Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Dinner

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends.

We had planned on visiting family in upstate New York for the weekend. We expected to enjoy a lunch with one part of the family and dinner with another part of the family (our routine for the last several years). This is baby girl's first Thanksgiving and we were excited for her to get to see so many family members. Unfortunately our transportation fell through at the last minute, and we realized we would be spending Thanksgiving on our own in New York City.

I was really sad about not getting to spend the holiday with family, but we decided to embrace this change of plans. As we get ready to move to Boston, it became a nice opportunity to have a few more New York experiences before we leave.

In the morning, we went to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. We had never been, and it was lots of fun. Some people arrive at 6:30 am to stake out a spot. We let the baby have a nap at home, and then headed out. So we didn't arrive until after the parade had started. We were in the back, but we still enjoyed all the balloons and listening to the marching bands. Our little one loved watching all the people.

After the parade, we decided to get a light lunch before getting on the subway back to Brooklyn. We found Fine and Schapiro, a Kosher deli, and enjoyed some latkes, pierogies and half a corned beef sandwich.

We got a few last minute invites to local dinners, but we decided to cook at home. Neither one of us has ever prepared an entire Thanksgiving dinner. We have only made a couple of dishes to take to family dinners. We set our menu and did some last minute shopping the night before.

I love Thanksgiving food, so it was hard not to make a million side dishes, but we were pretty good at keeping the menu at a reasonable size. My husband found a 9 pound young turkey that was delicious. We also made a cranberry orange relish, sweet potatoes with pecans, cinnamon and cloves, brussels sprouts with red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese, creamed onions with bacon, and a leek, cranberry and apple stuffing.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

Friday, November 18, 2011

How time flies!

We had a beautiful baby girl at the end of June. The doctors suspicions were correct-she was a big baby weighing in at 9.5 pounds. Luckily, I was still able to have the natural birth I was hoping for. I believe that eating right, prenatal yoga, and lots of walking gave me the strength to tough it out (along with my husband's support of course).

We have settled into family life here in Brooklyn. We enjoyed the bounty of the season's CSA vegetables, fruit, eggs and meat. I have been cooking less, and my husband has been taking the lead in keeping this nursing mama well nourished. I am amazed at how so many of you can prepare beautiful feasts night after night with a houseful of children. The meals I have made have been quick and simple which has not provided much fodder for new blog posts. But I have missed writing and being part of the blogging community, so I am planning on getting back into it.

There is a big change on the horizon for us. We are saying farewell to NYC and heading to Boston for a new exciting job for my husband. Stay tuned to hear more about the upcoming move and our efforts to create healthful meals in the midst of the chaos.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Salmon and Lentil Salad with Lemon Caper Dressing

The doctors have been warning me for a while now that we are going to have a big baby. I don't have gestational diabetes, but I think it's just in my genes that everything I eat goes straight to the baby.(Some people will roll their eyes when I complain about this.) I was almost 10 pounds when I was born, but my mom hadn't gained much weight. Her wedding rings were actually loose when she went into the hospital. Sugar, fruit and refined white stuff especially beef up the baby, so I have been trying to stick with a fairly high fiber and protein diet and to stay active with lots of walking and yoga.

One meal we especially enjoyed was a Salmon and Lentil Salad with Lemon Caper Dressing. It was nice and refreshing on a hot night. We simply layered some salad greens, cold lentils (but they could be served hot too), pan-fried salmon and topped it off with a delicious, tangy lemon caper dressing. It's a great low carb meal - whatever your reason. For an extra short cut, Trader Joes has some tasty pre-cooked lentils that are pre-seasoned. They keep for quite a while in the fridge, and are great to keep on hand for a quick meal. We like the seasoning they use, and used them as our flavor inspiration.

French Lentils
1/2 lb French lentils
1/2 T thyme
1/2 T oregano
1 t garlic powder
1/4 t salt and pepper
2 bay leaves

Spread the lentils out on a cookie sheet to check for pebbles. Place in a strainer and rinse. Place in a stockpot and add water to cover by an inch. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender but still firm.

Lemon Caper Dressing
2 T olive oil
1 t spicy brown mustard
dash of salt and pepper
1 T apple cider vinegar
2 T water
1 t capers
1/4 lemon, juiced
Extra capers for garnish

Whisk ingredients together to combine.

We enjoyed some extra capers sprinkled over the top of our salad.

This post is part of Ekat's Kitchen Friday Potluck, Designs by Gollum Foodie Friday, Fat Camp Friday, Susie QT Pies Friday Follow, and Ann Kroeker's Food on Friday.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Delicious Pulled Pork

Well, more time has passed than I intended since my last post. Pregnancy has just been more of a game changer than I expected. Luckily I am healthy and feeling well, but the doctor appointments, childbirth classes, prenatal yoga, etc really eat into blogging time. I know that this is only a taste of what is to come once the baby actually arrives. My due date is a week and a half away, so I thought it was a good time to check back-in with City Share.

Several weeks ago, before the spring vegetables were really showing up at the farmers' market, we had a great dinner that took advantage of some of the vegetables that store well over the winter. We got an acorn squash from the market and some spinach out of our freezer, and made some favorite dishes. We simply baked the squash and served it with some butter, and made some creamed spinach with some leftover cream cheese and half and half. As good as the vegetables were, the piece de resistance was some pulled pork inspired by a recipe in our Dinosaur BBQ cookbook. The meat was melt-in-your mouth tender and the sauce was a great combination of tangy, sweet and spicy. It was a delicious feast.

Pulled Pork inspired by Dinosaur BBQ

4.5 lb pork shoulder
1/2 can of tomato paste
10 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 C apple cider vinegar
1/4 C balsamic vinegar
1/4 C water
2 T ketchup
1 T spicy brown mustard
4 T maple syrup
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 t cayenne
1/4 t allspice
1/2 t salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Sear pork shoulder in a Dutch oven over high heat on each side. Remove the meat from the pan, and combine the rest of the ingredients in the pan. Add the meat back in and spoon the sauce over the pork shoulder. Place in the oven and cook for 2.5 to 3 hours. Flip over every hour or so. The meat is done when it is falling off the bone.

This post is part of Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday, Turning the Table Thursday, Jenny's Alphabe-Thursdays, Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life As Mom, Frugal Food Thursday, Recipe Swap Thursday at Prairie Story, and Simple Lives Thursday.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Here's an update from us here at City Share:

I came down with a horrible cold and cough accompanied by a fever the day before my birthday. Not only was I sick for five days and feeling miserable, but we had company for three days in the middle of it. Nothing like plodding around in my giant grey sweatpants and fleece with uncombed hair to get to know someone better. Being pregnant and sick is the worst combination.

Luckily, I recuperated in time for our babymoon to Baltimore. I wasn't up to full speed, but good enough to be able to walk around and enjoy some good food. I highly recommend Baltimore for a weekend getaway. Don't let The Wire scare you off. There are some lovely historic neighborhoods. We had fun taking the water taxi around the harbor, visiting the American Visionary Art Museum, visiting The Walters Art Museum and just walking around checking out the different neighborhoods. Of course we had to eat while we were there too. My husband has a friend from high school who lives in Baltimore, and he was kind enough to come up with a whole list of restaurants in a variety of neighborhoods for us to try. I'm allergic to shellfish, but my husband indulged in the requisite crab cakes (he actually thinks they are kind of boring, but the raw oysters were right up his alley). We sampled some delicious Afghan food in the Mount Vernon neighborhood at The Helmand, and some solid pub fare at Alexander's Tavern in Fells Point. It was a great getaway and only a 2.5 hour train ride from New York City.

We will be away this weekend for Easter, but then we will be settling in for the duration until the baby comes. Our new addition is due to arrive at the end of June. I'm looking forward to being home after a couple of weekends with guests and a couple of weekends away. We hope to be preparing lots of healthy treats, and maybe even putting some up for when the baby comes.

This post is part of Alphabe-thursdays.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Chip Shop

My dad was in town for a visit this last weekend. This was his first time visiting us since we moved to Brooklyn, and we had a great time walking around exploring our new surrounds and eating lots of delicious food. On Saturday he requested fish and chips for lunch. We knew that The Chip Shop would be a good spot to satisfy his craving and it was right on the way for our walk to Prospect Park. His visit conveniently coincided with restaurant week here in Brooklyn, and once we arrived at the Chip Shop we learned that they were participating in Dine In Brooklyn. The special at The Chip Shop was for 2 three course lunches for $20.11. Dad and I ordered twin lunches. We each got the salad, fish and chips and the rhubarb crumble with custard sauce. My husband ordered the deep fried haggis with salad.

Dad and I were very pleased with our lunches. The salad was simple with nicely dressed greens; the fish had a crispy shell of batter with tender, flaky cod; and the chips were full of potato flavor. The portion was quite large and I couldn't finish mine. I think they could make it smaller for the three course special. Because we were already so full, we decided to ask to take one dessert to go. The rhubarb crumble was good. I could have gone for even more custard sauce and less crumble, but that's just my personal preference.

My husband was a bit disappointed with his lunch. We had visited The Chip Shop once before about a year ago and he ordered the haggis that time too. He thought it wasn't as good this time around. Last time we visited their Atlantic Avenue location. Maybe the haggis is just better there, but he decided he would order something different next time.

Dine In Brooklyn continues until March 31st. It's a great opportunity to try some local restaurants.

This post is part of Works-for-me-Wednesday, Let's Do Brunch, and Welcome Wednesday.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Versatile Mustard Sauce

We have fallen into a dinner rut since we moved to Brooklyn last October. I think there are a few factors that have contributed. Our move coincided with the time our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm share came to an end. The CSA delivery each week forced us to get creative to find new and delicious ways to eat up all of the vegetables. We also found out right before we moved that we were expecting our first child. Soon after, the fatigue and nausea of the first trimester set in and ruined most plans for dinner preparation. Finally, our commutes both got a little longer. It's amazing how getting home 30 minutes later can make such a difference. We arrive home tired and starving and it's hard to get motivated to make anything exciting for dinner. I keep telling myself that a meal plan and some slow cooker dinners will help, but I haven't been very good about following through on either front.

What to do? Well, we do have a very easy sauce that helps dress up our standard meat, vegetable and starch dinner. It's a delicious mustard sauce with only two ingredients. We tend to serve it over pork, but it would be great on chicken too.

We cooked our pork chops with some onions in a cast iron pan. Once they were done, we removed them from the pan and prepared the sauce in the same pan with the pork juices. We served it over some orzo with a side of broccoli and salad.

Mustard Sauce
2 T butter
1 T Dijon mustard
1/4 C white wine (optional - we left this out)

Melt the butter over medium low heat and stir in the mustard (and wine if using it). Whisk until combined and then serve.

This post is part of Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Alphabe-Thursday, Tip Day Thursday Carnival, Frugal Fridays, Creative Girls Blog Hop, Foodie Friday, and I'm Lovin' It.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tandoori Chicken with Lemon Rice

My husband and I both really enjoy Indian food. Our old apartment was within walking distance of curry row, and we loved walking over to try all of the different regional specialties. Those dining experiences inspired us to try many of the dishes at home including Tandoori Chicken. It requires just a bit of hands-on time and planning ahead, and the results are full of flavor and spice. It does require quite a few spices. I recommend looking for them at an ethnic market where spices tend to be more affordable than at the grocery store and you can often purchase smaller quantities.

We served the chicken with some lemon rice. The the tartness of the lemon in the rice is balanced by the cashews, and it's always a big hit. Marinating the chicken in the yogurt and lemon spice mixture keeps it nice and moist and tender. We served this to company so we adjusted the quantities to make sure there would be enough for our guest and some leftovers. Both recipes can easily be adjusted up or down to accommodate your numbers.

Tandoori Chicken
serves 6

2 lbs cut up chicken (we just used chicken legs)
2 T garlic, roughly chopped
2 T ginger, peeled and chopped
2 T cumin seeds, or ground cumin
2 t ground coriander
1 t cayenne
1/2 t ground cardamom
1/2 t ground cloves
1/2 t pepper
2 t salt
1 C yogurt
4 T lemon juice (juice of one lemon)
2 T coconut oil
1-2 onions, cut into thick slices
cilantro, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Remove the skin from the chicken, rinse and place in a bowl. Combine the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cayenne, cardamom, cloves and pepper in a food processor or blender. Pulse the spice mixture until the garlic and ginger are integrated. Add the yogurt and lemon, and pulse to combine. Pour the yogurt spice mixture over the chicken. Cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least an hour, but up to 24 hours. Coat the bottom of a casserole pan with the oil, and place the sliced onions and chicken in a single layer. Bake the chicken for 30 minutes. Garnish with cilantro.

Lemon Rice
inspired by The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Yamuna Devi

1 1/2 C rice
3 C water
1 t salt
3 T butter
1/2 C raw cashews
1 T mustard seeds
1/3 t turmeric
1/3 C lemon (juice of 2 lemons)
3 T cilantro

Add the rice, water, salt and 1 T butter to a sauce pot and bring to a boil. Follow the cooking directions for your rice. While the rice is cooking, melt the remaining butter in a small skillet and add the cashews. Cook until they are starting to turn golden. Add the mustard seeds and cook 2 more minutes. Once the rice is finished cooking, add the mustard seed, cashew and butter combination plus the lemon juice, turmeric and cilantro and fold together. Garnish with some extra cilantro.

This post is part of Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays, Delectable Tuesday Blog Hop, Hearth and Soul Blog Hop, Tuesdays at the Table, Tuesday Night Supper Club, Tasty Tuesdays, Works-for-me Wednesday, Gluten Free Wednesdays, Let's Do Brunch, Welcomne Wednesday, and Real Food Wednesdays.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Anniversary Desserts

When we went out for our anniversary dinner at L'Ecole, the desserts were really over the top. We went into a bit of sugar coma after all the delicious sweet treats.

Here is a photo tour of all of the treats (for some reason the photos turned out really gray - sorry):

The first dessert we ordered was the Chocolate Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce and Chestnut Ice Cream. Although when it came out, we both thought the ice cream tasted more like banana than chestnuts. We are not big on banana flavor, so this wasn't a positive development for us. But even with the banana ice cream, this dessert was delicious. The rich chocolate flavor of the bread pudding was really decadent.

The second dessert we ordered was the waffle with pomegranate gelato and Thai basil and grapefruit sauces. This was a bit disappointing. The waffle was a bit blah. I always like waffles with a crispy edge, and these were just bready. The pomegranate ice cream and sauces were delicious. Nice and tangy and not too sweet.

This was an extra little plate of treats that came out. My husband popped the chocolate in his mouth and declared that they tasted like miniature lava cakes. I think they were macaroons with a chocolate and raspberry filling. They were accompanied by miniature lemon cupcakes with whipped cream and raspberries.

We were already in dessert overload when the waiter brought us an extra dessert with the beautiful "Happy Anniversary" inscription. This Apple Brown Butter Cake with Apple Compote and Pomegranate Ice Cream was actually my favorite. Not too sweet, really buttery and full of apple and pomegranate flavor. This would be my recommendation for the dessert to order.

To top it all off they sent us home with brownies from the baking program in cute little mylar bags.

We really enjoyed our experience at L'Ecole and highly recommend it for a special occasion. While it is not cheap, it is good value for a prix fixe menu in New York City.

This post is part of Meatless Mondays, Mouthwatering Mondays, and Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Anniversary Dinner

We generally are pretty low key about meals. Lately we have been focusing more on quality ingredients than fancy cooking techniques or exotic flavor combinations. When we go out to eat, we usually frequent locally owned neighbor joints, but we decided to step away from the ordinary to celebrate our anniversary. We went to L'ecole last night for their four course prix fixe menu. It's the restaurant of the French Culinary Institute, but we learned it was actually professional chefs preparing the meals for our dinner seating. The meal was fabulous and we highly recommend it for your next special occasion.

Here is a photographic tour of our meal:

An Amuse-Bouche of Spanish Tortilla with Fresh Salsa.

Charcuterie Plate with Foie Gras, Pâté, Fromage de Tête and Duck Rillette. I didn't really care for the head cheese, but everything else was delicious.

Grilled Fig-Glazed Pork Belly with Butternut Squash Purée and Crispy Shallots

Broiled Lamb T-Bone Steak with Seasonal Vegetables, Goat Cheese Polenta and Fig-Merlot Lamb Jus. The lamb was so tender and perfectly cooked.

Miso-Glazed Beef Short Ribs with Celery Root-Potato Purée, Warm Brussels Sprout Salad and Pomegranate-Lime Vinaigrette. This entree had really great flavor combinations playing off one another.

I will share dessert photos tomorrow. They really deserve their own post.

This post is part of Works-for-me-Wednesday, Real Food Wednesdays, and Welcome Wednesday.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Perfect Eggs

I have been trying to eat eggs on a regular basis because they are chock full of such a wonderful combination of nutrients and protein, but it's been tough getting them down while I have been pregnant. My fall back method for including them in my diet has been French Toast. I could eat French Toast every day and not get sick of it. I know that eggs are better for you when the yolks are still runny, so yesterday I ventured out of my comfort zone to try some soft cooked eggs. They were fabulous! In the past, I have often ended up with yolks that are mostly cooked, but I think I have found the key to the perfect soft cooked eggs. I didn't add the eggs until the water was already boiling, cooked them for five minutes, and plunged them in ice cold water. The yolks had a delicious, creamy texture, and tasted great on some toast.

Soft-Boiled Eggs

4 eggs
salt and pepper to taste

Bring water to a boil. Add the eggs and bring back to a boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce it to a simmer. Cook for a total of five minutes for large eggs. Remove eggs from the pot and add to ice cold water. Once the eggs are cool enough to hold, crack open with a knife, and scoop the egg out of the shell. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Unfortunately, we were too hungry and didn't take a photo of the perfect eggs. You will have to use your imagination to see the runny orange yolks and firm egg white over some toast. Delicious!

Our Meal Plan for the week:

Monday - Chicken, sausage and bean stew
Tuesday - Anniversary dinner at L'Ecole
Wednesday - Dinner out while running errands
Thursday - Leftover Indian style vegetables and lentils
Friday - Homemade pizza

This post is part of Meatless Mondays, Monday Mania at the Healthy Home Economist, Mouthwatering Mondays, Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays, and Menu Plan Monday.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Have you heard the term "babymoon?" I think it's a relatively new term to describe a trip you take before the baby comes. I know that some people head out to luxurious tropical location, but we are sticking a little closer to home. We are wanting to save our vacation time and just go away for a weekend, so we were looking for a place within 3 hours of New York City, a bit warmer than home and affordable. Just to further complicate things - we don't have a car. We landed on Baltimore. It's not exotic, but it is a change of scenery, and I have never stayed there before.

Here is my question: Do you have any suggestions for restaurants in Baltimore? We will probably hit at least one crab place for my husband, but I'm allergic to shellfish, so other suggestions would be great. Breakfast places? Local food?

Thanks in advance for the advice.

This post is part of Alphabe-Thursday, Tip Day Thursday, Pennywise PlatterThursday, and Frugal Food Thursday.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Salmon Orzo Salad

We have a few favorite dishes that we have made repeatedly. Each one of them gets adjusted each time to account for what we have on hand and the season. Salmon Orzo Salad is one of these dishes. Here is a version I made last summer. This time around we were cleaning out the freezer and used salmon, peas, and dried cranberries we had on hand. It's a nice combination of the salmon, the creamy, tangy goat cheese, the sweetness of the dried cranberries and the vinegar and mustard dressing. I think the traditional version with asparagus and scallions is even better, and once spring arrives we will have to make it again. The leftovers are easy to pack and great to take for lunch.

Salmon Orzo Salad
serves 6

8 oz orzo, uncooked
1 lb salmon
8 oz peas
4 oz goat cheese crumbles
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
1 T spicy brown mustard
2 T apple cider vinegar
1/4 C cranberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the orzo according to the package directions. Place the salmon fillets in an oven proof pan and cook for 20 minutes (or until the fish flakes easily with a fork). When the pasta is almost done, add the peas and drain it all together. Rinse with cold water to prevent over cooking and sticking. Add the flaked salmon, orzo, peas, goat cheese and garlic to a mixing bowl. Mix the olive oil, mustard and cider vinegar in a cup and drizzle over the mixture. Sprinle the cranberries over the top. Stir to combine. Cover and place in the fridge to let the flavors combine.

This post is part of Monday Mania at the Healthy Home Economist, Mouthwatering Mondays, and Hearth and Soul Blog Hop, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Delectable Tuesday Blog Hop, Tasty Tuesday, Dr. Laura's Tasty Tuesday, Tuesdays at the Table, Tuesday Night Supper Club, and Works-for-Me-Wednesday.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mushroom Stuffed Turkey Breast

This last weekend we picked up a turkey breast at the farmers' market. We had never made just a turkey breast before, so we asked the farmer for some suggestions on how to prepare it. He recommended butterflying it and filling it with a stuffing of our choice. We decided to follow his advice and chose to make some mushroom stuffing.

We got half way through stuffing the turkey breast and realized that we were going to need something to hold it together. I should really invest in some kitchen twine for these types of situations, but we didn't have any handy, so we started hunting down something that could do the job. I have been working on a small rag rug out of some old cotton curtains, and decided to sacrifice a narrow strip of fabric to hold together our dinner. (I swear it's clean!) It worked like a charm.

Besides the hunt for a kitchen twine substitute, the stuffed turkey breast was really easy to prepare. I always feel that anything stuffed seems a little special, and this made for a mid-week treat dinner. The mushroom stuffing is full of flavor and quick to prepare. We served ours with quinoa and broccoli.

Butterfly the turkey breast. Because it is so much meat, we put half aside in the freezer to use later. Half the breast will still comfortably serve 4 people.

After placing the stuffing in the center of the butterflied breast, roll up the meat and fasten with twine.

We enjoyed our stuffed turkey breast with broccoli and quinoa.

Mushroom Stuffed Turkey Breast
serves 4

Half a turkey breast
2 T butter
8 oz mushrooms, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 t ground thyme
1/4 t garlic powder
a few shakes of oregano
1/4 C Parmesan cheese
1/2 C chicken stock
kitchen twine

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Butterfly the turkey breast. (We set aside half and put it in the freezer.) In a cast iron skillet, melt the butter and add the mushrooms and onions. Cook until the mushrooms are beginning to brown and the onions soften. Remove from the heat and add the thyme, garlic, oregano and Parmesan cheese. Place the stuffing in the center of the turkey breast. Roll it up and fasten with twine. Place the rolled turkey breast in the cast iron pan over high heat. Brown on each side, add the chicken stock, and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes (or until it is cooked through). Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes and slice. Spoon some of the juice over the turkey.

This post is part of Alphabe-Thursday, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Full Plate Thursdays, Simple Lives Thursday, The Ultimate Recipe Swap, Tip Day Thursday, Fresh, Clean and Pure Friday, Foodie Friday, Fun with Food with Food, Fresh Bites Friday, and I'm Lovin' It.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

CSA Time

A sample haul from our CSA last summer.

I am really missing having a CSA (Community Supported Agricultural) Share. It's so nice getting a big delivery of fresh, local vegetables each week to guide our eating. I had intended to find a Winter CSA, but we were in England for a couple of weeks and then my first trimester nausea set in, so I missed the sign-up. We had a couple of warmer days last week, and it had me starting to think about Spring and CSA sign-up. We really enjoyed our Foodstockings CSA last summer, but we have since moved to Brooklyn and its Lower East Side location is too inconvenient. I went over to the trusty Local Harvest website to find some CSAs in our Brooklyn neighborhood. Can you believe that some of the groups already have a waiting list? The deliveries don't start until June here in NYC. I thought I was planning ahead, but I guess I'm not alone.

So this is my PSA: If you are thinking of joining a CSA, start researching your options.

Happy Eating!

This post is part of Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Delectable Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Dr. Laura's Tasty Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday at Beauty and Bedlam, Hearth and Soul Blog Hop, and Works-For-Me-Wednesday.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Pasta Primavera

We had an event at work on Friday, and we had tons of vegetables left from the crudite platters. I couldn't stand to see them go to waste, so I brought home a bag of veggies. Yesterday, we had beautiful sunny, warm weather that felt like Spring, and the weather inspired us to make a pasta primavera with the veggies.

Because we acquired the vegetables already cut up, this was a really quick meal. My husband even declared that is was "the simplest dinner ever." It was delicious too. The rich sauce balances nicely with the fresh vegetables, and a pinch of red pepper flakes adds just a big of heat.

We placed our bamboo steamer over the pasta pot, and loaded it up with the vegetables.

The whole dinner was ready in 15-20 minutes and was ready to enjoy. We chose farfalle pasta (bow ties) which seemed appropriate for Oscar night.

Pasta Primavera
serves 4

1 lb farfalle pasta
1 T butter
6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
4 C vegetables, cut into bite size pieces
1 pint half and half
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1/4 C Parmesan cheese
salt to taste

Start the pasta water. Prepare vegetables. Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed skillet and add the garlic. Cook the garlic until soft. Add the pasta to the boiling water, and place bamboo steamer over the pot. Add vegetables and cover. Cook the vegetables until they are crisp but tender (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and place in a mixing bowl. Once the garlic is tender, lower the heat and add cream, red pepper and Parmesan cheese. Cook over low heat, whisking regularly (to ensure the sauce doesn't break) until it thickens. The sauce and pasta should be done about the same time. Add everything to the mixing bowl and stir to combine. It's ready to serve.

Some other easy variations include adding artichoke hearts, pesto, or pureed roasted red pepper.

This week's menu:
Monday - out to eat after a prenatal appointment
Tuesday - Turkey breast stuffed with mushrooms, quinoa and broccoli
Wednesday - Fire chicken with salad
Thursday - Salmon with mustard glaze
Friday - leftovers

This post is part of My Meatless Mondays, Monday Mania at the Healthy Home Economist, Meatless Mondays at Midnight Maniac, and Menu Plan Monday at Orgjunkie.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Steak, Rosemary Potatoes and Salad

I haven't posted in more than a week - already falling short of my goal to post at least three times per week. There are two reasons for my absence: I have been craving lots of raw foods and salad, so we have resorted to eating more out-of-season foods. I figure raw vegetables is a pregnancy craving I should listen to, but it doesn't make for interesting posts. I also have been reading the Steig Larsson books. Have you read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series? I got the series as a Christmas present, but just got around to starting it last week. It is hard to put the books down, and it is good that I'm on third (and last) book because it is interfering a bit with the rest of my life.

A couple of weeks ago at the farmers' market, one of the farmers was providing cooking advice to another customer on how to cook steak. His advice turned everything I knew on its head. He suggested first cooking the steak in a cast iron pan in the oven and then searing it. He gave a convincing explanation as to why this would cook the steak more evenly and keep more juices inside. I can't remember the details now.

We had a big thick 2 pound sirloin steak, and I tried cooking it at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. When I checked it, it looked gray and hardly cooked it, so I put it in the oven for another 15 minutes. I seared it for 3 minutes on each side, and it looked nicely browned. After letting it rest, we started to slice it and found that it was well done (instead of the medium I was hoping for), but it was still nice and juicy. I would try using this method again, but cooking it only for 15 minutes in the oven. My husband thinks its crazy, but I think I'll give it one more shot and see if I can convince him.

Have you ever tried cooking a steak in the oven first followed by searing? How did it turn out?

This post is part of SuzieQTPies Scraps of Life Link-up, and...

The Girl Creative


Tidy Mom I'm Lovin It Fridays

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Second Chance for Liver and Onions

Liver and onions is one of those dishes that many people remember as something their parents MADE them eat when they were children, but I think it has really gotten a bad rap. With proper preparation and an open mind, I think you will find that it is really tasty.

I don't remember my parents ever making liver and onions when I was a child which might help me accept it as a delicacy now. I don't associate it with sitting at the table by myself until I ate three more bites. For me, that special honor was saved for any yellow squash. I hated the mushy, stringy texture (I have learned to embrace squash as an adult). But I digress, I'm writing to convince you to try liver.

I have two important tips to share with you on preparing liver that will ensure it's success. First, soak it in milk for at least 30 minutes. Second, it cooks quickly so only cook it for 2-4 minutes per side (depending on thickness). Follow those two rules and it will not be bitter or resemble old shoe leather, but a succulent treat with a rich flavor. Please see the recipe below or check out this other post for another take on it.

The liver filters toxins out of our bodies, so it's really important that it comes from an animal that is properly raised. I would suggest that you only buy liver from a farmer you are certain only pasture raises their animals.

A large plate of liver on a bed of sauteed onions.

We served our liver and onions with some salad and quinoa.

Liver and Onions

1/4- 1 C milk
1 lb beef liver, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
2 T coconut oil
2 T butter
2 onions, sliced
1/4 C flour
salt and pepper

Rinse the liver and place it in a shallow bowl. Add enough milk to cover it and let soak while preparing the rest of the dinner (at least 30 minutes). Heat a cast iron skillet and add 1 T of coconut oil and the onions. Cook until they are soft and add 1 T butter. Once the butter is melted, remove the onions to a plate.

Mix the flour and salt and pepper in a shallow bowl or plate. Remove a piece of liver from the milk and shake dry. Dredge the slices of liver in the flour mixture. Place the cast iron pan over medium heat, add the coconut oil, and add the slices of liver. Cook only 2-4 minutes per side (we like it still pink in the middle). Remove to a platter and serve.

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Works-for-me-Wednesday, Let's Do Brunch, Full Plate Thursdays, Pennywise Platter Thursdays, Alphabe-Thursdays, and...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Smashed Potatoes

Happy Valentine's Day.

We usually don't go out to dinner on Valentine's Day. In New York City, Valentine's dinners are an expensive affair. Most restaurants offer a special prix fixe menu that is significantly more expensive than their regular menu, and reservations need to be made weeks in advance. We avoid all the hype by choosing to go out for a special breakfast instead and make a nice dinner at home.

We went out for our special Valentine's Day breakfast yesterday at Prime Meats. It's close to home and they use produce, meats and dairy from local farms, so it's a treat we can feel good about.

For dinner, we continued our efforts to clean out the freezer. We enjoyed some pork tenderloin encrusted with rosemary, garlic and kosher salt, caramelized onions, smashed potatoes and coleslaw. I liked the coleslaw so much last week. I just couldn't resist requesting another batch this week. Last week we used the food processor, and this week it was just roughly chopped up by hand - either way it is delicious. But I thought the real star of the meal were the smashed potatoes. See below for directions.

Smashed Potatoes
New Potatoes
Olive Oil
Coarse Salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bake the potatoes until softened (40-60 minutes). Place each potato on a cutting board or large plate and use a small plate to smash them flat. Place the smashed potatoes on lightly oiled baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake until they are beginning to crisp around the edges (about 15 minutes per side).

The potatoes are crispy on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside. They are delicious the next day too. Mmm, enjoy.

Plan for the week:
Monday - Leftovers and a special dessert
Tuesday - Liver and Onions
Wednesday - Salmon and Acorn Squash
Thursday - Out to eat
Friday - Homemade pizza

This post is part of Monday Mania at the Healthy Home Economist, Mouthwatering Mondays, Menu Plan Monday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tuesday Twister, Tasty Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday at For the Love of Blogs, Tuesday Night Supper Club, Delectable Tuesday, and Hearth and Soul Hop Recipe Exchange.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Simple Supper of Salmon and Brussels Sprouts

I got home from work to find a lovely surprise - dinner was minutes away from being ready. We are still in the midst of cleaning out the freezer, so we had some salmon from the freezer and some brussels sprouts from the farmers' market. My husband went for something simple - put a little coconut oil in a 11 x 13 glass pan and added the salmon and brussels sprouts and cooked them for about 25 minutes. I don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth, but the salmon was a little dry. I didn't dare bring this up, but when he mentioned it - I had to agree.

With a small adjustment, this is a great easy meal perfect for the end of a busy day.

Salmon and Brussels Sprouts
1 T coconut oil
2 pieces of salmon
1 lb brussels sprouts, cut in half
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Coat the bottom of an 11 x 13 pan with coconut oil, and add the brussels sprouts. Cook for 10 minutes. Stir the brussels sprouts and add the salmon. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for 15 more minutes or until done.

This post is part of Pennywise Platter Thursdays, Foodie Friday, Mom Trends, I'm Lovin It Friday, Suzie QT Pies, Food on Fridays, Frugal Friday, and ...

I am a Food RENEGADE!

Monday, February 7, 2011


I was inspired by Laura over at Cooking in Kenzo and her efforts to eat entirely out of her freezer, fridge and pantry. I decided it was time for us to undertake a similar effort. Now she has an enviable situation of being the proud owner of a chest freezer, and I can only dream of such food storage capacity, but it's still time to clean out some leftovers before they become freezer burned.

My husband made up a delicious batch of jambalaya out of our leftovers. We have both worked at restaurants in the past while we looked for "real" jobs- I usually worked in the front of house and he usually worked in the kitchen. At one restaurant, he made big batches of jambalaya in a convection oven. They threw all the ingredients in raw and cooked it all together. This time around he made it in a dutch oven. We didn't really have enough rice in the cupboard, so he supplemented it with some wild rice we had on hand. It turned out really well, but think of this recipe more as inspiration for cleaning out your own fridge.

2 T coconut oil
1/2 lb andouille sausage, sliced
1 lb chicken, cut into chunks
1 red, yellow, and green pepper, roughly chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
pinch of saffron
1 t salt
1 t garlic powder
1 t black pepper
1/2 t cayenne
1 t oregano
1 t thyme
1 C Basmati rice
1 C wild rice
2 C water

Combine the oil, sausage, chicken, vegetables and spices and cook until the vegetables soften. Add the rice and cook for a few minutes. Add the water and simmer covered for 45 minutes. Enjoy!

This post is part of Hearth and Soul Blog Hop, Dr. Laura's Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday Night Supper Club, Tuesdays at the Table, Tasty Tuesday, Made from Scratch Tuesdays, Works-for-me-Wednesday, Frugal Fridays, and...

Pulled Beef Sandwiches and Coleslaw

When the weather began to cool off here in New York City, we embraced all the dishes we avoided during our hot summer weather. We began baking, roasting and generally using our oven. We decided it would be great to make a nice big roast, and settled on a beef roast. We made a mixture of vinegar, maple syrup, seasonings, cilantro, garlic and onions. Right before we dumped it over the roast, my husband happened to taste it and found out that it was screaming hot. I guess some extra cayenne slipped in while he was measuring a spoonful. Luckily we caught this because I think it was hot enough to ruin our 8 lb. roast. We didn't want to waste the vegetables, so we drained off the liquid, rinsed the vegetables, and began again.

The first night we ate the meat over egg noodles with vegetables. The next day we pulled the meat apart, and made open faced sandwiches. The meat was definitely more flavorful the second day. We still had lots left over, so we stuck it in the freezer. This week we are embarking on a eat-up the fridge and freezer week and decided to start with the pulled beef. We served it with some coleslaw and Bubbies pickles in honor of the Super Bowl. The pickles are delicious fermented pickles and taste just like homemade.

We had some shredded cheddar cheese and sliced pickles on the pulled beef sandwiches. They were the tasty, but the coleslaw really hit the spot. I could have just eaten coleslaw for dinner.

1/2 head of cabbage
1/8 of onion
2 carrots
2 ribs of celery
1/2 C mayonnaise
1 t Dijon mustard
2 T apple cider vinegar
1/2 t salt

Shred the cabbage, onions, carrots and celery (we used a food processor to do this). Add to a large mixing bowl and combine with the rest of the ingredients. Let sit in the fridge for at least an hour to let flavors combine.

Most coleslaw recipes call for celery salt, but I never have that on-hand, so we use actual celery instead.

Meal plan for the week:
The goal this week is to eat up the freezer and fridge contents supplemented with just a few farmers market staples.
Monday - Jambalaya
Tuesday - Hamburgers and coleslaw
Wednesday- Salmon and brussel sprouts
Thursday - Pork tenderloin rubbed with rosemary and mustard, sauerkraut and squash
Friday - Homemade pizza
Saturday - out to dinner with friends.

This post is part of Monday Mania at the Healthy Home Economist and Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Weekend Breakfasts

I have fond memories of weekend breakfasts growing up. During the week we would generally eat some cold cereal with milk, but on weekends we would go all out. Without the pressure of having to get out the door to catch the school bus, we would spend time making all sorts of breakfast treats. My brother and I were in charge of the cooking, and if we were lucky Mom and Dad were in charge of clean-up. We made waffles, crepes, pancakes or French toast most weekends. We would top these with maple syrup or yogurt and fruit, and often have a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice on the side.

Fast forward to married life, and I still love weekend breakfasts. My husband doesn't have much of a sweet tooth, so now we tend to have egg based dishes such as frittatas or omelettes with a side of potatoes or bacon. Recently I have been craving French toast, but my husband will not eat it, so last weekend we decided to each make our own breakfasts.

I chose French toast served with blueberries and whipped cream and a glass of orange juice with seltzer. The blueberries were picked by my mother-in-law last summer and have been waiting in the freezer for a winter day to shine. I let them defrost and simply mashed them a bit with a fork. It was a delicious treat.

My husband chose scrambled eggs with ketchup, fried mashed potatoes, andouille sausage, and bread and butter.

As I write this, I'm realizing just how many of my pregnancy cravings are linked to foods with fond childhood memories. I wonder if that is a general phenomenon?

What are your family favorite breakfast traditions?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Tasty Treat at Bedouin Tent

Friends have been really curious to learn about any new cravings or eating habits since I have been pregnant. Up until recently, I would respond that I didn't really have any cravings, but aversions to foods I traditionally enjoyed. I am a long-time coffee lover/addict, but once I became pregnant the smell of coffee was revolting. I've had trouble eating spinach, and several other things.

I am entering a new phase, not just food aversions anymore, but food cravings too. The first thing was Orangina. I could drink Orangina all day (but I don't). I have started making my own by combing a bit of orange juice and seltzer water. Then came the French toast, and tomato sauce (lasagna, pasta, etc). I normally like to eat new and different things each day, but now I definitely seem to lock in on a few tried and true dishes and want to eat them over and over. Very interesting to see how your body changes.

The latest craving is anything with chickpeas - humus, falafel, salad with chickpeas, etc. So when we were out and about the other day, I was on the lookout for a falafel sandwich for lunch. I was very pleased when we stumbled across Bedouin Tent, Mideastern Stuffed Pita. We peeked through the window to see someone making pita bread to order, and I was sold.

Inside the front door, the restaurant looks just like a take-out place, but if you walk past the kitchen you discover a charming dining room decorated to feel like a Bedouin tent. I guess they also have a charming outdoor dining section during good weather, but right now it is under a large pile of snow.

I ordered the falafel plate which came with humus (mostly outside the photo), a salad of lettuce, tomatoes, onions and green peppers lightly dressed in olive oil and vinegar, and freshly made pita. It hit the spot.

My husband ordered Lambajin which is described in the menu as a Mideastern Pitza with lamb, onion, tomato, parsley and spices. I was expecting pieces of lamb and vegetables, but was pleased with the savory ground mixture too. The crust was similar to an extra thick pita bread. The topping had a selection of spices we couldn't identify. It was a new flavor palette for us, and it took a bit of getting used to, but it was really tasty.

All in all we were pleased with our meal. It satisfied my craving for chickpeas, and it was really affordable. I think we will be back again. My husband says that he would recommend it to anyone.
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