Category Archives: Mains
Just as summer turned to a fall, a few of my ladies and I got together for a girls’ night in.
Originally it was intended to be a last hurrah at the lake; a final chance to sit outside and watch the sunset. We would have a bite to eat here and there, likely with a cocktail in hand. Over time that plan evolved, and eventually it was decided that each of us would bring an appetizer and a drink to our little soiree. It would be a potluck sampling of sorts. At one point, there was talk of a possible contest and judging and a winner for the best pairing – and the accompanying bragging rights of course. So naturally we all took this very seriously.
What actually ended up happening is that the night we chose to meet was cold and rainy and our beloved sun was nowhere to be found. So much for that part. Undeterred we all still showed and passed our contributions around in the coziness of the kitchen, which everyone knows is the best place to end up at a party anyway.
We realized rather quickly that we should have agreed on a theme – for the drinks at least – because our “cocktails” ran the gamut from Jello shots to ginormous Moscow Mules to homemade Irish Cream. Basically, we created a recipe for a hangover. If you want to try this at home (…and I definitely think you should; it was a super fun time!), have everyone bring a drink using the same kind of alcohol, and dole the drinks out in small-ish standard cups.
We had a lot of variety in the food department too. I must say, it was pretty neat to see how creative everyone got. For my part, I brought a batch of Stormy Mornings and shooters of this creamy sunchoke soup. If you’ve never tried a sunchoke (also known as a Jerusalem artichoke) before, it tastes like a cross between an artichoke and an especially rich potato. In this soup, the flavor takes on a mushroom-like quality; very earthy. To balance that earthiness, I added a secret ingredient. Spoiler alert: it’s Prosecco! I liked the way that it paired with my cocktail, which also included some bubbles.
If you are looking for an excuse to pop a bottle this weekend, or are in need of a little something extra for your Thanksgiving table, either (or both!) of these recipes would be excellent choices!
It can be challenging; this food blogging thing. I ask myself a lot of questions about what people want to see, what has been done before (Everything by now, it seems!), and how I can share recipes that are approachable yet inspired, or in the very least, an even mix of the two overall. I think you can file this one under the former; a dish that is simple and nourishing, which you can amp up depending on where you want to take it. That’s what I hope, anyway.
If you were to follow me around for a week, you would see me making greens and beans or a version of it once, if not more. What qualifies it as a Sunday Dinner here, is that I incorporated homemade broth and slow roasted tomatoes into it too. Both of those things are simple enough to prep, yet they require the one thing that I usually don’t have a lot of on a weeknight: time.
Food-wise, this is how a lot of my Sundays go. I am chopping and prepping greens, a big pot of something or other is bubbling away on the stove (usually this), and I am making odds and ends (like these preserved lemons or the tomatoes here) that I’ll use throughout the week. All of those ingredients come together to make my greens and beans. Everyone in my family loves this meal. We ate it last-week following an afternoon of leaf-peeping, clearing out our gardens, running around with Sneaks at a local park, and watching the Patriots beat the Steelers on TV. These are a few of my favorite (autumnal) things, for sure.
I for one have been trying to take in all of the fall goodness around us as we prepare for SNOW this coming Thursday! I am also getting a jump on my holiday shopping because if the weather is any indicator, Christmas will be here before we know it! I had the recent pleasure of being a judge in the first-ever AOL Lifestyle Fall Food Awards. Not only did I get to try a lot of new (to me) products, but I was able to check off a few of the foodies on my gift list too!
If you are starting early this year as well – or just want to equip your kitchen for the season – I highly recommend you take a look at the nominees. I really liked all of the products I tried, but two of them stood out for me. I love this beautiful Juliska Amalia Pitcher, for serving drinks and holding flowers. This cookbook meanwhile, is the book I never knew that I wanted until I had it; so many fun ideas for bark, drinks, and more!
I turned 35 last month. This was not necessarily a milestone birthday, but one that seemed to have more of an impact on me than say, 30 did. 30 was good. There was no monumental freak out or feeling of having to suddenly have my life together. I’ve never functioned on a timeline anyhow, and saw no new reason to then (or now). I spent that day lazily sipping champagne by a pool in Palm Springs, and any time that I can combine bubbly and sunshine works for me, birthday or not.
This year was decidedly different with more of a focus on being near the people I care about, than cocktails and lounging per se. It was a quiet day, but a very happy one nonetheless. I think I’ve been reflecting a lot more lately, and in general, have become more deliberate and thoughtful in my actions. This has been a good thing for me of (typically) very little patience. Is this what growing up means?
I am more concerned about wellness than ever before, and while there will always be a place in my life for things like extra cheesy pizza and creamy piles of pasta, a greater emphasis has been placed on my morning green juice and finding slightly healthier ways to enjoy my favorite foods like the Chinese Chicken Salad pictured below. (I tweaked the recipe from Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings cookbook, which I highly recommend!)
I have to admit that I make some of these choices based on vanity. The truth is that my metabolism is no longer as forgiving post carb0-load as it was when I was in my 20s, and those champagne-fueled nights show up everywhere – most noticeably on my skin. I am 100% down with aging gracefully – and quite frankly feel more comfortable in my skin than ever before – but if there’s anything extra I can do to keep it from looking dull and tired (regardless of whether or not drinks are involved), then of course, I am down for that too.