Pear, Caramelized Onion, and Gorgonzola Puff Pastry Bites

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A friend of mine had a birthday party this weekend.  A birthday party centered around appetizers and wine… nothing wrong with that!  I had a hard time deciding what to make, knowing only that I wanted to use puff pastry, because it was in the freezer already.

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A Valentine’s Day Worthy Dessert: Mississippi Mud Pie

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Chocolate pie is a great thing.  It satisfies so many sweet tooth cravings all at once that it’s kind of a super-dessert: chocolate, pie, pudding, whipped cream. This particular pie recipe is from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, the recipes from which are from a very popular bakery in London.  While I don’t really like Valentine’s Day, I have to admit that this is just the type of dessert that would be perfect for the big day.  So while my boyfriend and I are enjoying take-out food and a goofy movie, I hope that at least one of you readers are trying to woo your special someone with this delicious pie!

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Crisp Green Vegetable Salad

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As I alluded to the other day, sometimes after Super Bowl weekend you feel the need to eat nothing but salad for a while, as an antidote to all of the greasy, fatty, yet oh-so-delicious tailgating foods you ate during the big game. This year was definitely one of those times.  But I didn’t want a typical salad.  Lettuce just didn’t seem very appealing when I stopped at the grocery store last night, so I thought back on some of the more creative salad recipes that I’ve seen and meant to try, and settled on an asparagus salad recipe from 101 Cookbooks from more than two years ago.

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Spicy Stuffed Bell Peppers

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Stuffed peppers are sometimes called a comfort food.  But for me, the ubiquitous ground beef and rice stuffed pepper was always a let-down.  Even when cooked perfectly, so that they stayed moist inside yet the pepper was still crisp-tender, there is just something lacking in an ordinary stuffed pepper.  When I found an updated recipe from the amazing minds at Cook’s Illustrated in their new cookbook, I thought that maybe it was time to give them another shot. (I love Cook’s Illustrated… over time that will become really clear.  I even get the magazine on my Nook so I can easily read it on the bus on my way to work.)  I couldn’t leave well enough alone though, I added a bunch of spices to punch up the flavor and used the Cook’s Illustrated technique, and we were not disappointed in the slightest.

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Super Bowl Cheese Dip and a Thank You

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All right, a quick post with a thank you, and a Super Bowl recipe for you! Thanks so much to everyone who has been reading this blog, particularly this past week.  The Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Chipotle Vinaigrette went viral, and took me by surprise.  Surprise to the point where I thought the stat counter on my site was broken.  I really appreciate all of the views and all of the great feedback that I’ve gotten.  So thanks a million, and welcome to the blog for anyone who may be new! Continue reading

Faking Risotto- Farro with Squash and Kale

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Risotto is one of my favorite foods, in particular, risotto with mushrooms and peas.  And lots of Parmesan cheese.  But risotto has its pitfalls.  First, arborio rice is starchy and not particularly healthy.  Second, all of that Parmesan cheese isn’t so waist-friendly either.  Finally, and possibly most important, it’s tedious and extremely time-consuming.  So I save real risotto for special occasions… dinner parties, birthdays, etc.  When I want to make a nice dinner just for me, I go for ‘fake’ risotto… or as I once got laughed at for calling it, ‘farrotto.’  (It was deserved, I realize.)  Making risotto with whole grains and minimal cheese just makes me feel better about things! Continue reading

Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Chipotle Vinaigrette

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As I mentioned the other day, I have been on a chipotle kick.  I’ve been thinking about new creative ways to include chipotle-flavors in my meals for a while now, and while planning a side dish for tacos the other day, I realized that it would be the perfect flavor to add to a black bean and corn salad.  This Southwestern themed salad made a great side dish for tacos, but with the quinoa and black beans it was also substantial enough for a healthy lunch the next day.  That makes it a double winner in my book. Continue reading

Sweet and Spicy Chipotle Glazed Pork Tenderloin

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Chipotle peppers are a gift to mankind.  Be it a chipotle pepper, chipotle seasoning, chipotles in adobo sauce.  Smoky and spicy, the flavor known as chipotle can be subtle heat or in-your-face hot.  Whether it’s the leading flavor (like in this recipe for today) or a supporting character, it’s always delicious.  I’ve been on a chipotle kick (not the restaurant… except for dinner last night, but that’s neither here nor there), so stay tuned for another chipotle-based recipe later this week.

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Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

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I thought I hated Brussels sprouts.  Possibly because the only ones that I had been served had been taken from the freezer and thrown directly into a pot of boiling water, where they proceeded to become an unappealing glob of wilted leaves that smelled worse than any cooked cabbage that I had ever encountered, and which were then ruinously over-salted in an attempt to make them palatable.  Imagine my surprise when, less than two years ago, I was served a vegetable dish that looked like Brussels sprouts, but had a wonderful crisp texture and were covered in a sauce made of red wine vinaigrette which had reduced and cooked into the sprouts in the most wonderful way.  I was shocked at how delicious they were, and I was hooked.

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Tired of pasta? Try Squash! Spaghetti Squash with Basil Spinach Pesto

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Dead serious.  Replace pasta with squash.  I know it sounds strange, but when you’re in the mood to try something new, make it this bright yellow squash.  It’s light, tender and unique, not to mention far less guilt-inducing than real pasta.

Now in case you couldn’t tell from the banner on the homepage, I really like squash and pumpkin.  I think that they are some of the most versatile vegetables out there (I know they are technically fruits, really I do… it just doesn’t seem right to call them fruits); they are hearty enough to be made into a vegetarian main course, light enough to be roasted and added to a winter salad, and smooth enough in flavor and texture to be blended right into a soup.

Such a bright, happy looking squash!

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