Monday, December 29

Paloma Cocktails

Like a margarita, but with grapefruit juice

Paloma Cocktail Recipe Casa Dragones

Every Christmas, my parents leave us a gift basket full of specialty foods and ingredients from Santa. It's always one of my favorite gifts since I never know what's going to be in it and they do a great job of adding in unusual items and surprises. This year, the biggest hit was a bottle of tequila from Casa Dragones, a new small-batch producer that my mom found after it was listed as one of Oprah's favorite things. The bottle looks beautiful on our bar and the tequila is nice and smooth. I put some of it to use in these refreshing paloma cocktails, which are like margaritas but with grapefruit juice instead of lime juice. Served cold, with a little effervescence from a splash of club soda, it's a super light and crushable cocktail that will take off the winter chill. I mix it up by rimming the glasses with a 50/50 split of sugar and salt for extra flavor and a festive vibe.

Related Recipes:
- Jalapeño Margaritas
- Peach & Red Raspberry Sangria
- Kumquatinis

Paloma Cocktails:
  • Rub the rim of 4 glasses with a wedge of fresh grapefruit.
  • Mix together 1 tbsp. sugar and 1 tbsp. kosher salt and shake into an even layer on a plate.
  • Dip the glasses into the sugar-salt to coat the rims. Set aside.
  • Combine 1 c. fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, 3 tbsp. fresh-squeezed lime juice, and 3 tsp. sugar in a pitcher and stir until sugar dissolves.
  • Stir 2/3 c. tequila blanco into the juice mixture.
  • Fill the glasses with ice, then pour in the cocktails. Finish each drink with a splash of club soda.

Serves four

Tuesday, December 23

Fluffy Pancakes

Good, fluffy, old-fashioned flapjacks

Huckleberry Cookbook Fluffy Pancakes

My husband is good at reminding me that sometimes classic, simple dishes are the best. In this case, I was running some new fancy breakfast recipes by him but the only thing that he really wanted me to make was a stack of good old-fashioned pancakes with a side of bacon. These pancakes are a family recipe that Zoe shared in her Huckleberry cookbook and they are exactly what you'd expect a classic pancake to be. The flapjacks are tender and fluffy and cooked on a buttered griddle until lightly golden. Stack them high and serve with a generous pat of butter and warm maple syrup for the full experience. As a bonus, you probably already have all the ingredients to cook them in your house right now, which is ideal since the last thing anyone wants to do before making weekend breakfast is to run to the grocery store.

More Pancakes & Waffle Recipes:
- Dutch Baby Pancake with Sautéed Apples
- Lazy Weekend Waffles
- Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Fluffy Pancakes:
  • In a large bowl, whisk together 2 c. all-purpose flour, 1 tbsp. baking powder, 4 tsp. sugar, and 1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt.
  • Whisk in 2 c. milk, 4 egg yolks, 1 c. melted butter, and 1 1/2 tbsp. vanilla extract until combined.
  • Using an electric mixer, whip 4 egg whites in a separate bowl until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
  • Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium high heat for a few minutes, then grease with butter or non-stick spray.
  • Drop 1/2 c. fulls of batter on the griddle and cook for a couple minutes, or until bubbles appear on the surface of the pancakes. Flip and cook for a another minute.
  • Stack the pancakes on a plate to keep warm and repeat with remaining batter.
  • Serve with maple syrup.

Serves four

Monday, December 22

Pork & Guajillo Chile Mole Stew

Pork simmered in a mildly spicy guajillo chile mole sauce

Canal House Pork Stewed in Guajillo Chile Mole

Now that it's officially winter, I'm all about creating rich, hearty stews and braises in my dutch oven. This recipe from the Canal House is just the thing to make on a cold day when you have a few hours to dedicate to slow-coooking. If you've never made mole before, this is a great version to try because it's fairly quick and doesn't require too many ingredients. The base of the mole is dried guajillo chiles, which get reconstituted in chicken broth and blended with almonds, raisins, and spices into a thick paste. As the mole and pork simmer together, the flavors intensify and the sauce thickens to form a rich gravy around the tender chunks of pork. Serve it with some cornbread on the side for a satisfying winter meal.

Related Recipes:
- Pork Carnitas
- White Chicken Chili
- Pork Green Chili

Pork & Guajillo Chile Mole Stew:
- 3 lb. boneless pork butt, trimmed of large pieces of fat, cut into 1" cubes,
- 3-4 c. low-sodium chicken broth
- 6 dried guajillo chiles, stems and seeds removed
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp. canola oil
- 1/2 c. raisins
- 1/3 c. blanched almonds
- 1/2 tbsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tbsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 5 black peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
- fresh cilantro and a lime, to garnish

  • Heat a dry skillet over medium high heat and toast the guajillo chiles for 30-60 seconds.
  • Remove the chiles to a bowl and pour 1 c. hot chicken broth on top. Let sit for 30 minutes, or until the chiles are soft and pliable.
  • In the same skillet, toast the almonds for a minute until golden brown, then place in a food processor with the salt, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, and peppercorns.
  • Grind until everything forms a very fine powder.
  • Add in the chiles and their soaking liquid and the raisins and puree until smooth.
  • Heat 1 tbsp. canola oil in the same skillet over medium high heat. Add in the guajillo chile mole and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until it turns one shade darker.
  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tbsp. canola oil in a large pot or dutch oven over high heat.
  • Add in half the pork, season with salt and pepper, and sear until brown on the outside, about 5 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate and repeat with the other half of the meat.
  • Add the onion to the pot and stir, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the onions are soft.
  • Add the pork and any accumulated juices from the plate, the mole, and 2 c. chicken broth to the pot with the onions and stir to combine.
  • Bring to a simmer over, cover with a lid, and cook over low heat for 2 - 2 1/2 hours (or until pork is tender), stirring occasionally.
  • Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh cilantro and a wedge of lime.

Serves four

Wednesday, December 17

Winter Caesar Salad

A wintery-spin on a classic caesar with escarole, homemade croutons, and anchovy dressing

AOC Escarole Salad with Anchovy Dressing

I'm not ashamed to admit that a classic caesar salad is still probably my favorite salad of all time (or at least tied with another old-school favorite, the wedge). While definitely not the most virtuous salad out there, nor the most exciting, there is something so nostalgic about a perfect caesar. It's all about the dressing, which should be generously coating the leaves of lettuce, along with crunchy croutons and a liberal amount of grated parmesan cheese. This version, adapted from a recipe in the A.O.C. Cookbook, uses escarole for a slightly bitter, wintery take on the classic. You can certainly use a more standard lettuce, like romaine, but I like the flavor and texture of escarole, especially if you make it this time of year. You can make a big batch of hand-torn croutons and dressing in advance, keep washed and dried greens in a paper towel-lined bag in the fridge, and then make this salad as a quick side to meals all week long.

Related Recipes:
- Tricolore Salad with Parmesan Anchovy Dressing
- Chicken Bacon Caesar Sandwich
- Mixed Greens & Fennel with Fried Capers & Anchovy Dressing

Escarole Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons & Anchovy Dressing:
For Dressing
  • Combine 1 minced garlic clove, 2 anchovy fillets, and 1/4 tsp. kosher salt in a mortar and pestle and mash into in a paste. 
  • Stir in 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar, 2 tbsp. fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and 1/2 tbsp. dijon mustard.
  • Slowly whisk in 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil until emulsified.
For Salad
  • Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Tear 1/2 baguette into bite size pieces, then toss on a baking sheet with 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil and a pinch of salt and toss to combine.
  • Spread the croutons into a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes, or until golden brown and crunchy. Let cool.
  • Remove the core from 1 large head of escarole, wash and dry the leaves, and chop or tear into bite-size pieces.
  • Place the escarole in a large bowl with the croutons, 1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese, and some of the dressing.
  • Toss to combine, then season with freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

Serves three-four (side dish)

Tuesday, December 16

Baked Cranberry Brie in Puff Pastry

A festive and easy appetizer for the holidays

Baked Brie En Croute with Cranberries

Baked brie is such a crowd-pleasing appetizer, and this version with cranberry sauce is super festive for the holidays. In college, one of my roommates would always make a version of this dish for our Christmas party and I remember all of us girls huddling around the plate as soon as it came out of the oven. The puff pastry forms a flakey crust around the molten brie, which mixes with the sweet-tart cranberry sauce as it bakes. When you cut it open, the cheese oozes out and is perfect to spread onto a cracker, while the edge pieces of pastry are nice bites on their own. The best part of this dish is how simple it is - you only need a few ingredients and less than five minutes to prep it. You can even assemble the brie package earlier in the day and keep it in the fridge until you're ready to put it in the oven. It's a no-fuss dish that looks impressive and that everyone will love.

Note: You can swap out the brie with another similar cheese, such as camembert.

Related Recipes:
- Poached Cherries with Goat Cheese
- Baked Honey & Walnut Brie
- Great Grandmother's Cheeseball

Baked Cranberry Brie in Puff Pastry:
  • Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Roll out 1 sheet of de-frosted puff pastry to 1/4"-1/8" thick.
  • Place one 8 oz. wheel of brie cheese in the middle of the pastry, then spread 1/4 c. of cranberry sauce* on top of the cheese.
  • Fold the ends of the pastry over the cheese and crimp to secure it in a little package. Trim extra pastry if needed.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together 1 egg and a splash of water. Brush a little of the egg wash over the pastry.
  • Bake the cheese in a baking dish for 30-35 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.
  • Let cool slightly, then serve with crackers, sliced fruit, etc.

Serves six-ten (appetizer)
*I used a chunky fresh cranberry sauce that gave it some texture.

Wednesday, December 10

Short Rib Pappardelle with Butter & Parsley

Turn leftover short ribs into a comforting bowl of pasta with butter, herbs, and parmesan cheese

Short Rib Pasta with Butter and Parsley

If you're making braised short ribs (or any braised beef, for that matter) for a holiday celebration, make sure to make extra so you can turn the leftovers into this quick and comforting pasta. It's easy to get burnt out on weeknight cooking with all the big events going on in December, but making a little extra food for your parties can ensure that you have meals for the next nights covered. This pasta is a perfect way to use up leftover meat and can be cooked in the amount of time it takes to boil water and cook the noodles. The combination of tender braised short ribs, buttered noodles, salty parmesan, and fresh parsley is a decadent meal that won't feel like eating leftovers. It's a great way to indulge over the holidays while still saving time and money.

Related Recipes:
- Traditional Bolognese
- Short Rib & Spinach Lasagna
- Slow-Roasted Short Ribs with Horseradish Gremolata

Short Rib Pappardelle with Butter & Parsley:
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with salt, and add in 8 oz. pappardelle pasta.
  • Meanwhile, shred 1/2 lb. braised short ribs into bite-size pieces.
  • Add the meat to a small skillet with a 1-2 tbsp. water and a pinch of salt and pepper (if needed) gently heat until warm.
  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions and then drain, reserving 1/2 c. pasta cooking liquid.
  • Return the pasta to the pot over low heat with 2 tbsp. salted butter, some of the pasta cooking water, and a few grinds of black pepper.
  • Toss until the butter melts and forms a sauce, then sprinkle with 1/4 c. chopped parsley and 1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese.
  • Add in the short ribs and toss once more, then divide into bowls and sprinkle with a little more parmesan.

Serves two-three

Tuesday, December 9

Roasted Shrimp Cocktail

Roasting the shrimp in the oven puts a little twist on the classic shrimp cocktail

Barefoot Contessa Roasted Shrimp Cocktail

Shrimp cocktail has been a popular appetizer for decades and is guaranteed to get eaten at just about any party. Typically, shrimp cocktail consists of poached shrimp that has been chilled and is served alongside a red ketchup-based cocktail sauce. This recipe is an updated version based on one from the Barefoot Contessa and calls for roasting the shrimp in the oven and serving it warm or room temperature. The roasted shrimp are not only more delicious than the cold poached shrimp, but they're even easier to prepare: just toss the shrimp with a little oil, salt, and pepper, spread onto a sheet pan, and cook in the oven for about eight minutes. The high heat helps to bring out the shrimp's sweetness for juicy shrimp that have much more flavorful than the cold, dry shrimp you find on some seafood platters. The cocktail sauce can be prepared up to a day in advance and kept in the fridge until ready to serve. Arrange everything on a platter and serve with a couple lemon wedges for an inviting appetizer that's perfect for your next party.

More Shrimp Recipes:
- Shrimp with Three-Herb Chimichurri
- Green Gazpacho with Chile-Rubbed Shrimp
- Bay Shrimp Gratin

Roasted Shrimp Cocktail:
For Cocktail Sauce
  • Combine 1 c. ketchup, 2 tbsp. prepared horseradish, 1 tsp. worcestershire sauce, and several dashes of hot sauce in a bowl.*
For Shrimp
  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • On a large rimmed baking sheet, combine 2 lb. peeled and de-veined shrimp,** 2 tbsp. olive oil, and a large pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Roast the shrimp for 8-9 minutes, or until pink and opaque.
  • Let shrimp cool slightly, then arrange on a platter and serve with cocktail sauce and slices of lemon.

Serves eight-twelve (appetizer)
*I used Texas Pete.
**I used medium-sized shrimp, about 15-18 per lb.

Monday, December 8

Prosciutto-Wrapped Truffled Breadsticks

Thin breadsticks dipped in truffle butter and wrapped in prosciutto

Mozza Cookbook Prosciutto Wrapped Breadsticks

Maybe because we are staying local for Christmas this year or because we got a taste of a white Christmas when we were in snowy Minnesota last week, but I'm really feeling the holiday spirit this year.  We got a big tree, decked out the rest of our house, and invited friends over for a party last weekend. We didn't have enough seating to do a sit-down dinner, so we transformed our dining table into a buffet and had a bunch of finger foods for people to graze on all night. These breadsticks from
The Mozza Cookbook were one of the most popular dishes and they are so easy to make. Store-bought grissini are broken in half, dipped in truffled-butter, and then wrapped in thinly-sliced prosciutto. They look beautiful stacked on a platter and are a fun alternative to a charcuterie plate.

Related Recipes:
- Parmesan-Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Dates
- Prosciutto & Melon Kabobs
- Parmesan & Black Pepper Crackers

Prosciutto-Wrapped Truffled Breadsticks:
- 20 grissini or thin breadsticks, snapped in half
- 6 tbsp. soft butter
- 1/2 tsp. truffle salt
- 20 paper-thin slices of prosciutto, ripped in half

  • In a small bowl, mix the butter and truffle salt together.
  • Roll/dip the snapped end of a breadstick in the butter and then loosely wrap in prosciutto.
  • Repeat with remaining breadsticks.

Makes forty breadsticks

Wednesday, December 3

Lemongrass Pork Meatball & Quinoa Bowl

Vietnamese-style pork meatballs with quinoa, fresh veggies, and a spicy vinaigrette

Lemongrass Pork Meatball and Quinoa Bowl

This winter is all about bowl foods and this Vietnamese-inspired meatball number is our new favorite. The meatballs are heavily flavored with Asian ingredients like lemongrass, fish sauce, and scallions, and then bake until tender and juicy. They would be great on their own as an appetizer, but the combination of meatballs with quinoa, crunchy raw veggies, and nuoc mam (spicy fish sauce vinaigrette) is a complete and well-balanced meal. I absolutely love the sweet, spicy, salty, and acidic dressing and serve it alongside the bowls so it can be drizzled on each bite and soak into the meatballs and quinoa. If quinoa isn't your thing, you can switch it up and use noodles or rice instead. Same goes with the veggies, which can be customized to whatever you like or need to use up from your fridge. I'm pretty sure you can even swap the ground pork for chicken or beef and it would still taste great. Leftovers held up well (everything packaged separately and then assembled after the meatballs and quinoa were reheated) for two days.

Related Recipes:
- Roasted Winter Vegetable & Quinoa Bowl
- Turkey Ricotta Meatballs
- Vegetable Burrito Bowl

Lemongrass Pork Meatball & Quinoa Bowl with Nuoc Mam Vinaigrette:
For Vinaigrette
- 1 Thai chile*
- 1 clove garlic
- 3/4 c. warm water
- 2 1/2 tbsp. sugar
- 2 tbsp. fish sauce
- 1/2 lime, juiced

For Meatballs
- 1 lb. ground pork
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 c. panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 onion, finely minced
- 1/4 c. scallions, thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp. lemongrass, finely grated or minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tbsp. fish sauce
- 1/2 tbsp. sugar
- pinch of pepper

For Bowl
- 2 c. cooked quinoa
- 1 c. carrots, cut into matchsticks
- 2 c. loosely-packed greens, such as mizuna or tatsoi

For Vinaigrette
  • Grind the chile, garlic, and sugar together into a paste in a mortar and pestle or food processor.
  • Whisk in the water, fish sauce, and lime juice until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Store in the fridge until serving, up to three days. Stir before using.
For Meatballs
  • Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Combine the egg, panko, onion, scallions, lemongrass, fish sauce, sugar, and pepper in a large bowl.
  • Add in the ground pork and mix until well combined.
  • Form the pork into 1" balls and arrange on a baking sheet.
  • Bake the meatballs for 25 minutes, or until just cooked through.
For Bowl
  • Divide the quinoa among four bowls and top with meatballs, greens, and carrots.
  • Drizzle with nuoc mam and serve extra on the side.

Serves four
*Or you can use a serrano or jalapeño for less spice.

Monday, December 1

Spaghetti with Tomato, Guanciale, & Chile

A favorite recipe from Tosca Cafe in San Francisco

Bucatini with Tomato, Guanciale, and Chile

I was in San Francisco a few weeks ago for work and had a chance to meet up with a good friend for dinner at the recently re-done restaurant, Tosca. Formerly a bar with a colorful reputation, Tosca has been re-imagined as a cozy Italian restaurant by celebrity chef April Bloomfield and has been named one of the best new restaurants in the country by Bon Appetit. Our favorite dish was the bucatini with tomato, guanciale, and chile, so I was thrilled to find the recipe online and make it at home. It's a simple dish, but the combination of spicy tomato sauce, crispy guanciale (salt-cured pork), and perfectly al dente pasta is absolutely delicious and something that pretty much anyone would want to eat. Add a simple green salad and you can have a restaurant-worthy meal on the table in about thirty minutes.

Note: If you can't find guanciale, you can substitute it for thinly-sliced pancetta. If you can find bucatini (I wasn't able to), it will hold the sauce even better than spaghetti.

Related Recipes:
- Weeknight Bolognese
- Chicken Prosciutto Meatballs
- Deconstructed Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti with Tomato, Guanciale, & Chile:
  • Dice 1/4 lb. thinly sliced guanciale and add to a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Cook the guanciale for 10 minutes, or until the fat has rendered and the guanciale is crispy.
  • Remove the guanciale with a slotted spoon and keep the fat in the pan.
  • Add in 1/2 diced red onion and cook for another 7-8 minutes, or until softened and starting to brown.
  • Meanwhile, microwave 1 sprig of rosemary in 20 second intervals until dried, about 60 seconds total.
  • Grind the rosemary in a mortar in pestle or very finely chop.
  • Add the rosemary powder, 15 oz. can of crushed tomatoes, 1 scant tsp. red chile flakes, a pinch of salt, and all but 2 tbsp. guanciale.
  • Bring the sauce to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, season generously with salt, and cook 1 lb. spaghetti according to package instructions.
  • Drain the pasta, reserving 1 c. pasta cooking water.
  • Add the pasta and 1/4 c. of water to the sauce and toss to combine, adding more water as needed to moisten.
  • Divide the pasta onto plates and top with a generous sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese.

Serves four-five

Tuesday, November 25

Fall Salad with Pomegranate, Butternut, & Feta

This vibrant fall salad looks as good as it tastes

Fall Salad with Pomegranate, Butternut, & Feta

Fresh produce gets all the love in spring and summer, but some of my favorite fruits and veggies are harvested in the fall and early winter. This salad is a recent favorite in our house and really showcases some of the great ingredients that are in season this time of year. It calls for a bed of mixed greens (I used a combination of mesclun, frisee, radicchio, and arugula) but is heavy on the good stuff, i.e. roasted butternut squash, pomegranate seeds, and feta cheese.  It's a nice mixture of textures and flavors and it's vibrant color makes it even more appetizing on a cold, grey day. It would make a lovely last-minute addition to your Thanksgiving table and will be even more welcome this weekend to detox after all the heavy eating.

Related Recipes:
- Persimmon, Pomegranate, & Arugula Salad
- Lentil, Butternut Squash, & Goat Cheese Salad
- Delicata Squash, Pepita, & Baby Kale Salad

Fall Salad with Pomegranate, Butternut, & Feta:
  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Toss 1 c. small-diced butternut squash with 1 tbsp. olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Roast the squash for 25 minutes, or until soft and caramelized in some places.
  • Let cool to room temperature.*
  • Toss 6 c. mixed greens with the roasted squash, 1/2 thinly sliced red onion, 1 c. pomegranate arils, and 1/4 c. crumbled feta cheese.
  • Add a pinch of salt, pepper, 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, and 1 1/2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar.
  • Toss well to combine and check for seasoning.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves four-six (side dish)
*Can be made a few days in advance, stored in the fridge, and brought back to room temperature.

Monday, November 24

Pumpkin Pie with Bourbon Whipped Cream

Classic pumpkin pie with a flakey homemade crust and smooth spiced filling

Pumpkin Pie with Bourbon Whipped Cream

I've made two whole pumpkin pies in the last week and I'm about to make my third on Thursday for Thanksgiving. I've been testing recipes ahead of time and think that I came up with the perfect pumpkin pie to make for my in-laws. It starts with my go-to pie dough recipe, although you can sub in whatever pie dough you like best or even use store-bought because pumpkin pie is all about the filling. This pumpkin filling is sweet and flavored with cinnamon and ginger, but it's not too overpowering that you can't taste the pumpkin. As it bakes, the filling puffs up to create this incredibly smooth and soft mousse-like center. I served it with a homemade bourbon whipped cream that adds a little extra flavor on top.

P.S. Still planning your Thanksgiving meal? Check out my favorite recipes here or on Pinterest.

Related Recipes:
- Gooey Pumpkin Butter Bars
- Pecan Pie
- Plum Tartlets

Pumpkin Pie with Bourbon Whipped Cream:
1 1/4 c. + 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 stick (8 oz.) cold butter, diced
1/2 c. + 1/2 tbsp. white sugar
15 oz. can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 c. heavy cream
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp. molasses
1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. ice cold water
1 tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. bourbon

For Crust
  • Pulse together 1 1/4 c. flour, 1/2 tbsp. sugar, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a food processor.
  • Add in the butter and pulse to the size of peas.
  • Stir in the cold water until it just forms a ball, then flatten into a disk and cover with plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour, and up to a few days in advance.
For Pie
  • Preheat your oven to 375F.
  • When the dough is cold, roll it out on a floured surface to about 1/4-1/8" thick and fit into a 9" pie pan.
  • Fill the pie with pie weights or dried beans and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until set and lightly golden. Remove the weights.
  • Meanwhile, combine the pumpkin, eggs and yolk, 1 1/4 c. heavy cream, 1/2 c. sugar, molasses, cinnamon, ginger, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.
  • Pour the filling into the hot crust and return to the oven.
  • Bake the pie for about 45-55 minutes, or until it is just barely jiggly in the center.
  • Let cool before slicing and serving.
For Whipped Cream
  • Combine 3/4 c. heavy cream, bourbon, and powdered sugar in a bowl and whip until soft peaks form.

Serves eight-ten

Thursday, November 20

Thanksgiving Recipes

Favorite recipes for the most important meal of the year

I think favorite holidays change as we get older. As a kid it was all about holidays with presents, but now that I'm older, Thanksgiving is one of my absolute favorite celebrations of the year. I love the traditional foods, breaking out special wine, and spending the long weekend with friends and family. This year, my husband and I are going back to his hometown in Minnesota to spend Thanksgiving with his family. Because I work in advertising for online retailers, I am especially grateful that I get to spend this time on vacation while so many others are staying up all night in anticipation of Black Friday. I'm going to spend my time staying indoors to avoid the cold and help my mother-in-law with the Thanksgiving feast. I'm in charge of a few dishes and look forward to contributing some of my favorite recipes to the Thanksgiving table. 

*Looking for more Thanksgiving inspiration? Check out my Pinterest board.

Thanksgiving Recipes:


Already thinking about the leftovers? Check out this guide to make the most out your leftover turkey.

Wednesday, November 19

Creamy Potato Soup with Bacon-Scallion Vinaigrette

A rich potato puree with a tangy and salty bacon-scallion garnish

Creamy Potato Soup with Bacon Scallion Vinaigrette

This recipe from Food52 is the kind of comforting meal that's great to make on a cold day when you want an excuse to stay inside and read a book while you let the pot simmer. The potato soup is a simple base of mirepoix (carrots, onion, celery), russet potatoes, and chicken stock that simmers together and then gets blended with low-fat sour cream until smooth. It's rich and creamy and is thick enough to coat your spoon and keep you full for awhile. The best part is the tangy bacon-scallion vinaigrette made with crisp bacon bits, sliced green onions, red wine vinegar, and olive oil. It adds a ton of flavor, and more importantly, acid, to brighten up the soup and add complexity.

More Soup Recipes:
- French Onion Soup Gratinee
- Lemon Tahini Carrot Soup
- Butternut Squash, Sage, & Apple Soup

Creamy Potato Soup with Bacon-Scallion Vinaigrette:
- 2 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 7 c. low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 c. low-fat sour cream
- 2-3 carrots, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- kosher salt
- pepper

  • Add the bacon to a large pot over medium-high heat.
  • Cook for 5 minutes, or until bacon is crispy and fat renders. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and keep the fat in the pan.
  • Add in onion, celery, carrots, and a big pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until softened.
  • Add in garlic and thyme and cook for another minute, then add in the potatoes and stock.
  • Season with another large pinch of salt and pepper, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cover with a lid.
  • Simmer the soup for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are very tender.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the sour cream. Puree with a hand blender, blender, or food processor until smooth.
  • Check the soup for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
  • Just before serving, combine the cooked bacon with scallions, vinegar, and olive oil.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the bacon-scallion vinaigrette.

Serves six-eight

Tuesday, November 18

Chicken Pot Pies

Individual chicken and vegetable pies topped with a buttery, flakey crust

Chicken Pot Pie Smitten Kitchen Recipe

We do dinner with another couple nearly every Thursday night and alternate cooking at our prospective apartments, which are luckily just a few blocks away. Since I've been traveling so much during the week, we switched it up and invited them over for dinner this past Sunday instead. They've eaten my cooking so often that they know my style and what to expect from me, but throwing a weekend into the mix changed everything. I had a whole day to cook instead of a couple of rushed hours post-work, and I wanted to make something comforting and labor-intensive - the true epitome of a Sunday supper. I settled on this recipe for chicken pot pies, which is a Smitten Kitchen adaptation of a Barefoot Contessa recipe. The chicken simmers in a luscious gravy sauce alongside the usual carrots and peas, then is ladled into individual serving bowls and topped with a flakey homemade crust. It takes time and effort, but the result is one of the best pot pies I've ever eaten. If you're making these for company, you can make the filling and crust separately and then just assemble the pies before baking.

Related Recipes:
- Kale, Onion, & Potato Pot Pies
- Chicken & Mushrooms Pie
- White Chicken Chili

Chicken Pot Pies:
- 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 2 sticks (16 tbsp.) cold butter
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 c. cold water

- 2 1/2 lb. bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
- 3 c. low-sodium chicken stock
- 1/4 c. sherry
- 1/4 c. whole milk
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 leeks, white and light green part only, diced
- 1 c. carrots, diced
- 1 c. frozen peas
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 3 tbsp. room-temperature butter
- 4 1/2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
- salt
- pepper

For Crust
  • Pulse all-purpose floursugar, and salt in a food processor.
  • Add in butter and pulse to the size of peas, then stir in cold water until it forms a ball.
  • Flatten into a disk and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Roll out the dough to 1/4" thick and cut into circles slightly larger than the rim of your pot pie bowls.
For Pot Pies
  • Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large dutch oven over high heat.
  • Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and add to the pot.
  • Cook half the chicken for 4-5 minutes per side, or until nicely browned. Remove the first batch and repeat the process brown the rest of the chicken.
  • Add 1 more tbsp. olive oil and the onion and leeks, lower the heat to medium, and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until softened.
  • Add in the sherry and scrape the bottom of the pan, then pour in the chicken stock, milk, and thyme.
  • Add the chicken back into the pot, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Remove the chicken, let cool slightly, then shred the meat into bite-size pieces and discard the skin and bones.
  • Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Meanwhile, mash together the butter and flour into a paste. Skim any fat off the top of the gravy, then stir in the butter mixture.
  • Simmer the gravy for 10 minutes, or until thickened. Add in the carrots and simmer for another 5 minutes, then add the chicken and peas and turn off the heat.
  • Ladle the filling into four-six oven-safe bowls (depending on size) and top each with a pastry lid.
  • Crimp down the edges of the lid and cut an "x" slit into the top of each to allow steam to escape.
  • Brush the top of the pastry with a little milk and sprinkle with salt.
  • Bake for 35 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.

Serves four-six

Individual Chicken Pot Pies

Monday, November 17

Roasted Winter Vegetable & Quinoa Bowls

A hearty bowlful of roasted veggies, quinoa, and avocado

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Bowls

It's hard to eat healthy this time of year. There's the biggest meal of the year right around the corner, upcoming holiday parties, and a general mentality to let loose and indulge. We've been digging into our fair share of cold-weather (i.e. rich and heavy) winter dishes as the temperatures cool down, but these quinoa and vegetable bowls have also been making it into the weekly dinner rotation. The basic components are quinoa and roasted winter vegetables, but we've been customizing them with different garnishes like creamy avocado, salty feta cheese crumbles, and fried eggs. The bowls are incredibly filling and comforting in the cold weather and are a great healthy meal to balance out all the decadence of the holidays. Come the New Year, this will be a perfect dish to add to our cleanse week.

Related Recipes:
- Grilled Vegetable Burrito Bowls
Turkey & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
- Ojai Raw Veggie Salad

Roasted Winter Vegetables & Quinoa Bowls:
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, and diced
- 2 bunches carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 lb. brussels sprouts, halved
- 1 red onion, peeled and cut into 1/2" thick rings
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced
- 1 c. quinoa
- 1 1/4 c. water
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
- salt
- pepper
- feta cheese, microgreens, fried eggs to garnish

  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Toss the vegetables with thyme, olive oil, salt, and pepper and arrange on two large baking sheets.
  • Roast the vegetables, turning with a spatula once or twice, for 30-35 minutes, or until tender and caramelized.
  • Meanwhile, combine the quinoa, water, and a pinch of salt in a small pot. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is tender.
  • To serve, divide the quinoa into bowl, top with roasted vegetables, avocado slices, crumbled feta, microgreens, and fried eggs.

Serves four-five

Monday, November 10

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage & Brown Butter

This recipe uses store-bought ravioli for a quick and easy weeknight meal 

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage and Brown Butter

I've been traveling a lot for work, and the days that I am here, I've been so busy that it's tough to spend a lot of time making dinner when I get home. On those nights, I often take some store-bought help to whip up quick meals that require minimal clean up. One of my favorite semi-homemade meals is butternut squash ravioli with sage and brown butter sauce. I take frozen ravioli from the store and then whip up a quick sage brown butter to toss it with after it cooks. It only takes about 10 minutes to make but it tastes delicious. Add a nice side salad or roasted green veg and you have a well-balanced dinner that's faster and healthier than take-out.

Related Recipes:
- Butternut Squash Ravioli with Spinach & Pine Nuts
- Pumpkin & Pancetta Baked Pasta
- Tortellini Borbellini

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage & Brown Butter Sauce:
  • Bring a large pot of water just to a boil and add in 8 oz. fresh or frozen butternut squash ravioli.
  • Cook according to package instructions.
  • Meanwhile, meat 3 tbsp. salted butter in a skillet. Allow to foam, then brown and smell nutty.
  • Add in 8 fresh sage leaves and let crisp for 1-2 minutes.
  • Immediately add in the ravioli and 2-3 tbsp. pasta cooking water.
  • Toss together for a minute until the ravioli is coated in the sauce.
  • Divide onto plates and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.

Serves two

Chicken Thighs with Caramelized Onions & Cardamom Rice

One-pot chicken and rice dish flavored with Middle Eastern spices, dried fruit, and herbs

Jerusalem Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Cardamom Rice

This recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi's Jerusalem is a flavorful one-pot meal of chicken and rice with sautéed onions, currants, spices, and herbs. Everything cooks in a single skillet in batches: first the onions, then the chicken and rice, and can go straight to stove to tabletop with no need for extra serveware (and less dishes to clean up). The Middle Eastern spices of cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves add an exotic flavor to an otherwise familiar dish. Combined with the sweet onions, tart currants, juicy chicken, and fresh herbs, it's a well-balanced meal that has great mix of richness, brightness, sweet, and salt. Leftovers hold up well for a few days and taste just as good as they do on day one.

Related Recipes:
- Roasted Lemon Chicken with Sunchokes
- Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Olives and Preserved Lemons
- Crispy Lemon-Rosemary Chicken Thighs

One-Pot Chicken with Caramelized Onions, Cardamom Rice, and Currants:
- 2 1/2 lb. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 1 3/4 c. basmati rice
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 2 1/2 c. boiling water
- 1/4 c. olive oil
- 1/4 c. currants
- 8 whole cardamom pods
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1/4 tsp. whole cloves
- 1/4 c. fresh dill, chopped
- 1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 c. greek yogurt
- kosher salt
- black pepper

  • Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  • Add in the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until caramelized.
  • Meanwhile, toss remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil with the chicken, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, 1 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of black pepper.
  • Scrape out the onions onto a plate and increase the heat in the pan to high.
  • Add in the chicken and spices, skin-side down, and cook for 5 minutes. Then flip and cook for another five minutes.
  • Remove the chicken to a plate. It's ok to leave the spices in the pan.
  • Add in the rice, onions, currants, and season with salt and pepper. Nestle in the chicken, skin-side up.
  • Pour the boiling water over everything, cover with a lid, and lower heat to a very low simmer.
  • Cook for thirty minutes, then fluff the rice with a fork and check that it's done. All the liquid should be absorbed.
  • Squeeze the juice of the lemon on top and sprinkle with the chopped herbs.
  • Divide onto plates and dollop with yogurt.

Serves four

Thursday, November 6

Bagel With The Works

A loaded bagel, complete with homemade schmear, fried capers, and smoked salmon

Bagel with lox and fried capers

It used to be, back when every weekend was a party and a blur, that my favorite bagel was a heavy breakfast sandwich full of sausage or bacon and eggs and cheese. And not that those bagel sandwiches aren't delicious, but now my favorite bagel is a little more refined. My ultimate loaded bagel has homemade scallion cream cheese, buttery smoked salmon, salty fried capers, and thinly sliced red onion. I love the idea of making all the components separately and serving them as a bagel bar buffet for guests. It's low-maintenance and equally suited for an early morning football game or a ladies' brunch.

Related Recipes:
- Smoked Salmon Tartines with Fried Capers
- Giant Potato Pancake with Smoked Salmon & Greens
- Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Breakfast Sandwiches

Bagel with Lox, Scallion Cream Cheese, Fried Capers, & Onion:
For Scallion Cream Cheese Schmear
  • Combine 8 oz. softened cream cheese with 3 minced scallions and a pinch of salt and stir to combine.
For Fried Capers
  • Drain, rinse, and completely dry 1/4 c. capers.
  • Meanwhile, heat 1/4 c. canola oil in a small skillet.
  • Working in two batches, carefully add the capers to the oil and cook for 30-60 seconds, or until the capers are crispy and open up like a flower bud.
  • Drain the capers on a paper towel until ready to use.
For Bagel Bar and Assembly
  • Halve and toast 4 bagels.
  • Lay out 1 lb. thinly-sliced smoked salmon.
  • Thinly slice 1/2 red onion.
  • Spread bagels with schmear and desired toppings.

Serves four
*Or chives.

Wednesday, November 5

Pork Chops with Cider-Horseradish Glaze

Pan-fried pork chops with a tangy glaze make a quick and delicious weeknight meal

Smitten Kitchen Pork Chops with Cider, Horseradish, and Dill

This Smitten Kitchen recipe is a weeknight winner and will get you out of a rut of another chicken dinner. Thin pork chops cook quickly but the bone-in cut keeps the meat moist and flavorful even when it's seared in the pan at high heat. The glaze is made with apple cider, cider vinegar, horseradish, and cayenne and adds a tangy and spicy flavor. The dill adds freshness and color, but you could easily substitute it with parsley or something similar.The whole recipe takes about fifteen minutes from start to finish and is simple enough for any weeknight but still special enough for company alongside a few side dishes.

More Pork Chop Recipes:
- Pork Chops with Apple-Onion Reduction
- Grilled Pork Chops & Peaches
- Pork Chops with Blueberry-Balsamic Sauce

Pork Chops with Cider, Horseradish, & Dill:
  • Season four 1/2"-thick bone-in pork loin chops with kosher salt and pepper and let sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
  • In a bowl, whisk together 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar, 1/2 c. apple cider, 2 tbsp. prepared horseradish, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  • Heat 1 tbsp. canola oil in a large, heavy skillet until the oil starts to smoke.
  • Add in the pork chops and cook 3-4 minutes, then flip and cook another minute.
  • Remove the pork and place on a plate, then drain off any excess fat from the skillet.
  • Pour in the cider mixture and reduce for 4-5 minutes, or until thickened.
  • Return the pork and any juices to the skillet and turn to coat in the glaze.
  • Let cook for another 4-5 minutes, or until pork is just cooked through.
  • Place pork on a serving platter, pour the glaze on top, and sprinkle with 1 tbsp. chopped dill.

Serves four

Tuesday, November 4

Baked Apples with Oat Crumble

Cider-baked apples topped with a buttery oat crumb topping

Huckleberry Baked Apples with Oat Crumble

Fall is peak apple season and although we don't have as many orchards and pick-your-own places as they do back east, there's still a good variety of ripe apples available at our local farmers' market and grocery stores. I love using apples in desserts like pies or tarts, but this baked apple recipe from the Huckleberry cookbook is my new favorite way to cook with them. The oat crumble topping is full of brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter, and gives all the same flavor as an apple pie with half of the effort. Each serving is half a whole apple with a generous handful of crumb topping, making for an easy presentation and portion control. Serve the apples warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream on top or make in advance and re-heat when you're ready. Leftovers can totally pass as a healthy breakfast if you throw some greek yogurt on top.

Note: You can really use any apples you like to make this recipe. I used pink lady apples, but honeycrisp or granny smith would also be good.

Related Recipes:
- Apple Cake with Salted Caramel Drizzle
- Dutch Baby Pancake with Sautéed Apples
- Free-Form Apple Tart with Cinnamon Crumble

Baked Apples with Oat Crumble:
  • Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Halve and core 3 large apples and toss with 2 tbsp. melted butter, 1 tbsp. brown sugar, 1 1/2 tbsp. white sugar, 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon, and a pinch of kosher salt.
  • Pour 1 scant c. apple cider into a baking dish and place the apples in, cut-side up, in a snug single layer.
  • Cover the dish with foil and bake in the oven for an hour, or until soft.
  • Meanwhile, make the crumble by combining 6 tbsp. room-temperature butter, 1/2 c. whole wheat flour, 1 c. + 1 tbsp. rolled oats, 1/4 c. + 1 tbsp. brown sugar, 1 tbsp. honey, and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt until well combined.
  • Remove the foil from the dish and increase the heat to 425F.
  • Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the apples and bake for another 20-25 minutes.
  • Let cool slightly, then divide onto plates and serve.

Serves six

Monday, November 3

Peanut Noodles with Seared Beef & Veggies

A quick-cooking meal of noodles, vegetables, and beef in a spicy peanut sauce

Peanut Noodles with Beef and Vegetables

This Asian-inspired noodle dish is a great one-pot dinner for busy weeknights. Lightly adapted from a recipe in Williams-Sonoma Taste, noodles are tossed with a homemade peanut sauce, crisp-tender carrots and bell peppers, marinated seared beef, and fresh herbs. The dish has a great balance of textures and flavors and can easily stand alone as a one-pot meal. I made the recipe with gluten-free quinoa spaghetti but you could use regular spaghetti or buckwheat soba noodles instead. If you have any leftover peanut sauce, it would make a delicious dipping sauce for grilled chicken or vegetables.

Related Recipes:
- Steak & Shishito Pepper Skewers
- Soba Noodles with Crispy Kale & Coconut
- Steak, Mushroom,  & Brussel Sprout Stir-Fry

Peanut Noodles with Seared Beef and Vegetables:
- 1/2 lb. top sirloin beef, sliced 1/4" thick against the grain
- 6 oz. quinoa spaghetti
- 2 scallions, minced
- 4 carrots, cut into matchsticks
- 1 bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
- 3 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
- 2 1/2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tbsp. ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp. canola oil
- 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp. red chile flakes
- handful of fresh cilantro leaves
- black pepper
- kosher salt

  • In a food processor, combine the peanut butter, 1 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce, 1 scallion, ginger, balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp. sugar, 1/2 tsp. sesame oil, red chile flakes, and 2 tbsp. hot water.
  • Blend the peanut sauce until smooth, then set aside.
  • In another bowl, combine the beef with remaining 1 tbsp. soy sauce, 1/2 tsp. sugar, 1 scallion, 1 tsp. sesame oil, and a few grinds of black pepper. Let marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with salt, and add in the spaghetti.
  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions, then drain and toss with peanut sauce.
  • In another skillet, add canola oil and heat until smoking.
  • Cook the vegetables for a minute, until crisp-tender, then add to the peanut noodles.
  • Add the beef to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes, or until seared.
  • Divide the noodles onto plates and top with the beef and cilantro.

Serves two

Thursday, October 30

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Molasses-Chile Butter

Hot baked sweet potatoes topped with a sweet and spicy compound butter

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Molasses Chile Butter

Baked potatoes are an easy and tasty side dish for any meal, but during the fall and winter I love swapping regular russets and yukon golds with sweet potatoes or yams. Sweet potatoes have a lot more flavor than regular potatoes and are also more nutritious (make sure to eat the skin, too, which contains a lot of fiber). I play up the sweetness by making a molasses-chile butter that melts into the hot potato and adds richness and contrast. Don't skip a sprinkle of finishing salt, which adds a light crunch and enhances all the inherent flavors of the potato. This recipe is a great side dish to any protein and would be a nice alternative to the traditional candied yams on a Thanksgiving table. Or stuff the potatoes with roasted veggies or beans and enjoy a filling vegetarian meal.

Related Recipes:
- Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Sweet Potato Cakes with Creamy Herb Dip
- Baked Potato Bites

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Molasses-Chile Butter:
  • Preheat the oven to 425F.
  • Wash and dry 4 sweet potatoes and place in the hot oven.
  • Bake the potatoes for 35-45 minutes, or until tender.
  • In a small bowl, mix together 3-4 tbsp. room temperature butter, 2 tsp. molasses, and 1 tsp. chile powder.
  • When the potatoes are ready, slice a slit down the center of each potato and add in a spoonful of the molasses-chile butter. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Serves four-eight (side dish)

Wednesday, October 29

Broccoli, Lemon, & Parmesan Soup

A healthy five-ingredient soup for the cold months ahead

Broccoli, Lemon, and Parmesan Soup

I used to make a lot of soup when I was working at my previous job because the leftovers made a great lunch the next day. Now that I get free meals at work (combined with the never-ending heat wave we've had since May), I've been missing the big batches of soup I used to cook nearly every week. I went on a bit of a cooking bender over the weekend and threw together a batch of this broccoli, lemon, and parmesan soup from Food52 in anticipation of a meatless Monday dinner. Unlike most soup recipes, the vegetables don't simmer in the broth for long at all. Instead, the broccoli is blanched and then very slowly cooked in garlic and olive oil until super soft before a quick simmer in chicken broth and a pulse in the food processor. I love the freshness that the lemon adds to the dish and suggest finishing each bowl with a fresh sprinkle of lemon zest to enhance the smell and flavor of the lemon in the dish. Serve this with some homemade croutons or a chunk of crusty bread and a salad for a filling and healthy meal.

Related Recipes:
- Cheddar Cauliflower Soup
- Chicken & Broccoli Stuffed Potatoes
- Asparagus Soup with Greek Yogurt

Broccoli, Lemon, & Parmesan Soup:
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, cut 2 lb. broccoli into florets and chop the stems into thin spears.
  • Cook the broccoli in boiling water for 5 minutes, then drain well.
  • In another large pot, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil and smash and peel 2-3 large garlic cloves.
  • Add the garlic to the hot oil and cook for a few minutes, until fragrant and lightly golden.
  • Add in the broccoli and a big pinch of salt and pepper, reduce the heat to lower, and cover the pot with a lid.
  • Cook the broccoli, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes, or until very tender.
  • Add in 4 c. low-sodium chicken broth, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes.
  • Stir in 2 tbsp. lemon juice and another pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Transfer soup to a food processor and pulse until smooth with some small chunks.
  • Add the soup back to the pot and stir in 1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese.
  • Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  • To serve, ladle into bowls and top with a pinch of grated lemon zest and more grated parmesan.

Serves four-six

Tuesday, October 28

Pumpkin & Pancetta Baked Pasta

A creamy, cheesy baked pasta with roasted pumpkin and crispy pancetta

Pasta Al Forno with Pumpkin and Pancetta

I've had this baked pasta on my saved recipes list at Food52 for years and finally made it for our friends' Halloween party last weekend. It's everything that a baked pasta should be: rich and cheesy with crunchy brown bits at the top and lots of flavor surprises running through each bite. Pumpkin (or butternut squash) gets used twice in the pasta: blended with cream and cheese for the incredible pumpkin cream sauce and diced into chunks for bites of sweet roasted pieces mixed in with the noodles. Pumpkin is inherently sweet, but the mix of salty cheeses and crispy porky pancetta lardons keep the dish feeling savory. It's a great main course for a fall or winter night and travels well for a potluck. I imagine that it would be easy to reheat in the oven if you have leftovers, too.

Related Recipes:
- Baked Mac and Cheese
- Pasta Shells with Corn, Bacon, & Chard
- Baked Penne with Sausage & Broccoli Rabe

Baked Pasta with Pumpkin & Pancetta:
- 1 3-4 lb. cheese pumpkin or butternut squash
- 1 lb. pasta shells
- 1/2 lb. diced pancetta
- 2 c. heavy cream
- 1/2 c. grated mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 c. grated fontina cheese
- 1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 c. crumbled gorgonzola cheese
- 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
- olive oil
- salt
- pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Cut the pumpkin or butternut squash into quarters and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Roast the pumpkin for an hour, or until tender and caramelized in some places.
  • While the pumpkin is roasting, cook the pancetta in a skillet until crisp.
  • Scoop out 2 c. of cooked pumpkin and add to a food processor, then roughly chop another 1 1/2 c. of pumpkin. 
  • Add the heavy cream to the pumpkin in the food processor and blend to just combine.*
  • Increase the oven temperature to 500F.
  • Mix the pumpkin cream with the chopped pumpkin, crispy pancetta, mozzarella, fontina, parmesan, gorgonzola, thyme, and a big pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta for 8 minutes.
  • Drain the pasta, then mix with the other ingredients. Pour the pasta into a large baking dish.
  • Bake the pasta for another 10 minutes, or until bubbling and brown in some places.
  • Let cool slightly before serving.

Serves eight-ten
*Do not over-blend or the cream will whip.

Monday, October 27

Slow-Roasted Short Ribs with Horseradish Gremolata

Tender beef short ribs topped with a bright and zippy horseradish gremolata

Short Ribs with Horseradish Gremolata

We had a lazy Saturday, which was perfect excuse to slow-roast these beef short ribs. This recipe was featured in Bon Appetit last year and comes from the chef at one of my favorite local restaurants, Gjelina. Instead of braising the ribs in stock or wine and aromatics, the ribs roast in the oven in just a small amount of water and a good seasoning of salt and pepper. The short ribs cook at a low temperature until  tender, then finish in a hot oven to brown and caramelize. The result is a rib full of concentrated beefy flavor with the texture of a tender steak. They're paired with a zippy gremolata, a condiment made with toasted breadcrumbs, horseradish, lemon, and parsley. It's a beautiful restaurant-worthy dish that looks super impressive but requires minimal effort.

Tip: Shred leftover short ribs and toss into pasta sauce, tacos, or sandwiches for the best leftovers ever.

Related Recipes:
- Wine-Braised Beef Short Ribs
- Grilled Korean-Style Short Ribs
- Short Rib & Spinach Lasagna

Slow-Roasted Short Ribs with Horseradish Gremolata:
  • Preheat the oven to 325F.
  • Season 3-3 1/2 lb. bone-in beef short ribs with kosher salt and pepper and place in a roasting pan.
  • Add 3/4 c. water to the pan, cover it with foil, and bake for 2 1/2 hours, or until tender.
  • Increase the oven temperature to 400F and remove the foil from the pan.
  • Cook for another 30 minutes.
  • While the short ribs cook, add 1/4 c. panko breadcrumbs to a sheet pan and toast in the oven for 4-5 minutes,
  • Let the breadcrumbs cool slightly, then combine with 2 tbsp. lemon zest, 1/2 c. minced parsley, 2 tbsp. minced garlic, 2 tbsp. prepared horseradish, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, and 2 tbsp. olive oil.
  • Let the short ribs cool for a minute, then divide onto plates and spoon the gremolata on top.

Serves four-six

Thursday, October 23

Dutch Baby Pancake with Cinnamon Apples

Part pancake, part crepe, and part soufflé... this is the breakfast of champions

Dutch Baby Pancake with Apples

My friend introduced me to dutch babies (the pancakes, not small humans) in high school and I remember a period of time where we were pretty obsessed with making them after school and on the weekends together. I couldn't track down our exact recipe, but this version was pretty close to what I remember. It's a cross between a pancake, a crepe, and a soufflé, and it's one of those dishes that looks impressive but is actually super easy. Heat the pan in the oven while you quickly make the batter in a blender. While the dutch baby bakes, sauté apples in brown butter, cinnamon, and maple syrup - and, voila! The dutch baby is an easy way to make pancakes for a crowd for breakfast and is sweet enough for dessert. I guess this recipe could feed four people, but my husband and I finished it between the two of us and had no regrets.

Related Recipes:
- Oven-Baked Pancakes
- Free-Form Apple Tart With Cinnamon Crumble
- Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Dutch Baby Pancake with Sautéed Apples:
  • Preheat the oven to 425F.
  • Add 2 tbsp. butter to a large, preferably cast iron, skillet and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Swirl the melted butter to coat the whole bottom of the pan.
  • Meanwhile, combine scant 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, 3 tbsp. sugar, 1 tbsp. melted butter, 2 eggs, 1/2 c. milk, and a pinch of salt.
  • Pour the batter directly into the hot skillet and bake for 30 minutes, or until puffed and brown at the edges.
  • 10 minutes before the dutch baby is cooked, melt 1 tbsp. butter in a small skillet.
  • Allow the butter to foam, then to turn brown. Immediately add 1 cored and thinly sliced apple and 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add in 2-3 tbsp. maple syrup and continue cooking for another 5-7 minutes, or until the apples are soft.
  • Sprinkle the dutch baby with powdered sugar and pour the apples on top.
  • Cut into wedges and serve or gather around the skillet and dig in.

Serves two-four

Wednesday, October 22

Savory Leek and Mushroom Bread Pudding

This is like a cheesy, more decadent version of Thanksgiving stuffing

Leek and Mushroom Bread Pudding

Now that L.A. is finally feeling fall-like, I'm starting to get really excited for Thanksgiving. It's one of my favorite holidays of the year, but I don't want to have to wait another month to eat all my favorite Thanksgiving foods. Stuffing (or "dressing" to some people) is usually my favorite part of the meal, and this recipe (adapted from Ina Garten) for leek and mushroom bread pudding is like the best stuffing ever. Bread cubes are tossed with a simple custard made of eggs and milk, sautéed leeks and cremini mushrooms, and parmesan cheese. Then the whole thing is baked until bubbling and brown. It makes a great accompaniment to a roast chicken (or turkey, of course), but would also make a lovely vegetarian meal alongside a green salad. Is mushrooms or leeks aren't your thing, you could easily customize this by adding in other vegetables or even some bacon or sausage.

Note: This recipe is a great way to use leftover stale bread. If your bread is already stale, you can skip the step to toast it in the oven and add it straight to the custard.

Related Recipes:
- Herbed Ciabatta Stuffing
- Cinnamon Walnut French Toast Bread Pudding
- Homemade Croutons

Savory Leek & Mushroom Bread Pudding:
  • Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease a baking dish and set aside.
  • Cut 1 loaf of ciabatta bread into bite-size pieces so that you have 3-4 cups of bread cubes. Arrange the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Let the bread cool slightly.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together 2 eggs, 3/4 c. whole milk, 1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese, and a large pinch of salt and pepper
  • Add the bread to the custard and let sit for at least 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add in 3 diced leeks (white and light green part only) and cook for 5 minutes, or until soft.
  • Add in 2 minced garlic cloves and cook for another 30 seconds, then add in 1/2 lb. sliced cremini mushrooms and 2 tbsp. sherry. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Let cool slightly.
  • Stir the vegetables into the bread mixture and pour into the baking dish.
  • Sprinkle the top with 1/4 c. grated parmesan and place in the oven.
  • Bake for 40 minutes, or until the top is brown and crispy and the custard sets.
  • Let cool slightly, then serve.

Serves four-six (side dish)

Tuesday, October 21

Sautéed Spinach with Feta and Pine Nuts

This ten-minute vegetable side dish will become a new family favorite

Sauteed Spinach with Feta and Pine Nuts

I'm always looking for quick vegetable side dishes and this Barefoot Contessa recipe is a new favorite. Simple sautéed spinach is tossed with crumbled feta cheese and toasted pine nuts for a flavor profile that's similar to spanokopita and pairs well with almost any meaty main course. The whole dish only takes five ingredients, one pan, and ten minutes but the finished product looks super impressive and tastes great. It's great alongside a store-bought rotisserie chicken on a busy weeknight or with a slow-cooked roast for a fancy dinner party. This dish is so versatile that it's sure to become a new addition to the weekly dinner rotation.

More Quick & Easy Veggie Sides:
- Perfect Roasted Vegetables
- Roasted Carrots with Avocado & Lemon Dressing
- Creamed Kale

Sautéed Spinach with Crumbled Feta and Toasted Pine Nuts:
  • Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add in 1/2 diced onion and cook for 5 minutes, or until soft.
  • Add in 1/2 lb. baby spinach, 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Cook for a few minutes, or until wilted.
  • Add in 2-3 tbsp. crumbled feta cheese, 1 tsp. lemon zest, and 2 tbsp. toasted pine nuts.*
  • Stir to combine but do not over mix. 

Serves two-three (side dish)
*To toast nuts, add them to a dry skillet over medium heat and cook until lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes.