach?!).

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Wednesday
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dinners 2
Hey, it's not a photography blog.

CREAMY PEAS + POTATOES
HEIRLOOM TOMATO CAPRESE SALAD + BURRATA CHEESE

Taylor talks about this peas + potatoes meal he grew up having all of the time - some kind of childhood memory. I need to figure out how his mom made it, but the recipe in the Favorites cookbook is pretty good. Here's the recipe halved:

CREAMY PEAS + POTATOES

I used Russet potatoes, because that's what we had (the recipe calls for new potatoes)

4-5 Russet potatoes, peeled and chopped (1" cubes)
1 1/2 c. frozen peas (we like lots of peas)
Boil potatoes until tender (but not so tender that they're falling apart), add peas the last 5 min.

3 T. butter*
3 T. flour*
1 1/2 c. milk
salt + white pepper (recipe calls for black, but white is awesome in this recipe)
dill (we didn't have any, so we put in 1/3 c. parmesan cheese instead)

Blend * in saucepan over low heat. Add milk, cook until thickened. Add salt + pepper and cheese. Stir in drained potatoes + peas, and serve.

HEIRLOOM TOMATO CAPRESE SALAD + BURRATA CHEESE

Taylor made this on the fly, and it was the best caprese salad I've ever had.

heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved (leftover Trader Joe's Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes)
fresh basil, torn into small pieces
burrata cheese (so creamy, so delicious, I am in love)
splash of balsalmic vinegar
salt + pepper

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Tonight (Thursday)
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CHEESE SOUFFLE + BROCCOLI + FRESH FRUIT
Recipe from Bon Appétit here.

The schedule calls for quiche, but I have tons of parmesan cheese I need to use up, and this recipe uses almost an entire cup. We've got a huge bag of frozen broccoli, so I'll steam up some of that, and chop up some fresh fruit. We'll see how it goes!

Tuesday, February 8

mas.


Everyone go to Hue & Hum to check out my friend Cait's sweet "pay-what-you-wish" print offer. She is an incredible artist. I have my eye on several pieces. One day when I have saved all my pennies, I hope to commission a painting.

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February 5th:

Space Needle + Sushi @ Umi (Note: Happy Hour = Sushi for $4.50).

So... here's an easy meal we eat all of the time:

DSC_2077
*Photo by Dr. Tyler "T-Bone" Johnson.

Roasted Vegetables + Couscous
A spin off of an improvised dish the 39er wives concocted in Yosemite.

Preheat oven at 425 degrees.
Peel & chop (about 1" pieces) some real carrots (not mini carrots!). Toss in olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Spread out on cookie sheet covered with foil or parchment paper, and roast for 15 minutes.

Toss some frozen green beans and corn in olive oil, season, and add to cookie sheet in oven. 5 minutes later, add some cherry or grape tomatoes (optional). Periodically toss to prevent burning. Roast until carrots and beans are tender.

You can make this with whatever vegetables you have around. Ina Garten made me fall in love with roasted carrots. Roasted cauliflower and parsnips are also amazing, but they can be expensive. Toss all the vegetables together, season with some fresh herbs like thyme, if you have any you need to use up, and serve over prepared couscous or quinoa. Serve with some fresh fruit (or smoothies!).

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February 6th:

Dinner with Taylor's Great Aunt + Uncle and cousins thrice removed (or something like that).

We didn't have to cook, but here's our new favorite recipe that we made a couple of weeks ago.

Oh my gosh, we love this recipe. Really - LOVE.

The color of the beets makes these tarts very dramatic and beautiful. And delicious. Your husband will think you slaved all day cooking him a fancy meal, when it really only took 20 minutes.

Beet + Cheddar + Apple Tarts

*Photo from Martha Stewart Everyday Food

We love beets. Don't be afraid of beets! They're delicious, especially when paired with apples!
Puff pastry can be expensive, but if you have a Trader Joe's nearby, it's half the price. These are so delicious, and very, very healthy. We devoured these last time. Make a green salad, and you're good to go.

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I'm sorry for the crazy eating out, family dinners - I should have started this week, not last week, but oh well!

Here's February's calendar, to give you an idea of what's ahead.
I'll post specific recipes as the days come.
feb meals

If you have any questions/rants/complaints/requests, go ahead and leave a comment.

Homemade Mozzarella!

baisl heirlooms burrat
*Far right: burrata cheese. Think fresh mozzarella, but a little sweeter, with cream inside. Don't try it, because then you'll get addicted, and it's a very expensive addiction.

February 4th:

HOMEMADE MOZZARELLA + PIZZA

Molly & I spent the morning wandering Pike Place Market eating more than our share of samples, most of them cheese. We love cheese. When I found this recipe, I knew I had to try it, and with Molly coming up, it was the perfect time.

HOMEMADE MOZZARELLA
Recipe from local lemons.

Start with a gallon of organic whole milk, as close to the farm as you can get. We had a half gallon of Trader Joe's organic milk, and half a gallon of milk from a local Seattle farm, Twin Brooks Creamery. They sell it at the market around the corner. I love that the milk comes in glass bottles. When you open up the bottle, you can smell its creaminess. We sat there smelling the milk (we're cool like that).
milk
You'll need vegetable rennet, which you can buy online. We found it at the Pike Place Creamery in liquid form. You'll also need citric acid, which you can get in the bulk spice/scoop-your-own aisle at Whole Foods, or in mega-bulk at Costco (or Orson Gygi for Utahns).

That's it.
Okay, and salt.

Dissolve 1/4 t. of the vegetable rennet into 1/4 c. cold water, and set aside.

Pour the milk and 1 1/2 t. of citric acid into a stainless steel pot (you're going to use a sharp knife), with the burner on low. Warm the milk to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove the milk from the heat, and add the rennet/water mixture. Stir constantly for 30 seconds, and then let the milk sit still for 3 minutes. At this point, Molly and I were both staring at the pot, wondering if this was even going to work.

Now take a large, sharp knife and cut a grid all the way down to the bottom of the pan, about 1" squares. The curds and the whey have now separated! "Whoa! We did it!"

Take a slotted spoon, and carefully transfer the curds to a large glass bowl, leaving the whey in the pot. Try to drain as much of the whey as possible out of the glass bowl, leaving only the curds, by pressing down on the curds. Microwave the curds on high for 1 minute, then squeeze out the whey. Repeat at 30 seconds if necessary. Be careful not to over-microwave!

Gently knead the cheese together, adding salt along the way (we thought we over-salted the cheese, but it turns out we didn't add enough, so be very, very generous!). Drain the whey as you go, and gently knead until the cheese comes together into a soft mound.

Presto!

For troubleshooting, go to local lemons.

This made two very large mounds of mozzarella, about $10 worth at the grocery store.

HOMEMADE PIZZA
(the fanciest pizza I've ever made)

For Christmas, we sent Molly to a pizza-making class at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. We were excited for her to come visit and show us all that she had learned!

Heat pizza stone in oven at 450 degrees (or whatever temperature your pizza dough requires).
Roll out dough onto parchment paper. We cheated and bought ready-made pizza dough at Trader Joe's for $0.99. The Favorites cookbook has a great pizza dough recipe.

SAUCE
Can of whole tomatoes. Squeeze out as much juice as you can, smash the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and spread on unbaked pizza crust. I loved this idea - really simple & flavorful.

TOPPINGS
Caramelized onions, heirloom tomatoes, burrata cheese, and homemade mozzarella.
Sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden and cheese is bubbling.
Tear up some fresh basil to garnish the pizza. This was an important thing Molly taught me. Don't bake the pizza with basil already on it - it will kill the flavor. Good to know.

Cost (we indulged):
Pizza dough: $0.99
Can of whole tomatoes: $2.50 (we bought fancy Italian tomatoes, but any cheap can would be just as good)
Onion: $0.30
Heirloom tomatoes: $2.99 for a big basket of them (Trader Joe's)
Burrata cheese: $6.00 (Delicious and expensive. After hearing Molly talk about it, I had to try it!).
Fresh basil: $2.99 for a huge plastic box that will last all month (Trader Joe's)

Gallon of organic milk: $5
Vegetable rennet: $7.99
Citric acid: $0.75

Total cost of meal: $26.52.

Definitely an indulgence. Keep in mind that half of that went to making mozzarella cheese. It would definitely be easier (and cheaper) to buy your own fresh mozzarella, but making it is a lot more fun!

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catch-up ~ ketchup ~ catsup

February 1st:

EGGS IN TOMATO SAUCE + CHEESY POLENTA + SPINACH + FRUIT + CHOCOLATE CRACKLES

Before you make a main dish using eggs, be sure to have more than one egg in your refrigerator. I wasn't thinking, and ate 3 eggs for lunch... so we ended up having to split one poached egg. Classic Tally.


EGGS IN TOMATO SAUCE + SPINACH
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen here. Very easy.
I don't have a food processor - a blender works perfectly.
Make sure the egg yolk is runny, because we didn't (whoops).

+

CHEESY POLENTA
As seen on Food Network here.
We halved the recipe, and still had waaaay too much.
Use leftover polenta to make polenta crostini another day. Delicious.

+

FRUIT
Oranges + HoneyCrisp Apples

+

CHOCOLATE CRACKLES
Recipe from Bakerella + Martha Stewart
If you can, use some quality chocolate. It makes a big difference
! Valrhona is my
favorite, but I have to save up to buy it.

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February 2nd:

TERIYAKI PORK CHOPS + MANGO/CUCUMBER SALSA + WILD RICE + FRUIT


TERIYAKI PORK CHOPS
Season, brown on both sides in skillet, then simmer in teriyaki sauce + 1/4 c. water. Cover the skillet, simmer for 5-10 minutes. I used Veri Veri Teriyaki Sauce.

MANGO + CUCUMBER SALSA
Finely dice a mango, half of a
seeded cucumber, and as much red onion as you like. Season with salt and pepper and a little lime juice. Spoon over pork chops.

We have one of those giant tubs of wild rice - they last forever. Use vegetable stock/bouillon if you like more flavor.

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February 3rd:

BAKED POTATO SOUP

We went out to dinner to welcome Molly to Seattle. Thanks, Dad Turner, for sending Molly up with some "eat-out" money.

Molly and I DID make some soup
for a friend, so here you go:
BAKED POTATO SOUP
Recipe from the infamous Favorites cookbook. We eat this soup all of the time in the winter.
Serves 4.

3 T. butter
1 c. finely chopped onion
2 T. flour
14.5 oz. can chicken broth (we do 1.5 cups of vegetable broth)
4 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes*
1/2 t. salt*
1/4 t. white pepper*
1/4 t. black pepper*
1 t. dried basil*
1/2 t. garlic salt*
1 c. half + half (I rarely have this - use milk or cream, whatever you have)

Melt butter. Add onion and saute for 2 minutes.
Sprinkle flour over onions, cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Gradually add broth.
Add * ingredients.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add half + half; heat through.
Garnish like you would a baked potato.
Eat.

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More to come, including how to make your own mozzarella.

hue & hum

We had an amazing weekend, but back to real life now.

Prepare for recipe overload.

Until then, go to my darling friend Caitlin Connolly's blog Hue & Hum.
She is an artist (Hue), her husband (Hum) is a rock star in the band Fictionist. They're both rock stars, really. She posts her latest paintings and craft projects, he posts awesome songs you can download for free (with a new release coming on Valentine's Day). Hum will be in the March issue of Rolling Stone. Just saying.

You'll covet their talent, style, her hair, and their adorable dog, Albus.

Anyway, starting this morning, Cait is selling prints of these two works:
Left: "Lover-tine"
Right: "Friend-tine"

What is so awesome about this is that you pay whatever you want for these.
Seriously, it's up to you. $5 or $500. or $5,000.

When Cait told me she was doing this, I knew I had to spread the word to all you hip people out there. Original, local artwork, and you pay whatever you can afford. Brilliant.

Go to Hue & Hum and get inspired!