Monthly Archives: May 2014

Fettuccine with Carrot Cream Sauce

Carrot Cream SauceA good friend of mine recently described a meal she had in Italy that involved pasta and some type of carrot sauce. Since I’m always on the lookout for an interesting vegetarian dish, I was intrigued and eager to either find a similar recipe or invent one of my own. I pecked around online and found a few recipes that seemed to roughly approximate the dish, so I took some of their basic elements and then came up with my own concoction. I loved the end result, and the best part is, there are lots of ways you could change it up to suit your own tastes. More

Recent Reads: The Girl You Left Behind

The Girl You Left BehindI’ll be the first to admit that I’m a bit of a book snob. Probably quite not as snobbish as some of my English major compatriots—I haven’t read and will likely never read Infinite Jest, not even for the street cred—but I do have a great disdain for:

  • Anything about vampires written in the past 10 years
  • Anything by Dan Brown, Nicholas Sparks, or James Patterson (he doesn’t even write his own books!)
  • Anything with “-oholic” in the title (I’m referring only to terms such as “chocoholic” and “shopoholic”—I’d very much be interested in a book with a title such as, say, Confessions of Jazz Age Alcoholic in Denial: A Boozy Portrait of Zelda Fitzgerald)
  • Anything with a pink or overly girlish cover (I’ll grant an exception for Mindy Kaling’s irresistible Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, because she’s perfect and amazing and adorable)

Essentially, I tend to shy away from books that are outrageously popular (the books of which you can usually find pocket-sized versions at the airport), and, specifically, I steer clear of chick lit. But I recently chanced upon a British author who falls into the chick lit category (though just barely, I would argue) and with whom I am utterly in love. Her name? Jojo Moyes. More

Mad Men Dinner: Chicken Kiev

Chicken KievOn the heels of my last post, which featured a Mad Men-inspired cocktail, I thought I’d continue indulging my mid-century fetish by cooking a dish featured prominently in the first episode of the show’s fourth season.

Don is on a date with a pretty young blonde named Bethany Van Nuys. The waiter comes over to take their order:

BETHANY: I don’t even need to look. Chicken Kiev.

DON: They make you wear a bib.

BETHANY: Come on. Let’s have some fun.

DON: Two Chicken Kievs.

Indeed, let’s have some fun. More

Muddled Raspberry Vodka Gimlet

Muddled Raspberry Vodka Gimlet

My go-to cocktail is a vodka gimlet. It’s simple, classic, and yes, I most definitely nabbed it from Mad Men‘s Betty Draper. Now, this may offend purists, but last night I decided to shake things up and add a little more flavor to my poison. I had raspberries on hand, and the result—I call it a Muddled Raspberry Vodka Gimlet—was pretty sensational, and perfect for these breezy early summer evenings we’ve been having. More

Kale Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Avocado, and Pine Nuts

kale saladI pretty much always make the same salad to go with whatever meal I happen to be cooking for dinner: spring mix, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and red bell pepper. It’s good, but it’s starting to get rather boring. Last night I decided to have a go at the oft-derided leafy green that’s become the butt of many a hipster joke as of late: kale. More

Mother’s Day Brunch: Spinach and Gruyère Quiche

spinach gruyere quiche

In my neck of the woods, restaurants tend to get absurdly busy over Mother’s Day weekend. There’s nothing very special about waiting for the better part of an hour only to be seated in a crowded dining room teeming with dozens of noisy strangers and more than a few unruly members of the under-12 set. Come Mother’s Day, I prefer to cook for my mom at my house, where we can chat and sip coffee and linger as long as we’d like in the quiet of my living room.

This weekend I decided to have my mom over for a celebratory brunch. On the menu were spinach and Gruyère quiche, breakfast potatoes, mixed berries, and Poinsettias. The quiche is rich, delicious, and easy to make. It’s one of my go-to breakfast/brunch recipes whenever I have company. More

Recent Reads: Other Voices, Other Rooms

Other Voices, Other RoomsThe first book of Truman Capote’s that I read was not, as you might suspect, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but rather In Cold Blood, a groundbreaking work of literary nonfiction and arguably Capote’s finest effort. I loved it so much that, in a failed bid to secure admission to a Ph.D. program at one of the Holy Trinity Ivies, I once even wrote a lengthy scholarly paper on the book.

I’ve since read Breakfast at Tiffany’s (like any girl worth her salt, the movie is one of my favorites, but the book is very different—not necessarily better than the movie, but more like a different story altogether) and the several short stories contained therein (“A Christmas Memory” is possibly the best short story I’ve ever read). Next up was Other Voices, Other Rooms, which had been sitting on my nightstand for several months after I received it as a gift, and I finally got around to reading it last month. More

Cranberry Margaritas

cranberry margaritasNormally I’m a classic margarita kind of gal. On the rocks, salt on the rim. But every now and then I get in the mood for a splash of something different.

I must confess, I only recently started making my margaritas with fresh lime juice instead of that sickly, syrupy, pre-made mix stuff, but now that I’ve mastered the art of making them from scratch, I’ll never go back. A basic margarita is pretty simple: tequila, triple sec, and lime juice. More

Cinco de Mayo for Dos: Tortilla Soup and Spicy Guacamole

tortilla soupI’m well past the age when Cinco de Mayo means donning some culturally stereotypical hat and drinking myself into oblivion, so this year I used the holiday we’ve purloined from our friends to the south as an excuse to prepare a caliente feast for my husband and myself.

Since I don’t eat meat, I often enjoy the challenge of taking a recipe and creating two versions: one with meat for my husband and one sans meat for myself. Dishes like coq au vin are pretty much impossible, but soups and stews are a snap. More

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